The Frighteners (1996) Film Review

The Frighteners

Frank Bannister (Michael J. Fox) can see ghosts. He has been able to since a car tragic accident that he survived but took his wife. It has been relatively light, with ghosts like The Judge (John Astin) who help him in his spirit psychic business. Things turn for the worse as the townsfolk start dropping dead of heart failure, and Frank sees numbers appearing on their heads before they go. An evil spirit is in town, and the incompetent and strange FBI Agent Milton Dammers (Jeffrey Combs) believes that Frank is responsible. It is only with the help of recently widowed Dr Lucy Lynskey (Trini Alvardo) that they have any chance of stopping the murders.

I think this is a really clever film. It’s quite funny, but also scary, and as he has shown over and over again, Peter Jackson can tell a good story. I suspect that if you love horror films, you’d not enjoy this as it is possibly way down the scale for horrors, but for a wuss like me, it’s a good combo of horror and comedy. And Michael J Fox *sigh*.

For Love or Money (The Concierge) (1993) Film Review

For Love or Money

Just because an actor is good, doesn’t mean the film will be. Michael Caine had Jaws : The Revenge. Johnny Depp had The Ninth Gate. Robert Downey Jnr had Due Date. (Oooh, I know I’m courting controversy with some of these) And you’ve got For Love or Money. Or The Concierge. It’s ok, Michael J Fox, you’ve got enough good stuff that we can forgive you this one.

Doug (Michael J Fox) is a concierge at a big hotel. He gets things done and is loved by everyone. Well, almost everyone; the taxman doesn’t like him that much, and neither does his boss. But Doug has two things on his mind; his future, with a project to renovate a beautiful old building into a new hotel and Andy (Gabrielle Anwar), the beautiful woman who is a perfume counter worker by day and a jazz singer by night. But, to his distress, he learns that Andy is involved with a married man. And this married man is Christian Hanover (Anthony Higgins); the entrepreneur about to bankroll his dream. What can he do?

The plot is weak and the characters are poorly written. It feels as though it should have the slightly slapstick comedy of many comedies of the eighties, but it just misses out. In fact, it is just boring.

Teen Wolf (1985) Film Review


I’m sure I must have seen this film as a kid. I’m of the generation that had a local video store in walking distance when this was either a new release, or still relatively fresh on the shelves. Yet, I don’t remember it at all. I’m kind of glad about that, because it made this watching just like the first time.

Scott (Michael J Fox) is a relatively normal teenager. In love with a popular girl, playing basketball with his far-below average team and hanging out with his kooky mate (obligatory for an eighties film, from what I can tell). Then things start to go odd – his temperature rises, hair begins growing in strange places… yup, he’s a werewolf. But not just when the full moon appears – whenever he wants. When he’s on the basketball court, he’s a star, and suddenly the team is winning, he’s popular and things can only go his way. Then other stuff happens. (I’m sure not many people would get upset by a spoiler from a film this old, but I’ll still stop there).

Michael J Fox is fabulous as always, and if you love the eighties, you’ll love it. If not, I think you’ll find it a  total waste of time with poor make-up and effects and very little to keep you entertained.


Back to the Future – the trilogy (1985) (1989) (1990) Film Review

It’s been years since I watched any of these films, and I have such fond memories. The first film was awesome, the second even better and the third just brought them all home. I’m totally pleased I watched them again, although the middle film perhaps should have remained a memory.


Back to the Future

It’s a pretty creepy plot when you look it. Marty McFly (Michael J Fox), a teenager in 1985, hangs out with Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), an eccentric old scientist, and doesn’t think twice when arranging to meet him in a parking lot in the middle of the night. Instead of it turning creepier immediately, Marty is accidentally sent back to 1955 where his mother falls in love with him and he has to plot to set her up with his dad. That’s where it sounds pretty creepy – but provided you can get past that, it’s an awesome film. For me, this is one of the best films of my childhood that really stands up.

Back to the Future 2

Back to the Future Part II

The first film was a huge success and had the setup for a sequel. So, of course it was going to get made. It seems, though, that in the scripting for the second film, they tried to add in too much new stuff. The key thing I have a problem with is the whole ‘What, you chicken?’ character trait. Suddenly, Marty cannot walk away from a dare if he gets called a chicken. Now, if that had happened in the first film, I probably would have bought it. But to suddenly introduce it made it feel like a really weak plot device.

If you haven’t seen it, this one has Doc taking Marty and his girlfriend Jennifer to 2015 to sort out a problem with Marty’s son. However Biff, the longtime rival of Marty’s father, steals a sporting almanac and takes it back to his younger self in 1955. This changes the future in a horrific way, so Marty has to go back to 1955 again, not change anything that happened in the first film, and solve the problem.

The key problems with this film are that, whilst the overall arc works, the individual scenes are often quite weak, and don’t get me started on the terrible make-up. At least the hover board is awesome. And Michael J Fox playing the daughter is hilarious.


Back to the Future Part III

Thank goodness this film makes everything good again. Perhaps I have a deep-seated love of cowboys or was having a lot of flashbacks to The Three Amigos (I need to watch that again. I love that film), but I just loved seeing Marty and Doc in the Wild West.

At the end of the second film, Doc ends up sent back to 1885. He sends a note to Marty through a confused delivery guy that he is happy and not to come back. When Marty discovers in local history books that Doc is killed only a few days after he wrote the letter, he feels he has no choice.

It’s great – it has romance for Doc, steam trains and crashes and all kinds of fun.

Although it is a bit creepy that Marty’s ancestor, Seamus, is married to a woman who looks exactly like Marty’s mum, but then again, all of these films have some element of creepiness that you just have to embrace or ignore to get through.

See them. But don’t give prime viewing time to the second film. It’s bound to disappoint. And definately watch the trailers – especially the first one – it’s fantastic!