Sunday, September 02, 2007
Movie Reviews: HALLOWEEN & BALLS OF FURY
In this update of John Carpenter's classic horror movie, director Rob Zombie goes deep into the psychology of what makes a serial killer. Disturbingly evil even as a little kid, a young Michael Myers (Daeg Faerch) kills his sister and is sent to a mental hospital where he's treated by Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) who becomes obsessed with his young patient. Years later, an adult Michael (Tyler Mane) escapes and goes on a killing spree, especially going after a trio of beautiful teenagers (Scout Taylor-Compton, Danielle Harris, Kristina Klebe) on the scariest night of the year.
Cast Tyler Mane, Sheri Moon, Scout Taylor-Compton, William Forsythe, Malcolm McDowell, Danielle Harris (more)
Director(s) Rob Zombie
Writer(s) Rob Zombie
Status In theaters (wide)
Release Date Aug. 31, 2007
Running Time 109 minutes
MPAA Rating R - for strong brutal bloody violence and terror throughout, sexual content, graphic nudity and language
Rob Zombie's Halloween can't be called a total failure but it's hardly a success. The original Halloween was a movie whose biggest asset was its ability to create a wonderful sense of atmosphere and dread while never splashing gallons of blood on the screen. In additional, to jettisoning this approach Zombie decides to amp up the blood and gore, post wrap reshoots added as many 6 more kills to the original cut, and give Michael Myers a more detailed back story. Zombie's gritty dirtiness is alive and well in the first half and it most fails as we see Myers family more as a clichéd red neck family. If we learn anything from the set up it's that Zombie really enjoys shooting his wife and wants the audience to know, as evidenced during a superfluous stripping scene done with a very heavy hand to the Aerosmith some "Love Hurts". Michael Myers, himself, is no longer a shape of evil but instead Jeffery Dahmer in a mask. The first half of the film chronicles all of Myer oh so generic serial killer issues; horrible home life, killing small animals and so on and so on. Removing the mask, so to speak, on these horror icons, much like in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, undercuts the power these masked boogiemen originally possessed. Meyer's is no longer a tangible shape of evil incarnate but instead he's a twisted psycho path with family issues. In the real world the later would be much more terrifying but in these fables or urban legends on screen it just comes off as a generic paint by the numbers story. The second half of the film proceeds more along the lines of the original film throwing a few uninteresting twist along the way that neither shock or surprise in any way. The body count rises but we mostly don't care as the characters which die have less depth than Myer's mask. Actual acting in this film is a scarce commodity. Most deliver lines with the enthusiasm of an elementary school production and Malcolm Mcdowell appears to have given up on the production before he ever did a scene, phoning it in would be a kind term. Finally and probably most damning, Zombie forgot one major thing about Halloween, he forgot to make it scary. In his effort to make Myer's a more rounded out character and adding buckets of blood to this story, I can't say there's a real scare in the entire thing. Lots of "shocking" things are placed on screen but they carry no weight as Zombie leaves nothing to the imagination, he did remember to make the 2nd half his section to place many nods and winks to the original and in the end all it does is keep reminding you how you could be watching the much better original.
BALLS OF FURY
This hilarious, outrageous comedy of a secret society that takes its clandestine Ping-Pong tournaments very seriously. Former professional player (Dan Fogler) immerses himself in this underground group, and his great goal is to beat archrival Feng (Christopher Walken), his father's killer.
Cast Dan Fogler, Christopher Walken, Maggie Q, George Lopez, Thomas Lennon, James Hong (more)
Director(s) Robert Ben Garant
Writer(s) Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant
Status In theaters (wide)
Release Date Aug. 29, 2007
Running Time 90 minutes
MPAA Rating PG-13 - for crude and sex-related humor, and for language
Balls of Fury is a silly incredibly ridiculous romp merging Enter the Dragon with Beerfest. Written with reckless abandon by Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant, Reno 911, it never takes itself seriously and shoots mindless jokes at the audience with such rapid fire succession that it rarely lingers very long on the duds. The cast seem to be really enjoying themselves in the absurdity of the entire endeavor. Dan Fogler is like a less energetic version of Jack Black and that's not a bad thing. Lopez throws out the occasional funny line but is mostly left to give out generic jokes. Thomas Lennon's crazed ping pong champion is hilariously over the top, played like a ping pong Ivan Drago. Walken seems so comfortable in the craziness and plays it straight even though he's dressed like a transvestite geisha. As a whole, this movie's funny and has some silly off the wall charm. It'll probably not hold up to repeated viewing but still it's a good way to turn the frontal lobe off and just enjoy stupidity.