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Main Entry: exclusion
Definition: expulsion; forbiddance
Synonyms: ban, bar, blackball, blockade, boycott, cut, debarment, debarring, discharge, dismissal, ejection, elimination, embargo, eviction, exception, excommunication, interdict, interdicting, interdiction, keeping out, lockout, nonadmission, occlusion, omission, ostracism, ousting, preclusion, prevention, prohibition, proscription, refusal, rejection, relegation, removal, repudiation, segregation, separation, suspension, veto
Antonyms: acceptance, addition, admittance, allowance, inclusion, incorporation, welcome
send to Coventry, to refuse to associate with; openly and pointedly ignore: His friends sent him to Coventry after he was court-martialed.
People from the music industry that I respect, idolize or just simply appreciate: Ennio Morricone, Amy McDonald, Daan, David Bowie, Therion, Pink Floyd, Leonard Cohen, Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, Joy Division, Bobby Darin, the Everly Brothers, Bobby Vinton, Gene Pitney, Herman's Hermits, The Hollies, The Animals, The Byrds, Donovan, Vargoth, Drudkh, Behemoth, Triggerfinger, Falkenbach, Finntroll, Einherjer, The Smiths, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, BB King, Ministry, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rufus Wainwright, The Allman Brothers Band, Johnny Cash, Paul Simon, Raymond Lefèvre, Children of Bodom, Volbeat, Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Anathema, Velvet Underground, Norah Jones, Fatboy Slim, Moloko, Angelo Badalmenti, Sarah Brightman, Lady Antebellum, Enigma, Muse, Army of Lovers, Chris Isaak, Lesley Gore, Kasabian, Pearl Jam, dEUS, Mumford & Sons, The Subs, Nirvana, Soundgarden, Cuff the Duke, Pulp, Oscar and the Wolf,
People from the movie industry that I respect, idolize or just simply appreciate: John Saxon, Mario Bava, Joe D'Amato, George Eastman, Darren Lynn Bousman, Boris Karloff, Enzo G. Castellari, Bo Svenson, Fred Williamson, Antonio Margheriti, Klaus Kinski, Lloyd Kaufman, James Gunn, Rob Zombie, Sid Haig, Matthew McGrory, Karen Black, Dennis Fimple, Irwin Keyes, Tom Towles, Bill Moseley, Wolfgang Petersen, Nicol Williamson, Fairuza Balk, Piper Laurie, Philippe Mora, Tom Holland, Ronny Cox, Lucio Fulci, Christopher George, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Catriona MacColl, Fabio Frizzi, Nicolas Cage, Todd Farmer, Tom Atkins, Paul Verhoeven, Kurtwood Smith, Miguel Ferrer, Ray Wise, Stuart Gordon, H.P. Lovecraft, Jeffrey Combs, David Gale, Barbara Crampton, Fernando Di Leo, Joe Dallesandro, Terence Fisher, Anton Diffring, Hazel Court, Christopher Lee, Robert Stevenson, William Girdler, Rebecca De Mornay, Mako, Ti West, Tom Noonan, Mary Woronov, Paul Bartel, David Carradine, Roger Corman, Adrian Hoven, Monte Hellman, Warren Oates, Harry Dean Stanton, Steve Railsback, Ed Begley Jr., Peter Fonda, Nathan Juran, Lionel Jeffries, James Glickenhaus, Ken Wahl, Joaquim de Almeida, Sam Peckinpah, William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Ben Johnson, Edmond O'Brien, Kurt Raab, Helene Cattet & Bruno Forzani, Karl Freund, Peter Lorre, Colin Clive, William Lustig, Joe Spinell, Caroline Munro, Tom Savini, Charles B. Pierce, Robert Wise, Fred Dekker, Fritz Lang, David Hemmings, Michael Ironside, Jan-Michael Vincent, Bette Davis, Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead, Victor