Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth: Inside the Creation of a Modern Fairy Tale!
Why did I wait so long to buy this book!? It’s filled with behind the scenes photos, storyboards, production sketches and designs from one of my favorite movies, Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth! A film masterpiece! It’s a gorgeous book and a must have for fans of this brilliant film!
Flick takes place in the early 1900s with Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) and her prissy brother MacGregor (Jack Whitehall) seeking the Tears of the Moon, a tree blossom that only grows in a secret place deep in the Amazon Jungle and is said to contain miraculous healing properties. Lily hires down on his luck river tour guide and ship captain Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson) to help her find it. Hot on their trail is the villainous Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons), who wants the Tears of the Moon at any cost, and some ghostly Conquistadors with a grudge.
Adventure flick with a touch of the supernatural is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (The Shallows) from a script and story by five writers, which sounds like a lot for a movie based on a theme park attraction. Johnson and Blunt are charming leads and do make a good team, even if this adventure feels as by the numbers as the attraction it’s based on. There is a lot of action and some daring escapes and the film looks good, but Jesse Plemons is to much of a dull villain to really be perceived as a threat. There are some colorful supporting characters, the film does have some heart and it really seems to want to be a lot more fun than it is.
Overall, Jungle Cruise passes the time breezily, even if it’s not quite the thrill ride we’d hoped for. It’s no Pirates of the Caribbean or Raiders of the Lost Ark, which appears to be it’s aspiration, but, you could do far worse. Also features Paul Giamatti as an Amazon River harbormaster to whom Frank owes money.
Lindy (Kate Beckinsale) has a condition that only could happen in a movie like this. Not only does she have Intermittent Explosive Disorder, but also has excessive amounts of cortisol in her body, so when she does get enraged, it gives her augmented strength and agility. She has been studied and in therapy since childhood and now works as a bouncer. She finally meets a nice guy, Justin (Jai Courtney), who accepts her affliction, only to have him murdered just as she starts to care about him. Now Lindy uses her condition to her advantage, as she tracks down Justin’s killers to get revenge.
Yet another flick that wants to be hip while mixing hyper-violence and offbeat humor and fails miserably. Amazon Original is routinely directed by Tanya Wexler from an unimaginative script by Scott Wascha. It’s dull, even though filled with violent encounters, and almost all of the attempts at humor fall flat. The CGI blood spatters soften and lead Beckinsale seems to try hard as Lindy, but this flick shambles along from one dull fight to the next and even the surprise ending is exactly how we knew this would end up. Simply a waste of 90 minutes and a waste of Beckinsale, Courtney and Stanley Tucci, who plays Lindy’s therapist.
Sam (Karen Gillan) is an assassin for The Firm, and after her most recent assignment goes awry, is tasked with retrieving some money stolen from them and killing the man, David (Samuel Anderson), who took it. She finds he stole the money for ransom, to get his kidnapped daughter Emily (Chloe Coleman) back and Sam proceeds to go rescue her. Along the way the money is destroyed, David dies and now The Firm wants Sam dead. With Emily in tow, Sam is forced to team with her estranged assassin mother, Scarlet (Lena Headly) and a sisterhood of assassins (Carla Guigino. Michelle Yeoh and Angela Bassett) Scarlet once belonged to, to face down an army of killers sent her way.
Netflix streaming movie is stylishly enough directed by Navot Papushado (Rabies) from a script by he and Ehud Lavski. It’s an entertaining enough movie, though a bit of a mess and clearly is a strong case of John Wick meets The Professional, with a little Tarantino thrown in for good measure. The cast all seem to be having a good time playing a host of oddball characters and there is plenty of gunfire, but it gets tiresome after a while. We’ve been watching these slow motion gunfights and stabbings since John Woo made them popular in the 90s and these hip, hyper-violent crime flicks are starting to get played out. They’ve become their own subgenre. Gunpowder Milkshake has a fun neon colored look to go along with all the CGI blood and gun flares and while it’s never boring, it’s never all that involving either. An OK waste of time if there is nothing else to watch and Gillan does make Sam a likable killer with a sarcastic sense of humor and a heart. Also stars Paul Giamatti as Firm head Nathan.
Disappointing French horror finds Amélie (Mathilde Lamusse) summoning the vengeful Moroccan spirit of Kandisha after being assaulted by her ex-boyfriend. Kandisha (Mériem Sarolie) is said to be the spirit of a woman who merged with a demon, after being murdered for avenging her husband’s death. Now she kills only men when conjured—but there is a price. The malevolent entity doesn’t stop with just her ex and starts killing Amélie’s friends, too. Now she and girlfriends Bintou (Suzy Bemba) and Morjana (Samarcande Saadi) must find a way to stop it.
Written and directed by the Inside duo of Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury one expects more than a routine teens vs folklore boogieman film, but ultimately that’s all this is—with a healthy dose of Candyman thrown in, too. Strip away the feminist slant and the Moroccan background of the spectral villain and you have, basically, just another entry in the popular sub-genre of teens taking on some sort of evoked entity, that is popular in flicks right now. Aside from an abundance of gore, as per usual with Bustillo and Maury, this is no different than it’s PG-13 American counterparts—and not all that much more engaging. It’s competently made and visually sound, but not all that scary and even at only 85 minutes, gets tiresome towards the end. At least it does have a good cast and a likable and diverse group of characters to emotionally invest in. A disappointing flick from the usually innovative and far more effective French filmmakers.
British horror/comedy finds man-child Jack (Karl Holt) working for a toy company and frustrated with his lack of success. Jack decides to finally grow up and that includes throwing out all his old toys. One toy, a stuffed animal named Benny. is possessed by a demon and refuses to let Jack go. The resulting battle of wills between man and stuffed animal leaves a bloody trail of bodies in it’s wake.
Silly and sadly unfunny flick is written, directed and produced by star Karl Holt. It’s tedious at only 94 minutes, as the humor is juvenile and most of the jokes fall flat. There is plenty of gore, but the premise wears out it’s welcome about halfway through and the comedy bits get grating quickly. There is very little story, so it feels like a half-hour comedy skit stretched out to over 90 minutes. Holt has little on-screen presence, or charm and Benny hasn’t nearly the personality of a Chucky or Annabelle to make this flick work. A dumb and gory misfire that maybe should have played it straight and let the laughs come from the absurdity of the proceedings.
Latest book from Darcy Coates begins with a young woman named Keira fleeing from a group of men who are hunting her. She has no memory of who she is and why she is being pursued. She finds herself at a small church and graveyard, outside the remote town of Blighty, where a kindly pastor lets her stay at the groundskeeper’s cabin. There she discovers that she can see and communicate with the spirits still inhabiting the cemetery and gets embroiled in a mystery, while helping the troubled ghost of a murdered young woman move on from her mournful wandering.
Once again Coates spins an entertaining yarn that is equal parts ghost story and mystery. A story brimming with fog shrouded graveyards, shadow filled woods and locals with dark secrets. It’s the start of a new series, so don’t expect to get answers to all your questions, but Keira is a very engaging character and the town of Blighty a strange and gothic place, filled with some eccentric—and maybe some dangerous—characters. It’s a very quick read and a very entertaining tale, populated with some likable supporting characters, such as Pastor Adage, conspiracy theorist and general store clerk Zoe and charming med student Mason. The type of spooky fun book, perfect for reading under the covers at night, that we’ve come to expect from Coates, and starring a heroine we want to hear more from.