I wish my life could be filmed in different colors depending on my mood,
Some horror, drama, drugs, and a mockumentary,
I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997, Jim Gillespie, United States Of America) **
It’s like Buffy The Vampire Slayer meets Party of Five meets Freddie Prinze Jr. meets the dude who is Reese Witherspoon’s ex-husband. I would pay to see that movie actually, this one, well it pretty much sucks. It’s very by the numbers, obvious and all of that, but none of that would matter if it delivered in some key areas. You don’t cast someone like Jennifer Love Hewitt, who is only in this movie because she has a nice rack, and then not do anything with said rack. It’s also very blase in its kills, so it has nothing to offer there.
Pusher (1996, Nicolas Winding Refn, Denmark) ***
Danish drug film, very kinetic, but it’s all about stupidity. There’s no one to like, everyone is just different shades of creepy and moronic, except for the dog, he’s cool of course. It has an energy to it for sure, but in the end I was left asking if what I had seen was something that would stay with me and the answer was no.
American Zombie (2007, Grace Lee, South Korea/United States Of America) ***1/2
This was equal parts brilliant, confounding and disappointing. The brilliance comes in the concept, a fake documentary, it’s not mocking anything, that uses the subject of zombies to approach the basic faults within documentary film making and to provide an interesting take on the zombie spin. The confounding part is that it is so damn good. It really shouldn’t be, it has no right to be, and for three quarters of the film I was captivated by what I was watching. The disappointing comes in the form of the final third of the film. It becomes a bit too conventional, wanting to provide drama where drama really isn’t necessary, and breaks the fourth wall of the documentary format in one final shot that is a big letdown. Still, brilliant idea, the first two-thirds are amazing, and even though it is a disappointment the final third doesn’t drag the film too far down.
The Hand That Rocks The Cradle (1992, Curtis Hanson, United States Of America) ***1/2
Cool little thriller that just works. If you go along for the ride it’s quite the ride. Rebecca De Mornay is especially devilish.
Traffic (2000, Steven Soderbergh, Germany/United States Of America) ****
Loved this just as much as the first time I watched it. I was supposed to be watching this paying special attention to how it treats drugs, but screw that. Two minutes in and Steven Soderbergh drew me in with his camera, the hues man, I love the hues.
All in all a strong week for movies. Still, none of the other four films came close to touching Traffic. For that reason Traffic takes home retro movie of the week honors. I’ll be back next week with five more retro capsule reviews!