Buono, George Kennedy, Charles Bronson, Richard Fleischer, Elmore Leonard, Paul Koslo, Michael Winner, Brian Garfield, Lee Marvin, J. Lee Thompson, Riz Ortolani, Yul Brunner, Eli Wallach, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn, Steve McQueen, Michael Crichton, James Brolin, Mel Brooks, arry Cohen, Michael Moriarty, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Robin Hardy, Edward Woodward, Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt, Peter Cushing, Michael Gough, Herbert Lom, Udo Kier, Michael Reeves, Vincent Price, Ian Ogilvy, Dick Maas, Henri-Georges Clouzot, Paul Naschy, Paul Morrissey, Truman Capote, Peter Falk, Alec Guinness, David Niven, Elsa Lanchester, Peter Sellers, Gene Wilder, Patrick McGoohan, Herb Freed, Richard Kiel, John Landis, Tim Curry, Simon Pegg, Jenny Agutter, Frank Oz, Dario Argento, Quentin Tarantino, Everett De Roche, Stacy Keach, Russell Mulcahy, Brian Trenchard-Smith, Donald Pleasence, George Peppard, Simon Wincer, Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, Gary Sherman, Faith Domergue, Alexandre Aja, Ving Rhames, Christopher Lloyd, Eli Roth, Ishirô Honda, Greydon Clark, Cybill Shepherd, Neville Brand, Vincent Schiavelli, Martin Landau, Jack Palance, Alan Rudolph, Jonathan Demme, Pam Grier, Mark L. Lester, Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Kilpatrick, Don Dohler, Everett McGill, Corey Haim, Gary Busey, Jake Busey, Charlton Heston, Lorne Greene, Walter Matthau, Peter Bogdanovich, Woody Allen, John Milius, Franco Nero, Crispin Glover, Dennis Hopper, Dick Miller, Barbara Steele, Armando Crispino, Sergio Grieco, Helmut Berger, Lee Van Cleef, Robert Forster, John Huston, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., George Miller, Mel Gibson, Robert Rodriguez, George Hilton, Kane Hodder, Michael Madsen, Tony Todd, Nicolas Winding Refn, William Grefe, Cirio H. Santiago , Joe Dante, Don Coscarelli, Angus Schrimm, Tobe Hooper, Tiffany Shepis, Brad Dourif, George P. Cosmatos, John Boorman, Stephen Boyd, Tommy Lee Jones, Rod Steiger, Brian DePalma, Gunnar Hansen, George A. Romero, Simon Boyes, Adam Mason, Jack Arnold, M. Emmet Walsh, James Stewart, Darren McGavin, Kathleen Quinlan, Jack Lemmon, Robert Foxworth, Olivia De Havilland, Michael Pataki, Jerry Stiller, John Carradine, Julian Sands, Freddie Francis, Don Sharp, William Castle, Bill Rebane, John De Bello, Terry O'Quinn, Peter Sykes, Wes Craven, Michael Sarrazin, Lewis Teague, Yaphet Kotto, Sergio Stivaletti, John Phillip Law, Michele Soavi, Umberto Lenzi, Anna Falchi, Lon Chaney, Sergio Martino, Edwige Fenech, Ursula Andress, Michael Sopkiw, Edmund Purdom, Hal Yamanouchi, Barbara Bach, Cameron, Mitchell, Alberto De Martino, Ernesto Gastaldi, Maurizio Merli, John Steiner, Mel Ferrer, Barbara Bouchet, Marty Feldman, Tomas Milian, Bruno Mattei, Lamberto Bava, Luc Merenda, Anita Strindberg, Luigi Pistilli, Ivan Rassimov, Sergio Corbucci, Tito Carpi, David Warbeck, Luciano Pigozzi, Gianfranco Giagni, Florinda Balkan, Rosalba Neri, Mel Welles, Dagmar Lassander, Neil Jordan, Walter Huston, Ray Bradbury, Gregory Peck, Orson Welles, Bert I. Gordon, H.G. Wells, Ida Lupino, Kirk Douglas, David Lynch, Eddie Romero, Bela Lugosi, Al Adamson, Tor Johnson, Edward D. Wood Jr, David Cronenberg, Christopher Walken, Tom Skeritt, Martin Sheen, Dino De Laurentiis, James Wan,
The Incident (2011)
The Lunatics have taken over the asylum!
