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  1. 10 To Midnight (1983) A guy takes bloody revenge on a woman that spurned his advances. Charles Bronson is the cop who'll do anything to get his man. This is definitely a sleazy one, the killer and his victims are naked more often than not when the murders take place, and lots of total filth over the phone, all in a shiny early-80s kind of way. It's a pretty solid thriller though, definitely one of the better films Bronson made with Cannon, it handled the revenge so much better than the Cannon-produced Death Wish films for sure, lifting it above raw, dumb vengeance. The relationship between Bronson's daughter and his cop partner was particularly well written, they were a really likeable pair. Mind you, that did fizzle out later on. That ending, the lighting, the music, credits roll. 3.5/5
  2. That was William Dawson, a real-life gameshow host, superb bit of casting.
  3. I'd agree that The Raid is a purer film, plus the action in that is super-tight and almost continuous. It's constant energy. The difference with Dredd is, for its simplicity, it's still more character-driven. They're both superb films.
  4. Life Is Sweet (1990) Slice-of-life drama from Mike Leigh, a chef father, shop-assistant mother, their grown-up twins, one of whom is a tomboy, the other struggling with an eating disorder, their struggles, muddling together. I could relate to the family, they felt real, the sort of working-class my parents were. It starts off light enough, Alison Steadman and Jim Broadbent trading jokes, he buys a knackered burger van, added it to his to-do list of things that will never get done. Meanwhile twins Claire Skinner and Jane Horrocks are the twins Nicola and Natalie both have their lives to lead. As it the way with a Mike Leigh film the characters are so well drawn, there's so much complexity. Add in Timothy Spall as the family friend trying to get his restaurant off the ground, initially comic but his true character comes to the fore. There's a scene later in the film between Nicola and her mother that really touched me. I'm not a parent but it felt like that is how one would feel about a child who is struggling with life. It has the combination of the banal punctuated with tragedy and hope that Mike Leigh does well. The lack of a solid plot may stop some from appreciating this, but for me spending time with this family was a pleasure, even if I had to share their tragedy too. Excellent film. 4.5/5
  5. The Bank Job (2008) "Based on true events" although despite the wide-ranging consequences of this particular event I'd never heard of it, so I can only judge this purely on its ability to entertain. In essence Jason Statham is a small-time criminal (I think, it's not well established) who is roped into robbing a bank by a lady friend of his, unbeknownst to him for her own reasons. You've got bank-robbers, bent coppers, London villains, government ministers and a guy wanting to be the British Malcolm X in this twisted tale. My main gripe is something that really gets my goat with films like this: it's set in 1971 yet it has a very contemporary soundtrack, barring a couple of hits from the time the music really ruins the period atmosphere. A shame because they've tog the togs and the motors and the locations sorted. The actual bank job is only a small part, most of the film deals with the aftermath, and it's generally entertaining although it takes something of a dark turn near the end, felt a bit out of tone. Weird seeing Peter Bowles without a tasche though. 3/5
  6. Line Of Duty was ruined for me when Dead Ringers described Steve as dressing and acting like a six year-old at a wedding. Watched all four of these so far and they're great. I thought it would be all about newer shows and that I'd miss most of the jokes as I don't really watch the telly much, but thankfully it's all old stuff he references. Highlights include the medical rap, tape-lifting and inflammable pubs.
  7. Make the sort of music you want to hear, do it because you enjoy doing it and it gives you that good feeling of creativity. Try not to think about how people will receive your music or whether people will want to listen, that way lies madness. Covers are a good way to learn the ropes without having to come up with tunes, but trying to turn a loop into a song, even a very simple song, is a hurdle a lot of musicians have difficulty getting over. You have to push it a bit, even a 2-minute groove with variations on the loop is a song, so try that. And yes, avoid the Toolbox Fallacy as much as you can, that is thinking that more gear, more plugins, more software will make you a better musician, when just using what you have to make great music is more important. You just have to have fun, go in simple and add to it, don't take on too much and go with it.
  8. Week off work, having a major clear-out. Unearthed a CD-R dated November 1999. This was from some time in 1999 when I was at uni, had just my PC and a tracker, I guess it's inspired by Robbie Williams' Millennium. The original was a bit quiet so gave it a remaster.
  9. Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects (1989) Super-sleazy in a bad way, ancient Charles Bronson is an LA cop trying his utmost to take down a guy pimping out underage girls. Meanwhile a Japanese businessman whose wife doesn't do it for him gets relocated to LA and has issues of his own. Teenage girls getting felt up on public transport, a worse fate for a Japanese schoolgirl. And Bronson is on the case, doing what was expected of him in a Cannon flick, although in a more laid back way compared to some of his earlier outings. A lot of the nastiness in this is inferred, it maybe doesn't get as out-and-out sleazy as it had the potential to. Of course Bronson gets his cool revenge, but it's nowhere near as visceral as it could have been, but that's not to say this doesn't make you want to take a cold shower. 2.5/5
  10. Hostile Environment (1999) Please, no-one give David A Prior any sort of budget. I loved his 80s stuff like Mankillers and especially Deadly Prey, but this was absolutely awful. Muscular blonde goodie vs muscular blonde baddie in a story that could only have been written by someone who lived in California, a place where it never rains. In the future the water supply is controlled by some fascist/criminal gang, making bootleg water is punishable by death - please don't tell them about rain. Matthias Huse of I Come In Peace fame is the good muscular blonde, despite having absolutely zero charisma or acting ability he manages to at least show off his impressive physique which gets the interest of said bad muscular blonde Brigitte Nielsen. There are other characters and stuff happens, things explode. There's a bomb for some reason and blah blah blah. Don't bother. 1/5
  11. Fathom (1967) Raquel Welch stars in a fun, kitsch espionage-ish caper where she plays a skydiving dental hygeinist who gets embroiled in the hunt for The Fire Dragon. It's typical of the time: exotic location, a hint of romance, quirky characters, just a tad off-beat. It weaves a twisting story with Welch not knowing who to trust, who the good guys are. Okay so it's not the done thing these days to comment on a woman's looks but it has to be said this was Raquel Welch at her hottest, both in looks and performance. She brightens this up considerably with her charm, keeping it light. It was great to see her and Richard Briars spend a lot of screen time together, a rather incongruous pairing. This may be a little too lightweight for some but despite its fluffiness it was still entertaining. 3/5
  12. Playing this on PC and enjoying it, nice and simple arcade racing like it used to be. Not sure how much mileage this will have as I'm struggling with Normal at the moment, pretty crap I know, but maybe with some practice it'll improve. Really loving the Virtua Racing-esque presentation although it's a little too busy at times. I can see this as my Saturday evening blast whilst having a few ciders.
  13. Had an abortive attempt at watching this earlier. Really needed to be in a better mood to tackle it. The half hour or so I managed made me believe Kaufman has finally slipped over the line into total self-indulgence. For a while he could do no wrong. Then he started directing. He got less and less pushback to the point now where he could suffocate someone with a plastic bag on set and no-one would question it.
  14. Kill Me Three Times (2014) Low-key, mildly comic crime caper from Australia featuring Simon Pegg as a hitman getting mixed up with goings-on around a small coastal hotel. A little bit kooky yet not so much to differentiate it from anything similar. Despite a few plot holes and too-convenient happenings it's a decent enough story with decent enough direction and decent enough performances. Pegg doesn't stretch is comedy muscles here, felt like he was doing someone a favour. A pleasant if not particularly memorable way to spend 90 minutes. 3/5
  15. Judge Dredd (1995) Where do I start with this? Dredd taking his helmet off, spending most of the film with it off, far too much chatter, Dredd being made the centre of the story and doing little actual judging, Dredd having an unfunny comedy sidekick?. Okay it has some good action in parts, and the production design is pure 90s, feels strangely familiar and nostalgic. The music is superbly overblown and epic, but wholly unsuitable for the film. The big bike chase in the middle is exciting, there's plenty of energy. Based on my admittedly limited experience of the comics this felt like the producers hadn't actually read any of the comics featured in the intro, just gone with what was expected at the time. Disappointing. Sly was there to get the bums on seats, he didn't fit the bill. And no mention of the meat wagon. The brief appearance of the late Ian Dury was a brief moment of hope. The rest was wasted. I knew you'd say that. 1.5/5
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