Ted

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I like Family Guy as much as the next person who watches maybe five episodes a year. It’s fine, the odd piece makes me giggle, and I don’t mind the reliance on the ‘remember the time’ tangent jokes as much as the over reliance on pop culture references. Having seen the trailer for Ted I had no great desire to watch it, but looking for a laugh one night I decided to stream and and hope for the best. I’m glad I did because there are plenty of laugh out loud moments and good performances, and it was a strong outing given the recent dirge of comedy that we seem to be mixed up in at the moment.

I’ve always liked Mark Walberg, I think Mila Kunis is talented, and Seth MacFarlane is the very definition of hit and miss. Ted is clearly more hit – merging the toilet and drug humour with the heart which makes hits like Dumb and Dumber work so well. The difficult trick of making us like these characters is pulled off effortlessly so we have no problem spending a considerable running time with them. Even with the story of a teddy bear coming to life to stay with a child through to adulthood, the plot hits all the notes you’ve seen in every other buddy movie  – the inevitable break-up and recovery for example – but it’s all done with charm and talent. McHale, Ribisi, Minks and others are welcome additions, and all of the Family Guy-esque cultural throwbacks are tied nicely into the plot and the characters. The script allows for lightning fast delivery so that you don’t notice or care when certain jokes fall flat. Crucially, this energy is consistent from start to finish and it never feels like just a collection of jokes or one-liners or a story with the odd laugh thrown in.

Let us know in the comments what you thought of Ted!

USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage

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This should have been called USS Indianapolis: Men Of Cloneage, amirite! Coz they all look the same! Seriously, some of the flaws of this movie could have been avoided if they had simply cast some actors with more distinct faces. Throughout the movie I couldn’t tell who was who, which one wanted to marry the blonde, which one was the thief, which one just got eaten etc. In all seriousness, this is a powerful story, one of my favourite true stories of all time actually, and it deserves to be told well. Unfortunately this film doesn’t deliver – its low budget is very noticeable and negative, the performances are forgettable, and too much of the movie is spent attempting to introduce the characters so that we are invested and affected by what comes later – though these early scenes are horribly and confusingly edited in such a way that it simply becomes frustrating and we lose interest. I found myself sadly thinking, just get to the sharks already.

A bit of a personal backstory. When I was young, one of my favourite books was Maneaters by Rupert Matthews. It’s a collection of true stories based on horrific encounters between people and animals – bear and tiger attacks, snakes, sharks etc. One of the stories was about the USS Indianapolis, and that story makes up the bulk of this film. In 1945, the US Military has crafted a couple of atomic bombs and would like nothing more than to drop them on Japan. The A-Team were several decades away, so they decided to send some of the bomb parts via battleship to The Philippines – a mission so secret only the top brass knew about it. The unlucky ship going on this mission was the ship of the title, knowingly being sent into enemy territory without an escort to defend them from submarine attacks which they could not foresee or withstand. They successfully completed their mission, but on the return journey the Indianapolis was spotted by a Japanese sub who torpedoed the hell out of it. Within minutes the ship was in the water. I can’t recall the numbers, but there were over 1100 men on board, and around 900 went into the water. Stranded, cold, and bleeding, with barely any life rafts and thousands of miles of ocean all around them, things were looking bleak. And then the sharks came. And came. And came.

If you don’t think you know the story, you’ve probably heard it famously delivered by Quint in Jaws, thanks to John Milius, Robert Shaw, and Howard Sackler. Yes, Quint tells Brody and Hooper about where one of his scars came from – after he went into the ocean when the Japanese struck. It’s one of the most famous moments in Jaws, chillingly delivered. One of the first stories I ever wrote featured a character haunted by his involvement and memories of the event. I saw Mission Of The Shark when I was young – a TV movie starring Richard Thomas and Stacey Keach, also based on the event and it was then that I learned about the court case aftermath and the dubious plots. Maneaters you see, only focused on the immediate human event – one man’s recollections of what is was like to be trapped, surrounded, and feeling hope ebb away. It’s then that I thought ‘why doesn’t someone famous and powerful actually make a good movie about this?’ When I first heard about Men Of Courage I hoped that movie had finally come, but as reports about the movie, then previews, then reviews came, my hope ebbed too.

