The Green Sea (2021)


There were two ways you heard about this film, and for most it was because Randal Plunkett, 21st Baron of Dunsany, rewilding enthusiast, vegan advocate, and death metal fan, directed it at his family estates. The other is because Katharine Isabelle is in it, and you are willing to give it a go because Ginger Snaps is an amazing bit of werewolf and feminist horror cinema. Either way, you’ve heard the hype and you want to give it a go, so what can you expect from the 105 minutes of Irish psychological thriller?
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Class of 1984 (1982) is amazingly vulgar propaganda


The modern Vigilante movie, kicked off by Dirty Harry and perfected by Death Wish, has always carried with them a right-wing political subtext about the nature of society and the need for the individual to step in when the system fails. Well Mark L Lester, writer, director, and producer of this particular American conservative propaganda piece, thinks subtext is a communist conspiracy. He also thinks coherent settings are cowardice and subtlety is for pinko liberals, and this film is all the better for it.
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Backtrack (2015)

Who’s up for a bit of 2015 “mystery thriller” starring Oscar-winning Adrian Brody and every-award-but-an-Oscar winning Sam Neill? Sure that’s going to get you excited? What if we said it was written, directed, and produced by Michael Petroni, director of well-received The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Rite, and The Book Thief (and actor in DAAS Kapital, for the obscure 90s-TV-lovers out there)? Probably not as much, but you’d think you would be in safe hands. That you hadn’t heard of the film might make you a bit hesitant, but surely it can’t be that bad with such a pedigree?
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Identity (2003)


It’s not easy writing about thrillers with tightly packed, intricately layered plots, as you’re always worried about giving spoilers away. As such I’m tempted to leave this one at “The film is excellent”, “John Cusack really does look like a startled fish” and “you should watch it!”. You’re probably going to want more than that, but it’s true and it avoids me putting in clues carelessly. So, don’t say I didn’t warn you from the start.
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Blood Red Sky (2021)

The trailer for this film makes it look like an interesting twist on the “special agent on a hijacked plane” school of action movies. Specifically asking the questions “what if the special agent’s child was also on board?” and “what if the special agent was a vampire?”. Whilst I’m sure writer and director Peter Thorwarth could have done that well, I’m just happy he ended up asking enough further questions to justify gluing three movies worth of concept together.


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Miss Meadows (2014)


Katie Holmes, aka “America’s Sweetheart in Dawson’s Creek”, had appeared in a couple of action films before this 2014 Karen Leigh Hopkins-written and directed movie. However, she had never appeared as a protagonist and certainly hadn’t been presented as Charles Bronson in a floral dress. This probably explains why this movie has managed to slip under the radar. Well; that and it being panned by the critics for the high crime of being a bit odd but not in the way they liked.
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Killers (1996)


It’s safe to say that Mike Mendez is not a household name when it comes to directors. Despite having had two films included in the Sundance Festival, 2000’s The Convent and this review’s 1996 Killers, he has significantly more credits as an editor for TV and documentaries. The only two films you are likely to have heard of by him are 2013’s Big Ass Spider!, because of that name, and 2016’s The Last Heist, because Henry Rollins is the bad guy in it. Killers, his first movie as director and writer, probably demonstrates both why he isn’t that well known and also why people keep on letting him make films.
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The Devil All The Time (2020)


Continuing with its run of “it’s okay, if you like that sort of thing” films from big-name producers, Netflix has entered into the world of American Gothic with “The Devil All The Time”. Adapted from the book of the same name, and with its author Donald Ray Pollock acting as the narrator through its 138 minutes run-time, it follows the life paths of Willard Russell (Bill Skarsgård) and his son Arvin Russell (Tom Holland) as they deal with violence, death, and religion in ’40s, 50’s and 60’s Knockemstiff, Ohio. Intertwined with them are the various lives, challenges, and horrific murders of everyday rural America, resulting in a road trip through an Appalachian heart of darkness. Unfortunately, for all the wonderful scenery and charming locals, it never really ends up going anywhere.
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Upgrade (2018)


Upgrade starts out as a “by-the-book” bit of cyberpunk sci-fi. I-Could-Swear-That’s-Tom-Hardy, burly house-husband and committed future luddite, and his charming wife, Succesful-Generica, live in Now, But With Self-Driving Cars And Police Drones (population: lots). Fifteen minutes in, they get ambushed in their fancy car, him getting paralysed and her getting fridged in an unnecessarily sexual manner. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Tom Hardy then broods over being paraplegic and widowed, until Jared Leto-Lite offers to implant him with Legally-Not-The-Venom-Symbiote, later upgraded with Siri: Ultimate Fighting Championship Edition.
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