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Evil Dead (2013)
Exactly what American Horror needed!
It's gory, it's bloody, and it's fun, whats not to like, this is Evil Dead after all people, not Strawberry shortcake. All you naysayers are just expecting another watered down horror movie and where slapped in the face by the awesomeness of this new one. This movie was excellent, well shot, well edited, acted..and had tons and tons of gore and blood, exactly whats been missing from modern horror.
All you boneheads complaining that its "too violent and gory" are telling people exactly what they need to know, that this movie isn't boring, or shy to be a horror film.
This is a real horror film, the one that gave American Horror films it's guts back! This film is just what American horror films needed!
Dark Shadows (2012)
Great Fun! One of Burton's Good Ones
I've never seen the show, or the previous films, but Tim Burton's Dark Shadows was great fun. The comedy is not in your face, it's subtle and sarcastic and witty. The film is a slowburner, it's not action packed, but I don't think it was meant to be either. This after all is paying homage to all those spooky Dan Curtis movies and television shows, he was always about the old fashioned horror clichés, the fog, the moon, the ghosts, the giant mansion.
I thought Depp was great as Barnabas and is really what kept me glued to the film, Barnabas is a great character, the fish out of water elements were great, but so was the theme about trying to bring the Collins family back to it's former glory.
I salute Burton for not using so much CGI, this time, its only used when necessary. This time we get real sets, and not everything is computer generated. The art direction is top notch as is expected of a Burton film.
Some people might not like it when compared to the TV show, because this is a comedy and the shows were not comedic, but I think on its own merits, the film works and I consider it to be one of Burton's "good ones"
Wow, what an incredible bore.
I went into this movie with no expectations whatsoever, I didn't know what it was about, I didn't know any plot details or anything. But it seemed like it might be good cause Lucy Liu was in it and it was produced by Sam Raimis Ghost house pictures.
And I see there desire to do something different with the tired vampire genre. Unfortunately the movie fails horribly. This movies main drawback, its main flaw is that its an incredible bore. Scenes that are meant to be "suspenseful" are simply long drawn out scenes of people going into rooms looking scared. Nothing to make the scenes special. Its just scene after scene of long boring minutes of people walking into rooms. If felt as though they put these scenes in to stretch the movies running time which is far too long for a simple vampire movie.
What this movie was really trying to do was use a style of storytelling thats been made popular by directors like Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu in films like 21 Grams, Babel and Amores Perros. Basically, the whole movie is out of order, scenes have no sort of cohesion, you see the movie, the scenes are in the same order as if someone had thrown them in the air and edited them in the way the fell on the floor. This style of non linear story telling can work when done right. When done wrong (as it was in this movie) it can be disastrous. Itll take a while before you can finally make sense of whats going on, and even then, good luck.
This movie was a mess, Im not sure why Lucy Liu would agree to participate on this crap fest of a film, it was above all things boring and confusing. It has a few good moments here and there, but then it reverts to its pointless conversations where no one says whats really going on. Its really stupid, but people kept talking and babbling and going around things without getting to the point. Its that type of movie thats ashamed of being in the horror genre, its afraid to use the term vampire or bloodsucker, even though thats exactly what this movie is about.
Anyhows, I do not recommend this movie, you are going to keep waiting for it to get good, and its NEVER going to happen. Its that type of film that you keep giving it a chance to see if it will go somewhere, but it just never never takes off. You wanna feel like you wasted two hours of your life? Be my guest, but this was just awful.
Rating: 1 out of 5
Santeria: The Soul Possessed (2012)
It should have been called The Virgin Mary Sightings..
Title: Santeria: The Soul Possessed Director: Benny Mathews Cast: Nito Perez Jr., Kevin Rankin, Maria Fonseca Sotolongo, Rico Thuewalker Review: Santeria has always been one of those religions where everybody gets spooked whenever it gets mentioned. Images of human/animal sacrifices and blood rituals pop to mind whenever Santeria is referenced and it's always been a religion that people find spooky, scary, frightening and just plain strange. It's a secretive religion that doesn't like for their beliefs and their practices to be well known. And every once in a while a movie will come along to try and explore the whole thing and exploit the supernatural aspects of Santeria, cant really say I blame them since said religion deals so heavily with the supernatural, bloody animal sacrifices and rituals. This is one of those movies trying to take full advantage of Santeria's notoriety, but failing miserably.
The story is supposedly based on a real life case of a boy named Ricky. Ricky receives a message from what he thinks is the Virgin Mary. The whole barrio in which he lives in being composed mostly of Mexican folk buy into the whole vision deal and make a big deal out of Rickys supposed connection with the Virgin Mary. In comes a priest who's interested in exploring the whole thing for his television show (The Brother Neil Show!). He, along with a few other members of Ricky's family plus a photographer get together and try and decipher what's really going on. Is Ricky being visited by the Virgin Mary or is it some other evil spirit fooling him and trying to take advantage of him? Well, if you let yourself be fooled by the cover of this movie, you'd swear this could possibly end up being a kick ass horror movie. Something that will chill you to the bone. But it really isn't. It does have interesting subject matter to deal with, what with Santeria and all its rituals, this could have made a really good horror movie. But it didn't. Mainly because it fails to conjure up a dreadful atmosphere. Its low budget didn't help it any, since the film looks like it was shot on a video camera. The director does as good a job as he can with what little money he had (was that a glimpse of promise in the direction?) but a movie dealing with the supernatural in my opinion should have a decent budget for special effects or else you just end up with a bunch of cheesy home made computer effects that completely take you out of the movie. And that's what happened with this film. The cheesy computer effects are quite literally laughable and just don't help the movie, specially a movie that's based on true events. You don't even need visual effects to create a scary atmosphere, but this film decided to use them anyways even if they didn't have a budget for them. Too bad.
The movie also fails to go really into Santeria as it only scratches upon the surface of this religion. In fact, it shouldn't even be called Santeria because its not really about the Santeria religion. Its more about the phenomenon of Virgin Mary sightings and how a kid who thinks it's the Virgin Mary really ends being harassed by an evil vengeful ghost. The only element that really has to do with Santeria is Ricky's mother who does a couple of rituals to try and save him, but that's it. So don't be fooled into thinking that you are going to see a movie that really goes into the whole thing and you might learn a thing or two about Santeria cause you wont. So to me at least it was a disappointment from that angle as well. If you want to see a good movie about the subject see The Believers with Martin Sheen. Now that's a good Santeria horror film that will scare you and even teach you a thing or two about it.
So all in all, this movie was an extremely bad low budget effort that fails to deliver what it promises with its title and its poster. Its got a lot of bad acting, a lot of horrible cgi effects and its just a bad production. I watched it only to see if it would get at least a little better but it didn't. It only got worse and worse until I finally I was given no choice but to exorcise the DVD from my DVD player. The power of Christ compels you NOT to watch this pseudo horror flick! You've been warned.
Rating: 1 out of 5
Satan's Playground (2006)
Fun low budget twisted horror
Horror director Dante Tomaselli is keeping the old school horror movie alive. You know, the kind of horror film that actually takes itself seriously in trying to scare the crap out of you. The kind of horror film that doesn't rely some much on computer effects or silly boo scares. The kind of horror film that concentrates more on creating a brooding threatening atmosphere instead of trying to make the next witty pop culture reference. Yes sir, the old school horror is alive and kicking in the hands of Dante Tomaselli.
The story is about the Bruno family. A pretty normal family going out for a vacation in the middle of the Pine Barren Woods in New Jersey. They think its going to be a fun filled weekend with the family in a cozy little cabin, but when they get a flat tire in the middle of the woods things take a turn to the wild and crazy side. They encounter the Leeds family. A family of demented drug addicted freaks of nature who are interested in killing, maiming and making the life of the Brunos a living hell. Literally!
Satans Playground starts out like a straight forward horror film with the family getting lost in the woods and all that and we get to meet yet another crazy demented family living out in the middle of nowhere. But thats when the normal, straight forward horror movie premise ends. After that it turns into a Dante Tomaselli movie and I loved that! To be quite honest, what I love about Tomasellis films is the dreamlike feel that they have. Even though Tomaselli aims for what others would consider a normal horror movie with Satans Playground, he still descends into his trademark hallucinogenic nightmarish world. So be ready for a movie that mixes it up. We get equal parts straight forward horror, and equal parts Tomaselli going crazy with his interesting dream logic and nightmarish images. He does a good job once again in bringing his nightmares to life.
The performances were great all along. I loved seeing Felissa Rose disintegrate; she did a fantastic job of reacting to all the craziness going on around her. She dominates most of the movie with her solid performance and is quite obviously the lead in the film. Ellen Sandweiss who horror fans (myself included) know and love from Evil Dead gets a chance to once again run crazy through the woods as she did in her previous encounters with evil spirits in Sam Raimis horror classic . She also turns in an interesting performance as she goes insane looking for her lost baby.
The most interesting performance in the film comes from the most unexpected of places: Irma St. Paul. She plays the leader of the crazy family and does a memorable take on the crazy mother role. She snorts coke, she hammers people with sledge hammers and she lies to the cops like a pro. I really enjoyed her character and would love to see her in another horror movie soon. Christie Sanford plays a deaf and mute women and Sanford effectively channels evil almost as perfectly as she did in Tomasellis first film Desecration in which she played Sister Madeline, the evil demonic nun. She has that evil cackle of a laugh and that demented look thats sure to spook anyone. Here she plays a child like killer who wears pony tails and walks around in her Pijamas bludgeoning people with a sledgehammer.
Speaking of sledgehammers, I was a bit disappointed by the absence of gore in this film. Though Tomaselli has never been an extremely gory director ala Lucio Fulci, (Tomaselli tends to focus more on the horrors of the mind) I was expecting a bit more gruesomeness to take place on screen. As it is, there are killings and mayhem, but most of the time they happen off screen or are suggested. Except of course for that one gloriously gory scene that makes up for it. Wow when that scene came on I was cheering!
As much as I like Tomasellis films I must admit that this movie had a glitch or two. There's a couple of things that I just could not pass up. I know that cops are often times portrayed in films as being completely incompetent, but in this movie they really take the taco. The way the cops act in this film seemed completely unrealistic to me. Or maybe the cop on this film was just a real idiot or something.
