Movies

I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghostbusters Sequel

My love for Ghostbusters goes back further than I can remember. It came out the year I was born. The cartoon had already started by the time I was old enough to start watching tv of my own volition. My parents tell me I used to watch the movie before I left for school, as soon as I came home from school, rewound the VHS tape, watched it again. I’m pretty sure my whole family hate the film now. Not me. It’s still in my top 5 all time favourite films.

I was so obsessed with the film and tv show I literally begged for everything related to them. I had the soundtrack on vinyl. I had pretty much every toy, even the proton pack which took my parents weeks to track down as Argos had sold out across the country. Every birthday and xmas would be filled with lots more Ghostbusters things, along with Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles but that’s for another post. There was the Firehouse, Ecto-1, all 4 Ghostbusters, the ghost trap. My word I was in my element back then.

While i’m on the subject of Ecto-1 I have to say it’s still my favourite ever tv/movie car. I think that could very well be the reason to this day that I love 50’s/60’s American cars. Buicks, Chevys, Mustangs, Cadillacs. I absolutely adore those style cars. The lines on Ecto-1 even before it’s transformation are beautiful. I mean look at that front end and the fins at the back. Once it’s been rebuilt and restored it’s a thing of beauty. I’ve always said that if I ever win the lotto i’m buying my very own Ecto-1.

On to the cartoon. I was literally glued to the tv when The Real Ghostbusters was on. The exact same with Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles. I couldn’t think of anything else. All my toys were from these 2 shows. Even as an adult in my 30’s I have a DVD of The Real Ghostbusters in the hopes my child will enjoy it too. No such luck so far but I can still enjoy it myself. The Proton Pack I mentioned earlier was a toy from the cartoon. I had the biggest smile ever when I opened that present. I didn’t take it off the rest of the day.

As a gamer I also played the Ghostbusters game that released on the PS3 a while back, 2009 I think. This game felt like the sequel fans always wanted. The amazing thing was all the original cast returned and voiced their respective characters. You play a new Ghostbuster that’s just joined the team. The game played so well too. It wasn’t a heartless cash grab. They really took their time and put their heart and soul in it, and it shows. The game was excellent. It felt so good to revisit these characters again with a new story.

For years there had been talk of a sequel. Nothing ever came of it. Then that remake happened. Now, back when it was announced there was quite an uproar. A small minority of dickheads were against the idea of females taking on the roles. I actually thought it was a great idea. Big names were bandied about like Jennifer Lawrence, Eliza Dushku, Natalie Portman (I really wanted these 3 in particular). You get the picture. But then Paul Feig came aboard and that’s when it all went to shit.

Don’t get me wrong, I like some of his films. Bridesmaids was and is hilarious. Then he made The Heat, was ok, but Melissa McCarthy basically started to play the same role over and over, like in Spy. Yes there are slight differences but ultimately she plays the same role over and over. Then Kristen Wiig came aboard. It was looking more and more lacklustre. But if you dared criticise it you were labeled a misogynist. Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon were fine choices as they weren’t really well known. I also have no problem with Wiig or McCarthy, but for a Ghostbusters film I don’t think they or Feig were right. The resulting film was a forgettable mess. One or two little giggles in it but that was about it.

Which brings me on to the new announcement, Ghostbusters 3 is on the way and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m down about the idea that Harold Ramis isn’t around anymore to play Egon one last time. Ivan Reitman, the original director, isn’t returning but his equally successful director son Jason Reitman is taking over the reigns. He’s made some pretty good films, some even Oscar nominated, so I think the franchise is in good hands.

I’ll forever love this franchise. Films, games, cartoon, toys. I’ll continue to watch any future instalments hoping and praying (not that i’m religious) that they nail it and do the franchise justice. I’m even hoping they attempt to bring in female Ghostbusters and banish the bad blood fans feel over the remake. I have read they do intend to blood some younger Ghostbusters in the new film so our original heroes can sail off in to the sunset on their rocking chairs, a passing of the torch if you will. I think that’s the best thing to do. Although I could watch the original guys make multiple sequels endlessly.

