‘Patrick’ Review

Patrick: Evil Awakens

Some Memories, And Coma Patients, Are Best Left Alone

Mark Hartley‘s Patrick, is currently on Netflix, and is surprisingly a engaging little horror film (before it jumps the rails, that is).  I was expecting something silly, on the level of an Asylum feature, it was actually pretty engaging, before the aforementioned rail jumping.

Charles Dance brought a much needed sense of dread and gravitas to things, and he reminded me somewhat of Peter Cushing of Christopher Lee, both of whom possessed the ability to make sub-par material at least interesting.

Unfortunately, no one–other than the writers, or maybe Edward Norton–can do anything to make a silly story less so, or help a movie regain the goodwill its lost (misplaced somewhere around the half-way mark).

Events unfold place almost entirely in a moody villa that houses the Roget Clinic, where Doctor Roget (Dance) experiments on his patients, assisted by his daughter, Matron Cassidy (Rachel Griffiths).

As of late the doctor seems particularly preoccupied by Patrick (Jackson Gallagher), whom was somehow put in a comatose state after murdering his mother and her lover.

Roget is particularly fond of electroshock therapy, as well as a drug that will look eerily familiar to anyone that’s seen Re-Animator.  If he’s able to bring Patrick out of his coma, it will prove that his theories are correct, and enable him to regain the fame and notoriety he once had before a fall from grace (something involving illegal experiments probably similar to those he’s currently performing, I’d guess).

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I Know That Rocket Isn’t Hispanic, But…

In the TV Spot No. 17, from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy you see a bit more of Groot and his relationship to Rocket.  Though what interested me most about the trailer is the way Rocket speaks.  He says: “Yes, you did, I just saw you do-ing it.  Why you ly-ing.”

And he sounds awfully ethnic, in fact, Hispanic.  Since Rocket is voiced by Bradley Cooper it’s seems unlikely that’s the feel he was going for; but don’t take my word for it, listen around the 0:04 mark.

It’s an odd bit of voice work.

‘Boyhood’ Review

Boyhood

 

Boyhood Is A Fascinating Movie More Because Of How It Was Made, Than The Movie Itself

I just saw Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, and it was pretty interesting, though mostly on the technical level (it was filmed over a period of 12 years); as an exercise in innovative filmmaking.  As a movie meant to engage an audience, it’s way too long–clocking in at almost three hours–and also curiously mistitled because for a movie named ‘Boyhood’ it deals very superficially with the ‘boy,’ of the title, Mason (Ellar Coltrane).

Traditional movies, when you see a young person age any length of time they’re typically played by a younger actor; so to see an actor literally age in front of you is pretty remarkable.

The problem is that Linklater doesn’t do anything–beyond the obvious–with his innovative idea.  Mason and his family go through ups, as well as downs (exemplified mostly by Mason’s mom, Patricia Arquette, and her serial marriages).

The actors all do their jobs well, though Ethan Hawke is particularly welcome as Mason’s father.  The thing is, if you take away the fascinating way that the movie was made, I honestly think Boyhood would be a pretty ordinary drama because when you get down to it the concept–watching a character literally age before our eyes–is the most interesting thing that it has going for it.

Though once you get used to that, which for me happened sometime around the 2 hour mark, when I began to get a bit antsy, and things got a bit less interesting.

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‘The Prince’ Trailer

From what I can tell from the trailer Brian A. Miller‘s The Prince has nothing at all to do with Machiavelli’s book, which is a pity because I think it would be particularly neat to see a bad guy who treated it as his moral compass.

That being said, the ‘Prince’ is this particular instance is Paul (Jason Patric), who was known by that moniker when he was an assassin.  Now he works as a mechanic–I have no idea why.  It seems to me that it would be good job to take if he wanted to stay under the radar, but seeing that we’re talking about movies and assassins are generally really well-paid, I am not quite seeing it.

In any case, somehow his activities in that prior life are discovered by Omar (Bruce Willis, unfortunately not Michael K. Williams), who apparently had someone he loved killed by the Prince, and wants payback.

So he kidnaps Paul’s daughter.

Now you’re probably wondering if I just forgot to include Liam Neeson, and you’d be right because it does sound like a more morally ambiguous version of Taken.

And what is it with John Cusack, who plays ‘Sam?’  This is the second movie that I have seen him in where he plays second fiddle to another actor.  The first was Frozen Ground, with Nick Cage (great movie, by the way) and now this.  And that’s not meant to be critical of Jason Patric, though Cusack could probably bring a greater earnestness to the role.

And also, doesn’t it also sound like an Antoine Fuqua movie?  It feels like something that he was, at the the very least, considered for because it fits perfectly with the type of films he tends to work on.

‘Alien: Isolation’ Trailer

Alien: Isolation, if the trailer does the game any justice, is gorgeous.  The original Alien, the movie that came out in 1979, directly inspired the videogame and was (and still is to many) considered to be one of the scariest movies ever made.

The game play (as far as I can tell) as well as cinematics are directly based on the movie, down to reintroducing familiar characters like Dallas (Tom Skerritt), Lambert (Veronica Cartwright), Ash (Ian Holm), Parker (Yaphet Kotto), Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and I assume Brett (Harry Dean Stanton, who recently turned up in last year’s The Avengers) as well as flashbacks to Kane (John Hurt).

As I said, it’s an attractive game, but begs the question:  Why are they mining so deeply into the Alien franchise?  While some of the sequels weren’t particularly good (arguably, Alien 3 and indisputably, Alien: Resurection, the screenplay which was written by Joss Whedon), you can’t mine the past–in either games or movies–if the makers of either expect to have any sort of a future.

Which is why I am wondering why the designers of the game didn’t use a new scenario and characters that revolved around the Alien and an isolated group of humans.  If the gameplay was good I am reasonably sure that players would have no issue with characters they were unfamiliar with.

Hemlock Grove, Season One Review

 


'Hemlock Grove' LetterRecently I received a letter from Netflix telling me that the second season of Hemlock Grove was coming July 11th, tomorrow.  With that in mind, I thought that I’d do a write-up on the first season.

They were also character posters released, which I included below.

When I first wrote about the series, I emphasized the nature of Netflix productions, which was to release an entire series of a particular show at a time.

So, in preparation for the second series, I have been rewatching, and I don’t think has aged well–which considering that it’s barely over year old isn’t in any way a complement.

The first series revolved around the city of Hemlock Grove, where a animal-like creature that may be a virgulf (an insane werewolf) has begun slaughtering local women.

Though the oddest thing was that the idea of rabid werewolf was the clearest part of the narrative, which isn’t a good sign.

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‘The Damned’ Trailer

When I see that a movie is from IFC Midnight I take it as a given that it’s going to be well done.  As far as I know, they don’t actually make any of the movies that bear their name, though what they do do is almost as important, which is to purchase quality horror films and bring them to a larger audience.

Or if you want to think of it another way, consider them the anti-Asylum.

The trailer begins  with a three or four people on the way to somewhere, on a day that become a dark and stormy night.  The driver (Peter Facinelli) is helpless as the SUV they’re in is caught in the path of a mudslide, which flips the car over, and off the road.

Everyone survives the accident, though their vehicle is totaled, and they need to reach shelter.  Out of the rain they spot an old villa that anyone who had every seen a horror movie would be extremely reluctant to enter.

Though enter they do, and learn that it used to be a hotel, and there’s one person, an old man, that remains.

Or is there?  Here’s where things get pretty predictable, because soon the visitors discover a room (held shut by an unlocked padlock, for some reason) and something in it that looks like a little girl.

I write “predictable” because it feels like the entire idea was lifted from The Twilight Zone episode, The Howling Man, which I have included below.

Though maybe I am being too tough because it’s not like the idea was new even when the Zone used it.

‘The Purge: Anarchy’ Review

The Purge: Anarchy move poster

The Purge: Anarchy Is A Marked Improvement Over The Original, But There Is So Much Farther That It Could Have Gone

What bothered me most about James DeMonaco‘s 2013 movie The Purge was that after introducing viewers to a United States that had brought record reductions in crime though a once-a-year catharsis known as the Purge it didn’t even try to keep up with it’s entertainingly dystopian concept.

