Posts Tagged ‘reviews’
Tags: Aaron Poole, Brian Cox, Donald Sutherland, Forsaken, Jon Cassar, Kiefer Sutherland, Michael Wincott, movies, review, reviews, western
Tags: Bill Murray, Chris Hemsworth, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, film review, Ghostbusters 2016, Ghosterbusters, ghosts, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, paranormal, Paul Feig, review, reviews, Sigourney Weaver, supernatural
A group of varied personalities form a paranormal company in order to catch ghosts and save New York City.
Based on Ivan Reitman’s “Ghost Busters” written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis without drawing any comparisons to the 1984 classic, Ghostbusters 2016 is 116m 28s of stylish sleek fun. Ghostbusters writers Katie Dippold and Paul Feig interestingly bring the team together with clean cut modern cinematic swagger. Feig, director of 2015’s Spy, turns his hand effortlessly to an effects driven comedy friendship rework.
With a Disney Haunted Mansion-like opening with a genuine jump scare, to animated mannequins and joy riding ghosts (including Slimer), there’s plenty of ectoplasm on display (that appears to follow) the excellent cast, especially Kristen Wiig’s Gilbert. Haunted by a paranormal encounter as a child, Gilbert who’s co-written ghost book loses her job when a ghost encounter video goes viral. Wiig along with kooky hot engineer Holtzmann played by Kate McKinnon light up the screen (no pun intended) and soup loving Melissa McCarthy’s Abby Yates and Leslie Jones’ subway worker Tolan provide the comedy backbone.
While the scripted comedy doesn’t go for subtle wit, with some physical gags its mostly more on the nose comedy, infused with pop culture references, including Ghost and The Exorcist to name a few, it genuinely has its laugh out loud moments, Feig even throws in a fart joke for good measure. There’s lots of chuckles to be had, many come from Gilbert’s and Yates former, later rekindled friendship. Feig offers excellent set-ups and set pieces as proton packed armed they go about busting spooks in a rock concert (where Ozzy Osbourne cameos), the city street and subway at one point using some new toys. There are many memorable moments, a scene where they run some tests like Peter Parker trying out his web, along with a moment where Holtzmann goes all Clint Eastwood western to name a few. McCarthy and Jones’ comedy timing is impeccable, with smart Wiig and wacky genius McKinnon bouncing off wonderfully – firmly stamping their mark. But overtly focal Chris Hemsworth sends his persona up somewhat as dim witted eye candy Kevin and steals many of the best moments.
As the team discover there’s a disturbed bell boy Rowan North (Neil Casey) amplifying paranormal activity in New York, during a carnival of phantoms we get to see the Marshmallow Man in balloon form and a pilgrim ghost take on the team. If anything the excellent CGI spirits on occasion are more spectral beings rather than the departed traditional dead, there’s a giant Gremlin-like flying creature and holographic like ghouls trapped in mirrors. Ghostbusters moves along at breakneck speed, and while the main bad guy may lack weight and grit thankfully this is counteracted by the genuine likable and watchable main cast.
While the CGI may lack that Indiana Jones/Poltergeist 80’s optical feel. The colourful ghost effects on display – reminiscent of The Frighteners, Beetle Juice and akin to the original second outing, along with the Ghostbuster (universe) cartoons, comics etc. have a charm of their own. At one time their Ghostbuster logo literally appears animated when Rowan mocks the team prior to him trying to destroy the city in a vortex, which lucky for the insurance company leaves little, if any mess. There are some fridge logic moments – why build a containment unit if you can just zapping the spooks into slimey gloop, unless it’s to study, either way I’m sure Ghostbuster aficionados will be able to explain.
There’s an array of welcomed cameos for series fans from the likes of Ernie Hudson, as the undertaker Bill and uncle of Tolan, to Bill Murray, in a surprising extended cameo as Martin Heiss, who accuses the Ghostbusters of being fraudsters. Dan Aykroyd, has an excellent brief appearance as the all knowing cab driver. Even Annie Potts appears as a hotel desk clerk, snapping the crowning, “What do you want?” Andy Garcia shows up as the Teflon Mayor and humorously loses it when he is compared to the Mayor in Jaws. While Charles Dance’s small role is fittingly cast as Gilbert’s uptight University Dean.
