Tom Engelman

Tom Engelman

Tom Engelman Quick Links

Film RSS

Alone With Her Review


Good
The voyeurism of the film camera has been a handy device in queasy-stomach thrillers from Peeping Tom to Halloween, bringing the audience into the position of the attacker as he steadily advanced on a victim (female and nubile, of course) and practically making them a part of the assault that followed. While some directors (like Powell in Peeping Tom) may have used this device as a Hitchcockian method of indicting the viewers for their sweaty-palmed need to watch, in the hands of John Carpenter and his followers it was something much more basic: the vicarious thrill. It's the resolute abandonment of any such thrill-seeking that makes Eric Nicholas' indie stalker experiment Alone with Her so brave. This is the rare film of its kind that dares to not give the pervs in the audience what they really want: a helpless, dehumanized female victim offered up for the slaughter.

This is doubly impressive, given how stacked the deck is against the woman being stalked in Alone with Her, as Nicholas has constructed his film so that every single shot is from the lens of a camera either carried or worn by the stalker, or planted in the woman's apartment. Amy (Ana Claudia Talancón) is never seen from anybody's perspective but that of Doug (Colin Hanks), who first spots her in a park while he's out gathering footage of women. Once his lens locks onto her, it never leaves, circling in closer and closer. It isn't long before Doug has broken into Amy's apartment and hidden small cameras everywhere, all of them feeding continuously back to his computer. And so we watch as he creeps incrementally into her life, striking up a conversation at the coffee shop she frequents about a film he just saw (knowing that she had just rented it the night before). To Amy's eye, Doug's just a harmlessly cute and geeky guy who she happens to have surprisingly a lot in common with, and Nicholas builds the story so painstakingly that there are times when the audience is almost able to believe the same.

Continue reading: Alone With Her Review

Pitch Black Review


Essential
Mama, could you leave the hall light on tonight?

One thing I love to see in a film is definition of character without the need for a windy, Oscar speech or the death of a loved one that prompts an "emotional release." The only genre that gives you that type of character is the Western. The Western is littered with good men with bad hearts and bad men who struggle for a clean conscience. The words of these men carry a heavy emotional burden and clearly define and expose the true nature of the person. Pitch Black is one of the best films I have seen in a very long time, and it carves its roots from the essence of a Western, providing amazing clarity with a direct narrative prose.

Continue reading: Pitch Black Review

Pitch Black Review


Essential
Mama, could you leave the hall light on tonight?

One thing I love to see in a film is definition of character without the need for a windy, Oscar speech or the death of a loved one that prompts an "emotional release." The only genre that gives you that type of character is the Western. The Western is littered with good men with bad hearts and bad men who struggle for a clean conscience. The words of these men carry a heavy emotional burden and clearly define and expose the true nature of the person. Pitch Black is one of the best films I have seen in a very long time, and it carves its roots from the essence of a Western, providing amazing clarity with a direct narrative prose.

Continue reading: Pitch Black Review

Snow White: A Tale Of Terror Review


Very Good
This live-action update of Snow White isn't your mommy's fairy tale. If the title didn't give it away, this is a more Grimm-like version of the story with the evil queen (Sigourney Weaver) playing jealous stepmom to Lilliana (aka Snow, Monica Keena), who goes into hiding with a gang of ruffians (only one of whom is a dwarf) when the going gets tough. Very likeable, and probably the only R-rated version of Snow you'll ever see.

They Review


Bad
Watching a truly scary movie is a great cure for drowsiness. Your heart thumps a little harder and your eyes get wider as you look for the next threat or listen for the bump in the night. Those things didn't happen when I watched They. After some 90 minutes of predictable thrills and chills, my winter coat was looking like a giant multi-colored pillow. The temptation to use it as such was overwhelming.

My obligations as a movie reviewer prohibit such behavior, so I got to see one of the most boring horror movies in recent memory. They's plot concerns a trio of young adults who delve into the world of nocturnal monsters with the help of their late friend's journal, which explains the creatures' behaviors. One actor in this group is Ethan Embry, who's gone from courting Jennifer Love Hewitt in the almost cult classic Can't Hardly Wait (1998), to getting third billing here. Come to think of it, that fact is scarier than anything you'll see in They.

Continue reading: They Review

The Last Samurai Review


OK
Towards the end of Ed Zwick's The Last Samurai, Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) washes away the memories of his brutal past and clears his path to honor and redemption with these words: "A man does what he can until his destiny is revealed."

No dice. For nearly three hours I did what I could to try to care about where this self-important vanity project was going, and concluded that it is Tom Cruise's destiny to never win an Academy Award.

Continue reading: The Last Samurai Review

Tom Engelman

Tom Engelman Quick Links

Film RSS
Advertisement

Occupation

Filmmaker


Advertisement
Advertisement

Tom Engelman Movies

Alone With Her Movie Review

Alone With Her Movie Review

The voyeurism of the film camera has been a handy device in queasy-stomach thrillers from...

Pitch Black Movie Review

Pitch Black Movie Review

Mama, could you leave the hall light on tonight?One thing I love to see in...

Pitch Black Movie Review

Pitch Black Movie Review

Mama, could you leave the hall light on tonight?One thing I love to see in...

Advertisement
They Movie Review

They Movie Review

Watching a truly scary movie is a great cure for drowsiness. Your heart thumps a...

The Last Samurai Movie Review

The Last Samurai Movie Review

Towards the end of Ed Zwick's The Last Samurai, Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) washes away...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.