Posts Tagged ‘the fly’

Whilst coming to the end of writing my first extensive look at why a certain “horror” franchise failed to produce quality films, I was made aware of a mini-craze amongst film reviewers on social media in which they reveal their favourite film from each year that they’ve been alive.

At first I had no interest in taking part, but then I thought that it might be fun to see what came out each year I was alive. One thing that I quickly realised that there are some years in which there were few standout films for me, 1990 and 2005 being particularly sparse, whereas I really struggled just to pick one from 1994 as as well as what I chose, there were so many entries that were not only great, but would top many top tens around the world.

So I was born in 1984 and will therefore start there. In the interest of fairness I am only going to consider films that were released at the cinema.

1984 – Ghostbusters
1985 – The Goonies
1986 – The Fly
1987 – Spaceballs
1988 – Willow
1989 – Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
1990 – Night of the Living Dead
1991 – Terminator 2 : Judgement Day
1992 – A League of Their Own

1993 – Jurassic Park
1994 – The Shawshank Redemption
1995 – Mortal Kombat
1996 – Star Trek : First Contact
1997 – The Fifth Element
1998 – The Truman Show
1999 – Fight Club


2000 – American Psycho
2001 – The Lord of the Rings : The Fellowship of the Ring
2002 – 28 Days Later
2003 – Pirates of the Caribbean : The Curse of the Black Pearl
2004 – Troy
2005 – Land of the Dead
2006 – Lucky Number Slevin


2007 – No Country for Old Men
2008 – The Dark Knight
2009 – Star Trek
2010 – Scott Pilgrim vs the World
2011 – Moneyball
2012 – Avengers : Assemble
2013 – Rush

Then we come onto those that I’ve seen since I started reviewing films for this site. Click on the below links for the full run downs of the top tens from these years.
2014 – Nightcrawler
2015 – No Escape
2016 – Captain Fantastic
2017 – TBD

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There is an internal debate that I have had for several months and that it “what is the greatest decade for cinema” in terms of quantity of quality films, and after several months of debate, I have come to the conclusion that the best decade for cinema was the 1980s.

I got onto this debate again over the weekend as I went back to my hometown of Lincoln for a few days. It was the first time I’ve had two days in a row off from all jobs since April and as I turn 32 on September 12th, I decided to celebrate by going home, seeing family and friends, and whilst there I got my present from my parents, the ever reliable present that is money. I decided to invest it in some new Blu-Rays as I haven’t brought myself some for a while, infact it’s only one in since April, which is a low number for me.

After browsing HMV’s five Blu-Rays for £30 section, I came away with the following (I bought more than five);

  • Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
  • Weird Science
  • Gremlins
  • Krull
  • Some Like it Hot
  • Jane Got a Gun
  • The Gift

I only realised a few hours later that four of my choices were from the 1980s, and it got that debate starting again, and I still come to the conclusion that is the best decade for film. Whilst that is obviously down to personal taste and opinion, I have decided to justify my decision by writing an article about it.

Weird-Science

So many classics, and original films at that

Arguably no decade has more classics coming out of it than the 1980s. You’ve got genre defining classics in pretty much every single category, which isn’t something that you can say about most decades. Whilst the 1990s had some timeless films, such as “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Fight Club”, there weren’t that many films that you can look at and say that you’d still be watching them regularly 26 years after the decade ended.

To put this in some sort of context, here are some examples of genres and some of the classics (in my opinion) in that genre. Please note that if there is an asterix next to it, I haven’t actually seen the film and am going purely off it’s reputation.

Science Fiction : ET*, The Terminator, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Blade Runner*, Predator, The Abyss, Star Trek 2 : The Wrath of Khan and Aliens.

Horror : The Fly, The Thing, The Shining, Gremlins and The Evil Dead.

Comedy : Ghostbusters, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Weird Science, Back to the Future, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off*, The Blues Brothers*, Big, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Police Academy.

Adventure : Raiders of the Lost Ark, Willow, Krull, The Neverending Story and The Goonies.

War : Full Metal Jacket* and Platoon*.

Action : Die Hard and Top Gun.

Drama : Rain Man, Stand by Me, Gandhi and A Passage to India*.

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All of those were just of of the top of my head, I’m sure if I delved into it there would be more, but there just some of the classics that came from the 1980s, and in particular, original ideas. Again, without delving into it, there are only three sequels listed above (Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and Wrath of Khan), and whilst there are a few remakes (The Fly and the Thing), the vast majority are original ideas and a lot of those films, for better or for worse, started franchises.

As time has gone on, original ideas have become few and far between in Hollywood, making most films predictable, especially in our current decade, in which it’s very hard to see a film that isn’t based on a book, another film, isn’t a reboot, remake or sequel, and is just an outright original idea.

Whilst the majority of films in earlier decades were obviously original, in my opinion no decade outside of the 1980s has produced as many original hits that people still watch and inspired as much.

Computer generated special effects were rare!

The 1980s was the last decade in which it was uncommon to see computer generated special effects in films. The vast majority of effects in the 1980s were practical, and because of this it often looked far more realistic.

For example, the only bit of CGI that I have been impressed with recently was in “The Jungle Book”, in which the animals looked exceptionally realistic, but that is definitely a rarity these days and to counter that, a few weeks later I watched “Gods of Egypt”, which I wouldn’t be surprised if it was all done on green-screens as everything looked ridiculously fake.

Practical effects work better for me because they just look more realistic. I’ll grant you that this isn’t always the case, such as the scene in “The Terminator” in which the Terminator is removing his faulty eye, but by in large it just looks better. One such direct example that I can use is the 1982 version of “The Thing” in comparison to it’s 2011 prequel.

On the image below you can see an image of the same character (please note for those that haven’t seen it, in the picture on the left the character is dead, or least so they think). On the left hand side is the character in the 1982 film and has been done entirely with practical effects, compared to the same character in the 2011 prequel, which was a 100% CGI character.


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I have nothing against the prequel at all. Whilst it’s nowhere near as good as the first film, it is a reasonable attempt, but the look of this character in particular just takes away any semblance of fear and danger. Whilst you never see the practical effects split-face character alive in the 1982 film, I would be far more terrified if that was coming towards me than the one on the right, and it’s all because the split-face on the right hand side looks fake as hell.

Everything just looked better in the 1980s and more lifeless, and seeing a character that I know is completely CGI personally takes me out of the film a lot, whereas practical effects characters just don’t have the same impact on me whatsoever.

Effects help story telling and if used right, they can be excellent. There are so few films these days that make non-human characters look realistic, whereas the 1980s managed it so well as it was a time when sixty or so years of research had been perfected, and it was only towards the end of the decade that computer generated effects started coming into effect, and what’s more, some of the creatures in the practical effects era were cute as hell, such as Falcor from “The Neverending Story”.

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Characters and story came first!

Following on from the above, one thing that a lot of modern day films often make a mistake on is trying to make their film look great, but completely forget about the characters and story. For example, when I first watched “Avatar” I was stunned by how visually brilliant the whole thing was, and it is stunning in Blu-Ray format, but once you take your eyes off of the look of the film, there just isn’t a lot of substance there. The characters are weak and the storyline is just a “meh” situation.

During the majority of the films in my earlier list, you get to know the characters exceptionally well because the story telling allows them to be. The focus was on great storytelling and not how it looked. For example, I only recently watched “Die Hard” for the first time and it worked on many levels, one of which was that it had a great antagonist (which is another film modern day films struggle with might I add). Even now, more than two weeks after watching it for just the one time, I can remember a lot about the characters, even the minor ones, and that’s what I want.

The central antagonist in “Die Hard”, Hans Gruber (played menacingly brilliantly by Alan Rickman), is a great antagonist because not only does he look like winning, but you learn a great deal about his character.

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The same can’t be said of a lot of modern day films. For example, I recently went to watch “Lights Out”, literally the day after I watched “Die Hard”, and yet I couldn’t tell you the name of a single character, it was that forgettable, and that’s not just a one off either. Horror films these days are so focused on things such as jump scares, they’ve taken their eyes off of what is most important, the characters. If I don’t care enough to remember the characters names, why should I care about the situation that they’re in.

For example, in the list above is my favourite horror film, “The Fly”. For those that haven’t seen it, watch it. Go and watch it now (well, after you’ve finished reading this). “The Fly” for me is everything that makes not only a great horror film, but a great film in general. I have already covered this film in my review for “The Fly”, but to sum it up the reason “The Fly” works so well is that whilst it only has three characters, you get to know them so well that you start caring about them as people, and you see where each is coming from.

Modern day films tend not to care about the characters, and are only concerned with the look. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that this isn’t the case for all films, but if we take arguably the most popular modern franchise, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you’ll notice that whilst they are fun, they all lack something that is so important to turning a good movie great, a captivating and believable antagonist. If you don’t think I’m being fair with that statement, take Loki and Zemo out of the franchise and name me one antagonist that looked like winning (Zemo won because he achieved his goal of splitting Steve and Tony).

Infact, I’m going to make a very, very bold statement here. In my opinion, there hasn’t been a single antagonist that you could classify as “timelessly brilliant” since Heath Ledger’s Joker in 2008’s “The Dark Knight”. In an already brilliant film, the Joker is arguably the best part, whereas I can’t think of a single film since that is not only brilliant (which is a small list in itself), but also contains an antagonist on a level that’s even close to that.

That’s not to say that you even necessarily need an antagonist in the film, afterall, “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” doesn’t really have an antagonist, unless you count Ted’s Dad, but even then that’d be a push. Whilst having a bad guy (or girl) isn’t vital, it definitely helps, and modern day films fail miserably to give great antagonists,

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Great music!

