Monday, May 16, 2022

What I Watched in April 2022

As far as the general critical consensus is concerned MORBIUS (2022) was never going to be considered good. The knives were out at soon as the phrase ‘starring Jared Leto’ was uttered. And I’ll admit that its connections to the sadly bad Venom films is a hurdle to overcome that I feared might be too high. So, I expected bad word of mouth with this new film and immediately dismissed it because we are in year two of the serious superhero film backlash. It has become the pseudo intellectual position to bash any comic book related film because …. Reasons. 

I can sympathize with some of the more common complaints especially the view that these movies dominate box office returns in a way that smothers chances for more varied fare to succeed. But this is little more than a variation of the usual attack on popular cinema driving thoughtful films from the marketplace. I’ve been hearing this argument since the 1980’s when such crowd-pleasing films as GHOSTBUSTERS, BACK TO THE FUTURE and WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT were being discussed as evidence of a defective education system. So pardon me if the shiny new version of the same laughable complaint continues to strike me as hollow whining. Maybe I’m not old enough yet to hate all new things. Give me a few years and I’m sure I’ll be railing against the evils of popular things along with the other wheelchair bound drones content to smugly assert the superiority of ‘the old days’. I assume that eventually the phrase ‘back in my day’ will change from trite joke set-up to a prelude for spouting a firmly held but idiotic belief that will embarrass the folks responsible for wiping the drool off my unshaven chin. But until then I’m going to enjoy the run of highly entertaining comic book adaptations that I have been waiting for since the age of eight. Hell. I’m almost to the point where I get as much entertainment from listening to snobs bitch about them as from watching the films. Grumble on, killjoys! Your hatred amuses me.

Where was I? Oh, yeah….

MORBIUS (2022) is a pretty damned good comic book tale that mostly plays like a horror film. Bringing 'The Living Vampire' to the big screen was always going to feel this way and it might be one reason people are expressing dissatisfaction with the story. If you’re expecting a lighter kind of MCU-style movie MORBIUS often nastily pushes against the grain and you will be uncomfortable. That’s a shame as I found the film to be a strong version of the character’s origin and loved the performances throughout. It is not one of the best of the current crop of these movies but it is far from being bad. And strangely, unlike some of the better comic book films, I find that I can’t wait to rewatch it to examine the way it uses horror visuals in service of its action sequences. I'm all in favor of superhero horror films but I suspect that I may be part of a very small group. 

The List

MURDEROCK (1984) – 6 (rewatch on Blu)

RED RAGE (2021) – 4 (beautifully shot but meandering trifle)

THE WRAITH (1986) – 6 (pretty good car vengeance film)


STEEL AND LACE (1991) – 5 (made for video/cable revenge tale)

ANTLERS (2021) – 7 (Wendigo horror)


SILIP – DAUGHTERS OF EVE (1986) – 6 (overlong Philippine sexploitation/morality tale)

HELL BENT FOR LEATHER (1960) – 7 (sharp Audie Murphy western)

ASSASSINATION (1987) – 4 (weak Bronson action effort)

NEVER TOO YOUNG TO DIE (1986) – 4 (silly, ridiculous and dumb action tale – possibly a spoof)

THE DEVILS (1971) – 8 (rewatch)

THE BOOK OF STONE (1969) – 7 (fascinating Spanish supernatural tale)

TOO BEAUTIFUL TO DIE (1988) – 7 (interesting late period giallo)

MONSTER FROM GREEN HELL (1957) – 4 (rewatch on Blu)

MORBIUS (2022) – 7

THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES (1946) – 5 (interesting but not very funny Abbot & Costello outing)


THE BLACK COBRA (1963) – 6 (not bad krimi)

THE NIGHT HOUSE (2020) – 7 (well done supernatural tale)

APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH (1988) – 7 (sturdy Hercule Poirot murder mystery)

SCREAM (2021) – 7 (pretty darned good sequel)

VIOLENT PLAYGROUND (1958) – 7 (solid JD drama with Stanley Baker)

JUSTICE LEAGUE (2021) – 9 (rewatch on Blu)

THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH (1999) – 8 (rewatch on Blu) 

No comments: