Thursday, 29 December 2016

Films 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Ultimate Edition













Restoring entire sub-plots worth of Superman scenes elevated Zack Snyder's film from a meandering punch-up to a timely jab at toxic media. We see Superman struggle against Lex Luthor under the microscope of a 24 hour news cycle designed to wilfully misunderstand and misinterpret events and actions. You've got to fill that never-ending schedule somehow.

As if to atone, an implicated Clark Kent pounds pavement, talking to street level observers as he investigates Gotham's brutal vigilante. Naturally, he is scolded by his boss for abandoning his assigned puff-pieces. No-one cares anymore. The Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice weaves this slow-acting poison into the bones of the film, so when a despondent saviour scales a snow-capped mountain to ponder if it's worth continuing his mission, we understand his deep-seated sense of rejection.

Theatrical release review

Ultimate Edition review


Elle

















Isabelle Huppert plays a woman in total control of herself. Michele is the co-owner of a successful video game company, she lives in a wealthy Parisian suburb and all the people in her life adore her or, at the very least, defer to her opinion. Elle begins with Michele being attacked and raped in her own home. Any presumption that these terrifying events will have a profound, destabilising effect on Michele are immediately silenced by her reaction - she slowly and methodically tidies up, then orders take away.

As the film unfolds we start to understand that Michele has seen (and perhaps even participated in) horror before. It's nothing new to her, she can cope with anything. Paul Verhoeven and screenwriter David Birke string together a series of events and situations in which Michele should register as distasteful - at work she demands her game's interactive sexual assaults be more violent and visceral; she takes time out at her mother's funeral to let her dimwitted son know that everyone is laughing at him for not realising that his long-term girlfriend has been unfaithful.

A lesser film might ask us to hate Michele, but Elle doesn't. Instead, Huppert makes us feel her frustration. The film's other characters, particularly the men, struggle to contextualise their feelings and drives, leading to an unhappiness that pores out of them and infects the world. These men register as ditherers or weaklings, desperately seeking an approval they don't know how to ask for. Comparatively, Michele exudes strength. She understands what she wants, no matter how alien it may seem. Her ability to act upon these desires makes her invincible.


Green Room


















Nazi punks. Nazi punks. Nazi punks, fuck off.

Original review


Hunt for the Wilderpeople













Taiki Waititi's Hunt for the Wilderpeople pulls a similar trick as early seasons of The Simpsons. The film sketches out flawed but lovable characters, then puts them through the wringer, expertly darting back and forth between surreal mischief and all-consuming despair. Waititi makes it look easy too. It helps that his cast are so talented. Julian Dennison, in particular, is delightful as Ricky Baker, able to effortlessly convey the kind of complex emotional damage experienced by someone who has been treated like a nuisance his entire life.


The Nice Guys

















Even when you're watching a Shane Black film, it's easy to forget just how talented a writer he actually is. The Nice Guys begins by making this case on two fronts - character and detail. Ryan Gosling's Holland March is one of our narrators, the role implying a certain kind of omniscience within the film. Russell Crowe's Jackson Healy seems to know what he's doing, so why shouldn't March? We assume Gosling's private detective, despite him telling us exactly how burnt out he is, will have some kind of handle on things.

He doesn't. He can't even perform basic burglary without nearly ending his own life. With March's incompetence firmly established, the film motors on, using March and Healy's relationship to put a fresh twist on breadcrumb detective work. Then, just when you think you see where The Nice Guys is headed next, Black pulls the rug and the film darts off in a completely different direction. Black has perfected the 90-minute Hollywood action pal movie. He knows the notes so well he can diverge at will then, when he's finished having his fun, he can pull it all back together to deliver an organic, satisfying finale.


Shin Godzilla
















Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi's beautiful, standalone take on the King of Monsters bucks the recent trend of making disconnected sequels to Ishiro Honda's original, choosing instead to reset the series and proceed from zero. Shin Godzilla doesn't take place in a Japan that has weathered kaiju incursions and learned to cope, this Godzilla is an incomprehensible nightmare that refuses to follow the basic behavioural patterns laid out by in-universe experts.

Anno's screenplay repeatedly stresses reality, finding tension in a mundane, human response to a destructive, wandering God. Rather than narrow the film's focus to a couple of charming principal players, Shin Godzilla takes a similar approach to 1984's The Return of Godzilla, locating the unfolding drama in featureless rooms full of printers and stressed out politicians desperately measuring unpopular but necessary decisions against their career aspirations.

Since Shin Godzilla prizes verisimilitude, Anno and Higuchi use the visual language of fly-on-the-wall documentaries, shooting people either once removed or as part of an uneasy collective, daring us to discern a favourite from the crowd. They are subjects rather than participants. We aren't allowed to get too close to them, their interior lives are extraneous details. All that matters is how they contextualise and react to the bubbling crisis.

Similarly, glimpses of the Godzilla monster itself are captured rather than shot. Unconsciously, we know these images arrive from an observer's vantage point. Street-level views stress his nauseating verticality - a blistered, volcanic giant towering over picturesque rural scenes. In-action shots are data culled from the various airborne antagonists struggling to stay alive in his presence. Regardless of how we see him, Godzilla's behaviour is constant, he's a lurching, cascading disaster that cannot be stopped.


Train to Busan
















Gong Yoo's Seok-Woo isn't a great Dad. He's absent, emotionally inert and keeps buying his lonely daughter the same, thoughtless present over and over again. Seok-Woo acts mechanically, defined by an all-encompassing sense of greed. His job involves moving other people's riches around then taking a cut for himself, while the relationship he has with his daughter seems less about love and more about holding onto a prized possession to spite his ex-wife.

Yeong Sang-ho's Train to Busan tracks with this selfish loner, relentlessly placing him situations he cannot exert control over. He expects to thrive, given his wealth accruing background, but is repeatedly thwarted. The slimy leg-up tactics that steered him to financial success in the corporate world offer very little protection from carriages and carriages filled with ravenous body-popping zombies. Seok-Woo's path is clear. If he really wants to save his daughter, he'll have to knuckle down, get his hands dirty and learn what it means to be a real father.


The VVitch: A New England Folk Tale


















Even before Satan reveals himself, Robert Eggers depiction of life in pre-industrial America skews dangerous and chaotic. Against all reason, Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy)'s family depart from the safety of civilisation to make their own way in the world. Unfortunately for them, the patch of land they choose has no intention of being conquered.

The VVitch: A New England Folk Tale plays from the perspective of a daughter who is undervalued and unceasingly chastised, Thomasin is trapped within a family that barely even pay lip-service to the idea of love. She's just another hand to toil in their rotting fields, chattel to sell off when the harvest fails to come in. When events start spiralling out of control, it's her that the family blame. No wonder she rebels.

Original review


The Wailing


















The Wailing takes an unusual but immersive stance when plotting its own emotional pitch, it uses Kwak Do-won's officer Jong-goo as a mood guide, patterning developments in step with his understanding of the unfolding events. So when Jong-goo is dealing with a few scattered incidents of homicidal strife, the film is comparatively comedic and hands-off. After all, it's easy to blame the psychotic episodes on country bumpkins eating psychedelic mushrooms.

