After Hours #11 – Bait

Shark week is here once again as this time we look at Bait in which a freak Tsunami traps a group of people in a convenience store along with several giant white sharks.
Not only featuring some memorable death scenes and questionable character choices we also get to hear Julian McMahon’s native accent as we question what it was about this film which saw it disappear shortly after it’s release.

Music on this episode

Keith Mansfield – Funky Fanfare

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Movies and Tea #32 – Life of Pi

As we bring out Ang Lee season to a close with Life of Pi his Oscar winning film based on Yann Martel’s 2001 novel of the same name. Here Pi Patel recounts the story of his life and most importantly how he survived being standed in a lifeboat with a tiger called Richard Parker.

We also reveal our favourite, worst and hidden gems from the season.

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Friday Film Club: Doctor Sleep + Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods

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Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether you’re choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – Doctor Sleep (2019)

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Being the sequel of The Shining, Doctor Sleep is based on the 2013 book of the same name by Stephen King, which takes place decades after the events at the Overlook Hotel. At the helm of this film is Mike Flanagan which takes the director’s seat as well as the screenplay writer which aims to pull together the elements of the source material of The Shining as well as Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining while adapting Doctor Sleep to its sequel. In many ways, for someone like myself that hasn’t read any of the source material, Doctor Sleep takes a step into something more than just a crazy Jack Torrance from the first movie and gives it a much more ominous and supernatural angle to these characters with certain powers especially in the now adult Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor) who embraces it after the trauma left behind from his childhood at the Hotel and has to face them while trying to protect a young girl (Kyliegh Curran) with similar powers against a cult called The True Knot.

Mike Flanagan has truly grown over the years from the days of his independent horror films like Absentia  and moving forward a little more mainstream especially in the successful The Haunting of Hill House series on Netflix. There’s a specific charm to how he handles every element in his horror films to create the dark atmosphere, build up on the characters and have this underlying sense of lingering fear that tests the boundaries of when to expect a scare and when it will actually happen. With him in the director’s seat, Flanagan adds his flair to Doctor Sleep and works wonders on creating a visually appealing horror experience especially with suitable camera rotations, how it’s all set up and having a level of subtlety that fits the film.

Doctor Sleep runs at a whopping 2 and a half hours which is pretty much a lengthy film. However, what is great is that it never feels like it’s that long as the story keeps moving forward. At the same time, the characters are focused enough on the few prominent ones like Ewan McGregor’s portrayal of adult Dan Torrance and a quick span of his growing up process, particularly psychologically and the nightmares that accompany him after surviving the childhood events. It manages to give a link to The Shining before moving forward, which is a good approach. One of the standout performances do go out to the young girl Abra, portrayed by Kyliegh Curran. The cast for Doctor Sleep in general all do a great job from the leader of The True Knot played by Rebecca Ferguson in a charming outfit and character to Cliff Curtis who plays Dan Torrance’s friend that helps and believes him through his unbelievable story.

There’s so much to love about Doctor Sleep and while I haven’t read the source material, it works well on its own as it does call back to the film adaptation of The Shining at a various points but the story behind the film itself is much more fleshed out and takes a different direction than The Shining that its a different experience altogether and one well worth checking out.

Elwood’s Pick – Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods (2013)

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The eighteenth Dragon Ball movie which might make it seem like it wouldn’t be the most ideal starting place for the newcomer to the world of Dragon ball but fear not as you won’t need to have seen the 291 episodes of Dragon ball Z or the 153 episodes of the original Dragon ball series to enjoy this film which in terms of the series bridges the gap between the ending of Dragon ball Z and it’s current incarnation Dragon ball Super….Keeping up so far?

Picking up the story of legendary fighter Goku ten years after the end of Dragonball Z now finds himself facing off with the God of Destruction Beerus who has awoken from his 39 year slumber to seek the mighty opponent the prophecy revealed he was destined to face. Now on a collision course with Goku he heads to Earth with plans to destroy the planet if Goku can’t defeat him.

While Dragonball for the initiated which seem like that show with the burly guys screaming at each other for episodes on end and yes while there is more of that here, it is also a deeply rich world full of colourful characters and a great vein of humour running through it as demonstrated by the first hour. Opening with a handy recap for those who forgot what happened in Dragonball Z while also introducing these characters to the newcomers little time is wasted throughout the tight runtime.

Somehow managing to walk the line between being a genuinely funny anime and an action packed brawl to the finish with the former coming from the hotheaded Vegeta is tasked with keeping Beerus happy when he gatecrashed his wife Bulma’s birthday party. What following being a stream of potentially hazardous situations that might risk upsetting Beerus’ good mood and inturn destroying the planet. The final showdown between Goku and Beerus baring all the usual over the top fighting antics and screaming power ups we have come to expect or the series.

