Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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Sook-hee is trained as a deadly assassin from a young age, taken in by a man who rescues her from sinister types who have kept her held hostage since they killed her father. As an adult she follows a lead to the hideout of a gang linked to the man who killed her father and takes them all out in spectacular fashion. Soon after she is arrested by the National Intelligence Service who recruit her as an agent and employ her particular skill set to take out anyone who opposes the peace and security of the nation. Initially reluctant she tries to escape only to realise she must stay in order to escape and move on with her life until that is a mission is sent her way which changes everything.
The Villianess opens with one of the most spectacular action scenes ever to open an action movie as we follow the lead character of the film from a first person perspective as she takes out an entire building of bad guys by herself. Similarly the ending of the film is just as spectacular with fast paced car and motorbike chases and brutal fight scenes taking place on numerous moving vehicles. Where the film suffers slightly is in the middle. There is a slow plodding love story and the film jumps around along the time line a bit too frequently making some scenes a bit confusing. Despite this, it's still enjoyable and worthy entry into the Korean action cinema catalogue.
Dani Moonstar wakes up in an isolated hospital to find out she is the only survivor after her reservation was destroyed by a tornado. She is being kept there for psychological evaluation because the doctor believes she and the other young people inhabiting the hospital are both a danger to themselves and others due to untapped mutant abilities. However, soon after Dani's arrival the mutants start to have terrifying visions where they are forced to relive their nightmares and darkest secrets.
New Mutants, like any story that dares to stray from the norm has been subject to massive delays and studio tampering from the execs who run the show. The original concept was to purely have a horror based story only for execs to lose their bottle and try and push for a more superhero based story that they know is safe. What we end up with is a mish mash of both which doesn't work all the time but isn't quite as bad as some of the reviews out there would have you believe.
At it's core the story has brought together an interesting group of characters who play well of each other plus there are some very creative visuals on screen that I wish could have been explored further. The story is ok but I wish they had stuck with the purely horror element to make it truly different from anything that had come before . Due to it's poor performance at the box office we're unlikely to see anymore of New Mutants which is a shame because there is a certain corporation mentioned along with the suggestion of a very sinister character which I would have liked to have seen in a sequel.
There have been many home invasion thrillers / horrors over the years, some good , some bad but they all to tend to follow the same kind of plot. This one is one of Mike Flanagan's earliest films, he of House on Haunted Hill and Doctor Sleep fame. This one is given a slight edge over the others as the victim of the story is deaf. This allows the writer and director to set up a lot of creepy scenes where the viewer can see the masked menace stalking the house but the central character is completely unaware of their presence. As you can imagine, sound and the lack of play a big part in the film and are used to great effect. It was a decent thriller with some good scares, certainly lies with the better of the home invasion thrillers out there.
Molly's Game is based on the true story of Molly Bloom, a once promising Olympic class skier who after a career ending injury returned home and got a job as a P.A. From here she is invited to host regular poker nights for her boss and many of his high profile friends include names from Hollywood, sports and business tycoons. When she is arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents for laundering Russian mob money through an illegal gambling operation she realises she needs help as she may have got in over her head.
This was a really well written story with great dialogue firing on all cylinders between the characters. Jessica Chastain was perfect in the role, thrust into a world she knows nothing about and quickly rising to the top her game to rule over this group of men who had previously held power over her. What is really interesting about the roles portrayed on screen is who the actors are playing. They are given fake names in the story but a little bit of internet research reveals who the key players at these poker games really are, some of which behaved shockingly and abused their power as well known names. A brilliant story, well worth watching.
In the aftermath of a violent pandemic Andy, his wife and young daughter are trying to make their way to a military base and hopefully safety. When his wife is bitten by the infected, Andy refuses to let her go leading to himself becoming bitten and infected too. As his wife turns, Andy now has 48 hours to find someone to look after his young daughter before he himself turns.
This was a brilliant twist on the zombie genre. Andy travels across the Australian outback desperate to find a suitable family to leave his daughter with but every time he encounters new people he finds they actually might be more dangerous than the infected themselves. With time running out the film turns into a very tense race against time as the clock is ticking for both him and his daughter.
