Tuesday 28 June 2022

The Card Counter


Entering the world of gambling means you leave your morals at the door. If it’s not a heist film, the hijinks and light comedy are left far behind making room for a character study and possible desperate high stakes. Paul Schrader is no stranger to the deep, dark brooding of the character piece where a man has to make some difficult choices. 

William Tell lives a solitary life since his release from military prison after completing 8 years of his sentence. Having learnt to count cards in prison, he spends his days in casinos, betting small, winning modestly so as to not attract attention and continue living under the radar. But when he meets Cirk, the son of a fellow soldier who was also convicted at the same time as Tell, he changes his routine. Wanting to help the troubled Cirk and deter him from his own path of revenge, he decides to take part in a circuit of national poker competitions, which comes with its own strings attached.

Full review over at Filmhounds HERE.

Tuesday 14 June 2022

Into the Night


What does an insomniac, Iranian gangsters, an Elvis enthusiast and a thief have in common? The answer, aside from John Landis’ Into the Night, is emeralds. This very bizarre black comedy plays out more like a misguided thriller. Questioning where are the laughs only to be assaulted by something on screen to realise that was the joke. But despite the off kilter tone of the film, the story definitely keeps you on your toes and unlike Jeff Goldblum’s character, you won’t be needing sleep.

When insomniac Ed decides to go for a late-night drive to try and take his mind of his sorrowful situation, he ends up getting caught up with Diana and a group of Iranian gangsters. Having smuggled priceless emeralds into the country, Diana ends up being chased all over town, with Ed somewhat reluctantly in tow. Along their journey to find safety they meet a host of weird and unfriendly characters.

Getting its Blu-ray debut from 101 Films, Into the Night literally screeches in from the past. Not a well known or much talked about from 1985 and in all honesty, it's no surprise why. While there are merits to this story, the film really doesn’t know what direction or tone it wants to be. Ever shifting from gangster crime thriller to impossible romance with a twist. Taking place over two nights, a hell of a lot happens to our partners in literal crime Ed and Diana. They are naturally closer by the chaos and trauma but you wouldn’t believe it from Jeff Goldblum’s deadpan acting. He is a delight as always playing the character that drags us into the action while Michelle Pfeiffer’s Diana, named after Princess Diana she tells us, is the damsel in distress even though she is the one who put herself in that distress. Though the jokes are dark as the night Ed and Diana step into, there are some random unexplained moments such as Diana’s brother’s apartment which is covered floor to ceiling in Elvis memorabilia. Just the expression on Ed’s face is brilliant enough.

There are so many cameos in the film but the stand is the most bizarre, John Landis himself playing of the Iranian gangsters on the trail of the emeralds. Their role becomes more clearer towards the end when the plot ties together, yet still feel overly complicated. David Bowie, always a delight, plays a rather sadistic hitman for another interested party in the jewels and even had rather bloody fight scene. But as I mentioned, its always a delight to see Bowie on screen. 

A very odd and randomly structured story that covers the city of LA in two nights, someone how the film works but don’t go expecting cult status here.

Thursday 9 June 2022

Tales of an Unlikely Franchise


Nineties films are having a resurgence and for those who grew up in the days of the 1990s are finally able to reminisce. The nostalgia that we all had for the 80s and before has run its course as now we now so far into the millennium, two generations in, it is now time to talk about the good old days and what we used to watch when we were kids and teens. This new and acceptable appreciation for those 90s films are being explored by the young film fans of today. Discovering a treasure trove of stories that influences later films and gained notoriety for explicit scenes, characters and plot, whether they were good or bad or the ever-popular category of ‘so bad its good’. Quite a few 90s films were unceremoniously thrown into this later list due to the fact they were 90s films and not given the gravitas they deserved. Thankfully due to those physical media advocates, we have been given various versions of films from that time period.

Read the full article in the latest issue of Filmhounds HERE.

Friday 3 June 2022

Swan Song


Having once been the stylist extraordinaire to the high society members in Sandusky, Ohio, Pat, now spends his days in a dull lifeless nursing home. But opportunity for escape comes in the form of a dying wish from a former client who wants him to style her hair one last time. The journey takes Pat down memory lane, remembering ghosts from the past, his once thriving business, his loves and his greatest losses, all while gathering together the items he needs to perform his duty.

Full review on Filmhounds HERE