Thursday, August 12, 2010

Short Movie Reviews

5ive Girls is a strange mash-up of WIP and Satanic horror. Five girls with checkered pasts are sent by their parents to a special Catholic girls' school. It is a WIP film with a twist. The girls are captives, locked up, "strip" searched, and beaten for infractions. Like all WIP films, the warden, or headmistress in this case, is worse than her charges. It turns out she is in league with the devil, and plans to sacrifice the five girls. Little does she know, these girls each have extraordinary powers that will come to bear against her and her hoary host! Ron "Hellboy" Perlman is featured as the school's priest.

Verdict: A B-movie, but not terrible. Very Sci-Fi channel special effects.

Casino Royale (1966) is the spoof of the James Bond novel with Peter Sellers and Ursula Andress. Great sets, great costumes. Typical jet-setting British film of the day. It is a little too goofy for my taste, despite the fact that I love the early Pink Panther movies. I liked David Niven as bond, and Ursula Andress was all Bond-girl seriousness.

Verdict: Meh. I always had high hopes, but ultimately...

No Vacancy was one of those wonky '90s comedies written by people who watched a lot of sketch comedy. Overall it is pretty good, and has some fun moments. Ricci and Tim Olyphant (Deadwood, The Perfect Getaway) have some great bits about how terrible it is to get old, from a twenty-something's perspective. I've seen worse comedies, but though dated it can be fun.

Verdict: Worth a watch.

Penelope stars Christina Ricci as a young girl born to an aristocratic family under a curse. She is born with a pig snout and ears, and can only be made normal if she is accepted by one of her kind. It is a cute and fun film of the fairy-tale variety. Russell Brand makes a brief appearance as... well, Russel Brand. Catherine O'Hara is Penelope's mom, and Reese Witherspoon is Penelope's friend as well as the movie's producer.

Verdict: Cute and fun.

Black Dynamite in a word: Solid! This is a spoof of the wonderful world of Blaxploitation. It is not as heavy-handed as a lot of spoofs. It makes a lot of jokes out of what were actual jokes in the originals, while still taking stabs at the production value and under-qualifications/over-qualifications of the actors involved. I won't say too much, as I can't say enough. This is going to be a buyer.

Verdict: Watch it. I said watch it, sucka!

Stan Helsing stars the dumb guy from Reba (Steve Howey), and is moderately funny in a dick-and-fart joke sort of way. It gets better once it starts going. Kenan Thompson (SNL), Diora Baird, and Desi Lydic round out the basic cast. The fake "modern classic" monsters play a minor part in the film, the rest having to do with more conventional horror constructs. Not a bad effort, and definitely made me laugh.

Verdict: Sort of a dirty Scooby Doo.

Blood Sabbath is one I did a longer review of on Tuesday. It is a trippy little movie about a coven of witches and a man who is in love with a nymph. Dyanne Thorne is good in it, as are some of the other actors. The plot is pretty good, and it is shot well. If you like some cult rituals in your horror, this is a good one to go with. (DVD/R2)

Verdict: Surprisingly good.

500 Days of Summer I did not quite know what to expect going into this one, and definitely was surprised at the turn the film took. The film does something I both love and hate. It made me dislike an actress I previously liked. In a good way, mind you. Summer (Zooey Deschannel) is exasperating, and her character is not really likable. Well, not all the time. You really get to feel what Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is going through. You empathize greatly with him. A very nice movie, in a very un-nice way.

Verdict: It's a heart breaker.


Kal said...

First of all I really like that you have been experimenting lately with the way to review all the movies that you see and how you have developed a format that works best for you. I like this - short and sweet with a few words in the verdict that sum up your impressions. I do it a totally different way - one movie at a time - but I look forward to your posts on this subject because I get the reviews quick and dirty.

Black Dynamite was the BOMB. I even got an email from the producers thanking me when I did my review back when this film was unknown

Darius Whiteplume said...

Yeah, I can't always get into doing a big write-up on everything. Sometimes a "you'll like it if" is enough for me. I just make a post for Thursdays and add to it throughout the week.

I am working on a write up of Michael Jai White. I did not realize he was Al Simmons in "Spawn" (I didn't see it), though he is pretty unrecognizable as Black Dynamite. I love Blaxploitation films, and this satire really honored the genre rather than belittling it.

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