Saturday, 20 October 2018

Ross's Movie Reviews: Halloween (2018)

This movie is special to me. Weirdly it's only after watching it the first time that I realised this. Everyone that knows me knows how much of a horror movie fanatic I am and how obsessive I can be over some of my favourites in the genre.

I don't think I would have any of that if it weren't for Michael Myers. The first Halloween movie I watched was Halloween: Resurrection when I was pretty young (probably around 9 or 10 years) and while that's a terrible edition to start with, I was hooked and couldn't get enough of it.

From there I've seen just about every other movie in the series and I've never had that fanboy obsession outside of the 1978 original. So really it's over half my life I've been waiting for a proper sequel that the characters involved with the original deserve. I may have just gotten my wish.

No spoilers. And for clarity, I've already seen this twice and own the awesome soundtrack on vinyl.

So for anyone new to this, this movie takes place 40 years after the events of the 1978 classic and ignores every single sequel or remake since then which I absolutely love.

We start off in the psychiatric institution in which Myers has been held prisoner for the last 40 years since being captured after the massacre of 1978. Two Brits are there to make a podcast discussing the events of the massacre and they try to get a response out of Michael, and even bring out his old mask. It doesn't go well.

On the other side of the coin we have Laurie Strode whose role is reprised by the always lovely Jamie Lee Curtis. She is the survivor of the original massacre and those events have stuck with her as she's now a total survivalist, even going so far as to spend her daughter's early years training her self defence and how to use a gun, leading to social services taking her away.

It really puts a proper impact on the events of the first movie to see just how badly the killings affected the lives of so many. In fact you could totally watch the first movie and then put this on straight after as they go together so well.

During a transfer to a new institution, the bus crashes and Michael Myers is free once again, leaving the poor little town of Haddonfield to experience some major deja vu as more killings are afoot. The Shape has returned.

This is classic Michael Myers and the one we've needed for some time. He isn't just some brute that storms around in a rampage killing people. He's a stalker that sticks to the shadows and patiently waits for his opportunity to strike. He's the image of pure evil. He has no reason to go around killing other than it's all he knows, or maybe it's just instinct. You can never tell with him. He's the classic monster that isn't some supernatural ghost or demon that we've needed in pop culture for quite some time. 

His kills start off quite simply, but as the movie goes on they do tend to get a bit gorier, and the faint of heart may have to look away at certain points.

It's not too scary either as it does rely on a couple of cheap jumpscares, but Myers does get his fair share of shit your pants moments like a scene featuring a motion tracker that'll stick with me for some time. There is also one scene towards the end of the movie that just never seems to end and it continually builds the tension higher and higher until you have to cover your eyes out of sheer fear. I loved it.

Jamie Lee Curtis almost steals the show herself and I daresay that she was Oscar worthy at certain points. Just seeing her as a gun toting badass preparing for the arrival of the devil himself was so much fun to watch and really gave a proper new dynamic to the character. It's almost a revenge movie in a way.

There's some fun homages to the original movie without totally ripping it off. Kind of like The Force Awakens. This movie was made for the fans in the best way possible. The soundtrack is fantastic as well as it was worked on by John Carpenter and features updated versions of the classic themes from the original that I can't get enough of.

This whole movie is a love letter to classic slasher horror and I feel like it's a movie the horror genre has needed for quite a while. We've been relying too much on the supernatural to scare us, and this movie showed that the horrors of humanity can be enough to scare the daylights out of you. You might not feel safe in your home for a while.

Overall I could go on and on about what I love here but quite a bit of that features spoilers so I'll stop here. I loved this movie and as a fan of the horror genre and of Michael Myers in general, I heartily approve of everything here. This is going down as an October classic and it's one I plan on watching every Halloween from now on, along with the original.

Definitely check this out. You won't regret it.

Rating: 9/10

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Ross's TV Reviews: The Haunting of Hill House (S1, E1)

For anyone that's read a few of my reviews you know that I never steer too far away from the realm of movies, but this is one that had me intrigued.

In all honesty I've never really been into TV shows at all and have only finished a couple of them off with a few famous ones still leering over my head.

I wasn't even sure that I was going to watch this show as it did seem pretty good from it's trailer but never seemed like something I could invest myself in.

Then the online articles started appearing, claiming that viewers of the show could not sleep from fear, that they passed out during viewings, and felt horrible anxiety at all times.

I was intrigued and even more so when I found some reviews claiming that this series is one of Netflix's best. At this point I knew I had to watch it and see for myself.

Reviewing a TV show is something completely new to me so bear with me if this isn't a decent read the first time. I'll be keeping this spoiler free and as short as possible.

Should point out that this is Netflix only for anyone wanting to watch.