The second half of the film is considerably stronger than the first. I was worried it was going to go downhill due to horrible shark effects, but in most cases the sharks are very good. Am I right in saying some were real too? There were some moments which appeared to be ridiculous and not how sharks would actually behave, but on the whole it was fine. The problem is that this section of the movie felt too short. It was low on tension, there wasn’t much emotion, and by that point I didn’t care about most of the characters or differentiate between them. The movie is basically in three large parts, or five smaller chapters – Meeting the team, the mission, the sharks, the court case, the end. I appreciate the attempts to introduce the characters, but as mentioned it simply doesn’t work. Cage’s Captain is really the only character we care for as he is the focal point throughout the five chapters. Cage’s performance is either restrained or flat – it essentially could have been anyone. I appreciate that when making a film like this, you can’t possibly focus on everyone, but you can give us a subset of characters and get us emotionally invested from the outset – make them likable, or real at the very least. Make them stand out, with their own lives, past, fears, and flaws. I’m repeating myself, but the film tries and fails.

To its credit, the film does also show things from the opposing side. We meet several of the Japanese crew and see them as humans forced into a position no-one would ever want to be in. The film neither shies away from pointing the finger of blame squarely at those who actually were to blame. Even though the film essentially ends on a downer, we get some real life footage of the rescue and brief moments from the remaining survivors and other archive footage to re-iterate the courage of those involved. A little over 300 men survived the ordeal.

There was one fantastic moment late in the shark section where the music swells and the camera swings around some of the survivors in long shots to give an eagle eye view of the vastness of their struggle – we see some in rafts, some dead and floating away, some exhausted and gripping on to what they can, and some simply drifting among the ever present shark fins, past caring that they could be the next to succumb. That’s what I want to see – the real struggle, the real pain, and by virtue of surviving, the real courage.

Let us know in the comments what you thought of USS Indianapolis: Men Of Courage. Did you enjoy it more than you expected to, or was it another poor attempt at telling a tragic tale?

Horrible Bosses

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It’s another BLOKES comedy for MEN with TESTICLES. Following such dubious hits as The Hangover, this film caters to men who like their jokes breast fueled and their films boob filled. As a bloke of some description I can see the merits in these movies, and even enjoy them, but I won’t rave about them like many other critics have. Horrible Bosses is an okay movie with a good cast giving okay performances. There are some good laughs, there’s an okay story, and some stuff happens along the way. Okay?

The story follows three friends – all 30 or 40 something – in dead end (decent) jobs who hate their bosses. They’re just like you! At some point a – ahem – Hitchcockian plan is hatched where they decide to kill their respective bosses. The rest of the film follows various japes in the same vein of all these types of films. It has the same loose vibe as all those other films, not as energetic or youthful as Judd Apetow’s films, and perhaps with not as talented ad-libbing comedians, but upping the world-weary frustration. Some good jokes, some laughs, some entertainment from watching Aniston be slutty, Farrell being weird, and Spacey being Spacey, but beyond that there isn’t much to recommend it. It’s fine.

I guess that’s it.. does anything else need to be said? There’s a sequel which I haven’t seen yet. Type words into the comments!

Project X

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Even quite some time after watching this, I’m in two minds over whether I can truly say I can enjoyed this film – on one hand there are funny and entertaining moments as the party escalates, but on the other it panders so hard to an invented subgroup of humans and is so filled with unlikable morons that it becomes laughably juvenile and worthless. There’s a fine idea here, and I have no issue with that idea being taken to the extreme, but the people involved and the people on screen are people who warrant zero attention.

The film’s formula follows the grand tradition of teens wanting to blow off steam – whether that be getting laid, kissing goodbye to school, having a party, or a combination of these. Two loser friends want to throw a party for their other loser friend whose parents are away for the weekend. Plans are put in place, the party kicks off, shit goes viral, and suddenly half the world has descended on the house, with reporters and cops eventually getting in on the action. It basically boils down to the bizarre logic that if your party is going to get out of hand you may as well make it the most epic party anyone has ever seen.

You see, I’m fine with parties where stuff gets broken, and everyone gets drunk, stoned, and has sex. I used to attend such parties not too long ago. They were fine, but I don’t understand this fascination with the party needing to be big and you needing to be accepted. Why would you want people you don’t like coming to your house? What sort of moron wants validation from people they claim to despise and by people who will never remember you once school ends? Why sell yourself out? I know this is me though, but the idea of all those people and all of that shitty music makes me want to have nothing to do with anyone who does like such things. I’ll happily stay in and read, thanks. You see, I have no problems being a loser or being an actual nerd – you know, a nerd before it was cool to be one.

What was I talking about? Yeah, it’s formulaic but it’s directed and styled perfectly for people who appreciate this sort of thing. It may well be the best movie about party’s ever, at least since Animal House – the difference being that Animal House felt genuinely anarchic, groundbreaking, and was of course funny. This is well-acted to the point that I did genuinely hate these people, and I did laugh a few times, and the sheer spectacle is ludicrous, but all of the bruh-aimed, misogynist, selfish bullshit is just annoying. It’s not like walking by a house or club and seeing the walls pulsate due to the music and energy and life breathing within, it’s creeping past the alleyway where the drunk kid slipping in his own pool of vomit is trying desperately not to shit himself. Who’s gonna clean all this up?

What did you think of Project X? I get it, I do, I’ve done half this stuff, but lets not celebrate it like it’s something worth achieving, m’kay?

Ranking The Bond Girls – The Minors

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Come in, sit down boy, have a cigar, you’re gonna go far… if you read this – do we have a treat for you today yes siree. It’s time to kick back, draw the blinds, and enjoy yourself in a clean and safe manner by reading this list of wicked temptresses and lusty beauties. Our esteemed colleague Mr Bond, Double Oh Matron, has done the Hard work, done all the sweating and heavy lifting if you will, to bring us this list of conquests – women who are merely a footnote in his exhaustive travels, women who can barely even be called real people and in many cases even go unnamed (but not unharmed or unloved). Translation: read my list of the most minor Bond girls – those who may have only appeared in a single scene or had little impact on the plot; it’s really good!

24: Kimberley Jones – A View To A Kill

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80s Computers

Here we go, the lowest ranked Bond Girl based upon my warped preferences. She exemplifies everything that is both wonderful and terrible in the Bond Universe in that she is only there to be fucked. In a very 80’s movie, she is a very 80’s girl with big hair, big smile, and big… personality. She was played by Mary Stavin who also appeared briefly in Octopussy a Swedish former Miss World winner who went on to appear in such classics as Caddyshack II and Alien Terminator. And hey, look! She recorded a ‘song’ with everyone’s favourite Irishman George Best.

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She’s now a Nolan sister, apparently

 

23: Gemma – Quantum Of Solace

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I don’t know who I am either

I’m not even sure what all this lass did in the movie, aside from helping Mathis to help Bond. Yeah, she’s not really a Bond Girl then and shouldn’t really be here but I’ve typed it all now so tough. Anyway, she’s played by Lucrezia Lante della Rovere who is starred in a bunch of Italian movies and TV series.

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My hair is modeled after my earrings

 

22: Marie – Diamonds Are Forever

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Bikinis

Poor Marie goes one better than attempting to flirt with and shag Bond, but gets choked instead – with her own bikini for good measure. And guess what? Denise Perrier, who played the part, was also a former Miss World. My detective skills sense there may be a theme at play….

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G..G…Granny?

 

21: Bond’s Lover/Unnamed Girl – Skyfall

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Sleepy time

As if being fucked and being strangled weren’t enough, this Jane Doe doesn’t even get a name, instead being christened as either Bond’s Lover or the ominous Unnamed Girl. She enjoys a quick romp with Bond and although it is implied that she has had some sort of more meaningful relationship with Bond during his hiatus from MI6 she only appears in one scene and is never heard from again. She was played by Tonia Sotiropoulou who is a model but not a Miss World Winner, and also appeared in the rather good Berberian Sound Studio. 

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Wake up!

