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Monday, June 18, 2018

What’s Hot, What’s Not: with James Sherlock

FILM: BLADE RUNNER – The Final Cut – 4K + Blu-Ray:Genre: Sci-Fi/Noir/Thriller.Cast: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Daryl Hannah, Joanna Cassidy.  Year/s: 1982 (Original Theatrical Version)  – 2007 (Final Cut Version).Rating: M.Length: 117 Minutes. Stars: *****Verdict: In the futuristic year of 2019 in Los Angeles, ex-cop Rick Deckard, now a “Blade Runner,” is assigned to terminate four “replicants,” that look like real human beings, who committed a bloody mutiny on an Off World colony and have returned to Earth to find their creator, and during his investigation is introduced to a unique replicant, Rachel, by the creator, who evokes human emotion and makes him question his own identity and mortality in what’s human and what’s not human.  Visionary filmmaker Sir Ridley Scott’s dark neo-noir dystopian “Kafka-esque” science fiction saga is a spellbinding and landmark tour de force of filmmaking on every level.Based on the novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” by Philip K. Dick, with the exception of very few films, most notably Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927), Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), George Lucas’ Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) and Ridley Scott’s own groundbreaking Alien (1979), has a motion picture so completely transcended cinema.  Harrison Ford as the embittered futuristic Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade inspired hard-boiled “Blade Runner” delivers one of the stand-out performances of his career, however, it is Rutger Hauer’s career defining role as the tough brooding yet poetic replicant Roy Batty that punches a hole through the screen. Like Robert Shaw’s gripping story of the U.S.S. Indianapolis in Steven Spielberg’s JAWS, Rutger Hauer’s “Tears in Rain” moment remains one of the most haunting and unforgettable monologues ever committed to celluloid.     Along with starting visual effects by Douglas Trumball (2001: A Space Odyssey, Silent Running, Close Encounters of the Third Kind), breathtaking music score by legendary Oscar winning composer Vangelis, and eye-popping Cinematography by Jordan Cronenweth, they have all combined to create unequalled and unsurpassed multi-layered and richly textured odyssey of man and machine.       Haunting, stimulating, atmospheric, poetic, gothic, ambiguous, gripping, thought provoking, poignant and hugely entertaining, this all new eye-popping 4K release of “Blade Runner: The Final Cut” is an unpretentious, awe inspiring, game-changing and incomparable motion picture masterpiece that becomes more and more thrilling and richer with every viewing.UNMISSABLE!

FILM: CHURCHILL: Genre: Biography/Drama. Cast: Brian Cox, Miranda Richardson (Clementine Churchill), John Slattery (Dwight Eisenhower), Julian Wadham (Bernard Montgomery).  Year: 2017.Rating: M.Length: 98 Minutes. Stars: ****Verdict: Set in the four days in the lead-up to D-Day British Prime Minister Winston Churchill clashes with General Eisenhower and Field Marshal Montgomery against the plans of the invasion, while battling his own demons and plagued by depression brought on by exhaustion and fear of a repeat of his disastrous command which resulted in the mass slaughter of hundreds of thousands of young men were cut down on the beaches of Gallipoli in 1915. Compelling psychological warts-and-all biographical-drama is brought vividly to life through the extraordinarily compelling performance by Brian Cox as the impulsive, brash, bullish, fearful, obsessive and hurting Winston Churchill, aided and superbly balanced by Miranda Richardson as his long suffering but equally strong and determined wife, Clementine.Written by Alex von Tunzelmann and directed by Australian Jonathan Teplitzky, with superb production design and period detail, another stand-out is the breathtaking Scottish locations and haunting imagery by cinematographer by David Higgs.   Far removed from the more traditional war movie or screen biography, this is a strong, haunting and poignant depiction inside the mind of an extraordinary man and historical figure, a beleaguered man terrified of those about to die, and fearful of being remembered as an architect of carnage.

FILM: HOUNDS OF LOVE: Genre: Crime/Drama/Thriiler. Cast: Stephen Curry, Emma Booth, Ashleigh Cummings, Susie Porter.Year: 2016.Rating: MA15+Length: 108 Minutes. Stars: ***Verdict: Western Australia in 1988 and a disturbed young couple who cruise the streets in search of their next victim come upon a 17-year-old high school girl who they abduct and chain in a room in their house. Impressive feature directorial debut by Ben Young and solid performances by Stephen Curry and Emma Booth as the brutal predators and tormentors, along with Ashleigh Cummings as their victim, all create visually striking, and undeniably harrowing psychological tale of depravity and horror. Not unlike the harrowing David Lynch masterpiece “Blue Velvet,” in shadowing the false surface of seemingly normal suburban life and revealing the dark side of suburbia that lies beneath,  this is as compelling, chilling and uncomfortable to watch, an intensely tragic and ambiguous experience that is every parent’s nightmare, and a haunting reality because we have seen it happen all too often.  Writer-director Ben Young is a talent to watch out for!

  • James Sherlock

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