Tuesday 10 September 2019

The Current Cinema - John Snadden tracks down two films under the radar DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE (S. Craig Zahler, USA) and NE ZHA ( Yu Yang, China)

Editor's Note: Since this review was published David Stratton has sent through a note to say: Dear Mr G
I’ve just noticed that a certain John Snadden favourably reviews DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE and says that it’s a film ‘our dinosaur media has seen fit to ignore.’  He should be advised that I gave the film a lengthy 4-star review in The Weekend Australian on August 24-25.  I also wrote about the film from the 2018 Venice Film Festival.  


Another tale of two excellent films which our dinosaur media has seen fit to ignore.
Dragged Across Concrete is the latest pic from S. Craig Zahler (Bone Tomahawk, Brawl in Cell Block 99) which features two big name stars Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn as long serving inner-city detectives who for different reasons set out to rob a small time drug dealer. 

Zahler builds and sustains suspense exceptionally well as we watch the officers cross the line and then find themselves unable to go back. A long violent sequence which takes place in a hollowed out industrial estate has the fervid atmosphere of a Jim Thompson narrative, as the main players begin to spiral out of control when fear and greed become the driving forces of the film. 
For a tough, visceral crime movie it's not overly violent and the most disturbing moments are implied. Definitely a film for the cineastes and genre buffs.
Ne Zha is an animated film from mainland China which has been cleaning up big time at box-offices worldwide - Melbourne is no exception. 
The story is culled from Chinese mythology and the title character is like a human version of the infamous Monkey King. Non-Asian viewers shouldn't try too hard to follow the convoluted story-line. 
Ne Zha is a smart mouthed, bad tempered demon in a human's body. He's also a pawn in a power struggle between heaven and earth and the shackled monsters of the underworld. He has a goofy protector and a doting mother and father, who all try to keep him on the straight and narrow - a full-time job! 
For most of the pic the animation is nothing special and won't have Disney executives losing sleep. But the final 30 minutes is in a class of its own as the sky darkens and the demons from the underworld are unleashed. Fire, thunder and ice are the weapons of choice in this protracted and stunning End of Days conflagration. 
Although, midway through this sequence the film deliberately stops for a prolonged fart joke - and where the kids in the audience roared their approval! Then the battle continues....
Ne Zha is a movie carefully aimed at the young at heart - no matter what your age.

Editor's Note: Don Groves reported in Inside Film this week:"Distributed by CMC, Chinese director/co-writer Yu Yang’s fantasy/adventure Ne Zha conjured up $188,000 in its third, raising the total to an impressive $1.8 million."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.