November 30, 2012, - 3:57 pm
I did not particularly like any of the new movies at the box office, this weekend, but if you must see one, it should be . . .
* “Hitchcock“: Despite a star-studded cast (and a cameo by Ralph Macchio of all people), this movie is mostly slow and boring, the exact opposite of Alfred Hitchcock’s tremendous body of work in the creepy and thrilling. Sadly, little of that is captured in this dull, nutty, bizarre “portrayal” of Hitchcock. Anthony Hopkins (who said I was his favorite personality on the “Howard Stern Show”–not sure if that’s a good thing) looks ridiculous in his fatsuit and makeup and more like a caricature or cartoon character than the legendary filmmaker he plays. Sorry, Sir Anthony. It gets even more absurd because the movie shows repeated scenes of Hitchcock talking to the ghost of Ed Gein, the Wisconsin serial killer on whom the “Psycho” story was based. Those scenes are just stupid.
The movie focuses on Hitchcock’s making of “Psycho” and his rocky partnership with his writer wife (Helen Mirren). But it goes off key when it spends too much time on a side story of the wife’s writing relationship with another writer who Hitchcock sees as a sort-of competitor. The parts about the actual making of “Psycho” were interesting, if they are accurate. The movie shows Hitchcock’s fight with the studio and censors to make such a dark movie . . . dark and shocking for that time. He fought the censors for the right to make the shower scene with its multiple stabbings. And he fought the studio to make the movie and get it distributed. After betting his savings and home on the movie, it was interesting to see what he had to do to make it a success. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t show enough of that stuff and focuses, instead, on esoteric, likely fictional stuff.
Unfortunately, the movie chooses to make Hitchcock as both a creepy weirdo who stares through peepholes of actress’ dressing rooms and as a pathetic, whiny, emotional manchild. Methinks they did this brilliant Hollywood mind a huge disservice with this dumb–and failed–attempt to be campy. As a Hitchcock fan, I wanted and expected better, but didn’t get it. I’m being generous when I give it . . .
HALF A REAGAN
Watch the Trailer . . .
* “Anna Karenina“: This is one of those movies that ruins a great novel. You’d be best off just reading the book, which has already been made into several eponymous movies and didn’t need to be made into yet another. This was long, slow, very boring, and I felt like I’d seen this story a gazillion times before, including with one of the same actresses–Keira Knightley, who plays the lead role. She’s played this before: the wife in a period piece who is married to a noble man and has the good life of a rich woman, but wants to leave him to live with her real love, her extramarital paramour with whom she’s pregnant. In fact, Knightley played this exact type of character in 2008’s “The Duchess” (read my review).
Also, the filmmakers use a technique that doesn’t quite work here. They use a stage and moving stage sets to make it look like a Broadway play. They also have some scenes in which the characters move in unison, almost as if they’re about to break out in song and dance, like a Broadway musical. It seems gimmicky and takes away from their attempts at getting the audience to pay attention and take the movie seriously. I didn’t. I just couldn’t wait for it to be over, so I could take a bathroom break.
This movie is high on style and should win a lot of Oscars for hair and makeup, costumes, and set design. But as for substance, there’s little here. And, yet, they managed to stretch that very little into over two hours. It’s stretched quite thin.
HALF A MARX
Watch the Trailer . . .
* “The Collection“: That they greenlit a disgusting, bloody, violent movie like this makes me sad for America. This was so full of sickening, nauseating killing and dismemberment, that it didn’t just make me sick. Someone literally threw up on the way out of the screening I attended. Oh, sure, this kind of torture porn attracts a cult following and tries to be “campy.” But it isn’t. It’s just sick, warped, tortured. Oh, and it’s grisly, graphic, and all-around gross.
This is, sadly, a sequel to what I understand is an equally disgusting first movie, “The Collector,” which features two of the same characters. In this movie, the daughter of a wealthy man sneaks out with her friends to a party at a secret underground disco at the dark side of town. Soon, the serial killer who wears a mask and was featured in the first movie, murders most of those who are dancing and partying, using devices resembling a giant lawnmower and huge sling blades. People are beheaded, dismembered, and otherwise bleeding to death.
One guy, who has been trapped in a trunk–Arkin–escapes. The killer keeps the daughter of the wealthy guy alive and takes her to an abandoned hotel, where he keeps others inside trunks and also has a menagerie of body parts and human bodies in various severed states on display, as well as some insects. There he tortures people in unspeakable ways. While Arkin is in the hospital, recovering from his wounds from being tortured, the police question him. Then, a man working for the rich girl’s father blackmails Arkin into helping him find the daughter and rescue her, so they go to the abandoned hotel and fight it out with the crazed serial killer and get caught in his booby traps and torture devices.
The movie has very little of a plot, never explains who the serial killer is or why he is doing this. But a plot and explanations aren’t the point of these sick, twisted movies. The point is to give people two hours of unspeakable, unwatchable, mind-numbing disgusting blood, gore, killing porn, and torture porn. We are really dead as a society, when mainstream Hollywood puts more and more of this kind of sickening “cinema” out there, and even has screenings for movie critics like me. I was going to walk out on this a million times and wish that I had (but studios do not allow me to review movies unless I’ve watched the whole thing). That I was able to sit through this (albeit with my hands over my eyes for a good part of this) tells me that I’ve unfortunately become desensitized to this brutality as I’ve sat through more and more of this horror as a movie critic.
If there was one redeeming thing about this movie, it was that the audience at the promotional screening I attended still rooted for the good guys and cheered when the bad guys got theirs. But that was hardly a “saving grace” and wasn’t enough to justify this depraved crap. Not even close. And I fear that a day is coming when they cheer for the torturers and murderers against the innocent victims and their would-be rescuers. Making movies like this hastens the arrival of that day. (In fact, we’ve already reached that point, as I’ve seen it at other movie screenings I’ve attended.)
I wonder how many real-life future serial killings and torture this sickness will inspire. Thanks, Hollywood. You have blood on your hands. What a great service to America. Whoever dreams this stuff up ought to be locked up and given a lobotomy.
Maybe the lobotomy has already taken place.
In any event, the guy who says, “Hey, I’ll make a movie with a lot of shocking torture, dismemberment, and killing, and make a ton of money,” is a traitor. The trailers for this movie tell us it’s about escaping “pure evil.” But the real pure evil is the people who made this.
Remember the good old days . . . when snuff films were considered uncivilized?
FOUR MARXES PLUS PLUS PLUS
Watch the trailer . . .
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