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05/04/2017 16:52

Film: Freakdog (Red Mist)

Year: 2008

Director: Paddy Breathnach

Writer: Spence Wright

Starring: Arielle Kebbel, Sarah Carter and Stephen Dillane

 

Review:

This film centers on a group of medical students. They are practicing on bringing patients back and the leader of the group is Arielle Kebbel. They fail, but the supervising doctor commends them. Kebbel is bothered by it, but is convinced by her fellow students to come out and party with them.

We also meet the stuttering, outcast played by Andrew Lee Potts. The film shows him cleaning an autopsy bed and then we see the depravity of his character. He removes a body from one of the closets, a female who is nude and records a video with his phone. The film shows a flashback from his childhood when he was a witness to his mother, who was a prostitute, being murdered in front of his eyes.

Potts listens to the conversations of the female doctors from the hallway and tries to speak to Kebbel. She tries to be nice, but her friends definitely are not.

The students go to a bar where they are not only drinking, but popping prescription pills that one of the male students takes from the pharmacy. While they’re all having a good time, we see Potts sitting alone watching them, taking a video on his phone of what they’re doing.

At the end of the night, he tries to ask Kebbel if he can walk her home and is made fun of by the others. To get a bit of revenge, he shows a video on his phone of the drugs being taken from the pharmacy. Panicked, they ask Kebbel to get him to come back and one of the guys decides to give him alcohol and drugs. A strobe light is going off during this and he goes into an epileptic seizure. Fearing for their careers, they drop Potts of outside the ER.

Left in a coma, Kebbel tries to help him by giving him some drugs that are experimental. It shows some change, but it also gives Potts the ability to leave his body and take over others. With this, he begins to extract his revenge.

What I liked about this film was that it has great concept, but it really just becomes a few interesting, gory scenes. I feel this film could have been a lot creepier and been something more, but definitely failed to do much more than that a few creative kill scenes. The acting to this film isn’t bad. Kebbel has done some mainstream things and I like Sarah Carter from the television show Falling Skies. There is also a British actress, MyAnna Buring, who I am a big fan of. She has been in a lot of similar horror films.

The writing to this film could have been better. It is a shame, because they did have a solid concept, but it just doesn’t work as well as it should on screen. This film with a little bit better writing could have been much better despite it having a low-budget.

With that being said, I would only watch this one if you’re a fan of horror films. As stated above, the concept is solid, the acting is decent, but this film’s actually screenplay holds it back. Not that bad of a film, but definitely could have been better. I would recommend this one only to fans of decent horror films.

 

My Rating: 5 out of 10

05/03/2017 16:38

Film: King Kong Lives

Year: 1986

Director: John Guillermin

Writer: Steven Pressfield and Ronald Shusett

Starring: Brian Kerwin, Linda Hamilton and Peter Elliot

 

Review:

This film begins showing us the end of the previous film. King Kong has been shot and has fallen from the World Trade Center.

We then shift two years into the future. King Kong did not die of his ordeal from the previous film. A doctor, played by Linda Hamilton, has created a fake heart that will replace the one that King Kong has, but the problem is he has lost too much blood. They cannot do the surgery so it looks like the giant ape is going to die.

The film then introduces us to the other main character, played by Brian Kerwin. He is an explorer and he is in Boreno. He goes to lie down in some grass and it starts to move. It turns out there is another giant ape, but this one is a girl that is dubbed Lady Kong. He then starts to shop her around to the highest bidder.

There are two doctors that work with Hamilton at the institute that are negotiating to buy the gorilla; they are played by Peter Michael Goetz and Frank Maraden. Hamilton tries to dissuade them from purchasing her; she just wants them to take some blood from her for a transfusion. She claims that having Lady Kong too close to King Kong while he is recovering could upset him and throw off his recovery. The doctors decide to go against her, thinking that if the surgery fails, they will still have a giant ape.

Hamilton performs the surgery and it is a success. Kerwin takes a liking to Hamilton, but she does not give him the time of day at first. She is also right that King Kong can hear and knows that Lady Kong is close by, even though she is miles from him. The same goes for Lady Kong as well. The setting up of a habitat for her is sped up and the day they are going to move her, she becomes agitated. This also upsets King Kong who escapes. He goes to her enclosure and frees her.

Together they flee into the countryside. At first, the military cannot find her. They call in John Ashton to oversee the capture of the apes. Kerwin and Hamilton team up to find them first. They end up falling for each other during this and they find the apes first as well. The military is close behind and tries to knock them out. They succeed in capturing Lady Kong.

Kerwin goes to Borneo to secure land for a preserve for the apes while Hamilton fights to see Lady Kong. King Kong has disappeared and no one has been able to find him. He is presumed dead, but Hamilton points out that a creature that size, a body should have been found. We learn that there is something wrong with Lady Kong as she will not eat or sleep. Hamilton fears she is dying.

King Kong is still alive and he is living by a swamp eating alligators. He is discovered by some locals who he scares into frenzy. All of the town’s hunters team up to try to capture or kill the ape themselves. Ashton is called back into action as well to take him down. Kerwin does return to the United States to inform them that a preserve has been set up; they just need to get them there.

Will King Kong be able to free his lady counterpart? Will she survive? What is wrong with her? Will Hamilton and Kerwin get the apes to Borneo or will Ashton or the hunters take care of him first?

