Archive | Two stars 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

Fright Night (1985)

19 Nov

And she seemed like such a nice girl too ...

I both wanted and expected to love “Fright Night.” A cheeky vampire movie with a ridiculous premise, ultra 80s styling and Roddy McDowall — what more could I want? Unfortunately, although the movie delivered on all those counts, I was left feeling like I’d just found out the boy I had a crush on didn’t believe in showering or brushing his teeth. The pieces were all right, but they came together all wrong. Continue reading

The Hunger (1983)

30 Oct

Catherine Deneuve is far too cool for school.

On paper, “The Hunger” seems like a film that’s ripe for rediscovery. Billed as an erotic thriller and starring Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon, the idea that it’s also a vampire movie is quite intriguing. With sexy vamp tales being all the rage now, this combo seems like something that is in line with current tastes. I had hoped for the sort of smart, sophisticated horror that arises from the mixture of strong artistic vision and quality acting. Unfortunately, “The Hunger” is overly concerned with a lone aspect of its story, and the film suffers for that single-mindedness. 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

It’s Alive (1974)

14 Oct

 

It's almost cruel how happy and calm they seem, isn't it?

 

The blurb for “It’s Alive” promised a blend of gore and giggles. Instead, I found it to be a blend of gore, social commentary and tragedy — even a bit like an after-school special in places — which is about as far from gore and giggles as you can get. Continue reading

The Burning (1981)

11 Oct
Even though it’s a decidedly mediocre flick, the garden shears gimmick is awesome.

The popularity of slasher flicks in the early ’80s led to a proliferation of gimmicks as each movie in the sub-genre fought to stand out. What “The Burning” was known for at its release was its garden-shear killings and graphic violence. What it’s best known for now is its yearbook-esque performances from Jason Alexander, Holly Hunter and Fisher Stevens … and its infamous raft death sequence. Nice to know some things never change. Continue reading

The Dunwich Horror (1970)

7 Oct

 

There is a lot of this business with the rings in "The Dunwich Horror." Also a lot of Sandra Dee's outer thighs.

 

I’ll admit it: I’ve got a soft spot for any bit of visual media involving those Lovecraftian Old Ones. It’s almost like since I know these movies, video games and what-have-you are sort of doomed to failure from the beginning, I don’t sweat the small stuff and just enjoy the ride. Roger Corman was one of the producers behind this particular adaptation of “The Dunwich Horror,” and it’s full of the same type of charm (or “charm” depending on how you feel about Corman) as his other features. Continue reading

The Girl Who Played With Fire (2009)

13 Sep

Don't let this photo fool you. This film is boring.

Lisbeth Salander captured the world’s attention in the wildly successful “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” The character’s complex blend of indifference, intellect and sex appeal proved irresistible for readers and film audiences alike. Unfortunately, “The Girl Who Played With Fire,” the second installment in the Salander trilogy, isn’t as compelling as the initial offering, and the marked decrease in strength of story casts serious doubts on the trilogy’s finale. Continue reading