This is an excellent adaptation of George Orwell’s essential dystopian novel. It’s also the last appearance of Richard Burton, and he is fantastic. You would never know he struggled to get through each take because of his health. This is also my favorite John Hurt performance. The movie looks amazing thanks to Roger Deakins (DP on Sicario, Fargo, and a ton of others). A rare “bleach bypass” film processing technique was used for that grim, desaturated look. It’s amazing that some scenes were shot on the exact days referenced in Winston Smith’s diary. A ton of care and detail was put into this film, but please read the book first.
This is a divisive film. From what I can gather, fans may have found this a little too experimental, and critics a little too much like Ben Wheatley’s previous A Field in England. That said, if you want a straight-forward, fast paced horror film, or a totally new Wheatley masterpiece, skip this one. I loved this movie. I will admit that I am a bit biased to what’s on offer here. You already know I’m a fan of the director, as I’ve recommended almost every film he ever made. More than that, I am a sucker for dark psychedelic visuals, and a fan of experimental music (which is prominent in the second half of the film). Ben Wheatley does it again, but not for everyone.
Not available on Blu-ray.
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I missed this movie when it first came out. I figure a few of you did too. It’s not as good as Neill Blomkamp’s District 9, but I found this very entertaining. Thankfully Chappie has that same level of high quality CG. Yes, it is a bit cheesy at times. Let that slide and you get lots of R rated action to make up for it. I have to admit that Ninja and Yo-Landi are good in this too. Shockingly good.
BONUS: Check out Blomkamp’s Oats Studio videos on YouTube. There are a lot of great short films available for free.
In a bleak future, Judge Dredd is a brutal super-cop who teams up with a trainee to take on a drug gang. I learned a major lesson with this one. I was so staunchly against big budget Hollywood movies at the time that I didn’t even contemplate seeing it in the theater. Huge mistake. Not only is it absolutely amazing, it was in 3D. Not the static, pointless, 3D either. We’re talking the lovingly crafted kind. Now I pay much closer attention, and don’t automatically dismiss any movie in a genre of interest before doing my research.
I’m kind of depressed now. What were we talking about?
Oh yes… Dredd.
It’s one of the very best action movies made in the last 20 years. There was talk of making it into a TV series. Didn’t happen. There was also a petition to make a sequel. Nope. Well, at least we have Dredd. It’s a thing of pitch black beauty.
A trained assassin can take over any person, and use their body to do the killing. This beautifully lensed film starts with a bang and does not let up. Lead actress Andrea Riseborough is spot on, and Christopher Abbott (from the very good Catch 22 mini-series) is a perfect choice too. This film features innovative looking dark psychedelic interludes, which up the game on SpectreVision (who produced Mandy also starring Riseborough). Possessor also features pretty graphic sex, and very graphic violence with some excellent gore FX. There’s even a pseudo J&B bottle nod to Italian horror films of yesteryear. Jim Williams (Kill List, Sightseers) provided a top-notch dark ambient electronic score that sounded killer in headphones. Yes, yes… this was written and directed by David Cronenberg’s son, so there are nods to Videodrome and Existenz (which also starred Jennifer Jason Leigh), but they are handled in a really smart and next-level way. You will have no idea where the movie will end up, and it’s wonderful. Pitch black but wonderful.
I almost didn’t recommend this one as it was on the Netflix Top 10 when it was first released, and has received a lot of press. However, The Platform deserves that attention AND is very much Anomalous Cinema. This movie skillfully blends horror and sci-fi, into a borderline-art film. Now let’s hope this leads to Netflix releasing more even more daring and intelligent weirdo features.
FYI – I recommend if you watch ANY foreign content made after 1990 on Netflix you do so in it’s original language with subtitles. Netflix’s English dubbing is absolutely horrible 99% of the time.
This is Nicolas Roeg’s best film, and a unique standout in the history of cinema. It’s also the most effective combination of sci-fi and art film outside of the work Andrei Tarkovsky. The uncut version (on Amazon Prime) is a bit slow in places, and the sexual content might be a little extreme for some. However, if you don’t watch this movie for those reasons, you are really depriving yourself of a special experience.
FYI – The version streaming on The Criterion Channel is most likely better quality than the one on Amazon. If you want to watch it on Criterion do it soon, it expires April, 30th. The Prime version looks good, but there are some popping noises on the soundtrack. It’s not so bad as to ruin the experience though.
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This might just be my favorite PG rated movie. A group of ants achieve intelligence and launch sophisticated attacks on humans. That sounds pretty lame, but trust me. This movie is trippy as hell, and rewarding on many levels. It also happens to be directed by Saul Bass. Yes, THAT guy. The greatest graphic designer of all time. A man of many talents, Bass helmed one of the weirdest SF films in history too. What a stud.