Tuesday, 27 June 2017

BABY DRIVER - podcast review out now


Edgar Wright is back and with a distinctly different flavour with this comedy heist thriller Baby Driver. Starring Ansel Elgort as the young getaway driver, all he wants to do is listen to music and drive away west with his girlfriend Debora (Lily James), but he has to pack back his due to crime boss Doc (Kevin Spacey) and deal with some crazy criminals (Jamie Foxx, Josh Hamm, Eiza González). With an infectious diegetic soundtrack, great performances, and smart script, Baby Driver is a welcome return to cinema for Wright, who has given us the summer film we all deserve.

We mention True Romance is this podcast. Check out our review of that film here.

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Monday, 26 June 2017

BABY DRIVER - podcast review out tomorrow


DVD Roundup: Mummy Issues edition


Still... Still this is a thing. After the abysmal mess that was Fifty Shades of Grey, the sequel Fifty Shades Darker is now out now to own. We didn't see this is theatres, and it seems like a lot less people did as well, achieving a nearly $200 million loss worldwide compared to the first movie. I suppose if you are a fan of the books, or you just love watching car-crash movies, then this looks like a film for you.

Telling the story of the aftermath of th 2013 Boston marathon bombings, Patriots Day is, well, a patriotic movie aimed primarily at American's, highlighting the deeds done the Boston public, police and FBI. The emotion is primarily played out in the action, and the brutal results of the bombing, and stands out as a more intelligent class of disaster movie.






From the director behind Trollhunters, The Autopsy of Jane Doe sees father and son coroners, played by Brian Cox and Emil Hirsch, investigate the death of an anonymous corpse, with increasingly disturbing findings. A strongly intriguing plot, this looks to be a film full of mounting dread and a little gore, and one I'm definitely going to look out for.






Set in 1979, a single mother is trying to raise her teenage son, and does so with the help of two younger women. A witty look at communal raising, and with an excellent cast, 20th Century Women looks to be a funny, if emotional, meditation on the post-nuclear family.








Sunday, 25 June 2017

THE LEIGH SPENCE MOMENT: ZARDOZ


35. “And you, poor creatures? Who conjured you out of the clay?”



25/06/2017

 

How is this for a career path: starting as a journalist in Southampton, John Boorman ran the newsroom of Southern Television, launching the evening news magazine “Day by Day,” a forerunner of the local news programmes seen across the UK. From there, he moved to Bristol, to make documentaries for the BBC. He was asked to make use of those documentary techniques to reproduce “A Hard Day’s Night,” except starring the Dave Clark Five. The resulting film, “Catch Us If You Can,” opened up an opportunity to direct a film in Hollywood, “Point Blank”, starring Lee Marvin. After the next film, “Leo the Lion,” made back in the UK, Boorman’s next American film was “Deliverance.” In twelve years, Boorman made it to the Deep South, from the South of England.

So, by 1974, John Boorman could really make any film he wanted. However, because “Star Wars” was still three years away, there was no appetite for something on the scale of “Lord of the Rings,” which was his original plan. However, science fiction films involving big ideas, like “Silent Running,” “Soylent Green,” “The Omega Man,” and “Phase IV,” were in vogue. Meanwhile, Sean Connery was still in demand, but not on the same scale as when he was James Bond – Connery accepted the role of Zed in “Zardoz” after it was originally offered to Burt Reynolds and Richard Harris.


This set of circumstances made for a very odd, but prescient film. It is also a film that gives itself away with an opening narrative, not unlike the sort Universal Pictures did at the start of their “Dracula” and “Frankenstein.” We are told we are watching a satire, based in the future, involving an immortal person masquerading as a God. We are told the film is “full of mystery and intrigue,” which is just as well, as a full hour is spent building the world of a futuristic, yet medieval caste system, of which Zed is an anomaly – a lower order that stumbled upon the truth.

“Zardoz” is a deeply layered fable that concerns the holders of knowledge and power, who have become immortal themselves in order to keep the old world going, but have become corrupt in itself, fencing themselves off, with a literal force field, from those left to work the land. In a situation like this, the “Eternals” are shown to have inevitably become corrupt, save for one that, like a trickster god, experiments to create a group of people that keep those outside at bay, but one would be led to discover the ultimate point of their existence, which is to destroy the higher order – this sis where Zed comes in, led by his maker to discover that Zardoz is a trick, inspired by a certain novel by L. Frank Baum.

Because it is ostensibly a mystery story, writing anything about “Zardoz” involves some kind of spoiler alert – I neglected to enter one for fear of writing nothing at all. Any story involving an immortal person reintroducing the idea of death is worth a look, not least for the bizarre costumes here, including Sean Connery’s loincloth. Few science fiction films are more eccentric than “Zardoz,” but really should be.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Headshot (2017) - Richee Review

Headshot got released earlier this year, and has now made it's way to Netflix. Starring the awesome Iko Uwais, I went in with high hopes for the action, following his starring roles in the two Raid films.

The film starts with crime boss Lee (Sunny Pang) breaking free from prison. During the escape a body is found washed up on a beach. Two months later, Iko Uwais' character is waking up from a coma induced by a HEADSHOT. This of course means he can't remember who he is, and while his memories slowly come back in fragments, he takes the moniker Ishmael while recovering with trainee doctor Ailin (Chelsea Islan). After Lee hears a rumour that one of his former members was still alive after a HEADSHOT, he sends his crew after Ishmael. Ailin is kidnapped by Lee and his gang, forcing Ishmael to track them down while his memories slowly return.
So let's not beat around the bush: the action fight scenes are amazing. We get multiple mini bosses with their own weapons who Ishmael has to fight one by one, until he finally catches up to Lee. The fight scenes are overly violent and glorious. The downside to the film is the gun play which is heavily CGI'd, and it is noticeable in a bad way. The story is very cliched, as memory loss due to a HEADSHOT isn't really a rarity in films. But the story flows well, and the characters are all unique and interesting, with Lee's methods being particularly nasty when you find out how he put his army together.

The actors do their job well. Iko Uwais is awesome, and Chelsea Islan is good as the typical heroine in distress, but she does get her moment to kick ass. Sunny Pang playing Lee is menacing and threatening in all his scenes and was a brilliant villain.
The film is enjoyable but doesn't reach the dizzying heights of the Raid films, but it is good for what it is, an action-fest for Iko to show some more of his awesome fighting moves. It could of done with a bit more polish on the CGI but I wasn't here for that, even though there are a lot of gun fight scenes which look a little lame. Final verdict is a 6/10: it's an above average action/thriller, it's been done better before but it's still a good watch for action junkies.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

PREVENGE - podcast review out now


Written, directed and starring Alice Lowe, while she herself was pregnant, Prevenge is a dark comedy about the taboo subject of prepartum psychosis. Lowe stars as Ruth, whose grieving the death of her partner, and whose unborn daughter is telling her to murder from within the womb. With savage dry wit and an excellent cast, Prevenge is a masterclass in speedy film-making and black humour.

We mention House of Fools in this podcast. You can read Layla's review of season two here.

You can download this episode directly here.

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