VOD

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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Now On Netflix Review- The Ninth Gate, 1999

Available Now on Netflix UK

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The Ninth Gate features Johnny Depp playing our protagonist, Dean Corso, the book dealer with a reputation. Dean sets out to verify and research a book called ‘The Nine Gates’ for a client who believes that out of the three copies that exists only one is real.

Roman Polanski’s film is drenched in mystery, and although it is a little bit goofy, it’s the kind of film that’s going to glue you to the screen. We’re just as confused as Dean Corso is through- out the whole film, who is this mysterious blonde (Emmanuelle Seigner) who keeps showing up? And why is there so much mystery, defensiveness and murder that follows these books around? The answer? Satan, of course.

This film is following in the footsteps of all satanic cult movies, when we meet the group responsible they’re dressed in long black robes and reading from this mysterious book in front of a  dramatically set- up bed where orgies take place, allegedly. Polanski ticks every box in the book to make sure we know this is a cult, and the most evil and corrupt one at that. It would be goofy, and it kind of is, but some how it still hits the mark.

This film seems to get crazier and crazier, but I kind of loved it. The Ninth Gate will drag you in with it’s mysteriousness and keep you watching because it’s kind of great.

4/5

Now On Netflix Review- Invaders From Mars, 1986

Available Now on Netflix UK

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Invaders from Mars is the kind of horror that’s fine for pretty much the whole family. It’s not overly terrifying or overly gruesome and if you take out the small amount of horror that is present you are left with a children’s film. Not that I’m slating Invaders from Mars for being that, it was one hell of a fun movie and I would probably watch it again.

I don’t know what’s wrong with this town but for some reason the only person who can tell that something’s wrong is a child, David (Hunter Carson), even though everyone is acting super weird and suspicious. Luckily the school nurse (Linda Magnuson) believes him and the two set out to save the day.

The plot is as simple as it could get, but since it worked for me I’m not going to say anything bad about that. Visually it’s a super fun film, there’s a lot going on but it’s never distracting- from cute/ terrifying aliens to the spaceship channeling disco ball landing there’s certainly a lot to look at in this film. It’s everything you would expect from an 80’s sci-fi horror flick.

3/5 – Pretty sure I almost took half a star away for the ending because it disappointed me greatly, but it’s an amusing sci-fi flick so what the hell- three stars!

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- Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, 1971,

Available Now on Netflix UK

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John D. Hancock’s low budget horror is a journey into paranoia and atmosphere of the creepiest kind. Okay, so it takes a while for this movie to really kick in but we’re treated to some wonderful psychological scares and spine- tingling visuals from the very beginning as we’re not sure if what we’re seeing is a result of Jessica’s recent stay in a mental ward or something far more terrifying.

The film will drip feed you daringly obvious signs as to where this movie is going but don’t be put off by that because as this film comes to an end there is some truly terrifying scenes. Jessica, played by Zohra Lampert is doing her best to over act everything but it kind of works with the knowledge of her characters unstable backstory.

You’ll be drowning in the mood of this film and absolutely suffocating on the ambiance, in the best possible way. In fact it’s probably Hancock’s brilliant building of these elements that makes this low- budget film so successful.

If you’re a fan of horror be sure to catch this!
4/5

New Release Review- Mistress America, 2015

Available from the 7th December on ITunes, blinkbox, Amazon Instant Video, Virgin Movies, TalkTalk Box Office, eir Vision Movies, Google Play

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If I’m not in my body then where am I?

Five feet to the left and unhappy.

Mistress America is strangely accomplished and cheesy at the same time. Noah Baumbach presents us with something so punchy and relentless and fast paced that it becomes just so enjoyable to watch.

Tracy (Lola Kirke) has just started college in New York, she is lonely and nervous and struggles to make new friends. That is until she calls her soon to be step sister Brooke (Greta Gerwig) and a strange relationship ensues. I can only describe it as Nick/ Gatsby- esque with the fast talker Brooke naturally taking on the Gatsby role.

With well written characters (screenplay from Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach) and well presented characters it’s impossible not to get drawn in. Brooke, played by Gerwig, is a central piece to this film. The acting performance from both Gerwig and Kirke is to be commended as is the writing provided by Gerwig and Baumbach. Add that to the feel good sound track with music that feels as if it has been taken right from a Joy Division album and I’m sold on this film.

Mistress America is an exploration of family, of marriage, generations and, of course, the struggle we all face in finding out who we are and what we want- and it does it well. There are moments, moments that most films like this will face, where the whole thing is veering towards an ending so cheesy and fake it could have ruined the whole thing. Mistress America avoids this and takes us to a place of harsh reality and comforting conclusion in knowing our characters will be okay.

4/5

New Release Review- The Curse of Downers Grove, 2015

Avaliable from 11th December on Netflix UK

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The Curse of Downers Grove begins with the vaguely interesting premise about a curse that kills one student a year before graduation day. We then quickly descend into a completely different film that has nothing to do with the curse until- I don’t know- the last minute maybe?

With the tag line; ‘HIGH SCHOOL CAN BE MURDER.’ you have to start wondering why add the curse in the movie at all. The Curse of Downers Grove is really about horrible jocks, who take drugs, vandalize and sexually assault women every chance they get. One in particular decides to take revenge on Chrissie Swanson (Bella Heathcote) who ripped his eye out in an act of self defense. The movie will use every trick it can think of to let you know just how terrible these boys are and it gets boring. We get it. They’re bad. Anything else going on?

Two of our protagonists Chrissie and her brother (Martin Spanjers) are fairly well rounded, unfortunately everyone else falls under a ‘we’re bad’/ ‘we’re good’ stereotype/ that one guy, who looks so much like young Heath Ledger that it was mildly distracting, who played ‘generic rom-com love interest’. That’s about it for this film. None of the acting was particularly great and neither was the story.

The Curse of Downers Grove is not one to watch. You’ll only end up sitting there wondering why everyone in this film is making unrealistic or stupid decisions.

1/5