Halloween: Resurrection (2002) review

Halloween Resurrection posterDirector: Rick Rosenthal

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Brad Loree, Busta Rhymes, Bianca Kajlich, Sean Patrick Thomas, Daisy McCrackin

“Trick or treat, muthafucka.” (Freddie Harris, Halloween: Resurrection)

Miramax achieved the impossible by taking the flatlining Halloween series and resurrecting it with the back-to-basics Halloween H20.

With Michael Myers relevant and scary again, it was therefore inevitable that another Halloween would come, even though it seemed Myers was well and truly dead after the last film.

How did they manage to bring the pale pursuer back then? Well, I’ll tell you, because I’m nice like that. Continue reading “Halloween: Resurrection (2002) review”

Spirit Trap (2005) review

Spirit Trap posterDirector: David Smith

Starring: Billie Piper, Luke Mably, Sam Troughton, Emma Catherwood, Alsou

JENNY – “It’s a spirit clock. My mum had one.”

ADELE – “So what does it do? Horoscopes or something?”

JENNY – “It’s supposed to be a bridge between our world and the next. It’s a load of crap, really.”

True story: as Billie Piper was flying to Romania to film Spirit Trap, she received a call from her agent telling her she’d just landed the part of Rose Tyler, the assistant in BBC’s reboot of Doctor Who.

Excited, Billie turned to her Spirit Trap co-star Sam Troughton to share her good news. “That’s a coincidence,” Sam replied. “Back in the ’60s, my grandfather, Patrick Troughton, played the second Doctor.”

Interesting stuff eh? Shame they didn’t make a film out of that story instead, because Spirit Trap is a bucket of gash. Continue reading “Spirit Trap (2005) review”

Argo (2012) review

Argo posterDirector: Ben Affleck

Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman

“Okay, you got six people hiding out in a town of what, four million people, all of whom chant “death to America” all the livelong day. You want to set up a movie in a week. You want to lie to Hollywood, a town where everybody lies for a living.

Then you’re gonna sneak 007 over here into a country that wants CIA blood on their breakfast cereal, and you’re gonna walk the Brady Bunch out of the most watched city in the world?” (Lester, Argo)

Regular readers of this site will have gathered by now that I don’t often go for the heavier stuff. Life’s serious enough as it is without having even more terorrism, war and courtroom drama thrust in your eyeholes, so that’s why I’m generally more Motel Hell than Hotel Rwanda when it comes to film taste. Still, I do appreciate a good film no matter what genre, so when Argo gathered a lot of attention at the Oscars I thought “Ar, go on then” (sorry).

Argo pic 1
“Well, it’s a bit too late to learn the script now because we’re actually shooting the film at this moment.”

It’s based on the real-life story of the ‘Canadian caper’, an extraordinary event in which a man was sent into Iran and tasked with getting six American diplomats back to the US while an anti-American revolution was ensuing in the background.

You see, years prior America had been backing Mohammad Reza, an Iranian shah (king) who had made life miserable for Iranians for many years. When the Iranians revolted the shah fled and America allowed him to travel there for medical treatment. Iran wanted him back so the entire country could kick the living pish out of him, but the US refused, so the Iranian people went apeshit, started massive street protests and stormed the US embassy, taking 52 of its workers hostage as they tried to destroy any incriminating files. Continue reading “Argo (2012) review”

Taken (2008) review

Taken posterDirector: Pierre Morel

Starring: Liam Neeson, Leland Orser, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace

“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.

If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.” (Bryan Mills, Taken)

Taken is one of those films that chooses to be completely ridiculous from start to finish, has absurd levels of action, packs plenty of unrealistic coincidences throughout its plot, leaves umpteen gaping plot holes in its wake, then flicks you a folded piece of paper and tells you that it contains information on the number of fucks it gives. Then, when it drives off on its flaming motorbike, you unfold the paper and look inside. It’s blank.

Liam Neeson plays Bryan Mills, a retired CIA agent who’s given up everything he had to move near his daughter Kim, who lives with his ex-partner (played by Famke Janssen). Since he cares for his daughter so much, he’s overly protective of her and as such is concerned when she asks him if she can go on holiday with her friend. Mind you, it’s understandable – she’s only 17 (even though she looks older… mainly because she’s played by a 25-year-old).

Get used to this picture, you'll see it a hell of a lot
Get used to this picture, you’ll see it a hell of a lot

It turns out his suspicions were spot on when, during a phone call to him, Kim is abducted from her French rental apartment by a bunch of Albanians who have dodgy plans for her… I won’t ruin the specifics but needless to say they’re probably fortunate she’s actually 25.

It’s here where things start to get ever-so-slightly unrealistic, as Bryan sends the recording of the phone call to his CIA buddies and finds out the exact region the kidnappers come from. He then heads to Paris to find them, and despite the city having a population of over two million people he finds a lead almost instantly. Continue reading “Taken (2008) review”

House Of Wax (2005) review

House Of Wax posterDirector: Jaume Collet-Serra

Starring: Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Brian Van Holt, Paris Hilton

“It is wax. Like, literally.” (Wade, House Of Wax)

I’ve had my own experiences with real-life atrocious wax museums in my life – the Movieland museum in Niagara Falls springs to mind – but at least I wasn’t turned into a wax model while I was there. Mind you, I’d have probably made for a more accurate Mr T than the one that featured there.

The original House Of Wax (1953) was a cracking, eerie film about an insane waxwork artist (played by Vincent Price) who turned real people into wax models. That concept – humans as wax models – is the only thing other than the title to remain in this remake. What’s been learned in the ways of suspense and film-making in the 52 years between each film? Not much, it seems.

I'm sure you can make up your own joke here about Paris Hilton getting a big rod shoved through her
I’m sure you can make up your own joke here about Paris Hilton getting a big rod shoved through her

The 2005 version of House Of Wax starts off, as so many generic teen horror films do these days, with a bunch of annoying students on a road trip. This time they’re heading to “the biggest football game of the year” (because presumably “The Superbowl” was trademarked) and decide it’s best to cut through the countryside roads to get there. As night draws near, they decide to camp out in the middle of nowhere.

Except it’s not quite the middle of nowhere because there’s an odd town nearby with a waxwork museum as its main highlight. When the group wake up the next morning and find the one of their two cars has been sabotaged they split up – some of them take the working car to the football game, the others stay behind to try and fix the car, ultimately finding the creepy town and House Of Wax in the process. Continue reading “House Of Wax (2005) review”

Snakes On A Train (2006) review

Snakes On A Train posterDirector: Peter Mervis

Starring: AJ Castro, Julia Ruiz, Giovanni Bejarano, Al Galvez

JULIO – “I respect the old ways and the power of your spells but she needs to see a doctor. Someone who can take an x-ray or a blood test. It could save her life.”

BRUJO – “She has snakes. There is no doctor who will see this.”

This is another film from The Global Asylum, the shameless film “studio” who quickly writes, casts and shoots a cash-in film every time a “proper” popular film is released.

They then stick their shoddy alternative in video shops up and down the country, making their money off dopey sods who think it’s either the actual big-budget film it’s aping or some kind of official spin-off or sequel. And people like me, of course, who watch them because we know they’re rip-offs and are likely to be tremendously bad. Safe to say, Snakes On A Train didn’t disappoint.

Snakes On A Train
“Sir, please put your snakes in the overhead storage compartment. Sir, you’re blocking the aisle. Don’t be an arse, sir.”

I’m going to attempt to relay the plot to you, but forgive me if a few things are lost along the way because it’s truly a bizarre story. Some guy and his girlfriend sneak their way onto a train and hide out in the cargo hold. His girlfriend is extremely ill, because a curse has been put on her, a curse that somehow led to a load of snakes hatching inside her stomach.

Once they get on the train her boyfriend starts the ritual to cure her but things go a bit tits-up and the snakes get loose on the train, meaning its cast of irritating passengers has to start working (mostly) together to sort the situation out. Continue reading “Snakes On A Train (2006) review”

The Diary Of Anne Frank (2009) review

The Diary Of Anne Frank coverDirector: George Stevens

Starring: Ellie Kendrick, Iain Glen, Tamsin Greig, Geoff Breton

“I have often been downcast, but never in despair; I regard our hiding as a dangerous adventure, romantic and interesting at the same time.” (Anne, The Diary Of Anne Frank)

Last month I suddenly had the urge to become more cultured, and so I finally did something I’d always wanted to do – I read Anne Frank’s diary. Far be it for me to criticise such a monumental tome, but I wasn’t completely enamoured with it. Although Frank was an incredible writer for her age, being a young teenager who was naturally unaware of the horrible fate awaiting her the majority of the book consisted of spiteful comments about the people sharing the small annex with her as she, her family and four others hid from the Nazis.

In fact, and I’m really truly sorry for anyone offended by this, but had it not been for the historical importance of the book and the fact that we all knew the atrocious details of what happened to Anne Frank after she wrote her diary, you might be forgiven for not really warming to her, or maybe even thinking she was a bit of a knob.

The Diary Of Anne Frank
It’s difficult writing jokey captions about a film like this. Go on, try it.

This TV mini-series made by the BBC, then, can be forgiven for making use of a little poetic license so that Anne is less like the cold, sometimes spiteful teenager she was in her diary and is instead more amiable and downright charming at times. While there are still moments where she’s a bit of a tit, like when she writes her father a cruel letter or when she dismisses her mother’s offer of comfort, for the most part she’s significantly more likeable than she is in her actual diary. Continue reading “The Diary Of Anne Frank (2009) review”

Not Another Teen Movie (2001) review

Not Another Teen Movie posterDirector: Joel Gallen

Starring: Chyler Leigh, Chris Evans, Jaime Pressly, Eric Christian Olsen

“Let’s make like a tree and… branch. Out of here.” (Austin, Not Another Teen Movie)

Everyone has their guilty pleasures, and Not Another Teen Movie is certainly one of mine.  While there have been countless atrocious spoof movies released over the years following the success of Scary Movie, this piss-take of teen flicks from the ’80s and ’90s is one of those rare few that are actually genuinely funny.

Perhaps it’s because its spoofs are so accurate to the movies they’re parodying, but with jokes not so specific that they’ll be lost on those who haven’t seen these films.

Not Another Teen Movie pic 1
“If this isn’t enough to turn you on, how about if I tell you that in a decade’s time I’m going to be Captain America?”

Or perhaps it’s because both generations of teen flick fans – the ’80s kids and the ’90s kids – are catered for in equal measure. ’80s films like The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Porky’s are imitated to perfection, while ’90s movies like 10 Things I Hate About You, Bring It On, American Pie and Cruel Intentions are also aped. This also extends to the soundtrack, which mainly consists of ’80s songs being covered by modern bands. Well, modern by late ’90s standards. Continue reading “Not Another Teen Movie (2001) review”

Dead Space: Downfall (2008) review

Director: Chuck Patton

Starring: Voices of Nika Futterman, Keith Szarabajka, Jim Cummings

DOBBS – “There’s a lot of blood in this room, but no bodies.”
SHEN – “Sounds like one of your parties.”
DOBBS – “Or your sex life.”

If you haven’t played the Dead Space series of video games you’re missing out on a bunch of petrifying, immersive survival horrors that combine the isolation of outer space with the terror of big bastard mutant alien things. Since the games start with you onboard a ship that’s already been infected with said mutants and had its crew sliced to bits however, it seems there’s a lot of story to be told about how the situation got so messy. Enter Dead Space: Downfall.

A prequel to the original game, Dead Space: Downfall is an animated movie explaining how the SS Ishimura, a mining ship, ends up being infested by the monstrous Necromorphs. After a colony on the planet Aegis VII asks for advice on an alien artifact they’ve found, the Ishimura nips down to the planet and takes it on board. Not before a ship infected with a Necromorph manages to get inside the Ishimura though, infecting the Ishimura with the mutant menace.

"This is the last time I take the bins out on curry night"

The Necromorph virus spreads throughout the Ishimura, turning the ship’s workers into mutants. Predictably, shit goes down and various poor sods end up coming face-to-face with their own spleens. It’s left to a small group of surviving workers to destroy the mutants, save the Ishimura and figure out what the alien artifact is supposed to be.

Of course, this being a prequel to the Dead Space video game, which sees you arriving at the Ishimura and finding everyone dead with Necromorphs still running riot, it should be fairly obvious to most people watching Downfall that nobody’s going to make it out alive by the end of this one. It’s harder then to care much about the well-being of the film’s main characters when you know they’re going to end up pegging it before long.  Continue reading “Dead Space: Downfall (2008) review”

Zombie Strippers (2008) review

Director: Jay Lee

Starring: Jenna Jameson, Robert Englund, Roxy Saint, Penny Drake

“Let’s see if I got this straight. Our best stripper is a reanimated corpse who is feeding off the living flesh of our customers, who in turn reanimate, even if they’re just a fucking head? You don’t see this as a problem?” (Ian, Zombie Strippers)

Usually when a film has such a blatant and exploitative title as this it’s using that title to draw people to a film that in reality can’t live up to the name (hang your head, Alien Terminator). Zombie Strippers however not only successfully does what it says on the tin, but crams so much of both aspects into said tin that you’d need some sort of special spatula device to be able to scoop out the tightly packed contents. What I’m basically saying in a needlessly elaborate way is there’s a lot of zombies in here, and a lot of stripping.

"Stand back, I know CPR"

It begins, as so many zombie films do, with a secret government research facility making an arse of things. They were trying to create a bunch of super soliders that could come back to life after being killed, but naturally what they made instead was a bunch of zombies. After a failed attempt to destroy them, one escapes and makes his way to a strip club where he attacks Kat – a stripper (Jenna Jameson) – and bites her neck out. And if you think I’m going to stoop to the obvious “deep throat” joke there, then I’m frankly stunned.  Continue reading “Zombie Strippers (2008) review”