Tag Archives: Friday Film Club

Friday Film Club – Anna and the Apocalypse + Rollercoaster

DOUBLEFEATURE (1)

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 your 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.

Elwood’s Pick – Rollercoaster (1977)

DtnqJv3U4AEhzK9.jpg

A film probably best known for its rather spectacular opening roller coaster crash than the film the footage was actually taken from this would be one of the few feature films that James Goldstone directed spending most of his career directing TV Pilots for Ironside and the original Star Trek were his work was not only noted for its momentum but also the “fifteen-minute cliffhangers” he brought to them. This is a film equally noteworthy for being one of the four films which Universal presented in “Sensurround” were selected theatres were low-frequency bass speakers were used to create vibrations at key moments, which ultimately proved to be so successful that it cracked the plaster of some of the theatres which choose to use it.

Despite the impressive opening crash this is surprisingly a much more subtle film than you might expect as Goldstone instead here chooses to craft a tense thriller with the rest of the film plays off the tension of not knowing were the bomber has hidden his next device let alone the mind games between Timothy Bottoms unnamed bomber and George Segal’s Safety inspector Harry. Bottoms however was criticised for being too boring as a villain in reviews for the film when it was originally released but here he gives a performance reminisant of Kevin Spacey’s John Doe in Seven which here really works for the film, especially when he is spending the majority of the film taunting Harry over the phone or a walkie talkie, all the time knowing that he holds the power in this situation with Harry left to play the unwilling puppet in the proceedings.

Segal meanwhile is an engaging leading man as the frustrated safety inspector he works in humorous subtle digs at his incompitant bosses while also having to work with the local police chief and Richard Widmark’s tough FBI agent. While it might seem that his talents are perhaps alittle wasted here seeing how he spends most of the film talking to the Bomber over the walkie talkie while moving through a variety of amusement rides which for theme park fans provides its own enjoyment with the film being shot on location at Ocean View Park, Kings Dominion and Six Flags.

The Cinematography throughout is extremely impressive especially with the rollercoaster footage were large portions are shot from the front of the carriage creating that simulator feel of being on the ride which is a nice touch especially when Goldstone isn’t planning on giving the audience any more crashes. The fact that they are shot from so many angles including some impressive profile shots is really add to the excitement, especially during the finale were the cat and mouse games are played out on the opening of the six flags Revolution the world’s first coaster to use a clothoid-shaped vertical loop and more fun against the backdrop of a Sparks concert a gig which had rumoured to had been offered to both the Bay City Rollers and KISS the later turning it down in favour of doing KISS Meet The Phantom of the Park. Sparks would later recall doing the film as one of the worst things they have ever done which I had to wonder if this was before or after they did their 2006’s album Hello Young Lovers. Despite what they feel about it, the high energy performance here really play well against the tension of this final game between the bomber and police.

While it might initially be a little disappointing to see what seems to be setup as another disaster movie dissolve into a thriller it ultimately proves to be the right move here, especially with Segal’s performance certainly able to carry the film so that such shocks are never required even though the film had originally been planned to be a lot more gruesome with both the opening crash and how the bomber ultimately meets his demise, a plaque for which can still be found on the rollercoaster at Six Flags. While perhaps not a film that rewards repeat viewing it’s one still worth checking out especially for the opening crash as you wonder just how they pulled it off.

Kim’s Pick – Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

anna_and_the_apocalypse_poster_red

Mixing genres is a lot of fun and nothing quite sells like the idea of mashing zombies, musical and a Christmas setting together and its one of the reasons that 2017’s Scottish film Anna and the Apocalypse first landed on anyone’s radar during its festival circuit. While the idea sounds a bit odd, just like Shaun of the Dead worked out, Anna and the Apocalypse is very much a teen horror comedy musical. Its not very scary but does offer a lot of alternate Christmas and zombies elements.

Starring a fairly unknown young cast, Anna and the Apocalypse works because it does what it needs well. The first is the musical numbers. The music itself is a lot of fun, probably more for people who like musicals but there’s a lot of entertaining moments in the songs and the background. There are some downright ridiculous moments and yet because it’s a musical, it does work. Second, the friendship element and character bonding here also delivers. The characters really are known more through how they react and are and gives space for them to grow. Third, the pacing and execution is pretty fast-paced because of its compact run time that gives time for things to just keep happening and not spend a lot of time on the dramatic things like dwelling on past issues.

Overall, Anna and the Apocalypse is a movie suitable for Halloween and Christmas and is surprising entertaining with some very addictive songs and fun numbers. The characters are few but all are quite endearing especially with their different personalities. Its rare that the “bad boy” Nick, played by Ben Wiggins is not repulsive but while he starts that way, he also has quite a nice presence here along with main lead Anna, played by Ella Hunt (who suitably is now part of the Apple TV show Dickinson) as well as the fairly awkward presence of their friend, Steph, played by Sarah Swire, who is really witty and a great character in the film as a whole. Catchy tunes, fun characters and zombie apocalypse breakout during Christmas is a really great mashup that’s well worth a watch.

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.

Advertisements

Friday Film Club – Antisocial + Perfect Blue

DOUBLEFEATURE (66)

Hi folks and welcome to another edition of 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 your 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 – Antisocial (2013)

antisocial1

Canadian film company Black Fawn Films is known for its filmography of independent horror films. With a good number of films under their belt, there is no doubt that the team themselves have a great love for horror and in their films, a lot of homage is given to the various subgenres of horror. However, what gives them a unique twist is not only their vision of creating something new of their own while also mixing it up in terms of various subgenres together. While some viewers might view this as “been there done that” and feeling very familiar with its content, especially with the film today, it’s still has some refreshing elements especially paired up how the films are usually executed.

Antisocial is a 2013 horror film set during New Year’s Eve focused on a house with five university students partying it up when an epidemic spreads throughout the world. As they barricade themselves in the house, they also start rummaging around the Internet to find out the cause of the epidemic. Slowly, they each become both scared and filled with paranoia. Taking a bit of the digital world epidemic like Pulse and blending it into a science fiction-esque story and then adding in some zombie elements here, this film is a nicely-paced movie. Its mystery of the epidemic unravels itself. At the same time, while the 5 characters here might not be fully investigated, making them slightly more shallow, the film never forgets its focus is not on all the character drama but rather on the urgent situation at hand. There are some truly tense moments and they do ramp up to a memorable climax. Antisocial is not perfect but its straight forward and not always predictable.

It’s a revisit on our part that has held up a lot of its initial appeal. And if this film is your cup of tea, Antisocial 2 did also happen. While its pacing is different from the first one, its story is set some time after Antisocial ends.

Elwood’s Pick – Perfect Blue (1997)

MoxieStaffPicksPerfectBlueSatoshi Kon’s directorial debut is Hitchcock-esq thriller following Mima , a member of a J-pop group “CHAM!” decides to pursue a career as an actress, displeasing her fans especially her stalker Me-Mania (Okura). Now finding herself the target of threatening fax’s and mail bombs, things only get stranger when she discovers a website call “Mima’s Room” documenting her life if she was still with the band, as Mima finds her world being turned upside down as she is pushed to the brink of her own sanity.

A griping film throughout, the film though is a lot deeper than your usual psychological thriller, as while most thrillers would be content to just play off the mystery of “Mima’s Room”, here Kon’s focus on the changing personality from Virginal pop idol to driven actress willing to do more and more to ensure that she makes it as an actress, even if it means shattering the image her fans about her as she inturn starts to slowly reveal her much darker side.

 

At the same time Kon shows equal attention to the supporting characters who all provide their own piece of the puzzle, from Mima’s office Manger Tadokoro (Tsuji) who pushes Mima into increasingly risque situations which he convinces is for the good of her career regardless of the pressure it puts on her already fragile psyche through to the obsessed  and grotesque stalker Me-Mania who plasters his walls with images of Mima’s pop idol form which in one memorable scene even speak to him. Kon though is equally mindful of the smaller details which often prove as a result to be just as memorable, such as an actor involved in filming the rape scene apologising to Mima during a break between takes.

The animation is crisp and clean throughout, with Kon choosing to avoid the more traditional large eyed anime style, instead for a more realistic style as seen with the wide range of character designs and while it might not have the wow factor that many have come to expect thanks to the releases of Studio Ghibli this is still visually a nice anime to look at, with the movement of the characters being especially spot on as especially highlighted during the ice pick murder sequence involving a length chase around the victims apartment.