So we start off right in Hill House back in 1992 as a teenage boy is awoken by the cries of his little sister from another room. He goes to investigate and finds his sister, Nell, is scared by a ghost she thought she saw, one known as 'break neck lady'. Her father appears to calm her down and puts her back to bed. I won't mention what happens next but it's an early indicator of how truly nightmarish this series could really be. Good luck sleeping.

We cut to 2018 and see what the kids from 1992 (all five of them) are up to. A couple of them such as Steven, Theo and Shirley are doing well for themselves in the fields of writing, psychology and mortician work respectively, while the others, Luke and Nell, are either in rehab or...... well I'm not quite sure yet.

The plot of this episode revolves around Nell trying to get into contact with the rest of her family for an unknown reason other than thinking that there might be something wrong with her brother Luke. It all seems to stem from childhood trauma of living in Hill House and through her supernatural experiences which are likely to give nightmares to some viewers.

It almost plays out like Stephen King's IT as we do go back and forth between 1992 and 2018 as we see how the events of the past are now affecting the future and how each of the kids seems to have a different experience.

For a first episode it does it's job very well by introducing to a few characters and having them be memorable in their own way while also driving this mysterious story onward and making you ache to find out what happened in that house all that time ago.

It doesn't go overboard with the scares and delivers them at just the right time. There's no cheap jumpscares to be had here, just intense atmosphere and a spilling of dread to wash it down with. There was actual one jumpscare but it furthered the plot so I'll give it a pass.

Overall I'd give this a recommendation if you're looking for something spooky this Halloween and I'm hoping the rest of the series lives up to the good buildup we've had from this one.

No rating until the end of the series.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Ross's Spooky Reviews: Terrifier

Yeah I know that every review I post is spooky, but it's the month of October so just role with it.

This is one I've been trying to review for the past month but other things have gotten in the way. Now it's time to shine a light on Terrifier. This one received a bit of hype due to the creepy clown killer featured on it's posters and trailer. Is all this enough to lead to a great horror experience? Let's take a look.

As usual no major spoilers and make sure to check out Chew Bubblegum and Kick Ass on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @rossd9711

The movie begins in a talk show as a woman with a deformed face is being interviewed. Her face is the result of an attack from a killer clown known only as Art. The talk show host ends up making fun of her and...... well let's just say it doesn't end well.

Cut to Halloween night and we follow two girls, Tara and Dawn, as they make their way home from a Halloween party and decide to get some pizza. They run into Art the clown and things start to get weird. He won't stop staring at Tara and he never makes a sound the entire time even with all his creepy poses.

I'm not usually bothered by clowns but by god this one is absolutely the creepiest one I've ever seen. He can give Pennywise a run for his money any day. He's played by David Howard Thornton and apparently this is his big screen debut which is mind-blowing because he comes across as an absolute pro here.

He's in the movie pretty much straight away and I was worried that he would start to become boring as the movie went on. He never did. If anything he somehow grew creepier as it continued. He even got a few chuckles out of me too. I really need a sequel or a prequel to see him again. I loved him.

There's one scene in particular where he decides to dress as a woman in order to trick another character and it's honestly one of the most disturbing things I've seen and will haunt my nightmares for the rest of my life. His movements are just so unnatural that it can't help but turn your stomach. Another bit of proof that you don't need shite jumpscares to get a proper good scare on the audience.

The movie does come across as a gritty kind of B movie but it completely works to it's advantage. It's almost like Robert Rodriguez and Eli Roth co-directed this. While no other characters outside of Art really stood out, everyone performed well here with no one coming across as bad which did surprise me.

There is one character simply known as Cat Lady and I have no idea what her purpose was here. Her strange character is never explained as she just seems to live in the bowels of this building and no one knew she was there and she believes a doll is her baby. Granted she does give us a few creepy scenes with Art so I'll give her a pass.

For anyone not into gore you're going to want to stay from this as there is tons of it splattered around the place. I don't want to go into spoilers because some of the gorier scenes are really inventive, but my goodness a lot of the things I've seen here will stick with me. I don't think I'll be able to take a selfie again (if you've seen it you know exactly what I mean).

Overall I had a blast with the movie and I think it's destined to become a future Halloween classic; one that you can watch with your friends and just enjoy. I know some movie critics look down on it as they see it as exploitative cinema, but as a horror fan I couldn't have been happier. You've got a joyously over the top antagonist and a plot that keeps you guessing. What more could I ask for?

Definitely check this. Unless your squeamish and hate clowns. Then definitely don't.

Rating: 8/10

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Ross's Movie Reviews: Venom

Oh my have I been waiting for this one. Venom is one of my favourite ever comic book characters and maybe my number one favourite outside of The Joker.

Ever since the mess that was Spider Man 3 came out I've been anxiously awaiting another chance for sinister symbiote to get his chance to really shine on the big screen. Eleven years later and it looks like my wish came true. Let's begin.

