‘Wishmaster’ and ‘Wishmaster 2′

As I repeat often enough, remakes are evil (except when they’re not).  Recently I watched “Wishmaster” and “Wishmaster 2″ on Netflix, and got to thinking…

I decided to deal with both movies at the same time because, despite one being a sequel, they’re essentially the same film.  Sure, you have differences in casting and the quality of special effects the second time around (they’re marginally better, though not as inventive) but the story, like the song, remains the same.

Which is:  An evil djinn (jinn.  Islamic Mythology, any of a class of spirits, lower than the angels, capable of appearing in human and animal forms and influencing humankind for either good or evil) is attempting to force the person who frees him from his prison to make three wishes, which would enable him to free his brethren from the Limbo-like dimension that holds them, and rule the world.

Though, unlike with the Dictionary.com definition, there’s no doubt where this particular djinn’s loyalties lie.

And to my dismay, I soon discover that, instead of taking what could have been a rich mythology and building upon it, the Wishmaster comes off like a Middle-Eastern ‘Freddy’ (which is interesting, since Robert Englund, plays ‘Raymond Beaumont’ in the first film), a schtick gets old really fast.  That being said, the concept of an evil djinn trying to free others like him in an attempt to depose humanity as the dominant species on the planet is actually pretty interesting and predates either “Underworld” (vampires and werewolves versus humans) or “Legion” and “The Prophesy” (Humans versus angels).

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‘John Dies At The End’ Review

John Dies At The End

“Here’s to all the kisses I snatched, and vice versa.”

—Fred Chu

Think about it for a moment, you’ll get it.

One of Marvel Studios’ Phase Two projects is a feature film version of Doctor Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts. I still think that Ioan Gruffudd should play Strange, though who should direct?  On the strength of “John Dies At The End” (never mind his rather bizarre filmography) it should be Don Coscarelli.

The reason being is that the movie takes some really odd subject matter, and not only makes it approachable, but fun.  When I heard that this film was coming out a few years ago, I picked up the book by David Wong, so that I would go into the movie with some idea of what’s going on.

I enjoyed the read, but beneath the weird chocolately coating lies a somewhat conventional center.

What Coscarelli did was bring the most interesting, stranger parts of the novel to the screen, while de-emphasizing the conventional elements.  What’s left is a movie that plays like David Cronenberg’s “Naked Lunch,” with its reliance on mainly practical special effects, while unlike that aforementioned film actually makes sense.

What “John Dies At The End” also reminded me of the Hardy Boys.  On acid.

And apropos of Doctor Strange, wouldn’t Clancy Brown be an awesome Baron Mordo?

I am also resisting the temptation to reveal more about the movie–Trust me.  My restraint has been admirable–but the actors that play John and David Wong, Rob Mayes and Chase Williamson, are a great bit of casting.

I referred to Clancy Brown earlier, though he rounds out a remarkable cast that includes genre veterans like Angus Scrimm, Glynn Turman, Doug Jones and Paul Giamatti (who also executive produced).

Though all is not rosy because “John Dies At The End” deserves a nationwide release, as opposed to the limited one that it actually got.  I live in Washington, DC, and unlike Michael (thanks for reminding me that it was available online) over at Durmoose Movie Musings, I didn’t have the benefit of seeing this awesome movie in a theater.

Pity, that.

“The Tall Man” Trailer

Jessica Biel recalling that she co-starred in “Blade: Trinity.”

There are some photos from Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pacific Rim” over at Superherohype, though they don’t show anything of any real interest–by which I mean giant robots–so I am not too interested.

So, until something worthwhile from the ‘Rim’ pops up, here’s the trailer for Pascal Laugier‘s (He also did “Martyrs,” which I haven’t seen) “The Tall Man.”

Unfortunately, it’s not Angus Scrimm, though like Scrimm, this ‘Tall Man’ also appears up to no good (though I suspect William B. Davis, if only because whenever he turns up in a movie, he’s up to no good).