Alien invasions can be thwarted by the simplest of things: infect them with the common cold (War of the Worlds); freeze them (The Blob); incinerate them with flame throwers (the universal cure as practised in Them!); splash them with water (Signs); In Grabbers, it’s alcohol that proves to be their undoing. The titular ‘grabbers’ are aquatic monsters that feed on blood, and are horribly allergic to booze. So when they crash land in the Irish sea and start preying on the inhabitants of Erin Island, there’s only one logical thing for the locals to do: organize a lock-in at the local bar and get drunk.
And that is why Grabbers is better than you. Continue reading
Frances Ha does what Sex and the City and Girls can’t do: make a story about a young woman making her way through upper class New York City while in her twenties be compelling and far from worthy of you rolling your eyes.
That’s pretty damn amazing.
And then they meet Frances, a character fully realized in her weirdness and selfishness and shamelessness by Greta Gerwig, and the film itself, co-written by Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, which is as sharp and meticulous as anything Baumbach has ever made, but infinitely more optimistic and generous too.
That’s even more pretty damn amazing. Continue reading
As soon as the opening title sequence of Terror Tract starts you feel like you are watching a campy 80′s horror movie. The score featuring generic female screams over melodramatic horns starts from the opening image until we see a quintessential American suburb complete with a young mom walking around in ugly jeans. But Terror Tract is not an 80′s movie, it was released in 2000, the same year as Final Destination and Scream 3.
It’s a good thing Terror Tract starts off tongue-in-cheek with a hilarious early bird gets the worm/early cat get the bird/early dog gets the cats/early car gets the dog segment. One wouldn’t want to mistake the film as being a serious attempt at anthology horror, would they? Continue reading
When an American director (John Landis) uses a bunch of well-known English actors (Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis) to tell a Scottish tale centered on two Irish immigrants, you might expect some inconsistencies of tone and accent, and you get them in Burke & Hare. But those who care less about such stuff than about being entertained will find plenty to like in this dark comedy, a take on one of the most notorious mass-murder cases of the 19th century. Continue reading
“Why come up with your own original idea when you can remake something?”
Numerous, voluminous times, that’s been asked by movie fans all over the world whenever they look at the newswire and other film news aggregators. It’s starting to be a near daily event: which movie’s gonna get remade this year?
From a business aspect, I can understand why movies are remade: you’ve already got a source material, all that’s needed is a cheap director to put his “artistic vision” on the project, throw out a few sheckles for the budget, do minor bits of marketing as there’s already a built in audience/fan base and you’re good to go. If it’s a good movie, you can say that it’s a re-imagining. Did the movie tank or is it within 10 years of the movie being out? Call it a reboot and you’re good.
Except, then that means the audience has to suffer. Continue reading
Vampire movies are usually a love or hate impacting experience for me. Asian vampire movies are even more so. On one hand, you have to appreciate that they don’t always prescribe to Western cliches in their cultural differences. This tends to make things a bit refreshing and unexpected providing a pretty good viewing experience. On the other, Asian horror films can be very silly, and high on the cheesy dialog train. There often is this almost “too” frequent need to overact especially when involving young teens.
That’s a problem for Higanjima: Escape From Vampire Island, though, to be honest, excess in general is a problem for the movie. Continue reading
I think we can all agree that the famous “Here’s Johnny” moment in The Shining refers to talk-show host Johnny Carson’s nightly introduction. But based on the evidence in Room 237, that may be the only thing we can agree about when it comes to Stanley Kubrick’s classic horror film.
Room 237, named for a frightening room in the hotel where the film is set, is a documentary about The Shining that is really a documentary about obsession.
And it’s great. Continue reading
Fans of the popular crime thrillers written by the late Donald E. Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark know that the fictional character called Parker is a professional thief with excellent work habits. He’s precise and efficient. He also has a strict moral code: He’s a cool killer, for instance, but he doesn’t steal from the poor. There’s your ethics for you. On the assumption, however, that not everyone who goes to see Jason Statham in Parker is a reader of Stark, the protagonist in this grinding, business-like thing is made to say things more or less like “I’m a cool killer, but I don’t steal from the poor.” Usually, he states his case before beating a guy senseless, or knifing him, or (a Parker favorite) shooting him. True to his code, when he’s feeling generous, he only shoots to wound.
It’s a good thing that he’s such a unique character like that. Otherwise he’d be utterly generic. In an otherwise utterly generic movie.
Oh, wait. Continue reading
Of all the paradoxes time-travel stories offer, the most vexing may be that they’re awfully predictable in their unpredictability. As soon as the audience figures out that Nacho Vigalondo’s Timecrimes is going to be about a man revisiting moments we’ve just witnessed, the natural response is to start scanning the frame, trying to figure out which details are significant. And in a movie as tautly constructed as this one, the answer is clear: Everything is significant. Which makes the ways in which everything connects all too easy to figure out. Continue reading
Nostalgia can be a bitter drink.
When he was 17 years old, Gary King was The King of his set of mates in Newton Haven, leading them on an unsuccessful attempt to hit all twelve pubs in a one-night crawl as adulthood arrived. The King’s friends grew up and moved on, but it’s been all downhill since for Gary. Twenty years later, he shows up in his friends’ lives out of the blue to re-enact that last act of defiant youth, and somehow convinces them do to it. But the town of Newton Haven has changed a lot since they left — and it’s not just their famous organic farming, either. Will the
Five Three Actually Well, Four Musketeers make it to the twelfth pub known as the World’s End — and will that actually be the end of the world?
Last week, I gave a quick blurb (super duper quick) about The World’s End. That is not the review that it deserves whatsoever. Hit the jump to read what hopefully is. Continue reading