When the horror steers closer to home, The Wailing picks up, locking us into the mission mode of an incompetent but determined father dealing with a series of terrifying supernatural events. Writer-director Na Hong-jin weaves a scenario that not only deals with the paranormal in terms of scenes and information but also motive.

The Wailing contains several, distinct players whose intents are, frankly, unknowable. They don't have Jong-goo's simple, earthly ties, each giving the impression of having been summoned. They are chaotic agents, converging on the isolated village to exploit an imbalance, working in service of the incomprehensible. Since the drives of these characters stray beyond a contextual remit based on Jong-goo's understanding of events, Na doesn't waste any of the film's time (or mystery) trying to explain them.


When Marnie was There















Hiromasa Yonebayashi's second (and final) film for Studio Ghibli is a patient, emotionally delicate piece about a lonely little girl named Anna. In terms of plot, When Marnie was There is about a young woman who experiences a brief, powerful bond with a ghost while on holiday.

Yonebayashi's film, adapted from a children's book by Joan G Robinson, tracks a deeper, more glacial progression though, we're watching Anna come to terms with the various aspects of her life and experience that, she feels, have marked her as an outsider. The phantom Marnie gives Anna someone and something to latch onto. Their relationship is complicated and contradictory, encompassing the first, electric prickles of a romantic crush and a deep, enduring love that will linger forever.


Also Liked:

Arrival / Blair Witch / Bone Tomahawk / Captain America: Civil War / The Childhood of a Leader / Creed / Doctor Strange / Hail, Caesar! / The Hateful Eight / High-Rise / Hypernormalisation / The Jungle Book / The Legend of Tarzan / The Neon Demon / Rogue One: A Star Wars Story / Sing Street / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows / 10 Cloverfield Lane / 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi / Victoria / Wiener / X-Men: Apocalypse / Zootopia

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Video Games 2016

Battlefield 1
















Growing up reading Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun's Charley's War left me with an indelible interest in shell-shocked men winging their way around muddy mazes, clubbing and shooting everything in their path. That, and an all-consuming hatred of authority. Battlefield 1 is the first game to really scratch that first itch, framing popular seek-and-shoot multiplaying within a gorgeous, smoke-choked evocation of The Great War. Armed with primitive, era-specific weaponry, players find themselves relentlessly trapped in situations that naturally track from long-range snipe-offs to desperate trench thwacking.


Dark Souls III
















At one point during Dark Souls III you get the opportunity to slip out of the natural order of things and explore the ruin that awaits should you fail in your quest to rekindle the world's flame. The Untended Graves is a short, completely missable area that houses a depressed boss thrashing around in his failure and precious little else. It's dark and unforgiving, the few basic enemies that have survived long enough to dwell here are twisted and malformed, perhaps feeding off the unending night.

Press on and you'll discover a forgotten version of the game's usually friendly hub area. It's empty this time, except for an old crone who thinks she might've met you before. There's no sense of relief or safety here anymore. The place feels invaded, hope has been vanquished. Dark Souls III builds itself around these kind of feelings, exploring an apocalypse as a state of existence that can be traversed rather than an end unto itself. Failure is never final in this world, that'd be too easy. Instead it's grist for your relentless, pig-headed march towards victory.


Doom
















Not since Halo 3 has a shooter campaign taken such delight in assuring the player that they are this realm's apex predator. It's not enough to just shoot your way through the flailing, injured hellspawn, Doom wants you to catapult yourself towards your foes, dig your fingers into their body and rip them apart. Played at maximum clip, Doom has you careening around occult arenas blasting demons until they're groggy, then auto-angling your looming, POV presence in particular, unintuitive ways just so you can activate the most visceral coup de grace possible.


Hidden My Game by Mom - Escape Room

























Hidden My Game by Mom - Escape Room sees you assume the role of a child scouring the living room in search of his confiscated 3DS. The first few levels have you snooping around, smashing pots and toppling bookcases in an attempt to reveal the contraband handheld. Before long though the titular Mom gets inventive, employing acrobats to block your path or feeding your toy to a hungry elephant. Escape Room is a series of simple tapping puzzles that lean heavily on joke manga staples like magical pendants and defecating animals. Perfect for short commutes.


Inside
















Playdead's Limbo follow-up steps back from exhausting puzzles and pixel-perfect leaping to focus on a series of alarming reveals. Where Limbo skewed abstract, Inside stays investigative, slowly prodding your wheezing, vulnerable child along a conveyor belt of horrors that run the gamut from extrajudicial killings to the body-rending expulsions of an enormous, industrialised nightmare. Inside isn't the least bit precious about the human body either. Like Dark Souls III, your failure to protect a fragile little figure is as much a part of the story as any of your successes.


Ninja Senki DX
















Like Mega Man games? Disappointed that Capcom have stopped making their faux 8-bit sequels? Furious that Mighty No. 9 turned out to be an opportunity for Keji Inafune to build a multimedia empire rather than a deeply personal passion project? Not to worry, Tribute Games have got you covered. Also ideal for those of us who missed out on Alex Kidd in Shinobi World on the Master System.


Oxenfree
















A supernatural adventure game about extremely talkative teenagers looking for terrifying, inter-dimensional triangles. Oxenfree is a scavenger hunt in which you comb the landscape for fixed items and buttons that allow progress. Night School Studio massage this basic interaction with a deep and well thought out conversation system that allows you to play a variety of roles within the high schooler collective. You can slowly prod romantically interested parties together and make nice with your new step-brother, or you can slap people around and burn bridges. If you really want to, you can say nothing at all and score a trophy in the process.


Rez Infinite
















Completely immersive, even without Sony's VR head-set, Rez Infinite surrounds the player with colourful, pulsing feedback as you glide through a psychedelic shoot-out. Tetsuya Mizuguchi has built his career around visual signals and gameplay elements that build on and around an all-encompassing soundtrack. His games give players the opportunity to feel like they're directly interacting with a living, evolving musical experience. VR takes this even further. You're not just staring at a bright little window, now you're inside the action, turning your head to watch the targets as they obligingly queue up on their way to being blasted.


Stardew Valley
















Eric Barone's love letter to 16-bit farming games is a beautiful example of loop gameplay. Your early days in Stardew Valley will be spent rising early to water your slowly expanding farm before limping off into town to burn your last dregs of energy networking and scouring the notice board for quests. Concepts that break or compliment these tasks are introduced slowly and surely. Pop into a one of the shops near the pier and you'll score a fishing rod, keep planting the same seeds and eventually you'll be introduced to the pitfalls of seasonal crop. There's no hurry in Stardew Valley, precious little danger either, instead you get to enjoy a slowly expanding sense of routine.


Titanfall 2
















In a year full of excellent shooter campaigns, Titanfall 2 is the very best. Respawn approach game design in a similar way to Nintendo or Valve, filling their single-player full of situations and ideas that can only be expressed through gameplay. Story and character both play important roles in Titanfall 2 but they are secondary to the sheer joy wrung out of stages designed like luxuriously curated dares.

Every level Respawn introduce a new input proposition that takes the game's core mechanics and asks you to do something a little bit different. The studio twist and invert these concepts over the length of the course before discarding them and moving onto their next eureka moment. You know, just in case there was any chance you could get bored of scaling an enormous conveyor belt producing futuristic Ikea showrooms or skipping back and forth in a building's lifetime.


