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11 reviews in total 
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The Witch (2015)
3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Like being trapped in a Bruegel painting, 19 February 2016

I'm a horror junkie so I'm an expert at managing my expectations. I go in not expecting much. I'm very pleased to say The Witch is one of the best horror movies I've seen in the last 10 years. It has a smart script, a great cast and a creepy score.

The film centers on a pilgrim family whose religious fanaticism gets them thrown out of a colony and forced to live in the woods nearby. Shortly after settling, the youngest goes missing while under the charge of Thomasin, the eldest daughter. The family quickly implodes.

The director is in no hurry to rush this story. Patient horror fans will love it.

9 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Worth a look for open minded horror fans (contains spoilers), 20 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I admire parts of this movie but as a whole, it feels like really uneven. I admire the style and some of the visuals, but I never found it frightening or suspenseful. It's cool that Zombie opted for a slow burn approach instead of loud, gory scares. The problem is that there never really is a burn, although some of the images along the way are indelible.

Not being religious, I'm not really scared of the occult. Some of the imagery meant to evoke horror such as nude, elderly witches and obese women wearing pig masks seem more to suggest misogyny. There's also scenes of priest-like figures masturbating neon pink dildos which are also not exactly the stuff my nightmares are made of.

These aren't really meant to be complaints. I'd much rather see something creative than rote, by the numbers horror. It's very clear that Zombie is talented and loves horror movies. It's fun to spot his influences while watching. Overall the film reminds me of the work of John Carpenter with Argento overtones and topped with a delicious dollop of Jodorowsky in its final minutes.

6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Not as Successful as the Book, 3 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Lynn Ramsey's attempt to bring "We Need to Talk About Kevin" to the screen is admirable but it doesn't make emotional sense as the book does and could have had more impact. The book goes into great detail about Eva's ambivalence regarding having children and how she blames herself for somehow psychically poisoning her child . Ramsey attempts to convey this but it doesn't really come through. I kept comparing the film with the book and feeling unsatisfied.

Ramsey dispenses with the book's narrative device and instead implies the whole thing is told by Eva as a stream of consciousness. It feels deliberately obtuse.

Tilda's performance is great. The rest of the cast ranges from okay (Reilly) to silly (Miller). I wished I could have been more objective. I was very excited about seeing this.

Antichrist (2009)
1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Disappointing with some good ideas and a few beautiful moments, 17 September 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've loved all of Von Trier's film until Antichrist. Much has been made of the the violence in this film but folks that watch a lot of horror and extreme Asian cinema have basically seen stuff like this before. I didn't have an emotional response to it. As an allegory, it's silly. As a meditation on grief, it's too diffuse. I may see Antichrist again to see if I feel differently, but it's kind of a slog. I have watched Dogville at least 10 times and I'm mesmerized each time. Antichrist feels incredibly long at a little over 100 minutes. Gainsbourg and Dafoe are game and the the film is a technical triumph. It's fascinating even though it doesn't really gel.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
OMG! This movie is Great, 1 July 2007

I bought this movie at a video store closeout sale in the Castro. It's totally a find. If you like John Waters type humor, you'll be transfixed. It's a fetish film so if you're expecting straight-up porn you'll be disappointed. This film is for submissive men who like trans women. One of the women looks like Zsa Zsa Gabor and there's a whole scene where she commands a man to take his shirt off... then put it back on like a million times (maybe I've embellished this in my mind). Zsa Zsa forces a man to dress up like a woman and do it with a dominant she-male in a dirty basement. There's also a bizarre scene where the male lead secretly watches a woman masturbate before she gives him a vile of amyl nitrate and he says "this smells like feet". I wished I could explain my love for this film. MOMA, you need to add this film to your permanent collect. It's a work of genius.

Zoo (2007)
36 out of 57 people found the following review useful:
There's less here than meets the eye, 27 May 2007

I appreciate that the filmmaker is going for more than shock, but I'm not sure what this film really has to offer. It's clear that the filmmaker has some sympathy for the zoophiles, but as a whole, the film is mess. It's beautifully filmed. Almost every frame is mesmerizing, but it feels distracting rather than enlightening. The impeccably filmed images work to mask a lack of insight. Not a terrible film, but the novelty of the subject matter will bring it more attention than it ultimately deserves. It's also derivative. It borrows heavily from Errol Morris. It's probably better than most stuff out there now. At least I saw it instead of Georgia Rule.

