Meet the Evil Jade Executioner! “Red Nights” review!

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“Red Nights” is not exactly a new film. Being released in 2010, the erotic, giallo-inspired, thriller has only been available for DVD purchase in the Belgium market while Germany has the sole blu-ray edition. With much anticipation, Philadelphia based company Breaking Glass Pictures will be bringing “Red Nights” to DVD in the States in all it’s suspenseful and bloody glory.

The ancient box of the Jade Executioner has become the fascination of everyone’s desires. From crooked politicians, to thieves, to sadomasochistic murderers, the box contains a poison that will increase your pleasure by ten fold while leaving you completely paralyzed and increase your pain by the same amount. This twisted tale with a sexual aura constructs a cat-and-mouse game between two femme fatales, Catherine – who just wants a giant pay day for the box and Carrie Chan – who wishes to use the poison for the ultimate pleasure from pain, while a Manau crime lord embarks on a mission to retrieve back his stolen antique box.
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This is the first feature length film from French directors Laurent Courtiaud and Julien Carbon and while “Red Nights” looks beautiful on screen – the shot scenes remind me the Wachowski brother’s Noir film “Bound” – the story can be a bit loose and slow at first. The By the end of act one, “Red Nights” really pick up the pieces and the story of how Frédérique Bel’s character Catherine, a personal assistant to the crooked politician Savini, becomes snared in a web of deadly game with Carrie Chan – played by Hong Kong actress Carrie Ng – and in this game, minor players get a slow and painful death which translates very well to screen and relates very precisely to the character’s personas. Carrie is a sadist who can whip a dry martini while skinning you alive. Catherine is a bit more hesitant but her greed can force her hand to kill.
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The gory effects are surprisingly realistic for a pair of visual effects crew members – Jam Abelanet and Bertrand Levallois – who don’t have much horror and thriller film credits behind their names. This goes hand and hand with how I described the first time directors and how the crew of “Red Nights” got it right the first time. Where the film lost me a many of times was the back and forth dialect of French, Chinese, and a little bit of English thrown in there for good measure. As much as I like a foreign film to use their native tongue, it’s hard to follow when a conversation between a Chinese actress who speaks in full Chinese and then the French actress retorts in full French. “Red Nights” would not make a good Rosetta Stone substitute.
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Carrie Ng creates a fascinating character in Carrie Chan, a respectable, world renowned perfume designer and model. Chan’s dark side involves tight leather, bondage ropes, and razor sharp metallic finger talons that shred skin like shredding a block of cheese. Carrie Ng is lustfully sleek and sexy with her bad girl image that suites her well. Frédérique Bel couldn’t compare to Ng’s prowlness nor clean good looks, but I have to give Bel credit for making her character Catherine a sneaky and aggressive go getter. Maybe the issue was in the script’s writing, but Catherine seemed to lack a lot of intelligence for being in a game that could cost her her life. Catherine trusted everyone too easily and let people go too quickly without any kind of punishment or pain.
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While “Red Nights” won’t break the DVD retail shelf bank, I’m still glad Breaking Glass Pictures and Vicious Circle Films are releasing this foreign gem to the masses of ‘Merica. And while I appreciate every aspect of this film from the director’s inspiration of Giallo genre to the histories of Chinese folklore, I can’t see my country men going crazy over a Chinese girl with finger blades. However, the story for Carrie Chan might speak more to horror enthusiast in that the Jade Executioner’s poison is similar to the box in Hellraiser. The box is described to show you the pleasures of pain much like the poison in “Red Nights.” Lets also not forget that Japanese porn actress Kotone Amamlya and French actress Carole Brana do a bit of nudity as well – click to see my skin page here. Come Tuesday October 21st, DVD will be readily available for purchase, but why wait? Pre-order your copy of a unique thriller with hints of gruesome horror torture!

Judgment of Evil Looks: “Blackbird” review!

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Columbine. Your first thought? I bet your first thought is a Columbine high school massacre of 15 students and teachers in April of 1999. Two armed to the teeth individuals walk into a school wearing trench coats and black clothing giving the look of Goth a bad name and forever giving the once questionably fashionable outfit of the early nineties stigma of hate, anger, revenge, and murderous intentions. The film “Blackbird” explores what happens when fear takes over a community because a Goth 15 year old boy makes insubstantial threats among his peers. His life is forever changed because he dresses the part of historical mass murders and lives in a cycle of despair because his right to freedom of speech is revoked by just a few expressive words written on a blog.
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Sean is an outcast. His black, satanic laden clothing, thrash metal music, and pacifist persona make him an easy target for popular kids, say the entire hockey all star team. When popular hottie Deanne shows interest in Sean’s life, the angst of high school becomes more of a burden upon Sean’s shoulders Deanne’s boyfriend threatens him. Sean’s counter threats go public and he is thrown into youth detention center by a community who fears a school-shooting massacre. From then on, Sean is force to conform and lie about who he really is and tries to regain his dignity and self from in and out of jail and in a community that fears him.
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Bravo writer-director Jason Buxton for producing a freshman film that is powerfully anecdotal, well performed by young actors, and well down in a production sense. Lead actor Connor Jessup serves as a force driven by his bottle emotions in the character of Sean. Jessup, who might remember as from TNT’s sci-fi series Falling Skies, harks up being a gothic pacifist as if he was one himself. Another stand out actor is Alex Ozerov as the relentless youth detention center bully Trevor. These two actors, plus a just as equivalently strong cast with Alexia Fast and Michael Bule, represent a strong contingency of intermediate Canadian actors that need more international exposure.
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While Blackbird doesn’t rely on major effects, the captivating storytelling is worth the price of admission. There are numerous underlying issues in Blackbird that are current in today’s world which makes this film so compelling and interesting. Topics like bullying, being true to yourself, high school shootings, parenting, and the broken court system are just a few of many touched upon and exploited for our own good. We, as people, can learn a lot from Blackbird. We can all relate to being bullied and being the bully and facing all the consequences in between.
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This multiple festival award winner is being released on VOD platforms and on DVD home entertainment by Breaking Glass Pictures on October 21st here in the States. This release should be a big win for Breaking Glass and a big win for whomever goes and grabs a copy.