Monday, November 30, 2009
Suicide Club is a total mind fuck of a film. In theory, it is a simplistic tale of a rash of unexplained suicides that begin with the opening train slaughter. The local police, led by Detective Toshiharu Kuroda (Ryô Ishibashi) attempt to figure out what may be causing these suicides, ruling out the possibility that they could be caused by someone intentionally and chalking them up to a fad that kids have caught on to. There are so many themes in this film that I could do two full posts on the themes alone. Some of them may be a bit out of my knowledge range, as I only know so much about Japanese culture and how suicide seems to have found a way into the culture of Japanese society, but some of these ideas are very world-weary.
Most of these social commentaries individually factor into what may be the cause of these suicides. Each one adds a thick layer of oddity, while keeping you guessing throughout as to which of these things could be the reason, or even the cause of these self inflicted, life-ending decisions. Technology, selflessness, celebrity, fads, and even J-pop are all skewered in some capacity within Suicide Club's framework. All of them mix together to really throw off the viewer's sense of direction, a sense of direction you get with a lot of the detective aspects of the film - which work perfectly like a solid crime thriller. The police are what drive the film and everything unfolds around them for most of Suicide Club's run time. The value of family, friendship and even the connection to ones self is a thematic element found initially with the detectives portion of this tale.
Suicide Club is gruesome and at times almost comes close to being too over the top. In fact, it is over the top in a dark dark way and almost goes into the territory of more recent films like Tokyo Gore Police and Frankenstein Girl vs. Vampire Girl, films that also have outlandish next level (in comparison to Suicide Club) suicidal elements in them. While films like that make you say "What the fuck?!" It's in a, you cannot believe how crazy and almost silly kind of way, as opposed to the "What the fuck!" moments in Suicide Club, which are incredibly creepy and surreal even while being slightly over the top. Scenes of borderline humor that make you cringe in how they are presented and the way they unfold.
All of the peculiar elements are mainly outside of the police investigation aspect and almost work like little weird and wonderful vignettes that become increasingly strange as the film moves along. Throughout, I was captivated as to what was the cause of these suicides and as the movie rolled along, the more complex it became and the more interested I was in understanding what exactly is going on with this film. You know what? I really wasn't sure what had happened by time the films runtime ran dry. Suicide Club is one of those films that doesn't present you with a definitive explanation to what is going on. Something that may be a turn off for some, but for me, it makes it all the more mysterious.
There is one scene in particular, that is set very far into the movie that just comes from out of nowhere and I was not so sure about it at first. I thought that this was the moment where I would be let down. It is essentially a musical number involving a very effeminate male named Genesis (Rolly), who leads a small gang of murderous psycho's. The setting can be best described as a bowling alley of horrors, filled with sewn up white bed sheets containing various victims wiggling around, trying to get free. As the piano began, the music mixed with the squealing of a female victim became instantly recognizable as the underground Hip-Hop duo, The Leak Bros did a fantastic version of this song. Even with that recognizable sample, I still wasn't sure about this scene at all. However, as it went along, and it became more and more clear what was happening on screen and how disturbing it was, by the end, I was completely taken aback. Phenomenally haunting.
I cannot get this film out of my head for so many reasons and the ambiguity of an antagonist is a part of it. It is a movie that you can choose your own theory and there are plenty to choose from, but I think after some research, I have a better perspective of the happenings in Suicide Club. For me, the sign of a powerful film is the fact that I made the attempt and looked into understanding the story better after seeing it. If the movie were weak, I would have said "What a pile of stupid shit!" and left it at that. The intense imagery and frighteningly inspired ideas are captivating and Suicide Club may be one of the best Japanese horror films I have seen in many many years. The film is full of surprises from top to bottom and even when I thought I had the tone and style figured out, they threw in a gyro ball (get it?!) to throw off my game.
I barely tapped into the vastness of this movie in my review and I could really go on and on about so many things that I didn't even graze here. I hope that some of you have seen this and I would gather you would leave your thoughts if you did...this is a movie that I really would love to hear what other people that I know think about it.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
11:00 AM starts off with The Beast of Bray Road (2005) on SyFy. A film that I would guess would be your average cheese ball SyFy film, but the trailer actually looks really badass! It's about a Wisconsin set urban legend werewolf that has moved from livestock, to humans! The creature looks really cool and it appears there is some gore to be had, though this is afternoon cable, so who knows what you will actually see.
Keeping with the cycle of the wolf at SyFy, Cursed (2005) will be on at 1:00 PM. I never saw the entire film, just bits and pieces, which was more than enough to keep me away from this Williamson/Craven re-team. Still, Cursed may make for a mind numbingly acceptable watch while completely hungover and lacking any real brain function.
I said this was a weak hangover, so I am forced to already include something of the Christmas nature...at 2:00 PM A Christmas Carol (1984) is on Hallmark. I really enjoy this incarnation of A Christmas Carol and outside of Scrooged and the Disney animated film, it is a solid telling of the Charles Dickens' classic story.
At 3:30 PM, you better get off my lawn when The Enforcer (1976) is on ION (I am a lyrical assassin!). Love the Dirty Harry films and The Enforcer is one of the best. Pick of the week, punk!
3:00 brings us the non-Zemeckis Beowulf (1999) on SyFy. It's the story of Beowulf, but as played by uber movie tough guy, Christopher Lambert and the mega-hot, Rhona Mitra also stars. It says it all when you have an old English tale setting with the action pumped up to the max by techno music!
And for the final film of the day, at 3:30 PM, Demolition Man (1993) is on AMC. I have never seen this film and that may be due to my dislike for Sandy Bullock, which may just keep me away for another decade or so. Otherwise, I wouldn't mind checking it out.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Grace is a very slow, brooding film that just keeps everything simple and stays away from almost obvious over the top temptations that must have been had with a story like this. It is superbly shot and the Zoran Popovic cinematography and direction from Paul Solet are tops, with the ominous and well crafted technical aspects really matching and pushing the eerie mood and tone of Grace's story.
The acting and character development was a very nice change of pace with this movie. There is a lot of depth to the secondary characters with a film that is essentially about a mother and her blood lovin' baby. Every character serves a purpose and is important to the story, and to the main characters, but carry their own individual back story too. One of the best of the secondary characters was Gabrielle Rose as Vivian Matheson, who puts forth a rendering that is remarkable in its creepy sadness and outright bitchiness.
A huge stand out was Jordan Ladd as Madeline Matheson. I have been a big fan of hers since Cabin Fever and to be honest, it was for her looks. Not that she was bad in other films, but in Grace, she completely puts herself out there and gives a fantastic performance. She carries a very emotional film here and is able to keep from going campy or over the top in a role that could invite an over the top portrayal.
What really got me about Grace was the birth scene, where Ladd really brings it. This scene is incredibly emotional and powerful...it was a very tough scene to watch and even as a man, who has no kids, I was very moved and saddened by it. Great slow burn and very subtle horror film that is one I recommend if you like that type of movie. In addition, I should note, the DVD extras are fantastic too, with great behind the scenes stuff and fun commentary from Solet and producer Adam Green. Shortest review eva!
Friday, November 27, 2009
Everyone has said everything that can be said, and I agree with most people’s thoughts. It's just too bad that it's taking away from the entire reason we are all here, which is to talk movie shop. The entire blogging world is doing the Karloff thing or talking about this moronic made up non-issue, while I'm just sitting here all alone. Weeping like a willow.
I need to stir up a pot of some sort, and I think I will do so by coming out against one ply toilet tissue. For years I have conformed to the tyranny of this waste efficient source of rear cleaning known as one ply T.P., and I'm done with it! Say what you will, three ply for me, whether or not you like it! Public restrooms be warned...your time is almost up!
Now, maybe I'll get a ton of hits here at CNAMB for this faux issue, and instead of learning my thoughts, people will become outraged by my "toilet tissue issue" stance. The line has been drawn in the sand and either you like a bloody ass, or you don't...now, what's it gonna be?
