A fewer array of indies dissected as end of year mandatory viewing duties begin to take hold of my precious movie watching schedule (so many films, so little time!), but there are some surprises here nevertheless. Tales involving deadly relationship intrigue, a hot widow who gets her dates via the occult, an examination of the true meaning of what constitutes a monster and courage in the face of shark attack on the high seas make up the movies examined this week. Check out the Encapsulated Movie Reviews of Come And Find Me, The Love Witch, The Monster and USS Indianapolis: Men Of Courage below!
COME AND FIND ME
Forget that this under the radar release starring former Breaking Bad co-star Aaron Paul is a smaller indie you may not have heard of – it’s fabulous. Starting as a seemingly innocent romantic tale about a boyfriend and girlfriend very much in love, the film then turns into a mystery thriller when the girl in question disappears and heartbroken Paul goes looking much to his own detriment. (No spoilers here – see what happens for yourself!) Writer/Director Zach Whedon stages a hell of an engaging yarn that excites (Paul ends up in a Marathon Man torture situation!), surprises (nobody is who they seem!) and genuinely has moving moments to boot. (The chemistry between Paul and scene stealer Annabelle Wallis is great stuff!) Only issue with the film is that even though Paul is decent, another actor could have elevated the movie more, but its small potatoes for a flick so undeniably impressive. Putting story, suspense and unpredictability at the forefront, Come And Find Me is a fine flick well worth seeking out.
THE LOVE WITCH
Taking a cue from the cheese ridden, lush looking thrillers of the 60’s and 70’s (with a little Argento odd thrown in for good measure!), The Love Witch is a tasty over-the-top genre outing. Focusing on head-in-the clouds witch Elaine, the film follows her as she shamelessly in the name of chemistry tries to woo various men with her looks, love and elixirs in an attempt to replace her deceased former husband. What follows is a ton of fun involving the dispatching of love hungry men, plenty of nude gang ritual ceremonies (male and female!) and one wacky gal with a sizzling stare that snares. And while the film does get bogged down at times and frankly goes on a tad too long, it’s ultimately the captivating turn by Samantha Robinson as the lead passionate enchantress that keeps The Love Witch magically entrancing all the way through.
Watching The Monster it’s no surprise that The Strangers writer/director Bryan Bertino is the mind behind the mayhem here. Much more than a simple creature feature, The Monster also dares to take on weighty issues like domestic abuse, drug addiction and general family problems alongside a story of a mom and daughter caught on a stranded road with a bloodthirsty monster. Though I’d be lying if I said this film had the same disturbing and long lingering effect that The Strangers had, as the creature elements do keep the film firmly in a kooky area that’s hard to take totally seriously. But as far as infusing some somber substance into a story of a savage beast, The Monster has its moments.
USS INDIANAPOLIS: MEN OF COURAGE
While based on true events during WWII that saw an American Navy ship gunned down by the Japanese and the men left for dead in the water, the main problem with USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage as a movie is there’s almost too much story going on. Past character histories, the politics of delivering nuclear weapons, the duality of being both a man and a soldier and fighting off killer sharks all encircle this over-packed flick helmed by actor/filmmaker Mario Van Peebles. Not that the film isn’t good, as there are some great performances (Tom Sizemore is in fine form as a delirious ailing engine room worker!), tasty turns (Nic Cage was born to be a captain!) and great visuals (the almost Titanic like sinking is impressive!), but by the time we get to the whole CGI shark stuff, it feels like we’ve gone ten rounds with a great white ourselves. Entertaining but elongated, it takes equal courage to make it through this decent flick in a single sitting.