Showing posts with label Michael Parks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michael Parks. Show all posts

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Red State

Red State, more thriller than horror, is a film inspired by those nonsense sprouting, humanity hating people of the Westboro Baptist Church as well the as current terrorism policy. Three teenage boys peruse the internet looking for local women to have sex with but discover that their chosen woman isn’t all that she said she was online. The boys find themselves locked inside a church with hate preacher Abin Cooper (Michael Parks) talking about the end of days. He puts humanity’s demise down to homosexuality and has the bought the boys to his church to help free the world of sexual deviancy. Unfortunately for Cooper, a routine police patrol drives past his compound and discovers a car wanted in connection with a road traffic accident. When the police officer hears shots from inside the church he calls for backup and soon an ATF team lead by Joseph Keenan (John Goodman) is on the scene.

I’m generally in favour of any movie which highlights the evil of organised religion. Whether through subtle satire or full blown exploratory investigation, if religion is getting a kicking then I’m on board. What Red State does though is make both sides the bad guys. The despicable, murdering in the name of Jesus loons obviously get a hard time from the film makers but so do the Government Agents bought in to take them down.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Kill Bill Volume 2

Kill Bill Volume 2 is the second part of Quentin Tarantino’s female led revenge thriller and was released six months after its predecessor KillBill Volume 1. The film follows the continuing vengeful rampage of The Bride (Uma Thurman) who we discover in this film is actually named Beatrix Kiddo. Her name remained secret in the first movie. Having dispatched of two of her former assailants in the first film, Kiddo here hunts down the remaining three; trailer residing, titty bar bouncer Bud (Michael Madsen), one eyed jealous blonde Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) and the eponymous Bill (David Carradine).

The film opens with a Hitchcockian style pre title sequence in which The Bride is driving to her final destination while giving a brief outline of the plot so far. This sequence is shot in black and white and uses rear projection to give it the look of a Hitchcock thriller. Even the title font and score are Hitchcockian. The remainder of the film is much more conventional and more settled than the first Kill Bill movie as Tarantino keeps his genre mashing directorial tricks mostly in his pocket. There are occasional switches to black and white and one chapter resembles a Hong Kong Kung Fu movie but for the most part the film is more unadventurous than the first movie. There is much less violence too with only two onscreen deaths in the entire movie.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Kill Bill Volume 1

Kill Bill Volume 1 will always have a special place in my heart for two reasons. Firstly it was the first 18 Certificate film I ever saw at the cinema and as a result it was the first Tarantino film I saw at the cinema too. Thinking back, it might have been the first Tarantino film I saw at all although I can’t quite remember if I bought my VHS copy of Pulp Fiction a little earlier. As a seventeen year old who at the time had little interest in movies beyond the latest American Pie I was awe struck by Kill Bill and I’ve seen it several times since. The movie, as it makes clear during the opening credits was the forth film from Quentin Tarantino and followed a six year break since Directing his third film, Jackie Brown. Although originally intended as one feature the movie was split into two separate films due to a four hour run time and Kill Bill Volume 2 followed six months after Volume 1 in 2004.

This is perhaps Tarantino’s most highly stylised film to date and takes in an assortment of styles, genres and techniques. The Director and story weave from genre to genre, picking up pieces of revenge, Hong Kong martial arts, exploitation and Japanese samurai movies as it progresses in a non linear manner through its plot. The film is separated into chapters which themselves often feel like short films. Each chapter takes from a different style, genre or era and occasionally the style will change mid chapter. The plot focuses on the character of The Bride (Uma Thurman), a former member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad who is beaten and shot in the head by her former colleagues. She wakes up four years later to discover her fiancĂ© and unborn daughter are dead and sets about reaping her revenge on those who attacked her and killed her family. Each chapter tells a portion of her revenge tale.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

From Dusk till Dawn

Quentin Tarantino scripted and Directed by Robert Rodriguez, From Dusk till Dawn is a genre mashing, deeply violent, sometimes funny crime-horror-drama-comedy that pulls you close with a left jab before knocking you unconscious with a right hook. Two bank robbing brothers (George Clooney & Quentin Tarantino) are on the run in Texas, heading to the Mexican border. Along the way they take a Preacher (Harvey Keitel) and his children (Juliette Lewis & Ernest Liu) hostage in their RV. Once in Mexico the criminals head to a bar where they wait out the night for their connection to take them to a safe house. The bar turns into a blood bath though as the robbers and their captives’ battle to survive an onslaught from ravenous vampires.

Famous for its violence, unusual script and Salma Hayek’s toe whiskey, From Dusk till Dawn is a fast faced, comedic horror which takes the audience by surprise following a Tarantino-esque opening forty-five minutes. Its use of animatronics and physical effects also takes it back to the 1980s and before the use of computer generated special effects. Rodriguez combines the two methods to create some realistic looking creatures but always maintains a slapstick element to the effects and comedy.

Sunday, 11 November 2012


Shedding light on the incredible true events of the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis, Director Ben Affleck stars as CIA evacuation specialist Tony Mendez. After the US Embassy in Tehran is stormed by Militants in 1979 and more than fifty staff are taken hostage, six manage to escape into the custody of the Canadian Ambassador where they remain hidden for weeks while the State Department and CIA try to figure out a way of extracting them from the most watched and most anti-American city in the world. Mendez has the idea of creating a fake movie and giving himself and the six hidden embassy staff fake identities as Producers, Scriptwriters and the like, on a location scouting assignment before simply flying out of the country. The idea is met with scepticism by the CIA and State Department as well as the hidden six but with no other viable options, Mendez is given the green light.

Despite co-writing Good Will Hunting with Matt Damon in the mid 90s, Ben Affleck soon became known for his celebrity relationships and mediocre performances in overblown and critically disappointing films such as Pearl Harbor and Armageddon. It came as a surprise to many then that Affleck’s Directorial debut Gone Baby Gone was as good as it was and he then followed this up with another critical success The Town in 2010. With Argo, Affleck is now three for three and seems to be going from strength to strength as a Director.