Friday, May 29, 2020

Vettai [dir. N Linguswamy]

Vettai's plot about two brothers, one timid and the other foolhardily brave, was potentially interesting as masala entertainment. Madhavan as the timid elder one becomes a police officer after he is goaded by rogue sibling Arya, and gets posted in a town where lawlessness runs rife. The brothers have an arrangement where Arya ass-kicks all the bad elements and Madhavan gets credit for it. The entire basis of such an arrangement is supposed to be the loving bond between them. This is however sketchily conveyed, with Arya getting almost nothing from the deal. Madhavan doesn't especially acknowledge him in private, and does not even come to his defense when his haughty wife labels Arya a loafer mooching off her "braveheart" husband.

The wife is played by Sameera Reddy, with Amala Paul as her sibling. These two are introduced in song as a super-spunky pair who send suitors packing because they don't settle for just anybody. Except, when Arya comes with Madhavan's proposal, they don't even feel the need to meet the actual man before accepting the proposal. Make up your mind ladies, liberated or not? It's still interesting that the initial encounters are between Arya and Sameera in a series of feuds that you think will set them up as a romantic pair, but they end up as devar-bhabhi (siblings-in-law). The main baddie is a dubbed Ashutosh Rana doing a stereotype tamil movie villain role, 'nuff said. This guy is so thick-headed he makes Prakash Raj in Wanted look like a genius.

While there are occasional thoughtful touches and winking nods to popular Tamil cinema, the major problem with Vettai as a movie is that for its butt-testing 2.5hr length there are no surprises and no tension. Arya is so badass he can beat up dozens of goons alone. At one point in the film, Madhavan's character undergoes a transformation that with a quick training montage converts him into an equal badass. Every encounter has a foregone conclusion, which makes the film a chore to sit through.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Sarkar [dir. AR Murugadoss]

AR Murugadoss' Sarkar is a masala puri that mixes elements from Shankar's Mudalvan / Nayak and Upendra's Super. Joseph Vijay aka 'Thalapathy' Vijay plays Sunder (apparently inspired by Pichai), a mega-bucks earning tech CEO known for swallowing up other companies when he's not strutting around a gaudy Las Vegas for a number called (I kid you not) CEO in the House. Sunder flies down to India in a private jet to vote in the elections. Apparently he does it every time, but someone forgot to give that memo to the local companies who, till his intention is announced on TV, are shitting bricks about whether they will be the next target of Mr. Acquisition. Anyhoo, swaggering in to the election booth, Sundar finds his vote has already been cast, and decides to take the Jallikattu by the horns.

This unveils the main social message of the film, awareness about Section 49p of the Conduct of Election rules which says that anyone who finds their vote has been illegally cast can demand to cast a ballot paper vote. Of course, like any self-respecting Tamil hero in the post-Shankar world, Sundar is not content with winning the right to cast his single vote; he provokes the public at large to submit similar petitions. As a result, the party celebrating its sweep of the polls finds that the administration has called for a re-election. This means war between Thalapathy and his politico enemies - P. Karuppiah and Radha Ravi in the best sneering tradition of Tamizh Padam villains - where he must go from merely claiming voting rights to setting up a virtual party of independent candidates to stand against the baddies. No prizes for guessing who wins.

Much speculation has been made about the part played by movies like Sarkar as a deliberate ploy by Vijay to pave the way for a future political career. The film works to promote him as an aggressive youth leader with a pulse on the people (one scene has him give the "I too have come from poverty" spiel). This is the first time I have seen a Vijay film in full, and this guy is basically a Rajinikant clone in terms of acting style and gestures. He is always two steps ahead of the bad guys, and takes on roomfuls of goons with barely a crease on his natty beige blazers. The fight scenes are boring, with random slow-motion, camera-shakes and freeze-frames, the bad guys flipping over if Thalapathy even looks in their general direction.

Keerthy Suresh plays a barely there romantic interest (more so, since we fast-forwarded the forced PT exercise duet songs), while Varalaxmi Sarathkumar has a little more presence as the steely daughter of his political opponent who masterminds many of their shady maneuvers (Her character's name of Komalavalli created a huge stir in TN, being the birth-name of J Jayalalitha). It is nice to see mainstream Indian film do a female antagonist that's not the femme fatale type.  A pivotal scene where she and her father discuss political sacrifice warms the cockles. Beyond that, there's no nuance to her character (and someone hilariously described her expression as though she was constantly smelling something bad under her nose).

