Review Roundup - Chasing the Dragon

T2 TRAINSPOTTING (2017)

Fraudulent sequels made decades after an original movie (or series) are one of my least favourite kinds of release. There's usually huge amounts of hype ... followed by a period of denial, regret, and self imposed amnesia. Remember this? It's back! Just older and more lacklustre! Once in a while a film maker will have retained all their marbles into later life, but these magic moments are the exception to the rule. Trainspotting is still Danny Boyle's greatest directorial effort, something that holds up - perhaps looking better than ever today. It's awful, it's funny, and it's engaging. But despite a lot of unease about a follow up, I tried to look at the positives. The sequel book did take place some years later, and everyone involved in adapting it to the screen seemed to be back. But whether this succeeds or is just another failed attempt to recapture past glories needs closer examination. The results are pretty uneven.


Scorecard

JULY

FILM OF THE MONTH Subway ☆☆☆☆
Goodfellas ☆☆☆☆
Predator ☆☆☆☆
The Birdman of Alcatraz ☆☆☆☆
Back to the Future ☆☆☆☆
Bernie ☆☆☆☆
John Wick 2 ☆☆☆☆
Dead or Alive 2: Birds ☆☆☆☆

Horror Bites - Got Milk?

GOZU (2003)

I feel trying to write an introduction to a Takashi Miike film is often of a pointless endeavour, since just finding his work and watching it without any research is probably the best approach. You generally know what you're in for - to expect the unexpected. Whether the synopsis features yakuza thugs or modest businessmen, the stories never really stick to any standard archetypes. So when I offer a brief explanation that Gozu is about two gangster friends, one who is tasked with taking his colleague to be killed because he has begun to lose his mind... you know that this is probably not going to be an exploration of the expected tropes. While there are some themes of brotherhood and loyalty, much of the plot here is far more bizarre.


Horror Bites - Meat Train

TRAIN TO BUSAN (2016)

It takes something a little more out there to get me interested in yet another zombie film these days, beyond just making them run around like rabid lunatics again or having the setting be something mildly novel like a train. In this case things did seem to be looking up, with an emphasis on adrenalin fuelled chases and claustrophobic passenger compartments instead of the usual focus on bloody effects. I was certainly interested to see how a Korean take on the genre would pan out and what outlandish elements might be introduced outside of Hollywood. However a few too many of the old clich├ęs have been retained along the way.


Review Roundup - Double Down

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 (2017)

While Sad Keanu Chapter One was a slick sleeper hit that struck a nerve with many people who were tired of shaking cameras and censored violence, part of me was left wanting more. It was stripped down and stylish, but there was always something a bit restrained about it all. I may be hard to please but I've sat through Hard Boiled far too many times to immediately accept something like this as a new breed of shoot 'em up spectacle. But it laid some interesting ground work and showed people that actually being able to see movie violence could be a thing again. Fortunately a second time around means that they can push things a little further, and it's just the kind of push a sequel like this needs. Is it the double tap hit of adrenalin that I was hoping for previously? Well yes and no.