This movie had a lot of good people involved: Sean Connery, Laurence Fishburne, Ed Harris, Die Hard and The Fugitive cowriter Jeb Stuart, and Charade and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three writer Peter Stone.
And it may just be the most predictable movie I’ve ever seen. Seriously: I guessed the twist about 20 mins. in, and during the climax I knew every event that would happen before it happened. I’m not tooting my own horn saying this stuff; you’ll guess it all too. It’s that obvious—it’s been done in a million other movies.
I did like a few things in it. All the acting is good, though Connery is doing his late-Connery thing when he realized he didn’t have to act much and his charisma could still carry the day (cf. Medicine Man, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, even—as fun as he is in it—The Rock). Fishburne has an odd character and, as usual, sells the character. Harris is sinking his teeth into playing Hannibal Lecter. This exchange between Fishburne and Connery cracked me up, though the punchline only works because of how Connery says it:
Fishburne: All of a sudden you’re Sherlock Holmes?
Connery: You’re obviously not.
So, yeah. I’m surprised Stuart and Stone wrote something this predictable: Die Hard, The Fugitive, Charade, and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three are all full of surprises that keep the viewer on his toes. There are other factors, of course—the studio, the director (Glimcher appears to have directed only two other films), uncredited script doctors. But it’s unfortunate, coming from good writers and good actors.
Post by Dramatic Look Gopher on Jun 24, 2022 2:40:42 GMT
Don't Panic (1988)
Teenagers celebrating a friend's 17th birthday mess around with a Ouija board and unwittingly summon a demon that proceeds to possess one of the teens and force him to commit murder.
This Mexican-made horror slasher has been sitting in my Shudder queue for quite some time and I finally decided to watch it. I was completely sold on the potentially intriguing premise that, unfortunately, failed to deliver. It's all amateurish mishmash that gets bogged down in tedious writing; it ends up not making a lick of sense whatsoever with too many unanswered questions.
Seems the movie can't decide whether it's horror, a comedy or both. It's supposed to be in a tongue-in-cheek manner, but the humor is often very lame. And when it tries to be terrifying it just comes off as laughable. Even the gore effects are badly done (well, actually part when somebody gets stabbed through the chin isn't too bad).
A fun, unapologetically sleazy n' grimy grindhouse action/horror road movie. The plot, which sees undead Nic Cage breaking out of Hell(!) to pursue the redneck Satanist cult that murdered his daughter and plans to sacrifice his infant granddaughter, almost seems like if one of those Ghost Rider movies Cage did was actually good.
Everything here is high-octane and outrageous, yet slyly self-aware. Cage engages in an elaborate, John Woo-esque gunfight while still screwing a bar waitress. Leading lady Amber Heard (I swear I'm not watching this one now because of more recent events in her personal life) is foul-mouthed and frequently beating the sh*t out of people (which I will admit is kinda funny to watch now...) The trailer park Church of Satan is led by a slithering, castrated sexual predator (Billy Burke) who's one part Manson and one part Jim Jones. David Morse makes the frankly insane choice to play his role as Cage's sorrowful ex-friend straight and actually succeeds in lending the movie some heart. Tom Atkins pops up in the extremely Tom Atkins-y role of a hardassed police captain. Cage finds himself pursued by the demonic Accountant (William Fichtner, practically doing a Christopher Walken impression), a suit-clad, smooth-talking supernatural bounty hunter leaving a trail of destruction in his wake as he follows the trail of blood that Cage leaves in his own.
On a slightly serious note, the mythology here- Hell as a prison for damned souls run by a "quiet, well-read" Satan who despises Devil-worship and sacrifice- is pretty intriguing. And the God-Killer is one of the coolest fictional weapons of all time.
On a less serious note, the movie is also jam-packed with fistfights, gunfights, Satanic T&A, a plethora of car stunts (some real, some CGI), and just near-constant explosions.
A further word on the CGI- while there's plenty of practical gore effects on display- the CG and greenscreen work here is just genuinely atrocious and often ugly to look at. Somehow, this doesn't really detract from the fast-paced, cartoon manic energy the movie pulls off.