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

 

Let us know in the comments section below.

 

Friday Film Club: Ready or Not + Frank

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Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether you’re choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – Ready or Not (2019)

ready or not

Every wealthy family has their secrets and very much so for the Le Domas who run the Le Domas Family Games company who has their own wedding night ritual. When the youngest brother Alex (Mark O’Brien) gets married to a “normal girl” Grace (Samara Weaving), she ends up meeting his very odd family and introduced to their wedding ritual to honor their family business and that is to draw a card from their prized possession, Le Bail’s puzzle box which names a game they must play as initiation. Grace draws “Hide-and-Seek” which turns out to be the deadliest choice in the pile when she finds out that she is now being hunted by the entire family in their locked down mansion.

Ready Or Not might seem like an escape room sort of deal and some twisted family. While the Le Domas family is a bit odd, they definitely fit into the dark comedy element presented for the movie as it’s obvious that this draw is not frequent. Through the movie, it’s much more than that as Grace outsmarts each of the members of the family, it becomes clear that the Le Domas have no choice to do this and their own reasons as we learn who Le Bail is and what the puzzle box is all about. The story itself being deeper than what its presented at the beginning along with a fast-paced chase around the house with each of the characters having their own agenda and quirky personality all adds to this being both violent but comedic and striking a nice balance between the two.

Each of the members of Le Domas family as well as Grace is so colorful. The standout would of course go to Samara Weaving who has been landing these crazy roles in the indie film realm and yet again, pulls off a great role with Grace. The unknown factor is where each person feels about this Hide and Seek game on hand. The female characters actually play mostly the stronger roles just like the intense Aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni) and Grace’s mother in law (Andie MacDowell) who has more of a calm and manipulative personality. However, Alex’s character also has its inner conflict much like his brother Daniel (Adam Brody) who ends up  having quite a surprising turn of events in their choices.

Ready or Not is a fast-paced fun dark comedy thriller. It’s violent and intense at times yet at the same time, there are moments of dark comedy elements that relieve the tension a little. With some well-written characters and a unique twist to the story, it’s an absolute blast to watch.

 

Elwood’s Pick – Frank (2014)

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Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) is a struggling songwriter who after witnessing the keyboardist for the experimental band the Soronprfbs trying to drown himself, Jon finds himself drafted into the band as his replacement while at the same time being transfixed by their lead singer Frank who constantly wears a papier-mache mask over his head as he embarks on a journey of musical experimentation and sheer randomness as the band head to a remote cabin to record their debut album which like much of their music seems to be more about organised chaos and Frank chasing band members with a shovel than any kind of traditional songwriting as they create the sort of experimental noise making reminiscent of The Pixies and which somehow manages to get into your head so that you likely find yourself humming a few bars of “I love Wall”.

Inspired by Frank Sidebottom the fringe comedy persona of Chris Sievey who I’m not actually sure anyone outside of the UK might have actually heard of despite him being a regular fixture on early 90’s kids TV and the Madchester scene were he essentially gigged with everyone even at one playing his own support act. Still while the film is co-written by his former bandmate Jon Ronson this is not a biopic but rather a film inspired by his persona with Sievey giving his backing to the film shortly before his death, while Ronson drew further inspiration from the likes of Daniel Johnston and Captain Beefheart.

As weird as things get on this journey though, there is always this feeling of inclusion than the feeling the film is trying to be weird for the sake of things, thanks largely to Jon whose confused and often baffled responses to the things happening around him help provide an anchor to the film while in many ways representing the audiences viewing experience while at the same time Frank despite his unique appearance is such a warm and friendly soul as he offers to describe his facial expressions like warm smile as he hides under his paper-mache mask his own insecurities and an illusive personal history as the film gets gradually darker during it’s second half as Jon is corrupted more by the allure of fame, giving us the kind of personality shift that Gleeson does so well.

While perhaps not a film I would work into my regular rotation its still an engaging and enjoyable watch and one which certainly I felt myself thinking about several days after I saw it, For fans of Frank Sidebottom it’s kind of a unique tribute to Chris Sievey’s comedy alter ego while fans wanting a look at his life can hunt down the documentary Being Frank: The Chris Sievey story for a better look at the man inside the mask.

 

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

 

Let us know in the comments section below.

Friday Film Club: I Know What You Did Last Summer & The Plagues of Breslau

Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Kim will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether you’re choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

Following the success of Scream,  writer Kevin Williamson’s previously-written screenplay loosely based on the 1973 novel of the same name by Lois Duncan was put into production. I Know What You Did Last Summer is the first movie of a trilogy which told the story of four young friends ending high school and going their separate ways who end up being involved in a hit and run accident. As they decide to go ahead to get rid of the body to not affect their future, they go their separate ways with this heavy secret. When one of them comes back from college, they realize all her friends have taken a different path but end up being bound together as they start receiving suspicious notes and experiencing events insinuating that someone knew what they had done. The four set out to follow the clues and find out more about who they hit to track down who is threatening them.

