Friday, October 29, 2021

Last Night In Soho

Oh my God. Where do I start?

This is easily one of those movies that I have a lot to say but can't. It's truly a film that must be experienced, and it surpassed greatly what little expectations I had for it. It follows a young girl named Ella who moves out of the quiet countryside straight to London to become a fashion designer, and starts to have strange dreams of a young performer in the mid 1960s, as reality and dreams shift, merge, and stir madness. I swear if this movie does not nab best director, cinematography, editing, picture at the Oscars I will f***ing riot. It has been too damn long since I have seen a film this good looking. The colors are nothing short of kaleidoscopic, the editing and framing is a masterclass, the performances are so engrossing, the music selection is very good, just all the technicals are top notch. Speaking of performances, I would die to protect Thomasin McKenzie she is so sweet and charming, such a great lead for this film and she carried it brilliantly. Believe it or not, I'm gonna have a hard time seeing Anya Taylor-Joy as anyone but aspiring star Sandie, she could not have looked better and more suited in 60s style and fashion if she tried, despite me seeing her in other stuff. Her story only gets more involved and it had me hook, line, and sinker. Matt Smith is a dashing young man in a plot involving time travel, I'm trying so hard not to go there, and boy is it wonderful to see that handsome man again. Oh, I need to watch The Crown to see more of him. It would take me longer than the movie to gush about these visuals so I'll just say, holy shit. Edgar you mad lad legend, just how did you get it this psychedelic yet refined? Unbelievable. And it dips it's toes into the horror genre without question, though it focuses more on mystery and a severe psychological thriller side of things. All of it plays brilliantly, it's one part The Lovely Bones, one part The Night Walker, with a dash of Mean Girls, and a twist of Cruella, with a cherry on top of Corpse Bride. As last reviews go for October, this was great! 4 stars, 8.5/10, some people will bitch and moan that the plot makes no sense, or it's just artsy for artsy sake, well you can't have too much positivity in the world. Go see it! It's a wild time.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

The Night Walker

Just one more before another new film.

As a person who has not seen many William Castle films, I've only seen House On Haunted Hill and a bit of The Tingler, this will be a hard one to top. And most of his films showcase some gimmick, he was a showman first and a director second but did both really well, yet with this movie it's just a little horror film that branches into a mystery and it works quite well I thought. It got me from the opening theme which I love to death, it honestly sounds like something I would hear on the Goosebumps show and it even threw me for a loop or two as the story neared it's end. The story follows a widowed wife of a blind scientist who dies in an explosion, but is haunted by him in her dreams 2 decades before Freddy Krueger, and the dreams only deepen leading to an investigation. I love the opening with a more subtly creepy narrator who discusses dreams and sets the mood perfectly for the film. Barbara Stanwyck is a very good lead, and I actually applaud Castle on the fact that there really aren't any young faces in the cast, there be no 20 somethings playing teenagers in this horror film, and she is a phenomenal screamer. Like those screams put other scream queens to shame. Hayden Rorke as the scientist with all the burn makeup is effectively creepy and is used sparingly as he should be. Since the film deals with dreams there are several surreal sections that actually feel like you are experiencing a fever dream, with mannequin people, dreams within dreams, a good few jumpscares, and all the while the music plays on. It's no classic but I applaud the screenwriter Robert Bloch who also wrote Psycho, and consider it to be a quite good movie. To my knowledge until fairly recently this movie was only on VHS and just got a Blu-Ray release in 2018, but I was fortunate to watch it once again on the Youtubes and it does somewhat upset me I can't watch a lot of these movies in the middle of the night because of my schedule, very few horror movies can have such a strong effect even in daylight so I do urge you to watch it when the sun is long gone, in the glow of your TV, and see what kind of dreams you have afterward. 3.5 stars, 7/10, and regrettably tomorrow will be the last review of October. It's forever bittersweet to know the month is nearly over but Halloween is approaching with supernatural speed and I can't wait.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The Man They Could Not Hang

And the one hour hit wonders roll on.

Man I don't know what ticket prices were in 1939 but people must have really got their money's worth. A more unknown yet highly praised Karloff role, the story of this movie is such a great concept it really shocks me such an idea hasn't been reused in cinema. An acclaimed scientist Dr. Savaard has created a method to ressurect the recently dead, but this is no Plan 9 and before he can fully test his experiment on a college volunteer he is arrested and tried for murder. This is something I actually got a lot out of, we know Savaard is on the level by his conviction alone that this would have worked yet the moral and ethical issue is explored a bit and makes you question whether he should be put on trial to begin with. I genuinely don't see him as a villain in this role until later on when he gathers the courtroom members who gave him the death penalty and he has several traps in his home to execute them. With a plot like that the influence can be seen decades after the fact with The Abominable Dr. Phibes, and needless to even say the Saw franchise. Boris Karloff is outstanding in this role, it's such a great part for him with his ever gentlemanly demeanor mixed with deliciously devious determinations to kill the people who wronged him, I think this is such an underrated role of his long career. The rest of the cast do fine work, but it goes without saying they used Karloff to the max in every way. I can see some people not liking the ending considering how abrupt and somewhat contrived it is, but I do still urge people to dig this one up. It's a very well made film, with good sets, mood enhancing lighting, the camera work is very fluid and almost feels handheld at times, it's most definitely a movie that should be considered to be a minor classic and I had a very enjoyable time watching it. The highlights being Saavard's blisteringly dark and direct damning of the members of the court, and when he reveals himself to be alive once more, it showcases nothing but the best from Karloff. 4 stars, 7.5/10, you can catch this film for free on Dailymotion and you won't have much time to lose. Once more unto the breach my friends, once more!

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Dracula's Daughter

What a film!

I will severely go on record here and say Dracula's Daughter is an excellent film, beyond worthy to be part of the classic Universal Monsters lineup, and I absolutely loved it. For a movie that is again just a bit over an hour long, the pacing couldn't be better as we pick up right after Dracula as the plot involves Professor Van Helsing having to deal with the aftermath of killing Dracula as he is charged with murder, and the drama of Countess Marya Zaleska seeking to be rid of the vampire's curse. Where do I start praising this film? Gloria Holden is amazing, absolutely wonderful in the main role, she has such a needless to say gorgeous physique and her acting shines throughout. Even though her first appearance isn't as classic and memorable as Bela she still pulls off this powerful, creepy, striking visage and I absolutely adore her. In fact all of the cast is on incredible form here, Edward Van Sloane returns and it's just great to see him add on to an already memorable performance, Otto Krueger plays a great leading man and for someone who was 50 years old at the time of filming he doesn't look it and has such an interesting realtionship with the Countess, Marguerite Churchill is amazing and has such a fantastic bickering married couple type relationship with Otto and was genuinely one of the only romances in a horror film that I fully wanted to blossom, and I just have to say Irving Pitchel is perfect, there's just no other way to say it, he's perfect as the Countess' servant Sandor like oh my God this man is a treasure. There are comedic moments in it throughout but never does it detract from the film, it made me laugh and broadly smile quite a bit and increased my enjoyment of the film. The sets are spectacular, from London streets, to foggy forests, to a phenomenal return to Castle Dracula, in fact everything in the production is great. The lighting works wonders and adds to the creepy factor, the camera work is very nice, the music is a lot more present than most Universal horror films. It just really shows what a 5 year leap in cinema can do, cause this ended the first classic Universal Monsters phase before it kickstarted again with Son Of Frankenstein, and the level of filmmaking has only improved since 1931. It is a crime in my eyes this movie is not talked about enough or appreciated enough in the horror community. It is just as great as Dracula, The Mummy, The Wolf Man, Bride Of Frankenstein, all of them. Like, this film without a shadow of a doubt reminded me why I love these movies so dearly, why I regard the classic monsters as highly as I do, hell I think you could introduce someone to these movies with a double bill of Dracula and Dracula's Daughter and get them interested. I really think it's that good. It's nothing but 4 stars, 9/10, this put me in such a great mood and grounded me that much deeper into the most wonderful time of the year.

Monday, October 25, 2021

White Zombie

The first Zombie movie and what an opening entry.

Of course this is before the gut devouring shambling zombies, but traditional haitian zombies and one I feel we need to see more of. If ever I was to make a zombie movie it would be voodoo zombies, though even in this film they call them the living dead. So the story follows a couple in Haiti who are about to be wed, but their host for the wedding is smitten by the bride and enlists the help of the zombie lord, played outstandingly by Bela Lugosi, leading the husband and a local preacher to try to break the hypnosis and rescue the girl. For a film made in 1932 it actually has a ton of ambition and really more modern techniques employed throughout it. We get split screens, screen wipes, a scene shot in one long continuous take and ends exactly where the scene began, framing through objects, it really is a very fine looking film and not just because I found a really damn good print for free on YouTube by Cult Cinema Classics. Yes this is one of those public domain movies and the fact you can get it in such great quality and the movie is barely over an hour long, you have precisely nothing to lose. I feel this is Bela Lugosi's most devilish, creepy, and evil performance and I treasure him in Dracula, and while the menace is undoubtedly there in that movie there is just something here that strikes me. I still stand by my claim that eyes can be the most terrifying thing in the world and Bela firmly proves that here. He's on top performance and you can tell he is relishing every moment. Never to shy away from the rest of the cast, I think the couple does fine and while John Harron is very much the straight laced dashing young hero he does bring a bit to the part, and Madge Bellamy is the epitome of what I think women looked like in the roaring 20s and the early 30s, I actually quite liked the preacher who is a more light hearted character but comes through in the end. It's great to finally see it after so many years of seeing it through different films, shows, and even music. I doubt it's any surprise Rob Zombie named his first band after this film, and he just has a lot of appreciation for cult horror from the early days of cinema which I in turn appreciate. It is well worth seeing, one stop short of classic but it has it's abundance of fans and I'll gladly be one. Join in and get hypnotized, zombified, and creepified by this film. 4 stars, 7.5/10, and it's tradition at this point to review at least one black and white horror movie but considering this is the last full week of October, and a good chunk of this month has been non-horror related stuff, stay tuned throughout the week for even more classical noir thrillers.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Dune (2021)

I think it might have had the same impact on me as the Lynch version.

That's not even a slam against this movie, but I think it's because they're splitting it rightfully so into two movies, it feels hard to talk about it when you haven't truly seen the whole thing. I'm fairly certain when I did Deathly Hallows I treated it as one cohesive whole and not two seperate entities, so I feel this review is more a formality until I can experience the whole thing. It's real good though. This was a dream project for Denis to direct and you feel that passion and love in every frame, he wants to make this as good as possible while not holding the audiences hand very much like Blade Runner 2049, he just goes there consequences be damned. And I'm fairly certain I was the most informed person in that theater about the universe of Dune, so I probably got more out of it than most other people did. The story is just the same as the Lynch version with deviations throughout and all of it worked well. Once again I thought the cast was really damn good with obvious love going to Oscar and Jason, but I felt Timothee Chalamet was greatly cast for Paul. Oscar was awesome and handsome as ever, Jason got to kick ass and hold the honor of being Duncan Idaho (which is either the most silly or most amazing sci-fi name ever), Rebecca Ferguson and Zendaya didn't do that much for me but still played it real well, even Josh Brolin was a strong presence for a relatively small role. I don't know why but as I was watching Stellan Skarsgard play the Baron all I could think of was, "You know who would fit this role? Marlon Brando later on in his career." Why? I...don't know. The visuals as expected were a feast to the eyes, I mean Denis just knows how to make sweet love to your eyeballs with his camera, the landscapes, color grading, movement, just overall excellent cinematography. Hell when you first see the great Shai-Halud rise from the sands, it genuinely made my jaw drop, like no horeshit Jack real talk here, it really got me despite seeing it in the trailer. It just goes to show what a sound system and giant screen can achieve, and you bet your ass I was sitting (like I always do) dead center of the screen as close as I can without having to break my neck. It wasn't this grand, magnificent, masterpiece of cinema but I very much hope it succeeds at the box office to warrant the second part. I very much liked it, and even if it is the only Dune book to be adapted I will be okay with that. 4 stars, solid 8/10, that's all folks! See you next week.

Dune (1984)

Where to start with Dune?

