Archive for August, 2016

MV5BMTMwNDU4ODg3NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODc3ODc0MQ@@__V1_

After the slasher boom of the 1990’s the 00’s saw a dry spell. To put it mildly. Truth be told I can probably count on one hand the slasher movies of note from 2000 to 2010. That was due to DTV (direct to video) for the most part. A lot of films were made on the cheap and produced with tiny budgets meaning it was easy for studios (smaller ones) to distribute all sorts of rubbish. None of this relates to Behind The Mask but I felt it was important to illustrate just how much of a breath of fresh air this genre gem was upon it’s release in 2006.

The film presents itself as a documentary. The young doc makers have focused on one Leslie Vernon as their subject. The tag is that Leslie is Glen Echo’s (the town the film is set in) version of Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger or Michael Myers and he is all too happy to lift the lid on the work that goes into being a slasher killer. It’s a unique take on the slasher movie and it is very funny but not in a way that laughs at the genre. For example Leslie eagerly points out the amount of prep work that goes into deciding on which target group to go after. The stake outs, the cardio prep, the killer’s lair preparation, legend building (every slasher icon needs a great backstory) and the build up (appearing in front of the final girl to make her aware of his presence or taking out someone she knows to establish a certain threat level!). None of which is funny for Leslie as all of this is like his Christmas, as he points out, but as a genre lover you can’t help but see the humour in it all and how outlandish all of this would be if this was in fact how Jason, Michael and Freddy all operated.

The most vital part of Behind The Mask is the strong script. The characters are not only believable but likeable. Leslie, played with such talent by Nathan Baesel, is beyond likeable. You kind of root for him and you want his big night to go well. That’s nuts. His big night basically equates to slaughtering a group of teens at his old family farmhouse! Yet it’s a struggle we see mirrored by the doc crew who are documenting Leslie’s journey, the stand out of which is Angela Goethal’s Taylor Gentry. Taylor is a great character and Goethal nails Taylor’s balance between being captivated by Leslie and yet feeling a sense of moral confliction once the reality of what it is he’s doing is about to be unleashed on the youth of Glen Echo. Despite the film’s often humours moments there is a brutality and horror to it when you stop to think for a second about what you’re watching or in the case of Taylor and her crew what they’re apart of.

Scott Glosserman, who wrote and directed the movie, makes some cool technical choices throughout the film. Shifting from the doc feel to a more traditional movie look during key scenes. I loved that and the role those choices play in the films last act help to distance not only the viewer but the characters from Leslie who has now become what he’s always dreamed of. One drawback I do have is I wish there had been a bit more time spent developing the teens in peril but because of the nature of the narrative this would be hard to do. Also the kills could have been staged better. As it is the film is almost perfect but man, had Glosserman gone all out on those kills the film would have been an out and out classic for me.

Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon is a brilliant slasher movie and stands out in a class of it’s own. For years fans have been crying out for a sequel but I would argue any form of sequel could easily fall flat. Sometimes one great movie is all you need to serve a story and I reckon this does just that. Fright fans look out for a great turn from Robert Englund, who plays a character type all slasher fans will recognize right away!

 

Batman

Posted: August 30, 2016 in Movies
Tags:

MV5BMTYwNjAyODIyMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNDMwMDk2__V1_

Tim Burton’s Batman was the biggest comic book movie ever at the time of it’s release. There had not been a similar movie of its kind since the release of Superman The Movie back in the 1970’s. Burton is able to inject the film with a distinct look and tone. Forties America but timeless. Still somehow in the now. The film came out the summer of 1989 and it was a box office smash hit. I can remember my dad telling me we would have to wait to see it due to the insane demand. I was too young to go the cinema to see Batman and we had to wait till the film came out on VHS. Despite not being able to see the film on the big screen I could still feel in awe of it. Which is crazy because back then we all had tiny TV’s, no HD pictures or surround sound. It is a credit to Burton he was able to make such an impactful comic book movie that losses none of its appeal on the small screen.

