REVIEW: STIGMATA

CAST

Patricia Arquette (True Romance)
Gabriel Byrne (End of Days)
Jonathan Pryce (Game of Thrones)
Nia Long (Big Momma’s House 2)
Rade Šerbedžija (X-Men: First Class)
Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars)
Jack Donner(Power Rangers In Space)
Thomas Kopache (The West Wing)
Portia de Rossi(Scream 2)
Ann Cusack (Sully)
Patrick Muldoon (Starship Troopers)
Shaun Toub (Iron Man)

In the Brazilian village of Belo Quinto, Father Andrew Kiernan, a former scientist and a Jesuit priest who investigates supposed miracles, examines a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe weeping blood at the funeral of Father Paulo Alameida, who had experienced stigmata. While Andrew is collecting evidence, a young boy steals the rosary from the father’s hand. The boy later sells it to a woman in a marketplace, who sends it to her atheist daughter, Frankie Paige, living in Pittsburgh.Frankie is attacked by an unseen force while bathing, and receives two deep wounds on her wrists. As the wounds are treated, the doctors cannot find the cause. Frankie asks a priest if he is Andrew Kiernan, but the priest says he is Father Derning, the lights in the train flash, and Frankie is whipped from behind by an unseen force. While Frankie is hospitalized again, the priest sends security tapes showing the attack to the Vatican, and Andrew is sent to investigate.Andrew interviews Frankie, believing her wounds may also be stigmata. When she tells him she is an atheist, Andrew tells her that stigmata is when the deeply devoted are struck with the five wounds that Jesus received during the crucifixion. Frankie begins to research on her own what the cause could be. Her head begins to bleed, the third stigmata wound caused by the Crown of Thorns. Frankie runs home, where Andrew is waiting, and then runs into an alley. As Andrew pursues her, Frankie smashes a glass bottle and uses the shards to carve symbols on the hood of a car: when Andrew approaches her, she yells at him in another language.Andrew takes Frankie to Father Derning’s church, and the Vatican translates what she was yelling in Aramaic. The next morning, Andrew returns to her apartment to find her writing on the wall, now covered in Aramaic. Frankie talks in a male voice, speaking Italian. Wounds appear in her feet, the fourth wound of stigmata. Andrew emails photographs of Frankie’s apartment wall to the Vatican, where Brother Delmonico recognizes the words and deletes the pictures. He tells Andrew the words are from a document the church found that looked to be an entirely new gospel. Father Dario shows the pictures to Cardinal Daniel Houseman, who also recognizes them. Delmonico phones Marion Petrocelli and tells him the missing gospel has been found in Pittsburgh.Andrew goes to Frankie’s apartment to find the wall she wrote on painted over, and Frankie attempts to seduce him. When Andrew rejects her, she attacks him and denounces his beliefs in a male voice, ending with Frankie levitating off the bed, crying tears of blood. Houseman and Dario arrive with Derning and take Frankie to another church, sending Andrew to Derning’s. At Derning’s church, Andrew meets Petrocelli, who tells him the words Frankie has been writing are part of a document found outside Jerusalem they believed to be a gospel in the exact words of Jesus. Petrocelli, Delmonico and Alameida were assigned to translate it, but Houseman ordered them to stop. Alameida refused and stole the document to continue translating it alone, having been excommunicated by Houseman.Petrocelli tells Andrew that the document was Jesus telling his disciples that the Kingdom of God is in all of us and not confined to churches. Petrocelli tells Andrew that Alameida suffered from stigmata. Andrew races to the church where Frankie is, while Houseman and Dario attempt to perform an exorcism on Frankie. Frankie shouts at them in a male voice, and Houseman attempts to strangle her. Andrew stops him, and the room is set on fire. Now believing Frankie is possessed by Alameida’s spirit, Andrew offers to be Alameida’s messenger instead. He walks unharmed through the fire to retrieve Frankie, bidding Alameida’s spirit to depart in peace. Some time later, Andrew returns to Belo Quinto and finds the original documents for the lost gospel in Alameida’s church. Text describes the discovery of the Gospel of St. Thomas, believed to be the closest to the actual words of Jesus stating that the Catholic Church refuses to recognize the document as a gospel and considers it heresy.I loved this film, both for it’s interesting film quality and it’s thought provoking script. I believe it had an important message for us all to ponder created by excellent acting and beautiful film imagery. The mystery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has been a subject avoided by the Church since their discovery in 1945. I appreciate controversial filmmaking.

