Monday, July 21, 2008

Weekend Watcher: CTJ


"Wicker Man" *****

Five big scary stars, all the way. I already love 70s horror films like "Black Christmas," "Don't Look Now," and "Suspiria," and this one certainly belongs in that most hallowed family. An instant entry into my Top 10 Horror Films of all-time, and perhaps even my Top 5.

I cannot imagine what the remake featuring Nicolas Cage is like, but it's not difficult to believe that it did indeed suck like the reviews said. Because this thing is so perfect it doesn't need to be remade, and like Gus Van Sant's tribute to "Psycho," it could only hold a secondary candle to the original.

See it? YOU BET.

"This is England" ****

A very nice tribute to 1980s England, seen through the eyes of a boy who finds a family in a group of street punks who recalled Neverland's Lost Boys (and girls, in this case). The film grows darker as it progresses into more radical skinhead territory a la "American History X" and "The Believer," but it is a great viewing experience, and features solid acting performances. Good luck interpreting those British accents -- there are no subtitles, kids. :)

See it? Yep.

"The Other Boleyn Girl" ***

I expected to hate this film, as period pieces tend to make me dart for the porcelain throne, my stomach in my hands, barf exiting my mouth like water from a high-powered fire-hose. This is a decent flick after all, although it's nothing I need to see again. The actors all turn in solid performances and writing is good enough, but the movie also suffers at least one grievous wrong. Since it is supposed to tell the story of Ann's sister Mary, whom history is apparently silent about (Am I wrong?), it really does nothing to convince us (or at least me) that history ever needed to speak about her.

See it? If you like period pieces.

"Stop-Loss" ***

Films about the 9/11 and the Iraq War are a dime a dozen these days, and I have avoided them like I avoid musicals and period pieces, and period piece musicals. Why? Still, when I saw the preview for this film it interested me. The phenomenon of soldiers being stop-lossed (That is, sent back to Iraq after they return to the U.S. from a completed tour of duty) is shocking, and I thought it would make for an interesting view. It did make me sympathize with the American soldier more, and Joseph-Gordon Levitt and Ryan Philippe are both totally convincing in it. But it also never rises above a middling sort of tone that seems to cripple so many Hollywood films these days.

See it? Worth seeing, but not more than once.

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