Thursday, December 30, 2010

Grace-review with spoilers

I hear that this 2009 movie is based off the 2006 short film that was used as a way of funding the feature length version.  If so I don’t know what the hell they were thinking.  The idea of a strange killer newborn baby is just beyond stupid.  The only way you can make a killer MORE reliant on you than to make it an infant is to make it a quadriplegic with a breathing tube.  This movie leaves you with way more questions than answers.

​  So it starts off with the star Jordan Ladd as Madeline enjoying some of the most joyless sex imaginable.  She looks more like she is more concerned with painting the ceiling then enjoying things.  Meanwhile Michael, her husband is totally clueless to her lack of interest.  Either way this one works because it puts a bun in her oven.  At least we can see this kid was conceived in the hot winds of passion.

​Michael’s parents come over for dinner.  His mother is a real pain in the ass who passive aggressively tells Madeline her food sucks by saying perhaps a more conventional diet would be appropriate.  This is really nice since Madeline is vegan and clearly by this time the mother-in-law should have gotten used to this fact by now.  She also narrowly avoids a fork in her eye when she starts a fight when Madeline says she wants to see a midwife rather than go to a hospital.

​Michael is skeptical about the midwife himself but the place they go to is not some teepee with herbal teas to sooth the pains and a caldron to make a fine soup out of the placenta.  No. It’s a nice facility with a large birthing pool.  Michael still takes the opportunity to be an unsupportive dick though.  He jumps down the throat of the woman there for not having any degrees up until she explains to him that she is a fully accredited medical doctor and she doesn’t put up degrees because she doesn’t want the place to appear clinical.  It’s like he expects her to wave a bone over her wife to deliver the child. Good lord.

​Madeline does revel that they had two pregnancies before that were not successful. So I guess adoption was just out of the picture.  Oh, what do I know?  One night Madeline has chest pains so she goes to the hospital.  Before the doctors can induce labor Patricia the midwife arrives to challenge their diagnosis.  Apparently the other doctors never thought to do blood work before inducing pregnancy and so they actually narrowly avoid losing their license to practice medicine by listening to her.

​Madeline is retreated and recovers I guess because they let her out. But on the way home from the hospital a car accident kills Michael and the unborn baby.  Madeline refuses to go to hospital to have the dead fetus removed. Patricia allows her to carry the dead fetus to term and give birth in her pool.  When she does she asks to hold her stillborn child.  She does for a bit pleading with it to live.  Patricia eventually comes to tell her she can’t will the dead back to life only to find that the baby is now alive.

​Madeline calls her Grace.  Patricia comes over one day to bring a present, suggest she go to a hospital and come on to Madeline saying a line to make it obvious that they had a romantic past.  Wow, I wonder if close-minded Michael knew she wanted to use a former same sex lover as her midwife.  That is really awkward movie.  Thanks.  Patricia doesn’t like the rejection and leaves feeling down.  Madeline refuses to go to the hospital after the induction debacle she is afraid something bad like that might happen again.

​Now alone and caring for Grace, Madeline notices Grace attracts a lot of flies.  Clearly because she summoned Beelzebub, Lord of Flies. Well it’s a good enough explanation. And you’ll never get one so enjoy it.  She hangs a fly strip in the nursery, which I always think ads a certain level of a class to any house. When trying to bath Grace her skin starts to bleed in the water.  She tries to contact Patricia but Patricia’s jealous girlfriend answers and won’t pass along the message.  Being a dumbass she still won’t contact the hospital or find another doctor.  Even when she finds out Grace is vomiting and not able to digest breast milk.

​Meanwhile mother-in-law is using nasty tricks and shenanigans to attempt to gain custody of the child for herself.  She wants to prove Madeline is unfit with the help of a Doctor friend of hers.  Madeline discovers Grace is feeding is causing her breasts to bleed.  She isn’t drinking the milk but the blood.  She goes out and buys a bunch of meat.  Drains it of blood and bottles it for Grace.  Grace seems to accept it.  While disposing of the leftover meat Grace becomes very sick and Madeline is forced to breast feed again.

​The Mother-in-law’s doctor arrives and see’s the state of Madeline.  She is too weak to not invite him in.  He find out she is very anemic.  Eventually he hears Grace’s cry and goes to check on her but Madeline snaps and smashes the back of his head.  She drags him to the bathroom and begins draining his blood into a baby bottle. She drops it on the floor as her harpy of a Mother-in-law arrives to check on them.

​At first she sounds like she will stay downstairs but she begins to wander.  She finds the broken blood bottle and the dead doctor’s body. So she arms herself with a hammer and grabs the baby to leave.  Madeline sees this and confronts her.  Meanwhile Patricia has found out that her girlfriend has been lying to her about the messages and is now almost to the house to find out what is up herself.  Mother-in-law whacks Madeline a few times knocking her down.  She comes closer to look down at her and gets her neck bitten out by Madeline.

​The next scene just shows Patricia in the worst blond wig this side of a drag show.  She pulls over the RV she is driving to check on Madeline who is also wearing a ridiculous wig.  She says that the tests confirm Grace is healthy as long as Madeline keeps the proper diet they can continue feeding and raising Grace.  Problem is she is growing.  Madeline raises her shirt to reveal chunks torn out of her breast, and she is teething.

​This movie might have been sort of cool if it answered questions.  What the hell is Grace?  Why is she the way she is?  Was a deal made with a horrid demonic entity to spawn this creature?  Why tack on a needless romance between Patricia and Madeline? If you want to give them that back story Why not say that Patricia’s unrequited love for Madeline was rekindled upon seeing her in the beginning and then when she loses the baby she makes a deal with the devil for Madeline to get her baby.  That way Madeline is confused as to the why things are happening and yet her love of Grace and the fact that most parents will go through hell for their children might draw her back to Patricia in the end for making that deal in the long run even if it did produce a maddening abomination.

​I don’t know when I see a movie like this that tells me it’s a feature length movie based on a short film you can really feel the padding.  It feels like when they want to stretch a short story needlessly.  Some short stories are great the way they are but that is what this felt like; a film adaptation of a short story with padding and not the feature length movie it could have been given the material.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Night of the Demons-review with spoilers

​“Night of the Demons” is more funny then scary.  Mostly because as you watch it you can see a former child star implode in on itself.  The version I saw is the 2009 remake of a 1988 movie of the same name. This one is staring Shannon Elizabeth looking killer as usual even in the unexpected Goth attire. And the cherry on top Edward Furlong looking strung out and VERY bloated.

​My guess is wee John Conner took his millions he made and pissed it away partying every day since.  He looks like he hasn’t slept in years and when he has it was from passing out after drinking the 5th of Monarch he has every morning to have some of the hair of the dog.  It’s cool.  In this movie old Edward plays a drug dealer.  Which, I’m sure was a massive stretch for him.

​The main star is Monica Keena who plays Maddie, or as some of you Fangoria freaks like me might recall was the main fish faced girl who was the star of “Freddy vs. Jason”.  Oh yeah.  This is going to be a shitfest of epic proportions.  So the movie starts in a 1925 sepia tone of a silent movie.  There are shots of demon faces and girl running upstairs.

​One of the guys looks at her as she places a noose around her neck and in silent movie fashion the screen gives us a title box that says “It’s me Louis!”  She doesn’t believe him and so she jumps off the balcony hanging herself but apparently she should have treated the rope a bit to soften it since it decapitates her like a child’s Barbie.  Louis looks down on her and we see his eyes switch briefly to an orange set of Demon eyes.

​We shout 23-skidoo to the silent movie stuff and zip now to present day.  Where we see Angela (Shannon Elizabeth) at her computer making a flyer for a Halloween party at the Broussard mansion, she says if it doesn’t go well she’ll be out on the streets.  Guess she could try getting real work.  Living in New Orleans and looking like she does it can’t be that hard.

​Now we meet the other people who will be attending this party.  Two are stoner dudes Dex and Jason.  They are watching some asshole 15 year old steal candy from little kids. So they attack him with paintball guns.  I guess their motives are fair but assaulting a punk kid while high is usually not going to win you friends.   Next we cut to the girls Lily, Maddie, and Suzanne.

​Their conversations make me pray for their quick and inevitable deaths.  Lily and Suzanne bitch about both of them dressed as slutty cats.  Then they prattle on about bikini waxes. It was REALLY obvious that this is filler that won’t matter.  So then we see Furlong as Colin.  Colin is a drug dealer who is a having to meet the local drug lord who sits at a strip club getting head as they talk business.  I don’t even think Jabba the Hutt was that rude.  Nigel, the drug lord, tells him he is a fuck up and he owes him double or he’s dead.

