By Tim Murr
The premise is simple and we’ve seen it before, most notably in the film The Dirty Dozen: take a handful of bad guys, throw them together for a suicide mission, and voila, instant action film. In the case of Suicide Squad, the mission is to get inside Midway City and extract an important someone who is trapped downtown during some kind of terror attack. Of course, the threat is much larger and weirder than anyone would admit to, so this loose cadre of crazy criminals has to learn to be team players on the fly in order to complete the mission… and if they don’t, well, the man in charge, Rick Flagg will just blow their heads off with the push of a button.
By Tim Murr
I was 19 when I saw Easy Rider the first time. I was a punk with a shaved head and had a generally negative attitude towards the world at large. I think I spent most of my time watching Dennis Hopper’s directorial debut with my arms crossed, not bored, but waiting to see what was supposedly so great about this “classic.” Though I found many facets of 1960s history fascinating, I assumed Easy Rider was just some hippy flick which wouldn’t resonate with me or my generation.
By Brian Baker
That’s not to say I don’t like it, or dislike it. Science fiction is just not my milieu when it comes to films. All that diplomacy between antagonistic alien species and the Federation of Planets has never been an impetus to get me to the theater. I also don’t play favorites. That means I’m not into Star Wars or Battlestar Galactica, either.
The lure of a colourful mask, high-flying and fast-paced energy, and over-the-top characters can’t be denied, even among non-fans of pro wrestling. Lucha libre, Mexico’s own brand of pro wrestling, is an intrinsic part of Mexican culture, and Alex Hammond and Ian Markiewicz’s documentary Lucha Mexico puts this phenomenon on full display, warts and all.
How is Hired To Kill an actual thing that exists? Getting the Blu-ray from Arrow Video solely on the basis of the press release describing the film’s co-star Oliver Reed “chewing up the scenery behind an elaborate moustache,” I did not recall any of the plot details when I popped in the disc. So it was with much disbelief and amusement that I watched 90 minutes of something so outrageous that it felt like a parody but was shockingly, not intended as such. If Astron-6 ever gets around to doing for action films what they did for Giallos with The Editor, the result would be akin to Hired To Kill. (more…)
Toronto residents! If you haven’t seen Manhunter in a while or if you’ve never seen it on the big screen, you’ll get your chance tonight at The Royal, where the Neon Dreams Cinema Club is putting on a screening of the film at 8:00 p.m. As always, come early for the pre-show and remember that The Royal is a fully licensed venue.
When most people think of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, they think of Anthony Hopkins. This is a bitter pill to swallow for those of us who fell in love with Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal and subsequently, Mads Mikkelsen as the titular killer. Yet even before that TV show birthed the devotees known as Fannibals, there were still those of us who always gave Hopkins’ portrayal of Lecter the side-eye. After all, he wasn’t the first to take a crack at the doctor cum psychopath (even though they only called him a psychopath because they didn’t know what else to call him).
Italian horror movies are a strange and different beast. American horrors rely mostly on jump scares and urban legends, things that go bump in the night. Italian fright flicks don’t care about your childhood scary stories. In fact, they don’t even care about linear storytelling. Most of them are simply a pastiche of set-pieces, offering gross-out after gross-out, with the barest thread of a plot holding everything together. It’s the visuals that matter, not the story.
That makes A Cat in the Brain all the more interesting. Lucio Fulci, king of the Italian gore movies, went straight up meta with this movie.
By Tyler Hodg
The chilling story of “philanthropist” John du Pont and his shocking murder of Dave Shultz is eerily depicted in the Netflix original documentary, Team Foxcatcher. The story was previously fictionalized in the five-time Academy Award-nominated film simply titled Foxcatcher. (more…)
Doglegs co-founder, and star of the film, Shintaro Yano (ring name “Sambo” Shintaro) strikes a fighting pose. © Alfie Goodrich
Japanese wrestling or “puroresu” is a tradition that goes back to the 1950s, and is most closely associated with a more realistic, hard-hitting “strong style” than we normally see in Western pro wrestling, which is far more choreographed. Strikes usually land for real, though the intention is still primarily to put on a show, not actually hurt one’s opponent. The style is tough on the performers, and those that thrive in the competitive landscape of “puro” are considered some of the best and most resilient wrestlers in the business. Still, the style is often hard to watch, given what we know now about concussions and other injuries that can be commonplace in puro.
You can imagine, then, how hard it is to watch a puro match, not between able-bodied athletes in peak physical condition, but with disabled wrestlers. Heath Cozens’ Doglegs, a documentary about an eponymous group of mostly disabled Japanese wrestlers, is certainly difficult to sit through, but is ultimately worthwhile for its ability to wring triumph from tragedy.
By Tyler Hodg
Some say life is stranger than fiction; The Fear of 13, a documentary by British filmmaker David Sington, is a whirlwind collection of unbelievable anecdotes told by Death Row prisoner Nick Yarris, which seem too crazy not to be true. Now available on streaming giant Netflix, the film publicizes humane perspectives of criminals, and those often unfairly tossed aside by society.