Movie Reviews 37

Donnie Darko (2001)
I’ve got a love/hate relationship with this movie. When I first saw it about 10 years ago, my overall impression was “Meh.” It had some cool elements in the storyline, some interesting characters, and a lot of weird shit happening. A LOT of weird shit. Too weird to be totally comprehensible, for me anyway. What to make about a movie that dabbles in time travel, embraces visions of a dark man-sized bunny with evil intentions, and where a jet engine drops into a bedroom? But after watching it and having a lackluster view of the movie on the first viewing, it seemed to come back to my mind again and again. It almost demands watching it again to see if you can make sense of it all. The movie features the Jake Gyllenhaal (as the titular Donnie Darko), sibling Maggie Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze as a religious peddler and a great performance by Mary McDonnell as Donnie’s mother. I’d like to describe the movie in the most simple terms, but every time I try I fail miserably and it becomes as confusing as the movie itself. Don’t get me wrong. The overt story is easy to understand. Its the undertones and message that escape me. So just watch it and find out for yourself. If nothing else, the haunting and acclaimed rendition of the Tears for Fears song Mad World by Gary Jules is worth it alone. (Watch the music video on the DVD as well if you have that option).

Friday the 13th: The Killer Cut (2009)
After recently watching all the old Friday the 13th movies (10 in total plus Freddy VS Jason), I could hardly resist watching the latest installment in the series that came out only last year. This one shows a quick overview of the events in the original movie and then immediately shows yet another group of kids dying off at the hands of Jason one night when they camp out near Crystal Lake. The movie then jumps 6 weeks ahead at which point we find the brother of one of the girls asking around and posting “Missing Person” posters around the area. He bumps into a rich kid bringing some friends to his fancy cottage for some fun. The group of kids are have the usual gamut of personalities and characteristics that seem mandatory in all these movies: the jock, the geek, the slut and the ‘good’ girl, etc. The brother looking for his sis is the ‘outsider’ but of course he has the sympathy of the ‘good girl’ and soon the two are knocking on Jason’s door (or his lair really). Some decent kill scenes with a few actual surprises make this a somewhat enjoyable movie. Just try not to cringe as the last scene is a predictable as it gets.

Devil (2010)
A surprisingly ambitious film that dares to set most of the movie in a elevator where people start dying horrendous deaths one by one while maintaining the question of who the perpetrator may be. Even having a camera in the elevator and having security guards being able to see most of what goes on does not provide any conclusive evidence as to which of the ones remaining alive after each death is the culprit. Sure it’s the “Devil” but which person is that incarnation? Is it the old lady? The big security guard who is new on the job. The petite young woman? How about that obnoxious salesman? No? Then it must be to rough and tumble guy? The list of who is really the devil gets shorter and shorter and we get more and more information on each the people in the elevator as an team of cops outside progress with their investigation, yet the movie continues to maintain a high degree of anticipation and excitement. A unique and fresh take on horror. There are a lots of twists and surprises although I confess that I saw a number of the surprises coming. But it’s still a movie I’d recommend. While he did not direct this movie, it was written and produced by M. Night Shyamalan.

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