Sarkar is still better than most Murugadoss movies I've seen (Ghajini, 7 Aam Arivu), especially since it dispenses with his excruciating flashback trademark and keeps the soggy romance to a minimum. The script doesn't have too many diversions from the main plot line (even Yogi Babu's comic track is surprisingly restrained). But it never achieves the high of the Shankar blockbuster (nor the insanity of Upendra's film), and Vijay's Sundar is unlikely to engage the full sympathies of an audience outside of his (considerable) fanbase.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Song of the Sea [dir. Tomm Moore]

A review of 2014's Song of the Sea, which I had first seen 5 years ago, but recently re-watched.

I haven't seen his previous entry The Secret of Kells, but with this film alone director Tomm Moore shows himself to be an Irish Hayao Miyazaki, with similar sensibilities towards nature, mythology and cultural heritage. In this wonderful fantasy, a Selkie (a mythological creature that can transform between human and seal forms) marries a human - a lighthouse-keeper on an island off the coast, but leaves him after the birth of their second child. The man is rendered a depressed shell and the older sibling Ben blames his new sister Saoirse (pronounced Seer-Sha) for the loss of his mother. Their paternal grandmother, insistent that a lonely island is no place to rear children, forcibly takes them to her home in the mainland city (the puffs of black smoke from her automobile, and the crowd and noise of the urban environment indicate where the director's proclivities lie). In the midst of this, Saoirse, who has not spoken since birth, is discovering her latent Selkie abilities.

This story is linked with that of an ancient legend of the giant Mac Lir who once cried oceans for a great sorrow, which his mother Macha the Owl Witch addressed by draining out his emotions, in the process turning him (and most of the faery folk) into stone. Saoirse is kidnapped by Macha's owl minions and Ben must now work to rescue his sister (and eventually free the faery folk from their stone husks and allow them to return to their mythical homes).

Song of the Sea is a 2D animated venture that uses the flat dimension as an artistic tool, placing the characters against impressionistic fantasy backdrops, giving each frame of the film the look of a gorgeous painted illustration. Colors are masterfully used, whether it be the muted natural shades of the island locale or when they run riot in the fantasy realm. The soundtrack (Bruno Coulais with Irish band Kila) has some haunting Celtic melodies that are an integral part of the narrative. The characters and their adventure elicit the same degree of emotional response as Miyazaki classic Spirited Away, and I would highly recommend this to all Miyazaki fans.

For those interested, a few remarks about the UK blu-ray from Studio Canal:
It provides a gorgeous 16:9 image that pleases from start to finish. Like I said before, you can pause the film at any point and have a ravishing painting facing you. There are options of 5.1 DTS-HDMA audio in English (default) and the native Gaelic (HOH English subtitles are available). Even in the English version, the songs are in Gaelic and there is occasional use of Gaelic phrases, so you may want to keep the subs on for the first time you watch the film. The audio is not as boom-bang as Disney-Pixar productions, but uses the surround channels to provide a welcome buffer.
Apart from the commentary, the extras are brief, with a behind-the-scenes, animation tests and a concept art gallery. The US release from Universal seems mostly identical (except for having French audio in place of the Gaelic track)

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Lens [dir. Jayaprakash Radhakrishnan]

It's late at night. Our protagonist Aravind (director Jayaprakash Radhakrishnan himself) is sitting alone at his computer, Salman Khan mask covering his face and boxers at his ankles, indulging in a risque webcam chat with a masked woman. The woman insists on them both unmasking, and he obliges. Then Aravind's wife furiously bangs on the door, and he yells back about being busy servicing "US clients".

On the next occasion, he gets a chat invite from another female ID. When he signs in he finds himself face-to-face (so to speak) with a bald-headed man who for a long time only identifies himself as Yohan (Anand Sami, malevolently effective). Aravind tries to back off, but the bald stranger insists on speaking. What he wants is for Aravind to watch as he kills himself.

This basic premise of this English-Malayalam-Tamil film, promising a trip into the dark side of human nature was what prompted me to watch, raising in turn memories of Michael Haneke's Caché/Hidden and Park Chan-Wook's Oldboy. Who is the mysterious Yohan? Why does he choose Aravind to be the witness of his suicide? How does he have such omniscient knowledge of our protagonist's personality? What hold does he have over Aravind that he can force him to his will?

