Reviews written by registered user
|32 reviews in total|
Inspired by Hong Kong 'heroic bloodshed' flicks, this hardnosed cops
'n' robbers tale certainly lives up to its name. James McAvoy's
supercop exhibits a dogged intensity in his hunt for Mark Strong's
antiheroic supercrim. During their heated cat-and-mouse game, the two
uncover a conspiracy much bigger than their own dispute.
The two leads keep things moving along nicely with their ambiguous dynamic, with a supporting cast of familiar faces picking up back-end duties rather nicely. Special mention must go to Shane Meadows favourite Johnny Harris who, as a cold-blooded ex-military henchman, exudes a barely-restrained predatory animalism, familiar to those who saw him in This is England '86. Top performances, decent pacing, and an ending which refuses to settle it all in quite the neat and tidy way one would expect.
A group of young offenders and their care workers get more than they bargained for when they make an excursion to the aptly named Yorkshire village of Mortlake. On arrival, they receive a less-than-warm welcome from the inhabitants, a shambling, leering assortment of rural Northern stereotypes possessed of suspect genetics and psychotic intentions. Imagine Eli Roth directing The League of Gentlemen, or Eden Lake played for a (gruesome) laugh, and you've pretty much nailed the tenor taken here. Jo Hartley of This is England fame does a decent action heroine turn as one of the two care workers, and Seamus O'Neill's village pub patriarch proves a rather amusing antagonist with his rabble rousing and exaggeratedly provincial patois. Oh, and Emily Booth puts in a short-lived cameo, too! Sure, it's not essential viewing by any means, but, nevertheless, it proves an effective little hundred-minute diversion.
Depicting the meeting of a Western journalist crew with some Darfuri
villagers and the latter party's subsequent massacre by a Janjaweed
death squad, this film does not flinch from depicting the full horror
of what "ethnic cleansing" entails. From the film's pivotal halfway
mark, the audience finds itself confronted with an orgy of rape,
infanticide, mutilation, and racial extermination which make flicks
like Men Behind the Sun look like My Little Pony. To heighten the
impact of the spotlighted slaughter, he has the journalists (played by
a grab bag of Hollywood prominents) interview individual Darfuri
(played by actual survivors of the conflict), building them up as
characters in their own right before having them hacked, fuc ked, and
tortured to death. Happy times!
I challenge the viewer not to come away from this movie hating our species just a little bit (if they didn't already). We see a beleaguered but benign group of villagers butchered by a group of predators on a lebensraum trip; we see heroism presented as an purely emotionalistic and futile enterprise which yields minuscule reward; and we see those with the ability and proximity to face down savagery retreating on the rationale of following orders. At points, I even felt some contempt for the villagers as they prayed impotently to their figment of a god (who would likely use their blood and tears as masturbatory lubricant if he existed). Boll pours the misanthropy fuel, lights a match and sets the screen alight with it.
Surprisingly, most of the big names (Billy Zane, Ed Furlong, Kristanna Loken) do very little with their screen time; it falls to Scotsman David O'Hara to provide some semblance of range and dynamism, and he plays his heroic martyr role with a passion that has you rooting for him despite the overwhelming odds against his success and survival. The other major standout is Sammy Sheik's Janjaweed commander, emanating a ostensible air of nobility which makes his role in events all the more chilling. The villagers, played by actual survivors of the predations depicted, clearly need no coaching to capture the terror of a preyed-upon people.
Piercing and provocative filmmaking, Darfur left me with a perverse appreciation for the much-maligned Boll; on the strength of this and Rampage, I'm curious to see how he'll handle the Holocaust in his yet-to-be-released Auschwitz. By distancing himself from his earlier video-game-based auteurship with each original project, he may just earn the respect and kudos he's craved for so long.
A straight-to-video release, this tale of a reincarnated death row
inmate turns up the trash, and, with it, the laughs. People die in
comically calamitous way, prompting some of the most hilarious support
cast underreactions committed to home video ("I didn't do it!"). Our
eponymous villain protagonist signs off each of his kills with an
appropriately punny line, and the townsfolk he terrorises run and
scurry around in half-clued-up Mystery Inc. fashion. One infamous
scene, featuring American Pie eye candy Shannon Elizabeth, may just be
THE most inappropriately side-splitting sequence of rape-and-murder
committed to camera.
If you're watching this, try not to take anything seriously - it's readily apparent none of the cast and crew did! Loud, dumb, brainless fun.
Hmm...what to say? This is a less a movie and more of a clip compilation of extreme, perverse, disgusting vids from all around the internet. Think You've Been Framed minus the commentary and laugh track and with stuff more likely to induce shudders than schadenfreude. Sure, you'll laugh at the various acts of sexual perversion on display here, whether they involve two blokes and one stump, or two birds and one squid; but some of the other stuff - like the videos of murder, mutilation, immolation, animal-abuse, and sexual assault - might leave many reaching for the stop button and the rest questioning their own humanity as well as that of those committing such deeds. Even watching it with my more detached perspective, I found some of the clips unnerving: if you're a misanthrope, here be some fuel for your fire! Thankfully, there are some lines not crossed here (no newborn porn or anything close to it), thus the title is rendered something of a misnomer. Still, there's plenty of nightmare food for the more sensitive and delicate viewer to eat up and choke on.
