Saturday, April 29, 2017

Three Films Make A Post: A horrifying descent into the twisted killing spree of a psychopath.

Witchouse 3: Demon Fire (2001): Ironically, J.R. Bookwalter’s likeable little horror movie - produced for Charles Band’s Full Moon when the money was obviously starting to run really low (though at least there aren’t any puppets around) - looks cheaper than most of the director’s self-financed films. It’s not terribly exciting business about the dangers of doing magic rituals while drunk (until the underdeveloped PLOT TWIST CHANGES EVERYTHING, of course), but Bookwalter makes the best out of no money and presents some minor chills, mostly spending his time on Debbie Rochon, Tanya Dempsey and Tina Krause (as well as Brinke Stevens as the evil witch Lilith) having fun, flipping out (particularly Rochon has two and a half highly entertaining scenes of losing her shit), and saying things like “You look like you fell down a flight of abusive boyfriends” while mostly keeping their clothes on. It’s entertaining enough for what it is, and tries hard not to bore its audience.

Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997): Where the first Speed was a dumb but inventive and fun action movie, this sequel is more than just a bit of a slog. Despite the promise of the title, the film is at least thirty minutes too long, full of boring subplots blandly presented, non-characters nobody gives a crap about and a general air of a script not so much written as spat out by some sort of script robot. Returning director Jan de Bont seems to have lost all his mojo for presenting exciting action. Never a man for prodding actors along, he can’t even get an entertaining performance out of Willem Dafoe (or any of the other actors, for that matter), so that the whole thing doesn’t just have the air of a bad sequel but of a film nobody involved actually wanted to have much to do with apart from cashing their pay checks.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008): On paper Nicholas Stoller’s comedy (written by lead Jason Segel) should be a mess of a movie, seeing as it mixes genuinely sweet romantic comedy, awkwardness humour (a comedy style that still leaves me puzzled), “raunchy” comedy, Hollywood self-irony, and full frontal nudity by Segel. In practice, all these things for once feel as if they belong together here. That’s thanks to a script by Segel that is generally much cleverer than it needs to be, and often more insightful into the way actual human beings work than it pretends to be. A cast (Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and Russell Brand in the main) that can switch comedy and acting styles at a moment’s notice does help there, too.
Plus, there’s a puppet comedy Dracula musical involved.

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