This time around: Blade Runner 2049 fails to replicate the replicant success of the original; Guy Pearce raises hell in gritty western Brimstone, Luke Goss knows it’s Your Move; Flatliners doesn’t have much of a heartbeat; there’s trouble in the woods with The Ballerina; a killer is on the loose in Strangled; Jean Claude Van Damme wants to Kill ‘Em All; Jigsaw is a cut about other Saw movies and Thelma is mind-bending Norwegian thriller.
Blade Runner 2049
Denis Villeneuve makes a valiant attempt at following-up Ridley Scott’s iconic Blade Runner. Ryan Gosling is K, a Blade Runne whose investigation leads him to Harrison Ford’s in-exile Deckard. The film holds some good visuals and a few good moments, but it’s about 40 minutes too long.
This single disc blu-ray comes with about 30 minutes of detailed extras. I imagine this will be ripe for a double-dip in years to come.
Writer-director Martin Koolhoven delivers a dark and macabre western in the shape of Brimstone. Divided into four sections (Revelation, Exodus, Genesis and Retribution), the film flips chronology to unveil different layers to the story. Dakota Fanning plays the young woman mysteriously terrorised by Guy Pearce’s vicious holy man. Game of Thrones stars Kit Harington, and Carice van Houten also appear as a charismatic outlaw and Pearce’s downtrodden wife respectively.
It’s best not to know too much about Brimstone before going in and although it’s a touch on the long side (2 1/2 hours) it never lulls. It can be tough going at sometimes, though. It also includes some powerful visuals – especially in the last portion.
Some so-so deleted/extend scenes and very detailed interviews with Martin Koolhoven and the cast.
Luke Goss writes and directs this flaccidly disappointing thriller.. Goss plays a New York businessman who sees his wife and daughter kidnapped during a Skype session whilst in Mexico. He heads south of the border to track them down when the local police (led by Robert Davi) prove to be ineffective.
Part Taken, part torture porn, Your Move fails to register as either. It makes the cardinal sin of being boring – but at least there’s the occasional nice visual to look at.
Joel Schumacher’s stylish but dated neon-drenched horror is given the 21st Century makeover treatment. Flatliner’s sees Ellen Page, Diego Luna (who has terrible hair btw), Nina Dobrev, James Norton and Kiersey Clemons playing medical students playing around with death and the afterlife.
At times this needless remake feels even more nineties than the 1990 original. That film’s star, Kiefer Sutherland pops up for a cameo.
This comes with 12 minutes of deleted scenes a 5 short behind the scenes puff pieces. Not great.
You have to give The Ballerina points for trying hard to deliver something different in the haunted woods horror sub-genre. Steven Pullen’s film sees a father and daughter living rough amongst the homeless in the woods of Virginia. This low budget pic is mainly a character piece – but it has a few neat twists if you stay with it.
Solid considering this is well-trodden territory.
A dark murder mystery, Strangled is based on a series of real-life murders in 1950s Hungary. It’s a miscarriage of justice/police corruption tale which incorporates a lot of genre tropes into a noble thriller. It’s lacking a lot of emotion though, but it has enough disparate plot threads to keep you watching until they all weave together.
Kill ‘Em All
An exhausted-looking Jean Claude Van Damme stumbles his way (literally) through this tepid action flick. Pete Stormare and Maria Conchita Alonso play agents trying to piece together a shoot-out as a local hospital. Autumn Reeser is the only witness to the events which saw Van Damme take on a load of black-dressed bad guys.
The dormant Saw franchise is reawakened after a seven year slumber with Jigsaw. It’s a solid enough entry into the series which once again sees a group of strangers wake up in a precarious position. Jigsaw does what it says on the tin and if you’ve not been converted to the series then I doubt this eighth entry is going to change your mind. Still, it’s nice to see Callum Keith Rennie getting some screen-time.
Jigsaw comes with an astonishing 1 hour 20 minute documentary which covers the franchise and the making of this new movie. Impressive.
A captivating slow-burning horror-thriller, this Norwegian film has a tremendous amount of atmosphere. Joachim Trier’s film has notes of Stephen King’s Carrie as Eili Harboe titular Thelma has a Telekinetic awakening after she goes-off to university. Her mental and physical change isn’t helped by her over-bearing parents or her close relationship with fellow student Kaya Wilkins.
Cool and glassy, Thelma has a lot to offer those who are willing to take the chance.