Whew! This is not a great weekend. A pair of awful genre movies, one tiny and one fairly huge, are coming to your local cinema (and your cable box). Both should be avoided like the plagues that they are. There’s plenty of interesting stuff out there to read instead. Did you see that Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have a new run of ‘Incognito’ in the comic shops this week? Because they do. And it’s a hell of a lot more entertaining than the lame-ass stuff in the multiplex.
The big one is ‘Saw 3D‘, which I have already seen and will go into more detail about next week. IT IS ATROCIOUS. The 3-D looks cheap and horrible, and it’s not an inventive departure for the franchise. It rigidly sticks to the bland, brutal, humorless formula. Just awful.
The other movie opening this weekend is one I saw so long ago that I’d nearly forgotten about completely, ‘Monsters‘ This is a film that got a fair amount of buzz at Cannes over the summer. Some people even dubbed it the next ‘District 9‘. In fact, it’s just as terrible as any big budget genre movie. It’s set in a world in which a space probe came back to earth carrying extraterrestrial beings. The site where the probe landed (Mexico) has largely been cordoned off, since the beasts do stuff like knock down buildings and get into skirmishes with the local officials. They aren’t small and don’t have personalities, which is a big difference from ‘District 9’. Instead, these things are imagined as titanic, shifty, Lovecraftian creatures, with tentacles and glowy bits. Quite frankly, we’ve seen all this stuff before, and done better. (It’s said that writer-director Gareth Edwards did all the visual effects himself; that’s probably his greatest contribution to the movie.) The sparse plot concerns a young photojournalist who’s hired by his big wig employer to track down the employer’s missing daughter in South America. You’ll never guess it, but their journey takes them through the “infected zone” where the monsters live! Zounds!
The problem is that the movie is plodding and dull. There are far too many sequences where the humans talk to each other about their respective lives, and far too few scenes where giant Lovecraftian beasts fuck shit up. Because that’s what we paid to see, right? If we wanted people talking to each other, we’d go see some white doily period piece. The “satire,” so astutely handled in ‘District 9’, also gets botched in ‘Monsters’. The “We’re all the same” message is too on-the-nose to make much of an impact, and the immigration subtext is mishandled and obtuse. (The monsters are from MEXICO, M-E-X-I-C-O.) You can watch ‘Monsters’ on iTunes or On Demand, which might be a better way to see this micro-budgeted genre piece. Maybe the bigger the screen, the more glaring its inconsistencies.
What are you guys looking forward to? Catching up on anything?