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  • The Seasoning House 2012

    ★½ Watched 22 Jan, 2014 1

    Recently, I reviewed Megan Griffiths’ Eden, a story about a woman kidnapped and forced into sex slavery, and commended it for avoiding grotty exploitation. Well only a week later and Paul Hyett’s debut film, which tackles a similar subject matter, does exactly that.

    The Seasoning House is a grim and grimy film set in the Balkans during the ‘90s conflict. Young girls are taken and their families executed as they are forced into prostitution inside the eponymous brothel. A deaf…

  • Scary Movie 5 2013

    ½ Watched 21 Jan, 2014 21

    This is far more terrifying than any of the movies it lampoons.

  • House of Tolerance 2011

    ★★★★ Watched 21 Jan, 2014 4

    Bertrand Bonello’s House of Tolerance is a bleak but bewitching journey into a failing Parisian brothel at the turn of the last century. It’s a languid and beautifully detailed study of life for its inhabitants and their regular male visitors. It is a film less interested in dramatic arcs and more about the routines of the women as they deal with drugs, disease, death and disfigurement.

    Despite the setting and constant presence of sex and naked flesh, House of Tolerance

  • Castle in the Sky 1986

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 20 Jan, 2014 34

    Laputa: Castle in the Sky is Hayao Miyazaki’s second greatest achievement as a director and the first film to be released by Studio Ghibli. It is a culmination of everything he learned from Castle of Cagliostro and Nausicaa and merged into a rollicking adventure story full of wonderful characters and unforgettable set pieces.

    Miyazaki has returned to familiar themes throughout his illustrious career - strong, independent female characters, environmental warnings, technology and orphaned children. All these elements are very much…

  • The Umbrella Man 2011

    ★★★ Watched 20 Jan, 2014

    Errol Morris’ short documentary explores the strange appearance of a man with an open umbrella captured on video during the assassination of president John F Kennedy. Was he the real shooter? Why was he using an umbrella on a beautiful clear day? Is fact stranger than the fiction created by conspiracy theorists?

    At a mere six-minutes, The Umbrella Man hardly goes into detail on the subject or the individual under the black umbrella but it not only celebrates the strange…

  • Possible Worlds 2000

    ★★★ Watched 19 Jan, 2014

    It’s a little surprising that Possible Worlds, Robert Lepage’s first English language film, isn’t more well known or, at the very least, doesn’t have a small cult following. Its story of alternate realities, brain theft and looping romance is the sort of thing that normally fosters a dedicated audience but instead this sci-fi mystery seems destined to be a forgotten curio.

    Possible Worlds is a tricky and twisting story about a man (Tom McManus) who exists and remembers his lives…

  • Why Stop Now? 2012

    ★½ Watched 19 Jan, 2014

    Why Stop Now? is a strained comedy of misadventure and family strife as a piano prodigy has a day to remember, first when he attempts to get his mother into rehab and then when he acts as a translator for a local drug dealer. Whilst the film may be packed with incident it really isn’t any fun whilst its failed attempts to shoehorn in life lessons and family reconnections fall flat.

    Written and directed by Phil Dorling and Ron Nyswaner…

  • Bullet Ballet 1998

    ★★★ Watched 18 Jan, 2014 10

    Although I’ve only watched a small number of his films it is clear director, Shinya Tsukamoto, possesses a distinctive and often aggressive approach to filmmaking. Bullet Ballet, an urban nightmare also starring Tsukamoto in the lead role, is no different with its violent editing and grainy monochrome cinematography. What it may lack narratively it makes up for in its experimental and uncompromising aesthetic.

    Bullet Ballet follows the self-destructive Goda (Tsukamoto), a salaryman working in commercials who becomes obsessed with finding…

  • Invasion Roswell 2013

    ★½ Watched 18 Jan, 2014 2

    In the UK we get this Syfy TV-movie under the much better name of The Exterminators. However, no matter the title the quality of the film still inevitably sucks. Invasion Roswell is another disaster movie seriously lacking in entertainment, even in the guilty pleasure department (although it is slightly more amusing than other Syfy movies).

    Directed by David Flores (Lake Placid 2), Invasion Roswell follows an elite group of soldiers who have protected the world from aliens since the first…

  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1978

    ★★★★ Rewatched 17 Jan, 2014 15

    Philip Kaufman’s adaptation of Jack Finney’s alien invasion classic ranks amongst the best cinematic remakes. W.D. Richter’s script takes the same familiar set up and creates a disquieting paranoid thriller informed by the conspiracy theories of the period and the jaded cynicism that followed the death of the counterculture movement.

    As great as the Cold War infused original is this ‘70s remake is far more unsettling, tapping into the fears of contemporary society and creating one of the most chilling…

  • Alienator 1990

    ★½ Watched 17 Jan, 2014 3

    As awful as these cheap knock-off films are there is something oddly endearing about these direct-to-video releases, probably because of their nostalgic value. Alienator, a film about an alien terminator (genius!), is directed by the prolific but permanently useless Fred Olen Ray who continues to produce shit disaster films for the Syfy network. This is of an equal standard but is saved by its ridiculous premise and shoddy special effects.

    Alienator, an unsuccessful mishmash of The Terminator and Predator, is…

  • You're Next 2011

    ★★★ Watched 16 Jan, 2014 16

    In the last few months I’ve read so many conflicting reports about Adam Wingard’s home invasion slasher, from those hailing it as the saviour of the genre to others moaning about its derivative plotting. Having finally watched the film I’m not sure I agree with either meaning it’s an enjoyable and twisting ride but doesn’t necessarily linger long in the memory.

    You’re Next is set during the Davison’s family reunion celebrating the parents’ 35th wedding anniversary. Things quickly turn sour,…