My Week in Movies: November 26, '11

Martin Scorsese, 2011
In what is nearly the fashion of a grander "Be Kind, Rewind" set amongst the classic cinematic devices of trains and clocks, this holiday season treat begins with Scorsese practically emulating Jean-Pierre Jeunet (and handily trumping with tried tricks that contemporary French filmmaker's deliberate quirk, should that require stating) before becoming a truly magical ode to the, well, true magic of the movies - namely seminal titles such as "Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat", "The Great Train Robbery", "Intolerance", "The Thief of Baghdad", "Metropolis", "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari", "The General", "The Kid" and, particularly, the dreamlike work of Georges Méliès. Seeing clips of these works on the big screen is a wonderful gift from a modern master who hopes we will revere them as he does, and I can but hope this instant classic - sure to be beloved by children of all ages, from nine to ninety, for many a decade to come - will spark an interest in film akin to the spark felt by Méliès himself upon experiencing his first Lumière Brothers picture. "Hugo" takes these now-dusty legends and makes them blockbusters once more. Though the 3D does not seem essential, it does provide the distinctly special air of seeing something new the way so many unversed audiences did when motion pictures began showing publicly over a century ago. If anything, it is clear - even if this winds up being his sole foray in to the extra-dimensional medium - Scorsese has taken naturally to the aesthetic benefits new 3D can supply. Listen to further thoughts on Reel Time #030.

The Muppets
James Bobin, 2011
It's funny to look up the film formerly known as "The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made" to find its official synopsis reading, "The Muppets must reunite to save their old theater from a greedy oil tycoon." As with so many examples, while the events summarized by the synopsis serve as a necessary narrative catalyst, they marginalize what the picture is truly about. A fitting companion release to the similarly reverent "Hugo", which was coincidentally also once known by a longer title, "The Muppets" is exactly what I could have hoped it would be and more coming from the adoring minds of Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller. Greatest Muppet movie ever made? Maybe one of the greatest fan movies ever made! Utterly delightful from its beginning to an end that couldn't have been prolonged enough, it lives in the realm of the Muppets' signature witticism - dry puns mixed with heartfelt musical numbers, a barely existant fourth wall and a parodical sensibility that relishes both the overt and the subtle, up to the inclusion of a scene in Paris that could be from an alternate dimension "Muppets" as directed by Woody Allen - and reinvigorates the fuzzy crew for fans new and, especially, pre-established. And I, uh... didn't know Mickey Rooney was still alive. That was a nice surprise. Which I suppose I've just spoiled. Uh... look over there! A dragon, a dragon! I swear I saw a dragon! Listen to further thoughts on Reel Time #030.

Further first-time viewings:

The Descendants - Alexander Payne, 2011
Outside a superb opening shot that encompasses sheer bliss and isolated finality - along with several more throughout that might feel at home in another of Clooney's latest, "The American" - "Up in the Air 2"... er, I mean, "The Descendants"... is Alexander Payne going through the motions. It's all in place - the beleaguered white male protagonist, the unlikely cast of supporters, the successfully uncomfortable - and, in this case, funereal - wit, yet while at times I'd like to say there's a good film somewhere in the thorough footage, the script, complete with trite narration, stiltedly thrives on issues unrealistically left hovering in midair while catering all too much to its fogey demographic along its path to find the good in everyone. Like in an episode of "Seinfeld", there's an A plot and a B plot that wind up coinciding. Unlike in an episode of "Seinfeld", however, here it's entirely too predictable where it'll all go, and the journey proves hardly worth taking, especially if your alternative is rewatching the framework-providing "About Schmidt".

Total: 3


My Week in Movies: November 19, '11

Werckmeister harmóniák (Werckmeister Harmonies)
Béla Tarr, 2000
Trying to write about Tarr without more time to process his work is a bit like leaping headlong in to an abyss. "Werckmeister Harmonies", contrary to the definitive Soviet misery of "Damnation", is timeless and endlessly interpretable, if trying at times when taken in a single sitting. Listen to further thoughts on Reel Time #028.

Further first-time viewings:

Scared Shrekless - Gary Trousdale & Raman Hui, 2010
Putting its typically grating cleverness to good use, holiday special "Scared Shrekless" (which, even without Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy, brings back the main voices that matter the most - Mike Myers' and Antonio Bandaras') plays with genre tropes - relatively subtle and overtly parodic - that any horror buff will giddily appreciate, making it likely the best "Shrek" title I've seen from Dreamworks.

Martha Marcy May Marlene - Sean Durkin, 2011
Endless parallels are drawn between two psychologically blurred (via contoured scene transitions and sound cues) ways of life - one of familiar, convenient excess and immediate concerns from which the parental figures push their infantile young away, and one of communal personal connection and naked human purity within which refugees are embraced and sheltered. Both venues of comfortable misery are frequently shown eating as just one illustration of how they're each focused on preservation and survival, etcetera, only in drastically different ways, and they are captured with occasionally impressive camerawork. Where "Martha Marcy May Marlene" falls apart, however, is at that certain point you realize one of the debating sides is not being given a fair shake - apparently there just has to be a maddeningly bad seed, inexplicably negating the arguable positives of the commune lifestyle and going as far as to render it a Charles Manson-esque "family". At only two hours this insanity feels overlong, with an open ending that is less encouragement to discuss interpretations after the fact and more first-time feature writer/director Sean Durkin seeming to throw his hands up in forfeit after realizing his approach makes no sense. Listen to further thoughts on Reel Time #029.

Breaking Dawn - Part 1 - Bill Condon, 2011
Now four films in, it's next to impossible for one to reenter the "Twilight" franchise without an accepting understanding of the melodramatic, sometimes goofy fantasy it represents, and naturally this works in the favor of "Breaking Dawn - Part 1". "Eclipse" came as a pleasant surprise, demonstrating what this material can be at its best, and "Breaking Dawn", while not as redefining, carries the torch without regressing to the soapy fan service that plagued the main events of "New Moon". Read the full review on page 64 of Icon's Winter 2011 issue.

Like Crazy - Drake Doremus, 2011
It's "Love Story" meets Sundance plus suck. I felt like the screen was taking a dump in my eyeballs. Listen to further thoughts on Reel Time #029 (coming soon).

Total: 5

- Hey, where be all the movies? I'm not sure. Ask Bethesda.


My Week in Movies: November 12, '11

Il Decameron
Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1971
Yet a mere dabbler in the realm of Nietzsche, I cannot with galvanization speak on the great philosopher's "death of God" theory (though it has been habit to muse over perspectivism). I do believe, however, that "The Decameron", the light, tempered and often seditiously hilarious first in Pasolini's so-called "Trilogy of Life" as followed by "The Canterbury Tales" and "Arabian Nights", depicts the makings of such a proverbial unconscious killing through its axial battle between varying delusions - of creed and of coitus. Throughout this adaptation of Boccaccio's tales identical in form to that of Chaucer's though fittingly colored more earthily than gaudily as if transpiring prior to a loss of innocence or deflowering, characters quarrel with the balance of pure devotion and carnal pleasure, conflicted as to whether 'tis better to abstain so to prosper in promised afterlife, or to indulge in mortal sin ("sin" herein debunked, no less). This quarrel kaleidoscopes down different lenses of perception in classic literary fashion examining gender roles, toying with Italian historical and cultural cliché and seeing a number of drastic conclusions determined sheerly via beguiled impulse sans thought, until we have a very clear picture indeed - one capped by visions of relegated accountability in Heaven (comparable to those of reckless punishment in Hell from the subsequent "Canterbury", which features many a returning face including the highly photogenic Franco Citti and the nubile Elisabetta Genovese) and a final, general quote I imagine will resonate with me always: "I wonder... why produce a work of art, when it's nice to just dream about it?" Masterful, Pasolini deftly and passionately puts forth yet another essential and elusive work of sociopolitical quandary so aesthetically and narratively riveting it captures me as a spear fisher might a fat trout. Screenshots after the jump.

Tarsem Singh, 2011
Through beastly action, man attempts to usurp his gods and independently carve out his own immortal identity. Thus, the blood-soaked sepia of Zack Snyder's brutish "300" sees vast improvements thanks to Tarsem Singh's signature eye and, of all things, the artful iconography of Sergei Parajanov's "The Color of Pomegranates". Rumblingly fueled by an Aristotelian philosophy of brawn and credence to its source mythology, "Immortals" overcomes its tediously exposition-heavy hinging with a relentless series of gorgeous set pieces and highly pleasing composition aided by what is easily the best (and most essential) 3D since "Resident Evil: Afterlife", both texturally and spatially. Exhilarated, you won't want to so much as blink. Plus, Dorff!

Kárhozat (Damnation)
Béla Tarr, 1988
Released several years prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the fundamentally visual and aural experience of Béla Tarr's influential, still-occupied Hungary resembles the hollowed-out despair seen in such works as Peter Brosens' eulogy to Mongolian culture in "Khadak" or numerous Aleksandr Sokurov pictures such as "Days of Eclipse". Mazes of empty, weathered buildings diminish the individual, ghostly remnants of wasted hope and corrupted ideals amidst endlessly dampened remains of connecting roadways and electrification that incapably house our resilient characters, who contrarily smack of classic Hollywood. Tarr's deliberate, winding long takes create marvel after marvel of highly screencap-able moving imagery (in the thick of my Pasolini binge, I have to restrain myself!). Listen to further thoughts on Reel Time #028.

Brutal Beauty: Tales of the Rose City Rollers
Chip Mabry, 2010
A relatively more extreme example of how we are more ourselves when adopting supported "alter-egos" than when requisitely conforming to the expectations of dull society. This is expression; this is the pursuit of happiness. This (for now, anyway, before realism settles once more) rekindles my embers of motivation to finally join a boxing gym, or finally get those bigger tattoos I've been wanting, or finally drop it all and go rogue documentary-making across the deserts, steppes and cities of Mongolia in search of modern cultural identity. This is, in a technical sense, along the lines of what I could only have hoped my would-be film "Prep Ball" might have become. Bravo.

Further first-time viewings:

J. Edgar - Clint Eastwood, 2011
I will proudly admit to chuckling at my own summary of the Man with No Name’s directorial career. I like to say, “Watching an Eastwood is like chewing cardboard, while someone stands over you, teeth gritted, demanding, ‘Don’t that cardboard taste good, boy?’” Well, if this newest portrait of uncompromising leadership is cardboard, its frail edges are frayed, dry and crumbling away. Yet, somehow, I find myself peeling back these withered layers and uncovering something worth enduring on the whole. Is it an ode to American free enterprise, and subsequently a humble undermining of the very antiheroic legacy of Hollywood (and beyond) Eastwood himself has so iconically contributed to? Is [Eastwood] heralding purity while tearing down the essence of liberty? Is it really to be read as all that objective? Though in recognition of what could be considered psychoses, Eastwood appears to argue in Hoover's favor, even regarding the infamous wiretaps and the resulting collection of high-level politician secrets. Read the full review at Reel Time.

Shrek Forever After - Mike Mitchell, 2010
Whether one likes "Shrek" or not (I don't, particularly), it's easy to admit the titular character became a contradiction of himself as his franchise continued... and it would be apparent from this "final chapter" that the creative team recognized as much, as well. Shrek's frustrations with his adoring fans' enforcement of his defeated attitude echo those of real fans who feel the ogre had gone soft - literally, in the sense that he was almost immediately reduced from ugly and foul-tempered to cute, cuddly and only $19.99 for Christmas, accessories not included. Of course the obligatory end of the characteristically not-quite-full-fledged, overly pop-reference-littered feature justifies the inevitable cuteness, but at least it manages to make us feel fuzzy about it in the process, which is well more positive than I can speak about any aspect of the inexcusably dreadful "Shrek the Third".

