Archive for the Action! Category

SITGES PT. III: FROM COLD ROCK TO REMOTE LOCATIONS IN THE BRAIN

Posted in Action!, Romance, Sci-Fi, Thriller with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2012 by Toi Brownstone

These two stories have nothing in common but just one remark: they are not bad films but I didn’t feel enthusiastic about them either.

I watched The Tall Man on Wednesday morning, after the suffocating and insane Antiviral, I needed something more dynamic , so it was ok. Aurora on the other hand, was the first one of the marathon, right after having a quick lunch while waiting in the queue, and I was lucky not having succumbed to the classic nap, because the dialogues in the original language were too monotonous, the rhythm was super slow, and the atmosphere was perfect for it.

THE TALL MAN, Pascal Laugier (2012)

I have to admit I expected much more from The Tall Man, having in mind its director Pascal Laugier had shocked  the audience in Sitges few years ago with the film Martyrs. This was the first time he directed an English spoken film supported by a remarkable budget.

Right before the screening of the movie, the attendants were given an amazing small book of the film, including the plot, press reviews, the cast and their roles introduced, how the crew was gather, so as the selection of settings. Very interesting and a nice (and expensive) gesture.

Things in the mining town Cold Rock, in Washington State, are rough. Not only unemployment and poverty strike the neighbors, but also the alarming amount of children disappearing in the area, as if abducted. Everybody talks about The Tall Man, it’s become a popular legend which terrorizes Cold Rock.

Julia Denning (Jessica Biel) is a nurse performing as the doctor in town, who happened to be her husband dead some years ago. She remainsthere even though she’s still seen as a stranger by the locals. She lives with her son David (Jakob Davies), and her friend Christine (Eve Harlow), who looks after the kid while she’s working.

One night an intruder breaks into the house to take David with him, but this “Tall Man” doesn’t know what Julia is capable of to recover her beloved kid. When she informs the authorities on the disappearance, some doubts and evidences point her as responsible for the disappearance of the children, thus she will have to carry on with reckless search for David, getting away from the locals at the same time. Eventually the truth will be discovered.

Pascal Laugier has explained that this project was born years ago, and was interrupted when he worked on the shocking Martyrs. This time he wanted to focus on a real subject as the source of horror, again the starting point is the abduction of children, but this time The Tall Man is a dark thriller. The director thought of Jessica Biel remembering her performance in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. She is an angel face but also has a very athletic body being great in action scenes, in which she tried to avoid being stunted, being more realistic.

It’s true that for most of time the audience is finding their own conclusions that are not valid due to the change of the events and perspectives. The most interesting aspect is that we always tend to identify and label the characters, the good guy, the bad guy…and here this labeling is not suitable till the end. Still, many characters are not relevant, if you pay attention you notice things valid for the final conclusions, but there are other aspects which could be omitted without affecting the final result. The initial plot is not bad, but the development is not convincing.

AURORA (VANISHING WAVES), Kristina Buozyte (2012)

Aurora was the opening film to the marathon at Retiro movie theatre. I didn’t have any idea of what it was about, just the mocking remark of a friend of mine saying he had read somewhere it was erotic.

So there I am, front-centered, ready to enjoy the experience of several movies in a row for about 9 hours, and curious about this Aurora. For no reason, the title was making me of Solaris, something very funny because in essence, the two hours of story were too Solaris inspired.

To start with, the main language in the film was Lithuanian (I thought it was Russian, quite similar and monotonous), with very few lines in English, included in the dialogues among scientists.

Lukas (Marius Jampolskis) has volunteered for a series of experiments consisting  of neuron-transfer transmissions in order to get some response from Aurora (Jurga Jutaite), a young beautiful woman, who is into deep coma after a car crash. The transmissions would be as if travelling into another dimension where Lukas and Aurora will star a secret love affair he will not report to his superiors, putting all the experiment into risk, and also the life of the patient. Of course these strengthened ties will bring out other feelings and situations completely unnoticed in the real world, up to a point all this will be negatively affecting both Lukas and Aurora.

