The Host: a genuinely dreadful movie

the-host

It’s rare that I see a film as patently awful as The Host. I mean, sure, I’ve recently stomached the likes of Identity Thief and Red Dawn, but this latest film from Twilight author Stephenie Meyer may well go down as one of the worst I’ve ever seen. A travesty really, because I genuinely liked the book of the same name.

The story involves Alien squiggly bits that, after an interstellar journey, get implanted into the necks of the human race, resulting in glowing eyes and a fascination with shiny metal vehicles. A ragtag band of humans who exhibit a fondness of making out in the rain, yet who are chaste enough to avoid hitting the proverbial first base, are shown in a kind of existential battle. Hiding out in a dormant volcano, we see them going on daring missions, stealing supplies, that kind of thing.

But before that happens, there’s a bit where Saoirse Ronan wanders through the desert in the most tedious runaway that may ever have been filmed. Oh, and there’s also this part where we realize that our heroine has held on to the former memories of her, um, host, and the two of them have conversations that lack the dramatic sophistication we see in the book version.

As you can probably tell, my heart really just isn’t in this review. Quite frankly, The Host is just boring to write about as it is to watch.

The dreary cast makes it difficult to tell the 20-something chiseled boys from one another, and the likes of William Hurt makes one feel kind of sad that this is what he’s ended up doing.

In all honesty, The Host is the eye gouging, can’t-get-the-hours-back-of-your-life kind of bad that, if there’s any justice, will quickly disappear from your local screen, soon to be forgotten by all but those masochistic few who actually stomach the entire running time.

Definitely one to avoid.

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Red Dawn: jingoistic and unnecessary

Red-Dawn

The jingoistic Red Dawn, in which North Korea invades America in the very near future, is the unfortunate  movie Chris Hemsworth signed up for when he was still an unknown and maybe  living, if not under a rock, perhaps in a pickup truck. After MGM went belly-up in ’09, Red Dawn was, for all intents and purposes, left on a shelf somewhere to gather dust – hence why it’s only now seeing the cold harsh light of day.

If you read the first sentence correctly, you’re probably wondering how North Korea (population 25 million) can raise enough invaders to attack the Unites States (population 315 million). Short answer is, thy probably can’t. You see the original screenplay for this remake named the invaders as Chinese. After principal photography was completed on the film three years ago, the enemy identity was changed to North Korea by reshooting several scenes, redubbing lots of dialogue and using digital adjustment to change the looks of flags, uniforms and insignia on trucks and tanks. Why? Because China is one of the biggest markets for American movie exports. North Korea, not so much.

In this remake of the 1984 cult classic, the able Hemsworth plays Jed Eckert, an emotionally bruised veteran on a visit home to Spokane after a few tours in the Middle East. His little brother  Matt (Josh Peck) is the quarterback of his high school football team. After a prologue of talking heads giving a political “primer” on declining  relations with North Korea, the film opens with Jed and the boys’ dad (Brett  Cullen) watching in dismay as the Wolverines lose their game.

The brothers Eckert wake the very next day to the sight of North Korean paratroopers floating down from the sky. Spokane is soon under foreign  control, as well as other American cities. The boys escape to their family’s hunting cabin with a crew of  friends and acquaintances, including a pair of younger, handily tech-savvy geeks  played by Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games) and Conor Cruise (son of Tom Cruise).

Under Jed’s tutelage they emerge as Wolverines – teenage ass-kickers raising  hell for those dopey invaders, who bumble and stumble and can do little more  than raise a frustrated fist at the pesky kids. Only one of them, their leader Captain  Lo (Will Yun Lee) even gets a name.

Adrianne Palicki, Isabel Lucas and Alyssa  Diaz provide the girl power, all of which is very PG (no bunker hook-ups  for these kids) while Peck projects such pained  sensitivity that I had doubts about his characters ability to make a sandwich, let alone  kill dozens of Koreans.

If the movie finds an audience, that audience will most likely be 14  and oblivious to the fact that there ever was an earlier Red Dawn.

Definitely one to stay away from.

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