Feig offers along with the familiar theme tune supernatural hijinks and enough jump scare frights to give the youngsters the heebie jeebies. Dedicated to Harold Ramis, stick around for some end credit antics plus a post credit scene where Sigourney Weaver briefly appears as Holtzmann’s mentor Rebecca Gorin and the team discovers the name Zuul for the fist time, setting it up for a sequel.
Overall, with the controversial backlash and odd marketing now in the grave, as with any kind of rework comparisons will be made, taking my nostalgia glasses off, as a film in its own right, it’s spectre-tacular fun and comes recommend.
Tags: Guy Pearce, James Mather, Lockout, Lockout Review, Luc Besson, Maggie Grace, movie, movies review, reviews, sci-fi, science fiction, Stephen St. Leger
Lockout is a straightforward, entertaining, sci-fi actioner that proves Guy Pearce can turn his hand to just about anything.
Tags: 1995, Film, Haunted, Horror, James Herbert, Lewis Gilbert, reviews
Based on James Herbert’s 1988 novel Haunted and the character of David Ash who appears in several of Herberts books this is a old fashion ghost story directed by veteran director Lewis Gilbert. Without drawing comparisons/differences to the book Timothy Prager, Bob Kellett and Lewis Gilbert’s adaptation is creepy enough and at the time of its release the twist was still pretty fresh. Nevertheless, it shares many elements with The Woman in Black novel/film and The Others (2001) based on The Turn of the Screw (1898) to name a few.
The few effects are sufficient but it works better when practical and old fashion camera tricks are used. Due to the period setting it is reminiscent of an Agatha Christie Poirot/ Miss Marple outing but this adds to the charm of Gilberts vision. The film is wonderfully shot, exteriors, internal sets of Edbrook House, cottages, train stations and outhouse are nicely recreated/utilised. There is a crisp bygone British ambiance which add to the 1928 backdrop and makes the ghostly goings-on more palatable.
Given the small main cast ensemble it’s an achievement it retains the viewers attention throughout. The film presents David Ash with a clean-cut image that Aidan Quinn executes with ease. The interaction with his sister is heart-warming and his decent into the supernatural or madness is subtlety convincing. Christina Mariell played by Kate Beckinsale handles the range of immaturity, sensuality and manipulation fittingly. Beckinsale is on put on show here, naked portraits, love making and skinny dipping – surprisingly it avoids gratuitousness thanks to the filming, performance and the tales framework. Both brothers are adequately portrayed with Anthony Andrews having an edge over his co-star Alex Lowe who delivers the jump scares . Notable are actors John Gielgud’s Dr. Doyle and Anna Massey who in retrospect both emote some perfect reactions given the context of the ominous story.
Haunted delivers some chilling moments but not enough investigation and too many false scares. That said, it’s an entertaining traditional ghost yarn with a touch of class.
Tags: Bargain Bin Film Bait Devils and Sharks, film review, film reviews, Horror, review, reviews, Shark Night, Shark Night 3D, The Devil Inside
Tags: blade runner, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Woman, Dead and Buried, dead people, Dellamorte Dellamore, film reviews, Films, Horror, horror films, I Spit on Your Grave, Let's Scare Jessica to Death, Messiah of evilI, movie review, movies, reviews, The House of the Devil, Valhalla Rising
There are films that are great, timeless and classic.Then there films that have an edge and atmosphere that resonates and stays with you. For me there is many and I’ll start with this handful. Some you’ll want to visit again and some you wont, they are a good and bad selection but one thing they have in common is that they ooze atmosphere.
Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971)
A disturbed woman recently released from a mental institute has various nightmarish experiences. She becomes further disturbed after moving to an old farmhouse on a Connecticut island with her husband and friend where they meet a mysterious squatter.
