Apologies for not producing a Hex Bookshelf last week, our staff were ill. So instead we’re jumping into our Hex Film Picks for this month. The theme this time is what we last watched/played.
There was a lot of public anger after the market melt down at Wall Street between between 2007-2009. Assault on Wall Street, written and directed by Uwe Boll (yep, that Uwe Boll) taps into this and somehow manages to come out as a reasonable watch, which I enjoyed and was horrified by in equal measure when I watched it while recently ill.
Despite this being an Uwe Boll film, there’s actually a lot of thoughtful build-up as to why the film’s main character Jim Baxford (Dominic Purcell), a former soldier and now armoured vehicle driver, does what the title says. The amount of tragedy and crap that is heaped on Jim is of Shakespearean proportions, and almost unbelievable at times, but Boll leaves no stone unturned in chronicling why Jim would take the law into his own hands after his life savings are wiped out. This means that the film’s final quarter doesn’t seem as impossible as it might sound.
If you’re looking for a Boll film to try and stomach, then this could be it. But do beware the corny, slightly implausible ending.
I’ll be honest, I’ve not been watching a whole load of films recently. On Halloween we watched Tokyo Zombie and Wish Master 2 respectively. So, the last film that I watched was WishMaster 2. Don’t worry, I liked it.
The concept of Wish Master 2 is a warped version of a genie story with a difference. So, the story goes; the person who frees the genie has 3 wishes before the entire race of genies are released from hell and put on earth. But for that to happen, the genie must gather souls in exchange for wishes – all of which happen in freaky and deformed ways.
I’d seen it before and remembered it was my favourite out of the Wish Master series. It’s got more humour and gruesome horror elements than most of the others and it’s one that’s likely to stay with me for a while.
Tim Burton is one of those filmmakers – like Tarantino, or Miyazaki – who everyone else seems to love but I just don’t get. There are, however, some pretty big holes in my knowledge of his films. Until this weekend, I’d only really seen his Batman movies, the first half of Ed Wood, The Nightmare Before Christmas (which arguably doesn’t count), and a handful of his more recent films. Of those, only Sleepy Hollow really sparked for me – and that’s probably just ‘cos I love splatter and gore.
Since Burton’s popularity is pretty heavily in decline, and his more recent films (the ones I have seen) are generally considered his worst, it seems unfair to judge the guy. At the very least I need to see one of his early classics. So this weekend, for the first time, I watched Beetlejuice.
And it’s good. I liked it. I loved seeing Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis as a newly-dead couple trying to come to terms with their weird and bureaucratic afterlife, and trying to scare the new owners out of their house. It’s incredibly inventive and creates a really intriguing world full of ghouls and rules and sandworms. And if that had stayed the focus, I think I could have loved it.
But then the focus shifts onto Michael Keaton’s titular Betelgeuse, and it all goes quickly to hell. Apparently he’s a bio-exorcist – a ghost who exorcises the living – and that’s an utterly fantastic concept that goes absolutely nowhere. Instead he’s almost immediately reduced to just a nasty monster who must be got rid of, like all nasty monsters. This is one of Burton’s most iconic characters and he’s honestly the worst character in the film. All the worldbuilding and crazy imagery ends up meaning nothing, as the rules just get ignored and new ones made up on the spot – suddenly he needs to get married, because why not!
There’s stuff here I liked – it’s a visual feast and that first half is pretty great – and it’s certainly nowhere near the travesty of Alice in Wonderland or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But in the end, sorry everyone, I still don’t get it.
Feeling seasonal, I persuaded my housemates to watch V for Vendetta shortly after watching the local fireworks. One of my housemates is American, and although I couldn’t promise that the film would tell the history of Guy Fawkes, it certainly gives the feelings behind it all.
What results is a brutal and bloody film. I’d forgotten just how bloody it could get. It’s the kind of film that makes the situation not so hard to imagine – and that’s terrifying.
It’s also a film about uniting against a common enemy, and the frightful government ala 1984 seem really quite mean. There’s great messages in this film.
V for Vendetta has a pretty good cast, with the likes of Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving gracing the stage. It has a remarkable cast of British actors too – the breed of actor who you see in almost all British television.
My American housemate liked the film. I was happy it introduced him to many of the best actors Britain has to offer. I think it’s a brilliant story, and I like the bravado and filmic quality of it. It certainly makes me want to read the comic from which it’s based.