Archive for October, 2010

Tick’s Live Blog: Halloween Horror Movie Marathon

Posted in Uncategorized on October 31, 2010 by Tick

Welcome to what may end up being the worst idea in history. We have an annual tradition in our house for this, my favorite of holidays. My wife and I have an all day Horror Movie Marathon. We make a lot of food. We concoct even more alcoholic drinks. We sit our asses down on the sofa and we eat, drink and what monsters, gore and films that range from classic to crap. This year, since we have the our nifty little site here, I’m going to do what no one should ever do and live blog the marathon, Now, I’ll tell you up front. I have no idea where this is going to go. We’re making the scheduled list of films on the fly. Some of these will be films that I haven’t seen before. Some will be old favorites. I will pop in and out as I feel the need to post, so some films may get a full post viewing review. Some may only get random thoughts while viewing. This may also get more and more incoherent as I go because it’s only noon and I’m going to start drinking, which will last on through the night. A warning up front, there will be SPOILERS!
While I normally try to avoid doing that, I want to post freely as I go tonight, plus the addition of booze will make censoring myself even more difficult. So…with that, strap in and get ready for a Reservoir Blogs experiment. Let’s see where this ends up. I’ll be deciding on the first movie soon and heading off into the abyss….Feel free to comment as I go.

12:30 PM

we’re going to start with a classic. Fulci’s Zombi 2. It’s a gloriously bad Italian ripoff of Night of the Living Dead. This was actually misrepresented in Europe as the “official” sequel to NOTLD. I figure start with something fun and dumb that I’ve seen before, since I have to cook, bartend and carve a pumpkin. I’ll also be starting off with a hearty bowl of Cheddar Ale Soup with smoked sausage to give myself a base. And a “blood” martini. Let the gore and chores begin.

12:41

There are too many Fabios and Sergios and Fabrizios in the credits. I always love the goofy synth music in 70’s Italian horror films, though. THE GBLINS RULE!

12: 50 – How confusing must it have been on Italian movie sets in the 70’s? Half the cast always speaks English and half speaks Italian. Trying to act in a scene like that must be about as nonsensical and confusing as attending a Tea Party rally. Also, what the fuck was wrong with people in the 70’s? Did people really call each other turkey?

1: 15 – I forget how long this film has nothing but bad dialogue and then….BOOM!

There it is. Shark vs Zombie. One of the greatest scenes in motion picture history. This scene is more important than the Zapruder Film. It’s the Citizen Kane of zombie moments.

1:25 – And there is the other famous scene. The sharp piece of wood through the eyeball. I don’t know what the Italian fetish is with eyeball gouging, but it seems to be their go to form of gore setpiece. I’ll give it to the Italians though. During the 70’s, aside from the ridiculous color of blood, they were the kings of getting the most bang for their buck with gore effects. It often time looks too real for how cheap it is. Cannibal Holocaust got people arrested for God’s sakes.

1:50 – I am seeing some of the funniest reaction faces I’ve ever seen in a horror film. My wife is laughing at this too much for it just to be the martini’s effects. Live worms as eye makeup is always cool. I absolutely suck at carving pumpkins. Time for beer. Full Sail’s Wassaile Ale, I believe. One more non-sequitur bullet point and I will officially sound like Larry King.

2:01 – I’m a fan of slow moving zombies, but these zombies seem like they just came from a methadone clinic.

2:10 – I love the final scene. Zombie have taken over New York City and wee see hoardes of undead shambling across the Brooklyn Bridge. Unfortunately, the film makers obviously couldn’t get permits to shut the bridge down, so we also see nromal rush hour traffic zooming by in both directions. Maybe zombies can drive too.

I have fun laughing at Zombi 2, but I do love it. The 70’s Italian horror films have a real chram to them. They’re sort of goofy. Most people prefer Argento and his art school approach to horror, but his films are just as goofy and I think I like Fulci’s bizzare, blunt insturment approach. Zombi 2 does have a pretty great final siege scene, too. Plus, shark vs zombie. It’s all about shark vs zombie. Solid 7 out of 10..on a curve, of course.

Next up – Neil Marshall’s Dog Soldiers. There’s just not enough movies about werewolves vs the military.

2:41 – I love a film that takes a simple, basic premise and turns it into a fully fleshed out product. A team of British Special Forces on a training mission in the Scottish Highlands runs into a pack of werewolves and have to fight to survive. It’s a lot better than it sounds. Credit to Neil Marshal who may be the best genre film maker working right now. He reminds me a lot of John Carpenter before he turned into Uwe Boll. (edit – My memory was wrong. They’re like army reserves. Not Special Forces.)

2:55 – I will never stop being amused by British slang and curse words. They’re so much better at it than we are.

3.04 – You have to like a director who can play a movie almost completely straight, yet make a scene with a guy trying to put his guts back in humorous.

3:15 – Dog plays tug of war with man’s intestines. Soldier tries to shoot dog, but other soldier pukes on his head. Man puts his intestines back in once again, cursing all the while. This film should have more of a following.

3:17 – Local woman tells surviving soldiers “This isn’t any ordinary enemy.” No shit, sister.

3:22 – Maybe the super glue will finally keep this blokes guts in.

3:28 – The werewolves look damn good for the budget. Top notch designs and good practical effects trump lazy CGI any day.

3:38 – I think every Marshall film has sweeping shots of the English country side. Beautiful scenery for a guy who’s bread and butter is severed heads and severed hands. He really likes severed hands.

3:50 – Kevin McKidd is a damn good actor. He deserves a better career. At the very least, HBO should have given Rome another season or two. All of this cast is pretty good, actually. Outstanding for a low budget horror film.

3:53 – Okay, the reveal(s) are pretty obvious, but they don’t take anything away from the film. I think I need a five hour energy already.

4:00 – My wife is playing the bongos on my cat’s fat stomach along with the soundtrack. This has absolutely nothing to do with the movie.

4:07 – “I hope I give you the shits, you fucking wimp!” That’s a pretty cavalier attitude when you’re about to be eaten. I hope I can go out like that. I’ll tell a bus “I hope my limbs get tied up in your axle and break it!” as I’m about to get run over.

4:12 – I love how huge and monstrous the werewolves are, but in some shots their long legs looks sort od Cirque du Solei-ish. That’s never a good thing.

4:16 – It’s over now and I’m not going to grade it. I gave Zombi 2 too high of a score, so the whole day will be out of whack now. Plus the happy train has officially pulled into buzzed town, so all scores are now meaningless. Still, I have to say that Dog Soldiers is one very solid entry into the werewolf sub-genre, which has far too few decent names on the list. I can’t wait to see what else Neil Marshal has to offer. Next up, I’m going to watch something I haven’t seen before, The House of the Devil. It’s an 80’s homage about a college student who babysits for a strange couple that hide a dark secret of some sort. I’ve read mixed things about it, so I’m hoping for the best. Time to make another drink and them I’ll dive in and see if we have our first dud of the day.

4:33 – We’re on to a hodgepodge of Spanish Meatballs, homemade breadsticks with Romesco sauce and black eyed pea hummus. Also finally trying Black Cherry Lambic for the first time. Finally, a vodka/club soda/lime combo to round it out. I should have a nice earthy vomit for some child’s trick or treat bag. Let’s start the next movie, shall we?

4:44 – someone remind me to rent Stake Land. The trailer looked interesting.

4:50 – Starts right off with the Grindhouse vibe and title sequence. Plus a Dee Wallace cameo. Off to a good start.

4:52 – My cat Beetle is very loud. She just yells and yells. It’s like being in the theater with some asshole on his cell phone. Amber has 86ed her from the living room.

5:09 – Extremely faithful to 80’s films of this type so far. The details, the way it’s filmed, the style of dialogue, that fact that nothing is really happening yet…it’s all very 80’s. These movies were always a ton of mundane scenes and slow buildup. Although throwing in Greg Khin is really not necessary. Let that part of the 80’s slip into the netherworld.

5:22 – My car broke down. I think I’ll pull into the graveyard. So, so 80’s.

5:28 – Why is it that people in horror movies have apparently never seen a horror movie? These people are obviously evil, probably Satanists at the very least. Amber is equating these people to her clients at work.

5:39 – I appreciate a slow buildup and this is pretty creepy, but get on with it already.

5:42 – From Greg Khin to The Fixx. EVIL!!

5:50 – Unexpected clues  starting to drop and noises starting to happen in the house. I have to say, this is slow but very effective.

6:00 – Pausing to light the candles in the jack o’lanterns and turn on the special effects. I’ll take this moment to salute Sean “P Diddy” Combs. Between his hilarious scene stealing in Get Him To The Greek (which I’ll review soon) and his delicious Ciroc vodka, he is my favorite person right now.

6:17 – Amber is too much of a perfectionist with the decorating. Screaming stobe lights do not have to be in the perfect spot. We’re just now starting the movie back up. AND, she’s calling a pansy for not hitting the 9% beer yet. I’m predicting an early night for my darling wife. Back to the movie.

6:30 – Never thought a movie with bathtub hair and roofie pizza could be this scary.

6:36 – Didn’t expect this much gore.

6:44 – Pleasant surprise. That was a great little throwback and almost perfectly done. If you’re going to do an homage, know you’re genre and do it right. I haven’t seen a film like this in a long time. It makes me want to go rent the Incubus or The Manitou or some 80’s shit like that. Always nice to see a scary movie built on actual suspense and not jump scares. I’ll highly recommend this one. I hear screaming children so, time to pour beer as Amber hands out candy. Next up – Pieces.

6: 55 – Sort of excited to see this for the first time. It’s an 80’s Italian giallo/slasher classic that was legendary when I was a kid and somehow the only movie of it’s kind that I never saw. From the stories I’ve heard, I don’t think this can possibly live up to my expectations, but at least I’m finally seeing it. Let’s roll.

7:11 – Okay, just now starting and it has the official Grindhouse opening. Then an axe murder. Yes!

7:17 – Turns out this isn’t Italian like I thought. Just good old American slasher trash. Ten minutes in and it’s already as gorey as it was hyped when I was a kid. And as sleazy. I feel very happy right now, as psycho as that sounds.

7:21 – Holy shit. This is already just nuts. It makes no sense and already three deaths. No 80’s homage can do justice to just how bizarre these movies actually were.

7:29 – Icon Moment – The guy that played Bluto in the Popeye musical just appeared wielding a chainsaw and watching teenagers bone in the bushes. Hello, red herring.

7:31 – Amber doesn’t believe that naked lady jigsaw puzzles exist because her dad didn’t have any when she was a kid.

7:36 – “So, I’m slayed by a withering look. Who gives a shit.” Pretty sure Shakespeare wrote that.

7:43 – That mother fucker did NOT just say the evidence in the case was elementary.

7:54 – Not sure why a Women’s Tennis Champ would moonlight as an undercover detective, but why not. Kobe Bryant does occasional captain a crabbing ship.

8:00 – The killer is really not patient in putting the jigsaw puzzle together. He just pounds that crap together. Very sloppy.

8:05 – Jazzersize Murder! Question of the night – How do you hide a chainsaw behind your back without someone seeing it?

8:09 – This has to be Italian. It’s too wacky for anything else. Don’t lie to me credits. Be Italian when you finally run.

8:11 – I swear to God, a kung fu fighter just jumped out and attacked the undercover tennis detective, then passed out, then woke up and blamed it on bad chop suey. You just can’t make this shit up. This may be the greatest movie ever.

8:23 – Amber and I have to admit that we have no idea who the killer is, yet neither of us care.

8:24 – Linda Day George – Worst Actress Ever.

8:27 – Pretty sure this script, especially the dialogue, was written in one night in crayon on the back of a Chili’s Kid’s menu.