These are details best not gleaned from any article you read before watching the film, because the strength is in their unfolding before you. Suffice to say, our stranger nurses a deep festering grudge against Aravind and his like, the voyeuristic purveyors of online prurience.

Lens is a curious journey. On the one hand, Aravind is a not very sympathetic protagonist, at least virtually cheating on his wife and scared of facing the consequences. On the other, the manner in which Yohan psychologically ball-squeezes him  can induce squirms in many of us, depending on the extent of our specific online vices - whether we consume/share pornography, indulge in cybersex, or behave like those Bois Locker Room groups. The film in most part avoids being a generalist rant against online porn, choosing to address the question of which of these are in themselves crimes, who the victims are, and who the perpetrators are (and to what degree).

The way Lens is executed is not an unqualified success. The screenplay could have certainly been tighter. The scenes outside of the interaction between the two antagonists in their individual surroundings could have been done without. The expository backstory is conventional to the point of banality. Performances are adequate, rather than exceptional (Sami's Yohan is the best of the lot). But even with these mis-steps, it is an interesting experiment, which may be inspired by but does not ape previous films. It is also a warning that we have to constantly take stock of our weaknesses, and consider the cost, inadvertent or otherwise, that we and others have to pay to indulge them.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Lapachhapi aka Hide and Seek [dir. Vishal Furia]

In the long history of Indian cinema, horror has always been less served. This is probably because horror is the genre that suffers most from the potluck style of movie-making mainstream Indian cinema has predominantly followed. For a film to be effective as horror, a certain purity of approach becomes essential. Thankfully, in the past decade or thereabouts, we have seen an uptick in 'pure horror' features, and even ones where horror is blended with other genres, it is done without cheapening. Of the ones I have seen and recall:
  • Tumbbad (2018) - An immersive folk horror from Rahi Anil Barve. It has a demon, but the most frightening monster in it is human greed.
  • Kaul - A Calling (2016) - Aadish Keluskar's Marathi debut feature is that rare species, an evocative piece of existential nihilism that recalls the contemporary horror fiction of Thomas Ligotti and Vilas Sarang. Sadly, it also has the availability of an OOP Ligotti or Vilas Sarang work.
  • Pizza (2012) - This Karthik Subbaraj venture is a few rungs below the mastery of the above names, but for its time, a refreshingly serious attempt at an eerie movie.
  • Pisaasu (2014) - With shades of A. Vincent's Malayalam classic Bhargavi Nilayam, mad wiz Mysskin mixes horror and romance (from beyond the grave), finally going into territory that, without obvious spoilers, recalls a cult Brad Anderson film.
  • 13B: Fear Has a New Address (2009) - It begins with an inauspicious retread of bog standard haunted flat tropes, and there are avoidable song breaks, but the central plot of Vikram Kumar's multi-lingual is a clever play on India's obsession with television soaps, and the climax doesn't pull the punches.
Still only a handful, so when I was recommended by trustworthy sources to watch new director Vishal Furia's Lapachhapi as another homegrown example of pure horror I was intrigued enough to actually buy a one-month Zee5 subscription (which carries its own horror story, but that's for later).

After a disturbing prologue in a rural field involving a heavily pregnant woman and some kids, the film puts us inside a car in which a married couple - Neha and Tushar - are traveling to a remote location. Their discussions reveal that the husband has been forced to go on the run from violent creditors, and an aged subordinate at his workplace has offered to house them in his village till the matter blows over. The connection with the prologue is made when they reach the location of the colleague's village...and yes, Neha is heavily pregnant.

A good amount of time is spent establishing the setting of this temporary home. It is a lone one-storey rough-hewn rural house in the middle of a sugarcane field with a confusing maze of narrow-cut paths; shrouded in silence and suffocating alienation, this choice of location for a spooky film is gold. Even a simple walk amidst these surroundings with only the company of ambient sounds has the potential to arouse a delicious sensation of dread.

Then there is Tulsabai, the wife of Tushar's benefactor and self-appointed caretaker to Neha. She is all maternal kindness to start with, making Neha feel at home and attending to all her needs, but is that the end of it? There is an ambiguity to her character, which over the course of the narrative makes for some of Lapachhapi's strongest moments.

When Tushar talks about going back to the city to do a temporary recce leaving Neha in the care of their hosts, horror fans know it's the signal for weird events to happen, and they do. Knocks on doors, elusive children running around, a portable cassette player with a scratchy playtime tune. These events lead to conflict between Neha and Tulsabai, which erupts into a virile display of horror theatrics, including a genuinely spooky tantrik scene. Lapachhapi is at its best here, in its depiction of Neha's disorientation. We do not know if the interactions between her and a quicksilver Tulsabai are real or hallucinations in the pregnant woman's mind. It helps that the casting is immaculate - Pooja Sawant as Neha and veteran Usha Naik as Tulsabai are center-stage for most of the film and give involved performances. Excellent use is made of the setting and the night-time photography is evocative.

I wish it were all positive, but Lapachhapi is not without flaws. For one the running time (approximately 2 hours) is stretched well beyond need. I can understand that a rhythm and sense of locale is being established, and a modicum of repetition is required to acclimatize the viewer, but even with these considerations, the film could have done with some serious trimming of 20-25 min. I had mentioned earlier that the remote and lonely setting is in itself unsettling, but it would appear that the makers did not have sufficient faith in the idea; the first half is full of instances where they try to raise horror by use of stock dread music every time Neha turns a corner or looks toward a door/window, to the point it becomes annoying. And while the overall story arc does have a justifiable stance against female infanticide, it would have been nice to employ a less strident tone at the end, considering Neha's still vulnerable predicament. That said, even with these flaws, fans of Indian horror are encouraged to check Lapachhapi out where they can...

...which currently means, facing the horror that is the Zee5 app. The very idea of a streaming app that fails to support basic casting to a television or AV receiver is in this day and age a shocker. The Zee5 app shows a cast button but tapping it will only generate a blank screen on your TV display while the video continues to play on the phone. This is an issue confirmed by multiple users on forums. I don't know about the rest of you, but I am not one to watch movies on a phone. I had to compromise by logging into the website on my PC browser and watching with headphones. While the bulk of the experience was okay, there was 1-2 instances where the film froze and refused to go ahead till I skipped a bit (streaming equivalent of a scratched disc?) The provided English subtitles are tiny and I could not find any option to adjust the size. Also, they seemed to have been incompetently formatted, frequently getting clipped, and sometimes using wrong words (On occasion, Bhaurao became Bhalerao and Tulsabai became Tulsi). While some of the blame would lie with the studio that formatted the film for streaming, I am certainly not enthused to scroll through Zee5's offerings to even recoup the cost of my 99rs 1-month subscription.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Durgeshgorer Guptodhon [dir. Dhrubo Banerjee]

My recent guilty pleasure was the family-friendly Bengali mystery adventure Durgeshgorer Guptodhon (Secret Treasure of Dureshgarh). A sequel to Guptodhoner Sandhane (Hunt for the Secret Treasure - reviewed HERE), this one is practically a re-tread in a different location.

The basic formula of the Guptodhon series is this:
1. At some point in Indian history, typically in the wave of some regional conflict, one of the lesser known historical figures hides / bequeaths a fabulous treasure with some pal (this is explained in an attractive animated panaroma at the beginning of each film).
2. Said pal is an eccentric who, after hiding the treasure in some Rube Goldberg style secret vault in a romantically named place (here it is Bonpukuria village), hatches a series of cryptic clue messages in the form of rhymes and lyrics. In time, the significance of said messages is forgotten by the family (Sherlock Holmes fans will recall a story called The Musgrave Ritual, which would appear to be the progenitor of all such premises).
3. Enter our Three Investigators protagonists, led by Sona-da (Abir Chatterjee), the archaeologist-historian who dresses in smart sports suits and handily beats up goons. They start figuring out the clues, while some slimy villain with an eye on the treasure periodically ambushes them till the climax where all ends well.

Durgeshgorer Guptodhon adheres strictly to the formula and has some sloppy writing where some red herring dealings are never explained. There are major contrivances, one involving a kid called Kucho who you want to murder immediately. But with its fun quasi-historical premise unveiling less known cultural mores and non-cynical innocent-minded tone, Durgeshgorer Guptodhon is comfort viewing for people who liked Guptodhoner Sandhane and in general fans of the Feluda movie adaptations (better than some of the Sandip Ray ventures). Like with the first film, the cinematography is pleasant, (especially the shot of the Durga procession moving across the fields) and composer Bickram Ghosh does an excellent job with the story-advancing songs and background score (he also did wonderful work for Har Har Byomkesh and Byomkesh Pawrbo).

