SENTINELLE is a pretty good 2021 French revenge movie that’s mostly made out of cliches, but benefits from a dedicated performance by its star Olga Kurylenko (HITMAN, MAX PAYNE, QUANTUM OF SOLACE, SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, OBLIVION, THE NOVEMBER MAN, BLACK WIDOW) and the artful direction of Julien Leclercq (THE ASSAULT, THE BOUNCER). You may also be interested to know that it’s only 80 minutes long. I don’t really subscribe to the “movies are too long these days” conventional wisdom, but I was looking for something to watch kind of late and I have to admit that brevity was one of the selling points for me in this instance. (It’s on Netflix.) (read the rest of this shit…)
Posts Tagged ‘revenge’
SentinelleTuesday, February 21st, 2023
My Name Is VendettaWednesday, January 11th, 2023
There I was the other night with both physical and mental lists of all the recent movies I want to catch up on, scrolling through them on the various streaming services, failing to decide which one to watch first. So then I clicked on one I never heard of before called MY NAME IS VENDETTA (2022). Very productive.
It’s a pretty good one, though. Straight forward meat and potatoes crime thriller hailing from Italy. The director is Cosimo Gomez, a veteran production designer and art director (including for a bunch of Roberto Benigni movies) on his third outing as director (following the comedies UGLY NASTY PEOPLE and IO E SPOTTY). This one’s not funny at all, it’s a very straight-faced and to-the-point father-daughter revenge thriller very much like something Liam Neeson would do. And the same jacket he would wear. The guy even has a deep voice kinda like Neeson, though his scowl is more Benicio Del Toro. (read the rest of this shit…)
Raven HawkThursday, December 15th, 2022
TAPE RAIDER ALBERT PYUN TRIBUTE PART 3: RAVEN HAWK
RAVEN HAWK is yet another Albert Pyun movie only released on VHS in the States. The only one of this review trilogy to not include any cyborgs. According to IMDb, it was #3 of five Pyun releases in 1996 (the others being ADRENALIN: FEAR THE RUSH, NEMESIS 3: TIME LAPSE, OMEGA DOOM and NEMESIS 4: DEATH ANGEL), but was filmed in 1993. It was meant for theatrical, but ended up premiering on HBO. Written by Kevin Elders (writer of IRON EAGLE, director of SIMON SEZ, therefore a legend), it’s a very basic but pretty appealing revenge movie. It follows in the tradition of the THUNDER WARRIOR trilogy (itself inspired by the success of the BILLY JACK series) in trying to mine the thrill of a Native American hero standing up to racist white bullies and land stealers. But what makes it stand out is that the hero is played by bodybuilding champion Rachel McLish, who was in PUMPING IRON II: THE WOMEN and then stole the show in ACES: IRON EAGLE III.
In the prologue, Senator Stansfield (John de Lancie, Days of Our Lives, Star Trek: The Next Generation) – who’s on the phone talking in an evil voice while a naked lady lounges by the fire nearby – pressures his stooge Thorne (William Atherton, DIE HARD) to finish “negotiations” with the tribal council to approve a land deal to build a nuclear power plant. (In a dark touch, he says if they don’t do it now the Department of Transportation will build a freeway there. Either way, the Natives are fucked.) (read the rest of this shit…)
Riders of JusticeMonday, September 20th, 2021
I think RIDERS OF JUSTICE, a Danish film technically released in November 2020, is my favorite movie I’ve seen this year. It plays off of some genre traditions and themes that interest me, but it feels unlike anything I’ve seen before, and it was exciting to discover that as I watched it. So this is one of the reviews where I have to start by suggesting you take my word for it that it’s a truly special movie, stop reading, go watch it, and then come back. But I know most people won’t do that, so I’ll start by explaining what the movie is and warn you before I get into heavy spoiler stuff to analyze the meaning with those who have seen it.
From the description on the box this sounds like a straight up revenge movie, which you know I would be down for. Markus (a heavily bearded Mads Mikkelsen, VALHALLA RISING) is a soldier pulled off duty in Afghanistan to take care of his teenage daughter Mathilde (Andrea Heick Gadeberg) after his wife (Anne Birgitte Lind) dies in a train crash. Then a survivor of the crash tells him it might not have been an accident, so they put together a team of computer experts and try to track down who’s responsible.
That is indeed the basic plot, and Markus does end up using his particular set of skills (mostly shooting) on a whole bunch of people. But I wouldn’t really say that’s what this is about. It’s not even about “Revenge will only make things worse,” even though it does illustrate that and deconstruct some of the relevant tropes pretty thoroughly. But I swear to you it’s something much more thoughtful, complex and soulful than just a revenge or anti-revenge movie, as much as I tend to enjoy those sorts of things. (read the rest of this shit…)
Promising Young WomanWednesday, 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…)
Lady VengeanceFriday, March 13th, 2020
(contains heavy spoilers for 15 year old movie)
LADY VENGEANCE is the RETURN OF THE JEDI of director Park Chan-wook’s Vengeance Trilogy in that it’s the third one (after SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE and OLDBOY), it’s loaded with delightful elements, and it’s my favorite even though most people probly say the second one is the best. It begins with a woman named Lee Geum-ja (Lee Yung-ae, JOINT SECURITY AREA) being released early from prison. She’s a national media sensation because of the mismatched combination of the horrible crime she was convicted of (murdering a five-year-old boy) and her youthful appearance of “unabashed naivety.” She got wall-to-wall news coverage, there was a trend of wearing polka-dot dresses like hers, tabloids compared her to Olivia Hussey.