It's a wild movie. It's like if you mixed Blade Runner, Tron, and really any 80s cult sci-fi film together, and I've been hearing a lot of shit talking about it in recent days from useless hack websites who have nothing better to write about while I actually kinda liked it. Again, for a person who only got about a quarter of the way through the book I was keeping up with it, had a good time, and while there are things that were off this is by no means a bad film. Though I heard the production was a bit of a wreck and David Lynch totally disowns this film which is a shame because he took the director's chair because he saw a lot of potential, but the studio wanted a specific movie and didn't even give him final cut privileges, the only film he directed where he didn't have the final say. That's a real shame that it's such a bad memory for him cause the film is honestly decent. I hear it takes bits from all the books but mainly focuses on the first, with Paul Atreides leaving his home planet with his family to the planet Arrakis to expand the family's power and wealth only to be targeted by another family clan as Paul rises to his destiny and declares war on the entire empire controlling Arrakis. It's not a bad story, and the way it's told isn't perfect but I never had 20 questions per scene and felt the cast while giving a more film serial performance was still very good. I know a lot of people gave Kale good grief because he seemed too old for the character of Paul but he looked very young, and is easily the best actor in the film. Which is saying something when you have Patrick Stewart, Jurgen Prochnow, Sean Young, and Max Von Sydow in the same cast. Even with the performance of the utterly hammy and absurd Baron Vladimir, it looks like Kenneth McMillan is having the time of his life playing this bonkers villain to the max. The special effects and set design is really great stuff, with detailed sets, unique costuming, the sandworms look awesome, it's a very 80s looking film in every respect but I dig that kind of look. It's a very dramatized story with dramatic acting, hence why it felt very Flash Gordon to me but I hold no major grievances with it. It's decent, I liked the cast, I got the story which was very streamlined for audiences, but yeah even I was quoting lines and rocking out to the music when Paul rides the worm. So call me a fan, and I'm curious how the new film will adapt the book for better or worse. 3 stars, 7/10.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Get Out

F***ing white people, I swear to God.

I'm whiter than sour cream and I can tell you right now, I just don't trust those guys! Partial jokes aside, holy shit Get Out was great! I mean this was like the most revered and celebrated horror film in recent memory for me so with a reputation like that I did attempt to keep my expectations limited and I got a damn fine film. I'm very very tempted to just go all the way out there, spoilers and all, because it's a hard movie to really voice your opinions on without speaking on everything. So the basic plot goes as follows, a young couple Chris and Rose are heading to her parent's place for the weekend to finally meet the parents and break the ice they are an interracial couple. Already things are off, and it at first seems just a bit of awkward and uncomfortable conversations but boooooy does it go south quick. Just go see the movie. The cinematography is wonderful, it has it's artsy moments, the cast is spectacular in every sense, it's honest to God a movie that I had no idea horror could go to. Cause usally horror can be split in two categories, it has a 1,000 subgenres but you can fit every one of them in either the supernatural category with monsters, atmosphere, and fantastical ideas or you have it in a visceral, gory, realistic category. Get Out is in both and yet neither of those camps, it's original and yet screamed Lovecraft at me. Not so much the cosmic horror side of it but the more down to earth stories, dark and twisted yes but more about the evil men do to one another, and it really does play out like something you would see in the Arkham Sanitarium in his works. Daniel Kaluuya is magnificent, he gives such a strong performance and no doubt took a lot of his personal experiences into this role especially when he's meeting the extended family. I mean Jesus God, you want to talk about racially charged questions, what in the shitting hell man. Granted it's more subtle period, than The Wicker Man remake but that's all I'll say about that. Allison Williams did such fine work here and just a side note, if you know anybody who does not mix milk and cereal and eats it seperately put a bullet in their heads, they are a psychopath. Best character though, my guy Rod. Ah, Rel Howery you were my shining star in this, I cherish you and I have never identified more with a horror character. And any movie that brings up a Stanley Kubrick film is clearly a masterpiece, and appeases my inner cinema snob fully. I could ramble on about this movie all day in terms of cast, plot, just how weird and f***ed up it is and how it affects you better than any drama could, the very clear metaphors with race and prejudice that I will leave for more intelligent minds to talk about, big thumbs up from me. Great film, 4 stars, 9/10! Thank you gods above and below for giving me a great horror film this week. I was honestly torn between this and Don't Breathe but I chose very wisely this day, and it's time for Dune tomorrow. I will confess I've made it only 1/4 of the way through the book because of work and life so it looks like I will be walking into both versions of Dune relatively blind. And yes I said both.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

A Quiet Place

You really just have to make up your own mind in life.

I heard nothing but good things about A Quiet Place, it's a modern horror classic, it's so scary, it's one of the most original horror films in years, blah blah blah. Granted I heard some minor complaints but overall I got the impression of nothing but good things in the movie. And on a production scale, it's very well made. In terms of casting, locations, set production, cinematography, friggin' sound design, you can tell there is highly capable and competent people behind the camera and are doing fine work here. The director knows what he is doing when not in front of the camera and knew what shots he wanted to have. The cast easily convey the intense fear and numbing dread of the situations they are in. The creature design is excellent and gnarly, and the concept of an alien menace who hunts on sound alone while not even slightly original in this movie is a cool concept nevertheless. However. This plot and these characters infuriated me to a point where I haven't been in a long time. Movies don't usually make me angry, this one did. The best f***ing character in this entire movie that easily would have made it a fantastic horror movie with her as the lead is the deaf girl Regan, I mean could you imagine a movie where this young girl is travelling in a post apocalyptic world filled with blind sound hunting monsters but she herself is deaf as she tries to survive. That's an entire book series worth of ideas let alone a feature film. Outstanding acting, couldn't ask for better, she rocks. Like there is so much I commend this movie on except for the plot. I think it's safe to say this is a film that has you asking more questions by the end of it than getting answers, in terms of worldbuilding it's a bit shoddy but at the same time I want to know more, how it all started, how it got to the point of this movie, all that. But the stupidity radiates from the screen from these characters, thankfully it's mostly in the third act but yikes I was complaining like an old man today. Okay. Just....who's f***ing braindead, shit sucking, ass backwards, mind shatteringly, stupefyingly stupid idea was it to go, "Hey you know what we should do when the world is infested with ravenous monsters? Let's f*** and have a baby.". Are you, I can't do it. I cannot goddamn do it. You cu-

