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Northern_Soul
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Casted_Runes said:

Maybe, although Craig is definitely one of the cuddlier Bonds


Have you seen much of his stuff outside of the Bond franchise? I watched Dream House the other day which is a horror / thriller offering.

The story had the potential to be good, but by the end I was like… ok, so you are just this wooden in everything then. Here we are.

Casted_Runes
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Northern_Soul said:

Have you seen much of his stuff outside of the Bond franchise? I watched Dream House the other day which is a horror / thriller offering.

The story had the potential to be good, but by the end I was like… ok, so you are just this wooden in everything then. Here we are.


He was very good in Knives Out, a murder mystery in which he played a Deep South detective. His accent was surprisingly not cringeworthy. Other than that, and outside the Bond films, I mainly remember him from Layer Cake. His acting was fine in that, but I don't like gangster films all that much so it didn't mean a great deal to me.

He does, however, have a slightly wooden... aspect to him. He's not a very versatile actor, I don't think. I doubt that he could play anyone.

Taurek
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Till Death - Netflix

JohnnyBlaze
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1930s Double Feature

Please take your seats and do not have nightmares.
God will keep these phantoms black and white.


I

The Vampire Bat (1933)

Let me take you back in time
and place, to a town
with sloping rooves
and cased windows.

It’s always night,
and black-and-white.
A woman cries out,
in lamplight.

A doctor seeks to find
eternal youth
in bodies drained by what
crawls on those rooves.

And sneaks in by a cased window.
A bat whom only Hell can know.

II

White Zombie (1932)

The chant is lain, the carriage stopped
in time to seize the bride’s white scarf,
so that a white zombie can then be made
of her. The West Indies play host as bride
and groom arrive to find a coward in
their sight. A false and faithless friend
for whom the witch doctor is Christ.
He’ll sell the mangoes of his eyes to him,
and have her mangoes in return.
And so with voodoo flame she’ll burn.
The doctor claims a white zombie.
But witch doctors are faithless too...

Lugosi says, too late for hope,
that he’s got a fancy... for you.
Written by Casted_Runes (Turpin)
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Casted_Runes
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Halloween Kills

Halloween Kills is the second reboot of the Halloween franchise by David Gordon Green and co-producer Danny McBride, continuing the story from Halloween 2018, which itself was continued from the 1978 original and ignored all the sequels and Rob Zombie’s reboots. Halloween as a franchise has produced exactly one good film which stands alone from anything else, and that’s the original, although the ‘18 reboot was better than any of the follow-ups. Which is a bit like saying that an underwhelming meal is at least tastier than a badly prepared meal that’s also been defecated on, but it was good enough that it left you wanting to see another, just with the kinks in the approach worked out.

The kinks have not been worked out. Jamie Lee Curtis “returns” as Laurie Strode, and I put returns in quotation marks because it’s more accurate to say that she shows up long enough to get paid. This is a shame because she’s easily the most engaging performer, and not just because she was in the ‘78 original. Curtis brings strength and charm to even the little she has to do here. She was a lot of the reason why Green’s original reboot was enjoyable, so of course, he and McBride sat down and decided to reduce her screen time to a bare minimum. It’s one of writing’s oldest maxims: when the time comes to make a sequel, downplay strengths and emphasise weaknesses! It’s rule #1 in Coot the Shat.

After a prologue set in 1978 and featuring one of those creepy digital mockups of a dead actor, this time Donald Pleasance, the story takes a cue from 1981’s Halloween II and picks up the moment where its predecessor left off. A bunch of characters from the ‘78 film show up at a bar for the Halloween revels. They drink to their dead friends and promise to remain vigilant lest evil return to Illinois, which it does when Michael Myers - the masked, motiveless, and seemingly immortal serial killer - escapes from the inferno that Laurie and co left him in at the end of the ‘18 reboot. Much like in 1988’s Halloween 4, the townsfolk form a posse to hunt Michael down, only this time they’re not supposed to be inept rednecks. They just are.

The tone is muddled and messy. One scene sees a character from the ‘78 film say “this is for Dr Loomis” and then shoot at Michael, only for the gun to jam, before he eviscerates them. Is that supposed to be a funny moment? The audience I saw the film with laughed, but if it is going for humour then it’s pretty mean-spirited, and not of a piece with all the po-faced melodrama.

The intended comedy is its own problem. The character moments from the first reboot were an issue, and there are more of them here. In the first reboot, there was a gay kid who just wanted to dance, but his heteronormative dad was uncomfortable with that. The kid seemed sweet enough, but just as I’d be taken out of the story if Billy Elliott suddenly introduced a relentless serial killer, the vice versa applied to Halloween '18.

