by Dan Fields
First published August 28, 2010 by the California Literary Review
Possession Is Nine Tenths Of A Good Movie
There is a song by the Legendary Shack Shakers which opens thus:
“Well the devil’s in the details
And your reverend’s into retail”
This is as fitting an introduction as any to Daniel Stamm’s The Last Exorcism, a film with plenty of good scares, and far more dramatic meat than its advertising campaign suggests. The trailer seems to have been aimed directly at the same crowd who flocked to Paranormal Activity, only to have their brain cells murdered by two dumpy kids trembling in fear of some purportedly spooky camera tricks. Duped once again into expecting the scariest movie ever, audiences instead got a Blair Witch knockoff masquerading as a much more clever film. Which it isn’t.
Fortunately, The Last Exorcism rises above this admittedly low bar. The story is fairly interesting and explores themes of real weight. Reverend Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) is preacher to a small, devout congregation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Right away, we learn that his actual faith, if any, is a minor component of his calling. Continue reading →
by Dan Fields
First published August 14, 2010 by the California Literary Review
You Don’t Mess Around With Sly
Pardon the expression, but the simplest and most adequate term for a production like The Expendables is “balls-out.” Overkill is the name of the game in this gleeful throwback to the shoot-em-up favorites of the 1980s. Director, star, and co-writer Sylvester Stallone gathers action stars old and new, wrestlers, professional fighters and football players in the dueling ring. Wind them up and watch them go!
The Expendables are a hardened squad of mercenaries, accustomed to high-risk, impossible-odds scenarios. We first see them (half a dozen or so in number) shredding a desperate crew of Somalian pirates without putting more than a scratch or two on their cargo of hostages. It is immediately clear that this is no sobering military drama. It is, instead, a celebration of the Ultimate Badass. If this sounds entertaining to you, then by all means stick around. For the rest of you… well, you’ve been warned. Continue reading →