8:34 – This is an awesome piece of shit, and I’ve loved it so far, but it’s really over staying its welcome. Wrap it up, B.

8:40 – Go to the bathroom and come back to catch a cat trying to drink my beer. I know you don’t care, but’s it’s funny to me. Also, the English guy is the killer. That makes sense, since he was an American boy that was sent to Sweden in the beginning of the movie.

8:44 – Biggest WTF final scene I’ve ever seen in my life. I can’t even ruin it when we’re doing a spoiler wild night. Everyone must watch the piece of crap at least once. Pure Grindhouse and just amazing. It actually exceeded expectations.Okay, not enough time to watch a full film before the Walking Dead premier, so we’re going to watch Dark House, which I expect to be a complete waste of celluloid. We’ve been lucky tonight though, so who knows. Next up – Dark House!

8:51 – I have no idea how this ended up in my house, but it has horror icon Jeffery Combs and I’m happy to give him some change. Jeffery Combs gotta eat. This is about a theater troupe that set up an elaborate, state of the art haunted house in an actual haunted house. Let’s see what kinda crap we get here.

9:02 – The movie opens fourteen years ago. You have approximately fourteen minutes to gain my interest.

9:08 – A dozen murdered kids and a lady shoving her own hands into a garbage disposal buys you ten more minutes.

9:09 – A woman talking to a shrink about her emotions instantly kills all that good will.

9:13 – Horror stereotype archetypes are all here. Losing steam quickly. Please kill someone soon.

9:18 – Jeffery Combs buys you ten more minutes. He’s the only horror icon that I still like seeing pop up in these straight to DVD crapfests.

9:25 – Sooooo…House on Haunted Hill remake, only dumber.

9:36 – I almost hate movies like this worse than terrible movies. It’s just competent enough to trick yourself into watching the whole thing, thinking it might end up being a good movie. But it won’t be. Yet, it’s not bad enough to switch it off in disgust. It’ll get me through until 10 PM and The Walking Dead premier.

9:43 – This is actually a pretty good basic idea, the really haunted, fake haunted house and some of these scenes are working, but it has an underlying meh factor. THESE are the types of films that should be remade. Not classics.

9: 50 – I’m sorta drunk, Amber is done as expected and this is unfortunately watchable. Not good, but watchable. BUT, it’s going off. Walking Dead is more important. I’ll finish this later. The last movie of the marathon will begin after Walking Dead.

11:30 – Well….I have to be honest here. I’m pretty damn drunk and The Walking Dead has pretty much ruined me. Not only is it basically perfect,as most Darabont films are,  it’s surprisingly emotional. Very few movies I had in mind can follow this up and I don’t really want to go there at this point. I’m going to sign off, drink more and finally play some Rock Band 3. This has been pretty damn enjoyable and I’ll probably do this again. Happy Halloween. I’ve done the horror for the last month and will mostly, reluctantly, move on to other genres. I see westerns for November. Whatever. For now, Happy Halloween and drink Ciroc.

Chainsaw Cheerleader Reviews: Thirst (2009)

Posted in Uncategorized on October 30, 2010 by chainsawcheerleader

Directed by: Park Chan-wook

Written by: Park Chan-wook, Jeong Seo-Kyeong

Cast: Song Kang-ho, Kim Ok-bin, Shin Ha-kyun

Genre: Korean Horror

 

While loosely based on the novel Therese Raquin by Emile Zola, Thirst takes on the myth of the vampire. Wrapped in the traditional trappings of the Westernized vampire, Thirst is by no means one of such films. A refreshing take on the vampire, Thirst is a vehicle used to explore the deeper and darker aspects of the human animal. Remaining unpredictable, this film questions a person’s nature toward good and evil while doing so in an engaging manner, mixed with black comedy. Directed by Park Chan-wook, famous for Old Boy and Three…Extremes, Thirst is filled with his sense of dark humor and detailed storytelling.

Thirst follows a Catholic priest named Sang-hyun. With a strong belief in his faith, Sang-hyun volunteers at a hospital and provides his priestly services to its patients. As he witnesses death all around him, his faith begins to wan. Due to this he volunteers for a medical experiment to help find a cure for a deadly virus. After being injected with the virus, Sang-hyun becomes sick, is then given a blood transfer that is tainted, and soon dies. After he is declared dead, Sang-hyun rises and is declared a miracle. News soon spreads about his recovery and he is seen as a faith healer. As people begin to flock to Sang-hyun, a childhood friend (Shin Ha-kyun) and his family ask to heal him of his cancer. After he does, the family invites the priest into their home. It is at this point that Sang-hyun begins to crave blood and finds that he has no control over these cravings. While he slowly descends into indecency, he falls in love with his childhood friend’s wife (Kim Ok-bin). It is the lust for his friend’s wife that brings him closer to the violence and bloodshed that is about to come.

Song Kang Ho is one of Korea’s most loved actors and this love is rightly justified. Kang Ho has acted in several wildly popular foreign films such as The Host and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. Each of these films are excellent. As Sang-hyun, Kang Ho is able to take on the complex role of a priest while bringing across clearly his downward spiral into a humans basic needs without the rules that society has placed on them. These needs being feeding, fighting, and fornicating. Song Kang Ho is able to remain somewhat naive and innocent as his character breaks all the moral laws he pledged his life to.

Kim Ok Bin is amazing as Kang Ho’s love interest. While seeming to be a lonely woman trapped in a loveless marriage, Ok Bin shifts seamlessly between this empty shell into a remorseless monster. Ok Bin embraces the role of a relentless killer and acts so insane that the viewer is wowed.

Park Chan-wook uses these two incredible actors to add to some of the more unusual portions of the film. This can best be seen after the death of Kang Ho’s husband. After his death, the two begin to have hallucinations of her husband. He begins to haunt the pair by being visible to only them and physically interacting with two while never speaking. One such interaction occurs when the two make love and the husband lays between them. This oddness prevents the film from becoming too heavy and prevents it from becoming preachy.

