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The Best film of the series. Warner Bros. finally got a book right
I will say first, this review may and will contain spoilers.
First, I am a huge harry potter fan and the last book is my favorite in the series having read it 5 times and when I heard they were splitting the book into two films I was beyond ecstatic cause i knew they were going to do this justice. I was lucky enough to get passes to an advance screening last night. Granted the changed and cut a few things which i was okay with, a couple things which i was not (hopefully will be explained in part 2) but for the most part was VERY faithful to the novel and some scenes were word for word from the book. A lot of people are going to complain that it is slow and boring but I will say this now, if you have not read the book or are not a fan of the series, you will NOT like this movie or will have a hard time following it. it relies heavily on story and heavily on the struggle and isolation on these three characters as their on their own away from the protection of hogwarts and dumbledore now that he has died and have to find these horcruxes on their own to destroy voldemort and save the wizarding world.
The film opens with Rufus Scrimgor the ministry of magic addressing the press assuring everyone everything's okay in these dark times, then shows Hermionie leaving her house for good and olbiviating her parents memories which is quite touching then the Dursley's leaving privet drive for the last time as harry awaits the arrival of the order to get moved to a safe location. followed by voldemort and his death eaters planing on capturing harry. he makes it safely to the burrow in an exciting chase sequence where someone dies, then the wedding of bill and Fleur where harry discoverers info about Dumbledore's past and the necklace around Xenophilus Lovegoods neck. then the ministry falls, death eaters attack and the trio Apparate and begin their journey alone. from this point is almost exact from the book with changes here and there. the changes i didn't like were they didn't explain who bill was, they didn't explain the mirror at all (if you read order of the Phoenix you know what it is) and they cut the phineus negilius scenes so the whoever sent the silver doe how were they suppose to know where they were if the charms and protection was around the camp site? other then that its spot on, the Malfoy manor scenes were so compelling and exciting. i loved how they did the horcrux locket scene with Ron destroying the horcrux. the best scene for me was when they were at Xenophilus Lovegoods house and Hermonie told the story of the 3 brothers (a very very cool sequence). and the ending was VERY sad and powerful and a good way to end part 1 making you want more. so overall a perfect adaptation to the first half (or so) of the book and i cannot wait for the final conclusion in the summer which I'm hoping is going to be better or equally as good. and many complained the camping scenes dragged in the book but they didn't really for me in the movie. i felt the movie went by fine and i couldn't really tell it was 2 plus hours. i cannot wait to see it again.
Night Watch (1973)
A Terrific, Suspenseful thriller with one hell of a twist ending!!
I have been wanting to see this movie for a very long time since I've been reading so many wonderful reviews and how great the twist was and the fact, this is Elizabeth Taylor's only "horror" film, being a big horror fan myself, I HAD to see it and im glad I did. 33yr old movie and not one movie in Hollywood has ever matched the twist like this one had. Truly one of the most original twist since the sixth sense. Top Nauch acting from Liz who gives again, another tour de force not seen since "Who's afraid of Virigina Wolf?". PLOT: Liz plays Ellen Wheeler, the wife of a rich investment broker in London england who is not happy with her life then one stormy night when she cant sleep, she claims she see's a murder in the house across the garden from hers. she becomes hysterical and her husband (Lawrence Harvey) calls the police and they investigate but find nothing. Then more strange things happen and Liz becomes more and more over the edge and hysterical until her husband and best friend (Billie Whitelaw) decide to put her away. but are hubby Lawrence and friend Billie having an affair and trying to scare liz to death or did a murder really happen? I've seen a lot of murder mystery/thrillers as does my mom shes a huge Agatha Christie fan and always guesses the murderer/ending but neither her nor I guessed this one. one of the most original endings ever made. I wish movies today could still make such a suspenseful impact the way thrillers did back in the day. terrific scenes of the storm, great atmosphere, never gets dull or lets up. a must for anyone who loves great mystery thrillers. I hope it comes on DVD one day with an audio commentary by Liz. defiantly one of Liz's better films in the latter part of her career.
