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Posts Tagged ‘Imogen Poots’

The Art of Self-Defense

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

THE ART OF SELF-DEFENSE is an odd little indie comedy about karate. I wondered if it would be too similar to THE FOOT FIST WAY, the early Danny McBride movie that jibed so well with my sense of humor that when I first rented it I watched it two times in a row. Come to think of it, this movie’s sensei (Alessandro Nivola, AMERICAN HUSTLE) has a philosophy of punching like a kick and kicking like a punch, whatever that means, and that could be called a “foot fist way.” But this is a very different movie. The humor is very dry, the dialogue seems precise as opposed to improvised, and the protagonist is a timid nerd who transforms rather than a blowhard who is just a total asshole from the beginning.

The timid nerd is Casey Davies (Jesse Eisenberg, CURSED), an awkward accountant for an unnamed company. The bros in the break room don’t appreciate him trying to join their conversations, his best friend is his dachshund, and he gets stomped by random motorcyclists while trying to buy dog food. I love the slightly surreal touches that convey his loneliness: the news report that describes him as “a 35 year old dog owner,” the robotic answering machine voice that says “you have only 1 message.” (Though not obviously tied to a specific time period, it’s one with audio cassettes, fat-ass analog TVs and large camcorders with carrying bags.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Black Christmas (second remake)

Monday, December 16th, 2019

BLACK CHRISTMAS (2019) is another loose remake of BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974). Like the original and the 2006 remake it’s about a group of sorority sisters who stay on campus during winter break and then start getting stalked and murdered. The creepy phone calls have been updated to creepy texts, and the identity and mythology behind the killings is completely different from either of the previous versions. Which I support. No reason to do this otherwise.

The opening feels like the serious, scary parts of SCREAM. A student named Lindsay (Lucy Currey) is walking home one snowy night, getting weird texts, thinking a dude is following her. He’s not, but suddenly she crashes into a different man wearing a mask and black robe who chases her around a heavily Christmas-decorated house where no one responds to her cries for help. But the horrifying/beautiful overhead shot of Lindsay making a snow angel as she dies and is dragged away sets a bar that’s never met in the subsequent off rhythm and ineffective cat and mouse scenes. I didn’t realize until afterwards that it’s a PG-13 movie, which might explain some of that, but doesn’t really justify that the mask isn’t particularly cool or creepy. That shit is important in a masked slasher movie.

But maybe not as important as a good protagonist, and in that department BLACK CHRISTMAS definitely delivers. The story centers on Riley (Imogen Poots, 28 WEEKS LATER, FRIGHT NIGHT, GREEN ROOM), who is helping the sisters prepare for some sort of Christmas performance at a frat party, but doesn’t plan to participate. Even though she’s in a sorority, her long coat and Doc Martens signal a tinge of cool non-conformist status that Poots somehow makes credible. (read the rest of this shit…)

Need For Speed

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

tn_needforspeedNEED FOR SPEED is based on a video game I guess, but it seems like a THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS sequel from an alternate timeline where TOKYO DRIFT never happened, or a weird idea for a gritty reboot of the SPEED RACER licensed trademark franchise property.

It’s another story that takes place among characters who think of nothing but car racing. There are signs of relationships in their pasts and futures, but women seem to be only a side interest for both the hero and the villain. The hero barely hides his sadness that his ex-girlfriend is with the villain now, yet we barely see her with her new man, she shows no sign of affection toward him and it’s unclear, to me at least, whether her diamond ring means they’re married or engaged. And it doesn’t seem like it really matters anyway because… cars. (read the rest of this shit…)

Fright Night (2011 remake)

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

tn_frightnight11I remember the original FRIGHT NIGHT being an okay movie, but I haven’t seen it since the ’80s, so I don’t remember it well enough to compare the remake to it. But on its own I did find the remake to be an entertaining-if-not-entirely-original take on the ol’ vampire shit.

Anton Yelchin plays the hero Charley, Imogen Poots (CENTURION) plays his way-out-of-his-league girlfriend Amy, Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays his friend “Evil Ed,” who gets bit by his neighbor Jerry. Because Jerry is a vampire – don’t worry, it’s not some weirdo biter guy.
(read the rest of this shit…)

28 Weeks Later

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

I never did write a real review of the popular Danny Boyle picture 28 DAYS LATER, just a little blurb in a summer recap column. To make a short story stay short, I liked it but did not understand the hooplah. It seemed to me most of it had already been done in Romero’s movies, and I liked it better when it was a real movie instead of a home video. So I was kind of annoyed by all the hype at the time that Boyle had “reinvented the zombie movie.” Even the controversial running zombies were straight out of RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. Somebody give Dan O’Bannon some credit. When he did that in 1985 it was a clever new take on zombies.

But I gotta tread carefully here because there are people out there who will flip out if you use the word “zombie” to describe the zombie-like people doing zombie things in this movie that is clearly based on the zombie films of George Romero. Zombies, it turns out, are people who die and then come back to life as zombies. They are not people who are infected and become zombies, unless they are infected to the point of death and then become zombies. In the case of these movies they just get infected, they do not necessarily die as far as we know, so they are something else. Nobody knows what it’s called, but it’s not a zombie. It’s just some thing that is exactly like a zombie and has every quality associated with zombies, but you can’t call it a zombie, that’s like using the N word almost. So I apologize to all the things who are not zombies but are exactly like zombies in all respects but they have not died and therefore are not zombies that I offended in my previous blurb. I will be more sensitive this time. (read the rest of this shit…)