Tag Archives: Clive Barker

Dopey to some

Yes, Dopey, a name I cloak myself in frequently, that loveable dwarf not right in the mind and that is me to a fault. I just saw Matrix resurrections. I did not really like it, that is not the fault of the actors, they all played their hearts out and you can see that. The story was clever, really clever but the WOW factor was missing. I saw the first three as a complete story and I was fine with it. There was nothing missing. It had the elements of a Greek Tragedy, it had action (a lot of that) and several other sides. I was happy. So when the 4th movie came out, I was not really on par with my thoughts, and it had been close to 2 decades. I still remember the trailer that I saw in Chicago, it blew me away, I saw the movie 8 weeks later in Europe and I saw it more than once. Then the DVD came. I reckon that plenty of people got a DVD player just for this movie and that is saying something. There was a WOW factor that numbers 2 and 3 continued. It was missing here, but it made it not a bad movie, it merely made me less interested and I was not alone in this, but it does not matter. The storyteller in me woke up. I had my own movie considerations. It is called ‘How to assassinate a politician’ and the story was made for the Arab world (Egypt, UAE, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan) in this I personally believe it would be a hit, but that I my view. Then my mind created ‘Another Furlong’ after the whole 9 yards with Matthew Perry. Just now I saw the Hulu Trailer of Hellraiser, it might be a hit. Especially if they resurrect the Nightbreed franchise as well, in the comics there have been several interaction between these two and there would be enough materials for either movies of mini series. The mind does not sit still, so as I was contemplating ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’, more important the other books. Not sure if Tim Burton is considering to make the others into movies, but if he is not any of the streamers should consider it. There are so many options, but we get to see (for the most) a newly resurrected version of Death Wish, Robocop, Firestarter or Flatliners. I have nothing against any of these movies. Yet where is thee good stuff? Where is the original stuff? Now, lets be clear Matrix resurrections is original, based on a franchise, but an original story. Yet where are the titans? Another Lord or the Rings? OK, this is the prequel, the rings of power. I grant you that, but we are so about seeing more of the same that we merely endure repetition, this was one of the reasons why I came up with ‘How to assassinate a politician’, not the most important reason, but a reason none the less. I wonder what more I could make. I started to pencil season two on the grandson of Hades (still no title come to mind), I made one on the stage of the past with Kenos Diastima and Residuam Vitam. And past that a few small parts that require evolution. Perhaps it is a dopey thought, but is this what most of us have resorted to? Repetition? I am uncertain but overall I see less awesome movies. I reckon that Maverick is the most overwhelming movie I have seen this year and that is not a good thing. Consider, how many truly good movies have You seen in the last 6 month? If you need more than a minute to name 5, you will be able to see my point of view. With Netflix, Hulu, Disney we see so many more works, but the overall quality is falling down, that is not a good thing. You might have another idea regarding this and that I fine, but I worry what we will get in 2023, 2024 and 2025. That might just be me though.

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Watch it again!

There is a nice side to the 90’s. We all had a go at new things, there was the start of a new side of gaming, there were new frontiers in IT, there were all kinds of approaches to marketing and there were all kinds of new movies, movies that before that were never pushed to the larger extent. It gave us David Cronenberg, it gave us comic books and there was a new side of horror, at times more playful, but for the people who loved the comics, it was just awesome. One of these makers (Clive Barker) was already pushed into a few realms, but one side was to often ignored, I cannot tell whether it was because of how the non knowledgeable try to sell it, perhaps the review line of “a commercial and critical failure” was linked to it. Yet the story of the Nightbreed, Cabal and Median has potential, not as a slasher movie, but as a horror thriller that needs to be really dark. The kind of story that will make any average psychiatrist decide to retire on the spot. The story has so much to offer, that I am a little bewildered how movie makers 32 years later are ignoring that gem. Craig Sheffer played it decently (considering that there were the 90’s). And. Personal speculation is that he might have been chosen as he more roughly resembled David Boreanaz in Angel (and Buffy) and the makers knew how excited the ladies got over him. Yet I believe that Craig played a decent Boone, the rest of the cast was OK. That is not against them, but against the film makers who were all about slashers and posturing and not about maximising the impact of the large amounts of side stories that Cabal represented (as did Median). I reckon that Nightbreed might too large for a movie, and a miniseries (4-6 episodes of an hour) might make it a lot better and lets face it, this station is ruled by Clive Barker, wasting material that excellent should be considered a crime in TV and tinseltown land. 

