by Tom Doty
“Last Exorcism II” — The good news is it is warm outside, so you can go out and enjoy the weather. Stay inside and watch this dull follow up to the exciting first installment at your peril. Basically, Nell is now at college and gets repossessed while walking around campus for hours chatting with her friends about next to nothing.
“Lifeforce” — In 1985, Orion Pictures gave Tobe Hooper (“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) his first big budget for this science fiction/horror hybrid. It sank at the box office, but people might appreciate it more now (like the critics who torpedoed it but now hail it as visionary). Basically, a joint mission to Mars brings back three bodies they find in an abandoned space ship. These bodies reanimate and begin feeding off the life essence of others. The victims become zombie-like followers and threaten to crush London. Fun stuff that mixes an eclectic cast (Patrick Stewart and Steve Railsback) with gore, mind control and a city under siege by the titular creatures. Fun and visually stunning.
“Stoker” — Good, old-fashioned creepiness and suspense help anchor this suspense flick by Park Chan-Wook (“Old Boy”). A father is killed in an auto accident, leaving his wife and teenage daughter alone until his younger brother shows up. He is alternately charming and creepy and begins to charm both mother and daughter, while strange things begin to happen to them. Fun throwback that channels Alfred Hitchcock.
“Safety Last” — The Criterion Collection releases a superb print of the Harold Lloyd classic. This is his silent comedy that features the great clock tower stunt that actually had Lloyd dangling over Manhattan. The story finds a young man heading to the big city, circa 1922, to find his fortune. A chain of events lead to some madcap chases and stunts that still look amazing. Jackie Chan’s favorite film and a true inspiration to his work. Loaded with extras.
“Jack the Giant Killer” — The trend of remaking fairy tales with popular young adult stars is heading towards the end of that cycle, thanks to duds like this update of the guy who went up a beanstalk to save a girl from a giant. You’ll chuckle when Ewan Macgregor says, “I have a bad feeling about this,” as you are reminded of another dull movie that cost way too much to make.
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