Halloween Kills features an adult gay couple living in Michael Myers’ house, and though they’re likeably played they represent a weirdly retrograde approach to inclusiveness. They repeatedly call each other Big John and Little John, one dresses like Long John Silver because... Halloween? And even when they’re dispatched from the plot their last moments feel more like a mean joke than an allusion to a loving relationship. You get the same thing in microcosm earlier on, with an interracial couple. Applause for inclusivity, but why is an old white man flirting with an old Black woman funny in and of itself?

With regards to the drama, the problem with its “mob mentality is bad, he who chases monsters risks becoming one” theme is that nothing in the film suggests that the Haddonfield townsfolk shouldn’t have formed a vigilante mob. To justify the message the film throws in a highly manipulative subplot about another, innocent escaped mental patient who’s confused with Michael, then confronted and chased by the mob. The subplot is so detachable from the rest of the narrative, however, that it’s clearly only there as a cheap device, a way to trick you into thinking that the anti-mob moralising is more thoughtful than it is. Why was this man running around in hospital pyjamas? Without supervision? Why did no one notice his absence and put out a PSA that if you see a scared old man NOT wearing a mask and a jumpsuit and stabbing citizens, he’s not Michael Myers? How did he end up back at the hospital at the exact wrong time? Heck, who even IS this person and why is he running around whimpering? At one point it’s suggested that he stole a car. Why did he do that? To escape the mob? The mob hadn’t even formed yet! If it feels like I’m going on about this one character and subplot, it’s because I’m annoyed that the film puts little thought into yet expects it to elicit the right emotional response at the right time.

The Haddonfield mob go about their mobbing in the worst possible way, because they’re written to be idiots who don’t know how to coordinate their efforts or, well, think. But when the light of human intelligence finally dawns on them they do in fact accomplish their goals. It’s very telling that the film then has to write in a deus ex machina escape clause for Michael. If it didn’t, the makers would have to confess that their message is bull-poop.

It tries to give credence to the message by having characters monologue a lot of mumbo jumbo over it. The last ten minutes devolve into nonsense, and the overlain speech is there to make sense of it. Rarely a good sign, when a film ends with narration. See the studio cut of Ridley Scott’s original Blade Runner for reference. It’s usually a sign by either the studio or makers that they don’t know how to end the story, so they’re mixing in some platitudinous dialogue in post instead of an ending.

People watch slasher films for several reasons. Sometimes it’s just to see gory, imaginative deaths. On this level, Halloween Kills delivers, though not at a very remarkable rate. Sometimes it’s to laugh at the ridiculous tropes, acting, and plots. There are plenty of moments like this in Halloween Kills, but they don’t feel self-aware at all. This is a problem when you’re talking about mega-budget production. Sometimes it’s to turn their brains off and just go with the formula. Sometimes it’s even to be told a scary story.

Ultimately, Halloween Kills thinks too much of itself and too little of its audience. It’s not boring if you like this sort of thing. It’s slickly made, has snatches of that John Carpenter score, re-worked by him for this film, and gory deaths. Judy Greer gets the film’s one semi-decent character arc as Laurie’s daughter and a mother just trying to do the sensible thing in a world suddenly without rules. If that’s worth your ten quid minus snacks, then go for it.

2/4

Casted_Runes
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Here's a quick summary of the film.

JohnnyBlaze
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^ That's plenty enough reasons for me to PASS. I'll wait a few years until it is streaming for free like the previous retcons and reboots. H20 was the only one that ever came close to recreating the atmosphere of the original and that's where the goldvein is at. Thanks for the comprehensive review. You surely do the SillySibyl proud taking up the reigns of his thread; one of the last remaining worthwhile threads in this godforsaken forum.

JohnnyBlaze
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[ CA ] Harvesting Elizabeth

        
Homecoming          
           
Regarding [re]unions, this one in particular            
was far more deranged than arranged          
marriages get, given he only tasted Elizabeth    
---simmering leftovers on burner Bunsen style         
while her potential selves were yet to be actualized          
           
Till Death Do He Parts With Them          
           
As far as eccentric and wealthy, older men          
are concerned ( in this case, very concerning )          
Henry was as lecherous as they came          
---insatiable, increasingly incapable---            
never having enough of his nubile bride[s]          
           
Elizabeth Was No Exception          
           
Granting her free reign to royally roam          
he left her alone in their expansive home            
to play with all expensive things pretty          
( including herself ... ), though warned          
she was to stay out of that one room          
           
OFF LIMITS          
           
Elizabeth resisted temptation ... at first          
but being as simple as simple girls can be          
the hunger and thirst to know what Henry          
saw in her simple self was an overwhelming          
cabineted curiosity to her feline design          
           
Truth Can Be Stranger Than Science Or Fiction          
           
What she discovered---! Incomprehensible!            
Couldn't even begin to wrap her mind around          
her new husband's disturbing hobby;          
Elizabeth was not the only young woman          
he was into with his playing God          
           
 
Written by JohnnyBlaze
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Casted_Runes
Casted_Runes
Turpin
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[ CA ] Harvesting Elizabeth

        
Homecoming          
           
Regarding [re]unions, this one in particular            
was far more deranged than arranged          
marriages get, given he only tasted Elizabeth    
---simmering leftovers on burner Bunsen style         
while her potential selves were yet to be actualized          
           
Till Death Do He Parts With Them          
           
As far as eccentric and wealthy, older men          
are concerned ( in this case, very concerning )          
Henry was as lecherous as they came          
---insatiable, increasingly incapable---            
never having enough of his nubile bride[s]          
           
Elizabeth Was No Exception          
           
Granting her free reign to royally roam          
he left her alone in their expansive home            
to play with all expensive things pretty          
( including herself ... ), though warned          
she was to stay out of that one room          
           
OFF LIMITS          
           
Elizabeth resisted temptation ... at first          
but being as simple as simple girls can be          
the hunger and thirst to know what Henry          
saw in her simple self was an overwhelming          
cabineted curiosity to her feline design          
           
Truth Can Be Stranger Than Science Or Fiction          
           
What she discovered---! Incomprehensible!            
Couldn't even begin to wrap her mind around          
her new husband's disturbing hobby;          
Elizabeth was not the only young woman          
he was into with his playing God          
           
 
Written by JohnnyBlaze
Go To Page  
JohnnyBlaze said:

Thank you for making me aware of this film

Casted_Runes
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Dune

Dune is the new adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel, directed by Denis Villeneuve, also responsible for Blade Runner 2049, another revitalised reboot of a problematic sci-fi adaptation. Sneakily subtitled Part 1 in the film itself, so that audiences aren’t put off like they presumably would have been if American studios had released The Madness of King George III with that sequel-suggestive three in the title, the film is such a massive improvement on the famous flop from 1984 that it’s tempting to lapse into hyperbole. Timothée Chalamet plays Duke’s son Paul Atreides, whose family are sent by the Galactic empire to replace the house of Harkonnen on Arrakis, a desert planet from which is harvested the galaxy’s most valuable commodity, Spice. But when they get there they find themselves mired in Shakespearen political drama, with assassinations, treachery, and religious warfare. It’s medieval feudalism in space, basically, with spaceships and Spice instead of tall ships and spices.

The problem with the ‘84 Dune was that the studio didn’t trust the creatives to make a sellable film, so crammed in tons of exposition to explain the weird philosophical plot. This was the same problem that Ridley Scott’s original Blade Runner had, and it appears that Villeneuve’s new role is to exorcise these ghosts of sci-fi past. His 2021 Dune begins with prologue narration, introducing the main conflict and setting from the perspective of a character in the story. A young Fremen (Arrakis native) woman tells us that her people have been oppressed by Spice harvesting Harkonnens for eighty years, but now the Harkonnens are leaving by empirical decree and the Atreides will be replacing them. Brilliant, all you need to know. Contrast this with Dune ‘84’s prologue, in which the emperor’s daughter, who doesn’t really appear again and has no impact on anything, directly addresses the camera to give a rambling lecture on various planets, arcane nonsense, and space politics.

It took me a while to decide whether or not I liked Chalamet’s performance, but by the end I’d come to appreciate its appropriateness. Kyle MacLachlan’s Paul Atreides in the ‘84 film is a lot more doe-eyed and unassuming, where Chalamet’s is moodier and more teenager-y. Which feels appropriate as an approach to playing a role that is at its core a boy prince, maturing to a point where his head may fit the crown. MacLachlan is more likeable, but in a jolly space opera sort of way. Chalamet’s portrayal is more realistic.

It occurred to me while watching Dune that it’s essentially a White Saviour narrative. The story, based on that of the original ‘60s novel, is of a tradition in American culture of stories about young white adventurers learning new ways from life among the Natives, connecting with their rituals, and ultimately learning that he has their finer qualities in him. Only he’s, you know, white, so he can lead them to a better place in the world and a more harmonious relationship with the settlers.

I was reminded of the Alvin Maker novels by Orson Scott Card, who as a Mormon writer already has a very specific and controversial view of Native history. The Maker novels are fantasy, but set in an alternative history of America and how the settlers interacted with the Natives. Alvin Maker is a pilgrim’s son who learns that he shares certain mystic gifts with “Indians”, and will one day bring peace between America’s warring racial factions.

What a story like Dune does is take that same material but decontextualise it by replacing the setting with one of “high” fantasy, as in a completely secondary world as opposed to an alternative take on ours. This strips away the overtly racist “white man learns the noble arts of the savage” elements, because suddenly we’re not talking about European pilgrims and Native Americans, but one made-up group versus another.

Some of the racial coding is obvious, however, even in 2021. Is it completely incidental that a Black man is the one to challenge Chalamet in a barbaric tribal rite, insisting on it and even screaming in savage rage during the fight to the death? Or that it’s a Black woman who’s accused of betraying the emperor and replies that her only “master” is the prophet of her religion? Maybe, maybe not.

I’m not offended by these elements so much as just annoyed that they’re coming from an industry which likes to pretend that it’s “woke”. That Hollywood is liberal is one of its great myths. Just because its stars pay lip service to social causes, doesn’t mean that anyone sat in the boardrooms are any more socially progressive than the average citizen of Nowhere, Wisconsin, or even the Harkonnens of Dune, rotund balloon-men who look suspiciously like cigar-chomping studio moguls.

Still, that’s a separate issue from whether Dune is worth your ten or so bucks at the box office. It is, though it’s one of those films that gets less interesting the more its plot develops. I loved the first two thirds, with their immense sense of scale in how Arrakis and its neighbour planets are depicted. You’re taken into this weird and mysterious world of arcane rites, necropolises, religious factions, political machinations, cultures, and natural wonders. It’s Gothic in its style and cosmic in its scope. When it settles into the groove of an epic narrative that fascination starts ebbing away, because the wonder generated by all that unfathomable strangeness is replaced with recognition of Hollywood formulas. But Villeneuve’s grasp on storytelling and presentation remains firm throughout, making Dune well worth seeing from beginning to end.

3/4

JohnnyBlaze
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^ Hey, I live in Nowhere, Wisconsin! Woot! But, it's not really something to write home about LOL. Now I want to watch the reboot and the original to see the differences, but in that order so I don't lose my appetite.

Ahavati
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Well I LOVED the original DUNE; however, I was actually alive when it was released! LOL!  I was 22, maybe 23? Can't remember. Casted, were you even born yet? But seriously, it was one of my favorite movies because, generations. We didn't have the technology, i.e. — special effects, etc., back then that they have now.  But more than that, I think, is the memory of watching it with my father, who bequeathed me his love of sci-fi.

I am looking forward to watching it after reading your review. I was on the fence because I did not want to ruin the memory of the original. But, memories come with us while we make new ones. Thanks for sharing.

Casted_Runes
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Oh god, no, I wasn’t born until ‘91 There are aspects of the ‘84 Dune that I like, and even missed in the ‘21. I like the sense of humour that David Lynch, one of my favourite directors, brought to it. My favourite scene is when the psychic little girl starts dispatching baddies with sassy quips. As I mentioned in my review of the ‘21 film, Kyle MacLachlan is a likeable puppy dog hero. And the hard rock swelling on the soundtrack when he rides the worm is glorious.

But although I can appreciate that it’s a nostalgic film for many, I wanted to like it myself because of both the Lynch connection and my fondness for bonkers sci-fi, and I just can’t pretend that the storytelling’s good or that I enjoyed myself. If Lynch had been left to do his own thing it might have been something, but all that exposition... Did we really need constant post-production voiceover telling us the characters’ basic thoughts, not to mention the bad special effects, confusing exposition, and some really homophobic caricatures of villains, especially when you remember that the film was released at the height of the AIDS panic.

Ahavati
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Just goes to show you the generational difference? Did you read the book, by chance? I actually enjoyed the voice-overs! Oh! And the score! How is the score on the new one; frankly, it somewhat made the original. Especially the elongated ending. LOL! Seriously, though, Toto was one of my favorite bands back in the day, and ending with Take My Hand set the tone as you were walking out of the theatre. IF you walked, and didn't sit for it to finish ( like we did )!

https://youtu.be/XGibRthqJ9E

Casted_Runes
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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.

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