Sunday, July 30, 2017

Los Ricos También Mueren aka The Rich Also Die

I must admit that I liked this movie far better when it was called The Most Dangerous Game. After all, the original Richard Connell short story by that name still manages to grip me in a way that its more recent remakes do not. Anyway, if you are going to dedicate a whole movie to the idea of people hunting people, why not call it The Most Dangerous Game?

Of course, writer/director James DeMonaco is not just interested in borrowing a gimmick from an old short story. He is out to make some serious social commentary -- which might explain why the working title for this movie was actually Vigilandia, a rather cool title which implies a similarity to the word Gringolandia, a not too flattering synonym for the USA which is rarely found outside of Frida Kahlo biographies. Unfortunately, it is a cooler title than the movie deserves which might be why the powers that be chose to change its name to the current title -- The Purge -- which sounds like the name of a documentary about Soviet Russia. Of course, a more accurate title might be Look at All the Scary White People, if not Stuff Scary White People Do. But the producers of this movie are not interested in accuracy or even believability, and it shows.

Thus the director spends more than a few minutes establishing that the nice neighborhood that male lead character James Sandin and his family live in is also a multiracial neighborhood, only to pile on a ton of stuff about scary black people later on in the film. He tries to establish one group of villains as the scariest folk since the Super Posse that pursued the title characters of the 1969 movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, only to have them dispatched with surprising ease. And of course, he devotes the entirety of the movie to an implied message about the evils of wealth without one real glimpse of what life is like in the poor neighborhoods.

For what it is worth, the movie does manage to come up with some creepy images. Then again if one aims at a camera at a bunch of mask-wearing individuals carrying knives and guns, one would have to be a pretty bad cameraman not to capture any creepy images.

Besides, there is something shamelessly self-congratulatory about this movie which makes it hard to dismiss as just another B-movie with intellectual delusions of grandeur. Most people who have told me horror stories about their fellow men don't live in rich neighborhoods but in poor neighborhoods. Yet most American horror movies about home invasions inevitably focus on the rich so-and-so who doesn't deserve such a fate -- and not the poor so-and-so who encounters far worse trouble with little help from society. And although DeMonaco attempts to subvert this theme by making Sandin a rich salesman for security devices who ultimately witnesses the failure of the very devices which have previously proven to be his bread and butter, he shows as little interest in the fate of the poorer people with whom he supposedly identifies as his movie's villains do. The only difference, of course, is that the villains are more honest about it.

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

R.I.P. George Romero

American horror film director George Romero -- best known for his zombie trilogy (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead) as well as for other movies like Martin and Knightriders -- walked off the set for the final time on July 16, 2017, at age 77.

He will be missed.

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R.I.P. Martin Landau

Actor Martin Landau -- best known for his starring role in the TV series Mission: Impossible as well as his roles in such movies as Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest and Tim Burton's Ed Wood and of course, for his role as real-life father of actress Juliet Landau -- gave his last performance on July 15, 2017, at age 89.

He will be missed.

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Monday, July 10, 2017

It's Official!

I'm the new House.

I have a pain in my leg and the only progress that it's made in the last week or so is moving from my right side to the left.I'm supposed to see the doctor tomorrow so I hope to get an expert opinion on it but in the meantime it hurts like a son of a gun.

And me without a cane, a handful of Vicodin or even a Sela Ward.

Add to that my growing cynicism about society and I guess I might as well start studying medicine so that I can really be the new House.

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Thursday, July 06, 2017

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Tonio Kruger!

Ms. Reynolds and I hope you all had as much fun on my birthday today as I have had. In fact, we hope you all have had more.

Thank you all for your loyalty.

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Monday, July 03, 2017

¡Feliz Cuatro de Julio!

Ms. Moreno and I want to wish all my readers a happy July 4th tomorrow. I hope you all have an excellent holiday.

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Saturday, July 01, 2017

Song Quote of the Week

The sound of gunfire,
off in the distance,
I'm getting used to it now.
--David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads, “Life During Wartime”

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