A couple of quaaludes and a half hours time, and I too, will put a spell on you...
Did you feel that thundering heat?! Well, I did, but the heat I felt is from when I went pee during the guitar solo...thanks, Lemmy. There are very few things scarier than a cenobite, but Lemmy from Motörhead comes pretty damned close. Written by Ozzy Osbourne, Zakk Wylde, and the moley one himself, Lemmy, Hellraiser was previously recorded by Ozzy in '91 for his No More Tears album. Motörhead went on to record the song and it famously showed up on the OST for 1992's Anthony Hickox directed, Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth.
Hellraiser and this post in general, bring me back big time. I love this song and the video is a welcome blast from the metal past too. I know for a fact that I have a VHS tape with this video on it as I used to recorded all the dope shit from Headbanger's Ball, and Hellraiser was one of my favs. You can't beat Lemmy playing poker against Pinhead, especially when you know Pinhead ain't got no chance...in HELL! And it may not be the best of the series, but I can't help but love every bit of 90's sweat that Hell on Earth drips. Great video for a great song!
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Here is a list of films that while being terrifying, are no match for a woman with a cart full of crud, a checkbook, and a double baby stroller pushed by a five year old.
THIS is Retail Terror!
The Mist - And I thought Supermarket Sweep was tough?
Intruder - Some customers just deserve a band saw to the dome piece.
Little Shop of Horrors - Unfortunately, Rick Moranis' career was cut short when he was crushed by a group of stampeding women on the hunt for Cabbage Patch Dolls. All he wanted was an ONYX cd.
Splinter - The Least convenient store of all time.
Dawn of the Dead - Are mall walkers just fast zombies?
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
One I had never heard of, but sounds like it would scare the "stuffing" out of me, is 1981's Thanksgiving set Slasher, Home Sweet Home. It's about a homicidal maniac that shows how thankful he is by "carving" a family during their Thanksgiving festivities. I couldn't find a trailer, but this clip and Body by fucking Jake says it all...
I also discovered the 2006 low-budget film, ThanXgiving: Dead Harvest. Movie looks pretty weak and the only thing going for it is Ari Lehman is one of the stars. He is the same jive ass turkey that played Jason Voorhees for 17 seconds and somehow has been able to make a career out of it.
Probably the best known out of all these movies is the one that isn't even a movie, but a faux trailer. Of course, I'm talking about Eli Roth's brilliant entry in the 2007 film Grindhouse, Thanksgiving. It's crazy how one trailer can get it so right, it looks like it was hand "plucked" out of the 80's Slasher/holiday craze. Make this movie, please!
Last, but certainly not least, we have 2009's ThanksKilling! An incredibly low-budget film that is a welcome addition to the very small Thanksgiving horror fold. I had recently heard of ThanksKilling and only a few days later, learned that it was available on NetFlix instant watch. It's barely over an hour, super cheap, but incredibly funny in a very on purpose way. Well worth your time this Thanksgiving...horror fans will be "gobbling" this one up!
Not a lot, but there is some Thanksgiving horror fun to be had. Now if only these films would air on cable...now that would be gravy.
Monday, November 23, 2009
While I brainstorm ideas for what I will post about during the holiday season in this over saturated blogosphere, I have a few reviews coming your way - starting with one for the 2009 Slasher film, The Hills Run Red posted over at Paracinema...The Blog. So head over there and check it out, pretty please!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Well hello there...I see you are incredibly hungover this afternoon. How can I tell? Well, your underwear is on backwards and it's not even your underwear to begin with. Plus, you smell like you were raped by Spuds McKenzie. Maybe that would explain the underwear thing. I'm not here to judge you, but instead, I'm here to guide you through your day of pain and dehydration. How can I do that you ask? By providing you with something to watch while you try to figure out how to not puke up the Denny's from the night before. This lineup is mad tight, by the way.
Starting off incredibly strong, AMC is showing Aliens (1986) at 10:00 AM. Do I really need to talk about Aliens?! It's fucking Aliens...'nuff said.
