September 15, 2005

The Slumber Party Massacre (1982, Amy Jones)

Danny Peary: "But as hard as one looks, it's impossible to find a satirical-political-feminist theme that would explain why Jones or [screenwriter] Brown would be associated with this entry in the slice-and-dice genre." This is the movie where, at one point, the killer is filmed from behind with his drill hanging down between his legs, and same drill is later cut down to size by one of the girls. I know it aint Jeanne Dielman but c'mon. Also: pretty good mise-en-scene (I dug the opening van scene -- swiped for Scream 2 -- and when the killer sneaks into the bedroom) and the humor (the pizza scene and the aforementioned bedroom scene) makes it feel, at times, like a sandpaper-dry version of Student Bodies or something. Not great, but probably due for some kind of critical rehabilitation.

Posted by kza at 09:06 PM | Comments (1)

September 08, 2005

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005, Doug Liman)

Curiously lifeless. Kudos to Liman for finding a way of directing an action flick (like The Bourne Identity) that doesn't feel like it's from the Bruckheimer mold -- something he does with quiet moments and little details sets it apart from the others. But I knew it wasn't working during the dinner scene that leads to the big Pitt/Jolie fight (where they know the other is an enemy agent but aren't sure if the other knows they know... anyway) because a) we're sympathetic (as much as we can be, see the next point) towards both of these characters, and we know it's all going to work out anyway, so the tension is seriously muted; and b) there isn't much to these characters to really care about to begin with. I'm sure this script read well -- one can enjoy, intellectually, how the action tropes are used as metaphors for the couple's marriage -- but on the screen it's pretty empty and joyless, especially as the Smiths' marriage begins to gain meaning and joie de vivre. Doesn't help that Pitt, for me, still reads as a little boy and not an adult, making the relationship difficult to buy in the first place.

Posted by kza at 08:42 PM | Comments (2)