Archive | TV & Movies

Steven Dawes

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters Review

Posted on January 29, 2013 by

I’ve been hearing about Hansel & Gretel (H&G) for well over a year now. It was supposed to have hit the theatre a few times over the last year before it if finally escaped this weekend. If I had to guess, the studio was probably waiting for an opportunity to dump it in hopes of making a quick buck and then forgotten about, and after the “Avengers” made it so big and everyone recognizes Jeremy “Hawkeye” Renner these days, now was the time to start this witch hunt. It was probably the right move; my niece was dying to go see this with me, simply because Hawkeye was in it. So with a couple of teens and my wife forming a hunting party, we all went to see G&H. And how did the hunt go?

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Dungeons and Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness Movie Review

Posted on November 28, 2012 by

Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness was originally released directly to DVD in the UK in Aug 2012 and premiered in the U.S. on the Syfy channel this weekend. Writer Brian Rudnick (Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God) was joined once again by director Gerry Lively (Darkness Falls, Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God) to bring the third Dungeons & Dragons movie to life.

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Paranomal Activity 4 Movie Review

Posted on November 13, 2012 by

I would say “the plot thickens” but to be honest the fourth installment in the Paranormal Activity franchise doesn’t really add much to the mix. I will say that up front. At this point the writers (Christopher Landon, Chad Feehan) have pretty much phoned in the possibility of developing a growing plot and they’re playing with the dangling threads of the previous movies. We see this kind of treatment all too often in other franchises and it is usually a sign that the ride is coming to an end. If the box office is any kind of indicator the general audience is feeling the same as PA4 earned less than half of any of the previous PA films.

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Monica Valentinelli

Frankenweenie Movie Review

Posted on October 24, 2012 by

What’s black and white and has Tim Burton written all over it? While I’m sure no other movie reviewer has dropped that line, what I am positive about is that Frankenweenie is a new Halloween favorite created by spooky director/writer/producer/artist Tim Burton.

Frankenweenie is based on a short film Tim Burton produced in 1984. The film, which is readily available online and as an extra on some versions of The Nightmare Before Christmas, is part of the Disney catalog. You can watch the original Frankenweenie on Slate.com. A family film, Frankenweenie has a full cast of characters who live (and lurk) in the town of New Holland.

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Hotel Transylvania Movie Review

Posted on October 11, 2012 by

Hotel Transylvania is a computer animated comedy produced by Sony Pictures Animation and Columbia Pictures. Dracula (Adam Sandler) built the hotel as a safe haven for monsters looking to get away from the dangers of the human world. He has invited all of his friends to the hotel to help him celebrate his daughter Mavis’ (Selena Gomez) 118th birthday which also happens to be the day he must fulfill a promise to her. On her 118th birthday she can finally leave the hotel to explore the world outside on her own. Of course, Drac has a plan to ensure she will come to fear humans and will stay in the safety of the hotel forever.

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We Are the Night Movie Review

Posted on October 8, 2012 by

We Are the Night is a German horror film about a young woman named Lena (Karoline Herfurth) living a lonely life of petty-crime on the streets of Berlin. Lena draws the attention of police detective Tom (Max Riemelt) while picking the pocket of a pimp that local law enforcement was keeping an eye on. Not surprisingly the pair finds themselves attracted to each other. When Lena sneaks into a rave she is spotted by Louise (Nina Hoss), the leader of a pack of female vampires, who immediately falls in love with Lena because she reminds the 250-year old vampire of her own creator (who died 150 years before).

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Monica Valentinelli

Dredd Movie Review

Posted on October 5, 2012 by

To properly review Dredd, I should share with you a couple of important niggly bits. First, we saw Dredd in the old-fashioned version, the two-dimensional format. Second, I haven’t read all the comic books so I’m not as well learned as others might be. Yes, yes I know. This is awful of me, to be sure, but he’s on my pile of “have to read soon.”

Going into the theater, I had heard the reviews. Flat characters. Boring storyline. Not much better than the original. Then, I skimmed comments and anecdotes from people I consider to be professionals. “Don’t listen to the critics,” they said. “Go see it. It’s what a comic book movie should be.”

