Lately I’ve seen some shockers on both sides. Sitting on the sofa as the credits rolls I’m trying to pinpoint exactly what the issue is and why I didn’t engage with the characters or the story.
Take horror for example. The problem is there’s – and I know many would contest this – only a certain number of ways to do horror. If you stray too far from tried and tested methods you risk getting too meta on the audience. However, if you stick too closely to stock scares and tricks people get bored. They’ve seen it all before. It’s not scary.
So as a genre it’s a tough nut to crack. A good example I’ve seen lately would be Stoker and an average one would be Silent House. The former a stylish and creepy tale deftly directed by Korean director Park Chan-wook. The latter an underwhelming remake of a Uruguayan film, La Casa Muda. Both films make reference to – and to some extent directly draw from – the great Hitchcock. Some of what they do works, some doesn’t.
On the comedy front I’m hard pushed to think of anything I’ve seen lately that particularly tickled the funny bone. This year quite a few comedies have flopped: A Million Ways To Die In The West, Sex Tape, Neighbors, The Other Woman… the list goes on. I hear 22 Jump Street was good and, whilst it wasn’t as hilarious as people said, I found The Lego Movie reasonably entertaining. Both were earlier this year though and in the last six months it’s been a bit barren.
So what’s looking promising coming up?
This J.G. Ballard novel of a tower block cut off from society gets the Ben Wheatley treatment. Stars Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans and Elizabeth Moss.
At The Mountains Of Madness
Guillermo del Toro directs this H.P. Lovecraft tale of an expedition to the Antarctic gone wrong. This one’s still in production limbo but it might happen soon.
A teenage girl contracts an infection that slowly turns her into a cannabilistic zombie. Her father, Arnie, stays with her whilst she changes. A change of direction for the Austrian Oak.
After dabbling in a few other genres recently Johnny Depp is back to what he does best, namely weird wackiness. Adapted from a series of novels this looks promising.
The Jungle Book
Yes, this is happening as a film. With Scarlet Johansson and Bill Murray and Jon Favreau directing it’s bound to be funny. Hopefully.
Pitch Perfect 2
Anna Kendrick and the gang are back in the sequel to this 2012 sleeper hit. Expect big songs, big laughs and Rebel Wilson stealing scenes.