Production Year: 1998 -Horror -Director: Stephen Norrington -Original Language: English -Classification: 18 years and over -Starring: Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, Udo Keir, (On Ciao since: 06/2000)
Production Year: 2001 -Horror -Director: Victor Salva -Original Language: English -Classification: 15 years and over -Starring: Gina Philips, Patricia Belcher, Justin Long, Eileen Brennan, (On Ciao since: 09/2001)
Production Year: 2002 -Horror -Director: Steve Beck -Original Language: English -Classification: 18 years and over -Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Julianna Margulies, Ron Eldard, Desmond Harrington, (On Ciao since: 01/2003)
Production Year: 2005 -Horror -Director: Francis Lawrence -Original Language: English -Classification: 15 years and over -Starring: Djimon Hounsou, Tilda Swinton, Rachel Weisz, Peter Stormare, (On Ciao since: 09/2005)
Production Year: 2010 -Horror -Director: John Erick Dowdle -Original Language: English -Classification: 15 years and over -Starring: Caroline Dhavernas, Zoie Palmer, Joe Cobden, Jay Hunter, Chris (On Ciao since: 08/2010)
Production Year: 2004 -Horror -Director: Christopher Smith -Original Language: English -Classification: 18 years and over -Starring: Franka Potente, Vas Blackwood, Ken Campbell, Jeremy Sheffield, (On Ciao since: 06/2005)
Production Year: 2009 -Horror -Director: Christopher Smith -Original Language: English -Classification: 15 years and over -Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Michael Dorman, Rachael Carpani, Henry Nixon, (On Ciao since: 08/2009)
(+) Some of the special effects are good, unusual way of presenting this film genre (-) Poor acting, confusing, boring stretches, cold/impersonal atmosphere, camera work hard on the eyes (*) (On Ciao since: 09/2000)
Production Year: 2009 -Horror -Director: David S. Goyer -Original Language: English -Classification: 15 years and over -Starring: Cam Gigandet, Meagan Good, Odette Yustman, Idris Elba, Jane (On Ciao since: 01/2009)
Production Year: 2002 -Horror -Director: Danny Boyle -Original Language: English -Classification: 18 years and over -Starring: Marvin Campbell, Brendan Gleeson, Cillian Murphy, Megan Burns, Noah (On Ciao since: 11/2002)
This 1987 thriller was a predictable hit with the teen audience it worked overtime to attract. Like most of director Joel Schumacher's films, it's conspicuously...... more
This 1987 thriller was a predictable hit with the teen audience it worked overtime to attract. Like most of director Joel Schumacher's films, it's conspicuously designed to push the right marketing and demographic buttons and, granted, there's some pretty cool stuff going on here and there. Take Kiefer Sutherland, for instance. In Stand by Me he played a memorable bully, but here he goes one step further as a memorable bully vampire who leads a tribe of teenage vampires on their nocturnal spree of bloodsucking havoc. Jason Patric plays the new guy in town, who quickly attracts a lovely girlfriend (Jami Gertz), only to find that she might be recruiting him into the vampire fold. The movie gets sillier as it goes along, and resorts to a routine action-movie showdown, but it's a visual knockout (featuring great cinematography by Michael Chapman) and boasts a cast that's eminently able (pardon the pun) to sink their teeth into the best parts of an uneven screenplay. --Jeff Shannon
One of the key films of the 1970s, John Boorman's Deliverance is a nightmarish adaptation of poet-novelist James Dickey's book about various kinds of survival...... more
One of the key films of the 1970s, John Boorman's Deliverance is a nightmarish adaptation of poet-novelist James Dickey's book about various kinds of survival in modern America. The story concerns four Atlanta businessmen of various male stripe: Jon Voight's character is a reflective, civilized fellow; Burt Reynolds plays a strapping hunter-gatherer in urban clothes; Ned Beatty is a sweaty, weak-willed boy-man, and Ronny Cox essays a spirited, neighbourly type. Together they decide to answer the ancient call of men testing themselves against the elements and set out on a treacherous ride on the rapids of an Appalachian river. What they don't understand until it is too late is that they have ventured into Dickey's variation on the American underbelly, a wild, lawless, dangerous (and dangerously inbred) place isolated from the gloss of the late 20th century. In short order, the four men dig deep into their own suppressed primitiveness, defending themselves against armed cretins, facing the shock of real death on their carefully planned, death-defying adventure and then squarely facing the suspicions of authority over their concealed actions. Boorman, a master teller of stories about individuals on peculiarly mythical journeys, does a terrifying and beautiful job of revealing the complexity of private and collective character--the way one can never be the same after glimpsing the sharp-clawed survivor in one's soul. --Tom Keogh, Amazon.com
When two brothers enrol at an elite School of Wushu run by their father, Li Hui (SAMMO HUNG), nothing can prepare them for the amazing journey they are about to...... more
When two brothers enrol at an elite School of Wushu run by their father, Li Hui (SAMMO HUNG), nothing can prepare them for the amazing journey they are about to embark on. A decade passes and martial arts disciplines have been mastered, unbreakable friendships formed and allegiances to the way of Wushu sworn. But all their lives take an unexpected turn when the students cross paths with an evil, criminal fraternity involved with extreme violence, kidnapping & extortion. Faced with such a deadly enemy the brothers and their friends must turn to Li Hui to help them adapt their athletic abilities into spectacular combat skills to stand a chance of survival against such overwhelming odds.
