Monday, April 30, 2012

Review: From Justin to Kelly


Credentials: 8%, Certified Rotten (Rottentomatoes.com) / 1.7 out of 10, #16 on the Bottom 100 List (Imdb.com) / 14 out of 100 (Metacritic.com) / Nominated for 9 Razzies at the 2004 Golden Raspberry Awards, won Governor’s Award for Distinguished Under-achievement in Choreography / Named Worst Musical of Our First 25 Years by The Golden Raspberry Foundation

Plot: Deep in the heart of Texas, a gal named Kelly (Kelly Clarkson) and her two clearly stereotyped best friends (an evil blonde and a token black girl) decide to head to Miami for a little Spring Break action. Meanwhile, deep in the heart of Pennsylvania a shaggy-headed muppet creature named Justin (Justin Guarini) and his two badly stereotyped friends (a muscle-bound playa’ and an inexplicably dorky third wheel) decide to do the same. Naturally, these two demographic-seeking missiles (read: groups of “friends”) meet on the Miami beaches and erupt in a fiery explosion of ungodly dance and song the likes of which has never been seen before.

Why it stinks: “From Justin to Kelly” is a vastly important patch in the giant, moth-eaten, gamey-looking quilt of American pop culture. For one thing, it’s the high water mark of Justin Guarini’s short-lived career.  It’s also the unquestioned rock bottom of Kelly Clarkson’s. The movie was also “American Idol’s” XFL--- the moment where it realized its power was indeed finite.
                History lesson aside, “From Justin to Kelly” really is just a putrid, vile nightmare of a movie. Even with THE one and only American Idol, my lady, Kelly Clarkson in it, there is STILL no reason--- short of medical experimentation or endurance testing--- for a human being to ever subject themselves to the horror show that is this movie.

                Now look, when it comes to the magical world of dance, I’m no George Balanchine or Paul Taylor.  Hell, I’m not even a J-Lo, but I know bad, limp, lifeless dancing when I see it and boy do I see it here.
The dance numbers in “From Justin to Kelly” are so poorly choreographed, that they actually occasionally cover up how poorly written all of the songs are. You’re almost too busy gasping at the stilted, spastic movements to notice the clunky, trying-desperately-hard-to-be-hip lyrics. I said almost. Some lyrics, well, there’s just no helping.
For example, here’s a bit of poetry from the tune “The Luv (The Bounce).” Hit it: “All the girls can be shakin' in the bounce tonight, gonna do it like we do when the bounce is right …” What the hell does that mean!??! Those lines couldn’t be more poseur-rific or nonsensical if Carson Daly had typed them with his feet.
 The musical numbers may be train wrecks set to dumb pop songs, but the acting is almost as bad.
There is not a single, breathing actor anywhere to be found in this movie. Love her as I do, Kelly Clarkson is NOT an actress. Somehow, someway Clarkson is NOT able to pull off playing an aspiring singer from Texas named Kelly. She’s essentially playing herself and I still don’t believe a word of it.
Same goes for Guarini, who’s a goofy-looking guy from Pennsylvania in both reality and in the movie.
As I already mentioned, the friends are all horrible clich├ęs and stereotypes. “From Justin to Kelly” is one of those movies that takes people from radically different social circles who would never give each other the time of day in real life and makes them friends for some reason. Why the hell is the dork hanging with the muscle-bound playa’?
The flimsy bit of screenwriting that links the musical numbers is rife with plot holes and inconsistencies. Essentially, it’s just: kids go somewhere to have fun, music starts, or sometimes it goes: random misunderstanding followed by music.
There’s no logic in anything that happens. The whole plot is basically just a poorly executed stall-tactic before we get to a somewhat predictable finale. The only part that wasn’t predictable? A certain viciously evil character (OK, it’s the blonde) is completely forgiven for acting like an absolute ass hat for the duration of the movie. No one holds it against her.

Worst of the worst

You could take any one of the musical performances, but I’m going to go with the blonde’s big number. It’s really a mess of hyper-sexualized malarkey.

So there you have it, “From Justin to Kelly.” Bumblebee tuna.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

News: Dragons and scary movies


forum.starmen.net
 New 'Scary Movie' ... uh finally, I guess?

