June 22, 2006 | Category: Uncategorized

Film Fight 2006: May

Yes, it’s late but, in my defence, we’ve been having remarkably good weather these last few weeks. This month there are six films up for review. Onwards.

First up is the suprising Silent Hill; surprising because despite some fairly impressive special effects with which to play (the melting between worlds), the film is incredibly bad. A bad mix of the first two Silent Hill games, the plot doesn’t really know where it is going. The acting is as b-movie as you would expect, with Sean Bean putting in a terrible performance (the man cannot do American accents, don’t make him try). Couple this with a plot unravelled in a haphazard mixture of dream sequences, narration, flash backs and every other bad ploy taken by poor film makers in recent years and you have a film which does not do the plodding source material justice.

Slither is an excellent comedy horror film that finds the right balance between laughs, characters and a hokey plot. Sure, it’s a fairly textbook premise (aliens body snatchers 101), but the spirit of the film is good natured and never tries to be more than that. It won’t be winning any awards, but worth the effort.

On the action front, Mission:Impossible 3 is exactly that: a dumb action film. Arguably better in many ways that it’s fairly shoddy predecessors, this take is handled with more style but the same logical gaps that make the series exasperatingly painful. Hoffman did the best with what he had to work with and Cruise… well, Cruise runs about a bit. Expect to see the same old rope tricks and face changes.

An American Haunting is a schizoid horror film. Set primarily in the 1700s, it chops and changes between wanting to be a ghost story, to something far more pedestrian but chilling, to a ghost revenge story, all bookmarked by a pointless narration in modern times. The desperation of the family comes across as laboured, and the decline of the main characters as expected. Terrible.

Scott Ryan has put together a delightfully offbeat mockumentary in the form of The Magician, the story of a hired killer who is eventually offered a large cash sum not to kill a victim. The subject matter is dark and the humour is too, coming mostly from the bizarre conversations between the central character, has cameraman and would-be victim. Funny, different, good: go see.

The gross-out comedy stuffing is pretty stale these days, but Waiting… is a decent example of serving it well. The guts of this comedy revolve around a simple recurring joke involving male nudity (if you haven’t been introduced to “The Game” then it’s not my place to get you in), but it hits just the right spot. The character development etc are as weak as one might expect but like all films of this genre, it’s about the quirks of the characters as they stand. Not a masterpiece by any standards, but still a fairly stand-up, dumb comedy.

Finally, Down In The Valley stars Ed Norton as a cowboy who finds himself a cowgirl in the sprawl of Los Angeles. Things, inevitably, go wrong and Ed goes a bit off the wall. While Norton puts in a decent performance, the film itself is fairly meandering and badly cut. Dull, turgid, bad.

The winner for May is easily The Magician.