Friday, June 28, 2013

Pontypool (2008) Review

Pontypool was adapted from the novel Pontypool Changes Everything by the author, Tony Burgess and directed by Bruce McDonald. While the argument can be made that it is a twist on the Zombie genre, McDonald spoke out against classifying this film as a zombie movie at Rue Morgue's Festival of Fear expo in 2008. I won't get into exactly what he said, as there are some spoilers within the statement that I think would do a viewer a disservice to know before seeing the film.

This film is not for the blockbuster amused, or the hardcore gore fans (although it has its moments). This film is perfect for those with a great imagination and who still find that they can scare themselves at night when they are all alone. The look of the film is very dark, but lit perfectly so that you never strain to see what is happening. The dialogue is what sets this movie apart from the rest. Burgess gives you such great dialogue that it will not only keep your attention, but it will also challenge you to think.

Stephen McHattie ("Watchmen", "A History of Violence") plays Grant Mazzy, the brooding radio announcer who spins a fine web of silken words to appease his new station manager Sydney, played by Lisa Houle ("Emily of New Moon"). Together with Georgina Reilly ("Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal") as the technical assistant Laurell-Ann, they work towards updating their listeners on local news of the morning when all hell starts to trickle loose.

Although most of the film takes place within the radio station, there are still plenty of shots outside of the station that remind you of just how alone we all are at 6:00am, when the sun has yet to make itself known, and the night still holds all of us captive.

You should definitely give this film a chance and join the cast on a blind journey into the unknown, where fear truly terrifies.

Pontypool can be found streaming on Netflix

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Lackey (2012) Review

The Lackey starts with a Reservoir Dogs feel, pours in some Guy Ritchie styled narration, mixes it all with a splash of Mixed Martial Arts, and then serves it to you with such a well polished rawness that you quickly forget that you are watching a "low budget" Indie Film.

The look of the film is quite unique and hard to explain, it's "grainy" without looking like your watching a twelve year old 35mm print in a dollar theater. This multiple award winning film grabs you by the collar and drags you straight down into the street where the action takes place. 

The writing is spot on with a mix of wit, heart, and believability. The fight scenes feel natural and are choreographed in such a manner as to feel completely spontaneous. Kudos to Shaun Paul Piccinino and Steve Pisa for not only writing this visually striking film, but also for coordinating the stunts, which include possibly the best fight scene that takes place around a billiards table you will likely never find a comparison to.

The actors all play their roles true and with respect to the genre. The lovely Lauren Parkinson ("Phase Two", "In Mysterious Ways") plays Lola, Jude's junky ex-girlfriend, who can still tug the heartstrings of our hero like a marionette handler while she spirals out of control. Orlando McGuire ("The Bloodletting", "Deadliest Warrior") steps right into the spotlight as Suga Henare, the always eager sidekick to the cagey Sonny Fingers, played by Rickey Bird Jr. ("The Deadlines", "Phase Two").  Two of the most unforgettable characters of the film are Big Leo, played by D.T. Carney ("John Dies at the End", "The Curse") and Guy A. Grundy ("Deadliest Warrior", "Acts of Violence") as Grundy. There are no shortcomings in the acting department on this one, From Shaun Paul Piccinino ("Deadliest Warrior", "Jinn") who plays the infamous Jude St. Clere to Vernon Wells ("Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior", "Weird Science") as Mr. Dechlan. There is a multitude of mastermind actors in supporting roles as well that bring the whole film to life and complete what just might be one of the best action films to hit the Indie screen in quite some time.

So what is the greatest aspect of The Lackey? One word, Cinematography. Ian McAleece and Jason Sanders are nothing short of genius in the way they show you the darker side of any major city. They put you in places you would never see in a tourist brochure and makes sure that you feel it gather grit under your fingernails while you witness the story unfold. This action film lives up to the action billing as well. Just when you think you can't possibly handle any more excitement, the pace slows for a moment so that you can catch your breath, take in the moonlit cityscape, and then plunges you right back in. Like a truly feared roller coaster ride, you don't know whether to raise your arms and cheer or just white knuckle the arms of your couch, and try not to get knocked out of your seat!

You can pre-order The Lackey on