                I’m a movie snob, but I’m also a fan of stupid movies, and really, stupid humor as a whole.
                I guess that’s just another thing I have in common with an ogre--- we both have layers.
                So anyway, being a fan of stupid humor, I must admit that I like“Scary Movie 3.” I mostly completely hated the first two, but the third one tickles my funny bone. I mean look at this stuff, comedy gold I tells ya!


Now, I was massively disappointed by part four, which means I went into part four of a franchise expecting it not to suck, which I guess makes me an idiot.
That being the case, this is not exactly good news: Six years after the last entry, the evil cabal known as Hollywood has decided to dust off the stagnant franchise and make a part five.
And it’s got a director and a start date and everything. The man calling the shots is Malcolm D. Lee, who’s also responsible for “Undercover Brother,” so it’s not all bad news.
“Scary Movie 5” is slated to start filming this summer.
 Source: Joblo

SYFY captures a ‘Dragon’

I love me some Stephen King. One of my all-time favorite King books is "Eyes of the Dragon," a little fantasy story set in a world of swords and castles and such about a young prince, a murdered king and a dastardly wizard.
Normally I’m not big on fantasy, but this oddball, unique little story has always held a special place for me amongst King’s usual horror fare.
When I heard it was getting a cinematic treatment, I was pretty psyched, eager to see “Eyes of the Dragon” bought to life. Then I heard it was SYFY who’d be doing the treating and bringing to life, and my spirits were immediately dashed.
No word yet on what exactly SYFY plans to do to the series, but it’s being called a “long form project” by Entertainment Weekly. That could mean TV series, mini-series, or maybe something else entirely. Who knows?
SYFY is of course the channel that bought us such masterpieces as: “Dinocroc vs. Supergator,” “Mega Snake” and “Flu Bird Horror.” That last one sounds like a bad translation from another language, but no, it’s an actual movie.
SYFY Channel has an awful track record and it tends to lean towards the no-budget, when-in-doubt-CGI mindsets. On top of that, King’s book-to-screen track record isn’t all that great either, so this project really could be an unmitigated disaster.
We shall see.
Source: Joblo    

Monday, April 23, 2012

Review: The Final Sacrifice (Quest for the Lost City)


What movie were these two in?
Credentials: 1.7 out of 10, #20 on the Bottom 100 List (Imdb.com)

Plot: A whispy teenaged boy named Troy (Christian Malcolm)--- who looks more than a little like Popeye’s gal pal Olive Oyl--- ends up on the run from a cult hell bent on world domination. Oh yeah and this cult just so happened to have murdered our petite hero’s father a few years earlier. The kid’s on the run, but he’s not alone. Along for the ride is Zap Rowsdower (Bruce J. Mitchell) a drifter with a luxurious mane of hockey hair. Troy bumps into Rowdower accidentally and as luck (and horrible screenwriting) would have it, Rowsdower just so happens to know a poop ton about the cult. So, as the Riggs and Murtaugh of horrific movies, Zap and Troy have to fend off this cult and there’s something about finding a lost city and a powerful idol while they’re at it. Eeesh.

Why it stinks: There are lots of big ideas in “The Final Sacrifice.” Big complex expensive ideas. Trouble is, not a lot of money went in to “The Final Sacrifice.” It’s this lack of funding and scarcity of talent which makes for Cheese List gold.
                All this mumbo-jumbo about an ancient cult could be worth watching, but it’s just insanely hard to follow.  I was with the story for a while, but once the sacred idol and lost city nonsense got tossed in late, I was throw from the horse.  I guess writer/director Tjardus Greidanus (what a name) thought his movie wasn’t busy enough.

                And then there’s the acting. Malcolm’s Troy is just so painfully annoying. So very, painfully annoying. Between his odd teeth, high-pitched squealing and goofy grin, it’d be hard to tolerate him as a supporting character. As a lead, it’s impossible.
                Rowsdower, well, he’s the movie’s main source of humor. I’m not sure how much of it is intentional or not, but at least the guy got laughs. His relationship with Troy is pretty confusing and it just materializes out of the blue, but that’s not his fault.
                That’s one of the things “The Final Sacrifice” has going for it, lots of indeterminable humor. Whether the filmmakers meant for it to exist or not, it does.
                The cult leader’s hilariously, needlessly deep voice is enough to make James Earl Jones sound like a whiny preteen. Or Troy.    
                The movie’s most ridiculous moments occur when an old friend of Troy’s Dad named Pipper (Ron Anderson) shows up after hiding from the cult in the woods in total isolation for the last seven years. For whatever reason, Anderson decided the only logical way to portray such a character was to give him a Yosemite Sam voice. It’s insane and awesome, but I feel like Tjardus Greidanus (spectacular name) should have reined him in a bit.  
  
