January 29th, 2009–
The best thing that can be said for Martin Campbell’s new thriller of Edge of Darkness is that it’s a gritty and welcome return for the fallen Mel Gibson who stars as Detective John Craven. That’s not a back-handed compliment either. Even before events in his private life shattered his rep, Gibson hadn’t exactly been lighting up the cinema with his onscreen presence. His ability was never in question but his choice of films often felt like paychecks to help finance his own personal directorial visions. He’s a gifted and canny director, but I haven’t really bought one of his performances since 1999’s Payback.
Now, in a variation on that role—add in a heaping helping of Liam Neeson’s grim, determined father from Taken—Gibson comes back to the acting fold with a character that walks the line between justice and vengeance so erratically one feels compelled to check the credits and make sure his name isn’t Max Rockatansky. Continue reading
Chaw (NR) Running Time: 121 min. Directed by: Jeong-Won Shin Starring: Tae-Woong Eom, Yoon Jae-Moon, Yu-mi Jeong, Earl Wayne Ording Cinematography: Barry Stone
Before launching into Jeong-Won Shin’s B-movie bonanza Chaw, I believe a word of caution is in order. For those expecting a schlocky horror film like Razorback or possibly a suspenseful creature feature like The Host, temper your expectations now. And for anyone who only observes star ratings, you might want to really read the review before deciding on this one.
Because, on the level, Chaw is an amazingly buffoonish piece of work. Continue reading
Daybreakers (R) 108 min. Written & Directed by: The Spiereg Brothers. Starring: Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill, Isabel Lucas Cinematography: Ben Nott Score: Christopher Gordon
At a Christmas get-together this year, one of my extended family members told me he had seen the site and would probably read it more if I didn’t review so many damn vampire movies. At last inventory, I’ve technically reviewed 2, but one of those was New Moon so I’m not sure it counts. Eitherway, it seemed to be the gore and tedious nature of the genre that had done him in.
November 25th, 2009–
American Ninja, where art though? Pray for Death, you have gone…never to return. Even Ninja III: Domination moved away and forgot to write. The over-the-top kill happy martial-arts fantasies of the mid 1980s have all abandoned us, and nothing ever came to take their place. With the exception of a occassional, errant nugget like 1995’s The Hunted (yea, it sucked…surprise) a genre I so loved as a child has all dried up.
Yes, I’m talking about the ninja film. Sure, Japan produced a few half-hearted attempts over the years, including the recent Shinobi:Heart Under Blade, but it had a decidedly wuxia feel to its ninjary (TM), and it played like a feverish video game. Then, hope briefly surfaced in the form of an announcement; the brothers Wachowski were making a big budget ninja film with their acolyte James McTeigue (V for Vendetta) behind the camera and Korean pop star Rain in front of it. Now that it’s here, Ninja Assassin turns out to be one more glittering chunk of fool’s gold. Outside of a killer opening sequence and a rather lively final battle, this one proves a tedious disappointment. Continue reading
Thailand’s Buppah Rahtree: Curse of the Night Flower is exactly the kind of film that makes writing this column so much fun. It’s a pleasing genre mash-up of slapstick comedy, gut-wrenching drama and creeping dread. There are so many delightful twists and turns that I felt elated instead of jerked around. The movie comes from a country not really known for their compelling horror pictures and ends up trumping the entire lot of recent Asian ghost stories. However, instead of being a new release, Buppah was actually made in 2003; by this point, it already has a couple of sequels to its name. Continue reading
And the horror remake parade continues. The ever ‘inventive’ Platinum Dunes just keeps the retreads coming. With Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th down, and a few of Craven’s earlier films in the bucket, Hollywood has finally turned its sights on Krueger. Which is too bad, because I was personally holding out for a Deadly Friend remake(note to lurking studio execs: that was sarcasm). Continue reading
Wow. Columbia Pictures has really ramped up the marketing on their new horror-comedy Zombieland. There doesn’t seem to be place on the internet where I can’t see that creepy zombie clown staring over at me. In addition, there have been numerous screenings for the movie and it doesn’t even release until Oct 2. This screening is actually the second screening in Baltimore. Check out the details.
On Wednesday September 23rd (tonight!) at 7:30 p.m., Towson Commons will be hosting a sneak screening of Zombieland. It’s a free screening but the only way in is either with a physical ticket or one printed from Facebook. And if you are hankering for some brains–or laughs–and you have a Facebook account, you can get access to a pair of tickets for tonight’s show. Continue reading