2017.01.15 // Filed under: Screen
Olympus Has Fallen comes with a certain charm to its ridiculous premise and theatrical violence. Only a trace of that tongue-in-cheek attitude is present in this cheap and nasty sequel, which takes its jingoism far too seriously. It’s also a film that constantly takes its audience for mugs, and can’t even be bothered to get Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman in the same place on the same day. That’s pathetic.
Nicolas Winding Refn’s metaphorical vampire movie is a little too on-the-nose at times with its ‘dream factory makes nightmares’ morality tale. But there is plenty of substance to dig into beneath the superficiality of its heightened, heady fashion world setting. And Jena Malone gives a knockout performance as the makeup artist who might be the angel or the devil on fresh-faced newbie Elle Fanning’s shoulders
Tony Scott should’ve made more quick-smart disaster flicks like this one. It’s made out of clichés, for sure — and some real humdingers, too — but half the fun is pointing them out.
Sisters has aged badly, and even for its day must have played more like a messed-up episode of Columbo or something. Still, De Palma keeps things interesting — and tricksy — enough to make this Twilight Zone Hitchcock psycho-thriller worth the time.
I sure do know how to pick ’em. This reboot of Larry Cohen’s infamous early-’70s exploitation shocker has a decent concept, playing on the mother-child bond as opposed to the original’s no-frills mutant baby rampage. And it’s competently composed from a visual standpoint. Shame it was apparently edited by idiots, and acted by rank amateurs. Then there’s the whole anti-choice slant. Yeah, that. Not good.
Is there something particularly Korean about protracted revenge for slights? First we had Oldboy, where a man is imprisoned for decades by a former schoolmate over the discovery of a terrible secret. Then there’s I Saw The Devil, where a disturbed cop exacts tortuous retaliation on the misogynist serial killer who murdered his fiancée. Its explosions of violence are the very definition of gratuitous; its jarring tonal shifts between hardcore thriller and comedic Grand Guignol are frustrating for viewers like me who’d rather the good guy just got the job done, rather than stumble through a rogue’s gallery of deviants for over two hours, and to little cathartic end.
The real story of the ‘Westfield Watcher’ is profoundly more disturbing, but this ‘inspired by’ flick turns out to be a decent low-budget thriller once it gets the bump-in-the-night spooky-house horror trappings out of its system, all noisy soundtrack and jump scares and misdirection.
Props must go to the film’s side-stepping of generic tedium with its flair for a quirky character or two (Denise Crosby is pitch perfect as a suspicious busybody neighbour), not to mention its portrayal of an interracial couple as no big thing, though it’s amazing that even has to be said in this day and age.
Sion Sono’s satire of organised religion and Japanese cultural mores is blunt in its approach for the most part, and despite its reputation isn’t too dissimilar from the more oddball anime series you might find on Crunchyroll. It’s also a whopping four hours long, but the time flies if you take it like binge-watching a box set (or like me, watch it an hour at a time over a few days).