Repo Man: A down-and-out kid takes a job as a car Repo Man, but soon gets mixed up in an alien conspiracy. This feels intentionally retro and ‘cheapy’, like a 1950s era B-movie (aliens, radiation, dystopia…) Under the surface it feels like the director had a lot to say about the mood and culture of the time; unfortunately, it feels like there wasn’t enough budget or focus to properly explore the promising glimpses. The film’s set in quite a cynical version of L.A. where all factions are caricatured: the young punks/skinheads are knuckleheads, the repo men are jaded, the conspiracists are ‘nutjobs’, the government agents are obedient – it’s all a bit surreal, especially when characters drink from generically branded ‘Beer‘, ‘Rum’, & ‘Food’ bottles/tins, and spout lines like “Fuck this… Lets go do some crimes”. It stands out most for focusing on the disenfranchised youth of the 1980s, but the appeal (and audience connection) have faded in the past 31 years. There’s a great Surf Rock / New Wave soundtrack, and some infamous lines of dialogue, particularly those delivered by Harry Dean Stanton, who’s the only actor that truly stands out, spitting magically heartfelt and bitter lines like “Ordinary fuckin’ people… I hate ’em”. Repo Man is billed as ‘Sci-Fi‘ and ‘Punk‘ – I’d argue that this is neither, but simply a Troma or Corman styled B-movie. It’s cheap, cheerful, in the same boat as Surf Nazis – but overall better, more charming, and feels authentically ‘cult.
Tucker & Dale vs Evil: two standard horror-movie lookin’ rednecks are trying to enjoy some time at their new vacation home when a bunch of hot college kids come along and start killing themselves all over their land! This film turns every dumb & clichéd horror trope on its head and makes them laugh out loud funny – as you see events from the kid’s eyes looking like a dull horror movie, and from the misunderstood Tucker / Dale’s perspective, where it looks like a teenage suicide pact. The script’s funny, cast nail the comedy and there’s plenty of over-the top blood-n-guts to keep horror fans amused. Tucker & Dale is an awesome horror picture, for fans of the genre, that would make an excellent double-bill with Cabin in the Woods. Easily one of the best horror comedies around. Never judge a redneck by his blood-stained overalls! Smart, funny and highly original comedy horror.
Somewhere: A successful-but-despondant film star has to spend time with his estranged daughter, they hang out, we watch. This film makes driving a Ferrari boring; it makes Italy look boring; it makes having beautiful women swoon over you boring; worst of all it makes two kinky blonde twins, doing cheeky pole-dancing as nurses rocking to the Foo Fighters boring!! I know this is supposed to be the point but when a character appears to loathe that lifestyle, this reviewer feels no pitty. Sofia Coppola definitely has her own style; unfortunately, it makes me nod off – I genuinely fell asleep twice in the cinema during Lost in Translation, and was so close during this – other punters were more sensible and walked out (and if it hadn’t been the actual ending I’d have walked out after the last scene too). There’s far too many overlong boring shots of mundane non-events. We see some cooking, guitar hero, sunbathing eating, smoking, breathing, empty conversations… it’s essentially a mind numbingly boring fly-on-the-wall focusing on a rather unlikable person. Neither the story or emotions progress, but Dorff and Fanning Jr both do particularly well considering what they have to work with. To top it all off this was sickeningly smug and self-referential; harking back to previous films, echoing a misunderstood celebrity upbringing, and even Sofia’s iPod. This is the rich and famous complaining about being rich and famous. Totally inconsequential, bourgeois, middle class ridiculousness.
NB: If I was that famous I would be traveling the world and having as much fun with family and friends as possible – definitely wouldn’t be a miserable shit like Johnny Marco.