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The World's End is hilarious, while You’re Next is bloody and twisted

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YOU’RE NEXT:  This one is not for everybody but those who it is for will love it. In fact they’ve been waiting since it got great reviews at the Toronto film festival two years ago, played only once again at a fantasy fest and has been sitting on a shelf until now. It’s an extremely well-made but blithely nasty home invasion thriller directed at fans of blood and gore. I’m not one of them and was happy that the many killings were swift and the camera preferred to linger on the aftermath rather than the act. Also there is a lot of imagination evident in these scenes of mayhem, along with real suspense, a bit of humor, no redeeming social values at all and, for aficionados, fun.

 

A family gathers at a remote house for an elderly couple’s wedding anniversary. Their four grown children have brought along partners and (two at least) old rivalries. A loud argument at dinner is rudely interrupted when a cross-bow is fired into the window. That sets off a night of horror as some homicidal maniac tries to kill them all. Later it turns out there is more than one, and they wear animal masks to hide their faces and write threatening messages in blood. Why? That’s not clear until almost the end. Before that people are picked off one by one in increasingly gory ways and one guest, Erin, played by Sharni Vinson, dares to fight back. Cognoscenti may note that the mother is played by Barbara Crampton, star of several 1980s splatter-fests and that the director, Adam Wingard, has some small horror films in his credits. This one is speedy, genuinely thrilling and resolved with a mordant surprise. (International Village and some suburban theatres) 3  out of 5

I GIVE IT A YEAR: I’ll offer kudos for trying a new twist on a formula but scorn for messing it up so badly. At the start it feels like another Four Weddings and a Funeral (not surprising since some of the same producers are in charge and also brought us Notting Hill, Bridget Jones and many others). But Dan Mazer, the writer and director, comes from the world of Borat and Ali G. He brings too much crude humor and a pervasive cynicism to this anti-romantic comedy, his examination of marriage. 

 

Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall play the bride and groom. Their wedding is marked by a minister’s gagging fit and a best man’s cringe-inducing speech. And Minnie Driver predicting the union won’t last a year. “You’ll wake up every day to the same hairy ears,” she says.  Nine months later the couple are telling their troubles to a counselor. We see in flashbacks that they’re both in danger of straying, he with an old girlfriend (Anna Faris); she with a suave client at her advertising job (Simon Baker). He’s like a Ferrari, compared to her man, the Volvo, says Rose, in a rare clever line. The ending turns unconventional but there’s not much wit on the way. A lot of rude stuff though, including porn among the holiday photos and a game of charades with maybe a dozen synonyms for a female body part. I’m not surprised only one theatre has booked this one.  (Dunbar)  1 ½  out of 5

BOND RELOADED: The next James Bond adventure is still a year away but you can relive his past glories now and through the next two weeks at the VanCity Theatre.  Twenty of his films are being shown starting with the first, Dr. No, right up to the most recent, Skyfall.  Sure they’re all on video but there’s nothing like seeing them on the big screen, particularly since the action scenes became bigger and wilder as the series developed.  You can muse on which of the six actors played him best and decide in your own mind if Goldfinger really is the best of the films.

Friday night, after Dr. No, there’s a gala and fundraiser. Next Friday, between Never Say Never Again and Octopussy, two academics offer their thoughts and the following evening, Bond expert and collector Murray Gillespie, leads a trivia contest. (Who played Bond most often? Roger Moore). There are also four matinees if you want to bring your kids. Visit www.viff.org for all the details, including special prices on multi-film ticket packs.

NOTE: All images are movie stills provided by the producers. They are the exclusive property of their copyright owners.

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