FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST

2017; directed by Fumihiko Sori; adapted by Hiromu Arakawa, Takeshi Miyamoto and Fumihiko Sori (English dubbed version by Tyler Rhoads); 135 mins

It’s been a while since I’ve written a review for something I didn’t like at all but my girlfriend, a fan of both the anime series and the manga, had heard that the live action remake of Fullmetal Alchemist was absolute crap and had to watch it to see just how bad it was. You and I know what she means. If there was a remake of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly which got universally panned, I would have to go and see it, just so that I could be righteously outraged. With that in the background, I said we would watch it together… which just goes to show that gallantry is a load of shit and should be avoided at all costs! Continue reading

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BLACKBOARDS

2000; directed by Samira Makhmalbaf; written by Mohsen Makhmalbaf and Samira Makhmalbaf; 84 mins

20 years old! Samira Makhmalbaf was 20 years old when she made this movie! Add to that, it’s her second feature. She made her first at age 18. I need to pull my finger out. Now, you could say that she’s a member of a filmmaking dynasty and so surely it was a cake-walk but it’s hard enough for women in the west to get films on the go, so Christ knows what women in the Middle East have to go through to get anything done. That she did all this at such a young age is fucking impressive, regardless of who her family is. Continue reading

THE HOLY MOUNTAIN

1973; written and directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky; 115 mins

Couldn’t be bothered with El topo, loved Santa sangre and was straight down the middle with Endless Poetry. From it’s opening frame, The Holy Mountain announces itself. Five seconds in, you’re either onboard and going all the way or you’re staying on the jetty, watching the merry ship of fools sail off into a rainbow-coloured sea of metaphor, anarchy and Kabbalistic Zen Christianity where a man’s poos can be transformed into gold! To be honest, if you read that and you’re not onboard, it’s not for you. Continue reading

TROUBLE EVERY DAY

2001; directed by Claire Denis; written by Claire Denis and Jean-Pol Fargeau; 101 mins

The question around this movie seems to be: is it horror or not? A very good recent review of this by Lindsay Pugh says it’s horror but working outside genre conventions. I don’t agree with her that it feels more like “a tone poem or installation piece” than a proper film. It definitely feels like a cinematic story and very definitely a horror film but it is very easy to see why the critics at Cannes didn’t go for it. Twats. Continue reading

HOLD THE DARK

2018; directed by Jeremy Saulnier; adapted by Macon Blair; 125 mins

Well, the reviews seem rather muted. One did hit the nail on the head when it said to go in knowing as little as possible and I did. I hadn’t watched the trailer, or if I did – no memory of it. Jeremy Saulnier and Green Room were the hooks for me. Having belatedly caught up with that film, which I sincerely think is one of the best of the decade, I wanted to check out his other work and where better to go than the readily available new one. Continue reading

DAY OF THE DEAD

1985; written and directed by George A. Romero; 101 mins

This may be a controversial view but I think Day of the Dead is my favourite of Romero’s original Dead trilogy. This has to be one of my all-time favourite horror movies. Watching it again, I began to think that the relentless, over-the-top shouting nothing but melodrama (and yes, maybe, there are a couple of instances of overacting) but it becomes clear that this is all a part of Romero’s frustrated, despairing vision of the 80s, which still rings true today. Continue reading

BEST OF 2017

As per usual, this is a best of from the previous year because, here in NZ, we are the last to get most stuff. We are down there with Estonia as far as drip-fed movie releases go. I’ve decided to do something slightly different this time because I was getting fed up with writing a Top 10, so this time I’ve decided to do the less specific “best of”. These aren’t necessarily my absolute top 10 but they are the movies that have stayed with me the most over the course of the last couple of years. Oh and no – I still haven’t seen The Last Jedi. Continue reading