Archive for the 'Movies' Category

Poltergeist 2015 Review.

poltergeist_1sht_vera1_large So it’s been ages since I wrote a movie review on my blog, so I found it fitting I do it of the 2015 remake of “Poltergeist.” The original is one of my favorite scary movies of all time, and personally I don’t feel it needed to be remade. Sure some of the effects by today’s standards are pretty bad, but back in the day the meat crawling and bathroom bake-light scene caused people to get sick. It’s still a great story, and the remake is really nothing more than more evidence that Hollywood is out of ideas and is too afraid to take chances on new things. So was the remake worth it? Was it good? That’s what this review tackles.

THERE ARE SOME BASIC PLOT SPOILERS HERE! If you’ve seen the original, it won’t ruin anything.

For the most part, the movie is a direct remake of the original, with some changes. The movie brings certain things into the modern era. For example the family is down on their luck, with the dad having been laid off, which is why they move into the development. Unlike the original, where the development was brand new and the dad worked for the developers, it’s been there awhile in this version. All the locals know the story of the moved cemetery, and many of the homes are now dirt cheap because of foreclosures. They don’t tell you why though, they leave that up to you. Is it the economy? Or the ghosts?

The technology in the film has been brought up to the digital age, which really means that there should not be any white noise/snow channels for Carol Anne (now called Maddy) to communicate on. The new version has the spirits able to manipulate the electricity in the house, including iPads and cellphones. They never outright say it, but they hint this has to do with the major powerlines that are showb going over the house and the development. When the house goes nuts one night, Maddy is sucked into the closet by the dead. The storyline pretty much progresses the same as the original from here on out.

images A major disappointment is they failed to update the film based on current ideas about ghosts. For example, they never explain the idea that ghosts can feed off energy, which is why the power-lines are important, but they leave that up to the viewer to guess about. Also most researchers now believe poltergeists aren’t really spirits or souls of the dead, but psychic energy that is unleashed from someone going through a stressful period, such as the loss of a job or teens going through puberty. They could have gone this way with this version, but then it would have drastically altered the storyline. So they stuck with the old definition of “a noisy entity.” Many scenes from the original are still there, as is much of the same dialogue, though some have been altered. The bake-light scene has been updated and isn’t nearly as gory as the original. Much of the building suspense of the original, such as Maddy/Carol Anne’s interaction with “The TV People,” is gone.

Another major disappointment is that they turn the parapsychologist (played by Jane Adams) into an awkward bumbling buffoon, which if you’ve ever seen Adams is a role she plays well. The Tangina character is now a Zak Bagans/Ghost Hunter reality TV star. Both come off as more or less jokes in the movie, and completely downplay the scientific seriousness of the original.

5wkqkg One of the most iconic scenes that scared most people, the clown scene, is a huge letdown. They had an amazing setup to make it great, and it falls flat.

There are a few nice additions to the movie, for example some minor exploration of the other side beyond the closet, which was lacking in the original. Fans of the original movies will also notice a few scenes seem to actually be from the second movie and are thrown in for fun. A bumper sticker also pays homage to the original director Toby Hooper.

It’s worth seeing for die hard fans of the original, because most like me want to see if they stayed true to the film or wrecked it. It’s not great, it’s not terrible, it just is what it is. If you’ve never seen the original, I would say watch it after you see the remake just so you realize how the film should have been done.

All images found via google images and property of the film/studio.

Flowers In The Attic


The “Flowers in the Attic” books (also known as The Dollanganger Saga) by VC Andrews were the first real adult books I ever read. The only reason I even read them was because the mother of my best friend at the time owned them and had them locked in a glass bookcase for all to see, but not touch. My friend and her siblings would always say those were dirty books, which is why their mom locked them up. So of course me, being in the 7th grade, purchased them the next time I went with my mom to the grocery store. I actually bought it at the Crown Bookstore that was next-door to the local Giant.

I remember not being able to put “Flowers” down and reading it in the span of 24 hours. Then I of course had to buy the rest. I remember “Petals on the Wind,” which was the longest of the books if memory serves me, took me forever to get through. It wasn’t as gripping as the horror of the first. It basically was just about the abusive relationship they all ended up in. The third was down right twisted, and the forth was just a depressing ending to it all.

If you have been living under a rock, Lifetime TV has made movies of the first two books. “Flowers” aired in January and “Petals” just aired tonight. I will say that the “Flowers” movie disappointed me. The acting of the main kids was terrible, I didn’t feel the fear or terror in the book, and even the dirty scenes just weren’t shocking. I was actually rooting for them all to just die by the end. However Lifetime greenlit the sequel even before the original aired, and it’s a good thing they did, because it might not have come about it they waited for the reception “Flowers” got from many like myself. “Petals” was phenomenal! It was definitely better than the book. Whereas I hated that they cut so much out of “Flowers,” the cuts to “Petals” were welcomed. I haven’t read these since I was 12/13, but I plan to reread them over the summer and before “Thorns” and “Seeds” air.

Oh yes, Lifetime is making all four of the original books into movies. There is no word whether “Gardens,” which was a prequel about the Grandmother and Grandfather, will become a film.

Re-Enacting Poltergeist

So the construction continues. Currently they are digging trenches around our house in order to seal our basement walls and foundations to keep water from leaking into the basement. They are also putting a drain in to help too. Unfortunately we ended up with torrential downpours this weekend, filling one of the trenches. They at least sealed this wall first!

I took the opportunity to re-enact some scenes from “Poltergeist.” I initially only did “You only moved the headstones!” until a friend requested I jump in there in a nightshirt and panties to re-enact the swimming pool scene. Hell no I wasn’t doing that! I did respond with a photo of “Oh my God Stephen, the swimming pool!”

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Halloween Approaches! But First More Monster Mania!

OMG! It’s going to be October this weekend, which means my thoughts have gone towards decorating. Of course my gifts from John have helped push me there too, along with the opening of all the Halloween stores. I vowed to be good this year and not buy too much, otherwise I’ll need a bigger yard!

I have decided this year I will only buy very cheap stuff :) I have to replace the cobwebs and “freaky fabrics” I use – CHEAP! I also bought some fun “spider lights” for the side of the house I expanded to last year – after a car plowed through the bushes leaving a gaping hole to be filled. I also bought a cheap $15 dollar ghost from target to hang there as well. I decided the material was light weight (and durable), it was cheap, so I would’t cry if the weather killed it – which I did after the rain killed one last year . . . . what a headache I had trying to rebuild him!

The weather really has been my main concern this year. The past few years we got a few nasty nor’easters that required fixing the outside decore a bit. I have gotten fairly good at securing stuff mind you. But the past two months have just been a lot of rain, way more than we are used to. I have to be mindful this year of where to place things and make the best use of our minimum covered porch space to protect things. I admit, I had thought of scrapping decorating all together or keeping it at a very bare minimum, the lights only. However I have to use what John gave me, it would be criminal not to! So I’m trying to figure out where to put things that are the most sheltered.

Anyways, to change the subject entirely, here are some more Monster Mania photos! No more Monster Mania’s till next March . . . what will I do? Oh there is Chiller Con at the end of the month . . .

Pam and Holly from “True Blood” — Anthony Michael Hall – Farmer Ted!
Zach Galligan “Gremlins” — Tom Atkins “The Fog” — Claire Higgins “Hellraiser”

Yes, some of the photos aren’t the best, we’ll chalk it up to jet lagged stars! Next time I won’t try and meet everyone the first night! They need rest :)

Everything Comes To An End . . . .

So tonight I saw the final “Harry Potter” film . . . the end of the road. It’s been years since I read the final book, so I honestly can’t remember every little thing they did right or wrong. I only remember one thing, which I think was a fairly big omission that was briefly glossed over in the film, but had I not read the book I may have not fully understood. I’ll talk about that later under SPOILERS! for those who have yet to see the film and actually haven’t read the books :)

The film was a fitting end, and for the most part did the book justice. All the “kissing” moments I found awkward, and had to hold my need to giggle in when they happened. Also why they feel the need to make Harry and Ron take their clothes off I don’t know. I get they are English, but holy hell, they need tans!

I saw it in 3D. Is it necessary? Not really. There are only a few parts of the film that really used the 3D well, everything else was just mainly depth. It was a film converted to 3D, not entirely filmed in it. There were a few scenes you know they threw in for the 3D though, and those were the only ones that made the 3D worth it.

If you can see it on the Imax (which I didn’t), I’d say do it! I plan to see it again I know, and I will see it on the Imax next time. However it’s probably hard to find it on Imax not in 3D, the two go hand in hand nowadays.

The action sequences, which this film is full of, are intense. It makes sitting through the first part, which honestly was a bit of a bore, all worth it.

Okay from here on out are SPOILERS! I just can’t talk about my thoughts on this film, without SPOILING things! If you’ve read the books, really I’m not spoiling much at all.

The best scene of the book, Mrs. Weasely’s fight with Beatrix, I wanted to last longer. It was still great, and basically the scene everyone wanted to see above all others, including the end of Voldermort. Aside from the end of the film, I think it got the most applause.

I felt a lot of the Hogwarts battles and the loss of some of the kids were only quickly addressed. For example, I remember the killing of the Werewolf character as being much more grand in the book? I also remember a lot more of the kids gruesome ends. I guess they couldn’t just have a movie with too many kids getting off’d though.

The biggest omission was the back story about Dumbledore and Grinwald. Actually it was completely omitted! In the movie when Harry and his friends arrive at Hogsmead, the only mention of the past is by Dumbledore’s brother who mentions Albus’ quest for power which drove them apart and led to their sister’s death. In the book we learn that Albus and his BFF (gay lover?) Grinwald (who we see in a flashback stealing the Elderwand in Part 1) were on a quest to find all the Deathly Hallows. Given it’s the name of the movie, you’d think this story would have been important enough to put it!

It was Dumbledore’s quest for power that not only put him at odds with his family, but brought about his end. Another glossed over scene was the explanation of “the ring.” The second Horocrux (sp?) was Tom Riddle’s (Voldermort’s) ring, which in fact was a symbol of the Deathly Hallows. Still obsessed with them years later, Dumbledore put it on, only to find out it was cursed and would bring about his death. Snape slowed it down, but Dumbledore was doomed to die, which is why he asked Snaped to kill him . . . to keep Malfoy from doing so as he was ordered to.

Another thing I felt might be fuzzy if you didn’t read the books, was the back story with Snape and Lilly as well as his patronus. The back story was major parts of books 5 and 6, completely omitted from those movies. So they had to basically condense all of it very quickly into this movie that Snape always loved Harry’s mother Lilly, and because of that love his patronus was a doe because her’s was. It was Snape who brought the sword to Harry in the previous movie, when he thought it was his mother.

In the past Snape came to Dumbledore, defecting from Voldermort, when he learned Voldermort planned to kill the Potters. In exchange for his help (and betrayal of Voldermort) that is why Dumbledore gave him a job at Hogwarts. That is why in the earlier films Voldermort’s followers didn’t trust him. However for the entire series, Snape had actually been looking over Harry . . . remember back to Book/Movie 1 . . . during the Quidich Tournament when it appeared Snape was cursing Harry? He was countering Professor Quirrel’s curse at the time. This scene is quickly shown, along with others . . . but in the book you really realize how many times Snape was there guarding and teaching Harry all along, preparing him.

Other things changed . . . . Snape’s death happend in the Shrieking Shack from what I recall, and I never remember Harry jumping off a cliff with Voldermort :)

But still, it was a great movie, and for ONCE they actually got the end of the book right! The last few movies the end of the books were all changed for the movies, usually not in the best ways either.

Just Checking In! Mini-Movie Thoughts . . .

Figured I’d just make a quick check-in post. I’m currently in Virginia getting some unfortunate cavities taken care of.

My tomato garden has become a jungle at home. But even though I have 30+ tomatoes, they are all still green! I might have to open up a lesbian railroad cafe soon!

I’ve seen a few movies over the past month I haven’t reviewed, so here are my quick thoughts on them . . .

Green Lantern – Not as horrible as everyone made it out to be! A bit long, needed some editing, and too much of an origins story. The only real action sequence is at the very end of the movie.

Horrible Bosses – Horrible dirty comedy, nothing terribly special or remarkable. Jennifer Aniston steals the whole movie, and she’s not in it all that much.

Transformers 3 – A-maze-ing! Of course I saw it in Imax and 3D. Definitely the best of all the movies, and more than makes up for that crap fest that was number 2.

Harry Potter on Friday, and I finally have Insidious waiting for me at home on DVD :)

OMG I May Just Die!

Monster Mania this August has probably one of the best line-ups ever, including stars from some of my favorite childhood movies and TV shows . . .

I cannot WAIT!

Super 8 Review

With all the talk of “Super 8,” I knew I had to see it ASAP, otherwise I was going to google for spoilers of what exactly the monster is . . . . even though I had an idea. I will post some spoilers later on in the review, and warn those who want to be spoiler free.

