Weekend Round-Up – Blogging Dreams and Straw Dogs (2011) Review
Scott takes us on a round-up of his weekend viewing with a review of Straw Dogs and also an insight into a strange dream.
Front Room Cinema has been going now for over a year. As a site it has grown quite a bit, although we always want more, so I am not giving up on the changes yet. Hence the new them which took up pretty much of my entire week last week. It was hell, I love the new look and the integrated review features but I am having to go SLOWLY through every post and resize images and change the format to fit the new look. I am not sure if there is a quicker way of doing it, I haven’t seen a plug in, but I will get there in the end. It will be worth it!
Do you like the new look?
HOLD ON, I was trying to get to a point. In the 13 months I have been editing and writing FRC I have been very lucky to have met some amazing writers from around the globe. I call them FRIENDS even though I doubt very much I will meet more than 20% of them as most are in far off lands. Which brings me to my very strange and vivid dream on Saturday night.
In the dream, I had a tweet from Max from Impassioned Cinema who announced that he and Terrence from Focused Filmographer were on a visit in UK, staying in Brighton and wanted to come around to catch a flick in my Front Room Cinema. I called them up and headed into town to pick them up. They were staying at a famous back-packers hostel on the beach and when I got there, it felt like I had known them all my life. I know this doesn’t seem strange, but remember I haven’t met these guys. I have seen the odd photo on their respective blogs or Facebook, but that is it. The rest of the contact has been done through tweets, comments and other text driven media. Yet, when i met them (in my dream) they felt like my oldest friends.
When I awoke in the morning, I had that feeling of, Did that actually happen? Was that a dream?… very odd.
I guess this shows me that I really do think of you guys that read FRC, and write amazing sites also, as good friends. Not just acquaintances. Thanks people for making life most excellent.
What is weirder, the dream or me wanting to share it with you all?
OK, that is enough of my sentimental waffle.
Although I was pretty busy with other NON film watching duties this weekend, I did manage to catch on film – Straw Dogs (2011). While not an instant classic, it wasn’t actually as bad as I thought it was going to be. Here is my review…
STRAW DOGS (2011)
OK, we all know where I stand on remakes. I find them for the most part completely unnecessary, and pointless. And if I am honest this remake of the Peckinpah brutal classic of the same name does nothing to shake this stance. For the first half of the film, Director Lurie does a pretty decent job of updating the theme for the new generation, but when it comes to the ferocious kick that the 1971 film has, this remake just doesn’t seem to cut it. The blame for this cannot fall solely at the feet of Lurie, I feel we have to throw some of it at our desensitization.
One master stroke by the film makers was to transport the setting from a sleepy Cornwall here in the UK to the deep south of America. this is one example of a film being Americanized and actually benefitting. James Marsden plays a Hollywood screenwriter David, who with his new wife Amy, played by Kate Bosworth, move to Blackwater, Mississippi . The plan is to move into Amy’s parents old house and David will spend his time finally finishing the historical drama he has been researching. David hires some local workers to fix the roof of the barn and seems completely oblivious to the fact that he is a square peg in a round hole. To make matters worse, Amy also happens to be ex-high school sweet heart of Charlie who is the foreman of the workers David hired. Charlie, played by the gargantuan Alexander Skarsgard, seems adamant on the fact that he believes Amy still loves him and see’s no manly competition in her new husband, leading to a crescendo of bloody events.
Marsden and Skarsgard play their parts very well. Marsden’s David is the perfect gentleman, trying too hard to fit in, to the point of agreeing to anything just on the hope that he will be accepted as on of the lads. Skarsgard’s Charlie is the perfect oily Southern Gent, full of politeness with an underlining slimy and sinister side. The sparring between these two in the first 30 minutes is a pleasure to watch, i do enjoy vocal dueling.
Unfortunately this is where the good stuff ends. I can’t go into it very deeply for fear of spoilers. But suffice to say there comes a time where David has to be pushed to breaking point and the only course of reaction is action, but I never really felt this happen. Also, Bosworth is not a strong enough of an actor to give the performance needed when her character needs to, instead opting for a blank and almost ZOMBIE state. Lurie doesn’t seem to know how to handle the intense climax, instead opting for the easy curve of extreme gore and horror schlock, when there should have been something much more emotional and deep-rooted.
I am trying hard not to damn STRAW DOGS as I actually sat through it and found it quite watchable, but the at the end of the day, Lurie seems to have opted for the easy way out of this remake, which is a shame as it had a promising first half.
About The Author – Scott Lawlor
Chief Editor of FRC. A self confessed geek with an unhealthy thirst for all things Home Cinema. Whether it is the latest Action film or Subwoofer.
Have you seen this film? Any dreams you want to share? Comment below…