Also Liked:

BioShock: The Collection / Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare / Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered / Dead Rising (PS4) / Dex / Islands: Non-Places / The Last Guardian / Let It Die / No Man's Sky / Pang Adventures  / Sky Force Anniversary / SteamWorld Heist / Street Fighter V / Uncharted 4 / Virginia / We Become What We Behold

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Music 2016

Beyoncé - Sorry




Carly Rae Jepsen - First Time




Christine and the Queens - Tilted




Gryffin - Heading Home ft. Josef Salvat




John Carpenter - Distant Dream




L'Equipe du Son - Night Drive




Radiohead - Daydreaming




Sia - Waving Goodbye




Two Door Cinema Club - Bad Decisions




Vulfpeck - Dean Town




Also Liked:

Beyoncé - Formation / Julian Winding - Demon Dance / Myrone - Clear Eyes Clear Skies / Nice Try - Your Hair / Perturbator - Neo Tokyo / Porches - Underwater / Portishead - SOS / Power Glove - Punch! / Sadsic - Son / The Weeknd - False Alarm / Yuka Kitamura - Soul of Cinder

2000 AD by Carlos Ezquerra


Saturday, 17 December 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story


















In its early passages Rogue One: A Star Wars Story manages to present something as dispassionate and mechanical as a holiday season blockbuster in personal, perhaps even obsessive terms. It's fitting that Rogue One explicitly stands outside the numbered instalments, the story is smaller, the telling more obviously coming from a place of deep affection rather than brand maintenance. Shots and digital effects are framed to capture the obscure, visual affectations of analogue home video; the story revolves around the kind of people that had action figures you had to mail away for.

Gareth Edwards begins with broken 'scope homesteads then switches street level, weaving in and out of exciting background players while rebel spies actually act like they're under extreme stress. Edwards' approach is reminiscent of the one Genndy Tartakovsky took with Star Wars: Clone Wars, a fan's work that accounts for their own disparate influences, using them to compliment and mutate George Lucas' core product. So while Tartakovsky amped up the Akira Kurosawa influences and smuggled in some Sergio Leone and John Milius for flavour, Edwards shoots a desperate information exchange like one of Sorcerer's early exposition interludes then gives an alliance extremist a character tic on loan from Blue Velvet's Frank Booth.

Rogue One toys with a real sense of danger in these moments. The Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire are both shown to require a certain amount of savviness to navigate, neither ruling with absolute consensus. They're messy. There are factions within factions, each trying to make their voice heard, to seize credit and take control. George Lucas' disappointing prequel trilogy gave us something similar, a sense of how dangerous it was for an individual to exist within the various machines that ruled the galaxy. Unfortunately, Lucas' precariousness tended to track towards petulance and tantrums, Rogue One's filmmakers aim for motor.

This uncertainty is best expressed by Ben Mendelsohn's Orson Krennic, an ambitious middle-manager trying to stake a claim and be noticed by his monstrous overlords. Krennic pursues gain in anxious, selfish terms, he wants to stand out in a system built on uniformity. He wears white and a cape rather than the typical grey tunic; his entourage are cast in black and called Death Troopers. He is a human personality trying to bend totalitarianism to his own ends, building bigger and bigger mega-weapons to score himself a nice apartment on Coruscant. Krennic is a new kind of character for the saga, an opportunist jealously guarding his achievements, aware that CG seniority will gobble them up given the slightest provocation.

Before long though Rogue One has to start tidying itself away. Characters must shed their doubts before they can be summed up in the series standard, three-front battle. It's an understandable development, given the franchise and release date, but the way it is communicated feels synthetic. This tonal shift is more of a lurch, transforming the piece from a war film that just happens to be set in the Star Wars universe into an organised, contextualised shot at the latest, bleeding edge action noise. For a long stretch Rogue One is dramatically distinctive, fulfilling the promise of  'A Star Wars Story' sub-brand as a place for individual voices to exist within a wider product slate. Then the third-act happens and the plotting reverts to type, using shell-shocked loners to nakedly state the film's emotional objectives at each other.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Transformers: The Last Knight - 'TIL ALL ARE NONE



Presumably sad robot Dad Optimus Prime is possessed or reprogrammed or whatever, based on all his boring, stated regret, not to mention those glowing purple eyes he's sporting in this Transformers: The Last Knight trailer. Bit of a shame really, it'd be fun if Michael Bay and pals really leaned into their portrayal of Prime as total weaponry by having him return to Earth after communing with some spectral ancestor who instructs him to completely eliminate the ongoing, intergalactic threat the Transformers race represents. Failing any of that, it's comforting that it actually looks like Bay's remaking Claude Lelouch's landmark speed-racing short C'était un rendez-vous using Lamborghinis and IMAX cameras. Something for everyone.

Madballs by Jimmy Giegerich


Battlefield 1 - ARMS TRADE



Jackfrags talks us through some guns he thinks EA might want to sell to us in the near future.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril













The Lone Wolf and Cub series takes place within a society that fetishes death. Life under the Shogunate is a brief, transitory state where something as final as suicide becomes a bureaucratic equaliser for elites who have fallen out of favour. There's always a sense in these films that the lives of commoners are worth very little. The brutal, pre-industrial caste system places them at the bottom of the heap, to be used as playthings by a sadistic ruling class. Former state executioner Ogami Itto would seem to be an exemplification of these horrifying, fatalistic ideas, since he kills basically everyone who crosses his path, but Itto's ire is aimed firmly at the untouchables who govern the nation.

In Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril Itto is tasked with eliminating Michie Azuma's Oyuki, a renegade bodyguard who has turned on the household that raised her up from a wandering circus performer to the servant of a prominent feudal lord. Oyuki is discussed as an aberration, she's a woman who has dared to bite the hand that feeds, committing violence not only against the lord's men but the entire concept of samurai chivalry. Naturally, this is enough to arouse sympathy in Itto. He still kills her, of course, but he also goes on to manufacture a series of situations in which the people who wronged her come to sticky ends themselves.

Buichi Saito takes over directing duties from Kenji Misumi for this fourth Baby Cart instalment. Saito's major contribution to the roaming, episodic house style is the decision to dispense with Misumi's oblique, illusory framing. Baby Cart in Peril, despite introducing elements that are firmly supernatural, loses Mizumi's deliberately hazy sense of proceedings, punching up the brief run time with multiple voice-overs that explain the concepts guiding people's actions. Action scenes, frenzied and chaotic under Misumi, now advance along strictly ordered horizontal plains that show off Tomisaburo Wakayama's snappy in-camera stunt work. His Itto is presented as less emotionally superhuman in this film too. He isn't just stone throughout, Saito and Wakayama finding a way into Lone Wolf's stuffy emotions. After Daigoro scrapes through yet another dangerous incident, we see this strange father visibly moved, clutching his tiny son close to him.

Optimus Prime #4 by Kei Zama and Josh Burcham


Yuzo Koshiro - The Shinobi / China Town



Sunday, 27 November 2016

Innocence
















Innocence, Mamoru Oshii's follow-up to 1995's Ghost in the Shell, imagines a future full of cybernetically augmented people with various hard and wireless data ports woven into their bodies, allowing them instantaneous access to all-recorded information. Frustratingly, this cerebral elevation hasn't brought about a profound change in the behaviour of mankind. Old habits die hard. Criminals still have various, horrifying, skin trades cornered while stock job roles and interpersonal patterns hold sway in the lives of the lawful.

