Review: Trash (UK/Brazil: 2014): The proletarian adventure movie comes to Brazil.

Trash (2014)

Trash (2014)

While Stephen Daldry’s action/adventure film set in the the poverty stricken slums captures the energetic spirit of Andy Mulligan’s young adult novel, adults may be less than thrilled by the story while its content may lead it to be rated outside the reach of its intended audience. Still, the performances of the novice lead actors make it worth seeking out even if it never gets a US release.

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White God (Hungary: 2014): a familiar tale, this time with dogs

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A Hungarian Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Kornél Mundruczó’s White God tells an allegory about betrayal, oppression and revenge, but also the durability of the bonds that form between pets and their caretakers. Canine lead Hagen walks away with this one, conveying surprising emotional depth for a newbie actor.

Rating:

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Kung Fu Jungle (Hong Kong: 2014): Classic Fighting Film with Cameos Galore

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Teddy Chen goes old-school in this martial arts detective story starring Donn Yen. The fighting is intense and the special effects muted in this story about a former martial arts champion released from prison to help capture a serial killer. An homage to the one-on-one Hong Kong action films of the past, Kung Fu Jungle is filled with dozens of cameo performances from the action stars of the past four decades.

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Hwayi: A Monster Boy (Korea: 2013): Joon-Hwan Jang Returns with A Vengeance

Yun-seok Kim educates Jin-Goo Yeo

Yun-seok Kim educates Jin-Goo Yeo

Ten years after his flamboyant debut, director Joon-Hwan Jang steps out with a much tighter and straightforward crime saga. While it isn’t Save the Green Planet II, Hwayi stacks up well against other Korean vengeance thrillers. In a genre crowded with first rate films over the past decade, Hwayi shows that there can always be room for another.

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Kundo: Age of the Rampant (Korea: 2014)

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Jung-woo Ha: the clear-eyed, incorruptible, horse-hung butcher for justice.

Jung-woo Ha and Dong-won Kang shine in this period-action film about a clash of two men cast aside by Joeseon society. Director Jong-bin Yoon pulls Kundo together from a mix of styles, heavy on the Spaghetti western, but true to contempory Korean martial arts action. Overall, the film stays light and fun, but the slow exposition over the 137 minute run time keeps this good film from greatness.

Rating

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Kingsman: The Secret Service (USA: 2015): Guess who wins the tournament? Yeah, it’s the hero.

Colin Firth and Taron Egerton

Colin Firth and Taron Egerton

Matthew Vaughn returns to familiar territory with Kingsman. With violence and a sexual reference guaranteed to earn an R-rating, but a story clearly aimed a teens, one wonders if the whole project was worth the effort.

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