Instead, it became a simple home invasion thriller, though if You’re Next had shown us anything, it’s that that’s not necessarily a bad thing; though what DeMonaco pulled felt too much like a ‘bait-and-switch‘ to not be acknowledged.

He makes up for any such shortcomings in the sequel, The Purge: Anarchy.  You learn that behind the Purge is a cabal known as “The Founding Fathers,” who were apparently voted into power, and somehow–without sending the nation into the depths of fascism–managed to sell people on the idea that if they were able to engage in a night of violence once a night, every year that it would result in not only lower crime statistics, but unemployment as well.

Which makes sense, especially the latter part, when you consider who it is that’s doing the dying.

But the there’s a weakness to the concept:  As Americans we are defined to a very real extent by our excesses.  I mean, why have a can of soda when you can have a Big Glup?  And why stop at a Big Gulp when there’s the Double Big Gulp, which contains more liquid than your stomach can actually hold?  It’s all about making things bigger, and not necessarily better so if ‘purging’ one night a year had such miraculous results, then I am reasonably sure that at the very least someone would have suggested expanding it a full day.  Or a day and a half.  Or two days.

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‘Deliver Us From Evil’ Review

Deliver Us From Evil movie poster

“There Is A Devil, Of This There Is No Doubt.  But Is He Trying To Get In, Or Trying To Get Out?”

One of of the worst horror films that I can recall was 1978′s Cruise Into Terror.  It’s been awhile, but I remember that it starred George Kennedy (going about things in his typically mildly-befuddled fashion) as the captain of a cruise ship.

The ship was also transporting a child-sized Egyptian sarcophagus for some reason.   It contained an evil entity, perhaps even Satan itself.  It never manifested physically, but it’s baneful influence was felt by everyone aboard the ship (kind of like Cthulhu-lite), till someone chucked it overboard.

Two things in particular stuck in my head:  The first was that, when the sarcophagus was sinking to the ocean floor, you clearly see that whatever was within it was breathing (by the sides of the sarcophagus pulsing).

It wasn’t an accident, but it was particularly dumb because a sarcophagus is essentially a very ornate coffin, so the body within isn’t resting directing against it, never mind being constructed in such a fashion that that just isn’t possible.

Though the important thing to remember is that there’s no way to tell if an occupant was breathing or not from the outside.

The other thing was that, when Satan was on its way to Davy Jones’ Locker, a woman said ominously in voiceover:  “There is a Devil, of this there’s no doubt.  But is he trying to get in, or trying to get out?”

And do you know what?  That simple line wedged itself in my teenaged mind, and in retrospect virtually redeemed everything about that damn waste of celluloid.

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‘Wolf Creek 2′ Review

Wolf Creek 2

“Fascinating In Its Own Way, Though Its Relentless And Nihilistic Tone May Turn Viewers Off”

For years people have been scared by the likes of Freddy Krueger, Norman Bates and Jason Vorhees, but let’s be honest:  What they are are cartoon characters.

Sure, somewhat violent cartoons, but cartoons nonetheless.  After all, imagine if someone were coming at you wearing a hockey mask and a huge machete?  Or brandishing finger-claws?  After you confirmed that you weren’t hallucinating, you’d be out of there so fast heads would spin.

Which is why real-life serial killers are so scary:  They look just like you and me.  You probably couldn’t pick them out in a crowd and they certainly don’t run around with knives because that would be too obvious.

Their sinister compulsions lie just beneath the surface, waiting for the right opportunity to make themselves known.

For instance, H. H.  Holmes, believed to be America’s first serial killer, lived from 1861 to 1896.  When he was finally caught, he confessed to 27 murders, and nine were confirmed.

Though it was suspected that he actually killed at least 200 people.

Another fact that’s the opposite to what popular culture tells us is that serial killers aren’t disfigured monsters.  In fact, more often than not, they tend to be very charismatic and charming.

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