Thursday, 24 November 2016

The Xenomorph returns in new Alien: Covenant poster



A new teaser poster has been revealed for the upcoming Alien: Covenant and, after a long absence, the Xenomorph has returned! What's almost as exciting is the news that the movie will be released in May 2017, that's an entire 3 months earlier than scheduled.

Although there's been a steady dripfeed of promotional material for Ridley Scott's follow up to the much maligned Prometheus (2012), this first, sparse glimpse of the Xenomorph in all it's glory has me extremely excited! In 6 months we will all find out if Scott can correct the disaster of Prometheus...

What do you think of the poster? Are you excited for Covenant?


Wednesday, 23 November 2016



Yoga Hosers is a 2016 horror comedy film. Directed by Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy) and starring Harley Quinn Smith (Tusk), Lily-Rose Depp (Tusk) and Johnny Depp (Edward Scissorhands, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). The film is the 2nd entry in Smith’s “True North” trilogy, following 2014’s Tusk and preceding the upcoming Moose Jaws.
 
The movie follows the Colleens (Harley Quinn and Lily-Rose), 2 convenience store clerks who are also well versed in yoga. In school, the girls are taught the unlikely history of the Nazi party’s rise in Winnipeg, as well as their mysterious disappearance. After inviting a couple of high school guys back to the store to party, who turn out to be Satanists, pint sized Nazis made of sausage (called bratzis) are unleashed as the stories turn out to be true. Framed for the murder of the boys, the Colleens are assisted by detective Guy Lapointe (Depp) in uncovering the plot by mad scientist Andronicus Arcane to clone himself with sausage and return 100 years after the war to take his revenge. Although restricted by their diminutive stature, the bratzis soon take the form of a giant hockey goalkeeper (made of human body parts) as the girls turn once again to their yoga skills to save the day.
 
Your enjoyment of Yoga Hosers will largely depend on whether you’ve adjusted to Smith’s stylistic shift from indie comedy to b-movie schlock yet. Tusk introduced the true north universe perfectly and was so dark and outrageous that it worked. Yoga Hosers leans much more on the ludicrous side than that film but there’s still plenty to enjoy if you set your expectations. The rampant nepotism on show tends to impact the quality of acting on show (with much of the cast dangling from the Smith/Depp family tree) but the girls real life chemistry serves to compensate for the obvious lack of experience. Harley Quinn Smith does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to the comedy and is much more charming than the bland Lily-Rose Depp.
 
Speaking of Depps. Johnny Depp continues to portray his most entertaining character since Hunter S. Thompson/Raul Duke and carries every scene he’s in. The mere pronunciation of much of his dialogue had me laughing out loud and he will almost certainly prove to be the mvp of the whole trilogy. Ultimately, I did feel that the film suffered from a lack of strong antagonists in the form of the various Nazi creations. Clearly, Nazi sausage babies were intended to come across as ridiculous as possible but, along with the stock mad scientist character, the whole thing felt like quite an underdeveloped idea.
 
Coming across as a poor man’s Scott Pilgrim vs The World (2010) in many instances, Smith’s latest effort will raise a few laughs and progresses the True North trilogy quite nicely. However, Yoga Hosers comes up short against it’s predecessor Tusk and fans of Smith’s beloved “Askewniverse” will likely find little appeal in this kind of b-movie fare.
 
** 2 Stars
 
What did you think of Yoga Hosers? Are you a fan of Smith’s more recent work?



Tuesday, 22 November 2016

"Split" gets a new poster



A new poster has been revealed for the upcoming M Night Shyamalan thriller "Split". The always excellent James McAvoy takes centre stage (well, slightly to the left of stage) as the creepy antagonist with multiple personality disorder. 

The poster also gives us more insight into the plot as we learn that McAvoy's character will develop his 24th personality. We'll find out exactly what that means in January!

What do you think of the new poster? Are you excited for the movie?

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Kong: Skull Island gets new trailer and posters


It's been a big week for the upcoming Kong: Skull island as the film has received 2 new posters as well as a full length trailer. As you can see, one poster seems to opt for the classic Apocalypse Now sunset look, giving a sense of scale to Kong, whereas the other focuses on revealing the big ape in all his glory. 


The trailer, however, seems to mark quite a shift in tone from the comic con teaser earlier this year and comes across as more playful and fun (the less said about John C Reilly's Dennis Hopper impression, the better). It also shows us that, true to the original, Kong is a morally ambivalent character that protects the island from other creatures, including the fascinating new "Skullcrawlers". 

Much like Godzilla 2014, it's good to see them introducing new antagonists for Kong to fight rather than go back to the tired dinosaur battle that we've seen time and time again. Although, there's every reason to believe the king will have smushed a few humans too by the tie it's all said and done. Kong: Skull Island comes out March 2017. Check out the trailer...


What do you think of the trailer? How do you think it will compare to other versions of Kong?

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Arrival (2016): Review


Arrival is a 2016 science fiction film. Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners) and starring Amy Adams (The Master), Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) and Forrest Whittaker (The Last King of Scotland). The film is adapted from the 1998 novella “Story of your life”.

The film follows linguistics expert Louise (Adams) who is sought out by Colonel Weber (Whittaker) after Aliens arrive on earth via several enormous “shells” dotted around the globe. She is enlisted to visit the shell which arrived in Montana, along with Physicist Ian (Renner), and attempt to decipher the Alien language, both spoken and written in cryptic symbols. However, all across the world, other nations are reacting to the alien crafts in different ways as China and Russia threaten to use more aggressive tactics. Under the immense stress of translating an unintelligible alien language, Louise also has to deal with harrowing flashbacks of her daughters short life, which may just provide the clues to achieving full comprehension of the Heptapod language and uniting Earth under a new peace.

From the start, it’s clear that Arrival is a thinking man’s alien invasion film and there will be no exploding landmarks or rampaging monsters. However, that’s not to say there isn’t a great deal of spectacle on show and Villeneuve’s proven track record on the arthouse circuit transfers surprisingly well to the bigger budget. Jaw dropping vistas feature the simplistic alien crafts hovering over the landscape, fog rolling over the hills or a gigantic shadow being cast over the ocean. The film is visually astounding and dripping in atmosphere, helped in no small part by the excellent sound engineering. The alien design, whilst nothing terribly original, is effective in directing the audiences attention towards the language of the creatures, frequently vocalised through massive bowel shaking groans and clicks.

The backbone of Arrival is it’s tone and allegorical messages. The Alien creatures are more imposing than scary and they have come to help us rather than annihilate us, despite the paranoia of the warmongering sections of humanity. It is a rare message indeed in the alien invasion genre and has never been more relevant than in the current times we live in, reflecting the aggressive posturing and xenophobia of many modern day nations. The tightrope act of trying to understand a race despite very little common ground, the potential for misinterpretation, the arrogance of mankind. These are all extremely topical themes to draw on and is an impressive adaptation when you consider the source material was written 18 years ago. What’s also really beautiful about the film is the micro crisis that Louise faces, woven into the larger doomsday plot. The flashback sequences which feature memories of her daughter are moving and poignant and form a beautiful emotional crescendo towards the end of the film when their true meanings are revealed.

Refreshingly thoughtful and beautifully crafted, Arrival is not your average alien film in the best possible way. Fitting in alongside other thought provoking, introspective sci fi gems like Blade Runner (1982), Contact (1997) or Monsters (2010) the themes and visuals will stay with you for days if not weeks. If this is Villeneve's audition for big budget, intellectual sci fi, then Blade runner 2049 is in very good hands.

**** 4 Stars

What did you think of Arrival? How does it rank among other alien invasion films?


Monday, 14 November 2016

Trailer for creature feature "Gremlin"


A trailer has been released for upcoming monster flick "Gremlin". Directed by Ryan Bellgardt (Army of Frankenstein), the film follows a mysterious box which holds a terrible secret...a tiny monster! The only way to get rid of the box is by giving it to someone you love, thus passing on the curse. Check out the trailer...



Obviously there are a lot of different influences going on here. From Hellraiser and The Ring, to Cloverfield and Godzilla and the special effects look fantastic. The film will be released independently over the coming months.

What do you think of the trailer? Can you spot any other influences?

Monday, 31 October 2016

Happy Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)


Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is a 1988 slasher film. Directed by Dwight H. Little (Bloodstone) starring Donald Pleasence (Halloween, Phenomena), Danielle Harris (Hatchet II) and Ellie Cornell (House of the Dead). The film was the first Halloween movie in 6 years and the first to be produced without co-creators John Carpenter and Deborah Hill.

Halloween 4 is set ten years after the events of the original film. Once again, the psychotic Michael Myers has escaped from a lunatic asylum and is on his way back to Haddonfield to kill his niece Jamie (Harris), daughter of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) who has moved into a foster home. Pursued once again by Dr Loomis (Pleasence), Michael starts ruining the town’s Halloween celebrations and ripping through the locals as the inept local law enforcement are organised by Loomis. Jamie’s stepsister Rachel (Cornell) is left to protect Jamie as Michael continues his rampage, despite the efforts of a vigilante mob, and a final showdown ensues in the Sheriff’s house.

As many people know, after the wild success of the first film, and it’s slightly disappointing sequel, John Carpenter and Deborah Hill conceived of a new vision for the franchise where every sequel would focus on a different Halloween story. This resulted in the cult classic Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) which, despite lacking  Michael Myers, weaved a spooky and clever story around Halloween masks that possessed children. However, come 1988, executive producer Moustapha Akkad wanted to revive the franchise and this meant bringing back the Icon himself, prompting Carpenter and Hill to promptly leave the franchise. You would think that the lack of the creative geniuses who spawned the franchise would harm the film, however, the film still works remarkably well and, as good as Halloween III is, Michael Myers is too effective a villain not to bring back.

Taking inspiration from the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street franchises, which had already ballooned into parody by this point, Halloween 4 certainly cranks the volume up on the more nuanced atmospherics of the previous films. But still, the plot makes a remarkable amount of sense. Ten years have passed, a new generation of Myers is around, Haddonfield have almost forgotten about 1978. Aside from the old escaped lunatic thing, the plot elements fit really well in the updated setting and Danielle Harris is one of the better child actors to appear in an 80s horror film. Donald Pleasence is always a welcome presence on the screen, however, he looks like he’s starting to get a little sick of the franchise and his whispered/yelled dialogue does get a little annoying after a while. Although the film is pretty over the top in terms of its violence and dripping in the 80s, there is still a great deal of atmosphere retained from the original film and Carpenter’s creeping dolly shots live on. 

Stronger than most horror franchises by its fourth entry, The Return of Michael Myers delivers what it promises and there are certainly many franchises of the day that would’ve benefited from a 6 year gap and a break for their antagonist. A surprisingly inventive plot with a great shock ending and some excellent reworkings of the iconic theme music. Halloween 4 is a lot better than you remember.

What do you think of Halloween 4? Were you glad to see Michael Myers back?