Posts Tagged ‘review’

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.

A detective apprehends a serial killer who after his electric chair execution returns to haunt the police man from the grave.

As a stand alone story, House III: The Horror Show ticks all the 80s horror boxes, practical and optical effects, stunts, rock music and a fitting score by Harry Manfredini.

Just like House II: The Second Story its tame predecessor, producer Sean. S. Cunningham and director James Isaac’s only failing with this instalment is that it’s not really in the spirit of the original House. That’s said, thankfully it’s for the most part a serious offering with A Nightmare on Elm St (1984) tone, Freddy-like quips and a furnace to match. It’s also reminiscent of the Prison (1987) and echoes Wes Craven’s Shocker (1989).

Trying to keep his sanity Lance Henriksen gives one of his best straight performances as Detective Lucas McCarthy. Brion James gives his staple larger than life delivery but with genuine menace and weight as Meat Cleaver Max. Interestingly Day of the Dead’s Terry Alexander briefly appears as Henriksen’s partner Casey and Dedee Pfeiffer encapsulates that 80s brat pack persona as Bonnie McCarthy.

Overall, overlooked House III: The Horror Show has suspense, gore with surreal dreams and splatter effects. Everything a fan of 1980’s horror could want.

On the research station lab on the planet of Xarbia a flesh-eating mutant is loose that feeds on the dwindling scientific group who created it.

With the same vibe as Galaxy of Terror (1981), Roger Corman’s Forbidden World a.k.a Mutant is an excuse for director Allan Holzman to put some cheap icky specimen effects, jumpsuits and scantily clad actresses on screen. It also comes complete with some disco/electronica music from Susan Justin and a little robot called SAM104 who looks as if he should be in sci-fi films Silent Running or Saturn 3.

June Chadwick’s blonde Barb bloody life form encounter scene is short but impressive. Jim Wynorski fingerprints are all over this, Brunette Dawn Dunlap lights up the screen screaming with unnecessary skimpy outfits throughout taking off her clothes whenever the script calls for it. Hammy Fox Harris doctor is entertaining enough, reminiscent of, but predating Brad Dourif’s Alien Resurrection performance. There’s also an interesting desert scene which echoes an episode of Star Trek in terms of style and execution.

Forbidden World is as clunky as some of ‘Subject 20’ effects, editing and dialogue. To its credit and inconsistency aside many scenes are well lighted and a handful of the practical special effects including the cocoon and kills are not too shabby. It’s common knowledge that some sets and footage is recycled from other Corman productions, including Battle Beyond the Stars and Galaxy of Terror but it’s all seamless unless your already privileged to the knowledge as it fittingly looks as if it belongs to this low budget production.

Overall, it’s energetic and amusingly gruesome even if at times for all the wrong reasons.

Two former Texas Rangers are tasked with tracking and killing infamous criminals Bonnie and Clyde.

While it arguably doesn’t capture the period feel like the likes of Once Upon a Time in America, the mystery aspect of the notorious outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow is done wonderfully as director John Lee Hancock follows former Texas Rangers Frank Hamer and Maney Gault who to try and capture the couple.

On the backdrop of disbanding the Rangers and replacing them with a more up-to-date police force as J. Edgar Hoover is doing at a federal level it’s told through the eye’s of the outlaws executioners. Hancock lingers every frame, letting the actors do their thing. Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson are on outstanding form as the haunted ageing lawmen.

There’s many character memorable cinematic moments throughout, Costner purchasing weapons echoing reminiscent of The Terminator, the aged gun slingers echoing Young Guns II old William H. Bonney. Revisiting rusty shooting skills like spaghetti Westerns and more recently ‪Robocop‬ to name a few. Harrelson a functioning alcoholic has some humorous dialogue as well as moments of role play, pretending to be something else to extract information.

The stars of the show is the rapport between the leads Costner and Harrelson (Bonnie and Clyde are the backdrop here) with great costume and set design they light up the screen.

Great entertainment, an excellent fresh perspective on an infamous story.

A man exhumes an ancestor in the house where his parents were killed to stop an evil cowboy who wants to possess a crystal skull.

Friday the 13th’s Sean S. Cunningham in a producer role takes a leaf out of John Carpenter’s Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) as director Ethan Wiley’s offering is not connected in anyway to its predecessor. Wiley delivers a new set up in a Aztec inspired home with a tone closer to that of Weird Science (1985) than House (1985).

Actor Arye Gross as straight laced Jesse and his friend Charlie played by Jonathan Stark have that goof-ball buddies thing going on synonymous with films of that decade. Royal Dano as Gramps, the cowboy zombie and great grandpa of Jesse is memorable.