What horror concept is more traditional and effective than the setting of an asylum for the mentally insane during a thunderstorm and a power blackout? Writer S. Craig Zahler and director Alexandre Courtès may perhaps not have had a lot of financial means at their disposal, but they definitely know their genre classics and they also know how to build up a suspenseful atmosphere and petrify the audience through simple tricks. "The Incident", a.k.a. "Asylum Blackout" which naturally is a much more appealing and appetizing title for a low-budget horror flick, first caught my attention because it's a partially Belgian co-production (I'm from Belgium, hence
) and it premiered at the Brussels' International Festival of Fantastic Films a few years ago. Via this website, I learned that the film was largely shot in Belgium but I can't quite figure out whether the director is Belgian or not. Either way, being a Belgian horror freak, I'm still very proud to see a link with my country, especially because I liked "The Incident" quite a lot. Admittedly the film starts out a little too slow and primitive, while the confusing and open-for-interpretation climax is arguably annoying, but everything in between is a nice demonstration of sadistic, raw and nerve-wrecking terror! George and his two pals Max and Ricky form an aspiring rock-band, but they hardly have the money to pay for a session at the recording studio. Therefore they also work together in the kitchen of the sinister Sans asylum, geographically isolated somewhere in the state of Washington. Near the end of a long working day, a heavy thunderstorm breaks loose and lightening causes a power failure inside the asylum. The cell doors unlock automatically and the patients all of them dangerous lunatics on heavy medication turn against the wardens. George and his friend attempt to hide in storage rooms and offices but the crazies, led by the vicious inmate Harry Green, hunt them down as well. "The Incident" features some of the most efficiently disturbing sequences I've seen in a long time. The scene where a couple of nut cases are trying to break through the freezer door, behind which Ricky is hiding, is downright petrifying. And so is the excruciatingly painful murder of a certain character on top of the cooking stove and a torture sequence involving a peeling knife. I must say the supportive characters depicting the mental patients are extremely well-chosen as well. Harry Green (Richard Brake) looks like evil personified and many other unknown actors are aptly cast based on their looks as well (Darren Kent, the hairless guy
). The film allegedly takes place in the year 1989, which is quite clever because this way the writers didn't have to take into account mobile phones, etc
I'm not going to go too much into detail about the bizarre ending. It didn't bother me that much because, by the time of the climax, I was already seriously impressed by the level of sickness and disturbance of "The Incident". This definitely isn't for sensitive and/or easily offended viewers!
Starship Invasions (1977)
Cheesy encounters of the ludicrous kind!
"Oh boy, a real flying saucer!" is what a little boys shouts when he and his parents are confronted with a mysterious space ship circling above their car on a secluded countryside road. I definitely shared his enthusiasm, because I truly worship cinematic B-trash like this, and my only regret was that I wasn't yet drunk enough when I watched "Starship Invasions". Although a low-keyed crossover between the hugely successful "Star Wars" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", this piece of junk has quite a lot to offer. For example, it stars Christopher Lee in the most ridiculous and embarrassing outfit of his long and respectable career, hypnotizing aliens speaking without moving their lips, alien base camps underneath sea level, loads of sexy space wenches, authentic R2D2 robots (oh no, they're not men in suits AT ALL) and goofy intelligent beings with gigantic bald heads and miniature ears. I'm not at all sure what the plot is about, but it sure is incoherent and totally messed up. There are alien invaders trying to overtake planet earth, but at the same time these crazy beings are at war with other extraterrestrial species. I can't really say why because I always got distracted by random alien babes in too tight spandex costumes. Presumably the big bald aliens are here to protect us humans from the nefarious Christopher Lee and his posse. Meanwhile, Robert Vaughn stars as a professor who takes himself deadly serious and appears on TV talk shows in order to persuade the world about the existence of interstellar civilizations. Okay, "Starship Invasions" comes across as cheesy and campy, but admittedly it's also dark and sinister at times, especially when it turns out that the evil aliens are able to make earthlings commit ritual suicide through their telekinetic powers. Once you're done laughing with Vaughn's nihilistic facial expressions and Lee's stoic voiceovers the film does become very boring, though. The special effects are astonishingly decent for a low- budget Canadian exploitation flick like this. Particularly the UFO models are nifty, albeit prototypic, and even when floating around they don't look that stupid. With a slightly more coherent script and competent direction, and maybe also with less urge to imitate other and more successful Sci-Fi titles, I'm convinced that "Starship Invasions" could have been a better movie. Now it's merely a curious footnote in the genre and a reasonably interesting flick for cult-collectors. Writer/director Ed Hunt was also responsible for two favorite 80s guilty pleasure of mine, namely "Bloody Birthday" and "The Brain".
