Creepshow (1982)

Creepshow
Director: George A. Romero
Writer: Stephen King
Based on: his own short stories (partly)
Cast: Hal HolbrookAdrienne BarbeauFritz WeaverLeslie NielsenE.G. MarshallViveca LindforsEd HarrisTed Danson, Stephen King, Robert HarperGaylen RossJon LormerDon KeeferBingo O’MalleyJoe Hill
Part of: /slash Filmfestival (extra screening)
Seen on: 8.9.2017
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Plot:
Billy (Joe Hill) reads a Creepshow comic, against the wishes of his father (Tom Atkins). The comic tells different stories – of an awkward family dinner where the murderous past comes back to haunt them; of a farmer finding a strange meteorite; of a vengeful husband doling out punishment to his unfaithful wife and her lover; of a dangerous creature in a crate; of a mysophobic man whose safeguards fail him – that the father doesn’t approve of. But Billy doesn’t want to give up the comic. 

As with many anthology movies, Creepshow’s different segments differ widely and the overall impression I have of the film isn’t particularly great, even though there were many bits that I did enjoy.

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The Fog (1980)

The Fog
Director: John Carpenter
Writer: John Carpenter, Debra Hill
Cast: Adrienne Barbeau, Jamie Lee Curtis, Janet Leigh, John HousemanTom Atkins, James Canning, Charles Cyphers, Nancy Kyes, Ty Mitchell, Hal Holbrook
Seen on: 20.5.2016

Plot:
Antonio Bay is approaching its centennial. The town is said to have been founded on the ruthless murder of a leper colony, a legend that nobody really believes in. But on the evening on the anniversary, a thick fog starts rolling into town. And there is something in the fog that is looking to take its bloody revenge.

I don’t get The Fog’s reputation. With Halloween at least I understood why it was considered a classic [even if I didn’t love it], but The Fog was simply a bad film. Not scary, not impressive, just… bad.

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Lincoln (2012)

Lincoln
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Tony Kushner
Based on: Doris Kearns Goodwin‘s book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, John Hawkes, Jackie Earle Haley, Bruce McGill, Tim Blake Nelson, Joseph Cross, Jared Harris, Lee Pace, Michael Stuhlbarg, David Costabile, Walton Goggins, David Oyelowo, Lukas Haas, Dane DeHaan

Plot:
In the middle of the US American civil war, Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) got reelected for his second term of presidency. And he uses that position to make another push to finally do away with slavery in the US for good by adding an amendment to the constitution. But he faces a lot of opposition, not only from the Democrats, but also from within his own Republican party. As the war draws closer to its end, Lincoln and his staff have to work really hard to pass the amendment in time.

Oh boy, Lincoln is one hell of a boring movie. It’s really long, and it feels even longer. The cast is generally fantastic, but the script is unfocused and Steven Spielberg is really off his game in this one.

Lincoln

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Into the Wild (2007)

Into the Wild is a movie by Sean Penn, based on Jon Krakauer‘s book, starring Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Jena Malone, Catherine Keener, Vince Vaughn, Kristen Stewart, Hal Holbrook and Zach Galifianakis.

Plot:
Chris McCandless (Emile Hirsch) has just finished university and decides to drop out. He is fed up with the dishonesty of the lives around him, his parents’ (Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt) loveless marriage, the unfairness of capitalism. So he packs his things and takes off on a cross-country tour of the USA. Without any money and avoiding any contact with his parents and sister (Jena Malone), he sets off with the big goal to go to Alaska, encountering various people along the way.

Chris McCandless story is interesting and touching and Sean Penn found himself an amazing cast to tell it. Unfortunately he is not the world’s greatest director and the cinematography could have been better, too (he’s very lucky that Emile Hirsch is as pretty as he is, because that camera spends an inordinate amount of time shoved in his face). But despite that, it is still a very good film to watch.

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Water for Elephants (2011)

Water for Elephants is Francis Lawrence‘ adaptation of Sara Gruen‘s book, starring Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, Christoph Waltz and Hal Holbrook. (And about 30 seconds of James Frain, which is so not enough.)

Plot:
After the death of his parents, Jacob (Robert Pattinson) quits his study of veterinary medicine and hits the road. By chance he ends up with a circus, where he is quickly hired by director August (Christoph Waltz) who can see Jacob’s use as a resident vet. August’s wife Marlena (Reese Witherspoon) takes a liking to Jacob – and Jacob to her. When they both start working on an elephant number for the show things soon get heavier and August’s abuse shows more and more. This can only end in drama.

Water for Elephants could have been great entertainment, either as the schmaltzy kitschfest it aspires to be or as the deliciously bad comedy Robert Pattinson movies tend to be. Instead it lands smack-dab in the middle of boring. Everything is terribly mediocre, apart from a few moments where it’s really bad, which is a welcome change. At least the alcohol helped [yeah, it was one of those movies]. And the elephant is cute.

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