Hazel Motes, played by Brad Dourif in a brilliant, physical performance, is a character John Huston would have had to create if O'Conner hadn't already written him. Aggressive and hissing like an angry cobra, Motes slithers his way into town from a stint in the army and begins yelling about a "Church Without Christ" that he will begin. He finds a believer in the young, brainless Enoch Emory (Dan Shor) who tells Hazel about the "wise blood" in his veins that tells him things no one else can hear.
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Like the mentally-stunted protagonist of Garden State, we have Peter, Humboldt County's med school flunkie. Jeremy Strong's performance as Peter gives Zach Braff's in Garden State a run for its money for its sheer criminal blandness. Strong plays Peter as a cipher, wavering between the emotional blankness of a borderline catatonic and the comic dithering of a nebbish. Peter's identity has been neutered by a domineering father (Peter Bogdanovich), a UCLA medical professor who one day tells his underperforming son, who's also his student, that he's going to flunk him.
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From the 90-minute Abercrombie and Fitch ad that was 2003's Texas Chainsaw Massacre to the abysmal The Hills Have Eyes in 2006, classic horror films have been turned into exploitive, empty filler for the benefit of the box office. Zombie, on the other hand, explores the mythology of the original Halloween by psychologically deconstructing Michael Myers, instead of exploiting the original idea of "The Shape" -- the personified evil of the original. Zombie's film opens with the Myers family; of course, this is a Zombie film, so they are a white trash, long haired clan whose cursing would put sailors to shame. In this Halloween outing, we see Myers' transformation into the infamous serial killer.
Continue reading: Halloween (2007) Review
And it's expectations that director Peter Jackson has clearly found himself having to address in this movie. Given that all three films in the series were shot simultaneously, Jackson doesn't have much opportunity to introduce new stuff with each movie. We're well familiarized with the main characters and the primary settings, so much of the weight falls on the new people and creatures introduced in this episode to carry the story.
Continue reading: The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers Review
Burdened with a disastrous prior sequel, E3 effectively rescues the franchise with earnest terror and dark wit. Writer and director William Peter Blatty, the man who scribed the novel and screenplay to the original Exorcist, completely ignores the heresy that was Exorcist II: The Heretic, and picks up 15 years after the first installment with a story loaded with dastardly twists, dreadful things that lurk just off-screen, and Brad Dourif.
Continue reading: The Exorcist III Review
The classic campfest that is Seed of Chucky begins as any movie with "Seed of" in the title should... by having one of the weirdest credit sequences featuring doll sperm flying into an egg and watching a small doll gestate, complete with umbilical cord and "Made in Japan" stamp.
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The plot is really quite simple: An alien (Brad Dourif) from Andromeda narrates his tale to the camera, for posterity. He's one of the few remaining members of his kind, having survived the arduous travel from his planet to Earth, which seemed the best place to land after his planet began to die. Unfortunately, the Andromedans don't get what they were planning on: Earth's era of greatness is now past, and it doesn't seem much better than the planet they just left. In fact, Earth is now dying as well, which has spurned the earthlings to search for a new planet of their own. Naturally, they find, and land on, Andromeda.
Continue reading: The Wild Blue Yonder Review
The miniseries mentality reached into the theatrical world as well. And so Milos Forman ended up with Ragtime, a sprawling book about American life in the early 1900s, filled with stories of racism, sudden upward mobility, abandonment, psychosis, and of course that good old ragtime music. The result is a film that sprawls well over two hours yet can't ever decide where the best story lies. Is it a tale of a murderous husband who avenges the harsh treatment of his former-chorus girl wife? The story of an abandoned black baby who winds up in the arms of a wealthy white family? No, Ragtime eventually focuses on a black piano player (Howard E. Rollins Jr.) who rises through the ranks of the ragtime scene, only to find bitter racism and resentment waiting for him on the other side. He ultimately winds up holed up in a library with one of the characters from another story in the film. Some of this is based on real events, most is not.
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But Lynch fans might find stuff to enjoy in Dune anyhow. After all, there's a floating bug monster that parlays with Jose Ferrer's space emperor in the early going, flanked by legions of somnambulant slaves in black raincoats that probably inspired the villains in Dark City. This is followed by Kenneth MacMillan's puss-faced Baron Harkonnen floating around on wires, plucking out the heart of an angel-faced boy-toy (who was planting Blue Velvet-style pastel flowers only moments earlier), and sharing some homo-erotic blubbering with his nephew Feyd (played by Sting, who can't act but lends the film his charismatic rock star presence). Even when the plot is difficult to follow -- some nonsense involving a trade war over different planets that all made sense in Frank Herbert's original novel -- there's enough giddy comic book theatrics to keep Dune interesting as it meanders along for nearly three hours.
Continue reading: Dune (1984) Review
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Oh well. Their loss is our gain. The Hazing is a monumentally bad horror film, but it's so campy and absurdly gory you can't help but guiltily enjoy your 87-minute stay with it.
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Some of these boogeymen are the real deal -- Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) at the end of the film, Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street) in his finest hour, Jason (Friday the 13th) chasing a towel-wrapped co-ed, Pinhead (Hellraiser) ripping apart some dude. These are memorable horror baddies who haunted us during our youth. Then there are scenes from Wishmaster, Leprechaun, The Guardian, and even The Dentist -- not only is it not scary, it's silly and insulting to the other villains (like Psycho's Norman Bates) in the lineup. The Puppetmaster? And The Ugly? I've never even heard of The Ugly.
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In "Shadow Hours" -- a bottom-feeder shocksploitation flick full of vapid, infernal biblical metaphors -- writer-director Isaac Eaton expects the audience to identify with a worthless, weak-willed, reprobate recently out of rehab who abandons his gorgeous, loyal, pregnant wife to follow a rich stranger into a hellish fantasy version of L.A.'s seamy underbelly.
Balthazar Getty -- the poor man's Charlie Sheen -- stars as an grumpy skid row gas jockey working the graveyard shift when a mysterious slickster (Peter Weller) pulls up in a Porsche, dark sunglasses and a $2,000 suit. He's looking for some gritty, down-and-out soul to torture as a "research assistant" on a book, apparently about the joys of social malignancy.
Soon Weller is dragging our complaisant hero around to strip bars, drug dens, graphically depicted S&M dungeons and dingy basements where they bet on bloody bare-knuckle brawls. But even after finding himself utterly appalled by his experiences, Getty's pump attendant -- already sickened by daily exposure to the dregs of humanity at his ghetto gas station -- continues to ride shotgun for the mystery man night after night.
Continue reading: Shadow Hours Review
Bettany reteams with Legion director Stewart for another loud religious-themed action movie. But the po-faced...
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