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Guillaume de Sade Reviews: Book of Eli (2010)

Posted in Uncategorized on November 7, 2010 by Guillaume de Sade


Directed by: Albert & Allen Hughes
Written by: Gary Whitta

When talking about post apocalyptic movies, there is no gray area. You either get it right (Mad Max, Terminator: Salvation) or you get it wrong (Johnny Mnemonic, Tank Girl). The Book of Eli definitely got it right.

Let start with a little history of the Hughes Brothers as directors. Their feature film resume is short…very short. Wikipedia only has five films credited to them, including Book of Eli, which happens to be the only one I’ve seen. As a matter of fact, outside of the dubious honor of being on the wrong end of 2Pac’s fist (http://www.strictlyballin.net/timeline.html), this movie is the only frame of reference I have for them.

Then there’s Gary Oldman. Monster talent and definitely raises the bar for any project that he’s associated with. I had first seen him in “The Professional” and then in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” and a couple of movies where he’s just being a dick. Then there’s Denzel.

I will be doing a review of “Training Day” soon and probably some other movies of his, but there will be a lot of cross referencing. He really was the biggest X factor in this movie. Were we going to get the versatile, mega talented Denzel that drew you into a movie and wouldn’t let you go…you know, the one that got snubbed for his portrayal of Malcolm X (He lost that year to Al Pacino for “Scent of A Woman”…seriously look it up. I’ll wait for you) or were we going to get the stuttering nervous guy from such hits as Ricochet and John Q. His history with action/adventure type movies being hit or miss at best, the stuttering nervous guy would have sunk this movie. I’m glad he stayed home. That guy gets on my nerves.

Rounding out the cast was just a very weird pick, but Mila Kunis…hot, hell yeah. Talented enough to be on screen with Gary Oldman AND bad ass Denzel?! I would have never thought it possible. This could be the role that elevates her status from hot chick to actor (…or actress, depending on how politically correct you are).

Okay, so the movie itself and how these people fit into it. The Hughes Bros did an incredible job of painting this world and pacing it so that it’s layers peeled back slowly, but not so slow as to make you lose interest. They also made sure it had it’s own look and feel to it and not end up a Road Warrior knock off. You would think that they’d run out of stuff in about 15 minutes, but no. They had enough depth of story and characters to keep this pace and keep the viewer interested the entire two hours. At each big reveal, you’d think that was “it” and now where was the movie going and they always had something else.

Now, about Mr. Washington…I’ve seen him in a few movies that were classified as action, but it wasn’t until “Training Day” that I saw him as a true bad ass, capable of carrying an action movie. I had gone off on a rant here about racism and the academy awards, but I deleted it and will save it for my review of “Training Day”. Let’s just end this by saying that he brought that same intensity to this role and it spilled out over the whole movie. Gary Oldman is an incredible actor. Almost to good. This man disappears so deep into his roles, that most of the time you just forget that it’s him that your watching. I actually had to look up his filmography to remember the movies I’ve seen him in. Even the movies that he was clearly doing for a paycheck, he never phoned it in.

I’ll try to cover the plot of this movie without spoiling to much. Eli (Washington) is on a mission to deliver a book of great importance to a location that he has never been to with only his faith as a guide. Carnegie (Oldman) runs a town and has been searching the book that Eli has in order to exploit it and increase his power. When the two cross paths, Eli finds it necessary to use Kali and a machete to deliver a biblical ass kicking to a bar full of people. Eli eventually escapes to continue his mission and has picked up a sidekick on his way out of town (Kunis). The layers of this movie continue to peel back right until the end when we are treated to a cameo by Malcolm McDowell…yup…that’s about all I feel like I can say without feeling like I’m spoiling something for those that haven’t seen it.

– Guillaume de Sade

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Guillaume de Sade Reviews: Moving (1988)

Posted in Uncategorized on October 23, 2010 by Guillaume de Sade


Directed by: Alan Metter
Written by: Andy Breckman

Stir Crazy…Bustin’ Loose…Brewster’s Millions…Silver Streak…Hear No Evil, See No Evil…Harlem Nights…any of his stand up comedy movies…any one of these might come to mind when you think of a Richard Pryor movie. My personal favorite, however, is Moving. Pryor plays a man who loses his job and his only job offer comes with one condition: He must move from New Jersey to Boise, Idaho.

This is one of those movies that crosses the line from awful to awesome and never looks back! This was far from his best work and definitely done for a paycheck, but sometimes that’s what it takes. This film crosses Chevy Chase’s Funny Farm with Micheal Douglas’ Falling Down, only done years before.

Allow me to go off on a short tangent here and discuss Eddie Murphy. Eddie Murphy gained fame and super-stardom starting with a stint on SNL and then his comedy special “Delirious”. From there he was on fire and could do no wrong…until he started doing wrong. From there he retreated from the spotlight for a while and when he came back he came back as a softer, more family friendly actor. He has stated often that Richard Pryor was one of his main influences when it came to comedy. He wrote a part in Harlem Nights specifically for him.

Richard was at this family friendly part of his career when this movie was made. Four years prior (no pun intended), he even tried his hand at a children’s show on CBS, called “Pryor’s Place”. Yes…the same Richard Pryor who named one comedy album “That Nigger’s Crazy” and another “Bicentennial Nigger” had a children’s show with puppets done by Sid and Marty Kroft!! But I digress…

Back to the movie. Alan Metter directed a handful of feature films, but nothing that really rates a mention in this review. They were all about the relative same caliber as “Moving” which isn’t saying an awful lot.

Writer Andy Breckman on the other hand has written a few other movies, but had much greater success in television, specifically as the co-creator and executive producer of “Monk”.

In addition to Richard Pryor, this film boasts Randy Quaid as the annoying neighbor, Dana Carvey in a role that I actually found him funny and King Kong Bundy as a mover. There were also a couple of notable cameos by Morris “motherfucking” Day and Rodney Dangerfield. Last but not least is ridiculously hot and apparently non-aging Stacey Dash. I mean damn! Stacey Dash goddamn it!!
She’s so ho I don’t mind looking at her with her clothes on!

So all in all this movie really amounts to nothing more than a guilty pleasure, but a highly recommended guilty pleasure.

-Guillaume de Sade

Guillaume de Sade Reviews: Punisher: War Zone (2008)

Posted in Uncategorized on October 16, 2010 by Guillaume de Sade


Direced by: Lexi Alexander
Written by: Nick Santora, Art Marcum, & Matt Holloway

Okay, before getting into the movie, let’s go through some history. Frank Castle, a hardened Vietnam special forces vet is finally home and enjoying a picnic in the park with his family when they’re caught in the crossfire of a mob shoot out. He survived, his family didn’t. He went on to kill the fuck out anyone associated with their deaths, then continued killing the fuck out criminals in general. There was even a brief period where he became so psychotic (I call it dedicated, but whatever) that he was even killing the fuck out of people committing minor crimes like littering and jaywalking. If you want to get technical about it, he became the most prolific serial killer ever. No mask, no super powers…just an unending need to kill the fuck out of criminals.

Eventually he was captured by the authorities and executed. He then came back as a sort of angel of death type being with a magical trench coat from which he could pull out machine guns from Heaven. That shit didn’t last. Frank Castle quit that and got kicked out of Heaven and sent back to Earth as a mortal, where he quickly picked up where he left off…that’s right…killing the fuck out of criminals (and punching polar bears…you know he wouldn’t try that shit with a panda bear!!).

So there you have it…an extremely entertaining character that can only work when he is left as a one dimensional charter. Anytime that writers have tried to add much depth to the character, it failed miserably.

Punisher: War Zone is actually the third movie featuring this character, yet this is not a sequel. Each movie featured a different character with a different story…perhaps at a future date, I’ll review these as well. I’ll do my best to write the rest of this review without too many comparisons.

I was extremely excited for this movie when I heard that they were not afraid of getting an R rating for graphic violence. This could only mean that they were sticking close to the source material…then I heard that the main villain was Jigsaw! Phenomenal…now I KNEW they were sticking with the source material and there’s no way it could go wrong…

After witnessing Ray Stevenson in character for ten minutes, I was convinced that this man was The Punisher. No, not the character…I mean I think that he actually goes out at night on his own time, with a white skull painted on his chest and kills the fuck out of criminals. He is just THAT believable as The Punisher.

…sigh…

From there the movie goes down faster than Sabbath’s willpower at a chinese buffet. The script is weak…not awful, but weak. As I have said this is a character that works best as a one dimensional character, so you would think that a weak script would be okay, but there were only two other believable actors in the whole movie. Microchip’s comatose mother and his ex-gangbanger assistant. Wayne Knight might look the part, but saddled with shitty dialogue, he just didn’t seem that into it. Jigsaw, his cartoony accent and his brother Looney Bin Jim seemed like they were actively working to shit on Punisher fans. I was especially disappointed in Loony Bin Jim actor Doug Hutchinson. I had only seen him in one other role and that was as Percy Wetmore in The Green Mile and he was excellent in the role. So seeing him was like drowning and getting thrown a life line! Seeing him in character was like having that line covered in chum and razor blades.

So after all this, why do I still watch this movie repeatedly? Again, there is the fact that Ray Stevenson is ridiculously believable as the character. I have a friend who is a Marine and after seeing the movie verified that the tactics Stevenson had to study and perform in the movie were legitimate. There is another reason though…this movie was so well made you almost forget how bad it is. Every technical aspect of this movie was top notch. The filmmakers (Lexi Alexander, et al.) didn’t reinvent the wheel. They didn’t attempt high art…instead, they stuck to the basics and perfected it. Seriously…go back and watch this movie with that in mind. This movie, from a technical aspect, is fantastic and really should be studied by aspiring filmmakers.

Don’t believe me? I’ll leave you with a quote from Roger Ebert: “You used to be able to depend on a terrible film being poorly made. No longer. The Punisher: War Zone is one of the best-made bad movies I’ve seen.”

– Guillaume de Sade

Guillaume de Sade Reviews: Shocker (1989)

Posted in Uncategorized on October 9, 2010 by Guillaume de Sade

Shocker (1989)
Directed and Written by: Wes Craven

Nowadays, when someone uses the term “Shocker”, it is usually followed by a knowing smirk and recitation of the current definition…two in the pink and one in the stink!  Well not this time…this time I’m talking about the Wes Craven classic about a serial killer with a limp and a big ass knife!  Not high intellectual fare, but fucking fun as hell!

Horace Pinker is criminally overlooked in most discussions of movie maniacs.  He is the boogie man your parents thought you’d turn into by watching too much t.v.

All the classic stereotypes are here too…the loud but inspirational black guy, the virginal girlfriend and the dad that doesn’t believe his son when his son is trying to explain how he knows things he shouldn’t.  However the truly classic thing about this movie is the soundtrack.

If you’re an 80’s hair metal aficionado, such as myself, then this is a must have!  Paul Stanley, Desmond Child, Tommy Lee, Alice Cooper, Megadeth, Dangerous Toys…if anyone of those names means anything to you then you need this soundtrack in your collection.

By this point, your probably wondering when I’m going to really delve into the movie and review it.  Well, other than padding my review, I just wanted to get that other stuff out of the way and turn on the more critical side of my brain….so here goes:

“Shocker” main character Jonathan Parker is a pretty standard 80’s high school character…captain of the football team, dating the hottest girl in school and the son of the police captain.  As the plot evolves, we find out that Jonathan is somehow connected to serial killer, Horace Pinker, through his dreams.  You may remember this being a familiar Wes Craven theme from the “Nightmare on Elm Street” series.

That’s pretty much where that similarity ends.  Pinker murders the virgin, gets caught, does some voodoo in his cell…wait a sec…just have to mention during this voodoo ritual, in his jail cell, he has candles AND jumper cables…WTF kind of prison is this?!  Anyways, after the voodoo, he reveals the big movie twist…spoiler alert:

He is Jonathan Parker’s real father…dun dun dunnnnnnn.  Actually, since this is still pretty early in the movie, it’s okay with me, it’s not like it was really dragged out or played for suspense.

So where was I?  Oh yeah, the voodoo, then the movie twist, then the revelation of powers he gained thru the voodoo ritual…now he can possess bodies and when he uses a body up, he can travel through electrical lines…what a shocker!

Mitch Pileggi was by far the best thing this movie had going for it.  Wes Craven was at the beginning of a slump that wouldn’t end until Scream, so the writing for this movie definitely was not his best.  Pileggi’s over the top, sadistic portrayal of the character was only upstaged once…and that was by a 7 year old girl cursing and trying to drive a bulldozer…but that’s not really fair…kids cursing is always funny.

Well enough of my near incoherent rambling, and onto my summation…”Shocker” was a commercial failure and with good reason.  The story wasn’t great, the special effects weren’t great and with the aforementioned exception of Mitch Pileggi, most of the acting was only alright. This movie is like a bag of circus peanuts…to some it’s a delicious treat that you just can’t get enough of and to others…well they throw in their mouths just thinking about it.

– Guillaume de Sade

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