Category: Movie Reviews

Jeff Bridges in Starman

John Carpenter’s Starman: not as good as ALF

Some claim Starman as the misunderstood gem in John Carpenter’s back catalogue. There really should be too much good there for it to be bad: an alien road-trip romance featuring a comic Jeff Bridges performance, a Karen Allen lead, Mike Douglas producing and a Stand By Me screenwriter? It’s also the only Carpenter picture to…




Halloween

John Carpenter’s Halloween: I still don’t get it

Halloween is the Carpenter movie I never got. I always suspected I was missing something. Close friends set their horror watches by it. But it always bored me. Unlike the same year’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, this was not a film that spooked me. I tried it on a number of occasions in my…




5 things about “In The Mouth of Madness”

In the Mouth of Madness is a gateway to Sam Neil, and for that the film instantly wins praise. Many, of course, discovered the Kiwi kook through his leading turn in Jurassic Park, others perhaps even earlier via Dead Calm. But, for some of us, it was the one-two of this shlock horror caper, followed…




The Fountain (2006)

The Fountain is a chuckle, in the right way. The truly batshit can be fun, and for a while the sheer unpredictability of the picture is enough to carry us by space bubble all the way to Xibalba. Unfortunately, as the soundtrack grinds on, a sense of frustration sets in as two promising stories are…




Christine

Christine: 5 good and bad things about John Carpenter

Christine is, well…not too good, but there are moments that prevent it from uglying up the Carpenter forecourt too badly. This model had a lot to live up to, following a trio of outright classics (The Fog, Escape from New York and The Thing) and certainly might be cited as the beginning of the end for…




Snake Pliskin and matches

Escape from LA: 5 easy upgrades

Yes, there is a lot of silly fun on display in the 96 Snake-fest, Al Leong is still merrily energising the background, and it features a late Carpenter soundtrack with at least one or two nice moments – but there’s an equally powerful sense of wasted opportunity here. Great actors are sidelined while a charisma-lite…




John Carpenter’s Vampires: 5 easy upgrades

John Carpenter’s Vampires is a mess, but like other films in his later work, there’s a frustrating sense that things could have been better, with just a little rejigging. Not great, but a considerable improvement. A few zero-cost measures might have left a pleasant B-Movie flavour, as opposed to the aftertaste of failure. There are…




Valerian: some questions

Luc, Luc, be honest: this is a first draft, right? Because it feels an awful lot like that. Not that I’m complaining: there is something glorious, for anyone who’s sat through a screenwriting course, about a script with such utter disregard for the rule book. (You are aware there’s a book, right?) So how in…


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DS9: Sleazeball to the rescue

What a gift it is for an actor to possess truly corrupt features – shifty eyes, a built-in sneer, the jowls hanging heavy with bitter experience. A long career is far more attainable for the villain than it is for the pretty boy or the action hero. Harris Yulin is one so blessed, a go-to…




The Intruder/ Shame (1962)

As we approach 2017, movie lovers in search of guidance could do worse than take in this Roger Corman ’62 Shatner fest, a black and white morality tale populated by all manner of familiar demons. Shanter plays Adam Cramer, a charismatic cynic drawn to the resentment and fear bubbling under the surface in a small southern town. Cramer has been despatched by…