Man the DeLoreans. We are going back to the future to revisit and rebut my speculative movie reviews… from the future!
Tribeca Review: The Poughkeepsie Tapes
What I said:
…When the personal home videos of “The Water Street Butcher” are discovered in an abandoned house, they wind up on the internet faster than the Pam and Tommy sex tape. A creepy tale of torture and murder unfolds as we are subject to the Butcher’s snuff films…
Not the most original setup, but then again, it wasn’t original back in ‘99, as The Blair Witch Project owes a huge debt to Cannibal Holocaust… As for the P Tapes, at times the low production value and grainy DV prevent the film from being truly effective, but much of the imagery is downright creepy.
What I say:
The Poughkeepsie Tapes delivers on the promise that the overrated Blair Witch Project never fulfilled. Namely, a well made horror movie that is actually scary. But aside from using the device of found footage as its premise, the two films really don’t have that much in common.
The poor quality of the footage, which I previously thought would be detrimental to the film’s effectiveness, actually helps to enhance it. The tapes themselves benefit from the obfuscation of events, which further unsettles the viewer, leaving the worst up to the imagination. The filmmakers utilize long, drawn out takes to ratchet up the tension, eschewing cheap scares in favor of good old fashioned horror. That, combined with a realistic approach to the material, ensures that the fear follows you home after the credits roll. Make no mistake, this is a genuinely creepy film, and is the perfect antidote to the glut of schlocky Hollywood remakes and the wannabe grindhouse torture-porn.
Anyone else seen this film? I’d be curious to hear some opinions. Apparently people (stupid ones) are under the impression that it is a real documentary (including a few at the screening I attended.) The filmmakers claim they made a conscious decision early on not to market the film as real, despite the fact that several websites in conjunction with the film purport it to be.
Tribeca Review: Avida
What I said:
…Avida is a farcical French romp concerning the botched kidnapping of a fat billionaire’s dog by a deaf mute and 2 drug addicts. Sometimes too self consciously French for its own good, Avida succeeds partly due to a grotesque sense of humor and a surprising lack of Gerard Depardieu style buffoonery. Score one for the French. I liked this film more than their ticklers, but significantly less than their toast.
What I say:
Ouch. That little log line of a plot barely begins to describe the epic non-narrative of this arty French farce. As for buffoonery, the actor/director is practically Depardieu reincarnated (what do you mean he’s not dead?) Mix in a dash of Hugh Grant’s affable charm and serve chilled in Peter Jackson’s body (the fat one, not the freakishly skinny one) and you have our director.
I found Avida to be almost entirely too self conscious for its own good, and quite annoying at times, much like the French themselves. Simultaneously low brow and arty, it’s what you’d get if the kid at film school who laughed at farts and picked his nose tried to make a Bunuel film (although, come to think of it, Bunuel probably laughed at farts and picked his nose.) Avida has some interesting ideas and imagery, but lack of cohesion and that god awful French sense of humor ultimately undermine the film’s surrealistic aspirations.
Have you seen my glaven?
Stay tuned for part II. I will see you in December. Tomorrow.