The Vatican Tapes | ★★☆☆☆
There’s a dearth of horror movies to see you through this Halloween weekend, and The Vatican Tapes is a rather hollow token release.
Californian twentysomething Angela (Olivia Tyler Dudley) is admitted to hospital with all the signs of a demonic possession, which your GP will be happy to talk you through.
There is literally nothing being attempted here that hasn’t been better executed several thousand times before. Nevertheless it forges on, using every trick and trope available to pry the odd jump out of you.
The cast do their best to flesh it out, and watching the usually comedic actor Michael Pena take on something more serious at least has fellting novelty value. He plays the priest who first comes across the case, joining the eminently reliable Dougray Scott (as Angela’s father) and Djimon Hounsou in lending weight to a film that flails deserately for a fresh take on an old genre.
At best, this is a serviceable but unremarkable exorcism horror. It has enough talent on board to keep it from being truly wretched, but does nothing to make it stand out from the crowd.
Do I Sound Gay? | ★★★☆☆
American filmmaker David Thorpe looks into gay male identity in this documentary, which follows him as he tries to make his own voice sound “less gay”. Along the way representations of homosexuality in the media are discussed with figures such as George Takei and comedian Margaret Cho.
It discusses stereotypes and touches upon questions of identity, self-loathing and the idea of ‘normal’, but draws few conclusions. He’s not the most in-depth investigator, but Thorpe is certainly one of the more genuine, and his personal journey is where the film finds its value. The problems that face many gay men are resonant in his own struggles, as he tries to both embrace his sexuality but at the same time not allow it to define him.
Outcast | ★☆☆☆☆
Hayden Christensen plays an outlaw warrior who must overcome his demons and find his old mentor (Nicolas Cage) to help protect a young prince on the run.
A corny, poorly written script strips the film of any seriousness or originality, with the sole entertainment coming from watching Cage’s baffling performance, likely to become the stuff of YouTube parody. Stuntman-turned-director Nick Powell makes sure the action is solid, but that’s barely enough to keep you watching.
With little other than its absurdity to recommend it, “Outcast” makes a strong case for one of the year’s worst films. While Cage is used sparingly, this is another step down for an actor who seems to be selling his credibility to the highest bidder.