Toy Story 3:
Having not had the chance to see it in the cinema, I was eager to see this closing chapter the founder of Pixar's continuing success and creative superiority to various imitators of what they do best.
It's a nostalgic trip, a chortle-inducer, a touching human/toy drama, and even a stunningly dramatic flick. On the latter I'm of course referring to the final act, particularly that one scene - and those who have seen it, know exactly what I'm talking about. Hands down it's the single most moving and stunning moments in Pixar's history. Bravo Pixar. Bravo.
A fellow Homepage of the Dead poster mentioned this undead indie flick, so I took a punt and checked it out on DVD. A couple of high school outcasts ditch school and go to the local abandoned mental hospital to drink, smoke and cause havoc. During their exploration of the basement they discover a naked girl bound to a metal gurney - but as it turns out, she's undead.
I'm sure from that sentence you can surmise what happens afterwards, and it is indeed bizarre at least, and rather gross at most. Turns out this is from the Trent Haaga's back catalogue of banked screenplays - Haaga being one of those who has had a lot of experience at long-running exploitation merchants Troma. Indeed at times it feels like a Troma movie - but only after an entirely different, more serious coming-of-age tone has been established - and this is where the movie feels uneasy, but not in terms of the content (as disturbingly weird as it is). When these 'Troma moments' strike (albeit rarely) you feel wrong-footed, so ultimately the film feels a little confused as to what kind of horror flick it wants to be - but nevertheless by the final act it's gotten itself back on track and figured itself out to a solid conclusion.
Law Abiding Citizen:
I had zero interest in seeing this at the cinema, but Sky Movies were showing it and so I checked it out to see if it was any cop - turns out it was pretty average, as I'd figured. With lesser names behind it you could imagine it being some kind of straight-to-DVD thriller, because for the most part it's pretty ... well, average.
Until moments of SAW-like violent strikes, and then you wonder what sort of thriller this is supposed to be. There's a couple of genuine shocks in it, but it's fairly standard stuff. Only a couple of jolt-moments will linger in your memory for any time afterwards.
Sometimes you just want to watch something that's a bit rubbish, like eating food you know full-well is bad for you. So I guess that's why, deep down in my subconscious somewhere, that I ever bothered to watch this entirely predictable (as in not just from a mile of, but from the surface of the Sun predictable) chortle-free affair.
Two pretty unlikeable successful people are forced to attend the titular number of festivities and just a load of old cobblers happens for 90 minutes, with each Xmas that succeeds the one before it becoming increasingly throw-away to the four - count 'em, FOUR - credited screenwriters.
Seriously. How on earth did it take FOUR people to write this lightweight tosh?
Full of Soderbergh's style, and rather dry comedy, but at least Damon turns in a good performance. It went on a bit too long and I never got into the vibe of it all, but it was a nice surprise to see Thomas F. Wilson (Biff from Back to the Future) turn up.
Happy Birthday To Me:
It's been on the 'to do list' for quite some time, so when The Horror Channel inserted it into their schedules I figured it was about time to barge it out. Compared to some of the other slashers of the era, it's got a decent production value behind it, and the plot - albeit a bit long winded and confusing at times - is ultimately interesting. That said, it takes entirely too long to get to the point, and the crescendos (i.e. the kills) are mostly let downs for their insanely brief screen time. So it was a mixed bag for a slasher, which had some really off-moments tossed into the mix (like attempts to suggest 'could this guy be the killer?' in the second act), but over-the-piece it was pretty decent.