It's been four years since Mel Gibson played a lead role in a movie, and with all of the tabloid headlines in the meantime it's been easy to forget how magnetic he is on screen. He's looking rather grizzled in this action thriller from French filmmaker Jean-Francois Richet (Mesrine), but his piercing presence turns what's essentially a cheesy exploitation film into something remarkably gripping.
He plays an ex-con tattoo artist named Link, who lives out in California's Mojave Desert, next door to his 12-step sponsor Kirby (William H. Macy). His home may be a trashy trailer, but he has cleaned up his life. Although his quiet reverie is disturbed by thoughts of his 17-year-old daughter Lydia (Erin Moriarty), who has been missing for four years. So he's stunned when she calls him out of the blue for help. Kicking into action, he rescues her and immediately discounts her stories that the ruthless henchmen of her late gangster boyfriend Jonah (Diego Luna) are after her. It doesn't take long for Link to realise that Lydia isn't exaggerating, and as they go on the run, he turns to old prison friends (including Michael Parks, Dale Dickey and Miguel Sandoval) for help. Even though he doesn't really trust anyone.
Director Richet doesn't seem very interested in the father-daughter drama at the centre of this film, even though it's far more involving than the madcap action carnage. Gibson and Moriarty do what they can to create some chemistry amid the mayhem, but they only have a few scenes in which they can push their characters a bit further. And frankly after the set-up, the audience needs that to put the violence in context. This is mainly due to the fact that the brutal pursuit is fairly predictable, and the side characters, as well played as they are, are little more than stereotypes.
Continue reading: Blood Father Review
John Link hasn't been the best father, up until recently he's constantly been on the wrong side of the law and usually at the bottom end of a bottle too. Having been in prison, John and his daughter have become estranged, Lydia is actually missing and has been for years. John's only real connection to his daughter is the missing poster he keeps pinned up in his RV.
In recovery and now working a legal job as a tattoo artist, John admits that there's not much he wouldn't do to right the wrongs of his past - including losing contact with his daughter but also says there's very little he can do. When he receives a phone call from Lydia claiming that she's in serious danger, John is glad to hear his daughters voice but also worried about her safety.
As the father and daughter return to his home, John raids Lydia's possessions looking for answers and what he finds leads him to believe that she's in real danger. Lydia informs her dad that she's been living with a cartel leader and that, after accidentally shooting him, his crew is now out for vengeance. John must turn to past associates in order to formulate a plan to protect his troubled daughter.
Johnny Depp and Kevin Smith are teaming up with their daughters for the second movie in Smith's "True North Trilogy". But what do we know about it so far?
After a run of poorly received films that have dented Johnny Depp’s reputation as a box-office magnet, the Hollywood superstar must be keen to move onto pastures anew. For his newest venture, Depp has teamed up with cult filmmaker Kevin Smith in a high-concept action movie based around the exploits of a pair of teen yoga fanatics and their fight against evil spirits. Depp’s daughter Lily-Rose and Smith’s daughter Harley Quinn will take the lead roles whilst Depp will co-star in the curiously entitled project, Yoga Hosers.
In recent years, Depp's box-office status has tailed off after some poor performances.
Set in rural Canada, Smith has written the film and will direct it when it begins production. The story will follow the two girls as they battle a mysterious and ancient evil that threatens a planned party by rising from the underground, penetrating through a spiritual netherworld to usurp the two girl’s weekend plans to attend the coolest party in town. It will mark the second venture by Smith in a trilogy of films, nicknamed the “True North Trilogy” set in the vast and spacious Canadian countryside. The first, Tusk, is currently scheduled to do the rounds in the Autumnal film festival circuit and features largely the same cast as Yoga Hosers. Harley Quinn and Lily Rose also appear in Tusk in roles that are synonymous with Smith’s directorial oeuvre: convenience store clerks. For Yoga Hosers, however, the girl will take on much more pro-active roles.
Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) has a job that most could only dream of. He spends his working days travelling around and discovering interesting people whom he then interviews for his radio podcasts. It's a voyage of education and cultural vibrancy - though it rarely occurs to this adventurous wanderer that it could be a little dangerous. He decides to travel to an isolated area of Manitoba in Canada to meet a man with many stories of his own adventures at sea, including being rescued from a sinking boat by a walrus. However, Wallace finds himself drugged at the man's house within hours and spends the next few terrifying days being tortured into behaving like a walrus while this mysterious Mr. Howe (Michael Parks) prepares to perform a gruesome and disfiguring operation involving a carefully prepared pair of ivory tusks. Meanwhile, Wallace's girlfriend and colleagues are getting seriously worried about where on Earth he's got to.
Continue: Tusk Trailer
Frank Parker is a formidable and highly religious man who takes his family traditions very seriously. He, his wife and two daughters Rose and Iris live comfortably in a small shack in a remote part of the Delaware County, but their security is threatened when a disastrous storm strikes and the river begins to flood. Mrs Parker suffers from a rare neurological disease and soon passes away leaving her family devastated. They vow to carry on the family customs, however, as Frank lands Iris with a huge responsibility. They are ritualistic cannibals, and she must be the one to bring in the food this time. However, when bones wash up on a nearby river bank after the floods, the authorities are drawn near and suspicion starts to arise surrounding the mysterious family.
Continue: We Are What We Are Trailer
Even though this is an extremely well-made film, it's difficult to know who will enjoy it, as it's far too arty for horror genre fans and much too grisly for arthouse moviegoers. But those who like something a bit different will enjoy it, especially since this remake takes a very different approach to the original 2010 Mexican film. Both films are about families who indulge in cannibalism as a long-standing tradition, but the similarities end there.
This version is set in small-town America, where an unusual number of young women have gone missing over the years, and a recent flood has unearthed human remains downriver from the Parker family farm. Frank Parker (Sage) is in mourning after his wife dies in the storm, and responsibility for the family's Lambs Day feast now falls to eldest daughter Iris (Childers), assisted by younger siblings Rose and Rory (Garner and Gore). But Iris is reluctant to carry out the gruesome tradition, and would rather hang out with cute young Deputy Anders (Russell). Meanwhile, Frank is increasingly worried about nosey neighbour Marge (McGillis) and the investigations of the local doctor (Parks) and sheriff (Damici).
"This is what we do," the Parkers remind themselves as they prepare their dinner of human stew. And screenwriters Mickle and Damici really dig into the family's past, which stretches to events nearly 240 years earlier, stirring American history into the intriguing cultural subtext. Mickle also remembers to freak us out with hints and suggestions in every scene, from ominous noises in the Parker's shed to a secret journal that outlines the family's traditions. The actors play their roles just below the surface, with muted emotions and subtle glances that tell us more than dialogue ever could.
Continue reading: We Are What We Are Review
This cryptic little indie starts out with the story of a Frenchman (Olivier Martinez) in Mexico, fascinated with bullfighting, indeed. When his cute little girlfriend unleashes a bull on him for some unknown reason, she ends up getting gored. That's bad enough, but her dad turns out to be a major crime boss, and he proceeds to go on a rampage against our poor Frenchman.
Continue reading: Bullfighter Review
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