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Doesn't deserve such a low rating
This is loosely based on real events, which doesn't help explain the completely absurd title. Research into the Wyrick hauntings won't ruin the film for you however as the only comparison to recorded events are the names of the characters.
As with any horror movie these days there are plenty of stock thrills: ghosts in white dresses, waking from a dream to find you are still in a dream, swings that move by themselves etc. The best thing about this film is that the characters are quite likable and you do become invested in their welfare. There's enough twists and turns to keep you guessing at the real nature of the evil. The breakout star is Emily Alyn Lind, who is so adorable that you want to reach into the movie and rescue her yourself, her plight not helped by her somewhat inconscient father who encourages her friendship with an old dead guy if it means directions to hidden treasure. His commitment to his daughter is only outweighed by his commitment to their hapless rescue dog.
The two female leads are nicely balanced. All the women in this 'see dead people', and it's how they handle it that is the crux of the film, their conflicting reactions and opinions driving the plot forward as the truth is revealed. This is obviously low budget, shots of the forest using various filters providing the atmosphere, the gore is minimal and the special effects fairly low key, but enough here to give you a tingle, even if it's only the fact that Mr Gordy really did appear to Heidi and he gets his photo in the end credits.
The Lady Vanishes (2013)
Plodding Sunday night fare
Based on the 1938 Hitchcock thriller of the same name (which I haven't seen), this looked like rather a good whodunnit. The cast if full of young up-comers and old stalwarts, many of whom seem to be doing the rounds in British TV at the moment.
The premise: a beautiful young socialite, Iris Carr, is making her way back to England by train after a Balkans holiday and finds herself befriended by a kind older lady who calls herself Mrs Froy. Disorientated by a fall at the station earlier, Iris drifts off to sleep, only to find on awakening that Mrs Froy has disappeared and nobody else seems to have seen her - in fact they don't believe she existed in the first place. Of course there are only two possible outcomes: the woman isn't real and Iris is barking mad, or she has genuinely disappeared and there's some sort of conspiracy going on.
Unfortunately the final hour dedicated to resolving the mystery is slow-paced, boring and ultimately all a bit predictable. Apart from Sandy McDade and Tuppence Middleton, all the other characters are stereotypes who get to do very little with their screen time. Middleton is superb, tackling Iris's transition from petulant snobbery to concern and brave determination with aplomb, but the plodding script can't keep up with her enthusiasm. It's definitely a Sunday afternoon movie, and one you can watch with Grandma - just don't expect edge-of-your-seat thrills.
Eternal Law (2012)
I'm surprised this got such a bad rating. It's the kind of quirky TV series the Brits are so good at. The subject matter is a little off- putting to the first time viewer (angel lawyers, really?!) but shouldn't be as this is a good old-fashioned human drama and the angelic theme is just a good guy/bad guy spin. In fact if you are tuning in expecting to see a 'Supernatural'-esque show you are more likely to be disappointed. It could have just have easily been a courtroom drama and in that respect it delivers. The angelic element adds a little mystery, and the city of York is the kind of backdrop where you can believe mortals and eternals could mix. Whilst it might not be the best-written series on TV, it's also not worth a 5.6 rating.
Doesn't look like it will return for a series 2 but if you can catch series 1 somewhere - on DVD or demand - well worth a watch.
Supernatural: Ghostfacers (2008)
SPOILERS: This reminded me so much of the occasional humorous X-Files episode, where the script was firmly tongue-in-cheek,and almost Whedon-esquire in its execution. Playing on the hand-held reality ghost-hunting TV shows like Most Haunted, Sam and Dean aren't the stars in this, but the slightly-sad Ghostfacers who get more then they bargained for when investigating a haunted house. Wonderfully inept, and full of their own bravado, they have to face their own fears and band together, even using 'gay love' to reach one of their own dead team and help him cross to the other side. I hope to see more of Dustin Milligan, who was outstanding as the doomed intern Corbett. A smart and funny piece of writing, and one of my faves.
Where's the X??
The end of Season 9 certainly left enough material for a whole new season, or a movie. The problem was the actors were tired, the story was tired and developing in random fits and starts - and it showed.
But the material WAS there - an alien invasion, super soldiers, and to cap it all the love between Mulder and Scully - TV's most famous pairing - finally realised - and they even had a super baby together! Sci-fi fans around the globe jumped up and down in joy! Bittersweet as ever, baby William has to be given up for adoption in order to keep him safe, and Mulder and Scully are left with the remnants of the family that never was. But then the X-Files was never about happy endings.
... And so we join them years later. As I sat with my popcorn in a darkened cinema I waited for it all to be wrapped up. They would go after their baby! They would conquer nasty aliens! There would be chases, clever mind games, disapproving looks from Skinner, a really good villain we could all hate (preferably with some sort of bad habit), subversion, spaceships, morphing and little green men.
Well at least Mulder and Scully were still together, although their past weighs heavy on their shoulders, or in Mulder's case, on his face. Scully has gone back to her passion - medicine - and buries her pain by saving people. Mulder is whacky as ever, his grizzled visage hiding a mind going slowly crazy with boredom. When a white flag is waved by the FBI in the form of feisty agent Amanda Peet, all of a sudden our duo are off and running on another trip down Paranormal Blvd.
Or are they? The only hint of any psychic activity comes in the form of a rather alarming looking Billy Connelly (sorry - I'll always remember him for his once-shocking brilliantly funny stand-up and hate seeing him in roles like this) who is a ex-priest, paedophile and has an apparent psychic link to a missing FBI agent. This is about as 'X'-ey as it gets - until one incredibly brief scene much later in the film.
Sadly, the X-Files 2 lacks the magic that kept viewers riveted time and time again in the earlier TV series. None of the creepy outdoor locations crawling with dry ice, none of the old cast apart from Duchovny, Anderson, and an all-too-brief cameo from Mitch Pileggi. No scenes of Mulder dizzy with puppy-like excitement over the appearance of some unidentified gunge, whilst Scully tut-tutted with her scientific eye. None of the strange story lines with quirky characters that may or may not be based on a true story. No subtle black humour. No mutants hanging out in barns. And nary an alien in sight, morphing or otherwise... just some very, very naughty Russian scientists.
The final reveal was rushed and unfulfilling, and Mulder didn't even have time to wax lyrical over the weird and wonderful something that he was chasing all along. Mulder's quest appears to be at an end, and it is echoed in his tired relationship with Scully. The plot limped along, hampered even more so by the hang-ups of the major characters. The 'mystery' was C-Grade - maybe it was a recycled storyline from the series that never got used. The film seemed to be more about Scully's faith and Mulder's tenacity than anything else and that subject was wrung to death in the last few seasons of the show.
It was fantastic to see them back, it really was. But the experience left me inexplicably sad to witness these two iconic characters that have become so ingrained in sci-fi culture reduced to bickering, washed out home-bodies chasing after hatchet men instead of doing what they were great at - saving the planet from aliens, long-legged beasties and things that go bump (or slither) in the night. Ultimately, I didn't believe.
'Based' on a Stephen King short story, the premise of this movie is enough to send shivers of anticipation up and down the spine of any movie buff or horror fan. John Cusack and Samuel L Jackson share only a short amount of screen time together but even these electric few minutes serve to make the mouth water for the main course - the room! Unfortunately the movie relies on too many plot and character stereotypes to make it memorable after closing credits. The dishevelled protagonist with a tragic past is not only a staple of King's fiction but of other horror films (ie the Reaping). The wife and daughter have scarcely anything to work with, whilst Jackson's appearance is sadly too brief and he barely hits his stride before his scenes are over.
Once in the confines of 1408, what could have been a wonderful chillfest turns out to be a bizarre montage of events, some of which are downright creepy and some of which are downright idiotic. The scares come like clockwork - good scare, crap scare, good scare, crap scare... it starts off nicely with the creeps being subtle, building up the tension. As all hell breaks loose and the skeptical Cusack starts to lose it so does the plot. Cusack holds up his own but the room fails to deliver - except for the annoying receptionist on the end of the phone - pure gold! This could have been so much more and is made even more disappointing because the premise was so fantastic - it was a blank canvas waiting to be filled with horror - yet it appears as if the artist wasn't up to the task.
Alien Autopsy (2006)
Fact or fiction
First off, this film is based on a true story. Check out Ray Santilli on Wikipedia. And that's what makes this film so hysterical - not to mention the inspired casting of Ant and Dec. It's weird but true - even down to the homeless man. The boys camp it up in true British style proving they are the ultimate comedy pairing with a tootsie in every type of entertainment pie. Unfortunately it's two years since the film's release and they haven't done anything else as yet - but don't give up boys - the silver screen misses you! I'm personally glad I set my timer to record this at 5am in the morning. The comedy is well-timed, and the gags subtle but constant. One of the best British comedies of the last two years.
