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20 reviews in total 
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The Harvest (2013/I)
Intense, Well Acted Drama, 11 October 2016

This is not a horror film but a gripping thriller with horrific aspects powered by two actors both of whom do intense better than anyone, Michael Shannon and Samantha Morton. Morton is particularly good, terrifyingly on the edge of becoming completely unhinged most of the time, although seemingly tiny next to Shannon. The two child actors also deliver convincing performances, Natasha Calis and Charlie Tahan (Gotham's young Scarecrow). Their relationship drives the plot and works well.

It starts off slow then gradually builds up its tension and shocks without resorting to improbable melodrama. A very good film.

Capsule (2015)
2 out of 55 people found the following review useful:
Fifty Years Too Late, 4 October 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Fylingdales Station (the one with the giant golf balls) is located in Yorkshire and though it is nominally an RAF base it is operated in cooperation with America as part of an intelligence-sharing arrangement between the United States and the United Kingdom. If Hermes was being monitored from there the Yanks would have known all about it.

American or British personnel, including astronauts and test pilots, involved in top secret programmes are heavily investigated and so are their families. Anyone hiding a thick Russian accent under a plummy English rose wouldn't last long.

The Russians and Americans both launched a man into space in 1961. I would LOVE to think that the Brits beat them to it in 1959, but the idea is about as plausible as First Men In The Moon and Cavorite.

Britain's only rocket launch base was Woomera in Australia, and nothing we ever had could reach orbit. Our most powerful rocket was Blue Steel and that was cancelled in 1965 at the behest of the Americans (who didn't want the UK to have an independent ICBM) in return for an IMF loan to bail out Harold Wilson's bankrupt government.

I get the feeling that this was rushed out as a piece of tatty anti- Russian propaganda because of the situation in Syria. Ahhh... smells like the sixties all over again!

Tank 432 (2015)
5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Jacob's Tank, 31 August 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It is half suggested by the end of the film that this is about a group of soldiers and civilians being used as guinea pigs for an orange powder super soldier drug called Kratos that heals injuries in some people and just kills others but sends everyone mad.

We join the party mid story. They seem to be taking the situation too seriously for it to be an exercise but know too little about anything for it to be an episode from an actual conflict with a history. For all they eventually reveal about their situation and motives they may as well all be acting on instinct with amnesia. They find a car that won't start because the engine has been replaced with something that makes all who behold it vomit, you won't find out what. They find a farm shed with headless bodies in it. They run away from a teleporting guy in a cloak and gas mask who is bullet proof, nobody seems to know why. They randomly wander across an abandoned tank and get locked in it for the rest of the film, then find all their own scrappy personnel files in it, plus a few glass tubes of Kratos. There is a facially mutilated body with dog tags seemingly belonging to a platoon member who has already died miles before. The doctor keeps shooting people up with stuff that the leader is making secret notes on, but he doesn't know why. One guy takes an actual lovingly photographed sloppy bowel dump. A prisoner finds a gun and kills most of the survivors. Guys in full hazmat suits with one guy in a pinstripe suit and a splash mask turn up and flame thrower the tank.

There is a theory that every story has been told, and so now we are reduced to remakes for ever. Or, some people make mood films with bits of stories mashed up and let the audience do the hard work, because actual comprehensible stories are so last decade.

The monster in the publicity photos only appears in a choppy dream sequence.

My Favourite Space Zombie Movie, 28 August 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Good script, excellent dialogue and acting, first rate prop design, photography and special effects... granted the basic idea is fifty years old but it has never been done so well. The cast is full of convincing actors who would normally never appear in a space zombie movie and all of them treat the whole thing like a serious character drama with total commitment.

As a sci-fi fan I appreciate it when a script simply refuses to ignore the rules of physics. Apart from the mystery bacteria/fungus/whatever that turns people into vacuum-breathing space zombies this film is painstakingly realistic, and the astronauts may be scared and under pressure but they never turn stupid. I found it more realistic than The Martian and more enjoyable for about a tenth the budget. It's fast, violent and scary and it had me gripped from start to finish.

