SiREN (Film Review)

15 – 82mins – 2016


 

BEAUTY IS THE BEAST

Spun off from “Amateur Night,” my particular favourite strand of horror anthology V/H/S (2012), Gregg Bishop’s SiREN tells a far from original story (despite deviating from the scant source material), but what it does it carries out with a surprising amount of verve and panache.

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Fifty Shades Darker (Cinema Review)

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18 – 118mins – 2017


 

GREY’S ANATOMY

It slaps (ahem) of irony that the author of the world’s biggest-selling trilogy of BDSM-flavoured ‘mummy porn’ was so dominant in protecting her property that both the writer and the director of 2015’s record-breaking first big screen adaptation tore up their contracts and walked away from the filthy franchise, calling for new submissives to be brought into the notorious Red Room ahead of this middle instalment.

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Michael Bolton’s Big, Sexy Valentine’s Day Special (Netflix Review)

15 – 54mins – Available to stream from 7th February 2017

Written by: Scott Aukerman, David Ferguson, Mike Hanford, Tim Kalpakis, Joe Saunders

Directed by: Scott Aukerman, Akiva Schaffer


LOVE IS THE POWER

After the laugh-free wince-fest that was 2015’s A Very Murray Christmas, I was understandably wary of any future original ‘comedy’ specials from streaming giants-turned content producers Netflix. But despite sharing two signifiers in common – Maya Rudolf singing and Santa (seriously!) – this love-centric hour of music and madness hosted by silver fox Michael Bolton and devised by Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping troupe The Lonely Island is an all-round superior slice of cheese and giggles.

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xXx: Return of Xander Cage (Cinema Review)

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12A – 107mins – 2017 – 3D


 

CAGE FIGHTER

After Mr Cube’s substitute adventure put the franchise on, erm, ice for a decade, Vin Diesel’s renewed bankability following the resurgence of The Fast & The Furious series saw a reinvigorated interest in a return for the true xXx – and his ‘iconic’ fur coat!

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Ley Lines (Blu-ray Review)

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18 – 105mins – 1999


 

HALF-BREED HEROES

“Go home if you don’t like it!”

Two years after Rainy Dog, Takashi Miike closed out his uneven and indecent Black Society Trilogy with another hard-hitting drama exposing the disreputable underbelly of his home country. Sick of being bullied and treated like outsiders, three optimistic Japanese youths of Chinese decent (among them Kazuki Kitamura, who would go on to star in Hollywood action sequel The Raid 2) move from the countryside to seek their fortune in Tokyo… and end up falling foul of the trigger-happy boss (Naoto Takenaka) of a city crime syndicate.

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Shinjuku Triad Society (Blu-ray Review)

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18 – 102mins – 1995


 

PEARLS BEFORE SWINE

Perhaps now best known for the gruesome 1999 torture porn paragon Audition or 2001’s iconic crime thriller Ichi the Killer, before his Western exposure and box office success, Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike was highly prolific in Japan’s straight-to-video “V-cinema” market. 1995’s Shinjuku kuroshakai: Chaina mafia sensô (to give it its homegrown title) marked a major stepping stone in the outlandish director’s career: his first release for a major studio and his first release to receive a theatrical run.

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Reckless (DVD Review)

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15 – 112mins – 2015


ELITE ENCOUNTERS

Belatedly released straight to region 2 DVD with an unremarkably insipid title replacing the US variant Zipper (oo-er!), The Conjuring 2‘s Patrick Wilson is perfectly cast in this intriguing highly erotic political drama inspired by a real life scandal as a professional man enticed into illicit affairs with a string of high-end escorts while congress remains in his wavering, once-focused sights.

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