Monday, December 09, 2013

What I Watched in November

Brief thoughts on last month's trips out to the theater.

Caught the CARRIE remake last month and it was a pretty good version of the tale. In some ways this film is a great example of the reason some people dislike remakes in general because it had nothing at all to add to the superior 1976 film. I have never been a part of that camp of film buffs - I like seeing if a new group of creators can bring new insight to older material. You often end up with crap (THE FOG remake springs to mind) but sometimes you get a classic like Carpenter's THE THING or the very smart update of DAWN OF THE DEAD. I'm open minded about these attempts and I always hope for the best. CARRIE (2013) is a solid adaptation of the King novel with a strong cast. I might have hoped for more stylish direction but after Brian de Palma's split-screens and slow motion suspense exercises, maybe the idea was not to go camera crazy. This version is good but not great and so it may well become a forgotten bit of horror cinema for a few decades. We will have to see.

THOR: THE DARK WORLD (2013) was a fantastic follow up to the first film and a good sequel to THE AVENGERS. I am very impressed that the creators at Marvel have been able to craft such a strong film that hits pretty much every target at which it decides to aim. Smart, well paced, funny, exciting and even emotional this is exactly what I want from my modern superhero films. This is the kind of movie I pictured in my mind's eye when I was a young boy reading Thor comics. I can hardly believe that I was rooting for Loki at the same time I was angry with him- that's good storytelling. I could not be happier with this series of movies and look forward to whatever Marvel serves up next. It's a great time to be a superhero fan!  

BLADE (1998)- 8 (rewatch)
GNAW: FOOD OF THE GODS 2 (1989)- 3
WHAT WAITS BELOW (1985)- 4 (not completely awful, but....)
LAS ALIMANAS (1976)- 5 (Amando de Ossorio crime tale)
CONAN THE BARBARIAN (2011)- 6 (rewatch)
CARRIE (2013)- 6 (well done but unnecessary)
THE CURSE OF THE VAMPIRE (1972)- 5 (OK if overwrought Spanish horror)
THE LAST KAMIKAZE (1984)- 7 (well done)
THE INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN (1977)- 3 (terrible but I kinda like it)
ANCHORMAN (2004)- 6 (funny but too scattershot and broad to be great)
MANIAC (2012)- 7 (good remake)
SAVAGE WATER (1979)- 2 (terrible on every level -amateur hour)
SEVEN KEYS TO BALDPATE (1929)- 7 (excellent mystery adaptation)
UN FLIC (1972)- 7 (Melville's last is solid)
SEVEN KEYS TO BALDPATE (1935)- 6 (second version not as good)
SKYSCRAPER (1996)- 2 (Anna Nicole Smith 'acts')
TROLL 2 (1990)- 2 (rewatch)

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