 

20: Linda – The Living Daylights

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Bikinis #2

Such is the way of the Bond Universe that most wealthy women lounge about and dream that one day a real man will drop out of the heavens and satisfy their every sordid whim. Bond’s erection hears this call and her drops onto her yacht before dropping his pants. Played by Belle Avery who has appeared in mostly rubbish before becoming a Producer.

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Call me

 

19: Inga Bergstorm – Tomorrow Never Dies

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DON’T call me

Another who is only on screen for a bit of titillation and a good old ‘Cunning Linguist’ gag, she doesn’t do anything but is pretty hot so woo hoo. She was played by Cecilie Thomsen, a model and actress who used to be Bryan Adams’ girlfriend. Great.

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Wrap it up

 

18: Bonita – Goldfinger

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Bikinis #3

Played by Nadja Regin (who had a sort of bigger part in From Russia With Love), Bonita is a minor femme fatale who Belly Dances her way into Bond’s life before being thrown away after Bond spots the double cross. Regin has had a long and strong career as an actress, writer, and publisher.

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One of these could be her. Or maybe it’s a completely random image of two completely random people

17: Zora – From Russia With Love

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You wanna piece of me?

 

You’d assume that as a species we’ve graduated from outdoor cat-fights concerning matters of the heart or loins, but switch on any of those horrible reality shows or daytime chat shows and you’ll realise your mistake. Silly humans, thinking they have evolved. And silly writers, thinking audiences in the 60s would believe two -just-Eastern-enough woman would be rolling around in the dirt and pulling hair just for the opportunity to hope on a shlong. Hmm, maybe those writers knew something we didn’t. Anyway, early Bond movies didn’t think much of women, but look at them tearing off each others clothes – ain’t it hot!? Zora here, was played by Martine Beswick (an English Model and Actress) who would also appear in Thunderball and continue to bit and scratch other women in future movies.

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No

16: Vida – From Russia With Love

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You wanna piece of ME

Vida. She’s the other one. Played by Aliza Gur, a former Miss Israel, who would appear in various minor movies and hit TV shows before seemingly retiring in the early Seventies.

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No

15: Apollo Jet Hostess – Moonraker

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I must break you

We’re only a few (re) entries in, but we’ve already seen quite a bit of sexism and violence towards women. I quite like this nameless character – she has the looks, of course, but there is an air of danger and mystery around her. I like to think she survived the aircraft crash which she instigates, but we will never know. Played by Leila Shenna who appeared in a few French and Algerian movies through the 70s before giving it all up in the early 80s.

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We will never know

14: Chew Mee – The Man With The Golden Gun

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Come in

With a name like that, what’s not to love? We all know it’s hilarious to mock other countries, and even more fun to take their silly languages and fashion pervy names from them; Pee Niss, Jie-An-Tkok, Mam Aree, Phuree Kun’t, and so on. She is an entirely pointless character aside from the cheap name joke – she indulges in some soft pool side flirting, then vanishes from the movie – but we all had a laugh. And we all had a look. Francoise Therry is the actress’ real name and I have no idea where she went.

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Where did I go?

13: Estrella – Spectre

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Don’t leave me!

Appearing only in the superb opening scene to Spectre, she again is only there to remind us that Bond likes having sex with hot women, as if anyone hadn’t cottoned on to this fact yet. For such a minor role Stephanie Sigman is beautiful enough and manages to act in some sort of captivating enough manner for us to remember her – she has already appeared in movies like Miss Bala, and shows like Narcos, so there is every chance for her to go on to a great career. She’s also a beer.

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Blue is a warm colour

 

12: Thumper – Diamonds Are Forever

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Wabbit

Diamonds Are Forever is basically Connery doing Moore – a lot of camp, bizarre humour and wacky characters. Thumper, played by Trina Parks, is partner to Bambi (naturally) and together they act as the elite guards of Mr Whyte. You can’t help but think a couple of pitbulls may have been the better choice, or some dude with a gun, but hilariously they almost defeat Bond with their acrobatic style. Bond eventually gets the better of them and pushes their heads down towards his special area. Parks was the first African American Bond girl I believe, and she was a famous dancer and choreographer who appeared in various other movies and shows including The Blues Brothers.

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Wayhay

11: Bambi – Diamonds Are Forever

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It is unclear who is enjoying it more

Ranked higher than Thumper because she’s hotter and has the better chance to dispatch Bond while Thumper flaps around doing needless somersaults. Played by Lola Larson in what seems to have been her only role – I think she was a former athlete but I can’t be arsed researching further (at all).

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Could be anyone

10: Peaceful Fountains Of Desire – Die Another Day

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Smooth

As the decades passed, we moved on from the likes of Chew Mee and now have named our Asian characters with curious epithets or snazzy translations. Peaceful Fountains Of Desire could almost have been Violent Squirts Of Coitus, but this was unfortunately not considered. Then again, this was Die Another Day so the results could have been much much worse (Painful Anal Expulsion? Nah, too metal). She only appears in one scene – a Chinese Intelligence Officer pretending to be a masseuse, and although it’s all very hot and weird she’s still memorable. Not as much as Brosnan’s beard though. Played by Rachel Grant, who is related to the current British Royal family, she has gone on to appear most famously in Braniac: Science Abuse and a variety of other shows and movies.

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9: Felicca – The Spy Who Loved Me

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Well well…

 

Essentially the same character as Fiona Volpe and whose death is almost identical, Felicca is sent by the bad guys to arouse Bond’s shlong but not his suspicions just long enough for the henchman Sandor to stick a bullet in Bond’s skull. For reasons unknown, but presumably shlong related, Felicca has a change of heart and warns Bond of the danger – she instead catches the bullet and dies. An interesting twist then, no doubt encouraged by Roger Moore whose Bond wasn’t as cold-hearted as Connery’s. Played by Italian actress Olga Bisera, who also founded her own Production Company and appeared in Castle Keep and various Italian movies before retiring in the early 80s.

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Well?

 

8: Cigar Girl/Giulietta Da Vinci – The World Is Not Enough

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Gun

 

Another film, another nameless Bond girl, though this one listed in the credits as ‘Cigar Girl’ is one of the more intriguing pieces of the World Is Not Enough puzzle. She gets a lot of screen time in the pulsating cold open and Bond doesn’t manage to get the information out of her that he needs or get her out of her pants. Cigar Girl continues the grand tradition of the cold-blooded Bond assassin, and leads a merry chase along the Thames until Bond catches up with her in dramatic fashion. It becomes clear that she is more scared of someone else than Bond, but she dies without giving any hints as to who that may be. Maria Grazia Cucinotta stars as the ill-fated lady, an actress, model, producer, and screenwriter who has appeared in many memorable roles ins shows such as The Simpsons, The Sopranos, and Il Postino. 

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Guns

 

7: Irina – Goldeneye

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Miaow

 

Irina is one of many pointless characters in the Bond universe, but by God I love Goldeneye and it wouldn’t be complete without Minnie Driver’s cat strangling. She only appears in a single scene when Bond meets Zukovsky, singing badly in the background. It’s funny. That’s about it really. Minnie Driver is of course an established star in her own right these days, and Goldeneye was one of her earliest big screen performances.

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Purrrr

 

6: Rosika Miklos – The Living Daylights

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What Lies Beneath

 

Rosika is a curious one, a capable ally to Bond, and someone it appears has worked with Bond in the past – at the very least they are aware of each other from some previous occasion. Her looming figure is akin to Brienne Of Tarth, and she helps Bond out early in the movie by throwing around Koskov without breaking sweat. Played by Julie T Wallace, an actress who has appeared sporadically on TV and film in The Fifth Element, Speed Racer, and many British sitcoms.

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Of Tarth

 

5: Ava – The Living Daylights

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‘These guys eat too much red meat’

 

Part of another daring double along with Liz, Ava is a CIA agent who helps Bond out a couple of times during the movie. It would have been nice to see them return for another mission, especially with Felix’s importance in the next Dalton movie. Ava is played by Dulice Liecier, an actress who looked like she was going to be big in the 80s before vanishing – she appeared in shows like Grange Hill and Eastenders as well as singing on Another Brick In The Wall.

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Is There Anybody Out There

 

4: Liz – The Living Daylights

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Hi

 

Part of another daring double along with Ava, Liz is a CIA agent who helps Bond out a couple of times during the movie. It would have been nice to see them return for another mission, especially with Felix’s importance in the next Dalton movie. Liz is higher on the list because she’s hotter than Ava. Liz is played by Catherine Rabett who started out as a successful dancer before starring in You Rang, M’Lord, Doctors, and Emmerdale.

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Eh up, lad

 

3: Martine Blanchaud/Log Cabin Girl – The Spy Who Loved Me

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So… cold…

 

It’s The Spy Who Loved Me again, and that means another woman trying to blind Bond with her boobs until he is killed. She appears (as The Log Cabin Girl) in the opening sequence having sexy times with Bond until he is chased away and down the alps on skis, followed by the KGB until the famous leap off the cliff. In another common theme, Sue Vanner retired from acting in the early eighties, having played in various TV shows such as Minder and Tales Of The Unexpected.

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From Sweden With Love apparently

 

2: Ling – You Only Live Twice

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You Only Appeared….

 

It at first seems like Ling is yet another foul temptress, as she shares a bed and some flirtatious fun with Bond in the opening sequence. It appears she has a hand in killing Bond but surprise surprise he gets to live twice, and Ling was in on the whole thing from the start. It’s all very elaborate and quick, but she’s hot so wayhay to us. Ling was played by Tsai Chin, something of a star in Asia thanks to her many impressive roles over the decades and success as a singer, teacher, writer, director, and stage actress, appearing in things like The Joy Luck Club, Memoirs Of A Geisha, and even 2006’s Casino Royale. 

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…twice

 

1: Madame La Porte – Thunderball

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I See You

 

Appearing only in the famous pre-credits sequence, Madame La Porte helps Bond escape in his souped up DB5 after attending the funeral of a SPECTRE agent with him. She is one of the few minor Bond girls to get involved in the action and get any sort of meaningful dialogue so she seems as good a pick as any to top this list. Played by Maryse Guy Mitsuoko, a strip tease artist and actress who appeared in a handful of spy movies in the 60s before taking her own life in the 90s.

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We’ll see you again

 

Stay tuned for the next exciting installment of this trouser-rupturing series as we meet the likes of the Masterson sisters, Bibi Dahl, and Molly Warmflash!

Grave Encounters

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I’ve never watched any of those Most Haunted type shows but I enjoy a good ghost story, Creepypasta, or shaky cam horror movie as much as anyone, and I’ll forgive any budget, acting, or other concerns if the movie does what it is supposed to – scare. Grave Encounters has a number of issues to be concerned about, but it also has good jump scares, creates some high moments of tension, and is overall a fun time.

If you’ve seen any films like this before then you’ll know the basic formula. A group of people, armed with audio and video (or digital) equipment set out to capture proof of X. A few bizarre and slight events occur at the offset exciting the group, but these events soon escalate until each member is fighting for their life. Grave Encounters is no different in that respect, but it harnesses the ripe for satire nature of the aforementioned Most Haunted shows – shows where self-important and deluded people manipulate themselves and the audience for views. Within this movie, Grave Encounters was one such show; Only five episodes were aired, showing presenter Lance Preston going around various supposedly haunted sites in the USA. Episode 6, we are told, was to focus on the famous Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital (in reality Riverview Hospital – which you’ll recognise from a host of shows and movies). Collingwood has been closed for decades and has always faced rumours and stories about being the most haunted place in America. We meet the crew – mostly charlatans or typical crew members just going about their job as anyone would. After a brief tour and some interviews, the crew are locked in the hospital by the caretaker as night falls.

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Early thrills are by the numbers – doors and windows opening and closing, creepy wheelchairs moving by themselves, strange sounds emanating from the dark corridors. Things soon ramp up when the occult expert Sasha has a brush with something on camera. Freaking out, the group decides to wait for dawn in one room together. Dawn comes and goes, but outside it is perpetual night and all attempts at escape simply lead back to the hospital. It’s at this point where the Vicious Brothers tighten the noose, throwing some inventive scares at us. Many of these are similar to what have been experience on Paranormal Activity but with a greater emphasis on effects and energy. By the film’s end there are some events which hint at time looping upon itself or becoming uncertain, and we get the sense that no-one is getting out.

I had a lot of fun with Grave Encounters; it’s a perfect popcorn horror movie, best experience in a screaming crowd. That said, much of it has been seen and done before and aside from Sean Rogerson as Lance, the cast is interchangeable and unremarkable. Those CG face effects are pretty ropey the first time you see them and you know they’re going to look rapidly more ridiculous as time marches one. But the film has a big bag of tricks which the directors are more than happy to tear open and lob at you as if they are clearing a nursery of grenades. I appreciate the attempt at explanation which hints at a wider story, but the film could have been just as effective with no explanation at all. This is all explored more in the sequel – as are some of the tricks which the hospital or its inhabitants play on those unfortunate enough to enter. I do enjoy films which trick the viewer into thinking there is an obvious escape or solution, only to make it clear to us that the world of the film isn’t playing by our rules – opening a door to find a brick wall behind it, or the rewinding of the camera in Funny Games come to mind. Grave Encounters experiments with these ideas and makes the movie that bit more interesting.

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Horror fans should recommend this as one of the better found footage movies of the recent million or so – it’s entertaining, has a good premise, decent execution, and some interesting ideas. The films moves swiftly, the scares and excitement come thick and fast, and the story leaves room for discussion and further entries. Let us know in the comments if you have seen Grave Encounters and what you thought of it!

Evil Dead

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How many times has the remake versus original conversation taken place over the last few decades, whether over the net with like-minded bloggers or over beers and Scampi Fries with friends? Although the number of remakes in recent years has sky-rocketed to ridiculous levels, the general consensus remains that remakes are generally weaker than the original. We’re not here to discuss that argument today, though feel free to leave your comments on the matter below, but instead we’re simply going to review the film on its own merits as much as possible. This ‘new’ Evil Dead takes the premise to it’s most basic premise – a group of friends are tormented by horrific forces whilst staying in a cabin far from civilization – and dispenses with much of the humour of the originals. It’s gory, it’s grim, it’s great.

You know the original story, right? Group of college kids head off to a secluded cabin for a weekend. Evil Dead takes a cue from its modern gritty brethren and adds a millennial generation twist – one of the friends is an addict (I want to say heroin?) and her friends are taking her out to the middle of nowhere to get clean. That’s a bad idea in and of itself, but we already know from the prologue that things are likely to get worse (the prologue showing a nice bit of capture, setting on fire, and headshots). Before long a certain book is found, a certain verse is read, and a certain ancient evil is awoken. From that point on the film moves at a frantic pace as people are possessed and injured and killed in gruesome ways.

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The cast is a step up from the original, that much is obvious. Sure, we don’t have Bruce Campbell, but we do have Lou Taylor Pucci – a vastly gifted and underappreciated actor, and Jane Levy as the female lead who tows the line between addict, demon, and warrior. The story does try to merge the whole getting over addiction thing with a violent exorcism but lets not pretend we’re here for anything other than blood and guts – the story does what it needs to, removing some of the gaps from the original and adding some emotion and character. What we lose is much of the humour, the slapstick invention – it’s here, but in much smaller doses. It’s a fine balancing act – the original succeeded because no-one has really seen anything like it, but having that mix of comedy and gore nowadays is especially difficult as we have now seen so many attempts at it.

I can see some fans of the original series being too precious to get on board with this remake, but I believe most fans of the original are fans first and foremost because they love horror. This is a horror movie, with all the blood and violence you could hope for, as well as some fairly effective scares. It’s not going to change the world like Raimi’s movies did, but it is going to entertain and gross-out. It’s easily one of the better remakes of recent times and is deserving of your time. Let us know in the comments if you enjoyed this remake or if you feel it is another inferior and needless cash-in.

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What did you think of this remake? Had you seen the original already, or did this make you want to go back and find the 80’s classic? Let us know in the comments!