It's the usual story: bloke meets bird, captures her, locks her in the basement, and gets the family to help him "civilize" her. There's a strong gender war current running through the narrative, with males striving to conquer, confine, and control feminine energies, and the backlash that ensues from such attempts. More expansively, there's also the theme of "civilized" man being at once enthralled and repelled by the animal inside, ultimately determined to keep it held down, repressed, whitewashed, and beyond visibility; the result is something far more monstrous and chilling than a simple feral beast could ever hope to be. Some unnerving performances and delectably amusing gore add to the good, unclean family fun on offer here.
'D' is for diversity in the case of this anthology of horror shorts,
put together by a plethora of known and unknown directors. As expected,
it's a hit-and-miss affair (though with more of the former than the
latter). Standout segments include the euthanasia-gone-wrong hijinks of
A, the utterly depraved spurt-or-die set-up of L, the claymation
calamity of T, the savage social commentary that is X, and the
draconian dystopia of V (which begs to be developed into a
fully-fledged film of its own - DO IT, ANDREWS!). Other topics, such as
heroin highs, female flatulence, miscarriage, animal-abuse, and mutant
dildo girls, also find free play here. There were a few stinkers thrown
into the mix (and I'm not on about F), such as the slow O, the
bafflingly pointless R, and the first-person filler that is G;
fortunately, however, they prove to be the exception rather than the
rule. Generally, the feeling created by being shipped from one gonzo
set-up to another is an appealingly unsettling one, building up an
anticipation swiftly rewarded.
If you fail to find at least a handful of appealing letters here, I'd advise you to stick to the rom-coms.
Arranged around and within a tenuous wraparound home invasion scenario, the vignettes that comprise this shakycam shocker prove memorably effective, each lulling the viewer into a false sense of security via meanderingly mundane set-ups that abruptly shift to more unnerving, visceral territory. Old tropes such as alien interference, haunted houses, serial killers, and femmes fatales find themselves fed through the lens of the hand-held camera to rather impressive effect. The overall picture painted by these series of snuff flicks-within-a-flick is one of a world sporadically at the mercy of an otherworldly array of entities, with the glaring unremarkability of its setting serving to amplify, rather than undermine, the atmosphere of cosmic malevolence. All these elements amount to a punchy anthology which succeeds in overriding my antipathy toward the dreaded jittercam technique - no mean feat!
I have to say that watching this newer, grimmer remake made me
appreciate the humanity that informed the original film, flawed though
that was. In the '78 version we had a heroine who was defiled yet not
destroyed, a protagonist who reasserts her autonomy, and femininity,
and, yes, humanity by taking revenge over her id-driven attackers. Here
we have an innocent, naive girl, effectively eradicated by a more
menacing, calculating crew of assailants, returning as something of a
wraith (complete with visual nods to The Ring) to drag her rapists to
Hell with her.
Far from regaining her autonomy, femininity, and humanity, this 2010 version of Jennifer Hills re-emerges from her ordeal as half-spectre, half-Frankenstein's gestalt, poetically mirroring the calculated cruelty and sadism of her torturers. Her victims being utterly reprehensible fu cks, the fitting punishments she inflicts on them prove both amusing and satisfying to watch; yet that haunting, final shot of her, staring blank-eyed at the camera, hammers home her reduction to a patchwork of a person, effectively recreated in the image of the same elements she set out to destroy. (A more cynical take on feminism, I wonder?) In short, this remake is a case of 'same song, different tenor' in more than just aesthetics. I recommend watching it side-by-side with the original to truly appreciate the contrasts.
Stickered, censored, and sectioned upon its release, this notorious
piece of sexploitation is the quintessential rape-and-revenge flick,
what with its running time being near-monopolised by both aspects of
that equation. Attempts to craft a compelling narrative prove tenuous,
mere threads to sew the polemically-driven action and reaction
sequences together. Somewhat reminiscent of both Deliverance and The
Last House on the Left, this combines the city-fish-out-of-water
element of the first with the lust for vengeance animating the latter.
For better and worse, this film ticks many a "feminist" box, living up to its Day of the Woman subtitle: on the positive side, we see vengeance exacted by the victim of violation herself (à la Inez Garcia), thus affirming a message of radical personal autonomy (as opposed to the family values vibe I got from the vengeful parents in TLHotL); on the negative side, the ONLY male characters seen in the film are snap-reactive, id-enslaved predators, set off by the first slip of skirt that crosses their path (a trait which our heroine exploits with her feminine wiles, come her revenge). All I'll say is that Valerie Solanas' knickers would be soaked if she watched this one! As for the notoriously prolonged gang rape, it's amazing how the passage of time makes the once-shocking look rather ridiculous. Scenes of the sobbing, soiled lead staggering from one stage of her ordeal to the next are undermined in gravity by the cartoonishly overacted writhing of her rapists. Perhaps copious viewing of extreme cinema has "desensitized" me, but I find it laughable this film caused all the commotion it did on account of those scenes. I expect it's a case of me having to be around in '78 to take in the full impact.
All in all, despite its time-blunted edges, I'm glad I watched this rapesploitation milestone. What it lacks in certain key areas, it makes up for with a satisfying denouement featuring what's probably the most memorable closing line in cinema. Maybe one of these days I'll check out the recent remake to see whether or not it addresses its precursor's shortcomings.
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