Writing on the wall
Sinister is a horror movie that wants you to feel haunted when you’re done watching it. Its opening scene, a choppy camcorder-quality snippet showing a gruesome four-way murder, certainly makes the audience feel like it will. It has the staple ghostly bad guy and more demented little kids running around than a preschool, and is conveniently released into theaters just before Halloween. It has all the ingredients to be a success.
So, why isn’t it?
Loop de loop
Every once in a while a movie comes along that forces you to sit for a while and just think. The most recent example that comes to mind is 2010’s Inception – who hasn’t lost sleep contemplating that wake-up slap ending? These movies stray away from the basic genericness the bulk of modern action movies feed off of and force the audience to be engaged in the main attraction: the story, and the intelligent way it unfolds. Looper, Rian Johnson’s sci-fi/action/thriller/mind blowing masterpiece, just shot a missile through all preceding movies of this specialized genre of action and intelligence. It’s the best one I’ve ever seen.
The movie’s premise is a complex one, and one that would probably be more fun to discover in the theater, so I’ll keep it basic. Time travel is invented and quickly ruled illegal in 2074 because of its potentially destructive nature. However, criminal organizations still use it to dispatch ‘loopers’, paid executioners, thirty years into the past to dispose of any potential threats in a time where they technically do not exist yet, thus making this dirty laundry business “clean.” Loopers are eventually forced to “close their loop,” meaning they must annihilate their aged selves sent back from 2074 to keep information about time travel as secretive as possible. Once they close their loop, loopers are given thirty years and a huge sum of money to enjoy their lives, until, inevitably, kabloom.
For some reason, this movie flopped.
Dredd 3D is a hypnotic, smoky, and gut-spilling explosion based on the British comic book series Judge Dredd, and holds its own in a year of particularly good comic book-to-movie adaptions. While the story provides too little a glimpse into the futuristic world in which it is set, the movie excels in nearly every other category – especially its bombastic action and beautifully graphic yet at the same time classy visual style. It’s a movie that, at the very least, should have outperformed the I-already-forget-what-happened House at the End of the Street at the box office.
But it didn’t. Which is why I’m bummed out.