A few short critiques of movies I’ve finally gotten around to watching recently:
Synopsis: Resistance super-assassin goes up against autocratic government. Don’t try to figure out the plot too much, just enjoy the visuals. It’s Equilibrium with Charlize Theron instead of Christian Bale kicking the shit out of people.
Verdict: It wasn’t as terrible as I expected it to be. Granted, Charlize Theron in a leather catsuit has enough redeeming power to save just about any movie from the Totally Unwatchable verdict, but there were also other factors that made it a tolerable entertainment to me. The setting was interesting, the SFX nice, and the fight scenes not bad at all. (C-)
Synopsis: A bunch of British soldiers on wargames in the Scottish Highlands discovers the bloody remains of the Special Forces squad that were supposed to be their opponents. Soon, the things that chopped up the SAS guys come back for more, and the squaddies try to hole up in an old farmhouse until sunrise. Think Zulu, Night of the Living Dead, and Aliens all blended together, with lots of gunfire, and gore cranked up to Eleven.
Verdict: Awesome flick, especially for a budget indie horror movie from England. Probably the most appealing werewolf movie I’ve seen since An American Werewolf in London. The beasts in this one are costumes instead of atrocious CGI (American Werewolf in Paris, this means you), and the director makes clever use of the costume limitations by employing the Jaws school of monster revelation for a good part of the film, giving us only glimpses and quickly cut scenes at first. Even under close examination, however, the costume werewolves are a lot more mean, vicious, and scary than any I’ve seen since David Naughton’s version chewed on unlucky Londoners in Piccadilly Station.
Overall, I’ll recommend it as a Must Watch flick for any fan of werewolf flicks. Any movie where one of the Good Guys takes on a werewolf in a fistfight is already awesome by default. (A-)
Casino Royale & Quantum of Solace
Synopsis: It’s Bond. There are bad guys who threaten the stability and security of the world, and Bond’s job is to go out, fuck them up, and get laid while drinking martinis. It’s not The Color Purple we’re talking about here.
Verdict: God help me, I do like the new Bond. No flim-flam, no laser-firing wristwatches, just a steely-eyed killer who will punch his opponents in the face, stab them in the inner thigh, and hold them down while they bleed out. The storylines are as always sort of far-fetched, but it’s Bond. At least there’s a merciful absence of supervillain lairs. The new Bond carries a suppressed P99, drives a bitchin’ Aston Martin V12, and kills more people before breakfast than all the old Bonds put together killed all day. (B)
Synopsis: 500-foot creature stomps the holy hell out of Manhattan. If that’s not a synopsis for a popcorn flick, I don’t know what is.
Verdict: Good fun. I mean, it has a bunch of yuppies in it who all die gruesome deaths at the hands of a monster that makes Godzilla look like a giant, shambling Care Bear. The SFX are flawless, and the pacing is fast. The camcorder-perspective thing has been done to death, but it works very well in this format. (B-)
Synopsis: Werewolf terrorizes, eats L.A. yuppies.
Verdict: I thought it was a perfectly acceptable comedy, but then it dawned on me that the whole thing may have been intended to be a horror flick. The CGI is not precisely horrible, but the werewolf design is pretty laughable, and the decision to let the beastie talk and flip people the bird doesn’t help in the Unintentional Yuks department. Still, it has Christina Ricci in it, who is always just on the fun side of creepy, and a movie where Shannon Elizabeth gets ripped in half can’t be a total write-off. (C-)
Synopsis: German movie about the final ten days in Hitler’s bunker in Berlin.
Verdict: Haunting, with a spectacular performance by Bruno Ganz, the actor portraying Crazy Adolf. Very atmospheric, with much emphasis on the Gotterdammerung mood in Berlin in the final days. Should be required material for all those Nazi fans setting up their “I’m not saying they were right or anything, but their tanks were cool” kitsch tables at gun shows. (A)
Synopsis: Ex-CIA operative’s daughter gets kidnapped by slave traders while on vacation in Paris. Daddy tells the kidnappers to let her go, or he’ll find and kill them. They don’t; he does.
Verdict: Liam Neeson as Ballistic Dad takes out a few dozen deliciously slimy bad guys. If you can look past the highly improbable coincidences that keep him on the track of his daughter’s kidnappers, it’s jolly good fun. (B-)
There are more, but that’s all the movie reviews I’ll inflict on you today. If I had to pick one off that list as a must-watch, it’d be a tie between Dog Soldiers and Downfall.