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Member's Reviews

The Omen II: Damien, a review by Jon

The Omen II: Damien
3 out of 5

The chilling tale of Damien, the son of Satan whose birth was prophesised in the Book of Revelations, began with The Omen, and continues in this second compelling installment of The Omen Trilogy. Seven years have passed since Damien narrowly escaped death at the hands of his own father. Now he is 13 years old and lives with his uncle Richard Thorn (William Holden), his aunt Ann (Lee Grant) and cousin Mark. As Damien discovers his powers and how to use them, powerful protectors, the disciples of evil, watch over the boy. His uncle gradually comes to suspect that the boy is not as innocent as he appears, while his aunt steadfastly refuses to believe the warnings and protects Damien as if he were her own. But others are aware of Damien’s true nature. Time is growing short... as the forces of good and evil battle each other to a taut and terrifying end, will Damien be destroyed by one of the many who try, or will he survive and flourish as the embodiment of evil on earth?

The sequel to The Omen is what Aliens is to Alien, except there was a limit to where they could really go with it. The original was quite serious and menacing, but with an occasional wink as it played fast and loose with the Old Testament. Damien builds on that by fully recognising the limits and embracing the inherent silliness and ramping up. It still has a pretty solid plot too, as the paths are being cleared for the Anti-Christ to step into a key position in society.

It’s great fun. And I’ve always enjoyed the political and religious intrigue, so if you’re like me, you’ll get a kick out of seeing the apostles neatly placed to realise Damien’s potential. I love the start of the film, with the powerful theme and doomed Leo McKern driving like the devil was on his back. There are many varied and exuberant deaths that, while they lack gore, are still Friday night horror scenes worth cheering. Especially the lift scene! They aren’t as neat or scary as the ones in The Omen, but this film keeps the serious mood and so becomes an enjoyable romp.

Jonathan Scott-Taylor is very good as the young Damien. The original boy was great casting as he was a cherub faced toddler, but with an occasional expression to send a shiver down your spine. Jonathan is similar. He plays Damien as honest and hard-working, if spoilt and precocious, with a precise speech that betrays his arrogance. He has no idea of his destiny and once he finds out, he continues to convince, now he is in turmoil. A Michael Corleone sort of arc, if you will. Lance Henrikson is fairly underused, but particularly impressive as Damien’s platoon leader in military school, but is also one of the apostles. He strikes a balance between clearly being in awe of Damien, yet disciplining him too. William Holden brings a bit of old Hollywood style to Damien’s Uncle, suffering the same torture as Gregory Peck in the first movie, determined to ignore the evidence while the bodies pile up.

In retrospect, it would have been nice to have more substantial resistance. A suggestion that there are those on the opposite side being just as organised in thwarting the boys rise to power, rather than these poor buggers who are dealt with as soon as they realise anything. But even if you do see it as relentless and obvious, it’s still one of the best horror sequels, all things considered.

(From Jon's Alphabet Marathon 2010 on July 10th, 2010)

Member's Reviews

Cool Hand Luke, a review by GSyren

TitleCool Hand Luke
DirectorStuart Rosenberg
StarsPaul Newman, George Kennedy, J. D. Cannon, Lou Antonio, Robert Drivas
OverviewHis crime: nonconformity. His sentence: the chain gang. Paul Newman plays one of his best-loved roles as Cool Hand Luke, the loner who won't – or can't – bend to the arbitrary rules of his captivity. A cast of fine character actors, including George Kennedy in his Oscar®-winning** role of Dragline and the indelible Jo Van Fleet as Luke's mother, give Newman solid support. And Strother Martin is the Captain who taunts Luke with the now-legendary line, "What we've got here is...failure to communicate." No failure here. With rich humour and vibrant storytelling power, Cool Hand Luke succeeds resoundingly.

**1967: Best Supporting Actor.
My thoughtsThis is an excellent film. It has a great script. It has lots of excellent actors, many of whom has gone on to become famous later. So why did this film leave me indifferent? I really don't know. Maybe it was the downbeat ending. But I have seen many film noir with downbeat endings and liked them, so that doesn't make any sense. Maybe it was because I couldn't relate to the main character? Maybe it was just that I was in the wrong mode? I just don't know.

Maybe the famous quote "What we have here is failure to communicate" applies to me? This should really be a 4 star film, but for me it was just a weak 3 stars. But don't let that put you off. By all accounts, this is an excellent film.

(From Reviews and ramblings by Gunnar on April 2nd, 2013)

Member's TV Reviews

My PILOT Marathon, a review by Rich


In the series premiere, Dr. Temperance Brennan (or "Bones" as she is often referred to as), a forensic anthropologist, is met with the task of uncovering the identity of a set of bones which have been deliberately hidden in a lake. However, after identifying the bones, imprisoning the murderer turns out to be a politically sticky business. Bones gets help from FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth, who convinces his boss to let Bones be his partner, since she's an expert in her field.

I viewed this with high expectations having read a lot about the author. Sadly this is definetely not one of the best pilots I've ever seen, I didn't expect to see the main lead punching half the cast and being so 'angry'. I have been informed though this does not continue into the series. The episode was predictable and less dramatic than I anticipated, albeit the ending was good.
Acting was slightly stiff and David Boreanaz's quips didn't work for me, on initial assessment I would classify him/his character as a weakness.
However, despite the overall disappointment, and bearing in mind it was only the pilot episode, I will give the series a chance and watch a few more episodes in the future.

(From My PILOT Marathon on May 16th, 2008)