​So it’s party ho! Everyone is going.  Furlong has to bribe the door chick since he is unwelcome but he gets in.  While there, Maddie goes to the bathroom and sees a hand reaching out at her.  When she returns with a friend she sees nothing so she assumes it was a prank.  I’d assume someone spiked my drink.  Lily and Dex used to date and they reunite.  Maddie apparently used to date Colin and when asked what she saw in him she says she wanted to change him and he was a good fuck.  Furlong just stands around selling his wares.

​Eventually the police show up.  Door girl runs off the money which pisses Shannon Elizabeth right off.   It turns out having a party in a mansion without a permit is a STUPID idea.  Who knew?  So she gets a fine.  Furlong stashed his drugs in a vent and needs help finding the basement to see if he can find them.  So and Colin and Elizabeth head downstairs to the basement where they find 6 skeletons laid in a very specific pattern.  They assume it was the 6 missing people that vanished without a trace in the mansion in the 20s.

​Angela sees one has a gold tooth and reaches down to take it.  What? What the hell will she do with a gold tooth?  Can pawn shops even take those? Anyway the skeleton bites her.  Oh no! I guess she’ll turn into one.  Nope. She starts feeling ill.  Everyone in the house realizes the gate is shut and locked.  So they are trapped so clearly what they should do is keep drinking.  Suzanne recounts what happened during the night of the disappearances.  Guess you really cannot just a book by its cover Suzanne looks like the type who wouldn’t know local history from “Jersey Shore” but here are these pearls of wisdom come out of her.

​She says that Evangeline Broussard had a thing for a dude named Louie so she tried magic.  Eventually something went wrong during a séance and the maid was found in her room scribing spells and mad ravings in her room driven insane from the night’s previous events.  Angela goes to the bathroom and succumbs to her skeleton bite turning into a demon.  She comes out of the bathroom and sees everyone playing spin the bottle.  After a girl on girl kiss and a boy on boy kiss Angela kisses Dex.

​Apparently it was a good kiss because it causes Dex to become a Demon as well.  Lily takes him into another room to talk to him about why she’s not jealous I guess.  Maddie and Colin go outside to try to look for another exit off the mansion grounds.  While waiting, Angela sits between Jason and Suzanne. She looks at Jason and starts fellating a bottle.  Jason gets up to help Maddie and Colin.  Lily on the other hand switches her attention to Suzanne.  Damn, is this girl on ecstasy or what?

​Lily and Dex are getting it on and Dex is turning Demonic.  Lily doesn’t realize until he is sodomizing her with a tentacle like a damn hentai movie.  This turns her demon toot sweet.  Suzanne is dancing with seductive Angela after a few minutes she realizes they are floating in mid-air.  Angela has changed into a strange shark toothed succubus and tears off Suzanne’s face.

Upon returning Jason uses the bathroom.  He sees Lily in there acting strange.  She wants help putting whiskers on.  She is dressed as a cat after all.  She takes out a lipstick and sticks it through her breast and voids it out her vagina as well as a ton of blood…..EWWWWWWWW.  This is what I love though.  He just walks out and sees Colin and Maddie.  Asks Maddie if Lily is good at magic like sleight of hand which, is a very reasonable question considering what he saw.

​Then he actually says the words “She put a lipstick through her tit and pulled it out her pussy.”  That honestly got me laughing.    That is pretty damn funny.  The three get attacked by the demons so they make an attempt to leave through tunnels there were rumors about in the basement.  There they find the tunnels are collapsed and also discover the demons have an aversion to rust.  Jason gets injured and they take him into a room that the demons don’t seem to want to be near.  Colin finds out there are symbols under the paint so they chip it out.

​Maddie has apparently succeeded in her bardic knowledge roll since she can decipher the wild ravings and is able to figure out everything about them.  She knows that they were 7 Demons that rebelled against Satan’s rule.  They need 7 human hosts in order to return.  They tricked the former owner of this mansion to throwing the séance in order to take over the guests.   Evangeline knew they can’t take over a dead body so she killed herself.    They are elemental creatures so rust somehow harms them.  Search me how that reasoning works.

​While the two men sleep Anglea knocks on the door and tries intimidating Maddie telling her she is going to skull fuck her boyfriend and horrible things like that.  Maddie however knows she can’t enter the room so she just tells her to shut the fuck up and slams the door in her face.  They figure they just need to wait it out until dawn and they will be safe.    So they chill in the room.  They walls begin to bleed and wash away the symbols on the wall so the demons are starting to break in.

​They fend off the demons by drawing symbols back on the wall.  Finally it’s daylight.  So they wander out.  It’s safe so they grab rust weapons and head downstairs.  Something is amiss.  The sounds of night are still all around them Colin chucks a rock through the window and it breaks the glass to reveal its still night and they still got a few hours to go.  The demons created a time illusion.  A fine dirty trick if I ever saw one.

​They fight off the group but Jason is disemboweled by Angela and turned into a demon in the process.  Odd how something like that still turns you.  Sort of like the face being torn off doesn’t kill you, just makes you an uglier demon.  Colin falls from rotten floorboards through at least 3 floors to the basement.  His leg very badly broken he turns into a demon.  So now Maddie is alone.

​She gets some rusty weapons and starts fighting them until she realizes they heal like Wolverine. So she runs to the ledge where she happens to have a noose ready and hangs herself before they can get to her.  The sun comes up and kills all the demons returning them to their skeletal forms.  At first I was impressed that the movie went there with a girl hanging herself.  A bold end I thought.

​WRONG!  Lex Luthor would shout.  She prepared a loop so it wouldn’t kill her and so she pretended to be dead.  The demons assuming she would be dead now freed her from the mansion.  She greets some sound guys coming in to pick up speakers.  That’s a really lame ending.  I’m pretty sure falling from the level she did, even with a support rope would break her neck or spine.

​It’s watchable.  There are funny lines.  It’s fun to watch a bloated Edward Furlong stumble over his own mediocrity and to watch an almost 40 Shannon Elizabeth still riding the “I’m a sex symbol” train for as long as it will last.  I do want to see the original now out of sheer curiosity.  The scare factor is very low but the gore is at least sort of there at times.  All in all it’s an ok movie for a laugh.

Monday, December 27, 2010

5ive Girls-review with spoilers

​Man just looking at this title rubs me the wrong way.  “5ive Girls” looks more like Sive girls and that doesn’t mean anything. It’s as stupid as when they made it “Se7en” or “Lucky Number S7evin” at least with Slevin you might be able to call a 7 an L in some strange case though.  Either way it’s a stupid naming device that has to end.

​So the story takes off with Hellboy himself, Ron Perlman playing a priest, Father Drake at St. Mark’s boarding school.  A girl in his class is staying late.  He asks what she is working on and she shows him a rather shitty drawing of a devil over pigs falling over a cliff.  She says it’s for an assignment and it’s the story of Jesus and the Demon Legion and she tells it in case there are any of the audience who happen to have never heard tale or as if the priest has forgotten himself.

​He looks further and notices she has written in Aramaic on the paper which I know would make me wonder where the hell she picked up a language like that.  But he leaves her alone in the classroom to draw anyway.  An unseen force shuts the door and locks it behind him and starts messing with the girl.  At first I thought it was going to rape her, then possess her, or both.  Instead it makes animals noises destroys her rosary and then makes her vanish leaving a pool of blood.  Perlman comes in and does what he does best, looking jagged and beastly.  Confused by what happens he prays over the inappropriate techno-music that plays over the credits.

​The school apparently was shut down and now 5 years later is reopening.  Alex, a bubbly little blonde, whines to her Dad that she isn’t a bad girl and that it isn’t her fault.  Her Dad tells her to shut up and get her ass out of the car.  So he drops her off at the school. As she comes to the entrance she is greeted by the groundskeeper Virgil who keeps a padlocked chain around the doors to keep everyone in.  Nice, I’m sure the Fire Marshall would love this place.

​So she comes inside and is immediately bombarded by bitchiness by the head mistress Miss Pearce.  All she does is tell them how their parents hated them and that is why they got left here.  It’s at this time I noticed this boarding school only has the 5 girls in it.  What a complete waste of funds.  They even go through the trouble of strip searching the girls for contraband. Most of them have little things of personal nature but we come to find out all of them were Wiccans.

​Yeah, that is the big trouble making point this movie was making.  Have almost mutant style powers that developed due to practicing witchcraft and that was enough to get them kicked out of home and public school.  That is a hard load of bullshit to swallow movie.

​Anyway they start their class and immediately start noticing something odd going on. They see visions of the dead girl.  One of them is blind and can read fortunes through her tarot cards so she does and finds out the forbidden 3rd floor carries a dark secret.  A pair of girls break onto the floor one day and the head mistress catches that it was unlocked.  When she drills them about who was up there Alex says she did it.  ​

​Rather than a punishment befitting her age she hikes up the teenage girls skirt and spanks her ass with a ruler.  This prompts one of the girls, Mara to show she has a healing touch.  And yes that DOES mean her hand is all over that ass.  One of the girls, gets possessed and it was a lot like the way Ash did it in “Evil Dead 2,” hand first.  The girls have all discovered a pentagram upstairs with their weekly urine samples on each point and blood in the middle.  They get mystically shoved to each point and spirit energy enters Connie.  Then they leave like nothing happened.

​While taking a bath Connie get up and almost drowns a girl before taking over her body.  Then going to the priest and killing him by stabbing him with multiple crucifixes. She kills some girls and switches bodies a few times before the genius girls catch on to what EVERYONE else has caught onto for a long time.  The headmistress is evil and made a demonic pact to kill 5 girls in an attempt to get her sister, Elizabeth, the girl with the drawing, back.

​At one point Mara and Alex confront her and she doesn’t even bat an eye.  She just breaks Mara’s hand.  “She broke my healing hand!” Mara exclaims.  I guess they are really fucked now. I’d just be wasting all our time to describe how the demonic possessed girl beats a blind girl to death.  Or how stabbing one like a prison snitch just makes it switch bodies.

​After oddly kissing her without any cause or reason leading up to it Mara is apparently into Alex.  She and the demon fight until it enters Mara.  Mara gets stabbed and falls.   Alex uses her power while mortally wounded to push the demon into the headmistress and then impale her head on the back of a crucifix.    Somehow Mara wakes up and is able to heal herself despite her healing hand being broken.

​She bumps into Virgil on the way out who tells her she can’t leave but she tell him to stick it up his ass.  All of a sudden Elizabeth the dead girl from the beginning comes downstairs and calls to Virgil who it turns out is her father.  Following her is The Headmistress who touches and possesses Virgil and attacks the girl.  Real happy ending.

  ​This movie wouldn’t be near as bad if it wasn’t a “Suspiria” and “The Craft” ripoff.    It’s got all the makings of a softcore porno.  It’s not scary it’s not fun, and it’s not very alluring.  This movie is just too ridiculous to even show mild interest in.  

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Best and Worst of 2010

I have seen so much of what is out there.  Yes, I missed the things I had a feeling would not be up my alley.  Let’s face it I’m not paid to be a critic so I can’t just see every movie that comes out.  So I have to have some discretion.  With that in mind some movies did not make the cut this year.  But others I think certainly deserve the mention you’ll read about soon.  I do not place them in any particular order I just categorize them as “Best” and “Worst”.  All that being said I don’t know about you but whenever I heard “I got good news and bad news” I preferred the bad first.

The Worst of 2010

Daybreakers- To this movie’s credit the visual look of it was neat.  I dig the 50s style to things. But the plot was ridiculous.  The character made no real sense in their motivations other than the most basic character aspects.  “I’m evil so I’ll kill you.”    If you want to see Willem Dafoe play an awesome vampire see “Shadow of the Vampire”.

Legion- A ripoff of “The Terminator” if I ever saw it.  Except where the threat of a cyborg could be bought with suspension of disbelief this could not.  They mow angels down with machine guns but for some reason we are to believe that governments could not take them down themselves? The script was complete crap as well. Not even trying to make you care for the characters you were supposed to.

Splice- This movie is so awful.  If you make a creature and you know it’s an unholy abomination of DNA splicing I got some friendly advice: Don’t fuck it.  Oh and scriptwriter! If a girlfriend caught a boyfriend giving it to said abomination they usually don’t just have a dismissive conversation about it like they are discussing the weather.

Jonah Hex- Such decent actors put together to be in one of the worst cowboy movies since “Wild Wild West.”  I am not a big Jonah Hex comic fan but I certainly don’t recall him talking to the dead.  That is like if Spiderman could all of a sudden shoot lasers out his eyes.  Oh and just cause she is pretty doesn’t mean Megan Fox belongs in a period piece.

Predators- This could have been ok if they gave you any reason at all to give a crap for the characters that they grouped together.  They are already in this horrible situation and all they can do is be the most obvious assholes they can be.  Oh and Topher Grace is not funny or threatening in any light.  I don’t know what casting director thought that but he is the sort of guy that should have saved his money after “That 70s Show” because he sucks doing anything else.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice- You know as much fun as it is to make fun of Nic Cage, when the guy is in something bad he at least seems aware of it.  He will act crazy and at least have fun with a role.  Here it was obvious he had no fun whatsoever.  Alfred Molina is a wonderful actor as well.  And here his talent is wasted as he is a villain that is so cookie cutter you’d swear he is just playing Dr. Octopus again.  Oh and Jay Baruchel, I hate you.

Piranha 3-D- What the hell were people thinking?  There are award winning actors in this movie as well as porn stars and they could not even make it humorous.  They instead made a movie that was poorly animated and seemed a lot like a movie from the Syfy network. Even as a joke it should have worked at some level but seeing that a lot of comedy is timing this movie was practically stillborn.  It all was just so forced.

Case 39- The previews made it seem like the little girl was being chased by demons.  It showed Renee and the girl hiding under the bed even.  What the hell happened? Somewhere along the line they decided to either switch it on the audience or they changed their minds to what movie they really want to make.  Either way it was a weak movie with a weak plot and weak acting.

Let Me In- An unnecessary remake to a beautiful movie.  It was the weaker version in all ways.  They used CGI for a lot of things that were unneeded.  I thought it made it distracting.  The love story and tragedy is subtler in the Swedish version.  The U.S. version practically hits you over the head with it.  I hate when a movie assumes the audience is dumb.  That is annoying.  Save it for Michael Bay movies.

Skyline- Just another case of dumb aliens sucking our brains out.  Too bad it goes haywire at the end and they end up with a rouge alien against them for all the good it does.  The acting sucks.  The effects are cool but I’ve played PS3 games that have more plot development and characters that I actually give two hoots in hell about.

Now that we’ve looked at the bad let’s move on to bigger and better things.  These are what I found to be the best movies of 2010.

The Best of 2010

Black Swan- This might be Natalie Portman’s best work.  I was thoroughly impressed by it and enjoyed every minute.  It takes you on a roller coaster of emotions and in a colorful way it takes you into the mind of a girl losing her sanity in the fight for perfection.

Unstoppable- I really enjoyed this story. There are two working class Joes that put their lives on the line to save thousands when a train full of chemicals becomes an unmanned speeding bullet of doom. It’s a great story and Chris Pine and Denzel Washington sell it well.

127 Hours- A scary and hope filled story.  James Franco gives a sterling performance and it really is worth seeing.  I’m shocked more people aren’t flocking to this movie.  I said in my review that it probably wasn’t his best performance.  But I think it may at least get him nominated or recognized for certain awards, which is well deserved.

True Grit- A remake and with a snappy Cohen script some fine actors and a newcomer who I think is going to go places.  This movie is really great and should be seen.  If you read a lot into it it’s a great character study into the heroic character archetypes.  But if you don’t want to read a lot into it it’s also just a great movie.

Legend of the Guardians- This was a beautiful movie.  I loved “Happy Feet” so when I heard the producers made this I was interested.  Even more so when I found out it wasn’t a musical.  Sure enough it had a clever plot and really well developed story.  It’s one of the loveliest bits of animation this year.

Devil- Finally! M. Night is back to bringing a story that can creep us out a bit.  It was a clever concept and it was a smart script and the cast sold it well considering how strange the subject matter happens to be.  I enjoyed it a lot and I really think was his best work since “Sixth Sense”.

Karate Kid- A remake in a new location with a new cast and a new martial art type.  Oddly enough it was a very well done movie.  It was heartwarming when it needed to be. The action was tight and really well choreographed. Jackie Chan also showed acting chops I was a bit shocked to see.

Inception- Visually stunning. There was an intense story and great development of the characters.  My only complaint is that some parts seemed to run a tad long.  But it was a brilliant movie.  I can see why folks will be talking about it for years to come.

The Last Exorcism- I loved this movie.  Its subtle creepiness mixed with characters you like so much you don’t want anything bad to happen to them really makes this an interesting POV horror movie.  There are Lovecraft themes so that is very cool in my eyes as well.  All in all it’s a smart movie that shows charm.

Kickass- Raise a glass to Kickass. This movie was so fun and original.  Remember what I said about Nic Cage earlier in this review? This is the opposite.  This is him having lots of fun.  The movie relishes is the fandom of the superhero genre and has a lot of heart. As a comic geek there is a lot I enjoy about that.

​So those are my best and worst lists for 2010.  Hope you enjoyed them too.  This coming year I’ll be seeing a hand full of new movies.  Trying out some new games to review as well and I’ll be having my 100th review coming soon so I’ll be taking suggestions as to what to review for that since I think it should be something special.  Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

True Grit-review

I didn’t know what to think when I heard that the Cohen Brothers were remaking “True Grit”.  The original was made in 1969 and stared an aging John Wayne, with Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper as small roles.  I never saw the original as I am not a John Wayne fan.  This new version has its own fair share of star power as well behind it.  Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges are the leading men chasing down Josh Brolin.  That alone intrigued me. 

            But the standout performance came from Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross.  At the tender age of 14 she handles the Cohen dialogue like a champ and gives it a lot of gravitas.  She holds her own in this very demanding role and with very little experience in terms of major roles.  I think we can expect great thing from her in the future. 

            The script is Cohen dynamite.  It’s snappy and witty and full of genius where it is not expected.  This is a common theme for Cohen movies: Poor or stereotypically uneducated folk with extensive vocabularies.  It’s a simple story.  A young girl is looking for the man who shot her father so she hires a fat drunk Marshal, and a Texas Ranger to assist her in finding the man.

It’s the characters that develop and the script that make an otherwise trite idea into a really great movie.  There are some good shoot ‘em up action scenes, a few good laughs and some decent drama here and there.  The scenery is lovely along the way and the journey itself makes their adventure one hell of a tale with all the trappings of tragedy and comedy along the way. 

I wholeheartedly think people should see this movie.  Especially over “Tron: Legacy” if you want to see Jeff Bridges doing something powerful and decent and you want to see a bright young newcomer who I think is REALLY going to go places give it a go.  It was interesting to see a Cohen Brother’s movie that was PG-13 for a change, but they pulled it off.  Damn fine work boys.

Inside The Actors Studio

Lately I’ve been watching “Inside the Actors Studio” and if you are a fan of any of the actors they interview I totally recommend watching this series.  I’ve been more and more impressed by the series.  I know it’s been around for a while (16 seasons) so there are a ton of episodes available.   With a lot of celebrity interviews it becomes them plugging their projects to a talking head that low balls easy questions.  With this show it’s a lot more honest, which is nice.

​What makes the show so awesome is that the host James Lipton’s team researches the HELL out of the person he is about to interview.  So he is asks questions that make the celebrity really be open and honest.  It’s very conversational and comes across as if they were discussing coming into their craft from their early years and into coming into fame. Then there is a Q&A session with the students in the audience.

​The host James Lipton is amazing.  The first heard of him was the SNL impression that Will Ferrell perfected.  Upon seeing him I was surprised how accurate it was.  There is this calm presence to his voice and he makes issues that the tabloids would have raked them over the coals for seem like no big deal.  Then it’s followed by the questions made by Bernard Pivot which were asked of Proust which Lipton asks of every guest.  In my head it’s hard not to always answer them for myself.

What is your favorite word? Ennui

What is your least favorite word? Stress

What turns you on? Smiles

What turns you off? Animal Cruelty

What sound or noise do you love? Other People’s Laughter

What sound or noise do you hate? Cardboard Tearing

What is your favorite curse word? Cunt

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Comedy Writer

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “Sorry!”

​If you haven’t watched any of the hundreds of interviews give it a shot.  It’s really entertaining and worth seeing.  When they catch the stars by surprise it’s pretty fun to watch.  There are a lot of great moments and stories you don’t always read about in bios of some of these celebrities so it’s nice to see them be a tad more real around students.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Movie Nostalgia

​I am not a big Christmas person.  I don’t know why?  Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t have kids so the pageantry and fun escapes me.  Giving presents is fine and getting them is cool too but really it’s the just a day when folks want people to feel this sacrine feeling that people care for one another even though they fight for parking in every lot and as far as I can tell wouldn’t piss on your teeth if they were on fire the rest of the year.

​On that note “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is a pretty damn good movie.  Of course I mean the cartoon and not the abomination with Jim Carrey.  The cartoon is all about how the spirit of the holiday and peace and love towards our fellow human as what is important.  Not the material goods.  I can just imagine that if this came out in this day and age and wasn’t already set up as a holiday institution, Dr. Seuss would be branded a socialist by Fox News and people would protest in outrage.   It’s awesome that Boris Karloff provided the voice of the Grinch.

​Another I love is “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  Yes it’s overplayed but its message is so good.  A life is worth living as long as you have friends.  One big complaint though.  In the alternate George Bailey-less universe it seems odd to me that they assume that Mary would become a librarian that never married an awful fate.  Plus, considering the number of kids she crapped out I find it hard to believe that she honestly became an old maid without George Bailey.

​One I find preachy now is “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.  The message is not a subtle in the story.  Instead of working in a bit of Christian overtones hidden in a sea of fun cartoon we get a sermon at the end the cartoon. I find that ridiculous in a show that is 25 minutes long and is usually wedged inside tons of commercials to fill the void.  There is nothing like vast commercialism to make the spiritual message seem really hollow.

​“White Christmas” bothers me because you have long and seemingly pointless song and dance numbers.  Some have NOTHING to do with the holiday performance they are trying to create.  So it’s like they are going out of their way to waste your time.  Or show you the stuff that should be on the cutting room floor.  I’ll admit the songs can be catchy but let’s face the ENTIRE premise is based around a guy whose music partner wants to get in some girls pants so he leads them to a crappy hotel with no snow.  Instead of kicking his partner’s ass he finds out the owner of the hotel is their former general so they feel they owe it to him to put on a show there.  If that makes sense to you I got a bridge I’d like to see you.

​Here is one I dig: “A Christmas Carol”, any version.  I like that Scrooge literally gets a night to warp time and space and see what an ass he is.  It’s supernatural time travel at its most fun.  I also really enjoyed that new animated version with Jim Carrey.  Those Robert Zemeckis CGI Animations are fabulous and can really tell an amazing story that is remarkably adult.  If you get a chance see “Beowulf” and “Monster House” too.  They are really dark and quiet clever.

​“Nightmare Before Christmas” Is a bit short but it’s still awesome.  Is it a Halloween movie?  Is it a Christmas movie?  The answer to both is of course yes.  It’s stylized almost like a silent movie of the German expressionist era when there are curves and angles everywhere.  The character’s themselves are really awesome.  I love the Oogie Boogie Man’s lair and the glowing look it has.

​“A Christmas Story” is a classic.  What kid hasn’t wanted a toy so badly that they pined for it night and day?   It’s a great story and it’s delivered well.  The script is witty and the characters sell it like champs. If you haven’t seen this movie what are you waiting for?  It’s really funny and it feels like a childhood memory for just about everyone that watches it.

​“Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” is what we get when I start to hit the bottom of the barrel.  The costumes are trash. The sets are jokes and the credits look like they were made by a four year old.  Is that good enough for you? It’s just dull.  The title is even misleading.  There is no actual conquering.  Santa more or less gets kidnapped and befriends them.

​The Mexican movie “Santa Claus” pits Santa Claus versus the Devil Pitch in a battle for the souls of the children of the world.  Is that creepy enough?  You should see it just for the surreal BS this movie throws at you.  Like did you know Santa lives in Space and not the North Pole?  And apparently he is friends with Merlin which is how he gets a lot of his abilities to get into folks houses?  This is surreal insanity probably even by Mexican standards.

​“Santa’s Slay” is not really a special.  It’s a movie about the wrestler Bill Goldberg playing Santa who apparently is Satan’s child coming to earth and killing folks in small American town.  Oh and the deal with the devil that foils his wretched plan, is a curling match.  Yeah this movie is pretty damn bad. I think folks can do a lot better if they were going to make a horror/comedy about a killer Santa.

​“Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer” is cool by me.  I like the characters enough and the songs stay in your head until your death.  But the best thing by far is the island of misfit toys.  “Whose ever heard of a Charlie in the box?!”  So I do appreciate it a lot for the creativity of it even though even as a kid I found it epically boring sometimes.

​So anyway those are the ones I like and dislike the most.  Sure you might disagree and can probably think of other things I forgot.  Like “The Santa Clause” (FYI. I hated it.  They treated becoming Santa like a disease at first which is disturbing and creepy.  It’s more like an eerie curse caused by a suit).  Anyway I hope you all have a wonderful holiday whatever you celebrate.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tron: Legacy - review

The gaming grid really tied the room together.
            Imagine that you bake a cake.  It’s not a hit with the crowd but it develops a nice fan base amongst your friends.  Now imagine that cake recipe was given to a bunch of people to wipe their ass with before handing it back to you so that you can attempt to bake a new cake 28 years after the first time you baked it.  That is “Tron: Legacy”. 
            To the movie’s credit it is visually stunning.  There is a lot to like on that front.  The sets are cool the costumes are out of this world and the women look amazing.  But as we all know a movie cannot rely on this alone. The script was awful.  The plot infantile, predictable and the acting is sub par.

