Sunday, March 27, 2011

More on Halloween II (2009)

And now, Rob Zombie presents "The Lord of the Rings."



Walkin'

Still walkin'

Which way should we go now?

Good choice

Hmm... what's this place?

BATTLE!

Whew! Glad that's over with.


While I’ve got you on the line, let me add this: Horror filmmakers of the world, stop trying to sell us stuff we’ve already bought into.
                In “Halloween II” Rob Zombie spells out in crystal clear letters exactly why Myers wants to kill Laurie. The end result is a bunch of goofy shots of a grown man, a grown woman, a small child and Mr. Ed’s pastier cousin.
                How about this? Michael Myers wants to kill his sister because he’s crazy and he already killed the other one. Done! Stop selling! Audiences are already on board with that idea. How do I know? Because that’s exactly what the original “Halloween II” was about.
                By giving his leading monster too much motivation, Zombie falls into the same dumb trap that snared “Halloween” 4-6. And “Jason Goes to Hell.” And basically every “Nightmare on Elm Street” sequel.
                Look, I’ve accepted Jason Voorhees is an unstoppable killing machine. I’m good with that. I don’t need you to tell me the reason he can’t be stopped is because he’s a body-hopping demon. And save your mumbo jumbo about Freddy Krueger trying to be reborn or have kids. I just want to watch him haunt dreams. Once that gets old, move on to a new franchise.
                Michael, Freddy, Jason. Whoever. They don’t need any motivation past the desire to mow down a bunch of attractive teenagers. It’s all we, as horror fans, have ever asked for.
                Bumblebee tuna.

Halloween II (2009)

Credentials: 21% Certified Rotten (rottentomatoes.com)/4.8 out of 10 (imdb.com)/46 out of 100 (metacritic.com)
Plot: After surviving her run in with seasonal serial killer Michael Myers (Tyler Mane), Laurie Stroud (Scout Taylor-Compton) has turned into a beer swillin’, cussin’, Charlie Manson lovin’ Dave Pirner (of Soul Asylum fame) impersonator. Meanwhile, the formerly awesome Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) has been replaced by a preening peacock who only cares about shilling his tell-all book. Myers spends about ¾ of the movie aimlessly wandering around in fields, occasionally killing random, badly stereotyped side characters at the behest of his deceased mother and her white horse. True story. When Halloween rolls around, Mikey heads back home to finish the job he started in the god-awful first film! Who will survive? What will be left of them? More importantly, will anyone care?
Thoughts  
                Writer/director Rob Zombie’s sequel to his remake, “Halloween II” is loud, in-your-face and just about any other adjective you’d hear used in an energy drink commercial. One thing it’s sorely lacking is substance, which brings us nicely to the movie’s biggest problem: Zombie’s script.

                His characters are so paper thin that in the right light you can almost see through them. With the exception of one: Annie Brackett (the lovely Danielle Harris). Like Laurie, Annie survived the first movie, but unlike Laurie, Annie’s scars are purely physical. Annie comes across as wonderfully endearing while playing mother hen to her Sheriff father (Brad Dourif) and her batshit crazy friend Laurie.
Zombie must have detected Harris was classing up his movie too much, so she gets left to toil in the background, while Laurie picks up two new squealing, vacuous vessels to be her best friends.
So back to that stupid horse. It’s part of some dime-store psychobabble nonsense about dreams and energies. It sounds all well and good on paper, but in practice it looks silly. It’s just Zombie’s wife Sherri in Alice Cooper eye makeup toting around a massive horse.   
Somewhere, in his heart of hearts, Zombie knows he’s got no story here. He covers it up by tasking Michael with viciously killing as many people as possible. He throws a literal metric ton of blood, gore and boobs into the mix. Basically, he sides with cheap shock value over building suspense and eliciting genuine fear.
Even worse, the movie opens with a near 20-minute long dream sequence! Unless your movie is called “Inception,” it shouldn’t have a dream sequence that long.
Outside of Harris, the rest of the cast stinks. Dourif is fine, but his range is clearly limited. His big emotional breakdown in the movie isn’t exactly convincing.
Compton’s the least likeable scream queen of all time. I’m not sure how much of it is her fault, though. The script’s a disaster. I suspect she’s certainly an accomplice. Girl makes some annoying noises when she’s running. I wonder what these movies would have been like if Harris had been cast as Laurie? (Answer: Better.)
I could go on like this, but I won’t for your sake, dear reader. I would say readers, plural, but I doubt that’s accurate. If for some reason you want more of my thoughts on “Halloween II,” check out the review I wrote a little while back for WCU’s student newspaper: The Quad.
Let me close with this thought. The problem with all of Rob Zombie’s movies after his first (“House of 1000 Corpses”) is they lack the campy sense of humor his debut wielded so expertly. He’s tried too hard to be serious and brooding. That’s not you Rob. Leave that stiff, humorless crap for Alexander Aja (“Piranha 3-D” not included). Now, get out there, let your hair down and have some fun. Bring back Capt. Spalding!
Breakdown
:07
The cow on the right was actually lucky. At least it didn't have to watch the rest of the movie.

:11

Trust me, it doesn't make any more sense in context.


:25-
Ladies and gentlemen Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner!

And here's Scout Taylor... wait a minute.

 :42-
I'd describe Brad Dourif's look in "Halloween II" as hillbilly colonial. The moustache let's you know he's brewin' up moonshine in his basement, but the powdered wig hair just screams the red coats are coming.

1:38-

When you lose your car keys, you flip over the seat cushions. When Michael Myers loses his car keys...

And now for a look inside the home of a respected public official! (As invisioned by Robert Zombie)


     So there it is, "Halloween II." And because I'm one of the more pretentious horror movie fans you'll ever encounter, check back shortly for some more thoughts on and pictures from "Halloween II."
     Bumblebee tuna. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Room (2003)- Take 2

Credentials: 3.3 out of 10 (imdb.com)/ 31% Certified Rotten (rottentomatoes.com)/ N/A (metacritic.com)  
Plot: Johnny’s (Tommy Wiseau) girlfriend Lisa (Julliette Danielle) decides she doesn’t love him anymore. Rather than breaking up with him, she continues to live with him and even promises to marry him all while sleeping with his best friend, Mark (Greg Sestero).  There’s a whole cavalcade of useless side characters and go nowhere subplots. Chief among these is a creepy kid who may be both a drug and a sex addict and at the very least has some sort of mental impairment. At a certain point, the plot is abandoned in favor of arbitrary--- and poorly choreographed--- games of catch. This all culminates---sort of--- in an ending that comes completely out of left field.

Thoughts
What can be said about “The Room” that hasn’t already been said about a train wreck?

                I will say this: Tommy Wiseau (writer, director, star, executive producer AND producer (you would think being the executive producer would cover producer, but I guess not)) is awesome.
                I love Tommy Wiseau because I can’t tell if he’s insane or not. He claims the abundant humor in “The Room” is intentional. Several members of the cast and crew have vehemently refuted that statement. I’m not sure. He’s either a brilliant performance artist or possibly the world’s worst director, actor and writer. There’s just no middle ground.
                I’m going to treat “The Room” like an attempt at a serious movie. Still, I have my doubts anyone could be so hilariously bad at so many things. But what do I know.
The acting is some of the worst ever committed to film. The only way to properly describe Wiseau’s style is as an unholy cross between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Christopher Walken. With a light dusting of SNL’s Festrunk Brothers. On top of that, every now and again he appears to be in danger of falling asleep midsentence.
The rest of the cast is comprised of a bunch of no names who don’t fare any better. They certainly don’t do worse than Wiseau, but then again I think worse might be an impossibility.
The movie’s story is complete nonsense. Lisa’s motivations for seducing Mark, while stringing along Johnny are never made clear. At times she seems downright cartoon evil, taking sadistic pleasure in tormenting Johnny, who’s a pretty great guy.
The list of subplots that are introduced and promptly forgotten is impressive. At one point in an old episode of “The Simpsons” bartender Moe tells one of the drunks in his bar that it would take NASA to calculate his tab. The same could be said of the forgotten subplots and side characters in “The Room.”  Lisa's mother's backstory, Denny's drug/money problems... where were the resolutions? Why even mention any of this stuff?
There’s a memorable scene where everyone is sitting around in Johnny’s living room, wearing tuxedoes and talking about wedding pictures. Then they go play football. In the tuxedoes. A few scenes later we find out that Johnny and Lisa’s wedding is still a month away. Then why the heck were they wearing tuxedoes and talking about wedding pictures to begin with?!
I could go on like this.
Breakdown: Sadly my computer refused to play any more than 7 minutes of “The Room,” so there will be no screen caps. Instead, more Thoughts!
Perhaps the strangest of the movie’s many, many problems is the sound editing. The movie inexplicably suffers from the same dubbing issues as most “Godzilla” films. “The Room” was shot in English. All the characters are speaking English. Somehow though the dialogue frequently doesn’t match up with the character’s lips, especially when Wiseau is speaking.
                Also, the sound mixing is downright eerie. During each of the film’s many love scenes, the characters’ passionate moans are significantly louder than the film’s musical soundtrack. The resulting effect had me convinced someone was hiding in my living room, watching the movie with me.
I think if I had surround sound, I might’ve been freaked out enough to call the police.
All that being said: I urge everyone to watch “The Room.” Whether Wiseau is really a brilliant, modern day Andy Kauffman or a nut job with ties to the Korean mafia remains to be seen. Either way, “The Room” is very entertaining. So bad it’s good doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Video Evidence 

And finally, a montage paying tribute to the real star of the film: the football...


Bumblebee tuna.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Room (2003)

Recommended By: Tara Tanzos and Kaitlyn Swift
Credentials: 3.3 out of 10 (imdb.com)/ 31% Certified Rotten (rottentomatoes.com)/ N/A (metacritic.com)
Plot: A guy buys his gal a dress. She puts it on and the two of them wander onto a cheap porno set to do the nasty. Some kid shows up and claims he wants to watch. Everyone has a good laugh at the creepy little bugger who then leaves to go do some homework. A really horrible song kicks in and the guy and his gal get down to business in the biblical sense…
Thoughts
It was around this time my computer decided it had enough and it ejected the DVD. True story. “The Room” is so bad that my computer stopped playing it.
 It would simply go no further. It was like that episode of “Boy Meets World” where the kids all go on strike. Only, I don’t have Mr. Feeney at my disposal to get it to finish playing the stinking movie.
                So here I am left wondering: what’s going to happen? Will the creepy kid earn himself a one way ticket to the clink? Just how many years can a peeping Tom get? Especially one with a goofy hair cut? Will the guy and the gal end up together in the end or in a shocking twist: will she pick the creepy kid instead? Most importantly, will that god-awful song ever end?
                These are the questions I’m left with after my computer’s untimely protest.
                I guess I can’t be that mad. I have put it through hell the past couple of months with all these horrible movies. Maybe I’ll pop in “Terminator 2” just to give it a shot of class.
                Anyway, until I’m able to track down another copy of “The Room”--- one that my computer agrees to play--- this review shall remain incomplete.
                I was able to capture one screen shot before everything went hay wire. Here it is:
Breakdown
:02-
Ah yes the Adam Sandler formula. Hideous man + attractive woman = totally believable, realistic relationship that in no way seems contrived or painfully forced. 
               
                So there it is. The first seven minutes of “The Room.” Hopefully, I’ll get to the remaining 92 before long. Fingers crossed. Come on computer! Man the fork up as the French say!
                Bumblebee...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

BloodRayne

Credentials
     2.7 out of 10 (imdb.com)/ 4% certified Rotten (rottentomatoes.com) 18 out of 100 (metacritic.com). Nominated for 5 Razzies at the 2007 Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Picture. Won nothing.
Plot
     Rayne is a half human, half vampire who doesn’t like vampires because they killed her mom. She embarks on an epic quest to rid the world of blood suckers once and for all. Then Stephen Dorff shows up and Rayne gets sent to prison for tax evasion. Oh wait. I’m thinking of “Blade.” Hmm. Basically “BloodRayne” is exactly like “Blade.” If “Blade” were set in medieval times and made by a guy wearing a blindfold, ear plugs and hopped up on a case of Mountain Dew.

Thoughts
      I was a big fan of the “BloodRayne” videogame game way back in 2002. From what I recall, the game involved killing Nazis, vampires and mutants in clever and gory ways. Rayne’s backstory, as I pointed out above, isn’t all that original or interesting, but the WWII setting and the supernatural Nazi story line were all kinds of fun. And the gameplay was top notch.
             When I heard that a movie was coming out based on the game, I was skeptical. There have been few successful transitions from the game console to the big screen. When I heard Uwe Boll was going to direct, my skepticism turned into outright nausea.
              Boll has been dubbed the modern day Ed Wood due to his string of low budget, horribly bad horror movies. This comparison, while amusing, isn’t exactly accurate. See, Wood’s movies, for all their gapping flaws, are fun. There’s a delirious energy coursing through disasterpieces like “Plan 9 From Outer Space.”
No such energy exists in Boll’s movies. There’s no joy to be found anywhere in the sullen “BloodRayne,” which for some reason is set in the days of knights instead of Nazis.
              Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, the T-X from “Terminator 3,” the singer Meat Loaf. How can you make a cast like that look bad? Boll finds a way. Except for Meat Loaf. He comes out fine.  
              The worst of the worst in terms of acting is perpetrated by Michelle Rodriguez. She doesn’t quite pull off the old English accent. She ends up carefully and slowly pronouncing each and every syllable of every word as if she’d never used them before. 
              Tired action scenes, cheap special effects, MTV style editing. An abundance of confusing sexuality. The “BloodRayne” characters make the “Jersey Shore” kids look like nuns.
The movie runs a scant 90 minutes, but it feels longer. Much longer.       
The end makes no sense and for some reason Boll decides to include a recap of the film’s events in case you’d forgotten. Or wanted to see them again. I can assure you there’s almost no way it’s the latter.
Breakdown
:14-
Why yes ladies, I was in "Titanic." What? No, I don't bloody well know where Leo is!
:23-
It seems like no matter who is ruling the planet (people, zombies, vampires, apes, ect.) horses always end up doing all the dirty work. Where's the movie with the horses running the show?
:34-
You ever notice how sword fighting in movies looks so natural? Yeah, not so much here.

