Review: Battle Royale (2001) (The Ultimate Japanese Film?)

“At the dawn of the millennium, the nation collapsed. At fifteen percent unemployment, ten million were out of work. 800,000 students boycotted school. The adults lost confidence and, fearing the youth, eventually passed the Millennium Educational Reform Act, AKA the BR Act….”

Thus begins one of my favourite Japanese films! Yes, Battle Royale! The DVD of Battle Royale was taken away from her by a me a couple of years ago, so I bought it off Amazon (cheap as chips!). With a few hours to spare last night, she watched it. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but oh boy, the quality has not dipped a bit! So let me tell you why I adore Battle Royale… Continue reading

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‘Halloween Special’ Review: I Spit On Your Grave (1978) (A True Video Nasty?)

halloween

“You came to a nice place”

Halloween is approaching…so I sought out a true video nasty: the original ‘I Spit On Your Grave.’ Last night I settled down with some tomato soup and popped the DVD in the player…

The plot can easily be summed up: a New York lady (Jennifer) goes to the countryside, gets raped by several men, then in various acts of revenge kills them. And there isn’t much in between: the rape scenes take about forty-five minutes of the film up; the murders about forty minutes. So there is little room for exposition, character development, or any of those things necessary to weave a cohesive story. The lady is a novelist, retiring to the country for some inspiration. Of course, when people retire to the countryside, they get a lot closer to ‘nature’ than they intended to in horror films! The men are no-good hicks, referring to women as ‘chicks.’ According to one of them, city girls only come to the village to get laid. So that’s a perfect justification rape! One of them, Matthew, is a ‘retard’ (in their words). So, they are the main characters, and we don’t find out much more about them. Continue reading

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 (2017) (Another Uninspired MCU Sequel?)

“Showtime, a-holes”

Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2 was released on DVD/Blu-Ray here in the UK today! I did manage to watch it at the cinema, but felt uninspired to write anything about it. Yes, the film was alright…but’s that about it. It contained flashy and entertaining action sequences and a surprisingly emotional ending. Kurt Russell as Ego portrayed one of the best MCU villains out there. But the majority of it felt like an exercise in box-ticking rather than an attempt to improve on the original. Just like the soundtrack, GOTG vol.2 felt like a tired retread of the original. Continue reading

Review: Starship Troopers (1997) (B-Movie Trash, or Inspired Satire?)

“This year we explored the failure of democracy”

Starship Troopers is twenty years old this year! I mean the film, not the book. Paul Verhoeven’s adaptation of Robert Heinlein’s classic science fiction novel was greeted with critical disdain upon its release. Those fond of Heinlein’s novel disliked his interpretation of the text (and lack of power suits). Film critics disliked the fascistic overtones, bland acting, and simple plot. However, both parties misunderstood Verhoeven’s intentions behind directing Starship Troopers. He didn’t want to bow down before a science fiction classic. He wanted to be subversive and controversial. He wanted to turn the novel on its head and lace it with his own brand of brutal satire. In that respect, it was a success. Starship Troopers isn’t a classic science fiction film, but it’s pretty darn close. Continue reading

Review: Dark Star (1974) (Carpenter’s Supernova!)

Someday this tape will be played and then they’ll feel sorry.

I’ve been having something of a John Carpenter binge lately, watching both Assault on Precinct 13 and The Fog (both of which I’ve never watched before!) I decided to take a look at Carpenter’s first film, Dark Star. Oddly, I was introduced to Dark Star during my first year of philosophy at university. The lecturer used to show us clips of science fiction films to explain certain philosophical concepts. He showed us the conclusion of Dark Star, where a man and a sentient bomb are talking about the meaning of life. It was only years later that I watched the whole film. While a rough piece of work, it’s still a great science fiction comedy. Continue reading

Review: Robocop (1987) (Part Man, Part Machine, All Great Film)

“And remember, we care”

Robocop celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Well, it was last week, but I was on the island of Lokrum sat on the Iron Throne. Holidays pass too quickly! Robocop is one of my favourite films. It holds a place on my Top 10 Films Of All Time (click here to view) and my Top 10 Films I’ve Watched More Than Fives Times (click here to view). I’ve loved it since I was a kid (yes, my parents allowed me to watch a lot of stuff I shouldn’t have watched!). It can be viewed as a straight sci-fi action film, a revenge thriller, a satire on capitalism/privatisation, a Christ parable…but however you view it, it’s a bloody pleasure to watch. Continue reading

Review: Inception (2010) (A Sweet Dream…Or A Beautiful Nightmare?)

“If we are gonna perform Inception then we need imagination”

What do you get when you mix up a typical Bond film, The Matrix and Ocean’s 11? Christopher Nolan’s Inception, that’s what you get! After the success of The Dark Knight, Nolan could have directed anything he wanted. And he did! He brought us Inception. You know, that film about dreams within dreams within dreams? Its typical blockbuster fare mixed with high concept ideas. There are big explosions, gun battles, fights that defy gravity…and ideas about the nature and perception of reality. I loved it the first time I saw it. But every time I rewatch it I enjoy it a little less…

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Review: Spider-Man 2 (2004) (The Greatest Superhero Sequel?)

“Woah, he stole that guy’s pizza!”

In my Top 10 List of Comic Books Films, I placed ‘Spider-Man 2’ at the hallowed #1 place (click here to view my Top 10 List). It’s been a while since I watched it, so I thought I’d pop it in the DVD player (it was either that or go to the cinema and watch Spider-Man: Homecoming. My fiancée couldn’t be bothered to go to the cinema…). Spider-Man 2 is a film I’ve watched countless times (as with Spider-Man, I watched it more than three times at the cinema alone!). However, every time I watch Spider-Man, its flaws become more and more apparent. I love it regardless, but still understand its flaws. However, each viewing of Spider-Man 2 only causes its brilliance to shine brighter than before. Continue reading

Review: Spider-Man (2002) (The Amazing Spider-Man?)

“You don’t trust anyone, that’s your problem”

Some people would argue that the modern trend for superhero movies started with Blade (1998) and X-Men (2000). Those people have some good arguments, but I’d argue that the superhero craze properly began with Spider-Man (2002), which is celebrating its 15th birthday this year! Blade and X-Men were modest hits, but Spider-Man hit big. It was the first film to earn over $100 million in its first weekend, among other box office records. Yes, people may have been hyped for the more recognisable superhero (Spider-Man was/is more well known than either the X-Men or Blade), but there’s also another reason for its box office success: it’s a damn fine film, with unfortunate flaws that prevent it from reaching the heights that its sequel would grasp.  Continue reading

Review: Hot Fuzz (2007) (Off The F**king Chain!)

“Fascist!”

Edgar Wright’s latest film Baby Driver was released last week, so what better time than now to go back to Hot Fuzz? It’s ten years old this year, if you can believe that! Hot Fuzz is the second film in Wright’s Cornetto trilogy. For me, it’s my second favourite. Shaun of the Dead is the more refined movie. That’s not to disparage Hot Fuzz in any way. The former is leaner, the second is a little bloated. Its length is the main reason I prefer Shaun of the Dead over Hot Fuzz. However, Hot Fuzz is both a cracking comedy and a great action film. It gets funnier every time I watch it. Continue reading