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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Notable Occurences


Poltergeist is being remade and Sam Raimi is producing.This news seems to lead to two common reactions – Dismay: Why do they have to remake everything? That film was a classic, well perhaps not a classic but I watched it when I was in my 20s and I’m sure that someone thinks it’s a classic. If people enjoy the film so much why can’t they just watch the original? There’s no need to remake it with modern CGI effects and ruin the original just for the sake of squeezing a few bucks of the saps that make up the modern audience. There’s just no originality left in Hollywood. Joy: Great news, man that is such a fantastic team-up of a brilliant film-maker and great story. I’m sure with him at the helm we’re sure to get a fantastic movie with modern CGI effects and it will far outshine the lame old original with its rubber monsters. I’ll just wait and see how this turns out.

Raimi himself is currently working on a prequel to the classic Wizard of Oz called Oz the Great and Powerful which will feature Raimi’s old buddy and fan favourite Bruce Campbell in a cameo role and is due to be released in March next year. The remake of Raimi’s low-budget classic Evil Dead seems to be carrying on with a darker grittier serious tone which may have already been undercut by the excellent Cabin in the Woods reconstruction of precisely this type of storyline. Without the childish humour there appears little to separate this from  all the other films in the “college dicks get killed” sub-genre, but at least they have cast some pretty young people to watch suffer such as Shiloh Fernandez and Jane Levy.

Global Asylum Pictures, the studio responsible for many cheap knock-offs of big blockbuster titles, are getting sued by Universal because they say that Asylum’s straight to DVD American Battleship is pretending to be Battleship, the over-priced over-hyped piece of CGI trash based on a Hasbro board game that is itself a knock-off of an old paper and pen game. Asylum does make a load of knock-off rubbish such as 100 Million Years BC, Paranormal Entity and Transmorphers but I seriously doubt that they fool anyone. They are also the studio responsible for such trashy gems as Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus and Sharktopus. I don’t know if Universal have much chance of success but I’m sure Asylum will milk it for all the publicity they can get and I wonder which film will get better ratings because the expensive one has been getting a slamming from the critics

Fox are going to reboot Daredevil with David Slade directing. Fox are also in talks about rebooting Fantastic Four with Joss Trank. While Fox’s efforts with the X-Men have been generally well received and their reboot/prequel X-Men First Class got positive reviews but the same cannot be said for the Daredevil and Fantastic Four films. I’m not sure how it works but if Fox don’t get films made based on these two comics then they lose the rights. I doubt Chris Evans will be returning to role of the Human Torch having done so well playing Steve Rodgers in Captain America, First Avenger and Avengers Assemble.

Anyone who had fun with the old school slasher Hatchet will be happy to hear that Kane Hodder and Danielle Harris have signed on for Hatchet 3. Other sequel news is that writer Max Landis is penning a script for Chronicle 2. Another sequel at the writing stage is The Dead 2 a sequel to  the back to the roots zombie film The Dead.  A bit closer to release is Grave Encounters 2 a sequel to  the low budget found footage film which is in production and scheduled for an October release date and I hope it appears in UK a lot quicker than the first one did.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Dream House

When I saw the trailer for this film I thought it looked interesting but when I heard the negative reviews I was a little cautious but at least it had a great cast so how could it go too badly wrong?  I can’t go too far into this film without revealing spoilers and even if those spoilers are in the trailer I should really try to avoid revealing too much.

Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) leaves his job as an editor of a magazine to spend more time with his wife Libby (Rachel Weisz) and two young daughters in their new house in the suburbs where he wants to begin work on writing a book. Will becomes aware of strange things happening around the house and he thinks someone is watching the house.  It turns out that the house has a tragic history – the previous owner Peter Ward went mad and killed his family, or so everyone believes. Will uncovers the shocking truth with the help of his neighbour Ann Patterson (Naomi Watts).

Even though I knew the main twist in the story from the trailer I was sure that the film had a few more surprises in store and even though it does they are fairly dull compared to main twist. I though t it did a good job of building up as a fairly typical psychological thriller for most of the film but the climax of the film is just a letdown for me. There was no doubting the quality of the acting from the leads and the supporting cast. The problem for me is that the story just doesn’t maintain the promise of the first half. I don’t if I would have preferred to have experienced the film in total ignorance of the story since I can’t communicate with that version of reality but even if I had I’m sure the ending would still have had the same affect. It isn’t a horrible film but it’s nothing to get excited about either.

Rating 5/10

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Camel Spiders

This DVD has “Roger Corman presents” across the top so it is clearly going to be a cheesy B-movie featuring spiders and after watching it I can say you get exactly what you’d expect, lots of giant spiders running amok and killing people. Actually that’s not strictly true because camel spiders are not spiders because they have ten limbs but they are arachnids and they are real but fortunately are not as bad as this film makes them out to be. They only grow as big as 12” which is the size of an LP record and not the size of a large dog like the ones in this film. Having seen LPs I can say that I really do not want to come across a real camel spider and I am not very comforted to read about one being found in a house in England and the family living there got so creeped out by it they ran away and claimed it killed their pet dog.

Anyway back to this stupid film. A squad of American soldiers are in a gun battle with a group of insurgents in Iraq when the group they are fighting start screaming and go quiet. Captain Sturges (Brian Krause) looks into it and all they find is a dead body lying where the insurgents where. There are bite marks on his face which a local soldier tells them is the bite of the camel spider which he claims is venomous (which it isn’t but in this film they are). They load up their weapons and ammo to leave the area and put a dead soldier in a crate to transport home but we see camel spiders creep into the crate unnoticed.

Next we’re back in American with Sturges in an army truck being driven by Sergeant Underwood (Melissa Brasselle). In back are the guns and ammo and the crate with body. As they are driving though a quiet rural road in the mountains a car smashes into them at a crossroads. The boxes fall out of the back and the crate breaks open and the spiders come out and run off. Sheriff Beaumont (C. Thomas Howell) arrives on the scene and makes sure everyone is okay. The army truck has damaged its clutch so Beaumont tells them about a motel they can stay at while they wait for the army to send help and escorts them there.

Enough of those losers, now we get to see the camel spiders in action. Two couples are out wandering round the mountains for some reason that probably relates to sex. One couple argue and she takes his car keys and leaves in his car. He gets attacked by a large group of CGI camel spiders of various sizes and killed. The other couple have gone on ahead and are snogging away happily. They ignore the screams of their friend being killed thinking it’s a joke but then the man goes to explore a rustling noise and is killed, then the woman is attacked and killed. The other woman drives to store and inside she finds the owner and his wife stuck in a giant web (since they are not spiders they don’t make webs) and she gets jumped and killed by a camel spider.

Beaumont takes Sturges to a diner to get something to eat for himself and Underwood. The diner is just full of stereotypes of the survivor horror genre, the bickering couple with a young daughter, two condescending prejudiced city boys, a pair of conniving businessmen, the friendly waitress and the loving couple who own the place. Oh yeah they have black cook so guess who gets killed by spiders taking out the trash. They soon realise they are being overrun by camel spiders and all the extras get killed off, including one of the city boys. Sturges radios Underwood for help and the core cast get away and hole up in a gypsum extraction plant.

This just yet another dumb movie and you might enjoy it if you can purt up with its many flaws such as the poor writing. The acting is very mixed with some really bad acting but Brian Krause plays it seriously as does C. Thomas Howell. The CGI is really cheap and unconvincing but no worse than I expected. The creepiest thing this film did was make me Google “camel spider” and find out about the real animal, a creature that can be as big as an LP with a nasty bite and that can run up to 14 kmph. Fortunately they can’t swim across the sea, even if one has been found in the UK.

Rating 4.5/10

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2012 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: The Cabin in the Woods

Quite a buzz has built up about this film pre-release in the media devoted to the horror genre and I have to confess to catching some this enthusiasm myself, so when it opened I got myself straight down to local multiplex. This film was made a few years ago by MGM but when they went bust a lot of their projects got frozen. Fortunately Lionsgate took over the distribution of this film so we all finally get to see it. Written by director Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon, it has a lot of the witty dialogue you’d expect if you are familiar with Whedon’s TV shows. This review will be short because I don’t want to give any spoilers. Avoid the trailer if you can but it is probably too late for that

The set-up is so familiar and it is all the story I’m going to mention. A group five college students go for weekend break to a remote cabin in the woods. There are two pretty girls Dana (Kristen Connolly) the red-headed studious girl-next-door and Jules (Anna Hutchison) who is blonde and more in the mood for good time with her boyfriend Curt (Chris Hemsworth who is now Thor but this film was made before he got that role) a big gorgeous muscled athletic type. A second attractive jock Holden (Jesse Williams) has been brought along with the hope that he will hook up with Dana because he is also a quiet studious type. Lastly is Marty (Fran Kranz) the sarcastic stoner with an amazing collapsible bong / travel mug. On the way to the cabin they stop at a very run-down gas station where an obnoxious mad local man Mordecai (Tim De Zarn) insults them and implies that if they carry on it means their certain doom. Of course they ignore his warning and travel on to the remote cabin in the woods where a terrible fate awaits them