Michael Keaton is my Batman. Know how people have their own Bond? Well my Batman is Keaton. Always will be. Keaton is very good as both Bruce Wayne and Batman, sure he is not the most intimidating guy when you compare his build to say Affleck in Dawn of Justice or Bale in the Nolan flicks but his acting alone helps to cement him in the dual role. Jack Nicholson took a lot of money to play the Joker and he’s good. It’s a performance that sticks with you and it’s boss seeing Nicholson embrace the crazy and the intimidation. Rounding out the lead cast is Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale. Basinger is good in the role, which on the surface is basically the ‘love interest’ but ’cause she is a good actress Basinger gives Vale a winning personality and she looks incredible. Keaton and Basinger have real good chemistry and work off of one another well.

What I love about the film is the look. As I said above the film has this mix of a noir filled city but manages to feel modern at the same time. More in how the characters interact with one another and the modern (by 1989’s standards 🙂 ) technology. Joker’s designs on bringing down Gotham are well thought out. Poisoning the beauty products is horrific and hysterical. You see the on-going news coverage on the contamination and the news casters looking worse and worse because they aren’t able to look after their appearance! It’s quirky, funny and scary.

Burton made the choice to have the Joker be the guy who is responsible for Bruce’s parents murders. It is a decision that bothered some fans but not me. I think for the film Burton and co. wanted to make the Joker have more of a tie to Bruce to give the Gotham Cathedral showdown a more epic feel. It wasn’t needed but I understand the decision. Batman’s toys have a wicked showcase with the Batmobile and the Batwing on display in stand out action sequences that still play great almost thirty years later. Good filmmaking is good filmmaking regardless of when said film is made. Yeah there is some miniature work on hand but it doesn’t detract from the movie magic of it all and part of me will take that sort of movie magic over CGI nine times out of ten.

I have to mention Danny Elfman’s score is timeless and it would go on to be linked with Batman throughout the 90’s in both film and the brilliant animated series. Neither the Nolan nor Snyder iterations on the Caped Crusader have been able to match the incredible music of Elfman’s theme. It’s epic.

There is no point in recommending this film because it was so big and is regarded so highly. Maybe like me you own it and haven’t watched it in a while? Well if that is the case I can say you’d be doing yourself a favour by taking it off the self and putting the movie on.

 

Rings trailer

Posted: August 24, 2016 in Movies
Tags: ,

In 1998 Japanese filmmaker Hideo Nikata brought down Ringu onto the world and sent fear flowing through horror audiences world wide. Ringu is still one of the scariest films I have ever seen. Hollywood was paying attention and in 2002 the U.S. remake arrived and it was pretty good. Not a patch on the original but good none the less. The remake was a smash hit and a lukewarm sequel followed in 2005.

Eleven years later and we have (don’t panic it’s not another remake!) Rings. Which is basically Ring 3. Now I’m not convinced the world was crying out for a third Ring movie but here we go. The script is from Akiva Goldsman and he has some serious cred as a writer. Therefore maybe the filmmakers do have more than just a name recognition cash grab with Rings. Here’s hoping.

Rings is out Halloween time-ish.

Harley Quinn and Deadshot are the latest DC characters to join the Injustice 2 roster. Many expected as much with Suicide Squad being popular this year via the movie and the new Rebirth comic.

Deadshot looks great. I’m eager to try him out. Harley looks very similar to how she played in the original Injustice. As expected. The makers of the game have said they want veteran players to be able to jump right into Injustice 2 and pick up Harley or Batman and feel at ease.

Harley looks legit insane. The facial animations are some of the best I’ve seen in any fighter. Fingers crossed the game plays great too.

Injustice 2 will be out early next year.

13903339_968276996652344_8738338885786430156_n

Season 2 of Scream has been a rocky road. It started off strong with the opening episodes but by episode 3 or 4 it stalled and began treading water right up until the last two episodes. It’s a shame because when it was announced the show had new showrunners I expected more ‘Scream’ and less melodrama but the season never manages to break out of that mould.

Picking up a few months after the first season, Emma has returned to Lakewood after a stay in therapy over the summer. A lot of the season deals with Emma adjusting back to some sort of normal life. Gradually the killer begins to play on this and use her demons against her which leads Emma and others to question her sanity. Meanwhile Audrey becomes the focus of the killer due to her connection to Piper. A lot of the season is spent dealing with Audrey’s relationship with Piper and just how much she had to do with the original murder spree, the killer using this secret over Audrey and blackmailing her. This season spent too long on that particular plot point to the extent that I was over it and Audrey (who I like a lot) by the middle of the season.

As for the remainder of the Lakewood Six (the nickname given to the survivors of season 1) we get a decent arc with the shows MVP Brooke, who I felt should have been the focus this season. Her character is more fun than Emma and that’s what the show needs. Emma is too much “woe is me”. Noah finds love with new character Zoe while getting some more character exploration. His Randy like monologues make me cringe but the writers don’t go as OTT on these this year. Jake & Kieran – for the most part – are given little to do other than be the boyfriend/shoulder to cry on/suspect.

A new season means new faces and Scream introduced several this year. We got Eli, Kieran’s cousin, who blows into Lakewood with his mum, who’s motives are questionable to say the least.  Gustavo is another new addition to Lakewood who happens to have not only a dark past but is the son of the towns new sheriff Miguel Acosta WHO ALSO (haha) has a dark past involving Emma’s mum Maggie. Ms Lang is the last new character of note (along with Zoe, but technically she’s from Lakewood, we just didn’t see her before) who is a teacher at Lakewood High who has a questionable interest in the Lakewood Six. Out of the new blood I’d say Eli and the Acostas work out the best. It’s tough working in new blood to a show or even a slasher sequel as you never know who will be a legit fully developed character or simply knife fodder.

Some stuff worked this year, some stuff never. The show has to pull back on the melodrama. I’m not saying it has to turn into some hard hitting Showtime or HBO version of Scream because that’s not the target audience here but look…it can be FUN! Make it more lively as the bloodshed is going on. Teen Wolf is a great example of that. For example there’s hardly any chase scenes this year. That was a wasted opportunity for a slasher show. In fact several characters go almost the whole season without any confrontation with the killer. What were the showrunners thinking? On the flipside, the deaths, when we get ’em are not shy. They are vicious. I appreciated the show not shying away from that.

The killer reveal worked. I called it. I think it’s obvious early in the season who the killer(or killers) is and pretty much everyone falls under suspicion. Yet the reveal worked. It didn’t bother me it was clear as day who was behind it because the explanation is executed well and the final scene promises a very unique season 3.

I know this a real broad look back at the second season but due to the nature of the show and the danger of spoilers I like to give a general idea of how it plays out. I’d hate to ruin any deaths or reveals. Overall I enjoyed this season and I hope we get a season 3. If you are undecided on Scream, a show with very clear faults, lower those expectations (don’t think of the movies) and give it a chance. Taken on it’s own terms it somehow works. For better or for worse. If MTV gives the go ahead for a third season then I hope it’s a bit more ruthless and…fun.

 

Tekken 7 welcomes back Lee Chaolan

Posted: August 17, 2016 in Video Games
Tags:

Lee is back. This makes me happy. I used to play as him a lot in Tekken 2 but for some reason I went off the character as the series progressed. Nothing against him. I ended up with Nina and Jin as my mains. I expect the Tekken 7 roster to continue to grow right on up until the eventual home console release which is still down as ‘Early 2017’.

 

Get a look at Pennywise !

