Saturday, April 30, 2011
Directed by Matthew Robbins
Peter MacNicol - Galen Bradwarden
Caitlin Clarke - Valerian
Ralph Richardson - Ulrich of Craggenmoor
A pact with a dragon, where virgins are left for sacrifice to it, by a king to save his daughter. An old wizard, and his keen young apprentice volunteer to kill the dragon.
There's some movies that when you see them stick with whether they are good or bad for some reason or another. For me the '80s were a time of wonder for me where I actually believed that what I saw on the movie screen could possibly happen. From time travel (1.21 gigawatts is what's needed) to a on screen hero being frozen (he's a nerfherder). They were so many movies that just made me fill with wonderment and excitement while being taken on a voyage that lasted 2 hours and got me back home safe.
The acting in the movie was above average for the type of movie it was for the most part. The one real draw back was Peter MacNicol trying to over-act when he shouldn't have. Sure he was supposed to be playing a young man trying to prove he was able to take over his master's position, but it could have been done with more temperance from the acting. Thankfully this is what happens in the second half of the story after Galen, basically gets the sense knocked into him by screwing up and is responsible for unleashing the wrath of the dragon in the movie. The actor that stand out above all others in the movie though is John Hallam who plays Tyrian, the King's enforcer for the kingdom. The reason I say this is because even though he can be considered the bad guy of the movie, in reality he's not, he's just trying to protect his King and the Kingdom as best as he can, by whatever means he has at his disposal. Yes, he kills Ulrich (kinda) and Hodge (for real) but he does so out of commitment to his position. This was the character that made me understand that sometimes when someone seems evil it is not always out of malice but for a purpose. Hallam plays Tyrian not with a aire of malice, but instead with a sense of he doesn't like what he does, but understands that it has to be done for the greater good.
The setting of the movie and script is well put together as it shows that this isn't a Disney fairy tale kingdom, but of one that is grounded in reality for the most part. The village and houses are dirty and in poor condition for the most part while the King's castle is well kept and in fair repair and not lacking which shows the actual conditions that in reality were present during the time represented in the film. The countryside and surrounding environment adds a sense of grit to the film on top of the corruption and false authority that is presented by the monarchy in the film. Still the main attraction to the movie is the dragon Vermithrax Pejorative. The design of this creature is just stunning and amazing to look at. While the special effects of 1981 don't hold up to today for about a third of the shots of it, the scenes that do work, are a sight to behold though as Vermithrax has a depth and weight about it that isn't present in most special effects that are CG (I'm looking at you Lucas).
While the story itself lags and sputters in spots, the story picks right back up as it knows what it did wrong each time it does. One of the great things in this movie is that it doesn't take itself lightly. Every action has a consequence, more often than not that equals widespread destruction and suffering. While there is some humor in the movie, it doesn't last long and is non-existent after about 30 minutes. Regarding the film itself, it holds up relatively well after 30 years and is still nevertheless a great example of what a fantasy movie is. From the setting to the actual look and feel of the film, it's a movie that has a feeling of danger and it shows that the who we thought as the hero doesn't always get what he wants, but instead understands what the world is in the end and can live with that realization which is rare enough.
The soon to be Emperor Palpatine being charbroiled for his stupidity. Seems like he doesn't understand getting cocky gets you killed!
No. In fact, if it weren't for sorcerers, there wouldn't be any dragons. Once, the skies were dotted with them. Magnificent horned backs, leathern wings... soaring... and their hot-breathed wind. Oh, I know this creature of yours... Vermithrax Pejorative. Look at these scales, these ridges. When a dragon gets this old, it knows nothing but pain, constant pain. It grows decrepit... crippled... pitiful. Spiteful!
Including the hydraulic 40 foot model, 16 dragon puppets were used for the role of Vermithrax, each one made for flying, crawling and breathing fire.
To create the dragon fire, the FX team used a pair of military-style flamethrowers.
In the novelization of the movie, a vision glimpsed by Ulrich in his scrying bowl implies that sorcerers could have been responsible for the creation of dragons. This is only briefly alluded to in the film. It is further mentioned that the sorcerer who created dragons also fashioned the magical amulet which Galen wears through most of the story.
