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Dead Alive (Braindead)

Dead Alive (Braindead)

(1992)
20 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

One of the timeless classics in the horror genre is Dead Alive. Finally getting watch it, I can say it s a pretty good and funny film. Warning though, this review may have some spoilers.

The film starts with a scientists braving the wilderness (And unwisely so) to take back a rat-monkey. Needless to say, the local tribe didn't think it was right idea and tried to stop him. The scientist doesn't make it back to civilization, but the animal does. And then we see why the tribe didn't want the scientist taking it, its spreads the zombie plague.

The characters themselves are interesting and unique. The protagonist for one is an unlikely hero and momma's boy. There's nothing wrong about that, and it comes off as interesting. I actually respect his devotion and love for his mother. It's just too bad the woman comes up as cruel at times and becomes a super zombie. The film depicts the hero falling into tough times, but soon gaining confidence and independence. Frankly, I was just amazed that he didn't go crazy. There is also a lovely romantic interest and female protagonist in the story who helps him gain the confidence and independence he needs. It's too bad her monster killing chances are a bit limited.

Now the monsters of the story are pretty unique. There are times when I get pretty bored with just seeing walking corpses in film. Thankfully the film adds a bit of variety for them, making them unique and ghastly. There are monsters such as zombie babies, attacking organs and super zombies. It's also pretty amazing how the way someone dies can make a unique monster.
And then there is the gore. And there are bucket loads of it. There are pretty good scenes such as the hero using a garden instrument and a scene representing rebirth.

All in all, it's a fascinating movie that has staying power.

Piranha 3DD

Piranha 3DD

(2012)
20 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Well the story of the film is pretty much Jaws 3-D, just with Piranhas. The Piranhas from the first film find a way to get in a water park and wreak havoc.

Piranha 3DD doesn't really hold much in terms of deep storytelling, special effects etc. But viewers who just want to have fun while having spare time and money could enjoy it. The film contains comedy, nudity and lots of gore. And gore hounds may cheer with joy when they see this. But I don't think the amount of gore rivals that of its predecessor.

The film benefits from some recognizable faces such as David Hasselhoff who played Mitch Buchannon in Baywatch and Christopher Lloyd who played Dr. Emmett Brown in the Back to the Future films. David Hasselhoff plays a parody of himself in this film, expressing a more killjoy persona while Christopher Lloyd reprises his role as Mr. Goodman. Seeing both these characters in film gives a viewer like me a sense of nostalgia which added to the overall enjoyment of the film. And the two give funny and enjoyable performances, David Hasselhoff in particular. Danielle Panabaker plays the main heroine for the film. Panabaker is a pretty seasoned actress, appearing in films such as Sky High, The Crazies, The Ward, as well as a bunch of TV shows such as the Guardian, Law and Order Special Victims Unit etc. Panabaker does an okay job of portraying her character, though her character here doesn't leave that much of an impression in my eyes. The film also benefits from some scenes with Ving Rhames and Garey Busey.

The movie is probably not much to behold. But I think the movie does a good job of having the viewers forget their troubles for a few minutes, and I think that's what it's supposed to do.

Tangled

Tangled

(2010)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Tangled is truly a charming movie and one of the best reinventions of the classic Disney princess line so far. It has interesting protagonists in the form of Rapunzel and Flynn Rider. Both have complex personalities and exude charm. Rapunzel is the innocent, adventurous and excitable. Flynn on the other hand is the mischievous, street smart and debonair (at least he thinks he is). Both are engrossing to watch and the chemistry between the two characters kept me hooked on my seat. It's easy to relate to them even with their less than normal circumstances. They are both fun and likable. Then there is the horse, Maximus and the chameleon, Pascal to help round out the team. The two don't talk much but help increase the humour of the film.

The film itself was done through CGI. The animation for the film was beautiful. The colours present in the film are vibrant like paintings. They add warmth to the film. There is an elegance to it that reminds me of the old fashioned Disney animation. Also I've got to hand it to the animators in what they were able to do with Rapunzel's particularly unique hair style.

The film also had a unique story. It has so many additions and changes to the classic fairy tale that the change of the film's title from 'Rapunzel' to 'Tangled' seems wholly justified. The story is easy to follow helping to make it a great fit for the really young ones. Though there may be a lack of twists and turns, for the older one's the film may still excel in other areas enough to keep them interested.
The sound of the film was done quite well. I truly enjoyed the voicing of Zachary Levi and Mandy Moore in the film. The songs were also quite nice, although I wonder how well it can compare to the songs of Beauty and the Beast's 'Tale as Old as Time', Aladdin's 'A Whole New World' etc. I'm not totally certain whether or not it will be as memorable, but only time will tell. All I can say is that for me Tangled's songs are simple and refreshingly beautiful.

I still remember the classic Disney princess films, but this new take leaves a fuzzy warm feeling inside. It doesn't have as much suspense as the previous films but it makes up for it with the truly strong characterizations of the leads, great animation as well as the great music.

The Wolfman

The Wolfman

(2010)
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The film "The Wolfman" has some intriguing elements to it, but the film is kind of boring.

The film the Wolfman is a remake of the 1941 classic, which has the same name. The story takes place in England where Laurence Talbot, played by Benicio Del Toro has returned home to his estranged family after the disappearance of his brother. The film's actors include Anthony Hopkins known for his films such as "Meet Joe Black", "Silence of the Lambs", "The Rite". He plays Sir John Talbot, Laurence Talbot's father. There is also Emily Blunt who appeared in films such as Sunshine Cleaning, Wind Chill etc. She plays Gwen Conliffe, the fiancée of Laurence Talbot's brother.
The film's storyline seems to have made some additions to the original The Wolfman's story. I haven't seen the original yet, but I think that's why the film only seems too padded at times.

Though the film had some good special effects, I felt the horror aspects the film weren't done too well. The creature for example may have been overexposed throughout the film. Regardless of the design of the creature or the special effects used, it is difficult to surpass a person's imagination in frightening himself. In the film such as 'Alien' for example, the creature isn't shown in full view in most of the film. But in this film, creature itself doesn't look that terrifying since it's shown in full view in much of the film. Instead of horror, the film seems to turn into an action film in its latter half where the werewolf rampages in London and during the final battle. That's not saying the creature itself was bad, the make up for the creature was well done. It's just too bad that the creature itself was over exposed during the film.

The acting felt subdued throughout the film. The relationship didn't seem to evolve. There are emotional scenes in the film, but these are very few. The growing relationship between Laurence and Gwen Conliffe felt stunted and too undeveloped to add intensity to the film. Anthony Hopkins character was depicted as a one dimensional character. Though Hopkins's portrayal of John Talbot was intriguing, the film didn't show enough of his character to make this more than a hero slays villain storyline.
The film has some beautiful camera work. There is a feeling griminess in some scenes of old London. These scenes remind me a lot of Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow. The scenes of night were quite beautiful in the film. Hues of blues and shadow were pervasive. I liked the scenes in the grass fields and forests. The film also seems to have circularity, beginning and ending with the bright moon.

The film has a strong background music that adds somewhat to the film. Though the music was quite strong at times particularly near the end, it doesn't distract the viewer from what's happening in the film.

It could have been a much nicer film. But in the end it feels lacking.

Army of Darkness

Army of Darkness

(1993)
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The Army of Darkness by Sam Raimi is considered a classic, depicting the main character Ash brought to the distant past where he has to save his life, the lives of its people and get back to his time. It's the sequel to the films of The Evil Dead and The Evil Dead 2. I've watched this a lot of times and though it was made years ago, I found a timeless quality to the film. I still enjoyed it, though it's kind of old.

Something thing I've noticed about the film is that there was never any attempt to make the film mildly realistic, but the whole film is so weird and wild that weird and wild becomes the norm. The film mixes horror, action and comedy. But the action and the comedy is so pervasive that though the film contains elements that could be genuinely scary it's hard to be scared. Also the film has an intriguing protagonist, solid plot and good camera work and special effects.

Then there's the imperfect hero of Ash, played by Bruce Campbell who more than makes up for any weaknesses (including faulty memory) he has with sheer bad assery. I don't know who's the current reigning king of corny one liners but if it isn't Ash he's definitely a contender. The thing is, he makes the corniness kind of cool.

As for the film's plot, the film has the necessary twists and turns to make hold the audience interested. After all its in this movie that the main protagonist progressed from prisoner, to champion, to war general.

The lighting and camera effects used in the film remind me of other horror movies such as Poltergeist. Shadow and mute colours envelop the film, reminding people of the dire situation the people are in. But these are also mixed in with camera shots that remind me of cartoons, such as when Ash was trying to flatten his tiny doppelgangers. I think those scenes remind me a bit of Looney Tunes. The music of the film supported the film. I don't think there was anything astounding about it, but it does support the film which is what is important.

During its time, the special effects of this film must have been one of a kind. Seeing an army of the dead coming to siege a fortress was an interesting sight. The film seems to use a lot of puppetry, costumes and make up. I think there were scenes that made use of stop motion animation. But I think it was worth to note that the film does not seem to rely wholly on these special effects, instead using interesting camera angles and techniques to make up for the limitations of special effects during that time, so much so that even at this film is still engrossing in this time of CGI. It might also be because the film doesn't really take itself seriously so people don't bother to care about the special effects.

The Army of Darkness is a great film, so much so that age has so far been unable to diminish it. I'm really thankful to be able to see such a film.

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