Monday, July 02, 2012

What I Watched In June

THE WAY OF THE GUN (2000)- 9 (rewatch)
BLOODY BIRTHDAY (1981)- 7 (very good evil kid movie)
MEN IN BLACK 3 (2012)- 8 (way better than I thought it would be)
SOLOMON KANE (2009) - 8 (rewatch)
THE ISLAND (1980)- 7 (rewatch) (completely mad but entertaining)
A CHALLENGE FOR ROBIN HOOD (1967)- 7 (damned good version of the tale)
DEATH OF A HOODLUM (1975)- 6 (Naschy crime story)
PRIEST (2011)- 4 (too obvious post-apocalyptic, western vampire tale)
PROMETHEUS (2012)- 8 (fascinating religious sci-fi)
CONTRABAND (2012)- 6 (well directed and acted but very predictable with a far too happy ending)
YOR, THE HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE (1983)- 7 (rewatch of both versions)
30 DAYS OF NIGHT (2007) - 8 (rewatch)
CHERNOBYL DIARIES (2012)- 5 (not bad but nothing special)
DEADLY BLESSING (1981) - 4 (dull horror tale)

A very busy month meant fewer chances to relax and watch some movies. Between work becoming an overtime gig and trying to get packed for my move in July I just didn't have as much time to delve into the weird, wonderful world of film. Still, I did get out to the theater three times and for that I am grateful!

MEN IN BLACK 3 turned out to be very good fun and was actually impressive enough to almost make me forget how bad MEN IN BLACK 2 was. They managed to find a good story to tell and the fact that it wraps around to the first movie in a clever way made it easy to forgive it the occasional sloppy moments. The cast was top-notch with Josh Brolin taking the prize for a solid performance while impersonating Tommy Lee Jones. That had to be hard to do but he makes it look effortless. I can only hope that thy leave well enough alone here and don't try o make a fourth film. Please Hollywood film producers- let this series die an honorable death and become something we can look back on with a smile. You pulled out the near impossible with this one. Let MIB lie fallow and be content in the knowledge that eventually some idiot will attempt a remake.

PROMETHEUS was a very entertaining film and a welcome return to the ALIEN universe for director Ridley Scott but it wasn't quite as impressive as I had hoped it might be. A friend explained his mild dissatisfaction by saying that the movie seemed to promise the equivalent of a fancy steak dinner but in the end only offered a hamburger and fires. He said -"It's a really GOOD hamburger, but because I was expecting steak it felt a little disappointing." I can see what he means as I was a little letdown that the religious aspects of the story were so obvious and needlessly underlined by the script. I mean- did the film really have to take place at Christmas time? Was there no less leaden a way to get across the hints about the genesis of humans?

A bigger problem for me was that the movie feels as if there are chunks missing as the narrative jumps forward in odd places with some characters making choices that are not fully explained. I suspect that we are once again witnessing a movie that was cut down for theatrical release only to have the full length version issued on video. This is happening far too often these days and its starting to interfere with my ability to enjoy going out to pay big bucks to see a film in the theater. I'd like to have the option to see the ENTIRE movie instead of an approved short version that serves as a simple preview of the whole tale. I'm beginning to feel a bit cheated now that ticket prices are creeping over the ten dollar barrier. I'm glad to saw PROMETHEUS theatrically as it is a glory to behold but when they announce the 'Director's Cut' I'm going to be pissed off.

CHERNOBYL DIARIES is a pretty good try at a modern horror movie that just doesn't quite make it across the finish line for me. It isn't poorly produced or badly conceived but it just didn't connect with me in a way that made it more than an OK exercise in creepy dread. I think that if it had been filmed in a smoother, more 'filmic' style rather than the handheld camera method chosen it might have been more effective as a movie. I say this even as I must acknowledge that some of the movie's best scares are accomplished through the use of this style. Its a hard call. It's not a bad film and I can understand how someone might like it quite a bit but it just didn't make it for me.


Kal said...

How the HELL can there be TWO versions of YOR??? I have a friend who still hasn't lived down making that movie choice for the rest of us - the WORST $2 Tuesday movie EVER!

Rod Barnett said...

Oh my goodness Kal! Don't be dissing YOR! It is one of the great barbarian films of the 1980s. (Make of that statement what you will!) And there are two versions - the short version you know and the four part full length version in which all things are (mostly) made clear. It was produced as a TV mini-series in Italy but cut down for theatrical release. We have recorded a podcast for The Bloody Pit that goes into great detail about the differences. I'll be posting it soon!

Kal said...

It's just one of those movies that is so attached to a part of my life when things were fun.