Showing posts from May 29, 2016

Review: The Curse of Frankenstein

After inheriting his father’s estate, Victor Frankenstein (Peter Cushing) begins experiments on reviving the dead. Despite the protestations of long-time mentor Paul (Robert Urquhart), Victor plans on taking this to the level of reviving a dead human being. This involves the body of a hanged condemned man, as well as finding appropriate body parts like the brain of a mathematician, which he goes to extreme measures to procure. Blackmailing Paul (now essentially his former pupil’s assistant) to help him, Frankenstein manages to indeed create and ‘give life’ to a man-made creature. Played by Christopher Lee, however, this creature proves to be more trouble than Victor bargained. Hazel Court plays Victor’s cousin Elizabeth.   Hammer Studio’s first ‘classic horror’ flick and the first “Frankenstein” movie to be filmed in colour, this 1957 Terence Fisher ( “Horror of Dracula” , “The Mummy” , “Island of Terror” ) version of the Mary Shelley tale, also brought us the first star tea

Review: Maverick

Loosely based on the 1950s Western TV series, Mel Gibson stars as Bret Maverick, a charming but not especially brave gambler who needs to find the funds to make the entrance fee at an upcoming riverboat poker tournament. Unfortunately, a pretty but crafty thief named Annabelle Bransford (Jodie Foster) keeps trying to steal his hard won money at every opportunity. It seems she too needs money for the entrance fee to the poker tournament. Accompanying them throughout the film is straight-arrow, chivalrous lawman Zane Cooper (James Garner, the original Bret Maverick), who doesn’t take kindly to Maverick’s treatment of Annabelle, nor his lack of intestinal fortitude. Also after Maverick is an angry (but dumb) bandit named Angel. James Coburn turns up towards the end as The Commodore, the man behind the poker tournament.   Never a great film, but a wholly entertaining and highly underrated 1994 big-screen treatment of the classic TV show from director Richard Donner ( “The Omen” ,

Review: Unfriended

Shelley Hennig and her high school pals (Renee Olstead, Moses Storm, and Will Peltz among them) are stalked online during a Skype session by an online presence known as Billie. Billie wants to talk to them about Laura Barns (Heather Sossamon), a teenage acquaintance who committed suicide on camera. Laura was distraught after a video of a humiliating incident went viral. Meanwhile, Shelley starts to get harassed on Facebook (or this movie’s fake, can’t get sued facsimile of it) by someone using Laura’s account. The menace stalking them threatens imminent death if any of them log off or shut down their computers, and one by one they are bumped off anyway. It seems Billie/Laura wants these kids to know that what happened to Laura was all their fault, and now they are going to pay.   One of those gimmicky concepts that was bound to be dated quickly, possibly before even hitting theatres (the producer tellingly came up with the basic idea in 1999-2000!), this 2015 social media hor

Review: Jurassic World

It’s now 22 years after the events of “Jurassic Park” , and the island is now home to Jurassic World, which is pretty much “Sea World” with dinosaurs. However, regular ‘ol revived dinosaurs are apparently no longer ‘cool’ enough, so rich dude Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) is set to unveil a new, genetically-altered hybrid dinosaur called Indominus Rex, a mixture of velociraptor and Tyrannosaurus Rex. Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) is called in to do some last minutes checks to make sure the dino’s holding cell is secure enough. Grady, who has been trying to train and tame his own pack of velociraptors thinks the genetic hybrid is a big-arse menace waiting to happen. It doesn’t take much of a wait for that big-arse menace to escape and run amok in the park. Meanwhile, park COO Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is supposed to be showing her young nephews around the park, but being a workaholic, she pushes them onto employee Zara (Katie McGrath), who isn’t very good at her job. Vincent D’Onofrio tu

Review: Insidious: Chapter 3

Set a few years before the first film, teenager Stefanie Scott seeks the special abilities of psychic Lin Shaye in contacting her dead mother. However, the session comes to an abrupt halt when Shaye encounters something incredibly disturbing, and she implores the young woman to never try to contact her mother’s spirit again. Afterwards, Scott starts to have ghostly visions, and is soon hit by a car. She’s alive, but injured and confined to a wheelchair. It’s here that things take an even more unusual and sinister turn, one that will force Scott’s sceptical, still mourning father (Dermot Mulroney) to request Shaye’s help with something her simply doesn’t understand. Otherwise, Scott may be lost in ‘The Further’ forever.   I enjoyed the first two films in the series, but the wheels are starting to come off a bit with this 2015 prequel from writer and debut director Leigh Whannell (screenwriter of the previous films and “Saw” ). It’s just a tad underdone for me. As a director, h