2013 Film Review: May
May signals the last month of Spring in the US of A, and so the last month of Fall here in Australia.
But of course, we don’t call it Fall – we call it Autumn like the British. Note the silent n. Now pay attention, as this will come up in a pub quiz one day. There are six words in the English language that end in with a silent n.
Autumn, Column, Condemn, Damn, Hymn, Solemn
The British invented silent letters to fuck with foreigners trying to learn the language.
Eerily, our first film for May opens in a cabin in Autumn, where a Damned woman is condemned to face solemn hymns whilst tied to a column.
What’s it About:
A remake of the 1981 classic. A group of friends travel deep into a cabin in the woods to help their pal detox from a drug addiction. One of them finds a book wrapped in plastic, bound in barbed wire with the note attached DO NOT READ. He decides it would be a bad idea to read it, so leaves the book alone. They all have a peaceful woodlands experience, and then head home. THE END
Yeah right. This is a Horror film, and the best part is that somebody always pisses in the face of common sense. The book is read. Demons are unleashed. Shit turns to fuck. You know the drill.
The film opens with a very unsettling exorcism involving some ghastly red necks that sets the scene for some good old fashioned Horror.
Newcomer Fede Alvarez has crafted a beautiful looking film here, this is one dude you need to watch for in the future. The score also kicks ass.
Mia (the druggie/possessed) is great, and plays a demon to icky perfection. Eric (dumb shit who reads the book of the dead) also puts in a solid performance. Christ almighty he takes a pummelling in this film, if you don’t feel for him by the end – you’re dead inside.
Finally – this film promised a gruelling experience, and man did they ever deliver. Once the (eye) ball gets rolling, it’s a non stop assault on the senses that will have you wandering naked through a car wash in a vein attempt to cleanse yourself. I saw this on a Thursday night after a rough day at work, and it was just what the doctor ordered. I mean, everybody wants to see a bunch of people get torn to shreds by Demonic forces after a bad day at the office. Right?….Right? *cough*
While the characters of Mia and Eric were great in Evil Dead, the other three did not leave their mark. David was supposed to be the hero, but seemed dead eyed the whole time like he was dealing with a broken dish washer and not Demonic misery. His girlfriend Natalie was equally listless, and was lumped with one of the Evil Dead’s most iconic scenes (think limb removal), yet the scene lacked punch as she had not been seen for a good chunk of film before it happened. Seriously, the cabin is tiny – and yet characters seemed to wander off screen for substantial amounts of time. Olivia was better – but her arc was dumb, and cut quite short.
I had an interesting conversation with my viewing companion after the film. I complained about some of the acting in the film, and he countered that Horror films by nature are usually devoid of great performances. Traditionally I would agree, but the last decade has produced a kind of golden renaissance of Horror – with great actors taking an interest in the genre when B graders used to suffice. Honestly, had they ditched the crappier actors and replaced them with a few of the kids from the American Horror Story series, Evil Dead would have been a superior product.
But maybe I’m being too hard on the actors, as the script didn’t really give them decent character arcs to begin with. Part of the problem is the dull linear feel to the story, the thrill of the original Evil Dead trilogy is you never knew who was the next to get possessed. (See Cabin in the Woods for acting and character arcs done right.)
A familiar face shows up for a quick scene after the credits. Time restraints led to his cameo being cut from the film, and they had to resort to shooting him in darkness under a desk lamp with a quick spot of dialogue. Like a Vultron hoodie, the scene is pointless yet awesome.
The future of the Evil Dead franchise has changed so many times over the years that it’s easy to lose track. Raimi has been teasing an Evil Dead 4 since the 90’s. After the remake surfaced, the bat shit idea came out (and I love how insane this fucking thought was) to finish a remake trilogy, and then make an Evil Dead 4 that was a sequel to both trilogies – starring the hero from both trilogies. This idea has since fallen to the wayside…I think. Army of Darkness 2 gained a heap of traction at one point, but I have heard no more so – short answer: who fucking knows.
My mate Richo bought a pack of Maltesers to chew on during the film. The first Malteser he pulled from the bag felt suspiciously light – turned out the candy ball was completely hollow. Had ancient demons sucked out it’s malt-honeycomb soul? We’ll never know for sure.
The Final Word:
There’s a solid film here, and a gruelling Horror experience to be had. With a few different choices in acting and story, this film could have popped in just behind Evil Dead 2 in the quality stakes. But as it stand it slots in behind Army of Darkness as the fourth best Evil Dead film. It doesn’t really tarnish the franchise in any way, I’m pretty happy with the effort.
What’s it About:
Kirk and Co. bump heads with the evil genius of Benedict Cumberbatch, and ask the eternal question: “Does this guy have the best name in Hollywood?”. (SPOILER: Nope. Walton Goggins does).
The crew of the Starship Enterprise really grew on me in the last film, and I gotta say they bring the charm in this one too. Kudos must be given to the ensemble of actors, because it sure as fuck wasn’t the writing.
Some good action pieces, especially the space jump Kirk and Khan do together through a shit tonne of space debris. Despite it’s flaws, there is some fun to have with the new Star Trek.
Did you know you can put out small fires with your penis? You just take your dick out, and dab the head of your penis around the perimeter of the fire working your way to the epicentre, cutting of the oxygen to the flames with your phallus.
It works, but it’s a fucking dumb idea. Kind of like the plot to Star Trek Into Darkness.
I can’t go into too much detail without spoiling the film, but the story line is head slappingly stoopid. I always thought Star Trek was supposed to be Star Wars for smart kids – but the films in this remake franchise have plot mechanisms that make teenage fan-fic look good by comparison. At least the first Star Trek a few years ago felt dumb in hindsight, the kind of film that you would enjoy at the time – but it’s flaws would hit you on the way home in retrospect. Star Trek Into Darkness’ doesn’t require a clear head to notice it’s short comings, the stupidity hits you in real time.
If you’re at a loose end, go read my review of the 2009 Star Trek film. I rant like a dickhead about the property, and admit to being a fan of Lost and JJ Abrams. What the fuck was I thinking? (In my defense, this was before I had seen the last two seasons of Lost.)
Star Trek 3 is due in 2016, and I haven’t died from Cirrhosis of the liver, then I will check out it out on DVD. Like I said, I find the cast to be endearing – but I’m done shelling out the big clams to watch this shit at the cinema.
The Final Word:
You’ll have fun with the charismatic crew, but the simple minded plot may annoy some of the more discerning viewers. I recommended getting three quarters shit carted on booze before viewing.
What’s it About:
In the Summer of 1922, Tobey Maguire moves to Long Island to mope around with that dumb-shit look he always seems to have on his face. He meets his neighbour, Doris Hennington, who is senile, smells of piss and keeps a dozen cats. Tobey decides to go hang out with his other neighbour, Jay Gatsby – a man renown for holding such garishly extravagant parties it would make even Elton John vomit in disgust.
If you just had some magic mushrooms you found in the hills, drop onto your couch and let the colours and sounds wash over you. It’s a good looking film.
Some times I fell a little unpatriotic. I’m not huge on Cricket and couldn’t give two shits about barbecues. I know I’m suppose to revere Steve Irwen as some kind of saint, but to be honest I always found him to be bit of a twunt. Likewise, Baz Lurhman is considered a national treasure – but I have always struggled with his work (except Strictly Ballroom, I remember digging that).
His over the top efforts to pump his films full of soul, conversely seem to leave his films feeling a little empty and, well, soulless. The Great Gatsby, is that kind of film. Beautiful to look at there is no doubt, but I spent the two plus hours of it’s running time waiting for it to grab me…and it just didn’t happen. Something is off here – the characters are too surface level, the story is missing defining moments. The film licks your eyes for 142 minutes, but never bothers to touch your heart.
Did you go to a Great Gatsby party in 2013? Get all gussied up in extravagant attire, and wine and dine like a millionaire? Then give yourself a pat on the back, because you completely missed the whole point of the fucking story.
The Final Word:
Remember the Malteser I mentioned that was just pretty candy shell, and no innards?
What’s it About:
Alan has been a little bug-shit nuttier than usual, so agrees to be taken to a rehab facility so long as the “Wolfpack” takes him there. But instead of that trip, they end up on a wacky escapade to retrieve millions in gold bullion – in order to save the life of the fourth guy who is always in these films, but absent for most of the running time. You know, the handsome guy who was getting married in the first film. I think the actor was in CSI. Pretty sure he was. Just checked, and nope – he wasn’t.
There’s something weirdly relaxing about watching these guys try to sort out their twisted mysteries – and get further and further into the shit. Though not as good as the first two films (which let’s be honest aren’t even good films in the first place), you could happily marathon watch all three Hangovers when you are hungover yourself.
The best part about the film is the stinger, which I will mention later.
I’m usually the first to complain when films stick to tired formulas rather than new stuff, but not the hangover films. The whole “black out drunk” formula was the only thing these flicks had going for them. The humour has always been a little weak in these films. The central characters are some of the most unlovable in movie history – cunts when they are sober, destructive psychotics when they are drunk. But still there was a lot of fun to be had watching them piece together the night before, and get their comeuppance in the process. I’ve had Sunday mornings when I’ve woken up in a bathtub with a lamp shade on my head, and had to call mates to piece together the previous night’s antics like seedy Sherlocks. Juvenile, yes. But also fun. I have no idea why, but this element was removed from the Hangover part III, they don’t have a single drink (until after the credits), and the film suffers greatly for it.
The director of the Hangover films is under the illusion that the characters had endeared themselves to the public like old friends, near the end of the film there’s a shot of the wolf pack wandering together towards camera, and it flashes back to the original film with the corresponding shot – as if to say, hey we’ve grown to love these guys and watched their journey, but sadly it comes to an end. Like we are watching the kids from Hogwarts all grown up. Fuck off you delusional assholes.
Zach Galifinakis and Ken Jeong are starting to develop some serious comic fatigue.
The post credits stinger is actually pretty awesome, sticking to the magic formula that I keep bemoaning is missing. The wolf pack wake up hungover in a strange location with complete memory loss – and well, you should check it out. If only this had been the opening scene of the film. Fuck you wolf pack.
Nah. I’m sure Bradley Cooper has far better things to do.
Stare blankly at the film when you are hungover yourself. Else, I wouldn’t bother.
What’s It About:
Four young actresses rob a Diner and use the cash to head to Florida for Spring Break, whereby they become associated with a flamboyant Drug Dealer named Alien and kick their life of crime up a notch.
Starring three hot young actresses, and one average one. Hey! Be nice. That’s the Director’s wife you’re talking about.
James Franco is playing against type here as the curious Alien, an aspiring Rapper and Crime Kingpin – and all round lunatic. The character is quite mesmerising, especially his “look at all my shit” routine, and is quite possibly my favourite film character of 2013.
The film is quite a unique visual delight, think a modern remake of Scarface filtered through a dozen shades of day glo.
To say Harmony Korine’s style of film making is wacky is an understatement. This doesn’t reach the mind sewerage levels of his previous works like Gummo, but it still might be too esoteric for the average viewer.
The Final Word:
If you dropped acid, rubbed several sticks of fluoro sunscreen into your eyeballs and then re-enacted your favourite levels on Grand Theft Auto while rampaging through the set of a Girl’s Gone Wild video – the experience would not be dissimilar to viewing Spring Breakers. Recommended.