Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Film Week

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

THE INNKEEPERS (2011)
Interesting, atmospheric haunting movie from the director of The House of the Devil. I liked that film a lot more, but this one created an interesting mood. One of the common complaints I see about this movie is that nothing really happens, but I don't necessarily agree; it's just that it's more about the mood itself rather than the situation, and how it builds just really depends a lot on how much you're willing to buy into it. Then again, I did forget for a while that I saw it... ***

GAMBIT (2012)
A remake of the 1966 caper movie, written by the Coen Brothers and starring Colin Firth as an art dealer trying to fleece his prick boss (Alan Rickman). It has some decent moments--it even threatens to become charming at times--but it's sunk by its rather laid-back tone and Cameron Diaz's bizarre, over the top performance as a Texas rodeo queen. **1/2

EARTH TO ECHO (2014)
I wish I'd seen this when I was 8. I would have loved it as a kid. As an adult, well... remember when Super 8 came out and its critics were calling it Steven Spielberg Presents Steven Spielberg Movies: The Movie? Here you'd just need to remove the Steven Spielberg Presents part. It's about a group of kid friends who live in a neighborhood that's being demolished (like The Goonies) and then get on their bikes for an adventure (like The Goonies). They end up finding an alien that's lost on Earth and trying to get back home, but the alien is being chased by government functionaries (like E.T., which the movie does not do itself any favors comparing itself to). And then they have adventures that also resemble Gremlins and Poltergeist with a little bit of Back to the Future, and then they use the alien's ability to manipulate metal to find its ship so it can go home (like... er, Super 8). It's derivative, but it has a good heart; I can't really hate it for that. Also, Echo, the robotic alien, is a really nice creature, and the special effects are strong. And I didn't hate the found footage format. Still, it never rises above "Oh, this would be nice for little kids." Or at least for the little kid I used to be. **1/2

IF THERE BE THORNS (2015) **
SEEDS OF YESTERDAY (2015) *
Lifetime finally got to the next two sequels to Flowers in the Attic. They're crazy, but not in the fun way you hope they'll be crazy. If There Be Thorns is directed okay, but the whole religious fundamentalism plot was just too irritating to have to deal with. Seeds of Yesterday's direction is sub-porno levels; I guess all the money for that one went into the house and not into, say, hiring good actors. Other than some great choices on the part of whomever dressed Sammi Hanratty, it was just a mess that got creepier and creepier.

PLANET HULK (2010)
Pretty good animated adaptation of the greatest Hulk story ever. Some of the story beats got cut for time, but it was still a fun watch. Interesting choice to replace Silver Surfer in the movie with Beta Ray Bill, but I love Beta Ray Bill, so I was pretty happy. Not much to say about it, but I enjoyed it. ***

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