Dub Cee Reviews: Ninja Assasin (2009)

Posted in Uncategorized on July 17, 2011 by Dub Cee

Director: Jame McTeigue
Writer(s): Matthew Sand, J. Micheal Stracynski
Stars: Rain, Rick Yune, Naomie Harris

So, I picked up a movie at the local video store, watched it, decided hey, this might be worth a review…
Ok, truth is, its 2pm on a Sunday afternoon and I am bored out of my skull.
Ninja Assasin stars Koren pop star, Rain as Raizo. A rogue who left his ninja clan and is working to find his former master Ozunu (Sho Kosugi). He saves the life of Mika (Naomie Harris) who is a reseracher for Europol and her colleauge Maslow (Ben Miles). The ninjas can quite literally blend with the shadows and thus any shadow is a potential death trap. The weapon used by Raizo might just be the baddest weapon ever used in hand to hand combat.


Combat, oh the combat. Blood and gore it pure excess. The blood splatter effects reminded quite a bit of the effect used in Sin City. People are being sliced in half with a single swipe of a blade. Shurikens are flying like bullets throughout the entire movie. And some of the fight scenes are actually really fun to watch.
The acting is not all that great but this is a Ninja flick. It is not about the acting or the story perse, its about the fights! The final showdown was fun and was nice Pupil fights Master moment. Raizo’s fight with his primary rival, who had previously murdered Raizo’s love interest was also quite good.
The minor twist at the end was a little bit lame but not unexpected either. Overall, its a fun little action flick with plenty of swordfighting. If you like the old Kung Fu movies of the 70′s or even Anime, odds are you will enjoy Ninja Assasin.
Grade: B-

Dub Cee Reviews: The Puppet Monster Massacre (2011)

Posted in Uncategorized on July 8, 2011 by Dub Cee

 

Director: Dustin Mills

Writer: Dustin Mills

Star(s): Steve Rimpic, Ethan Holey, Bart Flynn

 

Ok, full disclosure time, I went to high school with the mind behind this movie. Shared the stage with him, kicked his butt in some Magic: The Gathering, and usually *ahem* got along with him. So, with that disclosure out of the way, how was the movie?

First, I should probably explain exactly what The Puppet Monster Massacre is. It is, well, what do ya know, it is exactly what it says it is. A movie about puppets being massacred by a monster. Well, that part was easy enough.

In all seriousness, The Puppet Monster Massacre (PPM) is a love letter to all those epic, low budget monster flicks from the 70’s and 80’s. You know, the ones you hide BEHIND your porn collection. (I’m looking at you Tick.) PPM borrows heavily from those films, particularly with the premise of the story. This is both a good and a (sorta) bad thing. Its good in that I had fun with all the references back to some classic movies (Evil Dead really jumps out) but, it’s a bad thing in that the story is fairly formulaic. But seriously, if you are watching a movie about puppets being massacred by a monster for its story, then you my friend need to step away slowly and seek immediate medical attention.  Oh, and get a sense of humor on your way over. That said, every review should at least recap the general story so, here goes.

The main character is Charlie (Ethan Holey), a typical awkward teenage boy who lives with his grandfather. (Who is just too damned funny.) Charlie receives a mailed invitation to the Wagner mansion for a contest. Stay the night in the mansion and win a million bucks. Charlie, ever the coward, is not going to go until he learns his crush, Gwen (Jessica Daniels), has also received an invitation and will be going. Completing the gang are horror movie super geek Raimi (Dustin Mills) and the “biker” couple Iggy and Mona. (Bart Flynn and Erica Kisserbeth)

The host of the contest is Dr. Wagner (Steve Rimpici) who, of course, is not who he seems to be. Once the teens are inside the mansion he has his penguin assistant (Yes, a penguin, do not piss it off) release his monstrous creation from the basement to feed on the teens. As you may expect, the teens start dropping like flies with the surviving teens oblivious to exactly what is happening.

The puppets actually look really, really good here. And by puppets, I do not mean marionettes like in Team America or Puppet Master, I mean good old fashioned hand puppets. The animation is actually very solid given the budget (right around $3,000 from what I have gathered) and does not detract or distract from what is going on like it does in some movies. The voice acting, overall, is good. You can tell who is new to the game and who is not but again, this is to be expected given the circumstances. I mean, did you watch Toxic Avenger for the academy awarding winning performances? I rest my case. There were a couple of moments when the (awesome) soundtrack drowned out the voice actor but that was maybe twice and for only a moment or two at a time.

My final grade was tough to settle on. You must judge a movie based on what it is and what it was trying to be. On the back of the DVD it reads “…love letter to the monster films of the glorious 80’s.” and The Puppet Monster Massacre is just that. And if you are having doubts about watching this movie or picking up a copy on July 26 (Amazon, Best Buy, FYE, etc) allow me just two words: Puppet Boobs.

Need I say more?

Grade: B

Eat Pi

Posted in Uncategorized on June 28, 2011 by Pi

So it’s been awhile.

I could launch into a myriad of excuses. Some of them would even be legitimate, but the main reason I haven’t written anything lately is I’m lazy and I’d much rather be enjoying the media I adore than writing about it.Every once in awhile though, I do get a wild hair and so here I am.

Thing is though, there’s no one film or show I’m ready to really focus on and dissect. So a traditional review post is pretty much out the window. Also, I haven’t had any strong feelings one way or another on a lot of things lately, which makes writing a review for me difficult. See, I know all 11 of our readers will find this difficult to believe, but since we’re not paid reviewers, it’s kinda pointless to waste hobby time on stuff you’re indifferent to. The simple fact that I’m not paid to watch and write about crap makes it unnecessary to review every movie I watch.

So instead, I’ll employ gimmickry. Gimmicks work for me. They provide structure and focus to a mind that is hella scatalogical most times. Basically, I made a list of all the shit I’ve been enjoying or hating lately and organized it A to Z. Should be fairly easy for even the most brain dead amongst us to follow, yes? And we’re off….

A=America, Captain – Full disclosure here. Captain America is my favorite superhero of all time. Yes, he’s uber-cheesy at times and he’s rather limited in the types of stories you can tell with the character, but he is and always has been my favorite. I’ve waited my whole life for a watchable Cap movie and it looks like we’re about to get it. The trailers hit all the right notes and I like that they’re focusing on the fact that Cap is a motherfucking soldier first and foremost, something a lot of writers tend to forget when they take him on. Tick told me once that Captain America is fool’s gold, meaning that the nature of the character restricts you when you’re writing him and there’s only so much you can do with him. That is true to an extent, but out of all the Marvel roster, Captain America is probably the simplest to bring to the big screen. I’m crossing my fingers that the film turns out all right, but the fanboy in me is going to geek out regardless. Fair warning for when my five star review comes across the pike…

B=Buffy The Vampire Slayer: The Long Road Home – This is Volume One of Buffy: Season 8, “But wait Pi, you fucking retard. There were only 7 seasons of Buffy!” you might be saying and I of all people, know that better than you. These are comic books written by the show’s creator Joss Whedon that pick up right where Season 7 left off. This has been out for years, but I’ve avoided it for several reasons. One, Dark Horse comics suck. Two, the art on the Buffy comics has always blown (holds true in this book too) and Three, I knew I would be voracious once I got ahold of it, so I wanted to wait until they were all done (they finally fucking are!). This first story arc shows that Joss is having a field day doing things he would have never been able to do on the show due to budget and content. I won’t spoil it for fellow Whedonites out there, but there’s some nice surprises here and the way the Scooby gang is introduced over the first 2 chapters hits all the right notes that the show always did when starting a new season. Plus, Dawn is NOT annoying. Color me amazed.

C=CM Punk – I’m writing this on June 28th. If you didn’t see Punk’s promo on the June 27th episode of Raw, you missed the best worked shoot promo I’ve ever seen. I’ve always liked Punk ever since he showed up in WWE. He really is the whole package. He can work the stick, he’s as technically solid as Bret Hart and he’s that perfect heel that manages to hit the crowd where they live. Little things like totally disrespecting tradition and sitting down crosslegged in the ring or on the ramp to cut a promo, Punk pulls off effortlessly. I’m really hoping that he just needs to recharge, that this is all just a hiatus and he’ll be back in 6 months or so, because hands down, CM Punk has been the only reason to watch WWE in a year.

D=DC Comics – For those of you not in the know, come September, DC is relaunching all their titles at number one. When you think that Action Comics and Detective Comics are almost at 1000 and have been on the same volume since the 40s, this is pretty fucking huge desperation. I’ve never really understood how this company has such a wealth of great characters on it’s roster and continually finds ways to botch everything up and piss off fans. This relaunch could go either way, if and ONLY if, they had a cohesive plan for it. But they don’t! Some titles are starting all over with “modern takes”, a la the Ultimate Universe at Marvel and some are going to keep current continuity and storylines. Already you’re fucking it up, DC. Pick one or the other. Let’s take Batman for example. You’re going to have current developments like Batman Inc and Damian Wayne as Robin, but Dick Grayson is back to being Nightwing and Barbara Gordon is back to being Batgirl. WHAT THE FUCK? First off, I am RIDICULOUSLY pissed about Babs being back in the costume. She has become ten times more vital to the Bat family since she was crippled and became Oracle. Not to mention how Dick’s getting sent back to the minors. He’s been wearing the Bat costume the past three years and now he’s back to Nightwing? And what about Stephanie/Spoiler or Cassandra Cain? Where the Hell are they? Despite the smell of monumental failure, I’m fascinated by this relaunch and it’ll hook me in for an issue or three. Whether I stay is an entirely different tale.

E=Ex Machina – I’m realizing this post has a lot of comic book stuff and I promise, we will get to some movies soon, but while we’re still on comics, Ex Machina is pretty fucking dope. It’s written by Brian K. Vaughn who wrote Y: The Last Man, which is one of the best series of the past decade and it’s really a great little book. It tells the tale of a guy who acquires superpowers and tries out the superhero thing for awhile, then parlays it into becoming the mayor of New York City. The book mixes current events (from 2002 when it began) with fantasy seamlessly and when you add political intrigue in with the other elements of a traditional comic book, it’s an engaging read. Pick up the first Trade if you’re interested.

F=Five Guys – I’m obsessed with this place. Five Guys is a burger place that started in Washington D.C., but has been spreading quickly across the country over the past couple of years. Before I go any further, let me clarify. I am a SoCal kid, born and bred. My allegiance will always be to In-N-Out, but Five Guys is damn good. The burger is thick and tasty, but the fries? My God, the fries are absolutely ridiculously awesome, in particular the Cajun fries. Plus, ordering the regular size gets you a shitload of them, way more than you could possibly eat. Five Guys are cropping up all over the place, so if one opens near you, don’t even hesitate. Just fucking go.

G=Green Lantern – Like a comic book movie was gonna get released that I didn’t see. Upfront, I gotta say I was never a Lantern fan. I always thought it was kinda gay, even though there’s a lot of things about the Corps that appeal to me. I could just never buy in, but I had a grasp of the character going into the movie and you know what? I don’t understand the criticism. Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively have been skewered for their acting, but what were you people expecting? They delivered the lines that were written for them well. You can’t fault them for the simplistic dialogue. While I felt that Reynolds was playing more Kyle than Hal, what do you expect when you cast Ryan fucking Reynolds? My favorite shitty criticism is “there was too much CGI”. Again, WHAT DID YOU EXPECT? It’s a movie about a guy who’s a Space Cop, who meets with other Space Cops from other galaxies and jizzes green spunk out of a ring that he uses his imagination to form into things. You tell me how to do that with practical effects and we can talk. Until then critics, shut the fuck up. This ain’t Black Swan. It’s Green Lantern and while I wouldn’t award it any Oscars, I enjoyed my time at the movies and felt no urge to burn anything down. That’s high fucking praise from me.

