Scream 4 / Scre4m: 15 years after the Woodsboro Massacre, ghostface returns for another whodunnit. The biggest failing of this fourth outing is the copious number of drawn-out, boring, unrealistic, painfully ‘meta’ dialogue-based scenes – executed by a bunch of smug ‘teens’ with a
hardcore superficial knowledge of the horror genre. The level of self-awareness in Scream 4 is so high that it’s genuinely hard to gauge and continually courts with ‘spoof‘? Despite being promised a ‘New decade, new rules’, what we actually get is a fifteen year old concept with some glaring modern references that stick out big time: social media / hand held footage / torture porn… To further challenge your pain threshold the knife-fodder cast are the epitome of boring, the ending isn’t too hard to figure out from the middle of the film, there’s still no nudity (the most common thread in all horror films!) – also, where’s everyone’s parents when this is all hitting the fan? There are a few standout moments, but they’re few and far between: the speech about victim culture and modern ‘celebrity/fame’ is memorable – and the opening 10 minutes with the Stab franchise was a smart way to start the movie. Unfortunately, this relies too much on the tricks of the original film (namely self-awareness), which seems a tad cheesy after so many ‘Scary Movie’ movies. Unnecessary money-making remake.
The Expendables: A band of gruff mercenaries feel up to the task of overthrowing a corrupt Latin-American dictator. First thing’s first: this film has the action cast to end all casts – while it’s not 100% perfect, you just don’t see this many huge names in a film these days. It’s hard to describe but seeing star after star after star is spectacle in itself. Then there’s the action, which is awesome – and although CGI heavy, it’s great fun watching henchmen get mauled by fists, blades, bullets, fire and grenades; watching anything and everything get blown up; watching all the standout musclemen fight each other; and watching set piece after set piece. Little else is particularly noteworthy, but little else matters in a film like this; the script’s terrible laughable, the plot is contrived beyond belief, the acting’s utterly forgettable (everyone’s on auto-pilot) and even the ‘hot chick’ was a bit of a dog. Essentially a B-movie with an A-star cast and massive budget, this isn’t a homage to 1980s blockbuster action films, this is a 1980s blockbuster action film. It’s also an action film for action fans, and it does the big scenes way better than anything else I’ve seen recently. I laughed, I cringed, and I shouted ‘Holy Shit’ (usually while clutching a limb that’d just been snapped on screen) about 20 times. What can I say? I’m a sucker for big names, big guns, big explosions and big set pieces. Roll on the Expendables 2!
Zodiac: this is a pretty damn good film. Great story, especially if you’re in to your crime/thriller films. The one thing that stood out for me is the acting, all the main characters are absolutely superb; Gyllenghall and Rufallo especially proving that they’re good enough to be proper leading men & Downy Jr playing his typecast ‘crazy guy’. The only real problem for me was that it wars a touch on the long side, at just under 3 hours, it seems pretty dragged out – which isn’t helped by a slump around the 110 minute mark. Despite this it remains interesting and looks really retro / authentic. It’s also amazing how slow and fragmented old-school investigations were – this will definitely go down as one of the best cop films of the naughties!