Watching this movie with Dante Tomasellis audio commentary on will not only help you understand many of the films unexplained plot points (like the Leeds family true nature) and apparent logic gaps but its also a glimpse into a horror directors mind. This audio commentary is the way a real audio commentary should be like. Very scene specific! Rarely does Tomaselli diverge into talking about things we don't care about. He is really into his films, really into his world and what he is trying to convey through his films. So I highly recommend that after you watch the film, you watch it again but with the directors audio commentary.
So in conclusion, this movie isn't perfect, its got a few glitches here and there. But it is a highly entertaining film with good performances. Plus its just fun, in Tomasellis own style. It has that old school charm of a 70s horror film. Its like taking The Evil Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween and The Shinning and adding that twisted Tomaselli touch. No unrealistic CGI, no WB teenage stars. Satans Playground is low tech, old school horror, and it shows that a lot can be done with very little money. With a budget of roughly 500,000 I think that Tomaselli achieved a heck of a lot. I cant wait to see what he will do next!
Super Fly (1972)
Gritty, dark, dirty and good.
Ill be darned if this film wasn't the mother of all Blaxploitation films.
The story is about this drug dealer called Priest Youngblood. He has a good business built for himself by selling cocaine out on the streets of New York city. He and his buddy Eddie have made a small fortune with their dealing and now Priest is ready to bow down and get out of the drug dealing business, but not before doing one last deal. Buy a bunch of coke cheap and make a bunch of money fast. Will his buddy Eddie be okay with that, will the hustler lifestyle let Priest Youngblood go free? And a better question would be, does he really want to leave that lifestyle behind?
I was expecting a crappy blaxploitation flick for some reason. A bore fest with nothing that would surprise me. Boy was I wrong! This film is exceptionally well written. The dialog rings so true in many scenes that I had no choice but to sing praises for this movie as I was watching it. Phillip Fenty the writer, focused on giving these characters dialog that would sound like real people talking real jive from the streets. I mean when you hear these guys doing a deal, it most certainly sounds like the way it could have really gone down in the streets of New York in the 70s. So be ready for some groovy dialog, thats not only genuine to the era, but also adds a level of reality to the proceedings. Of special notice is a dialog that goes on between Eddie and Priest, in this sequence Eddie tries to convince Priest to stay in the business and make more millions, to live the American dream of having eight track players and TV's in every room. It was just amazing. There's more little speeches like that one spread through out the movie that are really quite excellent.
Visually speaking the movie looks gritty. I mean, grind house cinema was invented by movies such as this one. The streets look like real streets and by that I mean, dark, dirty and rat infested. Its not like todays over stylized films that look slick and pretty yet take away the level of reality from films. Not Superfly though, its quite evident that this film was filmed in the real streets of New York back in the 70s when Queens and The Bronx looked like crap. There's no fancy lighting here or anything, this place looks dangerous, for real. And the film did an excellent job of capturing the feel and stink of New York back in those days. Right from the opening credits when we see Priest parading around the city in his pimped up pink Cadillac to visiting some real nightclubs in New York playing some funked out tunes! That sequence in the club where a real live funk/jazz band is playing totally transported me to that era. The movie just absorbs the 70s and basically just keeps it in this little time capsule perfectly preserved for your viewing enjoyment. And how could this director (Gordon Sparks Jr.) not make a movie as cool as this when his daddy (Gordon Sparks Senior.) was the one responsible for Shaft? There's no doubt that this movie is sleazy, its grind house AND blaxploitation all rolled up into one! The characters aren't nice and perfect, in fact they are the sleaziest, baddest mothers to walk the streets of New York. Even our main character Priest Youngblood spends most of the film stuffing his nostrils with cocaine every five minutes. And I mean this literally not figuratively. They are all drug dealers and coke heads, pimps and crooks, kinda reminded me a lot of Sin City. Only this isn't some CGI fictional city, this is N.Y. C! And yet, the cool thing about this film is that it is sleazy, and gritty yet it has a certain style in its direction that is very hard to ignore. There's this one scene in particular that really blew me away in which we see Priest and Eddie moving on up in the drug dealing business by a series of photo montages that were really amazing. And after I saw this film I had no doubt in my mind where Blow got some of its ideas from.
Ron O Neal absolutely dominates this movie as Priest Youngblood. The badass drug dealing cool dude who everyone looks up to and fears. The guy moving up in the dealing world and you better look out and not mess with him. He is an anti-hero cause I have to admit about half way through the movie I couldn't believe that I was actually rooting for a freaking coke dealer who got high on his own supply! What I mean to say by all this is that this character is highly memorable and will have you rooting for him in no time flat, despite his despicable lifestyle.
But above all else, the film had a good story. The bad guy wanting to get out and live with his girl. But can he escape? Will he? Or was this all he was born to do? Rent this movie and find out. This is without a doubt THE best blaxploitation film I have ever seen and highly recommend it to those who enjoy gritty, dark and funky gangster films from the seventies.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Cobra Verde (1987)
Epic film, Kinsky's last
Director Werner Herzog and actor Klaus Kinsky did many films together. They were all spectacular because of Herzogs direction and they all had an intensely insane looking leading man because of Kinskys solid performances. Cobra Verde was their last collaboration together because three years after making this film Kinsky died. He left a great legacy as an actor and Cobra Verde is a prime example of that.
The story is about Francisco Manuel (aka the Bandit of Cobra Verde) a bandit who goes from town to town looking for a strange new world. Basically everyone fears him because he is untamable, like a wild beast. One day, he gets a job taking care of slaves in a Sugar Cane field and he gets to live in the same house as his boss, the owner of the fields. Cobra Verde being the bandit that he is has his way with not one, but all three of the bosses daughters and gets them pregnant. The boss, looking for a way to get back at Cobra Verde for what he did, sends him on a mission to Africa to buy more slaves. Of course the bosses real intentions are to get Cobra Verde killed in the journey. What they don't know is that Cobra Verde is not a person who easily gives up and hes a tough cookie to kill. And so begins Cobra Verdes journey into the hot, deadly and colorful depths of Africa.
This movie, like many of Herzogs films is a journey into the unknown. I love how Herzog does that in all his films. Transporting us to strange places that truly exist, but are so wondrous and amazing that they have a surreal dreamlike feel to them. On Fitzcarraldo and Aguirre we went deep into the Amazonian Jungle, but on Cobra Verde we get to see the heart and soul of Africa. Once the movie gets to Africa (on its second half) things get really interesting and you will find yourselves completely immersed in the African culture. From the injustices of slavery to the savagery of African tribes. It was all new, strange and different to me because Herzog really went in there and found incredible real life locations in which to shoot Cobra Verde. Its as if Herzog searches out these incredible places, dives deep into them, and then brings them back to us via his films for us to enjoy.
This movie is epic in scale and it shows in every single frame of film. We get hundreds of extras in many scenes. One particular scene stood out and its the one in which Kinsky trains hundreds of African women all dressed in their war attire and marching while singing their war songs. It was fantastic and epic and I loved every second of it. Not only that but its even more amazing when I learned that this huge looking film only cost two million dollars to make! I was unaware that a film of such grand scale could be made with so little money. Hollywood could learn a thing or two from Herzogs style of film-making.
Klaus Kinsky once again turns in an intense performance as the titular character. He certainly goes in a journey from being a bandit to becoming the king of an African tribe. I really got to like his character because he is a guy who literally does what he wants and has complete freedom over what to do with his life. Nobody tells this guy what to do, but once he sets his sites on achieving a goal (and its usually something pretty daunting) he goes all the way to make it happen.
Even when he accepts the responsibilities and challenges involved in going to Africa and taking slaves back to Brazil considering that slavery is almost completely abolished, he does it with a sure hand, ready to face whatever situations life might hurl at him. And Kinsky does all this with his own brand style, that crazy look the wild hair. In one particular scene in which he is training thousands of African women to go to war he goes completely ballistic trying to teach them how to properly handle a shield and a spear.
I've got a few complaints though, this movie has a few loopholes and unrealistic situations. I think a lot of it has to do with Herzog trying to evoke a feeling of otherworldliness and strangeness but in one particular scene Cobra Verde has to send a message from on place to another and he does it via thousands of people standing in line doing these secret signals with white flags and one person duplicates the message until it reaches the other person hundreds of miles away. This scene might lend itself for a beautiful and strange image, but its completely unrealistic! But I was willing to let it go for sake of artistic liberty. Another thing that grated me the wrong way was how one of the African kings spoke perfect English, as well as all his followers. The scene would have been a lot more believable with the king having a translator, but as it was filmed, its hard to believe that a king in the middle of Africa would speak English, and much less have all his thousands of followers understand him and cheer him. Again, a minor set back in a great film.
Like many of Herzogs films, the pace is sometimes slow, but when Herzog wants to amaze you he will. There will be moments of heavy dialog, and slow situations and then Whamo! Herzog will hit you in the head with something truly amazing. Trust me on this, this movie has many surprises up its sleeves! And you wont be disappointed if you enjoy movies that take you to strange new worlds.
Rating: 4 out of 5
I recently acquired Italian horror director Michele Soavis Cemetery Man which was released recently for the first time on DVD. I had seen it before, but somehow now it became one of my favorite horror films. It has a style, beauty and grace that many horror films seem to miss nowadays. So naturally I set my eyes on seeing all of Michele Soavis horror films. I had already seen two of them The Church and Cemetery Man, and The Sect isn't out on DVD so I decided to see his only other movie on DVD which is Stagefright. This was Michele Soavis directorial debut, so I didn't really know what to expect. A flawed film made by an at the time rookie? A promising film with glimpses of greatness here and there?
The story is about this group of actors that are putting up a play. They have very little time to practice some of the dance moves and songs so they are all under a lot of pressure. A psycho killer finds his way to the theater and locks everybody inside with absolutely no way out. Then he begins to systematically kill all the actors on the play in some really gruesome ways.
Well its no secret that Soavi was Argentos pupil and I think that out of all of Soavis horror films that I have seen Stagefright is the one in which this is most evident. There's the killers point of view, some strange and interesting camera angles and even an animal themed killer. But thats not a bad thing in my book because eventually Soavi found his own voice and style as evidenced by his last horror film Cemetery Man. Still, Stagefright has a great style and look. What I love the most about Soavis films is that they deal with all these horrible killings, yet the film has a class and a finesse about it that kind of elevates the sleaziness of the slasher genre to a high that it rarely reaches.
