Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Adventureland - Review


At the time of this writing I have ruminated on this movie for three minutes. This movie has put me into a mind set where it is the 1980s and I am a character of this movie. I am also very, VERY grateful that I don't have some old fashion razor blades at my disposal to slit my wrists.

The writer and director for this movie is Greg Mottola who also wrote "Superbad". The trailer for this movie made it look like a teen R comedy/coming of age like "Superbad". "Adventureland" could be classified as a comedy the way Dante's Inferno is classified as a comedy. The movie stars James Brennan who plays Jesse. Jesse needs to make some money for college and has to resort to the summer job of a carny. There he meets a couple of friends played by the very lovely Kristen Stewart and the very funny Martin Starr. Also thrown into the mix is Ryan Reynolds and Bill Hader. For a cast so filled with comedic talent like Starr, Reynolds, and Hader, you'd be led to believe this movie would be a lot more funny. I almost took up hard drinking and drug use because of this movie.

So Jesse gets this job and falls for Em (Stewart), but Em is seeing an older and married guy named Mike (Reynolds). Everyone's life is falling apart but the story is a classic coming of age story. To tell more than this would ruin the depressing storyline. Although that might get less people to want to throw themselves off a bridge after seeing it.

Grade - C-

For being so depressing this movie really isn't horrible. However, I'd watch "Nick And Norah's Infinite Playlist" if I wanted a similar story but with a more upbeat story. That movie made me want to have all-nighter in the city again. This story makes me wonder how much a bottle full of amphetamines would taste like. Ok, Kristen Stewart is just gorgeous in this. She's one of those people who is so cute and normal she's hot and she's probably the best actress in here. Martin Starr is the big comedic relief but I didn't laugh once through the entire movie because of the cloud of dread this movie produces. Another flaw is Ryan Reynolds not being his typical character. Being type cast as the smooth and slick guy probably isn't the worse thing in the world and he should stick with that. He wasn't even cool in this movie...ok he was a little cool but still. Jesse Eisenberg is awkward in this film and I felt jealousy in watching him kill Stewart so many times. This movie just makes me glad I was only a little kid in the 1980s and I missed how depressing it all was. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go watch "Schindler's List" to cheer up after this movie!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

BloodRayne - Review


Bleh. Phe. Neh. Ib. Coo. Nuh. Derm. And Phu. These are all words that are acceptable to utter after sitting through this movie. I don't try to jump on "oh So-And-So is a bad _____" trains too often. However, when the global collective is stacked against you, you have to wonder if they're on to something. Uwe Boll is not the worse director I have ever seen...so he fails at that too! Is there anything redeeming about this movie? Let's find out.

So Rayne (Kristanna Loken) is a half vampire/ half human who is different from other vampires because...well she's not really different at all. In fact, the only difference between vampires and humans in this movie is that vampires die easier and quicker than humans and they have a lot more blood in them. Rayne joins an order led by Michael Madson against Kagan (Ben Kingsley...yes another role taken by Kingsley to pass his time as he slowly fades into the abyss). Somehow Michelle Rodriguez fits in there with Billy Zane but you shouldn't look that deep into that.

Grade - F

I wish I had something nice to say. Hmm. Kristanna Loken and Micelle Rodriguez are good eye candy and they're in leather a lot. Ooo I get a RAM chip!

I have created what I hope is a fun list of things that stood out to me and I hope it provides for some entertainment.

  • Every weapon in this movie could not cut through melted butter. There is no attempt to hide rounded "points" or edges. I don't know why they just didn't fight with Nerf(TM) swords.
  • Dialog is cliche' terms strung together without semblence of thought or care for the audience. An example of this is the practice fight between Katarin and Rayne in the food hall. Also who has a fighting session with possible blood and sweat in a food hall?!
  • There is an unnecessary sex scene with no sexual tension before hand. Heck there's no real tension during the sex scene. However, I could not help but think how a scene like this might have saved "Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines".
  • The gore used in this movie reminds me of '70s shot-on-video horror movies. I was expecting the vampires to squish ketchup and hamburger through their fingers in a few scenes.
  • Meatloaf, the singer, not the nasty "food", is in this movie.
  • People are always giving Rayne necklaces. Men and women alike are trying to clothe her more in anyway possible.
  • Michael Madson is to Bloodrayne as Burt Reynolds is to Dungeon Siege. I think the internet just collapsed in on itself with two Uwe Boll analogies.
  • I don't know where Michelle Rodriguez's accent is suppose to be from and I don't think she knows either...or remembers to use it throughout the movie.
  • Gunpowder does not explode...nor is it capable of breaking down a castle's huge wooden doors.
  • Epic music should never be played when your main character pretty much says about your movie's climax, "...but I've really got nothing better to do." (not a direct quote).
  • You can't say vampires hate sunlight, show vampires standing guard outside a fortress in midday, and then use sunlight to kill vampires a few scenes later.
  • It should be illegal to use the same flashback six times in one movie.
  • If you can flashback through the major parts of your movie in four minutes and 37 seconds you're movie sucks and even you didn't like it the first time. WHAT MADE YOU THINK WE'D LIKE IT A SECOND TIME!
I've never played the video game so I can't compare it with the movie. I can say that a movie that makes me log in to Microsoft Money and hit "Update My Accounts" every five minutes to see if I am magically getting money that I don't expect to get...is a sign of a bad movie.

