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…

Yor, The Hunter From The Future
You may be shocked to learn that while Yor is an atrocious movie, I’m not giving it zero stars, and this is simply because Yor is so bad that it’s almost, almost good. Reb Brown of the infamous Space Mutiny stars as Yor, a blonde-haired caveman barbarian who saves a curly-haired brunette named Ka-Laa and her tubby, bearded guardian Pag from a carnivorous triceratops (don’t ask). Follow the rescue, Yor is invited back to meet the rest of the tribe, but no sooner has he done so than a horde of hairy ape-like neanderthals invades the camp and kills everyone except Yor, Ka-Laa, and Pag. The next hour of the film mostly just repeats the following series of events: Yor, Ka-Laa, and Pag wander through the barren landscape, discover a cave, look inside, fight some creatures (Yor generally uses a crude axe, and at least one of his enemies per fight scene will fall off a ledge), and escape. At one point, Yor meets a blonde woman with a medallion similar to his and discovers that he comes from an island off the coast of whatever continent they’re on. On this island, technology has advanced far beyond that of the mainland, and the evil Overlord (that’s his name) commands an army of androids while a race of blonde people lead a resistance against him. It’s all just too ridiculous for words. If you took a bad foreign remake of Conan the Barbarian and mashed it together with a bad foreign remake of Star Wars, you might get something like this film. But for all that it’s terrible, it’s entertainingly terrible, and bad movie aficionados should definitely seek out Yor, The Hunter From The Future…if only for the theme song.
.5 out of 5

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)
David Fincher’s take on The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is more like a new adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s novel than it is a remake of the Swedish film from 2009 – similar to how the Coen Bros.’ True Grit is more of an adaptation of the novel than a remake of the John Wayne film of the same name – and I’d say this movie is the better for it. Essentially, Fincher just took all the stuff that worked in the Swedish film (I’ll admit, I haven’t read the source material, so the foreign film is my basis of comparison for this movie), namely the characters of Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander (one of the most ass-kicking female protagonists in recent memory), and polished all the stuff that didn’t work until it looked good. Fincher’s film is more cinematic (the camerawork is brilliant throughout), has a better score, more solid performances from the leads, and just feels more like a movie you would see in theatres rather than the Swedish film’s style that felt like a made-for-TV movie. Beyond these changes, the story is the same, so all of the things I said about the Swedish film still hold true with this remake/reimagining. It’s a fun airport-novel-mystery, but with a Trent Reznor score and a cast that includes some Hollywood A-listers, Fincher’s film is a vast improvement over The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’s previous iteration. Some people may prefer the original movie, but in my eyes, this one is vastly superior.
4.25 out of 5

Director Roland Emmerich is best known for his big-scale disaster movie blockbusters like Independence Day and 2012, so I was quite intrigued to see what a period piece about Shakespeare would look like coming from him. Unfortunately, Anonymous isn’t terribly remarkable, and seems a bit confused about who the viewer is supposed to be invested in. The premise is interesting enough: a nobleman (played by Rhys Ifans) loves to compose poems and plays, but because of his position in the social order and the disdain for poetry and plays at the time, he instead passes his works to a struggling playwright in order to see them performed without anyone tracing them back to him. The plan doesn’t go accordingly, however, as a buffoonish actor named William Shakespeare highjacks the plays and poems and takes credit for them instead, turning himself into the most famous playwright in the world in the process. The period detail in this film is great, and all of the sets and costumes are well-realized. The acting is fine, and the historical stuff is entertaining if you can overlook all the inaccuracies, but ultimately, Anonymous failed to resonate with me. I couldn’t really connect with any of the characters, and after the first fifteen minutes, wherein the idea that “Shakespeare wasn’t Shakespeare” is rolled out, I felt like the movie had lost its momentum. It’s as though the movie was a plot summary based on a conspiracy theory, then stretched into two hours, and there was more than one point where things dragged severely. Also, the framing narrative of the whole movie actually being a play being performed for a modern audience in a modern theatre was an odd choice and doesn’t really work. I don’t regret seeing Anonymous, but it’s not a good sign when you’re watching a movie about Shakespeare and find yourself wanting to turn it off and just read or watch some actual Shakespeare. The final nail in the coffin for this movie, though, is the fact that, even if Shakespeare didn’t write the plays we associate with him, it doesn’t really matter. Somebody wrote them, and it’s Shakespeare’s writings that inspire us, not the man himself.
2.75 out of 5

See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!

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