Tokarev (Rage) – 2014

MV5BMTg1ODg4NjUzNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTU5NDc3MTE@._V1_SX214_AL_When the daughter of a reformed criminal is kidnapped, he rounds up his old crew and seeks his own brand of justice.

DirectedPaco Cabezas

Stars:  Nicolas CageRachel NicholsMax Ryan

Sometimes you wonder just what Nicolas Cage did in a previous life to deserve the recent run of form.

It’s not that he’s a particularly bad actor, he always seems to give his performances everything.

But for one reason or another the scripts he gets are below par with regurgitated story lines.

On paper Tokarev (original title Rage) should have been a neat little revenge thriller, but it derives itself from a Taken-esque atmosphere.

In other words, if your daughter gets kidnapped it’s free reign to go kill everyone in sight.

Cage plays Paul Maguire a respected business man with a dark past who has left his criminal habits behind him. When his daughter is kidnapped and then murdered that criminal past comes back to haunt him.

Reuniting Maguire with his crew he goes on a rampage to find out who was responsible and bring them to justice before Danny Glover’s tired looking cop can get to them first.

tokarev-image02

Car chases, fist fights and gun battles are strewn throughout the run time but there is nothing to set it apart or make it unique in any way.

Cage’s character is a bit of an enigma, we don’t really have any idea who he is, albeit for a very brief flash back. Danny Glover ambles about  speaking gruffly without much else to do but interfere.

The ending is a kick in the balls, as an audience, to let us endure over ninety minutes for that pile of tosh it should be us with large amounts of rage!

I still believe that on his day Cage is as good an actor as anyone, but it takes one film out of ten for him to prove that.

View the trailer…

Visit the IMDb page for Tokarev

What did you think of the film leave a comment and let us know?

Under the Skin – 2013

MV5BMTU1MDEwMDg4Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTk3NTcxMTE@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_AL_A mysterious woman seduces lonely men in the evening hours in Scotland. Events lead her to begin a process of self-discovery.

DirectedJonathan Glazer

Stars:  Scarlett JohanssonJeremy McWilliamsLynsey Taylor

I’d heard so much talk about Under the Skin that in the end there was no way I could avoid the film much longer.

Starring Scarlett Johansson Under the Skin opens with a surreal shot of what looks like a trip across the galaxy which then morphs into the creation of a human eye.

Johansson is an alien arriving in a small Scottish town where she drives around in a white van preying on single young men.

Luring them into a run down house they meet a rather sinister fate post seduction. As to what happens in there is mind bending.

What’s so intriguing about Under the Skin is the way in which it’s shot. Cameras on the inside of the van capture conversations between Johansson and her victims. We don’t know who is the genuine actor and who isn’t.

While not a distinctive sci-fi horror it does pose some harrowing scenes. The one on the beach will stick with me for some time, anyone who has kids will understand why.

Under_the_Skin

The dialogue is minimal and the haunting soundtrack is a subtle accompaniment. Johansson plays her part straight faced and without emotion which is highly commendable.

But the film isn’t all about an alien killing men. The more she interacts with humans the more she tries to tell herself she is one.

During one pivotal scene involving a disfigured man (Adam Pearson) she picks up, the pair engage in deep conversation. Conversation about prejudice and compassion.

Under the skin is either a masterclass in film making or something that completely misses the point. Either way it’s a unique approach to science fiction that I have not seen for some time.

View the trailer…

Visit the IMDB page for Under the Skin

What did you think of Under the Skin, leave a comment and let us know?

The Guest – 2014

the guestA soldier introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their son who died in action. After the young man is welcomed into their home, a series of accidental deaths seem to be connected to his presence.

DirectedAdam Wingard

StarsDan StevensSheila KelleyMaika Monroe

If there was any further indication needed that British leading men make for better villains this is a prime example.

The softly spoken Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) can now walk shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Mark Strong, Tom Hiddleston and Ben Kingsley (yes, those from the Jaguar ad).

I’ve not managed to catch Director Adam Wingard’s home invasion horror You’re Next. But on the basis of this one I’m going have to give it a go.

When I caught the trailer not a lot was given away, which is what drew me in. I like the fact that you’re going in almost blind, it makes for better viewing.

David (Stevens) enters the life of the Peterson family who are still grieving for their son Caleb killed in Iraq. Quickly he becomes an integral part of their lives, always around to help them out of difficult situations or as a shoulder to cry on.

