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A pretty stellar cast is assembled for this Universal creature feature including not just one but two horror Icons in Lon Chaney Jr and Bela Lugosi as two separate generations of the titular character. Focusing on Lon's character coming back from abroad to his fathers estate only to be attacked shortly after his arrival by a werewolf and having its powers transfer to him, you gradually are introduced to all of the standard tropes of the beast here including the silver, wolfsbane and the like, as well as the perfect fog and Victorian like stately ground the werewolf preys in. A must watch for all horror films and given the make up constrants of the time the cross dissolves are a great technique in assistating with the transformations. Top notch.
This is my first introduction to Kevin Smith the come out of retirement horror film director, having not seen his other foray into the genre Red State, and i do have to say that there is some talent her for concept and moments, particularly between Justin Long and Michael Park's scenes together and once Justin pops in the Walrus suit itself, providing some good moments of creepiness and a general sense of unease. Smith's trademarks are of course still present with his normal sense of comic banter for the more normal sequences as well as his always on display love of all things Canuck from Hockey to Degrassi as well. The film mainly suffers if anything just from a consistent tone across the board as to whether it wants to be straight up horror, absurdist comedy or farce or all three combine. Once he figures that out it will be interesting to see what else he comes out with project wise, but one thing I must do is commending him on jumping into unknown waters with this one.
After the grotesque viewing of the wobegotten the Councellor, Sir Ridley returns to more familiar footing with another visually astounding sandals epic, this time focusing on the familiar setting of the Moses story of his discovery of his past as a Hebrew hidden in plain sight in Egyptian society, only to find out his lineage and stepping up to protect his people and lead them to their freedom. A lot has been made about the white washing of the cast here (albeit how was it any diffferent from the previous iterations), a more logical argument might be why this particular story yet again since Demille done two previous iterations of the project including the iconic Charlton Heston version, and all I can say to that argument is that given the state of this generations FX wizadary and with the FX wizard at the helm, the 10 plagues has never looked so imposing and the final parting of the Red Sea is absolutely show stopping. Strictly on this level the film warrants big screen viewing. That being said, acts as familiar viewing since one can find familiar themes not just to the previous Commandment films, but also some of Scotts more recent films (most notably Gladiator for obvious reasons, and to a point part of the Robin Hood theme with the Moses character talking politics trying to get from the rich to help the downtrodden hebrews. By no means a classic but very much a step back in the right direction for this amazing visualist.
Considering the plenthora of films out there on the subject, I find it is pretty tricky to offer new films that are as groundbreaking or at least fresh when it comes to the second world war, with the last few exceptions being Private Ryan, Boy with the Striped Pajamas, and Inglourious Bastards, but David Ayer, who up to this point has been doing a lot of direction for police procedurals and action films does bring a lot of gusto to this Band of Brothers piece focusing on a team of tank operators and their mission of clean up during the closing moments of said war in the heart of Nazi Journey. You have all the normal tropes from the rookie, slightly off kilter gunner from Walking dead alum John Berenthal who is on quite the roll with a lot of plum assignment of late, the bible thumping wacko Shia Lebouf and led by the always sage and charismatic Brad Pitt. The digitially shot action set pieces have a beautiful devastation to them and are very gripping, and watching Pitt school Lerman in a very early scene on how to be a killer in order to survive and protect his unit is pretty solid acting. A surprisingly solid entry and would be cool to see some tech nominations for this one.
A cool little fictionailized take on what I am sure is the ultra competitive world of voice over work, zeroing in on that of the iconic trailer voices that is often dominated by men, and Carol Soloman's chance to break into that select group with a quadilogy of films that breaks in the iconic line of In a World in its ad campaign. Also added to the mix is the challenge of breaking out of her fathers shadow who is a giant within the industry and campaigning hard for the same role. Nicely comedic, quirky and insightful in the right places, and Lake Bell is very assurded both in front and behind the camera as well as writing a very witty screenplay here. A little gem of a film for sure.