Thursday, April 10, 2008


Yet more movie mini-reviews from Facebook.

Cloverfield (***)
considerably better than I expected, has some exceptional cinematic moments - stars deducted for its lazy disappointing underdevelopment and the product placement

[Rec] (*****)
Spanish filmmaking has come a long long way since the days of the dictatorship when they'd dub Elvis Presley's singing - this is the kind of intense DIY horror film that Blair Witch promised but ultimately failed to deliver - the whole movie is brilliantly realised from start to finish (or at least until the producers blow it badly tacking on that moronic cheesy music for the closing credits)

Sisters (*)
remake of an old De Palma movie about a couple of separated twins; way too amateurishly directed to be taken seriously - completely lacks the sexual tension necessary for the story

Lars And The Real Girl (*****)
where Juno tries way too hard to be funny and moving, Lars And The Real Girl achieves its goal so much more effectively and poignantly through gentle understatement and the simplest of exposition - original and beautiful and memorable

I Am Legend (*)
last man alive is Will Smith - how unlucky is that? avoid this fx-driven nonsense

El Orfanato (*****)
a must-see - one of the best Spanish films ever made replete with multi-layered literary references - but in essence a dark frightening beautiful fairy tale that will evoke something deep inside; I don't agree with those that have criticised the sentimentality of the ending

27 Dresses (***)
a good romcom is a guilty pleasure

Juno (**)
annoying and charming in almost equal measure, this endearing story and Ellen Page's great performance are weighed down by thirtysomething scriptwriters trying way too hard to be clever and funny and kewl - and another star deducted for more tedious product placement of (bad) music and soft drinks

Eyes Wide Shut (*)
there is no chemistry in Eyes Wide Shut, and it's not necessarily Kidman's fault: Kubrick was an overrated director with that common Hollywood addiction to over-exposition and emotional vacuity


John McAndrew said...

Loved [Rec]. A friend who attended a nearby film festival gave rave reviews for The Edge of Heaven and The Unknwon Woman. Also, Caramel was supposed to be very enjoyable.

The last two film I saw were Awake and Pathology. AVOID Awake, it's of course a terrible film that was only made enjoyable for me by the cheesy end line of "I am... awake" being followed up by the loud snore of someone fast asleep - irony has never been funnier. No stars (maybe 1 star for the audience participation).

However, Pathology was surprising enjoyable. Admittedly a little predictable, but far better than some recent Hollywood horror thrillers. Decent direction, a wonderfully OTT performance from Michael Weston, and of course lots of blood, gore and sex (often all combined at once). Give it a try, you might be pleasantly amused. Two, maybe even three stars.

Anton Maiof said...

Was very nice to meet you finally Herr Bennett and I agree with you to an extent about The Orphanage (or The Elephant Kid as I shall call it until it becomes as funny to the rest of the planet as it does to me). I've noticed a trend in people's reactions to new European films whereby people have pretty much made up their mind if they'll like it before they've actually seen the damn thing and more often than not the nay-sayers are either folks who have no interest in the horror genre, or horror fans who have no interest in other facets of the world of cinema. The case with the orphanage was the fact that it was actually pretty fucking well made and its emotional content was something that actually lifted it well above similar and more recent ghost tales.

I've ranted on my blog before about the lack of emotionally engaging horror material and the new wave of "if it looks good and its violent it must be edgy" attitude some of the new American directors seem to have (that and a seemingly combined view that if you're "into" Fulci, you must be really fucking talented).

However, Eyes Wide Shut (though no Barry Lyndon) has some really amazing dreamlike qualities to it mostly helped by Ligeti and if you just look at it as though Tom Cruise is a robot programmed to just sigh and repeat the question he was just asked EVERY FUCKING TIME, it becomes much more enjoyable.

As an aside, I didn't get to ask you if you knew the WE ARE THE CRAZY GANG album by the Goblin (Simonetti, Morante, Martino) side project Crazy Gang?

Miss Kerry said...

I saw 'sisters' when younger.
ick factor 10. haunted for years.
eyes wide shut is shit, but the famous orgy into, is a nice shot. the whole rutting flesh scene next, killed it for me.
expected something better than whores and fat rich men with the usual lesbian addition. But thats about what those sort of people would choose.

But then again,
my ideas of what would have been ....are derivative of a totally different mindset.