Worst of the Worst

                The movie is in NO HURRY whatsoever to get going. Thusly, we spend what feels like hours early on watching Troy wander around his house, shuffle through endless stacks of papers and crude crayon drawings, and take naps. It’s awful and the more time we spend with Troy, the more grating he is.

Video Evidence

                There you go, “The Final Sacrifice.”
                Bumblebee tuna.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

News: Even more footage is found!


Oh hey look, another found footage movie. “Area 407?” Man that’s an awful, completely unremarkable and unmemorable title that tells you nothing about the movie it's attached to. It’s like “John Carter,” but with numbers.
                OK, let’s see what pathetic, cheap gibberish we’ve got here …   
               
                Woah, woah, woah. Hold the phone. Was that… dinosaurs? OMG! Sweet jesus lord, yes. I am so on board with this movie now.
                In case you’re one of those folks who doesn’t bother watching the videos I careful select and post for your viewing pleasure (Janice), “Area 407” is about a plane that crashes on a mysterious island. Those lucky enough to survive the crash, soon find themselves face-to-face with evil government operatives and dinosaurs. But mostly dino-freakin-saurs.
                The still-awfully titled “Area 407” will be in select theaters on April 27, as well as all manner of different new agey, streaming internet stuff. These kids today.         
                Source: CinemaBlend

Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: Future War


Credentials: 1.5 out of 10 (Imdb.com), Newest movie ever featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1997)

Plot: In the future AND on another planet, humans are bred as slaves to do the bidding of their alien overlords. These evil alien types use an army of mullet-ed and mustachioed cyborgs and Tyrannosaurus Rex of varying size (mostly very small) to keep the humans in line. Then one day, one of the humans (Daniel Bernhardt) escapes and somehow manages to find his way to present day Earth. Once on Earth, the runaway meets up with an ex-hooker/drug fiend turned nun and youth counselor and her band of morbidly obese gangbangers.  Together this rag tag group of flannel enthusiasts must fight off marauding T-Rex and kickboxing cyborgs to save the future or something. Or maybe it’s the present they’re fighting for. Or the past? Look they’re fighting for something I know that much.

Why it stinks: I don’t know. I mean “Future War” is basically exactly like “Terminator.” That is if “Terminator” had been directed by Uwe Boll and starred Jean Claude van Damme’s less charismatic, less talented, douchier brother.
                Ahhh yeah. That’s it. So basically, “Future War” repackages a ton of “Terminator” staples (police shootout, robots, robot sound effects, robot vision, time travel, etc.) and sort of just craps them all up.
                OK so let’s start with the allegedly special effects. The T-Rex in “Future War” are basically small, rubber dinosaur toys. “Future War” relied heavily on forced perspective photography to make these small toys look like huge, menacing prehistoric beasts. Yeah, it doesn’t work.
                Half of the time, they look like giant, cheap puppets and the other half of the time they look like toys. This is especially true when the dinos swoop in for the kill and actually get close to a person, the effect is spoiled.
                The cyborg makeup is just as bad. The whole movie is a weird hodgepodge of cheap-looking and poorly conceived props and makeup. Heck, there’s a scene in the movie with a news reporter and his cameraman where the camera is clearly a cardboard box with a lens electrical-taped to it. You people are filming a movie, for godsakes! You don’t have a spare camera laying around on set?
                Most of the fight scenes go like this: Kickboxing, kickboxing, loud grunting, kickboxing, loud grunting, character hurls an empty cardboard box at opponent, grunting, more empty box play, repeat. It’s truly inspired levels of manic gibberish.
                And can we talk about the rampant continuity problems? During one fight scene, the cyborg’s kabuki makeup disappears and reappears every few seconds. During the climactic battle, the runaway has bloody wounds on his chest in some shots and not in others. Nobody on set noticed this? No one!?
                We’ve got bad writing, bad acting and a plot that’s overwhelmingly complex and still seems stretched extremely thin. I mean honestly, how can you have that elaborate of a backstory (he’s from the future AND another planet!), and have barely a thread of main story!?
                At one point, the nun and the runaway are attacked by a dinosaur at the halfway house she runs, they promptly flee, leaving a small child and two morbidly obese residents to face the dinosaur by themselves. After that stunning act of bravery from our heroes, they hop on board a train, talk for a bit and then decide they should head back. So they jump off the train and then WALK back to the halfway house.
                It’s just so much needless filler.
                The unintentional humor is enough to keep butts in the seats at least for one viewing, but if you want to watch it more than once, I’d recommend the MST3K version. It’s one of Mike and the bots all time best outings.