I will lead off saying that I like that they created a Lady Kong for this film. I like that this one has a different type of story with King Kong having a mate and then he wants to protect her. I thought the fight scenes between King Kong and the military and against the hunters was pretty good as well. There is also a very brief nude scene of Hamilton if you are interested in that.

Now this film has a lot of issues that I found. The first being, this film should have probably never been made. I don’t think it is possible for King Kong to survive two years in the state that we saw him in at the end of the pervious film. I don’t mind the heart transplant idea, it is just there is no way he could survive as long as he did in the state he was in. I think the acting across the bad was not good. Kerwin and Hamilton really overact and they were not believable in this film. I had issues that no one could tell that Lady Kong was pregnant until the ending sequence. Apes are similar to humans in that they carry for roughly 9 months and go through a similar process. I also do not believe that Ashton would act how he did at the end of the film. He disobeys direct orders which are not believable for me for a person in his position.

I would have to say to avoid this film. The acting is not good. The story and concept are not bad, but I don’t feel that this film should have been made after what happens at the end of the first one. There are some major plot-holes that come up that the film just directly ignores that personally bothered me. The redeeming factor is watching King Kong defend Lady Kong and himself from the military and the crazed hunters. I would say to watch the original or even the remake is more worth your time, depending on the era of film you are interested in seeing.

 

My Rating: 4 out of 10

05/02/2017 16:35

Film: King Kong

Year: 1976

Director: John Guillermin

Writer: Lorenzo Semple Jr.

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin and Jessica Lange

 

Review:

This film begins showing us a barge. They are getting ready to leave. The head of this expedition is played by Charles Grodin. With him is a geologist played by Rene Auberjonois. The captain is played by John Randolph and some of the important crew is Jack O’Halloran, Dennis Fimple, Ed Lauter, Julius Harris, Jorge Moreno and Mario Gallo. We see a guard that is bribed by Jeff Bridges and lets him through the gate. He sneaks onto the vessel before it leaves. It is pointed out later that he is a student at Stanford and he is an expert on primates.

We then shift to a meeting room where the men are being filled in. Grodin shows slides of an area in the Pacific Ocean where he thinks there is a huge oil deposit. There were pictures taken a long time ago of a mist. Thirty years later, another picture in the same area and the mist is the same. Auberjonois then tells them that they paid the President of the United States for pictures from a spy satellite that there is an island in the middle of it. Bridges sneaks into this as well to give them even more history of what is Skull Island. He tells stories of scared people that have been to the island and looks like an ape-like creature there.

Bridges at first is thought to be a spy until it checks out. He is made the photographer for the expedition. They also find a life raft in the ocean. On it is Jessica Lange. It turns out that the yacht she was on has sunk, may have even blown up. She is allowed on board and becomes quite the hit with all the men.

They make it to the mist. The forward team consists of Bridges, Grodin, Lauter and a few other men. Lange is forbidden to come, but convinces them otherwise. As they begin their search they find a wall that is man made. Grodin believes it to be ancient, but Bridges points out there has been places where it has been repaired. They then hear drums.

They watch a ceremony until the head priest finds the intruders. They want Lange, but she is denied to them. They are almost attacked, but shots are fired which scare the natives away. They flee back to the ship. Before they did, Bridges hears the word Kong and wonders what it means. Grodin is more interested in the pools of black liquid that appear to be oil. The natives will get what they want as they row out to the barge and kidnap Lange. They give her a drink that sedates her. She is tied between two poles. A rescue mission is mounted and comes after her.

Before they can arrive, Lange learns what Kong is. A giant gorilla appears and takes her with him into the woods. The men arrive too late. Grodin falls into what he believes to be a hole until Bridges points out that it is a footprint. The men split up into two groups, the rescue team and base camp.

Lauter leads the rescue team, but they are slowed up by Grodin. He wants them to use charges to figure out the topography of the island. Bridges is only concerned with saving Lange.

In the woods, King Kong shows that he is not going to hurt Lange, even though she continues to try to escape. King Kong is infuriated when he finds the rescue team. He kills off all of them except Bridges and Harris. Harris is sent back to base camp. Grodin finds out some bad news as well. The oil is not ready yet. He sets his sights on something else. He calls for an airdrop to help.

King Kong sees a giant snake and does battle with it. While this is happening, Bridges has caught up and saved Lange. This makes King Kong even madder. The chase is on to get back to camp. We then see what Grodin’s plan is. He wants to capture King Kong. A large pit is dug with chemicals in it to knock the beast out.

An even larger vessel is called in to transport this huge creature. Will they make it to New York? Will Grodin’s plans of getting rich pay off? Can King Kong be held in check or will he free himself in the big city?

I have to say that coming in I was worried about this being a shot-for-shot remake. What I liked about this version was that it was updated and did something different than the original. I like that their original plan to find the island is for oil. When that backfires, Grodin decides to do the next best thing. I think the acting was good across the board. This is actually Lange’s feature film debut. She was gorgeous and talented in this one. I also like that this one used the World Trade Center instead of the Empire State Building, specially tying it back to something on Skull Island. I found this to be creative. I also liked that instead of using dinosaurs, this one just has a giant snake. This serves the same purpose that the Tyrannous-Rex did in the original as well. King Kong also looks pretty realistic, which I read they had trouble with some of the things that were used. Visually it was believable to me.

