Saturday, November 13, 2010

Three Films Make A Post: It Will Scare You To Pieces!

Red: Werewolf Hunter (2010): Syfy Channel original movies are one of the banes of human existence. Somehow, these films always manage to take a perfectly good b-movie idea (in this case: Little Red Riding Hood's descendants are a clan of werewolf hunters) and make a disappointingly bland movie out of them. If it's not the miserably bad CGI and just plain uninventive monster design, it's scripts that go through the motions of being an exciting ride instead of actually providing one, and direction so devoid of personality or style you couldn't get away with in most TV shows anymore, that kill films of this type. Or - as in Red - all those things at once.

Most of the actors on screen seem as bored by the film as I was. The only exceptions are Felicia Day and Stephen McHattie - both are game, but find no-one who wants to play.

Twice Dead (1988): Ostensibly a horror film about a haunted house, Twice Dead really wants to be a film about two annoying teenagers fighting a gang of late 80s Hollywood "punks". Director Dragin doesn't even seem to be trying to make the "punks" or the ghosts even the least bit menacing, creating a film that feels tired and pointless. The mandatory 80s cheese is not ripe enough to make up for Twice Dead's lack of anything else.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010): It would probably have needed a better world or a lot of bad compromises to let Edgar Wright's intensely nerdy and geeky and clever comic adaptation become the blockbuster Universal seems to have wanted it to be.

On the other hand, what do I care about Universal's bottom line when the film as it is is just about perfect, beginning with its pixelated Universal logo? That logo is just the beginning of the movie's show of just the right amount (which is to say a lot) of love for the formative pop-cultural influences of many people my age or a few years younger.

But beside this love, Wright's film also has a clear look for the things that just might be wrong with its pop-cultural loves and consequently its characters, and so never steps into the trap of using its cleverness only for the sake of being clever. The hyperactive excitement bolsters a (at its core old-fashioned) story about growing out of being a jerk. Just like it was in the comics.

In any case, the film's fidelity to its sources also explains why a certain type of elderly movie critic just didn't get Scott Pilgrim, and also explains to me why so little of what these guys have to say about movies interests me anymore; they are just so goddamn old that their little souls have shrivelled to the point of having no ability to recognize joy when they encounter it in a movie anymore.

Looks like I'll have to change my "I generally dislike comedy" shtick, too, or I'll at least have to amend it with "unlike Edgar Wright's got something to do with it".


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