"Broken (2006)" British Torture Porn That's Rusty and Dull


Not to be confused with the other film called "Broken" I reviewed back in April of this year.  This "Broken" was released by Dimension Extreme back in 2006 at the height of the torture porn craze.  Riding the coattails of the "Saw" and "Hostel" Movies, this low budget British import is all kinds of nasty, but in the end is not all that interesting.  The film is also supposedly based on a true story. 

Like a lot of horror movies were given a gruesome opening scene that gives you a taste of what's to come.  We are then introduced to Hope (quite the metaphorical name), a young woman out on a date having a good time.  She returns home to say goodnight to her 6-year-old daughter and goes to sleep only to wake up buried underground.  The story is then structured into days she is held captive by a mysterious psychopath.  After Day 2 she is dug up and tied to a tree, similar to another victim from the opening scene.  A razor blade has been sewn up in her abdomen leaving her no choice but to dig it out and cut her self free from the tree. The make-up and effects are supremely disgusting all through the film and are the main reason to watch it in the first place.  Unfortunately, like a lot of horror movies, the story and characters are weak and poorly drawn.  The plot is very thin and predictable with only the final scenes being somewhat original.

The unnamed male psychopath takes his victims into the woods and sets up camp.  He chains Hope to a tree and trains her to be his slave but not in any sexual way.  After a few days, he tests her loyalty and another few times she tries to escape but all things lead back to the camp and Hope being physically and mentally beaten and abused.  About 10 days in the Man brings back another girl, a teenager who won't stop whining and crying, she really tests the viewer's patience.  This is kind of strange in that you really want the girl to die just so she would shut the hell up.  The man does get fed up with her and cuts her tongue out.  It's only a matter of time before the women hatch a plan to escape and the Man's reign of terror come to an end.  Like I mentioned before the ending is a little different than what you'd expect, as it takes an extremely cruel twist in the spirit an extremely cruel movie.

Peter Dinklage Shines in the "Station Agent"


One of the great independent films of 2003 and one of my personal favorites, "The Station Agent" introduces us to the exceptionally talented Peter Dinklage.  Although upon first impression most people will only notice his 4 foot 5 inch frame, his deeply brooding and thoughtful performances rival any actor working today. 

Finbar McBride, or Fin, is a solitary man who works at a hobby shop repairing and working with model trains.  One day his friend and the store's owner Henry falls over dead, presumably of a heart attack.  Fin is lost in despair, Henry, however, has left him a small but abandoned depot station to him in his will.  With nothing tying him down Fin moves into to the Newfoundland depot station.  Just across the way is an oddly placed food truck called Gorgeous Franks and its lone operator Joe, played by Bobby Cannavale.  Joe is a friendly and energetic man who's intrigued by Fin arrival.  Although not looking to make friends Fin eventually comes around and allows him to hang around with him.  Also upon arrival Fin has a few run-ins with Olivia, played by Patricia Clarkson.  She doesn't make that good a first or second impression for that matter as she almost runs him over with her car, twice.  Olivia is a friendly but slightly frantic, painter who is separated from her rich husband, Joe, however, has had his eye on her for quite some time.

Writer and director Tom McCarthy creates this world for these characters that are based in small-town reality.  Fin has a number of encounters with a curious little African American girl as well as a possible girlfriend in the form of the young and beautiful librarian, played by Michelle Williams.  Although the heart of the story is the relationship between the three friends Fin, Joe, and Olivia.  All are damaged in their own way and looking for something real.  Finn fights with loneliness and alienation, while the return of Olivia's husband throws her life into an angry spiral.  Joe is full of life and charisma but misses his son, who lives with his mother. "The Station Agent" is a wonderful film, skillfully acted on all fronts with a deeply heartfelt story of a marginalized man trying to find his place in the world.

Although a lot of people now know Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister on "Game of Thrones", please take a moment to watch "The Station Agent". 

"Shaun of the Dead" The Best Zombie Comedy Ever Made!


It has been nearly 10 years since the release of one of the greatest zombie movies ever made.  This film started the infectious zombie craze that still lingers today.  I'm talking about Edgar Wright's "Shaun of the Dead" starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.  A cult fanboy film from the start "Shaun's" mix of dry British humor and graphic zombie violence has made its claim as one of the best.  Its a romantic comedy with zombies.  It's a buddy picture with zombies.  It's many things to many people, but above all, it's just a fun movie.

Simon Pegg plays Shaun, a regular guy who likes nothing more than to spend time with his friends at the local pub called The Winchester.  His best mate is Ed an overweight and crude but harmless schlub who has been friends with Shaun since primary school.  Liz is Shaun's way too hot girlfriend who is fed up with their stale and predictable relationship.  Shaun also lives with his older and more put together brother who tells him to "Get your shit together!".   Shaun works as a supervisor at an electronics store with a bunch of unmotivated chowder heads who don't pay any attention to him or what he has to say.  To round out Shaun's circle of people is his kind but spacey mum and cold and stern stepfather Phillip, played by Bill Nighy.

After a long night of drinking at the Winchester, Shaun's usual surroundings start to look a little off. Unknown to him and Ed it seems that the zombie apocalypse has struck.  It's kind of hard to notice these things when everybody acts like zombies in their everyday lives.  Shaun and Ed finally come to the conclusion that something is not right and hatch a plan to rescue their friends and family and find a safe place to wait out this annoying apocalypse thing.  The premise is simple but extremely well done.   The script is packed with several memorable one-liners and gags that make it fun for multiple viewings.

With their true to life characters and the smart insightful dialogue, filmmaker Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, seem to be channeling Kevin Smith and his debut film "Clerks".  Along with 2007's "Hot Fuzz" and 2013's "The World's End," these three films created the "Cornetto Trilogy". A Cornetto being an ice cream cone something like a Drumstick, that appears in each film.  If it isn't already obvious "Shaun" is a movie that should be bought and watched regularly.