Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's Halloween, Isn't It?

Last night, Rachael and I watched quite a bit of Signs, which (like hundreds of the discs piled up behind me right now) I hadn't seen since I first bought the DVD. Not that I want this observation to reflect badly on the film, mind, because there's some brilliant, brilliant stuff in there. The scene in which Graham and Merrill run around the house shouting is particularly great, and if I'd have written and directed as much stuff like that as Shyamalan has I'd probably suffer from ego problems myself. (Come back in a few years to check on my progress in this regard).

We didn't make it to the end of Signs, however - perhaps it would have been more appropriate for tonight, the one night of the year Rachael seems more susceptible to scary fare. I even got her two thirds of the way through Dawn of the Dead a couple of years back (but how she ended up watching Hostel with me on Valentine's day, not to mention walking out of it before it was over, is another story altogether).

So, today being what it is, and all, the horror films are out in force. 30 Days of Night hits the UK today; Saw IV has been around since last weekend and is doing very well, it seems; the BBC are trotting out Carpenter's Halloween once again tonight - though I bet they ingratiously crop it down to 16:9, so don't bother - put the DVD on instead; and there's even a new, splattery clip from Aliens vs. Predator Requiem up for grabs. If you want to download it directly, I can offer you a WMV version, or my preferred Quicktime encode. Exploding heads and acid spurts to the face abound - and this version doesn't have th annoying IGN badge.

Paul W.S Anderson's involvement in this film has probably put most people off, and indeed, I'm epxecting little or nothing from the film. I certainly didn't think much of the first. I've gone into some detail about my feelings for Anderson already, and they haven't changed: he's a pretty capable hack who sets fairly easy targets and hits them sort-of-squarely most of the time. And that's not a bad thing, really - it just isn't a particularly good thing. While I haven't seen There Will Be Blood, I've seen all of PT Anderson's other features and I'll stick with his schlockier namesake, if I may - a fraction less ambition, a great deal less botchery.

I saw the third Resident Evil a week or so ago, and I did enjoy most of it, if only at a pretty low register. The odd bit here and there was even very interesting - the opening sequence that sets an Alice clone loose into a recreation of the first film's opening riffs quite enjoyably on the videogame mechanic of multiple lives/continues and repeatable levels (things we take for granted, they're so commonplace in games - but they didn't have to be). I liked the wireframe transitions from location to location again, which reminded me of nothing so much as negotating the map screen on a latter-day Metroid game. And the end of the film, which saw multiple Alices, ready to awaken and each try to defeat the evil Umbrella Corporation across the world seemed resonant with the myriad players of the games, globally controlling their identical avatars in identical missions.

Probably the film that best speaks to my experience of playing videogames in eXistenz, though this Resident Evil run a fairly close second (though, obviously, in this one respect only - I'm definitely not comparing Anderson to Cronenberg on any other terms).

So, I briefly mentioned the box office success of Saw IV. Looking at those opening weekend grosses, I'd say that every dollar over 20 million was worth another hearty laugh at Nikki Finke and her delusions of having halted the commercial success of so-called torture porn. That's over 11 million laughs, and I'll join you in every one.

On the other hand, each of those dollars is also worth a tear. How can a spiritless film like a Saw be so massively outgrossing Hostel Part 2? It was the angriest, smartest, most worthwhile horrror film since... er... well, at least Hostel Part 1 and it's getting trumped by the latest repetition of boring, witless carnival show.

And here's my prize Halloween link: The living horror of the looming strikes has studio execs and producers running hither and thither trying to put together their slates and sharpish. Variety's round-up does a good enough job of explaining which studio pictures are set to roll in time, so I won't paraphrase it here. Of specific interest to long time film ick readers, however, might be that Wolverine is getting a rewrite from Jamie Vanderbilt and Scott Silver. I say good. Very good. David Benioff's original script was as bad a script as I've ever read. I was concerned about this one because I've really been enjoying Gavin Hood's work so far - Tsotsi and Rendition - and now I'm just glad he looked past Benioff's, ill-structured, cliche stricken, senseless draft in order to sign on to a basic set-up that could so easily soar. that's that. That being my first attempt at finding a new way to do this.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Good, from the heart, writing.

And hey, if the one bit of crusading you've ever done results in a decent WOLVERINE script, then I reckon Hugh Jackman owes you a pint for saving his career.