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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Sunday, April 20, 2014 - Edition No 893 

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VALENTINE

SYNOPSIS:
At a junior high school dance the shy and awkward Jeremy Melton (Joel Palmer) is tormented by Paige (Denise Richards), Dorothy (Jessica Capshaw), Lily (Jessica Cauffiel), Kate Marley Shelton) and Jessica (Katherine Heigl). 13 years later it appears Jeremy has returned to seek his deadly vengeance.

”While it's pleasing to see a revival of the Valentine's Day-themed slasher film, Valentine itself delivers only fair returns for body count buffs. The latest genre entry directed by Australian Jamie Blanks has some effective scenes but suffers from having too many suspects and an unsympathetic roll-call of victims. The dreadful girls who tortured poor Jeremy at the school social all those years ago haven't changed much since, making it hard for us to care when their number is steadily reduced by the masked maniac. The same applies to an unappetising roster of male characters including an alcoholic boyfriend, a sleazebag detective, a lecherous artist and a gold-digging dot.com hustler. The line-up is so full of unpleasant characters you may start cheering for the killer as this case of cinematically justifiable multiple homicide unfolds. Blanks does have talent and executes a handful of neat murder scenes including a spectacular bow and arrow/garbage dumpster double act and an especially nasty variation on the old "hot tub and electrical appliance" favourite. Unfortunately he's saddled with a script so lame it ought to have been played deliberately for the laughs that sneak out unintentionally. It will be interesting to see what he can do with that rarest of commodities - a decent horror screenplay. Until then we can only look on as Valentine trips itself up by making almost every single character look guilty at some stage before destroying any tension by killing them off in the next scene. It also gives us a cheat ending that looks suspiciously arranged for the inevitable sequel. It's disappointing because the basics are here for a good time but this Valentine's date is mostly a bummer. The cast do not have much of a chance to distinguish themselves.”
Richard Kuipers

My Valentine Diary. OK, I’m sitting comfortably in the cinema waiting for Jamie Blanks’ new film, Valentine, to begin. It all looks good - the movie’s starting. What’s this? Some kids at a dance are cruel to another kid, ending with red liquid being poured all over him. Homage to Carrie, right? Pretty standard stuff. A pretty girl is now having dinner with a guy who’s clearly unsuited to her. What’s that? His name’s Jason? Omigod, who would ever have thought! Feeling a yawn coming on. She’s a medical student and has gone back to the deserted lab to dissect a cadaver in her tank top - as you do. But wait, there’s someone else there. Who could it be? Someone in a trenchcoat and mask - shock, horror. Not a hockey mask, oh no; a cherub mask, just like those kids were wearing earlier; and it’s coming up to Valentine’s Day. Get it? Gruesome murder after unlikely chase. Eyelids drooping. Here’s Denise Richards showing plenty of leg and cleavage. Hmmm. Anything else? A cop named Vaughn; you mean like Vince Vaughn from the Psycho remake? An artist named Raimi, like Sam Raimi, director of Evil Dead? Give me a break. Trying hard to stay awake now. OK, yada-yada, chases; wildly improbable means of despatching victims; a killer who seemingly makes no sound, leaves no footprints, hair, DNA, evidence of any kind; cops with no leads. Sounds like one of these young women is going to have to catch whoever it is. Scenes are blurring together. Seems like each is a direct lift from another movie. OK, ending coming now. Yeah right! Like that wasn’t telegraphed an hour ago, several very smelly red herrings notwithstanding. The credits roll; leaving me only to wonder why we’re inflicted with derivative, unimaginative and just plain dull “horror” movies like Valentine.”
David Edwards



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 2
Mixed: 0

VALENTINE (MA)
(US)

CAST: Denise Richards, David Boreanaz, Marley Shelton, Jessica Capshaw, Joel Palmer

DIRECTOR: Jamie Blanks

PRODUCER: Dylan Sellers

SCRIPT: Tom Savage (novel), Donna Powers, Wayne Powers, Gretchen J. Berg, Aaron Harberts (screenplay)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Rick Bota

EDITOR: Steve Mirkovich

MUSIC: Don Davis

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Stephen Geaghan

RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 3, 2001







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