I’m not going to spend too long on this point but how many films these days have theme tunes that you know as soon as you hear them? I’ve just looked through my entire Blu-Ray collection, about 25% of which are from this decade, and yet there isn’t one that I would look at and think “yeah, that has a theme tune I’ll remember in 26 years” (and just for clarification, I mean original songs, not popular songs just used as the main theme) and yet there are numerous films from the 1980s that you could play back now and most people would recognise them.

For an example of this, I’m just going to leave this here….

And finally, films that people still talk about!

Now, I’m not going to look at films from this decade for this one as it’d be harsh given that we’ve still got over three years of the tens left, but there is no decade which people refer to more than the eighties when talking about films.

For example, there are some decades with a lot of great films in them, and some of the biggest films of all time are from the early days of cinema, but no decade comes close to having as many pop-culture references like the 1980s.

 

There are so many quotable films that came from the eighties, and they have sunk deep into society. To end this article, here are a few quotes that are still used to this day, even if slightly twisted, that all came from films in the 1980s and I still hear on a semi regular basis in either real life, or modern films paying tribute to them.

“Here’s Johnny” (The Shining)

“No, I am your father” (The Empire Strikes Back)

“I’m too old for this shit” (Lethal Weapon)

“Phone home” (ET)

“Say hello to my little friend” (Scarface)

“Yippee-ki-yay” (Die Hard)

“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick some ass, and I’m all out of bubblegum!” (They Live)

“Don’t cross the streams” (Ghostbusters)

“We came, we saw, we kicked it’s ass” (Ghostbusters)

“I’ll be back” (Terminator)

“If you build it, they will come” (Field of Dreams)

And with that, I bid you adieu.

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Year Released : 1986the_fly___poster_remake_by_stevenandrew-d5hfzfh
Director : David Cronenberg
Cast : Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis and John Getz

So we’ve come to it at last, the final day of my month long look at horror films leading up to Halloween and what better way to end it than by talking about my favourite horror film, David Cronenberg’s masterpiece “The Fly”?

Much like “The Thing”, The Fly is an ingenious masterpiece and regularly tops lists of the best remakes of of all time, no mean feat indeed. Not a lot of people even realise it’s a remake, infact I work with a guy who knows more about films than anyone I know and even he didn’t know that it wasn’t a remake….then again, he is from Hull so there is somewhat of an excuse there for not known culture (even though it was comedically named as City of Culture for 2017)

The Fly regularly tops the lists of many professional critics for the best horror film of all time, as well as many body-horror film lists, and there are many a good reason for this.

Plot

Veronica (Davis) is a journalist for the Particle magazine and has been invited to the Bartok Industries meet-the-press event and she is giving up hope of meeting anyone with anything worth reporting, then she runs into the socially awkward Seth (Goldblum). Seth intrigues Veronica’s curiosity after he says that  other people only claim to be changing the world, he actually is. Following on from that she goes back to his home, which also doubles up as his lab. Veronica is unimpressed when he reveals that the three huge pods on the middle of the room are teleportation pods.

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Veronica refuses to believe it until his successfully transports a stocking from one pod to another. Seth asks Veronica to keep the story quiet so that he can complete his work, and then at the end of it she will have exclusivity for the story. Seth continues to demonstrate objects teleporting successfully but admits that he has always had trouble transporting live animals, and his latest attempt turns a baboon inside out.

The pair start a romantic relationship and the first session of sex between them proves to be an inspiration to Seth and he reprograms his machine. Seth then sends through a second baboon and this one survives without any seeming negative affects. Seth wants to celebrate with a romantic evening between the two but Veronica leaves.

Filled with rage caused by alcohol and paranoia that Veronica is getting back together with her editor and former lover, Stathis (Getz), Seth decides to test the machine without her there as revenge, even though in reality she is actually seeing Stathis regarding a threat. As this is going on, Seth climbs inside the machine to test it on himself and he successfully transports from one pod to another, but is completely unaware that a fly was in the pod at the same time. When Seth emerges from the new pod, the fly is no-where to be seen.

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Seth and Veronica reconcile their differences and the effects of the transportation seem to have rejuvenated Seth, with increased strength, stamina and sexual performance. He theorises that the transportation purified his body, but Veronica grows wary of Seth’s increasing ego and mania. She also finds stiff hairs growing out of a previously sustained wound. Seth’s ego soon turns into arrogance and violence as he tries to force Veronica to go through the teleportation herself. She refuses and claims that it has changed Seth and has made him sick. He leaves angrily.

He walks down a shopping district whilst munching on sugar based confectionary and enters a bar. Seth challenges a considerably bigger man to an arm-wrestle to claim a night of sex with his girlfriend. The man, despite being considerably larger than Seth, struggles to even nudge his arm, with Seth almost looking bored. Set decides to put an end to it and forces the opponent’s arm so hard it results in a compound fracture. After a night of sex, Seth tries to force the woman into teleportation, claiming it will make her pure, but she refuses and Veronica only just turns up at the last second to save her. The woman runs off.

Veronica fearfully tells Seth that the hairs that were found on his back were insect hairs and he laughs it off. After a heated tirade at Veronica, Seth forces her to leave and slams the door shut behind her. Seth retreats to the bathroom and stares at himself and notices that his skin is in considerably worse condition than he had realised, with insect hairs popping out of warts and bumps all over his face. Whilst pondering, Seth accidentally pulls one of his teeth out with seemingly no effort and he then notices that his fingernails have become detached from the nailbeds, much to his disgust and he realises that something is very wrong.

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He hurriedly analyses the information from the computer about his teleportation and it’s only at this point that Seth realises a fly was in the machine with him. After several calculations, the computer reveals that it has fused Seth and the fly at the molecular-genetic level, meaning that Seth will eventually turn into something else. A sense of fear grips Seth.

Four weeks pass when Ronnie goes around to Seth’s attic at his request. When she arrives she finds a considerably deteriorated Seth, who now has faded skin, a rapidly balding head, a slightly hunched appearance and requires two sticks to allow him to walk. He tells Veronica about what has happened and theorises that he is neither human or fly, but rather a merger of the two, and he starts referring to himself as Brundlefly. Seth also goes to eat a donut but vomits all over it. His ear also falls off after briefly touching it and he begs Veronica for help.

She returns several days later to record what is happening to Seth and finds that he can now move without the sticks but has a considerably more hunched appearance, noticeably less hair, a growth on the left hand side of his body, several ticks and twitches, and a considerably sunnier disposition than the last time that Veronica saw him. He acknowledges that he is becoming less and less human in both appearance and mentally, and is losing his ability for rational thinking. Seth explains why he vomits over food to the video camera in a video that is then watched by Stathis. He is disgusted by what he sees before Veronica runs in the door having found out that she is pregnant with Seth’s baby, and is deathly afraid that she only become pregnant after Seth went through the machine.

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Several weeks then go by and Seth’s body is barely recogniseable anymore due to several deforming bumps, the loss of his penis, his bottom cheeks fusing together, several fingers fusing together, and various others. Veronica visits him to tell him that she is pregnant and is driven to tears at Seth’s mental deterioration as he starts to talk about becoming an insect politician. He doesn’t reveal that he has come up with a plan to fuse two subjects together into one body, in theory allowing him to be human again.

Veronica dreams that she gives birth to a giant maggot and forces Stathis to take her to a doctor there and then, but Seth kidnaps her before the abortion can be carried out. Stathis goes to Seth’s lab to find them but he is caught by Seth, and he responds to the intrusion of Stathis by vomiting on his hand and ankle, causing both to melt. Seth goes to vomit on Stathis’ face but Veronica saves him at the last second with pleas of mercy. Seth pleads with her to keep the baby as it might be the only thing that is left of his humanity but Veronica refuses as she is afraid it will be a mutant. It is at this point that Seth reveals his fusion plan as he desperately tries to find an end to his misery.

He grabs Veronica’s hand but she fights back and accidentally tears Seth’s jaw from his face. This start’s Seth’s final transformation into the human-fly hybrid. Now stronger than he previously frailed body would allow, Seth forces Veronica into a pod and he enters another, but Stathis manages to rescue her with seconds to spare by shooting the power cable to the pod. Seth climbs out of his body but doesn’t get fully away on time and his is sent to the third pod with part of his pod’s door.

Seth emerges from the new pod and is now fused with chunks of the pod. He crawls towards Veronica and Stathis, picking up the end of the shotgun that Veronica is now holding with his pincer-like claw. He holds it against his head in a plea for death. Veronica tearfully refuses to do so before inevitably pulling the trigger to end Seth’s suffering.

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So why is The Fly such a well made horror film?

The true horror of The Fly is not that it’s a body horror film, it’s not because it’s a creature film, it’s that it’s an emotional tour-de-force of the breakdown of a person’s humanity.

As time goes on and Seth’s body starts letting him down in more ways than one (such as his voice no longer being recognised by his computer), the true horror comes with him desperately trying to hang on to his humanity and the ultimate irony of that desperation seemingly hurrying up the loss of what he is trying to keep.

For example, in his desperation just before his final transformation, Seth forces Veronica into a pod in the hopes that it would return him to a human form, or at least his DNA in the form of unborn child helping him effectively reset, however, Veronica still had her clothes on and the resulting splicing and combination of her, Seth and the baby, as well as the clothes that Veronica was wearing, would have more than likely been an even worse monstrosity.

