Tuesday, June 25, 2013


El Gringo (2012): I really wish people would stop making these pseudo-Tarantino movies - or perhaps pseudo-Robert-Rodriguez movies in this case - if they don't have the talent or the intelligence to make them work (of course, if they had, they'd do more than just try to ape other directors). El Gringo wastes a perfectly able Scott Adkins, and two or three decent ideas on an execution that suggests the production being dominated by a couple of twelve year old boys with never a moment that doesn't look as if the actors were playing dress-up, which fits a movie that tries and fails to sell Bulgaria as Mexico without doing more than putting some rickety sets up and turning the colours to "bleached and yellowish".

Plus, it just isn't funny at all.

The Man From Nowhere (2010): As far as films in the "depressed former government killers go on a killing rampage to free someone kidnapped"/save the babies movies go, I'm not too impressed with Lee Jeong-beom's effort. An at its core simple tale is bloated by much unneeded exposition, and long careful scenes that spend way more time with cops and bad guys than the film's actual plot would need turn the film's pace to a crawl. Worse, these additions never actually add much of substance to the film beyond taking up time, for the characters here are exactly who you expect them to be and will do exactly what you expect of them anyway. As it stands, the movie lacks either depth or speed, either of which would have been enough to make it interesting.

Citadel (2012): This one, I expected to enjoy quite a bit more than I actually did. A clever little low budget film about urban decay with a male lead that is as ineffectual as possible should be right up my alley, after all. And really, director/writer Ciaran Foy does have a hand for the staging of threatening situations and knows how to use a handful of locations for the best. However, I never really warmed to to the movie thanks to my annoyance at various basics of the script: every mistake protagonist Tommy (played by Aneurin Barnard with lots of wide-eyed gasping) makes seems to be attributed to his agoraphobia, which is portrayed in a way that puts the emphasis on plot convenience, as if his anxiety disorder (and believe me, I know about those) weren't so much the aftereffect of heavy trauma but the only way the script could work. Obviously, it's not a good thing when the audience realizes this. I'm also quite unhappy with the absence of any form of authority beyond a priest in the movie. I know, thematically this makes a lot of sense, and cops don't visit the poor part of town all that often but once a horde of hooded demon children regularly runs amok somewhere, you'd expect a certain degree of interest even from them.

In the big picture, these things shouldn't be enough to ruin a horror film for me (I have enjoyed films with much less internal logic) but watching Citadel, I found myself rolling my eyes at the movie more often than not. Perhaps being halfway to a poverty porn horror movie and halfway to something more interesting is not far enough in either direction.

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