The Innkeepers

tn_innkeepersTHE INNKEEPERS is the new one from Ti West, the guy that did HOUSE OF THE DEVIL. This one doesn’t have the same retro trappings (I still believe if I came across HOUSE on cable and didn’t know what it was I would think it really was made around 1980) but it has a similar attitude about taking its sweet time getting to the horror part. In this one I really appreciated that because I almost preferred just hanging out with the characters to watching them get scared.

There are probly less than ten speaking characters in the movie, and most of the screen time is just two of them: Claire (Sara Paxton from LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT remake) and Luke (Pat Healy, not the character from THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY or the Strikeforce fighter but the actor of the same name who was in THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE ETC.). They are the two employees running an old inn on its last weekend of business while the owner is vacationing in Barbados. Where the horror comes in is there are legends about the old building being haunted and they have a hobby of trying to record evidence. I like that it’s more something they do for fun and to freak themselves out than a serious quest. There’s a sense of fun in Claire’s determination to use this last chance to find evidence.

mp_innkeepersClaire (I looked it up, her dad is “distantly related to Bill Paxton”) is a wide-eyed, pretty but gawky beanpole, her co-worker is older, more cynical, more fond of Schlitz. But they have little games they tease each other with, they know when to high five each other after dealing with a difficult customer, they toss each other shit but usually look out for each other. It’s the kind of friendship that might be unlikely in most of the world but makes perfect sense for two people who’ve worked together for a long time, trading off shifts, with only each other’s company during those times when their waking hours overlap. Either they’d get along like this or the job would be hell and somebody would have to quit.

The place is extra lonely because some of the rooms are stripped and only a couple are occupied. One of the guests is an actress famous from an old sitcom, she’s played by Kelly McGillis. This is amazing casting because she’s first shown in a towel with no makeup and it’s kind of a shock. She has more of a Judi Dench type of “I’m okay being an older gal” look instead of the more common thing with veteran actresses where they try to defy age at all costs. So you see her and you’re doing the math of wait a minute, how long ago was TOP GUN again? She looks so different, but then you see her eyes and recognize her just like you would this former sitcom mom. She’s playing this famous person who’s completely comfortable leaving the acting behind and moving on to the next phase of her life, and for all I know that’s exactly what McGillis was before she took this role.

But it’s not just fitting, it’s a great performance. She’s intimidating and then sort of reluctantly becomes warm and caring.

People always talk about how horror movies should care more about their characters, this one really takes that to an extreme. I really didn’t care that much about the ghosts, it’s more of a hang out movie about having this job. More about trying to get through the shift and go home than about trying to get through the weekend alive. Although that’s important too.

I don’t usually like ghost movies that much. It’s probly ’cause I dissect these things so much when I write about them, but it’s hard not to be conscious of the mechanics of those type of scares. Wait a minute, did I hear something? Long, slow walk through the dark. Noise. Simple thing happens involving furniture or musical instrument. Scream! It’s such a simple, lo-fi type of scare, which is not a bad thing, but it doesn’t work on you anymore if you start thinking about it too much.

When it comes down to it this is not that different from PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. Both movies are alot of naturalistic-ish buildup to a few very small supernatural things happening. There’s no POLTERGEIST type show-offy special effects or nothin. But I think alot of people will agree with me that these two are more fun to spend the time with than the two in that one. Also, it’s a good reminder of why professional camerawork can be more effective than the found footage gimmick even though we know it’s more artificial. The camerawork is mostly pretty simple but there are a few gliding camera moves that got my heart beating a little. Sometimes creating a feeling with an image can be more important than just imitating reality.

Another unusual thing: they use the real name of the filming location, The Yankee Pedlar Inn, and it’s still in business. They seem to be awfully understanding about a movie claiming there were dead bodies hidden in the basement and ghosts still haunt the place and will kill you. I don’t think any of that’s true. I looked up some reviews and they say it is “very charming” and “A wonderful stay!” but no mention of the murders.

THE INNKEEPERS is kind of scary, kind of sweet, pretty funny, very sad, very unique. It’s interesting to me that while alot of the horrorists are always going after a more intense and fucked up experience than the last (sometimes successfully), Mr. West here is pioneering this weirdly subdued type of horror. I like it. Good job.

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 23rd, 2012 at 12:20 pm and is filed under Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

189 Responses to “The Innkeepers”

  1. HOUSE OF THE DEVIL is probably my favorite horror movie of the last decade or so, so I was pretty psyched for this one. THE INNKEEPERS is not as great, but it is still a pretty wonderful, surprisingly low key horror movie. Like HotD, it’s got more of a sense of fun than a lot of modern horror movies, although it’s even more overtly comic (with a nice undercurrent of sadness to it). Unlike HotD, I don’t think it really generates much suspense. West is great at getting you to watch a scene unfurl slowly with great anticipation, but the vibe of the movie is so laid back and the stakes kind of remain unclear until the very end, that I would not say the film is particularly scary.

    Which is okay. The movie is smart and well-crafted, funny and observant, and feels pretty fresh and original. I look forward to seeing it again at some point.

  2. I really wanted to see this one but I was broke the weekend it came out and then it promptly disappeared off the face of the earth. I’m a fan of West’s work so I was bummed that I couldn’t come out and support him. Any plans to review THE ROOST or TRIGGER MAN, Vern?

    HotD had a lot of the hang-out vibe this one seems to have, too. My (and everyone else’s, probably) favorite scene is the one where the girl is just dancing around the house with her Walkman on, a scene with no horror in it and not even really meant to be building suspense. You’re just watching somebody have a good time, which makes you like her without resorting to a bunch of half-assed “character development.” It brought me back to the days when I’d watch the beginning of a FRIDAY THE 13TH movie or something and be really bummed that all the fun these attractive young people were having was about to end in machetes. It’s not a vibe I see a lot of anymore, since most horror movies try to grab you with a shock scare right from the get-go without letting you settle into any kind of state of normalcy.

  3. Okay, am I the only person in the known universe who thought HOUSE OF THE DEVIL was sort of terrible?

    The girl is staying in a house to watch over the mother upstairs, then after a bit she hears a noise upstairs AND GRABS A BUTCHER KNIFE to go investigate. Not very good/sane behavior from a sitter. Then the pizza guy comes and she throws money at him and clutches the pizza box flush to her chest vertically. Um, what? What human person behaves like this?

    Then for some reason she starts acting drugged before she wakes up in the attic. Too many big plot/logic questions in a movie where only about four things happen in the entire ninety-five minutes.

    And the TEMPLE OF DOOM blood drinking shtick was silly. And how can someone still be alive after we see brains exit the side of their head via gunshot wound?

    Very irritating.

  4. Nah, plenty of people don’t like it. It’s one of those movies where the whole mood either grabs you right away and makes you not care so much about the plot holes, or it doesn’t and then you’ve got no choice but to nitpick the thing to death. I think most really slow, atmospheric movies are divisive like that. They either suck you in totally or they totally suck.

  5. I caught this via VOD and can’t wait for my DVD to arrive tomorrow so I can watch it again. I freaking loved this flick. I had the same reaction to the characters – so likeable and charming. The ghost elements of the story were all good, but were made stronger by the way Claire and Luke reacted to them. Better still was watching them just hang out and shoot the shit together.

    I love West’s films because he takes the time to build up elements adjacent to the central plot in order to make it stronger. The Innkeepers wouldn’t be what it is without Claire and Luke being written and acted as well as they are, just like House of the Devil wouldn’t be as fantastic without the house itself playing such a central part. He’s never in a hurry to get from point A to point B plot-wise, and allows these other elements time to develop as well.

  6. Blitz, I wasn’t into HOTD either. Found it all contrived the amount of bad decisions she has to make to be in a scary situation. I don’t buy the idea that she was inevitably ordained to be there, because it was pretty practical that she was desperate for money and had to take the weirdo house sitting job that everyone else ditched once they got the job description. And the slow burn, hello, I’m not really surprised it’s leading to something “scary.” it’s called HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, not HOUSE OF PART TIME JOB THAT TURNS OUT OK.

    But it’s been covered here that horror atmosphere doesn’t work on me because I don’t get scared. You’re not going to fool me into believing in monsters. Like THE SHINING, I’m supposed to be weirded out by twin girls in a hallway? Come on.

    I liked INNKEEPERS. I do like funny horror and Paxton was adorable.

  7. I loved both HOUSE OF THE DEVIL and THE INNKEEPERS. This Ti West nguy is a seriously very talented young man. And he seems to understand horror like very few others filmmakers of his age do. Or older for that matter. This guy brings class and intelligence to the genre. Ti West is a god’s gift to the horror genre.

    Ireally loved THE INNKEEPERS and for the same reason so many have: i fell inlove with the characters, and of them, specially to Sarah Paxton’s character. It’s nquite amazing her work in the movie. Anybody who has seen photos of her in other works know she is a very beautiful and glamorous girl. In this movie though she still loooks pretty she does play a very convincing geeky-nerdish girl who has a serious case of the clonish to her. The movie’s best laughs came cortesy of her. Amazing job.

    The movie is, for the most part, quite funny. but it sure delivers the scares where it counts. They work so well because of the character’s high likability. One ends up really wishing they do not suffer any danger. And when things start to go seriously wrong for then, and specially Claire, Sarah paxton’s character, one can’t help but feel scard for her.

    Few movies scare me nowdays, but this one did, for the same reason also that THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL did: they both mannaged to make me feel for the lead characters, this two very amazing well created characters played by two very talented young actresses. And very well directed by Ti West. Often time si find myself revisiting HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, and i just hope the DVD of THE INNKEEPERS is here soon so i can do the same.

    THE INNKEEPERS, damn fine little movie. I’m so glad they still do them like this.

  8. Blitzkrieg: “Okay, am I the only person in the known universe who thought HOUSE OF THE DEVIL was sort of terrible?”

    Thank goodness i’m not you, or else i would be missing out on a damn good movie. And in this day and age where good movies do not come in great quantity, i can’t afford to so callous to piss on the good ones like HOUSE OF THE DEVIL.
    Even in this movie geek business one has to really think about this stuff. Even the fun needs to be thoughful about it.

  9. Another thing i should mention about THE INNKEEPERS is the film’s score. Damn good! Really works for the movie, evne though it has this old style to it. Or maybe it works so well because it’s so old schoo.

  10. schoo = school

  11. As: I totally agree with you on Ti West (I even liked CABIN FEVER 2, if you can believe that) but you gotta stop using that “Good movies are rare so I can’t afford to dismiss them the way you do” argument. Blitz isn’t saying “HOUSE OF THE DEVIL is clearly a good movie but I feel like taking a dump on it for reasons of my own.” He genuinely doesn’t like it. That’s his opinion, and it’s just as valuable as yours. We shouldn’t just assume that people who don’t like the same things we do are trashing them out of spite and/or stupidity. They have their reasons, and by trying to understand those reasons, we can better understand and articulate our own points of view. Isn’t that why we’re all here? To get a good discussion going? If we all agreed all the time, this place would turn into a handjob factory right quick.

    Confidential to renfield: Hope you didn’t think I was shitting on your opinion in the CitW thread. I just thought you were shitting on mine, but then I realized that we were arguing over definitions of the word “horror” and decided that you weren’t.

  12. Mr. M : Funny that you knew I would be on here reading this thread. Bro, I took absolutely no offense from our brief debate; you offer your opinions and counter-arguments without rancor or disdain and I’m mostly just happy to see people reading bullshit I wrote and responding to it.

    On topic, I liked Innkeepers quite a bit but I can’t muster the same passion for it that I could for House of the Devil. Horror movies like to do this thing where they pretend like they’re gonna scare you but it’s just, you know, your buddy coming back and you thought it was a ghost or the killer or whatever. Then the third time, it really is the killer. In HotD I genuinely started wondering if the other shoe was EVER going to drop. It got to a place where I could no longer predict what it was going to do. I mean it’s really just this girl wandering around a creepy old house for almost the entire movie, psyching herself into being frightened. I truly admired its audacity in this regard.

    The Innkeepers is definitely a worthy follow-up for the reasons cited by Mr. Vern. The characters and atmosphere are like a warm blanket with which you wrap yourself up. Ti West doesn’t just bring the horror story, he brings the circle around the campfire where the story is told. There’s a pretty firm division with ghost stories as far as who finds them scary and who doesn’t, and I think it’s pretty special that both camps found a lot to appreciate in The Innkeepers.

    It did not, in all honesty, feel as fully realized as its predecessor. I was quite shocked when it was over, left with a feeling of “wait, where’d the movie go?!” This reaction would probably be obviated upon a second viewing.

  13. Permit me an anecdote about the supernatural in horror films. I am firmly in the camp of that it is scary. I’m not scared by serial killers and shit, but long black hair covering your face gets me no matter how many times I see it.

    When I was twelve or so I managed to route the cable into my bedroom, where I had just gotten my own tv for the first time. It was a summer’s eve and HBO treated me to The Exorcist after everybody else had gone to bed, in the dark, by my lonesome. So afterwards I was a total mess, trying not to breathe too loudly under my covers, and consoling myself with the following fact: Even if there was a Satan who liked possessing people, which I believe there isn’t, the idea that the one night that I watch The Exorcist is the night he’s going to get me is just too far fetched to warrant any consideration whatsoever.

