Shitty Movie Sundays: xXx

Finally, a film for the energy drink generation.

What a putrid mess. In truth, the only reason I watched xXx at all is because I noticed that there were no films under ‘X’ in the Empty Balcony database. Every other letter in the English alphabet is represented, but in the many years I’ve been pounding out these reviews I’ve never once reviewed a film whose title began with the letter X. Now that I’ve seen xXx, I never have to watch it again. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: xXx”

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: 1408

For about half the film, Mikael Håfström’s 1408, based on the Stephen King short story of the same name, is creepy and frightening. By then, the viewer has grown used to Mike Enslin’s (John Cusack) predicament, and the film has no other alternative than to fall into convention. That’s unfortunate, because if Håfström had been able to sustain the atmosphere of the first half throughout the film, it would rank among the best ghost films of all time. A lot can be said for a film with potential like that. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: 1408”