Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Film Reviews #2

The Bodyguard (1992)


The first time I watched this film, I found myself somewhat engaged by the performances and the story. I don't know what the hell I was seeing at the time. The story barely exists and only to support the romance -- a romance couldn't be any less captivating if a lump of gray clay and a brown paper bag had been cast instead of Costner and Houston. I only wish the film had been truly bad; perhaps then it would have been somewhat entertaining. Instead it's just 129 minutes of tedious boredom which drags on and on and on.

5/10

Evil Dead (2013)


I wasn't planning on watching this film initially. Ever since I watched the remakes to The Day the Earth Stood Still and The Amityville Horror, I vowed never to watch a remake made in the 21st century again. When I got wind that this new version of Evil Dead was more of a spinoff to the original Evil Dead than a straight-up remake, though, I just had to let my curiosity get the better of me ....

Long story short: I hate this movie. Short story long: I hate the pedestrian direction; I hate the banal, interchangeable characters; I hate the lame, Exorcist-ripoff "deadites"; I hate that there isn't any humour whatsoever (even the original movie had some jokes and black humour); and I hate that any real fear factor -- truly scary imagery, creepy atmosphere, etc. -- has been substituted with cheap torture porn.

1/10

Upside Down (2012)


While I found the story pretty mundane, I absolutely loved the visuals of the "double world"; they were so flawless -- so captivatingly beautiful -- that they kept me entranced even if the characters ultimately didn't.

9/10

Demon Wind (1990)


I adore this movie. The extremely stilted acting; the demons who look like vampires with third-degree sunburns; the scene where these two magicians shoot up and karate-kick down a bunch of attacking demons; the scene where this guy dies with disinterest after his girlfriend transforms into a demon and stabs him in the face with her demon nails; the scene where Baphomet's skeleton bites a girl to death; the ludicrous showdown with the uber-demon and the lousy fight choreography that goes with it -- it's all transcendental in how poor it all is.

2/10

Ender's Game (2013)


I haven't read the novel, but I presume the story works better as prose than as a film. As it is, it felt like I only watched the first third of a much longer movie. It just wasn't a very satisfying experience.

6/10

The Lost Boys (1987)


I absolutely love this movie. This is one of the few films from my childhood that I enjoy as much now as I did then. I may grow more miserable as I grow older, but every time I watch this, I feel like the same cautiously optimistic teenager I used to be.

9/10

OXV: The Manual AKA Frequencies (2013)


When a movie throws a bunch of rhyhmless, reasonless jargon about frequencies and physics and manuals and books and lost technology and music and fate and free will and irony and souls and machines in the viewer's face, but can't bother to keep the camera steady, then you know the movie's just pretentious codswallop.

On the plus side, I did like the two leads.

5/10

Underdog (2007)


Between Jason Lee's annoying voice, Peter Dinklage's lack of dignity, that kid's stupid haircut, the generally lousy supporting cast, and the DOA writing, the only thing I found endearing about this piece of crap was the cute beagle (when Lee's aggravating noise wasn't coming out of his CGI-ed mouth, that is).

4/10

Porky in Wackyland (1938)


See my thoughts on the next film below.

10/10

Dough for the Do-Do (1949)


Porky in Wackyland and Dough for the Do-Do may be essentially the same film, but they both work equally well; the subtle differences which offset the obvious similarities aside, the B&W in the former adds to the strange atmosphere while the bold colour in the latter really allows the surreal imagery to pop.

10/10

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Grease: The Greasy Truth Edition

Stripped of its veneer of good music, this is the real story of Grease.

***


"I like you, Sandy, and you like me. Perhaps this could be the start of something beautiful."


"Oh, but you're a wholesome, clean, all-Australian girl and I'm a greasy nogoodnik who hangs out with a pack of juvenile delinquents (emphasis on juvenile)."


"Time to put on my asshole face and treat you like shit. After all, I can't let the guys know I like girls like you."


"I like Danny, and I know that under the PRICKly exterior he's a nice guy, but nothing is working out between us. What should I do?"


