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Wendy and Lucy (2008)
Simple and quiet, W&L says more with less.
The true triumph of this film is its ability to say so much about the cold, cruel reality of just how close some people are to breaking their banks and their hearts.
What fascinates me is: there are a few big budget films out there right now - all scrambling desperately to capture the same themes as W&L - that have no concept of how real people really act and survive. Those filmmakers must be pulling their hair out screaming "how can she say it all with one woman and a dog, and I can't say a damned thing with all these great special effects???"
That is the joy in this film. The simple, honest, brutal truth of now. Enjoy.
Its about time
After some IMDb silence, I finally have something to say:
"Independent" movies are getting a bad wrap lately, and Windcroft is an exception to the mundane "Indie-darling" comedies that flood the marketplace. Unfortunately, If you were not at the one-night-only screening last week, you might have to wait for the DVD.
Windcroft has ramped up suspense from the first scene and never stops. At the end, I was as out of breath as the panting protagonist - coincidence? I doubt it. This movie had all the pieces to its intricate puzzled meticulously arranged for me to absorb like an intelligent human being.
Rather than wasting time on the plot, I'll describe why you should see this particular movie. First, the acting was superb. I have no idea who these talented young thespians are, but they knocked my socks off. (Sure, there were a few moments or characters that were a little flat, but those were fleeting, and the atmosphere more than made up for it.) The camera work was superb. Super wide overhead shots of sweeping landscapes mixed with extreme detailed closeups of rusting farm equipment with jagged edges and gleaming blades. The story was entirely unique (as much as one can really be in this day and age)and so carefully drawn that the twists and turns had me reeling. The music was chilling, eerie and at times sublime... All this leads to one thing: Direction. Anyone able to keep this house of cards together with such confidence is a true talent. And his demeanor (Meszaros humbly introduced the film at the screening) was friendly and sharp.
As with any (apparently) self financed independent film, Windcroft has its flaws - but I've been so inundated with junk in the last few years that this was like a jolt of adrenaline, (yet paced for a slow burn).
If you can, see it. And follow those involved.
La terza madre (2007)
I know this is going to be hard for you to hear, but I have to get this off of my chest: I'm leaving you.
We had a good run for years, but now its time to move on. I'm not going to patronize you by using the tired "its not you - its me" cliché. In fact, it IS you. You've changed, and I'm not in love with your movies anymore.
In the early days, we had a blast. Your films were artistic, original, vibrant, gory and scary. They were lush with complex themes woven into horror films that broadened my mind...
In the Eighties, we had a rocky period. Your films became sloppy and convoluted. Yes, the honeymoon was over - but we still stuck it out. I had faith that we (you) could work through this and get back in the game.
Towards the end of the millennium, you did have your flashes of brilliance - glimpses of our blissful beginnings... Sadly, as I now see, those were merely the final stages of your decline. Your brief and violent death throes before truly going off the rails.
I am writing to you now after seeing "Mother of Tears." I had such high hopes for us again!! All the planets were aligned: Late night screening - full house - open mind - belly full of tequila and lime... and the NEW DARIO ARGENTO FILM!!! What could possibly go wrong! Then it starts... Gore right off the bat! Then witches!! THEN a very wicked little monkey!! This is going to be great!
Then... oh god, then.... I'm not sure when it started exactly, but at some point pretty early on the plot twisted off into nowhere - followed shortly thereafter by any pretense of acting. I mean - I love a b-flick, but this was just pathetic. Especially when you know everyone can do better. (Oh, Udo, my secret Lover... Why? WHY???)
What bothers me the most was that it seemed that you, Dario - the once great horror maestro- didn't care about this one. Where was the signature color palate? Why would you let the one of the brilliant Goblin boys write one great Argento-esquire piece, followed by half an hour of hackery?
I hate to say it, but after your last three flops - I'm done. Thanks for the great years, Dario, but you and I are through.
We'll always have the 70's, my Love. And I will remember them, and you, fondly. Good bye, Dario.
Masters of Horror: Pelts (2006)
Best of a cheesy series.
I love these MOH episodes, except for one thing - why why why why why are they so terribly acted? These are some of our most prolific and talented horror auteurs at the helm here, and I have yet to watch one episode that doesn't feel like an old "Freddy's Nightmare's" or worse.
Argento's "Pelts" is at least horrifically gory. I mean really really gory. Like, over-the-top brilliantly gory.
Are these horror director idiot-savants? Are they just exceptionally talented when it comes to inventing new ways to kill someone, but completely incapable of directing an actor to be natural? Argento should stick with these hour-long creepies and stay away from the feature circuit for a while. His last few movies were deplorable, but his MOH shorts are some of the series' highlights.
The Strangers (2008)
An open "Dear John" to The Strangers.
You can't fool me. I'm on to you. I was on to you from the start. I knew it the instant you started out with the beginning at the end... That is a red flag for "I'm not confident in the script, or my characters, so I'll hook you in with flashes of cryptic violence." I admit, your beauty was hypnotic... almost sublime at times, but alas, you cannot polish a turd. Your pretty face and moody imagery can only get you (or me) in the door, but you lacked follow through. You lacked confidence. You lacked compelling characters I even remotely care about. You lacked even the actual John Laroquette to do the docu-drama Texas Chainsaw Massacre voice over in the beginning. (I mean, what would it cost to get him - a hot meal?) So what did you do to fill the obvious void? You followed all of those before you: Step. By. Step. There was not ONE genuinely scary moment in your heart, only silly, shallow shockers.
The sad thing is, I had such high hopes for you... for US. We could have had something really special together, there... in the dark. I can forgive so much, and I only ask for honesty in return. But you, with your obvious plot devices and 2nd rate scare tactics - you sadden me. Nay, you disgust me. My mama told me never to trust a pretty face. (And what a pretty face you had!)
But in the end, the joke is on me. You got my $11, my 90 minutes and were gone from my life the minute the lights went up. You're all the same. All of you.
Where are all the good thrillers??