Horror Bites - Sister Act

SISTERS (1973)

There are lot of Brian De Palma films that borrow liberally from the works of Alfred Hitchcock, whether it's the absurd sleaze of Body Double which smashes Vertigo and Rear Window together, or the slower and more melancholy Obsession which again looks for inspiration from Vertigo. Even the entertaining (but admittedly problematic) ideas in Dressed to Kill are just Psycho with a new outfit. So it's no surprise that here a lot of the same elements are used once again, and there's even another score by Bernard Herrmann. But of course none of these are really just the sum of their parts and need closer inspection. So let's break out the binoculars to take a look at this tale of split screens, identical twins, and bloody murder.


Super 70s Sunday - Silicon Revolution

THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN (1971)

If there was ever a film to make me feel badly in need of a shower, this is it. Full of sterilisation procedures, mystery disease fatalities and the constant threat of nuclear fail-safes, it's an engrossing piece of work that stands alongside other Michael Crichton techno-fear thrillers such as Jurassic Park and Westworld. A story of government space probes bringing home microscopic alien life is an itchy, sweaty ordeal, it's full of memorable moments and also includes a few interesting set pieces despite the clinical laboratory setting. It's also a good character piece, with plenty of clashing egos and moral quandaries. But do these ingredients work together within the constrains of the plot as it rushes into the final countdown?


Review Roundup - Beep Beep Richie

IT (2017)

Random anecdote - while looking into those last few releases to write about at the end of the year I saw the Power Rangers reboot. Expecting a bland origin story with a few schlocky action sequences I was instead treated to a big mess of random teen angst bits that sort of work, and a lot of truly bad CGI nonsense that culminated in a battle to save Krispy Kreme from being squashed by a monster. How many times do they say Krispy Kreme? They say it a lot. It wasn't quite the utter waste I found under the glossy surface of Valerian, but it was still pretty much garbage and made me quit a planned third 2017 Catch Up in disgust. So after a quick break here we are ... with another unnecessary adaptation of a recognised property. Is it an entertaining effort for once or is it just another embarrassing, cringe inducing dumpster fire? Let's take a peek inside the storm drain to find out.

Super 70s Sunday - Space Oddities

STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE (1979)

So I guess it has to be said, this is the original cast Star Trek film that even I watch the least... Is it an unfairly maligned classic -- or just a classic example of a tedious patience tester? As a fan of the exploits of Jim Kirk and friends both on the small screen and in their cinema outings, this certainly sits as the one which gets over looked when I revisit the series. Embarrassingly I have probably sat through part five, The Final Frontier more often. Yes, the one where they meet God and didn't have the money to afford ILM. Despite it's far bigger shortcomings it's still a guilty pleasure with a few good moments. But while The Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country stand as examples of fine dramatic movies that also hold up as fun space adventures, where does this first step on their post-television journey fit alongside the rest?


Review Roundup - Catching Up

THE (SORT OF) 2017 CATCH UP -- PART 2

With most of the mainstream releases out of the way it's time to look at a few oddball features from the past year. So it's off to Netflix we go to take a look at what is out there on the fringes. It's been a strange year in which it feels like there have been more Stephen King adaptations than anything else but at the same time releases like Okja have appeared out of nowhere to even out the levels of weird. It has to be said, I'm pretty happy with that sort of mixture.


Super 70s Sunday - Highway to Hell

SORCERER (1977)

After a long wait William Friedkin's adaptation of The Wages of Fear finally got a restored release in 2017 so we can all enjoy its bleak diesel powered suspense in pristine condition. For one reason or another this is never discussed as often as The Exorcist or The French Connection, despite it being up there with his best features. Perhaps this is due to it being a remake, perhaps it's the title, or maybe the impact of a movie called Star Wars coming out at the same time is still being felt. Cinema was dead, and blockbusters were in. But make no mistake this is an edge of your seat thriller that mixes both the nail biting vehicular action of Popeye Doyle's hunt for drug runners with the disturbing existential dread of Father Karras battling the infernal. It deserved to be a hit then, and it needs to be seen today.


HCF Review - Watch the Skies

PHOENIX FORGOTTEN (2017)

While subjects like the supernatural and other horror staples have often been the subject of found footage movies, science fiction tens to crop up less frequently. I guess this is because it costs more, or maybe it’s a just less effective way of providing a quick and easy source of sinister camcorder atmosphere. When it does happen films like District 9 and Chronicle branch away from the horror genre, or cross into standard documentary visuals. Perhaps it’s just because getting scares from an inherently silly idea like UFO sightings just isn’t that simple.

 

Review Roundup - Catching Up

THE (SORT OF) 2017 CATCH UP

It's that time once again, when the hangover begins to subside and the biting winter winds can be felt. An icy realisation sinks in... it's January again, yuck. I'm cold, penniless, and even worse I've watched a bunch of movies and forgotten to talk about them at all. New Year, New Memory Loss. There are a variety of things I wanted to write up and probably many more that I have yet to digest. It's never going to be as comprehensive as I would like, but that's often the way of things. There are always more to enjoy, endure or suffer through, but here are just a few.


Scorecard

DECEMBER


FILM OF THE MONTH Odd Couple (1979) ☆☆☆☆
Dunkirk (2017) ☆☆☆☆
The Villainess ☆☆☆☆
Project A ☆☆☆☆
Terminator 2 ☆☆☆☆
A Muppet Christmas Carol ☆☆☆☆
Batman (1989) ☆☆☆☆
Ben-Hur (1959) ☆☆☆☆
In Bruges ☆☆☆☆
Pinocchio (1940) ☆☆☆☆
Pumpinkhead ☆☆☆☆
Star Wars: The Last Jedi ☆☆☆☆
The Naked Gun ☆☆☆☆