Usually, I watch a whole lot of films, and it makes a column where I play "catch up" very necessary. Recently, however, I've been catching up on television I've been missing (LOST and DEXTER, mainly), so I haven't had the need to post a "Blurbs" update. But, recently, I've seen and completed a few things you should know about, and I want to write about. So, here it is, more Blurbs:
This is an oddity: an adult horror film that plays like a Victorian drama, and features an abundant amount of realistic gore and practical creature effects by legend Rick Baker -which draws directly from the amazing Jack Pierce's original design for Lon Chaney, Jr (and which is amazing). The transformations are on a level not seen since Baker's work in AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, merging CGI and practical effects pretty well. On top of all that, it features Benecio del Toro, Emily Blunt, Anthony Hopkins and Hugo Weaving in a film about murder and werewolves which is tonally all over the place and beautifully photographed. I liked it. There's gore aplenty, and I liked the creakiness of the film, emphasizing mood and atmosphere over the first half of the film before unleashing the beast after a rather terrific and much-too-short asylum sequence, which I for one would have gladly watched for another twenty minutes or so, especially if given more background story on the wild boy in India. You'll know what I mean if you see it. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we have a good werewolf movie again, one that can easily stand up to GINGER SNAPS and THE HOWLING, and which features actual werewolves and not teenagers without shirts. This one's a hit, but I don't think it'll be financially successful. Unfortunately, this isn't what mainstream audiences want - not even mainstream horror ones.
I'm a late-comer to this show, probably due to my insane drive to simply watch entire storylines at once (it's why I generally spend more money on trade paperbacks of comic books than the individual issues, which is neither here nor there), but so far I've really enjoyed it, though sometimes it's too contradictory for its own good - I definitely see this "expansiveness" becoming annoying in another season or so. Anyway, I'm down with what Abrams created initially, and it's keeping me interested and guessing, and it's actually got a pretty good ensemble, though I must admit I'm no fan of Matthew Fox, and must further admit he doesn't do that poorly here. If there's a highlight, it's definitely the lighthearted stuff with Hurley, especially since he's totally a Xander/Zeppo-type character and is usually on the fringe (and Xander's my favorite side character EVER). I love the fact that he sets up a golf course, and it's openly acknowledged how ridiculous it is by the characters, and I love that there's a whole episode devoted to the possibility that all of this is just made up by his insane brain - and that they don't say it's not. That's ballsy. Anyway, if you watch this show, you probably think it's pretty great, too. We'll see how the rest of this holds up.
This probably deserves a much deeper analysis, but really I don't know what I'd say about it. The Coens have really done themselves proud their last few films, and this is definitely the oddest in a filmography that contains gems of goofy WTF-ness such as RAISING ARIZONA, BARTON FINK, and BURN AFTER READING. In any case, what we have here is an interpretation of the Book of Job thematically, with Larry Gopnick (a fantastic Michael Stuhlbarg) having just about everything bad that can happen to him, well, happen. This movie isn't for people without a serious dark streak of humor, mostly because if you can't laugh, it becomes terribly depressing after the first five minutes or so with the Gopnick family. And, it has one of the most bizarre cold opens I've ever seen, taking us back quite some time to an Old-World Jewish family and their encounter with a (possible) dybuk - a type of demon or manifestation of evil. The ending is just as magnificent and dark and beautiful and, and, and... I guess I really did love this film. One last thing about it that's truly great: you won't recognize anyone except for Richard Kind, and most people don't even know him by name.