Monday, March 14, 2011

A Week (plus a few days) in Review: Part 1

Since it has been a while, I have decided to simply to do a 2-part collection of mini reviews of all the the films I have seen since my last post.

Requiem for a Dream (2000)
This is the most hard hitting, anti-drug movie I have seen. This makes Trainspotting (1996) look like a Slapstick comedy. The performances were very impressive, the ADD cinematography and editing suited the subject matter (though at times it did feel a bit too much), and the dialogue is not speechy or preachy. Is it a pleasant viewing? No. So I ever want to see this film again? Not for a long time, if ever. Is it worth viewing? I you have the stomach for it, yes.

Hollywood Contra Franco (2008)
Interesting documentary that looks had the Hollywood community's reaction to the Spanish Civil War. It also follows the life of Alvah Bessie, an American writer who fought with the Republicans in the War, and became one of the blacklisted Hollywood 10. There are interviews and plenty of clips, most of which were from the studio era, including Casablanca, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Fallen Sparrow (the latter I really want to see, if only because it has John Garfield). I saw this at a college screening, and after the film, had a chance to ask the director some questions. There is no DVD available for this film in the States, but if you do manage to hunt down a copy, it is worth a look.

Fright Night (1985)
The 80's were a good time for anti-Twilight vampires in movies. You know, when they were really threatening, and actually burned up in the sun, instead of glittering? Some fine bloodsucking films were produced in this time, such as The Lost Boys (1987), Near Dark (1987), and Fright Night (by the way, together they would make the Best. Box Set. Ever.) But it is the latter film that I will focus on. It is about a teen who discovers that the mysterious stranger that just moved into that creepy house next door is (dun dun dun) a vampire. Of course, nobody believes him, so he enlists the help of a former horror star, Peter Vincent (played by a scene stealing Roddy McDowall). Like the better horror films of the 1980's, it is not perfect, but it does have its own gory charm, and is really fun to watch, from the opening showing a cheesy horror film on TV, to the headbanging title song which plays over the end credits. Thanks additionally to impressive vampire make-up and special effects, this movie is one enjoyable ride.

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