Sunday, February 24, 2013

Alice In Murderland

Alice In Murderland is a glorious clusterfuck of terrible. I actually took notes the entire movie because there were so many things I wanted to talk about here. As a result this review is going to be spoilery. I've also named one of the characters a swear word referring to female anatomy so if you're one of those people who's really offended by that word (I've never understood it; I find it satisfying and useful), you've been warned.

The movie starts with a "Based On True Events" screen; I assume it's because the movie has a character named Alice and there are also real people named Alice. That disclaimer is followed immediately by "Twenty Years Ago" where a young woman is looking at a loft that's for sale. Her name is Anne or Annie or something, she's turning twenty one today, she has a one year old daughter named Alice and the woman selling her the house has just sent her down to the basement and her doom because that's where the axe murderer is.
Back in the present day, Alice is about to celebrate her twenty first birthday on the anniversary of her mother's death (so, she and her mom have the same birthday? I know that's not impossible but it is still kind of odd, especially since nobody mentions that). Her sorority sisters (Leader, Quiet One, Token Asian, Total Cunt, Bitch's Lackey, Stupid and Chick Who's Always With Stupid) decide to throw her an Alice In Wonderland theme party, where everyone is assigned a costume and the only male invited is Leader's gay unlce who just bought the house where Alice's mother was murdered twenty years ago.
(Favorite line from the party planning scene: "I need to get some air," said by Alice, who is sitting around with her friends outdoors.)
Alice asks her aunt about her mom's death and seems really broken up about the parents she never knew. (Why? Admittedly my parents weren't murdered when I was one year old so I have no personal experience to go on, but if you don't remember them why would you be such a drama queen about it?)
One of the reasons why no males are invited to the party is because Total Cunt has started dating Alice's ex boyfriend but I spent most of the movie trying to figure out why Total Cunt was invited to the party because not one single person in the movie likes her (except Bitch's Lackey, I guess, but we'll get to that). I guess she's invited because she's in the sorority with them but that seems like a fucktarded reason to invite someone everybody hates to your party.
Gay Uncle, by the way, shall be henceforth known as Uncle Shitty Actor because every time he talked my insides hurt.
Anyway, a maked killer kills the woman who owned the house in the opening scene twenty years ago, while she's on the phone with someone about the person who just bought her old house. She's actually mid-sentence about something very important about that house when she's killed but apparently the person she was talking to wasn't too concerned because she's never mentioned again and may as well have not even existed.
Stupid has a nightmare that the Mad Hatter kills her, but because it was all just a dream there's really no reason to get into that other than I guess it was supposed to set the audience up to believe Uncle Shitty Actor is the killer since he goes to the party dressed as the Mad Hatter.
This review is going to be insanely long, by the way. Just warning you.
Leader apparently changes her clothes every five minutes: she talks Uncle Shitty Actor into letting them have their party at his new murder house and in the scene immediately following she's wearing a different dress and tells her friend "I just talked to my uncle..." And you were so thrilled he gave you permission that you just had to put on a different outfit?
This is around the point of the movie when Alice spouts the gem "I don't get how she can be a psychology major. She doesn't even talk that much." Because psych majors are known for their chatterboxiness, clearly. They're not the type of people who are more inclined to sit back and observe the people around them.
They have three or four scenes about planning the party, which is boring, and chock full of clues that the people who wrote this movie have never actually read Alice In Wonderland. They keep refering to the Queen Of Hearts as "the Red Queen" and at one point Bitch's Lackey asks if anyone is going to dress like the Jabberwocky, to which Leader snottily replies "I'm surprised you know the Jabberwocky was even in the Alice stories." It wasn't. It's a poem that Alice reads in Through The Looking Glass but there is no such character as the Jabberwocky. Do your fucking research before you get snippy with people.
(Wouldn't it be funny if it turned out I was wrong?)
(Except I just went and checked my copy of Through The Looking Glass and, what do you know, Jabberwocky is a poem that Alice reads.)
Anyway, there's a lot of big deal talk about them getting to the house for the party before the sun goes down, but they're clearly approaching it at about one in the afternoon so I really don't think they were in any danger of not making it before dark.
Anyway, Total Cunt continues to be a total cunt, using her cell phone when they had a no cell phones rule and inviting her boyfriend. The whole cell phone thing causes Quiet One to stomp on the phone, which clearly doesn't break so there's no reason for Total Cunt to lose her shit and start a really poorly staged catfight, which ends with her falling on the couch and her skirt flipping up for about half a second, which causes her to freak right the fuck out even though they were all about to change into their costumes in the same room. (Also, someone makes yet another uninformed Alice In Wonderland observation: Total Cunt is the one going as the "Red Queen" and someone says something about how the "Red Queen's dress keeps flying up" so it's appropriate that it happened to her. When the fuck does that happen? In what book? When? Find it and point it out to me because I sure as shit don't remember Lewis Carroll writing royal underpants gags.)
Anyway, Alice gets a bucket of water dumped on her head left over from a pointless subplot about Leader's ex boyfriend setting up pranks in the house before Uncle Shitty Actor kicked him out. Leader takes Alice to go dry off and change into her costume and she manages to completely dry her hair with a towel, which must be a magic towel because no towel on the planet can get anyone's hair totally dry.
Total Cunt has been gone from the party for a while and for some reason they care about that so they all go looking for her and Alice walks in on her with the boy they've both dated. Alice tries to give him back the necklace he gave her ("I wanted to keep this heart necklace you gave me, but now that I've walked in on you kissing your new girlfriend who I totally already knew you were dating, I don't want it anymore.") and Total Cunt dumps him because that gives her an excuse to leave the room so Alice can throw out some whiny plot exposition about her dead parents.
Nostalgia Critic wrote a little song to the tune of Ode To Joy that goes "Exposition, exposition, rush it out ASAP." This movie inspired me to write a second line to the song: "Exposition, exposition, reiterate it constantly."
Anyway, boyfriend sneaks back out of the building, sees someone dressed like a dragon (I mean, "Jabberwocky," 'cause it was a character and not a nonsense poem, of course), assumes it's Alice for some reason and explains to the dragon that he only dated Total Cunt to make Alice jealous so she'd date him again because that makes any sense. The dragon then takes one swipe at him and immediately all his intestines fall out, which makes me wonder what kind of amazing super weapon this killer has access to.
Back at the party everyone is bored. Token Asian has given Chick Who's Always With Stupid a psychadelic mushroom and Leader is forcing Total Cunt to stay even though everyone hates her. It honestly seems like that's her reason for forcing her to stay, which makes no sense to me but whatever. None of this movie makes sense to me. For instance, why is Bitch's Lackey wearing a chef costume? Yeah, there's a cook in Alice In Wonderland but she's in the same scene with the Duchess, which would be a more appropriate costume for the chick who's basically the yes man to the chick who's dressed as the Queen Of Hearts.
It's also about this time in the movie when I realize that, much like Five Across The Eyes and the big rallying the troops speech at the end of Snow White And The Huntsman, this movie is turning me into a mysogynist.
Another poorly staged catfight happens and then everybody but Alice, Leader, Uncle Shitty Actor and Quiet One all go upstairs. Uncle Shitty Actor serves them tea and Alice mentions she's never had tea before. You're twenty one and you've never had tea? Seriously? What the fuck? When I was twenty one I'd had lots of tea. Indian tea. And biscuits.
Token Asian won't shut up about her damn mushrooms even though they're clearly store bought white button mushrooms that would not get anyone high ever and I start getting really impatient for people to die, especially since the only chick who is supposedly high is acting nothing like how any hallucinating person acts.
As far as I know. I guess I don't have a lot of experience in that area. But I'm pretty sure they don't go around screaming "Mad Hatter!" and trying to kill their friends. (It was also in this scene that I found out Stupid and Chick Who's Always With Stupid are supposed to be siblings and not lovers as I had been assuming for the majority of the movie.)
Chick Who's Always With Stupid is quickly approaching her death scene and the writers suddenly realized they'd given her no character development whatsoever, so they gave her a nice little speech about how "I was always the badass chick. I was always getting in fights 'cause if you're ugly or stupid, I have no problem telling you so. I'm not afraid to tell it like it is." Assuming this is sufficient personality enough, they lead her to a shower where, when confronted by the killer, Token Asian, who was trying to sober her friend up, books it out of the building somehow (it was previously established all the windows are barred, all the doors are locked) and leaves her friend to die bloodily in the shower. Of course the killer catches up with her and kills her, too, but there's barely any blood this time so who cares?
Uncle Shitty Actor and Quiet One both seem to have disappeared so the audience will be "kept guessing" as to who the killer is (I figured out pretty early on that it was Quiet One but don't tell anybody, it's supposedly a surprise) and Total Cunt is still upstairs with Stupid and Bitch's Lackey, planning a prank to electrocute Leader and Alice. No one seems concerned that Total Cunt is trying to commit murder, but maybe that's just because none of them know that people have already died.
Stupid goes to find her sistergirlfriend and discovers her body just before the killer knocks her out and glues her to a toilet seat because the killer is twelve. Everyone seems pretty nonchalant about Stupid's warning that Chick Who's Always With Stupid has been killed and Uncle Shitty Actor helps Stupid tear herself off of the toilet seat. Leader happens to have some spare underpants for Stupid, who's complaining about her bleeding ass wounds which we can clearly see aren't there when she puts the spare underpants on.
The killer comes back and Total Cunt knocks her out to reveal that it was Quiet One all along, and she gives a speech about how her mother killed Alice's mother because Alice's mother was married to the man that Quiet One's mom was in love with and everybody yawns because we figured all that out already.
Leader and Alice leave Total Cunt and Bitch's Lackey with Quiet One while they try to find a way out and Uncle Shitty Actor and Stupid go off to find Uncle Shitty Actor's spare cell phone. When they're alone, Bitch's Lackey reveals that she's Quiet One's sister and that she was only pretending to give a shit about Total Cunt for the past four years. They call the Queen Of Hearts by the wrong name one last time before chopping off Total Cunt's head (finally!) and running off to try and kill off everyone else.
Alice finds out that Bitch's Lackey is as homicidal as her sister and beats her head in with a bat. Quiet One kills Stupid and is about to kill Leader (who got stuck halfway through crawling out of a window) (and why does Quiet One take some pictures of herself with Leader's ass right before she's about to kill her? That's pretty incriminating evidence, you moron.) when Alice bursts in and kills Quiet One instead.
Quiet One dies with a quote that starts out pretty good ("Once you've killed, you're a killer 'til your dying breath," which is true; even if it was an accident, you'll always have killed that person) but falls apart immediately ("You're just like me. You're insane.")
The last scene of the movie is Alice and Leader talking to Alice's aunt about surviving their ordeal. Alice tells them what Quiet One's last words were and then laughs maniacally for way too long, which I guess was supposed to be unsettling or disturbing or something but was, in fact, annoying and possibly the most retarded way they could have ended the movie.
Which, considering the quality of Alice In Murderland, probably means it was the perfect ending.
Alice In Murderland is, I cannot stress this enough, godawful but I have to admit that by a certain point I was actually really into it and enjoying myself. Unfortunately, I was hoping Quiet One would survive and kill everyone else off, but it was sadly not to be.
Win some, lose some.

End of line.

P.S. Bonus points to those who can spot the references to The Rutles and Clue in my review.
P.P.S. The last line of the review (before my standard sign off) are the last words spoken in the series finale of Eerie Indiana.

Friday, February 22, 2013

All The King's Men

I had no intention of watching All The King's Men but I tend to leave my TV on TCM (Turner Classic Movies, not Texas Chain Saw Massacre; it would kinda blow my mind to watch TCM on TCM) and I got all sucked in.
The movie is about small time hick Willie Stark who gets into politics and immediately becomes corrupt and terrible. Or maybe he was corrupt and terrible the whole time. I wasn't really paying attention at the beginning.
It's a really interesting drama with a really cynical view of politics. In other words, it's nice to know politics has never changed in the history of forever.
The story is told by a guy named Jack who works for and really believes in Willie, long after he really should know better. And everything is incredibly dramatic: affairs, drunken car accidents, paralyzations, impeachments, bribes, put upon families, mysterious disappearances and an old grandpa laughing at a police report about a man beating his wife again (my favorite part of the movie for its sheer what the fuckitude; seriously, old man hears police report saying "so and so is beating his wife again" and he starts chuckling heartily. So fucking funny).
Sadly I knew that there was only one real ending to the story but the perpetrator of the ending act wasn't who I thought it would be. So at least there's that.
Not a bad movie. Thanks, Turner Classic Movies.

End of line.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Blob

Fifty eight year old teenager Steve McQueen is out on a date when he sees a meteor falling to the Earth and decides to go find it. Like all movie meteors, it lands near a house out in the middle of nowhere so the hillbilly who lives there can be consumed by whatever comes out of the meteor.
In this case what comes out is a blob, which terrorizes the nearby town and only the elderly teenagers are smart enough to understand what's going on.
The Blob is very sixties and entertaining enough but I can't think of much to say about it. The blob itself is sufficiently gross looking, like it's made of gelatin and jam and blood. And it's a scary enough threat since it can get through even the smallest of cracks and, like The Thing That Ate Everyone, it'll eat anyone.

