Sunday, April 30, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 (2017)

I went to the cinema to see this film with my son on Saturday and we enjoyed it. I enjoyed the first film and the introduction to the characters of that. This time the characters start out together but instead of large old Groot there is Baby Groot, a young sapling. The start credits are cool with E.L.O.'s Mr Blue Sky playing on a stereo as Baby Groot dances and the remaining Guardians are fighting an alien space monster. The pacing was good and it never felt too long for me. There were comedic moments through it all as well as some sad moments but they didn't get too sad or depressing. There was a surprise to see Sylvester Stallone in a small role and even David Hasselhoff. Stan Lee also made an obligatory appearance as a spaceman marooned by three robe wearing strangers. There were some funny moments with Drax and his inability to be anything other than directly literal. Some of the best moments were interplays between Drax and the other characters. Easy to recommend this film to Marvel fans and comedy fans. It's a film that will have replay value on Blu-Ray or DVD.

Estranged (2015)

I watched this film this week. I was very pleasantly surprised to find it was a well made film with a great story to tell. The story concerned a young woman, called January, who is loving life traveling with her boyfriend. However, it all goes wrong when they have a road accident on his scooter.
Injured seriously enough to be confined to a wheelchair with brain damage, January can't remember much of anything before the accident.
She and her boyfriend return to her family home for her recuperation, which turns out to be a stately home that still maintains a servant butler. The family however are not so happy to see her boyfriend. He wants to stay with her but eventually leaves, or is he got rid off? January starts to question why she left the family home to go traveling in the first place. She was gone 6 years, which is an awfully long time. Things are not as they first seem and indeed they get very dark very soon.
The suspense build excellently and the actors do a great job. I thought this was a very intelligent and well made horror and could be something of a classic in the future. Very easy to recommend this to fans of thrillers and horror.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ghost In The Shell Stand Alone Complex

I've been slowly building a collection of DVDs for this series, so far I have found volumes 1, 2 and 5. At the weekend I watched volumes 1 and 2 and have to say I was impressed. It is about a crack anti-crime unit called Section 9 who seem to have some kind of government funding. It is set in Japan and the unit is led by a guy with white hair that sticks out around by his ears, sort of like a mad professor. He seems to be the strategic lead but the action based leader seems to be a female they call the Major. She has had most of her body replaced with cybernetic enhancements. She is the character on the box cover with the impressive breasts. I don't know why she wears the costume she does but she runs around half naked when she isn't inside a spider/tank thing. The series has episodes that link a larger story together and these are interspersed with standalone episodes, hence the stand alone complex. I enjoyed watching them and hope to find the other volumes sometime. All the volumes I've picked up so far have been from charity shops. I don't know what relation this anime series has with the Scarlett Johansson film just recently released, I think the female lead is supposed to be the same Major. I hope to go and see the film this week, so will find out.

Savaged (2013)

My hopes were not high as I put this film on however my low expectations proved to be somewhat misplaced as I did actually enjoy this movie. It starts out reasonably tame as a pretty, deaf lady inherits a lovely old GTO touring car and says goodbye to her sister (I think) before setting off on a road trip. She has a fiancée and is travelling to the West of America to start a new life out there.
On the way she takes several stops and sends the boyfriend selfies from various locations. All is going well until she nearly runs over a native American Indian who staggers out into the road in the middle of the New Mexico desert and collapses.
She pulls over sharply and sees that coming a dirt road off the highway is a pickup and its heading for another native American Indian running. Surprisingly it carries on and runs the guy over, killing him. She screams and backs her car up to try and rescue the guy who made it to the road. Well, she doesn't manage to get away before the pickup pulls up and the guys get out. They are a pretty nasty bunch and kill the other native American Indian and then capture her. She is taken back to their farm and raped as she lies on a filthy bed with barbed wire around her wrists and legs. Very unpleasant.
The remaining part of the film is sort of a revenge slasher. But the twist is that she gets away but is murdered before escaping. However, her body is found and another native American Indian performs a ritual on her and her body becomes possessed by the spirit of an old native Indian chief. This imbues her with the killing skills he had and she sets about getting her revenge on the rapists and murderers.
It was much more of a brutal film than I was expecting. I thought the pacing was excellent and the story was pretty interesting, it kept me interested all the way through as I didn't know what was going to happen next. I can recommend this to horror fans but not to people who don't like to watch violence against women. It's not too graphically visual in that sense but some scenes are not so easy to watch.

Monday, April 17, 2017

13 Eerie

I saw this last night, it is about a group of 6 forensic science students who are attending an island facility with mortuary cadavers in staged situations around the facility to do a practical exam. The examiner and a pot smoking chef are also on site with them.
Things start to go bad when the chef loses two of his chickens from the barbecue. It's all a bit laughable as a zombie film, the island turns out to have once been a bio-research facility housing death-sentence murderers. The zombies mill about wearing the remains of orange boiler suits. They look a bit charred for some reason, possibly due to the chemicals? The students are attacked and some turn into zombies themselves. They are killed in various ways but usually only die with attacks to the head. The examiner strangely enough had a pistol on him and that is used to kill a few off until the magazine runs out.
The ending is left open for a sequel should one ever be funded. I think the film is Canadian and it's the director Lowell Dean's first film. As a film it is all competently directed, the cinematography is decent. It is let down by not being very original and playing safe with the genre. I could recommend it to zombie fans and fans who want a tame midweek horror.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Hostel part 3 (2011)

I saw this film this week, it was handy that Hostel part 2 was still fresh in my mind. This film wasn't written or directed by Eli Roth like previous ones in the series. It also went straight to DVD upon release. Once you get a series of films you can usually expect the quality to go down and this isn't really an exception to that but it wasn't as bad as I was expecting it to be.
I can't say I enjoy the Hostel films because they are all pretty depraved and quite gruesome, this one being no exception. The story concerns a group of young men going on a Batchelor weekend to Las Vegas I think. It's all been set up by the Best Man, he arranges a party somewhere out of town with a couple of prostitutes. The next morning when they get back together one of them is missing. One of the prostitutes is also missing. You guessed it. They have become inhabitants of the Hostel. The hostel this time isn't set in Eastern Europe, disappointingly. It is instead set somewhere close to Las Vegas. The plot is very thin to be honest and it doesn't get much better, however the film is well paced and doesn't go on for any longer than it needs to. If you "enjoyed" others in the series, this one shares a number of the familiar tropes but it has slightly less quality than the others in the series. The first film is still the best.