Sunday, January 18, 2009

Another week

I gotta work out a system for this...

Didn't get much done this week. Closest thing I have to an explanation is that ONE of my jobs is at Circuit City. So that happened.

Anyway, "My Bloody Valentine 3D?" Not bad. The selling-point is the 3D gore FX shots, and they don't dissapoint, but you may eventually find yourself wondering why a mostly-forgotten mezzo-mezzo 80s slasher like this one got the big glossy remake treatment. Is "Slaughter High" chopped-liver? Did they assume 3D would make the finale of "Sleepaway Camp" perhaps a little TOO 'real'? But worth a look.

The big surprise, for me anyway? "Paul Blart: Mall Cop." Kevin James has been one to watch since he started stealing whole movies out from under Will Smith and Adam Sandler (in "Hitch" and "Chuck & Larry," respectively) but whether or not he can carry a movie as a lead has been a question mark particularly considering how not-great "King of Queens" generally is. Wonder no more: This guy's the real deal.

The premise and the entire outline you've already gleaned if you've seen the posters: Blart is an overweight, socially-awkward mall security guard who (can you guess?) dreams of being a real cop (called it!) but can't pass the physical requirements. Not necessarily because of weight - he's a physical dynamo despite his size - but because his weight is largely owed to Hypoglecimia, requiring him to maintain a high sugar intake in order to avoid fainting spells. He lives with his mom (yeah, saw it coming) while raising the single daughter left him by his ran-off, green-card seeking illegal-immigrant wife (that's new) and pines for the pretty new girl at the mall hair-extensions booth. You already know that he experiences an embarassing public event that sours the chances of that relationship, but to give the movie credit it's much more his own fault than some prank or misunderstanding. Things come to a head when a small army of parkour/extreme-sports trained theives seize the mall on Black Friday for a robbery, taking hostages - Blart's would-be girlfriend and daughter among them - and leaving Blart as the only non-imprisoned good guy on the inside.

So, it's a formula "Die Hard" sendup, but it gets by on solid slapstick, competent action direction (it's a family-friend PG for the language, but the myriad fight scenes are surprisingly intense) and James' inherent likability as Blart. Maybe I'm just naturally inclined to be nice to a movie where a big fat guy on a Segaway throws a douchebaggy X-Games reject on a skateboard through a window. The obviously low budget hurts it, but funny is funny.

Incidentally, here's the trailer for the remake of "Last House on The Left." I've never thought the original was worth much outside of the ahead-of-it's-time brutality, but there's no denying that it has one of the all-time great exploitation-horror premises: A gang that brutally rapes and butchers a young woman in the first-half inadvertently wind up taking shelter in the home of her parents... who take even MORE brutal revenge once they find out who their guests are and what they've done. Violence that'll turn your stomach followed by cathartic violence you can cheer for - perfect setup, yet to be fully realized, so maybe this will actually be better. The trailer gives away what seems to be the major deviation from the material, but I like where this is going. GREAT choice of ironic music:



The Wes Craven original is technically a remake of an Ingmar Bergman movie called "Virgin Spring," believe it or not.