Monday, May 26, 2008

Weekend Movie Madness

For most of Memorial Day Weekend, the skies have been gloomy and rainy. Yay! Every once in a while, I love a great storm that provides atmospheric grumbling--it's the perfect opportunity for me to read, watch movies, and look through my cookbooks so I can fantasize about actually creating a meal. (Okay, so I always just end up making popcorn. But popcorn? It is wonderful, too.)

I had a bit of a movie marathon in all the rain, and as I look at some of the films I watched, I realized that it is indeed a grim list. But, damn, these were some good movies, and I've been slogging through so many middling or just plain unexciting ones on DVD lately that I got a little excited about my luck. So here's a short list of some of the ones I watched:

* SWEENY TODD: I'm pretty bummed that I missed this one on the big screen, but my surround sound got a workout from the grandly ominous soundtrack. Loved everything about this musical: the songs (some of which start out beautiful but then take a turn for the odd and creepy with merely one or two notes--yes, "Joanna," I'm talking about you), the dark art direction, and the acting. Depp was great, of course, and although a controversial casting decision, Carter was a more fragile Mrs. Lovett, and it worked for me. I also loved how some of the supporting players looked like those Japanese Pullip dolls with their massively wide eyes and goth-pale skin.

* APOCALYPTO: Mel Gibson's take on the fall of Mayan civilization was strung together with an almost palpable sense of dread, even during the slick action sequences. I almost didn't choose it this weekend because the running time seemed a little long, but it was one of those movies that flew by.

* NIGHT OF THE HUNTER: Whoa. Everything from the almost surreal camera work to the menacing Robert Mitchum to the jaw-dropping storyline that places kids in startling peril comes together in a gorgeous black-and-white nightmare.

* THE ORPHANAGE: A ghost story from Spain, and it is truly scary--with a lot of jumpy moments and super-freaky child-terrors running around. However, the ending is a tear jerker. Go figure. Also, go rent it.

* TELL ME SOMETHING: A Korean scary movie that's advertised to be another SEVEN. I don't really get that comparison because it reminded me a lot more of BASIC INSTINCT but with more subtle cat-and-mouse play. Gory, gross, and extremely engaging, this film follows a detective who's tracking a serial killer. The movie leaves a lot for the audience to figure out at the end, so if you like your movies tied up in a neat package, this isn't for you. But scary movies don't get better than the last half hour of this one.

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