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Thank you, James Cameron
Okay, I'm your typical 20-year-old dude. I watch a lot of horror movies. I've never ever, not once in my life, felt like crying during a movie, not even when I was a kid, and no, not even for The Lion King. But Avatar got to me like no movie ever did. It was such mind-numbingly beautiful and poignant experience that I felt awed just by being in the theater.
It's embarrassing and strange for me to even say this, but when I got home, Avatar had me in tears. I may write a coherent comment later, when I have the words.
James Cameron, you humble us all.
My Bloody Valentine (2009)
The Ultimate Movie Theater Experience
I haven't had such a lively time at the theater in 5 years. We arrived for the projection along with a hundred 12-or-so-year-old kids, all giggly and loud like they were on a party (fortunately, no censorship was enforced on the movie at all in Croatia. It's open to the general audience. Of course, movie-goers here have the common sense not to bring their newborn or toddler to something called "My Bloody Valentine 3D" but I did see this as fun scary movie for everyone. Not a horror but, by definition, a scary movie).
The theater was in a constant uproar, or at least filled with chatter. It's not that the movie was so boring that nobody paid attention - it was just overflown with enthusiasm at the 3D feature, and people were constantly posing for photos with their glasses on. Now, I'm usually annoyed by a loud and uninterested cinema audience, but this movie was almost made to bombard you and the horde of thrill-seeking teenagers surrounding you with cheap scares, it doesn't take itself too seriously and it has a number of over-the-top fun details and glaring plot problems that you can make fun of.
Now, about the movie itself, I didn't expect much from it. It sounded like your run-of-the-mill slasher, however, it's something more - it's a damn good slasher! I'm not talking Halloween-good; fans of atmospheric chiller masterpieces or the new PG-13 ghost story mysteries have nothing to look forward to here (plot-and-theme-wise). On the other hand, fans of the tense, shallow, chauvinistic fun-horror genre are going to be overwhelmed, because this one has it all: naked chicks (female full frontal nudity for several minutes! Presbyterians, keep away), flying pickaxes, a wide and diverse assortment of kills, the most imaginative ones I've seen in a long time, a rather down-to-earth but fun cast of characters, a who's-the-killer-mystery, an iconic antagonist with a really awesome suit, a good soundtrack and tons of unrestricted gore flying out of the screen in 3D and landing in your face.
As far as tension goes, the movie rocks. The miner-killer has a very menacing demeanor that will make the entire audience hold their breaths even if it's a more unbridled one (like the energetic kids I had) when he's on screen. The action and chases are loud, exciting and fun, regularly culminating in a gory, stylish kill (followed by fifty teen girls screaming their heads off in unison for ten minutes). Yes, it all ends in loud noises, violins going batshit-crazy and tons of 3D brains splattering around - it's a cheap scare, but it works like a charm.
As a "horror" (I prefer "scary movie" here), it's okay. Not great, but a fun change of pace compared to the recent tame flicks. As a non-genre-movie, it brings nothing new, groundbreaking or interesting, so you can just pass if a pickax-wielding miner impaling people isn't your idea of fun. For the rest of us, it'll be one hell of a ride - it's filmed for 3D viewing, with jawbones and bullets flying out of the screen. The plot is plausible, but nothing new, the characters are fine, the acting is ridiculous and cheesy in some places, but it doesn't spoil anything...
All in all, you have to go in expecting either nothing or exactly the kind of movie My Bloody Valentine is. It isn't scary or disturbing in any way, not in the manner of The Exorcist, Session 9 or The Tale of Two Sisters, but more of a thrill-ride. And one of the most fun to grace the theaters in years.
The Wicker Man (2006)
Nothing ridiculously bad with this one - except the fact that it never should have been made
The '73 classic - A cultural and religious clash and a witty social commentary, skillfully blended into a cozy thriller mystery. Fun, bold, stylish, beautifully directed, scored and featuring a mind-blowing ending.
The '06 remake - I'd rather watch Jason Takes Over Manhattan, thank you. Nothing to see here, it's basically an inferior product. Even as a stand-alone movie, the plot is trite and badly laid-out, the acting wooden, the scares... well, there are none.
The horror fails even more glamorously than in the original, that was labeled as a horror just to boost the sales, when it was, in fact, a classic murder mystery. The remake is far from the worst movie ever (an honor reserved for Plan 9 and its ilk) but there is nothing to praise from the technical aspect. Everything from direction to screenplay is bland, boring, uninspired and unfulfilling.
I'm still kinda puzzled as to why it needed a remake in the first place. Was there something missing? If I remember correctly, the original was one of the most polished movies I've ever seen. This was just unnecessary.