Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Blade II, based on characters from the MARVEL Comics: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Two years have passed since Blade defeated Deacon Frost and his plot to rule the vampire world.  As his search for his mentor Abraham Whistler continues, Blade discovers that Whistler is no longer human…but a vampire after having not killed himself upon infection.

Meanwhile a pandemic has hit the vampires.  A new “Reaper” virus is turning normal vampires into primal, ravenous, and mutated creatures with terrible effects to their consciousnesses. Because fo this the vampire overlord sends two of his minions to strike a deal with Blade, the newly cured Whistler, and Scud (Blade’s new sidekick). As the trio is drawn into the underbelly of the vampiric world, they are required to assist a pack of highly trained vampires who were meant to hunt Blade himself.

When the nightclub they are investigating is overrun with Reapers the pack discovers that not only are the infected vampires ravenous but they are also immune to basically everything that kills a normal vampire.  As member after member faces these animals it is more difficult for Blade to figure out just where this disease came from.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Horror

-Creator: Based on characters from the MARVEL Comics

-Length: 117 minutes

-Rating: R (mild sex and nudity, severe violence and gore, severe profanity, moderate use of drugs, moderate to severe frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Ron Perlman, Leonor Varela, Norman Reedus, Luke Goss

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

This was just an incredible film.  I absolutely loved it.  But I also love films that are bloody and gory (yay horror films).  The introduction of a disease that is decimating the vampires is fascinating and a great trigger for Blade to begin to infiltrate the underbelly of his enemy.

I LOVED Nyssa as a character and was really upset that she died.  While it would have been interesting for her to end up as a love interest for Blade, he doesn’t really feel like the kind of character who needs or wants this kind of relationship.  I would have loved to just see her as a new partner for him.  They worked really well together and made a good team.

The dynamic of the pack was beautifully done and while we don’t get a ton of screen time with most of them the directed body language and overall comraderie amongst the pack is great.  You can see the relationships within minutes of meeting them.  Who was in charge.  Who was a couple.  You basically get to read the group the way Blade did.  And that is great directing.

I wish for the third movie to be as good as the first two but based off of the reviews I read this is the best of the three with the first coming in a close second…and the third…is a movie, I guess…

Well, onto the next film but this one will be entering my general rotation of films when all of this is over.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Blade, based on characters from MARVEL Comics: a Film Review

Synopsis:

In 1967 a woman is brought into the hospital after being attacked.  She is bleeding profusely from a neck wound and is revealed to be pregnant.  As the life begins to fade from her, her child is delivered and taken from her.

Thirty years later, a vampire hunter by the name of Blade, finds a supernatural rave called a BloodBath and proceeds to annihilate their ranks in search of the founder….a vampire by the name of Deacon Frost.  Finding only one of his right-hand men Blade is forced to leave the vampire behind when police arrive at the scene.  Knowing the being may not actually dead, Blade chooses to follow him to the hospital morgue where he is resurrected and kills the doctor there and nearly kills another.

Blade takes her to his cohort who attempts a risky and not always effective “cure” for her bite.  As she discovers the world is not what she believed it to be and Blade discovers there is some sort of vampire prophecy about revealing La Magra, the mother of vampires, everything may not be as it seems.  As they join together to attempt to fight the ranks of vampires swarming through L.A. they may not be enough to save the world from the fate awaiting them should Deacon Frost fulfill his mission of summoning the powers of La Magra.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Action Horror

-Creator: Based on characters from Blade, MARVEL Comics

-Length: 120 minutes

-Rating: R (for horror, extreme gore and violence, supernatural violence, moderate to severe profanity)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, N’Bushe Wright, Donal Logue

-Page of Reference in RP1: MARVEL is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

This was EXACTLY the type of movie I was looking for tonight.  Horror, superheroes, vampires…the supernatural.  I don’t know why I haven’t watched it before.  It’s got some of my favorite elements in it so far as films go.

The dynamic that is built between Blade and Karen as well as his relationship with Whistler feels complete and well balanced which is unique for a horror film.  Usually, the characters are all unfamiliar with each other or are all old pals.  Here we get a bit of each and both are handled very well.

We get a ton of action.  A great female lead.  Plenty of gore.  Superheroes that feel more like anti-heroes.  An awesome story filled with mythical prophasy and VAMPIRES.  A really terrible bad guy…who is truly a BAD guy first and a vampire second…which doesn’t always happen.

The action sequences are great.  The CGI is a bit outdated but that is to be expected for 1998.  The battles are well choreographed. The costumes and the sets fit that super dark aesthetic.  The writing is well done and doesn’t force too much information down the audience’s throat at once.

Just a genuinely good film that is definitely worth a watch if you like any of the following: superheroes, vampires, horror films or just a good action movie.  Do not watch if you don’t like gore.  Or needles…there are a lot of needles…

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Flick Central

IT: Chapter Two, based on IT by Stephen King: a Film Review

Synopsis:

27 years have passed since the Loser’s Club fought Pennywise.  They have since gone their separate ways, now adults, some married and some not…life went on after the dark events that summer in Derry, Maine.

But it has begun again.  And as Mike Hanlon calls up his old friends the Loser’s Club finds that they may have done so much more than simply move on from their childhood.  They seem to have forgotten everything from that summer…and honestly most of their lives in Derry. All but Mike, who stayed…who became Derry’s historian…and who kept watch incase Pennywise rose again in the strange 27-year cycle of the past.

As children and adults go missing, the Losers much rise again to fight that which haunts the tiny New England town.  They must regain their memories in order to fight off the killer clown.  Will they be able to dig up their pasts?  Will they be able to end the nightmare?  And if they do…what will the cost be?  In the end will it be worth it?

General Information:

-Genre: Supernatural Horror

-Creator: based on IT by Stephen King

-Length: 165 minutes

-Rating: R (for supernatural violence, severe violence and gore, severe language, alcohol use and smoking, LGBT+ violence and slurs, mild nudity and sexual innuendos)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube, DVD, Blue-Ray, or find it at your local library (like I did)

-Main Cast: Bill Skarsgard, Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean, Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sphia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, Jackson Robert Scott

-Page of Reference in RPO: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

A wonderful continuation of the story started in IT: Chapter One.

First I must commend the casting agent on a job well done.  It is rare in the film industry to find children and adults that look like they could be the same person but they did this FLAWLESSLY! One of the best casting jobs I’ve seen in a long time.  Even the IT miniseries (which did a decent job) didn’t get it done THIS well.

And while I did enjoy the fact that the first movie stood alone and if you didn’t know the story you could watch it independently and not need the continuation of the story, I absolutely love the way this story was written.  There are just enough “flashback” style moments in the film but they are new and fresh information.  Not tired flashbacks from the first film which is nice because then you can watch them back to back without a lot of déjà vu.

There are a few good jump scares in this one and the overall dark and intense quality of the themes are incredibly well done.  I chalk this up to utilizing as many practical effects as they could.  I enjoy that they didn’t rely on doing everything in post-production.  I really do believe (having worked in the film industry myself) that films that rely completely on CGI tend to fall flat.  Practical effects are the way to go…filling in what you cannot possibly do (like a giant clown or 300 rows of teeth in a distended mouth) is what CGI should be used for.

The changes in the story (like Audra not showing up and getting captured by Pennywise) are enjoyable and keep a more consistent story.  The moment Beverly realizes Ben is the one who wrote the poem is much more satisfying that in the miniseries.  And the overall pacing is more consistent than the other film. 

Timing is everything in a horror film.  Using just the right choreography, lighting and musical beat in with the blocking is what makes or breaks a film.  And this one really got it right.

Overall, wonderful.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

For the review on IT by Stephen King:

Review on It (miniseries)

Review on IT: Chapter One

Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

IT: Chapter One, based on IT by Stephen King: a Film Review

Synopsis:

In 1986, young Georgie Denburough is out in a storm playing with a paper boat that his older brother, Bill, had made for him.  As he follows the boat along it gets swept into a drain.  Georgie reaches into the drain to try and get the boat when he is confronted by a clown.  A clown deep down in the sewers.  When he reaches for the boat again, the strange creature rips his arm away and drags the poor boy down into the sewers.  Georgie becomes one of the first missing children that would haunt the town of Derry, Maine over the course of the next year.

Summer has finally come for Derry, Maine.  Kids are out of school.  Bullies have free reign of the streets and the “Losers” are trying to stay out of trouble.  As the mysterious disappearance of more kids continues a small group of kids come together, tormented by the local bully as well as a far less tangible but far more dangerous force lurking in the shadows.  This group, known as the Losers’ Club, discover that each have been visited in the last year by a strange clown.  This clown…a force that knows who they are and where they live…is far beyond everything that even their scariest nightmares could have imagined.

As Bill and the rest of the Losers follow the clues, they will be led down the path closer to Pennywise.  Will Bill find his little brother, Georgie, alive and well as he fervently believes?  Or will all of them have to face their darkest nightmares at the hands of a terrifying clown?

General Information:

-Genre: Supernatural Horror

-Creator: based on IT by Stephen King

-Length: 135 minutes

-Rating: R (for supernatural violence, severe violence and gore, severe language, mild sexual innuendo, mild mentions of abuse, some smoking)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube, DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library (like I did!)

-Main Cast: Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgard, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sphia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, Jackson Robert Scott

-Page of Reference in RPO: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

Yay.  A real horror film.  As a horror buff I can give credit where credit is due.  While the 1991 version with Tim Curry was perfectly fine (this hurts to say because Tim Curry is a FANTASTIC actor…one of my favorites in fact), it lacks the more modern horror moments.  “Child’s play” as a friend once said, compared to this film and its sequel film.

While I was hesitant at first with the more modernization of the timeline (the book has their childhood in the mid-1950s) I was quite impressed with how this little change really worked with the overall feel of the film.  It definitely allowed for some of the more classic horror tropes to be utilized but also paid a wonderful homage to the real rise and birth of modern horror films.

From practical effects to an honestly terrifying Pennywise the Dancing Clown, this was the film I was hoping for when I watched the 1991 miniseries.

And no offence to Mr. Curry….But Bill Skarsgard’s performance, from costume to makeup to mannerisms, was the clown we should all be absolutely terrified is under our beds.

The story seems to follow the book (and the miniseries) fairly closely with small nods to the miniseries.  The big exception is that Georgie is missing and Bill still thinks he is alive.  It is his desire to find his brother, alive and well, that sends the Loser’s Club down the rabbit hole and into the depths of the horrors that lurk in the Derry sewer system.

I do think this choice was much more believable especially for the 1980s.  the idea that the kids are building a dam in a small creek just doesn’t seem to fit in a world where there are arcade games, movies and a robust set of Television shows.  Going out on an adventure like in The Goonies or fighting demons like in Nightmare on Elm Street or Gremlins is MUCH more convincing than what happened in the book (which was believable and fine for the mid-1950s).

This change in time also allowed for larger conversations and allusions.  Beverly’s abusive father became worse (from physical and mental abuse to actual alluded sexual abuse).  Eddie’s mother is even more neurotic and a bigger hypochondriac (now we may diagnose her with Munchausen’s by Proxy).  Richie’s deep dark secret is covered by his humor and foul mouth (also something that was easier to do in both a theatrical release and in the 1980s).  Bill’s stutter isn’t as pronounced but still there, apparent and more natural.  The rest of the group is just as well.  They join together and make a great team.