At 11:30 AM Pathfinder (2007) is on FX. I wanted to love this movie so bad, but I was kind of bored by it, maybe? I rented it from Netflix and I am pretty sure I didn't even make it all the way through. Such a promising movie and it looks great from the trailer, so maybe I need to try and give this one another whirl...lowered expectations and all. This could be my default pick of the week based on that criteria.
At 12:30 The Changeling (1980) is on IFC. In all honesty, I have never seen this movie and outside of George C. Scott, I know very little about it either. Should I feel shamed? I guess I should renege on my earlier pick of the day for Pathfinder and make it for The Changeling instead. After seeing this trailer, it isn't that hard of a decision anyways.
AMC skips an Alien and gives us Alien Resurrection (1997) at 1:00 PM. I haven't seen the fourth Alien in a long time, but I remember thinking it was a solid entry in the series. I have the box set, so I would rather watch it again that way so I can get through some of the extras that are included.
The Goonies (1985) is on TBS at 1:30. If you are in my age range, you can watch The Goonies every time it's on TV. Love The Goonies.
2:30 gives us Havoc (2005) on IFC. I have seen this movie a few times and I like it quite a bit. It's about two promiscuous honky girls that get in over their head, when they start hooking up with Latino gang bangers. It has a solid cast with Anne Hathaway, Bijou Phillips, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and a pre-Planet Terror Freddy Rodríguez and Michael Biehn. Watch this film if you want to see at least three of these actors naked!
Rounding out the afternoon, at 3:30 Mad Max (1979) is on AMC. The best of the trilogy, well, it's not hard to be better than Thunderdome, but that's besides the point. Mad Max is awesome and one hell of a way to end the hangover today.
Hope you're feeling a little better by this point, but if not, at least you had some good shit to choose from. Now go wash you dirty self up for crying out loud!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Either way, Pontypool is a fresh take on infection/zombie movies and while you may know a little about what drives these zombies from other sources, I will only lightly touch on the details of the actual infection itself...an infection that is somehow caused through language. This is what makes this movie so completely fascinating is the idea of using language to cause and/or spread this infection as opposed to conventional means. To create the idea of "killer language" and then set the film in a radio station where talking is the part of the job is a brilliant idea and one that also makes for a more traditional influence...seclusion. We'll get back to that later...
There are three main characters in Pontypool - Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie) is a sort of shock-jock radio personality, who after being fired from his last job, ends up working this shitty small town gig in Pontypool, where instead of pushing peoples' buttons, he is reporting about missing cats and the weather. Sydney Briar (Lisa Houle) is the radio show's producer and she is joined by Laurel Ann (Georgina Reilly), who is a sort of tech girl for the station. As the morning show is trucking along, they begin to receive news reports of strange events that are happening in the small town, and over time these events escalate and get weirder and weirder, to the point that it is clear that something bad is happening. They are a morning radio show, so of course they report this news as it comes in, whether they have official word from the news wire or not.
This is one of the many things that works so well in Pontypool - the fact that, as a viewer, you only know as much as the these three characters know. Nothing more. They aren't sure what to make of these events as they are unfolding because the details are scarce and that provides a lot of slow burn tension. There are large portions of this movie, where mixed in with brilliant editing, things are so tense and completely captivating. As I was watching Pontypool, I found myself engulfed in the story, because I too wanted to know what the hell was going on outside of the secluded radio station.
Secluded radio station...always a recipe for success, when done correctly. Not once are you away from the characters in this film. Not even for a second. Only time spent outside of the radio station is time spent with Mazzy as he is heading to the station for his work day, that is all. You have no clue what the town looks like and that is a great way to let your imagination run wild as you can only guess as to what the area looks like outside of it being described as small. Only thing you know about the world outside of the station is the fact that it is very cold and just as snowy. Total seclusion. You are given free reign to come up with a million and one images as to what is happening outside - in a location that your imagination creates.