Evil Stalks This House (1981)
Evil Jack Palance Stalks Old Ladies
The crummy DVD-R that I own of "Evil Stalks This House" has the poorest picture and sound quality I've ever seen, and yet I struggled myself through because I really wanted to see this film. Why? Well, because I'm a giant fan of Jack Palance and director Gordon Hessler, and admittedly also because I'm a sucker for movies with sinister titles such as this one. This is definitely a curious little oddity, and very VERY obscure. It doesn't even run for one full hour, even though it is stated here 96 minutes, and in spite of his name being listed in the cast, Christopher Lee isn't anywhere in sight. As far as I can tell, this was the pilot episode of a TV- series that eventually never aired. The plot is reasonably compelling (albeit clichéd and predictable) and quite entertaining mainly thanks to Jack Palance's malevolent performance. He stars as a devious father of two, whose car breaks down in the middle of nowhere late one night. They end up at a secluded old mansion where two seemingly defenseless old ladies live with a mentally handicapped man. Palance quickly notices that the house is full of antique treasures and refuses to leave. He even steals the heart medicine of one of the old women in order to blackmail her. Unfortunately for Jack, the old bags aren't as helpless as they seem and the house hides plenty of macabre secrets, like a lethal puddle of mud in the basement (?) and a witch coven in the attic. In spite of a couple ingenious moments (including the hilarious end twist) and an overall uncanny atmosphere, it's fairly easy to see why the format never became a long-running TV-series. The plot and characters are derivative and the production values are too poor. There's a notably creepy scene with a spider and another one with a dummy in the quicksand. Gordon Hessler has always been a sadly underrated but extremely skillful director in the horror genre. He started out with a handful of very ambitious fright-tales, like "The Oblong Box" and "Murders in the Rue Morgue", but then from the seventies onwards specialized in less notable TV- work.
Picture Mommy Dead (1966)
The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out . In your stomach and out your mouth!
I have a strange and inexplicable fondness for horror movies that feature eerie & sinister nursery rhymes So, in spite of the mediocre rating and overall negative reviews around here, I already knew I was going to love "Picture Mommy Dead" from the very first minutes, because it opens with grim images of a woman's bedroom on fire and Zsa Zsa Gabor lying dead amidst the flames, and we simultaneously hear a kids' choir gently singing: "The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out in your stomach and out your mouth!" All this happens even before the equally macabre opening credits appear on screen. To me personally, there aren't many better ways to begin a horror movie. Furthermore I also shamelessly admit being an admirer of director Bert I. Gordon, even though he's widely considered as one of the worst in the genre and frequently the target of mockery in popular shows like MST3K. Although his oversized animal attack movies ("Food of the Gods", "Empire of the Ants") are undeniably more entertaining, "Picture Mommy Dead" might very well be Mr. BIG's finest achievements. Sure it's still a little rough around the edges, with some very inept editing and far too many dialogs that are overlong and laughably melodramatic, but nevertheless also an atmospheric film with seriously sick & disturbing themes and several powerfully uncomfortable sequences.
