Pencilstorm contributor Rob Braithwaite is watching 366 movies this year, so you don't have to, here is part twelve of his continuing 2016 rundown......
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ = I can’t see giving anything that I’ve seen once five stars
★ ★ ★ ★ = get to the theater / move it up in your queue
★ ★ ★ = “three stars is a recommendation” - The Empire [magazine] Podcast
★ ★ = if the remote is too far away, you could do worse
★ = if the remote is too far away, get someone to move it closer then throw it at the TV
Body Double (1984) ★.5
stars: Craig Wasson, Melanie Griffith, Gregg Henry
co-writer/director: Brian De Palma
A struggling actor housesits for a new acquaintance and witnesses a murder across the way.
Yep, this is the De Palma I don’t like. Indulgent and boring.
watch Slam Dance instead
Village of the Damned (1995) ★ ★ ★
stars: Christopher Reeve, Kirstie Alley, Linda “Mrs. Crocodile Dundee” Kozlowski
director: John Carpenter
I think this maligned remake of a small town’s mysterious children problem plays better if you imagine it were made in the ‘50s. John Carpenter wasn’t looking to update the storytelling or acting style. He wanted, I’m guessing, to make a horror movie like those of his youth. If you go in with that mindset, you’ll be entertained. Christopher Reeve is good in it. Or you can watch the 1960 original. They are basically the same.
This John Carpenter? What other movies did he make?
double feature pairing: Tremors
When a Stranger Calls (1979) ★ ★ ★
stars: Carol Kane, Charles Durning, Tony Beckley
co-writer/director: Fred Walton
It’s the “the call is coming from inside the house” movie.
And that line comes waaaaaay sooner than I thought it was going to. After the first twenty minutes! Where is this movie going to go from here? Well, it becomes a manhunt and character drama, then it becomes its own sequel. Fascinating.
double feature pairing: Scream
When a Stranger Calls (2006) ★ ★
stars: Camilla Belle, Tommy Flanagan, the voice of Lance Henriksen
director: Simon West
Now this is what I expected the original to be like. The whole movie takes place over one evening. The first twenty minutes of the original were stretched out to ninety. It’s a good remake, despite ignoring how caller ID works. But, like most creep-around movies, I was done with it two-thirds in.
Product placement has changed over the years. In the original, Babysitter gets a Dilly Bar® from the freezer. I know this because I recognize the wrapper. It isn’t presented in any obvious way, so it hardly counts as placement, really. I guess it speaks more to how many Dilly Bars® I ate as a kid. In the remake, Babysitter gets a Dole Fruit Bar®. from the freezer. I know this because of the delayed shot of the second box of Dole Fruit Bars®.
watch the first twenty minutes of the 1979 version
Daddy’s Home (2015) ★.5
stars: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini
director: Sean Anders
I know I watched this. Can’t remember a damned thing about it that wasn’t in the trailer.
watch Max Duggan Returns instead
Girlfight (2000) ★ ★ ★
stars: Michelle Rodriguez, Jamie Tirelli, Santiago Douglas
writer/director: Karyn Kusama
Diana secretly trains as a boxer. Finds resistance.
Michelle Rodriguez is great. The pacing is a little too slack.
double feature pairing: Rocky
The House Bunny (2008) ★.5
stars: Anna Faris, Emma Stone, Kat Dennings
director: Fred Wolf
A Playboy Bunny is kicked out of the Playboy Mansion and becomes the house mom of a sorority of misfits. She learns some things from them. They learn some things from her. Anna Faris is funny. The movie isn’t.
Produced by Adam Sandler’s company. Totally feels like it.
watch Legally Blond instead
Swiss Army Man (2016) ★ ★ ★ ★
stars: Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
writers/directors: Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
A man deserted on an island discovers a dead body on the beach. It’s this farting corpse that just might be the thing to save him.
The greatest farting movie of all time. There were moments when I was wondering what I was watching. It’s very funny. Incredibly inventive. And not without a deeper, darker meaning. It’s unique.
double feature pairing: Be Kind Rewind
Ghostbusters (2016) ★ ★ ★ ★
stars: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon
director: Paul Feig
Fuck the haters. This is funny. It’s a decent remake/remodel/re-whatever. It nods to the original while making its own thing. Some of the most unfunny parts were the forced cameos. Bill Murray’s character was necessary for the story, but he didn’t seem to care. He let his hat do the work. The bust of Harold Ramis was a sweet touch.
double feature pairing: Evil Dead (2013)
The Killers (1946) ★ ★ ★
stars: Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Edmond O’Brien
director: Robert Siodmak
A small town mechanic is killed by two hit men. Why? That’s a question for the insurance claims agent to answer.
Yep, the insurance company’s claims agent is hot on the case. No private eye, though the role is played like one, or homicide detective, which makes much more sense, could be torn away from their whiskey and donuts, respectively.
That aside, and ignored when the movie brings it up again, this is a nice little crime picture. The opening scene in the diner must make the Coen Brothers drool. The rhythm of the dialogue is amazing.
double feature pairing: Payback
The Killers (1964) ★ ★ ★
stars: Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, John Cassavetes
director: Don Siegel
Now this is how you remake a movie. Fix what didn’t work before. The investigators of the case this time are the hit men themselves. One of them recognizes the mark as part of a team that stole a great deal of money, so they look into who hired them in hopes of finding the cash.
Both versions are good. I’d give an edge to the original, as it’s a bit more cinematic. This version was originally made for TV but deemed too violent so it got a theatrical release.
This was Ronald Reagan’s final movie before entering politics.
double feature pairing: Payback: Straight Up (director’s cut)
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) ★ ★ ★ ★
stars: Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rima Te Wiata
writer/director: Taika Waititi
Problem child Ricky is taken in by the loving Bella and problem adult Hec.
Funny and charming. The trailer does a nice job of projecting the tone without ruining plot points.
double feature pairing: Thelma & Louise
The Lady Vanishes (1938) ★ ★ ★ ★
stars: Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas
director: Alfred Hitchcock
An elderly lady vanishes from a train, and only one person believes she ever existed at all.
Yep. It’s great.
double feature pairing: Silver Streak
Star Trek Beyond (2016) ★ ★ ★
stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban
director: Justin Lin
You got the outer space and the people and the explosions and the humor and a city to smash things into during the finale.
I don’t think the movie is bad. The folks I saw it with confirmed that. There’s a lot of action and the story is fine. The pandering, by-the-book humor didn’t go over well. No one I was around laughed much. I was bored by it all. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood. Maybe I’ve reached that point in the summer when I tire of seeing things smash into other things. Happens every year.
double feature pairing: Big Night
187/366 movies (23 movies off pace)
25/52 movies directed by women
THE TOP THREE