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Bordello of Blood (1996)
Not as good as Demon Knight, but well worth watching.
This was the second "Tales From The Crypt" film, released only a year after the first, the excellent "Demon Knight" with Billy Zane and William Sadler. That film was truly an excellent start, but I think they rushed it a bit by throwing this one out less than a year later. The Crypt Keeper needs to rest too...
And maybe if this film hadn't failed at the box office, we might have got another season out of the show. At this stage, it was still running strong, with guest actors like Ewan McGreggor and Joe Pesci. Anyhow, yeah, the movie.
What's evident from the start is that Bordello of Blood is totally tongue-in-cheek. It's all slapstick humour, witty/sharp lines, there's nothing serious here - no room for any of the trademark Crypt horror or tension from the first. It's about a placid detective (Dennis Miller, kickin ass I must say) investigating the disappearance of some horny young fella (played by clearly-not-a-teen-anymore Corey Feldman - haha, he's in a movie again!) which leads him to some kind of vampire brothel where the girls don't just take your money, they bleed you dry! From the trailer I had my doubts about Dennis Miller, but I must say he's rather charismatic as the sarcastic sleazebag Detective Rafe Guttman. He doesn't show too much depth, but that's not what this films about, he's just there to keep you smirking away. Chris Sarandon plays some cop.. I don't remember who he is, but his name sounds familiar. Hey, look, it's Corey Feldman!! I'm glad to see he's getting a role in something decent in the 90s, but this guy was.. well, really crap. Maybe it's just how his character was written, but come on, Corey. Ya gotta stop sucking if you want more roles like The Lost Boys. Get your own adult animated comedy or something, just forget about the past. You're too old to be playing The Kid Who Killed Jason in Friday the 13th Part 4 by now. The female stars are the vampires, including supermodel Angie Evahart, and there's a solid main performance by Erika Eliniak, Corey Feldman's sister - but ya gotta wonder why Corey's parents aren't too concerned about his disappearance. Why does his sister have to cover his ass? Also present is Tales From The Crypt veteran William Sadler. Ya gotta love this guy for his devotion! He's appeared in more than one episode (I think), and both films by now! Although he was just a mummy, and I don't remember him, it kicks ass that he's there!...man! John Kassir plays the Crypt Keeper, and ya gotta love how the films are introduced and ended exactly like the episodes are, with Kassir's appearance. I know many dislike the Crypt Keeper, and I can see where they're coming from, but I've always dug the guy. He's as sharp as ever here, with his usual legendary one liners.. ("Quit while you're a-head..") Neither of the Crypt films truly captured the show, but that's probably because of their length that the screenplays get a bit drawn out to fill it. And like the first film, this runs short at only 87 mins - a good thing too, any longer would have been too long.
This was great fun to watch, and much better than I'd anticipated after it's score here. I recommend buying the Region 1 DVD which has this and the first film, Demon Knight. Two films on one disc for $15, that's value right?
Wow, this was certainly different to Eastwood's usual directed/produced/starring pictures. He is truly a multi-talented star, managing to direct, produce and act in picture after picture - not just that, but managing to do so in brilliant picture after brilliant picture. Since he took the director's chair, has he let us down once? He's had one or two silly flicks - á la Blood Work - but even the worst of which have remained utmost enjoyable four-star flicks... And this amazingly sensitive and warm piece of work is the best of his four-star flicks...
His wife has described Clint's character in this, Robert Kincaid, to be the most like the actor in personality out of all his characters... If this is true, then he really deserved to get to where he is. What a gentle, kind man... Clint takes a break from the tough guy cowboy/cop, and takes on a warm-hearted and charismatic photogorapher who doesn't have a threatening bone in his body... He does the part almost flawlessly, showing some real emotion, this a truly three-dimensional performance from Clint....
...But it must be said that he pales in comparison to his partner Meryll Streep. I had only seen her in one film before this - Angels in America - and back then, I was just outright impressed. But after this...WOW... What a perfectly emotional and teary performance... We really feel for her on every level... A role worthy of its Oscar, Meryll's 11th nomination I believe... WOW, again...
There is no action in this flick... Yes, it will bore your average Scarface/Bad Boys action seeking teen... But if you're patient and can get past a rather slow opening, you will LOVE this... I think this is the kinda film that housewives watch and cry together on their girls' nights... It is just that touching... Exciting? Not really, it's completely laid back and easy-going.. It does not rush at any point, and the viewer will be grateful for this, because every second counts.
