The Round Up #7 (Sept 22)
Prey (2022) - We're on message again! Now I know this isn't the exact same predator that Arnie originally had to deal with, given it would have to have been a few hundred years old by the time he was mucking about in the jungle and, erm, alive of course. Never mind that the predator in question took out an army of highly trained mercenaries and very nearly Arnie himself. Would that same predator have trouble with one little girl with a handmade bow and arrow that wanted nothing more than to be a hunter and gain the respect of her clan?
Savage bloodletting notwithstanding, this is poorly scripted, questionably acted and unimaginatively directed. The blood and guts (both red and green) are flowing, but the makers are just stretching this idea that any woman can do what a man can do, but better, and it's getting on my unbelieving, uncompromising wick. No thanks, give me a proper action movie, with some tension, some risk, some suffering from our protagonist. She just walked into town and threw its head on the ground in front of her clan. Walked I tell you! The power these women can wield but as yet have chosen not to so as not to emasculate all men everywhere is a sight to behold. Yawn...
Samaritan (2022) - Well, isn't all of this just very silly. *heavy sigh*
Fun though. I can't argue with that. And that goes a long way. Sylvester Stallone, 76-year-old superhero? In a world devoid of superheroes apart from him and his brother, Nemesis. They don't get on. Samaritan is the good guy, Nemesis, the bad. Why they weren't called Colin and Norman escapes me but if you ask me, they're just asking for trouble choosing such provocative names. Filmed to garner as large an Amazon audience as possible, this is lightweight, kid-friendly stuff. If you're after a new Rocky or even a Cobra, then I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed.
In The Mouth of Madness (1994) - Spoiling myself. I mean you have to from time to time. Amazing to think that Sam Neill was in both this AND Event Horizon. This is great stuff from Carpenter, some of his best work, with a nod to the power of horror for the weak-minded. It's almost camp in its faux terror but contains some of the best moments of his committed to film. "Did I ever tell you my favourite colour is blue?" Inspired and highly recommended. A joy from a more easily terrified time.
Get Over It (2001) - Going back to this these days reminds me of how I really wanted to be just like the cool kids at school. It also reminds me of how fleeting that feeling was. A 'pretty young thing' flick where Dunst gets to show off her singing voice. The cast list is as long and enviable as your arm for the time it was made and most have gone onto greater things. The highlight is Martin Short and his enthusiastic "that really isn't good at all" approach to teenage high school theatrical accomplishment. Honestly, this is cringingly awful at times, but so sweet and endearing at others that you can forgive its very obvious and unavoidable shortcomings.
Raven's Hollow (2022) - The second Shudder project of the week, after Rebecca Hall's 'Resurrection' turned our stomachs a few days ago. Not to be confused with Sleepy Hollow, this moody period project will make you wonder just where and when you're at to begin with. Placing it becomes a little easier as we find that the inspiration is Edgar Allen Poe, in a story that revolves around the rather morose author prior to him taking up the pen and putting down the gun as a cadet in upstate New York. Not a biopic, as such, just an imaginative, paranormal slant. Not wholly original, or even that creepy, but the performances are solid with admirable cinematography.
The Harbinger (2022) - When you see 'Chicken Soup For The Soul' pop up on the credits, you should know that there is more to this than just a horror/thriller. Their claim to be 'changing the world one story at a time' contains what some might consider a disturbing religious overtone to the entertainment industry and as such, will have you looking for the 'message' within the story. It usually can't be missed and the same is true here. The acting is hammy, the script suspicious and the direction feels like it's just been caught by a parent, whilst masturbating in its sister's knickers - far too aware of itself, in short.
Pinocchio (2022) - If you want a living, breathing example of how hollow and soul-less Disney has become, then sit down with this not 'live-action' cash in. Sorry, I mean remake. Not even Tom can save it. Points are for Tom's effort and the lovely songs. Good lord this is depressing.