27 October 2014

Blu-ray Masters Of CInema Review - Youth Of The Beast (1963,Yajû no seishun )

Crime, Thriller
Eureka! Entertainment
BD Release Date:
27th October 2014(UK)
Seijun Suzuki,
Jô Shishido, Misako Watanabe, Tamio Kawaji,
Buy:Youth Of The Beast [Masters of Cinema] Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) (1963)

Seijun Suzuki started out making generic Japanese gangster B-movies in the ‘50s and early ‘60s. Suzuki showed some creative spark in these films but it wasn’t really till he made Youth of the Beast that the style he would later be known for in films like Branded to Kill and Tokyo Drifter came into full flourish.

The film takes the usual plot of the former detective turned thug, Joji 'Jo' Mizuno (Jô Shishido), who plays two opposing Yakuza gangs off against each other. This plot device originally comes out of American crime writer Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest, which Kurosawa used as the basis for his film Yojimbo, which would in turn be the blueprint for almost all spaghetti westerns. As usual with this plot device the thug plays the opposing gangs off each other for his own personal advantage. The gangs are interestingly portrayed as corporate entities, with one of the gangs having meetings in a cinema.

The gangs deal in drugs, and there is even a drug-addicted prostitute. These plot devices come out of American crime cinema, not Japanese culture. The interview included on the disc explains that drugs, unlike in the western world, were not very commonplace in Japan and even the hippest Japanese people frown upon drug use.

Suzuki’s mise-en-scène really comes into full force in this film. The colours are heightened to almost hallucinatory levels. Within the first 10 minutes Jo is pistol-whipping a Yakuza in the fancy back room of a nightclub where there is a two way mirror, giving the viewer a look at a floor show with a burlesque dancer going on at the same time. It’s a brilliant juxtaposition of the different sides of the Yakuza lifestyle. Suzuki’s style would become increasingly more surreal with his later films, Branded to Kill and Tokyo Drfiter. That eventually led to his dismissal from Nikkatsu studio.

Ian Schultz

25 October 2014

Win Lucky McKee's All Cheerleaders Die On DVD

To celebrate the release of All Cheerleaders Die on DVD and Download on Monday 27th October we have a DVD copy to give away!

Mean Girls meets Scream by way of Spring Breakers in this all new feature from Lucky McKee.

Smart, sassy, fun - a new wave of exciting terror comes to life in All Cheerleaders Die featuring
strong performances from the hottest cast around. A must see from start to finish All Cheerleaders Die hit a home run at this years Film4 Frightfest providing hot cheerleaders and kick-ass horror.

When tragedy rocks Blackfoot High, rebellious outsider Maddy Killian shocks the student body by joining the cheerleading squad. This decision drives a rift between Maddy and her ex- girlfriend Leena Miller - a loner who claims to practice the dark arts. After a confrontation with the football team, Maddy and her new cheerleader friends are sent on a supernatural roller coaster ride which leaves a path of destruction none of them may be able to escape.

Available to order from Amazon:

All Cheerleaders Die is a fresh and modern piece of contemporary filmmaking that begs to be watched. Blending great visual style with an extraordinary amount of wit, this is the film that ushers in a terrifying new age of horror that raises the stakes with pom poms, high kicks and a thirst for blood.

Clueless, Heathers, Mean Girls, The Faculty and Scream - All Cheerleaders Die reminded us of the greats and does enough to push its way to the front of the pack with real pep!

To win All Cheerleaders Die on DVD please answer the following question...

Q.Name the Lucky McKee film that starred Angelina Bettis and Anna Farris?

Deadline is Monday 10th November 2014 (23:59pm),If you haven’t done already Like us and stay with us at our Facebook page (if you are already liking us just share this post on twitter and facebook). Must be 18  or older to enter.