                Worst of the worst

                The train scene is the worst scene in the movie, but the climactic end battle is one of the funniest. Watch as the runaway clearly takes his shirt off, while trying to pretend the cyborg ripped it off. It’s sad.

                Video Evidence


                There it is, “Future War.” Bumblebee tuna.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

News: More found footage hooey


sodahead.com
                America loves three things: Apple pie, “Dancing with the Stars” and found footage movies.
                That’s it. Everything else is just getting in the way of loving those three things even more.
                Sadly, I have no new apple pie recipes to share with you or rumors about who Urkel punched out behind the scenes on “Dancing with the Stars” this week.
                But I do have a new found footage movie to talk to you about and this one is VERY meta. Very.
                It’s called “Documenting the Grey Man” and it’s about a group of actors pretending to be paranormal investigators who are determined to prove ghosts are products of mass hysteria. Everything is going swimmingly until they meet up with a family who claims to be tormented by a ghastly spirit. Before long, bad times for poseur actors ensue.
                  So to recap: We’ve got actors playing actors playing paranormal investigators. Wooo boy that’s deep.
                Even better than its meta-ness? “Documenting the Grey Man” looks like shear and utter garbage.
                People get pulled under beds, shout at no one in particular, little girls levitate. Basically, it looks like every other crappy, non-“Paranormal Activity” found footage movie that’s come out in recent years only with worse acting. Much worse.
                These actors aren’t good enough to play one character, let alone a character playing a character.
                Watch the trailer and behold the awfulness. “Documenting the Grey Man” hits DVD shelves on July 17 for you masochists out there.

                Source: Arrow in the Head

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Review: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close


Credentials: 6.7 out of 10 (Imdb.com) / 47%, Certified Rotten (Rottentomatoes.com) / 46 out of 100 (Metacritic.com) / Nominated for Best Picture, 84th Annual Academy Awards (lol)

Plot: An extremely quirky, incredibly annoying and at times downright evil young boy named Oscar (Thomas Horn) loses his dad (Tom Hanks) to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. One day while poking around in his dad’s old closet, the kid finds what he thinks is a clue in a treasure hunt game they used to play together. So, he sets out on a mission that takes him all over New York City as he tries to decipher the clue and find whatever it was his dad left behind for him. Along the way he meets an endless cast of equally quirky side characters that only exist in these kinds of nostalgia trips, treats his mother like dirt and plays the tambourine. A lot.

Why it stinks: If you’ve ever wondered just how dumb and useless the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is, well, here you go. “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” is 129 minutes of director Stephen Daldry and writer Eric Roth playing the Academy like a fiddle.
                And yet, the Academy ate it all up and nominated it for Best Picture. Of course, the rest of the world isn’t that gullible, as evidenced by the decidedly split reviews “EL&IC” received. Thus, Daldry and Roth’s smoke and mirrors show enters the record books as one of the worst reviewed Best Picture nominees of all time.
 
