Saturday, March 10, 2018

Three Films Make A Post: Greed has a price.

Werewolf (1995): Tony Zarindast’s originally titled werewolf movie is the sort of thing only a mother (or perhaps a director) will love. The acting’s awkward, the script makes no damn sense at all (the archaeologist bad guys apparently infect people with werewolfery so they can show them off caged, despite having a perfectly fine werewolf skeleton to present and slavery being rather frowned upon in modern times), and the direction…Well, the direction clearly aims for being stylish, but always, absolutely always hits the wrong spot, ending up in turns awkward, bizarre, or just plain inexplicable. I hope you like long, loving tracking shots through a museum while animal noises play in the background, or just as long, loving shots of that darn werewolf skeleton. Additional attractions are Jorge Rivero’s toupee, Richard Lynch, and werewolf make-up in various states of crappiness.

Happy Death Day (2017): Oh, look, it’s a time loop movie! Never seen one of these before. Vile college student Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) is killed again and again by a mysterious masked killer, only to repeat the same day again and again, until she identifies her killer. The problem: she’s such a horrible person there’s nobody she knows who doesn’t have a motive. Speaking of unlikeable main characters, this one makes Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day look like a totally nice guy; and whereas that particular classic actually puts the effort in to show us its main asshole changing into a better person, Christopher Landon’s film doesn’t bother to put any effort into character development. Tree just suddenly isn’t a horrible human being anymore; the mild attempts to explain her character flaws through trauma simple don’t work.

Otherwise, this is a mildly diverting movie that suffers from being neither terribly thrilling, nor funny, nor clever yet also never gets too painful.

The Snowman (2017): Speaking of painful, I don’t hate Tomas Alfredson’s attempt at a serial killer thriller quite as much as most other people seem to do, but that doesn’t mean I’m confusing it with a good or even a mediocre film. There is, after all, nary a scene that doesn’t feature at least one completely inexplicable directing choice or an actor going completely off the rails, with many a scene additionally enlivened by not having any function whatsoever for plot, characters or theme. The violent as well as the more absurd flourishes of the plot really demand to be filmed either in the way of a giallo or of a modern potboiler; Alfredson instead directs them as if they were parts of a thoughtful Nordic style crime movie, at once inadvertently pointing out the stupidity of much what is going on and wasting its potential to entertain. Things are not improved by portentous pacing and a theoretically brilliant cast whose members seem as lost in the pointlessness of the whole affair as I was.

Well, now that I’ve thought about it, I actually do hate this just as much as everyone else does.

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