Quentin Tarantino unleashes The Hateful Eight, a sweet little Orphan isn’t as innocent as she seems and the spy genre gets an over-the-top makeover in this week’s handy film guide. Happy viewing!
Wrong Turn (2003)
This grisly slasher horror centres on a group of good-looking 20-somethings who take a… wrong turn (see what they did there?) and end up lost in the backwoods of the American deep south. Unfortunately for them, when they go looking for help they only find a group of cannibalistic hillbillies searching for their next victims. Okay, so it’s not exactly high art nor is it anything genre fans haven’t seen before but it’s an enjoyable, at times thrilling throwback to slasher movies of old done with a modern horror glint in its eye.
Watch it if you liked: The Hills Have Eyes, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th
Showing on Tuesday January 12th, 11:00pm, Five star
This little seen gem of a horror thriller stars Vera Farmiga (TV’s Bates Motel) and Peter Sarsgaard (Garden State) as a husband and wife who lose their unborn child, and decide to adopt a 9-year-old girl. However, they soon discover she may not be the sweet and innocent girl she at first seemed to be. It’s best not to know much more than that, but needless to say it has plenty of tricks up its sleeve. It’s ridiculous, even downright silly, at times but that’s part of fun of what is an enjoyably mysterious and ultimately rather terrifying watch.
Watch it if you liked: The Omen, Joshua, Case 39
Showing on Thursday January 14th, 11:45pm, Film4
Jason Statham stars in this unusual crime drama from acclaimed writer-director Steven Knight (Locke, TV’s Peaky Blinders) as a former soldier who is homeless and on the run from a military court martial. Mentally damaged, he seizes the opportunity to assume another man’s identity while working as an enforcer for a Chinese mob in London. While it contains some of the usual attributes fans of “The Stath” have come to know and love – slick fighting, the actor’s gruff one-liners – it also gives us something a little bit different including a surprisingly meaningful exploration of PTSD and a strange, almost seductive atmosphere.
Watch it if you liked: Safe, Wild Card, Parker
Showing on Friday January 15th, 9:00pm, Five star
Blood Cells (2015)
This small independent British film played at the Edinburgh International Film Festival last year. It centres on a man (Barry Ward, Jimmy’s Hall) whose inheritance of the family farm is obliterated after the 2001 foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. Years later, now a wanderer of the countryside picking up any work her can, he is contacted by his estranged brother and given an ultimatum; come home now or never come back at all. It’s a slow burner, sometimes to a fault, but it has a palpable atmosphere and is acted with real feeling.
Watch it if you liked: Hector, Bypass, The Selfish Giant
Available on Netflix
This French-language teenage drama was one of the best international films to be released last year. It follows a 16-year-old girl (impressive newcomer Karidja Toure) who lives in an underprivileged area of Paris with her two younger sisters and her domineering, sometimes abusive, older brother. Lacking any real life prospects she gets involved with a gang of girls who spend their time skipping school, fighting and shoplifting. Though a little overlong, this is a film clearly made with a lot of passion for the subject matter by a filmmaker, Céline Sciamma, who knows exactly what she wants and delivers that vision in bold, attention-grabbing fashion.
Watch it if you liked: Water Lilies, Tomboy, Fish Tank
Available on Amazon Instant
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)
Are you sick of spy movies taking themselves too seriously? Then this hilariously over-the-top homage to the cheesy Bond days of old will be right up your street. Based on the graphic novel by Scotland’s own Mark Millar, the film follows Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton), a lad from a council estate who is whisked into a world of espionage by the suave Harry Hart (Colin Firth), a veteran member of an elite secret spy organization. It’s a ferocious, energetic, gleefully violent film full of memorable set-pieces all done with its tongue lodged firmly in its cheek.
Watch it if you liked: Kick-Ass, Red, Wanted
Available on NOW TV
This Oscar-winning film from writer-director Alexander Payne (The Descendants, Nebraska) follows two men who are reaching middle age (Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church) with not much to show for it. Before one of them ties the knot, they decide to embark on a week-long road trip through California’s wine country, meeting new friends and potential lovers on the way. Okay, so it doesn’t sound that interesting but trust me: the film is full of sublime little truths about life and love, effortlessly believable and hugely enjoyable performances by everyone on-screen and a general laid back atmosphere that makes you wish you could actually join the characters on their trip.
Watch it if you liked: Sideways, Nebraska, Bottle Shock
Available on NOW TV
The Hateful Eight (2016)
The first major cinematic event of 2016 comes in the form of the long-waited 8th film by one-of-a-kind director Quentin Tarantino. Once again wading into the waters of the Old West, this centres on a ragtag group of suspicious individuals (played by the likes of Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson and Jennifer Jason Leigh) who are forced to wait out a freak blizzard in a small haberdashery. It’s far from Tarantino’s best work but the quick-witted, effortlessly cool dialogue and shocking moments of extremely graphic violence makes it one not to be missed. Mind you, it almost didn’t happen…
Watch it if you liked: Django Unchained, Inglourious Basterds, Reservoir Dogs