Category Archives: fantasy

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children – Tim Burton (2016)

Burton’s latest already has a wonderful title. It is a fairly typical Burton. A surrealistic film with children as main characters and they are of course very weird characters, ehm I mean: “peculiar”.

Jake’s grandfather tells him weird stories of “peculiar” children living in Wales, but also about monsters. When he sets out to find his grandfather’s “home for peculiar children” he falls into a strange world of repeating time in which “miss Peregrine” (a beautiful Eva Green) leads the home. There is an invisible boy, a girl that floats away if she does not wear her leaden shoes, a girl whose touch makes fire, etc. You get it, Burton leads you into his strangest fantasy. There are also bad guys, lead by Barron, played by Samuel L. Jackson.

As expected this is another colorful film about a colorful world with subtle humor and great filmographic findings. Perhaps a bit too teen, but a good and entertaining film.

Immortel – Enki Bilal (2004)

Just like Frank Miller would a year later with “Sin City“, Enki Bilal put his own comic to film. Besides this fact, the two films have little in common.

In a fantasyfull future with magnificent 1950’ies looking flying cars virtually everybody had him- or herself manipulated. Lungs that look better, parts of the skull that have been replaced, etc. Also virtually nobody is ‘pure human’ since extraterrestrials have mixed with humans. The people in this film look pretty weird. So weird, that many characters seem to come from a computer. For a while I even wondered if I was watching an animation or a film. I do not like plastic looking characters on screen. Judging the list of actors and a couple of characters that do look (probably: are) real, “Immortel (Ad Vitam)” (as the full title goes) is ‘just’ a film with a lot of CGI. Then again, there is also an actor listed for “Horus”. I must add that the surroundings look amazing, so I do not but complain about the CGI, but people from a computer still are not my thing so to say.

So we have one alien-human-hybrid who is special: Jill. Another story is about a flying pyramid that actually houses three Egyptian Gods: Horus, Anubis and Bastet. Horus apparently needs a human body as host to conceive new offspring every now and there for he chooses Nikopol, a drop-out of the system. Very amusingly, Nikopol can talk to his inhabiting spirit, they can split from each other and rejoin and Nikopol can ‘use’ Horus’ abilities to fly for example.

All this does not really lead to surprising plot twists. Of course Nikopol and Jill meet. Jill is investigated by scientists, but this does not go as everybody hoped and she becomes a bit of a hero ‘in spite of it all’.

Story-wise “Immortal” (the international title) is an entertaining film. Visually it is wonderful too (safe the plastic people). It got some nice findings and humour. Not bad at all!

Crimson Peak – Guillermo del Toro (2015)

This is not Del Toro’s best. In fact, it is not a very good film in general. Del Toro made a way too Hollywood Victorian ghost house horror film with a very unsurprising story and yawn inspiring special effects.

The American Edith falls in love with the English Thomas who takes her to his gigantic mansion where he lives with his sister. Edith already saw ghosts and of course Thomas’ house is haunted, so Edith tries to get away.

It is not that the film is extremely boring or badly made, but it is but a Hollywood horror production with a very thin Del Toro varnish in fantasy atmosphere.

The Theatre Bizarre * various directors (2011)

An odd cover and Udo Kier on the box made me decide to take this film home. Not a too good choice though….

“The Theatre Bizarre” is six films by six different directors, plus a “framing segment” knitting the other parts together. This “framing fragment” (by Jeremy Kasten) contains Udo Kier working in a theatre and announcing the different parts which are the other films. “The Theatre Bizarre” watches like a compilation of filmmakers with no wealth of experience and with tiny budgets. The acting in most segments is unconvincing and the results of most parts are the well-known gruely horror that you can see on smaller film festivals.

We have a part in which a man cannot accept his girlfriend leaving (“I Love You” by Buddy Giovinazzo) so he cuts her up. A similar story in which a guy is addicted to candy (“Sweets” by David Gregory). “The Mother Of Toads” (Richard Stanley) is a more typical horror in which a young man runs into a black magic woman. Tom Savini’s “Wet Dreams” tells the story of a man having disturbings dreams that may not be dreams. The best short of this compilation is “Vision Stains” by Karim Hussain which is about a mother and her daughter who witness a motorcycle accident, which makes the daughter think about death.

Like I said, most of the films somehow turn into a bloody mess which does not really ‘work’ any more since decades of splatter horror.

Tomorrowland * Brad Bird (2015)

This huge Hollywood Disney-kid-fantasy-scifi production is actually very amusing. I am not totally sure what group this film aims at. The kids as main characters give the film too much of a teen-feel to me, but the story is relatively complex. Still there is an environmental message for the next generation, so perhaps adolenscents?

A boy and a girl both meet a little girl from the future. The little girl is recruting for something which proves to be a task for the future to prevent something from happening. The little girl’s ways are elusive, strange and elaborate. All this results in an adventure in which George Clooney with his fellow travellers set out to fix the future. This is packed in a descent story and told with a lot of humour, action and a couple of things to think about.

