THE BURBS: Blu-ray review
  • Sep 15
  • THE BURBS: Blu-ray review
  • Posted by Deljhp - 15/09/14 at 05:49 PM

Director: Joe Dante. Review: Adam Wing.

Why is Joe Dante so inconsistently consistent? I look back over his career in movies and see some of my favourite films growing up. Dante's first film was released in the year I was born, and Piranha still has more teeth than a lot of horror movies made today. It wasn't until 1984 that I started paying attention though, with the release of one of my all time favourite movies, Gremlins. Innerspace followed in 1987, The New Batch arrived in 1990 and sandwiched somewhere in between was The 'Burbs. Starring Tom Hanks, Corey Feldman (of course, it was the '80s) and Carrie Fisher, The 'Burbs is the kind of movie that gets better with age. "There go the Goddamn brownies..."

Joe's output became more infrequent in the 90s, with standouts being Small Soldiers in '98 and 2003's Looney Tunes: Back In Action. I only mention this because it sum ups Dante's career in pictures perfectly. At his best, Dante is the master of looney tune escapism; zany comedy gems that never get tired. He keeps himself busy with TV work these days, and 2014's Burying the Ex is yet to see the light of day, but Joe Dante's early work will always have a place in my life. I wasn't a big fan of The 'Burbs when I was younger, to me it was Joe Dante's 'lesser' movie. I've never really been a big fan of Tom Hanks either, not since he started playing it straight at least, so this was a good time for me to rediscover the film on shiny Blu...Continue review.

The Burbs trailer

The Vault: AKIRA
  • Sep 14
  • The Vault: AKIRA
  • Posted by Dorrystavern - 14/09/14 at 05:11 PM

You don’t get much bigger than Akira, the cyberpunk landmark in Japanese animation. Akira is a 1998 animated sci-fi film directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, based on his own smash hit manga series. The plot focuses on two bikers, Tetsuo Shima and Shotaro Kaneda, battling it out over the release of dangerous psychic Akira. Rebellion, friendship and the occasional nuclear explosion provide Akira with its heart and voice, and in a world reliant on computer technology, it’s refreshing to witness a pixel free animated movie.

The city of Neo-Tokyo isn't the kind of place you would want to raise a family. Anti-government terrorism and gang violence have been rife in the years that followed World War III. A teenage gang member, Shima Tetsuo, comes across an esper on a highway, bringing his buried psychic energy to the surface. Tetsuo is captured by the government for experimentation. Fortunately, an anti-government group - supported by Tetsuo’s best friend Kaneda Shotaro - plot to rescue him before his powers consume the city.

Highly regarded by fans and critics alike, Akira is often considered the benchmark of modern animation. Which probably explains why Hollywood is determined to sour the taste with a live-action remake. The production has been shut down four times already, probably because it would prove way too expensive to do the film justice, but thankfully we’ll always have the original movie to fall back on. I’ll always be an amateur when it comes to manga, and I'm still not sure I understand it entirely (the finale is both inventive and bizarre), but Akira introduced me to a brave new world, and you can’t ask for more than that.

NIGHT OF THE COMET on Blu isn’t a million miles away
  • Sep 12
  • NIGHT OF THE COMET on Blu isn’t a million miles away
  • Posted by Dorrystavern - 12/09/14 at 06:17 PM

Arrow Video is excited to announce the UK Blu-ray and DVD release of Night of the Comet. The 80s cult-classic, which since its initial release in 1984, has gone on to amass a legion of loyal fans with its hugely entertaining riff on the apocalyptic sub-genre of movies, paying homage to such classics as The Omega Man and The Last Man on Earth. In fact, this might be the most purely entertaining depiction of the aftermath of a catastrophic event, not just in movie history but possibly... well, ever.

The movie will make its UK Blu-ray debut on 22nd September 2014 in a newly restored transfer with a host of extra features including interviews with stars Kelli Maroney, Catherine Mary Stewart, Robert Beltran and Mary Woronov. The disc will also feature audio commentaries with writer/director Thom Eberhardt, stars Kelli Maroney and Catherine Mary Stewart and production designer John Muto. Alongside this, the Blu-ray disc will also feature newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin and a sizable collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic James Oliver.

Synopsis: Life can be tough when you’re a Valley girl. First, there’s making sure you’re on time for pep squad practice. Then there’s having to live under the same roof as your bitchy stepmother who, you suspect, is making it with Chuck from across the road. And then, of course, there’s having to keep on the lookout for the occasional marauding zombie hungering after your flesh!

