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Docurary- New Release Review- Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer, 1993

Available from the 1st January on Netflix UK

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At times Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer seems to be more about the struggles of making a documentary when surrounded by difficult people than about what is ultimately a tragic, crazy story about a woman who turned to murder. While Broomfield’s documentary is interesting- and never boring- it’s also nothing new when it comes to true crime docs. The most interesting moments are when we are shown what it’s really like to make a documentary and the struggles film makers face when talking to people who, well, just don’t want to talk.

Aileen Wuornos was somewhat a media headliner after being dubbed Americas first female serial killer. If this isn’t already enough of a story Nick Broomfield is forced to abandon the usual role of ‘watcher’ and dive head first in his attempts to interview the people surrounding this story- including Wournos herself. At times we watch uncomfortably as Broomfield argues and becomes impatient with his interviewees who seem less than willing to help out (despite being paid for their time!). It’s very raw, it’s very real, and it’s very interesting from the angle of the making of a documentary.

The Selling of a Serial Killer focuses on Wuornos who while working as a prostitute killed only her male clients and at the time of her arrest (and while committing these horrific crimes) was in a relationship with a woman. Things start to get crazier when a Christian woman adopts her. Arlene Pralle, now the mother of Wournos, comes across as a fascinatingly fake character and Broomfield makes no attempt to make her appear genuine. We see what’s there, and what’s there is undeniably troublesome. Finally we have Steve Glazer a guitar wielding lawyer/Pralle’s agent (?) who has the weirdest advert for his services- they can only be described as looking like they’ve been stolen from Saul Goodman. Together Pralle and Glazer seem to be in it for the money, between press deals and demanding money to be part of Broomfield’s documentary the whole thing is rather shady.

While Broomfield’s documentary breaks no new ground in terms of story telling or with documentary as a genre it’s still an interesting watch. It’s an up close look at people, a journey into the reality of corruption, betrayal, and crime.

2.5/ 5

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New Release Review- Big Trouble in Little China, 1986

Available from the 1st January on Netflix UK

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Everybody knows I love John Carpenter and Big Trouble in Little China is not Carpenters best film, but it is an action comedy jammed full of fun. Before watching Big Trouble in Little China the only Carpenter films I’d seen had been very much seated in the horror genre. BUT despite not being the type of horror film I know Carpenter for the whole thing is drenched in his style.

Trucker Jack Burton (Kurt Russell- who also starred in Tarantino’s Death Proof available on Netflix UK) agrees to pick up his friend Wang Chi’s (Dennis Dun) fiance at the airport with him. Of course things don’t go to plan and we delve into a fantasy adventure where good an evil collide. See, the evil sorcerer Lo Pan must marry a girl with emerald eyes to regain his physical form – and unfortunately for Wang Chi, his fiance, and Jack Burton, she is a beautiful women with emerald green eyes.

It’s great fun, with superb pacing, and some truly memorable costume design and characters. There’s even some weird supernatural monsters in the mix. You know, cause it’s awesome- and they look awesome, but what else would you expect from Carpenter? He’s know for his special- effects movies.

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Ultimately Big Trouble in Little China is an easy going movie, the type of movie you can just get enjoyment out of without diving too deep into anything. It looks great, it feels great and it’s never boring- go watch it!!!!

5/5

Docu-rary 2016 – Making a Murderer- What is it? and why you should watch it.

Available now on Netflix

The Netflix original series, Making a Murderer, is making quite a splash across the globe. Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi’s documentary, that took ten years and complete immersion into the community to film is currently one of the most controversial documentaries. From Reddit to News reports to the Anonymous hacktivist group it’s hard to shy away from the blaring show of support and anger this documentary has stirred up.

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New Release Review- The Gift, 2015

Avaliable from 7th December on iTunes, blinkbox, Amazon Instant Video, Virgin Movies, TalkTalk Box Office, eir Vision Movies, Google Play, Curzon Home Cinema

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Sorry I’m a little behind on reviews because of university work! BUT The Gift is one of my favorite thrillers/ movies in general of 2015. SO HERE WE GO:

You know those movies that seem to get crazier and creepier as they go? Yeah, The Gift is one of those.

I don’t know why I expected a horror when I sat down to watch this, but it really wasn’t anything of the sort. Sure, it builds the kind of atmosphere you’d usually find in a horror film but The Gift is an all out psychological thriller.

Joel Edgerton’s directorial debut (you can also find him starring in this film, and on the producers list, and his name on the screen play), The Gift is undeniably creepy.

Husband and wife (Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall) move to a wonderful new house with high hopes for the future. Unfortunately Gordo (Edgerton) turns up. Although seeming innocent enough- perhaps a little unnerving- Gordo slowly starts to tear their lives apart. I know I’ve written the word Gordo one to many times, but Edgertons performance really carries the life of this film, however all three protagonists are great in their own right.

The ending is a punch in the face, the final blow that seals this movie in ‘totally disturbing but, ah! What a clever twist’ territory. The Gift is a must watch in my opinion.

4.5 /5 – Yeah I liked it a lot!

Now On Netflix Review- Preservation, 2014

Available now on Netflix UK

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Utter trash.

Couple Wit and Mike (Wrenn Schmit/ Aaron Staton) decide to take a camping trip in an attempt to run from their problems, but things don’t go to plan when Mike’s brother Sean (Pablo Schreiber) ends up tagging along. Of course it’s probably a blessing in disguise as they’re soon being hunted by mysterious men and ex- military brother Sean is probably their best hope to get out of the woods alive.

Why? Why does everyone split up in horror films? It never, ever, works.

After seeing that Mike and Wit can make their way back to the car Sean decides to go back and save his dog.

It’s never a good sign when you kill of your best character half an hour in. Sean is quickly murdered, which is an endless disappointment because he was the only character with an interesting back story. Still, I watch on because I have a secret love for VOD trash.

There’s not an awful lot of mood or atmosphere in this film, it is what it is, which is a trashy survival- esque horror movie.

The ending ‘twist’ is an obvious cliche, you’ll work it out early on if you’re watching this movie with any kind of interest- but it is a cliche for a reason as it still works to add a disturbing layer as this film comes to an end.

2/5

New Release Review- Sucker Punch, 2011

Available from 4th November on Amazon Prime

I’ve heard this is a love it or hate it movie. Spoiler: I hated it, which is a shame because with a name like ‘Sucker Punch’ it sounds like you’re in for one hell of an awesome movie.

Zack Snyder is desperately trying to deliver something new, something powerful in this comic book/ video game- esque film, Sucker Punch, but it doesn’t quite deliver. Our protagonists, led by ‘Baby Doll’ (Emily Browning), are plastic wrap, see-through and unimpressive. They’re wearing nothing and there’s not much going on behind the visual, no character development, nothing.

I wanted to love this film, I really did, but I couldn’t. I wanted this film to be about empowerment but it wasn’t. Something went terribly wrong somewhere. Perhaps the thought of a crazy, fast paced, jam- packed movie was the studios/ Snyder’s attempt at disguising these not- so- much characters and the not- so- much plot; but ultimately you can’t slam great visuals on something and expect it to save the rest of the movie. It just doesn’t work.

HOWEVER, and this is a big however, the concept behind this movie is good, I won’t deny that. Video games, imagination, mental health are all big themes, with huge areas for exploring in contemporary film, unfortunately Snyder cannot do them justice in Sucker Punch. It seems, or at least feels like there’s a lot of skill in this movie and it’s being wasted on what is, well, a bad film. And, yeah, the movie does look great, but it’s only a bad video game- great graphics but no story to back it up.

All things considered, I’m not mad at Sucker Punch, I can see why people would want to, and love to watch it, I just wish I hadn’t.

1 / 5

New Release: Cop Car, 2015

Avaliable from 19th October on Virgin Movies / EE / TalkTalk / Eircom / Amazon Instant Video / Google Play / blinkbox

Two boys (James Freedson- Jackson/ Hays Wellford) find a cop car in the middle of nowhere and take it for a joy ride. Of course things don’t go as planned when renegade cop (Kevin Bacon) finds out. Does he just want his car back or is there something more sinister going on?

I absolutely loved this movie. I am usually skeptical about child actors but James Freedson- Jackson and Hays Wellford play their roles perfectly. Cop Car had me on edge for the entire second half of the movie but I was hooked from the first scene- in fact the first fifteen minutes or so could be argued as the best bit of this movie. Two runaway boys finding a cop car, what could possibly happen? It’s simple, it’s dark and it’s great. Cop Car is the perfect combination of surprisingly dark moments fitted around some genuinely funny scenes with some real intense moments to top it off.

There’s no need to over complicate things with Jon Watts’ Cop Car, it is what it is and it does what it does- and it does it well. If you like thriller movies it’s a must watch, and it only stands at 86 minutes- which is a running time I like.

4/5