A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)
A Nightmare on Elm Street stars Jackie Earle Harley as the child molesting burn victim, Freddy Krueger, who kills teens in their dreams. Yes, that’s right, I said child molesting not murdering. This is just one of the “creative” changes made for the remake.
There were so many problems with this film I don’t even know where to begin so I will just start by giving the brief summary of the ‘updated’ film most people already know about. Fred Kruger was once a living person who was a gardener at the local preschool. It turns out that Fred had been abusing the children at the school and when the parents found out, they tracked him down and burned him alive. Now, years later, the preschool children are in high school and having nightmares about a man with “knives for fingers” named Freddy. The rest of the movie is basically a snuff film of how he kills each of the teens he had molested as children.
There is literally nothing good about the story except that it contains the legendary Freddy Kruger. The characters are ridiculously one-dimensional. As an audience member you end up completely rooting for Freddy Kruger. In every other Nightmare film the audience just wants to see Freddy kill in general. In this new ‘reimagining’ you actually want these crappy characters to die…painfully. Please put them out of their misery so I don’t have to watch them anymore! There is no reason whatsoever to care about Freddy’s victims.
One of the other huge problems of the film is the number of Freddy scenes. As a fan of Freddy Kruger, I was hoping to see some great shots of Freddy in action. Granted, this is accomplished but it happens way to often. About 70% of this movie takes place in Freddy’s nightmare world. This gives the audience no chance to miss Freddy. We ALL want to see Freddy Kruger doing what he does best but not if it means he is doing it in every single scene. The last thing a filmmaker wants their audience to do is check their watch. I must have checked my watch about 20 times.
There is no hint of true filmmaking ability in A Nightmare on Elm Street. The best scene of the film is the prologue. After that you might as well leave the theater because it only goes downhill from there…quickly. It is scene after scene of Freddy stalking vapid kids who deserve to face the hand of Freddy’s infamous glove.
The last, and one of the biggest, problems is the design of Freddy Kruger. Note to Hollywood: Just because you have advanced technology that you didn’t have 25 years ago does not mean you need to use it. I genuinely feel bad for Jackie Earle Haley. He had no idea he was not going to be able to movie in his costume. Freddy’s makeup in this film is absolutely terrible. Some of the worst I have EVER seen. Earle Haley is barely able to blink in his makeup let alone act. A great actor like Haley and legendary character like Freddy Kruger deserve better. MUCH better.
You thought Freddy vs. Jason was bad? Watch this movie. I give A Nightmare On Elm Street (If you can even call it that) a D+.
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
The first movie took place in New York City. The second one brings the main character, Larry the Nightguard (Ben Stiller), to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. The basic plotline is the same except with different historical figures coming to life.
I went back and re-watched the original film and found there were aspects of both films that made them better and worse than each other. For example, the love interest in NATM 2 is exponentially better. In this film Ben Stiller falls for a mannequin-come-to-life Amelia Earhart played by the always perfect Amy Adams (Enchanted). On the other hand, in this movie Ben Stiller seems to be sleepwalking through the role. At one point, a horde of bad guys runs past him and he just stands there watching them as if he was starring at a turtle walking down the sidewalk.
All in all, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian is a pretty funny and family-friendly film but is really nothing different than the original. I give it a B.
No Country for Old Men
It is very rare these days to find a new film that is so reminiscent of the old film noir from the 1940’s and 50’s. A movie that is classified as ‘film noir’ usually is violent and dark in plot and color. Going by this definition, No Country for Old Men falls right into the category. Normally, you might think a film that is dark and violent symbolizes everything wrong with our society and is another pointless portrayal of unnecessary violence and normally, I would agree with you. However, when it comes to talking about No Country for Old Men, these generalities don’t hold up.
No Country for Old Men takes place in the harsh wasteland of West Texas; near the Rio Grande. When Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) is out hunting in the middle of nowhere, he stumbles across some dead bodies and a bag of $2 million in cash. Moss takes the money back to his trailer home and stashes it. Soon a man by the name of Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), who has killed before, is out to find Moss and his bag of stolen money. On the surface, the movie is a game of cat and mouse but at its core, it is the story how two strangers are trying to rid the other of the stolen money and possess it themselves.
No Country for Old Men contained two distinguishing aspects that set this film apart from any other in recent memory. The most distinguishing aspect, and I am sure most would agree with me, is Javier Bardem’s superbly creepy performance as the man hunting down Llewelyn Moss and the bag of money. Bardem’s portrayal of Anton Chigurh is so seamless that I am baffled whether to describe him as a serial killer or a man who has a somewhat distorted vision of reality. I came to the conclusion that he is a little bit of both. Chigurh seems to not be completely crazy so that is why his character is set apart from most portrayals of murderers or serial killers. He has a grasp on reality but it is somewhat distorted and he is even educated, unlike many killers portrayed in film. This makes his character even creepier than he otherwise would be because it makes him a bit more normal; a bit more relatable. That is scarier than anything Freddy Kruger or Michael Myers could come up with. I would bet money that Javier Bardem will not only win the Oscar this year for Best Supporting Actor, but also that his portrayal of Anton Chigurh will someday be considered one of the best portrayals of a villain ever put on screen.
The second aspect of No Country for Old Men that stood out was the setting. The effect this film had on audiences wouldn’t have been nearly as effective if it hadn’t been for the perfect location of the film. The movie is set in West Texas but the majority of it was filmed in New Mexico. There is a lot of wide open desert in New Mexico and this made for the perfect location because it added a sense of entrapment for both of the leading characters. In a large city like Los Angeles or New York, it would be easier to slip trough the cracks and disappear. But in the desert, there really aren’t many places one can hide; especially when being stalked but character as clever and resourceful as Anton Chigurh.
No Country for Old Men will certainly win numerous Academy Awards this year, quite possibly even Best Picture of the Year, but the main things this film will be remembered for are the unique performances by the leading characters (namely Javier Bardem) and the throwback to the days when films could still make you scared and think at the same time. Without a doubt, No Country for Old Men is my pick for Best Picture of 2007. A+ all the way.