What I'm Watching: August, 2011
Happy August, horrorheads! Sorry I got lazy at the end there, and decided to stock up comments on assorted stuff for one big post. So let us get to it, shall we?
Something I came across in the Very Odd Department of the tv was this odd little movie called Trail of the Screaming Brain. The guys behind this have done a number of movies in the style of old, cheesy movies from the 1950s and 1960s. Now, why would this have caught my eye? In this movie, some scientists are looking to enhance brain power by enlarging the true source of all thought...the forehead. And at the same time, alien foreheads are coming to Earth and possessing people. Yes, this movie is EXACTLY as goofy as it sounds. The writing and performances are straight out of scifi B-movies, with stilted repetative dialogue, the effects are deliberately awful, and it was all done in good fun. I loved it, but at the same time, it made me twitchy. There's something fun about embracing those old tropes, heck it's the whole reason I'm here right? But at the same time, to deliberately make something awful is...odd. They struck that balance between tongue in cheek and awful very well though, and if you have nostalgia for these sorts of movies, this is worth the look. If we can bring back exploitation movies, why not scifi b-movies?
And that brings us right to Hobo With a Shotgun, doesn't it? Unlike movies like Drive Angry and Machete that are doing modern day homages to the exploitation genre, this movie is one. In every way. I'm not sure how much it works, but I mostly enjoyed it. In the exploitation resurgence, I'd still put Drive Angry ahead of it, since there's some things about Hobo that don't quite gel together. But hey, it's Rutger Hauer hamming it up and killing things in insanely gory ways. It is gloriously and unapologetically over the top. It's a movie that I'm sure will grow on me over time.
Speaking of flawed movies, there's Dylan Dog... Based on a foreign comic I didn't even know existed until I'd already ordered the DVD, Dylan Dog is the story of the eponymous investigator of the weird, who works as a mediator between all the tribes of monsters existing in New Orleans. He's human, an impartial judge to solve their quarrels, but he had a falling out and retired from that position. But the supernatural never lets you go, and Dylan gets dragged back into the world of darkness. Brandon Routh is great as a noir hero, and the story isn't bad, but there's nothing too special here. Low budget fun, and I can see why people wouldn't like it, but it's decent enough to kill 90 minutes and not regret it. Definitely worth checking out. It's perfectly average, and raised above that by Routh's deadpan, and some other creativeness and acting. Peter Stormare! How can you go wrong there? But I say go seek out the movie Cemetary Man which is based off the same world.
A movie I don't know WHAT to say about, is Rubber. If you've not heard of it, the movie is about a sentient tire that goes on a killing spree after discovering a tire fire. ...And that's a sentence I never thought I'd type. It's seriously 90 minutes of a tire going around telekinetically blowing up heads. And breaking the fourth wall at every opportunity. It breaks the fourth wall, and the rules of cinema left and right. It's almost an arty horror movie. I *think* I like it? It's fun, but so weird, I just keep going, "Whaa?" every time I think about it. And I can't make a single complaint about it, because the movie opens with a monologue about how every movie has an element of "No reason". So if I want to know why the hell something happened...well, the movie already told me. No reason. Do not expect sense out of Rubber. And yet, yeah, it was fun. There's an audience watching the movie in the movie that provides some weirdness and commentary, and the opening reel of Robert (that's the tire's name) coming to life and stumbling through childhood like a baby growing up is actually really well done.
I think I'll wrap up with a movie I don't think ANYone has heard of, Control. I stumbled across this around the same time I found last month's Portal. It's the story about a criminal, played by Ray Liotta, who goes through the trope of behaviour modification. He's believed killed by lethal injection, and then subjected to drugs and tests by the Green Goblin...er, Willem Dafoe. Eventually, he's considered altered and normal enough to re-enter society, cleaned up, and sent on his way to gauge the success of the project. You can probably figure out some of the tropes they stumble through, but it's well done, with a solid cast. Things go wrong when he does get recognised for who he is while trying to make amends for past actions. The movie is a good look at how much control a person has over their life and behaviour, and has a surprising and very effective twist at the end that ties right back to the nature of the movie. I was pleasently surprised to have stumbled across this and was thoroughly engaged the entire time. I definitely recommend seeing it if its on cable some night, or you see it for rent. Or that newfangled thingie, Netflix.
Until the next review in a week or so, keep thirteening. And keep an eye out for my thoughts on Captain America and Cowboys & Aliens. I reviewed Oblivion, I *have* to see C&A, the good version!