We know the story. Twenty-two years after the horrific events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar is home to a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World. But after ten years of operation, visitor rates are declining. People are bored. They want bigger. They want badder. They want a lot more teeth. So why not give them what they want? No expense spared, and all that.
He said: Somehow, over the last fourteen years, with our minds muddled by soaring superheroes and a stampede of overwhelming television shows keeping our tails tied to our sofas, we forgot how cool dinosaurs are. Dinosaurs. Those terrestrial vertebrates who dominated for over 135 million years. Terrible lizards, if you will. Although the meaning may be somewhat misleading, those who ditched rollercoasters in favour of Jurassic World – and in the current climate who could blame them – might not disagree with the first part.
She said: Jurassic Park III was rubbish. We can admit that now. Not only did the film finish halfway through, some of the early effects are awful and one of the raptors talks. Whilst flying. On a plane. It's a dream sequence but still, a meteorite didn't kill the dinosaurs, the writers of Jurassic Park III did.
He said: A new attraction. A new dinosaur. A new problem. In fact, a lot more problems. There’s surprisingly little screen time for our dinosaurs in the opening twenty minutes.
She said: Ah, now eventually you do plan to have dinosaurs on your, on your dinosaur tour, right? Hello?
He said: Instead we’re introduced to characters with little rapport and irritating in manner.
She said: I liked them from the start. The two children in particular were a delight, they must have been, I cared about them. I didn't care about Ian Malcolm's daughter in part two, she added nothing to the mix. I liked Zach's one-track mind, and his contempt for pretty much everything other than girls. I liked Gray's wide-eyed wonder too, and the fact he didn't drop-kick a dinosaur or get electrocuted by 10,000 volts only to make a bad pun and walk away.
He said: Fear not, they grow on you, but not until director Colin Trevorrow plays his hand, revealing our big bad, the Indominus Rex. It makes the velociraptors look like puppies, which as far as Owen (Chris Pratt) is concerned, isn’t too far from the truth.
She said: Oooh, aaah. That's how it always starts...
He said: The body count is huge, helped along by one of the most goose-bumpy screen presences in many a year. Nastiness ensues from here-on in, its menace compounded when one of the gentler giants gets it in the neck. Humans are one thing, but Trevorrow takes time out to pull at the heart strings, and despite the human fatalities that came before, shit just got real.
He said: The body count is huge, helped along by one of the most goose-bumpy screen presences in many a year. Nastiness ensues from here-on in, its menace compounded when one of the gentler giants gets it in the neck. Humans are one thing, but Trevorrow takes time out to pull at the heart strings, and despite the human fatalities that came before, shit just got real.
She said: Hold on to your butts! The human casualties were huge, but it is the poor dinosaurs you feel sorry for most. It's not often you cheer on non-humans, that kind of emotion is usually reserved for the worst kind of movie, but Jurassic World's big bad is a genetically engineered monster, so I had no problem siding with the Veggiesaurus'.
He said: Forget the next big thing, Pratt reinforces his big thing tag with gusto – his presence almost as gratifying as our time spent with the park’s monstrous inhabitants. Of which there are surprisingly few. You can see why someone spliced a new one.
She said: If Chris Pratt isn't the next Indiana Jones I'll eat my hat. And my whip. With a side order of Nazis.
He said: The T-Rex is AWOL. Others perform and play with visitors. The raptors have been tamed, showing mercy, even kindness. In fact, if it wasn’t for Indominus, the raptors would have been auditioning for Britain’s Got Talent come the next instalment.
She said: If Chris Pratt isn't the next Indiana Jones I'll eat my hat. And my whip. With a side order of Nazis.
He said: The T-Rex is AWOL. Others perform and play with visitors. The raptors have been tamed, showing mercy, even kindness. In fact, if it wasn’t for Indominus, the raptors would have been auditioning for Britain’s Got Talent come the next instalment.
She said: You think they'll have that on the tour? The final scene reminded me of Marty McFly's entrance in the closing moments of Back to the Future II. Pure and utter cheese but an air-punching moment all the same. The raptors were much better here though, and Trevorrow deserves credit for keeping them on the right side of untrustworthy. They are loveable and all that, but you wouldn't want one as a pet.
He said: That said, there's something a little unsettling about siding with such brutal adversaries. Too much history. It gets worse, too. There’s so many thrills packed into a pleasing running time (running being the operative word), Jurassic World is as tense and frantic as you always hoped it would be.
She said: Despite the bigger, badder, more teeth premise, Jurassic World felt stripped back. Trevorrow kept the action sequences short, sharp and swift, but because I actually cared about the characters (Bryce Dallas Howard even grew on me) there was enough tension to prevent it from feeling too calculated. I mean, it was calculated, they patented it and packaged it and slapped it on a plastic lunch box, but Jurassic World feels like a breathe of fresh air. Nostalgic, 90s air, but fresh all the same. I'll shut up now.
He said: By the time you reach the welcome return of the true alpha (with a slightly silly climax to boot), you have long-since committed, and can easily forgive its sappy shenanigans. You may even fall for it.
She said: Looking back, it was ludicrous. But then, some people said the same thing about the ending of The Lost world, and I absolutely adored that. Jurassic World concludes with the face-off we had all hoped for and it doesn't disappoint. The human characters are sidelined again, which is further proof that we are a nation of animal lovers, but it works. Though talk of a new trilogy strikes me as odd. I can't imagine this is the last we'll see of Jurassic Park - box office records have been shattered - but it's kind of refreshing that the fourth instalment doesn't end on a cliffhanger.
He said: Everyone remain calm. Moments will surprise, more will shock, but most will entertain. Replacing science with suspense, Jurassic World has more teeth than the last two chapters put together. Trevorrow found a way. Remind me to thank John for a lovely weekend.
She said: We can all forget about part three now. Dinosaurs and man, two species separated by 65 million years of evolution have just been suddenly thrown back into the mix together. How can we possibly have the slightest idea what to expect? Jurassic World is a welcome return to form for the all but extinct franchise. Action, suspense and more carnage than the previous films combined, Jurassic World is the sequel we have all been waiting for. Clever girl.
The Pang Brothers (Danny Pang Fat and Oxide Pang Chun) have struggled in recent years to build on the success of their hit Asian horror film The Eye, which has spawned two inferior sequels, as well as a Hollywood remake. The pair made their directorial debut as a team with Bangkok Dangerous, but arguably their most imaginative and striking film is 2006’s effort Re-cycle.
Ting-Yin (Angelica Lee) is a young writer whose first novel has become the best seller in South East Asia. Her fans eagerly await her next book, entitled ‘The Re-cycle’, a story dealing with supernatural forces.
Battling against writer’s block and a tenacious publisher, her attempts to finish the book are further hindered by the re-emergence of an old flame hoping they can reignite their love for one another.
A conversation over dinner forces Ting-Yin to make an important decision about their future, but various weird incidents hamper the progress of her book. Is her jilted lover responsible for the silent phone calls and mysterious break-ins, or does blame bizarrely lay at the feet of her new heroine – fiction fearfully becoming fact?
He said: Few filmmakers thrill and frustrate the way The Pang Brothers do. Early collaborations – Bangkok Dangerous and The Eye in particular – were smash hits the world over. Their solo outings have been something of a mixed bag, with Oxide fairing slightly better than Danny. Abnormal Beauty, Diary and The Detective are certainly worth a look, but recent offerings have definitely been more miss than hit. Storm Warriors – a sequel to The Storm Riders – was a huge disappointment, we have had to endure Hollywood misfire The Messengers, as well as 3D infused (should that read infuriating?) features The Childs Eye and Sleepwalker.
She Said: The Pang Brothers have once again assembled a small but talented cast that manage to captivate with strong performances. Angelica Lee first worked with them in The Eye and earlier this year even married one of the twins, Oxide. Ting-Yu (Yaqi Zeng), the stranger in whom Ting-Yin all too readily invests her trust is particularly plausible, as is Lee’s character, even if at times their relationship isn’t.
He said: From a technical perspective The Pang Brothers have always been impressive, and in terms of ground-breaking visuals they always raise the bar. Storyline and character development have taken a backseat in recent years, which probably explains why latter movies have failed to set the world on fire. The same can’t be said for Re-cycle though, a movie with imagination oozing from every frame. You’ll be hard pushed to find it in the opening act though, as everything about the first thirty minutes suggests textbook horror yarn.
She said: The opening act, in which Ting-Yin is alone in her house struggling to write the novel, provides many of the more unnerving moments. There are a couple of very suspenseful scenes (the bathroom and the corridor definite highlights), and one superbly timed leap-out-of-your-seat scare. The Pangs know all the tricks, as time and time again the camera uncomfortably lingers on Lee’s face waiting for something to take us by surprise, which it inevitably does. In fact, the opening half hour has more tension than a lot of Hollywood’s scare-fests in their entirety.
He said: The Pang Brothers should certainly stick to the fantasy genre, because the imagery they conjure is positively sublime. There are so many worlds to choose from (in some ways it plays like a video game), and with each new world comes a fresh challenge for the filmmakers. They don’t ignore their horror roots entirely, but by incorporating worthwhile themes, they are able to dig that little bit deeper.
She said: There’s imagery here that will remain with you forever, but the terror that could’ve been generated from such ghoulish creations in delightfully dismal locations for the most part vanishes. The playground of the damned, ghosts’ bridge and the embryo tunnel succeed in sending minor shivers down the spine, but other levels, like the gravestones and the escape, are disappointingly underplayed. Even the forest of hang, with its falling dead bodies and long-necked zombies, somehow comes up short after an impressive introduction.