            Some of you may think that is all harsh.  But I think they took the original movie, which was a very creative screenplay and turned it into a living video game because folks have a 80s nostalgic interest in certain movies.   I know the technology has changed and so they want to update it altogether but did they need to take away the charm too.

Hi! I'm the hero! Wait! Why is everyone laughing at me?
            Okay, I may need to explain the charm of “Tron” to me. In “Tron” there are two worlds: the real world and the computer world.  Actors would play parts of characters in the real world and then counterparts in the computer world would be.  So Jeff Bridges played Flynn and Clu, Bruce Boxleitner played Alan and Tron, and David Warner played Dillinger, Sark and the Master Control Program.  In Legacy it’s limited to Clu and Tron as the only characters with the dual actors. That is weak considering Cillian Murphy is in here playing Dillinger’s grandson and that is a great opportunity to utilize that.

            Instead you get these insane villains that are so transparently evil they may as well have a Fu Manchu.  There is Zuse ( I checked that is how they spelled it) who poses like a twat while he betrays the good guys and then expects the evil team to be ok with the fact they got away.  Then there is a Judge Doom look-a-like at Clu’s side that is basically there to kiss his ass the whole movie. 

No this isn't David Bowie. But good guess.
Another thing that still bugs me is they haven’t perfected the CGI to make an actor really look younger.  So Jeff Bridges doesn’t look right at all.  It’ looks distorted and off.  Like how Patrick Stewart looked at the beginning of “X-Men 3”.  If they can’t do it right they should try another route.

            It’s really not worth the price of admission.  I’d see it as a rental for sure.  It is a neat movie.  But good lord it’s a badly written flick.  It’s as if they didn’t think too hard about it at all and so they took the most generic dialogue and cookie cutter script off the heap and turned into a story about Tron.  Sad really.  It could have been a fun ride too.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Black Swan-review

            Honestly, what can I say?  This movie really is a great one.  It’s an amazing companion piece to “The Wrestler”.  Where “The Wrestler” is the ugliness of a beast this story is about a beauty and perfection.  The acting was superb. I was surprised a bit since I had expected some aspect of same old same, old are at a certain point from Portman’s performance.  But she turns it around. 

            Ballet is nothing easy.  It’s a world of eating disorders, chain smoking and feet that are messed up in ways you cannot comprehend.  But and they give you that world with both barrels of the shotgun.  I have always found Natalie Portman to be one of the best looking stars on the planet and this movie has her in some of the sexiest scenes I’ve seen her in.  I did not see that coming.

            You will probably say that to yourself a lot in this movie.  That or, “That girl is fucking crazy.” If I had any complaints it’s that once again I saw CG blood. Why is that so necessary?  I have bitched about this before.  Blood is an effect that has been perfected for years so why are we using computers for the effects now? 

Lastly, is Winona Ryder really so recognizable that she is worth hiring anymore?  The last thing I saw her in was a brief roll as Spock’s mother in the new “Star Trek” movie and I still thought it was odd she was in that.  Why is she in this?  She can barely read without adding “like” or “totally” in the sentence.  Still, to the casting director’s credit I imagine it cost some cheese sandwiches and lemonade to hire her. 

 The good far exceeds the bad.  It’s a well-written, well acted movie very much worth seeing.  It’s dark and depressing and it probably will win some awards.  If you have a chance to see, it make sure you do.  It’s well worth your time. 


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Paranormal Entity- review with spoilers

​Who’s up for a ripoff movie? I am I am.  This movie is, of course, produced by The Asylum.  They have been dubbed “mockbusters” by the media since they are low budget direct to video knock offs of big blockbuster hits usually even going the same route as using the same style on the box art.  The Asylum produced such classics as:

• I am Omega
• Transmorphers: Fall of Man
• Snakes on a Train
• Sunday School Musical
• Titanic 2
• And this piece of crap I am looking at now.
​This movie starts with a 911 call telling you it killed my mom and sister so thanks for the spoiler. Through a title card we read Thomas Finley killed himself in prison after being accuse of the rape and murder of his sister.  Well it starts exactly like “Paranormal Activity” Thomas is introducing his Sister Samantha, and his mother Ellen. In exactly the same way Micah does Katie and himself.

​So they tell the story about how the patriarch of the family, David dies in a car accident and Ellen was told that she could communicate with the dead by writing to them.  Whatever, let’s keep this shit cake baking.  So Ellen wakes up one night and starts writing.  She doesn’t remember doing so of course but Thomas find the paper crumpled under her pillow and spells out the word MARON.

​Thomas sends Samantha and Ellen to stay in a hotel while he deals with the problem.  That night he hooks up bells to wire so they will ring when the entity passes by.  Eventually this does happen and the entity bangs at his door. When the banging stops he gets a call from his mom that the spirit followed them to the hotel and attacked them at the hotel.   Apparently it dragged Samantha off her bed.  Too bad we got to see bells ringing and a door being knocked on when we could’ve seen that.

​Thomas wakes up and sees the front door open and his sister gone.  He goes looking for her and finds her in a trance in her bra and panties.  When she wakes she can’t recall being outside or how she got there.  Wow Déjà vu.  The next night Samantha is found screaming in a bathtub topless, and severely traumatized.

​Ellen blames herself for the goings on and slits her wrists.  She lives and gets taken to a hospital.  A paranormal expert shows up and says Maron is Germanic for Nightmare and the creature that is there is basically an incubus that wants to rape Samantha.  The psychic agrees to help and the video goes black.

​There is a pause then we see the POV is a shot of the experts bleeding head looking vacantly on the floor Samantha is screaming and Thomas is running up to get to her.  Wait, so he stopped to turn on the camera and film a dying man and all this.  What an asshole.  He sees Samantha naked and bleeding levitating by some invisible force.

​The camera focuses on Samantha.  Oddly her scratches have completely stopped bleeding.  I guess continuity is a privilege not a right.   At the end it’s revealed through title card that after hearing about both her children’s death Ellen committed suicide shortly thereafter.  The video recording was found in the family attic one year later probably next to a slightly burned picture of a Katie Featherston.

​You know at least Micah would film something.  There is so much time wasted in this movie filming darkness and random junk.   Since it was FOUND footage it was presented to the audience in “Paranormal Activity” sort of like “We had a strange case folks.  What can you make of it given what you’re about to see?”  This doesn’t have that feel at all.  This is presented more like “Is this scary folks?  Huh? Is it?  Use your imagination.  It’s probably something awful.”  Given that most of the action happens off screen I’d say they banked on this.

​Ok I’ll admit something now I had the biggest crush on Katie Featherston in “Paranormal Activity” and I thought she and Micah had great personalities that made the movie really work and combined with the other elements the movie really came together.   This movie has none of those elements.

​The characters are horrible Styrofoam cutouts the action happens in the dark or off-screen, the sound quality is awful and I’m pretty sure it gave me a canker sore watching it.  Ok that last one is not true but it’s still pretty damn awful.  Clearly this movie was made for people who confuse it with the original good movie and are stupid enough to buy this by accident.  How these people don’t get the shit sued out of them is beyond me.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Something that always bothers me in Superhero movies is the constant whining about their powers.  Spiderman was the chief offender of this nonsense.  Ok imagine how much better his life would have been if instead of letting his Uncle Ben’s Ghost ride his ass for years with “With great power comes great responsibility” and taking responsibility for himself first.

He can’t keep a job because he is web slinging around saving people and his relationships fail as well.  So he is a miserable loser.  If that was Uncle Ben’s advice I’d shoot him myself.   Ok that is a bit harsh.  But he does need to eat, and live and frankly they do have professional people like police and emergency personnel who are properly trained in rescue as opposed so some asshole in tights just jumping around.

Now yes when a supervillain comes a knocking that is when it is useful to have him around and yes that is when he would be needed.   It’s a laughable situation.  But its time he could be using his good fortune to at least improve his situation.  Keep going to classes on time.  Leave saving the world to someone else like the X-men who also live in New York.

The X-men are sort of an oddity too.  Here we are to believe that mutants are a problem and that folks are for the most part are anti-mutant.  But somehow there are other’s that are fine with freaks like the Fantastic Four and Spider Man and what not.  Granted, I know those others are not technically mutants (they are mutates since they were not born with their powers) but still how the hell would folks differentiate the good old fashion prejudice.  It’s not as if they wear what they are on a sign or have it on their facebook page.

Also if I hear another person tell me that Batman has never killed people I’ll flip out.  I think of the Tim Burton movies as hilarious because there are a few times when he goes out of his way to straight up murder henchmen.

1. He uses the Batmobile to immolate some guys
2. He straps dynamite to a guy and throws him in the sewer.
3. He clocks one dude in the head with a church bell then drops him to his death.
4. Oh and let’s not forget fucking bombing Axis Chemicals.  With who knows how many people inside.
So yeah Batman in the Burton films is a terrorist.

​Superman was another guy that they got all wrong in the remake.   If you’ve watched “Kill Bill part 2” Bill explains really well the reasoning for why Superman dresses like Clark Kent.  He pretends to be like us.  “He is weak…he’s unsure of himself…he’s a coward. Clark Kent is Superman’s critique on the whole human race.”  It’s a very well put point.  I didn’t think it was put together well in “Superman Returns” though.

​In “Superman Returns” Brandon Routh seems to be just dressed up as Christopher Reeve.  And while it’s a noble attempt at a decent impression it doesn’t work when playing the man of steel.  Also I think they played too much that we are supposed to feel sorry for him because he is alone and the last of his race and is so different from everyone.  Ok, pull that sob train to rest.  I think I if there was a talk I could have with Superman it’d go a little like this:

Ryan: Holy shit! It’s Superman!

Superman: (crying) Yes it’s me. Though I wish it weren’t.

Ryan: Are you kidding me? What do you possibly have to feel bad about?

Superman: Well, I am the last living Kryptonian.  I have villains constantly out to kill me.  The woman I love as my alter ego won’t touch me and I feel like the world is falling apart around me and I can’t do everything.  

Ryan: Well, it’s ok to feel overwhelmed my man.  But correct me if I am wrong you’re Superman.  People all over the world adore you.

Superman: Yeah.

Ryan: So if the one hatchet faced reporter isn’t into you certainly you deserve someone that likes you for you right?

Superman: That is no way to speak about Lois…..but you’re right.

Ryan: And tell me.  Aren’t you practically invulnerable almost to the point of being a minor deity?

Superman: Yes but if some villains have discovered my weaknesses and exploit them.

Ryan:  Well then.  No one said you have to fight them on your own.  Ask for help once in a while.  You know who doesn’t give a shit about Kryptonite?  Batman.  You know who isn’t powered by Earth’s yellow sun?  Wonder Woman.  You have options man.  You ever hear of the Justice League?

Superman: Of course I have heard of it.  I founded that piece of shit.

Ryan: Well use it for crying out loud.  Take a day off and let some of Earth’s other defenders take some of the load for a change.  Believe it or not the world was moving before you arrived.  It’ll continue without you.

Superman: I suppose it will.

Ryan: Look man. You have the bolt of Olympus handed to you.  You can use it for good or evil.  Obviously you use it for good.  But you are no good to anyone if you can’t take care of yourself.

Superman: You are right.  I feel better.  Smell you later Metropolis.  I’m going on a vacation.

Ryan: I can’t help feeling I’ve done good works today.

​Look I know writers these days have a unique challenge when it comes to making superheroes that you can identify with.  But giving them a gift like god like power and then having them piss and moan about it is just a crime.   It’s their own fault 90% of the time for being written as stupid and one directional character that they don’t see the forest for the trees.   There are a few exceptions but in hero movies it’s more likely you just see someone that will fight crime because they are expected to.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dexter-ous thoughts

​Well, first off I love this series.  It’s well acted, well written and shows a lot of care.  I am also big fan of the books series.  On that note they are like looking into an alternate universe of the Dexter character where both are interesting but their worlds are slightly different.  The show focuses on the minor characters as well as Dexter whereas the books it’s all Dexter all the time.

​The minor characters are actually a big boon to the series I think.  With some minor exceptions and I KNOW I am going to get flak for this.  There are two characters that stick in my craw.  Debra Morgan, played by Jennifer Carpenter and Rita played by Julie Benz.  Ok spoiler alert, I know I don’t have to deal with Rita anymore.  But still, it shocked me how bummed folks were at her death?  She has been an albatross around Dexter’s neck for a long time.

​Oh I know, here come the romantics saying she is meant for him.  Julie Benz was really great at first at portraying this vulnerable woman which Rita is supposed to be.  But here is what I didn’t like she turned from vulnerable to harping shrew in one season. It was no time flat.  She would believe her ex who would cheat, beat her and her kids, rape her and was a constant junkie over dearly devoted Dexter?

​Dexter is constantly coming home to her yelling at him and/or rolling her eyes and asking where he’s been.  First off he is the only one in that family that works.  So thanks Rita.  Second, he’s a blood splatter analyst for the Miami-Dade County so he’s on call. Third He’s got three kids, the baby and Rita’s 2 kids from a previous marriage.  So why is Rita always on his ass about wanting a partner in the relationship?  He’s doing a lot it seems and he doesn’t even start a fight about it.  Oh yeah she’ll be missed like dial up.

​Next up we have Dexter’s sister Debra Morgan.  Lord almighty I’m so tired of hearing this girl whine about her relationship issues.  It’s like she took a potion that kept her brain in teenager mode.  She is an egocentric scenery chewing spaz.  And it kills me because in the book she knows Dexter is a killer and she accepts him for it.

​She will often come to Dexter when he is working or clearly having real issues of his own and talk about her relationship issues like “Do you think he’ll propose after our week together?” Dexter has the patience of a saint not to throw her ass out of his office.  But instead sits there and listens to this which will lead to her either giggling like a giddy school girl or crying like one instead or even more maturely hitting him.

​And like all stupid teenagers I’ve ever met. If they don’t get advice they like they take it personally.  That is something Debra does all the time.  Instead of taking things like an adult she has such enormous daddy issues that it’s sometimes hard to tell who the real sociopath on this show is until he finally starts cutting on someone.  

​Really I like the others. Angel is great.  Masuka is always a tremendous character.  The man, Dexter himself is always well done. I hate that I don’t and have Showtime and have to wait for it to come on DVD like a common troll.  Still, I am at least liking where is has been going and the ride thus far has been an intense one.  I just wonder where they intend on taking it next.

The Descent part 2- review with spoilers

I’ll have to admit something I liked the first Descent movie a bit.  When it came out in 2005 it seemed at least original and creepy.  So it a tad weird but it had spirit.  I could lose myself for a bit in the goofiness of it all and enjoy the ride.  So I was curious when I heard about “The Descent part 2”. Especially, when there are claims that it has the same actresses in it.  I have seen this curveball thrown before.  Take for example “Cabin Fever 2” where it says it is staring Rider Strong and it kills him off in the first 5 minutes on screen.  Thanks movie.

​Clearly though I am wrong as this movie takes place 2 days after the events of the last film.  A redneck guy is driving his tow truck down a lonesome road when he comes close to hitting a deer.  The deer is the most nonchalant deer I’ve seen since it just chills there looking at his truck.  Its daylight so it’s not mesmerized by headlights or anything it’s just hanging out.  Until it gets bored and just wanders off.  The redneck gets a “WTF” face until Sarah from the first movie.  Slams against the window next to him covered in gore.  So I guess the canon ending is her escaping not the one where she is lying in the cave with her Daughter’s ghost. In her hand is the necklace she took from Juno, whom she killed to escape.

​Next we find out there are teams of folks scouring the caves looking for Juno and her friends. The Sheriff, who looks like the love child of Brain Dennehey and Kenny Rogers finds out Sarah has been found and is in the hospital.  So he goes to see her with a deputy Elen Rios and they find out Sarah is suffering from slight amnesia.  Other than some scratches she is ok though.  Except she has to be told again that her daughter was killed because she forgot that nasty detail. So she has to deal with that loss again.  The doctor said she was covered in blood. The Sheriff asks for the blood type.  The doctor says it’s A positive.  Juno’s blood is A positive so naturally the Sheriff is starting to suspect this 90 lb. woman to on 5 other women in a cave because she came out covered in A positive blood.  Sherlock Holmes, this man is not.

​ Well anyone who saw the first movie knows she swam in a goddamn pond of blood.  Chances are there are several different types in there since it looked like they ran 20 cows through a juicer.  Hell I have A positive blood.  It could have just have easily been anyone’s.  How hard up for a Sheriff was this town?  Anyway, the blood work makes him so keen on the idea that he decides he’s going to take her back up to the caves.  About now the ER doctor should chime in about how unwise it’d be to take a person who suffered trauma and is mentally unstable back into the same situation.  But I guess he was on a smoke break.

