July 13th, 2012

Capsule review of "Prometheus"

Exciting horror-movie-in-space thriller, spectacular special effects, good cast, H.R. Giger homage well done. Pity it's a cheat because in order to get to the exciting stuff, the characters have to be unbelievably stupid, especially for alleged scientists. Also, the science is ludicrously bad.

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Spoileriffic Point-By-Point Teardown of "Prometheus"

DON'T READ THIS if you haven't seen "Prometheus" and want to have the fun of compiling your list of howlers on your own. You have been warned! (Which should be sufficient unless you are a "Prometheus" scientist--.)

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Basically, we've got a supposedly well funded science mission staffed and run under the rules that apply to summer camps and lonely houses in slasher movies, which is really disappointing, since the traps waiting for the crew on LV-223 are deadly enough to be challenging even if the crew acted as intelligently as they ought--which would have made the situation even more scary, if maybe not as thrilling. Unfortunately, the movie makers opted for dumb thrills over intelligent true horror.

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Dark Shadows

On Sunday, July 7th, we caught up with this year's "Dark Shadows" movie at the Budget Cinema. Paying $2.00 apiece instead of first-run prices was a good decision.

While the Tim Burton revival (re-animation?) of the creepy soap opera is a refreshing change from the dull and pretentious 1970's features, "House of Dark Shadows" and "Night of Dark Shadows," it unfortunately is neither one thing nor the other. In plot and spirit, it much more resembles an "Addams Family" film, but does not go all the way into being black comedy.

Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins is given dead-white makeup and spidery fingers that hark back to "Nosferatu's" Count Orlok, an impression reinforced by his high-collared coats. In fact, the movie is pretty well full of homages: Barnabas' hidden treasure chamber nods to the Addams Family, and I'm sure the scene of Elizabeth Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer) on the stairs with the shotgun (as opposed to in the billiard room, with the lead pipe) refers to something (The Terminator? Alien?) but I'm not sure what.

Had I been given my druthers, I would have cast Pfeiffer as Angelique, given that she has the same luminous blue-eyed gaze as Lara Parker, who played Angelique on TV. However, given the more "earthy" character that Angelique is given in this movie, one can't say that Eva Green did a bad job.

The bad job award here goes to the writers and Burton as director,not least for settling for a plot that ends up being resolved by a body-slamming fight scene, as well as not being able to decide whether they were doing an homage or a send-up.

Part of the enjoyment factor may depend on whether you watched the old show or not. I did, and found it amusing. Georgie never did, and naturally didn't get the in-jokes or appreciate how the soap-opera elements were adapted, so didn't find it as good as I did.

So, fun if for cheap prices, but your mileage may vary.

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