A benchmark in Japanese animation aswell as also providing the inspiration for Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, as it’s slowly earned the same recognition as the likes of the legendry Akira or Ghost In The Shell.

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 – Tigers Are Not Afraid + The Descent: Part 2

DOUBLEFEATURE

Hi folks and welcome to the The Friday Film Club where each week Kim and myself highlighting a film which we feel is worth checking out. At the same time we would love to hear your own selections whether your 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 – Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017)

GQ-TigersAreNotAfraid-081919

Finally getting a theatrical release on the big screen after two years going through film festivals and earning praise from both Guillermo del Toro and Stephen King, Tigers Are Not Afraid is a Mexican fairytale, most often compared to Pan’s Labyrinth with similar tones set in an upsetting reality of the drug wars in Mexico with five orphaned children grouped together to find hope in its dark fairytale of being granted three wishes except all wishes come with its own set of consequences.

Tigers Are Not Afraid pulls together five orphaned children. As we see the main girl Estrella who comes home from school to find her mother is missing, she escapes to the street to eventually find El Shine, a young boy also surviving on the streets with a few other little boys and joins up with them. Hiding on rooftops and alleyways, they strive to survive day by day until one day Shine steals a cell phone belonging to a member of the drug cartel and discovers its contents. As the thug chases after them, the mystery of what is on the cell phone and  desperate situations making Estrella consider using her wishes despite the outcome of the first one. For their survival, this group of kids have to make tough decisions to stay alive.

Issa Lopez, as both director and screenwriter, shows off both great command behind the camera as well her sharp storytelling skills as she tells this dark fairytale. Choosing children with zero acting experience prior to this film and shooting this film in chronological order without showing them the script to capture their genuine reactions, also gives it an edge as the children all capture both their naivety as children but also what the dangerous reality has caused some of them to grow up quickly. Leading the group is El Shine played by Juan Ramon Lopez and Estrella played by Paola Lara who deserve a lot of credit for their heavier roles. With urban legends of hand-drawn tigers running around the scene and being given three wishes, tigers has their own symbol here and meshes into a beautifully touch but tough to watch story of children caught in the drug wars and fairytales that both give them hope but have some costly consequences.

If you didn’t catch this film during its festival circuits, it is definitely worth it to check it out at theatres or at least keep it on your radar.

Elwood’s Pick – The Descent: Part 2

m0YwLST0nm2oh4t1udfzfnp42Sw

The Descent was never a film I particularly warmed to despite many critics rushing to herald Neil Marshall as an exciting new voice in horror, even though the original film was much more effective when it was following it’s all female group of cavers trying to find a way out the cave system than when the horror elements kicked in with the whole experience feeling like a poor rehash of the superior What Waits Below. However when it comes to the sequel directed by editor Jon Harris for what is still his sole directing credit here we have a sequel which surpasses the original.

Set two days after the events of the first film with Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) left traumatised and with no memories of what happened. Now recruited by the local shrieff Vaines (Gavan O’Herlihy) to lead a rescue team back into the cave to find the missing members of her group only to soon find themselves being hunted by the Crawlers whose lair they must once more enter.

Wisely ramping up the action than trying to replicate the first film, this in turn makes for a much more fun ride as the group soon find themselves split up after their first encounter with the crawlers and faced with a battle back to the service with caving equipment once more getting put to some very creative uses thanks to the gore quota being ramped up which in turn lends itself to some memorable moments throughout.

Increasing the cave sets from 18 to 30 means we get to explore the world of the Crawlers a lot more in this film, with Harris giving us subtle clues of how their subterranean society works including were they choose to go to the bathroom as Sarah and Deputy Sheriff Elen (Krysten Cummings) get to unfortunately discover for themselves. Much like the first film these sets look fantastic and hard to distinguish from an actual cave system meaning that the feeling of claustrophobia that the first film really nailed.

If like myself you skipped out on this sequel after the first film, this is a film well worth giving a watch, even if you never saw the original as the plot is easy to pick up especially when the film gives you all you need to know in the opening five minutes so why give yourself another reason to never go caving.

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.