Is there more?
Well yes and it is not limited to Clive Barker (although if I can ever revitalise Lords of illusion, I would). Consider the amazing result that IT became and what we saw in the works of Anne Rice in other movies. Now consider the challenge that the Mayfair witches leaved the film makers with The Witching hour. Anne Rice drenched the story in all levels of controversy and that works great in most horror, now add new levels of darkness that we can push for today and you have three books that could ultimately be a next generation focal point of fear for decades, I reckon that the film makers can push into this when the film maker looks at the colour black and considers it to be too light. That is where the boundaries are pushed and there is a larger station, the books of Wes Craven, Clive Barker and Anne Rice have shown them to be masters, they were used for quick revenue fixes and discarded, yet the people at Netflix, Amazon and Disney can make that into a realm of options with 3-5 movies, or larger miniseries with several movies in 5-7 parts, not as a cash cow, but as a station of creating new levels of fear. We can see Neil Gaiman stories making it into that realm, yet he need not be alone (even though he might like it), there is plenty for a while range of stations and now, 30 years later it is time to drill into those treasure troves again, the darker film maker is the most likely winner here and you only have to look at successes like American Horror Story to see that I have a decent case here. 

I wonder if someone in Tinseltown wakes up to that part of the equation, first come, first chance of becoming an accomplished winner. The 90’s produced a whole range of excellent ideas for the big and the 75” screen. 

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We’ve seen it all before

That was the thought I got stuck with when I was looking at The Disappointments Room, a movie with Kate Beckinsale, shortly after I stopped watching it. Now, this was not the fault of anyone, not her (watching her is as pleasing to the eye as watching a Rembrandt), not the director, the lighting, the camera work, it was all high end good, yet the issue for me remains, I have seen at least 15,000 movies, so there is an issue with me watching more movies. Lately I have been taking notice of that, and with Kate who made her debut in Much Ado about Nothing (1993), a small part I had actually forgotten about, I remember the movie well. Implies that there is a sliding scale ahead for me and I am not happy.

There are still happy moments too, I loved Earthquake bird and was amazed that Alicia Vikander was so great at Japanese pronunciation, apart from that (and the fact that Lara married a Ubisoft character, LOL) made it an interesting ride, that is all before that the movie is one hell of a psychological drama, that includes some level of triangle relationship is pretty awesome, the fact that it plays in Japan is merely a plus for many (including me). That entire movie was an interesting one, we had all seen it before, but as we experience the setting, we see a movie, one that is for the most totally new, and there is a point where I wonder how the makers Wash Westmoreland and Susanna Jones pulled it off.

Was it all about Japan, was it Alicia in Japanese surrounding, or was it that for the most the movie was not laced in a sexual setting, there are 1-2 screens, but they seem to make sense as this was the relationship between two people. Yet in all that, the entire Japanese setting is overwhelming and we look around as we notice more and more differences, but what set it off? I believe that the script was a big part of it, but all movies have to face that, so what made this movie different, why did I not have the ‘We’ve seen it all before‘ feeling? I think it is important, as we are all running to the next Marvel movie, a remake of Charlie’s Angels or a Ford v Ferrari movie, I wonder what we will get next year, because it is becoming slim pickings for anyone who grew up being a movie fan. There are movie makers who are a given, people like Ridley Scott, who seem to be answering questions in the movies as they make the movies, a lot has been done before and some movie makers seem to distinguish themselves in that way, but the scary question for me remains, what comes next? Oh, I believe that we will see plenty of fine productions, but the overwhelming feeling that I have is that the ‘We’ve seen it all before‘ will return and that saddens me a little because it will not be the fault of the maker, or the actors or the actresses. It resides in me and all the movies I have already seen, that is the part that saddens me and it is laced in another part as well.

When we watched a movie (in a far distant past in this galaxy), my grandmother would comment on ‘How she had already seen that movie‘ whilst I was in the frame of mind that the movie was new, yet she was proven right again and again as these were remakes, it is nice to be in the first viewing of a remake, but I got old enough to have seen the original of whatever movie was re-released in the last 5 years so it is a little less fun for me now.

For me this is like watching the Female Ghostbusters, or the real live Aladdin, both movies have one setback, the original was pretty darn good, in the original Ghostbusters, we got to see special effects that until a few years ago no one surpassed, in addition to it all it was a great fun film to see, so the female version had a different ghost to fend off, and they were unable to, we kept comparing to the original, Will Smith faced that and worse in Aladdin, he had to fight of the ghost of Robin Williams, in addition Disney had taken the voice section to the next level and we all still remember Gilbert Gottfried as Iago, it is hard to fight off those ghosts, especially when the current generation still remembers them so well. It was different for Oceans 8, yes it was all female, yes it was linked to Danny Ocean (George Clooney) but that was it and the theft of a $150,000,000 necklace was truly next level shit (to coin a phrase) and I am avoiding all kinds of twists that the movie has, you have to see them for yourself, and James Corden was not a twist, the man really can act ;), and the ladies in the movie set out to plan a great heist.

To think back, I really have no idea who at Disney was stupid enough to invest and to allow the entire real live version of Aladdin to proceed decades too early. Although that is merely my thought on the matter, the movie did become a billion dollar plus movie, so there is that too. For me next year, I am worried about the Grudge, an amazing original Ju-On (2002) yet the remake 2 years later was still good, there were two reasons for that, the first is Sarah Michel Gellar, we had just admired her in Buffy for 7 years and seeing her in a different movie was well appreciated, the second and not the least important one was that it was from the original maker Takashi Shimizu, so seeing another remake next year will not be on my list to watch. I have a few reservations on Fantasy Island, yet we have seen Michael Peña in several good movies and there is every indication (from the trailer) that they are taking the sweet caramelized smell of the original TV series with Ricardo Montalban (Mr Roarke) and Herve Villechaize as his assistant Tattoo in a new direction, that I want to see because the trailer is indicating that the caramelized part is gone, it will be a liquorice cured salmon, the first time is the most powerful one because most people have never had it, it is also an acquired taste, so you’ll love it or hate it, but it will be new and that is the part that matters to me.

There is another wave coming, but not made as re-release or remake, it will be a sequel of Candyman, with Tony Todd as the murdered son of a slave, for me it means that there is every indication that I can finally replace that movie as a Blu-ray and it made me realise that it was released 25 years ago, wow, when I was half my age (extremely approximately), I remember the movie, meeting Clive Barker and a whole range of other events around it, seeing it sequel will (hopefully) be an awesome experience.

Yet overall I see that there is more behind me than in front of me and for a lot of us, when we have budgets to keep to we need to select the movies we see on the big screen, I went from a movie every week to a life where I saw no more than 6 of them on the big screen last year and that is a big difference, nowadays I see the movies that are in the libraries, and with Netflix, Disneyplus and other streaming media, on one side I wonder how much is left for the silver screen. Yet on the other side, as far as I can tell, no one ever took Ryū Murakami 1999 masterpiece Audition to the western world, now that is a movie you want to invite Harvey Weinstein to. I won’t give away anything, but if you want to see horror with a difference, that is one movie to watch, there is a whole range of movies where we seem to forget that there is a whole planet outside of Hollywood that makes good movies, and even if we want to see a re-master, or a re-launch, personally I am still hoping for Claude Leloch’s Les Uns et let Autres to make it to Blu-ray, let alone to get it re-launched (if that was even possible). The Netherlands (who got caught up in WW2) has its own views on the resistance and occupation and it resulted to amazing works, like Black Book (2006) and Riphagen (2016), most people will remember the decorated movie the Assault (1986), yet very few of the non-Dutch will have any idea about a movie called Undercover Kitty (2001), whilst the person behind this (Annie MG Schmidt) is in Dutch circles on a level that equals Walt Disney, or perhaps a little more correct the Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, who created Pippi Longstocking. Yet how many remember or even know of the Swede Gunnel Linde? He wrote over 40 books and in 1973 the White Stone (Den Vita Stenen) became a TV series. I wonder how many options a place like Disneyplus would have when we see how large the collection of children’s series would be, the same when we look at Netflix in light of Audition (not really a kids movie), yet more revealing, will this become the age of ‘We’ve seen it all before‘, or will we see that like the new Fantasy Island, we end up with movies that show a surprising twist, one we never saw coming, to be honest, not unlike some movies, we will have seen it before, even if we would accept the new special effects, there is a chance that we get to see another Thing (1982) which makes for an interesting version from its original 3 decades before, yet nowadays, we are more likely to see another Insomnia (2002) which was its own perfect remake, yet when it comes to remakes, it is a wild card, because no matter how we love the Departed (2006), there is a chance that you saw the original Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs (2002), at which point the timeline is too close together. I was lucky enough to have seen the original and yet Scorsese makes a magnificent movie, yet the original was made in such a way that it was brilliant in its own right and in this my mind would love to give Andrew Lau and Alan Mak the credit they deserve, yet in opposition, there are plenty of other movies that a lot might not have seen and seeing some of those works (again), in a new light is still worthy of watching. Sweden has jewels like Lilja 4 Ever (2002), we might have seen the Norwegian movie Trollhunter (2010) in a different form, yet when you see this movie, you wonder which one is the original (the other movie was released a decade before this), so there is not much call on that, yet the stories are unique, original and the stages we see are also a question ‘We’ve seen it all before‘, yet have we?

In 2015 Norway produced the Wave, like other movies we want to say ‘We’ve seen it all before‘ yet that too would be wrong, we have seen something similar, but never in this setting, that is where the feeling gets in the way, The Wave is an intelligent piece of work that takes Norwegian customs and leaves us wondering whether we choose the right place to live for the right reason yet can we avoid choices? (I am really trying hard not to give anything away here), the world is filled with movies that seem to look like a movie we had seen before, but we had not and this group of films is now going to be a central part in places like Netflix and DisneyPlus (as well as AppleTV) to set their markers for gaining a following. Sometimes remakes work really well Zatoichi (2003) is a nice example. Yet even more overwhelming are the works of fiction, the books that were released in other nations that no one thought of translating. Even known works like Swedish Sjowall and Wahloo resulted in amazing movies a decade ago when the world got to see Beck; in this Peter Haber made an amazing Beck, finally replacing the image that Sweden had through Gosta Elckman. Germany is another nation where there is an abundance of great art. We all seem to remember Das Boot, Downfall and Der Baader-Meinhof Komplex, yet how many have seen a version of Das Leben der Anderen, where we see the impact of Stasi (the East German secret police)? Perhaps you might not know it by Die Welle was based on the true story of a high school teacher in California who designed an experiment to teach his students about Nazism, when you see that in real life, you wonder what you know. We seem to believe that modern day fascism is impossible, yet the movie casts doubt on that and this was all before social media, so there is room for new versions and altered (read: different) versions.

It is hard to see the light in so many seemingly remakes and re-launches of past greats, but there is light and there is room for plenty more, as such I wonder whether it was just me when I thought ‘We’ve seen it all before‘ or was it the maker who was not aware of other versions of great stories?

I wonder about this not because of Christmas, you might think that we will get re-runs of other versions, I know that this is not the case as Netflix gave out Let it Snow (2019) which is actually a decent movie to watch, which was a nice surprise for me. As I feared that plenty of repetitions seem to be the case when it comes to Christmas, I merely chase that one side in movies, the one I had not seen before and as we get from stage to stage, that risk is increasing, yet the cameraman as he uses his instructed skills to show something different will be able to thwart that danger for all of us (one might hope).

We are about to get 6 times the releases that we have ever had before, because the large screen and Blu-ray line is gone, there is now a large screen, Netflix, Disneyplus, Stan, Amazon Prime and Foxtel release plan, even as they all end up on Blu-ray, we need to pick what we can optionally watch and they are all slamming whatever they can lay their hands on, so there is 6 times the likelihood that they hunt a similar story. Yet there in the end we get to see the issue at hand ‘We’ve seen it all before‘ and as out budgets are now a lot more defined, we all end up being in a place where we rather avoided that part of the equation.

 

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