Friday The 13th/The International

Friday The 13th

2.5 Stars

I don’t think you can call Friday The 13th a “remake” considering a) it cribs more from the original part II than it does the original part I; and b) the franchise has been going pretty consistently for 30 years, it’s more of a retelling.

Luckily the song remains the same for Jason and crew in Friday The 13th, which will make the synopsis easy. Group of naive, yet good looking kids stumble upon the remains of Camp Crystal Lake, closed down since Mrs. Voorhees went on a bloody rampage, killing the counselours she felt were responsible for her son’s drowning. Only he didn’t die, and he’s now a grown, very deranged man. Hilarity ensues. And by hilarity, I mean an insane amount of brutal slayings.

I usually take the third paragraph to delve into the acting of the various leads, point out a delightful supporting role. But really, what the hell do you expect from a mediocre remake of a late 70’s slasher flick? The chicks were naked, the dudes were douchebags, and massive amounts of alcohol and pot were consumed. I could give you a cast list, but good luck recognizing any of them, unless you’re familiar with the WB/CW crowd.

This film was not made, nor should anyone carry the notion that it was, for great performances. When the original came out, it was a 2 hour PSA on the dangers of drug use, drinking and pre-marital sex. Smoke pot? That’s a slaying by a crazy guy in a hockey mask. Drink? Disfigured pedophile will invade your dreams and kill you. Pre-marital sex? Escaped mental patient in Shatner mask will stalk and kill you. It had a social commentary that our out of control, hedonistic life styles would eventually, and quite literally, kill us.

This film… leaves that all out. In this new age of horror, where the bloodier, more gruesome, more realistic the killings the better (I believe the term is “torture-porn”), and it went for the proverbial jugular. And while delivering the thrills and bloodlust, it’s an empty, shell of a movie. It’s sole purpose is to be an exhibition for murder. I’m not here to pontificate on the rightness or wrongness of such existence. But leaving out a message in this kind of movie leaves the viewer with a weird feeling. At least in the Saw franchise there’s a message (value your life), however twisted they go about it.

But like I said, one can’t deny that it at least delivers on the thrills. If you’re going to waste time and money, there’s no real better way than Friday the 13th.

The International

3 stars

Clive Owen and Naomi Watts highlight this international political thriller about the global banking system and world arms trade. And how they alledgedly go hand in hand. It’s an entertaining little movie, not meant to break new ground, but to explore what’s there.

The International spins the tale of Interpol Agent Louis Salinger (Owen) as he works with New York ADA Eleanor Whitman to expose the criminal dealings of International Bank, who alledgedly supplies weapons to third world countries.

This movie reminds me why I initially supported Owen to be the new James Bond a few years back, and makes me glad he isn’t. Owen is too rugged for Bond. Too rough around the edges, to blue collar. He almost always looks like he woke up from a night of drinking, which, in my best estimation, is his charm. He brings sort of an everyman quality to his roles. There’s rarely a hint of grandeur to his performances (even when playing King Arthur, which wasn’t ALL bad).

Director Tom Tykwer finally makes his big American debut, and as expected, it doesn’t live up to Lola rennt (Run, Lola Run), but it’s a different film geared to a different audience, so I can’t be too hard on him for that. But to his credit, it is beautifully shot, with nary a wasted scene.

The unfortunate thing about most movies released January-February is that they will in no way make huge waves in movie making (notable exceptions include The Silence of the Lambs and last year’s Cloverfield). They tend to just exist, and the companies behind them have very little faith in their audience draw or general quality. This film doesn’t change that. It just kind of is. But what is, is a cut above the general dreg out there.

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