HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: FROM HELL

CAST

Johnny Depp (Blow)
Heather Graham (The Hangover)
Ian Holm (Lord of The Rings)
Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter)
Ian Richardson (Highlander: The Series)
Jason Flemyng (X-Men: First Class)
Sophia Myles (Underworld)
Ian McNeice (Dune – The Mini Series)
Dominic Cooper (Agent Carter)

In 1888, Mary Kelly (Heather Graham) and her small group of London prostitutes trudge through unrelenting daily misery. When their friend Ann Crook (Joanna Page) is kidnapped, they are drawn into a conspiracy with links higher up than they could possibly imagine. The kidnapping is soon followed by the gruesome murder of another woman, Martha Tabram (Samantha Spiro); and it becomes apparent that they are being hunted down, one by one as various prostitutes are murdered and mutilated post-mortem.
The murder of Martha and her companions grabs the attention of Whitechapel Police Inspector Frederick Abberline (Johnny Depp), a brilliant, yet troubled, man whose police work is often aided by his psychic “visions.” His colleague, Sergeant Peter Godley, tries to grasp his friend’s wild theories. Abberline’s investigations reveal that the murders, while gruesome, imply that an educated person is responsible due to the precise and almost surgical method used. Ann is found a few days later in a workhouse having been lobotomized after officials and doctors supposedly found her to be insane.
It is implied this was done to silence her. Abberline consults Sir William Gull (Ian Holm), a physician to the Royal Family, drawing on his experience and knowledge of medicine. During this meeting it is revealed Abberline is struggling with opium addiction. Gulls findings, coupled with his superiors impeding his investigations, point Abberline to a darker and more organized conspiracy than he originally thought. Abberline becomes deeply involved with the case, which takes on personal meaning to him when he and Mary begin to fall in love.
Abberline deduces that Freemason influence is definitely present in these crimes. His superior, a high ranking Freemason himself, then makes direct intervention and suspends Abberline. It is then revealed that Gull is the killer. He has been killing the witnesses to painter Albert Sickert (Mark Dexter)’s forbidden Catholic marriage to Crook, who bore his legitimate daughter Alice. Sickert is actually Prince Albert, grandson of reigning Queen Victoria (Liz Moscrop), and therefore Alice is heiress to the British throne. Gull tells Abberline that “mankind will remember him for giving birth to the 20th century.” Abberline draws his gun, but before he is able to shoot Gull, he is knocked out by one of Gull’s henchmen.
Gull tries to have Abberline eliminated without leaving any witnesses, but Abberline fights back and kills two of the assassins by overturning a carriage. Gull himself is a Freemason and his increasingly sinister behavior lends an insight into his murderous, but calculated, mind. Rather than publicly charge Gull, the Freemasons decide to lobotomize him to protect themselves and the Royal Family from the scandal. Gull defiantly states he has no equal among men, remaining unrepentant up to his lobotomy, resulting in him becoming invalid just as Ann had been.
Abberline tries to save Mary, but arrives too late, and blames his superior for not helping him or Godley on the cases. Abberline does nothing but watch Mary’s mutilated body being taken away. Abberline receives a mysterious letter, which he soon realizes is from Mary, but he decides not to look for her as a way to offer her protection, as the Freemasons may be watching his every move. Abberline decides to burn the letter, knowing that he can never have a normal life. Mary Kelly does not die; Gull earlier mistook Ada, whom Liz said was from France (but is from Brussels in Belgium), for Mary and he kills her instead. Mary lives with Alice in a cottage on a cliff by the sea. Abberline is found dead of an opium overdose, knowing he can never see Mary again without endangering her. Sergeant Godley comes to pay his respects for the Inspector.The film is well made and the atmosphere is excellently built up throughout the film. It is one of those films where you notice something different almost every time you watch it and it takes a couple of watches to appreciate the story fully

REVIEW: WHITE NOISE

 

CAST
Michael Keaton (Birdman)
Chandra West  (Puppet Master 4 & 5)
Deborah Kara Unger (Highlander 3)
Ian McNeice (Dune Mini Series)
Sarah Strange (Kindergarten cop 2)
Nicholas Elia (Speed Racer)
Mike Rivers (War)
Mike Dopud (Man of Steel)
Mitchell Kosterman (Smallville)
Amber Rothwell (Andromeda)
Keegan Connor Tracy (Bates Motel)
Aaaron Douglas (Van Helsing)
Pete Bryant (Legends of Tomorrow)
April Telek (Hell on Wheels)
file_204535_4_Black_Moon_Rising_Tommy_Lee_Jones
Jonathan Rivers (Michael Keaton) is a successful architect and lives a peaceful life with his wife Anna (Chandra West) until her unexpected disappearance. Eventually, he is contacted by Raymond Price (Ian McNeice), who claims that his own son had also died. He says he has recorded messages from Anna through electronic voice phenomena (EVP). While Jonathan is initially dismissive and angered, he later learns about his wife’s tragic drowning. Desperate, he begins to believe that the recorded voice is indeed that of his wife. Jonathan becomes obsessed with trying to contact her himself, despite warnings from a psychic, Mirabelle Keegan (Keegan Connor Tracy), who tries to tell him how the recording can attract other, unwanted entities. A woman named Sarah Tate (Deborah Kara Unger), who also came to Raymond for his EVP work because she lost her fiancé, befriends Jonathan.
Batman-Bad-Blood-640x360
Raymond is found dead. Jonathan begins to be followed by three demons attracted by his obsession with EVP, and finds that some of the messages he is coming across are from people who are not yet dead, but may soon be. Jonathan hears cries from a woman whom he finds in a car with a child. He is able to save the child, but not the woman. At that woman’s funeral, which Jonathan and Sarah both attend, Jonathan approaches the husband and tells him about what happened. The latter thanks Jonathan for saving his son but then asks to be left alone. The husband continues to tell Jonathan to stay away from him and his family. Afterwards, Jonathan sees images of another person, a missing woman named Mary Freeman, while working with his EVP devices.Sarah is later seriously injured by a fall from a balcony while possessed by the demons, that incident which was foreshadowed by Sarah’s image being among those on the EVP devices.
MV5BMjE0OTIwMDA5MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjY2MTQ3OQ@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_
Jonathan locates the site of his wife’s death by following signs on recordings and he also finds his wife’s abandoned car. Jonathan finds a set of computers and electronic equipment on site. A construction worker (Mitchell Kosterman) from his company, who has been doing his own EVP work, is holding Mary captive. He has been under the control of the demons to kill all these people, including Anna. The three demons torture Jonathan by breaking his arms and legs and cause him to fall to his death, but a SWAT team along with Detective Smits (Mike Dopud) arrives and are able to save Mary by shooting the construction worker dead. After his funeral, Jonathan’s voice can be heard on the radio through static interference saying “I’m sorry” to his son. The child recognizes the voice and smiles. Sarah, at the graveside in a wheelchair, is menaced by odd noises. And right before the credits roll in, the camera flashes to a TV where Jonathan and his wife are visible.
Brilliant film. Deals with thought-provoking content in a very entertaining way.

REVIEW: CHILDREN OF DUNE

CAST

Alec Newman (Angel)
Julie Cox (Holby Blue)
Ian MacNeice (Ace Ventura 2)
Steven Berkoff (Red 2)
Daniela Amavia (Tatort)
James McAvoy (Wanted)
Susan Sarandon (Tammy)
Edward Atterton (Alias)
P.H. Moriarty (Patriot Games)
Alice Krige (Star Trek: First Contact)
Jessica Brooks (Footballer’s Wives)
Martin McDougall (Batman Begins)

Twelve years have passed since Paul Atreides had become Emperor at the end of Frank Herbert’s Dune by seizing control of the planet Arrakis and forcing a union with the former Emperor’s daughter, the Princess Irulan. Paul’s Fremen armies have since launched several bloody jihads to solidify his position. Deposed Emperor Shaddam IV and the rest of his family are exiled to Salusa Secundus, where his other daughter Princess Wensicia plots to restore House Corrino to power. The Bene Gesserit, the Spacing Guild, and the Tleilaxu also plot to overthrow Paul’s reign, aided even by rebel Fremen, who hate how Paul’s terraforming project is changing Arrakis and the traditional Fremen way of life. The Tleilaxu present Paul with a ghola in the likeness of his friend Duncan Idaho, killed during the events of Dune, but secretly conditioned to assassinate Paul when triggered by certain words.

Though his prescient abilities reveal the dangers ahead, Paul allows the conspiracies to succeed to avoid even worse consequences. He is attacked with a type of nuclear weapon called a stone burner and blinded, but still manages to “see” by following his prescient visions. Later, Paul’s concubine Chani gives birth to twins at a Fremen sietch but dies soon afterward. In Paul’s absence, his sister Alia purges the imperial city of the enemies of House Atreides. Meanwhile, the Tleilaxu Face Dancer Scytale triggers Duncan’s conditioning; but the trauma of potentially killing Paul breaks his programming, and unlocks the memories of his original incarnation.MV5BMTg2MzIyNTg5OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNjIwNTk2._V1_His plan foiled, Scytale threatens the lives of Paul’s children; whereupon the unique nature of the infants (who, like Alia, were “pre-born”) allows Paul to see through the eyes of his son and kill Scytale. Following the Fremen tradition of abandoning the blind to the sandworms, Paul walks alone into the desert. His legacy secured, the twins and their future empire are now left in the care of Alia. Paul’s and Chani’s children Leto II and Ghanima are now young adults; Princess Irulan has protected their interests as her own. Now married to Duncan, Alia is still regent of Paul’s empire and official guardian of the children. Irulan’s sister Wensicia yearns for a return to power through her son, Farad’n. After a long absence, Paul and Alia’s mother Lady Jessica arrives on Arrakis to visit her family, but Alia fears that Jessica has resumed her allegiance to the Bene Gesserit and may be plotting against her. An individual known as “The Preacher” has surfaced in the capital, speaking against the decline of Muad’Dib’s religion into fear and ritualism; but Alia resists having him killed because she shares the popular belief that he may be a returned Paul.MV5BMTI1NzczMjMzN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMjcwNTk2._V1_Alia possesses the memories and personalities of her ancestors due to being pre-born, but has trouble controlling them; her internal struggles against the assertive voices manifest themselves in the form of paranoia and self-destructive behavior. The persona of the evil Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, Alia’s maternal grandfather whom she had herself killed, begins to influence her, and threatens to overtake Alia’s consciousness altogether. Jessica senses that Alia has become dangerous, and advises Irulan to spirit Leto and Ghanima away to safety. Later, after an assassination attempt on her, Jessica seeks sanctuary with Fremen dissidents. Wearing clothes presented to them by Wensicia, the twins escape into the deep desert but are soon cornered in a deadly trap of her devising.Wensicia’s plot to assassinate the Atreides heirs fails, but provides Leto an opportunity to fake his own death and buy time to overcome Alia. Alia’s madness reaches its peak as Baron Harkonnen’s grip on her consciousness strengthens and a civil war brews with the rebel Fremen. Leto returns from the deep desert, having used sandtrout — the larval form of Arrakis’ sandworms — to acquire the superhuman speed, strength, and invulnerability of the sandworms themselves.

As a means of forcing as-yet-neutral Fremen leader Stilgar to lead the rebels, Duncan murders Alia’s lover Javid in Stilgar’s sietch; Duncan knows that, according to Fremen custom, Stilgar must revenge-kill him, which will force Stilgar into active opposition to Alia. Leto encounters the Preacher, whose identity as his father is revealed. Leto’s prescient visions have convinced him that he must lead mankind along “the Golden Path” to ensure humanity’s ultimate survival.

