REVIEW: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

October 22, 2014 Leave a comment
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet StreetDirected by: Tim Burton
Produced by: Richard D. Zanuck, John Logan, Walter F. Parkes, Laurie MacDonald
Written by: John Logan (screenplay)
Edited by: Chris Lebenzon
Cinematography by: Dariusz Wolksi
Music by: Stephen Sondheim
Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Ed Sanders, Jayne Wisener, Jamie Campbell
Bower, Laura Michelle Kelly, Sacha Baron Cohen
Based on the stage musical by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler and characters created by James Malcolm Rymer and Thomas Peckett Prest
Year: 2007

 

I haven’t seen it myself, but, given its large fanbase, I’d say that it’s a surprise that it took nearly 30 years for Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s 1979 musical to see a film adaptation released. Of course, considering that most of those years were pretty lacking in any non-animated musicals, this would have definitely been a misguided notion. And even if musicals were not considered the box office poison they were considered to be throughout the 80s and 90s (again, provided that you were not animated), then no doubt the very nature of Sweeney Todd would be enough to hold it back. It’s a grim, macabre musical that dares to shock audiences with its rampant and bloody violence, songs with swear words in them, and even a dark sense of humor largely built around some sneaky cannibalism on the main characters’ part. This is some dark material, and any adaptation during that time would have no doubt led to the film bombing and further sullying the idea that musical films have their place in this world. Luckily, fortune smiled upon musical film fans, as not only did the early 2000s provide studios with an unexpected small boom in that very market, with Moulin Rouge! and Chicago gaining both popular and critical acclaim (not to mention money), but the 80s and 90s also saw the rise in popularity in the one director who could conceivably adapt the play for film faithfully and still not have it bomb based solely on name recognition alone. I’m talking, of course, about Tim Burton. Read more…

REVIEW: Hocus Pocus

October 16, 2014 Leave a comment
Hocus PocusDirected by: Kenny Ortega
Produced by: David Kirschner, Steven Haft
Written by: Mick Garris, Neil Cuthbert (screenplay), David Kirschner, Mick Garris (story)
Edited by: Peter E. Berger
Cinematography by: Hiro Narita
Music by: John Debney
Starring: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Omri Katz, Thora Birch, Vinessa Shaw, Jason Marsden, Doug Jones, Sean Murray, Charles Rocket, Stephanie Faracy, Larry Bagby, Tobias Jelinek, Jodie Rivera
Year: 1993

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Despite my love for this film as a kid, it’d been quite some time since I ever actually saw this movie from beginning to end. A few scenes here and there on ABC Family, sure, but the viewing was always interrupted by something else. Perhaps it’s just because the end of September is the beginning of a very busy month for my family – a close family friend’s birthday is at the end of September, and then there’s my stepdad’s and then my own birthday, and then you get into the “holiday season” along with two more birthdays thrown in for good measure, and it’s just rare that you sit down to watch anything you either have seen before, that is, unless it’s mandatory viewing – kinda like Shaun of the Dead or the Scream films are for me. However, for many, I do know that this is the movie they look forward to seeing every time this year, and, you know, I can’t really blame them. It’s a really fun flick. Read more…

REVIEW: Halloween (Unrated Director’s Cut, 2007)

October 9, 2014 Leave a comment
Halloween (2007)Directed by: Rob Zombie
Produced by: Malek Akkad, Rob Zombie, Andy Gould
Written by: Rob Zombie
Edited by: Glenn Garland
Cinematography by: Phil Parmet
Music by: Tyler Bates
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Scout Taylor-Compton, Tyler Mane, Sheri Moon Zombie, Daeg Faerch, Danielle Harris, Brad Dourif, William Forsythe, Kristina Klebe, Hanna R. Hall, Bill Moseley, Dee Wallace, Pat Skipper, Daryl Sabara, Skyler Gisondo, Jenny Gregg Stewart, Danny Trejo
Based on characters created by John Carpenter and Debra Hill
Year: 2007

 

