Runtime: 104 minutes
Director/Writer: William Monahan
GK Films, Henceforth, Projection Pictures
A close friend, confident and thespian Jordan, played excellently by David Thewlis, shows Mitchell the ropes and the amassed hordes of paparazzi that surround the dwelling day and night doing everything in their power to get closer to capturing that million-dollar picture.
London Boulevard and William Monahan (in his directorial debut) effectively portray the seedy aura of a large cities, in this case London, criminal element and the tightness of the criminal bonds found within. Colin Farrell pulls off a believable performance as an individual unable to pull away from the same scene, ironically an element in which there are still some he cares for making it all the more difficult. Placed in a position he can’t control he must search deep within himself for the resolve to do whatever it takes to pull himself out from the treacherous quagmire he’s been tossed, none so kindly, into. Whilst, as if that wasn’t enough, also addressing his own moral standards, at the same time managing to nudge Charlotte ever so slowly from her hardened shell of introversion and then (as if that wasn’t enough) he’s also determined to avenge recently transpired events.
Anna Friel excellently captures the essence of a type most all of us know of, and a handful of us have a begrudgingly sense of jealousy of because they appear to live so guiltless and care free.
Another character who ‘tears up’ the screen is Ray Winstone, as Gant, in his portrayal of a crime lord who’s at odds with Mitchells unfathomably strange decision. Throughout London Boulevard he ire’s the viewer, by way of his increasingly antagonistic nature, into a sense of hatred so vehement they care not towards movies end what manner of tragedy befalls him.
Fueled by several smaller storylines, a smidgen of dark humor, an expected, quite predictable romance between the movies main characters and Mitchell’s desire to get out of the criminal life London Boulevard flows at a fair pace never once failing to keep the viewer entertained be it either through disdain, horror or the viewer’s uncontrollable human trait of needing to know what’s going to happen next.
A fantastic addition to the ‘British gangster genre’ London Boulevard deserves recognition and discovery. Clear your afternoons plans and spend a little time with a criminal element that boasts an unpredictable nature, lovable accents and more than a fair share of attitude.
Runtime: 86 minutes
Director/Writer: J. Christian Ingvordsen, Matthew M. Howe
Sultan Film Productions
Fate, as so often is the case, has other plans. An amulet is unearthed tossing the playful work crew back to the bases darkest age, an age of sacrifice and possession marred by madness, unmitigated bloodlust and carnage.
Only a few of these questions are answered to satisfaction, strangely most aren’t even hinted at. I’m pleased to report however, that this doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Blood Relic is an unapologetic low budget affair, hardly a film worthy of lofty holier-than-thou critic praise, that moves along at an enjoyable enough pace. Prompted by an introduction sporting a killing spree and fueled by a slew of interesting characters, all of whom are young, attractive, fit and trim (are we therefore to believe that this is a true representation of the aeronautics workforce, of course not for this is merely a work of fiction, a movie) spewing light hearted dialogue and rampant insatiable genes there’s no surprise that several staples of the B movie genre are checked off within record time.
With the premise "...This is an old airbase, there's nothing here, no ghosts, no demons. Nothing out of the ordinary..." being uttered in mollifying self-confidence within the films first twenty minutes’ shenanigans of one type or another are sure to follow and Blood Relic does not disappoint. A red herring is supplied very early on, to spice things up, in a roleplaying scenario (spoiler alert, whoops!) and a ‘standard’ for the remainder of Blood Relic is in place. Barring small details (for instance a mental institute resident, Hank Campbell who’s released and then allowed to purchase and brandish a firearm, how very topical of me to mention) the movie plays out very well, especially bearing in mind the obvious pink elephant – budgetary constraints. In using stock militaristic footage, effective shaky-cam effects and effective lighting techniques Blood Relics producers have shown experience and knowledge in how to effectively craft an aura within constraints larger budgeted features pay much less heed to.
Regardless, Blood Relic successfully manages to balance on the boundaries of comedy and horror. At times threatening to completely topple into comedic territory more than horror it boasts a playful vibe sprinkled in ‘cheese’ which isn’t quite aromatic enough to be packaged and stamped with the carnival-esque “Troma” branding, though is enjoyable.
Predictable throughout this film still manages to hold the attention as it showcases better than average acting within a flowing storyline that doesn’t become convoluted or take itself too seriously. In essence making this an easy view you can still digest whilst doing half a dozen other things. In fact, this has all the makings of a fantastic ‘drinking’ movie.
Better than I expected and well worthy of a peek for viewers with a love of indie features and an open mind.
Bring on the haters!
(Original language, also available subtitled/dubbed in English)
Runtime: 126 Minutes
Director: Takashi Miike
Writers: Takashi Miike, Daisuke Tengan, Shoichiro Ikemiya
Martial Arts/ Periodic Feudal Drama
Sedic International, Recorded Picture Company (RPC), Asahi Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Magnet Releasing
The first half of this feature deals with the culture of discipline, honor and disgrace and introduces the viewer to the complex hierarchy and lifestyle of those within clans in feudal Japan around the mid nineteenth century. The assembly of martyrs is slow to build vividly displaying the many risks associated with straying from a strict path in order to shatter a merciless status quo.
With this feature Miike has shown his exemplary directorial chops. There’s no doubt that within his vast, to put it mildly ‘diverse’, array of cinematic output this is already more than clear but to also display this same skill in a feature that he’s not known for is a feat in and of itself. As with all of his other features the acting is spot on. Two characters stood out in this film for me. The first is known as Koyota Kiga. Not much is known of this mysterious figure other than that he was caught spying on a Lord’s ‘lady’ and was punished accordingly. Ironically this punishment allows him to spy on his immediate surroundings undisturbed, though not much else on account of his position in a suffocating, suspended, enclosure. His overall demeanor is one of mischief - which strangely stretches, at times, to boredom even in the thick of battle. Towards the climax of the movie there’s a scene that’ll make most, if not all, viewers utter …but wait, didn’t he? While they may also ponder upon the possible importance of his role within Japanese society/mythology.
Vicious, beautiful, ferocious yet graceful this is a must see and a stunning cinematic achievement.