Victor Salva's creation is a mash up of several horror sub-genres. Each individual part comes together to make a disjointed, but satisfying whole.
The film's horror elements deliver the right amount of frights and gore to entertain anyone. Although it's the film's surprise reveal and tonal shift that is the most inventive. When it becomes a monster movie with a lot of dark comedy it subverts expectations. The twist doesn't fully work as the ridiculous nature of it almost derails the whole film. But Salva manages deliver some genuine entertaining moments in the final act, which saves the film.
It also helps that it looks excellent. Its stylish and inherently sinister, wearing its influences on its sleeve. Even the monster concept looks suitably original and scary.
Salva's script is intelligent, but has a few dialogue flaws when more of the locals get involved. But it is Gina Philips and Justin Long that do the heavy lifting for Salva. They sell the script and are a likeable pairing.
Jeepers Creepers is an interesting film that manages to do something surprising with its twist. Salva's gamble with the shift in tone pays off, even if he only just manages to pull it off. However it is his unique take on the horror genre that has made Jeepers Creepers one of the most original and entertaing American horror films of the 21st century.
Dan Cole watched
J. J. Abrams sequel to his 2009 reboot is solid blockbuster entertainment. Its loud, flashy and funny. With the director once again jumping head first into his sexier version of the beloved franchise.
The main ingredient for the film's success is once again the ship's crew. The Pine/Quinto/Urban trinity are on fine form. Each one of them quipping and emoting to full effect. Pegg and Saldana also get more to do here in the sequel and their beefed up screen time is welcome. Cho and Yelchin round out the crew and although they have moments to shine they don't really move beyond their two dimensional characterisations.
Added to the cast are Benedict Cumberbatch, Alice Eve and Peter Weller. Cumberbatch is an excellent antagonist for portions of the film, but his performance (English bad guy) sometimes gets away from him and all the menace he exudes disappears. Weller's role is part of a predictable plot twist and his performance is tired, as if Weller couldn't be bothered to act. But Alice Eve is the most problematic addition. She is there for plot purposes only and her delivery isn't convincing, especially in her character's more emotional moments.
However it is the cast that sells the film, giving it a wit and charm that isn't often seen in more recent and serious blockbusters. But the writing team deserve some credit for the dialogue. However the plot itself is a simple and tediously predictable affair. That being said the film doesn't invest much in its actual plot as the characters come first, which works due to the central performances.
Abrams does try to tackle some themes within the film, but he doesn't fully commit. The well worn thematic strands of "The enemy from within" and "Orders VS the right thing to do" are at the films heart. Both themes play out as you expect and don't really add anything to the actual film. The most interesting thing the film looks at is the idea of the purpose of the Enterprise's mission, are they explorers or military. Interesting enough this seems like a self critique of the franchise itself. Is Star Trek a cerebral affair or an action adventure. The film's answer to this seems to be the latter, which isn't a bad thing.
As for the actual look of the film, the sleek and sexy Star Trek is back. However it still throws in the more industrial vibe, which makes the whole thing seem more believable from a visual stand point. But the planet surface designs (apart from the red world) are all a little generic in their futuristic way.
The swooping corridor shots and lens flares are still there. But it is Abrams eye for action that still impresses. He does know how to stage an action set piece, but yet again this is a film without a stand out moment. It is pleasing to the eye and thrilling, but there is nothing within the film's action that truly seems unique or compelling.
But the biggest problem the film has is with Michael Giacchino's score. The theme itself is a great piece of music and fits the vision of this new Star Trek, but his ability to over play the emotional moments drags the film down. Perfectly pitched performances become overtly melodramatic as Giacchino milks every ounce of emotion out of the key emotional beats of the film. The way the score is used makes it seem intrusive and distracting.
So, Star Trek Into Darkness is an action adventure that is more akin to Star Wars than its namesake. The film is carried by its charming cast, but this isn't a problem as the film is a fun romp thanks to them.
Disney decides to take a very different approach with Atlantis. It is a more mature affair than the studio's usual output.
Directors Trousdale and Wise deliver a film that is fast paced and packed with action. The climatic battle in particular is somewhat breathtaking.
But it is Mike Mignola's influence on the art style and the pulp science fiction narrative that makes Atlantis unique. The film-makers attempts to tackle themes of anti-imperialism also add a layer of depth that is rarely seen in a Disney film.
However some of the characterisation is quite lacking, with the comedy characters coming off the worst.
So, Disney's first science fiction animation may have a few problems, but is a refreshing change of pace for the studio.
Dan Cole watched
The third instalment of Tony Stark's story is the best outing yet. Shane Black comes on board as writer/director and his presence is felt immediately. Along with Drew Pearce, Black has crafted a tale that puts character first but still manages to be both thrilling and hilarious.
The script is punchy and delivered with aplomb by the cast. As always it is Downey Jr who captures your attention and this time he is given a more emotionally complex Tony Stark to play with. It is a fitting heroes journey that is wholly satisfying and uses everything that has come before to create some excellent drama. Although the voice-over is a little overwrought at times.
The rest of the cast also bring the goods with Ben Kingsley and Guy Pearce the stand outs. Series veterans Paltrow, Cheadle, Bettany and Favreau all get moments to shine too.
As for the actual plot the film introduces some interesting elements and themes that really work well in the Iron Man universe. Cheeky nods to fans are littered throughout also. It still suffers from some elements that don't work (Rebecca Hall's character arc), but on the whole it is an engaging story told with confidence by Black.
His eye for action is excellent as he delivers some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most interesting and entertaining action set pieces. Also it must be said that although the bright "Marvel style" is present, this is the first film from the MCU that feels like it has a true directors touch (noted Thor had flashes of Branagh). It is a more moody affair with an emphasis on actors and comic timing that is reminiscent of Black's other works.
The film takes risks both narratively and stylistically, which only serve to make this one hell of an entertaining ride. If this is truly the last time Iron Man has a solo adventure, then there is no better way to end the franchise.
Perhaps Hayao Miyazaki's most visually arresting film. Castle In The Sky has a sense of wonder that is enhanced by its sweeping shots of some truly striking and detailed imagery.
A well thought out and vivid world goes hand in hand with a poignant and exciting story. It has a swashbuckling feel to it that never gets too much.A truly wondrous experience.