Category Archives: British Cinema
As some of you are aware, there’s a new film that’s hitting this year – very indie and looking pretty wicked cool – called Lord of Tears. They’ve just released their latest trailer and announced the beginning of pre-orders so I thought I’d give them shout out here (y’all know how I love my indie horror! Damn the man, save the Empire!!).
Lord of Tears is a startling, psychological, supernatural thriller set against the ominous backdrop of a cursed highland estate. The film features the voice of David Schofield (Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean) Lexy Hulme and Euan Douglas.
Lord of Tears tells the story of James Findlay, a school teacher plagued by recurring nightmares of a mysterious and unsettling entity. Suspecting that his visions are linked to a dark incident in his past, James returns to his childhood home, a notorious mansion in the Scottish Highlands, where he uncovers the disturbing truth behind his dreams, and must fight to survive the brutal consequences of his curiosity…
I also had a quick chat with director Lawrie Brewster and he had this to say about Lord of Tears:
Lord of Tears is a British Chiller in the classic tradition of films such as The Wickerman, The Innocents and The Haunting. Our story concerns a man trapped in a crumbling mansion, stalked by Owl Headed monster in the misty highlands of Scotland, on a mission to piece together a childhood broken apart by repressed memory and dark secrets. It takes inspiration from classic mythology, ancient history and mordern legends such as those of – Slender Man!
The script is written by Sarah Daly (the music artist Metaphorest, and cousin of Kate Bush), stars David Schofield (of Pirates of the Caribbean, Gladiator) and is directed by myself whose (past collaborations with Sarah Daly) has included works with Joseph Gordon Levitt and Channing Tatum, that have featured at Sundance and SXSW.
*Yep, he totally had me at Joseph Gordon Levitt. *sighs* JGL is so brilliant. And cute. And gives off this aura of nice…and well, that’s enough of the JGL love. Sorry, back on track. *
Anyway, give the trailer a looksie and if you feel so inclined check out the Lord of Tears Kickstarter page. Also available for your viewing pleasure? The Lord of Tears Tumblr page, the Lord of Tears Facebook page, and their IMDB page (as someone who works in online marketing and social media, the fact that these guys have ALL the bases covered here gives me a major happy!!). And check out some cool stills below!
Back in October I did a review over at Rogue Cinema about a cyberpunk thriller called Modified (just click the link if you wanna read the review!). Anyway, the director just got in touch with me to let me know that the full length film is now available for viewing over on Youtube and asked me to help get the word out. So without further ado, I present Modified – a dark sci-fi thriller set in the underground world of technological body modification. If that sounds like it might float your boat, head on over and check it out – I thought it was pretty good, pretty entertaining and a lot of fun!
I’m not sure if this has been mentioned here before but I LOVE “Alice in Wonderland”. I’ve read both books, I have the annotated “Alice” and I’ve seen more movie versions of this story than the average human. Malice in Wonderland is not one of my favorites. While not completely horrible and actually rather fun, this version is beaten out by a Czechoslovakian version featuring dead puppets. Just sayin’.
Starring Maggie Grace (“Lost”), this version of Alice goes to a more traditional dark place rather than the usual abstract. Alice is in London and the movie starts with her running away (from what we’re not sure). She gets hit by a cab whose driver agrees to drop her at the hospital after a nearby couple shout they saw him hit her (he wanted to leave her in the street, he’s in a big rush you see). Obviously, cabbie is the White Rabbit (here known as “Whitey”). Instead of taking Alice to the hospital, he takes her to a boardwalk where he’s supposed to be picking up a “package”. Here Alice runs into a gang of undesirables and from there she gets sucked into a seedy underworld of drugs, gangs and some version of the mafia. Oh, and there’s a DJ that can stop time.
There are some fun moments here, like when Alice (who pops pills the entire movie) goes into a diner, takes a pill then wakes up looking like a punk rock version of Alice and ends up at the world’s most awkward tea party but there’s also a lot of boring (especially in the middle). Overall, the movie’s pretty trippy (though not as trippy as “Alice in Acidland”) but there’s lots of bits and pieces that are just a little bit off (the DJ makes more sense as the Mad Hatter rather than Chessie for example) and there’s the fact that the whole story becomes a plot device for Alice to find her long lost mother. So yeah, this one is good for a rainy day.