Showdown in Little Tokyo is a 1991 martial arts action comedy which, in pitting Dolph Lundgren and Brandon Lee as LA cops against Japanese drug dealers, plays...... more
Showdown in Little Tokyo is a 1991 martial arts action comedy which, in pitting Dolph Lundgren and Brandon Lee as LA cops against Japanese drug dealers, plays like a B-movie Tango and Cash or Lethal Weapon 2 (both released just two years before). Between career highs in Rocky IV (1985) and Universal Soldier (1992) it looked as if Lundgren might make it big at the box-office, and clearly wanting to be the new Schwarzenegger he is here directed by Mark L Lester, who had earlier helmed Arnie's Commando (1985). In the event both actor and director headed for straight-to-video territory. The 75-minute running time suggests the studio lost confidence and seriously cut the movie though, as the space between the action is filled with nothing but cringe-inducing dialogue, thriller clichés and Lundgren "romancing" Tia Carrere, it still makes sense. Basing its title on John Carpenter's 1986 fantasy-comedy Big Trouble in Little China and anticipating Rush Hour (1998), Showdown in Little Tokyo alternates between crude tongue-in-cheek moments and action so ludicrous it's unintentionally hilarious . A camp disaster which simply defies belief, this is stupidly entertaining so-bad-its-good six-pack entertainment.
Living in exile in Paris after eluding a controversial charge of statutory rape in America, director Roman Polanski seemed professionally adrift during the...... more
Living in exile in Paris after eluding a controversial charge of statutory rape in America, director Roman Polanski seemed professionally adrift during the 1980s, making only one film (the ill-fated Pirates) between 1979 and 1988. Then Polanski found inspiration--and a major star in Harrison Ford--to make Frantic, a thriller that played directly into Polanski's gift for creating an atmosphere of mystery, dread, escalating suspense and uncertain fate. Set in Paris (Polanski couldn't go to Hollywood, so Hollywood came to him), the story begins when an American heart surgeon (Ford) arrives in the City of Lights with his wife (Betty Buckly) for a medical convention. They check into a posh hotel, and in a brilliantly directed scene, Ford takes a shower and emerges to find that his wife has vanished. This mysterious disappearance--and a confusion between two identical pieces of luggage--leads Ford into the Paris underground and a plot that grows increasingly dangerous as he approaches the truth of his wife's disappearance. The plot of Frantic gets too complicated, and the pace drops off in the cluttered second half, but in Polanski's capable hands the film is blessed with moments of heightened suspense in the tradition of classic thrillers. --Jeff Shannon
A big Oscar winner in 1975, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest still holds up remarkably well. Ken Kesey's novel, an allegory of repression and rebellion set in a...... more
A big Oscar winner in 1975, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest still holds up remarkably well. Ken Kesey's novel, an allegory of repression and rebellion set in a mental hospital in the early 1960s, is cannily adapted by Czech director Milos Forman into a comedy drama with a cool, unassuming, near-documentary look. Jack Nicholson has his most jacknicholsonian role as Randle P McMurphy, a livewire troublemaker who unwisely cons his way out of prison and into a mental institution without realising he has switched from serving a sentence with a release date to being committed until adjudged sane by the same people he is winding up on a daily basis. Louise Fletcher, in a career-defining turn, is Nurse Ratched, the soft-spoken sadist who represents the worst type of matronly authoritarianism and clashes with Randle all down the line. Taking another look at the picture after all these years, it's a surprise that all the unknown actors who seemed like real mental patients have graduated to becoming prolific character actor stars: Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd, Vincent Schiavelli, Brad Dourif, the late Will Sampson, Sidney Lassick, Michael Berryman. Unlike many Best Picture Oscar winners, this deals with profound subject matter without seeming self-important: Forman's approach and all-round great acting make it play as a small character story as well as a Big Statement about the human condition. Full marks also for Jack Nitzsche's musical saw-based score. On the DVD:One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest comes to DVD in a two-disc special edition with a great-looking anamorphic 1.85:1 print and 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack, plus tracks in French and Italian and optional subtitles in half a dozen languages. Disc 2 has the trailer, about 13 minutes of deleted scenes (mostly from the first third of the film, and all pretty good) and a making-of retrospective documentary with interesting material from producers Michael Douglas (who inherited the rights from Kirk) and Saul Zaentz, Forman, screenwriter Bo Goldman and many cast-members (though not Nicholson). There's also a commentary track by Forman, Douglas and others which repeats a few things from the documentary but also goes into more scene-specific detail about the development and shooting. --Kim Newman