Let’s Scare Jessica to Death is a 1971 low budget gem, possibly the foundation or inspiration for many horror films that followed. It’s skillful directed by John D. Hancock who creates a foreboding atmospheric horror, with chills and spills.
The supporting cast are notable and Zohra Lampert plays the lead role of Jessica admirably, with emotional range and depth. In addition, Mariclare Costello is excellent as the creepy lodger Emily.
It suffers slightly from some 70’s film trappings, the intrusive use of the score, choppy editing and the sound is a little off but these are only small distractions, and to the movies credit it doesn’t look like a low budget film.
The on location shoot adds to the realism and there are many surreal moments, involving the odd towns people, a girl in a graveyard and the body in a lake. Creepy old photos, folkloric tales, unexplained noises all add to the unease and tension of this smouldering horror.
It draws in the viewer making you consider is what Jessica experiencing real or not. The film builds up modestly, tackling possible vampirism, haunting and ghosts which are all handled in a believable manner. I can only compare the ambiance to that of The Haunting (1963), Exorcist (1973), House of the Devil (2009) Carnival of Souls (1962) and another underrated horror Dead People a.k.a Messiah of Evil made the same year (although not released until 1973).
It’s Hancocks ability to execute pure creepiness and eeriness that sets Let’s Scare Jessica to Death apart from many horrors. If only the majority of modern horrors could stir up the same sensations experienced.
You fall back in love with the time and more importantly the innocent, struggling student character of Samantha, played superbly by Jocelin Donahue. There’s no 80’s style bad performances, it’s naturalist oozing 70’s grittiness. The House of the Devil is wonderfully acted, every member of the cast is first-rate with their subtle and realistic portrayals. There is an exceptional stand out supporting cast which include Tom Noonan (Manhunter 1986); Dee Wallace (Howling 1981); cult horror actress Mary Woronov and newcomer Greta Gerwig as Megan is notable.
The first three quarters of the film is crisp building up an everyday tension after a series of odd phone calls and awkward situations while taking the viewer back to around 1983 America. Pay phones, walk-men, Fawett hair and skinny jeans. The last last reel is a Rosemary’s Baby (1968) set up as you are jarred out of the normality that came before and the film turns on it’s head to blood, violence, murder and satanic ritual.
The lighting is naturalist, West is not afraid to cast shadows creating an eerie and ominous atmosphere. The effects and make up are excellent and the music soundtrack and score is well placed.
A tension building 70’s/80’s crafted horror but made in 2009. Perfect.
Valhalla Rising (2009)
Valhalla Rising is earthly, atmospheric, religious, conventual and anticlimactic. Conventional viewers will be disappointed but others may enjoy the journey.
Day of the Woman (1978) a.k.a I Spit on Your Grave
Those who say it’s a feminism film are off the mark. It’s nasty, needless and arguably gratuitous exploitation. The rape scenes are graphic and I feel unfairly more intense than the revenge scenes later. A product of its time and made to shock, it certainly does that. It’s not a film I would want to watch again or have in my collection. However, I’m sure there is a strange audience out there who would.
The film is well constructed and directed. The locations are for the most part picturesque and ooze the 70’s vibe of that time gone by, in contrast, the lack of a music score sinisterly adds to the realism of the barbaric violence. The cast are below average, however, the unknown lead Keaton gives an amazing performance, and it’s a shame she’s only known for this film. As a side-note I was surprised to find out that she is the granddaughter of actor Buster Keaton.
Only watch for curiosity, Keaton’s performance or possibly the revenge kills. That said, it’s not recommended.
Dead People (1973) a.k.a Messiah of evil
Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and the aforementioned clearly have taken its cue from Willard Huyck’s jumbled but effective film. Especially the scene where slinky brunette Anitra Ford is pursued through a supermarket. There is also truly creepy scene again with Ford and an albino trucker, played by Bennie Robinson,you’d think he would have been in a lot more movies.
It oozes dread and suspense, it’s a chilling 70’s horror flick that despite its faults is a lot better than some of today’s so called horrors.
