• Venom

    Venom

    ★★★

    Horror / Thriller from Piers Haggard, based on a popular novel of the same name. Criminal 'Jacques Müller' and his girlfriend 'Louise' hatch a plot to kidnap / ransom the son and grandfather of a wealthy family, with the assistance of the family's chauffeur. The plans go sideways, when they find themselves trapped in a house with a highly venomous black mamba. A well-paced hostage drama for the most part, which neatly unravels once the snake cuts loose. The performances…

  • Compañeros

    Compañeros

    ★★★

    'Zapata' western / comedy from Sergio Corbucci. A surprisingly playful tale of grudges, conflict, power, opposites, persecution, revenge and revolution. Dashing Swedish arms dealer 'Peterson' agrees to help a gang of revolutionaries (with the purpose of being well compensated) - only to cross paths with a vengeful, one-handed, pothead former business parter. A companion piece to 'The Mercenary', with some roles neatly subverted. Well paced and well performed - Nero and Milian are terrific in their respective roles, and share…

  • Prey

    Prey

    ★★★

    Sci-fi action prequel / reboot from Dan Trachtenberg. We follow a skilled, young Comanche warrior named 'Naru' - as she tracks, battles and seeks to protect her tribe from a technologically-advanced alien predator as well as a group of French fur traders. A solid, stripped back and generally effective 'hunter-hunted' tale. Boasting moments of tension, grisly violence, visual flair and good sound design. Amber Midthunder shines in the central role, and displays impressive physicality. Exploring themes including maturation, ingenuity, colonialism,…

  • The Fisher King

    The Fisher King

    ★★★★

    Figments and Self-Loathing in Manhattan. 

    Comedy-drama / fantasy from Terry Gilliam. Shock jock ‘Jack’ is disgraced when his careless comments lead a viewer to commit a mass murder / suicide. Years later, Jack is a depressed drunk and (barely) working for his girlfriend. Jack is attacked while on a drunken binge in New York, and is rescued by a destitute homeless man named ‘Parry’ who claims to be on a mission to find the Holy Grail. Exploring themes including loss,…

  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

    ★★★★

    Comedy / adventure / road movie from Terry Gilliam, adapted from Hunter S. Thompson's novel of the same name. A free-wheeling, cartoonish, drug-fuelled trip - charting the hallucinatory highs and the debauched lows. We follow prick journalist ‘Raoul Duke’ and his attorney companion ‘Dr Gonzo’, as they travel through the desert with a suitcase full of various drugs, to cover a motorcycle event. A film which explores the effects of various illicit substances, which crucially lacks a bit of narrative…

  • Twelve Monkeys

    Twelve Monkeys

    ★★★★★

    Sci-fi from Terry Gilliam. A deadly virus kills most of all humanity, leading its survivors to retreat underground. Troubled prisoner ‘James Cole’ is sent back in time to find the shadowy source of the virus, seek a cure and have his sentence reduced. A mind bending and impeccably well crafted ride - exploring themes including memory, time, illusion / reality, ‘madness’, chaos, consciousness, nostalgia, technology, humanity and ecological concerns. Twisting, unnerving, moody, loose and generally pessimistic. The narrative gradually and…

  • Time Bandits

    Time Bandits

    ★★★★

    Dark comedy / fantasy adventure from Terry Gilliam. Adolescent 'Kevin' encounters a band of thieves, who travel through time stealing treasure. A unique, ambitious and breathlessly paced adventure. Boasting an array of incredibly detailed / textured sets and costumes, odd characters, stellar cameos, and ambiguities - all tinged with a delightfully sour humour. Essentially told from the perspective of a child, bringing this childlike wonder to the various periods and events. The group of thieves share a similar stature, which…

  • Gaia

    Gaia

    ★★★

    A thought-provoking tale of environmental ruin / resurrection from Jaco Bouwer. South African forestry officers Gabi and Winston enter the beautiful, disorientating and foreboding Tsitsikamma forest. Gabi loses a surveillance drone, and enters the forest to find it - only to injure herself, seeking refuge in a cabin occupied by two fanatical survivalists. Densely atmospheric, compelling, dreamy, delicately paced, abstract, oblique and well executed. There's a lot to unpack in this film. Those infected / consumed by the invading earthly…

  • Flatliners

    Flatliners

    ★★★

    A group of five medical students seek to experience the afterlife, by purposefully flatlining for one minute and relaying their visions once resuscitated. Simultaneously overblown and undercooked. Boasting a fantastic premise, and a stellar cast. Visually stylish and atmospheric, utilising colour, texture and solid production design to good effect - evoking an Argento fairy tale at times. All punctuated by a broad score from Howard. Perhaps a little too self-conscious, silly and impossible - it doesn't sufficiently go deeply enough into its themes of trauma, control, weakness, faith, loss, ambition, obsession, redemption. Moody and haunting, but never particularly scary.

  • Out of Sight

    Out of Sight

    ★★★★

    Convicted bank robber ‘Jack Foley’ shares the trunk of a car with U.S. Marshal ‘Karen Sisco’, during a daring prison escape. Sisco pursues Foley, while he plots to steal a collection of diamonds. A smooth, loose, sexy and playful adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel of the same name. Impeccably cast, well paced and brilliantly directed. Soderbergh and Coates inject so much verve and style into the events, through effective use of relatively simple techniques (still frames, wide angles, transitions, natural…

  • Fortress

    Fortress

    ★★★

    Futuristic sci-fi / action from Stuart Gordon. A neat, trashy, well paced, stylish, grisly, dystopian prison break flick - evoking ‘The Great Escape’, ‘Total Recall’.’ John Henry Brennick’ and his wife ‘Karen’ are pregnant with their second child. The pair seek to circumvent a strict one-child law, by crossing the U.S. / Canada border - despite having lost their first child. They get caught, and are sentenced to a stretch at the ‘Fortress’ - an underground, overcrowded, high-tech, maximum security…

  • Barb Wire

    Barb Wire

    ★★

    Set in futuristic 2017, following the fallout of the second American civil war. Bar proprietor and mercenary ‘Barb Wire’ becomes embroiled in a plot involving bioweapons and a guerrilla movement. Energetic, flashy, choppy, messy and campy action dross from David Hogan, based on a popular comic book series of the same name. Blending the basic plot of ‘Casablanca’ with a dystopian aesthetic - complete with cyberpunk nazis, boobs, exposition dumps, ridiculous action spectacle and plenty of Dutch angles. Anderson’s performance…