In 50 (or so) Words…DEADPOOL (2016)

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DEADPOOL (2016)

Directed by: Tim Miller
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller, Ed Skrein
Twentieth Century Fox, The Donners’ Company, Marvel Enterprises

After discovering that he has terminal cancer, mercenary for hire Wade Wilson is offered to under go an experimental procedure that can save his life, and also give him extraordinary powers. After being lied to and left for dead, Wade discovers he has gained the ability to rapidly heal from injuries. He also left with an appearance only a mother could love. Hell-bent on seeking revenge, Wilson dawns a mask and costume, and takes the moniker “Deadpool”. Along side some familiar “allies”, a quick wit, and armed to the teeth, “The Merc with the Mouth” goes on a killing spree in search of the people who turned him ugly.

Anyone who is a fan of the Deadpool character as he is represented in the Marvel Comics universe knows that the film is actually a pretty close adaptation and stays true to the character. I looked forward to seeing this film as soon as the test footage was leaked a couple years back. I am a fan of the comic book. The “breaking the fourth wall” shtick (Deadpool is aware he is in a comic book and acts accordingly) was, and still is a fresh approach. The movie takes advantage of this, and it is brilliant. This is Deadpool with the gas pedal pinned to the floor. From what I have read, this was Ryan Reynolds’ passion project, and he is brilliant. You could scour the world and not find any actor to play the part of Wade Wilson better than my fellow Canadian. From the humor, action, charm, and countless Easter eggs (intentionally hidden message, or inside joke) that are contained in Deadpool, it’s a hell of a good time at the cinema. I can see this being a movie I can watch time and time again, and still be impressed. I can only hope that Twentieth Century Fox and Marvel Studios have enough sense to add this character to future X-Men based films, because honestly, they have become dry. This is a great example of what can be accomplished when the studio loosens the reigns and lets the creativity flow. What I am trying to say is Deadpool is awesome. At the risk of sounding blasphemous, I may have enjoyed it a little more than The Force Awakens, and I loved that film.

T.

In 50 Words…HATEFUL EIGHT (2015)

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The Hateful Eight

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth

The Weinstein Company

Runtime: 187 Minutes, Rated: R

A group of traveler’s, consisting of bounty hunters, Civil War veterans, and killers converge on a remote outpost in the heart of the Wyoming wilderness during a severe blizzard. As these strangers seek shelter, each appears to have their own agenda. Is it the storm that brings upon this chance meeting, or is it destiny that has these folks are gathered at Minnie’s Haberdashery on this cold winter’s afternoon?

I always look forward to Quentin Tarantino’s new films simply because they are typically brilliant. The dialogue, acting, and dark humor are always engaging and enjoyable. Those points remain true in his 8th film, The Hateful Eight. The movie comes across like a stage play, as it takes place primarily in one room. The blocking and back ground performance away from the primary action  is well done. I did have one issue with the film that kind of took away from it being close to perfect. The run time, at over three hours, is too long. When the ending came around, it almost seemed like a relief that the movie was over, and lessened the impact of the conclusion for me. Also, the score music seemed incredibly loud in spots, but that could be the fault of the cinema. Overall, an entertaining film, full of humor and violence. Walton Goggins and Samuel Jackson are brilliant, as is Jennifer Jason Leigh. For me, this one falls between Inglorious Basterds and the amazing Django Unchained.

4 Bloody Moons 4 out of 5 Bloody Moons

T.

31 Days of Halloween Day 15 and 16 – HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES and THE DEVIL’S REJECTS

31 Days of Halloween – Day 15

House of 1,000 Corpses (directed by Rob Zombie, 2003) Where do I start? Do I start with Captain Spaulding’s Museum of Monsters and Madmen? The sadistic Firefly family, who prey on travelers and cheerleaders? A physician who goes by the name of ‘Dr. Satan’, who performers experiments on unwilling participants all in the hopes of creating a race of super-humans? There are so many bizarre, yet memorable characters and insane situations in House of 1,000 Corpses that it is hard to keep track of. A group of young adults (including a then unknown Rainn Wilson from The Office) are on a cross country trip, in search of off-beat roadside attractions. The stumble upon the Museum of Monsters and Madmen, and become intrigued by the local legend of S. Quentin Quale, aka Dr. Satan. After receiving directions from the proprietor Captain Spaulding, the group head out in search of the “Satan Tree”. On the way, they pick up a hitchhiker who claims she can take them right to their destination. What they find instead is a house full of murder and mayhem, occupied by the Firefly family, and things do not go well here on out for the travelers. From top to bottom, this film is insane, and very entertaining. Taking inspiration from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as well as 1970’s Grindhouse features, there is an abundance of gore, plenty of violence, and a lot of exploitation going on. Rob Zombie’s typical gang of actors, Sid Haig, Sheri Moon Zombie, and Bill Mosley are all present and are all disturbed. Zombie’s first feature will not be for everyone, but House of 1,000 Corpses certainly leaves an impression.

31 Days of Halloween – Day 16

The Devil’s Rejects (directed by Rob Zombie, 2005) The sequel to House of 1,000 Corpses continues the carnage but takes a different approach than its predecessor. The Devil’s Rejects continues the story of the Firefly family months after the events of House of 1,000 Corpses. The family is cornered in their house by the authorities, and are out numbered and out-gunned. Baby (Sheri Moon Zombie) and Otis Driftwood (Bill Mosley) manage to escape and flee the standoff, and meet up with clown-faced Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig). The twisted family are on the run from hard-nosed and equally as terrifying Sheriff Wydell (William Forsythe). Wydell seeks revenge upon the trio of killers for the murder of his brother who fell victim to the family. While on the lam, the murderous Firefly clan cannot subdue their thirst for violence, so they leave another trail of carnage in their wake. Think Bonnie and Clyde meet Natural Born Killers. Devil’s Rejects takes itself more serious than House of 1,000 Corpses, and it works. The tone is grittier and more intense. Zombie does a great job in creating a gang of anti-heroes out of characters that we should hate. The final scene in this film is beautifully done, complete with Lynard Skynard’s ‘Free Bird’ as the background song as our “heroes” make their last stand. This Halloween, give yourself a double dip of mayhem, and make it a back-to-back Rob Zombie night with House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devils Rejects.

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Recap

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween
  • Day 4 – Dog Soldiers
  • Day 5 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
  • Day 6 – Psycho (1960)
  • Day 7 – John Carpenter’s The Thing
  • Day 8 – The Prowler
  • Day 9 – Pet Sematary
  • Day 10 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Day 11 – Near Dark
  • Day 12 – The Lost Boys
  • Day 13 – Child’s Play
  • Day 14 – Sleepy Hollow
  • Day 15 – House of 1,000 Corpses
  • Day 16 – The Devil’s Rejects

31 Days of Halloween *Day 3* – ROB ZOMBIE’S HALLOWEEN

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN – DAY 3

Rob Zombie’s Halloween (directed by Rob Zombie, 2007) Right from the opening scene, this re-telling of the John Carpenter classic grinds on the nerves. You instantly hate every character except for Michael, and his mother. Even the beloved Dr. Sam Loomis character in the original (Donald Pleasence), quite frankly, is an asshole in this story.
Most horror re-boots are not effective because audiences are desensitized to the subject matter, and also because most re-boots suck. I believe Rob Zombie did a commendable job with giving Michael a back story, and manufacturing some sympathy for a character that has never spoken a line of dialogue since his inception in 1978. The juxtaposition between the young, bullied Myers boy and the savage killing machine he becomes is a nice touch. The story is much the same at the very core as the classic. As a child, Michael kills his sister, becomes institutionalized, and escapes years later, then returns to Haddonfield to finish of his only remaining relative, his sister Laurie. Where Zombie’s vision differs is in the amount of corpses left Michael’s wake, and the amount of bloody violence that we see on screen. The original is void of blood, and relies on atmosphere and shadows to give us the chills. 2007’s Halloween uses abrasive characters, brute force, and violence to tell the story. The effect is not the same, as Carpenter’s Halloween will always be the champion slasher film. If Rob Zombie would have “re-made” Halloween, it would have fallen flat on its face. Instead, he chose to “re-tell” the story, adding elements to make it a very watchable film. This updated version even keeps the Michael Myers legacy alive more so than six sequels (not including the original Halloween II, because that movie kicks ass) ever did. Actress Scout Taylor-Compton plays the part of Laurie Strode (made famous by Jamie Lee Curtis), and is great as a more contemporary, sassy sister to the maniac, Michael. Something else I really enjoyed, and is prevalent in all of Zombie’s films, is a great mix of 70’s rock as the soundtrack. Any movie that kicks off the opening scene with Kiss’ ‘God of Thunder’ is bound to be a good time. Love it or hate it, the film is polarizing, and bloody enjoyable. Give it a watch. You may like it. After all, it is Halloween.

Cool factDanielle Harris, who played Michael’s niece, Jamie Lloyd, in Halloween 4 and Halloween 5, plays the character of Annie Brackett. A nice bit of nostalgia for us horror nerds.

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Recap:

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next
  • Day 3 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween

T.

31 Days of Halloween Day 2 – YOU’RE NEXT

31 Days of Halloween Day 2

You’re Next (directed by Adam Wingard,2011) This clever thriller has been one of the more pleasant surprises of the last few years. The Davison family and guests have gathered to celebrate a family occasion. Like most families, they are not perfect. During a family dinner, things get heated. Before the internal bickering turns ugly, the family is attacked by a group of masked strangers. One by one, Davison’s are picked off. Their only chance against the assault is Erin, the girlfriend and guest of one of the brothers. Who is really in danger, the assaulted or the assailants? You’re Next is a violent, bloody movie that has tension and terror. The attackers are intimidating, wearing SWAT style combat fatigues with simple animal masks. Sharni Vinson is awesome as Erin, who goes into survival mode, as she is victim to the old adage “wrong place, wrong time”. A good plot twist adds some depth and character development to the story. If I had to compare You’re Next with something, I would say it is a little bit of The Strangers (Bryan Bertino, 2008) and The Purge (James DeMonaco, 2013), but with more brains, more balls, and definitely more violence. If you enjoy violence, gore, opening scenes containing sex, and a woman who won’t put up with people’s B.S., check out You’re Next for your Halloween viewing pleasure.

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Recap:

  • Day 1 – The Conjuring
  • Day 2 – You’re Next

T.