This Week’s Films (13/01/14)

Near Dark

The Deal (2008) The Deal

Charlie Berns is a veteran Hollywood movie producer who has given up on his career and life. This is until his idealistic screenwriter nephew comes up with the script of a lifetime and Charlie decides to give his career one final shot. The only thing standing in his way is Diedre Hearn, a sharp witted studio executive brought in to keep Charlie in line. But when their A-list action star gets kidnapped and the studio shuts down their movie they relunctantly team up to pull off one of the biggest hustles in Hollywood history. This is a smart screwball comedy with bags of charm and the wonderfully crackly chemistry between William Macy and Meg Ryan makes this a must see!

Verdict: Limited comedy with few laughs and no chemistry between the two leads. 4/10

Modern VampiresRevenant/Modern Vampires (1998)

It is a little known fact that Los Angeles plays host to an underground community of glamorous and sophisticated vampires, who restrict their sex-and-blood activities to a select number of clubs. That is, until one of their number, seductress Nico (Natasha Gregson Wagner), decides to go looking for action on the streets, earning herself the nickname of ‘Hollywood slasher’. The arrival of vampire hunter Frederick Van Helsing (Rod Steiger), complete with a group of city gang bangers he has hired by mistake, complicates matters still further.

Verdict: One of the worst vampire films I’ve had the misfortune of watching. 1/10

Detour (2009)Detour

Driving back to Norway, Lina and Martin reach a roadblock where a policeman tells them to take a detour deep into the Swedish forest. Soon one creepy incident after another leaves them stranded in the dark woods and everything seems much too bizarre to be purely accidental. What Lina and Martin do not know is that they are under constant video surveillance and have been unwittingly cast as the leading roles of a live internet snuff movie with a definitive and terrifying end. Explore your worst possible fears in this shocking horror thriller that was inspired by terrifying true events!

Verdict: Slow and formulaic horror that offers nothing new to the genre. 3/10

The Bird with the Crystal PlumageThe Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)

An American writer traveling in Rome is the only witness to an attempted murder by a sinister man in a raincoat and black leather gloves, though he is powerless to do anything to stop him. With a feeling that something is not quite right about the scene he has witnessed and the police’s inability to make any progress, he launches his own personal investigation and nearly loses his life in the process. While this modern day Jack-the-Ripper type is slithering through the dark byways of Rome slicing up pretty girls.

Verdict: Intriguing horror thriller and an impressive debut effort from Dario Argento. 8/10

Humains (2009)Humains

A team of researchers travel to the Swiss Alps to investigate a scientific discovery on human evolution. However, the trip soon turns into a deadly fight for survival when the team crash into a gully and find themselves falling prey to someone…or something.

Verdict: Promises more in the first half than it delivers in the second. 4/10

how about youHow About You (2007)

Since the death of her husband Kate has been running a residential home for elderly residents. When her mother is taken ill, Kate reluctantly leaves her impetuous younger sister Ellie in charge over the Christmas period. Looking after the home proves to be a mammoth task. Although most of the residents have left to spend the festive season with their families four grumpy residents known as the “hard core” are left. Retired screen beauty Georgia, spinster sisters Hazel and Heather and reformed alcoholic High Court judge Donald. Its a baptism of fire for Ellie whose youth and inexperience bring her head to head with the cantankerous foursome, resulting in hilarious and sometimes sad antics of these uncivilised seniors.

Verdict: The predictable storyline is enhanced by some good performances from the likes of Redgrave, Ackland and Staunton. 6/10

A Boy and His Dog (1975)A Boy and His Dog

This cult sci-fi comedy, based on the novella by Harlan Ellison, was used as source material for the 1979 film ‘Mad Max’. Set in a post-apocalyptic future, the film tells the wry tale of Vic (Don Johnson), a good-for-nothing young man with a talking dog called Blood, through whom he communicates telepathically in order to procure himself food and sex with nubile young women.

Verdict: The first hour is okay but the film loses its way with a change of direction in the final third. 5/10

Ghost WriterGhost Writer/Suffering Man’s Charity (2007)

Black comedy horror, from debut director Alan Cumming, about a failed musician whose charity towards a struggling writer is taken for granted with devastating effects. Always ready to help those in need, especially handsome young men, music teacher Jonathan Vandermark (Alan Cumming) takes in a lodger, would-be writer Sebastian St. German (David Boreanaz). But when he discovers that Sebastian is taking advantage of the situation by sleeping with as many women as he can, while rebuffing his landlord’s advances, Jonathan sees red. Determined to show the stud-about-town that charity begins at home, Jonathan sets in motion a chain of events that will have terrible repercussions for them both, in this life and the next.

Verdict: Worth watching for Alan Cumming’s aptly OTT performance. 7/10


Near Dark (1987)Near Dark

A vampire movie with a western backdrop. Caleb is a farmboy living in the midwest of America. One Friday night he gets involved with Mae, one of a group of vampires who roams America in a Winnebago. Caleb has a week to make his first kill to become a fully fledged blood sucker.

Verdict: It’s no Fright Night or The Lost Boys, but Near Dark is certainly one of the better vampire movies. 8/10

The Last HarborThe Last Harbour (2010)

Ian Martin is a washed up Boston Police Detective who, after another booze-related botched arrest, is given one last chance by his Captain: a reassignment to the sleepy seaside town of Salem Harbor – Ian’s hometown and life he left behind years ago. There he must rebuild his fractured relationship with his daughter Leanne. But when local girl Alison Stone goes missing with few in the town showing any concern, Ian must unravel the mystery which brings him closer to him than he would like. As the pressure mounts, Ian finds his old habits are hard to control, and he must decide how much he’s willing to change to mend his seemingly lost relationship with his daughter.

Verdict: Limited thriller though the murder mystery at the heart of it should keep you interested until the end. 6/10

Junkyard Dog (2010)Junkyard Dog

Audra Buckman, a 19 year old college student, is trapped in a month-long nightmare, struggling to stay alive and uneaten whilst being held captive, half-starved and repeatedly raped by the Junkyard Dog (Innis Casey) an oddly charismatic but vicious man-eating monster. Audra’s only hope of escape from this hell, and the mouth of a madman, is Samantha Deatherage (Vivicia A. Fox), a tough FBI agent who is sent on a solo mission to find the missing girl.

Verdict: An average thriller that may be too unpleasant for some to watch. 5/10

Grace is GoneGrace is Gone (2007)

Stanley Phillips (John Cusack) takes care of his two young daughters, Heidi and Dawn, while his wife Grace serves overseas in Iraq as a member of the U.S. Army. When Stan receives devastating news about his wife, he has no idea how to tell the couple’s little girls. Not yet willing to have them face the awful truth, Stan and the girls go on a spontaneous road trip that takes them to Florida and to his own boyhood home. Along the way he shields them from the news about their mother until Heidi and Dawn sense the truth. It’s a story of a father’s love and courage in a time of family tragedy.

Verdict: Moving drama enhanced by the performances of Cusack and O’Keefe. 8/10

Vampire Girl Vs Frankenstein Girl (2009)Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl

The deranged genius behind Tokyo Gore Police is back with a chilling new flick that’s re-writing the hallowed history of the horror genre. Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl is the terrifying story of two classic monsters re-imagined as super hot – and extremely lethal – Japanese school girls. Gore rules supreme in this blood-cake cavalcade of carnage chosen as the winner of the Audience Award at the 2009 NY Asian Film Festival. Fan boys and movie blogs are already buzzing over this bloodbath du jour, and aficionados of psychedelic blood-filled chocolates, mad scientist principals, sumo wrestlers from hell, and sex-crazed school nurses are guaranteed to lose their heads over this old school splatter-fest.

Verdict: An early contender for the most bizarre film of the year. 6/10

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Dave Brown

I was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England and have always been a bookworm and enjoyed creative writing at school. In 1999 I created the Elencheran Chronicles and have been writing ever since. My first novel, Fezariu's Epiphany, was published in May 2011. When not writing I'm a lover of films, games, books and blogging. I live in Barnsley, with my wife, Donna, and our six cats - Kain, Razz, Buggles, Charlie, Bilbo and Frodo.
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