Guillermo del Toro has stated that along with Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty Vermithrax is his favorite cinematic dragon. He further stated that “One of the best and one of the strongest landmarks [of dragon movies] that almost nobody can overcome is Dragonslayer. The design of the Vermithrax Pejorative is perhaps one of the most perfect creature designs ever made."
Saturday, April 23, 2011
DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE (CEMETERY MAN) (1994)
Directed by Michele Soavi
Rupert Everett - Francesco Dellamorte
Francois Hadji-Lazaro - Gnaghi
Anna Falchi - She
Dellamorte is the guardian of the cemetery of Buffalora, a little town in the north of Italy, in which the dead come back to life and he has the job of killing them a second time.
Dellamorte Dellamore was one of those movies I heard about but could never get my hands on a copy of. Then thanks to Anchor Bay, they released it on DVD. This was back in 2006 mind you. The really sad thing about all of this, is that I haven't watched the movie until now, and that's thanks to Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night being released. I really don't know why I waited so long to watch it, or it could be because I have over 1000 DVDs and I work, so some of the movies I get to, while others I don't get to watch until a later point in time. I must admit one of the reasons why I started this blog was to work my way through my movie collection sooner rather than later. Okay, enough back story about me, here is the review of the film.
This film is something to behold, but it's the story that drives this movie more than anything else. Even when it gets weird in parts it only helps add to the story. The humor is suitable dark as in how much can a person really take living in cemetery while having to kill it's recently buried inhabitants when they come back to un-life a short time later but this can be viewed as a metaphor for what is happening to Dellamorte. One thing that will be overlooked throughout the whole film is the broken skull Dellamorte is attempting to put back together throughout the film as it gives a major clue to the whole story as is the snowglobe during the closing credits as Gnaghi is a major factor in both instances and the true meaning of the film. Another scene that was thought provoking was the conversation in the hospital between Dellamorte and Franco as another clue is giving to the true meaning of the story and the state of Dellamorte's mind. Yet all this is outshined by the last three minutes of the film. I was just speechless at what it implied and loved the wondering aspect of it. Now some people will absolutely hate the movie due to the ending alone, but yet to me the ending adds so much depth to a film that already has a solid story to begin with. There are so many hints subtly giving throughout the film as what is really going on it's easy to miss them even when you're basically slapped in the face with them.
The acting is superb from start to finish, with Rupert Everett giving an amazing performance. If Everett didn't give the portrayal he did, the movie would have failed in so many ways, yet it's thank to him Dellamorte is the anchor to the audience that draws us in. Even when his character starts losing his grip on reality, which is easily to point the exact moment this happens, you still feel a connection to him. Yet it's when he does lose his grip and multiple layers are added is when Everett really shines additionally as when he realizes that his idea of love will never match up with reality. Even Francois Hadji-Lazaro's Gnaghi is fun to watch, as what is seen as a simpleton to begin with, becomes more complex and interesting throughout, all the more so with his character's bittersweet side story of his love for the Mayor's daughter whose is just a head. And the end of the film just destroys all pre-conceived notions about his character and what happens to both Gnaghi and Dellamorte.
While the movie is fun to watch, the plot does get a little wacky though it doesn't take away anything from the overall experience. Gorgeously shot with style and flair specifically the more thought provoking scenes. Filled with great violent scenes that come out of nowhere while other times is widely telegraphed, it is always fun to see. Weird, engaging, surreal, and always interesting, Dellamorte Dellamore is a film worth viewing again just to catch the little things you miss the first time around at what was is truly going on such as when a character is shown with wings, or it can be viewed simply for what is giving on the screen. There are so many layers to this film that it's sad that this is one of those films that are overlooked compared to what is coming out that is considered horror now.
Motorcyclist faceplant by moving bus.
Death, death, death comes sweeping down, filthy death the leering clown, death on wings, death by surprise, failing evil from worldly eyes, death that spawns as life succumbs, while death and love, two kindred drums, beat the time till judgement day, an actor in a passion play, without beginning, without end, evermore, amen.
The sets for the cemetery in the film were built upon actual abandoned cemetery grounds in Italy.
The ossuary (a crypt for bones) that was used in the film was quite real. Supposedly one of the crew members removed some of the bones from the ossuary during filming, but quickly replaced them the next day claiming to have encountered an angry ghost following the removal of the bones.
