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The Wolfman

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 21-05-2011


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Academy Award® winners Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs) and Benicio Del Toro (Traffic) tear up the screen in this action-packed thriller. Lawrence Talbot (Del Toro) is lured back to his family estate to investigate the savage murder of his brother by a bloodthirsty beast. There, Talbot must confront his childhood demons, his estranged father (Hopkins), his brother’s grieving fiancée (Emily Blunt, The Devil Wears Prada) and a suspicious Scotland Yard In… More >>

The Wolfman

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The mysterious, Gothic feel of The Wolfman was really well-done. First of all, it was great of Universal Pictures to release this film on a full moon. Unfortunately the full moon hit Valentines’ weekend. *shrug* What do you do??

Unlike the 1941 Lon Chaney, Jr. version, which took place in the then-contemporary pre-WWII Europe, this picture takes place in 1890s England, apparently right outside of London, in the inevitably named “Blackmoor.” Nice.

Benicio del Toro seems a bit miscast at first glance. But viewers find out early in the film that Sir Talbot married a Latin woman, so Benitio’s Latin looks makes sense. Without the “Why me?” look of Lon Chaney, Jr., Benicio had the fear of God in him instead.

This fear seemed real and sincere, as he discovers he is cursed. Cursed from the bite of a werewolf. He implores the local gypsies to help him but this version of Maleva is not much help. Her advice is to put Larry Talbot out of his misery. Silver bullets no extra charge.

Quite a surprise as to who the other werewolf is (no spoilers here). The duo werewolf smack-down will make any WWE fan proud.

Larry getting captured and locked up in a mental asylum was quite intense. The director’s view of psychiatry as a barbaric science with its use of ice-baths to cure delusion and sticking him with some kind of drugs has, unfortunately, not changed that much in 21st century psychiatric practice. We’ve graduated to electro-shock treatments from ice-baths. A true horror story.

The transformation of the man to wolf is great. Memories of The American Werewolf in London will come to you, and naturally so, because Rick Baker had something to do with both films. But where to the wolfman’s clothes go? Does he pick up after himself after each transformation? But I digress.

As in the first Universal picture, there is a mild love interest. It’s a subdued, subplot however.

Anthony Hopkins (chewing up enough scenery to gorge on!) is delightfully demented as Sir Talbot, Sr. The gothic mansion atop the hill with moon shining down in its full glory is so iconic — and the fake time-lapse movement of our lunar neighbor as it glows through the dead tree branches and storm clouds brings back more memories of Universal pictures past.

Example: The usual villagers with torches marching through the forest (with the baying dogs and such, reminiscent of Frankenstein). The deep howl of the wolfman as he bays at the moon, as he gorges on the liver and intestines of his latest victim. Oh, the hopping from the rooftops, again reminiscent of Henry Hall’s wolfman, Werewolf of London (which predates Chaney’s version).

The music evokes a mood and the plot moves along quite swiftly. At times, the audience is surprised as if the director says “boo” out of a closet or something. He does this a bit too often, but it’s still fun to do.

If you are any kind of a Universal fan and have waited for a more adult treatment of this film, then you really should watch this film. See how many iconic pictures you can spot as Universal digs deep into its vault of horror.

So don’t be a cynic — turn off your brain, don’t think, and enjoy this bit of entertainment.

Warning: much gore and decapitations ensue!

I understand Bride of Frankenstein is coming soon. Pray it ain’t Anne Hathaway!

Recommended – 4.5 Stars!

Of course, you can always pick up the originals:

American Werewolf in London Special Edition

The Wolf Man (Special Edition) (Universal Legacy Series)

Werewolf of London [VHS]
Rating: 4 / 5


Of course, we all know the basic Wolfman story, from the outstanding portrayal of the creature by the late Lon Chaney. This time, we have a remake with Anthony Hopkins (as Daddy Talbot) and Benecio De Toro (as Laurence Talbot), plus some special effects that we not available in the old days.

