Archive for July, 2019

SPOILERS!

When a faulty Kaslan Buddi doll is returned to a store due to its red eyes, a mother gives it to her 13-year-old son as an early birthday present unaware of its potentially evil nature.

Directed by Lars Klevberg the Child’s Play remake is a crowd pleaser with a handful of over the top Saw, Friday the 13th, Halloween, Puppet Master-like gory graphic kills.

Tyler Burton Smith’s writing is only novel if you’ve not seen advanced the tech toys in Small Soldiers or integrated App controlling in Terminator Genisys to name a few. Here the A.I. Buddi doll from Kaslan Cooperation has been reprogrammed and it’s safety restrictions removed by a disgruntled Vietnamese worker who shortly after commits suicide. Later after bonding with Andy the ‘learning’ Chucky goes on an over protective rampage.

Smith borrows heavily from Joe Dante’s aforementioned Soldiers and Don Mancini’s Cult of Chucky especially in the closing where Chucky takes control of a variety of toys and the latest line of Buddi Dolls.

As Chucky slashes and stabs his (preferred way of killing) way through the paper thin plot (gone is the supernatural voodoo aspect of the original) Smith also throws in an E.T., Goonies group of kids which also echoes the popular Stranger Things to cover all bases. The cat versus Chucky feels a little too nasty. In addition, the Texas Chainsaw gag and skin mask nod is so outlandish and early on in the film, it steals any real credence to the derivative proceedings. The pervert in the basement is a mashup straight out of Hardware and The Resident.

Mark Hamill is fine as the voice of Chucky, complete with a well delivered catchy Buddi song. Hamill offers a serial killer calm and sinister edge to Chucky but arguably he’s less menacing than his predecessor Brad Dourif. Gabriel Bateman’s Andy Barclay is solid enough even if reminiscent of the child in The Predator but never is truly fearful of Chucky even after finding his mom’s boyfriend’s face. Through no fault of actor Aubrey Plaza as Karen Barclay, the slutty mom thing stops you really caring for the character. Likeable Brian Tyree Henry’s Detective Mike Norris feels wasted. The death of his mother is too circumstantial for you to buy into his brief investigations.

While this 2019 unoriginal version is well put together, briskly paced with great effects, Klevberg vision doesn’t have the weight, wit or tension of the original Child’s Play. It’s feels like a studio property money making exercise (that it does successfully) for the common denominator and demographics. Nevertheless, it’s worth watching once if only for the Hamill and the FX.

SPOILERS!

Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must come to terms with loss, first love and team up with a new superhero to take on new elemental threats while on vacation.

Director Jon Watts delivers one of the best Marvel sequels, more impressively, one of the best Marvel films in my subjective book. This is cemented by Michael Giacchino’s music. Oddly, the characters are so endearing due to Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers’ character writing and one liners that at times it almost doesn’t need the big action setups.

Watts and crew capture much of comics tone and thanks to Tom Holland’s performance that hones Peter Parker’s teenage years perfectly it makes it a joy to watch. Again, not since Nicholas Hammond’s 1970’s stint has an actor echoed Parker in a likeable fashion. For fans (and those of a certain age) Far from Home also goes back not just to the original comics by including Mysterio but brings back memories of the 1960s cartoon.

Although elements of plot feel a little recycled from Iron Man 3 there’s enough comic rapport, teen romance and superhero action for it to have its own legs. This MCU addition hit’s home especially thanks to the top returning cast that offers character development and expanding relationships. Although lacking the vocal gravitas for Quentin Beck a.k.a Mysterio the master of trickery and illusion, Jake Gyllenhaal is a great addition to the cast offering plenty of weight.

It goes out of it way to address the five year ageing issue that Endgame caused. It’s a pity it wasn’t more of a stand-alone film. Hopefully with Fox now under Disney/Marvel Spider-Man can be reunited with the X-Men for the first time.

There’s a mid and post credit scene, the first which reveals Spider-Man’s true identity and (while not bringing into cannon) is a nod of sorts to Sam Raimi’s outings by including J.K Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson. The second puts a twist on Far from Homes events and connects the outing to Captain Marvel with a Ben Mendelsohn cameo.

Overall, as with many of the Marvel outings it may not have rewatch longevity, but it certainly is fun, has heart and is more enjoyable than many of its predecessors. A must see for Spidey fans.

An expedition to Saturn’s moon Titan uncovers an alien being that stalks corporate rivals from the U.S.A and Germany.

In the vein of producer Roger Corman’s Galaxy of Terror (1981) and Forbidden World (1982) director William Malone’s
Creature arguably is better put together than the latter thanks to Bette Jane Cohen’s editing, lighting and set design. Essentially Malone’s American science fiction horror film is another rip-off of Ridley Scott’s classic Alien (1979) and is also reminiscent of Life Force which was released the same year.

As expected Klaus Kinski b-movie master walks his pompous Hans Rudy Hofner role. Nevertheless, the female actors out shine their male counterparts in terms of performances. Lead Wendy Schaal is on her game along with Twin Peaks classic styled blonde
Annette McCarthy, Diane Salinger does a V-like Jane Badler’s Diana,
however, striking Marie Laurin steals the show with screen presence, even if unnecessary naked at times.

Malone offers some smokey space atmosphere assisted by Thomas Chase and Steve Rucker’s music. The director does his best with the confines of the budget plus his and Alan Reed’s own script limitations, even borrowing some Star Wars’ sound effects.

There’s a handful of decent gore, make up and special effects work by Robert and Dennis Skotak (who incidentally went on to work on Aliens the following year). In addition the above average space costume design predates Total Recall (1990).

Overall, it’s worth watching once even if out of FX interest.