Scott’s Film Geek Journal is a daily account of all the films I watched in a given day. No full-length reviews here (unless they’re being linked), these are brief rundowns of my daily viewing habits. Some films I’m seeing for the first time, some I’m seeing for the hundredth. Some days will only have one or two entries, some will have more. But this should give a clearer picture of where I’m at on a daily basis.
DAY 7: JANUARY 7, 2013
HUGO (2011) – Martin Scorsese took his first real plunge into family entertainment with this period drama about a young orphan living in a Parisian train station. He scrounges for parts, hoping not to be detected by the inspector who will send him off to the orphanage. This brings him to the booth manned by an old man who doesn’t like Hugo prying into his affairs. This old man used to be the legendary director George Melies.
HUGO is definitely a film that improves on repeat viewings. I have now seen it about four times. At first, it was hard to get the intended impact. But revisiting the film, it is clearly full of tragedy, heartache and magic. So much magic that it seems as though the film is a fantasy, when it really isn’t. It’s another complete change of course for Scorsese and while it’s not one of his greatest achievements, it’s still pretty fascinating.
One problem is that the film runs too long. Never is this more evident than in the scenes with Sasha Baron Cohen as the inspector. It’s not the fault of Cohen, who does a fine job with the role. It’s just a complete tonal shift that doesn’t really work for the film. These scenes, particularly the scene in which he literally announces why his character is the way he is, seems far more juvenile than the rest of the film. ★★★ (out of ★★★★)
CHEERLEADER CAMP (a.k.a. BLOODY POM-POMS) (1987) – This glitzy blood and boobs slasher film has Betsy Russell (AVENGING ANGEL, which will be reviewed in the first episode of our podcast) as a disturbed young woman who is having vivid nightmares. At a cheerleader camp, the girls start getting killed off in violent ways. Who could the killer be? The creepy sherriff, the hobo-ish gameskeeper, the good girl or Russell’s boyfriend.
This film boasts a pretty ecclectic cast. In addition to Russell, you have gymnast-turned-actress Lucinda Dickey (BREAKIN’ 1-2, NINJA III: THE DOMINATION). You also have former pop star turned cautionary tale, Leif Garrett as Russell’s suspicious boyfriend and character actor George “Buck” Flower as a guy named Pop who really needs a bath.
Unlike some other entries in the genre, this film is bright and focuses on some pretty crude humor along with the scares. We even have the stock fat guy used for comic relief and all-around perversion.
It’s never going to be one of the great horror films. But it is genuinely suspenseful and a real hoot. ★★★ (out of ★★★★)
Total films watched in 2013 so far: 17
My soundtrack for January 7, 2013: “But still I’d look for a reason to believe.”