Yet Another Month of Horror 2015 – Chapter 3

The Canadian Thanksgiving weekend provided one turkey and several tasty morsels: Leprechaun, The Canal, Tales That Witness Madness and Witchcraft.


Leprechaun (Mark Jones – 1993)
It didn’t really take me long to decide that the first film in the rather lengthy Leprechaun series (there’s six or seven of them in all I think) would be the end of the line for me. It’s not like I expected to be drawn into a series of horror-comedy films about an evil leprechaun, but nothing about this film gave me any reason to press forward. Everything is just mediocre. It’s not horrific or creepy or even suspenseful. And it was neither funny nor fun. That may be a subjective statement I suppose, but most of the humour is pretty basic and uninspired. Jennifer Aniston is actually pretty decent here in one of her earliest roles, but in the end I was simply bored. Warwick Davis is the titular little green guy, but his grotesque form just isn’t overly interesting after he cracks his first corny joke and gnashes his teeth. I guess there was an audience for this since they made more of them (apparently with different approaches and levels of comedy), but this particular one sure wasn’t made for me.

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Review: The Guard

[The Guard opens in limited release in the US today, so we’re bumping our LA Film Festival Review. It’s definitely one of the best comedies I’ve seen so far this year.]

If you’ve seen the dark-comedy-with-a-streak-of-philosophy In Bruges, the name “McDonagh” may not be wholly unfamiliar to you, as that film brought Irish playwright and director Martin McDonagh to international attention. The Guard is directed by his brother and frequent collaborator John Michael McDonagh, and besides the obvious use of wonderful actor Brendan Gleeson in both films, they also share some of the same sense of humor mixed with morbidity, though The Guard ratchets up the comedy a bunch, becoming one of the laugh-out-loud funniest movies I’ve seen all year.

Gleeson plays a Galway policeman who really doesn’t give a crap about his job, and spends most of his time on the first case we see ridiculing his young new partner, both for his earnestness and because he’s from Dublin. No color or national origin is safe from non-politically-correct jokes in this film, not even the Galway cops themselves. When an FBI agent (Don Cheadle) shows up investigating a drug trafficking case, it becomes clear that Gleeson’s murder case is connected, and the two start working together, despite their initially strained relations. It would be easy to expect the film to be about race, given the setup in the trailer and the premise of a bigoted Irish cop working with an African-American, but this film cannot be so easily pigeon-holed, and ends up being far more of a character study (albeit an uproariously funny one) of Gleeson’s character.

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