Tag Archives: Bill Moseley

Prisoners of the Ghostland (2021) Review

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Prisoners of the Ghostland

Time: 103 Minutes
Cast:
Nicolas Cage as Hero
Sofia Boutella as Bernice
Bill Moseley as The Governor
Director: Sion Sono

In the treacherous frontier city of Samurai Town, a ruthless bank robber gets sprung from jail by a wealthy warlord whose adopted granddaughter has gone missing. He offers the prisoner his freedom in exchange for retrieving the runaway. Strapped into a leather suit that will self-destruct in five days, the bandit sets off on a journey to find the young woman — and his own path to redemption.

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I was actually quite excited for Prisoners of the Ghostland. One of the biggest selling points (which was used to market the movie) is that lead actor Nicolas Cage said that it might be the wildest movie he’s ever made, which is saying a lot considering his reputation for being in wild movies and/or being wild in some of his movies. So that combined the simple yet over the top premise, I was looking forward to it. The actual film didn’t quite deliver as I hoped it would.

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The premise is straightforward, a bank robber played by Nicolas Cage has bombs attached to him and he’s given a certain amount of time to rescue a woman before the bombs go off. I liked how the film started, and it showed some promise. It is a mash up of genres, with it being a western, samurai and post apocalyptic film, and it’s certainly impressive for that. However I had a sinking feeling as it approached the end of the first act, as its many issues reared their heads. The script is poorly written, and not always in the campy B-movie way. Despite the premise and the over the top nature, Prisoners of the Ghostland is surprisingly dull. It meanders a bit too much in the first half and I had mostly tuned out at the halfway point. Not much actually happens in the movie, and in the scenes where nothing was happening, I struggled to find out what the point of them were. It seemed like it was trying to build lore in these scenes, but even from that perspective the execution was lackluster.  On that comment from Cage, its definitely not one of the wildest movies he’s made but it is on the Weider side. However, it feels somewhat low effort and more like its weird for the sake of being weird, and it comes across rather hollow. It only picks up again when it enters into the climactic final battle in the third act. If the movie was just the climax it would’ve been a highly enjoyable throwback to over the top B-movies. However it is stretched to an entire movie length, and even at 100 minutes long it is tedious to watch.

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Nicolas Cage is in this movie and as expected this movie is definitely trying to play to his skills of being over the top. However to put it bluntly, if I was to make a list of the top 10 over the top Nicolas Cage movies/performances, Prisoners of the Ghostland wouldn’t come close to making it. He’s certainly over the top and lets loose in some moments. Otherwise he seems strangely restrained, probably because there’s not much of a character for him to play here, it’s just like he’s a parody of action leads. He makes the movie easier to sit through, but he somehow feels out of place with the rest of the movie. Sofia Boutella is the only actor in the movie who isn’t over the top, she’s playing the woman who Cage is trying to rescue. She’s decent in her part but she was very underused and not given much to do here. Every other actor is over the top and ‘weird’ but there’s not much of a character for them to play.

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Part of the hype for Prisoners of the Ghostland was the director Sion Sono, I haven’t seen any of his movies but I heard that he’s quite unique and ‘crazy’ as a filmmaker. With this film there’s certainly a lot of flare to his direction. The cinematography is fantastic, the practical sets are impressive, and the action isn’t anything special but is nicely stylised and fun to watch.

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I was rather disappointed in Prisoners of the Ghostland. Despite the premise, its just rather dull to sit through, especially the middle hour of the film. It does have some strengths, Nicolas Cage was enjoyable to watch despite being underutilised, I liked the mash up of different genres, and a lot of the technical aspects are impressive. At the very least, it has me interested to check out Sion Sono’s other work, but by itself, Prisoners of the Ghostland is just fine at best.

Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013) Review

Time: 92 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1]
Cast:
Alexandra Daddario as Heather Miller
Dan Yeager as Leatherface
Trey Songz as Ryan
Tania Raymonde as Nikki
Scott Eastwood as Deputy Carl Hartman
Shaun Sipos as Darryl
Keram Malicki-Sánchez as Kenny
Thom Barry as Sheriff Hooper
Paul Rae as Mayor Burt Hartman
Richard Riehle as Farnsworth
Bill Moseley as Drayton Sawyer
Marilyn Burns as Verna Carson
John Dugan as Grandfather Sawyer
Gunnar Hansen as Boss Sawyer
Director: John Luessenhop

Decades ago, residents of Newt, Texas, long suspected that the Sawyer family was responsible for the disappearances of many people. When their suspicions finally were confirmed, vigilantes torched the Sawyer compound and killed every member of the family — or so they thought. Much later, a young woman named Heather (Alexandra Daddario) learns that she has inherited Texas property from an unknown relative, and she is unaware of horrors that await in the mansion’s dank cellar.

