Movie Review: Frankenstein (1931)

Greetings, friends. As promised every other review will be of a classic Universal monster movie from a snazzy blu-ray set I bought. So yeah… today we’re doing one of those.

Ladies and gents… IT’S ALI- I mean, “Frankenstein”.

With the help of his assistant Fritz (Dwight Frye), Dr. Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) aims to perform one of the biggest scientific feats ever seen… stitching together body parts and try to animate it into a living creature. And as we all know by now, this experiment succeeds. We all know the story at this point. But how good is the execution of it? I would argue it is fantastic. You get that dark, gothic, spooky goodness, but you also get a surprisingly nuanced exploration of the line between genius science and mad science, and I am honestly surprised how much relative depth there is in here, while still being an accessible and enjoyable monster movie.

The characters in this are, much like the narrative, a lot deeper and more interesting than they have any right to be. For example, seeing the duality of Dr. Frankenstein is quite interesting, as he often teethers the line between a little mad and quite compelling and relatable. And Colin Clive is really good in that role. And let’s not dilly-dally, Boris Karloff plays the reanimated creature. And his performance is amazing. It does have some of the monster menace one expects from that look, but there is also a childlike innocence to him, making him kind of a tragic figure. Dwight Frye (who also was in “Dracula”) is really good as Fritz, the humpback assistant of Frankenstein. And in supporting roles we have Mae Clarke, John Boles, Edward Van Sloan, and more, and they all do well in their respective roles.

Like with “Dracula”, this movie doesn’t really have a score. And that works well here. There is music in like the opening and end credits, but between that there’s really nothing. And for those asking “If there is no music, why still have a music section?”. Because if nothing else, I am consistent… also, I gotta find a way to waffle that word count up somehow, ya know.

Based on the 1818 novel of the same name by Mary Shelley, “Frankenstein” was directed by James Whale, and I think he knocked it out of the park. He shows here how to build a quiet intimacy with his characters, while still being able to create haunting and eerie images that add to the drama of movie. And when you mix this with Arthur Edeson’s frankly beautiful cinematography, you get one of the most visually inspired and gothically stunning movies ever.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 91/10. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7.8/10.

So yeah, “Frankenstein” holds up marvelously nearly 90 years later (blimey). It has a great story, good characters, great performances, and excellent directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *IT’S ALI-*, no not yet. My final score for “Frankenstein” is a 9,78/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Frankenstein” is now completed.

Now? Okay, cool. AHEM… IT’S ALIVE!!!

Movie Review: An American Werewolf in London (1981)

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. For today’s Month of Spooks post we’re going with a classic about werewolves. And it’s also a first time watch for me, so it’s pretty exciting. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “An American Werewolf in London”.

After getting attacked by a werewolf while trekking through the English countryside, American college student David (David Naughton) gets sent to the hospital. And we follow him as he tries to cope with the possibility that he might turn into a werewolf himself. So now we have our story. And I think it’s really good, and I think a lot of it comes down to the tone here. While it has its basis in horror, it never takes itself too seriously. That isn’t to say that there isn’t any drama here, because there is, and I think it is fairly effective in getting the audience invested. But it is often more of a dramedy rather than a straight-up horror movie, which I think works very well, and even makes the horror parts of the plot even more effective as it’s such a change in tone and style. Good stuff.

The characters in this are interesting and entertaining. First up we have David Naughton as David, the college student who might be turning into a werewolf. Seeing his development as he copes with the thought of turning as well as everything else surrounding the entire situation is quite interesting, and it makes him a pretty compelling character. And Naughton is great in the role. Next we have Jenny Agutter as Alex, the nurse who treats David at the hospital, while also being a bit of a live interest. She’s charming, clever, and just an overall fun foil for David. And Agutter is really good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Griffin Dunne, John Woodvine, Frank Oz, Don McKillop, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Elmer Bernstein, and it was good. Typical mood-building horror stuff, worked well enough for the various scenes it was used in. Then there were also a bunch of licensed tracks used throughout the movie, and they really added a lot to the movie, giving a bit of extra charm to it, somehow adding to the entire experience. So yeah, this movie had some good music.

This movie was written and directed by John Landis, and I think he did a great job with it. He builds a thick atmosphere here, thick enough that you can shoot it with a silver bullet, and it just adds a lot to the movie. There’s a dread that lingers in the background, and it gives a lot of layers to it all. But it’s not just doom and gloom, as there’s a fair bit of humor throughout the movie. And I found it all to be quite funny. And let’s not delay it any further. Rick Baker’s makeup and effects… they are absolutely fantastic and still really hold up to this day. Especially THAT scene. The people who have seen it know which scene I’m talking about. Mind-blowing stuff, yo.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 60/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best makeup.

“An American Werewolf in London” deftly blends horror, comedy, and drama to create an interesting and compelling package. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing/makeup and effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “An American Werewolf in London” is a 9,67/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “An American Werewolf in London” is now completed.

There’s a bad moon on the rise. Awooo.

Movie Review: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)

The Month of Spooks continues! So what’s on the menu this time? An adaptation of a classic novel? This’ll be interesting.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein”.

Late 18th century. We follow Victor Frankenstein (Kenneth Branagh), a brilliant if somewhat unorthodox scientist. One night he manages to create life in the form of a creature (Robert De Niro) made up of many human parts. However the creature soon escapes and swears revenge on his creator. Basically it’s the classic “Frankenstein” story, but with a few smaller twists throughout. And while I love the ideas in “Frankenstein”, and even find some of the newer ideas intriguing, I thought the plot here was kind of bad. It manages to be slow and have some scenes feel slightly rushed at the same time. The tone is also a bit much, taking itself so fucking seriously that it almost becomes silly. I get it, “Frankenstein” is a serious story, but this is almost too serious for it’s own good. The plot here is just… not good.

The characters here are a bit bland. They try to have them be compelling and interesting, but that attempt kind of fails. Kenneth Branagh plays the titular scientist, and I am a little split on his performance. Because at times I think it’s pretty good, and at other times he is very theatrical and comes off as a bit hammy at times. Then we have Robert De Niro as the creature, a character that I actually found myself caring about a bit. A creation, abandoned by his creator, feared by society… that shit is compelling. And aside from like two moments, De Niro plays this very subtly and gives a really good performance. Then we have Helena Bonham Carter as Elizabeth, adopted sister and love interest of Victor Frankenstein. And while she isn’t the most interesting of characters, I thought Bonham Carter gave a good performance. Then we have Tom Hulce as Henry, friend and pseudo-assistant to Frankenstein. And he’s fine in the role. We also get Ian Holm as Frankenstein’s dad, and he doesn’t do much… but Holm is fine in the role. The performances here are fine.

The score for the movie was composed by Patrick Doyle and it’s actually pretty damn good. It’s big, loud, and kind of epic. My problem with it is that it doesn’t exactly fit with the movie. To have a score this great in combination with a movie so sloppy just feels off. Despite the overall quality of the score, it didn’t really help elevate any of the scenes.

This movie was directed by Kenneth Branagh and he did an okay job. His direction has a lot of flair to it, but feels a bit too big for the story it tries to tell. I have a quote from Frank Darabont (who wrote the script for the movie) that basically encapsulates what I mean, but I’m gonna put that at the end of the post so it doesn’t interfere with the semi-flow of it. Anyhow, can I give any praise here? Well, not gonna lie… this movie is visually arresting. The sets, the cinematography, the clothing… it all looks great. And the creature makeup on De Niro? It looks absolutely amazing! As for scares… none. I think I recognized a couple moments that were supposed to be scares, but didn’t come off as scary or creepy or even slightly eerie.

This movie hasn’t been the most well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 39% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. Roger Ebert  gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,4/10. The movie was nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best Makeup. 

“Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” is not very good. It has a bad plot, meh characters, okay performances, great (if out of place) music, and meh directing. Time for my final score. *IT’S ALIVE!*. My final score for “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” is a 5,54/10. While not the worst, I’d recommend skipping this one.

My review of “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” is now completed.

As promised, the quote from Frank Darabont:

I’ve described Frankenstein as the best script I ever wrote and the worst movie I’ve ever seen. That’s how it’s different.

There’s a weird doppleganger effect when I watch the movie. It’s kind of like the movie I wrote, but not at all like the movie I wrote. It has no patience for subtlety. It has no patience for the quiet moments. It has no patience period. It’s big and loud and blunt and rephrased by the director at every possible turn.

Series Review: The Frankenstein Chronicles – Season 1 (2015)

IT’S ALIVE, IT’S FUCKIN’ ALIVE! JEFF, GET THE CAMERA… ‘CAUSE IT’S ALIVE!

Ladies and gentlemen, these are… “The Frankenstein Chronicles”.

London, early 19th century. Inspector John Marlott (Sean Bean) discovers the body of a dead child washed up on a shore. Upon further investigation it is found out that this child is made up of body parts from a whole bunch of kids, all stitched together. So it’s up to Marlott and his partner Nightingale (Richie Campbell) to find whoever did this and bring him/her to justice. So now we have our 19th century crime-drama. And is it any good? Yeah, I’d definitely say so. Is it perfect? Not really. But damn, it sure did impress me quite a bit. They create an interesting enough plot here that kept me engaged all the way through, filled with twists and turns. And while it has “Frankenstein” in the title, it isn’t a strict “Frankenstein” story, but rather creating an entirely new thing relating in some way to Mary Shelley’s classic story. My only flaw with the plot is the finale. It isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, it even has some pretty damn cool things happening in it. But compared to the relatively slow burn of the rest of the episodes, it felt like it rushed a little bit. It’s a minor flaw, but I thought it would be worth noting. Overall the plot here is really good.

When it comes to the characters here, only three of the main players I found interesting. The rest I thought were a little bland and forgettable. Sean Bean plays John Marlott, the inspector leading this investigation into the stitched together child. He’s a deeply troubled man who has experienced some shit in his past, and Sean Bean is absolutely fantastic in the role, often acting the shit out of a scene with just his eyes, he really knows how to do troubled really well. Richie Campbell plays Joseph Nightingale, Marlott’s partner in this investigation. He’s a bit more of a lighthearted presence than Marlott, but he’s still a fairly serious and interesting character. And Campbell is great in the role. The final one I want to properly go through is Elosie Smyth as Flora, a young woman that Marlott meets during his investigation and makes an ally out of. She’s a damaged individual, but she does get a somewhat good arc here. And Eloise Smyth does a really good job here. And while I think pretty much all the other characters were kind of meh, they weren’t necessarily bad. Their writing is fine, and the actors do really well in their respective roles, but their characters weren’t really as memorable or interesting as those three I mentioned before. So this is overall well acted, with some flaws in the characters.

The score for the show was composed by Roger Goula and I think he did a really good job. His score is eerie and atmospheric, perfectly capturing the intended tone of the show. It also managed to give me some chills throughout, which helped elevate some already kind of chilling scenes.

This show was created by Benjamin Ross & Barry Langford, and written/directed by various people. And they manage to create some really interesting stuff here. Their directing looks really good and managed to create a feel of unease from the very first frame. There are also some scenes here that are pretty suspenseful, adding to the already good quality of the show. I also want to mention that the period detail here is amazing, they really made it feel like the early 19th century.

While there isn’t much on this show where I usually steal reception data from, it seems to have been pretty well received (as far as I can tell). On Rotten Tomatoes it does exist, but has no score on there. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist at all. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“The Frankenstein Chronicles” is a pretty damn solid show. It has a really good plot, okay characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing. My only flaws with it come from my minor problem with the finale, and most characters being pretty unmemorable. Time for my final score. *IT’S ALIVE!*. My final score for “The Frankenstein Chronicles” season 1 is an 8,98/10. While flawed, I’d say that it is definitely worth a watch.

My review of “The Frankenstein Chronicles” season 1 is now completed.

IT’S ALI- Okay, I’m gonna stop that now.

“Kong: Skull Island” Comic Con Trailer

I know that I am spamming stuff at you, but I can’t help it… Comic Con brings us a lot of interesting shit. SO LET’S DO THIS!

So we now have a trailer for the upcoming “Kong: Skull Island”, a sort of reboot of the classic “King Kong” franchise. From the producers of the 2014 “Godzilla” reboot, a movie that I really enjoy. And this trailer makes the movie look like it could be as cool as “Godzilla” and probably even more intense. Because now we don’t have the entire military and some giant EMP-based bugs… but we have a small-ish group of people, consisting of Brie Larson, John Goodman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Tom Hiddleston who looks quite ab it like Leon S. Kennedy from “Resident Evil 4” (the game, not the movie). And it’s these people, plus some expendable folks, against tribe members and a giant motherfuckin’ gorilla who we only see bits of. Which is great, because I don’t have to see Kong in all of his awesome glory until the movie comes out. But yeah, this movie looks intense and badass and I am definitely hyped for it. Great trailer. “Kong: Skull Island” is set for a March 2017 release.

So what are your thoughts on this? Are you excited about “Kong: Skull Island”? And what are your thoughts on the 2014 “Godzilla” movie? Leave any and all answers in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer!

Movie Review : Godzilla (2014)

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Monster movies…they are…usually a hit-or-miss type of movie. It’s kind of like Russian Roulette, if you understand how I mean. Either it clicks and survives, or it will go bang and die. That is what happened back in 1998 when Roland Emmerich tried his hands at making his own “Godzilla” movie. The revolver went bang. But 16 years later we get a new “Godzilla” movie. And how is it? Will it be as shit as its 1998 counterpart or will it be the “Godzilla” movie we have all been waiting for? Let’s find out.

Monsters and monserettes…”Godzilla”!

Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) works at a nuclear plant in Japan. He lives in Japan with his wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche) and his son Ford (CJ Adams). One day when he goes to work they get some unusual readings. His wife goes down with a team of science-y people to take a closer look. Suddenly there is a bit of an earthquake (which it had been earllier as well). But Joe doesn’t really think it are earthquakes mentioning that earthquakes are “random” and these were not. But something goes wrong and a toxic gas thing leaks out, almost even chasing Sandra and her team. Before she and her team arrive at the big heavy metal door, the gas almost reaches the door and Joe has to close it…with his wife still inside that tunnel. Then after he had closed it on time…she arrives at the door. Her suit can’t keep her from the gas and she will die. And she does. Joe of course cries about it. Then the entire plant crumbles together. Sure, Joe gets out…but his wife fucking died in front of him…ON HIS BIRTHDAY! His son, with the rest of his class gets away from school since a nuclear plant crumbling together will cause a new Chernobyl-ish.
Cut to 15 years later. Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is coming home to his family (Elizabeth Olsen & Carson Bolde) after serving in the army. But his happiness doesn’t last too long since he gets a phone call regarding his dad Joe getting his ass arrested for going somewhere he should not have. So of course Ford goes to Japan to help bail his poor old man out of jail. After that situation they go and do the same thing again because…why not? And of course they get captured, but this time taken to a military base. Where the people there tries to kill off a…thing in a cocoon. But they only wake it up and will come to KILL US ALL. And it feasts on radiation. So the story is very well set up. And it goes on and it never gets me bored. Something is always going on! Even if it’s something as small/simple as two people talking to eachother, this movie makes that interesting. Maybe it’s because Ken Watanabe does a good amount of talking in this movie…who knows. The only complaint I have with the plot was that there was not enough Godzilla. When Godzilla had any story stuff in the movie it was very interesting and entertaining, but it was not enough. But still, very good story.

The characters…they are very good for a monster movie. Ususally when I watch a monster movie I don’t give a shit about the characters. Seriously. But here I actually kinda felt for them…especially Godzilla. Call me a fanboy if you want, I don’t give a shit. But if we count away Godzilla for a second…major prasie to Bryan Fucking Cranston as Joe Brody…so much emotion and just good ol’ great acting coming from his way. Too bad he doesn’t get nearly enough screen time. He was fantastic in it. The only character complaint I have is for teh character of Ford. They could have fleshed him out a little more. Otherwise, good characters and fantastic acting in this movie. And Godzilla is the best character no matter what all people consider “characters”.

The music is just…perfect. The score by Alexandre Desplat is just fucking magnificent! It is perfectly orchestrated and just fits the movie so damn well! It just shows how epic everything is! Not kidding, just listen if you watch the movie.

This movie looks…fucking amazing. It is so well filmed. This movie looks beautiful. Not just in its CGI, but how it is filmed. Gareth Edward knows what the hell he does behind a camera! Also, if you look closely/pay attention, you will notice many easter eggs that refer to old “Godzilla” movies. This movie is full of them. Go look for ’em. Here is a clue for ya…glass cage with a type of bug.

Reception for “Godzilla” was overall pretty good. Rotten Tomatoes holds the rating of 73% on it and have certified it fresh. Metacritic has given it a 61/100 score. And no Roger Ebert thing (since he passed away over a year ago).
imdb.com currently holds the rating of 7,9 on the movie.

So I have given some fairly good opinions on different aspects. Here is my score: 9,76/10. This movie is worth watching on the cinema…and the 3D isn’t actually that bad. Also, when this movie comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray, it is a must buy for not only monster film fans, but also people who just like movies. This movie gets the “Seal of Approval”.Image

 

Review of “Godzilla” is now done. And for once I reviewed something that just came out.

Oh no, they say he’s got to go, Go Go Godzilla!