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Archive for October, 2013

REVIEW: Alien

October 31, 2013 3 comments
AlienDirected by: Ridley Scott
Produced by: Gordon Carroll, David Giler, Walter Hill
Written by: Dan O’Bannon (screenplay); Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett (story); David Giler, Walter Hill (uncredited)
Edited by: Terry Rawlings, Peter Weatherley
Cinematography by: Derek Vanlint
Music by: Jerry Goldsmith
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Ian Holm, Veronica Cartwright, Yaphet Kotto, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Bolaji Badejo
Year: 1979

 

I’ve been wanting to write this review for quite some time, but somehow never went forward with actually doing it. Don’t really know why it’s taken this long, but I figured that using it as the finale of the 3rd Annual Halloween/Scary Movie Month was appropriate enough! Read more…

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REVIEW: The Blair Witch Project

October 28, 2013 6 comments
The Blair Witch ProjectDirected by: Eduardo Sánchez, Daniel Myrick
Produced by: Robin Cowie, Gregg Hale
Written by: Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez
Edited by: Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez
Cinematography by: Neal Fredericks
Starring: Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, Joshua Leonard
Year: 1999

 

Found footage -style movies are a dime a dozen these days. Though mostly used in the horror genre (notably the Paranormal Activity films), the technique has also found its way into giant monster/kaiju films (Cloverfield), superhero films (Chronicle), and even loathsome teen “comedies” (Project X). The Blair Witch Project certainly wasn’t the first film to use the format (the controversial Italian film Cannibal Holocaust from 1980 is largely credited as the earliest), but it was, without question, the film that resulted in the technique’s popularization – with studios arguably bringing it to the point of exhaustion by now – Does anyone remember Apollo 18? Read more…

REVIEW: The Mist

October 22, 2013 2 comments
The MistDirected by: Frank Darabont
Produced by: Frank Darabont, Martin Shafer, Liz Glotzer
Written by: Frank Darabont
Edited by: Hunter M. Via
Cinematography by: Rohn Schmidt
Music by: Mark Isham
Starring: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher, Toby Jones, Nathan Gamble, Jeffrey DeMunn, William Sadler, Frances Sternhagen, Samuel Witwer, Alexa Davalos
Based on the novella by Stephen King
Year: 2007

 

Frank Darabont’s third adaptation of a Stephen King novel was, surprisingly, only the first horror film the director tackled from the famed author. Having apparently wanted to adapt the 1980 novella for quite some time, the director instead first tackled The Shawshank Redemption and then The Green Mile before finally getting a chance to direct the smalltown monster movie he had been dreaming of, making small adjustments to the story as he went along – most notably altering the original story’s ending to one that even Stephen King has acknowledged to be superior to the original work. Read more…

REVIEW: It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

October 19, 2013 2 comments
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie BrownDirected by: Bill Melendez
Produced by: Bill Melendez; Lee Mendelson (executive producer)
Written by: Charles M. Schulz
Edited by: Robert T. Gillis
Camera by: Nick Vasu
Music by: Vince Guaraldi
Starring: Christopher Shea, Peter Robbins, Sally Dryer, Kathy Steinberg, Gail Defaria, Ann Altieri, Lisa DeFaria, Bill Melendez, Glenn Mendelson
Based on the comic strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz
Year: 1966

 

I was originally going to write a review of The Mist next (and it’s still coming), but, given a recent bout of some emotional issues I had this week, I decided instead to do something out of left field and pick something a little more optimistic and positive – something a little more lighthearted (which The Mist is absolutely not). So, yeah, this is totally not an actual movie so much as a TV special. I don’t normally do TV shows – the closest I’ve come so far are TV movies, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker and Ballet Shoes – but I’m making an exception for this one. It’s not so much a TV show, anyway. Let’s just call it a short film and let that be that, eh? Besides, if you were feeling as down as I was this week, you’d probably be thankful for something a little more spirited than the standard horror fair, now wouldn’t you? Read more…

REVIEW: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

October 16, 2013 2 comments
The Rocky Horror Picture ShowDirected by: Jim Sharman
Produced by: Michael White
Written by: Jim Sharman, Richard O’Brien (screenplay)
Edited by: Graeme Clifford
Cinematography by: Peter Suschitzky
Music by: Richard O’Brien, Richard Hartley
Starring: Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Richard O’Brien, Patricia Quinn, Nell Campbell, Jonathan Adams, Peter Hinwood, Charles Gray, Meat Loaf
Based on the play The Rocky Horror Show by Richard O’Brien
Year: 1975

 

Fans of this cult classic, I’m going to right here and now preemptively keep you from committing some kind of serious crime while also saving my own neck: If you unconditionally, unabashedly love this movie, do not read any further than this paragraph. I know there are fans out there who just absolutely adore this movie, and, to that I say, “Good for you.” I’m not going to begrudge your relationship and affection for the film. That being said, if you’re the kind of person who sends death threats and such to people you disagree with, do us both a favor and please stop reading now. Read more…

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

October 13, 2013 2 comments
Dawn of the Dead (2004)Directed by: Zack Snyder
Produced by: Marc Abraham, Eric Newman, Richard P. Rubinstein; Michael D. Messina (co-producer); Armyan Bernstein, Thomas A. Bliss, Dennis E. Jones (executive producers)
Written by: James Gunn (screenplay); Michael Tolkin, Scott Frank (uncredited rewrites)
Edited by: Niven Howie
Cinematography by: Matthew F. Leonetti
Music by: Tyler Bates
Starring: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Mekhi Phifer, Ty Burrell, Michael Kelly, Kevin Zegers, Michael Barry, Lindy Booth, Jayne Eastwood, Boyd Banks, Inna Korobkina, R.D. Reid, Kim Poirier, Matt Frewer, Louis Ferreira, Bruce Bohne
Based on the 1978 film directed by George A. Romero
Year: 2004

 

I’m a bit of a Zack Snyder apologist, as I actually mostly enjoy the films of his that I have actually seen – which is pretty much every film he’s directed, save for Sucker Punch and The Owls of Ga’Hoole – coincidentally, his least admired movies, so take of that what you will. I enjoyed 300, really liked Watchmen, and I honestly did not understand the backlash against Man of Steel, which I thought was a fantastic reimagining of Superman for the modern era. I think a lot of it comes from the fact that I so enjoyed his remake of Dawn of the Dead, which I managed to see ahead of the original. I saw it in high school thanks to the extinct Hollywood Video’s MVP rental program that my family subscribed to (and that I took advantage of more than anyone), and it was one of the first horror films that I decided to give a try after years of thinking the entire genre sucked. The original wasn’t available at the store near me, so I settled on the remake, which I had heard was pretty good on its own, and I remember that I thought to myself that doing so in that order would allow for me to appreciate the remake on its own terms. Perhaps nostalgia goggles have tainted my perspective, but I can still confirm that, to this day, I still like this one just a smidge better. Read more…

REVIEW: Perfect Blue (パーフェクトブル)

October 9, 2013 4 comments
Perfect BlueDirected by: Satoshi Kon
Produced by: Hiroaki Inoue
Written by: Sadayuki Murai (screenplay)
Edited by: Harutoshi Ogata
Cinematography by: Hisao Shirai
Music by: Masahiro Ikumi
Starring (Manga Entertainment English voice cast): Bridget Hoffman, Wendee Lee, Barry Stigler, Lia Sargent, Steve Bulen, Jamieson Price, Frank Buck, Steven Blum
Based on the novel by Yoshikazu Takeuchi
Year: 1997

 

Review contains moderate plot points which may be considered spoilers, but are included for the sake of analysis. No plot twists or revelations are exposed, however.

Yes, I’m reviewing another anime film, this time a scary movie for Halloween! As previously noted in my review of Macross II, I was never really a fan of anime outside of the mainstream Studio Ghibli fare, but, thanks to the suggestion of my friend, Matt, I ended up going outside my comfort zone and wound up mostly enjoying what I saw with that quasi-film (assembled from a TV miniseries). I’m really going to have to start trusting my friend a bit more with his suggestions, though, ‘cause his latest suggestion (he clarified that this was not necessarily a recommendation, due to the contents of the film he suggested, so I guess I’ll honor his wording) was actually his best one yet. Yes, far better than K-PAX. Read more…

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