Weirdly, there’s still no reviews for The House with a Clock in Its Walls, even though there were public preview screenings this weekend.
I took a look at 'As Above, So Below; a found footage horror film from a few years ago.
The premise is ‘Lara Croft goes to Hell’. A reckless, British, female archaeologist is searching for the philosopher’s stone (yes, the one from the Harry Potter stories) and gathers a small team of cannon fodder to explore the catacombs under Paris in search of it.
A lot of stuff happens, it’s well made, the cast are pretty good (no-one is really exceptional unfortunately) and there are some well executed scare moments.
But there are some seriously dull bits with exposition well past the point where the audience (ok, me) just wants them to get on with it.
And it needs funnier jokes. If you’re going to try and get us to warm to the characters by giving them sly, sarcastic arguments to have with each other, then they’d better be good, not just tick the box adequate.
Not a waste of time, but it’s a bigger budget, mainstream version of something would be faster, less polished but probably more effective made with less money and a bit more energy.
Yeah it was better than I expected it to be but wasn’t great. It definitely made good use of it’s location.
Anybody see Winchester with Helen Mirren? I’ll watch anything with Mirren, but wondering if it’s gripping or a snooze-fest.
A Discovery of Witches, apparently based on a series of books. It’s kind of ok. Packed with cliches and recycled ideas, and characters that aren’t really very interesting. The best thing about it is the lovingly cinematic views of Oxford. I can’t decide if I can be bothered to watch it again or not
I read the first book. It has a decent start, but then devolves into endless conversations about mythology with very little plot. The TV version could be better, but I’ll give it a miss.
So I’m the first opinion?
The Predator: Well, that’s a mixed bag. I enjoyed it, parts of it, but I caught a $7 matinee and that gained a lot of points for me. But it is a real mess of a movie. It’s hard to get into/engage with any of the plot threads and characters and the tonal issues with those and the movie itself fades in and out. Still - for cheap, it does have a few good memorable scenes and highlights. Just not…not very well made.
On Friday I caught a double feature of Mandy and The Predator. It was quite nice to get a full evening of violence in.
I liked Mandy much better of the two. It was the kind of movie that you just sink into and let yourself get immersed in it, and it some great music and great scenes. There was actually applause in my theater after, which is kind of weird for that kind of movie. That said, I suspect we’ll see some backlash soon as the hype train got a bit out of control for this movie this weekend.
Predator was all right. I liked the cast and some of the effects. I would have been happier with a significantly more simple plot, however. Predator is kind of like Friday the 13th—the more thought you put into it, the worse it’s going to be. Just give me a bunch of people getting slaughtered, turning the table, the fake death that doesn’t take, etc.
Watched Season 5 of Bojack Horseman and Season 2 of American Vandal.
BH just gets better and better. The funeral episode was excellent. Great writing and performances.
AV is a satire of true crime series but it is very subtle. It’s not a laugh a minute show but the overall story lies in the absurd. It’s true strength is its social commentary on modern teenagers and high school life. The characters feel authentic and real. It has a surprising amount of heart.
American Vandal is probably more entertaining than it has a right to be. It’s so silly, but it handles everything (including the silliness) really well. I’m only a couple episodes into season 2, but so far so good.
Trailer Park Boys live in Glasgow last night was a hoot.
Highlights being the gut competition and the balls-off
I finished S2 this morning. Not as funny as S1, but the whole mystery was really well done.
I did notice that some of the actors were more recognisable than in S1. One of the teachers was Sarah Burns, who I’ve seen in a bunch of stuff, one of the kids is a regular on Dear White People, and the girl who gets Peter and Sam involved is Taylor Dearden (Bryan Cranston’s daughter) from Sweet/Vicious.
Death of Stalin, instant classic farce.
Pacific Rim: Uprising
Not the greatest film or sequel ever, but pretty entertaining.
Watched BEIRUT on Prime last night. It is a very good thriller that is well written and very well acted. It should have been a much bigger film, but it has a lot going against it.
First, even though Jon Hamm, Rosamund Pike and all the other cast members (particularly Shea Whigham, who has been one of Hollywood’s best character actors for a while) do a great job with a great script, the production actually is underwhelming. It looks like they had plenty of money, but did not really use it well. It makes one appreciate the way directors like Greengrass and Bigelow can take an almost cinema verite or documentary style and still make it cinemative.
Second, it’s about conflicts in the Middle East - and in the 80’s - in Lebanon where there is not a lot of awareness or, really, wide interest in regard to the political intrigue. The script does a great job keeping you involved, but the production doesn’t.
Third, another directorial failure is really giving the audience any sense that the protagonists are going to fail at any point. There is tension, but not really enough to call this a thriller.
However, because of the tight plotting and smart dialogue, I kept thinking it sounded like a Tony Gilroy movie. Turns out that he did write the script, but I wish he had directed it (or that his brother Don had).
Also, I recently saw 1994’s WOLF with Jack Nicholson and this article sums it up well.
I used to be happy with “darkly comic fantasy (melo)drama with thriller elements” (it’s a sub-genre), but extensive reflection and my current appreciation for the Marvel Cinematic Universe has revealed Wolf for what it truly is: a superhero film for middle-aged people.
The most basic plot synopsis may fool you into believing that you’re in familiar horror territory: man gets bitten by a wolf during a full moon and slowly begins to take on bestial characteristics, all the while going on mysterious – possibly murderous – sleepwalks at night. But the film actually uses that familiar werewolf set-up as a jumping off point to do something that’s closer in spirit to a classic comic book origin story.
Consider the (now very recognizable) turn of events: ordinary guy gets bitten by a supernatural animal; is confused by – but then revels in – newfound abilities; teaches some bullies a lesson; woos a girl who was previously out of his league; gets hit by doubt and wonders if he’d be best rid of his powers, before embracing his gifts when his girl is threatened, launching himself headfirst into a battle with a similarly-powered individual for a climactic fight which turns out to be the dullest part of the film.
Of course, UNBREAKABLE was “a superhero film for middle-aged people,” too.
The biggest problem with ‘Wolf’ is Nicholson playing the worm before the turn (with a (metaphorical) uzi).
It’s Jack Nicholson! Talented actor of course, but still Jack Nicholson!
Harrison Ford? Just about maybe believe that.
Jack Nicholson as the (no pun intended) underdog?
Yeah, it is strange rewatching it in that he does play the character fairly straight before he starts to change. Like Peter Parker before the bite. However, his persona as Jack Nicholson obscures the actual performance he gives in the beginning.
Then, almost exactly like The Wolfman a few years ago, the final battle is just too ridiculous to the point it literally doesn’t feel like it belongs in the same film.
It’s an almost successful film. It needed a bit more polish at the story stage.
Once Jack becomes empowered he doesn’t do enough with his newfound confidence. He needs more “up” before the downsides of being a werewolf force him to make a choice about who he really wants to be?
Jekyll and Hyde stories (and werewolves are often part of that, this story certainly is) are always (or should be in most cases) about what it means to be each of those people, and which one you should be?
The great thing about Stevenson’s novel is that while Hyde is a monster, Jekyll is a coward and hypocrite. There’s moral complexity in there, and ‘Wolf’ could use a little more of that.
I almost love the ‘Wolfman’ remake. I do love the one with Lon Chaney Jnr .and Claude Rains.
The remake was fatally wounded by the last minute change in director and the three year production, with reshoot after reshoot to try and figure out what it actually was?
What we got was a $100m Hammer film. Glorious, gothic, brilliantly cast and with classic moments (some of Johnston’s best work) but with the downsides of Hammer too; variable writing and a lack of cohesion.
But I almost love it despite that.