September 10, 2011

Filthy Review - Creature

Creature (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

Expectation levels have to be changed accordingly depending on the movie being watched. I certainly would not go into watching something like Tucker and Dale vs Evil in the same frame of mind as I would if I was watching something like The Woman. Both are in the same ballpark genre yet they are two entirely different styles of movie in both tone and content. With that in mind I went into watching Creature not expecting a chin-stroking exercise in cerebral horror but an old school style monster/slasher style flick that served no purpose other than to be entertaining.

The story of Creature follows six kids who, whilst en route to New Orleans, stop off for a bathroom break at a gas station slash convenience store in the ass-end of nowhere. In this typically backwoods style setting they learn of the legend of Lockjaw, a half man half alligator, who supposedly lurks in the nearby swamps. When the opportunity arises to visit the house where the legend was born the kids jump at the chance. If you have seen any horror film involving kids out in the sticks you will have a fairly decent idea as to where this movie is heading.

I’ll say it right now that I dug Creature a lot. It didn’t break any new ground and it did have its flaws but it was a fun movie. There’s in-your-face naked flesh right from the first scene, bloody non-CGI gore and a giant lunatic running around in a rubber suit. If there’s room for two Hatchet movies, in which the rubber suit was not a good one, then there’s room for Creature. Saying that Creature does borrow liberally from the aforementioned Hatchet flicks in more ways than one, although I have the feeling director Fred M Andrews was well aware of that and just ran with it.

There is slightly more to the story than just a group of kids becoming monster fodder, which did surprise me, although that you will have to find out for yourselves. The young good-looking cast do a decent enough job in what was required of them, nothing really special in this department but then again I wasn’t watching this looking for the next Academy award winner. You also get Sid Haig popping up for a little Hillbilly action, you gotta have Hillbilly’s and preferably at least one drunk one as well, and he performs his role with his usual aplomb.

The problems I did have with the movie are that there is a little too much chit-chat amongst the cast and not enough monster action, probably because the makers are hoping to make this into a franchise(?), and although naked women are always good to see I would have preferred the focus to have been on the horror side of the movie.

As for the actual movie itself I would definitely have to say that it was a well-made affair. I mean you aren’t getting a Christopher Nolan quality movie, yet you aren’t getting a cheap looking affair either. Yes you have a man in a rubber suit but it is shot in such a way that it rarely looks glaringly obvious. Hell, it is a far better get-up than Victor Crowley’s.

Overall if you are looking for a genre shattering addition to the world of serious horror you ain’t gonna find it here. If, on the other hand, you enjoy a mindless romp with blood, boobs and a good supply of victims you could do a lot worse than check this out. It all depends on how serious you want to take it, as this isn’t a movie for film snobs.

Creature is now playing at theaters nationwide (including two near me!)

Coming Soon - Bunohan (Return To Murder)

Some news coming out of TIFF is that the Malaysian flick Bunohan, directed by Dain Said, has been picked up for distribution in the US by Traction Media, who will be working alongside Easternlight Films. Check out the full press release and trailer below.

(September, 10th, 2011) - LA-based sales company Traction Media has boarded Malaysian action drama BUNOHAN (RETURN TO MURDER), which is receiving its world premiere in the Discovery section of 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.
Traction will work in tandem with Arclight Films' Asia-focused division, Easternlight Films, to handle the sale of North American rights on the film.
Easternlight is also handling international rights on the film and has pre-sold it to Universal Pictures for a slew of territories including UK, Germany, France, Australia and New Zealand.
Directed by Dain Said, BUNOHAN focuses on the dark relationship between three estranged brothers who end up fighting for their lives when they are called back to their village by their dying father.
"We are thrilled to be representing BUNOHAN, which, beyond the action and suspense that will draw audiences in, is a beautiful piece of filmmaking from a talented director," said Traction Media's Maren Olson.
"Its an honor to be working with Maren and Doug from Traction Media on this film as we look forward to their incredible experience of working on helping young filmmakers be discovered by North American buyers." Said Nandita Solomon who produced the film through her Apparat company in conjunction with Convergence Entertainment's Tim Kwok who  also serves as Co-Producer. Dain Said, who also wrote BUNOHAN, is a Kuala Lumpur-based filmmaker who studied film in London.
Traction Media has represented films such as HALF NELSON, HARD CANDY and the recent SXSW Film Festival Grand Jury winner NATURAL SELECTION.

September 9, 2011

Coming Soon - Retreat

Released on October 21st through Samuel Goldwyn Films is the UK thriller Retreat. It stars Cillian Murphy, Jamie Bell and Thandie Newton and is the directorial debut of Carl Tibbetts. The trailer looks promising and the cast have all impressed in the past, so here's hoping that this turns out to be a winner.

Kate and Martin escape from personal tragedy to an Island Retreat. Cut off from the outside world, their attempts to recover are shattered when a Man is washed ashore, with news of airborne killer disease that is sweeping through Europe. But is this mysterious stranger who he says he is and can he be trusted?

September 8, 2011

Coming Soon - @urFRENZ

A new film that tackles the subject of cyber-bullying is the thriller @urFRENZ. Directed by Jeff Phillips it is being released in LA on September 23rd. Check out some stills from the movie below, as well as the trailer. I'm sure we won't be going into Megan is Missing territory but it is a relevant subject matter and might well be worth a watch. More news as I get it.

Official Synopsis
When depressed and withdrawn Catharine meets a secretive boy online, she begins to come out of her shell. But is he a suitor or a stalker, a friend or foe? The mystery of his existence fuels obsession, denial and deceit, sending her to the point of no return. In the midst of cliques, boyfriends, and digital drama, Catharine is trying to make sense of a world of uncertain identities.  The film was inspired by the writer-director's own experience parenting his teenage daughter in the world of cyberspace. "@urFRENZ" was made to serve as a talking point for the subject matter of bullying and cyberbullying, the number one hot button issue between parents and teens today.  

September 7, 2011

Filthy Review - Attack the Block

Attack the Block (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

Coming straight out of the badlands of South London is this little alien invasion flick, which has taken entirely too long to get to the States. It’s the directorial debut of Joe Cornish, who popped up in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and was produced by one Edgar Wright (hence the From the Producers of Shaun of the Dead tag). Before we go any further though, I will just clarify that, Attack the Block is not really a comedy. There are humorous moments, but for the most part it is played straight.

The plot centers around Moses and his gang of teenage thugs who like nothing more than to terrorize and mug innocent folk who stray too close to their Council Estate, or block if you would prefer. During one of their outings they happen across a little critter who drops out of the sky, which they quickly put out of its misery. This was probably not the wisest decision they ever made. I could go on about the plot but I see no point, it’s a movie best viewed without too much knowledge of what happens. You have kids and you have aliens. Enjoy.

Now, I will get this out of the way before I go any further. I did enjoy Attack the Block, it’s a fun movie that has plenty of energy from both the director and from the cast. If you take it purely at surface value you have a thoroughly decent flick. It is not anywhere near the same caliber of film as the previously mentioned Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz, yet it is still a good film. A good film, not a great film, and a film with many annoying problems.

My first problem, and it is quite a big one, is with the writing behind the movie. To cut a long story short it is incredibly lazy and clichéd. Not the main storyline, or the getting from point A to point B side of the writing, but more the incidental elements to the film. Do all urban flicks from the UK need a clueless upper middleclass pothead? Yes they do apparently, and yes we get one here. One of the main characters, Sam, is a recently qualified nurse, with a boyfriend off doing charity work in Africa, yet she lives in said block of the title. I find that a little hard to believe as she comes across as far too middle class to find herself living there. Shit is falling out of the sky left, right and center yet only the main cast seem to be aware of this. The character development is utterly predictable with just about every characters arc being telegraphed almost from their first scene. There is more but it would involve specific plot points I do not wish to go into for fear of spoiling any surprises.

Sounds like I hated it, right? Not at all, like I previously mentioned it IS fun, it’s one of those films that you just jump on and enjoy the ride. Also, Joe Cornish’s direction is far better than his writing, which results in a visually impressive and well-paced movie. You also get the added bonus of Nick Frost turning up in a supporting role amongst a cast of virtual unknowns. Granted his role isn’t a million miles away from other characters he has played.

I mentioned this after I watched it saying that I would describe Attack the Block as a mish-mash of Critters, Shank and F, but really I could substitute the latter two for any number of recent city center set UK flicks of late. If you want to see a really gritty Council Estate flick I suggest watching Harry Brown or if you want to see great horror comedy watch Shaun of the Dead. Attack the Block falls into a kind of strange middle ground where it isn’t commited to being either. There’s plenty of blood and “pussyo’s” and “murk’s” going on here yet it seems to be holding back from really letting loose in its approach, and as mentioned the comedy is few and far between.

Attack the Block is the kind of movie though that will find a decent size audience, and rightly so. Just because I had problems with elements of it I don’t think everyone will. The UK has put out better genre films of late, it has also churned out far worse. The fact that this one is getting a lot of international exposure though can only be a good thing for future films originating from the green and pleasant land.

Attack the Block is released on DVD and Blu-ray on Sept 19th in the UK and October 25th in the US

Two More Drive Clips

I know I am not the only one excited about the release of Drive on September 16th. Starring Ryan Gosling, Bryan Cranston and Ron Perlman it looks to be one badass flick, and that's what we need at the theaters methinks. Below I have a couple of new clips for you to check out, so check 'em out!

Ryan Gosling stars as a Los Angeles wheelman for hire, stunt driving for movie productions by day and steering getaway vehicles for armed heists by night. Though a loner by nature, Driver can't help falling in love with his beautiful neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan), a vulnerable young mother dragged into a dangerous underworld by the return of her ex-convict husband Standard (Oscar Isaac).

After a heist intended to pay off Standard's protection money spins unpredictably out of control, Driver finds himself driving defense for the girl he loves, tailgated by a syndicate of deadly serious criminals (Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman). But when he realizes that the gangsters are after more than the bag of cash in his trunk-that they're coming straight for Irene and her son-Driver is forced to shift gears and go on offense.

Coming Soon - Submarine

Gearing up to hit Blu-ray and DVD on October 4th from Anchor Bay and The Weinstein Company is the comedy Submarine. The film, from the UK, features Paddy Considine in a supporting role, and that has to be a good thing. You can check out the UK theatrical trailer below.


From Executive Producer Ben Stiller And Writer/Director
Richard Ayoade, SUBMARINE Heads To Retail On October 4, 2011

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Company announced today the Blu-ray™ and DVD release of the enchanting coming-of-age comedy, SUBMARINE, from executive producer Ben Stiller (TROPIC THUNDER) and writer/director Richard Ayoade (the cult British television series “The Mighty Boosh”).  Based on the novel by Joe Dunthorne, SUBMARINE stars Noah Taylor (ALMOST FAMOUS), Paddy Considine (THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM), Craig Roberts (JANE EYRE), Yasmin Paige (the British miniseries MURDERLAND), and Golden Globe® winner Sally Hawkins (HAPPY-GO-LUCKY).  Featuring an original score by Alex Turner of the English rock band Arctic Monkeys, which will be touring the states this Fall, SUBMARINE heads to retail on October 4, 2011 for an SRP of $39.99 for the Blu-ray™ and $29.98 for the DVD.

In SUBMARINE, young Oliver Tate’s coming-of-age is coming even sooner than expected.  At 15, Oliver (Craig Roberts) is prone to daydreaming, listening to French crooners and concocting various self-absorbed fantasies.  Suddenly Oliver finds himself submerged in dual, real-life challenges: plotting to lose his virginity with a quirky new girlfriend (Yasmin Paige); and struggling to salvage his parents’ (Golden Globe® winner Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor) marriage and keep his mom from taking up with the self-help guru next door (Paddy Considine).  This charmingly original comedy from executive producer Ben Stiller and writer/director Richard Ayoade has been pronounced by Vogue magazine “a charming mix of quirk and cool.”

The SUBMARINE Blu-ray™ and DVD bonus features include a “The Making of Submarine” featurette among other bonus features to be confirmed.

September 5, 2011

Coming Soon - Demons Never Die (Updated with Brand New Poster and Synopsis)

I previous posted about the upcoming UK flick Demons Never Die, which is released in UK theaters on October 28th, a few days ago. You can find that post here. I have since been informed that although Demons Never Die does not at present have US distribution the producers are hopeful that there will be in the future. Of course I will keep you updated as and when this happen. In the meantime check out the trailer below. I still totally dig that poster!

Exile Media Group is delighted to announce the theatrical release of Demons Never Die on October 28th, in both the UK and Ireland. Demons Never Die has been directed by first time director and 2011 Screen Star of Tomorrow, Arjun Rose. Idris Elba (The Wire, Luther) is executive producer. 

Stylish teen slasher film Demons Never Die follows eight very different London students with one deadly secret: they have all made a pact to end their lives together. However, a mysterious masked killer emerges from shadows to grant their death-wish in more terrifying fashion than they could ever have imagined.

Misfit Archie (Robert Sheehan), model Samantha (Emma Rigby), wide-boy Kenny (Jason Maza), star pupil Ashleigh (Shanika Warren-Markland), conflicted Sachin (Jacob Anderson), goth-girl Jasmine (Jennie Jacques), and weakling James (Jack Doolan) are all battling their own private demons, from eating disorders to lost parents. But as a much deadlier assailant hunts them down one by one, their quest for death becomes a desperate fight for their lives.  
Can these friends survive long enough to discover what they have to live for? Or will their bleeding hearts be brutally slashed wide open?