Pontypool's driving force is it's characters, as you essentially have only three characters to follow in the film (outside of a few people who pop in here and there), so strong performances are of the utmost importance here. All three actors turn in phenomenal portrayals in Pontypool with Stephen McHattie as Grant Mazzy really shining bright as the bitter radio jock. He acts as the film's narrator and while he is guiding the audience of Pontypool the town, he is also guiding the viewer of Pontypool the film, all with a voice that is tailor made for radio listening ears. Georgina Reilly as Laurel Ann also puts in a solid performance and delivers one scene soo well that it is clear she was perfect for this role. Unfortunately, details of that scene are spoilerlicious, so I will not say any more about the subject.
This is a "zombie" movie, but don't go into Pontypool and expect to see any zombie/infected action like you would with many films of this variety. There is little to no actual interaction with the antagonists in the movie. The only interaction you really have is the fear that they are able to put into the unknowing inhabitants of the radio station. Mental interaction, if you will.
I found Pontypool to be flat out fantastic and a movie that doesn't force everything that is happening down your throat. You are left to come to your own conclusions all the way and until the very end and it is a completely engaging experience throughout. Pontypool's writer, Tony Burgess also scripted the film along with director Bruce McDonald. Both were heavily inspired by Orsen Wells' classic radio broadcast of War of the Worlds and that is essentially what the film is like, a radio play. Incidentally, Pontypool was simultaneously produced as both a theatrical film and as a radio play, using the radio broadcast from the film itself. Something that I hope will be on the DVD when it comes out next January.
Don't be a fool, watch Pontypool!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Our Monster of the Week is...
Seriously...the Enforcement Droid Series 209, or simply, ED-209 is one of the coolest parts of Paul Verhoeven's 1987 Sci Fi/action masterpiece, RoboCop (outside of coke being done of some titties!). One of cinemas most imposing creations ever, ED-209 is gigantic, it growls, and looks like a metal bulldog. ED-209 may be the Monster of the Week, but he sure as hell isn't weak!
Designed by Craig Hayes and animated by Phil Tippett, ED-209 is best known by film fans for his (?) appearance in RoboCop and its two mediocre-to-awful sequels. This metal monster also showed up in RoboCop: The Animated Series, and has made appearances in comic books and video games based off the RoboCop brand.
You have 20 seconds to comply, but only 10 seconds before you shit your pants. Better find a flight of stairs with the quickness!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The main character in Blastfighter is Jake "Tiger" Sharp (Michael Sopkiw), an ex-cop who was convicted and served 7 years in prison for killing the man that murdered his wife. Jake is a complex man, filled with all the attributes to contend for the heart of any woman, or any man for that matter.
He is a man that is not only strong...
He can be deer friend...
...while having the ability to show his sensitive side without fear of the trees judging him
But if you cross him, he will fuck your sweaty ass up. Period.
Blastfighter is set entirely in the woods...yet a good portion of the music sounds like something you would hear at a generic lazer (I'll be spelling laser with a Z for added edge) light show…meaning, it's awesome. There is some other great music in Blastfighter and it comes in the form of the pretty country song, Evening Star by Tommie Baby (I could only find the Bee Gees version...mah bad.). Nothing quite says kick ass Italian action movie like a little good ol' country music!
These woods are the perfect setting for "Jake" to chill out at since all he really wants in life is to be left alone. Only issue is the local yahoos seem to enjoy giving Jake a hard time because he doesn't agree with their inhumane hunting tactics. All of these jerk-off hicks that are messing around with Jake, just so happen to work for an old friend from Jake's past...
That man is non other than, George Eastman, who plays a character named...Tom?
Seriously...Tom? Not Brawny, or Bull Mastiff, or even Battle Axe? A man of this stature deserves a tougher name, that's for sure.
With a beard that could make love all by itself, "Tom" is not just any mere mortal...he is a man that can rock an impressive yellow and black flannel and still look intimidating.
This is a guy that need not require simplistic transportation like cars or bicycles, he is a man that can only roll one way and that is in a helicopter. A helicopter that is orange, yellow, and brown. Those are great colors for the Fall, by the way and they do go very well with his lumberjack attire, showing his keen Caldor fashion sensibilities.
Jake unwillingly makes acquaintance with Connie (Valerie Blake), who we quickly learn is more than just some bangin' broad, but someone important that has come from Jake's past. Together, Jake and Connie have a few run-ins with the dirtball country bumpkins and what results is a game of survival for the two characters, that would eventually takes a deadly turn.
Jake is forced to go back to a past he never wanted to again...he must become Jake "Tiger" Sharp if he wants to protect Connie and himself. One thing I didn't mention about Blastfighter is the weapon that would be the titular draw of the film, but it is only briefly introduced in the opening of the film and doesn't show up again until 1 hour and 16 minutes into the movie!
But when this wicked weapon is finally unleashed, oh boy is it time to bring the pain! Fed up with being pushed around, "Tiger" is ready to show these hillbilly hoes what he is capable of with his Blastfighter gun!
Now, this is a badass gun, it shoots bullets, grenades, smoke bombs, shit, I think it may even fire a Peter North load this thing is so versatile and manly. Don't believe me?
Check out these results...
Can't get that damage out of any old gun, now can you?
Hope you brought some marshmallows...bitch.
In the end, Blastfighter is a Rambo ripoff, but a good one and even though there is no use of the sick firearm that Jake is given at the beginning of the film, there is plenty of action to hold you over until the inevitable explosive finally. Plus, you can't go wrong with an airborne Eastman in flannel and Sopkiw with his gorgeous wavy hair and intense mustache.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Very excited for this one - With a rookie in the cockpit, Altitude is about a group of teenagers out for a flight when their plane mysteriously malfunctions and the group find themselves up against a supernatural force. A supernatural force that is very inspired by H.P. Lovecraft. With a singular location, it may be tough keeping this film interesting for an entire feature, but I'll be damned if this trailer isn't super promising - and the final moment is so awesome!
This next teaser is one that I recently found over at our good friend's blog, Planet of Terror - it's called Stake Land and is director Jim Mickle's follow up to the very solid, low budget film, Mulberry Street. It is an apocalyptic/road/vampire film and after seeing Mickle's take on "Zombies" in Mulberry Street, I am curious to see what route he takes with Vampires. It also stars genre sweetheart, Danielle Harris, which is never a bad thing.
Up next, I have the trailer for Fist of Dragon, a Singapore/Chinese martial arts film, written, directed, and staring Michael Chuah. Simple story, Chuah's character is home visiting his uncle when he discovers that his hometown has become overrun with violent gangsters so he steps in to defend the locals. Very classic Martial Arts tale with some great looking fight scenes and Chuah looks to be quite the badass.
Our "Final" trailer for the day is fittingly titled, The Final which was just recently announced as the sixth film in the annual 8 Films to Die For lineup. The Final is about a group of dorks who take revenge on the class mates that have tormented them throughout the years, by taking them hostage and torturing them at a costume party. Very interesting concept and it looks like it could be a very mean spirited film. Also, it may be difficult to side with the popular dickheads, or the pathetic "oh woe is me" geeks...so if done right, it could work very well, or fall flat on its face.
And for shits and giggles, I'll throw in this trailer for the Stephen Chow produced, Jump! It's a Chinese Hip-Hop dance movie, so I'm all for it!
Okay, at 11:00 AM The Matrix (1999) is on AMC, which is followed by The Matrix Reloaded (2003) at 2:00 PM and at 5:00, The Matrix Revolutions (2003) will round out the trilogy of mediocre. I love the first Matrix, and the second one is on point for the most part, but man...every time I try and watch Revolutions, I can't help but be completely bored and wonder how everything went so wrong with this franchise?
Speaking of shitty franchises, noontime brings us The Scorpion King (2002) on USA. I HATED the first two Mummy films, and I think the only thing that is Mummy related I would ever possibly give a chance to, would be The Scorpion King. Even then, I am very skeptical, thus the reason I still haven't seen it. Maybe one of you purdy ladies or dashing lads can convince me otherwise. Or not.
At 12:30, The Professional (1994) is on the Oxygen network? Great movie and one of my personal favorite films, I can watch The Professional every time it's on TV for at least a couple of scenes. Even though there isn't shit to choose from this week, The Professional would be my pick over many movies even if there were and it is easily my pick for this week.
