Monday, October 23, 2006

Movie Mon. - But I Like the Cookie!

Salvage: Low budget horror film about a girl who keeps having dreams about a psycho killer coming after her and her friends. When PigPen read the description on the Netflix sleeve, he asked "So, is this supposed to be like Nightmare on Elm Street?" I wish. Instead, we have a never-ending torrent of dream sequences which have absolutely no consequence whatsoever for the bulk of the film. Towards the end I started to suspect that this was going to turn out to be a twisty film in the vein of November, but the actual twist took me by surprise, which gives this enough bonus points to not count as a total waste of my time . . . but it's close.

The Omen 666: Remake of the 1976 horror classic with Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles taking over the Gregory Peck and Lee Remick roles as the unsuspecting parents of the young Antichrist. Not a bad movie, and from what I can recall it was pretty faithful to the original. That being said, I think if you really want to see this story unfold, you're better off just renting the original, which was less glossy and thus a tad creepier than this one.

The Break-Up: Comedy featuring Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Anniston as a couple whose relationship disintegrates but who remain living together. Let me start by saying that I had very little desire to see this one; a little of Vince Vaughn goes a long way, Jennifer Anniston annoys me more often than not, and the idea of watching them bicker for nearly two hours just left me cold. But, after hearing such wildly differing opinions of it (almost every guy I know who saw it loved it, and almost every girl I know who saw it hated it), I was curious enough to give it a try. The verdict? Eh. Had some funny moments, and not nearly as painful as I had feared, but I had little to no empathy for either of the wholly self-absorbed main characters, which made it hard to care what happened to them one way or the other. I think that the film did do a good job of illustrating the point that one of the biggest problems in relationships is that too often people dance around what they want to say and play games with each other instead of communicating effectively; however, I don't necessarily want to spend my time watching this couple self-destruct, especially when the self-destruction wasn't all that funny.

Metropolitan: Early 90s Indie about a clique of upper-class New Yorkers which begins to splinter in the midst of the winter debutante ball season. I had seen this one many, many moons ago (read: before Netflix), but after watching the special features on Kicking AND Screaming and hearing the director talk about how this was one of the reasons he wanted Chris Eigeman for that film, I decided it was worth another viewing. Very talky film, with lots of banter and pseudo-philosophical discussions and Oscar Wilde style comments from Eigeman, but very little in the way of actual plot; even the romantic sub-plot feels more tacked on than anything. This is a dialogue-driven film, which I enjoyed, but it's definitely not for everyone.

The Feast: Bloody, disgusting, and very funny horror film about the patrons of a desert bar being picked off by a family of mysterious monsters; probably the best horror flick I've seen since Slither. This was the winner of the third season of Project Greenlight, and was thus made on a shoe-string budget, but it definitely doesn't show; the FX are almost all practical rather than CGI, and are done exceedingly well. The movie also boasts a talented cast including Navi Rawat (Theresa on The O.C. and Amita on Numbers), Eric Dane (Madrox in X3 and McSteamy on Grey's Anatomy), and Henry "His-friends-call-him-Hank"* Rollins ('cause I'm a Liar, a Liar! Liar, Liar, Liar, Liar!). So, what did I like about this one? Pretty much everything. Some critics blasted it for its shaky camera work, but that didn't bother me; others have blasted its "clichéd" plot, but the whole point of the film was that it took a cliché and did unexpected things with it (such as Honey Pie's fate); still others hated the way the characters were introduced, but I thought that the decision to only give the characters generic descriptive names (Hero, Beer Guy, Harley Mom) and rate their survival prospects (Name: Bozo. Job: Unemployed. Occupation: Town Jackass. Life Expectancy: Dead by Dawn.) was ingenious, especially once you realized that the life expectancies weren't necessarily accurate. Not for the squeamish at all (there was even one thing that grossed me out), but horror aficionados of the splatterpunk variety should definitely give this one a shot; this is my Halloweeny pick-of-the-week.

Over the Hedge: Great animated film based on the comic strip about a group of woodland creatures adapting to life next to the suburbs. Stellar vocal cast, especially Steve Carrel as the ADHD squirrel Hammy, who is responsible for what is now an oft-quoted line by PigPen and myself:

It's much funnier in context, but it's all about the delivery. Best animated film I've seen in quite a while; I probably laughed at loud at this one more often than I have at most comedies I've seen in recent months. Highly recommend this one; it's my family-friendly pick-of-the-week.

*Inside joke alert