Thursday, May 29, 2008

Shuang Tong (Double Vision)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: People are being killed in ways that seem impossible: a man drowns in his office with not a drop of water nearby, a woman perishes from horrific burns, despite there not being a flame in sight. When investigators begin to delve deeper into the murders, they discover that perhaps someone with a desire for immortality is behind these strange events.

Scariness factor: Not so much.

Gross-Out Factor: There's some knife-slitting going on during a few sections of the movie.

Complaints: Ack. Two movies in a row with David Morse in them. Why is it that just LOOKING at him irritates me SO VERY VERY MUCH? Again: as with Disturbia, he was perfectly fine in this movie. So I don't know why I loathe him so much. Other than that, I was mostly just indifferent to this movie. It wasn't anything special, but it wasn't anything terrible either. It was just ok.

High Points: The double-pupil eyeball effect was really pretty creeps. I dug it. Other than that: indifference.

Overall: Yeah, I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it. But then again, I wouldn't discourage you from seeing it either. It was tepid. That's the long and short of it.

Grade: C


Tuesday, May 20, 2008


--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: After punching his Spanish teacher in the mouth, our teenage lead finds himself stuck in his house for three months on house arrest. To cope with boredom, he starts spying on his neighbors, particularly (and of course) a super-hot neighbor who just moved in. When he notices one of his neighbors pulling a car into his garage that matches a car involved in a kidnapping, he begins to suspect him of murder.

Scariness factor: I've gotta admit, as teeny-boppery as this film was, it had good pacing and its tense moments were really quite tense.

Gross-Out Factor: Very minimal.

Complaints: This was uber-teeny-boppery. I'm not even sure whether to complain about that really, because it was clear from the get-go that this is the audience the movie was marketed towards. And you know what? I'm totally cool with that. (But yeah, if you're NOT a teeny-bopper, some of the style may grate on your nerves rather quickly. Particularly some of the annoyingly-emo music choices.) The acting is fairly generic. The characters are fairly generic. And, do not ask me why, but I have an inexplicable hatred of the dude who played the bad guy. (Though I will say, he wasn't too bad in this.) It was also a bit too pretty and squeaky-clean for my horror movie tastes.

High Points: Normally it irritates me when they modernize good classic suspense/horror films. Especially fricking Hitchcock of all people. (I mean, seriously--what WAS the deal with that Psycho remake??) BUT I actually think that, if you're gonna try modernizing a classic, Rear Window is actually a pretty smart choice. Thematically, the focus on voyeurism and paranoia is bumped up a notch in intensity and meaning when you factor in all the technological advances since the original film was made. I mean, you've got fricking KIDS with their own computers, cell phones, video cameras, etc. All this easy access to information, all this easy access to pinning things down on camera, all this easy access to posting whatever you want on-line, well, it kind of DOES lend to a scary voyeurism and paranoia. And in that regard, I think a remake of Rear Window was not too bad a choice. *HOWEVER* (and there's always a however), I'm conflicted about whether it could've been done tons better. I'm a fan of grittier, less slick horror films, and I wish this film would've had more of that kind of feel to it. *BUT* then again, the style of the movie was actually kind of fitting for the subject matter--sleek and shiny and pretty and modern and, well, teeny-bopperish. So yeah, I'm torn. The one other thing I liked about this movie was its pacing. I was surprised at how tense it left me. And it was pretty fast-moving throughout--it rarely dragged.

Overall: I'm torn. This isn't necessarily the type of movie to write home about (not that you would ANYWAYS, because who the hell writes home about movies??), but I must admit, I enjoyed it for what it was worth. 90 minutes of enjoyable, suspenseful fluff.

Grade: B-


Monday, May 12, 2008

The Mist

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: After a tremendous storm, a strange and inexplicable mist rolls in on a small town. A group of folks find themselves trapped in the local grocery store, fighting for their lives against the strange things inhabiting the mist.

Scariness factor: I jumped really hard in one scene. So yay for that.

Gross-Out Factor: Again, medium...

Complaints: We all knew this was coming, but my major complaint, of course, is the CGI. I was actually pleasantly surprised that I liked this movie so much, especially since I knew it was going to be heavy with CGI. But yeah: the CGI was lame in parts. I mean: do you really need to CGI mist rolling in?? I mean, is it really necessary? Especially if someone can fricking TELL it's CGI-ed? I also sort of wish they would've kept the "creatures" in the mist a little bit more mysterious. Granted, the Stephen King novella doesn't really do so. But I guess I would've still preferred it over lame CGI. Plus, some of the beings they CGI-ed I was kind of like, what? WTF kind of creature IS this? I mean, we've got spiders. Which are spiders. But then we've got weird pincer-creatures that don't seem to be a part of nature. So what's the deal? Also, I was a bit irritated that they explained away the mist so lamely. I mean, I think in the novella (it's been awhile since I've read it but) they MENTION that it could be related to goverment-stuff, but they never concretize it. I think that's what always kind of creeped me out: that you never really KNEW why the hell the mist rolled in or what it was due to.

High Points: Marcia Gay Harden was actually quite creepy and good in this. I loved to hate her character, and she added a bit of maniacal credibility to the film with her performance. I also really kind of liked the ending, despite the fact that it strayed dramatically from the ending of the novella. It really quite caught me off-guard, and it was terrible and horrifying and shocking and kind of interesting in that regard. I was actually, overall, surprised that I enjoyed this film as much as I did. I was extremely skeptical since "The Mist" has been one of my favorite Stephen King stories since I was little. So I figured there was no way in hell I was going to like it. But they did a pretty decent job with it and the sense of impending doom. I also knew that the CGI was gonna irritate the piss out of me, but it didn't bother me quite so much as I expected (probably because I went in prepared for it).

Overall: I was pleasantly surprised by this film. Much creepier (and with a strangely unsettling and kind of ballsy ending) than expected. Thanks for the recommendation, Bijoux!

Grade: B


Diary of the Dead

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A bunch of college students are making a film out in the woods when news comes through that the dead are returning back to life. The filmmaker involved in the student film can't resist taking advantage of the strange events by documenting them with his camera.

Scariness factor: Eh. Nothing special.

Gross-Out Factor: Medium. Either that or I'm just finally getting immune to it.

Complaints: Ok yeah. The whole "happening to be filming something when bad horror-movie shit goes down that you catch, coincidentally, on film" motif has gotten old old old. Mostly because NOBODY manages to do it well. Diary of the Dead was, alas, no exception. Here's my problem: I hate the self-consciousness of it. Just fucking do it. Don't keep having characters explain why it is that the stupid idiot supposedly "filming" continues to film through the whole course of the events that take place. Just do it. Otherwise I end up wanting to punch you in the throat every five minutes. Now granted, Romero's movie was a commentary ON media, so I understand that these weren't just the average "justification of why the main character would be filming instead of helping a friend who's getting killed"-type moments. But even so, the commentary in this movie was RIDICULOUSLY heavy-handed, especially for Romero. I mean, sweet jesus, the characters explain like 1500 times throughout the movie that it all IS a commentary on the media. And to me, well, don't keep TELLING me that. Just SHOW me for god's sake. Let the events speak to it instead of getting paranoid that no one's gonna get it and inserting in a bunch of characters and narration to heavy-handedly explain it to me.

High Points: It's got zombies in it.

Overall: Yeah, I dunno. It was too clumsy of a commentary on the media, and the self-consciousness of the documentary-style got old really quickly. (I mean, who REALLY REALLY would choose to keep filming instead of helping out a friend getting attacked. I mean, REALLY??) Chalk it up as a take-it-or-leave-it film.

Grade: C