Monday 10 October 2016

Don’t be afraid of the Dark (2010)


Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes work quite well together in this run-of-the-mill haunted house remake of a 1973 made-for-TV movie.  Bailee Madison does well as Sally, the daughter who is harassed by the little critters, and manages to create a bit of empathy for the character; not bad for an 11 year-old.  Fun to see serial cameo Alan Dale pop up, otherwise this is really a by-the-numbers horror that isn’t especially scary.

Produced by Guillermo del Toro (the critters aren’t filled with eyes though) and directed by a comic book artist for some reason (Troy Nixey), not that he does a bad job, it just seems an odd choice.  The creatures themselves are quite fearsome little hunchback things and their scuttling puts me in mind of facehuggers, but otherwise there is nothing special about this standard haunted house fayre.  But, you know, that’s just, like, my opinion man.

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Thursday 15 September 2016

I, Frankenstein (2014)


Pseudo Underworld, stitched together from the corpses of various horror actioners and given unholy life.

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Friday 3 June 2016

Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Almost 65 years on and Singin’ in the Rain remains timeless, a real classic, not only because it tells of an important point in movie history (in that way it almost sits alongside Cinema Paradiso (1988) or Hugo (2011)), but because of the empathy we feel for the characters, and of course because of some tremendous dance numbers.

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Monday 30 May 2016

Robocop (2014)

Formulaic and derivative actioner which lacks the bite of the original, and for which there was no need.

Where was the tongue in cheek jibe at modern day excesses? Where was the finger given to the MTV (I guess now YouTube) generation? Where was the commentary on the fact that huge corporations are inherently evil? Paul Verhoeven’s original had all this and more.

For one, it had a believable lead role, not even Michael Keaton or Gary Oldman could rescue this. Jackie Earle Haley’s character was fun, but Samuel L Jackson’s talk show spots didn’t really work as a prop to hang the plot on.

Not to mention that the way that Alex Murphy becomes Robocop has changed, the EDs are never explained – they’re just there, and Robocop never says “Serve the public trust, protect the innocent, uphold the law.”

I suppose comparisons with the original are unfair and shouldn’t really be made; but when a “reboot” is this poor it’s hard not to. A missed opportunity, and a waste of everyone’s time.

Monday 16 May 2016

Zootopia (2016)

On the one hand this is a cartoon about a bunny wanting to be a cop, with lots of fish-out-of-water gags as the naive rabbit is variously patronised. On the other hand, the main themes of standing up for what you believe in as well as cultural/racial tolerance are really quite serious.

Of course this is a Disney animated kids film though, and as such it does everything right. The jokes are thick and fast, the creation of the utopian animal world is excellent with so much detail that repeat viewings will doubtless reveal ever more unnoticed touches, and the voice cast it excellent.

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