:34-
Who the heck taught Michael Madsen how to hold a sword?
:52-
Well, this movie isn't going anywhere. Let's play another round of "Who Does This Guy Look Like?"
1:10-
Is it me or does Michelle Rodirguez's costume no longer seem to fit the time period?
1:16-
Don't worry TV's MacGuyver will save the day!
1:19-
NHL analyst Brian Engblom!
1:22- 
Ladies and gentlemen, the star of "American Pie," Sean William Scott!
1:27-
BloodRayne went on to have a successful career in the "Got Blood?" advertising campaign.

1:29-
And now a special guest appearance by NFL superstar Tom Brady!

                So there you go. “BloodRayne,” the first of what I can only assume will a long list of Uwe Boll films to make the cut. Germany’s Ed Wood? Maybe one day, if he buckles down and tries really, really hard. Over 50 years later, we’re still watching, laughing with--- and at--- Wood’s movies. Boll can only hope to be so lucky.
                Bumblebee tuna.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Date Movie

Credentials: “From 2 of the 6 writers of ‘Scary Movie’”
In case you need more: 6% certified rotten (rottentomatoes.com)/ 2.6 out of 10 (imdb.com)/ 11 out of 100 (metacritic.com)

Plot: Alyson Hannigan dons a fat suit, falls in love with a guy and they get hitched. Along the way they stumble through enough random pop culture references and poop jokes to fill an entire season of “Family Guy.”

Thoughts
Here’s a sad revelation: I’ve now seen “Date Movie” more times than I’ve seen “Schindler’s List.”
I was one of those wretched souls who saw “Date Movie” in theaters. I would tell you that it wasn’t my idea--- it wasn’t--- but, I can’t prove it. Please, for the love of god, take my word. I would have rather spent the evening with a bad case of food poisoning. Or watching that tape from “The Ring” that kills you in seven days.
Either would have been more enjoyable than “Date Movie.”
             And now, as the only person on the planet who can say they’ve seen it twice, let me assure you that it doesn’t get better the second time. No sir. Somehow it was worse.
             To call “Date Movie” a spoof movie isn’t exactly accurate. Or fair to real spoof movies like “Airplane” and “Naked Gun.” A true spoof takes movie clich├ęs and pokes fun at them.
“Date Movie” just steals jokes from other (better) movies and amps up the gross out factor. Basically you end up watching a bunch of jokes that you’ve seen before, only now they’re not funny. And they make you want to throw up.
But, to be perfectly fair to “Date Movie,” at 23 I’m a little bit past its target demographic. Heck, I was too old for “Date Movie” when I first saw it five years ago. The intended audience for a movie (I use that term loosely) like this thinks Justin Bieber invented pop music and can’t remember a time when the Phillies sucked.
The only bright spot in this whole dreary affair is the wonderful Eddie Griffin. Horrible screenwriters everywhere should be lining up outside of Griffin’s door. He can make almost anything funny with a well-timed crazy-eyed stare. He can only do so much, but without him, I’m not sure I would have made it.   
 Crude for the sake of crude and painfully unfunny, “Date Movie” ends up drowning under its own pop culture references and borrowed gags.
Twice is bad enough. If I end up watching this a third time, it can only mean something has gone horribly, horribly wrong with my life.

Breakdown:
:00-
I can't believe I'm going to do this again...
:01-
From the Tyler Perry School of Filmmaking: fat suits make everything funny
:22-

This lasted for well over a minute and a half.

:25-

Beastiality AND necrophilia in the same joke! If only they could have worked in incest it would have been a Taseteless Triple Crown

:28-

Best scene of the movie. Not even scene really. Just this picture. Hilarious.
  
:59-

Beastiality Gag #2

1:10-

Beastiality Gag: #3

1:11-
Ah yes. Where ever crappy comedy resides, a Meyers brother musn't be far away

1:13-
In case you're keeping score at home, this movie was 73 minutes long. 71 and a half if you cut out the cat pooping scene

                So there you have it: “Date Movie!” God, I can't believe I've got all of those pictures saved on my computer. The FBI will probably put me on some sort of watch list for this.
                Bumblebee tuna.