Sunday, August 7, 2005

Review – Downfall

We first met Traudl Junge in Blind Spot: Hitler’s Secretary, a low-budget documentary in which she tells the fascinating story of her life. Now the story hits the silver screen again, re-done as a big budget dramatic narrative production, a re-enactment of Junge’s memories with the perspectives of other participants thrown in for good measure. The result is as powerful as one would expect a tale to be when it’s set in the Fuhrerbunker in late April and early May 1945. I think this would make an interesting double feature with Gone with the Wind. They’re both really long, but in the end it would be worth it to see the death of American slavery and the death of German Nazism side by side (or at least back to back). At least one of the two countries that produced the two movies appears able to come to grips with the evil of its subject matter. Worth seeing

Review – Chupacabra Terror

At least unlike Bloodthirst this one actually has a Chupacabra. It also has Giancarlo Esposito and John Rhys-Davies, both of whom need to get new agents. The plot here is sort of like Alien redone as an episode of The Love Boat. The monster looks like a cross between one of the monsters from Humanoids from the Deep and a limp head of lettuce. I’m not sure what would attract actual actors to such a production. Perhaps it had something to do with the tropical vacation getaway shooting locations. This might have scored a single star if not for yet another messy, unnecessary slaying of a dog. Wish I’d skipped it

Friday, August 5, 2005

Review – Constantine

Sometimes comic books make a successful jump to the big screen. But step one in the process is almost always an act of translation, figuring out what elements are going to work in a movie and what’s going to have to be left behind. Unfortunately the folks who made this picture decided to haul the whole comic thing into the movie version. The plot. The awkward dialogue. The teen-oriented pseudo-theology. Even many of the camera angles are sharply evocative of comic panels. Also, here’s yet another movie with awful sound mixing, screeching noise intermixed with dialogue so soft I had to turn on the subtitles. And then there’s Keanu Reeves’s almost constant coughing. Just so I don’t seem like I do nothing but gripe, I did like some of the special effects. If they’d been put to a better use as part of a better movie, they might have been downright fun. Mildly amusing