Basic conversation has evolved in step with this mind-expanding progress though, transformed from bland, interchangeable pleasantries into passive-aggressive jousts. Participants use knowingly obscure, philosophical musings to bully their quarry into compliant silence. There's a sense in Innocence, especially since we spend so little time in the company of civilians, that an entire class of people have sealed themselves inside plastic and metal fortresses that enable them to mainline statistics and broadcast ideology. Understanding only their reality, Innocence's denizens are lonely and isolated, forever puzzling out the exact connections that anchor them to their physical world.

Innocence's plot revolves around a politically sensitive investigation into a brand of sex doll who are malfunctioning, killing their affluent owners then tearing themselves apart. In deference to their status as coveted but ultimately shameful product, the toys themselves are diminutive and sad looking, their bodies designed with the same super-articulated care as expensive, Japanese action figures. Interestingly, the automatons spark a sense of kinship rather than revulsion in lead detective Batou. After all, he is himself a piece of dense, dutiful machinery. For the finale Oshii cuts loose, trading static posturing for maximum movement. Kenji Kawai's wonderful The Ballade of Puppets: The Ghost Awaits in the World Beyond thunders along the soundtrack while a liquid lithe Batou dodges crumbling gantries and an army of high-kicking drones to breach and clear his way to a resolution.

Sakura by Giannis Milonogiannis


BluntOne - Extraterrestrial Blues

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades













The Baby Cart films consistently explore what it is to be an individual within a failing system. These films, like Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima's manga series, contextualise Ogami Itto's powerful, singular focus as a force that works in direct opposition to the lethal bureaucracy of the Shogunate regime and the cynical ambitions of this ruling class. Itto stands outside the norm, refusing to conform to any external behavioural code. He doesn't require the input of lesser minds. His identity is complete, his will unshakeable.

On the surface, Tomisaburo Wakayama's Itto is a mangy ronin who, by refusing to commit ritual suicide, has irreparably damaged his name and legacy. Further, Itto's decision to sell his lethal abilities to anyone who can afford them has placed him so far beyond the pale that he is widely considered a beast. These perspective presupposes that those that conform and thrive within Japan's rigid, feudal castes are on a higher moral plane than those that do not. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades torpedoes this notion, exposing the officer class as a sham - broken clans turn to organised crime and sex trafficking to survive while low-class Samurai use their last remaining shred of status to rape with impunity.

Kenji Misumi's film imagines genuine merit as something valuable and perhaps even incomprehensible to those who do not possess it. It frightens them, threatening to expose their own shortcomings. People who truly understand the path Lone Wolf and Cub have chosen are also few and far between, so when someone appears who combines both these aspects the film bends over backwards to ensure we're clued in to their importance. At Baby Cart to Hades' conclusion Itto faces an entire army, making incredibly short work of them. They are conformers and therefore do not matter. Go Kato's Kanbei, another disgraced Samurai, is treated differently. Misumi pores over Kanbei's encounter with Itto because it is a cathartic experience for both men. Although they will never fight side-by-side they have each, finally, met another person who understands the burden of being exceptional.

The Avalanches - Because I'm Me

A Tribe Called Quest - We The People...

Cammy by Giannis Milonogiannis


Saturday, 19 November 2016

Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx













Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx is not in the least bit interested in providing a conclusion, or really even any continuation, to the threats proposed by Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance. Archenemy Retsudo is nowhere to be seen, although his hand is felt in the endless waves of suicidal ninja pursuing the titular pair. Instead, the film is content to iterate on its predecessor, exploring emotional notes the previous entry ignored whilst also accentuating the bloodletting with fantastical characters who possess surreal skills.

This time Kenji Misumi begins by giving us a sense of what it's like to actually be Ogami Itto. We see that the immunity he projects masks a mind constantly scanning and analysing situations, searching for even a hint of danger. He has to. The father and son are constantly assailed and attacked, their endless, expert enemies bringing death by a thousand cuts rather than one, decisive blow. Misumi has fun with this idea of psychological siege, layering in creeping noise and foreboding music to make even mundane situations seem potentially threatening. Naturally, Itto sees right through the director's childish affectations, silencing the aural dread with a well-aimed glare.

A contract issued by a profoundly unsympathetic textiles clan takes Itto and his son Daigoro to a desolate, featureless desert to face the three bodyguards of a fleeing fabrics specialist. Of course, when Robert Houston and David Weisman chewed up this film and its predecessor to create Shogun Assassin they turbocharged the confrontation's pleasingly mundane stakes, promoting the absconding serf from a worried working man to the Shogun's brother. The finicky duo also saw fit to junk most of Baby Cart's deliberately spare sound design, subbing out skin-shearing winds for a Moog synthesiser score. Grunts and sound effects were also added to every little movement, just in case the audience could not discern that the people on-screen were moving. Houston and Weisman were terrified of silence and inactivity, Misumi revelled in them.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance













Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance introduces us to Ogami Itto, a man with an unwavering conviction that he is correct. Wronged by a ninja clan looking to muscle in on his cushy position within a terrifying regime, Itto abandons the Samurai code to wander the land with his infant son as an assassin-for-hire. As with Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kajima's original manga, Sword of Vengeance takes a unique tact with its hero. Itto is portrayed in inhuman terms, demonstrating no flaws or failings. His sense of self is airtight, completely unpolluted by the thoughts and feelings of those around him. He doesn't have conversations with people, even those he loves, instead he makes statements and issues diktats.

This assuredness leaks out of Itto and into the film itself, most crucially in how director Kenji Misumi uses sound to signal shifts in temporal space. The film is structured as a series of instances that demonstrate a typical mission for the duo. Along the way, Itto's mind wanders and replays the events that set him down this path. When we share Itto's headspace, the character's certainty is expressed in how little diegetic sound registers on the film's audio mix. Although rain lashes down incessantly, Itto's memories are focused entirely on his words and those of his foes. Everything else is extraneous detail and is therefore deleted.

Celebrated magnificent stranger films like Yojimbo or A Fistful of Dollars at least flirt with the idea that their hero can be damaged. We get a taste of fatigue bleeding in around the edges before the wanderer vanquishes his enemies and wins the day. Sword of Vengeance is different in that there's never a second in which Itto seems truly vulnerable. Indeed, the mistake all of his adversaries keep making is their belief that this is even a possibility. Regardless of their station in life, Itto's opponents think using the patterns and models they've learnt from a society based on class and strict formal behaviour. These largely ceremonial traps fail because Itto has forsaken such petty limitations and decided to be a monster instead. As such, their words and deeds are completely useless against him.

Disasterpeace - Hale and Hearty

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Sylvester Stallone in the 1980s - Tango & Cash


















Tango & Cash has the germ of a great idea - it seeks to embrace the absurdities of 1980s action films and transform them into knowing, winking entertainment. Who better to captain that ship than Sylvester Stallone? The star was already synonymous with egotistical self-regard, spending the decade transforming his screen persona from that of credible actor into a rolling depiction of Christ's scouring. Couple that with the writer-actor-director's inability to find hits outside of his two proven franchises (not to mention Schwarzenegger's successful transition into comedy with Twins) and Tango & Cash's appeal becomes clear - Stallone wanted to lighten up.