As usual there will be no major spoilers and be sure to check out Chew Bubblegum and Kick Ass on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @rossd9711

So our story begins with a rocket crashing back down to earth and it appears that the pilots were able to procure an alien lifeform. One of these lifeforms is able to escape and bonds with a paramedic for an unknown purpose. And we won't find out until around the third act. The rest are being taken to the seemingly evil Life corporation.

Our main character here is news reporter Eddie Brock (played by the always excellent Tom Hardy) as he is given the responsibility of conducting an interview with the chairman of the Life corporation: Carlton Drake (Riz Ahmed). This doesn't go too well and Eddie finds himself without a job.

Later on, Eddie continues to investigate the Life Corporation and through a series of unfortunate events, ends up bonded with one of the alien lifeforms taken from the ship. This one is known as Venom.

Now it's no secret that Venom has been getting some rather negative reviews from critics with most saying that the movie comes across as dull, but I never got that impression at all. The movie is surprisingly funny throughout and got quite a few laughs from me.

The banter between Eddie and the Venom symbiote is fantastic and might be the best thing about the whole film. Seeing the full Venom suit in all it's glory is also fantastic and he looks great. The action scenes are a lot of fun as its just absolute madness at all times.

I will say that the villainous symbiote, Riot, was a bit disappointing as it did only appear at the start and then did not make any real impact until the film was near to its end and it almost felt rushed because of it. Don't get me wrong, seeing two symbiotes go head to head was a lot of fun but I just wish it had been a bit more focused.

The beginning of the movie also has this issue as it does feel rushed with the first five to ten minutes used to introduce a few key characters and then suddenly it jumps to six months later, which left me wondering what the hell Riot was doing in those six months. Was it just wandering around until it was able to locate the other symbiotes? And why did it take six bloody months?

These are the only real issues I had as otherwise the movie was a lot of fun with everyone performing well, with Tom Hardy especially making a good impression as he was definitely a great choice for the role.

For anyone that reads the Spider-Man and Venom comics there are a few references here and there to look out for so keep your eyes and ears open. Make sure to stay for the end credits as well.

Overall I had fun with this. It wasn't the best comic book movie but it was far from the worst one. All that matters is that Venom got to look good on the big screen and I can only hope that we get to see more of him in future. Maybe in the MCU? Who knows.

Rating: 7/10

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Ross's Movie Reviews: Halloween (2007)

So the new Halloween movie is coming out in about a month so I thought I'd take a look at some (hopefully all) of the movies in the series. Well the ones featuring Myers at least.

This one is the first remake of the series and is directed by Rob Zombie who has not been one of my favourite directors to be honest.

I'm not even sure if this got a good reception when it came out, so I thought I'd check it out to see how it holds up.

No major spoilers and as always, check out Chew Bubblegum and Kick Ass on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @rossd9711

Also I reviewed the very first Halloween a while back so take a look:

The very first movie started with Michael killing his older sister. This movie starts just a bit before that because this time we have more of a character study than we've ever had for Myers before.

Straight away it's obvious that this aims to look more at the childhood that turned Michael into the devil we all know in love.

At home he has to deal with an asshole of a sister, a dirty home, his mom's abusive boyfriend and is made fun of by the other kids at school for the fact that his mom is also a stripper. It does a good job trying to make him more sympathetic for the most part even if he himself does just seem like an evil little fucker.

Of course his emotions take a dive off a cliff on Halloween night and he decides to kill everyone in his house that night.

It's at this point in the original where we move straight to Halloween night where Michael returns to continue his murderous rampage, but here we stay with him while he's still a child and going through therapy sessions to find out why he became a killer. We don't actually get to the point where he becomes the true Shape until almost an hour into the movie.

I think this was a complaint amongst fans as they wanted to get straight to classic Michael Myers killing people, but this movie takes its time and in my opinion it's all the better for it. You get a good chance to know the real character who still just seems like any normal young boy, whose mental state starts to slowly decay the more he's kept out of the public.

Here we also have Dr Loomis played by the brilliant Malcolm McDowell and we have a slight twist on his classic character. While he does act like the kind therapist throughout, it appears that he's milking the whole situation by releasing a book and using his sessions with Michael to make money.

A couple of annoying Rob Zombie tropes make an appearance as well, such as making so many characters come across as horrible people to the point that it just becomes an irritant. For example when he attempts to kill his older sister, this should come off as intense but because his sister has been as asshole the whole time, I didn't really mind seeing her biting the dust.

Zombie also uses his trope of characters using unnecessarily shocking dialogue to try and get a reaction out of the viewer. I mean the Halloween story is already pretty shocking enough as it is so I'm not sure why this needed.