Good grief. I knew this movie was going to be bad just by virtue of being one of the many films from the last decade to be a remake of a classic horror film, but this was ridiculous. Yes, after eight films – one of those being a reboot, and the final being a sequel to that reboot – Hollywood saw fit to throw the Halloween series under the bus and give it the straight up remake treatment with none other than Rob Zombie at the helm. Normally, it would be cause for concern if you had heard that a musician was taking over directing duties for a film franchise, but I’d heard that Rob Zombie had an admirable enough talent for directing horror films with The Devil’s Rejects, and so it wasn’t exactly as illogical as it may initially have sounded when he was hired to write and direct this movie. That being said, however, whatever talent he may have displayed there is noticeably absent from his remake of Halloween. Read more…

REVIEW: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge

October 4, 2014 Leave a comment
A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's RevengeDirected by: Jack Sholder
Produced by: Robert Shaye
Written by: David Chaskin
Edited by: Bob Brady, Arline Garson
Cinematography by: Jacques Haitkin, Christopher Tufty
Music by: Christopher Young
Starring: Mark Patton, Kim Myers, Robert Englund, Robert Rusler, Clu Gulager, Hope Lange, Christie Clark, Marshall Bell, Melinda O. Fee, Tom McFadden, Sydney Walsh
Year: 1985

 

A long time ago, back in 2011, I angered quite a few fans of the Elm Street series by taking a disliking to the original film. These fans had accused me of a great number of things, mostly for being ignorant, comparing it to Friday the 13th, and/or making errors regarding the number of movies in the film series. It may well have been fair, but it seemed like most of this was stemmed from the fact that, in the end, I did not like it. I gave it a 2 out of 5 score and even called the score “charitable.” Them’s fighin’ words, they thought, and so they slammed me on their forum. Justified or not in their anger (and they kind of were in some respects), a few allowed me to engage them in discussion, and we even came to a sort of understanding. Some of them urged me on and recommended two of the sequels: the third, which saw the return of the one beloved survivor of the original heading up a task force of troubled youths against the series’ baddie, Freddy Krueger, and the seventh, which was a sort of meta extension of the series that saw the actors dealing with Freddy in the real world, in their own lives. And, to be honest, I actually kind of enjoyed them. They weren’t masterpieces or anything, but, for what they were, they were certainly a lot more entertaining and whimsical than what I had perceived as a sort of ridiculous, self-serious franchise with the first film. Read more…

Halloween Movie Month 2014 & The Viewer’s Commentary Fourth Anniversary!

October 1, 2014 Leave a comment

Lucy Davis, Kate Ashfield, Dylan Moran, Simon Pegg, Penelope Wilton, and Nick Frost

Well, it’s been just a little over four years since I started this blog, and can only mean one thing: It’s time to start reviewing Halloween movies! This theme month, formerly known as Scary Movie Month, was once a time when I begrudgingly made myself watch a bunch of scary movies in order to better understand a genre I did not typically enjoy.

Funny enough, however, in the few years I’ve actually been doing this, I’ve actually grown pretty fond of this month and of the movies I watch in the process of figuring out which ones to review. Are they all good? Not by a long shot, but it’s still entertaining since horror is still not a genre I’d typically find myself in the mood for if not for the oncoming Halloween holiday.

As always, October will be a month of reviewing nothing but Halloween-appropriate movies — not just the scary ones, but also the funny ones, the sad ones, the weird ones, the ones meant for family, and, yeah, even the musical ones (hence why I moved away from the “Scary Movie Month” monicker).

Nightmare on Elm Street 2 - Roberg Englund

This year, in particular, I plan on returning to a series or two that I’d reviewed previously. One that I know for sure that I’ll be doing is A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, particularly because the series was responsible for The Viewer’s Commentary getting its first spike in views thanks to a group of fans flocking to the site to gawk at my not-well-received review of the first film. The exchange we had on their forums encouraged me to explore other areas of the Elm Street series and surprised me in how, in the right mindset, yeah, these movies could be pretty entertaining. Freddy’s Revenge is, unfortunately, nowhere near as good as Dream Warriors or New Nightmare or even the original, which I honestly did not care for the first time around. But, hey, it has an interesting subtext to explore thanks to the switch up in the lead character’s gender,  and at least it’s not the terrible remake, right? Speaking of remakes, I also hope to get around to reviewing Rob Zombie’s remake of John Carpenter’s slasher classic Halloween. Why not the original movie’s sequel, you ask? Because I watched the remake out of morbid curiosity recently when I saw it on Amazon Prime, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let that experience go to waste, dammit!

