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Flowers in the Attic (2014)
Not Even Ellen Burstyn Can Save This
Ellen Burstyn is one of my favorite actresses (her performance in Requiem For A Dream should have earned her every award possible) but I don't think she was really right for the role, sorry to say Louise Fletcher was much better in the '87 adaptation). I don't think anyone was really, especially Heather Graham, who I always usually enjoy watching. The only one who I thought was good was Mason Dye as Christopher. But really, the story doesn't hold up today. What kids today would put up with being held up for 2 years in an attic, without a laptop, Playstation and cell phone? I know it takes place in the past, not sure when, but I just wanted to raise the point of why this story doesn't hold up today and needs a serious update, if people insist on making this story into a feature length film. Plus I hear the next story, Petals On The Wind, is being made, also by Lifetime. I believe you can make these books into movies today only by changing some things to make them more believable somehow. Overall, not recommended. 5/10 is being generous.
Absurd Encounter with Fear (1967)
OK, writing a review of a two minute short film is a challenge, hence this being the first. We see a man walking through a field of tall grass. He is walking almost zombie like, wearing normal clothes for the time and his hands and face are blue. He walks up to a woman who is sitting with her back facing him. She does not turn around but we see her face and it is painted white and she has her mouth open, lips painted red. The man stops in back of her and begins to unzip his pants. He reaches in and proceeds to pull out...weeds. At first I thought they might be dandelions because they look like yellow flowers but it is a weed called yellow hawkweed if i'm not mistaken. So he proceeds to pull out one weed after another and then he looks into the camera shocked and then falls to the ground, motionless. The girl stays stationary, having never moved. End. What does it all mean? Who cares. It's a decent two minute visual from Lynch, the second short film he did (the first being Six Figures Getting Sick, the year before) from 1967 when he was 21. When the guy unzips his pants standing over the girl, I have to admit, seeing as how it's Lynch I thought, "No. Is this guy really going to pull it out?" And because it's Lynch something unexpected would of course happen. Anyway, check out Lynch's second short film that he ever did and then watch the rest. The Alphabet comes next the following year.
A Surrealists Fever Dreamed Masterpiece
The definition of surrealism is an artistic movement that attempts to express the workings of the subconscious and is characterized by fantastic imagery and incongruous juxtaposition of subject matter. This is for people who are always trying to find meaning in David Lynch's works. Was Salvador Dali always asked to explain his works? Bunuel? In general, artists don't appreciate having to explain their art, why should they? Art can be interpreted in many different ways, depending upon the individual. An explanation would only ruin its merit. This is my belief. This is not to say that Eraserhead and said works are meaningless, quite the contrary. But I won't go into it by contradicting myself other than to say that this is a film that should be seen for the open-minded and perhaps the not-so to re-open ones way of thinking for the better. Lynch's imagery, lighting and over-all direction is masterful. I only wish there were more films/filmmakers like this to choose from. Unfortunately and on the same hand, fortunately, Lynch is one-of-a-kind. Sure there are others but lynch productions are his own and not copied from others, at least I haven't noticed as of yet who or what he has copied. If wanting to expand your mind and experience difference this a nice starting point, along with his short films, have you not discovered them yet. For those who have, you know what i'm talking about. This film can also be used to put a chill up someone's spine. Might I recommend viewing with the lights out at night, at a decent volume, preferably in surround sound. This is labeled a 'horror' not because it's a slasher/torture/rape/exploitation flick but because its like anything you've ever seen. This is one that definitely lives up to its hype and nothing has come close since. Enjoy!
The Elephant Man (1980)
A Film For Those With A Heart
If you want to know if you or someone else has a heart, watch this film. If you do not feel something, sadness or anger, while watching this film then i'm sorry to say, you are heartless. David Lynch directs the story of John Merrick (Joseph Merrick was his real name), unfortunately known as The Elephant Man because of his deformities. Unfortunately, this film is all I know about the man, but it has inspired me to find out all I can about his life. I had heard an unfortunate rumor that he was considered a suspect for Jack The Ripper. But if this film holds any truth, then it could not even be a possibility. I hope at least that this film captured the true John Merrick, which is a man with a heart. Not many films make me cry but this one most certainly did. It shows how cruel people are, especially towards those who are different from themselves. But it also shows people with heart who treat him with the utmost respect and who truly do feel for him, unlike those who abuse and use him for a buck. I can see this movie in life itself with all it's beauty and cruelty. David Lynch directs seemingly using inspiration from classics such as Freaks, Frankenstein and his own, Eraserhead, all in black and white such as this. If I have any problem with this film it would have to be, and i'm sorry to say, Anthony Hopkins. His acting in this I find rather odd, and this coming from a fan of David Lynch, who i've seen just about everything by, so having the knowledge of Lynch's odd characters. But something seems off by Hopkins performance that I can't quite put my finger on. He seems tired, confused and upset even, as if he and the director did not get along well. It's not that his performance is necessarily bad, otherwise I would have given this 9 stars instead of 10. But it's John Hurt that does an amazing job with the character that he portrays. The make-up is incredible that I was surprised to see that it wasn't done by either Rick Baker or Stan Winston but rather by a man named Christopher Tucker. In my opinion this film should be mandatory viewing for all and used as a "life skills" course on how to be and how not to be as a human being. This world would be a much better place if we all treated one another equally, differences and all.
