Horror movie fans will find that the quality of Tales of Halloween’s 10 shorts are consistently high and that the overall film is a fun watch that breezes by.
Dog Soldiers is a bit along the lines of Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead (2004) insofar as its story is drenched in horror aesthetic, yet the film itself is not as frightening as its premise suggests. In Wright’s film, the comedy and love story are just as important if not more so than the looming zombie apocalypse. In the case of Dog Soldiers, the action and terrific camaraderie between the soldiers truly anchors the picture, all the while reminding the audience that the occurrences themselves are indeed horrific.
Between its careful handling of the Tooth Fairy’s crimes, its memorable character debuts and reintroductions, and its gentle resetting of so many pieces on the Hannibal chessboard to their pre-“Mizumono” positions, “The Great Red Dragon” is a strong and exciting midseason premiere that promises a confident, more accessible end to a previously divisive season.
The opening shot of Constantine is quite rich. It’s a medium shot, straight ahead of the Ravenscar Secure Facility. This is the mental asylum that John Constantine (Matt Ryan) turns himself in to when he inadvertently damns the soul of his friend’s daughter, Astra, to Hell in the Hellblazer comic. Immediately, there is a nod to the source material as well as establishing that our protagonist isn’t right in the head or the ethical department, but there’s a tiny chance he could change. “Non Est Asylum” is all about how John Constantine isn’t at home in Heaven or Hell, but somewhere in between (Even though he is currently damned). He, his best friend and driver Chas (a laconic Charles Halford), and friend’s daughter Liv (Lucy Griffiths) are constantly on the move trying to take on the demon Furcifer, who controls electricity and lightning, and wants to damn Liv because her father angered him a while back. Along with this mobile exorcism plot, writers David Goyer and Daniel Cerone build the world of Constantine, where demonic activity and magic are everywhere. They also dig into Constantine’s sordid back-story. Unfortunately, most of this backstory is spilled out through exposition at the most random times, and it seems like the character of Liv only exists to be told stories about his past. However, she won’t be appearing after this episode, and Constantine more than makes up for it with a charismatic performance by Matt Ryan, who has the bearing of the working class mage, and delivers the snarky dialogue that Constantine is famous for in the comics.
When Black Sails premiered, I welcomed its slow pace and narrative interest. Going the less obvious route, the series has – so far – avoided laying the action on too thick and, instead, has stuck close to its main characters. However, these characters have mostly been conniving and stressing out, wanting to kill certain people but being unable to for whatever reason