Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Film: The Belko Experiment

I like bad movies and there are various tropes that pop up in them that I like; one of those is exploding neck collars to control people such as films like Battle Royale, Running Man amongst others. So when I saw the trailer for this and saw people's heads inexplicably explode I knew this was a film that I was going to enjoy.

The movie poster has the tagline "Office Space meets Battle Royale" and that's perfect. The premise of the film has a number of office employees trapped within their workplace and prompted to kill each other at the request of a hidden voice that plays out over the PA. "2 of you must be killed in 30 minutes or we'll kill 4 of you", that sort of idea...and a what a great idea.

So without giving too much away it's a good film, and could have a cult following a la Battle Royale. It's not quite as strong as the characters aren't as engaging as the Japanese School Kids, and the reasons revealed at the end of the film tries to be clever and fails.

The film has suffered from a poor run rate around London but it is worth seeing. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Show: Alice Underground @ Waterloo Vaults


The above poster sort of says all that needs to be said. A return of the show that had a successful run in 2014 and is back for, what appears to be, another.

It's 90 minutes long and there is some running, walking and a little climbing. Do get there early and listen out of your show starting (we managed to miss ours and fortunately jumped into a later slot) and just enjoy the experience...then go and see it again; I'm already planning my next visit.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Film: The Handmaiden

I caught this at the start of the year at a festival but it now it's fully released I thought I'd pop along to the cinema and see it again. It was certainly worth seeing a second time and I'm glad I did. 
The original review is here but on a second viewing I was able to see how the storyline worked better than first time round and I was drawn much more to the cinematography which is stunning. The director of Delicatessen, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, once said that the best films feature shooting where any frame could be a painting, and I saw that here. Park has framed his shots brilliantly.

The only other thing I can add on this viewing? I'll never see wind chimes in quite the same way again.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Film: Raw


A coming of age tale set around a freshman vegetarian vet student who discovers a craving for human flesh. That's basically the story but it is dragged out nicely for 90 or so minutes.

When shown at it's first festival this film supposedly made people pass out and throw up; those reviewers must have been lightweights. It wasn't as gory as I'd have liked. The epilogue is great though, and the party scene features a DØ track. Nice!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Film: Fast & Furious 8


Human thumb Vin Diesel searches for his lost alpha-male role and his "fam bro you get me" in an exciting quest involving very expensive cars, most of which get smashed up. Charlize The Ron plays a high-end hacker who does very little of the hacking leaving it to a little Asian nerd who wouldn't look as hot with blond dreadlocks. Impressive CGI including a scene where they manage to make Michelle Rodriguez smile. Hollywood's interpretation of what zero-day exploits and EMPS can do continues to miss the mark. It also contains the worst English accent committed to screen since Don Cheadle in Oceans 11, and it's not Statham that's responsible.
Despite all that I still found it enjoyable, but it gets easier to say that as each one is released. The franchise benefits from having its audience having invested so much into it and should the Prince Charles run all 8 in a marathon, I'll be there.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Film: Memories of a Murder

An impromptu visit to the West End saw me seeing this Korean film originally released in 2003. I didn't know it was based on true events surrounding Korea's first serial killer so went in very blind. This was great and having no preconceptions made the film enjoyable. The performances are strong and I was pulled into the film such were the strength of the performances. There's some humour in the film, especially with one of the cops unable to control his urge to launch a flying kick at suspects; that made me laugh every time he did it.

That ending though, I hadn't expected it at all but it was quite clever. (intentionally vague so as not to spoil it). 

Film: Chopping Mall @ Crap Film Club

My second trip to Crap Film Club took us back to the 80s for Chopping Mall, a film about 8 teenagers who have a party in a shopping mall which is undergoing a trial of a new security system including shutter doors and three patrolling droids. A lightning storm causes the robots software to fail causing them to go into kill mode.

Initially called Killbots but changed so as not to be associated with Transformers which were popular at the time, the film is really poor but perfect for the Crap Film Club. The dialogue is cheesy, the effects bad, and the acting is atrocious. The teenagers are all well into their 20s and one seems to chew constantly, even when talking. 

I did recognise the mall as the same one as Commando, so I was quite chuffed with myself for spotting that. Oh, and it features one of the best exploding head sequences, almost up there with Scanners. 

Another fun night. 

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Film: Ghost in the Shell

A live action remake of the 90's Anime original sees Scarlett Johansson in a role where the performance is not too dissimilar from her Black Widow persona in The Avengers films. Here she plays "Major" a cyborg sent to investigate the murder of scientists involved in a secret project. Along the way she learns of her past, which causes her to rethink who she is really working for.

The star of the show is the visuals, they're great and look like Blade Runner on Ecstasy with huge hologram adverts hanging off a complex Mega-City style cityscape. Performances are fine, Scarlett isn't challenged too much and Beat Takeshi is just Beat, I've no complaints ever with him. The Clint Mansell soundtrack is also really good.

Is it better than the original? I think so. The original will always be a classic but I think the director has done enough to stay true but also to put his own stamp on the story. I found it easier to follow. 

Exhibition: Wearing & Cahun @ National Portrait Gallery

A rather interesting if odd exhibition at the Portrait Gallery featuring two artists who made their careers by hiding behind masks. Wearing, the more recent of the two, was the more impressive. Without the room of Polaroids it'd be hard to know how exactly she looks such was her abundance in hiding her face.

Trip Report

My trip report for this year's big holiday to the US, Kazakhstan and Japan is now available by clicking here or if you're on a des...