Sunday Short Reviews


Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…

I honestly can’t decide if this movie is beautiful in a pretentious way or pretentious in a beautiful way…or both! Lars Von Trier’s visual style has evolved greatly over the course of his career, and now with Antichrist and his latest endeavour Melancholia, he has shown that regardless of subject matter, he knows how to deliver a film that’s astounding to look at. The plot of Melancholia can best be described as arthouse sci-fi, as a planet that’s been “hiding behind the sun” has suddenly appeared in the sky and is filling everyone with excitement and dread as the planet (called Melancholia) looks to be on a collision course with earth. But the real meat of the movie is the interpersonal drama between Kirsten Dunst and her family, particularly her sister played by Charlotte Gainsbourg. The rest of the cast is worth mentioning as well, though, as they’re all terrific, especially Kiefer Sutherland as Charlotte Gainsbourg’s husband. Other notable players include John Hurt, Alexander Skarsgard, Stellan Skarsgard, and Udo Kier. I may not always be a fan of Von Trier’s work, and although Melancholia is pretty depressing in its message of hopelessness, the more I think about this film, the more I enjoy it. This is a movie best seen with a group who you can then go out for drinks with following the show and try to figure out just what the heck Lars Von Trier is trying to say. If for nothing else, see this movie for Kiefer Sutherland and the first ten to fifteen minutes.
3.75 out of 5

Conan the Barbarian (2011)
Normally I have strong objections to remakes of classic pulpy movies, but since I’m not a die-hard Conan the Barbarian fan, this remake didn’t really bother me. Mind you, it’s pretty pointless. The charm of the original Conan films lay entirely in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ridiculous performance and the low-budget campy charm of it all. With the remake, they’ve updated the special effects and production values and improved the acting, which leaves you with…well, not much. Jason Momoa makes a good Conan, but beyond his decent performance, there’s really no point to this movie. You’d be better off watching Game of Thrones and The Scorpion King back to back.
2.5 out of 5

For some reason, Leonard Maltin rated this film 2.5 out of 4! I can’t for the life of me figure out why, though, as it’s an absolutely atrocious sci-fi garbage pile. If anyone tries to convince you to watch this without the aid of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 guys mocking it, then you should avoid that person at all costs and insist that they seek mental help. I’d try to give a proper plot summary, but Laserblast makes no sense whatsoever, and the bulk of the movie is obvious padding to fill out the running time – for example, when someone is looking around a house party for someone else, the filmmakers insist that we take a tour of the ENTIRE HOUSE before getting to the point. This movie is really, really dumb, and I feel like if I had watched this without the help of MST3K, someone would owe me two hours of my time. The .5 I’m giving this movie is entirely for the reasonably cool claymation aliens. They were great, and weren’t in the movie nearly enough.
.5 out of 5

See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!

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