Friday, October 22, 2010

more October

Over the last two weeks, the only new releases I watched were House of the Devil, Night of the Demon, and Get Him to the Greek.

House of the Devil was filmed using 80s techniques, set in the 80s, and seemed one of those babysitter thrillers, where you spend most of the running time getting to know the character. The actual suspense wasn't as intense as I like, the characters (beyond the babysitter) weren't developed at all, but the set design was awesome. Loved seeing the old phone on the wall, with the looooong cord, and other 80s details. Was also nice seeing Dee Wallace and Mary Woronov in horror films again. But otherwise I wasn't stimulated, and won't remember this movie in a month.

Night of the Demon, on the other hand, I did like a lot. It's a remake of the 1988 film, and Adam Gierasch chose just the right amount of blood, boobs and guts to copy. I like Monica Keena (Dirty Bird, Freddy Vs. Jason, Crime and Punishment in Suburbia) and it was odd seeing her breasts being the smallest of the cast.

Shannon Elizabeth played the senior member of the party, with black hair and lots of attitude (departure from American Pie or Th13teen Ghosts demeanor). Eddie Furlong (Pecker, Terminator 2) was the low-level drug dealer, and was almost unrecognizable due to getting very pudgy. Speaking of unrecognizable, the makeup was outstanding. Once the characters start getting demonized, due to kissing or exchanging other bodily fluids with other demons, they become unique. There are seven characters, to correspond with the seven higher demons who are looking to become flesh. The story is unfolded rather ridiculously by characters who either know too much or act too dumb, but the effects are beautiful, so it's easy to overlook. I would definitely recommend this one to anyone who likes gore and breasts, and doesn't mind swearing in their horror.

Get Him to the Greek: I did like Russell Brand a lot as Aldous Snow in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, so I was eager to see this. Didn't get around to seeing it in the theater, so watched it first off as soon as I got the DVD. As before, his character is stellar and captivating, although it's a bit Wayne's World when he starts showing emotions beyond sexual desire. Fun seeing him reunited with his da, Colm Meaney of Star Trek fame. And every musical production number had me laughing out loud. But the in-between story was less compelling. Didn't really feel for Jonah Hill's character or situation which felt very cardboard. The bulk of time was filled with celebrity cameos, which didn't add to the story. Seeing Sean Combs as producer Sergio was a fun ride though, and the whole "furry walls" drug trip will be remembered. (Song/video here.) Aldous' long-time girlfriend Jackie Q also had some fantastic songs, such as "Ring 'Round."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

"new" releases October 2010

Frozen: Sound design decent, some music, but mostly ambient sound of wind and animal howls and crunching. Three kids pay a chair lift attendant to go up one last time before the end of the weekend/weather rolls in, and when he goes off duty on Sunday night, there is miscommunication about how many customers are still on the mountain. Two best guy friends and one's recent girlfriend are the protagonists.
Their choices range from jumping down off the highest point, climbing up to the cable and sliding along to the next chair/post and down that ladder or trying to last until the next Friday. Effective frostbite makeup, frozen tears & snot, skin tearing from sticking to metal... Open Water on a ski lift (will all survival movies be compared to that one from now on? Thirst was "Open Water in the desert..."). Emotional intensity is nice but sudden switch from nice guy to asshole is odd for Shawn Ashmore. Wish there had been more lead-up, more gradual transition there. And the plot line about urination was a nice touch too, realistic.

I watched 45 minutes of The Human Centipede (before getting sick to my stomach and turning it off). Typical stranded tourists in a foreign country, getting caught up in situation beyond their control (can't begin to count how many movies contain that plot line). The specific punishment meted out by the madman who captures them is new, and portrayed well enough, but really not planning on seeing the sequel either. Ugh.

The Oxford Murders: I love Spanish directors. I loved earlier works by Alex de la Iglesia such as Accion Mutante. Stars Elijah Wood as a physics/math student who has come from America to study under a specific professor (John Hurt) who embarrasses him at first meeting.
Alex Cox (of Repo Man, Sid and Nancy fame) appears briefly as Kalman, a crazy mathematician in The Oxford Murders. It's like a cross between Pi, The Butterfly Effect, Johnny Depp's The Ninth Gate and another Spanish movie I got from Redbox, Fermat's Room. I like the characters, the setting, the build-up, the pacing, and the bulk of the plot. Not sure if it was the editing or the original script, but something was off, making the plot not as satisfactory as it could have been. Feels like it should've made for more of an academic ending, but became more simplistic instead. Worth at least one viewing, but I won't be buying it.

I did buy Suck! The Movie, a Canadian release by Alex Stefaniuk. Very much fun, all the way through! I got this, sight unseen, because Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Dave Foley, Henry Rollins, Moby, Alex Lifeson of Rush and Malcolm McDowell appear in it, and was highly satisfied with how the director utilized them. I liked the surreal colorization, the bizarre world it's set in (complete with stop-motion animated travel sequences), and found the plot and characters interesting enough to follow into a sequel, if that's where it leads. It's about a second-rate band that's been together for about ten years when they run into Queeny (Dimitri Coates, who looks naturally like Johnny Depp's Hatter makeup from the most recent Alice incarnation). The first character to be transformed into a vampire during this story is played by Jessica Paré, last seen as the topless girl having sex with married time-traveler Craig Robinson in Hot Tub Time Machine. Her vampire makeup is most excellent, with blue blue eyes (making her look less like Liv Tyler), pale pale skin and fabulous red lips. The sleazy band manager who sees them going nowhere (Foley) comes back to the band once she transforms the other members one by one, and they start becoming popular. The band members have the familiar choice whether to stay immortal and feed on humans or go back to being negligible talent. Check out for more info!