The English translation of Dellamorte Dellamore is 'Of Dead of Love.'
When Francesco and "She" are kissing in the crypt with the shroud over their heads, the shot mimics the painting "The Lovers" by Rene Magritte.
Dellamorte Dellamore takes place in the same universe as Dylan Dog.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
One of the films I love is Trick 'r Treat and it was worth the two plus year wait to see it as it didn't disappoint in the slightest. Then I found out Fearnet and director Michael Dougherty teamed up to celebrate some Easter joy. To view the love just click below. You will not be disappointed.
Easter lover from FEARnet.com and Sam
Easter lover from FEARnet.com and Sam
Sunday, April 17, 2011
GANTSU (GANTZ) (2011)
Directed by Shinsuke Sato
Kenichi Matsuyama - Masaru Kato
Kazunari Ninomiya - Kei Kurono
Natsuna Watanabe - Kishimoto
Kei Kurono and his friend Masaru Kato who die in a train accident and become part of a semi-posthumous "game" in which they and several other recently deceased people are forced to hunt down and kill aliens with a handful of futuristic items of equipment and weaponry.
I have actually seen some of the anime this was based on and read the first volume of the manga as well, so when I found out there was going to be a live action movie I had to see what they would do with it. The thing about going from anime or manga to live action there is always going to be some loss in the material no matter what or a change in the pacing due to time constraints. Some times it's not a bad thing as this could mean a part where something slows down in the source material is thrown out and speeds up the story, but at the same time it also usually throws away character development that happens during that time. So adaptations are always a mix bag and sometimes past knowledge of material can sometimes hurt going into a movie.
While watching this I kept going back in my mind about the original source and how mean, vicious, and perverted it was and was wondering what happened with that. There was no snide, nasty comments about the other people made by Kazunari Ninomiya's Kei Kurono and I was saddened by that fact. part of the reason why the original was interesting was seeing how low and repugnant people can get. I don't mind the fact that the film makers washed away most of the sexuality for the live action movie, but part of what made the character of Kei is his maturing from a horn dog that doesn't mind seeing people die just so long as he get's his release sexually, into someone that actually becomes a leader that actually somewhat cares in a screwed up way about the other people around him. The same can be said about the other characters in the movie, as you can tell something is missing in each character as most of them seem somewhat flat even though back stories are hinted at, yet no real time is spent exploring those backgrounds of the three leads.
As far as the transposition of the source material to the big screen I was quite surprised by how well it looked and translated. The body suits and weaponry looks just like the drawn and animated version do and act just the same as well. The aliens are perfect and varied throughout and at times funny. One thing that can be said is that the violence is still intact, as this movie gets wet and messy when ever the games begin with only destruction being the end result of each battle, and usually on a larger scale. Even when the action becomes more large scale, with each new alien the special effects never falter nor does the camera work fail to keep up with what is happening on screen nor does the camera try and hide what is going on.
This was quite a surprise as this movie translated better to the screen than I thought it would and was acceptably done sci fi movie that tries to translate a dense story into a fast paced action movie that works amazing in some parts yet fails in others. If there is one complaint I truly have, it's the disservice the dubbing company did with Gantz. The voice actors performance is lifeless in most parts and the timing of speech to lip movement is just horrendous in most other spot. If you can see the subtitled version, do yourself a favor and watch that one instead. Yet I'm not going to discredit this movie for that as the movie gets better as it moves forward. The translation of source to film is one of the better ones I've seen and if you get a chance watch it enjoy it for what it is as it's better than most other sci fi movies being made at the moment.
The very wet and sloppy death of Onion.
What doe the scores mean?
Hiroya Oku, the creator of the manga, first thought of Gantz's story when he was in high school.
The idea for Gantz came from the Jidaigeki television program Hissatsu series and Robert Sheckley's Time Murderer novel.
This is the first movie of a two movie story.
Monday, April 11, 2011
YOUR HIGHNESS (2011)
Directed by David Gordon Green
Danny McBride - Thadeous
James Franco - Fabious
Natalie Portman - Isabel
When Prince Fabious's bride is kidnapped, he goes on a quest to rescue her... accompanied by his lazy useless brother Thadeous.
