I Went To A Thor Movie….

And A Comedy Broke Out

Marvel has done it again.  Made an excellent film, you say?  No.  Did an excellent job of promoting and hyping a film that turned out to be less than expected?  Yep.

That’s not to say that Thor: Ragnarok is a bad film.  It’s just not as great as I hoped it would be and is ultimately a stinker in my opinion.  As they did with the last Guardians of the Galaxy film, Marvel used excellent teasers, trailers, and promos to spark interest in the newest Thor film.  They even paid big bucks to Led Zeppelin in order to use their legendary Immigrant Song in the film (something that, in my opinion, should have been done with the first Thor film).

When I finally laid eyes on the movie, though, I realized that Marvel pulled the ol’ bait and switch on me.  Ragnarok looked and sounded much cooler in the promos than it actually was in its full form……just like Guardians, Vol. 2.

thor-ragnarok-trailer-nfl-opening-night

L-R:  Mark Ruffalo as Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, and Tom Hiddleston as Loki.

I so desperately hoped that Marvel would finally get a Thor film right.  Captain America was one for three (Winter Soldier was excellent, but Cap’s other films were ho-hum) and he and Thor are my favorite Avengers.  Their first films seemed rushed in order to get to the big Avengers film in my opinion, and their debut solo films suffered for it.  With Ragnarok, I thought that Marvel might finally have a grasp on a true cinematic version of the God of Thunder.

thor-ragnarok-header

Chris Hemsworth as Thor.

The film definitely looked good on paper.  The return of Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, and Tadanobu Asano as the Warriors Three, Idris Elba (Heimdall) and Anthony Hopkins (Odin), meant that there would be some solid acting from the core cast.  The new additions of Cate Blanchett (Hela), Karl Urban (Skurge), and Jeff Goldblum (Grandmaster) gave me confidence that I could expect some decent villains.  I wasn’t familiar with Taika Waititi’s work on film, but I knew his direction and writing from Flight of the Conchords, and that left me feeling good about him at the helm.  Writer Christopher Yost gave me a tad bit of pause, considering the fact that he penned the screenplay for Thor: The Dark World, but I was glad that someone with theatrical ties to the characters was at least a part of the film.  He’s also written for a number of animated shows including Star Wars Rebels and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The only real wild cards for me were actress Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie) who I was not at all familiar with and the writing duo joining Yost, Eric Pearson and Craig Kyle.  Pearson is best known for his work on Agent Carter, which seems legitimate enough, but Kyle is primarily known for his work on Marvel’s animated films and television shows which are very lackluster for the most part.  I’ll talk more on the writing and Thompson later.

Valkyrie-Ragnarok-Thor

Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie.

Mild spoilers ahead!!!!!

The plot of the story takes place roughly two years after the events in Age of Ultron.  Thor finds himself at the mercy of the demonic Surtur (voiced by the always brilliant Clancy Brown) who has plans to unite his crown with the Eternal Flame stored deep within the vaults of Asgard in order to trigger Ragnarok, the end of everything.  Obviously Thor escapes, steals the crown, and heads back home to restore his father to the throne.  He outs Loki as the false Odin and then the duo find their father (with a little help from a “strange” friend) exiled on Earth.  Odin tells the pair that he is about to die and that their older sister, Hela, the Goddess of Death, will be released from her prison and will put Ragnarok into motion.

7ad1a0f4928769d770e539ab10caaa9361ec438b

When Odin passes, Hela immediately arrives on the scene, destroys Mjolnir, and chases Thor and Loki across the Bifrost Bridge, successfully tossing them both out of the Bridge’s path.  Thor ends up on Sakaar, where he is captured by Valkyrie and sold to the Grandmaster as a gladiator.  Loki also crashes on Sakaar, but uses his charms to win the favor of the Grandmaster.  Thor fights Hulk in an epic battle (one of my favorite scenes in the film) and they eventually reignite their friendship.

thorragnarok-hulk-gladiator2

Hulk gets ready to pound Thor into a pulp.

thor-ragnarok-le-grand-maitre-et-valkyrie

Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster.

At the same time, Hela has taken over Asgard, selected Skurge as her executioner, and is trying to hunt down Heimdall, who has stolen the sword from the Bifrost Bridge and is thus preventing Hela from leaving Asgard in order to begin her domination of the universe.

Thor-Ragnarok-Glowing-Eyes-Lightning

Thor getting lit.

Back on Sakaar, Thor has convinced Valkyrie, Loki, and Hulk to team up with him and battle Hela for Asgard.  He has also freed all of the gladiators, including Korg (voiced and motion captured by Waititi), who starts a rebellion against the Grandmaster (something that he has planned for a long time).  Thor and company then steal one of the Grandmaster’s ships and fly through a wormhole dubbed The Devil’s Anus in order to quickly get to Asgard.  A big battle ensues, people die, lots of lightning and thunder, etc., etc.  You’ll have to watch the film in order to find out the rest.

Thor-Ragnarok-Header

PROS:

The cast:  As expected, the established actors in their roles were excellent.  The writing derailed three of them, though, and I’ll get to that later.  I can see no one else as Thor besides Hemsworth.  The same goes for Hiddleston as Loki, Elba as Heimdall, and Hopkins as Odin.  The new cast members were hit and miss.  Tessa Thompson did a fine job as Valkyrie.  I hope that her character is fleshed out a bit more in future Marvel installments.  Karl Urban did a decent job with what he had to work with, but the writing hurt his character as well.

The action:  The action sequences were fast, well executed, and surprisingly full of violent deaths.  Much like her brother Loki, Hela has a penchant for throwing blades at her opponents.  The size of the blade varied depending on her mood.  We also got to see Thor really thunder and lightning things up, which I missed in the other films.  This is the first PG-13 Marvel film that I would consider cautioning parents with small children about.  Despite no blood, there’s a lot of violent death.

The music:  The music set the tone of this film perfectly.  Mark Mothersbaugh perfectly scored the film, injecting just the right amount of suspense, humor, or whatever else was called for scene by scene.  Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin is used sparingly, which is a good thing, but used at just the right moments when needed.  There are a few other nice musical Easter Eggs dropped in for the sharp listener, but I don’t want to spoil them here.

CONS:

The writing:  More than anything, this film’s writing derailed it at every turn.  I’m all for injecting humor into a film, but cracking nonstop jokes while people are dying all around completely breaks any and all tension in a scene.  I won’t name specifics, but there are quite a few times whenever a character throws in a joke at the worst moment (and no, it’s not Loki every time).

Speaking of Loki, he’s terribly written in this film.  Yes, I know that he’s the God of Mischief and I also know that the character has been a go-to for injecting humor into the multiple films that he has been a part of, but making him no more than a gag-a-minute funny man really depressed me.  Loki deserved better, as did Cate Blanchett’s Hela, who delivers a couple of terrible one-liners herself.

Hulk is reduced to a giant toddler.  Much like Loki, he’s given a lot of opportunities to throw in humor at inappropriate times.  Did anybody writing this film realize that it’s about Ragnarok……the end of everything……as in everybody and everything dies…..forever??????

Thor loses a bit of his swagger in this film as well.  He’s supposed to be unsure of himself, but Thor’s ego always comes through in every situation.  Hemsworth has to tromp through forced humor as well.

The varied levels of strength:  No one seemed to be able to set a limit to Hela’s power in the film.  Early on she crushes Mjolnir like it’s an afterthought.  Later in the film, when she’s supposedly stronger, she takes a beating from Thor, amazingly recovers, and Thor is suddenly unable to beat her.  There’s also an army of the dead that enters the battle (no spoilers as to who they are) who are seemingly hard to stop but fall to pieces at the business end of a pair of M-16’s from Earth.

Jeff Goldblum:  I know that I’ll get more hate than I can shake a stick at for this, but Jeff Goldblum was annoying in this film.  I love the guy in pretty much everything else that I’ve ever seen him in, but his portrayal of the Grandmaster was too much.  Basically take everything that made Goldblum’s Ian Malcom cool in the Jurassic Park films away, inject a heaping dose of his insecure David in Independence Day, and top it off with Goldblum’s over-the-top real life persona and you have the Grandmaster.  Goldblum can be hilarious, but he irked me to no end in this film.

Cate Blanchett:  Again, this will probably draw a lot of hate mail from my three readers, but I just didn’t buy Blanchett as Hela.  I was hopeful that Marvel finally lifted their dull villain curse with the wonderful Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but they proved that the curse is alive and well with Hela.  Despite being all powerful, she was dull.  Bad writing really hurt Blanchett’s performance, but there were times where I would look at her and see a “Remember the size of the check you’re cashing.  Just chew your way through this and get back to good roles later” look on her face.

In conclusion:

Thor:  Ragnarok failed to add anything memorable to the MCU.  Goldblum was annoying, Blanchett appeared to just be walking through the scenes.  Sif (Jaimie Alexander) wasn’t even in the film.

Yes, it’s definitely action packed and chock full of sophomoric humor that seems to be spilling from an ever-growing wound in Marvel’s writer corral, but if this is the future of the MCU, I don’t have very high hopes.

Please, Marvel, if you’re reading this (and I know you aren’t), get better writers.  Lay off of the Whedon-inspired humor a bit and give us a meatier story.  You literally took one of the most apocalyptic battles in comic history and turned it into a buddy comedy.  It was definitely noisy and teetered on Technicolor brightness, but it ultimately turned into a pile of forgettable fluff.  Please give Thor a better story.  Please????????

Thanks for reading, folks.  I’m chapped about this film and I think it’s pretty obvious that I am.  If you have a differing opinion (and I know somebody does, because I’m definitely in the minority on this one), let me know in the comments.  Feel free to share this with friends and family, too.  I want their opinions as well.

Advertisements

Stranger Things Part Deux

I blew it

Yes, last month I promised all three of my readers that I would be blogging every single day for the month of October.  I planned on watching at least one horror film per day and then reviewing it or an aspect of the film, a character, actor, etc.  I made it thirteen days in and then I missed day fourteen.  I blew it.  Day fifteen came and went (and I even watched films to blog about) and that quickly turned into day twenty, twenty-five, and then Halloween showed up.  I’m sorry for dropping the ball, gang, but life and laziness got in my way.

With that said, however, I did watch a ton of horror flicks (that I didn’t blog about) and the second season of Stranger Things.  I really enjoyed the first season and had high hopes for season two.  Other than one episode, season two was great.  I’m hungry for more!

StrangerThingsSeason2

A few mild Season Two spoilers lie ahead!  Season One will definitely be spoiled if you haven’t seen it yet.

Season Two of Stranger Things opens with a quick look at a young lady named Kali (Linnea Berthelsen) who possesses mental powers and a tattoo similar to Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and her gang as they enjoy a little criminal activity in Pittsburgh.  We are then transported to lovely Hawkins, Indiana where our four heroes, Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Will (Noah Schnapp), are getting back to a somewhat normal life minus their friend and savior, Eleven.  It has been almost one year since the events of Season One, and after seemingly sacrificing herself to the Demogorgon, the boys assume that Eleven is either dead or lost in the Upside Down.  Mike repeatedly tries to make contact with her, but with no success.

Faithful viewers know that at the end of Season One, Hopper (David Harbour) is seen leaving Eggo Waffles and other food in a container in the forest near the lab.  In Season Two we learn in the first episode that Eleven is alive and well and being hidden by Hopper in his grandfather’s old cabin.

stranger-things-season-2-dacre-montgomery-600x279Who-New-Characters-Stranger-Things-Season-2.png

We’re also introduced to a couple of new characters in the form of Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery from the recent Power Rangers film) and his stepsister, Maxine “Mad Max” Mayfield (Sadie Sink, Blue Bloods, American Odyssey).  Billy plays the big bad that provides trouble not only for his sister, but for last season’s “started-off-as-a-jerk-but-became-a-cool-guy,” Steve Harrington (Joe Keery).  As the new girl, Max is viewed by Lucas and Dustin as a potential new member to their group, especially when they find out that she has beaten Dustin’s top score on Dig Dug.

stranger-things-2-jonathan-nancy-copertina

Nancy (Natalia Dyer) feels terrible that she can’t tell her friend Barb’s parents about what really happened to Barb (Shannon Purser) during the events of Season One.  She dogs Steve about it but he’s afraid that something bad could happen to them if they expose the truth.  After telling him off, Nancy teams up with Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), to take on the lab and gets an assist from a humorous conspiracy theorist (Brett Gelman).