Edward Shelley goes to pick up his teenage daughter Susan in the secluded convent where she spent several years in order to process the traumatizing death of her mother. Susan is the primary heiress of her mother's fortune, which unwarily brings her in a lot of danger. Daddy got married again, with Susan's former governess Francine. She's a totally immoral and money-hungry woman who constantly manipulates Susans as well as her own husband, and she even non-stop suggests calling a head-doctor in order to accelerate Susan's return to the madhouse. There's also creepy Uncle Anthony, a nastily scarred freak who whispers in Susan's ear in great detail how her mother slowly and painfully burned to death. Even her own beloved daddy behaves mysteriously, because he's completely broke and only has access to the inheritance in case Susan dies or gets declared insane again. The poor girl soon begins to suffer from awful nightmares and vivid hallucinations, but are they real or inflicted on her by her hypocrite family members? Martha Hyer truly gives a remarkable performance as the wicked stepmother! Her exaggeratedly phony and hypocrite attempts to help Susan remember the whereabouts of a valuable necklace definitely form the highlights of the film! Also impressive are the numerous hallucination sequences, which are quite perverse and shocking for 1966. We have bleeding paintings, diabolical dolls, accusing furry animals and even a spontaneously combusting Zsa Zsa Gabor! In order to quickly cash in on the huge contemporary success of "The Birds", Bert I. Gordon is even clever enough to insert a couple of fierce falcon-attack sequences. The climax is deliciously demented and I daresay even somewhat romantic (in a sick and perverted kind of way). Apart from the aforementioned Martha Hyer and Zsa Zsa Gabor, "Picture Mommy Dead" also features notable and atypical performances from Don Ameche and Bert's own daughter Susan Gordon. Recommended, of course, what else did you think?
The Hindenburg (1975)
The flying crematorium
There simply couldn't have been a better period to turn the case of the Hindenburg into a cinematic event than during the 1970s! It was the glorious heyday of immense and overwhelming disaster movies, and even though the vast majority of classic titles back then were purely fictionalized stories, the fundamentally facts-based story of the last and fatal flight of the legendary passenger zeppelin perfectly fits in the tone and style of the disaster-era. The Hindenburg crash as it occurred in May 1937 in Lakehurst, New Jersey, is a truly fascinating historical news fact. I read many articles and watched a lot of archive footage, thanks to the well reserved news coverage on the spot, and I'm glad to have finally watched the film. "The Hindenburg" is definitely a showcasing of pure cinematic craftsmanship. The multi-talented and versatile Robert Wise proved himself to be the ideal captain for such a bombastic and politically sensitive movie-flight, and this resulted in a tense atmosphere on board, stupendous acting performances, terrific dialogs, awesome set designs and sound effects and above everything some of the best editing ever witnessed on film, during the climax when actual news footage of the burning crash is mixed with sequences of the film in black and white. There exist many theories on what, in fact, caused the dramatic combustion of the mastodon airship (for example static electricity and engine trouble hypothesizes) but the film obviously revolves entirely around the most intriguing theory of them all: sabotage! When a clairvoyant US woman out of the blue claims that the Hindenburg will explode on American soil, former Luftwaffe Colonel Franz Ritter is promptly assigned to board the ship and identify the potential saboteur(s). Ritter has a large number of suspects to choose from, from prominent German citizens to some of his own personal friends, as well as crew members, on-board entertainers and disillusioned Hitlerjugend veterans. With the emphasis on Ritter's complex and delicate investigation, 90% of the film is of course very talkative and slow- paced. Robert Wise, with the help of George C. Scott in great shape and the rest of the excellent ensemble cast, nevertheless keeps the level of suspense quite high and constant and you'll quickly find yourself guessing along with Franz about who on board might have a hidden agenda. Being a perfectionist director, Robert Wise was clearly also obsessed with recreating the era and delivering props, costumes and models to exacting standards, which makes "The Hindenburg" all the more captivating to behold. The last 10-15 minutes are downright phenomenal (and not at all exploitative and sick, like some other reviewers around here suggest) because you are watching a real tragedy and you feel helpless. The vast majority of victims are Nazis, true, but a tragedy nonetheless. In good old 70s disaster-movie tradition, the cast list is full of elite names (George C. Scott, Charles Durning, Anne Bancroft, Burgess Meredith, William Atherton
) and they all deliver.
