Ambition and nightmares fuse rather nicely throughout Nightmare Alley, a modern spin on the defiant, dormant neo-noir genre. Every so often, a creative will come along and be so sure of their abilities in reviving it. Naturally, whether the work they offer is great or godless, they are met with stirring reviews and a box office bomb. Nightmare Alley is on that course regardless and probably knew it. To know that and persevere is bold and inevitable because Nightmare Alley is a certainly grand film and far closer to the top of the Best Picture pile than any of the others to be given such a nod. It is at least filled with worldbuilding and experimentation, which is no surprise since Guillermo Del Toro helms this delightfully twisted feature.
Setting the scene well enough in its grim and rainy opening, Hellboy plays with the tone and vision of director Guillermo del Toro nicely. His gritty opening that reclaims portions of the World War 2 iconography with the fantastical elements that the Nazis and Rasputin never had nor built, especially not in Scotland, makes for a handful of intense, interesting depictions. It borders on B-Movie with its glossy costumes and comic creativity. This is how a comic book film should look, and it is comforting to see at least someone has adapted the darker tones into the fluffy, lighter tones that can come true when handled with care. Fantastical elements crashing right into the path of human history and that dithering mythology that causes manic speculation.
Jealousy between actors is a given, but envy between animated figures of fiction is a sure-fire difficult topic to grapple with, especially when they are brought out of their own worlds. We are within the realms of madness in this Joe Dante feature, and as Looney Tunes: Back in Action fashions out a metaverse for the Looney Tunes crew, it loses a sense of its magic. Pratfalls and slapstick work, when offered in small doses, but to sprinkle them through an hour and a half of Timothy Dalton appearances, is to test the mettle and mind of any audience member. A bold move indeed, but who can blame them? The formula is usually a success. Why not have a punt and see what happens?
Hindsight is a beautiful concept. The ability to look back on statements that you yourself have made in the past and laugh at how wrong or stupid you had been around five or six years ago. In my case, hindsight comes rather rapidly and extremely frequently, and in a review for Fuck You All: The Uwe Boll Story, I defended the director saying I had yet to see a truly terrible movie from him. I have now seen a truly terrible movie from German filmmaker Uwe Boll, and In the Name of the King is just that film.