From FlickRev.com, my review of a simply superb horror film that plays with the common cliches to provide fresh new “spins” on what we’ve so often seen–thereby putting the thrill back in watching horror:
Throughout the film a constant invocation arises of chaos theory—the concept of a system whose workings and processes are intensely dependent upon specific internal conditions: when such conditions change, even in the slightest, the processes change—often considerably. This is often referred to as the “butterfly effect”, after Edward Lorenz’s famous analogy of a butterfly flapping its wings, in theory, determining the outcomes of storm patterns on the opposite end of the Earth. At any rate, the essence of this aspect of chaos theory, when applied to philosophy of life—as this film does—is that the slightest decision an individual makes (however unconsciously) can and quite possibly would have a lasting impact on major elements in the system said individual partook in, at the very least, for the duration of the choice.
“Why was that supposed to be funny? The scene betrays a basic ignorance of a fundamental principle of humor: It isn’t funny when innocent bystanders are humiliated. It’s funny when they humiliate themselves.”
–Roger Ebert, on a particularly embarrassing moment in “Head Over Heels”
If only most comedies these days would have listened to Ebert’s advice. Alas, “troll humor” is the norm these days….
Also see Ebert’s review of “Freddy Got Fingered”, which he begins by listing how 2001 saw a sudden surge of crude-and-gruesome-and-disgusting-and-seemingly-proud-of-it “comedies”. It’s a very telling list, which, along with the above quote, basically reads like every darn thing that’s wrong with far too many modern-day comedies.
The 1980s and the 1990s was in many ways something of a golden age for comedies, both in movies (many of which starred Tom Hanks) and in television (from the triple-threat of “The Cosby Show”, “Family Ties”, and “Cheers”…all the way to “Friends” and its own counterparts).
How the heck did we, in the spans of a few years, move from THAT…to the unfunny, annoying-at-best, disgustingly-weird-at-worst “vomitoriums” that remain the norm to this day? In lieu of human wit, we have human waste. Rather than clever profundity, we have cringe-worthy profanity. In short…instead of shining examples of comedic excellence, we have what essentially amounts to a concentrated pile of cinematic excrement.
Kudos to Mr. Ebert for bringing out out the scooper.
For FlickRev’s “More Than The Movie” column, I turn to how the recent “Captain America” film speaks to politically Conservative filmgoers, in the manner in which it tackles themes of honest patriotism and the liberty vs. security debate–as well as its prominent nod to the theories of commentator Glenn Beck, regarding enemies seeking to destroy American principles “from the inside”:
“What I don’t understand is why zombies are so graceless. They walk with the lurching shuffle of a drunk trying to skate through urped Slurpees to the men’s room.”
–Roger Ebert, in his review of “Resident Evil”
Believe me, one sympathizes with Ebert. Honestly, it’s a wonder we’re supposed to regard those things as a threat, they’re so permanently slow and clumsy! (But then, a lot of the “classic” movie monsters did that…and the victims were basically just victims of their own frozen feet as they stood there and screamed rather than do the smart thing and run–or at least just walk–away.)
My look at the wide-releases for this month: