IT (2017)



Summer has (almost) come and gone, and with it one of the most disappointing box office seasons in a decade. Though the executives may lament the low ticket sales, i sure got into the theaters more than i have in years this summer (except in August, absolutely nothing came out in August that i, and many others wanted to see).

Well, it’s up to late summer and fall then to make up for it with some interesting releases. First up is IT; and it certainly is doing just that. Already it’s 2nd highest in R rated movie grosses of all time, and when my sister and i came out of the theater people were lined up outside like they were for The Force Awakens or The Dark Knight.

I hope this film’s, Deadpool‘s, and Logan‘s successes will help usher in a reevaluation in the industry, that will hopefully lead to the diminishment of PG13 hand holding (though here in Canada the film is rated 14a).

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Nosferatu (1922)



It’s always tricky reviewing really old movies, like Le Voyage Dans la Lun, or The Great Train Robbery, or later stuff like The General and in this case Nosferatu. As they are at this point over or almost a hundred years old, and are rather dated nowadays.

But does that stop them from being good?

Especially considering films like Nosferatu, and Le Voyage Dans la Lun laid the very foundations that The Godfather and The Phantom Menace would later stand on. I think Nosferatu is better constructed than say Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but it isn’t as easily watchable, hence the conundrum.

But let’s get onto it and see.

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ALIEN (2003 Special Edition)



Well, now that the Oilers are out of the playoffs i can get back to work.

And considering Alien: Covenant is only a week or so away i figured it would be good to use the opportunity to re-watch and review the Alien series in preparation for it.

Naturally we start with the first of the series; I would say i was about 11-12 when i watched Alien for the first time, and to my shame my initial reaction was that of disappointment. The fact that the film only had one of them and was a horror film through and through left me in the dust, i wanted to see dozens of the things machine-gunned down by tough space marines, i wanted loud bangs and set pieces, i wanted Aliens.

Later on in my teens I purchased the excellent special editions of both Alien and Aliens sometime in 2005, and of course watched Aliens to death (which i had already done with a VHS copy of the extended cut, much to my sister’s irritation) but it wasn’t until Halloween of that year when i found myself alone that i decided to watch the director’s cut of Alien by myself.

All i can say is that it is amazing what a bit of a shift in perspective and context can do to a viewing experience. I was absolutely blown away by that viewing, i was creeped out, i was thrilled, and i was most certainly intrigued by what i had seen far more than what my young mind was capable of appreciating when i had first seen it.

Once again it’s been 12 years since that night, and i was curious as to whether the film would hold up to yet another drastic change in perspective…

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I’m not a fan of Live Action Trailers…


This has been a topic that i’ve had rattling around in my head for a little while now; in fact it has been something that i thought i might write about since i saw DOOM‘s live action trailer:

I think it’s well-known that i love DOOM, all things DOOM in fact. And i didn’t think it was possible for me to be turned off by an advertisement for DOOM. But holy shit that trailer almost did the trick.

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Apocalypse Now Redux


I watched this years ago. I was probably 12 or 13 and probably too early to be able to make any sense of it really, i remember the imagery, the insanity, Brando mumbling something about “the horror”, and how that guy loved the smell of napalm in the morning. That’s this movie’s greatest strength really, how some part of it will linger with anyone who watches it.

Its had to have been almost 10 years since i last saw it fully, and i was curious to see how i would take it now. So in it went and here we are.



Adapting the story of Heart of Darkness, we follow Captain Ben Willard as he takes a boat up a river that leads all the way up through the insanity of Vietnam War to kill Colonel Kurtz. A man who has indeed seen the heart of darkness, and has never looked back.



Segments like the opening of the film showing how Willard spends his nights and Kurtz’s assassination are testaments to how much power there can be to a well done montage. The images of Martin Sheen slowing slipping off the map have been seared into my mind since the first time i watched Apocalypse Now. Indeed the entire film is a triumph of atmosphere, as it is so relentlessly oppressive that its no wonder that almost everyone in the film can be considered crazy.

Memorable performances abound as well, with the aforementioned Sheen giving certainly one of his most memorable performances. Supporting players Robert Duvall and Albert Hall are also solid in their respective roles with the former lending a sense of overwhelming detachment to the surrounding violence, and the latter being the only real sane person in the entire rotten situation.



The film’s atmosphere is so incredibly well done it manages to almost mask how plodding and disjointed the actual story of the film is. I find that after the helicopter attack, the film’s structure devolves into a series of increasingly depraved episodes emphasising how the act of war brings out the absolute worse in people, that are only connected to one another by the river that runs through it all. While the narrative structure itself lends to the creation and maintaining of the tone of the film, it does make it almost a chore to sit through.

Only when the crew reaches their destination does the plot seem to pick up again, but this only leads into my pick for the film’s biggest failure; the anticlimactic reveal of Colonel Kurtz. Throughout the entire film Kurtz hangs over the production like a shadow, and he’s built up to indeed be the heart of darkness himself. Sheen’s voice overs examining the life of this man manage to tell us everything about Kurtz and yet reveal nothing. The growing horrors of the river only intensify the desire to know what indeed led Kurtz to throw his life away and live in the jungle.

After hours of waiting and hours of magnificent atmosphere, we are treated to an incredible disappointment. Kurtz is revealed to be a grossly overweight Marlon Brando babbling inconsequential nonsense and hiding in the shadows trying to act the boogie man. I can’t even put my thumb on what went wrong or how to fix things. Kurtz is swathed in the shadows but for some reason all sense of mystery is gone the moment he talks. His most interesting scene where he describes the mutilation of village children comes far too late to stop the disappointment of how underwhelming he is. I find no grand sense universal hopelessness or ambiguity from Kurtz, to me he’s just a guy who saw too much crazy and went crazy himself.

In fact that can be said about the entire production itself, there’s no ambiguity in its message. Almost everyone in the film can be considered crazy or detached, Lance one of the gunners on the boat goes crazy for no reason (other than that he is a surfer from California), explosive violence is always on verge of breaking out, and the insanity of war is hammered home with all the subtlety and impact of a rail gun.

This single minded and bull dogged approach leaves no room for me to contemplate any other moral from the film. There’s nothing here in the film other than screaming that war is awful, and particularly that the Vietnam War was bat shit crazy. I suppose to people who lived through the Vietnam War this is perhaps precisely why the film is heralded as a masterpiece. To someone like me however, who is completely and totally removed from that war it just makes me bored.



I’m honestly torn as to what my final thoughts are about Apocalypse Now. Taken as an example of how the language of cinema can be used to thoroughly unsettle and impact a viewer there is almost no better example. Indeed the film is a masterpiece of horror and insanity. But its failures are so large in my mind that i simply can’t give it the rating that its tone alone would deserve.

So i won’t.