So yesterday, my chronic pain was acting up which usually leads to a movie fest since I can’t do much else other than rest. So I re-watched the series “Alice” (2 parter) with Kathy Bates, Tim Curry, Caterina Scorsone and my all time favorite Andrew Lee-Potts (this was on SyFy back in 2009 and originated in Canada). So why am I bringing up a movie that has nothing to do with what I’m reviewing? Because Andrew Lee-Potts is in “Alice” as the Mad Hatter (my very favorite Hatter of all time -even beating out Johnny Depp and I’ve been in love with Depp since I saw “Edward Scissorhands”). But Pottsy’s Hatter is just so charming and I’ve had a teensy little crush on him since I started watching “Primeval”. *sighs* Sooo sexy geek. And I love love those Brit boys. *double sighs* I’m losing the point here…for real…um, oh yes! So rewatched “Alice” and decided I wanted to watch everything else Pottsy has been in so started imdb’ing up a storm and adding things to my queue and Red Mist was one of the few of his film available on Netflix streaming so I gave it a go.
So how was it you ask? Ultimately rather boring. It wasn’t nearly as bad as, oh say, “Pathology” but it was nowhere near anything special. Potts is both the main character of the movie but also isn’t in it much. How is that so, you say?? Well, Potts plays a janitor who is kinda creepy to say the least. He’s obviously troubled as he’s a cutter, stutteringly shy and uses his phone to film everything people are doing (kind of a stalker, this one). Our main group of medical students that do their rounds at this hospital refer to him as “Freakdog”. One night, our group goes out to blow off some steam and party hard! w00t! They’ve got drugs from the hospital pharmacy and a shite-ton of liquor plus they’re at their friend’s club so everything free!!!! Freakdog has a crush on one of the girls and heads to her table to ask if he can walk her home. Of course, he is mocked mercilessly until he lets on that he knows that they have drugs from the hospital and that he has filmed it.
The med students decide that if they ask Freakdog to join in with their party, he won’t be able to tell anyone about the drugs because then he’ll be implicated. So they load up a funnel with a quarter of a bottle of liquor and a few pills. (I’m really, really not sure which one’s bright idea that was – loner who’s clearly never partied in his life? Sure let’s start him out with the “death cocktail”…) Freakdog chugs the mix and within two minutes he starts seizing (partially from the drink and mostly because he’s epileptic and there are strobe lights going). *Note: If you’re epileptic, I’d stay away from this movie because there’s a fair amount of strobe lighting going on.* The kids freak with some wanting to do an emergency trachochtomy and the rest not wanting to get into trouble because their hospital has a zero tolerance policy for drugs. Finally they compromise by dumping him outside the hospital. As a result of their bad choices, Freakdog ends up in a coma.
One of the girls feels so guilty that she wants to tell someone what they did but the majority rules against her. She finds out Freakdog will have the plug pulled on him the next day as he has no relatives to claim him and his insurance has run out. So she decides to inject him with an experimental drug mix to hopefully pull him out of his coma. Instead, stuff like the picture above starts happening. See, what the experimental drug mix actually does is enable Freakdog to, for lack of a better term, astral project himself right into the bodies of others. Too bad for them because he has this anger problem and he’s out for revenge. People start killing each other via Freakdog’s interactions and while some of the deaths are gory fun, others are a little boring and it’s only the chick that gave him the drug cocktail that finally realizes what’s happening. Can she stop him in time to save any of her friends? Will she be next? Do we really care??
This one is neither yay nor boo hiss, it’s just kinda eh. If you like medical horror/thrillers, you might like this.
Not only is this sexsploitation but it’s nunsploitation. Oh yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have another entry in the more often done than one would think nunsploitation genre. At least this one tries to make a point (I mean a point other than “nuns having sex is cool”.)
Sacred Flesh opens with Father Henry, the abbot, and his over sexed servant, Richard, being summoned by a convent’s abbess. As they make the journey, Father Henry and Richard discuss the pros and cons of chastity. They arrive at their destination to find that the mother superior is having visions of Mary Magdalene and a dead skeletal nun. The abbess believes this is due to sexual repression and wishes it to be stopped with the mother superior rather than spreading.
The rest of the movie mostly concentrates on Sister Elizabeth, the mother superior, and her debates with Mary Magdalene over desire and chastity, the pleasures of the flesh and the sins of repression. Interspersed in their musings are vignettes representing other nuns’ confessions and fantasies. They start with self-pleasuring, move to flagellation and lesbian sex, finally ending with a nun being violated by two priests, another nun tied to a cross and also violated, while others nuns have a three-way.
Some of the images are disturbing especially if you’re religious or spiritual. The underlying message of whether or not abstinence and virtue are, in this day and age, still applicable is certainly an interesting topic and one that should be addressed. I’m just not sure this was the best way to do it. The trailer is as usual below but if any of this doesn’t appeal to you, please don’t watch the trailer and please remember while it’s light on the nudity it’s probably NSFW!
Hailing from the UK and starring Thora Birch (after her successful turn in “American Beauty”) and Kiera Knightley (in her first significant role in a feature film), The Hole is a tense psychological thriller with an ending that leaves a significant question. Or at the least attempts to leave one with questions….While it starts strong with a well shot scene of Thora Birch stumbling down a road littered with “missing” posters featuring her own face, the movie tends to dwindle from there.
“The Hole” takes the age old equation of locking people in a fairly small space with no way out and diminishing supplies and does nothing new with it. This time it’s four teenagers who, according to the different versions of what happened, are either really great friends or just semi know each other. After ditching a school field trip to party in an abandoned underground shelter, Liz, Frankie, Mike and Geoff, find themselves locked in on the day they were supposed to leave. As usually happens in these situations, the teens begin to fight amongst themselves, with accusations thrown and tempers starting to ignite. Amongst the drama, you have an outer story wherein Liz (Thora Birch) tells a psychologist that it was a happy-go-lucky time except for that part where her friend, Martyn locked them in. However Martyn tells the police a different story altogether. So who’s telling the truth?
This is where “The Hole” tries to take a twist turn by revealing at the end what really happened. It’s not a huge twist, fans of the “locked in a room” movies will have seen it coming a mile away but it did leave me with a vaguely unsettled feeling in the pit of my stomach (although think this had a lot to do with Kiera’s character’s flaws…..)
Not horrible by any means and not the best either. Purely formulaic with both male and female nudity, this one’s good for a rainy day.
*I just started reading the book upon which this is based…..will update later with how they compare!*
Son of Rambow is a beautifully acted, beautifully directed gem of a film that explores the burgeoning friendship of a pair of young boys as well as the painfulness of growing up and the, at times, heartbreaking loneliness of adolescence. Written and directed by Gareth Jennings (“Hitchiker’s Guide”, 2005), the movie stars Bill Milner and Will Poulter as the two boys whose friendship the movie is based around. Will Poulter in particular blew me away in his portrayal of “Lee Carter”, the “bad” kid who’s always in trouble, who’s a thief and a liar, and who’s more alone in the world than anyone realizes.
The story, based in the 1980s, starts off with an ultra religious family who has lost the patriarch of their family. Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) misses his father desperately, loves to draw and is incredibly shy and quiet. Due to his religious upbringing, Will has never seen television and as such, is sent into the hallway whenever his class watches movies. More than happy to oblige, he sits and draws. One afternoon while he is waiting in the hall, Lee Carter (Will Poulter) appears. He’s been sent out of his class for getting into trouble, which we find out is a common occurrence. Next thing you know, he’s stolen Will’s artwork and engaged him in a scuffle that ends up breaking a fish tank and landing them both in trouble. What follows is the start of a friendship, although an unusual one at first. Will accidentally sees “Rambo” at Lee’s house while in hiding from Lee’s older brother. Will is intrigued and obsessed as it’s his first ever movie. And since Lee is making a film for a young filmmaker’s competition, he and Will decide to team up and film “Son of Rambo”. As the story unfolds, we see their friendship grow, we see Lee’s loneliness and Will’s confusion with his family’s religion. We see them change and we see them fight.
And on a completely random note, the film also features a visiting French New Wave kid who is so cool that everyone falls in love with him and ends up playing a ninja in “Son of Rambo”. And because of him, we also have one of the most fabulous scenes of all time, wherein a bunch of kids have started up a “club” on school premises where they sit around and smell lip balms and comment on how they really really smell like cupcakes. How freaking awesome is that? So so quintessentially 80s.