Saturday, October 6, 2012

Hi Folks.

Things have happened in my life recently that have caused me to look back and re-evaluate things. As such I will no longer be updating my blog. Okay maybe you might see one or two updates every now and then, but it will no longer be a priority to me. I will also be shutting down the Facebook page. So who knows if anyone will see this. But I thought I would put something out to explain my absence.

Thanks for the support.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Review: Looper (2012)

“This time travel crap, just fries your brain like an egg.”

Director: Rian Johnson
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt
Writer: Rian Johnson

Looper could have been a hard science fiction movie that turns as many people away as endears itself to, it could of also been a stupid action movie that never lives up to it’s potential. Instead we get a movie that at its heart has some simple yet hefty themes that raise it above a lot of movies. Accessible yet different.

Brick was a fantastic film and showed that Rian Johnson was a writer/director to watch. I’ve yet to see the Brothers Bloom, but with Looper it obvious that this man is talented, and is definitely a filmmaker that will be regarded as one of the best in the future. He manages to create an intricate world and yet never get bogged down to the detriment of the character driven story. Rian also has a great eye and always has a good grasp on how to allow the scene to flow.

Of course none of this would have mattered if it wasn’t for the actors, all which hit the right note. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis as young and old Joe respectively, manage to be both alike and yet different in small enough ways. Both actors had to really walk a morally grey line, and if ether one failed then the movie would have failed. Emily Blunt as Sara also does a fantastic job as a mother who has to be strong for her child Cid and yet is fragile inside.

All the effects in this movie look great, with the cityscape being a wonderful mixture of the current and what could be in our future. Funnily enough what you would think would be the biggest SFX (the time travel portion) is done rather simply, and when you think about it, it makes sense. There are also little visual touches across the board like clothing, vehicles and weapons that just make the world richer.

Honestly Looper is worth the time, it’s a science fiction story that’s a character driven piece and not trying to wow you with pretty visuals that mean nothing. The acting is strong and it’s great to see Bruce Willis using the acting muscle I knew he had. See this movie now, right now.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: V/H/S (2012)

“I like you.”

Directors: Radio Silence, David Bruckner, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, Ti West and Adam Wingard
Starring: Calvin Reeder, Lane Hughes and Adam Wingard
Writers: Simon Barrett, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, David Bruckner, Tyler Gillett, Justin Martinez, Glenn McQuaid, Radio Silence, Nicholas Tecosky, Chad Villella and Ti West

I try really hard not to get over excited for a movie as the hype can sometimes be greater than the product. With V/H/S I couldn’t help myself as it was a horror anthology and it was found footage. So I bit into the hype and low and behold, came out of the movie slightly underwhelmed. But seeming that different directors and writers took on different portions it’s not really fair to judge all of them the same, so I’m going to break down each section as there were some things that did live up to my expectations.

Tape 56/Main Story Arc: Four men break into a house having been paid to find a VHS tape. Thinking they are going to make easy money, instead they find countless VHS tapes and realise they need to go through each one. Each tape watched leads to one of the stories. As a connecting story it’s a good idea however it falls short thanks to two problems in my eyes.

First off the four characters are the worst type of human beings, who I couldn’t wait to get their comeuppance. Before their break in to the house, we see them attacking innocent people, destroying property and trying to trick a girl into having sex on camera. The other problem is except for the beginning there is really nothing to the story and the events just seem rushed.

Amateur Night: When I started watching this story I honestly wanted to be like Kanye and toast all the assholes. Three guys rent a motel room and go out to party. One of the men Clint is wearing glasses with a hidden webcam to record the debauchery of the night. They pick up two women and find out that sometimes predators can be preyed upon.

I will admit as the story progresses Clint does show signs of being less of an asshole as the rest, but I cared for Lily (Hannah Fierman) more. In just a small amount of time, Lily comes across as sympathetic, and manages to keep this sympathy going even when certain weird things happen later in the story. It’s impressive and Hannah Fierman has to be the best actor out of the entire movie, without her this segment would have meant next to nothing.

Second Honeymoon: Two people go on a second honeymoon, terrible things happen. This particular story has even less to it than the main arc of the movie, but at the same time it’s extremely focused and more successful. I like the fact that it comes, does its story quickly and moves on. I think that this story actually shows the potential of a horror anthology done with found footage. Segments can just be these slices of creepy footage.

However there are problems. It’s a problem I’ve said several times in this review already. The male character in this movie starts off quite the asshole and yet again I just didn’t care. So while I could appreciate how tight this segment was I just didn’t care. You know I’m getting kind of tired of saying asshole but there you have it.

Tuesday the 17th: Four friends go into the woods, however things aren’t all what they seem and thanks to a killer on the loose, these kids will never forget their adventure. This is the first segment that doesn’t have some high calibre assholes in it. But that’s made up by having the main character being a complete and utter evil bitch. I won’t get into any more details as that will actually spoil the story.

So instead I’ll get into probably one of my most favourite things in this movie. There is a particular effect that uses tracking problems to incredible creepy effect. Yet again can’t get into it, but needless to say this is a filmmaker using the VHS technology to incredible effect. I would love to move on while on a high point but this segment also has the worst acting in the entire movie. Acting in the Room may have been better.

The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger: By this point in the movie I hadn’t hated the watching experience but I was feeling extremely disappointed. This was the turn. We get a sympathetic lead in Emily (Helen Roger), a creepy premise with shades of body horror, good acting and a great use of webcam. Goodness this was a great segment that got under the skin.

Not only was I creepy but the tale of Emily is heartbreaking. Whoever was in control of this segment managed to get so much information through to the audience in such a short amount of time. The effects are also creepy with some of the scares being minimalist but effective.

10/31/98: Finally we get to my favourite segment of the entire film. Main reason would have to be the four leads are actually good guys. Yep, finally the guys get some nice representation, which was a welcome reprieve from most men in this film coming off as horrible humans.

Story is simple; four guys on their way to a Halloween party go to the wrong house. There they are faced with an out of control situation. All four leads come seem like normal people and in the beginning are very likeable with their friendly chemistry. Effects are also absolutely brilliant with a great balance of CGI and practical tricks. There is also a unique way of using the camera. One of the guys is dressed as a Nanny Cam so his bear costume has a camera in it.

After finishing this segment I was very happy as this was really what I was hoping for. The film also wraps up the main arc before this is played so the movie ends on a high note.

V/H/S has some great moments, and at the end of the film, great segments, but it is surrounded in hype that this movie can not live up to. There is also an undercurrent of men being despicable. I was relieved that in the end we got some characters to cheer for, whether that was Emily or the four men from 10/31/98. It is worth to check this film out, just dial down expectations. I’m also hoping that a sequel with all new directors is made. There is definite room for a franchise.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Quick Movie Review: Vol 31

Tis been a while since I did one of this quick reviews. Recently I’ve been trying to do full reviews but I’ve racked up an impressive lists of movies to reviews and do one review at a time is a little slow. Not only that but some movies really don’t deserve a full review. It’s not that they are bad, just nothing of importance to really talk about. So welcome back the quick movie reviews. I’ll try not use these all the time.

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010)

Straight to DVD release from DC, this tale is that particularly memorable. If you’ve read comics you know where everything is heading, and for those who haven’t then this is a short distraction. The only real star voice actor is Summer Glau as Supergirl. Credit to Ms Glau she did a great job and maybe if they ever do another live action movie around the character Glau could be tapped to act again.

All the other voice actors are what you’ve come to expect from these types of movies, solid if not excellent. Chances are if you’re a comic fan then you’ve probably watched this not. For those who aren’t I can see this movie as a nice distraction for parents and kids to watch together.

Species 3 (2004)

Straight to video sequels often mean quick cash in for a fading franchise, the quality of which is never a high factor. Species 3 is an absolute crap fest, the acting is atrocious and the story just screams of a script with nothing to do with the actual series, but it’s been redone to fit. As such the movie makes no sense in relation to the first two movies. Sure the first two weren’t the best by any standards, but you can at least keep a consistency. It isn't helped that there is no real clear idea of who's the bad guy and who's the good guy, the film just comes of as a confused mess with no idea with what it wants to do. What's worse is there is a complete waste of Natasha Henstridge in this movie, but then I don't blame her for wanting to depart really quickly. Honestly just avoid this movie, it’s just bad.

Morlocks (2011)

It’s a SyFy channel original movie, so you know that screams of quality. A bastardised version of the time machine, the only real links to the story are a time machine and the creatures called Morlocks. File this away in the ‘Science Screws Up’ science fiction genre. In regards to bad movies, there is a chance for having a sliver of enjoyment.

Managing to get through this movie was made easier thanks to two Stargate Atlantis regulars, David Hewlett and Robert Picardo. They manage to make even the worst crap bearable, but this was a struggle for them as the dialogue they need to deliver is god damn horrible. Watch if you are into so bad it’s good type movies, especially with the SyFy seal of approval.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: Resident Evil Retribution (2012)

“I'm kind of enjoying this.”

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory and Michelle Rodriguez
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson

By now you’ll know if you want to go and see this movie so this review is a little redundant. If you are a fan of the series you’ll probably like this movie, if you never got into the series then you probably won’t like it. Finally if you never watched a Resident Evil movie but are interested, then you should really start with the first as things might be a little confusing otherwise.

So at the end of the last movie the heroes had their backs against the wall, and doom seemed inevitable. Upon hearing that this movie had been green lighted, I wondered how they would be able to write around this little problem. With the news of old cast mates rejoining the movie, maybe this was all an elaborate Umbrella Corporation hoax, maybe Anderson was about to go for the ‘it was a dream gambit.’ Without giving too much away let me say that Anderson didn’t really write around the problem but got a semi truck and smashed through the wall. Sure I was left wondering how the hell that just happened, but there was a way for them to get away.

It’s weird to say this with the fifth movie in the series; surely I would have said it sooner. But Resident Evil Retribution just seems like a tired old horse that needs to be put down. It was showing it’s age in the forth instalment but with 3D and some nice visuals I still think it managed to still be a worthy instalment. This one seems to be repeating itself, right down to reusing dead characters. It turns out a waste of time, but it was still nice seeing Rodriguez and Fehr again. It isn’t until right at the end that an exciting idea is introduced.

This may seem like I hated the movie. Far from it. I have a soft spot for the Resident Evil movies, and even if I think it may be time to stop there were things that I enjoyed. Kevin Durand plays one of my favourite characters from the RE game series. His take on Barry Burton was awesome. Shawn Roberts as Wesker continues to make me smile. Let’s not pay attention at the fact that he shouldn’t be alive, but he plays Wesker with such a slimy touch it’s wonderful. Milla is also always dependable, and the action does look pretty, sure there is an overuse of slomo, but I would rather that than not see the action.

So there it is a quick sum up for a movie that you’ve probably already made your mind about. Oh two more things. Johann Urb and Bingbing Li were terrible has Lean and Ada. Their reads were really off sometimes. Oh and the 3D was unnecessary. Okay I guess I’m now done.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Outside the Cinema: Paragons of Podcasting

So many podcasts out there in the world and sometimes it’s hard to figure out what to listen to. You think about a topic and there are probably at least four podcasts about it. When it comes to things like comics, movies and most of the things I like; that normally multiplies. It can be daunting to a person looking for a starting point. I thought it was probably time to quickly delve into a podcast that not only got me listening to podcasts, but gave me the inspiration to start writing this blog.

While I love films in general, I do have a soft spot for slashers, exploitation and well really bad cheesy horror and science fiction films. It was by chance that I stumbled on to Outside the Cinema, a podcast/webcast that features many a cult movie. The show is brought to life by Bill Fulkerson, a man who not only has a passion for cult cinema, but has an ear for sound quality which lends the show a level of professionalism not seen in many podcasts. However I didn’t truly become a rabid fan of OTC until the original co-host stood down and Chris Bricklemeyer took over.

(From Left) Chris, Rev Scott and Bill. Who's Reverend Scott you ask?
I'll leave that as a surprise for those who tune in.
In Bill and Chris you have two lovers of film but coming from different places. Bill loves the type of movies they cover and has a lot of knowledge on the subject of Giallo, Blacksploitation and other sub genres. Chris on the other hand hasn’t watched as many of these old movies, long forgotten by the main stream, and it is through him that a new listener with no idea about what black gloves means to Italians, masked individuals or Rudy Ray Moore can hitch their wagon to. With two people who share a passion but come at it from a different perspective, it allows the listener to get a well balanced view on the movies.

Up to 241 episodes that doesn’t include the now defunct OTC Live and special editions, the boys have been around for a good chunk of time and the fact that they are still going at such a consistent rate is a testament to the professionalism that they bring to this project. Given that time it would be a lie if the show hasn’t hit some lows, but that’s normally thanks to the unreliable nature of some internet services from awards sites to hosting sites. But no matter what Bill and Chris manage to get through it all. Maybe a little battered, a little bruised and possibly with someone’s head adorning their house spikes, but still up and ready for round two learning from past mistakes.

The type of movie reviewed at OTC
A typical show will have a top six list of someone’s devising and two reviews; there is banter in-between and some feedback. It’s a full show and normal takes a little over two hours in total. That might be a bit of a commitment for some people, thankfully with each section broken down there is a way to listen in bite size chunks. Also with the playful nature of the two it is never a chore to listen to.

Of course this is all sounding like a paid for ad, and I would be a liar if I said OTC is perfection personified. For such lies I believe one would be destined to be killed by some lame horror icon like Killjoy. With that threat ever looming let me say that most of the show’s flaws would come down to a matter of personal taste. I know the things I’m not to fond of are loved by others, so the only real way to find out would be to listen to a few episodes and figure it out for yourself.

At the end of the day you need to ask two questions. Are you a fan of movies? Want to find some more obscure films? Then OTC is a podcast that deserves your time. Both Bill and Chris put a lot of time and effort into this show, and it is one of the best podcasts out there, this even includes professional podcasts that are in it for money. I guess Outside the Cinema is just one of those things that proves that cash is no real substitute for passion, because those who are passionate will always find a way to outdo those who are just in it for the money.

Facebook Group Link Here
Website Link Here
Or search for them on iTunes

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review: Simon Sez (1999)

“Stupid bee! You're just a fly with a stinger on your arse!”

Director: Kevin Elders
Starring: Dennis Rodman, Dane Cook and John Pinette
Writers: Andrew Miller and Andrew Lowery

There are movies that seem to be born from the devil’s backside with the sole intention of destroying the very fabric of your sanity. Simon Sez is such a film. Strutting into my life it proceeded to take a crap in my brain, showing no mercy for my well being what so ever. Pretty much I could end this review here and you would hopefully get the idea to avoid this film at all costs, but surely there was something of value here? Something I could find to justify watching this.

Well acting is a devoid wasteland of people hamming it up to painful levels. Dane Cook is a blight on this movie and I wanted him to die a very painful death. He’s not funny, he’s not a good actor, and he brings nothing to this movie. Jérôme Pradon as the main villain Ashton is pretty weak. He’s going for over top quirky villain but instead of being someone who we laugh with, we laugh at. That’s not good for a villain who’s supposed to be threatening. The less said about the tech monks the better. Surprisingly Dennis Rodman isn’t that worst and could have been a decent action star if relegated to mostly direct to dvd releases. Also Emma Wiklund as The Dancer shows some impressive action chops if not acting skills. Wow that’s two positives in a row.

Forget the plot, someone’s someone get his daughter kidnapped and villain wants evil mcguffin to do some dastardly deed. What ever story might be there is destroyed by the horrid and annoying characters. If there is anything to be salvaged from this movie is that some of the action isn’t that bad, but honestly you can find better stuff with characters that don’t offend. Still some credit needs to be given.

This is a horrible mess of a film and has some okay points but is brought to the bowels of hell thanks to some of the casting. If you are a Dane Cook fan then have at this film, but anyone else should avoid. Go watch Mr Brooks if you want a film that actually gives us a decent Dane Cook performance. Simon Sez this review is done.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Review: Valentine (2001)

“You brought me upstairs to show me your penis? How sweet!”

Director: Jamie Blanks
Starring: Denise Richards, David Boreanaz and Marley Shelton
Writers: Donna Powers, Wayne Powers, Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts

With the likes of horror movie giants such as Halloween and Black Christmas, there has been a lust by movie studios to make horror movies tied to holiday’s in the hopes of hitting another great combo. Father’s Day, prom nights, thanksgiving (or was that just Eli Roth fake trailer); there are heaps of movies out there. So does this movie make Valentine’s Day a day to be fearful of?

Well not really. As the movie progressed I just didn’t have much sympathy for the main characters. They seemed like very shallow people, who while not disserving of their fates, didn’t really help themselves. The killers back story is also fairly stupid. While school bullying is traumatic, and what he went through is one of the worst forms of that, I’ve met people who’ve gone through worse and haven’t decided to become killers. Still horror movies have made killers, kill for less so I guess I can’t give Valentine too much crap. Oh until the end game is revealed. Then the motivations make no damn sense.

Acting wise no one really stands out, yet at the same time it’s not that bad. Most of the problems with the character come from scripting and dialogue. Out of the core females I like Marley Shelton (Kate) the most. Which is a good thing considering Kate is the lead character. Oh and I might as well mention David Boreanaz. He was okay as Angel in the Buffy series and his own but I’ve never been a big fan, he just never seems to really hit the right note. In this movie yet again, I can’t put my finger on it but he just seems off. And not in that red herring way, in that he’s not a good actor way.

As for all the blood, gore and slasher like escapades it’s okay. Nothing really to write to the haunted home about, horror hounds will be bored and others will not be scared. If you are after holiday themed horror movies there are better ones out there. Not good, not bad, this just exists in the weird in-between zone.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Review: The Expendables 2 (2012)

“Six pounds of pure plutonium is powerful enough to change the balance of the world. Imagine what five tons will do.”

Director: Simon West
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme
Writers: Richard Wenk and Sylvester Stallone

When I watched the first Expendables I had some fun but was ultimately disappointed. I think this was mainly thanks to the editing. All these fights, and old stars kicking ass and I had trouble watching the thing. Whether this could be levelled in Stallones direction, it doesn’t matter as a new director might finally give me the movie I’m after.

Well I kind of got what I wanted. Stallone attempted some cool things with the first movie, but I just don’t think he really got a handle of it all. Simon West goes the other way and doesn’t really bring anything to the table. But he’s competent and at least this time the editing flowed better with the movie and while hectic you could see all the action happening. And it is now at this point I become a squealing fanboy as everything else was just damn awesome.

One of the biggest improvements story wise was the movie just leapt moving from one set piece to the next without taking the long periods of self reflection the first one did. As a celebration of the action icons of the past this is exactly how it should be. The story still has moments of navel gazing, and old timers feeling the weight of time and choices but this sequel balances this with the hardcore action and over the top violence.

Now onto the stars of this movie. Each actor is basically playing a glorified version of themselves, all the parts they’ve played rolled into one. Basically take a look at all the actors and if you like the list you’ll love this movie. But it’s not fair to leave it at that without singling three of my favourites. Dolph Lundgren steals a fair few of his scenes, and it was great to see him have a bigger part. I so want to see him and Jet Li do a buddy movie. Love or hate Chuck Norris the person, I have a fondness for Chuck Norris the action star. I loved watching his movies and seeing him here was great. His character in this is born from all the Chuck Norris memes on the internet, in fact they even manage to cram one of the Chuck Norris jokes in this movie. Finally there is the MVP of this movie, a man who isn’t playing an amplified version of himself, Jean-Claude Van Damme. The villain of the movie called Vilain (get it) and he’s just a bad ass. Smooth, psychopathic, able to jump kick Stallone’s head off. He’s everything you could want in a bad guy and I wish he was in the movie more.

Action is jam packed into this movie, and there were plenty of moments that I was cheering. Truly this was the movie that glorified the magnificent cheese of past action movies. Gauging from the audience’s reaction everyone was into the movie. It was also nice to see everyone get an action scene for audiences to cheer for. It did make me miss Arnold. However there was a downside to some of the action and that were the CGI blood effects. It wasn’t so much the over the topness of the effects but they really did look bad. What ever happened to using fake blood and a pump? Oh and i'm not sure if this was a problem with my cinema's print, but the quality was pretty bad with it being exceptionally grainy and low quality.

Expendables 2 was much better than the first. It got the balance better between action and reflective moments, with it realising that it needs to embrace the cheese. Just from the cast you should be able to figure out if you want to go along. If you were put off a little with the first movie, give this a go. I honestly can’t wait for the third movie. Time to bring on the CAGE!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Review: Total Recall (2012)

“If I'm not me, then who the hell am I?”

Director: Len Wiseman
Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and Bryan Cranston
Writers: Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback

Get your ass to mars! See you at the party Ricter! Get ready for a surprise! Line upon line of cheese and yet the original Total Recall manages to stand up to the test of time. Well maybe the SFX might be a tad dated but still the movie is solid over the top fun. Now I never thought I would ever say this about an Arnold Schwarzenegger but in the wake of watching the new remake, the original is a actually subtler and more thought provoking. So how does the remake fumble the ball? Read on.

Douglas Quaid is a factory worker who isn’t happy with his life. He then hears about Rekall, a company that can implant false memories in a persons mind and have them live out fantasy’s they never could otherwise. The procedure sets off a hidden personality and everything he thought he knew comes crashing down around him. Cut to action scenes and evil baddies being evil.

The biggest problem with Total Recall is when it tries to ape the original it really does suck. References don’t work, scenes seem out of place, and it really made me yearn for the original. However when it does its own thing, and introduces new ideas it really starts to gel and it had me paying complete attention. There is a genuinely good movie here hampered by being a remake. This remake also tries to play things rather seriously, and yet at the same time tries to be a fun action movie. These ideas don’t work, the reason why the original was fun, was it embraced it’s cheesiness.

Colin Farrell does not help this movie at all. I like the man, when he does weird characters he really does shine and have a lot of talent. But in the lead roles he always comes off one note. Honestly he would have worked better as the villain. Speaking of villains this is where the movie shines. Kate Beckinsale plays Lori, the agent sent to keep an eye on Quaid and then chase him down. She is an evil menace and comes across as a competent villain that could easily kick your ass. Her roles in Underworld really do her no favours as she has to play Selene very cold. Kate really needs to do more roles like this as it shows she is very capable. Bryan Cranston is great, but never given much to do. DAMN IT HOLLYWOOD, give this man a bigger role already, I’m sick of him rocking up in movies shining for two minutes then disappearing. While a fan of Jessica Biel, she isn’t really given much to do. Oh well I guess I’ll have to see her do a good job in The Tall Man movie.

Plot wise the movie is actually a lot simpler than the original. Any question of what is real is given some lip service right at the end, but quickly moves ahead before the audience starts thinking too much. The movie is more concerned with action and looking pretty. And while the action seemed a little long and not very impactful, everything looked awesome. Future worlds always interest me, and this was pretty impressive, a nice blend of ideas.

If you are a fan of the original be prepared to be disappointed, but there is actually some good things about this movie and it’s hard to dismiss it out right. Got a few hours spare, and want to watch a good looking science fiction movie with some awesome villains then this movie could be for you.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Who's Who of American Horror Story: Asylum.

So Entertainment Weekly has had an article detailing the cast of American Horror Story: Asylum. I for one am really getting jazzed for all the promotional stuff that has leaked out. The short trailers are spooky as hell and show that the same weird tone is going to be kept from first season.

I also like that the creators of the series are keeping some actors from the first season but giving them different roles. A few more seasons need to occur before we can see if this will continue, but i'm getting an almost theater troupe vibe from the idea, and for television it's an idea that could really pay off.

Below is a list of who's playing what, and this information is thanks to Arrow in the Head. I've provided the link at the bottom if you want to read the full article.

“Jessica Lange plays Sister Jude, a nun who's more sadistic than saintly.

Zachary Quinto plays Dr. Thredson, a psychiatrist whose forward-thinking ways conflict with Sister Jude's management style.

Chloe Sevigny plays Shelley, a nymphomaniac inmate.

James Cromwell plays Dr. Arden; EW says the not-so-good doctor is behind one of the season's newest frights: the Raspers. The mutated humans lurk in the forest outside of the institution and are a product of Arden's diabolical experiments on Briarcliff's inmates. Oh, and Arden may or may not be a Nazi. Yikes!

Lily Rabe plays Sister Eunice, the Lange character's second-in-command.

Joseph Fiennes plays Monsignor Timothy O'Hara, Sister Jude's superior who finds himself on the receiving end of the nun's affections (and fantasies), but he's not entirely innocent.

Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine plays Leo, one half of a newlywed couple visiting modern-day Briarcliff.

Jenna Dewan plays the second half of Asylum's high-profile newlywed couple.

Evan Peters, who portrayed season one's obnoxious villain Tate, is Kit, one of the newest Briarcliff inmates. Kit is committed after being accused of murdering his wife (played by Britne Olford), though he claims she was abducted — and not by humans.

Sarah Paulson plays a journalist named Lana who is committed to the asylum by her own girlfriend after she nearly exposes Briarcliff's darkest secrets.” (go to Arrow in the Head for full Article)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Review: Hostel (2005)

“I am the king of the swing!”

Director: Eli Roth
Starring: Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson and Eythor Gudjonsson
Writer: Eli Roth

I’ve seen Hostel before and I thought I would revisit it, especially considering the bad name it has built for itself. However going back through this movie I found that it holds up well and that there is a lot of talent behind the camera. There is a subtleness to be found hidden behind all the torture and gore.

In many peoples minds it was Hostel that started the whole torture porn genre, and for that a lot of people give it a hard time. Of course I can understand the back lash against the type of movies that glorify torture. Yet there will always be movies that attempt to do more, and Hostel is one of those movies.

First off the movie is really hurt by the modern age we live in. If you can somehow manage to see this film without any possible spoilers (including rating advice, dvd cover, knowledge of who the director is), you could be fooled into thinking that this is a coming of age story set in Europe or perhaps a crass teen road trip movie. Listen to the music, the dialogue, what the characters are attempting to do. Eli Roth is able to tap into this genre and it makes the decent into horror all that more disturbing.

The gore is full on, and the effects are very realistic, at least realistic enough to get the audience wincing. But the blood doesn’t really flow until the final third of the movie, in fact there is some restraint used with only a quick glimpse here and there. It further creates a difference between the beginning and end of the movie, and therefore the horror is more horrific because we aren’t immediately thrown into the horrific scenario.

Perhaps one of the strengths of Hostel is the three main characters. Paxton (Jay Hernandez), Josh (Derek Richardson) and Oli (Eythor Gudjonsson) are all drawn with clichés directly from teenage road trip movies, yet as the movie progresses there are bits and pieces of the characters life that come through making them well rounded. Paxton in particular comes of as a Stifler light sort of character, but by the end I actually cared about him. Other than these three, most of the other characters are just asked to be odd, and in that respect they do a good enough job.

The first part of the movie also sets up the running theme of the perversity of pleasure. Paxton, Josh and Oli are all on this trip to get laid and smoke pot because that’s what they get pleasure from; the killers are torturing backpackers because that’s how they derive pleasure. There are also scenes that seem similar in set up, if not location and further enforce this dichotomy.

Hostel is really smarter than its given credit for, and is often just thrown into the horror torture genre in disdain. Still there is meat there, Eli Roth gives us a movie that slowly descends into the horror and therefore is far more successful in disturbing the audience. Having said all that this movie is still not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are a horror fan and have avoided Hostel because of the negativity directed at it, you should do your self a favour and watch it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review: Ring of Death (2008)

“On the inside, there are no rules.”

Director: Bradford May
Starring: Johnny Messner, Jonathan Chase and Esteban Cueto
Writers: Dan Fitzsimons and David Rosiak,

Let me pull back the curtain a little bit on my operation here. I normally watch a ton of movies, and those that I watch for the first time get put in a little black book I have. If a movie really intrigues me I’ll review it then and there and then make a note of it in my book. Others I’ll come around to them when I catch up to them, normally this means a few months could have gone by before I review them. Past history has proven to me that I don’t have a big problem in remembering details. Not so with Ring of Death. This has to be one of the most forgettable films I’ve seen in a while.

On every level this movie just slipped my mind and made next to no impression on me. Well except for maybe one factor but I’ll get to that. Basically a jail’s warden is corrupt as all hell and runs fights in the prison for the rich. Our hero Burke Wyatt (Johnny Messner) is given a chance to reclaim his life by infiltrating the jail and taking part of the fights. With a plot like that there could have been some great over the top action, instead we get a movie that’s just there.

The only thing that I can remember crystal clearly is Stacy Keach as Warden Carl Golan. He eats the scenery with a hunger that rivals Galactus. It was thanks to him that I managed to make it through the movie as he comes off truly psychotic and threatening but with a touch of class. Any villain that wears a bow tie and can still be threatening is impressive.

If you are a fan of bad action movies I would still say skip this. It’s really boring, and other than one performance there is nothing here worth your time. Even for those who love the so bad it’s good type movie.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Review: Running Scared (1986)

“Pointing a gun at a police officer. Can we waste them for that?”

Director: Peter Hyams
Starring: Gregory Hines, Billy Crystal and Steven Bauer
Writers: Gary DeVore and Jimmy Huston

It’s been a while since I’ve watched an 80’s buddy cop movie, and this was on the pay television so I thought why not. Of course unlike some other buddy movie where normally it’s an odd paring, Ray and Danny are partners who think alike and are each others best friend. Honestly where the oddness comes up is with the city of Chicago. They are cops who are growing tired with their home place, tired of being shot at, and are looking to finally retire.

Never would I have thought Billy Crystal could have pulled of being a believable cop, sure he’s a jokester in this movie, but there seems to be a weariness to him that comes from being a cop. Gregory Hines is probably the serious one of the two, and yet he has his comedic moments, and you believe that the two could be partners as they do play off each other very well. Jimmy Smits plays a slimy lead bad guy very well, while Joe Pantoliano plays his underling Snake with even more sliminess. They do make for a good reason to leave the city.

The story itself is a little interesting but always goes for the joke rather than delving too deep into any of the interesting topics it raises, but then this is all the movie wants to do. Crystal and Hines really do work off each other well, even Smits and Pantoliano demonstrate chemistry with the two cops and it creates a believable dynamic throughout the film. I also appreciated that Peter Hymes made Chicago seem dirty and dark, while Florida was bright and beautiful, it at least created a contrast for the movie and emphasising what would be great about the move.

If you’re after a fun movie that moves at a pretty brisk pace then Running Scared does have a bit going for it. Sure it can feel scuzzy sometimes but then that is the intention, and it’s always interesting to see Crystal and Hines react to the crap in Chicago. One of the better buddy cop movies out there.

Review: Panic at Rock Island (2011)

“Killer concert turns deadly.”

Director: Tony Tilse
Starring: Grant Bowler, Zoe Cramond and Eli Kent
Writer: Matt Ford

Made for television disaster movies can be some of the funniest movies around, especially if the budget isn’t big enough to cover the earth ending events. Now I’ve had my share of American disaster movies and thought it was time to venture to my home countries domain and check out this viral outbreak disaster film. I never thought it would turn out as bad it did.

So a rock concert is thrown on an island just off the harbour of Sydney, Australia. People are coming from all over Australia to join in the massive three day event, in fact some Kiwi’s have managed to sneak onto the island through a sewer access tunnel that connects to Sydney. On their way to the concert they happen to come across an infected military man in the sewers, and unfortunately become carriers of this deadly virus. Can Joe Quinn stop the infection from spreading to the mainland? Will everyone die at the concert? Can people be actually as stupid as this movie portrays them?

My biggest problem with this movie is that for the events to occur, everyone has to act like a complete and utter idiot. Corrupt government officials, parents, kids, concert organisers, military squads. The only character that has any intelligence is Joe Quinn (Grant Bowler) and everyone just disbelieves him. Even when he has enough concern to shut everything down, oh no can’t do that there’s money to be made. While this kind of blind ignorance is a staple of the disaster genre, it is at it’s apex with this movie.

With the plot being in a complete and utter shambles, and honestly me hoping most characters died a horrible death, I was really happy to find that some characters did indeed die horrible deaths. The virus makes its victims excrete every kind of body fluid under the sun and the movie isn’t shy in showing how disgusting it can get. So for those of you who like their viral disaster movies disgusting you might find something here.

No matter how good the virus effects may be, the story is a complete and waste of your time. When you make people do completely illogical things in order to progress the story then you know you’ve got problems. If you like watching bad movies then give this a watch, but really just skip it and do your self the favour.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Review: Mr Hush (2010)

“Fear what evil lurks in the shadows.”

Director: David Lee Madison
Starring: Brad Loree, Edward X. Young and Stephen Geoffreys
Writer: David Lee Madison

So I found out about this movie because it ripped off Trick r Treats poster. If you compare the two you will see how blatant a rip off it is. Even down to the same title font being used. Intrigued I wanted to know why. Was it one of these Asylum style rip offs? Delving into this movie I got more than I could have ever bargained for.

Within the first two seconds I could tell that this was going to be an experience rivalling that of The Room. The acting is atrocious, with half of the actors sounding like they are reading directly from the script. Those that don’t, think that to emote means to yell, and for that I’m looking mainly at Brad Loree. Half the time he was just yelling at the loudest possible volume to get a point across. Then there’s Edward X Young who plays the titular Mr Hush. Bad accents, acting so hammy that he could open a delicatessen, and random tonal shifts that go from dead serious to over the top, Mr Young was an avatar of some of the worst acting imaginable.

Story wise we have a man called Holland (Loree) who has his family killed by Mr Hush. Slowly Holland rebuilds his life, but Mr Hush comes back to bring pain and suffering. There is a kernel of an interesting idea but the movie mishandles it on every conceivable level. First off there are large portions of the movie that are just boring, no story progression. When things pick up the villains play it so over the top that any horror established is wrecked. If the intention was making this a comedy I could have almost believed it.

David Lee Madison uses a nauseating camcorder style that shakes and jostles through even the quietest of scenes. Simple continuity mistakes are present at some of the more important scenes, and there are some visual choices that make me scratch my head, there just seems to be a lack of caring that runs throughout this movie.

If you’ve found this movie thanks to the poster connection with Trick r Treat then run away as quickly as possible. If you happen to have stumbled upon this at the shop or rental place then just avoid it. There is nothing about this movie that can be called good. 

Review: Trick r Treat (2007)

“You know, there are rules, you should be more careful. You might upset someone.”

Director: Michael Dougherty
Starring: Anna Paquin, Brian Cox and Dylan Baker
Writer: Michael Dougherty

It’s been a while since I’ve watched an anthology horror movie and after hearing some good things about Trick r Treat I thought I would dip my toes in. Trick r Treat had a hard road; it was made and then shelved even though there was good buzz leaking through the grape vine. Some say it was because Warner Bros didn’t want to iok,being punished for his involvement in Superman Returns. So was this a miscarriage of justice? Or should this have never been released?

Unlike some anthology movies which have separate stories normally connected by a narrator or bookend story, this movie takes the approach of being a single night on Halloween with various characters constantly intersecting in the background with the chronological order of the events being mixed about. It’s an approach that gives the movie a feeling of freshness, and a great sense of not knowing what will happen next. I won’t go into the specifics as it can ruin several surprises, but I did like where the movie went and how it balanced horror and fun. In fact the opening credits are done in a comic book style and really set up the tone.

The actors all seem to be having fun, with Dylan Baker having a particularly wild time as Steven. Anna Paquin also shows up as the shy girl next door Laurie. In fact I can see definite shades of a prototype Sookie Stackhouse in this performance. However the highlights of the movie have to go to Brian Cox and Quinn Lord. As Mr Kreeg, Brian Cox manages to give us a grizzled old bastard that is every bit an asshole, and yet give him enough personality for us to get behind when the shit goes down. Then there is Sam, a small child that walks through all the nights events like an omen of doom. It’s not giving anything away in saying he is the monster given front and centre attention; the spokesmen for the movie. What’s fascinating to me is that even with the entire make up, masks and lack of dialogue a young Quinn Lord is able to give this monster a particular personality that really resonates. So much so that I would love to have a Sam figure for my monster collection.

Visually the movie is crisp and really glorifies Halloween. Even with all the horror that was being thrown up onto the screen I kind of wished Australia celebrated Halloween like the Americans. The movie is both bright and celebratory, along with having dark shadows looming. Compared to some of the horror movies that get released now a days, this really does stand out. Michael Dougherty has a clear idea of what he wants to accomplish, and his style makes sure that the audience gets every little detail.

For people who want a Halloween film then this would rank up there. It’s obviously been made by people who love the genre, and it’s a wonder why the studios did hide this away. In my mind I would rather have a whole glut of movie like Trick r Treat rather than another Saw sequel. Horror fans grab this as soon as possible.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Of Slender and Man 2: Scare Harder

My first little entry on the Slender Man has proven to be rather popular, so thinking like a Hollywood big wig, I’ve decided to write a sequel. However this time I will be looking at some of Slender Man’s friends which have been collected into a pantheon called The Fears Mythos.

Inspired by Candle Cove.
Before all the stories and alternate reality games, the Fears lived as a meme call Creepypasta. Creepypasta are stories designed to unnerve and also blur the line between reality and fiction, often using the current forms of communication offered by the internet (blogs, message boards, etc). One of the stories that I personally love is the Candle Cove story, just something about the creepiness of an evil kids show. However getting into the details of Creepypasta isn’t really my aim today, but those that are interested can go to or Know Your Meme for more info.

I can’t help noting that this Fears Mythos, is evolving in a way that makes it the modern equivalent of the Cthulhu Mythos. While HPLovecraft was the brains behind Cthulhu, his work inspired others and using his world the Cthulhu Mythos has constantly been expanded on. Titus Crow one of my favourite characters from the Cthulhu Mythos has nothing to do with Lovecraft, but is the creation of author Brian Lumley. It’s this constant building upon the works of others that fascinated me with Cthulhu and has fascinated me once more with the Fears.

However where things differ between the two in myopinion is that the Cthulhu Mythos was always about making humans seem insignificant in the grand cosmic scheme, while the Fears Mythos plays upon the insecurities of us all and therefore makes us very important to the mythos. The Slender Man is a being that strikes great fear into those he terrorizes, but at the same time he only exists because others are documenting his actions. By turning away and forgetting, we have a chance, but all to often humanity is too stupid and will delve into places they don’t belong.

The Rake
Each of the beings in the mythos represent different fears, and interact with it’s victims in different ways. All seem to want to drive us insane with fear. While listing all the Fears would extend this blog entry out a lot, I will go through those that did intrigue me. Hell if they didn’t intrigue me, I would have never started writing this article in the first place.

The Rake is one of the more popular Fears having appeared in EveryMAN Hybrid. This fear represents brutality and animals among other things. It seems to have connections with the old tales of werewolves and other horrid creatures that lurk in the woods. Like the Slender Man it seems to be an evolved form of previous horror stories given an almost faceless appearance. It’s as if the Fear Mythos gives us horror creatures born from an almost primordial point of view. It is a fear that we all have and have always had.

