Covering cinema from the highest of the highbrow to the lowest of the low-grade.
Friday, August 31, 2012
New on DVD/Blu-ray: HEADHUNTERS (2011) and LOVELY MOLLY (2012)
HEADHUNTERS (Sweden/Norway/Denmark/Germany - 2011; 2012 US release)
HEADHUNTERS, a delightfully deranged thriller based on a novel by Scandinavian mystery writer Jo Nesbo, pits an outwardly arrogant but deeply insecure corporate recruiter (Aksel Hennie) who doubles as an art thief, against a potential target (GAME OF THRONES' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), a former GPS tech company CEO who turns out to be far more dangerous than he ever imagined. Hennie steals and fences expensive art as a way of maintaining the illusion of an upper-class, high-rolling lifestyle and to stay in the good graces of his stunning wife (Synnove Macody Lund), who he constantly fears will leave him for a taller, more handsome man. He's got a great set-up going with a sleazebag partner (Eivind Sander) who works at a security company and can override alarm codes. But Coster-Waldau is no fool. In fact, he's a total psycho, and Hennie's greed and insecurity lead to him being plunged into a sick and often darkly amusing game of cat-and-mouse with an increasingly high body count and one detour that literally leads him into the shit. While almost certainly inspired by the success of the Stieg Larsson-based DRAGON TATTOO trilogy, HEADHUNTERS feels more like a Scandinavian Coen Brothers film, with one ridiculous yet oddly plausible nightmare scenario after another for Hennie. It's dark, twisted, and extremely violent, but fans of this kind of stuff will find it to be terrific fun all around. (R, 100 mins)
LOVELY MOLLY (US - 2012)
Eduardo Sanchez forever cemented his place in horror history by co-writing and co-directing THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999), and judging from his latest solo effort, he's still coasting on it. A derivative and ultimately frustrating supernatural slow-burner, LOVELY MOLLY wastes a brave, committed performance by newcomer Gretchen Lodge in the title role. Recently married to truck driver Tim (Johnny Lewis, best known as Half-Sack in the early seasons of SONS OF ANARCHY) and relocated to her childhood home, Molly finds herself haunted--psychologically and spiritually--by traumas and ghosts of the past, which includes heroin addiction and abuse by her father, who was killed by her protective older sister Hannah (Alexandra Holden). With Tim gone for days at a time, and footsteps and strange sounds following her around the house, it doesn't take long for Molly to start cracking. Is she crazy? Is she using again? Or is her father's vengeful spirit still in the house? Sanchez fashions LOVELY MOLLY as a sort of update on Roman Polanski's REPULSION, which was also heavily referenced in this year's earlier and similarly stale SILENT HOUSE, with some bonus PARANORMAL ACTIVITY because, well, that seems to be required these days. Sanchez establishes an ominous, unsettling, dread-soaked mood for a while, and Lodge is often nothing short of remarkable, but once you see where the story's going, it's just another tired retread, right down to Molly busting out her handheld camcorder to try and document the supernatural disturbances, resulting in a lot of shaky-cam and angles and imagery that won't surprise or scare anyone who's seen a horror movie in the last decade and change. The bonus features are even worse, as Sanchez assembles a pointless faux documentary detailing the occult history of Molly's house dating back to colonial times, robbing the film of its ambiguity, which, other than Lodge, is about all it had going for it. (R, 100 mins)