Once we do eventually get to the return to Haddonfield as expected, this movie does get surprisingly fun. We get some homages to the original with scenes like Laurie thinking she sees Michael outside her school staring at her, only for him to just vanish. There's also moments where you can just see him standing in the background, watching and waiting, and it is pretty creepy.

Without spoiling anything it does follow a close blueprint of the Carpenter classic, but it takes a slightly different route and stands out on its own because of this. While it's not totally frightening it does have a couple of decent jumpscares and you may not feel safe in your own house for a little while. Remember to check behind those doors....

Surprisingly I had a lot of fun with this and this is honestly one of the better horror remakes I've seen as it kept the original film in it's heart while doing it's own thing. Not to mention that it did a good job of fleshing out the Myers character and bringing back the classic monster.

I'd recommend giving it a look.

Rating: 7/10

Monday, 17 September 2018

Ross's Movie Reviews: The Predator

It's been 8 years since the last instalment of a Predator movie with Predators (one I'll need to look at some time) and it has quite a bit of hype especially as it's directed by the critically acclaimed Shane Black who also happened to have a big part in the original movie. Did it live up to the hype? Lets's take a look.

As usual no major spoilers and make sure to check out Chew Bubblegum and Kick Ass on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @rossd9711

So this movie follows a soldier by the name of Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) as the movie starts off with his group's contact with a crashed alien spaceship that happens to inhabit a Predator. I think this is also the first movie that actually calls them by that name and actually makes a funny joke out of it so kudos.

Anyway Quinn ends up sending parts of the spaceship back home so that the government can't take it from him, and his son accidentally activates it, calling forth the deadliest Predator we've seen yet in order to bring back the cargo. And from here we have our Predator movie.

As this film has now been out for nearly a week, you've probably heard from others that there is quite a bit of comedy in this movie and you would be correct. Although a lot of people have been saying this in a way that makes it sound like it's a hindrance on the movie and I would need to totally disagree with that as the humour is one of the best parts of this.

If you've seen any other Shane Black movie like The Nice Guys then you kind of know what kind of movie you're getting into as this is basically that movie but with Predators added in. Hell, even the Predator gets a couple of chuckles.

This isn't a totally comedic movie though obviously, as we have Predators here and they're here for anything other than a laugh.

There are some gory moments here, maybe the goriest we've seen of any of the movies and it's glorious to watch one of these Predators go to work. There's one scene in particular that has an unarmoured and unarmed Predator having to take out a room full of people and he does it like he's the world's deadliest version of Batman. It's fantastic.

The Predator dogs even make a return but they're disappointingly ineffective in their one 'threatening' scene are basically used as a joke for the rest of the movie. Although they do get some funny scenes so I'll give them a pass.

Just like the original we have a group of soldiers as our heroes and they're surprisingly well fleshed out for the most part. The only one that really disappointed was Lynch (Game of Thrones' Alfie Allen) as I can't remember anything that he actually did in the movie.

On the memorable side we have Coyle (Keegan-Michael Key) and Baxley (Thomas Jane) who have what would appear to be a bit of a double act going on and the get the funniest parts of the movie by far and even a couple of sentimental ones that surprised me.

This is more of a fanboy nit pick but I was kind of annoyed that the Predators didn't really get to do any of their stealthy antics that we've seen in every previous movie as they preferred not to sneak around and got involved right in the action.

Still though I had a blast with this film and I have no idea why there seems to be so many negative reviews as I would definitely recommend seeing it whether you're a fan of the franchise or just want a fun Friday night out. This is one worth watching.

Rating: 7/10

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Ross's Wrestling Ratings: NJPW Destruction in Hiroshima 2018

So this is the first of the major Destruction shows in NJPW which will be followed by Destruction in Beppu in a couple of days. Here's my ratings for the show

Roppongi 3K & Rocky Romero vs Jushin Liger / Tiger Mask / KUSHIDA : **1/4

Toa Henare vs Bad Luck Fale : *

Killer Elite Squad vs Michael Elgin & Ayato Yoshida : **1/2

Kota Ibushi / Chase Owens / Yujiro Takahashi vs Will Ospreay / Chuckie T / Beretta : ***

Bullet Club OG vs Juice Robinson / David Finlay / Ryusuke Taguchi (Never Openweight 6 Man Tag Team Championship) : ***1/4

Taichi / Takashi Iizuka / Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs Hirooki Goto / Toru Yano / Gedo : **

Los Ingobernables De Japon vs Suzuki Gun : ***1/4

Kazuchika Okada / Jay White / Yoshi-Hashi vs Hiroshi Tanahashi / Togi Makabe / Tomoaki Honma : ***

Kenny Omega vs Tomohiro Ishii (IWGP Heavyweight Championship) : ****3/4

Pretty good show overall as most of the tag matches were fun if inessential and the main event was just crazy and I loved it. Check out the main event for sure.