Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Review – Argo

It’s like Ben Affleck heard people calling him an actor/director and set out to prove them wrong on both counts. In 1980 the Canadian government and the CIA collaborated to sneak American embassy staff out of Iran disguised as a film crew, a real life story with tremendous cinematic potential. Helmed by the Cohen brothers, this might have been a successful oddball caper picture. A political thriller veteran like John Frankenheimer or William Friedkin might have made this work as an espionage movie. Affleck’s vision seems to be more “Let’s shoot The Hurt Locker as a comedy.” And in front of the camera, he adopts the listless, emotionally dead approach that seems to be a trend at the moment (may it vanish as quickly as it appeared). The Oscars didn’t snub you, buddy. They just politely turned their backs to give you the chance to slink away with some of your dignity intact. See if desperate

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Review – The Color Out of Space

The parts of this movie that actually follow the H.P. Lovecraft source story are reasonably good. Sure, it’s in German. And I was of two minds about the decision to make the amorphous “color” the only non-black-and-white element of the production. Clever or gimmicky? You decide. I didn’t care much for the bracket(s), which seemed to be there solely to stretch a solid 40-minute story out to a watery feature length. But the core of the production made the filler acceptable. Mildly amusing

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Review – Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet

I’ve seen literally hundreds of horror movies that start with some promise but end up slain by one failed element in the production mix. Most often it’s bad directing or bad acting, though it can be any combination of elements on the low budget horror don’t list. However, this picture’s a novelty, because it’s ruined almost entirely by the writers. The production is competently assembled, and the acting is downright solid by sub-genre standards. But the dialogue? Ouch. It’s like listening to an hour and a half of a witless what-are-you-doing-dunno-how-bout-you cell phone conversation occasionally punctuated by attacks from a naked slasher ghost. See if desperate

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Review – Everything or Nothing

James Bond fans should love this retrospective on the 50-year-old series. Or then again, maybe not. Though the picture doesn’t dwell excessively on the negative, it does present an unflinching look at some of the behind-the-scenes battles that shaped some of the odder moments in the set, particularly Sean Connery’s off-again-on-again relationship with the producers. This is also a nice, even piece of documentary filmmaking, a good blend of movie clips, archive footage and interviews. Mildly amusing

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Review – Endangered Species

A crappy horror movie producer should count himself lucky to score even one of the C-list stars who specialize in such productions. But this picture sports no less than three. Eric Roberts, Arnold Vosloo and John Rhys-Davies team up to create an Expendables-ish ensemble that overshadows the weak story, a thin stew made from Terminator and Predator leftovers. See if desperate