Movie Reviews

BBC’s Dracula: Series 1 Episode 1 – Review

So, I guess I’m a pretty big fan of Dracula. He’s a blood-sucking nightmare of a vampire with a charming demeanour and a dark, unsavoury sense of humour… what’s not to love? However, no matter how many Dracula adaptions we get – and we get a lot – there never seems to be a really loveable characterisation. I mean sure, we’ve had some great Dracula adaptions. Christopher Lee’s Dracula will always be in our hearts and Gary Oldman certainly did a brilliant job but, when it comes to capturing the essence of the Dracula lore itself, something always seems a bit off. From your romantic, overly-sensual historic lord to your hilariously cliched evil villain, Dracula has had a pretty rough time lately.

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So, when Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat announced their 2020 Dracula adaption, I was instantly intrigued. With a reputation for brilliant characterisation and witty dialogue, the writing and directing duo were bound to throw Dracula back on the map, right?

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BBC’s Dracula starts us off in the Victorian age, introducing us to the reputable Mr Jonathan Harker (John Heffernan), a lawyer interested in the residence that is home to the Count himself (Claes Bang). Of course, to poor Mr Harker’s discovery, Count Dracula isn’t quite the man he appears to be. But Dracula certainly isn’t without his adversaries. Facing off against the witty and exceedingly determined Nun Agatha (Dolly Wells), it soon becomes a terrifying cat and mouse game for the ages. _110368509_dracula1_976[1].jpghttps://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-50972189

Claes Bang oozes with charisma as the title character Count Dracula from the very moment he shows up on screen. He embodies the exact kind of monster horror-fans have all been waiting for – a truly frightening and yet somehow lovable mix between elegance and complete animalistic cruelty. With all his quirks, quips and horrifyingly hilarious puns, Claes Bang plays probably the best version of Dracula we’ve seen to date.

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Full of action, gore and wit, Dracula was everything I expected to see from a Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffit adaption of Bram Stoker’s classic. With stunning cinematography, Dracula’s castle comes to life in a new dark, gritty style, adding a true dread to this ninety-minute horror. Although there’s definitely room for improvement when it comes to special effects, it’s never unbelievable enough to take away from the story and manages to make the episode just that little bit more unsettling.

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And unsettling is certainly a great way to describe this episode. As Johnathon Harker delves deeper and deeper into this sensational castle, he begins to unravel a chain of terrifying secrets that are bound to, quite literally, change his life forever. With vividly gruesome twists around each corner and a brilliant use of psychological dialog, Dracula constantly leaves you on the edge of your seat, just waiting for the next reveal.

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Overall, I had a lot of fun with this episode. With a brilliant cast, fantastic direction and witty writing, BBC’s Dracula manages to be one of the best horror shows on TV. 

 

Check out BBC’s Dracula on Netflix Now!

 

 

Movie Reviews, Uncategorized

‘Keeping Faith’ Season One Review

When it comes to English crime shows, I’m pretty much always in. If there’s anything that ‘Broadchurch’ and ‘Luther’ taught us, it’s that the British sure as hell know how to make a damn good crime show. So, as soon as this show called ‘Keeping Faith’ popped up on ‘ABC iView’, I brought out the popcorn. But, just how faithful is ‘Keeping Faith’ (Get it? Faith… ‘Keeping Faith’… never mind…) to England’s brilliant crime show record?

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‘Keeping Faith’ is an English thriller staring Eva Myles as Faith, a lawyer and mother of three who’s life gets thrown upside down as her husband fails to return home from a seemingly normal day’s work at their shared law firm. It’s soon discovered there’s more to this disappearance than it seems, and Faith becomes determined to discover her husband’s whereabouts. However, with a rag-tag band of clients and a police officer hot on her back, finding her husband becomes harder than she’d ever thought.

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Overall, I was actually a little disappointed with ‘Keeping Faith’. The acting was excellent, especially from the gorgeous and equally as talented Eva Miles, and the plot did drag me in enough to watch an entire season, but in the end, it just didn’t feel like it paid off. The characters were relatively shallow, the dialogue was pretty average and the plot was all over the place to say the least. At times, it looks like its about to go somewhere and in the next scene, it’s forgotten all together. Overall (spoiler alert), we end up with more questions than we do answers.

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And before you say anything: yes, I am aware there’s a second season. It hasn’t turned up on Australian shores yet – we’ve actually just finished the first season over here – but I’m sure we’ll be getting it sooner or later. The problem is, I just don’t know how invested in a second season I really am. From what I got in the first season, this show is one of those types of shows that’s essentially designed to keep going season after season until it ends up getting canned. If it had’ve just ended with some kind of resolution to the whole mystery, maybe I’d be interested in a second season, but it seems like all shows these days are terrified of loosing their audience if the mystery isn’t still dangling in front of them. All it takes is a quick look to shows like ‘Broadchurch’ to see how viewership still rallies for finalised shows if they’re still done well, but ‘Keeping Faith’ seems far more interested in dragging it’s viewers along by the hairs in some slight hope of a conclusion than it does in making a great show.

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Overall, ‘Keeping Faith’ is by no means a bad show. It’s got excellent acting, good cinematography and a story interesting enough to keep you watching each episode, but in the end, I was left disappointed. Whether or not the second season picks up the plot, I’ll have to wait and see.

Find Season One of ‘Keeping Faith’ at:
https://iview.abc.net.au/show/keeping-faith

Movie Reviews

2018’s ‘Halloween’ is Ridiculously Fun

 I’ve got to admit, I wasn’t really the biggest fan of the ‘Halloween’ franchise before seeing this movie. Watching a ton of classic horror movies was something I’d always wanted to do, but I just never got around to actually sitting down and watching them. It wasn’t until I saw the trailer for David Gordon Green’s 2018 Halloween that I decided it was time to bite the bullet and watch the original John Carpenter classic. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good film – the story was fantastic and Michael Myers was just as iconic a villain as I wanted him to be – but as somebody who was born about twenty years after its release, it just didn’t hit me the way it hit people who grew up with the franchise. So I guess you could say my expectations weren’t all that high. I was excited to see it, sure, but I wasn’t putting all my hopes and dreams in it.

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But, believe it or not, this film pleasantly surprised me. Sure, it definitely had its faults. There were a few plot inconsistencies, a couple of useless characters – who you know are going to end up brutally murdered from the moment they’re introduced – and a ton of cliche plot devices that are more predictable than your cat biting you when you pet its stomach (I mean, come on, it’s practically a death wish). Some of the throw-backs to the original were a little overbearing and a few of the choices characters made were enough to make you either roll your eyes or scream at the screen. But, oddly enough, no matter how many flaws this film had, it still worked.

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Jamie Lee Curtis once again was a work of art as the hardened survivor of the original Halloween, Laurie Strode. With combat skills, a recently acquired taste for vengeance, and a spooky knowledge of Michael Myers’ ways, Laurie transforms from iconic scream queen to Myers’ worse nightmare. However, with an edge of fear and intensive preparation, Laurie’s not just your average horror-movie-warrior, reminding us of the terrified origins of poor, innocent Laurie Strode in the original John Carpenter feature.

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And Michael Myers? He’s… well… Michael Myers. The horrifying killer eerily mimics his 1978 self, throwing audiences back into the good old days of dead eyes, silence and an impossible sense of immortality ‘the boogieman’ was always known for being. With a mask reminiscent of the first – the good old ravished William Shatner mask – everything audiences loved from the first is completely replicated into this new and brilliantly frightening film.

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Sure, it might not be a masterpiece, but 2018’s Halloween is the most fun you’ll have in a horror movie this year. It’s unrealistic, it’s completely cliched, but more importantly, it’s a cat-and-mouse slasher that will keep you on the edge of your feet until the credits roll.