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a really effective horror movie, it’s one of the only horror movies that got close to actually making me feel unsettled, and was the scariest slasher movie that I’ve seen. As for the sequels and reboots, I haven’t seen them but I heard that they are pretty bad. Still, years ago I still decided to see Texas Chainsaw 3D and was less than impressed to say the least.

Even though it initially seems like a reboot or remake, Texas Chainsaw 3D is actually a sequel to the original. It even opens right after the events of the first movie. If there’s something I can give credit to this movie for at least trying, it’s that it attempts to be a continuation of the original story instead of just rebooting… though that would still prove to be a problem for the movie. One of the biggest mysteries and confusions surrounding Texas Chainsaw 3D is the time period. It certainly feels like a modern movie, but certain things revealed just don’t add up. The first movie was made in 1973 and that’s where the movie was set, Texas Chainsaw 3D is like 20 years later so really it should be in the 90s. But it doesn’t seem that way, it’s in the 90s yet characters have smart phones. I almost feel like the people making this movie didn’t know entirely themselves, there’s a bit when the main character reads a newspaper and it shows the date but deliberately hides the year. Its not just the time period that’s wrong with the movie unfortunately, for the most part Texas Chainsaw 3D is a rather generic slasher movie, with boring characters who make stupid decisions, the type that a lot of bad horror movies have. Early in the movie, the main character is given a letter and is told that its absolutely important for her to open it before going into this faraway house that she apparently inherited from some mysterious relative. Yet she doesn’t until much later, revealing so much incredibly major things that would’ve made the events play out much differently. They basically made her conveniently not think about checking out that letter even when some weird stuff starts happening. Weird decisions at the end aside, for the most part the movie is very predictable. It’s also got some moments which come across as silly, like at a point there are two people chainsaw fighting, and I’m pretty sure the filmmakers wanted us to take this movie seriously. The strangest parts however come towards the last act as the plot takes a weird turn, and not necessarily for the better (potential spoilers for the rest of the paragraph). The film actually tries to make Leatherface likable and sort of an anti-hero of sorts, and it’s just bizarre, it’s so sudden and jarring. I guess credit for them for trying but they weren’t anywhere close to succeeding. By the time it got to the point where it was clear what direction the story was going in, I just gave up on the movie at that point, I couldn’t take it seriously.

I don’t know if most of the cast have talent, but the characters are so underdeveloped that they really didn’t have a chance. There’s only two actors in here that I recognise. Alexandra Daddario I guess was the best of the cast as the lead character. She’s passable enough and I’m not really sure if I’d go so far as to call her performance bad, but she really didn’t have anything to work with in this movie, more so to the rest of the cast.

The direction of the movie is competent at best. For the horror, the movie relies heavily on jumpscares, with none of them effective at all. I always found the scariest part of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre to be not the chainsaw wielding murderer, but just the absolute insane people in the family. Texas Chainsaw 3D mainly relies on Leatherface however, and in this movie he really isn’t intimidating, just another silent killer who happens to have a chainsaw. Again, there isn’t a consistent time period, if it’s really the 90s, the modern music has no place here. Yes, there’s a lot of gore here but it looks incredibly fake. There’s one bit where someone is being sliced at the waist with a chainsaw, but only the top half is moving, the bottom half of the body isn’t moving at all. Now this movie is called Texas Chainsaw 3D, and indeed you can tell that this movie was filmed to be 3D at points with the way that its filmed, with Leatherface thrusting his giant chainsaw in front of the camera just for audiences to see in its 3D glory (even though pretty much no one is watching this in 3D). There was even a moment later on where Leatherface throws his chainsaw at the camera, which was straight out of a bad 3D movie from the 90s where they tries to have random things popping out at the camera (and no, I’m pretty sure they aren’t attempting to tribute those movies at all).

Texas Chainsaw 3D is really not good at all. The acting isn’t good, the direction is lacklustre, it’s not scary in the slightest, it’s a rather standard and average slasher movie that you’ve seen done so much better, and although it does try to connect to the original movie, its ties just end up making the story stumble even more. Even if you liked the original movie, I don’t think you’ll get anything out of Texas Chainsaw 3D.