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Rocky Balboa (2006)
The perfect "goodbye"
The "Rocky" franchise took the world by storm with it's immortally touching story of an underdog fighter's shot at glory; from his first left hook to Apollo Creed in 1976 to his street brawl with Tommy Gun in 1990 he has thrilled audiences world wide with his hearty fights and bumbling persona.
Now in 2007 Sylvester Stallone returns to the role that made him famous in "Rocky Balboa" but what does this lengthy franchise have left to offer? In brief the story is this: A computer generated fight is set up between Rocky Balboa and current champion Mason "The Line" Dixon (The impressive acting debut of boxer Antonio Tarver) in which Rocky is triumphant, and then come the offers to bring Rocky out of retirement for one last fight.
This film could have been embarrassing; weak dialogue, parody-like performances and predictable plot twists all seemed likely which would have ultimately have left us with a lot of filler and a training montage in the middle. Thankfully, the 60 year old Stallone has done a wonderful job with the sixth and final installment of this epic series.
The characters of Pauly, Duke and Rocky Jr. have never been so developed or likable and returning minor characters like Marie and Spider Rico are far more memorable here than they were in the original. Rocky himself has regained his more lovable characteristics (as of those in the original 2 films and to a lesser extent in the 5th) and his dramatic moments are more touching than ever before in the scenes regarding the death of his wife Adrian.
Stallone's directing has a more artistic quality to it this time around; opposed to his more music video direction style in parts 3 and 4, allowing the subtler touches of the scenes to sink in on its audiences. Modern editing techniques are used well to compliment Stallone's somewhat minimalist film making style, crafting a picture that is visually striking and still focused on its characters.
The fight itself is as tense as any of the others, edge of the seat material from bell to bell. Both fighters are in terrific shape and pull off very credible looking boxing sequences, complimented as ever by Bill Conti's beautiful score.
A real saving grace of this film is that it's not about the championship, politics or revenge; it is just about a man's desire to see if he still has what it takes to "go the distance". This could be considered as much Stallone's last shot as Rocky's following various flop films like "Judge Dredd", "Avenging Angelo" and the underrated "D-Tox" he is as much mocked nowadays as his character Rocky is in "Rocky Balboa"; but to quote Rocky Jr.: "Nobodies laughing now!".
Not a dry eye in the house; one of the best in this consistently brilliant series and the perfect way to end it all. Thank you, Mr. Stallone. An Oscar wouldn't be out of place.
Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
It's hard to comment on a movie like "Cannibal Holocaust". It has perfectly fine acting, interesting camera ideas, good scripting, good direction and amazing make up/effects, but i have never enjoyed a film as little as this.
The story involves a documentary team who go missing in a jungle inhabited by two rival cannibal tribes and a rescue team of sorts are sent in to find them. The content of the film however is far more horrific than this could ever suggest, there are graphic scenes of gang rape, murder, torture, cannibalism (that of course could have been expected), primitive abortion, full frontal nudity from people who appear to be quite underage, animal killings and castration.
I consider myself quite a big fan of horror, and I thought i could handle the most graphic/unsettling films, I'm a fan of other exploitation films like "the last house on the left", "house of 1000 corpses", "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "House on the edge of the park", but while i thought these were disturbing, in comparison to "Cannibal Holocaust", these are virtually "exploitation horror-lite".
I do not consider "Cannibal Holocaust" a bad film at all, it has many strong features, and perhaps the creators deserve my respect for making such an impression on me, but i will never choose to watch this film again.
Camera work-9/10 Scripting-8/10 Acting-8/10 Effects/make up-10/10 Atmosphere-10/10 Musical score-6/10 Entertainment value-0/10
If you liked "Cannibal Holocaust" you might like this: "The Beyond" (Lucio Fulci) "Last house on the left" and "My little eye"
Paxton. Beihn. Aliens. Woo.
James Cameron's fantastic sequel to Ridley Scott's `Alien', picking up a few decades after the original Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) must now do battle with the aliens once again. Heading to an over run colony to search for survivors of a potential Xenomorph (that's Aliens to you and me) attack, however this time Ripley has the marines on her side.
Aliens has awesome acting, masses of tension, great effects, brilliant dialogue, strong direction and heaps of action. The characters are my favourite part of the film, in many films the characters are uninteresting and underdeveloped, how can you care about them? When a marine in this film takes his queue to be ripped in half you care, these are characters you liked and related to.
As always Ripley is one of the less interesting characters, but the sheer quality of the other cast members make up for this, Hicks (Michael Beihn) the coolly confident new found leader, `EAT THIS!', Hudson (Bill Paxton) plays the most human character showing fear, bravery and desperation to live, `Game over man, game over!' and Bishop (Lance Henriksen) the synthetic person, `Not bad for a human'.
This is regarded by many as one of the best films of all time, I personally agree. Certainly the best of the `Alien' series, followed closely by `Alien 3'.
This film has it all, explosions, gore, good lines, guns, aliens and Bill Paxton. If you have not seen this film go watch it right away.
Deep Rising (1998)
Poor animation, but 2 great actors save the movie, quite good fun
Decent enough sci-fi action movie from the director of `Jungle Book'. A group of thieves land on the world's most luxurious cruise ship to a distinct lack of holiday reps and masses of mutant creatures. Battles, betrayals, and slightly unnecessary love interests soon ensue, leaving the few survivors working desperately together to escape the ship.
One of the most noticeable faults in the film is the monsters, they don't look right, they do look impressive enough in their own right, but they don't fit in correctly, it usually looks as though the actors are merely standing in front of a big play station screen.
Films of this sort really need great characters to keep you interested (see the `Aliens' series), otherwise it just slips into generic drive in viewing material.
This film only has 2 great characters Mulligan (Jason Flemyng-Snatch, Lock Stock And 2 Smoking Barrels, From Hell) and Joey (Kevin J.O'Connor-The Mummy) who for me really made the film, both great to watch and they both really had the look for their parts.
A big mistake was pushing them out the limelight for John Finnegan (Treat Williams) who isn't necessarily bad in this film, but poor scripting, and what looks like a lack of effort make him a very unconvincing hero.
Overall I was pretty entertained by this film, it reminded me quite a bit of `Alien: Resurrection', I think fans of the genre will appreciate this film to some extent.
My rating: 7/10
Vaguely enjoyable, outing of pure demon horror
I had heard about `Demons' via various horror sites, and I was very excited when I found a copy of it at a bargain bin price, I snapped it up and put it on as soon as I got the chance.
While it wasn't a bad film, I was greatly let down, the story although simple was very underdeveloped, the acting wasn't spectacular, the script was a bit cheesy, the soundtrack was horrible and some scenes where incredibly dull and watered down the rest of the film.
It's admirable to see a director willing to stray away from all the comedy horror and produce a true horror film, that's completely uncompromising, but frankly its too bland to quite achieve anything.
Its superior to it's sequel but nothing to the films it seems to pick its influences from (George A. Romero's `.Dead' series and `Evil Dead')
Alright film but nothing great.
My rating 5/10.
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
Damn near traumatising
`House Of 1000 Corpses' Is a nasty, vile, brutish, disturbing and incredibly haunting piece of work. This is not at all what you would expect from a modern horror film, but then this is not Wes Craven's new vanity project (Granted he's made some exceptional work, but now it appears he's quite content to produce TV friendly, `Halloween' parodies) this is Rob Zombie's debut, and while a musician turned director can sound just as cringe worthy as actor turned musician (Keanu Reeves how could you?), Rob Zombie is and always will be an exception, Mr Zombie eats, breathes, drinks, sleeps and p***es horror, pure uncompromising horror. This film proves just that.
`House Of 1000 Corpses' Tells the tale of 2 geekily endearing guys and their lovely looking, long suffering girlfriends who go on search of local legend `Dr Satan', of course they encounter a (shot gun induced) flat tyre, and have to turn to the kindly locals for help, this does not turn out be the day's genius activity. One by one they fall victim to horrific acts of torture and murder.
It isn't exactly hard to see where Zombie's influences lie, many scenes, ideas and landscapes are lifted directly from the first two Texas Chainsaw Massacre films, it's hard to imagine just how excited Zombie must have been to learn that Bill Moseley (Chop Top in TCM 2 among other horror classics) would be joining the cast, it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect Mr Zombie to be pleading Gunner Hansen (Leatherface in the 1st TCM) to take on the role of `Tiny' (It would have been damn cool if he had).
Perhaps originality wasn't the order of the day though, this film has enough driving power to stand tall, and not pale under such comparisons. It doesn't match the sickening intensity of the original TCM, but through amazing performances from all involved, incredible gore effects, greatly imaginative tortures, intriguing camera work and several unexpected twists, it is absolutely jaw dropping, it's the film everyone expected TCM to be, it is the most repulsive film you could imagine multiplied by 10 and then turned up a notch.
All this smothered with a groove-laden soundtrack give `House.' a similar guilty pleasure aspect as that to that of the torture scene in Quentin Tarantino classic `Reservoir Dogs'.
`House.' is an unforgettably, upsetting film that pays homage to the classics of the 70s and 80s, it wont suit everyone but every serious horror fan should at least try it out.
My rating: 10/10 For fans of: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1, 2, 3, 4, and Cradle Of Fear