Thursday, July 27, 2017

Mr. Holmes (2015)

After watching the Argento classic last night, I decided that I wanted to dive into some type of mystery for my viewing pleasure tonight. In the end, I settled on the 2015 mystery, Mr. Holmes.

Plot/ An aged, retired Sherlock Holmes deals with early dementia as he tries to remember both his final case and a mysterious woman whose memory haunts him. He also befriends a fan, the young son of his housekeeper, who wants him to work again.

When I first saw this one on the shelves of Family Video, I had no idea what to expect, so I continually passed it up. That was a huge mistake, as this movie took me back to my youth when I really enjoyed reading the different books and catching an occasional classic on Saturday afternoons. Ian McKellen is amazing in this role and truly brings the character to life. In fact, all of the performances were solid, something that matched the outstanding cinematography, the layered script and storyline, and the make-up and effects were tremendous. Honestly, other than some small pacing issues, there was nothing that brought this one down. In the end, this is an exceptional film and a movie that any true fan of Sherlock Holmes will enjoy. If you haven’t seen it, definitely find it and give it a shot.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Suspiria (1977)

Over the past few days, I have been working another 10-minute play potentially for an event later in the year in Pittsburgh. I have been so amazed by how my first play, Not Always What It Seems, continues to grow as the performance date approaches. Personally, I think I am hooked and love the process. Getting back to the blog before finishing my next play, I decided to venture into some darkness for some inspiration. My selection was the 1977 classic Suspiria.

Plot/ A newcomer to a fancy ballet academy gradually comes to realize that the school is a front for something far more sinister and supernatural amidst a series of grisly murders.

Staying inside the 1970s can be a fun time for any horror/sci-fi fan, as there are many classics that left an imprint on the genres to choose from. Suspiria is one of those films, and one of the movies that left a lasting imprint on me when I first started watching horror in my youth. In revisiting it this week, I found what I already thought; this Dario Argento masterpiece stands the test of time. Filled with a tremendous color pallet, a perfectly unsettling soundtrack from Goblin that blends into the atmosphere like a character, decent performances, and an incredibly dark and heavy atmosphere that that is woven into every second. Yes, the plot is thin with some giant holes in the storyline and the vibrant use of colors may turn some viewers off, but those are but minor flaws inside this mesmerizing journey into the depths of horror. In the end, this trip into darkness is one of the greatest Italian horror films ever made and a classic that every horror fan should watch. Find it and check it out.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Coma (1978)

After a night with the space family Robinson, I decided to venture back a few decades for my next selection. That movie was the 1978 sci-fi thriller Coma.

Plot/ When a young female doctor notices an unnatural amount of coma's occurring in her hospital she uncovers a horrible conspiracy.

This is one of those movies that stick with you long after you watch it. Filmed in the late 1970s, this one stands tall even after all of these years. The cinematography and direction are amazing creating a dark, heavy, and suspenseful atmosphere, the performances are solid, the scripting based on the source material works, and the storyline may be even more relevant today than it was in the decade that it was released in. Yes, there are some flaws that can be picked up under close inspection of the film and some of the early pacings seems a bit slow, but those are but minor flaws in this sci-fi classic. In the end, if you are in the mood for a solid sci-fi suspense thriller, give this one a shot. This is an outstanding selection for a rainy summers night. That is unless you are poised for a doctors visit in the near future.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Lost in Space (1998)

After a mixture of serial killers and creature features, I decided to venture into something with more of a sci-fi edge. After some thought, I decided on the 1998 reboot, Lost in Space.

Plot/ The Robinson family was going into space to fight for a chance for humanity. Now they are fighting to live long enough to find a way home.

I remember when this one came out and like many fans of the original series; I found it a bit disappointing. After re-watching this earlier in the week, I think my first impression was way off. While this is not a perfect film, it does have more positives than flaws and the storyline is closer in tone and depth to some of the initial episodes of the series than it is given credit for. The effects were solid, the cast was fun and their performances were decent, and the cinematography was spot on and created an entertaining feel. Unfortunately, the scripting felt forced and the dialog was choppy with too much focus put on trying to be clever and there were more than a few clich├ęd moments. In the end, this was an entertaining science fiction adventure suitable for the entire family, and a movie that is better than it has been given credit for. If you have a chance, give it a shot, you could do much worse.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Zodiac (2007)

As this week wore on, I decided to spend some time revisiting some movies that I have seen many times but failed to review. The first one on the list was the 2007 thriller Zodiac.

Plot/ In the late 1960s/early 1970s, a San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified individual who terrorizes Northern California with a killing spree.

This is a film that I thought I had already reviewed. However, I realized that although this is one of my favorite films on the Zodiac Killer, I had never actually written it up. With that being said, I just had to watch it again and do what should have been done some time ago. This is a tremendous film that actually takes a surprising approach to telling the true story of one of the most famous unsolved cases in history. The storyline is thought out and compelling, the cinematography and direction create a dark and heavy atmosphere, and the outstanding cast all do an outstanding job at embracing their characters and pulling through with solid performances. Yes, the movie may run a bit long, and most of the murders take place early on, but those are only small hiccups that don’t bring the movie down. In the end, if you are fascinated by the Zodiac Killer this is a must see. If you aren’t, you too should watch this one, it offers a detailed look at this mystery.