Catching up on all the midnights at press screenings, and one Parker Posey movie, because this is Sundance. I might as well see a Parker Posey movie.
Grabbers – 6 out of 10
This Irish creature feature is a great midnight movie for the festival. Aliens snatch people to drink their blood, so the Irish cops figure out if they get drunk, their blood will be too poisonous for the aliens. Why didn’t anyone think of this before? And all those vampire tales? Just get hammered! Ruth Bradley is adorable as the spunky new cop who’s so happy and smiling through all her straight-laced character development. There’s some nice gooey practical effects but even the CGI works for what the aliens need to do: shoot tentacles, pull victims out of the frame, slither, bite and suck. It’s a little slowish, as the aliens only pop up a little. The character development, including establishing the creatures via a resident scientist, is sincere but also a little bit filler. All the local characters and stumbling action monster fighting is fun.
Price Check – 5 out of 10
This is totally the Parker Posey show and everything else is mundane indie drama. She plays a new executive at a supermarket’s corporate office who’s quirky outside the box and rocks their small town office world. Eric Mabius is the main employee whom she takes under her wing. Posey freaks out, wears inappropriately sexy Halloween costumes, throws tantrums, gets passive-aggressive… It certainly makes the supermarket business amusing. Then it becomes the indie soul-searching drama, to which it certainly has nothing to add. Mabius is solid but he doesn’t get to be funny and the drama’s not juicy enough to stand out.
V/H/S – 7 out of 10
The collection of new indie horror filmmakers put together a great found footage anthology. Each story shot from a personal video camera has a clever use of the format. Some of the stories feature really long mundane behavior, but they always deliver an awesome payoff. What they achieved in camera is exciting, and the strategic use of pixilation uses the format’s staples for maximum effect. Some common themes: every guy in every story seems to be a rapist. The women are heroes. At least the A-holes get gratifying payback. Formats range from degraded personal camcorders to clearer HD and even a Skype session. The creepy girl in the club is fascinating, and there’s lots of gross gore and plenty of nudity.
Excision – 4 out of 10
There are a lot of interesting things about this midnight movie, which is why it’s surprising I didn’t like it much. AnnaLynne McCord plays a greasy pimply brunette who fantasizes about bloody necro dreams. You can tell there’s a pretty girl underneath but they don’t half-ass the superficial beauty images. McCord is egoless, grossing it up with drool and cold sores (which she got from her Herpes infected dad giving her CPR at a pool). Her attitude is awesome. She doesn’t care how others look at her, just total confidence. She’s outgoing and talks to people, even the mean ones. Yet the film is really slow for one in which so much happens. Every scene is like a new episode but I was looking at my watch a lot. It’s sort of the other side of Quentin Dupieux’s “no reason” philosophy. If all these taboo button pushing episodes about abortion and tampons are mashed together, it doesn’t necessarily make a compelling film.