Saturday, September 24, 2011

Irreviews, 2011: Issue IV

The Descent: Part 2 (2009)
Director: Jon Harris
Writer(s): James McCarthy, J Blakeson, James Watkins, Neil Marshall (characters)
Starring: Shauna Macdonald, Krysten Cummings, Gavan O'Herlihy, Anna Skellern
It's a generalization that movie sequels aren't as good as the films they follow (and, likely, not entirely true). It's another generalization that horror movie sequels are despicably bad (and, likely, true). That stated, The Descent: Part 2 isn't a bad movie... it's just not good, either. A horribly contrived setup and throwaway characters (something the first movie avoided) just make this another run-of-the-mill move from the horror-movie-mill of the motion picture industry. Not to mention an ending that, well... didn't make a whole lot of sense.
Verdict: Uber-fans of the original, sure. Otherwise, SKIP it.

The Expendables (2010)
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Writer(s): Dave Callaham, Sylverster Stallone
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Giselle Itié, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke
A throwback to the action movies of the 80s in every way, shape, and form. Plot? 80s. Hell, Reagan could've written it. Characters? 80s. Total "badass" archetypes. Actors? Heh... mostly 80s action stars who are well over the hill. But, it's this last point that makes the movie kinda fun. Stallone knew what he was doing when he put this spectacularly spectacle-filled garbage together. It did its job.
Verdict: Did I enjoy it? Yes. Can I recommend it? No. SKIP it.

Horror Express (1972)
Director: Gene Martin
Writer(s): Arnaud d'Usseau, Julian Zimet
Starring: Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Alberto de Mendoza, Silvia Tortosa
What's this? Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee on the same side??? That alone makes this B-movie nod to both Hammer films and The Thing From Another World worth seeing. Yes, the plot is ridiculous, the monster/alien/zombie/whatever-the-fuck is ridiculous. But, damn... Cushing and Lee! On the same side! And Telly Savalas as a Russian sort-of-villain, to boot. This is guilty pleasure at its best.
Verdict: Yeah, well, why not? SEE it.

Iron Man 2 (2010)
Director: Jon Favreau
Writer(s): Justin Theroux, Stan Lee (comic), Jack Kirby (comic)
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke
It's a generalization that movie sequels aren't as good as the films they follow (that sounds familiar...). And while Iron Man 2 is not as good as Iron Man, it's an awesome movie. The recast of Rhodes from Terrence Howard to Don Cheadle had me worried, at first, but it's now clear to me that Cheadle's a good fit. Sure, he lacks Howard's somberness, but he more than makes up for it with Cheadle-ness (that's a good thing). And, anyway, who cares? This film's all about the suit and the man who plays it. Robert Downey, Jr. keeps the fun going, and even Scarlett Johansson isn't as annoying as she can often be (I state this for no apparent reason, since I typically enjoy her films).
Verdict: SEE it.

Shiver (2007)
Director: Isidro Ortiz
Writer(s): Hernán Migoya, José Gamo, Alejandro Hernández, Isidro Ortiz
Starring: Junio Valverde, Francesc Orella, Mar Sodupe, Jimmy Barnatán, Blanca Suárez
Shiver marks yet another Spanish horror film that is... well... good. I can't be sure if it's because the Spanish are just good at horror at the moment, or because of the "foreign film effect" in which only good foreign films are imported to the US (probably the latter), but Shiver is a good movie. It plays upon vampire and werewolf themes without (egad) being about either of those two creatures. That's probably giving too much away, so I'll shut up now.
Verdict: SEE it.


  1. cool...i'll give Shiver a look, but could care less about superhero movies. yawn.

  2. I'm a Downey fan, so... But graphic horror (blood and guts, jump scenes, etc.) do nothing for me. Seems like back in the day, filmmakers were better at psychological horror. The Innocents, based on Henry James' Turn of the Screw was one of the scariest movies I've ever seen (but that's just me), all without one drop of blood. There is a kiss scene in the movie that is truly horrifying.

  3. You're on a movie bender . . .I've only seen Iron Man 1 out of all these suggestions. Not a Marvel fan myself but I do like Downey.