Not bad for a Disney film.

Ah yes, the film is also known under the title “Project T”.

I, Frankenstein * Stuart Beattie (2014)

IMDb.comOnce again I wonder how this film found its way to my to-see-list. “I, Frankenstein” is awfull! The director of Pirates Of The Caribbean is not always equally successfull. Not did I see that franchise by the way…

The story is corny. There is a war between the bad guys called “demons” and good guys called “Gargoyles”. The creation of Victor Frankenstein survived 200 years and becomes the center of this war.

However great the CGI of this film is, the characters are silly and the story is extraordinary dull.

Thor: The Dark World * Alan Taylor & James Gunn (2013)

Obviously a follow up of the 2011 “Thor” film, but with other directors. Reading back my review of the other “Thor” film, I was not too enthousiastic, but this time I was! I do not know if it was the big screen, the 3D (which did not add all that much, but still) or the alcohol consumed prior to and during the film, the “The Dark World” is a true spectacle. The actors are the same so/and ‘mythological wise’ there is a lot to complain, but there are also nice, subtle mythological references. Besides, since the heathen Gods are victorious, this is a nice way to introduce new folks to the old ways, or…?
This time the dark alfs (leaded by a character with an unnorse name Malekith) try to take advantage of an allignment of the nine worlds. Thor’s earthly girlfriend of the first film stumbled upon the powerfull force called “aether” and Thor has to come and save her. Jane is taken to Asgard where war is waged.
Impressive scifi computer graffics and a lot of spectacle make “The Dark World” an entertaining Hollywood production. Do not get annoyed too much about the mythological inconsistancies, just enjoy the references that are there. Not a must-see, but a good option when you are up for some action spectacle.

Nightbreed the Cabal Cut * Clive Barker (2013)

“Nightbreed” is a troubled, yet famous horror classic. Clive Barker published his novel “Cabal” in 1988 and turned it into a film himself. “Nightbreed”, which he directed himself, went to the cinemas in 1990. There was a problem with the film though. The filmcompany producing the film wanted it to be more like the popular film “Hellraiser” (1987) so they took Barker’s film and turned it into something else. Something which had little incommon with the book, let alone the original script. Barker told everybody who wanted to hear about this hijack and the negative publicity resulting in the fact that the film only found a small cult-audience.
Many years later, a friend of Barker’s, Russell Cherrington, finds two VHS tapes with the original cuts from the film and decides to turn them into the film that was originally intended. Using the first version of the film, the original script, the soundtrack cd and a little help from an actor who had to re-dub his own voice, Cherrington created “the Cabal Cut”. Asking help from the filmcompany who owns all the rights, Cherrington only got the permission to show his version on filmfestivals and so it comes that there is now an actual film-tour of this completely ‘new’ version of “Nightbreed”.
The story is completely different from the previous version. 70% Of the material was not used in that version, so it is save to say that the “Cabal cut” is a totally different film. The film quality is extraordinary poor in that 70%, really like a copy of a copy of a VHS tape. Other parts have been taken from a DVD of the other version and these, of course, look good. Now that over 20.000 people have been “the Cabal cut”, Cherrington received the funds to clean up the images and give this new version a proper release which is due for June 2014.
However I thought otherwise, nothing of this film looked familiar, so maybe I never saw “Nightbreed” after all. The “Cabal cut” is a fantasy love story with a few horror elements and it certainly needs more work to make it look the way it deserves, but I will certainly watch the cleaned-up version when it is available.

Thale * Aleksander Nordaas (2012)

“Thale” is an amusing little Norwegian film. Coldblooded Leo and his by far not coldblooded temporary colleague Elvis have a job to clean up the forrest house of an old men torn up by predators. When searching the house, they stumble upon a cellar with a wild girl in it (with a remarkably fashionable haircut). The rest of the story is already given away everywhere, try not to read all that. Pokerface Leo is brilliant as he approaches everything without any emotion. Elvis is also funny since most things he encounters makes him puke. This is brought with great, Scandinavian humour. From a black comedy the film slowly ships towards becoming a thriller with fantasy elements. That part is not exactly perfectly worked out, but when you watch “Thale” as a small production and not as some hip Hollywood production, it is a nice film to watch some time.

Cronos * Guillermo del Toro (1993)

The first full-length film of Guillermo del Toro has all the Del Toro elements but the Franko line in the story. “Cronos” has elaborate characters and camera work, a slightly surrealistic atmosphere, fantasy and some horror elements and a nice story. The story is somewhat of a variation on one of the most common horror themes. An antiquarian accidentally finds a device of an alchemist of a few centuries earlier. Soon he finds out that there is somebody else that wants it badly and who sends out his servant (a great part of Ron Perlman) to get it. As Jesus finds out what the device does, he is not keen on handing it over and a nice cat-and-mouse game develops that is well portrayed by Del Toro. A very nice film. I have to see some other Del Toros that I missed.