Your Highness feels like a dumbed down version of The Ash Lad, that’s not to say it wasn’t a bit of fun. However, the crude humour got a bit much at times, and I am not sure why so many bro films have to feature penises, but apparently that is required. Your Highness features Danny McBride, James Franco and Natalie Portman as the main characters. The story is that the Prince’s bride gets kidnapped by a sorcerer, and he goes on a quest to save her, accompanied by his lazy and ineffectual brother. As you can imagine there are many shenanigans along the way.
Being Human (UK)
Well I got pretty addicted to Being Human until I realised that Prime only had two seasons 🙁 It is more like a long supernatural sitcom featuring some horror and comedy along the way. Being Human follows a vampire, a ghost and a werewolf who are living together. You might recognise Aidan Turner who is in Poldark which I featured in my Best British TV shows list. He is also fabulous in this, but somehow less brooding as a vampire but not far off. This show, though based in Bristol of all places, is pretty good. Somehow they managed to combine life and death drama with a dark humour that does not negate the seriousness of the crises. Definitely recommend watching the UK version of Being Human.
I was pretty intrigued to watch V/H/S, as I saw a lot of talk about it on Twitter, which made me ignore that it was found-footage, which I am sorry to say, but I feel that a lot of bad directors just use this approach to hide their shitty plots. Well, I should have listened to my instincts, as it was pretty terrible (full review here). There is a lot of sexual violence in this film, which seems to be funny to the makers of this film. I was hoping that it was to make us hate the main characters, so we love it when they get their deaths. Unfortunately I could not make it that far, as there were other terrible found footage stories around the main story, that just happened to be just as bad. I really feel like horror fans really need to raise their bar a bit more.
The Rental was an odd one. It sounded from the plot summary, that it was going to be a mystery horror, but the horror only really made an appearance at the very end of the film. Most of it involves drama between the couples staying at this rental, it is more their paranoia that causes all the issues rather than the nefarious figure that turns up at the end. It is still an interesting watch, but if you are just going for horror, this features very little.
I am not sure if I have watched the original Asian film, but I didn’t find the American version that bad. Jessica Alba, not really known for stellar acting, delivered a decent performance, and I was pretty entertained by it. It wasn’t all that scary unfortunately, which I would have expected with the subject matter at hand and having the source material of the original to pull from. Largely, it is quite a forgettable film, which is not a shocker since a lot of horror remakes based off Asian films have been of questionable quality.
I am a fan of Viola Davis ever since her role in How to Get Away with Murder, and she is pretty much playing a similar character in this, albeit as a home-maker that happens to be married to a criminal. After her husband dies, she ends up getting shaken down by the criminals that her husband owes money too. Feeling trapped, she contacts the other widows, whose late husbands were a part of her husband’s team. They plan to take on a heist, to clear their debts and forge a future for themselves. It was a pretty good and very intriguing thriller, especially with a good acting cast list. But somehow I just felt it missed that little spark that could have elevated it further.
Full disclosure: I have a weakness for any 90s film due to nostalgia. I had not seen Fled before this however, so it was nice to find something that had flown under my radar. Two chained up prisoners end up fleeing after a chain-gang’s attempt to escape goes horribly wrong. This wasn’t just a simple man-hunt though, as Dodge is serving a sentence for hacking, and he might have information that will be seriously damaging to a Cuban crime boss. I wouldn’t say it was Fugitive levels good, but it was fairly decent and engaging.
I don’t know why Ethan Hawke wants to be in all the weird movies. I will never forgive him for Predestination! Taking Lives follows Angelina Jolie as an FBI profiler who is called in by the Canadian police to help catch a serial killer, who is also stealing the identities of his victims. It starts off pretty strong, with a unique serial killer, and intriguing man-hunt premise. But as they get closer to the suspect, it just fails to capitalise on that. Perhaps making the cat and mouse game more personal, took any edge off of it. There is also the fact that it is quite predictable, but this may be because it is quite derivative of other lauded thriller films.
Anything that involves surviving the icy elements, is immediately on my watchlist. However, I can’t say this was that engaging as a film. Based on a true story, it follows a snowboarder that gets lost in a massive storm and must survive without any equipment to help. There are a lot of flashbacks to his earlier career as a hockey player and his addiction to meth which tries to give you some kind of emotional connection, but I found the character pretty dull and mostly unsympathetic. I am not sure if how he got lost was portrayed accurately, but it was entirely his fault from the film’s depiction, so this framing of it as an inspirational survival story is undercut by that. Josh Harnett does his best, but 6 below is pretty mediocre.
I just could not wait to talk about Farscape. This is possibly the best sci-fi show that I have ever watched, that combines serious drama with comedy. It also helps that the crew are not cookie cut moulds, they have moral complications due to the fact that they are escaped prisoners. Usually we have a main character and side characters, which vary in likeability, but in this show all the characters are interesting and likeable even with shifting morals. As well as that, one of the things I really like is the living ship of Farscape, which is just as important a character as the rest of them, and she features heavily in each storyline. Every time I think they had hit the peak in an episode, they surprise me with something better.
That’s all for this Chills and Thrills.
In case you missed anything last month:
- Z Nation Review – a wacky, fun zombie gorefest
- Jinn (2014) Review – a flashy but ultimately impotent movie
- The Cave Review – an enjoyable sci-fi horror full of clichés
- Monthly Wrap-up: December 2020
- The ScreenSlut: Behind the Name
- Alien Code Review – a captivating sci-fi that loses its footing
- A List to End the Year of Hell