​Even the deputy says it might help jog her memory.  If I went through what she did they couldn’t drag me back into that pit.  But sure enough 3 climbers the two idiot cops and Sarah are gearing up to go in the cave through a mine entrance.  The redneck guy from before, who I guess is named Ed, is actually there to assist them into the mines.  He gives the deputy a little wink as he closes the door on the old mining elevator.  Sheriff Dipshit even brought his gun even though the leader of this search and rescue told him not too claiming the sound would bring the cave down on them.  This is what we call FORESHADOWING.

​While they explore they find a body.  It’s torn apart pretty good.  Again the Sheriff accused Sarah the tiny 90 lb. weakling who would get knocked over by a fart.  The corpse’s mouth seems to be moving.  They look closer and a huge rat bursts out. EWWWWWWW.  So they crawl through a narrow part of the tunnel when Sarah starts having flashbacks of what happened.  She attacks the group and bolts leaving them alone.  The Sheriff sees a crawler and fires his gun and wouldn’t you know it a rock slide occurs. It separates Cath, one of the rescuers from the rest of the group. So the deputy and two guys are in a room filled with bones.  They find the camera that Holly had in the first movie and start watching her footage.  They finally get to what attacked her and then the crawlers attack them.

​They are all separated.  Elen at first is calling for help until Sarah pops out of the shadows and grabs her and points out they can’t see with their eyes.  They use echolocation like bats.  They watch as a crawler kills one of the guys tearing his throat out.  Cath, meanwhile has found out there is a crawler trying to get her so she crushes it with a rock and escapes.  She teams up with the other guy and they try to escape.  They find Sam from the first movie still dangling helplessly from the ceiling so Cath jumps onto her body to try to get to the other side of a crevasse.  The guy she is with is bitten badly but he sacrifices himself to make sure Cath can get to the other said of the crevasse.  Once on the other side she turns to see what became of her friend only to hear the chattering of crawlers behind her.  That was all she wrote for her.

​As Sarah and Elen wander deeper into the cave Elen reveals she has a daughter which makes Sarah more determined to get her out of there.  The Sheriff is wandering about like a child when he is about to get killed by a crawler and he is saved by Juno.  BULLSHIT!  There is no way she survived the last movie.  But the movie wants you to believe she is mighty adept at killing these crawlers.  The only reason she couldn’t get out is she didn’t have a light.  Sarah and Elen meanwhile have a brutal fight with a crawler in the crawler community toilet.  Don’t believe me?  As soon as they are done fighting a crawler wanders up and takes a shit down on them just to cement that fact.

​So Sheriff and Juno meet up with Sarah and Elen.  At first Juno wants to kill Sarah for stabbing her in the leg and leaving her there.  But they decide it is in their best interest to work together to get out of the caves.  But Sheriff Dipshit thinks life isn’t hard enough.  He handcuffs himself to Sarah so she can’t run away again. This man is so stupid he makes Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane of Hazzard County look like Albert Einstein.  They have to cross a narrow ridge where weight distribution is important.  Still not letting her free of the handcuffs he falls.  Juno looks like she is about to abandon them but decides to help them in the way this should have been solved from the start when the asshole put on the cuffs.

​“Cut off his hand” she says.  Since crawlers are climbing the wall to him they have to hurry because they’ll take Sarah AND him if they don’t do it.  It takes a few whacks but they finally get rid of that asshole and good riddance.  So they make it to the feeding area and what looks to be the exit.  There are a few crawlers still about so they fight with them and Juno gets mortally wounded.  Rather than morning her as they escape Sarah gives a long dramatic movie farewell complete with the typical closing of the dying characters eyes.  Elen looks up and sees they are surrounded.

​Sarah feels she has nothing to lose so she starts screaming and the crawlers run to her allowing Elen to escape.  She crawls out and into the forest.  She is about to use her phone when a shovel smashes her in the face.  Why its redneck Ed and he’s dragging her back to the hole.  Why is he doing that?  I guess we’ll never know.  She starts to gain consciousness as a crawler springs out of the darkness to grab her.

​BOOOO! Look I know you want to end on a twist end but usually that works when it makes some sense.  Just bringing back characters for the sake of surprise is weak.  And only to have a sacrifice death that is totally for no reason is pointless.  If you are going to make a movie please make it worth the audience’s time.  I’d advise you just watch the first and avoid this one.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

They Live-review with spoilers

Can this really be a decent movie?
So often in the past wrestlers have made the attempt to make movie and they have been black holes of entertainment.  There are two exceptions The Rock and Rowdy Roddy Piper.  Roddy Piper starred in the 1988 movie “They Live” which is what we are here to chat about today.  It’s not only a cool bit of sci-fi but it REALLY has a message about mass consumerism, advertising and political subversion.  Plus it honestly has some of the most bad ass fight scenes in movies around.
Cripple Fight!!!!
            Don’t believe me? South Park used the ENTIRE scene where Keith David and Roddy Piper duke it out in a long, brutal match in the street as a model for their “Cripple Fight” episode.  So without further ado let’s dive into “They Live”.
            The story takes place in Los Angeles where a nameless drifter played by Piper comes into town.  He is big and mulleted and looking for work.  But the economy sucks. He finds work as a construction worker and meets a guy named Frank Amitage (Wow! Big Lovecraft reference ahoy!). They go to a local shanty town where a soup kitchen provides food.  Piper is a really noisy guy though he sees that the church’s soup kitchen is a front. 
            Their “choir practice” is just a recording and there are chemicals and boxes of sunglasses.  Plus a super secret compartment with a box by rooting like an asshole.  This church is also jamming TV broadcasts to give off their own pirate message trying to wake up the community.  That night the police show up and surround the church.  Then for NO REASON they set bulldozers on the shantytown destroying it and forcing everyone within to flee.
            Piper returns the next day to that compartment he found earlier and takes out a box still inside.  He races to an alley to open the box and discovers it’s full of cheap looking sunglasses.  Confused he throws them in the trash can but keeps one for himself since who in L.A can’t use a pair of cheap sunglasses.  He is shocked to discover though that things don’t look the same through the sunglasses.  The world is in shades of grey.
Read my lips...oh my bad.
            He notices a billboard that says “Obey” when he takes off the glasses it’s an ad for computers.  He looks at another billboard for a vacation spot and puts on the glasses, “Marry and Reproduce” it says. He walks by a magazine rack and they all say things like “Consume”, “Watch TV”, “Do Not Question Authority”, and “Submit”. He is surrounded by this subliminal propaganda.  Through the glasses our money is just plain white paper that says “This is your God”.  Then he sees a man except he looks like his skin is gone.  He is a bit shocked to say the least. 
            He goes into a liquor store where he sees all sorts of the creatures mingling with regular folks.  At this point he’s got to think he’s nuts or that the world has gone to hell.  He bumps into a woman with the skeletal face.  He tells her “You see, I take these glasses off, she looks like a regular person, doesn't she? Put 'em back on...formaldehyde-face!” The women doesn’t take this well and starts talking into her watch.  Saying “I've got one that can see!” Piper books it out of the store.
            He pauses outside to insult a skeletal woman looking at her reflection in a glass.  “That is like pouring perfume on a pig.”  It isn’t long before two skeletal cops catch him and try to talk him down. But this is the wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper.  He beats the shit out of them and shoots them with their own guns in broad daylight. So he finds out they die like everyone else.  Still, I was shocked there were no screams or attempts at assistance at two cops being gunned down in the street.  Must really be L.A.
This image says "America" in so many ways.

            So Piper takes the cops shotgun and weapons and pieces together that they are aliens. He stumbles into a bank where he delivers the classic line.  “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum.”  He starts blowing away the aliens out of the crowd at the bank.  In truth that has to be terrifying to the crowd.  Some nut shows up and starts blowing people away without asking for money and seemingly without reason.
            One of the aliens describes him into his watch and as he is about to be shot he is teleported from the bank.  Piper bolts out of the bank in time to see a little saucer device following him taking his picture.  He shoots it down.   Then a human cop appears.  Piper makes him give up his weapon and run off.  He finds a Kristie Alley look-a-like named Holly in a parking garage and forces her to give him a ride to her place.
            She does and they chat a bit.  She of course doesn’t believe him and she managed to get him out of her house by smashing a champaign bottle at the back of his skull making him fall through her living room window and fall down the L.A. hills, (her house is one of those nuts ones on stilts).  Piper left his weapons and glasses behind of course. But that aside lets have some fun and count the number of ways he should be dead now.
1.      The heavy bottle smashing his medulla oblongata.
2.      The glass of the living room window cutting an artery and bleeding him to death.
3.      The fall upward to 30 feet could break his back or neck.
4.      The tumble down the hills at the speed he was rolling after the fall could shatter his neck as well.
So there are at least 4 ways he should be dead now. Still Piper is built like Wolverine because he goes back to the alley where he left the glasses.  Roots through the trash and seeing it’s taken out notices the dump truck.  He happens to hi the right buttons and climbs in unnoticed and get the right box out of all the bullshit that is in the truck.
He gets a pair of glasses and his buddy Frank is there to give him some cash. He doesn’t want to get involved and he not listening to Piper’s story since Piper appears to be a gun toting nut.  Piper just wants him to try on the glasses and see for himself.  Frank refuses.  So they engage in an AWESOME fistfight that goes on a long time.  Finally Frank puts on the glasses and sees the aliens.
They go into hiding and eventually meet up with others from the old church.  They get some new weapons and contact lens to see them.  They also discover that the aliens are to blame for carbon dioxide and methane emissions.  I guess Al Gore was wrong.  Holly is at the meeting telling Piper she believes him and they get information that the aliens are using a single Television signal to hide what they really are.
            The police show up and are killing everyone unarmed and armed alike.  Frank and Piper escape using a watch that one of the rebels confiscated.  They find themselves in a series of underground tunnels.  They discover a place that allows for easy space travel and a group of aliens throwing a party for their human collaborators.
The army is after him with a PKE meter. That would work awesome if he was a ghost.
            Yet another passage leads to the local TV station and the source of the alien signal.  Holly works there so they hope to get help on the way to the roof.  During their kill spree Holly shoots Frank execution style.  Holly tells Piper there is no use fighting them.  A helicopter arrives.  Piper draws a hidden gun and shoots Holly and then the antenna blowing it up.  The helicopter shoots him and as a dying act Piper shoots the aliens “the Bird”.
            With the signal destroyed people around L.A. start to see the aliens as well.  They see them in bars, on TV and one girl is having sex with one.  That is where we end.  It’s a funny and dark movie.  Completely worth your time since it’s actually got some intelligence behind it as well.  It’s really well done.  Check it out if you get a chance.

Friday, December 10, 2010

An Awesome Job

​I think an awesome job to have would have been pitching television show ideas in the 60s.  These are ideas that would be considered insane and would NEVER be considered but somehow they got made and were loved by audiences everywhere. I can just see it walking into an executive meeting.

Executive: Well, what do you got for us Ryan?

Ryan: Well Sir I got a couple ideas. Let me know what you think.

Executive: Okay let’s hear them.

Ryan:  An astronaut lands on a tropical island and finds a genie.  They fall in love and he and his dolt partner spend the series hiding the fact that she is a genie doing whacky things behind the back of the Air Force Psychologist.

Executive: Good Lord!

Ryan: Yeah?

Executive: That is genius! What else do you have?

Ryan: Well one rather similar really.  I got a one about a Witch that is married to an ad executive.  He just wants her to give up her witchy ways but his mother-in-law is always getting in the way and causing problems.

Executive: Hmmm.  I like the mother-in-law gag.  That will generate big laughs.  Got any more?

Ryan: Yeah two more. One is about a family based on the Saturday Evening Post Comic “The Addams Family”.  We’ll name the characters and give them the backstory that they are rich eccentrics that can do basically whatever they want and make people feel frightened and weird.

Executive: That one is a bit weak.

Ryan: Did I mention they have a pet disembodied hand.

Executive: Dammit! If you had I would never have doubted your absolute genius.

Ryan: Ok my last one is about a family consisting of a father who is a Frankenstein monster, a mother who is a vampire, her father who is also a vampire and their son who is a werewolf.  They have a niece who is staying with them who is pretty and normal. But they think she is the weird one.

Executive: Go on.

Ryan: So they constantly have mishaps around town and have to deal with the prejudices of others due to the fact that they are basically monsters.

Executive: My god son. You have made this network millions with that brain of yours.  Would you care for a cigarette?

Ryan: Only if I can drink while I smoke.  It is the 60s after all.

Executive: Of course. Taste the turbulence.

​Ahhhhh now that we’ve done the time warp again.  You can see why that would be a fun job.  Now there is very little creativity going on of that nature.  Nowadays sitcoms are unoriginal garbage.  Due mostly in part to the fact that they have a family or group of friends just spouting one liners and catch phrases lacking the odd premises that used to give it originality.  Oh well.    

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Texas Chainsaw Massacre- review with spoilers

​This movie is a classic in horror.  The version I’m talking about of course is the 1974 version directed by Tobe Hopper.  It would be remade a few times and have a few sequels but this one is always going to be the superior movie to me.   It tells the story of some friends who get murdered in rural Texas by a family of cannibals.  It’s presented as a real story, but it’s as real as “King Kong”.  The story is actually modeled after a serial killer Ed Gein in Wisconsin.

​Sally and her invalid brother Franklin are traveling rural Texas with three friends, Jerry, Sally’s boyfriend, Kirk and Pam.  They travel to a cemetery where they heard corpses are being dug up and vandalized.  They also plan on traveling to their old family homestead.  Franklin goes out of his way to be an annoying asshole the whole time.  The seventies must have been trusting times because they decide to pick up a hitchhiker.

​He is the sort of guy who looks like he was kicked out of the insane asylum this morning because they needed the extra bed.  He takes a picture of Franklin and wants money for it.  When he refuses to pay he sets the picture on fire in the van and cuts himself with a straight razor then Franklin.  After he starts cutting them they boot his ass to the curb.  They stop at a gas station but a lazy eyed, buck toothed attendant tells them the pumps are empty.

​They still proceed to the homestead which is dilapidated.  They run up and down it having as much fun as young adults can in a shit-hole while Franklin sits in his wheel chair at the foot of the stairs and pouts.  Kirk and Pam go try to find a swimming hole Franklin knew about but instead find another house.  They go to investigate it.  They knock on the door and get no answer.

​Kirk sees a human molar on the porch and hands it to his girlfriend like it’s going to be a hilarious joke.  She disgustedly walks away from him leaving him there alone.  Then he decides to step inside.  He hears a noise.  Out of nowhere a huge guy with a mask made of skin, Leatherface, smashes his head with a sledgehammer and drags him into a meat locker.  Pam is apparently deaf for not hearing the 250lb gorilla wail on her boyfriend with a maul. She goes to investigate.

​She sees furniture made of bones and a chicken kept in a cage suspended above it.  Instead of bolting out of there she stays only to be grabbed by Leatherface and impaled with a meathook.  It’s starting to get late so Jerry goes to look for Kirk and Pam and finds the house.  He steps inside and sees a freezer where he discovers Pam is still alive inside.  But it doesn’t matter because Leatherface appears and bashes his brains in with a sledgehammer as well.  Good lord. He doesn’t even need to try to look for victims.  They are coming gift wrapped.

​It is now dark and Franklin and Sally are by the van calling for Jerry.  Sally wants to go look for him but Franklin doesn’t want to be left alone since he is handicapped.  They argue for a bit until like ninja cat Leatherface leaps out and kills Franklin with a chainsaw.  He then chases Sally through the woods. Marilyn Burns, the girl that plays Sally, starts to really bring it home now.  She plays terror like no one I’ve ever seen.

​Sally makes it to the death house and finds her way upstairs.  There she sees an ancient old man and the mummified corpse of an old woman.  Sally bolts out the second floor window.  She runs to the gas station where she babbles to the odd looking attendant about her friends and how she is being chased.  He says he is going to get help.  He comes back and ties her up and drives her back to the house.

​He arrives at the same time as the hitchhiker who it turns out is Leatherface’s younger brother.  They taunt and torment Sally as she is tied and helpless.  She is begging for her life and they laugh maniacally at her.  It’s an amazingly scary scene.  They bring down the old man from upstairs and cut her finger to let him drink her blood.  They then say they should let “Grandpa” kill her.  So they give the old man a hammer. But his grip is too weak and in all the commotion she breaks free and smashes out the window.

​Free of the mad house she runs out into the street being pursued by Leatherface armed with his chainsaw and the hitchhiker with his straight razor.  The hitchhicker is run over by a passing semi driver.  The driver gets out to help Sally but sees Leatherface starts to run himself.  When he gets chased he grabs a huge wrench from the cab of his truck and hurls it at Leatherface.  It nails him causing him to fall down and the chainsaw to fall on his leg cutting him badly.  He gets back up and gives chase but the trucker has split and Sally has found another passing truck and gotten in its flatbed and escaped.

​The final scene is her madly laughing as she is getting away.  Leatherface is doing a frustrated dance with the chainsaw. And Sally is looking back in mad terror laughing to be alive.   It’s a shocking and brutal movie.  I love it.  I think that this movie and “Halloween” changed things for a new generation of horror.  It’s worth watching if you ever want to see rural paranoia at some of its finest.