Bobby (2006)
10 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Vaccous and Maddening, 29 November 2006

First of all, the Altmann comparisons are preposterous. Unless Robert Altmann directed an episode of Love Boat, I don't see the similarities. There's not a feeling of ensemble acting at all, it's just a bunch of cheesy "a-listers" hamming it up and tripping all over themselves for possible Oscar validation.

The most offensive part of the movie is a speech given by Fishburn cautioning his Mexican-American co-workers not to get too angry about being treated like second class citizens. Apparently, you'll get your rights when those in power are willing to hand them over. It's creepy to see a movie about an important and uncompromising public figure take such a cowardly and regressive stance. It's depressing to see this film get positive press.

I must admit that casting Sharon Stone as a churlish manicurist is a stroke of genius. Her dressing room scene with Demi Moore as the boozy lounge singer is hilarious. It's nice to see Stone on screen when she's not dry-humping a guy who's been dosed with the date-rape drug as their car goes careening into the ocean. Now that she's gotten Basic Instinct 2 out of her system, she's apparently re-invented herself as a character actress. I can't wait to see what's next for Stone and Moore!

Closer (2004/I)
31 out of 46 people found the following review useful:
Far, Far Away: America Loves Delusion, 29 December 2004

I won't reveal what ultimately happens in Closer but I will confess that I was disappointed that it didn't end with a fiery double-decker bus crash that left no survivors. This film would have been stale 20 years ago, but it's completely ridiculous now. The "truths" about relationships that the movie attempts to reveal are just nuggets of stereotypical nonsense that you could see in a TV movie(Men thrive on conquest and dominance, Women can't resist being treated like whores, etc.). The film, like it's characters is shallow and dishonest underneath the pretty exterior.

Of the four main actors, Natalie Portman fairs the best. I didn't buy her character, but I didn't want to beat her with a lead pipe either. The other actors aren't so lucky. Clive Owen is in total stage actor mode. I have long suspected that Julia Roberts is actually computer generated or a state of the art robot and this film offers more compelling evidence in support of my theory. Jude Law is a total non-presence here which is a shame because he shows hints of charisma in other films.

I am absolutely dumbfounded by claims that this movie is in any way truthful, real or gritty. It's incredibly stagey and the dialog in no way resembles the way people talk when they're not performing on stage. I thought Neil Labute's The shape of Things was a low water mark that no film adaptation of a play could surpass in awfulness. Not the case. I am intrigued yet horrified that this film seems to resonate with a large chunk of viewers. The characters are total constructs: the Arbus rip-off photographer, the duplicitous writer, the educated yet primitive doctor, the wise stripper.

Maybe the film is realistic in the same way that Iraq was full of WMDs and privatization will solve the country's social security "problem". The real truth seems to be that most folks aren't interested in reality. It doesn't look like four pretty people in London.

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Disappointing, 20 October 2004

Before the film started, I read some quotes from famous American directors praising the Grudge and calling it one of the most frightening films of all time. I was a little nervous about seeing it, but excited that it had gotten such positive attention from filmmakers. That moment before the film started was much more frightening than anything in the actual film. To be generous, I have to say that some of the attempts to scare the audience are innovative. Sadly, nothing here is scary. I had a really hard time caring and was confused by the disjointed and tangential structure of the film. Sometimes the lack of logic in a horror film can work it's benefit. Not the case here. Seeing this film reminded me of why I hate formulaic slasher films. sure, there are some interesting things here, but nothing really gells. I love Asian horror films in general, but this seemed slight compared to the films of Miike, Nakata, K. Kurosawa and the Pang brothers which are getting easier to find in neighborhood video stores.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Heed the warning: unspeakably bad, 31 July 2004

Like the surprise endings which change the context of all prior events in his films, this movie is itself a twist that reveals something shocking about M. Night Shaymalan's career as a film maker: He's a hack.

I liked all of his films up until this point and thought that although he couldn't seem to top The Sixth Sense he showed some promise. I will think twice before seeing his next film. Although The Village manages to generate some dread and suspense, the ending completely negates it. I was hoping for some interesting comment about xenophobia or terrorism but when the beans are spilled, the audience has been jerked around for a couple of hours with nothing to take away from the experience to really justify it.

It's not entertaining or thought-provoking. The ending is unbelievably preposterous. Think Walden Two with some traces of Scooby Doo. From the moment that the contents of "the shed that no one shalt use" (or whatever they call it) is revealed, the film begins to get progressively ridiculous until it (thank God) ends.

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