    Meanwhile there was this tapping noise at my window, kept going and going, and I was really upset by it. I rationalized that if I could muster the courage to examine its source and prove to myself that it was no demonic presence requesting entry, my consternation would evaporate. Of course you hate it when people investigate in actual horror movies, but I was reasonably sure I wasn’t in a horror movie so I felt it was allowable. So I turned on the lights and opened the window (now I know from The Wire that you shouldn’t turn on the lights) and yeah, there’s a rosebush outside and a thorn is tapping the window as it is stirred by the breeze. Not really as relieved as I wanted to be, I continued lying in bed scared shitless as the tapping continued.

    Then I thought I heard another noise, a shuffling through the underbrush, or whatever. I tried to ignore it but it grew more persistent, its presence less deniable, until it was actually footsteps: something is ACTUALLY outside my window, it’s really happening, I’m unable to deny it. And then something is pounding on my window.

    Well, some friends of mine had snuck out of their house and were recruiting me to go vandalize stuff with toilet paper. But there was a long moment in there where I truly believed that the impossible was happening, that I was REALLY being subjected to the scrutiny and appetite of Evil itself. The lesson to be learned might have been “even when it seems totally certain that the devil is at your door, there’s really a reasonable explanation for it”, but the reality is that, to this day, I have little psychological defense against the extent to which devils and ghosts and curses and shit frighten me to pieces.

  14. This was the funniest comedy I have seen in recent years. A GAME CHANGER!

    I particularly liked when the dude pranks the girl (where Ti West rips off this youtube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fybBwlxHNc )

  15. I really enjoyed this one (i wrote about it on my blog, if you’re curious), but I have to admit that the horror aspect felt me a little cold. It’s such a looooooong buildup (and its not like you forget it’s building to a horror show — it constantly keeps reminding you that its about to get scary) but then the payoff is a little on the generic side. It works fine, but considering it puts itself at the climax of the movie, it’s a little underwhelming — not bad, just sort of mild considering the long road to get there.

    Anyone else interested in the film’s subtext on fate? Not sure it exactly makes as clear a point as it seems to think.

    On the other hand, I did sort of wonder if the film’s 3 guests are, in some way, supposed to represent possibilities for our heroes, a la the residents of the other apartments in REAR WINDOW. Our heroes are both feeling trapped in one way or another, and so are our ghosts and our residents, but all responding in different ways. Also makes all the visual references to keys make a lot more sense.

  16. Loved HOUSE OF THE DEVIL. Really, really looking forward to INNKEEPERS. I’ll read Vern’s review later.

  17. Thank you, Mr. Majestyk. The wonderful thing about discussing films is what it teaches you about your friends, or strangers. Sometimes we can learn deeper appreciations for them but changing someone’s mind or proving them wrong is a trap. I’ve realized the most unfortunate quality of criticism is dismissiveness. And the quality I’d love to see in criticism is compassion. These are just things I think about on my own.

    Renfield, smart kid to calculate the odds of a demon attack on the very night you watched the movie!

  18. Mr. Majestyk, good movies ARE a rare comodity. And as for myself, i can’t have the luxery of pissing on them. It’s a luxery to dismiss good movies for whatever reasons, even if they are perceived as genuine and honest by those who do. So often i see people piss on proper good movies like THE INNKEEPERS for reasons that do not make much sense. How often i see truly good movies getting dismissed and bad movies get love for no really good reasons? Because of zeitgeist, because the person is so struck up with very Michael Bay type commercialoid movies, because they are young/adolescent, whatever? You think i put myself out of this loop? No. To this day i still lament and kick myself for the bad decisions i did when younger or because i let myself act like an idiot or did not think.

    Good movies are rare comodities. To dismiss one like THE INNKEEPERS is not a good thing. It’s one thing if the movie is not of your preference. It’s another to piss on it and mistake it for a bad movie just because it doesn’t conform to shooping mall theater horror movies like the remakes that Michael Bay’s PLATINIUM DUNES shats unto the world.

  19. renfield, i do rate HOUSE OF THE DEVIL a bit higher then the innkeepers. I don’t know exactly why. The two movies are very alike to me in terms of quality. Even the “filmatist” style of both are very similiar, to the point when i first saw THE INNKEEPERS from the first scenes i wasn’t sure what decade the story was set. Could had been the 80s, like HOTD, until i saw a laptop and today’s internet.

    I guess is like why VALHALLA RISING is my favorite Nicolas Winding Refn movie: it was the first i saw and made an impact. Even though Refn has made before and after movies of equal quality, but the first one has a special something to it because it was the first exposure, i guess. Same with HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, i guess.

  20. I have no supernatural stories to tell myself. But like so many people, i have been spooked by isolated buildings or by an empty room at night even in my own house. And as a kid, i had a propensity for nightmares or to allucinate, shall we say, to see figures hidden in shadows or behind furniture. One of my persisting fear was that whenever people turned their backs to me, they turned into monsters. Like, their faces would become monstrous whenever they were facing away from me, and they became human-like when they looked at me. It was spooky!

    But none of that was supernatural. It was just me and my over-active imagination coupled with the fact when i was a kid i was very easily scared. I only started watching horror movies in my mid teens. That’s how easily scared i was!

    It’s rare a horror movie that scares me now. Real life, however, another matter.

  21. Asimov, I’m with you on the epidemic of dismissiveness. Haters have been mighty dismissive of DETENTION. I don’t expect all or even most people to like it, but they can keep that in perspective and. Same with SHOOT EM UP, SCOTT PILGRIM, HUDSON HAWK in its day before the world got wise to it.

    The other side though is we have to maintain a thick skin. People will hate our favorites. It doesnt men they’re pissing on good movies. We’ve still got ’em. And I think Blitzkrieg and Renfield are being pretty respectful. We’re all striving for excellence here.

  22. Fred Topel, it’s the very spirit of striving for excelence that makes me not to be dismissive of good movies. There’s even movies i don’t liek that i know they are good movies. Like Casablanca, aclassic, a truyl good move, but i just happen to not like it much. But that doesn’t prevent me to know it’s a good movie.

    But my point is, when good movies show up, we can’t be so flippant to dismiss then out of hand just because the day we fist watched them we had some hang up or the day at work was bad and infects our perception. Good movies are good movies. and the way things are now, good movies need to be championed. It’s serious business now.

  23. I mean you shouldn’t be dismissive of bad movies either.

  24. Fred Topel, for the sake of striving for excelency, i shit on bad movies. Specially dumbed down movie made by people who think audiences are morons. And none gets my greatest hatred then big expensive dumbed down blockbusters. They are the worst of the worst. I don’t dismiss bad movies because i do bother to piss on them.

  25. Renfield,

    I too agree that ghosts and demons, etc. truly make my asshole pucker. The overall general problem that I have with current ghost stories is the stakes.

    Let’s talk about action movies and in particular Die Hard. Clear stakes established efficiently in the early goings. That makes all of the shit McClane goes through mean something. It gives the film its drama, even in the action scenes.

    Now ghost stories generally run the somewhat mystery route with spooky, scary events showing up from time to time, but then when the reveal occurs, we find out that the ghost was trying to clue the protagonist in to some evil in the living realm or some past wrong. That completely – from a narrative sense – negates all of the spooky, scary stuff that preceded it.

    Or you have the ghost that was wrongfully killed (but a good person while living) that goes around killing innocent people and not those responsible. I could go on and on. There are obviously examples to the contrary. I thought The Ring did a fantastic example, but I hated Devil’s Backbone because the reveal negated 90% of the previous scares.

    All of this is my longwinded way of saying that I liked Innkeepers, but the stakes were not though, so the ending fell flat for me.

  26. By the way, I notice that Ti West actually has a whole bunch of films under his belt even prior to HOUSE OF THE DEVIL (including, apparently, CABIN FEVER 2?!)

    Anybody seen TRIGGER MAN, THE ROOST, THE WICKED, etc? If so, are they as good as his recent stuff?

  27. I don’t think his older films are nearly as good (possibly die to lack of budget), but they all have their charms. TRIGGER MAN is interesting because it most clearly establishes the style of his later film, but unlike HotD and INNKEEPERS, I found the buildup too slow and lacking in atmosphere. It does get a lot better when shit hits the fan, though.

    CABIN FEVER 2 is kinda fascinating because it’s a weird mish-mash of styles. It’s a relatively more restrained director trying to do a goofy, gross-out style movie. It’s an odd fit, plus I guess it was re-edited by the producers and West more ir less disowned it, so it’s hard to say what vision the movie is following. It’s awkward and tone deaf in a lot of places, but also pretty entertaining in others, and makes for an interesting watch due to all the clashing tones.

  28. I have seen TRIGGER MAN, THE ROOST, and CABIN FEVER 2. The first two are definitely Ti West films, showing that he has been perfecting his slow-burn style since the get-go. THE ROOST bookends his pretty straightforward killer bat-thingies story with some Rob Zombie-esque Chiller Theater-style host segments that seem self-conscious and out of place, but it doesn’t ruin anything. TRIGGER MAN is more simple and elegant: Some guys go hunting, a random sniper starts shooting them. It’s easily the most minimalist movie he’s ever done, really testing your patience for boredom in the name of suspense. But I think it works. If you like his style, it’s definitely worth checking out.

    CABIN FEVER 2 is kind of an anomaly, though. It’s even more overtly comedic than the first one (not to mention more disgusting) with none of the slow burn. It feels like a more grounded Troma movie. I kind of like it for what it is, but West was kicked out of the editing room so he’s basically disowned it.

  29. Asimov, what you’re missing is that you don’t get to decide which movies are good and bad and then get pissed off at other people for disagreeing. We love you bud, but you’re a total fuckin weirdo. You have bizarre tastes and reasoning. If there was gonna be one person who got to decide which movies were good and bad it just wouldn’t be economical for you to be the guy because then pretty much everybody else would be offensively wrong most of the time. For example there’s one movie I’m not gonna name and you better not bring it up but you think it’s the worst movie ever and I’ve met like one other person in the world who didn’t think it was pretty good.

    Obviously movies are my passion. I’m not gonna tell you they’re not worth arguing about. But they’re not necessarily GOOD or BAD. None of them are for everybody in the world. All of them can be interpreted differently depending on your opinions and interests and history. If you’re gonna discuss them you have to accept that smart and reasonable people can disagree on them.

    So what you gotta do is not insult people just because they 1) like a movie you hate or 2) dislike a movie you love. Or if you do do it on the fuckin IMDb boards or some bullshit place like that. You should elevate your game here. Respect my dojo.

    I’m glad you liked THE INNKEEPERS and HOUSE OF THE DEVIL like I did, but I think it’s easy to understand why somebody who didn’t get into the mood and characters would be bored out of their skull on either one of these.

  30. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    April 24th, 2012 at 1:08 pm


    “If there was gonna be one person who got to decide which movies were good and bad it just wouldn’t be economical for you to be the guy because then pretty much everybody else would be offensively wrong most of the time.”

    And this is directed as Asimov? I don’t even know why I exist any more.

    I gotta say one thing though:

    “How often i see truly good movies getting dismissed and bad movies get love for no really good reasons? Because of zeitgeist, because the person is so struck up with very Michael Bay type commercialoid movies, because they are young/adolescent, whatever?”

    Now occasionally this gets me down too, but then I think about all the good / great movies that keep getting made. I don’t think I’ve ever had a worse cinemagoing experience than “Bad Boys 2”, but do I begrudge Michael Bay for that and his other films’ successes? No, because nobody’s forcing me to watch them. Let the teenagers have their explosions and their quick editing and whatever else they want.

    I’ve seen a RIDICULOUS number of very good or genuinely great films already this year, and all of them in the cinema. Who cares if the hype machine isn’t promoting films like “Into the Abyss”? (Which every single one of you should see, by the way. I wasn’t exaggerating about it being a flawless masterpiece.) I know whose opinions I trust to send me in the right direction. Heck, even Mouth (and let’s face it, me and him do not often see eye-to-eye) convinced me to see “Martha Marcy May Marlene” at the cinema. And I thought that was excellent.

    The only films I take “personally” are the cash-in sequels to movies I really like. “American Pie 2”, “Mission: Impossible 3”, “X-Men 3”, etc. Movies that shit over the mythology and characters that I’d already formed an attachment to. But films like “Battleships” and its ilk? Avoid them, they’ll be forgotten soon enough.

  31. Vern: No, i don’t get to decide which good or bad ovies are made, that’s for sure. But i sure do know the difference between a good and a bad movie. And a movie is not good or bad because it indulges me. A movie is good if it’s smartly done by people who put their heart to it and show good production values. A movie is bad if it’s dumb to cater to minimum common denominator and treats audiences as dumb cattle. THE INNKEEPERS do the first and never the later.

    Shall i call a movie bad just because it doesn’t tick some little boxes of my own invention? That’s self-indulgence. Sorry if that doesn’t agree with me.

    I think it’s a pity that so many people have a hars time to understand that movies shouldn’t all have rapid rife editing. It’s a pity that for some, a slwer paced movie ruins their enjoyment. It seems to some, they can’t understand the concept that a movie should have the pacing the story demands. HOUSE OF THE DEVIL and THE INNKEEPERS, as you well said, have the proper slow pacing which works to build mood. This two movies are utterly dependent on mood to work. What upsets me quite a bit is that for soe, they enjoyment of movies are so dependent of strict rules, and pacing being one of them, or should i say, fast pacing. How often i have read opinions on movies in which some person rates the movie bad beause it was “slow-paced”, when in fact the slow pacing was important for the story to be well told? This is the self-indulgence i’m talking about. A movie geek should be better then that, we should be more open minded and more accepting, more understanding. We are not exactly casual movie watchers, we should know better.

