Saturday, 28 May 2011

The Sick Critic.

I was ill with a fever last week and had to stay in bed for a few days, bored and feeling weak and out of it I used my time watching films on my laptop while I gathered my strength. Most were films which I had recently avoided, I set myself a couple of rules, one that the film couldn't be regarded as a classic (preferably it had been slated) and the other rule that I would not have to use my mind grapes in any way...The trashier the better. Hopefully I would find a gem.
I managed to get through 12 films in 3 days, some did not help with my recovery.

1: Jonah Hex (2010)

This was watched when I was at my most feverish and weak. It was one of the longest 81 mins of my life. I know that this film had a troubled production and there had been major cuts but I can't remember anything good about the film. Come to think of it I can't remember anything about the film. The opening animation is awful too. Its a real shame as I like the character of Jonah Hex and I thought Josh Brolin would of been the right guy to play him. I'm blaming the curse of (dead behind the eyes) Megan Fox.

How are we feeling?: Confused, Feverish, Disappointed.

2: Edge Of Darkness (2010)

I know that the original BBC TV series is supposed to be great but I've never seen it. I found this to be a bit boring. I guess stuffing all the complex plot into a movie meant we couldn't get much depth from the characters or from the story. It kind of boiled down to old mad man Mel Gibson being angry and shouting and hitting everyone. This works for Lee Marvin in Point Blank but not for Mel who just comes across as being mardy. Danny Huston plays his usual smarmy bad guy and Ray Winston is inappropriately cast as a cockney who may or may not be working for the US government. Its quite difficult to follow what is going on with all the plot holes but that could be down to my illness?

How are we feeling?: Tired, Cold, Confused.

3: The Horde (2009)

I had heard good things about this french zombie movie set in a tower block but found it a little dull. It had nothing new to say about zombies and wasn't that enjoyable either. It tried to hard to create tension between the human survivors but just fell on stereotypes, Corrupt Cops, Drug Dealers, Waring Brothers, Fat Racist Frenchman With a Machine-gun...I get really disappointed that most modern zombie films are just a re-tread of Romero's Dawn Of The Dead.

How are we feeling: Achy, Sweaty, Sense Of Deja Vu.

4: Never Apologise (2007)

The Doctor has ordered an injection of high brow to offset the trash. I have been wanting to watch this film of Malcolm McDowells one man show talking about the life and work of Lindsey Anderson for a while.
O'Lucky Man is in my top 3 films and I have a massive love of If and This Sporting Life as well as having a love of Malcolm himself. I was really looking forward to an insight on there partnership and some behind the scenes info about the creation of O'Lucky Man.There are a few gems but mainly Malcolm failed to engage me or the audience. Most of his jokes fall flat and his anecdotes never have the satisfying pay off that Malcolm thinks he is delivering. Its worth watching if you have an interest of Anderson's work but you may not really learn anything more than you already know, nor do you get to know much about Malcolm himself...There is a funny story about Sir John Gielgud and the filming of Caligula though.

How are we feeling: Slightly better?

5: Unknown (2011)
I quite enjoyed this film, Its trash but enjoyable trash. I only wanted to see this film as I saw a clip of an early set piece that takes place outside a hotel in Berlin that I usually stay at and I love seeing Berlin on film. It also has a fantastic cast. Bruno Ganz who is one of my favorite actors, Sebastian Koch who was great in The Lives Of Others and Black Book, Diane Kruger, January Jones (who sounds like a bond character) and Karl Markovics all have small roles. Liam Neeson seems to be stuck in his one man angry army mode from Taken but plays the Hitchcockian lost man well. The film is far too twisty and stupid but I think it definitely met my sickness brief well, not too taxing.

How are we feeling?: Much better thank you.

6: Zombie Holocaust (1980)
Erm...maybe I wasn't in the mood for this or maybe it was heavily cut but I really didn't enjoy this film. It was very slow and confused and owed a hell of a lot to Zombie Flesh Eaters. And its really a lame cannibal movie so I found myself turning this off after a while which is something I rarely do. Great opening soundtrack though and I love the US title Dr Butcher MD.

How are we feeling?: Much worse, Faint, Diarrhea?

7:Get Him To The Greek (2010)

The "Hilarious" story of the drug crazed, alcoholic, sex addicted, suicidal rock star Aldous Snow.
This is a sort of sequel to Forgetting Sarah Marshall which I really liked because that film had quite a sweet heart at its core and also had some funny jokes. This has neither...its not terrible but its just feels like there wasn't really a good script before they started filming and that talents were definitely wasted. I am also one of those people who find "Comedy" songs embarrassing and uncomfortable to sit through, this film feature some of the worst comedy songs in history. Its really hard to believe that Aldous is such a global superstar off the back of his songs. And no, Puff Daddy is not funny.

How are we feeling?: Empty.

8: Battle: Los Angeles (2011)

Not the best. Its watchable but just not too special. Its a shame that we don't get to see too much of the aliens as they have a really interesting design and it would of been nice to see how they worked together. The human soldiers on the whole are dull and indistinguishable from each other. There's only so much shouting, angry, jock dialogue I can sit through and that is all the poor cliched script relies on. If you have ever watched any war or alien invasion movie then this will hold no surprises. Or if you have played Call Of Duty.

How are we feeling?: Relapsed into illness, Dizzy, Dehydrated.

9: The Call Of Cthulhu (2005)

Wow this was the pick me up I had been waiting for. Superb micro budgeted short film that I can't recommend enough. Its shot in the style of a 20's silent horror film as if it had been made after H.P Lovecraft had written the story. It looks great and has some awesome sets which are very Dr Caligari inspired I also really loved the creature work at the end. Can't wait for them to release there next Lovecraft horror "The Whisperer In Darkness" which takes a more 30's Universal approach to the work.

How are we feeling?: Fit as a fiddle.

10: The Last Exorcism (2010)

Not as clever or "real" as it thinks it is. I think this is mainly down to the awful Scooby-Doo ending and the massive plot hole of how are we actually watching this edited film? Eli Roth is actually going to have to be attached to a good film if he wants to keep being able to use is name. Sadly this film isn't very scary either. An unbelievable film that left me cold.

How are we feeling: Bones feel like glass, apathetic.

11: Attack The Block (2011)

Right time to get out of bed and get some fresh air. A trip to the pictures should help me on the road to recovery. I approached this film with a bit of trepidation, as i'm  a massive fan of Adam and Joe and I was really worried that the film wouldn't work. I was very wrong. Its a great British Sci-Fi that felt like the kind of films that I grew up watching. The gang are truly scary and it took me time to warm to them as they genuinely were the kind of people you wouldn't want to meet up a dark alley. I think they are the first on screen gang of bad boys that I believed in. The actors playing the gang are all great and you really start to feel for them. Great original creature design too, unlike anything I've seen before. The film comes close to American Werewolf in London in terms of the tone of mixing the horror and humor. Well done Mr Cornish, Can't wait for his Tintin script now.

How are we feeling?: Think I might go to work tomorrow.

12: I Saw The Devil (2010)

Last dose of medicine.
I have never seen such a violent and relentless film in all my life. This year I have seen 2 films that have taken the vengeance thriller to new levels, beautiful and lyrical in Confessions and horrifying and brutal in this. It follows the very quick transformation of a normal man into a monster as he hunts for a killer, beats him to near death then releases him to begin the whole cycle again...this is repeated several times. The violence is so graphic that I had to look away, I have read that this film had a lot of violence removed through it but I can't imagine what went out. If you want to watch a film that will terrify you to a quivering wreck this is the film for you.

How are we feeling?: MUCH WORSE!

I really can't think of a better way to spend my sick time. I think I can get 15 films in when I get Flu this winter.

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