Sunday, January 31, 2010

History, Bollywood style!

I've been remiss -- I should have posted a link to my review of Salman Khan's new movie, Veer, days ago. Mea culpa! So here it is: Veer. It's set in 19th- and early 20th-century India and celebrates the Pindari, tribal insurgents with a ferocious martial tradition, and their brief but celebrated resistance to the British Raj. Freedom fighters or terrorists? Good and complex question, which the movie ignores in favor of broad comedy, sweeping battle sequences and a classic doomed love story: While studying in London, Veer (Salman Khan), the son of a legendary Pindari leader, falls for a princess Yashodhara (Zarie Khan — no relation), only to find that her father is the sworn enemy of his people. The verdict: It's bad history — make that terrible history — but a pretty decent trashy spectacle, despite the baffling timeline and rubber "metal" breastplates.

Can't hold a candle to Jodhaa Akbar (2008), though: Think sexed-up historical spectacle a la Forever Amber, but with elephants, dervishes, velvet-tasseled horses, two of Bollywood's most beautiful stars — Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai — and enough ropes of pearls and rubies to choke at least a couple of the aforementioned elephants. Now that's entertainment.

Friday, January 22, 2010

My review of Legion is now live...

An angel with wicked cool tats and a machine gun... I'm so there. And yes, that's the legacy of the Catholic school girl I once was. My review of Legion is live and Id love to know what you think!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New edition of Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds: The Dark Dreams of Dario Argento...

The University of Minnesota Press web page for the expanded edition of Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds is online and it's finally starting to feel real to me.

I really can't believe it's been 15 years since the last edition and 20 since the first... let alone that it's been 25 years since I started the research that would become my Columbia University master's thesis and get the whole ball rolling. I mean, I wrote that thing on an electric typewriter! And I did the first book manuscript on a Kaypro (look at this dinosaur of a computer; it was "portable" because you could latch the keyboard to the CPU, revealing a handle, but trust me -- by the time you lugged that thing to your local coffee joint, you'd be too exhausted to write anything... and they wouldn't have had an outlet for you to plug it into anyway; the Kaypro didn't have a battery), back when floppy discs were floppy. And that was after an ordeal by scanning I would love to forget... let's just say that character-recognition software then wasn't what it is now.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

In defense of Sherlock Holmes...

Yes, the Robert Downey Jr./Jude Law/Guy Ritchie version of Sherolock Holmes has problems. But they're not the problems most critics are complaining about. My review is live (finally!) and I'd love to hear what you think.

Apocalypse... Could We Do This Later?

I'm not waiting for the end of the world, I'm tired of the post apocalypse , and so help me God, I really don't want to see portentous movies that look like some bizarre mash up of The Road and Fahrenheit 451... which brings us to
The Book of Eli. I probably shouldn't admit that I hated it from the moment — about five minutes in — that it tried to pass off a sphinx cat as a hellish mutant from the not-too-distant future, but I did. And things only went downhill from there...

I don't such care for the Golden Globe Awards, either, though the fact that the attendees are plied with liquor from the moment they sit down (at tables, not in theater seats like the Oscars) pretty much guarantees that the last half hour will be unpredictable fun (Mickey Rourke's acceptance speech for The Wrestler, anyone?)

But I did kind of enjoy writing a piece about the Globes and horror movies... they've been relatively good to the genre over the years. I mean, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association even scraped up a reward for The White Reindeer, God love 'em.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Movies for the New Year!

The first horror movie of 2010 is here! Read my review of Daybreakers and tell me what you think.

In addition to Daybreakers, however, I've been catching up on some older movies. All these reviews are in the Horror section of my site, and range from oldies but goodies to, well, some pretty crappy recent stuff. But I watched, so I reviewed.

Someone's Watching Me! (1978) — Vintage John Carpenter.
Eyes of a Stranger (1981) — Lauren Tewes (The Love Boat), a very young Jennifer Jason Leigh and a sex killer... nasty!
The Curse of El Charro (2005) — Formulaic stalk-and-slash with Southwestern twist.
Decadent Evil (2005) — Ever wonder what '80s schlockmeister Charles Band is up to these days? Me either... but here's the answer.
Unspeakable (2007) — Home invasion, sex abuse and suburban secrets!