Monday, August 22, 2022

Control, Alt, Delete: Resurrection (2022) Review

Director: Andrew Semans

Notable Cast: Rebecca Hall, Tim Roth, Grace Kaufman, Michael Esper, Angela Wong Carbone


At this point, is there any performer in cinema that exemplifies the horrors of trauma seeping to the surface of one’s cracking psyche like Rebecca Hall? It was only last year that Hall partnered up with horror maestro David Bruckner for the supernatural holds of depression and ripples of suicide in The Night House. That was a film that lingered with me for months afterward in a way that tickled the membrane under my skin. 


When Resurrection was announced, bringing Hall back to tackle another round about the effects of a problematic relationship that unravels in the wake of its demise, naturally, the film was immediately put onto the viewing queue.  You should too. Resurrection, despite its bland title and an overall synopsis that feels more mundane than it is, marks another descent into a psychological terror that is worthy of discussion and dissection. A blend of classic themes around “are they are they not insane” with sharp writing that benefits the strength of its cast, Resurrection is a film seething in its own frames and will leave its audience doing the same. 


Thursday, August 11, 2022

Gather Up the Violence: The Roundup (2022) Review

Director: Lee Sang-yong

Notable Cast: Ma Dong-seok, Son Suk-ku, Choi Gwi-hwa, Park Ji-hwan, Heo Dong-won, Ha Jun, Jeong Jae-kwang, Nam Moon-chul, Park Ji-young


The beast cop is back in a follow-up to one of South Korea's most entertaining thrillers of the last 10 years, The Outlaws, only this time we ditch the standard 2 numbering of a normal sequel and instead go with the oddly titled The Roundup, which is such a simple and less exciting title than Outlaws 2, but I digress. Is this sequel anywhere comparable to the sheer awesomeness of the stellar first film? In short, absolutely, and in some ways, it excels even more (i.e. the action).


Ma Dong-seok, aka Don Lee, is back as Ma Seok-do, the smart-mouthed, heavy-hitting train of a cop who does whatever he must to bring the baddies in to meet justice. He is more charismatic than ever in this film. He really shined in the first entry of this series, but here he seems to embody his character even more, sinking himself into the role. There may not be a ton of depth to the character, but Ma brings such a level of bravado and sheer power to the character, you can't take your eyes off of him. He can be a gentle giant one second, and then the next he is punching you through a door, or a window... or a wall.


Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Prey For Us All: Prey (2022) Review

Director: Dan Trachtenberg

Notable Cast: Amber Midthunder, Dakota Beavers, Dane DiLiegro, Stormee Kipp, Michelle Thrush, Julian Black Antelope, Stefany Mathias


The Predator has become a cinema icon for those of us in a specific age range. Not only because the original Predator film was a massive success and a staple of VHS rentals or purchases, but because the villain character is just so fuckin’ cool. The lore around the alien hunter was only built in the discoveries of the films’ main characters, the design was both awe-inspiring and horrific, and the manner that the Predator has evolved with time evokes visceral emotions from its viewers (both good and bad). Enough so that the series, to wavering effect, has struggled to find a protagonist to match the titular walking slaughterhouse since Arnold went bicep to bicep with it. 


Until Prey, that is. But we will get to that. 


Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Sticks N Stones May Break My... Teeth: The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter (1983) Review Update

With the massive box set that Arrow Video released of Shaw Brothers films, named Shawscope Vol. 1, one might have expected that most of the titles they grabbed would come that way. However, they have dropped two singular titles in the wake of that set and prior to the release of Vol. 2. The first was the quintessential and historically significant Come Drink with Me. You’re welcome to read my updated review for that HERE and the second is the subject of this piece, The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter


Although my initial response to The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter was more or less lukewarm, particularly in the wake of watching so many Lau Kar Leung-directed masterpieces, it’s a film whose massive effect on the kung fu cinema fanbase has always intrigued me. I know, I know. The fact that I don’t adore this film automatically makes kung fu fans want to defang me like a wolf. Still, it’s a film that often stretches itself thin with its ambitions in some small ways.