December 16, 2011

Murder and Mayhem Down Under in Snowtown

One movie that I have been anxious to see, amongst others, is the Australian flick Snowtown. Based on true crimes from 1999 it has been picked up by the ever reliable IFC Midnight, and is set to open in New York on February 29th. I would expect an On Demand release some time around then, if past releases are anything to go by. It certainly looks to be an intense movie. I have attached the UK theatrical trailer for you to check out.

Based on the horrifying crimes discovered in Snowtown, Australia in 1999, where police found dismembered bodies rotting in barrels, SNOWTOWN, which marks Justin Kurzel's directorial debut is a stark journey into the feral subculture of welfare dependence, addiction, domestic violence, brutality and sexual abuse.

Elizabeth Harvey (Louise Harris) is raising her three boys in Adelaide's poor northern suburbs. After her latest boyfriend displays pedophilic tendencies she takes up with a new man, hoping for security but instead winds up welcoming an even more vicious predator into her home.

John Bunting (Daniel Henshall) is the moral compass among a circle of friends who hold self-appointed neighborhood watch meetings at the kitchen table. Fueled by cigarettes and beer they cast judgments on those living around them. Bunting enlists his crew in acts of sadistic vigilantism on those he considers deviants takes Elizabeth's son Jamie (Lucas Pittaway) under his wing. In a mix of misdirected hero worship and terror, Jamie becomes an accomplice to a spree of torture and murder.

SNOWTOWN is an uncompromising film, focused on the relationship between vulnerable teenager and a father figure who is revealed to be the worst kind of bully.  

Directed by: Justin Kurzel
Written by: Shaun Grant
Starring: Daniel Henshall, Lucas Pittaway, Craig Coyne

The Expendables 2 - Teaser Trailer Debuts

August 17th 2012 will see The Expendables 2 hit the big screen through Lionsgate. To tide you over until then I have the new trailer to share with you. Simon West directs, this time out, and a Hell of a cast stars in it!

The Expendables are back and this time it's personal...
Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Lee Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren),Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) -- with newest members Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Yu Nan) aboard -- are reunited when Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) enlists the Expendables to take on a seemingly simple job.  The task looks like an easy paycheck for Barney and his band of old-school mercenaries.   But when things go wrong and one of their own is viciously killed, the Expendables are compelled to seek revenge in hostile territory where the odds are stacked against them.  Hell-bent on payback, the crew cuts a swath of destruction through opposing forces, wreaking havoc and shutting down an unexpected threat in the nick of time - six pounds of weapons-grade plutonium; enough to change the balance of power in the world.  But that's nothing compared to the justice they serve against the villainous adversary who savagely murdered their brother. 
That is done the Expendables way....
From Lionsgate and Millennium Films, THE EXPENDABLES 2 is the highly anticipated sequel to the summer 2010 worldwide box-office success ($274 million worldwide). The film stars Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, with Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, with newest cast members Liam Hemsworth, martial arts legends Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van Damme, and Chinese actress Yu Nan as the first female EXPENDABLE.   The film is directed by Simon West, written by Sylvester Stallone and based on characters created by David Callaham, and produced by Avi Lerner, Danny Lerner, Les Weldon, and Kevin King Templeton.

Filthy Review - Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

The thought of watching a movie set in the world of a 1930’s circus didn’t exactly grab me by the collar, demanding to be seen. Although, the thought of possibly having a bearded lady and a couple of little people did get my hopes up. Alas, the hirsute woman was nowhere to be seen, but the quota was filled in the short people department. All joking aside though I am always fairly open-minded when it comes to the movies I watch, so I thought I would give this a chance, and I am glad I did.

The story follows Jacob, played by Robert Pattison (and the irony of having him play a character named Jacob was not lost on me) of Twilight fame, who is the son of Polish immigrants and a veterinary student. Due to an unfortunate event he is left homeless and sets out to find his fortune in the City. Fortune, or misfortune depending on your point of view, finds him hitching a ride on a train that is owned by the Benzini Circus. Jacob is eager not to get thrown off the train by the circus’s owner August (Inglorious Bastards’ Christpher Waltz), so quickly makes a point of mentioning his veterinary background.

From here on in the story develops into the inevitable love triangle between Jacob, August and August’s wife, the circus’ star attraction Marlena (played by Reese Witherspoon), as well as August’s almost tyrannical control of the circus and its performers. And yes, there is an elephant, named Rose, who delivers probably the movies most impressive scenes, and some damned fine acting to boot.

The core of the story is something we have all seen many times before, yet Water for Elephants is never anything less than engaging. Witherspoon shines in her role, Pattison does what is required of him, but it is Waltz that steals the show in the acting department. He is captivating to watch and thoroughly convincing in his role. On the subject of the cast, genre fans should look out for Ken Foree as one of August’s heavies and a nice turn from Hal Holbrook who bookends the movie as an elderly Jacob, a la Saving Private Ryan.

Visually, director Francis Lawrence has managed to deliver a quite beautiful picture, bringing the world of the 1930’s to life quite vividly. The circus scenes in the big top are great to watch and even though this is a romantic drama there are one or two quite intense scenes that might surprise some viewers.

All in all though Water for Elephants was engaging movie and, even though it was predictable in places, sweeps the viewer along for the ride.

Water for Elephants is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

December 15, 2011

The Lair's Films of 2011

When it comes to end of year lists I always find it becomes a little tricky, as I am sure we all do. I prefer to call it a list of my personal favorites of the year, as opposed to a “Best of”, because I haven’t seen every film released during the year and I also think that calling it a best of is very much down to the individual. You can’t argue with what my favorite movies are. You may not like them but it doesn’t change the fact. “Best of” lists are a different matter, they are just ripe for argument.

There were films that could possibly have made the list, but a quick glance at what I have to review over the next couple of weeks means I will not be fitting in any movies outside of those.

Another point I will make about this list is whether or not they should qualify for a 2011 list. Submarine, for example, was a 2010 release in the UK but it didn’t hit the US until 2011, hence its inclusion. There are other films that could technically fall into this release date purgatory, but at the end of the day all had either a theatrical or DVD/Blu-ray release in 2011, unless of course they are yet to receive any official release, outside of Festivals and Screeners.

Anyway, enough jibber jabber and onto the lists. If I reviewed the movie this year, and in most cases I have, I have included the link to the review.

20. The Stool Pigeon (DVD) - Review

19. Atrocious (Theatrical Screener) - Review

18. Hobo with a Shotgun (On Demand) - Review

17. The Woman (Theatrical Screener) - Review

16. My Sucky Teen Romance (Screener) - Review

15. Kidnapped (Screener) - Review

14. Insidious (Theatrical and DVD) - Review

13.  Ip Man 2 (DVD) - Review

12. The Super (Screener) - Review

11. Beautiful Boy (DVD) - Review

10. The Collapsed (Screener) - Review

9. The Man From Nowhere (DVD) - Review

8. Absentia (Screener) - Review

7. Tucker and Dale vs Evil (DVD) - Review

6. YellowBrickRoad (DVD) - Review

5. Bereavement (DVD) - Review

4. Submarine (DVD) - Review

3.Bellflower (Theatrical Screener) - Review

2. Drive (Theatrical) 

1. A Horrible Way To Die (DVD) - Review




The Woman in Black - New TV Spot and Still

It seems like almost everyday a new piece of press surfaces for the CBS Film release of The Woman in Black. Today is no exception with a new TV Spot and the above Still arriving in my inbox. Due for a February 3rd release, The Woman in Black stars Daniel Radcliffe in his first role since his wizardry days. From the previews I have seen it certainly looks very promising.

Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), a widowed lawyer whose grief has put his career in jeopardy, is sent to a remote village to sort out the affairs of a recently deceased eccentric. But upon his arrival, it soon becomes clear that everyone in the town is keeping a deadly secret. Although the townspeople try to keep Kipps from learning their tragic history, he soon discovers that the house belonging to his client is haunted by the ghost of a woman who is determined to find someone and something she lost... and no one, not even the children, are safe from her vengeance. Directed by James Watkins (EDEN LAKE), written by Jane Goldman (X-MEN: FIRST CLASS) and co-starring Ciarán Hinds (TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY) and Golden Globe®-nominee Janet McTeer (ALBERT NOBBS).

December 14, 2011

Filthy Review - Hostel Pt.3

Hostel Pt.3 (2011)

Review Jude Felton

Love it or hate it, you can’t deny the impact that Eli Roth’s 2005 flick Hostel had on the world of Horror. That movie and the previous year’s Saw, although both very good movies, seemed to spawn, or at the very least help spawn, the obnoxious phrase of Torture Porn. Hostel was however a wonderfully slick and sick movie, it helped put the fear of the Devil himself into untold Americans. Each one of them terrified to visit Europe for fear of a grisly death. Job Done Mr. Roth.

The second installment, once again directed by Roth, also hit the theaters. It wasn’t until I watched it again on DVD that I really appreciated it. On a first viewing it seemed to be just a rehash of the first movie, and to a certain degree it was. However, the expansion of knowledge regarding the dreaded Elite Hunting club and other nice touches actually elevated it into the rare class of sequel that is on par with its predecessor.

