Friday, August 31, 2007
Halloween (Rob Zombie, 2007)
After only three feature films, Rob Zombie has established himself as a unique visionary auteur. "White trash" characters, clown iconography, harsh language, and graphic violence populate his films which are capable of brilliant moments of insanity and originality, yet not without their share of flaws. The biggest complaint I had with the reimagining of Halloween was the acting. Let's face it Rob, you're wife can't act, and not much can be said for the rest of the cast, aside from Malcolm Mcdowell, the silently ominous Tyler Mane as Michael Meyers, and perhaps the child actors. The 45 minute preamble following the killer as a child and explaining the origins of Michael Meyer's insanity was hit and miss with me. I felt it could have been shortened and I was really turned off by the sequence where "Love Hurts" plays in the background. In fact most of the classic rock inclusions didn't work for me. I was however happy to see the inclusions of the original Dracula and Frankenstein films in the background of several scenes. Overall though I think the exposition serves as the most important element in making Zombie's Halloween an improvement on Carpenter's 1978 film. Zombie molds Michael Meyer's into a three dimensional character rather than a faceless inhuman psycho. Meyer's escape from the asylum and ensuing massacre during the second half however is the most entertaining part of the film. The chaotic killing spree is intense and despite the generic contrivances that comes along as baggage with any type of genre film no matter who is directing, Zombie still manages to sneak in a few unexpected moments of brilliance especially within the last 30 minutes. At times it even seems as if Zombie is mocking genre conventions by using them in part, but then spitting in their face.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Sunshine (Danny Boyle, 2007)
I usually avoid science fiction films. With the exceptions of Solaris, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Alien and maybe a hand full of others, the genre tends to feel cold and stale. Boyle's film Sunshine is a refreshing take on the sci-fi genre without reinventing the wheel. Let's not kid ourselves, scientifically a lot of the physics don't add up, the overall structure of the film is pretty predictable, and several scenes wreak of over dramatics, however Boyle still manages to put his own unique spin on it all by straying from the mundane, corny nature of the genre. There are remnants of the sci-fi classics mentioned above sprinkled throughout and maybe even a little bit of Apocalypse Now in there, but like all great artists inspired by others before them, Boyle molds the film into his own hybrid creation. The orgasmic visuals accompanied by the musical score of John Murphy and Underworld is a glorious combination, not to mention the relentless script courtesy of Alex Garland(The Beach, 28 Days Later). There is an ominous mood throughout as space and the sun itself interact with the characters creating feelings of tension and even isolation. In my opinion Sunshine is easily Boyle's second best effort behind Trainspotting.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Superbad (Greg Mottola, 2007)
Superbad isn't just another run-of-the mill perverse teen comedy movie. The dialog is the film's bread and butter as Michael Cera and Jonah Hill play off each other so well and each offer their own comedy styles as well as great comic timing. Much like Knocked Up the conversations and reactions seems natural throughout. The characters and situations are genuine aside from the ridiculously irresponsible cops who provide enough comic relief for it to be forgivable. Most importantly though the film was absolutely hysterical and kept me laughing throughout. Although the major goal of the film is to entertain and keep the audience laughing, the writers still managed to slip in a somewhat sweet yet awkward story of two best friends and their last remaining days of youth together. Also noteworthy is the soundtrack full of 70s tunes. I also enjoyed seeing a character named Officer Slater.
favorite scene (references to Tienanmen Square and Dr. Strangelove):
The Wind That Shakes the Barley (Ken, Loach, 2006)
A powerful and well executed politically heated film worthy of the Palm D'or at Cannes. The Wind That Shakes the Barley follows two brothers during the anti-British rebellion in 1920s Ireland; reminiscent of Rossellini's neorealist trilogy (Paisan, Rome, Open City, and Germany Year Zero).