GADZOOK FILMS Producing independent film in Seattle, Los Angeles and beyond.

14Jun/07Off

This is a recommended film?

So, here's the blurb by Annie Wagner for Cthulhu from The Stranger:

"In this low-slung horror debut by local writing-directing team Grant Cogswell and Daniel Gildark, a Seattle professor returns to his hometown of Astoria to find that his father's cult has been cultivating a rather freaky relationship with the deep blue sea. The H. P. Lovecraft-derived story is pretty difficult to decipher, and the atmospherics tend to bubble and evaporate in the same scene. Still, fantastic locations and great art direction go a long way toward making up for the shaky choices you'd expect from first-time filmmakers. See it, if only for the priceless vision of Tori Spelling as a baby-hungry believer."

And this is a movie the Stranger suggests. A "must see" as it were. I find it hard to take this review seriously. I have yet to see the film, however, so of course I can't comment on it specifically. But, folks, please... if I ever get a hearty recommendation from the Stranger that says my movie is crap save for the art direction, please punch me.

Here's how I would rewrite this review:

"The story is incomprehensible, the acting is unremarkable, the directing is equally nondescript but dammit, if you're a fan of art direction this might make up for the rest of the film. You should definitely see it because it's got Tori Spelling in it!"

Posted by Dom

Comments (11) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Keep my byline attached, please!

    I don’t think Cthuhlu is the second coming, and I’d hardly call my qualified praise “hearty.” Still, it’s the biggest Seattle movie in the festival this year (except maybe Outsourced, which is just ridiculous), the locations are great, and it’s worth seeing at SIFF because it probably won’t get distribution. (The star means “recommended,” not “you might as well kill yourself if you can’t get tickets.”) Cthulhu is perfectly entertaining. It just doesn’t make any sense.

  2. I plan on seeing it Sunday, barring Father’s Day plans. I hear ya but would argue that most audiences will take a “recommended” film, especially from The Stranger, as a “must see” endorsement, whether it’s intended that way or not. Again, since I haven’t seen the film and can’t comment on its content I can’t really say it’s worth seeing or not. But as a whole I think it’s sad that the biggest film out of Seattle is notable only for art direction (granted by very talented artisans like Sean Kirby) and a crazy Tori Spelling.

  3. *Ahem*.. Being the biggest local film aside, Cthulhu is TERRIBLE. By even marginally endorsing it (Annie) you’re just encouraging the filmmakers (who i’m sure are nice people).

    I guess the locations are okay? Assuming you’re from the Northwest, we’ve all seen misty, overcast beaches and trees. Kirby’s other work has been pretty good, but there is nothing special about Cthulhu.

    Oh yeah, except that Tori Spelling rapes a dude. That lasts approx. 10 seconds.

    Sorry I’m a hater.. We just deserve better!

  4. Annie does us a service by reviewing a local film critically. There are plenty of flawed films that deserve to be seen. I’ve seen Cthulhu and would definitely put it in that category.

  5. But at SIFF? And given a recommendation at that? From the replies over at the SLOG that I’m reading it would appear this film doesn’t merit the praise that’s been heaped on it. Too bad, as I know many people worked very hard on it. Them’s the brakes. I’m not discrediting Annie’s review, she has every right to her opinion. If a film is bad but for some pretty pictures, well, to me that’s just bad filmmaking – be it the fault of the producer, the director, the writer or whomever. Everyone is going to view success differently of course. But personally I feel like the recommendation and the SIFF acceptance leads audiences to believe that this is the best Seattle can do… that this is the cream of the crop. The capsule review does not lead me to believe this film merits a recommendation. All I’m saying.

  6. Ok, first: I liked the movie.
    Second, I’m not related to anyone who worked on the movie, nor was I involved in it.

    That said, sheesh! You’ve never recommended a movie that other people didn’t like?

    And *that* said… “I have yet to see the film, however, so of course I can’t comment on it specifically. But, folks, please…”

    Y’know, I haven’t seen any movie you’ve ever made, but, please, they all suck. If you can’t comment on it specifically, then what on god’s green earth made you write “Here’s how I would rewrite this review:”?

  7. Interesting, personally I feel the Stranger had lost all credibility to review films the moment they backed Police Beat.
    And the Theater Review of Village Theater’s production of ‘Tommy’ where the reviewer did not even go to the show. then claimed it was all Tongue in Cheek. If your going to write snarky satire, do not put it on the Theater Review page.

  8. Eric: Sorry, but Josh Feit did indeed go to see Tommy. I don’t know where you got that information. And if you’re going to write “you’re,” at least spell it right.

    Further, readers was made thoroughly aware that Police Beat was written by a Stranger staffer. We may have “backed” it, but it was only with that conflict of interest exposed front and center. We didn’t even review Zoo for that very reason.

    Back to Cthulhu. Look, I don’t think it’s a great or even a very good film. But it was definitely worth seeing at SIFF. My writeup made it clear that the film was flawed; the “recommended” star told people they ought to see it anyway. (Yes, because it’s local and there’s always something interesting to look at, but also because it’s entertaining in an innocent camp kind of way.) Where is the problem? Can’t you guys handle ambiguity?

  9. All I can say is that there aren’t many people who are so passionate about movie reviews that they would show up on a random blog on a beautful Friday afternoon to defend their opinion. I love you Annie Wagner. (Just for the record, I am not sucking up… I just spent my beautiful Friday afternoon with some beers… But I DO love you… And I may regret this posting tomorrow..)

  10. (It’s “readers WERE”.)

  11. Clearly. That’s what editing angry will do to you.


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