Monday, 5 December 2011

Triple Bill Mini Musings: December 2011...

The Invisible Man Returns:
The sequel to James Whale's wonderfully dark, inventive, comedic, and sinister film doesn't share the same sense of style or horror perpetrated by Claude Rains' see-through scientist-turned-psycho. Here we find Geoffrey Radcliffe (Vincent Price) wrongly convicted for murder - and about to swing for it - escaping from prison with the help of Dr. Frank Griffin (the brother of Rains' scientist), and his imperfect scientific discovery, to which the antidote must be found post-haste. There's a knowing sense of humour, and some inventive special effects (continuing what was established before, but never really topping them), and the obligatory nostalgia factor - these classic horrors of the 1930s and 1940s are the early roots (but not the starting seeds) of the horror genre we all know and love today - but I think I'll stick with the first film.

Morning Glory:
Rachel McAdams is a struggling TV exec who scores a job running Daybreak - a dead-end morning show - and it's her job to turn the ratings around lest the show be cancelled and replaced by soap opera and gameshow re-runs. It's a breezy and frothy comedy of little consequence when all is said and done - Patrick Wilson's love interest is a thankless, throwaway part (although it's interesting that the gender roles are reversed in this instance), for example - but Harrison Ford plays to his strengths as a grizzled and grumpy 'real news man' drafted in as co-anchor due to his contract. He drinks, he mumbles, he has spats with Diane Keaton's female co-anchor, and it all works out how you'd imagine from the start. Easy chuckles and the warmth of the cosily familiar replace any potential caustic satire or drama that could have been wrung out of the premise, but it's a movie that's easy-to-enjoy, un-demanding, and of the comfort food variety.

Middle Men:

Luke Wilson is a problem solver - he fixes businesses - and he finds himself caught up in the world of being a pornography middle man, helping run 24/7 Billing, the company that invented the world of paying for porn on the internet. "Inspired by a true story" goes the opening title card, although how much of this crime comedy/drama is true and how much is false, who knows - although murder, a Russian gangster, and some sloppy records keeping seem like they could easily be both. It starts off with a strange mix of world-weary comedy and depressed hindsight, and continues on a slightly uneasy path between the humorously overt (Giovanni Ribisi's wide-eyed, coke-snorting, paranoid ideas man) and the thoughtfully introvert (Wilson's marital and moral problems). It's an interesting flick - if you like stories of suddenly gained vast wealth and all that goes with it, then you'll no doubt get a kick out of this (albeit not-too long-lasting) - and it certainly kicks off with a fast-paced, info-overload bang ... if you like the sound of it, why not give it a spin?

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