Blue Ruin (2013) – 7/10
A taught, indie revenge flick. This movie is so quiet. It entwines the viewer with desolate solemnity and then mires you in events that grow progressively more tragic and inevitable.
Dwight is homeless when we meet him. He lives in his car near the ocean. Rummages for food in rubbish bins and takes the occasional nervous bath in homes left unguarded.
Circumstance mobilises Dwight to seek revenge for the murder of his parents. His tie to the murderer’s family are complicated and slowly revealed. They are all on a path to ruin. Dwight has a final, redemptive act. Only the innocent remain, left to sort through the chaff or not.
Bronson (2008) – 8/10
Hardy’s a f*ing lunatic. Hard to imagine he’s able to act so convincingly without a wealth to draw on.
Hardy is Michael Peterson (aka ‘Charles Bronson’, aka ‘Charles Salvador’) the infamous UK perpetual prisoner. Originally imprisoned for robbing a post office. Charlie likens prison to a hotel and he likes it. He can be the top man and proceeds to provoke and engage in bloody brawls with anyone to secure his position. These episodes lead to solitary confinement, which he also doesn’t mind.
Witness Hardy bulked up, dangerous and hilarious. A mix of confronting brutality and genuine absurdity; leave the viewer nonplussed. “And would you like a cup of tea too, mate?”
The ‘system’ doesn’t know what to do. Charlie is unrepentant and defies rehabilitation. Shipped around to the UK’s toughest gaols, landing in a prison for the criminally insane. A fish out of water, driven to murder. The goal to be proven sane and sent back to the ‘regular ‘prison. And so on. Finally a genuine (?) expression through art therapy. . .woe betide the instructor.
A glorious, surreal experience. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.
The Babadook (2014) – 1/10
Once upon a time there was a little boy and his mother. They were a sad family, a grieving family. Death of the father; birth of the son.
The little boy lived with his mother in a spare, muted dwelling. The little boy could not understand his mother’s sorrow and lived in fear that he would lose her and be alone. He couldn’t sleep. The little boy’s mother was stuck. She couldn’t see beyond her pain; she couldn’t sleep.
Isolation enclosed the two. Fertile ground for a fragile mind. The Babadook. Darkness. Waiting. Terrifying.
Mother struggles; failure threatens. The Babadook threatens. The neighbour, an island of hope and kindness. Vomit the black bile. Keep it in the basement. Content to wait for a bowl of worms.
The Brood (1979) – 5/10
Surreal, psychological horror flick written and directed by David Cronenberg. Lots of green pot plants and wood panelling. Pot plants are nice but some of them look like they were just picked up from the nursery and stuck there. Still in the cheap plastic container. Funny. And there was wood panelling everywhere, must have influenced the actors as they were uninteresting and hard to like. Soundtrack recalls the era – classic violin screeching in suspenseful scenes.
Dr Hal Raglan (Oliver Reed) practises psychoplasmic therapy. Through a theatrical engagement with his patients Dr Hal encourages a physical manifestation of their mental illness. I guess this will cure them if it happens often enough? Oliver Reed’s neck is really short and his head always looks like it’s going to explode. A very intense man.
The ‘brood’ are the offspring of Nola, Dr Hal’s number one messed up patient. They are a bunch of little imps who sort of resemble Nola’s daughter Candice (who is about 6 years old). It seems they just want to be with Candice (they are her siblings after all). But they really aren’t very nice and will stop anyone who could prevent this familial union. Bash them to death. Dr Hal’s tragic demise is at the hands of the brood.
Found the movie slow at times. Climax is classic Cronenberg. Nora reveals the newest brood baby to her terrified husband. In technicolor horror Nora births and lovingly attends to her spawn in feline fashion. Hubby’s therapeutic response is most effective.
The Black Balloon (2008) – 6/10
Written and directed by Elissa Down. Aussie movie and cast depicting a family with two teenage sons, Thomas and Charlie. Charlie is severely autistic, intellectually disabled and may have been diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). The relationship between mum (Toni Collette) and dad (Simon Mollison) is solid. Mum is heavily pregnant. Dad is military and the family moves a lot.
Toni Collette is a natural as the understanding and accepting mum. Realistic routines and communication strategies for Charlie are lovingly implemented. The family’s life revolves around care for Charlie. His needs have to be considered at all times. The family accepts who they are.
The movie is about a crux in the relationship between Thomas and Charlie. Thomas remembers his childhood wishes for a different outcome. Realistic struggle to acknowledge Charlie in a uneducated and, at times, cruel community. Enter the beautiful girlfriend Jackie with a heart of gold. Focus on relationships that matter: with Charlie, with Jackie, with mum and dad.
A sincere, accessible take on a serious matter.
Buried (2010) – 6/10
Ryan Reynolds is pretty convincing in this filmed entirely in a coffin flick. You have to ‘go with it’ so you might as well.
Some genuinely intense scenes – a black snake, shifting position in the box, bombings. When you hear the call to prayer it’s heartbreaking.
So close to the surface. Cliche ending . . . it’s the wrong coffin!!! Directed by Rodrigo Cortes.
The Breakfast Club (1985) – 7/10
Written and directed by John Hughes. Thoughtful and believable dialogue. Talent in abundance from young actors. Soundtrack includes the iconic song by Simple Minds – ‘Don’t You’ (forget about me).
Unsettling memories of high school experiences resurface. The 80’s weren’t so different from the 70’s. And probably not so different from any decade when you’re considering teen coming of age type stuff. Personalities are the same: beauty, jock, rebel, geek and recluse. Self awareness and narcissism experience a healthy jolt.
Parents still exert influence but respect wanes. A rite of passage. The principal represents the ‘parent’ who on the surface seems only self interested. Teaching for years; playing his role. Forced contact in detention is a catalyst for change. Smarter than he appears. BTW he was lucky to spill that coffee.