Monday 17 January 2011

Hextuple Bill Mini Musings: December-to-January...

Silent Night, Deadly Night:
There are moments during this festively themed slasher that are surprisingly nasty and mean spirited ... not that slashers are generally known for their good natured hugs and kisses, that is ... but it is easy to see how the premise alone enraged a whole league of middle American soccer moms.

What is actually messed up though is that some of the Santa Slaying stuff goes on in front of child actors, which was a bit odd and uncomfortable to see ... however outside of that it's a decent killer flick, even if it becomes more about disjointed scenes in the second half, unlike the clear narrative paths of better known slashers.

Fantastic Mr. Fox:
Charming, in a word. Roald Dahl's tale is given the old school stop-motion animation treatment, with big-and-indie-name cred, and it was really quite enjoyable. Not much to say about it really, but I dug it.

Return to The House on Haunted Hill:
A cheap direct-to-DVD sequel to the post-Scream mental asylum jumper. It's a shame the characters are either bland and uninteresting, or off-the-peg baddies, because the central plot could have been fairly interesting - especially if they'd gotten more into the house itself and it's tortured past. Quite frankly just seeing a few flashes of horror icon Jeffrey Combs (who has no dialogue bar one "NOOOOOO!") isn't good enough and it feels like a missed opportunity ... and once again I'm left still wanting a properly good mental asylum horror flick.

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls:
This 1970 Russ Meyer flick (written by, weirdly, Roger Ebert) is so insanely 1960s than even the 1960s weren't this 1960s. Words of the decade are thrown around at machine gun pace, everyone's into the free-love-and-drugs, and good lord it's just too long. Meyers hadn't really gotten into his full-on swing yet, but his fast-cutting and creative visuals (a precursor to the music video) at least give a bit of flair to all the nonsense that's going on. It's strengths are also its weaknesses.

Crazy Heart:
Not a lot to say about this one, but Jeff Bridges is on tip-top form as an alcoholic country singer given a shot at personal redemption and another shot at the big time. His Oscar was well deserved.

The Bone Collector:
A properly 1990s Se7en cash-in that takes the sinister tone and shocks of Fincher's stand-out horror/thriller and waters them down for more mainstream tastes - an assertion summed up by the rushed reveal, and feel good ending. Before that, however, it was a decent enough serial killer thriller ... although still very much in debt to the superior Se7en.

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