Last Christmas (2019) Review

Last Christmas (2019)

Directed by Paul Feig

Screenplay by Emma Thompson & Bryony Kimmings

Starring: Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Emma Thompson

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Based on the song of the same name, the film stars Emilia Clarke as a cynical Christmas store worker who forms a relationship with a mysterious man (Henry Golding) and begins to fall for him.

My Opinion:

This is one of those movies that I liked but also hated because it was so ridiculously predictable. Schmaltzy & cheesy! Also, the completely unnecessary political agenda thrown in as a small subplot was annoying as hell. Thanks for adding BREXIT into a Christmas rom-com. Are you fucking kidding me?! But I’m a hypocrite because I’ll still give this an okay rating because 1) It had some sweet and also some funny moments, but mainly 2) I think Henry Golding is flipping adorable. I’m not super girly or a big lover of rom-coms but I do adore a sweet and lovable male love interest. If the couple work well together in this type of film, it helps to make up for the film’s shortcomings. Emilia Clarke & Henry Golding are so damn cute together.

Emilia Clarke’s main other relationships in the film are with her boss, Michelle Yeoh (the Christmas-loving owner of the Christmas shop where Clarke is an elf) and with her family (including Emma Thompson as her mother). Clarke is a mess and all her relationships are strained, especially with her intense & dreary mother (Emma Thompson, with a seriously dodgy sounding accent. Maybe it’s good, though – I dunno. I’m terrible with accents). There were some very funny moments with Thompson & Yeoh, though. Their characters are both eccentric and quite fun. I did enjoy the comedy in this movie – it was very borderline on being “appropriate” for a 12A rating. Fine with me – I like my comedy a little naughty. Too wholesome is boring.

Clarke’s character is unfortunately a little hard to like but that’s the entire point of the film (gotta have that predictable Ebenezer Scrooge redemption, right?!). Then, of course, there’s Henry Golding as I mentioned. He’s an absolute sweetheart, of course, as all men are in romantic comedies. So unrealistic! But I don’t care. You’re meant to love him in this. Again, that’s the whole point of these sort of movies.

Oh! I’ve not mentioned Wham! I actually kind of forgot this was based on George Michael’s music (despite the title). I was never exactly a fan so admit I hadn’t wanted to hear loads of Wham throughout this. Some songs are just in the background, so I was glad it wasn’t “in your face” and wasn’t distracting in any way.

What else can I say? This movie is SO cliché that I hate myself for kind of falling for its absolute bullshit. But, dammit, Christmas movies are meant to be feelgood movies and you’re meant to like the couple. This movie does at least get these things right as well as adding in some enjoyable humor. I guess I can forgive the pukey plot thanks to all that. If only they’d left Brexit out of this. I’d have liked it much more without that. This movie is now forever tied to this specific point in time thanks to that, ruining its chances of being a timeless Christmas classic years from now.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Frozen 2 (2019) Review

Frozen 2 (2019)

Directed by Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee

Starring: Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad

Music by: Songs – Robert Lopez & Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Score – Christophe Beck

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven leave Arendelle to travel to an ancient, autumn-bound forest of an enchanted land. They set out to find the origin of Elsa’s powers in order to save their kingdom.

My Opinion:

Frozen 2 is fine. Did we really need a sequel? No. Has it really added anything of value to the “Frozen universe”? No. Are the songs good? No. Is the story good? It’s not horrible but it’s not great. It’s just a bit too complicated and messy for what’s meant to be a kids’ film. The story should be kept more straightforward & fairly simple for a Disney movie to become a timeless classic.

The first Frozen got all the elements right to make it a film that will be seen as one of Disney’s classics years from now despite there seeming to be a slight backlash against it currently. I want Disney movies to have that timeless feel and the first Frozen had that magic. Frozen 2 doesn’t, but that can be said of most Disney sequels anyway. As far as Disney sequels go, it’s still better than plenty of them. So, yes, I still enjoyed this sequel as I’m a fan of these characters but the movie is unfortunately very average and a tad boring.

So, I already mentioned the story as the first negative. It’s not a bad story but it’s just… Meh. I didn’t care about the outcome as it was clearly unimportant – they just needed an excuse to make a profitable sequel. The bigger disappointment was the songs. I have to admit that I can’t now remember how even one song goes, unlike when leaving the cinema after the original film. At least two or three of the songs were instantly memorable in the first Frozen. Sorry, but Disney movies should really have at least one memorable song. The songs are a huge selling point for these films.

But I don’t want to sound entirely negative so I’ll end this very short review with some good things. These characters are still great. I’ll always like Anna & Elsa and it was nice to see them much closer in this one and being a family doing normal things like playing games together. The sequel still very much focuses on the sisterly love thing, which was what helped make the first one so special. And the outfits are once again my absolute Disney Princess movie favorites. I love that they both have their own unique style but especially love Anna’s outfits each time (I’m a huge fan of green and anything even slightly Scandinavian). So good job on that, Disney – these two have style.

This movie is also pretty damn beautiful. I still prefer the imagery & feel of the first film with its icy look and shades of blue & white but there was some gorgeous animation in this one too. And Olaf, although always borderline annoying, did make me smile a couple of times and he has a very funny bit that I won’t spoil. I’d say that only Kristoff & Sven felt a little wasted in this one but, to be fair, these movies are about Anna & Elsa so “the guys” are in it as much as they need to be. And, yes, there IS a scene after the credits that I’d say is worth staying for.

Frozen 2 was fine. It wasn’t needed but I liked seeing these characters again and I don’t think it damaged the Frozen legacy in any way, even if it didn’t exactly add anything special or new to it either.

My Rating: 7/10

City Of God (Cidade de Deus) (2002) Review For The Luso World Cinema Blogathon

I’m taking part in the Luso World Cinema Blogathon hosted by Crítica Retrô and Spellbound By Movies. You can read all about the blogathon HERE & HERE. Thanks for letting me participate! I look forward to reading all the entries. 🙂

My entry is a review of the 2002 Portuguese language film City Of God, which was nominated for four Oscars and is currently ranked 22nd in the IMDb Top 250. I originally watched & reviewed this as part of my IMDb Top 250 Project and as a Resolutions 2014 film as I’d been meaning to make the time to watch it. I admit that my knowledge is very limited when it comes to Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking countries) films. So I’m very interested in reading the other entries as I do try to explore all types of cinema. But, yeah – I had to use the Keanu Reeves banner. Who doesn’t love Keanu!!

Here’s my uneducated review of City Of God. I’m sure I don’t do it justice but it is a really good film.

City Of God (2002)
Portuguese: Cidade de Deus

Directed by Fernando Meirelles & Kátia Lund (co-director)

Based on City of God by Paulo Lins

Starring: Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino da Hora, Phellipe Haagensen, Douglas Silva, Alice Braga, Jonathan Haagensen, Matheus Nachtergaele, Seu Jorge

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
City of God (Portuguese: Cidade de Deus) is a 2002 Brazilian crime drama film adapted by Bráulio Mantovani from the 1997 novel of the same name written by Paulo Lins, but the plot is loosely based on real events. It depicts the growth of organized crime in the Cidade de Deus suburb of Rio de Janeiro, between the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1980s, with the closure of the film depicting the war between the drug dealer Li’l Zé and criminal Knockout Ned. The tagline is “If you run, the beast catches; if you stay, the beast eats”, (a proverb analogous to the English “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t”).

My Opinion:

I’d been curious about this movie for a long time as it’s SO high in the IMDB Top 250 films of all-time (it’s currently number 22). I’ve been working my way through the 250 since starting my blog as I have a challenge to try to watch them all and this was the second highest ranking film I’d not yet seen.

It’s good, yes. I liked it. Does it deserve to be above things like Once Upon A Time In The West & It’s A Wonderful Life? I’m not sure about that. It’s definitely a fascinating look at a lifestyle that I (luckily) can’t really relate to as someone from a very small town in the American Midwest. I know this is “loosely based on real events” but haven’t looked into it enough to know what is fact and what isn’t. Either way, it’s awful knowing that people have had to live this way and terrifying to see the ease with which some of the characters in this engage in violent activity and don’t think twice about taking someone’s life.

I will say that I can partly see why this film is so popular, even though it’s not really my kind of thing. There are some great characters in this. The lead & narrator, Rocket (above), is the one truly “good guy” in a film filled with people who seem to have no conscience and you really do want the best for him. His friend Benny is very cool – he’s the guy everyone likes and he helps to keep the peace a bit between the two main rival gangs who are controlling the area. I love that this takes place during the late 60s into the early 80s & Benny adopts a groovy 70’s look. Then there’s Knockout Ned, a great character I’d love to have seen be a bit further developed (although he’s more well-developed than most of the characters in this) and the truly amoral Li’l Zé, who is the most powerful criminal in the area.

What’s amazing is I read that only one person in this was a professional experienced actor and the majority were people from “favelas” (shanty towns) and some from the actual City Of God who were chosen and then trained in acting as the director wanted the film to feel authentic. I’ll say that it definitely worked and the “actors” in this did an excellent job. I felt bad after giving Slumdog Millionaire a horrible review & then finding out some of those in it were from real-life slums (turns out it was the kids, who were the only good thing about that film anyway). Fortunately, City Of God is a much better film than Slumdog Millionaire and feels very real whereas Millionaire felt like it was trying too hard and just felt phoney to me (sorry, fans!).

I’ve just scratched the surface on the characters as there are LOTS of them in this film but those are some of the main ones & the most memorable. But as there are so many, we unfortunately don’t get as much character development as I’d like to have had. Why do they do the things that they do? I suppose it’s because they don’t have much other choice. But then why does Rocket manage to remain a “good guy”? We’re given a reason for Knockout Ned making the choices he makes but not really for why Li’l Zé is so evil. But, as I’ve said, it really isn’t a lifestyle I have any sort of experience with so I can’t comment on it too much. This is sort of the Boyz N The Hood of Rio de Janeiro. I think that’s a great film as well but, again, I couldn’t fully relate to it. But both films are certainly worth a watch to gain at least a small understanding of what it’s like for those who have no choice but to live a life surrounded by poverty and/or violence and to be grateful for the lives so many of us are fortunate to have outside of that.

Was City Of God a worthy watch? Yes – I’m glad I finally watched it. It won’t become an all-time favorite of mine like some of the IMDB Top 250 films I’ve watched in the last few years already have but I’d recommend it to anyone who thinks that it sounds like their sort of film. The performances are very good & the movie isn’t preachy – it just shows us the poor & violent lives led by those living in & around the City Of God from the late 60s to the early 80s.

My Rating: 8/10

Judy (2019) Review

Judy (2019)

Directed by Rupert Goold

Based on End of the Rainbow by Peter Quilter

Starring: Renée Zellweger, Finn Wittrock, Jessie Buckley, Rufus Sewell, Michael Gambon

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Legendary performer Judy Garland arrives in London in the winter of 1968 to perform a series of sold-out concerts.

My Opinion:

I liked this movie a lot and way more than I was expecting. As much as I’m a film lover, I’ve not explored Judy Garland’s stuff at all and know almost nothing about her. It’s strange as The Wizard Of Oz has been one of my favorite movies since I was a kid. I absolutely adore it and everything about it is so iconic. Why did I never watch anything else she’s been in? I suppose it’s because I’m not usually a big fan of musicals. Shameful! I really must explore more of her work.

Maybe I was able to buy into this more as I’m not a massive Judy Garland fan like so many people are? As I never saw much of the real Garland, I was able to fully accept Renée Zellweger as Judy. I’m not sure I’m a Zellweger fan as I’ve never really loved her in anything but I thought she was great in this. I do wonder what Garland experts thought of her performance. I have no idea but I loved it and I felt so much sympathy for her, which I think was important. I think people are often a bit dismissive of “troubled” famous people who overdose. I can’t imagine the pressures involved with fame but it’s clearly a big problem as early death is quite common for stars. And I guess I knew she was young when she died but, damn – it really hit me during this film upon realizing I’m almost the same age now. I know I’m far from young but also far too young to die. I even almost got teary at the end of this film and I’m not one to fall for tearjerkers very often. So, yeah – I think Zellweger did a great job in making Judy seem so human and so sympathetic and in making me want to know more about her now.

I maybe shouldn’t have mentioned the term “tearjerker”. It’s not at all how I’d describe this movie, although it certainly has emotional moments. I’m glad the movie told her story in a very straightforward way without making it into some heavy drama. I hate that over the top Oscar-bait and Judy doesn’t do that. It’s not contrived. It’s a little melancholy but not dreary. As so much of the focus is on her final performances, I would think that Judy fans probably got a lot of enjoyment out of watching this movie & hearing those songs.

I’d say, though, that if you want Garland’s life story this movie isn’t where you’ll get it. Which is fine. It just very much focuses mainly on her last year of life and a tiny bit on her very start in show business. There’s nothing whatsoever in between but, as I always say, if you want a factual full life story you should just watch a documentary. It also gives me a chance to find out more on my own & to explore the movies I missed (I’ve been meaning to watch Meet Me In St. Louis for years). I really liked the focus being that final year.

I should quickly add that everyone else did a very good job in the film as well and it was good to see Judy’s relationships in her final year. But this movie is truly Zellweger’s and Judy is the true star and center of attention. As she deserved to be. I do hope Zellweger gets an Oscar nomination for this and wish the movie had better reviews than it seems to have received. As I said, I think that may be because it’s not dramatic enough for the Academy. For me, it felt more real the way it was presented and I wish life had been easier for Garland.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Joker (2019) Review

Joker (2019)

Directed by Todd Phillips

Based on Characters by DC Comics

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy

Music by Hildur Guðnadóttir

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
An origin story set in 1981, the film follows Arthur Fleck, a mentally ill failed stand-up comedian who turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City.

My Opinion:

I guess it’s about time I review this? As it came out in October, I didnt review it as I was only posting horror movie reviews. Plus I didn’t really have the energy to review it while everyone was freaking out about it on Twitter. While people were using the phrase “toxic white males” yet again (as if ALL humans aren’t toxic pieces of shit) and while America was freaking out about people potentially being shot in cinemas showing Joker since America allows everyone to walk around like armed vigilantes. Do I swear too much?! When I tried typing “cinemas” just now my spellchecker changed it to “cuntbags”. Anyway, while things have calmed down a bit, I’ll now review this. Can’t wait for the next Shitstorm when this is up for Oscars!

This is a good film with a great performance. Is it a masterpiece? Not in my opinion but I wouldn’t argue with those who did love it as I can see the reasons why. I have to admit I’m sick of “comic book” movies but especially sick of Batman & the Joker. I haven’t really liked either character since Tim Burton’s versions in 1989. I’m even almost starting to hate Christopher Nolan’s films as they’re SO overhyped by obsessive fans (although I did think Heath Ledger was very good). Okay – I don’t know Mark Hamill’s version but do love the guy so would likely enjoy his Joker. I have NO knowledge of the comics or these characters beyond what’s been shown in movies. I admit that. This review is based only on my opinion as a lover of film.

What I did like, not being a comic fan, is that Joker didn’t feel at all like a comic book or DC movie. Hell, it barely felt like the Joker character to me. It truly is more like a Martin Scorsese film (specifically The King Of Comedy, as everyone knows). I think Scorsese’s films are very good, although he’s not a favorite director of mine as his movies aren’t usually my type of thing. I did a Scorsese Top Ten list (HERE). I do really like my top five or six and The King Of Comedy is one of them, so I did enjoy Joker’s homage to that film and its brilliant use of Robert De Niro. I liked the film’s tone and its score was perfect for it. I did think Joaquin Phoenix was fantastic and absolutely deserves to be nominated for an Oscar for his performance (even if it sounds like he’s a pain in the ass diva to work with). Yeah, yeah – Actresses aren’t allowed to be “difficult” while actors are called brilliant when they behave that way. I totally agree there’s a double standard there and it’s unfair. I think all artists should be allowed to be difficult (within limits, obviously) if it produces great results. I guess it worked in the case of Joker as it’s certainly Joaquin’s performance of a lifetime. I don’t care – I’ll never work have to work with him! I preferred River Phoenix anyway (R.I.P. – I’ll forever be sad about that one the way younger people still aren’t over Heath Ledger).

I suppose I better address some of the controversy. I’m still a little baffled by it. I can see people thinking the movie may encourage people who feel fucked-over by society to engage in violent and destructive behavior. But movies like this one have existed for years. Why are we suddenly worried that a movie will push some people over the edge? Or is it because of social media that we just hear the complaints more these days? I remember it being controversial but did people freak out quite as much when Natural Born Killers came out?

I think the issue here may be that people think the Joker was portrayed as a sympathetic character and one who disturbed people may see as a sort of hero. I admit that I did feel somewhat sympathetic toward his character to start with. But that was gone by the end. People don’t like that the movie is blaming society for the seeming rise in violent & dangerous men. But, well, it IS to blame. Is it not? Gotham City in this film looks and feels no different than any big American city now. The movie is also trying to make a point about failing those with mental health issues.

Well. Whatever. I don’t give a shit about any controversy. I think there are far more offensive and far more destructive films out there. This is probably the best movie that has the Joker it it. I just wish it wasn’t the Joker. I’d rather it was a regular, non-comic book guy who gets pushed too far. But it’s a very good film. It’s better than most comic book movies. The fact that it is still a comic book movie to me probably keeps me from seeing it as an instant classic the way some people are seeing it. Maybe I’m snobby like Scorsese.

My Rating: 7.5/10

I Am Mother (2019) Review

I Am Mother (2019)

Directed by Grant Sputore

Story by Michael Lloyd Green & Grant Sputore

Starring: Clara Rugaard, Rose Byrne, Hilary Swank

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows Daughter, a girl in a post-apocalyptic bunker, being raised by Mother, an android supposed to aid in the repopulation of Earth.

My Opinion:

I don’t watch many of the “direct to Netflix” movies because I’ve been very disappointed with what I’ve seen so far. I did enjoy this one, though. I admit it’s far from perfect but I’m always less picky with sci-fi films for some reason. It’s my favorite genre so I’m always happy to watch some science fiction, even if it’s not perfect. I especially love post-apocalyptic sci-fi (what’s wrong with me??). As long as the story is decent, I’m happy. I Am Mother has a good concept & story.

This is definitely a movie that not everyone will like. It has very few roles; It really is just Clara Rugaard & Hilary Swank with Rose Byrne as the voice of the android raising the girl. So it’s very focused on them and their situation & performances. There are no huge explosions or loads of action or any of that, so don’t expect some Terminator-type movie (by the way, Terminator: Dark Fate pissed me off). If you like slow, serious science fiction & a good story that keeps you guessing, this movie may be your type of thing.

Clara Rugaard was really good as the teenage “Daughter”. I’ve not seen her in anything before. It would be good to see her in other roles now as she really carries this film as the main human character. Hilary Swank was fine as the stranger but I find that sometimes I like her & sometimes I don’t. I thought she was fantastic in Million Dollar Baby and it’s strange how she’s a two-time Oscar winner but hasn’t had big roles since. Her character isn’t exactly likeable here but, hell, there’s been an apocalypse and life has been super shitty for her so I guess we can let her be angry & intense. As for “Mother”, the android, she has an effective design and Byrne’s voice worked well as a very comforting, motherly voice. Which is what this android was of course designed for.

