Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
Thanks to recent living-dead successes like The Walking Dead, typical zombie tropes have shifted from bloody immediate survival stories to tales exploring the long-term lasting effects on those that have survived in the aftermath. Maybe that has to do with the current nihilistic mind-frame of our society? In the past, we believed such an apocalyptic scenario would be a horrifying experience that, if we banded together, we could survive and reach a brighter new day. Not so much anymore. Decades of being beaten down have taught us we could survive anything, but we’d wish for death regardless because nothing ever truly changes. The low-key, Romero-esque riff Dead Season, about a handful of survivors who reach an island only to face worse horrors, is a pitch-perfect example of this new dark turn in an already pitch-black genre. Hope is truly a dying ideal.
French animation is ugly. There, I said it. As much as I want to get into it and its current renaissance of sorts with films like A Cat in Paris and The Secret of the Kells, I think the only animated French flick I’ve ever truly dug was 1973's Fantastic Planet, and that was mostly thanks to its massive creep factor and heavy Czech influences. Taking this into account, the latest French cartoon to infect these shores is the environmentalist yarn Mia and the Migoo, filled with eco-friendly children, rainforest destruction, clichéd "Tree of Life" nonsense, globby spirit fairies and the off-putting voice of James Woods. As far as who this is for, I think adults would find it too simple and childish, while kids will be bored outright by the pro-green storyline that is bogged down in boring lore and side plots. But one thing everyone can agree on: it’s certainly a pretentious eyesore.
Erotic cinema was just so much simpler in the ’60s. A little skin here or there, an elongated scene of simulated dry-humping, and, of course, scores of unsubstantiated political undertones because, hey, if you’re gonna commit self-abuse, you might as well learn about something while you do it. (I think that’s actually in the Bible, if I’m not mistaken.) You can keep your I Am Curious (Yellow) and your WR: Mysteries of the Organism — I’ll take the Joe Sarno Swedish trash-trilogy of Inga flicks any day of the week. In the introductory movie, Inga, a young girl named, aptly enough, Inga, moves in with her aunt and discovers her sexuality. Fair enough. The follow-up, Seduction of Inga, is more of the same, but with some Swedish pop music thrown in for good measure. Finally, The Indelicate Balance is all about marriage, how it sucks, and how infidelity will cure all of your marital woes. Those Swedes might be on to something there!
Remember the final five minutes of The Blair Witch Project, where characters are running around and screaming and crying in a basement and the film just ends and you’re left there just thinking “WTF?” Did you enjoy it? Was it your favorite part? If you said yes, you’re in luck because Eduardo Sanchez, one of the original directors of Blair Witch, has made a movie that is seemingly inspired by that one scene. When recovering drug addict Molly moves into her childhood home with her truck-driving husband, the long days alone start to eat away at her: She begins to hear disembodied voices offer ominous warnings. Pretty soon, the voices turn into a malevolent force that turns on her in the most disturbingly violent of ways. I think. The last half of the movie is ambiguous and baffling, which is annoying for me — but, like I said, fans of Blair will be on likably familiar territory.
Cult director Mary Harron, the genius behind such ahead-of-their-time works as American Psycho, I Shot Andy Warhol and The Notorious Bettie Page must have gotten tired of making movies that are critically acclaimed but open to little box office. Because with the vapid Twi-lite tween terror tale The Moth Diaries, she seems to just throw her hands up in the air and say, “Paycheck, please!” In what is basically an Anglicized rip-off of the 1973 Mexican horror flick Alucarda, a group of girls in a posh boarding school fall under the spell of the creepy, Kewpie-Goth theatrics of the new girl. Central figure Rebecca (Sarah Bolger) has an obsessive attachment to her BFF, and when said creepy Kewpie-Goth chick Ernessa starts to steal all her gal-pals, Rebecca has to decide if Ernessa is an unholy creature of the night or just the personification of her pangs of unrequited sexual love. And while these themes are interesting, the movie would rather instead pander to the Team Edward crowd. A wasted opportunity from someone who should know better.