The only issue one may find with Thirst is that the film runs 133 minutes. If the viewer is like I, as fidgety as a five year old, then watching the entire film may be a bit difficult. The film almost feels like it could be broken into two movies. The problem with that is the first half of the film is completely different then the second half. The first half eases into the second half well which perfectly explains why Thirst being made into two films would be a mistake. If the viewer has more patience then I, they will hardly notice the length of this film.

I had a very difficult time reviewing this film. When a movie leaves you speechless you know there is something very special about it. The storyline is more complex and detailed then the brief blurb that I have written. To write more would give away to much of what the viewer should see for him or herself. Thirst is more than a story about vampires, a love triangle, or the basis needs of the human animal. While being a perfect combination of the three, Thirst is something more. Something that has left me speechless. Thirst is by no means the next Oldboy but that fact does not by any means decrease the greatness of this film.

Thirst receives 4 blood sucking priests out of 5

Chainsaw Cheerleader Reviews: Feed (2005)

Posted in Uncategorized on October 28, 2010 by chainsawcheerleader

Directed by: Brett Leonard

Written by: Kieran Galvin, Alex O’Loughlin, Patrick Thompson

Cast: Alex O’Loughlin, Patrick Thompson, Gabby Millgate, Jack Thompson, Rose Ashton

Genre: Horror, Psychological Thriller

 

Feed is a film that centers around the sexual fetish of fat eroticism known as feederism. This fetish consists of feeders and gainers. A feeder  feeds a gainer who is often a woman who receives sexual pleasure from the gaining of weight and eating. The feeder seeks out obese women and derives some sexual enjoyment from the act of feeding them. It is in Feed that this sexual subculture is explored and details the life of a feeder who goes too far, often by feeding his gainers to death and publishing the details onto his very own website that members of the site pay to watch.

The director, Brett Leonard, takes on in Feed our obsession with beauty. While considering what is and isn’t beautiful in the eyes of our society, Leonard explores this fixation by delving into the internet . Leonard allows the viewer to see how the internet allows its users to engage in their most perverse desires.  Feed is more than about feederism. It is about the aspect within us all that enjoys the ugliness and the  grotesqueness of extreme situations.

Feed follows Phillip Jackson (Patrick Thompson) who is an Australian cyber crimes investigator. While policing the scum of the internet (largely porn and pedophiles), Jackson comes across a suspicious website dedicated  to the sexual fetish known as feederism. After discovering that the last gainer disappeared after she weighed in at 600 pounds, Jackson becomes obsessed with proving to his superiors that there is something very wrong with the website. Tracking down the owner of the website, Michael Carter (Alex O’Loughlin), Jackson goes against the wishes of his superiors and travels to Ohio. This results in Jackson being fired but it does not stop him from trying to track down the troubled man behind the website. As Jackson struggles to find and confront this monster, he learns the truth behind his own desires. It is not long before Jackson is able to track down Carter and as a result of this Carter begins a sadistic game at Jackson’s expense.

The amazing thing about Feed, is that the ending of the film is unpredictable. Very rarely does a movie have the ability to do so. Leonard shifts effortlessly between Jackson and Carter. He shows the good side and the bad side of each man. By going back and forth between the different sides of the characters, the viewer is left to guess who really is the bad guy. A lot of credit should also be given to the writers of Feed’s script. Each character is very well-rounded. Jackson and Carter are both given scenes that show that they can be loving human beings. The only question is what are the motives behind this kindness and affection. While each character has a disturbingly detailed past, the actions they take based on those details are sound and help explain how far each of them is willing to go for their dark desires.

While Feed is edited wonderfully, it also has a score of upbeat music from the 1950’s and 1960’s. Songs such as “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” and “Yummy Yummy Yummy” are played against some very bizarre scenes. For example, as the morbidly obese woman is confined to her bed her feeder dances around her on the bed singing along to “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” while completely nude. The feeder’s  very muscular and fat free body bounces around a mountain of flesh that giggles in delight. It is moments in films like this that I love dearly. When out of place music is played against a violent or negative scene the music brings a certain beauty to it. For example, when there is a fight scene and  classical music is played, the fighting is fought with a certain type of grace that can only be accomplished due to the music.

Leonard gave Feed a voyeuristic edge without making the film feel like it was shot with a documentary style. The viewer is up close and personal. We are thrown into the perversion and are still entertained. Feed has many scenes with nudity and what might be deemed by some as deviant sex. Some of these scenes consist of the feeder masturbating while he feeds the gainer a cheeseburger and violent sex between two consenting thin adults.

The topic and images of this film may make the viewer feel uncomfortable but the subject matter does stir ones morbid curiosity. While remaining fascinating from beginning to end, Feed had the ability to hold my interest for the entire length of the film. This is an ability that very few films have been able to achieve. Not once during Feed did I play on my laptop or pause it to do something else. This is indeed a rare feat.

Feed receives 4 pounds of flesh out of 5

 

Pi reviews PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 (2010)

Posted in Uncategorized on October 27, 2010 by Pi

Photobucket

So, a couple of years ago, this little film called Paranormal Activity came out. It started off as a typical indie release, only opening in a few cities. Then, this alleged grass-roots internet campaign began, where you could demand to see it in your city. Nevermind that they didn’t show you shit about the film. All they showed you was the audiences terrified reaction to watching it. Internet sheep the world over fell for it hook, line and sinker and before long, Paranormal Activity was in every multiplex across the country and making money hand over fist. They didn’t get mine.

It reeked of Blair Witch to me, which is the only film I can ever remember making me so angry that I literally wanted to burn the theatre down. The camcorder footage, the groundswell of public demand, it was all too similar. I ended up seeing the flick with my teenage daughter a year later on DVD. We watched it alone in the dark, late at night and it scared the shit out of me. I couldn’t sleep and I had to turn all the lights in the house on. I watch horror movies like bitches drink Starbucks. Every. Goddamn. Day. They don’t scare me. I can count on one hand the movies that have actually scared me into losing sleep. One hand that’s missing a digit. So needless to say, I had respect for the film after that. When Paranormal 2 was announced, I rolled my eyes. I didn’t see how they could capture lightning in a bottle twice. I had to see it though and what did I get.

An experience that was very different and yet very much the same.

First things first, if you didn’t like Paranormal Activity, you’re not going to like the sequel. It’s essentially the same film. PA2 follows Kristie, who is the sister of Katie, the woman from the first film. Kristie lives in Carlsbad with her tool of a husband, his teenage daughter and her newborn son. Already, tool mate is a recurring theme. My strongest feelings regarding the first film was that Micah, Katie’s boyfriend, was the biggest douchebag in recent memory. I didn’t mourn his passing. Kristie’s husband is a tool as well, but not nearly as annoying as Micah. The film opens with their home seemingly being burglarized. Nothing is missing, but the house is trashed. This leads tool-husband to install security cameras throughout the house, which gives us our footage. It also creates one of the films flaws.

I understand that what makes a scary movie scary is building tension. Slow builds are usually the best, but molasses is another thing. There are way too many static shots of the family pool and the stairwell. Every night in the movie, the film switches between the six cameras in the house. Throughout the ENTIRE movie, nothing ever happens at the pool. It’s an annoying red herring, especially considering how many times you see that fucking pool. I would say the same thing about the staircase, but something happens there. Once. Out of about 45 shots.

My other problems with the security cameras is that they’re not consistent. Now the family also has a camcorder, but there are shots and angles in this film that come from neither the fixed cameras or the family handheld. There’s not a lot of them, but there are a few and when you’re gonna do the whole “found footage” type film, you need to stick to your premise. Most people won’t discover it though if they buy into the film.

I think that’s what it comes down to. Can you buy in? Maybe that’s why I’m so immune to horror films. I just can’t see them ever happening. Even slasher movies with realistic killers are proposterous to me. For some reason I bought into Paranormal one on some level because it scared me. I bought into this film as well, because once I got home, all the lights came on and I stayed up all night until the sun came up. What scared me? I HAVE NO IDEA.

The movie’s not really all that scary. I don’t think it’s paced nearly as well as the first film and honestly, it plods along for the first hour with barely anything happening. When the “scary” stuff goes down, it’s almost the same notes as the first film. They tie in the first film, explain the possible origins of the entity and then proceed to a [REC]/Paranormal Activity mash-up of a finale. Go figure though, I was scared. Maybe it’s the fact that I sleep with women and the thought of them getting possessed and swaying above the bed while I’m asleep is something I can actually see happening having experienced the real-life horror of demonic women. Maybe it’s because everything in these films is all so normal and mundane until it isn’t.

Watching both films in two different ways was an experience as well. I honestly thought the reason I got so freaked out on the first one was all alone at home, lights off, late at night and my daughter was freaked out, so I had some sort of sympathy scare. This time though, I saw it in a packed theatre, where most of the theatre was FLAT OUT TALKING the whole time. And even crazier, it didn’t bother me at all. Usually it makes me homicidal, but this was one of those events where it seemed okay. Like we were all just reminding ourselves it was just a stupid movie and we were all safe because we were in a big public place and those stupid people on the screen were trapped in their haunted house. Like maybe we all wanted to forget that eventually we were going to have to go home.

Or maybe, since it was midnight on a Friday, the whole theatre was just drunk,

In any event, it worked both ways. At home and in the theatre and that in and of itself is rare. Paranormal Activity 2 is not a good movie. It’s paced shitty and it’s really unnecessary. It breaks very little new ground and basically uses the same devices as the original with different characters. But….

It scared me. And isn’t that what it’s supposed to do?

Photobucket

My Grade: C+

Sabbath Reviews: ThanksKilling (2009)

Posted in Uncategorized on October 27, 2010 by Sabbath


Directed by: Jordan Downey
Written by: Jordan Downey, Bradly Schulz, Kevin Stewart, Anthony Wilson, Grant Yaffee

Does this film look like it’s about a murderous turkey? Does it? THAT’S BECAUSE IT FUCKING IS.

I’ve saved this review for the end of October because Thanksgiving will be upon us soon enough and we might as well usher in November with an up close look at the world of B-horror movies. As a filmmaker who operates on out-of-pocket cash, it’s always interesting to see what other filmmakers in my situation put out there that actually gets accepted by festivals … Netflix … sometimes even On Demand services.

Apparently the winning formula is to not give a fuck about story and just be an asshat. ThanksKilling was made on a budget of $3,500 and was shot during the director’s summer break and really is about a necromanced talking turkey who axes off children during their Thanksgiving break. At this time I would like to point out that the filmmakers credit a whopping total of FIVE writers for this script. Five. Five writers worked on this script — a script about a killer turkey. Let that sink in while I … try … to get down to business and explain this movie.

Literally the first shot of the film is a pair of pilgrim titties. I’m not going to lie … it had me at hello for a bit. They never explain why this pilgrim broad has her tits just on display. I’m guessing when you have a killer turkey stalking your big-titted pilgrim, minor details really don’t need to be explained. The pilgrim is played by Wanda Lust, a porn star, and I know that had to make the filmmakers giddy to say they nabbed a celebrity of some sort. I digress.

Tits McGee is running through the woods, only to fall and trip and we get our first look at her predator — a rubber turkey that’s obviously being operated as a hand puppet. “Nice tits, bitch!” I believe was the turkey’s first line before he raised an axe in the air and we cut to the opening title sequence. I’m willing to bet a good half of the film’s budget went to the CGI title sequence alone, because it went nowhere else.

Now in the present we get the standard slasher movie about teens opener — shots of a high school building, the trees, a kid riding a bike, etc. and then we get introduced to our main cast. The jock, the Mary Sue, the slut, the geek …. and the big fat hick? That’s a new one. For some reason they all hang out together and they’re off to celebrate Thanksgiving break like it’s not over in a couple of days … really, they’re overly excited about an extended weekend.