I'm all for comedies, and when you add in the mixture of a genre film it could be comedy gold if done right. Yet it could also turn out to be completely terrible as well. The thing about comedy is that it's person centric. What could be slightly amusing to one person, another person might find to be completely hilarious. Or it could be completely boring. And if what I read about Your Highness is true, that they ab-libbed most of the lines, this could be a complete train wreck of a movie or it could be a complete work of genius.
Let's start with the main reason why this movie was released in the first place, Natalie Portman and James Franco. Since Portman won an Oscar and Franco got nominated for one, the studio thought that they could cash in on their success. I'm just going to say that, if this movie was released before the Oscars, I doubt Portman would have won and Franco more than likely wouldn't have hosted. After her brilliant turn in Black Swan, Portman slips back into her acting mode she used in a widely known sci-fi series. Thankfully though, she doesn't stay that way the whole movie as her ability does shine through every so often, just not enough though, and she should really not have used an accent for her character. And Franco's acting is just there. Even though he plays more of a stoner muscle head in the film, he overdoes it and it actually hurts his character. Granted he's not the best actor around, but I've seen him actually try before. What's it say when Danny McBride out acts both of the big stars by just acting like a stoner?
This movie is more of a send up of medieval movie types than a straight up comedy as it pokes fun at the usual standards in those films and unlike parodies of recent years, Your Highness stays away from rewriting memorable scenes from those past movies and instead tries to write it's own story. It works in parts and in other parts it just falls flat. The beginning of the movie is just brilliant with McBrides character in the land of the Dwarves and about to be hang for seducing their King's wife. After that the story just meanders about for a while. While some of the scenes stick out more than others, such as the herb smoking pervert scene, gems like that make this movie, the film lags in other in other scenes such as when McBride and Franco spy on Portman bathing. I should mention that this movie is perverted, and everything is done to go along with that feel. It doesn't make the movie bad, it's just that some jokes just don't work like they should and the word fuck doesn't have to be used every other word either as it doesn't make the line funny to anyone over the age of 13.
While comedy is subjective, not everyone will like this movie. There are so many dick jokes in it, it's hard not to believe this movie isn't from the 1980s as some of the humor is straight from the raunchy comedies of that time. It's not a bad movie, alas it's not a great movie either. What it is is fun. Even though I wasn't expecting to, I actually started having fun while watching this even with the grating fake accents the actors used and woefully underused supporting cast. I will give the movie praise for trying to be original in parts even though other scenes ruin what was built up. This is one of those movies you watch with friends and just have fun with and enjoy the complete absurd nature of it.
The decollating of the witch made one.
You're making a fool of yourself. Handle your shit Fabious, please.
According to director David Gordon Green, the dialogue was entirely improvised with only a written outline by writer Ben Best and actor Danny McBride.
The wrap party for the over 600-member cast and crew was held on-set at 'The Paint Shed' in the Titanic Quarter of the Belfast Harland & Wolff Shipyard on October 17, 2009. The party mirrored the medieval theme of the film, with a menu featuring venison and suckling pig.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN (2011)
Directed by Jason Eisener
Rutger Hauer - Hobo
Brian Downey - Drake
Gregory Smith - Slick
A homeless vigilante blows away crooked cops, pedophile Santas, and other scumbags with his trusty pump-action shotgun.
When I first heard about this movie and that Rutger Hauer would be playing a pissed off hobo I got a little excited by it. This is the man that played Roy Batty and Harley Stone. Even when a movie sucks, he does great in it, usually. So the real question is how does he fair in this?
Rutger Hauer did not disappoint in this one bit. It could be because he hasn't aged well, but those lines in his face helped him sell worn out. As for delivering his lines, he does what he knows and that's to chew up scenery like no one else in this movie and yet at the same time he keeps it subdued. Even when speaking lines that are just nonsense, he still gives them weight that more than likely wasn't there in the script. I was just left wondering what bet he lost to have to star in this though. Molly Dunsworth's portrayal of Abby was quite surprisingly well done as well. Even though she does the usual horror movie female bit, her character gets stronger as the movie goes along. Yet the family members in the movie over due their roles by leaps and bounds. If they had tried to tone what they say down and not be so twitchy on camera, they would have probably be the most terrifying family on screen since the Firefly family. Instead we get performances that makes the Cookie Monster look like Oscar material.
Now let's talk plot, or lack there of. Yep there is none. I don't consider a nameless hobo buying a shotgun instead of the lawnmower he wants a major plot point. The movie did bring up interesting ideas, in fact the movie is filled with them, it just that they go nowhere or are dropped as soon as they are introduced. While Hauer did his best with what was giving to him by way of the script, he could only go so far with it. Needless to say the script felt like it was written by two drunkards that just watched to many Troma movies in a row. One thing that bothered me was that as each scene kept building up the violence then the end just fell flat considering what all went on before. It should also be noted that the movie introduces two of the most bad-ass characters I've seen in movies in a long time but does nothing with them. Just the small bit they showed of The Plague, they stole the whole movie as you're left wondering who and what they are the whole time and what it meant as the one surviving Plague says the girl has to take the place of the one she destroyed. Why is this? Well scriptwriters John Davies and Jason Eisener, why is this? No answer? Figures.
But lets be honest, most people won't see this movie for the plot. They'll see it mostly for the violence. And man will they get their fill. The best way to describe it is if Takashi Miike made a Troma movie and had a decent budget to go with it but with a shotty script. The violence is so over the top that it will turn off some people, but those said people probably won't even watch this movie. I'm not going to lie and say I liked this movie, in fact I could care less about it after watching it. The humor felt too juvenile as the script tried to hard to be funny and contemporary, the end of the movie let me down as it could have done something different and more brilliant, and there was no character development at all. I'm all for violent movies, but is it too much to ask for a decent plot and story progression to go with it.
Even though it's not a death, it would have to be the shortening of a body part by a fast spinning blade.
Put the knife away or I’ll use it to cut welfare checks from your skin!
The movie was initially a fake trailer made for an international contest to promote the release of Grindhouse and is the second of the fake trailers made into a feature length movie.
Slick and Ivan drive a Bricklin; a Canadian made car from the mid 70s.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
THE DEAD HOUR (2010/2011)
Directed by Daniel Iske
A rouge radio DJ tells tales over the air of stories that could have happened or is just possibly heresay.
The director Daniel Iske got hold of me in February about reviewing his short web series The Dead Hour. I feel bad about having it take so long for me to actually get to it, but I finally did. So, as this is a series of shorts, I'm going to be doing a quick review of each one separately.
PLOT: In a time where banks are failing, homes are shuttered, and one-and-a-half out of ten people are unemployed, Seth discovers a way to maintain the lifestyle he and his wife have become accustomed to…but at a crippling cost.
REVIEW: Wow. What a depressing little story, but yet considering current times it's not that hard to imagine if something like this actually happening. This was a nice little piece of viciousness thanks to the wife who takes advantage of Seth's willingness to provide. Well acted for the most part. Alas, the doctor brought a sense of comedy where it could have been so much darker and more evil considering what was going on.
PLOT: Vic Henderson considers himself a cursed man. He yearns to be free of addiction, but defeat drives him further into a world of deadly indulgence. When the twelve steps continue to fail, can anything bring peace to an addict?
REVIEW: This one is probably my favorite of the 5 episodes. If any of these get the closest to the feel of HBO series Tales From The Crypt it would be this one. Vic is a vampire that has to drink to be able to kill, and hates himself for it. Even going as far as using A1 steak sauce (check when he opens the fridge, love it nice touch.) At first I wasn't sure about this one yet it pays off in the end with it's humor, though I could have done without the scream at the end. This was 18 minutes well spent.
PLOT: Miss Juniper has just moved into the neighborhood, and she hasn't gone unnoticed by anyone — especially the local, hormone-strung high school boys. As she makes herself at home, the neighbors get a little closer than they expected.
REVIEW: Michelle Schrage is the best part of this episode in a take on the werewolf genre and country's past obsession with cougars. If there was an episode that could have been more, it would have been this one as so much potential of the cougar's back story is there but never talked really talked about considering she has a trunk full of clothes from all the boys she seduced. I think the one thing that turned me off of this episode is the insipid and juvenile blabbering of the teenage boys.
PLOT: After 40 years of working, Arthur Paxton is ready to retire. Or is he? While his wife, Betty, encourages him to relax, his mind refuses to listen. An unexplainable discovery breathes new ambition into Arthur's life, but leads him into a deep hole of unanswered questions.
REVIEW: The Hole episode while it had a lot of potential and a great premise, I found myself getting rather bored about halfway through its 17 minute run. It was well acted and shot, I just think the pacing could have been better with it. I did like that it hinted that Arthur lost his mind he was so bored and started murdering to give him something to do though.
PLOT: In the barren fields of middle America, two young girls fight to stay alive following a near apocalyptic disaster. With much of the world's food supply eliminated, they have no choice but to feed on the flesh of other humans. What happens to the mind when living becomes the only thing to live for.
REVIEW: This one deals with the loss of reality and the extent someone will go to survive. I like the fact that it's left up to the viewer if the second survivor was actually there or a figment of a fractured psyche. Only thing that bothered me in this is that it had the usual "girl fall down and can't get up so I should scream" scene. This one has a lot of potential to become more than what it is.
All in all not a bad set of stories that was well done for being low budget with some interesting twist to some of the usual horror tropes.
Seth's death of life so where he can provide for his family.
"Am I detecting a little bourbon here? Oh Harry, you've been a bad boy! I must say, it's going to make this a whole lot easier." From Alcoholic Vampire
To watch all five episodes, just follow the link: http://www.thedeadhour.com/
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
TROLLJEGEREN (THE TROLL HUNTER) 2010
Directed by Andre Ovredal
Otto Jespersen - Trolljegeren/Hans
Glenn Erland Tosterud - Tomas
Tomas Alf Larsen - Kalle
A group of students investigate a series of mysterious bear killings, but learns that there are much more dangerous things going on. They start to follow a mysterious hunter, learning that he is actually a troll hunter.
Trolljegeren was one of those films that I heard about last year that was playing at film festivals with Rare Exports and Black Death. All three were getting good write ups by reviewers and all three piqued my interest all for different reason. With Trolljegeren it was because it had monsters in it, and I'm a sucker for monster movies and have been for a long time. So did the movie quench my thirst for monsters?
I got my fill of monsters with this one. And all are big. While I'm no expert on fairy tales and legends from Norway, this movie helps explain the basics of those legends and plausibly so with a modern day twist to them. Even the basics from nursery tales comes into play at points in the movie and usually in very funny ways (Three Billy Goats Gruff is easily recognizable, and to me is the best part in the whole movie). The digital effects are amazing to look at in most scenes when the trolls show up, even though at points the quality of those CG effects drops but not enough to truly take you out of the movie. You can always tell the trolls have weight and mass to them and can do massive damage. Even the sounds the trolls make are massive sounding and each of the four have different voices which helps them become their own entity. One thing I applaud director Andre Ovredal for is showing each and every troll full on and not just giving glimpses or teases of them.
The acting I was quite pleased with as well due to each of the main actors are believable in their roles. Otto Jespersen though is easily the best actor though as he plays his character, Hans, with droll and a matter-of-fact attitude which helps his character seem more plausible as tired and couldn't give a damn, as not once in the movie does he crack a smile. The rest of the characters are well acted as well, but are outshined by Jespersen. The only actor that I really didn't like was Tomas Alf Larsen's Kalle. It could be because he was the one character that always complaining, but more than anything it was due to that his character seemed the least developed. At least Larsen's character you got to know before he offs this mortal coil, unlike Urmila Berg-Domaas' character who is brought in, giving about five lines then you don't hear from her again really until the end of the movie when she runs away screaming.
Yet my biggest complaint about the movie is it's one of those found footage horror movies. With it this brings the usual staples of that type of movie, including shaking camera while running, odd shots of the ground and sky while other things are happening, and the slow down in story which seems to happen in every one of these movies, and a ending that wasn't really much of a ending. Thankfully though it is one of the better movies of its type, with tongue firmly in cheek and winking at the audience constantly. What would have made this movie amazing if they had filmed it as a narrative instead. Yet what we get is a well thought out film with amazing scenes in it that kept me interested and enjoying myself through the whole thing. If you can find a copy, watch it and enjoy.
Though not shown, the trolls' midnight snack of Tomas Alf Larsen's Kalle.
Folk tales don't quite correspond to reality.
At the end of the final credits, there is a notice in English, claiming that "No trolls were harmed during the making of this movie".