Black Christmas (1974)
The Original Slasher film. Still scary and effective 32 years later
Black Christmas easily marked the beginning of the slasher genre heavily influencing films such as Halloween, When a Stranger Calls and Scream. and tons of other films have ripped it off as well. This is probably one of the best horror films ever made with an A list cast, perfect direction from underrated director Bob Clark (Porky's, A Christmas Story, Murder by Decree), Top Nauch Screenplay by Roy Moore, scary cinematography and an even scarier score. PLOT: A group of sorority girls at Christmas time are receiving disturbing creepy phone calls from an unknown person. when one of the girls mysteriously disappears, the girls worry and contact the police who don't take them seriously. when a 13yr old girl turns up dead, the police finally take the girls seriously as more disturbing phone calls happen, among other things. truly a terrifying scary film with one of the best endings for a horror film ever made. I saw an interview with the great Olivia Hussey (Romeo & Juiliette, Jesus of Nazareth, Death on the Nile, etc.) who played heroine Jess Bradford and she said it best. its what you don't see in horror films is whats really scary. the idea of something happening as to opposed to todays horror films that point blankly shove the killer down your throat with gore to boot. not thats bad but not every single film. I my self prefer a scary gory film and this is not gory but boy is it scary. Olivia Hussey, Kier Dulliea (2001 a space Odyssey) and Margot Kidder (Superman, The Amityville Horror) give the best and most effective performances. highly recommended. Im just glad that Bob Clark has finally explained who Agness and Billy are....;)
Mansion of the Doomed (1976)
Depressing, Creepy, Disturbing but badly made horror film
I have been wanting to see this movie for a long time as to the plot and reviews of read on how creepy and disturbing this movie was and to see the legendary silver screen siren of Gloria Grahamm (It's a wonderful life, Greatest Show on earth, Oaklahoma!)and was pleased when I found the DVD for $6 and snatched it up. first of all the DVD says its been remastered on the back. thats a lie since the film had scratches, lines and broken celluloid so I was very disappointed on the film quality. unfortunately the budget shows and thats not a good thing. looks very cheaply done, horrible lighting, badly lit, terrible cinematography, however, does have some really disturbing creepy scenes. PLOT: Dr. Channey (Richard Basehart of Voyage to the bottom of the sea fame) is guilt stricken when his daughter Nancy is blinded in a car crash and is obsessed with restoring her eye sight by transplanting eye balls from one person to her but the creepy thing is he leaves them chained in a dark cold cage in the basement of his house eyeless and alone. when the first transplant works then fails he becomes insane and starts luring innocent people into his home and removing their eye balls with the assistance of his wife Katherine (Gloria Grahamm), as the people begin to pile up and some start to die, the tension mounts as the victims start to take revenge on their captors. a very depressing downbeat film with disturbing creepy moments of the people in the basement and an even more downbeat gory ending. however the movie is not that great and really could of been something really great and scary. awesome make up effects by Stan Winston of the eyeless victims. 5/10
The Wicker Man (1973)
A Good, Disturbing film though not what I expected
For Years I've been hearing tons of reviews online and in various horror books on how great and how good of a classic horror film the wicker man was and could not find it for years and yesterday I found the 2 disc special edition with the extended cut and decided to give it a go. The movie was good as a whole and works best for most of the film as a mystery as to going ons and strangeness of the Summerisle residents and their pagan religion and as to what really happened to Rowan Martin. The film did not scare me but when the end came did very much so shock me and disturb me cause I did not see the end coming like that at all. for a film thats 34 years old to still shock and surprise is a BIG accomplishment which is why its probably a classic. Easily Christopher Lee's best performance as Lord Summerisle. PLOT: A Scottish detective gets a telegram about the disappearance of a young girl named Rowan Martin from the small island Summerisle and goes to investigate. being a devout Christian, he is shocked to goings on of how the towns folk were brought up to believe in the pagan religion and is quite frustrated when no one seems to know Rowan Martin. a well acted convincing film not what I expected but still good just the same. 7/10
Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971)
Creepy, Atmospheric Yet Confusing horror tale
***CONTAINS SPOILERS*** I have been reading mixed reviews of this film for awhile. some say its very creepy and scary some say its boring and dull with nothing happening, some say its confusing and after finally getting a hold of this and seeing it I have to agree with all three. The film is well directed and the actress who plays Jessica was really good and convincing in her role, lots of really creepy moments and good suspense, I never thought a lake could look so menacing and scary and a great somber downbeat atmosphere however at times i felt bored and like nothing was happening then something did happen and was creepy then nothing. At the end I felt confused since there were so many unanswered questions but it was a very creepy ending left open to the viewer. you knew it had happened but that Jessica was left alone on the lake was very sad. Had the film dove more into the back story of Emily/Abigail, why the towns people were under her spell and who the mysterious girl in white was this would of been a GREAT classic horror film but its not entirely bad. just not something id watch all the time but despite these flaws overall was enjoyable.