He said: With so much invention in every frame, there’s a chance you’ll get lost in the elegance of it all, but scratch beneath the surface and you’ll discover a whole lot more than a pretty picture book. The Pang Brothers are keen to tackle some serious issues along the way, with themes of love, loss and above all else, abandonment, tugging at the heartstrings of contemporary horror.
She said: Sucked into the strangest of spheres along with the protagonist, you’ll be hypnotized by its sudden transformation. So much so, the ghostly apparition who spooked so hauntingly in the first act, now stalking Ting-yin on her own terms, is forgiven for not quite making the grade. Sadly, she is revealed far too early and her character is fairly redundant, even in the final third, but the story has moved on and her character, cleverly, is just another condemned idea that litters this bleak new planet.
He said: Angelica Lee brings natural warmth to the role of Ting-yin, as she did in The Eye and Chi-Leung Law’s enthusiastic horror outing, Koma. Ting-yin is both beautiful and fragile, but much like every classic horror ‘victim’, she comes with a steely determination that wins through in the final act.
She said: The idea that everything you thought about and didn’t do during your lifetime happens in this new world, along with stories, lovers and toys you long since resigned to the trash is such a huge premise you can’t help but think that Re-cycle deserves a longer journey. Jumping from one set piece to another as our heroine tries to escape, although rewarding, disappoints merely because the twist ending is actually quite a surprise.
He said: It would be easy to criticise Re-cycle for being little more than an extended chase sequence with fancy visuals, but taking that stance is missing the point entirely. The Pang Brothers have stepped outside the box with Re-cycle, delivering a fantasy yarn with great performances, striking visuals and deeper meaning. It just so happens to have zombies, ghosts and people falling from the sky.
She said: Minor niggles disappoint, but Re-cycle is still a film that deserves a lot of respect. You will be scared. You will be blown away. You will be touched. When a film manages to deliver such transports of delight, it’s foolish to ignore such entertainment.
The less you know about Ben Wheatley’s (Down terrace) second feature the better. Opening events give no indication as to how bruised and battered you’ll feel by the time the final credits roll some 85 agonising minutes later. We’re talking about family disputes, irresponsible parents and cringe worthy dinner parties here. A set of circumstances so familiar, you’ll be forgiven for thinking that Wheatley has set up shop in your own living room.
Jay (Neil Maskell) and his wife Shel (Myanna Buring) are hosting a dinner party for old friend Gal (Michael Smiley) and his new girlfriend. Tensions are already high, even before they introduce the red stuff. Jay hasn’t worked in months, the bills are piling up, and there’s precious little hope of him convincing Shel that the new Jacuzzi fitting will aid his bad back. To make matters worse, Gal is positively coining it in with his latest venture and it’s only a matter of time before Jay gets back on the horse with him.
He said: Wheatley dresses his gut-punching thriller in melodrama and side-splitting realism; his protagonists largely unsympathetic (with the exception of Michael Smiley’s Gal). You won’t find many heroes in this neighbourhood, but we all know a family like theirs, and that’s what makes the opening act so uncomfortably engaging.
She said: Masquerading as a gangster flick, Wheatley takes a different route to most in the genre and doesn’t glamorise his protagonists, instead showing us how miserable they all are. It works well, and with some well placed humour we can emphasise with all and sundry as they struggle through their pitiable lives.
He said: That’s all you need to know for now. Rest assured though, Jay and Gal do descend into a disturbing world, lives do unravel at an alarming pace, and fear and paranoia are sure to find them both in the heart of darkness.
She said: It’s a marmite moment – the final act – and one I just can’t seem to swallow.
He said: It’s an astonishing movie that shocks and surprises at every turn.
She said: It’s astonishing how the ending sucks so much.
He said: Maskell and Smiley might not look like your stereotypical leading men but they’re on top form here, with Smiley the film’s most rounded character. Buring puts in a strong performance too, but it’s Smiley’s quirky Irish charm that’ll keep you from throwing in the towel when the shit hits the fan.
She said: And boy is there a lot of shit in that final act.
He said: Wheatley teases the audience throughout, raising questions and encouraging constant scrutiny. Why do the supporting players act the way they do? Are these events really taking place or could they be the work of Jay’s fragile mind? And why are the dinner guests drawing symbols on the back of the bathroom mirror? The answers do come, but you’ll have to join some of the dots yourself.
She said: There is much to admire about Kill List – up until the final act you’ll be gripped, I promise. But the ending is unlikely to capture the imagination and hearts of most viewers, whether you love your gangster flicks or your horror movies. Despite the teasing foreplay it’s all been done better before, and you’ll be left gutted at such a ridiculous twist. This is coming from a huge horror fan.
He said: It defies convention.
She said: It defies belief.
He said: Believable characters, excellent performances and occasional graphic violence combine to exhilarating effect in one of the most memorable movies of the year. Films like this remind me why I love cinema; films that have the power to stay with you long after the lights go out.
She said: Seriously, just watch it, there’s much to enjoy. Just prepare yourself for one of the worst endings in cinematic history.
He said: Kill List could be the best British thriller you see all year, and I’m writing this in February. Outstanding.
She said: A stunning piece of work ruined by a lazy finale that’s both heart-breaking and stomach churning. For all the wrong reasons.
How many movie franchises get to part five and still require immediate attention? Friday the 13th, Scary Movie, Police Academy, A Nightmare on Elm Street… even Rocky lost the fight in round five. And don’t get me started on Star Wars. Final Destination reinvented a stagnant horror genre with its tongue planted firmly in cheek, and it did it so well, nobody seemed to mind when they repeated the formula three times over. Part one was great. Part two had the best opening of the series. Part three had the most imaginative death scenes and part four sucked. Everything rests on part five - the final chapter. Unless it makes a shit load of money of course.
He said: Death stalks a group of co-workers who avoid a grisly demise in a massive suspension bridge collapse after one of them - wait for it - experiences a terrifying premonition. Tony Todd returns in the fifth instalment of the Final Destination series alongside Nicholas D’Agosto (a future in rom-coms awaits), Miles Fisher (Tom Cruise with facial hair), P.J. Byrne (comic relief guy), and Jacqueline MacInnes Wood (so much hotter in glasses).
She said: Rediscovering where the treasure was buried, director Steven Quale (Aliens of the Deep) capitalises with some nerve-shredding set-pieces for our entertainment. You won’t know where to look.
He said: The first thing you’ll notice is just how much Miles Fisher looks and acts like Tom Cruise.
She said: It’s quite annoying to begin with, but he does tone it down as the movie goes on.
He said: Final Destination 5 comes with a blistering opening sequence that more than makes up for part four’s over reliance on 3D. It’s funnier too, with wittier dialogue and hilarious shock tactics littered throughout. The F.D. series works best when it prolongs the torment, and Steve Quale makes the most of every drawn out set piece.
She said: If you’re familiar with the formula then you know it’s all about the opening, and although it isn’t the best in the series, it certainly isn’t the worst either. Some of the deaths are brutal, and a good indication of what is to come.
He said: The gymnastic routine is a standout, but anyone considering laser eye surgery should also cast a cautionary glance. The ‘kill to survive’ theme is a nice touch but could’ve been used better, and the final twist is actually rather sweet but again, the filmmakers don’t quite exploit it to its full potential.
She said: Quale keeps you waiting. And waiting. And then he makes you wait some more. Each death scene toys with the audience splendidly, just the way we like it, and both scenes mentioned above will have you squirming very uncomfortably.
He said: Final destination 5 won’t change the world - it barely shakes up the franchise - but it more than makes up for the film that precedes it. If part four provided proof that the formula was fallible, part five goes someway to suggesting it was only a blip. I mean really, I could watch these movies all night.
She said: I couldn’t. The ending, although tying the whole franchise up neatly, isn’t as good as it could have been, but considering we know what’s coming, the film plays the numbers game very well and is far more satisfying than you could’ve hoped for. Now let’s move on, shall we?
From the director who helmed some of the Saw franchise (the rubbish ones), Darren Lynn Bousman takes to the director’s chair for this loose remake of the 1980 Troma B-film classic Mother’s Day; taking our protagonists out of the woods and into the suburbs, where a demented mother (Rebecca De Mornay) and her ‘children’ terrorise a group of friends having a house party.
He said: It’s a familiar set up to say the least (The Strangers meets Funny Games); the Halloween inspired theme does nothing to spark the flames of freshness but there’s fun to be had once the gift wrap comes off.
She said: A highly polished little shocker with plenty of fun to be had, audiences will be familiar with the formula but will no doubt enjoy the ride anyway.
He said: Too many characters have nothing to do and too many themes are left unexplored, but a strong cast is on hand to keep things on track. Patrick Flueger is excellent as conflicted son Ike; Warren Kole hams it up as nut job Addley and Shawn Ashmore (X-Men, Frozen) should’ve been the lead character in the first place.
She said: Feisty Briana Evigan and a formidable Shawn Ashmore offer two noteworthy performances, while bad boy Patrick Flueger is matched pound for pound by his screen mum, Rebecca De Mornay. Warren Kole, playing Addley, is a frustrating villain, but at least you can’t wait for his comeuppance, something that shouldn’t be said for the supposed victims, including Jaime King and Frank Grillo who both lack any kind of empathy whatsoever and deserve to be butchered.
He said: Jaime King and Frank Grillo remain on the side-lines throughout. This should’ve been Rebecca De Mornay’s movie - and she does rock the cradle with both hands - but Briana Evigan (Sorority Row) burns brightest as Annette Langstone, nailing her role in every sense of the word.
She said: I’ve always wanted to be nailed by Briana Evigan.
He said: True Blood’s Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) has the most intriguing story arc though, bringing her vulnerable firecracker shtick to the table and running away with the movie.
She said: Which one is she again? Oh, the pasty redhead. Yeah, she’s okay, but I wasn’t convinced by her sub-plot. She seemed like quite a strong character really, and I found it difficult to believe she could be such a gullible little girl.
He said: It’s a shame that nothing really happens in the first hour.
She said: There’s that ridiculous moment when King and Flueger go to a cashpoint - seasoned horror buffs will struggle to suspend disbelief. And what about the hair-raising wig scene? Even with his hair-piece intact, how did he pull Evigan? Speaking of which, you forgot about her dance with the pool cue.
He said: One character in particular has ‘dispensable’ written all over her nightdress despite a welcome revelation late in the day that never truly resonates. That’s the biggest problem with Mother’s Day - characterisation is slight and you’ll probably find yourself rooting for your favourite characters from other films.
She said: Evigan. Ashmore.
He said: Things do improve in the final act. Bousman brings on the much-needed carnage and Mother’s Day ends on a deliriously decadent high note. There are a number of wrong turns taken throughout but Bousman’s macabre tale gets enough right to stop it from straying too far off course. Drawn out though it is, Bousman’s Mother’s Day is definitely worth a look.
She said: Never less than engaging, Mother’s Day is better than most and will be more appreciated by newbies to the genre, while the old maestros will find something to enjoy, but it won’t blow them away. Evigan looks great in black underwear though.
Controversial Japanese filmmaker Shion Sono’s first major commercial hit was a movie he wrote, directed and shot in a record time of two weeks (assembled in four) called Suicide Circle, a disturbing thriller about Japan's incredibly high suicide rate. A hit in Japan, it was also played in many film festivals, where it was retitled Suicide Club, and won the Groundbreaker Award and the Most Groundbreaking Film jury prize at the Fant-Asia Film Festival. Ten years on, the UK finally gets a release this September courtesy of Cine Du Monde.
54 high school girls throw themselves in front of a subway train in some kind of bizarre pact, but this appears to be only the beginning of a string of suicides around the country, all involving school children.
With questions raised over the involvement of an up and coming all-girl pop group called Dessert, Detective Kuroda (Ryo Ishibashi) desperately tries to find the answer, which isn’t as simple as one could hope…
He said: I hope you’re sitting comfortably. Suicide Club is certainly one strange ride. The plot synopsis doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the film’s brutal opening hour, followed by the surreal nature of a final third that offers few concrete answers, but hints at a number of reasons why the children of Japan prefer the former to the latter.
She said: Suicide Club can best be described as a relentless stream of arresting imagery, backed by light-hearted musical numbers and jovial dance routines. One such moment captures the mood brilliantly; as a catchy tune rings out to the sight of overdose attempts, group hangings and culinary disasters. Just when you think Sono has reached the peak of his prowess, he takes his film down a completely different path.
He said: Sono’s direction is pretty faultless. He gets some excellent performances from a cast consisting of mainly friends and more recognizable players in the outstanding Ishibashi and Rolly Teranishi that intensify the disturbing realism of a premise not as warped or as shocking at is was ten years ago. The grainy visuals add to the charm.
She said: For a short period of time, Suicide Club finds itself in similar territory to Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, where potential suicide is put aside in favour of sadistic torture and homicidal tendencies. It’s an unexpected change of direction - one that comes with delirious rock-opera trimmings - but Sono continues to shock and surprise like its going out of fashion.
He said: The first mass suicide is easily one of the most interesting introductions ever witnessed on film, and as shocking as you could possibly hope for.
She said: The denouement doesn’t always convince, and a few lingering plot holes serve only to frustrate. In 2006, Sono attempted to plug these holes with sequel-come-prequel Noriko’s Dinner Table. The follow up depicts events that take place before and after the incidents of Suicide Club. Sono went on to say that he had originally envisaged a trilogy, but in reality the chance of making three feature films was slim.
He said: The over-egged ‘Mail Me’ track by pop-group Dessert wears a bit thin, but Sono produces a scene that almost rivals the intro when the Suicide Club’s ‘founding members’ make a stand (or not) and playfully tease each other on a rooftop, daring the next in line to take the plunge.
She said: With so many characters coming and going, it’s hard to pick out a standout performance. Musician turned actor Rolly Teranishi makes an immediate and lasting impression as celebrity-in-waiting Genesis, but in hindsight that might have something to do with his sudden and unexpected appearance.
He said: Whether the rash of suicides are an accident or a crime is ultimately pointless (by the end you won’t give a damn), but after another outstanding scene, the mum-can-I-have-some-chocolate-montage, Sono’s flick becomes more filler than killer.
She said: There’s a lot going on in Suicide Club, and ideas bombard the screen left, right and centre. Themes are explored and then dropped - often in favour of gory mayhem and J-pop dance routines - leaving the underlying message somewhat confused. His ability to shock was never in question though, a statement made clear by the opening stampede.
He said: Still, if you’re going to throw a load of chicks and children in raincoats into the mix, you may as well do it during this film - right at the end would help – at least the outrageous scene takes the attention away from Dessert’s truly awful song, which we’re treated to in its entirety as we sit there, wide-eyed and clueless while the credits roll.
She said: Suicide fads, subliminal messages and social commentary provide Sono with another opportunity to enthral the masses. Suicide Club touches on current themes and fears, but Sono’s film will best be remembered for its harrowing tone, twisted humour and startling set pieces - washed down with a catchy pop number or two. Flawed yet fearless, Suicide Club will forever remain a sign of things to come from an unmistakable talent.
He said: Suicide Club amazes from the outset, and grips with a drip-feed of gory shocks and intrigue you pray will provide some kind of answer, eventually. Or maybe not. Its audacious finale is just as fascinating, if not as satisfying, but mass suicide, baby chickens and annoying Japanese pop stars should keep you sat firmly in your seat rather than anywhere else far more sinister.
Unspeakable (2000) was Chad Ferrin's first twisted feature. Shot for $20,000, it was released by Troma, and after moderate success he went on to write, produce and direct The Ghouls, a no-budget horror opus shot for considerably less. A segment of the film Tales from the Crapper (2004), a direct-to-DVD effort starring Ron Jeremy followed, but having been granted a release date finally in the UK this month, it’s his next outing, Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! that demands our attention, and hopefully showcases Ferrin's undeniable talents. Can it really be as good as its title suggests?
Remington, a murderous looter, cons his way into a mother’s heart, putting on a fatherly façade to her cherished son, Nicholas. But the second she leaves for work, a torrent of abuse rains down on the gentle boy.
Remington heads out for some hookers and invites his dilettante-child molester-drug-dealer buddy over to abuse Nicholas, whose only comfort is in confiding with his new pet bunny.
When Nicholas is nowhere to be found, someone wearing the mask of the beloved holiday hopper shows up ready to deliver a blood-splattered night of unspeakable terror – is anybody safe from a rampaging rabbit on the hunt for more than just eggs…
He Said: Are you ready to swim in a sea of depravity? With its blend of twisted humour and gross-out visuals, Ferrin’s movie may test the tolerance of many viewers (who, let's face it, with such an insane title, won't be watching anyway) but it does at least offer some entertainment, especially in the latter stages when an over-talky first hour is forgotten thanks to some obnoxious characters being dispatched in the most brutal way possible.
She said: Putting the bunny back in the box is out of the question, especially when it comes equipped with a range of weapons that would put even Batman to shame. Hammers, drills, guns, flashlights and cleansing products - no household item is safe from barbaric bunnies with murder in mind. The rest of the characters don’t fair too well either, but we wont lose any sleep over that, Easter Bunny’s cast list reads like a State Prison football team. Spanish burglars, titillating prostitutes and drug pushing paedophiles don’t exactly evoke sympathy, so there’s a good chance you’ll be rooting for Roger all the way.
He said: The strangely affectionate Remington, played with such panache by Timothy Muskatel, is the star of the show, although Charlotte Marie almost steals it with a pair of noteworthy showstoppers, distracting the viewer from the typically threadbare plot, relying on stereotypes to tells its weak story before settling on a final twist that won't surprise many, but at least gives the chain of events more than just shackles that would otherwise tie it down even further.
She said: If you’re only in it for the carnage you’re in for an agonising wait. Ferrin’s fifth feature is slower out the blocks than a talented tortoise, and it’s not until the final act that the screen turns a sinister shade of red. The first act is surprisingly effective, performances are stronger than you might expect from a low budget horror movie, and the bunny’s bonnet is choc-full of twisted humour and worthwhile exchanges. The second act drags its heels like a hare in need of a hose down.
He said: It will probably never be confused with a classic. The characters act like morons, the dialogue they spit out is suitably inane (“was he born special or was there some kind of accident” is one of the finest), and a script so pedestrian for the most part slaps together its elements in a less-than-thrilling manner; it’s ninety minute running time feeling almost as bloated as pigging down three chocolate eggs and their scrumptious fillings.
She said: It’s not until David Z. Stamp’s Ray Mann arrives on the scene that events take a turn for the clinically depraved. His drug dealing child molester is genuinely creepy, even if his ‘pocket full of goodies’ aren’t afforded the screen time they truly deserve. It’s Timothy Muskatell’s Remington that holds the film together though, and despite the despicable nature of his character, there’s something oddly affecting about his performance - he comes on like a cross between Ron Jeremy and Joe Spinell’s Maniac.
He said: Truth be told, it’s better than it should be. The production values are pretty good for a low-budget affair, with some slick editing working effectively with every kill, and considering the flimsiness of the script, Ferrin gets some very good performances from his main cast – even if Ricardo Grey’s Nicholas is too much to bear (most notably when he dances to his father’s favourite song) and the equally annoying Jorge (Jose I. Lopez), who quite frankly demands a brutal exit.