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ParaNorman Movie Review

Posted on September 25, 2012 by

ParaNorman is a horribly delightful stop-motion animated film about a young boy who has the ability to see and communicate with ghosts. Growing up is already is a rough process and much like Cole Sear from The Sixth Sense Norman’s abilities do not make life any easier. Unlike Cole, Norman has been more open about what he sees which makes him the target of fear and ridicule in the small town of Blithe Hollow. Norman does not know it but he is not the first resident of this witch-obsessed town to have his gifts and he has a very important role to fill.

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House of Ghosts Movie Review

Posted on June 27, 2012 by

Saint Euphoria Pictures produces homages to the old style horror films of the 1950’s with “House of Ghosts” pays particular attention to William Castle. There was a decent bit of tongue-in-cheek humor, but it was done in fondness of the b-movie genre not as a form of ridicule. They shot in black and white with a classic style of special effects staying as true to the original format as possible. Over-acting, cheesy lines, and an abundance of swelling music sweeps the viewer along as the story unfolds.

I was not expecting to enjoy the movie as much as I did. I enjoy the old b-movies and have many chuckles as quips are thrown back at the screen, but I can’t really call myself a true fan.

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Monica Valentinelli

Prometheus Movie Review

Posted on June 15, 2012 by

Last night, we meandered into the gorgeous Sundance theatre to watch Prometheus on the big screen. For those of you who haven’t heard of this film before, here’s a link to the Prometheus trailer.

I went into this movie as someone who was familiar with the Alien franchise (which began in 1979!) but who hasn’t read the comics or seen the films in some time. I had also heard a lot about this film from the wildly mixed reactions as seen in my social media feeds.

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Flames

INTO THE DARK: John Carter Film Review

Posted on March 9, 2012 by

Before he secured his place in the annals of international pop culture with the Tarzan stories, Edgar Rice Burroughs offered up the initial adventure in the far more interesting and inventive Barsoom series. “Under the Moons of Mars,” later to be retitled A Princess of Mars for book publication, first saw print in the Munsey pulp The All-Story, from February through July of 1912. The six-part serial chronicles the adventures of Confederate veteran Captain John Carter, who stumbles across a cave in Arizona through which he is transported via psychic projection to Mars, or as the locals call it, Barsoom.

Once deposited on Barsoom, Carter treks across the dying planet and encounters an imaginative assortment of races and creatures, from the four-armed warrior Tharks to the super-speedy dog-lizard things called calots (one of which, naturally, becomes the hero’s faithful companion), to the humanlike red Martians.

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Flames

The Wicker Man (1973) Movie Review

Posted on March 1, 2012 by

I like to think of “The Wicker Man” as the greatest Hammer film never actually produced by the venerable studio. Despite the fact that it was in decline, Hammer was still the foremost name in English horror cinema at the time of the film’s release. While it was originally distributed by British Lion Film Corporation, “The Wicker Man” shares Hammer’s penchant for beautiful landscapes, lush production values, and its franchise star, Christopher Lee, who portrayed Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, and the Mummy in numerous films for the studio.

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Flames

Blair Witch Project Movie Review

Posted on February 16, 2012 by

“The Blair Witch Project” is one of the most controversial horror movies of recent memory. This is not due to explicit content. The movie was never banned or placed on a parents’ watch list. It is controversial due to its lack of explicit content. There are no CGI monsters or buckets of gore, bucking the trend of most contemporary horror. It derives its scares from its setting, atmosphere, and great performances from the three leads.

“Blair Witch” tells the story of Heather (Heather Donahue), Mike (Michael Williams), and Josh (Joshua Leonard), three student filmmakers who are producing a documentary about the legendary Blair Witch, who is said to reside in the woods outside Burkittsville, Maryland.

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The Hammer Vault Review

Posted on February 1, 2012 by

This remarkable journey through the Hammer vault includes props, annotated script pages, unused poster artwork, production designs, rare promotional material and private correspondence. Hundreds of rare and previously unseen stills help to create a rich souvenir of Hammer’s legacy, from the X certificate classics of the 1950s to the studio’s latest productions.

Written and compiled by the official Hammer Films historian Marcus Hearn, and featuring exclusive contributions from the actors and filmmakers associated with the company, this is the most lavish book ever published on the legendary House of Horror.

