After several months I finally made it to a regular video store (ie not a funky, art store). I was amazed at the piles of stuff I’d never heard of, especially all the quasi-comic crime films (guess Tarrantino has some seriously long shock waves or is it just The Sopranos?). The rentals:
Gigli (Martin Brest 2003) - It’s odd all the frothingly negative reviews this got. Not because the film is good--in fact it is pretty bad--but because it’s not that bad. And in a year that brought offensive garbage like Bad Boys II, Terminator 3 and The Haunted Mansion then Gigli actually looks a bit better. Admittedly one problem is that Brest was trying to do something a bit different by tweaking Affleck’s usual character, throwing in peculiar plot twists and exploring a different type of dialogue. The problem of course isn’t that he tried this but that most critics didn’t want to go along (reading some of the reviews it’s hard to tell that they even saw the film, certainly not that they understood what was happening).
Crime Spree (Brad Mirman 2003) - Here’s one of those flubbed-crime films. It was completely new to me but with a cast that includes Harvey Keitel, Gerard Depardieu and Johnny Hallyday I figured it might be worth a chuckle or two. Alas, a chuckle or two is all that’s here. Otherwise this is a completely DOA misfire that wasted all the potential in its premise (French crooks in the Chicago underworld).
28 Days Later (Danny Boyle 2002) - This should have been perfect for me but is instead a good example of a film ruined by people who think they’re too smart for the genre. It’s a sort of twist on zombie films (with a science fiction explanation that’s really no improvement though it’s interesting that animal rights activists become the bad guys) but the overall impact is that they were trying to make a Big Statement. That’s why characters run around talking about struggle and survival while later pointing out domestic family pleasures. This is all contained pretty much every other post-Romero zombie film ever made so having it spelled out isn’t just a waste of time, it’s downright tedious. All in all, a complete botch.