Category Archives: Movies
Franklyn paints a portrait of four lost souls – Jonathan Preest, a masked vigilante who seeks revenge against the overseer of the religious regime of Meanwhile City. Manic depressive Emilia, who concocts suicidal art performances. Forlorn Milo, who is desperately searching for his one true love, and Peter, who is investigating the disappearance of his missing son, an ex military veteran. These four lives intertwined by fate across parallel worlds eventually collide, as a single bullet determines their destiny.
Cast: Eva Green, Ryan Phillippe, Sam Riley, Bernard Hill, Richard Coyle, James Faulkner. Script by: Gerald McMorrow. Directed by: Gerald McMorrow.
Franklyn is a visually rich and stunning film set across the dystopian landscape of parallel dimensions, Meanwhile City and contemporary London. It is within these dark ethereal perspectives that we encounter our four protagonists, each lost within themselves, and on an intertwined and fated path to ultimately affect each others lives, for good or ill.
Ryan Phillippe plays Preest, a masked atheist vigilante who resides in the religiously fervent Meanwhile City, a multi-faith metropolis that encourages the practice of all forms of religious reverence… except atheism. Cults and sects proliferate the city, and Preest has tasked himself with rescuing the unfortunate souls who have been kidnapped and converted into their nefarious schism. But tonight, on the rain sodden streets of this dark conurbation, loomed over by miles of cathedrals and temples, Preest is planning his revenge on the city’s religious rapture.
Eva Green gives up an emotionally charged performance as Amelia, a gothic art student who is eternally embedded in a state of manic depression, rage and sorrow. Repeatedly committing attempts of suicide, for what she constantly tells herself is just part of her art project for her course, but each venture into self-sacrifice becomes decidedly more and more risky.
Bernard Hill plays Esser, a father agonising over the disappearance of his estranged son, an ex military vet with psychogenic problems, with our quartet of protagonists rounded out by Milo, played by Sam Riley, a previously jilted spouse, whose life is thrust into emotional turmoil by the reappearance of his former childhood sweetheart.
When these parallel worlds eventually collide, a prescient bullet will inextricably change the course of these four strangers, linking their disconsolate lives in a single moment of coherence.
Franklyn is a haunting rhapsody of gothic imagery, fantastic performances from the lead actors and a nonpareil story that slowly weaves itself from from four distinctly separate storylines into one beguiling twist that brings together the protagonists of the film, changing them irrevocably.
Gerald McMorrow adapts his own script with a promising debut as a director, beautifully shot around various boroughs of London, with a solid and talented cast, and especially noteworthy performances from Eva Green and Ryan Phillippe. Franklyn is an evocative dark fairytale that provides a fascinating journey into life, love and loss. Highly recommended.
Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another episode of ‘The Week In Geek’ where we love to share our favourite, Comic Book, Video-Game, and Cult Movie news for your perusal and pleasure. And so once more unto the geek dear agents, once more…
Big Trouble Is Heading To Your Tabletop…
We are huge fans of director John Carpenter here in the Precinct, which will be obvious to most considering the name of our website is a riff on one of his greatest movies. After Halloween and The Thing our third favourite Carpenter classic is the fantastically funny “Big Trouble In Little China” the Kurt Russell starring martial arts/comedy combo is an absolute gem of a film, and now you can recreate the quintessential classic at home thanks to a new board game based upon the cult movie.
The game itself is currently still in development, but designers Chris Batarlis and Boris Polonsky have revealed the workings of the game itself and images of the fantastically recreated board and pieces, which look remarkably like their cinematic counterparts.
“It’s a thematic, co-operative, strategy, miniatures adventure game that allows 1-4 players to experience the events they remember from the film as well as create new adventures of their own. The game plays in two acts – Act One uses the front side of the game board: Chinatown, whilst Act Two takes place on the back: Lo Pan’s Lair”
Batgirl Joins DCEU Courtesy Of Joss Whedon…
That’s right Bat-fans, everyone’s second favourite bat eared, cape wearing vigilante, Batgirl will be starring in her very own movie… directed by Joss Whedon no less! It has been confirmed by entertainment magazine, Variety, that Babs Gordon’s red haired costumed crime-fighter will follow Wonder Woman into the annals of female led Superhero movies… great news indeed, the diversity will surely help balance out the overabundance of male driven comic-book films and pave the way for more classic female heroes and villains (Come on Batwoman!!)
Variety also confirmed that the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Avengers director is currently in talks with Warner Bros to write and direct the comic-book spin off, which should help the prospective film to gain traction amongst fans and critics alike… exciting news indeed.
Black Lightning Strikes: First Look At Cress Williams In Costume…
Our first glimpse at actor Cress Williams in the iconic Black Lightning costume was revealed this week, the upcoming CW show is being produced by Greg Berlanti and is currently still in production.
Black Lightning (real name Jefferson Pierce) was created by Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden, and made his debut appearance in ‘Black Lightning #1′ in April 1977. Jefferson is one of the first major African-American Superheroes to appear in comics, he has been an on/off member of the Justice League and a regular in the Batman created team ‘The Outsiders’. Jefferson’s power set includes – the generation and manipulation of electricity, flight, and the ability to conjure force fields.
Why Not Join Us Again Next Time Friends, For More ‘Week In Geek’
Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another episode of The Week In Geek, where we love to share our favourite, Comic Book, Video-Game, and Cult Movie news for your perusal and pleasure…
Lara Croft Returns…
Lara Croft, the quintessentially English raider of tombs will be returning to the silver screen in 2018 courtesy of Swedish actress Alicia Vikander. The adventurous archaeologist was last seen at cinemas in the 2003 “Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life” starring Angelina Jolie. The new movie seems to be following heavily in the footsteps of the recent reboot of the game itself in 2013, right down to digital Lara’s actual outfit, as these recent set photos confirm.
The movie is set for release in March 2018, starring Alicia Vikander, Walter Goggins, and Dominic West. Directed by Roar Uthaug.
2000AD Gets Set To Celebrate It’s 40th Anniversary…
Stalwart British Sci-Fi/Fantasy anthology comic (or Prog, as we call it here in jolly ol’ Blighty) 2000AD is preparing itself for celebrating it’s fortieth year in print! The Zarjaz zine was unleashed onto the British comic book scene in 1977 and has gone on to be the biggest selling and most loved comic book in the UK’s history, the classic comic has introduced such legendary creations as – Judge Dredd, Nemesis the Warlock, Slaine and Zenith amongst a cavalcade of others too numerous to mention.
Not only has this groundbreaking comic given us a cadre of classic characters, but it was also responsible for letting loose some of the UK’s most famed comic book creators, such luminous lights as – Alan Moore, John Higgins, Brian Bolland, Alan Grant, Grant Morrison, Simon Bisley, Pat Mills et al. And on February 11th, these creators and more will be attending Hammersmith, London in a celebration of mighty magnitude for a “Forty Years Of Thrill Power” festival that includes panel discussions, live drawing exhibitions, exclusive film screenings and prop displays. Happy Birthday 2000AD!
Netflix To Unleash Castlevania TV Show…
Netflix have announced an upcoming series based upon Konami’s much loved video-game franchise Castlevania. The Japanese action adventure game debuted way back in 1986 to instant acclaim, it is centered around the Belmont family, a clan of vampire hunters and their protracted war against Count Dracula and his minions.
Apart from this initial announcement (contained within a press release) very little else is known about the project, except one tantalising nugget, that the first season will be penned by none other than the great Warren Ellis, Comic Book author extraordinaire, who has given the world such astonishing series as Hellblazer and Transmetropolitan. If this turns out as great as I hope, maybe we could see more production companies mining the vast annals of video-game lore… Dark Souls TV series anyone!
Why not join us next time friends, for more Week In Geek…
(Warning: Minor Spoilers Ahead)
Former Royal Marine turned mercenary, D.C. (Ray Stevenson) and his ragtag group of ex-soldiers take on the task of protecting scientist, Hunt (Julian Wadham) as he searches for an old military bunker deep in Eastern Europe. Little do they know that this seemingly innocuous task will lead them straight into the hands of a long dormant and malevolent enemy… that cannot die.
Cast: Ray Stevenson, Richard Brake, Julian Wadham, Paul Blair, Enoch Frost, Michael Smiley, Brett Fancy. Writer: Rae Brunton. Director: Steve Barker.
Outpost is a fantastic British suspense/horror movie in the vein of the excellent ‘Dog Soldiers’ and Norwegian horror/comedy ‘Dead Snow’… but played straight. Ex Royal Marine D.C. (played by the always dependable Ray Stevenson of ‘Punisher Warzone’ and ‘Rome’) is tasked with guiding and protecting scientist and businessman, Hunt as he searches the depths of war torn Eastern Europe for a long forgotten WWII outpost, under dubious pretences.
Accompanying D.C. on his expedition are his mainstay group of experienced ex-soldiers, each eager for the promised large payout for what seems an apparently routine job. Upon reaching their goal however they realise that what previously seemed an effortless undertaking, gradually turns into hell on earth, as they are slowly consumed by an ancient evil, that cannot be killed by conventional means.
The intriguing central story premise surrounds the character of Hunt, a scientist sent by an unknown shadowy third party to uncover an old WWII bunker in search of, what initially the mercenaries think is lost nazi gold, but actually turns out to be a rather unusual generator with strangely supernatural properties.
English film director and screenwriter Sean Barker presents us with a fabulously creepy and chilling horror movie that really piles on the suspense to unsettling effect. The locations are shot completely in Scotland, and are a convincing replacement for the supposed Eastern European setting, especially the dark foreboding woods that surrounds the WWII bunker delivering a supremely brooding and disquieting presence and giving the film a distinctly claustrophobic effect. The gore quotient is quite high, but the film is definitely more suspense horror than out and out splatter flick.
Some well paced action sequences punctuate the slow suspenseful build up, and the enemy themselves are fiendishly well realised and exude a tone of disturbing malevolence that eminently serves to heighten their revenant revival at the halfway point of the film.
A brilliantly suspenseful British chiller, that treads well used ground but still manages to make the genre feel fresh and innovative. Some excellent acting turns from the mainly British cast list, phenomenal make up and gore effects and a notably effective and creepy setting all combine to form an extremely re-watchable zombie flick.
Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another episode of ‘The Week In Geek’ where we share our favourite comic book, video-game, and cult movie news for your perusal and pleasure.
‘No Capes Darling!’… Behind The Scenes Shots Of Gal’s Wonder Cloak…
Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice was awesome, and even more awesome was the big screen debut of the amazing Amazon in said movie. Gal Gadot’s outstanding performance just oozed a regal sense of beauty, honour and strength, she was in fact not just the Wonder Woman we needed, but also the one we deserved! Her film costume honoured her comic book roots, but also added a splash of originality all of its own, the one thing we didn’t see her wearing in the movie though was her cloak. These pictures of the Themysciran Titan replete with mantle were released recently thanks to the special features section of the digital download ultimate cut of Bats v Supes, with the avian-esque look of the cloak showing deference to the iconic Amazon Herald eagle motif.
