Monday, December 17, 2018
Saturday, December 15, 2018
VENOM (2018) is a stand alone off-shoot of the Sony Spider Man films. It doesn't seem to reference the other films in any way so it can be seen as a form of reboot, I suppose. I had some hopes for this to be a fun film based solely on the cast. I think Tom Hardy is a fantastic talent with natural screen charisma and Michelle Williams has never seemed less than letter perfect in any role she attempts. But, sadly, this film wastes them and their impressive efforts on a script that just cannot be bothered to generate much interest. The entire things feels artificial from the relationships, the plot and even the underlying ideas. Nothing seems to fit together properly giving the story a disjointed feeling. It might as well be cobbled together from random issues of the Venom comic book for all the sense it makes and maybe it was. It can't even manage to strike a solid tone for it's ending leaving the entire thing feeling more like a mess than it had to, really. In the end the film is bland and forgettable. If they make a sequel there is nowhere to go but up from this flat starting point.
OVERLORD (2018) should have been much better than it is. The scenario reads like either a first person shooter video game or the most perfect SF tinged WWII film of all time. Just before the D-Day invasion of
Normandy a squad of American soldiers parachute into
to destroy a German communications jamming station. Almost immediately the
group is reduced to a handful of survivors but they continue to their objective
enlisting a local young woman's aid. Once in the country town the soldiers
learn that the French citizens have been systematically taken into the castle
headquarters for hideous human experimentation. Since the target is in the same
place they decide to destroy both problems with one attack but are well aware
that their small numbers mean there is little chance of survival. Everything is
in place for a rousing action film with mad scientist created monsters in a
WWII setting. Cool! But then the script falters.
At a certain point our main character leaves the cottage in which the soldiers are hiding for less than clear reasons. And then he manages to stumble, fart and fall inside the castle with none of the German troops ever spotting him. He gets into the deepest areas of the laboratory, sees the important information and gets out of this highly guarded place without a single person laying eyes on him. Once. This sequence breaks the movie for me. I kind of enjoyed the third act because it's a well played action set-piece but this pathetic way of getting the American characters the necessary intel is just terrible screenwriting. I wasn't bothered by the unhistorical mixed race American army of the 1940's in the film because we're here to see Nazi monsters get splattered. But this idiotic plotting disaster is just too much. The whole sequence needed to rewritten. Oh well.
THIS NIGHT I WILL POSSESS YOUR CORPSE (1967) - 7 (rewatch)
GHOSTKEEPER (1981) - 6
VENOM (2018) - 4
THE BOWERY BOYS MEET THE MONSTERS (1954) - 5
MACON COUNTY LINE (1974) - 7
THE VAMPIRE'S GHOST (1945) - 4
MAD DOCTOR OF BLOOD ISLAND (1964) - 4 (rewatch)
THE NANNY (1965) - 7
ABSOLUTE QUIET (1936) - 7
SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT III: BETTER WATCH OUT (1989) - 3 (Ugh!)
SCHIZOID (1980) - 5 (not bad sleazy thriller)
OVERLORD (2018) - 6
PRISONER OF THE LOST UNIVERSE (1983) - 3 (Riftrax version - 7)
RAW FORCE (1982) - 3 (inept but entertaining for all the wrong reasons)
SUMMER OF '84 (2018) - 9
NIGHT OF TERROR (1933) - 6
CHRISTMAS EVIL (1980) - 8 (rewatch)
Thursday, December 13, 2018
Monday, December 10, 2018
We discuss the film's production with a sleigh full of details straight from the Blu-Ray's three commentary tracks. The film's achievements and failings come under the microscope with each of us noting the moments that we love and the points we felt could have been better presented. We remark on the amazing cast of
New York acting talent onscreen
as well as a surprising connection to a certain musical legend as well. The
film's beautiful, glowing cinematography is discussed and the movie's
fundamental similarity to another, much more famous New Jersey set drama of the 1970's is noted. Anytime
a way can be found to compare Travis Bickle to the Grinch you know you've hit
on a supremely odd confluence of ideas! New York
So, join us for an accordion spiced Christmas episode with a few comedic surprises along the way. We rattle on a quite a while but we hope this year end show will put a smile on the faces of even the most curmudgeonly of the Christmas naysayers out there. The show can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or over on Facebook where the Bloody Pit's page resides. Thanks for listening and have a Happy Holiday, whatever you might be celebrating.
MP3 Download LINK
Sunday, December 09, 2018
Friday, December 07, 2018
But I digress. How was SUSPIRIA (2018)?
Surprisingly brilliant. As a friend said after the credits rolled, "Now that's how to remake a film!" Indeed. The filmmakers have taken the story of a young American woman traveling to
to attend a dance school that is secretly run by witches and crafted something new and fresh. Smartly avoiding the incredibly colorful visual style of the original,
this film strives to look as grim and bleak as Winter in 1970's Germany actually probably looked. The
colors are muted, the sky overcast and the population is constantly reminded of
the dark realities of life by steady news reports of the ongoing Red Army Faction terrorist activity in the country. These visuals change the feel of the story
immediately from a place of bright beauty with shadows creeping into view from
the corners to a dark, pitiless place with harsh details seeping into life from
all over. Here, the dance studio could be seen as a retreat from the
unpredictable world of sudden violence and ugly reality. This sets the tone for
the story brilliantly. We are already worried about the real life horrors that
occasionally intrude onto the soundtrack adding an uncertainty to events that
would be ordinary in other circumstances. Berlin
Also, in this remake, the dance academy actually comes alive. In Argento's film it was just a place to gather a group of young women of a certain age to provide victims for the witches. In this film dancing is an integral part of the witches' lives. Dance is used as part of the casting of spells and as a way of testing the latent powers of the students. This addition to the tale builds a depth into things that allows the final act to become more clearly part of the whole story. Along with the machinations of the witches/teachers as they choose their coven's new leader it paints a complex picture of these women as layered characters with completing visions for their art - both witchcraft and dance. It is fascinating!
The addition that I worried most about was the expansion of the realistic element from the first version. In the original movie we have a couple of 'experts' on the human mind who are replaced here with an elderly Jewish psychiatrist pulled into investigating the academy by the disappearance of one of his clients. This character seemed an odd one to enlarge in the story even as he becomes a stand-in for the audience, exploring the background of the school and it's founders. But by the final act it is clear why he, with his tragic history, is perfectly suited to demonstrate the change in the coven by the end of things.
This new film is fantastic and, while it won't replace the original for me, it is an incredible achievement. I wish that more remakes were given this level of thought and effort by their creative teams. 2018's SUSPIRIA is a great film that stands proudly next to 1977's film as a cleverly conceived variation on it's themes. Well done!