Reading around the film's troubled production, the most singular creative perspective comes from hairdresser and noted arachnophile Jon Peters. The executive's unceasing quest to lampoon the decade's sweatiest genre saw the film burn through several directors, beginning with Andrei Konchalovsky (a frequent collaborator of Andrei Tarkovsky) and ending with Purple Rain's Albert Magnoli. Stallone himself is also alleged to have spent a significant amount of photography at the helm but, for a control freak like Stallone, that's about as remarkable as discovering night follows day. It is this interference and incessant compromise that ends up defining the finished film.

Tango & Cash pairs Stallone with Kurt Russell, the duo playing wrongfully imprisoned cops looking to clear their names. Stallone is the highly strung yuppie policing for kicks, while Russell takes a zen surf cop designed around Patrick Swayze and transforms him into something closer to a big, adorable dog racing around in stone washed jeans and a trick boot. Tango and Cash start off as bitter rivals, each trying to outdo the other. Success is measured by how many newspaper inches their crime-fighting exploits eat up. Both cops keep tabs on their rival's copy and chuckle / groan accordingly.

Following their arrest, the two don't so much become fast friends as a couple in the making. In Lethal Weapon and its sequels we watch as Mel Gibson's scruffy, suicidal stray is gradually folded into the order Danny Glover's household represents. The closeness of their relationship is organised in familial terms with Riggs ending up something between Murtaugh's wayward little brother and an adopted son. Fraternal bonds are key to these buddy cop films, indeed their stories tend to motor along in step with the character's blossoming relationship.

Alpha examples like 48 Hrs. start from a place of contempt, thriving on their lead's differences. The case and a mutual desire to pursue it being the only common denominator. Tango & Cash skews this formula by making its heroes so similar - they're both overachieving cops with only cosmetic differences. Stallone's wardrobe and Russell's unkempt hair aren't profound ideological differences, they're minor variations on the same basic mould. This underlining similarity, as well as the couple's mounting co-dependency, seems to suggest that the film might be heading somewhere truly different by having the pair develop a romantic relationship. Then the film recoils, course-correcting by crowbarring in Teri Hatcher as a stripper for the two to bicker over before they limp towards an unusually gadget heavy finale.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered - BACK IN THE USSR





It's nearly Christmas! Which means there's a new Call of Duty out, getting everyone twitchy and infuriated in the run-up to the festive season. Not that anyone's actually playing Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. If you like sprinting around, looking for headshots you're spoilt for choice this year. Since sales have been trending way down ever since the Modern Warfare 2 / Black Ops heyday, EA have decided there's enough money being left on the table for them to muscle in and release their own first-person shooters.

Last year we had Star Wars Battlefront, this year EA have attempted to do some real damage by getting Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 out before the new Call of Duty could even land. Both games are excellent, particularly Titanfall, but it's difficult for any new release to compete with the kind of mind share offered up by the special bonus game included with Infinity Warfare's special Legacy Edition. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered is a tonic, instantly snapping you back to a simpler, more rewarding time when Activision's military shooter series was actually trying to facilitate strategic combat rather than a meat grinder with embedded scratch card prompts.

Miami Vice by Giannis Milonogiannis


Myrone - Clear Eyes Clear Skies

Joyryde - Maximum King

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Doctor Strange















The closer they are to their 1960s source material, the more the Marvel Studios films remind me of the works of Roy Lichtenstein - they both make untold millions out of reconfiguring raw, imaginative material. Like the pop artist, the films laser in on specific, arresting compositional ideas, then blow them up in a way designed to make them more obviously expensive and therefore palatable and easily digestible. The company's latest, Doctor Strange, as well as exploding Christopher Nolan's kneaded cities, builds its finale around the strange, alien landscapes seen in Steve Ditko's original artwork.

When Lichtenstein reconfigured Irv Novick's All-American Men of War artwork to create Whaam! he did so by separating the panel from the wider context of the comic. Lichtenstein normalised the spikey, exciting panel into a more conventional diptych clearly depicting an aggressor and its target. Where Novick chose to illustrate an expressive instance of action that had meaning within a sequence of events, Lichtenstein constructed an enclosed sequence featuring two isolated, instantly recognisable actors.

Scott Derrickson's film does something similar with Ditko's work, gouging the bizarre, psychedelic environments out of the artist's panels then blowing them up into a computer generated arena worthy of blockbusting conflict. You might have to suffer through some tick-box myth-making before you get there but Doctor Strange does eventually arrive at dark dimensions filled with pulsing, iridescent synapses hung in vast, gravity defying webs of neurotransmitters. Perhaps aware that even that might not be enough to keep everyone engaged, Derrickson and C Robert Cargill's screenplay also dreams up a pleasingly simple solution to intergalactic warfare with a being that exists beyond time and space.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

20XX Film Reviews A-Z
















One of my formative film criticism experiences was getting a Time Out Film Guide for Christmas, it was the 2000 edition with Robert Mitchum on the cover. It wasn't my first A-Z capsule review book, but it was easily the most exhaustive. The print was tiny, better to cram everything in. Your Radio Times or Virgin film guides would stick to the basics, the bigger blockbusters and awards films. They might dip their toe and review the odd genre stand-out but nothing more than that.

The Time Out book reviewed absolutely everything. No film, no matter how obscure or cheap or foreign was excluded. As long as it played somewhere in New York at some point, there was a short bulletin weighing up its merits. The really exciting thing was that nothing seemed dismissed out of hand. Everything seemed to get a fair shake. Reviewers weren't put off by films with titles like Lightning Swords of Death. They knuckled down and had a think. So that's what I've always tried to do.


The Adjustment Bureau (2011) dir. George Nolfi
Alien (1979) dir. Ridley Scott
Alien: Covenant (2017) dir. Ridley Scott
All Monsters Attack (1969) dir. Ishiro Honda
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) dir. Marc Webb
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) dir. Marc Webb
Amblin' (1968) dir. Steven Spielberg
American Gigolo (1980) dir. Paul Schrader
American Psycho (2000) dir. Mary Harron
Armageddon (1998) dir. Michael Bay
Armour of God (1987) dir. Jackie Chan
The Avengers (2012) dir. Joss Whedon
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) dir. Joss Whedon
AVP: Alien vs Predator (2004) dir. Paul WS Anderson
AVPR: Aliens vs Predator - Requiem (2007) dirs. Greg and Colin Strause
Awesome; I Fuckin' Shot That! (2006) dir. Adam Yauch

