Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

THE CALL (2013)
Not a bad little thriller. Movies like these, if they're just shy of being too exploitative, can be like the movie equivalent of junk food. This one's solid and involving and not a great flick, but a fun one. I think the ending miscalculates, though. The extra revenge-y tag at the end just left me cold, and kind of ruined what had been a fun little thriller. Too bad. **1/2. I'd honestly give it two-and-three-quarters if I felt like that was a thing, because it's so close to just being this stupid-but-enjoyable inconsequential movie, but that bit at the very end was such a turn-off.

I was pretty prepared to hate this movie, because I'm so sick of all the zombie shit. But this one was a new take and maybe in some places it's a little obvious, but the leads had such chemistry and the story seemed more genuine than gimmicky. I think for someone like me with anxiety disorders and deep-rooted trauma, it had a lot to say about the fear of connection and the need for understanding. It's such a hipster movie, but it's clever and it's not smug. It maybe gives itself over to more action scenes than I would like, but I really, really enjoyed this. ***1/2

TOKYO GO (2013)
Another winning Mickey Mouse cartoon, this one with bullet trains and a sweet Walt (and his train) cameo. ****

How am I just seeing this now? Fantastic, hilarious, arch, tongue-in-cheek B skiffy flick about a college being visited by an invading alien disease. It's a funny, loving valentine to old grade-Z horror, by Fred Dekker, who also made The Monster Squad and House, two more of my faves. Absolutely loved every moment of this one. Damn me for a fool for taking this long. ***1/2

Well, I didn't love it, but it was probably the most fun I've ever had with a Charles Band movie. A gonzo-weird commentary on 80s consumer culture and militarism, it's nicely tongue-in-cheek and has a couple of hilarious performances (particularly Gerrit Graham and Mary Woronov, both actors I always dig). And holy fuck did I like Jennifer Richards as Medusa. **1/2

THE BABY (1973)
Truly bizarre flick about a family with a grown son who has the mental capacity of an infant and is treated as such, and the social worker who takes an intense interest in him. Watching it with my wife, there was a lot of "What the fuck is this movie?" comments. Weird ending, but the only one this movie could've had. I don't really feel like I wasted my time with this one, but... wow, this is just a bizarre flick. **1/2

Francois Truffaut (who also directed) as a World War I vet obsessed with death and with remembering and enshrining all of the dead who meant anything to him. It's an interesting meditation on the meaning of death and what we do or don't owe to the memories of those who have passed on. Does the way we live our lives in the present alter the meaning of the past, or is Truffaut's character simply afraid of being forgotten himself? Interesting work. Slow, but interesting and intensely meaningful. ***1/2

Spectacular for the chase scene alone. Few filmmakers just make me happier watching them than Buster Keaton. ****


MC said...

I like the original ending for Night of the Creeps better than the one they ultimately went with.

Tallulah Morehead said...

I think Seven Chances is one of Keaton's best features. Of his silent features, it's the one he hated the most, which is ironic, because it's vastly superior to College, Battling Butler, or The Saphead.

Did you catch that the opening sequence was shot in color? The print TCM ran was so badly faded that after the first few seconds, it just looks like it's tinted, but you can see in the beginning of the shot that it was actually shot in full two-strip Technicolor. The film needs and deserves a restoration that fixes the color. (Although, speaking of "color," it also has the embarrassing problem of the white actor in blackface playing a black man. Why on earth they didn't cast a black actor, I have no idea.)

I've been loving these new Mickey Mouse cartoons.

SamuraiFrog said...

MC: I didn't realize there was an alternate ending. I just looked it up on Wikipedia, and I will say I spent that entire movie figuring those aliens would be coming back, and then they just... didn't.

Tallulah: Wow, you're right: I thought it was just tinted. I cringed at the blackface actor... It always looks like they've taken a guy and stained him with wood finish. Wood finish and insensitivity, I guess. It always makes me feel creepy.