Losing Control - Valerie Weiss, 2011
Working the 3rd annual Naples International Film Festival, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting several on-screen and behind-the-scenes filmmakers, among them director Valerie Weiss. Now, being in a smaller festival atmosphere, particularly from a filmmaker perspective, it is practically beside the point to criticize. Everyone is capable of mistakes; we're here to laud achievement and encourage artistry. And that's what makes it so difficult to look somewhat negatively upon Weiss' film - the sole entry I had time enough to dash and catch after a shift - which I selected from a trio of films that weren't exactly at the top of my festival to-see list, per "Dying to Do Letterman" comedian Steve Mazan's recommendation as opposed to my other limited options of "A Beginner's Guide to Endings" and "Take Me Home" (the latter of which also came with a personal recommendation, that one from its star/director Sam Jaeger himself). "Losing Control" is a situational, semi-autobiographical romantic comedy that premiered in April and is scheduled for limited theatrical distribution around Valentine's Day of next year about a Harvard PhD graduate implementing scientific methods in her dating life to determine her perfect mate in a haphazard experiment that winds up entailing a bit of raunch and a bit of caper. It's loaded with budding "that guys" including Ben Weber and Alanna Ubach and features a Woody Allen-esque tone through a lovingly overbearing parental relationship and its talky madcap nature that, at times, conjures feelings of something like "Manhattan Murder Mystery" or "Anything Else". It is indeed honorably inspired and expressive, yet it never becomes anything more than what seems best fit as direct-to-Netflix-Instant fair. The plotting is overscripted to the point of excruciation while so many ideas have been crammed in to one place without meshing together it feels fitting Weiss' next film is to be titled "Overstuffed". Sorry, Valerie! Listen to further thoughts on Reel Time #027.

Total: 7

Rewatches (1): Clerks (Smith, 1994)


My Week in Movies: November 5, '11

Puss in Boots
Chris Miller, 2011
¡Holy frijoles! When a studio is so blatantly squeezing scratch from a former cash cow with a spin-off origin story, one would be justified in certain, tempered expectations. Instead of just what you'd expect, however, "Puss in Boots" is everything you'd hope for in such a venture as itself. Toying with cinema legacy like a ball of yarn along the way, it hones in on the only character the "Shrek" flicks are almost worth tolerating for, cleaving with him everything that had potential for goodness in that source series and approaching it with fresh spirit that never takes itself seriously for a second. It's apparent that Chris Miller & Co. love Antonio Banderas' uproarious Puss - essentially a Zorro cari-cat-ure, if you will - as much as we do, and it is that passion fueling the pure-hearted pilferer's stand-alone adventure, creating an embodiment of why the character is so great - the film is his essence, unfiltered. In a sense, this ideal cat lover's fare can be read as parody of "Shrek" - as those ogreish movies so annoyingly do with their every clever wink, Puss thrives hilariously on his cockiness - an aspect of his righteousness which, in this case, is surprisingly allowed to make him weak against more underhandedly cunning adversaries. It's difficult to imagine someone of any kind not having a good time with "Puss in Boots".

Further first-time viewings:

Copie conforme (Certified Copy) - Abbas Kiarostami, 2010
Though I certainly do not dislike Kiarostami's latest, I do observe that disliking it would be against its point of subjectivity vs. objectivity and the ambiguous nature of art - the same points raised by Banksy's "Exit through the Gift Shop" and classic works by the likes of Andy Warhol and Marcel Duchamp. It brings me back, yet again, to the anecdote about the Prado custodian who jokingly hung a bathroom floorplan where a painting should be, only to find a telling swarm of critics bathing it with praise the next day, presumably because it was new and, perhaps most importantly, because they didn't "understand" it. Like a relatively more focused "Before Sunrise", the first half of "Certified Copy", well, copies itself again and again but in different contexts, arguing without need to convince that it all simply comes down to perception (I.E., place a Coca-Cola bottle in a museum...). When things become, almost inevitably, their own little game of perception and false realities, the cool infallibility is lost. Judging from this and "Close-Up" (immediately below), Kiarostami seems to like these compromising games. As his protagonist here states of a painting, it's "Interesting enough, but nothing new. ...There are examples everywhere; at some point you have to close your book." Listen to further thoughts on Reel Time #027.

Nema-ye Nazdik (Close-Up) - Abbas Kiarostami, 1990
Is it because reality is boring that all films recognizing their own "fiction" as a cloaked form of reality (since it has very real and potentially deeper affects on participants and audience members alike - as the film puts it, "It's pointless if it's not taped") are, well, so boring? "Apocalypse Now", "Eyes Wide Shut", the forthcoming "Dau" - these are life as film, and vice versa; I need not this C-SPAN-esque game. "Close-Up" is not without its moments, but I'll take "I'm Still Here" over it any day. Listen to further thoughts on Reel Time #027.

Tower Heist - Brett Ratner, 2011
Seeing Eddie Murphy headlining a rated "R" comedy feels like hopping in a time warp. Only, oh, no, this is a "PG-13" Ben Stiller thing (in which Stiller intermittently flaunts an awkward New York accent) that only happens to co-star a somewhat back-to-form Murphy, who will still need to nail his Oscars gig to fully respark comedic relevance. Apparently, prior to casting a bunch of honkies, "Tower Heist" was conceived as "a black 'Ocean's Eleven'", and those roots do still show in that the heist construction is almost identical to Soderbergh's first Rat Pack reinvention and that the black characters are the only ones semi-worth watching (well, outside the wise, old doorman who so melodramatically imparts, "Truth is, people can open their own doors"... after a catalytic suicide attempt ripped from the recent "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps", no less). What the film really is, though, is a transparent effort to expound upon current economic events, so definitively tedious you can practically hear each brick clumsily clacking in to place before a climactic and contradictory disregard for human life akin to that of a D.J. Caruso film (or, come to think of it, a Brett Ratner film). Occupy... towers? And/or Alan Alda? At least we get cameos from Robert Downey, Sr. and Zeljko Ivanek. As if that justifies the numbing tedium. I may have forgiven it had Matthew Broderick, when metaphorically dangling a red Ferrari out a high window during the action centerpiece, turned to camera and shrugged, "Not again!"

Saw: The Final Chapter - Kevin Greutert, 2010
Having only seen the pre-Roman numeral "Saw" when "Saw" was still just the little independent horror movie that could as opposed to the relentless Halloween mainstay of the aughts, with nothing but morbid curiosity I come in to the ineptitude of "The Final Chapter" (an oft-implemented title horror for once used in what would appear to be truth) knowingly missing the wagon regarding much of the fan-tailored proceedings. I can't imagine, though, that there's much more to any of this than watching obvious immorality forced to gruesomely dismember itself for the sake of salvation. Judging from this conclusive (yet obligatorily open-ended) piece the series has devolved in to a hasty slapdash collage of "traps", all of which detrimentally lack the cringe-inducing, drawn-out simplicity of the original, which wasn't even quite the cat's bananas to begin with.

Season of the Witch - Dominic Sena, 2011
Is this supposed to be a real movie? All the excitement of spectator larping. Honestly, I was compelled to avert my eyes for much of the runtime. Simply horrendous.

Total: 6

Rewatches (1): The Last Exorcism (Stamm, 2010)
- "The Last Exorcism" improved slightly with a second go. Though its obvious foreshadowing is bothersome, the original approach to the standard science versus religion subject matter that swirls within most exorcism films deftly carries it through. I see via IMDb a "Last Exorcism 2" is slated...


Horrorthon '11 Extro: Exit Wounds

Another October, another set of reviews. I'm satisfied, though it might have been nice to encounter another surprise or two. This month really snuck up on me - I feel like it was just a few weeks ago I was Kevin Baconing "The Angry Red Planet" to the Three Stooges for the first "All the Colours of a Blood-Soaked Screen" event. Of course it doesn't help that I kept putting off the most interesting-looking films on my radar this season - Andrzej Żuławski's "Diabel" and Phillipe Grandrieux' "Sombre" - in favor of utter dreck like "Bloodlust Zombies". Not that there isn't next October... or, y'know, any of the other 11 months between.

On top of the fully reviewed titles (here listed in descending order of preference) "Red State", "Poltergeist II: The Other Side", "TrollHunter" (viewed twice), "Strangeland", "Pet Sematary" and "Scream 4" (along with another season premiere review of AMC's "The Walking Dead"), I viewed a decent handful of other horror (or at least films that can be justified as such), only that handful (of 10, to be exact) failed to evoke the formulated verbosity seen in, say, the "Strangeland" review where I go all tangential about the misadventures of my 16-year-old self's internet chat room persona.

Collected here for posterity's sake are the "My Week in Movies" capsule reviews for these less reaction-inspiring (for better or for worse) titles, in descending order of... well, you get it by now.

Deep Red - Dario Argento, 1975 (REWATCH)
As if I hadn't noted it on my previous two viewings, "Deep Red" is gorgeous! What a load of good-looking fun.

Poltergeist III - Gary Sherman, 1988 (REWATCH)
Don't mind me... just checking... and... yep, I wasn't crazy in my youth; "Poltergeist III" is actually quite good (or maybe I've just never stopped being crazy... but seriously, I think people are unfair to this third outing just for the fact that its tone deviates from the more overt special effects onslaughts that are its predecessors). The unique, intricately mirrored skyrise setting is a spooky pleasure to wander through for 90+ minutes, guided by human and otherworldly voices incessantly calling, "Carol Anne!" Craig T. Nelson is missed, but Tom Skerritt fills the paternal shoes nicely (not as the same character, of course), and Lara Flynn Boyle... man, her late teens were good to her... she is Hotcakes von Hottenstein without a doubt. It's nice to see the credited call-out for Julian Beck and the dedication to Heather O'Rourke, whose untimely death spurred a reworking of the film's ending, which depicted her as temporarily lifeless (this original ending can be read about and viewed in as much detail as possible via set photos at www.PoltergeistIII.com). Regarding the resulting ambiguous ending for the Scott character, my guess is that the actor simply couldn't make it to the reshoot. We are left to wonder whether the Scott that was ejected from the frozen pool and deposited in his own apartment following a questioning is in fact the real Scott as he seemed to be, or if the evil, cheek-tearing "reflection" is all that made it out.

Paranormal Activity 3 - Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman, 2011 (1ST + REWATCH)
Judging from the first two films (the priorly viewed second of which is mused over several titles below), I determined the best way to view "Paranormal Activity 3" would be, well, drunk. I cruised to the nearest convenience store, snagged two BOGOs of Mike's Harder Lemonade and went to town. Man, was I ever right. This third entry - and second prequel - in the franchise that took down "Saw" feels like the composed best we've yet seen from the growing collection of "home video" "found footage". It is the most rounded and satisfying cinematic experience of the standing trio and offers new forms of tension via panning surveillance and children's impressionable imaginations (along with new, deliciously retro set design). It's like examining the most active paranormal footage any "Ghost Hunter" could hope to find, which is silly fun enough to finally get this naysayer on the side of "Team PA" (and if that wasn't a thing, I just made it one). The biggest advantage the series has going for it is that so little story is divulged in each entry; we hang on every score-free, semi-realist moment in hopes of gleaning the newest plot point in the continual backlog (which, upon some skeptical double-checking, does in fact reference past disturbances in its chronologically later predecessors... though there are plenty of unanswered questions for a fourth entry to take care of). This is the sort of movie you actually want people in your audience screaming over and commenting on throughout. Step aside, "Shaun of the Dead", there's a new horror comedy in town... and, incidentally, only maybe 5% of the theatrical trailer footage is in the knowingly "Poltergeist"-esque final cut.

Tales of Terror - Roger Corman, 1962
In the realm of immediate physical reactions to film, "Morella" runs the gamut - you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll cower with heebie-jeebies. The "Cask of the Armontillado" portions of the anthology's second chapter amuse greatly, while its odd amalgam with "The Black Cat" leaves me wishing I'd simply watched a different version of "The Black Cat". Finally, "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" intrigues the mind and chills the bone. These three breezily accessible and simply effective "Tales of Terror" are a "Pricey" treat for any fan of classic horror and Edgar Allan Poe (is that redundant?).

Paranormal Activity 2 - Tod Williams, 2010
Better than the dully grating original if only because every other scene isn't that girl saying, "We should get out of here!" over and over. I can respect these movies' minimalism, the chimeric authenticity of which generates the feel of inglorious home video... I even found fair entertainment value in this sequel once its third act settled in... but I think my interest in programs like "Ghost Hunters" and "Paranormal State" has disintegrated my potential to truly enjoy them (note: read thoughts on "Paranormal Activity 3" above to see where I was wrong to think as much).

Zombies Anonymous - Marc Fratto, 2006
AKA "Last Rites of the Dead". This entertaining, apparently shoestring outing brings freshness to decaying corpses, becoming almost frustrating when it is considered that all its good ideas were used in such a just-one-level-above-student effort.

Dracula - Tod Browning, 1931
Here's another major point of procrastination checked off. After owning the American version of Universal's 1931 "Dracula" production on VHS for over a decade, I finally popped the palatably iconic rendering of Bram Stoker's story on via the convenience of Netflix Instant. This antediluvian Drac is ultra-clunky and drastically abated, but fun nevertheless. Unessential but for its legacy, one so engrained in popular culture most aren't so much as merely conscious of its source.

Slither - James Gunn, 2006
It's... actually pretty feeble, albeit with some disgustingly fun sexual themes I only wish more had been done with, along similar lines as those of "Species" and, to an extent, "Splice". "Slither" does get by, however, on the fact that it really goes for its own gusto. That's not to say there aren't pulled punches (especially noticeable ones when taking in to account Gunn's more recent "Super"), but it's not exactly the kind of movie you're going to want to look away from for want not to miss whatever insane gross-out stunt is next in store. If anything, Michael Rooker.

Bloodlust Zombies - Dan Lantz, 2011
It's exactly what you'd expect - a probably-fun-to-make technical disaster only one step above being softcore pornography, using a porn star's name on the box cover despite that star only being involved for maybe 10 minutes of total screen time (at least half of which is spent in a goofy sex scene). I think what I'm trying to say here is... great movie, you should watch it!

The Ward - John Carpenter, 2010
The atmosphere of John Carpenter's return to feature length directing after nearly a decade is very, well, Carpentery, but possesses little to reinforce the shallow eeriness of its institutional corridors a la the suburbian Haddonfield streets of "Halloween" or the bowels of the arctic station from "The Thing".

Saw: The Final Chapter - Kevin Greutert, 2010
Having only seen the pre-Roman numeral "Saw" when "Saw" was still just the little independent horror movie that could as opposed to the relentless Halloween mainstay of the aughts, with nothing but morbid curiosity I come in to the ineptitude of "The Final Chapter" (an oft-implemented title horror for once used in what would appear to be truth) knowingly missing the wagon regarding much of the fan-tailored proceedings. I can't imagine, though, that there's much more to any of this than watching obvious immorality forced to gruesomely dismember itself for the sake of salvation. Judging from this conclusive piece the series has devolved in to a hasty slapdash collage of "traps", all of which detrimentally lack the cringe-inducing, drawn-out simplicity of the original, which wasn't even quite the cat's bananas to begin with.