    Can i understand why somebody would not like THE INNKEEPERS? Actually, no i can’t.

  32. Also wanted to direct this at Vern,

    Did you watch and/or review Stake Land and I missed it? I only ask because it is a Glass Eye Pix as well (Larry Fessenden’s low budget horroresque production company). Even though that was Jim Mickle and not Ti West, it should be mentioned with this discussion because both films share an additional common bond of starring Kelly McGillis. Also, Stake Land was one of my favorite films I watched last year.

    Last side note, I had no idea going into this movie that Lena Dunham was going to be playing the coffee shop girl. That was kind of fun.

    Good/Bad/Dismissive – I always think of movies like music. There are all different styles, generally made by widely different means of people for an equally wide range of reasons. Just because I love the blues and only appreciate jazz does not mean that jazz should go away. The fact that I hate death metal does not mean that it should be stricken from pop culture because a lot of truly intelligent people that I know listen to it and can make a nice argument for its merit. I think the conversation is what is important. Minds don’t have to change, people do not have to be convinced, but to echo previous sentiments, as long as the discussion is being had in a respectful manner, we all win.

  33. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul, unfortunatly,m movies like BATTLESHIT, i mean, BATTLESHIP will not go away just because you turn your back to then. If anything, they are the tip of the iceberg. They are a show of things to come. We will get more of it soon. And each and any of those will just hurt cinema in the long run. There will be a time when movies like BATTLESHIT, i mean BATTLESHIP will be so predominant you will even use it as a yardstick to “it was kinda ok”. It will be that bad! And all because we allowed it to pass, either by action or inaction.

    I take personal offence to every movie that Michael Crap Bay has made because the cunt open the doors to the proliferation of dumb ass movies hat we see today, like the aforementioneed BATTLRSHIT, i mean BATLESHIP. If audiences are to blame for watching them, if the geeks are to blame for supporting them, filmmakers like Bay are to blame as well because they made them. Without a product there wouldn’t be no audience to watch them, would it? It’s for this and other reason that i truly hate Michael Bay. I hate him and his movies. He’s the only filmmaker i truly hate. Other hacks like JarJar Abrams or Peter Berg i feel more like despise merited to this mini-michael bay copycats.

  34. Asi those movies will always be around cause there are more people who like dumb shit out there than those who don’t. They’ve been around since JAWS hit and yet cinema still retains respectability overall cause there is enough good out there to balance the nonsense. Bay isn’t the first of his kind nor will he be the last. It doesn’t mean you have to subject yourself to the nonsense though.

    Why go through the aggravation? for example I see some merit sometimes in his work but actually agree a lot with your critiques of Abrams overall and because of this I never watched nor will I ever watch M:I 3 in it’s entirety or even a minute of SUPER 8. Even if there are many people who’s opinions on film I value who insist that those are worth watching I know what my tastes are so I don’t even do it to myself. Same thing with Bay’s movies.

  35. MDM, ther are not bad genre, only bad movies. Even using your music styles analogy, still it’s not that hard to understyand the differenc ebetween a good music and a bad one, regardless of the style they belong. You do not need to be a metalhead to know that Iron Maiden made superior heavi metal. I don’t need to be a jazz afficionado to know that Charlie Parker kicked ass with his music. I don’t need to be a classic music lover to know that Mozart and Bethoeven ruled. To know if a movie is good or bad is more then just some movie filling in your prefered little boxes or that it belongs to my favorite genres. My great love has always been SF above all else, and that doesn’t prevent me knowing and see that AMERICAN BEAUTY or THE HAUNTING (1963) are very good movies. My õwn personal preferences have absolutly nothing to do with it at all. If i said those are lesser movies just because they do not belong to my favorite genre and hailed LOST IN SPACE as superior in both quality and entertament just because it’s from my favorite genre i would be very stupid indeed. It’s what i call self-indulgence idioticy. I want nothing to do with that, i make a lot of effort to.

  36. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    April 24th, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    MDM – I watched and reviewed it somewhere. I don’t think Vern ever did.

    Long story short – I liked most of it. Didn’t like the “villain” at the end, how it caused the movie to violate its own rules. Especially didn’t like that creating that “villain” made our heroes act like sadistic fucks, which is something they’d never been before or since. (Why the heck didn’t they just kill him outright?) But otherwise I thought it was very good.

    Asimov – I think you’ve missed the point. Bay’s selling power, thanks to the “Transformers” movies, is greater than ever before. And this is without a doubt the best year I’ve ever had in terms of the quality of films I’ve seen at the cinema, and we’re not even in May yet. Show me a single shred of evidence that the proliferation of the “dumb” is negatively affecting the output of the smart, and I’d agree with you. But I don’t see it. Yeah, it kinda gets my goat that the populist crap gets promoted as much as it does, but you know why that is? Because it’s populist crap!

    I don’t get your logic. It’s like the RIAA claiming that piracy is “destroying” the music industry when the music industry is enjoying record sales figures year-after-year. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

  37. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    April 24th, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Or is it that the populist crap sells so well that irritates you?

    Look, I’ve been there, I can sympathise. There’s something inherently wrong about the likes of Bay or Ratner earning seven-figure paycheques while great directors and great movies are ignored at the box office. The way I see it, that’s what we’re here for. If the masses don’t support the great film-makers of our age, we need to do it ourselves.

  38. I’m torn with this asimovlives controversy. I definitely don’t think that all opinions are equally valid. I’ve said before, you can think that the Backstreet Boys are better than Curtis Mayfield, but I’m 100% sure that you are incorrect, and have a bullshit opinion.

    I also have difficulty with people making strict rules about how you can and can’t approach art, especially when you start talking about entire styles or genres. There’s still a large contingent of culture that thinks that hip hop is worthless, that there hasn’t been good music or movies made in the last 1.5 decades. Lots of film critics I like think that 3D is a pejorative term. Vern has said that he thinks that found footage should be retired (see District 9 review), although in fairness it doesn’t stop him from enjoying the technique when he finds it used well. It all adds up to that I can relate to asimov’s point against people thinking that movies should conform to their preconceived notions of what movies should be doing.

    However, I think the argument collapses on itself in a fit of hypocrisy. Asimov simply thinks his own preconceived notions are superior. Asimov, sir, you preconceive not a general standard of how movies must work, but a specific standard to how a given film works. You feel that Innkeepers meets its own standard of what it should be doing and that therefore it must be a good film. This is dismissive of the idea that the relationship between a work of art and the person that experiences that work is a far more labyrinthine prospect than can be charted by one perspective.

    Lastly, I disagree that one shouldn’t be self-indulgent in their expectations. I am much like the Old Gods in Cabin in the Woods… I want to be entertained, and fuck you for not entertaining me, seen? If I have a list of archetypes that must be touched upon for my standards to be met, so be it. If I want to be a moralist and decide that a film communicates an ideology with which I disagree, then I am well within my rights to condemn the film. If I want to hate a film simply because everybody else likes it, then that’s fine too, because my enjoyment of art is a personal thing that in some measure defines me and it’s not so personal or definitive if everybody else likes it too. And, like Asimov, I will readily judge somebody else as being full of shit for disagreeing, but I certainly don’t actually hope to change anybody’s views. I just like arguing about shit.

  39. “If the masses don’t support the great film-makers of our age, we need to do it ourselves.”

    I fully concur Paul.

    This is why I saw DRIVE and TREE OF LIFE multiple times at the cinema last year for example. It’s why I will go see Cronenberg’s new movie the first week it opens and not even look in the direction of Len Wiseman’s TOTAL RECALL remake etc.

    It’s on us to take a stand and communicate with our dollars that some of us do truly appreciate the real visionaries of our time even if the mass populace does not. Plain and simple.

  40. Also, it truly offends me that asimov upholds American Beauty as an example of a film whose greatness he can appreciate in spite of it not conforming to his checkboxes. This is a film that thinks true rebellion is smoking weed listening to mainstream music like Pink Floyd and The Guess Who, being a pedophile and calling your daughter a bitch. This is a film that thinks it’s wildly subversive by making the slut turn out to be a virgin, the homophobe turn out to be gay, and the stoner turn out to be smart. Yeah, it’s kinetic and entertaining, but it’s a rather reprehensible film.

    Then in nearly the same breath, he shits all over Peter Berg, who made the genuinely subversive (if equally reprehensible) Very Bad Things. WTF?

  41. If we endeavor to change the bitter, self-lauding ways of asimovlives, then we must give him time, for, according to scripture, that is what it takes to change the essence of a man.

  42. Can we at least try to curb his derisive pun titles of movies and people he doesn’t like in the meantime? He used “BATTLESHIT, i mean BATTLESHIP” twice in the same comment. I don’t want to have to suffer

  43. I don’t know; I mean I’ve always been kinda partial to JarJar Abrams myself.

  44. Oh yeah VERY BAD THINGS is criminally underrated. Berg will always get a pass from me for that movie and his work in THE GREAT WHITE HYPE alone.

  45. Berg also directed THE RUNDOWN, still the best solo Rock starring vehicle. And I don’t know, I liked HANCOCK. In my opinion Berg has more decent movies than outright dogs.

    CRAPPLESHITS still looks awful, though.

  46. The thing to understand about asimovlives is that his posts generally resemble what might’ve happened if Corky from Life Goes On had been tapped to make the valedictorian speech at his high school graduation: Out of his depth from the get-go, aiming for something impassioned and articulate, but in the end can’t quite clear the retard hurdle.

    Plus he’s from Portugal, or claims to be. Not that I care one way or the other about that, but it seems to impact his spelling, grammar, and overall command of the English language.

    I know this assessment may be a bit harsh, but I watched him pull this same routine over at AICN for a very long time, and I think the moderators there finally had enough and booted him altogether (IP address ban). Which is why he’s here instead of there.

    He can’t be reformed, and probably shouldn’t be encouraged.

  47. Stu – I’ve known him for almost 10 years now. Your hope is up the creek and without a paddle.

    As for BATTLESHIP, it looks like dreck. But hey, Berg has been alright before but I didn’t care for HANCOCK.

    But as I’ve said before on this websight, BATTLESHIP won’t sink or sail because it’s based off a fucking board game*, no matter how trivial adapting such a property. If anything I’m surprised Universal hasn’t beaten us in the face over the fact that Rihanna is in it.

    (Also the “Battleshits” line reminds me of HAROLD & KUMAR.)

    *=But I have a good gut feeling that BATTLESHIP aint no CLUE.

  48. Larry – he’s from Portugal, if only because if you’re making up where you’re from….why would you pick Portugal? That’s like saying you’re from PEI or North Dakota. It’s so random and out of the way, and unsexy.

    Asimov reminds me of those political bloggers who you can visualize foaming at the mouth as they type. Sometimes direct their simplistic, blunt rage at targets you hate too, even if you’re not exactly happy who your comrade and make you wonder if you’re mindset is all functional and not more suited for an alternate reality straight out of the TWILIGHT ZONE. The same sort of people whose lives and health so dominated by their rage at “Them”, your Andrew Breibarts of the world, their health is at risk. (And some might view this as a divine blessing.)

    I think his flaw, well many, but his core one is this: He views the AICN and CHUDs of the world as unsophisticated geek orthodoxy in their opinions, when such people and venues originally (before they took over culture) fielded thoughts in contrast to the mainstream like hey John Carpenter’s THE THING is fucking awesome, not the loser the papers claim or whatever. You get the point of this anti-mainstream.

    Except then he’s established his own personal anti-anti-mainstream philosophy with its own rules and undisputed “facts,” nevermind that it’s been boiled into a sorta mindless orthodoxy as much as his perceived intellectual enemies in the Nerdz Worldz.

    Yes I despise Bay, yes I hate that hack makes mindless amounts of money without “trying” (don’t hate airquotes Majestyk), but the Movie World isn’t as fucked as it is even when he grosses a billion bucks for a turkey like TRANSFORMERS 3: Ghetto Robot-Free.

    I mean look at the bright side: Christopher Nolan I suppose is the king cheese of directors for his generation and this epoch, right maybe? He’s got critical respect, and has hits. Neither name allegory is quite appropriate to describe him, but somehow that fucking limey has established himself as Spielberg and Kubrick’s gay love baby. He makes art without it coming off as art, pretentious without being pretentious, while also making a shitload of money. And he’s still running strong. (If he’s Prince, he’s at his SIGN O’ THE TIMES stage. I’m afraid his long-planned Howard Hughes movie might be his LOVESEXY.)

    Other good things right now, how about John Hyams showing promise? Or Duncan Jones climbing up the ladder so far? Or Justin Lin somehow becoming Michael Bay’s mirror/mirror universe good twin brother? Or David Fincher still doing his own thing? Or that the Marvel movie series so far hasn’t becoming totally mindless explosion orgies (yet)?

    Anyway, to honor his clever puns and nicknames, let’s give him a new nickname: AsimovSux.

    ~See that? That’s me slapping myself on the back.

  49. Oh and for the record, the next time Asimov winds up about Zack Snyder…I mean Hack Snyder, mention how our boy actually liked his DAWN OF THE DEAD remake. Has he rewritten that history yet or has that topic been brought up yet?

    Yeah I know that’s rich, considering I’ve been on tirades about Mr. Snyder myself. But hey if a guy like Joss Whedon, a guy I never hated just couldn’t give a shit about him as the Internet does, apparently from reviews published so far did a good job with THE AVENGERS…

    Well, I’ll give Snyder a chance with Superman. I rather come off as lacking the foresight and get a decent picture instead of getting a turkey and be proven correct.

