Spooky Season Movie Recommendations

To be perfectly honest I’ve been neglecting my horror/thriller passion since this year kind of turned into one but now October is upon us and for those like me who enjoy Spooky Season; let’s explore what movies I recommend to celebrate this time of the year…

Halloween (2018)

I’ve been a fan of the Michael Myers Halloween saga for quite some time and it probably stands as my favourite slasher film series up to Halloween H20. Yes there probably are a few ropey sequels in that collection but the first one was also the first ever slasher film and it paved the way. Spooky season would not be the same without that piano tune straddled by the good old mask wearing knife yielding speechless murderer who stalks the leaf fallen neighbourhood of Haddonfield in search of kills. The concept has been emulated many times in cinema but without the same effect.

A few years back some wise folks decided to reboot the franchise but effectively started again by discounting every film that followed the original to pretty decent standards. I thought it was so good upon release I visited the cinema twice to watch this sequel that packs one hell of a kill count. Jamie Lee Curtis deserves an honourable mention as she returns and picks up forty years later albeit hardened by the trauma of the first film’s events.

Fun fact: The town which my debut novel is based takes inspiration from Haddonfield and also the name of the high school I went to called Harlington making the name ‘Haddintgon’ – cool huh?

Jaws

Every attempt to create a scary film about an evil fish has fallen flat since 1975’s Jaws which holds up incredibly well for today’s standards. The evil fish or great white shark serves as just a side vessel for the story which is really about people being stupid and knowing there is a threat out there so don’t go out there – this sounds incredibly 2020…

The small town trope (which works in near enough every horror setting) or the quiet Island of Amity relies heavily upon seasonal trade in the summer and now a man eating shark could threaten that. The main character is new in town and also the Sherriff, he tries to balance local politics while taking down this threat which looms every so gradually in a film that is perfectly paced, characterised and overall quite scary. The sheer chemistry later on in the film between the three main characters hasn’t been emulated too often in cinema after making things all the more immersive. The shark, which looks kind of fake and was only used sparsely for that reason just heightens the terror. Don’t go into the water – it’s October anyway…

Grave Encounters

I’m a huge fan of found footage films probably because the concept of reality is heightened with in them. Over the years and since the Blair Witch Project some film makers have gone out of their way to make a film seem real and so comes along ‘Grave Encounters’ which is not only a found footage film but it also ticks a huge amount of horror boxes.

The film is a collection of footage all spliced together in continuity that relays the making of a paranormal investigation show called Grave Encounters. You see behind the scenes shenanigans from a highly likeable team as they put together the last episode of their first series, this one being a ‘lock in’ at a vast but mostly abandoned institution. The setting of this film is harrowingly perfect. Corridors upon corridors lay untouched from the primitive days of mental health care. Wheelchairs and gurneys lay empty, doors are wide open from the hundreds of cells, a bathtub sits unused – trust me they got the location bang on in this one! The first person view of this setting at night is one of nightmares.

You see all the usual stuff that paranormal investigation shows do, they even bring in a physic who is just a guy in shades and a leather jacket. For the purpose of the show, they ask the caretaker to lock them in overnight and that’s when it begins. You’ll have to watch it to find out, but trust me it’s worth a look and it’s terrifyingly awesome.

The Cabin in the Woods

For some this may appear to be an odd choice to include but to me the Cabin in the Woods is an incredible yet wonderfully fun film that turns every trope of the genre on it’s head. We like genre bending here at the Hall of Information and if you didn’t like this film it’s probably because you expected it to just be about a creepy cabin in the woods – that’s been done too many times before and even this film knows that.

Joss Whedon had a lot of involvement in this one, you can tell by the casting and the story telling which starts in one place and takes you to somewhere completely random and unchartered. It’s fun, outrageous and overall unexpected. Give it a try.

The Conjuring Series

Yep, the whole series that falls under the Conjuring umbrella is worth your time. I must start with a fair warning; these films are full of jump scares, but not the cheap jump scares you see in cheap horror, the jump scares in this series normally build to one with purpose and these films are well written, well paced and stand nowhere near the usual hokey-ness of the genre. From the first one all the way through to the creepy ‘Annabelle’ series and even ‘the Nun’; these films are chilling, thrilling and walk the tightrope of paranormal and possessions.

Fascinating Horror Youtube Channel

I might have a problem with being obsessed with true but horrifying tales and although this is not a movie it’s a recommendation because the Fascinating Horror channel over on YouTube is one I cannot get enough of. You can see from the screenshot below how many videos I have steamed into. From bizarre naturally occurring events to man made disasters that have truly chilling outcomes, this is a channel not to be missed. The narration style is clear, concise and well paced. Saying that the subject matter is also very well researched but a little fu**ed up also.

