Showing posts from June, 2011

Real Time - Siege at Lucas Street Market

Title: Real Time - Siege at Lucas Street Market (2001)
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Thriller
Starring: Brinke Stevens, Michael Cornelison, Larry Coven
Director: Max Allan Collins
Duration: 71 mins

Consisting of raw security camera, police, amateur, and news footage Real Time tells the story of two small-time criminals, Frank and Bud, who hold up a convenience store. After accidentally killing a police officer who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, a would-be simple robbery turns into a full-blown hostage situation. The hostages include a mother and daughter, a businessman, a troubled teen girl, the store clerk, and a pregnant woman who seems to know more than she’s letting on. What follows is a “real time” account of the negotiations between the crooks and the police as well as the drama within the store.

Real Time is a bit of an oddity. It is a movie not only made for the DVD market, but made specifically to take advantage of the DVD as an interactive medium. Have you e…

Sucker Punch

Title: Sucker Punch
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Action, Adventure
Starring: Emily Browning, Jena Malone, Abbie Cornish
Director: Zack Snyder

Almost universally slated by critics, despised as little more than misogynistic and plotless drivel; an excuse for Snyder to pack in as many ridiculous set pieces of pretty young things doing slow-motion stunts against an unrelenting array of inexplicable demonic creatures chosen for their style than for any more sensible purpose. Basically it delivers on everything I could have asked for and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. What were people expecting? The man who made what I'm told is a good graphic novel the bland drivel of Watchmen? Who carved a career by having a bare chested, oiled up guys with oversized CGI muscles scream “This is Sparta” in 300? His first feature film where he's given writing credit and you were expecting Inception? Don't get me wrong, this definitely appeals to only those with a specific mindset; if you hav…

Source Code

Title: Source Code
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga
Director: Duncan Jones

It wasn't all too long ago that I first saw the film “Moon,” debut effort from this director now only on his second bout with recognition and once again managing to produce a concept that is nothing if not intriguing; his chops before delivering upon one of the best sci-fi films to emerge in recent years and evidently returning for something perhaps a little more palletable to a mainstream audience was still something I couldn't pass up. Telling the story of Colter Stevens (Gyllenhaal) of the US Air Force, suddenly awakened inside the body of another man aboard a commuter train opposite the enigmatic Christina (Monaghan), it isn't long before he has his life whisked away from under him from an explosion that decimates the train. Coming to once again in a mysterious capsule, he finds himself conversing with one Colleen Goodwin (F…

Teenage Hooker Becomes a Killing Machine

Title: Teenage Hooker Becomes a Killing Machine
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Crime, Drama, Sci-Fi
Starring: Dae-tong Kim, So-yun Lee
Director: Gee-woong Nam
Language: Korean

This has to rank as one of my most unusual DVD acquisitions; found sealed amidst a sea of my friends collection of martial arts flicks and bad Blu-Ray blockbusters this oddball sticking out like a sore thumb. Consequently it was watched and then when it was all over, rescued from being flung across the room in the vague direction of the bin like a frisbee. This isn't exactly the easiest film to understand and whilst the title is rather apt, it alludes to low-budget gory promises perhaps reminiscent of the plethora of Japanese counterparts being produced that is never fulfilled. This film is Korean, and calling it 'a little strange' would be like referring to the works of David Lynch as 'unusual,' with all the Eraserhead oddities intentionally implied by such a comparison.

You'd think such a title wo…

Red Cliff

Title: Red Cliff
Rating: 4/5
Genre: Action/Drama
Starring: Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Fengyi Zhang
Director: John Woo
Language: Chinese

There are few things I despise more than being told to piss off and wait for an undisclosed amount of time whilst the director rakes in the money and prepares to tell you how it all ends, a major reason why I stalled watching this two-part film that can only really be described as 'epic' in nature, but amongst them are excessive cuts detrimental to the story. If a film is lengthy it should deserve that run time, and many a great film is long simply because it has a lot of story to tell; Love Exposure managed an impressive four hours and yet the pacing there is anything but slow. There is an abridged version of this film that managed to cut everything down to a little over two hours dubbed the 'international version,' perhaps fearing peoples response to the four-and-a-half hour run time, but even if it takes you two separat…

Carnival of Souls

Title: Carnival of Souls
Rating: 2.5/5
Genre: Horror (apparently)
Starring: Candace Hilligoss
Director: Heck Harvey
Release Date: 1962

Returning to my education in the origins of horror comes this intriguing little number; starring a female lead, Mary, who drives the story forward with only a little intervention from a small cast; it's uncommon notion particularly in this period of time in the US's short but turbulent history, portraying an independent woman who bluntly mentions her lack of desire for a man and her desire to work and live for herself rather than as a housewife as was still largely considered normal. And perhaps this is where part of the horror was intended to emerge from; the very notion that a woman would not want to obey a man, though whilst I think it would certainly have raised a few suspicious eyebrows at the time, the inherent lack of horror atmosphere is perhaps more down to how the genre has developed from its far more subtle origins to this rather dat…

Burlesque Massacre

Title: Burlesque Massacre (2011)
Rating: 2/5
Genre: Horror, exploitation
Starring: Crystal Swarovski, Timothy Whitfield, Olivia Bellafontaine
Director: Timothy Whitfield
Duration: 82 mins

Burlesque dancer Crystal and her co-workers take a relaxing retreat to her brother John’s suburban home in Burbank, California to train for their upcoming burlesque tour. However, Johnny boy has a little trouble getting a long with his one-night-stands. Seems he likes killing them. On the bright side, this should work out perfectly with Crystal’s secret plan for murdering her fellow dancers. Add a little incestuous brother/sister action on the side and we’re looking at a pretty busy weekend for these siblings. But how long will it be before their malicious plot turns around and bites them in the asses? Let me just say that you’ll be subject to a lot of tassel-twirling and bathing rituals before that happens.

Burlesque Massacre emerges from the current “grindhouse revival” wave that’s been sweeping the…