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Archive for the ‘Thriller’ Category

F/X

Wednesday, April 28th, 2021

F/X is a pretty cool little thriller from 1986 that I think I saw back in the VHS days, but I didn’t remember it at all. And since Bryan Brown (THE CHANT OF JIMMIE BLACKSMITH) on the poster looks like Roy Scheider to me, I was really picturing something different. Brown is Australian and is allowed to fully use his accent here, a rarity in American movies that I was prepared to credit to the international success of CROCODILE DUNDEE until I saw that this came out earlier in the same year. So instead I will credit the success off CROCODILE DUNDEE to the success of F/X.

Brown stars as Roland “Rollie” Tyler, a Hollywood (well, New York) special effects genius who seems to be considered the best in the business. And you know what that means: it opens with a scene of violence that turns out to be a film shoot. It’s a pretty good version of that cliche, because instead of a horror movie like usual (see: BODY DOUBLE, PET SEMATARY TWO) it’s a shootout in a restaurant. A guy catches on fire, aquariums get shot up, a bunch of live lobsters get loose. Good scene.

Rollie is approached on set by a dude named Lipton (Cliff De Young, DR. GIGGLES), who claims to be a big fan with some work for him. But the project turns out not to be a movie – he works for the Justice Department, and he wants Rollie to help him fake a death. Notorious mob boss Nicholas DeFranco (Jerry Orbach, BREWSTER’S MILLIONS) has turned state’s evidence, people are trying to kill him, if they can fake kill him maybe it will take the heat off until the trial. (read the rest of this shit…)

Promising Young Woman

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN is a black comedy I heard some good things about and had been wanting to see for a while and then right around the time it came out on disc it got nominated for best picture, director, original screenplay, actress and editing Oscars. Okay – didn’t know it was gonna be that kind of party, but I’m down.

The movie opens in a bar as three co-worker bros talk shit. One of them (Adam Brody, JENNIFER’S BODY) seems like the nice one, standing up for a female co-worker the other guys are complaining about, and seeming unimpressed by their sexist horndog talk. And of course when they spot Cassie (Carey Mulligan, DRIVE [the Refn one, not the Dacascos one]) so plastered she can barely sit upright on a bench, he’s the one who goes over and tries to make sure she’s okay.

Put quotes on that last phrase. We all kinda know where this is going: he offers her a ride home, playing it like hey, I know what this looks like, but I’m just trying to make sure she gets home safe before some jerk comes along. But the next thing you know it’s why don’t you come up to my apartment and let’s have a drink (!?) and then he’s on top of her taking her clothes off while she asks him what he’s doing and he keeps telling her it’s okay, she’s safe.

And actually she is fairly safe, because as she reveals when she sits up, she’s completely sober. She just has this hobby of faking drunk to see what assholes try to take advantage of her, and then shame them when they do. Try to scare them out of doing it again. Just a weird vigilante crusade of hers. (read the rest of this shit…)

Camino

Monday, March 15th, 2021

CAMINO is a 2015 actiony thriller starring Zoë Bell. I’ve wanted to see it for years, but there was a whole rigamarole with streaming exclusivity and then not being available at all but eventually it came out on disc (which is how I saw it) and I think you can also watch it on Prime and there’s a special edition blu-ray coming out in June. So here we are.

Bell stars as Avery Taggert, an award winning war photographer. When it opens she’s receiving one such award. She seems ambivalent about her career and life as she gets drunk at the hotel bar with her manager/friend (Kevin Pollak, END OF DAYS), but he convinces her to, rather than go home and rest like a normal human, fly to Colombia the next morning to embed with a group of missionaries through the jungle. (read the rest of this shit…)

Possessor

Monday, February 8th, 2021

POSSESSOR is a fucking great and deeply disturbing near-future-cyberpunkish assassination thriller directed by Brandon Cronenberg. Yeah, when you’re David Cronenberg’s son, seems like it would be good not to direct real grim, trippy movies that are gonna be compared to your genius dad’s early shit. Too much to live up to. It might be easier to just be a rapper named Li’l Decker or something. Like, what if Sofia Coppola had started out making gangster movies? But DJ The Doctor From JASON X here pulls it off. It doesn’t seem to be copying any specific content or style from the elder Cronenberg, but it definitely is a contemporary equivalent to the tone and quality of the old man’s early, crazy shit.

It stars Andrea Riseborough, who I for a second recognized from MANDY but thought – nah, must be somebody else. She plays a pallid and haunted looking lady named Tasya Vos, a fittingly cool name for someone in her line of work. She looks like she’s on her death bed, but it’s part of her job as a strange type of assassin and undercover agent… I would say a futuristic type, but I’m told this takes place in alternate past? I don’t know. But she spends most of her time in a lab with her head plugged into a machine that somehow projects her consciousness into an implant that her colleagues have clandestinely placed inside an unwilling subject. So, while controlling some poor sucker’s body, she murders her target, then turns a gun on “herself,” which returns her to her real body and/or ties up the loose ends of the assassination plot. Kind of like a clumsier, riskier, more evil version of plugging into the Matrix. (read the rest of this shit…)

Becky

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

BECKY (2020) is a pretty quick and simple thriller with a promising hook: neo-Nazi escaped convicts invade a vacation home looking for a valuable item, and it’s up to a 13-year old girl to improvise enough weapons to seriously fuck them up. Gritty HOME ALONE, I guess. It somewhat delivers on the premise, mostly in the area of (as the rating says) “grisly images and strong bloody violence.”

Becky (Lulu Wilson, OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL) is an extremely pouty youngster who is not on good speaking terms with her dad (Joel McHale, DELIVER US FROM EVIL, MORTAL KOMBAT LEGENDS: SCORPION’S REVENGE) as they drive to the lakeside cabin together. We learn that she’s having trouble dealing with the death of her mother a year ago; conveniently the “nostalgically watching old home movies to mourn a deceased family member” storytelling device can now be done with handheld electronics. (read the rest of this shit…)

Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal

Friday, January 8th, 2021

I kinda liked TURBULENCE, but TURBULENCE 3: HEAVY METAL is definitely the gem of the trilogy. That’s not to say that it’s well made exactly, but it’s just such an exuberant mix of different types of ridiculous bullshit that you gotta respect it. That starts (but does not end) with the setup: controversial rock star Slade Craven (who seems to be a mix of King Diamond, Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper, but doing more of an industrial rock type of thing) has invited a small group of fans to see his farewell concert, which will take place on a “specially designed, absolutely radical” airplane while it’s in flight.

Since this was released in 2001 it sort of goes without saying that it’s one of those “live internet broadcast” movies, a format that is almost always terrible, but generally provides at least a few chuckles. I get a kick out of how they always have a big board that tells them how many people are watching and somehow it has an immediate, instantaneous relation to what’s happening live. Like, if something exciting happens (usually somebody getting killed), suddenly more viewers are watching. (Yes, they have a reader board on the plane to update them on how many.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Turbulence 2: Fear of Flying

Thursday, January 7th, 2021

I reviewed the ruckus-on-an-airplane thriller TURBULENCE a little before Christmas, and I knew it had two non-holiday-specific DTV sequels, so obviously I wasn’t going to let them go unexamined. TURBULENCE 2: FEAR OF FLYING is from 1999, two years after the first one, made by different people and without any connected characters. But faced with the question “What makes a TURBULENCE movie a TURBULENCE movie?” director David Mackay (ICE SCULPTURE CHRISTMAS) and writers Rob Kerchner (BLOODFIST IV-VII, CARNOSAUR 3: PRIMAL SPECIES, CASPER: A SPIRITED BEGINNING, WARGAMES: THE DEAD CODE) & Brendan Broderick (THE DEATH ARTIST) & Kevin Bernhardt (3000 MILES TO GRACELAND, PEACEFUL WARRIOR, ELEPHANT WHITE) decided “there’s a hijack attempt during a flight and they have to fight it off and somebody who’s not the pilot has to land the plane with direction from somebody on the ground.” Logical enough. Let’s go with it.

The new spin they came up with, as indicated in the subtitle, is that most of the people on this flight, including our intrepid heroes, have a phobia of flying. They’re part of a class trying to overcome said fear first in a simulator and then on an actual flight from Seattle to L.A. And they’re not very relaxed about it since one of the flight attendants accidentally left the intercom on while talking about a storm that will make the flight “Hell.” (read the rest of this shit…)

Tenet

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

I like Christopher Nolan’s movies. So, had things gone reasonably in the world, Christopher Nolan’s TENET by Christopher Nolan is a movie that I for sure would’ve seen right away in a theater. But… you know. So I didn’t.

Now, after having played some theaters in some parts of the world where some people think it’s safe to go to theaters, with months having passed since the professionals moved on to other topics, many seemingly unimpressed, TENET is on blu-ray, so I have seen it. And I will just say up front that I am very pro TENET. I really enjoyed it. People around these parts call me Bad Lou TENET, Port of Call This Movie Is Great.

First, let me start by pointing out that this entire review has been written as a palindrome. I’m just kidding. I could do it for sure, I know how, but I don’t want to show off. Christopher Nolan, however, has zero qualms about showing off, and I love him for it.

(read the rest of this shit…)

Turbulence

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020

TURBULENCE is kind of an also-ran in the world of ‘90s studio thrillers. They used to put pretty big budgets into these mainstream action/thriller hybrids, especially if they starred Harrison Ford and/or Tommy Lee Jones. I guess psycho Ray Liotta is a little more low rent than that, and heroine Lauren Holly wasn’t exactly a Jodie-Foster-sized marquee name (she was known for Picket Fences and DUMB AND DUMBER). But if Wikipedia is correct, the budget for this one was bigger than THE FUGITIVE, IN THE LINE OF FIRE, PATRIOT GAMES, THE NET or SPEED! So although most of the story is confined to one 747 it has plenty of scope. It feels like a big DIE HARD type production.

Or maybe I should say DIE HARD 2 – that’s the movie I thought of when it was at the airport, with its attention to the pomp and circumstance of a law enforcement caravan arriving to search the plane before bringing prisoners aboard. It even takes place at Christmas, with Christmas music. Anyway, I have a soft spot for this type of movie. Any stupidity that may or may not be involved did not get in the way of my enjoyment of this one. (read the rest of this shit…)

Body

Thursday, December 10th, 2020

I was in the mood for some more Christmas horror, and I tried this movie BODY – the 2015 American movie, not the 2015 Polish movie – for the following two reasons: it showed up in Shudder’s holiday section, and the running time was 75 minutes. I had not heard of it, but it’s something that played the Slamdance Film Festival and is distributed by Adam Yauch’s company Oscilloscope Laboratories.

The “Christmas horror” label is arguable here. The Shudder description uses the term “Hitchcockian,” and the poster tries to evoke Saul Bass with simple cutouts on a red background. But it’s about young people and some killing and it’s set at Christmas time, so it’s a Christmas horror and/or thriller. (read the rest of this shit…)