October 31, 2005

Movie Weekend Wrapup.....

UNDEAD - Zombie flick from Australia. While the special effects and photography were suprisingly good for a low budget splatter flick, the story was too convoluted and rambling.
Watching the uninteresting characters run from place to place for almost 2 hours became too redundant to bear. Not a complete waste, but could have been much better with a little tighter direction.

KNIFE IN THE WATER - Roman Polanski’s directing debut. Taunt and edgy thriller with just 3 characters. A couple pick up a hitch-hiker and take him along on their sailing outing. Polanski enjoys slowly upping the tension on the (very) small boat between the three of them. It all build up to not much......but it’s still a ride worth taking. An impressive debut.

BATMAN - Tim Burton’s Batman that is. Still entertaining after all these years. Don’t know why so many people didn’t like Michael Keaton’s Batman/Bruce Wayne. Burton is obviously going for a dual personality storyline and Keaton seems to be the obvious choice for Jack Nicolson’s foil.

HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK - Nasty drive-inn grindhouse exploitation madness from notorious Italian director Ruggero Deodato. Very ugly film. David Hess abducts a housefull of yuppies and gives them a dinner party they won’t soon forget. Bizzare twist ending which is surprising for Deodato, whose films usually don’t try this hard to be good.

SAW 2 - Typical modern day horror. A couple of good performances, but other than that it’s the same old cookie cutter story with some twist ending trickery of it’s own. Average at best.

THE PIANIST - Not hard to see why Polanski won the oscar for directing here. While this story of a pianist in Nazi occupied Warsaw could have rambled this way and that, Polanski keeps the storyline and focus sharp and straightforward. Great survival tale.

October 17, 2005

High or Haute

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Saw quite the decent horror movie over the weekend. Which is rare because most of the garbage that gets passed off as part of the horror genre is just that. Garbage.

The movie, titled HIGH TENSION here in America, was made and released in France a couple of years ago as HAUTE TENSION. It was bought by Lions Gate Films here, and then sadly given a horrible English dub job and (even worse) censored by the MPAA of a few min. of bloodshed.

HIGH TENSION is now available on DVD (where you can play it in it’s ORIGINAL French Language, or the sh!tty English dub if you so desire) in glorious wide-screen and completely free of MPAA censorship.

Aside from all that....is it worth it? Why did Lions Gate bother buying the rights to a French horror film? Frence cinema is known more for their avant-garde New Wave films than horror. Only one real director of French horror even comes to mind (Jean Rollins.....and he wasn’t even that good).

The short answer is yes. With one of the greatest sound mixes I’ve heard in a film recently, HIGH TENSION does just that. Tell what seems like a sickeningly simple story with so much claustrophobia and, well tension, that it truly is a horrific film.

Sadly the film does KIND OF go off track in the latter moments, but getting there is quite the ride. Razo sharp photography, that amazing sound mix, and ample scares and violence make HIGH TENSION one of the best horror flicks of the past few years. And from the French no less.