Review Roundup - Super Punch Out

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (2016)

Oh boy, where to even begin here. Right from the outset there's that weird title which looks like something they've taken from the Castlevania series (maybe Dawn of Sorrow would be a better fit, or Curse of Darkness). So let's step back for a second. Man of Steel came and went, to mixed reviews. It was underwritten and had a lot of problems in tone, but for the most part it was kind of average. I could just look at it as a sci-fi spectacle movie, and at least at the time think of what they might do next with the character. I certainly didn't predict anything like this, which takes all the worst parts and amplifies them. To come right out and say it, this is a bewildering mess. It wastes all the potential from the titular conflict and takes elements from comics like The Dark Knight Returns amongst others and just kind of throws them in haphazardly without any apparent planning, and in doing so loses the depth and nuance they originally contained. What I'm saying here is that it's no good.

Review Roundup - A Tale of the Christ

HAIL, CAESAR (2016)

There will always be a certain rose tinted view of the past when it comes to the movie industry, and with a film set during the so called Golden Age of Hollywood this is certainly the case. But rather than focus simply on the production of grand scale epics and musicals, this is another oddball Coen Brothers picture so it's also full of behind the scenes in-fighting, gossip column writers and potential career wrecking political scandals. But with all this material to cover as well as a large amount of detail to be included to recreate the size of film shoots and the number of people involved, it's probably no surprises that there's a certain lack of focus. Can the studio system which produced the phrase a cast of thousands be easily viewed through the perspective of one character?

Review Roundup - A Series of Unfortunate Events

THE REVENANT (2015)

While the term Oscar-bait gets thrown around a lot with something like this or Alejandro G. Iñárritu's last feature Birdman, it raises a lot of questions about the intent of the production and whether there is actually any kind of pretence of self importance or visions of grandeur involved. The sort of questions I generally have to avoid. Whether Leo pushed himself to physical extremes or gagged on real animal blood is irrelevant to what's on screen which is mostly complete artifice. This is a spectacle movie in many ways after all, so I have to judge its content on the merit of what is actually presented and avoid awards season politics. So with this discussion of people squabbling over prizes out of the way, let's get into the film itself where people argue about the value of an entirely different kind of trophy.


HCF Review - Off the Rails

BACKTRACK (2015)


Peter Bower (Adrien Brody) is a troubled man; trying to get his life and his career as a therapist together after the death of his daughter in an accident. The unpacked boxes in his new home suggests this isn’t working out, and it’s not a good sign that his wife shares the same traumatised expression on her face. It’s not helping that he seems to have moved them into a part of town where it never stops raining. This is a stylish, if drab and grey opening scenario coupled with a slick title sequence to set the tone. As Peter gets to work trying to help people attending his office, it’s soon pretty clear he needs more counselling than they do. But the worst is yet to come, and after an unscheduled visit from a strange teenage girl things start to veer off into more than a standard mystery. It’s about to become apparent that he’s being haunted by more than just his tragic past.
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HCF Review - Guilt Complex

FEVER (2014)


Fever is a French crime story (not to be confused with the German drama directed Elfi Mikesch) about two young boys studying literature and philosophy who, in the opening seconds of the film have murdered a woman in her apartment. This happens off screen, with just a few sounds of the death being heard. This impersonal act starts the whole thing moving and gets to the core themes in a story where they have decided that without motive, without even knowing the victim it’s not really a crime.
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HCF Review - Come Get Some

ASH VS EVIL DEAD (2015)
TV Review - Season One


In a strange turn of events, Evil Dead – that’s the remake not Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead – didn’t get a sequel. Or at least it hasn’t at the time of writing. Which is kind of strange in the world of low budget horror movies that get churned out all the time. Not that I’m complaining. While bloodthirsty fans of splatter were sure to have been sated, for me it lacked personality and was filled with characters who were so thinly written for the sake of plot convenience that it was laughable at times. That’s not to say this is a series about deep and interesting people of course, don’t get me wrong. But they were more like puzzle pieces that fit into their designated roles instead of just a fun ensemble. Even the original with its nastiest moments had some level of charm. Remember kids; toothless, dumbed down action and horror is bad... but X ratings do not make a movie. However the real twist was yet to come.
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Horror Bites - Keeping the Faith

THE EXORCIST SERIES (INTERMISSION)


Okay... time for a little detour with The Ninth Configuration. The links with The Exorcist are pretty tenuous at best in terms of character and plot, so what we have is a story set in a psychiatric hospital where one of the patients just happens to be the astronaut Regan spoke to at her mother's party before the whole pea soup episode. But as an offshoot from those films it has to be visited. Some of the themes do cross over in a few places, and there is some exploration of nature of faith and a lot of discussion about the strength of the human spirit here. William Peter Blatty directed this from his own book as he'd do later with Legion. He also partly funded the project which had to be filmed in Europe at the request of the other financial backer... Pepsi. So this is all starting to sound a little strange before we even get to the film itself which is a well, less than congruous affair.

Scorecard

JUNE

FILM OF THE MONTH: Deep Red ☆☆☆☆
Aliens ☆☆☆☆
Tenebrae ☆☆☆☆
The Hateful Eight ☆☆☆☆
Manhattan ☆☆☆☆
Lady in a Cage ☆☆☆☆
10 Cloverfield Lane ☆☆☆☆
The Pirates! ☆☆☆☆
The Wolf of Wall Street ☆☆☆☆
Raising Arizona ☆☆☆☆