The Cabin in the Woods - Horror has a new iconic weapon

And so, as always, I leave you with a list of previous Halloween-appropriate films I’ve reviewed since September 2011. The list is only going to get longer, so I don’t know how much longer I can continue to do this, but here they are all together for at least one more time! And, as always, enjoy a free movie, the public domain zombie film that started it all, Night of the Living Dead below that!

Alien28 Days Later

28 Weeks Later

Alien

Aliens

Attack the Block

The Blair Witch Project

The Cabin in the Woods

Contagion

Dawn of the Dead: Director’s Cut (2004)

Frankenweenie

Friday the 13th (1980)

Halloween (1978)

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Juan of the Dead

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown - The Sincerest Pumpkin PatchThe Last House on the Left (1972)

The Last House on the Left (2009)

The Mist

The Nightmare Before Christmas

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

ParaNorman

Perfect Blue

Psycho

The Purge

The Rocky Horror Picture ShowThe Rocky Horror Picture Show

Saw

Scream

Shaun of the Dead

The Sixth Sense

Sleepy Hollow

Slither

The Thing (1982)

This Is the End

The Twilight Saga

Under the Skin (2014)

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

The World’s End

Zombieland

REVIEW: Tron: Legacy

September 28, 2014 Leave a comment
Tron LegacyDirected by: Joseph Kosinski
Produced by: Sean Bailey, Jeffrey Silver, Steven Lisberger
Written by: Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz (screenplay), Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz, Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal (story)
Edited by: James Haygood
Cinematography by: Claudio Miranda
Music by: Daft Punk
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Bruce Boxleitner, Michael Sheen, James Frain, Beau Garrett, Anis Cheurfa
Based on characters by Steven Lisberger and Bonnie MacBird
Year: 2010

 

Never one to let a good franchise die with a single entry, it was inevitable that Disney would finally come around and get to revisiting the brand name at some point to turn that single movie into a whole franchise (you know, apart that one time when they totally did make a sequel in the form of the video game Tron 2.0). Even so, while the 28 years it took them to release a cinematic follow-up may not have been the longest gap between the original and its sequel for the studio (that honor goes to Bambi II, which has the honor of having the longest gap between any movie and its sequel at over 63 years and was also one of those oddball sequels like The Jungle Book 2 and Return to Never Land that got a theatrical release in some markets), it was certainly becoming more and more unexpected as time went on, given the particularly cult status the original film had. Sure, a video game follow-up seemed pretty logical given the nature of the story and the fact that it was less of a gamble in that medium, but to release a big budget sequel to a film the studio would later have to clarify to people the nature of its existence in subsequent home video releases (“The Original Classic” they called it) definitely caught a lot of people off guard when the studio revealed test footage of Jeff Bridges once again playing the role of Kevin Flynn at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con. And everybody flipped from excitement, including my roommate at the time. Heck, even I was interested! And I didn’t even really like the original all that much! It would be another couple years until the film’s actual release, however, but was the wait worth it? Read more…

Update! You know, not that anyone was really worried…

September 23, 2014 1 comment

So, I’ve been meaning to write more, but something suddenly came up. Along with the work related stuff, I’ve made a sudden, new addition to my life’s obligations in the form of… a new kitten!

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D’aaaaaww!

I know! And his name is Marty McFly!

He's got the red hair of the Eric Stoltz version and the tiny size of the Michael J. Fox one!

He’s got the red hair of the original Eric Stoltz version and the tiny size of the Michael J. Fox one!

 

Now I have a cat named after my older (but still enduring) passion of video games with Zelda and my newer and primary passion, film! I got him pretty unexpectedly but not exactly by accident, either. Was looking for a new friend for Zelda after my other cat, Kairi, passed away in April, and this little guy just stood out. (And, yes, Kairi’s name was from Kingdom Hearts, which, come to think of it, was a merging of film and video games!)

And, on that note, while I spent the better part of the last week and a half ensuring my cats were not going to kill each other and destroy my place in the process and such, I’m ready to start writing again and still totally intending to publish my Tron: Legacy review this week before starting up the Fourth Annual Halloween Movie Month next week! I’m also hoping to get in a review of a crucial Batman film I have yet to review in celebration of the character’s 75th anniversary, but whether or not I’ll have the time before October is up in the air. It’ll come, though…

Anyway, that’s what’s happening. Looking forward to writing with some peace of mind now that my cats are getting along!

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D’AAAAAAAAWW!

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