Starring: Michelle Morgan, Joshua Close, Shawn Roberts, Amy Lalonde, Joe Dinicol, Scott Wentworth, Philip Riccio, Chris Violette, Tatiana Maslany
Plot: A group of young film students run into real-life zombies while filming a horror movie of their own.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Found Footage Yay, Character Decisions No
Story: Diary of the Dead starts by taking us away from the original universe to the very start of the outbreak in the modern era of technology as we watch Jason Creed (Close) who makes a film about what happened with the original outbreak.
Jason has an idea to film the events of the outbreak with his fellow film makers, his girlfriend Debra (Morgan), Tony (Roberts) Tracy (Lalonde), Mary (Maslany) to mention a few. We watch their travel across country to find out how safe their families are.
Diary of the Dead takes out of the world we have come to know but it does take us to a world where the madness of the human curiosity into death has taken over the world as people want to see the outbreak happening on the internet. This continues to show Romero has the ability to evolve into the modern horror trends bring his own stamp to the found footage style film and once again bringing the new kills to the zombies with some of the most original of the time. On the negative we have to look at the poor character decisions in a world where they are actually making a horror movie the characters do seem to have no idea how to make rational decisions in a horror situation.
Overall: Wonderfully shot but poor character decisions loses a lot of the tension which should be created in the film.
Writer: Robert Zappia, Matt Greenberg (Screenplay) Debra Hill, John Carpenter (Characters)
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Adam Arkin, Michelle Williams, Josh Hartnett, LL Cool J, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Janet Leigh, Adam Hann-Bryd
Plot: Laurie Strode, now the dean of a Northern California private school with an assumed name, must battle the Shape one last time and now the life of her own son hangs in the balance.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Solid Halloween Sequel
Story: Halloween H20: 20 Years Later starts with Michael Myers learns the location of Laurie (Curtis) by continuing his bloody rampage. Laurie now has a child who is 17 in John (Hartnett) who is preparing to look to go onto college but Laurie still haunted by her brother.
Laurie is the Dean of a private school her son attends with his girlfriend Molly (Williams) best friend Charlie (Hann-Byrd) and his girlfriend Sarah (O’Keefe) who find out they are alone in the school over Halloween leaving them to decide to throw themselves are party.
But this Halloween Michael finally returns to haunt Laurie and she must protect her son, his friends from the serial killer that took too many of her friends.
Thoughts on Halloween H20: 20 Years Later
Characters/Performance – Laurie is returning to the franchise now as a mother of her child but she is still haunted by the idea of Michael returning kill her and her friends. Now she is the responsible adult with something to fight for. John is Laurie’s son who puts her through the same situation she did, wanting to achieve more and be free of her restrictions. Molly is his girlfriend that has been living off her parent’s money with Will being the love interest of Laurie.
Performance wise, this must be the best all-around cast in any Halloween film because we Jamie Lee Curtis returning, early roles from Michelle Williams, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Josh Hartnett alongside the heavyweight horror mother of Jamie Lee, Janet Leigh. The performances are all good without Curtis reaching the top level or the rest of the youngster proving just how big they would become.
Story – The story brings back the favourite of the franchise in Laurie to have a new showdown with the icon Michael Myers, this does bring the story back in the direction it should have stayed before the other sequels that just felt messy at times, it would be fair to say this doesn’t reach the suspense levels the original did but it does the right thing by trying to adapt to be like the Scream films.
Horror/Thriller – The horror is all slasher level which is fine because that is all you want from this franchise but otherwise you won’t be on edge like you once were.
Settings – Not having the film set in Haddonfield does leave you questioning parts of the idea of the original iconic setting but there is no reason why Laurie would be anywhere near that town anymore, so the change in setting does work for this film.
Special Effects – We have solid kill effects but the reality is we don’t see too many through the film.
Final Thoughts – For a pure slasher film with a cast we all know, this must be considered one of the more enjoyable and easy to watch.
Overall: This is one of the first Halloween films I saw and I still enjoy the easy to watch factor it has now.
Halloween is here and that means time for a couple of horror rounds, the second question would be, what would you pick first in a horror movie marathon, this question should be everything open to what people do or don’t like in the genre.
If you want to join the next round of Opinion Battles we will be take on What is your Favourite Post-Apocalypse Film, to enter email your choice to firstname.lastname@example.org Saturday 11th November 2017.
Darren – Movie Reviews 101
For me I would start with the original Evil Dead, mainly because it offers up a short, gore filled horror experience that can drag our audience in and leave them in shock when needed and leave them in disgust when required, it also introduces us to an iconic horror lead and shows us horror films can be made with a tiny budget.
Since I picked Ghostbusters last time, I think this time I’ll go with my favourite slasher flick, Scream. While the 70s/80s held the classics of the genre, the way Scream tipped the entire thing on its head and provided some real scares, as well as iconic scenes, was simply genius.
Easy! A Nightmare On Elm Street! I’m certainly not a big fan of slasher movies but the Elm Street films were in a league of their own. I grew up on them (well, from the age of 12 when I first saw the first one) and I’ll always be fond of them. And Freddy Krueger is the best horror villain. The first film is of course the best by far and my first choice but number 3 (Dream Warriors) kicks all kinds of ass too.
Asian Horror has seen so much growth in the last 15 years or so (maybe longer) to reaching the general public especially when they are getting Hollywood remakes every so often. Here is a really nice way to enter into this genre especially with this 3 short film compilation that covers: Hong Kong’s horror piece, Dumplings by Fruit Chan (which has a full version if this short inspires you to watch it), Korean horror piece Cut by Park Chan-Wook and Japanese horror piece Box by Takashi Miike. You can watch them one by one to get into the horror marathon mood or do it all in one sitting if you really want to feel unsettled.
I have been doing a daily countdown of horror films this month, and while “The Exorcist”, “Carrie”, “Halloween” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” are all classics, I never forget to watch “Black Christmas.”
“Black Christmas” did the POV killer shot several years before “Halloween.” It has a great tagline: “If this movie doesn’t make your skin crawl…IT’S ON TOO TIGHT!”
It stars Olivia Hussey and Margot Kidder, with great support work by Kier Dullea and John Saxon. It was directed by Bob Clark, who made another holiday film “A Christmas Story” – and “Porky’s” to boot. The film sets a suspenseful tone from the first scene and it never lets up, including the shocking ending. I never miss it!
“Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield to kill again.” -imdb
The reason for my pick is the mood of the piece. I’ve seen it so many times but every time I put it on, it draws me in with the colors, imagery, and symbols. The girls have sex appeal and Michael Myers is referred to as “The Shape” in the script, he;s terrifying. Put it all together and you have a minimalist, spooky, moody film that would set the scene perfectly for other horror films in a marathon. Director: John Carpenter
My choice for a Halloween Marathon is a litle bit of a cheat but I don’t care. I would absolutely pick Over the Garden Wall. It is technically a TV Miniseries but it is 2 hours and feels cinematic so I am going to count it. It is one of the greatest pieces of media I’ve seen. It is about 2 boys that get lost in a mysterious woods on Halloween night. Then we get 10, 10 minute episodes that vary in tone and topics quite a bit but never fail to be completely engrossing and delightful.
Everything about this series is stunning. The animation is gorgeous. The characters have heart and are well voiced. The musical score is haunting and beautiful. The songs range from creepy to charming. I love all of the shorts and they are perfect for a party because there are natural breaks for snacks, trick or treaters and anything else you want to do.
This is also a group of shorts that kids and adults can watch and enjoy equally. I just love it so much
I mean, what could be a better choice?! The music, the mask, the millions of Halloween references and that scary old pumpkin. I honestly can’t think of a film I’d rather watch for a horror movie marathon.
Plus, if you’re watching with friends chances are the first movie of the marathon may get talked through and/or interrupted by trips to the fridge for more snacks and drinks. But everyone has seen Halloween anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.
To kick off a Halloween movie marathon, I’d have to go with The Conjuring, the 2013 hit that immediately joined the very best of the haunted house genre. James Wan’s direction provides a brilliantly tense atmosphere that ekes terror out of something as simple as a door closing or a hand clap. I also appreciate its spiritual context of religious good vs. evil and its focus on genuine scares over cheap gore. Plus, with the marathon, we could segue right into the also great Conjuring 2and maybe the Annabellespinoffs (which I’ve not seen yet), though there are plenty of other complementary creepy flicks.
We are looking for guests on Talking Stars, and you are invited to join us.
just reply with any you would like to be on.
We are also looking to continue the ABC of horrors, so if you want to do them let us know.
If there are any other releases due between January and April you would like to talk about we will be open to change and place a show on them in too, but no Fifty Shades Freed!!
I also know you are from all over the world so we will be open to arrange shows to fit your schedule too.
One final thing, we are looking to do a preview show in The Shape of Water (Preview) and looking at Del Toro Movies, we are currently looking for guests for that one too.
All dates are scheduled for Sunday recording.
Recording – The Shape of Water (Preview) The Guillermo Del Toro Films
Date – 3rd December 2017
Recording – Movies of the Year (Genre Each Picked by Person on Show) Date – 7th January 2018
Recording – Proud Mary (Preview) Favourite Solo Assassins in Films. Date – 14th January 2018
Recording – God Particle (Preview) Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane Discussion. Date – 21st January 2018
Recording – Black Panther (Preview) Favourite Solo Superhero Movies. Date – 28th January 2018
Recording – Annihilation (Preview) The Best and Worst of Natalie Portman Date – 4th February 2018
Recording – Red Sparrow (Preview) The Best and Worst of Jennifer Lawrence Date – 11th February 2018
Recording – Winchester: The House Ghosts Built (Preview) Spierig Brothers Look back (DAybreakers, Predestination and Jigsaw) Date – 18th February 2018
Recording – Alpha (Preview) Favourite Battle Against the Elements Movies. Date – 25th February 2018
Recording – Tomb Raider (Preview) Favourite Action Heroines Date – 4th March 2018
Recording – Pacific Rim Uprising (Preview) Favourite Giant Monster Movies. Date – 11th March 2018
Recording – Ready Player One (Preview) Spielberg and Sci-Fi Date – 18th March 2018
Recording – A Wrinkle in Time (Preview/Review) Looking at Young Adult Novels to Movies. Date – 25th March 2018
Recording – The New Mutants (Preview) Before they were Mutants, a look at the roles the new cast have done before this movie. Date – 1st April 2018
Writer: Sylvia Brownrigg, Ann Cummins, Amy Glazer, Vijay Rajan, Sedge Thomson (Screenplay) Juliet Bell (Novel)
Starring: Isabella Blake-Thomas, Sean Patrick Flanery, Holland Taylor, Kelly Lynch, Steven Michael Quezada, Esperanza Fermin, Kelly Hu
Plot: Eleven-year-old Ella is a city girl forced to spend the summer on the New Mexico ranch of her reclusive grandmother, Violet Von Stern. while Ella’s mom undergoes chemotherapy in another state. As she tries to cope with her grandmother’s strict rules and snooty friends, Ella longs for her mother and begs her estranged father for rescue. But Ella’s dad has his own reasons to stay away from his childhood home. Meanwhile, Ella finds allies in fatherly ranch hand Miguel and his down-to-earth daughter, Rosie. But when a priceless book is stolen from Violet’s collection, Miguel is the key suspect, and Ella must find the real thief in order to save her friends. Emotional connections are reshaped, and a family that was lost finds its way. The music of Patrick Neil Doyle helps tell this unusual and heartwarming story.
Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Charming Coming of Age Tale
Story: Kepler’s Dream starts as we meet Ella (Blake-Thomas) an 11-year-old girl that lives with her mother Amy (Lynch) who is about to undergo surgery for her leukaemia, which means Ella needs someone to look after her, when her father Walt (Flanery) doesn’t make himself available he sends her to New Mexico to stay with his mother Violet (Taylor), a relative she has never met.
Ella gets a friendly welcome from Miguel (Quezada) and his daughter Rosie (Fermin) who helps out on Violet’s ranch, while Violet is a mystery to Ella, a well-travelled lady who enjoys collecting artefacts from her journeys, but we have no wi-fi here.
As Ella’s time in the house continues she learns about a Kepler’s Dream book, one of only two in the world, but this only shows ore of the strict rules her grandmother has, be it using proper English or not touching anything. It is Miguel that offers her the only positive moments in the summer, teaching her to ride a horse. When he priceless book is stolen the suspects are a very short list and now Ella wants to solve the mystery and save the friendship she has started with Rosie.
Thoughts on Kepler’s Dream
Characters – Ella is an 11-year-old girl, daughter of divorced parents with her mother battling cancer, her father distant, she must spend her summer with her grandmother who she has never met. This is always going to be hardest summer of her life, but it also offers her new adventure in the world. Violet is the grandmother, she has travelled the world as well as collected books and objects to add to her prized collection. She hasn’t ever met Ella but tries to help even with her stricter rules. Miguel is the ranch hand that helps out, he offers Ella the friendship she requires with his own daughter Rosie as the two bond over the summer. Walt is Ella’s father who always found a reason to be busy and away from his daughter even when she needs him.
Performances – Isabella Blake-Thomas is our new face and lead in this movie, she is full of the innocence needed for this role. Holland Taylor is great as the strict grandmother who has lived an enjoyable life. The rest of the cast are good through the film showing us the different emotional range needed for what is happening through the film.
Story – The story does follow the development Ella needs for life, she is going to go through a tough summer that will help define her life. The big case that needs solving though is the weakest part of the film because we don’t dive into it enough. The story does focus on Ella and her experiences, her feelings her difficulties she will be face which is good to watch because it shows how growing up will be painful if they go through the same experiences.
Adventure/Family/Mystery – The adventure side of the film comes Ella experiencing a new location, which is plays into the western themes being used. The this a very family oriented movie even though it does have a small mystery moment going on.
Settings – The settings are important here, first we have the busy city where Ella is but taken her to a new location where she wouldn’t know or have experienced teaching her more about the bigger world.
Scene of the Movie – The truth about the book.
That Moment That Annoyed Me – I would like more about the missing book.
Final Thoughts –This is a good coming of age film, it will be targeted more for the young girls, with certain decisions being made, the troubles she goes through could apply to either sex though. It does have an important message but has the tagged-on mystery in places.