Let's round up...
Inconsistencies abounded in this last episode. I expected the final showdown between Peter and Sylar to be a sort of Harry Potter vs Voldemort extravaganza with the two heroes pitting all their superpowers at each other. Instead it goes Hollywood soppy, with Nathan making the ultimate sacrifice (yawn) after the words of his illegitimate daughter somehow convince him that blowing up half of New York City is not the right thing to do. I don't think he had to worry that much as apparently all the citizens of New York were sleeping or at home watching House, instead of gathering round and watching the showdown go down. Akira has a point there - if a bunch of people were running round with swords and lightshows the general populace would think it was street theatre and crowd around to watch! Sylar could have made a buck or two if he'd passed around a hat. Ah well... at least no-one was watching the really really bad baddie slide away into a drain. I mean puh-lease! The last few episodes of the show have been about killing Sylar. Admist the tears and cuddles and talk of home somehow he's forgotten???? As for the talk of a new ultra-baddie - that little nugget was so unsubtly dropped that the writers must have realised they didn't do a great job with episode 23 so they needed something to keep the general viewing public tuning into Season 2.
OK so the ending of season 1 sucked. I've had my rant! All in all this has been a great series, with some excellent acting from some gorgeous people. Hopefully Season 2 will be more of the same. Bets on Peter & Nathan's mother turning out to be the Wicked Witch of the West???
I'm a little bit disappointed *WARNING - HERE BE SPOILERS*
Well after years and years of waiting, I finally paid my ticket and went to see the 4th (and final?) instalment of Indiana Jones.
So the positives: The first and most obvious is the fantastic relationship between Indiana and Mutt. This is the true dynamic of the film, and it is a better film for it. It picks up the mantle of Indy and Henry Jones Sr, alike in so many ways, resentful of it, and yet with a wise-cracking fondness that provides much of the humour of the Indy series. Indy is at his humorous best when he is in conflict with other characters - even those he loves most. LaBeouf and Ford have a tangible chemistry on screen, and Spielberg knew what he was doing casting LaBeouf. I smell a spin-off film in the air...
Unfortunately this cracking chemistry is not carried through with the other characters, and the film is weaker for it. Hurt's character Oxley, Allen as Marion and Winstone's character Mac are all so underdeveloped that their presence actually detracts from some of the more humorous and adventurous moments. Even the lovely Blanchett flounders a little with the skeleton of a character in Spalko. She's psychic - apparently. Her accent is strained and forced, as if she's trying too hard. There is no backstory, and she's not a worthy adversary for Jones. Without her pack of inept henchmen and Mac's sneaky help, she'd be clueless in the jungle. Never a hair out of place though - so kudos for that alone! You almost wish there had been some sexual chemistry between Indy and Spalko to spice it up a bit...
Instead the love interest here is Marion, referring back to their fling in the Lost Ark. A long-running love/hate relationship, Marion was spunky, hard-drinking and saucy - the perfect match for an adventurous commitment-phobe like Indy. 1957 Marion is still feisty - unfortunately in middle-aged women it's called 'nagging'. None of the chemistry between the two characters remains - when she goes in for the smooch at the wedding Ford almost seems to recoil.
The adventure set pieces and chases are satisfactory - with echoes of the trademark Indy adaptability but with less wise-cracking and amusing close-ups of Indy's long-suffering face. The traditional 'clues' were a little more contrived and slightly less romanticised. The natives were ridiculous and arbitrary adding nothing to the atmosphere. Time spent on the atomic bomb scenes would have been better spent developing the story later in the film. I thought National Treasure had a better 'modern day' plot. As for the aliens or 'inter-dimensional' beings - hey I liked it! It's a little leftfield, a bit different - if the path to getting to the climax could have been a bit more complex and the supporting characters more rounded, the film would be much stronger.
BTW one of the reasons that the Nazca lines ARE so well preserved is that there is no wind or rain on the plains of Nazca. They are not all grouped together either - it takes a good hour to fly over just the major formations. One of them, not included in the film strangely enough, is what can only be described as a spaceman - complete with tiny body and large head and eyes. They are still one of the world's biggest mysteries and they can only be seen properly from the air. If you fancy a do-it-yourself Indy adventure they are definitely worth checking out.