Exploitation is a term that isn’t used with newer films, although every so often we get a film that looks like it’s from today but has the throwback feel. Bounty Killer is one of those films. However, Bounty Killer never claims that to be a throwback and that’s what I really enjoyed about it. If you are mainly inspired by older films and want to really hit hard with the audience who loves that type of thing, do not call your film a throwback. It ruins everything.
Oh, Brian De Palma. You broke my heart but I keep coming back. First, it was Mission To Mars, one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen (and this from a diehard MST3K fan). Then it was the dreadful adaptation of James Ellroy’s The Black Dahlia. Still, I was excited about Passion. Noomi Rapace and Rachel Adams in an erotic thriller with lesbian undertones? Who could resist? Not me.
The critics weren’t kind at Passion‘s TIFF premiere in 2012. But Noomi Rapace! Rachel McAdams! Erotic thriller! Plus a score from the great Pino Donaggio. My desire to see the film did not wane.
Well, I’ve now seen Passion. And I have a lot of thoughts, and most of them good. It’s vintage De Palma, that is for certain: heightened emotion masking flatness of emotion, weird artificiality bleeding through lush production design, over-the-top music, exquisite framing, and outlandish narrative. I haven’t seen Alain Corneau’s 2011 inspiration Crime d’amour, so I can’t speak to it, but I now understand why so many hated Passion. It’s not a straightforward movie; it’s a straight-up giallo. Forget Hitchcock. It’s all Italian. There’s even a police investigation, a hallmark of the genre.
The name ZoZo probably won’t ring a bell with normal folk, but if you know me, you should know I’m not normal. I’ve always been fascinated with stories about ZoZo and loved to read people’s testimonies of their encounters with this so-called demon. If you are clueless about who or what ZoZo is, you can find everything you need to know about him online. There is a small community that believes this is real and many have encountered this demon of sorts through the well-known Ouija board.
When the name Danielle Harris appears in a movie, millions of fanboys cry out in joy. However, Shiver is a film that will just make you cry. Shiver isn’t terrible and has a decent plot, but the film suffers from a lack of cleverness.
Cop movies are always a difficult thing to pull off. Although there are comedies, action, and sometimes horror cop movies, the most common are cop dramas. To actually pull off a cop drama, a few things are needed in order to keep your audience alert and occupied with what is actually going on.
Blood has these qualities. A cop drama needs not only characters, but good characters. In a short amount of time, we need to establish them and give them history. We need to know that they work well together as well as if they are friends.
Broken is an apt title for director Rufus Norris’s feature debut; viewers will be forgiven if they have a hard time choking back sobs by the end. It’s not all doom and gloom, however. Broken‘s superbly arranged 90 minutes evoke a concatenation of emotions. Certainly there is much chest-constricting dread to be found in the film, and many scenes heavy with emotional baggage, but these are often simultaneously buoyed with moments of exquisite gossamer beauty and unbridled humor, reminders that joy can be ephemeral and often intertwined with grief.
Sometimes we stumble upon a film we think we are not going to like; maybe that is because of the director, an actor, writer, or even the theme or setting. You might end up loving the film anyway or even consider it a “guilty pleasure”. Recently the film Evidence was released from the director of The Fourth Kind, which I did not really care for, so I wasn’t really expecting to like it, let alone expecting it to keep my attention.
Whenever I see a newer flick that has gone DTV with a then or now major star on the cover, I will admit I usually pass. I know that might be wrong but most of those flicks are the same: Big time actor dies within the first five minutes. Done. Rest of the flick blows.
The other day I saw a cover for The Colony and noticed Bill Paxton and Laurence Fishburne on the cover. It looked like a sequel to The Day After Tomorrow. I put it back down and decided to watch something else in my pile. I really couldn’t decide on anything and since I love Paxton and Fishburne, I went against my better judgment and put it in my player.
Hmph. Scavengers. Well, there aren’t a whole lot of things I can say for Scavengers. I’m not going to trash this film because that is not what I do. Making an “epic” science fiction film set in space with spaceships fighting and flying through the air on a minimal budget isn’t easy and it is extremely difficult to make it not look like a cartoon. Sadly, Scavengers is one of those films.
There are many “animal attack” films but most are really subpar. Either they pick goofy animals for the attacks or the special effects are just awful. Warner Archive, however, has put out two great films that deal with that subject. One is The Pack, and the other is Razorback. I’m reviewing both of them here because I believe they should be watched as a double feature.