Classic Shotzz: Fright Night (1985)

Posted in Classic Shotzz with tags on 22/04/2011 by Catherine G

Fright Night Movie Poster

Fright Night Trailer

Fright Night imdb link (cast list etc)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089175/

If the 1980’s are remembered for one thing, and one thing only, it’s got to be the wicked synthesised soundtracks that most of it’s horror films had. Fright Night is yet another example of the synth-infused-but-totally-awesome-for-it’s-time movie soundtracks that I and indeed thousands (if not millions) of us grew up listening to. Oh, yeah, the movie was good too.

Please note: The following review will contain spoilers – reader beware!

Charley Brewster is just your average high school student. Sure, he’s a massive fan of late night horror films, so much so that his every waking moment seems to be dedicated to acquiring and watching more horror movies, but that couldn’t possibly lead to an unhealthy obsession with the new next door neighbour could it?

Enter Jerry Dandrige, the new neighbour. He suave, sophisticated, and for some reason everyone seems to love him. Everyone except Charley anyway. Charley is convinced that he saw Jerry murder an extremely good looking overnight house guest (yeah yeah…), and then had his ‘man-servant’ get rid of the body. Naturally, Charley is the only person who witnessed the murder, and nobody (including his girlfriend Amy and his best friend ‘Evil’ Ed) believes him.

So where do you go when nobody believes in your Vampiric problems? Well, Charley’s first stop is his favourite television vampire hunter, Peter Vincent. Peter Vincent is not a real ‘Fearless Vampire Hunter’ as Charley assumes, just an actor and a washed up one at that. He is about to lose his nightly television show, his dressing room and all his props (not to mention his credibility). When Charley approaches him and asks for his help in dealing with a real vampire, he throws him out of his apartment, telling Charley that vampires do not exist.

In the meantime, Charley’s mother has invited Jerry Dandrige into their house for a drink. Oddly enough, it’s Bloody Mary night, because Dandrige’s vampire seems to be able to eat/drink human food (he’s seen later eating an apple). Also, he seems to be a fan of turtleneck jumpers. Just not really the coolest vampire ever, but for some reason everyone finds him irresistible. This ‘everyone’ now includes the police, Charley’s mother and Amy his girlfriend. Yes, Dandrige is also a creepy teenage-girl-pursuing type. But I digress.

Dandrige breaks back into Charley’s house after their drinks evening, and confronts him, telling him to stop spying on him or there will be dire consequences. Charley responds by stabbing him through the hand with a pencil, revealing Dandrige’s true nature (fangs, claws, yellow contact lenses), then flies off out into the night. Charley figures the next time Dandrige catches him will be his last night alive, so he grabs Amy and Ed and they run for it (for some reason) into the city. Ed gets separated from the other two, and gets transformed by Dandrige into some sort of Vampire/Werewolf/Ghoul thing, then goes to finish off Peter Vincent. Vincent thrusts a cross into his face, giving Ed a massive cross shaped facial burn, and through this realises that Charley was right about Vampires being real after all.

Charley and Amy end up being chased into a awesomely eighties dance club, where Amy is first seduced and then snatched away by Dandrige and taken back to his house. Charley is left alone, and his only hope for help is once again Peter Vincent. They put together a brilliant array of vampire destroying equipment and set off to save the damsel.

That’s basically the breakdown for the entire film. I have once again been quite vague, but you should know by now that that’s my way. A few more of the brilliant things about this film are as follows:

* Dandrige as a vampire – all bat wings, ugly and what-not
* Amy, suddenly acquiring long hair (apparently, eighties short hair is not cool for a vampire’s chosen bride)
* Dandrige’s henchman – be he human, vampire, ghoul or some other unknown entity, he does melt into green slime at the end.
* The mirror dance at the club, where we see Amy in the reflection, but not Dandrige.
* Amy’s expanding vampire mouth

There are loads more, but you really need to see it before the remake comes out this year. Then see the remake, because David Tennant and Colin Farrell are in it.

So, in summary: Fright Night 01 is a great 80’s horror flick, the special effects are pretty awesome for the 80’s, the storyline works, the soundtrack is just synth-infused enough to make it good, the acting was quite good and it remains one of my favourite teen-horror flicks from that time period.

