[EXPRESSO] Diabolik 2: Ginko Attacks! (2022) | Color Cinecomic Photoplay

After the Diabolik revival movie of 2021 was surprisingly succesfull, we now have the sequel, Ginko Attacks, with inspector Ginko pressing its dogged hunt for master criminal Diabolik, managing to find its hidden lair, and eventually collaborating with a betrayed Eva Kant.

Though Diabolik himself was recast, here being played by Giacomo Gianniotti instead of Luca Marinelli from the 2019 movie.

As of why, Gianniotti does look almost identical to Diabolik as depicted in the original comics, but it’s a bad trade-off as Marinelli was by FAR a better actor, and a better Diabolik.

He doesn’t even feel like the same character either, but then again almost no character in Ginko Attacks has a semblance of personality, just existing as barren narrative gears.

Cumbersome pacing (for a 2 hours and 20 minutes movie) doesn’t help, nor does having Monica Bellucci in the cast.

Dialogues are pretty awful too, and tipify the whole problem with the movie, as it feels excessively faithful to the source material, making one wonder if they lifted the text verbatim from the comics, without ever considering how (or if) they would work in an actual film, or to actually update the literal decades old material for modern cinema standards.

So it’s no wonder the plot it’s also bad, utterly predictable from the get go regardless, with the twists/reveals actually making thing worse, because the entire narrative relies on almost every “character” being way too fuckin stupid to predict what the audience did hours ago.

Though it’s hard to get angry because it’s such an alienating, empty experience, with some style backed…by absolutely zero substance, and it’s very disappointing since the first movie was flawed, yes, but also WAY better.

So i’m not exactly looking forward to the third one already in the works.

Awful. Disappointingly awful.

[EXPRESSO] Dampyr (2022) | Bonelli: The Masquerade

While i made clear i was very familiar with Dylan Dog’s source material in the review of Dylan Dog Dead Of Night, i can say quite the opposite for this new adaptation of an italian comic book series distribuited by Bonelli Editore, Dampyr, debutting at this year’s Lucca Comics & Games with renewed aspirations of a Bonelli MCU-thing.

So if you were looking for an in-depth review from a fan of the series, i’m not the guy this time, even if the situation it’s convenient for the sake of a more unbiased piece.

Set in the war torn Balkans during the early 1990s, Dampyr it’s about Harlan, a guy that manages to survive by posing as a dhampir (a half-human half-vampire hybrid in slavic folklore) for superstitious small villages, but it ends up dragged into the war as a unit of soldiers is attacked by vampires and Halan is brought there to help as a last resort. Little does he know he IS an actual dhampir, and the horrible dreams he constantly has are hints to his actual origins…

The vampire lore isn’t anything amazing but ain’t totally copy and pasted either, it has some inventions of its own (you can tell this was based on a comic book, regardless), acting by the international cast it’s fairly decent, the war-torn Balkans are a nicely bleak setting, production values aren’t shabby at all, the movie it’s definitely more than just “presentable”.

Overall, Dampyr it’s a fun, quite decent film, fairly entertaining but not much more, especially with some very cliched turns the story takes and the ouvert sequelbaiting. And the slightly confusing fact that two important characters basically look almost identical, like gothic vampire armored Alan Rickmans (or italian singer Renato Zero, for the “homies”) despite being played by different actors.

The Spooktacular Eight #15: Once Bitten (1985)

While we wait for the third Sonic The Hedgehog film to remind us that Jim Carrey still works because why wouldn’t he say no to Sega asking him to redo his old shtick… well, let’s go back to one of his earlier film for this year’s entry in old horror comedies that time forgot.

I could have reviewed instead The Silence Of The Hams, but we did revisit Dracula Dead And Loving it last years, so Mel Brooks and Ezio Greggio get a pass this year.

I actually haven’t seen nor heard of this one before doing some research, so serendipity today brought us to shine a spotlight on Jim Carrey’s early carriers, and it’s hard to go back even further than Once Bitten in terms of feature films, since this movie marked Carrey’s first major role ever, playing the innocent and naive high school student Mark Kendall, seduced in a Hollywood’s nightclub by a sultry countress, whom happens to be a four centhuries old vampire.

Why him? Well, in order to keep her youthful appearance (and immortality), she has to drink blood from a male virgin man 3 times by Halloween each year, which starts to become a issue, since its the 80s and this centuries old vampire countress figured it was best to settle in frigging California to satisfy this specific need. HM.

Continua a leggere “The Spooktacular Eight #15: Once Bitten (1985)”

The Spooktacular Eight #14: Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night (2010)

As they announced via a trailer early this month, we’re gonna have Bonelli, an italian comic books publishing house, give another crack of turning one of their decades long running series into a live action film, with the movie adaptation of Dampyr, a horror comic book series created in 2000 by Mauro Boselli and Maurizio Colombo about the supernatural adventures of the protagonist, a hybrid between a human and a vampire (so, yes, a “dhampir”), set to release very soon in theathers here.

Not only that, this is supposed to kickstart the Bonelli Cinematic Universe, and while to many non-italians readers this sounds like a cheap joke i’m making up…. it ain’t, and from a more marketing-oriented view, it makes sense, as now the time is ripe to give it a shot as audiences are familiar and used to superhero stories and stuff alike.

Still, it sounds hilarious to me to see them still trying to go this route, as if Universal itself tried and managed to cock it up not once, but twice, and in general very few players can do the MCU thing.

So it’s worth bringing back that the precedents aren’t exactly high in terms of inspiring any confidence or actual committment to any long term plan, as we saw Sergio Bonelli’s publishing house try it more than a decade ago with the live action adaptation of a far more famous italian horror-supernatural comic book series that will ring a bell even outside of Italy.

Continua a leggere “The Spooktacular Eight #14: Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night (2010)”

The Spooktacular Eight #13: Eaters: Rise Of The Dead (2010)

You don’t want zombies that much.

Buf if italian zombie movies?

NOT the old ones you probably like, obviously.

Despite horror having mostly plauted as a prolific genre in terms of high profile releases here in Italy (and indie releases often being insanely obscure to find and often almost not worth bothering)…. somehow i still find here and then a low budget obscure italian-produced horror movie that managed to get itself released on DVD in the UK.

And if Arachnicide could do it, of course Eaters can too.

The subtitle to help cataloging can be stamped on the UK cover art for the DVD, why not?

Continua a leggere “The Spooktacular Eight #13: Eaters: Rise Of The Dead (2010)”

The Spooktacular Eight #10: Robo Vampire (1988)

Oh boy. THIS one.

Quite the legendary trash film from Godfrey Ho (credited as Thomas Tang, once again), one that definitely lives up to its status as one of the most bonkers heaps of garbage to ever come out of the 80s never ending cauldron of action-xploitation movies.

It’s definitely quite infamous and rightfully so, because even if you’re acquainted with Godfrey Ho, Joseph Lai, their companies like Filmark International and IFD Arts, this is still absolute hokum of majestic proportions, downright unbelievable and baffling.

I can’t even imagine how much cocaine did Ho and his unnamed writers snort up for this one in particular, because it makes their cut n paste ninja flicks look downright sensible and composed.

The main reason it’s because Ho (or Lai, or whoever supervised the scripts, hard to say when Ho is credited for many films he didn’t even direct) didn’t bother to say no to anything proposed, i refuse to believe anything got cut from the script since it’s all a non-sensical demented mish mash.

Continua a leggere “The Spooktacular Eight #10: Robo Vampire (1988)”

[EXPRESSO] Dante (2022) | Not Produced by EA Games

One of the advantage of being Italy-based is being able to easily see new movies from old italian directors that will never make the jump overseas, even on streaming, like this new romanticized retelling of the life of Dante Alighieri, released in theathers here in late September, simply called “Dante” and directed by Pupi Avati (famous for The House With The Laughing Windows, and also 2019’s Il Signor Diavolo).

Don’t ever say i don’t strive for variety, because i can assure you even here this is a niche release.

Regardless, it’s a period piece set in Reinassance Italy and fittingly follows Giovani Boccaccio’s ( the author of the Decameron and the first biographer of Dante, essential for cementing The Divine Comedy’s influence over time) efforts in redacting a piece about the life of the tuscanian poet, roughly 30 years after Dante’s death in 1321, coming in contact with people that were close to the poet and gathering new insight as he journeys to Ravenna in order to give Dante’s daughter monetary compensation on behalf of the city of Florence.