Dellamorte Dellamore (1994)
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Tom Savini provides some fantastic gore effects, many of which stand up effectively today. While it’s gory, bloody, violent and disturbing, I would think today’s film viewer has hardened up to it, but this is not fault of the film, it is an amazing product of it’s time.
Many horror buffs think it’s overrated, but it’s more that just a straight horror, the character interaction, even down to the priest speech is understated. Should they have had a bigger budget and more time, maybe the faults I mentioned wouldn’t have been made. However, made they were and Dawn of the Dead is still the finest zombie film to date, a must see.
The Living Dead (1974)
Non si deve profanare il sonno dei morti (original title)
A lot have said this is underrated, granted it’s overlooked. It is Atmospheric with an ominous feel. It has great locations and is at times genuinely creepy. However, it’s shares more with Fulci than Romero. The acting is not aided by the bad dubbing. To its credit it has an eerie musical score by Giuliano Sorgini and a number of suspenseful sequences but it borrows many of its best sequences from Night of the Living Dead.
I watched director Jorge Grau’s offering under the title of ‘Let Sleeping Corpse Lie’ but whichever name you see the film under don’t be mistaken or mislead, it’s a solid zombie horror movie and of its time with fine cinematography from Francisco Sempere. It’s a lot better than the low budget DTV zombie films that there’s no shortage of at the moment.
Blade Runner (1982)
Blade Runner is quite a simplistic tale that is complicated by the fantastic visuals and effects. Lying beneath the plot that many writers contributed to, there’s heart and soul, questions of what it means to be human and even delves into our own mortality.
Its edgy hi-tech art-house that brings science fiction to life and while it’s not the most fulfilling sci-fi film it certainly is a fantastic visual experience.
Tags: 80's film, action, action films, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, film reviews, First Blood, First Blood Part II, Julia Nickson, Rambo, rambo 2, rambo 3, rambo 4, reviews, sly, Stallone, Sylvester Stallone
Tags: 80's film, action, action films, arnie, Arnold, Arnold Schwarzenegger, commando, Film, film reviews, predator, Raw Deal, red heat, review, reviews, Schwarzenegger, The Running Man, the terminator, Totall recall
In 1985 Schwarzenegger need only fend off Chuck Norris and Sylvester Stallone to become number the one action hero. Mark L. Lester’s Commando gave Schwarzenegger the opportunity to become a mainstream action star without the high concept’s of being a killer robot or an amoral barbarian. Schwarzenegger, avoiding bad guy typecast quickly became a good guy hero and the rest is history.
In true 80’s tradition Commando’s writer’s Steven E. de Souza, Jeph Loeb, Matthew Weisman deliver a simplistic paper thin, yet pleasing plot. Arnie is John Matrix, a retired elite commando who has only a few hours to rescue his daughter Jenny (a young Alyssa Milano) from an exiled dictator played by Dan Hedaya.
The cast are perfect for this genre and include Predtor’s Bill Duke and Vernon Wells in his best role as Matrix’s adversary Bennett. Striking Rae Dawn Chong is Matirix’s reluctant sidekick and has some amusing lines. And David Patrick Kelly plays a memorable role as the slippery bad guy Sully. Despite some filming and editing goofs, it’s a well-constructed film, Lester’s locations and sets, day and night shoots are worthy of note. James Horner accompanying score is excellent, with its catchy tune, horns and xylophone.
Genuinely funny, Arnold takes one liners quips to a new level thanks to Steven E. de Souza, screenplay. The body count is high and although far-fetched, for example, Arnold carrying a lot of muscle and firepower takes on a small army of extras, he is simply fascinating. With some remarkable practical stunts, brawl scenes, knife fights, car chases and plenty of shooting, Commando has everything an action film should have.
Over all it’s great action fun and as soon as Arnie picks up that first weapon you know, “Somewhere, somehow, someone’s going to pay.”
Tags: Audio book, blog, Blood Hunger, books, Carmilla, dracula, Film, folklore, Hammer Horror, Horror, iTunes, kindle, kindle fire, kindle horror, legends, movie, novel, real vampires, reviews, scary, Sheridan Le Fanu, tales, Terminus, The Hunger, thriller, vampire, vampire information, vampire photos, vampire photoshoot, vampires, vampires pictures
What’s different about Blood Hunger?
Gathering dust amongst the thousand of vampires books lay a treasure. It’s a definitive vampire story that chronicles their ancient origins and follows the fall of the vampires in the 15th Century to their return and plight to gain control in the present day.
It follows Lucia Ferrara’s discovery of a body in Romania, dubbed the ‘Ice Prince’ which is significant enough to put her and her boyfriend Max Lowe in the media spotlight. Iliana and her sister’s journey to the United Kingdom after self-imposed isolation in the United States. News that the ‘Ice Prince’ has been discovered ceases their many years of blood abstinence and they unleash a bloodthirsty terror on humankind leaving a trail of death from Mississippi to London and the crimson stained Welsh countryside.
Tags: Aliens, Angel Heart, Basic Instinct, Ben Kingsley, Film, film review, Jaws, Mark Ruffalo, Martin Scorsese, Max von Sydow, movies, reviews, Shutter Island, The Game, the Godfather, The Usual Suspects, thriller, thriller films
The thriller genre is packed with sub-genres and there are many classic thrillers. Hitchcock was the master of suspense thrillers, Rear Window (1954) and Dial M for Murder (1954) are two of my favourites. There are notable thrillers – Se7en (1995) ; Fatal Attraction (1987); Les diaboliques (1955) to name a few. From The Godfather (1972); Aliens (1986);The Usual Suspects (1995) to Jaws (1975) are classed as thrillers. While I wouldn’t necessary agree fully with all the categories of the aforementioned it’s clear that thrillers are hard to define.
P.I Harry Angel has a new case, to find a man called Johnny Favourite, only it isn’t a straight forward missing person’s case. Prefect, grounded, Alan’s Parker’s voodoo-laden, hard-boiled film is the ultimate mystery film.
A timeless, eerie and realistic atmospheric classic. Perfect.
Wealthy financier Nicholas Van gets drawn into a live-action game that consumes his life. Douglas perfectly portrays the characters journey, excellently written by John D. Brancato & Michael Ferris.
It’s a psychological thriller packed with intrigue and suspense, a creepy clown and feeling of helplessness. Supporting actors are an array of familiar faces that include flawless performances from Sean Penn, Deborah Kara Unger and Armin Mueller-Stahl.
Known at the time for its nookie and infamous cross-legged interrogation scene, 50 San Francisco riot police had to be present at every location to deal with picketing gay and lesbian activists, it’s hard to believe the film caused such a stir at the time.
Michael Douglas plays a police detective investigating a brutal murder, in which a beautiful and seductive woman could be involved. It is without doubt Sharon Stone’s best and most memorable performance, as writer Catherine Tramell, who taps into every mans fear of being lied to, rejected and so on.
The supporting cast are effective, it has a few familiar faces in there. Jeanne Tripplehorn, George Dzundza and Leilani Sarelle are surprisingly good. That said, Douglas who gives great performance does seem miscast especially in the night-club, where he gurns and sports a jumper that will stick in your mind forever.
Despite the dramatic score being over powering in places it adds to the film stylised charm. Director Paul Verhoeven keeps set ups interesting and writer Joe Eszterhas puts in enough twists, albeit clichéd, to keep you interested.
U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniel’s and his partner investigating the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane and is apparently hiding on the remote Shutter Island.
The cast is a fine line-up that includes Leonardo DiCaprio who manages to get away with the complexity of the characters situation; Swed’ Max von Sydow is on usual perfect form. Zodiac (2007) and Collateral’s (2004) Mark Ruffalo is excellent, although a little under used as Daniel’s partner. Thankfully Ben Kingsley has taken on a role worthy of his abilities as the empathetic Dr. John Cawley. In addition, Ted Levine and Elias Koteas show up in almost cameo appearances.
Possibly one of Scorsese’ best films.