Eighteen year-old Reggie (Catherine Mary Stewart – Weekend at Bernie’s, The Last Starfighter) misses out on the event-of-a-lifetime when she ditches watching the comet in favour of copping off with the projectionist at the cinema where she works. But this turns out to be a wise move when, the next day, she discovers that the entire population has been reduced to piles of red dust – leaving only Reggie, her sister Sam (Kelli Maroney – Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Chopping Mall) and a handful of other survivors to fend off the roving gangs of glassy-eyed zombies.

A South African horrorFest is coming!
  • Sep 11
  • A South African horrorFest is coming!
  • Posted by Deljhp - 11/09/14 at 05:42 PM

Never let it be said we don’t cover horror news from FAR and wide, and if your are in South African, and a fan of all things splattery, then this years horrorfest will be of interest. The 2014 poster has just been released and the call for entries has gone out. So it you’re in that neck of the woods, keep em peeled on the official site for news on what horrific fun is due your way.






Horrorfest official site

Donnie’s back to rumble in the KUNG FU JUNGLE
  • Sep 10
  • Donnie’s back to rumble in the KUNG FU JUNGLE
  • Posted by Dorrystavern - 10/09/14 at 06:07 PM

Donnie Yen is back, and if we're being brutally honest here, the last two years haven't seen the best of everybody's favourite shirtless wonder. Special I.D. was a little too goofy for our tastes, The Monkey King did big business back home but relied too heavily on CGI and gimmickry. Then there's Iceman (and potentially its upcoming sequel), which we've yet to see and really shouldn't comment on, but online reviews suggest another disappointing entry on Donnie Yen's kick-ass C.V.

So you'll be forgiven for feeling a little bit anxious on this one, even though the trailer looks pretty damn impressive. What's more, Kung Fu Jungle is directed by Teddy Chan, and we were big fans of their last collaboration, Bodyguards and Assassins. Teddy also directed Purple Storm back in 1999, a personal favourite of ours at 24FPS. So maybe, just maybe, this is the return to form we have been waiting for. Kung Fu Jungle is released in China at the end of October, which means we might see a DVD release at the end of the year.

Synopsis: A martial arts instructor from the police force gets imprisoned after killing a man by accident. But when a vicious killer starts targeting martial arts masters, the instructor offers to help the police in return for his freedom.

English subbed trailer for Thai horror THE SWIMMERS
  • Sep 09
  • English subbed trailer for Thai horror THE SWIMMERS
  • Posted by Deljhp - 09/09/14 at 07:05 PM

It’s already been out in its home country, and now Thai horror The Swimmers is heading for Malaysia, meaning better access to English subs, and synopsis.

Sophon Sakdaphisit is the man in charge behind the camera and as he directed two really rather good fright flicks - aka ‘Coming Soon’ and ‘Laddaland’ - and co wrote the horror classic ‘Shutter,’ we’d be foolish to let this slip the net.

Synopsis: The plot of the film is about two prominent male swimmers who fall in love with the same girl. The only problem is that they also encounter something supernatural beyond their expectations. This movie looks chilling and I can’t wait to see how this suspenseful and thrilling plot will unfold.

The Swimmers trailer

  • Sep 09
  • The Vault: ADRIFT IN TOKYO
  • Posted by Dorrystavern - 09/09/14 at 06:14 PM

Adrift in Tokyo is a touching drama by Miki Satoshi, the director of Instant Swamp and Turtles are Surprisingly Fast Swimmers. It's a road movie with a difference, unique because our main characters spend most of their time on the sidewalks of life (unless of course they’re being chased down by the owner of a small clock shop who thinks he’s Bruce Lee). Fumiya and Fukuhara walk, talk, argue and discover a little something about themselves. On the surface there’s little more to it than that. What might sound painfully dull on paper proves in fact to be one of the most engaging films in years.

Up to now, Fumiya’s life has been anything but extraordinary. A university student for the past eight years, his life is going nowhere fast, but all’s about to change the day he meets Fukuhara. Fumiya owes money to loan sharks and a man called Fukuhara turns up to collect the repayments. Fumiya can’t afford to pay the loan back so Fukuhara makes a proposition. He will cancel the debt as long as Fumiya agrees to walk with him across Tokyo to the police station of Kasumigaseki, where he plans to turn himself in for a crime he deeply regrets.

