Quote Whore Hall of Famer Kevin Thomas from the LA Times
American Outlaws is "A handsome and skillful
retelling of a legend that imaginatively draws on conventions."
Don't Say a
Word is "smart,
stylish and, most important, satisfying."
"there's no denying that the material fits Mariah Carey
like one of her skin-tight gowns."
Hardball is "A surefire heart-tugger
made with skill and judgment."
Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights fucking reserved.
"It's authentic. turn-of-the-
From Hell is supposed to be a delightful romp in the
vein of Pretty Woman. Like that old shitty chestnut, From
Hell has a virginal hooker who never seems to have to put
out to get paid, and she is saved from the fate of whores by
a higher-brow savior. The main differences between the two, I
suppose, are that From Hell has a shitload more blood,
intestines and gore, and, far as I can tell, it isn't trying
to be funny. It's trying to be really fucking artsy in that "dark+somber=art"
way that Hollywood loves to dredge up toward the end of every
year. But if you were one of the millions that wished that the
folks in Pretty Woman had gotten slashed to ribbons by
Jack the Ripper, you'll love From Hell.
Near the turn of the 20th century, Johnny Depp plays Scotland
Yard inspector Abberline. who has clairvoyant crime visions while
under the influence of opium, absinthe or laudanum. Just think
what a fucking great crimestopper he'd have been if Testor's
model glue had been around. Holy shit, when I was a kid a little
of that and I could see through my parent's walls. Depp is pursuing
Jack the Ripper, who is methodically killing hookers in the slummy
Whitechapel District of London. Depp pursues the Ripper and,
apparently, falls in love with one of the whores, played by Heather
Graham. She proves that she not only can do an Irish accent,
but that she can do about 100 variations on it, all within two
hours. Bravo, Heather! Like Julia Roberts' Pretty Woman, Graham
is the purest fucking hooker in the world. She never actually
has sex, solicits it, does drugs or even gets anything more than
stylishly dirty. It's a long way from the skin-traders on Denver's
Federal Boulevard. Those broads will sell your nuts if there's
an extra buck in it. Or so I hear.
Depp's visions and investigation lead him into conflict with
his superiors ("You're over the line, Abberline!")
and, eventually, the royal family and the Freemasons. I'd like
to say that this storyline becomes intriguing and complex, but
that would be a dirty fucking fib. It lies there in the road,
as lifeless and flat as a squirrel on the Wadsworth Bypass. The
budding romance between Depp and Graham is about as developed
as a 12-year-old boy . But these are the thrusts of the story.
Boy meets whore who is much prettier than the others. Boy falls
in love with pretty whore. Boy must save pretty whore from mysterious
slasher. Spend a shitload on the sets, costumes and film-school
trickery and you've got art, Hollywood style.
From Hell looks great. All the money must have gone
into recreating 1888 London in Prague. And if the point of the
movie was to be a 19th Century travelogue, well done. Everything
down to the dresses and cobblestone feels pretty fucking authentically
run down and covered in shit. But, if I wanted to see that I
could go to the real London, 2001. And accurately recreating
a place and time is fucking easy compared to telling a story
well. All re-creation takes is money, time and good historica
documents; telling a story takes imagination, which From Hell
And really, why bother making something pretty if it's neither
smart nor interesting? From Hell is two hours of arty
scenes that build to absolutely nothing. There is no increasing
tension, fear, suspicion or intrigue. It presents itself as a
mystery, but a mystery unravels slowly and builds to a climax
where the killer is revealed. Here, they might as well put a
flashing red arrow on the screen pointing at him from his first
scene. "Here he is!" "This is the killer!"
And the killer's reasons for the murders is a ludicrous mish-mash
of conspiracy theories and hogwash, the kind of shit that comic-book
geeks masturbate over. And once explained, their convolutedness
deflate the movie like a punctured colostomy bag, spilling shit
all over us. While the killer is obvious, the motivations stretch
believability until it sags more than Candy Bottom's tits.
From Hell manages the feat of being unnecessarily gory
while scare-free. If you want to see throats slit and women disemboweled
by directors who get a little too much pleasure out of it, then
buy your ticket. The Hughes are so pleased with their gore that
they show us many, many characters choke back vomit. Oh, yeah,
that's entertainment. There's no better way to move a plot forward
than reaction shots of men about to vomit. I can't think of anything
I'd rather pay eight bucks to see. The Hughes show blood pouring
from necks, blood spattered on faces, fresh bloody hearts and
plenty of blood-soaked surgical tools. Really, if I wanted to
see that kind of blood flow, I'd tell the Arvada Tavern Harelip
that Lori has been gossiping about her again. And I don't want
to, because I'm a fucking pussy about that kind of stuff.
There's a lot of very perfunctory acting going on. Without
being given any direction for their characters, Depp, Graham
and Ian Holm just appear in scene after scene, speaking their
lines with the conviction of a Daewoo salesman.
According to my movie critic's handbook, I see that I am supposed
to come up with some corny play on words using the movie's name,
but I assume that all the hack critics already used the good
ones. Let's just say that From Hell sucks, From Hell.
And all the fake blood and bogus cobblestone in Prague can't
hide that. Two Fingers for From Hell.
to tell Filthy something?