Martin Freeman was superb in the central role and gave a genuinely moving performance which is something I never thought I would say about a zombie movie but as his struggle with the change and his desire to give in and turn start to take over you do feel for both characters that are left in a desperate situation. I felt on edge throughout, it was a great concept for a new entry into this overpopulated genre.
I'm not 100% confident I could explain what Tenet is about. There is a Russian baddie who has been denied a long life due to a critical illness and if he can't have long life then he doesn't see why anyone else should enjoy a long life either and so he plans all kinds of badness to bring about the end of days. Then we have an agent who has been denied death because he has been deemed to possess the skills to take down such badness. Then there are car chases and fights but what makes this interesting is the character's ability to move through time and so we have characters existing at the same point in time but some are moving forwards while other move backwards.
This is where my understanding of the film ends and although I haven't had the chance yet, I imagine this film improves on repeat viewings because there is so much going on it's hard to get your head around it. I did enjoy the film and the set pieces were mind blowing. The car chases and fisticuffs were brilliantly choreographed as you witness two opposing factions going head to head while moving through time in opposite directions. I thought all the actors were well suited too. I always enjoy Christopher Nolan movies, many of which are often head spinners but this one is another level compared to anything that has gone before.
Local cop Greg Harper is assigned the case of a missing 12 year old boy. All evidence points back to a very similar case that occurred years before, a case which was solved and so it is assumed there is a copycat on the loose. With pressure mounting to solve the case and his home life falling apart, something is about to break.
During the first 30 – 40 minutes of I See You, I was very confused. The film plays out a series of strange events, none of which seem to be connected or are accompanied by any explanation. However, this is one story you need to stick with because as the film resets and you witness the story from the perspective of another character it all brilliantly comes together in a mind blowing work of genius in one of the most finely crafted crime thrillers I have seen in recent times. The camera work plays with your mind, making you see things and jump to conclusions until the truth is revealed. A very well written story, very tense and filmed in a manner that will keep you guessing throughout.
Prison warden Bernadine Williams has spent years delivering death row executions and it is starting to take it's toll on her marriage and her emotional and psychological wellbeing. As she prepares to sanction the execution of another she finds herself facing the strain of taking the lives of so many and must reconcile with herself to get her life back on track.
As you can imagine from the subject matter, this film goes to some dark places and leaves the viewer in the shoes of the central character, asking the question could you carry out the job and just see it as a job and nothing more? It's a harrowing film that is led by a strong lead in Alre Woodard. It's powerful and unflinching in it's subject matter and it was interesting to see this kind of story told from a very different perspective. That are so many movies about lawyers and prisoners fighting for their cause on death row but this is the first I have seen from the other side and it's one that won't easily be forgotten.
Creed 2 finds Adonis Creed at the top of his game after winning the World Heavy Weight belt, with his mentor Rocky Balboa at his side. However, a face from both their pasts is about to emerge to challenge him to the belt. Adonis' father, Apollo died at the hands of Ivan Drago many years earlier before Rocky stepped into the ring to give him a pasting. Now we find Ivan has spent his life training his son to be just as brutal and unforgiving in the ring to take back some of the dignity he lost when he returned to Russia and was branded a failure and outcast during the Cold War for losing to Rocky. Adonis is keen to take up the challenge but Rocky immediately distances himself, fearing that history is about to repeat itself. Cue training montages.....
Although not quite living up to Creed's first outing in the Rocky franchise, I did still find this incredibly entertaining. Rocky IV in which Ivan Drago first made his appearance has always been a favourite of mine and it was great to see the character return. The story is very predictable, you can see what is going to happen a mile off but I still enjoyed it. The boxing choreography was spot on and the story outside of the ring was well written. It was also great to see some faces from past Rocky movies make a reappearance. I think this would make a decent conclusion to the Rocky Balboa story should they end it here. I think anything else would just be a repeat of what has gone before.
Rachel is having a bad day, she is going through a messy divorce, she wakes up late resulting in her losing her best client and she is desperately trying to make her way through heavy traffic so her son isn't late for school again. However, Rachel has no idea what a bad day is until she meets unhinged psychopath Russell Crowe at the traffic lights. One small act of road rage turns into a day from hell for Rachel and anyone who gets in Russell Crowe's way during his pursuit of his victim.
Unhinged is like a cross between Falling Down and The Hitcher, only ramped up to 11. The film is a brutal mix carnage and mayhem as Russell Crowe takes road rage to a whole new level. As a villian Crowe is superb, the man exudes rage and menace throughout the film as he pursues his victims. The violence is sudden and shocking and will leave you feeling nervous and on edge in every scene he is in. I thought it was a great thriller, very unnerving and it will leave you thinking twice before peeping your horn next time you're stuck in traffic.
Vaughan and Marcus are two friends on a hunting trip together in the Scottish Highlands. When one of them makes a mistake and there is a terrible accident they try to cover up what happened from the local close knit community that is looking after them on their stay. However, they soon find that their deceit leads to more deceit and as suspicions begin to rise, they find it harder to leave than they thought.
I thought Calibre was a superb piece of suspenseful drama. From the shocking first act to the final shocker, the suspense continues to build and the sense of forboding in every scene will leave you feeling very nervous for the two leads. The two lead characters are very well written and the two actors are well suited meaning that despite their terrible actions, you still feel connected to these people and they are still likable meaning the ending is so much more powerful. Beautifully shot, very well written and sweaty palm inducing tension.
In New Orleans a new drug has hit the streets that enables it's users to gain superhero abilities but for only a short time. However, the drug is unstable meaning some gain powers they can't control and sinister types are looking to control the market for their own nefarious plans. Meanwhile the net is closing on the dealers as one cop takes the drug himself to level the playing field to take on the bad guys and another man is hunting them down to find his daughter who was kidnapped by the makers of the drug for a drug trial.
I thought this was a really neat and well executed genre mash up between crime thriller and sci-fi / superhero type action movie. I perhaps would have liked to have seen the powers explored further. I would say the story is pretty well paced and moves quickly into the main story arc but I think it would have benefitted from some additional showdowns with some street level thugs and their super powers rather than going straight after the big bad. Although the film has a pretty decent conclusion it could be open for a further sequel which I would like to see. There are quite a few interesting ways in which this new world could evolve. The leads were all decent and well suited to their roles and overall I found this very entertaining and something a little different from what the studios have been churning out recently.
This is based on a true story about Billy Moore, a British boxer who was caught in possession of a whole lot of drugs while in Thailand and as a consequence was sent to Chiang Mai Central Prison and later transferred to the notorious Klong Prem Central Prison in Bangkok. In order to survive Billy fights his way into the prison's Muay Thai boxing team knowing this is the only way he might survive prison life until he can return to Britain.
A Prayer Before Dawn is a bleak story of drugs and gang violence and surviving the brutal prison regime in a Thai prison. However, it's also a story of redemption and still managing to find and hold onto the briefest glimpses of humanity, love and human connection in the most horrendous of environments. Joe Cole gives a strong and brave performance in a cast that is mostly made up of only Thai apeaking actors and actual prisoners. Not an easy film to watch but still worth your time.
Shirley is a semi-biographical films about horror writer Shirley Jackson. As she struggles to start writing her latest book, a newly-wed couple arrive to stay in the home she shares with her philandering husband, Stanley Hyman, a man who is worshipped by the students he teaches at the local university. The young couple are toyed with by Shirley and her husband who use them as pawns in their power play with each other.
Shirley wasn't an easy film to watch, the characters weren't particularly likeable and the film drifted in and out of reality in parts which I guess was trying to work as an insight into Jackson's mind and the story she would ultimately compose. Elizabeth Moss gave a really good performance in the title role but overall it wasn't a particularly memorable biopic.
Lee Israel earned success as a celebrity biographer during the 1970's and early 1980's. However, when her writing fell out of favour with her publisher and audiences she found herself struggling for to make an income. Out of desperation she finds she has a skill for forgery, beginning with forging signatures of the famous icons of years gone by and then finding that she could write in the voice of these famous figures and went onto forging private letters which sold for a great deal of money at auctions.
Melissa McCarthy and Richard E Grant both hold their own here as two social rejects struggling to get ahead in life, grasping at any opportunity that is thrown their way. Both are very watchable and despite them performing mass deception you find yourself willing them to get away with it because they play memorable and likeable characters. It's also just a fascinating story, how Lee Israel managed to get away with this deception for such a long time and also the sheer skill she had for bringing long dead celebrity icons back to life on paper, having close friends and colleagues believing the fakes were real. An interesting tale of literary deception in the 80's.
