New York Stories is three forty minute films by three different directors that all follow the life of a person living in New York. The first film, Life Lessons, is the story of a middle aged artist who is in love with his young assistant. The second film, Life Without Zoe, is a day in the life of a rich and obnoxious girl. And finally the third film, Oedipus Wreck, is the story of a depressed man about to get married who's trying to find his missing mother who one day just vanished.
My review for this film is going to be a little different to how I usually review films. I'm going to split this review into three body paragraphs (excluding this one, the synopsis and the conclusion). The first one I will give my thoughts on Life Lessons, the second one I will give my thoughts on Life Without Zoe and the third one I will give my thoughts on Oedipus Wreck.
Life Lessons is the short directed my Martin Scorsese. As you may be aware I'm a massive Scorsese fan and so I had high expectations for this short and to be honest I was kind of a let down. There are certain moments that I did enjoy, a fair few moments actually, but there were more moments where I didn't. Some scenes dragged on too long and others were just plain boring. Half the humour in the short was a hit yet the other half was a big miss. The main redeeming factor is the brilliant acting.
Life Without Zoe is the short directed by Francis Ford Coppola or just Francis Coppola as he is credited in this film. He has directed some amazing movies such as The Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now etc. so it was really disappointing to watch this rubbish. Life Without Zoe was a dull and uneventful forty minute bore that featured terrible acting and overly cheesy dialogue. I couldn't stand it so I actually fast forwarded through most of it. Whatever the third film was going to be like I knew I would like it more than this even if it's bad.
Oedipus Wreck is the short directed by Woody Allen. If this was even half decent I was going to enjoy it after sitting through the previous short, but this was actually the best of the three. It's a pity this was saved for last because I was tempted to turn the film off during the second short, but I stuck with it for a bit longer (well kind of as I fast forwarded most of it) so I could see this. It was original, hilarious, well written and extremely well directed. Highlight of the whole film.
To sum up New York Stories features an average opening short that's enjoyable essentially half the time, a dull, boring and terribly acted second short and a fun, original and well written third and final short.
Pet Sematary is based on the book by Stephen King, which I am a massive fan of. The film follows the story of Louis Creed, a married man with two children who have just moved into a new house. Their new neighbour, Jud, shows them a path to the Pet Sematary, it's meant to be spelt that way. When the family face a tragic death Louis decides to put the body in the Pet Sematary which is a tragic mistake for both the characters and the audience.
The film is very loyal to the book, but it just doesn't work. Like I've previously said I am a massive fan of both Stephen King and this book and I was really looking forward to the film. What could go wrong? Well where do I begin? The film just doesn't work as a movie in this case. The book would make a great film if it were done right as I hope the upcoming remake will. The film features cheesy dialogue, bad acting, no scares and skims through time. It's atrociously bad.
The acting in the film is just unbearable. There is not one performance in the whole film that is near decent and this was distracting me from the rest of the film. I think the best performance in the whole film was probably by the baby and I mean seriously people, c'mon! A BABY DID BETTER THEN THAN EVERYONE ELSE IN THIS WHOLE FILM! I don't recognise any of the actors (with one exception), but it's safe to say why that is.
The dialogue in the film is forced and cheesy. Stephen King wrote the screenplay for this film himself, but I would never have guessed that if I didn't previously know. He practically skips half the dialogue in some scenes so the film can be under two hours long, but it's just off. It sounds weird although that may be because of the unbearable acting. There are multiple scenes in this film where characters talk to themselves and it's laughably bad.
Pet Sematary also features a whole lot of other laughable scenes. Some of the scenes in the film are so atrocious and so forced that I was in tears laughing at them. Some of theses scenes were creepy as hell in the book, but were just hilarious on screen. Every scene with the dead patient standing around and talking just got me laughing my head off. I don't like to laugh in films that you're not meant to laugh at, but I just couldn't help myself. Plus seeing Gage walking around in his weird suit and giant hat had me in tears yet again.
The film isn't scary at all. In the book there are a great deal of slow, dark, eerie scenes. Some of which is just walking through the forrest at night and this had my heart racing. In the film I wasn't scared once. To make it worse all the eerie night scenes in the book were put into daytime and doing that just lost half the reasons why it was eerie in the first place. It bewilders me why this happened.
To sum up Pet Sematary, as loyal as it is to the superb book, just doesn't work. It's full of unbearable acting, cheesy dialogue, unintentionally hilarious moments and doesn't feature a single scare the whole way through it.
A Nightmare on Elm Street is the story of teenager Nancy Thompson. She and her best friend Tina have both been having dreams about a terrifying scarred man with knives for fingers trying to kill them. After Tina is viciously and mysteriously murdered Nancy and her boyfriend, Glen, begin to suspect that that this mysterious man from their dreams is more then just a dream and so they try to take action.
A Nightmare on Elm Street is pretty scary at multiple occasions. I didn't find this film to be scary all the time, especially the final act which I didn't find scary at all, but it was pretty damn scary a fair few times. There were so many creepy scenes with characters running or watching then all of a sudden the disturbing Freddy Kruger pops out with a rise in volume in the soundtrack and I jump then laugh it off. This happened a few times all of which in creative and inventive new ways.
The soundtrack for the film is not what you'd typically expect to find in a horror film. I pointed out how when things begun to get scary and noise level in the soundtrack would rise, but it's not your typical horror soundtrack. For me a typical horror soundtrack is a low, slow moving soundtrack that rises when things pop out in the film. In Nightmare on Elm Street the soundtrack is a unique, up beat, hip hop type soundtrack that was actually really catchy. You don't see this a lot in horror. Well hear it a lot.
I was actually surprised about how much we saw of Freddy Kruger. In the film we don't see as much of him as I wanted to see. In some cases this actually made the scene a bit scarier, but I believed that Kruger helped to create an uneven and disturbing atmosphere. We'd see him fall behind then he would appear right in front of the protagonist. The ending of the film featured a lot of Freddy and I believed this to seem less scary. That's not what I wanted by more Freddy. I wanted him to be in more scenes, but in the style of how he was in the first few scenes.
The film felt like it was going really fast. I must have really enjoyed this film because I thought I was only like 15 minutes into the film and I was already half way through it! The film never really seemed to slow down at any point. It was scary, gripping and very disturbing. A Nightmare on Elm Street is just one of those films you can put on with a bunch of mates and have a damn good time.
To sum up A Nightmare on Elm Street is a disturbing, scary and fast paced horror film. It avoids many typical horror cliches, the most notable being the soundtrack, although the ending failed to scare and I wished to see more of Kruger.