It had me.
It had me with the trailer.
At once elegiac and lyrical, this feature film debut by director Michael Matthews, writer Sean Drummond, and cinematographer Shaun Lee, is a revelation. Haunting and hauntingly beautiful, it transposes the myth of the western onto the looming shadow of Apartheid era South Africa, with staggering effectiveness. To tell a tale of childhood promises and adult realities, amidst a lawless land.
With a great cast of actors (Vuyo Dabula as protagonist Tau is particularly brilliant, but so is Hamilton Dhlamini as the almost preternatural Sepoko), some unknown and some familiar faces, and awe inspiring visuals and landscapes, this movie is both a surprise and a joy and is a GREAT Western, up their with the best of recent westerns.
UNFORGIVEN, TOMBSTONE, OPEN RANGE, BLACKTHORN, THE MISSING, HOMESMAN, BURROWERS, BONE TOMAHAWK all heavy hitting, top notch westerns by master directors, and yet somehow first time director Michael Matthews makes those masterful films, all of which I LOVE, feel almost rote in comparison. Don’t get me wrong, FIVE FINGERS OF MARSEILLES is not better than TOMBSTONE, but its breadth gives it a unique quality.
This film is both a western and not a western, and its ability to transcend genre and exploit it, makes for a very fresh and freeing viewing experience. I loved it. And can not wait for a Blueray edition of this film.
Watch it free courtesy of Amazon prime, and if as impressed as i am… buy the Bluray. Grade: A-.
Ali Abbasi and Boots Riley.
These are names you should remember.
They are Writer/Directors to seek out.
You know for the most part when we go to one of these Blockbuster films in the theater, whether AVENGERS ENDGAME or the latest MISSION IMPOSSIBLE or JAMES BOND , we know what we are going to get. If not the particulars, we know the formula, the genre, the broad beats of hero and villain and threat to resolve.
With films like SORRY TO BOTHER YOU and BORDER if you go in blind, without trailer, or forewarning, or spoilers, as I did, and as I suggest you do, you are in for what film used to be, in the early days of film. You are in for something strange, and beautiful, and horrible, and more than a little bit unsettling; you are in for something rare, something new under the sun.
You are in for a ride, that is unfathomable and twisting, and both harrowing and transformative.
These are arguably not films that do well in the theatrical setting, for the simple fact they do not cater to expectations, they live in the unfamiliar places. And can arguably leave us… thoughtful and conflicted about what we see.
And audiences these days like to leave the theater, with easy assumptions reinforced, rather than challenged.
SORRY TO BOTHER YOU and BORDER are both films that do not play to the usual. They are living room films, they are home theaters films, they are personal films, and they are films that will stay with you long after you see them.
Both films feature amazing performances. Lakeith Stanfield of SORRY TO BOTHER YOU, and coming off a show stealing performance in ATLANTA is quickly becoming one of the best young Actors working. And Eva Melander, an actress unknown to me, is nothing short of award material in BORDER.
Both are must own films on DVD/Blu-Ray. In the age of streaming, these are the type of films you do not trust to the ephemeral nature of streaming. You can try before you buy by viewing both movies courtesy of HULU. and once you do, you’ll want to add these films to your collection.
I consider them both, cinematic gems, that will only grow with subsequent viewings.
Get your copies here:
WORTH FINISHING/PRETTY DARN GOOD:
Both movies from the early 90s are of course very dated. Martial Arts had only broken into the main-stream American conscience barely 15 years earlier. And American Martial Arts/Fight Choreography was still finding itself. And we were still in that very formulaic 80s urban crime/ Deathwish style of filming. All those caveats aside the movies remain incredibly entertaining, with a few pretty awesome sequences. Jeff Wincott and Cynthia Rothrock were prolific 80s action stars for a reason. And that reason is on display in these movies. Along with movies such as SILENT RAGE and PERFECT WEAPON and THE LAST DRAGON these films are fun and fine examples of American Cinematic Martial Arts in its early days.