After the human race is wiped out Del believes he is alone in the world. He spends his time living in his small hometown, burying the bodies left behind, collecting supplies and cataloguing books at the Library. When he finds a young woman called Grace still alive in a crashed car he cares for her and he reluctantly agrees to her staying. However, when two strangers arrive claiming they know Grace Del realises that the world outside of his small town is not what he thought it was.
This isn't an action packed film and there is a very small cast but Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning do a decent job of leading the film and keeping you interested. There are no big story arcs about saving humanity here, it is purely a character piece about how different people cope in extreme circumstances and how these extraordinary circumstances might bring the most unlikely of characters together to keep us feeling human. It is a little slow in places and it's a shame we didn't get a wider glimpse into the world beyond Del's life but was still a worth while story.
A car accident has left Gina blind since a young child. Since then she fell in love and married her husband James. Gina relies on James to help her navigate their lives in Bangkok. However, once Gina has ground breaking surgery to restore the sight in one of her eyes she begins to gain back her independence and her relationship with her husband dratically changes.
This film surprised me because initially I thought it was to be a standard thriller and the husband was to be revealed as someone different who had a secret life or was some kind of psychopath. However, it is a story a lot more grounded in reality in that. Previous to her regaining her sight James is the most important person in Gina's life and he enjoys it but when she gets back her independence, makes new friends and restyles herself he begins to lose some of the control he had and the reliance she had on him and so does all he can to regain control and get back the life they once had together.
One of the main things that stands out from this film is the visual style. It is filmed in a way to reflect Gina's limited sight and to also show the slowly growing fractures in the central character's relationship. It's a well acted and surprising story that I enjoyed, not at all what it seemed like from the trailers.
Tom and Gemma are looking for their perfect home when they stumble upon an estate agent who takes them into a new development where every house and street looks exactly the same. They look around, eager to leave only to find the estate agent has vanished at which piont they climb into their car to drive home, The only problem is that every road they take brings them back to the same house. As day becomes night they give up and settle down into the house, hoping to find a way out the following morning. However, the next morning a box of provisions arrives and a child with a note telling them they can only leave once they have raised the child as their own.
Vivarium is a completely bonkers mix of sci-fi and psychological horror. Both Eisenberg and Poots are superb in their roles as a couple forced into domesticity as a matter of survival and the young actor who plays their adopted child is the most disturbing child character that has ever graced the screen. His character will get under your skin and stay there and will certainly put you off having children. The film as a whole can be best described as one slow and surreal decent into madness. There was no real explanation at the end as to how this situation occured but it didn't need it, it was such an unnerving experience that you'll be happy to move on with your life without explanation.
After a botched assassination attempt in the desert 2 soldiers find themselves on the run from enemy combatants. Eventually losing them, they become lost in a sand storm and find themselves stranded in an abandoned mine field. When the inevitable click is heard and with help not arriving for another 52 hours one soldier has the fight of his life on his hands as he struggles to stay awake, to keep very still, deter the creatures of the night looking for easy prey and to fight the demons in his head.
I thought this was very entertaining. Armie Hammer plays a strong lead and by the end of the film your own bones will be aching from reliving what his character endures on screen in an attempt to stay alive long enough for rescue to reach him. The click of the landmine is also made effective use of by the sound guys as he relives every crucial decision he has ever made in his head, each one on a par to the unfortunate step he made in the desert, each one that led him to make that step. Well thought out survival thriller.
The Wall is about 2 soldiers looking for an Iraqi sniper who has obtained almost mythical status due to no one ever having seen him and lived. While staking out an area scattered with dead bodies with most of the day, and having not seen any movement, one of the soldiers goes to investigate, hoping he can return to base once he has confirmed there are no enemies present. However, the curious soldier is soon gunned down and is left bleeding just a few metres in front of a crumbling wall. The other soldier works his way down to the wall, unable to help his friend without getting shot himself, he enters a battle of wills with the sniper who is speaking to him through his radio and seems to know a lot about him.
This was a fairly decent psychological thriller told against the back drop of war. I felt it did get lost a little in the middle and i did lose interest for a short while but then it does make up for this with a spectacular and shocking ending. Not one I will return to but worth watching once.