Fumiya and Fukuhara are fundamentally the same person - transparently lonely, one a little wiser than the other, but with an inner sadness that radiates from them both. It’s the little things that truly affect in life and Satoshi is making a career out of depicting them. His films have always had the ability of finding meaning in the most trivial of exchanges. As such, Adrift in Tokyo is a poignant roller coaster ride of genuine emotion, full of ups and downs and - rather fittingly - an all too abrupt conclusion. Comedy, drama and touching performances provide Miki Satoshi with his most accomplished film to date, an enchanting masterpiece that rewards in the subtlest of ways. Highly recommended.

Adrift in Tokyo Trailer

Kim Ki-duk’s MOEBIUS is coming to UK DVD this October
  • Sep 09
  • Kim Ki-duk’s MOEBIUS is coming to UK DVD this October
  • Posted by Dorrystavern - 09/09/14 at 04:25 PM

No matter what you think about Kim Ki-duk as a director, every new release carries the heavy weight of expectation. He has his fans, that's for sure, and he's not afraid to take chances. Check out his warts and all documentary, Arirang, for a fascinating glimpse of self-administered therapy. He openly admits that the love of his movies is not universal – he’s a lot like marmite to us – but few would deny his filmmaking prowess.

UK fans have a lot to look forward to this October, with the release of 2013's Moebius. A daring portrayal of a dysfunctional family that is as controversial as the films of Lars von Trier. Initially banned, the latest tour-de-force from the Cannes-award winning director plays like a warped Greek tragedy. A teenager is caught between his adulterous father and psychotic mother. An extreme act of revenge forces father and son to deal with its bloody aftermath.

This pitch-black study of lust and guilt circles this destructive family whilst questioning one's basic sexual desires. An outstanding and unforgettable work from the director of Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... and Spring. Kim Ki-duk's latest is up for pre-order here, and available to buy on DVD from October 13th, 2014 courtesy of Terracotta Distribution.

New Korean thriller, MANHOLE, leaves nothing uncovered
  • Sep 08
  • New Korean thriller, MANHOLE, leaves nothing uncovered
  • Posted by Dorrystavern - 08/09/14 at 04:39 PM

Filming for the new South Korean thriller, Manhole, finished on March 31, 2014. So it's about time a new trailer surfaced, and here it is, looking like it's probably worth the wait.

A young girl (Kim Sae-Ron) is kidnapped by a serial killer (Jung Kyoung-Ho), a vicious murderer who uses manholes to kidnap and kill his victims. However, he hadn't counted on the young girl's older sister (Jung Yu-Mi) trying to save her.

In the words of Dr. Ian Malcolm, "Then later there's running and screaming." Manhole is directed by Shin Jae-Young, with a release date set for this October back home. We'll keep you posted on DVD and Blu-ray news as and when we get it.


Manhole Trailer

In a Nutshell: WAY OF THE WICKED
  • Sep 07
  • In a Nutshell: WAY OF THE WICKED
  • Posted by Dorrystavern - 07/09/14 at 05:14 PM

"When the sons of the fallen came upon the daughters of men they bore the way of the wicked." An opening gambit that reads infinitely more interesting than the tagline for Kevin Carraway's latest low-budget horror movie. 'Evil Never Dies', anyone? Well, as the filmmakers so eloquently put it, evil never dies but film careers do. Remember when Christian Slater was the epitome of cool? Now he's playing heroic priests in inexplicably dull horror movies. Remember when Vinnie Jones had the world at his feet? Ok, so that's a bit of a stretch, but Jones stars alongside Slater in the straight-to-DVD feature that riffs on The Omen and Carrie.

Here's a twist for you. Christian Slater plays a holier than thou priest and Vinnie Jones plays the part of a doting father. He's still a cop of course but the role of John Elliott is as close to 'affecting' as Vinnie is likely to get. He's one of the best things about the movie as well, which will be a hard pill to swallow for anybody still reeling from his performance in X-Men: The Last Stand. After an inexplicable murder occurs in a small, isolated community, Father Henry goes to a local police detective with a theory on why the murder, and crimes that took place several years before, has occured.

Vinnie is better here than he has any right to be, Slater on the other hand barely registers. He's not really involved though, taking a backseat to a the teen cast members and a plodding script that lacks inspiration. Leading lady Emily Tennant (Heather) deserves better, but her relationship with Robbie (Jake Croker) lacks conviction. It doesn't help that Jake Croker is a personality vacuum, mistaking creepy for intriguing and lacking both the charisma and charm to pull off the role of captivating outsider.