Don't waste this one on your children: buy it for yourself. A spectacular adaptation of the Anna Sewell novel, this is faithful to the source material but...... more
Don't waste this one on your children: buy it for yourself. A spectacular adaptation of the Anna Sewell novel, this is faithful to the source material but creates a life of its own on the screen. Told from the point of view of the horse, it recalls a time and a place that could be both beautiful and cruel. Black Beauty faced both hardship and kindness as he passed through the hands of many owners throughout his life. Some are generous, but the agonies endured by the title character may be too harsh for small children. Unfortunately, director Caroline Thompson did not resurrect her magical touch a few years later with another animal tale, Buddy. --Rochelle O'Gorman, Amazon.com
The last film completed by Bruce Lee before his untimely death, Enter the Dragon was his entrée into Hollywood. The American-Hong Kong co-production, shot in...... more
The last film completed by Bruce Lee before his untimely death, Enter the Dragon was his entrée into Hollywood. The American-Hong Kong co-production, shot in Asia by American director Robert Clouse, stars Lee as a British agent sent to infiltrate the criminal empire of bloodthirsty Asian crime lord Han (Shih Kien) through his annual international martial arts tournament. Lee spends his days taking on tournament combatants and nights breaking into the heavily guarded underground fortress, kicking the living tar out of anyone who stands in his way. The mix of kung fu fighting (choreographed by Lee himself) and James Bond intrigue (the plot has more than a passing resemblance to Dr. No) is pulpy by any standard, but the generous budget and talented cast of world-class martial artists puts this film in a category well above Lee's primitive Hong Kong productions. Unfortunately he's off the screen for large chunks of time as American maverick competitors (and champion martial artists) John Saxon and Jim Kelly take centre stage, but once the fighting starts Lee takes over. The tournament setting provides an ample display of martial arts mastery of many styles and climaxes with a huge free-for-all, but the highlight is Lee's brutal one-on-one with the claw-fisted Han in the dynamic hall-of-mirrors battle. Lee narrows his eyes and tenses into a wiry force of sinew, speed and ruthless determination. --Sean Axmaker
From its cleverly choreographed opening sequence to its heart-stopping climax on a rampant carousel, this 1951 Hitchcock classic readily earns its reputation as...... more
From its cleverly choreographed opening sequence to its heart-stopping climax on a rampant carousel, this 1951 Hitchcock classic readily earns its reputation as one of the director's finest examples of timeless cinematic suspense. It's not just a ripping-good thriller but a film student's delight and a perversely enjoyable battle of wits between tennis pro Guy (Farley Granger) and his mysterious, sycophantic admirer, Bruno (Robert Walker), who proposes a "criss-cross" scheme of traded murders. Bruno agrees to kill Guy's unfaithful wife, in return for which Guy will (or so it seems) kill Bruno's spiteful father. With an emphasis on narrative and visual strategy, Hitchcock controls the escalating tension with a master's flair for cinematic design, and the plot (coscripted by Raymond Chandler) is so tightly constructed that you'll be white-knuckled even after multiple viewings. Strangers on a Train remains one of Hitchcock's crowning achievements and a suspenseful classic that never loses its capacity to thrill and delight. --Jeff Shannon
Young Dorothy Gale (played by Judy Garland), her dog, Toto, and her three companions on the yellow brick road to Oz -- the Tin Man (Jack Haley), the Cowardly...... more
Young Dorothy Gale (played by Judy Garland), her dog, Toto, and her three companions on the yellow brick road to Oz -- the Tin Man (Jack Haley), the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), and the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger) -- have become pop-culture icons and central figures in the legacy of fantasy for children. Actress Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch who covets Dorothy's enchanted ruby slippers, has had the singular honour of scaring the wits out of children for more than six decades. The film's still as fresh, frightening and funny as it was when first released in 1939. It may take some liberal detours from the original story by L. Frank Baum, but it's loyal to the Baum legacy while charting its own course as a spectacular film. Partly shot in glorious Technicolor, befitting its dynamic production design (Munchkinland alone is a psychedelic explosion of colour and decor), The Wizard of Oz may not appeal to every taste as the years go by, but it's nonetheless required viewing for kids of all ages. --Jeff Shannon
Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is less an adaptation of Stephen King's best-selling horror novel than a complete re-imagining of it from the inside out. In...... more
Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is less an adaptation of Stephen King's best-selling horror novel than a complete re-imagining of it from the inside out. In King's book, the Overlook Hotel is a haunted place that takes possession of its off-season caretaker and provokes him to murderous rage against his wife and young son. Kubrick's film is an existential Road Runner cartoon (his steadicam scurrying through the hotel's labyrinthine hallways), in which the cavernously empty spaces inside the Overlook Hotel mirror the emptiness in the soul of the blocked writer settled in for a long winter's hibernation. As many have pointed out, King's protagonist goes mad, but Kubrick's Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is Looney Tunes from the moment we meet him--all arching eyebrows and mischievous grin. (Both Nicholson and Shelley Duvall reach new levels of hysteria in their performances, driven to extremes by the director's fanatical demand s for take after take after take.) The Shining is terrifying--but not in the way fans of the novel might expect. When it was redone as a TV mini-series (reportedly because of King's dissatisfaction with the Kubrick film), the famous topiary-animal attack (which was deemed impossible to film in 1980) was there--but the deeper horror was lost. Kubrick's The Shining gets under your skin and chills your bones; it stays with you, inhabits you, haunts you. And there's no place to hide... --Jim Emerson, Amazon.com
A lush retelling of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Excalibur is a dark and engrossing tale. Director John Boorman (Deliverance)...... more
A lush retelling of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Excalibur is a dark and engrossing tale. Director John Boorman (Deliverance) masterfully handles the tale of the mythical sword Excalibur, and its passing from the wizard Merlin to the future king of England. Arthur pulls the famed sword from a stone and is destined to be crowned king. As the king embarks on a passionate love affair with Guenevere, an illegitimate son, and Merlin's designs on power, threaten Arthur's reign. The film is visually stunning and unflinching in its scenes of combat and black magic. Featuring an impressive supporting cast, including early work from the likes of Liam Neeson and Gabriel Byrne, Excalibur is an adaptation of the legend both faithful and bold. --Robert Lane
San Francisco has been the setting of a lot of exciting movie car chases over the years, but this 1968 police thriller is still the one to beat when it comes to...... more
San Francisco has been the setting of a lot of exciting movie car chases over the years, but this 1968 police thriller is still the one to beat when it comes to high-octane action on the steep hills of the city by the Bay. The outstanding car chase earned an Oscar for best editing, but the rest of the movie is pretty good, too. Bullitt is a perfect star vehicle for cool guy Steve McQueen, who stars as a tenacious detective (is there any other kind?) determined to track down the killers of the star witness in an important trial. Director Peter Yates (Breaking Away) approached the story with an emphasis on absolute authenticity, using a variety of San Francisco locations. Jacqueline Bisset and Robert Duvall appear in early roles, and Robert Vaughn plays the criminal kingpin who pulls the deadly strings of the tightly wound plot. --Jeff Shannon
A concert documentary from 1970, Elvis: That's the Way it Is captures Elvis Presley midway through a fateful transition, seeking to reclaim his musical primacy...... more
A concert documentary from 1970, Elvis: That's the Way it Is captures Elvis Presley midway through a fateful transition, seeking to reclaim his musical primacy after a decade of self-imposed exile from concert stages. Sidelined by his big-screen career, eclipsed by rock's mid-60s transformations, the King had begun his return two years earlier with the relatively lean attack of his fabled network television appearance, 68 Comeback Specia. Now the Memphis legend was poised to reposition his performing profile by pursuing the top rungs of headliner status in Las Vegas, a career choice that seems even more ephemeral in hindsight than it already did at the time. That's the Way it Is follows the show's genesis from rehearsal to stage, with the performance footage that provides its inevitable climax shot over six nights. The rehearsal footage, expanded for this special edition, offers further proof that Presley's band was simply superb: stripped of the orchestrations and lush choral arrangements that would be grafted onto the stage show, the sextet sounds both tough and nimble. In performance, we're treated to a mostly riveting glimpse of Presley in top vocal form, poised at the brink of bombast. This is Elvis before the onset of portentous Richard Strauss overtures, karate kicks and tossed scarves, kicking off the show with the classic "That's All Right". If he risks undercutting the punch of his early songs with self-deprecating clowning, he attacks two Ray Charles classics with gusto. --Sam Sutherland, Amazon.com
