Would The Last Starfighter count as a Star Wars knockoff?
Also, Message From Space is awesome.
Is that the one with the starfish monsters?
Mud- Matthew McConaughey vehicle continues his career resurrection. Hugely atmospheric slice of Southern Gothic with good performances, but a little slow-moving.
Magic Mike- Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum, both in roles tailor-made for them. Soderberg blends his usual intelligent social commentary with a thoroughly familiar, almost cliched storyline to surprising effect. Tatum proves very amicable, and McConaughey has a great time as the sleazebag strip club owner who sells sex and fantasy with a colossal ego. Not exactly subject matter in which I had a vested interest, but interesting.
Killer Joe- Another Matthew McConaughey vehicle, this one from fallen 70s aeuter William Friedkin. At age 78, Friedkin remains ever the provocateur, and the movie pushes the envelope and is anarchic and unruly in the best ways. Sadly, it feels more like a freak show-I watch the black comedy car accident with perverse interest, but the black humor in the more vulgar moments feels very ill-judged, and the characters are kind of repugnant. It’s the kind of thing you with with interest but not necessarily involvement, at least it was for me. Great performances though, McConaughey’s charisma is twisted into something darker and more malevolent. Shot digitally, Caleb Deschanel is a superb DOP, and the film is stunning looking, but doesn’t quite have the atmosphere of Mud, even if it’s more lurid. Maybe the baking heat is just an easier thing to convey on grainy celluloid than on crisp digital. I still think the grainy 16mm of Hooper’s original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is the closest I’ve ever come to smelling a movie. Speaking of which…
The Devil’s Rejects- Rob Zombie’s sadistic throwback to the 70s horror movies he loves has it down stylistically. None of the trendy and shiny cinematography, annoying digital FX, and rapid-fire editing of newer remakes, it’s shot on grainy Super 16 with a 70s southern rock soundtrack. The whole movie is cast with exploitation icons and feels wonderfully ragged and dirty. Sadly, Zombie doesn’t appear to have absorbed any of the underlying social context of the movies he loves, so his homage feels empty, just a parade of stylized sadism with no center. You could argue there’s a subtext of becoming monstrous fighting monsters, but it’s awful thin. The cast are all having a sleazy great time though, a terrifying Sid Haig, a gleefully profane Bill Mosley, and a hilariously redneck William Forsythe as an Elvis-loving sheriff. “I’m sure your knowledge of bullshit is limitless!”