Monday, September 08, 2008

Movie Mon. - Coffin Filled With Chaos

Wizard of Gore: Disappointing sub-par remake of the semi-classic cult film about a stage magician who hypnotized his audiences so they don't realize that the deadly deeds he does on stage are real. Long-time blog monkeys might vaguely recall how excited I was when I first heard about this film due to the director having cast The Creepiness Trifecta, a.k.a. Crispin Glover, Jeffrey Combs, and Brad Douriff, who turned out to play the killer magician, his geek (in the original "bite the heads off of live animals" definition of the word), and the shady dealer in alternative medicine who is somehow involved in all of the crazy business, respectively. However, Glover comes off more goofy than creepy; likewise Douriff is more of a thug, and Combs is so totally hidden in wig, fake beard, and makeup that I wasn't even sure until the end that it was him and not Glover in a double roll. Grnted, all three did a good job with what they were given, but sadly, what they were given wasn't all that much to go on. Add to this the fact that there's not a semi-likable character in the whole film (including nominal "hero" Kip Pardue) and a pretty incomprehensible and pointless plot, and you have a film that I could have gone without.

Automaton Transfusion:
So-so super-speed-zed-word flick focusing on a group of high school students who are on the run from a town filled with the ravenous un-dead. Annoying characters and shakey/jerky camera-work made this one a big turn off for me.

American Crime:
True life story that was more disturbing and horrifying to me than the previous two reviewed films put together; heck, it was more disturbing than just about any horror film I've seen, period. The movie tells thereal story of Sylvia Likens, a 16 year old (Ellen Page) who in 1965 was imprisoned and tortured by the unbalanced woman (Catherine Keener) who her parents were paying to look after her. And when I say "torture" I don't mean calling her names and making her go to bed without supper, although those did happen; no, I mean out and out physical abuse including brutal beatings and burning . . . and that was by far the least of it. The film is not overly graphic, leaving most of it to your imagination, but just the realization that this woman not only did such horrible things to this poor girl, but also recruited her children and their friends to join in . . . well, let's just say that the reminder that such evil really does exist in the world made for a compelling film, but one that, much like with Schindler's List I never really want to subject myself to again.

Next Avengers:
Animated film that tells the story of the children of The Avengers who have been in hiding for over a decade after their parents were slain by the evil Ultron, who is well on his way to taking over the world until the super-powered kids come out of hiding to avenger their folks. Pretty entertaining film which I enjoyed more than I have most of the recent Marvel straight-to-DVD animated fare -- particularly the previous two Avengers films -- but what really got me excited was the behind the scenes looks at the upcoming DVDs of Hulk vs. Wolverine, which will also feature the animated debut of Deadpool, and Hulk vs. Thor, which is actually more like 'Hulk vs. All of Asgard" Looking forward to both of those.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day:
Enjoyable comedy about a down-on-her-luck nanny (Frances McDormand) in pre-WWII England who bluffs her way into a job as the social secretary of the flighty would-be starlet Delysia Lafosse (the always awesome Amy Adams) who is busy juggling three different men in her attempts to make it on the London stage. A fairly predictable film to be sure, with a very obvious and traditional three-act structure, but neither of those are really detrimental to the enjoyment of the film, as they act to conjure up the spirit of an eariler time which the film strives to capture. Plus, while its plot may be predictable, its still a fun ride getting to the end. Plus, did I mention that Amy Adams is always awesome? She is, y'know.

Rock and Roll High School:
Over-the-top but nonetheless entertaining anarchic 1979 film about the power struggle between a domineering new principal at Vince Lombardi High and the rock and roll loving student body, a struggle that takes place largely to the musical stylings of The Ramones. Sort of wish I'd saved this one for an Odd Squodd movie night; the odd-ball humor of this one fits right in with our sensiblities. Have been really wanting to buy some Ramones music ever since I finished this one.

Gremlins 2:
Sequel to one of my favorite movies as a kid. Despite having a ton of cool varaitions on the Gremlin design, this vastly different take on the misadventures of Gizmo and his malevolent off-spring didn't really rate high on my list back when I first saw it due to its more tongue-in-cheeck, satirical tone, but coming back to it as an adult I could much better appreciate what director Joe Dante was going for, and enjoyed it much more. Plus, that scene with Kate's speech about her hatred of Lincoln's Birthday which blatantly rips on her speech about her hatred of Christmas -- a.k.a. my least favorite scene in the original -- cracks me up just as much now as it did the first time I saw it. Saddened that it's not available on YouTube.

Son of Rambow:
Another "Should have been an Odd Squodd selection" film, this quirky British comedy tells the story of two outcasts boys -- one the school troublemaker and the other a quiet boy from an overly protective religion -- who are inspired by the new smash hit film First Blood to make their own film about Rambo's son. Loved this movie, highly recommended to one and all.

In the Land of Women: Serio-comic film about a heart-broken young writer of soft-core porno* who escapes from L.A. to take care of his ailing (and possibly crazy) grandmother and becomes involved with his new neighbors, a stay at home mom freshly diagnosed with breast cancer, and her rebellious daughter. Li'l Random and I watched this one together, and subsequently whenever I think of Olympia Dukakis' role I will forever remember how Li'l Bro compared her to the hissing possum he had to expell from his garage a while back; every time she's pop up on screen he'd do his possum impression, and I, of course, would die laughing. So, kind of hard to give this one an objective review, seeing how tied in it is to my Odd Squodd viewing experience; still, overall think it was a pretty good flick.

One of the prototypical Spaghetti Westerns -- recently sorta-remade by Takashi Miike as Sukiyaki Western: Django -- this film centers around the steely-eye anti-hero Django, a man in torn up Army gear who drags around a muddy casket** on his quest to find revenge on the racist Major Jackson who was responsible for killing the only woman Django ever loved. Think I safely say that most people agree this is the best Spaghetti Western made by someone not named Sergio Leone and scored by someone not named Ennio Morricone. High praise, there, right? Seriously, though, an interesting and fairly well-made example of the birth of a sub-genre.

*Yeah, that tidbit somehow never made it into any of the press for the film, did it?
**Or as the florid prose of the Netflix synopsis described it, " a coffin filled with chaos"


Flunky lover said...

A movie is being made based on the popular Shopaholic chick lit series. I was dubious about how they were going to pull it off until I saw that Amy Adams would be the lead character. She will be perfect for this roll.

Never mind. I just looked it up and it's not Amy Adams, it's Isla Fisher. They made a mistake there.

I would have deleted this boring comment but it's a comment and beggars can't be choosers.

Cap'n Neurotic said...

True enough; these days any comment is a welcome comment.

Although I do like Isla Fisher, and I have absolutely no clue what the Shopaholic series is about (shocking I know), I will agree on general principle alone that not casting Amy Adams is a mistake.