What I’ve Been Watching

Latest batch of movies I’ve seen:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) – Not my usual type of movie, but it was pretty good.  A pretty typical Mundane detective thriller – and I admit I didn’t anticipate who turned out to be the bad guy.  The only part that was worth seeing on the big screen was the (awesome) opening credits – the rest, while competently filmed, didn’t have any eye candy.

The Adventures of Tintin – I wrote a separate post about this one here.

Cry Baby Lane – This one attracted my attention because I heard it was made by Nickelodeon (unusual for them to make a thriller) and was not aired because it was deemed to scary for the intended audience at the time.  I’m not sure I agree – it’s pretty tame by today’s standards.

Battle Los Angeles – I swear I’ve seen this movie before.  A bunch of alien retards with superior tech launch a freaking ground war against Earth to steal resources they could much more easily obtain out in space.  Humans lose ground until a small group of jarheads get unreasonably lucky and find the invaders’ critical weakness (in this case, a stupidly centralized resource again).  The only thing this movie has going for it is the animation on the alien aircraft – I love their hover mode propulsion method.

Darkness (2002) – Surprisingly one of the better horror movies made in the last couple of decades, in my opinion.  Unpredictable.  Fairly standard genre story, but well executed.  I especially liked the ending.

One Week (2008a) – Recommended to me in a conversation about my recent cross-Canada road trip, and very appropriate.  Lots of scenery and stretches of road I’ve seen in this film – the story perhaps didn’t have the intended impact on me because I was too busy letting it lead my reflection on my own journey to concentrate on the character’s journey.

Sharktopus – Poster child for the current trend of the B-monster-movie genre self-parodying.  It’s the usual thing: Misguided scienticians create a monster that runs amok for a while until they kill it.  Only this one is tongue-in-cheek.

Stonehenge Apocalypse – Contains everything bad about prophesy-driven disaster movies, though it does go further with the actual disasters than most.  Very skippable.

The Thing (2011) – I dunno.  It didn’t have anywhere near the impact on me that the Kurt Russell one did.  Maybe I’m just too desensitized now.  This one is a prequel and does seem to fit well in that role, though it’s been too long since I saw the two originals that I can’t be sure it meshes cleanly.

The Tunnel (2011) – Above average as modern monster/suspense movies go, though still not great.  This one did appeal to the urban exploration nerd in me.

The Hole (2009) – I really liked the concept of this one.  The execution was competent but unremarkable.

Killer Tomatoes Strike Back and Killer Tomatoes Eat France – I’ve long been a fan of the original Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, and was somewhat disappointed with the sequel, Return of the Killer Tomatoes.  The first movie didn’t really need a sequel.  I only recently discovered these two additional sequels, and they’re not needed either.  The three sequels (plus TV series!) smell like a poorly executed attempt to build the original film’s cult following into something with enough inertia to become a money-making merchandising property.  Each sequel is even more self-conscious and over the top, with the final one making extensive use of the fourth wall.  The only saving grace the sequels have is the villain, Dr. Gangreen, and his henchman Igor – they’re actually somewhat amusing, and Gangreen is a respectable evil mad scientist – too bad he’s trapped in these turkeys.

Tetsuo the Bullet Man – OMG this was dumb.  The usual Guyver genre crap, plus weird-ass ideas about genetics, largely incomprehensible characters and really bad cinematography, and a climax that felt like a bad ripoff of Tetsuo’s situation from Akira.  Waste of time.

Psycho (1960), Psycho II, Psycho III, Psycho IV and Psycho (1998) – The first movie has been on my to-watch list for ages, and upon discovery of the sequels and the remake I finally got around to it.  Watched them all in the space of a week.  Despite its firmly entrenched place in pop culture, the first one surprised me with how much I didn’t know about it – for example I thought the famous shower scene was near the end, but it’s actually at the halfway point.  I quite enjoyed it.

The three sequels actually do a pretty decent job of maintaining continuity with the first movie, though they unavoidably get increasingly contrived.  Psycho II in particular was a pretty well done sequel that actually made sense relative to the events of the first movie.  Psycho IV is missing half its ending in my opinion – given the way the story is structured, it needs two resolutions for the two sets of principal characters, but it only has one – leaving the first group of characters we met hanging in a suspenseful limbo.

The 1998 remake was a bit of a train wreck. It’s a scene-for-scene, word-for-word remake of the original movie, with just a couple of (completely unnecessary) embellishments.  That by itself wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.  The problem is that it’s full of anachronisms.  The scene-setting text at the opening says the story is set in 1998, but using the dialogue from the original script makes the characters act like 1960s throwbacks.  Most of the cars are modern, but the clothing is 1960s style.  In the scene where the Sheriff’s wife phones the hotel, she still asks the switchboard operator, by name, to connect her – in 1998!  Very confusing.  This would have been better if they had either preserved the 1960 setting with all its trappings, or fully updated it to the 1990s, including rewriting the dialogue appropriately.

Edit: I meant to add that Anne Heche was incredibly cute as Marion Crane in the remake.  My new mental image of the term “elfin beauty”.


Comments are closed.