Scream 4 – What can I say, I’m a geek when it comes to the Scream series. I remember stumbling upon the first film back in high school and then going to see it about once a week (always with new people so I could show them what they were missing) I loved it that much. The selling feature for me was that it referenced all the horror films I grew up on and I got it, I was part of the inside club, and I ate it up. Scream 4 brings back that original vibe and plays up on the whole remake craze Hollywood is going through (which includes three of director Wes Craven’s own films). It’s way more violent, references much more than just horror movies, and totally exceeded my expectations of what Craven and writer Kevin Williamson were capable of with the franchise after the abysmal Scream 3. Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette all reprise their previous roles, and all do a decent job. But it’s newcomers Emma Roberts, Hayden Panettiere, Marley Shelton, Rory Culkin, and Toronto’s own Erik Knudsen that totally blew me away and made the movie work so well. If you’re a fan of the series you will not be disappointed and you should run to theatre now and see it now (I’ll probably be there watching it again). **** out of 5 stars.
American: The Bill Hicks Story – I knew nothing about comedian Bill Hicks before watching American: The Bill Hicks Story. What I learned was that he was a true genius, was extremely funny, and that although he started doing stand-up at a very early age, no one probably really knew what he was capable of doing because his life was cut short due to cancer. The film uses a unique style of animating photographs with audio bites from his brother, mother, and a few close friends to tell the story. This makes it very personal and intriguing, and is only broken up with the occasional clip of one of Bill’s hilarious stand-up routines to help keep the film moving. Although fans of Hicks will want to see this to get more insight into the man, don’t write it off if you don’t know who he is. I went in blind and came out looking for more. *** out of 5 stars. Opening in Toronto at The Royal.
Top image: Neve Campbell in a scene from Scream 4. Courtesy Alliance Films.