19 items from 2015
The horror landscape was changing by 1982. People were tiring of slashers; even the Halloween franchise decided to take a left (some would say wrong) turn away from Shatner masks and sharpened knives, and used the brand name to explore the holiday itself in the perpetually under-appreciated Season of The Witch. The genre seemed to be turning towards monsters, from large scale dread fests such as John Carpenter's The Thing to more intimate fare like Frank Henenlotter's Basket Case. The horror films of 1982 displayed a refreshing variety of ways to make audiences jump, squirm, gasp, smile, and when the occasion arose, vomit. The Beast Within giddily checks all the boxes.
Released in February by United Artists, the film took in a total of 7.7 million at the box office. Those were not great numbers, and the reviews were worse. Mainstream critics in general have never been kind to horror; almost »
- Scott Drebit
At Star Wars Celebration yesterday, much was made over the fact that the new BB8 droid is, in fact, a practical effect and not a product of CGI. This was proven to be true when the droid actually made its way on stage, to the delight of “Star Wars” fans all over. Now, obviously, CGI is never going away, but yesterday’s revelation proves that practical, handmade visual effects will always hold a special place in our hearts. That’s why we still love "E.T." and will never stop freaking out over the chestburster scene in “Alien.” Earlier this week, CineFix gave us yet another reason to love and appreciate practical effects. They posted a ten minute video that examined, in great detail, the defibrillator chest-chomping scene in John Carpenter’s “The Thing.” With the help of a top-notch special effect team, lead by Rob Bottin (“RoboCop,” “Total Recall »
- Ken Guidry
New Jersey detective, Nick Cassidy (Dolph Lundgren) heads to Bangkok where he teams up with Thai detective, Tony Vitayakui (Tony Jaa) to hunt down Viktor Dragovic (Ron Perlman) and destroy his human trafficking network. Nick had inadvertently killed Dragovic’s son in a sting operation on the New Jersey docks, and Dragovic responded by attempting to kill Nick and his family. Nick miraculously survived the brutal attack, but his wife and daughter were killed. With nothing but vengeance to live for, Nick and Tony traverse their way through the Bangkok underworld in search of the elusive Dragovic. Meanwhile, FBI Agent Eddie Reed (Michael Jai White) is sent in to bring Nick home. But as the crossfire ensues, Nick has to »
- Gary Collinson
Longmire is an absolute anomaly in the world of television, which could have something to do with the fact that it was pulled from A&E, despite consistently high ratings for the network. It’s also the reason that it was something of a no-brainer that it would be picked up by someone else, and season four will air on Netflix later in the year.
Where the first two seasons pulled us slowly into the depths of Sheriff Walt Longmire’s life on the sprawling plains of Wyoming, the third season is like the hammer blow that follows the slow, methodical wind-up.
The second season ended by bringing a lot of forces to the fore in a move of plot construction that brilliantly weaves angles and conspiracies into a show that actually makes it difficult to look away. The third season spins this all together, but uses a mode of »
- Marc Eastman
New Jersey detective, Nick Cassidy (Dolph Lundgren) heads to Bangkok where he teams up with Thai detective, Tony Vitayakui (Tony Jaa) to hunt down Viktor Dragovic (Ron Perlman) and destroy his human trafficking network. Nick had inadvertently killed Dragovic’s son in a sting operation on the New Jersey docks, and Dragovic responded by attempting to kill Nick and his family. Nick miraculously survived the brutal attack, but his wife and daughter were killed. With nothing but vengeance to live for, Nick and Tony traverse their way through the Bangkok underworld in search of the elusive Dragovic. Meanwhile, FBI Agent Eddie Reed (Michael Jai White) is sent in to bring Nick home. But as the crossfire ensues, Nick has to determine who his true allies are. »
- Gary Collinson
From horror maestro Adam Green (Hatchet, Frozen) comes the ingenious genre mash-up of documentary and dark fantasy – Digging Up The Marrow – on DVD 15th June 2015. This faux documentary has already accrued a cult following after generating buzz from highly secretive screenings at a handful of film festivals.
Based on the dark illustrations of celebrated artist Alex Pardee and starring Ray Wise (RoboCop, X-Men First Class, Twin Peaks), Digging Up The Marrow blurs the lines between reality and fantasy, taking the horror genre beyond the fourth wall.
Adam Green receives a package in his fan mail from a mysterious man named William Dekker (Ray Wise). Dekker claims he can prove monsters do indeed exist and that these grotesque creatures are in fact forgotten, hideously deformed humanoids that inhabit a vast, underground metropolis of the damned. Determined to discover the truth, Green and his crew embark on a mysterious, fantastical, and terrifying »
- Phil Wheat
Tony Jaa is back and mixing it with some great fighters in the upcoming movie Skin Trade. The movie also features Dolph Lundgren and Michael Jai White, a casting which should should get people to there local cinemas and watch Tony Jaa in his first international movie.
After his family is killed by gangster Viktor Dragovic (Ron Perlman), New Jersey detective Nick Cassidy (Dolph Lundgren) heads to Bangkok for vengeance. Whilst in Bangkok, Cassidy teams up with Thai detective Tony Vitayakui (Tony Jaa) to hunt down Dragovic and destroy his human trafficking network. Meanwhile, FBI Agent Eddie Reed (Michael Jai White) is sent to bring Cassidy home. But as the crossfire ensues, Cassidy has to determine who his true allies are.
The trailer is action packed, so prepare to watch some trade »
★★★☆☆ With a hip-hop, cyberpunk aesthetic paying homage to 1980s classics Short Circuit (1986) and RoboCop (1987), by way the critically derided Tank Girl (1995), Neill Blomkamp's unorthodox sci-fi actioner Chappie (2015) is an energetic, experimental genre piece that just falls short on delivering the heady concepts it raises. The film opens with newsreels blaring out announcing the existence of an A.I. called "Chappie" before flashing back 18 months to find a crime-ridden Johannesburg on the brink of collapse. In a bid to stem the crime wave, the police have turned to an arms company to supply then with gun-totting droids. So far, the comparisons to Paul Verhoeven's armoured cyborg cop are obvious.
- CineVue UK
Director Niell Blomkamp’s new sci-fi epic Chappie opened this weekend. The film tells the story of a robot who is given artificial intelligence by his inventor, but he must learn the ways of the world just like a child. However, his innocent mind is being molded by gangsters and violent criminals.
Photos: 'Pacific Rim' and 7 Giant Robot/Monster Mashes
It’s still to be seen if Chappie will go down as a classic in the robot sci-fi genre, but if it whetted your appetite for artificial intelligence movies and android action scenes, here are nine of the best robotic heroes and nine of the craziest robotic villains in cinematic history.
9. Gigolo Joe from A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001)
Played by: Jude Law
This is one of Law’s greatest roles. Gigolo Joe is a mechanical male prostitute on the run from authorities after being framed for murder. Joe is a highlight »
The wonderfully underrated Longmire completed its third season last year and was then canceled by A&E for reasons beyond understanding. After some protracted negotiations amidst a fury of wronged fans taking to social media to save the series, Netflix announced they have picked up the series for a fourth season to air later this year.
Burbank, CA (February 23, 2015) – The stunning skies of Wyoming, and the mysteries beneath them, have never been more enthralling than in the unfolding episodes of Longmire, the popular A&E-turned-Netflix television series. Those cinematic visuals and intense situations have also never looked better than in the full 1080p HD presentation of Warner Archive Collection’s Blu-ray™ release of Longmire, Season 3, available now via your favorite online retailers.
- ComicMix Staff
Directed by Neill Blomkamp.
In the near future, crime is patrolled by an oppressive mechanized police force. When one police droid, Chappie, is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself.
To say Neill Blomkamp’s third film is at least an improvement over his last, Elysium, is the faintest of praise and possibly the only consolation I can think of. That’s like saying a small tumour is at least better than a large one. That may be but both are clearly unwanted, and Blomkamp’s rise in stature as a ‘high profile’ film maker is part of the epidemic in underwhelming big-budget movies we’re getting force fed year after year.
Chappie is an idea with all the range of thought and »
- Gary Collinson
Look at this: From the writer/director of District 9. Wickus. Ripley. Slumdog. Die Antwoord. Wolverine with a mullet. Ed-209 meeRobocop 2. How Is This Movie Not Going To Be Amazing?
My mom saw a TV spot for Chappie and asked me what I knew about it. I told her to think of it as Short Circuit for adults. In reality that’s not too far off, but director Neill Blomkamp’s three feature films have all been a sum of their parts from genre films of the past. He’s claimed James Cameron’s Aliens as his favorite film, and is close with Peter Jackson who also knows a lot about splatter gore and epic scale. Chappie has major influence from the first two Robocop films, both Short Circuit films, and The Fifth Element among others. I remember right after seeing District 9 that Blomkamp was going to be the successor to Paul Verhoeven, »
- Mike Hassler
If the formative years as a human are tough, spare a thought for Chappie, the bunny-eared title robot in director and co-writer Neill Blomkamp’s latest film. Raised in a wasteland by a pair of surrogate gangster parents, his impossibly difficult, traumatic childhood is compressed into a single week.
Created by computer genius Deon (Dev Patel), Chappie begins life as one of an army of servile police droids patrolling the mean streets of Johannesburg. Severely damaged after a gun battle, Chappie’s written off as scrap by the military tech company that owns him, Tetra Vaal. But Deon, privately working on a cutting-edge AI program in his spare time, injects his experimental routine (“consciousness.dat") into Chappie’s brain - and thus, the first sentient robot is born.
Unfortunately for Chappie, »
A morally muddled mess that is convoluted in plot and appallingly simplistic in its themes. I am a sad geek today. I’m “biast” (pro): I’ve been a fan of Neill Blomkamp’s films
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
If a mashup of 80s robot flicks Short Circuit and RoboCop sounds like a bad joke, well: almost. Chappie is often risible, but it’s more sad than anything else. Not the good kind of sad: this is not a poignant or touching film, though it clearly hopes to be. No, Chappie makes me sad because the promise that South African filmmaker Neill Blomkamp displayed with his brilliant District 9 and which hung over his flawed but still daring followup Elysium is nowhere to be found here. Chappie is a morally muddled mess that is convoluted in plot and appallingly simplistic in its themes. »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Writer/director Neill Blomkamp has recently expressed some dismay about the final cut of his sophomore film, Elysium. With a large budget and audacious concept, that sci-fi film with a social conscience had a lot of potential, yet it only had scattered moments of brilliance. Blomkamp is certainly a filmmaker with ideas about placing sleek sci-fi stories into a crude, graffiti-strewn Johannesburg and watching how grit and genre can come together. However, the mesh between his humanist sci-fi allegories and high-octane action has always been inconsistent, dating back to his striking 2009 debut, District 9.
Chappie, his latest film, is yet another instance of a filmmaker thriving for the same ideals but coming up short. The genre here is not as much science fiction as it is cautionary 80s cinema that’s meant to prophesize the future schism between people and robotic prototypes. Blomkamp has admitted to being a fan of »
- Jordan Adler
Director: Neill Blomkamp; Screenwriters: Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell; Starring: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Sigourney Weaver, Hugh Jackman; Running time: 120 mins; Certificate: 15
District 9 and Elysium director Neill Blomkamp has the geek world in a tizzy right now over his proposed Alien sequel, perhaps slightly overshadowing the fact that he actually has a new film coming out.
Robo-comedy Chappie is another original blockbuster that blends propulsive action with high-minded science fiction ideas. Whereas the Oscar-nominated District 9 looked at apartheid through extraterrestrials and Elysium tackled wealth disparity, Chappie wears its thematic undercurrent lightly, only scratching the surface when it comes to the growing significance of artificial intelligence.
Familiar faces Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver and Dev Patel head up the cast, but it's actually South African rap group Die Antwoord (members Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er star as versions of themselves) and Blomkamp regular »
Intelligence, artificial or otherwise, is one of the major casualties of “Chappie,” a robot-themed action movie that winds up feeling as clunky and confused as the childlike droid with which it shares its name. Mashing together various elements from director Neill Blomkamp’s earlier sci-fi pictures (including another prominent role for Sharlto Copley), this South African spin on “Short Circuit” displays the same handheld immediacy and scene-setting verve as its predecessors, but all in service of a chaotically plotted story and a central character so frankly unappealing he almost makes Jar-Jar Binks seem like tolerable company by comparison. Absent “District 9’s” subtle apartheid allegory or “Elysium’s” health-care brief, but offering a bizarre performance showcase for the rap-rave group Die Antwoord, Blomkamp’s third feature exhausts its meager ideas and the viewer well before the end of its two-hour running time. Curiosity will beckon for a few, but this »
- Justin Chang
From early Bond to 21st century sci-fi, here's Ryan's pick of 11 unforgettable villain pairings from action cinema history...
You're generally lucky if a movie has one genuinely great villain in it, let alone two. This is probably because creating a villain takes great acting and writing - it's one thing to create a preening character who stomps around a story doing unpleasant things, but creating a villain who's three-dimensional, witty, scary and above all memorable requires considerable skill.
Every so often, a movie comes along which gives us not one, but two classic villains, with the personality of one complementing the other. A familiar dynamic was once laid out by Steven Spielberg: one is smart and eloquent , while the other is the tougher, more violent of the pair. It's a template that we've seen time and again in cinema, but it's only occasionally that both characters leap from the screen. »
One cannot overlook the plentiful cinematic contributions of Dutch auteur Paul Verhoeven, who made waves back in 1973 with Turkish Delight and helmed a handful of notable collaborations starring Rutger Hauer, though they parted ways indefinitely after Verhoeven’s 1985 English language debut, Flesh+Blood. Of course, Verhoeven’s Us big-budget genre work, such as RoboCop (1987) and Total Recall (1990), both spawning recent lackluster remakes, and pulpy neo-noir Basic Instinct (1992) were overshadowed by the debacle that would come to be Showgirls (1995), now celebrated as one of the best worst films ever made. Twenty years after that, with only a few more features since, including 1997’s Starship Troopers, the maligned Hollow Man (2000) and a welcomed return to his native Holland for Black Book (2006), Verhoeven has been mostly an absent figure. In 2012, a mid-length film graced the lineup at the Rome Film Festival, while his long-gestating Jesus of »
- Nicholas Bell
19 items from 2015
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