Now, after a summer of sequels that did little to further movie franchises or the film business in general, comes a remake of Straw Dogs, the 1971 classic considered by some critics to be among the most visceral and memorable statements regarding violence ever put on the screen. Then again, what else would you expect from the maestro of malignant mayhem, the irrepressible Sam Peckinpah?
The updated remake is helmed by journalist/film critic-turned-director Rob Lurie. How does it compare? Can Lurie teach an old Dog new tricks? Like Westminster, this â€œbest in showâ€ is winner take all. […]
“Predators” spreads the interest around. As a group, the cast outperforms their counterparts in the earlier movie. Adrien Brody (bulked up for the role) as the team leader easily shows depth and dramatic complexity that is beyond Arnold. The same is true of every member of this kidnapped and ill-fated cast. Alice Braga, Topher Grace and Laurence Fishburne especially stand out. The all have something interesting to do. Especially since it involves steering clear of the creatures and different predators inhabiting this outer space game preserve.
This material is elastic, not sacrosanct, so cranking up the popcorn factor is not the worst thing. The new “Clash” serves up a new generation of actors you may not expect: Neeson and Fiennes and Sam Worthington (looking – with his buzz cut – like this flick could have been titled “Clash of the Avatars.” The computer generated effects give special life to the various creatures, the snake-haired Medusa and the world-killing Kraken. Ray Harryhausen is still watching movies at age 90. I think he’d be impressed with that, but not in 3-D. Honestly, the conversion is unsatisfying. It makes the compositions look like those crude cutouts on a 3-D postcard. If you enjoy this type of movie, save a few bucks and catch it in 2-D. James Cameron (“Avatar”) had it right all along: “If you want to make a movie in 3-D, make the movie in 3-D.”
Werewolf movies, like roaches, don’t know how to die. The idea of a thick pelt, fangs and a taste for blood spawned seven decades of cinema lycanthropes with uneven results. Now it’s Benicio Del Toro’s turn. “The Wolfman” just hit the screen after multiple re-shoots and reedits amid sniping that the Hairy One just wasn’t beastly enough. You’ll recognize a familiar – and highly modified – storyline buried under the computer-generated effects, fog-shrouded moors and insistent sound track.
“The Wolfman” wants to sink its canines into the gold standard of the werewolf franchise, “The Wolf Man” from 1941. That movie defined the career of Lon Chaney Jr. career and made him a star. Here’s the ‘Smackdown: Does “The Wolfman” raise the bar.. or fall in with the rest of the pack?
High stakes for Mel Gibson these days. As an actor he’s been off the screen.. and uncomfortably in the headlines.. the past half-dozen years. I’m not the only person wondering if audiences would remember Mel Gibson for what he said on screen.. or for what he said during a drunk driving arrest.
So here he comes in the remake of “Edge of Darkness.” This carefully chosen material calls out all the character elements that define Gibson’s screen work: emotional intensity, a violated sense of right and wrong, and few qualms about a violent response.
The Smackdown For years, everyone knew the Big Three of Classic Horror: Dracula, The Wolf Man, and Frankenstein.Â That other Undead Dude, The Mummy was second-tier, a guy with a few flicks but not the […]
The Smackdown Back in 2008, the jade giant known as the Incredible Hulk wreaked havoc in the Movie Smackdown arena in a battle that pitted that yearâ€™s The Incredible Hulk, featuring Edward Norton, against 2003â€™s […]
Don’t you just hate it when flesh-eating zombies force you to stay home at night like some kind of shut-in?
Richard Matheson’s original 1954 novel, I Am Legend, put ideas into the 50s zeitgeist that have stayed with us, spawned spin-offs, rip-offs and re-makes. Even horror master Stephen King was influenced mightily by it. After years of starting and stopping, they finally got a film in theaters that used the original, powerful title that the writer himself felt was appropriate for his work.
That film is, of course, I Am Legend. It follows a lineage of trying to adapt the brilliant original literary vision to film with spotty success (at least, critically); from the 60s version made in the shadow of the Cuban Missile Crisis; to the 70s version where Charlton Heston brought his post-Planet of the Apes sci-fi cred to the endeavor; to this post-millennial version which wants to do what all the others set out to do but fell short of, but with today’s fears, not yesterday’s. These are three films that say as much about who we were at the time of their production as they do about the actual films themselves. One thing they prove, however, is that flesh-eating zombies just never go out of style. […]
This weekend the theaters are full of fans going back for more of director Martin Scorsese and his muse, Leonardo DiCaprio, in Shutter Island. Scorsese and DiCaprio have worked together in Gangs of New York, The Aviator and, most recently and successfully, The Departed, the mesmerizing tale of undercover cops and organized crime infiltration of the police force. […]