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  • Blackfish 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 20 Sep, 2013 21

    Blackfish, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s documentary about Tilikum, a captive orca whale who killed three of its trainers, is a shocking and sad film revealing systematic animal cruelty and the greed of a multi-billion dollar industry. Employing traditional talking head sequences with experts and former SeaWorld trainers the film documents Tilikum’s sad life within his watery jail cell and the tragic events that have surrounded him and a whole host of other whales in captivity.

    The film’s opening half follows Tilikum’s captive…

  • Merlin: The Return 2000

    Watched 20 Sep, 2013 3

    Merlin: The Return is a woeful family adventure film by writer-director, Paul Matthews. In the present day a scientist awakens King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. It is up to Arthur and his ever faithful wizard to try and stop Morgana and Mordred from also escaping their magical prison. In many ways the film reminded me of a bargain basement version of Masters of Universe as a group of men in silly costumes struggle with a new…

  • Olympus Has Fallen 2013

    ★★ Watched 19 Sep, 2013 7

    Antoine Fuqua’s Olympus Has Fallen wears its influence for all to see as this is a poor imitation of everybody’s favourite - Die Hard. However, numerous action films have followed a similar template and still manage to deliver a fun-filled action experience. Unfortunately, this White House washout only ever manages to be entertaining in fits and starts and is crippled by a poor script and weak execution.

    Gerard Butler stars as Mike Banning, one-time Presidential guard and now the only…

  • Dojoji Temple 1976

    ★★★½ Watched 19 Sep, 2013 12

    Kihachiro Kawamoto’s, Dôjôji, is a Japanese animated short produced with puppets and is about the legend of a temptress that chases her object of affection to the eponymous temple where, in a fit of passion, she murders the man before killing herself. It is a story that has been told and adapted countless times before with the woman, so consumed by her emotions, turns into a demon as she pursues her man across country. The man, on a religious pilgrimage,…

  • Post Tenebras Lux 2012

    Watched 18 Sep, 2013 10

    Carlos Reygadas’ latest film is as befuddling and divisive as the critics implied. Post Tenebras Lux is a dense, oblique and quixotic work that defies categorisation and simple explanation. Comprised of a series of short vignettes the film is a collage of themes and startling imagery that raises questions about man and nature, identity and individualism and good and evil. Yet for all its beguiling strangeness and veiled meaning I am still unsure if I even enjoyed the film.

    The…

  • Monster Dog 1984

    ★★½ Watched 18 Sep, 2013

    Claudio Fragasso’s Monster Dog is a pretty terrible horror movie but it is undeniably entertaining. A dubbed Alice Cooper stars as a rock star returning to his childhood home - a palatial but abandoned mansion - to shoot his latest music video with friends. However, when they get there they become hunted by a pack of demon dogs and discover a family curse that threatens to destroy them all.

    Shot in Spain and badly dubbed into English, Monster Dog is…

  • Bullhead 2011

    ★★½ Watched 17 Sep, 2013 7

    Michaël R. Roskam’s feature debut may have been nominated for an Oscar but I found its story and portentous atmosphere a little hard to swallow. Matthias Schoenaerts stars as Jacky Vanmarsenille, a young farmer who inadvertently gets caught up in the shady dealings of dodgy beef traders and the hormone mafia whilst being haunted by a childhood tragedy that has left him wounded and emasculated.

    Whilst the film should be commended for exploring a rather unique subject matter Roskman’s handling…

  • Savages Crossing 2011

    ★★ Watched 17 Sep, 2013 12

    Holy shit, it’s Craig McLachlan!

    This was my overriding reaction to this low-budget Australian thriller that didn’t deliver a great deal of thrills or nerve-shredding horror. Sadly the ex-Neighbours actor and one-time pop star doesn’t get a great deal to do in this story about a group of travellers trapped in a remote outback bar following a freak flood. However, the weather is the least of their worries when one of them is a gun-wielding nutter who is out for…

  • Grave of the Fireflies 1988

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 16 Sep, 2013 31

    This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.

  • Christmas Twister 2012

    Watched 16 Sep, 2013 6

    I was going to write a proper review for F6: Twister but it seems a little redundant when all I would be able to do is regurgitate the same crap I write for all these Syfy disaster movies. There is not a shred of originality here, even the film’s big star - Casper Van Dien - has already starred in several similar low budget offerings, as characters either stare intently at computer monitors or at the terrible special effects heading…

  • Cria Cuervos 1976

    ★★★★ Watched 15 Sep, 2013 8

    Carlos Saura’s Cria Cuervos is an enigmatic and sombre drama about a child and country in transition. Made whilst General Franco lay on his deathbed it is a film haunted by Spain’s recent past and the legacy of fascism as the real world politics echo throughout the story. It is essentially a coming-of-age story about Ana, a melancholic eight-year old mourning the death of her parents. Her aunt and ill grandmother move into the family home but Ana seems incapable…

  • Tasmanian Devils 2013

    ★½ Watched 15 Sep, 2013 4

    Tasmanian Devils is another cheap and cheerful monster movie distributed by the Syfy network as a group of thrill-seeking base jumpers accidentally awaken monsters that were thought to be nothing more than Tasmanian legend. The big star name this time around is Danica McKellar (i.e. Winnie from The Wonder Years) as a park ranger caught up in the middle of the whole sorry affair.

    There is little here that you haven’t seen countless times before. Annoying characters you can’t wait…