Don't get me wrong here, this movie may be artsy and classy, but its still very very much a slasher film. There's some truly brutal deaths here! After the movie sets up its premise the ball gets rolling really fast! Thats one of the things I liked the most about this movie it had a fast pace and wasn't boring in the least! Once the killer puts on that cool as hell Owls Head mask on his noggin things get really gory and interesting. From people being cut in half with chainsaws (great scene man!) to some cool decapitations this movie had me cheering for more! So slasher fans and fiends, you wont be disappointed!
Another excellent thing about this movie was that it wasn't an incoherent mess. I've seen a lot of Lucio Fulci films, a lot of Dario Argento films and a few other Italian directors and they all suffer from the same illness. They cant seem to bring together a story and tell it in a coherent understandable fashion. Not so with Soavis Stagefright. I was surprised at how smoothly the story flowed and I was surprised that I was actually understanding it without any extreme effort. In a sense I would say that Soavi took everything that Argento and Fulci did wrong and did it right. He learned from their mistakes and therefore he is a better filmmaker for it. He is the next step in the evolutionary ladder as far as Italian Horror goes. This might also be why Soavi is heralded as the savior of Italian Horror by many a horror connoisseurs.
So in conclusion, Stagefright is a solidly well directed slasher. One that showed promise for what is one of horrordoms best directors,even though his body of work is comprised of only four movies. I hope Soavi wakes up from that dream soon and delivers us with something as good or better then what he has already done. Soavi you the man! Rating: 5 out of 5
Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979)
Dracula Herzog style
It was only recently that I finally got to experience a Werner Herzog film. And I say experience because you don't just watch a Werner Herzog film, you experience it. Otherwordly images will appear on the screen whisking you away to strange unusual worlds. When I first saw Fitzcarraldo and Aguirre: The Wrath of God I was spellbound. I was astounded at how much Herzog could evoke while relying solely on the grandness of his visuals. So when I decided to finally see Werner Herzogs remake of F.W. Murnaus classic silent film Nosferatu, I knew I was in for something special. And I was. Simply put, this is one of the finest vampire movies ever made.
The story is one every horror fan is familiar with. Count Dracula is interested in purchasing a new home in England, so Jonathan Harker a real estate agent is sent to Draculas castle high in the Carpathian mountains to sign the legal documents that will seal the deal. Of course what Harker isn't ready for is the fact that Count Dracula is actually a vampire, a man who sold his soul to Satan and now walks the earth as an undead bloodsucker. Dracula falls for Harkers girl and tries to take her from him, you know the drill.
From the small synopsis I typed on that last paragraph you think, yeah, seen one Dracula you seen em all. Right? Wrong! Though this movie does have the same plot line that we have seen hundreds of times in different vampire films, this one certainly has something that makes it different. First and foremost, this film was directed by Werner Herzog and it isn't going to be your regular ordinary vampire movie. There's a certain visual splendor that goes with all of Herzogs films and its evidently present in this film.
What I admire most about Herzog is that he doesn't rely on special effects to make his movies visually interesting. The guy goes to a mountain deep in the middle of nowhere, he looks for the most beautiful and exotic location possible and then shoots his film there. He did it in Aguirre and Fitzcarraldo and he did it again here. Herzogs special effects depend on nature itself. When Jonathan Harker embarks on his journey towards Draculas castle you'll be swept away on a journey that takes you to misty mountains and forceful rivers. So be ready for a film that takes you to some of the most beautiful and exotic places on this earth.
This really isn't a full remake of Murnaus film because what this film really does is mix both Murnaus film and Bram Stokers novel. Instead of Count Orlock we get Dracula. So its sort of a mix of both sources.
Then of course we have the second strongest point in many of Herzogs films. Actor Klaus Kinsky. This guy completely devours the Dracula character and brings him to life in a way that no other actor has ever done. This Dracula isn't a sexy, well dressed lady killer. This guy is animalistic in nature, a creature hunting for his pray, a tortured soul yes, almost disgusted at who he is but at the same time accepting it fully. So much is conveyed through Kinskys performance, his eyes, his hands and pointy nails, and his whispering voice. A very creepy Dracula if you ask me.
A thing that makes this film standout as well is its realism. There's not a single special effect on this movie save for Klaus Kinskys Dracula make up. Everything else is as real as it gets. Draculas castle isn't a miniature or computer generated image, its a real castle. Its not even a set! Its a real freaking castle! When Dracula sucks blood he doesn't go into a bloodbath dripping blood all over the place, he sucks the blood with great care and precision not to spill a single drop. Almost like a baby sucking on his mothers breast. When the sun hits a vampire, its not a visual effects spectacle, the vampire just dies and falls in the floor when the sun hits him. When Dracula transforms into a bat, Herzog shows a real life bat in slow motion in all its natural beauty. Its like everything is done in the most realistic way possible. Nothing is an exaggeration. And when Draculas shadow moves along as if having a life of its own, its an effect done for real. On camera with lights and shadows. Kind of reminded me of Gary Shermans Poltergeist III in that sense.
A warning though, this movie is not fast paced. Its deliberately paced to be creepy and dreamlike. Herzog will stay focused on things for long periods of time so you can really transport yourself to the moment. Well at least thats the way I saw it, I'm sure many people out there might find the movie extremely slow or boring. But not me. To me, this movie was extremely creepy and realistic. Extremely well acted on Kinskys part and just an extremely cool visual trip.
If you're one of those persons that needs explosions and gunshots every five minutes steer clear away from this one, but in the other hand if you have an artistic side that can appreciate a beautiful film like this one then I highly recommended you check Nosferatu: The Vampire right away and experience the visual splendor of a Werner Herzog film.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Well, if blaxploitation films exploited the black culture and nunsploitation films exploit the nun image, then Sex and Fury falls under the sexploitation genre because it very decidedly exploits sex. And that ain't a bad thing in my book. Anyhows, Sex and Fury is a film that also falls under what is called Pinky Violence. Essentially what Pinky Violence is, is a bunch of Japanese films that came out in the 70s that dealt with hot lady killers who went out and distributed large amounts of vengeance on evil doers. It eventually died out, but boy what a legacy of films it left behind. Sex and Fury was one of the good ones.
The story is about this little girl called Ocho Inoshika. When Ocho sees her father get murdered right before her eyes by a bunch of Yakuza leaders she grows up to be a vengeful spirit. She does nothing else in this life but search for her fathers killers. And that she does, but not without helping a soul or two along the way.
At first when Sex and Fury started out, I thought it was going to be a rehash of the story I had seen before in the truly excellent Lady Snowblood. Its a very similar story dealing with a little girl who grows up to be a stone cold killer because she had an extremely traumatic childhood experience, but the only thing is that Sex and Fury amps up the sleaze and the tits and ass a whole lot more. Suddenly, without no apparent reason Ocho begins to fight and loose her clothes. Suddenly and without warning a bad guy slashes away the top part of her gown and Ocho begins to swordfight topless! Or in another sequence a bunch of hoodlums attack Ocho as she takes a bath and she proceeds to fight them buck naked! And not just a flash, I mean the fight sequence goes on for a long time and shes totally naked, gotta admit Id never seen that in a movie before, but it rocked! Of course it does add a level of sleaze to the movie because its obviously gratuitous nudity we are seeing here solely for the purpose of titillating the males in the audience. But so what, I gotta say it works.
So I'm like oooh, OK. So thats what this is all about! A movie that purposely shows a woman fighting and killing while naked. OK, I can go with that. But it wasn't only that. This movie has some sex scenes that scratch on being porn. Suddenly and without warning these two chicks start to make out on screen, necking each other. So I was thinking "thats probably as far as they are going to go with this cause this movie is old". Boy was I wrong, that sequence totally turned out to be an extended lesbo action sequence that was practically soft porn! I was like alright! This movie is pushing boundaries, its going all out and I dug that very very much. So be on the look out for certain kinky scenes.
And as for the violence, well its plentiful. Blood sprays body parts fall and the snow is sprinkled with red on more then one occasion. Its pretty freaking obvious this one was also a heavy influence on Tarantino. The whole ending sequence is extremely similar to Oren Ishii and Beatrix Kiddos showdown in Kill Bill Vol. 1. Both in terms of music and shots. It was crazy but I was having flashbacks. Anyhows that came as no surprise to me since I had heard about this movies and Lady Snowbloods influence on Tarantino.
The only thing that hinders this film a bit is the acting from Christina Lindberg an American actress that appears in this film playing an English spy. For those familiar with Grindhouse films, she appeared in another bad girl film called Thriller: A Cruel Picture. Anyhows Christina Lindberg does some pretty bad acting on this flick and it was really the only thing that kind of messed things up for me on this movie. But its a small imperfection on an otherwise cool flick.
So, if your into film with naked chicks going around on revenge killing sprees then this my friend is a film for you! I'm off to check out its sequel: Female Yakuza. Hope its every bit as good as this one.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Dellamorte Dellamore (1994)
Horror, art and surrealism galore.
Horror fans all around recognize Italian horror director Michele Soavi as Dario Argentos understudy. The guy who Argento taught everything he knows too. In 1994 Soavi directed Dellamorte Dellamore (Cemetery Man) yet another entry into the horror genre. But this wasn't your standard zombie gore fest. This movie had a little more going for it, what was it? Oh yeah, some freaking originality!
Story is about this guy named Francesco Dellamorte who works as a caretaker at the local cemetery. There, day in and day out he is in charge of burying the dead and sending them of to the afterlife. Only problem is that in this cemetery the dead rise after seven days of being dead! Soon Francesco finds himself knee deep in zombies! Weird thing is he treats everything very matter of factly and just kills the zombies and continues with his life. That is until he meets an extremely gorgeous woman in a burial. He immediately falls for her. It seems Francescos life will not only revolve around death this time because apparently love is just around the corner for this grave digger.
One of the things I admire most about this movie is its atmosphere. The location where they chose to shoot the film was fantastic and beautiful. And the few scenes that were shot on the real cemetery add a level of reality to the proceedings, this wasn't an obvious set. This cemetery looked real, filled with real graves and awesome Gothic statues.
Rupert Everett is a real asset to this film. I cannot imagine anyone else playing Francesco Dellamorte, its his role and no one elses. He dominates the screen as a guy who has gotten so used to living amongst the dead, that he actually prefers it. He prefers living amongst the dead and the undead, for they don't pester him as much as live humans do. I also dug Francois Hadji as Gnagi, Francescos assistant and best friend. He is a cartoon of a character, sometimes retarded, sometimes funny and most of the time just gross to look at. Then there's Anna Falchi as she. The girl of Francescos dreams. And to be quite honest I don't blame him. This girl is hotter then Georgia Asphalt! She is the girl grieving over her husbands recent death, and soon she becomes the object of Francescos affections. Man, this movie has some steamy sex scenes! Lots of boob and ass shots here for both the girls and guys and from the guys side Ill say this: You wont be disappointed!
Of course the movie (I'm sad to say) does have a few flaws here and there. Technical difficulties were present for example, there's a scene in which Francescos making out with the girl on top of a grave and some ghostly lights appear next to them. They are little balls of blue flame floating around, now this is a very cool idea that I loved immensely, but I was so distracted by the fact that you could see the strings that were holding the little light balls up in the air. I really hated that and wished they'd taken a little extra care so that those strings wouldn't show up on screen. Same thing goes for a scene in which a fly is hovering above a corpse. The strings holding the fake fly were obviously visible through out the whole thing. But thats about as far as I go when it comes to faults on this movie. The zombies were excellent looking and very different here. The gore was great too and not as plentiful as one might expect from an Italian horror production, but it was there.
The movie also has a pretty big fault because it doesn't do a good job of explaining certain plot points. This is extremely common place in Italian horror films and it happens yet again on this film. At certain point in the film you feel like something is not quite right, and according to what I've read of the movie certain things are happening, but it isn't explained in a matter that one would understand. I only became aware of certain plot points after having read explanations about the plot. But I can honestly tell you that from your first watch, you might not catch certain things that are happening. In a way I liked the fact that I didn't fully understand every single little detail, but I'm sure that if the movie had done a better job of explaining certain things it would have been that much cooler. Still, its like a little puzzle that you'll have to figure out if you really want to. Let me put it this way, you can watch the film and take the story exactly for what is happening literally, but when you read about what was really happening in the film you gooooooh I see! And then you get all the little hints that the movie gives you all through out.
So in conclusion, Dellamorte Dellamore is a fantastic film from Michele Soavi. I only wish he would make more horror movies. Sadly it seems he has retired from directing straight horror films. Still, Dellamorte Dellamore is his crowning achievement and shouldn't be missed by horror fans just because its a foreign film. Its a movie that talks a lot about death and love as the title so appropriately suggests. This film has many original ideas not seen on other horror films before, its artsy, its surrealistic and dreamlike, its beautiful to look at. In short, I freaking loved it! Rating: 5 out of 5
Fun entertaining special effects fest
Gotta be honest, the first Pirates of the Caribbean flick didn't really do it for me. Before you start firing your cannons at me or plan on starting a mutiny, allow me to explain myself. The first Pirates of the Caribbean, was well directed and made and all that, but as far as story goes, I found it a big bore for some reason. Of course this has nothing to do with Johnny Depps masterful, memorable and Oscar nominated performance as Jack Sparrow which I loved right from the get go. So, I was one of those guys who thought that the only saving grace that the first movie had was Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. Now after the enormous success of the first one here comes the bigger sequel. In other words, if Dead Mans Chest follows the rules of being the sequel to a successful film right, we should get more of everything. More effects, more action, more comedy! More Jack Sparrow! I'm glad to say the film successfully achieved all of these and then some! This time around Jack Sparrow is running away from a supernatural evil pirate called Davey Jones. You see, Jack owes Davey Jones his soul, but of course Jack being the sleaze bag trickster that he is doesn't want to pay up what he owes. Instead he chooses to run away and find a way to destroy Davey Jones and his crew of half human half fish pirates. This enrages Davey who conducts a search for Jack across the seven seas, leading us to a cannibal infested island, giant octopuses and strange half man half fish creatures.
Little did I suspect that this was going to be the best movie of the summer. I mean literally, it took me by surprise. The big anticipation this summer for me was Superman which for various reasons I wont get into here was great and at the same time disappointing. But here comes Pirates of the Caribbean blowing me away. As this film progressed I realized what a huge production it was, everything is bigger and better here. From the monsters (giant octopuses ROCK!) to the sets (loved that cannibal island!) to the villains (Gotta give props to Davey Jones, what a cool villain!) and the comedy. Yup this film had it all and it turned out to be a really entertaining film of epic proportions.
The best thing about this movie of course is having Johnny Depp return to one of his best roles. Like I said before, the thing everyone loved the most about the first flick was Depps Jack Sparrow and on this sequel we get plenty of him. Jack is funnier, trickier and in a strange way more lovable then the first since the guy finally learns that sometimes we have to do the right thing. All the supporting characters were great, I loved some of the jokes coming from some of the lesser important pirates. Orlando Bloom was in the movie, but honestly he has very little to do in this one, since most of the film focuses a whole lot more on the chemistry developing between Keira Knightly and Jack Sparrow and the action and effects.
Speaking of effects, another great bonus on this film is that the effects are truly spectacular. Getting wowed by effects is getting increasingly difficult for me, but Ill be damned if this one really had me saying wow every five seconds. The gigantic octopus known as the Kraken freaking rocked! Some of the extended effects sequences with the octopus were extremely exciting and incredible to watch. It brought back memories of scenes from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and seeing Kirk Douglas battling rubber tentacles. On this film Gore Verbinsky has orchestrated a truly memorable monster sequence. One for the books! And speaking of memorable monsters, I loved Bill Nighy as Davey Jones. Its only fair that since Jack Sparrow is such a memorable anti hero we should also get an equally formidable villain. And such is the case with Davey Jones. Aside from the fact that Mr. Jones has a striking look to him (all about the tentacled beard!) the character itself moves and talks in a very interesting and different manner. Loved the way the bad guys looked in this film! So visually speaking get ready for some cool stuff.
Of course the guys behind making this film are very smart. They know how much audiences love Jack Sparrow and they know we want to see more of him which is probably why the movie ends with a cliffhanger ending. They literally leave you gasping for more even though the movie last well more then two hours! So be ready for a Lord of the Rings type of ending where you go WHAT? No way it just ended there! So to me, this was the true spectacle of the summer. Incredible effects, great action, great characters and just plain fun. After all ain't that what summer movies are supposed to be about? Fun big budget special effect spectacles! And this one delivers in spades. So trust me on this one maties, we got ourselves a winner! Rating: 5 out of 5
Superman Returns (2006)
Disappointing but not unwatchable
Bryan Singer has proved himself to be a resourceful director when it comes to making superhero movies. His proved himself worthy of directing this comeback for Superman since his X-men films where such huge successes. Every comicbook geek and superman fan was resting comfortably on the fact that it was Singer who was behind the steering wheel of this new Superman film. Did he disappoint? Well the story is about Superman leaving earth for five years. He gives no reasons to anyone and just leaves. The world moves on without him, Lois Lane forgets about her romance to supes and falls in love with someone else. Basically the world accepts the fact that Superman might have left for good and moves on without him. Suddenly and without warning Superman Returns! His back and the whole world accepts him with open arms...well all except Lex Luthor and his posse who have plans to eliminate Superman for good.
As I sat in the movie theater to see the most anticipated movie of the summer I felt like a little kid again. I don't know if it was the music or the awesome opening sequence but I felt like a kid watching the old Superman flicks at the theater for the first time. Many things went right for this movie, first of which is of course Bryan Singer directing. He has done a great job of capturing not only the essence of who Superman is, but also bringing back the Superman that Christopher Reeve brought to life in the first four films. Smart move to choose Brandon Routh for the role as he both looks like a clone of Reeve, but also acts the same way that Reeve did when he played the role. So supes himself I think turned out excellent. The suit, the actor, the look, it perfectly personified who Superman is. So good job there. Though I must admit I would have liked for Brandon Routh to give Superman his own little touch. As it is, Routh is channeling Reeves almost perfectly.
The special effects are nothing short of spectacular, specially a scene involving a plane thats about to crash. That scene alone is worth the price of admission, my jaw was on the floor. I thought to myself that if the film was only half way through, then there should be even more spectacular scenes ahead...sadly, for me, this movie reached its peak with the plane sequence. Still, Superman doing all his super things like lifting cars, using x-ray vision, heat vision, and just plain flying around with Lois Lane were all done to perfection. Kudos also to the special effects guys.
As far as the story goes its very similar to the story that we saw in the first Superman film in which Luthor is interested in creating his own little piece of Luthor Land. Still, even though this movie does have a lot of similarities story wise with the first Superman film directed by Richard Donner, it did manage to surprise me here and there with new story elements. Fear not movie goers, this movie has a thing or two up its sleeve's. One particular surprise totally knocked me out as I was not expecting it at all, so enjoy you guys! I wont spoil it.
On the negative side of the spectrum I though the movie needed to bring it up a notch when it came to the action and suspense. I don't know if its a Bryan Singer thing to bring levels of intensity down or what (he did it in the X-movies by downplaying the X-mens powers) but he did it again here. In my opinion this movie needed to have intensity levels higher then it did. For some reason even when Supes was doing all these amazing things it didn't feel as exciting as it should have. Maybe it was me? Maybe I was having a bad hair day or something, but I felt Singer wanting to downplay things again. In my opinion Singer should stop trying to play it safe with his characters and go full blast with his films. I understand this is Superman were talking about here and we need to treat such a cherished character with extreme care, but come on, we want to have some fun. So if there's anything negative I can say about the film, its that. And I'm also willing to bet that this is the reason why this movie hasn't been the colossal hit it was expected to be.
I mean in all honesty, for 300 million + I was expecting to see freaking mayhem and destruction like I've never seen before. I have to say that aside from that plane sequence I was a bit underwhelmed by this film. This is not to say that it was badly directed or acted or anything at all...but it did need that extra oomph to make people come out of the theater wanting to see it again and again. As it is people leave the theater feeling like the movie wasn't all that it was hyped up to be, and I'm being honest here.
So in conclusion, it was sweet to see Superman back on the big screen is such an expensive production. Great cast, great effects...but it needed a little more intensity. Just a bit more, but I'm not worried, I'm just hoping that its something that can be rectified in a possible sequel. Please? Rating: 4 out of 5
Slick looking comic book film
Director Kurt Wimmer wowed sci-fi fans in 2002 when he made his first film Equilibrium. Equilibrium was set in a dark future where there is no freedom of any kind and a ruthless all commanding government rules over everyones thoughts, decisions, feelings and lives. It wasn't a huge hit, but it must have sold a butt load of DVDs cause Wimmers been given a second chance to direct and here he comes once again with yet another action sci-fi film thats sure to satisfy sci-fi/action fans.
The story for Ultraviolet gets a little complex, but it goes something like this. The government tried to create a race of super-humans but by mistake created a race called the hemophages. The hemophages have more strength, a mean set of fangs and a desire for human blood. The humans are trying to eradicate all hemophages and have come up with a way to do so. Thats when Violet (a hemophage) is sent into the humans headquarters to destroy the secret weapon. The Blood War has begun. What ensues is a game of cat and mouse across a futuristic landscape filled with gravity defying motorcycles, super hot chicks who kick ass and swords made of fire.
When I first saw this movie what first popped into my mind was that it was the complete anti-thesis of what Equilibrium was. Well, at least from a visual standpoint. I say this cause the movie is still about a totalitarian government trying to control all, the movie is still very much futuristic and it still has awesome sword/gunfights much like the ones we saw in Equilibrim. But when we look at Ultraviolet from a visual standpoint the movie is completely different from Equilibrium. Things are not dark and gritty at all, in fact its the complete opposite of that. Everything is bright and colorful, lots of bright blues and red dominate the screen, lots of yellows, I mean whatever color you can come up with shows up on screen. And let me tell you it gave the movie a very shinny happy look that I dug lots! This movie is the pure definition of eye candy! You may get a little lost with the story, you may not like some of the CGI, but you will love the colorful slick look of the flick. So expect something that will jump at you from the screen.
Storywise the movie tries to set its foundations pretty fast during a voice over in the first 15 minutes of the film. There's a lot of set up for this story and it almost feels like we walked into the middle of a film already in progress but I kind of dug how fast it went. Dare I say that I think the flick was trying to establish its story fast so it could get to the good stuff...the action! I say this because after the movie establishes its foundations it explodes into a series of slick looking action pieces that are sure to satisfy any action science fiction fan. In what film have you seen a motorcycle that can run through walls? In none I tell you! I must admit that this movie surprised me with many of the ideas that it presented. Violet has a kick ass anti gravity belt that allows her to walk on the ceiling as she kicks her enemies ass! Can you get cooler then that? I think not! So be ready for some original action sequences. Its obvious that Wimmer put a lot of effort in making everything look slick, futuristic and different. Every building, every uniform, every vehicle, every computer or machine is like nothing you have ever seen and I have to give credit to Wimmer and his crew for creating a visually cool/slick/colorful flick. Cool is definitely a word I would use in describing this flick.
The movie does have a glitch or two though. It ain't a perfect film. In some instances you can tell that the movie had some great ideas, but the budget for computer generated effects wasn't too big. For example, even though the idea about a wall riding motorcycle does in fact kick ass, there is a scene or two in there that looks too cgi for my tastes. Same goes for some helicopters that look like something right out of a video game. But you know what, I was having so much fun with the action, slick colorful visuals and fast paced story that I honestly didn't care, I let all that go cause I was having a blast with this flick.
Milla Jovovich -who is hotness personified- has becomed this generations "Ms. Sci-Fi" with so many cool science fiction and horror films under her belt. And you know what? That suits me just fine because she does a great job in everything she is in. I loved her in Resident Evil, I loved her in The Fifth Element and I absolutely loved her here. In a strange turn of events, in Ultraviolet she is a kick ass assassin/vampire yet she has a maternal side that pops up every now and again however reluctant her character was in showing it and I enjoyed that little back and forth between being maternal and being a kick ass assassin trying to save the human race from themselves.
So in conclusion, this movie isn't going to change the world. But its a cool as hell little film, with a great slick look. A movie for comic book geeks and sci-fi fans as evidenced by its way cool opening sequence which is composed of a series of different comic book covers. One thing is for sure, this movie knew who its target audience was! In my humble opinion I believe that Wimmer has scored another winner. Whats next for this extremely visual director? Ill be on the look out thats for sure! Rating: 4 out of 5
La monja (2005)
Crappy Nunsploitation flick
Review: Nunsploitation films. They've been around since forever. A few that pop to mind are the Mexican devil worshiping movie Alucarda, Night of the Demons 2, The Convent and of course Dante Tomasellis Desecration. Cant blame somebody for trying to exploit a religious/holy image and twisting it around to make it scary. If done right, it works. Here comes the most recent addition to the nunsploitation sub-genre simply titled The Nun.
The story is about this group of girls that live in a Catholic school. In this school there's a Nun who is particularly cruel to one of the girls. The girls acting in self defense against the abusive nun accidentally kill her and then decide to bury her and tell no one. Fast forward 18 years later and the nun is back searching for revenge from those who killed her.
This movie was produced by Brian Yuznas Fantastic Factory. You know, the company that makes horror movies in Spain. Need a reminder of the kind of movies that this company churns out? Well heres a small reminder: Arachnid, Darkness, Romasanta: The Werewolf Hunt, Rottweiler. You get the picture. About the only really good movie that this company has produced (in my opinion) was Stuart Gordons Dagon. Thats it. Oh no, wait, I believe they also produced the excellent Christian Bale vehicle The Machinist. But thats it. So when I consciously rented this movie, I knew I wasn't going to watch anything that was mind blowingly good. Still, with all that mental preparation I was disappointed.
One of the only good things this movie has going for it is its slick look. The movie has some nice cinematography. It doesn't look like a cheap horror film. The movies special effects were alright, with The Nun being able to travel through water. Well, that was an image that lended it self for some cool fx moments that sometimes scratched into cheesy territory but sometimes were cool enough to watch. I dug that scene with the Nun hurling herself at people like a bucket of water. Its not a particularly deadly move, but it made for a cool visual. There's some gore here but not a lot of it. One particular scene involving an elevator death was cool, but sadly the movie hit its peak with that scene. And it was only half way through. After that, nothing really cool happens and the movie deludes into an incredible borefest.
The movie just turns into The Nun popping up every now and then to give us a boo scare, she would kill someone and then CUT! We get back to the characters talking crap, going through rooms, opening doors, you get the drill. And I just personally hate it when a horror movie turns into that. People opening doors and going into rooms. Boring! And when the characters do talk its terrible dialog. In one particularly stupid scene a character decides right out of the blue that the nun turns into flesh and blood whenever she is in the water so thats they way to go to try and kill her. And everyone just says OK! And they all elaborate this plan to kill the nun in a water tank. Now, who gave that guy this info and why did the others just take it for granted? Who the hell knows, but its scenes like that that make the movie look stupid.
And yet another thing that got in the way of my enjoyment of this film was the fact that they used Spanish actors who have a very thick accent. When they try to speak English its very hard to make out what the hell they are trying to say. Id prefer to have them be dubbed then try and figure out what they are saying and become frustrated. The fact that this DVD has no English subtitles didn't help matters either.
So in conclusion, this is a movie that has some slick visuals, nice sound effects but a terrible terrible script. I guess this just goes to show that you might have the biggest budget or the best special effects, but if your movie has a bad script with terrible characters and situations that your audience cant connect with, then you've still got a bad movie. Such was the case with The NUN.
If you want to have some real fun with evil nuns, rent any of the films I mentioned at the beginning of this review. Now, as for the makers of this film, they should go say ten hail maries and light fifty candles to their saint of choice to see if they'll be forgiven for making this sinfully terrible film.
Rating: 2 out of 5.
Grandma's Boy (2006)
Stoner, gamers and geeks! This is your movie!
Review: I know this movie will probably end up getting bad reviews by everyone and his mother . This is exactly the type of movie that big time snobby reviewers cant seem to enjoy. In fact if you only like Oscar caliber films with big time actors and actresses and a relevant and important plot, then skip this one all the way. I myself think there is space in this world for brainless, mindless entertainment and actually found Grandmas Boy quite funny. Silly at times yes, sometimes pointless but most of the time I thought it was hilarious.
The story is about Alex, a 35 year old game tester that works for a company called Brainasium. They are a game developing company that is currently working on their latest masterpiece. Unfortunately for Alex in the middle of the deadline for this game he is kicked out of his apartment by his landlord and is forced to move in with his Grandmother who lives with two roommates, one is a nymphomaniac and the other is addicted to medications. Craziness ensues when weed is smoked in huge quantities by everyone. And I mean everyone! Even Grandma gets a hit of that bong! This type of film is tailor made for gamers, potheads, virgins and all around geeks. What that says about me since I actually found myself enjoying this piece of silly comedy is left to your own interpretation. OK, OK. Ill admit it. I'm a gamer, not the type that would spend days on end playing a game locked up in his room as the rest of the world continues with their natural active lives, but yeah, I do enjoy playing a good game or two every now and then. But this film itself is dedicated to those hardcore guys and gals that enjoy wasting hours upon hours of their lives playing video games. There's a funny sequence with these two gamers challenging themselves to different old school video games like Frogger and Dance Revolution. So if you're a gamer you will no doubt understand and get all the jokes going on here, everyone else will be like what? Why is that funny? In some circles video games and weed go hand in hand, much like movies and alcohol. So this movie of course has its weed consuming ratio very very high. I mean they smoke more ganja on this movie then on Harold and Kumar go to White Castle! I swear to god, There's a weed related joke every five minutes! Most of the weed related jokes are pretty darn funny like when Alexs grandma accidentally consumes a whole bag of ganja cause she confuses it with a bag of tea. Watching grandma go bonkers while watching Spanish TV was hilarious for me. Also the party that ensues after that lends itself for some funny as heck moments as well.
And for the Geek in all of us, there's many many jokes made at the expense of geeks all around the world. There's a guy for instance thats the developer of the video game who thinks he is Neo from the Matrix. He walks around dressed in a black trench coat, black clothes, boots and sun glasses with gel all over his hair. He calls this girl he likes my lady and constantly refers to himself as a genius. He is actually one of the funniest parts of the film. Oh yeah, and he walks around making robot noises as if he himself was a robot! References to video games, movies and cartoon shows like Samurai Jack abound.
Most of the actors in this movie you've seen in other films like Adam Sandlers films. But you'll never know their names cause non of them are instantly recognizable. Though for the most part they are funny. Well, maybe you'll recognize Allen Covert (Alex) from Sandlers films (I think he has been in everyone of Sandlers films) but you wont know his name. You wont go OH! There's Allen Covert! But you get my drift. No big stars here, which if you ask me was a good thing. There are a few cameos from Sandlers more famous buddies like for example Rob Schneider appears as a nasty landlord and Kevin Nealon as a new agie boss. David Spade also makes it into the movie as a snotty waiter in a health food restaurant.
This movies plot is practically non existent, so don't go in expecting a mind blowing storyline that will reveal the secrets of the universe to you. This is as low brow as you can get. As juvenile as you can get. But its also pretty funny. Not incredibly oh my god I'm gonna bust a gut funny, but giggle every five minutes funny. I was presently surprised with this straight to video flick. I never heard much about its theatrical release, but I'm glad I discovered it on DVD. So if your looking for a night of no brains, silly, juvenile, pot head, gamer entertainment then Grandmas Boy is the ticket for you.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Spooky flick with something to say to youngsters
This movie is based on Ray Bradburys novel Something Wicked This Way Comes. From what I hear the movie is very very different from the book, which by the way, I haven't read. So I want be comparing this movie to the book. The book is said to be more frightening then the film, but I guess thats understandable considering that this was a film produced by Walt Disney Pictures. Still, I found many good things in this movie.
Its story is about two young boys who are the best of friends. Will and Jim. One day a strange Carnival roles into town. This carnival seems to grant peoples most ardent wishes, but at a price. When Will and Jim discover whats really going on with this carnival they decide to try and stop it.
This movie was a bit uneven. There were some good things and there were some bad. First lets start with the good. The movie managed to evoke the feeling of a spooky, old town in the 1930s. Little shops all around, everyone knows each other, they are all friends. It kind of reminded me of that little town in that 80s TV show Little House on the Prairie. Remember that one? So anyways, the sets were very well achieved, so Kudos to the art department. There's also some very very good atmosphere on this film. I loved how the wind was constantly blowing and there were dried leaves all over the place. You get this kind of autumn feel, where winter is right around the corner, but not here yet. Anyhows, all the atmosphere adds to a very spooky town and that helps the film since this is after all horror/fantasy film.
Yeah its horror, but its not too horrifying. Its a Disney movie after all so you will never see anything too horrifying. Though Ill admit some of the images towards the ending of the movie scratched on too scary for kids. So what we have here is a light horror movie thats perfect for kids on the 7 to 10 year old range.
I loved what the movie has to say. There's many good themes that are touched upon in this film. So in essence, even though its a dark horror tale, its a good film that will teach kids important things about life .So I applaud it for that. I can see what Bradbury was trying to transmit with this movie. Unfortunately, I inferred most of these themes on my own. The movie doesn't exactly do a good job of explaining it all and here comes my first negative point about this film.
The story can sometimes become a muddled mess. For example we know that the carnival is evil. And we know that people get in trouble whenever they give in to what Mr Dark is offering. But its never really clear what it is that the Carnival people want with the towns people. Is Mr. Dark the devil himself in search of human souls? I don't know because its never fully explained. Whos this Dust Witch and why does she help Mr. Dark? Why is it wrong for the towns people to wish for what they wish for? I mean I don't understand why the movie is trying to give this message like its wrong to desire these things when in fact, I see nothing wrong in the football player wanting his leg and arm back. Or the old teacher wanting to be young again and so forth. So, the true intentions of the Carnival and Mr. Dark are not clearly explained and we are left to come to our own conclusions as to who Mr. Dark is and what he wants. So I'm going to have to say that the script was a bit weak and could have done a better job at explaining things instead of generalizing so much.
The special effects are as good as can be expected for 1983 and they sometimes amazed me. All in all the effects were pretty decent for those days. But I honestly think that this movie could benefit from a remake. In fact Id go as far as to say that this movie is screaming for a remake, with better effects and a more fleshed out script.
Jonathan Pryce does a good job at portraying Mr. Dark. My only beef with him was that even though he spoke a sinister sounding dialog, he himself didn't come off as pure concentrated evil. I think they could have cast someone slightly more evil looking. Slightly more menacing. But I can chalk that up to Disney not wanting this movie to be too scary. Jason Robards does the best job as Wills father. A man tormented by a mistake from his past and a man fearing death and getting old. He is a tormented soul and it shows in Robards performance. Pamela Griers role as the Dust Witch was short and I think she was wasted in this role. Honestly anyone could have done it.
All in all, this film had its faults like the ones I mentioned above, but still managed to be rather good. Yeah, it was uneven; yeah it wasn't to clear in explaining certain plot points. But it still managed to evoke that sense of wonderment you have when your at that young age as the kids in this movie. If only Disney hadn't held back in showing this stories full potential. Oh well, who knows, maybe someone out there in movie land will take this movie in and remake it following more closely Bradburys story. From what I hear, its a chilling read that I will no doubt be doing sometime soon.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Excellent revenge film with good performances and solid direction!
Like many of you, Id never heard the title Lady Snowblood before Kill Bill came out, so when I watched Kill Bill and saw Tarantino mention this film as one of his biggest influences, well I knew I would have to check it out sooner or later. So did Tarantino really rip off this flick or what? You bet your double edged sword he did!
The story is about this couple who get mugged by these four thugs. The husbands gets the ax by the killers and the wife gets raped by all of them many times. When the lady kills one of the killers and slays him she ends up in jail pregnant with a bastard child. When the child is born the mother dies, but not before whispering into the childs ear that her only purpose in life will be to kill those who were responsible for the death of her family. That little girl is raised by a Kung Fu master and ends up being Lady Snowblood. A creature living only to avenge those who murdered her entire family.
I wont say Tarantino isn't a genius on his own right the guy is one of my favorites, but when he gets inspired he sure knows where to get his inspiration from! There's many images lifted right off from this movie. Lets see the most notable of all rip offs is Oren Ishii who is no doubt molded after Lady Snowblood herself. Right down to her underground gangster deals and her ugly past. Right down to wanting to avenge her parents deaths. She chops heads and slices and dices like she means it! Blood sprays out in huge amounts in the same way that it sprays in Kill Bill, as if you just opened a sprinkler system to water your lawn. There's the four or five people that she has to kill which pop up in her mind every time she sees them, exactly the same way as in Kill Bill. And I mean exactly the same way, all four bad guys looking down at the camera as if the camera was on the floor! Lady Snowblood has a list of people she has to kill, I mean the similarities are astounding. But still, it didn't really bother me since I was enjoying this damn movie so much! The story is what really pulls you in. Its a fantastically woven revenge film to the Nth degree! I mean the level of hatred thats transferred onto Lady Snowblood when she is a child and the horrible things that happen to her spawn one of the most hatred filled characters that I have seen in a long time. Just like Beatrix Kiddo, Lady Snowblood (aka Yuki Kashima) stops at no ones plea of mercy. She executes her revenge no matter what circumstances have occurred or changed from the time of her parents death. Basically its a you did it now you pay for it kind of story. But with some wonderful characters and complications along the way.
There were many excellent things about this movie but the most pivotal of all was the flawless direction brought on by Toshiya Fujita. I mean this movie was like ahead of its time or something. Or maybe thats just the way movies were made in the seventies and it raised to such cool levels in a natural way. But this film has all these visual gags and tricks that could have only been spawned from that glorious era known as the 70s. Many scenes show that this director took special care in making this movie special, like those scenes with Lady Snowblood walking in the snow with her dress filled with the blood of her victim.
So even though this movie gets pretty gory and violent, visually Id say its very elegant. The music is also incredibly good, mixing traditional Asian music with this great theme song that Tarantino took from this very movie and placed it in his. The song adds an incredible emotion to the film, specially when you know what it says. Also of special notice is the movies excellent performances! From the whole cast we get nothing but credibility and sincerity in the acting. There's an excellent scene in which Yukis mother is giving birth and dying at the same time and the dialog and performance she gives was really something! If there's something I have to say that I didn't like its that the blood looked too red and too liquid. I mean, I know blood is liquid but not like water. Blood is thick and sticky and on this movie the blood looks a cartoonish red and flows like water which rested a couple of notches of credibility. But thats really nothing, the film is damn near perfect for me. Also don't go in expecting a Kung Fu movie cause this isn't a Kung Fu movie its a revenge movie. Don't get me wrong, there's swordplay involved and lots of violence. Decapitations, bodies split in half, hands cut off. But not necessarily any Kung Fu fights involved. So, lots of gore and slicing and dicing, but no Kung Fu.
In conclusion, a very very kick ass film. This is were Kill Bill was born and Kill Bill was as good as it was because it was already ripping off an truly excellent film. So, yeah, Id say go out of your freaking way to get this movie as soon as you can and enjoy one of the coolest revenge films to come out of Asian cinema. Lady Snowblood will get revenge on you if you don't! (Corny way to end my review, I know) Rating: 5 out of 5
Lik wong (1991)
Bloody Gory Cheap and Extreme Fun
Wow, it had been a long time since Id seen some over the top extreme bloody violence. The last time I remember being excessively drowned in this much gore and violence was when I saw Peter Jacksons Dead Alive or Hellraiser II: Hellbound. Yes my friends, The Story of Riki is one of those movies that goes over the top and the some- with its gore.
The story is about this 20 something kid called Riki OH who ends up in jail for trying to rescue his girlfriend from a bunch of dirty cops. Anyhows after he goes into this maximum security jail we find out that Riki is actually one in a long line of super powered beings. His whole family has the gift of having augmented strength and the ability to punch a hole through anything including humans. So Riki goes on a rampage trying to protect the helpless and weak inmates he befriends in jail and going up against the meanest and baddest gang leaders inside. The results are some of the bloodiest, goofiest and funniest fights you will ever see on celluloid.
The story in this movie is beside the point, that's why its so simple. There's nothing complicated about this movie, its premise goes something like this: Riki ends in jail, he befriends someone inside, then that someone gets killed by the evil guards, or the evil warden or the evil gang leaders and then Riki goes berserk and goes on to avenge said friends death in really gruesome ways. I mean literally, that's how the movie goes for its entire duration. Me and my buddies found it so funny, he becomes someones friends, that someone gets killed and AAAARRGGH! Riki goes nuts and dismembers whoever is responsible.
Of course the highlight and main purpose in watching this movie is for its gore. Don't come in here with high expectations of seeing anything but the most tasteless scenes that Asian cinema can conjure up. You will see heads exploding, arms and legs being torn off, people being thrown into meat grinders, I mean, this is extreme folks. So if you cant really take violence or gore (even gore as goofy as this) then don't see this flick. If on the other hands you are one of those sick individuals who enjoys mirth and mayhem of the goriest kind then you my friend must see this movie! It's a b-movie no doubts about it, the effects are often times cheesy and the gore is over the top, but Ill be damned if this wasn't one of the most fun movies I have watched in a while. The characters are extremely cartoony but that's mainly due to the fact that the movie is based on a manga. You'll see what I mean by cartoony when the wardens fat whiny son shows up. The blood shed and gore portrayed in this film are everything BUT realistic, often times a gruesome effect will look extremely fake, but I enjoyed it anyones simply because of the extremeness of the situation.
Riki Oh breaks everything in his path even the iron bars of his jail cell! I mean this mother honker is indestructible! And on top of that, he is a Bruce Lee clone! He even has this special move he makes before he kicks anyones ass that is very Bruce Lee like. He licks off the blood from his nose or mouth, closes his fist and runs off in a scream of rage to kick some poor villains ass. It cracked me up every time I saw it.
So if your in the mood for some goofy bloody fun, and if your interested in watching a movie with your buddies while guzzing down a few beers, well look no further the The Story of Riki OH! Rating: 3 out of 5
Lo squartatore di New York (1982)
Sleazy, dirty yet surprisingly enough coherent!
Fulci is not known for making cohesive and easily understandable films. He usually defies logic and reason with his stories. His motto often times appears to be shock first and ask questions later. Even if the answers to those questions are nowhere to be seen even after the film is over. Now here comes The New York Ripper and honestly, I was expecting another convoluted messy plot, but to my surprise this is one of Fulcis most coherent films! Yes you heard me right! Coherent! There's a killer loose in the mean dirty streets of New York city. He has a knack for slicing up cute girls in really ugly ways. In comes the best of the New York City Police Department to try and find who this killer is. Lt. Fred Williams is on the case and he enlists the help of a University Professor to try and get the killer before he continues slashing up beautiful girls.
If you're a fan of Fulci, then you know that he never holds back when it comes to blood and guts. With the New York Ripper Fulci goes all the way yet again! He seems to be hell bent on making some of the most vicious murders ever filmed! On this one you get girls being slashed through their stomachs, nipples, eyes. Of course Fulci has always had a thing for eyes (That scene in Zombie is unforgettable!) and on this film he revisits his hard on for eyes when we see a girl getting her eye sliced with a knife. You gotta love Fulci for not cutting for one moment as the grizzly murders happen. So if this is your first Fulci flick, then be ready for that, then again if you're a Fulci fan then you know your up for some gruesome fun.
It seems that Fulci have this fixation with New York city since it always seems to make his way into his films. Zombie starts out in New York, House by the Cemetery also starts out in New York and this one takes place entirely in the big apple. The New York that is depicted in this film is that dirty old New York from the 80s with sleazy porn shops and porn theaters on every corner. Dark dirty streets filled with prostitutes, graffiti on the trains you get the picture. Think up the sleaziest image of New York city that you can, and that's what you'll get on this movie. Interesting part is that New York really looked this way in the 80s! This kind of adds to the air of sleaziness that the film has.
Speaking of sleaziness, there's something that took me a bit by surprise and it's the amount of nudity and sex involved in this picture. Fulci is not really known for using lots of nudity in his films (except for that topless deep sea diver in Zombie) so I was surprised when a huge part of the film takes place in a theater where they are actually having sex on stage as one of the characters watches and masturbates to it! There's more crazy sexual stuff in this movie, but Ill let you discover it on your own. Anyhows point is, there's more nudity and sex in this film then on any other Fulci film that I have seen. And its very different to most of Fulci films mainly because there's absolutely not one supernatural element in this film. Its just a straight forward slasher film, and in this way it feels more like something Argento might have cooked up.
Actually this movie reminded me a lot in both look and feel (and sleaziness) to another excellent psychopath on the loose in the streets of New York city film: Maniac. Of course Maniac is slightly better then this one because of how it analyzes the killer and who he is. In Fulcis Ripper, we never know who the killer is till the very end. Kind of like an Argento film. This is a Giallo after all. So be ready for a lot of red herings.
All in all, this is one of Fulcis most viciously violent films. Its still a very sleazy film with some bad dialogue and bad acting. Not to mention hideous dubbing! But the murders are really out there. And so is the sex. So get ready for one of Fulcis most intense and brutal films in his long blood drenched career.
Rating: 3 ½ out of 5
Return of the Crappy Horror Movie
Title: Return of the Living Dead 4: Necropolis
Director: Ellory Elkayem
Cast: A bunch of really bad teenage actors and Peter Coyote
20 years after Dan O Bannons first ROTLD came out it has already spawned 4 sequels. Now in the new millennium I'm sad to inform that this series has deluded into a series of very disappointing straight to DVD movies.
The story is about this evil super corporation that is experimenting with the toxic gas called Trioxin 5. Trioxin 5 is the gas that the army was experimenting with way back in the first film and well as luck would have it they misplaced yet another batch of canisters containing the deadly gas. The evil company grabs a hold of some of the missing canisters (which pop up in Russia of all places) and continue their experiments of re-animating the dead. At the same time a bunch of biker kids are pulling extreme stunts on their motorcycles and one of them falls of his bike and ends up in the local hospital which is also owned by the evil corporation. The company proclaims the kid dead so they can use his body in their zombie experiments. Then, the group of kids decide to go into the complex to save their friend who they think is still alive inside of the complex.
Well the latest batch of crap zombie films has arrived in the form of Return of the Living Dead 4: Necropolis. Normally, there's a certain level of enjoyment to be had from a low budget zombie film, you know the kind of enjoyment you get from guilty pleasures. And Ill admit there was one or two things I enjoyed about this dumb ass zombie flick, but for the most part it was pure torture.
The worse part of this movie is its lack of desire to do something new and interesting. The guys and gals responsible for making this sorry excuse for a zombie flick decided to make practically the same freaking movie we have already seen five hundred times before. Kids going into a science complex and releasing a horde of zombies? Been there done that in part three of this very series! Why walk over the same exact ground that the previous film already walked over? They even had one character have a bike accident just like the girl from the third film! It was just a completely unoriginal storyline that had me rolling my eyes back in disappointment every five seconds. But this is a TV movie we are talking about here and it was more then likely a rush job to capitalize on the current zombie craze, so a level of originality was not entirely expected. But I just thought I had to warn you. And because of this been there done that feeling that the storyline has, the movie gets boring fast. Once you know whats coming, you completely give up with the movie.
Then there's the incredibly bad dialog. I mean this dialog was beyond bad! In one particularly excruciatingly bad moment a character asks a scientist why are you doing this? and the scientist says For world domination! What else? And me and my brother looked at each other and just cracked up. We couldn't believe that this dialog was given the OK to be spoken.
The only redeeming quality in this movie is the zombie make up and gore which was very well achieved. Unfortunately you'll have to survive the first boring as hell hour of the film before the real zombies and gore show up. Once the kids finally make it in and release the zombies things get a little interesting with zombies munching on brains and ripping people apart. Unfortunately the way I see it, this zombie movie was done without any love for the genre. They throw blood and guts at you but they don't fully understand that, gore and zombies do not make a good zombie film. Its the characters, its the drama between them. The zombies and guts are a delicious extra that we get in a zombie film. Like icing on an already good cake. Unfortunately this fourth entry into the Return of the Living Dead franchise just feels like a bunch of empty calories.
And then there's the fact that these movies aren't trying to be even remotely scary. The chills you get when you see a Romero zombie walking towards Barbara in the original Night of the Living Dead are nowhere to be seen or felt. This zombie flick is more interested in having people shooting machine guns and shotguns at the zombies then making a scary movie about dead people wanting to eat your brains. And if the action was good, maybe Id forgive them. Cause films like Resident Evil for example present us with interesting action sequences, but in the case of Necropolis the action sequences resort to boring shoot outs with nothing new or interesting to entertain with.
The one opportunity the movie has of showing us something cool is when these two uber zombies show up. These genetically altered zombies have machine guns and blades for hands. Unfortunately these supposedly super zombies die faster then the regular zombies! And an opportunity to do something cool is completely wasted. Not to mention the fact that these super zombies look like Cenobite rejects from the Hellraiser films.
Anyhows, all in all if your in the mood for some bad acting, bad dialog and boring action sequences, with some gore and zombies squeezed in the last 30 minutes then by all means rent this. Just know that you have been warned, its so sad to see this series slowly go down the proverbial toilet!
Rating: 1 out of 5
Wolf Creek (2005)
Solid direction, performances and a great villain!
Title: Wolf Creek (2005)
Director: Greg McLean
Cast: John Jarratt, Cassandra Magrath, Kestie Morassi, Nathan Phillips Review:
I had been eagerly awaiting the Australian horror flick Wolf Creek for the longest time. After having read all those positive reviews about it, and having missed it in theaters on its original theatrical release, when I finally saw it at my local video club for rent I went berserk. Yeah! Finally something good to munch on after the recent onslaught of predictably annoying and amateurish horror flicks that have been coming out. So did Wolf Creek live up to my expectations? Thats a solid 10-4to you folks out there reading!
The story is about these three friends, two girls and a guy, who decide to go on a two week road trip across the barren landscape of Australia. One of their destinations is this place called Wolf Creek were a meteorite fell thousands of years ago and left a gigantic crater. Mysteriously enough their car breaks down (as do their watches for some unexplained reason) and they are left stranded on a totally desolated area of the Australian desert. Lucky for them a good natured local drops by to help them. After that things get just a little intense.
Yeah I'm sure you are thinking that this premise sounds like many horror movies you have already seen and rightly so. This movie falls under the same category as other horror greats such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes and Last House on the Left. Basically a group of friends on a trip somehow take a wrong turn somewhere and end up in a heap of trouble. And thats true, we have already seen this premise and situations before. But its the way that it was delivered that makes Wolf Creek special.
Aside from the familiar premise, there's no cheap scares or gimmicks here. It doesn't resort to using sudden loud noises to get you to jump as many modern horror movies do. It doesn't have a gimmicky twist at the end. And you don't know whats going to happen in the next five minutes. In other words, the movie is completely unpredictable and downright tense in a very pure sense. And I love that about it! It had me screaming at the screen, which is something that hasn't happened for a long time while watching a horror flick. Its really crazy, because I've seen so many bad horror films that by now I am accustomed to knowing whats going to happen. And in a way, having those expectations helped me enjoy this particular movie more. Its like what you think is going to happen, doesn't! And the movie catches you off guard in that way. I absolutely loved that about it.
Another thing thats great about this movie where the performances. Everyone involved did an incredible job in making the situations credible. The three young actors are all new comers, but they made a earnest effort to make their performances realistic and the characters very very likable. We spend a large part of the movie getting to know these guys before they get into trouble. And when they do, you don't feel they are acting like Paris Hilton or all those kids on the House of Wax remake. These guys give really intense performances that help sell the situation and make everything all the more believable. Speaking of getting to know these characters, the movies first half is completely dedicated to seeing them getting ready for their trip and partying and basically doing the things that we all do when we go on a road trip which was great if you ask me. All that set up made everything more realistic. So be patient, once they get to Wolf Creek things pick up in pace. But honestly, all the set up didn't bother me at all.
And yet another excellent thing about this movie is how relentless and unforgiving it is with its characters. Usually in most modern horror movies you can see from a mile away who are the ones that are going to make it. Not so here. In this movie, you really don't know who is or isn't going to survive the ordeal. The villain is so resourceful and evil, you almost think that these guys have no way of getting out alive! Finally a memorable villain thats not some retarded psychologically tormented soul. This guy knows what he is doing and enjoys it every step of the way and with a clarity and control hardly seen on a villain in a long time. I was honestly getting tired of inbred hillbilly rednecks in the middle of the woods.
Director Greg McLeans first film shows a lot of promise. The movie is beautifully shot with some excellent cinematography. Lots of beautiful shots of Australian vistas that made me want to take a vacation there sometime soon of course after seeing the film I was already having second thoughts about going. Heck according to the movie thousands of people are reported missing every year in that huge ass piece of land known as the outback and 10% of those are never found! And this is based on a true life story! So anyways strap yourself on tight for a solid, unpredictable horror ride to the Wolf Creek. Ill put another shrimp on the barby as you blokes watch this excellent horror flick.
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5
Title: Eraserhead (1977)
Director: David Lynch
Cast: Jack Nance,Charlotte Stewart, Judith Ana Roberts, Laurel Near
Review: The ever elusive Eraserhead has just been released on DVD for everybody's viewing pleasure. Previously only available through bootlegs or through David Lynchs own website, this gem of surreal cinema is now on a cleaned up DVD transfer that does it justice. Though I thoroughly enjoyed this film cause I am a guy who can appreciate the strange and bizarre, I don't think this film will be a pleasure to watch for everybody.
Some people find the story of this film hard to follow because amongst the main storyline Lynch squeezes in some bizarre images that I'm willing to bet only he can understand. But in spite of the strange images, there's a story about a lonely guy named Henry Spencer. Henry works in a factory 9-5 and lives cooked up in a claustrophobic little apartment in the middle of a dirty industrial city. He is soon invited to dinner by his girlfriend so he can meet her parents for the first time. Little does he know that he will get a life changing revelation during dinner.
If you've seen Lynchs other films (Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Mullholland Dr., Dune and Elephant Man) then you know you are in for a strange and surreal ride. Its no mystery that Lynch is fond of messing with your mind and spooking the hell out of you with surreal nightmarish images, so I was ready to submerge myself once again into David Lynchs subconscious. What I wasn't ready for was how deep we were going to go.
This movie really is Lynchs most disturbing film and I love it for that. I actually screened this one with some friends in my house and at one point a friend of mine turned away and said "I don't want to see this movie anymore! I refuse!" and he actually turned his back to the TV! I was like "hell yeah!" I love movies that can evoke that type of reaction, and let me tell you I understand my friend perfectly. The images and situations are deeply troubling, so be ready for some truly messed up sequences.
The movie is sometimes slow, but it more then makes up for that with its visuals. After all, this isn't an action film, this film is something artful, quiet yet unsettling. You see Lynch took extra special care here in making every scene perfectly eerie, perfectly dark and very very atmospheric. The movie doesn't have many outdoor sequences but the interiors of the apartments and the sets suggest that it isn't a pretty world that Henry Spencer lives in. And even the pacing might get slow at times but trust me, when something does happen, well, it blows you out of the water. So be patient and enjoy the beautifully dark and surreal vistas that Lynch has concocted for you.
One of the greatest things this movie has going for it is the sound design. There is sound in every square inch of this film and it greatly enhances a lot of the sequences.
A cool thing to remember is that this was Lynchs first film ever and man, I have to tell you he was off to an incredible start. He filmed this movie through the course of six years during the time he was in film school, but Ill damned if it doesn't look as professional as all his other films.
So when you rent/buy this film, remember you are in for some truly strange and bizarre images. You wont understand everything, but you don't have to. I understood the film and I really appreciate the message that its conveying with its story. There's themes of loneliness, fatherhood, abortion...the film goes into a lot of important themes.
Just don't expect a normal film cause you ain't getting one. This is David Lynch after all.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Dark Water (2005)
Boring and NOT scary
Title: Dark Water (2005)
Director: Walter Salles
Cast: Tim Roth, Jennifer Connelly
There's been a rash of Japanese films that have been remade by American filmmakers. These films have been re molded, rewritten and re-everything so that American audiences can enjoy a bastardized version of the original. Films like The Ring and The Grudge are a result of Americas desire to imitate Japanese box office success. Sometimes it works and sometimes it don't. Dark Water came and went and for the most part American audiences didn't even realize it. Why didn't this movie work the same way other remakes had? What went wrong? Well the story is about a mother and her daughter. Mother and father are fighting over the custody of the little one. Lawyers are involved. Mother and father hate each other, but life must go on. The mother, played by Jennifer Connelly is trying hard to be the best mother that she can. Shes trying to find a suitable place to live on her meager budget and she wants to get her daughter in a good school. So, of they go to find a new apartment to live in. The find one in a very skanky looking building, but it will have to do since money is low. Once they settle in, weird things begin to happen. Could it be that they have a poltergeist? So there's a couple of good things and a couple of bad things to say about this movie. Ill start with the good. First off, the director decided that he wanted to make a film that imitate in feel and performances those solid horror movies from the seventies. You know that time in which solid directors like Kubrick and Polanski were making horror movies like The Shinning and Rosemarys Baby. Movies that took themselves seriously and had the boldness of using real actors (!) instead of the latest WB teen star. Dark Water is that type of horror film. We get a really good solid cast with Oscar caliber actors like Connelly and great actors like Tim Roth and John C Reilly. At one point I saw them all together on one take and I went whoa! This films got a really good cast! So its got that going for it. The direction is top notch, the movie has this rainy humid feel to it all through out that's perfect for the movies watery theme. It kind of looks like something that David Fincher might have cooked up. You know, lots of green and yellow filters.
Sadly, in spite of the movie having all these good things going for it, it's a film that's afraid to be what its supposed to be. It's a horror film that doesn't feel like a horror film. It's a ghost story that is shying away from going all the way with its poltergeist theme. Just when you think the movie will turn up its intensity, it doesn't. It gives real world explanations to everything so you'll go "maybe its not a ghost, maybe shes just imagining everything." And when it does decide to go all the way, its already to little too late. I believe it would have helped if the movie didn't try to be so grounded in reality. It is after all a ghost story.
On top of that, its very very low on originality. The whole "little ghost girl" has been done to death. The Asian culture is specially guilty of overusing the spooky little ghost girl plot device. Think about it, The Ring, The Grudge and now Dark Water are all practically about the same thing. I could even go further and mention similarities with films like The Changelling and Fear.com. So when this remake comes along its got a tired old feeling that made me roll my eyes to the back of my head quite a few times saying "Here we go again". So it looses a point for not being all that original. In fact Ill go even further by saying that this movie is almost an exact duplicate of Ring Two, and of course that makes sense since Ring Two and the original Japanese version of Dark Water were both directed by Japanese director Hideo Nakata so that's another thing that this remake had going against it. Its similarities with too many films.
So in conclusion, Dark Water wasn't necessarily a bad movie. Its well made, well acted and has its moments. Its just not terribly exciting. It was missing that little extra oomph! To make it stand out. It's a ghost story that chooses to not show its ghost for a laaaaarge chunk of the film, it kind of goes against itself that way.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5
Final Destination 3 (2006)
Fun Gory Times. Not to original though
Title: Final Destination 3
Director: James Wong
Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ryan Merryman, Kris Lemche, Amanda Crew, Texas Battle
I remember the first time I saw the original Final Destination. It was like a surge of electricity with its interesting premise and disrespect for the life span of its main characters. It was something new back then and I will admit I enjoyed it immensely. But here we are now in the third installment in what has now become a franchise for New Line cinema and I must say that its formula of character seeing a premonition of a horrible accident, character warning all his friends and some of the surviving said accident only to be hounded down by death for escaping is feeling kind of old by now.
The story this time centers itself around an amusement park roller-coaster ride called "The Devils Flight". A bunch of teenagers from the local high school decide to go to the amusement park that day and ride the big bad roller-coaster. Of course one of them has a premonition of a horrible roller-coaster accident and if you've already seen parts one and two of this series well you already know exactly what's going to happen here.
And there lies the biggest flaw in this movie. Its too repetitive too redundant. There are absolutely no surprises as far as the story or the plot goes. I don't know how the producers of this film just decided to make this movie without having some sort of guilt on their minds. It is step by step the exact same thing from previous films. The premonition, then the character goes nuts warning everyone, no one believes her and they all die. That's basically it.
But it isn't all that bad because there is some fun to be had here. The only redeeming quality in this here film and the reason why I don't give it such a low rating is because as we have all come to learn by know, what really matters in these movies are the way the characters die. And they die in very creative and original ways. It seems that filmmakers focused all their creative energies in making cool deaths and that's it. I can almost hear the suits saying "The rest of the plot can be the exact same thing the kids wont notice! Just as long as we give em cool deaths!" And that's exactly what we get.
Every death sequence is well elaborated. Starting with the big action sequence that takes place in the roller-coaster which I must say was pretty cool, action packed and exciting. I mean this movie really milked everyones fear of something going Also its fun as hell trying to figure out how death is going to get each of the characters. Maybe that knife maybe they'll get electrocuted, maybe and eventually it ends up being what you least expect. So there's some fun to be had there as well.
Of course there's a couple of things that never really make much sense to me, for example: Why the heck would death leave clues in pictures? That's the stupidest thing I have ever seen. Come on, exactly who leaves these picture clues and why do these kids suddenly figure out that this is the way to beat death? Please. But I went along with it since its just another stupid little movie, that obviously the writers didn't give a crap about. They didn't put any effort into it as far as the writing was concerned.
So in conclusion, don't expect any originality as far as the story is concerned. Just enjoy the deaths and the big accidents and the tension that comes from trying to figure out how each of the characters is going to die. Turn your brain off and you should enjoy this movie just fine.
Rating: 3 out of 5