My biggest issue with this film is that it is pretty boring. There isn’t all that much interaction with King Kong against other things. We do get the snake and then the helicopter at the end. Other than that, it is mostly the beast with Lange. This was not all that exciting. I also have an issue with realism that gorillas do not walk upright like this. King Kong does this pretty much the whole film. Unless they are saying that due to its size, this is how it walks, but we don’t get any explanation. Now the characters probably would not know, except maybe Bridges. He does say that no one has seen anything like this and there is no expert.

With that said, this is not a bad remake. The story is updated and different from the previous which I liked. The acting was good and King Kong did as well. This one is a little bit boring and I wanted more action scenes for the giant ape. There is a question of realism for how he moves as well. If you do not like black and white films, I would recommend this version as it is similar to the original, just updated. This one is still not as good as the original to me personally though.

 

My Rating: 6 out of 10

05/01/2017 16:57

Film: Hush

Year: 2016

Director: Mike Flanagan

Writer: Mike Flanagan and Kate Siegel

Starring: John Gallagher Jr., Kate Siegel and Michael Trucco

 

Review:

This film begins showing us a woman as she is cooking dinner. She is played by Kate Siegel. She is trying to follow a recipe on her computer, but according to the faces she is making, it is not going as planned. She gets a message from her neighbor asking what she is doing and if she can come over.

The neighbor is played by Samantha Sloyan. They talk outside and this is where we learn that Siegel is a writer. Sloyan has read her book and wants to talk about it. We also learn that Siegel is deaf. Sloyan is learning sign language to communicate better with her. Seigel can read lips as well. We see from the back of the book that she lost her hearing and ability to talk from bacterial meningitis.

Sloyan noticed that Siegel’s fire alarm is going off. It has a strobe light and is extremely loud. We learn that it has to be so it creates vibrations that would wake Siegel is there is a fire when she is sleeping.

Siegel goes to work trying to finish her second novel. It is going too well as she has seven possible endings to it. When Sloyan was over, we learn that Siegel has a voice she hears in her head and that she believes it is that of her mother’s. This is how she writes her book as the voice will go through all possible scenarios for the characters to go through. Siegel distracts herself by doing the dishes for the food she didn’t eat and burned. She did receive a text message earlier from someone named Craig. She deleted it without replying.

While she is cleaning though, Sloyan runs up to the glass door trying to get Siegel’s attention. She is bleeding and Siegel doesn’t see her. A man comes up behind her and shoots her with an arrow from a crossbow. He then stabs her. He taps at the window, trying to see if he can get Siegel’s attention, but she doesn’t see him.

Siegel sits back down to write and is still struggling. She twice tries to FaceTime with Craig, but cancels it both times. When it rings back, she panics, but it is her sister, played by Emma Graves. They talk and the man, played by John Gallagher Jr., enters the house. He is watching her. Graves thinks she sees him, but Siegel thinks it is the cat. She then uses the food dish to try to get her back inside. That is when she is sent a picture to her computer. Gallagher has taken her phone and using it to snap pictures of her.

Gallagher is wearing a mask when he appears to her. She locks him and out and then goes to call the police, but he turns the power off. She must now find a way to get past this man, call the authorities or kill him. Sloyan’s boyfriend, who is played by Michael Trucco, does show up a little bit later, but he doesn’t know what is going on. Gallagher had taken his mask off to show Siegel what he looked like and he talks to Trucco. He attacks him when Siegel accidently distracts him.

Will they survive or will Gallagher kill them both? Can Gallagher be stopped before it is too late?

I saw somewhere that someone compared this film to The Strangers, which I will agree with. I also was recommended to watch this film by a few people and I’m glad I did. I think it is a great concept. I love the idea of Siegel being deaf and has isolated herself out in the middle of nowhere. She has made herself the perfect victim trying to run away from things in her life. It is such a disadvantage to be deaf where you don’t realize you are making noise and that the killer can hear her. It makes it that much tougher as well when you can’t tell someone what is going on. As I stated, the setting makes this film even creepier. I also really like that she introduced her writing style and how she comes up with the stories she writes, as it helps with her planning what to do at the climax. I wanted to commend this film on its realism, especially when it comes to blood loss. I liked that the killer uses a crossbow, being that is it a silent weapon and adds tension at the end of the film when Siegel gets her hands on it. I did find it interesting as well that the film will show from Siegel’s perspective by having the sound change to like when you get hit in the ear and can’t hear anything. It helps you understand and feel what she is experiencing.

This film does have a couple of clinches that I’m not a huge fan. The first one was her trying to get Trucco attention when he is talking with Gallagher. I get that she is scared and does it without thinking, but she should realize that is going to alert Gallagher. The other issue that really annoyed me was that any time she uses a weapon, she lets it go and Gallagher ends up with it. I also question Gallagher, as he could have killed her and just been done with it from the beginning. He gets himself locked out for a good portion of the film. He does seem like a psychopath that is enjoying this game, but I think personally if I was going to kill someone, I would get it over with so I’m not caught. Not that I am planning to do this myself.

With that said though, I really liked this film. I thought the acting was good. There isn’t a large cast so that does make it easier. The concept of the film is really good and helps to build the tension. The other part of that is the setting, being isolated out in the woods is something we see a lot, but very effective. The film did have some clinches and things that happened that I didn’t love, but it doesn’t ruin the film either. I would definitely recommend giving this film a viewing, another solid one from Blumhouse.