Meanwhile, an old dude with a shotgun and his dog are in the woods for some reason and the dog runs off. Rover finds a spot to take a piss which happens to be right on top of a figurine of a totem. The ground shakes and opens up and … IT’S THE KILLER TURKEY! Apparently dog urine summons him forth and we get our next witty line, obviously crafted by at least 3 out of the 5 writers: “I’m pissed!” … damn fine writing. He kills the dog.

I’m going to stop right there because reliving the plot is sort of killing me. Let me just sum up the rest of the film. There’s some lore about an Indian necromancing a turkey because the white man offended him and now every 505 years it comes back for vengeance … said turkey goes on a killing spree, the teenagers are all Scary Movie-levels of retarded (as in the horror parody series), turkey kills their parents and nobody seems to care, blah blah blah. Did I mention at some point the turkey becomes radioactive and comes back with a vengeance? Yeah, that happens. Or did I mention the turkey kills the Mary Sue’s father, dons his face as a mask and the teens don’t realize that its a turkey in a fake daddy disguise?

Yeah, that all happened.

Am I being too harsh? Do I sound like I loathed this movie? I think what worries me the most is I don’t and I don’t know what that says about me. The filmmakers seem to know they’re being retarded and some of the dialogue and actions definitely emphasize that, but every once in a while the actors try to play it serious and I think that’s what bothers me. The Director clearly didn’t direct because the actors bounce around from completely retarded to taking themselves actually somewhat seriously … and it’s ALL bad.

The actors are some of the worst I’ve ever seen. Clearly they were all locals and friends … that’s OK, I know how that is. I fully understand! But ee-fucking-GAD, some of them were just too awful for words. Okay, all of them were, but some of them seemed to be trying to do worse than the others. Slut Character — whatever your name was — you win. You win. Now stop trying.

On a technical level, this film fails as well. They say if you have bad actors, you can sometimes cover it up with good direction and vise versa. This is a case where nobody in front or behind the camera knew what they were doing. Some of the shots are fine — they follow the rules and look passable. Some of the shots are so jarringly bad though that it sucks you out of it. Yeah, it sucks you right out of the premise of a talking turkey killing teenagers. Shut up. You know what I mean. The lighting is often also poorly thought out, but I can’t talk … lighting is one of my weak spots. I hate lighting. That topic will be for another day.

The writing … the writing … where do I begin on the writing? Five writers, most of which supposedly worked on crafting dialogue, and the dialogue is single-handedly the worst thing about this film. The “serious” moments are so badly worded and unnatural that you wonder if any of them have heard another human being talk. It doesn’t help that they’re delivered with all the awkwardness these actors could muster. Sometimes the humor is actually pretty funny though in its absurdity, which makes things possibly worse because it contrasts so much with all the badly-written dialogue. It shows that too many people worked on this script.

I really don’t know. I’ll be honest. I think part of me is jealous that somebody made this and it actually got added to Netflix. Not only was it added to Netflix, but it was under the “Horror” section on Netflix Instant. You don’t have to even search for it. It’s right there! That’s how I found it. So, yes, part of me is jealous because this movie is so bad and at least made it that far.

Plus, you can’t outright hate a movie that has a scene of a turkey killing a guy mid-doggy styling a chick, takes over, only to finish inside of her and exclaim “YOU JUST GOT STUFFED!”.

If you’re the type who enjoys watching bad horror movies — I mean really bad — I’d say give this movie a view. It’s sort of one of those things just “to say you did”. It’s absurd. Ridiculous. Poorly shot. Badly acted. And it has some genuinely amusing, stupid moments that let you know at least one of the writers was probably pretty funny after a few drinks. It clocks in at 66 minutes long, so it won’t take a huge chunk out of your lives. Plus, I’ll put my jealousy aside and say you should support these guys because as bad as they are … they had the balls to try, and according to them, ThanksKilling 2 — IN SPACE — is on their to-do list. You’ve got to admire their persistence.

— Sabbath

Super Carnitas reviews Observe and Report

Posted in Uncategorized on October 24, 2010 by supercarnitas

Writer – Jody Hill

Director – Jody Hill

A funny thing happened in 2009…there were two mall cop movies. I’m pretty sure, in the entire history of mainstream, American film….there had never been a mall cop movie, and in 2009 we got two. One was a light-hearted, marginally successful, cookie-cutter…family…comedy. The other was Observe and Report.

If this film was advertised to show what it actually was…I would have seen it in theaters. But no, the clips and commercials I’d seen made it look like just another Seth Rogen comedy. Which isn’t really a bad thing..I just was in no rush to see it. So I ended up not seeing it…until a couple of days ago. Holy shit.

Now I have to admit…my friend Conor once said to me..something like…”Hey…you should see Observe and Report. It’s pretty dark…I think you’d like it.” That comment has always lingered in my head…but still…I never really made an effort to see it….until a couple of days ago. Holy shit.

Seth Rogen is pitch-perfect as Ronnie…head security guard at the local mall. His role is established early on as we see him dressing down a couple of co-workers and in another scene where he is being interviewed by a local news reporter. The news reporter disrespects him and it leads to the movies first hilarious line…”I’m standing here with this doctor.”.

The story starts off with a flasher exposing himself to women in the mall parking lot. This gives Ronnie something to focus on. A case. It also sets up our introduction to Brandi (Anna Faris)….the makeup girl in the department store. The most beautiful girl in the entire mall…according to Ronnie. And me. Ronnie promises to keep her safe from the perverted flasher. She’s uninterested at best.

So far..it’s pretty much your run of the mill comedy. But then we get a peek at what this movie really is. A tiny peek. Ronnie….and the two Asian twin security guards that work with him…are at a shooting range. They are firing off a variety of assault weapons with deadly accuarcy…and complaining about not being allowed to carry guns as mall security guards. Tazers and mace is all they are allowed to carry. Jody Hill brilliantly sets the tone for the film with this scene.

From here the movie is delivered to us through a series of events. Of course most movies unfold through a series of events, but the events in this movie come at us like the ticks of a ticking time bomb. With each scene we get another tick. With each tick comes a greater sense of unease. With each tick our impending doom becomes more real. Our every instinct tells us to brace for the inevitable explosion…but does it come? Hmmm. I’m not sure it does. Let’s see.

A detective (Ray Liotta) arrives to investigate the flasher case after Brandi….the hottest girl in the mall…is flashed. Ronnie, who has a huge crush on Brandi, promised to keep her safe. He didn’t. His attempts to console Brandi fail simply because he doesn’t have the skill set to console another human being. The detective steps in and manages to calm Brandi’s nerves.

(Tick)

A store in the mall is robbed…after hours. Ronnie arrives on the scene…as does the detective. Ronnie starts tossing out accusations without anything to back them up. In the process he reveals himself to be racist and simple-minded. His intentions are good, but they are clearly lining his road to hell.

(Tick)

Ronnie befriends Nell. A woman in a wheelchair who works at a coffee shop in the mall. She greets him each morning with a free cup of coffee.

(Tick)

Ronnie…in an effort to recapture some of his rapidly dwindling stature…decides to join the police force. He learns that he should take a “ride along” with a police officer to see if it’s really for him. He decides to take an impromptu “ride along” with the very same detective that has been encroaching on his territory at the mall. The detective ends up dropping Ronnie off at a very dangerous street corner where he is confronted by a half-dozen, violent, crack dealers. Ronnie  brutally deals with the crack dealers and returns to the police station. There he hugs the detective and thanks him for the opportunity.

(Tick)

The layers are peeling away from Ronnie.

(Tick)

Ronnie convinces Brandi to go on a date with him. Seth Rogen is at his best here. His intentions are sweet and true. Childlike. We learn that Ronnie was a special needs child….and his special needs drove his father to leave him and his mother. We assume his special needs drove his mother to alcoholism.

(Tick)

The date is hard to watch. It begins with Brandi not even remembering it in the first place, trying to blow it off…then reluctantly going along. She drinks her way through dinner and only remotely shows interest in Ronnie when she learns that he has prescription meds on him. In a seemingly chivalrous gesture, Ronnie gives the remainder of his meds to Brandi…who indulges in them without hesitation. The drugs and the booze render Brandi incapacitated. She pukes as Ronnie leads her to her front door. The date ends with Ronnie essentially raping Brandi. There is a line thrown in to make it seem consentual…but he’s raping her.

I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a rape scene in Paul Blart Mall Cop.

(Tick)

It’s time for the pivotal scene in the movie. Ronnie’s psych exam. Ronnie must pass this psych exam to be considered a candidate for the police force. During the interview process Ronnie tells us about a dream he has “most nights”. In this dream he’s happy and joyful until a “cloud of bad things” approaches. He takes it upon himself to systematically blow away everyone and everything that stands in his way with his trusty shotgun. In his dream he saves the day and becomes everyone’s hero. He ends the telling of this dream by mockingly shooting his shotgun repeatedly at the interviewer..and smiling.

(Tick)

Ronnie leaves the mall and goes to the police station where he learns he failed his psych exam and didn’t make the force. The detective attempts to mock him while delivering the news by having another officer hide in the closet and listen in. In a rare example of a character summing up an entire movie in one line…the officer, as he exits the closet, says “i thought this was going to be funny…but it’s just sad.”

(Tick)

Ronnie, defeated, goes back to his job at the mall. The girl he gets coffee from every morning is being harassed by her manager. Ronnie steps in and defends her.

(Tick)

It’s close now. The bomb is about to go off. Ronnie…near the end of his rope…connects with Dennis (Michael Pena)…his top security guard. The pair bond through drugs and mayhem. At the peak of their bonding…Dennis reveals himself to be a criminal. He offers Ronnie a chance to be his partner in crime. Ronnie refuses…and is knocked out for his decision. Dennis escapes.

(Tick)

Ronnie…at his lowest point, decides to go undercover to catch the flasher in an attempt to redeem himself. Instead he discovers Brandi and the detective having sex in her car. He confronts Brandi in the mall and smashes a jewelry case to illustrate his frustration. Ronnie loses his job….and refuses to leave the mall…the police arrive..

(Tick)

(Tick….Tick…..boom?)

The police try to subdue Ronnie and he attacks them violently. VIOLENTLY. Taking out at least 6 of them with a flashlight before being taken down and arrested.

(Boom)

In my opinion the movie ends here. I won’t reveal the ending, but I believe the conclusion only exists inside Ronnie’s head. It’s his dream…made real. It’s too good to be true. Ronnie gets arrested…he sits in jail…and we’re treated with his delusions to wrap it all up with a nice little bow. The ticking time bomb that was Ronnie didn’t explode in the end…but fizzled out and failed.

I loved this movie. It was mostly sad…but also really hilarious. Really dark too. Taxi Driver in a mall isn’t much of a stretch. Rogen, Faris, and Liotta were all solid in their roles. And the cameos by Patton Oswalt, Danny McBride, and Aziz Ansari were all golden. There are times when this movie almost starts mocking itself…it kinda walks the line but never really crosses it.

In ten years…people should still be talking about this movie. If they aren’t, then there’s something wrong with people.

“I thought this was going to be funny, but instead it’s just sad.”

 

 

 

 

 

Tigris Rose reviews “Star Trek” (2009)

Posted in Uncategorized on October 23, 2010 by tigrisrose

Star Trek (2009)
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writer: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
Original Writer/Creator: Gene Roddenberry

I will be honest with you, I was a little frightened when I found out that they were making a Star Trek prequel. So scared in fact I didn’t even want to see it. Which I didn’t until it came out to DVD. I’m not a big fan of prequels, especially prequels that happen to re-tell my favorite franchises. When you see a prequel come up, one of two things happen. Either the prequel is good and it restarts or continues a franchise. Or it kills the franchise all together and pisses off their fans.