Okay I'm back. It's really hard for me to feel sympathy and want characters to stay alive when they are idiots. And the worst part is there are faint glimmers, absolutely great scenes of suspense and terror peppered throughout. Not nowhere near as often enough as it should be, but I'll take it. It's like every good step the movie takes, there's something that throws it off the tightrope for me. It works as a silent film, it has subtitles without me even putting them on, if it was shot in pristine black and white daddy would love what he sees. But there's too much that throws me off from being immersed, scared, intrigued, and just connected to these characters. I was in zero mood to rip this film to shreds, but that's just how it goes sometimes. I expected it to be decent but what I got was average. 2 stars, 5/10, maybe the sequel improves but that is a discussion for another year.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark

It's high time to spotlight some modern horror on this show.

I've never read the source material of this movie, despite not only being born in the 90s, exposed to things like Goosebumps, and throughout the years have heard what a staple this was to many a childhood, so I really walked into this movie blind as a bat. I expected very much just a simple anthology movie with seperate adaptations of the stories from the book series, but it's a normal style of movie with a group of school friends who happen upon a book handwritten by their town's folktale monster, as the stories write themselves horror commences, leading our main character to resolve the situation and quell spirits of the past. It really isn't anything I haven't seen before but the film commits to it, and does an okay job at it all. I really wasn't expecting the time period of 1968 which actually has a strong stance throughout, it's not just some shallow basic background for the story, you see it in everything. The movie opens with Donovan's Season Of The Witch, one of our main characters is a draft dodger during the Vietnam War, the cars, the fashion, the films, all of it works and gels so well to really put you in that corner of the world. I really like our main group of kids, and I'll give you a buck good buddy if you can guess my favorite character in this movie. Am I too obvious? Easily. Of course it's the nerdy girl with a penchant for horror films and all things spooky. But the interactions they have feel genuine, and each actor plays it well even if they very much are in the stereotype camps. Wiseass kid, straight laced cautious kid, weird but nice girl, good looking male lead, and so on and so forth. I obviously can't speak to the faithfulness of the adapted stories but from the ultra f***ed up and skin crawlingly disturbing illustrations, they got the look of these monsters down and beautifully so. Yeah, it's blatant CG at times but other points it looks very real and genuine which I appreciate. Shockingly Guillermo del Toro had a hand in this and it really just made me wish he was in charge of directing and the story, and not even because it's poorly directed or a bad story. But you really ain't getting much innovation here in terms of cinematic horror, now maybe that's not what you expected or even wanted and just wished to see a scary but basic movie and I have no issue with that like, ever. I greatly respect and admire simple plots when all the elements click into place for me. It mostly did here but it was missing something that made me really like it. It has glimpses of that exquisite fall atmosphere, but it's just glimpses. It has a good cast but incredibly same-y characters. The plot is very predictable but still works in context of the film. It's just average, but sweet God am I thankful it was better than the last anthology Halloween film I reviewed, holy dog balls was that an utter f***ing disappointment of the century. So I will take a small victory here. 2.5 stars, 6.5/10, and the next film will quickly and silently be up tomorrow.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Halloween Kills

You know, I might need to see it again.

Not at all that I thought it was bad, I had a grand time with it but I certainly have notes that will take multiple viewings to solidify my opinion on things. So basic plot, we pick up right after the first movie as Michael survives the fire and starts making a trek to the OG Myers house as Laurie and her family deal with the fallout while an angry mob forms as is common in horror films with the sole purpose of killing evil. And I really have so many things to commend the movie on. It takes the time to deal with the fallout of the first film, the deaths of side characters, the mental and physical scars of the Strode family, how they are trying to deal with seemingly winning and yet learning Michael lives. And this movie shockingly doesn't focus on Jamie much, this is way more the film for Judy and Andi they are the main stars here and still perform incredibly well. But booooy does this movie bring back a lot of characters, and we are not talking just the 2018 film here, I literally was just missing a Danielle Harris cameo and it would have been complete, it is fan wank to the max in this film. Something I am not fully onboard here is this movie goes on tangents, it's like they try to give every side character their own setup, characterization, and multiple scenes, that's all fine and well but we spend a bit too much time on them and not the Strode family or Michael, now if the intention was to focus more on the town of Haddonfield in the wake of Michael's return, fine. Not really what I was expecting or even really wanting, but it's interesting stuff with this bloodthirsty mob willing to go apeshit on anything if someone says it's Michael. Yeah, there is a lot of stuff to unpack there, subtext pushing so hard into text territory, metaphors, allegory, bit f***ing obvious stuff mind you but brownie points for commiting I guess. Plus side though, the kills are spectacular with a lot of practical implements that just gross you out man like daaaamn! I was severely impressed with the work here. Soundtrack is still real good, production is good, cast does great, it's genuinely an okay movie, I don't like it as much as the previous entry but time could change that, and it was far from sucking. It's good decent stuff, 2.5 stars, 7.5/10. More modern horror next week, and sweet lord Dune is nearly here and I got a lot to read still. Give me strength. Until next week!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Village Of The Damned

In terms of horror remakes, I don't think this deserves a lot of hate.

Now I will admit I've only seen the first 20 minutes of Children Of The Damned awhile ago, so I can't properly compare notes so we are discussing the merits of this movie alone. I quite liked it, even though I hear tale John was doing the movie out of obligation to the studio and not because of his own passion and creativity, and even the shooting was a disaster with residents of the town harassing the film crew throughout, so with all that negativity in mind the production is pretty solid. From the brief instances of knowledge considering the original the plot isn't much different, a mass blackout in a small town leads to the birth of several children with mind controlling abilities causing havoc and despair as the parents try to figure out a way to resolve the situation. It's a fascinating plot regardless of decade, and it didn't take long for me to get into it and to know how it was going to end. I will however state a supreme amount of enjoyability in this movie goes to the fact that Christopher Reeve and Mark Hamill are in this movie, though I will not detest anyone's acting in this movie. I know child actors get a lot of flak because they can't emote properly but here, it works entirely to the advantage of these kids and they all do brilliant work even though only two of them get any spotlight. It breaks my heart constantly seeing Christopher in this, being this was the last movie he made before his accident and I simply love that man more than I could say. Coincidentally enough the movie came out one day after I was born, to mixed reviews and a less than average box office. But like I said it genuinely isn't that bad! The cast does good work with passion, the production budget is lower but still does a lot with what it has to do, I really digged the effect on the eyes implementing some basic CGI to good effect, the story moves at a good pace and if anything it makes me want to finish the original to compare notes. Boy howdy though this was some 90s shit man, just little things that I noticed that really screamed the decade at me. Kirstie Alley is a damn chimney stack in this, smoking nonstop even in a hospital, yeah remember when that was okay? Seeing a classroom with a bulky TV in the back, that brought back some memories and a half. I'm not sure what the explanation is for the children in the first film but we flat out get X-Files up in here with an alien in a glass jar, I was almost expecting David Duchovny to make a surprise cameo. It's by no means a great film but you can have a good time with it, and really anybody could have directed it despite Carpenter having his name on it, but it's decent. 2.5 stars, 7/10, time to make the trip back to Haddonfield tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Prince Of Darkness

A less talked about but still good Carpenter film.

I think John was starting his kick on commentary on society and in this case religion, this film was made a year before They Live and after the commercial flop of Big Trouble In Little China wanted to go way out there on his next project. Out there he succeeded. The plot follows a group of college students (all in their 30s of course) as they are under mysterious circumstances told to set up a laboratory in an abandoned church where a 7 million year old canister is found. Like I said, the film deals with religion throughout, even throws out some radical ideas on the concept of faith, God, Satan, and all that good jazz which I found really interesting and for some people I know this film can get under their skin. The film again much like The Fog, has that suspense angle going strong where you know something is up from the start, something is about to happen, but you have no idea what and more importabtly when, and it keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. It's great to see Dennis Dun and Victor Wong in a movie together again, and while Victor is still somewhat the Egg Shen of this film it's interesting to see Dennis go from the believer to the skeptic. Donald is great in this too, even gives a pure evil speech, and maybe they were just having a laugh on the DVD but on the subtitles he's called Father Loomis which I got a kick out of, we love this man unconditionally and always will know him best as Dr. Sam Loomis. Another surprise cameo in the form of Alice Cooper as a posessed hobo and a lot of love goes to him too, he's a great guy and contributed to horror music and cinema extensively. The effects are still done nicely, more minimalistic until the end but still grotesque in it's glory. Like God dang it, another John Carpenter theme to add to the music library, the guy just knows how to make good creepy music and it's subtle which is why it works so well here. I think people should see this movie, I mean you're always going to have Halloween, The Fog, The Thing, They Live to talk about so give this a shot. I personally give it 3 stars, 7.5/10, and we got one more to go before Halloween Kills so see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The Fog

Only took 26 years, but better late than never.

Yes one of the few directorial John Carpenter movies I haven't gotten to and after hearing a lot of good word of mouth and praise for this movie, I must admit I wasn't disappointed. Even though I knew the basic premise, it's basically a ghost story come true for a sea side town when a mysterious glowing fog envelops the town with vengeance seeking mariners as people try to survive, it still worked incredibly well. Obviously with a title like The Fog there is going to be a lot of emphasis on atmosphere rather than gallons of blood, and the seaside California scenery is incredibly beautiful and now comes the part where I bow down to Dean Cundy who was the cinematographer for this film and also The Thing. Sweet God is this man a master of his craft, there is so much I want to commend him for in this film alone but don't have time for. The lighting, camera placement, and exposure is excellent, able to make a frame completely engulfed in fog not look flat or boring or dull. The pacing couldn't be better, this film flies by at about 90 minutes and some people could complain there isn't too much character dynamic or not enough meat on the bones of the story but I didn't take issue with it. Adrienne Barbeau is our star as a disc jockey in a lighthouse reporting on the fog, as we meet other character who are slowly piecing together this mystery of what the hell is happening. I practically had a grand time just picking out the references here. John Carpenter himself makes a cameo in the beginning of the film, Tom Atkins before Halloween 3 makes an appearance whose character is literally named Nick Castle (ha ha ha), Jamie Lee and her mom Janet both have parts, Nancy Loomis is in the movie, Rob Bottin who made the effects on The Thing come to disgusting reality worked on the effects here and had a small part, Waitely and Arkham which are both Lovecraft locations are names of the surrounding ares, there's a credit to a Dr. Phibes in the credits, and even a nice nod to classic poem turned Iron Maiden epic Rime Of The Ancient Mariner is briefly brought up. It's just this strange microcosm of John Carpenter's work in one film, and I really did love it. It's not at all bloody or grotesque but still got an R rating, much like Halloween did 2 years earlier but it's a visually rich film and lord knows how they got all that fog to work as well as they did outdoors and even on set, try manipulating something that requires nature to make it work. The score is also one of the best horror film soundtracks I have heard since It Follows, like it is that damn good and I do want every track. I give it 3.5 stars, 8/10, very basic in story but has a different kind of power over the horror masses. Next time, a more obscure Carpenter film.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

007 Films Ranked

So how does it all stack up? Try to guess where No Time To Die enters the fray.

25. Spectre - Yes the film that gave me nothing ended up the worst, what a shock.

24. Quantum Of Solace - Not much better but at least I can gush over Olga Kurylenko.

23. Thunderball - Bit controversial but this film has it's flaws believe me.

22. Die Another Day - Ooh boy, yeah....I just did that. Better than Thunderball.

21. Diamonds Are Forever - Campy, sleazy, yet has some fun and enjoyment to it.

20. A View To A Kill - Roger mate, you should have settled down with Maud Adams.

19. Dr. No - Basic, but still good and worth the time to see how it began.

18. The Man With The Golden Gun - I still like it even though it's not terrific. I won't apologize for it.

17. Live And Let Die - A very strong start for Roger and bless him for doing it so long.

16. For Your Eyes Only - Back down to earth but still has good moments and tries a character arc.

15. From Russia With Love - Respect and credit where it's due but I like the rest of the movies coming up better.

14. The Living Daylights - The world wasn't ready for you Tim, but I'm here for you.

13. Tomorrow Never Dies - The most action packed entry and what a grand ride it is.

12. The Spy Who Loved Me - Larger than life scale is always welcome here in this seried.

11. Moonraker - Sci-Fi Bond. We're not science fiction, we are in fact science fact.

10. Octopussy - What could have heen the best final outing for any Bond yet.

9. Licence To Kill - Gloriously dark and brutal, I'm all in!

8. The World Is Not Enough - Excellent film that deserves more recognition.

7. No Time To Die - For now at least, I very much enjoyed this film and placed it fairly high. But the future is always unknown.

6. You Only Live Twice - Beautiful film with a great plot and more than enough entertainment. Good times!

5. Goldfinger - Honestly, truthfully, the most perfect example of a Bond film and a terrific starting place.

4. On Her Majesty's Secret Service - I love you Lazenby, I love you Tracy, I love everything you have to give.

3. Casino Royale - Damn fine start to an era and boy did it end on a bang.

2. Skyfall - Well done to all on this one, and thanks for the great film.

1. Goldeneye - Big shock, not sorry, it's class, the end.

Tune in next week for some goodies from our old friend John Carpenter.

Friday, October 8, 2021

No Time To Die

As strict first impressions go I very much liked this movie but this is the first time where I am curious where the series will go from here.

As an exit for Daniel, it worked. As a Bond film I thought it was great. But it just raises too many questions, not in term of plot but what comes next? Despite my love for the Brosnan era, it never crossed my mind once what would happen after Die Another Day, the Bond series has always been something that has been a matter of fact, those movies have always been around. I was always looking back and never ahead until now. But I had a real good time with it. Does it improve on Spectre? Partially. It does it's own thing entirely with Bond coming out of retirement to usurp the new villain Safin from releasing a blood virus on the world, while he reconnects with Madeliene. It's a good plot and for an almost 3 hour film the pace was kept excellently. Craig is having the most fun I think of this role than any others in his tenure, he gets little moments of each Bond. He gets some charm from Connery, the humor of Moore, the romance of Lazenby, the cold kill of Dalton, and the action man status of Brosnan. And yeah, there was some fan wank in this film boy but I won't lie, I loved it. When I heard the chords of We Have All The Time In The World and Vesper's theme I did have an emotional response. The marketing campaign puts a lot of emphasis on secrets and changing the game which it delivers on quite a bit, but not really in the way you would think. This is one of those movie that will get an In Retrospect one day and there will be much to discuss. New additions to the cast are great with ample love going to Ana and Rami who were excellent. The action got my blood going and was always visually interesting. The sets and locations are wonderful and each used to the fullest. It all worked for me, despite there being some big notes from me. I do definitely recommend it, I would give it 4 stars, and an 8/10. Stay tuned for the also long delayed ranking of the 007 series tomorrow.

Thursday, October 7, 2021


Alright. Let's get this over with.

Spectre has really put Quantum in a better light for me, it's truthfully the most problematic and so un-Bond film of the series. Never Say Never Again probably has more standing in being a James Bond film and that was nothing but a titanic f*** you and die to Cubby Broccoli, EON productions, and Roger Moore. Now I will give good points here and there, the overall production in terms of cast, cinematography, stunts, locales, and direction is good. However. The sole unifying factor in making this quite possibly the lowest ranking film in this series for me is the story. And what boggles my mind to shattered pieces is this screenplay was written by the same guys who wrote Skyfall, what in the everlasting nine circles of hell is this bullshit? This movie plays out like any generic spy thriller. Take out the Aston, take out Bond, SPECTRE, the returning cast members, and the little references to past films, and you would lose precisely nothing in this story. Granted we start off actually really good with a Birdman-esque sequence of long takes in Mexico City where Bond essentially goes rogue agent in tracking down an assassin which leads to a trail of breadcrumbs culminating to the discovery of the organization of SPECTRE and it's head #1 Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Now on paper that is not a bad plot, we finally get the classic villain organization back after decades of that asshat Kevin McClory (who can eat shit you f***ing hack bastard) locking the rights away in a lawsuit that pretty much cut short the lives of Ian Fleming and Albert Broccoli, and now Barbara can utilize it in a story. Huzzah! It didn't work out that great but I'm happy we can see it again. There is so much I can dig into here, almost going through the plot point by point there is that much stuff to severely question and hate but I will attempt to bullet point some things that hurt the film overall. Madeline Swan is the most bland Bond Girl I have seen and I know Lea Seydoux can act, if memory serves the first film I saw her in was Blue Is The Warmest Color and I really really liked that movie and she did very well in it, but there is no way in this universe or any alternate universe you can convince me that she is the woman Bond decides to settle down with. No. No. Wrong. She has nothing on Tracy or Vesper in the slightest, but I do actually hold high hopes that the next movie will give a lot to her character. The action in this movie is beyond dull, none of it is thrilling, visually interesting, or impactful. It feels so empty, from a car chase more suited to Roger Moore with comedy beats galore, shootouts that makes me feel like I'm in the vacuum of space, and nonsensical final confrontations. I could bitch at nauseatic lengths of the big interconnecting web that this movie tries to weave and include all the movies before. God Marvel just made it impossible for movies just to be movies, and like sheep everyone tried their stab at it. Jesus wept. Okay, gotta focus. Christoph Waltz is a very fine actor, Blofeld is a memorable villain but never had much of a solid grip in terms of personality and initiative, and this is the worst Blofeld I have seen. It does not work in any semblance whatsoever, and once more I hold hope for No Time To Die to actually give the characters something to do. Everyone is acting fine and well here, but there is no meat to these character's bones. Daniel had so much to work with in the last film and could convey so much with a look alone, and here...there's nothing. Not for anyone. It's this void of recognizable elements, with occasional fun and nice bits of dialogue and story, but is so bogged down by everything else it's such an easy skip. I don't like the action, I don't like the big story moments, I certainly don't like Blofeld, I don't like the opening titles all that much, it just gave me nothing. That sucks. Nobody wants to hate a James Bond movie, but when the bullshit mans says that's bullshit you take his word for it. 1.5 stars, 4/10. Tomorrow, the end of an era with an almost 3 hour long runtime. There is no time to die, but you only live twice Mr. Craig, and here's hoping for an all time high.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021


This is gonna be a hard one to top once No Time To Die hits.

