Monday, June 20, 2011

Review Haiku: Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Staring into the plot ... er ... rabbit hole.

If the Red Queen yelled
'Off with her head!' one more time,
I'd have cut off mine.

Reviews: Red Riding Hood (2011)

What, like, big teeth you have...
When I heard that Orphan scripter David Leslie Johnson wrote an update of the Red Riding Hood legend, I peed just a little bit.

Sucking my pee back into my peehole was word that it would be directed by Catherine Hardwicke. Though she burst onto the scene with the awesome raw, kinetic teen-hormone horror of Thirteen, her version of Twilight was twee, phony, pablum.  

What happened? I mean, Thirteen would totally flip off Twilight, then chuck an empty beer bottle at its head while sucking a whippet balloon.

So I wondered to myself if Catherine would reclaim the mantle of violent, imploding teen girl angst by putting a modern, punk rock spin on a classic legend?  Or would she cover up all the raw dark edges in a shitty Twi-hard sheen that lacked anything resembling a real human emotion? My answer is best described visually....

The original script for Red was a clever, dark take on the legend. Grounded by the idea of the "monster" as the projected unintegrated shadow side of a 14th century European community, the script combined the witch-hunting insanity of The Crucible with the whodunnit aspect of an Agatha Christie story. The script had its weak spots. Red was a little passive and weak for a modern protagonist. Many of the characterizations were one-dimensional. But there were just enough allusions to the town's heart of darkness, that it gave the more silly, plot-driven elements some weight.

Unfortunately, Hardwicke made the choice to double-down on  the weak points of the script, so we are presented with 14th century Europe via the CW. By scrubbing out all the the darker elements that gave a potentially silly and dated story some gravitas, she went and delivered some Twilight-porn.

Redken Molding paste was big in the 1400s
The small town looks straight out of Disneyland. No 14th century disease and suffering here. Everyone is scrubbed clean and moussed within a inch of their lives. Despite werewolf attacks, medieval torture devices, and boiling pots of mealy looking stew, you never once feel transported to anything remotely dangerous or medieval. Everything feels incredibly safe. Then there is the wolf. Dear God, the wolf. The less said about that unscary CGI abomination the better.

In the script, Red's sister Lucie, was an interesting, compelling and conflicted character with incestuous, and perhaps suicidal drives. Clearly that would be too much of a bummer for the tweens, so the movie glosses over one of the most tragic moments of pathos in the script.

I wished Ms. Hardwicke could have made Red more like Thirteen, injecting it with the same throbbing hormonally punk fuck-you energy that powered that micro-budgeted film. I think that would have been a kick in the ass.

Instead, we have this over-produced piece of studio poop, that was hardly pee-worthy. Cathy, I'm sending you my dry cleaning bill!

For some Red Riding Good, go rent Freeway!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Devlish Advertising

Sorry I am in the lame zone posting-wise here. Buried in projects, blah, blah. Assuming you haven't abandoned me already and jumped into a more prolific blogger's arms (ahem, My New Plaid Pants), I offer you this little morsel of advertising goodness.

Dirt Devil-The Exorcist from MrPrice2U on Vimeo.