…it’s actually pretty good, as it goes for a realistic, grounded approach, does not shy away from the many unsavory aspects of the period or Dante’s life as a whole, be it the aftermath of the black plague, the political and religious intrigues in Florence leading to Dante fighting on the field and being exiled by the pope, the later years of extreme poverty, and not just quoting passages from his opus or his love for Beatrice.

All with a great italian cast, good costumes, some weird visuals, making for a good movie with a very niche target audience, even more since it’s definitely not an oversimplified digest of Dante Alighieri’s life and legacy made for audiences not versed in literature.

[EXPRESSO] Don’t Worry Darling (2022) | Sure It’s The 50s

Leaving aside the absurd controversy that surrounded the movie pre-release and pretty much – as it usually does- dominated the discussion instead of the movie itself, the trailer itself immediatly shot most of the interest i had in Don’t Worry Darling, because it basically gave away the whole thing.

It’s one of those trailers.

Then i went to see the movie in theathers… and yep, my fears were correct. Mostly.

I wasn’t expecting the specific kind of the twist the movie pulls, which i won’t comment on since it’s pretty spoilers and any direct comparison will give it away, but if you think you know where this movie it’s going from the trailer, you’re right.

The premise sees Alice live with her husband Jack, living in the experimental 50s community of Victory, an utopic gated paradise where the men go to work on “innovative material developments” and the wives tend to the house and prepare to welcome them back.

Obviously the facade starts to crack as Alice starts asking questions about’s Jack actual work, and notices some odd things that do not match their perfect lives…

It’s a shame the visuals are great, as there are some good ideas here, but the script it’s really flawed, like, even the actual reveal of the twist and its implications are undermined by how the writing it’s overreliant on pure narrative commodities (characters are mostly infodumps for the audience), some notable repetition, notable holes and “horror allucinatory sequences” that deliver some solid visuals but are also just.. kinda randomly there.

While flawed, Don’t Worry Darling it’s entertaining and pulled through by the performances (Florence Pugh alone carries the whole thing), the excellent cinematography and some remarkable directorial ambition, so overall i’d say it’s ok, i liked it more than i expected to, honestly.

[One Piece Film Retrospective] #5: The Cursed Holy Sword (2004)

When preparing to do this new One Piece films retrospective, there was one in particular i was dreading to cover again, that i istantly knew i wasn’t gonna like having to watch another time for review purposes. Yes, i didn’t particularly care for the first official One Piece movie, but i always had “beef” with The Cursed Holy Sword, even on a conceptual level it irked me greatly.

But i’m a man fond of redemption tale, and giving this movie a second chance after all was just professional courtesy as a critic, after all it’s a “re-view” in name, fact and spirit.

I will recognize that one could see this movie in particular as an attempt to offer something a bit different from before in terms of movie outings, i can’t fault that mindset, but i still feel like this was a previous script for another shonen series that was repurposed for another, more popular IP, regardless if was a good fit or not.

And yes, i would argue the fantasy-heavy storyline doesn’t really fit the world of One Piece much, usually the weird stuff it’s all due to some Devil Fruit ability or something that is treated akin to science, something that its grounded in its own reality, see the Skypiea arc treatment of the “gods in the sky” kerfuffle. Put another way, 99 % is just stuff that it’s explained in-universe sooner or later, i mean, it fits with the underlying “age of discovery” angle the pirate theme often brings.

Continua a leggere “[One Piece Film Retrospective] #5: The Cursed Holy Sword (2004)”

Horror Shark 3D AKA Blood Shark 3D (2020) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs

Shark attack movies are an appealing worldwide phenomen, so it’s not surprising even mainland China would eventually invest more and more in these, as they can serve a fairly new domestic cinema industry and are easy to export since the genre is pretty popular everywhere. Shark never get old for audiences, after all.

Obviously this isn’t the first chinese shark movie ever, or even the first one we featured here, but it’s China very first 3D big budget shark attack film. It has received a fairly easy to find DVD release on online marketplaces, but i watched it on Youtube, as it was uploaded in full on YOUKU’s Youtube Channel, with english subs available.

The plot of Horror Shark 3D (also known as Blood Shark 3D) concerns “a swimmer and a marine paradise trainer (trainer for what?) who accidentally fall into a huge conspiracy about blood sharks.”

At least this is the plot synopsis you’ll find around the web, but i’d say it’s badly translated and partially incorrect.

Continua a leggere “Horror Shark 3D AKA Blood Shark 3D (2020) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs”