Here’s a bunch of movies I’ve seen during the 2011-12 Adelaide summer. I enjoy stories that fiddle with my horizons, whether or not they entirely succeed! That includes “war-horror” films…
Triangle (2009, Australia). After their yacht is wrecked in a storm, a group of friends climb aboard a mysterious, old-style cruise liner. If you can accept its central idea, Triangle is superbly mind-bending and nightmarish.
Deathwatch (2002, UK). On the Western Front, 1917, a group of British soldiers hole up in a haunted trench. Fantastically grubby and disturbing, Deathwatch has the mud to make up for its lack of mystery.
The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006, Ireland). Set in the 1920s during the Irish War of Independence and Civil War, this well-crafted tragedy tells the story of two brothers. I wonder if this is for Ireland what Peter Weir’s Gallipoli is for Australia.
The Adventures of Tintin (2011, USA). A brilliant American remake of Hergé’s classic character. Every element serves the madcap storytelling, including the outstanding mocap animation which breezes by unnoticed.
Made in Dagenham (2010, UK). In the world’s largest Ford factory, 187 women go on strike in an attempt to gain equal pay. It’s funny, it’s charming, and it’s a wonderful call to keep backing women all the way!
Dog Soldiers (2002, UK). While training deep in the Scottish highlands, a group of tough British soldiers try to defend a cottage from an onslaught of werewolves. The convincing soldier characters are offset by some pretty flaky dog-suits!
The Horde (2009, France). It’s nothing particularly new, but this well-made zombie flick has interesting characters and none of that annoying, long-winded survival dialogue!
Sector 7 (2011, South Korea). A monster movie set on an oil rig. My culture-crossing curiosity was piqued by the constant references to honour.
Redline (2010, Japan). This wacky new-school anime has it all: mecha, monsters, politics and romance, all revolving around an intergalactic hovercar race. It’s slick but it’s somehow less than the sum of its parts.
Agora (2009, Spain). In fifth-century Alexandria, the brilliant scholar Hypatia advances the study of astronomy, ignoring growing religious squabbles at her peril. It could have been so stimulating, but this historical epic ends up as a uneven, unsubtle parable about the danger of fundamentalism.
The Ring (2002, USA). A remake of the Japanese horror film. Never mind why the evil girl hides in videotapes, this is a pretty well-crafted creep-out movie.
The Oxford Murders (2008, UK/Spain). Despite a good cast, the intriguing Oxford setting and a potentially stimulating story, this mathematical murder mystery comes off as an irritating wild-goose chase.
Karate Girl (2011, Japan). Two long-separated sisters are pitted against each other by an evil martial arts megalomaniac. High on combat scenes, low on character.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008, USA). In “Forrest Gump in reverse”, Benjamin Button ages backwards. It’s epic and glossy but is it all just surface paint?
Carriers (2009, USA). A post-apocalyptic roadtrip movie with two American brothers trying to make it to the beach amidst a viral pandemic. It’s pretty pedestrian stuff but it just managed to hold my attention.
Plus a bunch of other movies: The Godfather … The Godfather Part II … The Quick and the Dead … Bedknobs and Broomsticks … Dan in Real Life … Day of the Dead (1985) … Day of the Dead (2008) … Robin Hood (2010) … Space Cowboys … The Holiday … The Thaw
Plus return helpings of some classics: Blade Runner (Final Cut) … Contact … Good Bye Lenin … The Castle of Cagliostro … Alien … Aliens … Terminator Salvation … Jurassic Park
And one TV series: When zombies invade the Big Brother house, it makes for really compelling viewing! Check out Dead Set (2008, UK).
Arthur Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.