Archive | 2000s RSS feed for this section

The Duchess (2008)

16 Dec

I don't think anyone would disagree that Keira Knightley is a pretty girl, but there's something sort of glorious about her in this film.

I vaguely remember the marketing for “The Duchess.” The advertising I recall seemed to imply that the film was a light romp, a look at the It Girl of generations long gone by, a wispy bit of inoffensive nothing. The problem? Well, deceptive marketing mainly. This film is light-hearted for all of about 20 minutes before settling into a much weightier vibe. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just not what I was expecting. Continue reading

The Deaths of Ian Stone (2007)

16 Nov

I couldn't find any really great pictures of the monsters anywhere on the Internet. I assure you they're much more chill-inducing in action than they are just hanging out next to a hot chick.

The Deaths of Ian Stone” reminded me of nothing so much as an episode of “The X-Files,” but without the benefit of already having affection for the main characters. This type of nostalgic monster-of-the-week horror doesn’t bother me, but the film makes it abundantly clear early on that it’s going to answer all possible questions (rather unlike “The X-Files”), and that drains the suspense right out of it. Continue reading

The Signal (2007)

26 Oct

Is this the face of a vicious killer? If he wasn't gagged and duct-taped into a chair, I mean.

Another day, another twist on the “Rage Virus” theme which seems a popular choice for filmmakers who don’t want to go full zombie. In “The Signal,” three separate segments of the story are directed by three different directors and in three different styles. Things get a little messy. Continue reading

Fido (2006)

21 Oct

One good thing about a zombie dance partner: He won't mind if you step on his foot.

So … zombies are kind of everywhere these days, and — although I don’t agree with it — I guess I can sort of understand when people say they’re sort of over them. I mean, there’s only so much you can do with dumb, lumbering dead people that are intensely brain-driven and prove easy to kill once you know how. Smart filmmakers are coming up with new ways to make zombie movies without actually making movies about zombies. With its blend of black humor, ’50s shtick, sharp satire and, yes, plenty of gore, “Fido” is right on trend. Continue reading

The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

18 Oct

 

Carlos' beatific reaction to seeing a bomb stuck in the courtyard of his new home is beyond weird.

 

The Devil’s Backbone” is another genre-bender from visionary director Guillermo del Toro. Del Toro’s films tend to be beautiful and poignant while at the same time suspenseful and terrifying, an uneasy marriage of art and horror. With this film, he adds another layer — a coming-of-age story — and creates an altogether different interpretation of what at first appears to be a traditional ghost story. Continue reading

Thirst (2009)

18 Oct

 

So a priest walks into a blood bank ... Stop me if you've heard this one ...

 

Chan-wook Park has never failed to impress me with his measured, mature films. His “Vengeance” trilogy was aesthetically bold and accented with jaw-dropping action sequences, but beneath the stylish surface was a series of masterful takes on the complex emotions which inspire vengeance. So when the auteur decided to take on a vampire tale with “Thirst,” my interest was decidedly piqued. Continue reading

The Human Centipede: First Sequence (2009)

12 Oct

 

You should really believe me when I tell you that in this movie, the mad scientist is much scarier than his monster.

 

You may think you don’t want to see “The Human Centipede: First Sequence” because of its absolutely horrific concept, all the other various horrific functions which arise from said concept, or merely because you don’t enjoy the sub-genre of horror commonly monikered “torture porn.” In reality, you don’t want to see it because it’s a shoddily-made film that undermines its horrific concept with gaping plot holes and severe logic issues. If for some reason you don’t already know what the central concept is, you should stop reading now. Spoilers will be necessary to talk about this film in any reasonable fashion. Continue reading

Teeth (2007)

5 Oct

And she seems like such a nice girl...

Everything I was hoping to get out of “Bad Biology” I got out of “Teeth” — and then some. This little flick gnawed its way into my heart, and yes I’m going to keep punning … Continue reading

Bad Biology (2008)

4 Oct

Do yourself a favor and don't Google Image Search this movie unless you're at home. It's nearly impossible to find photos of this film that are safe for work.

I was looking for something in the vein of “Re-Animator” when I stumbled upon Frank Henenlotter’s “Bad Biology.” It seemed to fit the bill: Campy premise, elements of black comedy, not too serious or scary yet still classed in the horror genre. At best, I hoped for something funny and kind of gross that I could easily spend 80 minutes or so with. At worst, I thought it’d be tedious and juvenile. My estimates on worst were way, way off.
Continue reading

Dog Soldiers (2002)

3 Oct

I'll confess: My heart leaped for joy and I made a squeaky little happy noise when I realized I was getting REAL LIVE werewolves and not CGI cartoons.

As much as I love a good vampire, zombie or werewolf flick, it’s easy to feel like the monster movie genre has nothing new to offer. Which is precisely why a film like Neil Marshall’s “Dog Soldiers” stands out. As the writer-director himself said, it’s a soldier film with werewolves in it, and not the other way around. It turns out that subtle difference in philosophy pays off big for audiences. Continue reading