The thing about sequels (usually) is that they get more expensive and more outrageous. If you destroy ten cars in the first movie, you have to wreck thirty in the next, and if you make it to four or five, you’re destroying two-thirds of the annual output of Detroit. And the ways in which the cars are wrecked get exponentially weirder. A pile-up on the freeway isn’t enough anymore. A few sequels down the road (so to speak), filmmakers apparently feel required to throw them at airborne helicopters or have them melted down by an erupting volcano or something.
I never saw the original Nightmare on Elm Street. I know, what kind of movie critic does that make me, right? It’s considered something of a classic of the genre, and here’s me, not watching it. It isn’t because I thought it was bad, though; it’s because I’m such a complete coward about scary movies. But I gathered up my courage, thought of you, my 49 loyal fans, and headed out to the theatre, fully prepared to have to cover my eyes for at least 30 of the film’s 95 minutes.
You know, movies based on comic books are hard to review, too. I like comic books, graphic novels, all that kind of stuff, so I suspect I probably tend to like movies based on them a little more than the average non-comic-reader. I think it makes me second-guess myself when I’m trying to rate them. As usual, I tried my best to avoid reading other people’s ratings, but sometimes things sneak past me and I catch a phrase like “very mixed reviews” that leaves me wondering if I’m being too generous.
This one’s based on a book, too, only just one book this time: Celda 211, by Francisco Pérez Gandul. It’s set in Spain, mostly in and around what looks to be a very large, very high-security prison, so right there I knew it was going to be just as bad as Red Riding, if not worse. And it was kind of worse, at least on average, since this time they only had about two hours to work with.
Every year, I go to the Wisconsin Film Festival in Madison, and wallow in the excitement of having literally hundreds of movies available to watch that I might never have seen otherwise. This was the twelfth year, and it’s huge now compared to what it was like the first time I went, way back in the third year, I think it was. Then, it was actually humanly possible to watch all the films over the two and half days of the festival. Most of them were shown at least two or three times.
Continue reading “Red Riding”
I mentioned once before that in many movies, the best way to tell the heroes from the villains is to look at their offices. Impossibly neat and tidy office = villain. Terribly messy and disorganized office = hero. Well, no one has any offices here, but this time you can tell a lot by the tails. Anything with a tail (prehensile, not one that just hangs there) is trying to kill people.
Continue reading “Clash of the Titans”
Of course it’s easy to talk about the good movies. You leave the theatre still thinking about the film, reminding yourself to let Steve know how good it was, because he’ll love it, maybe even wondering when you’ll be able to buy a copy to watch at home. And it’s easy to talk about the bad movies, too. You want to find someone to vent to about the two hours you just completely wasted, not to mention the cost of the tickets and snacks. Maybe you also want to warn people away.
Continue reading “Repo Men”
It’s 2003. Do you know where your weapons of mass destruction are?
I suppose that was a common joke back then, but luckily or not, I can’t really remember back that far. Truthfully, in spite of the awesomeness that is Matt Damon, I was a little unsure about this film because I’m so terrible at keeping track of politics and current events, which is basically the entirety of the movie. It’s okay, though; as I suspected, they spell everything out quite clearly for the politically challenged like me, so you have a good plot and the awesomeness that is Matt Damon. What more could you want?
Continue reading “Green Zone”
Well, took over Hollywood would be more accurate, but not as dramatic. The fact is, from Superman to Batman, Spider-Man to Iron Man, the movies have always had a place for heroes (at least as long as they have ‘man’ in their names somewhere, apparently). Okay, there’s also the Fantastic Four, but face it — they have probably the worst track record ever for comic book heroes making the transition to the silver screen. If you count characters like Zorro and ruthless anti-heroes like V of V for Vendetta, that makes for a lot of super-hero flicks.
Continue reading “The Comic Book that Ate Hollywood”
As soon as the movie starts, you know you’re watching the work of Tim Burton and listening to the work of Danny Elfman. It almost looks ordinary to start with — it’s a proper Victorian setting, with only a little girl’s dream to give any hint of the weirdness ahead. But you can forget about the little girl, because things quickly move ahead thirteen years, since this movie is about the 19-year-old Alice (Mia Wasikowska, who’s apparently twenty but looks more like sixteen), who remembers her adventures down the rabbit hole only as a vague, recurring dream.