(I wonder what Olivia Hussey is known for in South Korea? ROMEO AND JULIET? BLACK CHRISTMAS? Or maybe a random one like TURKEY SHOOT is huge there?)
I Spit On Your Grave De Ja VuMonday, October 7th, 2019
Last year, Jamie Lee Curtis returned as Laurie Strode in the new HALLOWEEN, exploring what life might be like for a horror heroine 40 years after she faced down evil. But did you know there was another late sequel to an iconic slasher film from 1978? I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE DE JA VU (full end credits title: “I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE DE JA VU a.k.a. DAY OF THE WOMAN DE JA VU”) is a writer/director Meir Zarchi’s direct sequel to his infamous rape-revenge film, with Camille Keaton (WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE?) returning to her role as feminist writer turned violent avenger Jennifer Hills. It was filmed in 2015, but not released until disc and VOD last April.
Things seem to have turned out all right for Jennifer. She’s an author and counselor for rape victims. She doesn’t treat her violent past as a dark secret – in fact, she wrote a new best selling book about it. As the original film’s famous tagline predicted, “No jury in America would convict her!” And she’s close with her daughter Christy (Jamie Bernadette, MORTDECAI), a world famous model who’s thinking of retiring. (read the rest of this shit…)
The NightingaleThursday, August 29th, 2019
THE NIGHTINGALE, now in limited theatrical release, is Australian director Jennifer Kent’s followup to THE BABADOOK. That 2014 debut of hers was a critical sensation and cult hit that made less than 1/34 the box office of ANNABELLE the same year, but it reached a ton of people, including many who don’t usually bother with the genre. Certainly some of the hype was about it being directed by a woman, and I think that’s relevant in that its scares are based in motherhood. I can point you to plenty of pro-woman horror movies, but few that are about such specifically female fears.
That made Kent one of those directors whose names get reported as being on the short list to direct every WONDER WOMAN or CAPTAIN MARVEL that comes along. She told Indiewire “I did entertain one blockbuster seriously and I thought, yeah, I could give this something really special. But then ultimately I heard about the way the films are made, and I thought it would kill me.” So five years later she still hasn’t been sucked into the ol’ i.p. game, unless you count developing an adaptation of the 19th century lesbian thriller book Alice + Freda Forever. Instead she made this. (read the rest of this shit…)
RondoThursday, August 22nd, 2019
RONDO is the second feature from writer/director Drew Barnhardt. Ethically I need to fully disclose and disclaim that he’s a reader of this websight and we’ve corresponded off and on for many years, which is why I plugged but didn’t officially review his 2009 no-budget slasher/thriller MURDER LOVES KILLERS TOO. So take it with whatever amount of salt you feel is necessary, but I truly believe movie #2, which was released on disc by Artsploitation Films earlier in the summer, is distinctive. It has the feel of the style of pulp novels I love, where a (in this case) somewhat blank character falls into some seedy business and part of the thrill is having no idea what direction it’s going or even what structure the story’s gonna take.
The plot concerns Paul (Luke Sorge), a combat veteran living with his protective younger sister Jill (Brenna Otts) after being dishonorably discharged for what we’re told was an “of course, mysterious” shooting incident. Jill tells him he can’t have alcohol or guns in the house, but he’s such a mess she ends up cradling him and pouring whiskey in his mouth like she’s bottle-feeding a baby. She sends him to an addiction doctor someone recommended to her, but doesn’t realize he’s going to talk to a weirdo who will give him a big monologue about the local fetish community and then “prescribe” for him to show up at an apartment in a highrise downtown to fuck some rich creep’s wife in front of him. (read the rest of this shit…)
AvengementMonday, May 20th, 2019
In AVENGEMENT, Scott Adkins creates one of his best characters yet, though I don’t necessarily expect to see a franchise around this one. Like French in THE DEBT COLLECTOR, Cain Burgess is a regular working class British fighter who tries taking an illegal job to pay for a gym. In this case it’s a quick gig for his older brother Lincoln (Craig Fairbrass, CLIFFHANGER, RISE OF THE FOOTSOLDIER, THE BANK JOB, HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN), but it goes wrong and he ends up in prison.
We hear the story in pieces throughout the movie, as Cain reveals it to a captive audience at the members only pub he barges into after escaping custody during a supervised visit to his dying mother (Jane Thorne, THE FOREIGNER). Only one of them, Hyde (Nick Moran, LOCK STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS), has ever met Cain, who has been through such a thorough metamorphosis he’s barely recognized. If rehabilitation was the intention of Cain’s incarceration, the opposite effect was achieved. A nice guy with no record and nothing but regrets for his actions was forced to develop his fighting skills and a “callused mind” to withstand the years of stabbings and beatings made possible by the perfect storm of a price on his head, a corrupt staff and a clueless prison board. He returns to the old neighborhood sporting cheap metal replacement teeth, a scar across his eye and napalm burns on half of his face, like a gnarled Frank Miller drawing. He describes himself as “A hardened, rusty nail.”
(I hope that’s his Twitter bio.) (read the rest of this shit…)