Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
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Night of the Demon might not be the household name some horror movies are but it deserves to be. Director Jacques Tourneur provides a scary yet thought provoking tale of science versus the unexplained. The ‘demon' of the picture is rarely shown but like its main villain is always omniscient, constantly questioning the protagonist's faith in what he believes is really happening. Holden's death sentence gives the film pace but stop to think and it's more about the burden of carrying a curse. It is therefore with these themes that the film is more than just a monster movie but a tale of the dangerousness of uncontrolled power.
New Blood still remains an unnecessary remake to a film that didn't need one in the first place. However, where this remake succeeds while the previous one didn't is in taking the basic elements but crafting something totally different while retaining the spirit of the original 1985 movie. Instead of taking on nostalgia to rip it apart for cynical modernisation of current Hollywood trends as the 2011 movie did this film partly captures the fun of the original but within entirely different situations. It's still a retelling of the same plot but done with more originality and effort than the previous remake. It's the remake they should have launched out the starting gate first time around. This Brewster isn't cool yet but with an overall damn better job as a remake than its predecessor it really does feel like Fright Night for real this time.
Elvira: Mistress of the Dark probably doesn't have the smartest script or the best laughs but as a fun way to spend some time there are worse options. The film embraces its B-movie history while occasionally poking fun at it. With all the good the film manages to achieve it's far from perfect as some of the gags are hit and miss. Although the bust jokes get tiresome after a while the script provides enough clever one liners, a couple of scares and physical comedy as not to become annoying. If anything the movie makes the statement that regardless of how different you are from others those differences make us unique and exciting. Cassandra Peterson and Signorelli know they're not trying rewrite the rulebook on comedy but try to provide enough self-referential humour expected of its signature character. Towards that end you have a movie that works as both a horror comedy and as a subtle showcase for Peterson's self-aware character. It feels like a Carry On movie mixed with Scooby Doo and that's not a bad thing at all.
Make no mistake; Hawk the Slayer is far from a solid movie. The lack of money spent on it along with its mediocre plot and variable acting do not do the film any favours. What you instead get is a mishmash of a Spaghetti Western and a fantastical version of Robin Hood. However, the film has its heart in the right place and while it's limited in scope it makes up for that with an earnest tone that doesn't betray the viewer. Hawk's adventure is small but its tale of a band of heroes out to stop a powerfully evil knight fired the imagination and set the stage for a whole genre throughout the 1980s to do the same. In the fantasy genre it might be an ant among men but regardless of how ludicrous the film is its undeniable charm means it should never be forgotten.
Love Actually can be accused of being self-indulgent and sometimes overly quaint which can work against it being funny. The film lacks enough character development while it's rarely as amusing as it thinks it is yet the actors, the character situations and the good spiritedness of the whole thing somehow defuses those problems. The positives in this case outweigh the negatives. The sheer epic quality of the film along with its goodhearted message of love conquering over hate, Craig Armstrong's music while delivering some genuinely well written stories means it's pretty easy to see why Richard Curtis debut film is shown every Christmas. The fact this movie has struck a chord with so many people means that ‘love actually' in the grand scheme of things ultimately does matter.