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.)

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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.

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