The Movie Weekend That Was

MovieWeekend

The second episode of the current season of Game of Thrones ran last night, as did a two-hour premiere for the current season of Mad Men. However, the rest of the weekend allowed ample time to check out several movies, including a horror remake, a Palme D’or winner, an AFI Top 100 film, and a movie about a murderous parasitic fetus. This is the movie weekend that was.

Four Months, Three Weeks, and Two Days (2007)
I watched Four Months, Three Weeks, and Two Days because it was on Lukas Moodysson’s BFI top 10 list. And OF COURSE this movie is on Lukas Moodysson’s BFI top 10 list. It’s about a college student in Ceausescu’s Romania who seeks out an abortion with the aid of her friend, which is clearly difficult subject matter. But it’s executed extraordinarily well, in the way that only an eastern European can pull off. The three primary actors- the girl getting the abortion, her friend, and the “doctor” who performs the act- all do magnificent jobs, and the film is shot in a languid, contemplative style. I can’t remember seeing a more joyless film. The only smiles, laughter, or jokes provided appear with the sole purpose of irritating one of the main characters. That’s not a knock on the film, of course. Films don’t have to have laughter to be good. It’s merely an observation.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

baby blood car

After it’s born, the baby eats this dude who dared to peek inside the car.

Baby Blood (1990)
Imagine the cult classic horror film Basket Case (1982). Now imagine that instead of an evil, warped conjoined twin, it’s a fetus with an alien parasite attached to it. And instead of a picnic basket, it’s carried around in a womb, where it telepathically tells the pregnant mother to murder people and feed the blood of her victims to the fetus. That’s Baby Blood, a wacky French b-movie that tries to tackle some weighty subject matter. I can’t particularly say that it was good, but I’m glad I watched it.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars 

Alone in the Dark (1982)
Alone in the Dark is kind of an odd film to rate. It felt like a bunch of bad studio ideas all mixed together. “Hey, Jason and Michael Meyer are popular right now. Let’s have FOUR serial killers! And let’s make them extra insane with schizophrenia! And then one can wear a hockey mask, too!” But as a horror fan, you have to love Donald Pleasence and Jack Palance. I have mixed feelings about this film.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars 

the-perfect-gameThe Perfect Game (2009)
A few weeks ago while researching my baseball movie timeline, I asked my brother for his favorite baseball movies. I was surprised when he included The Perfect Game, a movie that I frankly didn’t even know existed. I got around to it this weekend. There’s no denying that it’s riddled with sports movie clichés and likely full of inaccuracies. And the story is clunky. But there are two reasons to appreciate the movie. First and foremost, the story it’s based on is a really great and lesser-known part of baseball lore, about the 1957 Little League World Series and the team from Monterrey, Mexico that won that year. And it’s not hard to see that it’s got plenty of quality as a family film. I definitely recommend it to those two categories- families, and baseball fans.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The Monster (1925)
Of all the Lon Chaney movies I’ve seen (that’s Papa Chaney, not the Wolf Man), The Monster was the most mediocre, cramming a healthy dose of middling (at best) comedy liberally into what I expected to be a full-on horror. That said, there are points earned here for shadow, atmosphere, and of course Chaney.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Evil-Dead-2013.-Book-of-the-Dead-1.Evil Dead (2013)
It’s the fault of my own expectations that I had hoped for more of the cheesiness and camp of the first film to show up in the re-make. And there were some plot devices that I had major issues with (the resurrection of a major character towards the end). BUT, the remake does one thing extraordinarily well. In the parlance of Spinal Tap, Evil Dead turns the gore up to 11. I found myself wincing four or five times, cringing, even as I laughed at the balls the director had to have to torture his audience that way. There’s not a shred of contempt when I say that. Rather, it’s admiration because the execution of the gore was almost perfect.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Battlefield Earth (2000)
I got drunk on a lot of whiskey and did the unthinkable. I watched Battlefield Earth. There’s a review coming later this week.
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Sophie’s Choice (1982)
Meryl Streep absolutely owned this movie. She was so good in it that she took a film in which her co-star was that guy who played Janosz the creepy museum employee in Ghostbusters II and placed it in the AFI Top 100. And the story itself is quite heart-wrenching. I also appreciated several smaller flourishes with the film. The sequences of Streep/Sophie speaking directly into the camera are a spot-on duplicate for Bergman’s Winter Light. And now I can check one more off of the AFI Top 100 list.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars


5 Comments

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5 responses to “The Movie Weekend That Was

  1. The Romanian film you saw was a revelation for me. Slow paced without anything useless.
    For the new version of Evil Dead I am intrigued and I see that it will never be as great as the original but still a nice entertainment!
    Nice Movie Weeked!

  2. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days was so powerful. I thought about it for weeks after seeing it. I really need to go an see Evil Dead. All I hear is how much gore there is, and I need to see this for myself.

    • You know… I guess it’s probably best to say that it’s not how much gore that makes it good, so much as it’s how effective it is. Tight cropped shots at opportune (or inopportune, depending on how you look at it) moments, people using weapons on body parts that nobody should use them on, etc…

      I really love how 4 Months ends, with the two of them having their meal and swearing to never talk about it again. Given how it all plays out, I can understand their point of view.

  3. 4 months,3W,2D was great. Are you familiar with the book, “Bottom of the 33rd”? If that ever get’s made into a film, it could end up being the best baseball film of all time. Since it’s a true story, it might actually hard to turn into a movie, movie.

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