New International Suicide Squad Posters Revealed…
Oooooh, not long now my fellow fans of fantastic fiction, Suicide Squad is only just over a month away from cinematic release. David Ayer’s take on DC Comics’ group of Super-Villain badasses is looking all kinds of crazy in the best possible way… oh and Jared Leto’s Joker… nuff said! Until then though, why not feast your eyes on these new international posters.
Gal Gadot Honours Lynda Carter With Her Very Own Wondy Spin…
Lynda Carter in the seventies and early Eighties ‘WAS’ Wonder Woman… the iconic music, camp nature, oh and, of course, the classic spin transformation…
In a fun little behind the scenes clip, Gal Gadot recently gave everyone exactly what they had been waiting for… her own take on it. And it is ridiculously awesome and strangely mesmerising (in fact I can’t stop watching it!)
And now, neither can you!
Why not join us again next time friends, for more Week In Geek.
Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another episode of “The Week In Geek” where we list our favourite comic book, video-game and cult movie news for your perusal and pleasure.
JK Simmons Cast As Jim Gordon In Justice League Movie…
Award winning actor JK Simmons has been cast in the role of Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon in the 2017 dated Justice League movie. Simmons will follow in the footsteps of Gary Oldman, who played the role (fantastically, I might add) in Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight Trilogy’.
Of course this isn’t the first time that the Oscar winning actor has had a major role in a comic book franchise, he portrayed Chief Editor of the Daily Bugle – J. Jonah Jameson in the original Sam Raimi directed ‘Spiderman‘ trilogy.
Cult British Game Developer – Lionhead Studios Are Being Shut Down…
Classic and much loved English video-game creators Lionhead Studios are being shuttered by their parent company Microsoft in the very near future it has been announced. Lionhead was founded by Peter Molyneux and Steve Jackson in 1996, and has given the gaming world such iconic delights as – the Fable trilogy and Black and White.
Lionhead were deep in development of the persistent online Fable Legends game when the announcement was broken, Fable Legends has also been canned. A very sad day for gaming, Lionhead have always been one of the very best when it comes to British video-game creators, Microsoft have said that they would seek alternative employment for their staff at Lionhead once the layoffs become official.
Crimson Fox Will Be One Of The First Superheroes To Join DC Comics’ “Powerless”…
The currently filming NBC comedy “Powerless” which takes place in an insurance agency office that deals with claims arising from Superhero destruction, has announced that one of the first DC characters to appear on the show is French superhero and former member of Justice League Europe – Crimson Fox.
Crimson Fox is actually two different people, identical twins Vivian and Constance D’aramis, who share the role. Fox was created by Keith Giffen and Bart Sears in 1989 and made her (their) first appearance in JLE #6. This is a fantastic idea for a Superhero TV show, and it will be intriguing to see each week what obscure DC characters will show up. More news on this as we hear it.
Why not join us again next time friends, for more “Week In Geek.”
Warner Bros have unleashed a spectacular set of film posters for their upcoming Suicide Squad movie. The unique and stylish posters show each of the individual Villains as skulls with a distinctive visual flair that represents the character it’s based upon (Joker’s manic grin and green hair, Deadshot’s cybernetic eye-scope… )
Extreme situations sometimes call for extreme action, which is where the Suicide Squad (aka – Task Force X) come in. The group of Supervillains and Metahumans who reside in the Government controlled penitentiary of Belle Reve, are tasked with taking on situations deemed too risky for normal operatives. Flying under the radar and with full deniability from the Government, these powerful yet unstable individuals must face the worst the world has to offer, with each member considered an expendable asset… sometimes evil can only be bested by something even more so…
Look out for the highly anticipated second trailer releasing on Tuesday 19 January as part of the CW channel’s 30 minute special titled – “DC Films presents: Dawn of the Justice League” right after the mid-season premiere of the second series of The Flash.
That’s right fellow Blade Runners, today marks the incept date of one of celluloid’s coolest ever antagonists; the Nexus 6 designated: N6MAA10816, better known as Roy Batty. It has been an astonishing 34 years since Rutger Hauer’s cool as ice, enigmatic psychopath Batty was first introduced in Ridley Scott’s ground-breaking dystopian sci-fi flick “Blade Runner.”
The Tyrell Corporation’s genetically engineered ‘replicants’ are virtually indistinguishable from humans and are created to mostly perform hazardous tasks on off world colonies. The use of replicants on Earth however is banned, and any stray replicants who defy this are hunted down and ‘retired’ by specialist government agents known as Blade Runners. Hauer’s Roy Batty is the leader of a renegade group of Nexus-6 replicants, who are faster, stronger and considerably more intelligent than the average human but are still learning to deal with slowly developing emotions. Ultimately returning to Earth to confront their creator Eldon Tyrell on a quest to extend their meagre 4 year lifespan.
Happy Birthday Roy…
The space year of 2015 comes to a close, fellow agents of Precinct1313, and with its inevitable demise comes our 13 favourite moments from across the comic-book, movie and videogame spectrum.
No.13: The Dark Knight Returns!
After a 14 year hiatus, veteran comic book creator Frank Miller returned to his genre bending masterpiece Dark Knight saga with a third instalment, titled DKIII: The Master Race. This final (maybe) chapter takes place chronologically three years after 2001 mini-series “The Dark Knight Strikes Again,” and continues to chronicle an ageing Caped Crusader and his allies in an increasingly violent and turbulent Gotham.
Thematically this series picks up from the ‘Strikes Again’, but this time Miller has brought along some fellow superstar creators for the intense and dark ride, as he is joined by, writer Brian Azzarello and artists, Andy Kubert, Jim Lee, and original collaborator Klaus Janson. Like its previous instalments, DKIII concentrates on the Batman as a symbol, an almost mythological character of inspiration and a catalyst for the weak and oppressed of Gotham.
No.12: Resident Evil Games Are… Good Again!!
2015 is the year that survival-horror veteran Resident Evil became great once more, as Capcom released not one, but two terrifyingly awesome instalments in the long running zombie franchise. After the awfulness of Resident Evil 6, even die-hard fans weren’t necessarily looking forward to whatever would come next in the once predominant horror gaming series. The sixth game in the franchise took a downward spiral into bland third person action/shooter territory, leaving behind most of what made the earlier games so much fun to play, namely the tension, spookiness and survival aspects.
Then in early 2015, an HD remake of the original game digitally graced home consoles, with the same intense and creepy vibe of the original, but with much improved visuals, soundtrack and most definitely improved in the acting department (though Jill still, humorously remained – “The Master Of Unlocking” .) And less than a month later Resident Evil Revelations 2 was released episodically across all formats, initially digitally only, though later on disc. This 4 part series was a hark back to classic Resi , tense and horrific with much more limited supplies and the difficulty switched up a notch from the mediocrity that was Resi 6. Capcom redeemed themselves in my eyes after the Resi 6 debacle, and I look forward to their next game with bated breath, the much touted remake of most fans favourite in the series, Resident Evil 2… can’t wait.
No.11: Starfire Goes Solo…
Everyone’s favourite flame haired, orange skinned alien princess finally flies solo in her own, rather marvellous, monthly series. Tamaranean native Koriand’r most recently starred alongside one time Robin, Jason Todd now known as violent masked vigilante The Red Hood, and former Green Arrow sidekick Roy Harper, aka Arsenal, in the highly recommended series “Red Hood and the Outlaws.” With the shake-up of DC recently with “DC You” Koriand’r was finally deemed a character strong enough to hold her own monthly series, and the creative reins were handed to the married, dynamic duo of Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, to great effect.
The series has been a joy to read so far, we are huge fans of Starfire here in the Precinct and could think of no better team than Conner and Palmiotti to be given control of the series, but what has really drawn us into the series the most are the sublime visuals rendered by Emanuela Lupacchino, each panel is a masterpiece and the book is worth reading for just this alone. This has been standout my favourite comic series so far in 2015, and I’ll just say it’s been a great year of comics, which makes Kori’s solo debut even more impressive.
No.10: Jared Leto Cast As The Joker…
Well dye my hair green, bleach my skin and call me “puddin” if this isn’t just a superlative casting choice, Jared Leto as the Clown Prince Of Crime!?… oh hell yes! The term “Method Actor” could of been created for Mr Leto, as he is one of the most dedicated character actors you could ever come across, his casting in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie as the Joker, has me very excited indeed.
No.09: Mad Max – Fury Road…
Now then, I know that this is going to appear on a lot of end of the year lists, but if you had told me a year ago it would be on mine, I’d have thought you were the mad one himself! You see, as much as I like the director George Miller, and the acting duo of Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, not to mention, I adore the original Mad Max trilogy, what I don’t like are lazy remakes of classic films from my youth, and for a long time that’s what I thought this was, I was sooooo wrong.
The film is a marvel to behold, an almost perfect blend of real time practical effects, mixed with limited but extremely well implemented CGI. Tom Hardy gives a good performance as the antipodean crazy ex-cop, Charlize Theron is fantastic as Furiosa, but it really is the crazy action and fantastic directing style of George Miller that are the stars here. Shiny and Chrome indeed!
No.08: New X-Files Series Begins Filming…
I love the X-Files, I have been a super fan since it first began way back in 1993, my interest in the unknown and supernatural initially drew me into the show but it was the performances by the leads, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson and the increasingly emotional and complex relationship of their characters – Mulder and Scully that kept me coming back to the show time and time again.
Of course the writing was top notch, the episodes were always extremely well made and directed, but ultimately it was that relationship between the main players that drove the series to the cult and beyond status that it now has. Let’s hope the magic is still there over 13 years later, when the much anticipated tenth season finally appears in January 2016.
No.07: Supergirl Soars Once More…
Kara Zor-El is awesome, one of the most iconic female Superheroes of all time, Superman‘s cousin has been with us now since her initial introduction in 1959, created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino. Originally hailing from Argo city, a fragment of the planet Krypton that had managed to survive destruction.
She is one of the few female comic book characters who has appeared on the big and small screen several times in the past few decades (only Catwoman has had more live action appearances.) Played by Helen Slater in the 1984 movie, by actress Laura Vandervoort in TV series Smallville (strangely enough, Laura was born the same year the original movie was released) And now as of 2015, we have a new girl of steel, Melissa Benoist has taken up the cape and red boots of the seminal character in what has become a fantastic and fun interpretation, another quality Superhero show that stands tall amongst its peers.
No.06: Margot Robbie Brings Harley Quinn To Life…
Mistress of Mayhem, Harley Quinn is one of those characters that everyone loves, but have always believed would be almost impossible to bring to live action successfully. There have been attempts, the short lived Birds Of Prey series had a version of the character played by Mia Sara, who, while okay in the role, didn’t really capture Harley’s perfect blend of crazy cool and sociopathic tendency.
Then we got a glimpse at actress Margot Robbie in the Suicide Squad trailers, everything about her portrayal seems to scream Harley, she looks perfect and I have high hopes for the character, she is definitely the most anticipated of all the Suicide Squad members so her portrayal will be of paramount importance to the film itself (along with her ‘puddin’, the Joker of course.)
No.05: Twin Peaks Season 3 Announced…
I’ll admit, I am both elated and worried at the idea of Twin Peaks returning for a third series, I love Twin Peaks, it is without a shadow of a doubt my favourite TV show of all time, but the perfection of the originals will be very hard to recapture I believe. Though this is David Lynch we’re talking about, a ‘mad genius’ of a director and film maker and I have adored virtually everything he has ever put out, so there is hope. Please be good… please!!
No.04: Convergence Was… Awesome!
DC Comics are the master of the epic crossover series, their “Crisis” stories have always been bombastic reads of monumental proportions. The more recent Blackest Night maxi-series was also phenomenal, but for me, it was this year’s “Convergence” that really blew my veritable bat-socks off!
Convergence was a limited series that released weekly and ran between April and May. The story span out of two earlier mini-series – “New 52 – Futures End” and “Earth 2 – World’s End.” The storyline follows Braniac as he gathers Cities and their inhabitants from across different timelines and alternate Earths. Really there aren’t enough superlatives to sum up this fantastic mini-series, all I’ll say is buy it, read it, thank me later…
No.03: Suicide Squad Trailer…
DC Comics‘ ultimate team of anti-hero badasses finally achieve cinematic glory in 2016, courtesy of David Ayer (director of Sabotage and Fury) in what looks to be a gritty, violent adaptation of the comic book classic. Where this movie differs from all other Superhero films of recent years is the fact that it offers up a different perspective on the comic book adaptation, it focuses solely on the bad guys, the Supervillains and the crazies.
Director David Ayer is well known for his dark and gritty cop thrillers, and is the perfect choice for this live action version of the popular comic series. Peruse the trailer below and bask in the glory of seminal DC characters that include – Harley Quinn, Katana, Enchantress and Deadshot, and lest we forget, what may turn out to be the biggest draw of the film… Jared Leto’s Joker.
No.02: Wonder Woman Solo Movie Begins Production…
It may of come to your attention that we quite like Wonder Woman here in the Precinct, so we are rather excited that her long awaited silver screen appearance has finally begun production, and in the UK no less. Gal Gadot will make her first appearance as the amazing Amazon in March 2016 “Batman v Superman” movie before her 2017 solo film. Seriously it is about bloody time that the most iconic female comic book character of all time got her own movie, and with director Patty Jenkins at the helm and actress Gal looking every bit the Amazon Princess, I for one, cannot wait.
No.01: Batman v Superman Trailers Finally Released…
Well this is it, with the trailers finally released, and the epic nature revealed, you just have to prepare yourself for two things. 1. What could be, quite possibly, The Greatest Superhero Movie Of All Time and… 2. The cinematic debut of the original, and still greatest female Superhero. With these two imperatives in mind watch the trailer below, and then weep for the fact that the biggest cinematic event in DC Comics… nay, in history, is still three months away…
Happy New Year everyone…
The Far East meets the Wild West head on in this thrilling mash up of Ninja/Samurai movies and Spaghetti Westerns (or an “Eastern” as I like to call it!)
When his conscience finally gets the better of the world’s greatest swordsman/assassin, he abandons his warrior clan to begin a new life in the wild frontiers of America.
Cast: Jang Dong-Gun, Geoffrey Rush, Danny Huston, Kate Bosworth, Tony Cox, Ti Lung. Written and Directed by Sngmoo Lee.
Ninja versus Cowboys sounds like a terrible low budget premise for a film, but anyone familiar with the classic 1971 Charles Bronson, Toshiro Mifune feature “Red Sun” will already know that even a cheesy sounding prospect like this, can actually make for a damn good movie, and that’s exactly what The Warrior’s Way is… a damnably good movie.
Paying homage to spaghetti westerns, 80’s ninja movies and especially the fantastic Lone Wolf and Cub series, Warrior’s Way stars South Korean actor Jang Dong-Gun as Yang, elite assassin of the Sad Flute clan, and a warrior with eyes as empty as his soul. Training his entire life to become the greatest swordsman in the history of mankind, and with one deft and measured strike of his blade, he achieves this lifelong accolade in the opening sequence of the movie.
But when Yang is tasked to kill the last member of a rival clan of ninja, and it turns out to be an infant girl, he abandons his clan and with the child in his care, leaves Japan and heads for the wild frontier town known as Lode to find an old friend. Settling into the town, Yang finally finds a measure of humanity and peace away from his former life of death and violence. With the child under his protection and his former clan far across the sea, Yang opens a laundry, grows flowers in an otherwise scorched and dead land, and increasingly finds himself attracted to Lynne (Kate Bosworth) a strong willed redhead with a tragic past.
But his peace is soon shattered when Colonel (Danny Huston) and his posse of marauders arrive en-masse to terrorise the town, and just when it looks like things couldn’t get any worse, Yang’s ninja clan arrive to the party with one thought in mind, kill everyone and regain their clan’s honour against the one they see as a traitor to their code.
Warrior’s Way marks Sngmoo Lee’s directorial debut, and it’s an auspicious one. Also solely credited for the script, Lee shows real talent for stylish action and real visual flare. Stylistically similar to Zack Snyder’s “300” with its combination of physical sets and computer generated backdrops, that explode with gorgeous hues of red and orange and give the film an almost comic-book look.
The film’s soundtrack by Javier Navarette is fantastic, a contemporary and elegant mix of Morricone style spaghetti westerns with an Eastern flourish. Increasing in tempo beautifully with the action sequences and really immersing you into the violent onscreen encounters.
With a fantastic supporting cast that includes Danny Huston as the evil Colonel. American actor, Huston is an expert in playing malevolent and villainous characters (witness his turn as head vampire in the fantastic “28 Days of Night”) The brilliant Australian actor Geoffrey Rush puts in yet another sterling performance as Ronald, one time expert gunslinger but now a broken down drunk, who secretly yearns for the glories of his past and a lost love.
