Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night-review

Don't quit your day job Brandon.
When I saw the preview for “Dylan Dog: Dead of Night” I thought it looked amusing.  I missed it in the theaters but I had the chance of seeing it on DVD recently and I can honestly say I am so glad I gave it a miss.  Dylan Dog is based on an Italian comic of the same name. I am shocked the series hasn’t had its ass sued back to the Stone Age since the character is almost a carbon copy of John Constantine from the Hellblazer series.

Not that there aren’t many other notable rip-offs in this movie, “Underworld”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “True Blood”, take your pick.  It feels like there is not an element of originality in this piece of crap.  There are completely predictable moments that are made so obvious that it can be predicted by even the most elementary fortune cookie writer. 

Do I really need to explain that these men are necrophiliacs?
The acting is like something out of a high school play.  Brandon Routh plays Dylan Dog, a private investigator who is an expert in the paranormal.  However, he gives us voice over and quips as though he is Sam Spade, hardened detective.  He looks like a kid who is playing dress up and not a real P.I.  They should have cast someone that would look like he had traveled the hard road and seen things that would give people nightmares.

You're EHarmony picture looked different.
As if it wasn’t insipid enough they give Dylan an annoying comic relief of Sam Huntington as Marcus who is his partner who has newly turned zombie.  What does Marcus do with this cool new ability now that he learns that bullets can’t hurt him and his limbs are replaceable?  He spends the movie pissing and moaning about being a zombie. The rest of the time he needs rescue like a poor man’s Shia LaBeouf.

Don't suppose you'd like a fiddle contest?
The werewolf transformations are even crap.  They happen off screen for fuck sake.  Look when a werewolf is in a movie you expect a good transformation scene like “The Howling” “An American Werewolf in London” and “Ginger Snaps”. When those movies with stop motion effects are BETTER than your movie in 2011 you are on notice.  

I cannot recommend this movie.  It’s not funny. The action is not good. The scares are not scary.  So that makes it like dangling keys in front of a baby’s face.  It’s a distracting vapid waste of time.  I am at least glad it was a rental.  Make sure you don’t make the same mistake.

Monday, September 26, 2011


I'll just hit the breaks.  Let's see how far that kid can fly.
“Drive” is the story of an unnamed Driver who works as a Hollywood stunt driver and mechanic who moonlights as an incredibly skilled getaway car driver. He never says much but this just adds to his mystery.  He befriends the neighbors in his apartment building and becomes very close to Irene and her son Benicio.  Irene’s husband is released from prison and though he is a nice guy looking to make amends for his troubled past he finds himself being dragged back into a world of crime and bringing the Driver along for the ride.

I believe I called shotgun.
Made in a style reminiscent of “Pulp Fiction” we have a movie that seems to be attempting a style of film noir and 80s B-movie gore.  The Driver is like a hero with no name of the Sergio Leone western movies.  He says very little and he is the ultimate antihero that deals in blood with silence and true grit.

Ryan Gosling pulled off the role really well.  If he was sarcastic or funny or even used one-liners he wouldn’t have been believable at all as a hardass.  In this case the writing and the body language was pulled off really well.  Albert Brooks was a terrific villain as well.  Normally, playing friendly comedic roles he played a violent Jewish mobster, with the class and believability the role deserved.

Christian Hendricks is literally smoking.
Other notables I would love to mention. I think it was a great choice to make the husband of Irene a likeable guy who actually befriends the Driver rather than the stereotypical jerk out of prison that you expect to hate because you want the hero to get the girl.  Christina Hendricks is one of the most stunning girls on television these days and to use her for as briefly as the filmmakers did is pretty gutsy.  Still the movie is based on a book and I hear they tried to follow the book as much as possible.

Bryan Cranston also does an amazing job.  Like Woody Harrleson it is really great to watch someone with so much talent rise out of the cesspool that the sitcom can typecast on an actor.  He really makes a great supporting actor in this movie.  The director of this movie, Nicolas Winding Refn, made the great movie “Bronson”. This movie is just proof that he really knows what the hell he is doing behind a camera.

Watch out for that craggy rock! Oh wait. It's Ron Pearlman.
All in all I recommend this movie.  It’s exciting gory, action at its best. It’s also a well put together and clever movie that really is impressed me on how it draws from spaghetti western and neo-noir style that make for a fun experience.  I think we’ll be hearing a lot about this one as it becomes more watched and more popular.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


I want my 100 Red Socks scalps!
“Moneyball” tells the story of how General Manager for the Oakland A’s, Billy Beane, attempted to create a more competitive team using statistics. Billy, played by Brad Pitt, finds that the Oakland A’s financial situation puts them in at a severe disadvantage compared to other teams when it comes to finding players.  So he and Peter Brand, played by Jonah Hill, use the statistics of the players to build the best team they can for the least amount of money.

This is Phillips "I just sharted." face.
I am not a big sports fan but despite that fact I still found “Moneyball” to be entertaining.  The cast is pretty decent, Phillip Seymour Hoffman does well as usual and Pitt is fine.  Jonah Hill is actually fairly likeable which considering the roles he normally plays I find so utterly shocking.  He portrays Peter with a mix of humble awe and youthful naiveté that the role really needed.  So the part really worked for him. 

How do I say no to yet another Judd Apatow movie?
All in all I would say it’s worth seeing.  It’s feels a tad long at times though.  There are some scenes that really should have been trimmed.  But that is nitpicking.  I think it might be better as a rental. It’s still a good story. So if you might enjoy a story for the underdog this one will at least do the trick

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Straw Dogs-review

Kate Bosworth playing chess? Is this a comedy?
Straw Dogs is a remake of a 1971 Sam Peckinpah movie of the same name.  It’s disturbing, has a lot of plot holes, and many unlikable unbelievable characters.  That is not to say that there are not some good points to this movie.  It really is a mixed bag.

Let’s start with the bad points. The plot is a bit hard to believe for a 2011 plot. I find it hard to believe that this couple would come here when every thing about this town seems uncomfortable for both of them. It is hard to accept a relationship between Kate Bosworth and James Marsden when they had more chemistry in “Superman Returns”.

I know we just gang raped you and all but it is polite to say "Hello".
Kate Bosworth’s character is pretty unlikable from the get go.  She has a huge lack of communication with her husband that would really help things a lot in this horrid situation.  It really comes off as stupid of her to be pissed off one minute that the rednecks fixing her house are ogling her while running then to do a little strip tease for them by an open window to fuel to the fire.  Meanwhile there are other characters that are pretty crappy as well.  James Woods plays the drunken ex-football coach.  However, everything about his character is cranked up to 11.  He is way over the top and I am pretty sure even by drunk redneck standards he would be considered a jerk. 

You were in "Zoolander" right?
What bar in 2011 is “cash only”?  Not only that they mock you as being a rich person for carrying a credit card.  What the hell? Is this the same planet?  I know many poor people with a credit card.  Plus if this movie wants to try to make me believe this guy is not able to get phone reception at his house a good idea would be to not have him using a laptop computer around his house to do his “research work” for his writing.   That means he has internet. 

Shitty plot aside there are some good points.  James Marsden is really good.  He plays a very likeable character and you want him live through this mess.  He sells it and shows vulnerability when needed.  It’s done well.  Alexander Skarsgård, did well as the villainous Charlie, and Dominic Purcell really did a fine job as Niles, a mentally retarded guy falsely accused of rape.

God Cyclops! The showers work here you know?
This movie might not be worth a theater visit.  It’s a decent revenge movie though.  It’s super violent and there is a scene of rape and a cat killing so it’s disturbing for sure.  I might suggest that if you have a passing interest it’s worth a rental.  It’s nothing new, revenge movies have been done and done better, but it’s okay at least. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


AHH! I farted in my bio-suit.
Contagion is a pretty good movie.  The scenario is pretty scary as a concept. The cast list is full of A-list stars that bring a great deal of talent to the table.  It’s filmed well and for what it is, it does a good job.  Not that there aren’t any flaws to this.

Beth, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, returns home from a business trip to Hong Kong.  She is sick and it turns out that most of the people she encountered got sick soon as well.  Once people end up dying the CDC starts getting involved.  That is when the movie really starts getting interesting watching the CDC and The World Health Organization attempt to rush to stop this virus which is quickly wiping out thousands of people like Stephen King’s “The Stand”. 

You can never find what you need when looting.
Lawrence Fishburne, Matt Damon and a laundry list of others give this a really good performance.   They at least make you care about them in the parts they play.  They make you believe the situation at least.  It’s a pretty scary scenario and considering how it works it comes together in a really interesting way.  Sometimes though, some of these characters come off as unneeded to the overall narrative. 

Momma always said, "Life is like a box of chocolates."
The problem with all these big stars and interesting characters was that the movie didn’t seem to know which story to follow.  So we get collection of half assed side stories.  So sometimes you will forget that Marion Cotillard plays the kidnapped WHO council member in China or that the asshole blogger Jude Law played had a pregnant friend because you are thinking about the Matt Damon plot or Lawrence Fishburne plot. 

Madame, I sneezed in my hand. No need to kiss it.
Now of course these plots intersect. However, I would prefer one really solid story compared to five or six just okay ones. There is also a lot of buildup to what caused this whole disease. Guess what?  It’s a let down.  “Contagion” is at least worth a rental.  You’ll enjoy the good acting and the terrifyingly real plot.  It just wasn’t put together in a fashion that appealed much to me as an audience member.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Sid Haig as a villainous Southerner?  Surely, you jest.
            I had really vague hopes that maybe someone was attempting to remake the classic “The Creature from the Black Lagoon”.  I am not a big fan of that movie, and it wouldn’t be hard to replicate. Instead we get another movie that paints the South as full of inbreed psychopaths.  It’s really a shock that this movie came out in theaters.  The quality is like that of something you would watch on the Syfy channel. 

You are one, ugly, muthafucka.
            “Creature” begins with a bunch of kids driving through Louisiana on a trip to see the bayou.  On the way the driver tells the tale of Grimley, a man that was about to marry his sister, when a crocodile came and stole his sister-bride.  The man found and killed the croc and in his rage consumed the croc and then his sister.  He then became some bizarre amalgamation of crocodile and human.  I guess you are what you eat.  

            So they go camping near where Grimley supposedly lived to camp.  Are these sex-craved, geniuses of tomorrow going to enjoy a fun trip in the bayou? Or is there more to the legend?  In general the movie comes off like a joke.  There is a huge underlining theme of incest throughout the film.  The acting is weak. The script is full of holes and the dialogue makes you not give a shit whether characters live or die.  There is, however, a nice twist that I didn’t see coming, so I will give the movie credit for that.

I will hug her and kiss her and call her George.
            The weakest point of the movie is the shitty editing. This movie has some really weird choices of edits.  I know it’s independently made so the budget was probably low and they didn’t have a lot to work with. Still I expect a little bit of professionalism.  I should not have to ask; “What did they do to that character?”

They have a lot of kills and attacks that happen off screen just slightly.  So that means you get a close up of an actors face and no shot of what is actually happening to them.  It’s confusing and it takes away any fear you want to cause in a horror movie.  For example: a girl was tied to a chair and Sid Haig approaches her with a machete.  We get a close up of the girl’s face in pain screaming, and we hear some whacks and look at his face.  What the fuck did he do?  Well it’s not until later you see him walk off with one of her feet.  That is bullshit.

Daniel Tosh's clone doesn't dig spiders.
Aside from the editing, the acting, the script, and the overall mood I guess it could be a fun movie if you had a good crowd of people together and cocktails.  This is certainly not one that is worth a crap by itself.  Unless you are a schlock film hound I wouldn’t hunt it down to watch it.  It’s almost certainly doomed to be a creature feature on Syfy sometime soon.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Apollo 18-review

I want my MTV.
            If I were to sum this movie up in one sentence it would be: “Blair Witch Project…IN SPACE!”  Lucky for me that is right up my alley.  This movie is pretty decent. The movie is supposed to be found footage of the final trip to the moon.  Since it takes place in 1973 the film stock is really aged appropriately.  The acting is good and the film keeps a creepy pace, though it isn’t the type of movie that filled me with terror going home like “Paranormal Activity” did. 

That wasn't the moon NASA was expecting Anderson.
            Apollo 18 begins with introducing us to 3 astronauts, two of which are taking a lunar module to the moon for their mission.  They discover that the Russians have already been to the area where they are and the cosmonauts are dead.  What could have caused this?  Is there a conspiracy?  Or are they not alone?

Joan Rivers is looking damn fine.
            The effects are cool. I appreciate that they kept everything looking very dated.  The setting is eerie and tension building. The dialogue is believable, but the plot can border into predictable at times. You can certainly find the sci-fi flaws that are in most movies of this type. For example, sound in a vacuum and a rotting corpse in a vacuum to name a few things. But bad science aside, it’s still a good thriller worthy of at least a rental.  

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Buffy television show

            People will defend “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” with such mad frothing.  I can’t say I ever understood it.  I like “Firefly”. That is my Joss Whedon fan card for you.  I know he can write good stuff like that and bad stuff, like “Aliens Resurrection”.  First off I got some advice to the vampires of Sunnydale.  Buy a gun and shoot the slayer.

            I can imagine coming up to the vampire leader and it going something like this:

Vampire Leader: My God! You’re back?  I’ve sent countless other vampires against the slayer before and they have all perished.

Vampire Ryan: Yeah. The job was very simple.  You told me you wanted this Buffy girl dead.  So I bought a gun and shot her.

Vampire Leader: Really? That’s all it took?  Was it at least a magic gun? One forged from a Hellmouth?

Vampire Ryan: No, I actually got it at the Fred Meyer after a waiting period. 

Vampire Leader: So she didn’t do kung fu and attempt to stake you?

Vampire Ryan: Oh you bet your ass she did.  There is only so much kung fu will dodge against a bullet though.

Vampire Leader: So you just shot her. 

Vampire Ryan: Pretty much.

Vampire Leader: Wow! I wasted so many vampire lives up against that witch. All this time we could have killed her with a gun.

Vampire Ryan: Yeah, well hindsight is 20/20 they say. 

Vampire Leader: Indeed it is.
            Also if she is the one slayer why the hell don’t evil things go to somewhere other than Sunnydale?  I’ve heard they are drawn there because of a Hellmouth, but that seems like a lame excuse.  Remove her from the equation. Clearly I am thinking too hard on this.  I haven’t seen enough of the series to really make an impression whether it’s good or bad.  So please excuse the rant.

Night of the Comet-review

Young Sarah Palin?
            The 1984 movie “Night of the Comet” is that sort of good humor horror movie that has all the makings for a great cult classic.  Much like the movie “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” it’s got a unique charm and pretty fun characters that you grow to enjoy during the silly plot lines.  Movies like these are so tongue in cheek they produce campy followings. Some I totally dig like “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Cannibal: the Musical” others I get the idea but just aren’t my thing (like “Killer Klowns from Outer Space”).
Oh sure. This girl is really a teenager.
            The story begins when Reggie Belmont, played by the lovely Catherine Mary Stewart, is working late with her boyfriend.  First off, I have to comment they made this girl a teen geeks dream.  Not only is pretty but she works at a movie theater and she plays video games and clearly has a working knowledge of Superman’s power range. Set phasers to thrill! So she stays with her boyfriend during the night that a large comet is approaching Earth.  People are celebrating its arrival like it’s New Year’s Eve.

Brains,and spare change please!
            When she wakes up she finds that the majority of the people in Southern California have been turned into red dust.  The sky has gone a dark red color.  A few people have even become fairly intelligent zombies.  She meets up with her cheerleader sister, Sam, and they try to find survivors. I will try not to give the rest away.  There are a lot of interesting elements that seem reminiscent of other movies of post apocalyptic fiction.  Mostly “The Day of the Triffids” and “Dawn of the Dead,” but the references are so glancing that it seems more like an homage.

This movie is so 80s it would do coke and vote for Reagan if it could.
            “Night of the Comet” is a funny movie for what it is.  It’s not particularly scary and it’s very corny but it’s got the charm and wit that people want from the cult classics.  If you are in the mood for something a bit off the wall give a try.  It is one that you might enjoy.  If anything you’ll laugh at the fun 1980s fashion.