Saturday, March 25, 2017

Three Films Make A Post: They trusted no one. Until they had to trust each other.

The Curse (1987): If you think that Lovecraft’s Colour out of Space, one of the best pieces of weird fiction ever written, really needed the addition of blood-spurting tomatoes, killer chicken, and young Wil Wheaton (among other things to curdle the blood), boy do I have the film for you. A US/Italian co-production (among the producers are Ovidio Assonitis and perhaps Lucio Fulci) directed by David Keith, this thing at first shows promising production values, straightforward but competent direction and mostly decent acting, but it grows increasingly dumb the longer it goes on, some of the actors seemingly losing all professional ability once they are supposed to play crazy, while the script appears to aim for Troll 2 levels of crap surrealism without ever really reaching the heights/depths of Fragasso’s work. Depending on one’s state of sobriety and Lovecraft admiration, this can be a hoot in the rather unpleasant point and laugh at the film way, or the sort of thing that really pisses you of. Me? I laughed at the killer chicken, at least. Even though they probably weren’t supposed to be funny.

Spectral (2016): Despite director Nic Mathieu visually making more than expected out of his warehouse sets, I can’t say this variation on the old chestnut of soldiers versus some sort of monster does much for me. There’s a certain antiseptic blandness surrounding the proceedings, with not even the mandatory lip service paid to the hardships of being a soldier even though quite a few of the characters bite the dust. The characters in general lack even the short cut characterisation usually happening in this sort of thing, leaving them as utterly replaceable monkeys with guns about whose destinies I can’t even give enough of a crap to keep awake during the action scenes. On paper, the glowy yet invisible CGI baddies are a good idea, but in practice, it’s just the same not terribly expressive effect used over and over, while the film goes through all the expected notions without ever hitting a note that’s true or exciting, or even just mildly interesting.

Winter’s Tale (2014): Akiva Goldsman’s film manages about half the time to reach the mythical exaltation its needs to sell the hypocritical bullshit world view of the Mark Helprin novel it adapts. The other half is good old classical Hollywood kitsch. It’s a competently realized kind of kitsch, mind you, with quite a bit of money thrown at it, so the film certainly is effective to the degree one is willing or able to go with it. Personally, I felt a bit nauseated by the vague feelgood ideas stated that have little to do with what actually happens in the plot, the bizarre yapping about a loving universe that again is the exact opposite of what the film actually shows, and the film’s conviction that being held in perpetual stasis is a happy end. Screw that.

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