The Funeral (1996)
Walken & Penn
This was one DIFFERENT gangster picture, brought to you by Abel Ferarra. I first came to know the rather unique director from his infamous DRILLER KILLER... Which is really 90 minutes of my life I'd like to have back. It's the one DVD I own that I'd love to not own. The one DVD I don't even CONSIDER rewatching. And with good reason. It's a jackass of a film. I can't go into it any more without swearing, and then my review won't get put up. Anyway, years after watching that...movie, I began to wonder how Ferarra is so known among film fans. Nobody likes The Driller Killer, so that can't be it. I looked him up here, and saw that such noted actors as Christopher Walken and Harvey Keitel have worked with him!! I was quite surprised and then I came across this one rather cheap. And I love gangster films so maybe I'm being a bit biased here.
But this one was rather interesting. These aren't Scorsese style gangsters. They're guys in black suits but their life is much less glamarous. There is much rape and violence and little laughs or friendship. The film focuses on three brothers.. Christopher Walken is legendary in his role as wise but aging family head Ray. Chris Penn plays his rather temperamental (surprise surprise, it being Chris Penn) brother, and Vincent Gallo plays young foolish brother Johnny.
The film opens with the recently deceased Johnny lying in his coffin and everyone gathered around crying. How did he get to be there? The film tells this through flashbacks which occur every few minutes throughout the film, and we also see a part from Ray's youth. Very skilfully done! The time switching happens without us noticing, the film flows so well that we're not in the least bit distracted.
Christopher Walken is Christopher Walken in a Christopher Walken role, Ray... He's taking the Michael Corleone route here, the wise guy, the darker older brother who makes all the decisions for the family. And he's great at it... Chris Penn is Chris Penn in another Chris Penn role. He's completely insane. A brutal, angry man who loses it over nothing and spends his time on screen shouting and swearing at those around him. Chris Penn is really good at this, but I'd like to see him take on an emotional character... He's just doing Nice Guy Eddie over and over again. Vincent Gallo does the Freddie Corleone of the family well, but he's a bit unbelievable as a gangster and the camera has too many close ups on him. Also present in a supporting role is John Ventimiglia, who plays Artie Bucco from The Sopranos! Just thought I'd mention him, brilliant man. There's Benicio Del Toro as the rival gangster boss. He's pretty creepy but doesn't have a big enough part to do the character justice. Overall, the acting out of the two leads - Walken and Penn - is excellent. Typical, but excellent.
Ferarra's been known to be violent and disturbing. Maybe if I'd watched this film a few years back it might have affected me, but it didn't in the least. I am now immune to offense by violence. Some of the film's violent highlights, though, include a stabbing in the heart with a butcher knife, shooting two innocent truck drivers with a shotgun, raping a teenage prostitute (who sold her soul) and an ending pistol massacre.
Despite all this, however, it's an excellent if depressing picture, with many deep and dark performances. The violence is not over the top compared to the likes of De Palma or Scorsese, and it is not disturbing, or maybe that's just me.
I will definitely be seeing more Ferarra movies!
Hellraiser: Inferno (2000)
Se7en with cenobites
As good as Hellraiser III/IV....
Well, nearly. I have to dock it a bit for an overlong climax, and the inclusion of the cenobites - they really weren't necessary here. We go through most of the film without their appearance, they crop up on rare occasions just to remind us that it's a Hellraiser film.
This was much darker and more serious than the two previous installments and this is a good thing in my opinion. We see very little Pinhead - he's seen once for a second about a half-hour in, then for about three minutes at the film's climax, but that's it. No gory killings and classic one-liners ("Not quite") for Pinhead in this one. And that's a good thing too, the series is taking a new direction.
It is basically set out like a murder mystery...only with very gory murders. It is kinda like Se7en with cenobites. The excellent Craig Sheffer and his partner Nicholas Turturro are Pitt and Freeman. And both do an excellent job! I'd say the best lead performance in the series thus far, and HR has always had a strong cast.
This is one cool Hellraiser flick. Loads of gore, loads of mystery, and great lead players! It's quite hard to believe it's straight-to-video watching it. However, the cenobites' appearance is quite unnecassary.. Pinhead's always welcome, and his part in this suits the film perfectly. Sheffer is excellent in his lead role, he keeps the film moving at a fantastic pace, apart from the climax which is his only letdown. Did we need him to keep waking up like that? I felt it could have been tied up a lot quicker...
