The Tall Man

Viewed – 06 April 2013  Blu-ray

Two things to get straight right away.  This has nothing to do with the villain of cult favorite series Phantasm, and secondly this isn’t the kind of deeply disturbing, torture endurance test that was Martyrs; Director Pascal Laugier’s previous effort.  Starring a dowdy Jessica Biel (sigh…) as a Nurse in a small town that has been rocked to it’s core by a series of child kidnappings, this is a slow burning, creepy and effecting thriller.

tall man

I think anyone going into this with memory of Martyr’s might be cautious.  Without going into detail, that movie remains one of the most disturbing, get-under-your-skin horror movies ever made, and I still haven’t had the guts to sit down and watch it again.  So I understand why this may not have had the press coverage or advertising it deserves.  Laugier’s name has become infamous, and it’s a shame because on this evidence he’s a very capable and intelligent film maker.  I liked how on the surface it was a mystery surrounding a ghostly boogeyman, but with a real-world relevance that should hit a cord with almost everyone aware of child abduction cases.  However this takes a well-trodden subject and shakes it up, with surprising and thought-provoking results.   Add to this some thrilling moments (Biel chasing after the kidnapper for example), unnerving editing / camera work, and solid acting with Biel proving more than her usual eye-candy, and also a quality turn from from Jodelle Ferland (Tideland) … I was suitably gripped.

Laugier’s movie likes to play with your expectations, and although I felt the clever narrative occasionally detracted from the overall impact, I still wish to salute the Director for not taking the predictable route with this.

Verdict:  3.5 /5

Total Recall

Viewed – 01 January 2013 online rental

I’m certainly a fan of the nineties Arnold Schwarzenegger original but unlike many remakes in recent years, I didn’t bulk at the prospect of this.  Colin Farrell plays Doug Quaide, yearning for something else in his blue-collar life working in a futuristic metropolis plagued by terrorist attacks and overseen by an oppressive government.  One day he stumbles upon shady organization ‘rekall’ with the promise of giving him the adventurous memories he craves – yet soon he is thrown into a life he never knew he was a part of, where he may not be who he thought he was.


Farrell is gradually becoming one of my favorite actors, and takes to this energetic and intriguing movie with aplomb.  Supported well by a double dose of babe in the lovely shape of Kate Beckinsale & Jessica Biel, and with impressive set design, beautiful CGI and slick action (including a great freeway hover-car chase) – this further developing the Philip K Dick short story whilst adding plenty of ideas of its own. Mars this time is absent, replaced by a future where people travel from one side of the world to the other via a huge elevator shaft drilled through the earths core (!).

That being said, some plot details do get confusing, major characters are under developed and it lacks the one-liners and sleazy excess Paul Verheoven brought to the original (the presence of the three breasted woman making little sense). However, director Len Wisemen (Die Hard 4.0) further cements his place as one of the better action guys around … meaning this still packed a punch.

Verdict: 3.5 /5

Blade Trinity

Viewed – 22 November 2008  DVD

With the Blade franchise, I think Wesley Snipes graduated from being a likable, watchable actor to a bona-fide movie star – it was the role he was born to play. Blade is a half-human, half-vampire vampire-hunter and a 100% bad ass at the same time – forget Buffy Summers – this is how you kill the undead.  Based on a not that well known Marvel comic book, the first two films in the franchise were huge hits, so a third (and final?) instalment was an easy bet.

Now you may ask, why if being a Blade fan-boy have I not watched Trinity before now?  Well to be honest, I felt the series had reached its can’t-be-bettered peak with Guillermo Del Toro’s superb Blade 2.  Add to this rather limp reception for this latest vampire slaying flick, and the rumour that Snipes was pushed into the background and more screen time given to his two other leads (Ryan Reynolds and, ahem, purr…Jessica Biel) and the thought of a lesser Blade movie was not an enticing prospect.

But fear not!  This latest entry is every bit as cool and exciting as the previous two (although somewhat less bloody) and with a trio of vampire hunters, a funny, wise cracking Ryan Reynolds and ahem, purr…Jessica Biel, and yes even if Snipes doesn’t seem as ‘into it’ as he once was – this still couldn’t fail.  Ok, the arrival of bad-boy of all vampires Dracula (call him Drake) proves underwhelming and unimaginative (but we still get a great sword fight between him & Blade), overall – if u liked the last two films or just enjoy a well made, fast-moving choreographed-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life action / horror then this will do the job nicely.

Verdict:  3 /5