Thursday, October 8, 2009

DJG / October 2009 Week 1

The Tenant * * * * ½
Directed by: Roman Polanski / 1976

Uh, You Might Want to Think About Moving…

Roman Polanski stars and directs in another fantastic apartment based thriller, pretty much the baby of his “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Compulsion”. Come to think of it, there are a ton of great movies centering apartments. Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Conversation” and of course Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” and “Rope” come to immediate mind. I know, I know, Billy Wilder’s “The Apartment”. It is still on my list. Back to “The Tenant” and Polanski who seems to be making headlines again of late. I’ll keep all opinions to Polanski the director. What a great director he is as “The Tenant” admiringly creeps along, suggesting that when the end finally comes, it’s not going to be pretty. Or is it? -djg

Bad Taste * * *
Directed by: Peter Jackson / 1988

Truly Living Up to Its Name, but Awesome...

Peter Jackson, you are sick, twisted and mega-talented. Late ‘80s horror comedy “Bad Taste” showcases a young Jackson on a young budget. Honestly, this is one of those movies that you don’t need to bother jumping in on until the third act. I’ll just say it’s pretty ridiculously-awesome all the way, but the last part of it is a grand opera of bloated WOW before “Dead-Alive”. Along the way you catch glimpses of the blockbuster master Jackson that has been making fantastic films since the early ‘90s (I still need to see “Meet the Feebles”) and I am ready for his latest, “The Lovely Bones”, later this year. -djg

Hostel * ½
Directed by: Eli Roth / 2006

I Won’t Be Seeing Part II…

“Hi! We’re your new American roommates and sure, we’ll go to the sauna with you!” 10 beers and 10 missing limbs later…Is it just me, or does “Hostel” feel 6 years older than it actually is? Or, maybe it’s just the massive wave of “horror porn” features shoved and oozed in our face the past half decade. I feel that “Hostel” helped usher in a lot of what we’re seeing now and I don’t even really see any of ‘em. No wait, I think I’m thinking of “Cabin Fever”. Anyway, I partially knew what I was getting into with this one, yet my curiosity was still on high with a reliance of a name. Quentin Tarantino: Executive Producer, Presenting. And what in the heck does it take to be a presenter anyway? A big and cool name, naturally. QT, what is your take on this movie? Eli Roth, you were fantastic acting as “The Bear Jew” in QT’s “Inglourious Basterds”, maybe he will rub off on your own films. Also, if I just escape a murder-for-hire compound and find out my friends were murdered there, why wouldn’t I run straight to train security instead of seeking revenge in the train station bathroom and then hopping on the train out of town? -djg

The Fury * * * * ½
Directed by: Brian De Palma / 1978

Cops: “What happened to his arm, Peter?”
Peter: “I killed it…with a machine gun!”

The Middle East, Beaches, terrorists, undercover agents, machine guns, Chicago, chases, explosions, death, mansions, hot fudge sundaes, pole vaulting, out of control indoor amusement park, rather ripped mid-age Kirk Douglas, best dressed bad guy John Cassavetes…and did I mention over-acting psychic teenagers who can bleed people and manipulate their mechanics? And just wait until act three as you’ll be jumping up and down! Wowie. At times Brian De Palma’s expert direction seems to say, “OK, I have this totally ridiculously-awesome script so let’s amp it up a ton and have some fun!” I know I had fun with “The Fury”, a ton of it. In fact, I was laughing a lot and wanted even more than 2 hrs and 5 mins. There is very little actual down time for De Palma’s gas pedal as he slices and dices great film trickery, teasing to the most amazing ending I’ve seen in a thriller for a while. I want to rush out and buy this one. And why in the heck didn’t De Palma direct the “Twilight” saga? -djg