Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Weekend's New Movies

Two big-name movie additions. One is notorious for the ugly monster within that rears its head at an unexpected time, and the other is by John Carpenter...

The most famous crotch-shot in American film history has officially hit Hulu. Director Paul Verhoeven cranked out two and a half hours of suspense, complete with all the sultry sex he could wring out of Michael Douglas, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Sharon Stone. When it first came out, the movie had enough innovation and plot twists to make it come off as a pretty good popcorn movie, even getting some praise from most critics. But now? I have to say that in 16 years, the movie industry has moved on so completely that it is unwatchable. The action scenes are unacceptably cheesy, the plot twists are all telegraphed far in advance, and the plodding pace is simply tortuous, even in this reduced 2:08 cut.

Some reviewers on Hulu have complained about the excessive commerical breaks on this feature, but I didn't think it was too bad. There are 10 breaks over 2 hours, and while it's true that two hours of tv programming wouldn't have 10 commercial breaks, these breaks are shorter at about 30 seconds apiece.

I'm going to make a prediction that this will spend some time on Hulu's most popular movie list, but it will be from people hoping to snatch a glimpse of Sharon Stone's catch (Wait! Strike that. Reverse it).


Any horror/scifi goon worth his salt is going to tell you that John Carpenter's 1982 remake of The Thing is a masterpiece. That, and it has Wilford Brimley, the Quaker Oats guy, so you know it's going to be good. Carpenter takes full advantage of the claustrophobic interiors of the research station, and the desolate open wastelands that surround it. Made before CGI, the movie has quality gore aplenty, but the real heart of the movie is the oft-imitated atmosphere of paranoia bred by the idea that any of the travelers could be harboring the monster among them.

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