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Born Yesterday [dir. George Cukor]

Some of you that have seen Superman III will recall Lorilei (Pamela Stephenson), the stereotype bad guy's squeaky-voiced platinum blond dumb moll (although in a throwaway gag, when no one's around she is reading a tome by Kant). I would not have imagined you could make an entire feature about such a character, but long ago they actually did, as a play on Broadway and subsequently a Hollywood film directed by George Cukor; the bigger surprise is that it works.

Born Yesterday's dumb blond Billie Dawn (Judy Holliday) is a coarse-mannered Bronx territory former chorus girl picked up as a "companion" by bluff junkyard tycoon Harry Brock (Broderick Crawford) who has blustered and bribed his way to success and now hopes to use the same strategy with Washington. In our cynical worldview, this would be easier done than said, but the film presents a more "Capra-esque" America where most politicians are apparently honest and high-minded enough to require a more elegant approach. Therefore our tycoon must make a good impression on the right people. Brock, cheerfully oblivious to his own lack of etiquette (or at least believing he doesn't need it), is embarrassed by his woman's social deficiencies among Washington's elite and his solution is to grab the first journalist that comes for an interview (William Holden) and hire him to "smarten up the dumb broad a little". Holden (pegged somewhere between Cary Grant and Glenn Ford on a scale of accessible charm) takes on the task for the money, but also because he believes "A world full of ignorant people is too dangerous to live in".

Holden has his work cut out for him, because our chorus girl is as unwilling a student as it gets. In an early scene, she delivers an incisive rejoinder about why she is happy the way she is, since she gets what she wants by remaining dumb. But she goes along, mainly because she finds Holden cute (in a racy bit of flirtation, she asks him "Are you one of those talkers, or would you be interested in a little action?"). You can see this is a precursor to the more celebrated My Fair Lady (which Cukor also directed). But Born Yesterday is not so much about outward transformation: Billie does not turn into an elegant socialite or the gifted level IQ Holliday was in real life, but by being educated piecemeal - with an intimidating mixture of art museums, Beethoven concerts and (?!) political philosopher Thomas Paine - and trained to exercise her mind in serious directions, she becomes more aware of the possibilities within herself to be a better person and an informed contributor to society. This of course means that Brock got more than he bargained for his "dumb broad", and that has interesting consequences.

There's the witty script (based on the play by spouses Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon), and Cukor's adroit direction, but the major miracle of Born Yesterday is Judy Holliday's performance - as Billie, she is brassy, awkward, ignorant, frivolous and a disaster when she opens her mouth. Yet somehow she always finds an empathetic core in the part. In a lesser actor, those uncouth cadences would have quickly grown monotonous and grating. But she plays her vocal cords and facial emotions with the range and precision of a skilled orchestra. I need to see some of her other work,but already it would appear her meager filmography (Only 7 films in the 10 years after this astounding debut lead performance) is something of a tragedy. It helps that the supporting cast is strong. Holden is comfortable playing the wise and charming liberal egalitarian journalist, and Crawford is both funny and intimidating as the tycoon who believes that money gives him the right to run roughshod as he pleases. Also of note is Howard St John as the lawyer who has sacrificed self-esteem to be the tyrant's wheel-greaser.

With Cukor's penchant for long takes, the actors had to repeatedly rehearse their scenes in front of a live audience (culled from studio employees) before the cameras rolled, to feel the rhythm of the scenes and the laughter pulse; the resulting polish is up on the screen, with a smooth flow of the verbal and non-verbal repartee. While the romance angle is never really convincing (It was outright ludicrous in My Fair Lady and ruined that film for me), Born Yesterday is a charming journey of a woman coming to know about the world around her, and in the process learning to respect herself a little more.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Interview with Richard Shrike - Part 2 of 2

Presented here is the concluding 2nd part of my Skype interview with Richard Shrike, the one-man show behind the epic Moria - Science-Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review (Facebook page), in which we chat about his passion for genre cinema and the website, personal life and future plans. For Part 1 go HERE

Once again, Apologies for deficiencies in the Audio/Video, they are mostly a limitation of Skype and my own incompetence.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

D-Day [dir. Nikhil Advani]

D-Day is the first Nikhil Advani directorial I have sat through. You can't blame me, not fter having burnt my eyes with the crapfest that was Kal Ho Na Ho. Most of his features seemed to be built around the YRF/KJo style and D-Day was never in my horizon at the time it released in cinemas. But now that I've seen it, I find it actually a decent thriller, with some significant flaws.