Probably my favorite thing about the movie, though, is the 3-D. It's really a throwback to the cheap, gimmicky 3-D movies of the 50's or 80's. And it goes all the way with the gimmick, too. This movie takes just about every opportunity to throw sh*t at the camera. It's the very best kind of 3-D movie, and the kind that's still fun to watch in 2-D.
The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (1972; Emilio P. Miraglia)
The director's previous giallo, The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave was such a delicious little surprise, that I couldn't wait to get my hands on his follow-up movie. Looking at that wonderful cover artwork already had me slobbering with excitement dreaming of a giallo masterpiece.
And then there's that title! So full of promise, conjuring up delirious images of murderous vixens clad in red.
Alas, what I actually found was a perfectly ordinary genre entry.
On paper at least Red Queen would have all the ingredients for an outstanding Italo slasher: There's a centuries old legend of feuding sisters, a family curse, an old castle with a sinister dungeon, a plethora of gorgeous ladies and the titular red queen a mixture of fairly tale villain and slasher killer.
But somehow the pieces never quite come together. The kills seem rushed and uncreative, the characters are paper-thin, the plot is needlessly complicated, there is little in terms of atmosphere and the German setting seems accidental. Worst of all: it's not the slightest bit scary.
There is however one outstanding sequence where we see the red queen approaching from the end of a long hallway, menacingly gliding towards the camera with her long cape billowing behind her. It's a shame the movie is otherwise so devoid of this type of dreamlike, hypnotic images, playing it far too safe in the visual department.
Needless to say that the plot doens't really work as a whodunit either, even though I did guess the killer, simply because by the end there wasn't anyone else left who could've done it.
I also noticed an amusing error when in the finale one character is inexplicably referred to as the cripple, at which point the person, who's been acting perfectly normally over the course of the movie, suddenly starts exhibiting a limp. Didn't anyone from the production notice?
The best thing about this Arrow release, aside from the usual high techincal quality, is an audio commentary by Dario Argento's biographer Alan Jones and the legendary Kim Newman which I found to be more fun than the actual film. Among other things they raise the question why this film never became a franchise, given that the Red Queen was one of the more interesting giallo killers, and that in the US there would'e probably been a whole series of movies made about her. But it's never too late, is it? Why not remake it for modern audiences? Instead of another pointless Halloween or Friday The 13th movie, I'd rather watch something like this.
A fun bit of trivia: When this movie was released in the US the distributor came up with a neat marketing trick, introducing Blood Corn (basically a red version of popcorn) to go with the bloody experience. Sadly it seems, this new culinary delight wasn't sufficiently appreciated by cinema-goers and disappeared as quickly as it had come.
Post by FridayOnElmStreet on Jun 25, 2022 0:28:49 GMT
5/10 OK thriller about a Uber driver and 2 passengers spending a crazy night together but one turns out to be a total psycho and makes the other 2 do whatever he wants at gunpoint. Kinda like Collateral and Butterfly on a Wheel. Its watchable but the ending needed work.
Post by FridayOnElmStreet on Jun 25, 2022 0:38:49 GMT
4/10 Another overly silly slasher film. Its fine but nothing special. A teenager (played by a 50 year old man) and his adult teen friends go to his childhood home and get stalked and killed by his old puppet he had as a kid. Some nice horror movie references.
Post by FridayOnElmStreet on Jun 25, 2022 0:46:41 GMT
3/10 This one reminded me of Manos The Hands of Fate oddly enough. Its about a young blond woman (played by the recently deceased Karin Brauns) is a slave to a man with a bird like mask who has a unique sense of smell. Theres also a killer clown. Its a film that runs only 75 minutes and that includes scenes played twice for some reason and never ending end credits.
Vampire Journals(1997) A dark, moody, erotic Vampire film with a bit of a gothic atmosphere, despite being in modern times. Plot revolves around 2 rival vampires battling for a girl's soul. One wants to enslave her, the other wants to save her. I enjoyed it. 7/10.