Baby Driver (2017) dir. Edgar Wright
Bad Boys (1995) dir. Michael Bay
Bad Boys 2 (2003) dir. Michael Bay
Batman (1989) dir. Tim Burton
Batman Returns (1992) dir. Tim Burton
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Theatrical Edition (2016) dir. Zack Snyder
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Ultimate Edition (2016) dir. Zack Snyder
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Ultimate Edition (2016) dir. Zack Snyder - Films 2016
Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010) dir. Brandon Vietti
Batman: Year One (2011) dirs. Sam Liu and Lauren Montgomery
Battle Creek Brawl (1980) dir. Robert Clouse
Battle: Los Angeles (2011) dir. Jonathan Liebesman
Battle Royale (2000) dir. Kinji Fukasaku
Bitter Lake (2015) dir. Adam Curtis - Films 2015
Black Eagle (1988) dir. Eric Karson
Blade Runner 2049 (2017) dir. Denis Villeneuve
Blade II (2002) dir. Guillermo del Toro
Blair Witch (2016) dir. Adam Wingard
The Blob (1988) dir. Chuck Russell
Bloodsport (1988) dir. Newt Arnold
Blue Ruin (2013) dir. Jeremy Saulnier
Blue Steel (1990) dir. Kathryn Bigelow
Bonnie and Clyde (1967) dir. Arthur Penn
A Boy and His Dog (1975) dir. LQ Jones
Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017) dir. S Craig Zahler
Bullitt (1968) dir. Peter Yates

Caligula (1979) dirs. Tinto Brass, Bob Guccione and Giancarlo Lui
The Cannonball Run (1981) dir. Hal Needham
Cannonball Run II (1984) dir. Hal Needham
Captain America: Civil War (2016) dirs. Anthony and Joe Russo
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) dir. Joe Johnston
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) dirs. Anthony and Joe Russo
Casino Royale (1967) dirs. Ken Hughes, John Huston, Joseph McGrath, Robert Parrish, Val Guest and Richard Talmadge
Casino Royale (2006) dir. Martin Campbell
Chappie (2015) dir. Neill Blomkamp
Children of Men (2006) dir. Alfonso Cuaron
Cobra (1986) dirs. George P Cosmatos and Sylvester Stallone
Coffy (1973) dir. Jack Hill
Commando (1985) dir. Mark L Lester
Conan the Barbarian (1982) dir. John Milius
Conan the Destroyer (1984) dir. Richard Fleischer
Crank: High Voltage (2009) dirs. Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor
Curse of Frankenstein (1957) dir. Terence Fisher
Cyborg (1989) dir. Albert Pyun
Cyborg: Director's Cut / Slinger (1989 / 2011) dir. Albert Pyun

The Dark Knight (2008) dir. Christopher Nolan
The Dark Knight Rises (2012) dir. Christopher Nolan
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) dir. Matt Reeves
Deadpool (2016) dir. Tim Miller
Death Note (2017) dir. Adam Wingard
Death Race (2008) dir. Paul WS Anderson
Death Race 2050 (2017) dir. GJ Echternkamp
Death Warrant (1990) dir. Deran Sarafian
Death Wish (1974) dir. Michael Winner
Destroy All Monsters (1968) dir. Ishiro Honda
Devilman: The Birth (1987) dir. Tsutomu Iida
Devilman 2: The Demon Bird (1990) dir. Tsutomu Iida
Diamonds Are Forever (1971) dir. Guy Hamilton
Diary of the Dead (2008) dir. George A Romero
Die Another Day (2002) dir. Lee Tamahori
Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990) Renny Harlin
District 9 (2009) dir. Neill Blomkamp
Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot! (1967) dir. Giulio Questi
Django Unchained (2012) dir. Quentin Tarantino - Films 2013
Dr. No (1962) dir. Terence Young
Doctor Strange (2016) dir. Scott Derrickson
Doomsday (2008) dir. Neil Marshall
Dracula (1958) dir. Terence Fisher
Drag Me to Hell (2009) dir. Sam Raimi
Dragon Ball: Plan to Eradicate the Super Saiyans (2010) dir. Yoshihiro Ueda
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods (2013) dir. Masahiro Hosoda
Dragon Lord (1982) dir. Jackie Chan
Dragons Forever (1988) dir. Sammo Hung
Dredd (2012) dirs. Pete Travis and Alex Garland
Dredd (2012) dirs. Pter Travis and Alex Garland - Films 2012
Drive (2011) dir. Nicolas Winding Refn
The Driver (1978) dir. Walter Hill
Drug War (2012) dir. Johnnie To - Films 2013
Duel (1971) dir. Steven Spielberg
Dune (1984) dir. David Lynch
Dunkirk (2017) dir. Christopher Nolan

Eastern Condors (1987) dir. Sammo Hung
Elle (2016) dir. Paul Verhoeven - Films 2016
Elysium (2013) dir. Neill Blomkamp
The Empire Strikes Back (1980) dir. Irvin Kershner
Ender's Game (2013) dir. Gavin Hood
Escape from New York (1981) dir. John Carpenter
Escape to Victory (1981) dir. John Huston
Ex Machina (2015) dir. Alex Garland - Films 2015
The Expendables (2010) dir. Sylvester Stallone
The Expendables 2 (2012) dir. Simon West

Fantasy Mission Force (1983) dir. Chu Yen-ping
The Fast and The Furious (2001) dir. Rob Cohen
The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) dir. Justin Lin
Fast & Furious (2009) dir. Justin Lin
Fast & Furious 6 (2013) dir. Justin Lin
Fast & Furious 7 (2015) dir. James Wan
Fast & Furious 8 (2017) dir. F Gary Gray
Fast Five (2011) dir. Justin Lin
Fearless Hyena II (1983) dir. Lo Wei
First Blood (1982) dir. Ted Kotcheff
The Fog (1980) dir. John Carpenter
For Your Eyes Only (1981) dir. John Glen
Friday the 13th (1980) dir. Sean S Cunningham
From Russia with Love (1963) dir. Terence Young
Fury (2014) dir. David Ayer

Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995) dir. Shusuke Kaneko
Gamera 2: Advent of Legion (1996) dir. Shusuke Kaneko
Gamera 3: The Revenge of Iris (1999) dir. Shusuke Kaneko
The Gauntlet (1977) dir. Clint Eastwood
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964) dir. Ishiro Honda
Ghost in the Shell 2.0 (2008) dir. Mamoru Oshii
GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) dir. Stephen Sommers
Godzilla (1954) dir. Ishiro Honda
Godzilla (1998) dir. Roland Emmerich
Godzilla (2014) dir. Gareth Edwards
Godzilla 2000: Millennium (1999) dir. Takao Okawara
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002) dir. Masaaki Tezuka
Godzilla: Final Wars (2004) dir. Ryuhei Kitamura
Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) dir. Shusuke Kaneko
Godzilla Raids Again (1955) dir. Motoyoshi Oda
Godzilla: Tokyo SOS (2003) dir. Masaaki Tezuka
Godzilla vs Biollante (1989) dir. Kazuki Omari
Godzilla vs Destoroyah (1995) dir. Takao Okawara
Godzilla vs Gigan (1972) dir. Jun Fukuda
Godzilla vs Hedorah (1971) dir. Yoshimitsu Banno
Godzilla vs King Ghidorah (1991) dir. Kazuki Omari
Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla (1974) dir. Jun Fukuda
Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla II (1993) dir. Takao Okawara
Godzilla vs Megaguirus (2000) dir. Masaaki Tezuka
Godzilla vs Megalon (1973) dir. Jun Fukuda
Godzilla vs Mothra (1992) dir. Takao Okawara
Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla (1994) dir. Kensho Yamashita
Godzilla vs the Sea Monster (1966) dir. Jun Fukuda
GoldenEye (1995) dir. Martin Campbell
Goldfinger (1964) dir. Guy Hamilton
A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) dir. John Moore
Gravity (2013) dir. Alfonso Cuaron - Films 2013
Green Lantern (2011) dir. Martin Campbell
Green Lantern: First Flight (2009) dir. Lauren Montgomery
Green Room (2015) dir. Jeremy Saulnier
Green Room (2015) dir. Jeremy Saulnier - Films 2016
Gremlins (1984) dir. Joe Dante
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) dir. James Gunn
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) dir. James Gunn
Gunbuster: The Movie (2006) dir. Hideaki Anno

