Franchise Weekend – Exorcist 2: The Heretic (1977)

Director: John Boorman

Writer: William Goodhart (Screenplay)

Starring: Linda Blair, Richard Burton, Louise Fletcher, Max von Sydow, Kitty Winn, Paul Henreid, James Earl Jones, Ned Beatty

 

Plot: A teenage girl once possessed by a demon finds that it still lurks within her. Meanwhile, a priest investigates the death of the girl’s exorcist.


Tagline – It’s four years later…what does she remember?

Runtime: 1 Hour 58 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Substandard Sequel

 

Story: Exorcist 2: The Heretic starts as we meet Regan (Blair) a couple of years after the events of her exorcism, she doesn’t have any memories on those events and with the help of psychologist Dr Gene Tuskin (Fletcher) they look to rid her mind of any lingering dreams. This is until Father Philip Lamont (Burton) charged with investigating the exorcism which cost the lives of Father Merrin (von Sydow) and Father Karres arrives to see if Regan can help confirm what happened that fateful night.

Father Lamont must travel to Africa to learn the origin of the demon that is still inside Regan in any hopes of stopping before it takes over once again.

 

Thoughts on Exorcist 2: The Heretic

 

Characters – Regan is now little bit older and getting back on with a normal life, she is still seeing a psychologist to keep everything under control, when she starts to get questioned by the church about the exorcism things soon start coming back to her, this time she is in control about where her character goes. Father Philip Lamont is sent by the church to learn the truth about the original exorcism, what he learns sends him on a journey to Africa to hopefully learn the origin of the demon living in Regan. Dr Gene Tuskin is the psychologist helping sick children, one of which is Regan, she has bold ideas that could bring about new ideas to helping children open up. Father Merrin is involved in a few dream sequences, it is his death that is being investigated by Lamont.

PerformancesLinda Blair does return for this outing and doesn’t reach the levels of the first film, mostly because we don’t have to deal with many possession sequences until late in the film. Richard Burton is solid though we know how talent he is and this doesn’t show his full range. Louise Fletcher was struggling to capture her skills too and hen we look at the non-existent involvement from Max von Sydow we don’t get anything better than solid in the performance area.

StoryThe story does start on the right path, the idea that Regan could still be possessed is acceptable because we are still trying to balance the line between actual possession and mental health. Where things go terribly wrong for this story, is when we start looking at an ancient demon that is controlling Regan which has caused the events. The investigation into the origin only confuses and lessen the impact of the original film. it becomes an even bigger mess as thing unfold and we are left wondering just what the hell we are watching.

HorrorThe horror in the film doesn’t come through in any way, nothing involving any of the possesses even remote will scare the audience.

SettingsWe have a new setting, New York I feel, which is fine, but the problems here come from have a large part of the story in Africa investigating the origin over having any possession sequences which should scare us.

Special EffectsThe effects in film are weak even for the time, that locust will have people laughing.


Scene of the Movie –
The first syncing.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The lack of possession time.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the weakest sequels to a true classic I have ever seen, it has weak performances, a boring storyline and effects which haven’t dated in any acceptable way.

 

Overall: Just terrible.

Rating

 

 

Advertisements

Franchise Weekend – The Exorcist (1973)

Director: William Friedkin

Writer: William Peter Blatty (Screenplay)

Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, Lee J Cobb, Kitty Winn, Jack MacGowran, Jason Miller, William O’Malley

 

Plot: When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.


Tagline – Now… Open your eyes to..

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Truly a Horror Classic

 

Story: The Exorcist starts as we meet Father Merrin (von Sydow) working overseas on an arachnological dig, uncovering something evil, Father Karras (Miller) is facing a question of faith after seeing the different effects passed over by the church and single mother Chris MacNeil (Burstyn) caring for her daughter Regan (Blair).

When Regan starts acting strange the doctors aim to look for a solution with test and even a psychologist, with them failing Chris turns to the church where Father Merrin and Father Karras look to exorcise the demon that has taken over her body.

 

 

Thoughts on The Exorcist

 

Characters – Chris MacNeil is an actress and single mother working on her new project when her daughter becomes sick, she is a concerned mother that wants answers getting ever more frustrated with the lack of results being found. Regan is the daughter is Chris, she is like any other young teenager that becomes possessed by a demon, first however she goes for medical procedures to see if it is medical before the priest come to help with the problem. Father Karras is the local priest and psychologist within the church, he can study Regan’s case with a scientific and a religious side and has been having a crisis of faith after his mother’s death. Father Merrin is the experienced priest that has been through exorcisms before he is the one that gets bought in to try and cure Regan, teaching Karras along the way.

PerformancesThis is a performance heavy movie, Ellen Burstyn is excellent in her role as the concerned mother, Linda Blair (with help from another actress) gives us one of the creepiest scary performances in horror history and the two different stages of their careers in the film performances from Max von Sydow and Jason Miller are a delight to see.

StoryThe story here shows us what is happening to a teenage girl once she becomes possessed by a demon, where this story is intelligent, is by going through the medical and mental issue which are known for being used first. Away from this and the slow build as things become even more shocking and terrifying as the film unfolds shows how story telling in horror isn’t all about jump scares, it can focus on the idea of possession becoming more powerful. The film creates the right characters for the film by giving each of our main characters enough time to develop to feel like they are going to be playing a major part in the movie too. This will become the level all horror story tellers will be looking to get close to.

HorrorThis is a horror movie that uses the slow build and horrific moments to shock us to our core as we see the procedure behind an exorcism and just how the demon can take control.

SettingsThe film does use the settings well because they put us in a location where it could happen in the middle of a big city, which only adds to the horror we are seeing.

Special EffectsThe effects that we go through are some of the best effects we will ever see in cinema for the time, practical all the way through the use of make up shows us just what could be achieved to create the horror.


Scene of the Movie –
The exorcism scenes.

That Moment That Annoyed Me So many different edits of it.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the classic horror movies that can be enjoyed in terror by anyone in the audience, at 45 years old it still stands the test of time.

 

Overall: True classic.

Rating

 

 

Never Say Never Again (1983)

Director: Irvin Kerschner

Writer: Lorenzo Semple Jr (Screenplay) Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham, Ian Fleming (Story)

Starring: Sean Connery, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Max von Sydow, Barbara Carrera, Kim Basinger, Bernie Casey

 

Plot: A SPECTRE agent has stolen two American nuclear warheads, and James Bond must find their targets before they are detonated.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 14 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Light-Hearted Bond

 

Story: Never Say Never Again starts as James Bond (Connery) has been working on training routines, mostly successful, but his physical condition isn’t on the levels it once was, he is now in a treatment hospital where he ends stumbling into Blofeld’s (von Sydow) latest plan.

When Blofeld holds the world to ransom, his agent Maximilian Largo (Brandauer) needs to be tracked down by Bond to stop the stolen nuclear war heads being used against the countries not willing to pay.

 

Thoughts on Never Say Never Again

 

Characters – James Bond is back in action after a forced retirement from the business, he knows how the locate his enemies and seduce a lady and this is no different as he goes up against one of his most famous villains. Largo is the main man puling the strings in the operation for the big boss, he goes face to face with Bond. Blofeld is the leader of SPECTRE the criminal organisation that has held the world to ransom.

PerformancesSean Connery gets to have a lot of fun returning to his most famous role, he still has the swagger for it too. Klaus is a solid enough villain and handles the interactions well. Max Von Sydow is one of the most trusted villains in the business, he takes this role and makes it his own well.

StoryThe story follow James Bond on another one of his adventures against an evil genius that plans to destroy the world. We go to luxury locations, with bars women and fighting, making this a complete 101 on how to make James Bond movie. This won’t be the most memorable one but it follows everything you need it to.

Action/AdventureThe action is good for a Bond film, it isn’t over the top but ticks the boxes well and the adventure is everything you are expecting to see from Bond.

SettingsThe film takes us to exotic locations where we see Bond battle the enemies who are of course rich and enjoy bars, sun women.


Scene of the Movie –
Massage

That Moment That Annoyed Me It lacks that moment that makes this memorable like most of the good Bond films.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that will work for all Bond fans, it checks the boxes well but never stands up to the best of the franchise, even though it isn’t an official part of them.

 

Overall: Bond movie 101

Rating

 

 

Russell Crowe Weekend – Robin Hood (2010)

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Brian Helgeland (Screenplay) Brian Helgeland, Ethan Reiff, Cyrus Voris (Story)

Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Max von Sydow, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston

 

Plot: In 12th century England, Robin and his band of marauders confront corruption in a local village and lead an uprising against the crown that will forever alter the balance of world power.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Slow Burner

 

Story: Robin Hood starts with England at war with France, King Richard the Lionheart is leading his men which does include archer Robin Longstride (Crowe), when Richard is killed in battle the kingdom of England falls into Prince John (Isaac) a stricter ruler that wants to tax the country.

Robin returning a sword finds himself needing to pretend to be Marion Loxley’s (Blanchett) husband in Nottingham, while Godfrey (Strong) continues to play both sides as the French look to take advantage of John’s weaknesses. Robin starts to act in the way we know, stealing from what is heading towards the king to return to the poor but how long can he keep this up?

