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.