Tuesday, 22 November 2016

NEWS: SNOWPIERCER PULLS IN NEXT TO YOUR SOFA


We've seen some strange films in our time, but when it comes to Joon-ho Bong's 2013 action thriller, we were almost lost for words. Not that the movie is especially bonkers, you understand. It's just that we were expecting something completely different. In truth, I don't know what we were expecting, because for once we went into a movie cold. Which, looking back now, is kind of appropriate really. We may have had no idea what to expect from Joon-ho Bong's runaway train, but Memories of Murder, The Host and Mother are three of our favourite films, so we were convinced we would be in safe hands. 

However, doubts had already started to creep in. At the time of viewing, the film still didn't have an official release date in the UK (rarely a good omen) and copies were hard to come by. What's more, Korean directors had already started dipping their toes in Hollywood waters with mixed success. Kim Jee-woon (The Last Stand) stumbled out of the blocks with his Arnie comeback vehicle and Chan-wook Park failed to set the world alight with Stoker. Not the disasters they could have been, don't get me wrong, but both directors were capable of so much more.

Snowpiercer stars Chris Evans (Captain America), John Hurt (Hellboy), Tilda Swinton (Vanilla Sky) and Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot), with Korean presence provided by Kang-ho Song (The Host) and Ah-sung Ko (The Host). Set in the future, we soon learn that a failed climate-change experiment has killed all life on the planet, except for a 'lucky few' on board the Snowpiercer; a train that travels around the icy globe encasing man's last hope. 


A class structure has emerged on the train and Curtis (Chris Evans) has had just about enough of the protein bars he's been dining on for the past 17 years. So he joins forces with the other passengers at the back of the train and together they aim to turn their fortunes around. One carriage at a time.

The opening act is a little messy, tonally awkward and hard to connect with. It doesn't really find its feet until Curtis and his motley crew start making their way up the train. It's a striking production and the snowy exterior provides the effects team with a few meaty challenges. Inside however, is where the film really comes to life. The dark greys of the lower classes are soon replaced by, among other things, an aquarium, sushi bar, mirrorball nightclub and perhaps best of all, a colourful classroom where the privileged children learn and sing. 


That was the moment my mood turned for the better. It's a wonderful sequence; zany, cool and very amusing. Tilda Swinton is unrecognisable as a vocalist for the elite, resembling a cross between Bugs Bunny and Deirdre Barlow. It's a quirky performance that feels out of place at first but things get loopy very quickly and before long she is getting cosy with a memorable cast of oddballs and eccentrics.

From that moment forward the action comes thick and fast, with the South Korean helmer really finding his feet in the home straight. The final act had me hook, line and sinker, serving up a heady dose of action, drama and visual panache. After a shaky start I had been swept along for the ride. Not a subtle ride by any stretch of the imagination, but with Joon-ho Bong in the drivers seat, Snowpiercer feels as fresh as the morning snow.

The good news is Snowpiercer is being re imagined for TV screens. The new take has been granted both a pilot and a potential series by US network TNT. There will be changes of course, according to online sources the show will be set seven years after the deep freeze. Overseeing the show is Josh Friedman, whose film credits include writing War Of The Worlds and co-writing the upcoming Avatar 2. He also served as showrunner/executive producer of the TV series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. It's early days on this one but it could be worth the wait.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

NEWS: TRAIN TO BUSAN ARRIVES ON TIME...


Arguably one of the most anticipated U.K. DVD and Blu-Ray releases of recent times, Train to Busan arrives on February 27, 2017. A mysterious viral outbreak pushes Korea into a state of emergency and as an unidentified virus sweeps the country, Korean government declares martial law. 

Those on an express train to Busan, a city that has successfully fended off the viral outbreak, must fight for their own survival… 453 km from Seoul to Busan. The struggle to survive by those who have others to protect. Get on board to stay alive. Check out the trailer below and believe the hype. Can't wait for this one.


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

TRAILER: PANDORA


We recently posted a teaser trailer for upcoming disaster film, Pandora. You can check it out here. Now we have the first full length trailer and it all looks pretty epic. We're sure there will be some melodrama thrown in for good measure. Check it out below. Pandora stars Kim Nam-Gil, Kim Young-Ae and Moon Jeong-Hee.

The new movie is directed by Park Jung-Woo (Deranged), revolving around an explosive nuclear disaster with Kim Nam-Gil taking centre stage, trying to save both his family and country. Pandora is set for release in South Korea this December. 






NEWS: TEASER TRAILER FOR FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST DELIVERS ON SPECTACLE. BRIEFLY.


A teaser trailer has been released for Fullmetal Alchemist and all we can say is, impressive. It's early days of course but the effects look pretty cool and this could be the film fans are praying for. We have a long time to wait, however, Fullmetal Alchemist premieres sometime during winter, 2017 in Japan.

Fullmetal Alchemist is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Fullmetal Alchemist, the film is set in a fictional universe in which alchemy is one of the most advanced scientific techniques. The story itself follows two alchemist brothers named Edward and Alphonse Elric, who are searching for the philosopher's stone to restore their bodies after a failed attempt to bring their mother back to life.

Fumihiko Sori (Ichi, Ping Pong) will direct the film and principal photography ran from June to August 2016 in Italy. The film will star Ryosuke Yamada (Assassination Classroom) as Edward Elric, Tsubasa Honda (The Mole Song 2) as Winry Rockbell and Dean Fujioka (Ninja the Monster) as Roy Mustang. The anime was voted Japan's most popular of all time. No pressure then. 


IN OUR SIGHTS: YOUR NAME


WHAT IS IT: A new Japanese animation touted as this years Spirited Away. The less you know about it the better, but the story involves a small-town high-school girl called Mitsuha (Mone Kamishiraishi), and a Tokyo boy of the same age named Taki (Ry√Ľnosuke Kamiki), who start possessing each other’s bodies. From there, a strange relationship develops between them.

WHY? It's getting rave reviews all around the world. Empire magazine said, "If you only see one Japanese animated feature this year, see this one, and see it more than once." While Total Film commented, "A brain-scrambler to make hearts swell, Shinkai’s giddy romance brims with emotion and invention."


WHEN: Directed by Makoto Shinkai, Your Name opens this Friday in the U.K. Check out the weird and wonderful trailer below.


Tuesday, 15 November 2016

IN OUR SIGHTS: WE ARE THE FLESH


WHAT IS IT? A new Mexican horror movie whipping up a storm on the festival circuit. After wandering a ruined city for years in search of food and shelter, two siblings find their way into one of the last remaining buildings. Inside, they find a man who will make them a dangerous offer to survive in the outside world.

WHY? It looks like a tough watch but one that could prove to be worth the effort. One review called it, "An extreme Mexican fiesta of incest, cannibalism and explicit sex that should earn detractors and fans in equal measure." Another review was a little more straightforward, summarising with, “Jesus Christ, that was one weird-ass movie.” One thing's for sure, We Are The Flesh will get everybody talking.


WHEN? Emiliano Rocha Minter's first full length feature, We Are The Flesh, will have a limited run in U.K. theatres from November 18th


NEWS: TAKE THAT SUPER TED! HURRICANE POLYMAR HEADS TO THE BIG SCREEN...


And I thought we had cool cartoons when I was a kid. Junpei Mizobata has been cast in new live-action film, Hurricane Polymar. For those of us raised on Bananaman and Super Ted, Hurricane Polymar is based on a TV show which aired on channel NET (now TV Asahi) from 1974-1975. 


Junpei Mizobata will play the main character, Takeshi Yoroi. You can see him in all his glory in the original title sequence below. He is a private investigator who comes into possession of a special suit made out of artificial polymar. With the suit, Takeshi Yoroi turns into, you guessed it, Hurrican Polymar. Which also means he has the ability to turn into five different vehicles. 

Also cast in supporting roles are Yuki Yamada, Mikie Hara and Yurina Yanagi. The new movie will be directed by Koichi Sakamoto, with a release date set for May 2017. No official trailer yet, obviously, but we're sure it won't be long before the first teaser reaches our screens. 


Monday, 14 November 2016

NEWS: SEEDING OF A GHOST ON DVD & BLU-RAY


Well it didn't take us long to get back to a suitable level of distaste. Originally planned as part three of the Shaw Brothers Black Magic Trilogy, due to it's over the top blood-splattering nature and gross-out shock levels, Seeding Of A Ghost ran into censorship problems and was released under a new moniker. 

It's an erotic gore-fest rivalling Hollywood's best. Filled with gratuitous nudity, the film stars the highly touted martial arts star, Kao Fei, in a non-fighting role as taxi driver Chou Tung, who seeks revenge against the hooligans that raped and killed his wife. 

By soliciting the help of a demented magician, who agrees to assist him in finding and punishing his wife's rapists, Chou takes great pleasure in seeking vengeance. It's a twisted delight and it's yours to own from January 16, 2017 on Dual Format DVD and Blu-ray courtesy of 88 Films. Check out the ludicrously entertaining trailer below.


NEWS: NORMAL SERVICE WILL RESUME AFTER THIS DISNEY INFUSED COMMERCIAL BREAK...


We're going to take a break from horror, bloodshed and extreme violence for a couple of minutes to sit back and enjoy the wonder that is Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast. I'll let you in to a little secret now, Beauty and the Beast is my favourite Disney animation. I mean, besides The Lion King. But that doesn't count, right? Everybody loves The Lion King.

Last years The Jungle Book was pretty solid entertainment so it looks like we'll be revisiting all the Disney classics over the next few years. It doesn't hurt to have Emma Watson and Dan Stevens playing Belle and The Beast, and with Luke Evans taking dashing and dastardly to the max, we couldn't think of anybody better to bring Gaston to life. Ewan McGregor is on board too, as well as Emma Thompson. Not convinced by Chip though, but it's early days on that one.

The trailer looks fantastic though, not to mention incredibly faithful to the 1991 original. Want to check out the trailer for yourself? Be our guest. Beauty and the Beast is released on March 17 in the U.K. and the U.S.


Sunday, 13 November 2016

ONE TO WATCH? THE MONSTER


Two strong performances carry Bryan Bertino's (The Strangers) latest movie, simply titled The Monster, through some dank and dirty terrain. The set up is straightforward enough; a broken down car, a rainy, deserted back road and a killer on the loose. In The Monster, however, the killer in question is a genuine monster and not just the figurative kind. Spending the first half of the movie lurking in the shadows, the very first glimpse of The Monster is reminiscent of H.R. Giger's original Alien creation, which bodes well for the rest of the movie. 

After hitting a wolf in the road, a reluctant mother and her put upon daughter are forced to fight for their lives against a formidable foe. Regular flashbacks provide our two leads, Kathy (Zoe Kazan) and her daughter Lizzy (Ella Ballentine), with a ballsy back story. In truth, The Monster is at its best when it strays away from genre convention, and the flashbacks provide Kazan and Ballentine with the meatiest scenes. Not bad for a movie with a flesh eating monster. 

The Monster isn't just a monster movie though. At its heart, Bryan Bertino has delivered a hard-hitting drama about motherhood. Kathy is a bad mom. A really bad mom. She is fully aware of this though, which is why she is taking Lizzy on a road trip to live with her father. Both girls are fantastic in their roles, especially Kazan. Kathy has never had the courage to fight for anything in her short, miserable life. She's a selfish addict and a terrible parent, but can she overcome her shortcomings in order to save her daughter? 

Unfortunately, that's where The Monster loses momentum. As cool as the monster effects are at first, its the mother/daughter relationship that has the real teeth. The final act is a little too formulaic, unlike the gritty flashbacks, and genuine scares are few and far between. The monster of the title too, effective in the shadows, looks far less menacing as the climax rears its ugly head. In fact, it very much resembles the man-in-rubber-suit Alien finale. Maybe we should give the effects team the benefit of the doubt and call it a nod to Ridley Scott's masterpiece. Perhaps not.

Two strong leads and an effective first act can't disguise the fact that The Monster is a pedestrian horror movie. At just over 80 minutes long it doesn't outstay its welcome, but the quality dips whenever Kazan is off screen. Worth a look but ultimately forgettable.