TOP FIVE OVER-THE-HILL BAD ARSES!
Hey Monster Fiends. With the upcoming Monster Fest screen of From Dusk Till Dawn (book your tickets HERE), we’ve decided to take a walking frame assisted stroll down the paths of different films that have one thing generally in common. They stink of Mothballs? No. They all feature a hero, well past their due by date, in conflict with others, their environment or even their own memory. Once I’ve found my glasses and my teeth. Let’s venture forth on this journey of all things well used
Gran Torino.2008. Dir. Clint Eastwood.
Eastwood proves again he’s just as flash behind the camera as in front; directing and also playing the main character Walt Kowalski. Walt, a retired, racist grumpy-arsed ex Korean War Vet, is sick of his self obsessed relatives and how the way society around his neighbourhood has become. When his neighbour Thao, a young Asian Hmong teenager, tries to steal his prize possession, a 1972 Gran Torino, Kowalski sets out to reform the youth and settle the score with the gangs in his hood with a barrage of weaponry. With this Walt comes to befriend his Hmong neighbours and overcome his prior bigoted misconceptions about foreigners. Although a decent watch, some of the supporting actors give below par performances that prove a little distracting and some might find Walt’s racist dialogue a little over the top. Overall…Worth at least checking out.
Harry Brown.2009. Dir. Daniel Barber.
In one of his best roles to date, Michael Caine plays a retired war veteran disillusioned with the System that allowed his old friend and chess partner to be killed by an unruly bunch of young English Chavs. The offending parties get off the charges and Harry blows a gasket. Set in the grimy and dark council estates of South London, this is a realistically gritty film – bleak and nihilistic. We follow Harry around seeking retribution on scuzz bag heroin and weapon dealers, pimps and thugs. A lot of people compare this to Michael Winner’s Death Wish but the revenge motive is an old plot device and Harry Brown’s motivation seems to be more about him being pissed off with it all rather than actual revenge. This is Daniel Barber’s first film and is extremely dark. Some very good acting here by the whole cast. Some of the characters are so sleazy, you’d slip on their shadows. This is the film Gran Torino should of been, highly enjoyable if not a little predictable.
Sleepless.2001. Dir. Dario Argento.
After the advent of the shit awful Phantom of the Opera, Good ol’ Argy puts a bit o’ bargy back into proceedings with the wonderful Sleepless or Non Ho Sonno. A return to his Giallo origins this provides the goods his last few stinkers couldn’t. Max Von Sydow plays a retired ex-Detective who teams up with an amateur crime sleuth in track of a depraved serial killer who has returned to evil ways after a 17 year hiatus. The violence is abundant with heads getting smashed into walls, instruments rammed in orifices, fingers cut off and heads exploding. The opening set piece is outstandingly brilliant with its savageness, complete with his trademark tracking shots that inject some energy into the proceedings. This truly has everything including a dwarf. The art direction and cinematography is breathtaking, but some of the acting and plotting lacks but overall this is a fair dinkum beaudy. If you like Tenebrae and Opera, believe me you’ll love this. It’s even more violent.
Bubba Ho Tep. 2002. Dir. Don Coscarelli.
The director of the Phantasm franchise Don Coscarelli and Cult writer Joe R Lansdale bring us this delightful little Horror/Comedy starring Evil Dead’s main star Bruce Campbell as a retired Elvis. It seems Elvis some years back got sick to his back teeth with the hangers on and dilemmas that come along with fame. So he swaps lives with an Elvis impersonator and kicks back to enjoy the rest of his life. This picks up the story some years later where Elvis has retired to an East Texas retirement village. Elvis and his African American buddy (played by Ossie Davis in his very last role) who thinks he is JFK. Come to battle an Egyptian Mummy that has been stolen from a Museum and brought back to life to feed on the easy access souls of the Retirement home. This is truly one great film. Coscarelli has done a very commendable job at translating Lansdale’s book to film and as usual Campbell provides the performance of his life. There’s some subtle commentary about the way we mistreat our elderly and the dialogue is a complete hoot. Make sure you watch the film with Bruce Campbell providing the audio commentary as Elvis too. It doesn’t get much better than this commentary wise.
The Unforgiven.1992. Dir. Clint Eastwood.
Probably one of the best later day Westerns ever made. This is another Eastwood film he both directs and stars in. The good folk of the town of Big Whiskey do what they can to get by. When one of the town’s “whores” gets cut up by a couple of over zealous cowboys with a hard on ,the girls decide to put up a bounty for the fiend when the Sheriff’s feeble attempts prove fruitless. Eastwood plays William Munny; a retired gunslinger who realizes he’s shit at farming and resorts back to his six-shooter after the death of his wife and failed farming attempts. Clint’s in old territory here recapping his Man with No Name character but now with more wrinkles. Munny is the ultimate Antihero. He admits he’s killed women and kids in the past, but we still keep barracking for him. As this was made later the violence is also amped up and the supporting cast all stellar. A wonderful case study about the nature of man. This also did very well at the Oscars. If ya haven’t seen it already… Well we’re not here to fuck spiders.