With the best of intentions I found myself drifting as the lack of development became more and more frustrating. Carrie built to a devastating climax and The Omen was drenched in religious subtext and grand ambition. Way of the Wicked feels like a watershed version of Dawson's Creek. A ridiculous twist seals the film's fate, raising questions about the validity of what we've seen but failing to implant any desire to find out why. As the film reaches its ludicrous climax one of the characters says, "The cop and the priest. You two should have your own sitcom."

Now there's an idea...

The ICEMAN cometh to US DVD
  • Sep 07
  • The ICEMAN cometh to US DVD
  • Posted by Deljhp - 07/09/14 at 11:22 AM

We’ll start the ball rolling here by saying we think the cover art is a tad hokey, but that minor niggle falls by the way side, because Martial arts icon Donnie Yen is bringing his trademark action to US ICEMAN...from Well Go USA Entertainment.

A remake of the 1989 film Iceman Cometh, Yen plays a Ming era warrior who, along with his three traitorous childhood friends, are accidentally buried and kept frozen in time. 400 years later, they are defrosted and continue their battle in modern times where they left off.

Directed by Law Wing Cheong (Punished, The Wrath of Vajra), ICEMAN also stars Eva Huang (Kung Fu Hustle, Race to Witch Mountain), Wang Baoqiang (Lost in Thailand), Simon Yam (The Thieves, Ip Man franchise), Mark Wu (Due West: Our Sex Journey), Gregory Wong (Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen) and Yu Kang (Special ID).

Bonus materials include the seven-part featurette "The Making of Iceman," which takes an in-depth look at the filming of the rooftop sequence and the disco scene, as well as interviews with Donnie Yen, Wang Baoqiang and Eva Huand. Iceman debuts on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Nov. 11.

Synopsis: Donnie Yen is a Ming Dynasty palace guard, wrongly accused of murder and hunted by three vengeful brothers. All four are accidentally buried, frozen at the height of battle. 400 years later, they are defrosted and resume their mortal struggle – while also adjusting to modern-day life.

Iceman US trailer

Takashi Miike’s LESSON OF EVIL: DVD review
  • Sep 07
  • Takashi Miike’s LESSON OF EVIL: DVD review
  • Posted by Deljhp - 07/09/14 at 09:58 AM

Director: Takashi Miike. Review: Adam Wing.

We all know that Takashi Miike is one of the hardest working directors in the world right now, he's been knocking out up to three pictures a year for as long as I can remember. The diversity - particularly in recent years - has been quite staggering, with Miike lending his talents to period pieces (Hara-kiri), children's movies (Yatterman) and even the occasional musical (For Loves Sake). In fact, he hasn't made a full-length horror movie since 2003, even if he did dabble in the genre with standout segments in Three... Extremes and the Masters of Horror series.

Takashi Miike hasn't actually made that many horror movies but it's the genre he's most commonly associated with. One Missed Call was answered in 2003, Ichi the Killer lashed out in 2001 and Audition was released way back in 1999. Lesson of Evil has been a long time coming then, and even though his contribution to cinema has been overwhelming since then, it's his dark side that we cherish most, and Takashi's controversial new thriller does not disappoint.

Based on the two-part novel by horror author Kishi Yusuke, Lesson of Evil introduces us to Hasumi Seiji (Hideaki Ito), equal parts charming, conniving and deadly. Hideaki Ito has a blast playing against type as the popular high school teacher, only too happy to blackmail fellow teachers, have sex with students and kill his way out of trouble. Miike is all too aware of what his audience expects, so he holds back for the first hour, developing the characters and their twisted relationships before blowing us away with a bloodthirsty finale that pulls no punches. In fact, it will be interesting to see if this cut ever see's the light of day on American shores...Continue here.

Lesson of Evil trailer

THE GRANDMASTER is to hit UK cinemas!
  • Sep 04
  • THE GRANDMASTER is to hit UK cinemas!
  • Posted by Deljhp - 04/09/14 at 06:53 PM

Six years in the planning and three years in the making, THE GRANDMASTER is an epic action feature inspired by the life and times of the legendary kung fu master, Ip Man.....And it’s finally getting the UK theatrical release it rightly deserves!

