Monday, October 26, 2009

Review City: A couple Stephen King adapts' and a Clive Barker

So I finished watching some movies. I wanna tell ya about 'em. And you will read my reviews and treat them as gospel. Or I will find you...

First up we got The Dark Half. This is based on a Stephen King novel and was directed by George Romero. I'm gonna let that settle in for a minute...All ready? Good. So this should be the best movie ever. It isn't but it is in no way bad. The movie opens with a boy struggling with voices in his head and severe headaches that cause him to collapse. After being examined by his doctor, it is discovered that he has a developed twin living embedded in his skull like a brain tumor. After the "tumor" is removed, the boy grows up into a writer and teacher who ends up being blackmailed (by a true scumbag version of Robert Joy who you might remember from Romero's "Land of the Dead") for using a pseudonym to sell books. The problem is Thad Beaumont (the writer played by Timothy Hutton) can't sell what he writes unless he uses his darker side to create vulgar crime stories. So to solve this little blackmail issue, Thad decides to "kill off" his assumed name and write what he wants to. This proves to be a bad decision as his "dark half" gets tremendously pissed off and basically "ain't goin out like that". I won't spoil the rest of it but shit gets hairy.

So does this add up to a good movie? Yeah I'd say so. Romero gives us a pretty atmospheric creepy movie that sort of reminds me of Cape Fear at times. Timothy Hutton is awesome in a dual role as Thad and his darker half. He makes the evil twin version of himself nasty as hell and really deserves more recognition than I'm sure he got. The acting all around is solid and while the movie isn't a dripping gore fest (weird for a Romero movie right?) we do get some of the red stuff as the film moves along. So what's wrong with the movie? It's a bit overlong and I think Romero could have given us some more of his trademark nastiness. Either way, a solid King adaptation that you should pick up if you see it. Plus it's probably really cheap. I like when movies are cheap. 87%

Next up we have Clive Barker's Nightbreed. You have never heard of this movie and that is probably a shame. This is one of the most original and weird monster movies I have ever been lucky enough to see. This one is about a guy who dreams about monsters and the mystical land they live in called Middian. He sees a psychiatrist (played by fuckin David Cronenberg. If you need me to tell you who this is stop reading my blog) who leads a double life as a serial killer with a sick mask. You could've made a whole movie based on this alone. It turns out that the monsters are real and so is the underground dwelling they live in. Our hero stumbles on to the monsters hideout and then ends up having to try and protect them from the outside world and the real monster that is humanity.

This is like I said before, one of the weirdest movies ever. The monster makeup is amazing. The creatures who live in Middian look like rejects from the Mos Eisley Cantina on meth. It's a Clive Barker movie, so there is quite a lot of bloody stuff going on (the money shot being when a guy in a mental hospital rips his own scalp off). We also have a really interesting morality play that asks some tough questions of its viewers. Also, David Cronenberg was fucking great in this. Who knew the guy who directed Scanners and The Fly (and Eastern Promises, go figure) could act? One more thing. I wish Clive Barker would direct more movies. This and Hellraiser alone should be evidence enough that this guy has as much talent behind a camera as he does with a pen. So go to the store and buy this movie. It's cheap believe me. We all know how awesome that is. 90%

The last movie tonite is Stephen King's The Mist. I avoided this movie when it came out for some reason. I am a huge douchebag for doing this. A huge dbag. I should be taken outside and beaten. Anyway, this King adaptation was directed by Frank Darabont who also did The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. So basically the guy is a Stephen King fan and since those movies are pretty good there is no reason to expect this to be any different. This one's about a group of people trapped in a supermarket after a freak storm causes a weird mist that for some reason hurts people. It turns out that this mist contains B-movie alien monsters that love to eat humans. Like every good "people trapped hiding from monsters" siege movie, the monsters outside are no where near as scary as the people inside. I won't get into what this means really. I don't want to ruin it if you haven't seen it. I will say that this movie plays out more like a commentary on the stupidity of the human race than a straight up 50's/60's B monster movie. Everyone in this film is great. Thomas Jane (the guy who played the Punisher) was good, and Marcia Gay Harden should have gotten an Oscar for her psychotic religious zealot that tears the people in the supermarket apart. The only gripe I have is the CGI creatures. I hate CGI to begin with and I usually think that filmmakers are being lazy shits when they use it. The monsters would have been so much better if they were done using practical effects. That is not to say they were bad or looked cheesy, but you could definetely tell they were CGI. I'm just nitpicking really. I shouldn't bitch so much. Anyway, we have great monster gore scenes, lots of tension, and the most depressing ending I have seen in a long time. Like literally I felt like a shitty person after the movie was over. This makes two movies I have been wrong about (the other being Drag Me to Hell, review coming soon). I should learn not to be so judgmental. 92%

This concludes tonite's post. Now fucking comment already.

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