Where to even begin with Akira? Katsuhiro Otomo‘s magnum opus, it was one of the works that made manga and anime huge in the West, as influential and seminal as The Drifting Classroom or Astroboy combined. The manga told the long and winding tale of a post-apocalyptic Japan, struggling in the aftermath of a psychic apocalypse and a small cadre of troubled teenagers and superpowered children that threaten to reduce our world into a cinder. Also, a hellishly bleak outlook of modern Japanese society. Needless to say, the manga’s themes make it a tough cookie to swallow, especially when it comes to adapting it in any on-screen format, but Katsuhiro Otomo might have some enlightening news on the matter…
Hidden treasures are always a given in the sci-fi genre. From the post-apocalyptic deconstructive metaphor of Hell Comes To Frogtown to Mark Hammil’s lost road-trip classic Slipstream and all the way up to 2009’s MOON, there are metric tons of films that are labors of love that never quite make it into becoming proper mainstream hits.
Air and Terminus are two such films, released in 2015, both deeply rooted in old-school science fiction tradition, each sporting a different flavor in its iteration of the genre. Where Air is loose hard science fiction with a bittersweet lean, Terminus is a Cold-war style story that, while lacking the higher-budget finish of the other movie, still manages to give a great, contemporary story.
Neither movie is perfect: far from it, both suffer from a number of flaws, which we will address. But they are damn good examples of science fiction and they deserve a better chance than what they got. So strap on in and start playing that special end-of the-universe playlist. Stuff’s about to get dreary…
Australian’s have churned out a couple of great horror movies in the past couple of years, with schlocky outback fare Wolf Creek (2005) & Wolf Creek 2 (2013), the demented masterpiece The Loved Ones (2010), and the critically acclaimed primitive horror The Babadook (2014). The country has been producing everything from low-budget exploitation flicks to some pretty neat high-end productions spanning all the way back to the 70s onwards. The latest export is a junkyard zombie flick titled Wyrmwood: Road Of The Dead, and it’s been making the rounds at numerous film festivals garnering a nice reception from critics and fans respectively. Moreover, for those of you who are thinking, “Yawn, not another zombie flick,” keep reading as this looks like it’s going to be a bone-crushingly original, arterial splatter-fest. (more…)
But it sure ain’t the greatest. Priest isn’t terrible, and while I understand that is in no way a positive tone to begin this review it’s a point I want to get in your heads right away. It’s not terrible, it just is what it is, nothing new, nor ground breaking. Having said that, the film is enjoyable as long as you go in with the right mindset. What you see is what you get, nothing more. There’s no deeper meaning or subtext, the story is totally straight forward and maybe a little predictable, but not bad.
Directed by Scott Stewart (Legion), Priest clocks in at 87 minutes, really just under 80 if you don’t count the opening and ending credit sequences. Meaning the film doesn’t really allow anytime for the story to lag or meander. We move quickly between plot points and the story is delivered seamlessly. For this film it works, had they tried to flush out the story into a sweeping, 2+ hour epic I’m sure my review would be much less favorable.
Spoilers begin below the cut, ye be warned.