Maybe not, but movie-wise the summer of 2010 was a pretty rotten one.
Sure, there were some good flicks, but they tended to be few and far
between, and could usually only be found in limited release form. This
means that unless you were located in a major city your chances of
seeing THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE or the MESRINE flicks were pretty
Hereís my look at the movies released over
the past four months, some horror-related, most not. Theyíre listed in
the order in which they were released--or at least the order in which I
saw them. As always, my opinions are strong and not a little biased, and
Iíve admittedly missed several major releases. SoÖ
IRON MAN 2
Didnít see it.
TOY STORY 3
EAT PRAY LOVE
SEX AND THE CITY 2
THE LAST AIRBENDER
First off, this film has quite a few problems: among other things,
itís at least 20 minutes too long and has too many extraneous characters
(for instance Ellen Page, whose role exists solely to fill in
expositional details). Yet like writer-director Christopher Nolanís
previous effort THE DARK KNIGHT, the whole thing is so audacious and
action-packed that I was thoroughly entertained despite its flaws. In
fact Iíd say itís the summerís most satisfying movie overall, offering
up enjoyment and provocation in equal amounts.
THE KILLER INSIDE ME
Director Michael Winterbottom tries valiantly to transpose Jim
fifties-era potboiler to the screen, but the film ultimately
falls short. Itís too bloated and lugubrious overall, woefully missing
the novelís pulpy intensity. It does, however, feature a strong lead
performance by Casey Affleck and some truly shocking brutality.
THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE
This Swedish-made sequel to THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (which,
FYI, was released in the U.S. back in March) contains all the things
that made that film the ass-kicker it was. In particular it has a
powerful lead performance by the incandescent Noomi Rapace and unusually
frank (by Hollywood standards) depictions of sex and violence.
Easily the best of the PREDATOR follow-ups, but thatís not saying
much. Itís one of those movies that starts off in riveting fashion but
steadily dies down, with a real bumfart of an ending. It seems the
filmmakers were deliberately leaving things wide open for a sequel, for
which Iím not holding my breath.
LIFE DURING WARTIME
Another sequel, this one a follow-up to Todd Solandzís demented 1998
classic HAPPINESS. As with that film, LIFE DURING WARTIME is harsh and
cynical. Itís also unusually intelligent and uncomfortably
insightful--and will likely be incomprehensible to viewers unfamiliar
with its predecessor.
A moronically enjoyable flick, with Angelina Jolie as a possible
Russian spy getting chased around while keeping her motives hidden. Not
that the characterís true nature is difficult to predict: itís a big
budget Hollywood product, after all, meaning moral ambiguity is kept to
a strict minimum. Ultimately the filmís biggest failing is that it tries
too hard to ape the BOURNE movies, down to the extended shaky-cam action
sequences and the heroineís final watery escape.
This sort-of remake of the classic Joe Dante cheapie definitely has
some great moments, and more than satisfies in the gore and sleaze
department. But itís a bit overly self-aware for my tastes. The original
PIRANHA may be far from perfect (as Iíve
elucidated elsewhere on this site) but
at least Dante didnít try to make a so-bad-itís-good movie, which
appears to have been the aim here.
Iíll bet you missed this one, a DAS BOOT-like Israeli war movie set
almost entirely inside the ultra-claustrophobic confines of a tank. The
writer-director actually manned a tank during the Israeli-Lebanon
conflict, and so knows the territory. The film admittedly has its share
of dead spots, but when it works it works damn well!
The latest film by THE DESCENT and
DOOMSDAYíS Neil Marshall, a bloody
actioner set in Northern England during the last days of the Roman
Empire. As a historical epic itís only marginally satisfying, but as a
no-frills gorefest it delivers.
THE LAST EXORCISM
Iím lukewarm on this one, the latest DV-lensed mock-doc, and very
much in the mold of
THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. Iíll be writing a
proper review of this film soon, but for now Iíll just say itís not bad
but not especially good, either.
THE OTHER GUYS
Didnít see this one, as it just didnít look interesting to me. I
mean, itís a comedic actioner about two mismatched policemen--not
exactly the most original premise.
DamnÖand I was looking forward to this movie! Itís not all that bad,
really, just stodgy and by-the-numbers. The idea of bringing back the
muscle-bound testosterone fests of the eighties sounded like a good one,
especially in light of all the obnoxious nerds-with-superpowers action
movies weíve been subjected to in recent years, but THE EXPENDABLES is
ultimately tooÖwell, expendable.
SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD
Speaking of nerds with superpowers movies, this is likely the
ultimate example of such: it doesnít even bother giving a rationale for
how it is that the thoroughly nerdy hero is able to vanquish his hot
girlfriendís retinue of psychotic ex-boyfriends, or why said girl is
interested in him to begin with, or why we should care.