The language, the rhythm, the story in a different dimension, the behavior of Aurora, the sound effects, the work with cameras… everything reminded me as an attempt to create a modern Solaris. It’s undeniable that Tarkovsky’s film was the main inspiration.

It was a rough film to start the marathon, dense, slow, a bit twisted, but the story was quite interesting. Erotic? Nah, you can see boobs, naked bodies and sensual scenes, but not big deal. There were these moments the actors try to create an ideal and allegoric scene of beauty, but the way they move ends up being quite of funny, lessening the effect. Definitely modest in the impact on the audience.

SITGES FILM FESTIVAL 2011 (PT. I)

Posted in Action!, Events, Just Fun, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on November 8, 2011 by Toi Brownstone

What a mess! Once again, it’s taken me longer than expected to update on this festival I attended a month ago already. My apologies!

Wish I could talk about more films from Sitges Film Festival 2011 edition, but unfortunately, not press registration, bad planning, and lack of time and money, only allowed me enjoy a wonderful Saturday in town. Can’t complain though, for I had tickets for just two films, and ended up attending 4,with a result of 3 positive and worth seeing, and one a total joke.

I’ve not too much experience regarding film festivals, but I’m starting to think they’re as worth attending as music festivals, especially if contents are related to genres you love.

I’ve come to the conclusion I’m trying to get more involved in the future, in order to discover new proposals, and opening to new stuff. And of course, the possibility of meeting friends and share interesting conversations regarding all this marvelous world is simply priceless, and helps you realize how much you still can learn, and set new targets you to focus on.

So here it is my Sitges experience I want to share with you. Hope you enjoy.

DRIVE, Nicolas Winding Refn (2011)

There are many components in this explosive cocktail as not to fail: Ryan Gosling, cars, pink neon credits, 80s inspired soundtrack, violence and blood…  Nothing could be wrong, and in fact it didn’t, Drive is gonna be the hype of the year, but it’s worth it, believe me.

The Driver, by Walter Hill, as a strong source of inspiration comes to mind immediately. And of course, memories of Bullit or Vanishing Point also spark underneath.

The driver (Ryan Gosling) is a workaholic. He devotes his life to work with cars, as a mechanic in a repairing shop owned by his mentor, Shannon (Bryan Cranston), who also introduced him into Hollywood as a stuntman for car action scenes. Moreover, he performs occasional driving for robberies requiring a professional driver for the getaways.

He’s a guy with no identity, no attachments, not relatives known, and not a very talkative person or emotional either. Until he gets acquainted with his neighbors. A young woman, Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her kid, Benicio. A kind of platonic story starts, with the shadow of Irene’s husband, serving prison for armed robbery.

In the meantime, Shannon is making business with dangerous people, in order to get enough money to develop a car prototype the driver would race with, involving lots of money. The associates, Nino (Ron Perlman) and Bernie Rose, are the kind of guys you don’t mess around with, and they accept to invest, supervising and nosing on the preparations as to ensure their money is safe.

Eventually Standard, Irene’s wife, is released from prison, which means the friendship among neighbors should logically come to an end, for obvious reasons. But nothing was said to be that easy, and Standard is attacked and beaten for unfinished business, up to a point if he doesn’t carry out a robbery at a pawn shop, his family will suffer the consequences. And who will do the driving? Easy to guess.

What seems to be a non risky job, turns out to be a trap, and the driver will be forced to apply all his skills and cold blood to get Irene, Benicio and himself out of danger.

The way the plot is developed is perfect. Opening with a robbery as a way of introducing the driver to the audience, as cold, calculating, and professional, is enough as to catch the bait.

