Category Archives: Movie Reviews
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Stars: Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Peter Mayhew
IMDB Rating: 8.9
Plot: Three decades after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, a new threat arises. The First Order attempts to rule the galaxy and only a rag-tag group of heroes can stop them, along with the help of the Resistance.
Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Anyone whose anyone should have seen this film by now, and if you haven’t seen it, then you need to go home and rethink your life….
Being a SW fan from way back, I had been awaiting this instalment of the SW saga with much impatience. So you can imagine just how excited I was when we went to watch it last night. To me, it brought back a lot of memories. None so familiar though as went I saw Return Of The Jedi on the big screen way back when.
I remember the very first time I went to see ROTJ. It was 1983, and along with my parents, we went to the drive-in theatre at Aspley (Brisbane). Of course, seeing it a drive-in is not exactly the same as being in a cinema, but fun none the less. When the smoke had cleared, and the rebels had won the day, we went home, and being the teenager I was, I actually thought I too could become a Jedi… Vader and his master The Emperor were defeated, and the rebellion won the day at last….
Flash forward to 1999, when The Phantom Menace hit the screens. Although TPM brought to life the backstory of Anakin, the most traumatic scene for me was when Qui-Gon was killed by Darth Maul. Even now, 16 years later, that scene still moves me….
Comng back to the present…
There is alot I could say about TFA. We are introduced to some familiar faces. Harrison Ford and Peter Mayhew return as Han Solo and Chewbacca. Carrie Fisher is back as General Leia, and Mark Hamill makes his return as Jedi Master Luke Skywalker. Needless to say, Han is still a suave pirate, conning every group in the galaxy. After ROTJ, it was natural to assume that Han and Leia would live happily every after, and have a bunch of kids sensitive to the Force (She is a Jedi after all).
Not so. Thirty years on, Leia and Han are no longer together. He is doing what he does best, with his partner in crim, Chewy… And she is doing what she knows.. Leading the resistance against the new threat.. The First Order…
There is a new menace in town, going by the name of Kylo Ren (Ben Solo). The son of Han and Leia. Kylo is hellbent on completing what his grand-father, Vader could not do. Whatever that may be…. (Have to remember that Vader was being stringed along by the puppet-master Sidious).
Although the actor (Adam Driver) did a good job of the portrayal of Ren, it is plainly obvious that the character knew little about his grandfather. Vader turned to the Dark Side thanks to the constant mind-games of Darth Sidious. (Not to forget that Sidious was always contradicting himself at every turn)
Accompanied by fits of rage whenever he couldn’t get his own way, Kylo Ren came across as nothing more than a tantrum child who needed to be taken out to the wood-shed and given a good ol’ fashioned whipping. (Maybe his parents needed to enforce more discipline on the brat in his younger years). There were moments when Kylo Ren seemed to be quite the intimidating figure, and rather cool when he was able to freeze blaster fire, but let’s be honest. His skills with a lightsaber were amateur at best. To quote Vader “He’s as clumsy as he is stupid“…
Which brings me to the next point… Kylo Ren’s master is Supreme Leader Snoke. (Anyone else get the feeling with a name like that he’s related to the Snorks)
There are a lot of rumors about who this character is. Some say he is Darth Plagueis The Wise, others say he is Voldemort… You decide… Whoever this character is, one thing is certain. He is a master manipulator of the Dark Side, maybe even more powerful than Sidious. Which does raise an interesting debate… If Snoke is indeed Plagueis, then he certainly did a half-assed job on training both his apprentices.. (If you remember, he trained Sidious, who later turned on him and supposedly killed him in his sleep, then trains Kylo, who has constant fit of rage). With that said, he maybe a powerful agent of the Dark Side, but his skills in training are absolute crap.. Maybe he needs some training himself about how to lead a team. I’m sure a weekend at a Tony Robbins camp would bring a new perspective on how to be an effective teacher:)
Back on topic… The storyline was great. There is certainly a lot going on here. We’re introduced to the new heroes of the film: Finn (A stormtrooper who defects to the Resistance), Rey (A force sensitive who proves she is quite skilled with a lightsaber), Poe Dameron (A pilot who proves he is just as good as Wedge Antilles) and of course not to forget the new Death Star, the Starkiller Base, (which is much larger than the Death Star from ROTJ).
There was a moment that made my blood boil and I almost screamed out “Nooooooooooooooo!”. But, who gets killed I won’t say as I don’t want to spoil it for you. Lets just say you can see for yourself.
Whatever rumors you may have heard about Luke may be true, depending on whose point of view you have read. I will say that Luke doesn’t get much in terms of screen time, but you can see from how the movie ended that he will be a major player in the next instalment.
There were a few moments when more explaining was needed, but I guess those things will be revealed in Star Wars Episode VIII.
Verdict: The Sith Will Rise To Rule The Galaxy..And There Will Be Peace…..
Rating: 8 out of 10.
PLOT: Wesley, a young runner on a zombie film set, has the first day from hell when real zombies overrun the film set… Who are the real zombies and who are the extras? Decapitate with care!
Quick Review: Zombies, zombies and more zombies…..
Wesley (Harley Neville) is fresh out of film school and eager to get his feet wet in the illustrious industry of film-making. Young Wesley is in for a shock, when he quickly finds out that the world of film is not what he expected… Full of aspirations – and maybe delusions of grandeur – he arrives on the set of a zombie horror flick, ready to give it his all, and possibly pitch his own horror script Twilight Of The Dead. However, his job as the runner is filled with demands to do all the tasks that no one else wants to do.
His first assignment is to take one of the lead actors to the doctor in a nearby town, due to the actor coming down with food poisoning (blame the cook who supposedly cannot boil water). Wesley arrived in the town to find it deserted, apart from the hacking hag who runs the rooming house. She tells Wesley that everyone in town is sick due to “something in the water”.
And so the fun begins….. From a stand-in spot, to falling for the caterer (Susan – played by Jocelyn Christian) to surviving the zombie outbreak, Wesley goes from geek to … well, geek in this comedy romp.
I Survived A Zombie Holocaust is a fun movie to watch. Not like some other poorly done flicks that I have seen (and reviewed), this film is one that you need to watch. There were some similarities I found to the Spierig Brothers 2003 film, Undead. Even with that, there are moments that are too priceless to miss. Such as when Tane Henare (Ben Baker) does the Haka infront a horde of zombies, or when Adam Harrison (Mike Edward) gets it on with zombie Jessica (Reanin Johannink).
Verdict: There’s something in the water
My Rating: 8 out of 10
IMDB Rating: 5.7
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin
Plot: After a couple of weeks seeking out his teenage daughter Maggie, Wade finds her in the quarantine wing of a hospital. Maggie has been infected by a lethal outbreak that transforms the victim into a zombie. Wade’s friend Dr. Vern Kaplan releases Maggie to spend her last days with Wade and her family. Her stepmother Caroline asks Wade to take their little kids to her sister’s house to keep them safe. While Maggie is slowly transformed, Wade stays with her protecting Maggie. But Dr. Vern warns him that the moment that he will have to take an ultimate decision is closer.
Review: A teenage girl in the Midwest becomes infected by an outbreak of a disease that slowly turns the infected into cannibalistic zombies. During her transformation, her loving father stays by her side.
Big Arny is back… Maggie tells the story of how a teenage girl is infected by a virus and gradually changes into a zombie. Although this has been classified as horror, I would not put it as such. There is the odd two or three “flashback” scenes that Maggie (Abigail Breslin) has during the film which shows how she caught the virus, but even those scenes are more or less a ‘flash” of a few seconds and not really deemed as “horror”.
Wade (Arny) is the father of Maggie. His little girl has been infected, and he makes it his duty to protect his girl no matter what. Whether that is from zombies or any militia that wants to cart her off to quarantine.
“Maggie” is a compelling drama to say the least, and is certainly different than the run of the mill horror/zombie flicks. If you take away the whole zombie element, this could have been any film about a teenager with a terminal illness. The only difference here being Maggie’s gradual desire for flesh.
Schwarzenegger’s performance is brilliant, and a completely different take on what we are used to seeing him act in. Breslin steals the show. Her performance as the teen suffering from the zombie virus was brilliant to say the least. Her fears, her emotions, her uncertainty, her feeling of being rejected by the unaffected… All captured wonderfully from her POV and the people she loves. Scenery – Fantastic.
This may be a different Arny flick from what you are used to seeing, but it is one film that is worth watching. Forget about the typical “shoot ‘em up” zombie-apocalyptic films you have seen in the past and watch this.
Verdict: Zombies from the humane perspective
My Rating: 8 out of 10.
FEWDIO Horror: The Easter Bunny is Eating My Candy
Tagline: It’s Easter and there’s something terrifying in the house, and it’s not the Easter Bunny… or is it?
Review: This little gem of a YouTube channel I was introduced to by my partner. After all, she likes horror as much as I do. Fact is she just won’t admit it
This 2 minute short tells the very short story of a little girl who walks into her parents bedroom in the middle of the night and tells her sleeping mother, “Mommy, the Easter Bunny is eating my candy”. After her mom dismisses the idea, the little girl then goes back to see the Easter Bunny easting “Candy”, which is infact her pet dog named “Candy”.
A brilliant short which does remind me that this could have been the forerunner to Bunnyman Massacre.
If you are not squeamish, then go watch it on YouTube:
My Rating: 7 out of 10
First posted over at HorrorAddicts.net.
It Follows (2014)
IMDB Rating: 7.5
Stars: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi
Tagline: A young woman is followed by an unknown supernatural force after getting involved in a sexual encounter.