I've heard endless amounts of people say Skyfall is one of their favorites if not their most favorite James Bond movie, and I happen to agree with them. After the tepid at best reaction to Quantum, it was no surprise EON wanted to make the best Bond movie for the 50th anniversary to which I say they did exceptionally well. But would it have really killed them to do a proper gunbarrel? Casino Royale, fine it works, new era, and a brilliant way to introduce the new Bond. Quantum Of Solace, pointless, you could maybe make a case that it bookends the Vesper storyline but come on. Now bloody Skyfall. That's pretty much my only gripe for the movie, it's class from shot one. It implements and executes the best Bond is dead trope of the series, has a wonderful story with actual themes and character development, great action, just enough of a nod to the fans to celebrate the golden anniversary, and really gets to the status quo that we've had for the majority of this series. I do say this is Daniel's best performance, Judi's best performance, has one of the best Bond villains, we get a new Moneypenny and Q who are brilliant, so the actors could not be better picked. Daniel really has come into his own in this role, finally being the Bond we know with the wit, skill, and charm synonymous with the character and is given plenty of little touches that give James some depth. Dame Judi could not be on better form if she tried, the story focuses a lot on her which is awesome in my eyes, and thus she gets to give a truly award winning performance (Seriously the Academy Awards can kiss the darkest part of my pale ass for not even considering this role as a nomination). Javier Bardem is your villain. Sweet Jesus do I love that man. F***ing brilliant, 10/10! I initially gave Ben Whishaw good grief for being our new Quartermaster, because well Q has always been my favorite character in this series above all others, and just like John Cleese I've come to truly love and appreciate their work in these films. Naomie Harris, oh my darling how I adore thee, she is wonderful in this role, honest to God is probably my second or third favorite Moneypenny, just saying. Her potential is almost unbelievable and I truly hope we see these players stick around for a bit. But enough gushing over the performances, how's the story? Quite brilliant, with Bond after a close brush with death returns after MI6 has been bombed and quickly discovers of a past agent with a very single minded purpose of killing M, leading 007 to return to less than missed places to keep her safe. The theme of old vs. new is such a deeply rooted theme, in the visuals, dialogue, and overall story, and one which I say is incredibly welcome and appropriate. No better personified in the hearing scene where MI6 is questioned of whether or not it should even still be a branch of government, that espionage and intelligence gathering has grown beyond the place of spies and agents, and I would go so far as to say it truly is the best scene in the movie. Sam Mendes is a talented director who knows how to convey themes and messages without coming off as head bashingly obvious or insufferable, but also knows how to make damn impressive shots. I mean Casino Royale was outstanding, but this movie has a different view but nevertheless incredibly strong and memorable. Hell even the title sequence is the best of the Craig era and one of the best just period. Hearing Adele on a proper theater sound system sure got the goosebumps going. And this was my second James Bond movie I ever saw in theaters, good God I can't even believe I have to say Quantum was my first. Couldn't I just lie? Strangely I didn't see Spectre in theaters either, which you think would be a no brainer after the huge positive results from Skyfall. But we will get to that movie next time. But for now, easy 4 stars, 9/10, couldn't recommend it more. Skyfall is waaaay up there in the ranking for sure and I highly doubt it's going to be budging anytime soon.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Quantum Of Solace

Well this was mixed at best.

I think right now, at this current moment in time, this is my least favorite James Bond film. But it's surprisingly difficult to explain why. I don't think the story itself is horrible, the cast do fine work and treat it seriously, the action scenes are still well choreographed and have some punch, I really enjoy the dynamic between Bond and M, Mathis, and Camille. So there is undoubtedly positive elements in this movie, but the script itself and more importantly just the execution of the scenes are what really drags this film down. And I know I shouldn't bash the movie's script too hard, it was a horrible year to make movies from 2007 to 2008 because there was a writer strike, so many movies and shows either had to be stalled for an unforseeable amount of time or kind of had to be made up as it went along. This case was the latter, and I can't even begin to imagine filming on set, on a day to day basis, and have no damn clue what will happen next. But again, it's not a total f***ing omnishambles of a dumpster fire disaster. The story picks up like, right off the heels of Casino Royale which has happened a grand total of 0 times in this series to have such flawless continuity, where MI6 has unwittingly discovered an entire organization that has seeped into every government agency that leads Bond on a very long trail, leading him to a philanthropist connected to the organization. It's a very busy plot, a lot of in's, a lot of out's, a lot of what have you's, and it doesn't help at all that the script is very cobbled together and the shooting is worse. I've not to my knowledge seen Mark Forster's work beyond this, so for all I know he could have something going for him, but I hated the editing, and shooting, and even the cinematography isn't all that great. I found it very distracting cause we keep bouncing back and forth between important plot stuff and nothing short of "artistic" wanking trying desperately to be allegorical but comes off hamfisted and irrelevant. We get it. You went to a film class. Stick to the important shit. It wouldn't surprise me for a microsecond if there are videos solely to deconstruct this filming style. It makes me yearn for jump cuts, rubbish back projections, and sped up footage from the Connery era. Now you might be saying well it's a different Bond film because we focus more on his character than the mission so it can be more artsy and different. You'd be wrong though. And an idiot. We've had movies before that focus on Bond himself while still focusing on the mission. On Her Majesty's Secret Service, For Your Eyes Only, Goldeneye, Casino Royale. Don't even try it. The best parts are really the relationships as I've said with our side characters. The fact that Bond goes after our main villain because they tried to kill M, and how their working relationship is strained at the moment because Bond is still a blunt instrument at this phase and M doesn't agree with how he operates is really good stuff. How we get Mathis back which leads to the best relationship building in the entire damn movie, where you can tell they don't hold grudges for each other after Casino Royale but they don't exactly trust one another, yet they work together on thin ice and genuinely have one of the best moments in this whole bloody series where Mathis asks if they've forgiven each other and how they shouldn't hold grudges or seek vengeance. For a brief moment I legit got choked up, cause it is so incredibly sincere and you see that respect and care they have for one another. It's a really short scene but speaks volumes. And I really do appreciate Olga Kurylenko's performance, they share one kiss and that is it, no romance, no end love scene, they meet as sort of kindered spirits with both having the urge to seek revenge on people who lead to the deaths of people they cared about. And they do help each other find that quantum of solace in their lives, I mean that is amazing character dynamics, that is such a great idea for a film, Craig and Kurylenko's chemistry is excellent. It almost enrages me that there is such good things in this movie but it gets bogged down by the story and direction. It even has one of the best endings to any movie in this series, like I'm serious this is right up there with OHMSS, that is how good it is. Cause most Bond movies end with a celebratory aardvarking session, which is all fine and good but then you get endings that actually give you something to remember. Something that sticks out, something that pops, something that you won't forget. It's such a strong ending for an ultimately average movie. That sucks, I've been having a pretty good time with these movies and have been very positive in my ratings but this just gave me hardly anything. 2 stars, 5/10, Skyfall's next so thank your lucky stars and join me tomorrow.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Casino Royale