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REVIEW: NEVER SLEEP AGAIN: THE ELM STREET LEGACY

 

CAST

Robert Englund (Wishmaster)
Heather Langenkamp (Hellraiser: Judgement)
Wes Craven (Scream 4)
Robert Shaye (New Nightmare)
Amanda Wyss (Highlander: THe Series)
Jsu Garcia (Along Came Polly)
Johnny Depp (Blow)
John Saxon (From Dusk Till Dawn)
Leslie Hoffman (Star Trek: DS9)
Robert Rusler (Weird Science)
Kim Myers (Hellraiser 4)
Clu Gulager (The Virginian)
Marshall Bell (Total Recall)
Ken Sagoes (Intolerable Cruelty)
Rodney Eastman (I Spit On Your Grave)
Penelope Dudrow (After Midnight)
Jennifer Rubin (Screamers)
Ira Heiden (Alias)
Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Priscilla Pointer (The Flash
Brooke Bundy (General Hospital)
Lisa Wilcox (Watchers Reborn)
Tuesday Knight (The Fan)
Lisa Zane (Bad Influence)
Tracy Middendorf (Scream: The Series)
Kane Hodder (Jaxon X)
Breendan Fletcher (Bloodrayne 3)
Zack Ward (Transformers)

The documentary itself lasts just under 4 hours, each film gets at least 25 minutes dedicated to it, and Freddy’s Nightmares and New Line Cinema get a brief discussion as well. Asides from Johnny Depp and Patricia Arquette more or less everyone from the 8 films is interviewed. I watched the whole documentary in one sitting, at no point does it drag. It isn’t just talking heads there are interesting behind the scenes photos and videos, some of which feature unused special effects and deleted scenes – including a replacement for Robert Englund if he had wanted to much of a pay rise for the second film, I’ll say this, thankfully the two parties came to agreement! The interviewees don’t just pander to one another and pat each other on the back, they are quick to point out flaws in their own performances and disappointment with others.

Highly recommended. It is the perfect companion to the films.

REVIEW: A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS

CAST

Robert Englund (V)
Heather Langenkamp (Hellraiser: Judgement)
Craig Wasson (Body Double)
Patricia Arquette (Medium)
Ken Sagoes (Death By Dialogue)
Rodney Eastman (Mobsters)
Jennifer Rubin (Screamers)
Bradley Gregg (Nightwatch)
Ira Heiden (Student Exchange)
Laurence Fishburne (Hannibal)
Penelope Sudrow (Bronx Zoo)
John Saxon (War Wolves)
Priscilla Pointer (The Flash 90s)
Clayton Landey (Norma Rae)
Brooke Bundy (Lassie)
Nan Martin (Loving Couples)
Zsa Zsa Gabor (Batman 60s)
Stacey Alden (Grotesque)

Kristen Parker is a young girl who dreams herself into an abandoned house in Elm Street where she is chased by serial killer Freddy Krueger. She wakes up and goes to the bathroom, where she is attacked by Freddy again and slices her wrist with a straight razor. Believing her to be suicidal, her mother has her sent to Westin Hospital, run by Dr. Neil Gordon, where she fights against the orderlies who try to sedate her, for fear of falling asleep. She is eventually calmed by intern therapist Nancy Thompson who recites part of Freddy’s nursery rhyme and earns her trust.

Nancy is introduced to the rest of the patients: Phillip, a habitual sleepwalker; Kincaid, a tough kid from the streets who is prone to violence; Jennifer, a hopeful television actress; Will, who is confined to a wheelchair after a suicide attempt; Taryn, a former drug addict; and Joey, who is too traumatized to speak. Later, Kristen is attacked by Freddy again (this time as a giant snake), and unwittingly pulls Nancy into her dream with her, allowing them both to escape. Kristen reveals she has had the ability to pull people into her dreams since she was a little girl. Over the next two nights, Freddy throws Phillip off a roof in what looks like a suicide attempt and kills Jennifer by smashing her head into a television that she was watching.

