Empty Balcony: Wind River, or, Longmire: The Movie

Every year Hollywood releases a handful of thrillers that are well-made, good entertainment, but are fairly anonymous. They fill a market for solid mysteries. They can’t scratch the primal itch that makes big time action flicks so reliable at the box office, but they have the benefit of treating their audience like adults, which is nice. Wind River is one of those films. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: Wind River, or, Longmire: The Movie”

The Empty Balcony: American Hustle

Five minutes into American Hustle, I realized I probably was not going to like the film. I stuck around for the next two hours, but the film never grabbed me. It has been praised by critics, but I consider myself kin to the many other viewers who left the film feeling apathetic. Us emotionless millions, unmoved by a film with such heavyweights, such ACTING — we are legion. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: American Hustle”

The Empty Balcony: The Avengers, or, the War of the MacGuffin

Dictionary.com defines MacGuffin as “an object or event in a book or film that serves as the impetus for the plot.” Wikipedia goes further, defining it as “a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonist (and sometimes the antagonist) is willing to do and sacrifice almost anything to pursue, often with little or no narrative explanation as to why it is considered so desirable (emphasis added).” Alfred Hitchcock is credited with popularizing the term in the movie industry, employing it himself, even turning Cary Grant into a MacGuffin in North by Northwest. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: The Avengers, or, the War of the MacGuffin”

October Horrorshow: 28 Days Later & 28 Weeks Later

So much horror is garbage that every occasion that sees a thoughtful and intelligent entry to the genre is a welcome reminder that a film that tries to scare the viewer to death is not automatically bad, or packed to the gills with cliché. While slasher flicks and the endless variations of SCREWED scenarios (see the review of Quarantine for a definition) are good fodder for the bloodthirsty moviegoer, the need for true quality is still there. All the camp, all the gore, all the outlandishness that gives the horror genre its identity is, unfortunately, as full of as much grace and depth as a carnival funhouse. Enjoyable as that can be, and as much as it keeps bloody murder from being weighed down by too much realism, a well-handled production with a talented cast, a talented director at the helm, and a good story can always be applauded as something that is, my goodness, actually worth seeing. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: 28 Days Later & 28 Weeks Later”