Awarded: 3 Shotzz out of 5 – nicely done!

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Death Of A Companion

Posted in Announcements, TV Shotzz with tags on 20/04/2011 by Catherine G

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Elisabeth Sladen, the actress who played Sarah Jane Smith through many years of ‘Doctor Who’ and most recently in the BBC spin-off series ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’, has lost her fight with cancer and died today at the age of 63. Definitely a sad day for all fans, and dwellers in the ‘Who-niverse’.

Catherine G

Movie Shotzz: He’s Just Not That Into You (2009)

Posted in Movie Shotzz, Quick Shotzz with tags on 20/04/2011 by jexsta

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He’s Just Not That Into You trailer

He’s Just Not That Into You imdb link (cast list etc.)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1001508/

Firstly, this is not the kind of movie I would generally watch, but I was bored and it was there.

Be aware, there are going to be spoilers.

This Romantic ‘Comedy’ follows the exploits of three female protagonists; Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin), Beth (Jennifer Aniston) and Janine (Jennifer Connolly) [am I the only one to think the director has a Jennifer fetish?] as they navigate the prickly world of dating and relationships; constantly misinterpreting the intentions of the opposite sex on their quest for happiness.

Before the hilarity can commence the viewer must be made aware of one VERY important fact:

women, from childhood, are programmed by their mothers to believe that if a boy treats a girl like a doormat, he must be head over heels in love with her. This, according to the movie is the beginning of every relationship problem ever.

The girls all work in the same office but their stories barely intersect, in fact Gigi is the tie that binds the rather thin plot together; with Beth and Janine’s stories illustrating how disastrous it can be for a woman who cannot speak the secret language of man – even if like, Janine, she has managed to con him into marrying her (yes, con, because according to her husband, this is what she did to him and thus justifies the fact he is an adulterous bastard).

Luckily for Gigi, she finds an interpreter in Alex (Justin Long) who sets out to teach her this mystical language  so she can finally find ‘The One’ without wasting her time on guys who never call. She calls him in the middle of dates to ask for his help deciphering the intentions of the man she’s with (a women should never be trusted to take her own advice).

This movie seems prove that not only are we living in a post-feminist era but that the entire feminist movement was a lie invented by female academics to ensure job security.

I am awarding ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ one out of five Shotzz. I’d have given it zero but you have to reward someone for trying, right?

Jexsta

Book Shotzz: Room by Emma Donoghue (2010)

Posted in Book Shotzz with tags , , on 20/04/2011 by Catherine G

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I picked up this book at 1pm on Sunday, 20th of February 2010 and had finished it by 8.30pm the same night. That’s right, 321 pages in 7 ½ hours (stopping for meal breaks of course, though I was flipping burgers with one hand and turning pages with the other while I cooked). I honestly could not put it down. I felt I had to read it in one sitting for the characters’ sakes, that’s how invested I was in the story. Anyway, I haven’t even started into what it’s about yet, so settle down and let’s begin.

The story is told through the eyes of a young boy named Jack. Jack and his Ma live in the Room. The Room is an 11 foot square, consisting of Table, Shelf, Bath, Wardrobe, Door, Skylight, Thermostat and a few other things that Jack has ‘named’, hence the capitals. Jack seems perfectly happy in Room, seeing as it’s the only home he’s ever known. Ma, on the other hand, has her good days and her bad days. Sometimes she is almost catatonic, lying in Bed all day and letting Jack fend for himself. He’s usually fine though, because he knows the daily routines. Breakfast, exercising, watching a little television, then going to bed.

Sometimes Jack has to hide in the wardrobe though, because Ma has a visitor that Jack has ‘named’ Old Nick. Old Nick comes in at night and makes the bed creak. Jack knows he’s to stay hidden in the cupboard until Old Nick leaves, so all he can do is count the creaks until he goes. Then it’s safe to leave the Wardrobe and come back to Bed.

On good days when his Ma is active and happy, the daily routine includes athletics, where they pile all the furniture on top of Bed and run around the room. Then they do their vocal exercises where they both stand on top of the table and scream as loudly as they can up into the Skylight. Then Ma makes them lunch, and then they watch some television in the afternoon.

By this point you’ll have realised something is very wrong with the Room. They never step outside, they never see any other people (besides Old Nick) and the only friends Jack has are Dora the Explorer and Barney the Dinosaur, both of whom he thinks are real. Jack doesn’t understand that there is an entire world outside of the Room, a world that he has never seen. When Jack has his 5th birthday inside the Room, his Ma decides to tell him the truth about who they are and why they’re there.

Jack doesn’t believe a word of what she tells him, until he sees the same painkiller’s his Ma has on the shelf advertised on the television. Then a black speck appears on the Skylight and he realises it’s a leaf from the Outside. Ma tells him stories about his Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle who all live on the Outside, and he can’t believe that that many people actually exist. She explains to him that beaches, playgrounds and ice cream are all Real and not just in the Television.

Then Ma comes up with the great Plan to escape from Room, and Jack must become her superhero to help first himself and then Ma to escape from the Room and Old Nick forever. But does Jack really want to leave Room, the only home he’s ever known?

The great escape and what follows are fantastic, but I’m not going to go into those parts as they make up the best part of the book. All I will say it that it was a fantastic read, I seriously could not put it down, and I can’t wait to read it again or see it made into a film.

Awarded: 5 Shotzz out of 5 – it doesn’t get any better than this!

Catherine G

Movie Shotzz: Sherlock Holmes (2009)

Posted in Movie Shotzz with tags , , , on 20/04/2011 by Catherine G

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Sherlock Holmes Trailer

Sherlock Holmes imdb link (cast list etc.)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0988045/

As soon as I heard Guy Ritchie was going to make a Sherlock Holmes film, and that Robert Downey Jr was going to be playing the man in question (with Jude Law as his trusted companion Dr. Watson), I almost lost my mind with excitement. Two of my favourite actors with one of my favourite directors was definitely something to look forward to, and I’ve loved Sherlock Holmes in all of his various acting guises (Basil Rathbone in the old TV series, Young Sherlock Holmes, The BBC mini-series Dr. Bell and Mr Doyle and much more recently 2010’s re-envisioning of the character in the new TV series Sherlock). When I finally got to see it, the movie did not disappoint. Here’s the review.

Please note: The following review will contain spoilers – reader beware!

London in the 19th century. Dirty, foggy and full of the very rich and the very poor. The rich seek fun and interesting things to do that are different from the mundane activities of everyday life, so they turn to the dark arts eg. demon conjuring and black magic to make their lives that little bit more entertaining. We find our hero on the case, making his way into one of these ‘hellfire’ clubs to apprehend our bad guy for this film, Lord Blackwood.

Blackwood is your typically evil mastermind, easily recognised because of his mad snaggle-tooth. He makes some threats to Holmes while in prison, and is then executed. His body is buried in the family crypt, and that should be the end of that. Until the crypt stone is found cracked in half and his body gone. People start having phantom viewings of Blackwood around London, his enemies are showing up dead, and everyone is led to believe that Blackwood has risen from the dead – or has he?

Alongside this storyline, we also have Holmes’ and Watson’s private lives to deal with as well. Holmes has been out of work for a while. He is reduced to shooting holes in the wall of his flat for entertainment, and training fireflies to fly in a spiral sequence only using his violin. Watson, on the other hand, is engaged, and the scene when he introduces his lovely fiancee to Holmes is an absolute crack-up. Holmes does his usual ‘telling-of-life-story-through-really-obvious-personal-clues’ trick on her, resulting in him getting a face-full of wine and Watson and her storming off from the restaurant.

The Holmes in this film is a lot rougher than some of his other incarnations. He participates in underground boxing circles and gambling (Though the gambling is more Watson’s problem than his). He throws together disguises in seconds, leaps from windows, runs through sewers, diffuses bombs and rescues damsels in distress while barely breaking a sweat. Watson also lands an equal amount of punches, and escapes from just as many hairy situations as his partner. Though they do tend to bicker like an old married couple in some parts, that only adds to their easy camaraderie. There is no Holmes without his Watson and vice versa.

Holmes also has a love interest, a mysterious young woman with whom he seems to share quite an interesting past. Irene Adler randomly appears in his flat, explaining that she’s on a job in London, then disappears just as mysteriously into a carriage with another man who’s face we do not see. Holmes deducts that this man is a professor of some kind, but can’t find out his name. Holmes decides to surprise Irene by showing up at her hotel room, but ends up drugged, naked and handcuffed to her bed, with the key hidden in a rather unfortunate place. Needless to say, screaming housemaids ensue.

Other highlights of this film were:

* The repeated mentions of the ‘Ginger Midget’
* The Boxing scene where he runs through the entire match in his head before he even lands the first punch
* The meat saw scene – truly nail-biting
* The houses of parliament lock-down and bridge scene that follows.
* Pretty much the entire film, so just hire it and watch it!

Guy Ritchie was back in top form with this film. It was truly brilliant. The actors themselves were great, I only counted one time when Robert Downey Jr’s British accent slipped, and Jude Law was very much the gentleman soldier and perfect sidekick for Holmes. The musical score was great, energetic but still old-timey enough to fit in with the 19th century London setting. The storyline itself was good, I haven’t given much of it away, but that’s because I don’t want to be the ‘spoiler queen’.

So, in summary: Sherlock Holmes was brilliant! I loved it, I loved the characters, I loved the actors, I loved the storyline, I loved the music. I can’t wait for the sequel, where hopefully we might catch a glimpse of the ever elusive professor in the carriage (aka Moriarty most likely). Bring it on!

Awarded: 5 Shotzz out of 5 – it doesn’t get any better than this!

Catherine G

September Was The Month of Green(s)??!!

Posted in Announcements, Movie Shotzz, Random Shotzz with tags , on 03/01/2011 by Catherine G

Yes, I realize that it is, in fact, January, but it’s taken me this long to actually want to come back here and write – also I didn’t have time, but now it’s holidays, and I do.
Anyway, September was the month of greens, and here’s why:

* Seth Green started tweeting on twitter – good for him!
* Professor Green continued tweeting on twitter – always a funny guy!
* The trailer for ‘Green Lantern’ was released, and it looks awesome!

* The trailer for ‘The Green Hornet’ was also released, and it looks totally hilarious (and also awesome!)

and…
* Catherine G and her lovely husband Mark G had their 5th wedding anniversary – Yay!!

There endeth the month of Green(s) – well, 4 months ago, but still, the news is news! Shotzz Away!

Catherine G

Movie Shotzz: Julie & Julia (2009)

Posted in Movie Shotzz, Quick Shotzz with tags on 03/01/2011 by Catherine G

Julie And Julia

Julie & Julia Trailer

Julie & Julia imdb link (cast list etc)
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1135503/

I made the mistake of watching this movie while I was hungry. That will never, ever happen again.

Please note: This review will contain spoilers – reader beware!

There are two clearly different story-lines in this film, one being the story of Julia Child (Meryl Streep) and how she came to print the most famous and influential French cookery book in the world (re: America) and the other about a much younger Julie Powell (Amy Adams) who lives in modern times and starts a blog about cooking everything in aforementioned cook book.

Both stories are told well, I thoroughly enjoyed watching all of Julie’s cooking disasters (the lobster incident and the beef jello-mould spring to mind), her emotional breakdowns which are both food related and other, and the fact that almost everybody that read her blog posted her things in the mail (I can honestly say, that doesn’t happen – at least not to the Screenshotzz crew).

Meryl Streep was brilliant as Julia Child, she had the mannerisms down perfectly, and the voice was both hilarious and annoying. Her jaunts to French cooking school, writing the book itself and eventually getting it published, all the while being a stranger in a strange land (France, duh) led to a throughly enjoyable and sometimes tear-jerking story.

If you are a ‘Foodie’ I highly suggest watching this film, then going out and buying a copy of Julia Child’s ‘Mastering The Art of French Cooking’ and having a go at it yourself.

http://www.penguin.com.au/products/9780141048284/mastering-art-french-cooking

I am far too lazy to do this, but will be happy to attend any gatherings where the recipes have turned out successfully.

So, in summary: Lots of good food, a few good laughs, a few tears, Chris Messina and Stanley Tucci as two very long-suffering husbands, and cooking butter as far as the eye can see… Now excuse me while I go and try to de-bone this duck…

Rewarded: 3 Shotzz out of 5 – nicely done!

And Bon Apetite!

Catherine G