Tag Archives: Lucifer Benway

I Am Legend

Lucifer Benway reviews I Am Legend, dir. Francis Lawrence, in the Key 23 archive.

You know the drill. Will Smith in the supposedly truest to the book version of the novel I Am Legend. Made in the 60s as a vehicle for Vincent Price to pine for his dead wife (Last Man on Earth) and in the 70s with Charlton Heston being camp as all get out (Omega Man). In this one, Will Smith is an Army Lt. Col. who worked on the virus that’s turned human beings into zombie / vampire creatures or meat. Riding around in flashy cars with his German shepherd and hunting elk in the streets of New York, Smith is surprisingly convincing. Carrying a picture by oneself is a difficult chore to say the least and for a guy who started out rapping about getting grounded and dressing like Punky Brewster, Smith turns out a far better than workmanlike performance.

The Good: Creepy zombies, good cinematography, killer tracking shots of the deserted city, and more “last man on earth” fantasies than you can shake a stick at.

The Bad: He’s got running water, which is kind of weird but once you go down that route, the nuclear power plants would have exploded. Also, a bit of a downer.

The Bottom Line: Seeing Will Smith being that intense with graying hair is a bit emotionally jarring, but this is a symphony on film. Minimal blood and gore, maximum terror.

The Golden Compass

Lucifer Benway reviews The Golden Compass, dir. Chris Weitz, in the Key 23 archive.

Philip Pullman’s screed against organized religion hits the screens in a family-friendly Christmas release. It is, of course, little surprise that the film’s Gnostic message has been entirely purged from the film. However, the core attitudes about the oppressive nature of organized religion shine through. Did I mention polar bears with thumbs fighting in armor that they welded themselves using iron from fucking meteors? Sam Elliot in a hot air balloon as a cowboy?

The Good: Set design and special effects are fairly epic, befitting this film which is supposed to be a sort of follow-up to LOTR for New Line.

The Bad: The story is a little rushed and key elements are changed or left out. But what do you expect?

The Bottom Line: Take your little cousins to see this and give them an education in free thought.