“Carrie” on IMDB
Horror, 100 Minutes, 2013
In this dark, but very confused, sequel to the 1996 family classic “Matilda” [IMDB] we see our precocious heroine several years later. Much of the confusion is due to the fact that, due to some ill-defined problem, Matilda and her adoptive mother, Miss Honey, have been forced to move and change their names. This transition is made more confusing by the cast changes.
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” on IMDB
Adventure/Comedy, 114 Minutes, 2013
This isn’t an adaptation of James Thurber’s classic 1939 short story. The story, as wonderful as it is, would make for a terrible movie. Its charm, and genius, is that the main character does literally nothing exciting. It’s an amazing literary work but would be wholly unsatisfying as a film. Nor is it a remake of the 1947 Danny Kaye [IMDB] classic. That film, wonderful and timeless as it is, is a product of its time and simply wouldn’t translate well into a modern film.
“Red Dawn” on IMDB
Action, 93 Minutes, 2012
The original 1984 “Red Dawn” [IMDB] was the quintessential “America, Fuck Yeah!” movie of my teenage years. It gathered up all of the boiling, latent paranoia of the cold war, presented us with a horrifying, totally ridiculous (but just barely plausible) situation and celebrated the can-do, never-say-die, suffer-any-hardship, assume-any-loss American spirit that could pull us out of it.
“Night of the Demons” on IMDB
Horror, 93 Minutes, 2011
[Wife and kids are away visiting for the holidays. I’m staying home with movies. Just call me “Scrooge”. The fun one, with the Muppets.]
“A Nightmare on Elm Street” on IMDB
Horror, 95 Minutes, 2010
[This is the eighth selection in my irregular, “My Wife and Kids are Visiting Relatives and I’m Home Watching Movies” film festival.]
“Evil Dead” on IMDB
Horror, 91 Minutes, 2013
It’s not controversial to say that the original, 1981, “Evil Dead” [IMDB] is one of the hands-down best horror movies of all time. Forced by it’s budget to take ridiculously successful risks it became a breakout hit and spawned a beloved cult franchise. It launched the careers of Sam Raimi [IMDB] and turned Bruce Campbell [IMDB] into a geek god.
This remake? Not so much. It’s good. I liked it. It had some issues.
“Total Recall” on IMDB
Sci-fi, 118 Minutes, 2012:
Whenever a new property based on Philip K Dick’s work comes along there’s a few minutes where I’m unabashedly hopeful that this time – just this once – maybe they’ll actually do the story in the book. I’m always disappointed on that score. Even when we end up with an excellent movie it’s always, essentially, an original story. This is always a bad thing – these movies still tend to be pretty good – but it’s still disappointing.
“Dark Shadows” on IMDB
Fantasy, 113 Minutes, 2012
I think I had some trouble with this one because the trailers all prepared me (very well!) for a light-hearted fish-out-water (or, more specifically, a vampire-out-of-time) story decorated with some gothic trim. Instead we get an almost completely deadpan melodramatic horror-themed love story more befitting the film’s soap-opera roots.
“The Lorax” on IMDB
Family, 86 Minutes, 2012
My 10 year daughter loved this movie. I didn’t. Like other attempts to enbiggen Dr. Suess to feature-lengths it’s too self-indulgent with its own ideas and loses the soul of the source material. “The Lorax” was a simple story with some very basic themes – most of which seem to have been lost in this translation.
“21 Jump Street” on IMDB
Comedy, 109 Minutes, 2012
[This is the eighth review for this edition of my semi-regular “my-wife-is-visiting-relatives-so-I’m-watching-loads-of-crappy-movies” film festival.]