I Know What You Did Last Summer has quite the cast with the leading girls Jennifer Love-Hewitt and Sarah Michelle Gellar both having some TV success from Party of Five and Buffy the Vampire Slayer respectively. They fit their roles in contrasting characters, Julie and Helen. Julie is much more of the introvert shy girl who is burdened by the decision of the accident while Helen has much more of an attitude and is the pretty and sexy girl of the group. Of course, this pretty cast is rounded off by the male leads Ryan Phillippe and Freddie Prinze Jr. who represented the jock and the boy next door characters respectively. All fitting into their roles relatively well and having some 90s cheesy slasher film dialogue to pair, it actually gives quite the fun element to the movie.

With that said, this movie is not quite as good as Scream but then it has a different level of entertainment and slasher fun. Plus, the setting of a fishing village and a hook-wielding villain are two changes from the source material which does work fairly well. Adding in some supporting roles from Anne Heche and Johnny Galecki, its quite the film to see come together as the plot is quite fast-paced and keeps everything in motion, moving from one place to the next and getting in the kills. Its slightly predictable but executes the tension and jumpscare moments pretty well in some spots. It has something of a fun guilty pleasure sort of 90s slasher vibe that works really well.

Elwood’s Pick – The Plagues of Breslau (2018)

Sneaking onto Netflix amongst thier other exclusives and with little fanfare this polish Serial-killer on the surface might be going for that Seven vibe with a killer carrying out a series of inventive murders including such delights as one victim being sewn inside a bulls hide while another is torn apart by horses.

Enter hardnosed detective Helena Rus (Malgorzata Kozuchowska) who is still trying to get over her fiance being killed by a drunk driver who got off via diplomatic immunity and with her asymetrical hair cut and take no prisoners attitude will be delight to fans of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Lisbeth Salander while teaming up with offbeat profiler Magda Drewniak (Daria Widawska).

Helped by a fast pace and inventive murders this might not come close to matching Finchers masterpiece and instead more on a par with the equally inventive tv thrillers like Messiah and Whitechapel but it’s a fun ride while it lasts and worth checking out.

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Friday Film Club: Rabid (2019) & I Kill Giants (2017)

Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Elwood will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether you’re choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – I Kill Giants (2017)

I Kill Giants

Adapted from the graphic novel of the same name by writer Joe Kelly and artist J.M. Ken Niimura, I Kill Giants also has its writer as the movie’s screenplay writer as well. I Kill Giants is a fantasy drama about a young girl called Barbara (Madison Wolfe) who lives in this world inspired by Dungeons and Dragons and baseball player Harry Covelski where she is defending her hometown from giants with her handmade weapons and traps. With this important task at hand, she keeps mostly to herself until one day, a new girl from Leeds, Sophia (Sydney Wade) comes to town who befriends her. As Barbara finally opens up about her world to Sophia, her fantasy world starts colliding with the reality as Barbara has to face the new school psychologist Mrs. Molle (Zoe Saldana), the school bully Taylor (Rory Jackson) as well as her older siblings who doesn’t understand her like her older sister, Karen (Imogen Poots), as they all try to get pull her back to face the reality that she’s running away from.

While I Kill Giants does drag a little here and there, the imaginative and creative story that it tells is one that is fairly poignant. Visually, its also really captivating. Right from the beginning shots when we see Barbara clad in her bunny ears head band running through the forest, avoiding a giant and pouring this jam-like liquid onto the trees. The cinematography is done incredibly well. At the same time, the fantasy creatures, both giants and the harbingers also are well-designed and fun to watch. The story itself is expected that it would take a more psychological turn as it creates a twist for the character of whether this fantasy world is real or only in Barbara’s mind.

I Kill Giants also packs in an interesting cast with Imogen Poots and Zoe Saldana both having key supporting roles to this younger actress. Not to mention that Madison Wolfe captures Barbara incredibly well. The story itself tackles a lot of issues from school bullying to unhappy circumstances, escaping from reality and eventually finding joy in the reality. There’s a lot to like about this adaptation whether its the message or its creativity.

Elwood’s Pick – Rabid (2019)

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The Soska Sisters Jen and Sylvia have consistently managed to create interesting films since making their memorable debut with Dead Hooker In A Trunk which they wrote, produced and starred in with only a budget of $2,500 and a copy of Robert Rodriguez;s Rebel Without A Crew to guide them. Now with Rabid they get to pay homage to another of their influences with their remake of David Cronenberg’s 1977 original.