I consider Patrick McGoohan one of the best actors ever. And his SECRET AGENT MAN/ DANGER MAN one of the best TV shows. His fight choreography in that show, which predated the James Bond films, elevated fight choreography. The same way that the first season of ARROW raised the bar. Then the first season of DAREDEVIL raised it even higher. Patrick McGoohan, former soldier, former boxer, brings all that to his roles. And here, a much older McGoohan past throwing punches, is no less, cinematic gold.
Richard Burton in a horror movie? SOLD!
The late 60s and early 70s was such an interesting time for film. Just as borders were being changed and challenged in our world and ourselves, they were also being expressed in our fiction. Particularly our films. There is a malleability and ephemeral-ness to much of the best films from this period. They are not any one genre, or any one thing. Are like our night-scapes, daringly un-solid, and always changing, depending on the viewer, and the viewed. This film will stay with you, long after you have seen it, until you are not sure it was ever a film, but rather maybe a dream, you forgot to dream. The sight of breaking bone, and spurting blood, is everywhere in this film, and no where. A haunting film.
This one does not start well. Took me a couple attempts to finish it. Much like GOATSUCKER that started awful, it just gets better and better, culminating in an impressive ending.
INTERESTING / JURY IS OUT
NOT WORTH YOUR TIME / AVOID
Starts interestingly, but like most failed horror films, loses any concept of common sense by the third act. Is this something any rational person would do? If the answer is no, then do not put such stupid actions in your darn movie. I wanted the time I spent watching it, back. Avoid.
DEAD SQUAD: TEMPLE OF THE UNDEAD
25 minutes in and the jury is out on this one. I find it intriguing despite the annoying nature of most of the characters. The annoying, brain dead westerner character is one I can definitely do without. The film so far has not been great, a bit too campy and annoying, but I find myself interested in where the film is going. Interested in the shape of the doom they are getting closer to. And the Antagonist equally wears out his welcome.
However the practical effects and makeup are impressive, and how badass one of the characters is around the 40 minute mark keeps me watching when I was ready to write this one off.
I do not like Zombie/Ghoul films as a rule, but this one is different enough (especially the head monster) and truly deranged and yes campy enough, that you just have to be impressed by the absurd weirdness of it.
It becomes far more intriguing than I was initially thinking. Definitely not for everyone but for fans of Peter Jackson’s early horror films like BAD TASTE and DEAD ALIVE, despite my early doubts, Dominik Hauser’s DEAD SQUAD (his debut film) by the end, becomes an absolutely tremendous and fitting homage and evolution of those campy horror classics.
Try it yourself courtesy of Amazon Prime streaming. It is unfortunate movies like this are not getting a DVD/Blu-ray release with Director’s commentary. That’s how B films like this traditionally have endured. Preserved by collectors and fans. In the ephemeral world of streaming,controlled by cold dollars and cents, films like this can disappear without a whisper.
THE HIGHWAYMEN & TRIPLE FRONTIER– I have not been the biggest fan of Netflix, mostly for their price hikes, but also I have never been a fan of their user interface. But their actual content, since the Marvel/Netflix shows, has over all been sound.
I think the Netflix/Marvel TV Shows,for the most part, were very strong. IRON FIST was an unfortunate misstep (my least favorite show next to the PUNISHER. While loved by many, I found season 1 after a strong start, plodding, one note and unlikable), however DAREDEVIL Season 1 set the action standard, and LUKE CAGE Season 1 and 2 for me set the story standard. I like the places LUKE CAGE went, and I think it holds up the best to repeat viewings, as it has something to say more significant than supposed good guy hits bad guy. And for me has character growth, the other shows lacked. I love where LUKE CAGE Season 2 ends, and of all of them, its loss of one more season seems the most unfortunate.
But beyond the Marvel/Netflix collaboration, Netflix is well represented by its new films and straight to Netflix films.
While Will Smith is currently getting the stink eye for his ridiculous look in the live action ALADDIN (what was he and his agent thinking???), I enjoyed BRIGHT and I have enjoyed other Netflix branded films such as MUDBOUND and BIRDBOX.
Also Netflix has a great offering of international TV shows from RIPPER STREET to NARCOS to MINISTRY OF TIME.
So I am always open to being impressed by their content.
And with the latest THE HIGHWAYMEN trailer and TRIPLE FRONTIER trailer, I am very impressed with Netflix’s March Lineup. These two trailers look stellar!
Even though I philosophically am more inclined to the Warren Beatty version of BONNIE & CLYDE, I am open to giving this opposing take a chance. See for yourself here…
Odd the difference streaming has made to my TV watching habits.
I went YEARS without watching cable TV, or really much of broadcast TV, and not really missing it.
I did not want a cable television bill, so I did either free off the air via the digital antenna or whole seasons of DVD. And I had my unlimited clear broadband modem, so web shows were also an option.
But back in 2013 or 2014 when Roku and Netflix really began to become a thing, I jumped in to the ‘streaming revolution’ and man have I, like most of you, had a blast.
So much so, that last year, after a few years of using Roku to watch the regulars (NETFLIX, HULU, AMAZON PRIME, CRACKLE, TUBI, and SHOUT FACTORY TV to name a few) I checked out a ‘new’ Roku station… YOUTUBE.
Youtube, a thing I avoided like the plague in its web/pc version for YEARS (because of lack of moderation of the sewage like comments section), quickly in 2018 became one of my favorite channels.
I spent more time watching the Youtube Channel and assorted programs on my big screen TV (Thanks to Roku) than just about anything else, with the other two big ones being AMAZON PRIME and HULU.
I still have issues with Youtube (the organization) but the regular joes and joettes, who for the love of it… create this unique and passionate content, these unique channels, well I love it for the same reason I love podcasts.
(Quick shout out to COMIC GEEK SPEAK, EPIC MARVEL PODCAST, KNIFEPOINT HORROR, TWOMORROWS, THE DAILY RIOS PODCAST to name a few)
They exemplify the passionate amateur who shows a better grasp and coverage of the material, then the paid professional pundit. And for the hours of joy they gave me, and others, in 2018 they deserve to be applauded.
And here (in a brief paragraph) are my favorite Youtube shows for 2018:
- AFTA COMICS
- SILVER-AGED DAVE
- REGIE SIMMONS IFBB PRO https://www.youtube.com/user/rsimmons1911
- RANDY AND TAYLA
- RICH REBUILDS
- ALL THAT JAZZ
- BRAVE WILDERNESS
- FIRST WE FEAST
- THE GO2 GEEKS
- WALLACE RYAN
- EARL GREY https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1ZtauWih38Lr1aVEXuZybw
- JOHN CAMPEA
- DS COMICS
- MINDSMASH https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC87Lj67s_Ht40lvGhtF9iHA
- MINORITY MINDSET
- POP CULTURE PHILOSOPHERS
- PROFESSOR THORGI
- RAPID TRAILER
- CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT http://www.cerealatmidnight.com/ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsVgZNzzvedehALS-dTIFhA
- COMICS WITH BUELLER
- DR JOSH AXE
- FURY ROAD
- THE DELUXE EDITION
- UFC AND MMA
If you are unfamiliar with any show above, do a search ( Not at google, please. Try duckduckgo or ixquick.com. Google and Disney should not own everything guys. Spread the love guys. Competition will help keep you free. 🙂 ). These channels are worth your time.
So yeah didn’t want to drag this post out but those are 31 channels that kicked butt in 2018, and I am currently still enjoying in 2019. And more than that, network and reach out to each other, and make it easy for your fellow youtubers and fans to reach you outside of Youtube. Cause you probably have a lot of fans who reach you via a streaming device. Which means they do not see your comments section, and can not post comments, etc. And I have seen a few channels go dark in the brief time I’ve been following Youtube channels, so an old fashioned email link, maybe not as outdated a concept as people say. 🙂
I would hate some of the above channels to likewise go dark, come 2020.
Thanks for looking!!!
If you liked this post, show support by purchasing today’s item via the below link:
https://amzn.to/2El13WP – This one is a little more expensive than the standard or usb version, but is worth the additional money due to a faster processor, HDMI port, and Fast Ethernet port. If you already have a streaming device or use a different streaming device, this one makes a great addition to a guest room, or a great gift.
Be well out there!