Thursday, 23 June 2016

New Nic Cage Horror on the Way

The prolific, if wildly inconsistent, Nicolas Cage is turning his hand to horror once again under the direction of Brian Taylor (Crank, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance). Entitled "Mom & Dad", Cage plays the dad in a scenario where some unknown force causes the parents to turn on their own children.

Selma Blair (Cruel Intentions, Hellboy) will be completing the titular pair with shooting scheduled to start in the next month. Hopefully there won't be a repeat of the dismal Spirit of Vengeance and we'll get some vintage Cage lunacy more in keeping with the spirit of Crank.

What do you think of the project? Are you a Cage fan?

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Hardcore Henry (2016): Review

Hardcore Henry is a 2016 action film. Written and directed by Ilya Naishuller and starring Sharlto Copley (District 9, Chappie), Haley Bennett (The Equalizer) and Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs). The movie is filmed almost entirely in the first person perspective using GoPro cameras.

The film opens from the pov of the titular cyborg Henry as he's strapped down in a mysterious laboratory and being tended to by his wife Estelle (Bennett). Things quickly take a turn for the worse as the lab is stormed by evil telekinetic albino Akan, as he has come to take back his technology ie Henry. Following a spectacular plummet from the lab (that's right, we're on an aeroplane) Henry is forced to go on the run in Moscow as almost everybody tries to kill him. His only hope is the chameleon like Jimmy (Copley), who appears in a variety of guises in order to help Henry survive, kill the bad guy and get the girl.

Hardcore Henry feels like someone watched the pov sequences in Robocop(1987) and Terminator (1984) and thought, hang on...we can do more with this! And indeed that's what the opening scenes feel like with Henry being "rebuilt" before your very eyes. However, as soon as Henry drops out into the real world, the pace picks up in a very big and very modern way and we are plunged head first into a post The Raid (2011) world of action. In fact, I don't feel I can really get across just how frantic the pace is in this movie, it barely lets up for a single minute! You might think that would get old after a while but it really doesn't and the well crafted pace and momentum of the film is what keeps it fun and thoroughly entertaining throughout.

The only problem with having an unseen and unheard protagonist is that there is no character to relate to during all this mayhem, that's where Copley steps in! Adding another impressive performance to his collection, Copley plays a dozen different versions of the same character called Jimmy (for reasons which I won't reveal) ranging from an angry punk to a WW2 Tommy and is absolutely the glue that holds the movie together. Sure, the Akan character is a fun twist on the typical Russian supervillain but the various appearances of Jimmy help to keep the movie interesting where otherwise it might lapse into repetitive parkour and gunplay. A particular musical number towards the end of the film performed by half a dozen Jimmys is proof alone of the actors huge talents and should garner awards interest.

Almost a live action video game, that you can't play but very much feel a part of, Hardcore Henry is a groundbreaking genre piece that pushes the boundaries of what can be achieved in a modern day action movie as well as in filmmaking as a whole. I haven't had this kind of jaw dropping action experience since the masterpiece that is The Raid 2(2014), and even then, this offers a lot more in the way of levity and humour. The most fun you can have while pretending to be a cyborg super soldier!

***** 5 Stars

What did you think of the movie? Did you like the pov style?

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Alexandre Aja Returns to the Director's Chair

Acclaimed French director Alexandre Aja (Haute Tension, The Hills Have Eyes, Piranha 3D) is making his return to screens this September with the upcoming "The 9th Life of Louis Drax". His first directorial effort since 2013's Horns, the film will star Jamie Dornan (50 Shades of Grey) and is adapted from a best-selling novel by Liz Jenson.

The story will centre around a 9 year old boy, the titular Drax, who survives a brush with death which his Doctor (Dornan) becomes involved in and reveals there are larger forces at work.

What do you think of the upcoming movie? Are you a fan of Aja?

Friday, 17 June 2016

TMMDI mid-year Top Ten

 2016 is shaping up to be an excellent year so far full of quality genre movies, adaptations and pseudo sequels in the form of my favourite film 10 Cloverfield Lane. 

It's also been a strong year in terms of original properties and tedious, cash in sequels have been kept to a minimum (depending on your perspective of Cloverfield Lane). Time will tell if these movies will make the cut by the end of the year...
1. 10 Cloverfield Lane

2. The Witch

3. High Rise

4. Nina Forever

5. The Ones Below

6. Midnight Special

7. The Other Side of the Door

8. Hush

9. Synchronicity

10. Cell

What's your favourite film of the year so far? What movies have I missed out on?

Thursday, 16 June 2016

New Alien: Covenant image

The steady stream of Alien: Covenant promotional images continues this week with a look at Scott and Fassbender in action, as well as a glimpse at some of the costume design. As you can see, the helmet is much more similar to the design in the original Alien movie, perhaps suggesting we have advanced much closer to those events in the time since Prometheus (2012)

Also noticeable, is David's (Fassbender) dark hair in contrast to the platinum blonde of Prometheus. This may relate to Sir Ridley confirming there will be 2 Davids in this movie. We'll find out more when the film is released next August.

What do you think of the helmet design? What role do you think the "2 Davids" will play?

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Cell (2016): Review

Cell is a 2016 infected horror movie. Directed by Tod Williams (Paranormal Activity 2) and starring John Cusack (Identity, 1408), Samuel L Jackson (Snakes on a Plane, 1408) and Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan). The film is an adaptation of the 2006 Stephen King novel of the same name.

The film centres around Clay Riddell (Cusack) an ageing graphic artist on his way back to see his son and estranged wife. He’s interrupted by a violent outbreak at the airport when mobile phone users are suddenly transformed into rabid zombies and start running amok in the city. Riddel manages to escape the airport with the help of train driver Tom (Jackson) and they return to Clay’s home where they also acquire the recently orphaned Alice (Fuhrman). Forced to keep moving, they regroup at a private boys school in the countryside where they learn more about the infected and their hive mind mentality, as well as the mysterious “raggedy man”. Clay is ultimately lured to Kashwak, an area of Maine with no phone signal, where he must try and rescue his son from the techno-zombie mob.

Cell has it’s ideas rooted in the Japanese techno-horror movies of the early 2000s (Pulse, One Missed Call) whilst having a distinct post The Walking Dead feel. The latter of these influences is the more effective as the wandering party dynamic really keeps the momentum moving and the setting fresh. However, some of the ideas relating to the zombies and the way they functioned came across a little more ambitious on the screen than they would on the page. For example, phrases like “phoners”, “rebooting” and “flock killers” make perfect sense within the world that King has created but sound pretty silly out loud.

The re pairing of Cusack and Jackson from the underrated 1408 (2007) is a natural fit and the young Fuhrman shows more potential after the excellent Orphan. Even a brief appearance from exploitation legend Stacy Keach doesn’t go amiss, despite being given some of the most ludicrous dialogue on offer. Sadly, the budget of King adaptations has shrunk somewhat in recent years and the special effects leave a lot to be desired but the sound design is a triumph and the phoners make some truly horrific and original noises. 

Even with the 10 year delay, Cell still feels like a pretty fresh satire of mobile device culture, which has only increased since the novel was written. The film has somewhat been beaten to the punch by the excellent The Signal (2007), but perhaps this was influenced by King’s work itself. A little on the cheesy side at times, this is still a solid zombie/infected movie with a King feel and strong central performances. They just don’t make Stephen King movies like they used to.

*** 3 Stars

What did you think of the movie? How does it rank amongst King adaptations?

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Rob Zombie's 31 gets its first trailer

The first official trailer for Rob Zombie's upcoming "31" has been released. Starring Sherri Moon-Zombie, Malcolm McDowell and Jeff Daniel Phillips (the usual bunch) the film follows several carnival workers who are kidnapped and made to compete in a series of horrific challenges to fight for their life. 

Regular readers will know I'm no fan of Zombies work but, with the Halloween remakes behind him, I'm ready to give the polarising director another chance. The film will be released in October of this year.

What do you think of the trailer? Are you a Zombie fan?