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Ahavati
Ahavati
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Casted_Runes said:I’ve not read the book, but am going to start in the next few days. I read a couple of the sequels a loooooong time ago. I agree with you that the soundtrack is the best part of the original film, and I missed it in the new one. I was really hoping that Dune Prophecy would make a comeback, that’s such a beautiful and spiritual piece of music, but alas no.

Dang. Even Star Trek tapped into the original soundtrack!  I guess it was too much to hope for. . .I still want to see it. Who was the composer? Never mind! Google is my friend. LOL!

Edit: Wait?!  What?! Zimmer?! He's one of my favorite composers! I have an entire playlist of his music. Please tell me he's not going to let me down?!

Casted_Runes
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Mr Karswell
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The music is very good, there’s just no Dune Prophecy.

Ahavati
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Casted_Runes said:The music is very good, there’s just no Dune Prophecy.

Right. Still not gonna be the same. Well, life moves on and everything changes. Might as well roll with it. . .but still. . .

Casted_Runes
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Mr Karswell
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Last Night in Soho

This was my Halloween film this year and it was pretty good. It’s about a mousy fashion student who goes to London, rents a room in an old-fashioned boarding house, and by night is transported to the ‘60s, and the life of a confident, beautiful, glamorous aspiring singer, whose whirlwind success hides an ugly secret. I liked that it was a genre film about sexism without rubbing that in your face, relying on the patronising “aren’t all women stunning and brave” trope. By yoking the theme to an exciting horror mystery it can convey a lot more and a lot better than more self-conscious and lecture-y material. I wish that it had gone in a less pulpy direction in the second half, neatly tying up its loose ends, and instead aimed for a more emotional, less logical, even David Lynch feel, but it’s still worth the watch.

Because it’s an Edgar Wright film and I really liked Baby Driver I expected to love it, but instead just sort of liked it. Now that I’ve brought up David Lynch the film it’s reminding me of is Mulholland Drive, another mystery about a naive woman come to the city who gets enmeshed in another woman’s secrets.

But where Drive was a surrealist film where the surface plot ultimately dissipates in favour of emotion and dream logic, Soho ends up as a rather straightforward whodunnit, reducing the heady first half to something a lot more explicable, but also less engaging. It’s still good, gorgeous at times, but I’d have liked both halves to match.

NZ actress Thomasin McKenzie is convincing as the mousy student, Michael Ajao appropriately likeable and non-threatening as her love interest. Anya Taylor-Joy shines in the role of the ‘60s glamour-puss whose confidence hides a naiveté, about to be brutally exploited by Matt Smith. Smith is very convincing as the type of ‘60s dancehall sleaze-merchant who’s handsome, charming, and well-dressed, but who uses those qualities as a smokescreen for whom he really is: an abusive control freak. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t do enough with him. The character is just a narrative device in the final account, which is a huge missed opportunity.

The movie’s most memorable set-piece is a stage show in which Taylor-Joy performs as a clockwork woman, wound up and left to run for the pleasure of men who see her only as a toy. That would have been more effective if she and Smith were characterised more strongly.

The film remains a decent repudiation of nostalgia, however. Behind the glitz and glamour of ‘60s culture, and how youthful femininity was used to sell everything from clothes and records to dancehalls, it was an age of exploitation, often predatory. It’s worth remembering that a guiding light of the British dancehall was Jimmy Savile, a DJ and media personality posthumously exposed as having been a sociopathic rapist, child molester, and possible necrophile. We wonder how he got away with it, why no-one raised enough of an eyebrow to at least get him off TV, but the ‘60s and ‘70s were largely engineered by and for blokes like him. When he got too close to young girls on Top of the Pops or joked about keeping teen runaways in his caravan overnight, we just laughed. That, after all, was the ‘60s.

3/4

Casted_Runes
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Scream (2022)

Though it’s completely superfluous to the story told by the original trilogy, I enjoyed Scream 5 (as I’ll be calling it for clarity’s sake). Did it need to be made? Of course it didn’t. Neither did Scream 4. (Or Scre4m, in the weird tradition of Hollywood trying to avoid just calling a thing number 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. It used to be that Roman numerals were enough; not anymore.) But the makers clearly realise that and even relish it to some degree. Scream 5 revels in its sheer extraneousness, mocking both the glut of Hollywood reboots and the fans who complain about it.

The story begins with a prologue modelled on the original’s, as a girl home alone is forced to answer horror movie trivia by a menacing caller. Scream’s opening sequence is to my mind one of the best set pieces in horror cinema, up there with Janet Leigh in the shower and Jamie Lee Curtis in the closet. (So to speak.) Many have tried to ape it, but for sheer menace and suspense none have come close. Scream 5 adds some nice modern touches, though, like locks controlled with a phone app that’s hacked by the killer.

Afterwards we meet our main character Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera), a Troubled Young Woman With A Past. She’s called back to her home town of Woodsboro, which despite its middle-class privilege by now must have a murder rate approaching Tijuana’s. Her sister’s been attacked by a killer in a Ghostface mask, and now it seems like someone’s trying to reboot the franchise kicked off by the original murders, targeting people related to those affected...

Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette return as the legacy characters. Though it was painful to see how one of their stories ends, all three are fine actors and it was rather lovely to see how their characters might have changed in 26 years. None of them are spring chickens anymore, of course, but their maturity as well as their long standing in the franchise helps ground the film. For me the story ended with the underrated Scream 3, which closed on a perfect final shot of Campbell’s Sidney Prescott looking at an open door, then smiling and walking away, knowing that she doesn’t need to be afraid anymore.

But this is an entertaining little go-around, even without the late, great Wes Craven behind the camera and original writer Kevin Williamson. Where some critics have seen bitterness in the film’s mocking of more serious and thematic recent horrors, like It Follows, The Babadook, and The Witch, all I see is the Scream franchise doing what it always does: fondly ribbing the genre while illustrating it. It’s also got some good gory kills, and a wincingly nasty scene where an injured woman has to navigate a hospital ward in a wheelchair.

The dialogue is great, as consistently funny and clever in its way as many comedies in cinemas now. The concept of fandom and its toxic relationship with social media comes in for a real kicking. The narrative juice may have gone out of the Scream franchise, but it’s still a bloody good time.

3/4

JohnnyBlaze
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I'm looking forward to streaming Scream 5 this October. It's on my list of Halloween musts. I'm glad you've given it a decent review.

I can wait it out. Covid aside, I'm rarely motivated to go to the theatre anymore.

I think I saw Scream 4 twice and I still don't remember much of anything about it.

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Los Angeles - Amazon Prime

Casted_Runes
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Mr Karswell
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JohnnyBlaze said:I'm looking forward to streaming Scream 5 this October. It's on my list of Halloween musts. I'm glad you've given it a decent review.

I can wait it out. Covid aside, I'm rarely motivated to go to the theatre anymore.

I think I saw Scream 4 twice and I still don't remember much of anything about it.


It’s definitely not a film you need to see, and don’t expect a fright-fest, but it was fun and worked for me.

Casted_Runes
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Mr Karswell
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I just saw the new horror film X and it was really good. I normally wouldn’t see a horror film with a basic premise of “a porn shoot goes wrong”, but this is directed by Ti West and I’ve really liked his previous films, The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers. His films tend to each occupy a different subgenre of horror. Devil was a “Satanic panic” movie, The Innkeepers a classical ghost story, and now X is firmly in slasher territory, evoking such "redneck psycho" entries as Motel Hell and The Texas Chain-Saw Massacre.

It’s very much a new story with its own themes, though. The plot is that in 1979 a strip joint owner, a couple of dancers, the requisite Black stud, a nerdy young wannabe filmmaker, and the latter’s “church mouse” girlfriend travel to Texas swampland to shoot a porno. They’ve rented a home on the grounds of a decrepit old farmer, who lives with his wife in a dark mirror-image of American Gothic. “He survived both the trenches and Omaha beach” she observes. Sexual jealousy turns violent as the young’uns make whoopie and the old-timers are reduced to watching on.

What’s notable about the film as a slasher is how good the storytelling is. It’s not perfectly structured. It slogs a bit when the preordained murders kick off and you start playing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with who’s going to wander off somewhere they shouldn’t and die next. The setup, while brilliant, also probably lasts a shade too long. But what really works is how well-established the characters and situation are. There’s a fair amount of subtlety in that, although there is of course a lot of social commentary packed into this film about a relatively distant past, it doesn’t beat you over the head or, worse, condescend. The men aren’t one-note misogynist caricatures (though they are sexist in a late ‘70s low-budget porn way) and the women aren’t absurd parodies of strong womanhood.

There’s a lot going on both thematically and stylistically, and although I anticipated West’s subversion of the “final girl” trope, I was pleasantly surprised at how well he pulled it off. I really liked the use of ‘70s music and allusions to the hardcore evangelical culture of Middle America. Without, again, beating you over the head with it. The last twist about one character’s backstory is brilliant, a perfect little bow on a story that’s much better than it strictly needs to be.

Incidentally, the BBFC rating for X is 18 for “strong bloody violence, gore, sex, sexual threat”, which made me chuckle when the certification card came up. I was reminded of the late Sean Lock’s routine about the rating for Scarface. “Contains frequent bloody violence, hard drug use, very strong language, sex, nudity. They might as well say there’s a bit of poo in there as well! There’s an elephant with a hard-on! Don’t watch this film if you’re nice.”

Casted_Runes
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I went to my local Odeon recently and saw a really good movie from before COVID hit called Tangerine, a bittersweet comedy about a pair of transgendered sex workers on Santa Monica Blvd. It’s apparently the first “major” film shot entirely on an iPhone. The plot is that one of them has been released from prison after 28 days and drags her best friend along to find her pimp/fiancée, whom she suspects of having cheated on her with a cisgendered woman. The two protagonists split up and come back together, pursuing parallel storylines in the meantime, one involving an Armenian cab driver whose working and family lives disguise an erotic secret.