Round Up

The Blade Licking Thieves #54 – The Guys revisit the anime adapation of the arcade classic Fatal Fury

The Asian Cinema Film Club #31 see’s Elwood and Stephen checking out Sammo Hung’s take on The Dirty Dozen while finding time to tap into his inner Rambo as he joins a host of Hong Kong legends as a group of convict soldiers are sent to Vietnam to destroy a secret Ammo dump.

The Feminine Critique – Emily and Christine check out Karyn Kusama’s 2018 crime thriller Destroyer aswell as social media slashers, the subgenre of ghostiness that began with Insidious, 2010’s infuriating Legion, and a glorious mid-dive into Jason Takes Manhattan and Jason Lives

If your yet to discover The Anime Nostalgia Podcast and are a fan of old school anime host provides a fantastic look back at some classic and forgotten anime titles, while even finding the time to solve the mystery of Miami Mike

Elwood recently got to guest on the Blueprint: Review Podcast along with Jason Soto (of the Maniac With a Machete podcast) to discuss the upcoming home releases aswell as reviews of The Incident and Enter the Anime.

If your yet to check out Kim’s debut on The Lambcast #491 make sure you do now as the roundtable discussion looks at Hobbs and Shaw

Friday Film Club: Anastasia + Frog Dreaming

DOUBLEFEATURE (63)

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 your 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 – Anastasia (1997)

anastasia-1997-meg-ryan.jpg

Most definitely a loose adaptation of the legend of Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, Anastasia in this animated film takes a more light-hearted take on the story as it adds in fantastical elements to it like a soul-selling sorcerer and talking albino bat on the villain side of things while on the “good” side of the spectrum, because it is a bunch of con men to begin with, adds a little cute dog to the mix and an amnesiac girl to their journey. There’s a lot of comedic moments especially with the villain sidekick Bartok, voiced by Hank Azaria as well as cute elements as well as romance of course. Because..what’s a princess animated film (although non-Disney) without adding a suitor to the mix.

The animated film starts off with eighteen year old Anya (Meg Ryan) who, after an accident during the escape ten years ago, has amnesia and doesn’t remember anything from her youth and her whereabouts and after leaving the orphanage as decided to find her way to Paris except without an exit visa, she is advised to reach out to two con men, Dimitri (John Cusack) and Vladimir (Kelsey Grammar). Surprised by her resemblance to the real Anastasia, they take her to Paris in hopes of getting well-rewarded for returning her to the royal family now in refuge there. While being taught the answers to some of Anastasia due to Dimitri being a young servant when he was a child, he soon realizes that Anya’s memories are slowly coming back as she reunites with her family through the questioning.

Anastasia isn’t a history lesson to say the least. In fact, it’s more of a princess story mixed with humor and adventure. There’s a lot of beautiful romantic bits here between Anya and Dimitri. Anastasia is a beautiful character, whether as amnesiac Anya or the princess Anastasia and that has to do a lot with the beautiful job that Meg Ryan does voicing her. However, the voice cast here is pretty great with John Cusack and Kelsey Grammar mentioned above as well as Hank Azaria who captures Bartok with so many funny moments to make this a really entertaining time. At the same time, the fantastic Angela Lansbury voices Marie, who is Anastasia’s grandmother as well as Christopher Lloyd as the voice of Rasputin, the evil sorcerer whose initial plan ten years ago went array and now wants to make up for it.

Anastasia might be a 1997 animated film but the charm behind it is always there. Visually, the film still is amazing to watch. In terms of soundtrack, the music is beautiful as well as some wonderful songs like Once Upon a December being one of the favorites that captures the scene so well. It truly is a beautiful story fit for both adults and children.

Elwood’s Pick – Frog Dreaming (1985)

1254

If your a Ozploitation fan then Brian Trenchard Smith will already be a familiar name especially when his filmography made up a large part of Australia’s exploitation scene while also finding time to direct curious family friendly adventures like BMX Bandits which introduced the world to Nicole Kidman and this film which saw him casting Henry Thomas best known for playing Elliot in E.T The Extra Terrestrial who here plays Cody an American boy transplanted to Australia after his parents death to live with his guardian Gaza who essentially lets him run wild in the local community while working on his inventions which often demonstrate MacGyver levels of creativity . When Cody hears of a monster living in the local quary which the locals call “Donkegin” he sets out to discover the truth while recruiting his friend Wendy (Rachel Friend) and her sister to join him on this quest much to the dismay of their parents.

A fun adventure movie which like Stand By Me and The Goonies remembers the innocence and curiosity of youth, something which is often lacking from it’s current day counterparts as nowhere to be found are the smart mouthed kids outsmarting the dumb adults. Instead we get here are a group of kids trying to solve the kid of mystery wrapped up in urban legends that I know all too well from my own rural upbringing were my summers were spent much like Cody terrorising the surrounding countryside and the this simple charm which really makes the film such a fun film for a lazy sunday afternoon viewing.

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: Upside Down (2012) & Night Watch (2004)

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 your 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 –  Upside Down (2012)

As we start out Season 3 with Sofia Coppola’s filmography, it only seems suitable to talk about a movie with Kirsten Dunst. Upside Down is a 2012 fantasy romance film set in a fictional world where the gravity pulls in opposite directions. The rich live in the Up Top and the poor live in the Down Below. The population from Down Below is illegal to go to Up Top however the people from Up Top can pay big money to enjoy ceiling entertainment in the Down Below as an experience. In comes Adam and Eden who met when they were teens and some misunderstanding pulls them apart. A decade later when Adam soon sees Eden again on a show, he is determined to go to her through finding a position in the offices to easily access the passage to the Up Top. 

In the lead roles is Kirsten Dunst as Eden and Jim Sturgess as Adam who play teen lovers who have been separated and trying to reunite. The charm of any romance is the chemistry between its characters. While the story here is set in a fantasy world, their romance is fairly normal except for the hurdles that blend into the world that this is set in. There’s a lot to love between them because what they have is cute and sweet. In the supporting role is Timothy Spall who plays Bob, who is Adam’s coworker and he is a charming and inspiring character and one of the highlight roles of Upside Down. 

The CGI elements are visually appealing. Sure, there’s some issues with the whole concept and the physics but for a romance story and not one all about science fiction and how it all works, it’s easy to see past the flaws and focus on the point of the film and that is the romance between Adam and Eden and their determination to be together and taking a leap of faith in the name of love. Upside Down hinges a lot on how much you like romance films as well as how willing you are to buy the premise. 

Elwood’s Pick – Night Watch (2004)

nightwatch1

Based on the Night Watch series by Sergei Lukyanenko, Timur Bekmambetov’s film adaptation has the distinction of being Russia’s first horror movie. The film set in modern day Moscow see’s the forces of light and dark upholding a fragile truce which has held since Medieval times when it became clear to both sides that neither held a clear advantage over the other. To uphold the truce the forces of light formed the Night Watch while the forces of Darkness formed the Day Watch to ensure that the truce was upheld by both sides. However when a powerful neutral “Other” threatens to upset the balance depending on which side they choose, both sides find themselves in a race to discover who they are.

Shot for a mere $4.2 milion which clearly in Russia goes a lot further as here we are presented with a film which not only looks incredible as epic medievil battles rage on the roofs of tower blocks while building crumble you would think that Bekammbetov is working with the same kind of budget as the Hollywood mainstream. At the same time here he brings to life a world were amidst the urban sprawl of the city vampire lurk in the shadows, witches perform rituals to help jilted lovers get back at their former partners and a nurse’s depression might just responsible for the catastrophic storm raging over her tower block.

Following Night Watch agent Anton (Konstantin Khabensky) a low level mage who spends his nights looking like a city worker much like his fellow agents as they cruise the streets in big yellow trucks and interest contract to the flashy clothes and sports cars of the Day Watch one of which getting to live the live of a famous pop star when she’s not on duty. Certainly it’s a very grounded approach to these fantastical characters and part of what makes the film work so well, more so when it’s combined with a vicious edge which see’s clashes between the two sides not involving sparkly vampires flashing through the air but rather bloody and brutal clashes as we see when Anton is forced to tackle a pair of rogue vampires. That being said anyone who saw Wanted will know that Behammbetov is no slouch when it comes to producing exciting and inventing action scenes and this certainly the case here as well.

On an initial watch the plotting and world can seem alittle complex but certainly this is a film which rewards a second viewing with the mythology expanded further with the problematic sequel Day Watch which thanks to Behammbetov taking on Wanted and seeing the offer to direct the proposed third film Twilight Watch putting him in an artistic rut. As such Day Watch is left feeling like two films edited together as it brings a rushed end to what could have been a fantastic trilogy. Still viewed as a stand alone or as part of a larger saga there is still a lot to enjoy with the film providing the perfect entry point into this world

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.

 

Round Up

Quentin Tarantino’s Feature Presentation – A three part mini-series in which Tarantino sits down with film critic Amy Nicholson to discuss five films which impacted him from a diverse selection which includes Point Blank, Valley Girl and Boogie Nights

Visitations – Elijah Wood and Daniel Noah of indie production company SpectreVision visit the homes and workshops of some of their favorite creators in the genre community and beyond, including Taika Waititi

 

Friday Film Club: The Outlaws + The Big Blue

DOUBLEFEATURE (61)

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 your 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 –  The Outlaws (2017)

bRXxWcxqJqOa5xM6tMqpFEq2vLc

After the success of Train to Busan, rising quickly to a lot of people’s radar is actor Dong-seok Ma, a man who has a lot of credits to his name in South Korean cinema but finally getting the main actor roles, especially with two of his films making a showing at last year’s Fantasia Festival. One of them being The Outlaws, an action crime thriller based on real events that went down revolving turf wars between Korean-Chinese gangs. Set in the Chinatown of South Korea, the Venom Gang and Isu  Gang each have their own territories while constantly trying to step over the boundaries. However, Detective Ma keeps them in check with this rough and tough cop attitude. All this changes when a trio of Chinese-Korean debt collectors land mysteriously calling themselves the Black Dragon gang lead by Jang Chen, stepping between the both established gangs without any limits at all.

The debut directorial effort of Yoon-seong Kang is action-packed with brutal violence and tension. While the script is fairly simple, it’s the characters and the ruthless action scenes that truly make it stand out. The gritty South Korean underworld is one that stands out as well. While Dong-seok Ma as the cop stands out as always especially with this towering build and his command of each situation and well-timed comedic one liners, the lethal gang is Jang Chen, playing impressively well by Kye-sang Yoon who can only be described best as psychotic. The friction between the two and the character of Jang Chen makes some of the scenes unpredictable and you can almost cut the tension with a knife as the movie escalates.

South Korea seems to be not only a growing force in horror films but as Dong-seok Ma enters the scene and femme fatale movies like The Villainess also have their round of popularity, it feels like South Korean action thrillers are definitely also a force to be reckoned with. The Outlaws is a great place to start.

 

Elwood’s Pick – The Big Blue (1988)

1118full-the-big-blue-screenshot.jpg

Based on the friendship and rivalry of free divers Jacques Mayol (Jean-Marc Barr) and Enzo Maiorca (Jean Reno) this heavily fictionalized and dramatized version of their story marks director Luc Besson’s first English language feature while still working in the Cinema du look style films which valued their visuals over the narrative and certainly this especially the case when it comes to this film in which Besson’s underwater visuals help push across the overwhelming obsession with the depths of the ocean which drive both men.

Introducing Jacques and Enzo as children were their competitive nature is apparent from the start, the film jumps forwards to find them as adults both renown free divers with Enzo the current world champion while making a side living using his ability to stay underwater for long periods to save divers trapped in industrial accidents. Jacques meanwhile is participating as a human guinea pig with a group of scientist researching human physiology in the iced over lakes of the Andes. However knowing that Jacques is the only one who can really challenge his title Enzo attempts to tempt him back into active competition.

While Barr might not perhaps not the most engaging of leads the support from Reno really helps carry the film, especially when he brings a lot of the comedic moments of the film with his sidekick Novelli. At the same time Rossana Arquette is enjoyable even if she is largely reduced to the love interest as Besson focuses mainly on the rivalry and Jacques strange obsession with dolphins.

Beautifully shot with Besson’s trademark visual flair which include such highlights as Jacques and Enzo drinking wine at the bottom of a swimming pool, while the free diving sequences are as exhilarating to watch as they are claustrophobic as the pair constantly push themselves to go to greater and greater depths while your left wondering not only the limits of these divers

Butchered for it’s American release which also saw the film receiving a more upbeat ending than the ambigious ending of the original and this reason I would always recommend hunting down the extended edition

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: Austenland + Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

DOUBLEFEATURE (4)

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 your 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 –  Austenland (2013)

tumblr_paj9rmyZQA1rajxpqo2_500.gif

Based on 2007’s novel of the same name by Shannon Hale, Austenland is a 2013 romantic comedy about a girl called Jane who is in her 30s and lives with the obsession of everything Austen especially with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and the elusive Mr. Darcy. Because of this, she decides to spend all her savings to go to a Jane Austen theme park resort which turns out to be full of both good and bad surprises (as you’d expect).

Taking on the main lead for Austenland is Keri Russell here as Jane Austen superfan Jane Hayes who decides to let it all go as she decides to give it one last go and fulfill a lifelong dream to live in the era that she believes that she was meant to be in. Of course, it becomes apparent that this Austen-inspired resort isn’t really that great especially for her who spent all her money and only got the lowest package which made her equivalent to a commoner or in their world, a penniless old maid. Playing opposite her is J.J. Feild as Henry Nobley, the nephew of the owner of the estate and is pretty much the resident Mr. Darcy. Of course, we also have the Wickham parallel called Martin who is played by Bret McKenzie. However, as fun as it is to see these relationships come into play, perhaps the more fun part is watching the ladies at the resort comedically and in a rather absurd way fall into place and get some hilarious moments driven mostly by Jennifer Coolidge and her exaggerated fake British accent.

Austenland is a very basic romantic comedy and has its flaws. However, the chemistry and the parallels to Jane Austen and the messages of how our imagination and our reality might not be exactly the same thing is quite fun and cute.

Elwood’s Pick – Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (2012)

 

8731_1

If you’ve passed on checking out any of Warner Premier’s Animated DC movies believing that they were meant for kids you’d be sorely missing out on some of the strongest releases of the last few years for the DC heroes. Case in point this adaptation of Frank Miller’s critically acclaimed 1986 series of the same name which is seen along with Alan Moore’s Watchmen as ushering in the Dark Age / Modern Age of comic books.

Set ten years after Bruce Wayne was forced into retiring his alter-ego and the death of his prodege Jason Todd at the hands of the Joker. With the Justice League now disbanded and it’s members scattered a middle aged Bruce is forced to watch as Gotham succumbs to the criminals he devoted his life to fighting headed up by a new gang known as “The Mutants” but when a seemingly cured Two Face / Harvey Dent goes on the run Bruce is forced to pick up the mantle of the bat once more as he heads towards a head one clash with both old foes and friends alike.

Bring his dark pulp noir style to Gotham Miller’s doesn’t just give us a middle aged Bruce Wayne but also a whole new world outlook for Batman while he might be slower he now has much less qualms about taking his crime fighting to a new extreme and remorseless level as bones are broken and even the Batmobile resembles more of a bat tank. At the same time finding a new Robin in feisty schoolgirl Carrie Kelly while contending with Commissioner Gordan’s replacement who cares little for costume vigilante’s.

Elsewhere characters like the Joker get a fresh reworking as he is introduced in a catatonic state in Arkham only for the return of Batman to soon snap him back to his old ways with the pair meeting for a memorable final showdown in an amusement park with each villain defeated leaving you wonder how far is too far for this new Batman. Building to a climactic showdown between Batman and Superman who in this world has been reduced to the pawn of international diplomacy for the Regan President as he pushes back against the Soviet union it is nothing short of an action packed and thrilling ride that is crammed into this two part adaptation which sticking so close to the source material does mean that it can at times feel like your watching a TV season edited into a feature format.

Featuring some great animation and voice acting with Peter Weller taking on the role of Batman working suprisingly well, even if he does on occastion drift off into his Robocop voice. Ending on a tantilising end note which Miller continued with The Dark Knight Strikes Again which hopfully will receive an animated treatment at some point.

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.

Round Up

The Feminine Critique – Emily and Christine share their thoughts on Midsommar aswell as 1993’s Indecent Proposal

Exploding Helicopter Podcast check out not only another creative Helicopter explosion but also the first use of CGI in an animation GOLGO 13: THE PROFESSIONAL (1983) as Will is joined once again by Nick Rehak (French Toast Sunday)