2003 Milk Plus Droogies

Best Picture
Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Director
Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Actor (tie)
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean

Best Actor (tie)
Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

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Uma Thurman, Kill Bill Vol. I

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David Hyde Pierce, Down With Love

Best Supporting Actress
Miranda Richardson, Spider

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Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation

Best Foreign Film

Best Cinematography
Harris Savides, Gerry

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The Blog:
Tuesday, March 08, 2005


[As I am having difficulty sorting things out with this film, I have decided to replicate the experience of seeing it within my review. Enjoy.]

So here it is: After casting, shooting, reshooting, recasting, cutting, recutting and a million missed release dates, the new-jack werewolf movie "Cursed" finally stumbles, ragged and bleeding, into public view. [LINE CUT] It sounded like a winner on paper -- Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson return to the horror arena! And they've got werewolves and Christina Ricci with them! Never mind that neither writer nor director had produced a single decent work since "Scream 2"; [REST OF LINE CUT]. Also, never mind that the project was being funded by Dimension, the genre arm of Miramax that too often unleashes the Harvey Scissorhands Effect on the hapless horror community. But then, this was the comeback. Never mind, never mind, never mind. This would was supposed to do for lycanthropy what "Scream" did for mad slashers. But, as those well-acquainted with Dimension's track record know, what looks promising under the halcyon moonlight of pre-release high hopes often turns puny and laughable when exposed to the harsh sunlight of reality. And "Cursed" is [PHRASE CUT], a wretched genre hash that bears the scars of a troubled production like oozing stigmata.


True to form, Williamson's screenplay happily embraces cliche even as it plays at subverting it. You've seen all this before and you'll see it again, as with all Williamson scripts. This film is instrumental mainly in that it reminds us of something we've all known for a long time: [CLAUSE CUT], Kevin Williamson is a titanically bad writer. Capital B, capital W, circled a thousand times, whole bunch of blinking lights and big arrows pointing to it. [RANT ABOUT WILLIAMSON'S LACK OF ORIGINALITY AS DEMONSTRATED BY HIS HAVING STOLEN, WHOLESALE, A SUBPLOT FROM THE "BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" EPISODE 'PHASES' CUT] His only merit lies in his snarky take on pop culture and how he can usually assimilate that into his work. As a demonstration of the worthlessness of "Cursed", I submit that this film lacks even that merit. The dialogue is clunky and stupid, but what's truly awful is that it has no verve or spark. [LINE CUT] If you're going to set part of your film on the set of "The Craig Kilborn Show", you'd expect at least some snark spillover from Craiggers. No go. What we have here is Williamson taking the scenario totally seriously, which is more frightening than anything onscreen. I didn't expect him to reinvent the wheel, but I figured he might at least stick a fork in the spokes.


There must have been a point during this production where Craven was simply praying for the madness to end. Judging from the final release version, that point must have come a day or two into the second attempt at shooting. For those who don't know, Craven shot about six weeks worth of material, only to have Dimension scrap it entirely [REST OF LINE CUT]. That'd take the wind out of anyone's sails, and it explains why this film feels so listless. Like I said, all the acting is terrible the actors seem to be going through the motions. Maybe it's because their director didn't care enough to do anything besides call 'Action!' and 'Cut!'. Note, too, the myriad continiuty errors. Now, I generally don't catch these things. But this film has errors that Ray Charles Stevie Wonder would have caught. [DETAILED EXPLANATION OF ONE ERROR IN PARTICULAR, INVOLVING CHRISTINA RICCI'S CLOTHING AND HAIR, CUT]

So, as you might have guessed, "Cursed" is just that. No film could go through the amount of tinkering this did and come out looking pretty intact, but the apathy on display here is overwhelming. The writing, acting and direction are bad, as previously stated. But it's more than that. The editing is bad. The special effects are mostly bad ([MEASURED PRAISE FOR RICK BAKER'S RELIANCE ON PHYSICAL RATHER THAN DIGITAL EFFECTS CUT]). The camerawork is particularly bad. Hell, even the sound design is bad. But the sound design does have something going for it: Listen closely, and you might hear the sound of one director dying inside.