On the eve of all things spooky I offer three modern classics this month
Maps to the Stars The Weiss family is the archetypical Hollywood dynasty: father Stafford is an analyst and coach, who has made a fortune with his self-help manuals; mother Cristina mostly looks after the career of their son Benjie, 13, a child star. One of Stafford’s clients, Havana, is an actress who dreams of shooting a remake of the movie that made her mother, Clarice, a star in the 60s. Clarice is dead now and visions of her come to haunt Havana at night…
Adding to the toxic mix, Benjie has just come off a rehab program he joined when he was 9 and his sister, Agatha, has recently been released from a sanatorium where she was treated for criminal pyromania and befriended a limo driver Jerome who is also an aspiring actor.
Directed by the maestro that is David Cronenberg and penned by edgy writer Bruce Wagner it stars the powerhouse that is Julianne Moore, the super talented Olivia Williams and Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson. It co-stars the ever green John Cusack and Carrie Fisher and is just about the finest and best work that Cronenberg has offered for some time.
5/5 from me and a total must see.
The Equalizer In The Equalizer (based on the long running 80’s and 90’s TV series starring Edward Woodward) Denzel Washington plays McCall, a former black ops commando who has faked his death to live a quiet life in Boston. When he comes out of his self-imposed retirement to rescue a young girl, Teri, he finds himself face to face with ultra-violent Russian gangsters. As he serves vengeance against those who brutalize the helpless, McCall’s desire for justice is reawakened. If someone has a problem, the odds are stacked against them, and they have nowhere else to turn, McCall will help. He is The Equalizer.
This is great stuff from Mr Washington where he takes the genre into a new dimension. Killers with hearts are hard to find nowadays but the star of Training Day and Flight handles a crisp script and punchy action scenes with great plot.
This action packed yet melancholic offering opens late September. Its 4/5 from me and certainly worth a visit.
Dracula Untold This action-packed monster movie looks set to steal the vampire genre back from the teens. Even if those involved aren’t calling it a vampire film.
This is Vlad’s backstory and the film takes its inspiration from Braveheart, Game of Thrones, Spielberg and even Clint’s classic western Unforgiven.
The star of this £100 million movie Luke Evans explains that, “We’re telling a different story, vampire films aren’t really my cup of tea!”
“It’s a historical epic first and foremost,” adds director Gary Shore. “There are scares and elements of horror in there, but it’s more of a journey story, an action adventure with a big historical backdrop”
Filmed entirely in Belfast/NI due to huge incentives offered by NI screen it’s ably co-directed by family friend Stephen Darragh. This ‘mega munch of a movie’ helps inject the good into the bad without ever being ugly!
A perfect warm up for what awaits you this ‘witching season’ at Tulleys Farms’s Shocktober Fest and a huge 5/5 from me. Opens on October 13th naturally so still time to squeeze in a visit to Tulleys at Turners Hill, Europe’s largest immersive Halloween event before you go!