What better way could a horror fan spend Halloween weekend than attending a night of brand new horror films? On the 29th October I attended the Frightfest Halloween all-nighter, a true endurance test for any filmlover no matter how much they love horror or caffeine. After last year's technical hiccups and overall disappointing lineup where the only real positives were the friendly atmosphere and Tetsuya Nakashima's Confesions, how did this year's event hold up?
Before he settled down to writing The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man and other hardboiled classics, Dashiell Hammett worked for a time with the Pinkerton Detective Agency. The conceit of Hammett (1982) is that the ageing author (played by Frederick Forrest with snowy white wings under his fedora) is torn from his typewriter to bring his old skills to bear and help his ex-partner Jimmy Ryan (Peter Boyle) locate a missing Chinese girl, Crystal Ling (Lydia Lei.) Along the way, he stumbles upon a racket in human trafficking, falls foul of some grafting flatfeet and gets his suit mussed and his lip bloodied in any number of tight corners.
After the glorious Seventies, the Eighties was a turbulent decade for Francis Ford Coppola, and the downward trend was set with this movie, the director's unlikely 1982 follow-up to Apocalypse Now. It concerns Hank (Frederick Forrest) and Fran (Teri Gar,) a couple who feel the romance slipping from their lives as they approach middle age. Fran works in a travel agency, wistfully designing window displays of glamorous holiday locations she'll never see. Hank is a gruff blue-collar worker and he's piling on the pounds. The two split up on their anniversary, which happens to be the 4th of July, then go their separate ways on the Vegas Strip. Fran takes up with a Ray (Raoul Julia,) a waiter who shares her wanderlust, while Hank meets Leila (Nastassja Kinski,) a mysterious circus girl.
One of the oldest and dearest of childhood traditions is arguably the belief in Santa Claus. He has many variations around the globe, but the basics are always there: beard, red clothing, approachable demeanour. Sinterklaas is the Duch and Belgian basis for Santa, dressed like a bishop and accompanied by Zwarte Piets (Black Petes) which leads to an objectionable use of "blackface" during the seasonal celebrations.
With Captain America: The First Avenger being released on DVD and Blu-ray this week (25th Oct), writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have told The HD Room that the sequel will stick mostly to Marvel Universe's present day. Seeing as though that's where the first film ended, I think this is something we had already predicted.
A set of promotional photos have been released for Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie by Entertainment Weekly this week.
With the release of Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin this week (26th Oct), there’s news that the film’s sequel is already underway.
Nostalgia can be a wonderful thing, but there’s always a risk that revisiting cherished childhood memories can be something of a double edged sword. This week, two of the pillars of my formative years, Tintin and Ghostbusters hit the big screen.
Set in 1963 Mississippi, US box office smash The Help is based on the 2009 novel of the same name, penned by director Tate Taylor’s childhood friend, Kathering Stockett. Hollywood hot property Emma Stone leads the narrative as uni graduate Skeeter, an aspiring writer who returns home to find that the black maid who helped bring her up has inexplicably disappeared. Distraught by this turn of events and perturbed by how her friends treat their own domestic ‘help’, Skeeter decides to anonymously document the relationships of her Stepford Wife-style peers and their household help - as seen through the eyes of the African-American maids.
Farrelly brothers Peter and Bobby are finally moving onto a project that they have long wanted to do: a second instalment for the 1994 hit comedy, Dumb and Dumber.