Pinocchi-O-Rama: the 2022 “Pinocchio frenzy” and celebrating the 140th Anniversary of Collodi’s classic

No review today, sorry, but we’re doing something a bit special.

If you remember, last year was surprisingly full of Pinocchio adaptations, from the resurfacing of Guillermo Del Toro’s project, that cheap russian retelling/reworking with the infamous Paulie Shorie english dub (called Pinocchio – A True Story, FIY), and Disney continuining with their crusade of shitty live-action remakes of their classic animated films.

And italian audiences were also treated with a live-action Pinocchio movie in 2019, directed by acclaimed italian director Matteo Garrone (Dogman, The Tale Of Tales), and starring beloved italian actor Roberto Benigni, which already was world famous for playing the titular character in the 2002 Pinocchio movie.

If you’re like me, as in italian and pretty much hailing from Tuscany, living nearby Florence, hence more than familiar with the original book by Luigi Collodi, you’d be wondering why now, as it seemed random to see a resurgence of Pinocchio adaptations out of the blue. I mean, the book was already in the public domain in the U.S. since 1940, so i wondered if there was some anniversary relating some of the more famous adaptations…. but nothing that made sense.

As in, the original book was first published (in full, after it was published in a weekly children’s magazine starting 1881, then stopped and eventually resumed with the second part) in 1883, so the following year would mark the 140th anniversary, notable but not the kind of number that publisher choose to publicize some new edition of a popular book.

Doesn’t have quite that ring, but somehow 2022 was the “Year Of Pinocchio” regardless, so irked by this i’m gonna do “sumethin about it” and actually spotlight a noteworthy or overlooked Pinocchio adaptation or “heavily inspired by ” work each month of 2023, with special reviews, starting with a post/review at the very end of January.

There will be no precise release windows for each piece, just each a month for the entirety of 2023.

[EXPRESSO] M3GAN (2022) | Child’s Ploy

Killer robots are back to the big screen (using the plural since there was apparently a christmas killer robot santa movie that also came out last year but it’s still US only, in a legal manner), and intriguingly James Wan it’s back as writer after his friend (and Saw co-creator) Leigh Wannell delivered the excellent cyborg thriller Upgrade some years ago, this time with a new take on the killer doll trope, which while sharing similarities with Chucky (even more considering the surprisingly solid recent remake), manages to stand on its own.

Even though the title character starts out as an anti-Chucky figure of sorts, since it’s a robot created as an advanced life-sized child companion/tutor/friend and pitched by a woman working in a toy company after her sister’s family dies on a crash, with only her young nephew, Cady, surviving the incident, after realizing the nephew treats Megan as a real friend, realizing she can kill two birds with one stone by also forwarding the robot unit instead of the toyline she was supposed to fix.

Problem is “Megan” has been built with an adaptive learning pattern and soon cold logic brings the robot to realize that extreme measures will need to be taken in order to protect Cady…

2022 was indeed the year of Pinocchio more than i realized, but aside from that the movie it’s good, not great, but definitely good, the script is strong, characters are quite likeable, the drama delivers, the title character-killer it’s creepy as fuck, the effects are good, and direction by Gerard Johnstone is quite solid too.

Takes a bit to get going, but when it does you’re in for quite the fun killer robot horror film… and one that kinda ambushed me with how funny – deliberatly comedic – it was.

12 Days Of Dino Dicember #21: Hatched (2021)

Clearing up some of the last year’s releases with Hatched, a 2021 dinosaur film about a woman and her family moving to her reclusive brother’s farmhouse to check on him, only to find out he moonlighted as Dr. Alan Grant, resulting in many living dinosaurs that trap the family inside the house.

Yes, the dinosaurs are coming from inside the house, hur hur.

I’ve heard this one described as “Michael Myers but if dinosaur”, for some reasons that don’t really make much sense when you think about it for more than 3 seconds, but i would say we’re more in Carnosaur or Raptor Ranch territory, because we’re yet again talking about someone doing clonosauruses around chicken coops and shit.

At least we’re not in space?

Continua a leggere “12 Days Of Dino Dicember #21: Hatched (2021)”

12 Days Of Dino Dicember #15: Terror Birds (2016)

‘m cheating a bit with this one, since it’s about an extinct clade of carnivorous flightless birds from the cenozoic period, going by the scientific name of Phorusrhacidae, vulgarly called “terror birds”. So, dino birds, pretty much.

If anything, i don’t regret fitting this one in a proper Dino December… because the plot reminds me of Raptor Ranch, as yet again we have scientists cloning extinct animals in fuckin Texas ranches of all places.

Then again, what do i know, maybe there the demand for dino beef is high. Yeah, this time isn’t about raptors and company, but about these prehistoric apex bird predators, and the usual group of teenagers (with her ex-boyfriend who she’s gonna hook up later, because dumb b-movie script) that stumble upon the “dino ranch”.

This time there is a reason for it, because the father of one of the girls, Maddy, went missing during one of his usual birdwatching excursions.

Continua a leggere “12 Days Of Dino Dicember #15: Terror Birds (2016)”

12 Days Of Dino Dicember #14: Triassic Attack (2010)

To give us a breather from an apparently endless strain of incredibly stupid scientists who would resurrect Hitler and put his brain in a T-Rex for the lulz… this time no one is cloning anything, or tampering in god’s domain without a rubber octopus on strings.

None of that shit.

Sorry for the screenshots “salvage fest”, but despite IMDB listing it having an italian release date (which is true since it was aired on tv here… i guess once), i couldn’t even find images of the apparent UK release, let alone a UK DVD, it’s not even one of those dino flicks gated off to non-UK Amazon Prime Video users. And apparently none of the major streaming services has it.

I’m not paying extra to import it from the US or get a Japanese copy, sorry, not for Triassic Attack.

Continua a leggere “12 Days Of Dino Dicember #14: Triassic Attack (2010)”

12 Days Of Dino Dicember #13: The Velocipastor (2018)

After teasing it in mentions before, it’s time to properly sit down and confess your sins to The Velocipastor. After all, “he’s a man of claw”, as boasted by the tagline poster.

This sounds like they came up with the title first and made the movie based on that, but it doesn’t even matter anyone, this isn’t even a valid joke anymore to make at these movies, i’m aware of that.

We’re past that, and so were already when The Velocipastor released through the power of internet curiosity for the new “bad movie of the week” sensation able to make people talk about it by the virtue of the title and a trailer that encapsulated the modern breed of poverty produced movies that wanted to be so bad it’s good because they knew an actual audience for it existed, and online film buffs willing to “surprise” themselves upon discovering the next worst thing ever to actually exist.

This isn’t a dig at the movie itself, it’s just that this modern strain of shit movies filmed with no budgets are made by and for audiences that are in on the joke, or actively search for them, so it’s a completely different situation from when people made crap like Video Violence in their backyards, slapped it on a VHS store shelf in America during the mid 80s, and nobody at large talked about them until decades later, because almost nobody knew these kind of films even existed.

Continua a leggere “12 Days Of Dino Dicember #13: The Velocipastor (2018)”

Krampus Origins (2018) [REVIEW] | WW Krampus

I guess i really should review a Krampus movie that’s actually about the Krampus creature this year, and i’m fairly sure i didn’t watch this already under a different title, so it’ll do…fine, i hope.

During World War I, a group of American soldiers storm a German bunker, finding there a mysterious book that can summon the ancient evil of the Christmas Devil, the Krampus.

The men are killed in action, and the book is sent to the commanding officer’s widow, whom has just taken up the role of teacher at a Catholic orphanage. One of the orphans there gets a hold of the book and accidentally summons the Krampus, forcing them, the teacher, nuns and priest to face it.

Continua a leggere “Krampus Origins (2018) [REVIEW] | WW Krampus”

Dead Island Riptide (Definitive Edition) PS4 [REVIEW] | #deadislandretrospective

Aka the “actual” Dead Island 2, as time would eventually tell.

