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Last Exorcism Takes Century

Considering the upcoming roster of fall movies, demon expulsion might be more entertaining.  Perhaps exorcism could be embraced as America’s new favorite pastime. Fathers and sons would toss biblical passages back and forth instead of baseballs and watching a televised exorcism would be like seeing a church-themed mash-up of Criss Angel and professional wrestling. Then there would be movies, books, and crucifix-equipped action figures until the entire trend went the way of 3D and all that’s left is The Last Exorcism (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).
“A horror film for the Christian fundamentalist set, The Last Exorcism employs the aesthetic of The Blair Witch Project for a musty demonic-possession tale that promotes strict, anti-modern doctrinal faith as the most righteous path.” Nick Schager, Slant Magazine

Of course the story has an anti-modern slant, exorcisms are an ancient practice rooted in ignorance and fortified by religious groups and horror movies.  As far as I’m concerned, Hollywood should stop making movies about possessed people unless the Ghostbusters are in it.

“In its eagerness to deliver familiar genre pleasures, it somehow misplaces its soul.” Noah Berlatsky, Chicago Reader

Did they try looking under the couch cushions?

“A worthy addition to the horror climate.” Nick Nunziata, CHUD

Horror climates are full of unwanted additions.

“Director Daniel Stamm and his screenwriters studiously keep a lid on the proceedings, only letting short puffs of steam escape as the tension mounts.” Kelly Vance, East Bay Express

I’m confused by the steaming tension-pot metaphor.  Is this a case of the pot calling the kettle careful?

“It’s easy to sum up what’s wrong with The Last Exorcism — nothing happens.” Bill Gibron, Filmcritic.com

Nothing sounds pretty careful.

“As taut and economical a horror film as I’ve seen in a long time…a gripping little movie that will give you the willies.” Marshall Fine, Hollywood & Fine

Apparently, nothing will give you the willies.  And speaking of Willies…

“It’s fun and it will have you jumping out of your underpants.” Willie Waffle, WaffleMovies.com

I meant the reviewer’s name, not a trouser snake.  Nevermind.  Spooking the characters from our next movie would have Romans jumping out of their togas in Centurion (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

“What have the Romans ever done for us? Raped and pillaged mostly, according to a film that also appears to want us to root for them. Bizarre.” Catherine Bray Film4

There could be some novelty to a Roman underdog story.

“Centurion delivers some large-scale action but plays almost like a Roman-era Western in its depiction of a few soldiers trying to get home alive after the slaughter of their comrades.” The Hollywood Reporter, John DeFore

Everything might have been a Roman/Western if the Romans just kept moving west.

“Who to root for? In the end, that ambivalence is part of the fun.” Brett Michel, Boston Phoenix

Yeah, but their conflict is with the Celts (Picts), which is separated from me by geography and history.  It’s like telling me the results of a Scotland vs. Italy soccer match; I care in the same way that I care about someone else’s winning lotto numbers.

“Really little more than a boys’ adventure tale done in a style more gruesome than most…too intense and nasty to be sheer dumb fun, and too silly and formulaic to be taken for a serious historical epic.” Frank Swietek, One Guy’s Opinion

The intersection of dumb and epic.

“Centurion is certainly atmospheric but the brutality and beheadings make it disappointingly monotonous.” Allan Hunter, Daily Express

A boring number of beheadings?  Do these Centurions just hold their blades at neck-level and yell “Red rover, red rover, send anyone who doesn’t look straight ahead right over?”

“300 perpetuated the myth that the best way to survive life was to either shout at the top of your lungs or fight in slow motion. Centurion simplifies that formula by eliminating the shouting and just gives us the gory deaths, mostly at normal speed.” Adam Lippe, Examiner.com

There are plenty of choice lines that are better shouted, like “Freedom!” and “This is Sparta!” Are the criminal gangsters of our final film willing to turn up the volume on the dialogue?  Any Takers (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic)?

“A buffet of Gritty Crime Drama clichés that offers no surprises but nothing egregiously stupid, either.” Eric D. Snider, Cinematical

A cliché buffet?  Why not a stereotype smorgasbord, a familiar feast, or some motto munchies?

“Takers might have made a perfectly decent little B heist movie, but someone had to go and forget to give the cameraman his Ritalin.” Ty Burr, Boston Globe

How bad is the shaking?  Are we talking gentle bumps or the frantic mess of an over-caffeinated frostbite victim riding a jackhammer?

“It’s a misfire with a few cracking action sequences, best viewed at home with a mute button safely within reach…looking as though it was shot with a webcam held by someone with severe allergies.” Brian Orndorf, BrianOrndorf.com

Okay, send that cameraman to a doctor.

“Each close-up competes to be the closest, until everything looks like Batman getting dressed.” Graham Killeen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

If you’re going to be that close, it had better be his good side.

“The logical result of watching Heat over and over and over until your brain burns out, and then wondering what it would look like if the whole thing were remade as a Smirnoff Vodka commercial.” Joshua Tyler, CinemaBlend.com

King Sheep wonders if the re-release of Avatar will out-perform all of this weekend's movies.

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3 Responses

  1. I saw Takers & was actually entertained.

    http://msofficer.com/2010/08/26/damn-vol-8-takers-movie-edition/

    http:://twitter.com/msofficer

  2. Did somebody say a church-themed mash-up of Criss Angel and professional wrestling??!?

  3. I’m assuming it was the movie that made the mistake but the Picts and Celts were two distinct tribes located in the country we now call Scotland. The Picts are considered the original inhabitants of Scotland while the Celts spent approximately 1000 years warring and pillaging through Germany, northern Italy, France, and Ireland before entering the Southwest of Scotland in 450 CE.

    I’m hoping that paragraph was more interesting than this week’s new releases…

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