    Besides if it sucks, well there’s always fucking ANT MAN.

  50. Here’s a nice quote from an interview with Ti West. On his movies:
    “Well, there’s nothing in them I think, and I knew this, we all knew it, that was there for anyone else–to gratify anyone else. There’s no twist, which is what I think these new horror types want to sell their films now. It’s all very straightforward. I’d get this response, I’d say, Well, my movie’s about a girl who spends the night in a house owned by demon worshippers. What’s the twist? No twist, that’s it. “Do you mean she goes in there and it’s demon worshippers and that’s it?” Yes, that’s it, that’s everything, isn’t it enough? Or this movie is about two people who work in a haunted hotel. “Then what, is the hotel really a government conspiracy to…” No, it’s just haunted. And two people work there. And they’re not ex-CIA or anything, they’re just people doing the job I’d be doing right now if Larry [Fessenden, producer] and Matt [Dentler, SXSW programmer] hadn’t taken a chance on me. That’s it.”

    from filmfreakcentral.net

  51. asimov, I feel you. You’re passionate about movies and wanted people to appreciate the art and not settle for less. I think you’ll find that getting angry at bad movies won’t make you feel any better and will just ruin your enjoyment of good ones.

    I didn’t mean to pick on one guy. And I can’t wait for PROMETHEANUS.

    are you telling me that this BATTLESHIP movie isn’t a remake of BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN?

  52. I know we’ve been over this before, but I still don’t get why people feel the need to rant and rave on the net just because they’ve seen a movie they didn’t like. A long, long time ago Harry Knowles claimed it was because he wanted to warn people, but that arguement doesn’t hold up anymore. Not for him and not for any of us. Personally I’ve been told off for being too positive, but hey, when you get older you learn to pick your fights. There’s a lot of shit out there I hate, but I find it easier to just ignore it. On a positive note, thanks to asimov we now know that there are people like him outside of the US too.

  53. pegsman as a bit of a ranter myself, i can understand the motivation. Sometimes is just the need to express. Sometimes is the need to make waking up calls, likei did in AICN in regard to JarJar Abrams’ STOOL TREK and everybody’s adolation of an obviously very bad movies. Sometimes is just trolling. The trick here is to know the difference and not just jump to conclusiona nd put everything in th same bag. Because sometimes this is an opportunity to have our illusions shattered and learn from others. It was because of somebody’s else rant, so to speak, that i realised what a terrible movie THE ROCK truly is. Like a tool, i was also one of those who mistook that nstupid retard bullshit movie for something it’s not, a good movie. Until i saw the truth thanks to a rant from somebody else who had the wits to not let himself be fooled by the very obvious. It was one of my greatest wake up calls into the danger of letting oneself get carried away by holywood blockbuster hype. I got my vacination thanks to that. So, no, i don’t have a general bad reaction about rants. It’s all a case for case thing.

  54. Fred Topel:

    “and wanted people to appreciate the art and not settle for less.”

    Wanted? Past tense? No, man, present. Present time. And less is good enough already, less is pretty good filmmaking. I don’t need movies to be works of art to enjoy. Being honest good movies made with heart, even if with commercial considerations as paramount, is good, Carpenter made a lot of sweet movies like that.

    So, i don’t content with just lesss then art. No, i content with good. Beleive it or not, i’m actually prety forgiving anf widereached in my tastes for movies. I just don’t like stupidity and cynical intents from filmmakers and the studios who finance the movies. This is why so far i’ll have a good thing to say about somebody like Rob Zombie (even in his Halloween remakes) but not for JarJar Abrams (no matter how much he tries to basket in the former glory of Spielberg by copying him and rants how much a movie fan he is). The former took an obvious oportunistic commercial act and turn it into his own thing, obviously made by a true fan of the genre and the movie she was remaing. While JarJar can even turn moments of his own childhood and the audiences’ good nostalgia for old Spielberg movies and turn it into a shamelessly commercial stunt… and a pretty dumbass crappy movie as well. Two shits in one stroke. That’s my JarJar!

    “I think you’ll find that getting angry at bad movies won’t make you feel any better and will just ruin your enjoyment of good ones.”

    I discover that it does the very opposite. It vents away my frustration, it allows me to say my piece, i do my bid in the war agaisnt movie stupidity, and it makes me even more appreciative of the good movies that get made. If anything, it doesn’t make me take the good movies for granted. That’s a good thing.

    “are you telling me that this BATTLESHIP movie isn’t a remake of BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN?”

    No, it’s a remake of ARMAGEDDON…. by Peter Fucking Iceberg own admition. He can go eat a fu**!

  55. renfield, yes, those movies are just that, and damn good movies they are. They don’t need to pull that stupid Roberto Orci/JarJar Abrams manipulative pseudo-twists to be interesting. The script, acting and filmmaking is god enough as it is to be utterly engaging.

  56. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul, while i’m suprised by the proliferation of supposedly good movies (we are yet to see them all to know for sure), still i think this is a freak occurence. And from some of the roll call of the movies to be released next year, it truly looks like they just ut all the good ones in this year. If anything, i think that by coincidnce and serendipity, all the interesting big movies made recently bottlenecked in this year. Don’t take this year as proof, but as an exception.

  57. “Or is it that the populist crap sells so well that irritates you?” Populist doesn’t bohter me, or else i couldn’t like Carpenter’s earliest movies, which are populist movies but good. Crap in itself doesn’t bother much, because i can turn my back to it. The world is filled with bad movies that nobody can bother to give it a second look. But what bothers me is stupid dumb ass movies made by cynical shits who think themselves above their own audience and make movies accordingly. Guys like JarJar, Bay, and yes, RRA’s beloved Zack The Hack Snyder.

  58. RRA, i now believe that Zacky boy’s DAWN OF THE DEAD was an incredible fluke that will never see a repetition ever again in his career. How that movie turned so superior to everything else he did is beyond science to explain. Maybe back then he had somebody else to reign in his juvenile hack impulses, i don’t know. Though with hindsight and knowing where his career went afterwards, i don’t know if i would be as kind to DOTD as i was when i first saw it.

    Where have you been lately? Can’t seem to find you online much lately. Have you finished your major and minor already? Keep in touch.

  59. Mr. Majestyk, i think Dwayne Johnson’s best effrot is yet FASTER, but many people dismissed (or hated) the movie because it’s not the actionfiest that they were expecting thanks to his previous owrk of the trailer. Take that aside and yoiu will notice a damn good revenge thriller that has far more meat to it’s bones then at frst sight. And Jonhson can truly act.

  60. Amazing Larry, i’d liketo see you seak and write in portuguese. I’d like to see how fluent you would be. I’d like to see how much of an “impediment to speech” it would make you look like. If me bring from Portugal has no bearing on you then why did you brough it up? Or are you one of those that thinks of Europe from the Disney theme park version? You think we all still have kings and queens and live in cottages and have yet to leave the middle ages? Give me a break!

    By the way, many good people have been banned by AICN by the fickleness of the moderators there. Shall i mention Moriarty just as an example of AICN crew people banning just as a show of power? So give me a break about that too. Yeah, i have a problem with bad dumb movies and i like to champion the really good ones, you got a problem with that?

  61. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    April 25th, 2012 at 4:47 am

    When I went to see “Young Adult”, there was a teenage couple in the line behind me who were fairly obviously on a first or second date – they were at the touchy feely smiley not-quite-sure-how-to-interact stage of human courtship. I heard them buying a ticket for “Jack and Jill”. I swear to God, it took all of my willpower just to not say: “NOO! Don’t do it! Save yourselves!”

    I’m genuinely curious as to whether their relationship survived that movie, or whether actually they spent most of it ignoring the movie and making out in the cinema instead (there is definitely something to be said for going to see a truly terrible movie with a nice girl.) The irony, of course, is “Young Adult” is pretty much the only film I’ve seen in the cinemas this year that I didn’t like at all… so maybe I should’ve taken my own advice or something.

  62. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul, i loved YOUNG ADULT. That movie gives a few punches in the gut. And it’s hillarious like hell. It’s not an easy movie for many, i guess.

    JACK AND JILL. Does one even need to see the movie to know it’ sucks? Probably that couple you saw at the ticket booth that saw it loved it. The horror!

  63. Vern, in the spirit of appeasement, i’d like to offer you this link, since i know you like the blues:


    The next is something completly different, closer to one of our type of traditional music called Fado:


    The first is from the portuguese artist called Aurea. The second is from the group called Deolinda. Enjoy.

  64. Nah, As, I’m one of those people who hate FASTER for turning a perfectly serviceable popcorn revenge flick into a dull, self-serious message movie. It had some quirky characters and a great star, but then it forgot that it was an action movie and tried to have something to say and came up totally short. The movie feels like a dumb kid’s term paper that’s trying to pass off some badly paraphrased philosophy books he read as his own thesis. What’s this? Revenge is bad? By God, you may be right! Is this something you just came up with right now all by yourself? I’d never thought of that before. This is such a unique and intriguing thought that I find it much more satisfying than having a climactic action scene of any sort.

    Maybe this is just my Mickey Bay-inspired expectations kicking in, but I generally prefer my action movies to not suddenly turn around and tell me that action is for assholes. Unless they do an AMAZING job of it, in which case I would applaud their subversiveness. FASTER is not that movie. It’s just a mediocre revenge programmer with delusions of grandeur. It’s a movie that doesn’t want to be what it is. A movie at war with itself, and losing.

    Also, it’s the slowest fucking movie with the word “fast” in the title I’ve ever seen.

  65. Mr. Majestyk, i think the problem is not the movie FASTER itself but the way it was advertized, which did it a terrible disservice. The movie is not an action movie. It’s a noir thriller.

    I tell you, if you had never seen it before any of those trailers, if you had seen it cold, would you ever think of it as an action movie? Never in your life you would. Becasue it isn’t one.

    Another case of advertizement doing a movie a disservice, by milking public expectations due to the star of the movie being a weell known action movie star.

    The movie is not semi-serious, it is serious. It takes it’s one premise quite seriously… as it should. I’m glad i saw the movie cold, with only Vern’s review as reference. I then saw the trailers and boy, did they fucked it up! It’s John Carter bad, a clear case of advertizment not even bothering to try to present a true vision of what the movie s like. It’s advertizement as lie.

    We shouldn’t hold grudges agasint a movie because of bad advertizement or because of our expectations because of who stars in it.

    As for the title, FASTER doesn’t necessarily means that it’s a movie about fast shit hitting the screen all the time. Not every movie’s title is a description of the stuff that happens. Or else, what movie would had been made out of a title like BLADE RUNNER?

  66. Jareth Cutestory

    April 25th, 2012 at 6:50 am

    You hear that, Eisenstein? Lay off the rapid fire editing. Asimov says so.

    Also, I am in favor of Asimov’s pun titles. I like to read them as if they’re MAD Magazine jokes being shouted by Chet from WEIRD SCIENCE.

  67. That’s bullshit, As. You seem to have this theory that you are the only person who is able to separate a film from the mystifying cloud of marketing and hype that has surrounded it. That’s not true. I am not some child who throws a tantrum when he doesn’t get ice cream for dinner like he wanted. If FASTER has been a good noir thriller, I would have loved it, since that’s one of my favorite kinds of movies. I got a whole shelf of ’em just from the nineties and beyond, with another shelf dedicated to the eighties and prior. But FASTER isn’t a good one. It’s a stupid and dull one. I didn’t like it not because it wasn’t the movie I wanted it to be, but because it sucked at being the movie it was.

  68. I loved Faster, but they fucked up the ending. The deleted ending would have made it a solid classic actionmovie.

    I`m kinda confused about the trailer not representing the movie. Isn`t the trailer the one with a preacher talking about forgiveness on the radio, while we get small snippets of action from the movie? I think it is one of the few trailers that actually does give a good impression about what the movie strives to be; an oldschool existential action-movie. (It actually reminded me a lot of Vanishing Point).

    I don`t mind that the movie is not as clever as it things it is. I mean, how much can you say about revenge anyway. It`s either good (Coffy) or bad (Hamlet) or both (Straw Dogs, I suppose..) And even if it`s bad, it doesn`t tell you not to enjoy the action. I mean, I like actionmovies, but I`m against violence. Why can`t a filmmaker share the same point of view? (I`m pretty sure Bruce Lee would agree with me..)

  69. Asimov, this is a great example of what I was talking about earlier. After listening to Aurea and Deolinda I now have a choice to make. I can either go on and on about how terrible they both are, with endless details about how Aurea’s just another Duffy wannabee who sings with an unbearable put-on drawl and how mindnumbingly boring Deolinda is, or I can just shut up and let you enjoy this shit and mind my own business. It’s not important to me to warn other people about buying their records. I know, I know, this a place where we discuss movies, and sometimes we have to be a little hard on new ones, but why can’t we at least dig a little deeper than Bay and Snyder? It’s not like there’s a lack of Bay and Snyder bashing on the net these days.

    Majestyk, you’re being too hard on Faster. It’s a cool little movie. Not as great as we both wished for, but cool enough to buy.

  70. But I’m trying to move beyond the tired Bay and Snyder bashing to find new and exciting areas of cinema to trash. I’m a trailblazer.

    It’s cool if you guys liked it. I just don’t. I think it’s phony and boring and preachy and hypocritical and ugly to look at and wasteful of some strong raw material. The best part about it is the song playing during its opening credits, and even that was a cover of the theme song to an old Italian crime picture.

    But since I’m never going to watch it again, what was the deleted ending?

  71. – majestyx

    You should give a second chance, you might enjoy it a lot more with lowered expectations.


    The deleted ending, if I remember correctly, is The Rock vs The Hitman playing chicken and shooting each other up. The Rock clearly doesn`t wanna do the revenge-thing anymore, but it`s too late to back down. The Hitman gets killed and the rock drives off while being chased by dozens of police-cars, looking all paranoid and nervous, it`s clearly a matter of time before they catch him..

  72. That at least sounds like it would give the hitman some reason to be in the movie. I’d actually forgotten how full of shit that entire subplot was. I now dislike the movie even more than I did before.

  73. Jareth Cutestory, i used to like slow motion a lot, and i used to like rapid fire editing a lot, and i used to like shaky-cam a lot, until Michael Bay and his minions showed up and fuck it all up. Nowdays, any of those three stylistics are the usual weapons of hacks, with very few exceptions being able to rock it out.

    Stop trying to peg me down because you can’t.

  74. “You seem to have this theory that you are the only person who is able to separate a film from the mystifying cloud of marketing and hype that has surrounded it.”

    After what was the JJ Abrams’s Star Trek debacle, how can i not think that yeah, so often so many are mystified and seduced by hype? And that i’m so lucky to not fall ito that? So yeah, i do think i’m good in that regard. You asking me to go false modesty? Next, you will demand that Luis Figo says he’s not a good football player. You can’t ask somebody to contradict their convictions just because they touch a raw nerve. You have the right to demand more politeness from me, not to change my convictions.

  75. pegsman put it quite well what FASTER is: It’s a cool little movie. No more, no less. And what’s wrong about that?

    I’m sorry you can’t enjoy both Aurea and Deolinda, you are missing out on two very good acts. And as for the drawn out drawl of Aurea, well, remember, she’s portuguese. She’s no english native singing in her own language, give her a break in that regard. And Duffy is not that well known here, in like the late Amy Winehouse. And Aurea is directly inspired by the old ladies of Jaz and blues, not the new gals. She’s the real deal.

    As for Deolinda, if you do not think that song is beautiful to heard for, even if you do not know the lyrics due to being portuguese, then i just have to say, i’m glad i’m not you. I’d rather kick myselff in the ass then to fail to appreciate such beauty.

  76. I’m not asking you to change your convictions. Like whatever you want. Just don’t tell me my reasons for having the opinions I do. You just told Jareth to stop trying to pin you down. I kindly request the same courtesy.

  77. “But I’m trying to move beyond the tired Bay and Snyder bashing”

    And what’s wrong with that? It’s a noble profession. And while those two hacks keep making movies it will never get old.

  78. Mr. Majestyk, if you do it first, i’ll follow. I’m a follower not a leader.

  79. “how can i not think that yeah, so often so many are mystified and seduced by hype? And that i’m so lucky to not fall ito that?”

    Which is kinda weird, considering that you are walking around and declare your favourite movies to be flawless masterpieces, despite their often very obvious flaws. In my book that’s the definition of hype.

  80. Jareth Cutestory

    April 25th, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Wait, so Michael Bay’s use of quick editing has retroactively ruined Guy Maddin’s masterful use of quick cuts in BRAND UPON THE BRAIN? And Zack Synder’s use of slow motion has somehow made IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE unwatchable?

    Bay and Synder must practice some heady voodoo. It’s only a matter of time before actual characters from their movies start invading other films.

  81. CJ Holden, you have a link to those my supposed claims of mine?

    Well, there is one movie i love that i think is flawless in all that truly matters about a movie: CITIZEN KANE. i love that movie and i think it’s the best ever, regardless of what critics polls say or do not say of the matter. You going to contest that? What other movie you goign to claim it’s the actualy best? Star Wars? Empire Strikes Back? Please don’t do that!

    Flawless in all that matters about a movie is what i think many of my favorite movies are. You know why? It’s because thy are so good that i love them. Unlike some, i don’t think a movie is great because i like it, i like it because it’s great. Not a hard thing to understand, is it? The movie existed before i had an opinion on it because a movie exists before i watch it for the first time. Doesn’t this make any sense to you?

  82. Jareth Cutestory, no, not the retro, but the afterwards. The movies that came before those two hacks are not to blame for the misused of the same tehniques that worked so well for them. I fyou think i would start to hate Sam Peckinpah’s THE WILD BUNCH because Michael Bay and Renyn Harlin ruined slow motion for a whole generation, you are not paying attention. I would need to be an idiot to let Bay ruin my enjoyment of one of Peckinpah’ masterpieces just because the hack Bay asshole can’t help but fuck up the technique in his movies.

  83. Jareth Cutestory

    April 25th, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Asi, I wonder if one day you’ll experience a guitar player who you find so wretched that he makes every other use of the instrument unbearable to your ears.

    You know that the practice of ascribing “greatness” to movies is a function of discourse, right? It’s not an objective truth like the height of a mountain. The “greatness” of any particular film is established due to the (often hegemonic) practices of the critics who decide the constituent elements that are valued in film. That’s why genre fans have spent so much time on the margins of film criticism, and tended to only be acknowledged once their films were re-interpreted through a style deemed more acceptable to the critics who formulate artistic canons, like when the French New Wave got their hands on a bunch of American pulp.

    My own personal problem with thinking of films in terms of their “greatness” is that it fails to account for how both audiences and films change over time. CITIZEN KANE speaks to audiences in 2012 much differently than it did to audiences in 1965, and I think it is far more interesting to contemplate the film in light of these changes than I am to salute its “flawlessness.”

    But then I’ve never been much of a Hall of Fame kind of guy.

  84. Asimov, we just had a few days ago a conversation on here (but don’t ask me underneath what movie) where we talked about INCEPTION and how the action outside of the hallway fight is unwatchable shaky cam crap and you took it as a “We hate INCEPTION and Christopher Nolan” and started to lecture us on how we should ignore those things, because it’s more important that the overall movie is great and any criticism towards it makes Michael Bay win.

    While you claim to not fall for any hype, you love to produce very fanboy-ish this-is-the-most-perfect-piece-of-filmmaking-ever-there-are-no-flaws-what-are-you-talking-about-you-heretic hype yourself.

    And let me point out again: Acknowledging that a very good movie has flaws, doesn’t mean you doesn’t like it.

  85. Yeah to paint folks around here as INCEPTION haters is just dumb. As far as I know I’m one of less than handful on here who loathed that movie. It’s pretty well liked about these parts it’s just that this sight also has people who really know how to discuss movies. It’s a place where even it’s most genuine fans are sincere enough to admit to it’s flaws.

  86. But in the end what is CJ is just that most people around the internet he makes the mistake of always looking at things in black and white. No matter how sensible you get with the guy he’ll only see what he wants to see. Sad case of tunnel vision.

  87. *like most

  88. So, to sum it up: THE INNKEEPERS is a pretty good movie, Ti West is an obviously talented filmmaker who respects and understand horror, and while horror has been pretty badly handled most often times, there’s still a small dedicated group of filmmakers that still do it honour and has the genre in their good hands.

    And some people will not understand why some people think it’s important to have standards in their fun at movies.

    I think this pretty much sums it all up.

  89. Broddie, the funny thing is i’m one of the most colour tinted vision person i ever seen in the net. In fact, i just ake two distictions fo movies: are “they good or bad” and “are they dumb or smart”. And i have a verybroad view of what is good or bad and smart and dumb. So, it puzzles me people accusing me of seing black and white, whenin fact it’s those whoa ccuse me of doing so that do seem to have a bichromatic colour spectrum in their vision. But, well, one could make the case that black and white are colours…i guess.

  90. THE INNKEPPERS: damn good horror movie, there should be more like that.

  91. Asimov:

    1) “renfield, yes, those movies are just that, and damn good movies they are.” Which movies are you referring to?

    2) I think this review is mostly just being rebellious for the sake of being rebellious, but it points out several true things. Not every aspect of Citizen Kane aged like wine: http://awesomelyshitty.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/classically-shitty-citizen-kane-a-tale-of-forbidden-love/

  92. Whenever i see anybodty trying to be hip by demoting CITIZEN KANE because it has some “dated aspects”, i roll my eyes so hard they almost leave orbits. Jezz, a movie made in 1941 that has dated elements, wow, great fucking insight there! I’d like to reward a medal made of cork for such smart assery!

    That CITIZEN KANE was made in 1941 AS IT IS is part of the reason why it’s so good, why it’s still the top best movie ever made and why it will be so for many years to come. No hipterism bullshit will change that.~

    CITIZEN KANE is not just great, it’s the greatest.

  93. asimov – THE GODFATHER is #1 in my book, but yeah KANE is great and in the general Top 5.

    I do also hate the “dated” argument in general. Good ole Roger Ebert I think put the best boots-to-asses (sue me Dwayne Johnson) counter-argument against that nonsense when he wrote this nugget:

    “Well, every movie is a period piece; that’s what’s wonderful about them. ”

    Ditto, bang, dead to rights.

  94. Ugh. That Citizen Kane commentary was dreadful. The author apparently thinks that reading a gay subtext into a film is subversive. Someone should tell him he’s thirty or so years late on that front. Also, he gets a few basic plot points disastrously wrong.

  95. I’m not a lists type of guy. If I was I don’t think CITIZEN KANE would make my top 10. However I respect the fuck out of that movie. It is indeed ridiculous to call something from another era dated. It’s like feeling that bringing up that a sunny sky is blue was actually an accomplished and unfuckwitable thought.

  96. Firstly, I agree that the Kane piece I linked is obnoxious…for the most part…

    But woah, woah, what the fuck is wrong with criticizing things for being dated? I mean is it really cool for films to be racist and sexist just because they were made in a time when racism and sexism was more acceptable? Fuck that!

    Also there’s the issue of the production itself. Wages of Fear was made in 1951 and absolutely stands up to any modern action film. You believe it on a physical level, there’s no “well, it was 1951, that’s the best they could do.” I’m not a huge fan of Pink Floyd, but Dark Side of the Moon’s production can kick balls side by side with any digital multi-million dollar modern studio production. The Wall was made SIX YEARS AFTER Dark Side and sounds waaaay more dated! Compare 2001: A Space Odyssey to other films from 1968.

    Things tend to come off as dated because they rely on the conventions of their day and age. Other works are fucking timeless. Most of Citizen Kane is timeless. It never fails to shock me how much ass Citizen Kane kicks for something so worshipped by The Establishment…I mean compare it to other AFI top fivers like Gone With The Wind or Casablanca. But there’s other stuff, like that weird overlay of the bird with the see through eyeball, that are admirable in their bold experimentation but simply do not work in the long run.

    And yeah, racist caricatures suck, and the blogger I linked is totally justified in calling the film out on them.

    (I want to say, for the record, that I really like Citizen Kane and usually am in the position of defending it from haters… but another 30 years and a fucking century will have elapsed since its release, you seriously think cinema hasn’t made ANY progress since then? Madness, I say. people probably still thought Bach was the be-all-end-all of music when Mozart and Beethoven were stomping his corpse)

  97. Put more succinctly, if all films from a given era felt exactly as dated as one another, y’all might have a point. But they don’t. Some shit ages better than other shit. The fact that Citizen Kane aged better than probably every single other film made in 1941 is something in it’s favor! Other ’41 flicks are MORE DATED than Citizen Kane…this demonstrates that they are WORSE FILMS.

  98. Howard Hawks’s SERGEANT YORK is the best film of 1941.

    CITIZEN KANE and Fritz Lang’s MAN HUNT are tied for 2nd best.

  99. I like CITIZEN KANE a lot and admire its place in film history. But I certainly hope that in 71 years of film history, SOMEONE has elevated the game since then.

  100. @Fred Topel: »I certainly hope that in 71 years of film history, SOMEONE has elevated the game since then.«

    I haven’t seen another movie as good as CITIZEN KANE. It’s amazing how great this film ages. Every scene, every shot is an perfectly composed achievement, realized with a stunningly talented cast and crew. CITIZEN KANE shows us that film is an art form, something that hasn’t happened as often as most people think in the history of cinema.

    I don’t care when a movie was made, what reputation it has or if any film critic tells me it’s the best film ever.

    I disagree with the theory that simply because a movie is over 70 years old that somebody must have elevated the game since then. ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST and THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY are for example still the best westerns I’ve seen.

    But THE DARK KNIGHT is a better Batman movie than BATMAN from 1966.

  101. I really think it oversimplifies things to look at any one film, in any era, as the ne plus ultra of filmdom. Certainly there have been films since Citizen Kane that did things that Citizen Kane never dreamed that films could do. A Woman Under The Influence, for example. Do The Right Thing. A Clockwork Orange. Pulp Fiction. Even films that are downright mediocre, like Clerks (or maybe Slacker would be a better example) breathe a certain life and flavor into cinema that Citizen Kane can’t encompass.

  102. And doesn’t the og Star Wars trilogy get SOME credit for inventing a deeply immersive fantasy world? These are films that don’t contain a single frame that could be mistaken for taking place in real life.

    Is there a moment in any of the Star Wars films as powerful as when Kane standing ovations his wife’s shitty opera debut? Nope. But is there anything in Citizen Kane that does the shit that Star Wars does? Equally no.

  103. “But woah, woah, what the fuck is wrong with criticizing things for being dated? I mean is it really cool for films to be racist and sexist just because they were made in a time when racism and sexism was more acceptable? Fuck that! ”

    renfield – I was talking about more filmatic (or even thematic) technique, and lazy people using “dated” as a general broad elitist swipe compared to recent times. This absolutely doesn’t mean we blindly accept what we perceive as racist/sexist.

    “I’m not a huge fan of Pink Floyd, but Dark Side of the Moon’s production can kick balls side by side with any digital multi-million dollar modern studio production. The Wall was made SIX YEARS AFTER Dark Side and sounds waaaay more dated!”

    Are you Asimovlives using another account? Just asking. :)

    I do basically agree with you on that premise, at the same time I do realize “timeless” is one of those very subjective concepts of which I’m guilty of practicing. What might appear “timeless” a few decades later might not come off as much a decade after that. We talk and read about art having different reactions at different times in subsequent years after release, and we’re discussing aesthetic issues on that.

    I’m more of the approach that “timeless” art is what you in 2012 can get out of something from the past from your perspective. I’m less worried about technical immaculation.

    Fred Topel – Sure and music critics will by then quit putting SGT. PEPPER as the greatest album ever. I would say some concepts are institutionalized and fated, but sometimes shit changes.

    Case in point, the Sight & Sound poll who have that poll every decade voting on the best movies ever. In 1952 (first poll), CITIZEN KANE didn’t even make the top 10. In 1962, its not only on it, its #1. And #1 since then.

    If KANE is to be dethroned, most critics/moviephiles will have to agree on what is the #1 and that’s been the problem really since the 60s. If KANE isn’t the greatest, then what is? THE GODFATHER? SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN? CASABLANCA? Divergence.

    (Of course I’ve never understood how SGT. PEPPER gets the #1 album nod considering most folks would agree that its not even the Beatles’ best album.)

  104. I guess I don’t really care if there has to be a consensus that there’s a #1 greatest film of all time. The more I think about it the more I loathe the idea. Is Sgt Peppers a better album than Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality? Who gives a fuck. They offer me completely different things. It’s nonsensical to choose one over the other. It would be like having to eat the same meal for the rest of your life or something; no matter how good it is, you’re depriving yourself of a lot that your taste buds have to offer.

    Put another way: has there ever been any rock song released that had the harmonic and melodic depth of a Beethoven symphony? Certainly not. Is there any moment in Beethoven’s canon that achieves the same cultural property as when Sly and The Family Stone sang “Don’t call me nigga, whitey/don’t call me whitey, nigga”? No way! It is incorrect to compare some things. Sorry to invoke apples and oranges but there you have it.

  105. The Wild Bunch is the best film ever made.

  106. I have a split personality when it comes to appreciating movies. On the one hand there´s Dr jekyll:
    the side of me who really embraces the artistic side of cinema and the quality of the seperate parts that most people look at when they are judging films. Lighting, cinematography, editing,sound design,screenplay and the direction.

    Then there is Mr Hyde ( or Dollar-Hyde if you will) who genuinely enjoys UNIVERSAL SOLDIER or ROAD HOUSE more than THE GODFATHER. This is the real me! The Dr Jekyll part of me is such a phony balony trying to fit in with the mob mentality that rules cinema criticism. Fuck that and fuck the godfather.ROADHOUSE all the way.

  107. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    April 26th, 2012 at 5:59 am

    For the record I can’t watch the “furnace” scene in Citizen Kane without tearing up. I don’t give a shit how “dated” it is. The question is, does a movie still have the power to take me somewhere I want to go. In that respect Citizen Kane is about as good as it gets.

    And you know what, I could make a case as to why it was so influential, why it was so experimental, why is basically jump-started the art of cinema as we know it today. Why Welles used camera angles that nobody had ever used and imagery that nobody had ever considered possible. All that I would be saying was that it was technically adventurous. It is; but it is also SO MUCH MORE than just that.

    And look, I don’t give a shit what people or critics think I “should” think of a particular movie or genre of movies or whatever. I see them on recommendation from people I trust (you guys included) because I think they’re going to be good, not because they’re considered “highbrow” or “action-packed” or whatever. Occasionally I’m disappointed – subjective opinion will do that to you. And there are definitely types of movies that I can’t enjoy – mafia movies do absolutely nothing for me regardless of quality, and I reserve a particular hatred of cash-in sequels and Oscar-bait.

    But I see no contradiction in the fact that I can enjoy “Blood and Bone”, “Citizen Kane”, and “Into the Abyss” (which by the way is an amazing film that you should all take time out of your busy schedules to see) equally. Objectively I think they’re all great movies, and subjectively they took me to a place that entertained or moved me.

  108. Why is The wild Bunch the best movie ever made? Well, I’m glad you asked. In addition to the groundbreaking direction, the cutting edge editing, all the improvisation on location, the sharp dialog, the killer music and the impossible-to-beat action scenes it’s the acting that elevates it above all other movies – including Citizen Kane. There’s not one single actor in The Wild Bunch who hasn’t “become” the character he/she is playing. It’s flawless. And no other movie even come close to acheaving this. On top of all that The Wild Bunch is also the most philosophical movie there is. It has a take on everything we humans need to know about life; old age, love, work, comraderie, death, sex, religion, politics, violence and so on.

  109. I approve of The Wild Bunch and the awesome sauce it produce.

  110. Shoot, I feel you on your Jeckyll/Hyde analogy. Although I don’t think Citizen Kane is a great example (it’s not an arduous thing to watch like, say, Tarkovsky’s Stalker or something), if you put a gun to my head I’d rather take The Devil’s Rejects to my desert island than any number of capital Great Films.

    I liked Into the Abyss. Devastating film. The comment thread about it on Netflix is quite exasperating. You’ve got, on the one hand, the far-right idealogues who dismiss the film outright and won’t make it past Herzog’s disclaimer that he’s anti-capital punishment. “It should be 100% objective like a GOOD documentary!” I think this is fucking bullshit; all documentaries have a bias, and one of Herzog’s treasured properties as a documentarian is that he is up front about his own.

    Other nonsensical type of comment: “I like other Herzog docs, but in this one he does this thing where he just lets the camera linger on the subject without asking them further questions. It’s awkward!” Yeah, he does that in all his documentaries; you are an idiot and a fucking liar.

    One commenter nailed it though: if Herzog wanted to make some bleeding-heart anti-death penalty movie, why does he choose two death row inmates who come off as (SPOILER) not only guilty, but completely unrepentant to the audience?

  111. I was in Hyde-mode however when I wrote the last segment of that post. Mr Hyde is not the real me,however. I am both and none.

  112. ShootMcKay, you don’t have to fracture your enjoyment of film that way. You can reconcile that split personality by appreciating that when it works, it works. I have, in my dvd collection, SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT sitting in close proximity to WINGS OF DESIRE. I love them both. There is no such thing as a guilty pleasure. There is just pleasure.

  113. Why the apologizing? Like Vern, I detest the “guilty pleasure” concept, as if you’re ashamed to like something or you’re like something that “sucks.” Bullshit.

    If you like a movie, you like it. Do you see me apologizing for liking CLASS OF 1999 or DOOMSDAY? Hell no. God knows I give Majestyk a hard time occassionally over TRANSFORMERS 2, but I don’t see him retracting his opinion on that turkey.

    pegsman – WILD BUNCH is proven to make hair grow on your balls. (Same movie that also inspired Kathryn Bigelow to become a director.)

  114. “I detest the “guilty pleasure” concept, as if you’re ashamed to like something (…) If you like a movie, you like it.”

    Her her!

    “Same movie that also inspired Kathryn Bigelow to become a director”

    And that woman has more balls then 100 Michael Bays combined. And 10,000 times the talent. More reasons to be thankful to Sam Peckinpah.

  115. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    April 26th, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    RRA – Beatles albums are (mostly) like Hattori Hanzo swords. You don’t compare them to each other, you compare them to any album NOT by the Beatles.

    The exception is “Help”. Because for some reason unknown to man, the National Curriculum used to require music students study it at GCSE level (that’s what you do aged 15-16 here in the UK). Thereby proving, if further proof were needed, that the National Curriculum is mostly bullshit. Of ALL the Beatles’ albums you could get teenagers to study, why the heck would you choose that one? It nearly turned me off the Beatles for life.

  116. Fred Topel: “But I certainly hope that in 71 years of film history, SOMEONE has elevated the game since then.”

    That’s the dream, isn’t it? But if that ever come, it will be a great day to cinema. And for me.

    Well, someone once said that there’s more future ahead then past behind. and technically, he/she was right, and even science says. We have a past behind about 15 billin years. Mankind’s past extends to about 2 million years. We know art and storytelling exists since about 20,000 years ago. Cinema exists for 120 years or about. The future, well, discounting when the atoms will break down, is like a billion billion billion billion times longer then the past so far. What this means for cinema is that there’s more future ahead then the past so far. So, it might be that one day, a movie will be better then CITIZEN KANE or any other movie that close competes with it to the top boss pole position of best movie ever. The odds are in that favour of that movie to be. But i dont’ think it will be any time soon. Not yeat. Unless THE DARK KNIGHT RISES mannages to be twice as good as THE DARK KNIGHT or INCEPTION.

  117. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul, because it was the most acesasible Beatles album of them all? I’m certain that the education minister didn’t wanted to the kids to listen to the other albims that made them wanted to take drugs and go find the walrus or give Lucy her diamonds back.

  118. Concentrated doses of THW WILD BUNCH makes you realise that being male is just a collection of jerkass bullshit that always bites you in the ass. And making you be at peace with that.

    One of life’s harshest but necessary lessons is the day you realise you are a jerkass. The lesson is that, with that knowledge, you can elevate yourself into a jerkass with an heart of gold.

  119. CITIZEN KANE is obviously a great movie and I admire and enjoy it thoroughly. It just doesn’t really mean anything to me. I don’t have any kind of personal attachment to it, so it’ll never be in my top ten or even top 100, even if it’s technically better than all the films that are. That’s why best-of lists are such bullshit. There’s an inherent give-and-take between art and its audience that anyone trying to judge objective “greatness” has to willingly ignore.

    Some, like asimov, believe that greatness is an inherent quality that exists independent of interpretation. I’ve never agreed with that. I’ve always said that if people only judged movies by their innate quality and not their own personal reactions to them, then everyone’s favorite movie would be CITIZEN KANE. So at least asimov is consistent.

  120. “That’s why best-of lists are such bullshit. There’s an inherent give-and-take between art and its audience that anyone trying to judge objective “greatness” has to willingly ignore.”

    (nods sagely)

    Honestly I think it’s evidence against Kane. Great art should be divisive. If everyone can agree that Kane is great, what does it have to offer me in particular? I’m highly suspicious of shit with universal appeal.

    Of course, the reality is that most people hate the film because it’s in black and white and doesn’t have a happy ending, so fortunately the argument doesn’t truly apply here.

  121. I just learned from the Snake Eater comments that Seagology has been designated Potpourri. Sorry for ranting off topic guys. Even though Asimov started it.

  122. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    April 26th, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Asimov – I hadn’t thought of it that way, but you’re probably right. I would’ve loved to have seen my old music teacher explain “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” to the class.

    It puts a completely different spin on the whole thing though, because as we all know, no teenager has ever listened to popular music that deals with issues of sexuality and / or substance abuse out of school. So we gotta keep them safe from it IN school too. I’m sold!

  123. Paul – We’ve talked about this before, but I have great fondness for HELP! It was the Beatles pushing themselves after they achieved all the money and fame and sex that all wannabe pop stars want to achieve, but before they arguably became pretentious in these pursuits. Its no REVOLVER or RUBBER SOUL, but HELP! is just IMO pure fun mid-60s pop. Hell Oasis loved it so much, they ripped it off grand theft auto.

    “Honestly I think it’s evidence against Kane. Great art should be divisive. ”

    So I take it you prefer LOVESEXY and RAINBOW CHILDREN over say SIGN O’ THE TIMES and 1999. Not criticizing at all, just fascinating.

    Of course there are movies of (debatable) merit which people do argue over with scant middle ground. They’re not necessarily “great art,” but they’re more known in general as Cult Movies. In my book, which people will inevitably disagree with, Cult Movies (or Cult Art really) are such that you either “get it,” or you don’t.

    I mean BUCKAROO BANZAI, a movie I really enjoyed. How many locals liked that or were too baffled by it?

    Of course maybe that’s not a great example since I think time has actually been rather kind to something like BB in that vibe it was gunning for.

    Where ever you go, there you are.

  124. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    April 26th, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    RRA – it may be that being forced to study the damn thing has negatively clouded my view of parts of that album. I haven’t listened to it since I was sixteen or thereabouts, although I’ve heard the singles. I think “Yesterday” is good – definitely superior early Beatles. I really dislike the title track though, I think it’s seven bars of dreariness followed by a totally undeserved payoff that sounds like it belongs in a different song (“won’t you PLEASE please help me?”) And unfortunately that’s probably the song you hear the most off the album.

    I was going to say that the one track off the album that I think absolutely rocks out is “Hard Day’s Night”. But I’ve just googled the album and that song’s not even on it, so I’m not sure where I even heard it back then… false memory syndrome, etc.

  125. Rehydrated Dehydrated Pirate Paul

    April 26th, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    “Rocks out” being a good thing, not a bad thing, I should clarify. I love “hard day’s night”.

  126. Paul – You might want to check (online) the A HARD DAY’S NIGHT album. The stand-out for me, on that really damn good record, is one you almost never hear mentioned: “Any Time At All”


    Back to HELP!, my favorite on that was “I’ve Just Seen A Face.”