In their next group session, Nancy reveals to the remaining patients that they are the last surviving children of the people who banded together and burned Krueger to death many years ago. Nancy and Neil encourage them to try group hypnosis so that they can experience a shared dream and discover their dream powers. In the dream, Joey wanders off and is captured by Freddy, leaving him comatose in the real world; Nancy and Neil are fired. Neil is told by a nun, Sister Mary Helena, that Freddy is the son of a young nun who was accidentally locked in a room with hundreds of mental patients who raped her continually, and that the only way to stop him is to lay his bones to rest. He and Nancy go to her father, Don Thompson, to discover where the bones are hidden, but he is uncooperative. Nancy rushes back to the hospital after she hears Kristen is going to be sedated, while Neil convinces Thompson to help them.

Nancy and the others again go through group hypnosis so they can reunite with Kristen, but are all separated after Freddy interrupts them. Taryn and Will are subsequently killed by Freddy while Kirsten, Nancy, and Kincaid find one another. The trio rescue Joey but are unable to defeat Freddy, who has become too powerful because of all the souls he has consumed. However, Freddy senses that his remains have been found in an auto salvage yard and possesses his own skeleton to kill Thompson and incapacitate Neil. He returns to attack the others, but Joey uses his dream power voice to send him away. Thompson appears to Nancy to tell her that he is “crossing over”, but he is revealed to be Freddy in disguise, who stabs and kills Nancy. As he is about to kill Kristen too, Nancy rises from behind and uses Freddy’s own claws to stab himself, saving Kristen heroically. Neil awakens and consecrates the bones, finally destroying him. Nancy dies in Kristen’s arms. At Nancy’s funeral, Neil sees Mary Helena again and when he tries to follow her, finds her tombstone, revealing herself as Amanda Krueger, Freddy’s mother.

This is a very much improved part of a franchise that could of died early on if it wasn’t for this third installment that brought sparkle back into the invading dreams plot with hugely improved acting,set pieces and at last genuine frights and humor when its needed.

REVIEW: TRUE ROMANCE

CAST

Christian Slater (Interview With The Vampire)
Patricia Arquette (Stigmata)
Dennis Hooper (The Texas Chaisnaw Massacre 2)
Val Kilmer (Batman Forever)
Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises)
Brad Pitt (Killing Them Softly)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Legend of Tarzan)
Michael Rapaport (The 6th Day)
Saul Rubinek (Memory Run)
Conchata Ferrell (Krampus)
James Gandolfini (8mm)
Kevin Corrigan (Superbad)
Ed Lauter (The Number 23)

At a Detroit theater showing kung fu films, Alabama Whitman strikes up a conversation with Elvis Presley fanatic Clarence Worley. The two later have sex at Clarence’s apartment in downtown Detroit. Alabama tearfully confesses that she is a call girl hired by Clarence’s boss as a birthday present, but has fallen in love with Clarence. They later marry. An apparition of Elvis appears to Clarence and convinces him to kill Alabama’s pimp Drexl. Clarence goes to the brothel where Alabama had worked, shoots and kills Drexl, and takes a bag he assumes contains Alabama’s belongings. Back at the apartment, he and Alabama discover the bag contains a large amount of cocaine.

The couple visit Clarence’s estranged father, Clifford, a former cop and now a security guard, for help. Clifford tells Clarence that the police assume Drexl’s murder to be a gang killing. After the couple leave for Los Angeles, Clifford is interrogated by Don Vincenzo Coccotti, consigliere to a mobster named “Blue Lou Boyle”, who wants the drugs. Clifford, realizing he will die anyway, mockingly defies Coccotti, whereupon Coccotti angrily shoots Clifford dead. A note on the refrigerator leads the mobsters to Clarence’s L.A. address. In L.A., Clarence and Alabama meet Clarence’s old friend Dick, an aspiring actor. Dick introduces Clarence to a friend of his, actor Elliot Blitzer, who reluctantly agrees to broker the sale of the drugs to film producer Lee Donowitz.