Little side-note, i’ve even been to the original firehouse in New York. It was first on the list when I went there a few years ago. The little boy in me was squealing with joy. Suit up, and don’t cross the streams!!!!

Movies

No Women, No Kids!

I was always going to write a post about Leon. My favourite ever film. It’s been firmly at the top of my list since 1995 when I first saw it. Coincidentally I even had the poster on my wall before seeing the film. Although it was amongst many film posters as I used to go to the local video shop and ask for any posters they were done with.

Not only is it my favourite film but Natalie Portman is my favourite actress too. Not from this film alone of course but at the time, I was 11, I had a major crush on her (still do to this day, but adult Natalie obviously not the Natalie in Leon). So I followed her career. As the years went by she just got better and better. Oscar winner and multiple Oscar nominee. There’s never a bad performance from Portman. Up to Annihilation I’ve seen every one of her films. Annihilation is probably my favourite film and performance from Natalie after Leon. But enough puppy dog drooling over Natalie Portman.

When I first saw Leon I just thought the character was so cool. A hitman that nobody saw or heard coming. Hidden in the shadows. Taking out multiple goons to get to his target. Even in daylight. How could an 11 year old action film fan not find that cool? I never understood any of the overarching themes. Or what was going on with Stansfield and his team. I just saw a cool hitman that got the job done without any fuss and took in an orphaned girl to exact revenge on the people responsible for killing her family. It was only on later viewings as I got older did I really see more to the film. Especially how good Gary Oldman is in it. Despite the character being slightly exaggerated as surely he would have been caught for corruption.

The relationship between Leon and Mathilda was obviously something that stood out even when I was young. It was weird to see. A grown man and 12 year old girl who had fallen for said grown man. But it was only later when I was older I realised the relationship wasn’t as it seemed. Leon surrenders all emotional power to Mathilda. He doesn’t encourage it or feel the same way. You can see his discomfort at times when Mathilda is taking on the adult role and speaking of love. It appears she is the adult in a kids body and Leon is a kid in an adults body. While it can be uncomfortable on the surface I don’t think there’s anything sinister in Leon’s intention or the films.

I don’t think any film will ever top this for me. It has such a cool style, a heavy action film mixed with semi-Euro noir. The soundtrack also fits the film perfectly. It’s weird to describe it like this but the film has a relaxing air about it at times. The scenes when Leon and Mathilda are talking about targets, gun cleaning, movies, or walking between apartments have that Euro-noir feel to them. The action scenes don’t disappoint though, they are balls to the wall loud and very cool. It’s a film I regularly revisit (like most of my fave films) and there’s still things I pick up on that I hadn’t before. Now I’ve written this I’m in the mood to watch it again today.

Movies

Heaven on Elm Street

Nightmare on Elm Street is my favourite horror series. It’s also the first horror film I ever watched. As with most films I was too young to see I snuck in to the living room when everybody else was in bed and stuck on the latest film my brother bought or rented.

Most of the time it was action films starring Sly, Arnie or JCVD, who I still love to this day. But the very odd time there would be a horror waiting for me. Nightmare on Elm Street was the very first.

I was about 5-6 years old. Everybody was in bed fast asleep. I crept my way to the living room and turned on the tv, finger hovering over the volume down button to quickly reduce the volume. The VHS tape was already in so I hit rewind. I never bothered to look at what I was about to watch. So when the tape finished rewinding I hit play.

Instantly I knew this wasn’t the typical action film I was used to. It was creepy. There was sinister music playing whilst an unknown man created something with knives and a glove. Then the frightened woman appears as she is being chased. We can hear sheep bahhing. I instantly thought this was a bad idea and i’m going to be murdered if my parents caught me. Lucky for me they didn’t.

I don’t remember being scared. I do remember falling in love with this new genre. I also remember my granny knowing I liked scary films so she rented Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors for my cousin and I. I think I was about 8 at that time. The one thing that stuck with me on seeing Part 3 was Phillips death. When Freddy cut his muscles and used them as puppet strings to control Phillip. Dream Warriors is also my favourite of the series. I think most people would say it’s the best of the series too.

Wes Cravens New Nightmare was also a highlight in the series for me. I think it stands up well. Wes came up with a novel way to bring back Nancy and I think it worked personally. He also stated it wasn’t truly Freddy but a much more evil entity that took on his persona in real life. I wish Wes could have had more input with the remake. Although I think it’s better than what the critics said, it was still a forgettable attempt.

I do hope to see the character again. I think Freddy is the major icon in horror. There’s no way they can ignore the character for too long. He sells tickets. Even Freddy vs Jason deserved a sequel but it didn’t get it. Now the remake has happened Freddy is again in limbo. The mistake they made with the remake was hiring someone that had no love for the series and he rejected them multiple times. If you want to see Freddy succeed then hiring a fan is a must.

Movies

In Space No One Can Hear You Blog

I don’t recall when I first saw Alien, I know I was young, which is strange because I’m pretty sure most people remember their first time seeing certain iconic films. This film has always just been there in my memory though. So I can’t give any real reaction or emotion in regards to my first ever viewing of this masterpiece. What I do know is that this film has continuously grown in my estimations over the years.

I do remember seeing it at various stages when I was younger. I wasn’t exactly blown away thinking this movie is the dogs bollocks but I definitely enjoyed it. But something about it had me continually returning to it. The more I watched it the more I enjoyed it. During this time Alien 3 had been released, then Alien Resurrection. Both films I enjoyed when I saw them but steadily declined the more I saw them. Which couldn’t be said for Alien, or Aliens in fact.

Alien (1979) Sigourney Weaver Credit: 20th Century Fox/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection
Alien (1979) Sigourney Weaver Credit: 20th Century Fox/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection

As is often the case sequels rarely stand up to the original but Aliens managed to surpass the original film in a lot of peoples opinion. There are always debates whether you’re an Alien or Aliens fan. Even if you love them both there has to be a favourite. This post isn’t debating the two films either it’s just focusing on Alien as it’s the one i’d choose as my favourite of the series. I also think people lean more towards the genre they prefer. I’m a big horror fan so lean more towards Alien whereas people that prefer Aliens would lean more towards the action genre, or maybe they’re just not a horror fan so they prefer Aliens. Either way both films have a massive following and rightly so. I’m not sure i’ve ever encountered anyone that prefers 3 or Resurrection over Alien & Aliens. I’m not sure i’d want to encounter this weirdo either.

Ridley Scott directed the original and has recently returned to the series with Prometheus and Alien: Covenant. Both films I enjoyed and I think deserve repeated viewings. They definitely get better and make more sense with extra viewings. I’m delighted to see Ridley return to the series he gave birth to. I can’t wait to see what he does for the next film, and maybe another one after that. As we already know he’s building up to the reveal of the Space Jockey from the original Alien. How it came to crash on LV-426 and who was actually in the suit to begin with. Since we’ve discovered from Promtheus the Space Jockey is actually a suit in that big chair.

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I don’t really need to give a detailed breakdown of Alien. I’m sure if you’re reading this you’ll know the film even if you haven’t seen it. I’m sure most people have now seen the infamous birthing scene of the xenomorph. John Hurt’s Kane lying on his back on the table, appearing to choke, only to have blood shockingly appear on his chest and the xeno rips through to both a scared crew and audience. Once it appears it doesn’t hang around as it speedily escapes. Thus starts a gruesome, bumpy ride for the duration of the film.

There’s just an eerie quality to the film. It’s nicely paced. The tension is slowly built up. We see the crew comfortable around each other, played brilliantly by the cast. They have their hierarchy which causes conflict at times in mundane ways such as Parker and Brett being concerned about their pay/bonuses. The xenomorph and facehugger design, thanks to HR Giger, are amazingly done. The film could have been ruined with an embarrassingly bad design for the creature but they pulled it off. It’s creepy and menacing with the added genius of having acid for blood leaving the crew very few options for killing it.

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I recently finished reading Alien Vault by Ian Nathan, a former editor of Empire magazine. This book is amazingly done and very detailed behind the scenes of the making of Alien. I found out things I didn’t already know. Something I love to do is read the trivia on IMDB about any film I watch. When it comes to films I love i’ll buy things like this book to enhance the movie and my knowledge of it. It’s an expensive book at £30 but to me it’s worth the price as you get so many extras like photos, storyboards and schematics of the Nostromo. It also comes with a slipcase to protect the hardcover book. No this post isn’t sponsored by this product. I just thought i’d mention it as I recently finished it and was quite impressed. It also gave me the push to finally write this blog post about the film.

I’ll probably say this numerous times on my blog but this is a film I return to regularly. I’ll watch it anywhere between 10-20 times a year. That may seem a lot but that’s pretty normal for me. I do this with quite a few films I love. Which i’ll hopefully get to talk about individually on this blog.

Movies

Growing up with The Lost Boys

I remember the first time I saw this classic film. I was only 7 years old. My sister and I were being babysat by a friend of the family. The setting was the upstairs of a pub (it’s where my uncle worked). Our babysitter went to the local video rental shop a few doors up and came back with The Lost Boys. My sister and I never had a choice in the film. We just sat and watched. I fell in love with the film instantly.

I know I was quite young to be watching a film like this at just 7, maybe irresponsible of the babysitter, but I was already a veteran of horror films by then it didn’t faze me. My brother who is 8 years my senior, would always rent films and I would sneak down to the living room when everyone was in bed and watch them with the volume down low. I was 5 when I saw my first horror film, but I’ll discuss that in another post.

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There were a couple of parts that stayed with me for a while after that first viewing. I don’t think I saw the film again for another few years, maybe 4-5 years later again, but I’ve watched it consistently since. The first part that instantly grabbed my attention was the bonfire scene when we first see the characters turn in to vampires. One of the unlucky victims gets scalped; it’s quite graphic, although the shot is very short. Another scene that stuck with me was the scene with the guy and the girl in the car. They hear scrapes on the roof and the roof gets ripped off whilst the victims get carried off in to the sky. I always remembered those scenes. I think this was probably the first modern vampire film I’d ever seen at that stage. I’d seen things like Dracula and Monster Squad but the vampires in those were the classic image of Dracula. The Lost Boys modernised and made vampires scary again.

The music in this movie has an 80’s vibe to it, obviously being shot in the 80’s, but it isn’t dated. Some films have extremely dated soundtracks but The Lost Boys soundtrack still sounds really good today. Especially the main song Cry Little Sister, I love that song. I know I sound like a broken record (pardon the pun) by talking about soundtracks in most of my posts but to me they are an instrumental part of making a game or film work. A good soundtrack can boost a films standing with an audience, I’m convinced of that.

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I recently watched The Lost Boys again, a couple of days ago from this post going up, and it still holds up to this day. 30 years ago this year (2017) it was released. A 30 year old film that still holds up as well today as it did back then, that instantly makes it a classic in my book.  It’s a shame we never got to see the intended sequel The Lost Girls. David (Kiefer Sutherland) was supposed to survive and regroup with some female vampires and that would have been the basis for the sequel. Unfortunately that never came to fruition and we ended up getting the straight to video sequels Lost Boys: The Tribe & Lost Boys: The Thirst. Corey Feldman starred in both films, which I’ve yet to see, but apparently they aren’t that great. I’m not sure any sequel could have lived up to the original. It was one of those lightning in a bottle films. The stars, music, setting, script, director and iconic scenes all came together to make a hit out of a seemingly ordinary film. Everything about it just works.

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