H=Hash House-A-Go-Go – If you ever find yourself in my fair city and you ever find yourself out late at night and looking for some good food, go to Hash House. Hell, you can go there any time of the day, but there’s specials late night. While they’re famous for their breakfast, Hash House has a wide, varied menu and is open 24/7. There’s a couple locations, but my favorite is the one in the M Resort, on the far South side of the city and one of Vegas’ best kept secrets from you tourists. Seek it out and thank me later.

I=Infamous 2 – My latest video game obsession. The first Infamous was life absorbing for a month or so. You’re this guy who gets the power of electricity. The first game put you in a New York/Chicago type city, lots of tall buildings to traverse and a great playground to discover and learn your powers. Infamous 2 takes place in a New Orleans-like city and while I was skeptical of losing all the height of Empire City, it’s fucking great. First off, they let you keep most of your powers from the first game from the outset. That in itself is noteworthy, because most games come up with stupid contrivances to weaken you when starting a new game. The new powers are awesome, the game is fluid as Hell and so many aspects of the game have been built upon and improved. I still think the story writing is a little weak, but it’s far from horrible. If a super hero sandbox game sounds like it appeals to you, this one gets my highest recommendation.

J=Justice League Dark – Okay, I was pretty critical about the DC relaunch earlier, but like I said, there’s some intriguing stuff in there too. This is one of them. When most people think Justice League, it’s the Big 3. Supes, Bats and Wonder Woman. How about this for a team; John Constantine, Deadman, Shade The Changing Man and Madame Xanadu? I know your supernatural geekiness is getting all excited. Add on the fact that Peter Milligan is writing this and it just seems unfair. For those of you unfamiliar with these characters, this will basically be the team traversing spiritual planes, mucking about with magicks and demons. I have high hopes for this one.

K=Kutcher, Ashton – I actually saw a movie he was in that I not only enjoyed, but I enjoyed him in it. The movie was No Strings Attached. Feel free to murder me now. I feel filthy and unclean.

L=Locke And Key – Another comic, but one that I know will appeal to just about everyone here. Written by Joe Hill, who just happens to be Stephen King’s son, Locke and Key is about a family that has a tragic death, so they move from the Bay Area (where everything is tragic) to the East. Here’s what will tell you all you need to know. The town they move to is called LOVECRAFT, Mass. Interested? You should be. This is good old-fashioned, evil demons and ghosts, Haunted House type shit. I just read the first Trade, entitled Welcome To Lovecraft and I honestly haven’t read a better comic in a long time. It’s paced perfectly, it’s suspenseful, but slowly gives you reveals when the time is right. The art style fits the mood and writing well and I gotta admit, when I first flipped through it, the art didn’t really strike me as Lovecraftian horror, but when you actually read it, it works. They filmed a TV pilot for this show that every major network turned down. It must be great.

M=Mass Effect 3 – Holy shit! Did you see the trailers from E3? My dick is hard. Kiss me goodbye when this comes out. I’ll be saving the galaxy for at least a month and hopefully, 20 of those days won’t be spent mining planets.

N=Netflix – Why doesn’t everyone in the world have Netflix? I resisted for a long time. I always liked going to the video store and browsing, but fuck that. Not getting dressed and most of all NOT FEELING BAD about turning off a movie after 30 minutes because you didn’t just spend 5 bucks to rent it, is awesome. Most of all though, the TV shows. Not having to drop 60 bucks for a season set is just awesome. It’s only going to get better too. Once Blockbuster finally emits it’s death rattle, most of those exclusives are gonna end up on Netflix. If Netflix was a person, I would hug it.

O=One Hundred Bullets – I love the comic, but that’s not why it’s fresh in my mind. Showtime is developing it as a series and all I have to say to that is FUCK YEAH! It’s about time. I’ve always thought that certain comics just don’t work as movies, but would work amazingly well as cable series. 100 Bullets is always the one I thought would translate the best. There’s no superpowers or special effects. It’s guns and noir-cool. Let the fantasy casting begin and let me begin by saying Cameron Diaz is NOT right for Megan Dietrich, but Skeet Ulrich is for Cole Cash and while Michelle Rodriguez is the easy choice for Dizzy Cordova, somehow I don’t want that.

P=Plus, Hulu – Remember everything I said about Netflix? Hulu Plus is pretty much in the same boat, sans movies. My PS3 runs pretty much 24/7 and games is it’s third function. Netflix, Hulu Plus, Games + Blu-Rays, in that order. I hate watching live TV and I currently don’t have a DVR, so Hulu Plus is a Godsend for keeping up with the latest shows. It’s a great app and it’s amazing to me that the Networks fought it so long. They’re essentially charging for shows that normally they’d give away free and once you get accustomed to it, you stick with it. It’s win win.

Q=Quick Time Events – I hate them. They were cool in God Of War when they first came out, but now it seems like any boss fight in a video game turns into a Quick Time Event. I’m just fucking sick of them. I don’t wanna play Rock Band rhythm games when I’m in the middle of hacking up legions of creatures. It’s a gimmick that’s run it’s course. Ditch it.

R=Rocksteady Games – The promotional campaign they’re running for Batman: Arkham City is great. First off, the game sells itself. It’s Batman and it’s the sequel to THE best Batman game ever, hands down. They release a few little tidbits and pieces of art every couple of months and it’s all devoured up voraciously by those of us waiting for the game. I seriously cannot wait for this game and I’m okay with it being a single player experience. Co-op would have been cool, but I’d rather the team spend more time making the best game possible, then tacking on some bullshit multiplayer mode and devoting time to all the balancing issues created by doing so. This is another game that is going to send me into hybernation. I was obsessed with finding every little Riddler trophy and Arkham history recordings in Arkham Asylum. I’m sure Arkham City will feed the same need.

S=Starbuck – So I’ve been watching Battlestar Galactica on Netflix a lot lately. It’s a great show and while it has it’s stumbles, for the most part, the writing is pretty solid and I buy into the whole story. There’s a few standout performances amongst a pretty good cast, but number one has to be Katee Sackhoff as Starbuck. Starbuck could be a walking cliche’. Tough exterior, vulnerable on the inside, but Sackhoff adds layers to the character beyond that. The look in her eyes in a tough dogfight, all balls and psychosis rolled into one. The sadness, terror and despair that she so rarely displays except when alone and the way she pulls herself together and reins herself in when necessary. Starbuck is almost always the best part of the show and never disappoints.

T=Tinie Tempah – He’s getting mad radio play right now with “Written On The Stars” and they played it to death to promote Wrestlemania, but if you get a chance, download “Frisky”. Sterile, dark, electronic beats, a grimy rhyme style and a great keyboard riff. The best English Hip Hop artist to come out since Tricky and I’m enjoying hearing an updated Brixton sound.

U=Unstoppable – I have a soft spot for Tony Scott. He makes GREAT popcorn films. Spy Game, Enemy Of The State, True Romance, Top fucking Gun… the list goes on and on. He and Denzel Washington seem to work well together, as evidenced by Man On Fire, an awesome revenge flick that you should see. I wasn’t sold on this flick though. Runaway train didn’t really spark an interest. I shouldn’t have doubted it though. It’s a solid popcorn flick with good pacing and it’s totally watchable. Chris Pine was servicable and Rosario Dawson was in it. While she’ll never top dancing to the Jackson 5 braless, she’ll always be a favorite.

V=Village Pub – Just a quick plug for Village Pub, a chain of bars here in Vegas. They have the thickest fucking fried mozzarella I’ve ever seen. Seriously, like baby’s arms. Also.. Stella Artois on tap.

W=Walking Dead, The – I finally got my hands on the Blu-Rays. Words and reviews did not do this shit justice. The simple fact that they’re getting away with this madness on AMC is amazing to me. Season 2 can’t come fast enough.

X=X-Men: First Class – There’s a lot of venom being spewed in the direction of this film. Some of it is justified. Yes, January Jones does emote like a block of wood. Yes, Kevin Bacon is kind of ridiculous as Sebastian Shaw. Yes, most of the mutants in this film are underdeveloped as characters. Let me tell you what this film does right though. Professor X and Magneto, which is what the whole movie is about anyway! I had my doubts that Kid From Wanted and Azazel From Hex were going to be able to do these two iconic characters justice, but I loved it. They had a natural chemistry and they were my favorite part of the film. As the fanboys cry about filmmakers shitting on source material, allow me to point out that NO comic has ever done as good a job showing the friendship of Xavier and Magneto as this film did. And on that same subject, the X-books don’t even respect themselves. How can you expect filmmakers too? Comic books continually shit on their own history and continuity. I’m all for a filmmaker changing shit around to make a better film. As long as the core values of the characters involved remain the same, who fucking cares? On First Class though, if I had my way, the split between Xavier and Magneto wouldn’t have happened yet. I would have had them argue over the differences in philosophy and still remain friends in the first film. I wouldn’t have done the split until film 2. That’s me though. I know they are already talking a Green Lantern sequel. A sequel to First Class was hinted at before the film was released and I haven’t heard about it since. I hope it does get a sequel and I hope in that one, they do spend more time developing the characters on the respective teams. Ditch the Evil Red Nightcrawler though.

Y=Yesterday – I don’t know what the issue is between Harmonix and Guns n’ Roses. I’m sure it has something to do with Axl being a jerkoff, but seeing as how there’s keyboards now in Rock Band 3, there are some choice cuts off the Use Your Illusion albums that can utilize all 5 instruments in interesting ways. Yesterday would be a keyboard tour de force. Once you get the licensing for the Illusions, get Appetite. The whole fucking album.

Z=Zookeeper, The – Please write down these names. Frank Coraci, Nick Bakay, Rock Reuben, Barry Benardi, Jennifer Eatz, Gino Falsetto, Todd Garner and Jack Giarraputo. These are the people responsible for bringing yet another shitty Kevin James movie to your local cineplex. Please purify these infidels if you find them and send them to Allah’s loving embrace. A special, torturous, painful end for one Justine Baddeley. This is the fiend responsible for defiling Rosario Dawson by casting her in this atrocity. Is there nothing sacred?

~Pi

TigrisRose’s Review for the Green Lantern (2011)

Posted in Uncategorized on June 21, 2011 by tigrisrose

Green Lantern (2011)
Director: Martin Campbell
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, and Peter Sarsgaard

“I pledge allegiance to a lantern, given to me by a dying purple alien.”

How cool is it to have a father who only asked of his three children, that for Father’s Day that we take him to dinner and a movie? So much easier to buy for than mom! So given that my father has already seen Pirates, and X-Men this summer we decided to go to opening weekend for the Green Lantern.

Honestly I was only half wanting to see this movie in the first place. I love DC comics, but other than the Batman Franchise they haven’t done a great job putting their stories on the big screen. The biggest doubt I had was all the CGI.

Lets start with the acting, lets face it Ryan Reynolds is only there it get women to come to the movies. I think Reynolds is better at romantic comedies than being the super hero. I didn’t mind him in Blade Trinity because he was mostly just a hot smart ass with a gun. He didn’t do a terrible job as Hal Jordan, but its wasn’t the best either.

Lively wasn’t in it much to give an opinion one way or the other. Sarsgaard was creepy in the geeky silent killer type. His transformation after coming in contact with Fear was bad, but for the most part a good side villain. Mark Strong was pretty dead on with Sinestro. For the most part the acting wasn’t too bad.

Story wise it did a decent job of staying with the premises of the Hal Jordan story line. I like how they started with Hal Jordan since he was the first Earth bound Green Lantern, but Hal Jordan wasn’t my favorite Lantern from the series. I do like the fact that they make him and keep him “human.” Jordan has issues of course because he is a pilot as his father. But as a child he saw his father die in an accident after his father’s take off. So he has that fear of dieing. But Sinestro gives him a hard time, and like his whole life Jordan gives up the Lanterns at first. I love how explaining after coming back that Jordan tells the whole Core that there is a saying on Earth. “I’m just human.” I won’t ruin the movie, but it has great context for the movie’s story line.

I thought that the featured Core members and the council were great. The love interest was nice, but really we are bringing her in on the secret from the get go!

Movie wise I liked it. The Green Lantern was a solid movie, and great for DC comics. The one thing I was worried about which was the CGI, was my biggest turn off about the movie. It wasn’t bad, but there was just so much of it that for me it was a little distracting. I am not a big fan of CGI heavy movies. I don’t mind having a little in there from time to time, but when its used for nearly 80% of the movie and is the key element its obnoxious. Some of the Core members looked great, Jordan’s costume a little cheesy, and the the CGI for Parallax terrible! I like movies with actual sets, and I would rather see an actor suffer through 5 hours getting prepped for a costume than watching a whole movie with CGI.

This movie before you go and watch, you need to know it is a story back ground driven movie. There are a lot of great action scenes, stuff gets blown up and all that good stuff like a comic book movie should. But this movie goes a the extra mile to actually introduce you to The Green Lantern Core and Hal Jordan which is how it should be. Most people unless you are a geek like me might not necessarily be familiar with the Green Lantern other than the Justice League Cartoons growing up as kids. So it’s a very good intro movie, allowing you to know the character and the back story to the Green Lantern Core. So know that going in, its similar to Superman Returns in the aspect that its introducing the character for the first time, but not as slow. Thank god!

F.Y.I. for all you movie junkies like me and my dad who stay for the Easter Eggs after the lead credits. This movie’s Easter Egg so totally predictable! I won’t tell you what it is, but lets say if you know the story you won’t be shocked!

The movie was good. Was it Batman standards, Hell no… but how can you compete with Bats I mean seriously. However this is the best non-Batman movie DC has put out in a long time. Now if they can only get everything else right so we can have a kick ass Justice League movie. I give the movie a C+, I know I said it was good, and it is. It is worth seeing, even taking the bank loan out to go see it in theaters. But let me break it down.

The movie what it was as a DC franchise movie execution I’ll give a B+, it is one of the best movies to come out of DC in a long time. Storyline by itself and compaired to the original content I will give an A-. I thought the story line was great, I loved the context of the dialog, and I thought it stayed true to the source material to the best a DC franchise movie could.

Now what killed it for me, cinematography I give it a D. I am not a big fan of CGI heavy movies. For me the CGI was distracting. I would have rather seen cheap cheesy costumes and puppeteer than CGI. And really there was only 2 major locations. The Air Strip and the Planet Oa. There isn’t a lot of variety. The acting I’ll give a C+. Lets face it they were ok, but surely they could have found someone better. Lets face it Ryan Reynolds is not what I would consider Super Hero material.

Really with all the grading said, it should really be like a B-, but I am docking it down to the C+ because the Easter Egg that leads to the thought that there will be a sequel, so totally knew what it was before the movie was over. My kingdom for a better Easter Egg!

So I will close out with saying, go see the movie, it is a good one to see this summer. Totally worth the ticket to get in, maybe not the concession stand, but worth the ticket. Its one of the best comic book movies out in a while. So go, go see it, with my blessing. And for all you comic geeks like me I leave you with these last words:

“In brightest day, in blackest night. No evil shall escape my sight. Let all who worship evil’s might. Beware my power, Green Lantern’s light!”

Chainsaw Cheerleader Reviews: Freaks (1932)

Posted in Uncategorized on June 4, 2011 by chainsawcheerleader

Directed by: Tod Browning

Written by: Tod Browning

Based on: Spurs by Tod Browning

Cast: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Henry Victor, Harry Earles

Genre: classic horror, drama

The Freaks: “We accept her! We accept her! One of us! One of us! Gooble gobble, gooble gobble!”

In the 1920′s, Hollywood introduced the glorious talkies. With the use of sound entertainment was changed forever. This change strengthened the experience that the average movie goer witnessed. Due to this, films that previously had heavy references to sexuality, sex,  illegal drug use, and violence were now subject to the Motion Picture Production Code or Hays Code, which forced films to follow strict censorship guidelines. It would be these guidelines that would wreak havoc on the production of horror films. Before sound, the audience did not feel fear that was meant to be brought on by the now classic horror movies but with sound, the movie monsters was given the bark to their bite. It was sound that complemented these films and brought about the fear that these films deserved. While sound brought about the much needed fright that horror films starved for, it also subjected it to drastic editing and limited releases. After the 1932 release of the film Freaks, horror movies would never be the same. It was Freaks that helped startled audiences call for stricter forms of handling of such films. It was also the death sentence for the career of the film’s director, Tod Browning, who collaborated with Lon Chaney and directed Bela Lugosi in Dracula (1931).

Freaks follows a traveling carnival in 1930′s France.  Focusing on the daily lives of sideshow performers, Freaks details the survival code of these men and women, cross one and you have crossed them all. Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova), a vainglorious trapeze artist who mocks the carnivals freaks, has little interest in a little person performer, Hans (Harry Earles), until it is revealed that he is air to a vast fortune. With the help of Strongman and romantic interest, Hercules (Henry Victor), Cleopatra constructs a plan to relieve Hans of his inheritance. After marrying the little performer, Cleopatra slowly poisons her husband until the freaks realize her scheme.

Due to the Hays Code, Freaks was cut from ninety minutes to sixty-four minutes. It is the end of the film that has suffered from the most editing. In the original cut, Freaks settled this Greek tragedy by having the sideshow performers come after Hercules with a range of weapons. After castrating him, Hercules is later seen singing falsetto. Cleopatra’s fate is, while not similar, just as severe. The freaks melt and reform her hands to look like duck feet and tar and feather her. After butchering a rather fitting ending, MGM pieced together a happier alternative without the violence. Much of the editing was due to poor audience test screening. One movie goers reaction was to sue MGM after watching Freaks because she believed it caused her to suffer a miscarriage. Despite the cuts, Freaks was still poorly received and was banned in the United Kingdom for thirty years due to the shock brought about by its cast. Even after MGM added new comedy sequences, a new prologue, and a new epilogue, Freaks caused its audience to question their 1930′s cookie cutter morality.

The cast of Freaks showcased a wide variety of different sideshow performances that were popular in the 1930′s. With performers like Zip and Pip (pinheads), intersexual Josephine Joseph (half man/half woman), Prince Randian (the Human Torso), and Koo-Koo the Bird Girl (who suffered from Virchow-Seckel syndrome, also known as bird-headed dwarfism), the film was drawn from personal experiences that Browning had had during his early years traveling with the circus. While Browning attempted to show his audience that the sideshow performers were admirable hardworking people and that the film’s real villain were those that society deems as “normal”, the film appears more exploitative than a tale of innocent love gone awry.  Browning provides no explanation or evidence as to why the audience must see the freaks as “normal” while he shows them behave in a manner that in the 1930′s would seem as actions purely performed by the insane. The audience’s reaction is almost predictable given a basic understanding of an era that did not allow women to vote until eight years earlier and it was still illegal for interracial marriage. The response of the public can best be expressed in the reaction of screenwriter, F. Scott Fiitzgerald. After witnessing a scene involving Siamese twin sisters, Fitzgerald proceeded to run to the bathroom and vomit.  Sadly, this reaction is lost on the audience of today.  While sound may have played a key role in the disturbance that the audience felt when they first viewed Freaks, time has passed and with most audience members being subject to far more horrific concepts than sideshow performers, Freaks has lost any fright is once held. Viewing Freaks seventy-nine years after its original release feels more like a study in film than a true scare. Freaks may pale in comparison to many of today’s horror films but it still holds value among those who treat movies more as an experience and less as entertainment.

Horror films of the 1930′s can only be described as having captured the essence of early Hollywood, of when art came in a variety of forms, even scares. With the newness of the talkie and the act of many directors adapting German expressionist techniques to dramatic films, classic horror films such as Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, and even Freaks, have had the ability to withstand the test of time. While many of the early horror films are not as intense or graphic as horror films of this era, one must question will these newer film be considered classics in another seventy-nine years as Freaks is? What is this generations Dracula? What is this generations Bride of Frankenstein? What is this generations Freaks? Will films such as the Saw franchise be look back upon in greatness and studied by film students or as filming technology improves will it be laughed at?

For some, it may be difficult to view Freaks as a horror film. In the almost eighty years since its release society has become more excepting of persons with deformities and disabilities. In the past someone with dwarfism or born without limbs could be seen as terrifying. There are in fact very few horror films from this era that do not feature a monster that is not disfigured in some way. In a time when a person born with a disability was sent away to live in a asylum or not allowed to leave their home, it is not surprising that the cast of Freaks would be seen as frightening. It is only today that we are getting better at embracing those who look different. It is this reason alone that makes one question if this classic horror film is purely just a sad little love story.

Freaks, while not perfect by any measure, is still a very interesting and prevailing piece of work. Known to have inspired The Ramones to David Lynch, Freaks has earned its right to be considered a counterculture cult film. It is by no means a movie for the average movie watcher. A passionate fan or student of film can look past the weak voice work and at time poor acting, to see how this misunderstood work of art is truly a significant piece of horror movie history.

Freaks receives a 7 out of 10

Tick Reviews: Birdemic – Shock and Terror (2008)

Posted in Uncategorized on May 21, 2011 by Tick

I don’t think it’s a secret at this point that I love bad movies. I’ve made it abundantly clear. I know it may sound almost schizophrenic to say that with some of the negative reviews I’ve given to some horror movies on this blog, but that’s the trick to bad movies. Not just any old piece of shit can qualify as a “good” bad movie. I could probably write a thesis paper detailing the conflicting nature of bad cinema and “good” bad cinema and what separates them. There are lists of criteria, genres and subgenres, do’s and dont’s…..I could go on and on and maybe one day I’ll write an article here on the subject, but that is for another time. For now, let me just say that I know a “good” bad film when I see one and Birdemic is that film.

I was pretty skeptical going into this. Frankly, I’d been avoiding this thing like it was a Transformers film starring Kevin James and a talking CGI kitten voiced by Justin Bieber to go along with those insanely racist jive talking Autobot twins with the monkey faces. Birdemic looked that bad. I saw a couple of ridiculous clips that looked so awful that I assumed it had to be a joke. It looked sub-sub-SyFy and incredibly forced. Throw in the internet hype, the G4 coverage of the “premiere” at some crappy theater in LA, (It actually had it’s world premiere in 2008, but went ignored for almost two years) and mainstream press like EW declaring Birdemic as the new “it” cult film and it all just seemed too forced to me.

Birdemic seemed like a movie that was purposely made as awful as possible for the sole reason of manufacturing a cult hit, which are two of the most annoying things in filmmaking to me. Both things have to happen organically. You can’t force a cult following on a film and you can’t knowingly make a “good” bad film. You have a better chance of making a film for the sole purpose of winning an Oscar and achieving your goal than you do of achieving the other two. Fans of cult and bad films can smell a phony a mile away and will reject it with a vengeance. Birdemic was nudging me and winking about how clever it was. Fuck Birdemic.

Eventually, I heard the opinions of a couple of people whose views on film I trust and respect. They told me Birdemic was the real deal. VERY much the real deal and no matter how much I prepare myself for how incredibly bad it is, I’ll still never expect it to be THAT bad. So, I put it in my Netflix queue and waited for it to come.

holy…..fucking….shit.

It’s the real deal, alright. Saying that there is no way to prepare yourself for how truly, incredibly, awful it is, is indeed an understatement. Saying that it is probably the worst movie ever made, even worse than the legendary Troll 2, isn’t an exaggeration. It’s definitely now my favorite “good” bad movie by far. Best of all, this isn’t a joke. It wasn’t something that was purposely bad or made to gain cult status. Birdemic is a perfect, higher being of complete cinematic incompetence on every level and I mean EVERY level. Birdemic is a master class on film suckage. There is not one iota of filmmaking that isn’t horribly butchered in the worst way possible.  Let’s go down the list.

The Story – The plot here is simple. It’s a rip-off of the Hitchcock classic The Birds. Apparently, the nut responsible for Birdemic, James Nguyen, is obsessed with Hitchcock. He conned Tippi Hedren into making an appearance in his first film and his second film was a rip-off (he says update) of Vertigo. This is also an “update” of the classic. By update, I mean he forces in a non-stop parade of environmental issues to lecture us with(which I’ll get back to later.) Of course, Nguyen doesn’t bother to put any scientific facts, common sense or even any sense of reality into his bullet point lectures. At best it sounds like a grade school report that was cobbled together by lazily skimming some google search results.

So, I’m sure you can guess what the telegraphed cause of the bird attacks are. I guess. That’s what a hippy that lives in a tree and an angry scientist that hangs out on the beach tell us at least and that’s as close to an explanation as you’ll get. I’d like the scientist to explain some other things to me. Like, why is it specified that the only birds that are attacking people are eagles and vultures? Are there even that many eagles left in the world? Can eagles really cough up gallons of bright green puke at will and can said puke really dissolve human flesh?  Also, why do they seem to follow our main characters everywhere? More importantly, why do the eagles and vultures apparently come from the ocean? Explain that shit, Mr. Scientist.

The bad scientific explanations are hardly the only head scratching things on display. Birdemic is loaded with nonsensical dialogue and decisions. This is a movie so uninterested in making sense that after the characters are attacked every time they step outside, they decide to have a picnic on the beach…TWICE! They find people dead in their cars from bird attacks, but drive everywhere with the windows rolled down. They start out by fighting the birds with clothes hangers even though we later find out that one of the characters, for some reason, has an arsenal of pistols and assault rifles in his van. These are stupid, stupid people.

The thing with a movie called Birdemic, you’d think bird attacks would be the focus of the film, right? Not really. It’s a ninety minute movie and it’s almost an hour before the first bird attack. An HOUR. What happens before that? Sixty minutes of befuddlement as we get the longest character introductions in history. We watch Rod, a technology salesman (I think that was his official title. seriously) goes about his stupid, unbelievable life. We also get to meet fashion model Nathalie and watch her go about her equally stupid and unbelievable life. We also get to see them meet and then decide they want to be together forever after two really awful date scenes, even though any normal person would end a date with either one of them after a few minutes into it.

As ridiculous and unbelievable as the bird scenes are and Nguyen ideas of what are scientific facts, the first hour of “normal” life is even dumber. We see Rod in his really phony looking cubicle as he’s closing a sale with a customer. We hear him tell the customer that he will give him fifty percent off the sale in order to close the deal. He then announces that the sale was for one-million dollars. That means he also gave away one-million dollars. In what world do you give away one-million dollars and not get fired and maybe go to jail? Later we see Rod buy twenty-thousand dollars worth of solar panels for his house. He asks the solar panel salesman for a deal. The guy takes off one-thousand dollars immediately. Rod is happy. Rod should instead be taking notes on what an appropriate sales discount would be. It’s not one million dollars.

That’s just one of many scenes that are nowhere close to reality. We see Rod’s tech company that no one has ever heard of get purchased by Oracle for one-billion dollars. Apparently Dr Evil owns Oracle. We see Nathalie, who is kinda vaguely hot at best, learn she’s to become the new Victoria’s Secret cover model. We see Rod invent his own revolutionary solar panel technology in one afternoon and get ten-million in funding immediately from some random guy. These are the luckiest idiots that ever lived I guess and after an hour of watching this crap, I’m supposed to care about them. I don’t. Then suddenly the birds attack en masse and…eh…whatever. Just watch it.

The Acting – I saw an interview with Nguyen where he said he casts local amateur “talent”. No shit? Wouldn’t have guessed. There’s a lot of bad actors out there. Lots. None as bad as these. Seriously. From top to bottom, main cast to walk on one liners, everyone is atrocious. There is a waitress who cackles out something in some thick Euroscuzz accent that in no way resembles an actual sentence. There is a gas station attendant that mumbles so badly, you have no idea what he said. The two main children are so unenthused that they sound depressed and/or angry. The woman playing Nathalie’s mom obviously can’t remember her lines and is just ad-libbing everything. Several times someone obviously flubs their lines and it’s just left in. People can’t even scream with any authenticity.

The two leads, Alan Bagh and Whitney Moore, seem like they both thought that the best way to play their characters was to just go with vacant. Bagh does it by wearing a completely blank expression for almost the entire run time, occasionally upgrading to a look of confusion. He moves in slow motion most of the time, walking as if he’s in a trance. He speaks in stuttering stops, sounding like a kid in school nervously reading a report in front of the class. I’m pretty sure that Bagh considers personality to be a booger that he doesn’t want to get on him.

Moore goes the other way with her vacant routine. She’s impossibly happy for most of the film, even after the birds attack and she might die. She almost never stops smiling and her big dopey grin grates quickly. Her voice drips sugar with every happy go lucky bit of dialogue as if she were Snow White and the birds were singing for her. At no point does she seem more than barely aware of anything going on around her and I’m not even sure she knows she’s in a movie.

