Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hostel Part III

The premise of Hostels One and Two was basically "Everyone in Europe is in cahoots to send Americans to Siberia (or wherever) to be killed." The premise of Hostel Three, on the other hand, is "Hostel Three is stupid."
The plot is about four buddies (Generic, Ugly, Asshole and Disabled) who go to Las Vegas for Generic's bachelor party. There they meet two hot chicks who take them to a party. Asshole goes missing and everybody gets picked off one by one.
(I feel I should point out that Ugly is an asshole and Asshole is ugly; their nicknames could be interchangable. And part of me feels like I shouldn't go around writing reviews where I judge people based on their looks (I'm no prize pig myself) but fuck you, it's my blog and everybody judges everybody on their looks anyway, whether they admit it or not.)
Hostel Three sort of rehashes Hostel One in a lot of ways, but with an added gambling spin, I guess because it takes place in Las Vegas. And it shies away from a lot of the gore. And it's less interesting. And I don't give a shit about any of the characters except Bald Guy, who has nothing to do with the bachelor party buddies. He spends most of the movie in a cell being pissed off because they took his girlfriend and he's the only character I felt any sympathy for at all.
Everything about Hostel Three screamed "straight to video" or, worse, "TV show trying to be 'edgy'." There are, near the end, two fight scenes that are basically just sword fights (but with different objects in place of swords) and suddenly I felt like I was watching that episode of Angel where Angel and Lindsay get into a ridiculous sword fight for reasons I can't quite remember. If they'd cut back on the gore a little more and edited out all the "fuck"s, Hostel Three could have been an overly long episode of a violent TV drama, the kind that airs at 10 PM.
I really like the first two Hostels and I wasn't expecting much from the third entry, but I was still disappointed with it. It's certainly not worth owning. It wouldn't even be worth renting. It was barely worth the no money I spent watching it on the "free" section of my cable box's on demand.
It's not good, is what I'm saying.
Also, Ugly looked really fucking familiar but I didn't recognize his name and it's going to drive me crazy trying to figure out where I've seen him except I think I figured it out while I was typing that sentence: he's the skinny bully from Hocus Pocus.
(Okay, I just looked him up and he isn't. The only other thing I've seen him in is the remake of The Wizard Of Gore. I think he was the main guy who was pretentiously anachronistsic. I hated that character, too.)

End of line.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The World Of Henry Orient

I went back and forth for a couple of days about writing about this one because I'd already seen it before (years and years ago, but still) and there was a problem when I taped it and I didn't get to see the ending. But I feel like I have a lot to say about the movie, though a lot of it is intangible so it might be touch to write anything.
First and foremost, I read a thing that said that Ghost World was inspired by The World Of Henry Orient, which is a despicable thing to say and everyone who ever even thought such a thing owes The World Of Henry Orient a massive, grovelling apology.
Valerie Boyd and Marian Gilbert, students at an all girls private school, meet by chance one morning ("You're new here, too, aren't you? Do you like it?" "They say it's the best girls' school in the country." "Me neither.") and immediately become best friends, despite one other student's warning to Gil that Val is crazy.
The girls keep coincidentally running afoul of experimental pianist Henry Orient ("And then two small bladders came out of their mouths."), usually when he's with the married woman he's currently dating. Val falls madly in fangirl love with him after they attend one of his concerts, so she and Gil dedicate their lives to stalking him, creating a scrapbook of him and speaking in vaguely Asian accents.
Things start going wrong when Val's parents come home from wherever they happened to be this time and her mother finds the scrapbook and assumes her daughter has been fooling around with Henry Orient because Val's mother is an idiot who's never met a fangirl before.
There are certain movies that hit me a certain way and The World Of Henry Orient is like a weird, warped mirror of my own life. I relate so immediately and strongly with Val and Gil. I've had friendships exactly like theirs: sudden, immediate, intuitive, fangirly, adjectives. Watching this movie is like watching the year of high school I spent almost exclusively in Jenny's company. If I'd remembered this movie existed that year, I would have insisted we rent it.
I actually have the same reaction to Heavenly Creatures, but to a lesser extent because Jenny and I never had sex or killed anybody. Henry Orient is much more my life; if there had been a way for us to follow Mike Patton or Tommy Kirk or somebody around while wearing conical straw hats and speaking a secret language, we probably would have.
But the reason I love The World Of Henry Orient is more than just that. I can relate to it in that way now, but when I was a kid and it was one of my favorite movies I'd never had a friendship like that. I'd barely had friends at all at that point. But I could always relate to it, I always admired Gil and Val, it was always a movie that punched me right in the stomach in the most wonderful way possible. I just don't know how to explain what exactly it is I relate to or the feeling it gives me.
It's just a wonderful, wonderful movie and I want to watch it again right now. I want to live it, I want to be it. I want to watch it with every close friend I've ever had.
I want to put on a conical hat and wait across the street from its apartment so I can kowtow to it when it looks out the window.

End of line.

Ecstasy In Entropy

Ecstasy In Entropy is seventeen minutes of proof that I will watch any terrible crap if Eugene Hutz is in it.
At least now I know he's not in it enough to make it worth watching.
The movie is basically, strippers, boobs, a catfight, a blow job, more boobs, people hanging around a strip club (one of whom seems to be doing drugs but the rest are all just kind of standing aimlessly) and then another catfight, featuring boobs. It's boring.
Eugene Hutz is in the standing around scene for, at most, three seconds (though it's probably closer to one and a half) and so enshrouded in shadow that the only way I recognized him at all was with my fangirl superpower of detection.

End of line.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Forgotten Silver

I am an absolute sucker for movie history. I love Turner Classic Movies, even when they're showing something boring and / or depressing and I will watch any documentary about old movies. It's my favorite subject and it probably always will be.
Forgotten Silver is the type of documentary you'd run across on PBS. It's about a filmmaker named Colin McKenzie, whose films from the early 1900s were given to Peter Jackson by McKenzie's widow. The films turn out to be an amazing find, proving that a New Zealander flew before the Wright brothers and that McKenzie figured out how to make movies with sound decades before Hollywood did, among other things. McKenzie's magnum opus was a four hour epic telling of Salome.
The documentary covers McKenzie's personal life along with his professional work, and also follows a group of people looking for the lost set of Salome that was built deep in the wilds of New Zeland.
Forgotten Silver is completely engrossing and well worth every one of the fifty five minutes it takes to watch it.
The only problem I have with it is that it's completely fictional. (That isn't necessarily a spoiler. That's announced all over the DVD box and, also, I probably wouldn't have remembered the little blurb I'd read about this movie in a "cult movies" guide if it hadn't mentioned that it was a fictional documentary.) It's kind of sad that this story that I got so invested in, was so fascinated by, isn't the slightest bit true. There are so few clues in the movie, though, that it isn't a real documentary, I would imagine a lot of people were / could be fooled by it.
Highly, highly recommended. (What do you know; now I like three Peter Jackson movies!)

End of line.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The 2012 Year End Roundup

Well, it's mid December and I feel like writing something. But I haven't watched any movies lately so I've decided to write my end of year review now, simply because I'm pretty sure I won't be going to the movies again this year. The only thing out right now that I want to see is The Collection, and I don't want to see it all that much. I would like to see Django Unchained, too; if I do get around to that I'll mention in its review what two movies it would have fallen between on this list.
Also, in case Dikembe Mutombo fails, I may as well get this out there before we all perish in a fiery Mayan apocalypse.
Overall, 2012 was an interesting one. I'm still unemployed (sort of; I get paid family wages to babysit my two younger nieces), still doing a bit of non-blog fiction writing (at the moment I'm writing a late-'70s, early-'80s style exploitation horror movie called Excess but I don't know if it'll ever get past the first draft stage because I don't want most of the people I know to find out what goes on in my brain) and still single (damn it).
This was also the year of getting back in touch with old friends. ... Well, I guess that actually started last year, when I started hanging out with my friend Dan from high school and went to Portland with Rebekah. This year I went and saw Vertigo  at tha Castro Theater with my friend Jenny (also from high school; I met her in the same class I met Dan, actually) and hung out with my friend Michelle, both of whom I hadn't seen in years. They are both still awesome people and I'm glad to be back in touch with them. Hope to see them again soon.
I have three nieces now, instead of two, my pet mouse died several months ago but earlier this week I got a pet rat. My brother's family moved into our house and it's become very crowded and noisy with children but it's kind of fun and I take the two little ones out on long stroller rides almost every day.
And I don't seem to have much time for movie watching anymore. I do have a new Movie Lottery all ready to go, I just don't have the energy to start it. If all goes well, I'll start it tonight.
Probably won't happen, though.
Anyway, the year-end roundup covers the movies I saw in theaters this year (except Vertigo, since that's, like, fifty years old or so and I'd seen it many times before). And boy howdy were there a lot of them. So let's get this nonsense underway, shall we?

29) House At The End Of The Street - Certainly the biggest disappointment of the year and, yeah, probably the worst new movie I saw. The previews promised me a horror story that the movie itself could not deliver, being too wrapped up in its own teenage drama bullshit.
28) The Hunger Games - Also, it turns out I just really hate Jennifer Lawrence. I base that on the fact that she starred in the two worst movies I saw this year and she's terrible. I kind of remember my original review of The Hunger Games said that "I did like it" but the further away I get from it, the less I can claim that. The Hunger Games pissed me off and the more I think about it, the madder I get. The blood boilingly fucktarded names (Peeta? Really?), the dead eyed hateful protagonist, the lack of character development all around, it just royally sucked from beginning to end.
27) Silent House - For the most part, I completely forgot not only that I saw this movie but that it exists at all. Parts of it were kind of spooky and interesting but those parts are squashed at the end by the "big reveal," which dealt with subjects way too serious for a movie of this shitty calibre.
26) Red Dawn - 'Merica! I still can't figure out how I managed to see every movie Chris Hemsworth was in this year, but especially this one, since the only thing I could think every time I saw a preview for Red Dawn was "Won't be seeing that one." What the fuck, man? What the fuck?
25) The Campaign - I like Zach Galifianakis as a stand up comedian but he's never been in a movie I wanted to see. I tolerate Will Ferrell (one of these years I should see Anchorman because I think I'd like it, but other than that I actually kind of hate the guy). Put them together in a comedy that was probably supposed to be over the top about dirty political campaigns and you get mediocre unfunniness that makes you wish your were at home breaking furniture.
24) Snow White And The Huntsman - Really cool visuals, good actors as the dwarves, Charlize Theron trying her damnedest to ham up and then eat all the scenery (I mean that as a compliment) so you won't notice that the plot, the script and the vast majority of the acting are all terrible.
23) The Bourne Legacy - Nothing outlasts the Energizer Renner Movie. It keeps going and going and going and going and going...
22) Total Recall - Funnily enough, I can't recall. Any of it. ... No, wait, I remember flying cars and money with Obama on it. That's all I've got.
21) The Dark Knight Rises - Well, I liked listening to Bane talk and ... nope. I was going to try to come up with a second nice thing to say about it but all I could come up with was "Marion Cotillard is pretty." So, yeah, Bane made me giggle and one of the actresses has a nice face. Other than that it was too long, not terribly interesting, too serious and Anne Hathaway is terrible. Absolutely terrible.
20) Lawless - Yet another movie I barely remember. I know Gary Oldman wasn't in it enough (I like to claim he was in the preview more than he was in the movie) and once again Tom Hardy's character made me laugh (this time because the vast majority of his dialogue seemed to be "Hm.") but other than that I can't tell you anything that happened in this movie.
19) Rock Of Ages - My god was this movie awful. I'm still trying to wrap my head around casting an actress who can't sing as the lead in a musical. In what universe does that make sense? It had its moments but overall it was the opposite of good. Proof of that: my cousin, who loves musicals and has a much higher tolerance for terrible things than I do (she loves Glee and Kristin Chenowith), thought it sucked. If you can't impress her, you've failed.
18) Dark Shadows - This one I actually feel much kinder toward now than when I first saw it. I think that mostly has to do with the incredibly effective use of Alice Cooper's The Ballad Of Dwight Frye. I kind of forget everything else in the movie apart from that (other than a stupid twist at the end). I'm sure if I saw it again I'd remember why I disliked it so much, but as long as I only hold on to the Alice Cooper bits, it's a fine movie.
17) Looper - Looper is about twenty minutes of a good movie and about ninety nine minutes of a screenwriter not knowing what the hell to do after that awesome beginning of a sci fi movie he had an idea for. Should've made it a short film.
16) The Woman In Black - I found out months later that it was based on a play that is apparently terrifying. I'd really like to see it because the movie is nothing but jump scares and I'd really like to see a version of this story that's actually good.
15) The Watch - Too much Ben Stiller and not enough Richard Ayoade, but the Richard Ayoade bits were plentiful enough to kick The Watch straight to the middle of my list.
14) Skyfall - Sure I don't know much about James Bond but I was entertained. I thought the "Waste of good scotch" line was funny and the opening credits were fantastic. Wish they'd given Naomie Harris more to do and that they didn't spend so much time making you look at Daniel Craig.
13) The Devil Inside - More predictable than it would like you to believe and ends with an event that makes no logical sense within the universe the movie takes place in. Yet another movie I forgot I saw until I started compiling this list.
12) Sinister - Jo thought it was completely stupid; I thought it was fun and had a few effective moments among the wall to wall stupidity. I'd actually go see it again if someone else wanted to go. Still wondering why Vincent D'Onofrio went uncredited, especially since they put him in the previews. (I probably would have passed on it or waited for video if I hadn't known he was in it.)
11) Premium Rush - It kept me entertained while I was watching it and I'm sure if I ran across it on TV someday I'd keep it on and be entertained by it again.
10) The Raven - Awww, it's okay, The Raven. Here's a glass of milk and some Oreos. Looney Tunes is on in the living room.
9) The Pirates! Band Of Misfits - This is one I would really like to see again because there were parts of it that made me laugh out loud but I'd forgotten every one of them by the time I left the theater. It's driving me crazy not knowing what was so funny.
8) The Avengers - Honestly, I wasn't that impressed. It was a good, solid superhero movie but I'm not that big a fan of superhero movies. I don't dislike them, I just tend to only watch them because someone else wants to. Hell, even the fun of watching Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark has almost entirely worn off. I'm just not into it, guys. Sorry.
7) Safety Not Guaranteed - Thank god I haven't run into other people who have seen this movie. I still think talking to other people about it would ruin it for me. And Fake David Krumholtz's character's subplot was pointless. Other than that, I still quite like Safety Not Guaranteed, which is shocking because it's practically everything I hate in a movie.
6) Argo - Another one I really enjoyed despite the fact that it's practically everything I hate in a movie. It has enough John Goodman, Alan Arkin and genuinely interesting story to make up for all the Ben Affleck, based on a true story and politics, I guess.
5) 21 Jump Street - Everything Phil Lord and Chris Miller touch turns to gold.
4) The Devil's Carnival - Not the disappointment I was expecting. It's visally stunning, the music is good and the flaws in the story (a girl is condemned to hell for having bad taste in men?) are overlookable because of how well it's made. I'm a sucker for creepy carnival atmospheres in movies and all the acting is solid.
3) Seven Psychopaths - Another one I'd really like to see again because I laughed my head off the whole way through and now all I can remember about it is that the humor was dark and the story was interesting. Good job recovering from Total Recall, Colin Farrell.
2) Brave - So much better the second time. Brave is one of the two Pixar movies I truly love (the other is Up. Strangely, the only Pixar movie I own is Monsters Inc.) and I hope to see it hundreds more times in my life. It's so smart, so funny, so moving and manages to not be cloying, pandering or irritating. It avoids most things that deeply bother me about children's and family movies.
1) The Cabin In The Woods - Like this is a surprise to anyone. It's a damn near perfect movie.

Hmmm. Kinda thought I'd seen more horror movies this year. Guess I'll have to up my game next year, maybe start going to the movies alone again.

End of line.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bedknobs And Broomsticks

I'm pretty sure I'd seen Bedknobs And Broomsticks once or twice before but it was so long ago I may as well have been watching it for the first time today.
It's the story of a woman, Miss Price, who has been volunteered (basically) to care for three orphaned children during the war (World War One, I think?). She doesn't want to be their care taker and they don't really want to be her wards, so they decide to sneak out and head back to London. But on their way out the window they see Miss Price flying on a broomstick, figure out she's a witch and the oldest kid, Charlie, decides to blackmail her into being nicer to them. Or into not making them wash for supper or something.
Anyway, Miss Price is merely an apprentice witch and her witching school has just closed down, before she receives her final lesson. So she and the kids ride a magic bed to find her school's headmaster so she can get her final spell for Substitutiary Locomotion.
Bedknobs And Broomsticks is more than two hours long and I spent the whole movie feeling happy and small and nostalgic. Nobody makes movies like it anymore. Every "family" movie these days is CG animation and fart jokes, and if there are any musical numbers they're usually pretty terrible.
I love old Disney movies. Love them. Love them.
It was pretty cool to see David Tomlinson as a sort of incompetent P.T. Barnum instead of a rich, stuffy, uptight dad. And I love Angela Lansbury in just about anything.
Side note: Wouldn't it have been cool if Angela Lansbury and Peter Falk had a kid? It'd be a an unstoppable crime solving machine!
The other thing old movies (...well, some old movies, but this one certainly) used to have that don't seem to exist anymore was child actors who actually seemed to be human. Nowadays it doesn't matter how young the kid is, they always have Angelina Jolie lips and a plastic sheen and human emotions seem to be completely lost on them.
The kids in Bedknobs And Broomsticks, though, looked like people. They acted like people, they had emotions and I bet they did things like go to school and play ball games with friends. At one point I noticed the girl looked like what Jennifer Lawrence would look like if she was twelve years old and had life in her eyes and a genuine smile.
More than any of that, though, Bedknobs And Broomsticks is just fun. It's ridiculously long but I didn't mind that. If there was any part I didn't like, interestingly enough it was the animated part, which was the only thing I had any memory of from when I was a kid. It seemed sort of ... I don't know, rough maybe? None of the animals were very nice and it went on too long.
There's something about Bedknobs And Broomsticks (and in some ways, old live action Disney movies in general) that really ... I don't want to say it gets under my skin because that sounds negative, but that's really the only phrase to describe it. It just makes me feel so calm and happy. It's a good story, a well told story, it's funny without being "funny" (forced goofiness and fart jokes) and it's appropriate for all ages without being saccharine, pandering or false-edgy. It's more honest or something. It wants to entertain you and your family so it has children, witches, cartoons, singing and dancing, flying beds and clothes that dance by themselves.
It's wonderful. It could be a little shorter, but it's wonderful anyway.

End of line.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Red Dawn

I never saw the original Red Dawn, so if you want some comparison study, please to be going elsewhere.
Red Dawn starts with news footage, people talking about political stuff, war type stuff, North Korea type stuff. And I was thinking "This may not be the movie for me." Then it cuts from news footage to teenagers playing football and I thought "And I'm done." If there's one thing I hate more than politics, it's teenagers and football. (That's two things.)
Okay, so the Douchebag brothers, Thor and Really Really Ugly (like, proof we evolved from cavemen; Michael Phelps and this guy are the missing link) are hanging out at a bar after the football game when all the power goes out and I have to fight every one of my natural instincts to keep from screaming "Oh no! Commies!" in a crowded theater.
The next morning, the commies invade Spokane and the Douchebag brothers drive through a bunch of backyards in a failed attempt to rescue Really Really Ugly's girlfriend, Equally Ugly. Then their dad tells them to "go to the cabin" and I think "All right!" because in the past, all the movies I've seen that feature Chris Hemsworth in a cabin turn out amazing.
Turns out, Red Dawn is the opposite of The Cabin In The Woods.
(Also, I find it interesting that I don't really like Chris Hemsworth (I don't necessarily dislike him; I just don't like him) and yet have seen every movie he's been in this year. Admittedly, I wasn't planning to see Red Dawn, it was just the only option tonight, timingwise.)
Anyway, the Douchebags and their friends Hunger Game and First Token Black Guy head out to the cabin, followed by Untrustworthy Guy, Vaguely Ethnic Chick and Vaguely Ethnic Chick's Brother Who I Don't Think Has A Single Audible Line In The Whole Movie.
So Mister Douchebag (I feel bad calling the dad that because he's probably the most likeable character in the movie, but I decided his sons's last name is Douchbag so their dad must be Mister Douchebag) gets killed in the head by the Lead Korean and the Douchebag brothers and all their friends (including Second Token Black Guy and Butterface, who turn up at some point) decide to lead the revolution, calling themselves Wolverines because that's their high school mascot and they have no imaginations.
From that point on, Red Dawn goes in a pattern: action sequence (guns and explodiness!), sappy scene (serious faces and "emotional" speeches). At one point Really Really Ugly rescues Equally Ugly from a bus of prisoners, which is great for them, but really douchey in a "good luck everybody else" way. That bus was full of people and he didn't even hand off the keys to one of the other prisoners before ditching them with his hideous girlfriend.
I will say, though, that the one thing in the movie I thought was really effective was the giant sign in the internment camp that Equally Ugly had to be rescued from. It said "You deserve to be here." Wow. That's fucking harsh. Good job.
The sappy sequences were just ridiculous if for no other reason than they give the audience no fucking reason to really care about these people and their "emotional" speeches. There's no real character development, I don't really relate or sympathize with their situation. Those scenes are just there because the screenwriter thought they were required. "Oh, now it's time to move the story along," or "now it's time to make the audience feel something." Except the movie has no real story and I feel absolutely nothing for any of these people.
At least the explosions were cool. And the movie was nice enough to only kill off characters who they didn't bother to give names.
Also, I have a really hard time believing that a douchey high school football player in 2012 would be a Dinosaur Jr fan. Sorry, costume department.

End of line.

At least, they didn't kill off anybody with a name until almost the end.
What is it about Chris Hemsworth dying abrupt deaths that makes me laugh so much? His death in Cabin In The Woods makes me bust up every time and when he gets suddenly, warninglessly shot in the head in Red Dawn I had to bite my hand to keep from laughing ridiculously loudly in the theater. (Most of the audience seemed to actually be enjoying the movie and I didn't want to ruin it for them if they actually thought that part was sad.)

End of line again.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Three Caballeros

This isn't a review so much as it is a theory. I've been stewing on it for a while and, inspired by Cracked's article today on fan theories about children's cartoons, I have decided to share it with the internet, where it will be promptly ignored.
The Three Caballeros seems to be a movie about Donald Duck's struggle with his sexuality.
The premise of the movie is that it's Donald's birthday and he has received three gifts.
Gift One is a projector and films about birds, including a penguin who doesn't fit in with the other penguins, the flamboyant Aracuan and a scissors bird who gives another bird a new hairstyle.
Gift Two is the charming, well dressed Jose Carioca, who sings Donald a beautiful song and takes him on a trip to Baia, Brazil. There they meet a woman who sings, sells cookies and is constantly surrounded by men. (Donald is infatuated with the woman but so are all the other guys in the scene. Except Jose, who seems to be annoyed and amused by Donald's affection toward the woman.)
Gift Three is Panchito Pistoles, another flamboyant bird, who leads Jose and Donald in the title song, featuring a line that translates to "We're three men, three gay men." He then gives Donald a pinata which bursts open into a full-on Disney Acid Sequence where Donald chases beautiful women, only to have them turn into Jose and Panchito when he kisses them.
Sure, it's a flimsy theory but it's something that occured to me when I was rewatching The Three Caballeros a month or so again and once I thought of it, I could not shake it.
All I'm saying is if Donald isn't at least bisexual why would he want a charming, well dressed man to take him to Brazil for his birthday?

End of line.

Friday, October 26, 2012


The friend I went to see Sinister with thought it was pretty much the stupidest movie of the year. I didn't hate it as much as all that but I do wish I'd enjoyed it more than I did.
Sinister has moments of genuine creepiness but they are few and far between, because the director or editor or composer decided creepy moments are useless without being drowned out by an infinite series of jump scares.
Good job, movie, you startled me. Too bad you didn't scare me at all.
Ethan Hawke plays a writer who movies his family into the home / crime scene he's writing about. Four members of a family of five were hung in the backyard in an admittedly ingenious way (it's actually the first thing shown in the movie; the family were tied up with nooses around their necks, which were attached to a tree branch, which had a sawing mechanism attached to it. When the branch was sawn through, it fell and hung the family) and the fifth member of the family went missing.
Ethan Hawke is keeping it a secret from his family that they've moved into the murder house (and the tree, broken branch and all, is still standing in the backyard; I honestly doubt they'd leave that tree up if they were reselling the house) and he finds in the attic a box of home movies labeled "Family Hanging Out," "Barbecue," "Pool Party," "Sleepy Time" and "Lawn Work."
Golly, I wonder what those could be.
Okay, this begins the first in a series of illogical actions on behalf of the lead character. When he sees how Family Hanging Out ends, he not only watches it again, but watches all the other videos, too. Why the hell would he do that?
And if the power in my house suddenly went out and then I thought I heard footsteps coming from the attic, you know what I would do? Either read by flashlight or go to bed. Same things I do when the power goes out and I don't hear footsteps in the attic. You know why? Power outages are creepy and they make me tired and the hell with them, I'm not doing anything. If there are weird noises, I'll investigate them during the day when the sun is up and it's bright out.
That isn't a jaded horror movie fan talking, by the way, it's a full on coward.
Anyway, yeah, several jump scares, blatantly obvious plot clues and a couple uncredited cameos by Vincent D'Onofrio on Google Chat later, the movie gets to its conclusion which, honestly, would have given me the creeps if I wasn't so busy giggling at it.
Take from that what you will.

End of line.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Back in 1942, a little boy killed his mother with an axe and then used a chainsaw to cut off her head because she got really, really mad at him for putting together a jigsaw puzzle of a naked lady.
Now it's 1982 and the female students at a generic university are being horribly chainsaw murdered. Clearly there's a connection.
The police are baffled but the audience is clearly supposed to think the killer is either the squinty gardener or the mustachioed anthropology professor. They enlist the help of the boyfriend of one of the victims (who should probably be a suspect but clearly he isn't because he looks kind of like Mark Lynn Baker) and the police department's resident tennis star (every precinct has one) to try and find the killer.
Pieces is hilarious. The dubbing and dialogue are awkward, the kill scenes are fun, there's a random kung fu guy for no good reason, the forty year old blood on the murdered mom's clothes is still bright red and it's just an all around entertaining movie. I'm surprised it's not more popular.
My favorite scene involves the killer going after a girl in a swimming pool. He catches her head in a net that she could easily duck under and swim away from, but instead she grabs onto the side of the net, mildly complains that she can't breathe and lets him drag her out of the water. Then, rather than attempt to make an escape while he leaves her by the pool to get his chainsaw, she stays by the pool and patiently waits. It's comedy gold, I tell you!
Great. I just gave away the funniest scene in the movie. Sorry, guys. Don't worry, though, that happens fairly early on and it's still worth seeing.
And, if you would like a more in-depth and well-researched review, check out what Justin Case has to say on the subject.

End of line.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I'm sure I'm not the only person to complain about it, but the creepy Bruce Willis Face prosthetics that they put on Joseph Gordon Levitt for this movie are fucking creepy. And it's always unsettling when they give dark-eyed people light-eyed contact lenses. For some reason, though, the other way around isn't true. They should've just given Bruce Willis dark contacts, foregone all the creepy prosthetics and called it a day.
There. Now. Onto the movie itself.
All the really good moments from Looper's trailers are in the first fifteen minutes or so of the movie.
In fact, Looper is a movie that starts out amazingly. It sets up its premise in a voiceover that actually is just helpful, rather than annoying the way some voiceovers are. I didn't mind it in this movie, which was nice. Its premise is interesting and they even begin to address some of the mindfucky confusion that I think not enough time travel movies really deal with.
Looper also has some bursts of craziness and violence, which are almost always awesome in my book (a couple of scenes made me flash back to Killing Zoe, though I'm not entirely sure why), and one sequence near the beginning genuinely disturbed me. Words cannot describe how horrible it made me feel.
The movie sets itself up really well, shows how Joseph Gordon Levitt turns into and then meets Bruce Willis. There's a chase, a shootout, and then!...
all the characters just kind of go do their own thing.
Bruce Willis is determined to accomplish something in the hopes of changing his future past.
Joseph Gordon Levitt is determined to kill Bruce Willis by waiting around at a place that he knows Bruce Willis is headed.
One annoying Gat Man (as the boss-guy's lackeys are called) is a whiner who really, really, really wants Jeff Daniels to pat him on the head and give him a treat, so he keeps showing up, trying to kill people and really annoying me.
There's a lady on a farm who just wants to keep her kid safe and the kid (MINOR SPOILER) just wants to be a weird, creepycute little kid bent on revenge.
I hate it when movies start out awesome, then kind of peter out and decide to go hang out on a farm for the rest of the movie.
None of the characters (except maybe Jeff Daniels but he's barely in it and is supposed to be a bad guy) are particularly likeable. Bruce Willis does some stuff that's flat out reprehensible, Joseph Gordon Levitt is (as his future self describes him in the movie) an arrogant, cocky, selfish, annoyance (okay, I guess those exact words aren't used but it's close enough), and that one Gat Man guy just makes me throw my hands up in exasperation for being a cliche and slowing the movie down.
And at one point Farm Lady smokes an imaginary cigarette but she doesn't light it first, and that really bugs me.
(ANOTHER MINOR SPOILER) And a sort of passing thought I had, related to not much of anything, near the beginning of the movie ended up being kind of the way the movie ended. So I guess I predicted it, sort of, if you squint. I hate when I can predict where a movie's going, even if it's an accident and / or a passing thought that I forget about until an hour and a half later when I realized I called it.
Looper had potential, Looper had promise and Looper wasn't as good as I wanted it to be. It started off awesome, introduced a lot of interesting ideas, and then never really did anything with them because all the characters wandered off.

End of line.

Monday, September 24, 2012

House At The End Of The Street

Before I say anything about the movie, I just want to say to the general public (since I don't have the gumption to say it in person to the people to whom this rant is intended):
I don't give a flying fuck's ass what rating a movie has on Rotten Tomatoes. I could not possibly care less. The amount I care is already in the negative numbers and falling rapidly. I don't care. I don't fucking care. Stop fucking telling me what rating movies have on Rotten Tomatoes. Because I don't motherfucking care.
I started this blog so other people could equally not care about what I have to say. Let's all form our own opinions, shall we, and not let the internet affect our expectations.
There. That's out of the way.
House At The End Of The Street was a royal letdown. You know why? Because it was marketed as a horror movie. You can't take a soap opera, slap on a crazy person and call it a horror movie. That's bullshit.
House At The End Of The Street is a soap opera. It goes something like this:
Four years ago, a crazy girl killed her parents. Now, in the present day, Fake Renee Zellweger and her mom, Fake Sheri Moon Zombie (Elizabeth Shue, giving the only decent performance) move in to the house next to the one where the murders happened. Fake Renee Zellweger almost has a crush on Fake Dave Franco, but he's sleazy. Then she meets Fake Chad Michael Murray, who lives next door and is the brother of the homicidal girl, who went missing after the murders. Officer Fake Matthew Broderick is the only person in town who likes Fake Chad Michael Murray.
Meanwhile, in a subplot that goes nowhere, Fake Renee Zellweger is a "really amazing musician" who makes friends with Fake Jena Malone and is invited to sing in Fake Somebody I Can't Quite Place's band. (He really did remind me of a Young Somebody, I just never figured out who Somebody was.) I cannot stress enough how much this subplot means nothing. I think it was just thrown in there in a MarySue kind of way; whoever wrote this thing fancies her(him?)self a singer and threw that in there to make her(him?)self feel cool.
It was really just annoying and painful to have to watch / listen to.
Just like the rest of the movie.
So Fake Renee Zellweger has a crush on Fake Chad Michael Murray and Fake Sheri Moon Zombie wants them to stay away from each other because she's nervous about the whole double murder thing. Like you do.
Does any of this sound remotely scary to you? If it does, I pity you.
Yeah, okay, fine, double murder, whatever. But that's no different than your usual soap opera fare. Everybody's always killing everybody. This movie had way too much plot and not nearly enough murder by hammer.
In the last twenty minutes or so House At The End Of The Street suddenly remembers it was marketed as a horror movie and not a very special episode of Dawson's Creek so it makes one of the characters take some homicidal maniac pills and hope that the people in the audience forget about the first five hours of the movie where people just bitch and moan about their "problems."
And if you're the eleven year old girl this movie was made for, you might actually be scared by it. If you're an actual horror fan, you're just going to be mad.
Really, really mad.

End of line.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Disney animated features (short reviews)

Snow White And The Seven Dwarves - If I ever saw it, I don't remember it.
Pinocchio - Ditto.
Fantasia - My brother and I used to watch it with the sound off while playing our own music. If you start Come As You Are by Nirvana right at the beginning of the Rite Of Spring segment, it syncs up really well.
Dumbo - Just rewatched Dumbo the other day and noticed for the first time how unbelieveably cruel this movie is. The elephant chicks going around saying Mrs. Jumbo was right to be jailed for defending her child and then going on and shunning said child (who is essentially an infant)?! Jesus Christ, movie!
Bambi - Whenever I say I don't like this movie, everybody assumes it's because of when his mom gets killed. I don't remember that part. I don't like Bambi because Bambi is mindnumbingly boring. And I hate all that twitterpated shit.
Saludos Amigos - Ahh, back when educational films strove to be entertaining as well.
The Three Caballeros - Saludos Amigos's hallucinogen-fuelled cousin. I freaking love this movie! (Also, today I came up with an idea that the whole thing is Donald Duck's struggle with his sexuality; I may write that review someday.)
Make Mine Music; Fun And Fancy Free; Melody Time; The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr. Toad - Not only did I never see these movies, but I doubt anybody else did, either.
Cinderella - I loved Cinderella when I was kid, possibly to the point of obsession (I can still quote almost the whole movie from memory). Which is probably what led to my writing a dark, violent interpretation of the story. I like mine better.
Alice In Wonderland - I love almost any version of Alice In Wonderland that Tim Burton has nothing to do with. Bright, colorful, plotless, amazing.
Peter Pan - I love What Makes The Red Man Red and dislike pretty much everything else. Wendy's a whiner, Peter Pan's an arrogant brat, Tinkerbell is a horrible bitch. Captain Hook, Smee and the nameless pirates are pretty cool, though.
Lady And The Tramp - I actually like Lady And The Tramp a lot more than I think I do.
Sleeping Beauty - Beautiful animation, the fairies are funny, the action is entertaining, Maleficent is a great villain and that dress should be blue goddamnit!
101 Dalmations - Has its moments. I like the line "Crazy woman driver!"
The Sword In The Stone - Loved it when I was a kid, have grown disenchanted with it. Higitus Figitus and Mad Madam Mim are still great but I feel like most of the movie revolves around misery and I just can't deal with it anymore.
The Jungle Book - Forgettable.
The Aristocrats - Fluffy and cute, just like an actual cat.
Robin Hood - My second favorite Disney movie.
The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh - Come on, it's Winnie The Pooh! How could I possibly say anything bad?
The Rescuers - Fuck you, Someone's Waiting For You! What if I didn't feel like crying?
The Fox And The Hound - Fuck you, the entire movie! What if I didn't feel like crying?
The Black Cauldron - Gurgi does not look that way! Good night!
The Great Mouse Detective - I'm pretty sure that when I was a kid I thought Sherlock Holmes was a ripoff of Basil of Baker Street. (I never said I was a bright kid.) I love this movie and I say "Ow! My foot! My only foot!" almost every time I stub my toes.
Oliver And Company - Another movie I know I've seen but cannot remember. I know I like some of the songs.
The Little Mermaid - Loved it when it came out, went through a phase of hating it. It now lies in the category of Better Than I Give It Credit For But Not As Good As Most People Seem To Think. Has one of the best Disney villain songs ever.
The Rescuers Down Under - Never saw it. Don't care to.
Beauty And The Beast - Love it.
Aladdin - I'd have to rewatch it again to decide for myself what I think of Aladdin. All my thoughts about the movie are based on other people's opinions and I honesly don't remember what I think of it.
The Lion King - I like Be Prepared and the part where Timon "dress[es] in drag and do[es] the hula." That is all I like. Fuck this movie.
Pochahontas - Wow, Disney's "resurgence" was filled with some dull crap. I like the We Hate Them 'Cause They're Different song.
The Hunchback Of Notre Dame - By far the best Disney animated feature. Absolutely number one. I love almost everything about this movie (the only thing wrong is that Quasi doesn't get the girl; but that's also realistic so I'll let it slide). I love the music, I love the animation, I love the humor, I love Clopin, I love Hellfire, I love, love, love, love, love this movie. Anybody who disagrees with me is just plain wrong.
Hercules - Actually a lot better than I remembered it being the first time I saw it. Still not great, but entertaining and not the waste of time that some other movies are.
Mulan - Also quite high on my list. I wish they hadn't changed the music in the scene where Mulan cuts her hair and leaves the house (I also hate that I can't find the original music or any information about why it got changed) but other than that, it's fantastic and one of the more easily quoteable Disney films.
Tarzan - I didn't like it (except for the line "Tarzan, Ohisee.") and I was pretty well traumatized by the fate of the bad guy. Probably the most disturbing Disney death (which now actually makes me respect the movie but I wasn't quite into darkness and violence yet at the time).
Fantasia 2000 - It's apparently an unpopular opinion, but I actually like this one better than Fantasia. I wish they had imported a different segment from the original, though; The Sorcerer's Apprentice is one of my least favorites.
The Emperor's New Groove - Boy did they drop the ball on advertising this movie! The previews looked so terrible and so I didn't bother going to see it. When I finally got around to watching it years later and found out it was so brilliantly funny and entertaining, I was mad that the previews made it look so lousy and, therefore, I didn't see it in theaters.
Dinosaur - Didn't see it.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire - The opposite of the Emperor's New Groove situation; the previews were incredible and got me so hyped for the movie, which was a dull letdown. Even now, knowing that the movie is a dull letdown, I can watch that preview and still get completely hyped. It's one hell of a preview.
Lilo And Stitch - I liked it. It was cute. I only saw it once, though, so I guess I didn't like it that much.
Treasure Planet - Hooray for Patrick McGoohan's last film! Also, a smaller hooray aside from that. Treasure Planet wasn't anything to write home about but I did enjoy it and really loved Long John Silver.
Brother Bear - Ugh. Didn't see it.
Home On The Range - I intended to see it because it was hyped as Disney's last classically-animated movie. Also, I heard it has a pretty fantastic Disney Acid Sequence in the middle. But I never did see it and then Disney started making non-compter-animated movies again. So it's all okay, I guess.
Chicken Little - I think I watched this once with Mokey but all I remember is that the beginning really upset me and I didn't pay attention to the rest of it.
Meet The Robinsons - I really want to see this one. It looks great. And I love the "I have a big head and little arms" line. Someday I'll get around to watching it.
Bolt - Rhino is awesome. The plot, not so much.
The Princess And The Frog - Love it. Don't know why I don't own it, actually.
Tangled - Didn't see it. Don't care to.
Winnie The Pooh - Didn't see it. Do care to.
Wreck-It Ralph - Eagerly anticipating its release.
Frozen - Never heard of it but I bet you money it'll be better than the Adam Green movie of the same title.

End of line.

The Aristocats

There is an era of Disney movies that is completely forgettable to me. Everything after Sleeping Beauty but before The Great Mouse Detective are movies that I just can't remember exist.
For the curious, those movies are 101 Dalmations (which I think I like), The Sword In The Stone (which I forgot existed even when I owned it; I don't like it as much as I thought I did), The Jungle Book (meh), The Aristocats (which I'll get to), The Rescuers (never saw it and, thanks to the song Someone's Waiting For You, I never will), The Fox And The Hound (HATE!) and The Black Cauldron (I respect it for being Disney's first PG rated animated feature but compared to the books, it blows).
Robin Hood also falls into that time frame, but I adore that movie; it's the only non-forgettable one in the bunch. The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh also falls into that era but it's made up of short films so I don't count it.
The Aristocats and The Rescuers always looked like the same movie to me: weird, disjointed and boring. The Rescuers has a bizarre looking lady with a pet alligator, The Aristocats has ... geese? I don't know. The Aristocats has a couple of good songs, The Rescuers has one soulstabbingly sad song, either way I don't care. I'm not into cats and orphans.
But enough of my crankiness and cynicism.
There are certain rules to watching movies when babysitting very small children (five months and twenty one months). Basically, I can't watch horror movies but Disney movies are the bee's knees. But I'm sick of Peter Pan (speaking of Disney movies I don't really like), cannot handle Dumbo again (speaking of soulstabbingly sad songs) and every time I watch Cinderella I just end up scoffing at it because I like my version better.
They had a copy of The Aristocats lying around, though, and I figured I should give it a try.
And it was pretty okay. I've seen worse.
I've seen better, too. It absolutely deserves to live in the Era Of Forgettable Disney Films. And I feel like there was a huge plot hole or something that irked me, but now that I'm no longer watching the movie, I can't remember what it was.
Overall, it was entertaining. I liked the songs, the cats were cute, the geese were mildly annoying, the Sheriff Of Nottingham was a bassett hound who kept insisting he was the leader and there was really no plot or conflict to speak of.
It was a poofy movie.
You know what's fun, though? Those short, little, one line reviews of Disney movies. I think I know what my next post is going to be!

End of line.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Safety Not Guaranteed

I absolutely did not want to see this movie. I had seen one preview for it and thought "That movie would upset me."
I've also been having problems with soulcrushing loneliness and what I used to think was mild depression rearing its ugly head and making me miserable at all times. Like, PMS-style moodiness, but five thousand times worse.
Which is really none of your business and I don't know why I'm telling you about it.
The point is, I didn't want to yet again stay home alone all night and the only companionship option I had was to go see Safety Not Guaranteed with Scott and Ivy.
It's a tough movie to review. The short version is: I liked it. I liked it a lot, actually, far more than I expected to. It had parts I hated and it's definitely the kind of movie that attracts people who tend to like movies I really hate, and if I have to hear them talk about it my opinion might skew. So I really hope I never have to listen to anybody talking about Safety Not Guaranteed.
This movie's going to stick with me for a while.
I hate that in the movies they'll have characters like the female lead who is supposedly antisocial and unpopular and all that crap but then they cast a beautiful actress to play her. She did a fine job and I even liked her, but I don't think it's fair to have a character that I can almost relate to and have her played by someone far prettier than I will ever be; it ruins the connection somehow. If a character is supposed to feel like me, she should look like me, too.
I didn't know until right before the movie that it was based on an internet meme. A movie based on a fucking meme. That is so stupid and pathetic that I feel embarrassed for whoever it was who first had the idea to do it. It's a good thing your movie turned out as good as it did, because no one wants to see your next movie, Don't Tase Me Bro. (Sorry to hear contract negotiations fell through on The Cake Is A Lie. Are you shopping Basement Cat around Hollywood? ... Look, the point is, I can do this all day and it will always be stupid.)
I'm not entirely sure what the point of Fake David Krumholtz's subplot was. It didn't go anywhere; it just kind of invaded the interesting plot every once in a while and made me feel bad about myself and life in general.
Of course, I was feeling like that anyway.
It probably wasn't the right movie for a melancholy mood.
It certainly wasn't a comedy. People in the audience were laughing and I don't know why. I didn't see any humor in the movie. The plot was kind of unusual and a couple of the characters were kind of odd, but they were all interesting and (for the most part) likeable. And nothing in the movie really felt funny. There were happy moments, certainly, but nothing to laugh at.
There were also people in the audience who laughed at a shot of one character crying, so they're probably just asshole people who don't understand what humor is.
The main thing that makes Safety Not Guaranteed (which I did really like, despite the overall negative tone of this review; that's a reflection of my mood more than the movie) as good as it is, is Mark Duplass's performance as the main character.
Now, there are a lot of really great actors in the world who can just blend into parts and play them well, and I can suspend my disbelief for all but the worst acting jobs. But almost never do I have to remind myself that the person on the screen isn't real but in fact a character portrayed by someone else.
I had to do that with this movie. It didn't occur to me until almost the end of the movie that Kenneth isn't a real person, he's a character played by Mark Duplass. (A character who, if he were real, I wouldn't be able to be friends with. I wouldn't have the patience for him. But with a protective layer of movie between us, I found him quite likeable.)
I wish the whole movie was about Kenneth and Darius. The minor characters's subplots did nothing for me.

End of line.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Son Of Dracula

There is a genre of movie that seemed to exist more in the late '60s and early '70s than any other time period: famous-people-just-kind-of-goofing-around. A little self-indulgent, usually a bit crap, can be fun to watch but usually not.
Magical Mystery Tour felt a lot like one of these movies, as did The Bed-Sitting Room and, if you want a modern example, The Impostors. (I love The Impostors.)
Son Of Dracula is definitely one of them.
Harry Nilsson is Count Downe, son of Dracula, heir to the throne of the King Of The Netherworld. His coronation is tomorrow but he's not really into it. All he wants to do is play music and feel human love.
Baron Frankenstein wants to be King Of The Netherworld and knows how to perform a vampire-to-human procedure, and boy is he untrustworthy. Merlin knows it, too, and wants his friend Van Helsing to do the operation instead.
Van Helsing's assistant is a chick named Amber who has a weird face, but I guess she counts as attractive in the '70s. Anyway, she's the main catalyst for Count Downe deciding whether to go through with the humanization operation, which is weird because if he already feels enough for her to become human, isn't he already feeling human love?
I guess I can see why Son Of Dracula was not well received upon its release and why the copy I have felt the need to point out that Harry Nilsson and Ringo Starr could tell during production that the movie probably wasn't going to be very good.
What I don't understand is why it's never gotten an official video release of any kind. It's sure to appeal to the sort of people who watch movies like Skidoo or The Bed-Sitting Room or other such odd cult films, not to mention Nilsson fans.
Son Of Dracula was marketed upon its release as "The First Rock 'N Roll Dracula Movie" but there's no Dracula in it and the plot only stops dead for musical numbers, like, three times so it barely counts as a rock 'n roll movie.
Except it stars rock stars. So I guess that counts.

End of line.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Bourne Legacy

The Bourne Legacy is a treadmill. It goes and goes and goes, and no matter how long you've been watching it, you never get any closer to the ending. I'm not entirely sure I'm not still watching it.
Lauren seemed to like it a lot (though she was disappointed that Edward Norton didn't get punched in the dick (her words, not mine)) but she likes Jeremy Renner and she might even like the Bourne movies in general. I didn't have that draw; I went to see it because she wanted to see it. Which is fine. I was entertained enough. It had action sequences, a plot I could barely follow and about thirty seconds of David Strathairn. I just felt like I was watching it forever and I didn't care enough to spend that much time with it.
It's kind of sad that, of the two movies I saw tonight, I think I preferred The Watch. 'Cause The Watch really wasn't very good. But that at least had an actor I like in it. And a funny line. And it didn't feel hideously long.
Also, there's a scene in The Bourne Legacy where Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz are in a car and he's trying to get her to tell him something that she doesn't know the answer to and they're both shouting at each other the same things over and over at the same time, trying to drown each other out, and it took every ounce of willpower I had to not stand up and scream "STOP IT!" I have a horrible feeling that's going to be the part of this movie I remember the most.

End of line.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Being Elmo

It's weird because I can remember being very young (six or seven) and knowing exactly who Kevin Clash was. I don't really know why I knew that; I was certainly not an Elmo fan (I found Elmo highly irritating for a great long time; my nieces love Elmo, though, and their love of the character helped me develop an appreciation for him I'd never had before) but that didn't matter because I knew Kevin Clash was awesome anyway.
How I knew that, I have no idea. Especially since I didn't really know anything about the guy beyond "he's a Muppeteer and he's awesome" until just now when I watched this movie.
If there was ever any doubt in my mind about the guy, it's gone now.
I tend not to like documentaries that jerk you around. I honestly don't want to see the pitfalls and low points in someone's career most of the time, especially if I know that everything works out in the end. I mean, I guess sometimes it's necessary but I don't like documentaries that wallow in self pity or worse, only to end with "and now everything is wonderful."
Luckily, Being Elmo doesn't do that. It just tells you the story of Kevin Clash, how he started making puppets when he was a child, how he worked on a local television station, how he got to meet Kermit Love and how that led to him working with Jim Henson and Sesame Street. They talk about how he really found Elmo's voice and character when he realized Elmo was all about love, how he won't let anybody else take over Elmo when he's overworked.
There are plenty of crying moments in the movie; obviously they have to talk about when Jim Henson died and they show Elmo meeting with a little girl whose Make A Wish wish was to meet Elmo. Every time Kevin Clash talked about his daughter I got a little weepy, and they show him giving a tour of the Muppet workshop to a boy who, just like him, has been making puppets since he was a little kid.
There's nothing overly dramatic about Being Elmo. It's just one guy's life story. It just happens that the guy is Kevin Clash, who is a kind and lovable person. And that makes his life story interesting to watch.

End of line.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Rob Paulsen and Randy Rogel live podcast taping at the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club, Friday July 27, 2012

Infinite thanks must be given to my good friend and former roommate Shelby for sending me the link to information about this show. I would have never known about it otherwise and I would have missed out on possibly the fangirliest experience of my life.
I have been an Animaniacs fan since the day it aired and I found out in retrospect that I've been a fan of Rob Paulsen since even before that. He's been voices in pretty much every cartoon ever, including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (he played Raphael, the turtle I had a crush on until I realized Donatello was the smart one. Recently they recorded a pilot for a Turtles reboot; Rob Paulsen played Donatello in that one. Funny, that).
On top of that, he's totally dreamy. So there's that.
The woman sitting across from me at the show was a friend of Rob Paulsen's and he came up and said hello to her beforehand. I sat and quietly stared and internally freaked the hell out. In a good way. Shelby laughed at me, a grand time was had by all.
About twenty minutes later, very close to my head but slightly behind me I hear a very familiar cartoon character say "Hello! I'm Yakko," as a hand lands on my shoulder. I turned to find Rob Paulsen, who was walking around greeting everybody and thanking them for coming (how unbelieveably nice is this guy!) and ... well, my reaction was the epitome of fangirlity. The gasp that escaped from my mouth would have sounded overtly theatrical if it hadn't been one hundred percent sincere. Yakko told me not to throw up and Rob Paulsen thanked us for missing the opening of the Olympics for his show. I told him that this was far more important.
Now, as for the show itself ... sweet holy everything, it was fantastic. Randy Rogel wrote pretty much all the best Animaniacs songs and they played pretty much everything I wanted to hear. They started with Variety Speak; they played A Quake, A Quake; Hello Nurse; Yakko's Universe; Lake Titicaca; a song called The Geologic Clock (I think?) that had never made it onto the show; they played The Invasion Song from Histeria; When You're Traveling (my absolute favorite Animaniacs song; I nearly overturned the table with joy when it began); Noel ... probably some others but I'm forgetting them. Yakko's World, obviously, but I'm a little tired of that song and Rob Paulsen is very tired of it (which was kind of awesome to hear).
They were funny, they were informative, their banter was genuine, the stories they told were interesting, some of the song lyrics got flubbed, Rob Paulsen bad-mouthed his I-Pad, it was fantastic. (I don't listen to podcasts but you can be certain that I will be downloading this one.)
The place was packed with cartoon royalty: Andrea Romano, Maurice LaMarche, Tom Ruegger who read a heartfelt rendition of Lake Titicaca to Sherri Stoner, who added commentary by Slappy Squirrel. I'm sure there are other people I'm forgetting. I was a bit overwhelmed at the time.
And that's what I'm really having a hard time capturing, that overwhelmedness. That feeling of absolute fangirl bliss. I was in a comedy club watching my favorite voice actor perform my favorite songs from one of my favorite cartoon shows, songs written by my favorite of that show's songwriters. I was there with one of my best friends, one of her biggest interests in life is animation. There's no one better I could have gone with and the event itself could not have been more perfect.
After the show Paulsen, Rogel, Stoner and Ruegger signed my notebook for me and I got a picture with Rob Paulsen. They could not possibly have been nicer and Shelby pointed out that the evening was far better than Comic Con.
It was pretty much perfect, really. Experiences like this come about very rarely and it's wonderful when you get to have an evening where everything is exactly right.

End of line.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


In old timey Scotland, princes of three different kingdoms gather to fight for the betrothal of princess Merida, who's having none of it and uses a loophole to fight for her own hand. All of that is in the preview and that moment is royally awesome.
However, rather than the rest of the movie really delivering what the previews promised (Merida winning the archery contest and then leaving home to have awesome adventures of her own) it instead decides to have a plot and a lesson and go all Emperor's New Groove on us (in a person-changes-into-an-animal way, not a wacky-humor way).
I did like Brave. I'd go see it again, which is more than I can say for a lot of other Pixar movies. I'm envious of Merida's bitchin' hair and now that I know what the plot is, I won't be bitterly disappointed by the lack of adventure the second time around.
It has officially joined the list of Pixar Movies I Actively Like (upping the grand total to four) and is the only Pixar movie I can think of that doesn't have a segment that tears your soul out. But I am still a little pissed at the previews for making the movie look morecool and adventurous than it ended up being.

End of line.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dream Casting: Rock Of Ages

I guess this was inevitable. Let's say they didn't keep the play's plot (because I have the movie's character list in front of me and not the play's) but they did let me cast it. What would I have done differently?
I'll put the restriction on myself that I can't cast any of the people I saw in Rock Of Ages on stage or keep any of the people who were in the movie, unless I put them in a different part. I liked some of the cast, but I'm changing them all around. 'Cause I feel like it.
The two leads were the hardest for me to cast because 1) I don't really like either character, 2) I'm not familiar with young actors and actresses (and especially not ones who sing), 3) none of the singers I like would be right for the part. So I just picked young-ish actors I know have been in musicals.

Drew (male lead) - Daniel Radcliffe (I can't picture it, but it's a fun bit of stunt casting, I guess)
Sherrie (female lead) - Alexa Vega (can't really picture her, either, but she was good in Repo!)
Stacee Jaxx (rock god) - Eugene Hutz
Dennis Dupree (bar owner) - Tim Roth
Lonnie (bar owner's assistant) - Johnny Galecki (or possibly Jospeh Gordon-Levitt)
Mike Whitmore (politician guy) - Chris Hardwick (a nod to the workshop cast I loved so much)
Patricia Whitmore (politician guy's protester wife) - Lady Gaga (more stunt casting, but it'd be hilarious)
Paul Gill (Stacee's manager) - Nicolas Cage
Constance (reporter chick) - Catherine Zeta-Jones
Justice (strip club owner) - Tia Carrere (I liked Mary J. Blige and would have kept her if I hadn't put the no-same-actors restriction on myself. Queen Latifah might also be good, but it seems a bit like a rehash of her character in Chicago)

End of line.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rock Of Ages

All right, about seven years ago my friend Lauren and I went to see the workshop production of Rock Of Ages in Los Angeles. And I loved it. It was brilliant. The songs were awesome, the cast included Chris Hardwick, Kyle Gass, Tom Lenk and other cool people I'm not remembering right now. We had an absolute blast at that show. So this review is probably going to be more of a comparison than a true review.
And the odds are not in the movie's favor.
Because ... Okay, if you were casting a musical, don't you think for the female lead you'd try to cast a woman who can actually fucking sing? 'Cause I would. But apparently the people who were in charge of casting this movie didn't feel that was necessary and instead cast a woman who sounded like a fucking Chipmunks record, but not in an amusing, novelty way. More in a stab-yourself-in-the-ears-so-you-won't-have-to-listen-to-her-wretched-voice kind of way.
They also decided to cast as the reporter (a role that didn't exist in the play) an actress who looks exactly like the actress who plays Sherrie, the female lead. I didn't actually know they weren't the same person until the end credits. I don't have prosopagnosia or anything (I actually have an easier time distinguishing faces than a lot of people I know) but I sincerely had no idea they weren't the same actress. So I feel like that was a poor casting choice.
Also, I just want to point out that having the character still be named Sherrie but not use the song Oh Sherrie, but to still use the song Sister Christian in reference to her in spite of the fact that it isn't once mentioned in the movie that her last name is Christian, is confusing.
Not one of my favorite lines from the play ("I have a diamond driveway!;" "I'm blonde, not retarded;" "I'm not gay! I'm just German!;" "No, yawn, that's a dude, I'll be hungry again in an hour;" "Remember the time we fucked that llama?;" "Wow. A vest made out of jeans. You're rad.") ended up in the movie (although it's possible that at least two of those were improvised and never in the script at all).
Now, I have been complaining since the moment I found out about it that Tom Cruise was chosen to play Stacee Jaxx in the movie. Over and over I said "How the hell do you go from Chris Hardwick to Tom Cruise?!" And I still don't understand the progression. But I do have to say, Tom Cruise was not as terrible as I thought he'd be. He definitely had a different take on the character and I wish he would have put on a fucking shirt (I have the same problem with Tom Cruise that Lauren has with the guy who plays Captain America: it makes me physically ill to look at him) but he had the whole sleazy thing down, and he was actually a pretty decent singer. So, good for him!
On the other hand, there's an aspect of Stacee Jaxx that I feel like is incredibly important that Tom Cruise just doesn't have: charisma. The whole point of the guy is he's charismatic and women are drawn to him in spite of the fact that he's a complete and utter slimebag. So, while on one level I was impressed with Tom Cruise's performance, he didn't have that one quality that I feel really makes the character work. At one point I found my mind wandering and wondering who I would cast if Chris Hardwick was not an option.
The answer: Eugene Hutz. Of course. Because it's me and I think he should be in everything. But the man is absolutely made of charisma and I think seeing him play someone so ridiculously smarmy would be hilarious because nothing about him in real life seems sleazy like that. It'd be fun, he'd have the magnetism that the character needs and nobody would mind that he wasn't wearing shirt. He never wears a shirt anyway; no one would notice the difference.
Anyway, let's see, what else is there to say?
So much of the plot was changed that it barely seemed worth keeping the title Rock Of Ages. The whole Sherrie-sleeps-with-Stacee-Jaxx-who-proceeds-to-ruin-her-life thing was traded for a forgettable-male-lead-thinks-Sherrie-slept-with-Stacee-Jaxx-even-though-she-didn't-romantic-comedy-misunderstanding-bullshit-that-I-hate thing. The whole Germans-trying-to-buy-up-the-Sunset-Strip thing was replaced with a politician's-wife-trying-to-close-down-the-Sunset-Strip thing which was just as awkwardly shoehorned in as the play's subplot but wasn't quite as effective. Which is too bad, because I actually really like Catherine Zeta-Jones, even if she isn't any good at faking an American accent.
A lot of the songs were different from the ones in the play I saw (I would like to reiterate that I saw the workshop production, which means it's possible what I saw wasn't anything like the play it became, which would make all my complaints even more petty and ridiculous), but they did keep one of my favorite moments (SPOILER): Lonnie and Dennis singing Can't Fight This Feeling to each other. It's just so sweet.
Which leads me to the subject of Russell Brand. Why is it that, in my Monty Python documentary, I want to smack him for being pretentious but in every movie I've seen him, I find him charming and lovable? I guess I just like him as an actor. (I've heard he's a very nice guy. But he really did seem to be trying too hard to sound smart in the Python documentary. And I have a hard time respecting anyone who would legally bind himself to Katie Perry (I know that's not how she spells her first name; I deliberately use the more common spelling because I despise her), who I find offensive in all ways. She's possibly the only woman on the planet who has a worse singing voice than the chick who played Sherrie.)
Eli Roth had a cameo for no discernable reason, the plot went off on a tagent about Forgettable Male Lead joining a boy band circa 1991 in spite of the fact that the rest of the movie takes place in 1987, Alec Baldwin wasn't as good as Kyle Gass, Bryan Cranston may as well have not even been in the movie for all they gave his character to do, the female lead absolutely cannot sing in any capacity and I fucking despise her and her goddamn Chipmunk voice, Stacee Jaxx wasn't funny at all but somehow Tom Cruise may have put in the best performance in the movie (which is pretty sad for the movie), Paul Giamatti (who I usually like) was disgusting (which I guess just means he's a good actor) and, more than anything else, this movie really made me miss the play.
And it's gone. The play that I saw does not actually exist anymore. The cast have all moved on and are doing other things with their lives and I have no idea how much of the script changed between the workshop and the Broadway (off-Broadway?) production. It's gone. And I'm bummed because now the closest I can come to ever seeing it again is this stupid movie.
And the movie is nothing like the play I saw. It has the same character names and the same basic idea on which they built their plot, but they built an entirely new plot and completely changed many of the characters's personalities. So I'm bummed.
I feel like there has to be an upside. There has to be something nice I can say about the movie other than "Tom Cruise was better than I expected" and "Russell Brand continues to make characters likeable." Um. Mary J. Blige was good as the strip club owner but they didn't give her much to do. Some of the songs were done well. It was bright and colorful, which I enjoy.
Overall, I'm disappointed in the movie. It would have been better if they'd kept the play's plot and if they'd let me cast it. And if they'd kept the play's plot. I hear tell elements of the story were changed so the audience would like Sherrie more; I guess middle America doesn't like it when starstruck fans have sex with rock gods. But I actually like that aspect of the play. It's more interesting to have characters make mistakes than have Sherrie be "perfect" and throw in the stupid romantic comedy misunderstanding cliche. (SPOILER: And I think it's much more in character for Stacee Jaxx to use I Want To Know What Love Is as a ploy to get a girl to sleep with him than to have him actually mean it and end up with that girl at the end of the movie.)
The movie was too glossy, and not nearly as interesting or as fun as the play.
And I know I sound like such a Rock Of Ages hipster; "I liked it before it was cool." But I can't help it; I did like it before it was cool. And I continued to speak and think highly of it when it became a hit in New York (although I did continue to insist that no matter who they got to play Stacee Jaxx, there's no way he could top Chris Hardwick. And I stand by that).

End of line.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Enter The Void

Enter The Void is shown from the point of view of a guy named Oscar. Literally. Like, everything will go dark for a second every time he blinks. There's a moment near the beginning where he's looking in a mirror that I cannot for the life of me figure out how they shot.
Anyway, he dies and most of the movie is his ghost floating around, watching everyone's reactions to his death and reliving his life. There's not much of a plot to speak of, it's mostly just a pantheon of drugs, joyless sex and death. Visually parts of it were interesting but I didn't focus much on the movie while I was watching it. My mind wandered a lot.
And all the thoughts it wandered to were lonely, unhappy ones. I had a hard time falling asleep and I woke up in a completely lousy mood.
Thinking about it now, I can't figure out what the point was. I can't just write everything off as "no reason" like Rubber did. It seemed very much like the director was trying to make a point. But it was so aimless, almost entirely plotless and left me feeling completely empty. It took forever to say nothing; I really don't see why it needed to be two and a half hours long.
Fuck you, movie.
(Credit where credit is due, though: the opening credits are fucking awesome.)

End of line.

Monday, June 18, 2012


"Ladies and gentlemen, the film you are about to see today is an homage to 'no reason', the most powerful element of style."
Rubber is about a tire who goes around blowing stuff up with his mind. Because he's a scanner, I guess.
The thing is, Rubber isn't really about that at all. I mean, I guess that's the closest I can get to describing the plot without giving anything away, but the movie isn't really about the tire. It isn't about the police trying to catch the tire (who has been blowing up people's heads) and it isn't really about the spectators, who are sitting around in the desert and watching the "movie" through binoculars as it plays out.
I mean, it is about all those things. But it isn't. It isn't really about anything. It's just a weird movie for the sake of weird movie. It really is all about 'no reason.' And the opening speech explaining that was by far my favorite part of the movie.
The rest of it was good, the rest of it was interesting, the rest of it was worth seeing and I'm going to probably recommend Rubber to a lot of people. But I'm glad I watched it on Netflix rather than buy it. I don't know that I'd want to watch it all that often.
I probably wouldn't mind seeing it again. It's probably funnier a second time. But even though it's strange and interesting the whole way through, it's also sort of boring and aimless. Nothing really happens.
I think Rubber would make a good double feature with The Bed Sitting Room.

End of line.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Hunger Games

I could start by pointing out the plot similarities between The Hunger Games and Battle Royale but everybody's already done that. So I'll just mention that I noticed it, too, and move on.
When this movie came out, I read that a lot of people were all up in arms about how violent and gory it was, which set up an expectation that did not deliver. It could have used more gore.
I have not read the books but I think maybe I ought to. Maybe they'll live up to my violence expectations. Also, then I won't have to look at dead-eyed Jennifer Lawrence through the whole thing. And what kind of fucktarded name is Katness? Ugh.
Okay, so I guess I should point out that I did enjoy the movie. But I sort of enjoyed it peripherally, if that makes sense. I loved the outlandish makeup and costumes on the people who live in the Capitol and my favorite characters were all people who work for the hunger games: Elizabeth Banks's weird duchessy spokeswoman lady, Woody Harrelson's jaded alcoholic mentor, Stanley Tucci's smarmy commentator talk show host and Lenny Kravitz's sympathetic costumer (I do not like Lenny Kravitz as a musician but he was great in this movie). They were by far the most interesting and entertaining characters and I'd rather watch a movie about them.
The problem with The Hunger Games's teenage pro- and an- tagonists is the same problem with those in the Harry Potter universe; they're divided into Clearly Good and Cartoonishly Evil. The people from Districts One and Two are the Slytherins, District Twelve is Gryffindor, that kind of thing. I hate that. When I read the Harry Potter books I eventually get fed up and shout at them for doing things that way; in real life there's no way all Slytherins are evil. But it's easier to have clear heroes and villains, so they just turn certain characters into over the top assholes and it pisses me off. The Hunger Games does that, too.
Which sort of ties into my other big complaint about the story; we only really learn anything about the two kids from District Twelve. There are twenty two other kids involved in these games and we, as an audience, learn that one other one is nice, four other ones are unrealistically evil and the rest are maybe given one line of dialogue if they're lucky. It just wasn't interesting to me. I guess I prefer ensemble casts; I'd rather know everyone's backstories and follow everyone's journeys through the games. I'd probably care more that way when they start getting killed off.
I guess that's not the point of this story. So I guess I didn't care so much about the point of this story.
Actually, I spent a lot of The Hunger Games thinking about what I would have preferred to see or what I would have done differently. I would have ended it differently, too. I can't say when I would have ended it, out of respect for people who have not seen it (or read the books, I guess) but plan to. I will say that my ending would have been more ambiguous and more bleak. (I also would have stopped at one; there are two more books.)
As it stands, I suppose I ought to read the books. As far as the movie goes, it was fine but clearly I had some problems with it.

End of line.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Snow White And The Huntsman

You know what's great about Chris Hemsworth? Cabin In The Woods. You see, I saw Thor and I hated it and I hated him. Stupid cryny whybaby Thor; shut up! But then I saw Cabin In The Woods and I didn't mind Chris Hemsworth in that. I thought he was quite likeable. Then I saw The Avengers and didn't have a problem with Thor in that movie; I don't know if the character changed or if my new outlook on the actor changed my mind about him. And now I think he was probably the most likeable character in Snow White And The Huntsman. And, again, I don't know if that's really because of the character or if it's because I'm such a fan of Cabin In The Woods that Chris Hemsworth gets a free pass.
Snow White And The Hunstman has a lot of fantastic visuals (although my favorite shot from the preview does not show up in the movie) and a somewhat interesting take on the fairy tale. Everything involving the evil queen Ravenna was pretty much A plus as far as I'm concerned. She was scary, she was evil, she had fantastic costumes and almost all of the really visually striking moments in the movie revolved around her.
However, and I'm sure a lot of people have mentioned this, I question the accuracy of a magic mirror that claims Kristen Stewart is prettier than Charlize Theron. I mean, I suppose it's a matter of taste, but so much of what makes Charlize Theron attractive in this movie is the way she carries herself and plays her part. She acts every bit the evil queen and it comes out gorgeous.
Kristen Stewart on the other hand, comes across the same as she did in the one Twilight movie I saw and every picture I've seen of her. She looks bored, mildly confused and more than a little annoyed. All the characters in the movie talk about Snow White's rebellious nature, her strong spirit, her beauty and her power but those are all informed attributes. I only know they're there because the other characters keep saying they're there. The actress never bothers to show them to us.
I know a lot of people mock Keira Knightly for being thin and not being the world's greatest actress (I have no qualms with her) but near the end of this movie Kristen Stewart has a big rallying the troops speech which reminded me vaguely of the speech Keira Knightly gives near the end of the third Pirates movie. But, while Elizabeth Swann made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and made me want to get up and cheer and hoist the colors goddamnit, Snow White made me want to tell someone to shut that screechy woman up. So there that is.
I'm really annoyed with Kristen Stewart, honestly, because I thought she was great in Panic Room and nothing else. Why did she feel the need to stop acting if she wasn't going to quit acting?
All I'm saying is, it's clear she only got the part in this movie because she's the star of a popular film franchise and not because she could actually play the character well.
I also had a problem with the way they did the dwarves in this movie. Yes, I love Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, Nick Frost and all the other actors who played them, but why bother hiring name actors and dwarf doubles for them rather than just hire little people to play the roles? There are little people out there who could play the parts and would probably love the chance to play real characters instead of Mini Mes and jesters.
And when are bad guys going to learn that when they have the one person who can stop them in their clutches, they should just kill them rather than explain to them why they need to die? It's not going to matter in thirty seconds anyway. Just get the job done!
All that being said, there were moments of Snow White And The Huntsman I really enjoyed. There just could have been a heck of a lot more than them.

End of line.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


It was two or three years ago when I first heard of Inkubus. Whenever my last Robert Englund phase was. Two years, I think. And I was very, very excited to see it.
I didn't really know what to expect because I didn't really hear any plot descriptions. I also didn't really want to. It's fun to go in not knowing.
So I can't say whether or not Inkubus lived up to my expectations. I didn't love it. My mind kept wandering so I guess the story wasn't the most interesting.
However, Inkubus has one really huge factor that made it good enough to keep (you all know what's coming):
Robert Englund
He's glorious in this. Very smooth and controlled, one of those suave sort of villains. I love that. And there was one moment, actually the only moment in the movie that creeped me out, that I think proves what a fine actor the man can be. All he did was lift up his hands. That's it. He says a line and suddenly lifts his hands up, just to show that they're no longer handcuffed. And my heart felt like it was going to leap out of my mouth.
Inkubus is a movie for Robert Englund fans if nobody else. He's in it enough to be worth the price of admission and he put in a lovely, creepy performance. None of the ham that he seems to be known for. (Don't get me wrong, I love my hammy actors. But it's so nice when they can reel it in.)

End of line.

Friday, June 1, 2012


This is a perfect example of story getting in the way of a good action movie.
300 is, for the most part, basically just Manliness: The Movie. It starts with a little kid killing a wolf and then growing up to be King Gerard Butler. I thought I'd have to wait through most of the movie to hear the famous "THIS. IS. SPARTA!" bit but it happens pretty much immediately and is followed by him kicking a dude into a bottomless pit. Why there's a bottomless pit in Sparta's town square, I do not know.
After that movie consists of a lot of dudes wearing basically just red cloak, black underpants and sandals (you know, effective armor) walking around, shouting and killing the shit out of some Persians.
Every once in a while, though, the movie tries to develop characters and plot. There are a bunch of scenes with King Gerard Butler's wife back in Sparta talking to people. What are women doing in this movie? And then there's a subplot about a hunchbacked dude who's bitter because he can't fight.
Could someone get that story out of here? I can't see the manliness.
300 is full of famous quotes ("Then we will fight in the shade," "Tonight we dine in Hell!", that sort of thing) that the internet has claimed as its own and turned into nonsense like this. I happen to love it, but it's silly and actually knowing all the famous lines took away from the movie a bit. I kept listening for the famous lines rather than just enjoy the movie.
It was good, though. It was very cool visually and the action scenes were bitchin'. I just would have preferred less plot and more violence and shouting.

End of line.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Long Kiss Goodnight

"Chefs do that."
Samantha Caine doesn't know who she is. She knows she's a teacher and has a daughter and a fiance, but she doesn't remember anything about her life before eight years ago.
That is until a private detective she hired finds a lead that none of the other private detectives she hired managed to dig up. They go on a journey to find out who she really is.
The previews for The Long Kiss Goodnight gave away Sam's true identity but I'm not going to because ... well, because I don't feel like it. But it is an action movie, so that should give you a clue.
Much like Cutthroat Island, this movie seems mainly to have been made so Renny Harlin could turn Geena Davis into an action star. Unlike Cutthroat Island, this movie kicks ass! It's funny, the action is really fun, the plot is interesting and I just think Geena Davis is cool.
It is a little too long, though, and the movie does lose something with Sam recovers her memory and gives herself a Honey Whitlock makeover. It takes a turn into full on action movie and there's a lot less humor and, I never thought this would be something I'd complain about, less characterization.
Usually if I want to watch an action movie, things like plot and characterization annoy me. They get in the way of explosions. "Stop talking and blow some shit up!" But in The Long Kiss Goodnight's case, I was really enjoying the characterization, watching Samantha Caine slowly put the pieces of her memory together and teetering between her life now and her life before. It was cool.
But eventually the movie gave up on the slow transition and, while it was still a really entertaining movie, I just wasn't as interested in what happened after Charlie Baltimore completely resurfaced.
Still, I'm really glad I saw it and I can't believe it took me this long to get around to doing so.

End of line.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch

First of all, there are a quite a few very funny moments in this movie.
The problem is they're hidden among reruns. Most of the movie seems like an excuse to show unused footage from filming the first Rutles movie (The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash, which is brilliant if you haven't seen it. Which you have. Hi, Mom!) and quite a bit of it feels like Eric Idle really wanted to visit a bunch of different cities and used making a second Rutles movie as an excuse.
It's not that it wasn't good, exactly; it just ... wasn't all that good. I liked some of the interviews. Conan O'Brien and Billy Connelly specifically were quite funny. Tom Hanks should never have a mustache. But there were a couple of bits that felt borrowed from Monty Python, a lot of bits that were recycled from the first Rutles movie and a few scenes with Jimmy Fallon that were not at all funny (but had a good payoff, I'll give them that).
And, weirdly for a movie about The Rutles, I felt like not much of the movie had anything to do with The Rutles. It was all about the host of the documentary. There was much more of him standing around explaining "well, not on this spot exactly, but over there" and him being in the wrong cities to talk to the people he wants to talk to.
I don't know. It was funny, but it wasn't nearly as good as the first one.

End of line.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Pirates! Band Of Misfits

I'd be hard pressed to say whether Pirates or Raven was the better movie (I compare them only because they both came out this weekend). The Raven was, as I said, remarkably average but it genuinely wanted to be good. And, honestly, The Pirates was pretty much the same.
Parts of it made me laugh out loud. It was incredibly silly, which is the sort of thing I love, so you'd think I'd have enjoyed it more. But even the jokes that I made a mental note to remember have already flown from my brain. I wish I could remember those moments. They were funny. I know one joke in particular made me laugh very loudly when nobody in the audience laughed at all. I wish I could remember that one. I want to know if anyone else thinks it's funny.
But it's gone.
The Pirates also had the problem of hitting a great number of story cliches that I happen to hate, and a lot of the movie focused on incredible sadness (most of it The Pirate Captain's). I cannot abide that much sadness in a movie, especially a movie that is meant to be a comedy.
Sadness Is Not Funny.
But outside of the painfully obvious plot and the painfulness within the obvious plot, I did enjoy The Pirates! Band Of Misfits. I might even watch it again, if only to try to remember all those little gems of silliness that for some reason have flown the coop that is my brain.

End of line.

The Raven

Well, that was certainly a movie.
I can't do it, you guys. I can't write this review. I don't know what to say. I can't be nice because it wasn't all that great. Or even good. Or even bad. It was just a movie. Entertaining enough while you're watching it but most likely to be forgotten almost as soon as it's over. Nothing about it is particularly impressive. It's just all-around average.
But it's so sincere, you guys. I can't say anything mean about The Raven because it's trying so hard. It means well. It's like the annoying younger sibling of movies. It wants to tag along and hang out but it's just not there yet. I want to tell it that it's going to be okay.
Yesterday my friend Lauren was talking about John Cusack and how the whole point of him is to be generic and forgettable. Which sounds really sad but, to be honest, she might be right. I know I've seen him in movies. I'm certain I have. But the only ones I can think of are The Raven (because I just got home from seeing it) and Shadows And Fog (because I saw it a month or so ago and I remember being kind of impressed by how good I thought he was in it, thus backing up his reputation of forgettableness).
I know I saw High Fidelity but the only thing I remember about that movie is Jack Black mentions The Prisoner at one point, and I saw about half of Better Off Dead but the only thing I remember about that movie is dancing cheeseburgers. I may not have seen any other John Cusack movies.
I have some friends who have swoony, teenagery crushes on him because they saw Say Anything at an impressionable age, but I never saw that movie so I missed the boat on thinking John Cusack is dreamy.
That is, until the scene early in The Raven where he's drunkenly ranting and raving in a bar, announcing to anyone who will bother to listen how famous he is, and challenging everyone to finish the line "Quoth the raven..." In that scene (and a few others in the movie) he hams it up something fierce, and I have a horrible weakness for hammy actors (Matt Berry and Robert Englund are my two examples). No idea why, I just love me a good overactor. So in that moment I suddenly understood why Jo has floaty pink hearts for John Cusack. (Outside of that scene, the attraction went away, though, so it was a fleeting love.)
A lot of the cast of The Raven looked familiar, but Brendan Gleeson and Kevin R. McNally were the only actors I know for sure who they are. Jo said the chick who played the love interest was the title "She" in the movie She's Out Of My League, but based on this movie I'd have to say she's not out of anybody's league. Not that she's ugly or anything, she's just unbelieveably average in all ways. I think I'd be more likely to recognize William Hurt than her.
It made me want to read more Edgar Allen Poe stories. I've read The Raven (which I'm tired of) and The Cask Of Amantillado (which I love) and the movie mentioned several more and piqued my interest.
I really want to say something nice about The Raven. It tried so hard, and it really meant it. I love it for its genuineness (which is a word now) if not for its story and acting and soforth. And the costumes were pretty cool. And there was one gory scene, I guess so they could try to draw in a horror-fan crowd. It's not going to be enough but, again, I think that was its attempt to keep up with the big kids.
I feel like if The Raven were a person it would be ignored as it stopped to tie its shoes and then have to spend the next five minutes chasing after the group, shouting "Hey, guys, wait up!" I so badly want to give it a hug.

End of line.