Will’s mom, Joyce (Winona Ryder), has fallen for her old classmate and perpetual nerd, Bob Newby (portrayed by 80’s legend and Lord of the Rings actor, Sean Astin).  He goes out of his way to normalize life for the Byers family, usually with goofy results.  I was suspicious of his character at first, but he proves to be a loyal companion not only to Joyce, but to Will as well.  Be sure to watch for a few winks and nods to some of Astin’s classic 80’s roles.

Paul Reiser, known for successful films such as Aliens, Beverly Hills Cop I & 2, and Diner, as well as the highly successful sitcom Mad About You and the somewhat successful My Two Dads, portrays Sam Owens,  who has assumed direction over the Hawkins Laboratory.  I really liked his character in this series.  Reiser has always been one of my favorite actors, and he knocks it out of the park in Stranger Things.

171102-news-stranger-things

Another character introduced this season that deserves mention is Lucas’ little sister, Erica (Priah Ferguson), who doesn’t have a lot of screen time but completely steals every scene that she’s in during the season.  I hope that we see more of her in the future.  She was hilarious!

Erica-Stranger-Things-2

Eleven quickly becomes tired of being cramped up in Hopper’s cabin and repeatedly asks him to let her explore the outside world.  Fearing for her safety, Hopper denies each request.  After one too many broken promises, Eleven starts to venture out on her own and soon finds her real mother (Aimee Mullins).  This leads Eleven to discover that she has a “sister” who shared a room with her at the lab.  This girl is Eight, or Kali, and Eleven sets out to find her.

lost-sister-1509373682

Kali (center in the picture above) has the ability to create visions in the minds of anyone that she faces off against.  When Eleven finds her, they form an uneasy bond.  Eleven is glad to find someone else like her, but doesn’t agree with the shady operation that Kali is running with her friends (Kai L. Greene, Gabrielle Maiden, Anna Jacoby-Heron, and James Landry Hebert).  In a very Yoda moment that is ripped almost directly from The Empire Strikes Back, Kali shows Eleven how to channel and focus her powers to move an eighteen wheeler much like Luke attempted to free his X-Wing from the swamps of Dagobah.   While Luke failed due to the distraction of his friends being in danger, Eleven succeeded.  Like Luke, she also left her “training” to help her friends in need.

intro-1509373599

The episode where Eleven finds her “sister” completely derails the season for a moment.  Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand why Eleven needed the guidance of Kali, but it just seemed like the episode was shoehorned into the season.  I didn’t completely buy into Kali and her gang.  They seemed too over the top and unbelievable even though they were based off of standard street thugs common in 80’s films.  That’s saying a lot considering the fact that this series also features an Upside Down world, Demogorgons, and a girl that can rip you apart with her mind.  The episode broke the rhythm established by every other episode in both seasons, and it’s my least favorite episode so far.

Stranger-Things-2-Snow-Ball

While all of these events are going down, Will is experiencing “episodes” where he briefly breaks into the Upside Down (not intentionally) and then pops back.  These “episodes” get worse as the season plays out, and he is eventually taken over by them.  His situation is what draws Eleven back to Hawkins, but I don’t want to spoil what’s going on with him just yet.  This season is still too fresh and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone that hasn’t seen it.

Mike feels like an outsider in his own group.  He can’t find Eleven and doesn’t like the fact that Lucas and Dustin have allowed Max to infiltrate their group without consulting him first.  He’s also extremely (and rightly) worried about Will.

Lucas falls for Max, but so does Dustin, which puts some tension between them.  Lucas also suffers at the hands of his little sister, whom I’ve already mentioned.  He and Dustin eventually get over their squabble about Max and with her and Steve set out to help Will.  Again, I won’t give away too much so as not to spoil anything.

Oh, and Dustin raises a Demogorgon in his bedroom.  He finds a “puppy” in his trash can and secretly keeps it in his room.  As it quickly grows, it becomes a “demidog,” or young version of a Demogorgon.  You’ll have to watch the series to see what happens next.

stranger-things-how-steve-harrington-became-season-2s-breakout-hero

One character that I want to bring special attention to is Steve Harrington.  Considered a big jerk for most of Season One, Steve finds himself in a state of limbo at the beginning of Season Two.  Despite still being considered a couple, friction over the death of Barb and what to do about it creates a divide between him and Nancy.  With the arrival of Billy Hargrove, Steve is no longer the top dog on the basketball team or with the ladies.  He basically ends up as an outsider who ends up in a friendship with Dustin due to the events happening with the rest of the core Hawkins kids.

Steve comes to realize that Dustin looks up to him and takes on the role of a leader.  Does he have all of the answers?  Absolutely not.  Like most of us, he figures things out as he goes along, makes great decisions, makes terrible decisions, but does it all with the intention of helping the ones that need him.  Dustin needs Steve’s guidance with girls. Max needs Steve to stand up for her whenever Billy tries to stop her from seeing Lucas.  Dustin, Lucas, and Max need Steve to stand between them and sure death when a pack of demidogs attack.  Steve stepped up big time this season, and it shows us that Joe Keery is an excellent actor.  He took a run-of-the-mill character that could have easily fallen into the background and made him one of the best characters on Stranger Things.

The guy is a hero.  We all need a Steve in our lives.

Thanks for reading.  I hope that I haven’t spoiled too much for anybody.  I highly recommend watching this season of Stranger Things as well as Season One.

Go out there and find your Steve!

Day O’Horror #13! Friday the 13th!

Camp Crystal Lake

It’s Friday the 13th.  What other film series did you think that I would pick to view this evening?  Jason Voorhees has been terrorizing teens since the early 1980’s.  The films follow the same basic plot (with some exceptions such as the first film which focuses on Jason’s mom and  Friday the 13th VIII and Jason X, which take place in New York and the future, respectively) of Jason chasing and killing in different violent and amazing ways.  He has also faced off against Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.

Friday the 13th The final Chapter 6

In Part IV, dubbed Friday the 13th:  The Final Chapter (it obviously wasn’t), Jason……kills teenagers and anyone else that gets in his way.  Young nubile teens find themselves in situations that leave them in various states of undress.  Jason usually has the decency to allow them to finish whatever carnal act they are in the middle of before ending their lives.

Friday-the-13th-The-Final-Chapter-friday-the-13th-20734450-900-506

The difference this time around is that a family also happens to be at Camp Crystal Lake.  The family includes Trish (Kimberly Beck) and her little brother, Tommy (Corey Feldman).  As usual, the climax of the film comes down to Jason facing off against the main characters, Trish and Tommy.  Tommy, who has conveniently made a bunch of horror masks, uses one to make himself look like a young Jason.  You’ll have to watch the film yourself to find out what goes down.  Oh, and you get to see Jason’s face in this one!

Friday-the-13th-The-Final-Chapter-horror-movies-20933695-500-281

The film isn’t terrible.  It’s also not that great.  It’s a standard slasher film with standard 1980’s teen situations.  It’s better than many of the sequels that followed it but not by much.

friday-the-13th-the-final-chapter

I’m currently watching Jason X, which I’ve seen quite a few times already.  It’s one of the lesser sequels, but seeing the sci-fi kills mixed with traditional hack and slash kills is fun.  I haven’t decided which film I’ll watch next, but I definitely want to amp up the terror.  As always, thanks for reading.  See you next time!
friday-the-13th-part-4-the-final-chapter1

An Avenging Car on Day O’Horror #12!

