Saturday, March 7, 2009

There Will Be Boobs, and Other Assorted Stuff.


Like any nerd worth his or her weight in Golden Age comics, I sat in line for the midnight premiere of Zack Snyder's Watchmen.

I'm not going to attempt any kind of in-depth review, as even now--some two days since I saw the film--I'm still processing it. It will take several future viewings, I believe, for it to stand in my eyes on its own merits. For now, it's merely a lush visual representation of the book, the viewing of which was heavily informed/influenced by my most recent re-reading of the source material.

I will say this: the violence lacked subtlety, and thus lacked impact. It's cartoonishly grand guignol. It didn't help that what could have been the most shocking and unnerving kill (the child killer's run-in with his own meat-cleaver) was marred by shockingly unfinished digital gore.

Am I the only one confused by Snyder's choice to transform the alley brawl into a massacre? Disarming a thug and then plunging the knife into his throat? Rorschach or Blake would do that, sure--but Laurie and Dan?

Contamination Follow-up

I finished watching it. It's the most under-edited movie I've ever seen, a 45-minute story (possibly thirty!) stretched and padded to the ninety-minute mark.

It's interesting to note that writer director Luigi Cozzi was no mere hack hired to churn out an Alien knock-off, an easy assumption to make. The accompanying documentary reveals him to be a science fiction fan steeped in the rich history of the American pulps. This is evident in the decidedly quaint silent invasion plot, as well as in the design of the cyclops, a creature that would have looked at home on a cover of Amazing Stories (or maybe sprawled across Times Square in an effort to stop a nuclear holocaust).

For all of his love for and knowledge of the genre, Cozzi produced a film that is little more than an amusing oddity. There are a few fun ideas on display, but, unless you're an Italian horror completist, this one isn't worth your time.

Unless, of course, you want to have some fun playing around with it in Premiere or Final Cut.

The Man Who Saved Night of the Living Dead

The first part of my massive interview with Don May, Jr. is now live at Fear Zone. The second will be posted this coming Thursday (the 12th), at which time I'll run my review of Synapse's upcoming release, the boob-filled Swedish sexploitation flick, Exposed.

Belated Thoughts on a Movie Already on the Way Out

I liked the Friday the 13th remake. I began writing this half-baked review a few days after seeing the movie, but it sat around as a draft for too long and now it's just plain stale.

It's not a great film. It's not really even a film. It is, however, a fine Friday the 13th movie--a low bar, but a bar nonetheless.

I have a certain fondness for the Jason flicks--not because they've very good (they're mostly not), but because I was a kid when I saw them and they titillated me in all the ways good slasher flicks are supposed to titillate a thirteen-year-old boy: a scary and unstoppable monster, creative and bloody kills, and boobs (unless we're talking about Part 7, which delivered perhaps the coolest-looking Jason, but nary a blood-droplet or even a barely-glimpsed areola. (The MPAA were zealous when it came to butchering horror films back then.)

The new Friday delivers on all of the above: Jason is as imposing and unstoppable as ever (and maybe even a little cooler), the kills are fairly creative (though not nearly as bloody or inventive as one would expect, given the freedom offered by digital FX. A sign of some modicum of restraint on the part of the film makers, or a lack of imagination?), and boobs. Not a bountiful abundance of boobs, but more boobs than I've seen on screen since Hostel, as well as a bouncy and protracted sex scene that would have prompted me to go on a slow-mo frenzy, back in post-pubescent VHS glory days of 1987.

The Friday movies are the butter-slathered popcorn of the horror genre. They're junk, but they're greasy good fun. Because of this, one should not go into a Friday the 13th remake with the same apprehension or incredulity inspired by remakes of truly great films. It's Friday the 13th -- not Dawn of the Dead or The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

With Scream 13 years behind us, the slasher film is, for better or worse, once more allowed to merely be a slasher film: the new movie is self-aware only in that it references elements from the first three Friday films. Surprisingly, it's not nearly as winky as one would expect, and there's even a nuanced and--gasp!--sophisticated moment or two.

If you're an old-school Friday fan and you're up in arms over this movie, it's probably because you've not given the original films an objective assessment.

No comments: