LYT's Film Pick of the Weekend 4-18-08

Dual picks today, because I have the sense to recognize when my personal taste is likely to diverge from yours.

First, PATHOLOGY, in which Crank creators "Neveldine & Taylor," who apparently no longer require the luxury of first names, script a tale of deranged young doctors in the L.A. coroner’s office who test each other to come up with ever-more elaborate murders in hopes of stumping their colleagues as to the cause of death. The duo bring their crazed, anything-goes sensibility to the table, but aren’t a perfect match with German director Marc Schoelermann, who seems to like his horror more brooding and artsy.

So while our main characters engage in plenty of gratuitous sex, violence, and combinations of both, Schoelermann will be damned if he lets his main character, the rather obviously named Dr. Grey (Milo Ventimiglia), look like he’s enjoying a second of it. As the new kid who gets swept up in all the madness, Ventimigilia is morose from the start and not exactly the portrait of seduced innocence this story really needs. Nonetheless, when a movie opens with the diner scene from When Harry Met Sally as performed by cadavers, and later proceeds to sex scenes involving scalpels and needles, the actual plot becomes inconsequential. Fans of hard-R exploitation will love this; everyone else will likely be appalled. Screw ‘em.

I realize that may not be the masses' cup of tea, so allow me to also suggest the more family friendly FORBIDDEN KINGDOM. When I first heard that Jackie Chan and Jet Li would be doing a movie together, I was excited. Then when I heard it would be directed by the Stuart Little guy and star a dopey white kid, my heart sank. I mean, I enjoyed Warriors of Virtue as much as anybody (dopey white kid plus kung-fu kangaroos), but I expect more from Jet and Jackie.

Then I saw the movie, and it's pretty decent. The set-up, in which said dumb kid finds a magic staff that transports him back to ancient China, is very '80s. The rest is just a story that seems to be made up as it goes along, involving lots of fights, including one between Jackie and Jet that's the equivalent of so many Marvel superhero battles: the big names have a misunderstanding, then battle to an effective draw before teaming up against the real menace (Collin Chou).

Also Jet pisses in Jackie's face at one point. That's just weird, and a little fetishistic. But arguably no more so than rubber nipples on Batman.

All told, it's a fairly kickass kung-fu flick for kids. Bloodless, but just make sure your young 'uns are past the stage of copying all the moves they see.


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