The Black Dog
The Black Dog is of particular interest to me as I’ve always been a fan of the stories of Old Shuck. In fact I mention the beast back in an old article of mine. This is another case of the Fear Mythos adopting tales from different ages and modernizing them for consumption. In this case The Black Dog is a fear that represents the truth, and its sole purpose seems to come from terrorizing a person with a massive secret. This is a departure from the old tales which have it more of a ghost set to haunt the moors and other area’s humans don’t want to go. Of course if you want a famous example of The Black Dog then you would do well to read Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles.

The Smiling Man
An interesting and more modern take on The Fears is the Smiling Man which represents the fear that comes from stalkers. A creature whose smile is too wide for his mouth and eyes that are just blank, it’s an image that has popped up a few times in pop culture. Maybe one of the more recognisable of these is the Joker. A villain that does indeed stalk Batman. I think the Smiling Man is an example of an important facet of the Fear Mythos. That is the Fears Mythos is full of creatures that truly symbolise villain archetypes that we come across again and again.

The Empty City is a sentient city that likes to play with it’s would be victims. It’s the fear of being lost, and also a meeting place for all other fears. Ghost Towns, unfamiliar settings, we’ve all heard stories that are connected to this particular fear. The idea behind The Empty City is really shown with a little thing called Silent Hill. The more I read about this fear, the more I see connections to the game. Especially with its tendency of punishing guilty people and changing others who accidently stumble into its territory.

The Empty City
Of course there are plenty more Fears in existence already as well as more being created all the time. I would highly recommend people head to The Fears Mythos wiki for more info. All the work in the wiki and blogs is really exciting to see, especially when it’s a creative endeavour really building with so much love from the current generation. It’s weird but an exercise based on writing about fear, actually gives me hope. 

Review: Hallowed Ground (2007)

“Evil Unearthed”

Director: David Benullo
Starring: Jaimie Alexander, Brian McNamara and Ethan Phillips
Writer: David Benullo

Where to start with tis bundle of fun. I came to it because I haven’t watched a horror movie based around Scarecrows before. This popped up on pay television and I thought why the heck not. Looking back on a lot of movies that have left a bad taste in my mouth, it all tends to come down to that one idea. Why the heck not?

First off it’s a waste of an hour and a half of my life. This movie starts off with the promise of being cheesy but it really just rushes through what it’s got to get to the ‘scares’. The characters are pretty one dimensional, twists can be seen from far off, and any potential scares are destroyed by the stupidity of it all.

I can see this being a quick review as there isn’t much to continue with. Except that filming in a corn field is visually boring. Sure I guess it’s a cheap way of getting around spending money, but you get what you pay for. So at the end of it all I would say skip and try and find another scarecrow movie worth your time.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Review: Documenting the Grey Man (2011)

Director: Wayne Capps
Starring: Patrick Hussion, Kelly Coulter and Jillian Walzer

When you delve into low budget horror movies it’s always a good idea to keep in mind that low budget doesn't equal a bad movie. But it’s still a good guide. Thankfully the found footage genre does allow for lower budget movie to be a lot more effective in the scare department. Take a look at The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity. So is there any hope for Documenting the Greyman, a movie that I was rather interested in?

Hell and no. Wow I haven’t seen a movie this bad for a while. Normally I try to find any positives in these reviews, but this movie well and truly craps itself in every single way. The acting is awful and it seems like this might have been a movie that delved in improvisation as I couldn’t find any script writer mentioned on line. Also with the word y’know used constantly throughout the movie either the actors were stymied when trying to create dialogue or the writer wanted to add it to the script for god knows what reason.

But the acting isn’t the only thing that reeks; the pacing of the movie is atrocious. It isn’t till the fifty minute mark that things start happening. Oh and the movie is only one hour long. Yep, everyone is killed in the space of ten minutes and not very visually. Most just drop to the floor killed by an invisible force. It’s that lame. There are some special effects but you’ve seen these in other movies and they aren’t much to write home about.

I think the ultimate insult is the premise. The Greyman is supposed to appear to people and warn them of a coming storm, some even see him as lucky. If all the legends point to this ghost being benevolent then why is it terrorizing this family? Thinking about it shows that there was no real thought given to the movie as it doesn’t make sense and no sense is ever given. Also the characters are absolutely stupid, not leaving when they should have.

Summing it all up, avoid this movie at all costs. It has nothing going for it other than; well nothing really. Do something more productive and watch a science fiction channel original movie.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tree of Life 2: Man of Steel

So with the release of The Dark Knight Rises we also got the release of the new teaser trailer for the new Superman movie, Man of Steel. The teaser trailer actually comes in two flavours. One narrated by Kevin Costner who plays Jonathon Kent and the other is narrated by Russell Crowe who plays Jor-El. Using both father figures talking to Clark is interesting, and I like the duality that they seem to be trying to set up. However there was something about the trailers that worried me slightly and the reason why I’m writing this. But before I continue you can watch the trailers below so we all know what the hell I’m talking about.

Russel Crowe Voice Over

Kevin Costner Voice Over

Okay so are we all done? Good. Now I don’t want to be all fanboy and complain, so let me get all the good things out of the way first. The visuals do look really well shot, the narration seems to be spot on character wise, Superman going supersonic is rather cool, and I have no problem with Henry Cavill in the role of Clark Kent/Superman.

Really after all that it would seem that I should have loved the trailer right? Well no, you see there is something missing from this trailer that really needed to be shown. Action! Superman beating the crap out of things, hurling heavy things at bad guys, hell saving someone would have been good. Sure you could say that this was just a teaser trailer and that they will probably put action in the next one, but come on we need the Superman movie we’ve never really had, and the studio should assure the viewing public that that’s what they are going to get.

While there has been action in the Superman movies, we’ve never really had the type of epic battle that comic readers have been used to. Sure the older movie did the best with the available technology they had at the time. But that excuse can’t be used for the last Superman movie which was so boring, and really lacked an awesome finale. I don’t count picking up an island as awesome.

In my mind the first trailer to be released for this new Superman movie needed to have Supes smack the holy hell out of something. Instead the teaser had an almost Tree of Life feel to it. I swear I thought they were doing a sequel at first. Take a look at some of the screenshots below from Tree of Life, you could have added them to the trailers above and I’m sure no one would have spotted the difference.

Now I still have high hopes for the film, but the smallest of crack has appeared. As a friend pointed out this reeks of Superman Begins, and if this movie is a methodical, thoughtful piece looking at the makings of an icon, then this franchise will be dead in the water. We need a fun, action packed Superman. When people try to get to thoughtful with Superman in the comics bad things often happen. Not always, but it’s definitely the harder road to travel. Plus I think if the Avengers has proven anything, you can still have a well made movie, but it can just be fun for the audiences not much thinking involved.

Two issues from one of those missteps. The Grounded story line was bad.

So that’s my concern, take from it what you will, but I feel better for getting it out there. Hey at least the movie can’t be as bad as Batman and Robin right?

Review: Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

“You'd be proud of me now, mother. All the kids like me.”

Director: J. Lee Thompson
Starring: Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford and Lawrence Dane
Writers: John C.W. Saxton, Peter Jobin and Timothy Bond

When I saw that this slasher was released on the year of my birth, I couldn’t help but sit down and watch it. Yeah sometimes it’s that easy to get me to watch a movie. But I always have high hopes for slasher films that centre on celebrations; holiday or other. So does this classic hold up, or is it a pretty crappy birthday present?

Simple set up for this film, Virginia (Melissa Sue Anderson) is about to turn 18 in a few days. But as the days tick down, her friends starting dying off one by one. Does it have to do with car accident she was in that took the life of her mother? Is it one of the many creepy people that seem to be hanging around? Or could it be Old Man Witherby down at the local amusement park? Well maybe not Old Man Witherby cause he doesn’t exist.

While I kind of enjoyed this movie, I think it’s a very acquired taste. This movie is made of red herrings, with many people acting more psychotic than they should. It’s a tad annoying as it’s very obvious what the film makers are trying to do, and it just seems all a tad extreme for the characters. Also while the end leads to a pretty interesting and creepy scene involving the birthday, the reveal is a tad stupid if you start thinking about it too much. But then again these are just the side attractions, most people will come for the more interesting kills. The movie proudly proclaims it's murders are some of the six most bizarre, but I think by now they are a tad dated. Still take a look at the poster above and if this image intrigues you, then maybe the kills are up your alley.

Basically this movie is for the slasher fans and that’s about it. You can have some fun with it, but by all means don’t think about it to seriously. After watching this movie I’m sure of one thing. I don’t want to ever visit the Crawford Academy as everyone is a bunch of loons. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Review: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

“Calm down, Doctor! Now's not the time for fear. That comes later.”

Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway and Gary Oldman
Writers: Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan

Finally the end of the epic Nolan trilogy that everyone’s been waiting for and it’s probably been one of my most anticipated movies as I’ve been hankering for a good movie featuring one of my favourite Batman villains Bane. Probably one of the harder things in taking a look at this movie is separating the movie reviewer from the comic book fan. But I’ll try to be as impartial as possible but I thought I would put that out there.

For a final conclusion to everything that Nolan has been setting up, The Dark Knight Rises delivers big time. Thanks to the careful crafting of the series, the ending feels organic and not pushed. There is also an increase of the stakes that are involved in this movie. The threat that Bane represents is one that constantly weighs on the audiences mind as the thing that could end the Batman. Of course I can’t get any further into the story without giving major things away, but needless to say if you enjoyed the themes of the previous two films, you will enjoy this.

The first two Nolan Batmen movies were packed to the brim with great actors, and Rises doesn’t stray from that formula. Bale is always good as Batman, and it’s interesting to see him without the cowl. In this movie he’s truly a broken man, and we don’t normally get this intimate with Bruce Wayne. As for the newcomers, Tom Hardy brings a primal physicality to the role of Bane. While this isn’t the Bane comic book fans may know, there are enough similarities along with some excellent acting to create a memorable villain. Anne Hathaway is pretty darn good in the movie but she isn’t really given much to do. Catwoman is more of a convenient plot mover than an actual character. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a young idealistic beat cop John Blake. It’s interesting to see a fresh go through the change in Gotham that Bane brings about. A little more time of him on screen might have been appreciated but the run time on this movie is already epic. Everyone else does a good job but there does seem to be a lack of screen time for them.

Nolan really uses Imax to his advantage and this is such a beautiful movie to watch. You get immersed into Gotham, and get an excellent sense of how the city operates. There is also attention to detail that gives little nods to the comics fans will appreciate. On top of the crisp visuals the Hans Zimmer score is excellent and while it works with the other two, there are elements used to create a uniqueness that helps reinforce the themes of this movie. With Nolan’s eye, and Zimmer’s music, they create this epicness and in the final action scene it feels that we are witnessing something that truly lives up to this epicness.

However not is all right with this movie. I hate to be the one to be the party pooper but there is a serious flaw present, and that’s the script. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great movie, but it isn’t as good as The Dark Knight. It might be that there is a little too much in this movie, which is saying something as it’s nearly three hours long. Characters get lost and aren’t given enough time to develop, and the set up for the end is telegraphed. Due to so much happening certain scenes are used to quickly set up things but come off pretty ham fisted. There is also the problem of coincidence. Characters discover things, or do actions that seem very coincidental. Funny thing is if this movie was split into two, more time could have been given not only for development of character, but allow events to occur a little more naturally. Thinking upon it I’m pretty sure The Dark Knight had similar problems, but being a more focused film that wasn’t trying to connect all the dots, this problem wasn’t as obvious.

Don’t get me wrong, this movie is great but when compared to its forbearers, small cracks do appear under the weight of this tale. The Avengers was probably a better put together movie, but then it wasn’t as ambitious as The Dark Knight Rises and that’s saying something. If you like the previous two movies, then you will love this. It’s a satisfying conclusion to the story, and a worthy film to put some time into.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review: Safe (2012)

“What the hell did you do, kid?”

Director: Boaz Yakin
Starring: Jason Statham, Catherine Chan and Chris Sarandon
Writer: Boaz Yakin

Oh Statham, you could have been someone, could have been a contender, but you keep on heading to C Grade Action Movie town. I remember the days Snatch, and how entranced I was with you. Then Transporter hit and I thought I was seeing the birth of the next big action star. Then bit by bit, with each passing movie he just seemed to get in worse productions, there was some renewed hope with Crank but that was drowned out by other films. Last year I saw three of his movie and they were just horrible. I guess I’m a sucker for punishment because I walked into Safe with some hope.

Out of his recent movies this film started off well enough. There was time taken to establish Statham’s character Luke Wright and the premise of him being a protector to a little girl who is on the run from a crime boss. It all seems to be building up to a huge confrontation between gangs, corrupt cops and Statham’s character.  But then in the third act the plot begins to fall apart and actually after too many twists fizzles away.

I think this is a recurring problem with Statham films, there is potential but the ball is always dropped. He really needs to get picky with his films, or maybe move from action movies and into something a little more dramatic. All I can say is yet again I left a Statham film disappointed.