Little did Tom Cruise know that he would become a box-office superstar after he cranked up some Bob Seeger and played air guitar in his underwear. But there's...... more
Little did Tom Cruise know that he would become a box-office superstar after he cranked up some Bob Seeger and played air guitar in his underwear. But there's more to this 1983 hit than the arrival of a hot young star. Making a stylish debut, writer-director Paul Brickman crafted a subtle satire of crass materialism wrapped in an irresistible plot about a crafty high schooler named Joel (Cruise) who goes into risky business with the beguiling prostitute Lana (Rebecca De Mornay) while his parents are out of town. Joel turns his affluent Chicago-suburb home into a lucrative bordello and forms a steamy personal and professional partnership with Lana, but only as long as the two can avoid the vengeful pimp Guido (Joe Pantoliano) and keep their customers happy. A signature film of the 1980s, Risky Business still holds up thanks to Cruise's effortless charm and the movie's timeless appeal as an adolescent male fantasy. --Jeff Shannon
When people think of James Dean, they probably think first of the troubled teen from Rebel Without a Cause: nervous, volatile, soulful, a kid lost in a world...... more
When people think of James Dean, they probably think first of the troubled teen from Rebel Without a Cause: nervous, volatile, soulful, a kid lost in a world that does not understand him. Made between his only other starring roles, in East of Eden and Giant, Rebel sums up the jangly, alienated image of Dean, but also happens to be one of the key films of the 1950s. Director Nicholas Ray takes a strikingly sympathetic look at the teenagers standing outside the white-picket-fence '50s dream of America: juvenile delinquent (that's what they called them then) Jim Stark (Dean), fast girl Judy (Natalie Wood), lost boy Plato (Sal Mineo), slick hot-rodder Buzz (Corey Allen). At the time, it was unusual for a movie to endorse the point of view of teenagers, but Ray and screenwriter Stewart Stern captured the youthful angst that was erupting at the same time in rock & roll. Dean is heartbreaking, following the method acting style of Marlon Brando but staking out a nakedly emotional honesty of his own. Going too fast, in every way, he was killed in a car crash on September 30, 1955, a month before Rebel opened. He was no longer an actor, but an icon, and Rebel is a lasting monument. --Robert Horton, Amazon.com
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof offers a smouldering, angry Elizabeth Taylor as Maggie, the feline in question. Paul Newman is her ex-athlete husband, Brick Pollitt, an...... more
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof offers a smouldering, angry Elizabeth Taylor as Maggie, the feline in question. Paul Newman is her ex-athlete husband, Brick Pollitt, an alcoholic who frustrates and disappoints his wife and his overbearing father, Burl Ives, the vulgar patriarch of this positively Gothic Southern family whose children return to the nest like vultures when they learn he is dying of cancer. Infidelities, addictions, latent homosexuality, depression, unrequited love and mendacity are woven into this powerful adaptation of Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Though it was somewhat whitewashed by Hollywood, the sentiment remains powerful due to the provocative performances. The film was nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor and Actress for Newman and Taylor. --Rochelle O'Gorman, Amazon.com
Advantages: Enjoyable Scary Disadvantages: True Story - How awful
...I am reviewing the movie The Amityville Horror
I watched this movie last night on television and I have to admit I was a little creeped out. And apparently it is a true story. So I had the hebbi geebies throughout.
A family decide to buy a house in the country, which is a great bargain, only to find out after that the previous family had been murdered in the house. That...
Advantages: Entertaining, would appeal to enthusiasts of this kind of movie Disadvantages: Dated, predictable, low budget and it shows!
FILM ONLY REVIEW
I have a mild fascination for tacky old black & white 1950s/early 1960s horror films, so in my much mentioned great Sainsbury?s sell-off, I was delighted to find a movie called Horror Hotel which I?d never even heard of before, let alone seen.
The whole film was shot in black & white and actually released in 1960. The opening scenes of Horror Hotel begin with a witch being...
Advantages: Some warm central perfomances Disadvantages: An overwhelming lack of imagination or real scares
...On 14th November 1975, Ronald DeFeo brutally murdered his entire family, claiming voices in the house drove him to it. A year later newlyweds George and Kathy Lutz move in with her three children. Shortly after George's mind begins to unravel as the house takes hold of him.
The random remake roundabout spins into action once more and spits out this bloody lump of recycled 70s schlock horror...