Saturday, January 26, 2008

Review – Eastern Promises

Cronenberg has done worse. The basic structure is a boring mob movie, and the fact that the gangsters are Russian rather than Italian doesn’t make it any more interesting. But Cronenberg’s lingering skill with gore helped spice things up a bit. Viggo Mortensen stars as a low-key factotum in the London branch of the Russian mob who gets too close to a midwife (Naomi Watts) who knows too much about their underage prostitution ring. The real draw for me, however, was the tattoo stuff. I find Russian prison tattoos fascinating, so I enjoyed the parts of the movie that focused on the meanings of various designs and their importance in the criminal subculture. A little blood and ink aren’t quite enough to make this a must-see, but at least they supplied some entertainment value. Mildly amusing

Monday, January 21, 2008

Review – Asteroid

Alas, poor Kansas City. This two-part sci-fi movie got me all set to see my home town trashed by a giant rock from outer space. And then the catastrophe peters out. Instead of a mega-hit, all we get is a medium-sized stone that takes out a (wholly nonexistent) dam, causing nothing worse than some flooding. Instead, a different asteroid comes along later and trashes Dallas. When this plot has to stretch out to fill four hours’ worth of screen time (minus ads, of course), you know going in that you’re going to get a lot of lost kid crap and similar time-killers. Mildly amusing

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Review – Earth vs. The Flying Saucers

This is a minor classic of the alien invasion trend in the sci fi movies of the 1950s. It’s noteworthy mostly as an early example of the talents of Ray Harryhausen. The scenes of the saucers crashing into Washington landmarks are rough around the edges but nonetheless as entertaining as his later, more sophisticated work. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie is a stiff piece of B-movie junk. Mildly amusing

Friday, January 11, 2008

Review – The Bat

This must be part of the National Film Museum’s Project to Restore Crappy Old Movies Starring Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead (or NFMPRCOMSVPAM, which as acronyms go isn’t all that good). The killer in this stagey murder mystery dresses up like The Shadow minus the cape and plus a glove with sharp metal talons, making me wonder if Wes Craven didn’t see this as a kid and later echo it with Freddy Krueger’s infamous blades. Beyond that, however, this is a clunky bit of skullduggery and not much more. Mildly amusing

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Review – Abominable

Pity poor Preston (whose name I recall because it’s shrieked dozens of times throughout the course of the production). A climbing accident kills his wife and lands him in a wheelchair, which is an inconvenient seat when a whole houseful of fly-ass girlies moves in next door to his mountain cabin. But things get even worse when Bigfoot shows up and starts chewing his way through the nubile neighbors. The horror of this might have been slightly enhanced if any of the women had been given even minimal personalities, or maybe even if the monster hadn’t looked like Hank Williams Jr. A smattering of B-list actors likewise doesn’t transform this into a masterpiece of the cinema arts. My favorite part of the movie was the end, and not just because it meant the movie was over. It was a nice, unexpected twist, even if it was a blatant set-up for an (with luck entirely hypothetical) Abominable 2. Mildly amusing

Genre: Horror

Subgenre: Monster
Date reviewed: 

Monday, January 7, 2008

Review – Eye of the Beast

It’s a giant squid, not a shark. It’s a lake, not the Atlantic. Otherwise I’ve got the sneaking suspicion I’ve seen this somewhere before. Mildly amusing

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Review – De-Lovely

Add Cole Porter to the list of famous people I wish I knew less about. Once again a movie biography dwells on the sex life of its subject. Plus we get the added insult of some really great music performed by some talented folks – particularly Elvis Costello doing “Let’s Misbehave” – overlaid and undercut by some spectacularly dull dialogue. Even the producers of classic musicals from the less sophisticated days of the 1930s knew enough to have the actors shut up during the songs. However, the actors have their hearts in it, especially Kevin Kline in the lead and Ashley Judd as his wife. The art direction is also impressive for what appears to be a fairly low-budget movie. Mildly amusing