Honestly, this is a real horror film.  And if you didn’t know or weren’t familiar with the book is a complete movie on its own.  Which cannot be said of the mini-series.  Very well done and will be one that I will be watching again.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Review on IT (novel) by Stephen King

Review on IT: Chapter Two

Review on IT (miniseries)

Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

IT, based off IT by Stephen King: a Mini Series Review

Synopsis:

Based on the novel by Stephen King, IT brings the horror to life on television.

The Lucky Seven have finally found friendship and comradery in each other only to find out that they have all been visited by the same entity: a bizarre and terrifying clown named Pennywise.  He can take on their deepest fears and as they begin to uncover the mystery behind these visits they discover that the clown is also responsible for the rash of murders in the area, including their leaders younger brother.  They follow Pennywise deep into the sewers to kill the creature and seem to be successful.

27 years later the murders begin again. The group returns with help from the only member to remain in their small hometown.  As their memories return they must face their deepest fears to fight IT again and this time hopefully rid the world and their lives from the haunting and dangerous presence.

General Information:

-Genre: Supernatural Horror

-Creator: based off IT by Stephen King

-Length: 192 minutes (original) or 187 minutes (DVD/Blue-Ray) split between two episodes

-Rating: TV-PG (episode 1), TV-14 (episode 2) (for mild nudity and sexual remarks, violence and gore, mild profanity, some alcohol and mild drug use, some intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (rent or buy), iTunes, DVD, Blue-Ray, or find it at your local library (like I did!)

-Main Cast: Harry Anderson, Dennis Christopher, Richard Masur, Annette O’Toole, Tim Reid, John Ritter, Richard Thomas, Tim Curry

-Page of Reference in RPO: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

So…

*blinks*

That was…not remotely scary.

Its supposed to be…I think.  Or at least I remember it being scary… but it was made for TV so maybe I am mistaken.

It could also be that I’m watching it 30 years out from its production.

And it was just…very tame.  Sure there was blood and gore.  The possessed fortune cookies were pretty cool.  IT’s actual form was pretty well done.  But as for scares.  It fell quite flat.

I wouldn’t approved it for young children, but older kids would find this ok…at least by todays standards.  Its campy and over the top (though Tim Curry’s performance was amazing as usual) with very few jump scares or creepy music.

Overall it was disappointing to watch as an adult.  Even one who is terrified of clowns.

Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

(and only because Tim Curry does a great job as always)

For the review on IT by Stephen King:

For the review on IT: Chapter One: https://guntersgamesandgold.com/?p=512

For the review on IT: Chapter Two: https://guntersgamesandgold.com/?p=524

Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Evil Dead, created by Sam Raimi: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Five Michigan State University students decide to take a long weekend at a remote cabin in the woods.  When they arrive, the cabin is more rustic than they had anticipated and as they explore the property, they find a variety of different items that leave them less than comfortable.  As they settle in for the night things begin to go haywire after listening to the recording of the cabin’s former owner reading from the Book of the Dead.

During the night the dead arise…and our valiant students must fight the oncoming spirits or die trying.

General Information:

-Genre: Supernatural Horror

-Creator: Sam Raimi

-Length: 85 minutes

-Rating: X/NC-17 (for extreme horror violence and gore, some moderate sexual content, mild language, mild use of alcohol and smoking, some intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube, DVD, Blue-Ray, or find it at your local library!

-Main Cast: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeMannicor, Betsy Baker, Theresa Tilly

-Page of Reference in RPO: 177

Review (contains spoilers):

 So… I’m glad I finally watched this.  As a horror buff I’m surprised I had never delved into the series.  This one was a fascinating look into what was considered inappropriate when the film came out.

For today’s standards we would find this film tame but for the times it was completely unique. I can see why it earned the rating NC-17/X.  Between the dark story line, the insane amount of violence and the sexual content its unsurprising that Evil Dead became one of the first mainstream films to earn this rating.

To be honest I found the whole film slightly comical.  Wonderfully done with what they had available at the time.  I can see how this became an influence on later films and one I’m glad is now in my repertoire.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.