1.The competition is not opened to employees, family, friends of The Peoples Movies, Cinehouse,Altitude Entertainment,18 years or older to enter 3.Failure to include any information required to enter could result in your entry been void.  4.automated entries are not allowed and will be disqualified, which could result you been banned, DO NOT INCLUDE telephone numbers as for security reason your entry will be deleted.5.If you are friend or like us at facebook for every competition you enter you get double entry, but you must stay friend/like us all the time,or future entries maybe considered one entry if you are liking us share the post on facebook and re-tweet the post.6.The Peoples Movies, Cinehouse takes no responsibility for delayed, lost, stolen prizes 7.Prizes may take from days to a few months for delivery which is out of our control so please do not complain 8.The winning entries will be picked at random and contacted by email for postal details and will be announced via facebook, sometimes we are unable to confirm winners. Uk & Irish entries only

UK Competitions and Prize Draws at UKwins
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23 October 2014

DVD Review - Open Grave (2013)

Signature Entertainment
DVD Release Date:
13th October 2014 (UK)
Rating: 15
Gonzalo López-Gallego
Sharlto Copley, Thomas Kretschmann, Josie Ho
Buy:Open Grave [DVD]
Win:On DVD (opens to The Peoples Movies)

After a strong opening sequence of utter intrigue and obvious horror cliché, Gonzalo Lopez- Gallego’s Open Grave unfortunately skips the beats between impressive horror moments. The opening awakening is followed by the disappointing decision to have a group of amnesiac strangers collide and hit high-tension in a deserted house. It’s a set-up too often seen and not often remembered, and when the film has the balls to tell a Zombie story from a different angle, that’s kinda dull. Lopez-Gallego has unfortunately assumed that going the roundabout way into Z-territory is tantamount to edgy storytelling rather than executing firm believable characters (and thus believable situations) which would have been far more involving.
                The problem with Open Grave is that the idea is actually really cool, the aesthetic is great (all the locations and most of the shooting are consistently collected into one tone of decay), but the execution of the narrative is all over the place. There’s so many tropes and “spooky” things going on that you kinda feel like you’re walking through a theme park of spooks. There’s some Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibes, The Crazies feels like a staunch influence, also the film seems to owe a lot to 28 Days later. Nothing wrong with influences, you just have to do something with them. The film’s desire to trickle information back to both the characters and audience works to a certain point then it gets in the way of the characters developing into anything we care about, because any second they might remember being a fucking mad person. Sometimes the film’s sedate sunny vibe is touchingly gruesome, like a summer nightmare, at others it’s so laconic the film can’t move ahead. When it tries to engage in scenes of strong horror they seem out of sync with the rest.
                Copley is great, and credit is due for joining such an unsure venture, especially when he’s one of the things holding our attention when the spoon-fed flashbacks kick-in. But even he can’t save the film from its own deliriously laughable internal monologues which are cringe-worthy to say the least. Kretschmann on the other hand is a hoot to watch, lifting some of the pacing problems into another stratosphere with some emotionally unstable behavior courtesy of his condition.  He might be overacting, but in Open Grave that’s better than under-acting.

A mediocre film that has the guts to push in a new direction, Open Grave is actually an enjoyable watch with some great moments. Gonzalo Lopez- Gallego proves he has an eye for a shot and a good control over tone, and weirdly the overuse of crawling gentle sequences is at times the film’s worst and best feature.

Scott Clark

23 October 2014

Blu-ray Review - I Clowns (1970, Masters Of Cinema Release)

Eureka! Entertainment
BD Release Date:
27th October 2014 (UK)
Federico Fellini
Riccardo Billi, Federico Fellini, Gigi Reder,
buy:I Clowns (The Clowns) [Masters of Cinema] Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) (1970)

Fellini’s work in the 1970s is often overlooked when it comes to his oeuvre but it contains someof his finest and most imaginative films. I Clowns is a prime example of this: it was made for Italian TV in 1970 and is a quasi-documentary about clowns, but to call it “just a documentary” would be hard. It’s more of a mockumentary, not unlike what he later did with Roma well before the concept was in vogue. Fellini is a character in both films, and is this case making a film on circus clowns.

As is the case with pretty much all of Fellini’s films, there is an autobiographical element,and the little boy who was enchanted by the clowns but scared by them in equal measure is clearly a young Fellini. This not unlike how he approaches his female characters in his films, especially some like 8 ½. Fellini shows up later making a documentary on famous circus clowns though Europe and finds them in Paris, among other places.

The film ends with a parade, like Fellini’s finest film 8 ½, and the director returns to themes has done before. Many of the truly great directors, like his most logical successor in cinematic fantasy Terry Gilliam, do this and Hitchcock basically made a film about a wrong man at least a dozen times. It’s indulgent in the way Fellini is, but unlike some of his later films it has enough discipline due to the short running time of 90 minutes since it was a TV movie. The film is full of vibrant colour that the initial TV audience missed due to it premiering in black and white.

It’s a hidden gem in Fellini’s wonderful imaginative body of work that has luckily been re-released by Masters of Cinema. This is a nice HD transfer which brings out the beauty in the grotesque perfectly. It features a video essay along with numerous written essays in the booklet.

Ian Schultz

22 October 2014

DVD Review - Treehouse (2014)

Distributor:Signature Entertainment
DVD Release Date:
20th October 2014 (uk)
Simon Bartlett
J. Michael Trautmann,Dana Melanie, Clint James
buy:Treehouse [DVD]

Even if it feels like an episode of X-Files and looks like it was shot by the Home and Away team, Michael Bartlett’s Treehouse is actually pretty interesting. For one thing, setting a large lump of the action in a treehouse is pretty astute: it’s small, claustrophobic, terrifying at night, and seemingly easy to defend from attack. Where many other straight-to-DVD features let budgeting, poor acting, and dubious direction sink the boat of their labours, Treehouse actually manages to execute enough tension and intrigue to surpass all of these things, which it unfortunately has in its own ways.

Killian (J. Michael Trautmann) and his older brother Crawford (Daniel Fredrick) venture into the woods around their town for a night of fireworks and booze, and after discovering a missing girl (Dana Melania) in a treehouse their night is turned into one of terror and murder. Basic premise, but worked with pretty well.

The forest could have been used to better effect, such a close environment is actually horrifyingly confusing in the dead of night, and though there are many stark scenes that almost create the right atmosphere, there’s still not enough to keep the audience as on-edge as they could be. On the other hand there’s a great use of sound that makes some of the house and treehouse stalk-sequences tense as hell. Melania and Trautmann are probably at their best when reacting to the forest threat, helping to induce a palpable dread that the camera work and script can’t quite induce.

The final 10 minutes is a bit of a curve-ball, identifying the threat but really just grabbing it from nowhere. If the attackers (a confusingly nightmarish take on the 3 bullies at the start of the film) had been filtered in, or alluded to it would have felt a bit more coherent. Still, it actually works out just fine with the Deliverance trio cutting a mean silhouette towards the abandoned farmhouse where little Bear and the girl wind up. From then it becomes a game of cat and mouse with breath-taking edge, not least because the stakes all of a sudden get pretty grave.

What Treehouse does is introduce an unmarked threat, something seemingly supernatural that stalks them up in the treetops, then when the Gothic fairy tale atmosphere is fled, it changes the tone and threat to something far closer to home. It’s clever because films frequently can’t execute the switch: bringing the outside in or vice versa, but here it’s almost saying it doesn’t matter what the threat is, we’ll identify one no matter where we are. Of course, it’s not like this film is based exclusively in the victims’ paranoid minds, it’s very much a victimisation from an external threat. 

 Treehouse is so close to being a good feature that it’s almost possible to ignore a lot of its first act boredom. It’s got some great spooks, some dodgy acting, weird timing, but there’s an idea at its heart that shows initiative and scope with the least effort.

Scott Clark

18 October 2014

Watch The Engrossing Similo Sci-fi Short

When it comes to calling films stunning, riveting, engrossing there is very few films that merit that stature, Miguel de Olaso and Bruno Zacarías short film Similo is one we would call engrossing.

Similo is an 23 minute sci-fi film set in the future where humans live in Antarctic cities all thanks to the global climate changes. Hebe and Ciro are back together again however one is looking for love another their identity.

Similo is essentially an love story set in the back drop of climate changes with the concentration of wealth, consumerism ironically in cities created by big coroperations. Similo has a big sense of realism to it which makes a wonderful 23 minutes you would gladly give up.


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