Monday, March 5, 2012

Current Hollywood Offerings


The Artist was an underwhelming experience for me. Old hat plotting with a cinematic gimmick. Now and then, director Michel Hazanavicius does some novel things with spare sound effects, and the recreations of late 20's/early 30's Hollywood are close to exceptional, but the film followed an utterly predictable narrative line.

I'm sure there's a reason why the film is so simplistic -- it needed to be in order to raise funds. Can you imagine trying to finance a silent film with no big stars and a complex, unpredictable plot? I can't. Clearly, the makers of this couldn't, either, so they've gone with a story that would have been boo'ed out of the theater if it had been stapled to a sound film in color.

Yes, the dog is good, the actors are great (Berenice Bejo, in particular, was truly sublime as 'Pepper Miller', and is one of the most beautiful women I've seen on screen for a long time), and the cinematography is just fine, but I got listless watching it all unfold. There are no surprises.

This beat out Hugo for the Best Picture Oscar?  Give me a fucking break.

On the subject of boring, I didn't much like Hammer's remake of The Woman in Black. It's becoming more and more apparent to me that remakes are for the very young, and the not-so-young who don't go to movies much and have no sense whatsoever of movie history. If you're a dedicated cinephile like me, watching remakes defeats one of the primary purposes of moviegoing -- being surprised. Remakes, like today's trailers, are predicated on the moronic belief that nobody will see anything they don't already know about. Even better, they can watch the trailer and get to know every plot point and every important "surprise" in the movie before seeing it. Makes sense to a fuckwit, doesn't it?!  Are human beings really that unadventurous? Yeah, they are.

What wrong with The Woman in Black is its dull conventionality. It serves up every ghost story cliche you've seen and heard a million times... unless you were born after 2005. Daniel Radcliffe, attempting to distance himself from Harry Potter, is miscast as -- wait for it! -- a widower with a four-year-old son. Yes, Harry, we're expected to believe, has lived long enough to meet a girl, court her, marry her, have a son, bury his bride, and resume life. Oh, yeah, he made time for a law degree, too.

 Father, Husband, Widower, Lawyer:
Who are they kidding?

Considering the fact that Radcliffe only got out of bloody Hogworts a year ago, he comes across here as a teenager  playing dress-ups for a bunch of easily impressed toddlers.  Actually, I'm not even sure toddlers would buy this ruse. Radcliffe is a very good actor, and he's done some excellent non-Harry work such as December Boys, but this is just commercially-driven casting that hurts the film.

Will we next see Emma Watson playing Linda Lovelace in the porno star's upcoming biopic?

It is great to see Hammer producing movies again and I love the new Hammer screen logo with images from its glorious past, but I hope the studio embraces some original ideas sooner rather than later.

Last and least: Denzel Washington's Safe House. I urge you to watch the trailer and be satisfied that you've seen the movie. This is Tony Scott's latest film, isn't it? No, the director is Daniel Espinosa, but he's clearly determined to make a new Tony Scott film. But, since Tony is still alive and kicking, it's a pointless exercise to impersonate him. This is more crap about yet another "rogue agent" who's being hunted by the CIA because -- please stand by for an original idea! --  he's carrying information that will embarrass them. Hopefully, you're still standing by. I am.

What pickled retard is greenlighting this shit? It's hard to imagine anybody getting excited by this script, let alone throwing a hundred million dollars at it.

The action, as per usual, is frantic, disorganized, and headache-inducing; Washington plays a dramatic mosaic of his last dozen roles; and, as expected, the final revelation served up is about as shocking as discovering your vomit stinks.

This stinks about as much as that. Maybe a little more.


  1. which would make theatres vomitoriums?

  2. jervaise brooke hamsterMarch 6, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Well done Phantom, its great to see someone finally being truthful at last about 3 of the most ludicrously over-rated films of the year so far.

  3. "Old hat plotting with a cinematic gimmick"

    Sounds just like something that would win the Best Picture Oscar.