What the previous, third entry in this popular cult franchise had in personality, gore and entertainment, it lacked in under-the-skin scares and dread, whilst adding very little to the story. Oh and why it was called Genesis is anyone’s idea. However a bride wielding a chainsaw will always get points from me.
So we come to this fourth and probably final entry in the franchise, as lone survivor Angela; the reporter who managed to get through the horrors of the apartment building in the first two movies, finds herself on a boat surrounded by scientists and the military amongst the regular crew. Have they managed to contain the virus that caused people to turn into ravenous zombies? Thankfully this is a return to the more serious, claustrophobic and tension filled tone of the first two movies, dropping much of the schlock of the third, which at times was more comedy than horror. The hand-held camera approach that worked so well initially doesn’t make a return however but that’s no major loss (apart from causing the title to make little sense) and I still found this pretty nail biting stuff. Following on from the shock climax of the second movie, I enjoyed the is-she isn’t-she of Angela’s infection, wondering what the scientists are really up to, and why there seems to be a monkey running around.
In Manuela Velasco’s Angela we have a gutsy, suitably sexy heroine who is supported well by some interesting characters, including a geeky tech guy who just happens to be the plucky reporter’s number-one fan. The movie barely touches on the demonic possession angle of the previous movies however and is much more straight-forward action horror – with a very exciting and intense final act. Yet by the time we reach this fourth entry, clearly the story is scraping the ideas-barrel … and a parasitic organism just isn’t as scary as possession, despite the franchise’s initial potential. For a zombie-fest though, I still had a good time.
I was saddened to hear the news this evening that icon of science fiction, stage and screen Leonard Nimoy has passed away. He was 83.
Nimoy was of course the legendary Spock from Star Trek, in both the short-lived TV series, the movie franchise as well as the recent re-boots (as future Spock) and was always a charismatic, at times dead-pan funny and always likable presence. He will be very dearly missed by the movie industry, Star Trek fans and many others. My thoughts go out to those closest to him.
This had potential going by the trailer, so on first sitting down I had high hopes. The fictional story of an age-old secret club founded at Oxford University (somewhat inspired it seems by the real-life Bullingdon Club), we’re at first introduced to a ‘right ol’ cad’ by the name of Lord Riot, who is caught doing the nasty with some duke or lord’s wife, and is subsequently killed – but his wild and drunken reputation passes into legend and so hence forth the club continues to present day, where ten rebellious over-privileged students must continue the not-so-honourable tradition set forth centuries ago.
A new kid on the block Miles (Max Irons) catches the eye of one member of the club and is soon seduced into joining, despite a growing love affair with the local good girl, Rachel (Jessica Brown Findlay) and it’s not long before these spoilt little shits are off on the mother of all night’s out. This was at first interesting and the relationship between Miles & Rachel rather absorbing, but once the riotous behaviour started, I was quickly zoning out and disliking pretty much everyone on screen. The problem is there aren’t any likable characters here (apart from Rachel) and even Miles who should be the moral centre proves unsympathetic as events quickly spiral out of control. The final location in an English country side pub seemed a bit strange also, with these rich bastards seemingly capable of ending up at much more grand places – but then again, the introduction of a father & daughter running the pub gave us normal folk someone to relate to I suppose. A throwaway line towards the end sort of summed up this movie’s main problem though … ‘they all look the same’ which basically means there isn’t a lot of depth to any of the characters, including a resentful room mate whose only reason for being an utter shit is because his brother proceeded him. Erm, ok.
This could have been a lot more, greatly needed more danger, sex and shock-factor .. and only really got interesting as it was about to end. A missed opportunity.
I’ve not really taken much interest in the Academy Awards this year, as I am getting increasingly underwhelmed by award ceremonies of late where it’s always the same names and the same kinds of movies getting nominated let alone winning anything. However on taking a casual glance at this year’s winners, I feel pleasantly surprised to see some deserving names getting mentioned.
I was wanting to see Birdman for a while but haven’t yet got around to it. At first I was intrigued as it was a come back vehicle for Michael Keaton, then I heard it was directed by 21 Grams auteur Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. So I am equally happy to report that the movie grabbed Best Picture along with a Best Director nod for Alejandro. In some of the other categories I was not surprised to see who won, such as Eddie Redmayne as Steven Hawkins in The Theory Of Everything … typical Oscar fair but I hear it’s an amazing performance. I was also pleased to see J K Simmons getting Best Supporting Actor for Whiplash – not overly familiar with the movie but he has always been a very underrated actor. I was surprised to see Patricia Arquette getting Best Supporting Actress – thinking this actress, her appearance in Boardwalk Empire aside, was a bit of a has-been. So very pleased for her also. I am also a growing fan of Julianne Moore so was happy to see her get the Best Actress nod for Still Alice, even though I’m not familiar with that film.
One disappointment I did have was that once again, the Best Animated Feature Film went to a big budget Hollywood animation (Big Hero 6), and the also nominated Studio Ghibli movie The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya was snubbed – but, I haven’t seen either so that’s just a personal gripe. Yet I was happy to see that The Grand Budapest Hotel did fairly well in the production design, music and costume categories, even if I’d have loved it to get Best Picture.
As I have mentioned on here a few times in the past, I love collecting Japanese statues, usually of the anime or comic book variety, and occasionally video game characters. My latest purchase was quite unique … from the bishoujo range based on illustrations from famed Japanese artist Shunya Yamashita but this time is inspired by horror movies. This one is based on the Freddy Vs Jason movie and possibly a comic book series, albeit with sexy females modelling themselves like the iconic horror characters. I love it!