Jack Cunningham (Ben Affleck) was a high school basketball prodigy. He had a future in the game and just walked away from it all. Now he’s older, does manual labour and spends his evenings soaked in alcohol. He’s separated from his wife, and it transpires that they lost a son to cancer.
Out of the blue he receives a phonecall from a priest at his old school and is asked if he would like to coach the basketball team. Reluctant at first, he takes the job on. Reigniting his love of the game, he finds something to distract him from drink and depression, giving him another shot at redemption and a way to finally face his demons.
Affleck really shines in the role. He wears his pain on his sleeve and you kind of get the feeling that the role spoke to him on a deeper level. There is also a great chemistry between Cunningham and the team. The team have their own personalities that really shine through, and you want them to do well. The scenes with Cunningham and his estranged wife are also handled well, and you can see the raw emotion there. Janina Gavankar plays his wife Angela, and she does great. It doesn’t feel like a throwaway role, and really shows how grief can tear a family apart.
A touching movie with a good story and everyone on top form. It’s also not as predictable as many other sports movies that may have a similar story.
Arguably maverick filmmaker Abel Ferrara’s most accessible and explosive film, King of New York’s status as an urban gangster classic is cemented by a magnetic, career-best central performance by Christopher Walken, as well as riveting support from Laurence Fishburne, Wesley Snipes, Giancarlo Esposito, Steve Buscemi and David Caruso.
After years inside, drug lord Frank White (Walken) is fresh out of jail and back on the streets of New York City. Seeing himself as half Scarface, half Robin Hood, Frank and his enforcers brutally take back control of the city, turf by turf – with starry dreams of using the millions to benefit the community and save a local hospital. Before Frank can fulfil his ruthless lust for power, though, he’s got to get past the crooked cops determined to take him down, and the criminal competition that won’t bend to his will.
Still just as relevant and incendiary now as it was three decades ago, King of New York returns with guns blazing in this definitive special edition, including a new director-approved 4K restoration.
4K ULTRA HD SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
• New 4K restoration from the original negative by Arrow Films, approved by director Abel Ferrara and cinematographer Bojan Bazelli • 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible) • LPCM original stereo and remixed DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround audio options • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing • Audio commentary by director Abel Ferrara • Audio commentary with composer Joe Delia, producer Mary Kane, casting director Randy Sabusawa and editor Anthony Redman • Interview with director Abel Ferrara • Interview with producer Augusto Caminito • Abel Ferrara: Not Guilty, a documentary on the director from the French TV show Cinéastes de notre temps • A Short Film About the Long Career of Abel Ferrara, a documentary looking back at the director’s career, including interviews with his key collaborators • Original theatrical trailers and TV spots • Image gallery • Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Tracie Ching
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collectors’ booklet containing essays on the film by Iain Sinclair and Abel Ferrara biographer Brad Stevens
BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
• New 4K restoration from the original negative by Arrow Films, approved by director Abel Ferrara and cinematographer Bojan Bazelli • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation • LPCM original stereo and remixed DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround audio options • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing • Audio commentary by director Abel Ferrara • Audio commentary with composer Joe Delia, producer Mary Kane, casting director Randy Sabusawa and editor Anthony Redman • Interview with director Abel Ferrara • Interview with producer Augusto Caminito • Abel Ferrara: Not Guilty, a documentary on the director from the French TV show Cinéastes de notre temps • A Short Film About the Long Career of Abel Ferrara, a documentary looking back at the director’s career, including interviews with his key collaborators • Original theatrical trailers and TV spots • Image gallery • Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Tracie Ching
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collectors’ booklet containing essays on the film by Iain Sinclair and Abel Ferrara biographer Brad Stevens
DVD SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:
• New 4K restoration from the original negative by Arrow Films, approved by director Abel Ferrara and cinematographer Bojan Bazelli • Standard Definition DVD (PAL) presentation • Dolby Digital original stereo audio • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing • Audio commentary by director Abel Ferrara • Audio commentary with composer Joe Delia, producer Mary Kane, casting director Randy Sabusawa and editor Anthony Redman • Interview with director Abel Ferrara • A Short Film About the Long Career of Abel Ferrara, a documentary looking back at the director’s career, including interviews with his key collaborators • Original theatrical trailers and TV spots • Image gallery • Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by Tracie Ching
RRP: £15.99 Region: 2 Rating: 18 Genre: Crime Duration: 103 mins Language: English Subtitles: English SDH Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Audio: 2.0 Colour Discs: 1 DVD Cat No: FCD2052 DVD Barcode: 5027035022215
Young boxer Leo (Masataka Kubota) has just had some very bad news. He’s been told he has a tumour and it’s not operable. Whilst taking a walk, lost in thought, he bumps into a girl called Monica (Sakurako Kanishi), who is on the run. Together they get caught up in a shady drug deal gone awry, and must try to survive the night, all while dodging Yakuza, Triads and a dirty cop.
