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General Zombie's Movies Watched in 05/11

General Zombie
 
Spiral
Spiral
"(D+) Lunatic character study of the most uninspiring sort. Slow as molasses with a weak central performance, and the potential twists will occur to any reasonable viewer early on."
The Reeds (After Dark Horrorfest 4)
The Reeds (After Dark Horrorfest 4)
"(B-) Atmospheric Brit horror pic has a great setting and  moody build up. The final climaxes are a bit mixed, but it's watchable enough overall."
Lightning Bug
Lightning Bug
"(C-) Indie drama with some weird horror references. Main characters are okay, but it panders hard and relentlessly to the self-styled "outsider" audience."
Blood and Roses [VHS]
Blood and Roses [VHS]
"(C-) Famous for being an early lesbian vampire film. There's certainly no other reason to remember it--it's meandering and rather ugly. Bleh."
Deliverance (Deluxe Edition)
Deliverance (Deluxe Edition)
"(A-) A little slow to start, but the second half is still remarkably intense and engrossing, and the leads are all excellent."
Goddess of 1967
Goddess of 1967
"(D+) Aimless Aussie indie drama combines all the weaknesses of both contemporary and old-school indie films. Not too painful at any one instant, but it never gives you a reason to watch."
Curse of the Crimson Altar (The Crimson Cult) [PAL import, Reg. 2]
Curse of the Crimson Altar (The Crimson Cult) [PAL import, Reg. 2]
"(C+) Later 60s horror pic is an awkward mix, combining classic gothic with random attempts at 60s hipness/sexuality. Mostly kinda fun if you like the genre, but the ending is a bit weak, and nothing much makes it stand out otherwise."
Capturing the Friedmans
Capturing the Friedmans
"(A-) Fascinating documentary concerning one of the many outlandish sexual abuse trials from the 80s. Works both as a specific case study and a reflection on the general trend. The case is almost maddeningly ambiguous, but that's where the intrigue comes in."
Brothers
Brothers
"(B) Ads made this look like a love-triangle thriller, but it's really a character-oriented family drama. The rare film that should be longer so as to cover more ground, but what's here is effective. I also appreciate how it refuses to take the turns that would most impress shallow critics."
Premonition
Premonition
"(B-) "The Dead Zone," Japanese style. Film is quite eerie, and the main characters are more sympathetic than usual. Like most trendy supernatural horror from Asia, though, they play it safe and predictable from beginning to end."
Black Death (+ Digital Copy)
Black Death (+ Digital Copy)
"(B+) After 3 pretty good but unremarkable horror pics, C. Smith finally steps up. Period horror/thriller is remarkably bleak and filthy even for a medieval film, and it's surprisingly strong on the character front."
American Grindhouse
American Grindhouse
"(C) Thin, thin stuff, as such general documentaries often are. Is little more than clips and facile sociopolitical commentary."
I Saw the Devil
I Saw the Devil
"(B-) Stylishly gruesome Korean thriller works as grand guignol, but not nearly so much as drama. It's too singlemindedly and repetitively outre for that. Further, while Choi makes a fine villain, our vengeful protagonists is painfully bland."
The Heirloom
The Heirloom
"(C) Has a creepy backstory and locale, but the horror setpieces simply fail to deliver and it has no pace at all."
Fantastic Voyage (Special Edition)
Fantastic Voyage (Special Edition)
"(B) A little slow to get started, but it's good fun once it gets going, with a plethora a enjoyable old school effects. It's remarkably self-serious, considering the wacky concept."
Shiver
Shiver
"(C-) Spanish horror pic isn't terrible, but it is subpar on almost all fronts: Geek protagonist, weak, unimpressive villain, needlessly convoluted narrative."
Thor
Thor
"(C+) Placeholder for the film, obviously.  Very goofy. You'd expect that, of course, but not quite this much. Not unentertaining, I suppose, but you can't help but shake your head much of the time."
Vital
Vital
"(C+) Tsukamoto film has a nice otherworldly feel and an intriguing setup, but it never delivers--it's an aimless art film. Further, the abstracted approach hurts the human/emotional element. Interesting, but quite flawed."
Vanishing on 7th Street (+ Digital Copy)
Vanishing on 7th Street (+ Digital Copy)
"(B) Low-key apocalyptic horror from Anderson has an oppressive atmosphere and displays the director's always strong visuals. Characters are a bit dull, though, and the script leans towards a pretentious allusiveness. These latter points don't matter too much, though."
The Mechanic
The Mechanic
"(B-) Follows the original more than I'd imagined it would, and the action scenes are fairly intense, if a bit standard issue. Not groundbreaking, but it fills the 90 minutes."
Dying Breed (After Dark Horrorfest III)
Dying Breed (After Dark Horrorfest III)
"(C-) Aussie exploitation horror takes an eternity to get going and finally delivers little beyond some middling gore. It's a cinematic placebo."
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
"(D-) Bloated and generic Hollywood-style thriller made critical darling via the screamingly PC narrative (It involves, God help me, Misogynist Nazis and Strong, Abused Women.) Rapace's performance has approximately zero dimensions, and the soft, pudgy Crusading Reporter!!! is little better."
Primal
Primal
"(C+) Efficient, well-shot, nice scenery, acceptable performances. And yet, the monsters are, well, pretty lame. This hurts a lot, needless to say."
Blue Valentine
Blue Valentine
"(B) Slow-moving indie anti-romance is effectively naturalistic and has two strong lead performances. The non-linear narrative is sometimes too cute, and it could be trimmed a bit, but the core material is strong."
Mulberry Street (After Dark Horrorfest)
Mulberry Street (After Dark Horrorfest)
"(B) "28 Days Later" imitation is strengthened by a great sense of place and some surprisingly strong characters. You don't see working class New York much anymore. The horror elements are kind of standard issue, but these unusual high points make it work as a whole."
Peter Jackson's Bad Taste
Peter Jackson's Bad Taste
"(C-) An unfortunate dry run for the better, if still not great, "Dead Alive." Painfully ugly to look at, and incredibly low-rent gore doesn't do much for me nowadays. Just doesn't hold up, sorry."
Unknown
Unknown
"(B-) Highest of high concept thrillers: Reservoir Dogs with amnesia, more or less. Fundamentally silly, but moves along nicely with a surprisingly strong cast."
Next Door
Next Door
"(C) Norwegian psychological/erotic thriller is overly transparent, and lacks the style or energy to overcome the telegraphed plot."
Fortress
Fortress
"(B-) Made for TV Aussie thriller grows ever more ludicrous as it moves along. This is part of the fun, though, and it takes plenty of unexpected turns."
Guinea Pig Flower of Flesh and Blood/Making of Guinea Pig Double Feature
Guinea Pig Flower of Flesh and Blood/Making of Guinea Pig Double Feature
"(B-) Infamous pseudo-snuff short is pretty much exactly as described. Has fairly impressive gore considering the limited funds. There's some cheesiness around the edges, but that's probably for the best, and makes the whole experience slightly less sleazy."
Tattooed Life
Tattooed Life
"(C+) By the numbers Yakuza thriller doesn't contain much of Suzuki's madness or style. Competent, but forgettable."
Eclipse Series 17: Nikkatsu Noir (The Criterion Collection)
Eclipse Series 17: Nikkatsu Noir (The Criterion Collection)
"(C for Rusty Knife) Japanese noir simulacrum is too slow and thin to be truly compelling. It attempts to be character-driven, but these characters aren't much worth noticing."