 

My Rating: 7 out of 10

04/30/2017 13:40

Film: Double Indemnity

Year: 1944

Director: Billy Wilder

Writer: Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler

Starring: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson

 

Review:

This film begins with a car that is driving erratic. It runs a red light and goes around others illegally. We see that he driver of this car is Fred MacMurray. He is sweating and seems to be in pain. He enters the office building that he works and goes to the floor where his office is. He goes in and starts to dictate to a recording machine the crime he has committed. He has been shot, which explains why he is in a hurry.

MacMurray is an insurance salesman. We see that he goes to a house and knocks at the door. The maid answers, but tells him that the man he is looking for is not home. He is forceful and gets himself inside where he talks to the wife; she is played by Barbara Stanwyck. She agrees to meet with him, since MacMurray is there about their car insurance. MacMurray has a crush on her and they flirt while they talk. She tells him that he should come back a couple days later at night.

We then see MacMurray go back to work and meets with his boss, played by Edward G. Robinson. This scene shows us that he is very thorough and knows the insurance business inside and out.

MacMurray then gets a call from Stanwyck, asking that he comes a different day and in the afternoon. We learn that MacMurray has a lot of appointments that day, but he is smitten so he changes the plan for the day to allow him to make this meeting. When he goes there, we see that they both have fallen for each other. He brings up accident insurance and that her husband does not have any. The plot to murder him starts here, so she can run away with MacMurray and use the money to start a new life.

He does come back to meet with the husband, who is played by Tom Powers. They are using his daughter, who is played by Jean Heather, as a witness to the signing of the document so it doesn’t look as suspicious. MacMurray tries to sell him on the accident insurance, but Powers disagrees. Stanwyck also pretends like they don’t need it as well. MacMurray though has him sign the document for that. The plan is to have him buy the policy without knowing and have Stanwyck write another check for the car insurance. This makes it seem like MacMurray sold him on it when he visited at work.

When MacMurray goes to leave the meeting that night, he gets into his car to find Heather. She lied to her father about where she was going and asks if he can give her a ride. They do and he seems to flirt with her a little bit as well. She is going to meet her boyfriend who her father doesn’t like. This man is played by Byron Barr and he doesn’t take to MacMurray either.

MacMurray starts to meet with Stanwyck in a store so they do not get caught. She cannot call him on the phone as they have to avoid each other. There is a clause in the insurance policy that states if Powers dies in certain accidents, then there is a double indemnity clause that pays out much more. The plan is to kill him to make it look like he falls off the back of a train.

Powers is slated to go to his college reunion at Stanford. He normally drives, but Stanwyck convinces him to take the train. This plan almost doesn’t work when he breaks his leg at work. The doctor does tell him that the change of scenery will help in the healing process.

MacMurray creates an elaborate set up to make everyone in his building think he is home all night as he sneaks out. He goes to the house of Stanwyck and Powers. He hides on the floor in the backseat of their car. During the drive, he kills Powers by breaking his neck. He is done up to look just like Powers and gets on the train for him. He has to convince a man at the back of the train that he is Powers. MacMurray needs him to leave to jump off the train. He gets the man to go get him a cigar. The body is then placed on the tracks like he fell off the back.

Can they get away with this plan and get the money? The head of the insurance company doesn’t want to pay it out and immediately starts to fight it. Robinson from the beginning doesn’t believe it and starts to look into it. Will they be able to keep it cool until the end? Or will the guilt of what they did eat away at them?

Now I want to lead off stating that I’ve seen this film a few times. The first time was during a film class in college and I loved it. This falls into the genre of film noir and this is one of the better ones. What I like best about it is Stanwyck’s character. She is beautiful so MacMurray falls for her immediately. She is unhappy in her situation and will use whatever she can to fix it. I love there is even a question that she may have killed Powers’ wife when she was a nurse. There is no proof, but the idea bothers Heather. I also really enjoyed Robinson in this film. He looks at all these little facts and details to piece things together and he is the main reason that MacMurray is nervous throughout the time after the crime was committed. His only downfall being that he is close to MacMurray so he doesn’t believe he could have committed the crime and doesn’t even suspect him for most of his investigation. This storyline is something that does translate to today, because we are still seeing films being made about lovers killing their significant others to run away with another. It is something that is even in real life. They are obviously more updated, but it is good to see that this still can hold up despite when this film was made. I’m also impressed that this film was made when the censorship office was in its hay day. This film has subject matter that wouldn’t think could be made, but they did a great job at getting around it and getting it produced.

I did say that this film does still hold up, but I need to say that the film itself is dated. It was made in 1944, so things we know now bother me when I see this. They have no regard for touching things and leaving fingerprints everywhere. The biggest one for me was when they are staging the crime scene and MacMurray is touching the crutches and Powers’ hat. These both would be dead giveaways today that he was involved. I do think that MacMurray falling as fast as he did for Stanwyck was a little unrealistic, but I do let it slide for the most part. Barr is also interesting that he doesn’t talk to Heather, but her mother and doesn’t think that Heather wants him anymore. I found that to be slightly odd when he knows Powers didn’t care for him. Her beauty has a lot to do with this, but something that struck me.

This isn’t a horror film per say, but I am adding it to my horror film research for the following reasons. I love seeing MacMurray starting to slip into madness as the guilt of the crime he committed eats away at him. To go along with this, he does murder Powers as well which is scary. Stanwyck is also a sociopath which can be considered a horror film element as she doesn’t feel emotions. She claims she does at the end, but I do question this.

With that said, I really enjoy this film. I think that the acting is great across the board. The concept of the film is something that still holds up today, even though the film doesn’t as much. I think the writing is good. The tension this film builds is great and seeing MacMurray troubled as he is with what he has done is a nice touch, especially for a guy who was a romantic comedy actor before this. I will warn you that this film is from 1944 and is filmed in black-and-white. If that is an issue, I would avoid this film. If not and this sounds good, I would definitely recommend giving this a viewing.

 

My Rating: 8 out of 10

04/28/2017 15:53

Film: The Killer Shrews

Year: 1959

Director: Ray Kellogg

Writer: Jay Simms

Starring: James Best, Ingrid Goude and Ken Curtis

 

Review:

This film begins with two people on a boat. The first one is the captain, played by James Best. Along with him is Judge Henry Dupree. They are going out to an island to bring their supplies. There is a hurricane coming though.

They arrive on the island and Best knows that he is going to have to stay on it for night. He is not even going to unload the supplies, because he knows the storm will hit them first. He walks inland with Dupree and they come upon three people. There is the doctor who is in charge, played by Baruch Lumet. His daughter is Ingrid Goude and his assistant Ken Curtis. Everyone seems on edge. Goude wants to leave the island, but Best informs them that they he won’t be going anywhere until the following day. Best goes back to the house they are using as a lab while Dupree returns to the boat.

We then meet another doctor, played by Gordon McLendon, as well as the man that helps out, played by Alfredo DeSoto. It appears that they are doing research on a small rodent called a shrew. They are genetically altering them.

Night begins to come and Best tells them that he is going to return to his boat. Goude talks him out of it, inviting him to dinner. He finds this odd and Curtis is upset. It appears that they were engaged and he thinks Best is trying to take her from him.

Goude and Best talk and we learn that some of the altered shrews escaped due to Curtis not securing their cage. This is why Goude is terrified. Lumet earlier stated that shrews look for food at night, they eat three times their body weight to be nourished and they will resort to cannibalism if they need to. These rodents will also dig.

Lumet reveals that the some of the testing they have done have made the escaped creatures bigger. I believe the film claims there is 2-3 hundred running loose on the island. They also tell Best that they are the size of a wolf due to the genetic modifications.

Dupree comes back on the island and he is chased up a tree. The tree breaks and he is eaten by the creatures.

Curtis drinks heavily to deal with this situation, but Best takes over. He states they are going to sleep until morning, hoping the creatures will go back to their lair. They are going to take shifts of one and half hours to ensure no one falls asleep.

When DeSoto watch ends, he goes to wake up Curtis, but he is still drunk. He also is told to do Curtis’ watch so he can sober up and they won’t bother with Best. DeSoto finds that a window is open and closes it. He wakes up Best and tells him that a shrew got into the basement. They go down there and kill it. DeSoto does get bit on the leg by it though. He dies almost instantly.

This is when Lumet reveals that he created a powerful poison, hoping that it would take care of the problem. It appears that they ate it and that the poison was absorbed by the shrews. Now even a scratch from them is fatal.

Can they survive until morning? Will they get enough food to leave them alone during first light? Can they get off this island?

I will lead off stating that this film doesn’t have a bad concept. We see films like this come out a lot during this time period. This was a scary thing during this era, because that is when science really started to take off and it terrified people that scientists would tamper with nature like in this film. It does add an element of fear that on scratch that has the poison in it would be fatal. The acting isn’t bad and premise of surviving until morning is something we see a lot of.

This film does come with quite a bit of flaws though. The first is that the shrews clearly are dogs wearing costumes. I will give them credit to use what they had, but they could have done a little bit better. I’m not entirely sure how the hurricane made them stronger, but I heard Lumet say something about it. I also don’t understand how the poison they ingested would turn around and be incorporated into them. This seems like something to just add another horror element to the film. Lumet also states that shrews do not come out at night, yet they are fleeing from them in the morning and early afternoon. They try to contend that they didn’t get enough to eat, yet they ate a barn full of animals, that should have been more than enough for the 4 or 5 we see. They also claim there was supposed to hundreds, yet we only see a few of them and it would see with the size they are, that they would struggle to leave the compound. This isn’t the case though.

Now with that said, I would only recommend this film if you like old horror films. There isn’t much action. The story is something that is common as well as the concepts. This film is really low budget and we can clearly see that. It does have a low running time, but it is in black and white, so keep that in mind. This is a common type of film for the era, but there are much better choices out there.

 

My Rating: 4 out of 10

04/27/2017 16:38

Film: Jurassic World

Year: 2015

Director: Colin Trevorrow

Writer: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly

Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and Ty Simpkins

 

Review:

This film begins at the house of a family. The mother is played by Judy Greer. Her husband is played by Andy Buckley. They have two sons. The younger one loves dinosaurs and is a genius, played by Ty Simpkins. His older brother is played by Nick Robinson. He has a girlfriend that he is not too distraught to leave behind. They are going to stay with their aunt for a week that runs the newer park, Jurassic World.

Their aunt is played by Bryce Dallas Howard. She is very emotionless and all about the numbers. She meets with her boss, who is played by Irrfan Khan. Khan is a billionaire that took the park over for Dr. Hammond. He cares about the public having a great time, but also wants the dinosaurs to be happy. Howard takes Khan to see the new dinosaur they have created for the park. It is white and is quite scary. It is actually a hybrid that was genetically altered, named Indominus Rex. Clearly we see that it is part Tyrannosaur Rex. It also has a horrible attitude, in that it killed its sibling.

We then meet the other star, played by Chris Pratt. He has trained the Velociraptors to listen to him, but we shortly after see that they are still wild animals. Pratt speaks with Vincent D’Onofrio, who sees a military application to having beasts like this. Pratt also works alongside with Omar Sy.

Simpkins and Robinson arrive at the park and they are met with an assistant to Howard, played by Katie McGrath. They end up running into Howard, who pretty much tells them that she is too busy to spend time with them at the moment. They feel it and they are bothered by it. The two slip away from McGrath and start to go see the fun things.

The film shows us around the park through these two boys a bunch of different dinosaurs and exhibits. They should be kept in mind, because they are all going to play a part later in the film.

Howard visits Pratt to ask him to check out the new dinosaur’s paddock to ensure that it is safe. During their initial talk, we realize that they went out on a date and it didn’t go well. They arrive to the paddock, but they can’t find the dinosaur. They believe it has escaped.  Howard leaves to go back to the control room. She calls Jake Johnson, who works there along with Lauren Lapkus. Johnson informs them that it is still inside the paddock.

Howard tries to tell them this, but it is too late. The new, hybrid dinosaur flees, killing in its wake. Howard then informs them that they need to evacuate the park. Khan disagrees and believes that they have protocols in place that will work. It is decided to send in a team to subdue and capture it.

When Pratt arrives, he states that the dinosaur will kill all of them. He doesn’t think it can just be subdued. He is right. The unit is decimated.

Howard panics when she realizes that McGrath is not with her nephews. She is even more freaked when she learns there is one gyrosphere that is missing. The two boys ignored returning and actually left the fence. They encounter was other dinosaurs as well as the hybrid. They are attacked by it. Howard tries to call them, but they can’t get to the phone.

Pratt and Howard are on their trail to save them. While they are, Pratt realizes that the new dinosaur is not hunting for food, but is hunting for sport. It is trying to learn that where its place is in the food chain now that it is free for the first time. Khan also has plans to open up live ammunition to bring this monster down while D’Onofrio is hiding a secret. He also wants to use the raptors to bring it down.

Can this dinosaur be stopped? Will any of their plans work or will this island be destined to the same fate as the other park did 22 years ago? Will any of them survive this ordeal?

I have to say that I love this series and I felt this film was great. I love that the first one it is epic to see the dinosaurs, but I love that a mere 22 years later, it is now old news and that they want more, so they are genetically altering them. I feel this film is a great satire of society and what it does. I felt the acting was good. I think Pratt was a solid action hero, but added some comedy to it which was good. Howard’s character and her arc was really good as well. The dinosaurs look great; the CGI is well done and looked real. I thought the story was solid overall as well.

My problem with this film is that it is geared toward families to watch, so it does get a little bit corny. In the end, you find yourself cheering for dinosaurs like they know they are helping people, when they see a challenge that in nature they would take on for survival. This could be me reading into something as a viewer who wants it to be more adult as well. That is really my only issue with the film.

I would highly recommend giving this one a viewing. It has good acting, the dinosaurs look real and we get a lot of interaction between them. The story is solid overall and also makes us look at ourselves as a society. It is geared toward families, which is my biggest gripe looking at it as a horror film. This is being added to the horror film research due to having giant monsters that end up attacking humans. I would recommend this film if you like the series or just want to see a solid film.

 

My Rating: 8 out of 10

04/26/2017 17:17

Film: Jurassic Park III

Year: 2001

Director: Joe Johnston

Writer: Peter Buchman, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor

Starring: Sam Neill, William H. Macy and Téa Leoni

 

Review:

This film begins near the second island off the island of Costa Rica, the island where the dinosaurs for Jurassic Park were bred. We have a young man, played by Trevor Morgan, who is on vacation with Mark Harelik. They are parasailing near the island in hopes to see dinosaurs. What they are doing is illegal and we see that the guys driving the boat are killed by something in the mist. The boat crashes, but before it does, the two release themselves. They drift on to the island.

We then see the main character from the original film, Sam Neill. He is playing with a child and trying to explain dinosaurs to him. We then see his girlfriend from the original, Laura Dern. She has another child in her arms. We then realize that they broke up and she is married now. Neill is over for dinner.

After this, we see Michael Jeter getting things ready. With him are Bruce A. Young and John Diehl. They blow up an old airplane with a gun.

Neil goes to a conference and talks about some new things they have discovered about raptors. He finishes and everyone wants to ask questions about the first park or the fiasco in San Diego. He does get a couple of questions not relevant to that. He then returns to the dig he is working on. He has an assistant played by Alessandro Nivola. They are then interrupted by William H. Macy and Téa Leoni.

Macy and Leoni take them out to dinner. They are rich and they state that for their honeymoon, they have been given clearance to fly over the second island. They want Neill to be their guide. He refuses until he is informed that Macy will pay whatever it takes and help keep his dig going if he will take them. Neill agrees.

We then see that flying the plane is Jeter and Young. Diehl sits in the back. It turns out they are planning to land, which Neill didn’t agree to. He is knocked out. When he comes to, he hears Leoni yelling for something with a bullhorn. It is then we learn that Morgan is her and Macy’s son. They brought Neill to help them find him. The problem is that he has been lost here for 8 weeks.

They are immediately attacked by a new dinosaur, named Spinosaurs for this film. It is larger than a Tyrannous-Rex, it has a fin on is back and it is long snout. They try to take off in their plane, but it destroys it. Macy has a satellite phone, but he doesn’t reach anyone. Spinosaur attacks the airplane and kills some of the crew. Those that survive flee right into a T-Rex. They lose them both when they fight each other, with the Spinosaur winning.

Neill is even more upset when he learns that Macy isn’t rich. The couple is divorced and lied about everything. Neill is determined to make it to the coast and get off the island. They stumble upon a nest of the raptors. We learn much later that Nivola steals two of the eggs, hoping to fund the dig for however long he can. They are chased by the raptors and make their way for a compound on the island.

Neill ends up finding Morgan alive. He gets separated in the process. Can he get this boy back safe to his parents? Can they escape all of the dinosaurs that are after them and make it to the coast? Will they be able to get off even if they do?

I have to say that this one is a little bit better than the one previous, but not by much. I give this one a slight edge because even though it is fictional, Spinosaur is pretty cool. I do believe something similar to it has been found in nature, but the film took liberties to make something big, faster and stronger than namesake T-Rex. I like they brought Neill back for this one and I like that including him they are continuing to learn more about the ever deadly raptors. The story isn’t bad for the most part. I really like some of the other concepts that are used, including the aviary with the Pterdons. The supporting acting is good and the interactions with the dinosaurs are as well.

One of my biggest issues with this film is that I didn’t find it believable how Morgan got trapped on the island. I felt it was a little farfetched. It also seems unlikely that he would survive as long as he did. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen and being a film we do suspend some of our beliefs. Despite all the action, I found this film to be a little bit boring though, which is surprising.

Now with that said, this film is pretty decent still. I would recommend seeing this one as a part of a series. If you are going to watch one, the original is still the one to go with. The acting is good in this one as well as the action and some of the concepts they included. The story is a little bit unrealistic for me, especially how Morgan gets trapped as well as how this family is funding the operation. Not the best in the series, but still worth at least a viewing.

 

My Rating: 6 out of 10

04/25/2017 19:56

Film: Jurassic Park

Year: 1993

Director: Steven Spielberg

Writer: Michael Crichton and David Koepp

Starring: Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum

 

Review:

This film begins showing us a large trailer being moved toward a wall and gate. We see Bob Peck who is in charge. We know there is something inside the trailer that is dangerous. It is screeching and a man on top falls off. He is pulled inside the gate while Peck tries to save him.

We then shift to the Amazon, where we see a man in a suit on a raft; he is played by Martin Ferrero. He climbs off and walks with Miguel Sandoval. We learn that the lawyers for some new park are not happy and Sandoval states that they need to find experts to ensure that whatever they are talking about is safe.

The film then shifts to a dig for dinosaur bones. The man in charge is Sam Neill along with his girlfriend, Laura Dern. They are using a machine to see into the ground and we learn that Neill is one of the leading experts in dinosaurs in the world. They are upset when a helicopter comes and pushes around the dirt they have shifted. The man who came from the helicopter is Richard Attenborough. He turns out to be funding their dig. He asks them to come with him and he will fund them completely for three years. They agree.

We then see a man played by Wayne Knight. He meets with a guy who is trying to be incognito, played by Cameron Thor. Knight is told if he can steal viable embryos, they will pay him for each one that is good. He is given a shaving cream can to store them in.

Neil, Bern, Attenborough, Ferrero are joined by Jeff Goldblum on a helicopter to an island off of Costa Rica. Goldblum is another scientist asked to come to help give the park his blessing to open. He is a chaos theorist. It should be pointed out that Goldblum is hilarious in this film.

Once on the island, we see that Attenborough and his staff have brought to life dinosaurs. They are given a tour that explains they did this by mosquitoes that were preserved in amber with the blood of dinosaurs inside. We also meet a man on the team that is genetically coding them using amphibian DNA, this man is played by BD Wong.

In the control room is where Knight works and we learn that he has coded the place to run automatically. Working alongside him is Samuel L. Jackson.

The tour begins and Neill, Dern, Goldblum and Ferrero are joined by Attenborough’s grandchildren. There is a girl who is scared of everything and a computer hacker, played by Ariana Richards. Her younger brother is interested in dinosaurs, played by Joseph Mazzello.

The tour doesn’t go as planned. None of the dinosaurs are showing themselves. The Tyrannous-Rex is given a goat to eat and it still doesn’t come. The tour is stopped when Neill and Dern see a sick triceratops. They go down to help it.

Knight at this time has set up a program that will shut down all of the systems that will mask him stealing the embryos and give him a clear shot to the docks. There is a tropical storm coming and they need to hurry to make it. The tour is also cut short.

Some of the fences shut down though to allow Knight his escape. Jackson tries to stop it, but he is blocked by hacking software on Knight’s computer. They are forced to shut down the whole system to reboot. This includes the T-Rex fence and the raptor’s enclosure. Knight doesn’t make it to the docks though as he is attacked by a dinosaur when he tries to cut through its paddock.

Can they turn the power back on before all the dinosaurs escape? Can they get off the island before the dangerous ones get them? Will anyone survive?

I remember seeing this film in the theaters as a child and it is still amazes me as an adult. The CGI and the dinosaurs look real. You can still feel the fear when the children are fleeing the raptors or when the T-Rex is after them. I feel the acting is great as well as the storyline. You get even a bad feeling when the film starts as you know that there is no way there will not be problems, the tour has issues from the beginning. This is also being added to the horror film research, because it would be scary to be on an island, trapped with these killing machines after you. I also want to point out the film brings up the issue of playing God and creating life. It is an interesting concept to think about.

I don’t really have much negative to say about this film. The only thing would be that how accurate are the dinosaurs, but since we’ve never seen any of them really, how do we know that this is not how they look or act?

I would highly recommend this film. It is a horror film that is good for all ages. The acting is great, the story and concepts are as well. It puts you in awe to see the dinosaurs for the first time and you feel the fear of the great hunters of the past. If you’ve never seen this film, I say you need to sit down to at least watch this one, you won’t regret it. This film is truly a classic.

 

My Rating: 9 out of 10

04/23/2017 11:47

Film: A Bucket of Blood

Year: 1959

Director: Roger Corman

Writer: Charles B. Griffith

Starring: Dick Miller, Barboura Morris and Antony Carbone

 

Review:

This film begins in a coffee shop. It is full of artists of different varieties. On stage is Julian Burton, who is doing free verse poetry with a man playing saxophone. The busboy is our main character played by Dick Miller. He has a crush on a woman who is played by Barboura Morris. She hangs out a lot with the man that runs the place, played by Antony Carbone.

Miller really wants to be an artist, but he is largely ignored. We see that he gets scolded a lot by Carbone. He talks to a table of artists and he is mocked. He goes home where he runs into his landlady, played by Myrtle Vail. He is a little overbearing and asks Miller if he has seen her cat.

Inside he puts some soup on the stove and has a bunch of clay. He has a picture of Morris and he tries model it to look like her. It isn’t working as he wants it to and Vail’s cat is in the wall howling. His soup is boiling over and the pressure of all of this becomes too much. He tosses the soup into the sink and tries to free the cat. To do this, he stabs a knife into the wall and accidently kills it. He knocks the wall down to find the cat is dead.

Miller does come up with the idea to cover the cat in clay. He takes it to where he works and shows Morris and Carbone. She loves it and thinks that it is really good. They decide to display it at the coffee shop and if anyone decides to buy it, they will split what they make in half.

He has become somewhat popular off of his sculpture. Burton sings his praise and two drug addicts who hang out there follow suit, they are played by John Brinkley and John Herman Shaner. Another man, played by Ed Nelson, calls someone about Miller. Morris is also proud of him. Carbone doesn’t really know what to make of it and he talks with Bert Convy. Miller is sent home because he can’t do his work with everyone praising him. As he goes to leave, a woman played by Jhean Burton gives him something.

Convy follows Miller home. Turns out that Convy is a police officer and Jhean had given him heroin. Convy wants to arrest Miller and he panics, killing him with a pan. Vail heard the commotion and comes over. Miller hides the body and rushes her out. Miller gets the idea to make Convy into a sculpture as well.

Carbone knocks over the cat sculpture and it cracks. He notices there is hair inside and that this isn’t a sculpture at all, but just a real dead cat covered in clay. He is horrified by what he finds. He does go with Morris over to Miller’s place to see his sculpture of Convy. Carbone is even more horrified. He suggests that Miller stop making new pieces and they will do an art show with him.

Miller comes into the coffee shop looking very similar to Carbone in how he dresses. He also has some arrogance to him now. He is hurt when a pretty woman, played by Judy Bamber, mocks him. Morris has the idea for him to make a woman sculpture to balance out the death of his previous two.

Will Bamber become his next one? Or will he realize what he is doing is wrong? Will the pressure to stay important allow him to stop?

I have to say that coming into this one; I just knew that the film was about a man killing people to create art. This film was directed by Roger Corman, so I was expecting it to be campy. It actually is very smart and deep, which surprised me. Miller is ignored by all of the people that he idealized. I think Miller might have a slight mental handicap, as he is awkward and doesn’t pick up on social norms. It takes him to start killing people and making these extremely life-like sculptures to be accepted his peers. The film really calls out the pretentiousness of this group of people and how they are only accepting of those that are similar to themselves.

This film does come with some issues though. The first is that this film has a very low running time. I think this film would have benefited from having a subplot or two. This is something I bring up a lot with older films. I would have liked to delve more into Miller’s psyche to understand him better. Like we can see there is something off about him, but I think seeing him more about him before the film started would have been better for the overall story. It would make us feel sorrier for him too. The angle with Convy and who he called didn’t make a whole lot of sense and it isn’t revisited after his murder. I also don’t understand why Carbone didn’t go to the police, as he knows from pretty much the beginning what Miller was doing. It didn’t make sense either. Two goofs also were his wall is knocked in pretty easy, but it is then fixed. Now he could have done it himself and it just wasn’t shown to us. The other is that the cat is cracked by Carbone, but we never see Miller fix it as the sculpture doesn’t seem to leave the coffee shop.

Now with that said though, I actually really liked this film. Miller was great in his role. He brought a depth to it that made the film deeper and I would have actually liked more of that for the overall story. The concept is really good and interesting. It does bring up the social commentary of artists and their pretentiousness. The film did have a low running time and I think a deeper story could have helped there. There also some plot-holes that are ignored that hurt the film for me. I want to warn you that this film is from the 1950s and is filmed in black-and-white. If that is an issue for you, then I would avoid this film. If not, I do think this is enjoyable and worth a viewing.

 

My Rating: 7 out of 10

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