Le complexe de Frankenstein [Creature Designers – The Frankenstein Complex] (2015)

Le complexe de Frankenstein
Director: Gilles PensoAlexandre Poncet
Writer: Gilles Penso, Alexandre Poncet
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 30.10.2016

“Plot”:
The documentary traces the development of creature special effects in film by interviewing various experts like Rick BakerJoe DanteGuillermo del ToroMick GarrisAlec GillisSteve JohnsonJohn LandisGreg NicoteroKevin SmithPhil TippettChris WalasMatt Winston and Tom Woodruff Jr.

Le complexe de Frankenstein is an interesting documentary that gives a lot of background information on a part of filmmaking that is usually only noticed when it’s badly done, giving spotlight to the many enthusiastic people working on those effects.

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Tales of Halloween (2015)

Tales of Halloween
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 25.9.2015
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard.]

Plot:
Tales of Halloween is a horror film anthology with 10 short films, all taking place on the same Halloween night, framed by the narration of a radio DJ (Adrienne Barbeau).

Tales of Halloween is an enjoyable collection of segments that makes time fly by. I especially enjoyed how interconnected the segments were, using the same set and often the same extras as well. Not all segments were equally strong, but altogether, it’s a great film.

TalesofHalloweenAfter the jump, I’ll talk about each of the segments separately. And since the film is filled to the brim with cameos and familiar faces, I have pointed them out as well, at least as far as I could place them.

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Re-Watch: Trading Places (1983)

Trading Places
Director: John Landis
Writer: Timothy Harris, Herschel Weingrod
Cast: Dan AykroydEddie MurphyJamie Lee Curtis, Ralph BellamyDon Ameche, Denholm Elliott, Giancarlo Esposito, Frank Oz, Bo Diddley, James Belushi, Al Franken, Tom Davis

Plot:
Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) was born on the sunny side of life and has proven to be a quite successful trader for the Duke brothers (Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche). Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) on the other hand barely scrapes by with crooked schemes. When the Duke brothers bet on whether or not it’s the circumstances or nature that make a man what he is, Louis and Billy Ray quickly find themselves in each other’s shoes. Louis’ reputation is completely destroyed when he is found with a sex worker Ophelia (Jamie Lee Curtis) hired to set him up, loses his fiancée, his home and his job – the latter to Billy Ray. In the end, Louis has nobody but Ophelia and – surprisingly – Billy Ray to make things right again.

I used to watch this film as a kid as well, though certainly not as often as Scrooged, probably because I am not so much of an Eddie Murphy fan and never was. But since the cinema showed the two films as a double feature, I decided to give it a go. Unfortunately even with the nostalgia bonus, Trading Places barely worked for me at all.

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Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)

Twilight Zone: The Movie (is an anthology movie based on various episodes of the Twilight Zone show)
Prologue
Director: John Landis
Writer: John Landis
Cast: Dan Aykroyd, Albert Brooks
Segment Time Out
Director: John Landis
Writer: John Landis
Cast: Vic Morrow, Doug McGrath, Charles Hallahan
Segment Kick the Can
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: George Clayton Johnson, Richard Matheson, Melissa Mathison
Cast: Scatman Crothers, Bill Quinn, Martin Garner, Selma Diamond, Helen Shaw, Murray Matheson, Peter Brocco, Priscilla Pointer
Segment It’s a Good Life
Director: Joe Dante
Writer: Jerome Bixby , Richard Matheson
Cast: Kathleen Quinlan, Jeremy Licht, Kevin McCarthy, Patricia Barry, William Schallert, Nancy Cartwright, Dick Miller
Segment Nightmare at 20,000 Feet
Director: George Miller
Writer: Richard Matheson
Based on: Richard Matheson‘s short story
Cast: John Lithgow, Abbe Lane, Donna Dixon, John Dennis Johnston, Larry Cedar, Dan Aykroyd
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

Plot:
In the Prologue we see a driver (Albert Brooks) who picks up a hitchhiker (Dan Aykroyd), but things don’t go exactly as planned.
In Time Out, racist and antisemit Bill Connor (Vic Morrow) gets shown the error of his ways through involuntary time travel.
In Kick the Can, the residents of a senior home get another chance to play when Mr. Bloom (Scatman Crothers) joins them.
In It’s a Good Life, little Anthony (Jeremy Licht) has the power to make his life just as he wants it to be – something that Helen (Kathleen Quinlan) gets to experience herself when she meets him.
In Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, John Valentine (John Lithgow) battles with his fear of flying during a flight. But this time his fear might not be entirely unfounded.

I have never really seen the show, but I did like the movie. It was a nice and entertaining anthology, even though it didn’t blow me all away.

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An American Werewolf in London (1981)

An American Werewolf in London
Director: John Landis
Writer: John Landis
Cast: David Naughton, Griffin Dunne, Jenny Agutter, John Woodvine

Plot:
David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) are tramping through the UK, where they end up in a small town in the middle of nowhere. After an awkward visit to the local pub, they decide to not stay there. But while they are walking away, they are attacked. Jack dies and David gets bitten by some kind of monster. Three weeks later he wakes up in an hospital room, wiht Nurse Alex (Jenny Agutter) taking care of him. But the nightmare is only just beginning.

The movie was slightly uneven. It starts as more of a horror-comedy and suddenly there is this shift in tone and everything gets super depressing. But in any case, the most outstanding feature are the fantastic special effects – which still look great, even after 30 years.

An_American_Werewolf_in_London

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Burke and Hare (2010)

[One of the films of the /slash Filmfestival‘s special European evening.]

Burke and Hare is the newest film by John Landis, starring Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Tom Wilkinson, Isla Fisher, Jessica Hynes, Bill Bailey, Christopher Lee, Tim Curry, Hugh Bonneville, David Schofield, Pollyanna McIntosh, Stephen Merchant and probably another 500 actors worthy of mention.

Plot:
Edinburgh, beginning of the 19th century: They city is very proud of its two medical faculties, headed by Doctor Monro (Tim Curry) and Doctor Knox (Tom Wilkinson) respectively. The two of them are in strong competition – and not really in a friendly way. They especially fight over the bodies they can use for dissection. When Knox runs out of supply, he has to find new means to get bodies. And that’s where William Burke (Simon Pegg) and William Hare (Andy Serkis) enter the scene: continually strapped for cash, Burke and Hare find new and, let’s say creative means of finding new corpses for Knox to work with.

Despite its topic, Burke and Hare is incredibly funny.  It does get a bit silly from time to time, but in a very endearing way and it never gets too stupid. In short, gallows humor, a great cast and a nice script [though not at all historically accurate] – what more could you ask for?

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