“Death Wish” was a silly movie in its time and it’s a ridiculous concept now. The mere fact that Eli Roth and Joe Carnahan are behind this only serves the film’s premise that it’s an immature, sophomoric male fantasy about solving all of life’s problems with a gun. Bruce Willis’s character Paul Kersey is able to breeze in and out of night clubs and crowded ghettos with only a black hood and shoots down people like it’s a hobby. “Death Wish” then tries to make it very sexual, as Paul begins as this somewhat impotent, pacifistic gentleman whose manhood slowly advances as he embraces the gun.
Zack Snyder re-invents the late George Romero’s masterpiece in a mess of a remake that starts off very strong, gives up trying to make sense mid-way, and them limps to the finish line as fast as it can. Snyder and James Gunn’s script never takes time to slow down and breathe, jumping from one action scene to the next, from one musical laced montage to the next, and from one weak moment of tension to the next. Characters are stale and barely developed, and the script never hides that these people are meant as cannon fodder and nothing else. Worse, the script is clumsily paced, the overall film is tonally uneven, and often times the horror element is an afterthought.
Remember that thing we learned about Samara from “The Ring” and “The Ring Two”? There’s a bit more of the story we didn’t learn about her and we have to sit through a hundred minutes to find it out. Why? All for the sake of a surprise ending that apes James Wan, but packs none of his usual flare. Like, you know… an actual surprise. Truthfully, I saw the surprise twist coming for “Rings” about twenty minutes in to the actual film, and while I appreciate wanting to reboot the series for a new generation that only knows what a VHS or VCR is through history books or novelty articles on Buzzfeed, “Rings” just isn’t a good movie.
“Twilight Zone: The Movie” is one of my childhood favorite movies, it’s a pretty all star tribute to one of my all time favorite television series. While it’s by no means a masterpiece, it’s also never been as bad as many people have proclaimed it. It has genuine heart, some wonderful production quality and a great sense of humor to it. Re-watching it years later, it’s still very heavily flawed, but damnit, it’s also a strong anthology horror film that’s inconsistent in tone, but also embraces the weird and wonderful of the original show. Despite the horrendous legacy involving the on set deaths, the movie is worth checking out, and sets the stage for the solid eighties reboot.
There’s been talk of remaking Suspiria for years. So much so that a lot of what I’m going to mention here are thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head for over a decade. The latest attempt at a remake, and the one most likely to happen, is supposed to star Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton, have music by Thom Yorke, and be directed by Luca Guadagnino. All of whom are above average artists in their respective fields. So I wish this attempt well and I genuinely hope it succeeds.
At the same time, I think it’ll fail.
It’s surprising how well Disney adapts their own version of the shockingly beloved fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast.” While their Oscar winning animated version reigns supreme, Bill Condon manages to deliver his own interpretation that tweaks the tale here and there for new audiences with a great effect. I was quite stunned at how enjoyable “Beauty and the Beast” ended up being. While it has the familiarity of the 1991 movie, it’s also a unique experience that allows for a new angle on songs that are now deemed legendary. Condon approaches the live action remake/adaptation with a well balanced tone of whimsy and dread, allowing for a very subtle romance between Belle and the Beast.
ABC Television’s remake of “Dirty Dancing” is a god awful and ill conceived version of the eighties classic. I don’t say that as a fan of the original, or an eighties kid, but as someone who just can’t abide a truly awful reworking for a film that didn’t need it. Did we forget “Havana Nights” already? ABC goes for an over two and a half hour remake that is just about as listless and ridiculous as you can imagine. For some reason the writers thought it’d be a good idea to add a story frame for the actual story that ensues between Baby and Johnny.
Then there’s a verbatim remake of the original, a goofy melodrama about Baby coming of age, and a musical that stages a bunch of forgettable tunes. Not to mention a relationship drama about Baby’s parents experiencing a crossroads in their marriage. Lest we forget an interracial romance with Baby’s sister falling in love with an African American singer for the country resort, and the steamy torrid love affair between Johnny and a local middle aged resort guest (as played by Katey Segal).
A small island village in Scotland runs out of whisky and the population is desperate, until a ship wrecks nearby. This leads a few locals to plan some less than legal activities to solve their issues.