John Carpenter has always been about transcending what ever form of storytelling he pursued. Even when paying homage toWesterns or remaking something like “Village of the Damned,” Carpenter never approaches it conventionally. With “In the Mouth of Madness,” he had every chance to repeat the same meta-beats as “They Live,” but he ends up delivering a genius, beautifully loony, often brilliant piece of cinema that’s both a tribute to literature, a meditation on the power of the imagination, and our own state of being and reality.
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and every single surviving human has broken up in to fractions, mini-societies, and tribes that delight in murder of others, and survival of the fittest. “The Domestics” is “The Purge,” meets “Red Dawn,” meets “Mad Max,” meets “The Warriors,” with a dash of “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” for good measure. Let’s face it, at the end of the day its pure blissful, loony post apocalyptic movie porn and hot damn if I didn’t love every single minute of it from beginning to end.
Hey, I always thought that if you want to make a comedy that practices surrealism and is abstract, then go hog wild. Just make sure that the comedy is actually funny. Thankfully for the most part, “Seven Stages…” is funny. It’s very funny, in fact. It’s also so off the wall, weird, and out of the ordinary that it might alienate some audiences who go in to it expecting something mainstream and broader. For a debut Vivieno Caldinelli’s “Seven Stages…” is funny and bold, but by the hour mark, the narrative completely falls apart, and I was about ready for the movie to end.
Most of the time we get such a backlog of short films and feature length indie films that we work hard to take them all on and review them before the year is up. In what we hope will become a new feature, “Shorts Round Up of the Week” is a column where we’ll be reviewing a round up of short films of varying quality. If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened.
Joe Dante has always had this peculiar style that’s always helped his films stand out among everyone else’s. “The ‘Burbs” is another of his films that features the suburban unit being terrorized or working themselves up in to a stir. Dante loves to put his hands in to the perceived American norm and stir it up with some chaos and anarchy. It’s hard to believe that “The ‘Burbs” was originally a flop, as it’s managed to become one of the most highly appreciated cult classics of all time. In the face of the passing of the late great Carrie Fisher, if you’ve yet to see it, you definitely owe it to yourself to.
“Game Night” feels like an older concept brought to life in a modern comedy and while it’s not a masterpiece, it does allow for a competent good time and some consistent laughs here and there. The key word is competence as just about everyone here does a competent job. Even Rachel McAdams is very good, and never tries to out do Jason Bateman, but instead meets him at his level. This amounts to some great chemistry and some genuinely fun scenes where you buy that they’re a couple.
Nicholas Ferwerda’s “Family Game Night” is a short that I could actually see becoming a feature film somewhere down the road. The potential for a dark comedy horror film is right there. As a short though, it’s a very good and very darkly eccentric horror film with a fun twist on the conventional nuclear family concept that entertains successfully.
As a slasher buff, I’m saddened that we’re in a current horror climate where other less deserving slasher films have gotten full fledged franchises while “Behind the Mask” is still just a one time gem. “The Rise of Leslie Vernon” is one of the best slasher films of the aughts that was perfecting the indie slasher sub-genre well before “Hatchet” came along. No slight to Adam Green, but I’d much rather have had three “Behind the Mask” films over four “Hatchet” films any day of the week. “Behind the Mask” is brilliant in not only creating a great slasher villain, but telling a sharp meta-story that dissects the sub-genre as a whole.