Film Geeks - Episode 44

EPISODE44 - The Geeks Find A Good Movie For 2009!!!

Episode Notes: That's right, you read it right! Finally, after more than half of 2009 leaving us with not just a bad taste in our month, but no taste at all because NOTHING came out, we have found one movie! However, which one is it?! Our geeks will be discussing "The Ugly Truth", "G.I. Joe - The Rise Of Cobra", and "District 9".

Remember, we conduct the show on Skype under the username "agentx216". We ask that you mute your microphone and use the chat option to request to be heard.

Download the show here - http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-14391/TS-257685.mp3

You can download other shows here - http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/14391

Lucky Number Slevin - Review

Lucky Number Slevin

There are relatively few good mystery movies made these days. The few exceptions being "Snatch", "Se7en", and maybe "Brick"; among a few others. However, with the exception of the last movie, most are movies where the mystery isn't the main story's focus. If a movie is a mystery the story and/or the characters are uninteresting, unrealistic, or just poorly executed.

Directed by Paul McGuigan and written by Jason Smilovic, "Lucky Number Slevin" hosts an impressive cast. Josh Hartnett, who plays the lead, Lucky Lu, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, and Ben Kingsley make this movie even more impressive. It's always hard to review a mystery movie. You have to be careful to not reveal too much but the description has to be good enough.

Slevin has been having a rough couple of days. He's lost his job, his house is condemned, his girlfriend cheated on his, he's been mugged, and, oh ya, two mafia bosses believe he's someone else and if he doesn't do what they says...he's a dead man. One boss wants Slevin to kill the other boss' son. The other boss wants a large sum of money the man who he thinks Slevin is owes. What unfolds is a series of interesting events that is both interesting to watch unfold and entertaining to see what Slevin says.

Grade - A+

Yes, this is a really good movie. The writing of the plot is believable and entertaining. There are a few serendipitous moments but they don't feel like they're outside the realm of possibility. That's trouble that today's mystery movies have. The writing for the characters is also impeccably done. Josh Hartnett as Slevin some comedic lines that Josh delivers really well. I would love to see Josh play another type of character like this. Slevin reminds me of a character Ryan Reynolds would play, but Josh does a great job with the role. Lucy Lu is a delight to watch as well. She is spontaneous and charismatic. This is really outside the norm for the roles she plays. Usually she's uptight and high strung and controlling; not here she isn't and I would love to see her in a similar role. I do believe this has to be her finest acting role I have ever seen her in; and she's absolutely adorable in this. The only person I wasn't really hot for is Ben Kingsley. However, I've always had a problem with Ben. He usually tries to take just about any role offered to him in a way that reminds me of Christopher Walken. However, Kingsley has a lot of "misses" more than he has "hits". When he's in a movie, I usually groan at his appearance and character. The plot unfolds nicely, however, the wrap up tends to be a bit longer than usual. However, this isn't like a Riddler's riddle from the "Batman" TV show. You know, one of those riddles where you'd have to live in Gotham to actually get the answer. You are given all the clues and it's pretty straightforward. It's not a "Fight Club" ending shock, but it is executed perfectly. Watching this movie was a real pleasure and I was sad to see it over as quickly as it felt. I would almost like to see a sequel made.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Spies Like Us - Movie Review

Spies Like Us

1985. The Cold War is still going on with no end in sight (we just had to wait about five more years). American’s view of the Soviet Union has turned into a more laughable state and a less serious tone is taken with respect to them. There’s the socio-political-economic factors that led to this new view sure. However, I blame media! In the ‘50s you had movies like “The Day The Earth Stood Still” and probably the best parallel to “communists among us” McCarthism paranoia, “Invasion Of The Body Snatchers”. Yet, times changed and with it both countries grew. Late night hosts found out it was ok to make jokes about “the Reds” and you also had more and more movies look at Russia in a new light. Not one of fear and treachery, but something that could be parodied and made fun of. A popular, more softer look at the USSR made the Iron Curtain look more like the Velvet Curtain. “Spies Like Us” is one of those movies that help end the Cold War!

This film is directed by genius director, John Landis, who I believe had his hand in everything ever made. On top of that you have two ‘80s comedic superstars, Chevy Chase and, the comedicly underrated, Dan Aykroyd. What’s that? You want more stars? Well how about directors Michael Apted, Martin Brest, Joel and Larry Cohen, Terry Gilliam, Frank Oz, Sam Raimi? Also there’s Ray Harryhausen, Robert Paynter, and Derek Meddings, B.B. King, and Bob Hope! Like I said, Landis had his hand in everything!

Two CIA agents, Emmett Fitz-Hume (Chevy Chase) and Austin Millbarge (Dan Aykroyd) are set up by rouge elements of the government to be decoys for two other agents whose mission it is to hijack a Soviet nuclear weapon. Despite everyone’s best efforts, the almost “Odd Couple” pair thwart every attempt to carry about what they believe is solely their objective. Does zaniness happen along the way?! Is “Rocky IV” the best Rocky? You betcha!

Grade – B-

Classic Landis directing and classic Aykroyd writing. This is on par with “Stripes”. You have some classic bits including the “Doctor doctor” scene. On top of that this movie is just classic ‘80s funny. The story kind of lags in the middle and almost makes you forget that the two spies are on a mission but it picks right back up again pretty quickly. It doesn’t matter that the storyline, ultimate goal, or events don’t really make sense or couldn’t really happen. This is just great fun and still good to watch today. It might be a bit dated for anyone who wasn’t alive in the ‘80s even a little, but it’s still a classic comedy. Oh, also for you “Weird Science” TV fans, you can thank this movie for starting Vanessa Angel’s career. She was the hot Russian woman Dan Aykroyd gets with! Now go listen to some Soul Finger!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Abandoned - Movie Review

The Abandoned

This movie is part of the “After Dark Horrorfest” of 2006; “One Of The 8 Films To Die For”. When I first saw the trailer for the eight films, I thought that maybe I would finally get some decent horror movies that would scare me, a combination of horror and thriller. However, the commercials promised what the product couldn’t produce. Since the start of these movies, they have shown only to be B grade horror movies. Usually there are maybe one or two that are good or decent, but the rest are just rubbish and bollix. So the question is, is this Nacho Cerda’ horror movie to die for or should this movie be abandoned?

The story is pretty simple. An adopted woman, Marie Jones (Anastasia Hille), sets out to Russia to find who her family was. Once there, she finds out who her mother was and where she lived. When she sets out to see if she can further uncover what happened to her mother, strange things begin to happen. Along the way she runs into people who act freaky around her and don’t answer her questions. She also runs into her brother, Nicolai (Karel Roden), that she never knew she had. Together, they try and find out what is going on.

Grade – F

This starts out as pretty much a typical horror film. Things go bump in the night, a car runs out of power in the middle of nowhere, and the main character goes out into woods and to an old house shouting, “Hello?!”. However, once you find yourself halfway through the movie and there’s not much happening, you don’t know what’s going on, you don’t know who the characters really are, and you don’t really care about anything in the movie you’re pretty much screwed. You’ve already wasted 45 minutes on the movie, you might as well press on. The editing of this movie is just awful. Jump cuts, freeze frames, unnecessary shaky views of household items permeate this picture. For example, Marie hits a guy with a big log and runs away from him. He catches up to her, she asks, “Who are you?!”, he gives her an evilish look…and then cut and all is calm and they’re sitting down talking calmly.

There are two main problems with this movie. First of all, none of the characters are built up. This sounds like there might be a slew of character this movie focuses on, but there are really only two people in this whole movie. You aren’t given what drives them, who they are as people, any background, or really even what kind of personality they have. There is one scene where Marie starts to freak out and she starts rambling about her freaking out but her character isn’t hashed out at all for you to understand what the heck she is talking about. About two thirds of the way through the movie, right as you’re about to get to the so-called climax of the film, the movie tries to build background for both characters in a jump shot of five minutes. Yet, there is no building up of the characters for us to care or even understand what they are going through. I found myself rooting for whatever was trying to kill them because I thought maybe it would be more interesting than our main characters!

The other thing this movie fails at is having a coherent plot. The storyline tries to unfold like M. Night Shyamalan of “The 6th Sense fame” but ends up unfolding worse than M. Night Shyamalan of “The Happening” fame! Nicolai is trying to find out what happen to his parents and is just as in the dark as Marie. Then with freaky stuff is coming to a head, he suddenly knows what the heck is going on. How?! I don’t know! He seems to just be there to advance the plot. Also, the “reveal” is utterly confusing and I really have to say it makes no sense whatsoever. They’re dead, but not really, but they are, but they’re not, yet their ghosts, but their haunting themselves, but they….*sizzle, fry, burst into flames*. Captain Kirk just needed to show the androids in “I, Mudd” this movie for them to destroy themselves. This movie also has one count of unnecessary nudity. Flag on the field! Ten yard penalty!

This movie is just abject failure. Characters who are almost one dimentional, you don’t care anything about go on a mission that they think they will just happen upon only for stupid things to occur to them until they find out what’s going on which you won’t know yourself. Good job, Horrorfest, way to let me down. However, I can’t really blame them. After watching this dreck, I really felt this was a film that was going to kill me, or at least, make me kill myself from its stupidity.