[31 Days of Horror 3] Day 9 – 1408 (2007)

Director: Mikael Hafstrom

Cast: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack, Tony Shalhoub

Screenplay: Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski

104 mins. Rated PG-13 for

 

Hey folks, not much time tonight, so I’m going to cover one of my favorite Stephen King adaptations in 1408, a near-perfect small horror story.

Mike Enslin (John Cusack, Being John Malkovitch, Cell) is a horror writer, a reviewer of haunted places. And now, while writing his next book on haunted hotels, he sets his sights on the Dolphin Hotel, and its infamous room, 1408. The hotel manager Gerald Olin (Samuel L. Jackson, Pulp Fiction, Avengers: Age of Ultron) wishes to stop him from ever getting in, but when Mike is in the room, he discovers that the 56 people who have died in 1408 haven’t all left, and they are looking to make Mike Number 57.

1408 is small, and that isn’t a bad thing. I regularly cite 1408 and its impressive use of its small setting and focus on its lead with a powerful performance from Cusack. The movie wouldn’t work without someone strong at the forefront, and Cusack proves his worth here.

He is matched by a small supporting role from Jackson, who may not appear in the film often, but does offer opposition whenever given the opportunity. There’s some nice albeit miniscule work from Mary McCormack (K-Pax, Scooby Doo! WrestleMania Mystery) and Tony Shalhoub (TV’s Monk, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows) here, but again, the stars of 1408 are John Cusack and Room 1408.

Director Mikael Hafstrom (Escape Plan, The Rite) may not be a big name, but he certainly wields a big vision with 1408, a small movie which is the biggest compliment I can give in a world where movies feel like they have to get bigger and bigger. The source material from Stephen King is great, it is adapted very well, performed extremely well, and tied up nicely. There is a fault. Oh yes. The ending. I won’t dicsuss it, but I will say, watch the Director’s Cut. The ending there feels more in line with the foreshadowing the film constantly throws out. The film is great nonetheless, but the ending of the Theatrical Cut could have hit better.

 

4.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

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400 Posts! This is Why I Love You!

 

So we just passed my 400th Post earlier this month, and I’m so happy to tell you that I’m having the time of my life. I cannot thank you all for reading. 2016 is looking to be the best year yet for this site, and there’s so much more to come! Thanks again! I thought that, today, we could look at my top ten posts so far! Check it out!

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  1. Turbo Charged Prelude (2003)
  2. Poltergeist (1982)
  3. Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
  4. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
  5. Leprechaun (1993)
  6. Frankenstein (1994)
  7. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
  8. The Fast and the Furious (2001)
  9. Horror Express (1972)
  10. Independence Day (1996)

 

Check them out, and thanks again! See you at 500!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Friday the 13th] Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

 

Director: Steve Miner

Cast: Dana Kimmell, Tracie Savage, Richard Brooker, Paul Kratka

Screenplay: Martin Kitrosser, Carol Watson

95 mins. Rated R.

 

Happy Friday the 13th. Today, we’ll look back on the third film in the horror franchise, Friday the 13th Part III. You may recall this entry being the first major film in its time to be shot in 3D. The previous major release 3D film from Paramount had been 1954’s Ulysses, so the gimmick had pretty much run its course (funny for me to say as it appears to be happening again right now). Heck, even the opening credits are in 3D, a trippy and very 1980s sequence of reds and blues.

Technically taking place on Saturday the 14th, the film picks up just following the horrific events of the previous film as Jason (Richard Brooker, Deathstalker, Deep Sea Conspiracy) continues his weekend long trek of vengeance over the death of his mother. Today, he comes across Chris (Dana Kimmell, Lone Wolf McQuade, By Dawn’s Early Light) who has had a run-in with the slasher before. In fact, Chris has come back out to her family’s cabin to get over the horrific memories of what happened. Her estranged boyfriend Rick (Paul Kratka, Blood Was Everywhere) tries to comfort her, but he is left unable to understand her pain. As Jason begins picking off Chris’s friends one by one, the young woman is left to her own devices to defeat the masked monster.

The problem with this sequel from Steve Miner (Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, Day of the Dead) is that his and his production team’s focus is all on the gimmick, and it is used rather poorly. Instead of focusing on using the 3D to enhance the story, the filmmaker chooses to employ the gimmick to show yo-yos and juggling…

Because of the 3D, the film doesn’t get to focus on the character development, and the movie suffers. Many performers acknowledged that other factors were more important than…acting.

This film is iconic for one major moment in the creation of Jason’s most important look: the hockey mask. There are several versions of the story of how it was found and used, so I won’t go into any of that.

The film has several callbacks to the original two films as it was seen as the closing chapter of the trilogy. For example, the character of Abel was created to envoke Crazy Ralph. There are murders in the film that callback those from the other films. In many ways, the film was created to close the trilogy. In fact, it’s almost become the middle of a trilogy consisting of Part 2 and The Final Chapter. All three films exist on the same weekend and create an interesting Jason trilogy that stand out from the other entries.

Friday the 13th Part III is a fun movie because it doesn’t take itself seriously. This movie by no means is good, but this is the first installment that really knows what it wants to be, embracing the campiness and being equal parts scary and fun, a formula that would later be perfected in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. It also began the tradition of filming sequels under the title of a David Bowie song (this one being Crystal Japan). Friday the 13th Part III is fun. Stupid fun. But fun nonetheless.

 

2.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Sean S. Cunningham’s Friday the 13th, click here.

For my review of Steve Miner’s Friday the 13th Part 2, click here.

Series Trailer for Outcast is Quick and Strange!

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Okay, quick piece of news today, I just spotted the Season 1 trailer for Outcast, the new Cinemax series from the creator of The Walking Dead comic book series, Robert Kirkman.

The trailer is rather quick, and really teases a lot of the strange and dark moments from the series. It doesn’t give away much in terms of the story, which follows a young man plagued with possession all his life and trying to find answers. Pretty slim details have emerged, and I think the crew knows this. The mystery is what I find so intriguing about it.

Not much else to say, but there is a link available below. I’m still up in the air on my interest level of Outcast, so what do you think? Will you be tuning in for Episode 1? And what’s your favorite possession story? Let me know!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Oscar Madness] Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015)

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Director: Mark Burton, Richard Starzak

Cast: Justin Fletcher, John Sparkles, Omid Djalili

Screenplay: Mark Burton, Richard Starzak

85 mins. Rated PG for rude humor.

  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

 

It seems like every year, I’m stuck watching an animated film with stop motion techniques. To be honest, I’ve rarely enjoyed this form of the media. There are a few winners out there, but overall, it just hasn’t hit with me.

Shaun the Sheep the Movie

Well, here’s my review of Shaun the Sheep Movie

Shaun (Justin Fletcher, TV’s Gigglebiz) is up to his old shenanigans again. He and his flock are up to no good as they try to escape from the farm. In the process of this latest attempt, Shaun accidentally injures the Farmer (John Sparkles, TV’s Peppa Pig, Calendar Girls) and gives him amnesia. Now, it’s up to Shaun and the flock to return the Farmer back home and elude the animal control worker Trumper (Omid Djalili, Gladiator, Sex and the City 2) in the process.

I’m going to try and keep this one short as I really don’t like these types of films. That being said…

I actually enjoyed Shaun the Sheep Movie more than I had planned to. The film is cute, and makes great use of its absence of dialogue by offering a visual feast for the entirety of its runtime. I found Shaun to be a capable lead, Trumper to be a capable villain, and the Farmer to be a capable damsel.

The runtime does run on a bit too long, and one has to ask the question of why make this story a feature. The subplot involving the amnesiac Farmer is a little sillier than it needed to be and could’ve explored other storytelling avenues.

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Shaun the Sheep Movie is an imperfect family film, but definitely one of the better and smarter ones. Adults may not enjoy the loss of language in the film, but the test of a dialogue-less story makes for a more interesting one. It isn’t deserving of walking away with the statue this year, but it is very deserving of recognition nonetheless.

 

3.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

[#2016oscardeathrace]

Well, here we are again. The 2016 Academy Award Nominations. As many of you know, I came across a fun little cinephile idea online several years back called the Oscar Death Race. It’s an enjoyable excursion and test to see how many Oscar nominees you can see before the big night. Below you will find the nominees and links to any reviews I had previously done. Join me on this little adventure by using #2016oscardeathrace and let’s enjoy 2015’s best in film.

 

Best Picture

  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Spotlight

 

Best Director

  • Lenny Abrahamson, Room
  • Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant
  • Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
  • Adam McKay, The Big Short
  • George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

 

Best Actor

  • Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  • Matt Damon, The Martian
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

 

Best Actress

  • Cate Blanchett, Carol
  • Brie Larson, Room
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
  • Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
  • Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

 

Best Supporting Actor

  • Christian Bale, The Big Short
  • Tom Hardy, The Revenant
  • Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
  • Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
  • Sylvester Stallone, Creed

 

Best Supporting Actress

  • Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
  • Rooney Mara, Carol
  • Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
  • Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
  • Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

 

Best Original Screenplay

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Ex Machina
  • Inside Out
  • Spotlight
  • Straight Outta Compton

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • The Big Short
  • Brooklyn
  • Carol
  • The Martian
  • Room

 

Best Animated Feature

  • Anomalisa
  • Boy & the World
  • Inside Out
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie
  • When Marnie Was There

 

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Embrace of the Serpent
  • Mustang
  • Son of Saul
  • Theeb
  • A War

 

Best Documentary

  • Amy
  • Cartel Land
  • The Look of Silence
  • What Happened, Miss Simone?
  • Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

 

Best Original Score

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Carol
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Sicario
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

Best Original Song

  • “Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey
  • “Manta Ray” from Racing Extinction
  • “Simple Song #3” from Youth
  • “Til It Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground
  • “Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre

 

Best Sound Editing

 

Best Sound Mixing

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 

Best Production Design

 

Best Cinematography

 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  • The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant

 

Best Costume Design

 

Best Film Editing

 

Best Visual Effects