End of line.

Rise Of The Guardians

Trouble is brewing. Pitch Black (AKA The Boogieman) is mad because nobody believes in him anymore. So he and his army of Nightmares have decided to take over and bring fear into the world. The only ones who can stop him are the Guardians: Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Sandman, Tooth Fairy and unofficial Guardian elect Jack Frost.
Rise Of The Guardians is kind of magical. The animation is beautiful, the premise is a damn good one, the story is engrossing. I was completely invested in the movie and for the most part I really, really enjoyed it.
But there were some very serious issues.
First of all, they made Jack Frost the lead character. A great deal of the movie deals with his identity crisis, not knowing who he was before he was Jack Frost, and wondering if he really wants to be a Guardian. He's also an uninteresting, whiny, showboating pretty boy and I don't like that kind of character. Any other one of the Guardians would have made for a better lead (Sandman was my favorite but I think Santa would have been the one to best carry a movie).
So there was that.

While Jack Frost has a sort of nothing backstory, Pitch Black is given an incredibly sympathetic backstory. Mainly what it boils down to is loneliness, which is something I deeply relate to, and they really make you feel how sad and alone he is. He's not just evil for the sake of evil, he's evil because it was forced upon him. He brings fear and he was shunned for it. It's kind of heartbreaking.
At the end of the movie, he is defeated. It's a kids movie, of course the villain isn't going to win, but the way he's defeated is so obvious and blatant and unfair. He's dragged back underground (under the bed, where monsters belong) by his own Nightmares, his own fear and loneliness. And the Guardians just kind of smirk and are proud of themselves for winning the day and we the audience are supposed to be happy that Pitch has been vanquished.
I was in tears. There were three parts of the movie that made me cry and this was the one that made me cry the hardest. It isn't fair, it isn't right and he didn't deserve that kind of treatment.
There is a place in the world for fear and it should have ended with Pitch being taught how to use his powers in a way that benefits the world and being brought in as a sort of Guardian in training or something. If they took him in and treated him like a friend and a colleague and taught him how to work with them rather than just condemning him to loneliness, he wouldn't be evil anymore.
It would have been a much better, much happier ending.

But I guess the fact that I care so much about how the movie ended means I was emotionally invested in the story.
I loved Rise Of The Guardians. It wasn't necessarily what I thought it would be, but I didn't really know what I thought it would be, and what it was was fantastic. Beautiful animation, mostly likeable characters, strong story, solid movie. Highly recommended.

End of line.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Jodie Foster is a tough orphaned street kid named Casey Brown. Leo McKern is a con man who passes her off as a rich old lady's long-lost granddaughter so he can plant Casey in the old lady's house so he can look for an old pirate treasure. David Niven is the butler who is doing everything he can to keep the old lady from finding out she's not actually rich.
I saw Candleshoe once when I was really little and didn't remember anything about it other than "Jodie Foster and David Niven are in it and there's a big slapsticky fight scene at the end."
And now that I've seen Candleshoe as recently as yesterday, I still don't have anything to say about it. I enjoyed it, certainly; Jodie Foster is awesome in it, the kind of tough tomboy kid that I looked up to when I was little and secretly still look up to even though I'm damn near thirty and shouldn't be using children from the 1970s as my role models.
I don't like that Leo McKern played bad guys in everything I've seen him in. He seems like he'd be such a congenial guy, like he'd be the favorite grandpa, but he's always con men or cult leaders or the new Number Twos. What the hell?
Disney seemed to make a lot of live action comedies that were light on plot and full of events. First this thing happened, then that thing happened, then another thing happened, and then there was a happy ending. The Parent Trap is like that, Freaky Friday is kind of like that and Candleshoe is very much like that. And there's nothing wrong with it. I love old Disney live action comedies. I would like very much to get my hands on a copy of No Deposit No Return because I really seem to be on a nostalgia kick lately and I used to rent that one a lot. It's yet another movie I remember nothing about except "Don Knotts is in it and the kid has a pet skunk," which is so cool! I want a pet skunk.
Anyway, Candleshoe is good. It's fun, it's plotless, it's family entertainment without being preachy or childish or crappy. Highly recommended.

End of line.