Technically not, but actually yes, since it’s developed by Techland and in terms of story it’s a direct sequel, following up immediatly (after a brief recap) where we left off that unremarkable (to be kind) narrative, which means the group of survivors gets aid by an american Navy ship but it’s immediatly captured by one of the side villains from the previous game, Serpo (guess Betraldo didn’t have the same ring to it), intenting of using their immune blood to concoct a cure and a weaponized bio weapon, or something. Doesn’t matter much, as you shipwreck into a nearby island in the archipelago, where the zombie epidemic has also spread after the incident in Banoi, and learn that they plan to nuke the entire island in order to contain the zombie plague.

Yeah, the story it’s about as crappy and easy to completely not give a shit about, with the obvious twists seen coming miles and miles away, but i’d argue it’s actually, objectively worse since there is barely a plot in Riptide, like, at all, aside from the beginning and ending, where a side character in the first game becomes the main antagonist… barely, so you can say this game does recycle too much from the first, even in this regard.

Continua a leggere “Dead Island Riptide (Definitive Edition) PS4 [REVIEW] | #deadislandretrospective”

[EXPRESSO] Violent Night (2022) | Santa Hard

Tommy Wirkola is back after last year’s The Trip (available on Netflix) to the snow tinted realm of horror…. but not quite.

This time around he cooked up a christmas black comedy that has been described as “Die Hard but with Santa Claus instead of John McClain”… because it’s pretty much that, set in a rich family’s villa where a group of terrorists (with the leader played by John Leguizamo) lies in wait to get their hands on a big chunk of million money.

It just happens that by accident the real, factual Santa Claus finds himself in that very house when shit goes down, and decides to fight them to save the family, especially as the younger child earnestly believes in him, by way of some magic, a warhammer and a lot of gruesome violence.

Yeah, it isn’t strictly a horror movie, it’s definitely heavy on action and comedy as you would expect from this deliberate pastiche of Die Hard and christmas movie, but again, it’s a Tommy Wirkola film, so it doesn’t really matter that this isn’t a new installment of Dead Snow or a christmas slasher, because we also get to see Santa pile up a more than respectable bodycount, using everything from ornaments to shovel to woodchippers and even a warhammer (tied to his backstory/lore here)

Heck, for good measure there is a straight up Home Alone “trap scene” and even that provides a lot of gore effects played for laughs that will still make you go “OW”.

There’s also the “Bad Santa” angle to the main character, but not quite, since he IS real here, and otherwise the surprisingly decent emotional moments would lose any kind of weight.

Violent Night it’s a pastiche of familiar elements indeed, but it’s a bloody fun holiday romp, too.

[EXPRESSO] Bones And All (2022) | Suspicious Minds

After his controversial but quite good remake of Suspira in 2018, Luca Guadagnino returns to the big screen with the coming of age horror road movie Bones And All.

An interesting proposition to be sure, sure as hell i’m not gonna turn down any chance to see a cannibal coming of age romance on the big screen by a big name director.

Set in 1980s Middle America, the movie it’s about teen Maren Yearly ( Taylor Russell) as she has to flee with her father from Virginia, after she bites off one of her classmate’s finger in a cannibalistic pulse, settling somewhere else then getting abandoned by her father as he doesn’t know what to with her anymore, only leaving a recording in case she wants to confront her mother.

On her voyage she also meets another young cannibal, Lee (Timothee Chalamet), and as they travel their way through small American towns they begin to fall in love.

The cast it’s great, the idea it’s sound, not that original, but still, promising, the blending of horror and romance works pretty well, and the period soundtrack it’s excellent.

BUT it’s also very uneven, as Guadagnino wants it to be set into a specific American period and mood, but it also feels more european in terms of how the themes of sexual liberation are tackled, so it never fully comes together in this regard.

There are still some noteworthy sequences, but the romance isn’t that great, the characters not that interesting, and – again – it’s pretty uneven, not helped by some really gratituous scenes (like the “pre-kill cornfield gay masturbation” one ).

Bones And All it’s not bad, but for all its pretension and ambition, it amounts to just being decent and kinda disappointing, since Guadagnino can and has done better.