Thirst (2015) [review]

This lacks anything which makes us care about either the characters or the situation they find themselves. It feels as if it has all been done in much more interesting ways, and the characters are those we’ve seen many times before with much more to offer. It almost feels as if they’re the kind of people who think they are tougher, smarter, and deeper than they actually are. We see them deal with the monster which doesn’t feel that threatening. The way in which the characters try to deal with it feel nothing more than a bland and boring run of the mill story, all of which is very predictable and we see who is next in line to be taken by the alien.

We see the characters coming up with plans on how to kill the monster and we feel nothing for what appears to be just another step in trying to build the tension. Unfortunately this never seems to build, as the writers seem to be fumbling to find an interesting way to create a situation of dealing with the situation, the alien seems indestructible.

Those who are supposed to be in charge of this group are just as hopeless and unprepared as those they are looking after. This is a film of a creature that looks to be nothing more than an alien vampire whom we don’t fear; we don’t care if it picks off any of the humans. We watch it go through the motions of sucking the blood out of those we’re supposed to care about. All of which seems tired and unoriginal to the point we wonder if there is any point of this film existing.

There is nothing which will stand out in what tries to be a horror out in the middle of nowhere, where nobody can be reached as the equipment is not working properly… no surprise there.

The monster looks like it could have been a little, actually, a lot better designed as it looks and feels like a over grown toy which somehow takes many beatings and still keeps going with no real explanation… knowing very little about the monster does not work for this film. I don’t know if some back story would have worked or not. It gets to a point where we just don’t care. It’s a monster which seems to have no real motivation… Other than just being hungry.

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Edward Scissorhands (1990) [review]

Tim Burton’s excellent visuals of not only the title character and where we meet him in the mansion on the hill, but the look of the town in which Edward (Johnny Depp) and the locals live is something to be marvelled. The mansion of course being the dark gothic type, we find the houses brilliantly coloured, but with that said, they have very mundane look which could be any place in America. There is nothing unusual once we get inside these people’s homes; they are very much the types of homes we’d see from everyday people.

Edward being an unusual character, somebody who did not choose his life but was created by an inventor who was unable to finish what he’d started. Which leads to what some would think of as… visually, possibly a monster, but he is actually an innocent who knows nothing of the bigger world outside the mansion he grew up in. The world being something which is a frightening place, one which he tries to figure out in his childlike manner, finding out that not everybody is the kind and gentle type and some people are unable see beyond his unusual look.

Tim Burton created a world in which we feel a range of thoughts and emotions of those people we come upon, from Edward who we sympathise with, Peg (Dianne Wiest) who is the kind mother who can’t help but want to look after Edward, Kim (Winona Ryder) who is the teen who has more to say for herself than those she hangs around with, even if she could stand up for herself a little more than she does when we first meet her, Jim (Anthony Michael Hall) who seems to be only interested in getting his own way, which involves controlling those around him to the point of being threatened by Edward.

This really is among the great films of Tim Burton’s early work, of a character who is out of place in the world, a world which seems to have lost its way and needs showing how to get back on track and look beyond itself.

This is a great blend of visual, characters and emotion, it does not depend on one  over the others, and that is why we connect with the film, we find ourselves looking at how people physically look and what lies beneath, why they behave the way they do and the morals of the main characters. While we also look at those who are barely on screen; no character is too small to appreciate. If you presume there is nothing to be seen, thought about, felt about the story, characters or the world of this film, you will be pleasantly surprised with all this has to offer.

Cursed (2005) [review]

It would be easy to call this a bad film, but… for me this is too average a film to be so, which I think is mainly to do with the writing. It feels too knowing for us the audience to wonder, think or really care about what is going on. The characters are so simple and lack anything which would make them stand out; to the point we don’t really care about them. We watch them go through the motions, knowing what they’re going to do and where they’re going to end up.

The mystery is so obvious that we know that the person we’re supposed to suspect of being the villain is nothing more than us wishing they would just get to the point of the reveal of which the real vicious werewolf could be. The film tries to create some emotion towards who we thought it was, but we don’t really care as it feels forced as if needing something more to tie the film up nicely.

This is an hour and a half of a reminder that there are much more interesting and enjoyable Werewolves movies out there. The atmosphere lacks anything which is supposed to be a horror… maybe that is the horror in itself. This is too glossy and well lit to create anything more than what looks like a music video. There is no creepiness, no tension or anything which would make us want to know why anything is worth our time.

For those who know and like Wes Craven, they will be disappointed in this, as we know that he made much better films than this. Those in charge at the company saw how he and Kevin Williamson had success with the “Scream” films and were hoping to get in on the success of the relationship. But this is nothing more than a very forgettable film, which you will neither like nor hate, which is a shame for the directing and acting talent we have involved here feels wasted.

This has the feeling that the company, who released the film, had too much control and were unwilling to let the creative talent do their job. Plus, this looks like they were aiming for a lower rating and therefore making more money from the younger audience, but I think that whatever age you may be, you’ll find this nothing more than something that is mediocre.

If you are a werewolf fan, there are much more interesting films with these creatures, some of them may be bad, but at least you’ll feel something about them which will stand out and you’ll remember. There are certainly better werewolf films which I recommend you check out, but I will leave them for another time. If you do check this out, do not expect much, you will probably not remember this film five minutes after you’ve watched it.

Weird Science (1985) [review]

Perhaps one of the greatest John Hughes films which is still as entertaining today as the year it was released.

A teenager’s versions of Frankenstein, as the two main males of this film are inspired by the 1931 Universal film which they’re watching one night over the weekend. This is a film of two characters who are outsiders, wishing they were more popular than they are as the only friends they have are each other. Even Wyatt’s (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) older brother Chet (Bill Paxton) treats him like rubbish. Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt are perfect for each other in that they seem so lost in being the outsiders, Gary the big dreamer while Wyatt is the down to earth type. When the two create Lisa (Kelly LeBrock), they find themselves the centre of attention in their young lives. The two bullies, Ian (Robert Downey Jr.) and Max (Robert Rusler) are instantly interested in finding out what is going on, while Deb (Suzanne Snyder) and Hilly (Judy Aronson) are beginning to find themselves frustrated with Max and Ian’s behaviour towards most people.

This is a great film for all of us who were the outsiders, who dreamed of better lives, of not being bullied and made to feel like losers for not being the so called norm… whatever that is.

We see two guys doing something with their lives, even if this is a fantasy version of what we could possibly do. Creating something and then finding themselves in situations which the pair had not thought out the possibilities and the consequences when they came up with the plan of creating Lisa. Of course this leads the two growing and finding that there is more to life than where they found themselves previously.

There are many situations and moments of this film which are brilliantly done, we laugh, we cringe, we cheer when we see Wyatt and Garry in certain moments.

John Hughes’ little moments of certain characters breaking the fourth wall is something which I always enjoyed about this film, in this film just a look to camera rather than the characters talking to the audience. This is a great teen film, a feel good and something which a fantastic watch. It may seem very 1980s, but that is one of the great plusses of the film, from the style of cloths, hair and music. This really is something teens of today will enjoy as much as those who watched this for the first time in the 1980s.

Strange Days (1995) [review]

I feel this is one of the lesser know films of either James Cameron or Katheryn Bigelow. The two work fantastically together, with a story by James Cameron and the screenplay co written by the man and Jay Cocks, which is excellently directed by Katheryn Bigelow.

In the run up to New Years Eve of 1999, the last couple of days of the year we find Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiences) selling people’s memories and experiences on Mini Disks, which leads him into finding himself in the possession of the last few minutes of a murder victim. Which affects so many people of the city… more than some would like to admit. Of course there are too many people involved in the case and there are too few people who can’t be trusted, some Lenny knows, some he wishes he didn’t. Then there is Lornette Mason (Angela Bassett) who is pulled into the situation mainly due to the fact that she is a friend of Lenny’s. Lornette tries to steer Lenny through not only him his problem of possessing the Mini Disk, but his… what seems to be a obsession with Faith Justin (Juliette Lewis), who was once upon a time his girlfriend.

This nicely mingles the hysteria of a small group of people going through the build-up to the end of the year and what people were thinking would happen when the clock hit midnight, if it could mean the end of the world, while others were gearing up to celebrate. The energy and the uncertainty of who is who and why is done perfectly and we find ourselves involved with people in such a way that we are searching for signs and meaning.

Released in 1995 this was taking a look at what was still to come, what was going through people’s minds in the mid 1990 as they looked towards the end of what some were predicting as the end of existence. Like many of the films James Cameron has been involved in, this gave us strong females characters looking after themselves, even if some of them were not thinking clearly. This brilliantly builds the distrust and questioning certain choices some of the characters made in who they find themselves either in the company of, or who they think they can take certain pieces of information to.

There is so much going on in this film that we are intrigued by what we find ourselves going through with the characters. We find ourselves involved more than we probably think could be possible.

Angel (1999–2004) [review]

Once in a while you find a spin off that is just as good as the original series, this being one of those rare situations. Partly due to the fact that not only do we have one character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996-2003), Angel (David Boreanaz), but we also have a couple of others we already know, Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter) and Wesley Wyndam-Pryce (Alexis Denisof) along with some newer characters who are just as important to the series.

Buffy was a series for the later teens and early twenties, this is a series for the early to late twenties. Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt creating a series which did not depend on our knowledge of Buffy. We may already know and have feelings for some of the characters we have here. There are a handful of episodes which connect with Buffy episodes… in a storyline which does not affect the main story arc in a major way; therefore characters from that show appear in this, or vice versa. But very rarely does this happen.

There is a darkness to this series and we find ourselves thinking and feeling about what is going on, it has depth which, if you’ve never seen the series you may be surprise to find how layered it is. This is a grand example of a series being more than we assume… there are characters we love, there are characters we hate and then there are situations and moments which range from test every emotion available. We find ourselves wondering where we stand and with who. Not everything is as it seems and not everything is certain.

We get involved with the situation which are not merely there to entertain, but involve our brains, if we’re conscious of what it is we’re thinking about or not. This lasted five seasons and I could have happily seen this run for another two, equalling the original show. This is a series worth your time and there is a high repeat viewing value on this and the original series. I have watched both shows multiple times since their original airing and still find myself wanting to see them again and again.

The story lines are excellent in that they feel they have been thought out and are not some throw away; forgettable idea. Find yourself a copy of this and watch; you will not be disappointed with this fantastic series, which has just as much to say today as the times it was originally shown.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996–2003) [review]

This is the better version of the Buffy universe, not only is Buffy a more interesting character here, and then there are the multiple characters surrounding her who are just as worthy of our attention… from her friends to her enemies, not only vampires, but demons of so many kinds.

If you have never seen this series, you may assume that a series with such a title may not have much to say for it, but what we have here is something which has a depth which will make you think, feel and pull you in to a point you may not have ever considered possible. Covering many subjects of life, this deals with them in a fun but thoughtful way, in causing us to wonder and think about life.

This Buffy universe we can’t help be delve into the lives of the characters, some we love, some we hate and some we’re never quite sure if we like them or not, they have multiple layers which causes us to care. The villains are not merely there to be fought, they’re there for a reason, and they have a purpose. They may not be people we like, but they have something to say for themselves, they have substance.

This may seem to be aimed at older teens at first, with the characters going through high school and college, but it goes far beyond the lives of the younger characters, the older generation have just as much to offer.

There are moments which will make you laugh, some which will make you cry, some which will make you angry… the range of emotions, thoughts and theories in this show are part of what makes this series worthy of our attention. For me, the series grew and became better with each season, and we end with a fantastic seventh season. There is a darker tone to this series than you may expect from a series with such a title, something which may catch you off guard if you’ve never seen it before.

I could ramble on about this show for a very long time, about how good it is, but instead I will highly recommend that you find yourself watching and enjoying the light and darkness, the depth of the series. Take a chance and you will find yourself pleased you watched.

There is also the spin off series “Angel” (1999-2004) which I will leave for another time.