Saturday, July 28, 2018

Three Films Make A Post: The Most Intensive Manhunt Ever Mounted!

Aladdin and the Death Lamp (2012): I usually have a particular weakness for the SyFy Channel’s attempts at low budget fantasy movies. Mario Azzopardi’s Aladdin vs the CGI Monster is too much of a failure to exploit that weakness, though. The acting – even from those among the cast you’d usually call dependable – is deplorable, the human villain lame, the CGI monster boring, the hero a wet blanket, and the SyFyisation of the Arabian Nights only makes all too visible that the film just doesn’t have the budget – and eternal TV bore Azzopardi not the imagination – to actually show anything as colourful and strange as you need to when you aim for this particular story continuum.

The Good Neighbor (2016): Well, to start out with the good, James Caan is great in this one, but then he is James Caan, an actor whose long career has contained quite a few films that were actually good (or better). Which gives little reason to watch Kasra Farahani’s moralizing, plodding, and generally ineffective thriller that suffers from a bad case of self-sabotage embodied in pointless scenes taking place during a court case after the fact cut into the plot at random, an inability to make its stupid teenage protagonists interesting, and grand gesture style moralizing that just doesn’t interest me.

If that’s your thing, you’ll also find half a dozen plot holes and a series of implausibilities (some of which the film even mentions but doesn’t manage to explain away during the court scenes – because pointing out that a part of one’s plot doesn’t work is always better than just fixing it), but I don’t think this thing is actually interesting enough to get into them further.

Tell Me When I Die (2016): Despite the mostly indifferent characters, D.J. Viola’s gimmick slasher whose gimmick is drug induced clairvoyance in the killer and some of its victims is a generally fun, usually competent and sometimes stylish example of the form that for once has a plot-logical explanation for the killer’s teleportation ability. Personally, I’d rather have liked if the film had replaced some of the slasher tropes with thriller tropes and perhaps tried to make more of the clairvoyance element but that’s really more a matter of my personal tastes than of the film doing something wrong or badly. The only element here that really doesn’t work at all is the terribly anticlimactic and disappointing ending that seems to bet on the audience for some reason the film never develops giving a crap about the fate of William Mapother’s character instead of a proper climax or final girl fight. But then, Virginia Gardner’s Anna isn’t bound to win any prizes as example of the type.

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