While Clarence is out buying lunch, Coccotti’s underboss, Virgil, finds Alabama in her motel room and beats her for information. She fights back and kills him with his shotgun. Elliot is pulled over for speeding and arrested for drug possession. In order to stay out of jail, he agrees to record the drug deal between Clarence and Donowitz for the police. Coccotti’s crew learn where the deal will take place from Dick’s roommate Floyd. Clarence, Alabama, Dick, and Elliot go to Donowitz’s suite at the Ambassador Hotel with the drugs. In the elevator, a suspicious Clarence threatens Elliot at gunpoint, but is persuaded by Elliott’s helpless pleading.

Clarence fabricates a story for Donowitz that the drugs were given to him by a corrupt cop, and Donowitz agrees to the sale. Clarence excuses himself to the bathroom, where a vision of Elvis again appears and reassures him that things are going well. Meanwhile, Donowitz and his bodyguards are ambushed by the cops and mobsters and a shootout begins after Elliott accidentally reveals himself as an informant. Dick abandons the drugs and flees. Almost everyone is killed in the gun battle, and Clarence is wounded as he exits the bathroom. He and Alabama escape with Donowitz’s money as more police arrive. They flee to Mexico where Alabama gives birth to a son, whom she names Elvis.True Romance is one of those great films that was rather unfairly and bizarrely largely ignored on it’s original theatrical release but it’s really hard to know why. It’s not because of the script/screenplay, that was written by the great Quentin Tarantino, with all the trademark flourishes you’d expect, with witty dialogue and great set-pieces that leave you quoting them for weeks. It’s not because it’s got a poor cast or poor acting. Apart from the leads, Christian Slater and the wonderful Patricia Arquette (in undoubtedly their greatest screen performances), this movie has a cast list like a whose who of great screen actors; Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman and Christopher Walken. It also boasts a great cameo performance from Brad Pitt and a superb supporting performance from James Gandolfino. Val Kilmer and Samuel L. Jackson even turn up too in blink and you’ll miss it performances. a True great movie.

REVIEW: LITTLE NICKY


CAST

Adam Sandler (Click)
Patricia Arquette (Stigmata)
Reese Witherspoon (Cruel Intentions)
Harvey Keitel (Bad Lieutenant)
Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Tom Lister Jr.(The Dark Knight)
Robert Smigel (Happy Gilmore)
Allen Covert (Mr. Deeds)
Henry Winkler (Happy Days)
Rodney Dangerfield (Caddyshack)
Kevin Nealon (Weeds)
Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap)
Dana Carvey (Wayne’s World)
Rob Schneider (The Hot Chick)
Carl Weathers (Rocky)
Jon Lovitz (The SImpsons)
Quentin Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs)
Clint Howard (Backdraft)
John Witherspoon (A Thousand Words)

The story revolves around a struggle to determine which of Satan’s (Harvey Keitel) three sons will succeed their father as ruler of Hell. Adrian (Rhys Ifans) is the most intelligent, Cassius (Tom Lister Jr.) is the toughest, and Nicky (Adam Sandler) is their father’s favorite, even though Nicky has had a speech impediment and a disfigured jaw since Cassius hit him in the face with a shovel. Furthermore, Adrian and Cassius enjoy tormenting Nicky by claiming that his mother was a goat and assault him by controlling his body with their minds.

Having been the “prince of darkness” for ten thousand years, Satan assembles his sons to decide which of them will succeed him, but instead he keeps the throne for himself because his sons are not yet ready to be his successor and tells them that they need to learn to keep the balance between good and evil. Angered by this decision, Adrian and Cassius go to Earth to create a new Hell by possessing religious and political leaders in New York City. As they leave, they freeze the entrance to Hell, preventing more souls from entering and causing Satan’s body to begin decomposing via his body literally falling apart. To stop Adrian and Cassius, Satan sends Nicky to Earth with a silver flask that traps whoever drinks from it inside.

At first, Nicky has trouble staying alive on Earth. He is killed several times, landing in Hell and returning to New York each time. While learning how to eat and sleep, he meets a talking bulldog named Mr. Beefy (voice of Robert Smigel) (a friend of Nicky’s father), rents an apartment with an actor named Todd (Allen Covert), and falls in love with a design student named Valerie (Patricia Arquette).

Nicky’s first encounter with his brothers occurs when Adrian sees him with Valerie, takes mental control of his body and makes him scare her away. Then Nicky sees Cassius on television, possessing the referee (Dana Carvey) of a Harlem Globetrotters game. When he goes to the court and tricks Cassius into the flask, metalheads John (Jonathan Loughran) and Peter (Peter Dante) are so thrilled with his performance that they become his devoted fans. That evening, Nicky tries to apologize to Valerie. The meeting goes badly at first, but she accepts him after he explains who he is and why he is on Earth.

The next day, Adrian possesses the chief of the NYPD (Michael McKean) and accuses Nicky of mass murder using a rather badly edited scene from Scarface. Not knowing what to do, Nicky has Todd kill him so he can go back to Hell and ask his father for advice, but his father has trouble hearing because his ears have fallen off and his assistants are in a panic because the midnight deadline to capture Adrian and Cassius is only hours away. Back on Earth again, Nicky and his friends devise a plan to capture Adrian in a subway station; John and Peter inform the chief of the NYPD of Nicky’s whereabouts which leads to Todd and Mr. Beefy being arrested. While waiting for Nicky, Adrian discovers their trick when he realizes that John is keeping cool whereas Peter isn’t which leads him to realize that John is being possessed by Nicky. In the ensuing fight, Adrian grabs Valerie and dives onto the track as a train approaches, but Nicky throws her out of the way, leaving himself and Adrian to be killed by the train.

Arriving in Hell just minutes before midnight, Adrian dethrones his weakened father and takes over, rising into Central Park and starting a riotous party while all of the demons except Satan’s assistant Jimmy (Blake Clark) join Adrian on Earth. Meanwhile, Nicky wakes up in Heaven as a reward for sacrificing himself and meets his mother Holly (Reese Witherspoon), an angel who tells him he can defeat Adrian with the “inner light” that he inherited from her. After she gives him a mysterious orb, he goes to Central Park. The demons discover Nicky and try to attack him, but Nicky creates gifts for them which makes them respect Nicky enough to join him and stop Adrian, but they all run away when Adrian kills one of them. Nicky and Adrian then fight, which results in both of them sucked into the flask where they have a three-way battle with Cassius. Adrian appears to win a pitched battle by locking Nicky in the flask and turning himself into a bat, but Nicky (with Valerie’s help) escapes from the flask. When he shatters the orb, Ozzy Osbourne appears, bites Adrian’s head off and spits it into the flask (that scene was inspired by an actual incident in which Ozzy bit the head off of a real bat while on stage).

With his brothers captured, Nicky is ready to save his father. After he sins to make sure he goes to Hell by setting bees on Henry Winkler, he and Valerie express their love for each other and she kills him with a boulder given to her by Ozzy. With the flow of souls restored in Hell, Satan regains his body and recommends that Nicky go back to live on Earth. As for punishment, Adrian and Cassius (still inside the flask) are shoved up Adolf Hitler’s rectum. The film ends a year later, when Nicky and Valerie live in New York with their infant son, Zachariah. In in afterword in which what happens to the characters, it is mentioned that John and Peter have died in a plane crash and are now happily living in Hell in Nicky’s old bedroom.An absolutely brilliant and ingenious comedy.

31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: ED WOOD

CAST

Johnny Depp (Into The Woods)
Martin Landau (North By Northwest)
Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and The City)
Patricia Arquette (Stigmata)
Jeffrey Jones (Howard The Duck)
Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil)
Bill Murray (Ghostbusters)
Lisa Marie (Sleepy Hollow)
Juliet Landau (Buffy)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)

In 1952, Ed Wood (Johnny Depp) is struggling to join the film industry. Upon hearing of an announcement in Variety magazine that producer George Weiss (Mike Starr) is trying to purchase Christine Jorgensen’s life story, Ed is inspired to meet Weiss in person. Weiss explains that Variety‍ ’s announcement was a news leak, and it is impossible to purchase Jorgensen’s rights. The producer decides to “fictionalize” the film, titled I Changed My Sex!. Ed tries to convince Weiss that he is perfect to direct I Changed My Sex! because he is a transvestite, but is unsuccessful since Weiss wants a director with experience. One day, Ed meets his longtime idol Bela Lugosi (Martin Landau), after spotting him trying out a casket. Ed drives Bela home and the two become friends. Later, Wood persuades Weiss to let him direct I Changed My Sex! by convincing him that having a star in the film would sell tickets, and they could sign Bela for a low price.

Ed and Weiss argue over the film’s title and subject matter: Weiss has already had the poster printed, which Ed changes to Glen or Glenda and writes the film about a transvestite rather than a sex change. In the end, Weiss allows Ed to shoot whatever he wants as long as the film meets the required length. Ed takes to film production with an unusual approach; usually shooting only one take per scene, giving actors very little direction, and using stock footage to fill in gaps. After filming, the movie is released to critical and commercial failure. Because of this, Ed is unsuccessful in getting a job at Screen Classics, but Ed’s girlfriend, Dolores Fuller (Sarah Jessica Parker), tells him that he should try financing his next film independently. Ed is unsuccessful in finding money for Bride of the Atom, but is introduced to the psychic The Amazing Criswell (Jeffrey Jones) who gives him advice on how to sell himself better.
At a bar, Ed meets Loretta King (Juliet Landau), who he thinks has enough money to fund Bride of the Atom and ends up casting her as the lead instead of Dolores as originally planned. Dolores was extremely angry about it. Filming begins, but is halted when it is revealed that Loretta is actually poor, and therefore Ed has no money to continue production. Ed convinces meat packing industry tycoon Don McCoy (Rance Howard) to take over funding the film, who agrees as long as the film stars his son Tony as the leading man and the film ends with an explosion. The filming of Bride of the Atom finishes, with the title being changed to Bride of the Monster, but Dolores breaks up with Ed after the wrap party because of his circle of friends, his work, and transvestism. Also, Bela, who is revealed to be highly depressed and a morphine addict, attempts to conduct a double suicide with Ed after the government cuts off his unemployment, but is talked out of it. Bela checks himself into rehab, and Ed meets Kathy O’Hara (Patricia Arquette), who is visiting her father at the same hospital. Ed takes her on a date and reveals to her his transvestism, which she accepts.

Ed begins to shoot a film with Bela outside his home. When Ed and company attend the premiere for Bride of the Monster, an angry mob chases them out of the theater. Sometime later, Bela passes away, leaving Ed without a star. Ed convinces a church leader named Reynolds that funding Ed’s script for Grave Robbers from Outer Space would result in a box office success, and generate enough money for Reynolds’ dream project (the Twelve Apostles films). Dr. Tom Mason (Ned Bellamy), Kathy’s chiropractor, is chosen to be Bela’s stand-in for resembling Lugosi (with half his face covered). However, Ed and the Baptists begin having conflicts over the title and content of the script which they want to have changed to Plan 9 from Outer Space along with Ed’s B movie directing style, his casting decisions and his transvestism. This causes a distressed Ed to leave the set and immediately take a taxi to the nearest bar, where he encounters his idol Orson Welles (Vincent D’Onofrio). Welles tells Ed that “visions are worth fighting for”, and filming for Plan 9 finishes with Ed taking action against his producers. The film ends with the premiere of Plan 9 with Ed believing it will be the film he “will be remembered for”, and Ed and Kathy taking off to Las Vegas to get married.

This is an immensely entertaining film, both comic and endearing. It masterfully portrays Wood in a humorous light, while not being demeaning or insulting. The strong acting, writing, and directing make this unique movie a film worth seeing