So in case you never saw the trailer, or the commercials, here is the basic spoiler free plot. It’s the summer of 1979 and Charles and Joe, two best friends, are making a Super 8 monster (well zombie) movie. Charles is the writer, Joe does the make-up. Several of their other friends are in it, or helping as well. Charles has hopes of winning a Cleveland young film makers contest. Charles, needing more emotion and drama, asks the local hottie Alice to be in the film. This leads to much of the back/side story in the film . . . Joe and Alice become “teen first loves,” but in a not so mushy and in your face way. Alice’s dad and Joe’s dad have a beef, which has to do with the tragic death of Joe’s mom at the local factory months earlier. However that’s just the side story. The real story is that while filming one night at a local train station, the kids witness an event, as well as capture on their film. The insane destruction of a train, millions of weird cubes flung everywhere, and something (which at first don’t get a look of) escaping from one of the cars. A local middle school teacher of biology, involved in the wreck, warns them to run . . . and speak of this to no one . . . .otherwise they and their parents will be killed. Most of the kids are pretty complacent at this request, especially when the Air Force rolls into town. But Alice, Joe and Joe’s dad the deputy sheriff start asking questions . . . . .

The film itself is top quality. Unlike other films of the summer, the stunts look real, as do the explosions, and your convinced your not watching a 90% CGI film. Clever hiding of the monster for most of the film also helps in this regard.

It’s also well acted. The kid actors are great, especially when they’re trying to be cheesy for purposes of the Super 8 film. The adults are great as well, but make no mistake, the kids are the stars of this film.

The scare factors are there. I jumped several times. However it is very light on gore, save for a few scenes. This isn’t a violent film at all . . . and I think it was done so with the intent that families with older kids could enjoy this one together.

Is it the film of the summer? Probably not, we all know that one will go to Harry Potter. Is it the film of the week? For sure. Is it a film, amongst the onslaught of films this summer, that will stand out? Yes most definitely . . . . . . But is it original? Yes and no. Obviously the storyline is original in part, but at the same time it almost seems like a masterful retelling . . . or perhaps a mash-up of well loved 80s kid adventure movies.



Are You Ready For The End? Get Ready!

Last night I watched “Vanishing on 7th Street.” I gotta say, the movie was creepy, but only because of the timing . . . you know with the end of the world upon us this weekend and all.

The movie is about a couple of survivors who make their way to a bar one night to meet and try and escape whatever is going on. The sun comes up later each day, and sets earlier each night. When darkness descends, shadowy figures claim lives and make people disappear. Voices of the dead are also heard speaking to the living. Inexplicably electricity and other things like batteries are quickly failing too, which makes the dark more menacing.

This, unfortunately, is one of those movies that wants you to interpret what is going on based on your beliefs or ideas, but I also feel is very “Rapture” oriented. Is Kirk Cameron a secret producer here :) I don’t mind having to interpret a little in a movie, but not the whole damn movie. Nothing is really explained at all as to what is going on here. Those kind of films generally irritate me. I like to be told a story, not to have to guess what the story is.

The only reason I can say to watch this film is to creep you out about Saturday. Once Saturday is over, don’t bother :) Save it for 12/21/12 :)

Thor! The Movie . . . . .

So I went to see “Thor” yesterday. To my surprise, it was actually a good movie. I really don’t know anything about Thor other than he’s the Viking God of Thunder, and made a few appearances in the Spiderman cartoons in the 80s. So I can’t say how much they screwed up the comic book story.

I really thought the whole “aliens” aspect was going to make it ridiculous, but it worked well and they didn’t go over the top. Basically Thor and his people are a very advanced race that were worshiped by primitive Norse peoples as gods. Then there are the race of Frost Giants, and some others who didn’t play into the movie. Basically Earth and humans are one of the 9 realms in the universe, and we just haven’t advanced enough to understand and make contact with the other 8.

Thor gets cast out of his realm by his father Odin, after being betrayed by his brother Loki. That is kinda a spoiler, but if you know anything about Norse mythology at all, then it’s really not. Then he lands on earth, meets a team of scientists studying the wormhole he came through, fights to regain his crown . . . yada yada. There are no huge twists in this story, there is no mystery. It’s a comic book genre film, but unlike the later Spiderman films, doesn’t suck and doesn’t try to do too much (i.e. introduce 8 million villains).

Thor plays into Iron Man with the Shield Agent from those movies in this film, and at the end of the film your told “Thor will return in The Avengers next year.” Like the Iron Man films, and my guess the upcoming “Captain America” film, there is a secret scene after the credits worth sticking around for.

The only things I can say bad about the film is 1) Thor didn’t take his clothes off enough at all. In fact the scene above is all you get to see of him. 2) It’s not worth paying extra to see in 3D. There was nothing I was wowed at. I don’t know if this was filmed in 3D or just converted to buy into the 3D format that’s so big now.