Monday, August 18, 2008
This is the 2005 horror flick that landed writer/director Rob Zombie the gig of remaking Halloween. Like that remake, this movie isn't much more than disappointing. However, I gotta say, the new Halloween looks a heck of alot better after this one. But let me back up by giving a little bit of a disclaimer that I shun this movie out of love for the genre. And I do love it. I love horror and always have. My favorite movies as a kid weren't the GI Joe movie or Home Alone but The Omen, Children of the Corn and The Shining. I love just about all of it, from Italian masters like Fulci and Argento to modern day fun flicks like The Hills have Eyes remake. I'm no snob and I love these types of movies, but I hated this one. It's about a family whose kill den is discovered by the police and after two of them are killed in the ensuing firefight, the other three members of this murderous family go on the run. My biggest problem with this movie is that all the characters and story developments are shallow excuses to see these freaks rip up on more victims. It's gore for the sake of gore. There's no hook. There's no Clarece Starling or Danny Torrence or Cole Sear. In other words, nothing about this movie grabbed me and I felt like I could walk away and come back some time later and not have missed anything important. I liked Bill Moseley's Otis and Sheri Moon Zombie's character, but everyone else was one-dimensional at best. Long story short, it's basically like watching the X Games, all shock and awe and no story. I think I'd rather watch the X Games, at least there's competition there to hook me in a little.
2008 installment in the Batman series, this one again directed by Christopher Nolan, and once again he's done a great job. This film serves as the introduction (but not the back story) of the Joker. While the 1989 Batman flick showed us the story behind the Joker, it also showed us his end. The Dark Knight is more concerned with his arrival on the scene in Gotham. He shows up out of nowhere and reeks havoc. While in the 1989 film we start with him breaking out of the asylum, this film ends with him going in. Got it? Good. I really liked this movie. It's gritty, it's harsh, it's emotional, it's intense, but it's not as amazing as many of the critics are making it out to be. Basically I would put this Batman right in line with many of the more recent comic book flicks (the better one's at least) like Spider-Man or the X-Men movies or, say, Batman Begins. In other words, it's dang good and certainly worth a watch, but it's not the Citizen Cane that critics are portraying it as. The one element that makes the movie stand slightly higher than it's contemperaries is the performance of Heath Ledger. I am usually turned off by hype and to be honest I've never much liked Heath's performances (in fact, the only one's I can think of as any good are Brokeback Mountain and Monster's Ball), but even with all that I was totally blown away. Here is in a movie with great actors like Bale, Freeman, Cane, Oldman and others and he seems leaps and buonds better. He is natural, emersed in the character and totaly believable. The movie is good, but nothing new. Heath Ledger's performance makes the whole film something very very good, especially for the genre. The only other thing I'd add is that this is the first Batman that is really not for kids at all. It is darker than the others, but really I say it's not for kids b/c the movie is not directed at kids. The themes, the visuals, the dialogue, everything is aimed at an adult audience. So, there, you're warned, don't bring your pre-teens to this installment. But you, you should definitely see it.