Now that I have a Netflix subscription, I have been watching more DVDs than is strictly healthy. My impressions on some recent rentals:
Bubba Ho-Tep: a clever idea (Elvis traded places with an impersonator and then lost his chance to switch back) ultimately flops due to soggy plotting and a loss of sprightliness. So a soul-sucking mummy was accidentally dumped in the creek near a nursing home and it has been preying on the patients? Okay. But why does the mummy wear a cowboy outfit? Too many voiceovers. If you do see it, the subtitled hieroglyphics are the funniest part of the whole thing.
The Devil's Backbone: it does a good job of creating suspense. I was genuinely surprised to find out who killed Santi and suitably creeped out by the ghost's bloated visage and trickling fog of protoplasmic blood. The shots of the countryside also evoked the isolation of the setting well. It wasn't great, but it's an accessible and spooky foreign film.
Chinatown: I normally try to avoid supporting Roman Polanski, but this film predates his career as a rapist and seducer of young girls, and thus I made an exception. A youngish Jack Nicholson carries himself well as a P.I. who stumbles into a mystery involving water rights, incest, adultery, and murder. I felt strangely detached, though, until the end, when John Huston envelopes a screaming girl like a spider and drags her away while a distracted crowd gawks at the final victim. I still shudder thinking about it. A fine film.
Next up: Adaptation and Bottle Rocket.