21st century contexts, Christopher Lee, James McTeigue, John Cusack, Kevin Bacon, Luke Evans, NSFW language, Puns, Raùl Garcia, Roger Corman, The Black Cat, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Following, The Lighthouse, The Raven (2012), The Tell-Tale Heart, Thomas Jane, V For Vendetta, Whitechapel ITV
I had planned another update for today, but then I realized that January 19th marked the 204th birthday of a certain Mr Edgar Allan Poe!
Picture taken from here.
It is a funny hat.
Mr Poe, as I have often mentioned, is one of my favorite autors, perhaps the one author that got me serious about studying English literature. (- What a sentence, indeed.)
Moreover, Poe is of special interest to us Coleridgians, because of… It will have to wait.
MOREOVER, Poe is pretty poe-pular, routinely serving as a model for lighthearted B-flicks and, lately, fairly bad TV. Which is reason enough for me, on this Sunday evening, to take a closer look at the latest cinematic hommages at the author whose poetrait I almost tattooed on my chest, and will likely one day hipsterishly tattoo on my arm.
So, let’s start with The Good:
I am certainly not “mainstream” in my movie tastes (and my grammar, I guess) – so I usually refrain from, in general, recommending movies, or, from recomending others stuff that I like (outside from the ones on this blog, which I consider relevant to the topic.)
Well, so, last spring in beautiful Madrid, I went to watch The Raven, starring John Cusack, and directed by the guy from V For Vendetta. And it was good. Completely fictional, of course, but highly entertaining, in the strangely lighthearted way of oldschool adventure movies from the 90s, which is the cinematic genre where a guy like me feels most at home.
Cusack delivers a brilliant performance, pretty boy Luke Evans plays his Watson in a surprisingly convincing fashion, and overall, the story quite simply sells itself well. (The soundtrack is worth an extra comment: Good work there, worth to check on itunes.)
I understand the movie gets a lot of rather negative reviews, but I would heartily recommend anybody not to miss this one; usually, I don’t buy hard copies of movies any more. Of this one, I will. 🙂
Well, so we have a recent Poe-inspired movie that I would personally rate with a satisfying 8 out of 10. And then we have…
What follows on “The Good”? – Yeah, The Bad.
This an R-Rated trailer, likely NSFW.
Don’t click it unless you’re okay with that.
The Following is so attrociously bad. Oh my goodness, it is so bad. Let me say, Kevin Bacon, probably my favorite male Hollywood lead for drama. Thomas Jane, intense in movies that would be outright crap without his acting. But this, oh this. – Bad pacing, bullshit premise, cheap jumpscares, and Christopher-Nolan-esque lighting, and, what’s worse, writing, that really only just work for the goddamn Batman.
And not to mention the Poe metaplot that will likely haunt this series for seasons to come: So, the serial killer, played by Jane, who gives apparently cannot play “angry”, developed his bloodlust through reading Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat, and the page-long Lighthouse. Because, as the long story of cinematic anti-intellectualism has taught us, that’s what evil people do: Read.
In the end, I could rant on an on, but really, the only reason I got to see it was because a friend a from the States dropped by this weekend, and was gratious enough to tivo this for me poor flu-stricken boy, so I’ll not further exaggerate.
However, really – this is brainless bullshit, worse than even The Walking Dead. If this first episode is an indicator, I prefer to stay with The Mentalist, which sports a similar premise, but actually manages to pull it off without insulting the viewers’ intelligence.
– Or, if you like the gritty style, try the British Whitechapel. That one at least had witty writing besides the shock value.
And, least but not least… After “The Bad”… The Ugly!
“Why ‘ugly’, oh grumpiest Porlockian spoilsport? – This looks mighty fine!”
Because the chance that we, the public, are going to see this one unless we have the luck to be at a movie festival where it is shown, should be about ZERO. This movie came out – when? And a DVD or a digital download have not even been mentioned by the filmmakers.
And so, perhaps the most inspired Poe movie in recent history will get buried in some archives, as it seems.
But to end this on a lighter note, at least we can trust in Roger Corman. Brrr…