I dont know about you guys and gals, but i feel like there has been a recent drought of good genre flicks lately. Maybe we are in that lull right before fall, but it has been bumming me out a little. Thankfully a handful of Canadians got together and wrote a wonderful love letter to 80s apocalypse films in the form of TURBO KID. The story is your typical “In a world” doomsday scenario, but inserts its own gonzo style that is both nostalgic and refreshingly original.
TURBO KID begins with an info dump that lets us know that there was a cataclysmic event that has tainted the world and all it resources. People are scraping their way through the Wasteland and just about everyone is dead. Did I mention that it is the year 1997? We are quickly introduced to the titular Turbo Kid and we get a glimpse into how this wasteland works. Mostly that everyone collects junk and rides BMX bikes (a gag that never gets old, no matter how many times it is seen). Our hero meets a companion, confront baddies and embarks on an old school adventure of revenge and survival.
The film relies heavily on nostalgia, but it is clever enough to do more than just mine your memories of the VHS era. The blending of digital with practical effects is amazing. The splatter in most of this film is exaggerated and fun, leaving everyone in this film dripping with red stuff. Most of the violence is over the top and comical. Which only adds to it charm every time someone gushes a river of blood and gore onto the screen. There has been tons of throwback movies that have been released over the past ten years, but this is one of the best. Maybe only trumped by their fellow Canucks, Astron-6. TURBO KID is currently available on Itunes and Vimeo.
Coming of age stories are one of my guiltiest pleasures. Usually its either a poor or rich white kid loosing his virginity or finding his passion in life. Rarely do we get this formula from any other perspective and Girlhood offers a beautiful rebuttal to this mostly male and Caucasian dominated genre.
The movie follows a young girl who is traversing her tough Paris suburb, while simultaneously trying to find herself. For better or worse, she falls in with a tough gang of gals and has to choose what she wants out of life.
Beyond covering the usual ground, there is a naturalness that feels so real and universal that it is hard not to root for this young lady. From the boring technical side it is nearly perfect. Camerawork and acting is impeccable and its pace is perfectly meandering. The film may suffer from an unfortunate title, but hopefully people will see it without the looming Boyhood comparison (in title only). Girlhood is currently streaming on Netflix and could be one of those titles that makes your evening.
Over the past year I have been reading incredible reviews about a little Danish film called Cub. Does it live up to the hype? Yes…well, kind of. Everything about the film is pretty great, especially on a technical level. Unfortunately there are a few things holding it back. Most of the film’s problems come from its unfocused plot that seems to be following a “we can make it up as we go” motto. What ultimately saves the movie is its simplicity. The story follows a young, akward boy who is going on a camping trip with his fellow cub scouts. As you may have already guessed, there is a local legend about a feral child named Kai that is known to stalk the woods. Once the group gets there they slowly learn that the legends may be true. Pretty typical, right? But i left out a huge twist. These kids arent teens or even played by teens, all of the actors are young kids who really hold their own in the film. The director (Jonas Govaerts) does not shy away in the violence department and offers some pretty shocking set pieces that leave you on edge throughout its brisk run time. Overall, I suggest watching this film and enjoying it for what it is. It wont hold up to much scrutiny, but does offer a new take on the slasher genre we all know and love.