UNK SEZ: I wanted to do a “Best of the Year” list sort of thing but how could I possibly when I’m so hopelessly out of the loop? Part of it’s my fault because I’m trapped in the past but part of it I blame on the fact that many movies never hit my neck of the woods. During the Christmas break I realized that the least I could do was catch up with the recent flicks available on Netflix. This little four-car pileup represents only a fraction of my intake but hopefully we’ll get to some of those other flicks soon too.
To tell you the truth, knowing that TROLLHUNTER was a found footage flick didn’t make me run to it with open arms. Nothing against the concept, I just wasn’t in the mood for the usual song and dance. I threw all my trepidations in the garbage disposal though as soon as the first troll showed up. He was glorious. If this movie doesn’t convince you that CGI is not necessarily the devil’s plaything then nothing will. Fun, imaginative and crowned with a great character in troll hunter Hans (OTTO JESPERSEN), this movie easily leaped over my expectations and turned out to be quite the horror adventure.
HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN
I probably found this movie only about half as funny as I think I was meant to. I was not too comfortable seeing RUTGER HAUER my hero, being treated poorly by Tromaville rejects. It reminded me of the awful day my dog followed me to school and all the other kids laughed at her running down the hall. Don’t laugh at my dog! Suddenly I understood that HOBO wanted me to feel that way so that I could fully enjoy my blue eyed champion RUTGER killing all the rat faced punks. Sadly that understanding came a little too late for me to get all I could have out of this. In any case, I loved all the nasty neon colors swirling around in this movie, the references to MAD MAX and HALLOWEEN 3 and the blippy soundtrack and excellent STREETS OF FIRE theme song at the end. I just don’t enjoy seeing people push RUTGER HAUER around, to me that’s like sacrilege or something.
Wait a minute. How is it possible I was so unimpressed with this movie? I like a good KEVIN SMITH rant and it shouldn’t be very difficult to get me on board with a movie that skewers religious zealots and features JOHN GOODMAN. I thought RED STATE jumped out of the gate fine but I fell off the back of the truck midway through. Maybe it says something about my lack of mettle that I could not adjust to RED STATE’s major shifts in tone of which there are several. There was one point toward the end where I thought perhaps it might redeem itself for me and then instead it went the opposite direction entirely. (Alas, an unfilmed original ending scrapped due to financial restraints sounds more my cup of tea.) As it stands, I felt like the subject matter deserved a far less flippant approach and I was let down by SMITH painting in such broad strokes. I give him much respect for working out of his comfort zone but I felt the wild-eyed caricatures sort of let the garden variety bigot too easily off the hook. I guess this is one of those divisive movies that you either love or hate and I can’t be more shocked that here I stand on this side of the fence!
VANISHING ON 7TH STREET
Don’t worry RED STATE, you are not my least favorite movie in this grouping! That honor belongs to VANISHING ON 7TH STREET! BRAD ANDERSON is a mega valuable and extraordinary director in my eyes. Not only do I dig his forays into horror, like the excellent SESSION 9, but I also think his HAPPY ACCIDENTS and NEXT STOP WONDERLAND are pretty awesome too. VANISHING has a wonderful plot as far as I’m concerned. It’s sort of like WHERE HAVE ALL THE PEOPLE GONE? with darkness itself starring as a malevolent force furiously erasing the world. Unfortunately even though this movie has more going for it than most with ANDERSON’s expertise, an involving concept, semi professional (albeit miscast) actors and I’m sure a reasonable budget of some sort it fails to gel into anything solid enough to cast a shadow itself. It’s just like a big glob of formless putty. It even has the nerve to have an annoying kid character in it and I was of the understanding that we as of a culture had a silent agreement to leave that pesky stock character to disaster movies from the seventies. I’m not telling you not to check this one out; in fact, do and tell me it’s just my imagination that it is as intolerable as I think it is. I don’t mind being wrong. I want to be wrong.