Posted: August 17, 2016 in Movies
Tags:

13962580_969781679835209_7992443249972977414_n

Entertainment Weekly have revealed the exclusive first look at Pennywise from the now filming ‘It’. Oh dear. That is not something I would want to find at the foot of the bed at 2 a.m. No thanks. Getting geeky for a second I think it’s a good look. It will take a lot to sway me that it’s more scary than the original and iconic Tim Curry portrayal. Let’s wait on a trailer and see how it looks than.

‘It’, the first in a proposed two part adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name, hits cinema screens next year.

If you have not read ‘It’ I urge you to check it out. No adaptation will ever do it justice, let’s just be clear on that. Go check out the book.

 

 

The Arrival

Posted: August 16, 2016 in Movies
Tags:

13921208_967660786713965_5045952830744241202_n

David Twohy’s The Arrival is a gem of a sci-fi movie that came out in 1996. I remember it coming out actually but didn’t really pay that much attention to it other than clocking it had Chalie Sheen in it and it was maybe about aliens? Turns out it is about aliens and the title says it all yet the execution is what helps to set this film apart. I don’t know about you but these days I feel starved for decent studio genre movies and with The Arrival I felt like I’d gotten a solid movie that helped satisfy that thrist.

Sheen plays an astronomer who discovers a signal of extra terestial origin. Yet when he sets out to draw attention to it he finds himself getting deeper and deeper into a conspiracy that threatens the entire world. Sheen sells the confusion, excitment, fear and madness as his character is put through the grinder while trying to uncover the mystery at the heart of the film. He his backed up with strong support from Lindsay Crouse (that’s Maggie Walsh Buffy fans!) and Teri Polo.

Twohy wrote and directed the film and he manages to meld the unknown, the awe and paranoia with care and attention untilt the film goes all out in it’s heavy effects driven third act. The special effects are understandably dated but still look okay and these aliens defo have a unique and scary look. But it’s the smaller details the help the film stand out, one of which involves scorpians and another with a bathtub. Seriously. I loved the sense of adventure the film has as Zane finds himself following clues that lead him deep into Mexico which I thought was an original backdrop for this sort of movie. The film packs a message too with the effects of global warming worked well into the story.

I dismissed The Arrival upon release and I really only gave it a shot due to a recent reccomendation and the fact it happened to be on Netflix. Take some time out and check it out. I’m sorry I didn’t make the effort to see it sooner. Now I should probably get around to watching Contact.

 

It’s hard to believe the last Resident Evil movie will have been out for almost five years by the time this latest and final instalment hits screens early next year. I can still remember getting excited about the first movie WAY back when. Yet you can’t say this series is faithful to the source. This franchise very quickly became it’s own thing for better or worse once it hit movie number three. Since then it’s just been insane. Some fans love it others do not. Either way this is the first look at the final instalment as if the title wasn’t a give away!

I like that Alice has to go back to the ruins of Racoon City. It brings the series full circle. The action seems good, character wise I’m asking where is Jill? Where is Chris? Where is Leon? Where is Ada? Haha. Probably all dead. Who knows! I would have brought the whole gang back for the last one though. At least we get Claire Redfield back in action along with some new characters. I’ll see this. Gotta see how it all ties up and hopefully I’ll like it. Are you looking forward to this last adventure or will you be glad to see the back of it?

Random trivia! Milla Jovovich was meant to play Jill Valentine but Capcom were reluctant to allow Paul Anderson access to the iconic characters until they saw how he handled the first movie. Hence we have Alice.

Disney have released the latest look at Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. This time we get a better look at the individual characters and the story. The footage has several breath taking shots and establishes a strong tone that hits home the WARS aspect of Star Wars.

It’s non news now that the film underwent heavy reshoots. I wonder how much of this is new footage and if perhaps some of the scenes from the original teaser trailer will no longer be a part of the finished movie? Regardless, the most important thing is the film is good. That’s all I care about and we will find out this December when Rogue One hits cinema screens worldwide.