What I'm Watching: Christmastime
A bit of a mixed bag this time out, killing time as the next review floats through the interpipes, and catching up on the backlog of DVDs that piled up. Even though I never feel like I make a dent.
Nic Cage's latest movie, that I never got to see in theatres, was Sorcerer's Apprentice, and you know what? It's a pretty fun flick. It's nothing super great, it's not the next great classic. But it is VERY fun, and the plot holds together very well. The cast is almost completely well acted, and even Nic Cage who can be uneven does a decent job. The magic looks good, thanks to a lot of practical effects supporting the visual effects. The plot is made up of a lot of familiar elements, but they are put together in such a way, that this is almost a unique story. Yes, it's the classic good versus evil paradigm, but they tackle it in a unique way. I definitely recommend it for a fun, popcorny movie to watch on a snowy afternoon with cocoa.
Another movie I've watched recently, but seen before, is Metropolis. The original, not the anime version. The very much original, as the Complete Metropolis was finally released. It's missing a few pieces of footage still, but this is the most complete version ever, and possibly the most complete we'll ever get. The new sound is downright amazing, and actually jarring to have a 5.1 orchestral score to an old, silent, black and white film image that is occasionally dug out of a poor archive because that was the best copy available. The story is much clearer than I remember it being, and more engaging. It's been a long time since I've seen earlier hacked up versions, but I'm pretty sure this is a better, more coherent film. You have to judge it on what it is, and the time it came from, but if you can get through that, it's certainly worth a new look.
Say what you will about Metropolis, the plot may be light, the characters not that built up, but it's an early filmic work, from another country so...but even so, you have to respect the film for what they were able to do in 1927, in the way of scale and effects.
My favourite new zombie movie, well new to me, is Dance of the Dead. It came out in 2006, but I just found out about it and got it around Halloween. I adore this movie. It is *almost* the US version of Shaun of the Dead, but not quite as good. It's a fun teenage high school romp at the prom, with zombies. How can you go wrong? The writing is smart, with some nice wit, and very fun. The gore is great, and the plot hangs together. My one complaint is, again, comparing it to Shaun. The movie doesn't quite pull together as many threads, and isn't QUITE as clever as Shaun. Which is a shame, because there are some great opportunities for them to set things up and pay them off, but they rarely have that payoff. If they had followed through on some very obvious plot threads, this movie would be a classic. But for an independent film from newer filmmakers, it's still rock solid. Like I said, I adore it.
While not really science fiction, fantasy, or horror, I do want to talk about the new BBC show, Sherlock. Hey, so many of these movies involve mysteries and twists, so there's a slight connection. And hey, dead bodies and slashers. This version is taking the basic Conan Doyle characters and dropping them into 2010. And you know what? It totally works. Almost nothing needs to change about the characters, it just needed updating to more common parlance, like Watson's journals becoming a blog. If you're a fan of classic Holmes, there is a lot to love here. There's a lot of references, both in the background and right in your face. The mysteries are very solid, and very engaging. And the actors playing Sherlock and Watson are amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed the first series. My only complaint is that it's too short! Three episodes of 90 minutes each? That's just enough to get me interested and frustrated! The wait for new episodes will be sheer torture. If you love mysteries, and are wanting for good ones, or just have a soft spot for Sherlock, this is a must watch, plain and simple.
That's plenty to ramble on about this time, gotta get back to work on Trisk's Christmas review!
Happy Holidays, Horrorheads!