A quick assessment of some notable movies I saw this month:
The Hunt for Red October: I hadn't seen any Jack Ryan movies before this, and I thought he was more of a hands-on field agent. It was interesting to learn that he was actually a research analyst. The movie had a fairly interesting storyline, but it seemed to drag at places. There wasn't much happening visually on screen really. I'm thinking the book will be a lot more interesting too read. Sean Connery does a pretty good job, but Alec Baldwin is relegated to almost a guest appearance status. Anyway, I'm intrigued enough to someday watch the other Jack Ryan movies.
Being John Malkovich: What a nutter of a movie! Absolutely insane! I must have jumped up astonished and dazed and shouted out HOLY FUCK atleast half a dozen times during this movie! It was fabulous, a real treat to watch. The story: John Cusack is a failed puppeteer, a loser basically (and he plays the role real good) who takes up a job to sustain himself. The job is on the 7 1/2 floor of a building, one of the many bizzare quirks in the movie. He discovers a portal there, behind a filing cabinet, that leads into the mind of the actor John Malkovich. Hah! And they then start seeing everything through the eyes of JM. Bizzare! There's a lotta existential thoughts in there, like what would happen if a man enters a portal that leads into his own mind, and are we all puppets and blah blah, which can safely be ignored if you want to just take this movie for what it presents at face value! This is simply an absolutely trippy movie, with fabulous performances by everyone involved!
Sleepy Hollow: When the movie had just released, I didn't expect the headless horseman to be an actual ghoul. I don't think that's how it is in the original story, but I could be wrong (I haven't read the book, I've just seen the cartoon on tv a looooong time back). I always though the story was more of a character study of Ichabod Crane (kickass name). Tim Burton directs it as a creepy detective movie of sorts, and it's fun. Johnny Depp is once more at home playing yet another quirky charcter - a police constable who's trying to get the police at large to adopt scientific methods to apprehend criminals and solve crimes (he also keeps having wierd dream interludes that I thought added nothing of substance to the narrative and killed the pace of the story really). The ghoul is question, the headless horseman, played delightfully by Christopher Walken, is a real bad-ass. He should get a spin-off of his own, that movie would be a rip-roaring gory fun-filled ride. It would be a great horror-comedy really. Anyway, this was a great movie with trademark Burton visuals and colors. And i really like it.
Dog Soldiers: Rather thrilling, and high on action. It's not really horror, inspite of having werewolves, but it gives you a rush nevertheless. Oh, and it's very visceral, gory. The setting's pretty good. A bunch of Irish (or Brit) soldiers are in Scotland, on what they believe to be a training mission. Turns out they're , up by the Special Forces squad to be bait for werewolves. Whoohoo, let the massacre begin! The characters are all great (i loved hearing them talk), and the creature effects were very realistic. As real as a werewolf can be, anyway. A very engrossing creature feature.
Bubba Ho-Tep: There's a great behind this movie. The Elvis that died was actually an Elvin-impersonator, with whom the real Elvis had swapped placed. The real deal Elvis is now old and wasting away in a retirement community. Among his companions are a guy who believes he's The Lone Ranger and a black dude who believes he's JFK (he's black because the CIA dyed him that color - the greatest cover-up in the world). These whacky bits are fabulous, and good 'ol Bruce Campbell make a fantastic Elvis. The "creature" part of this creature-feature is largely disappointing. It's an egyptiAn soul-sucker, a mummy, who's killing the oldies one by one. It's upto Elvis n JFK to stop him. I suspect the low-budget killed most of the thrills that could have been there. I suspect the original story, by Joe R. Lansdale, will be a helluva lot more chilling (he's a pretty good horror writer, has done some amazing comics for Avatar Press - check out the By Bizarre Hands series, if you're interested).
Starship Troopers - I finally saw the entire movie from start to end. A whole lotta fun. The bugs attacking in humongous numbers as simply insane! On a side note, since the human goal was eradication of the bug world, and not colonisation, I didn't understand why they didn't simply nuke the planet from orbit, or use planet-busters of some sort (I'm sure that if they've advanced enough to develop warp travel and interstellar starships, the weapons development would have kept pace. I doubt bullets will still be used in the far future. After all, the first application of most new tech is in the military).