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Thriller

Bullet Head (2017)

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 Three career criminals find themselves trapped in a warehouse with the law closing in and an even worse threat waiting inside – a nigh unstoppable killer dog.

Genre : Crime/Thriller
Country : USA/Bulgaria

Cast :
Adrien Brody : Stacy
John Malkovich : Walker
Rory Culkin : Gage
Antonio Banderas : Blue

Director :
Paul Solet

My opinion on “Bullet Head”

“What the fuck was that?
Beware of still water or a silent dog.”

I’m sure they meant well while creating “Bullet Head“. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The end result may be called original and quirky, but there are also a few flaws in this film full of wellknown moviestars. Did Adrien Brody and John Malkovich (respectively Oscar winner and repeatedly nominated actor) opt for the easy money? I had that feeling sometimes about Antonio Banderas while watching him play in “Security“, “Acts of Vengeance” and “Black Butterfly” for example (although he’s not of the same caliber as Bruce Willis). So I found that quite obvious. Adrien Brody also has some misses to his name (remember “American Heist” ?). But I didn’t expect this from a legendary actor like John Malkovich (who stole the show in “Unlocked” and “Cut Bank“). But, looking back on this fairly unknown film, there’s more to it than just a clichéd tough-guy routine and flashy action scenes. As someone mentioned somewhere, it’s a mix of “Reservoir Dogs” and “Cujo“.

Bullet Head

Good doggy. Sit doggy. Shit ! Run !

To be honest, I thought the main story was the least interesting. Three robbers who are forced to hide in an abandoned warehouse where they are waiting for new transport. To their horror they discover that the empty building was once a place where illegal dog fights were organized. And such a bloodthirsty specimen walks freely around in the building and instinctively starts chasing the three unfortunate criminals. Probably conditioned by animal-unfriendly practices and transformed into an insane fighting machine. And that’s when Antonio Banderas shows up. He’s the owner of this schizophrenic beast and looks like a tough guy from the criminal underworld.

Bullet Head

They have a lot to tell.

This sounds promising. Trapped criminals and a foam drooling killer dog who loves to tear them into pieces. And a kingpin in a long black coat and leather gloves who’s waving dangerously with an automatic gun when he discovers that the three have accidentally found his money in this dilapidated building. Ultimately, this part of the film complements the most important theme. And that’s actually about these three robbers and their attitude towards animals. And also the mutual respect that can arise between humans and animals. “Bullet Head” is richly filled with dialogues between the three cornered robbers. The conversations between Adrien Brody and John Malkovich are entertaining. Especially the individual stories they tell each other are on the one hand hilarious and on the other hand very moving. The story of Malkovich and his tropical fish is extreme funny.

Bullet Head

What’s that piano doing there ?

I don’t know why the dog got the name De Niro (which would also be the film title initially). Maybe because the dog has a muscular physique and a notorious reputation. Or because the name matches the star cast. The only one who doesn’t have an extensive repertory to his name yet, is Rory Culkin (who in my opinion delivered a better acting performance in “Jack goes home“). If you expect an action-packed crime film, you’ll be a bit disappointed. Apart from the exciting confrontation between Brody and the imposing fighter dog, with a piano drawing all attention, it’s mainly the dialogues that play a central role. All in all it was an entertaining film.

My rating 6/10
Links : IMDB

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HORROR

Scream | Official Trailer

A new installment of the ‘Scream’ horror franchise will follow a woman returning to her home town to try to find out who has been committing a series of vicious crimes.



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Genre:

Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Release Date:

January 14, 2022

Director:

Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett

Cast:

Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette

Plot Summary:

A new installment of the ‘Scream’ horror franchise will follow a woman returning to her home town to try to find out who has been committing a series of vicious crimes.

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The Guilty – Review | TIFF 2021

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Despite having given some of the best performances of the past 20 years, Jake Gyllenhaal has only been recognized by the Oscars once after receiving a nomination for Best Supporting Actor in 2006 for Brokeback Mountain. His fantastic performances in Nightcrawler, Prisoners, Southpaw and so many other films went unnoticed by the Academy but now once again Jake Gyllenhaal is back in his latest film The Guilty. Whilst he’s quite unlikely to receive any awards recognition for his most recent role, Gyllenhaal is once againproving that he really is one of the greatest actors working today.

The Guilty is an American film directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) and is a remake of the 2018 Danish film of the same name. The entire film takes place over the course of a single morning, and it follows Gyllenhaal’s call operator Joe Baylor in a 911 dispatch call centre. Joe receives a call from a woman named Emily who acts as if she’s talking to her young daughter and through asking her a series of yes or no questions, Joe determines that she’s been taken and is in danger.



Trapped at his desk in the call centre, Baylor must solve the issue and find the truths, rescuing Emily, all through a series of phone calls. Almost the entire film takes place from within the call centre and it’s a very interesting perspective to see in a film. I’ve not seen the original Danish film so I can’t compare the two and any differences they might have but it’s quite refreshing to see a crime thriller film confined to just one location.

Normally in a film like this the protagonist would be trying to solve the case by travelling to different places and talking to different people but instead Baylor can’t go anywhere and has to solve it all from his desk. There’s a point where he’s phoning up a police officer to go to Emily’s house to check on her kids and to search for any clues as to where she might be but instead of taking the audience to her house, we too are confined with Baylor in the call centre, feeling his frustration when he can’t get an officer to go.

The whole film is very tense and has you on the edge of your seat throughout. The direction from Fuqua is clear and he gets such a high level of suspense out of the situation. Not only with us fearing if Emily will make it out alive and if Baylor will save her in time but also through some of the subplots. Joe gets a couple of phone calls from journalists asking about his side of the story ahead of ‘tomorrow’. It’s not until near the end of the film where we find out what’s happening ‘tomorrow’ and what Baylor had done wrong and whilst perhaps it does add a bit of a dampener and it doesn’t entirely sit right with me, it creates another layer of tension and adds to the suspense.



Jake Gyllenhaal really is excellent and the standout in The Guilty. The film does have an impressive voice cast with Ethan Hawke, Riley Keough and Paul Dano all voicing characters over the phone, but Gyllenhaal really is outstanding. There are very few actors that can demand your full attention for 90 minutes like he does. The film is almost entirely just Gyllenhaal acting from his desk but you forget about this fairly quickly because of the way that Gyllenhaal takes control of every single scene. Seeing him react to both sides of the conversation over the phone rather than cutting backwards and forwards between the two ends is so enthralling to watch because of his excellent performance.

There are times when the film does begin to drag and when we do learn a bit more about the trouble Baylor got into at work, it needed to be developed a bit more to be wholly satisfying but nonetheless The Guilty is a riveting film propelled by Jake Gyllenhaal’s fantastic acting.

The Guilty premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and is released on Netflix on October 1st.

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The Toll | A Twist On Classic Genres Like The Iconic Western And Thriller

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Director Ryan Andrew Hooper puts together a suburb cast in his debut feature The Toll. This Tarantino-esque darkly comic thriller is set in the Old West of Wales. Specifically my own hometown of Pembrokeshire, it was filmed here too. So I was very familiar with the parts of Pembroke shown on screen in this neo-western which is centred in and around an isolated and feeble old toll booth. 

This non-linear narrative follows Michael Smiley’s character, a nameless Toll Booth operator living a simply boring pointless life. However his dark past soon catches up to him and its revealed that his life is not as simple, boring or pointless as we thought. his business may not even be entirely legal. He begins to operate and control events around him whilst a local group of people who look out for him end up doing some of his dirty work. Toll Booth does all the networking without even leaving his dull confine. 

Smiley brings an easy weariness to Toll Booth. The character intentionally mysterious, even though we don’t know the characters backstory and why he was on the run for all those years. Smiley still manages to make his character somewhat relatable. 

Iwan Rheon as Dom was absolutely fantastic and Paul Kaye who played Cliff had some great moments. However The Toll has a strong female lead, Annes Elwy who truly makes The Toll shift genres from thriller to an emotional story that allows the audience to get to know her a bit more, which added much needed emotion. 

The film also features many other eccentric characters such as Elvis personator and her mute partner played by Evelyn Mok and Darren Evans. 

Matt Redd’s screenplay truly forms an integral part of the experience, he creates many thrilling and hilarious encounters which sometimes feel reminiscent of Taika Waititi. The film mixes tension and black humour. Ryan Andrew Hopper’s direction truly makes the west wales landscape spectacular as he transports the western from the familiar wild west in America and brings it to the Pembrokeshire coast, the film all comes together with breathtaking cinematography from Adrian Peckitt. 

Overall The Toll rethinks and manages to put a twist on classic genres like the iconic western and thriller. And I look forward to seeing what Ryan Andrew Hooper does next.

The Toll is in cinemas and on premium digital from 27 August from Signature Entertainment.

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