    ~I’ll never understand why the AHDN’s movie didn’t use “Any Time At All.” Was it too awesome for them?

  127. renfield, CITIZEN KANE was highly divisive at the time of it’s release. Orson Welles nearly lost everything over it. It’s universal appeal has only developed over time. Viewing it now is to see the very root of literally dozens of film conventions, elements and cliches. It’s like being able to go back and witness the Big Bang.

  128. “So I take it you prefer LOVESEXY and RAINBOW CHILDREN over say SIGN O’ THE TIMES and 1999. Not criticizing at all, just fascinating.”

    I haven’t heard of a single one of these films. The best example I can think of is the fact that The Shawshank Redemption is the #1 movie of all time on iMDB. It’s an entertaining little piece of fluff, but come the fuck on. Also The Eagles’ Greatest Hits is the best selling album ever. ?! Actually it’s pretty shocking that Citizen Kane is as popular as it is because it’s dark and has an emotional impact, which usually means that at least half of people will have no use for it. And I maintain that, at least half of people don’t, it’s only among *serious* film peeps that the movie is so revered. But it’s not as good as The Wages of Fear. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pye-WgMxLJ8&feature=related

    “renfield, CITIZEN KANE was highly divisive at the time of it’s release. ”

    Well, the reaction at the time is now dated :). Nah, it really doesn’t have universal appeal, I was just setting up a straw man it seems.

  129. Arrrgh, I wish I hadn’t posted the link to that clip, it doesn’t make much sense without the other nitroglycerin-laden truck contending with the obstacle first, or the hour and a half of unbelievably tense buildup that gets you to the right headspace for that matter…

  130. This has been touched on here, though Vern hasn’t officially reviewed Clouzot’s masterpiece yet.


  131. “I haven’t heard of a single one of these films. ”

    Actually only one of them were movies, but that’s besides the point.

  132. “Some, like asimov, believe that greatness is an inherent quality that exists independent of interpretation.”

    Because i believe there’s more a movie’s quality then just whatever stroke our fancy at any given moment. That’s an egocentric way of seeing movies i can’t ever agree with. Movies do have inherent qualities, and it’s not hard ot figure them out, unless one is so locked up on our own self. It might be ego crushing to accept this, but if so, so be it.

  133. renfield, it’s always the other guy’s fault.

  134. RRA, however “I Have Seen A Face” is proeminent in the movie ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. Talk about a very underrated movie, by the way. And this from somebody who has a serious general dislike for the musical genre.

  135. “I’ve Just Seen A Face”, i mean to say.

  136. I was teasing you bro. I accept responsibility for my shakey-cam actions.

  137. The divisive reaction about CITIZEN KANE was nothing to do with it’s quality. Even back then people noticed the movie’s greatness, to the point is was nominated for a tonne of awards. The real contorvesy about the movie was because, as you all know, media mogul William Randolph Hearst felt personally insulted by the movie which he saw as a parody and mockery of his own life. Though to be fair to him, inicially he didn’t thought too much of it, until he was piked by his professional ass-kisser Louella Parsons, who mannaged to convince him that the movie was a direct afffront to him. Now, certain aspects of Hearst’s life did inspire the character of Charles Foster Kane, but the characer was never supposed to be a parody of nobody alive or who lived, but as a character of it’s own. Art imitates life for inspiration and all that. Parsons’ was known to foment scandal toa dvance her own position and justify her job at Hearst’s publishing empire. She was an evil cunt. So, the pollemic that existed BACK THEN at CITIZEN KANE was not due t the mpovie itself but a fabricated pollemic that had nothing to do directly to that movie as a cinmatic work.

    Loualla Parsons can also be called the patron saint of all those who take their opnion of movies merely from what they feel at the moment they watched it and make no real effort to do some more rational considerations, the patron saint of pure subjectivity in film criticism, if you will. Even Pauline Kael, who took a personal approach to film criticism and who started a current school of film criticism based on it, never went that far.

    My problem with people who take a full “personal” “subjective” vuiew of movies is that it looks so self-indulgent. And it’s why, i believe, there’s so much proliferation of hacks and their movies this days. This type of attitude toward movie criticism makes perfect excuses for the worst filmmakers and the worst movies out there, which it can shun the better, more challenging movies.

  138. renfield, dully noted. You know, i actually like shaky-cam, but not in the way most action movies do that. The shaky-cam is supposed to create a specifit effect, of extreme stress, as of being there in the middle of the shit happening. But that should be used sparcely. SCHINDLER’S LIST used it quite well because the part of the movie where it shows it was all made in documentary style. It was in regard to the liquidation of the Krakov Guetto by the nazis. It was an atempt by Spielberg to give it a sense of reality, to bring down the inherent distancing that the film edium itself creates. It worked brillantly. And it was done for that part alone.

    The creators of the shaky-cam as a storytelling device can be traced back to two great filmmakers: Stanley Kubrick and Orson Welles. they used what was a clear limitation of the documentary film style, and incorporated into two isolated scenes to give them an urgency feel. And both uses were for a battle war scene. The first was Kubrick’s DOCTOR STANGELOVE, for the scenes we see the army forces invade the airbase where General D. Ripper is comanding his personal attack on the USSR. The second is Welles’ CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT, to depict the chaos of the Battle of Shrewsbury. Notice that in this two movie,s and all the other movies that were immediatly inspired by it, the shaky-cam had a very specific deliberate purpose. It was hackfucks like Mickey Bay and JarJar Abrams that bastardizes the technique and now turned it into one of the most detested from of filmmaking.

  139. “one of the most detested form of filmmaking” i mean to say.

  140. To bring it full circle, Ti West said something else in the interview I referenced somewhere back that specifically addresses this issue we’re debating:

    “(Interviewer: There’s a sense of entitlement you get from film audiences you don’t tend to see in other arts.)
    Ti: Right–no one goes into a museum and asks what something is supposed to make them feel. Or that painting would’ve been good except that it needed to have more blue to make me feel right. Or there aren’t enough notes in that symphony until the second act. But it happens in movies. It’s not the point what the artist was thinking–the artist doesn’t owe you an explanation. People have this idea that because we’re working in a genre, because we’re working in this medium, that we have a responsibility to honour a set of contemporary expectations. The only thing we have to honour is the integrity of the story and its characters. They’re not listening anyway, they’re just mad that there wasn’t enough “horror stuff,” soon enough, fast enough. It’s not my problem. In a lot of ways, the movie’s not really for anybody else except me.”

    I find that Ti is talking about much the same thing as AsimovLives. People believe so absolutely in their own expectations and interpretations that they’re unable to step back and look at something in the way it was perhaps intended to be seen.

    Even so, Asimov, I question the fact that you seem to agree with this, but yet honor your own interpretations as being more accurate than others. For example, you have decided that Jar Jar is not a sincere filmmaker, but one who merely attempts to capitalize on what he perceives as stuff that people love about the movies. But all you are really going by is a subjective personal opinion, right? I think it’s a reasonable opinion as far as opinions go, but how is it really different from someone saying “Ti West is an insincere filmmaker, he’s just taking stuff people love in movies and capitalizing on it”?

  141. asimovlives – I’ve not seen ACROSS THE UNIVERSE for whatever reason. Which is fucked up because I did see (out of need for punishment) the infamous Bee Gees/Peter Frampton SGT. PEPPER movie, which was….cough* yeah moving on.

    The most peculiar movie musical based off covering the Beatles songbook is still the obscure as hell ALL THIS AND WORLD WAR II, a weird 70s movie that cut together WW2 footage and propaganda movies made in that era to Beatles covers. Not on DVD, I liked it but damn what kind of person comes up with such a random pitch? Memorable scene: Pearl Harbor bombing synched with “Here Comes the Sun.” (Get it?)


    *=A real turkey, but some of the covers actually were enjoyable. Earth, Wind, & Fire’s “Got To Get You Into My Life”, Aerosmith’s “Come Together,” even Steve Martin’s novelty treatment of a novelty-sounding track in “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.” Best cover though was “Get Back” by Billy Preston, who actually recorded the original version with the Beatles.

  142. My mistake: it was “Sun King” not “Here Comes the Sun” which is played during the PH footage.

  143. Universal is suing Asylum for ‘ripping off’ BATTLESHIP with AMERICAN BATTLESHIP.

    I’m surprised none of the big guns had done this already.

    So does this mean Fox will go after them for TITANIC 2?


  144. RRA, i think you would like ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. Check it out.

  145. renfield, JarJar is a most cynical filmmaker and if you are not seeing such an obvious thing is because you are deliberatly avoiding it. I know it’s fashionable to hail him the new spielberg, i know his self-promotion machine is highly effective, for some reason i can’t truly understand, among the geekry. But that is nothing to do with i want to believe or not, it’s what it is. If things went my way, there would be no cynical filmmakers, nobody lacking talent would be making movies, and JarJar would be one of the good guys. But he isn’t.

    The problem is that so many people are so drunk on a misperceived notiong of “subjectivity”, which is a convinient excuse for self-indulgence and intellectual laziness. It’s easy to sit in a couch and just deeped everything subjective, thus no worries and no effort need. It’s lazy and it’s passive. An attitude nothing to be admired.

  146. I think you’re missing my point. Somebody could just as easily say “Ti West is a most cynical filmmaker and if you are not seeing such an obvious thing is because you are deliberatly avoiding it.” You think you’re pointing to something factual and objective that substantiates your opinion? You’re not. Short of performing a Vulcan mind-meld with the two respective directors, you have no way of actually knowing how sincere either of them are.

    Look, I fucking hated his Star Trek reboot and I thought Super 8 was pretty boring. But Super 8 also has that scene, Prelude to a Train Crash, where a bunch of kids are standing around awkwardly together and all of a sudden, magically, Life is Good, the wind is blowing through their hair, the train is coming, they are rolling film. This is not a cynical moment. It easily stand up against all the best childlike-wonder moments of Spielberg’s career.

    I’ve seen Lost and heard horrible things about MI:3 and for the most part I think you’re right, fuck Abrams. But I think you’re the one being lazy to ascribe black-and-white to shit instead of trying to examine the shades of grey.

  147. Vern, I think we on the movie oriented internets should start calling that brad pitt as jesse james movie “Assassination/James”. I think it has a nice ring to it.

  148. I really like HOTD, and finally got around to checking this one out. It is a unique film with a slow burn to the pace that is light on scares but heavy on the suspense. Ti West is a real talent and skilled filmatist. I love the way he uses framing, camera movement, and sound design to create suspense.

  149. Finally saw this last night. I think I agree with a lot of you guys. I really liked the characters and their interaction, but I felt like the horror didn’t quite pay off. I do appreciate Ti West’s sensibilities and look forward to seeing where he goes with his next one.

    On a semi-related note, over the weekend I saw VHS, a found footage anthology featuring a segment by Ti West. I was overall very disappointed with it, but thought there were a few good moments. I’d love to hear thoughts from anyone else who’s seen it

  150. I’m watching a ton of horror movies this month and blogging about. Mr Subtlety got us into an early screening of VHS, and you can read about my serious disappointment here:


  151. I agree with a lot of what you said there, Dan.

    I’d also add that they couldn’t even tie together the existence of all this found footage. Seriously, why would there even be a VHS recording of a series of Skype conversations?

  152. Yeah, the wraparound was terrible and didn’t even make any damn sense.

  153. I wonder if it’s just people who are really into movies that feel this way about the format. I’ve seen some of these types of movies with casual movie-goers and those immersion breaking moments of “they wouldn’t be holding the camera like that” or “there’s no way someone would be filming at a time like that” or “where the hell did this footage come from anyway?” just didn’t even occur to them.

    Anyway, I’m ready to call it quits with the whole “found footage” thing. We’ve build up a language of telling narratives in cinema over decades and found footage throws it all under the bus for the sake of “immediacy” or “realism” or whatever. Plus we are now entering this weird second wave where the narrative justification is becoming flimsier and flimsier and people are excusing it by saying “it’s found footage” as if it’s a genre of film and not a storytelling technique. Well, I think you really need to re-examine the way you are telling your story if it periodically requires you to bust through the fourth wall like Whistler in BLADE. And yes, you DID catch this fucker at a bad time.

  154. See, I actually thought V/H/S was a pretty damn good time, aside from a few missteps. The wraparound is pointless and I straight-up hated Glen McQuaid’s insipid “Tuesday the 17th” segment… but thought the rest of them had a bunch of fun horror ideas and generally good execution which is not significantly marred (and occasionally elevated) by the stupid found footage gimmick. You can read my reaction here: http://wearecursedtoliveininterestingtimes.blogspot.com/2012/10/vhs.html

    But in general, I am pretty well finished with the found footage films. I was willing to give this one a pass because the anthology format means none of them overstay their welcome and they’re different enough that it doesn’t wear on quite as bad as most full-length attempts do. I’m not especially bothered by the absurdity of filming during this sort of situation or the oddness of having a skype conversation turn up on a vhs tape, but I am bothered when it looks ugly and doesn’t compensate by getting anything interesting out of the format.

  155. Subtlety-

    Also a nice write up. It seems like the things you liked about it are the same as what I liked. It’s just that for me the negatives far outweighed the positive and so where it seems that those goods outweighed the bad for you, for me there just wasn’t enough good to tip the scales.

    Overall, I am not completely done with the idea of found footage, but I think we’re seeing it become more and more of a crutch. I think there’s still a chance that someone will really use this style effectively, but until then it just feels like rehashes of Paranormal Activity and [REC].

    And, I don’t know, I think that most people these days are savvy enough to be annoyed that a mostly antiquated video format is being used to tell these stories. I’m not even sure how you get a VHS of Skype unless you have a capture station at the computer and you’re transferring it live. Also, VHS tapes aren’t in 16:9.

  156. Caught it on Instant – I agree that the character-development first half was better than the undercooked horror half. Paxton was charming and likable, the music was good, McGillis was great, but man, what an unsatisfying wet noodle of an ending.

    *SPOILER* That is, until I learned via good ole wikipedia that *SPOILER* Paxton shows up as a ghost in the last shot. I went to IMDB where everyone pointed out where she is (near the right curtain), and i literally had to rewind it about 12 times to finally see what I guess is her. I think West went too subtle for his own good there, as it basically looks like a botched special effect, not the twist ending I guess it was supposed to be.

  157. A lot of people seem to like this one, but I guess I’m the only one who got really creeped out by it. That part in the basement in particular had me on the edge of my seat, as the critic from ROLLING STONE says in the quotes on the back of every DVD box.Once I get a good look at something, it’s not scary anymore, so the only way a movie can get under my skin is to agonizingly drag things waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out, to get me accustomed to the normality of an environment so that when there’s suddenly something there that SHOULD NOT BE, it offends my sense of reality to the core and gives me what scientists call “the heebie jeebies.” I’ll concede that what you can see in THE INNKEEPERS is less effective than what you can’t, but that’s okay with me. It got me real good, better than any movie in recent memory. I guess West just has the password to my scary spot.

    Also, I rewound that last shot like 30 times and still can’t spot what’s going on. I like it anyway, though. Just the idea that the camera is lingering on SOMETHING, even if you can’t tell what it is, is effective.

  158. *SPOILER* Majestyk – you barely, barely see the ghost near the left half of the screen near the right curtain. You can vaguely see her turn her head towards the camera right before the door slams. I know people complain about directors having to dumb things down for their audiences, but I really feel had West made this effect slightly clearer to see, I would have loved the movie instead of just liking it. It also brings up a MAJOR MAJOR SPOILER:

    Some people on IMDB pointed out that there was talk of “three ghosts” earlier in the movie (which I vaguely remember but forgot about) – turns out the ghosts are of the known ghost lady, the man who has yet to commit suicide, and Paxton herself! She’s possibly scaring her own self from the future, which has kind of a *SPOILER* 12 Monkeys vibe to it, and definitely goes hand in hand with McGillis’ speech about deja vu and all of us being like water droplets in the ocean. If that’s what West intended, it’s a damn-near genius idea. And to think I didn’t even know the main character had become a ghost when i saw the movie. It’s good to know the people on IMDB are useful sometimes!


    I don’t think she existed in ghost form in a way that she would be able to sense during the course of the movie. Kelly McGillis said that she couldn’t tell if her visions were from the past, the present, or the future, so when she said she saw three ghosts, she was seeing into the very near future. Not even the old guy was dead at that point, I don’t think. She just had a vision of the horrible way things were going to work out, with no way to stop it.


    Speaking of the way things worked out, I found it really spooky and malevolent that there were all these little events, each one of their own basically harmless, that were conspiring to take this pleasant young girl’s life from her and trap her in this hotel for eternity. It wasn’t even the ghosts that killed her, really. She died of natural causes: an asthma attack. It was just this ghastly form of cause-and-effect that put her in a circumstance where she could not be saved. The sense of all these tumblers locking into place to create this seemingly easily avoidable but ultimately utterly inevitable tragedy really hit me hard. I found it crushingly unfair that this charming character should come to that particular end, but who ever said horror was supposed to be fair? It all worked like gangbusters on me.

  161. CrustaceanHate & Mr. Subtlety: I think anyone who is sincerely interested in the “found footage” style of horror owes it to themselves to watch 388 ARLETTA AVENUE starring Nick Stahl. It’s pretty much a blantant (and very dumb) rip-off of Haneke’s CACHE, but the filmatism strives to make each shot as interesting and moody as possible. You can tell that the filmatists are mindful of classical film composition. The film also side-steps the narrative flimsiness of so many of these films quite adeptly.

    Having said that, the rewards of watching these films are pretty slim. I’m sure by the time I’ve sat through REC3 they’ll have exhausted my patience completely.

    I’ve said it before: so many of the problems with “found footage” would be resolved if the people who make these films would disseminate them entirely on the internet. They’re much more effective as internet serials than as feature films.

  162. I don’t think “found footage” is fundamentally useless, I just think it has a few specific uses and ought to only be used for that. The creepy video footage from LOST HIGHWAY is fuckin’ bone-chilling, and couldn’t work as well any other way (Lynch’s one improvement on the Maya Deren original). The last few minutes of the BLAIR WITCH PROJECT work very well, IMHO. It’s not the gimmick itself, its that what should be a carefully applied gimmick doesn’t translate very well when you try to tell the whole story that way, UNLESS there’s something very specific about the story which helps the gimmick. It’s a mildly interesting gimmick to see a horror movie from the first-person POV, or a monster movie (CLOVERFIELD) or a superhero movie (CHRONICLE). But beyond that gimmick, these stories lose a lot of the power of traditional film language to communicate things to us. A lot of times, I feel like if you’re not taking maximum advantage of the gimmick you’re losing waaay more than you gain.

    In fact, a part of me worries that the found footage gag is part of an ongoing effort to turn movies into reality TV, IE shooting cheaper, faster, and uglier and hoping no one will notice the difference.

  163. Mr. Subtlety: Are you thinking of MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON? I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen a film that plays so well and so artfully with ideas of subjective and objective. It’s utterly mesmerizing. It’s also the key film in my arsenal when I find myself having to argue that older films can still be scary (EYES WITHOUT A FACE being another).

    I’d argue that LOST HIGHWAY holds its own when it comes to instilling profound feelings of dread. I also think it’s implicit critique of masculenity is brutal and necessary.

    On the plus side, MESHES doesn’t have Rammstein on the soundtrack.

  164. I saw Sinister this weekend and, while I was actually kind of lukewarm about the movie in general (for reasons which I’ll save for if/when Vern reviews it), I really like the way it sort of combines found footage with traditional film narrative.

  165. Yeah, I love MESHES and think Lynch takes its bones and does something equally (and maybe even more) weird and creepy, plus Rammstein AND Henry Rollins AND Richard Pryor’s last performance. I got love for both of them (MESHES and LOST, I mean, not Rollins and Pryor although that too), but I think the video footage in LOST ups the creep factor very nicely because it gives you an even greater chance to be reflective about the person who is *doing* the watching. A very nice use of the medium. I’m looking forward to SINISTER as a film which I hope also combines found footage and real cinematography/writing.

  166. Think of Sinister as being the story of the guy who finds the footage.

  167. Lost Highway’s soundtrack was done by Trent Reznor. So, you got some Downward Spiral era NIN influence (NINfluence?) there too.

  168. I might watch SINISTER when it comes out on video, but it was co-written by Massawyrm from Ain’t It Cool, who I’ve had a few word-skirmishes with over the years. So I don’t think I can ethically review it unless it turns out to be really good. If I wrote a negative review it could come from a bias against it and even if it didn’t it could seem like sour grapes on my part.

  169. Interesting. I refuse to watch SINISTER for a very similar reason, although I think the red band trailer was very effective.

  170. holy shit, Massawyrm co-wrote that movie? that’s mind blowing (and that reminds me, whatever happened to Quint’s movie?)

    if you don’t mind my asking Vern, what did you and him fight over?

  171. The first rule of Internet Film Critic Fight Club: Do Not Talk About Internet Film Critic Fight Club.

    The second rule of Intenet Film Critic Fight Club: Go Watch BLADE Again.

  172. What is SINISTER even about, anyway? All I get out of the marketing is that it’s SMEARY BLACK PHOTOSHOP ADD-ON: THE MOVIE.

  173. Is SINISTER the one with Ethan Hawke? The trailer for that one seemed designed for people who think American Horror Story is actually scary. But it wouldn’t be the first good movie to be ruined by a lousy trailer.

  174. From what I’ve seen (billboards, both the regular static and the fancy electronic moving variety) I was not aware that it even had actors in it. I thought it was just Avid farts and ink smears.

  175. The poster I saw looks like the girl from the LAST EXORCISM poster stood up and started finger-painting her favorite Gwar character on the wall.

  176. I didn’t know there was bad blood between Vern and Massawyrm. Too bad, always thought he was one of AICN’s better reviewers, although he could be a little annoying with his constant reminders that he was that site’s token conservative.

  177. Jareth:

    You’re wrong. In summary; go watch Blade II again.

  178. “a little annoying with his constant reminders that he was that site’s token conservative”

    hmmm, perhaps the fight was about politics?

    and I didn’t know that conservatives find cheesy looking demon guys scary

  179. Well, I shouldn’t imply that there’s some kind of ongoing feud, but the big incident happened here:


    As someone who was still sometimes writing for The Ain’t It Cool News I was embarrassed to be associated with his headline about how he violently raped a chick flick, and I felt at the time like I would be a chump if I didn’t speak up against it. He thought it was poor form for another writer to publicly criticize him like that, and also claimed that it was some sort of private joke that only seems like a rape reference to everyone who reads it but actually means something really funny and not misogynistic but there’s no time to explain it besides freedom of speech political correctness, am I right?

    At least that’s my memory of my view of it. You can read it yourself if you care enough to go through the talkback.

    I shouldn’t make it sound like there is some kind of ongoing feud, and also we don’t know each other at all, but I don’t feel like I should write a review of it. But I’ll watch it on blu-ray.

  180. Looking at that talkback again, it turns out my original objection was about Massa going into movies like that and MEET THE SPARTANS in my opinion only planning to write a negative review and pretending like he was “taking a bullet” by purposely choosing to see that movie. I thought it was a hacky technique and he was a good sport about responding to my question about it. But then I sort of went off on the misogynistic talkback and linked it to the headline and that’s when he got mad at me.

    It’s not worth re-fighting and he probly doesn’t give a shit about it either, but suffice it to say that I disagree with his film critic code enough that I feel I might be biased against his spooky demon finding-footage movie.

  181. Wow. That was some good readin’. Good on you for calling them on their shit, Vern. If it was like that then, what’s it like there now? I haven’t been back in years. I’m kind of afraid to. I imagine it’s like that Stephen King movie GRAVEYARD SHIFT, where the rats are all down in the dark together, breeding and mutating, generation after generation…

  182. I checked out of AICN around 2010, I just finally had enough of all the fucking whiny ass nerds who hate everything

    the older I get the lower my tolerance for people like that gets, what the fuck is up with nerds that hate literally every single movie/video game/what have you that comes out? mother fuckers need a chill pill

  183. it’s especially bad in the gaming world, there is a large subset of “gamers” that hate quite literally every single new game that comes out no matter fucking what, it could be an utter masterpiece and those shitheads will find the most asinine things to complain about or sometimes not even list any specific reasons at all, just act like “why OF COURSE it’s bad!” as if it’s an accepted, unchallenged fact that needs no further explanation

    sorry for rant, but Jesus Christ do I hate people like that

  184. I gave SINISTER a mildly positive review. It was well made but I didn’t have a dramatic reaction like some who think it’s one of the greatest horror movies of the decade.

    I think it comes down to I don’t get scared. If all a horror movie does is scare you, that’s not going to work on me. Technically, that’s all it’s required to do, but I like the horror movies that have compelling ideas or imaginative fantasy. I thought INSIDIOUS was way better but SINISTER is good. Nothing wrong with it, just does what it does.

  185. Griff – who’s the girl in your Gravatar?

    Mr. Maj – I’m tickled that you liked INNKEEPERS as much as you did. You’ve gotten me all excited to go back and rewatch it.

    Found footage discussion – I had no idea END OF WATCH was a “found footage” before I saw it. I don’t feel like the trailers belabored the fact at all. Well I have no idea why they chose to do it like that. I liked the movie a lot, but every once in a while they feel the need to remind you that there’s this found-footage gimmick afoot. It all adds up to probably 150 seconds or so of wasted screen time, and distracts you from an intimate moment between two characters (it’s a moment that doesn’t just stretch credibility but I think actually just like takes a break from being found footage, I mean are you allowed to do that? annoying to have to wonder at the time). This is one of those films that could have been filmed in a shaky/hand-held manner and gotten away with it without needing to apologize by saying one of the cops is in film school and made the movie.

    But in general I do like found footage films (although I prefer the term “first-person films”, even if that makes it sound like they’re all ENTER THE VOID) and always enjoy a good debate about the concept.

  186. renfield – it’s Ruri Gokou from Oreimo, an anime I have watched but not yet finished due to procrastination (I liked what I saw though)

  187. Griff: I really like her facial expression.

    Vern: I know you didn’t post the link to spur controversy and gossip, but I would like to congratulate you on the following utterance, from back in the day:

    “But if we agree that these characters or this show is vapid and superficial and has poor values then what the fuck is this talkback about? How are you fuckers going off on Sarah Jessica Parker’s “horse face” not as bad as or worse than those characters? How do you write this shit about how to get laid, about who’s “fuckable,” about cumming, raping, bitches, skanks, sluts, whores, slits, faggots, chinks, etc. and still have the delusion that you are better than those characters? Do you have any clue that you’re even a worse and more pathetic stereotype of your gender than the women on that show? And without the excuse of being fictional? ”

    I mean I’m watching Obama hand Romney his ass on foreign policy right now, and it still doesn’t quite measure up to this magnificent bit of righteousness. Well said.

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