05 October 2011

October 5th

51 (2011) directed by Jason Connery
As soon as I saw the SyFy logo, I knew I was in trouble.  This first After Dark Originals film looks exactly like any of the other crappy original movies on the former Sci-Fi Channel.  Hell, it even has fade-to-black spots for commercial breaks.  I feel sorry for the folks that actually paid to see this in the movie theater, not knowing they were only going to be watching a made-for-TV movie on a larger-than-normal screen.

While some journalists visit, the aliens held in the basement of Area 51 escape and start wrecking havoc.  You know, just a regular Saturday afternoon at that base, according to the dozens of movies on the subject.  Can the plucky journalists and flawed-but-lovable airmen defeat the aliens and escape before the self-destruct goes off? (Hint: yes)

Here's an example of the idiocy of the script.  At one point, a leader hands one of his subordinates what looks like a penlight.  He doesn't tell her what it does or why he's giving it to her.  He simply says something like "for an emergency," gives her dramatic look, then takes off.  What he didn't tell her: it's a highly effective alien repellent.  This might've been nice to know while the alien was busy eating people, but the person carrying the device doesn't figure this out until too late.  Nice. (3/10)

The Tomb (2009) directed by Michael Staininger
If I didn't know that splatterpunk author John Shirley wrote this (vaguely based on a Poe story), I'd've guessed that a Hot Topic employee somehow won a contest to get her script made into a for-real movie.  The movie is about as gothic as that store, but really strives to be as cool as "The Perfect Drug" video.  There's willowy, raven-haired, black-dress-wearing women and absinthe drinking and castles and 19th century poetry quoting and macabre experiments involving the soul and a twisted romance.  Done right, I do dig all of these things in a film.  They're not done right here.  Character motivations don't seem well thought out, people are drinking absinthe for no real reason other than it's gothic-cool, and what the hell is Eric Roberts doing with that bad accent?  It's a mess of film.  (5/10)

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