Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Three Films Make A Post: Rabid, Drug-Infested Hippies on a Blood-Crazed KILLING RAMPAGE!

The Possession (2012): I was warned by other reviews that Ole Bornedal's movie loses much of its quality during its finale, but for my tastes, the whole thing jumped the shark at about the fifty minute mark when Jeffrey Dean Morgan does his short experiment in DIY exorcism (is there a column about that in Maker Magazine?). At least that's the point when all the film's increasingly loud and dumb attempts at scaring the audience only produced increasingly annoyed eye-rolling anymore. It's a bit of a shame, too, for the film's beginning promises a decent, subtextually loaded piece of nuclear family in dismay (oh noes!) horror, some of the horror sequences show promise, and the acting is rather good throughout. Alas, the longer The Possession goes, the dumber it becomes, turning loud when it should be silent and pompous when it should be subtle. Or maybe I'm just growing too old to appreciate a movie shouting at me throughout its running time as "horror"?

Taken 2 (2012): Speaking of disappointments, Olivier Megaton's sequel to what just may be the best among Europa Corps's endless assembly line churn-out of action movies does not hold up to the standards of the first film. Somebody must have talked Luc Besson into toning the violence down, and now we have an action movie that often seems afraid to show much of the action, even in the extended cut. There's some theoretically interesting subtext about the film's bad guy - whatever his name is - and Liam Neeson's character being mirror images of each other, but in good old Besson fashion, the script wastes that potential in its insistence on having the bad guy still being cliché-evil. This wouldn't be so bad if the rest of the movie would make a better effort distracting the audience from the film's failings, but there's really not enough going on for that at all.

On the positive side, this time around Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace are allowed a bit more screen-time and personality, though of course no actual agency. I'd also wish these films would stop casting nearly thirty year old Grace as a seventeen year old girl (one assumes) with the mental development of a twelve year old, but that might be just me.

Henge (2011): I was quite a bit more impressed by Hajime Ohata's short-ish (53 minutes) movie about a man (Kazunori Aizawa) who starts transforming into a monster, which does change the marital relations to his wife (Aki Morita) in various ways. Elements of Cronenbergian body horror, Hellraiser and finally kaiju cinema come together in a movie strong enough to transcend Aizawa's indifferent performance and the dubious quality of its special effects. There's some true conviction behind the filmmaking here that is a beautiful antidote to the half-assed-ness of the other films I looked at today.

No comments: