Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘The Resident’

Legend is a word that is used too lightly but with a career that has spanned eight decades and a Guinness World Record of 275 films, Knighted for services to drama and charity in 2009 and receiving the BAFTA Fellowship in 2011, it is a title that fits Christopher Lee very well. As I mentioned a couple of years ago I was introduced to Christopher Lee when I was about ten years old, I had no idea who he was. A few months later Channel 4 started showing a series of old Hammer Horror movies starting with Dracula: Prince of Darkness. This is when I first got interested in horror movies. So today, his 90th birthday here is the briefest overview of his movies.

In the mid 1940’s Lee joined the Rank Organisation and was given a seven-year contract (as was the norm of the day), during this period he made numerous movies. His first significant roles came a decade later when in 1957 he played the monster in Terence Fisher’s The Curse of Frankenstein alongside Peter Cushing as Frankenstein. The following year Fisher made Dracula (1958), he cast Lee in his most iconic role Dracula and Cushing as Van Helsing. He reprised the role in sequels: Dracula Prince of Darkness in 1965, Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968), Taste the Blood of Dracula (1969), Scars of Dracula (1970), Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) and The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973). Lee’s other work for Hammer included The Mummy (1959), Rasputin, the Mad Monk and the little known classic Taste of Fear (1961). Possibly his best Hammer movie and one of his (and my) personal favourites was the occult adventure/horror/thriller The Devil Rides Out (1967) based on a novel by Dennis Wheatley. He also appeared in two versions of the Jekyll and Hyde story The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960) and I, Monster (1971) (only the former being made by Hammer).

Having already played Sir Henry Baskerville (to Cushing’s Sherlock Holmes) in The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959) Lee went on to play Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace (1962), and Mycroft Holmes (Sherlock’s smarter brother) in Billy Wilder’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970). He played Holmes again in the TV movies: Incident at Victoria Falls (1991) and Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady (1992). A step-cousin of author Ian Fleming, he was rumoured to be in contention to play James Bond, he was offered the part of Dr. No in the movie of the same name (1962) but was vetoed by the movies producers. He did eventually play a Bond villain, Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) and was the best thing about the movie. As cinema, particularly horror cinema changed in the 1970’s the gothic horror he was most famous for became outdated he appeared to be moving with the times making one of his best horror films The Wicker Man (1973). Sadly the quality of his roles dried up with a lot of TV movies and lesser work in the decades that followed.

More recently his career has gone through a renaissance with a small part in Sleepy Hollow (1999) leading to further collaborations with Tim Burton: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Corpse Bride (2005), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Dark Shadows (2012). Following Peter Cushing and Alec Guinness who appeared in the original Star Wars (1977) Lee plays Sith Lord, Count Dooku in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005). But his most notable role in recent years came in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. A great fan of The Lord of the Rings Lee has stated that it was a life long dream to play Gandalf, the Peter Jackson film trilogy came too late for him to realise this ambition but he did get a significant part in the movies playing Saruman. Later this year he will be reprising the in the prequel film The Hobbit. Retuning to the studio that made his name Lee had a small part in the new Hammer movie The Resident (2011). More significantly for a actor who has made so many movies he appeared in Martin Scorsese’s love letter to cinema Hugo (2011).

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

As mentioned on many previous occasions I love Hammer movies. I grew up watching them and still watch them to this day. A few years ago, I went to the cinema on Halloween to see a Terence Fisher’s 1958 version of Dracula staring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing despite the fact I had already seen it at least half a dozen times. With this in mind you can probably understand my excitement when it was announced a few years back the old studio had been resurrected. How are things going for the new/old studio?

Beyond the Rave (2008): Originally aired on MySpace in 2008 (I signed up just to watch this), Beyond the Rave was split into twenty-part episodes. The day before he is due to fly to Iraq, soldier Ed (Jamie Dornan) and his friend Necro (Matthew Forrest) looking for his missing girlfriend, Jen (Nora-Jane Noone). The trail leads to a rave run by vampires. The acting isn’t great and the story loses its way. The online format soon became tedious. Not a great start but a step back towards filmmaking.

Let Me In (2010): I love Tomas Alfredson’s Swedish vampire movie Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In). It was by far the best film I saw in 2009 and the best vampire movie for more than twenty years. The remake Let Me In is totally pointless. It looks fantastic and the young cast (Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloë Grace Moretz) are great but the feels strangely hollow. While the story of a bullied child is the most important thing to Let the Right One In, it is secondary to the vampire story in Let Me In. Not a bad film in its own right but only a shadow of the Swedish original.

The Resident (2011): After splitting up with her boyfriend, Dr. Juliet Devereau (Hilary Swank) moves into a new Brooklyn apartment. She soon realises something is wrong. The plot is simple and offers no surprises and little in the way of suspense. I am led to believe it was originally intended as Hammers “comeback movie”, as it turned out Let Me In made it to cinemas first, probably because it is a better film.

Wake Wood (2011): Following the death of their daughter a grieving couple (Aidan Gillen, Eva Birthistle) move to a small village. Once accepted in the community the couple are approached Arthur (Timothy Spall) the creepy community leader who offers to perform a pagan ritual, the potential result of which they cannot resist. With its pagan ritual and creepy atmosphere it is both a return to classic horror themes and form of Hammer. It offers little new or original and is probably to mild for fans of current horror movies but I really enjoyed it.

The Woman in Black (2012): After the disappointment of Let Me In and the disaster of The resident, artistically speaking, this is surely a make or break movie for Hammer. Happily it doesn’t disappoint. Based on a novel by Susan Hill and previously adapted as a TV movie in 1989. Young widower Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) leaves his son in the care of his nanny (Jessica Raine) when his employer, a firm of London solicitors sends him to a remote village to clear up the affairs of a recently deceased woman. It soon becomes clear that that he is not alone in the big old house. Beautifully shot well cast and acted and full of jumpy moments. This isn’t only a perfectly crafted old fashioned horror movie, it is truly a Hammer Horror.

After being initially disappointed by the new Hammer output: Beyond the Rave, Let Me In and The Resident, I was pleasantly surprised by Wake Wood and enormously impressed by The Woman in Black. I am now filled with optimism for Hammer and anticipation for their future films.

Read Full Post »

2011 Films

All the films I saw at the cinema in 2011 ranked in order of preference:
  1. Hugo
  2. Drive
  3. The Guard
  4. Black Swan
  5. Senna
  6. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
  7. True Grit
  8. We Need to Talk About Kevin
  9. Midnight In Paris
  10. The Skin I live in
  11. The King’s Speech
  12. Moneyball
  13. Stake Land
  14. Kill List
  15. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  16. Another Earth
  17. Melancholia
  18. Warrior
  19. 127 Hours
  20. The Way
  21. Julia’s Eyes
  22. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
  23. Troll Hunter
  24. 50/50
  25. Source Code
  26. Submarine
  27. Super 8
  28. 13 Assassins
  29. A Lonely Place To Die
  30. The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec
  31. The Adjustment Bureau
  32. X-Men: First Class
  33. Thor
  34. Captain America: The First Avenger
  35. Limitless
  36. My Week With Marilyn
  37. The Inbetweeners Movie
  38. Take Shelter
  39. The Rum Diary
  40. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2
  41. The Ides Of March
  42. Real Steel
  43. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
  44. Fair Game
  45. Never Let Me Go
  46. Blue Valentine
  47. Tree Of Life
  48. The Lincoln Lawyer
  49. The Help
  50. In Time
  51. The Awakening
  52. Sucker Punch
  53. Fast Five
  54. Hanna
  55. Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark
  56. Wuthering Heights
  57. Contagion
  58. The Fighter
  59. Paul
  60. Animal Kingdom
  61. NEDS
  62. Rabbit Hole
  63. One Day
  64. John Carpenter’s The Ward
  65. Drive Angry
  66. The Beaver
  67. Beginners
  68. Bridesmaids
  69. Red State
  70. Cowboys and Aliens
  71. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  72. The Conspirator
  73. The Art of Getting By
  74. I am Number Four
  75. Fright Night
  76. Henry’s Crime
  77. Blitz
  78. Priest
  79. Red Riding Hood
  80. Oranges and Sunshine
  81. Faster
  82. 1920 The Battle of Warsaw
  83. Win Win
  84. Colombiana
  85. Water for Elephants
  86. Immortals
  87. Battle: Los Angeles
  88. 30 Minutes or Less
  89. Hereafter
  90. Biutiful
  91. The Mechanic
  92. The Thing
  93. The Three Musketeers
  94. Anonymous
  95. Tomorrow, When The War Began
  96. The Debt
  97. Green Lantern
  98. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1
  99. Footlose
  100. Justice
  101. Attack the Block
  102. Apollo 18
  103. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
  104. Unkown
  105. Scream 4
  106. The Silent House
  107. The Eagle
  108. The Resident
  109. Season of the Witch
  110. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  111. The Hangover: Part II
  112. Sanctum

Read Full Post »

Next week I will be revealing my favourite movies of the year, but before that, my least favourite.

TENPirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: better than the other two sequels but ultimately another pointless movie that devalues the fun of the original Pirates movie.

NINEUnknown: after reinventing himself as an action hero in Taken, Liam Neeson does it again in Unknown and it is worse than Taken. it’s a shame to see a talented actress like Diane Kruger in crap like this.

EIGHTScream 4: As clichéd and irrelevant as the first film was original and groundbreaking. It does have some humorous moments and the Anna Paquin/Kristen Bell cameo is great but ultimately a waste of time.

SEVENThe Silent House: High concept Uruguayan horror inspired by real events. Some good ideas and some good moments but ultimately it doesn’t work.

SIXThe Eagle: With a talented director and an interesting story I really wanted to enjoy this movie, sadly I didn’t. If you want to see a good fictionalised story about the legendry Roman Ninth legion rent the DVD of last years Centurion.

FIVEThe Resident: I really wanted to like this movie; a Hammer horror/thriller featuring Christopher Lee, what more could you ask for? A decent script would be top of the list!

FOURSeason of the Witch: Total hokum, fun in places, Nicolas Cage is thankfully understated and Ron Perlman is always worth watching but the film is seriously dull. 

THREETransformers: Dark of the Moon: better than Revenge of the Fallen, considering how bad that movie was it really is the definition of damning with faint praise.

TWOThe Hangover: Part II: A dull, predictable and repetitive rehash of the first movie that is both xenophobic and homophobic, worst of all it just isn’t funny.

AND THE WORST MOVIE I HAVE SEEN THIS YEARSanctum: The story is silly, clichéd and very predictable. The 3D isn’t bad but is still a pointless gimmick that adds little to the movie.

Finally, a few movies that just escaped the bottom ten include: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, Footlose and a movie everyone else seems to love, Attack the Block. A nasty and pointless movie whose horrible characters and lack of morality could have been excused if it was an enjoyable well made movie, it isn’t.

*A note on the selected movies, I am not a film critic, just a movie lover so I only see the movies I want to see (about 110 at the cinema this year). Therefore this isn’t a definitive list of the worst movies of the year, just the worst I have seen.

Feel free to disagree and share your worst movies of the year.

Read Full Post »