Thank god this prequel wasn’t a bomb. I think I would have cried, and my soul would have died just a little if it did. This was a prequel that Gene Roddenberry himself would be proud of.

One nice thing about this movie is that it doesn’t matter if you are a diehard trekkie that knows that October 24 2010 is really star date 2010.297. Whether you’re a casual fan that loves sci-fi or one who just isn’t into the events with the enterprise. That’s ok because there is something for everyone. You don’t have to be a fan or even like the franchise to love this movie. My own husband, who hates, Star Trek, yes I question that decision myself not marrying a Trekkie. However, he hates the fact that he has to admit to liking this movie.

J.J. Abrams did a good job keeping as much of the personal story line in the movie. For example Sulu fencing experience. And the feelings between Spock and Uhura that they had for each other. Though it wasn’t blatant on the show there was defiantly a past between them.

The actors did a great job portraying their predecessors. There was some change with Kirk since the time line got screwed up by the Romulans. But Kirk was still a flirt, always hitting on the girls. But he was more raw and rebel than the original. Since Kirk’s father died before he was supposed to.

Simon Pegg was the perfect Scotty. And I’m not just talking about the accent. He was cocky about his work, and took offense to anyone who said he couldn’t do something. Then of course yelling at his little minion was just funny.

Spock Prime: What if I told you that your transwarp theory was correct, that is is indeed possible to beam onto a ship that is traveling at warp speed?
Scotty: I think if that equation had been discovered, I’d have heard about it.
Spock Prime: The reason you haven’t heard of it, Mr. Scott, is because you haven’t discovered it yet.
Scotty: Are you from the future?
James T. Kirk: Yeah, he is. I’m not.
Scotty: Well, that’s brilliant. Do they still have sandwiches there?”

Now the Trekkie in me will chime in. I hate it when the writers mess with the space time continuum. Even “Back to the Future” couldn’t keep to their own rules. Granted “Old Spock” pokes fun and jokes about disproving the fact they broke the rule of no contact. I hate time travel!

One of my biggest beef with the movie is that Pavel Chekov is there, graduating with the other from the academy. Any watcher even to the lowest fan knows that Chekov was younger than everyone. He didn’t even come into play till the second season of the original series. Yes I am that geeky. In the movie he graduates with the others.

Having Leonard Nimoy on as Spock Prime was awesome. I loved Spock, he and Scotty were always my favorite from the original series. I know that there was a lot of stink about not letting the other characters especially Shatner come in. But it was understandable for anyone with half a brain. There wasn’t many scenes away from the main cast in the movie. So unless they wanted to play extras at the academy or ceremony at the end. There was no place for them to go in the movie. Not to mention they wouldn’t be able to reprise their roles, because at the time Spock left his time from the present to the past, the other characters were already dead. So I understand not asking the others back.

I would have like to see more of McCoy and Spock’s rivelry as they try to understand each other. I don’t like the physical attraction out in public with Spock and Uhura. That is a big no-no with me. Even this early in his career he was still a very disciplined Vulcan. That kind of display was not allowed even for him.

Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy: Yeah. Well, I got nowhere else to go, the ex-wife took the whole damn planet in the divorce. All I got left is my bones.

I’m still torn about the space time f-up. Because the Romulans came through and killed Kirk’s father. As James T. Kirk grows up without the father that was so much a part of his life in the series story line. I think they did a good job of showing how Spock and Kirk grew up with their new paths. However with those events, plus the destruction of Vulcan, half of what the crew knew, understands, and participated in Spock’s life as a Vulcan was gone.

They were able to get the story lines back on the same page by the end of the movie but some of the key episodes moments won’t technically happen. Which means these experiences and life lessons they learned might not happen. Damn I hate time travel!

I think it sucks that Spock’s mother dies. She was a key link to Spock’s humanity even as an adult. She was also the link that kept Spock and his father Sarek together. I hope that the near anialation of their people would give them that bond now that his mother is dead. Though I do love the moment at the end with the two Spocks.

Spock notices a elder Vulcan walking in the docking bay]
Spock: Father!
[the elder Vulcan turns and is revealed as Spock Prime]
Spock Prime: I am not our father.
[Young Spock, now recognizing who he is, approaches]
Spock Prime: There are so few Vulcans left. We cannot afford to ignore each other.
Spock: Then why did you send Kirk aboard, when you alone could have explained the truth?
Spock Prime: Because you needed each other. I could not deprive you of the revelation of all that you could accomplish together, of a friendship that will define you both in ways you cannot yet realize.
Spock: How did you persuade him to keep your secret?
Spock Prime: He inferred that universe-ending paradoxes would ensue should he break his promise.
Spock: You lied.
Spock Prime: I… I implied.
Spock: A gamble.
Spock Prime: An act of faith. One I hope that you will repeat in your future in Starfleet.
Spock: In the face of extinction, it is only logical that I resign my Starfleet commission and help rebuild our race.
Spock Prime: And, yet, you can be in two places at once. I urge you to remain in Starfleet. I have already located a suitable planet in which to establish a Vulcan colony. Spock, in this case, do yourself a favor: Put aside logic. Do what feels right.
[Spock Prime turns and leaves]
Spock Prime: Since my customary farewell would appear oddly self-serving, I shall simply say…
[Shows Vulcan hand salute]
Spock Prime: Good luck.

I am a Trekkie, I love Star Trek original and next generation. Anything after just suck. I hate Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. The stories for those just suck!

I believe that anyone would love this movie. Not just the Star Trek Trekkies and fans. It is a very good Sci-Fi movie, great special effects. Really good acting. You don’t need to know the franchise to understand what’s going on. Which makes it a good prequel. Although if you are a fan you get the inside jokes! J.J. Abrams did a great job keeping Gene Roddenberry vision alive.

As a blogger and a Trekkie I’ll give J.J. Abrams Star Trek a solid A!

“Live Long and Prosper!”

%d bloggers like this: