Thursday, October 07, 2010

Don't Take My Soul to Take

Screened Wes Craven's latest movie last night. Needless to say, it didn't leave me with high hopes for Scream 4. While it has an interesting premise, the execution is bland and cliched (the token black guy is blind - couldn't you have made him a gay paraplegic too, Wes?). It also features the most inept cops in movie history, who let a supposedly dead killer escape and kill more victims not once but twice!
The acting ranges from merely adequate to downright awful (the actress playing the mother in the prologue sounds like she's reading cue cards). The "scares" are predictable and the film has no style. Even the 3D is nothing special. It has a few laughable "twists" (the school bitch is the hero's sister?! Didn't see that one coming!) that just about kept me falling asleep. I hate to say it, but maybe it's time for Wes to retire.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Hammer Horror is back!

Spent my birthday watching Let Me In (the original Sweedish movie was called “Let the Right One In”) and it actually turned out to be one of the few remakes that works. The filmmakers have taken what was good about the original and Americanised it without making it too Hollywood and losing the poetic beauty of the friendship between a boy and a vampire trapped in a young girl’s body. Matt Reeves shows that, after this and the very different Cloverfield, he is a genre director to watch. The film is beautifully shot and the cast, especially Chloe Mortez as Abby and Richard Jenkins as her “father” is exceptional. There are problems - the CG during the vampire attacks is fake-looking, and the almost complete elimination of the castration subplot will anger purists. But overall this is a classic character driven horror film. The relaunched Hammer Films couldn’t have asked for a better first theatrical release. It's just a shame that movies like this struggle to find an audience, while audiences flock to crap like Twilight.

The Owls are not what they seem . . .

Forgot to review Legend of Guardians after I screened it at work the other week. It is a beautiful looking movie, which is to be expected from the director of 300 and Watchmen. The plot is very familiar, drawing from influences such as Lord of the Rings, The Secret of NIMH and Star Wars (characters intone “Use your gizzard” instead of “Use the Force”). The biggest surprise about the movie is that it isn’t softened for kids. There is some pretty major owl on owl violence, especially in the last act. Along with superb 3D and a talented voice cast it makes for an enjoyable, if not very original, adventure.