It’s clear though there is something more disturbing deep beneath his chilling blue eyes, and it doesn’t take long for us to find out what.

THE GUEST

The Guest is a tense intriguing thriller that never gives too much away making it one of its strong points. We all know there is something wrong with David, that much is clear from the shots of him grimly starring into the distance.

David manifests himself as a psychotic guardian angel, his ulterior motives are never revealed until the bodies start to pile up and we get to delve further into the back story. Even then Stevens plays his character with dead pan charm that makes us like him even more.

There are a number of genres all thrown in that ultimately work well along side each other. A nice dose of action thanks to a back yard shoot out is quickly morphed into an 80s slasher horror that echoes Halloween.

The soundtrack is slick and pulsating, with comparisons drawn to Drive not just from the score but from Stevens’ somewhat uncanny resemblance to Ryan Gosling.

It never feels disjointed at any point and while it might wobble a little with the surprise ending (of which you knew was coming) it does’t damage the overall integrity.

View the trailer…

Visit the IMDB page for The Guest

What did you think of the film, leave a comment and let us know.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – 2014

dawnIn the wake of a disaster that changed the world, the growing and genetically evolving apes find themselves at a critical point with the human race.

DirectedMatt Reeves

Stars:  Gary OldmanKeri RussellAndy Serkis

No question that this sequel moves straight into my top ten films for 2014.

Exceptionally shot with astounding special effects in part thanks to performance capture king Andy Serkis this is a film that delivers.

10 years on and with the epidemic wiping out most of the world’s population humans are very much becoming the minority species.

A small band of immune survivors still hold out hope that there are others out there and look to make contact with anyone who might be listening.

dawn-of-the-planet-of-the-apes-trailer-00

The apes have now settled deep in the San Francisco forests building their own fully functioning civilisation led by chimpanzee Caesar.

What makes this film rise above (sorry) the first is much of the attention focuses on the apes and deep rooted character development.

Caeser is supported by fellow performance capture actor Toby Kebbell who plays Koba. An ape with a chip on his shoulder after years of being tested on. His dislike for the human race is made obvious to his best friend.

Their simmering relationship is one of the highlights of the film as they battle there decision whether to stay hidden in peace or go to war.

With James Franco gone (albeit making a cameo via archived footage) the human ape relationship is centred on Malcolm (Jason Clarkeand Caeser, who are bonded by a begrudging truce for peace.

It’s a film that soaks up tension extremely well. Grand battle sequences are cut between emotional and compelling moments interlocked by a very well written script.

The technical aspects of the film are simply stunning and the large set-pieces make for cataclysmic viewing. Caeser’s army arriving on horseback in a show of force to their human foes is captivating. As is the vertigo wincing finale and attack on the human stronghold.

This is was everything a summer blockbuster should be and is most certainly a template to follow.

View the trailer…

Visit the IMDB page for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

What did you think of the film, did you think it was better than the first film? Leave a comment and let us know what you think?

Grave Encounters – 2011

grave encountersFor their ghost hunting reality show, a production crew lock themselves inside an abandoned mental hospital that’s supposedly haunted – and it might prove to be all too true.

Directed: The Vicious Brothers

StarsBen WilkinsonSean RogersonAshleigh Gryzko

Even though it has been done to death over the last few years there is still something unnerving about found footage horror.

Now and again I like to go back and dip my toe in it, if anything for the enjoyment of scaring myself shitless for a few minutes.

Recently I came across Grave Encounters. For the first half it’s a tense thriller the second it completely looses it’s way, nothing more than abject horror.

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 17.15.20

The premise is too good to be true. While taping an episode of their ghost hunting reality show a group of paranormal investigators get a little more than they bargained for inside an abandoned mental hospital.

Watching an empty space in the dark via night vision camera may seem like flogging of a dead horse but as an audience we still find ourselves hypnotised.

The standard set up unravels brief character development, although we don’t really care too much as we know they aren’t going to be around for much longer.

As the group move from one room to the next with increased frustration that nothing is manifesting itself the shit really hits the fan when they discover they can’t actually get out.

Cause for panic as each one is picked off leaving one loner to discover the horrors the hospital is hiding.

It’s not all bad. The acting is more solid than most and there are some good scares, many however are all too predictable. It’s safe to say that found footage genre is here to stay, all that needs to be done is to weed out the good from the down right awful.

View the trailer…

Visit the IMDB page for Grave Encounters

What did you think of the film, leave a comment and let us know.