‘First Love’ is a mixed bag. It has flashes of the old Takashi Miike, but I felt that it was very sanitised compared to movies like ‘Ichi the Killer’, ‘Audition’ or ‘Gozu’. Chunks of the movie are slow, and I felt too much time was spent on Monica’s hallucinations, rather than the bag of drugs which was what was supposed to be moving the story forward.
For me the output of Miike of late has been hit and miss. ‘Blade of the Immortal’ was brilliant, where ‘Yakuza Apocalypse’ was a bit haphazard. At times this did feel like the old Miike, particularly in the final act, but it felt too little too late. Takashi Miike is one of the hardest working directors in Japan, but I feel his work is starting to become a case of quantity over quality. Not a film I’d rush to buy….probably rent it digitally first.
‘First Love’ is available digitally now, and will be released on Blu Ray on March 2nd 2020.
Lukas (Jean Claude Van Damme) is a nightclub Bouncer who works hard to support his 8yr old daughter. After an altercation with an unruly clubber goes seriously wrong, Lukas is fired and left with no means to support himself or his daughter.
Becoming desperate he takes on the role of a bouncer at a strip club. However it’s not long before he tasked with more, extremely illegal tasks. To add to his misery the police take an interest in him after his nightclub incident, forcing him to spy on his new boss and report back to them. Things get progressively worse, building to a brutal denouement.
Van Damme fans hoping for a typical JCVD movie where he does his famous jumping round house kick, may be a tad let down here. The Bouncer is a different animal, and one where JCVD flexes his acting muscles instead. He is a man whose emotions bubble on the surface, barely able to keep it together. The action is sparse, but brutal when it does happen. Bones are broken, heads are cracked and people are dispatched brutally.
It’s a pleasant change to see Van Damme in a role a such as this, as he is never really given much of a chance to show what he can do when given the proper material. My only real gripe with this particular release was that it was dubbed. It is clearly a movie that was filmed in Belgium, so I think the option of subtitles wouldn’t have been too much to ask for. The only good thing about the dubbing, is that Van Damme dubbed his own voice.
This is a solid movie, and one that I think Van Damme fans will enjoy. Just know what sort of movie you’re going to watch, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Dazzler Media presents The Bouncer on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download from 8th April 2019
Youth, takes a look at the lives of a group who are members of a Military Cultural Troupe in 1970’s China. Over the course of the movie friends find love, but the death of Chairman Mao throws the country into chaos. The innocence of youth is then stripped away on the battlefield, and life for these young people will never be the same again.
The director, Xiagang Feng, really captures the period well. The lives of these young men and women is shown to be an enjoyable one. Communism and politics is always there, but never becomes the focal point of the movie…well at least not for the first half.
It’s uplifting to see these young people enjoy their time together, having fun and finding love, all while the threat of civil unrest looms. To then see their lives thrown into complete disarray, and for the reality of their situation dawn on them, is heartbreaking. Heartbreaking because I felt they were essentially forced into fighting. They act or they die. This was a regime where independent thought was not welcomed at all. So to watch friends torn apart, it is sad to see.
All the time you can see each of those young men and women yearn for the past to be the present. For the ‘good old days’ to be here again. It’s never a case of nostalgia taking over, it’s just the desire for life to be simple again. I think we can all identify with that, especially with society as it is today. You want to go back to when things were easier to understand, to when life never felt so complicated. ‘Youth’ captures that feeling in a very bittersweet way. The horrors of war are never underplayed either, which makes it all the more painful to know that those men and women will never return to the way it was.
Nico, a naive 20yr old man, sets out on New Year’s Eve to lose his virginity. He comes across a mature woman called Medea, who invites him back to her apartment. What follows is a night Nico will never forget….if he lives to remember it.
From the big lettered opening title, this has a real late 80’s midnight movie feel to it. It doesn’t take long for the craziness to start and once it does, it doesn’t let up. I’ve heard a few liken this to early Peter Jackson’s work, and I am inclined to agree. Blood and other bodily fluids hit the screen with wild abandon.
Javier Bódalo who plays Nico has a great geeky quality that makes you root for him and will him to survive. He’s like a Spanish McLovin, someone who has a exudes an inner confidence that his outer appearance doesn’t live up to.
Destined for cult status, The Night of the Virgin is a great gore filled horror to watch on a Friday night, post pub and pre takeaway. Its one I definitely recommend.
Pyewacket stars Nicole Munoz as Leah, a teenage girl frustrated at her life after her mother decides to uproot and move out into the countryside. In an act of desperation, Leah summons a demon called Pyewacket to kill her mother, however later has a change of heart. But Pyewacket has already been summoned, and it won’t go away empty handed.
Superbly crafted and dripping with tension, Pyewacket is a slow burner. Time is taken to get to know each of the characters, and to understand Leah’s frustration at being separated from her friends and been taken out of her comfort zone. It also shows that if you do believe in black magic and the occult, then you really shouldn’t take it lightly and should always be careful what you wish for.
Leah and her friends feel like real people, still in that moody teenager phase and treating black magic as a novelty. Leah’s petulant reaction over having to move house also seems like something a typical teenager would do. Nothing ever feels cliche or run of the mill. It’s refreshing to watch a horror movie that is true horror, and treats the audience with respect, rather than resorting to cheap jump scares and the like.
The final third is very impressive, and whilst the horror is stepped up, it never loses its identity and caves to typical horror tropes. The ending will be talked about for a long time. A horror movie that is genuine terror all the way through and teaches you to never mess with things you don’t understand.
After the brutal, gut wrenching denouement to season two, I was on tenterhooks to see how the third season would unfold.
Still reeling over the shocking murder of his daughter, Ciro (Marco D’Amore) has left Naples and relocated to Sofia, though his means of earning a living continue to be morally sketchy. Genny (Salvatore Esposito) has taken over his father’s affairs, after the latter’s death by Ciro’s hands, and continues to do things the way he sees fit rather than caving to pressure from others, with devastating consequences.
Scianel is released from prison and sets about clawing some lost power back, whilst Ciro battles his demons and returns to Naples, making new alliances and new enemies. He meets up with a new acquaintance called Enzo, nicknamed Blue Blood, a young hot-headed man with a gang of equally hot-headed friends. Enzo wants to reclaim the city he believes should be his by right, as his family has some history with the ruling power. Ciro sees something in Enzo that he likes, and decides to help him in his quest. However in doing so it causes problems with old friends, and creates some new enemies.
Gomorrah has been a powerhouse on television in its native Italy, and it is just as popular in the UK. The acting from everyone involved is top quality and each person’s arc progresses naturally, leaving you eager for more. Season three continues the trend of wrong footing the viewer, and is equally as brutally devastating as before.
One of the finest crime sagas in history, and one I hope has many more seasons to come. Fantastic.
Season 3 of Gomorrah is released on 12th March, and is available to pre order now:
Directed by Chris Waugh, ‘Bad Day for the Cut’ sees a mild mannered farmer called Donal (Nigel O’Neill) catapulted on a mission of vengeance after his mother is murdered. On his journey of revenge he discovers shocking revelations about his mother, who harbored dark secrets of her own.
With the help of a would be hitman Bartosz (Jozéf Pawlowski), Donal seeks to find those responsible and make them pay.
Also co starring Susan Lynch as psychotic gangland boss Frankie Pearce, ‘Bad Day for the Cut’ is a movie that marries brutal violence with pathos and raw emotion, evoking similarities to the classic thrillers of the mid 70’s. The script feels real and things happen as you expect they would, not as you want them to. Donal is an ordinary man looking for revenge, and makes mistakes that an ordinary man would make.
At certain times heartfelt, and at others brutal and unforgiving, ‘Bad Day for the Cut’ is a revenge thriller that will be remembered for years to come, making Chris Waugh a director I shall be following very closely in the future.
‘Bad Day for the Cut’ is out now and available to order digitally from iTunes or on DVD from all good stockists.
Bruce Lee will always be a legend. His skill is unmatched, even today. There have been many collections of his movies, but this has got to be one of the most stunning sets ever.
House in faux leather, and containing four of his movies, plus a documentary, this set is a rare find. Made by Spectrum DVD, a Korean company, this is a set that very rarely ever shows up for sale anywhere. Now you have a chance, as it’s up for sale on eBay. Click the link below to view: