Welcome to Adventures in Poor Taste’s weekly movie review roundup. I’ll be posting a slathering of movie reviews each week to give folks a healthy helping of what’s good and not so good. New and old, the reviews cover anything from the pleasantly innocent Winnie The Pooh to disturbingly twisted Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (January 2012)
This is about as exciting as it gets…but it sure looks purdy!
The film embodies the Cold War as a whole; i.e. everyone is a suspect, nobody knows what is clearly going on and death looms for anyone. Most of the film requires the viewer to puzzle out the meaning of everything. The cinematography is great (mise-en-scène fans rejoice!), but it’s a frustrating experience since it’s hard to care about any of it.
Shock Corridor (September 1963)
Sometimes being attacked by a group of women sexually stinks.
Pulp film director Samuel Fuller puts together a good insane asylum film. Without it, Shutter Island may not have had such a good shot at twisting our minds. Some good stuff in here; sadly, though, it sags here and there and doesn’t have much of a message beyond crazy people, “bein’ all cwazy!”
Conan O’Brien: Can’t Stop (March 2011)
An entertaining look at a show-business personality obsessed with attention. While not completely unfiltered, this documentary definitely delves a bit into the mind of a comic genius.
Forks Over Knives (May 2011)
Explanation of human motivation, or new awesome McDonald’s menu item?
If you know nothing about nutrition and want some additional factoids check this out. I’ve read a few books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma and I still learned a tidbit or two. Unfortunately it’s repetitive and reads like a pamphlet rather than a robust documentary.
G.I. Joe (August 2009)
Perfectly schmaltzy ode to action films and the cheap toys of our youth. Gordon-Levitt is underused and the ending is laugh out loud dumb, but it gets the job done for a good hour. Too bad it’s over an hour long.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (December 2010)
Rare Exports short film. It’s a real treat.
For a quirky comedy/horror it’s not very funny. The evil elves were a nice touch, but overall it could have done more. The shorts this was inspired from (see above) were a lot funnier, but for Christmas evil-Santa hyjinx it’s not so bad. Above all else it’s well made and writer/director Jalmari Helander is a filmmaker to look out for.
Moneyball (September 2011)
When Chip heard there was a movie made about his moneymakers, he went right to his agent.
Aside from some poorly shot baseball scenes, in a baseball movie no less, the movie does a good job cutting in real footage making things feel very real. It’s halfway interesting to see how a team is run as well. The movie lacks humor and the dramatic conflict is sparse; how does this get so much praise?
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (August 2011)
The emotional story is good in part because the CGI is believable enough. That said, these monkeys are also super strong, annoyingly impervious to glass and wield weapons like trained fighters. It’s a science fiction story with the added dumb action film extravaganza. The science is treated very halfheartedly too. Sadly, straight up science fiction is a rare thing.
The 10th Victim (December 1965)
In the future, commercials contain live executions. And irony!
In the future, people switch off playing hunter and prey until they end up dead and it all occurs out in the open in public. It attempts to do a “war of the sexes” thing and also show a desensitized future people where death is meaningless. It’s a neat idea if done right and it’s a great attempt for 1965, but science fiction on this gritty scale is always hard to do, especially with a small budget.
Enter the Void (July 2010)
A lot of the film looks like this. One person’s sperm is another person’s drugged out vision.
Must see for anyone who has tried LSD or any psychotropic drug. This movie is extremely inventive, making it one of those special film treats where you’re constantly bombarded with “the new thing”. Taking place in the first person or over-the-shoulder third person, the film cuts in and out of reality and visions to the point where the viewer is seeing peoples energy. It’s trippy and graphic at times too. That said, it’s very slow and takes a lot of patience to digest. There’s also a ton of nudity so be warned (or excited).