Watch out, Hattie the Witch wants your baby
"Conjurer" is another incredibly dumb and insignificant horror flick of which the makers didn't know exactly what they wanted to achieve. That may sound quite harsh, but it's the truth. We all know know about movies dealing with witchcraft/ghost story elements, like ancient curses and possessed building, right? You probably also know about them pseudo-intelligent thrillers where they make us wonder whether all kinds of strange occurrences are happening for real or just inside the protagonist's mentally unstable mind, right? Well, with "Conjurer", writer/director Clint Hutchinson ambitiously attempts to combine the two together, but let me assure you that they don't mix! Quite the contrary, the end result is a senseless and completely irrational film that on top of all this - also is boring, bloodless and bad! One year after the tragic and traumatizing loss of their unborn child, artsy photographer Shawn and his wife Helen move to a big old-fashioned countryside mansion. Shawn is reluctant to move, because he's a real city boy and he particularly doesn't like being financially dependent of his intrusive brother-in-law. There's a ramshackle cabin on their property, and according to the superstitious neighbors naturally it's possessed by the spirit of a witch named Hattie, and she wreaks havoc on everyone who even thinks of destroying the cabin. Shawn regularly spots Hattie and a whole lot of other strange things (like a very hostile crow) on the premises, but his family thinks he just looks for an excuse to leave again. Whilst writing down this little plot synopsis, I realized that I wrote nearly the exact same lines numerous of times before for other lousy horror flicks. In other words, "Conjurer" is clichéd and derivative and doesn't feature anything to distinguish itself from the rest. Relatively many of my fellow reviewers stated that the film is full of genuine scares and atmospheric tension, but I honestly think they are either related to one of the cast or crew members or they never watched a REAL horror movie before in their lives. "Conjurer" is scare-free and slow-paced and overall second-rate
The Hunger Games (2012)
Big Cinema circus/hype that *almost* stilled my hunger
I'm only in my early thirties, but extremely grumpy and old-fashioned for my age. I'm a giant admirer of classic horror/cult cinema and thus consequently a hater of everything that falls under the category of popular new teenage age trends, including remakes of classic horror movies and ridiculously over-hyped and phony franchises (like "Twilight", for instance). I automatically assumed that "The Hunger Games" would fall under this last subcategory and thus decided not to waste any time or money on it, but then it came on television and I had nothing better to watch, so what the hell. I must admit that I was quite entertained by this first movie in the franchise and contrary to what I feared compared to "The Hunger Games", any entry in the "Twilight" saga looks like an episode of the "Teletubbies". Obviously I still think this movie is tremendously overrated and I didn't like it enough in order to run out and immediately purchase all the other sequels right away, but at least I was pleasantly surprised by the overall grim & depressing atmosphere, the brutality of some of the death sequences and the execution of the basic story concept. Speaking of which, the plot is as old as cinema itself and absolutely doesn't anything original. Back in 1933 already, there was a fabulous movie that dealt about the hunting-humans formula entitled "The Most Dangerous Game" and since then there came copious of rip-offs, imitations or variants. Some of them are cheap and dull ("Bloodlust!"), some of them are sleazy ("The Women Hunt"), some of them are extremely violent ("Blood Camp Thatcher") and some of them became legendary cult classics themselves ("Battle Royale"). Some of them already even integrated the sub plot of the hunting game being one giant reality TV show, like "The Running Man" and Lucio Fulci's obscure piece of Sci-Fi trash "The New Gladiators". Basically that's all "The Hunger Games" is; another umpteenth re-telling of "The Most Dangerous Game", except this time it's based on a novel that all teenagers across the world have read and loved, so they think it's unique and groundbreaking. It's definitely innovating at all, but I'm already glad that it became a thriller with a a reasonably disturbing dystopian setting, a fair amount of suspense, intense situations and above average acting performances. Somewhere in the (not too distant) future, the nation of Panem which is whatever is left over from the United States is divided into 12 districts, ranged from proud and powerful to pitiable and poor. Once per year, the authorial president Snow organizes the "hunger games"; a big media circus in which 24 randomly selected participants, two from each district, and unleashed into a wilderness where they battle each other to the death. In District 12, Katniss Everdeen volunteered to take the place of her younger sister, and she also happens to be a cool chick and a brilliant archer. There's quite a lot of additional blah blah and uninteresting sub plots, but I will admit that "The Hunger Games" contains a handful of impressive action sequences in the jungle and even a few shocking moments in spite of its PG-13 rating. The apotheosis is utterly weak, which is inevitably I suppose, and the use of computer-engineered effects (the mutated dog- pack attack, for example) is terribly annoying, but perhaps this is all linked to me being a sourpuss. As for the remaining installments in the series, I will patiently wait until they get aired on TV as well.
The Dead Pool (1988)
Dirty Harry vs. the Dirty Remote Controlled Toy Bomb Car!
17 years and four degenerating sequels later, I presume it's about time for Dirty Harry to think about retirement
Throughout the franchise, the legendary character Inspector Harry Callahan has transformed from an unorthodox and nihilistic copper into a bleak and almost laughable caricature, and since the release of the the almighty 1971 original, the big cinema screen got overflowed with similar protagonists, usually depicted by equally grumpy-looking actors (Charles Bronson, Chuck Norris
). By now, Harry's cynical interactions with journalists have become rather dull and routine, and what's also repetitive is the fact that villains fire off entire arsenals of machine gun bullets at him while he just nonchalantly shoots once with his Magnum and kills the opponent immediately. The concept of "The Dead Pool" is still engaging enough, but the film contains far too many dumb sequences, clichéd & predictable sub plots and dire politically correct supportive characters! The glorious days of "punk!" and "Go ahead, make my day
" are gone forever. Around the same time that a jailed mafia boss put a price on his head, Dirty Harry is investigating the strange death of a punk-rock star/actor. He Johnny Squares was just shooting a film with the notoriously sleazy and sicko horror director Peter Swan, and Harry together with his new Asian American partner Quan discovers that Swan organizes a macabre little game called "dead pool" where he predicts the death of celebrities. The people on this list also actually start dying, and Dirty Harry is on there too! Is Peter Swan really as psychopathic as his reputation suggests? Are the murders controlled from behind bars? Does Lt. Callahan even care? The idea of a celebrity dead pool is quite exciting and some of the supportive characters are fascinating. Jim Carrey briefly appears as the first murder victim Johnny Squares and uses his facial talents to do a funny playback imitation of Guns 'n Roses' classic song "Welcome to the Jungle". The sequence perhaps doesn't fit in a supposedly raw and gritty late '80s thriller, but it's definitely fun. Also Liam Neeson is delightfully loathsome as the scumbag director complete with ponytail and, as a horror fanatic, I would really love to watch some of the fictional films that he made. They have titles such as "Hell without the Devil", "Hotel Satan" and "Night of the Slasher"! Where can I buy those? The questionable highlight of "The Dead Pool" is undeniably the long and totally bonkers chase of Callahan & Quan versus a six inch remote controlled toy car with a bomb hidden in it. I honestly can't figure out whether this sequence is meant to be a parody or a genuine moment of suspense. The two actors try very hard to look scared and the stunt work is impressive for sure, but the scene is so damn goofy and implausible that even the good old principle of 'suspension of disbelief' fails! By starring in this otherwise pointless and nonsensical film, I strongly believe that Clint Eastwood was merely just doing a favor to his "Buddy"-director
Scary Movie 5 (2013)
Stupidity and redundancy, part V
Either I was still high on the antibiotics I was taking for that viral infection I suffered from or either I've grown entirely numb for awful horror spoofs over the years, but fact remains that I was a lot less irritated by this fifth installment in the "Scary Movie" franchise than by any of the previous ones. Could it be that this latest and still equally redundant sequel is slightly better than the previous ones? Don't get me wrong, it's still a very lackluster effort hence my four out of ten rating and it's maximally on par with the mediocre original of the series, but at least I chuckled a couple of times and I even caught myself thinking that a handful of the gags and situations were moderately ingenious! Maybe it's because the annoying lead actress Ana Faris got replaced by the less annoying Brittany Murphy lookalike Ashley Tisdale or perhaps the parody veterans David Zucker and Pat Proft ("Airplane", "Hot Shots!") found their occasional old shape back? Who knows, maybe it's even linked to the fact there was a decent period gap of seven years since the last film this time, whereas the previous films followed each other with an interval of one or two years. Part five primarily focuses itself on spoofing the okay but vastly overrated "Mama". Next to that, it also makes fun of a series of other recent attempts at horror/thriller, including "The Evil Dead" (remake), "Black Swan", "Paranormal Activity" and the latest sequels to "Planet of the Apes". For me personally, it probably helped that I disliked every single one of these flicks. Simon Rex' stupid facial expressions are sometimes fun and particularly the parody of "The Cabin in the Woods" and "The Evil Dead" made me smile. Still 90% of the script is downright embarrassing and even too retarded for words, most notably all sequences with the Latina housemaid and the intelligent monkey. My advice would be not to spend any money on this, but watch it when it comes on television and don't be afraid to fall asleep, since you won't miss out on anything.
The Witches (1990)
All it takes are good special effects and great casting!
I was a tremendous big fan of Roald Dahl's books as a kid (who wasn't?) and "The Witches" has always been a personal favorite. I began watching this film once before already, shortly after its release on rental video, but since I was only 9 years old back then, I sat completely petrified in the sofa and my mother switched off the tape because she considered me too young for the eerie make-up effects and the continuous talk about annihilating all children. Having re-watched the film now, at the age of 33, I can finally relate to my mother and admit that I probably wouldn't prefer my young offspring to be exposed to several of the nightmarish imagery, either. This doesn't mean, however, that "The Witches" isn't recommended! Quite the contrary, it's a fabulously entertaining and compelling adventure that benefices enormously from the talent and craftsmanship from all its main contributors. There's Roald Dahl's writing, evidently, but also the masterful direction of Nicolas Roeg and the trustworthy overview of producer Jim Henson. Together they are responsible for the film's main success elements, including the fantastic casting choices among the best in cinematic history and the stupendous special effects. Young Luke enjoys to spend time with his grandmother Helga (and remains to live with her when his parents suddenly die in a car crash) because she always narrates Norwegian folklore stories about witches. When they spend a vacation at a fancy British seaside hotel, Luke accidentally attends an annual witch coven's convention and learns that the evil Grand High Witch has invented a potion to turn all of Britain's children into mice. Luke and his buddy Bruno Jenkins are turned into mice first, but they still fight back, together with Grandma Helga. The choice of casting Anjelica Huston as the Grand High Witch was downright genius! She has the ideally natural looks, charisma and voice to depict the ultimately evil battle-ax and then she still adds a delicious heavy German accent to her monologues. Speaking of the genius casting choices, Rowan Atkinson is excellent as the nervous and slightly sleazy hotel manager and the traditional Swedish actress Mai Zetterling gives a lovable performance as the grandmother. The make-up art and special effects are amazing, most notably when the doors of the witches' convention close and they reveal their true and hideous faces. Jim Henson's crew also delivers great work with the puppet mice. If the film would be remade in this modern day and age God forbid all the sequences with the puppet mice and witchcraft would be replaced by computerized effects. "The Witches" is yet another movie example to prove that good old- fashioned handwork is much better. The happy ending of the film is a bit of a letdown, especially because it differs from Roald Dahl's book ending, but that certainly doesn't prevent "The Witches" from being a terrific and highly recommended fantasy/adventure movie!