Director; Michael Bay
Runtime – 129 minutes
Enlisting the help of a fellow weightlifter and friend, Adrian Doorbal (played by Anthony Mackie - ‘Falcon’ from the Avengers) and Paul Doyle (Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson who needs no introduction) a newcomer to the establishment Daniel plans to turn a new client’s (Victor Kershaw -Monk’s Tony Shaloub) world upside down. After all, why should he have wealth and riches when Daniel has ‘the drive’ and works hard too. It’s just not fair! His current endeavor of turning a mediocre gym into a bustling fitness center hasn’t in any way garnered him the riches he desired in the time he wished it would.
So without further ado the trio embark upon a bumbling quest to transfer Victor’s finances over into more deserving hands. It transpires to be a lot more difficult than they had ever imagined. Sticky situations turn sour quickly as alliances within the group are tested, friendships are stretched to their limit. Daniel’s “I’ve watched a lot of movies I know what I’m doing!” attitude isn’t nearly as efficient as expected as ‘midnight cowboy’ antics lead the trio into naught but deeper into an unfathomably measurable quagmire of problems.
Based on a true story (though I would imagine albeit loosely as in moments events are so bizarre as to make fantastical fiction look inept) Pain and Gain is IMO surprisingly good. The unintentional humor works very well and the movie’s pace and intermittent narration flows to keep the viewer’s attention. In certain instances, one is easily able to associate with the plight and desperation of the characters as they aspire to be ‘more’.
Mark Wahlberg (admittedly one of my favorites both in comedic and straight roles) is excellent as an unsatisfied individual with so much drive, desire and a do-whatever-it-takes attitude at times it’s literally painful to witness.
Moments of amusement are also supplied by an excited surgeon’s assistant played by the ever sunny Rebel Wilson. A nice touch to the movie that adds depth to Adrian’s storyline and adds weight to the rumor of shrinkage due to chemical enhancements.
As if that’s not enough, Daniel gets greedy and starts the whole process again but this time with a porn mogul who is a tad more un-assumedly shrewd than imagined.
Ed Dubois (Ed Harris – A History of Violence) makes an appearance too as a hired detective plucked from retirement because of niggling curiosity and a story that seems too bizarre as to be real, but it is, or is it? I’ll let you, the viewer, decide.
Pain and Gain was a movie I walked into without assumptions and I left pleasantly surprised, it managed to keep my attention throughout and has enough twists, turns, action and moments of WTF to fill several Hollywood big budget scripts.
I’ll recommend this to anyone who enjoys thrillers/dramas/reality driven action movies with a dark sense of humor. I’m of the belief that fans of any of the abovementioned actors (though to be sure this’ll shock longtime fans of the peculiarities of Monk) and those that are merely looking for something slightly different from the norm will enjoy this immensely,
Excellently shot and well worth a peek.
Director; Gareth Evans
Runtime – 148 minutes
Sony Picture Classics
In a nutshell, to keep this review short and straight to the point, this is a movie that any martial arts fan, be they casual or die hard, needs in their collection.
Imagine a video game where one must fight through level bosses which get progressively more difficult as the quest to the finish line continues, Rama does exactly that with nary a break in between. Included in his many opponents a blind girl wielding hammers like a pissed off Home Depot employee on steroids, a young gent brandishing a baseball bat who would make Mark McGuire cry like a bitch and a master kick-you-to death-before-you-can-even-blink bladesman.
To be honest there are so many other conflict scenarios of note which I can’t mention due to time restraints and fear of contracting carpal tunnel syndrome that I’ll merely state there are at least three of especial note that I’d gladly nominate (without second thoughts or regrets) for fight scenes of the year. One set in a muddy prison courtyard is epic in scope and supremely well executed.
Do yourself a favor and pick this up, carve two and a half hours out of your day and be prepared for one hell of a ride. You can thank me later.
Excellence and then some. A must own!!
rel - April/3/1982
Director; Jose Ramon Larraz
Runtime – 84 minutes
Yes, this is ‘that’ type of movie. Sex, sacrifice and voyeurism produced in such a delightful way it’s unmistakably 80’s. Titillating, blunt and so gloriously anti P.C that it would make your Grandma blush and make you ultimately wonder why they don’t make movies like this anymore
“Why do you have all these black candles?” Carol asks as she’s led through the house of her step sister following the eve of her brother’s passing.
Silly question really as in the first fifteen minutes alone any audience member (even those paying only slight attention, which is bizarre seems as naked flesh fills the screen more often than not) will be able to easily unravel the movie’s premise. There’s a mysterious bearded type, with a penchant for peeking in through the kitchen window at the oddest of times, complete with binoculars and priestly robes and ancient demonic images that adorn the walls. Do you seriously need any more clues here?
Even the neighbors are unabashed devotees of the hoofed one. With no consideration of other’s personal belongings, they frequently share fables and various intricacies associated with bestiality as if talking of something as mundane as Sunday’s soccer scores (admittedly it is rather a remote English township).
I won’t mention a surprisingly deviant scene with an excited goat a mere thirty minutes in. Whoops, apparently I just did! Another scene in particular make me wince, which doesn’t happen too often as I’ve seen a great number of disturbing celluloid clips, it includes a lingering act with a sword, a crowd of aroused acolytes and an unwilling participant.
Black Candles is shot with a surprising air of professionalism and features, wait for it, numerous capable actors and actresses, most of which are extremely easy on the eyes. Spanish scream queen Helga Line is naked throughout, seriously what more could one wish for, perhaps a little liquid crimson as there is surprisingly little found here.
Unlike many other films from around the same time, I’ll use HardGore as an example here, this is sans the glaring silliness (that’s usually associated with the whole Satan worshipping thing) though drips with more than enough effective moody atmosphere (prompted by a chilling Gothic piano score more frequently associated with HammerHorror films of the same period) and obvious clues as to warn the most curious type away from the immediate vicinity Godspeed.
Spontaneous raunchiness and lesbian ‘slippery digit action’ occurs so often as to make even early D’Amato flicks seem tame this might make even the most jaded viewer ponder whether this is more a horror or an adult movie. Ponder not as ‘Black Candles’ proudly hoists both flags high.
Unapologetically a ‘Sex and Satan’ flick and oddly in my own personal opinion a great way to waste (close to) eighty-five minutes of your time. A classic ‘dirty guilty pleasure’ forgotten gem that delivers a feature that needs to be seen to be truly appreciated