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The Wicker Man (1973)
Britain's Finest Film
It's a truly spectacular film and I'd say Britain's best horror film. The performances are all fantastic - some more than others. Edward Woodward gives an exceptional performance as devout Christian copper Sgt. Howie, he plays the role with a sort of innocence and likability, and is the character most of the audience are likely to relate to. He really shines throughout the film. Britt Ekland is also very well cast - although her experience making the film wasn't the best and she seems to regard the film very lowly, she still takes the character of Willow, the landlords daughter, on very well. She seems to represent the whole Pagan aspect of the film. Ingrid Pitt and Diane Cilento are welcome additions to the cast, but do not receive a lot of screen time and aren't overly crucial to the film. Christopher Lee remarks this as the best film he's starred in, and I would agree with him. He's terribly underused in the movie but the scenes he does feature in are some of the best. The music is very fitting and when I saw this the first time, was what really scared me. A lot of the songs tend to be mocking Howie and enhance the idea that everyone on the island of Summerisle is against him. Christopher Lee's duet with Diane Cilento of The Tinker of Rye, really stands out to me. The music is very powerful as it really lures the viewer into a false sense of security. The locations are stunning, and if made a point of visiting the ones I've not seen some point this summer.
I'd say this movie really has to be seen with the deleted scenes intact, because the theatrical version leaves huge gaps to the story and cuts out a lot of brilliant dialogue between Woodward and Lee, and some further examples of the pagan practices in Summerisle.
The Wicker Man is a prime example that, anyone can make a film on a small budget and it can still stand up against big budget rubbish that studios spout out, such as Neil laBute's horrific remake. I'm hoping Hardy's newest project Cowboys for Christ manages to keep this low budget, rural feel. Interesting that Don't Look Now & The Wicker Man were put into a B-Movie Double Bill and regarded as rubbish by the studios but now both stand out as two of the most chilling and powerful horror films ever.
Starship Troopers is Back!
The first Starship Troopers was one of the best sci-fi movies around since Robocop and remains one of the top of its genre. The disappointing sequel 'Hero of the Federation' did not do it justice and was a low- point in the series. Starship Troopers 3: Marauder has brought the series back to the quality of the first.
The acting is spot on with Casper Van Dien fitting back into the role of Johnny Rico perfectly and showing a change in the character. Jolene Blalock & Stephen Hogan are perfectly cast in their respective roles.
The plot follows Johnny Rico who ones again tries to stop the Bug invasion. At points the CGI is quite poor but this does not really affect the quality or viewers enjoyment of the film.
Ed Neumeier's direction is perfect for the film and he takes the series in the direction that it should be going. Also featured is the series satirical humour of the first and is surprisingly good for a direct-to- video venture.
I'd be all for a Starship Troopers 4 providing we get the return of Casper Van Dien as Johnny Rico.