Now we face the inevitable direct to video second sequel. Quite why Sony, who released this sequel, decided not to go the theatrical route is beyond me. Although, that being said, I don’t recall Hostel Pt. 2 doing all that well theatrically, hence the DTV release. I will say this, before I go much further, it does show that the budget wasn’t there for this movie. Hostel Pt.3 doesn’t look cheap, but there is a certain something about it that gives it away. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as this flick does have both its positives and negatives about it.

Stepping into the director’s chair this time around is genre favorite Scott Spiegel, he of the recently re-released Intruder splatterganza and crazy camera angle fame. He, of course, did work as an Executive Producer on the first two movies, so he is no stranger to the material.

Making a move from the sunny climes of Slovakia to the bright lights of Las Vegas, Hostel Pt.3 follows Scott and his three buddies as they head to the city of sin for his stag weekend. Think The Hangover gone really, really bad and you might get the picture. However, rather than just follow the formula of the first two movies, which it does to a degree, it adds a little twist to the proceedings. This time out the focus isn’t on bidding on your victim, which must happen as people do die, but we get to see that folk bet on how the victim will plead for the lives. They also get to bet on which weapon the killer will choose.

These are nice touches that do add a little bit more to the Elite Hunting scenario, and there are some other cool twists and turns where the movie takes you in a direction that you might not quite expect. It did surprise me once or twice, which was refreshing.

Now, I’m afraid there are some negatives to be had with Hostel Pt.3. Why, oh why, kill off who I thought were the two most interesting characters first? Was a shame for sure because we then get left with some fairly plain characters, which made it hard to root for them.

The biggest problem though was the gore, or lack of it. Usually I could care less about this, I mean I love a little claret and guts to be thrown around, but I won’t get bent out of shape it there isn’t any. The Hostel movies however are renowned for their gruesome death scenes. In Pt.3 though, the gore has been toned down considerably. Aside from one scene it is all rather tame, I mean a Hostel movie that cuts away at the killer moment? Really? What is shown though is decent enough when the practical effects are utilized, although there is the use of some fairly poor CGI here and there. We are treated to a couple of wacky camera angles, although not enough to put it in the Intruder or Evil Dead category.

Overall Hostel Pt.3 is a fun flick with several flaws, and I guess the lack of suitable carnage being quite a severe one. As a movie I will watch it again as I am a fan of the series, even if I can’t help but feel that it is a step back for the franchise. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t anywhere near the class of terrible sequels that I have seen, it just isn’t quite up where it should be. Oh, and please don’t get me started on the logistics of the ending.

If you go into Hostel Pt.3 not expecting too much I think you will get a lot more enjoyment out of it rather than if you have high hopes for it. Above average, for a sequel, but not by too much.

Hostel Pt.3 is released on DVD and Digital Download by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on December 27th

We Need To Talk About Kevin - Trailer

Not so long ago I previewed the above poster for the upcoming movie We need To Talk About Kevin here. The film features Tilda Swinton, who has been nominated for a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role. Now I can share the trailer, and confirmed release dates, with you.

A suspenseful and gripping psychological thriller, Lynne Ramsay's WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN explores the factious relationship between a mother and her son.  Tilda Swinton, in a bracing, tour-de-force performance, plays the mother, Eva, as she contends for 15 years with the increasing malevolence of her first-born child, Kevin (Ezra Miller).  

Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN explores nature vs. nurture on a whole new level as Eva's own culpability is measured against Kevin's innate evilness. Ramsay's masterful storytelling simultaneously combines a provocative moral ambiguity with a satisfying and compelling narrative, which builds to a chilling, unforgettable climax.

Distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories, We Need To Talk About Kevin opens in NY on January 27th, LA on February 3rd and a wide release later in February.

December 13, 2011

The Futurama's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades

Matt Groening's second most popular, albeit superior, show is back with a new Blu-ray and DVD release on December 20th. Volume 6 has plenty of extras, check them below, and I am in no doubt that this will find its way under many an axed pine tree this festive season!

The future will never be the same when the time traveling pizza boy and his friends wreak havoc on the world as they know itLoaded with tons of fan favorite special features from the creators, “FUTURAMA” Volume 6 comes to Blu-ray and DVD December 20th from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Phillip Fry is a 25-year-old pizza delivery boy whose life is going nowhere. When he accidentally freezes himself on December 31, 1999, he wakes up 1,000 years in the future and has a chance to make a fresh start.
“FUTURAMA” Volume 6 once again features the original voice cast including Golden Globe® winner Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy) as Leela, Billy West as Fry and John DiMaggio as Bender.

Special Features (Blu-ray and DVD):
Deleted Scenes
Audio Commentary
Professor Farnsworth's "Science of a Scene"
Reincarnation Explained! With Director Peter Avanzino
Futurama F.A.Q. (Frequently Axed Questions)
Christopher's Big Score: The Music of Futurama
Futurama Fans: 101 Questions

Futurama Vol 6 is released by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment