Thursday, December 04, 2014

Overlooked Film weekend at the cabin: Stake Land, Leonard Part 6, Angst, Samurai Cop etc.

Stake Land
We spent a movie weekend at a cabin, me and six friends of mine, watching 14 feature-length films and an assortement of short subjects in a row. Fun was had by all, but I didn't get much sleep and am only now recovering. The films were a really mixed bunch, with some true oddities thrown in. Here's the lowdown.

Jim Mickle: Stake Land: pretty good gritty vampire apocalypse film from the director of Cold in July. ***½

Steven Knight: Hummingbird: tedious noirish film about an Afghanistan veteran (Jason Statham) trying to make wrongs right. Statham can't act serious stuff, but that's not the only problem here. Knight has done better stuff before (writing Dirty Pretty Things and Eastern Promises) and since (directing Locke), but this is just boring. **

Paul Weiland: Leonard Part 6: truly absurd Bill Cosby vehicle that Cosby has tried to keep off the air,.The film has some great moments, but is simply too long, some scenes seem to go on forever. * or ****

Ben Kamras: Life on the Line: shitty home video released in 1995 on VHS and later on DVD, with Finnish people speaking (bad) English. Everything is horribly wrong in this film by the son of a Finnish film mogul and theater owner. The film has some very, very bad fight scenes, the hits miss by a mile. I laughed so hard I thought I was going to die. * or *****

Aurora Productions: S.O.S.: some truly weird moments were had with this: catchy pop songs about Christians being harassed by a mob of soldiers and bar codes being tattooed on people's foreheads in praise of Satan, anti-evolutionist praises and what not. I'd found this on VHS not knowing what to expect, but this was truly something. Possibly shot in Australia. I understand the Family cult behind this has been accused of child abuse and other sex crimes. Some truly disturbing shit on them in the web. Can't really give stars to this.

Michael Bay: Pain & Gain: too long, but still up there with Spring Breakers as one of the essential neo-neonoirs of the 2010s: slick and shallow, full of spectacle, with a heart of pure satire. ***½

Jan Svankmajer: Surviving Life: I've liked Svankmajer's wild and surreal animations, but this didn't satisfy me much, seems like he's not very good with feature films. **

David Ayer: Sabotage: it's no wonder Schwarzenegger's comeback movie didn't make much impact with the audience: all the characters are unpleasant and the story line is botched (possibly because of the producer's interference), but there are still some of Ayer's trademarks: fast and meaningless dialogue and the tension between the bad cops and the worse cops. **½

Gerard Kargl: Angst: intimate and disturbing depiction of a serial killer released from prison and going on a killing spree in an isolated house. Banned in many European countries and possibly in the US as well, but still very intricately shot by Zbigniew Rybczynski and well acted. ****½

Anthony Mann: Strange Impersonation: strong noirish melodrama with an identity switch, suffers from a slack ending. ***

Arim Shervan: Samurai Cop: laughably and entertainingly ridiculous straight-to-video cop flick from the early nineties, shot possibly with a VHS camera. Lots of very bad acting and editing. Still a bit too long. A sequel is being made as I write. * or ****

Efren Pinon: The Killing of Satan: incomprehensible Philippine horror/fantasy film. Might've been a contender, but wasn't, save for some scenes here and there. * (After this we watched a Finnish VHS video from the early eighties in which a Finnish escape artist talks about his faith. I don't know why we bothered.)

Franck Khalfoun: Maniac: intelligent reworking of the dubious slasher classic by William Lustig. The POV technique works well: we almost never see Elijah Wood's face. ***½

Joseph Zito: Invasion USA: inept and stupid Chuck Norris vehicle with a wildly implausible plot to overthrow the US government. Yeah, right. Other guys seemed to love this. *½


Todd Mason said...

There isn't much that's ever banned in the US in terms of film, though things can be sued out of wide distribution. 1st Amendment will out.

jurinummelin said...

You're most possibly right about that, sounds weird now that I look at my post.