I don’t have a lot more to say about this but it’s one where you’re better off going into it knowing very little about it. I liked that it wasn’t predictable, which most movies are these days. I don’t want to be able to predict the ending from the very start so was happy to be kept guessing throughout this film. The budget probably wasn’t the highest and if you don’t like either of the two main human characters for some reason, you may not enjoy this. But it’s a good, solid sci-fi story that I enjoyed seeing unfold. I thought I Am Mother was better than a lot of bigger budget movies that get full cinema releases.

My Rating: 7/10

The Farewell (2019) Review

The Farewell (2019) (別告訴她) (Bié Gàosù Tā)

Directed by Lulu Wang

Based on What You Don’t Know by Lulu Wang

Starring: Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Zhao Shuzhen, Lu Hong, Jiang Yongbo

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows a family who, upon learning their grandmother has only a short while left to live, decide not to tell her and schedule a family gathering before she dies.

My Opinion:

This was a really good & heartwarming family film. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel, as Awkwafina can be a little annoying (like in Crazy Rich Asians, although she was also kind of fun in that). But that was a comedy and she’s good here in a very different & much more serious role. It’s not too serious, though. Although a sad topic, this isn’t a dreary film. It’s a lovely film with a likeable family but also plenty of humor.

The film is based partly on writer & director Lulu Wang’s real life experiences. In the story, a family learns that their grandmother has cancer & is dying so they decide to not tell her & instead plan a family gathering by pretending a grandson is going to get married. Granddaughter Awkwafina, having lived in America so long and now being a part of that culture, doesn’t agree with the truth being kept from her grandmother although it’s a common thing to do in China. The grandmother is great and the family feel real. They aren’t perfect and they have their differences & disagreements but they are also clearly very close. I’m afraid this isn’t sounding very exciting from my description! This isn’t some boring tearjerker (it’s a comedy drama). The characters are well developed and you care about them, which can’t be said for a lot of movies. It’s fairly lightweight – it’s not a hard-hitting drama. It’s a perfect Sunday afternoon family film without too much drama and without being too saccharine.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Hustlers (2019) Review

Hustlers (2019)

Directed by Lorene Scafaria

Based on “The Hustlers at Scores” by Jessica Pressler

Starring: Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo, Cardi B

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot follows a crew of strippers in New York City who begin to steal money by drugging stock traders and CEOs who visit their club, then running up their credit cards.

My Opinion:

Wow. I was NOT expecting to like this one as much as I did. In fact, I had no intention of even going to it until it started getting great reviews. For one thing, Cardi B annoys the shit out of me. But she only has a really small role and, to be honest, she was perfect for it. Also, I’m just really not a chick flick girly girl. However, I do like Jennifer Lopez so figured I’d give this one a chance after all. Good god J-Lo is sexy!!! She’s 50! That BODY! How does she keep that body like that? How can I have a body like that?? I want it. Do I have to stop eating Doritos?!

This turned out to not be a silly “chick flick”, although I suppose it is aimed more at women than men. What I liked is that these characters felt very real. I mean, it IS based on a true story but the character development was very good for Constance Wu’s & Jennifer Lopez’s characters. We didn’t learn anything about the other girls but that didn’t matter as they weren’t the focus of the story. Their friendship felt genuine and Lopez was absolutely brilliant in this role. I’d actually love to see her get a nomination for this role but The Academy is very unlikely to give out awards to a “stripper movie”. Then again, it would be good for their image since everyone thinks the Oscars are all about old white men these days… Nominate J-Lo! She should get an Oscar for her performance and an Oscar for that body.

This movie got the right balance in not demonizing these characters but also not making them into some sort of heroes. You’ll like the main two characters while at the same time thinking “Okay – you need to stop doing this”. What they did was wrong and they knew it was wrong but they were desperate, especially in Wu’s case. It became addicting and they took it too far. I think there was some slight backlash at first as people thought this movie was celebrating stealing from these men but this is not some “Men are evil! Fuck them! Girl power! Woohoo!” movie. Okay, yes – it’s hard to have sympathy for very rich men who visit strippers so it’s hard to see them as true victims here. It still doesn’t make what these girls did okay but the movie doesn’t force an opinion on you – It just presents the story and focuses on the two main characters and their motivations. It’s up to you to decide what you think of them. I just really enjoyed seeing a movie with such strong characters, great pacing & storytelling, and an awesome performance from Jennifer Lopez.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) Review

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

Directed by Tim Miller

Based on Characters by James Cameron & Gale Anne Hurd

Starring: Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna, Diego Boneta

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Sarah Connor and a hybrid cyborg human must protect a young girl from a newly modified liquid Terminator from the future.

My Opinion:

Oh – I had no idea that this was released in the UK just over a week before the US?? Woohoo! We always get stuff last! Too bad this one sucked. Well, since it’s out in America today, I guess I better post a quick review.

Why can’t they just let things die?! Okay – I realize this review is starting out very negative. I didn’t HATE this sequel and did get a few moments of enjoyment out of it. But it’s just another completely pointless addition to a franchise that was perfect to begin with. Fuck all these sequels & reboots & remakes. Give us something original.

I’m a very big fan of The Terminator and thought Terminator 2: Judgment Day was great (and one of the all-time best sequels). Everything since has sucked. To be fair, the others didn’t damage the legacy as they were so forgettable. Honestly, I can’t now remember a damn thing that happened past T2. Which is fine as James Cameron has said those are part of an “alternate universe” and Dark Fate is a direct sequel to T2. Dark Fate is indeed better than the previous movies that followed T2. Unfortunately, being a direct sequel with both Linda Hamilton & Arnold Schwarzenegger, it DOES damage the legacy of the first two films. Especially Judgment Day. I’m so pissed off about a couple of things specifically that, any slight enjoyment I got out of seeing Sarah Connor & that kickass Terminator design once again, was completely ruined.

Well, we do indeed get to see Linda Hamilton & Arnold Schwarzenegger again. I admit that I loved that despite being pissed off and they’re by FAR the best things about Dark Fate. I still love the character of Sarah Connor and she still kicks ass, which is fantastic to see from a woman her age. Yes, I’m loving the increase in strong female characters lately, especially those who are over forty. I swear the world sometimes thinks we all cease to exist or be interesting after forty. I hate the strong female character thing when it’s forced, though. It wasn’t with Sarah Connor or Ellen Ripley or even Laurie Strode. Nowadays it doesn’t always come naturally as they try to force an agenda into everything. Let stories and characters just be the best they can be by putting whoever will be strongest into a role, no matter who they are or what they might look like. Hamilton & Schwarzenegger are perfection. The new girl, Natalia Reyes, was perfectly fine. I liked that she’s not some kickass female, just like Sarah Connor wasn’t at first. She felt more real that way. However, I thought Mackenzie Davis was extremely miscast, although I’ve liked her in some other roles. I was fine with the extra role for a woman in this one as I thought the friendship between the three worked well. I just don’t think they cast the right actress in her case.

Schwarzenegger, though cool as always and surprisingly funny (should a killer robot dude be funny?!), was a bit wasted. That was a shame. It took way too long for him to show up but luckily he did, as the movie was seriously dragging by that point and needed him to spice things up. Hamilton seemed a bit too cool with seeing him again, though. Remember how much she freaked out in T2?! Not that it matters since, as I said, this movie shits on T2‘s legacy. Oh, I didn’t mention the new Terminator dude (Gabriel Luna). Meh. Who cares? He can do one new very cool trick that I liked but I’m still too pissed off for that to impress me. Oh, and the action gets too far-fetched to be taken at all seriously near the end. I don’t want a Terminator film to be laughable. The first two are classics and should’ve been left the hell alone.

Oh well. As I said, we get to see Schwarzenegger & Hamilton again. I’ll forget this plot in a few years anyway. I’ll be generous with my rating but it’s thanks only to seeing these two reprising their very iconic roles. The rest of the movie wasn’t needed. We didn’t need this!!!

My Rating: 6.5/10

Let’s listen to Brad Fiedel’s awesome Terminator theme. They don’t make movies or music like this anymore…

2019 October Horror Month Roundup & My Top Ten

Happy Halloween! I’ve enjoyed doing Halloween Horror Month yet again but this was probably my last year. It’s too time consuming plus I’m now way behind on reviewing current non-horror movie releases. I’ve also once again watched WAY too many bad horror movies in the past year. Of those below, I only really loved the top two and thought the next few were quite good. The rest of the Top Twenty were decent enough to pass some time but my life would still be complete if I’d seen none of the rest (it might even be better!). I also have a few thrillers as well as full-on horrors on this list.

So, counting down to my favorite, here’s my ranked list of the 43 horrors & thrillers I’ve watched & reviewed since last October:

43-31:

43. Starry Eyes
42. In The Tall Grass
41. Better Watch Out
40. Winchester
39. Bird Box
38. Ghost Stories
37. Cam
36. The Love Witch
35. The Stuff
34. The Funhouse
33. Amber Lake
32. Unsane
31. Slaughterhouse Rulez

30-21:

30. Suspiria (2018)
29. The Sentinel (1977)
28. Shocker
27. The Monster (2016)
26. American Mary
25. The Legacy
24. The Addams Family (2019)
23. Happy Death Day 2U
22. Breaking In
21. Truth Or Dare

20-11:

20. Crawl
19. Curtains (1983)
18. Brightburn
17. Annabelle Comes Home
16. Repulsion
15. Greta
14. Zombieland: Double Tap
13. Pet Sematary (2019)
12. Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil
11. Searching

Top Ten:

10. Single White Female

9. Ma

8. Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark

7. Ready Or Not

6. Child’s Play (2019)

5. Us

4. Midsommar

3. It Chapter Two

2. Doctor Sleep

1. Deep Red (Profondo Rosso)

I did also do (very brief) reviews of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep novel and King & son Joe Hill’s short story In The Tall Grass HERE.

I keep using Deep Red imagery in this post because it’s awesome. As is the fantastic Goblin score…

Now I can move onto reviewing the non-horror 2019 releases that I saw in the past two months. Here’s what I’ll try to review over the next month:

Hustlers – 7.5/10
Judy – 7.5/10
Joker – 7.5/10
The Farewell – 7.5/10
I Am Mother – 7/10
Terminator: Dark Fate – 6.5/10 (My review for this is written – I’ll post it tomorrow)

*Yeah, I finally got myself an Unlimited cinema card. I watch way too many movies…

Doctor Sleep (2019) Review

Doctor Sleep (2019)

Directed by Mike Flanagan

Based on Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Cliff Curtis

Music by The Newton Brothers

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Years following the events of “The Shining,” a now-adult Dan Torrance meets a young girl with similar powers as his and tries to protect her from a cult known as The True Knot who prey on children with powers to remain immortal.

My Opinion:

I watched Doctor Sleep today and don’t have a lot of time so I’ll keep this very brief. I wanted to quickly write something about it, though, since it makes sense to review it on Halloween. I adore Stephen King and try to read or watch at least one thing of his each October. I love that there’s SO much King content lately (Well, I didn’t love In The Tall Grass. Ugh.) You can find my very short reviews for the Doctor Sleep novel as well as the In The Tall Grass short story HERE.

I’m a huge fan of The Shining. And by that, I mean the Stanley Kubrick film that Stephen King hates. I of course love the novel as well but, as I saw The Shining at a fairly young age, it’s one of very few King adaptations I saw before reading the book. I hate doing it that way around but it can sometimes make you slightly prefer the movie as it’s the version you knew first. I love both the book and the movie but The Shining is a brilliant piece of filmmaking and will forever be one of my all-time favorite films. So I actually had the film version in my head more than the novel as I watched this sequel.

Doctor Sleep is good. From what I remember of the book at this point, it’s a faithful adaptation. Flanagan, who I’m starting to really like and whose adaptation of Gerald’s Game I thoroughly enjoyed, does a good job of keeping the fans of the novels as well as fans of Kubrick’s film happy. It’s no masterpiece, though. I do think it’s been hyped up too much by horror fans.

As for the story itself, I liked it but didn’t love it but I already knew that going into the movie. I far prefer the simplicity of the story in The Shining. I’m someone who does love the supernatural more than any other type of horror but the whole thing with The True Knot was always a bit too far out and silly for me, even for a Stephen King story. The Shining is far more scary as it feels somewhat more plausible and also leaves more to your imagination. Not only is it one of the best psychological horrors with a truly terrifying descent into madness, it’s also a damn good and thoroughly creepy ghost story. We don’t get many good ghost stories. Comparing just the films themselves, Doctor Sleep has none of the special atmosphere of The Shining. I’m not someone who is ever scared by movies but The Shining comes closer than most to being truly scary thanks to its tone and its score and its carpet and I suppose the fact that it was made by such a gifted director. The Shining is a work of art whereas Doctor Sleep is just a good horror movie.

Okay – I’m not sure if I’m making sense since I’ve only just seen this and I’m trying to post a quick review before Halloween is over. I enjoyed Doctor Sleep but it had a hell of a lot to live up to. To be fair, the novel itself didn’t live up to the first book either. I’m glad the movie stayed faithful to the book but am not sure yet how I feel about bits of Stanley Kubrick’s film being recreated. At first I felt a little warm & fuzzy about it but then I kind of maybe didn’t like it so much. Kubrick’s film is beautiful & so iconic. I’m not sure I wanted to ever see it with lookalikes??

Ewan McGregor is fine as Dan Torrance and Kyliegh Curran is likeable as Abra. Their friendship is great but I didn’t really feel a strong connection between them. The true star of this film is actually Rebecca Ferguson as Rose The Hat. She’s awesome! She’s a horrible, evil bitch. Is it weird that I think I have a slight girl crush on her? She’s scary & sexy and one of the best villains we’ve had in horror in quite a while. So, I did enjoy her performance and I did like seeing the story unfold. I watch all Stephen King adaptations and always enjoy them, even when they aren’t so good (which unfortunately has been quite often). I’m happy to say that Doctor Sleep is definitely one of the better adaptations. However, it’s never going to be an all-time favorite of mine the way The Shining, Stand By Me and The Shawshank Redemption are. I liked this film but I was hoping to love it. I actually think that It Chapter One was a better King adaptation from recent years. Oh well – at least Doctor Sleep did turn out better than It Chapter Two.

My Rating: 8/10

**I haven’t yet added Doctor Sleep to My Stephen King Movie Rankings. I have to give it a bit more time to sink in before I decide where to put it. I’m thinking it’s probably around 9 or 10. I was really hoping it would be higher…

Deep Red (Profondo Rosso) (1975) Blind Spot Review

Deep Red (1975)
Italian: Profondo Rosso
(aka The Hatchet Murders)

Directed by Dario Argento

Starring: David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Macha Meril, Eros Pagni,Giuliana Calandra

Music by Goblin & Giorgio Gaslini

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Deep Red stars Macha Meril as a medium and David Hemmings as a pianist who investigates a series of murders performed by a mysterious figure wearing black leather gloves.

My Opinion:

Happy Halloween! I thought I better finally review one of my Blind Spot choices this year so it seemed like the perfect time for Dario Argento’s Deep Red. I do try to explore a little bit of most every genre of film but my knowledge of the Italian Giallo horror thing is severely lacking. This is my third Giallo horror and I’ve only seen Argento’s movies so far; Suspiria, which I saw years ago and should really watch again, and Phenomena as a Blind Spot a few years ago. While I still think Suspiria is the best mainly due to being so iconic (and having that amazing Goblin score), Deep Red may actually be the more “enjoyable” and certainly the more accessible film. If someone was entirely new to this genre and wanted a good film to start with, I’d probably recommend this before Suspiria just because it’s a much more straightforward murder mystery and far less strange. Both are absolute must sees for film fans, though – Deep Red is just an easier starting point.

I’ll start with the obvious things that made this such an enjoyable watch for me personally: The look & the imagery, the atmosphere, and the score. These are extremely important elements to me when it comes to all films but especially for horror. I admit that I’m old but there’s just something special about the look & feel of Seventies & early Eighties horror movies that very few modern horrors manage to achieve. We do occasionally get some good ones now but it’s interesting how often they try to copy the look of old films. It never quite works, though. I appreciate things like The House Of The Devil trying to look like a Seventies film but no modern movies ever manage to fully capture that mood and it always just feels like modern actors playing dress up (true for non-horrors too, such as American Hustle). Deep Red has a brilliant Seventies vibe. The clothing! The awful hair! The ugly decor! A stunning & creepy old abandoned mansion! Then we also get some amazing imagery, some of which I’ve posted but others that I can’t due to spoilers. We get a couple of creepy dolls (I love creepy dolls!), lots of that super bright red blood they seemed to use in Italian horror, a big sharp knife in a famous spoiler image, funky artwork on the walls, and closeups of the killer’s eye and the killer’s strange trinkets.

The imagery is fantastic but the score is just as important for setting the mood in this sort of film. I don’t know why modern movies so often seem to care so little about the score. A great score can turn a movie I like into a movie I love. Hell, I know I rated The Good, The Bad And The Ugly much more highly than I would’ve without Ennio Morricone’s masterpiece score (Italians do it better! Wasn’t that on a Madonna t-shirt?!). Goblin did the Deep Red score and I already love it along with the soundtracks for Suspiria and Dawn Of The Dead (1978), an all-time favorite film of mine. Many of my favorite films also have brilliant scores so I do think the music is important. I’ve added a clip of this Goblin score at the end of this post. Goblin feature heavily on my phone’s playlist. I know the scores to these Argento movies better than I know the movies themselves. I now want to watch every single movie that has a Goblin score (but I think a lot of them are very obscure and I’m sure the music is much better than the films).

Atmosphere & music aside, Deep Red also has a decent murder mystery as well as some good characters. David Hemmings is good and I enjoyed watching him investigate these murders, especially when he explores a lovely old mansion as the main Goblin theme below plays. Daria Nicolodi is great as the female reporter who joins Hemmings in his investigations. The two had really good chemistry and I liked her sassy attitude. She added a bit of humor to the movie, which I wasn’t expecting in a Dario Argento horror. So, while I personally always prefer the supernatural and things like witches in Suspiria to murder mysteries, I can see plenty of people actually preferring Deep Red. I’m not sure why it doesn’t seem as popular or quite as well known as Suspiria? I think Deep Red (aka Profondo Rosso) is a brilliant horror classic and I’d recommend it to anyone curious about this genre. I’m glad I finally watched it as I’ve seen way too many bad horrors in 2019. Deep Red is by far my favorite of those I’ve watched in the past year.

My Rating: 8/10

Here’s part of the fantastic Goblin score. Love it. I wish movie scores were still as brilliant as they were in the Seventies & Eighties…

**As this posts, I’ll be watching Doctor Sleep. I’ll try to do at least a quick review by the end of today, although I may not have time. I love Stephen King and have very high hopes based on the trailer…

In The Tall Grass (2019) Review

In The Tall Grass (2019)

Directed by Vincenzo Natali

Based on In the Tall Grass by Stephen King & Joe Hill

Starring: Harrison Gilbertson, Laysla De Oliveira, Avery Whitted, Will Buie Jr, Rachel Wilson, Patrick Wilson, Tiffany Helm

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
After hearing a young boy’s cry for help, a sister and brother venture into a vast field of tall grass in Kansas but soon discover there may be no way out… and that something evil lurks within.

My Opinion:

I reviewed this Joe Hill & Stephen King short story earlier today (review HERE). They’re my favorite authors and I read and watch all things Stephen King-related so I of course had to check this out. Well, the short story is certainly never going to be a favorite story of mine from either writer. It has the movie beat, though. I know there have been some godawful King movie adaptations and In The Tall Grass is unfortunately one of the bad ones.

I suspected that it would go all wrong. This is a very short story so I knew they’d have to add stuff to stretch it out into a 1 hour 41 minute movie. Making shit up rarely works and the additional stuff they added was stupid as shit. Here’s what they added (SPOILERS):

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The boyfriend, who isn’t in the story AT ALL (don’t think he was really even mentioned) and that TIME LOOP BULLSHIT. WTF was with the time travel shit?! That’s not in the story! Also… that “happy” ending. Why? Can people not have unhappy endings anymore?? The movie adaptation started out fine and seemed to be following the story pretty closely. Then the boyfriend showed up and started bouncing around in time and they all found each other in the tall grass. What?! A main part of the story is that THEY CAN’T FIND EACH OTHER IN THE GRASS even when it sounds like they’re right next to each other!!!

Why, of all the stories to adapt, did they choose this one? And why, of all the additional things they could’ve added to this movie, did they decide to go with time loop shit? It was ridiculous and made zero sense. They took a pretty straightforward creepy story and turned it into a silly, incoherent mess. The characters also had zero development, which was pretty amazing considering the 40ish page story managed to do okay with the brother and sister but the hour and a half film left you knowing nothing about them. The acting was also dreadful, especially from the guy playing the brother and Patrick Wilson (but I’ve always found him a bore). The icky stuff that turned me off of the book was in this too but not really focused on (and undone with time loop bullshit anyway). Hill and King have SO many absolutely brilliant short stories. Why someone took a fairly bad one and decided to make it a thousand times worse by changing it so much is beyond me.

My Rating: 4/10

I need to add this to my ranked list of all Stephen King Movie Adaptations. It’s probably third from the bottom (out of 45). I’m seeing Doctor Sleep tomorrow. Hoping it’s MUCH better than this!

I’ll try to review Doctor Sleep tomorrow but, if I don’t have time, I do already have my review of Dario Argento’s Deep Red (Profondo Rosso) scheduled to post as this year’s Halloween review. I liked it a lot, which makes up for all the bad horrors I watched this year.

Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil (2019) & The Addams Family (2019) Reviews

Happy Halloween Horror Month 2019! I realized I’ve reviewed no “scary” kids’ movies this October. Well, The Addams Family fits in with Halloween. I suppose I’ll squeeze in my review of Maleficent as well since she IS Disney’s best villain. She’d also make for a kickass Halloween costume…

Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil (2019)

Directed by Joachim Rønning

Based on Characters from: Disney’s Sleeping Beauty & La Belle au bois dormant by Charles Perrault

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sam Riley, Ed Skrein, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, Michelle Pfeiffer, Warwick Davis

Production company: Walt Disney Pictures & Roth Films

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Maleficent and her goddaughter Aurora begin to question the complex family ties that bind them as they are pulled in different directions by impending nuptials, unexpected allies, and dark new forces at play.

My Opinion:

I enjoyed this way more than I was expecting. I did actually quite like the first Maleficent (review HERE). However, I’m becoming more and more annoyed at all the pointless live action Disney films being made. It’s come to the point this year where I’ve decided to stop going to see the remakes as I don’t want to support them. I didn’t watch Aladdin or The Lion King. After Beauty And The Beast, I’d had enough. Leave the classics alone! But I don’t really mind when they do things like Maleficent. Is it yet another Disney cashgrab? Of course it is. But at least it’s a new story. It’s not taking an existing beloved Disney classic and making the EXACT same movie again but with real-life annoying actors like Emma Watson and none of the beauty or magic of the animated films.

Having said that, I have to admit that (along with Beauty And The Beast) Sleeping Beauty is probably my favorite Disney movie. I think it’s sadly extremely underrated due to Aurora herself being a dreadful bore. But its visuals are absolutely gorgeous, the music is fantastic, Maleficent is the coolest villain, and I adore those fairies. So you’d think that I’d not want it touched but, as the Maleficent movies have such a vastly different take on the story, I don’t see them as part of the same universe. Whereas I may not be able to watch the animated Beauty And The Beast again without picturing Emma Watson.

I think Angelina Jolie is great as Maleficent and her look is amazing. She’s probably a little too sexy in this, though. It’s a kids’ film! I think bored dads won’t complain when she’s suddenly wearing far less clothing than usual at one point (lots of leg on display). Damn. I wish I looked like that. I’d even take the wings & horns if I could look that sexy. I’m suddenly wondering if there’s creepy Fifty Shades-style Maleficent fan fiction out there (probably).

Plus we also get the gorgeous Michelle Pfeiffer in this one, which I loved as I’m a fan. I’m now thinking I can finally talk my daughter into watching Ladyhawke with me as she’s seen Pfeiffer in a few other things recently (love that movie!). Anyway, Jolie & Pfeiffer are a lot of fun to watch together in this and both have that true “Hollywood star” screen presence. They make this movie better than it otherwise might have been with different actresses.

The story itself is fine. Is it predictable? Yes, but no more so than any Disney movie. That’s what you expect from a family Disney movie so there’s nothing wrong with that. Elle Fanning is good as Aurora and the relationship her character has with Maleficent continues to work surprisingly well. The three fairies continue to be annoying as hell but at least I was prepared to hate them this time around. As I love the animated fairies so much, I absolutely hated what they’d done with them in the first film. They’re obnoxious. That’s my only big complaint, though. And, again, it doesn’t ruin the animated film for me as I don’t see them as the same characters as they’re so different.

I also liked the addition of some very cutesy creatures but know that not everyone will go for weird, cutesy CGI creatures. Hey, it’s Disney – I’m fine with some cutesy stuff to balance out the stirrings of S&M Maleficent fantasies Jolie and her sexy new dark fairies have probably awakened in some viewers. Some viewers. Definitely not me. Nope. (Maybe). We also got Warwick Davis in this with a fairly decent amount of screen time compared to other roles of his. Yay! Love him. Prince Philip is a bit bland but, who cares? These movies focus more on the strong female characters plus it makes up for Aurora being the bland one in the animated film. The three female leads are truly what make this film, though. It’s otherwise just your usual Disney movie but the three main characters, especially Maleficent, are better than what we’ve had in any of the straightforward live-action copies.

My Rating: 7/10

The Addams Family (2019)

Directed by Conrad Vernon & Greg Tiernan

Based on Characters by Charles Addams

Starring: Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Snoop Dogg, Bette Midler, Allison Janney

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
An animated version of Charles Addams’ series of cartoons about a peculiar, ghoulish family.

My Opinion:

I went on about Maleficent for ages so I’ll keep this shorter as I don’t have a lot to say about this one anyway. This movie was fine. It was a very “cutesy” version of The Addams Family, which felt a bit odd as it still had the dark humor. I can’t quite figure out what ages they were targeting here. I think they made it too young this time around. The dark humor won’t work on the really young kids and the younger animated style won’t work on the slightly older kids, especially if they’re fans of the early 90’s films. And it especially won’t work for teenagers, unlike the 90’s movies which I believe had (and still has) teenage fans.

I was too young for the 60’s TV show (despite watching reruns of many old shows as a kid – I just never watched The Addams Family). Then I was slightly too old for the movies (late teens). So I missed out on the hype but I know that kids (now adults) of the right sort of ages in the early Nineties still adore those movies. I’ve watched them again recently with my daughter and she likes them a lot. I think they’ve aged really well and would easily gain a new generation of fans if they see them. I have a new appreciation for them as I can see the appeal for quite a wide range of ages, from probably age 8 or so up to adults. They were proper “family” movies. Morticia and Gomez are great adult characters (Anjelica Huston was perfection) and what teenager, Goth or not, doesn’t love Wednesday Addams? She’s loads of evil fun. She’s certainly my daughter’s favorite.

Luckily, this animated version does an okay job with Morticia and Wednesday. They’re still the best characters and I liked the teenage rebellion going on (loved the pink unicorn hairclip). Uncle Fester was fun and Cousin It was adorable (but making him a “Pimp Daddy”, although briefly kind of funny, will date the film). I just… I… I don’t know. I got some giggles out of this one. I love dark humor and like Wednesday always trying to kill her brother and thought her “noose hair” was cool. But does noose hair work in a very kiddie version of The Addams Family??

I just found the tone of this so confusing that it was difficult to fully enjoy it. There were very young kids at this one and the movie didn’t hold their attention at all, probably because they won’t have understood the humor. My daughter did like it but I think it’ll help that she’s in the very small age range who might like this one (I’d say between 8 & 11). It’s just a shame as The Addams Family is such a great creation and I don’t think this movie has done these kooky characters justice. I don’t think it has harmed the franchise, however. I just think they should’ve focused on making this version more enjoyable for all ages as there are now fans who are my daughter’s age, who are my age (almost) from the 1990s, as well as people who will have been fans since seeing the TV show when they were kids in the 1960s. I think they’ve really missed a trick this time as this version won’t attract a new generation of fans in the way the 90’s films managed to do so successfully.

My Rating: 6/10

The Legacy (1978) Review

The Legacy (1978)

Directed by Richard Marquand

Starring: Katharine Ross, Sam Elliott, Roger Daltrey, Katharine Ross, John Standing, Ian Hogg, Margaret Tyzack, Charles Gray, Lee Montague, Hildegard Neil, Marianne Broome

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A millionaire, a million-dollar prostitute, a star-maker, a nation-killer, a woman whose lusts are as cold as graveyard snow. Five of the most powerful people in the world, and Maggie (Katharine Ross) makes six, gather in an ancient mansion to inherit a Legacy of bloodsome horror.

My Opinion:

Not gonna lie – I watched this because Sam Elliott is in it. He plays two of my all-time favorite studs: Gar in Mask (I adore that film) and Wade Garrett in Road House (BEST “so bad it’s good” movie EVER). The Legacy is definitely dated but has a good 1970’s horror look & feel, which I always appreciate. A lot of my favorite horror films are from that decade. But, more importantly, it’s has Elliott’s bare ass. How have I gone this many years without seeing Elliott’s bare ass??

I also wanted to see him with his wife Katharine Ross. They began dating when making this film and have been married since 1984. Another reason to love Elliott! A Hollywood couple who have stayed together! It makes me love him as much as Paul Newman. They do have lovely chemistry in this. Ross is truly the star of this movie; She’s the best thing about this otherwise average and not particularly memorable film. It’s strange that she didn’t end up a massive star after starting out in some very big films but maybe they both prefer to keep a low profile. It probably helps them survive the usual Hollywood fame drama & bullshit.

Reason number three to watch this: Roger Daltrey. I like Daltrey & The Who and find his “acting” thoroughly amusing. One of my favorite things I’ve ever reviewed on this blog was an episode of Tales Of The Crypt, starring Daltrey & a young Steve Buscemi (Forever Ambergris – review HERE). His, um, acting in The Legacy is as wonderfully bad as always. I wish he’d had a bigger role. Besides Ross & Elliott, the rest of the characters are underused and underdeveloped.

I’d hoped to enjoy this film more. It’s not great. The story was silly and a bit of a mess. To be fair, I think the idea behind the story was fine but the movie didn’t do a very good job presenting it. It could’ve been a really good film with a dark & atmospheric tone, which would suit the somewhat “Satanic” storyline. I love a good Satanic horror! But it felt very lightweight. You never felt any true sense of horror like you did with Rosemary’s Baby. And the nurse lady and that damn cat should’ve been way more creepy than they were. What’s more creepy than a demonic nurse and evil cat?!

I think The Legacy had a lot of potential and could’ve possibly become a horror classic in different hands. I was disappointed overall but it does have some positives with two good leading performances and a fun Agatha Christie-style murder mystery set in a creepy house. I can see why it might have some fans but you’re not going to like it if you’re not a fan of 70’s horror films. I am, so I’m glad I finally checked this one out even if I was a little disappointed. And I got to see Sam Elliott’s bum.

My Rating: 6/10

I might have to add Sam Elliott’s naked butt shower scene to My Top Ten Shower & Bath Scenes In Movies list…

Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) Review

Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)

Directed by Ruben Fleischer

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, Emma Stone, Rosario Dawson, Zoey Deutch, Luke Wilson

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock move to the American heartland as they face off against evolved zombies, fellow survivors, and the growing pains of the snarky makeshift family.

My Opinion:

I really enjoyed the first Zombieland. It even just made it into my list of My Top Ten Horror Comedies. Is the sequel as good as the first film? Of course not. Are they ever? You’re talking ten years since the last one, though. We’ve had zombie overload since then. We’ve had almost ten years of The Walking Dead, which gets more and more and MORE shit every year (why do I keep watching it?!). Double Tap has nothing that feels the tiniest bit original, while I think the first film managed a bit of originality despite not being the first zom-com. I’m a little disappointed but admit that I like these characters and enjoyed seeing them again. Well, maybe not Jesse Eisenberg (Twat).

I have sequel review burnout. I’m running out of things to say about cashgrab sequels & reboots & remakes. I’m also bored with October Horror Month. I want to review the non-horror stuff I’ve seen lately. Joker. Judy. Hustlers. The Farewell. Terminator: Dark Fate, which I saw last night and am hating more and more as I think about it. Leave classics the fuck alone! I think Dark Fate is what’s made me lose the desire to write about pointless sequels. Double Tap didn’t piss me off like Dark Fate, though. It wasn’t a sequel that we needed but there’s no harm in it.

Meh. Woody Harrelson is by far the best thing about these two movies and I really enjoyed his character once again. I could kind of take or leave the rest of them, though, and I don’t think the new additions were anything special. Zoey Deutch was fun but kind of wasted as I think she deserved a better character. And… Hmm. Zombies. There are zombies. The movie is actually less gory than The Walking Dead but the zombie kills are more fun. Maybe The Walking Dead should add some humor to stop the show being so damn boring.

My Rating: 7/10

My rating is too high. I think I’m just being nice because I like Woody.

Oh, and they opened this movie with Metallica’s Master Of Puppets. So we’ll say my rating got an extra half a point for Woody and half a point for using one of Metallica’s best songs…

Suspiria (2018) Review

Happy Halloween Horror Month 2019! Today I’m reposting my mini-review of (well, it’s more of a rant about) the pointless 2018 remake of Italian horror classic Suspiria

Suspiria (2018)

Directed by Luca Guadagnino

Based on Suspiria by Dario Argento & Daria Nicolodi

Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Angela Winkler, Alek Wek, Ingrid Caven, Elena Fokina, Sylvie Testud, Renée Soutendijk, Christine LeBoutte, Fabrizia Sacchi, Małgosia Bela, Jessica Harper, Chloë Grace Moretz

Music by Thom Yorke

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Suspiria is a 2018 supernatural horror art film directed by Luca Guadagnino with a screenplay by David Kajganich, inspired by the 1977 Italian film of the same title directed by Dario Argento. Guadagnino’s film, which is set in 1977, stars Dakota Johnson as an American woman who enrolls at a prestigious dance academy in Berlin run by a coven of witches.

My Opinion:

What. The. Actual. Fuck. Okay, I admit I’ve only seen the original Suspiria once and don’t remember much other than the Goblin score, which I fricking love and listen to regularly. I know I liked the overall vibe. I really should watch the film again. Italian horror is one of the very few genres I’ve not yet really explored. This remake is an incoherent mess. It’s laughable, especially in the final half hour. At least I was “rewarded” with a good laugh over the ending’s absolute ridiculousness after suffering through this otherwise boring thing for HOURS (2 hours & 32 fucking minutes!!!).

Why do they keep remaking films that are considered classics?! WHY?!? I don’t get it. I understand that there are fans of the giallo horror thing but don’t understand why, if people want a 2018 giallo movie, filmmakers can’t just make an original film with the same characteristics???? I’d totally watch that. Why shit on a classic’s legacy?

I think this was also disappointing as the trailer and especially the above poster (which is great!) almost made this look promising despite it starring Dakota Johnson. As much as remakes & reboots piss me off, I admit that they occasionally work and have even liked a few. I’m a fan of 2004’s Dawn Of The Dead even though the 1978 film is one of my all-time favorite movies, probably because it wasn’t a straight remake but more of a respectful & enjoyable reimagining. It almost felt as if 2018 Suspiria had zero regard for what made the original such a beloved classic for many horror fans.

I’ve read no reviews of this version but am *assuming* that those who love the original hated this and those who loved this hated or probably didn’t even see the original. I’d like to hear from anyone who loves both versions of Suspiria – I’d love to know the reasons why. I saw so many people on Horror Twitter raving about this remake so I’m actually quite confused as I thought it was a dreadful mess. Give me Mandy instead of 2018 Suspiria! It’s hard to not compare the two as they’re both pretentious artsy horror films that came out the same year and are both extremely divisive. Mandy is weird as hell but has originality and style. Suspiria tries too hard and just comes across as desperate and phoney.

I should say something nice… Um. I think Thom Yorke was a great choice to do the music for this and was one of the reasons I wanted to watch the film. The music starts out promising in the very beginning but then I no longer noticed it. I don’t know if there was less music in the second half or if I just no longer noticed it as I slowly lost the will to live. But nothing will EVER beat the original’s Goblin score anyway so why bother.

My Rating: 4.5/10

The Stuff (1985) Review

The Stuff (1985)

Directed & Written by Larry Cohen

Starring: Michael Moriarty, Andrea Marcovicci, Garrett Morris, Paul Sorvino, Scott Bloom, Brian Bloom, Danny Aiello, Patrick O’Neal

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A delicious, mysterious goo that oozes from the earth is marketed as the newest dessert sensation, but the tasty treat rots more than teeth when zombie-like snackers who only want to consume more of the strange substance at any cost begin infesting the world.

My Opinion:

SPOILERS. I’m gonna post spoiler-y photos because I have to. They’re hilarious.

This movie popped up on Amazon Prime recently and I was excited because I’ve been wanting to see it. Mainly because it’s on Arrow Video (look at that cool DVD cover at the top of this post!). I usually like cult Arrow Video shit. The poster is cool too. Looks like the kind of cheesy Eighties horror comedy shit that I love! Even the logo they use to market this “mysterious goo” in the movie is cool. Look at this! I’d buy this if it was a real product:

Well, the movie certainly doesn’t live up to its cool poster or fake product marketing. It’s not even “so bad it’s good”, which I was hoping for. It’s just bad. Bad and boring.

What can I say about this?! It’s one of those movies I ended up not really paying any attention to while I fucked around on my phone. I thought it might be a little bit body horror but the “gore” was really cheesy & low budget. At one point a guy got punched in the face and his face sort of caved in & broke apart and it looked dodgy as hell. Then another guy’s head basically blew up but not in a super cool Scanners kind of way – more in a claymation Peter Gabriel Sledgehammer kind of way (I love that filthy song). This movie might have worked as a serious David Cronenberg-style body horror. But nope.


“Open up your fruit cage…”

Then I thought it might be a horror comedy. But then there was no comedy (at least, I think not any intentional comedy). So… Nope again!

Then I thought it was maybe a clever social commentary, like Society or the 1978 masterpiece Dawn Of The Dead. Nope! Although I think it may have been trying to be this; It just did a piss poor job and the story was kind of incoherent.

Not a body horror. Not a horror comedy. Not a social commentary. Not some great “cult classic” like I was hoping. What a disappointment. Hell, even looking at these photos now I’m thinking “I totally want to see this movie! It looks awesomebad!“. Maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe it IS so bad it’s good?! Look at this, though – How dodgy-looking is this?!:

The most entertaining thing to come out of this was seeing Brian Bloom again, who I completely forgot existed. When I was 12/13 and buying girly teen magazines, they always had posters of him since he was this blue-eyed heartthrob. I had no idea what the fuck he was even in. There were several obscure actors always in girly 80s teen magazines so my mind wandered during this boring movie and I started trying to remember the more obscure ones (not the obvious ones like Johnny Depp and The Two Coreys and Kirk Cameron. Ha!). Let’s see… Andre Gower! Ryan Lambert! Brian Bloom! Who the fuck were they?! No idea. But they were briefly on my bedroom walls in the Eighties. And I’ve once again totally dated myself. God I’m old. Thanks, The Stuff! You were boring AND you reminded me that I’m fucking old!

My Rating: 5/10

*Okay, I’m a liar. I admit that I of course remember that Andre & Ryan were in The Monster Squad in 1987. Andre was my biggest crush of these three. And all three are still totally cute in the recent photos I found. Especially Andre. Cutie. Not that I went Googling him…

Repulsion (1965) Review

Happy Halloween Horror Month 2019! Today I’m reposting my mini-review of the 1965 psychological horror Repulsion

Repulsion (1965)

Directed by Roman Polanski

Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Yvonne Furneaux, Ian Hendry, John Fraser

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Repulsion is a 1965 British psychological horror film directed by Roman Polanski, and starring Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser and Yvonne Furneaux. The screenplay is based on a scenario by Gérard Brach and Polanski, involving a young withdrawn woman who finds sexual advances repulsive and who, after she is left alone by her vacationing sister, becomes even more isolated and detached from reality.

My Brief Opinion:

This film probably deserves a higher rating than I’m giving it. It’s artsy fartsy & “worthy” but I can’t say I exactly enjoyed it. However, Catherine Deneuve was very good & it’s worth watching for her performance. I decided to watch this film after liking Deneuve in a somewhat similar role in Belle de Jour. I haven’t seen her in much – I don’t know why she played a sexually repressed woman in both of these but she handles this type of character well. Here’s the IMDb plot synopsis if you don’t know anything about Repulsion: “A sex-repulsed woman who disapproves of her sister’s boyfriend sinks into depression and has horrific visions of rape and violence.”

Obviously, having come out in 1965, it seems tame now but I would imagine this was a very shocking film at the time. The pacing is very slow & it does take a long time before much of anything happens, so bear that in mind if you choose to watch it. I have to say I preferred Belle de Jour. I was hoping this would be much weirder, based on that image I used at the top of this post of Deneuve in the hallway with all the hands coming out of the walls. It’s not, though – it’s a pretty straightforward story of a woman who may have experienced sexual abuse in the past (I think this is implied), which eventually drives her insane. Deneuve is great in these films, though, and I’d watch her in other movies based on what I’ve seen so far.

My Rating: 7/10

Ghost Stories (2017) & Starry Eyes (2014) Reviews

Happy Halloween Horror Month 2019! Today I’m reposting my mini-reviews of Ghost Stories & Starry Eyes. I wasn’t a fan of either…

Ghost Stories (2017)

Directed & Written by Jeremy Dyson & Andy Nyman

Based on Ghost Stories by Jeremy Dyson & Andy Nyman

Starring: Andy Nyman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther, Martin Freeman

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Ghost Stories is a 2017 British horror film written and directed by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, based on their 2010 stage play of the same name. It stars Nyman reprising his role from the play, as a man devoted to debunking fraudulent psychics, who is tasked with solving three unexplained paranormal events.

My Brief Opinion:

Wow. This was boring. I normally enjoy horror anthologies and this sounded good on IMDb: “Skeptical professor Phillip Goodman embarks on a trip to the terrifying after finding a file with details of three unexplained cases of apparitions.” The overall story was pretty good, in a Twilight Zone type of way, but the individual stories were bog standard ghost/demon stories and the ways they were presented weren’t at all scary (I’m never a fan of seeing too much, especially when the effects & make-up look cheesy). And the “twist” ending, which was okay, didn’t make up for the previous almost hour and a half of cheesy, boring hauntings. Modern horror is so often a huge disappointment for me.

My Rating: 5/10

Starry Eyes (2014)

Directed & Written by Kevin Kölsch & Dennis Widmyer

Starring: Alexandra Essoe, Amanda Fuller, Noah Segan

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Starry Eyes features Alexandra Essoe as a hopeful young starlet that finds that fame’s price is not always easily paid.

My Brief Opinion:

I hated this. But I don’t feel like trashing it since, well, I assume it’s a low budget film that people worked hard to create and what the hell have I done with MY life? Huh? Nothing! I’ve never made a movie. So they’ve accomplished more than I ever will. Right? Man I hated this movie. I’m never listening to “Horror Twitter” users again. They praise ALL horror movies. I’ll give this an extra half a point for, um, the fact that they made a movie & I haven’t. I’m feeling generous today. Yeah, I realize this isn’t a “review”. I can’t be bothered. I’ve got stuff to do, dammit.

My Rating: 2.5/10

The Funhouse (1981) & The Monster (2016) Reviews

Happy Halloween Horror Month 2019! Today I’m reposting my mini-reviews of The Funhouse & The Monster…

The Funhouse (1981) (also released as Carnival of Terror)

Directed by Tobe Hooper

Starring: Elizabeth Berridge, Cooper Huckabee, Largo Woodruff, Miles Chapin, Kevin Conway, Sylvia Miles, William Finley

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film’s plot concerns four teenagers who become trapped in a dark ride at a local carnival and are stalked by a deformed killer inside.

My Brief Opinion:

Not only do I love 70’s horror… I also love cheesy 80’s horror! So this Tobe Hooper movie seemed right up my alley. PLUS it’s set in a carnival and I always love this sort of setting. And a Funhouse! What’s better than a creepy-ass Funhouse?! Well… damn. This movie isn’t exactly the worst 80’s horror I’ve seen since I’ve seen MANY bad ones – It’s just very forgettable. Maybe I hyped it up too much in my mind. Meh. Watch it only if you’re sad like me and feel the urge to watch every movie ever made in my favorite sort of genres…

My Rating: 5/10

The Monster (2016)

Directed & Written by Bryan Bertino

Starring: Zoe Kazan & Ella Ballentine

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Its plot follows a troubled mother and her adolescent daughter who find themselves stranded at night on a country road with a malicious creature hunting them.

My Brief Opinion:

This was fine for a (I’m assuming) low-budget indie “horror”. It’s more of a psychological horror, although you do see the monster (even though it’s symbolic of the mother and her strained relationship with her daughter). If you want a straight-up horror, this one probably won’t be your kind of thing. If you want an indie drama about a mother & daughter with some decent acting (for a “horror” movie), you might like this one. But I gotta admit it’s a little boring & the mother (played by Zoe Kazan) is a little too hateful.

My Rating: 6/10

Breaking In (2018) & Searching (2018) Reviews

For October Horror Month, I’ll be re-posting some mini-reviews of horror movies that I watched in the past year. Here are my reviews for thrillers (okay, not exactly “horrors“!) Breaking In & Searching

Breaking In (2018)

Directed by James McTeigue

Starring: Gabrielle Union, Billy Burke, Richard Cabral, Ajiona Alexus, Levi Meaden, Seth Carr, Mark Furze, Jason George, Christa Miller, Damien Leake

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows a mother who must protect her children after the mansion of her recently deceased father is invaded by burglars.

My Brief Opinion:

This film wasn’t too bad as far as lightweight “PG-13-Style” home invasion movies go. Is it a bit cheesy? Of course! But is the family likable and do you want them to survive? Yep! Good enough. What more do you need from this sort of movie? I wasn’t expecting something Oscar-worthy here. Gabrielle Union was good and I loved that she was pretty kick-ass for a mother but also not unrealistically so. I actually hate movies like this where a character makes no mistakes whatsoever – that’s unrealistic as we’d all fuck things up in this sort of situation in real life. Wow – Union looks young, though. I had to look up her age and she’s actually a bit older than me. Damn. Lucky her! Well. I don’t know what else to say. This movie is flawed. It’s ridiculous at times. It’s far from perfect. But I liked it. It’s the sort genre we saw a lot more of in the 80’s & 90’s. I miss this kind of straightforward cheesy thriller sometimes. It’s not trying to be anything more than that.

My Rating: 6/10

Searching (2018)

Directed by Aneesh Chaganty

Starring: John Cho, Debra Messing, Michelle La, Kya Dawn Lau, Megan Liu, Alex Jayne Go, Sara Sohn, Joseph Lee, Steven Michael Eich, Ric Sarabia, Sean O’Bryan, Colin Woodell

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set entirely on computer screens and smartphones, the film follows a father (John Cho) trying to find his missing 16-year-old daughter (Michelle La) with the help of a police detective (Debra Messing).

My Brief Opinion:

I enjoyed this way more than I was expecting for a movie that’s all seen through a computer screen via Skype, social media posts, websites, videos, etc. I didn’t think the gimmick would work but the mystery of the daughter’s disappearance was intriguing enough to keep you interested the whole time. The story worked well, the father & daughter had good character development (making up for other characters having very little), and the gimmick didn’t end up being a distraction from the story like I feared it might. The pacing was also really good – these mystery thrillers can drag a bit sometimes but this was fast-paced and very engaging the entire time. I feel like I’m hyping this too much… It’s not exactly Oscar-worthy material but I’m impressed that its gimmick worked so surprisingly well.

My Rating: 7/10

Cam (2018) & The Love Witch (2016) Reviews

For October Horror Month, I’ll be re-posting some mini-reviews of horror movies that I watched in the past year. Here are my reviews for Cam & The Love Witch

The Love Witch (2016)

Directed & Written by Anna Biller

Starring: Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys, Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Jared Sanford, Robert Seeley, Jennifer Ingrum

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars Samantha Robinson as Elaine, a modern-day witch who uses spells and magic to get men to fall in love with her with disastrous results.

My Brief Opinion:

Like American Mary, this was on Film 4 the other week and I was really happy as I’d been intrigued by the look of this one since it first came out. Damn – this was a huge disappointment. While I did indeed love the look of it, I can’t say that I thought the film was good. Film critics will say something about this exploring gender roles or some shit but I thought the film was all style & no substance. However, I appreciate the effort it made on its 60’s aesthetic and the lead actress is definitely beautiful (and half naked quite often, which may be why the positive reviews I’ve seen have mostly been from dudes. Hmm). As a woman, I was hoping to like this a lot more as it’s from a female director and has a strong female role. It’s artsy and pleasing to the eye but the intentionally bad acting and the slow pace made it a chore to even finish it. Still, it has fans and I can see why it would as it’s a unique film. It just didn’t work for me personally, so don’t let my unenthusiastic review keep you from watching it if you like the look of it.

My Rating: 5.5/10


Honestly, this chick is gorgeous. As if she’d need to use spells to get guys to fuck her.

Cam (2018)

Directed by Daniel Goldhaber

Starring: Madeline Brewer, Patch Darragh, Melora Walters, Devin Druid, Imani Hakim, Michael Dempsey

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Alice, an ambitious camgirl, wakes up one day to discover she’s been replaced on her show with an exact replica of herself.

My Brief Opinion:

I really need to stop trusting tweets from Twitter’s “horror community”. I’ve realized that they rave about every horror movie no matter how good or bad it really is. Cam is yet another Netflix film that everyone thinks is great, probably because they get to watch it at home as part of their subscription, which is a lot easier than dragging your butt off the couch to go the cinema to watch something that’s actually good. Netflix is the new equivalent of “straight to video” in the Eighties. Anyway, after all my bitching I can see why this would have some fans (especially horny guys). And, yes – it’s an original story so I definitely give it credit for that in this day & age of sequels and reboots. It’s a good concept but having a thoroughly annoying character as its focus didn’t really work. I don’t want to hate all the characters in a movie – it just means that I don’t care what happens to them. To be fair, this movie did have a good idea and I think I’d have liked it okay if they’d gone about it differently. Plus the porn thing didn’t work for me, I suppose, since I’m a girl. Hey – whatever happened to Babestation in the UK? Is that still around?? I haven’t been channel surfing at 3am in recent years…

My Rating: 5/10

Better Watch Out (2016) & Amber Lake (2011) Reviews

For October Horror Month, I’ll be re-posting some mini-reviews of horror movies that I watched in the past year. Here are my reviews for Better Watch Out & Amber Lake

Better Watch Out (2016)

Directed by Chris Peckover

Starring: Olivia DeJonge, Levi Miller, Ed Oxenbould, Aleks Mikic, Dacre Montgomery, Patrick Warburton, Virginia Madsen

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
On a quiet suburban street, a babysitter must defend a twelve-year-old boy from intruders, only to discover it’s far from a normal home invasion.

My Brief Opinion:

This was an odd one. I was excited about this as I like a good Christmas horror comedy: Gremlins is an all-time favorite & I thought Krampus was a fun film. The marketing was strange for this… I got the impression that it might be another comedy horror such as Krampus but it’s nothing of the sort despite being listed as a “comedy crime horror thriller” on IMDb. Everything I read said to avoid spoilers for this so I’ll not say much about it other than that I absolutely hated the turn that this film took. As I’ve said before, it takes a hell of a lot to offend me but I didn’t like the creepy way this played out. And, as always, I hate movies filled with hateful characters (though the girl wasn’t too bad). I don’t know. This has an okay IMDb rating (as far as horrors go) so clearly some must like it but I can’t for the life of me imagine who as I can think of no one I would recommend this movie to.

My Rating: 4.5/10

Amber Lake (2011)

Directed & Written by Joe Robert Cole

Starring: Carmen Argenziano, Mekenna Melvin, Natalie Smyka, Melina Lizette, Polly Cole

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Three half-sisters, after being invited to their father’s lake house to meet him and each other for the first time, are each questioned by a local sheriff to explain the events that took place leading up to the discovery of their father floating dead in the lake.

My Brief Opinion:

This was one of those movies with a decent story idea but truly hateful characters. The low budget didn’t help either, I suppose. Actually, one of the Ambers was okay (Mekenna Melvin). The girls are all named Amber because their father is an asshole and you wouldn’t blame any of them for wanting to possibly kill him. The movie uses the Rashômon concept of telling the same story from different perspectives. But that of course worked in the hands of Akira Kurosawa as he was a genius and one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. Amber Lake is no Rashômon! Obviously. Um… I don’t actually know what to say about this. Here’s the plot synopsis from IMDb: “Three half-sisters, after being invited to their father’s lake house to meet him and each other for the first time, are each questioned by a local sheriff to explain the events that took place leading up to the discovery of their father floating dead in the lake.”

It’s on Amazon Prime in the UK if you’re interested but do yourself a favor & watch Rashômon instead. Or any Kurosawa film. To be fair, though, I’ve seen worse “horror” films (well, this is more of a “mystery thriller”) with much bigger budgets. I guess Amber Lake did have some potential and it had a decent ending. And I hated the baddie in Better Watch Out FAR more than any characters in this.

My Rating: 5/10

Shocker (1989) Review

Shocker (1989)

Directed & Written by Wes Craven

Starring: Michael Murphy, Peter Berg, Cami Cooper, Mitch Pileggi, Heather Langenkamp

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
After being sent to the electric chair, a serial killer uses electricity to come back from the dead and carry out his vengeance on the football player who turned him in to the police.

My Opinion:

Been meaning to watch this for ages as I love old Wes Craven (RIP) horrors. I’m a huge fan of A Nightmare On Elm Street and think Scream is pretty great and, hell, I even like Deadly Friend and Red Eye. Shocker isn’t a very well known Craven film and I can now see why, unfortunately. Well, I still had some fun with it despite it certainly not being anywhere near Elm Street standards. We even get a Heather Langenkamp cameo in this! Which I didn’t notice in the slightest until reading her name in the credits online… Damn.

I’ll start with the bad: The effects are dodgy as hell and the acting isn’t the greatest. Not that you expect too much from an old slasher but these elements somehow worked beautifully in 1984’s Elm Street. Shocker was five years later but looks and feels so much worse. The bad guy is also bland and boring. How could we go from Freddy Krueger, one of the best slasher villains with loads of personality, to this? All the characters in this movie are weak compared to such strong ones in Elm Street (Freddy & Nancy are great).

Also, the story is a mess. I know it’s not rocket science but my mind kept wandering and then when I paid attention again I couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on. This was partly due to a lot of things occurring when our main good guy was in a “dream state”, I think (Ha! Like Elm Street!). But, also: The serial killer, who ends up being, um, “electricity” or some shit after being in the electric chair, didn’t seem adhere to the “rules” set out by his situation. Yeah yeah – I know it’s ridiculous anyway. But I didn’t understand how he was defeated in the end (Oops. Spoiler? Not really – it’s a cheesy old slasher. The killer is always defeated). The good guy wasn’t “electricity” – how was he diving into televisions and shit? And is this town just never ever going to turn on the electricity ever again??? Huh? Why am I even thinking about this…?

Well. I’m glad I saw Shocker as I love Craven and had just never gotten around to seeing this one. Oh yeah… I said I was gonna start with the bad as if I had a long list of good things too. Um. Hmm. I guess I kind of liked the absolutely ridiculous ending where they’re hopping about inside different television shows within TV sets. Although that made NO fucking sense whatsoever so maybe that’s not a “good” thing. But it’s the only time the movie had a slight sense of fun. This movie is actually listed as comedy as well as horror at IMDb but there was zero comedy until that slightly amusing bit at the end. Oh, and some silly stuff at the very start where the main guy was being all dorky in front of his pretty girlfriend. Maybe the whole movie would’ve been better if it had been more of a comedy.

My Rating: 5.5/10