Friday, 27 March 2015

Freeview film of the day : friday 27th of March

Orphan (2009 117min.) [Film4 11.20pm &+1]

Horror thriller starring Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, and Isabelle Fuhrman. When bereaved couple Kate and John adopt nine-year-old Esther from an orphanage, their dreams of family happiness soon descend into a nightmare.

Camp, ever so knowing cuckoo-in-the-nest thriller with an outsanding performance by Isabelle Fuhrman and multiplex pleasing direction by Jaume Collet-Serra.
Very stylish and very entertaining.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Freeview film of the day : wednesday 25th of March

13 Assassins (2010 120min) [Film4 10.50pm &+1]

Period martial arts adventure starring Koji Yakusho and Takayuki Yamada. A respected samurai must assemble an elite team of assassins to kill the tyrannical Lord Naritsugu, whose bloody rise to power threatens the peace in feudal Japan. But the brave warriors are vastly outnumbered, and the 13 assassins embark upon a monumental suicide mission.

13 Assassins is a fascinating film : it's a combination of straight ahead martial arts story in the traditional Japanese mould of The Seven Samurai and an arthouse film about notions of honour, loyalty and responsibility in changing times.

It's directed by Takashi Miike (probably best known for the unsettling horror of The Audition etc.) and he handles the material with an enormous amount of skill - the early sections are filled with beautifully shot little scenes as the warriors are recruited and assembled.

He then builds the story slowly towards a fantastic battle-scene payoff that lasts nearly three-quarters of an hour but never becomes boring or cliched. There's a genuine sense of engagement and threat, possibly due to the minimal use of wire work which means that the physical stunts have a 'real' or naturalistic feel to them.

If you enjoyed the likes of Crouching Tiger..., Hero and Red Cliff you are going to absolutely love 13 Assassins.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Freeview film of the day : sunday 22nd of March

Sleep Tight (2011 100min.) [BBC4 10.00pm]

Freeview premiere

Horror thriller starring Luis Tosar. A deranged janitor insinuates himself into the life of one of his tenants with horrifying and traumatic results.

Terrific thriller which takes as it's starting point the primal fear of Something Nasty Under The Bed and spirals it out into a nerve jangling story of obsession, paranoia and desire.

Luis Tosar's Cesar is a superb creation - darkly menacing as he carefully plots the next step in his campaign and utterly ruthless when it comes to dealing with those who stand in his way.
Marta Etura is really good as this object of his fascination : not a weak willed victim but a fully rounded character who reacts in a believable (but tough) way to the chaos in her life.

The film is directed by Jaume Balagueró , known for his work on cult favourites [rec] (2007) and Fear (2010) and he brings the same style to this work, adding flourishes borrowed from Hitchcock and Polanski as the plot twist and turns to it's unexpected conclusion.

Not a blood, guts and gore horror but one that relies on insinuation and psychological menace to create it's air of tension and dread.
A highly recommended euro-thriller that will keep you entertained and engaged for 100 minutes.