30th Aug2015

45 Years (Film)

by timbaros

agatha a. nitecka-000044980008-2A 45-year relationship is in trouble after Geoff Mercer receives a letter informing him of news about his first love, which his wife Kate did not know of, in the new film 45 Years.

Tom Courtenay is Geoff, while Charlotte Rampling is Kate, both giving superb performances. They play a couple who have been together for 45 years in the lead up to their huge anniversary party, but it’s on the Monday that Geoff receives that letter letting him know that the body of Katya, his previous love before Kate, has been found in the Swiss Alps. Oh so many years ago Geoff and Katya were on a walking holiday when Katya fell into a fissure in a glacier, with her body never actually found. It’s the letter that Geoff receives that brings him back to the memories of his first love, but it does the opposite to Kate. She actually never knew much about Katya because Geoff really never spoke about her much, but the letter seems to peak her interest in their relationship, and she learn things that Geoff had never confessed to her. Kate didn’t know that they were very serious about each other because it’s something that Geoff never talk about, all those years they’ve been together. Has he been hiding from Kate the true nature of him and Katia’s love for each other? Kate then calls into question her relationship with Geoff. Is she his true love? Or was it Katia? Kate increasingly becomes preoccupied, and worried about this. There’s also something within Geoff that has changed. He has begun smoking again, and he’s been going into the attic to look at the photos of him and Katia. Kate soon discovers that Katia was pregnant with Geoff’s child, and that Geoff having told Kate that he had planned to Marry Katia. As the huge anniversary party gets nearer, and as each day progresses, Katia becomes very unsure and unconfirment of Geoff’s love for her, but will this new revelation cancel/ruin the party?

Director Andrew Haigh, best known for his 2011 film Weekend which captured the short weekend relationship between two gay men, does a similar take in 45 Years, where he captures, in a week’s time, a long-term relationship between a straight married couple, in the lush surroundings and landscape of the Norfolk countryside. It’s a different perspective from his previous work, as well as from his hit television show ‘Looking’ – about gay men in San Francisco. In ’45 Years,’ he makes us slowly progress to the big day, that of the anniversary celebrations, with uncertainty, nervousness, and sadness, not just for Kate, but for Geoff as well. It’s like their entire relationship is being suddenly called into question. And Courtenay and Rampling give excellent performances. Courtenay’s Geoff seems to have no clue how this revelation is affecting Kate, while Rampling’s Kate slowly absorbs the truth about Katia, and is having a harder and harder time accepting it. Hers is an Academy Award worthy performance. Based on a short story by British Poet David Constantine called Another Country, 45 Years slowly builds itself from a film that is a very simple quiet relationship of a long-married couple into a loud obstruction where it’s questionable whether there is any point to go nay further. 45 Years stars out as peaceful and quiet, yet gets messier and destructive. It’s one of the best and most beautiful films of the year.

30th Aug2015

Monsters: Dark Continent (DVD)

by timbaros

Monsters - Dark Continent out 31 Aug_1

The highly successful 2010 film ‘Monsters’ saw the arrival of giant tentacled monsters to Earth. It’s sequel ‘Monsters: Dark Continent’ has five army men in a Middle East war zone who are attempting to deal with an insurgency, and dealing with these monsters as well. It’s explosive and shattering.

The monsters have now spread worldwide, and in the middle east a new war has begun, and at the same time there has been an increase of monsters in that region – which is called the Infected Zone. The army has brought in many new recruits to deal with both the insurgency and to help kill the monster population. Four of the recruits, all from Detroit, Michigan, and all best friends, are given a special mission: to rescue soldiers who have been lost in the Infected Zone. It’s the men’s first tour of duty, and for Michael (Sam Keeley), Frankie (Joe Dempsie), Inkelaar (Kyle Soller), and Williams (Parker Sawyers), they must also deal with the monsters while at the same time battling the enemy. They are all excited, yet extremely nervous to be part of this mission, especially Williams as he has become a new father. Their assignment gets all the more intense when they meet their commanding office Frater (Johnny Harris), a veteran of nine tours and a hard core military man, who is estranged from his family. Michael is the most impressionable, and youngest of the bunch, he’s totally stunned and shocked when he sees the monsters for the first time from the helicopter him and his crew arrive on. It’s a stunning sight, seeing those monsters while the army’s fighter planes dropping bombs on them.

They men are these for a mission, to search for some soldiers who have gone missing. So thus begins their journey into the unknown, fearful not just of the enemy, but also of the monsters. They encounter IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices), which kill a couple of the men, while seriously injuring Williams. But their journey has just begun, not all of them survive. They must put up with sniper fire, being captured and interrogated, escaping and enduring long and brutal journeys in the desert where they encounter dead bodies in a school bus, and at the same time staying way clear of the monsters. The monsters, huge, with very large tentacled hands and face, are a scary backdrop to a film that makes it clear that fighting a war in enemy territory is scary enough.

Monsters - Dark Continent out 31 Aug_5

Tom Green, making his directorial debut (he previously had directed episodes of the television programme Misfits, which starred Keeley), and Executive Producer Gareth Edwards (who wrote and directed the first ‘Monsters’ film) have created a film that is both scary and stunning. War is brutal enough, but they expose us to the deadly silence of not just the enemy but also of the monsters. As soldiers who must carry on, all the actors are brilliant. Harris as commanding officer Frater is brilliant – he truly wants to go back home to be reunited with his father but he’s a staunch army man who must complete his mission. Keeley as Michael is the film’s heart and soul – he’s being exposed to the world and this is it: his innocence is being taken away from him, he goes from being a young man to a hardened soldier. From the dessert landscape to the deserted villages, from the lush scenery and sunsets to the terrifying appearance of the monsters, ‘Monsters: Dark Continent’ is a sight to behold. And the music, by Neil Davidge, adds an acute tenseness to the film. ‘Monster: Dark Continent’ is bone-chillingly scary and beautiful at the same time.

MONSTERS: DARK CONTINENT is available on DVD, Blu-ray & Steelbook on 31st August

New From: £12.90 GBP In Stock
Used from: £4.98 GBP In Stock

30th Aug2015

The Phoenix Incident (DVD)

by timbaros

_2039406-smallOn March 13th, 1997 four men disappeared near Phoenix, Arizona, the same night that strange, unidentified and unexplained lights were seen hovering around the area. The newly released ‘The Phoenix Incident’ tries to explain the connection.

Mitch Adams, Glenn Lauder, Ryan Stone, and Jacob Reynolds had been drinking and off-roading in the Estrella Mountains just outside Phoenix, Arizona on that night. They were young and carefree and doing what men their age do, hanging out and having a good time. But unbeknownst to them a phenomenon would take place that night – the largest UFO sightings ever in the Western Hemisphere. Known as The Phoenix Lights, lights of varying sizes were reported by thousands of people in Arizona on that same evening. Witnesses claimed to have seen huge V-shaped objects in the sky, moving at rapid speed, and at times appearing and disappearing. The U.S. Air Force claimed that the lights were flares dropped by one of their aircraft during training exercises. But what about the four missing men and the coincidence of them disappearing on the same night? This is the question that ‘The Phoenix Incident’ tries to answer.

Walton Samuel Gayson, a 38-year old man who was living in a compound in the Estrella mountains, confessed that he encountered the men in his compound on that night. Gayson (played by Michael Adamthwaite in reenactments in the film), who was a Vietnam veteran who served 3 tours of duty, claimed that the men were abducted by aliens. Bone fragments discovered the next day by a local hiker led police to Gayson, who was taken into police custody. However, soon after he was taken into federal custody. But did Gayson really kill the men? ‘The Phoenix Incident’ leads us to believe that the men were indeed killed by aliens, that Gayson was a strong alien believer, and that the U.S. Government were involved in a cover up. Actual footage in the beginning of the film shows that since 1997 U.S. soldiers have begun fighting a covert war against forces of Unknown Origin, and that military sources believe these invasions, 57 incidents in total, is in retaliation for the Phoenix Incident. In 2011, a U.S. Air Force official came forward with a classified account of the March 13, 1997 attacks, basically saying that the four men were killed by aliens and that the U.S. Government is involved in a cover up. ‘The Phoenix Incident uses whistleblower testimony, recovered military footage, and eyewitness accounts to explore the U.S. military’s alleged engagement of aliens that night.


It’s hard to believe what is actual fact and what is actual fiction in this film, because at the end of it we are told that ‘many characters are composites or inventions,’ and that ‘a number of incidents depicted in the film are fictional.’ What might be fictional in this film is that one of the four men happen to carry around with him a video camera which records their whole evening. This ploy does work to great effect in this film, but one has to take a step back and realize that the scenes using the video camera are purely re-enactments. Some actual footage in the movie does take it to a documentary level, and the actors who portray the missing men are all very good, but it’s a film to take with a grain of salt. Unfortunately for the families of the missing men, there was not enough physical evidence for the remains found in the desert to be conclusive. So the four men are still classified as missing, and there are no answers as what might’ve happened to them.

Signature Entertainment presents The Phoenix Incident on Digital Download August 31st and on DVD 7th September, 2015