ABC Film Challenge – Horror – R – Ravenous (1999)

Director: Antonia Bird

Writer: Ted Griffin (Screenplay)

Starring: Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, David Arquette, Jeremy Davies, Jeffrey Jones, John Spencer

 

Plot: In a remote military outpost in the 19th Century, Captain John Boyd and his regiment embark on a rescue mission which takes a dark turn when they are ambushed by a sadistic cannibal.


Tagline – Bon apétit!

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Tasty Addition

 

Story: Ravenous starts as Captain John Boyd (Pearce) is left disgraced during a battle gets set to a quiet military outpost to save face for the army. The Outpost is filled with a mix of different men including Cleaves (Arquette), Toffler (Davies) and Hart (Jones).

When a stranger Colqhoun (Carlyle) is rescued he tells the tale of his journey which saw his men turn into cannibals but he escaped the panic. The men set out to rescue the remaining survivors across the harsh snow-covered mountain range with Colqhoun as their guide. When Colqhoun’s true nature is released it becomes a battle to survive against the blood thirsty maniac.

 

Thoughts on Ravenous

 

Characters – Captain John Boyd is known to the people as a hero, but he is anything but that as survived rather than won his battle. He is relocated to a small outpost where he can work with the quiet group of soldiers but soon he finds himself needing to face his own demons when a sadistic cannibal starts picking off his unit. Colqhoun is the stranger discovered with a story of a cannibal group in the woods, but soon we learn he is a lone sadistic cannibal just looking for more food. The rest of the characters are just other soldiers in the unit that have different drive through the film.

PerformancesGuy Pearce is great in this leading role of a man who must face his own demons while also questioning his own sanity. Robert Carlyle is also great in this film, we see his calm ability to keep people listening to him even if he is the one doing things wrong. The rest of the cast are good without getting too much time to shine on the level of the two leads.

StoryThe story takes us into a world of cannibals and disgraced soldiers, we see how one man is left to battle his own demons while dealing with a sadistic cannibal that no one else is believing his true colours. This is a battle between the two men to stay ahead of the other and as things unfold we get twists on how they will stay ahead of each other too, which does keep us guessing to how this will play out.

Fantasy/HorrorThe fantasy side of the movie comes from the effects of cannibalism on the characters with the horror showing us just how far a character could go to survive, including eating human flesh.

SettingsThe setting helps because our characters feel isolated through everything that happens which helps Colqhoun get around so easily.

Special EffectsThe effects are used to show the horrors of what is happening with the most part being practical effects which helps us enjoy the environment we are placed into.


Scene of the Movie –
Mountain search.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Wasting David Arquette.

Final ThoughtsThis was a good fantasy horror involving cannibals, it does have a few tonal problems mostly with Colqhoun because one minute he is calm but the next he is blood driven and it flicks between the two too often.

 

Overall: Great addition to the cannibal movies.

Rating

 

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Tim Burton Weekend – Ed Wood (1994)

Director: Tim Burton

Writer: Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski (Screenplay) Rudolph Grey (Book)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette, Jeffrey Jones, Vincent D’Onofrio, Bill Murray

 

Plot: Ambitious but troubled movie director Edward D. Wood Jr. tries his best to fulfill his dreams, despite his lack of support.


Tagline – Movies were his passion. Women were his inspiration. Angora sweaters were his weakness.

Runtime: 2 Hours 7 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Wonderful

 

Story: Ed Wood starts as we meet Edward D Wood Jr (Depp) an aspiring director in Hollywood, with his work making the stage for now, when he learns of a story of a transvestite, he jumps at the chance to get his big break in Hollywood. Once Ed Wood makes friends with aging Hollywood icon Bela Lugosi (Landau) he gets given the chance to direct.

When his film gets completely panned, Ed Wood becomes an outcast in Hollywood and sets out to makes his own movies with Bela Lugosi in tow, become the cult favourite in the industry.

 

Thoughts on Ed Wood

 

Characters – Ed Wood was the aspiring director that has crazy ideas in his head, after his first studio produced film is panned, he must set up to make his own movies for limited budget with his new friend Bela Lugosi, Ed Wood also enjoys dressing up in women’s clothes which puts him out on the different in a time when that wasn’t considered acceptable. Bela Lugosi was once one of the most famous men in Hollywood after his role in Dracula, now he is older and mostly forgotten by the fans that once loved him. He befriends Ed Wood and starts to return to acting and hopefully see him kick his drug habits. Dolores is the long-suffering girlfriend of Ed Wood who stars in his pictures, even though she doesn’t like his lifestyle. Kathy O’Hara is a woman that Ed Wood meets that brings new meaning to his life. We meet other characters who are involved in the life and Ed Wood and the films he makes.

PerformancesJohnny Depp is fantastic in this leading role, he showed how he was carving out his career by taking chances against his typecast of a pretty boy. Martin Landau went on to win an Oscar for his supporting performance, this is easily one of the greatest portrays of an actor you will ever see. We do have a host of talents in the supporting roles with Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette and Bill Murray who are good through the film.

