January 3rd New Releases
Contagion: A pretty tight medical thriller from Steven Soderberg (Traffic) with an ensemble cast. Takes a look at the breakdown of society in the face of the worst epidemic in history. Scary stuff. Makes you worry more about the behavior of your neighbors than the prospect of getting a disease.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark: Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy) wrote and produced this remake of the 1973 film (which scared the crap out of me as a kid). It’s a pretty stylish film, laced with all the opulent dread he usually delivers. Biggest issue with the film is that the director ditches any sense of build-up and starts showing us the creatures within the first 30 minutes. By that point a lot of the wind had come out of the sails, leaving a pretty rote horror movie. Still, it’s worth a watch for fans of either del Toro, or the original.
The Guard: Fantastic Irish/UK fim starring Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle. Gleeson plays a beat cop who stumbles into a murder which is part of a huge drug shipment, and has to work with Cheadle, as the American FBI agent tasked with solving the crime. If you think this sounds like a typical fish-out-of-water buddy cop movie, you couldn’t be more wrong. The movie takes just about every cliche from this genre and turns it on its head. Lots of subtle, witty jokes in typical Brit style.
Shark Night: Possibly one of the goofiest shark movies I’ve ever seen. There’s actually a scene where one of the characters, after having his arm chewed off, decides to avenge his girlfriend (who was killed by a shark) by wading into the shallow water with a spear and screaming at the shark to bring it on. Seeing this guy flailing away at a hammerhead with one arm is worth the price of a rental.