With a political marriage arranged by Jessica between Ghanima and Wensicia’s son Farad’n, the Corrino heir identifies his mother as the mastermind behind Leto’s apparent death. Alia has Wensicia imprisoned, but Ghanima accepts Farad’n’s gesture as honest. With Stilgar’s forces moving in, father and son return to the capital city of Arrakeen, where the Preacher makes a final speech denouncing Alia and his own religion, and is fatally stabbed by a rebel Fremen. Leto confronts Alia at Ghanima’s wedding and defeats her. Alia then commits suicide rather than be controlled by the Baron. In the final scene, Ghanima tells Farad’n that while he will not be her husband, they may yet fall in love, and how she pities her brother for the pain and suffering he will endure in the long life he must expect.Children of Dune’s compelling plot is executed with precision by director Greg Yaitanes, who does a bang-up job over his predecessor, John Harrison. As a matter of fact, though Dune Messiah’s story is naturally a bit weaker than Dune’s, the superb execution here makes it superior to any previous adaptations of Dune (it’s at least as good as the terrific miniseries, far better than the horrible Lynch film). The cinematography distinguishes itself with darker colors, while still maintaining the vibrancy the original miniseries had. Brian Tyler’s beautiful score is evocative, particularly during a wonderful montage segment of literal birth and death.

 

REVIEW: DUNE (2000)

4187RDK6KHL

CAST

William Hurt (A.I.)
Alec Newman (Angel)
Saskia Reeves (Nymphomaniac)
James Watson (The Winter Warrior)
Jan Vlasak (Hostel)
P.H. Moriarty (Patriot Games)
Robert Russell (Blue Valentine)
Ian MacNeice (Ace Ventura 2)
Matt Kesslar (Scream 3)
Giancarlo Giannini (Man on Fire)
Julie Cox (Holby Blue)

The Sci-Fi Channel’s production of Frank Herbert’s Dune is a vast epic tale bristling with adventure, romance, and political intrigue. It’s an epic saga that’s faithfully told, staying true to its source material with well-developed characters and an engrossing plot that’s complex, yet entirely comprehensible. Most importantly, it’s a miniseries that’s extremely enjoyable to watch; this isn’t an example of slow pretension, but rather a spirited and rousing adventure. Running at nearly 5 hours, the production is always a lot of fun to watch, and never flags in pacing or momentum.
 The cast is a success, particularly lead Alec Newman as Paul Atreides. In the miniseries most crucial role, Newman finds most of the right nuances and emotional complexities of the character. Saskia Reeves delivers the series’ best performance as Lady Jessica, a role full of warmth and heart. It’s a pity Reeves won’t return for Children of Dune, but Alice Krige is a superb actress in her own right. The villains of the piece are equally magnetic. Ian Mcniece is a menacingly cunning Baron Harkonnen, while Matt Keeslar makes for an imposing Feyd Rautha. In other important roles, William Hurt, P.H. Moriarty, and Julie Cox acquit themselves admirably. The only weak performer is Barbara Kodetova, who’s annoying as Chani, lacking the strength and conviction we expect from the part.MV5BNTk5YjY5ZDgtNjI0ZC00NzkyLWI2YmQtYTkzZDdiMTE4MTRiXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTAyODkwOQ@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1761,1000_AL_Dune is a spectacular production, aided by some of the best interior sets on screen to date. The CGI effects are excellent, given the budgetary limitations, and the giant sandworms stand out, especially in their awe-inspiring first appearance. The miniseries has a lavish, gorgeous look to it (courtesy of cinemtographer Vittorio Storraro), wisely separating it from its lacking predecessor (the Lynch disaster). Writer/director John Harrison achieves tight pacing through superb editing and storytelling. He also does a fine job delivering rousing action sequences, the knife fights are dynamic and the epic battle scenes are fast-paced and exciting. I’m certain there will still be discontent Herbert fans, but I found this a fully satisfying miniseries on almost all counts.

 

REVIEW: THE HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY (2005)

CAST

Martin Freeman (The Hobbit)
Sam Rockwell (Iron Man 2)
Mos Def (Monster’s Ball)
Zooey Deschanel (New Girl)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)
Bill Nighy (Underworld)
Anna Chancellor (The Vice)
John Malkovich (Red)
Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire)
Jason Schwartzman (Bewitched)
Edgar Wright (Shaun of The Dead)
Stephen Fry (V For Vendetta)
Richard Griffiths (Harry Potter)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Ian McNeice (Dune)
Helen Mirren (Red)
Alan Rickman (Dogma)

The film begins with a Broadway-style number “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish”, sung by the dolphins of the world, who are aware of the Earth’s impending doom. At the end, they all jump out of the oceans and into space, leaving Earth for good. One Thursday morning, Arthur Dent discovers that his house is to be immediately demolished to make way for a bypass. He tries delaying the bulldozers by lying down in front of them. Ford Prefect, a friend of Arthur’s, convinces him to go to the pub with him. Over a pint of beer (as “muscle relaxant”), Ford explains that he is an alien from a planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse, and a journalist working on the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a universal guide book, and that the Earth is to be demolished later that day by a race called Vogons, to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Suddenly, a Vogon Constructor Fleet appears in the sky and destroys the planet. Ford saves himself and Arthur by hitching a ride on a Vogon ship. The two are found and forced to listen to poetry. They are then thrown out of an airlock, but are picked up by the starship Heart of Gold. They find Ford’s “semi-cousin” Zaphod Beeblebrox, the President of the Galaxy. He has stolen the ship along with Tricia “Trillian” McMillan, an Earth woman whom Arthur had met previously, and Marvin the Paranoid Android, a clinically depressed robot that constantly complains about life.
Zaphod explains that he is seeking the planet Magrathea, where he believes he can discover the Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything to match with the answer “42” given by the supercomputer Deep Thought. Zaphod stole the Heart of Gold to use its improbability drive to get to Magrathea through trial and error. During one of these attempts, they end up on the planet Viltvodle VI. Zaphod decides to visit Humma Kavula, his opponent from the election. Upon learning of Zaphod’s plan, Kavula announces that he has the coordinates to Magrathea. He takes one of Zaphod’s two heads hostage and demands they bring him the Point-of-view gun created by Deep Thought, which allows the target to understand the shooter’s point of view. As they are leaving the planet, Trillian is captured by Vogons. The others travel to rescue her from the Vogon home world bureaucracy, facing long lines and frustrating form processing. Trillian is outraged to learn that Zaphod signed the authorisation for the destruction of Earth thinking it was a request for an autograph.
The Heart of Gold is chased by the Vogons, led by Galactic Vice-President Questular Rontok, who is attempting to rescue Zaphod from himself, after an incident in which Zaphod kidnapped himself in order to forgo presidential duties. As the Heart of Gold arrives in orbit above Magrathea, Arthur triggers the improbability drive to avoid the automated missile defence systems. The missiles transform into a bowl of petunias and a sperm whale.
hhg_01
On the planet, Zaphod, Ford, and Trillian take a portal to Deep Thought. When they ask the computer whether it has calculated the ultimate question, it reveals that it designed another supercomputer to do so—Earth. When the trio finds the Point-of-View gun, Trillian shoots Zaphod, making him understand how she feels about the destruction of Earth. She also finds out how much she loves Arthur. Arthur and Marvin miss the portal and encounter a Magrathean called Slartibartfast, who takes Arthur on a tour of the construction floor where Earth Mark II is being built. Slartibartfast takes Arthur home, where the others are enjoying a feast provided by pan-dimensional beings who resemble a pair of mice. Arthur realises he has fallen into a trap. The mice, who constructed Deep Thought, used the supercomputer to build an even larger supercomputer, the planet Earth, to determine the Ultimate Question. Believing Arthur, the last remaining supercomputer component, may hold the Ultimate Question, the mice attempt to remove his brain. Arthur kills the mice.
As the crew regroup outside the house they are surrounded by Vogons and take shelter in a caravan as the Vogons open fire. Marvin is left outside and shot in the back of the head, and uses the Point-of-View gun on the Vogons, causing them to become depressed and unable to fight. As the Vogons are taken away and Questular rejoins with Zaphod, Arthur chooses to explore the galaxy with Trillian and lets Slartibartfast finalise the new Earth without him. The Heart of Gold crew decide to visit the Restaurant at the End of the Universe while Marvin points out they are going the wrong way.
 This film is fantastic – but one must have a warped sense of humour to appreciate it. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve watched it & I still laugh out loud. (I was almost crying with laughter in the cinema). The casting is great – I love Marvin voiced by the wonderful Alan Rickman. And the Vogons are great – just how I imagined them. Stephen Fry as the narrator is an inspiration.