We begin on a full-moon night in England, in 1891. Daddy Talbot’s other son is walking through a wooded area and attacked by a horrible monster that slashes him apart. The Talbot man’s fiancé writes his brother (Larry), who is living in New York. Expressing concern for her fiance’s disappearance, she asks Larry for his help.

Larry arrives at the family estate, an old English manor in disrepair and finds his estranged father alive and well, accompanied by the family dog and a man-servant from India. The son/brother’s body had just been recovered. Larry travels through the English countryside to a small town to see his brother’s body, which is being kept in a meat house pending the burial service. Of course, Larry has to pull back the sheet, and sees the body looking pretty bad.

Back at the family estate, Larry begins having flashbacks about seeing his mother dead from what appeared to be a suicide when he was a young boy. After her death, Daddy sent him to an asylum for a year and then sent him off to live with a relative in New York.

Larry is determined to find the beast that attacked his brother and decides to visit the gypsy camp one night. (Duh–would you go out at night when you knew there was a werewolf in the area and it was a full-moon night to boot? I hope Larry doesn’t tell “blond” jokes :-). Of course, you don’t have to be a rocket-scientist to guess that Larry gets attacked and bitten by the wolfman. And so it begins–once bitten. . .

Larry is sewn up by the gypsy woman and returns home. A Scotland Yard detective shows up at the manor to investigate and a few unpleasant comments are expressed by both men. Shortly afterwards, Larry begins to change. He has some scary nightmares and he begins to develop sight, hearing, and smelling sensitivities. His body begins to change before our eyes one night and he goes on a killing spree. The change is done well, too. Needless to say, the local villagers are severely spooked and the story continues to reveal some additional information.

I really enjoyed the movie. I thought it was well done and added a few new things just to keep the story fresh. Anthony Hopkins was wonderful in his part, but don’t let this worn-out but classy gentleman act fool you. He is a not a very nice guy. Benecio De Toro was also wonderful in his role. The orchestra music added to the film and the visual effects were wonderful. There were also some nice scenery shots of London and the English countryside.

This is NOT a movie for your young and impressionable children. There is blood, guts and gore for shock value, murders, and asylum torture. Heads and body parts are ripped off and people are gashed open. Your children will have nightmares over this stuff. If you can take that stuff yourself, then this was a really good movie. (Normally, I won’t go to this kind of violent film either, but, I grew up with the Wolfman, Frankenstein, and Dracula stories, so I had to see it.)

Rating: 5 / 5

Plagued with delays, reshoots, on set bickering and changed release dates Director Johnston’s remake/homage makes it to the silver screen, and is a good old fashion scary movie.

Interestingly, the DVD and Blu-Ray release will feature a further 17 minutes of footage, aka “Directors Cut” which according to an interview with the director is mostly in the first half of the movie to build tension, and fill in some back story.

It was said that here (the cinematic) release wanted to be concise and get to the first transformation sequence in as soon as possible to keep the audience attention. This ideal I can understand, as all too often one must sit through an hour of build up to get to the meat of the action (no pun intended) and see what has been teased in trailers and TV spots. Time will tell as to whether these 17 minutes make a whole lot of difference, my view is that it will be a nice to have, rather than a need to have. For me the picture felt pretty complete.

Del Toro is great from the first scene as the grieving brother summoned by his late siblings fiancé to the funeral, to try to find out what happened after his mangled remains are found in a ditch near the family’s stately home.

There’s an air of a troubled past about from the get go, as he reunites with his estranged father Anthony Hopkins. We learn in flashback that he witnessed his mothers apparent suicide and was committed to an asylum and suffered untold horrors by his father at a young age, in hopes of cleansing him of something.

Hopkins as always is masterful, and more than distracting as the brooding Lord of the manor, with more than a few secrets to hide.

Hugo Weaving, as Inspector Abberline also puts in a fine performance, as does Art Malik in a nice cameo role.

The similarities to the original Lon Chaney are hinted at more than played out, but it feels, and looks good as he begins to delve into the history of Blackmoor, the nearby gypsy encampment, and the family “curse”.

They did a great job with filming locations. Chatsworth house (The Blackmoor stately home) is actually in a lot better condition than they made it appear with a dreary run down CGI touch up, and may be familiar to viewers of many movies like Pride & Prejudice. Actually about 160 miles from London, for the purpose of the movie it’s setting is supposed nearer to the capital, as Del Toro walks there from London towards the climax of the movie. Castle Combe in Wiltshire is used extensively for the village scenes, and creates a perfect period feel for the late 19th century setting. Those who have actually been to that part of England will know that “yes, it actually looks like that today” an obvious reason why it was chosen.

Emily Blunt is captivating but deliberately understated as the grieving fiancé, slowly drawn to Del Toro’s gentle handling, and the romantic connection is thoughtful without being overplayed.

So to the special effects and make up, well those familiar with Rick Bakers talents, particularly in the excellent American Werewolf in London Special Edition (which is seen by many as still the benchmark for the most realistic depiction of the transition from man to wolf) will not be disappointed. Here however, we get more of a direct reference to the original, in that Del Toro is an upright Wolf Man, sort of 50/50 as opposed to being completely lupine or monstrous as in the recent Underworld movies for example.

It was also interesting to read that the makeup took only two hours to apply, and one to remove, with Baker remarking that the hirsute Del Toro was easy to change from his current form, to “just a more hairy version of Del Toro with teeth and claws”!

You can complain about the constant full moons, the question of where Del Toro’s clothes disappear to and reappear when he changes back, and a number of artistic flaws in the story, but the pace and suspense of the movie keep you viewing. This is escapism after all.

There are some graphic scenes during the numerous changes and attacks, but the strength of the tension lies more in the good old fashioned scary moments, plenty of searching of dark rooms, and roaming around at night in forests, and more than a few “Boo” moments to make most people alarmed.

It’s a relatively predictable story, I saw the end coming a mile away, as I’m sure most did, and of course the filmmakers have the left the door open for a sequel. That said, it’s an impressive piece of gothic horror well presented with today’s technology and sure to do well at the box office, and on DVD. 4 Stars.
Rating: 4 / 5

This is a fantastic movie! I must admit, I was worried that it was going to become another “My Bloody Valentine”….. all flash and no substance.

Not the case. This film has a very good story, and frankly, it is even more interesting than the original Wolf Man story from the classic 1941 (I think) film.

The scenery is beautiful, and spooky. Especially awesome was the panning of the film images from the moon down through the trees at the beginning of the movie, and vice versa at the end. Great images that signal that a classic good ‘ole horror story is about to unfold before the audiences eyes.

The British fog, thicker than a pint of stale bitters, was also done with great effect. Some say “too much fog” was used. People, we’re talking about ENGLAND. It gets foggy. Couple that with the fact that it’s a HORROR movie…the fog was not overdone…it added to the spooky effect just fine, thank you.

Benicio Del Toro was great as Lawrence Talbot, the unfortunate good guy who, against his will, transforms into a monster when the moon is full.

In some scenes, Del Toro actually looked like Lon Chaney, the fantastic actor who portayed the original Wolf Man.

Emily Blunt……try not to fall in love with her by the movie’s end….you’ll be hard pressed not to. Blunt portrays Gwen Conliffe (spelling may be wrong on “Conliffe”) the beautiful, delicious, widow of Talbot’s brother, Ben, who was killed by the Wolf Man. Slowly, Conliffe, realizes that Lawrence, like his brother Ben, has some very noble, dignified similarities. And some unfortunate similarities also, regarding “relations”.

You cant help but to feel what Conliffe feels at the end of the movie…..she is “Damned if she does” and “Damned if she doesnt”. You cant help but feel for her, and with her, as her emotions jump through the movie screen.

Did I mention that Conliffe is beautiful? Delicious? Okay..just wanted to be clear on that. (Ms. Blunt, if you’re out there, please….. call me. No, j/k. I hope that you and your Fiancee have many happy years together.)

Hugo Weaving plays to perfection, the role of the Scotland Yard investigator, who gets the UN-enviable assignment of having to solve the Wolf Man mystery (He’s used to sickening, difficult cases, having worked on the “Jack The Ripper”

case a couple of years back.

Anthony Hopkins…what can one say of his performance as Sir John Talbot, father of Lawrence and Ben? The man gives you the creeps,even when he is being nice in the movie. Hopkins carries out his role, and the twist that his character is involved in, to perfection.

This movie features fantastic perfomances, an interesting story with a stunning twist, beautiful scenery (It’s hard not to get a chill up and down your spine when The Wolfman leaps onto the concrete statue and howls at the moon, with the city in the distance.)

I enjoyed it alot, and I’m going to say something that many “film purists” will have to go to therapy in order to deal with, so I apologize in advance: I Enjoyed the classic 1941 Wolfman movie, but I enjoyed this movie far more than I did the classic.

Yeah, I said it. I’ll say it again. I think that this movie is more enjoyable than the original.

To be sure, the movie does have it’s share of disgusting, bloody scenes that would make John Rambo cringe. It’s alot like Tim Burton’s “Sleepy Hollow”…..if you can get past the gore, you’ll enjoy the movie.

But it is fully supported by awesome action scenes of The Wolfman leaping out of a hole in the ground, leaping onto rooftops, running on all fours (a “realism” that wasnt present in the classic film) and again, stunning images that far exceed the original movie, when it comes to spooky grandeur and just plain fun.

It’s BIGGER than the original film….you feel a part of the film more. The original, although a classic that I love, looks light years behind this movie when it comes to imagery, and action scenes. Such is the advantage of the digital age I guess.

But,when you get right down to it, why must we compare the two movies? Why cant we enjoy the original 1941 film, and enjoy this 2010 update as well?

Why must it be “either or”? They are both awesome films, both will make you feel like it’s Halloween. On any day of the year. Both films having been made with the same passion for story telling and exciting audiences that the talented filmmakers at Universal have exhibited.

I cant wait for the DVD….rumor has it, it will be an “Extended Edition” with 17 minutes of footage not seen in theaters. I HOPE that they will also include the Original Theatrical Version as well. I guess I have that “film purist” in me a bit, also. But I dont want the version that I thoroughly enjoyed in theaters to be screwed with. Star Wars fans can relate.

In summary, forget about the armchair experts who are on TV or in newspapers….the only film expert that matters is YOU. See for yourself. Decide for yourself.

As for me, I give it two hairy thumbs/two hairy paws up, sky high….all the way to the moon and beyond..

Rating: 5 / 5

I am a huge fan of the classic horror movies. So when I heard about this remake of THE WOLFMAN I so wanted to see it big screen. Didn’t get to, but I just finished watching it a few minutes ago on DVD.

The longer this movie went on, the more I found myself psychically talking to the producers and director and saying “don’t blow it – don’t mess this up!” They must have heard me, because they did it right – then the did it right some more – then they did it right some more – and finally they ended it right.

This is how Hollywood should remake the classics. It’s not a straightforward retelling, but it’s not a total corruption/aberration either. Instead it’s a well thought out, visually delightful tale that honors the original, allows lycanthropy to maintain it’s cursed nature, and offers some new treats as well.

It is fairly predictable, but in Gothic horror that is part of the horror. You know what’s coming. You know the hero can’t avoid what’s coming. The tension just increases.

The production design and visuals will please any fan of Victorian Horror. Marvelous parquet floors, sweeping staircases, crumbling Abbeys, London by gaslight, and a gypsy campsite that was itself worth the price of the flick. The shots in the woods of Blackmoor are incredible. I could just watch the scenes with the torch-wielding villagers in the woods again and again.

If you like the old classics you’ll probably like this (be warned it’s heavier on the gore though). If you need new, or

nudity, or vile language then you’ll be disappointed.

If this crew decides to remake other famous monsters of filmland flicks they can rest assured I’ll do my best to be at opening night.

Tomorrow night, I’m popping some corn, getting the big box of sno-caps, turning down the lights, and watching it again!!

Rating: 5 / 5

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