Rent this one, or buy if you're a collector. I had low hopes going in and came out very happy! Nice Monday night movie!
About a Boy (2002)
Hugh Grant brings depth to an Affleck-ish role in this heartwarming romantic? comedy with some serious moments.
It's about Grant, a laid back loser who spends all day watching TV and getting his hair done, and lives off the royalties of an old Christmas song. Nicholas Hault takes an uneasy role as the geeky kid who befriends him and a father-son relationship begins somehow. Oh, the kids mother (Toni Colette) is suicidal and a bit wacky which leads to a lot of embarrassment and unacceptance for Marcus (the kid) at school.
There weren't many laugh out loud moments, and it didn't have the directness of next years love actually, but it was pretty heartfelt and realistic... No 4 gangster shootout at the end but this film didn't need it. Hault plays the kid who, there's one at every school, we all want to punch some sense into. You know, the guy who goes to bed at 9:30 every night and listens to Britney Spears and Brian McFadden. Ahem...
Very British film, I recommend you rent it.
Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996)
The most entertaining Hellraiser sequel
This third sequel continues the series in the Hellraiser III direction, giving us lots of what we want to see: Pinhead, the Cenobites, graphic slayings and lots of blood. Isn't that what Hellraiser is all about? Hellraiser: Bloodline is very like the third in that it's all action with no suspense or stupid puzzles. Whereas the first HR was a cult horror classic, the second started well but ended up boring the hell out of everyone with its stupid labyrinths. The third was the most fun, I have to say - Doug Bradley was on top form as Pinhead. And here, 4 years later, he's on even better form. Pinhead kicks some serious ass this time, I think this is the goriest Hellraiser yet. Even though it's cut, it by no means holds back on the blood.
It starts out in space.. So you're thinking... Why do all horror franchises end up in space at some point? Friday the 13th.. Critters.. Ghoulies even! Especially when a sequel in space is the last thing the series' fans want. Well don't worry, it starts out in space but leads to a flashback in 18th century France, resulting in a sort of prequel explaining how 'the box' was created. And it's not boring either. This plot is very entertaining to watch - Bruce Ramsay is convincing as the toymaker L'Merchant, and Valentina Vargas is deliciously evil as the demon Angelique. This plot takes up most of the film, and it ends with a Jason X-style slaughtering of the space crew, while Pinhead stalks and teases Merchant with his classic one-liners. Great sequel! I enjoyed the hell out of it...
The Prophecy 3: The Ascent (2000)
Not enough Gabriel!
Christopher Walken's Gabriel angel was what made the first two Prophecy films work for me. This one really didn't! All that was memorable was the scene in the café where Gabriel makes a large breakfast order...
Woah, I like totally didn't understand this film at all, man. The plot was like, something about some angel kid or something, I dunno. It was well produced, looked nice and shiny, a good bit of blood and fairly impressive fx - especially for a STV film. But where was the big guy? DIMENSION FILMS PRESENTS Christopher Walken "The Prophecy III: The Ascent"... Why is he being given the title credit here? He is NOT the lead role... That Vincent Spanno guy is. Eh, he's okay. Also there's that kid, Danyael, played by Dave Buzzota. Terminator 2 is coming back to me... He was okay as well. The female lead was fairly crap - Karyen Butler.. I couldn't give a crap about them, to be honest. There was totally not enough of Gabriel - who is no longer an angel, but a human, and so is stripped of his powers. So no ass kickin outta him this time round, unfortunately, and so no crazy one-liners. He also has long hair that doesn't suit him - he reminds me of Bill (the Bill that got killed).
Steve Hytner returns as Joseph for the first quarter of the film - he's pretty cool, I can't remember where I know him from... He's been in all three Prophecy films. Brad Dourif's in here too...
The Prophecy III: Judgement Day was an alright second sequel that I'm not in a rush to see again. Watch out for Chris in Romance & Cigarettes!
The Prophecy II (1998)
Christopher Walken kicks ass
Yeah, this film was pretty cool.
Like the first one, I didn't understand most of it, but Christopher Walken's performance - on par with that from the first Prophecy - was just effortlessly fantastic! Gabriel acts the same as he did in the first, and what we got here (is a little game of show and tell..) is the same guy with a little more violence and some more funny lines. Gabriel owns any scene he's in, he's the villain we all root for and he's still scary as hell. That's the stuff Chris! The Prophecy II takes the same structure as the first, and it takes a good while before we see much of Gabriel at all - but when we do, the film comes alive. Our beloved angel takes quite a beating this time, such as a stabbing through the chest, being destroyed by police bullets, falling from a skyscraper building and being whacked in the face with an axe.
Russel Wong is the other title star - he's pretty cool but a bit boring. Jennifer Beals is okay, as is Eric Roberts as Michael. But Brittany Murphy as the suicidal teenager Izzy is cool, a teenage girl sick of living who just wants to join her lover in the sky. How sweet...
It's got great effects and a high budget for a straight to video flick... it's weird that with Walken as its star it didn't get a cinema release! But whatever...
Rent it if you liked the first, it's cool.
Having seen the first two Puppet Master films I was prepared for yet another 90 minutes of self-torture when I saw this one.... but I was wrong! I guess Full Moon got lucky the third time round.
The plot for this one is much more interesting than the original and its clone. It is 1941 in Berlin and puppeteer Andre Toulon (played by the superb Guy Rolfe) entertains innocent kids with his anti-Nazi puppet show. However, the Gestapo discover it and shut him down, and try to steal his formula for bringing his puppets to live. In an attempt to do so they kill his wife. Toulon escapes with the puppets and goes into hiding, resurfacing only to seek revenge on his hated Nazi killers.
Sounds a lot more exciting than the first two, doesn't it? And it is. I was watching for things to pick on all the way through this film, and found very few.
The first major revelation to the Puppet Master series by this film is that the CAST can ACT!!!!! Yes, Guy Rolfe was born to play the clever, wise, intelligent and mellow Andre Toulon, and he does so perfectly here, bringing a lot of charisma and charm to the beloved puppeteer. He treats the puppets like his children. I suppose in a way they are. Yeah, Guy Rolfe kicks ass as Toulon! Richard Lynch plays the films main villain, Nazi leader Major Krauss. And yeah, you really hate this guy - he looks like a twisted Marlon Brando, and makes an excellent and sinister villain. Kristopher Logan plays the young Nazi Lt Eric Stein, and we're all glad when he's dispatched by the puppets. Also credit goes to Ian Abercrombie who plays Dr Hess - another menacing performance. The acting this time is superb - I don't know what happened, I guess there must have been a Full Moon the night they shot it.......
The puppets are cooler than ever this time. All the usuals are present - except Torch from the second one, as he wasn't made yet. The new puppet this time is Six-Shooter, a cowboy puppet with six arms holding six pistols... Six-Shooter is cool. We also see the man who became Blade.. He looks very like him, which is a cool effect.
The tension in this film comes from Toulon hiding out, and the Nazis chasing after him. Nothing is more fun than seeing Toulon's puppets kick Nazi ass. Well, nothing in Full Moon movies.
This is doubtless the best Puppet Master film - They should have started the series with this, and thrown the first two film reels in the fire.
Puppet Master II (1990)
This sequel is nearly as bad as the original, succeeded in putting me off my dinner
Oh, Full Moon, what is with you? How do you manage to produce films of such low integrity at such a rapid rate? The puppets are cool in this film, but the human actors are completely lifeless.
The plot is basically the exact same as the first Puppet Master film - a bunch of people go to the mansion, and the puppets kill them in gory ways. Though... C'mon. They're puppets! I think if this bunch of sorry people wanted to live, they could kick or throw the puppets off them pre-slaughter - but I guess their acting ability is so bad they're better off. These actors are morons!!! Seriously. Two examples of this would be the old woman character, when attacked by the puppets, lying down and practically ASKING them to kill her - not even screaming or attempting to escape. Another would be the part where the psychologist is meant to be typing something on the computer. She looks like she's a stoner on a typewriter.
The plot is totally stupid. The humans are ALL dumb. The guy who plays Andre Toulon - he can act, but his character just gets too boring and stupid at the films climax. I'm glad the puppets kicked his ass.
Ahh, the puppets. Cool as usual. Pinhead there beating people up, Blade's there slashing away, Jester's there twisting his head and there's a new guy, Torch, who burns his victims - including a little boy (moron Full Moon guy Charles Band's son) who is playing with an action figure. That takes care of the cremation I guess.
This movie SUCKS, however, like the first one, and I was unable to finish my dinner whilst watching it. It turned me off one of my favourite meals. DAMN YOU, FULL MOON! The next film in the series is cool, however: Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge in 1991. The cast can act this time - an amazing feat of Full Moon movie-making!