It's a genre that has grown more sophisticated over the ages and has achieved a respect that wasn't always there. And now, the horror genre is now one of the few categories of movie, that can spawn umpteen sequels, to only little ridicule. It shows no signs of slowing down, as we see successful franchises are now hitting the high multi-million dollar mark. Here are the biggest grossing horror franchises of all time, circa 2017/18.
Viggo Mortensen is probably going to be forever known, for playing the character of the Ranger aka Aragorn aka Ellessar Telcontar from The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. But before and after these films, Mortensen was already in great projects, showing a vast acting range in films like The Prophecy, Carlito’s Way and Appaloosa. Here, I want to take a look at his other unrelated trilogy, that I call Mortensen’s Mobster's – 3 films where Viggo played gangsters, that should definitely be checked out.
American Yakuza (1993)
As an Undercover agent with the FBI, Nick Davis must infiltrate the Japanese Mafia and help bring them to justice, but when he finds values and an honour system within the organisation that he comes to admire, his loyalties become divided and he must choose which master he will serve. Directed by Frank Capello.
A History Of Violence (2005)
Tom Stal is a family man and the owner of a humble diner, in a small town. When he foils a robbery at his place of work, he becomes a heroic media sensation. Unfortunately Tom draws the attention of some serious criminals, who swear that they know him from another life. Though Tom denies their claims, something is not quite right... Is Tom who he says he is or are the villains telling the truth? Directed By David Cronenberg
Eastern Promises (2007)
Anna Khitrova is a nurse, trying to uncover the mystery of a 14 year old girl, who died during childbirth. Ann'a investigation unintentionally plunges her into the world of the Russian mafia. And in revealing that she is carrying the young girl’s diary, that may allude to a prostitution ring and other mob secrets, the head of the family dispatches Nikolai Luzhin, a driver and ‘cleaner’ to find out what the nurse knows and to get the diary back.
The anticipation for Star Wars movies is always different, depending on the space that they will occupy in the timeline. With the prequels, there was a new hope, that one of the greatest cinematic franchises could be revived and extended. But alas, the films didn't really blow us away, but did add detail to a vague backstory, that was laid out in the original 3. With A Force Awakens promising to bring back all the old characters, a second kindling of a new hope was on the cards. JJ Abrams managed to deliver a film that gave us a little of the Star Wars that we knew, but was also able to add a little bit extra. Most importantly, AFA left room and scope for a follow-up, where an Empire Strikes Back level of sequelism could happen. But did it?
The Last Jedi has finally answered a question for me, that my older sister had the answer to when the prequel trilogy came out. She didn't come right out and say it, but other than her annoyance with too much CGI, what I analysed in her consecutive disappointments, was that the chemistry we saw in the original films, between Luke, Leia, Han Solo, C3-PO, R2-D2 and Chewbacca, no longer existed. In all the films that have followed from 1999 to present day, that same naturalistic interaction between the characters, is not as potent and we have to recognise that this was instrumental to Star Wars' success. But we also have to get over it and understand, that type of golden casting should be looked upon as rare. In saying this, the actors in The Last Jedi do have their own charisma and with the injection of a new type of humour for the Star Wars universe, writer/director Rian Johnson is trying to ground the grand, intergalactic scale and show us the small human nuances, even during the most hazardous of scenarios.
"With some franchises you gotta look at the bigger picture and not think that every moment / scene has to give you an orgasm..."
Where as A Force Awakens felt like a remix of A New Hope, The Last Jedi is the first Star Wars film, that has every other film in it, in terms of style, cinematography and in some cases action scenes. I didn't mind this too much, but Rian has to be very careful how many times he pays homage, or he will come off as a fanboy, recreating his favourite moments from the SW universe. The beginning of the film definitely harks back to The Empire Strikes Back, as the first order is breathing right down the necks of the tatty, falling to pieces rebellion and throughout, the film shares similar themes of sacrifice and surviving on the edge of annihilation. The Jedi storyline is forwarded in a way that has twists and turns and there are even 2 Jedi moments that are firsts for the films.
To conclude, I would say that as a popcorn movie, with thrills throughout, A Force Awakens is probably slightly better. But to make a sequel that wouldn't rehash that film, is the harder task and I would say that there is more than enough to keep die hard fans pleased. One of my friends Whatsapp me as soon as I came out of the cinema, asking me for for my 'Thoughts and feelings?' I replied "This is a complicated question, though the answer falls in the positive. I think people want too much from films. With some franchises you gotta look at the bigger picture and not think that every moment / scene has to give you an orgasm and take you back to the first time you saw Star Wars."
No this isn't the score I'm giving TLJ.
This is the total you get, when you add up all my Star Wars comic books and novels, so I have seen a few stories in my time and can say that this is worthy of the SW universe. My advice for all future viewings; is to put away your love of the originals and like me, stop expecting these new entries to live up to them. These new editions have their own path to forge and legendary status should never be compared to the new kid on the block. Watch And Enjoy.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Is Out Now
In the movies, the future always seems to be portrayed as bleak, where either a devastating disaster is on the horizon or a cataclysmic phenomena has struck humans worldwide. Now saddled in some post-apocalyptic nightmare, we see that the most common route, themes and motifs of the dystopian movie are; technology gone mad, the strike of a plague leading to an inhospitable earth and the reign of a cruel and ruthless government.
TDD, RC & IK talk: