Dave’s Cinema Digest 2012 – Week 37

Still playing catch up. Here’s my reviews from last week. Check back here on Monday for the latest reviews.

I really covered the gamut of genres this week. We’ve got sci-fi, drama, comedy, thriller, and, of course, horror. We’ve also hit the opposite extremes in what I thought of this week’s films. There’s at least one that I absolutely loved and one that I utterly hated. Which ones? Read on and find out.

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Head (1968)

This free-flowing and surrealistic film by The Monkees is trippy, funny, and fascinating to watch accompanied by some great music. It’s almost like an American version of a Monty Python episode but with more surrealism and 1960’s anti-war sentiments.

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Men in Black 3 (2012)

Gets better and funnier after a rough first act and Will Smith is having a ton of fun with his character, but a weak villain, no big “wow” moments, and a somewhat lackluster climax weigh down an otherwise enjoyable time at the movies.

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Phase IV (1974)

I’m all for slow, low-key sci-fi but this was just boring, hokey, and largely nonsensical. It gets points for some originality and excellent cinematography but this was a struggle to sit through.

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It (1990)

Part 1: Effectively creepy with a great group of actors portraying the kids. You really feel that they’re a tight-knit group of friends. Curry is, of course, deliciously frightening.

Part 2: Certainly the lesser half. Not awful, but it feels much slower and the adult actors can’t compete with their younger selves. Nor can the climax compete with the ending of the first part.

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The Uncanny (1977)

A trio of feline fables that feature bad people doing bad things until they are punished by cats who, apparently, rule the world. Despite appearances from the likes of Peter Cushing, Ray Milland, and Donald Pleasence, this is an anthology without a standout segment. Alas, they are all merely mediocre.

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Thinner (1996)

Was this supposed to be taken seriously? The fat suit looks completely ridiculous and the plot just gets sillier and sillier as it goes until we get to the awful ending. The whole thing isn’t horrible but it’s never really good. If you want a fun Gypsy-revenge-curse movie, check out Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell.

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Léon: The Professional (1994)

Superb action and superb heart all in one kick-ass package. Besson was born to direct action and the three leads are all fantastic. Jean Reno is intimidating, kick-ass, funny, and tender in equal measure; Natalie Portman plays some incredible depth in spite of how young she is; and Gary Oldman is always so much fun to watch. I can’t believe it took me this long to see it but I’m glad that I finally have.

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Bellflower (2011)

I have so many problems with this movie. None of these characters act like real people or do anything that makes sense, the actors are incredibly unnatural, the script utterly puerile, and the whole thing looks like a really ugly Instagram filter complete with dirt speckled all over the lens for some reason.

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Grave Encounters (2011)

There are some good and unique ideas buried in this otherwise ho-hum horror film. Unfortunately, the movie descends pretty quickly into the familiar beats of both the found footage and the haunted mental hospital sub-genres. The ghosts that haunt our uniformly unlikable protagonists are, more often than not, enhanced by silly looking CGI. Perhaps this is why the camera apparently malfunctions any time they appear.

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Kill List (2012)

It’s a cliche to say it but this really is a movie that really creeps up on you. It’s a story about hit-men but they aren’t glamorized like in every other hit-man movie. The violence is disturbing, pulling no punches, and the final act is an emotional wallop.

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What did you think of this week’s movies? Let me know in the comments.

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