Friday, 31 October 2008
HORROR WEEK: 7 non-horror characters that with a great leap of reailty-bending could be in a horror movie.
Look at the way she deals with the rude market stall guy. Resourceful, pain-causing and just a little bit sadistic. Amelie would make a proper final girl. You actually would want her to kill the crazy guy in the mask.
You know the anonymous other friend of the protagonist, who barely has a line and is either the second or third person to die. That's Donnie.
Thursday, 30 October 2008
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Monday, 27 October 2008
Some will say Cloverfield but that has nothing on the viral spin on the age old haunted house concept that is REC. It has subtitles, on account of it being Spanish. But it doesn't really matter what people say anyway in this movie. Its about quick, terrifying attacks and making you permanently tense for 90 minutes.
Sunday, 26 October 2008
Saturday, 25 October 2008
1) Patrick Bateman, American Psycho
Some performances just never leave you, and Bale's here is one. A complex, Chauvinist, Homophobic, arrogant monster. Bateman is essentially demonised masculinity at its worst. Saying American Psycho is a feminist statement may be a bit of a stretch, but the argument is there to be made.
2) John Doe, Se7en
With about 8 minutes of screen-time, Spacey creates what may well be the most chilling character ever committed to cinema. The genius move was to do religious mania so subtlely and thus creating one of the great multiple murderers cinema has to offer.
3) Norman Bates, Psycho
Not the oldest serial killer on the list, but pretty much the benchmark for all serial killers post 1960, which is an awful lot. Seeing the boy next door become the cross-dressing killer we all know and love is as scary now as it was then. There would be no Brian De Palma without this guy. Also Anthony Perkins is the bomb and deserved a better career.
4) Rev. Harry Powell, Night of the Hunter
One of the great unappreciated actors, Robert Mitchum excels in what to me is his finest role in this tremendously original and to this day frightening movie. A great movie for a great serial killer.
5) Charlie Meadows, Barton Fink
An unusual choice granted, but Meadows final scene is so astounding that he earns his place on this list. All those Roseanne fans will never look at John Goodman again in the same way, such is the ferocity and power of his performance here. Whilst most characters on this list do the feeble creep thing, Goodman goes the other way to memorable effect .
6) Billy Loomis and Stu Macher, Scream
Just for sheer insanity, these ultimately inept but nonetheless impactful killing duo make the cut. Ulrich's Billy is the better of the two, lending a maturity and chilling sheen to nicely counter-act Matthew Lillard's mugging nutjob.
7) The Scorpio Killer, Dirty Harry
If not the most despicable character you've ever seen, he's most definately up there. This movie isn't the best thing you'll ever see, but Andrew Robinson's nutter and Eastwood's iconicism give it its' longevity
8) Hans Beckert, M
Before Peter Lorre went into caricature, he was a frightening bastard. None more so then as the child molesting/murdering Killer Hans Beckert. A very thoughtful movie, with a lot of characters but Lorre's will be the only one to stay with you.
9) Henry, Portrait of a serial killer
Does exactly what it says on the tin. Michael Rooker's white trash killer's graphically violent exploits are stuff of home video legend. A better film then you think it will be though, helped greatly by Rooker's performance.
10) Mark Lewis, Peeping Tom
The film that destroyed Michael Powell. The puritanical British press didn't much appreciate the twisted nature of this film, but in time it has had its victory. The killer himself is often over-looked for the overall movie, but he creeps it up with the best of them.
As far as the positive things go, Gervais is a less then conventional lead and thus is an interesting presence. I'm not the biggest fan of The Office but he is good here, delivering his one-liners with aplomb. But for me the movie is stolen by Greg Kinnear playing another yuppie douchebag to coin consecutive american expressions. He is at his greatest when playing losers and sleazes, and here is no exception. He really is one of the most under-rated actors going. Tea Leoni is serviceable, which is great seeing as how annoying she has been in the past. And there's a fun cameo by Kristin Wiig as Gervais' doctor. But the problem lies not with the dialogue or the acting, but the laziness and pure cliche of the storyline. The movie seems to think that we won't notice it because of all the ghosts, but its to half-assed to hide. The visuals are similarly lazy, and you can tell that David Koepp is a screen-writer by trade by them. All in all, ok for a few laughs but intensely forgettable and within a year people will forget that this movie existed.
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
Monday, 20 October 2008
Thursday, 16 October 2008
The Prosecution: He's a Coppola coat-tail riding bad movie machine, and if he isn't going over the top then he's probably not breathing. A recent movie CV that includes such classics as Next, Bangkok Dangerous, two National Treasures and Ghost Rider. The goodwill he's earnt from a couple of good performances in the early 90's has well and truly worn out its welcome. Then there's the Hamming. Come on Y'all have seen it. The wide eyed, Joker mouthed nutjob face, the indiscrimanate yelling of lines. Youtube ' The Wicker Man' and see all you need to see.
Subtelty and Mr Cage certainly do not go hand in hand. Similarly he has awful taste in film. His rut hasn't just started in the last 5 years, there's all sorts of crap throughout his career and Cage seemingly his little to no interest in subtler roles where he doesn't get to steal the show. All in all, the worst kind of actor, all flash no substance.
The Defence: Erm, no. Cage may be on a bad run right now, but to say he is an actor without merit is to simply be an idiot. The guy has at least 5 truly great performances under his belt and has made films he wants to make rather then just chase Oscars like Sean Penn, Brad Pitt or George Clooney. An actor as comfortable in Con Air as he is in something like Leaving Las Vegas, he has shown a variety not present in many of the other 'movie stars' going today. And as for the argument that he is a spent force, one need only to look to excellent recent output like Lord of War or Adaptation. Fine he may have had a couple of bombs in a row, and yes he can go over the top every now and again. But considering the amount of people that let the same crime slide when its perpetrated by say, Al Pacino. Who has with one or two exception's done only eye-goggling mania since the early 90's. As for the family connection thing, ask Talia Shire if it guarantees you breeze to the top. That may have been his springboard, but Cage would have vanished long ago if he had nothing to offer, and his longevity as a leading man speaks volumes as to how good he really is. Just go watch Adaptation and Shush.
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
WTF MOVIES WILL BLOW YOUR MIND:
1) They dare to be different. we know what we expect to see when we see a film. A beginning, middle and end mapped out as clear as day, the resolution to all conflicts tied in a bow etc. The genius of the WTF movie is it dares to not patronise us by making everything black and white. Leaving as much as it can to the interpretation of the viewer, and even making certain things indeciferable. So soul-crushingly talked down to are we by most movies, we revel in the confusion and the mystery that these movies provide. We don't know whats going on, but we love it.
2) Harder to do then you might think: There is a reason that there are only a handful. Because for every Picnic at Hanging Rock there are several The I Inside's. For every Don't Look now There's an infinate number of Gothika's. The point being that these movies are very, very hard to execute. It takes a large amount of cratsmanship both visually and on the page to leave an audience joyously mystified, and too much smugness or incoherency will lead to communal audience yawning. The trick, or so it seems, is too present it as a technically solvable puzzle. Something that seemingly can be figured out, but not by you.
3) Audience participation: The birth of the inter-active movie. In our eyes, the purpose of these movies is not to sympathise with characters or marvel at the photography, but to figure the things out. Thus we pay more attention then we otherwise would and start websites called www.otnemem.com . Its hard to care this much about Dances with wolves isn't it.
WTF MOVIES WILL WASTE YOUR TIME
1) Smoke and mirror theory. A credible argument potentially pointing out what these movies actually are. A cheap magic trick. Wow your audience with enough rabbits pulled out of hats that they'll cease to give a crap about those small little things like characters or logical consistency. Cynical, but there most definately an element of truth to it.
2) Not as good as you originally think. First viewing of these films is usually great without exception, but watching these films repeatedly shows that without the pretence of the puzzle that maybe they don't do the simple things as well as other films. Like isn't the acting in Mulholland drive a teencey bit stilted, or the time-travel segment of Donnie Darko a teencey bit banal. Watching them again usually makes them weaker, whilst films without that WTF factor often get better on repeated viewings, coz sometimes the simple outlives the convoluted .
3) They're good because of something other then the Puzzle. Come for the puzzle, stay for the good storytelling. Or good acting, or some specific proficiancy in some other specific area. The point is made right. The greatest WTF movies do other stuff great also, like Memento's intelligence and attention to character, or Eraserhead's twisted look and sense of Darkness. A movie doesn't survive by simply being a interesting puzzle. It would simply go the way of a rubix cube. Thrown away in a mixture of frustration and disgust.
I feel I have to do the honourable thing and sit on the fence. Some people like these more then others, I personally love to watch a movie smarter then I am, but a lot of people don't and just find them frustrating and a chore. Great movies are great movies though, and this bizarre genre mutation has most definately produced some of those.
WTF Movie Checklist (to watch if you're not currently confused enough for you're liking) :
All David Lynch Films but The Elephant man or the Straight story
Picnic at hanging Rock
Don't Look Now
Being John Malkovich
and more to be found out by you who has both more space and time.