The film is a fictional account of how covert Indian intelligence tries to secretly abduct a Dawood Ibrahim namesake hiding in Pakistan and conducting illegal operations in India. Now, the interesting story is that at some point before this movie came out, a writer friend called Shatrujeet Nath was shopping the idea of a thriller film / series about extracting Dawood from Pakistan. He had multiple discussions with various industry people, but couldn't get a deal going. It is quite likely that the idea germinated independently with both parties and each takes a different route with that idea, but it's an interesting coincidence. Anyhoo, Shatru did write up his idea as a pretty good thriller novel called The Karachi Deception (originally published in 2013, a few months before D Day's release) and is now more famous as the author of a multi-volume Indian fantasy series called Vikramaditya Veergatha that draws from mythology to present an action packed saga about king Vikramaditya taking on both the Devas and the Asuras in an all-out war to prevent either of them from taking control of the Halahala poison. I've read the first two installments, which were great fun; waiting for the fourth and last book to come out, so that I can go back and finish the series in one go.

Anyhoo, back to Kara..., er, D-Day. It begins with a slickly mounted covert attack where our heroes make their move on the big D (he's called Iqbal / Goldman here, but let's dispense with these allusions). At a cliffhanger point during this assault, the screenplay takes a big leap back to the where it all started. Irrfan Khan plays Indian agent Wali Khan based in Pak since 9 years, waiting for such an opportunity. In this time he even has a Paki family, a wife and child who have no idea of his true identity. This is a wonderful change from the usual depiction of spies as cooler-than-thou James Bond wannabes. When Wali learns that D (Rishi Kapoor, flamboyantly villainous) is going to be personally present at his son's wedding, he signals his superior in India (Nasser) to initiate the extraction mission.

India sends in a Dirty Crew to do the deed, including a RAW agent (Huma Qureshi), a criminal (Aakash Dahiya) and a suspended army officer (Arjun "Kitply" Rampal). This is where D-Day's divided priorities begin to be apparent. On one hand, it wants to be a gritty, realistic thriller, paying great attention to how the spies try to close in on their target and set up their mission. On the other, it wants to be a bicep-flexing bombastic actioner where surly-faced Rampal kick-slams people in slow motion. Considering the delicate nature of the operation, why would Intelligence send a hothead renegade that makes a habit of disregarding orders? There's even a pointless romance tacked on for him (Shruti Haasan as a Paki prostitute). The dichotomy is most jarring in the scene where Rampal realizes that his GF has been 'visited' by the villains. Tracking blood-drops from her door to her bedroom, he mentally recreates the scene of her being bashed around to the tune of a romantic ballad. It's a lovely stylized music video - but it belongs to a different film altogether.

The bulk of the film's goodness comes from Irrfan and Rishi. Their scenes together (if you mentally edit out Rampal) are Bollywood at its best - masaledaar and gripping. Qureshi has a couple of good scenes when she is allowed to emote, especially one where she is talking to her fiancee (a voice-only Rajkummar Rao), as does Shriswara as Wali's Paki wife, but these two are the pillars on which the film stands, and when they go out of the picture, it becomes that less interesting.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Interview with Richard Shrike - Part 1 of 2

For around two decades now, the website Moria - Science-Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Film Review (Facebook page) has proved an invaluable resource for scores of honest reviews, comprehensive recommendations and thoughtfully curated information for genre novices and die-hard fans alike. Behind it all is a single individual - Richard Shrike - who has devoted thousands of man-hours, and continues doing so, towards making it the ultimate guide for connoisseurs of films in these genres.

In a two part interview conducted over Skype, I chat with Richard about his passion for genre cinema and the website, personal life and future plans. Presented here is Part 1 of 2 (Go HERE for Part 2):

(Apologies for deficiencies in the Audio/Video, they are mostly a limitation of Skype, and yes, my own incompetence)