Rurouni Kenshin

In the middle of the 19th century, the traditional feudal system in Japan is in decline. The Bakumatsu war has seen the shogunate replaced by a centralised Government. The nationalist forces, fighting for a brave New Age, including the legendary skills of a swordsman known as Battosai (Takeru Sato). Now, the war a decade over, […]

Battle Royale

In 2000, Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale hit like a cultural bomb. Adapted from the popular novel by Koushun Takami, the film managed to be scathing social criticism, teen melodrama and ultraviolent thriller all wrapped up in one. Its timing being so close to the Columbine massacre hamstrung its potential for a Stateside release, but it […]

The Fifth Element

On its release, Luc Besson’s ambitious sci-fi extravaganza The Fifth Element was divisive, being lambasted by some critics while lauded by others. In retrospect, this is hardly surprising as it remains desperately short of its ambitions, but is certainly so jam-packed with ideas that some were always going to miss the mark…while others work delightfully. The basic […]

Subway

Luc Besson has become a name best known for directing and producing action fare. But back in 1985, he was a little-known filmmaker with one dialogue-less feature to his name (the post-apocalyptic The Last Battle). With this minimal backdrop, he created the film that would make his first major mark and pave the way for what […]

Bronson

Michael Peterson – better known by his bare-knuckle boxing name of Charles Bronson – is perhaps the most notorious prisoner in Great Britain. Originally arrested for the armed robbery of a post office in 1974, he has spent during the intervening years a mere 122 days outside of prison walls. Repeated fighting incidents and a […]

Seven

After the debacle and traumatic birth of Alien 3, it was 1995’s nihilistic Se7en that launched the career of former music video maker David Fincher and the film itself remains hugely influential. From the endless rain and dark interiors to the scratchy and almost tactile opening credits, the shadow of Se7en lies heavy across horror and thrillers in general produced […]

Mother of Tears

It is no secret that Dario Argento has failed to meet rabid expectations for a long time now. After a string of terrific flicks in the 70s and early 80s elevated him to the highest echelon of genre directors, anticipation has greeted his every release. But since some time in the mid-80s, his output has […]

Withnail & I

There are many films that underperformed on their initial release, only to find an audience with subsequent home video or DVD releases. Bladerunner and The Thing are two such examples, as is another 80s movie…Withnail & I. Released in 1987, Bruce Robinson’s Withnail & I made little impact at the box office, but over time has grown in reputation. Although little […]

Darker Than Black Vol.1

Anime series tend to have a dedication to an inherent mythology that Western shows – with the exception of outings such as Lost – cannot measure up to. They also tend to be steadily paced, with answers coming on a progressive basis, rather than all of the exposition crammed up front. Darker Than Black is one such example.

The Good, The Bad And The Weird

Chang-yi Park (Byung-hun Lee) is a dangerous killer obsessed with his reputation, hired to steal a mysterious treasure map from a train in pre-World War II Manchuria. When the heist is foiled by a bounty hunter (Woo-sung Jung), oddball thief Tae-goo Yoon (Kang-ho Song) escapes with the map. Things quickly escalate and soon all three […]

Acolytes

Three teenagers discover a body in the woods not too far from their homes. On top of that, they catch a glimpse of the killer. Should they go to the cops? They could…or maybe they could blackmail the killer into killing someone for them… Such is the hook of indie flick Acolytes, a low-budget Australian […]

13 Game of Death

Thailand has rapidly become an emerging power in world cinema, with a strong line in genre titles like Shutter (2005) or martial arts flicks like Ong Bak (2003). Another indicator of the country’s strength is this superior thriller, a comic book adaptation also known as 13 Beloved. The story sees innocuous and somewhat nerdy salesman Puchit (Krissada Terrence) have a […]

Funny Games

Michael Haneke unleashed Funny Games on the world in 1997. It won instant acclaim, being up for the Palm D’Or at Cannes, but drew just as much complaint for its aggressive, fourth wall-breaking assault on the fans of violent movies. Haneke’s own status as an art film enfante terrible meant that the film never reached its target – the […]