Welcome to the night-time, rain-soaked and neon-lit world or Daybreakers, writer-directors Michael and Peter Spierig’s stylish, hit-and-miss vampire horror.
There’s no dialogue for almost ten minutes in the well-crafted set-up – vampires have taken over the planet, humans are an endangered species farmed for food, their dwindling numbers creating a food crisis that threatens to wipe out vampires and humans alike.
Ethan Hawke (from the superlative 30 Days of Night) returns to the vampire genre as the guilt-ridden, chain-smoking and wimpish Edward Dalton, chief haematologist (a word never used – too long for the target audience) for whom the search for a blood substitute is proving fruitless.
Rejecting the vampire diet of blood, Dalton begins to degenerate into the bat-like mutant vampire Sub-siders, then aids the human resistance. Continue Reading
Guest post by Philippa Hammond of Everything Express and Speaking Well in Public.
I will stand up and confess to having been a bit of a Trekkie [Trekker?] since I was eleven, and am hugely enjoying JJ Adams’ re-booting the Star Trek universe into a second time-line, allowing for a lot of references, homages and in-jokes, and why not. So, to the good [mostly], the bad [a few minor kvetchettes] and the ugly [an unfortunate uniform style choice].
Catapulted into a near-disastrous adventure at the beginning, the zippy pace is set, although I found the level of violence coupled with the extraordinary amount of crying a rather uneasy blend.
Chris Pine (Unstoppable, People Like Us) is the young action hero personified, and in certain camera angles he is Kirk – maybe it’s the nose – and his performance is heartfelt, energetic and entirely true to the character. Continue Reading
Duncan Jones’ superb high-concept second feature eventually sinks under the weight of its’ own pseudo-science nonsense, but not before Jake Gyllenhaal turns in a star performance.
Implanted into a dead man’s last eight minutes of life, air-force pilot Colter Stevens (Gyllenhaal) has to find a terrorist bomber on a train in order to stop an even worse atrocity; over and over until, like Groundhog Day, he gets it right.
Following the success of Moon, Jones sets about Source Code with ambition and self confidence for this sci-fi action adventure that sits somewhere between a virtual reality and time-travel thriller. Continue Reading
“In a Culture Show special, Oscar winning director Danny Boyle talks to Mark Kermode about his new film Trance, London 2012′s afterglow and the highs and lows of an extraordinary film-making career.”
Danny Boyle began his career in subversive agit-prop theatre at the Royal Court and went on to be equally subversive in TV.
Breaking into feature films, his back catalogue includes the violent, kinetic, anarchic as well as touching, satirical, philosophical and romantic. From iconic counter-culture Trainspotting, frenetic horror 28 Days Later, to eight-Oscar triumph, the brutal romance Slumdog Millionaire, Boyle is at his best when he refuses to compromise. It was something he acknowledged in less successful projects – Hollywood excesses A Life Less Ordinary and The Beach. Continue Reading
The Zatoichi legend continues with this handsome tale of a blind, wandering musician and a cowardly samurai fighting bandits, spaghetti-Western style – with twists.
Firstly, this languid, at times dream-like Japanese movie is far from your standard katana-actioner, a long way from it’s frenetic forebears. Second, the Ichi character is a woman.
Blind from birth, Ichi (the exquisite and utterly engaging Haruka Ayase) is taught the sword by her father, for whom she now searches across Nippon’s feudal out-lands. Saving the life of a pacifist samurai, they fall into the employ of the local Yakuza, themselves under threat from disfigured gangster Banky (Shidou Nakamura). Continue Reading
Ridley Scott’s superior post-911, post-Bourne counter-terrorism thriller loses its way in dusty red landscapes, satellite tracking and every cliché in the espionage how-to manual.
There’s plenty of helicopter shots, Bourne-like action sequences in hand-held wobble-cam, Middle-Eastern sunsets and suspicious Arabs in sunglasses on every street corner.
What better way to catch the un-catchable terrorist leader than invent a more successful rival? Cue Mid-East travelogue, complete with every location sub-titled even though the script tells you each one. Continue Reading
This is a public service announcement. Never EVER be tempted to watch Gladiatress. This alleged ‘comedy’ from Channel 4′s Smack the Pony comedy team misfires on every level. It’s like Vogon poetry – you may have to gnaw one of your own legs off in order to survive.
Ostensibly a sword-and-sandals comedy adventure spoof about three “unlikely heroines” who try to thwart the Roman invasion of Britain in 55 B.C., Gladiatress fails in all departments.
So badly does it fall into self-parody of their own post-feminist counter-comedy show, it’s impossible even to identify what they thought they were producing. It is time-travel back to the worst 1970′s comedy franchise spin-offs. No wonder it failed to get a release on completion in 2002. Continue Reading