Seth had previously been a methodical and meticulous scientist, but his mental state meant that he didn’t consider anything about what he was trying to do in the final scenes and it was a plan of delusion and desperation, something that pre-Fly Seth wouldn’t have even considered because of how unnecessarily risky it was.

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The character goes through a very strange emotional development throughout the film. Each time you see him at a new stage of transformation he is at different places emotionally. Before he realises what is happening to him he is elated and self-congratulatory, then after he does eventually realises he goes through fear, despair, acceptance, emotional desperation and then angry desperation, all of which are brought to life by Goldblum’s performance.

Jeff Goldblum gives a near perfect performance as Seth Brundle and he brings the character alive. It would have been easy to overplay the role and make it almost a parody of the situation, but Goldblum nails it at every stage of the character’s transformation, ranging from his initial socially awkward nature, right through to the final scenes of desperation just before the character goes though the final transformation.

Don’t get me wrong, the performances of Davis and Getz are also commendable, and all three of the actors bring the story to life, but to suggest that Goldblum isn’t the standout performer of the three would be pure farce. Whilst I could pick many different scenes in which to show you to reflect Goldblum’s performance, this is always the scene that stands out most for me as it shows the true delusion of the character of Seth and although it only lasts a few seconds, Goldblum’s mannerisms, eyes and general body language give the perfect impression of a man who is going through a bit of megalomania.

Moving away from Goldblum’s tour-de-force performance, the pacing is nigh on perfect as well as the film isn’t in a rush to show you Seth’s transformation. It takes you there gradually and it takes the time to build up the characters, although Stathis definitely takes a back seat to Seth and Veronica, but you get to know all three characters reasonably well.

Although I haven’t watched it for a while, I’m pretty certain that Seth doesn’t even realise that he’s transforming until at least half way through the 96 minute run time, and this allows plenty of time for the characters to actually become people that you care about. They’re not suffocated by having the situation to deal with straight away.

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Summary

The Fly is comfortably one of the best horror movies every made and this is because of many reasons, including the excellent pacing, the indepth look into how a perfectly reasonable person loses all approvedrationality when in a desperate situation, and most importantly, a superb, tour-de-force style performance from Jeff Goldblum.

Goldblum steals the show and brings a performance that makes it obvious why he went on to become the highest grossing film star of all time (according to an article I read some time ago). That’s not to say that Getz and Davis did a bad job either, but the undoubted star of the film is Goldblum.

This is one of the easiest approved stamps I’ve ever given and it is also the perfect way to end my month long look at horror films.

Happy Halloween 🙂

 

February 2nd 2015 – Pointless sequels and needless remakes – Remakes and sequels are now a common sight at a cinema, but that is not a good thing.

February 14th 2015 – Can Star Wars regain it’s force in Episode 7? – With Star Wars due to be released at the end of the year, can it regain what made the original trilogy so popular. Please note before reading this that I am not a fan of Star Wars.

March 5th 2015 – A genre that could learn from another – A look into how films based on computer games could improve by following the example of comic book based films.

April 5th 2015 –  Top Twenty Films – Part 1 – A look into ten of my twenty favourite mainstream films. This half of the list contains a virus outbreak, a Spartan army, arguably Christian Bale’s greatest performance, a few classics from the 1980s and one film that contains arguably the best twist ever seen in a movie.

April 28th 2015 – My Top Twenty Films – Part 2 – Second half of my top twenty films of all time. This half of the list contains Brad Pitt aging backwards, a man turning into an insect, an entry from arguably the best franchise of more than five films in history, and a fantasy film from Ron Howard and George Lucas.

August 10th 2015 – The films of 2015 that I’m looking forward to

August 29th 2015 – Shawshank Redemption’s Andy is Guilty – A look into the character of Andy in “The Shawshank Redemption” and how everyone’s belief that he is innocent could infact be wrong.

September 6th 2015 – Why I won’t apologise for not liking your friend’s movie – I had negatively reviewed a film called “Teacher of the Year” before stepping away from my laptop for a few days. When I returned I had some very immature responses from the director’s friend and he didn’t like that I hadn’t praised the film. This was my response.

September 7th 2015 – Four underrated and underutilised actors – Mainstream movies are filled with actors who consistently put in poor performances, so I decided to take a brief look at four that I feel should be in the mainstream considerably more than that are.

January 19th 2016 – The acting gets nominated – Just before the Academy Awards in 2016, a race-row developed in Hollywood after no-one of a non-white origin was nominated for one of the big four individual awards. This was my take on the situation.

May 18th 2016 – The Bottom 5 so far – In May 2016 I realised that I was close on 200 reviews and articles on the site, so I decided to dedicate that post to listing the five worst films that I’ve reviewed so far.

August 2nd 2016 – Coming soon and looking good – A brief look at films that I am excited by.

September 4th 2016 – The 80s was the greatest decade – I look at why the 1980s is the greatest decade for films.

October 1st 2016 – A preview to the end of 2016 – At the end of each year I rank all of the mainstream films that I saw during the year, this was a preview.

March 17th 2017 – A film for every year – There was a social media thing going on amongst film reviewers in which they named their favourite film from each year that they have been alive. These were my choices.

March 19th 2017 – 85 reasons why the Resident Evil franchise sucked – The Resident Evil film franchise finally ended in 2017 and I took a look at why other than the first one, it was generally a poor franchise.

I don’t want to be eaten by a cannonball! (character mistakenly says cannonball instead of cannibal)

Year Released : 2014Untitled
Director : Ian Kessner
Cast : Sarah Fisher, Jesse Camacho, Elise Gatien, Justin Kelly, Stephan (no, not Stephen) James, Eve Harlow, Lanie McAuley, Alexander Calvert, Kendra Timmins, Robert Patrick and Mark Wiebe

The 1980s was arguably the best decade for horror in the history of cinema. During that time period you had films such as The Fly, The Thing, the franchises of A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween and Friday 13th, An American Werewolf in London, the Shining, Evil Dead, Gremlins, Aliens and many more. No decade has put out hits in the genre as consistently as the 1980s and there has been something lacking from horror films since then….but then I saw that there was modern day horror film that has been shot in the same style as an 80s horror film.

As I have mentioned in previous reviews of horror films, modern day films from the genre have become predictable and tired, so it’ll be interesting to see if a film that boasts to be a homage to films of arguably the best era of it’s existence. It won’t be the first time that a film has tried to resemble one from yesteryear, with arguably the only decent conversion in recent years being Planet Terror.

Plot

Whilst attending their school prom, a group of students steal one of the buses in order to go to the cabin of Adrienne (Timmins), a social outcast that is attracted to Sean (Kelly), the school’s football star. Their plan is discovered by the strict vice-principle (Patrick), but he is unable to stop them in time and they set off.

All appears to be fine as they approach Adrienne’s cabin before the engine spontaneously stops working. Whilst some of the group go off to find a telephone, the rest stay in the bus and the relationships between them develop, including Adrienne’s aforementioned attraction to Sean. The group is soon reunited and decide to take shelter in a nearby abandoned house. Whilst exploring they discover a wall made of human skin and bones, and it turns out that the house is that of the infamous Joad family. The Joads were a bunch of cannibals that were believed dead, but it turns out that the son survived a shoot out with the local sheriffs several years before.

Whilst trying to make it obvious to Marilyn (Harlow) that he is attracted to her, Tobe (Camacho) loses his glasses and he is soon captured and is used as bait by Junior Joad (Wiebe). Whilst running to save Tobe, Junior suddenly appears to the rest of the group and starts killing them off one by one, but could the vice principle prove to be the group’s saviour after he tracks them down?

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So just a gimmick or a genuine attempt to pay homage?

In many ways it’s both, it is definitely a gimmick and not one that I can see taking off…..but I would like it to. I genuinely liked Lost After Dark and it was definitely a throw back to the better slasher flicks of the 1980s.

The film is nearly structurally identical to a lot of horror films from the 1980s in that it actually spends half of the film developing the character to the point where you care about them. Each of the characters are given a chance to breath and actually let you get to know them. It takes around 45 minutes for the antagonist to be introduced and that’s relatively late for a 85 minute film, but it actually works because of how the characters are introduced and progress.

In that sense I compare it to a film that I have previously reviewed, Andy Serkis’ The Cottage. In many ways Lost After Dark is very similar to The Cottage. Neither introduces the antagonist early but does hint at it very well. I’ve spoken about building your characters, and your antagonist, in numerous times and introducing them when the time is right and Lost After Dark got it pretty much exactly right. It was at the point of the film where introducing the antagonist felt natural and fluid, rather than forced, and that was so refreshing.

Lost-After-Dark

I love films that aren’t predictable and therefore keep you interested, and it again feels very representative of films from the arguable golden age of horror films.

What I love about films in the late 70s/80s early is that the characters that survive are never predictable. For example, if you watch the original Alien there is pretty much nothing to suggest that Ripley will the lone survivor until it’s actually the case, mainly because there isn’t really a main character in that film. Seriously, go back and watch it. There isn’t a main character in the film and although it seems strange saying that now after Ripley’s involvement in the three subsequent films, there is nothing to suggest she is the main character in the first. Because of this you care about the whole group instead of just one specific individual.

Whilst Lost After Dark will never be considered one of the greats (and I don’t mean that in an offensive way at all), it repeats that element of seemingly having no main character from Alien and whilst I’m not going to reveal which character or characters survive until the end, there is an aspect to the first death which took me completely by surprise. I won’t go into it because it will spoil it for anyone that wants to watch it, but believe me when I say that you will not see it coming…..and I love when that happens. There were several times in the film where I thought it was going one way and then it swung in a completely different direction.

I mentioned in a recent review for another film (I can’t recall which) that I went to see “The Gallows” recently and correctly predicted five things that would happen in the film, and I hate when films are predictable to that extent. Nothing about Lost After Dark is predictable, especially the deaths. All take you by surprise and I really wish that I could spoil it for you to go fully into it and even better, talking about how visceral and violent some of the deaths are, but I won’t spoil it for you because it would ruin the enjoyment of the film.

My one minor gripe against the film is that it’s so full of stereotypes and there isn’t a lot of originality included within. However, I can cut both a bit of slack when considering the film is inspired by a lot of movies from that 1980s, and it captures the essence of those. If you love slasher films from the 1980s then I think you’ll love this and even though it all feels very familiar due to the stereotypes and relative unoriginality, that familiarity brings a very welcome sense of nostalgia.

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Summary

A great homage to films of the 1980s and I feel very disappointed that, at the time of writing, it only has a rating of 4.7/10 on IMDB, it’s better than that suggests and I really enjoyed it. I think a lot of people gave it a poor review because the style and structure of films from the 80s doesn’t necessarily work with people who were born after the 80s took place. approved

If you’re a fan of all of the films that I mentioned at the very beginning of the review then I think you will enjoy this because it is a tribute done with the right intentions and it’s executed quite well. It doesn’t feel like it’s mocking that era and that is so important when trying to produce a film in that style, and Kessner has achieved that.

When you get a spare 85 minutes, I would definitely recommend Lost After Dark.

 

After finishing part one of my Top 20 films several weeks ago, I finally conclude it with Part 2. Included are some films that probably won’t surprise you as they feature in the top ten list of a lot of people’s favourite films, whereas there are one or two coming that I know you will look at and go “ay?”

By the way, clicking below will take you to our Facebook page. Feel free to like the page and you will get a notification in your newsfeed when a new review or article is published.

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Anyway, onto the list.

Star Trek20108900

Director : JJ Abrams

Cast : Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Eric Bana, Karl Urban, Bruce Greenwood, Anton Yelchin, John Cho,Simon Pegg and Chris Hemsworth

Star Trek, for me, is the best science fiction franchise set in space (and yes, I include Star Wars in that statement). I know a lot of people who read my site will probably have never watched an episode of any of the various series of Star Trek or the films, so many won’t appreciate why Star Trek is a great franchise. It’s one of the few franchises that covers so many facets of life, it can make you laugh, cry, get excited and on occasions, make you afraid. I say afraid because it makes you realise what might be out there and how easily it could overwhelm us.

Despite what I’ve just written, I had never seen an episode of the original series, only watching Next Generation, Deep Space Nine (which was plain awful) and Voyager, as well as the Next Generation based movies, but strangely I got exceptionally excited when I found out that this film would be coming out and I found myself standing at a cinema in May 2009 at just before midnight waiting to go in. At the time of writing, I have seen thirteen films twice at the cinema, but Star Trek is the ONLY film I have ever seen three times (to be fair I worked at a cinema at the time and got in for free).

In 2233 the USS Kelvin is investigating what appears to be a lightning storm in space. A humongous ship emerges from the storm and its captain, Nero (Bana), demands that the captain of the Kelvin goes over for negotiations. When the captain arrives and Nero realises that he has travelled to the past, he quickly kills the captain and launches an all out assault on the Kelvin. George Kirk (Hemsworth) successfully evacuates the ship as his wife enters labour, but he stays behind as he realises that the escape pods wouldn’t be given a chance unless he continues the fight. With every system except for the engines working, George sets a collision course and learns of his son’s birth just before impact. He and his wife debate the name and agree on James just as the Kelvin explodes on impact with the Narada.

22 years later a now grown up James Kirk (Pine) gets into a bar fight after an unsuccessful attempt to flirt with Uhura (Saldana) and her fellow Starfleet officers defend her. The fight is ended when Captain Pike (Greenwood) interrupts and tries to convince James to join Starfleet, giving his father as the perfect example of what could be achieved. Despite his reservations, James agrees to sign up and quickly becomes friends with Leonard McCoy (Urban). After three years at Starfleet Academy, Kirk is reprimanded when he cheats on a test designed by Commander Spock (Quinto) to test potential future captains.

Before the end of his trial, Starfleet receives a distress call from the Vulcan home world and all academy students are sent with ships to investigate. The Enterprise is slightly late due to Ensign Sulu (Cho) struggling to get the engines working, but when they arrive at Vulcan they are greeted with all of the other ships in the form of floating debris and when it clears, the crew lays eyes on the Narada. Nero orders the ship destroyed but stops when he realises it is the Enterprise. He invites Pike over to the Narada and extracts information about Earth’s defence network whilst he is there.

After unsuccessfully stopping Vulcan being destroyed, Kirk and Spock continue to fight about how the Enterprise should act, but with the Narada on the way to give Earth a similar fate to Vulcan, how much time can they waste?

Star Trek is one of the few films which I can just throw on and enjoy at any time of the year. It’s just fun and even if you’ve never seen the original television series, like myself, it brings you right into the lives of these characters and you can watch them grow, even in just this one movie. As I mentioned earlier, this is the only film I went to the cinema to watch three times and each time I got something new from it and I was never bored.

The cast does a superb job of playing these classic characters and make them their own. Pine brings a certain level of charm to the character of Kirk, Saldana brings her sex appeal to one of the few female characters in the Star Trek universe that wasn’t afraid to use her femininity to her advantage, Urban makes a brilliantly pessimistic Bones and in many ways Quinto manages to surpass his performances as Sylar in “Heroes”.

Whilst the action might be a bit predictable, Star Trek does what the franchise does best and that is making the antagonist more than one dimensional. For example, the aforementioned Star Wars’s main antagonist throughout the franchise is Darth Sidious, but he is exceptionally one dimensional. The main antagonist in Star Trek, Nero, is excellently developed and you feel sympathy for him, understanding why he is hell bent on revenge.

Finally, it gives me great pleasure to share it’s trailer with you. This is the best trailer I have ever seen. I love this trailer and it is definitely helped by the use of the song “Freedom Fights” by “Two Steps From Hell”.

 

The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttonposter

Director : David Fincher

Cast : Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Taraji P. Henson, Jason Flemyng, Jared Harris and Tilda Swinton

I know that there will be a lot of people out there who will look at this and go “really?” I admit that this isn’t an obvious choice for what is a largely forgettable film, but for me it represents an important message and that is appreciate what you have before it’s too late.

Just after the finish of the first World War, Thomas Button (Flemyng) is excited due to the birth of his first son, but when he sees that the child is deformed he takes it to the nearest old people’s home, run by Queenie (Henson). After examination, the baby appears to have been born as an old man. Queenie and her partner name him Benjamin. Several years later Benjamin (Pitt) appears to be a man at the very end of his life. He is unable to walk and his frail frame means that no-one is expecting him to live long, however, one day a fellow resident notes that Benjamin seems to be getting more hair and taller.

Still in his aged youth, Benjamin meets Daisy (Elle Fanning – child, Blanchett – adult) and the two appear to have a good connection. As time goes on Benjamin continues to seemingly grow younger and when he reaches adulthood (age wise), he decides to go out and earn a living. He does this by signing up to a local fishing boat that is run by Mike (Harris). Harris also notes that Benjamin is getting younger but throws it away as his mind playing tricks on his after years of drinking.

After Mike is killed in a battle with a submarine in World War 2, Benjamin returns home and is re-united with the now adult Daisy. Daisy is attracted to Benjamin but he turns down her advances and she goes off to pursue her dreams of being a professional dancer. Several years later Daisy has an accident that rules her unable to dance, but in a reversal of circumstances, she now rejects Benjamin’s advances. Benjamin, now appearing to be middle-aged, starts dating before Daisy shows up and they finally start their relationship.

Despite everything appearing to be happy between them, Daisy is growing uneasy as her body continues to get older, made even uneasier by Benjamin’s continual age regression. Daisy eventually becomes pregnant, leading Benjamin to question whether he will actually be a good parent due to his continuing age regression. Despite Daisy’s insistence that he will be a great father, Benjamin leaves shortly after the birth and goes to explore the world, but when he returns will either be ready for it?

Some people mark the comparison between this and Forest Gump and wonder what the point of this film is, why we should care about Benjamin, I ask the same question with regards to Gump. Both are a life story about a man that has a varied experience, all intertwined with a relationship with a woman with various issues.

I’m not going to go into Benjamin Button as much as I do the other films that have appeared on this list, but the one thing I will say is that the message I mentioned earlier works so well. It makes you realise that time is fleeting and that you should make the most of friends and family whilst you can. In that sense it is an exceptionally sad film and you are with Benjamin throughout his entire life , you see those long term relationships develop, only for the characters then to die.

I also loved the realisation of the character when he is the physical age of late 30s/early 40s and Daisy’s pregnancy. Benjamin thinks he can’t be a proper father to the child because of his issue with aging and he leaves. He’s already in a stressful situation and doesn’t know if he will reach a certain physical age and his reverse aging would stop, or whether it will keep going, and the fear involved in that situation is well played out.

 

The Dark Knighthr_Posters_1

Director : Christopher Nolan

Cast : Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Eric Roberts

Currently ranked Number 4 in the IMDB Top 250, this is a film that needs little introduction, but I’ll give it one anyway. Despite my love for films, there was a time when I only went to the cinema once in an eleven month spell (at the time of writing I am currently on three months since I last went) and when I mentioned this during my interview at the cinema I used to work at, they guessed straight away that it was The Dark Knight.

The Dark Knight is the second installment in Christopher Nolan’s brilliant Batman trilogy and it turned a franchise that was dying into a film that everyone wanted to watch, even those that previously had no interest in any of the characters. Batman Begins did a great job but is nothing compared to it’s sequel, making it one of the few sequels that is actually better than the first film.

Shortly after stopping Dr Crane (Cillian Murphy) distributing his toxin from the first film, Bruce Wayne (Bale) needs to improve his methods and armour to continue fighting the mob. Despite his success, Batman is vilified by the authorities and described as a vigilante. Wayne knows however that he won’t be able to keep this fight up forever and still pictures a life after the city of Gotham no longer needs Batman.

His main hope falls with new district attorney, Harvey Dent (Eckhart). Dent is seen as a saving grace in the city and is loved by everyone who is law abiding, and to make things more interesting, he is dating Rachel (Gyllenhaal, who replaces Katie Holmes), Bruce’s love interest. Harvey manages to get virtually all of the mob sent to prison and Bruce sees him as his eventual replacement as the protector of the city.

Meanwhile, the mob don’t know how to proceed and enlist the help of a man simply called “The Joker” (Ledger). The Joker proves to be more than anyone can handle though due to his unpredictable and chaotic nature. This results in the deaths of many figures in both the mob world and the authorities, including the police commissioner and the judge that sent all of the mobsters down. Harvey Dent narrowly escapes an assassination attempt himself, but it isn’t long before “The Joker” does get his hands on Dent and that will have ramifications for everyone.

The Dark Knight is one of the cleverest films that I’ve seen in a long time due to it’s numerous unique ideas and presentation style. The Batman franchise was dead and buried before the introduction of the more gritty and more realistic style. In the real world it isn’t the case where the “good” guy wins all of the time and the character of the Joker is the perfect example of this.

The Joker is the first antagonist that I have seen for a long time where you genuinely believe that he might win and <SPOILER ALERT FOR THE NEXT FEW LINES> he kind of does. Despite being caught, the Joker succeeds in achieving his goals of proving that anyone is corruptible, even someone who was as seemingly untouchable as Harvey Dent. The Joker is an excellent character because he is pure chaos theory, how can you possibly predict someone that claims not to have a plan?

His character works as a perfect antithesis to Dent’s seemingly incorruptible nature and even when <SPOILER> Batman does eventually capture the Joker, it doesn’t feel like he’s won because of how easily he proved his point and effectively taken everything from Bruce.

With a strong supporting cast and secondary characters that actually contribute to the storyline, this is one of the most well constructed comic book films of all time.

 

The Fifth Element60_26_1330910645_2_the-fifth-element-original

Director : Luc Beeson

Cast : Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman and Ian Holm

I remember first seeing the trailer for The Fifth Element back in the mid-late 90s and it was a trailer with no words in it. It didn’t tell you anything at all about the film and I remember absolutely hating the trailer. I had precisely no interest in watching it and if I’m honest, I can’t recall why I gave it a chance, but I am definitely glad I did.

Sci-fi is already a crowded genre anyway, even in mainstream cinema, but this has always stood out to be as one of the most enjoyable stand-alone films in the genre. It has near enough everything that you could want.

In 1914, a group of aliens arrive at an Egyptian temple to retrieve a weapon contained within a case. They promise to return it when the time is right so that the universe can fight off a great evil. Skip forward to 2263 and the aliens are returning to Earth, but they are intecepted and killed by a group of aliens known as the Mangalores, hired by Zorg (Oldman). The only thing that survives is a hand.

A group of scientists come into possession of the hand and recreate who it belonged to using rebuilding technology. After a lengthy process, the smoke clears to reveal a naked woman named Leeloo (Jovovich). Not speaking English, Leeloo panics and bursts through the wall and falls several thousand feet before crashing into the cab of Korban Dallas (Willis). After initially refusing, Korban decides to hide Leeloo.

Korban takes Leeloo to Father Vito Cornelius (Holm) and it emerges that Leeloo is infact the weapon that can be used to kill an evil force intent on killing the universe. To become the weapon though, Leeloo must find the four stones that were enclosed in a case with her during transport and after Korban’s former military colleagues rig a radio contest, they set out on a luxury cruise, the rumoured locations of the stones, but will Zorg get there first?

The Fifth Element is a strange film in many (good) ways and is certainly one of the more unique science fiction films that you’re likely to see. As I mention earlier it is everything that you could want in a movie as it has a vibrant environment, a decent storyline, comedy, action, adventure and romance. It could easily fit into so many genres that it is hard to pinpoint it down to a specific genre.

It is also unique in the sense that it is the only film that I can think of off of the top of my head where the protagonist and antagonist never actually meet. Oldman and Willis are never in the same room and don’t directly communicate in anyway. In the eighteen years since this film was released I don’t think I have seen another film that has a protagonist and antagonist that never meet.

Oldman in particular is exceptional in this film. His performance as Zorg is far different from anything you will have seen him as before, helped by the unusual appearance. I would classify the character of Zorg as a fun antagonist, he is one that you can actually enjoy watching and although the accent takes some getting used to, it’s hard to not relish Oldman’s performance as the charismatic sociopath.

Infact, my only negative in the entire film is the character of Ruby Rod, played by Chris Tucker. You know you when you get a character in a film and they are portrayed and written in such a way that you shudder every time they appear on screen, such as a Jar Jar Binks or any character portrayed by Dakota Fanning? Yeah, that’s what you get with this character. Fortunately he doesn’t appear until the second half of the film but if you haven’t seen this before then I would recommend bracing yourself.

Even though it is now 18 years old, The Fifth Element has aged exceptionally well and is one of the more graphically pleasing films of the 1990s, right from the futuristic look to Milla Jovovich’s bright orange hair.

 

The Flythe_fly___poster_remake_by_stevenandrew-d5hfzfh

Director : David Cronenberg

Cast : Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis and John Getz

Dubbed one of the best ever remakes (and not the last one that will appear on this list), The Fly is an all time classic in the horror genre. If I had to rank all of these top 20 films in order of preference then The Fly would definitely be Top 5, possibly even number three.

Veronica (Davis) is attending an event run by Bartok Industries, hoping to find her next big story for her magazine. After almost giving up, she runs into Seth Brundle (Goldblum), a somewhat socially awkward, but rather brilliant scientist with some interesting ideas and theories. Goldblum reveals that Bartok let him do all of his work at home and he invites Veronica to view it. Veronica is intrigued enough to accept.

Once they arrive, Veronica is initially unimpressed until Brundle reveals three pods and that they are teleportation devices. Brundle proves this by teleporting various objects from one side of the room to another and Veronica agrees to cover his story. The only issue with Brundle’s technology is that is can’t transport living flesh. After several weeks of working on it, Brundle finally figures out what was missing and decides to send himself through as the test subject.

At first everything seems fine. Brundle and Veronica have started a sexual relationship and with a sudden burst of increased stamina, speed and strength, Brundle is convinced that the machine takes whatever is put in it and makes it better. However, after breaking a guy’s arm in an arm wrestling contest, Brundle goes home and notices physical changes, such as various patches of stiff hairs appearing on random locations on his body, acne breaking out, his finger nails coming off and his tooth coming out with practically no effort.

Brundle begins to research what has happened and only then discovers that a fly had flown into the pod at the same time and the two were now merged at the genetic level. Further research shows that the merging at the genetic level means that Brundle is slowly becoming a human/fly hybrid and only has a certain about of time left before it’s too late to do anything.

Jeff Goldblum gives a career defining, tour-de-force esque performance as Seth Brundle and it is almost criminal that he wasn’t nominated for the Best Actor academy award that year. The academy rarely gives the horror genre any nominations but to say that Jeff Goldblum wasn’t worth a nomination, at the very least, is purely farcical.

Goldblum’s portrayal as Brundle, especially the character’s desperation towards the end, is one of the best performances in any film that I have ever seen. The character effectively goes through the stages of denial and you’re with him all of the way, you feel everything that the character feels, with the exceptional of a leg bursting through your stomach, and Cronenberg tells the story brilliantly.

Let’s not make any bones about it though, this is a sad film and never more so than the final scene when <SPOILER> Brundlefly is fused with the door to a telepod, crawls out of the other telepod and holds the shotgun to his head, and Veronica’s despair leads you think he will have to live the rest of his life in this miserable existence, only for Veronica to then pull the trick and put him out of his misery. It is a truly emotional scene.

I don’t often do this but here is the final scene just so you can see the level of emotion involved on so many levels. It includes the final transformation into a human/fly hybrid, Veronica’s fears as he tries to force her to fuse with him and the subsequent ending that I just mentioned.

The amazing part about the whole thing is that it’s a relatively simple film in terms of it’s set it. Although it’s not the only set, the vast majority of the film takes part in the apartment and this gives a greater inside into the mental descent of the character. When you first join him his apartment is ridiculously tidy, but as time goes on and his body transforms even more, tidiness goes out of the window.

It doesn’t go overly complicated like most horror films do these days and in many ways that it is why it works. It never tries to jump-scare you and there are no genuine scares through the entire film. The horror of it all is the situation that Brundle finds himself in and the emotional struggle of dealing with it all.

If I was to recommend one horror film to you then it would be this,

 

The Lord of the Rings : The Fellowship of the Ring

lord-of-the-rings-1-the-fellowship-of-the-ring-movie-poster-2001-1020186895

Director : Peter Jackson

Cast : Elijah Wood, Sir Ian McKellan, Viggo Mortensen,  Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Sean Bean, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving

Despite being a nerd, I am not going to lie, I’d never heard of Lord of the Rings before it came out in 2001, and to put that in some sort of context, I was 17 at the time. I had briefly heard of Gandalf in an episode of Friends, but it wasn’t put in any context and therefore I never made the connection until 2001.

Now, 14 years since the release of the initial film, the cultural impact of this franchise has been immense. It is one of the most successful franchises of all time, even taking into account the poor prequel trilogy (fancy that, a prequel trilogy being poor).

Gandalf (McKellan) arrives in the Shire to celebrate the birthday of his beloved friend, Bilbo (Holm). Upon meeting him he realises that Bilbo, despite being well into his hundreds, still looks like a man in middle age and this takes him by surprise. After an enjoyable party, Bilbo intends to disappear without trace due to his wanderlust, but he is stopped by Gandalf as he realises that Bilbo has something that he shouldn’t. After successfully convincing Bilbo to part with his ring, Gandalf discovers it is the ring of the long dead Sauron, an ancient enemy to the free people of the world.

Gandalf enlists the help of Frodo (Wood) and Sam (Astin) to take the ring to the town of Bree. Family members Merry (Monaghan) and Pippin (Boyd) join in but they soon find themselves being pursued by clocked men and they are only saved from certain death at the last minute by Aragorn (Mortensen), a man that they met at Bree after Gandalf failed to show up. Gandalf had been imprisoned by his senior wizard, Saruman (Lee), who has now joined Sauron’s ranks as he looks to take over Middle Earth again. Gandalf eventually escapes and meets the group at Rivendell.

After lengthy discussions about the fate of the ring, it is decided by Elrond (Weaving) that it can no longer stay in Rivendell. The plan is to take it to the volcano where it was initially forged and destroy it once and for all. Frodo volunteers to take the ring, eventually joined by his original group of Sam, Merry, Pippin, Gandalf and Aragorn, as well as Boromir (Bean), Gimli (Rhys-Davies) and Legolas (Bloom). The group is quickly dubbed the Fellowship of the Ring and sets out to destroy the ring, but they are quickly taught how difficult it will be to destroy it as they encounter trolls, ancient demons and a giant squid in a lake.

Out of all six of the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit films, this is comfortably my favourite as it puts into perspective just how large this world is that the characters are in. It encompasses so many different settings and environments that you are constantly in amazement of the scale of it. For example, it starts off in the relatively tranquil Shire, then moves onto the dangerous wild, the luxurious Rivendell, a mountain, a mine and a large wooded area, amongst others.

The reason I have chosen this over the others is that I didn’t actually enjoy Two Towers that much and whilst it’s good, I feel that Fellowship of the Ring is just a more enjoyable experience because it sets up the world so well. I know that three hours doesn’t sound like a short amount of time at all, but when you take into account the scope of it and that they don’t even arrive in Rivendell until after the hour mark, it makes you realise that they did well to fit the entire first book into such a short film, rather than the Battle of the Five Armies, in which they managed to drag five pages out for 2 and a half hours (and it showed).

Arguably my favourite section of the film comes from what is effectively just two pages in the book and that is when the wraiths are relentlessly pursuing Frodo. The description is so vivid in the book and draws you in, and Peter Jackson captures that seemingly effortless and you genuinely feel that the wraiths are unstoppable, an image that is ruined later on in the franchise when they are scared off by Gandalf shining a light in their face.

Whilst not my favourite fantasy/adventure film, you can’t go wrong with a bit of Fellowship of the Ring.

The Prestige

the-prestige.14577Director : Christopher Nolan

Cast : Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, Andy Serkis, David Bowie, Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson

I’m not going to lie, this is only in the list as a filler really. Whilst it is a film that I really like, I have mentioned previously that I only had 17 or 18 of my Top 20 and used the other two spots as filler, and this is one of them.

I have seen the Prestige on precisely three occassions but when I was going through my DVD collection, out of those that weren’t in the definites, this was probably the film I enjoyed the most, hence it’s appearance.

Alfred Borden (Bale) and Robert Angier (Jackman) are good friends that share a mutual respect in their chosen field of magic. Both are highly talented and regarded as the best magicians in the world, however, their friendship ends when a trick involving Angier’s wife goes wrong and she drowns, with Angier blaming Borden for what had happened as he had tied the knot that she couldn’t escape from.

When Borden finds love and has a child, it angers Angier and he purposefully rigs a trick of Borden’s to backfire, costing him two fingers. In response, Borden sabotages on of Angier’s tricks, causing harm to an audience member and damaging his reputation. When he goes to retaliate at a show, Angier is left astounded by Borden’s new trick, The Transported Man. Borden enters a door at one end of the stage and exits another door at the other end instantaneously. Angier refuses the theory of it being a double due even the smallest details being exact.

Angier takes the trick and turns it into his own via the help of a doppelganger (also Jackman), but he has trouble keeping control of him due to his alcoholism. Despite it being a success, Angier is driven to the point of madness as he can never receive the applause of the audience, and his obsession with finding out how Borden did it without a double. He soon meets Tesla (Bowie) and the two work together to create “The Real Transported Man”, but to what lengths is he willing to go to prove himself the better man to Borden?

Out of all of the films in my Top 20, it’s safe to say that The Prestige has more twists and turns than any of the others, it is remarkably complex and you really have to pay attention for it all to make sense. Even at the when, when you think you’ve seen the major twist, along comes another one and that is one of the reasons I really like this film. It’s not until the credits start rolling that you can be entirely sure of how it is actually going to end.

When the final twist does come around, you realise just how intricut and clever the twist is. I’m not going to reveal what the twist is here but it works so well and the most impressive thing is that has been in your face from the beginning. It’s not like the twists of Fight Club or the Sixth Sense where you have to be paying a ridiculous amount of attention throughout to have honestly figured it out before it’s revealed, you have virtually no chance of figuring it out.

Ultimately The Prestige is a film about obsession and how it can drive you to do outrageous things, and the way that Angier’s character develops in that sense is very intriguing.

 

The Thing (1982)

89137898Director : John Carpenter

Cast :Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Donald Moffat and Keith David

Whilst The Fly regularly tops lists of the top 10 horror films of the 1980s, The Thing, which is also a remake, regularly finishes Number 2 and again, if I ranked all 20 of these films from 1 to 20, there is a very realistic chance that this would be Number 4.

This is the only film out of this list of 20 films that is actually older than I am, coming out two years before I was born, and despite it not really holding up that well, it still works remarkably well as a horror film because it gets the basics right. It doesn’t try the ridiculous scares today, doesn’t reveal who has been taken over by an alien before the rest of the characters find out and even the ending leaves you constantly guessing.

It appears to be a normal day at an American research station in Antartica until a dog approaches the site, pursued by a helicopter that is shooting at it. The group quickly kills the men in the helicopter and put the dog with it’s own dogs until they can figure out what happened.

The group, led by MacReady (Russell) decide to go to the local Norwegian camp to see what would provoke such a seemingly random attack on an animal. Once there they discover that the Norwegians had found alien life and they take the remains back to their own base.

At first everything seems fine but they soon find the original dog has transformed and is slowly killing the other dogs. Childs (David) kills the alien with a flamethrower and in the autopsy, Blair (Brimley) realises that the life form is able to create an exact copy of, and replace, a living creature perfectly. This is soon evident as the group soon finds Bennings trying to escape camp whilst partially transformed. At this point everyone in the group knows that any number of them could have been overtaken by the alien life form and paranoia sets in. How long can any of them survive before the life form catches up with them?

Even now, 33 years after the film was released, it is still not entirely clear at the end whether some characters were aliens or not. Whilst you could argue that this has been answered in the game, it has been confirmed as not being canon and that is a relief. The final scene, as in the very final scene, is precisely what a final scene should be in a horror film, leaving you doubting everything. You genuinely don’t know whether all the surviving characters are human, aliens or a mixture, and nor do the characters.

I mentioned it briefly in the introduction that it doesn’t reveal who is an alien until the rest of the characters find out and this works perfectly on so many levels. The film leads you down the path to believing that a character might be an alien before it turning out that they aren’t, and vice versa. In contrast to the prequel a few years ago, you don’t see outright that characters are human or alien until the film needs them to be. Whilst not an awful film, The Thing (prequel) loses this as it shows a few characters not necessarily getting infected, but in situations where infection would be virtually impossible, and in this sense it ruins it somewhat.

There is a genuine sense of isolation in this film due to not only the setting, but also the destruction of any means of getting off of the site. The characters are trapped there as going out into the ice wastelands of Antarctica with no method of communications or transport would effectively be suicide.

With an extremely effective, yet simplistic soundtrack, it’s hard not to get drawn into the atmosphere of the film.

 

Troydownload

Director : Wolfgang Peterson

Cast : Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Diane Kruger, Brian Cox, Sean Bean, Brendan Gleeson, Vincent Regan, Garrett Hedlund and Peter O’Toole

Troy is another one that I suspect a lot of you will look at and go “really?” I’ve mentioned a few times on this website that I love Greek mythology and if done right, they can be really epic. Whilst a lot of Greek mythology films these days are proving to be less than exciting, such as Wrath of the Titans, the sequel to 300 and several others, it is the ones that are faithful to their source material and don’t try and bombard you with CGI that catches you attention.

With a directors cut over well over 3 hours, this is the longest film by quite some way that features on this list, although I promise that my mini summary at the end won’t be.

After years of war, the Greek countries of Sparta and Troy have finally negotiated peace, so solidify that, princes Hector (Bana) and his brother, Paris (Bloom) have travelled to Sparta. Whilst Hector is everything that a prince should be, Paris falls in love with Helen (Kruger), a woman who just happens to be the wife of the Spartan King, Menelaus (Gleeson). When Menelaus realises that Helen has left with Paris, he pleads with his megalomaniac brother, Agamemnon (Cox) to go to war with him.

Agamemnon’s army sails to Troy and contained within is Achilles (Pitt), widely believed to be the greatest warrior in the world and a man obsessed with being remembered for all of eternity. Whilst he officially fights under the flag of Agamemnon, Achilles shares none of his desires and he is only there to make his name legend.

Outside of the gates of Troy, Paris accepts Menelaus’ challenge for a one on one fight, a fight that the latter dominates. Just as Menelaus is about to strike the final blow, Hector saves his brother and kills Menelaus, sending Agamemnon into a rage and he sends his armies hurtling towards the Trojans. The Trojans make exceptionally light work of Agamemnon’s men before Odysseus (Bean) convinces him to retreat. As time goes on it becomes evident that despite travelling in great numbers, Agamemnon’s army are no match for the Trojans, but an early morning attack results in an unexpected death that will change the course of the war.

Now again, I know that some of you will be puzzled as to why I actually like Troy and for me it is simple, it doesn’t hold back. Too many films, especially ones that only get a 15 rating in the UK, try and hold back, but this definitely doesn’t as it is full of blood spurting out all over the place, realistic tactics from that time period and the way that the soldiers treat the women towards the end are just a few examples of this.

With one of the best ensemble casts that you will see, with the majority having established careers long before this came along, it’s hard not to enjoy this because it is acted exceptionally well, especially Brad Pitt in the role of Achilles. Brad Pitt has featured several times on this list and he revels in the role of the great anti-hero, a man who will happily desecrate a temple and kill all of it’s priests, but then show mercy towards Priam, the ruler of Troy when he comes begging for his son.

Even though the run time for the directors cut is a huge 196 minutes, you never really feel like you’ve been sat there for that long as it is well paced and the battles, whilst not exactly long, keep you drawn into the action and it is hard to take your eyes away. It sticks to historical accuracy pretty well, even to the point where it’s annoying, in other words the woman screaming like a beached whale when there is a funeral.

Out of all of the Greek mythology films, if you’re looking for the most accurate then I would recommend this.

 

 

Willowdownload (1)

Director : Ron Howard

Cast : Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Gavan O’Herlihy, Jean Marsh and Pat Roach

During my section on Fight Club in Part 1, I mentioned that my favourite movie was a contest between that and another film, and now we finally arrive at that film.

I can’t recall the first time I ever watched Willow. It is one of those films that has always been there and for a long time it was my undisputed number one, a country mile ahead of everything else, and to this day I still hold it in such esteem. Whilst I was never into George Lucas’ Star Wars, I couldn’t get enough of his and Ron Howard’s tale of hope, courage and defying the odds.

When Bavmorda (Marsh) hears that there is a prophecy of a baby being born that will end her reign of terror, she imprisions all the pregnant women in the land until the baby is born. When the baby is eventually born, a nursewife manages to smuggle it out of the dungeon and she lays it on a bed of weeds before sending it down river. When it eventually settles on a bank it is discovered by two children from a Nelwyn village.

The Nelwyns are a race of dwarves (for lack of better words) and the children are those of Willow (Davis), a pig farmer. Not knowing what to do with a daikini (humans) baby, Willow takes it to the local council and it is agreed that a group of them will take the baby to the nearest daikini crossroads and give it to the first person they see. Upon arriving they meet an imprisoned Madmartigan (Kilmer), a self-proclaimed greatest swordsman that ever lived.

Willow delays giving the baby to Madmaritgan as he doesn’t trust a man who is in prison but anyone else that passes isn’t interested. Willow gives the baby to Madmartigan but he loses her. Willow retrieves her after it emerges the kidnappers worked for Cherlindrea (Maria Holvoe). She tells Willow of the prophecy and that the baby, named Elora Danan, must be taken to Fin Raziel (Hayes), but it’s never that easy, is it?

I will admit that I don’t watch Willow often. infact I very rarely watch it. I think the last time I watched it from start to finish was about 3 years ago when the Blu Ray came out to celebrate the 25th anniversary. But for me you don’t have to watch your favourite films on a regular basis. If you can not watch them for ages and still love them then it show what a good film it is. For example, in my review of films in 2014, I lauded Nightcrawler, saying it was a perfect 10/10 and it even made it into the Top 20 list, but I’ve actually only ever watched it twice. For me Willow is one of those films that you can just sit back and truly enjoy, going on a great adventure.

It is one of the few films in the world that has pretty much everything in it. There’s romance between Madmartigan and Sorsha, there’s science fiction, adventure, action, horror (the Eborsisk and the army being turned into pigs, for example), there’s comedy and even a bit of mystery. There isn’t a single traditional genre that this film wouldn’t fit into and the best part is that for the most part, it hasn’t aged at all. This is partly down to the lack of CGI, which given that it was released in 1988 is not surprising. Near enough every effect, other than the odd one here and there, is practical, and therefore it looks a hell of a lot better.

Willow is a heartwarming story of a family man who just gets pulled into a world that he knew little about before and the bond he develops with everyone around him is wonderful to watch. Warwick Davis’ performance is charming and memorable. At the time he was only 18 years old and yet pulled off such a magical and believeable performance as a man with children who are at least four or five. He is joined by Val Kilmer. Kilmer is nearly perfect in this film as the antihero who becomes an outright hero towards the end, and his journey from a prisoner to what he ends up is absorbing.

I can’t speak highly enough of Willow and I would gladly watch it over any of Lucas’ other films.

Also, you may notice that I have included the trailer for the Blu Ray rather than the original and the reason is that it’s just a better trailer.

I can feel myself changing!

Year Released : 2014Clown_(2014_film)_poster
Director : Eli Roth
Cast : Andy Powers, Laura Allen, Peter Stormare and Christian Distefano

It’s not often that I write a review for a film which has only just come out, infact, I think only once have I wrote about a film that has been at the cinema within the last month and that was the excellent Black Sea, a film that made it into my top ten films of 2014. Could “Clown” continue that trend?

I’m not going to lie, I had no intention of seeing this film, none whatsoever, but what convinced me was when Eli Roth described it as being similar to the classic 1986 horror “The Fly”and that’s a pretty bold claim from a director that has been exceptionally hit and miss throughout his career, leaning very much to the latter. The Fly is arguably my favourite horror film and to even start comparing a new film to that is almost certainly going to lead any film to a comparison that it’s not even going to stand of chance of winning.

I tend not to find horror films scary anyway, infact I think I have actually only ever seen ONE horror film that scared me, Psycho 2, and I was probably only about 12 at the time. As I mentioned in a previous review horror movies treat fans like idiots these days and for once, instead of me moaning about  horror films and how crap they are, I am going to leave a video just below from my favourite Youtube based film reviewer, Chris Stuckmann, as he delves into the problem with horror movies today.

I’ve been subscribed to Chris for around a year now and his videos inspired me to start writing reviews, I wouldn’t be here writing a review for a film that I had no intention of watching otherwise. Chris has a unique way of reviewing films and that’s why I enjoy watching it so much, and his hilariousity reviews are just insanely funny. Once you’ve finished with my review, go and check out Chris’ channel.

Anyway, onto the review….

PLOT

When Meg (Allen) receives a phone call to confirm that the clown for her son’s birthday party won’t be able to make it, she phones her husband Kent (Powers) to see what they can do. Whilst searching for something to entertain the kids, Kent finds an old clown outfit and decides to wear that. After an exhausting day he falls asleep with the clown suit still on.

Several hours later he awakens to find that he can no longer remove the suit, wig or nose, all of which appear to have embedded themselves into his skin. They do eventually get the nose off, whilst taking half of Kent’s nose with it, but soon Kent starts displaying odd behaviour before going into hiding.

Confused, Meg seeks out Karlsson (Stormare), a man who managed to somehow escape the clown suit. Karlsson reveals that it is not actually a clown costume, but rather the skin and hair of an ancient demon that possesses and transforms the body of whomever is wearing it. Meanwhile, Kent’s continued transformation includes an appetite for young children.

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So…..

I’m going to start off by referencing something that I mentioned in the opening section and that is Eli Roth comparing this film to “The Fly”. Roth said about his film “It’s new territory to make this a version of The Fly, where this guy can feel himself changing, blacking out only to find blood all over his clown suit. You’re sympathetic toward a monster until the monster actually takes over.”

That is about as far from accurate as you can get because the film is nothing like “The Fly”. You can’t compare the character of Kent to the character of Seth Brundle and say that you feel the same about them. There is a fair chunk of “The Fly” where you get to know Seth Brundle before he even begins his transforming. The horror in “The Fly” works because you can do a decent comparison between pre-Fly Seth and BrundleFly, you can tell how desperate he truly gets to be human again, including being willing to risk the life and happiness of his girlfriend, and more his change in attitude towards animals (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve seen the Monkey-Cat deleted scene).

clown-trailer

Kent is nothing like that. The first time you meet Kent is when he is finding the suit and that comes in the first few minutes. There is no build to his character, he’s just there and in a clown suit. You don’t really get to know anything about him, his relationship with his family or even get the chance to compare him pre-suit to when he starts changing. The only real positive character trait that you can give him is that he does like to make sure that his son has a good birthday, but other than that there is virtually no development of his character. He actually really bland. I found it hard to connect with him as a person.

He certainly isn’t alone in that though, none of the characters are particularly interesting and you never really feel sympathy for any of his family as he’s chasing them as neither Meg or Jack are particularly well acted, and the only actor who has even some semblance of credibility to his acting was Stormare, who had an exceptionally rare outing as a protagonist. Stormare is a very typecast actor and I can’t recall ever see him not playA  an antagonist before, so it was nice to see some versatility.

In terms of the horror, there isn’t really a lot going on to be honest. Right up until the final scene, that isn’t a lot going on that can even be deemed particularly unsettling as the full transformation has taken over Kent’s body. There is one scene that I did like and that’s when Kent is driving along and whilst being attacked, his feet grow to the point where his shoes burst open and his index finger grows to unnatural proportions (although they are really short again seemingly immediately following), that is a bit unnerving but doesn’t move beyond that.

There is a scene set to within an tube system that you see at activity centres for kids but the horror feels more forced than anything as you know that something is in there and inevitably the kid will find it and die. There’s no genuine tension there and I’m not going to lie, the only horror they’ve seemingly tried to do is try and make those that are terrified by clowns terrified by the very thought of being forcible transformed into one, but it’s a flawed concept due that most people who are afraid of clowns, aren’t actively going to watch a film about clowns.

It’d be like being afraid of the dark and then destroy everything that gives off light in your house, or being afraid of heights and then going on a rollercoaster without the safety contraptions done up. If you’re afraid of clowns then chances are that you’d be scared whilst watching this, but if you’re not then you won’t be because there is just no horror there for the vast majority.

You know what? I’ve been writing this review on and off for two days now and in that time I haven’t thought of a single positive to say about it other than one or two fleeting moments, such as the scene in the car. I would say it was crap, but it is disappointing.

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Summary

A horror movie without scares is something that I could overlook, but Eli Roth comparing it to The Fly was outright farcical. I could forgive and overlook that this isn’t a particularly good horror movie had it not been for him mentioning The Fly, but he had to do it. I’ve seen a lot of horror films that were crap, but none of them had the nerve to compare them to any genuine horror movie.

Even if Eli hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t be giving this film a positive review. Based on that it’s supposed to be a horror film, there’s no actual horror involved unless you’re afraid of clowns, but if you’re afraid of clowns you are exceedingly unlikely to watch this in the first place. There’s little character development, the acting is bland and worst of all, they do a poor job of convincing me that I should really give a shit that this guy is going through this because everything feels forced.

Unusual form, a mystery. You take the audience by the hand, and you lead them… in the wrong direction. They trust you, and you betray them! All in the name of surprise.

Year Released : 1982download
Director : David Greene
Cast : Robert Preston, Jeff Goldblum, Patrick Macnee, Lawrence Pressman, Madolyn Smith-Osborne, William Russ and Lynn Redgrave

One of the biggest joys I can get from a film is when I am expecting it to be crap and it turns out to be just the opposite. It’s something that doesn’t happen often in films. When I think something is going to be awful, it usually turns out to be the case.

The reason I didn’t expect a lot for this is that it was part of a boxset of 10 “thrillers” that I found located on my dad’s DVD self. Typical when a film is located in a boxset like that, especially when it’s two DVDs to a single disc, it’s not going to be good. Infact the only reason I got even slightly interested was because it said that Jeff Goldblum was the main star, and as he is one of my favourite actors I thought that it would be good to see his earlier work. It turns out that Jeff Goldblum isn’t the main star at all in this film and whilst he is in it throughout, he’s barely involved in the story until the last 20 or so minutes.

However, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a mystery style film where you didn’t know throughout the entire film who it was, or weren’t given strong hints as to who it was, so I was genuinely pleased when it is eventually revealed who the murderer was, but I’ll get onto that later.

It is also wonderfully obscure, and the fact I’ve had to create my own images to be used below says it all. I apologise for the quality of these images, but trying to get a clean and clear image of the characters was nigh on impossible.

Plot

Following the debut of a new Broadway play, leading lady Monica (Redgrave) is found dead after an apparent suicide, but Alex (Preston) refuses to believe that his fiancee would willing kill herself after they had had a conversation that night about their future together.

One year later Alex has gathered the cast from the original play to take part in what they believe is a rehearsal for a new play, but it turns out that Alex is using this as a way to try and establish who the guilty party is throughout. The cast are less than thrilled by this, each maintaining their innocence whilst under the watchful gaze of Alex and William (Heller), a policeman who himself is convinced it was a suicide.

As the night progresses, the cast become far more agitated as they become increasingly uncomfortable with Alex’s questioning and refusal to accept what they believe is the truth.

RFM-Scene1

So what makes it different from other murder mystery films?

Well as I mentioned above, it’s refreshing for them to not even strongly hint at who the murderer was until the last few minutes of the film. When the killer finally admitted it was them, I was very surprised as there has been no genuine clues up until that point. In a lot of other films like this, or at least in the same genre, the clues are there throughout and once you know what to look for, it’s obvious, or infact you’re told very early on in the film who the killer is and it takes away the tension. When it was finally revealed who the killer is, I felt a sense of relief of how refreshing it was.

That’s what I felt throughout the majority of the film. I’m not going to lie, I was ready to turn the film off after the first 20 or so minutes because it was so incredibly tiresome and poorly made up until that point that I felt I couldn’t watch anymore, but I did and I was very pleased I did. I was watching this at about 3am and despite feeling tired, I wanted to stick with the film as even though it’s about as basic as it can get in terms of look and feel, I was kept engrossed by what I was watching. As the film went on I found myself getting more and more engulfed by the story and that’s what I want when I see a movie, something that gets me more involved as it goes out.

Despite not being a main character in the film, or even a well known actor at that point in his life (he was only 30 when this film came out), Jeff Goldblum stood out for me. This was four years before what was, for me, his best performance of his career as Seth Brundle in the remake of “The Fly”, but even in this he stands out despite his relatively small role. I’ve been a big fan of Goldblum since first seeing him in Jurassic Park and it this film proved to me how versatile her can be as his role as Leo is this film is far different than anything else he has done before.

Other that Goldblum, the cast is largely unknown, with only sporadic appearances in major films (for example, Heller was in “American History X” as Danny and Derek’s father), but most of them put in very believable performances. Heller himself stands out, especially towards the end of the film when his characters becomes more involved. They are all actors that you could see working in the theatre and I think that is one of the reasons why I think this film is actually a decent one, it’s believeable.

A problem with a lot of films is that the characters are cast with actors that aren’t believable in the role. Sometimes it works, but other times it really doesn’t. For example, below are some actors who played roles that they really weren’t suited for and the film suffers as a consequence (I’m not saying that it’s the only reason it suffers, but you get the idea);

  • Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates in the remake of “Psycho”
  • Kevin Costner as Robin Hood in “A Prince of Thieves”
  • Sean Connery in any film where his character isn’t Scottish due to his refusal to try and hide his accent.
  • Dakota Fanning in War of the Worlds, a film that she near enough single handedly ruins…much like any other film that she is in.
  • Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader in Star Wars Episodes 2 and 3
  • Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, the film itself suggests that they should have hired someone attractive.
  • Jennifer Aniston in pretty much anything she is in, she is truly awful.

I could go on. Anyway, as I was saying, the cast makes the movie and in this instance they relatively succeeded as all of the actors feel like they could easily performance on stage, however, just because they’re believable, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they actually played the character well. Just looking the part isn’t everything and that leads me neatly onto my negatives.

RFM-Scene2

 

I know this was the 1980s, the early 1980s at the that, and actors of that day weren’t like what they are today, but I found Robert Preston’s acting to be terrible. I like a lot of films from the late 70s and early 80s and can’t recall seeing an actor from that period give such a wooden and uncharismatic performance whilst in a leading role. Infact, to give you a comparison to other actors of the time, “The Thing” (one of my favourite horror movies), also came out in 1982 and in that there are actors of a similar age to what Robert Preston was in this, and all of them produce far better performances.  The character isn’t even that boring, but the acting just does absolutely nothing for me whatsoever, it’s terrible.

Another major problem throughout the film is the lighting, or rather the lack there of. Below is a direct screenshot from the film where Robert Preston is facing away from the camera, and most of Jeff Goldblum’s face is obscured the lack of light, and it remains like this throughout. Now, I appreciate that this is realistic of what it’s like in theatres, but even then it’s hard to really tell what’s going on half of the time due to the poor lighting of the film.

A few days before this I had watched Birdman at the cinema, which again is set in a theatre, and there was no issue with the lighting whatsoever, and even though it was 33 years ago, I wouldn’t expect lighting this poor in a film that isn’t a horror film.

rehearsal

Summary

A film that took me by surprise and one that I would recommend. The whole film is on Youtube so you can easily watch it there, and I approvedwould recommend that if you have a spare 90 minutes then you give it a try. Don’t expect anything spectacular, just expect to be entertained for the majority of the film.

Although you may want to turn the film off after the first 15/20 minutes, especially where you are forced to watch Robert Preston’s inability to act, so much to the point where he shows less emotion than Keanu Reeves, I would implore you not to turn it off, sit back and relax.

Now, I normally like to put a trailer at the bottom of my reviews, but as I can’t find on I am just going to put the Youtube video with the entire film up.