by Louis Fowler
Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
While I was a pretty big fan of Sylvester Stallone’s action-throwback The Expendables, in retrospect, I feel that my fandom of it was more for what it represented than for the actual movie. It was released in theaters the same weekend the interminable chick-flick Eat Pray Love and the hipster garbage Scott Pilgrim came out, so it was pretty much America’s masculine duty to make it No. 1 at the box-office, which it was. The movie itself, however, was filled with badly edited fight scenes and nonsensical dialogue. Stallone heard the critics and, like a true filmmaker of the people, went back and made, literally, hundreds of edits to create a radically different vision of his action opus. The new edits restore a real sense of flow to the movie, making this the preferred version, at least in the eyes of the fans. If only more filmmakers would listen to their audiences, there wouldn’t be such backlashes.
I know that I comment a lot here about the steady stream of Tarantino rip-offs that I have to endure, but, when I’m really being honest about it, most of those filmmakers only take certain elements, desperately trying to infuse at least come basic creativity and originality into the proceedings. Catch .44, however, is a big, greasy middle finger to all those filmmakers. Its Tarantino fetishism is so blatant and so in-your-face, that for the first half-hour, I thought I was watching a spoof movie, something along the lines of Not Another Tarantino Movie. But, sadly, it’s for real. The God-awful Malin Akerman leads a trio of giggling tough girls through a bloody botched robbery, with Forest Whitaker, as a Latino, and Bruce Willis, as a scumbag, mucking things up ever further. It’s funny how, even though Tarantino himself has continued to grow and change as a filmmaker, his obsessives are stuck in a state of creative arrested development.
Call me old-fashioned, but I’m not a big fan of mixing sex and horror. I’m not talking about, you know, topless woman in the shower getting stabbed by a slasher, as that’s really just cheap titillation. I’m talking about the actual act of coitus presented as an act that incites orgasm through the forced pain and suffering of another. The British anthology flick Little Deaths is a celebration of that, kind of The Red Shoe Diaries meets Tales From the Crypt but only not, well, good. Usually, in anthology movies, the stories have some sort of EC Comics morality twist that’s clever, but here, it’s lazy and limp. A posh couple kidnaps the homeless to rape, only to have picked, I think, a vampire. Then, a narcotic is derived from some sort of grafted member. Finally, a man with a canine fetish forces dogs to rape and kill his humiliating lover. It’s all quite sickening, and not in the way you’d like.