The Mighty Thor and Friends

If you have seen the trailer you may know that something more is going than this cliché set-up implies but you are probably not prepared for what this film delivers. I smiled and laughed and wanted to cheer many times when watching it. The acting is great and I really liked the dialogue, especially between the characters Sitterson (Richard Jenkins) and Hadley (Bradley Whitford). The ending is just total madness and a pure feast of blood and horror. If you like horror and have a dark sense of humour you will probably love this film and I highly recommend people go see it.

Rating 9/10

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2012 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: The Adventures of Tintin – the Secret of the Unicorn

As a kid I read Tintin books and enjoyed the adventures of the young reporter and his dog Snowy so when I heard that Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson were making a Tintin film I was very excited. Then I heard the script was written by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead), Steven Moffat (Dr Who) and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) and I could not see how this could be anything but brilliant

Tintin (Jamie Bell) is at a market in the town where he lives and he spots a model ship being sold at bric-à-brac stall. Just after he buys the model a gruff American tries to buy it from him but Tintin doesn’t want to sell it. The American warns him that possessing the model is dangerous and he seems genuinely scared and runs off before he can say anything else. That’s when the creepy Mr Sakharine (Daniel Craig) appears at the stall and he also tries to buy the model but Tintin insists the model is not for sale and takes it back to his flat, where it gets broken by the neighbour’s cat in a fight with Snowy, Tintin’s pet terrier and sidekick. The interest shown by the two men has Tintin intrigued so he looks into the story of the Unicorn, the ship the model was based on, a 17th century warship that was lost in a battle with pirates in the West Indies.

When Tintin gets home from his research he finds the model has been stolen. He goes to Sakharine’s home to retrieve his property and finds there that there was more than one model of the Unicorn and Sakharine is desperate to acquire all three. How desperate Tintin quickly discovers when the American that tried to buy the model from at the market gets shot to death on his doorstep while trying him about the danger he’s in. The dying man does manage to leave Tintin a clue to his killer but since the police that he reports the murder to are Thomson (Nick Frost) and Thompson (Simon Pegg) there’s little chance of them catching the killer. Thomson and Thompson are fully occupied with hunting down a pickpocket that has plagued the city which is very handy because Tintin’s wallet containing a parchment with an important to clue to the Unicorn mystery has just been stolen.

Tintin gets kidnapped and taken aboard a rusting cargo ship where Sakharine has his men search Tintin for the parchment. They fail to find it and Tintin refuses to tell them anything so they leave him for now. Fortunately Snowy comes to his rescue and they escape and find Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) kept inebriated in his cabin with a constant supply of whisky while his first mate Allan runs the ship under Sakharine’s command. Tintin, Snowy and Haddock are in a race against Sakharine and Haddock’s crew to track down the next piece of the puzzle but the last clue is locked in booze-addled memory of Haddock himself.

I just love this film and I regret that couldn’t get to see it in a cinema in 3D. The action and adventure could put Indiana Jones to shame with amazing stunts and thrilling incredible chases. The motion capture animation was just fantastic and the character designs are lifted straight from the Hergé books. I really want to see more Tintin.

Rating 8.5/10

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2012 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Stonehenge Apocalypse

This disaster movie has a low budget and cheap special effects but that does not excuse the terrible script. It has a the feel of a cheap hastily filmed SyFy film and I can see why it only cost me £2 at the local supermarket

Stonehenge kills a bunch of tourists by zapping them with some sort of magic energy beam. It is doing this because it is really a part of a giant terra-forming machine left by the ancient astronauts and every ten hours it activates an ancient pyramid which then explodes and destroys the region it is in. This is the insane theory of this film’s misunderstood rebel scientist Jacob (Misha Collins who played Castiel in Supernatural)) so unfortunately it is true in the film. Of course the scientists and the military gathered at a primary school near Stonehenge don’t listen to Jacob. Dr ‘Stick up his arse’ Trousdale (Peter Wingfield) rejects his insane ravings out of hand because Jacob claimed NASA are covering up finding aliens on the moon. Jacob acts offended at this snub and points out it was an alien robot head that he claims that NASA found. He does this every time someone mentions it so it becomes an incredibly dumb catchphrase “It was a robot head.”

The scientists examine the stones with their equipment and detect a signal being transmitted between the stones that seems to counting down to some event. Jacob tells them that the event is the end of life on Earth. They start to take this seriously because he has a map of ley lines and when the first pyramid explodes that pyramid is on his map with a line drawn between it and Hull (?) (forget stuff about how his map is a projection and those straight lines are not straight on a globe. Some idiot actually claims it is strange that the two points can be joined by a straight line but this fact is always true. The farce is strong in this film). Trousdale and his team try interrupting the signal but the stones compensate and the attempt has to be abandoned. Next the try blowing the stones up but the stones just absorb the energy.

Their only real hope is to get an ancient artefact which is really a control mechanism to switch the machine off. Trousdale doesn’t believe Jacob about the artefact and convinces an American General Forshaw that they should hit Stonehenge with a nuclear bomb before the countdown ends but a female scientist Kaycee (Torri Higginson) believes Jacobs and she gets a British Major Peatman to help get them to the United States where the artefact is. Unfortunately another scientist Joseph Lesham (Hill Harper) is after the artefact too so he can create a sanctuary for him and his crazy religious cult inside the lost pyramid of Maine where they can watch the apocalypse.

This film is very dumb so I suppose you could just enjoy the dumb story, but the acting isn’t very good either and every character just a shallow stereotype with stupid unrealistic dialogue. The CGI effects were bottom of the range stuff and the CGI Stonehenge in particular was not very convincing. The disasters across the globe were very poor with a CGI animation of the pyramids moving then exploding followed by stock footage taken of real disasters. There no sense of real global crisis created at all. This film is just not recommended.

Rating 4/10

 

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in Film

 

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Notable Occurences

Brad Dourif has confirmed there will be two more Child’s Play films getting made, one is another sequel to the series called Revenge of Chucky and the other is a remake of Child’s Play and he may be voicing Chucky for both of them. I thought that original Child’s Play movies were fun horrors with some dark humour but I liked when Bride of Chucky went full blown comedy and then Seed of Chucky had Jennifer Tilly appear in the film playing herself. It looks like the intention is keep the tone more comedic for both films but then I don’t think this franchise is suitable for a dark, gritty reboot.

Anchor Bay have announced that they will be remaking Silent Night Deadly Night and have cast Malcolm McDowall as a local sheriff hunting down the Santa-suited killer. The film will be called Silent Night and I have no doubt that they’ll try and release this as close to Christmas as they can with a PG rating. The original was not something that got me too excited and a remake seems just as unexciting. When the original came out the evil Santa concept wasn’t very original and now many years later the concept has been done to death

The success of The Woman in Black has got Hammer preparing to shoot a follow up story Angels of Death which is set four decades after the first film. I was reasonably impressed with The Woman in Black and it is great to see British horror being made by Hammer again.

Marvel are planning to release the sequel to Captain America in 2014. It will have be set in modern times during the aftermath of the Avengers film but it will feature some of that retro 40s setting during flashback sequences that helped the first one to its success. I’d love to see how they are going to squeeze any event into that timeline that we haven’t already seen

More sequel + remake news is that Platinum Dunes (Michael Bay) have taken over the Halloween franchise and are looking to hire writers and directors for the project. I am underwhelmed by that news

The trailer for A Fantastic Fear of Everything has been released. Starring Simon Pegg as a children’s fiction writer who switches to writing about serial killers and starts to think a killer is after him. The trailer seems to hint at elements of fantasy mixed with psychological horror and comedy and Simon Pegg is wearing some very strange hair. I also caught a quick glimpse in the trailer of Claire Higgins as Simon’s agent. The film is out 8 June.

Coming out in UK cinemas on 22 June is Red Lights featuring Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy as sceptical scientists dedicated to debunking paranormal claim who come up against a psychic played by Robert de Niro who is determined to prove his power is real. This is being released the same week as Lovely Molly, yet another shaky cam film and Chernobyl Diaries, a ‘tourists in danger’ film.

I loves me some time travel fiction so I am very interested to hear about Looper featuring Joseph Gordon Levitt as hit man hired to kill people sent into his time from the future and he gets hired to kill his older self played by Bruce Willis. This one is due out 28 September

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2012 in Film

 
 
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