Although the start of the film is powerful, according to the typical pattern of the action movies, with the first 5 minutes creating tension, the following change as to introduce us to the actual plot is radical in its rhythm, focusing on the strong attachment among the driver and his neighbors, Irene in special. There are some moments you can think of another cakey love story, as the tone is very evocative, takings are very artistic, and the whole thing is kind of bucolic. But it’s a good technique, to enhance the super blow to come.

Really, Drive is the perfect shot of action. It’s violent, dynamic, surprising, bloody and mean. Beware! It’s not to be related to last year’s major action releases, such as Expendables or Machete, better considered as just entertainment and a great laugh. Drive is serious in its story, not aiming to be taken as a joke. Characters are not super heroes but just the opposite. Standard is a vulgar robber, the driver is a mechanic and Irene is just a waitress. If you think of the mob side, involving Albanian mafia, believe me, there’s no glamour or attractive in that.

The cast is something to take serious. With Ryan Gosling, absolutely brilliant, confirming, not only he’s the most wanted man in the world, but also a great actor, with a promising future ahead, but also featuring one of the current hottest goddess Christina Hendricks, a rough Ron Perlman, and the innocent but seed of the whole mess, Carey Mulligan (truth is her performance is not so consistent).

Release date in Spain is due to the end of this month. Sure I will repeat and will go to the cinema to watch it for the second time. Believe me, this hype is worth seeing, and most likely is to be one of the films of the year. hope you like it!

KILLER JOE, William Friedkin (2011)

After an extense career as director, featuring more than 20 films, including classics such as The Exorcist, The Cruising or The French Connection, Friedkin is not expected to prove anything. Perhaps, because he can do whatever he wants, he’s delivered this shocking black redneck comedy this year, away from social politeness.

The Smiths are pure white trash. Dumped from his mother’s house, Chris (Emil Hirsh) asks his father for money and shelter. He’s in debt with Digger Soames, the kind of big guy you cannot play with, and his life is in risk. Ansel has no money and if he had, he wouldn’t spend a dime on his stupid boy, his wife Sharla (Gina Gershon) would not allow it.

The only solution is contracting Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) to kill Chris’ mother, so they’d be able to claim for her life insurance policy money, pay the killer, clean the debts and share the money among the family.

Problem is that Joe Cooper only accepts prepaid jobs. But he finds a way to ensure the payment. Dottie, Ansel’s 12 year old daughter, a night walker and a very special girl, still virgin, will be the pledge.

As soon as the agreement is done, Chris will regret having ruined his sister’s life in the hands of the killer and will try to put things into order.

Killer Joe is an excessive story. The protection of the underage is not valid here. Dottie is to fulfill Joe’s requirements and is a grant for payment. Everything is unacceptable and morally wrong. But who cares? Anything goes.

Dialogues and situations are so way out of line, so absurd, while watching the film I was totally shocked, so astonished, I found myself laughing nonstop. The way all things are messed around, how situation is getting more and more twisted is insane.

Such extreme the contents are, don’t think this film is being released at any cinema. Positive Friedkin wasn’t looking to be acclaimed nor praised, he just doesn’t care.

Therefore, if you are sensitive to certain subjects or morally concerned as not to understand this film as a joke, don’t waste your time watching it, otherwise you’ll get angry and disappointed. I had fun though.

TRUE ROMANCE, Tony Scott (1993)

Posted in Action!, Romance with tags , , , , , , , on August 28, 2011 by Toi Brownstone

Summer sales are the best, and I’m not talking about clothes, considering this is a blog about movies. I’ve bought more than 10 movies in the past month which, of course, I will review here.

First film I decided to watch was True Romance, for two main inspiring facts: a public TV channel was broadcasting Jackie Brown, a film I love and already commented here, and second, because I just started the very same day to review The Sopranos, my favorite TV series of all times. Thus, mafia on one hand, and Tarantino’s genius helped in my choice.

I hadn’t seen this movie in ages and reckon I got more fascinated than in previous occasions, probably because I paid more attention on the dialogues, characters and the amazing crew of actors working on this bloody and violent American dream story.

Clarence (Christian Slater) is a comic book guy in Detroit. Continuing his self-imposed tradition, he spends his birthday enjoying a Sonny Chiba triple feature at a theatre on his own. A hot chick named Alabama (Patricia Arquette), for no apparent reason, joins him in the session, and will accept to go for a coffee with him afterwards. The rest you can figure out, they go to his apartment and have a good night. However, Alabama will confess the encounter wasn’t by chance. She’s a call girl, and she’s the birthday present for Clarence from his friends. It was too much coincidence.

What she can’t control is the instant crush on him, Alabama is completely in love with Clarence, and it’s the same the other way round. Thus, they get married immediately.

Everything happens so quick, Alabama’s stuff is at her pimp’s joint. Clarence decides to pay a visit to Drexl Spivey (Gary Oldman), following Elvis Presley’s advise, tell him Alabama’s non of his business anymore, grab her stuff, and probably kill him. He accomplishes his mission, but there’s something out of frame: the suitcase he takes is not his wife’s, and it’s full of cocaine.

Rid of Drexl, Clarence and Alabama need to take care of the suitcase. Sell the blow, take the money and be happy ever after. But as you can imagine, things are not so easy, drug dealing involves many sides, and this one remaining, led by a cold mafia guy name Vincenzo Coccotti (Christopher Walken), won’t put things easy.

Thus the married couple heads to LA, thinking is the perfect place for selling the dope at good profit, considering the film industry scene as the potential customer, plus Clarence’s friend, Dick (Michael Rappaport), an actor looking for his opportunity in the bizz, who apparently has the right contacts. As their brilliant future seems closer, things get more and more complicated though.

This is a movie that, if you don’t know Tarantino wrote the script, but you’re fond of his work, you quickly know his trademark is present. It’s weird he didn’t direct it, considering the noise spread thanks to Reservoir Dogs, but as far as I’ve read through the net, he just sold the script and forgot about the issue quite much.

True Romance is excessive, in all senses, love is crazy, violence is brutal, and situations are impossible…very very Tarantino’s.

The way everything happens, or better said, the speed at the events occur, reminds me a bit of the comics.  Everything related to feelings specially, is quite summarized. Can you imagine people falling mad in love overnight? I consider myself a romantic person, serious, but no, I can’t imagine myself so in love all of a sudden.

Truth is Alabama and Clarence are not an average couple. The comic store guy gets such a pretty girl he’d never dream of, but she comes with the package, and he needs the strength and guts, to preserve his reward. All his bravery will bring out encouraged by his personal angel, Elvis (Val Kilmer) in his golden suit. Suddenly, Clarence the loner and loser, becomes a tough guy, willing to do whatever to defend and put their love at safe.

What about Alabama? She’s like a kind of late 80’s Marilyn, the hot blonde. It’s kinda fun, her sister Rosanna’s  film with Madonna, Desperately Seeking Susan, comes always to my mind, when referring to True Romance. The appearance, the clothes and accessories, this funny and careless attitude, turn Alabama into an icon.

I really love the way characters are added to the plot, turning the plot into a complex net. The pimp, Clarence’s father and Coccotti, Dick and Elliot, the cops… the rhythm is shaking, all the characters are, how to say, relevant, rich and interesting, and several of them, thanks to the actors playing them and the dialogues, are super charismatic and unique: Gary Oldman as the white pimp pretending to be black; Walken as the perfect mobster, firm, polite and cold, but eventually losing patience; Hopper, the loving drunken father who is a loser living in a trailer, who’s got nothing else to lose… these are examples of what I mean. Characters are carefully developed, all of them having their moments.

I’ve already mentioned dialogues. Tarantino is a master, I’ve written this already on this blog. I’m a diehard fan of them. The ability of creating an increasing and extreme tension at certain points, to finally explode, is awesome. Constant references to classic films really show how passionate he is about everything. I love that.