Already at the end of the Hangover with Out for Justice (1991) at 4:00 on ION. If you're still rolling around in your own vomit from the night before by this time of day, might as well enjoy some badass Seagal action from when he wasn't auditioning for the Tracy Turnblad role in Hair Spray.
That's it guys, so sorry for such a weak Hangover, but what can ya do? Hopefully SyFy will get its head out of its ass and give us something that is only a little terrible next week - and maybe that Weather channel showing movies thing will take off and we can watch Misery interrupted by weather reports every Sunday!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Just when you thought it was safe to look at the calender again! Oh I get it...that's like a Jaws joke, funny.
Friday, November 13, 2009
A far cry from Ray Parker Jr's beloved, Who You Gonna Call, On Our Own was recorded and released by Bobby Brown in 1989 as a single from the Ghostbusters II soundtrack. Great cheesy 80's video, complete with awesome special FX, dancing, spandex, and more celebrity appearances than you can shake an ass at...Christopher Reeve makes an appearance for cryin' out loud (which actually kinda bummed me out a little)! On Our Own was my song! For real. Everyone fronts and says how Bobby Brown ruined America's sweetheart, but personally, I think that trick went to the crack, but Bobby gets all the blame. I would take Every Little Step and On Our Own over I'm Every Woman and that Bodyguard crap any day. America's sweetheart...pfft! If you didn't know what you were getting into with the bad boy from New Edition, crack is the least of your problems.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Alrighty, I'll stop ramblin' about Tamblyn and send you over to Paracinema to read my shortest review, ever, Blackout.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
This weeks Monster(s) of the Week is (are)...
Krite, is of course the proper term used in referring to the creatures from Stephen Herek's 1986 film, Critters and its subsequent sequels. "Critters," which is actually a racist term in the Krite community, are an often-large group of individual space creatures with a multitude of abilities. Krites can roll up into a tight ball and travel at quick speeds to keep up with their prey, they can shoot porcupine like needles at any unsuspecting victim, rendering them nearly useless - and what would a Krite be without its giant, over sized mouth, filled with a mean set of razor sharp teeth? A Furby. Maybe the biggest asset that the Krite's have is the ability to form like Voltron and become a giant ball of Krite, which rolls around and chomps everything in its path. It also proves that saving the environment, via carpooling, isn't limited to just humans anymore.
The Krites have appeared in four films to date and while they could be looked at as a cash in on other films from the time period that Critters came out, i.e. Gremlins, that first film is a solid B monster movie in the vein of Joe Dante's Piranha. If any franchise were do for a revival, it is Critters and the Krites would be more than welcomed back and are very deserving of my pick for Monster of the Week.
Monday, November 9, 2009
When you have a movie such as Paranormal Activity, you are going to run into a wide variety of reactions from an even wider variety of people. Whether it be genre fans, or just your average casual moviegoer, it is almost fascinating what one person finds frightening and another person doesn't. Much like The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity is a story of success, a story of simplicity delivered through a means created by budgetary restraints and a desire to make a movie no matter how many roadblocks were faced. And of course, the desire to scare people.
Written and directed by Oren Peli, Paranormal Activity has a plot as basic as my cable. Katie (Katie Featherston) and her semi-long-term boy toy, Micah (Micah Sloat) have been experiencing...ahem, some Paranormal Activity (I suck) when they decide that they want to try to capture these ghostly-goings-ons on video tape. Of course, they do capture something and this something they capture might not be the friendliest of ghosts, and things escalate for Micah and Katie as they try to deal with this unwanted visitor.
Easy enough, right? Sure, but here's the thing, the ghost, or spirit, or whatever, has been following Katie around since she was a little girl, creating havoc for her throughout her entire life. With Katie dealing with such torture for so long, she has grown very fearful of this invisible antagonist, almost to the point where she knows not to instigate it anymore than need be. Micah, on the other hand, is fascinated by this unseen menace and not having the same history as Katie has had with this haunting, he has no real fear of it, nor any sense of respect for what it is capable of...whether or not Katie warns him before hand.