Hardware (1990) dir. Richard Stanley
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 (2010) dir. David Yates
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) dir. David Yates
Haywire (2011) dir. Steven Soderbergh
Heart of Dragon (1985) dir. Sammo Hung
Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988) dir. Tony Randel
Hellraiser (1987) dir. Clive Barker
Hercules in New York (1970) dir. Arthur Allan Seidelman
Highlander: The Search for Vengeance (2007) dir. Yoshiaki Kawajiri
High-Rise (2016) dir. Ben Wheatley
A History of Violence (2005) dir. David Cronenberg
The Hobbit (1977) dirs. Arthur Rankin Jr and Jules Bass
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) dir. Peter Jackson
Hobo with a Shotgun (2011) dir. Jason Eisener
The Horde (2009) dirs. Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher
The Hunger (1983) dir. Tony Scott
The Hunger Games (2012) dir. Gary Ross
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) dir. Francis Lawrence
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) dir. Taika Waititi - Films 2016
The Hurt Locker (2009) dir. Kathryn Bigelow
Hustle (1975) dir. Robert Aldrich

Immortals (2011) dir. Tarsem Singh
Inception (2010) dir. Christopher Nolan
The Incredible Hulk (2008) dir. Louis Leterrier
The Incredibles (2004) dir. Brad Bird
Inglourious Basterds (2009) dir. Quentin Tarantino
Innocence (2004) dir. Mamoru Oshii
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) dirs. Joel and Ethan Coen
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) dirs. Joel and Ethan Coen - Films 2014
Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965) dir. Ishiro Honda
Iron Man 2 (2010) dir. Jon Favreau
Iron Man Three (2013) dir. Shane Black
I Saw the Devil (2010) dir. Kim Ji-woon

John Wick (2014) dirs. David Leitch and Chad Stahelski
Jurassic Park (1993) dir. Steven Spielberg
Jurassic Park III (2001) dir. Joe Johnston
Jurassic World (2015) dir. Colin Trevorrow
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (2010) dirs. Sam Liu and Lauren Montgomery

Kick-Ass (2010) dir. Matthew Vaughn
Kick-Ass 2 (2013) dir. Jeff Wadlow
Kickboxer (1989) dirs. Mark DiSalle and David Worth
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017) dir. Guy Ritchie
King Kong vs Godzilla (1962) dir. Ishiro Honda
Kiss Me Deadly (1955) dir. Robert Aldrich
Kong: Skull Island (2017) dir. Jordan Vogt-Roberts

The Last Stand (2013) dir. Kim Ji-woon
Licence to Kill (1989) dir. John Glen
Like A Dragon: Movie Version (2007) dir. Takashi Miike
Live and Let Die (1973) dir. Guy Hamilton
The Living Daylights (1987) dir. John Glen
Lock Up (1989) dir. John Flynn
Logan (2017) dir. James Mangold
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx (1972) dir. Kenji Misumi
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril (1972) dir. Buichi Saito
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons (1973) dir. Kenji Misumi
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades (1972) dir. Kenji Misumi
Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (1972) dir. Kenji Misumi
Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell (1974) dir. Yoshiyuki Kuroda
Looper (2012) dir. Rian Johnson
Looper (2012) dir. Rian Johnson - Films 2012
The Lost World - Jurassic Park (1997) dir. Steven Spielberg

Machete (2010) dirs. Robert Rodriguez and Ethan Maniquis
Mad Max (1979) dir. George Miller
Mad Max 2 (1981) dir. George Miller
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) dirs. George Miller and George Ogilvie
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) dir. George Miller
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) dir. George Miller - Films 2015
The Man from Nowhere (2010) dir. Lee Jung-beom
Man of Steel (2013) dir. Zack Snyder
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) dir. Guy Hamilton
Mars Attacks! (1996) dir. Tim Burton
Martin (1978) dir. George A Romero
Martyrs (2008) dir. Pascal Laugier
Masters of the Universe (1987) dir. Gary Godard
Merantau (2009) dir. Gareth Evans
Milius (2013) dirs. Joey Figueroa and Zak Knutson - Films 2013
Miracles (1989) dir. Jackie Chan
Mission: Impossible (1996) dir. Brian De Palma
Mission: Impossible II (2000) dir. John Woo
Mission: Impossible III (2006) dir. JJ Abrams
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011) dir. Brad Bird
Moon (2009) dir. Duncan Jones
Moonraker (1979) dir. Lewis Gilbert
Moonrise Kingdom (2012) dir. Wes Anderson - Films 2012
Mothra vs Godzilla (1964) dir. Ishiro Honda
My Lucky Stars (1985) dir. Sammo Hung

Never Let Me Go (2010) dir. Mark Romanek
Never Say Never Again (1983) dir. Irvin Kershner
The Nice Guys (2016) dir. Shane Black - Films 2016
Nighthawks (1981) dirs. Bruce Malmuth, Gary Nelson and Sylvester Stallone
Night of the Living Dead (1968) dir. George A Romero
No Country for Old Men (2007) dirs. Joel and Ethan Coen
No Retreat No Surrender (1986) dir. Corey Yuen

Observe and Report (2009) dir. Jody Hill
Octopussy (1983) dir. John Glen
The Offence (1972) dir. Sidney Lumet
Oldboy (2003) dir. Park Chan-wook
One Piece: Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island (2005) dir. Mamoru Hosoda
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) dir. Peter R. Hunt
Outrage (2010) dir. Takeshi Kitano
Over the Top (1987) dir. Menahem Golan

Pacific Rim (2013) dir. Guillermo del Toro
Paranormal Activity (2007) dir. Oren Peli
Pearl Harbor (2001) dir. Michael Bay
Point Blank (1967) dir. John Boorman
Police Story (1985) dir. Jackie Chan
Police Story Part II (1988) dir. Jackie Chan
Police Story 3: Super Cop (1992) dir. Stanley Tong
Predators (2010) dir. Nimrod Antal
Prince of Darkness (1987) dir. John Carpenter
Project A (1983) dir. Jackie Chan
Project A II (1987) dir. Jackie Chan
Prometheus (2012) dir. Ridley Scott
The Protector (1985) dirs. James Glickenhaus and Jackie Chan