True Romance is a rough story of love, and a search for the American dream,  peppered with violence and action…perfect combination for any given Sunday evening. What else can you ask for?

EASTERN PROMISES , David Cronenberg (2007)

Posted in Action!, Directors, Drama with tags , , , , , , on August 13, 2011 by Toi Brownstone

Can’t believe I haven’t talked about  this movie here yet, this is unacceptable! I’ve seen this film at least 4 times and reckon it’s one of my favorite ones of the past decade. Let’s put some remedy to such mistake.

Back in 2005, with A History of Violence, David Cronenberg started the so called Trilogy of Violence, which is still unfinished, and don’t think with the upcoming A Dangerous Method, comes to an end either.

Anyway, Eastern Promises is no doubt another example of violence, but this time from a perspective of the Russian mob in London nowadays, settled for at least 10-12 years and becoming powerful and very dangerous.

The starting point of the story is the death of a young Jane Doe, named Tatiana, at a maternity ward, by giving birth to her baby girl, in unfortunate and extreme circumstances.

The midwife who last assisted her, Anna (Naomi Watts), finds a diary written in Russian in her hand bag, and is determined to find any relatives so the newborn will escape from the bureaucratic adoption procedures.

Despite her Russian  roots, she can’t read the diary, plus her uncle Stepan does not agree to nose at dead people personal values. By chance, she finds a card from a restaurant named Trans-Siberian, so she decides to pay a visit, hoping someone can give her some information about the teenager or at least, get some help to translate the diary.

Once there, she will meet the friendly owner of the place, Semyon (Armin Mueller-Stahl), who suggests her to come back the following day, so he can help her.  However, behind the amiable mask of a tender old man, the head of one of the most dangerous Russian mafia families, Vory V Zakone.

Problems will start the moment she hands him a copy of the diary, in which both Semyon and his careless and shallow son, Kirill (Vincent Cassel) are named and accused of very terrible things. This little spot in his business is something to be vanished easily, but what nobody takes into account is the driver, Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen), very close to Kirill, and acquainted with everything happening, and another two-face character.

Last time I watched Eastern Promises was 4 days ago, with my best friend. First thing she told me was that she hadn’t seen it before for being too sensitive to violent scenes, getting especially anxious when raping involved. Didn’t think much when I reckoned it wasn’t so violent, remembering only the scene at the public sauna. Don’t want to spoil anything, but let me tell you THAT is one of the best moments I’ve ever seen in a movie, if you’ve never seen this movie before, remember these two main adjectives: hard and raw.

Anyway, first scene and I was thinking “Oh My God! This is going to be a mistake I’ll remember for years”. Fortunately, I’ve been training my friend somehow, and she enjoyed the film a lot.

I could praise this film nonstop, there are many aspects to be highlighted I don’t know which one to start with.

There are two main plots which at some point they both meet, but not completely. And which one is more relevant? On one hand the story of Tatiana and her daughter Christina, christened by Anna, the nurse. It works as the perfect introduction to the underworld, but also something as apparently innocent as a diary brings out lots of trouble to Semyon. On the other hand, the affair of Soyka’s murder at Azim’s barbershop, an impulsive command by Kirill which also will cause lots of disturbance. The typical catchy sentence to attract the audience, in this case, is more than appropriate and quite meaningful:  Every sin leaves a mark. well, basically Eastern Promises, depicted in this Russian mafia frame, is all about that. Everything you do, will have consequences, no matter whether your acts involve low or high profile people.

I enjoy lots with the way  the story develops, the different plots getting closer and closer, thus the more you see, the more you understand. Characters are evolving according to the circumstances, and who you think was the nice guy, turns to be a real son o a bitch, and the other way round.

Russian mafia is definitely one of the strongest points in the story. We’ve seen Italian mafia hundreds of times, Irish gangs, ghetto boys, Chinese mob…we know how they deal with their affairs. However, we are quite ignorant  regarding Eastern dirty business and the way they handle and behave, traditions, code messages and whatever stuff you can think of.

