Wish Upon (Cinema Review)

15 – 90mins – 2017


 

MY SOUL TO TAKE

I don’t know what the hell I’ve been doing for the past twenty summers, but it is now TWO DECADES since Ryan Phillippe played the teenage protagonist in late 90s slasher hit I Know What You Did Last Summer – and now, at 41 years old, he’s playing the father to a teenage daughter in a supernatural horror which very much feels like a purposeful hark back to those now retro genre hits, which spawned many a franchise (Scream, Final Destination, Urban Legend). Boy do I feel old!

… Keep Scuttling!

Rings (DVD Review)

15 – 102mins – 2017


 

COPY AND WASTE

Gore Verbinski’s 2002 remake of the Japanese supernatural horror classic Ringu (1998) kick-started a Western surge in popularity for “J-horror” and established lank-haired, TV-emerging Samara as an icon of the genre. That it has taken 12 years since 2005 follow-up The Ring Two to continue the Hollywood-ified franchise is surprising, particularly as interest seemed to remain at least temperate, but Rings’ disappointing box office gross is testament to the rule that no matter how long you take to “perfect” a sequel, sometimes they just aren’t required.

… Keep Scuttling!

The Bye Bye Man (Film Review)

15 – 96mins – 2017


 

VISION MESS

Purportedly based on the real-life anomalous phenomena detailed in the chapter “The Bridge to Body Island” from Fortean Times contributor Robert Damon Schneck’s book The President’s Vampire, this supernatural horror adapted by Jonathan Penner is an admirable attempt to conjure up a modern-day bogeyman in the same vein as Freddie Kreuger and Candyman. Sadly, director Stacy Title’s film was crucified upon its theatrical roll-out in January, so it seems quite likely that the legacy of The Bye Bye Man will die out sooner than anticipated.

… Keep Scuttling!

Beauty and the Beast (Cinema Review)

PG – 129mins – 2017 – 3D


A READY-FURNISHED CLASSIC

Disney continue their recent trend of mining past animated hits for future live action gold (as I write it is currently the highest grossing film of 2017) with this fifth conversion – following Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent, Cinderella and The Jungle Book (which I reviewed HERE) – of one of their greatest ‘toons as old as time into 3 living, breathing, singing and dancing dimensions.

… Keep Scuttling!

Porco Rosso (DVD Review)

PG – 94mins – 1992


 

THE CRIMSON PIG

“I don’t fight for honour – I fight for a pay check!”

Italian WWI ex-fighter pilot Marco Rossolini (Michael Keaton) is an anti-fascist now living as a hostage-rescuing freelance bounty hunter, spending his days chasing “air pirates” in his Savoia S.21 above the Adriatic Sea. Written and directed by Studio Ghibli head Hayao Miyazaki, Porco Rosso is based on his own 3-part Manga, Hikōtei Jidai, and could easily pass as an ode to history and aviation, were it not for the fact that the lead character is cursed by “divine punishment” into the form of an anthropomorphised pig!

“God was telling you it wasn’t your time yet…”

Despite this single concession to fantasy, Porco Rosso is otherwise fairly geographically and historically accurate, with a surplus of politically-charged dialogue giving it the air of a satire. It’s a pity that a succession of “outsider” quips and tiresome “pig-headed” wordplay diminishes any deeper and more complex subtext by overstating the ‘pigs might fly’ comedy. In my opinion, that’s a single joke stretched waaaay too far.

Elsewhere there are flashes of sensitivity and sympathy (“Maybe I’ve just run out of tears,”), even if Keaton dubs Rocco with suave indifference. Irritatingly, there are also further glimpses of some outmoded sexism (“Don’t you have any males relatives?”; “We’re not baking a cake here,”) – but at least, unlike Ocean Waves, this was set in a less open-minded time period.

As is to be expected from the Japanese anime giants, the film is animated gorgeously, however some overly cartoonified injury detail does diminish the honour of Porco’s climatic dual-cum-bareknuckle-fistfight with love rival Curtis (Cary Saw Elwes). Nevertheless, Porco Rosso’s charm carries it through; this is still more swell than swill – and I’m not bacon that up! Ahem.

CR@B’s Claw Score: 3 stars