A fearless and novelistic eviscerator of a thriller, divided into a small-town slow-burn triptych between Amanda Fuller’s cruising self-destructive Erica, Marc Senter’s amateur rocker Franki, and Noah Taylor stealing the show as the mesmerizingly unnerving Nate. As my introduction to Simon Rumley, his patient direction was impressive in how it infused a moody yet naturalistic look with hazy dread; he neatly maximizes the atmosphere of his low budget, particularly through the editing whose purposefully abrupt cuts will punch pits into…
1750 Days of Turbulence 1990
1750 Days of Turbulence has neither the frenetic chaos of Fukasaku nor the respective griminess and sleekness of Miike or To, but it does exudes a sturdy confidence that effortlessly leads us through a Yakuza clan’s descent into schism and warfare. An efficiently-directed and well-acted first hour weaves through power vacuum maneuverings and backroom deals, as old status quo collides with young hungry ambition after the Boss dies. It’s always engaging thanks to the performances, if not particularly combative, but…
Time has been kind to Waterworld. Sure it’s just oceanic Mad Max but who doesn’t love a Mad Max riff? If I can love an Italian one or Neil Marshall’s, I’m definitely going to enjoy one where every action scene, stunt, floating set, villain, and explosion is supersized for maximum crowd-pleasing. Super-cliched? Yes. Super-entertaining? Yes again!
Costner just radiates pulpy hero presence despite being too unlikably terse and bland whenever he’s not doing action, Hopper chews the campy flavor out of…
Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees 1975
An unhinged slow-burn straddling nightmarish folktale and psychosexual unease, Masahiro Shinoda’s Under The Blossoming Cherry Trees abounds in perversion and decapitations. After an ambush on the road, a maiden seduces her mountain bandit captor into killing all his other wives to only love her, to give her pleasure…and heads. So many heads - first those of her killed traveling companions, then those of royal court, then more and more - all of them her rotting pets and playthings until madness…
Gunpowder Milkshake 2021
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
There’s a section mid-film where Karen Gillan has a gun and knife taped to her paralyzed arms, swinging them around to fight a trio of hobbled goons, all of them awkwardly trying to kill eachother. During those brief minutes of inspired physical comedy, Gunpowder Milkshake threatens to become something inventive, fun, and different.
No amount of Gillan swagger, Lena Headey murdering guys with gun-knives, or Angela Bassett doing her best Hammer Girl impression could save this movie though. Remember when…
The Medium 2021
For much of The Medium’s first act, its faux-documentary verisimilitude is handled masterfully. Not quite Noroi or Mungo levels of real, but the artifice of a polished investigative special is very convincing. Presenting itself as an exploration of Thai spiritualism, actress Sawanee Utoomma is so genuine and natural in the role of shaman Nim while a camera crew shadows her day-to-day. The authentic docu-editing/pacing grant the gradual eerie intrusions a truly unnatural air. Thai religious lore among rural jungle landscapes…