"My girlfriends and I are going to mock you and beat you down 'til you get with the program, bitch!"


"I understand now! In order to be together, Danny and I don't need to respect one another's differences and love each other for who we are. I just need to ..."


"... change to a skank who wears tight leather and sucks carcinogenic toxins down into her lungs."


"Watch us drive away into a future of unwanted pregnancy, mutual loathing, adultery, alcoholism, and possibly spousal abuse."

The "21 Things Alanis Morissette Wants in a Lover" Quiz

In 2002, Ms. Alanis Nadine Morissette, Esq. included on her then-latest studio album Under Rug Swept a track entitled "21 Things I Want in a Lover". As it says on the tin, the song lists twenty-one traits the then-unmarried Morissette would want (not necessarily need) in a prospective lover.

Being the obsessive-compulsive weirdo fan that I am, I decided to take this song and turn it into a quiz. Why don't you take it and see how morally/politically/horizontally compatible you are with the vegan chanteuse. I personally scored 12/21.

***


  1. Do you derive joy when someone else succeeds?
  2. Do you not play dirty when engaged in competition?
  3. Do you have a big intellectual capacity but know that it alone does not equate wisdom?
  4. Do you see everything as an illusion?
  5. But enjoy it even though you are not of it?
  6. Are you both masculine and feminine?
  7. Politically aware?
  8. And don't believe in capital punishment?
  9. Do you derive joy from diving in and seeing that loving someone can actually feel like freedom?
  10. Are you funny?
  11. Self-deprecating?
  12. Like adventure?
  13. And have many formed opinions?
  14. Are you uninhibited in bed?
  15. More than three times a week?
  16. Up for being experimental?
  17. Are you athletic?
  18. Are you thriving in a job that helps your brother?
  19. Are you not addicted?
  20. Curious?
  21. Communicative?

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Film Reviews #1

Here's another new feature I'm adding to this blog: film reviews. Here is where I'll give my thoughts on each of the last ten films -- feature-length and short films both -- that I have seen.

***

Pod (2015)


BRIEF, SYNOPSIS-LESS REVIEW

Others who've seen this movie criticize it for focusing on the three main characters arguing instead of cutting to the chase and getting down to the paranormal stuff, but I didn't mind that at all; I thought it helped establish mood as the depths of the brother's mental instability were revealed, as the siblings became evermore disturbed by his erratic behaviour.

What let me down about the movie was the ending. It felt too abrupt, too half-assed, like the writer/director just shot whatever idea came to mind without fleshing it out/refining it first.

THOUGHTS ON THE MOVIE POSTER

I don't know what the hatching egg from the Alien poster's doing here. It doesn't show up in this film, and it certainly doesn't blow anyone's cabin up Independence Day-style.

6/10

Knick Knack (1989)


BRIEF, SYNOPSIS-LESS REVIEW

Moderately amusing, but nothing to write home about.

Oh yes -- and I watched the original version featuring the pairs of double-D breasts.

THOUGHTS ON THE MOVIE POSTER

It's film-accurate, but doesn't give the viewer a sense of what the story's about. It fails to depict the snowman's love interest or convey the raging lust he has for her. (This movie sounds less-and-less like a Pixar production with every description I give it, doesn't it?)

6/10

Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971)


BRIEF, SYNOPSIS-LESS REVIEW

I liked the locale. I liked the nightmarish atmosphere. I liked Zohra Lampert's performance. I liked the ambiguity pertaining to the strange events which occur in the film. I didn't like that it wasn't ambiguous enough. (4/5 ain't bad, right?).

THOUGHTS ON THE MOVIE POSTER

I love this poster -- it's just so surrealistically, nightmarishly gorgeous -- but it isn't exactly film-accurate. The scene pictured above does take place, just not with giant skeleton hands (a minor flaw on the movie's part, I know).

8/10

This Island Earth (1955)


BRIEF, SYNOPSIS-LESS REVIEW

I rather liked Jeff Morrow as Exeter, and the matte paintings used to realize the world of Metaluna were pretty damn gorgeous. Unfortunately, the first half of the movie before everyone gets to Metaluna is pretty disinteresting, and the mutant's antics towards the end were more amusing than menacing.

This in the first time I've watched This Island Earth in its un-MST3Ked form. Once will probably be enough for me.

THOUGHTS ON THE MOVIE POSTER

It captures the imagery of the movie perfectly if not the (lacking) intensity.

 7/10

Amityville II: The Possession (1982)


BRIEF, SYNOPSIS-LESS REVIEW

It's not as abysmal as I remember it being, but it's still a very poor movie. Had the story focused on the eldest daughter instead of the son, if she had survived, and had the film come to a close with the shootings -- thus excising that faux Exorcist garbage -- it could have been at least as slightly above average as the first film.

THOUGHTS ON THE MOVIE POSTER

The movie wishes it had this much subtlety.

4/10

Amityville 3-D (1983)


BRIEF, SYNOPSIS-LESS REVIEW

I'd say this sequel was better than the one previous. Sure, many of the scares weren't really scary, the editing was iffy, and the ending was laughably stupid, but the actors gave decent performances (largely) and the "car fire" and "wet ghost" scenes were effectively offputting, so I'd say this sequel more-or-less lives up to the original.

THOUGHTS ON THE MOVIE POSTER

No, the giant, three-fingered monster hand doesn't show up in the picture. Instead we get the laughably stupid demon from the prior film back -- this time with fire-breathing action!

6/10

Titan A.E. (2000)


BRIEF, SYNOPSIS-LESS REVIEW

(HERE THERE BE SPOILERS)

The good: Akima's character design.

The bad: the Drej's weak-as-piss reason for destroying the Earth; the tepid characters; the bland/cornball alien designs; the fact that there's nothing to stop the Drej from destroying New Earth, since its location doesn't appear to be kept secret (Or were the Drej supposed to have been completely wiped out by film's end? If that's the case, the damn movie certainly didn't make that clear.).

The ugly: the fusion of traditional animation with 3D animation. I just didn't care for the final result at all.

THOUGHTS ON THE MOVIE POSTER

Meh,

6/10

Oculus (2013)


BRIEF, SYNOPSIS-LESS REVIEW

Early in the film, you get the impression that this movie is going to be a horror version of Rashōmon, with the sister and brother giving equal but mutually exclusive descriptions of the trauma they experienced as children -- she believing it was all caused by an evil enchanted mirror, he believing it was the result of more mundane phenomena. The movie does run with that engrossing idea -- for about the first twenty minutes; then it decides to dispense with any possibility that there could be a rational explanation behind their childhood trauma and completely goes for supernatural shenanigans.

The movie from there on out is still very good -- mixing the real with the unreal and the past with the present rather flowingly (though it does get to be a bit of a mess towards the end). Still, I think the film would've been better than good -- a true masterpiece -- if it had just stuck to ambiguity.

THOUGHTS ON THE MOVIE POSTER

Pretty ugly and unexciting, isn't it? Why can't artists design good posters for horror movies anymore?

8/10

Next (2007)


BRIEF, SYNOPSIS-LESS REVIEW

I'd say this movie dishonours the name of Philip K. Dick by associating it with such cinematic swill, but Nic Cage's hair's a bird, so my argument's invalid.

THOUGHTS ON THE MOVIE POSTER

While it captures the lame, generic atmosphere of the movie perfectly, it makes Jessica Biel look like Shakira and Julianne Moore look like a hybrid clone of Courtney Cox and Christina Ricci.

4/10

Balto (1995)


BRIEF, SYNOPSIS-LESS REVIEW

I have only two things in particular to say in regards to this movie:


  1. Any movie which features talking animals shouldn't claim to be based on a true story (inspired, sure, but not based).
  2. "No animals were injured or harmed in the making of this motion picture." Well, seeing as this is an ANIMATED film, that's bloody obvious!


THOUGHTS ON THE MOVIE POSTER

It depicts Balto with black-and-white fur instead of the brown fur he actually has in the movie itself. But ignoring that, it tells you everything you need to know about the movie without telling you anything at all.

8/10