Thursday, November 11, 2010

7 Days (2010) review


Claude Legault (Bruno Hamel), Remy Girard (Herve Mercure), Martin Dubreuil (Anthony Lamaire), Fanny Mallette (Sylvie Hamel), Rose-Marie Coallier (Jasmine Hamel)

Directed by Daniel Grou

The Short Version: Unconscionably brutal revenge thriller told in an artistic fashion. Do not watch if you are in a depressed state, Grou's movie offers nothing in the way of an uplifting experience. Whether you cheer the lead on or not depends on how you feel about capital punishment and the criminals who sometimes go free. A very well made, thought provoking motion picture.

The daughter of a successful working class couple is kidnapped after leaving for school one morning. Later that afternoon, it's learned that their daughter, Jasmine never made it there. The little girls body soon turns up bearing signs she had been brutally beaten and raped before she was murdered. The killer, Anthony Lamaire, is soon caught and it's learned he had already been arrested once for a prior offense, but released due to lack of evidence. Suffering extreme guilt and loss, the girls father, a surgeon, decides to take the law into his own hands by kidnapping her murderer and torturing him in horrible fashion for seven gruelling days.

This Canadian film shot in Quebec is a French language revenge picture that recalls so many similar movies since the genre defining DEATH WISH (1974). But 7 DAYS is quite a bit different despite the familiar trappings and sometimes excruciating brutality. It's told in an artistic fashion often with little in the way of dialog and totally bereft of a musical score. Throughout the entire film, the camera often lingers on a scene, mostly resting on the emotion on an actors face. The camera gets a lot of mileage out of simple facial expressions with little to no oral delivery aside from frequent screaming of the child murderer once Bruno has captured him. It would be difficult for this film to garner an 'R' rating what with the amount of shots of full frontal male nudity. Lamaire is completely naked as Bruno mercilessly tortures him.

Prior to his stealth laden abduction of Lamaire from police custody, Bruno pays one man to help in an elaborate ruse to kidnap the killer and pays another to construct a meticulous device which will be used in his vicious retribution. He's so obsessed with Lamaire, he doles out thousands and thousands of dollars to bring his vendetta to fruition. The crux of Bruno's torment is obviously the callous butchering of his little girl, but what pushes him further into delirium is the notion that this event could have possibly been avoided had he been awake when the school initially called that Jasmine never made it to school.

Both he and his wife struggle with their feeling that one, or both are at fault and if they both had not been doing this, or that, than their daughter may still be alive. Suffering from guilt and willing to throw away all he has accrued throughout his life, the anguished doctor unleashes all his frustrations on Lemaire once he has him strapped to his torture device. The first few days involve brute force perpetrated on the pedophilic killer. The days after that, Bruno puts his medical skills to use in ghastly fashion. The level of violence is exceedingly high during a few sequences, but despite a punishingly gloomy atmosphere, the movie never gets too gory.

Consumed with grief, Bruno lets the cops know his intentions and they are desperate to find his location before the seven days are up, which happens to coincide on what would have been his daughters eighth birthday. It's almost as if the despondent doctor wants to be arrested for the crime he is about to commit. The main detective on the case, Herve Mercure, shares a similar loss with Bruno. His wife was shot dead in cold blood during a convenience store robbery. A few scenes show just how much Herve continues to grieve over this, watching the camera footage of his wife being killed over and over again. He is constantly at war with his own feelings of exacting revenge and his duty as a police officer.

Grou's movie is a fascinating study of the dark side of man that intricately blurs the line between right and wrong. At one point in the movie, Bruno's actions are praised by several people in town. However, one woman who also lost a loved one to Lamaire condemns his actions proclaiming him wrong for what he has done. He becomes so incensed, he then kidnaps this woman and brings her to the isolated cabin and tries to force the hate from her that she, too, felt for Lamaire to once more rise to the surface in the hopes she will exact some revenge of her own.

The presence of a dead deer carcass acts as some form of metaphorical significance possibly linking the dead animal with that of Bruno's deceased daughter. At one point, he takes it out to the middle of a lake and dumps it there only for it to make its way back to the shoreline. Dr. Hamel also feeds his quarry some of the raw meat. Admittedly, there's an area, or two that could have been explored more, but as it is, 7 DAYS (2010) is a gripping, frequently depressing experience. The ending isn't what you'd expect and it, too, raises more questions. While definitely not a movie to watch with the family, it's a thought provoking piece of work for those wishing to explore an alternative to the more derivative form of the cinema of revenge.

This review is representative of the MPI DVD

Cool Ass Comics: Conan Edition!

This is a sampling of some of my CONAN THE BARBARIAN comics including a bonus comic, the first issue of RED SONJA. Some issues are slightly more worn than others, but are still in very good condition

***Click a pic to see a larger image***

CONAN THE BARBARIAN issue 1, October 1970

This first adventure deals with a young Conan in his first battle at Venarium and his joining a band of Aesgaardian mercenaries. Conan also comes face to face with his first duel with the supernatural and later finds himself in a city lorded over by a sorcerer who possesses the 'Star Stone', that enables a look into the past, or future.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN issue 16, July 1972

After a battle in the snow with a group of vikings, Conan chases Atali, a naked siren with flowing blonde tresses and meets the Frost Giants, a cannibalistic clan of warriors. After defeating them, Conan passes out and is found by another group of warriors. Has it all been a dream? A second barbarian story with Starr, the Slayer is entitled 'The Sword & the Sorcerers' and is similar to the Conan tale.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN issue 54, September 1975

Conan is hired by Belzamo, the ruler of Ronnoco to consult an oracle about a forced marriage involving a kidnapped girl. The price to speak with the priestess is an arm. Naturally, Conan disagrees, kills the guard and takes his fancy blade to replace his own. After insulting the skeletal oracle, Conan realizes he cannot leave the grounds and must do battle with a demonic doppleganger.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN issue 139, October 1982

Conan and Pelija, a female companion, are transported to the Isle of the Living Dead to snatch a magical amulet from her father, the wizard, Ishi Lon. In this mystical nightmare world, both Conan and Pelija do battle with the snake people and the gigantic gorgon beast, Ishiti. This is one of my favorite issues and the way Conan defeats Ishiti reminds me of the scene in Deodato's THE BARBARIANS (1987) where the two twins kill a swamp dragon.

Check out the back cover with the Atari game for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.


The first tale is from the days of King Conan and is adapted from Howard's novel, 'The Hour of the Dragon'. The Cimmerian, having been removed from the Aquilonian throne, awakens shackled and in the company of the wizard Xaltotun who wishes to use him in an evil plan. A harem girl, Zenobia, helps King Conan escape the dungeon but not before battling a fang-toothed gorilla. The story is continued in the next issue. The second half is 'Zukala's Daughter', based on 'Zukala's Hour', a poem from Robert E. Howard. This tale was originally published in CONAN number 5.

Marvel Feature Presents: Red Sonja issue 1, November 1975

Red Sonja's first comic adventure entitled 'The Temple of Abomination' where she ends up within a sacrificial temple lorded over by devil worshipping Satyrs. The second half of this issue is an origin tale about Sonja's days as a mercenary and her brief journey with Conan the barbarian.


From Beyond Television: Star Trek--The Naked Time


STAR TREK the original series Season 1 episode 4


Directed by Marc Daniels

The Enterprise respond to a distress call from Psi 2000 and upon landing, discover the research stations life support has been shut off. With no survivors, they find the frozen dead in a most peculiar state. One of them was found taking a shower fully clothed! A member of the landing party inspects further and unwittingly brings back a deadly space bacteria with him aboard the ship. Having an adverse effect on those exposed through a simple touch, the bacteria causes the crew to literally go insane. With the ships engines having been shut down, Kirk must save both his crew and the Enterprise before the ship plummets back into the frozen planets atmosphere.

This is one of the most fondly remembered episodes of the original series. It's also the first of several shows where we get to see some curious toying around with the roles of some of the main cast, most particularly Spock. Both he and Kirk get into a slight scuffle at the end. One of several brief fights over the course of the three season run. There's also a hint that Kirk desires Yeoman Janice Rand, something that comes to the fore in the next episode, 'The Enemy Within'.

"Attention cooks, this is your Captain speaking. I would like double portions of ice cream for the entire crew. And now, your Captain will render an ancient Irish favorite...'I'll take you home again, Kathleeeeennnn....!"

Easily the most hilariously memorable role on this episode is Bruce Hyde as Kevin Thomas Riley. The character appeared in one other episode, but this one is the best. Upon exposure to the disease, Riley turns into this playfully dangerous, devil-may-care irritant who single-handedly puts the entire ship in mortal danger after locking himself in the engineering room and forcing everyone aboard to listen to his rendition of 'Kathleen' over and over, suggesting the women wear their hair "loosely about their shoulders", and announces a dance in the "bowling alley".

"Lieutenant Uhura, you've interrupted my song. Uh, I'm sorry, but there'll be no ice cream for you tonight...And now, crew...I shall render "Kathleen" more TIME!"

It's a totally bonkers performance and one that warrants numerous viewings in addition to the other craziness going on. Stewart Moss as Joey, the one who unknowingly brings the space bacteria aboard the Enterprise, also played Hanar in the overly violent ST episode, 'By Any Other Name'. He also appeared in 70's horror movies like the groovy DOCTOR DEATH: SEEKER OF SOULS (1973) and the goofy THE BAT PEOPLE (1974).

George Takei gets to run around brandishing a rapier reliving something out of an old Errol Flynn movie. He gets a bit excited on the bridge which prompts Spock to incur one of those always welcome Vulcan Nerve Pinches. Meanwhile, fights break out all over the ship, others act totally pleased with themselves while others such as Nurse Chapel reveals her intimate feelings for Spock. The Vulcan himself, fights against letting his human side ascend to the surface. Even when the disease is contained, the Enterprise is far from out of trouble. It turns out Riley had shut down the engines and their 30 minute restart is impossible in the amount of time before the ship crashes back into the atmosphere of Psi 2000. Kirk and Scotty are forced to test a scientific theory in order to save the ship and its crew.

What this episode does most brilliantly is showing the Enterprise in peril, yet making it hilarious at the same time. The script, like so many of the original series, allows for so much character development allowing the viewer a look into the thoughts of some of the secondary roles on the show and also those of the main cast. We get a glimpse of Christine Chapel's love for Spock as well as Kirk's love for his ship. All in all, it's a great episode, one of many and one of the most fun out of its 79 episode run.


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