1986 Arizona

Some movies come along and for no real reason seem to click with the audience.  Critics may hate it, but it still draws a crowd.  Take The Wraith for instance.  It was one of the earliest films in the careers of both Charlie Sheen and Sherilyn Fenn.  It was the first major role for Nick Cassavetes, and many believed that it was meant to be the film that would launch him to stardom.  It didn’t.  Randy Quaid also had a small role as the local and very generic 1980’s sheriff.  It had fast cars, handsome rogues, and a beautiful damsel in distress.  It had a good guy with a heart of gold and a mysterious driver that would challenge the local gang to street races, all of which ended in death for the gang.

packard_walsh_gang_skank

Packard (Cassavetes) heads up a local gang running races in Brooks, AZ.  They brutally murder a young man and not long after doing so, a driver arrives in town with a suped up Dodge Turbo Interceptor. The driver challenges each member of the gang to a race and takes them out one by one.  He then destroys Packard’s hangout.  While all of this is going down, Packard and his dwindling entourage terrorize Billy Hankins (Matthew Barry), the brother of the young man that the gang murdered and Keri Johnson (Fenn), the dead boy’s girlfriend.

barry_matthew1

The cast is decent for what was needed for this film.  Sheen, Fenn, Cassavetes, Quaid, and Barry were all up to the task.  The rest of the characters were basically car crash fodder.  With names like Skank, Gutterboy, Rughead, Oggie, and Minty, you knew that you weren’t necessarily dealing with an intelligent group of individuals, but the guys looked like that were enjoying their roles.

The-Wraith-Nick-Cassavetes-Clint-Howard-Griffin-ONeal

Of special note are Griffin O’Neal and Clint Howard.  O’Neal comes from a long line of actors, including his father Ryan O’Neal, mother Joanna Moore, and sister Tatum O’Neal.  Clint Howard is, of course, the brother of legendary director/actor Ron Howard.

MV5BOTM2NDZmNGYtZDhmZi00NzdiLThhOTItZDA5ODczZjJhZTE2L2ltYWdlL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjI3ODYyNDU@._V1_wraith6

Of course, the true stars of the film were the cars.  Along with the 1984 Dodge M4S Turbo Interceptor, other popular vehicles in the film included a 1966 Plymouth Barracuda, a 1986 Dodge Daytona Turbo Z, and a 1977 Pontiac Firebird.

dodge_interceptor_the_wraith_car

The movie holds up fairly well considering the fact that it bleeds 1980’s.  From the awesome soundtrack featuring tunes from Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol, and others, to the stereotypical drive in, cop car chases, short shorts, and whacky hair, The Wraith is definitely a product of its time.

attachment-image-a15956bd-b09e-462a-ba67-d5e4b608d068

I recommend it to anyone looking for a nostalgia fix or an action film.  It’s not scary at all, but it’s definitely cool.  Thanks for reading.  Tomorrow is Friday the 13th!

 

A Haunted Day O’Horror #11!

A Haunted Mouse!

If you’ve had the pleasure of visiting either Disneyland or Disney World (or a few other Disney parks worldwide), you are probably aware that the Haunted Mansion is one of their most popular attractions.  I’ve personally visited the Disney World Haunted Mansion on three separate occasions and loved it every time.  It’s one of the must-see items on my list whenever I travel to Orlando.

large-screenshot3

A film based on the attraction was released in 2003.  It starred Eddie Murphy and the lovely Marsha Thomason as Jim and Sara Evers, a real estate “power couple” always looking for the next piece of property to sell.  Sara decides that the family has been neglected for far too long (and Jim misses their anniversary) and that a vacation is in order.  Jim suggests going on a lake trip.  They take their kids, Megan (Aree Davis) and Michael (the funny Marc John Jefferies), on vacation, but on the way, Jim convinces the family to check out one potential home.

haunted-mansion-disneyscreencaps.com-7957

When they arrive at the mansion outside of New Orleans, they meet Ramsley (Terence Stamp), the somewhat sinister butler of Gracey Mansion.  They also meet the owner, Edward Gracey (Nathaniel Parker), who takes a shine to Sara.  The family gets trapped at the mansion due to a storm, but are invited to stay until it is safe to leave by Master Gracey.  They are assisted by Ramsley and two other servants, Ezra (Wallace Shawn) and Emma (Dina Winters).

haunted-mansion-disneyscreencaps.com-5999film__3810-the-haunted-mansion--hi_res-3378fb2d

As the evening rolls along, odd things begin to happen.  Jim meets Madame Leota (Jennifer Tilly), and the kids run into a glowing orb that appears to be friendly.  Soon it is revealed that Master Gracey believes that Sara is the resurrected soul of his former lover, Elizabeth.

