Prolific filmmaker William Beaudine and horror icon Bela Lugosi worked together on four films, and "Voodoo Man" (** out of ****) was the third. Previously, they collaborated on "Ghosts on the Loose" (1943) and "The Ape Man" (1943), while their final outing occurred on the madcap comedy "Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla" (1953). In "Voodoo Man," Lugosi plays a deluded doctor, Dr. Richard Marlowe, who wrestles with spousal issues similar to those in the 1942 chiller "The Corpse Vanishes." Whereas he endeavored to restore his wife's beauty in the latter movie, he struggles to restore his wife's life in "Voodoo Man." Actually, Evelyn (Ellen Hall of "Lumberjack") looks well-preserved to have been kaput for over two decades. She ambles around in a trance but looks as if she hasn't aged a day since she died.
Dr. Marlowe is in cahoots with a Mobil gas station owner, Nicholas (George Zucco of "The Black Raven") to bring his poor wife back to life. "Return of the Ape Man" scenarist Robert
Prolific filmmaker William Beaudine and horror icon Bela Lugosi worked together on four films, and "Voodoo Man" (** out of ****) was the third. Previously, they collaborated on "Ghosts on the Loose" (1943) and "The Ape Man" (1943), while their final outing occurred on the madcap comedy "Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla" (1953). In "Voodoo Man," Lugosi plays a deluded doctor, Dr. Richard Marlowe, who wrestles with spousal issues similar to those in the 1942 chiller "The Corpse Vanishes." Whereas he endeavored to restore his wife's beauty in the latter movie, he struggles to restore his wife's life in "Voodoo Man." Actually, Evelyn (Ellen Hall of "Lumberjack") looks well-preserved to have been kaput for over two decades. She ambles around in a trance but looks as if she hasn't aged a day since she died.Read More »from FILM REVIEW of ''VOODOO MAN" (1944)
"Right at Your Door" director Chris Gorak's apocalyptic science fiction actioneer "The Darkest Hour"(** out of ****) qualifies as initially provocative but incredibly anti-climactic. Freshman scenarist Jon Spaihts formulated his outlandish script about a "War of the Worlds" invasion of Earth by invisible predators from a story that "Dante's Peak" scribe Leslie Bohem and first-time writer M.T. Ahern penned with him. If you've caught the trailer for this half-baked hokum, you know it pits a quartet of trendy, American, twentysomething guys and gals in Moscow against aliens determined to wipe out civilization while they extract all of our mineral resources. Basically, humans cannot see these extraterrestrials, but they have no trouble seeing us. These elusive aliens atomize anybody in sight without warning. If they don't outright zap you, they snare you with a neon-like electric bolt noose and then vaporize you in a shower of dust and sparks. Despite Read More »from FILM REVIEW of ''THE DARKEST HOUR" (2010)
- Christopher Mertes | Author Blog Posts – Tue, Jul 10, 2012 7:06 AM EDT
If you saw both versions of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" side by side, you could spot the differences between the 2009 Swedish original and the 2011 American remake. Nevertheless, the revelations in the other won't be as surprising. "Fight Club" director David Fincher brings his obsession with serial killers with him to this top-drawer adaptation of Stieg Larsson's international bestseller. Fincher scored his first major cinematic success with the Brad Pitt & Morgan Freeman crime mystery "Se7en" (1995) about a cunning serial killer, and he explored similar subject matter in "Zodiac" (2007) a film about the real-life murders in San Francisco which spawned Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" franchise. Considering that the gritty subject matter of Larsson's novel concerns a man who rapes and then murders women, the pairing of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (**** out of ****)and Fincher seems ideal. Oscar winning "Schindler's List" scenarist Steven Zaillian, who received Oscar nods forRead More »from FILM REVIEW of ''THE GIRL with the DRAGON TATTOO" (2011)
The horror chiller "The Devil Inside" (O out of ****) gives movies about exorcism a bad name. Face it, William Friedkin's "The Exorcist" (1973) still ranks as the best exorcist movie of all time. Nothing made since then can match the impact of this landmark movie, least of all its lackluster sequels. Nevertheless, Hollywood continues to crank out new movies about exorcism as if time had eroded the demonic fury of "The Exorcist." Warner Brothers did the next best thing; in 2000, they re-released Friedkin's frightening film in a revamped version that performed startlingly well at the box office. Lately, the studios have conjured up three exorcism movies. Sir Anthony Hopkins starred in the respectable hair-raiser "The Rite" back in the spring of 2011. Sadly, "The Rite" bore a PG-13 rating so it possessed little bite. The low-budget, Louisiana-set, yell-bent yarn "The Last Exorcism" preceded "The Rite" by several months, but it furnished more irony than chills. Now, Paramount Pictures hasRead More »from FILM REVIEW of ''THE DEVIL INSIDE" (2012)
Actor-producer Wesley Snipes may have finally found himself an action movie franchise that he can sink his teeth into with British director Stephen Norrington's "Blade," (***1/2 out of ****)a well-made, imaginative, adrenaline-laced vampire chiller based on the Marvel Comics' super hero. Snipes heads a first-rate cast that includes Kris Kristofferson, Stephen Dorff, N' Bushe Wright, Udo Kier, and Traci Lords. "Blade" synthesizes the exotic swordplay of the "Highlander" epics, the double-digit body count of a John Woo thriller, and the martial arts pandemonium of a Jackie Chan opus to spawn a horror movie several cuts above your ordinary vampire fare.
If the sight of blood, especially torrents of bogus blood, turns your stomach, avoid "Blade." "Blade" takes its cues from renegade vampire sags like Robert Rodriguez's "From Dusk Till Dawn" (1996) and Kathryn Bigelow's "Near Dark" (1987) rather than those venerable classics such as either Tod Browning's "Dracula" (1931) with Bela Lugosi
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Anybody who has seen enough World War II movies knows that Hollywood has to resort to elaborate artifice to conjure up equipment which no longer exists in vast quantities. Each year attrition depletes the number of Allied planes, tanks, and war ships used in combat. Worse, most of the Axis equipment has been destroyed. The Spanish Air Force furnished the filmmakers of "Battle of Britain" (1969) with scores of vintage Nazi-era aircraft. Most moviemakers aren't that fortunate. Now, every time that you see a World War II relic fly, you wonder if they haven't matted in additional models, or relied entirely on miniatures. Virtually no World War II movie since the 1950s has used a Sherman tank. They rely on either the Pentagon for Cold War era equipment or mock up something that resembles a Sherman.Read More »from FILM REVIEW of "RED TAILS" (2012)
Freshman director Anthony Hemingway's aerial epic "Red Tails" (** out of ****) qualifies more as a showcase for the digital computer generated imagery which can forge greater authenticity than a
- Soon Nofal | Author Blog Posts – Tue, Jul 10, 2012 6:53 AM EDT
The major departures "Nosferatu the Vampyre" makes occur after Dracula leaves his castle. The scenes aboard the ship remain intact with the crew dying, but you don't see anybody diving off the ship. Whereas Murnau showed several rats in his film, Herzog displays no restrain. He bought eleven-thousand white rats from a laboratory and painted them gray. According to Herzog on the Anchor Bay commentary track, the production company didn't lose a single rodent, but the sight of the rats made a customs official faint. Furthermore, Herzog took elaborate precautions on the set to ensure that none of the rodents escaped. The co-commentator observed that Herzog also neutered the rats so that they couldn't reproduce. Not since either version of "Willard" have so many rats appeared on camera. One striking scene involving the rodents occurs toward the end of the story. A group of plague-infected friends attempt to prolong their happiness by dining on one final meal before they die. They areRead More »from FILM REVIEW of "NOSFERATU the VAMPYRE" (GERMAN 1979)
Bram Stoker's widow Florence would spin in her grave if she knew about "Shadow of the Vampire." "Begotten" director Edmund Elias Merhige's second film qualifies as an artsy fartsy account about the making of groundbreaking German filmmaker F.W. Murnau's silent chiller "Nosferatu" back in 1921. No sooner had "Nosferatu" been released to theaters than Florence Stoker sued Murnau and company for copyright infringement. She won the case, and the court ordered the destruction of all film prints and negatives. Happily, some bootleg copies escaped annihilation, and the Murnau's artistic legacy as well as the film's contribution to vampire films survived Florence's wrath. Not only did "Nosferatu" emerge as Murnau's greatest film, but it also exerted a considerable influence on vampire films. The greatest enemy of a vampire in "Nosferatu" was sunlight. Although Stoker's Dracula could cavort during the day, Murnau and company changed it so the sunlight proved to be the vampire's greatest enemy.Read More »from FILM REVIEW of "SHADOW of the VAMPIRE" (2000)
Swedish director Daniel Espinosa's predictable spy versus spy saga "Safe House" (**1/2 out of ****)resembles "The Bourne Identity" in several respects. The chief difference is Denzel Washington doesn't play an amnesiac "Bourne" again hero. Instead, he is a rogue CIA agent at large who tops Langley's most wanted list who remembers everything rotten about the Agency. Like the superb"Bourne" thrillers, this nimble actioneer concerns corrupt CIA superiors who want Denzel dead because he has damaging information about them. Mind you, this isn't the first time the CIA has been depicted as crooked. Watergate era thrillers such as "Three Days of the Condor" and "Scorpio" deployed that plot back in the early 1970s. Of course, the Agency isn't entirely corrupt, only some powerful individuals at the top. When freshman scribe David Guggenheim isn't muddling up things with multiple layers of mystery, Espinosa does his best to captivate us with brief, brutal, and breathless combat scenes that rivalRead More »from FILM REVIEW of ''SAFE HOUSE" (2012)
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