StoryThe story follows the career of Ed Wood as he was trying to make his name in Hollywood and is only known for bad films which have their own cult following now. Seeing how he went about making this happen is very interesting and the friendship he struck up with Bela Lugosi is what we know with fellow directors and actors in modern film making. Any film that tells a story about Hollywood and the movie making process is one to be checking out.

Biopic/ComedyThe biopic side of the film comes from where we find Ed Wood and Bela Lugosi friendship and the eventually production of Plan 9. The comedy comes from just how the movie was made with the reactions of the people involved.

SettingsThe film is set in the 50s Hollywood and from start to finish you will feel like you are part of this era in time.


Scene of the Movie –
When Ed Wood snaps on set.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The Orson Wells scene because the dubbing was bad.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful look the movie making process behind one of the most infamously bad movies in the history of the business, we have two performances that are simply brilliant and is easily one of the best moving making movies ever made.

 

Overall: Wonderful movie making movie.

Rating

 

 

Tim Burton Weekend – Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Director: Tim Burton

Writer: Kevin Yagher, Andrew Kevin Walker (Screenplay) Washington Irving (Story)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien, Jeffrey Jones, Richard Griffiths, Michael Gough, Christopher Walken, Christopher Lee

 

Plot: Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate the decapitations of 3 people with the culprit being the legendary apparition, the Headless Horseman.


Tagline – Who will it come for next?!

Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Delightful Fantasy Horror

 

Story: Sleepy Hollow starts in 1799 when forward thinking constable Ichabod Crane (Depp) is set from New York City to the small farming community of Sleepy Hollow, where a series of murders have been happening by a headless horseman, who takes the heads of his victims.

Requested by Baltus Van Tassel (Gambon), Ichabod gets to use his forward-thinking ideas to investigate the crimes and learn about the town’s people with their strong male hierocracy that controls business, until he teams up with Baltus daughter Katrina (Ricci) to unlock the truth about the legend of the headless horseman.

 

Thoughts on Sleepy Hollow

 

Characters – Ichabod Crane is a constable who wants to start using the science to solve crimes instead of the torture techniques being adopted for the time. He becomes the fish out of water in the farming community trying to solve a crime that is surrounded by supernatural, he must use his skills to solve who is behind the supernatural events, using his quirky ways. Katrina is the daughter of the Van Tassel’s who is looking for husband, she takes a liking towards Ichabod and helps learn the truth. Hessian Horseman is the legend that slaughtered many before being defeated and beheaded, now he has risen from the dead to take the heads of the community. Lady Van Tassel is the wife of Baltus, she has a secret from him and for the most part enjoys the new life she is living. Baltus is the man that called for Ichabod to help solve the murders, he is one of the few that will stand up for Ichabod to get the truth. We do get plenty of different town’s people to meet that fill the gaps to help us understand the hierarchy of the community.

PerformancesJohnny Depp was truly making his name at time of this release and we knew he was capable of the quirky, this shows him balance the act perfectly in one of his more underrated roles. Christina Ricci is good, though she doesn’t seem to need to do more than be the damsel in distress. Miranda Richardson does a good job n her role showing her experience of how to handle the period piece films. Christopher Walken does give us a delightful dark character though I do know he doesn’t do a lot of the headless scenes in the film. if you look at the rest of the cast we have some of the great British actors mixed with Casper Van Dien who at the time was hot property after Starship Troopers.

StoryThe story is based on the legend of the headless horseman, which in its own right is an interesting fantasy horror. We keep to the time where science was first trying to get pushed in the crime world and still looked down upon, we also get the idea that science is meant to solve crime until the supernatural is thrown into the mix throwing everything out the window. The story does give us a serial killer to try and see stopped which can keep the detectives in the audience happy and the pace things unfold give us enough time for the twists to have effect in the story.

Fantasy/Horror/MysteryThe fantasy side of the film comes from the horseman coming back from the dead to take the heads of the community. This does play into the horror elements of the film too because we see how the community become scared of whether they will be next, this does also give us the blood and the creepy atmosphere before his arrival. The mystery gives us the questions about who is behind the horseman and his return, this does give us twists along the way too.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to the best levels as we get to see the excellent built sets to make us feel like we are in 1799 farming community.

Special EffectsThe effects use mostly excellent practical effects with the lost heads, the CGI moments do work well too when used mostly with the re-creation of the horseman from the skeleton to human again.


Scene of the Movie –
Horseman vs Ichabod & Brom, excellent fight sequence.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The science does get forgotten in places.

Final ThoughtsThis is a fun fantasy horror that gives us an iconic killer with a crime to solve around why he has targeted the farming community.

 

Overall: Fun horror with Burton’s token quirks.

Rating

 

 

Beetlejuice (1988)

betleDirector: Tim Burton

Writer: Michael McDowell, Warren Skaaren (Screenplay) Michael McDowell, Larry Wilson (Story)

Starring:  Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Michael Keaton, Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones, Winona Ryder, Glenn Shadix

 

Plot: A couple of recently deceased ghosts contract the services of a “bio-exorcist” in order to remove the obnoxious new owners of their house.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Overrated Classic?

 

Story: Beetlejuice starts when married couple Adam (Baldwin) and Barbara (Davis) suffer an accident leading to them to both getting killed only to find themselves in a purgatory in their own home. When the new family moves into their house Adam and Barbara try to use their ghostly side to scare away the Deetz’s Delia (O’Hara), Charles (Jones) and Lydia (Ryder).

Trying to learn how to scare the family out of the house Adam and Barbara must learn how to scare people but they eventually turn to Betelgeuse who doesn’t play by the same rules. Adam and Barbara must look to stop Betelgeuse from taking over the situation while getting their house back to the way they want.

Beetlejuice is a film I only have ever heard good things about but going into watching it I couldn’t help but wonder what all the hype really is. The film comes off feeling like it goes against the traditionally ghost haunting where certain ghosts don’t understand how to haunt and don’t want to be terrifying but in the end now we have had many other film have done similar styles to what I think is a better standard. The comedy seems very forced and in the end I will not be giving this the hype other people give it.

 

Overall: This just doesn’t live up to the hype anymore.

Rating40

 

 

Amadeus (1984)

amadeusDirector: Milos Forman

Writer: Peter Shaffer (Screenplay) Peter Shaffer (Stage Play)

Starring: F Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge, Roy Dotrice, Simon Callow, Christine Ebersole, Jeffrey Jones

 

Plot: The incredible story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, told by his peer and secret rival Antonio Salieri – now confined to an insane asylum.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Brilliant Biographical Story

 

Story: Amadeus starts as an elderly Antonio Salieri (Abraham) admitting that he killed Mozart, leading to him getting taken to the insane asylum. Salieri recounts his story of his small town beginnings dreaming of being a composer and after a moment of fate he ends up in a position where he can learn music leading to him job as head conductor to the king of Austria. Mozart (Hulce) is the world renowned composer that has taken the notice of all around him with Salieri dreaming of one day being as good as Mozart.

We see how Mozart constantly ends up out shinning Salieri with his music leading to the rivalry between the two, with Salieri serious look on life and Mozart’s flamboyant style of just getting through each moment. Salieri moves into the position of being the connection to the Emperor to get his unique work out there but he is really just building him up for failure trying to break him down with criticize of his work.

Amadeus gives us a brilliant look at one of the greatest musical minds in the history of man. We know the basic idea of what happened to him but now we get to see it through the eyes of one of his closest friends even if he is filled with envy for him. What starts as envy is filled with respect and seeing how a talented person can get used by all the people close to him which will drive him into his bad ways. Overall this really is a brilliant drama that is told in a way we can just enjoy.

 

Actor Review

 

F Murray Abraham: Antonio Salieri admits that he killed Mozart, but now he is confessing to how he believes he was responsible for the death from inside an insane asylum. We watch how he got his dreams of working with music and constantly found himself lacking the complete flair and natural ability of Mozart leading to jealous and planning to bring him down slowly. F Murray gives us a brilliant and well deserved Oscar winning performance in this role.seleir

Tom Hulce: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is the flamboyant and brilliant composer who lives life on the edge spending every penny he ever received for his work, he pushes the boundaries to what is accepted even if his work is loved. He gains inspiration from his personal stories which will gain him enemies from his own confident in the government. Tom gives a performance that could easily have won him an Oscar too.morzart

Elizabeth Berridge: Constanze Mozart is the wife of Wolfgang, she supports him in all the work he does but just wants him to actually get paid for the work so they can look after the family, even after she lives him she feels guilty. Elizabeth does a good job in this role.

Roy Dotrice: Leopold Mozart is the overbearing father who pushed Amadeus into this career path making him the puppet when he was younger as he was leading him to become the biggest name in music of his time. After his death we learn about the control he had over Amadeus. Roy is good in this supporting role.

Support Cast: Amadeus has a well performed supporting cast that each hold their own in the characters they are playing.

Director Review: Milos FormanMilos gives us one of the best biographical films of all time.

 

Biographical: Amadeus shows the troubles of the great man and how it was his eventual downfall.

Music: Amadeus uses all the music of the great man and how it would have look on stage for the fans witnessing it all.

Settings: Amadeus recreates all the settings that would have been used during the time the film is set.

Suggestion: Amadeus is one that could have been watched by anyone to learn about a part of history. (Watch)

 

Best Part: The performances are brilliant.

Worst Part: If you are not a fan of classical music you will struggle.

 

Believability: Yes

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: Won 8 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Actor, Director and Writing also nominated for a further 3.

Box Office: $51 Million

Budget: $18 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 40 Minutes

Tagline: Everything you’ve heard is true.

Trivia: When the movie won Best Picture at The 57th Annual Academy Awards (1985), Sir Laurence Olivier was presenting the award. He went up to the podium, opened the envelope and said “Amadeus.” The problem was he forgot to read the nominees first.

 

Overall: Brilliant drama about one of the greatest musicians of all time

Ratingcard