Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sucker Punch-review

It's easy to act badass with a Big Daddy on your side.
            I went into this movie with high expectations.  That was a mistake.  Like “Tron: Legacy” I thought it was going to blow me away but I was left really let down. Why?  The movie suffers for its predictability, clichéd dialogue and a plot with more holes than Sonny Corelone.

You think the audience wants to see me pout more?
            In this movie’s defense it is really well shot and the visuals are amazing.  The effects themselves are stunning.  The costumes are wild and original and I am sure that this year and for the next coming year you will be seeing girls dressed as these characters in coming Halloween parties. 

            But is geek porn really enough?  Can girls in school girl outfits running in fantasy locations fighting with guns and swords really make a movie?  We’ve seen video games do it. Why the hell could they not make a movie that made an ounce of sense?  I know the story blurs the lines between what is real and what is imaginary but there but after a while that line becomes an intangible mess that I was no longer able to figure out what I was watching and I became lost in the spectacle.  That isn’t a good thing.

Insert "Kill Bill" quote here.
            Sometimes that works.  If it wanted to be like an “Alice in Wonderland” it should have created a more linear plot with things that made things clear.  As an audience member I should not be going, “What the hell just happened?”  It’s as if the action sequences were placed in the movie as a distraction to fool an audience with watching more and more dazzling scenes to make them forget that they are watching Swiss cheese writing at its finest.

Bayonetta FTW!
            As a whole I’d give “Sucker Punch” a miss.   It might be worth a rental or if you are really into that genre and have a game system just get a copy of “Bayonetta” and that will solve that problem and give you a story that least you can least not roll your eyes too much at despite the obvious geek porn aspects.  If there is one thing I am learning writing these reviews is that having high expectations of ANY movie is generally a bad idea.  I prefer to be surprised with a good movie so much more. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Battle L.A.-review

What the hell kind of alien is this?
If you took every modern warfare movie from the past two decades and tossed the scripts in a blender and tossed aliens in the mix you’d get “Battle L.A.”  Every war cliché in the book is there but the movie itself is so wildly forgettable that you would expect so much more considering the subject matter.  It wasn’t bad as something as “Skyline” but it brought nothing new to the table.

A group of marines go up against aliens in L.A.  That is about it.  There is the stereotypical rookie virgin, the lieutenant that has a pregnant wife, the aging stern sergeant with a heart of gold and of course the countless Private Hudson ripoffs that spend time yelling “Game over man!”   So many clichés are weaved into this.  But then you see the biggest joke to the audience which is the aliens. 

Michelle Rodriguez as a tough chick in a movie? That's new.
Considering they totally ripped off the ships of “District 9” why they made the choices they did with the aliens is a mystery. For one thing scientists suppose that they are after our water.  This seems a long way to travel to deal with combat just to get water when there is water on various planets, meteors and asteroids.  Regardless these aliens look like an eclectic mix of Black Manta of DC Comics fame and mushroom men. 

You’d think at least this would be an interesting movie if maybe it didn’t suppose that the U.S. military wasn’t more inept and pussy than the aliens that are incredibly easy to kill.  How can a group of aliens whose ship takes a single missile to bring down take out an entire Marine base? Under these circumstances it’s easier to believe that the creatures from ID4 were taken out from a Mac.
No running around the pool!

So maybe if you have never seen a war movie before this might be right up your alley.  If you like shitty effects and pussy aliens that pose as much threat as E.T then it might be up your alley as well.    But if you are not and you think that movies should at least attempt at originality then perhaps giving it a miss might be the best bet. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Paul- review

Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me.
            First off I loved “Shaun of the Dead”.  “Hot Fuzz” was a lot of fun for me as well.  I thought “Run Fat Boy Run” was a miss but despite the annoying trend for Simon Pegg to pick shitty movies lately and the fact that Seth Rogan’s overexposed voice is voicing the Alien Paul I was willing to give this movie a shot.  Unfortunately all you get is a predictable movie with hit or miss jokes which are based solely on pop culture references or whether you find swear words funny.

Laughs and smiles. There is something you won't see in the "Paul" audience.
            It’s all about two comic book nerds on a road trip that come across a foul mouth alien named Paul. The alien spends most of his time spewing out pop culture references as if he was the annoying Roger character from “American Dad”.  Then Kristen Wiig joins the cast as a character who is very religious whom Paul convinces her faith is bullshit.  Having shaken her faith he teaches her to swear which comes off as awkward as any middle school student figuring out what certain words mean in the school yard.  They use them all the time and it doesn’t make them sound any more mature.

This script has no sex scene?
            That is basically where this movie falls horribly flat.  It has some funny people but the script is like something a middle school student would have crapped out after a sugar high weekend playing Nintendo games.  It’s not the caliber I expect form the team that brought us “Shaun of the Dead” which was smart and very funny.  I can only hope that the next time they bring something better to the table than “Paul”.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My Top Ten Heroes and Villains in Movies


10. William “Bill the Butcher” Cutting (The Gangs of New York)
9. The Kurgan (Highlander)
8. The Joker (The Dark Knight)
7. Baby Jane Hudson (What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?)
6. Alex Delarge (A Clockwork Orange)
5. Bill (Kill Bill volume 1&2)
4. Anton Chigur (No Country for Old Men)
3 Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias (Watchmen)
2. Emperor Palpatine (All the Star Wars movies)
1. Biff Tannen (Back to the Future Trilogy)


10. Ofelia (Pan’s Labyrinth)
9. George Bailey (It’s a Wonderful Life)
8. Ellen Ripley (The Aliens Quadrilogy)
7. Indiana Jones (Indiana Jones Movies)
6. V (V for Vendetta)
5. Batman (Batman)
4. Harry Callahan (Dirty Harry movies)
3. Maude (Harold and Maude)
2. Edward R. Murrow (Good Night and Good Luck)
1. Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Tom Selleck wants his shirt back!
            This movie is fantastic.  It’s got an existential character that goes through a great character arc in his heroic development.  It’s also a nod to the Dollars Trilogy made popular by Clint Eastwood.  I was very impressed by the adult dialogue that accompanied the slapstick style humor.

            The art style was amazing.  More and more computer animation impresses me.  Since “Legend of the Guardians” I have felt that certain movies are making the effort of showing us story and effort with a texture so beautiful and a film so stylized.  The animals are fantastic looking creatures that take on a life all of their own and make the story really fun.

The lost lizard is on an existential journey.  He comes across a town with a water problem and through a chain of events he realizes he can make up a life for himself.  He becomes the town Sheriff and there the comedy of errors spiral for him. 

 “Rango” takes an effort to look at the hero with no name from a more internal sense.  It even goes so far as to bring the character “The Man with No Name” onscreen with a really great impression of Clint Eastwood’s voice by Timothy Oliphant and ask why does he do the things he does in his journey to discover himself.   

If you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk.
If you are looking for something fun and a wee bit cerebral then this is up your alley.  It’s not really a kid’s movie since there is a lot of heavy dialogue and chock full of innuendos.  Maybe wait till they are hit that PG -13 age when you think they can handle some of the clever vocabulary and existential wit so the humor will be more to them then pratfalls and fart jokes.  They will love it for all that it is worth.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Red Riding Hood- review

Click your heels three times and maybe you'll be in something better.
            Good god.  This movie is such a piece of shit.  With all the potential they have, they fuck it up so much.  It’s like they couldn’t think of anything better to do so they took elements of one part “Sleepy Hollow” and one part of “The Village”.  It felt so bland and the characters were so unremarkable that it’s a very forgettable movie. 

            For one thing here’s a shocker.  Gary Oldman is a villain and is so transparent that it should be tattooed on his forehead.  His last scene is so predictable that the setup is a complete waste.  Amanda Seyfried is a good actress.  Why does she need to take the roll of the doe eyed girl that is basically high school fanboy fodder? 

Nice back lit forest assholes.
            The set is like something out of a Syfy original movie and the effects are not good whatsoever.  The werewolf is a blurry effect that you know is not there and any scare factor is taken away when the fucking thing talks.  You read that right.  The werewolf talks to Amanda’s character. 

            Characters are in the village for no other reason then to be red herrings to determine who in the village is a lycanthrope.  Meanwhile you got Gary Oldman acting like an asshole yelling “NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPAINISH THE INQUISION!” So he doesn’t really yell that but he might as well with the hammy over-the-top crap he gave us.  He might have well been twiddling his mustache while tying a girl to a train track.
Gary Oldman as a bad guy? (Scoff) In what medium?
            They try to hard to follow the children's story just to make it interesting.  But it sucks. “Sleepy Hollow” did this so much better.  They took a story with some major differences to the source material and they came up with a really decent supernatural murder mystery.  This one fails.  It takes liberties but there is no purpose.  Like when getting rid of a body why would a person decide to actually sew a person’s stomach with stones and drop them in a river?  You could just bury them in a shallow grave. It’s not as if a medieval CSI is going to come and catch your ass.

            So anyway it was a crappy movie.  The romance comes off completely forced and a waste of time.  The main actors are far too good for this source material.  All in all you can find much better werewolf movies out there.  If you’ve seen “Sleepy Hollow” and “The Village” and you’ve seen this movie.  They could have done so much better with it and the ball is dropped in a huge way.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Fourth Kind- review

The closest thing to an alien in this movie.
This movie is so stupid.  Why for the love of crap would you have a movie about alien abductions where you do not show an alien?  Hell, I would have even taken a cheap ploy like in the film “Contact” where the alien turned out to be the woman’s father.  It’s lame but it works.  The closest thing you get is an owl with coloration that gives it a slight alien appearance.  Ooh scary.

As if that wasn’t bad enough the film makers work their hardest to make this movie out to be some sort of authentic movie by having the actress Milla Jovovich come in the beginning and break the fourth wall telling the audience how frightening and real the events are.  Intertwined between this is “Real” footage, audio and video clips which are supposed to give the film authenticity.

There is a huge flaw to this and that is that it’s all BULLSHIT! The people in the “Real” footage are actors. Universal Studios had to settle out of court for making fake articles and obituaries to promote this movie.  Anchorage Daily News writer Kyle Hopkins even investigated some of the validity this movie and found nothing to be accurate. 

The only thing slightly true is this: There was a string of disappearance in Nome.  Around 20 folks disappeared so the F.B.I got involved and determined that alcohol and cold temperatures caused their deaths.  This happens more often than you think in cold, isolated areas.  9 of the bodies were never recovered.  That is a big stretch to jump to the conclusion of U.F.O. abduction. 

Now I have no problem with Hollywood bullshit.  But when a movie tells you its true because the movie relies on it being true so heavily for its shock value then it really is a cheap thing to pull.   Now apart from that it still has a lot of problems.  The movie is terribly slow and the writing is so poor it comes off as filler.

I wet the bed!
There are a few jump scares and they are so-so.  Milla gives a performance that is too good for the material that she is dealing with.  Honestly this movie could have been so much better if it had gone two other ways.  If it abandoned the PG-13 idea and went full on R mode and made the alien appear and made it sadistic, cold, and terrifying in its abductions.  That would have been worked.  The other way would have been to make it a documentary style where it was told interview style as if they were discovering footage as it was happening that way they wouldn’t have to get rid of a lot of the original script but they could at least tighten it up with interviews and more information and U.F.O. footage.

All in all it is a lame attempt to cash in on an unexpected fear and the ignorance of the location by folks who don’t want to look up the facts.  Its probably will get the same draw to people who enjoy silliness like “30 Days of Night”.  Except where that movie has some fun to it now and again this one is a stone cold snooze fest in the guise of a horror movie.

Apocalypse: Robot A.I. vs. Zombie Plague.

Two years ago I was asked by one of my good friends if I thought it was more likely the world would end by sentient computers or through some sort of zombie plague.  It was an interesting question and I wanted to give you my answer I gave him.  I am curious what some of you might think as well if you have any thoughts on the matter
Though some time has past since I originally wrote most of this I think we are still miles away from true sentient artificial intelligence.  We are getting closer with leaps and bounds with neat stuff but I don't think A.I. will ever be perfected in such a way that it will become independent of us and attack us ala the “Terminator” or to a lesser extent “Blade Runner” if we have A.I it will likely follow the Asimov laws of robotics:

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
 2. A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
 3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
since that is the basis for what “iRobot” is about in a sense (as Asimov wrote the original story) I am not very sure how much it would deviate from the truth.  But it really is a stretch to say that whoever creates an autonomous machine for the sole reason of service to mankind would make them go against their own programming.  If anything those laws of robotics at least would be the core programming most folks would center most A.I. around.

Now we come to the meat of the question (no pun intended).  The vampire/zombie plague scenario.  Unlikely, but still in this day and age where you can turn on the news and see chaos in mob mentality its not exactly hard to imagine. 

I think it is easier to imagine that if there was a biological sickness that rendered folks mindless of everything but the most basic instincts save primal group mentality. Then yeah people would likely be screwed.  I don’t think folks would ever be the actual walking dead or vampires but mindless and primal like rage zombies…that seems less a stretch. Vampires aren’t even an option because the whole friggin' world gets covered in sunlight and that is a pretty big thing to have an aversion to. 

A zombie is at least more likely because also we know virus mutate constantly (every year you got to get a new offing flu shot and there is still no cure for a common cold).  So hell maybe a mutant genetic freak of a virus gets lucky and causes the doom of humanity

Wow when I put it that way I suppose that is the big contest isn't it?  The evolution and mutation of viruses vs. human A.I technology.  I’m still going go with the viral mutation on this one.  It seems to be the one more likely to happen in a realistic time span.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Zombie Wars-review with spoilers

I need a better hobby.
            There are way too many shitty zombie movies out there.  I know the genre is popular and it seems like there is no real end to the fan base thus far for the post apocalyptic scenario.  With that in mind, is the direct to DVD movie “Zombie Wars” any good?  Not really. 

            That doesn’t mean it’s worth seeing either.  A turd by any other name is still a piece of shit.  This movie takes a scenario that should have been cake to write about and adds so many plot holes the script must have looked like Swiss cheese.  It starts with a woman narrator telling us “Nobody knows exactly how it happened. Some think it was the tail of a comet that passed to close too the earth, while others believed that it was simply time for man to atone for thousands of years of sinning. Whatever the reason, the dead had risen from the ground, and they were hungry!”

            Ok I should not have to explain how stupid this is already.  For one if the dead were coming from the ground then how the shits are they breaking out of their coffins and coming up the six or so feet of grave dirt to the surface? That is some powerful moves for the dead.    Either way the movie takes place 50 years after they started rising and now they are enslaving people. 

How many ways does this movie bite?
            But not only do zombies enslave the living to work on their farms.  They RAISE them like cattle.  So somehow I am to believe the walking dead who haven’t mastered speech, writing or anything else have been able master farming and even enslave others and get them to do their work for them even though the slaves cannot comprehend what the masters are grunting (which sounds like dogs barking).  If this sounds like horseshit to you too welcome to my world.

            It’s okay though. The heroes are brothers, David and Brian.  They kill zombies and free the slaves only to put them in a cage back at base until they can be re-educated.  David is way into one of the slave girls despite her inability to speak.  He names her Star.  This is supposed to be charming but I find more than a little creepy.

            The General is a woman who has a thing for Brian and is so young it’s about as believable she achieved the rank of General in a military in the same way that I spotted a unicorn on the road.   Zombies attack the base and take David and Star as slaves to their secret camp and there he learns the secrets of their ways.

            Oh I could waste time telling you how he goes about finding out from a Christian Slater impersonator what is happening.  But seriously you should not be invested in these people.  They are total assholes.  Oh and idiots too. When surrounded by an entire fucking camp it takes until he gets soap for David to realize that the zombies must be getting their supplies from somewhere since they can’t be making this. 

            Well, wait now.  If the zombies are raising people as a food source since birth then they will need things like knowledge of medicine and clothing and much more.  So clearly they either know how to do this shit or they are being told how.  You don’t need to be a detective to figure that one out.  Alas sure enough it’s supposed to be a huge secret that the town nearby has been giving them supplies to make this camp.
Didn't this guy play Edgar in MIB?

            Man that is stupid.  That is like the Umbrella Corporation continuing to do evil shit through the rest of the Resident Evil movies even though the world is toast.  Anyway Star goes off screen and David goes off to look for her and gets his brains blown out looking for her by accident.  But it’s okay because his legacy will live on in that she is pregnant with his son. 

            Another uninspired zombie movie with characters you don’t give a hoot in hell about with forced romances and a plot that is so bizarre it comes off like a high school student wrote it.   I am going to be so happy when they start showing things that I am excited to see in the theater again.  Like “Red Riding Hood” and “Sucker Punch” that way I can give some of the tasteless shit a rest.