So far, I’ve looked back at my favorite blockbuster and newer horror viewing experiences of the year, so now it’s time to talk about action flicks! In 2017, I discovered some underrated movies in this department, saw some way more well-known ones, dipped into a few new genres and even marathoned the films of a particular 80s and 90s action icon!
Several years back I realized that a lot of strange little movies that I really enjoyed were all distributed by Magnet Releasing. They’re behind Murder Party, Timecrimes, Not Quite Hollywood, Return To Sleepaway Camp, Ong-Bak 2 and 3, District B-13: Ultimatum, the amazing Universal Solider: Day Of Reckoning and many more. In a lot of ways it felt like stumbling across a really cool indie record label that just kept putting out entertainment you wanted to shove in your brain. So, I started following them on Twitter and got pretty excited when they started hyping a sci-fi film called Europa Report. I didn’t know much about it aside from the fact that it featured a small cast in a spaceship traveling somewhere where something bad happened. I also heard it was mostly found footage.
It was that latter piece of information that put me off of the film for a while even after it appeared on Netflix Instant. I’m glad I finally did watch it because this film by director Sebastián Cordero and writer Philip Gelatt really is great. The title refers to Europa One, a ship heading to Jupiter’s moon of the same name to explore its icy surface. The crew consists of William Xu (Daniel Wu), James Corrigan (Sharlto Copley), Daniel Luxembourg (Christian Camargo), Katya Petrova (Karolina Wydra), Andrei Blok (Michael Nyqvist) and Rosa Dasque (Anamaria Marinca). All of the footage is from a cameras either mounted or on board the ship (or on their persons in the event of leaving the ship) and is presented as a kind of documentary about what happened with the ship. So, with that set-up, we know something bad is going to happen and it’s just a matter of finding out exactly what it is.
But, there are several tricks played on the audience that actually worked really well. I didn’t even mind the fact that this is in the vein of my least favorite kind of film — found footage/mockumentary — because it actually makes sense why there are so many cameras around and also why someone would be watching this footage (something that I can’t say for something like The Zombie Diaries).
If you are interested in checking out this film, I recommend just jumping right in. Like I said above, I didn’t know anything about it, so I just went in with very basic information and a lot of assumptions, like that, being a space film, there would probably be some scary aliens. Without knowing if that was actually going to happen or not, I found myself fully absorbed as the crew dwindled towards the end of the film and we got a look at exactly what was going to happen. With that in mind, go out and watch Europa Report!
Spike Lee’s re-interpretation of Oldboy is set to hit theaters in a few months, so expect to see a lot of ads floating around both online and more traditional media in the near future. A website called Hotel Oldboy has all kinds of posters extolling the virtues of Josh Brolin’s abode as well as a clip featuring Samuel L. Jackson delivering a less-than-hopeful message.
Here’s the official synopsis:
Oldboy is a provocative, visceral thriller that follows the story of an advertising executive (Josh Brolin) who is abruptly kidnapped and held hostage for 20 years in solitary confinement. When he is inexplicably released, he embarks on an obsessive mission to discover who orchestrated his bizarre and torturous punishment only to find he is still trapped in a web of conspiracy and torment.
Oldboy, which also stars Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, Lance Reddick and Michael Imperioli, opens on November 27th. Are you ready for your stay?