Directed by Ridley Scott
Starring Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, John Turturro, Aaron Paul, Ben Mendelsohn, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley
In Ancient Egypt, Pharaoh Seti I (Turturro) sends his son Ramses (Edgerton) and foster son Moses (Bale) to destroy a Hittite army massing near the border. In the battle, Moses saves Ramses’ life, completing the first part of a pre-battle prophecy that ‘a leader will be saved, and the saviour will one day lead’. Moses later visits the Hebrew slave works under Viceroy Ambiguously Queer Hedonist Scumbag (Mendelsohn; the character has a name, but names are actually pretty hard to come by in this film), and there learns from one of the elders (Kingsley) that he is in fact the child of a slave, floated down river during a cull of the slave population (and by ‘floated downstream’, I mean literally walked downriver into the hands of a childless princess by his sister.)
Directed by Kazuaki Kiriya Starring Clive Owen, Morgan Freeman, Cliff Curtis, Aksel Hennie, Ayelet Zurer and Tsuyoshi Ihara
The Ako incident was a historical event in feudal Japan, in which the forty-seven surviving retainers of Lord Asano Naganori took bloody revenge on the Imperial courtier who had their master dishonoured and executed. Fictionalised accounts of the event, known collectively as Chushingura, are a staple of Japanese literature, to the point that the true and fictional versions are difficult to disentangle. Hollywood finally copped to the story in 2013’s 47 Ronin. This film starred Keanu Reeves as the obligatory white character, although the rest of the cast was Japanese, and added fantastical elements. In 2015, a reimagining of the story was produced, with few Japanese cast and a mediaeval European aesthetic, but a Japanese director.
After a great war, an order of warriors emerged to protect an Empire, the Knights of the Seventh Rank.
Led by Commander Raiden (Owen), the retainers of Lord Bartok (Freeman) exemplify the code and honour of the knights in a time when they are in decline, with the Empire increasingly under the grasping hand of corrupt Minister Geza Mot (Hennie). Denied a bribe, Mot goads Bartok into striking him in order to have him executed and dishonoured, his retainers scattered and his family dispossessed.
Directed by Michael Staininger Starring Wes Bentley, Sofya Skya, Michael Madsen and Eric Roberts
So, I lined this one up for The Summer of Lovecraft, but it turns out this one isn’t based on Lovecraft’s ‘The Tomb’, but on, well…
The nameless narrator’s marriage to the beautiful, intelligent Ligeia ends with her tragic death. Sometime later, he marries the beautiful Lady Rowena, who also dies, then returns to life, but as Ligeia, who once told her husband that will could overcome death.
Jonathan Merrick (Bentley) is one of those independently wealthy English lit professors, with a beautiful fiancee named Rowena (Kaitlin Doubleday) and a promising career. But then in walks Ligeia (Skya), a sexy Ukrainian grad student researching the existence of the soul.
“There are things on God’s earth that we can’t explain and we can’t describe.”
Directed by Jean-Paul Ouellette Starring Charles Klausmeyer, Mark Kinsey Stephenson and Alexandra Durrell
This 1923 short (published in 1925) is basically a brief literary joke. Randolph Carter (although he’s not actually called that in the story; he’s just “Carter”) and his friend Joel Manton are arguing about weird fiction — specifically, Manton is making fun of Carter’s habit of referring to things as “unnamable” or “indescribable.” This conversation parallels debates between Lovecraft and his friend Maurice W. Moe. But when Manton has a run-in with a real monster, the only thing he can say about it to Carter is that it was “unnamable.” Jooooookes!
Back in Olden Tymes, a man in a daft hat has a monster in his house. He keeps it locked up, but when he finally lets it out, it does a predictable murder on him. Superstitious neighbours, apparently dressed up for their school’s Thanksgiving pageant, order the house sealed. They bury him in a convenient nearby buryin’-ground.
“It COULD happen! It MAY happen! It MIGHT happen to YOU!”
Directed by Daniel Haller Starring Boris Karloff, Nick Adams and Susan (or possibly Suzan) Farmer
In ‘The Colour Out of Space’, a surveyor visits a blasted farm near Arkham. Unable to learn much about it, he eventually finds one mad old man who tells how a meteorite brought an alien substance of a colour not of the known spectrum, which infested the plants and animals and eventually the Gardner family, before flying into space leaving a fragment behind in the well.
Starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Octavia Spencer, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet
Insurgent is the much awaited sequel to young adult dystopian novel, Divergent (which I think I also reviewed for the Bad Movie Marathon), and set in the same future world in which all of mankind is allegedly dead and the only survivor’s live hidden behind a giant wall in a partly bombed out Chicago, divided into one of five factions; clever Erudite; kind and peaceful Amity; compulsively honest Candour; selfless Abnegation; fearless Dauntless. Each faction is dominated by one particular personality trait and teens are sorted into their factions at the age of 16. If you don’t have enough personality, you become factionless scum. If you have multiple personality traits and could be part of more than one faction, you are Divergent and are super scary and likely to be hunted down. You also get magic powers.
“An elite mercenary team. Sent back in time. They will not return … Alone.”
Directed by Griff “Louie Myman” Furst Starring Michael Gross, Christopher Atkins, Greg Evigan
An elite team of Navy SEALs (not, as the poster says, mercenaries) are sent back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth in order to rescue another team of Navy personnel who were sent back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Together with professor Frank Reno (Gross), they wander around the jungle, getting et one by one, until they find the stranded sailors, among them Reno’s brother Erik (Christopher Atkins) and former love interest Ruth (Marie Westbrook). The survivors return to the modern day, but a hungry T. rex follows them back to Los Angeles, where it rampages through the city until yet another version of Reno turns up, having time-travelled from the 40s, and sends it back where it came from.
Directed by Jonathan English Starring Tom Hardy, Rutger Hauer, Ingrid Pitt, Tony Todd
It’s the Iron Age, or maybe the Bronze Age, and the powerful but decadent Minoan civilisation is collecting youths to sacrifice to the Minotaur, a big monster that lives in an underground labyrinth. Humble shepherd Theo (Tom Hardy) is upset because his love interest was sent to be eaten, but his dad (Rutger Hauer) is more worried about protecting him. When the Minoans show up, however, Theo sneaks into the tribute line and is dumped into the labyrinth together with a well-meaning sidekick, a sneering rival who does a predictable face turn, the sneering rival’s love interest, a mouthy girl, a girl who doesn’t talk at all, a crazy girl and a comedy fat guy. And maybe someone else, who knows.
Minoan queen Raphaella takes a fancy to Theo and tries to help him fight the Minotaur. Spoilers: the good guys win.
Directed by Uwe Boll
Starring Til Schweiger, Emmanuelle Vaugier and Udo Kier
When boat pilot Jack Carver (Schweiger) accepts a job to ferry Val Cardinal (Vaugier) to meet her uncle and his old army buddy Max (Ralf Moeller) on an island, he finds himself facing off against an army of mercenaries and a cadre of genetically enhanced soldiers created by the sociopathic Dr Krieger (Kier).
(aka Battlefield Death Tales, aka Angry Nazi Zombies)
Directed by James Eaves, pat Higgins and Alan Ronald
This film is actually an anthology of three short films. As a result, I’m going to deviate from our usual system in order to take on each film separately. This is especially important because the films are highly variable in terms of their quality.