Solstice (DVD Review)

15 – 87mins – 2008


 

BURYING THE BAD ENERGY

One of only a handful of films from acclaimed The Blair Witch Project co-director Daniel Myrick since his triumphant breakout hit 18 years ago, Solstice is an unremarkable and cliché-ridden genre effort which limped out straight to DVD in time for Halloween 2008, in spite of the star power of Amanda Seyfried – who had recently hit it big in musical megahit Mamma Mia – in a supporting role.

… Keep Scuttling!

Advertisements

Baywatch (Cinema Review)

15 – 116mins – 2017


 

THE ELITE OF THE ELITE

“This all sounds like an entertaining but far-fetched TV show.”

As an 80s-baby growing up in the 90s, I know I used to watch Baywatch. It was prime ITV Saturday night cheese. The Hoff in those red trunks, Pamela Anderson in that red swimsuit, plenty of slow-motion gunning through golden sands and diving into crystal clear Californian oceans while the theme song challenged you not to sing along…. But aside from those iconic cornerstones, I seriously struggle to remember much more about it. Yet, as I sat down last night for what I anticipated to be a full-on nostalgia fest, all I kept thinking throughout this $69million big screen revival was: surely the TV show wasn’t like this?!!

… 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!

Mechanic: Resurrection (DVD Review)

Image result for mechanic resurrection

15 – 95mins – 2016


 

TOOLBOX MURDERS

“It seems reports of your demise have been greatly exaggerated…”

A sequel no-one asked for to a remake everyone bar the biggest Jason Statham fans had forgotten about, Mechanic: Resurrection somehow managed to outgross its 2011 predecessor and more than triple its $40million budget when it landed at the box office last August. The Stath’s endearing mug no doubt managed to persuade both action-mad lads and charmed lasses alike into multiplexes, but this follow-up to Simon West’s Charles Brosnan re-do is surprisingly heavyweight in the casting department.

… Keep Scuttling!

The Omen (DVD Review)

Image result for the omen 2006

15 – 105mins – 2006


 

DÉJÀ BOO

“Did I scare you, Mummy?”

The marketing department at 20th Century Fox must have been roundly patting themselves on the back when they saw the golden opportunity to release this remake of the seminal 70s supernatural horror on 6/6/06. It was perhaps overkill for them to take this nod to the biblical Number of the Beast one step further and start the first screenings at 6:06:06, but sometimes you’ve got to run with an idea when it presents itself.

… Keep Scuttling!

Pete’s Dragon (Cinema Review)

Image result for pete's dragon 2016

PG – 103mins – 2016 – 3D


 

TALL TALES OF TALL TAILS

I always thought I enjoyed Disney’s original 1977 version of Pete’s Dragon. But despite featuring a Who Framed Roger Rabbit?-preceding cartoon title character (courtesy of Don The Land Before Time Bluth), the Mickey Rooney-starring live action musical showcased some frankly cringeworthy song and dance numbers, cheesy overacting and “brazzle dazzle brilliance” aplenty… Trying to watch it again as an adult was an onerous task, and one I did not complete.

… Keep Scuttling!

Frankenstein (Blu-ray Review)

18 – 89mins – 2015


 

NOVEL INTENTIONS

The sum of husband and wife Viktor (Danny Huston) and Marie Frankenstein’s (Carrie-Anne Moss) unorthodox endeavours to find “the formula for life,” Adam (Xavier Twilight Samuel) is ‘born’ perfect: handsome, healthy and endowed with the strength of ten men. However, his mental state is far behind his physical stature, and a number of “cell replication errors” bring about body deformities which prove to Adam’s creators that he is not the revolutionary breakthrough they first believed him to be.

“Are you a man or are you an animal?!”

Detached and distressed, Adam breaks out of his laboratory isolation following a bloody bone saw tussle with a technician, and he escapes into the big, wild world, where this naïve soul learns of the darker side of humanity…

A potent miscellany of twenty-first century idioms, technologies, social issues and scientific ponderings are infused with the base elements of Mary Shelley’s oft-adapted Victorian horror novel, transplanted to the modern day by Candyman director Bernard Rose. While some of the augmentations work well, others feel incidental and superfluous in this uneven update – sometimes awkwardly stylised as FRANK3N5T31N – which is sold with the slightly misleading USP of being told from the monster’s perspective.

While Adam does narrate his journey of discovery, there is a bizarre (but no doubt purposeful) disassociation between his overly philosophical and often grandly poetic internalised musings, and the childlike ignorance he displays on-screen with his “capacity of a one year old”. Such is his infantile mindset that Adam is frequently the victim of savage abuse, until he is befriended by blind busker Eddie (Tony Todd), who mentors him in how to survive when living rough.

The unbridled brutality (which often feels affected to uncomfortable overkill just to achieve the apex age rating) goes hand-in-hand with a frankly maladroit approach to lighting. As the film opens everything is overlit and gives the picture a rather graceless, unsubtle quality – at one point the saturation is so high a cabbage looks neon!

Echoing the evolution of the monster and the (thankful) variation in lighting direction, Frankenstein’s more nuanced second half is a vast improvement on the one note, in-your-face opening act, bringing shade and sentiment to the sadistic slaughter. Adam’s homecoming goes so far as to add parental poignancy with such painful insights as:

“You made me… you hate me… I am I… I am you… I am… alone.”

It isn’t perfect, but Rose’s gleefully bold and shamelessly grisly update does have a brain beneath its bloodstained body – it just needed time to grow into it.

CR@B Verdict: 2 stars