Interesting the fact that this family is settled in London. I used to live the 12 years ago and noticed a massive wave of Russian and Polish immigrants. In certain neighborhoods, there were groups of guys dealing and arguing in street corners, with young nice chicks by their side…Here the legal business is the restaurant, but then you find brothels with prostitutes confined, hooked on heroin, pursuing the western dream of getting away from poverty for a better living. Tatiana was one of these girls, her innocence corrupted and her life ruined.

Tattoo code really fascinates me, probably because this traditional feature has almost disappeared. Tattoos not only meant choosing an unorthodox way of life, but also marked the belonging to a dark and exclusive elite. And finally, in this case, beside every inking having a meaning, certain ones were kind of awards, as in the Army, recognition and rising levels.

Along his filmography, Cronenberg has hired services of relevant actors for his purposes: Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Walken, Ralph Fiennes, James Woods, Marilyn Chambers and Jennifer Jason Leigh, among others. Truth is that before A History of Violence, I find remarkable the partnership between the director and Jeremy Irons, which delivered two of the least popular of his films, yet to be included among the list of most twisted minded and insane of his works: Dead Ringers and M Butterfly.  I love both, especially the story of the Mantle twins, I had already talked about long time ago on this blog.

With the concept of the trilogy of the violence, seems that the story repeats, with the Canadian and Mortensen creating a strong comradeship. A History of Violence was the starting point, sharing features in common with Eastern Promises. They both show us men, with lives which differ  enormously  from what they really are, and consequently carrying a heavy burdens.

If Mortensen’s act in the first one was outstanding, I reckon as Nikolai he’s over the top. He’s not just the driver, but also the undertaker, the nurse of Kirill, the Russian Mr. Wolf always ready to put things back in their place. From the very beginning my friend  was wondering whether he was good or evil. I think he settles right in the middle. As you’re discovering what he’s into, in order to do good, his methods are wrong.

Rumors say that Cronenberg is planning to work on a sequel. If this is true I feel really curious, it can be a waste of time or a master piece. The end of the film leaves one door open everyone wants to peep through. That could be a good opportunity to discover how the aftermath would be. I’d love it. We’ll have to wait and see.

Once again, Cronenberg does not disappoint. People criticize him for moving away from the body horror he mainly created, and turning more mainstream. I disagree. Nowadays the director focuses more on tough stories, with some kind of lesson behind, and perhaps, rather than insisting on the reality-delusion duality, he’s more into parallel lives, with an apparent front, and a dark side underneath, which eventually comes up to surface. And nevermind what others say, he keeps on with his taste for blood.

Misunderstood and underestimated, in my humble opinion he’s one of the most talented directors, always delivering interesting and different proposals, audience should pay more attention to. Seriously, it’s never too late to discover his work, I encourage you from here.

 

ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13, John Carpenter (1976)

Posted in Action!, Directors with tags , , on February 25, 2011 by Toi Brownstone

Whenever John Carpenter is mentioned, titles such as Halloween, Escape from New York or The Thing are doubtless essential references. They’re classic films, and anyone interested in sci-fi or horror loves his stuff.

Precisely in many of these conversations I came to the conclusion his most prolific years were concentrated on the decade from 1976 to 1986, to be more accurate, I’d say there were 7 splendid years, covering titles from Assault on Precinct 13 to Christine, Stephen King’s book adaptation.

Assault was one of the latest films I saw, I think a couple of years ago. I had tried to see it before, but for no apparent reason I ended up falling asleep or distracted. I think it’s a very dark movie and if you don’t know what the film is about, the beginning is not as catchy as others.

Anyway, before I start talking about it, I must say it’s one of my Carpenter’s favorites. I really enjoy those eighty something minutes of non-stop action.

