Flickhead
On Location with Steve Fiorilla

.

tingle001.JPG

Thursday Afternoon Matinee with Jacques Corédor

Archive

______________________________

Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid — It’s always amusing to see people with cell phones journey into the heart of darkness, but big snakes and hungry crocs ‘n’ gators just don’t fill the bill for this kind of fare. Why waste perfected CGI on Animal Planet extras when here there be monsters? Mutants are always a hot commodity (how weird would John Frankenheimer’s Prophecy have been without them?) so why not things with eyes on stalks, with barbed tentacles, with beating and pumping exterior organs and veiny sacs full of even freakier offspring? Audiences are always on the lookout for new abominations to describe to their pals on the playground or at their work cubicles. More Octamen, Slithis spawn, and Mushroom People…Less giant water life, rabbits and mosquitoes. Anacondas director Dwight Little, short on ideas, lives down to his name, thinking big but not different.

Around the World in 80 Days — Tedious Disney remake. Nothing to enjoy about the cameos, since I had no idea of who most of these people were. Who the hell are Will Forte and Macy Gray? I hear Disney has a remake of The Love Bug in the works. Hope Courtney Love is in it!

Benji: Off the Leash! — The fourth Benji sequel and, by the looks of things, undoubtedly the last. PETA staffers most likely vaporized over the film’s ending: a shot of a trash-filled alley at dusk with the leash noosed body of Benji suspended from a fire escape. It’s more upsetting than any episode of Animal Cops, and a clear indication of where our political “family values”-obsessed moralists have taken us. If the emotionless drones kicking this poor mutt around have any scruples, they’d simply bypass the DVD and bury all evidence of this like a bone.

Blackenstein — For this past Halloween I took a trip in the Way Back Machine to hang with my Snoop Dog, Sherman, at one of the more insane variations of 70’s ‘Blaxploitation.’ God bless the institution of movie revivals! It was Cracker Night at the Dryden Theatre which means the bruthas weren’t there to yell, “That monsta is one fucked-up mutha!” Liz Renay (memories, memories) does the gore-stained routine, but not before you get a good gander at her holy hooters through diaphanous jammies. Eegah! Some manor in California becomes ‘Dr. Frank N. Stein’s’ creepy castle with just a little smoke and weird lighting. Keep an eye out for Comedy Central to rerun an episode of Mad TV that does a remarkably funny takeoff on both Blackenstein and Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde, a parody of parodies.

brain10.jpg
The Brain That Wouldn’t Die

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die plus! Donnie Darko — Double bill from the Bizarro World: this am good! Before our gilded age of immunosuppressant drugs and Viagra, people carried on pretty much like the folks in The Brain That Wouldn’t Die. Early 60’s weirdness poses the question, Just what lengths would you go to repair your decapitated fiancée? It would appear that cruising girlie clubs is part of the answer. A mad doctor’s research involves a lot of leering to find the correct bod for his head-in-tray honey (that’s her, above). Back at the mad lab, the totally miffed she-head makes psychic contact with a 513.jpgcloseted monster (no, not gay; just locked in a closet — that’s him on the right) and brings this utterly magnificent schlocker to an end. The first time I saw this I was young enough to cover my eyes and have my brother describe what the monster looked like once it escaped. Now I’m wishing that that cone-headed freak had his own feature film!
    Donnie Darko leads to some metaphysical probing of the Elwood P. Dowd / Harvey relationship. Better to have just left Dowd on his stool at the tavern than venture through Darko’s scattered psyche. After the scene of the plane engine falling on his house, I drifted off to thoughts of the beached plane engine on the TV series Lost, detached but still running, sucking in a passenger and exploding. What a mess! I had to leave Darko’s unfocused adventures behind as I pick over the events of each Lost broadcast and wonder, like other ‘Losties,’ if the whole thing is just a rip-off of the old Star Trek episode, “Shore Leave” (written by Theodore Sturgeon). And if the situation arises, how will they ever promote broadcasts of ‘lost’ episodes of Lost???
    With a director’s cut of Donnie Darko — adding twenty minutes to this already sluggish oddity — now making the rounds, I ogled The Brain/Darko pair at a hole-in-the-wall called The Screening Room in Amherst, New York. This joint’s a great set-up where you sit at tables with checkered tablecloths and drink wine with your popcorn. A crisp digital image of The Brain That Wouldn’t Die flooded their 16’x12’ screen while a letterboxed edition of Donnie Darko played dim and had crummy sound. The older film has managed to transcend the change in technology rather nicely.

Brown Bunny — More shallow Gallo. Endless open road shots through a bug-splattered windshield convinced me that there must be gunk on the theatre screen. A hard-to-swallow finale gives this pellet an X-rating. I’m now officially wary about the proposed film version of Kerouac’s On the Road.

Catwoman — So I’m standing in line behind a young parent at the Movieland Theatres somewhere in Western New York. I’ve come out on this particular early evening to see Catwoman. Dad, as we’ll call him, is here with his little girl (I’m estimating three-years-old) to sit through Shrek 2. The child is at that point where she can just about form sentences that make some sense. She says some words so fast that they’re difficult to understand. She’s slurring one word over and over. I finally figure out that she’s saying “Catwoman.” Apparently she’d rather see that flick than Pixar’s summer blockbuster. Catwoman being more of a role model to her way of thinking, I suppose. Dad (surprise! he’s wearing a baseball cap!) tries to convince her that she wouldn’t enjoy Catwoman as much as the Shrek characters. From behind the glass booth, the ticket seller, a teenager, gives some advice that I can’t hear but it seems to be in the favor of the father’s preference.

    The little girl mutters “cafwomb” a few more times, then, pointing to the titles and times posted on the wall, she starts saying “monfers.” She’s three, can kids read at that age? Dad says, “Monsters? You mean Alien vs. Predator? But we already saw that, honey!” Clever move, I think. He’s going to convince her that she already sat through Alien vs. Predator so it makes more sense to see Shrek 2. Logic through confusion — it can work on someone her age, sometimes. But with the way children watch films on video today (over and over and over…) I doubt that this’ll dissuade her from choosing what she wants to see. It’s a bizarre sense of entitlement that kiddies come equipped with nowadays. An urge to be running the show (at three?), and the real oddity is how parents bow to it seemingly convinced that their spawn is a supreme being — brighter than bright and growing stronger each day in one of the many aligned villages of the Damned.
    Now I know this guy didn’t let her watch Alien vs. Predator at anytime, so I’m wondering how he’s going to clench the deal on Shrek 2. Yes, that’s what I was wondering alright. But then I’ve been so thoroughly struck dumb by so much strangeness in life that I really had no reaction to this guy when he said, “You really want to see Alien vs. Predator again instead of Shrek 2?” The kid nods ‘yes’ and Dad says to the ticket girl, “OK, can you change our tickets to Alien vs. Predator?” The tickets are switched and they head through the doors to the lobby and theatres beyond. The kid prefers to bunny-hop her way along.
    I’m hoping there was a wink and an understanding between Dad and Ticket Teen, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t see one. This scene goes hand-in-hand with a news report earlier in the month about a three-year-old Long Island child who choked to death on popcorn while watching Alien vs. Predator with a “parent.” Manditory face-huggers for moms and dads, I say.
    As for the movie: Yes’m, Halle Berry’s Catwoman suit is ‘Meow, Meow Good!” Paws for effect, Catwoman plays like many super slick music videos (some by Catwoman director Pitof), and that’s all. CGI choreographed full-figure movements of Catwoman aren’t always convincing. Scary Sharon Stone acts almost as weird and showy as she does in real life.

Coffee and Cigarettes — Everyone who sees this is bound to have a favorite segment. I’ll speak up for the one that concludes this nicotine-stained, caffeine-nerved exercise in ‘chat.’ The meandering discussion between actors William Rice and Taylor Mead is somewhat lulling. It’s Mead’s voice that does it. He babbles on in drowsy glee as if stoned. I suspect he’s just high on life.

Collateral — Restless L.A. in the post-noir night with an inviting premise of busy hitman forcing a cab driver to transport him to target locations. It’s just a job, see? The Miles Davis scene affords Tom Cruise a degree of believability as a cold-blooded killer. At one point I zoned out and imagined Robert Mitchum and Sidney Poitier sweating these roles out forty years back, and I’m smiling in the dark. But I’m jolted back to reality by a fleeting cameo of Barbie-like tease queen Debi Mazar — what a doll!

The Day After Tomorrow — People in rooms atop the New York Public Library stare out at a massive, silent ship drifting slowly past them and have nothing to say. The scene begged for a line, something humorous, or something indicating someone on the set had actually seen footage from September 11. (Is the mainstream so hermetically sealed off from reality?) That really bugged me, even the day after the day after I saw The Day After…. The lead young couple are so stiff that they could find work as department store mannequins.

De-Lovely — De-interesting to note that the only wink to Cole Porter’s open-ended lifestyle in Warners’ Night and Day (1946) is a scene in a train station where actor Monty Woolley (playing himself) yells from a passenger car window to Porter (Cary Grant), “Hey Cole, are you joining us on this little cruise?” In De-Lovely, ‘anything goes’ as Porter’s romantic lyrics can now really freak listeners out. It’s Kiss Me Kate, Kiss Me Ken. No blistering Technicolor here, but the sets, costumes and locations are The Tops, and numerous gradual aging makeups may be nominated come Oscar time.

A Dirty Shame — In which Selma (Hellboy) Blair portrays a plenty horny lounge stripper with massive mammarys (ballooning foam latex) in an obvious and caring tribute to 70’s titty star Chesty (Deadly Weapons) Morgan. In an interview at this year’s Toronto Film Festival, director John Waters claimed to have located Ms. Morgan, now an apartment building manager, and said that she looks better now than she did thirty years ago, back when Flickhead himself was bombarded with her charms at a Buffalo, N.Y., drive-in showing of Double Agent 73. (For the record, it was on a triple bill with Mario Bava’s Four Times That Night and George Romero’s Hungry Wives, necessitating at least one giant tub of popcorn and a case of cold beer.) I can recall as a kid hearing about one of her stage shows where she walked out flanked on both sides by dwarfs holding a breast apiece on gold platters. This was a shattering visual for my young impressionable mind, and many times I’ve tried but failed to remember exactly who told me this. But I’ve spent even more time hoping to hell it wasn’t my old man! Mink Stole and Jean Hill seem to be the only members left of the original John Waters ensemble able to show up for A Dirty Shame. Tracey Ullman as ‘Sylvia Stickles’ and Jackass’s Johnny Knoxville as ‘Ray-Ray Perkins’ don’t exactly fill the void of the late Divine, David Lochary and the others…but then one hardly expects them to. After all these years, poop just doesn’t taste the same.

The Dog Walker — Simple and sensitive debut feature from director Jacques Thelemaque and actress/wife Diane Gaidry, cofounders of the independent filmmaking collective, Filmmakers Alliance. ‘Ellie’ (Gaidry) buys a one-way ticket from Doomtown to Sin City (re: Buffalo to LA) to shake off an abusive boyfriend. (He shows up later.) She gets the title job and befriends a few dazed and broken characters, all quite genuine in their posed despair. Painful coping and a weak light at the end of the tunnel prevail. Buffalo native Gaidry harbors as much talent before the camera as any ‘name’ actress out there. (Meanwhile, a subgenre of dog walker movies seems to be taking shape: add this to the list with The Truth About Cats and Dogs and Asia Argento in the haunting Traveling Companion.)

Exorcist: The Beginning — Franchise schlock at its best and worst. Renny Harlin’s more gory product reaches the screen while Paul Schrader’s version remains to be seen. (On a TV interview, Schrader had a ho-hum attitude over the whole affair.) Wild scene of a CGI hyena attack on a child is gory, but got a crickets-in-the-dark reaction with the audience I saw it with. Possession makeup on Izabella Scorupco has the effect of a clown face rather than something truly frightening. Costly special DVD will hype both versions! Possess it if you dare!

Fahrenheit 9/11 — Something wicked this way came when a disgruntled Ray Bradbury appeared on The Dennis Miller Show to rip Michael Moore a new asshole over the bastardized use of his Fahrenheit 451 book title. A screwy move considering that Bradbury himself lifted from Shakespeare and Walt Whitman to title a novel and a short story collection of his own.

Festival Express — More great performance footage of Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead and The Band always helps. Even more amazing are train travel jam sessions shot in sallow-lit passenger cars with great Canadian ‘nowhere’ slipping by outside. Footage of drunk and fidgety Rick Danko screeching out a song in the company of Joplin (dead two months later) and guitar-strumming Jerry Garcia is truly a strange moment in documentary time. Interviews with surviving promoters and musicians catch 1970 in a somewhat baffled way as ungrateful Canadian teens protest concert prices at a time before The Suits took over the rock music industry.

Garfield: The Movie — Hey: When Garfield smiles, he looks like Fritz the Cat! Morris could’ve nipped this role, but it went to a catscan instead. Every other animal in Garfield is real, so the popeyed titular feline looks rather like a mutant. A lot of movie clips on TV’s — Lassie, Old Yeller, Benji, and Leo McCarey’s An Affair to Remember to name a few. Ahhh… doesn’t all this nostalgic recognition make you feel all warm and fuzzy? (What would these new movies do if they didn’t have TV sets to cue audience identification?) Garfield comes with a CGI animated short, Gone Nutty, featuring ‘Scrat,’ the jittery character from Ice Age.

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence — Nifty anime noir ripe with philosophical ramifications to stupefy you, me, Mickey and Donald. Bladerunner-style replicants are repackaged here as ‘E-Brained Gynoids’ expressing interest in obtaining souls when not wasting humans.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanOutstanding example of CGI/film mix. Mind-blowing realization of fantasy elements, one after another, pummeling eyes until they utterly accept J.K. Rowling’s witchy world. Confusing and dark, it thumbs its nose at the wee ones and focuses on angst-ridden teens (it’s not everyone that graduates with a sonic broomstick!). A loopy garou scene in a moonlit forest beats all, and Emma Watson (as ‘Hermione’) is well on her way to becoming a future Bond girl.

Home at the End of the World — Who can relate to an early scene in this film where a toked-out party-goer from the 60’s accidentally crashes through a sliding glass door, pulls a shard of glass from his neck, and falls down dead? I come close: it was the 70’s, I wasn’t high, and I bounced off the glass and landed on my ass with a stupid look on my face. This is the first film where I noticed Robin Penn Wright, a terrific actress. Based on a novel by Michael Cunningham, this one’s like a gob of spit in the eye of life’s pointlessness. (Is it Miller time already?)

I, Robot — The current SF cinema of Minority Report, Paycheck, and the Isaac Asimov ‘suggested’ I, Robot technically dazzle but ultimately suffer from woefully mindless casting of agent-driven pretty boys who download original science fiction literature to flex nonexistent thespian chops. Ben Affleck recently joked that Paycheck may have been a bad choice for him. One can’t help but compute if the opposite holds true. Until time-honored speculative fiction can be adapted to the screen without the cumbersome presence of ‘star power,’ our filmed forecast of the future is fatally fucked.

looney_03.jpg
Joe Dante: reality out of joint

Looney Tunes: Back in Action — In June of 2002, The Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, was slated to screen Joe Dante’s The Howling (1981), with the director in attendance. A last minute obligation forced Dante to cancel his appearance, though he did provide the Dryden with a videotape revealing that he’d gotten the green light on a live-action/animated Looney Tunes feature film and was busy in production. Hastily shot, the video showed Dante walking around the Warner Brothers lot explaining the concept of the film, and his visits with animators who were gearing up for months of work.
    Now, well over a year later and just in time for the rabid flow and splatter of holiday mania, Looney Tunes: Back in Action joins the line-up for boxoffice domination, along with lame drivel such as The Cat in the Hat and Cheaper by the Dozen. Looney Tunes provides more cameos, sight gags and in-jokes than any previous Joe Dante film, and moves along at a ravenously hyper pace — tailor-made for the Ritalin crowds bouncing off the walls at the local multiplex.
    A cast from hell includes Brendan (Monkeybone) Fraser, Scientology drone Jenna (Krippendorf’s Tribe) Elfman, and Heather (Return of Swamp Thing) Locklear. They come off like animated pencil tests against the imagery of Bugs, Daffy, and the rest of the Warners cartoon characters — who, by the way, appear airbrushed (ala Who Framed Roger Rabbit), lending them a solidness in their live-action settings.
    A resurrection of ‘50s sci-fi monsters in the “Area 52” scene will make any Psychotomimetic film fan froth with frenzy. ‘Back in action’ are Ro-Man (1953’s Robot Monster), the spooky alien from Man from Planet X (1951), the Metaluna mutant from This Island Earth (1955), and a clicking plant creature from The Day of the Triffids (1963). These kooks rightfully steal the moment — a feat beyond the grasp of Fraser and crew. “Brainy” the brain monster from Fiend Without a Face (1958) crawls and leaps again in color — no doubt a kick in the pants to Fiend producer Richard Gordon, who has talked of remaking that film.
    Looney Tunes: Back in Action hits high velocity (Meep! Meep!) when Bugs, Daffy and Elmer Fudd hightail it through the Louvre, taking on the styles of classic paintings (Dali, Munch, etc.) as they pass through. Pointillism is explained when Elmer becomes the victim of a simple sight gag. This union of high- and lowbrow may lead our precious youth to exclaim, “Art museum — what’s with that?!?”
    This past Halloween, a theatre in Buffalo, New York, ran a free screening of Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice (1988), along with six Warner Brothers cartoons. Busy and colorful, they packed a wallop that’s missing from the endless TV viewings generations have seen. It was a wistful reminder that once cartoons were part of the ticket when you went to ‘the show.’
    For Joe Dante, let’s hope Looney Tunes: Back in Action is an end to his overextended homage rage . . . and that perhaps he’d be able to turn his attention to a shelf of books. Adapting one for his next picture would be a welcome change of pace.

The Maize: The Movie — Not to be confused with The Maize: The Ballet (aw, shucks). With aggravating video effects and draggy editing, this second feature from Buffalo, New York, filmmaker Bill Cowell (anyone see Raindrops?) plays like a corny episode of Tales from the Darkside. Shot on tape, this fails gloriously to induce the willies. A man’s psychic abilities are put to the test when his two perpetually screaming daughters are trapped inside a cornfield maze ‘stalked,’ as it were, by evil spirits. Why do these camcorder Coppolas always have to shoot their own stories? There are real writers out there!

Maria Full of Grace — Being a ‘mule’ in Colombia seems to be the best and most dangerous way for young gals to ditch their hopeless surroundings. Transporting drugs to ‘Joisy’ via one’s intestines is swell if you live through it, but the prep time (done here in slow, detailed scenes) left me gagging like a baby with too much Gerber in the throat. (This from a ‘wuss who can’t even swallow a 500mg calcium tablet three times a day without moaning.) Damn fine training film for foreigners wondering about the American Dream.

Mean Creek — Similar to a Peanuts animated TV special, parents eerily figure little in this calmer, less rebellious spin on The River’s Edge. The Mean Creek kids feel pretty bad about offing George, the doughy, spoiled school bully. So much so that all but one (the oldest) own up to it in the end. Watch for a shot in the film that doubles as the image used in the poster. On film, one of the guilty tykes sits in shock next to George’s body, but in the poster the corpse has been wiped from the scene. With Lord of the Flies, The River’s Edge, writer/director David Gordon Green’s disturbing George Washington, and now Mean Creek, will Netflix accommodate home viewers with a Dead Kid movie marathon?

Mean Girls — Not mean enough. This situation is ten times the hell that’s just poked fun at in this kid flicker. Read Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons (Harcourt, 2002) to realize that there are not many happy endings to the viciousness these prima bitcherinas rule with.

Metallica—Some Kind of Monster — The group decides to attend therapy sessions so as to keep it together long enough to record their first studio album in seven years. Rehab-prone and easy to piss off, singer James Hetfield’s major concern is to not fall off the wagon during the hundreds of hours of studio time that’s part of the job. Drummer and artist Lars Ulrich, the hyper Metallican, scores a small fortune by selling his paintings at Christie’s. A whole lotta chillin’ and drive and the talent wins out. With the album completed the band tours once again, bowing in performance to the gods of Keranng!

The Notebook — “Chick flick” and “tear jerker” mutter the throngs as they shuffle off to restrooms and SUV’s. Every fool out there is a mesmerizing critic. In one idyllic flashback, lovers Noah and Allie (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams) see the 1940 b&w version of L’il Abner, then share a dare of lying in the street at a deserted small town intersection as Billie Holiday croons on the soundtrack. A fine time, but it’s the south and Allie sho’ nuff has a lot of black servants. Sensible direction by Nick Cassavetes, directly the opposite of his late dad’s balls-to-the-walls method.

Open Water — Waves ago, I remember an episode of Flipper where a young character stranded at sea came upon a buoy and crawled inside of it until help arrived. As I recall, he found medical supplies and food stored in there. It puzzles me as to why the couple in Open Water didn’t make a more concentrated effort to reach the buoy they spot while in the midst of their nasty predicament. (If for any reason to simply get away from the sharks.) Newcomer Blanchard Ryan (where do they get these names nowadays?) relaxes with a book in her completely gratuitous nude scene. Perhaps to wiggle her out of her clothes, the producer told her the film was trying to convey to its younger viewers that reading is fundamental. Hey: whatever it takes.

Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed — More idiotic action than Scooby 1. Recreation of monsters (The Cotton Candy Glob, the Skelemen, etc.) seen in the limited animation cartoon series may prove nostalgic to peeps who actually ‘grew up with’ this scooped poop. Linda Cardellini as the supposedly frumpy ‘Velma’ blows Sarah Michelle Gellar’s air-brained ‘Daphne’ off the screen with an ache-bomb of sensuality. Buttery Velma fantasies explode in rapid succession like so many hot corn kernels anxious to pop. Doesn’t Shaggy (or Scooby, for that matter) ever wonder about the Scooby boobies under her floppy red sweater?

keane02.jpg
Shrek 2’s Puss-in-Boots (top) has the eyes of a Margaret Keane kitty (bottom),
a purrfect homage in a litter of summertime kibbles and bits.

.

Shrek 2 — Pretty much the same thing all over again, but the masses find comfort in unthreatening repetition and have taken William Steig’s characters to heart (and wallet). Steig died in 2003 at the age of ninety-six. Kudos to CGI designers who, with a genial Puss-in-Boots character, paid homage to pop artist Margaret Keane’s big, round-eyed portraiture of over four decades ago.

Spider-Man 2 — Earlier this year at George Eastman House’s Dryden Theatre, visiting director John Landis, crapping jealousy, dismissed Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies as “toy films.” Now I haven’t mylar-snugged a Spidey doll yet, but I must confess to enjoying both Webhead films as simple entertainment, as much fun to watch as the comic books were to read. No harm done as I pissedly dissed ‘Doc Ock’ and fantasized about saving ‘Mary Jane’ by grabbing her ass in mid-air (and making Kirstin Dunst grit her freakishly small teeth). A few years from now there should be enough of these über superhero movies to fill a coffee-table book on the subject. I dream of a proper production of The Fantastic Four and wouldn’t mind a decent Silver Surfer flick to boot. Meanwhile, bookwise, I’ll give a shout out to Men of Tomorrow — Geeks, Gangsters and the Birth of the Comic Book by Gerard Jones, which may be best described as a non-fiction version of Michael Chabon’s popular novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.

Suspect Zero — We suspect zero Oscar chances for Ben Kingsley in this, but he’s just fine as a serial killer who stalks serial killers (!). His star power works towards the anonymity of the actors playing his victims. With visions of Ted Bundy denting our collective conscience, what exactly is a serial killer supposed to look like, anyway? This genre always has creepy art direction. Serial killer clutter is bloody fascinating: beware of people who cut-and-paste, theirs is a collaged state of mind. (If they draw, run for your life!) These movies make me wonder: who’s in the theatre with me? Where do they go and what do they do when the show’s over?

The Terminal — Spielrock continues to ignite the cave folk with his unique brand of fossil fuel. The sets (an entire airport with working Starbucks) outdo the actors, an orgasmic lot ecstatic with the knowledge that they got a part in a Dreamworks production. Worse possible scenario would be to watch this while on an actual flight. Bail Out! Perhaps Preston Sturges and Eddie Bracken could have made this fly . . . but I just felt like setting my shoes on fire.

Thunderbirds — The color scheme developed here is like ingesting acid and day-glo crayons. This may have a future as a cult film for crack addicts.

Van Helsing — Hyper cinema at its peak. I left the theatre feeling like the steel ball in a pinball machine. Blimey! In the lobby there was a poster for the upcoming Seed of Chucky, the first time I’ve seen sperm used in a movie ad. (“Get a load of Chucky!”) Check it out animated online: click here.

The Village — A battle in a ‘Blair Witch’ woods between Sigourney Weaver and the porky-pine people — that would’ve been sweet. But auteur Sham-a-lam-a-ding-dong’s latest is just way too much to believe in. Read Karl Edward Wagner’s Sticks for real spookiness in the forest. Be on the lookout for the Sci-Fi Channel’s tie-in mockumentary about the filming of The Village, an exercise in embarrassment.

Wicker Park — Involved, obsessive love scenario hooked my interest long enough to want to see how it all unraveled. Lonely gals — yipes! No doubt L’Appartement, the French film that this was an adaptation of, is a better movie. Years from now Wicker Park may be the highlight of the Josh Hartnett oeuvre.