Available Now on Netflix UK
Tarantino’s Death Proof is a film with two intense acts. It’s a dialogue- packed, blood- splatter horror with a re-watch-ability that guarantees the same thrill every time you watch it.
Death Proof is often considered as Tarantino’s worst film and I cannot see why. It’s full to the brim with great imagery and while it has a whole load of Tarantino’s obsessions present (there’s no shortage of feet here), that doesn’t mean this film is weak. Yeah, it revolves around ‘hot babes’ partying and drug taking but behind that the film is ultimately a feminist piece- or at the very least pro- woman. In placing women in central roles Tarantino does quite a good job at representing these characters pretty fairly- every now and then they fall into an unfortunate stereotype but considering Death Proof often feels like it’s on the edge of being a parody or homage to earlier exploitation horror flicks then I’ll let that pass.
Visually it’s kind of strange, with a grainy film filter covering the screen and a weird moment of black and white right it the middle we could easily be fooled into thinking this film was made in the 70’s (even though it’s not)- but it kind of works. With bright colors and bold sets that jump out the screen in every other scene the filter acts as a buffer for our senses.
As this film comes to a close we’re treated to what I assume was about twenty minutes of an all- out intense car case, and I loved every minute of it. There’s no amazingly clever premise or ‘wow I can’t believe that’ twist behind Death Proof, it’s simply a silly, fun, intense horror flick that Tarantino succeeds in making an exciting watch.
Available now on Netflix UK
Single mother, Amelia (Essie Davis), is struggling to look after her over- active son, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), in the wake of her husbands death. When Samuel finds a rather disturbing book on the shelf in his bedroom the Babadook stops being a child’s nightmare and begins to become a terrifying reality for this small family.
The film is a chilling look at the tangibility of grief and addiction. Prescription drugs and the fathers death become central to the the film, but they only subtly let us know what The Babadook is really about. It’s sad, it’s disturbing, and it’s relentless. We’re treated to scene after scene of the difficulties in raising a child when both mother and son are struggling with their own terrors. Samuel with his childhood fear of monsters, and Amelia with visions of her dead husband- both protagonists of this film play their roles extremely well.
The film does not give us any relief as we soon dive into the unnerving world of the Babadook. As a horror film The Babadook fulfills what it’s supposed to do- the whole thing is absolutely terrifying. There’s a spine- chilling atmosphere to the whole movie as we’re often trapped in the blue/ grey house with Amelia and Samuel. Director Jennifer Kent plays on the films mood extremely well, it’s frightening at the best of times- and absolutely terrifying in others.
Undeniably gripping, emotionally painful, completely relentless- The Babadook is a must see horror.
Available now on Netflix UK
I love slasher films, even trashy ones.
After Billy (Robert Brian Wilson) witnesses the murder of his parents by a man dressed as Santa Clause he is sent to live in an orphanage. Things go from bad to worse as his childhood trauma is made worse by well- meaning nuns until he manages to get a job in a toy store. Considering Billy is a boy with a deathly fear of all things Christmas you would have thought he’d have chosen a different career path- but whatever you think is best, Billy.
His fear reaches it’s climax when he has to dress up as Santa for the toy store (as if we didn’t all see this coming Billy, you idiot). He finally snaps, and goes on a murderous rampage screaming “Punish” and “Naughty” whenever he gets the opportunity. There’s no great acting, and no great visual elements- aside from the odd kill that often ends up being more funny than disturbing in its ridiculousness, and yet it’s still an okay film.
There’s no mystery to the killer in Silent Night, Deadly Night, within ten minutes you can tell exactly where this movie is going- but I’m not mad at that. Sure, the whole thing is more ridiculous than scary but that’s what makes movies like these fun to watch.
There’s no real reason as to why you should watch this movie, it’s trash from beginning to end, but it’s good trash. A movie to laugh at if nothing else.
2/5 — Because I liked it way more than I should have.
Avaliable from 14th November on Netflix UK
Alexander Payne’s 2013 black and white drama Nebraska is a beautiful film- from cinematography to plot there isn’t a weak element. When a film looks like this it can be off putting in an era where bright feel- good films power through the box office, but don’t take Nebraska at face value- I mean everything looks good in black and white anyway, right? This film certainly does.
Bruce Dern and Will Forte play a father/ son duo and together they steer this movie forward, with great acting on both sides. Woody (Bruce Dern) is an aging, alcoholic, confused man who believes he has won a million dollars- but has to get to Nebraska to retrieve it. David (Will Forte) is his recently single, concerned son, looking to spend time with his father and ultimately decides to help Woody get to Nebraska. Of course things like these are never easy and this simple road trip turns into a roller-coaster ride of emotions.
After Woody convinces his home town, and many family members that this clear scam to win a million dollars is real it’s hard to see a happy ending in sight. Old friends and family members try to convince Woody that he owes them money- he was an alcoholic after all, drinking his money away.
At times this movie seems extremely bleak but as Nebraska wraps itself up it leaves you feeling good. The ending is simple but effective, of course he didn’t actually win the money, but that doesn’t mean the film has to end up in a bad place, and thankfully it didn’t.
Available from the 6th of November on NOW TV
Alex Garland’s sci- fi thriller looks amazing. Seriously, I could not take my eyes off this film. The design is wonderful but the film is never hiding behind it’s visual elements. Ex Machina is exploring ideas of intelligence, of the self aware- for both robot and man. Of course the idea of advanced AI isn’t anything new, but this film still feels fresh. At times Ex Machina even has the atmosphere of a horror film, Alex Garland building tension so expertly you just know something’s going to happen and it’s going to be amazing when it does.
When Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) wins a competition to meet the head of the company he works for (Oscar Isaac) things take a strange turn when he is invited to test a piece of AI. As the tension builds towards the final act we’re not quite sure what, or who to believe. You’ll find your self sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next- helped along by Oscar Isaac, whose performance plays up Ex Machina’s sinister mood- there’s something about this film that will give you the creeps. Even Ava (Alicia Vikander), the advanced AI with a pretty face, seems a little too bizarre. Is it just because she’s a robot or is there something more going on? It really is a great film.
Ex Machina pays off in the final act, it has plenty of gruesome twists and disturbing imagery that takes this film to the next level. It is both an awesome science fiction movie and an ‘edge- of- your- seat’ thriller.
Available from the 2nd November on Virgin Movies, eir Vision Movies, TalkTalk Box Office, Amazon Instant Video, blinkbox, iTunes
David Gordon Green’s Manglehorn should not be missed. It’s a beautiful piece of cinema that deserves to be watched. Sure, it’s not fast paced and the plot is simple at best, but you just can’t help being sucked in by the wonderful cast of characters and the beautiful visual elements the film offers. With great lighting and surreal edits there’s a mood to this film that’s hard not to fall in love with. If you’ve got the time and patience for Manglehorn I highly recommend you give it a watch.
Manglehorn (Al Pacino) is a Texas key maker who spends most of his time looking after his cat and obsessing over a lost love. He is cynical at times, but mostly he is only plodding through life giving his son lectures on priorities while having very few of his own. At times it’s painfully awkward, Manglehorn just can’t help saying the wrong thing, at the wrong time, almost always. You’ll be squirming from the gracelessness of this character, yet somehow it makes the film only better to watch. When a new love comes in you gain some hope for old Manglehorn, of course he has to mess up before happiness can be achieved.
Ultimately this film isn’t cynical, although it can be at times. It’s about starting over, starting again, and gaining happiness- even if it is late in life. It’s utterly absorbing, a film full of character, and strangely attractive in it’s simplicity.
So over the course of this month I watched all the Nightmare on Elm Street films and I was honestly surprised at how, once I started watching I only wanted to watch more. Take a look at my two line reviews for each film to see what I thought;
Available from 27th October on Netflix UK
Manson Family Vacation is surprisingly funny and heartfelt. This charming film takes us along with two brothers on their bonding session- that just so happens to include the Charles Manson murder sites. After Nick (Jay Duplass) gets a long overdue visit from his wayward brother, Conrad (Linas Phillips), the film perfectly sets itself up for a charming but worrying brother dynamic. Jay Duplass is perfect in the lead role of this drama- comedy. In fact the off- beat humor in this film reminded me of another small- scale drama- horror film, Creep, staring Jay Duplass’s brother, Mark Duplass. See the trailer here.
However if the reveal towards the end was supposed to be a twist then it didn’t work for me, I figured it out very early on. Still, it was an engaging watch as the film beats forward at a steady pace and makes you feel exactly what you should, when you should.
Ultimately the film ends up in the place it felt like it was going, but not in a negative way. The end is satisfying as we hear exactly what these brothers needed to say to each other.
Available from 26th October on Virgin Movies/ EE / TalkTalk / Eircom / Amazon Instant Video / Google Play
Prosthetic penis’s everywhere and a cast full of comedy heavyweights (Adam Scott/ Taylor Schilling/ Jason Schwartzman/ Judith Godreche).
Okay so there isn’t that many penis’s but there are a lot of jokes and I was laughing through most of the film.
Patrick Brice’s The Overnight is an up close look at the swinger community, the highs, the lows, but it definitely isn’t judgmental. Brice takes this film to places many others wouldn’t go to and just when you think he’s crossed the line- he pulls it back. I would recommend this film for anyone looking for a laugh- even if some of them are pretty cheap. It’s an ‘adult film’ but not in that sleazy way.
Jason Schwartzman is, as always, hilarious- disclaimer: he is one of my favorite actors for no reason I can personally discover- but the whole cast is pretty strong. However there is more to this movie than comedy and penis’s, it deals with issues such as adulthood, loneliness, where bromance ends and romance continues and, yes, sex.