After six gang members of Street Thunder were shot to dead by the Police while stealing a massive amount of rifles and guns, revenge is agreed by the members, decide to spread  chaos and terror  in Anderson, a dangerous neighborhood in South Los Angeles.

Lieutenant Bishop, on duty, is commanded to supervise the closing of the precinct 9, district 13 police station that night, an apparent quiet task, with 2 secretaries left packing stuff, the captain in charge and a couple of cops as the only staff.

However a gang member shoots a little girl and an ice-cream man and the father of the kid, in a moment of insanity, chases the punks and kills his daughter’s murderer, with consequences.

In the meantime Napoleon Wilson, a very dangerous criminal about to serve 30 years, and two other prisoners are being moved to a maximum security facility. But something changes their way and end up reaching the police station, waiting for a doctor to assist one of the prisoners, who is very ill.

The father, pursued by the gang, prepared for revenging their pal, also gets shelter at the same station.

Nobody can imagine they’ll be under siege for the rest of the longest night they’ll ever live…that if they manage to survive.

With very tight budget and really narrow timing, Carpenter offers around 85 minutes of craziness, chaos and action which cannot be underestimated, however box office wasn’t too successful and critics didn’t show much enthusiasm for the tape.

One of the most interesting features in the film is the gang. The way they organize and how they are able not to call the attention from the outside by means of silencers and hiding the corpses is almost supernatural. They move so subtle you don’t know where they will turn up from. On the other hand, they form part of a whole, none of them is shown as an individual nor stands over the others as a skip, just in the beginning, silent and impassive, few of them swear the oath with blood. When assaulting the station, they remind me of the scene when the pirates are attacking the people at the church in The Fog, the way they move and creep through the windows is more like they are zombies. Curious.

Napoleon Wilson is definitely the character in the film. We don’t really know what he did, but he’s dangerous and popular, and people are afraid of him. He’s impulsive, yet calm, he’s got the right sentence at the right moment, I particularly love when he says “I was born out of time”. Sexual tension among him and Leigh is evident, and the climax is that moment when he, after several times asks for a cigarette, and she just puts one in his mouth. I find it really cool, there’s no need of anything more explicit that that, and still it’s a relay hot moment.

Carpenter uses unknown cast of actors, yet they belong to his personal entourage, as many of them will appear in following films. Charles Cyphers, Nancy Loomis (I find it funny Mike Myers’ doctor’s surname is exactly Loomis), and John J. Fox, collaborated with the director in following projects.

What can I say about the soundtrack? I’m particularly fond of Carpenter as music composer. Always with his synthesizers which seem shabby Casio’s we used to have in our early years, but at the same time, providing tension and the proper atmosphere to develop the story, providing some sort of mystery and thrilling feeling.

Enough said, I think, now If you feel like turning your tv out loud and diving into an ocean of violence and non-stop shots, this is your movie, you’ll love it!

MACHETE IS HERE

Posted in Action!, Just Fun with tags , , on July 14, 2010 by Toi Brownstone

Yes, yes, yes!!! Machete is here! We’ll have blood, vengeance, murders and Danny Trejo in just one month and a half.

And what are we to expect? I don’t know about you, guys, but I think this movie is going to blow our minds. Have you heard about the cast of characters? It’s absolutely impressive: Don Johnson, Robert de Niro, Steven Seagal (OMG!), Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez…even myth of special effects, Tom Savini, has a place in this production.

Based on a fake trailer included in Grindhouse, audience fell irresistibly and immediately in love with the Mexican. Robert Rodriguez, together with Ethan Maniquis, eventually decided to go on with the project, which is going to be a hit, in my opinion.

Release due date is set for September the 3rd. Dears, I encourage you to meet you friends that evening, have a couple of beers and then start enjoying.

Here you are the trailer of…MACHETE!!

Remember, They just fucked with the wrong Mexican!

ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, John Carpenter (1981)

Posted in Action!, Directors with tags , , , on June 13, 2010 by Toi Brownstone

Definitely John Carpenter has a place on my top ten of film directors ever. His golden years registered at least 3 of my favorite movies, and although afterwards he fell into crappy stories, he’s a hell of director and creative artist.

To be honest, I don’t reckon having seen Escape in my childhood and right now I regret it, because I’m positive this is the kind of movie you MUST see when you’re young to enjoy even more: combination of nonstop action, dialogues, a charismatic hero such as Snake Plissken and a pimp car, can enrich your adolescence a lot. Because that’s what is so cool about it, the world is portrait as shit, but you can do something good and can count on some people, no matter their ideologies are, world is shit, definitely, but also comradeship and survival.

In a not so far future, things are so much out of control in the States that Manhattan island has become a massive prison, surrounded by concrete and such security nobody can escape from there, all the outlaws and people in bad habits end up there mixed. As you can imagine, Manhattan was portrait in a darker way than actually was in the late 70’s, but still both images were not so distant, delinquency, gangs, murders…not the safe place we know nowadays with a cop almost on every corner.

Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), has been sentenced to the island for bank robbery, and as it’s said, once you’re there, there’s no coming back, but he’s popular for his acts and his curriculum is outstanding, enough reason for a second chance to avoid prison if he works for the government on a desperate mission: find the president’s location and bring him back to safety.

How could the President (Donald Pleasence) end up in such a shit hole? Well, Air Force One was kidnapped and he got the chance to get away in the emergency capsule. Technology wasn’t so developed as to direct it to regular land, ending in the island. As you can imagine a guy like him hasn’t many chances to survive without body guards and gets caught by the Duke (Isaac Hayes).

In order to catch him from the balls, Snake is injected with some sort of poisonous capsules mixed on his bloodstream will be lethal in 24 hours.

It’s easy to figure out the rest: Snake moving through Manhattan, looking for the guy and getting allies on his way, fighting for survival desperately.

Although Carpenter and Russell had already worked together for the sweetened Elvis biopic, with Escape started what could be considered one of the most successful and strong relationships in business, the actor became sort lucky charm for the director, as most acclaimed  movies followed immediately.  In fact, Carpenter failed to provoke same reaction among audience whenever he counted on other actors, such as in They Live or Memoirs of an Invisible Man. I really love this tandem.

Problem nowadays is the subject of remakes. First in the 90’s both Carpenter, Kurt Russell and Debra Hill resurrected Plissken in another mission, this time in LA. It was basically a remake of the original one, with different special effects and different settings, but same story, although not as fresh and direct as the previous one. A New Escape from New York is due for next year, and surely it will be a shit, first because the power Kurt Russell impregnated on Plissken is hardly achievable, and and then, because it will be a movie with plenty of budget and horrible computer effects, no smoking, and no pimps, because all these social “protocols” you off the record must follow. Apart from that, I heard Gerard Butler is to become the main character…sorry, bt that’s unacceptable!

Returning to the movie after this moment of anger (sorry about that, folks!) I cannot finish the review without talking about Snake Plissken. Not such appealing heroes appear in films nowadays. He’s got an attitude, never shuts up, smart and intelligent, he’s a rat you end up loving. Kurt Russell admits is the best character he’s ever played and I reckon he’s right. Action movies need the figure of the tough guy, with key sentences at any moment which make you think, this is a hell of a guy! Plissken is the kind of guy, kids in the 80’s would dream of becoming, great heroes cannot be weak or soft, or even polite, they must drink, smoke and swear, because what they’re facing at that moment is not precisely a nice time.

Thus, apart from the criticism of society hidden and the message that politicians aren’t always as clean as they pretend, Escape from New York accomplishes the mission of providing audience with good entertainment. Action films are seen as a minor category in terms of performance, but at the end of the day, sometimes is better to escape from reality with a bit of the medicine Snake Plissken offers rather than watching a reality drama, am I right?