If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Sorry there was a break there between reviews...I had to go buy front door candy. Not that I originally planned to, it just all came crashing down on me....HALLOWEEN IS ALMOST OVER....it's not fair. So, suffice it to say, my front door is now all crazy Halloweened out...not that I expect any of the parents in the neighborhood to send their kids over to the old haunted Cyrus place....there are those he say he only comes out at night to watch eeeeeevil movies, before he scurries back to his lair to spread his vicious slander across the world. And speaking of evil movies...
SCREAM 4 (Blu-Ray and DVD)
Okay, okay, we get it..."Scream 4" isn't one of the best of the series. Although certainly better than part three, from the wounded howls I've been hearing from some horror fans, you'd think this movie itself WAS Ghostface, hacking and slashing its way through their better judgment. But, for the record, "Scream 4", while certainly not any where near living up to the studio manufactured hype about "New Decade...New Rules", still has some entertainment dollar to it. Kevin Williamson, the writer of the first two films, returns (although his work on it was unfinished and got polished by others), as does director Wes Craven, to pretty much tell the same story yet again, as Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) proves she is incapable of learning from experience. She returns to her hometown of Woodsboro ten years after on a book signing tour, and of course, pretty much immediately Ghostface stars getting his game on. David Arquette, now the town's sheriff, reluctantly has to inform her that she's obviously a suspect in this fresh round of corpses and can't leave town. Meanwhile, his ex-wife, Courtney Cox (ooh...meta) finds an opportunity to get back into the reporting game and try to suss out who's the new crackpot under the mask. A new star is added to the roster as well (because let's face it, there ain't much in the way of current 'stars' in this series anymore), Sidney's cousin Jill (Emma Roberts) who, along with the rest of the town's teenagers, spend most of the movie constantly forgetting there's a psycho running around looking to kill them, and acting all sullen about not getting to go party. Hard to feel sorry for teens like that when they get whats comin' to 'em. Overall, while "Scream 4" (or "Scre4m", FSM help us all) has pretentions towards offering something up new to the series, that's really about all new that there is. Even so, some good and nasty kills and half-way entertaining funny stuff liven things up to being at least as good as part two. Yep, I said it. Now I'm fully expecting some disgruntled Spillion to show up next year in Austin and start Ghostface stalking me in revenge. Horror fans take their sequels SO seriously!
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CAPE FEAR (Blu-Ray)
I've been privy to no small amount of spirited discussions about whether Martin Scorsese's 1991 version of the horror/thriller "Cape Fear" is superior to the original 1962 J. Lee Thompson version. Robert Mitchum played Max Cady, the ex-con bent to get revenge against his shady defense attorney (Gregory Peck) and his unsuspecting family in the original, and there's no denying that it's a fine film indeed. But Scorsese's was my first, and Robert De Niro will always be MY Max Cady, stalking about the deck of a sinking ship with a flare melting out over his hand, screaming out into the wind for Nick Nolte's terrified attorney to come out of hiding, "Counselor......". Scorsese has proven repeatedly that he can master pretty much any genre he sets his lens to, and "Cape Fear" is a more than capable piece of evidence that he's got horror down flat. Almost more memorable than the film itself is Elmer Bernstein's stirring adaptation of Bernard Herrmann's original score; still one of the EEKiest strains in Hollywood history. Strangely, I think I like it even more now than I did when I originally saw it, and that might be because experimenting with some of these more extreme genre stylistics was kind of a new thing still for Scorsese, and was a bit offputting. Needless to say, fans of his more recent "Shutter Island" can see where that side of the great director evolved from. A fantastic HD transfer is more than enough reason alone to pick up this disc, but all of the original DVD extras ported over (which are quite nice) doesn't hurt either.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Cape Fear [Blu-ray]
THE CHILD'S EYE (DVD)
Why oh why is it, oh mighty Pang Brothers of Hong Kong, who originally brought us a film as wonderfully spooky as "The Eye" (the original version, mind you), that you seem entirely incapable of understanding in the slightest why that film was as popular as it was? The only continuing story thread was about people who, like the kid in "The Sixth Sense", can see the dead, and that each film has some version of ghosts in it. The two sequels in the original 'trilogy', as it were, went way off book and were not even mildly scary. Neither is this new film, also by the original Brothers, who seem to be trying every last old trick to recreate the original's wonderful atmospherics, and failing so badly that one can only surmise that they just don't give a shit anymore. Here, a group of young HK teens are vacationing in Thailand when political upheaval disrupts the entire country and they are forced to take rooms in a ramshackle old hotel to wait out the angry storm outside. Of course though, the place has got some kind of nasty, white eyed, ghost lady, who manages to abduct all the boy folk from their group into the spirit realms, leaving the three girls to sort out the mystery of what happened, who she originally was, and what the FUCK is going on with that weird dog faced boy. Shades of much better Takashi Miike style horror (like the oddities in "Gozu") seem to be at least nipping at the heels of this otherwise standard Asian ghost mystery story, and some visual touches, like the spirit world being made up of the paper items the bereaved are known to burn to accompany their loved ones into death, are pretty cool. But OH MAH GAWD is this a horrible script. You have no idea. The scariest thing here is that dialogue this bad actually made it to the filming stage, and they found actors as bad as this (and whoa) to deliver the lines. It exemplifies my 'they really just don't give a shit' theory and that's sad, because the Pang Brothers have proven that they have a wealth of visual imagination at hand to express, and they know how to deliver the chills...when they care. Skip this one. Might as well. They clearly did.
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