She said: Chad Ferrin knows how to deliver an entertaining set piece, and from here on in Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! comes alive with the sound of screaming. Ferrin nails it - quite literally in fact - and the last half hour is choc-full of milky goodness and tasty treats. For some inexplicable reason I didn’t see the ending coming, which is rare in this day and age, and all the more obvious when I choose to reflect. That said, the warped final reel smacks of family sitcom, not to mention the promise of a sequel or two.
He said: It’s perfect fodder for a trash-horror fest, with its titillating hookers in glorious close-ups, a sublime scene when prostitute Candy goes searching for a broom to mop up the mess, some brutal toolbox murders akin to Hooper’s classic, and even a wildly happy, completely out of place, emotional ending reminiscent to a Nicholas Sparks novel – just make sure you don’t run out of tissue paper…
She said: Raw, uncompromising and darkly comic, Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! ends on a high note - buoyantly bouncing away with my will. It sure takes its time to get there, but clearly this bunny has learnt a thing or two - Chad Ferrin’s gut-punching gore fest stands out as a low budget horror movie worth its weight in gold-en foil.
He said: Handling the gory action with flair, while adding solid performances and darkly comic humour, Ferrin’s Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! isn’t substantial enough in story-telling to be a classic, but it is an effective combination of ridiculous stereotypes and raw bloodshed - an Easter delight that shouldn’t be hidden.
Despite an editor being credited, many still believe The Silent House (La Casa Muda) was filmed in one continuous, relentless shot and inspired by true events. Whether or not either of these myths is true, first-time director Gustavo Hernandez’s movie has already impressed Hollywood with a remake soon to be released starring Elizabeth Olsen, younger sister of the Olsen twins. Therefore, it already stands to reason that you’re better off watching the original, even if it’s frightfully dire. For peace of mind, however, is it actually any good?
Laura and her father have promised to clean an old friend's property in order for it to be sold. Travelling deep into the hostile, unforgiving landscape of rural Uruguay, they are to spend the night in an isolated, run down cottage in order to get an early start on it the next morning.
With no civilization for hundreds of miles, no electricity or modern conveniences within the property and darkness long since descended, Laura forces her father to investigate a strange noise from the floor above.
When he doesn't return after what sounds like a sinister scuffle, Laura has nothing but fear to console her. She knows she’s not alone and her father is either in trouble, or dead. Fearing something is waiting in the shadows, she arms herself and searches for answers…
He said: Gustavo Hernandez is clearly a man who storyboards every shot. This stands to reason if you want to fool the audience into thinking your movie was shot in one singular take – planning is essential. And although the results may be too airtight for some tastes, too constructed, too precise, it fits his slow-build storytelling like a glove - even if the first fifteen minutes are as dull as dishwater.
She said: Everybody knows you shouldn’t investigate strange noises, but we wouldn’t have a very interesting story if they didn’t, so Wilson goes to see what’s going on while Laura remains downstairs, alone, waiting for her father’s return. It’s a simple premise then, one that focuses on Laura’s attempts to stay alive, and one that we’ve witnessed countless times before.
He said: Hernandez certainly knows the tricks of the trade – his camera movement slow and tentative, especially when one of horror’s favourite weapons, the mirror, is ominously sitting in shot. Brilliantly composed, the audience is treated to some frightening foreplay, misdirecting us and making the film all the more chilling for it.
She said: The Silent House won’t blow you away with its uninspired approach to storytelling and characterisation; Gustavo Hernández has delivered a straightforward horror film that lacks both coherence and originality. The twists that come are interesting, but even on first viewing they don’t add up.
He said: The Silent House turns out to be a primarily petrifying experience. With action limited mainly to the house, we see what Laura sees, and then, thanks to some quirky flourishes, we see her again from another dizzying angle, or we see more, what she doesn’t see, what we don’t want to see, even if there’s nothing there at all. Then there’s the excellent use of sound. Distant thumps and clatters, footsteps, an anxious gasp for breath – it’s all here – and although most reek of standard horror clichés, Hernandez has already offered enough to warrant the stay of you and your fraught failings to accept it’s only a movie.
She said: I’m all for taking giant leaps of faith when it comes to shocking denouements, but the final reveal lacks true conviction. Perhaps I missed something, but Gustavo Hernández seems more interested in hoodwinking the audience than making a film of genuine substance. Having said that, if you can overlook the lack of closure, The Silent House more than compensates with genuine thrills and spills.
He said: It’s a shame, then, that Laura (a far from savvy Florencia Colucci) reenters the house after finally finding a way out. Although the twist-ending justifies her decision to do so, and also allows Hernandez to scare the life out of his audience with one of the most truly terrifying scenes in recent memory (the Polaroid camera moment is downright spine-chilling), it stretches the credibility it had mastered and murders all the cliched goodness that came before it.
She said: The Silent House kept me on tenterhooks throughout, and Hernández’ timing is impeccable; keeping things moving with well timed shocks and effortless scares. Florencia Colucci impresses in the lead role, and even with little dialogue to speak of, there’s no denying you’ll feel her every heartbeat.
He said: Some movies don’t need to follow the Shyamalan methods of storytelling, relying on final acts to neatly resolve every question raised. The Silent House was working perfectly well by echoing Shyamalan’s slow-paced direction, but similar to aliens that don’t like water, or death by daffodils, the ridiculous conclusion dished up here makes little sense and turns the film not on its head, but on its backside.
She said: The Silent House starts slow, but a gentle drip feed of dread should keep your cushion occupied. It’s not perfect, but any qualms over inconsistencies are soon forgotten as the exemplary execution and efficient blend of scares kick in. Gustavo Hernández is a name to keep an eye on then, and The Silent House emerges as a horror movie worth shouting about.
He said: Worth watching for one hair-raising scene alone, The Silent House is anything but. With its dark, brooding atmosphere and an uneasy aura that lingers in every corner of its frame, it will leave you breathless, right up until its hugely disappointing climax - foolishly daring to question all the tense yet clichéd action that came before it.
First time director Paul Campion is best known for his work as a visual effects artist on classic trilogies Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, as well as the outstanding Sin City and Greek legends dud Clash of the Titans. But has Campion got what it takes to step up a level or will The Devil’s Rock be bowed down beneath a burden akin to Greek Titan Atlas after rebelling against Zeus?
It’s the eve of D-Day and allied commandos are carrying out sabotage raids on the German occupied Channel Islands to draw attention away from Normandy.
On Forau Island, two New Zealand comrades, Captain Ben Grogan (Craig Hall) and Sergeant Joe Tane (Karlos Drinkwater) have been sent to destroy gun replacements, but after negotiating a tricky route to their target a woman’s screams lure them into an isolated fortress.
It’s here they discover the attractive female Helene (Gina Varela), held captive by rusty chains, surrounded by mutilated bodies, and after resistance from Colonel Klaus Meyer (Matthew Sunderland), Grogan has to decide whether he’ll help the girl escape the island or stop a Nazi occult plot to unleash demonic forces in order to win the war…
He said: Campion’s The Devil’s Rock is an engaging, neatly constructed horror whose conventionality is never endangered by the supernatural violence it could depict – dismembered bodies may be strewn across the blood-stained floors, while others (one in particular has a rifle rammed down its throat) are slumped across the walls coated in vital fluid, but for the most part the horrors are hidden away like the devil herself.
She said: The Devil’s Rock starts promisingly enough, with two strong leads, an interesting premise and a slow burning sense of dread. Paul Campion keeps the characters confined to small dark spaces, helping to create a suspenseful atmosphere that breathes menace.
He said: Sunderland as the sly Colonel Meyer is the standout, with his “we’re both in the same shit” persona managing to convince Hall’s Grogan that it’s best if they stick together. The Grogan character is let down by his indecisiveness - all too often it gets him into far too much trouble, and his inability to think rationally questions how he has been so well-rewarded career-wise, let alone allowed him to not get dead.
She said: Commonplace in movies that deal with the occult, Nazi’s just can’t seem to leave it alone, not even bad experiences in Hellboy and Indiana Jones have done enough to distract them.
He said: The opening, which sees Grogan and comrade Sergeant Tane (a sadly underused Karlos Drinkwater) looking to destroy gun replacements, impresses with its washed-out visuals and tense plotting fused with deliciously entertaining dialogue that adds artful backstory to a gripping preamble.
She said: The Devil’s Rock takes a downward turn - quite literally - as soon as we meet Helene. It’s clear to anyone watching that she isn’t the girl she claims to be, only Grogan seems slow on the uptake. Even when she turns a nasty shade of red, Grogan takes an eternity to make up his mind. Who do you trust more, a She-Devil or a Nazi soldier?
He said: Campion tries his best to restore some of its early protocol with Meyer delivering a few lines that throw us back on track; the majority of viewers hopefully convinced by now that the devil can rip its victim apart by becoming the someone they thought was the love of their life, but Grogan will still have you screaming at the screen for his inability to trust a Nazi over his dead wife, no matter how many times Meyer utters “fairytale bullshit”.
She said: The relationship between Grogan and Meyer is both enthralling and complicated. Grogan may think he has the upper hand when it comes to moral code and values, but the final act reveals that the definition of truth can be cloudy at best. Grogan’s reluctance is explained away by a turn of events that find us questioning the difference between right and wrong, between hero and villain.
He said: You’ll still be questioning whether Grogan is just happy to hear his slaughtered spouse’s voice after all these years though, but to be fair, she sounds a hell of a lot better than the camp, almost laughable powers of articulation of the real villain of the piece – a tranny-she-devil that disappoints more than it delivers.
She said: In attempting to make his villain sound demonic, Campion has dropped the ball big time, creating a bad girl that lacks any kind of credibility. Helene’s true form is hilariously misjudged.
He said: Luckily, the final act finally reawakens along with one of the diseased in a genuinely hilarious moment of madness, even if the zombie comes across more drunk than dangerous, and a fine act of betrayal once again disguises Grogan’s implausible anguish.
