Let me first go "on the record" about remakes, especially remakes of foreign films for American audiences. I've never understood the average Americans aversion to sub-titles. The common slack-jawed yokel response of "I DUN LIKE TAH READ WATCHIN' A MOVEEE" is pretty wide spread in the American audience. However, the actual goal of a movie is to make money, so studios will continue to produce the watered-down, Kraft Box Mac n Cheese for our nuanced palates. You would think that after all this time a broader audience could handle the movie as is. Worst comes to worse, over-dub it. But no, since Idiocracy is actually coming true, we'll probably have to remake English films so NASCAR fan can understand whats going on.
Let the Right One In just makes sense as a foreign film. The weather and the culture of Sweden plays a big role in how this movie feels. Its very easy to feel the cold and the desolation of this little suburb of Stockholm. The young boy Oskar seems not only to be victimized by his school mates, but by his surroundings as well. It makes perfect sense that Eli, the "girl" he meets at the jungle gym also seems very vulnerable. Eli lives with her "father" in flat across the hall. These two strike up a relationship that grows into a friendship. Its a quiet friendship that seems far to subtle for an American audience. I'm sure that will change in the remake. What will also probably change is the relationship between Eli and her "father". Probably not wanting to offend, I feel this relationship will become much more father/daughter so as not to scare off the overly sensitive viewing population.
I have the highest hopes for "Let Me In" (I swear, they probably found that the original title didn't test well), but as much as I want this movie to do well, it didn't even need to happen in the first place. Let the Right One In was a sad, creepy and all around great film. I got it and I'm pretty sure others could too. However, Hollywood needs to keep spoon feeding us rehashed and reworked crap, so I guess I'll put on my bib and spit up if I don't like it.
This is the original. Its good. Takes cues from 28 Days Later and condenses it into an hour and fifteen minutes. Nothing drags in this movie, that's for sure. Despite being fast, there are some SERIOUSLY creep scenes, helped in part by the "guerrilla style" shooting of the entire film. I just WISH/HOPE they will go into more the origin story at the end (I'm a sucker for an origin story). I will say one thing for the American version. They matched the female leads almost to a pinpoint.
A strangely dark comedy for Jude Apatow ingenue Seth Rogan. While the "insanity" of his character seems a bit forced, the goofy, offbeat characters that work and shop in the mall are enjoyable to watch. Anna Faris is a slutty, pukey, horrible make-up counter girl (which gets the stereotype very much correct). Patton Oswald makes a quick cameo as a Cinn-a-Bonn type manager from catty, retail manager hell. Ray Liotta is, as always, faboo as the police officer standing in Rogan's way to fulfilling his dreams.
I liked it. Rogan's character is insane, yet sympathetic. You root for him yet want him committed at the same time.
In the Idiocracy Academy Awards, this movie would probably have won "Best Foreign Faggy Smarty Film" or whatever. Its ridiculous to the point that it's hilarious. In keeping with the first Crank, the public sex scene is cartoonish and had me giggling. Poor Jason Statham, he keeps playing Turkish in every movie he's in. Granted, I'm a bit biased because I think Statham is sexy like hot butter on a sugar biscuit.
Its a crazy, silly, immature, titty, cussing, movie. I would have liked to see it in the theater. Get a reaction from a live audience.
Let Me Wax a little "Serious Business" for a Second
First off, I suppose I'm not in the "art criticism" camp when it comes to reviewing movies. I'm a shoot-from-the-hip, go-with-your-gut, I-liked/didn't like-this-movie-here's-why-and-I'm-gonna-try-to-make-you-chuckle style reviewer. Also, I buy into the concept "It isn't who you are, but what you like" methodology, ESPECIALLY if you are being looked to as an authority on what to spend your entertainment dollars on. Now, THIS article attempts to debunk that theory. While very well written and agreeable on some points, I simply can't understand why when presented with this evidence ANYONE could read his reviews without a jaundiced eye. Just like with any other form of art criticism, if you like Vermeer's you may not like Crucifix-in-a-Jar-of-Semen (but YOU MIGHT). If you like Van Gogh, you will probably like other Impressionist painters (or YOU MIGHT NOT). Now, if I like Vermeer's artwork, but I find out an art critic that I respect like Jizzy-Jesus? I'm going to think twice about his reviews OF EVERYTHING ELSE HE WRITES. He may have presented a wonderfully interesting reason as to WHY Jizzy-Jesus was great, but as a visual medium, first impressions count for 90% of what we think of a piece. This goes for film as well. Transformers 2?? Yeah, not for me. Random film critic loves it? I'm going to think twice. Will he like more movies that I think are crap? Probably? Are his opinions less valid because he likes something that everyone hates? ENTER SLIPPERY SLOPE TERRITORY. Lord god, I don't want this to evolve into an argument about less popular opinions being ignored/undervalued by society. Dissent is important. Of course. Having an unpopular opinion is exactly what it is. It isn't a badge of indie honor, it doesn't make your opinion any more or less valuable. Just understand that people (most people in fact) aren't going to agree with you.
I do wonder what the paid film critic knows that I don't. How are opinions about movies different from knowledge about movies. Outside of technique in film making and story arch's, what do they know that I don't? The review in question (here for anyone that wants to see what all the fuss is about) Here is a sample that makes me think White is falling prey to his own likes/dislikes
That cartoonish Mothership image suggests the high-concept inanity featured in Children of Men and Cloverfield: It’s apocalyptic silliness. Not ominously beautiful like the civilization-in-peril tableau that caps Roy Andersson’s You, the Living (critic John Demetry described that climax as a “revelation out of [Morrissey’s] ‘Everyday Is Like Sunday’”). Rather, the immanence in District 9 suggests a meager, insensitive imagination. It’s a nonsensical political metaphor.
Ok, what have we learned from above paragraph. He doesn't like Children of Men and Cloverfield and likes You, the Living. Further on in the review
District 9 represents the sloppiest and dopiest pop cinema—the kind that comes from a second-rate film culture. No surprise, this South African fantasia from director Neill Blomkamp was produced by the intellectually juvenile New Zealander Peter Jackson
I'm guessing he hated Pan's Labrynith*, too. Despised Lord of the Rings? I don't think it would be out of the stretch of logic to make that leap.
What you hate and like matters. Society has shown us that, even Mr. White makes mention of it.
Fools will accept District 9 for fantasy, yet its use of parable and symbolism also evoke the almost total misunderstanding that surrounds the circumstance of racial confusion and frustration recently seen when Harvard University tycoon Henry Louis Gates Jr. played the race card against a white Cambridge cop.
Draw your own conclusions. Its a well written, well thought out review. If you like it, however, then someone may judge you for it. Is that wrong? Maybe. But from a percentage basis, probably not.
EDIT Ok, so I got Guillermo Del Toro and Peter Jackson confused for a second. In my defense, they looked a lot alike, at one time.