Friday, September 9, 2011

Fool's Views (8/15 – 8/21)


(I'm sorry, I'll never do that again.)

As the summer began drawing to a close, I found myself sitting on the first season of Deadwood (loaned to me by good pal Rom) that I wanted to knock out before I disappeared off to West Virginia for a couple months. So, those 12 hours took up the allotted space for six two-hour movies or eight 90-minute movies. Either way, it was viewing time well spent, and I’ll probably track down the next two seasons at some point, but I’m still a movie kid at heart. Tell me your story in one sitting, and then tell me another. Just personal preference, and why television will never be my mistress.

However, that said, I was still able to find time for a couple killer swine opuses, as well as another visit to the multiplex (although my initial plan was to see Final Destination and Fright Night as well, but due to a last minute audition and my misguided sense of priorities, I left the cinema to do the tryout…AND DIDN’T EVEN GET THE JOB. Grrrrrrrr…)

As always, feel free to leave your two cents worth – we’ll make sure you get some change back.


TrollHunter (2010)
(2nd viewing) d. Ovredal, Andre
My second viewing of the critically-lauded Norwegian giant monster movie yielded more or less the same reaction as my first encounter: While an undeniably quaint, original idea with some solid filmmaking skill on display, I found it a bit long and bearing more than a passing resemblance to The Blair Witch Project, except that the three student filmmakers are seeking trolls as opposed to witches and you can actually see the darn things. I absolutely appreciate Ovredal’s efforts even if they sometimes felt a little labored and occasionally violate his own “single camera/found footage motif.” The various fairyland nemeses are amusingly designed (even if their CGI origins are more than a little apparent), with a wicked sense of dark deadpan humor running through the proceedings. Like it, but don’t love it. (However, watching it in fellow fiend Dave Kosanke’s uber home theater was a decided highlight – looking forward to more Share the Scares within those friendly confines…)


Pig Hunt (2008)
(1st viewing) d. Isaac, James

Prey (aka Proie) (2010) (1st viewing) d. Blossier, Antoine

Call it the “Revenge of Razorback,” but giant killer boars seem to have come back in season over the past couple years (in addition to the two profiled herein, South Korea gave us last year’s Chawz). Part of Fangoria’s Frightfest, Pig Hunt presents a relatively unique creature feature within some familiar settings (city slickers with varying skill sets encounter Nature’s full fury, as well as some aggrieved locals who prove as lethal as the monster pigs themselves). With Jason X’s Isaac marshalling crisp direction over his acting corps through tightly knit action sequences, sparing not flesh, blood or guts, Hunt succeeds as worthy popcorn horror. Meanwhile, France’s take on the subject is handled a bit more seriously, though it yields just as many dividends in the thrills and bloodshed departments. Chemically tainted water proves to be the culprit spawning the maniacal hogs, with a family’s farm ground zero for tusked terror. Blossier’s harsh-faced cast glowers and shouts each other down, providing equal parts human menace to animal.

Despicable Me (2010)
(1st viewing) d. Coffin, Pierre/Renaud, Chris
Fun if forgettable animated hijinks, with Steve Carell and Jason Segal voicing supervillains vying for the top slot.

Friends with Benefits (2011) (1st viewing) d. Gluck, Will
Snappy, hip players Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis throw snappy hip dialogue at each other and end up having snappy hip no-strings-attached (wait, wasn’t that the Natalie Portman/Ashton Kutcher movie?) sex before realizing that they are just too, too perfect for each other, but by then they’ve already screwed it up. (Get it? Get it?) Luckily, there’s always the last 10 minutes to save the day. Not bad, just exactly what you thought it was going to be.

Julius Caesar (1970) (1st viewing) d. Bruge, Stuart
Big name cast (Charlton Heston, Jason Robards, Richard Johnson, John Gielgud, Richard Chamberlain) knocking the stuffing out of Shakespeare’s political drama, with Heston once again proving that given material suited to his bigger-than-life persona, the man could deliver the goods.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) (1st viewing) d. Wyatt, Rupert
One thing you can say about this prequel to the 1968 classic is that it offers a much more logistically sound basis for the simian leap in evolution than the trippy time-travel loop served up by the 70s sequels. Here, an anti-Alzheimer’s serum enhances our leap chimp’s brain functions, leading to his incarceration in an animal shelter, a move that inadvertently provides him with the followers he needs. While the final reel is chock full of wow, one does wonder just how so many apes found themselves in the San Francisco area at one time. Was there a convention or something? Andy Serkis’ motion capture work here rivals his Kong exploits of a half-dozen years ago, although I would have preferred fewer “human” expressions and aspects – after all, a smarter ape is not necessarily a more human ape.

Unforgiven (1992) (5th viewing) d. Eastwood, Clint
Having spent the week watching my first dozen episodes of Deadwood, and upon learning that the femalien had never seen Squint’s Oscar-winning effort, it felt absolutely fitting to dust off the omega bookend to the star’s early years as Rawhide’s Rowdy Yates and Sergio Leone’s “Man with No Name” epics. Dark, dirty, ambiguously violent and flawlessly performed, it feels real, right and fits like a pair of well-worn boots.

2011 totals to date: 337 films, 207 1st time views, 158 horror, 30 cinema
Charlton Heston movies: 5
Clint Eastwood movies: 4

Deadwood – 12 episodes (Season 1)

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