 

Thoughts on Robin Hood

 

Characters/PerformanceRobin Longstribe is an archer with loyal friends, he fights next to King Richard but once he is killed he wants to avoid returning to the new king, he soon finds himself needing to become the hero for the people of the land against the new enemy. Marion is the strong lady that wants what is best for her people wanting to lead in a time where women wouldn’t lead. Prince John becomes king but he is stricter than the previous king as he wants money from people who don’t have it. Godfrey is a man that has been playing both sides to raise himself through the ranks in England or France whoever was to win.

Performance wise, Russell Crowe is fine in this role but if you want to see him at his best Gladiator is superior. Cate Blanchett was an interesting choice here but she does well with her screen time. Mark Strong is always a good choice for villain and does what is needed here. The cast in general is all fine without being great in what is a solid but slow burning film.

StoryRobin Hood is easily one of the most iconic stories in British legend, we have seen plenty of versions of his actions of stealing from the reach giving to the poor, but this time we story has sucked all the fun out of the story and turned it into a medieval story that feels just like everything we have seen in the sub-genre before.

Action/Adventure/RomanceThe action is everything we have come to expect swords, shields and arrows being used throughout. The adventure side of the film is almost non-existent and calling it a romance film well there isn’t any.

SettingsThe settings are the only highlight as each look like the correct time in question.

Special EffectsThe effects all work for the film without becoming too heavily involved.

Final ThoughtsThis is a poor re-imaging or the iconic hero that just doesn’t make the subject matter interesting.

 

Overall: Uninspiring Robin Hood Story.

Rating

 

 

David Lynch Weekend – Dune (1984)

Director: David Lynch

Writer: David Lynch (Screenplay) Frank Herbert (Novel)

Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Virginia Madsen, Francesca Annis, Sean Young, Sting, Everett McGill, Patrick Stewart, Max von Sydow

 

Plot: A Duke’s son leads desert warriors against the galactic emperor and his father’s evil nemesis when they assassinate his father and free their desert world from the emperor’s rule.


Tagline – You are about to enter a world where the unexpected, the unknown, and the unbelievable meet.

Runtime: 2 Hours 17 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Ambitious Sci-Fi Film

 

Story: Dune starts as we learn about a single planet in the universe which contains a substance known as ‘Spice’ which is the most important item in the universe as it aids in space travel, four planets have plans to take control of the planet but the residents of the planet that remain a mystery to all.

Paul Atreides (MacLachlan) becomes the key to the peace between the planets, he heads to the planet after preparing for every known obstacle that could get in his way. The evil Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (McMillan) is planning to kill the Duke, Paul’s father and take control of Dune, can Paul fulfil his destiny and be the one to protect and save the people from this evil ruler.

 

Thoughts on Dune

 

Characters – Paul Atreides is our hero, he is the son of the Duke of the family that run by the planet of Dune, he is learning about the secrets of the planet and becomes the one person that can lead the defence from the enemy waiting to take over the planet, ending the peace. Doctor Kynes is he man that understands how the planet works, one of the resident of the planet, but he does understand how to make the best of the spice. Feyd Rautha is one of the generals set to kill the Atreides’ by Baron Harkonnen, he has swagger while enjoying the kill. Lady Jessica is the mother of Paul, she has the power of controlling minds even though she has gone against the desires of the family by having a son. Gurney Halleck is the man that has trained Paul in combat for years preparing him for any enemy attacks he may face.

PerformancesThe performances here work for the film Kyle MacLachlan is the leading performer and makes for a good leader in the film, the rest of the cast do embrace their characters well without looking out of place.

StoryThe story does give us a lot to take in during the first hour, we must learn who is on whose side, what their plans are and just how big the world we are entering is. This can take time to process which does make for a weaker start to the movie. The second half of the film does become a battle preparation which is a lot more interesting even if a large portion is set in montage scenes. This does feel like a story that needed more time to make it easier to follow, but for a one off viewing you can see the confusion placed on parts of the film.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action side of the film comes from the battle sequences which are highly sci-fi based with the laser guns and explosion, this is an easy part of the film to watch. Diving further into the sci-fi side of the film we have an intergalactic battle for the rule of a planet which holds the key to everything.

SettingsThe settings put us on the planet of Dune, it shows us the bleak vision of the planet but the importance of what it holds.

Special EffectsThe effects for the time would have been great, while they have dated they are worth praising for how they re-defined cinema.


Scene of the Movie –
Taming the Worm.

That Moment That Annoyed Me There is a lot to take in.

Final ThoughtsThis is a sci-fi film with ambitious that is just too much for the ideas behind everything. this is a film that can be enjoyed unless you have read the source material where you might feel disappointed.

 

Overall: Sci-fi ambitious not reaching the levels.

Rating