                Aside from the crappy writing and forced sappiness, one of the biggest culprits for why this movie stinks is lead child actor Thomas Horn. Let’s get this out of the way early, Imdb claims Oscar is supposed to be 9 year’s old during the events of the movie. The problem? Horn was 13 when the film was shot. Even the WB network wouldn’t try to play the kind of numbers game. It doesn’t work.
                The end result of this awful casting decision is a clearly 13-year old boy walking around in extremely tight and incredibly short kiddie pajamas for long stretches of the movie. It’s weird.
                Oscar’s look is all wrong, but his actions, which might seem innocent and forgivable for a 9-year old, seem malicious and vile coming from a clearly older kid.
                Spoiler: On Sept. 11, Oscar comes home to find a series of missed calls and voicemails from his dad, who was trapped in one of the towers. Rather than share them with his mom and grandmom, Oscar steals the machine and hides it, keeping his father’s last words all for himself.
                I could accept the confused logic behind this from a child, but Horn comes across like a huge a-hole.
                It gets worse. At one point, Oscar tells his loving mother (Sandra Bullock), who never did a thing wrong, he wishes she died in the towers instead of his father. Bullock is a pro and she’s too good for this movie. The look on her face had me rooting that Oscar would get severely menaced by dope fiends during at least one of his rambling trips across NYC.
                It’s an odd--- and I assume accidental--- strategy for a movie like this to spend so much time making you loathe its main character. Considering he’s in every scene and narrates the thing.
                I haven’t even mentioned the tambourine Oscar carries around like the world’s most grating security blanket and shakes incessantly. It almost made the shrieking birds of “Birdemic” seem tolerable by comparison. 
                As for Tom Hanks, god do I love him, but his character sucks. The dad sucks because he’s not real. He’s a greeting card caricature of a person. He’s so pristine that he makes Gandhi look like Adolf Hitler. And Hanks brings his good-guy persona to an already saccharine character, pushing it out into previously unexplored levels of sweetness.
                The ending is a massive cop out, making the entire movie seem like a waste of time. There’s also a useless and painfully transparent subplot about a “mysterious” outsider (Max Von Sydow), whose connection to the rest of the characters will likely be guessed by most within minutes of his first appearance.   

Worst of the worst

                When the kid tells his mom she should have died in 9/11 instead of the father, I almost chucked my laptop across the room. It’s a too-ugly, too-heavy moment in a movie that doesn’t have the backbone to support it.


                There it is, proof that the Academy is just a bunch of old white guys who don’t know what they hell they’re doing. Although, we all already knew that anyway. Bumblebee tuna.

Monday, April 2, 2012

News: Sandler is king of the... Razzies


Remember the good old days? Back when girls were girls and men were men. (PS: We sure could use a man like Herbert Hoover again.)
                Anyway, one of the staples of said good days was the Scantron test. As a kid, this was about as good as a test could get. You got multiple choices, you got to fill in a bunch of circles, teachers got to put their feet up and let a machine do the grading for them. Everybody won.
                The only downside to the Scantron test? That nagging feeling that after you’d filled in three “C” answers in a row that the next one couldn’t possibly be “C.” Sure enough, you’d read the question and think “The answer’s C!” But no. That little voice in your head kept saying “What are the odds the teacher would put four “C’s” in a row like that? Then you’d end up picking “A” because you hadn’t used it in like 10 questions even though you were 90% it was a joke answer.
                Yeah, that’s basically what happened with my Razzie predictions. My gut told me to go “Jack and Jill” across the board, but the sight of all those pictures of Sandler’s ugly mug in a row seemed wrong. So I tacked on a British supermodel and Ken Jeong and braced for impact.
                Ladies and gentlemen, we have impact. I mean, it wasn’t all bad. I still managed to go 5-7 with my pre-Razzie predictions. Not too shabby really.
                Sander’s poopfest, “Jack and Jill” made history and swept every single solitary category at the 32nd Annual Golden Raspberry Awards, a celebration of the worst Hollywood has to offer.
                No other film had ever done that. Touche, Mr. S.
                Sandler took home Worst Actor and Worst Actress trophies for his dual roles as the titular brother and sister.
                Katie Holmes and Al Pacino each took home Worst Supporting… nods for their roles in the film.
                The three thespians also shared the Worst Screen Couple award and the Worst Ensemble Award, as well.
                For a complete list of winner, click here. I’ll give you a hint. “Jack and Jill” won it. Whatever it was you were thinking about, “Jack and Jill” won it. Stupid little voice. I knew I should have just went with “C.”
                Source: Razzies