Saturday 21 August 2010

Pentuple Bill Mini Musings: August 2010...

I'd only seen this once before - when I was about 12 - and while it has aged, horribly so at times, it's still an interesting concept. I couldn't help but think as I watched it "I wonder what a modern day remake of this would be like" as there's a lot of ideas that could be wrestled with in an even more in depth manner, with modern techniques, that are somewhat skimmed over or technically limited in the original movie.

The third act is a bit weak, it doesn't strive to fully investigate the subject matter, and it hasn't aged spectacularly well, but I still dig it for what it's worth. However, an intelligent remake that delivered heavily on the ideas as much as technically impressive action, would be something worthwhile. I guess we'll possibly find out in 2012.

Good Will Hunting:
It's another one of those movies where you don't see it until years later (13 years later in this instance), but you're all-too-aware of the numerous parodies and famous lines ("How do you like them apples?"). It was on TV the other day and I figured why not? The script is impressively researched, the 'Boston feel' is convincing, and the characters are interesting and complex ... no wonder it got so much praise.

Final Destination 3:
The first movie was quite good and memorable to boot, even if it did come out in the wake of Scream when horror had become a bit of a smart arse instead of a convincing genre. The second movie upped the ante on deliciously intricate death sequences, and that's really what the whole series is about. However in 2006 when 'Final Destination ... on a roller coaster' presented itself I wasn't interested, but four years later here we are. The deaths aren't intricate or as inventive as the previous movies, and the ending makes you wonder "was there any point in bothering?" but it has some moments.

The fourth movie is on Sky Movies soon so I'll check that out, but I'm not holding out much hope for the franchise now, especially with the abysmal titling of the fifth movie - "5inal Destination" ... so, what, "Five-in-al Destination"? Hmmm...

Revenge of the Nerds:
Old school 80s comedy - with Ted McGinley (who I know from Married With Children) and James Cromwell in it no less. Relatively tame and slow paced by today's standards, and not especially 'jam-packed' with ideas, it does speak of its time and no doubt if I was of the right age when it was new I would have absolutely loved it, but I'm just a bit too young to really see the attraction in this movie - not that I particularly disliked it, I was just a decade late to the party.

Still, I now 'get' the references to it in shows such as Family Guy and Robot Chicken.

Much has been made of this being "the £45 zombie film" ... perhaps, but with an awful lot of favours, people, contacts and free work thrown into the mix. It could do with being about 20 minutes shorter and a little more focused and organised in its plotting, but overall I was quite impressed by it.

The film is, it has to be said, let down by the visual presentation - but then again that was part of the charm of it that so enraptured the slow-to-pay-attention mainstream media - but its real strength comes in numerous scenes that are well observed and/or pack an emotional punch. There is a subtlety to the film in the way big emotional situations are played out with little-or-no dialogue and instead with merely looks, careful framing, and an eye for explosive detail - the little visual cues that convey an essay's worth in a moment.

Certain sequences go on too long (such as a battle in a house with a hoard of the undead, and the dangers of someone's cellar), and the camerawork can be annoyingly shaky and dark at times ... but for every niggle or slight downside, there's a fantastic little idea thrown into the mix.

Working well with its low budget station, the zombie apocalypse playing out frequently as nothing but gunshots in the distance and a few newspaper headlines is a great way to sell a lot with very little. The film's full of these things and that makes it stand out. It's a great indie zombie flick, which really takes the subject matter seriously and deals with it in a mostly subtle manner - and what's more, on a few occasions it successfully struck an emotional wallop.

In a way it's a shame that so much attention has been given to the "£45" angle - although I can fully understand it, and condone it, as a marketing and attention-acquiring gimmick - but it does hide the real quality going on beneath the very low budget outer shell. It'll be interesting and exciting, to say the least, to see what the Director can do with a bit of money at his disposal.

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