This is really where some of the strength in Paranormal Activity lies, the characters are extremely well written and very realistic in many ways that some would not like to admit. You are seeing very broad typical characterizations of the average man and women, and how they interact with one another, especially when faced with trauma.
Katie is a little whiny, needy, and open to any sort of suggestion, that isn't coming from the man she loves, Micah. She will only rely on him for protection when she chooses - shuts him down when she doesn't need it and she is easily irritated by anything he does, almost to the point that it is unfair to Micah. Katie has every reason to be scared by what is going on in a way since she has been plagued by this menace for so long, but it is unfair for her to think Micah can fully understand what is going on, when this is his first exposure to such events. The fact that she didn't share her past haunting experience with Micah until she has already moved in with him and it started happening to them both shows her selfishness also.
Micah is not afraid of the haunting's so much as he is fascinated by them. It is his idea to set up the cameras and even when Katie constantly warns they are making things worse, he still continues to use them. Micah is all for communicating with the ghost via a Ouija board no matter what the warning are, and much like a child, he almost sees it as fun at first and it shows his immaturity. When things do escalate, he feels it is up to him to take care of the situation, he feels he must protect his girlfriend and his home without any help from anyone else. Like most men, including myself, Micah is slightly egotistical and his ego clouds what would be better judgment for the fear of not being in control. He constantly promises Katie that he will figure this out for her and he really does try to, because he cares about her, but he also doesn't want to not be in control of the situation as much as he wants to protect her.
Now, do I think the film is scary? Paranormal Activity has been heralded as the scariest movie of all time, or of this decade and so on, whatever. How any movie can live up to that expectation is unfair to say the least. Especially when "average asshole Joe" has no clue about the movie outside of it being referred to as the "scariest movie of all time," then seeing Paranormal Activity and ultimately being disappointed by the lack of visual apparitions. This is the same shit that happened with Blair Witch...many disliked it saying that it wasn't scary because they didn't see anything, because nowadays, people are so used to seeing everything, that when challenged to use their imagination, they are not capable of doing so.
What you are seeing in this film is what I would guess you would see (or not see) in real life and that is what either frightens people, or completely turns them off. For me, I find the simplicity of a door shutting by itself, or a chandelier rocking back and forth from an unknown force to be scary, as opposed to being shown an actual ghost or having a creature be shown. Being shown something can be scary too, if done well of course, but it is easier to distance myself from the events in a movie like The Orphanage, for example, than it is a film set in a normal everyday house with a faceless assailant. This almost goes back to what worked in the first half of Jaws; it was more frightening to see the results and actions of the shark, without actually seeing the shark itself. You know what's there creating the chaos without seeing it, and it's what it is capable of that is the most effective aspect.
Some can say you do not see anything in Paranormal Activity, yet when you do in the form of a possessed Katie; it is the worst part of the film and seems like an unnecessary sight used just to put a face to the menace. Putting a face to the menace to appease moviegoers who want to see "something." That is really my only complaint about the film and I much prefer the alternative endings that I have seen/read about, but it is what it is. I found Paranormal Activity to be quite scary and it is a scary that has lasted with me for a few days...it is easy to relate to the events because they are plausible and they can happen to you in your natural setting. I will forever be creeped out by the often-used static camera shot from inside Katie and Micah's bedroom, waiting to see what was going to happen next in what area of the hallway...or seeing nothing, and only hearing loud bangs or footsteps, not knowing what was to come from those noises.
As I have expressed in a recent post, I am extremely happy that Paranormal Activity has done so well and this is the second film in ten years to come from nothing and sweep the nation. This film is the opposite of Hollywood and for it to do well almost balances things out in the big picture. It takes thing back a little and shows that you can do so much with so little, and I don't completely mean money wise either so much as I mean what can be done to scare people with simple film making techniques. Whether or not it scared you is one thing, but it has put a little poopie in a whole lotta moviegoers pants to make it one of the most successful films of the year...so it has done something right. Word is born.