Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Pentuple Bill Mini Musings: Chicks, Demons, Idiots, Bugs and Clint...

Thelma & Louise:
The final image - with which I'm sure you'll be very familiar with already - is one of those lasting cinematic moments that you'll probably see before you watch the movie. I've seen that moment countless times, and numerous parodies of it (such as on Robot Chicken), but I've only just gotten to the actual movie - and it's good. No wonder it has stood the test of time, it's ideal film school text, it's an essay in-itself about oft-termed girl power, and feminist empowerment, plus it's just a solid story. The eponymous ladies head off for a weekend away fishing, but a fateful stop at a bar leads to them going on-the-run from the law in a world run by men who are almost always idiots or bastards ... or charming bastards. It's quality popcorn sexual politics.

[REC] 2:
The original quickly got a name for itself - the first-person tale of a camera crew attending a routine emergency call with firemen, only to be dunked head first into a horrific battle against blood thirsty monsters in an apartment building. It was well crafted and frequently nerve shredding. The sequel on the other hand picks up immediately after the events of the first movie - from the perspective of a SWAT team charged with escorting a mysterious man inside so that he can carry out a, seemingly simple, task of getting a blood sample.

While the characterisation is a bit brief, and a bit blunt and simplistic (yet another panicky, shouty guy - Larra), yet the broad strokes approach gets you into the action swiftly (the entire reason to watch the movie). There's less tension this time around (but it's by no means missing), and a middle portion featuring the most annoying movie teenagers I've seen in years is nothing but pointless, aggravating filler ... but beyond that there's a nice twist to the monsters themselves, and a thrilling/creepy race to the finish line. If only they'd hacked out those beyond-stupid, totally-annoying, utterly-pointless, desperately-in-need-of-multiple-slaps, can't-wait-to-get-shot-of-them teenagers from the script in the first place!

Jackass 3.5:
It's off-cuts from Jackass 3D polished up to essentially double-dip on the fan base, but then again with that amount of extra content, you can't blame them for putting together a 'best of the rest' disc (which also features yet more out-takes and additional scenes). Fortunately it's decidedly better than the brief and mostly passable Jackass 2.5 (less talking, less rubbish, more entertainment), and it features some inventive nut-shots ... and who doesn't chuckle at a creative nut shot?!

The last time there was a Dario Argento season on The Horror Channel, I missed this particular slice of bug-baiting curiousness (featuring a rather young Jennifer Connelly). The movie can't decide what sort of flick it wants to be, with a plot that lurches from one territory to the next, without fully realising any of them. A young girl (the daughter of an actor) is shipped off to a private girl's school in Switzerland, where she befriends an entomologist (Donald Pleasance, with a Scotch brogue on his tongue) who is cared for by a chimp ... oh, and she has a curious telepathic link with insects ... and there's a random murderer running around offing girls. It's not as visually exuberant as the likes of Suspiria, or as crisp as The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, but it's decidedly better than the dull The Stendhal Syndrome (nice idea, poor execution). However, the sloppy plotting, lack of exploration of some ideas that are set-up well (only to be practically abandoned), and a third act reveal that makes little (if any) sense makes it a bit of a damp squib. Okay - not crap - but not particularly good either.

Clint Eastwood is a New Orleans cop, and single father-of-two, who's tracking a vicious sex killer through the seedy streets of sin across the city. The psychological motivation is explored as much as a cop thriller from the 1980s with a big-name-star ever could - but by today's standards, it's a relative skimming of the surface. Not one of Eastwood's best, but certainly not his worst.

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