Flawed in their own unique ways

After a bit of a delay we’re back with new reviews and the first of several gradual upgrades to the site.

As some readers may know, the first 300 reviews at KQEK.com were originally written for Told You So Productions [TYS], formerly at www.toldyouso.net (no - don’t click on it – the site’s enjoying a deep sleep. Shhh!) and the initial review templates were inspired by the TYS format which didn’t assign a review to the film, the transfer, or extras; it was given an overall assessment and rating between Excellent, Very Good, Good, and Poor.

With the next 300+ reviews (probably more like 500, including film reviews at this stage) embracing both the film and its extras and allowing much more room for authorial blather than the TYS format, it seems logical to revamp the reviews with ratings for Film, Transfer, and Extras. Why it took this long to do such a simple fix is a mystery, but it just makes sense when readers might want a fast set of keywords regarding the three elements that matter the most when considering the purchase or rental of any release.

So while the old review rating still applies to Catacombs and Spiral (for specific reasons, each review is assigned its own html page and isn't part of a php setup), 30 Days of Night will be the first to get the new breakdown; you’ll just have to read a bit more blather to get the nuts and bolts of the first two.

All three films have varying issues arising respectively from their creative conceptions, their technical execution, and/or home video presentations, but they’re not complete disasters.

Catacombs has the most flaws, and that includes the 4:3 non-anamorphic transfer on the DVD released by Maple and Lionsgate, but the included extras help trace where the filmmakers went very wrong in executing what could and should’ve been a tight B-flick with a sharp, cruel twist.

Spiral (2007) is very uneven, but has virtues that should attract suspense fans wanting more than a generic stalker flick. Whether it was a case of too many creative hands involved during the writing and film stages, or its design was too anti-formulaic, the DVD from Anchor Bay / Starz Home Entertainment comes with solid extras that support some of the creative choices that either work for some viewers, or leave them befuddled.

Director David Slade (Hard Candy) actually manages to recreate the slow-build tension of a vintage John Carpenter flick in his film version of 30 Days of Night, and this may be the first production from Ghost House Pictures that isn’t a high concept vehicle handed over to an amateurish team with little talent for storytelling. 30 Days actually washes away the foul taste left from Boogeyman, and Slade doesn’t shy away from some marvelously rendered gore that fuses practical and clean CGI effects.

See, for more astute audiences, there’s just something more tactile when it’s a dummy head getting whacked off with an ax, and not a sterile, wholly digital recreation.


Coming next: more soundtracks, two excellent short film anthologies, and, uhm, some smut.

Oh, and those who tuned into the Oscars on Sunday may be wondering where they can find Suzie Templeton’s wonderful version of Peter and the Wolf. It’s still unavailable as a Region 1 release, but the film is out in the U.K., and worth ordering from European sources (provided you have a multi-region DVD player).


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