The game has changed.

What a stark and memorable way to start an entire new era to Bond. Undoubtedly throughout the course of the series the films have had loose continuity and you can track the career of Bond from the early 60s to after the Cold War, but Barbara Broccoli and the producers of EON took some inspiration from Batman Begins and wanted the series to be rebooted and modernized to staggering effect in my estimation. Casino Royale is an excellent Bond film, the filmmakers knew exactly what they wanted and how to do it. Daniel Craig, despite the howls of heresy and betrayal to have a blonde Bond, is probably the closest iteration of Ian Fleming's books while still having the charm of Moore, the action man status of Brosnan, and the intensity of Dalton, yet nevertheless takes the role as his own and does exceptional work being a much more less experienced, reckless, and cold blooded killer. That's why I really stood up for Dalton cause I knew this was what they wanted and they refined it more for this era. I do truly believe Eva Green is objectively one of the best Bond girls, not only because of her relationship with James and I still to this day stand by the only women he ever loved was Vesper and Tracy, but because they give her such an amazing character with attitude and undeniable charm that compliments Craig so damn well. I'm not even going to spiral down that rabbit hole of praising Eva Green, cause I would be here for the next decade so we will move on. And of course they got my man, my sexy man, Mads Mikkelsen playing the villain. He's perfect, they gave him just enough to make him honestly one of the most striking physiques of the entire series, with the slight Pleasance scar, the blood tears, it's a wonderful performance and will no doubt be incredibly difficult to top in the upcoming films. I cannot even begin to say how happy I am they kept Judi Dench onboard for this revival, they could have so easily recast this role but they brought her back and I can understand why, they needed some familiar face in the production to better gauge the change for audiences. And she is my M, she was the first M I ever saw and is still my favorite though Bernard Lee was grand throughout his tenure, so I'm just so thrilled it wasn't a 4 movie stint for her. I am not even able to discern which is better, the cast or just the total production value. This is the best looking film of the series, and I don't just mean because of the modern age filmmaking, the set design is nothing short of magnificent, the locations could not look better, the action is thrilling with a capital T, I can forgive entirely the lack of gadgets because of how well done these action beats are. You think I would find it inexcusable that we don't have any gadgets, that John Cleese did not get to return as our Quartermaster (which still breaks my heart to this day because he had unconditional love and respect for the part), but I can understand why they wanted to take a very realistic approach and it obviously payed off in aces. It's not even a question in my mind that this is top 10 material, it gets nothing but 4 stars, 8.5/10. This could be someone's jumping on point for the series before they get to something spectacular like The Spy Who Loved Me or more espionage antics like From Russia With Love, so I do believe it deserves the praise and recognition. Will the trend continue? Only one way to find out as we look at Quantum Of Solace tomorrow.

Friday, October 1, 2021

The Addams Family 2

Oh, we're here baby!!

This actually put me in a good mood for the season. Unfortunately no gloomy weather this time around, but I enjoyed the film. Again, not really that great a sequel but I knew for the most part what I was getting into so I could roll with it. Wednesday is full of woe leading the family to take a trip to bond closer together, which is almost derailed before they even get started due to the fact that speculation arises that Wednesday is not really an Addams but was swapped after birth. Couple of things about that. I very strongly voiced my approval and praise of Wednesday in the first film, so the fact we get a much more prominent focus on her is great. However. This plot point is beyond absurd and I do not like it. I could very easily be a complete ass and just say, well this movie only gives you nuggets of promise but swiftly delivers on nothing and amounts to the biggest piece of fluff in cinemas this year. But I did still have a bit of fun with it here and there. I took slight issue with how the Addams family was potrayed in the first film, but I liked it better here. Gomez wants to be a better father, Pugsley starts taking an interest in girls, Morticia is more calm headed and demure, we get more Cousin Itt which is always awesome and I am there for it, the movie even briefly turns into a journey with Lurch and Wednesday which I adored. Still could have lived without Lurch singing. You did it to me once shame on you, you did it to me twice and you're walking on thin ice. The animation I thought was very much improved though every other character besides the fam is still nightmare fuel beyond the capacity for human words. Just why? Their eyes....they're lifeless eyes, blank eyes, like a doll's eyes. When they're moving they don't seem to be living, until they talk and those blank eyes grow ever bigger. Oh then you hear that terrible high pitch screaming, the mind recoils in horror, in spite of all the eyes wide shut and hands covering them, they rip your psyche to pieces. Yet even in spite of that, the comedy though not as potent takes a lot of cues from the sight gags of Looney Tunes and are handled really well. It made me laugh quite a few times just from the visual situations, which I must commend. It's a mixed bag of things, and while I heavily applaud the very obvious murder, I can't entirely say it is well worth seeing in theaters. This seems like just the right kind of movie for Cartoon Network to show during October, it gives me slight Scary Godmother flashbacks. To just lay in bed in your room, hunker down for a few hours, watch some light spooky entertainment, and wrap up the evening however you please before the weekend starts. I'd give it about 2.5 stars though it had the capacity for 3 stars, 6.5/10, decent stuff and only the prologue for the most wonderful time of the year.