Sunday, May 08, 2016

What I Watched in April

I now live near a great second run theater ($2 tickets!) so I've been catching a number of movies out of the house. Not all are great but two bucks isn't too much to gamble.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR was a shot in the dark that missed. I chose to see it because it's a horror film and I can usually enjoy anything in the genre even if it's not that great, but sadly this is just flat. The cast is good and the setting in India is interesting but the movie is overlong and dull. It might have worked well at less than an hour but at feature length it is just too slow and uninvolving. A snooze.

TRIPLE 9 is an excellent crime film set in Atlanta with an amazing cast and a very nasty story. In fact, the film has a mean streak about a mile wide and is completely willing to subvert expectations about these vicious, violent characters without slowing down to let you be more than shocked. I knew that this was directed by the man who made THE PROPOSITION and THE ROAD so I was ready for a certain amount of darkness but this one still got to me. And if I hadn't been aware that Kate Winslet was in the film I would not have recognized her. This is a damned good film about bad guys and worse ones - I loved it!

GODS OF EGYPT is a pretty good fantasy film buoyed by a smart cast but weighed down by the CGI. That's not to say the CGI is bad but the movie works very well when the human actors are onscreen and not so well when it shifts to CGI creatures battling over Egypt. This is a shame as there really is a lot to like here but it can never be better than pretty good with the distancing that the special effects force on things. The best action scene is the one in which the God being attacked is made to stay in his human form as he and his mortal companion are forced to run from and fight a pair of giant snakes ridden by pissed-off assassins. That is one fantastic sequence and highly recommended. I liked a lot of what the film offers but it ends up being a mild miss-fire.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES turned out to be incredibly fun on many levels. I loved the way in which the zombie apocalypse is folded into 19th century England and the characters are altered to account for this dread state of affairs. Knowing little about the original Jane Austen novel I was still able to see the broad outlines of the book's plot and the melding of the story with the horrific elements was a real joy to see. This is a very satisfying period horror movie regardless of the bizarre origin of its underlying story and I will enjoy watching it again in the future. Well done!

It turns out that I am NOT the only person that enjoyed SNOW WHITE & THE HUNTSMAN from 2012 and so we get this fun prequel /sequel. I'm not sure how well it will do at the box office but I liked it. Cleverly writing around the absence of Snow White (and allowing this film to skip dealing with the first movie's weakest acting link) we get two more female actors - Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain - classing up the screen with Hemsworth holding his own with three powerhouse women getting most of the great moments. The story weaves the Snow Queen tale into things brilliantly and gives depth to all the main characters by showing their hopes and fears laid bare. This is primarily a fantasy adventure tale but there are wonderful moments of subtle acting and interplay that give the story some emotional heft. I like this type of film as a matter of personal taste and it's nice to see one this well executed so I can feel good about the genre. It's not too long, it is very exciting and it's not stupid - good job!


100 RIFLES (1969) - 8 (excellent western)
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR (2016) - 4 (flaccid horror effort)
WOLFCOP (2014)- 7 (fun, well done horror comedy)
HIGHLANDER (1986)- 6 (rewatch)
EXTERMINATOR 2 (1984)- 3
TRIPLE 9 (2016) - 8 (excellent crime story)
THE LORELEY'S GRASP (1974)- 7 (rewatch)
ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE (1969) - 9 (rewatch)
WOLFEN (1981) - 8 (rewatch)
COMIN' AT YA (1981) - 6 (rewatch)
INVITATION TO A GUNFIGHTER (1964) - 7 (solid western with a smart, gray view of the world)
GODS OF EGYPT (2016)- 6 (good but the CGI weighs it down)
THE LONE WOLF MEETS A LADY (1940)- 6 (fun series mystery)
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES (2016) - 8 (an absolute blast)
LOGAN'S RUN (1976)- 8 (rewatch)
SCORPIO (1973) - 8 (excellent but dark espionage tale)
KING KONG ESCAPES (1967) - 5 (too much a kiddie feature)
THE TWO MRS. CARROLLS (1947) - 8 (Is Humphrey Bogart a wife murderer?)
THE HUNSTMAN: WINTER'S WAR (2016) - 7  (good prequel/sequel fantasy)
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2014)- 8 (rewatch) 

No comments: