Archive for June 2011

The Final Stage of the Cinephile: Acceptance

I'm not getting paid for Cinema Styles and I never will. My job isn't to see every movie out there and report back to the world on how I think it went. My real job, in fact, is to do a lot of stuff that would bore most people to tears (including myself) and, as a result, I'll never write about it.

Movies I see and write about because I love them.

When I see one I don't like, generally speaking, I don't write it up. Sometimes I do but not often. I'd rather promote the movies I think are worthwhile than pick apart a movie I don't like (although I have done it, don't get me wrong). Mainly, what I'm trying to say is, I no longer feel embarrassed about not having seen so many films that I want to see or that I should see. There are thousands of them and, frankly, if I started watching all the movies I haven't seen right now, and kept going around the clock for the next thirty years, I'd still miss some.

I'll see what I see, when I see them and if I don't, I don't.

Just a few years ago, when I started writing online, I remember thinking things like, "I can't admit I've never seen The Earrings of Madame de..." I felt I'd done something wrong by not seeing it and every other classic film out there. But then, The Earrings of Madame de... showed up at the AFI, I saw it on the big screen and I loved it. So it all worked out. It took me until my forties to see it but so what, right?

None of this sounds like a big deal to most people but to a bonafide film lover it's a hard thing to accept. That is, to accept that you're never going to see them all and that's okay. With each passing year I see fewer new movies in release and more classic films and it's still not enough. In fact, there are more directors whose entire oeuvre I haven't seen than directors in which I have. Chaplin, Keaton, Kurosawa, Fellini? Nope. I've seen plenty of their works but not all. Hell, there are big time directors of which only one or two of their films I've seen. Claude Chabrol I never saw until Ray Young of Flickhead had his blogathon a couple of years back. How pathetic is that?

Of course, let's be honest, it's not easy seeing the entire life work of any one director but even harder for one pre-1970s. Back then they directed hundreds of movies in a career. John Ford? He directed 146 movies. I'll never see them all. Michael Curtiz? 173. Forget about it. D.W. Griffith? 535! That's five hundred and thirty five! I just... I mean... it's... 535! Okay, so a lot of them are shorts but they're still the works of Griffith and, brother, I'm never seeing all of them.

And I wouldn't want to. I've got limited time, both daily and over the long haul. Why go for quantity over quality? However, there are some directors for which I have seen all their works (and I'm not counting one and outs like Charles Laughton) but it's usually because their output wasn't tremendous in quantity. One that immediately come to mind is Stanley Kubrick but, really, even casual film fans have probably seen at least half of his movies.

So as my time wanes and the decades spent obsessing about movies mount up, it's time to stop worrying about what classic films I still haven't seen and take it easy. The truth, for all of us, is that none of us will ever see more movies than movies we won't see. The overwhelming numbers means that even the most obsessed and dedicated movie fan will never see more than a fraction of a percent of all movies ever made. Think of that. Most movies ever made will go unseen by all of us! It's a difficult thought to consider but one the movie lover must acknowledge. And once you do, once you break free of the delusion that you have to see everything, somehow, inexplicably, the movies seem even better. And that's something I accept, unconditionally.

Eclipse Babies are here!

YOU GUYS. Do you know what came out on DVD this week? Umm, only one of the best ever movies about killer kids: Bloody Birthday, duh. I just thought you should know.


Les Cousins

Claude Chabrol's second feature, Les Cousins, is, like his first film Le beau Serge, a study of opposites and dichotomies: urban/rural, innocent/worldly, intellectual/physical, sheltered/experienced. In Chabrol's first film, a bookish young man returns home to the small town where he grew up and finds that his childhood friends have grown hard and mean in the years he's been gone. In this second film, the roles are reversed: Jean-Claude Brialy, who played the naïve intellectual of Chabrol's first film, now plays the decadent Paul, whose country cousin Charles (Gérard Blain, who played the tough, drunken Serge in the earlier film) is coming to visit. Charles' arrival in Paris, to go to school in preparation for a big exam, introduces him into Paul's wild, extravagant lifestyle. Paul first appears in a long dressing gown, gesturing boldly with a cane, delivering grand orations, with his older friend Clovis (Claude Cerval) hanging around nearby, seeming equally decadent and strange. The relationship between these two men initially seems homoerotic, and that doesn't entirely change when the orgiastic atmosphere of Paul's lifestyle becomes fully apparent. The unworldly Charles seems to have landed in the company of people whose pleasure-seeking approach to life is very different from his own stolid work ethic and dependability.

The true nature of Paul and Clovis is quickly revealed in an early scene in which one of Paul's former conquests shows up at the apartment, tearfully telling Paul that she's pregnant and has just confronted her parents with the revelation. Paul and Clovis cluster around the girl, one leering over each of her shoulders, and Chabrol's tight compositions position them as opposite voices perched like an angel and a devil on each shoulder. In fact, they're two devils, both of them pressuring her to get an abortion, with the confused girl looking back and forth between them, helpless, unable to resist their insistence. Paul, with his satanic beard and cool, suave manner, seems especially like a vision of the devil as a perpetual seducer, a conscience-negating voice whispering in one's ear, luring the unsuspecting into his lair. He's not content living a life of dionysiac excess himself; he's a kind of recruiter for the cause, and he's not satisfied unless everyone around him seems to be having as much fun as he is.

Maybe that's why Paul's parties seem so loud and desperate. Everyone's always shouting and screaming and laughing too loudly, there's always some grandiose entertainment (like a bare-chested escape artist who sings operatically throughout his act), and Paul himself struts around putting on Mozart and Wagner records or declaiming theatrically in German. Indeed, there's something Germanically shrill about Paul and his scene, and Paul's games of dress-up also flirt with fascism and militarism, which seem to fascinate him, as does the unloaded revolver that he likes to aim at people, clicking the trigger on its empty chambers. It's as though, if there isn't a constant din, if everyone isn't making noise at the tops of their lungs, then no one's having any fun. That's a problem for Charles, who just wants to be left alone to study in quiet. Charles has his own insecurities, and he doesn't seem to realize that Paul's flashy exterior hides the hollow emptiness that might be glaringly obvious at these parties if anyone would ever shut up for even a second.

At one of these parties, Charles meets his cousin's friend Florence (Juliette Mayniel) and falls immediately, passionately in love with her in his naïve way. She seems touched and charmed by his earnestness, his complete honesty and openness. When they walk outside, leaving behind one of Paul's frenetic parties, Charles spills his guts to her soon after their first meeting, telling her about his love for her, about his sheltered country life, about his insecurity and feelings of inferiority in comparison to his more outwardly confident, social cousin. Florence is obviously drawn to Charles, though, despite his clear difference from her own social scene. Chabrol captures her talking to him with shining eyes, smiling and reassuring him, both of them bathed in shadows in the night. It's a very romantic image, which is why it's so startling when, in the film's second half, Chabrol cruelly subverts and undermines this moody romanticism.

When Paul finds out how seriously his cousin has fallen for Florence, and how seriously she's taking this blossoming affair, he sets out to push them apart, apparently merely because this kind of seriousness has no place in his life of parties and casual dalliances and drink-fueled orgies. In one scene, Clovis uses his persuasive, insistent voice to push Florence and Paul towards one another, standing between them as they move closer and closer together, his words urging them towards one another, urging Florence to abandon her brief dream of forming a more stable romantic relationship with the kind, innocent Charles. Instead, she reaffirms her commitment to Paul's promiscuous lifestyle, briefly settling into an affair with Paul and then discarding him to move on to someone new. Lounging around the apartment with Paul, sunbathing in just her panties, Chabrol traps her between the metal bars of a railing that makes it look as though she's in prison. She's a vision of languid sexuality and sensuality, but she's in a cage.

All of these characters are. Chabrol's aesthetic is already developing into the subtly stylish, clinically observational style that characterizes his mature work, in which he examines the pretensions and follies of the bourgeoisie. His camera glides in slow, creeping circles around these characters, a predatory crawl that makes them seem hemmed in on all sides. At a key moment late in the film, when Charles is nearly overwhelmed by the conflicting pressures weighing down on him, the camera spins in a dizzy circle around his room, reflecting the ways in which his whole value system has been utterly disorientated. Despite the thematic continuity and casting overlap of Les Cousins with Chabrol's first film Le beau Serge, Les Cousins already feels like more of a proper Chabrol film. It's an unsentimental film that dissects both the freewheeling amorality of people like Paul and the working class optimism of Charles. The former squanders his bourgeoisie privilege and intelligence (he aces his exams without studying, while the harried and distracted Charles fails even after all his hard work) and the latter is unprepared for the cruel truths of a world that doesn't conform to his idealistic hopes.

The Romance of Astrea and Celadon

Eric Rohmer's final film, The Romance of Astrea and Celadon, is a charming, deeply felt ode to the follies and pleasures of devoted love, a fitting subject for this last statement from a director who always concerned himself with both the emotions and the philosophies of love. The film opens with some text that suggests Rohmer's unique approach to realism and fidelity to his sources. The film is adapted from a 17th Century romance set in 5th Century Gaul, so its sense of period realism is of course already at a remove: the denizens of one century imagining what the inhabitants of another thought and acted like, and then Rohmer enters the picture to imagine about those imaginings, at an even further remove. Even so, he acknowledges that unfortunately he had to change the setting of the story, since the Forez plain that served as the original story's setting is no longer as pastoral and serene as the story requires, having been overrun with "urban blight" in the intervening centuries. The text conveys Rohmer's regret at having to make these kinds of changes, necessary as they are in adapting a story that's so remote from the modern era. It's a sly introduction to a film that purposefully places itself in an alien time and place, with foreign customs and ways of thinking that seem absurd and goofy to modern sensibilities. The sense of distance allows Rohmer to remain true to the spirit of the old source while always maintaining his own modern perspective on the material.

The film is a love story between the two title characters, the shepherdess Astrea (Stéphanie Crayencour) and her lover Celadon (Andy Gillet). Theirs is a Romeo and Juliet-style forbidden love, since their families have long quarreled over a trivial slight from the past. In order to disguise their affair, Astrea tells Celadon to pretend to be in love with another girl, but, due to his strong sense of duty and obedience, he pretends too well and causes Astrea to reject him in a fit of jealousy. He tries to kill himself, apparently succeeds, and is washed up in a land down the river, ruled over by nymphs and druids. This basic scenario prompts a convoluted series of misunderstandings and ruses that keep the lovers separated for the remainder of the film, with Astrea believing her beloved to be dead and Celadon refusing to return to her due to his strict adherence to his code of love. She told him never to come near her again, and though she now desperately wishes he were back with her, alive, he remains true to her final words to him.

Rohmer portrays love as a folly and a madness, a delirious devotion to a pure and impossible ideal. Much of the film is devoted to philosophical debates about love and religion. Celadon's brother Lycidas (Jocelyn Quivrin) represents the side of love and devotion in rhetorical battles with the lascivious singer Hylas (Rodolphe Pauly), who represents promiscuity and lust. In these discussions, Lycidas comes across as cool and collected, a rational proponent of love with his wife smiling sweetly by his side in mute agreement. Hylas, for his part, seems half-mad and wild-eyed, a Dionysian figure of lust and pleasure, his mouth constantly twisted into a sneer and his eyes popping with exaggerated desire. At the same time, Hylas' skepticism seems founded when Lycidas says that one who's in love literally becomes his beloved. Even the most cool-headed love, like the seemingly ideal relationship between Lycidas and his wife, contains an element of irrationality, a gap over which one must make a leap of faith without questioning or trying to understand the ineffable. The romance between Astrea and Celadon combines the stolid devotion of Lycidas with the mad lust of Hylas, and Rohmer suggests that perhaps this madness, which seems so absurd and even silly, is true love.

Indeed, the film's plot grows increasingly wild with each new wrinkle. In the final act, Celadon impersonates a girl, the daughter of a druid (Serge Renko), in order to remain close to his beloved without revealing his identity to her. The premise is fundamentally absurd, and must have seemed so even on the page, but when it's actually enacted and visualized it becomes a hysterical farce. Celadon, for all the talk of how pretty he is and how girlish he looks, is thoroughly unconvincing when disguised as a girl. The druid even explicitly says that he has a herb that will hide Celadon's beard — but then, in the subsequent scenes where he appears as a girl, he has a prominent five o'clock shadow that can't be missed. It's yet another example of the sly wit of Rohmer's literary adaptations: he remains fanatically true to the letter of his source even when the result onscreen is silly and hilarious, even when his images directly contradict the text. Perhaps this is a metaphor for love itself. Rohmer's devotion to his text risks absurdity even as the lover does in professing his adoration for his beloved, remaining true to strict codes of behavior that have meaning, if at all, only for him and his love. True love, in this film, creates its own world and its own rules, as remote from ordinary reality as this film seems from the present world.

Rohmer explicitly links this mad devotion to religion and spirituality, which abut romance throughout the film. The gods of the film are Roman gods, but the conversations between Celadon and the druid, which center around whether there are many gods or a single god with many aspects, obviously refer to Christianity without naming it as such. At one point, the druid, having tried to explain some of the "mysteries" of his faith, such as the division of a single god into several secondary aspects and the birth of one aspect of god from a human virgin, finally looks to heaven and declares that he can say no more, lest he taint the mystery. In a nice, subtle touch, Celadon's eyes follow the druid's towards the top of the frame, as though trying to see what the holy man sees above them. Love and religion are the twin "mysteries" of the film, the twin madnesses that possess human beings and make them behave in ways that may seem absurd or illogical or out-of-touch with the world. Thus, though the film's final act — in which a comical, "lesbian" desire develops between Astrea and Celadon, apparently without the former realizing that the latter is actually her lost (male) lover — can only be described as a farce, it's a farce with real feeling animating these unbelievable actions and contrivances.

Rohmer was always concerned with characters who stuck to rigid codes, embodied in the conflicted Catholic moralism of My Night At Maud's or the idealistic search for an abstractly "perfect" love in films like The Green Ray or A Winter's Tale. It's fitting that Rohmer ended his career with The Romance of Astrea and Celadon, since this film presents a vision of that kind of philosophical purity taken to its (il)logical extreme. Its pastoral beauty provides a languid setting for these musings on love, especially in an interlude where Celadon wanders through the forest, singing about his love as images of natural splendor fade into idealized images of Astrea smiling sweetly, flirting with the camera. This is a film that pays tribute to youth and beauty, to those who madly pursue ideals rather than settling for the more accessible pleasures that the world has to offer. It is a sublimely goofy film, and it's not the least bit ashamed of it.

Cinema Spotlight: Le Bristol Paris

While the proverbial City of Lights is obviously front and center in Woody Allen's romantic comedy Midnight in Paris, the scenes of Le Bristol Paris were the ones that caught my eye.

Wilson and McAdams contemplate their differences on a toile covered bed
Director Woody Allen with the film's stars at the Cannes Film Festival

Located near the Presidential Elysee Palace on Rue du Fauborg Saint Honore', the hotel has played host to the likes of Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe as well as sharing the screen with Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams. Carla Bruni (who also just happens to be the First Lady of France and a co-star in the film) holds court there regularly at the Bristol's brasserie 114 Fauborg. And in a case of " if these walls could talk," songstress Josephine Baker celebrated her career in 1975 with Mick Jagger, Princess Grace and Sofia Loren at the Bristol.

The stately exteriors of Le Bristol Paris above and below

From an interior design perspective, the well appointed rooms are spectacular thanks to a thirty million dollar renovation supervised by the owner, Mrs. Rudolph Oetker. Furnishings and draperies are decorated with the hotel's signature Toile du Jouy and color and patterns abound. The rooms are 18th century elegance (with a contemporary cutting edge) and filled with Gobelin tapestries and old master paintings. If you are lucky enough to stay in the penthouse suite like pop star Prince, expect to fall in love with the elegant yellow Empire sitting room.

History is preserved as well as the revered landmark has a restaurant that dates back to 1829 and the glass and wrought iron elevator was designed by a Jewish architect hiding out from the Nazis during World War Two. The five star hotel touts the city's largest bathrooms and the penthouse pool features a sweeping panoramic view of Paris. "Fashion High Tea" also offers haute couture showings from the latest collections. Let's face it, at eighty years young, the place is still fabulous.

High Tea

And for those of us who are animal lovers, a most unlikely ambassador in the form of a  Birmen kitten named Fa Raon has a commanding presence in the lobby.

And if you can't afford the room's luxury style rates, you can always buy a robe (as worn by McAdams in the film) at the hotel gift shop.

The gardens of Versailles also have their cinematic moment in the spotlight (actually the famed palace and environs have been featured in 165 films to date). A must see anytime you are in France.

Michael Sheen also co-stars as seen here in the gardens of Versailles

First Lady Carla Bruni plays a tour guide in the film

Photo Credits: Sony Pictures, Le Bristol Paris

where the grass is green and the girls are grody

You guys, I'm not really sure what to say about Nightmare City (1980). You know how it is with those movies that don't make you feel strongly in any particular way. It's over and you can take comfort in the fact that if someone asks, "Have you seen Nightmare City?", you can respond with a resounding "Yes!" It is the small things in life, I suppose, that ultimately provide one with pleasure.

The zombies of Nightmare City are zombies of the 28 Days Later ilk, meaning that everyone calls them zombies but they're not undead. Here they're not victims of some virus but of radioactive contamination. No one gets a Silkwood shower fast enough after the exposure and because of this, the victims turn into meatball-headed killers constantly in a search for fresh blood to keep them alive. Hmm. I guess the zombies of Nightmare City are actually zombies of the vampire ilk.

4 out of 5 meatball heads chew Dentyne sugarless gum

So, the meatball heads run around wreaking deadly havoc, turning the city into a total nightmare city (SEE WHAT I DID THERE). It's all quite fun for a time, certainly. Even if you consider this a straight up zombie flick, there's novelty to these villains as the actually wield all manner of weaponry- from guns to machetes- in their search for blood. Though there's ample gore (including some really gnarly breast and eye trauma), I guess it wasn't as extreme as I was expecting, especially considering that the film comes courtesy of director Umberto Lenzi, the man behind the notorious Cannibal Ferox. Overall, Nightmare City is not even Fulci-level grody.

that's alotta meatball heads

I'd call the lengthy aerobic dance scenes gratuitous, but then, can an aerobic dance scene ever truly be gratuitous? Really, every movie should feature one. I mean, think of how much better On Golden Pond would be if Jane Fonda randomly put her aerobics skills to use at some point. It's a foolproof notion!

this is never gratuitous

Nightmare City's first half hour or so is energetic, chaotic, and had me swooning. Things slow down, as I suppose they must, and the fact that Hugo Stiglitz is an incredibly dull leading man doesn't help matters at all. Just as it truly wears out its welcome, however, there's a terrific finale atop a rollercoaster that includes a sequence I had to watch three times in a row. Then it's all over, and here we are.

Nightmare City? Why yes, I've seen that!

the gun is way more exciting than he is, trust me

Record Club #2: Brand New

It's time for the second discussion of the Inexhaustible Documents Record Club, which hosts monthly music conversations about albums chosen by various club members. This month, Kevin J. Olson of Hugo Stiglitz Makes Movies has chosen Brand New's album The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. He has now posted about the album over at his blog, and he invites anyone who's heard the album and would like to participate to join him in the comment section for a discussion of the album. The first Record Club post, about the Congos' Heart of the Congos, was a fun and lively discussion, and I expect that this will be, too. I'm going over to Kevin's place now, and I hope everyone will join us there.

Join the discussion at Hugo Stiglitz Makes Movies

hammer time

Holding true to the instrument of destruction for which it is named, the 1983 film Sledgehammer will bludgeon your psyche until all that remains is an unrecognizable pulpy mass. I'm not sure what I was expecting from this movie, purportedly the first shot-on-tape slasher flick made for the home video market...okay, maybe I expected a few things, considering it hails from David A. Prior, the writer/director of a little something called Killer Workout. I expected some laughs. I expected lots of, you know, 80s-ness. That "shot-on-tape" angle had me expecting crappy quality and the onset of a large bout of warm fuzzies (you know I loves my VHS). I got all of that, certainly, but then I got so much more, so much I had no way of anticipating. You see, you don't watch Sledgehammer, oh no. Sledgehammer HAPPENS TO YOU.

The film opens with a shot of a nice farmhouse nestled in a lush valley. After lingering on this farmhouse for 20 seconds or so, we become privy to the horrors that wait within: mom's a big ol' slut who's here with her lover, but also with her son. She finds a quick resolution to this problem by locking her son in a closet. At this point, we witness the Sledgehammer's first egregious use of slo-mo. The time it takes to zoom from here:

to here:

is 30 seconds. 30 seconds! It's obvious that the slo-mo represents the idea that being locked in a closet totally messes with the boy's mind; it takes longer for the viewer to realize, however, that it also means that Sledgehammer is messing with your mind. Sledgehammer plays by its own temporal and spatial rules, but the thing is, it actually HAS no rules. Sledgehammer does what it wants! Sledgehammer says FUCK YOU.

As mom and lover are about to get down, someone wielding a sledgehammer- go figure, right?- also gets down, but, like, in a death-making way, not a love-making way. That would just be sick!

Ten years later, a group of...of...people, I guess...okay. I know they're people, yeah, but that's the best I can figure out as to who these people are. In my notes, I wrote "Van full of___________?" They're a group of people. They're driven to the house in a van, then dropped off. I guess they're friends...? There are some couples. They're all too old for college. They unpack their bags from the van in slo-mo. They really enjoy going "Woo! Wooooooooo!" a lot. I guess it doesn't really matter who they are or why they're at this house, beyond that most horror movie of reasons: a weekend of partying. Woo! Wooooooooo! Sledgehammer plays by its own rules, period.

One of the couples, Chuck and...girl, are apparently having problems. Chuck insists that for this weekend, at least, they should forget their troubles and have a good time (Wooooooooo!). It's a good attitude to have, for it saves the writer of Sledgehammer the bother of things like "explanations" and "character development". All we need to know about Chuck is this: he is played by Ted Prior, star of Killer Workout and brother of director David. He walks around barechested most of the time. He plays the acoustic guitar whilst barechested. He looks like a walking, talking page from the International Male catalogue. I love Chuck! All we need to know about his girlfriend "girl" is this: she puts up with Chuck.

In a sequence meant to show that Chuck and girl are, I guess, forgetting their troubles, tender flute and guitar music plays as the couple walks...and walks. Then Chuck grabs a handful of girl's hair and yanks her backwards.

Then they walk some more, pointing to something offscreen. Then they walk. Then Chuck puts his beer can on girl's head, then their romantic walk is over. Oh, by the way- this all happens in slo-mo, and the scene takes TWO MINUTES.

Hold on, I just got a telegram from Sledgehammer!

After a party scene where the guys go "Woo! Wooooooooo!" and crush beer cans, there's a dinner scene. Chuck dumps mustard on girl's head, and this leads to a food fight and more "Woo! Wooooooooo!"-ing. This group continues to baffle me, particularly girl. Chuck, our hero, is an a-hole!

That night, Chuck decides they should hold a seance. He tells the story of Easy Mom, the Lover, and the Boy in the Closet, and we see...everything we saw at the beginning of the film. Again. Slo-mo included. Chuck and one of the other guys have set up some practical jokes to go along with the spirit summoning, but as you might expect, the real spirit of the boy in the closet is resurrected. I think? I don't know.

As you know by now, Sledgehammer does as Sledgehammer wants, and what Sledgehammer wants is not to explain squat. All I know for sure is that years living in a closet didn't stunt the sledgehammer wielding dude's growth at all, because he's 10 feet tall. No really...he barely fits in the hallway!

Is it the boy? Did he survive and grow up, like, in the closet? Where did the (admittedly creepy) mask come from? You'll never know what's going on not ONLY because nothing is explained, but because like I said: Sledgehammer follows its own rules of time and space. The man is there, then he's gone, then he's the boy, then he's the man, then he's in two places at once. It's even suggested that the hammer itself is a ghost- a ghost sledgehammer!- I guess. At least, that's what I understood when it faded from view. There's no logic to ANY of it. Oh Sledgehammer, you so crazy!

All of this mindfuck is wrapped up in a fuckier mindfuck: the INSANE amounts of slo-mo and freeze frames used throughout, and oh honey, the score. The synth track drones and drones and drones and insinuates itself until it becomes something akin to tinnitus. It's possible that you're not even really HEARING it anymore, but it's there, always there, knocking at the back door of your brain. There's a lethargy to the entire affair that you cannot escape. Eventually it's over, but then it's never really over. Again, this is a movie that happens to you and once Sledgehammer is in your head, my friends, I fear it will never leave.

What's going on here? Your guess is as good as mine.

And that is nothing short of awesome! It's rare that you meet a movie that doesn't give a flying fuck about things like rules and logic and reality and what YOU think- and I mean all that not strictly in regards to filmmaking acumen, but more in regards to...I don't know, the accepted laws of SCIENCE. Sledgehammer just IS, and you can either get with that program or not. It's SO goddamn VHS, from the "Director of Videography" credit to the fonts used in the credits to the impression you get that it was largely edited in-camera to the feel...the feel of it! The sound of it! The slight blur, the white hallways, the washed-out colors, the tin can audio...Sledgehammer feels less like a horror movie and more like an ambitious home-made commercial you'd see on public access.

Chuck has had ENOUGH

If this has you on your knees crying "I need to see Sledgehammer!", then my work here is done, because you DO need to see Sledgehammer. Gather your friends, lock the doors, sit back, and let Sledgehammer pummel you into submission.

Kids, looking for a fun drinking game? Read this review aloud and drink everytime you say "sledgehammer"!