Cult dips his toe into the diverse, often murky, waters of cinema past
Blah, blah, blah…
Let’s just get on with it shall we..
Rapid Fire (1992) USA
Writers – Cindy Cirile and Alan B
Director – Dwight H. Little
Runtime – 95 minutes
Twentieth Century Fox
With enough Goddamns, bloodshed and gunfire to put a Cathedral of pastors in a coma this film delivers all that you think it ought to originating as it does from the early nineties. Enjoyable enough there are however some shots and sequences that some can’t help but notice as a tad cardboard, the fight scenes are exactly what one might expect from a Hollywood affair rather predictable and over chereographed though sprinkled (in part) with homage to Lee senior. But, there’s eventually a happy ending. All that plus Powers Boothe and Brandon Lee in one of his last cinematic appearances before his controversial exit from this plane of existence. In short an enjoyable foray into American crime/action cinema though nothing groundbreaking in terms of its overused drug cartel/dirty cop storyline.
Nightwatch (1997) USA
Writer – Ole Bornedal/Steve Soderberg
Director – Ole Bornedal
Runtime – 99 minutes
I’ve often pondered upon how bad this would be, being as it is a remake of a Danish film with the same title released only a few years earlier. I decided finally enough was enough, I’d ‘take one for the team’ so I hit play.
Admittedly it’s been more than a few years since I’ve witnessed the outstanding original so I’ll refrain from a scene by scene comparison though I feel it’s here that I should mention that the original director took the helm on this one also. News to me but this wasn’t the first of the many surprises the movie had in store.
Nightwatch is good, surprisingly so. Evan – Obe Wan Kenobi – McGregor portrays a puzzled college student who’s finding his new job rather unsettling, and he thought it was gonna be easy, to say the least. He hasn’t only got his unpredictable, thrill seeking friend, Josh Brolin, to contend with but also that he’s, somehow, being framed for a string of grisly murders which are plaguing the community and monopolyzing the cable news networks. Nick Nolte shows up as an intense, oddball, detective and the cast is rounded off with Lauren Graham (Rory from the long running series The Gilmore Girls) and Brad Dourif who hardly needs an introduction, although for some reason I always seem to get his name confused with the fellow from Blade (Stephen Dorff).
Nightwatch is especially easy to watch, it boasts likable characters and an enjoyable pace that whips itself into a delicous frenzy as the finale nears. The atmosphere is highly effective complemented by a fantastic tension intensifying score, well executed direction throughout and commendable acting all round.
All in all this is a very enjoyable feature that delivers and one I’ll recommend without reservations. I honestly never thought I’d say this as this is a remake. However, as it’s handled by its original creative forces it doesn’t appear to be weakened by Hollywood vultures out for merely a few dollars and notoriety. I will state however, if SUBS don’t bother you in the least bit seek out the original it’s a remarkable feat for both it’s excellent vibe, shock value and that it’s utterly translatable from the Danish culture (is it really that different, they have pretty castles and sugary cookies in square Xmas themed tins, from the one in which we all reside?)
Renegade aka Blueberry (2004) France, Mexico, UK
Writers – Matthieu Le Naour, Alexandre Coquelle, Herald Brach, Louis Mellis, Jan Kounen (based on a comic book by Jean Giraud
Director – Jan Kounen
Runtime – 124 Minutes
Sony Pictures, Columbia Tristar
Quite unlike any other western you’re likely to set your senses upon Renegade offers a lot to like. Of course there are obligatory gun scenes, vendettas and plenty of conflict between the ‘white man’ and the natives that so often fuel a western there’s also eye widening shots of the desert landscape but there’s so much more. Renegade delves into another perspective, which many westerns ignore, the life of the natives (aka ‘Indians’) and the importance of spirit animals. The film offers insight into a wholly different set of beliefs and sports several scenes that will make you wonder what it is that you’re being entranced by, as they certainly aren’t the kind usually boasted by the type of film in the same genre as this.
Micheal Madsen (who DIAG deemed the winner of its coveted Whole Hog award of 17′), Eddie Izzard (yes, the cross dressing UK comedian) Vincent Cassell and Juillette Lewis (who looks great throughout but altogether stunning underwater, you’ll know exactly what I mean if you watch this towards its final moments) round out a cast that drive a movie you won’t soon be able to forget. Applaudable camera techniques, location shots and direction skyrocket Renegade into a film that’s wholly unforgettable, especially in the genre in which it resides.
Keep an open mind and you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
INFINI 2014 (Australia)
Director – Shane Abbess
Runtime – 111 minutes
Storm Alley, Eclectic Vision and Storm Vision Entertainment
Much like (1998) Phantoms this is centered around Primordial Ooze and it’s desire to dominate – damn there’s an early spoiler for ya’. Set on a space station of sorts Infini introduces a small squadron of troops sent to shut down the logistic flightpath of a destructive payload aimed at Earth. Another part of their objective lay in retrieving Carmichael, the lone survivor of a massacre coming by way of an “infected” individual ‘slipstreaming’ (the process in which an individual is broken down on a molecular level then reassembled in another place entirely much like in ‘The Fly’) back to base.
Infini has a great pace, relateable characters, impressive atmosphere and a slew of scenes blanketed in masterfully excecuted chaotic madness. These scenes are particularly remarkable, well shot and highly effective and include applaudable overlapping dialogue exchanges suggestive of progressed dementia developing by way of the symbiotes infection and its passage through the hosts physche. The movie plays out much like a wicked hybrid of The Thing, Sunshine, the recently successful and utterly brilliant (in my opinion) Life and the adaption of Dean Koontzs’ Phantoms helped along the way by a fantastic soundtrack. Employed well in all the appropriate places this audio accompaniment creates tension when needed and an enigmatic atmosphere when the situation demands.
Without providing numerous other spoilers I’ll conclude that this was much better than I originally expected, loaded with great performances, well constructed to the point where I never contemplated the features budget and captivating throughout. A great entry in the genre from a region most might least expect, notable more in recent years for standouts in the celluloid horror arena.
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