Saturday, April 16, 2005

Movies opening this week

The Amityville Horror (Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, Jesse James, dir. Andrew Douglas)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
The state of horror cinema is so pathetic right now. Every marginally successful horror movie from the 70s, good or bad, is in the works for a remake, as is every successful Asian horror film. There is such a dearth of original ideas in American horror filmmaking that it's laughable. Someone asked me recently what the last good new horror movie I saw was, and it took me forever to think of one. I came up with Brad Anderson's The Machinist, which isn't even a straight horror film, but it was the only good one I could think of. Strangely enough, Scott Kosar, who wrote The Machinist, also wrote both this crapfest and the crappy 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I think a lot of the quality is in the hands of the producers (who in the case are led by super-hack Michael Bay, and are just looking for a quick buck) and the director (who in this case is a first-time feature director who started in commercials; ditto for Chainsaw). Kosar clearly understands the mechanics of the horror film; he just needs a talented director like Anderson to bring his scripts to life. Not that the script for The Machinist was even that brilliant, but Anderson brought a great deal of style and nuance to it. Now Kosar is going to be writing and Anderson is going to be directing a remake of George Romero's The Crazies. I'm torn on this one: On the one hand, I'm happy to see the talented Anderson doing more work, and especially in the horror genre where he has excelled, and clearly he and Kosar worked together well on The Machinist. On the other hand, it's yet another remake, and as such it'll probably get a higher profile and more pressure to be mainstream. Plus, I liked Anderson's own screenplays for his earlier films, and I'd like to see him get back to that. But I remain cautiously optimistic. As for this particular film, what can I say? It's a moderate improvement over the blah original. It's nothing special, but it'll make a bunch of money. Oh, and I protest the career of Ryan Reynolds, just in general. Wide release

Dear Frankie (Emily Mortimer, Jack McElhone, Gerard Butler, dir. Shona Auerbach)
My review in Las Vegas Weekly
Seriously, I saw this movie like eight months ago and after a million delays it's finally coming to Vegas. It's totally mediocre, not worth some of the glowing reviews it's gotten, and I haven't given it any thought since writing that review probably seven months ago, so I have nothing to say. Opened limited Mar. 4; in Las Vegas this week

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