Kate Bosworth plays feisty Lynne, orphaned and left for dead as a teenager by Colonel, and seeking revenge for her family’s untimely demise, pulled towards Yang initially to learn his martial techniques, she finds herself increasingly attracted to him romantically as the story plays out. And special mention must go to American actor Tony Cox who plays 8-Ball, the film’s comedic role, and is highly entertaining in this capacity with great comic timing.
The film’s action sequences are wonderfully choreographed and exhilarating, exhibiting an almost perfect blend of “Crouching Tiger Hidden-Dragon” and “The Matrix.”
The movie marks the perfect synthesis of Sergio Leone style spaghetti western and stylish Samurai movies, visually and aurally enthralling with a wonderful cast that are clearly enjoying their roles. If you have any love of action cinema, martial arts or spaghetti westerns, then The Warrior’s Way comes highly recommended.
Precinct1313 Rating: 5 Concealed Ninja Out Of 5
When celebrated insurance investigator John Trent is hired to find missing superstar horror author Sutter Cane by his publishing company, little does he know that this seemingly mundane investigation would literally propel him into, the mouth of madness.
Cast: Sam Neill, Jurgen Prochnow, David Warner, Julie Carmen, Charlton Heston. Written by: Michael De Luca. Directed by: John Carpenter.
Reality is a strange beast, one persons perception of it can be wholly different from anothers, reality is ultimately based on conjecture, of the state of things as they are, or appear to be. It is the culmination of all your experiences that fundamentally determines how things appear to you. John Carpenter’s 1994 classic In The Mouth Of Madness takes reality and breaks it, reassembles it, and then smashes it into sub atomic particles, stamps on them, and then sets them on fire. Reality takes a real hammering in this mind warping psychological horror from the master of the macabre.
When we first meet our movies protagonist John Trent (Sam Neill) he is garbed in a strait-jacket and being unceremoniously dumped into an isolation cell in a psychiatric hospital. From this inauspicious beginning, we are transported back to discover how this seemingly intelligent and grounded professional ends up in a padded cell, on the wrong end of materiality.
Trailblazing master of horror, John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) expertly channels HP Lovecraft, especially his novella Mountains Of Madness, for this stylish and mind blending horror thriller. Carpenter is one of the pioneers of the horror genre thanks to his ground-breaking horror masterpiece Halloween, and is the perfect choice to bring the Lovecraftian inspired original script by Michael De Luca to life, and has informally described the film as the last part of his Apocalypse Trilogy preceded by The Thing and Prince Of Darkness.
Carpenter’s movie reflects magnificently the metafiction style of storytelling. Metafiction is a device used in literature and film to describe a break in the proverbial fourth wall, a story within a story, or where the characters of the fictional account realise they are just that… characters. Carpenter plays with this genre device beautifully, and serves the viewer an almost flawless metaphysical, mind bending thriller, with so many excellent twists and turns that even after a second viewing you still want to revisit it to discover more of the allusions and clues expertly hidden throughout the feature.
Remarkably well acted by the eclectic and talented cast, with Sam Neill (as is quite often the case) the most outstanding as the initially over-confident, yet increasingly bewildered principal player. Jurgen Prochnow plays missing horror author Sutter Cane, Trent’s personal holy grail, and gives a wonderful performance as an amalgam of infinite calm and dark mania. They are both backed up by a terrific secondary cast that includes English thesp David Warner as Trent’s Psychiatrist, Julie Carmen as Linda Styles Cane’s agent and Trent‘s initial guide, plus Charlton Heston as the owner of Cane‘s publishing company.
Though psychological horror plays a large part in the film, it still gives up the goods as far as straight up gore is concerned, plus there are some excellent creature effects, with a notably Lovecraftian look and feel. The film’s score is, as ever, by Carpenter himself and is fantastic, matching the onscreen visuals perfectly.
If you like your horror deep, strange and intriguing, with a side of the macabre, then In The Mouth Of Madness is for you. Carpenter weaves a dreamlike world, that is in essence an almost perfect blend of HP Lovecraft and Stephen King. It is in equal measure intelligent and haunting, and is one of the most inventive and twisted movies that Carpenter has ever wrought upon the viewer. Infinitely rewatchable, thanks to cleverly hidden clues and imagery, with outstanding acting turns from the talented cast, especially leading actor Sam Neill.
Precinct1313 Rating: 5 Cthulhu Monstrosities Out Of 5.
‘Audacious’… what a fantastic word that is, it also describes this movie perfectly, audacious, ridiculous, fun, preposterous, over the top, cartoony, violent, all of these words expound the utter brilliance and craziness that this film represents.
Cast: Clive Owen, Monica Bellucci, Paul Giamatti, Stephen McHattie, Greg Byrk, Daniel Pilon. Director: Michael Davis. Writer: Michael Davis.
After saving a new born baby from a motley band of assassins, our carrot wielding hero Smith (Clive Owen) teams up with lady of the night Donna Quintano (Monica Bellucci) to protect the baby from further attempts on his life by sociopathic hit-man Hertz (Paul Giamatti.) Smith and Quintano slowly unravel a conspiracy that reaches to the highest echelons of the Government, whilst also shooting a truckload of bad guys and chomping on copious amounts of carrots!
Ah, Shoot Em Up, this is probably the most preposterous yet fun action movie ever made, a pure adrenaline fuelled ride through a world inhabited by corrupt Senators, crazed assassins, and a carrot consuming anti-hero with a penchant for one liners and a dislike of his fellow man. British actor Clive Owen plays Smith, a mysterious stranger who is an expert in dual wielding a gun and a carrot. Intervening in the attempted assassination of a pregnant woman, Smith manages to decimate the assassins and help the mother conceive the baby in an utterly over the top intro that perfectly introduces the tone and humour of this amazingly violent rollercoaster of an action movie.
The always excellent Paul Giamatti is outstanding in the role of ex-FBI profiler turned cold hearted hitman Hertz, in fact he embraces the character with such zeal and fervour that he manages to steal the limelight away from Clive Owen (whose performance is still an understated gem.) Giamatti’s character embodies a perfect blend of callous killer, dark humour and calculated intelligence, embracing every outrageous scene with a wry smirk and an arrogant condescension of his allies and peers.
Rounding out our terrific trio of leads is talented and stunning Italian actress Monica Bellucci, who gives a strangely (in context of the film) moving and impassioned turn as a prostitute with a tragic past, who takes on the role of surrogate mother to the rescued baby and acts as a great counterbalance to Smith’s outrageous antics and frequently hilarious temper tantrums.
Writer/Director Michael Davis’ describes Shoot ‘Em Up as a fusion of James Bond and classic John Woo actioner Hard Boiled. Though to be honest, it is without a doubt an excessive parody of those great movies, and is all the better for it. Smith makes for an enigmatic lead and is definitely more the ‘everyman’ type than Bond will ever be. Look for a scene early in the movie where Smith throws aside the gun he was using because it jams, with the line “Piece of crap”, the gun is a PPK, Bond’s famous sidearm (it was even rumoured that Clive Owen was up for the role of Bond alongside Daniel Craig, though Owen later refuted the fact.)
Shoot ‘Em Up manages to combine wonderful performances from its three main leads, some of the most rip-roaringly absurd action sequences ever committed to celluloid, including a crazy sky diving shoot-out and numerous carrot related deaths(!?) plus an exquisitely dark sense of humour that is contrasted by its playful exuberance. Though gunplay inevitably takes the starring role in the film, it is so ridiculous and cartoon like that anyone would be hard pressed to take offence. In fact the film has an undertone of gun culture revulsion that runs subtly throughout, but ultimately it is the veraciously exaggerated performances by Giamatti and Owen that makes the film such a joy to watch.
Precinct1313 Rating: 5 pistol wielding gunsmiths out of 5.
Greek general Themistocles rallies his meagre Athenian forces to stem the tide of the encroaching Persian army, led by God-King Xerxes and the vengeful Artemisia, commander of the Persian navy.
Cast: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Rodrigo Santoro, Callan Mulvey, Jack O’Connell. Director: Noam Murro. Writers: Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad (screenplay), Frank Miller (Graphic Novel “Xerxes”)
300: Rise Of An Empire, the sequel to Zack Snyder’s 2006 film “300” is an interesting beast, the events in this notable follow up take place before, during and after the events of the original film. In fact the storyline is so dramatically and cleverly interwoven, that it almost feels like it’s a chapter of the original film that was removed for time constraints. What helps propel this image is its amazing visual presence that mirrors its forebear in both, gloriously vivid comic-book inspired violence and overtly stylised graphic continuity, and also echoes masterfully, writer/artist Frank Miller’s original graphic novel “Xerxes”.
The film opens at the legendary Battle of Marathon, which in continuity of the film franchise takes place ten years before the events of the original film. This battle is the catalyst of the upcoming war between the varying Greek city-states and the combined forces of the Persian army, with the heavily outnumbered Athenian shock troops taking the fight directly to the newly disembarked Persian soldiers, catching them off guard and securing an early victory for the Greeks.
During this engagement, Greek hero Themistocles, looses an arrow that will not only set the stage for Prince Xerxes transformation into the tyrannical God-King, but also his eventual march to gain ascendancy over the varying city-states of Greece.
This opening battle sequence sets the precedence and tone for the rest of the film, but where Rise differs from its forebear is in its use of epic naval battles. With the heavily outnumbered but highly skilled and ingenious Athenian fleet, led by General Themistocles, meeting head on, the massive and overwhelming Persian armada controlled by the beautiful but malefic Artemisia, played wonderfully by actress Eva Green. Stunning and deadly, Artemisia takes centre stage as the protagonist of the film, and also the real power behind the throne held by Xerxes.
Themistocles is portrayed by Australian actor Sullivan Stapleton, and though he ultimately is not as memorable as Gerard Butler’s outstanding role as Leonidas in the original film, he still puts in an impassioned and engaging turn as the celebrated Athenian hero. Returning cast members include, Lena Headey, as Leonidas’ grieving widow Queen Gorgo, David Wenham as Spartan elite Dilios, and of course Rodrigo Santoro reprising his spectacular performance as the imposing God-King Xerxes.
Also returning to the franchise is original 300 director Zack Snyder, who shares credit with Kurt Johnstad for both the original screenplay, and as lead producer. Plus writer/artist, Frank Miller returns as executive producer and advisor.
Jam packed with amazing visuals, kinetic action sequences and ridiculously over the top, blood and gore, Rise of an Empire may not quite match its big brother in originality or acting splendour, what it does though is provide the viewer with a fantastically well produced sequel that is in equal measures, engaging, violent and epic in scale.
Special mention must go to the fantastic end credits, that mix the striking visual style of Frank Miller’s original graphic novel and a rousing end piece that is an almost perfect fusion of Black Sabbath’s War-Pig, and the films own main theme tune.
Though not critically lauded, the film has a strong and fervent fan base (myself included) that are vocal in their defence of the underrated movie. Its initial opening weekend was successful, with the film regaining almost half of its original budget, and has gone on to surpass this via dvd and blue-ray sales. If you’re a fan of the original 300 but have been hesitant in watching this for fear of it being a poor sequel, dive on in, the film is highly recommended. Sublime visuals, good acting and hyper stylised, gloriously bloody battle sequences make for a fun popcorn movie that is infinitely rewatchable.
Precinct1313 Rating: 4 Hoplite Soldiers Out Of 5
Today would have marked the 63rd birthday of British Sci-Fi author Douglas Adams, most famous for his classic Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy series of books. Adams was born in Cambridge, England in 1952, beginning his writing career with reports for his local photography club – Brentwoodian, and satrical pieces for his school magazine – Broadsheet.
After leaving college, Adams was determined to become a writer for television and radio, his big break came when he was discovered by Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, who he formed a writing partnership with and gained credit for a sketch in episode 45 called Patient Abuse. When his script for Hitchhikers was successfully turned into a BBC radio play, Adams briefly became a BBC radio producer, before leaving the post 6 months later to become a script editor on Dr Who.
The very popular radio show later spawned an even better BBC television series in the eighties, it wasn’t until 2005 that a movie version of his work appeared, unfortunately Adams never lived long enough to see his dream of Hitchhikers becoming a major motion picture, as he sadly passed away in 2001 from a myocardial infaction, he was a mere 49 years of age. Happy Birthday Mr Adams!
After a lifetime of murder and mayhem, remorseless mercenary Solomon Kane (James Purefoy) renounces violence after discovering that his immoral ways have condemned his soul to hell. But when he returns back to his home in England he discovers that an even worse evil has taken reign in his lands, but will fighting back against this threat ultimately result in his redemption or his infernal suffering.
Cast: James Purefoy, Max Von Sydow, Pete Postlethwaite, Alice Krige, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Jason Flemyng, Mackenzie Crook. Director: Michael J. Bassett. Writers: Robert E. Howard (original characters), Michael J. Bassett (screenplay).
Solomon Kane was created by early 1900’s novelist Robert E.Howard, probably most famous for his creation of Conan the Cimmerian, Kane’s first appearance was in a 1928 issue of Weird Tales. Howard described his character as a ‘sombre, gloomy man with a pale face and cold eyes’. Dressed head to toe in black and carrying two pistols and a rapier, Kane wandered the world fighting witchcraft, black magic and evil men.
The opening of the movie takes place during Kane’s murderous past as he and his cut-throat army of mercenaries invade and pillage a large fortress town in Africa in 1600 AD. Whilst fighting their way to the riches and glory contained within the fortress’ large throne room, Kane becomes separated from his men, confronted by the Devil’s reaper who discloses that Kane’s nefarious lifestyle has forfeit his soul, and the reaper is there to deliver Kane unto his master, Kane refuses to yield to the demon’s demand, leaping from the throne room’s window into the tempestuous seas below.
A year passes and we catch up with Solomon in an Abbey in England, he has taken refuge here in an effort to recant his former murderous ways and live life as a man of peace in a desperate attempt to save his soul from damnation. Solomon is asked to leave the sanctity of the Abbey after it’s Abbot has a prophetic vision of Solomon’s future. Deciding to return to his land of noble birth in Devonshire, Solomon during his travels is attacked by a trio of vicious mercenaries who leave him for dead after he refuses to break his vow and fight back. Found and nursed back to health by Meredith Crowthorn (Rachel Hurd-Wood) daughter of a travelling puritan family, he ends up joining them temporarily on their journey.
But when an encounter with a strange masked warrior and his band of zombie like minions ends with the death of the Crowthorns and kidnapping of Meredith for their Necromancer master Malachi (Jason flemyng), Solomon breaks his vows of peace and sets out on a path of revenge to rescue Meredith and end Malachi’s demonic reign. Thus ensues a bloody path of vengeance and retribution, that will either condemn Solomon’s soul to hell or redeem it for all eternity.
British Director Michael J.Bassett’s film interpretation of Howard’s classic evil smiting puritanical warrior is as close to it’s original source as anyone could ever hope to get, it really is as if Solomon had leapt on to the big screen from the pages of the books and comics themselves. Bassett’s reverence for Howard’s original books is tangible, and the casting of native Devonshire actor James Purefoy really is the icing on the proverbial cake, Purefoy is an amazing and very underrated actor and gives his all in this adaptation, going from an evil and detestable character to one you actively feel pity for, and ultimately end up rooting for as the film unfurls (plus being a native of Devon, his accent, of course, is spot on). Backed up by a stable of other astounding actors including, the late, great Pete Postlethwaite, acting legend Max Von Sydow and the always entertaining Mackenzie Crook.
The film’s many fight scenes choreographed by sword master Richard Ryan are superbly put together, and also very savage and gruesome, limbs are hacked off at an alarming rate and Kane’s notoriety as a peerless warrior shines through in these awesome sequences, with Purefoy doing 95% of his own stunt and sword work.
Beautifully shot by Dan Lausten in England and Prague, the film is very dark and foreboding, and again like it’s similar counterpart film Black Death also has the feel of a classic Hammer movie. The English landscape is littered with broken down churches, soulless graveyards and eerie hanging corpses replete with carrion crows and a constant deluge of rain and mud. The film’s original soundtrack by Klaus Badelt is also outstanding, rousing and haunting in equal measure, and is one of my very favourite movie compositions in years.
Receiving many positive reviews when it was unveiled amongst both critics and fans, the film in its initial release at the cinema only recouped an estimated £12,000,000 of its estimated £33,000,000 budget, but has gone on to surpass this through DVD sales and deservedly so. Solomon Kane is one of the greatest sword and sorcery films in decades and comes highly recommended.