Quantum of Solace (2008) dir. Marc Forster

The Raid (2011) dir. Gareth Evans - Films 2012
The Raid 2 (2014) dir. Gareth Evans
The Raid 2 (2014) dir. Gareth Evans - Films 2014
Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) dirs. George P Cosmatos and Sylvester Stallone
Rambo III (1988) dir. Peter MacDonald
REC 2 (2009) dirs. Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza
Red Dawn (1984) dir. John Milius
Red Heat (1988) dir. Walter Hill
The Return of Godzilla (1984) dir. Koji Hashimoto
Return of the Jedi (1983) dir. Richard Marquand
Return of The Street Fighter (1974) dir. Shigehiro Ozawa
Rhinestone (1984) dir. Bob Clark
Riddick (2013) dir. David Twohy
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) dir. Rupert Wyatt
RoboCop (2014) dir. Jose Padilha
The Rock (1996) dir. Michael Bay
Rocky III (1982) dir. Sylvester Stallone
Rocky IV (1985) dir. Sylvester Stallone
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) dir. Gareth Edwards
Rollerball (1975) dir. Norman Jewison
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) dir. Wes Anderson
Rumble in the Bronx (1995) dir. Stanley Tong
The Running Man (1987) dir. Paul Michael Glaser

Sabotage (2014) dir. David Ayer
Sabotage (2014) dir. David Ayer - Films 2014
Santa Claus: The Movie (1985) dir. Jeannot Szwarc
Saturday Night Fever (1977) dir. John Badham
SCRE4M (2011) dir. Wes Crazen
'71 (2014) dir. Yann Demange
'71 (2014) dir. Yann Demange - Films 2014
Shin Godzilla (2016) dirs. Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi - Films 2016
Shogun Assassin (1980) dirs. Kenji Misumi and Robert Houston
6 Days (2017) dir. Toa Fraser
The Skin I Live In (2011) dir. Pedro Almodovar
Skyfall (2012) dir. Sam Mendes
The Social Network (2010) dir. David Fincher
Solomon Kane (2009) dir. Michael J Bassett
Son of Godzilla (1967) dir. Jun Fukuda
Source Code (2011) dir. Duncan Jones
Spectre (2015) dir. Sam Mendes
Spring Breakers (2012) dir. Harmony Korine
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) dir. Lewis Gilbert
Starship Troopers (1988) dir. Tetsuro Amino
Star Trek (2009) dir. JJ Abrams
Star Trek - Into Darkness (2013) dir. JJ Abrams
Star Wars (1977) dir. George Lucas
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) dir. George Lucas
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) dir. George Lucas
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) dir. George Lucas
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) dir. JJ Abrams - Films 2015
Staying Alive (1983) dir. Sylvester Stallone
Straight Outta Compton (2015) dir. F Gary Gray - Films 2015
The Street Fighter (1974) dir. Shigehiro Ozawa
The Sugarland Express (1974) dir. Steven Spielberg
Suicide Squad (2016) dir. David Ayer
Super (2010) dir. James Gunn
Superman II (1980) dirs. Richard Lester and Richard Donner
Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006) dirs. Richard Donner and Richard Lester
Superman III (1983) dir. Richard Lester
Superman / Batman: Public Enemies (2009) dir. Sam Liu
Superman Redeemed (1980-1987) dirs. Richard Lester, Richard Donner and Sidney J Furie
Superman / Shazam: The Return of Black Adam (2010) dir. Joaquim Dos Santos
Superman: The Movie (1978) dir. Richard Donner
Superman: Unbound (2013) dir. James Tucker

Tales of the Black Freighter (2009) dirs. Daniel DelPurgatorio and Mike Smith
Tango & Cash (1989) dirs. Andrei Konchalovsky, Albert Magnoli, Peter MacDonald and Sylvester Stallone
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) dir. Steve Barron
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) dir. Jonathan Liebesman
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016) dir. Dave Green
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) dir. James Cameron
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) dir. Jonathan Mostow
Terminator Genisys (2015) dir. Alan Taylor
Terminator Salvation (2009) dir. McG
Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975) dir. Ishiro Honda
Tetsuo: The Bullet Man (2009) dir. Shinya Tsukamoto
Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) dir. Shinya Tsukamoto
Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (1992) dir. Shinya Tsukamoto
Thief (1981) dir. Michael Mann
The Thing (1982) dir. John Carpenter
The Thing (2011) dir. Matthijs van Heijningen Jr
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016) dir. Michael Bay
Thor (2011) dir. Kenneth Branagh
300 (2006) dir. Zack Snyder
The Three Musketeers (1973) dir. Richard Lester
Thunderball (1965) dir. Terence Young
Tomorrowland (2015) dir. Brad Bird
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) dir. Roger Spottiswoode
Train to Busan (2016) dir. Yeon Sang-ho - Films 2016
Transformers (2007) dir. Michael Bay
Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) dir. Michael Bay
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) dir. Michael Bay
Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) dir. Michael Bay
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) dir. Michael Bay
22 Jump Street (2014) dirs. Phil Lord and Chris Miller
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) dir. John Singleton
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) dir. Chris Weitz
Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) dirs. Joe Dante, John Landis, George Miller and Steven Spielberg
Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars (1985) dir. Sammo Hung

Unforgiven (2013) dir. Lee Sang-il
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (2012) dir. John Hyams - Films 2012
Universal Soldier: Regeneration (2009) dir. John Hyams
Universal Soldier: Regeneration (2009) dir. John Hyams - Films 2010

Valhalla Rising (2009) dir. Nicolas Winding Refn
A View to a Kill (1985) dir. John Glen

The Wailing (2016) dir. Na Hong-jin
The Warriors: Ultimate Director's Cut (1979) dir. Walter Hill
Wanted (2008) dir. Timur Bekmambetov
Watchmen (2009) dir. Zack Snyder
Watchmen: Director's Cut (2009) dir. Zack Snyder
Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut (2009) dirs. Zack Snyder, Daniel DelPurgatorio and Mike Smith
Westworld (1973) dir. Michael Crichton
Wheels on Meals (1984) dir. Sammo Hung
When Marnie Was There (2014) dir. Hiromasa Yonebayashi - Films 2016
White Tiger (2012) dir. Karen Shakhnazarov
Who Dares Wins (1982) dir. Ian Sharp
The Wind Rises (2013) dir. Hayao Miyazaki
The Wind Rises (2013) dir. Hayao Miyazaki - Films 2014
Winners and Sinners (1983) dir. Sammo Hung
The Witch: A New-England Folktale (2015) dir. Robert Eggers
The Witch: A New-England Folktale (2015) dir. Robert Eggers - Films 2016
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) dir. Martin Scorsese
The Wolverine (2013) dir. James Mangold
Wonder Woman (2009) dir. Lauren Montgomery
Wonder Woman (2017) dir. Patty Jenkins
The World is Not Enough (1999) dir. Michael Apted
World War Z (2013) dir. Marc Forster
The Wrestler (2008) dir. Darren Aronofsky - Original Review
The Wrestler (2008) dir. Darren Aronofsky - Review Supplement
The Wrestler (2008) dir. Darren Aronofsky - Films 2008

X2 (2003) dir. Bryan Singer
X-Men (2000) dir. Bryan Singer
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) dir. Bryan Singer
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) dir. Bryan Singer
X-Men: First Class (2011) dir. Matthew Vaughn
X-Men: Origins Wolverine (2009) dirs. Gavin Hood and Richard Donner
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) dir. Brett Ratner

The Young Master (1980) dir. Jackie Chan
You Only Live Twice (1967) dir. Lewis Gilbert
You're Next (2011) dir. Adam Wingard
You're Next (2011) dir. Adam Wingard - Films 2013

Zombieland (2009) dir. Ruben Fleischer