It’s definitely a dark comedy, but in the truest sense of that genre, where dark emotions and circumstances are made light of without cruelty or judgement. It ends on a perfect long, static shot and is just a lovely, funny, ultimately heartwarming film. A lot of what it implies is graphic and there’s a couple of shots that have brief nudity, as well as hard drug use, so it’s no doubt a film that’ll offend many people. But it’s not a film that’s trying to offend so much as just depict, and amuse and move along the way.

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Camilla Beatriz Flores
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Early tonight, I finally watch the movie of The Dark Tower by Stephen King. I read ahead before seeing that it supposed to be sequel to the books and not adaptation of the books. And that, like, this Roland in it is a reincarnation of original Roland or something. Like, after time resets for him after he goes through a door in the tower at the end of the final book. I never read the last book, and only started the first one, The Gunslinger, earlier last week. My honey Kara recommended the series highly to me. I hear lot of people hate the movie because they think it an adaptation when it not. But I liked it! It tied in with The Stand in a lot of ways and had a lot of interesting esoteric concepts and ideas going around. I going to look up the comic books next and see how those are too. I hear they an alternate version of the books' events also. Already own the comic series of The Stand, so I figure why not! I still like the old The Stand miniseries better than newer one though. Newer one had a better ending, but left out too much from the beginning, especially about the virus that ended the world. Combine both miniseries and you would have the best adaptation! Sometimes Hollywood can be silly like that.

Kou_Indigo
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Hey, Cami my love! I have not quite yet gotten the chance to watch the new The Stand miniseries, but I had thought the old, original one was absolutely fantastic. It had a great cast too and was quite true to the novel even if the ending was ever so slightly off... by just a bit. Yeah, that is all correct, The Dark Tower movie was actually intended to be a sort of sequel to the last novel but set in an alternate universe kind of. I believe Stephen King made mention of that somewhere, if I remember correctly from all I've read online about the subject. So, it was both the same Roland and yet at the same time a different one. Also, one thing to keep in mind in The Dark Tower if you've read The Stand... the Man in Black is the same person as Randal Flagg, just under a different name. But he always comes back, so him being in the movie was always a given thing.  He was always one of my favorite Stephen King villains in general, though! Little known fun fact: the creature that takes the form of Pennywise in the novel IT is supposed to be a manifestation or emanation of the Crimson King, the main big bad of the Dark Tower series. At least, as is in accordance with certain theories on the subject. But, like Randal Flagg, the Crimson King appears in various Stephen King stories under vastly different guises as well. Especially the novels Insomnia and Black House! Black House being a continuation from The Talisman. You will simply adore the Dark Tower comics, honey! I have the whole series, as well as all kinds of other Stephen King comics, and they are all fantastic. You heard correctly... they are like the movie in that they take place in an alternate timeline, where everything is starting from scratch but going down very different paths that what the novels cover. There was a particularly good storyline in them covering the origins of the Man in Black as well, it was a one-shot called The Sorcerer. Do like I did, just order them online either through Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Much easier by far than tracking them down otherwise! That, plus Amazon and Barnes and Noble always restock them when they sell out unlike physical stores where if they are sold out, they are sometimes sold out for a very long time. OMG! Yes, I quite agree, sometimes Hollywood can make some rather head-scratching choices, especially concerning casting with certain movies. In the case of Marvel's movies, they sometimes unfortunately tend to water down storylines from the comics to baffling degrees. Whereas over at DC, they sadly tend to retread the same ideas over and over with very little new each time around. The various Batman movies, for instance. I like the Joker a lot as a character, and actually like that they are considering doing a second Joker movie with Joachin Phoenix. But I hope the next Batman movie makes use of some new and different villains from the comics and doesn't bring the Joker into it yet again. I did enjoy the series Gotham though, quite a bit! While it did tread some familiar territory it did it so uniquely and differently that it felt very fresh and new. Both Jokers in it were quite nicely different as well, not more of the same that came before. Same reason I like the Joachin Phoenix take... it is different. But back on topic! The Gunslinger is a great book... a classic in every sense of the word, and best of all a decent blend of several different genres. You will eventually notice that the Arthurian myths and legends have counterparts in the universe of the Dark Tower as well, with names like Arthur Eld and Mordred. But Mordred is Roland's son rather than Arthur's and who he ends up locked in mortal combat with in one of the later novels is quite the surprise. There is even a reference to something similar to the Lady of the Lake at one point but involving legendary pistols rather than a legendary sword. It is a strongly mythic cycle of stories, which is another reason why it is so popular. So, if you love ancient legends, that is a part of the story also. I hope your night is going well, beloved! You are always in my heart, and your smile is forever on my mind. :D

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