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Steven Dawes

Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows Review

Posted on November 16, 2011 by

Blair Witch 2 holds a special place in my black heart. No so much because of the movie itself, it happens to be the first movie my wife Lilly and I went to see together (somewhere along the lines of a 3rd of 4th date.) We were both fans of the 1st film (me more so than her), and as it was the autumn/ Halloween season so seeing a scary movie seemed like the thing to do at the time. It was incidentally the inaugural “dinner and a movie” date ritual that became a cornerstone of one of our favorite things to do together to this day. During the few times I’ve watched it since, I get a twinge of nostalgia, and did so again during this last watch for reviewing purposes. But does nostalgia a good movie make?

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Steven Dawes

Trick ‘r Treat Movie Review

Posted on October 31, 2011 by

I had no idea what I was in for a year ago when I rented “Trick ‘r Treat” on Netflix. I‘d hear nothing about this film from anyone, but I read on the Netflix site that it starred Anna Paquin, Brian Cox and Dylan Baker (three actors whom I dig mucho) and the story description went like this: “In writer-director Michael Dougherty’s fright fest, Halloween’s usually boisterous traditions turn deadly, and everyone in a small town tries to survive one night in pure hell … but who will still be alive in the morning? Several stories weave together, including a loner fending off a demented trick-or-treater’s attacks; kids uncovering a freaky secret; a school principal — who moonlights as a serial killer, and more.” To me, this sounded like a potentially good time and I added it to the list.

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Steven Dawes

Insidious Movie Review

Posted on October 27, 2011 by

Josh, Renai and their 3 children are the typical middle class American family. In what feels like a cliched setup, the Lambert family has just moved into a house, only to learn soon enough that it happens to be haunted. Various staples of ghost story elements follow, which are seemingly set up to where you feel a “poltergeist” clone coming on. But then… the entire feel and angle of the film is turned on its head, creating one of the best ghost story films released in years!

I intended to review INSIDIOUS when I saw it at the theater months ago. I so dug the hell out of this flick, so much so that I went to see it twice, which was a big deal as I’m currently a full time student who really has to mind his funds.

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Steven Dawes

Dark Night of the Scarecrow Movie Review

Posted on October 24, 2011 by

There are only a few films from my childhood that fills me with nostalgic glee every time I reminisce about them. The 1981 made-for-TV horror movie “Dark Night of the Scarecrow” is one of those movies. There are a lot of movies that I can sort of remember watching the first time, but I can still recall in vivid detail the first time I watched this one, and it’s a good memory for me.

I was at my best bud Ken’s house, who’d seen DNS a year earlier with his folks, and was so taken by it that the boxer puppy they adopted a few weeks later was named after the main character (Bubba). I recall watching his dad lighting the fireplace (it was a chilly October already) as Ken and I got ready for the movie.

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Steven Dawes

The Changeling Movie Review

Posted on October 4, 2011 by

“That house is not fit to live in. No one’s been able to live in it. It doesn’t want people.”

As Flames Rising is looking for ghost related posts for this year’s Halloween season, I found this to be an opportune time to dive into some ghost flicks. And while I’m the kind of mook who’s all about “saving the best for last”, I’m going completely opposite with this one. “The Changeling” was chosen as my first ghost story flick to review, and honestly, it’s the movie that I hold all ghost movies in terms of masterpiece quality.

The story centers around John, whose wife and daughter die in a tragic accident before his very eyes.

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Steven Dawes

Fright Night (2011) Movie Review

Posted on August 29, 2011 by

So with summer coming to a close, I’ve finally got some days off from school before I’m back again this fall. After all the HTML learning, numeric coding, interface designing, networking essentials and even Human Relations (only cause it’s required), I was ready for some time off. It seemed to be fortuitous that Fright Night came out in the middle of my break, for I am REALLY in need of some horror shenanigans to blow off some steam.

Now, before I continue on, I have a horrible confession to make. I’m very ashamed to admit this, and my fingers are shaking in fear of this revelation so much that it’s difficult for me to even type right now. But they say the truth shall set you free… so here it goes… *exaggerated gulp* … I’ve never seen the original 1985 Fright Night… *the sounds of crickets can be heard clearly in the distance*.

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11 Tales of Ghostly Horror

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