Rather than giving us a straight remake here thankfully the Soska’s take the same approach as Alexandre Aja approach to remake by taking the spirit of the original and taking the story in their own direction as here Laura Vandervoort plays Rose a quiet woman working in the fashion industry under her fanatical designer boss who after crashing her scooter is left horribly disfigured until she is offered an experimental stem cell treatment which miraculously not only cures her disfigurement but also makes her beautiful and soon the envy of the same models who made fun of her. However her new beauty comes at a cost as she now craves blood and raw meat while extremely contagious to anyone who comes in contact with her saliva soon creating in her wake a horde of frenzied and zombie like infected. 

Featuring some gruesome practical effects which is always refreshing to see in these CGI heavy times time, the pair also mange to also work in several nods to Cronenberg’s filmography including the use of the satanic looking red scrubs seen in Dead Ringers it’s clear how much the pair are fans of the original and it’s director and even though they choose to take the film in their own direction even creating an ending which could lead to a sequel or just remain a tantalising tease of what could have been (see The Blob remake). Elsewhere for the wrestling fans amongst you we get to see cameos from former wrestlers and self confessed horror fans C.M Punk and A.J Lee, Punk here following on from his acting debut in Girl On The Third Floor.

While not their strongest film to date, an honor still held by the fantastic American Mary here they continue to prove themselves as fantastic horror directors in a time when genre directors much less good ones are in short supply. 

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.

Friday Film Club: Kung Pow! Enter the Fist (2002) & Kris Wu: Eternal Love (2019)

Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where both myself and Elwood will be highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether you’re choosing to just name them in the comments section or join us in arguing the case for your film on your blog, let us know and we will share it below.

Kim’s Pick – Eternal Love (Short/Music, 2019)

kris wu: eternal love

Whether you know Kris Wu from his EXO boy group days or you know him in a more recent appearance as a supporting role in xXx: The Return of Xander or Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets or maybe you even know him from his various Chinese movies or dramas, Eternal Love is his short film video for his 2019 single, obviously of the same name. Kris Wu took a huge part in the creation of this whole thing from being the music producer, writing the lyrics as well as music.

Eternal Love (or its Chinese title, Er San 贰叁, translated Two Three) tells the story of a romance spanning lifetimes over a thousand years of a princess originally arranged in a political marriage to a Northern emperor but falls in love with a general. As they run away from the wedding, she ends up sacrificing herself to protect her lover and they die together. However, the princess’s sacrifice angers the gods and they curse the general and the emperor with immortal life filled with daily heart-wrenching pain at midnight. The only way to rid themselves of the curse is to find the reincarnated princess and win her love again.

There’s a lot to love about this story even if it does sound a lot like the typical Chinese drama set-up even bordering some South Korean drama plot points. The story itself is more than the plot above as a good part of it is what happens afterwards and how it structures itself. Its a movie essentially narrated by its words appearing on screen and the song lyrics but you can understand the idea of it without understanding Chinese. Other than that, its filmed incredibly nice with each scene and the setting with the props and costumes from ancient times to the present day. The effects are actually pretty decent also for something essentially meant to pair a music video. The young actress, Koki does a pretty nice job and of course, Kris Wu is handsome as always and captures the charming general role.

Unlike more movie selections, below is the 16 minute short film:

An out of the ordinary choice for movie selection and this somehow straddles a short film and a music video however, it is a beautifully well done one that I believe needs to be seen.

Elwood’s Pick – Kung Pow! Enter the Fist (2002)

Kung Pow: Enter the Fist

While it might seem like another throwaway parody movie like Meet The Spartans of the numerous (and lesser) spin offs and sequels to Scary Movie and certainly the opening 10 minutes do little to squash these fear with a kung fu baby peeing over the films villain master pain (or Betty as he randomly chooses to call himself). However stick with the film as it soon turns into a clever parody of classic Kung Fu movies.

Overdubbing the kung fu movie Tiger & Crane Fists as well as replacing leading man (and kung fu legend) Jimmy Wang Yu digitally as Steve Oedekerk here pulling multiple duties as both writer, director, producer and star plays the role of the Chosen one to create a whole new movie within the framework of the film as he overdubs characters and adds new elements to great comedic effect. 

It’s clear that Oedekerk is a fan of these movies as no frame of the film is seemingly wasted for comedic effect even if he does add a couple of random moments like a kung fu cow and an ending which is well certainly something.

A fun watch for the kung fu fans especially as it plays up many of the genre’s quirks like bad dubbing, while for the uninitiated the quick fire one liners make it none the less enjoyable and a real hidden gem. 

So you’ve seen our picks for this week’s double feature but what are your movie watching plans this weekend?

Let us know in the comments section below.

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