Sex, Leins & Videotape #20. Paignton film critic Tom Leins risks life and limb to bring you another helping of DVD mayhem!
If the cold winter nights are starting to get you down, and you fancy a dose of something exotic, why not seek out A Perfect Getaway (Momentum) ? This enjoyably daft thriller – from writer-turned director David Twohy (Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick) -follows the exploits of Cliff (Steve Zahn) and Cydney (Milla Jovovich) a pleasant but dull couple who are on honeymoon in Hawaii.
Keen to step out of their comfort zone the pair head off the beaten track, in search of some of Hawaii’s more secluded beauty spots. Unfortunately for them, news of a pair of grisly killers targeting honeymooners starts to spread amongst their fellow backpackers, and Cliff and Cydney find themselves increasingly cut off from the relative safety of civilization.
Sure enough, everyone they cross paths with seems to have a pronounced demented streak, and the pair quickly start to panic. Timothy Olyphant excels as Nick, a former military man, with an improbably macho selection of anecdotes, and the rest of the eclectic cast also deliver the goods. Twohy’s smart script pushes the right buttons and although A Perfect Getaway falls short of greatness it remains an engaging curio. The reinvigorated director may not win any awards for this compulsive little B-movie, but his blend of tongue-in-cheek dialogue and muscular direction should see him back in Hollywood’s good books. Either way, it’s an ideal selection for chilly video shop visitors everywhere!
Boasting a brand new, high-definition transfer Dario Argento’s mind-boggling Suspiria (Nouveaux Pictures) is now poised for re-release -boosted by a whole host of exclusive new extras. Thankfully, the movie -originally directed back in 1977 -hasn’t seen its power diluted one bit, and it remains a consistently unsettling treat. The plot follows Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper), an American ballet student who relocates to Germany in order to study at an exclusive dance academy deep in the Black Forest. Unfortunately for her, prior to her arrival, a pair of girls are murdered in suitably eye-popping fashion, an event which sets the tone for her seriously twisted vacation.
Argento is a true visual stylist, and Suspiria is arguably his most distinctive work. One of the last ever Technicolor productions, Suspiria’s ultra-vivid production design sets the tone, and his inventive approach towards blood-loss is still a joy to behold. Regardless of whether you are already acquainted with the feverish imagination of Dario Argento, Suspiria is a must-see for horror fans of all ages. Although it does takes time to acclimatize to Argento’s weird world, Suspiria is unlike anything you will have seen before or since. With a relentlessly freaky soundtrack courtesy of prog-rock lunatics Goblin, and a nerve-jangling array of murderous set-pieces, Suspiria is a truly distinctive slice of Euro-horror. All in all, a highly recommended excursion into the deepest, darkest corners of Super Dario Land!
After finding his career derailed by a succession of lame rom-coms, Gerard Butler attempts to claw back a few of his action-hungry fans with Gamer (Entertainment in Video) -a loud and bloody assault on the senses! Butler stars as Kable, a death row inmate who finds himself embroiled in a real-life video game entitled ‘Slayers’, in which criminals -controlled by teenage gamers – are dropped into combat situations and forced to fight for their lives. If he can make it through his 30th battle unscathed Kable will be set free -or will he? As you might expect from ‘Neveldine/Taylor’ (the duo who created Crank) Gamer is high on noisy, chaotic violence, and low on common sense. Unfortunately, while the Crank movies both boasted an anarchic sense of humour, Gamer is disappointingly po-faced.
The idea of the Truman Show on anabolic steroids may seem appealing at first, but Gamer is a strangely glum experience that finds everyone involved merely going through the motions. Even worse, great actors like John Leguizamo (The Kill Point) and Michael C Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under) are wasted in flimsy supporting roles. Lousy videogame adaptations crop up in Hollywood with disturbing regularity – Gamer cuts out the middle-man and concocts its own videogame-inspired rubbish! Teenage joystick-jockeys may derive some excitement from Butler’s inexpressive performance, but anyone over the age of 16 is likely to experience an extended headache. Videogame violence has a lot to answer for!