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The Last Winter (2006)

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message 1: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments I just wathced this disappointing horror film last night. It just didn't cut deep enough and explore the interesting ideas presented. It's not a slasher film but a psychological ghost story that fails to induce much suspense or character drama. Here's my review:

THE LAST WINTER (Larry Fessenden, 2006, USA) A prescient tale of an American Oil Company literally raping the virgin land by drilling into the soft unspoiled tundra in order to satisfy consumer gluttony and fuel our excessive vices. But this time, the land strikes back! Although this film is ripe with interesting ideas, director Larry Fessenden fails to navigate the pitfalls of the horror genre. He delivers a mundane, often uninteresting narrative with stock characters whose weak stilted dialogue is unconvincing and whose actions border on the absurd. He neglects to breathe life into the majestically bleak environment whose boundaries seem to reach to the end of the world: there are shades of Herzog lingering at the frame’s periphery. It would have been fascinating to see these people set against such a breathtaking diorama, tiny and indistinct creatures carrying the disease of humanity. Fessenden also fails to capture the interior claustrophobia, both physically (in the small housing pods) and psychologically (is it all in their minds?). Company man Ed Pollack and environmentalist James Hoffman are the writer’s tools to debate the impact of global warming and need to protect our natural resources from extinction. We are not given a subjective empathetic viewpoint in which to understand the story; we are allowed intimacy with Pollack but he’s a total jerk; we peer into Hoffman’s psyche but he’s one dimensional and undefined. The others are just fodder for suspense. The idea of a sour gas, the mind-altering stench of decomposition rising from the thawing tundra is truly effective and chilling. Unfortunately, the director chooses to follow a contrived revelation and explain the haunting with a ubiquitous ghost story…a Wendigo spirit seeking revenge. It’s truly an anti-climax. We know this resolves the plot’s ambiguity because the subjective viewpoint shifts to these creatures; we see from their eyes. A quick cut to an omniscient objective angle as they devour their prey gives body to these diaphanous dinosaurs. I particularly like the eerie ravens, reminiscent of Hugin and Munin whispering news of Ragnarok to their master Odin. The ending alludes to this final battle but its old news: we’ve heard that sound byte before. (C-)


message 2: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments And Ron Perlman's acting was weak; maybe he should stick to the HELLBOY franchise.


message 3: by Marie (new)

Marie (librarydaisygmailcom) I have a weak spot for Ron Perlman since I saw City of Lost Children. Thank you for the warning though, I actually have the movie at my house to watch, but I won't bother.


message 4: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments I enjoyed CITY and think the HELLBOY films are fantastic entertainment; bombast with a dash of intelligence and interesting characters. But he isn't good in this role because it's poorly written; Ed Pollack is the mouthpiece for the director instead of an autonomous character we empathize with. The director of ALIEN RESURRECTION did indeed creat CITY and also one of my favorite dark comedies: DELICATESSEN.


message 5: by Marie (new)

Marie (librarydaisygmailcom) Thank you Rob. The directer is Jean-Pierre Jeunet and I try to watch everything he has done. I loved Delicatessen, I just re-watched it about a month ago. He is the the same directer that made Amelie and a very long engagement.


message 6: by Marie (new)

Marie (librarydaisygmailcom) Ron Perlman, I think it is kinda cool that someone with such a large face is a working actor.


message 7: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments Rob, sounds interesting so I'll check it out! Thanks!

AMELIE and A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT are love stories but in very different ways. Both films share the beautiful Audrey Tautou.


message 8: by Phillip (last edited Aug 27, 2008 08:35AM) (new)

Phillip i've also seen ron perlman do great work in film. sometimes directors give actors bad advice...sounds like it was more the direction that made that last winter a weak film.

he was great in city of lost children, and perfectly competent in the last alien installment (resurrection).

i thought amelie was a fine romantic comedy with nice pacing and narrative, but i found a very long engagement to be more of a very long and boring film...audrey tatoo is delicious, but her acting skills are kind of limited. did anyone see her in very dirty things? i think that was what it was called - a film about a black market in england that sells human organs? that gave me some faith in her skills...and it's a pretty good film. i am sort of surprised it's never been discussed here. it's kind of a thriller with some horrific overtones.


message 9: by Marie (new)

Marie (librarydaisygmailcom) It is called Dirty Pretty things, and I really liked that film alot. It is the first movie I ever saw Chiwetel Ejiofor in and I think he is fabulous. Also, it has Sergi López in it (the baddie from Pan's Labyrinth). Speaking of Sergi, has anyone seen "With a friend like Harry"? I thought it was a great french thriller.


message 10: by Marie (new)

Marie (librarydaisygmailcom) Rob, I haven't heard of Man bites dog, the premise sounds similar to Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.


message 11: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 226 comments Rob, MAN BITES DOG now at the top of my queue. I hope to see in a few days, can't wait!


message 12: by Amy (new)

Amy | 238 comments Mod
RE Audrey Tautou - she's also good in Love Me, Love Me Not, which is an interesting weird French "thriller" type movie (I'm not sure what genre to call it). This movie has a twist I hesitate to spoil, but at first Audrey does seem her "Amelie"-like sweet persona - she's not.


message 13: by Marie (new)

Marie (librarydaisygmailcom) Oooh Audrey, I liked that one too! Love the ending. The pills!


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

I was avoiding this thread because I hadn't seen The Last Winter but now that its not that great, I don't feel bad about reading up on it.

But! I want to highly recommend Man Bites Dog. Its really good. Yes, comedic, but in a way that kind of makes you feel bad for yourself. Really good film. Pretty unlike anything I've ever seen.


message 15: by Tera Marie (new)

Tera Marie Hey, Marie...great to see you here. It'll be nice to dissect films with you in two groups now.

I've been neglecting you guys this week. With the school year almost underway, I'm going to have difficulty logging on with the same regularity...in any case, I have not seen The Last Winter, avoiding it as a matter of fact, it looks uninteresting IMO. Ron Perlman, though, I do respect as someone who has great talent when it is harnessed by a strong director. He is a busy man as of late, I think he has 13 films somewhere in the post-production/production phase. Marie, loved your comment about the large face. It is especially prominent when he has shaved his head and rid himself of all facial hair. He really needs those two things to give the illusion of smallness.

Quickly, while I am not a big romance fan, I did find Amelie fun and quirky. The writers utilized an interesting sequence of events to perfectly interweave the plot.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

whoa. Seeing my last comment I realized how grammatically weird that first sentence was ("now that its not that great?"). Point is: Man Bites Dog.


message 17: by Marie (new)

Marie (librarydaisygmailcom) Thank you so much TeraD for your warm welcome!


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