From there the story turns into a mystery, with Jim and the kids attempting to figure out what’s really going on and Master Gracey and Ramsley attempt to convince Sara that she belongs with Master Gracey.  Of course, there’s one person in the mansion that has alternate plans for everyone, but I won’t reveal who that person is here.

Manoir_hante_et_les_999_fantomes_2003_Haunted_Mansion_37

Critics tore this film apart, but I don’t think that they saw it for what it was, a family spooky movie.  The acting is fine and it was fun to seek out all of the nods to the theme park attraction that the film is based upon.  There’s a forbidden love story, light comedy, and gentle scares that most families can enjoy together.

hH8PSGwaR0upZSImyRPcCePRhpq

Hopefully more people will seek out this family film.  It’s not as serious as the Pirates of the Caribbean films (and they really aren’t that serious to begin with), but it is just as good as The Country Bears film released one year earlier.  It won’t win any awards, but you’ll have a good time watching this movie.

As always, thanks for reading.  Since I posted about a family film tonight, I’ll have to crank up the terror tomorrow night!  See you again real soon!

 

Heads Rolled On Day O’Horror #10!

Inspired by Washington Irving

With direction by Tim Burton, music by Danny Elfman, gorgeous sets, and an amazing cast, it’s easy to see why 1999’s Sleepy Hollow is one of my favorite films.  I watch it multiple times each year (especially around Halloween and, for some odd reason, Christmas) and I never get tired of viewing it.

SH-Cast

The supporting cast alone is worth the price of admission.  Michael Gambon, Jeffrey Jones, Ian McDiarmid, Michael Gough, Richard Griffiths, Christopher Lee, Martin Landau, Miranda Richardson, Christopher Walken, Claire Skinner, Lisa Marie, Marc Pickering, and Casper Van Dien all provide solid support to leads Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci.

Sleepy_Hollow

Depp portrays Ichabod Crane in the film, but instead of being a gangly teacher that actually believes in witchcraft and folklore, Depp’s Crane is a New York constable who puts science before tall tales and religion.  He’s also something of a coward and extremely annoying at times.

Ricci’s Katrina Van Tassel is a young lady with a deep belief in spells and folk ways.  She, as well as the rest of the citizens of Sleepy Hollow, believe that the Headless Horseman (Walken) is real.  Crane plans to prove them all wrong, but falls for Katrina while attempting to do so.

sleepy-hollow-1999-25-g

The sets are beautiful.  They make the film look and feel creepy and mystical.  The design of the Horseman was also excellent.  He looked aged but more than capable of tormenting anyone that crosses his path.  When he’s headless, he’s portrayed by Ray Park.  You might recognize Park as Darth Maul from Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, or as Snake Eyes from the G.I. Joe franchise, or as Toad from the first X-men film.  He was also a cast member on Heroes on NBC.

Sleepy-Hollow-620x351Sleepy Hollow pic 1

If you’re familiar with the short story by Washington Irving, you know the general legend of the Horseman.  He comes riding in the night looking for his missing head, taking heads until he finds his own.  Burton took a lot of freedom with the story, but I really enjoyed his take on the story.

Sleepy_Hollowsleepy-hollow-sleepy-hollow-13104811-800-528

If you’ve never seen Sleepy Hollow, I highly recommend watching it as soon as possible.  It’s a truly beautiful film and despite being a “horror” film, it’s not too terribly scary.  It’s simply an excellent story with a great cast and wonderful sets.

2580-2

Thanks for reading.  I hope that you are all enjoying this series so far.  You’ll definitely lose your head over tomorrow night’s film………..which I won’t reveal until tomorrow!

Taking A Bite Out Of Day O’Horror #9!

New Orleans

If you’re not already familiar with Interview With The Vampire, I highly recommend that you A) watch the movie and B) check out the book series that it is culled from, Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles.  I’ve read three of the books in the series, Interview With The Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, and Queen of the Damned.  There are many more books left for me to read.

kinopoisk.ru

Unlike my other posts in this series, I’m not going to focus much on the story.  The film and book that it is based upon are so popular and well known that I’d like to turn my focus to the big list of actors that were in the film, all of whom were at different stages of what would be amazing careers.

Brad Pitt

First up is Brad Pitt as Louis.  At the time, Pitt had been in quite a few films including a starring role in A River Runs Through It.  With each role that followed that film and Interview, Pitt’s star continued to quickly rise until he became one of the biggest names in film.  He’s still one of the top stars in Hollywood, consistently starring in films with big budgets and bigger profits.

tumblr_inline_ne995yL3Jj1qlr65v

Antonio Banderas

Antonio Banderas was already an extremely popular star in Spain by the time he appeared in Interview.  He also appeared in significant roles in American films like Philadelphia Story and The Mambo Kings.  In a similar way to Pitt, Banderas only became more popular in the years following his appearance as Armand in Interview.  Although his star has faded somewhat in recent years, he has maintained steady work in both animation and live action films.

tumblr_nwlibwnrxZ1tse85no1_1280

Thandie Newton

Newton portrayed Yvette, the house servant of Louis before his ill-fated run in with Lestat.  While her name might not be as instantly recognizable as Pitt, Banderas, or Tom Cruise, she’s definitely one of the most successful actors on this list.  She has consistently gained roles in solid films and popular television series such as The Pursuit of Happyness, Mission Impossible II, ER, Westworld, Crash, and the upcoming Han Solo Star Wars film.

30520271_1300x1733

Stephen Rea

With a career that now spans nearly sixty years (around thirty years at the time of Interview), Rea was definitely one of the hardest working actors in Interview.  He was perfectly cast as the creepy Santiago.  Rea doesn’t have the star power of Cruise or Pitt, but he is an excellent performer and his long list of roles is a testament to that.

994ITV_Christian_Slater_005

Christian Slater

Slater was nearing the end of an extremely successful wave of films whenever he won the role of Daniel Malloy.  With work in movies like Heathers, Untamed Heart, Mobsters, Young Guns II, and Pump Up The Volume already under his belt, Slater appeared to take over as a leading man in Hollywood.  Sadly he would end up in a few failed blockbusters and was then relegated to direct-to-DVD films and small supporting roles.  In recent years, however, Slater has established himself as a solid television star on shows like Mr. Robot and animated series such as The Lion Guard.

Interview-with-a-Vampire-interview-with-a-vampire-14084180-1200-786

Tom Cruise

The perpetual leading man, Tom Cruise was not Anne Rice’s first choice for her beloved character, Lestat.  However, after seeing Cruise in the role, Rice grew to appreciate his portrayal of the character.  When Interview was released, Cruise was already an established superstar having been in such big hits as Risky Business, Top Gun, Cocktail, Rain Man, A Few Good Men, and Born on the Fourth of July.  After Interview, Cruise became an even bigger star in films like Jerry Maguire, the Mission Impossible series, Jack Reacher, and Valkyrie.  It has only been in recent years where there are hints of his star fading with misses like Rock of Ages and The Mummy reboot.

brad-pitt-kirsten-dunst-interview-with-the-vampire

Kirsten Dunst

At only twelve years of age (and playing a character seven years younger), Kirsten Dunst portrayed my favorite character in Interview With The Vampire, Claudia.  Dunst was sinisterly sweet in the role, and made the difficult jump from child to adult-trapped-eternally-inside-a-child’s-body in the movie, and despite her taste for blood, I was said to see her death on the screen (even though I knew it was coming).

v1.bjs3MzA0ODg7ajsxNzQ2ODsxMjAwOzUwMjY7MzM3NQ

After her portrayal of Claudia, Dunst went on to appear in a string of successful films including Jumanji, Bring It, Little Women, Marie Antoinette, and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films.  Dunst has also appeared in Hidden Figures, Melancholia, and Elizabethtown.  She’s an excellent actress, and she shows no signs of stopping any time soon.

Conclusion

Interview With The Vampire is an excellent film.  Just glancing at this short list of actors that were in the film and how most of them have had continued success should show you how brilliantly the cast performed.  I highly recommend checking this film out.  It’s a great story and an excellent starting point for reading the Vampire Chronicles.

As always, thanks for reading.  Be sure to check out this film!  I’ll be giving y’all another post tomorrow night!