How they did this for seven million dollars I do not know but if that really is all it cost why can't we have a few like this every year? A perfect B movie, and I mean that as the most sincere compliment.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Well Done Brit Indie Action Horror, 23 August 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Not bad for an Indie. It is set in the 28 Days Later version of Brighton and the deserted city is convincingly portrayed on a budget of about £1,000, according to the DVD extras. The army scenes are particularly well done, and I had to watch the making-of-doc in the extras to find out that the helicopter scenes were very, very good model work and CGI done by the director Dan Rickard himself. The acting is a bit ropey but I have seen far worse, especially since none of the cast are actually actors. Most of the action scenes are very well shot and edited and show that this director has talent. The early scenes in the squat reminded me of the Brighton I got to know years ago.

All of the plot lines are left unresolved, such as the giant speakers, and the ending felt like the writer just gave up like the main character did, but the film is still often gripping and worth watching to see what can be possible for a British indie these days.

Somebody should give Rickard a decent script and a budget.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Either Raises Or Lowers The Bar On Filth, 10 August 2016

Good Lord this is filthy, and I laughed right through it, sometimes crying tears. I can totally see why some people would hate it, many scenes are hard to watch. The "plot" cracks along and the jokes are pretty much continuous, and filthy. Mark Strong not only makes a convincing James Bond type secret agent but is as equally committed to embracing the film's sense of humour, following Cohen into new filthy territory. Cohen, as usual, has no internal breaks and doesn't seem to be even trying to figure out where he should stop, he just keeps piling on the filth to levels hitherto undreamed of. The elephant bukake scene nearly broke me.

Being drunk will help, but you have to be able to enjoy filthy humour. Did I mention it's filthy?

Does Exactly What It Says On The Tin, 22 July 2016

You can't really spoil this film, so I won't try. A perfectly linear plot with barely any twists hosed down with gore. Full-on horror with occasional and reasonably well done comic relief. This film has no message whatsoever. Tell a roomful of desperate writers to write a script knowing nothing more than that the title has to be "The Incredible Melting Man" and that the first to finish gets paid, and the winner would look something like this.

It could have been a TV movie production except for the very gory special effects, which are X-Certificate and laid on extremely thickly by the young master Rob Bottin. There are also a couple of boobs. 70s boobs.

If you think that you are the sort of person who might enjoy a film with a title like "The Incredible Melting Man", then you will definitely enjoy this film.

Parasite (1982)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Engaging Grindhouse Sci-Fi Thriller, 20 July 2016

I don't know how I missed this one when it came out, because I watched a LOT of VHS in the 80s. It's great. Characters fail to pull the trigger and consequently get disarmed on about half a dozen occasions when I would have just shot the muppet (there don't seem to be any police around) but otherwise this is a well-made action/horror/sci-fi thriller set in the outer dusty fringes of a future corporate dystopia with ray guns.

The world-building is simple enough but the elements fit together convincingly to frame a story in which an infected fugitive from a world-threatening corporate conspiracy stumbles into sleazy desert-dweller shenanigans.

No-one in it was ever heard from again apart from a feisty 20 year old Demi Moore in her third ever film.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
... because I feel sorry for it., 24 June 2016

Just watched this. Holy Cow.

It tries really hard but neither the writer, director nor actors have ever seen how humans behave. It might have been written by a top secret corporate A.I. as part of a Turing test but it sure wasn't written by a human who had seen how other humans talk and act. That might explain the writing but the acting and direction still lack explanation.

The actual plot mechanics are pretty good and the story does actually make sense, for what it is. The lighting and photography are excellent. Other than that it's a bit like watching that Dennis Potter play where adult actors read lines written for eight-year-old children, except that here the mental age looks like nearer to eleven.

I have this theory that every film, no matter how bad it is, will always have at least one moment that is startling, that makes you raise your eyebrows, something that you haven't seen before and that you suddenly respect because it is new in an industry ripe with plagiarism and repetition. This film has one such moment. Can you guess which it is?

Doghouse (2009)
MGTOW - The Movie, 30 May 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It carefully follows all the rules for this class of horror movie and it's scary, gory and it made me laugh out loud a lot, hence the score. Some people have criticised the ending because the men "haven't learned anything", but they have. After a brief moment of control they realise that they don't even care about that any more, they just want to get away from the crazy women. And most lads' nights end with someone unable to walk being pushed by the rest in a supermarket trolly.

I think its nearly as good as Shaun Of The Dead, but whereas that film was ultimately feel-good this one is harsher, misogynistic and leaves a bitter after-taste, which makes it more interesting. Lads will love it. Feminists will hate it. Do not watch it with your other half.

P.S. Danny Dyer's best film. Make of that what you will.

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