Movie Reviews 18

The Crazies (2010)
I can’t say I saw the original George Romero version from the seventies so I can’t compare the two. A small town is suddenly subjected to some mysterious force of nature that slowly turns townsfolk into zombie-like creatures. The sheriff and his wife, the local medical practitioner, try to make sense of it all and escape with their lives as things get ugly fast. But, then the army comes in and rounds up all the survivors into a prison camps without explaining why. Call it a small twist to the typical zombie invasion format. The fact that the army is trying to keep all the inhabitants of the town contained, regardless if the seem to zombies or not, adds to the suspense of the movie while the zombie action provides the fun. Not the best that zombie movies have to offer but good enough. Now I really do have to track down that 1973 original…

Jaws (1975)
It was the summer that people were afraid to enter the water. Well that was the hype in 1975 anyway. But I remember it well. Jaws was more than just a block buster movie, it was a defining moment. And in 1975, it was everywhere. Everyone was talking about it. Peter Benchley whose novel it was based on was everywhere. And young director Steven Spielberg, who was just beginning to make his mark was everywhere. One of the reasons I remember it so clearly was that I was too young to go and see it. So I had to absorb all the hype without being able to see it myself. As I was just beginning to read novels, I did the next best thing to watching the movie. I headed out the the nearest spinner rack I could find that had the book. Even reading the novel was a great experience. And not just because there was an entire subplot involving a sexually explicit affair between Chief Brody’s wife and Hooper. A subplot I later learned was not in the film (yet another one of a multitude of great decisions made by Spielberg). While the shark in the movie takes center stage, the real credit for the success goes to the superb performances by Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss. And a great script by Carl Gotlieb. And I guess some of the credit should go to Spielberg.

Dark Fields (2006)
Mindless fart joke infested dialogue. Thoughtless characterization and character actions. Would you walk into a unlocked house and check the basement for your missing friend? The screenwriter (and I use the term loosely) seems to think that was a logical move. A single line of lame dialogue supposedly describes the history and motivation of the evil ‘farmer gone berserk’ that is the essence of the movie. 80 minutes of my life that I will never get back.

Legion (2010)
The rash of terrible reviews led me to believe I should just forget about this movie. But the story sounded so interesting and promising that I just caved in and watched it anyhow. I’m glad I did. The heavens have given up on humanity and the angels have been tasked to wipe out mankind. But one lone angel has not given up on us and in defiance has decided to come and try to forestall mankind’s annihilation. Most of this happens in a remote desert dinner where the waitress is ‘with child’ and as long as the child survives, we still have hope. The angel Michael brings along plenty of firepower, weapons and ammo, and leads the few humans that have found themselves stuck in the dinner on the day of our comeuppance to fight the coming battle. The attack upon the dinner initially comes in waves of former humans that have been transformed into zombie denizens intent on getting to the pregnant woman. Once these attacks fail their ultimate goal (but manage to do some serious damage, and taking a number of other victims), the evil angel Gabriel comes to finish off the dirty deed his minions could not complete on their own. The movie has a surprisingly strong script and some cool scenes. I think that having the fate of mankind decided in a remote dinner, an obvious budgetary consideration, may have been one aspect that turned people off, but I thought it actually added a nice touch to the film. The background of the dysfunctional humans stuck in the dinner to fight are all well developed and make for an interesting battle.


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