FilmJerk Favorites

A group of unique directors and the essential works that you've got to see.

||| Stanley Kubrick |||
Stanley Kubrick

A filmmaker of international importance, Kubrick was one of the only directors to work within the Studio System and still have full artistic control over his films from scripting through post-production, prompting Time Magazine to compare Kubrick’s early independence with the magnitude of Orson Welles.

An uncompromising antiwar film, this gut-wrenching drama depicts a World War I officer as he labors with an ultimately futile defense for three painfully sympathetic men tried for cowardice. Kubrick artistically utilizes a beautifully washed-out black and white photography to represent the muddied boundaries of right and wrong, and the many gray areas that lay between.

A fabulous and inspiring adventure, this visually stunning epic stars Kirk Douglas as the heroic slave who fights to lead his people to freedom from Roman rule. Although a clear departure from Kubrick’s oeuvre, “Spartacus” is an all time classic helmed by a man with a precise vision who is equally capable of crafting colossal spectacle, tense tęte-ŕ-tętes, and a tender moment between lovers.

This film is so stylish it’s easy to forget it’s a horror film at heart. Considered to be the thinking man’s thriller, Kubrick molds this very particularly “Stephan King” material into the portfolio of his films about human failure, as the hero’s desperate desire to become somebody ends in frustration and tragedy.

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See No Evil

By BrianOrndorf

May 20th, 2006

Ever heard of the wrestler called Kane? Yeah, neither have I. But the man has somehow talked his way into starring in the feature film, “See No Evil.” Yet another wide release a studio was scared of showing to the press before opening weekend, “Evil” lives up to that promise with hackneyed visual inspiration and bonehead screenwriting.


Even professional wrestling fans, as forgiving a group as there ever was, might have trouble swallowing this genre tripe.

Psychopath Jacob Goodnight (professional wrestler Kane) has holed up in the abandoned Blackwell Hotel to evade police attention and calm his violent tendencies. One day, eight teen criminals arrive at the hotel to serve their community service through clean up duties, supervised by the cop that once put a bullet in Goodnight’s head years earlier. When one of the group is captured by Goodnight, the rest of the teens search frantically for her, only to find that they are all prey for an unstoppable force determined to kill them all.

“See No Evil” is the first production from World Wrestling Entertainment Films, and hopefully it will be their last. Eager to sucker in the faithful by showcasing the stalking abilities of a popular grappler, “Evil” is a one-note genre offering that doesn’t aspire to be anything more than a banal collection of gore money shots.

How interesting is it that producer Vince McMahon hired director Gregory Dark to helm this rancid picture. Sure, his official bio lists a career innocently making music videos for Britney Spears and Mandy Moore, but Dark is probably better known as a once-prolific adult film director, responsible for such classics as “Hootermania.” Dark’s porn background comes in handy for the twisted mischief in “Evil.” The film is nothing but lurid, wet close-ups and pounding violence, with Dark acting far more attentive to Goodnight’s gruesome aftermath than to anything remotely dramatic that might draw the viewer in. Want logic? Backstory? An interesting, original visual palette? An elementary grasp on spatial relationships? At least reasonable acting? If so, I wouldn’t go near “Evil.” All this film cares about is pleasing the pushovers already licking their lips at any hint of half-baked ultraviolence.

The picture is such a disorganized blur that perhaps the viewer needs a background in wrestling appreciation to completely comprehend any of the action. Dark can only capture the mayhem with an unacceptable display of first-year film student trick shots (and lots of clichéd flashy editing); trying to make the two cents he’s been given for a budget look like four. Taking place almost entirely in drab hotel hallways (possibly the same one flipped back and forth), “Evil” tries to liven up the humdrum surroundings with ridiculously conceived deaths (eyes are gouged, one character gets her cell phone shoved down her throat, and another is eaten by starving dogs) and dangerously disrespectful film tributes. At least I hope they’re tributes. If not, I pray the Hitchcock estate sues the pants off screenwriter Dan Madigan (another wrestling vet) for stealing “Psycho” so blatantly to stitch together at least a hint of a reason why Goodnight stalks the young and foolhardy.

The main event in “Evil” is Kane, not any of the poorly cast nobodies that litter the rest of the ensemble. Sadly, Kane has all the cinematic presence of a shaved ape, and possesses acting skills that make Vin Diesel look like vintage 1974 Pacino. Granted, there’s not much for Kane to do except look confused, swing an axe, and grunt, but the guy can’t even make that simple acting goal jump off the screen. He’s a hulk, but instead of imposing, he comes off as a junior high bully with an eye socket fetish. Perhaps if Dark put in the same thought and monetary effort that it eventually takes to get rid of Goodnight into the rest of this nonsense, there might’ve been a sliver of a chance that “See No Evil” would’ve avoided becoming the grindingly awful picture it unfortunately is.

My rating: F