Werewolf of London (1935) [review]

The beauty of this film is not only in the charm of the time in which it was made, but the magnificence of the mythology which it created. The Werewolf myth we’ve come to know; told to us by Hollywood of the 1930s. Would have us believe that all that was needed to become such a creature, was to be bitten by one… and the involvement of the full moon. The liberties in which storytelling for entertainment, changed the rules of the belief of such a thing as a Werewolf, to the point where we who are not familiar with folk law, consider this the way of myth and ledgend.

What we have here in this film is pure entertainment of the horror genre, this film being something which may not be scary to the modern audience, this may seem very tame in blood and gore, and the tension may not be in the style we are accustom to when it comes to the creature. There is more of an atmosphere between the main group of characters of the human kind; Dr Glendon (Henry Hull) and wife Lisa Glendon (Valerie Hobson) who’s relationship seems to be one which is loving, but one which is tested by the situations of not only the Werewolf, but of Lisa’s friendship with Paul Ames (Lester Matthews), who at times is more interested in Lisa than Dr Glendon is, as Dr Glendon deals with the unusual situation of what is roaming around the streets of London.

Dr Yogami (Warner Oland) is a perfect character in that he is not a local, which adds to the tensions of the situation, as the locals, especially Dr. Glendon who must primarily, unwillingly deal with Dr Yogami. All the while, coming to terms with the unexplainable situation and the none believers, which of course we need for such a story to work.

The film does this in such a way that you can’t help but enjoy the playfulness of what seems light-hearted in the eyes of the modern viewer. Although we have moved on since the 1930s, there are many values, views and ways of life of those times which still mean as much today as they did then. From what we feel we can believe, what we think we know to be true and that which is beyond our comprehension.

The only downside to this film is the length, as it is only approximately and hour and ten minutes and therefore we do not get the chance to enjoy it for as long as I would have liked.

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Corpse Bride (2005) [review]

I’ve enjoyed many of Tim Burton’s films, but sad to say his films of the twenty first century are a little hit or miss. But this is very much on the list of his better films of this century… at least for me; it feels more like the great work he has given us.

This is a film which feels like the makers presumed that if it were to be seen by a children, they would be smarter and more capable of handling more than the studio or anybody over twenty one may presume. Something which Hollywood seems to have forgotten, that we the audience of any age do know what we like and are able to handle intelligent subject matters and something beyond our ordinary lives.

This is a film which is in the category of being enjoyable for children and adults alike, while not caring or trying to be so. The story is one of which plays with death in a manner which is joyful rather than fearful, while looking at stereotypes including the rich, greedy, deceitful and murderous. All of which are done with humour which is a joy to watch. The love element of the story is one which is nicely done, as those involved are people who seem lost while trying to find themselves. Not only romantically, but in friendship and those they have lost… a pleasant look at pets that have died and continue on in the land of the dead.

This really is a pleasure to watch, the musical numbers by Danny Elfman are uplifting and a delight as they move the story along perfectly. The Tim Burton Goth look to this film is so beautifully done, that you can’t help but notice the visual style, not to say that it distracts from the story of the film, but is one of the many majestic parts that come together and make this a film worth your time. There are many great voices to the characters, many of which have worked with Tim Burton before and play their parts perfectly.

The very last shot of the film is done excellently in that it ends the film in a way that you are satisfied while still wanting a little more; which I liked, as it leaves us to come to our own ideas of what we feel about the characters and where they find themselves… and where they will go from there.

Class Reunion (1982) [review]

I have always felt that this is a film which has been left out in the cold, forgotten about. I have always enjoyed this film for the mixture of adult humour while being silly and playing with the mystery and murder which is all done in a tongue in cheek  style that does not presume to be tasteful… or care if the audience if offended. Although, saying that, there is nothing overly offensive.

The humour is most certainly of the time in which this film was released and there are moments which we may be familiar in what we see here with the jokes and the one liners; therefore it may feel a little obvious. But, if you care about that, you may be taking the whole film too seriously, which is something which you should not do.

This is a brilliant film that plays with the elements of a murderer on the loose in a confined space of a old rundown school. Of a man out for revenge, who has been waiting for a decade to get back at those who played a prank at his expense back in their high school days… which only adds to the fun of what is, that the killer had the patience to wait for an opportunity.

People have gone on with their lives, to return ten years later for a class reunion, but in those ten years, they do not seem to have matured that much. Maybe due to the style of the time, some of the actors physically look older than characters they are portraying.

This, as you would expect has a 80s look when it comes cloths, hair and what some of the characters deemed acceptable in their behaviour. If made today, I’m sure there would be a few jokes cut or watered down to be more acceptable to a modern audience, which would be a shame.

This is one of John Hughes early scripts and it feels a little more out there compared to what we know from his later; well know scripts. It is a comedy which is for an older audience, as it does not try to play it safe with what a younger person may be able to understand or deal with.

There are many enjoyable moments and characters to keep us entertained for an hour and twenty minutes. This has always felt like a film which I would say is one that you will love or hate.

Dread (2009) [review]

When it came to this film, I was a little nervous, as a couple of films based on a Clive Barker stories, which were not made by the man himself, have been less than successful in being any good… to put it politely

So, when I saw this, I was pleasantly surprised that it was not a bad film. But saying that, it is a film that could have be much better than what we find here. Especially when you’ve read the story on which it is based, you’d hope for something with more courage when it comes to being interesting and imaginative, but there are many aspects of this film which I felt I’d seen many times before, done in much better ways.

Although, there are enjoyable aspects to this, if you’ve never seen a horror movie before, you may want to start here and enjoy it for the mild, very mild look at characters; you can’t help but think of them as the kind of people who think their lives are more interesting than they are. Unfortunately they seem a little bare boned and clichéd.

As the idea of looking at dread from a distance seems to be done so emotionlessly that you never really care for the characters. They’re too careful in the way they look at the subject, while being so attached to their own problems, they feel too attached and therefore do not seem to really care about those they find themselves surrounded by. Which is a little odd, as the three main characters seem so self aware of their own misfortunate moments which have occurred in their lives, they come across as a little too unwilling to move on with their lives.

Quaid (Shaun Evens) seems to be somebody so traumatised by the events of his childhood to the point where you stop caring and connect less with him than you do the other two main characters. The people whom the three interview for their project, seem to have such boring and uninteresting stories of dread and fear, it feels as if they’re there to make the problems of the main characters seem to have more depth than they do. All the characters come across as the types, who want attention for merely being like everybody else, as if they’re the only people in the world to have anything bad happen to them.

While I say this, I do not mean to say this is a bad film, it is not. But it could have had more backbone and been more daring in what it what it had to offer. It could have been more thoughtful and a little more intimate, a little more caring of what it had to offer, a little less retrained. As I said, there is something enjoyable about it.

Reservoir Dogs (1992) [review]

Starting with one of the best opening scenes, we’re then suddenly thrown in the middle of the story, after the fact of the heist has taken place, a heist which we never truly see, but gather from moments of conversations between those involved as they try to figure out how and what went wrong and who’s to blame. But, not only is this the aftermath of the event, but we get to know the characters a little better through flashback prior to the job taking place. One of the many parts I liked about the film is that it jumps around, being in the middle of a situation, we suddenly find ourselves involved in another moment to the point where we forget what was happening a moment ago and find ourselves just as invested in knowing what happened previous to the characters coming together and why it and they are important… to suddenly jump back to the previous scene which we immediately continue to invest our emotions and reason to care about those involved.

As you would expect from a Tarantino film, at least in his work of the decade this was made, the music is just as important and plays its part in the scene rather than being some afterthought in an attempt to create atmosphere. The characters interacting with the music, and in one scene which has become well known to those who grew up with this film… “Stuck in the Middle with You” was a nice touch to the moment which you would normally expect a score to pull at you in some other way. But the song heightens the moment in a way that you may not expect… maybe pull you in a direction of emotions that you may not have thought possible.

The fact that the characters seem so normal and everyday adds to the feeling that there is more at stake, and there are those who you really don’t know if you can trust or even know if you like them or not. This is one of the great crime movies of twentieth century; one which deserves the great reputation it gained at the time it was released and still has to this day. This is a film that feels perfectly grounded and low key in ways that it benefits from not trying to over doing what you may expect from such a film. The characters are not the big time mobsters, well oiled wealthy gangers, but thieves who are on their current job.

The Wolf Man (1941) [review]

Some will say that a film like this has charm, partly due to the horror element which are very much of the decade it was released. I think it is the style of which the horror is dealt with in this film is something to be marvelled at. It is not a blood and gore film which tries to horrify the audience. Any moments of horror are semi out of sight and therefore we imagine the terror as we care for the characters.

This deals with the characters and their fears of the moments, themselves and what they can’t understand, what can’t be explained or what they refuse to believe… Because, of course a Wolf Man cannot exist, there must be some other explanation in a town such as this. People in their special fields of expertise trying to justify what is happening while others gossip and presume, not willing to listen to those who were involved with the situations.

This film is short by today’s standards, at an hour and ten minutes and fills every minute of screen time perfectly, with characters of all kinds, from the wealthier who look after the village, to the travelling types who believe in more than can be explained, to those who live in the town and must work for their money, a little resentful of those who are more than comfortable in their lifestyle.

While this may not delve too deeply into any of these subjects, it brings them up, giving us the perfect amount of information to keep us interested in the story. One which is a joy to watch as we see a man go through what he cannot truly comprehend or control, being an outsider due to the fact he’s been away from his own village for many years. In fact, he is probably just as trusted as the travellers who seem more down to earth and knowledgeable than town folk who judge without consideration.

This is a perfect way to spend your time… this really is a classic of not only the horror genre, but of film in general. It is a delight to watch a black and white film like this; it is certainly a film which tells the story of a werewolf in a way that many have tried and failed in matching the atmosphere and beauty of what we have here. This really is one of Universal Pictures greats.

Paris, je t’aime (2006) [review]

The beauty of this film is that it deals with love in many different ways, in all the different elements which stem from the one emotion, from romance, wanting love, regrets, to lust, the young and old, race and religion… and so much more.

The multiple stories we have here are short. Each story only a few moments long, approximately five to ten minutes and each of these stories by different writers and directors. Saying these stories are short, there is such depth to them that you may not think possible, but those involved with each of the stories, pack so much into their segment that, you feel so much, which will touch you in ways that you appreciate and understand.

Not all of the stories are based in the everyday life; there is a fantasy story which offers a moment which we see beyond the realms of which we may look at life and love. There is also a segment which deals with loneliness, which is done nicely with the realisation that love is not always what we presume it to be, but finding comfort of being where we are in life. Seeing that life is more than we’re told it is, that life is more than the pleasures we’ve been told and some of these stories show what it is to come to terms with where life leads the individual. There is also love in the form family; parents with their children and those who take care of children on a daily bases in their work life.

The different styles of the writers and directors are fantastic to see, as they show us their version of love and how the characters in each story react. Also, visually each story is perfectly done and therefore we do not find ourselves wanting to move from the stories we’re seeing. Watching this, I smiled, laughed, felt sorrow and appreciated where characters were in their lives. There certainly is not a dull moment in this film and the viewer will delve into some stories more than others, depending on what touches you… then again, if you watching this multiple times, like me, you will relate to different stories on different viewings.

If you get the chance, check this out, this is a film that deals with love in a more touching and interesting way than many films find themselves caring to give us viewers. This is a true pleasure to watch.