Saturday, March 14, 2009

Other viewing

Watchmen (Zack Snyder 2009) - A disgrace.

Leatherheads (George Clooney 2008) - A screwball comedy about the start of pro football? If this had worked that mix would be a genius call but since the film is DOA it's instead a "what were they thinking" thing. The attempt at period detail seems misguided when it's detailing a neverland 1920s, it's drawn too much from ideas created by old movies (not the actual movies - if only Clooney had watched His Girl Friday or Twentieth Century a dozen times each), the script lurches from half-written situation to the next, the pacing is leaden and nothing seems to fit. Just a compete mistake.

27 Dresses (Anne Fletcher 2008) - Sure it's a play-by-the-rules romantic comedy but at least done without a sense that the rules are limitations. The dress gimmick is just clever and silly enough to hold up and it helps that the cast at least comes across as believing the whole thing. That is all.

The Four of the Apocalypse (Lucio Fulci 1975) - Fulci directs Bret Harte stories? Yep, most anybody who's been through the American school system will recognize "The Luck of Roaring Camp" and though the rest are unfamiliar to me, somehow I doubt any of Harte's stories originally contained a person being skinned alive or cannibalism. But what do I know? Well, for one thing that this is odd even by spaghetti Western standards and also that it's a bit unfocused even by spaghetti Western standards.

Zombi 3 (Lucio Fulci 1988) - Another Fulci but this is a colossally stupid take on zombie films and as such at least entertaining. In any case Fulci isn't completely to blame since he only filmed part while other directors did the rest uncredited (Claudio Fragasso gives much of the details in a DVD extra). It's the kind of film where the highest military command seems to consist of a general and two motionless subordinates in what looks like a schoolroom, where a top-secret and highly dangerous test lab is a few hundred yards away from a resort hotel, where the silent zombies suddenly start speaking at the end. Not Troll 2 funny but still funny.

Ghost Town (David Koepp 2008) - A fairly innocuous and sporadically amusing comedy of the type where the mean misanthropic guy at the start learns to love kittens, bumper stickers and Whole Foods by the end. In that sense it's calculatedly dishonest and Ricky Gervais is so anti-charming that he nearly throws the whole film off but sometimes the cards just fall where they do.

Pineapple Express (David Gordon Green 2008) - If you're wondering what Green is doing directing a Hollywood drug comedy then the only plausible answer is money. Sure you can blame or praise him for the greater focus on dialogue scenes than is the norm with this stuff but in the end there's not much that can be done with such a hackneyed script or with Seth Rogen, a one-trick pony who has to be tightly controlled for even that trick to be interesting. The final 20 minutes are an embarrassment to everybody.