House the Second Story has a few 80s trappings, it can be a bit disjointed and the acting a little awry at times. But behind every door there is an adventure, a Western town, prehistoric land and an ancient temple. Chris Walas delivers some notable makeup and creature effects designs, namely the caterpuppy, a dead cowboy and stop motion dinosaurs to name a few.

Overall, it’s a bit of fun, don’t expect a sequel to House and House II will be easier to digest.

As the residents of Deadwood commemorate Dakota’s statehood in 1889, saloon owner Al Swearengen and Sheriff Seth Bullock must face a corrupt senator head on when the conflict of a past event resurfaces.

Directed by Daniel Minahan the TV film is a solid continuation, even if condensed, shoehorned into an hour and fifty minute run time. Deadwood’s creator and awarding winning writer David Milch gives some much needed closure to a series which was cut short.

The cast including the likes of Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker, the excellent Dayton Callie (as Charlie Utter), Kim Dickens, Brad Dourif and Paula Malcomson to name a few are on form with excellent performances all round.

As the residents of a now mature Deadwood, complete with railway station gather, the cast past and present do great work on the backdrop of some immersive sets and Reinhold Heil and
Johnny Klimek’s music. Sadly without a few of the cast members who have since passed away in real life (notably Powers Boothe) during the hiatus.

Dan Dority (W. Earl Brown) is slightly under utilised, but given there so much to include in the short running time this is understandable. There’s big hit emotional story beats and after many years, the characters have fittingly slightly altered, notably McShane’s Al Swearengen, now far softer (echoing Al Pacino in Godfather part 3).

In keeping with the series it moves along at the same pace, only it feels bigger production wise. In contrast, Milch’s offering is subtle in some story/character aspects and square on the nose in others. There’s plenty of closure, also refreshingly some ambiguity also remains.

Overall, it’s a mighty fine TV Western movie which ties up story threads nicely. Recommend especially for Deadwood fans.

Four teenagers attending a summer camp lives are changed when aliens attack.

From director of Terminator Salvation and the BabySitter McG offers a tonally awkward affair. I like much of McG’s work, I’m a fan but Rim is colour corrected to space and back, the cast are fine but the script doesn’t fit there ages making it slightly lewd and off putting.

Maybe if Zack Stentz’s dialogue had come from the camp leaders and they had led the adventure or the kids dialogue fit their ages the invasion sci-fi may have faired better as a family film.

There’s CGI aplenty as the kids journey from their camp with an important key to Pasadena, California. With with a regenerating alien, an alien dog reminiscent of Predators and spaceship attacks it echoes Independence Day from the off. The best scenes borrow from better science fictions and oddly the kitchen attack is straight out of Jurassic Park.

Overall, it could have been a family alien adventure with a Goonies/Stranger Things vibe but sadly it comes off as a crude and weird invasion flick with a touch of Porky’s (1981) and Poison Ivy (1985).

SPOILERS!

In the sleepy small town of Centerville, the dead return to life when the earth shifts on its axis.

The Dead Don’t Die has an unprecedented atmosphere of doom and gloom in a small town which captures an odd eerie feel
echoing The Night the Living Dead. However, it’s marred by hanking issues that prevent it becoming what could have been a cult classic.

Jim Jarmusch’s writing decision to break the fourth wall and have the characters talk about the script within the film steals all the novelty from the zany characters and their convincing emotional sentiments. Especially from Cloe Sevigny who gives her deputy believable touching grief. It simply sucks the life out from his solid directing offering.

Adam Driver’s Ronnie and Bill Murray’s Chief Robinson are wonderful as the smalltown law men along with the rest of the cast. Steve Buscemi as a small minded farmer, samurai swinging Tilda Swinton and Danny Glover’s Hank are notable, even if a little wasted. Iggy Pop’s coffee yearning zombie extended cameo is memorable.

As a side note, it’s reminiscent on places of the 2003 Australian film the Undead, including borrowing a wacky alien contact moment. Along with three teens who escape there’s another subplot involving Selena Gomez’s Zoe and her two friends. Neither story threads really pay off, aside from fleshing our Driver’s officer character with Zoe’s demise. This leaves the two separate groups fates slightly wasted and if not moot. That said, the knowing observational hobo in the woods played by Tom Waits strings the film all together.

The make-up effects, Frederick Elmes’ cinematography and location setting is great, even if some CGI is a little iffy. It’s rare for a film to seemingly go out of its way to spoil itself especially when it was so wonderfully setup. It takes away the multiple reward of rewatching value. The abruptness of the ending doesn’t help either.

When it’s being played straight the comedy wit presents itself like the joy of Lake Placid’s satire. But when it’s breaking the fourth wall and trying to be too clever, it stumbles, sadly pulling the carpet from under Driver and Murray’s stellar performances.

Overall, the haphazard script decisions rip the heart of what could have been a contemporary zom-com Return of the Living Dead type classic.