Monday, November 14, 2005

Movie Mon - Return of the Zed-words

Four reviews today: a remake, a sequel, and two indies.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: I'd heard mixed reviews about this remake, so I approached it cautiously; have to say that in the end, I liked it. Johnny Depp was, as usual, da man; I love the fact that he's finally getting lots of recognition from the general public, but still continues to go after these oddball parts. Was happy to see Missi Pyle, one of my favorite comedic actresses, pop up as Violet's mom; was only sorry she didn't have a whole lot to do. Lots of pretty creepy little moments here, which I appreciated, and I could definitely see the Veruca Salt sequence giving some little kids squirrel-fear. I guess my biggest complaint was the Oompa Loompa songs; the lyrics were great, but most of the tunes just didn't do it for me; I had to turn the subtitles on during the Violet song, the words were so muddled. Outside of Johnny Depp's bizarre performance, think my favorite moment was during the Mike Teevee sequence, with the 2001 references.

Grey Knight: Horror movie set during the Civil War about a group of zombiefied soldiers (yes, I thought of saying "zed-word-fied," but it just sounded weird). For such a low budget film, it's got an interesting cast: Corbin Bernsen, Adrian Pasdar, David Arquette, Matt LeBlanc, Martin Sheen, Billy Bob Thornton, and, my favorite casting choice, A.J. "My So-Called Life's Rayanne" Langer as "Thomas, the drummer boy"; you know that's gotta be the highlight of her career, right? "Yes, I was on My So-Called Life, It's Like You Know, Three Sisters, Eyes, but none of them can compare to my 5 minutes of screen time as Corbin Bernsen's 12 year-old nephew in a cheapo horror film." Adrian Pasdar's narration made me feel like this was a very special and strange episode of Profit: kept expecting for the movie to end with him curled up in a cardboard box (and if you don't get that reference, run and rent Profit now).

Road Kill: Early film from director of Dead and Breakfast starring Erik Palladino and Jennifer Rubin, who is better known to Rebel Monkey and myself for her big screen debut as Turn, I mean Taryn, in Nightmare on Elm Street 3. Erik plays a film student on the verge of flunking out of school who tries to salvage his grade by shooting a documentary on new neighbor Turn, who happens to be a hitwoman. Pretty well-done indie; I particularly liked the hypochondriac roomie. And, I have to admit, Turn did a pretty good job here.

Land of the Dead: Romero returns to the subject that made him a household name; the zed-word. Conceptually, a very cool idea; in terms of execution, not that great. FX and zed-word acting were exceedingly well done, of course, and I liked the characters of Charley and Riley quite a bit; just about everything else was a little lacking. Plot-holes and logical flaws abound, and the acting . . . oh, goodness, the acting: I usually like John Leguizamo, but his character seemed forced this time around, part of which may have been a result of the difficulties mentioned in the commentary of trying to cut around his improvs to get takes to match; as for Dennis Hopper, well, he long ago become a caricature of himself, and continues in that fine, scenery-chewing tradition here. I think there's enough cool stuff here to justify a rental for a horror fan (just about everything centering around Big Daddy Zed-word and his right hand undead men and women is cool), but to be honest, it just can't compare to any of his first three Dead films.


tina said...

You know when I watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I just watched the bizarre umpa lumpa songs with eyes wide open and my mouth hanging open. What the hell?? It was weird but mezmorizing. Depp always consistant. Still can't get over Pirates of the Carribean. Yum. Anyway I couldn't understand a damn word that umpa lumpa was singing either. Love ya Todd!!
Let's get together for dinner when you come up for Christmas. Non negotiable! ; )