Review: For nineteen-year-old Jay, Autumn should be about school, boys and week-ends out at the lake. But after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, she finds herself plagued by strange visions and the inescapable sense that someone, something, is following her. Faced with this burden, Jay and her friends must find a way to escape the horrors that seem to be only a few steps behind.
As far as horror goes, It Follows is more like It Drags… out. I have noticed the term Horror is thrown about very loosely these days, and used by anyone who thinks that anything to do with creepy is deemed as horror. There is horror, and then there is this bucket.
It Follow runs more like a showcase of what consequences one can have if one has unprotected sex, and infact, this film comes across like an anti-sex campaign. I remember in the late 1980’s there were a series of commercials here in Australia warning of the dangers of AIDS. In these ads, it depicted the Grim Reaper at a bowling alley, getting a perfect strike with each bowl. While bowling and AIDS are different things entirely, the message was clear. That ad was creepy, and hence I will classify those series of ads as Horror, and it was still better than It Follows
It Follows is a 2 hour bore-fest that tells the plot in 5 seconds… In order to avoid being killed off by a ghost – whose only way of chasing you down is by walking slowly – one must have sex with anyone to “pass on the curse”… good job!
Acting was horrendous, camerawork was shaky and very amateur, and even the editing looked like it was done half-assed. And in the end, shall I say it? Yeah why not… The ghost that stalks slowly ends up getting whacked with a bullet to the head… lame… How this cost $2 million is beyond me.
It Follows is definitely one of the worst yawn-fest films I have seen in all time. Do yourself a favor, and save yourself the 2 hours you will never get back and watch 70’s horror films instead.
Verdict: It Drags…
My Rating: 0.5 out of 10
Plot: The lives of a group of teenagers are turned upside down when their town is taken over by sinister forces. When a brilliant but obsessive scientist goes to extremes to develop a universal cure for all disease, he finds himself infected with a bizarre parasite that begins to transform him into a bloodthirsty madman. Time running out, he must find a way to stop the monster that is growing within and prevent the rest of the world from being “cured.”
Review: A mad scientist, a cute lab assistant, a pretentious cop and a lab-grown parasite. What can possibly go wrong…
Dr Henry has developed a “cure all” parasite, but things go terribly wrong, and during one of his experiments with the parasite, he is infected and starts to become a vampire.
Admittedly, this film is very slow and I found it very difficult to get into this one. To save you the time watching this, I will say that there is nothing new here. In fact, if you watch “The Fly” you will get the jist of what this one is about, except with vampires.
Verdict: Watch “The Fly” instead.
My Rating: 2 out of 10
Stars: Georgia Bradley, Sam Carter, Drew Casson
IMDB Rating: 4.3
First reviewed over at Horroraddicts.net.
Plot: The lives of a group of teenagers are turned upside down when their town is taken over by sinister force
Review: Cowen lives with a couple of friends in a small flat in a small English town. As a way of passing the time, he has enrolled in a media course. Naturally, his first assignment is to record everything in a week of his life. After a strange electrical storm hits the town, random acts of violence begin to hit this quiet town, but he dismisses the random acts of violence. However, when one of his friends is attacked by the postman, the inexplicably serious nature of the dead assailant’s injuries alert them to a more disturbing reality. As events escalate, Cowen and his friends discover that the town has come under a malign influence which is controlling gangs who are rounding people up and taking them to a nearby factory. The friends hide, hoping to escape, but their sanctuary is discovered and over run.
Another film that fits perfectly in the “found footage” genre, this is a mix of Sci-fi and horror. It is safe to say that the mix of zombies and aliens has been a long time coming, and while this film is nothing spectacular (or even scary), it was fun to watch, even if there were moments where it got downright cheesy. The parasites that take over vics were none too scary either. More like oversized ants with no heads 🙂
There were moments when I did think the scenes could have been more graphic, such as when they encounter the alien in the basement of the factory, but when the budget is low, one has to make do with what they have.
Verdict: Invasion of the body snatchers
My Rating: 6 out of 10
Plot: An investigation into a government cover-up leads to a network of abandoned train tunnels deep beneath the heart of Sydney. As a journalist and her crew hunt for the story it quickly becomes clear the story is hunting them.
Review: This is one movie I have been wanting to see for a while, so when it showed up on Netflix the other night, it was a case of “turn off the PC and the lights and get into it”.
The story follows that of TV journalist Natasha Warner (Bel Deliá) and her crew who go looking into the state’s government idea of using the abandoned train tunnels under Sydney as water recycle plant. However the homeless use the tunnels as shelter, and the government doesn’t want to acknowledge the constant disappearances of the homeless.
With the cover-ups the crew decides to check out the tunnels themselves, especially after a somewhat strange interview with a homeless man who once lived in them.
The Tunnel, while shot from the “found footage POV”, is truly an exception to the film-making genre, and one that I highly recommend.
Keep watch for Aussie actor, Luke Arnold, who also stars in a TV series I reviewed a while back, Black Sails.
Verdict: Don’t go to Sydney underground 🙂
Rating: 8 out of 10.