Nominated for two Academy Awards, for Cinematography and Costume Design, THE GRANDMASTER features virtuoso performances from those at the film's heart: Wong regular, Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang (CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, HERO) and Chang Chen (HAPPY TOGETHER, 2046). THE GRANDMASTER portrays both the Chinese martial arts and the world of the martial artists with unprecedented authenticity: the fight scenes were choreographed by Yuen Wo Ping, and the trio of lead actors completed several years of rigorous and challenging kung fu training for their roles.

We can go on and on with the superlatives, but suffice to say it’s a stunning piece of cinema and well worth catching on the big screen. The Grandmaster opens in UK cinemas: 28 November 2014.

The Grandmaster official site

  • Sep 04
  • The Vault: ACCIDENT
  • Posted by Dorrystavern - 04/09/14 at 03:47 PM

Listen up Hollywood. Over the past few years we have had to endure some of the most ill advised, logic defying and downright shoddy remakes ever committed to film. Isn’t it about time you gave us something back? From Soi Cheang, the director of Shamo and Dog Bite Dog, comes the 2009 suspense thriller, Accident. Louis Koo (Overheard) takes on lead duties as a paranoid hitman who designs his hits to look like freak accidents. The film co-stars Michelle Yip, Lam Suet and Stanley Fung, with Johnnie To acting as producer.

It’s a sombre affair, measured and moody. A courtly approach, intricate and contemplative. Soi Cheang sets his dominoes up in methodical fashion and Accident is blessed with some memorable set pieces; set-ups enhanced by the director’s laboured approach. As with the Final Destination series, guessing how events will play out is half the fun. That's where the similarities end though. Accident is a psychological thriller, where actions speak louder than words. With dialogue sparse for much of the films running time, Koo copes well with the deep-rooted anxiety and burdens of his conflicted protagonist. The rest of the cast is solid too but this is Koo’s movie.

Paranoia sets in and Fai spends the rest of the running time eating away at himself. Convinced that the world - or Richie Jen’s Chan to be precise - is trying to bring him down, Fai spends the final act listening to wire taps and following his would be nemesis around. All well and good I suppose, but it doesn’t always make for gripping viewing; more cat and nap than cat and mouse. Unfortunately, the screenplay isn't as strong as the set-up. Fai is far too quick to condemn his trusted colleagues and a subplot involving one of the main characters developing amnesia comes on like a bolt from the blue.

The ending is predictably bleak but it doesn’t grab a hold in the way that it should. Soi Cheang follows Shamo and Dog Bite Dog with yet another moody affair. I wonder what he’s like at Christmastime? There are moments of genius at work here, but they're weighed down by lazy writing and unconvincing plot developments. Still worth a look mind.

Accident Trailer

  • Sep 04
  • In a Nutshell: RAISED BY WOLVES
  • Posted by Dorrystavern - 04/09/14 at 03:17 PM

Shaky cam horrors have had their day, right? [REC] 2 was probably the last shaky cam horror movie I truly enjoyed, unless you count Timo Tjahjanto and Gareth Evans' gleefully deranged short film, Safe Haven, from V/H/S/2. The first person perspective is a cost effective way of creating nerve-jangling tension because it feels so up close and personal, but it's been a long time since the sub-genre served up anything fresh. Raised by Wolves doesn't add anything new to the mix either, but there's something about Mitchell Altieri's shaggy dog story that keeps you watching.

When a group of extreme skaters go searching for an empty pool at an abandoned house in the barren desert, they discover the rumours about the house being haunted by a demonic presence might actually hold some water. They maybe shouldn't have skipped the part on 'dark history of occultism' either. The high-spirited teens initially laugh off the blood-stained walls and mysterious symbols, but as they discover the horrific truth about the massacre, Mikey’s footage builds to a shocking conclusion.

Raised by Wolves plays to its strengths. Firstly, a universally strong unknown cast. Horror movies like this don't usually come with likeable characters, but our young protagonists aren't as annoying as your typical teen-fodder, and you may find yourself caring for their outcome as a result. Which helps more than you might think, because there's very little else here that hasn't been done before. The deserted location is suitably creepy, the continued presence of the camera becomes vital, and the effects are relatively strong. Altieri does conjure up some genuine scares throughout and despite early reservations, Raised by Wolves deserves to find an audience in the UK. Worth a look if you still have the stomach for shaky cam horror. Sufferers of motion sikness need not apply.