Arrested Development (2003)
I Tried, Really I Tried
About the time that I wrote my original review it was half-way through the 3rd season, which at the time I thought was premature seeing as I had another season and a half to go. But I wrote the good review because I thought that seeing as how I didn't like the show the first time that I watched it (not having laughed once in the first 3 episodes and then gave up) and now I'm laughing my ass off and liking it, that I would like it in it's entirety. Nope. Don't get me wrong, I thought the first 2 seasons were great, but by the 3rd season it just gradually started to go downhill for me. And then the 4th season! Good god! I stopped watching about midway point, having not laughed once the entire time. I may have smiled but even that was a task in itself. I understand they brought it back because of it's high demand but they shouldn't have. And thank god they didn't make it into a movie instead. I guess i'm in the minority here, but am I alone in seeing how uninspired the cast were? I mean even the best part of the show, Will Arnett, looked like he was struggling for inspiration. And how do you screw up using Jeffrey Tambor? I don't know what happened to Portia de Rossi but she looked sickly that I almost felt sorry for her. I don't know. All I know is that the show disappointed me again and it is all out of chances. I'm done. Had it been consistent throughout I may have given it a 10, which I would give to the first 2 seasons on their own, the 3rd season I would give maybe a 7, and then maybe a 1 or 2 for the 4th, which I say equals to a generous 6.
Friday the 13th (1980)
I don't know, maybe at the time it was better but I don't think it really stands the test of time. I wouldn't say that it's horrible but it's not very good either. There are some good moments; learning why and who the killer is, the spear coming up through Kevin Bacon's neck, and Jason coming up through the water at the end. But then, instead of ending it right there they continue and go to a hospital where the surviving character awakens so that we have to endure her terrible acting some more. Moments such as, where Alice and Mrs. Voorhees "fight" is unintentionally funny, as well as when Alice struggles to blockade the door of the cabin. This is one of those examples of movies where it's supposed to go without saying that this is a great addition to the horror film genre. But is it really? Would it really be such a great loss to be without the "slasher film"? In hindsight I really don't think so. I never thought so much of this film and its series to ever go out and own and any of them to watch over and over again and to show people, yet these films are so popular and so talked about. Halloween came out 2 years before this and I guess spawned this series but it is so much better, even if it is considered a slasher film and spawned an equally horrible franchise. But one of the many differences between the two is that Halloween's director (John Carpenter, of course) was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock, where as Friday the 13th's director ( Sean S. Cunningham) was inspired by Herschell Gordon Lewis. Hopefully I won't have to watch this ever again to try and justify all the hype and apparent inspiration that surrounds it. If you thirst for good scare you can do a lot better elsewhere.
Not One Single Boring Moment Throughout
This brilliant film wastes no time telling it's elaborate story. I was 9 years young when my father took me to see this in the theater. Back then you had to stand in line to see the soonest showing because it only showed once at a time, but boy was it ever worth it. What can possibly be said about this movie that hasn't already been said? How many other movies can you think of where the sequel is just as good, if not better, than the first? I can think of only three; The Godfather Part II, Terminator 2 and Superman 2. It's hard to believe that this film wasn't even nominated, considering The Return Of The King was not only nominated but won best picture; different times I guess. At the time there were a few scenes that shocked me; Han's freezing and the look of him, Luke losing half his arm and right after that learning that Vader is his father. Wow! I recall the scene where Luke goes into that tunnel and light sabers Vader's head off to reveal his own face, scaring the crap out of me. Another thing that was big back then was the merchandising. Lucas got a ton of money from my parents because of this franchise. I had everything that ever came out from trading cards, action figures to even bed sheets. God I wish I had it all still and in it's original packaging. And having just watched this, probably for the 2nd dozenth time, I can tell you that it still holds the test of time. So watch it again, preferably the original version in surround sound at a good loud level for the 2 hours and 4 minutes of it's running time and enjoy and American sci-fi classic.
The Shining (1980)
Reviewing, After Just Having Seeing It For, Possibly, The 36th Time, Maybe More
Stephen King originally got the idea for this story from the story, "Burnt Offerings," written by Robert Marasco and later adapted by Dan Curtis(Dark Shadows)into a movie released the year before King had his novel for The Shining(1977)published. I remember the movie Burnt Offerings well as my parents took me to see it when I was 5 in 1976. The movie scared the living daylights out of me and would haunt me for the rest of my childhood. I think it was 7 years later when I first saw The Shining. As with Burnt Offerings, The Shining made a real impact on me on so many different levels. Throughout the years I would watch this movie over and over again and from the first viewing I had a favorite actor Jack Nicholson. Jack is great, as he always has been, so much so that it his portrayal is iconic. It also gave me a favorite director in Stanley Kubrick. I wanted to see everything both men produced, and eventually would. With all of that said, after multiple viewings I would notice things that I was too captivated to notice before. It is my belief that Stanley Kubrick was the greatest director ever, even if all of his films weren't perfect, as is the case with this. I'm surprised, with the perfectionism to detail that he was known for, that he allowed certain things to show the light of day. The documentary, Room 237(which I do recommend, even if I don't agree with most of it's conclusions)says that these things were intentional. One of these mistakes is the shadow of the helicopter seen in the lower right corner during the opening sequence, which I noticed wasn't in the Blu-ray version. If that was intentional than why was it removed and why would Kubrick want the source of the photography to be shown? As much as I loved Jack in the lead I have to admit that King was right in that the main character is already crazy from the start. The role requires the lead to eventually go crazy but with Jack's devilish smile and eyebrows his portrayal is not totally convincing. I heard that Harrison Ford was rumored to play the part and I have to admit that he would have been more convincing in the role and it would have turned out to be a different movie because we would then never have the quote, "Heeeeeere's Johnny," because it was improvised by Jack. There are other examples such as the obvious editing mistake of the door that Jack just axed through, directing mistake's such as Wendy's(Shelley Duvall great in the role who unfairly didn't get any credit for what she had to go through to portray a character who had to cry for almost half the movie)reaction to Dick Halloran's(the always great Scatman Crothers)bloody corpse, the stairs scene where Jack says, "You didn't let me finish my sentence," when Wendy didn't say anything(which shocks me because I heard that Kubrick had them do that one scene like 60 times?), his use of the skeletons briefly just seemed tacky and other minor things. Going back to the original story; I did eventually read the book some time after having seen the movie a few times, I have to admit. I loved the book and how it showed it's differences between the movie, but some things were better in each. Jack Torrance's obsession with the hotel and his job as the caretaker and it's history is better, but the portrayal of Danny's imaginary friend, Tony, is much better in the movie.If anyone needs any proof of this just watch the remade for TV version of The Shining and tell me i'm wrong. Overall, what makes The Shining such a great and memorable horror film, faults and all, is it's look and feel. The look in the colors, the 80's great film look and the photography, introducing us all to the innovative steadicam that would be copied and become a staple in movies to this day. The way that the camera follows Danny on the big wheel throughout the hotel and through the maze scene at the end are great examples. The feel in the way Kubrick was able to portray a claustrophobic sense that you can feel. Another example is just the overall creepiness and weirdness(the old woman? the man in the bear suit? both great and hauntingly memorable. I would love to have seen in the documentary on the making of the film, Stanley directing the poor old woman in the tub scene. HAHA!!! By the way, what the hell was he on when he came up with the idea and taking it seriously enough to actually go through all the trouble of casting and filming it?!) Also, who can forget the amazing soundtrack?! Like with other movies, especially horror movies(Jaws, Psycho)where would the movie be without it? In this case, as with the two others mentioned, the music is essential and very effective. Say what ever you want, whether you take Stephen King's side or not, this IS one of THE BEST horror films ever made...period On a side note: if you need help in understanding the end I suggest watching Burnt Offerings. Unfortunately most people dislike the film but give it a chance, especially if you like horror films about houses. The movie has a great cast: Oliver Reed, Burgess Merredith, Karen Black and Bette Davis. The novel is good as well but I think the movie would help more to understand the ending of the Shining and of course interesting to see where King was inspired.
One Of The Best Shows Of All-Time
Just finished the show, and wiping the tears, and I have got to say that this IS one of THE BEST shows of all-time. AND you don't have to be a sci-fi fan to appreciate it. I am not a Trekkie or a Star Wars fanatic, but I do appreciate a good story, and this definitely has that. This show has it all; Adventure, Horror, Drama, Action, Comedy, Mystery, Fantasy, and Romance. I'm sad that it's ended, as with the recently finished Breaking Bad, but I know that there is so much more to be discovered. Give this show a chance and stick it out and you will be rewarded.
Originally I did not think that I would like it because of Joshua Jackson, being that he is from Dawson's Creek, but he won me over as did James Van Der Beek in The Rules Of Attraction, and he does a great job. The whole cast is great, but no one more than John Noble who plays the mad but brilliant scientist and experimenter of hallucinogenics, Walter Bishop. There are lots of episodes where he trips and the best one is in one of the last episodes where he has a Monty Python-esque hallucination.
If you are a Trekkie, you'll want to see this show for the great Leonard Nimoy, who plays a very important role on the show. It's been nice to have been introduced to Anna Torv, Jasika Nicole and Georgina Haig all three are great and all i've since fallen in love with. Lance Reddick, Blair Brown, Michael Cerveris and Eugene Lipinski(one helluva frightening performance) are definitely worth mentioning being great in their respected roles as well. Other great actors worth mentioning that appear are Jared Harris(Happiness), Martha Plimpton(Parenthood), William Sadler, Peter Weller, Brad Dourif, Christopher Lloyd and Theresa Russell(in one helluva sexy performance).
All in all it's just a great show so watch it damn it!