This horror starts out as a shameless ‘Saw’ rip-off, as a group of strangers awake trapped in a dingy, mysterious location with no memory of how they got there. Soon they find they are in the presence of a serial killer who intends to make them play life-and-death games against each other. These games are not remotely clever or inventive though and basically boil down to: role 1-3 and they will die, 4-6 and they will live. Tedious.
Van Damme’s latest eastern-Europe set straight-to-DVD effort has a surprisingly strong opening in which he infiltrates and takes down a child sex ring, only to then discover that his actions have led to the deaths of two imprisoned kids. It descends into an overlong predictable affair from there though.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: Part 1
DC animation did a rather good job of adapting Frank Miller’s ‘Batman: Year One’ a couple of years ago, and here takes on his other legendary 80s Batman story. Opting for a two part approach gives them more room to pack everything in but some of the fight scenes are a little too much. We’ll have to wait for Part 2 to see how it works as a whole.
Killing Zoe 2/5
Woody Allen: A Documentary
An extensive look at Woody Allen’s cinematic output, employing choice excerpts from his back catalogue and interviews with collaborators, fans, and Woody himself, who seems a lot more jovial than other recent interviews with him I’ve seen. It tracks his career in a mostly chronological fashion, not shying away from including the lows as well as the highs, mostly keeping his personal life out of it. It also provides some fascinating insights into his creative process (he’s typed all his screenplays on the same typewriter), and thankfully was able to include his recent huge success with ‘Midnight in Paris’. I’ve seen a good number of his films but have never been much of a fan. If its goal was to encourage people to see more of his work, then it certainly succeeded for me.
Its seems like not long ago that we were hearing reports that Steven Soderbergh was retiring from filmmaking, yet here he is releasing 3 very different films in about a year. This drama has proved to be a smash hit at the box-office and well, it doesn’t take a genius to see why. It does attempt to give its characters some depth (Mike is interested in furniture!) but really it’s just here to show men taking their clothes off and dancing around, which it does in large amounts. If you’re not interested in seeing that then there’s little to recommend.