WWW: Weekend Wrental Wreviews 40

Let's see what I saw this week for Weekend Wrental Wreviews in my 40th WWW:

1) The Crazies(1973):
I wasn't too impressed with the recent remake, but upon learning that what I'd watched in the theater was a remake, I knew I was obligated to seek out the original in order to make a fair comparison. The original isn't bad, but it's definitely not George A. Romero's finest work, and it's a low budget 70s film that shows its age. In some of the outdoor sequences, it's hard to hear dialogue over the background chirping of frogs or crickets. More than once, when we cut to a scene of a pilot flying a plane or some other military sequence, we're clearly watching grainy stock footage. In the remake, it's kept a mystery as to what's causing the townspeople in a small town to slowly go mad and slaughter each other. Here, we're told in dialogue within the first ten minutes. Then it becomes less of a film about infected individuals and more of a paranoia piece about the government stepping in to contain a problem it caused. There's not as much gore as in the original film, a disturbing scene of incest taking the place of pitchfork murders. The situation is as futile here as in the 2010 version, although the irony we end on is a lot quieter. In the end, we have two average films that are average for different reasons, and while I can understand why the first film was made and what the filmmaker was trying to say, I'm not really sure why anyone thought this was a good choice of a film for a remake.

2) Blades of Glory:
I'm not the biggest fan of Will Ferrell, and I don't get his appeal as a comedian let alone a lead actor. He's made some truly stupid films, but he's also made a few really funny ones, enough to keep him bankable. Often, the ones I like are because of who's starring opposite him(such as John C. Reilly,) and though Blades of Glory is definitely a stupid comedy, it's also stupid funny thanks in no small part to the rest of the cast. The concept of two rival male figure skaters being forced to team up in couples competitive skating is funny enough in and of itself. Ferrell crafts an over the top, boozing sex addict in Chazz Michael Michaels, that plays nicely off the fair, innocent Jimmy MacElroy played by Jon Heder. I didn't have high expectations, so there were definitely a few visual gags and bits of dialogue that took me by surprise and had me laughing out loud. Will Arnett and Amy Poehler, a real life husband and wife, here play a brother and sister skating duo and rivals to our two leads. Some of their costumes and routines are just as ridiculously awesome as the things real figure skaters do. Jenna Fischer plays their sweet younger sister and love interest for Jimmy, while Craig T. Nelson seems to be a natural as a coach. He just might have the move that MacElroy and Michaels can win with, but it's risky. It's so risky, I can't even spoil what it is, but the first time I saw it I had to pause and go back after I stopped laughing in disbelief. If you have an hour and a half to turn off your brain for a dumb movie and just need some laughs, this isn't a bad one to watch.

3) Underworld: Rise of the Lycans:
I was looking forward to seeing Kate Beckinsale reprise her role as the vampire Selene, and instead got a prequel about how the war between the vampires and the lycans(werewolves) began. There are enough things to tie this film back to the previous ones, including Bill Nighy as Viktor and Michael Sheen as Lucian, and overall it's a visually stunning gothic tale. The vampires are supreme, protectors of humanity for a price, while the lycans are vicious animals, constantly storming their fortress walls. Lucian is different, the first humanoid baby born to a feral mother, and Viktor has a soft spot for the child, who rises to the rank of blacksmith and enjoys better treatment than other enslaved members of his race. He also shares a forbidden romance with Viktor's daughter(Rhona Mitra), something the vampire lord would definitely not approve of if he knew. The effects in the film are solid and it's a decent story with strong characters. I don't know if it was a necessary story, and I don't think it offered much in the way of new information. But, viewed as a standalone movie and putting aside any disappointment at not seeing Beckinsale swoop into action once more, it's a pretty entertaining movie. Besides, with Underworld 4 announced, we'll probably be continuing the main story by 2011....

More reviews to follow next week after I've spun a few more discs!



Blogger Lorna said...

I hate to admit it but Blades of Glory is one of my secret and decadent pleasures. Along with Zoolander and Knights in Shanghai

4/25/2010 9:02 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home