I sympathize that these people have to recite some truly awful dialogue that normal people would never say. Especially the crap that comes out of Rod’s mouth. The scene where Rod and Nathalie are about to have sex is a standout. Nathalie stands before him in her bra and panties and asks “How do I look?” Rod slowly looks her up and down and replies “You look fine” in a completely monotone voice. Nguyen also has some bizarre need to make everyone really polite all of the time. You could play a drinking game with this film, taking shots every time someone says Thank You and you’d be very fucked up by the time the movie ends. Still, these people are awful. At points I truly thought they were robots. Or maybe they thought that their characters were robots.

The Direction & Other Technical Stuff – James Nguyen isn’t just a horrible writer, he’s a horrible director. I’ve honestly never seen one as clueless on every aspect of filmmaking. This guy thinks the proper way to open a movie is to film a car driving impossibly slow on a highway for a good three minutes. It’s just scene after scene of a Mustang driving so slowly that it’s clearly holding up traffic and would get you killed if you actually tried it. There’s no reason for it. It adds nothing to the character or the story. But it just keeps going and going and going and when you think it’s done it goes some more. For no fucking reason.

That’s Nguyen’s idea for a scene. He does this sort of thing several times throughout the film. There are several more long slow driving scenes for no reason. There’s several minutes of filming a pumpkin festival parade for no reason. Before the first bird attack, we see many long pointless shots of houses and towns and farms that are supposed to punctuate the attack, but only bore and confuse. The guy has no idea how to compose a scene or edit one. Way too many scenes go on forever for no reason. There’s a scene where our couple are dancing to the worst song ever (really, wait until you hear it) and it’s just painful to watch. Nathalie dances in a way that is so insanely awkward and spastic that it makes Elaine on Seinfeld’s famous dance look like the finale of Black Swan.

He also has no idea how to block one out. He obviously couldn’t afford to shut down roads or parks for his film, which is understandable. However, if you want me to believe there in an apocalyptic event happening and people are dying and fleeing for the hills, don’t let me see them frolicking on the beach and flying kites in the background. Cut out the people riding by on bikes. Maybe on that abandoned highway where you find cars full of dead people, don’t show the many cars driving by on their way to a fun afternoon. I know Nguyen doesn’t know how to shoot a film, but I’m not even sure he’s ever actually watched a film.

The editing is choppy and sloppy. The sound cuts in and out, going from too loud to non-existent like they were recording with a playschool microphone. The soundtrack actually sounds surprisingly professional at times, yet is never appropriate to what is going on. It veers from something that sounds like it came from a cheerful family comedy to something that should be playing during a patriotic speech in a War movie. I’m pretty sure whoever scored this was watching other movies when they recorded the soundtrack. Either that or Nguyen just stole it from someone. As for the special effects….well, you saw the clip. These are Playstation one graphics. Worse, they’re actually retarded and like everything else in this film, it’s not connected to reality in any way. Birds hover in air, in one spot, for several minutes without moving their wings. Some birds can dive bomb into houses and make them explode while others can’t even get past a coat hanger. At times these things don’t even look like birds at all.

The Summation – Now, all this may sound like this is something I hated. Wrong. It may also sound like something that’s a chore to sit through. Double wrong. Birdemic is a fucking hoot. By the time you get five minutes into this, you’re rolling with laughter at just how truly bug shit crazy the movie is and you’re hooked. It truly is the most WTF movie that I’ve ever watched and it’s completely genuine. This isn’t a joke. It’s deathly serious and incredibly sincere. Nguyen is so serious about what he’s doing and what he’s trying to say that the movie is actually very preachy in parts, which would get sort of annoying if it wasn’t so clumsy and stupid in how it does it. James Nguyen is completely, utterly incompetent as a filmmaker. He has absolutely no understanding of films whatsoever. Yet, he is fully determined to make a great a piece of art and he’s sure he’s on the right path. That’s sort of endearing and absolutely entertaining. He’s at least achieved immortal status now, because Birdemic is now the best of the worst. Everyone absolutely needs to see Birdemic. I guarantee you’ll be entertained and awed by it.

Dub Cee reviews: POTC: On Stranger Tides

Posted in Uncategorized on May 21, 2011 by Dub Cee

Director: Rob Marshall
Writer(s): Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio (screenplay)

Ok, so, my wife and I finally have a weekend together and we decided to check out a movie and grab some dinner. We settled on a couple of Ribeye steaks from Texas Roadhouse, where I downed a couple of Samuel Adams: Boston Lager’s. We also finally decided to watch the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie rather than Thor. Personally, my expectations were fairly low going into this. Particularly after the back to back crapfest that were Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End.

Right of the bat, I liked this movie more than DMC or AWE, the first 20 minutes is a great action/escape scene where Sparrow rescues Gibbs from the courthouse, gets caught, is in the middle of the royal palace but then proceeds to escape again. There is a slight pause in the action to allow some dialogue and to introduce the pirate turned priveteer Hector Barbosa. (Geoffrey Rush) It is during this that we learn the premise of the story. The Spainish have figured out the location of the Fountain of Youth. Keeping with the spirit of the day, the English simply cannot allow them to find it first so Barbosa offers Sparrow his ship in exchange for Sparrow’s map, which we saw him steal at the end of AME.

Eventually it is found out this is a three way race as Blackbeard ( Ian McShane )himself is seeking out the fountain along with his first mate Angelica. Angelica (Penelope Cruz) of course being a woman from Cpt. Jack’s past and the movie does a nice job of ever so slowly peeling back the layers of their relationship. I think one of the main reasons I enjoyed this is that nobody was particularly the back guy. I mean Blackbeard was a ruthless bastard but when your prophet tells you that you will be killed by a one legged man, you will do what you must to find the fountain of youth, no?

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The pauses in the action are filled with moving the story forward and are just short enough to let the audience either laugh or simply catch its breath. There are no wasted or pointless scenes and the pacing is just good. It was a two hour movie but it seemed to me to much shorter, unlike the two previous monstrosities.

Overall: B+ (on Par with Curse of the Black Pearl)

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