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.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cabin In The Woods

I can't tell you.
I can't.
Not a damn thing.
To explain the premise would be to give away absolutely everything and I can't do that.
It was so much fun, you guys. So funny, so gory, so well put together. It's not perfect; I'm sure if I felt like finding fault with it, I probably could. But I don't want to. I enjoyed it too much. Why would I want to find fault with it?
Loved it. I absolutely loved it.
I'm going to see it again tomorrow.

End of line.

Cassandra's Dream

Two brothers (Scottish Ewan McGregor and Irish Colin Farrell, both playing Englishmen) buy a boat together. Terry is a compulsive gambler with a very sweet wife and a job in a car repair shop. Ian works at his father's restaurant but is constantly trying to go into business ventures and goes around pretending to be a bigger shot than he is, which gets him an aspiring actress girlfriend. Together, they are an unstoppable financial woe duo.
To get out of a jam they ask their rich uncle for help, and he agrees as long as they get him out of his own little jam. By using murder!
I get the feeling if I had taken Cassandra's Dream the remotest bit seriously, I would have really hated it. It was marketed as a thriller, and it may even have been Woody Allen's intention for people to not find it hilarious. For whatever reason, though, I couldn't take it seriously and it ended up being incredibly funny. My friend said he laughed more at this movie than he has at a lot of Woody Allen's comedies. I'm inclined to agree.
I don't know, maybe the setup and foreshadowing in the movie make the conclusion so foregone that nothing that happened seemed particularly serious (at one point Matan made a comment as a joke and the next scene was essentially the joke he had just made. For a drama, there's no recovering from that). Maybe Colin Farrell whinging like a little girl about everything was just really funny. Maybe a third thing. Who knows? Who even cares?
Cassandra's Dream was possibly the funniest movie of whatever year it came out. (Probably not, but it did make me laugh a lot.)

End of line.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Devil's Carnival

I love Repo! The Genetic Opera. I know that's old news, but for the sake of set up let's pretend you didn't know that. I think it's a fantastic film, I think it's a shame that it's almost invariably lumped together with The Rocky Horror Picture Show and I think the negative reviews it received upon its release were complete bullshit.
So when director Darren Lynn Bousman and writer / creator Terrance Zdunich announced they were collaborating on another movie musical, I should have been stoked.
I wasn't.
I can't tell you why. I thought the premise was neat. When they started releasing teasers on the internet I thought the costumes were awesome and the color scheme was pleasing. It had a bunch of actors from Repo! in it (plus Sean Patrick Flannery and a bunch of people I've never heard of). There should be no way this movie could go wrong.
But I didn't care much.
Which isn't to say I completely didn't care. When The Devil's Carnival Road Tour was announced, you bet your ass I was determined to go. I got all dressed up for the screening and everything. A fangirl is a fangirl down to the bone, and I support Terrance Zdunich's endeavors.
The thing is, I didn't know what I was in for. When I went to see Repo! for the first time I had been to a Comic Con panel about it and had devoured as much information as I could between when I first heard of the movie (from a one-page article in Rue Morgue; I don't know what issue it was, but I am grateful for it) and when I first saw the movie. And, as I've said before, even with all that information and high expectations, Repo! surpassed it all. It's a brilliant film.
But because I wasn't terribly interested in The Devil's Carnival, I didn't do all that research. I watched the teasers and that was about it. I had no idea what the movie was about or anything.
First of all, the movie had opening acts: a dancer / contortionist wearing a mask on the back of her head so it looked like she was facing the audience when she was not (it was incredibly cool to watch), and a pair of women who shot sparks at each other (it was entertaining but kind of repetitive, and I couldn't help but laugh because how do you explain what you do for a living when that's your act? "Well, I wear a metal bra and codpiece, and use a saw(?) to shoot sparks from it. Then another girl ties herself to me with a chain and uses the saw to shoot sparks out of the chain." "You're hired!").
They showed a ten or fifteen minutue Repo! behind the scenes montage film, which filled me with dancing, singing fangirl joy. They showed a montage film of the winners of the Sing For The Devil contest (which I was too chicken to enter), one of whom was Anthony Stewart Head (this contest is rigged! ... Of course, it is a carnival after all...). Terrance Zdunich made everyone in the audience take an oath that they wouldn't record anything shown in the theater, and then the movie began.
And I fucking loved it.
Storywise it's fairly simple: three people wind up in Hell and are tested based on mistakes they made in their lives. Their stories are told one by one, by Lucifer to a little boy, in the form of Aesop's Fables. The Devil telling the stories is cut with the three characters actually going through their tests, and each story gets about two songs to go with it. The music is full of interesting visuals, dream logic and, as I said before, cool costumes, a lovely color scheme and a cast of awesome people. Admittedly I don't know who most of the folks in the cast are. But they're awesome. Ivan Moody's performance of the Hobo Clown's song A Penny For A Tale was the thing that made me certain I absolutely needed the soundtrack. Admittedly I didn't like all the songs as much as I could have, but the gems made up for the less memorable pieces.
The problem is, as with Repo!, the director got up before the movie and encouraged people to be noisy during the film. Which meant a lot of people were shouting jokes and insults at the screen, which, you know what, I don't fucking care that the director told you to. Don't fucking do that! It's insulting and it's disrespectful. I understand yelling shit at bad movies; they suck and they should be told they suck. Why would you even want to yell insults at a movie you like? First of all, now I've missed something because you thought you were being clever (you weren't) but, more than that, why would you want to yell insults at a movie you like? That's like being in love with someone and trying to show them that by belittling them. You're not eight fucking years old anymore, so knock it off!
Oh well, Darren told them to. I guess I shouldn't complain.
I'm looking forward to listening to the soundtrack and really absorbing the music. And I hope that the movie will be released on video (they said before the movie they wanted to put together a moviegoing experience that can't be downloaded, which I respect, but that doesn't mean I don't want to give them money so I can watch it in the privacy of my own home without attention whores yelling dumb stuff).
Okay, okay, I know, I'll lay off. Sorry. In fact, I have to admit there was a part in the movie where I did want to shout at the screen, but it wasn't a joke or an insult: near the beginning all the carnies are being mean to The Magician (played by Bill Moseley, whom I love), full on in-your-face taunting, and it upset me so much it was all I could do to not scream "Stop it!" But they wouldn't have listened to me 'cause it's a movie.
The point is: happily, The Devil's Carnival was wonderful. If anyone happens to be reading this and happens to live near any of the cities on The Devil's Carnvial Road Tour, and if that city's screening happens to not be sold out, I highly recommend you go.
Before the movie I got to meet Ogre. He called me "sweetheart." We all love the Pavi.

End of line.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


An assassin on the run from the police, his ex girlfriend, an old man who just lost his job, an uptight security officer and four amusingly dressed teenagers are trapped in a parking structure and forced to play a real life version of a popular virtual reality video game called Subterano. And it takes place in the future so there are lasers and robots and shit.
And this fucking thing which starts out looking like a kind of cute "pile of balls" robot, but in suddenly morphs without warning into that horrifying bird thing and says "Hi, Monkey!" in its creepy cute robot voice and I had to stifle a scream.
That happened about twenty minutes into the movie and it was definitely the most exciting part.
Subterano is one of those movies I bought for super cheap from a library sale in the hopes that I'd find some unsung hero of cheap, straight to video and / or ignored movies. It's a habit I've been trying to break myself of in the past several months, seeing as I can't recall one gem I've bought under those circumstances.
Not that this one's bad, exactly, it's just not really good. I had a really hard time staying interested, and I figured out the "big reveal" pretty early on. That always makes things more difficult to enjoy.
It was kind of fun watching the security officer get crazier and crazier as the movie went on and it was always nice to see that damn creepy robot bird thing. I just wish the movie had held my attention better.

End of line.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The United States Of Leland

Leland stabbed a kid and now he's in jail and gets all philosophical on everybody's asses.
Leland's teacher is cheating on his girlfriend and wants to write a book about Leland.
Leland's ex girlfriend is on heroin and her whole family is sad 'cause it was her younger brother who got stabbed.
Leland's mom is sad, too, and his dad is kind of an asshole but he's Kevin Spacey so what do you expect? (He also gets to say the one funny line in the movie, so there that is.)
I did't like it.

End of line.