She said: The final moments give food for thought, but after an impressive opening The Devil’s Rock loses its way in the dark.
He said: Maybe Campion’s script co-written with Paul Finch) would’ve been more provocative if he had worked as a visual effects artist on The Exorcist rather than Eragon. Having said that, the rivetingly repellent effects on show are reason enough to watch.
She said: The Devil’s Rock struggles to find its feet under an overly talky midsection. A promising first act and strong performances give way to comical demons and lightweight chills, resulting in a far from satisfying dance with the Devil in the pale moon light.
He said: Despite a devil that would certainly prefer to wear Prada, The Devil’s Rock is a promising start for first time director Paul Campion. This could do for Campion what Dog Soldiers did for Marshall.
He said: Judge Dee, or plain Dee to his friends, is China's answer to Sherlock Holmes, and has been immortalized in both the East and West for decades in several novels and TV outings, though I have to admit, I don’t read that much and this is the first I've heard of him. As for veteran Hong Kong director Tsui Hark, now there is a name I’m familiar with, though not so much in the last decade or so it has to be said - does any of this bode well?
She said: A series of mysterious murders involving internal combustion is seemingly going to prevent the inauguration of China's first Empress (Carina Lau). She is forced to seek help from Detective Dee (Andy Lau), renowned as the greatest investigative mind and Kung Fu Master of his generation. Bringing him back from exile to embark on a manhunt, the reluctant Dee is helped by Wu’s loyal aide (Li Bingbing), and it isn’t long before their progress is hindered by fire beetles, creepy assassins and double-crossers, who will all go to murderous lengths to stop the coronation and destroy the empire once and for all…
He said: Tsui teams up with screenwriter/producer Chen Kuo Fu (The Message, Double Vision) to bring the legendary detective to the big screen for the first time in Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, not the catchiest of film titles I’m sure you’ll agree. Mixing fantasy, adventure and period styling, Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame lights up the screen with raw enthusiasm and incinerates all that stands before it. Probably.
She said: With a tepid opening, including laughable attempts to set people on fire using computer generated images (it doesn’t bode well), Detective Dee is initially a bit of a struggle. Hindered further by obvious wire-work throughout and a rugged hero you would normally see sitting beneath a cashpoint in town begging for change, it’s difficult to see where the entertainment is going to come from.
He said: All round superstar Andy Lau plays the iconic detective, pulled out of imprisonment to solve a series of murders with the help of Li Bing Bing (The Message), Deng Chao (Equation of Love and Death), and Tony Leung Ka Fai. Carina Lau stars as the almighty Empress Wu, and the spectacular action sequences are choreographed by action legend Sammo Hung. Detective Dee is an old-school Hong Kong production through and through, not to mention one of Tsui's biggest box office hits to date.
She said: The action is inventive and exhilarating for the most part, whether Dee is battling against the feisty Jinger (the film’s highlight), sparring with super-villains or dueling with a yakking deer. The latter, despite its weirdness, somehow doesn’t sit out of place, and actually offers some edge-of-the-seat entertainment when it finally kicks off. The wire-work still grates at times, but with scenes so swift and energetic, it’s hard not to get sucked into such a bizarre world; its lengthy running time barely noticeable thanks to the plot’s cracking pace.
He said: The action choreography is fast flowing and vibrant, it’s certainly not Sammo Hung’s best work, but it entertains in all the right ways. Besides, he’s not working with Donnie Yen here, even though Andy Lau more than holds his own against a variety of CGI assisted assassins and beasties.
She said: With Tsui Hark needing to rediscover some of his early style and verve it was unlikely that his impressive cast was ever going to let him down. Having said that, they barely get a chance to endear themselves to the audience because characterization and development is ditched in favour of a speedy storyline, allowing little time to breath with set-piece after set-piece unleashed on the giddy audience.
He said: Anyone accustomed to detective thrillers will probably find the outcome obvious, it’s really not that hard to figure out, but Tsui does throw in a few red herrings along the way, not to mention a talking deer that really doesn’t feel out of place at all. Upon reflection, it seems quite odd that the townsfolk are willing to believe in talking animals and flying detectives but not spontaneous combustion, but hey, that’s why they call it fantasy filmmaking, right?
She said: Tsui Hark keeps the film quirky and engaging thanks to a beautiful visual sense filled with unexpected, for its genre, poetic touches and costumes straight out of a fairy tale. The whodunit may be predictable (it certainly won’t tax the brain) but it’s also ultimately pointless, and in that sense Detective Dee surprises – you won’t be bothered in the slightest as the mask is whipped from our antagonist’s noggin - you’ll just be relishing another body-busting battle instead.
He said: Performances are strong, even though there is very little time for character development. Carina Lau is the standout as Empress Wu, but Andy Lau makes for an imposing figure and lets face it, sometimes charisma is really all you need to get by. He really doesn’t have enough time for anything else - such is the speed at which the movie unfolds.
She said: Add to that the welcome twists in the final act, with the auteur embracing his “to achieve greatness, everyone is expendable” line by making sure we understand that no-one (almost) is safe, and you’ll soon forgive, or even forget, the slow opening with its poor effects and lazily sped-up rooftop action.
He said: There are plenty of holes but it’s nice to see Tsui Hark rediscovering some of his early style and verve. Detective Dee feels both traditional and modern at the same time, presenting us with a fresh spin on the detective genre. Hong Kong fantasy cinema has been missing something of late, welcome back Tsui Hark - it’s been a long time coming.
She said: Detective Dee abandons the mystery its audience may expect and replaces it with gorgeous visuals, breathtaking action sequences and a few quirky touches that transform this slow-starter into a satisfying actioner worthy of your attention.
Inspired by the Saitama Dog Lover Serial Murders that came to light in 1993, involving the exploits of Gen Sekine and his ex-wife Hiroko Kazama who would breed then sell rare hounds, killing any buyer that felt robbed by their extortionate valuations, the latest offering from cult Japanese writer-director Sion Sono (Love Exposure) swaps the lovable mutts for tropical fish. So is Cold Fish the compelling thriller it claims to be, or will we be tossing it back from whence it came?
Shamoto is struggling to run a small tropical fish shop with his second wife, Taeko, and his troublesome daughter, Mitsuko. When Mitsuko is caught shoplifting at a grocery store they meet a friendly man named Murata, who helps to settle things between Mitsuko and the store manager.
Since Murata also runs a tropical fish shop, Shamoto establishes a bond with him and they become friends. Mitsuko is offered work by Murata, who suggests she stay with him and his wife at their beautiful home, allowing Shamoto to rebuild his relationship with Taeko.
All seems well, but Murata hides many dark secrets behind his friendly exterior. Selling cheap fish to his customers for high prices with his artful lies, if anyone suspects fraud or refuses to go along with his moneymaking schemes they’re murdered and their bodies disposed.
With Mitsuko a seemingly willing hostage at Murata’s home and Shamoto fooled into becoming a business partner, it isn’t long before the mild-mannered shopkeeper has to take a stand in order to save his family, and himself...
He said: The quirky opening act pulls the viewer into a simple world, and thanks to strong performances by all the leads, we quickly empathise with Shamoto, a man as wet as the weather, and his family as they struggle to face up to their problems. At the same time we fall for the smooth-talking, charismatic Murata, and his beautiful wife, and we’re hoodwinked by his successful business, but we’re also suspicious of their motives and keenness to befriend such a disillusioned protagonist when surely they don’t need the inconvenience.
She said: Cold Fish clocks in at just under two and a half hours, but the leisurely pace does nothing to distort this thoroughly disturbing drama.
He said: Padding out most of the running time with lessons in how to dismember a body, intercut with dodgy double-crossings, passionless poisoning and repetitive threats to make people ‘invisible’, Sion Sono fails to find a spark for the majority of a lengthy second act.
She said: Blessed with a slow, deliberate and absorbing pace, Cold Fish reels you in with its offbeat characters, dire situations and curious relationships. Despite the subject matter, Sono’s picture remains suitably restrained, and it’s only in the final act that all hell breaks loose, erupting in an orgy of violence, vengeance and bloody retribution.
He said: Uneventful in the extreme, it’s only worth watching if you plan on becoming a butcher.
She said: Mitsuru Fukikoshi makes for a captivating lead, a success in itself considering the tragic picture he paints, his is a mild mannered performance underplayed at every turn. Shamato is a mournful figure, the kind of character you really want to slap, and his weakness threatens to consume all that he encounters. You can’t help thinking he got lucky with second wife Taeko, because Megumi Kagurazaka makes for an arresting presence throughout.
He said: His wife Taeko has her knockers, her worth to the story questionable, but her fans will argue they’re all that matters.
She said: Sono takes great pleasure in the twisted, sexually depraved relationships that form, ensuring a morally ambiguous tone that disturbs and delights in equal measures.
He said: The film also suffers from an extremely negative portrayal of its female characters, whether it be Taeko’s untold hankering for a high-handed partner (the perfect excuse to give her impressive globes an airing - no doubt what attracted her star-gazing husband in the first place), Murata’s indecisive wife who gets her kicks from entrusting herself to no one as long as she gets what she wants (a good excuse to get it all out), the ungrateful daughter whom apparently hates her family yet hardly utters a word in disgust, and six other teenage disciples that work for Murata at his enormous fish emporium with no hint of backstories (a good excuse to have a bit of girl on girl action though).
She said: Cold Fish swims in dark waters but that’s not to say it isn’t funny, as with most of Sono’s work, an undercurrent of black humour makes waves at every turn. The final act is both shocking and extreme, but its beautifully played by the remaining cast members. Events spiral out of control as Shamato edges towards inevitable insanity, and the drip-feed of disillusionment ignites with style and flare.
He said: With all of its horrific activity confined to the final third, Cold Fish is therefore hard work for the most part, and when it does finally indulge in the red stuff, including a fantastic struggle through slippery entrails, you’ll still be slightly surprised by Shamoto’s sudden transformation from lifeless loser to complete fruitcake.
She said: With dysfunctional characters, distressing subject matter and a running time that could test your patience, Cold Fish is hardly a feel-good romp. Sono rewards the viewer with a meaningful, harrowing and deeply disturbing tale that can’t fail to impress.
He said: Cold Fish starts promisingly but loses its way during the bloodless flimsiness of its second act which refuses to end, or in fact add anything remotely interesting until the ruthless finale that lacks originality and isn’t as clever as it thinks it is. To quote our leading man, life is pain, and it doesn’t get much more painful than watching this.
She said: Sion Sono cements his name at the top of the Japanese film industry, delivering a deliriously deranged denouement that unsettles and satisfies with alarming intensity, and the rest of the film isn’t too bad either. Extreme cinema without a doubt, extremely good that is, and indisputably one of the films of the year.
Uwe Boll, taking a long overdue break from adapting every video game property he can, has decided to lend his questionable expertise, as well as a welcome cash injection, and allow someone else to destroy the zombie movie once and for all. Despite Frank Darabont’s The Walking Dead (2010) breathing new life into a tired species, it’s been a while since a feature-length has had anything new to say on the subject, with Boll’s House Of The Dead (2003) one of the finer examples of how to put a bullet through the head of a lifeless genre. Will newcomers Luca Boni and Marco Ristori be able to resuscitate the zombie flick with their apocalyptic offering Eaters?
The world has been ravaged by a zombie epidemic of grave proportions, now governed by hordes of living dead. Igor (Alex Lucchesi) and Alen (Guglielmo Favilla) are two of the few survivors, forced to spend their days searching for fellow survivors and capturing zombies so that a scientist, Gyno (Claudio Marmugi), can continue his experiments to find an improbable cure.
On their travels they meet an array of characters still clinging to life: a crazy painter, neo-Nazis, the imposing Plague Spreader, blamed for its escalation, and a mysterious girl, uninfected, hidden from a red-blooded land of laddishness.
In a world where the ever-evolving dead lay down the law, Igor and Alen know that the girl, Christina, is vital if the human race is to survive, but when they discover Gyno’s plans to create a new breed, they realise it’s not the undead they should fear the most…
He said: Humanity is in chaos, there’s a birth rate of zero, and the Pope just blew his brains out because he doesn’t want to come back to a world overrun by a vicious breed of anarchic thugs – and they’re just the living. Welcome to the wonderful world created by first-time directors Luca Boni and Marco Ristori, who together have engineered a movie that thankfully dares to offer some originality to proceedings, eventually.
She said: The world is governed by hordes of the living dead (yawn). Igor and Alen are two survivors, forced to spend their days searching for others and capturing zombies so that a scientist, Gyno (Claudio Marmugi), can continue his experiments to find a cure (yawn). On their travels they meet an interesting bunch of characters, like neo-Nazis (that’s fresh), the Plague Spreader (interesting), and a mysterious girl who appears to have escaped from infection.
He said: Taking time out from reading the latest edition of Girls and Corpses magazine, our two protagonists Alen and Igor go on a little road trip to keep boredom at bay, and after half an hour of seemingly pointless banter with each other, the mad scientist Gyno and two annoying loons that demand to be eaten (the sooner the better), the plot finally finds its feet and the cast, suffering from the same acute boredom engulfing the audience, are finally thrown a bone or two.
She said: So we have an apocalyptic backdrop (yawn), hordes of evil dead picking off scraps (yawn), two survivors surviving (yawn), and an interesting array of cosmetic effects and CGI (yawn). Our two protagonists spend the first half hour of the movie driving and talking, they do a lot of talking in this movie, and the plot takes the same journey as the car they’re travelling in, that would be to nowhere fast.
He said: Luckily, the attractive blonde with it all hanging out is a satisfying first kill, not because of its brutality, but because Igor is able to deliver the first of many wonderful lines of dialogue. Then, finally, after yet another brief encounter with a character (the madcap painter) that offers little to the plot, things start to get interesting.
She said: The neo-Nazis offer up a welcome break from the monotony, but in truth, capping off zombies for pleasure is hardly the breakthrough I was looking for. The special effects are appealing, but they’re not enough to keep you interested in a film that threatens to run out of breath faster than Johnny can say, “They’re coming to get you, Barbara”.
He said: The murky wastelands explored on route are beautifully realized, especially when they probe neighboring sectors, and the soundtrack pumps harder than Schwarzenegger in his heyday.
She said: The film takes a welcome turn if you stick with it, new breeds of zombie capable of reproduction, zombies of a higher intelligence that can talk and watch TV, but it’s nothing that hasn’t been touched upon in the likes of Shaun and Dawn of the Dead. Luca Boni & Marco Ristori have failed to add anything new to a genre that continues to wander aimlessly through the dead of night, picking off viewers in search of original ideas. So is anybody else getting bored of zombies yet?
He said: No. The appearance of the Plague Spreader may disappoint in terms of chills and a potentially decent idea wasted (Igor does get to deliver another cracking one-liner), but on the other hand, the discovery of Christina turns this timid tale into a mind-boggling head-screw. Our two auteurs have cleverly moved on from a living dead that can merely keep up with their victims, allowing them to be entertained by television, carry and use weapons, and even, dare you believe it, talk. Astonishingly, it somehow works, made the more fun when Alen shoots one dead because, “she was asking too many questions”.
She said: Eaters fails to rise to the challenge of invention, destined to fight for survival amongst a horde of horror movies already clambering for fresh blood.
He said: Eaters keeps most of its horrors under wraps for the majority of the disappointing opening act and instead diverts the audience with two sufficient leads and an escalating sense of dread that pays off in an appropriately apocalyptic final act.
She said: Zombie fanatics will no doubt embrace the inventive effects, appealing soundtrack and quirky characterisations, but the rest of the world will probably question how a film ‘Presented by Uwe Boll’ was ever supposed to sound appealing.
Helmed by Kim Jee-woon (A Tale of Two Sisters, A Bittersweet Life), one of Korea’s most successful directors, I Saw The Devil is an action packed thriller, both disturbing and brilliant in equal measures.
Kyung-chul kills for pleasure, his victims ranging from young women to children. The police have chased him for a long time but have been unsuccessful. One day Joo-yeon, daughter of a retired police chief becomes his prey and is found dead in a horrific state. Her fiancé, a top secret agent, decides to track down the murderer himself, doing everything in his power to take bloody vengeance against the killer, even if it means becoming a monster himself.
He said: Lee Byung-Hun (A Bittersweet Life) and Choi Min-Sik (Oldboy) play a deadly game of cat and mouse, serving up a devilish dish of bloody retribution and twisted revenge.
She said: Cat and mouse? You can say that again. Sadly, if you edited together every Tom and Jerry cartoon ever made, it would still be shorter than the second act of I Saw The Devil.
He said: Kim Jee-woon has yet to put a foot wrong in the director’s chair, delighting audiences the world over with his gritty thrillers, haunting horrors and quirky black comedy. From The Quiet Family to The Good, The Bad, The Weird, Kim Jee-woon has proven himself to be one of the most accomplished directors in the world today.
She said: Why is it so long then?
He said: Like A Bittersweet Life before it, I Saw The Devil starts slowly, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. The gentle drip feed of dread leads to an avalanche of glorified mayhem, brutality and bloodshed.
She said: You’ll also have to endure overblown dramatics as Kim Jee-woon overplays the funeral scene by a good five minutes. They’re upset. We get it.
He said: Choi Min-Sik is his ever-reliable self as the psychotic killer of the piece, and Lee Byung-Hun impresses with a ruthless efficiency that slowly unravels as the man loses his way in the darkness. There are plenty of twists and once I Saw The Devil finds its feet it doesn’t stop running.
She said: Both performances are impressively sinister, and it’s difficult at times to work out who to root for. Although Lee Byung-Hun’s character appears to have the upper hand throughout, it’s clear before we reach the final act that whatever happens to Kyung-chul, he’ll never find the complete closure he yearns for.
He said: It certainly puts you off taking a break in Korea; seems like everybody’s a killer in Kim Jee-woon’s energetic offering - a thriller so chilling you’ll need a pickaxe to free yourself from the sofa.
She said: A splendid, albeit slightly wearily plotted serial killer romp which eventually manages to establish itself with frenetic twists and some deliciously gruesome bumps along the way. If the cat and mouse shenanigans were trimmed, and the cringe-worthy opening cut altogether, this could’ve been a classic.
He said: Bloody, brutal and breathless, I Saw The Devil is another fine example of Korean cinema - a cold and calculated exercise in vengeance from an undeniable talent, not to mention two of Korea’s leading performers.
Young Bruce Lee takes us back to the early days of a martial arts legend, seen through the eyes of his younger brother Robert. Produced by Manfred Wong (The Storm Riders) who also co-directed with Raymond Yip, Young Bruce Lee casts Aarif Lee as the legend-to-be. Aarif is no stranger to success either, having taken home the Hong Kong Film Award for Best New Performer for his scene-stealing debut in the period drama Echoes of the Rainbow. He is joined by the likes of Tony Leung, Christy Chung and Jennifer Tse (Nicholas Tse's sister), appearing in her big screen debut...
He said: Bruce Lee was still a baby when his famous father, Cantonese opera artist Lee Hoi Chuen (Tony Leung), took their family back to Hong Kong in order to live near his mother (Lee Heung Kam) and sister (Michelle Ye). Bruce’s movie career started earlier than most people realise, and he made several appearances as a child actor, the first of which being The Kid at just nine years of age.
She said: Young Bruce Lee is a two-hour drama with very little of the essential ingredient. On paper it’s big on ideas but, disappointingly, thin on conflict – a flimsy love triangle with Lee torn between two beautiful sweethearts, a boxing champ looking for revenge tagged on at the end, a family coping with the fall of Hong Kong, a young man battling his drug addiction, and Lee embarking on a movie career that will inevitably lead to stardom suggests great things. It doesn’t deliver.
He said: His connection to cinema led to romance with both Man Yee (Jennifer Tse) and Man Lan (Gong Mi), daughters of well-known stars in Asian cinema. These events are depicted at great length in Young Bruce Lee, so anyone expecting a kick-ass tribute has got a lot of waiting to do. The first fight sequence takes place over 70 minutes into the film, before that we are witness to layers of drama and sentiment, and several ‘key moments’ that shaped the future of action cinema.
She said: The real distinction of the film is that it crumbles under the weight of expectancy, with the final act the only thing that will please fans of Bruce Lee, the legend, rather than Phoenix Lee, the ordinary kid whose years growing up were at the very best, dull.
He said: The young Bruce hangs out with his friends, wins a dance competition, falls in love with the wrong girl, gets into fights we don’t actually see, and stars in several home grown movies. As a human drama it works really well, up to point.
She said: Skipping many years in the process, ditching action sequences just as the audience shift forward onto the edge of their seats, the two auteurs replace friction with birthday buns, a game of marbles an dancing the cha cha. Until the last half hour, the latter is easily the most exciting scene, choreographed and filmed in a surprisingly breathtaking manner.
He said: I was hoping to discover what made the man tick, an indication as to what drove Bruce to physical perfection, an insight into the man behind the myth - I wasn’t expecting to see school boy crushes and well-choreographed dance sequences. The cinematography is splendid, as are most of the performances, but the insights we’re longing for are strangely absent.
She said: It doesn’t really justify a lengthy running time that sugarcoats his family before bombarding us with some sensational action sequences that somehow sit out of place. This, coming from a Bruce Lee movie, is astonishing.
He said: His time studying Wing Chun under the tutelage of Master Ip Man is well documented - but not so here. It’s hard to imagine a year going by these days without a cinematic depiction of Ip Man, such is the influence he had on the world of martial arts, but in Young Bruce Lee we don’t even get to see his face - Donnie must’ve been waxing his chest that day. We do catch a glimpse of him in a photograph but that’s about it, then it’s back to the soap-style romance and family domestics.
She said: With its decent location and believable setting, one of the other notable pleasures is the performances. The characterizations may be pretty standard, they all emerge as too similar, but the casting is spot-on, even if Rahman’s Lee is at times too cocky, a bit smug, and less likeable because of it. The true winner in this movie, however, is the traitor who invades their home when Lee is barely old enough to walk, and who then appears at various points in an all too brief but brilliantly sleazy turn as the cartoonish villain of the piece, pushing the film towards it more satisfying action-packed conclusion.
He said: An attempt to add excitement arrives in the final act, with the introduction of British boxing champion Charlie Owen (Alex Yen), not to mention run-ins with drug dealers and evil henchmen. Charlie’s arrival is what prompts Bruce to visit Ip Man, but it’s not until he steps inside the ring that things step up a gear - from an action junkie’s point of view at least. The fight scenes are choreographed incredibly well, adding a touch of much needed flair to proceedings.
She said: They are reward for observing such a damp squid of a film. With the help of slick cinematography, the scenes have a sleek, shadowy look that owes as much to Lee’s famous flicks from yesteryear as much to Stallone’s Rocky franchise. A strange score during the frantic no-holds-barred rematch between Lee and Owen is slightly distracting, but this is the best moment of the film, with the drug house rooftop climax a close second, and oddly, the cha cha competition in which Lee performs with his younger brother, more thrilling than you could probably imagine.
He said: The action sequences are pleasant enough, but it’s the lack of true insight that hits the hardest. Young Bruce Lee is a wasted opportunity to show the true face of a fighting legend, and if a sequel surfaces in which he takes on the Russians, I’m out of here.
She said: Young Bruce Lee indulges in a bizarre tonal shift from dire drama to an action-packed finale bordering on thrilling. It’s hard work getting there, and fans of Lee will hate how such an icon has been made to look so ordinary, but skip to the end and enjoy some truly entertaining set-pieces that question the matter-of-factness of its opening two acts.
Adapted from the award winning debut novel by Kanae Minato, still high on the sugar-coated ripples of critical acclaim with his previous features Kamikaze Girls and Memories Of Matsuko, genre-busting auteur Tetsuya Nakashima returns like a scalded cat with Confessions. Gone are his trademark candy-coloured worlds, replaced by a sinister universe contaminated by disease, bullying and murder. Will Nakashima’s delicious new direction hit the sweet spot once again, or will it leave the audience with sweet Fanny Adams?
Yuko Moriguchi (Takako Matsu) is a middle-school teacher whose 4-year-old daughter is found dead in the school’s swimming pool. Convinced that two of her students were responsible for her daughter's murder she returns to her classroom and begins a final lesson the students will never forget.
Referring to the killers as Student A and Student B, Yuko’s ramblings are at first treated as tommyrot by the children half listening to her inane drivel. Then she reveals that two of the cartons of milk they had been drinking prior to her arrival have been laced with the HIV infected blood of her dead child’s father.
Confessions spill quicker than the milk, as each suspect reveals motives, allies, and a disturbing lack of sympathy. Will Yuko be satisfied with their acceptance of blame, knowing only too well that they aren’t old enough to be truly punished for their actions, or will she decide to end her teaching career by going out with a bang?
He said: All films should be this pretty. Exploring the dark side of adolescence with wit and delicacy, Confessions creates a disturbingly bleak atmosphere that more than compensates for a sparse plot.
She said: Based on the award-winning novel by Minato Kanae, Confessions (a.k.a. Kokuhaku) is a beautiful, tragic and deeply affecting drama about a teacher's terrifying plan to avenge her daughter's murder.
He said: A film more about mood than substance, ordinary teen irritants are blended with the extreme so seamlessly here it’s frightening, as we see when, early on, Student A (a chilling turn by Yukito Nishii as Shuya) reveals his unrivalled genius by creating contraptions to torture cats and dogs and another electrifying invention to stop purse snatchers.
She said: Confessions takes us on a troublesome journey into the minds of Japanese adolescence. Witnessing events from various points of view - the teachers, the students and the parents - each character has their own tale to tell. Told mostly through voice-over, Confessions builds towards a stunning climax, highlighting the tragic realisation of innocence lost.
He said: It’s certainly a haunting tale that will linger long in the memory, helped by a dry sense of humour running all the way through it (the students rendition of KC Band’s ‘That’s The Way I Like It’ is absolutely brilliant), with gruesomeness and giggles combining perfectly, culminating in a genuinely explosive denouement.
She said: Nakashima’s screenplay shifts from character to character, presenting an alternative angle at every turn. The opening act, a thirty-minute indictment if you will, is nothing short of breathtaking. Setting the scene, the uncompromising teacher unveils her vengeful plan to an unruly classroom. It’s remarkably unsettling, and Nakashima keeps the mood grounded in bleakness with images of raindrops, thunderous storm clouds and copious shades of grey.
He said: Takako Matsu’s performance as the scarred teacher is deftly restrained: her intense opening monologue is so gripping you’ll question how thirty minutes have zipped by. But Nakashima masters such a lengthy confession with ease, cutting to cold and harsh visual flashbacks, classroom mayhem and a self-contained story so beautiful it’s almost a disappointment when the new term begins.
She said: Confessions is a tough pill to swallow at times, drowning in corrupted characters and tragic circumstance, but it’s never less than compulsive. Dreamlike sensibilities combine with a haunting score to provide a movie going experience that remains utterly intoxicating throughout.
He said: Clearly helped by an artist who has already mastered the form, Nakashima soaks Kanae Minato’s script in such lush imagery you’ll gladly drown in its dreamy slo-mo sequences (at its stunning best in the pouring rain), entwined with wide-eyed acts of violence that will make the journey uncomfortable but compelling.
She said: Confessions provides us with the most breathtaking scene of the year, of quite possibly the last ten years, a sublime tribute to the filmmaking prowess of Tetsuya Nakashima. It’s an explosive end to a deeply affecting movie, a film that wilfully ignores the demands of modern theatre audiences. In the hands of a less capable director we could’ve walked down the all too familiar terrain of all out gore. There is bloodshed and twisted humour to be found, but it’s in keeping with the mood of the piece, and subtle lead performances keep the film grounded without ever resorting to excess - it’s not often you can say that about Japanese cinema these days.
He said: Without showing anything overtly, Confessions projects an atmosphere of palpable evil and menace with minimal locations and fuss. Fine-tuned characterizations help a plot structure that could become confusing if not dealt with so brilliantly, but this sophisticated shocker is slightly let down only by the plot’s thinness.
She said: Confessions blew me away.
He said: It’s obvious the only confession this movie needs to make is that it will blow you away.
She said: You won't be able to hear the sound of something important disappearing forever, because thankfully, Confessions is available now for you to behold. If that’s Yuko’s revenge, then I like it.
He said: Bursting with inventive visuals and a slew of nasty surprises, Confessions is a beautiful piece of work harmonized with a cracking soundtrack, brilliant screenplay and wonderful performances. Put simply, the best film of 2011.
During the early nineties, Gary Stretch was the glamour-boy of British boxing, his biggest moment undoubtedly arriving in 1991 when he challenged Chris Eubank for the WBO world middleweight championship in London. Billed as “beauty versus the best”, the outcome proved controversial, but because Stretch earned more as a model than actually fighting, he took the loss on the chin and the lure of movie stardom proved all too much. In 2004 his hard work finally paid off when he was cast as psychotic gangster Sonny in Shane Meadows' gritty thriller Dead Man's Shoes (2004). A year later would see him become the leading man in Let Kitaparaporn’s The King Maker. Would it take Stretch to the top in Tinseltown, or instead be the knockout blow?
Fernando De Gama (Gary Stretch), a young Portuguese soldier of fortune, sets sail for the Orient seeking the man who killed his father. Shipwrecked, captured and sold into slavery, Fernando is rescued by a beautiful woman only to discover she is linked to his father's murder.
When Fernando is pressed into military service, his heroics on the battlefield gain him the distinction of becoming a celebrated personal guard to the King of Siam.
It isn’t long though before he uncovers the devious Queen's plan to replace the King with her lover, so Fernando must battle to stop the very plot in which he is incriminated, before the kingdom explodes into war…
He said: The hackneyed but enjoyable opening, including some entertaining action scenes, impressive stunts and, particularly fun, our hero’s encounter with a crocodile, means that for a good twenty minutes the viewer is willing to venture further into a world that’s simple but functional and quite nicely conceived, managing to forgive the over enthusiastic use of computer generated effects and close up shots of a fake leg to the face.
She said: The opening stampede - we’ll call it an ‘introduction’ for now - reminded me of a young Tony Jaa, before he lost his mind and turned to religion. No offence Tony, but you had a talent I could see with my own eyes. Then you decided to live in a cave and reinvent yourself. I’m happy for you, truly I am. But action cinema pretty much lost its greatest creation since Bruce Lee - I doubt your God even remembers bringing you into this world, he’s probably more interested in impregnating virgins - it’s a rumour I heard. Probably a different God. The King Maker is blessed with a chaotic opening that breeds hope for the remainder of the movie.
He said: The one who suffers most is Yoe Hassadeevichit, playing Queen Sudachan, hamming it up with lines that would make George Lucas cringe: “Believe me, they have never known a woman like me before, but soon, they will!” she hisses, moments after another gem, in which she mumbles to herself, “He (the King) treats me like a common whore. One day, I will make him pay for his indiscretions, that, I promise!”
She said: The acting is atrocious throughout. Believe me, if the signature theme doesn’t remind you of ‘The Phantom Menace’ then the acting will. George Lucas must be shaking his hands with glee, The King Maker belongs in a world where the voice talent of ‘A Phantom Menace’ thrives. I’m not talking about the Qui-Gon Jinn’s of this world - we’ll pretend that he exists in a far grander universe - I’m talking about the soulless robots that inhabit planet actuality.
He said: In one more doozy, during a pointless cockfight, someone dares to utter the line, “There might be something funny about your cock” to the other contender. It has no relevance, and thanks to the drivel spat out before it, it isn’t clear whether this is an attempt at humour (neither is the Witch Doctor who sounds like Crazy Frog), which sadly, sums up a movie with actual potential to entertain.
She said: Nobody wants to watch a funny cock for ninety minutes. Not even a noteworthy performer like Gary Stretch. No offence Gary - maybe you should’ve stuck with the modelling. Did I say modelling? I meant boxing. Obviously.
He said: Equally tiring are the visuals, and it’s odd to report that The King Maker has already dated badly, somehow resembling the eighties imaginings of John Carpenter’s Big Trouble In Little China (1986) a decade too late. It may bring other-worldly veracity to the party, especially in the opening exchanges, but how a film nine years younger manages to fail with simple back projection techniques (most notable in the big battle scene) is worrying, and certainly disrupts an audiences’ ability to suspend disbelief.
She said: The effects are awful.
He said: There will always be those who’ll suggest that all the corn witnessed here adds to the charm, but there’s no getting away from a terrible script that lacks realistic conflict and characterization, even if the score provides some thumping action themes and a couple of love songs Celine Dion would’ve been proud of, if only she wasn’t so busy with a three-year, 600-show contract to appear five nights a week in an entertainment extravaganza at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.
She said: Perhaps I was in the wrong frame of mind, but any attempts at heartfelt sincerity seemed lost in a wasteland of ceaseless hilarity. All you need, or so it would seem, is something akin to a Celene Dion number, several mortified looks of anguish, and a Thai Choir to get you through the heartache. Just so long as you don’t forget the slow-mo - and a few knowing glances. Believe me when I say it, even the stone carvings had smiles on their faces. Fernando and Maria (Cindy Burbridge) share the kind of relationship fully endorsed by the classic action movies of the 80's. He’s only known her for a day and already he’s coming out with lines like “this might be hard for you”.
He said: An exercise in style over substance, with very little of the former, The King Maker will entertain fans of Gary Stretch the boxer, but will fail to endorse Gary Stretch the actor, thanks to a script that hits the canvas after the first round.
She said: It's a film in which the entire cast speaks English, and nobody bothers with their native tongue - saves on the subtitles I guess. The King Maker is one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. I loved/hated every minute of it (delete as appropriate).
Five teenage friends, including rookie pilot Sara (Jessica Lowndes of 90210), rent a small plane for a weekend getaway. Shortly after take-off events go horribly wrong. Instruments on the plane begin to malfunction causing it to climb higher and higher, leading them into a threatening storm cloud just as the fuel starts running out. All in all, not the perfect start to a relaxing getaway. Best not mention the flying octopus, then...
He said: Modern horror movies aren’t exactly known for well-written sympathetic characters, but with Altitude, writer Paul A. Birkett has created three of the most irritating teenagers in the history of screenwriting. Perhaps I’m being unkind to the guys on this one, but even by today’s standards, it’s rare for central characters to act so dumb. Common sense, rationalisation and resourcefulness are left behind on the runway as our three leads bicker, argue and fight their way through sixty minutes of tedium and despair.
She said: He's being unkind. Sal (played by Jake Weary) easily redeems himself in the latter stages of the movie, as does Bruce (Landon Liboiron), mainly down to the pleasing twist just before the final act. Besides, our main protagonist, Sara (90210's Jessica Lowndes) is one of the hottest female leads in many a while, and regardless of her so-called buddies, she makes this film worthy of your attention. Unless you're a girl, because all the boys are rubbish. They're all quite good looking though, so that's something.
He said: The leading lady looks hot.
She said: Indeed.
He said: Common sense, rationalisation and resourcefulness are left behind on the runway as our three leads bicker, argue and fight their way through sixty minutes of tedium and despair.
She said: Who hasn't laughed at the drunken squabblings of teenagers? Who hasn't participated (even if it was a while back) in drunken squabblings? Director Kaare Andrews is clearly more intune with the younger voice than some, besides, the opening act offers some decent humour, intentional as well as not.
He said: Bruce is the most underwritten character in the entire movie, and as things turn out, pretty much the most important one too.
She said: This much is true, but when all is said and done, you'll almost forgive the guy for being such a lame-ass. Trust me...
He said: The five characters spend the majority of the first hour arguing about their predicament, rather than doing anything constructive about it.
She said: They're in a plane and only one person knows how to fly it (sort of). Not even B A Baracus could guide them out of this mess.
He said: And boy, do they have plenty to argue about – in fact it’s any wonder they became friends in the first place. Bruce collects comic books and clings hold of a tragic past, that’s pretty much all we get to know about him until the final act. He’s resentful of Sara’s desire to start over, and it soon becomes clear that she has no intention of continuing their relationship once she’s gone, which kind of makes you wonder why she invited him along?
She said: This much is true, although conflict is good, and Altitude does have a decent love triangle going on.
He said: Even before the movie takes an almighty leap of faith, the spectacularly dumb script suffers from an ample amount of turbulence. One early scene finds Cory abseiling the outside of the plane in order to resume control. He’s hanging from a rope in the middle of a storm, 12000 feet in the air, and still refuses to take the plane's one and only parachute because “I’ve been free climbing since I was twelve and it will only slow me down.” Of course it will Cory, but then again, isn’t there also the chance that it might save your life? Stupidity has never run so deep. Having said that, this is by far the most enjoyable scene in the movie.
She said: This is the most enjoyable scene in the movie, other than the entire final act. My favourite line comes from Sara though, just after the plane goes tits up, daring to utter, "Maybe I missed something during the pre-flight, I don't know!"
He said: A preposterous tale about five teenagers trapped on a rising plane becomes a monstrous fantasy ripped from the pages of a comic book. The final act is ridiculous beyond words, but after the teen angst and petty disputes that come before it, you really will feel a welcome sense of release.
She said: Shit the bed, this conflict-driven teen drama has suddenly transmogrified into one hell of a ride with one of the best twists since Unbreakable.
He said: It’s a shame that the climatic twist feels so forced, pointlessly tacked on to inspire debate, without any sense of closure, common sense or reasoning. Then again, we are talking about a movie in which a plane is attacked by a giant flying squid - so perhaps it’s best if we let that slide for now.
She said: Let it slide? This is brilliant. I was quietly satisfied beforehand, even if I had already seen the trailer and its money shot, which had yet to arrive, but I certainly wasn't expecting such a cracking turn of events - and it gets even better still, daring to go further than you could imagine. Wow, this rivals Spielberg (see Always).
He said: I’m a big fan of big dumb horror movies, more than willing to ignore the implausibility of the plot and go along for the ride. Had Kaare Andrews and Paul A. Birkett put more emphasis on their Twilight Zone style turn, Altitude could’ve made for light, breezy escapism. Instead they choose to saddle the film with whiny teenagers, lacklustre pacing and one twist too far. Like a greasy burger from a motorway café, Altitude seems like a good idea at the time, but the burning sensation in the pit of your stomach suggests that you’ll think twice before eating there again.
She said: His first sentance is all that matters. It's big, dumb, and in the end, cleverer than it ever ought to be.