RSS feed for Erix
  • Captain America: Civil War

    Captain America: Civil War 2016

    ★★★★ Watched 28 Apr, 2016

    It's difficult, near impossible, to judge Marvel movies on their own merits as separate entities. Slowly but surely - and with few exceptions - they've become episodes in a long-running (and potentially interminable) series.

    I suppose there are times when certain individual parts are underwhelming, even as that doesn't entirely damage the strength of the whole. And Marvel is undeniably a powerful and mostly very satisfying franchise.

    This is no exception. People will want to call it "the best of…

  • The Happening

    The Happening 2008

    ★★★ Rewatched 17 Apr, 2016

    While this is far from flawless, M. Night Shyamalan still places forth an intriguing end-of-the-world scenario, and presents it in a film that possesses a quiet elegance despite its stumbles.

    The first of the stumbles is probably in the casting. Because Mark Wahlberg is about as believable as a high school science teacher as his brother made a believable "bad boy rapper" in the eighties.

    And then there's the film's uneven tone, which shambles back and forth between quirky and…

  • The Jungle Book

    The Jungle Book 2016

    ★★★ Watched 09 Apr, 2016

    Seeing as the Disney company seems hell bent on giving us modernized live action renderings of all their animated classics, they may as well have given us this.

    All things considered, it's about as perfect an adaptation of that particular movie as anyone could have hoped for. That is to say, it is very evident - from the first frame - that director Jon Favreau and his team of technicians and performers all have a deep reverence for the 1967…

  • Back to the Future

    Back to the Future 1985

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 02 Apr, 2016

    This classic 80s fantasy continues to hold up and demonstrate the right way to do these things.

    They make it look so easy, don't they?

    Really, what it boils down to is a perfectly constructed screenplay that manages to be squarely formulaic and sharply unpredictable at the same time. It builds like clockwork, throwing one fun character beat after another into the mix, with just the right dose of plot complications and reversals, arriving to a splendidly entertaining ticking clock…

  • Praying with Anger

    Praying with Anger 1992

    ★★★ Watched 02 Apr, 2016

    And so, it turns out that M. Night Shyamalan's debut film is not unlike the debut works of most of his contemporaries. Or, for that matter, most auteur filmmakers in general. It's a low key, intimate and very personal character study specifically keyed in to the cultural background of the man who made it.

    Shyamalan made it in India. On a budget of $800,000. And, while it's not precisely a Bollywood movie in the strictest sense of the word, it…

  • Wide Awake

    Wide Awake 1998

    ★★ Watched 29 Mar, 2016

    So this is kind of cute...I guess.

    More than anything, though, it can stand as an intriguing curio. To know that M. Night Shyamalan, who would ultimately become famous for making quirky high-profile thrillers for a couple of years before unfairly becoming a pariah, started his Hollywood career with this - of all things - a faith-based, coming of age weepie!

    There is a sense of "autobiographical indie filmmaker" about the thing, sure. Shyamalan was born in Pondicherry India, but…

  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

    Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 2016

    ★★ Watched 24 Mar, 2016

    For a day or two, I would like to inhabit the world of whatever collective hive mind actually conceived of this movie being a feasible commercial enterprise...because it must be an interesting and weird place. But only for a day or two, like a tourist. I wouldn't want to live there because it's probably a dangerous place. Full of insanity.

    Now, when I talk about "feasible commercial enterprise," I'm referring to the movie itself. The finished product. The idea of…

  • Jack's Back

    Jack's Back 1988

    ★★ Watched 22 Mar, 2016

    If Rowdy Herrington were a less sloppy filmmaker, this would be a much better film. But it's definitely unusual, and its heart is in the right place. And Herrington certainly had a lot of balls to try his hand at something this complicated his first time at bat. So I give the movie props for that much at least.

    There is a killer recreating Jack the Ripper's murders in L.A. Meanwhile, James Spader is a med student sucked into this…

  • Act of Vengeance

    Act of Vengeance 1974

    ★★ Watched 22 Mar, 2016

    Although this is a true blue AIP picture in the classic AIP tradition, I'm going to give it props for approaching its subject matter with something that passes for hard hitting frankness.

    Like most rape & revenge sagas of the seventies, this is an angry film. And it balances its titilation out with an appropriately vigorous indignation. As a group of survivors decide to get together and form a "Rape Squad" that goes out and "punishes" abusers... Everything from date-rapey douchebags…

  • The Neighbor

    The Neighbor 1993

    Watched 22 Mar, 2016

    So... I'm going to start out by describing what this movie is about.

    Basically, Rod Steiger is an obstetrician. And, when Linda Koslowski moves into the house next door (the house he grew up in) he becomes obsessed with her because she resembles his dead mother. When he learns Koslowski is with child, he goes on a bizarre quest to get her to lose the baby...or something...for whatever reason. The point being: he's nuts, and Koslowski looks like his mother…

  • 17 Again

    17 Again 2009

    ★★★ Watched 22 Mar, 2016

    An absolute case study in the parts outweighing the whole... This well-cast picture actually has a number of very good laughs. And it is anchored by an exceedingly charming Zac Efron, whose charisma just oozes off the screen.

    In this throwback to the glut of body switching comedies of yesteryear, Zac Efron brings to mind a young Michael J. Fox. And that's probably deliberate... I'm sure that, aside from reading An Actor Prepares, Mr. Efron was instructed to watch several…

  • Smithereens

    Smithereens 1982

    ★★★ Watched 19 Mar, 2016

    If Susan Seidelman's debut feature made any ripples during its initial release, I'll assume it was mainly because scrappy indies like it were harder to make then than they are now...and it had nothing to do with it being a particularly remarkable or transgressive film.

    That is not to say it isn't pretty good. And, in fact, Seidelman's French New Wave-influence (of course, what ELSE was going to be the point of reference for a young woman attending NYU Film…