Friday, 14 November 2014

Grace; Young Thugs 2: Nostalgia; Seven Psycopaths; Kings of Summer; Night of the Creeps; Taffin



Low budget horror about a woman whose baby dies. She manages to bring it back to life through sheer willpower, but it comes back…wrong.

Grace is diverting and better than the worst that the horror genre has to offer, but like the sepia tones the majority of the film is shot in, it will ultimately fade from the mind like a dream.

Young Thugs 2: Nostalgia

Advertised as the favourite of Takashi Miike’s own films, there is no doubt some aspect of autobiography in this adaptation of Riichi Nakaba’s own autobiography.

Riichi is a bit of a delinquent, frequently getting into fights with a local gang, but compared to his layabout father he’s an angel. He hits his wife, steals, turns up drunk and brings other women home, to the dismay of his father who lives with the family.
Riichi goes a little off the rails, developing a crush on a kindly young teacher only for things to backfire once he learns of her boyfriend.
Eventually the gangs come together to do something for the community.

It’s enjoyable enough and presents a different side of Japan from the ultra-polite world of status anxiety and rigid tradition, but it’s not Miike’s best, with the Dead or Alive trilogy – in particular the second film Dead Birds offering a good mix of rowdy behaviour and heartfelt nostalgia.

Seven Psychopaths

Colin Farrell evidently plays a version of writer/director Martin McDonagh, stuck in LA with writer’s block trying to complete his screenplay called Seven Psycopaths.

Sam Rockwell is brilliant as his best friend, full of manic energy and bad ideas; Christopher Walken is as great as ever; Woody Harrelson takes a break from more recent heavyweight roles to play an eccentric mob boss. Tom Waits crops up as a psychopath.

McDonagh and Farrell’s previous collaboration was In Bruges, and like that film Seven Psycopaths is funny, knowing, a little violent and features great performances. The plot and setting here make the film a little less unique, as knowing ‘film within a film’ type stuff and screenwriters getting mixed up in craziness in LA isn’t unknown, but the writing helps keep this one step ahead. Not groundbreaking but great fun.

Kings of Summer

Beautifully shot, brilliant use of location and slow-motion photography and a great cast veering between natural delivery and knowing wisecracks as they navigate the awkward time between being children and adults.

The plot involves some boys fed up with their home life, who upon discovering an idyllic clearing, decide to run away and build a house.

There’s a lot that could be said about the film but ultimately it would be pointless, regardless of what you think of the synopsis this is a fantastic film and deserves a wide audience.

Night of the Creeps

Back in 1959 dwarves in pretty frightening rubber alien suits are fighting about some sort of weapon that’s jettisoned over Earth.
A mad axe man is on the loose and kills a pair of teens out for a canoodle in their convertible.
Flash forward to 1986 - our heroes are two dorks, though in this case they’re just fairly normal, and not jocks. One is the funny guy who’s on crutches, the other is a big-eyed guy who moons after a college beauty, who’s already ‘going with’ the head of a jock frat house. Big eyes thinks being in the frat will impress the babe, despite the advice of his friend, and as a dare they’re told to steal a corpse from the college. They chicken out but not before thawing out a corpse in cold storage – the mad axe man’s victim! Who is infested with alien zombifying slugs!
Said slugs are then loose, people get zombied up, a cop whose ex was the other ax man’s victim is haunted by what he did back in ’59, bad things happen at the beauty’s sorority house etc.

All in all Creeps is a pretty shonky horror film which flouts its 80s setting with pride – the fashion on display will make you weep. Silent and mustachioed be-mulleted dudes in pastels make up the zombie horde of the finale which involves lots of shotgun and flamethrower action in a sorority house, as well as the first use of lawnmower vs. zombie? There are nice moments of a 26-years-dead axe murderer coming back to ‘life’, a zombie dog and cat and just the most hideous clothes.

Dumb fun.


In a sleepy, coastal Irish town, Pierce Brosnan’s Taffin is an inexplicably tanned debt collector and intellectual who gets mixed up in a plot by land developers that escalates from threats and beatings to arson and murder.
This being the 80s, Taffin gets mixed up with a gorgeous model type who happened to be working as a barmaid in a snooker hall run by a cockney, whose hair is nearly as tall as she is. As an 80s action movie, there is the obligatory strip club scene, though the small town Irish twist is that Father Ted is the enthusiastic compere (happily Father Todd Unctious is Taffin best mate and partner in shenanigans).
With the odd fight, explosion and shooting, Taffin is still fairly low key but any generic moments are glossed over by Brosnan’s undeniable charm.

Made newly popular by Adam Buxton and Joe Cornish in their 6 music radio show, there is a particular scene of Brosnan over-acting that is worth watching the film for, but once you’ll have you’ll realise that Taffin holds its own as a fairly decent entry into the Man Pushed Too Far In The 80s genre.