The Dark (2005)

Welsh legends and ghost sightings permeate this film. Is the daughter really dead? That is the question. Listen to my review of this dark film.

Sean Bean’s character as her father seems to be the stoic sensible one while her mother Maria Bello’s is more desperate to believe anything. Was anyone duped? That’s what we waited to see through the running time of this film.

The Dark (2005)
R | 1h 33min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller | 26 January 2006 (Germany)

In mourning over the tragic drowning of their daughter Sarah, James and Adèle are visited by Ebrill, a young girl who claims she died 60 years ago – and bears a startling resemblance to Sarah.
Director: John Fawcett
Writers: Simon Maginn (novel), Stephen Massicotte (screenplay)
Stars: Sean Bean, Maria Bello, Sophie Stuckey

The director John Fawcett is also a producer, known for Ginger Snaps (2000), and Orphan Black (2013). Ginger Snaps has achieved cult status and is always a hoot to watch for it’s horror and teen ridiculous nature. Orphan Black is a tv show I really enjoyed, mostly due to the lead actress. Both of these works took enormous chances in doing something different. That’s probably why both were so successful.

Sean Bean and Maria Bello do a good job but since Sean Bean is so eponymous with The Lord Of The Rings, I couldn’t help but expect him to pick up a sword or slay and Orc. He wants his ex to accept their daughter is dead because he is rational, not unfeeling. Bello will not accept this and that’s what takes us into the supernatural portion of this film.

I’d have to say this one is a lot more predictable than Fawcett’s other two works I have mentioned. For that reason, I would recommend it as a light mystery/horror but not one you would clear your schedule to see. It does drag on a bit and doesn’t keep you guessing much with it’s simple story line. Add it to your Amazon Prime “worth watching” list, but maybe not your “must see” one.

6/10

Okja (2017)

Very weird but very sad film about pigs, well something they call pigs but are much larger and have a different snout. Listen to my review.

The fact that this is a Netflix movie belies the amazing cgi of Okja. He resembles a baby elephant in his skin and size. The interaction he has with the little girl is mesmerizing.

My favorite performance is from Jake Gyllenhaal. He plays a tv cooking show personality who the leader of the company (Tilda Swinton) tries to put on tv to make him the “face of the company.”

You have a little chasing, a lot of jokes, some touching moments and plan on feeling some outrage when you see the way we do things in the food industry. At times it suffers from going too fast and not slowing down to develop characters enough but I ser very little to criticize about this film.

For an incredible movie experience, check this one out on Netflix streaming.

9/10

Episode 12 – Colossal (2016)

I had mixed feelings about how this film ended. At first I expected something totally different. I think it did a great job at bringing up consciousness for women abused in relationships and the web of alcoholism. Listen to my take on this mercurial and enjoyable film.

Colossal (2016)
R | 1h 49min | Action, Comedy, Drama | 21 April 2017 (Canada)

Gloria is an out-of-work party girl forced to leave her life in New York City, and move back home. When reports surface that a giant creature is destroying Seoul, she gradually comes to the realization that she is somehow connected to this phenomenon.
Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Writer: Nacho Vigalondo
Stars: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Austin Stowell

Episode 11 – Hounds of Love (2016)

“Brave audiences will be rewarded.” That was what Variety said on the film’s poster. I couldn’t help but be curious about that. It’s well written! I hope I can come up with a few like that in my review! The abduction of a 16 year old girl by a twisted sex-obsessed couple makes for a grisly, suspenseful plot.

Hounds of Love (2016)
1h 48min | Crime, Drama, Horror | 12 May 2017 (USA)

Vicki Maloney is randomly abducted from a suburban street by a disturbed couple. As she observes the dynamic between her captors she quickly realises she must drive a wedge between them if she is to survive.
Director: Ben Young
Writer: Ben Young
Stars: Emma Booth, Ashleigh Cummings, Stephen Curry

Ben Young did a great job directing this Australian based film. He is known for Something Fishy and Bush Basher. I found his vision astounding. It’s likely he met with some opposition making this film. It is indeed twisted as it takes you into the lair of this criminal sex ring where abduction, rape, and murder are commonplace. When the girl is chained, we are chained. It also a very personal movie the way it is filmed at such close range.

I like how it’s realistic. The acting on the part of the young girl’s mother is top class. You want so badly for her to discover where her daughter is, she’s a really great actor. If you can get through the horrors inside the house, you will indeed be rewarded. Te details aren’t necessary here, it’s a typical psycho-sex thing going on here but there is indeed something that makes this film special in that genre. Ashleigh Cummings’ character has to use psychology to drive a wedge between the couple if she is to survive. That process makes this film highly entertaining and definitely worth your time. I can’t think of anything they could improve upon. While the subject matter is highly graphic, and that may put off a handful of viewers, I still say they hit the bullseye with this as thriller, crime, drama. I give it my highest recommendation.

10/10

Watch Now From $3.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

The Big Sick (2017)

This is great: a bio pic about a comedian trying to make it and how he fell in love with his girlfriend. Oh, and there’s some Pakistani ethnic issues that threaten the relationship as well since he is Pakistani and she is white.

The Big Sick (2017)
R | 2h | Comedy, Romance | 14 July 2017 (USA)

A couple deals with their cultural differences as their relationship grows.
Director: Michael Showalter
Writers: Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani
Stars: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter

I had seen Kumail’s work here and there and I’ve always thought he was a chill comedian. IN fact, in this film, something I noticed was how calm he is, even in face of rejection or turmoil. As the smooth dialogue would transpire I’d think to myself: “I wonder if it went down this smooth in real life?” I’m really impressed the way he broke out with this film that essentially a love story of how he and his girlfriend (now wife) met. I find that charming.

The director Michael Showalter has some good stuff on his resume. The film I recognized the most was My Name is Doris with Sally Field. That was a fiction but it watches like a bio pic. He shows the dark side of Doris, not just the funny one. This ability shows up in his directing on this film, he’s done a stellar job here.

Zoe Kazan plays Emily, Kumail’s love interest. Hear me when I say this: she embodies the character. I think she was a great casting choice. I never miss a chance to see a Zoe Kazan film and this one is no exception. I loved her in this. She actually resembles the real Emily. Ray Romano and Holly Hunter play her parents. They do a great job testing and finally accepting Kumail. The hospital scenes are really the heart of the film. A sub plot of the film is his family’s attempts to arrange a bride for him. These scenes are funny and add a lot to the believability of the characters. It’s all done without pushing Pakistan into your face, like My Big Fat Greek Wedding does with the Greek culture. It’s subtle and keeps you curious. Another sub plot is the Improv club where Kumail and his friends are honing their craft. They all live on the cheap which is fun to see as the camera travels into and among their zone.

For romantic comedy fans, this one’s a must. I give it my highest recommendation!

10/10

At time of writing this, the film is still in theaters.

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

A fitting and very well made film to serve as the end of the saga. The majority of this episode contains spoilers. I do announce when they start in the recording. This is my longest episode ever and for good reason! If you have recorded a podcast or written an article on this film, do leave me the link in the comments. I’d love to listen to/read it.

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)
PG-13 | 2h 20min | Action, Adventure, Drama | 14 July 2017 (USA)

After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind.
Director: Matt Reeves
Writers: Mark Bomback, Matt Reeves | 2 more credits »
Stars: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn

Please feel free to leave me comments about this episode. I would love to get a dialog going with you. Or, if you did a podcast on this film, please leave the link in the comments.

Clown (2014)

Another terrifying movie about clowns but this one has a different twist where Dad becomes the clown. Listen to my review.

I found this film on Netflix. Now usually, it’s my experience that Netflix horror is no good. Great ones are few and far between. However, in this case I was wrong. This is a great horror film! Listen to me talk about it for about 10 minutes. There may be minor spoilers.

Clown (2014)
R | 1h 40min | Horror, Thriller | 17 June 2016 (USA)

NETFLIX
Available in United States of America
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A loving father finds a clown suit for his son’s birthday party, only to realize that it’s cursed.
Director: Jon Watts
Writers: Christopher Ford, Jon Watts
Stars: Andy Powers, Laura Allen, Peter Stormare

Raw (2016)

A slow rolling horror that builds to a crescendo. Also, we get to learn about the French Vet training system. It’s a lot like the most intense hazing colleges of the US. And then there’s the eating of flesh thing, yeah that’s there too.

I’ve held off watching this for months because of the subtitles. When I finally got some time to sit with it and not multi-task I have to say I enjoyed it as a horror film and had a very good time watching.

Everything is bare-bones here. It almost watches like an old 70’s film. There is a building where she goes to school and there are dorms. The film goes nowhere else. The story as it unfurls is odd and a bit hard to imagine as true, but this is horror right? The film opens with a long open road and a figure running in front of an oncoming car. Soon after the collision, the pedestrian saunters up clearly in pain and goes to the car window. Then the story begins of the female protagonist going to vet school. She goes through hazing, which her older sister approves to be done to her. There is a scene of being splashed in animal blood and another of eating raw rabbit organs. As a result she develops a taste for flesh, I’m afraid I missed how or why this happens. There are events, a twist, and a morose conclusion.

It’s an ok way to spend a runtime. It’s not as good as I had hoped and the subtitles certainly are not deep or enriching in any way. Still, it’s shocking and fun with latex and blood which most of us horror fans get the fun in. It’s also interesting seeing a coming of age experience in another country. For fans of the horror genre I recommend it!

7/10

Watch this online on Amazon Video for $5.99

Dunkirk (2017)

Dunkirk is a powerful war epic directed by the mega director Christopher Nolan. In this review I share the good and the bad in my opinion about this highly anticipated film.

Dunkirk (2017)
PG-13 | 1h 46min | Action, Drama, History | 21 July 2017 (USA)

Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Fionn Whitehead, Damien Bonnard, Aneurin Barnard

Read the entire text post Dunkirk (2017) at Riley on Film.

Airplane (1980)

Great comedy like this doesn’t just fall out of the sky. Much should be remembered about how the three directors worked for years to build a style of comedy in a theater group they would later mold into the 1980 film Airplane! In addition to being laugh-a-minute hilarious, it also stands as evidence that hard work pays off in Hollywood.

The directors of this film, David and Jerry Zucker as well as Jim Abrahams Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker (abbreviated ZAZ) made something to be quintessentially proud of here. They had worked on the Kentucky Fried Theater group together so they had a lot of experience riffing and coming up with improv stuff before they ever directed any movies. John Landis took their humor they had developed and made it into a film called The Kentucky Fried Movie. It is full of dichotomous humor juxtaposing serious settings and scenes with surreal and slapstick humor. Watching the Landis film yields all sorts of influences seen in Airplane! It is a lot more racy however, specifically in its nudity.

This film stars Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty and features Leslie Nielsen, Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Lorna Patterson. There are several other cameos by then well-known actors and celebrities. Robert Hays, the lead actor, was an unknown at the time. He does a good job but his role is more of a cog in a larger machine of comedic actors. Leslie Nielsen is by far the most memorable actor in the film. He had been in loads of episodic television as well as films like The Poseidon Adventure. Though he hadn’t done comedy before, Airplane! showed the world he was a closet comedian.

The film is a fairly simple plot derived from the 1957 film, Zero Hour! Note the exclamation mark in both titles. His serious look helps the deadpan humor work so well. The rest of the cast is side-splitting making the film a must watch for any filmcritic or lover of films.

As a kid growing up in the 80’s, this film was alluring to me. Older kids would talk about it and how their parents let them see it. After all, there is a bare breasted woman in it for about 2 whole seconds (the scandal!). Unfortunately I didn’t see it until after I was 10. I don’t recall my exact age but I know it was in my teens. It was the funniest film I had ever seen. Others have come close since, but I think it still hovers around that ranking with me still.

FINAL THOUGHTS
It’s no wonder Airplane! is one of the worlds funniest films. Its three directors took years to hone their comedic skills and work together. Finally, they put their own money up to pitch the idea to movie studios. After persistence and hard work, the film was made and it remains to this day one of the most exciting and funny films ever made. I recommend it to anyone and everyone.

10/10