Over to you…

That wraps up just a snippet of stuff I’ve been watching so far but October is a long month so hit me up with any recommendations in the comments below…

Sonic the Hedgehog – Review

Hollywood forgets every so often that audiences are made up of real people who don’t always want films that carry a political statement or modern day protest. Breaking boundaries is great and all but sometimes films only ever need to be family entertainment in the form of an escape to be a success and that’s exactly what Sonic the Hedgehog is.

Image result for sonic movie poster

My very first memory of video games is sitting beside my older brother while playing the then SEGA console of the time and seeing that blue speedy ball flash past the ever so colourful visuals while he collected gold rings. Sonic the Hedgehog is a gaming establishment and I have forever cherished the memories of playing those games as they came out in the early 90’s.

Over the years there have been a stack of video game to cinema adaptations. I can count the enjoyable one’s on a single hand and so when I saw they were finally giving Sonic the same treatment, like most I was hesitant in my belief. Turns out they did it and they did it rather well!

Over the weekend my brother joined me at the local cinema and like those days of old we watched that blue sphere rush through rich cinematic landscapes but this time with a narrative and so full credit goes to Ben Schwartz for voicing the ‘fastest thing alive’. And now after they improved the CGI of our main character it does look quite good.

Image result for sonic movie

The story is simple and easy to follow; they’ve blended Sonic’s world with ours and so that’s the story; an alien hedgehog has been living in solitude on Earth until he gets discovered by ‘Green Hills’ local cop played by James Marsden who brings character balance to the film; he’s not only fun himself but bounces off the humour Sonic piles into the dialogue. Although there were many gags and funny moments; most were aimed at younger audiences but overall everyone will find the humour and fun in this. Our antagonist comes in the form of Jim Carrey, now say what you will about him; many don’t like his style or his performances but I thought he brought a perfect sinister level of creative humour that gave life to the iconic Doctor Robotnik – again another character who has never spoken in the earlier games. Some of his one-liners are typical Carrey which mainstream audiences will laugh at.

Image result for sonic movie

You’ll find plenty of nods and tributes to the original games such as names, music interludes and even dialogue moments. For big time fans of Sonic; check it out, you will most probably enjoy the majority of it. To see my original gaming hero reach number 1 in both the US and UK film charts is quite special and credit where credit is due because they have done a good job in providing a film that might not be protest towards anything or have a ground breaking cast; but it’s entertaining and fun for all ages. Sometimes that’s all stories need to be!

8 Rings out of 10 

Doctor Sleep – Movie Review

A perfect combination of homage to both Stephen King and Stanley Kubrick…

doctor sleep.PNG

Apparently this film isn’t doing well at the box office, that doesn’t mean a damn thing other than that most people probably haven’t read what is easily in my top 5 books of all time.

The movie translates rather well even if the book is of the typical Stephen King epic persuasion; there is only so much you can fit into a two and half hour run time and in all honesty they did a great job with this!

Ewan McGregor/ Obi Wan is perfect as an adult ‘Dan Torrance’ who has spent his life shrouded by the demons that haunted the Overlook Hotel while trying to control his extrasensory gift related to it known as the shining. That is while battling alcoholism; eventually he starts fresh in a new town and that’s when he starts getting messages from another who carries the same ability; enter ‘Abra’ played by Kyliegh Currann who may have actually stolen the show – like she does in the book but in this film more for her performance.

The world of the Shining is expanded via an organisation known as the ‘True Knot’. They feed on folks who ‘shine’ and so it’s up to ‘Abra’ and ‘Dan’ to team up and stop them because the ‘Knot’ are bad guys. This is essentially the plot but we get so much more, Rebecca Ferguson puts in an incredible depiction of ‘Rose the Hat’ and the ‘Knot’ are everything I imagined and pictured.

The last half hour of this film was a pure and wonderful homage to Kubrick’s masterpiece while also being wrapped up in the world Stephen King established. It’s a great sequel full of atmosphere, gripping performances, cinematography and dark imagination. Those who are into horror will enjoy this whether you have read or watched the first story; it doesn’t matter, this one will get ya!

4.5 Stars or 4.5 Here’s Johnny’s….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toy Story 4 – Review

A fun, emotional and sometimes laugh out loud film that finds the true meaning of purpose and life…

ts

There are many sequels out there that never live up to the heights of their original, many try to recapture the magic of the first and there are even some that just re tell an old story.

Toy Story 4 achieves way more than any of it’s previous installments in what is a true masterpiece of storytelling. Now some of you are probably wondering what else is there left to tell other than just remapping of old ground. Well in this film the word purpose is explored in a deep and somewhat emotional fashion. Toy Story 4 is not just a fun action packed adventure, it’s a deep look at the purpose of life and its beautifully done.

Just what happens to a toy when its owner no longer wants to play with it? You can find out by watching this film. Its a combination of nostalgia and something new; a concept many sequels barely achieve. Woody embarks on a journey of reflection while doing what he does best; caring for other toys and trying to be there for his kid; along the way he finds the truth and although its sad, it’s kind of liberating and heroic.

The concept of Toy Story is such an original and fun thing. It has captivated generations of kids including me who saw the first one at aged five, I was blown away then and I am now by the fourth. On more than one occasion I will happily admit I was moved to tears during this film; the triumphs, the drama, the comedy and the reality of purpose this film conveys caps of what is a wonderful series of imaginative stories.

The animation looks real, something I noticed straight away. Pixar have done an awesome job in putting together the epitome of emotional story and childhood all rolled into a fun film!

You’ve got a friend in me….

5 Stars –  A must watch for everyone who likes the series… 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OMG Movies Everywhere: And they are good ones! : Terminator, Star Wars, Exodus, Dumb and Dumber to, Annie, the theory of everything….

Ok so Christmas is quickly approaching and it seems that there are literally films being thrown towards it from all directions.

T’is the season for next years movie blockbuster trailers it seems, but come with me if you want to live! By that I mean firstly survive a holiday season jam packed (not marmalade packed oh no) full of films. In fact this blog is so full of movie preview goodness I have no choice but to make it a feature length offering!

the force

The new star wars looks decent

 

The last few weeks has seen a sneak peak of Jurassic World’s offering followed by a full trailer, that was then followed by Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer which was then followed by Terminator Genisys.

schwarzenegger

He’s back, again. Click on me if you want to live and watch my trailer

 

As I said last week on my Facebook page Oh my f***ing god he’s back!  I imagine next year to be a record breaking box office affair especially after the new James Bond was announced also! Films everywhere!

But that isn’t all, here’s the rundown of what’s coming out this month first (and January)! (Some will only apply to UK but waving to readers from other places)

 Dumb and Dumber To (19th December UK)

dumb 2

Great to see these legends back together!

“No way, that’s great. WE LANDED ON THE MOON!” The trailer has been around for a while now and so has the rumor of this comedy establishment getting a sequel. One of my all time favourite films as a child, as a teen and as an adult. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are back for gags, laughs and physical comedy. Daniels has been quoted to say something like, ‘you may not like all of the gags or laughs but we will get ya’. Sounds awesome!

 

 Night at the Museum : Secret of the Tomb (19th December)

Yes Ben Stiller returns along with Owen Wilson, Robin Williams, Dick Van Dyke , Ricky Gervais and many more in this star studded magical mild action. Many Robin Williams fans will be going to see this by default simply to tribute the legend that was. Trailer here.

 

frigginnight A Merry Friggin Christmas (not sure on release date or if it comes out in the UK)

I came across the trailer for this last week . There’s shades of the typical Christmas disaster film about a family who spend the holiday with their extended family of misfits. One of them includes Robin Williams. The premise seems to be mother forgets to bring presents and has to go on a road trip back to get them. I was sold by the fact there was a hobo santa character, other cast members include: Oliver Platt, Clark Duke and Lauren Graham.

Swords and sandals blockbuster time!

Exodus: Gods and Kings (26th December)

Christian Bale leads the way as Moses in this epic looking offering from Ridley Scott. The Moses story with an all star cast of a godly persuasion include: Aaron Paul, Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley and John Turturro. Trailer here.

moses 2

I’m Moses (In a batman accent)

 

 

 

 

 

Annie (not so much swords and sandals, 26th December)

annie

The holiday blockbuster season wouldn’t be the same without a musical and a remake so luckily enough this ticks both boxes in one sitting. Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx are the headline . Trailer here.

              The theory of everything (2nd January UK)

This looks like a great story of famous physicist Stephen Hawking and the relationship with his wife. It starts before his health deteriorated and shows the legendary journey he has been on. Eddy Redmane and Felicity Jones star. Perfect timing for the award season and it wouldn’t surprise me if it won a gong or two. Here’s the trailer.

theory