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Sunday, January 31, 2010

What Month is February Again?

Recently, I've been hearing a whole lot about how the month of February, horror bloggers around the net would be dedicated to women and their role in the horror genre. That’s great, and I’m certainly all for it, and I was even thinking about doing a few posts specific to the subject matter throughout the month myself. Then today, I dropped by the wonderful wonder blog, Billy Loves Stu and was reminded that February is Black History Month. The fact that I had to be reminded is a bit embarrassing, but more embarrassing should be the fact that bloggers have taken it upon themselves to pick Black History Month as the month to focus on women in horror. There are 11, count them, ELEVEN other months that are there for the taking, so why February? I’m not taking shots at the people behind women in horror month - any other month, I would be all for it, but it’s a pretty stupid fucking thing to have it in February. I had no plans for a theme month, but I am gonna keep it real and make my main focus of February centered around African American cinema. I’m not prepared in any way whatsoever, but I can pull something out of my ass, plus it gives me an excuse to cover a few Blaxsploitation films!
Anyone have any suggestions or requests, please feel free to suggest and request them.

The Horror Hangover

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Got a very mixed and slightly small bag of films for The Horror Hangover this week, but there is some shit worth checking out depending on your taste. First I’ll mention that The Matrix films will be on AMC starting only an hour after you went to bed last night aka 8:00 AM. It will be a marathon of Matrix, so you can leave it on all day long and as you sober up, the quality of the films shall slowly disintegrate!

On a much better note, BBC has a Hitchcock marathon that will span the entire day, starting with Vertigo at 9:00, then Psycho at 12:00, and  Rear Window at 2:30. Then it will loop right back around and start all over again. I don’t get BBC on my cable, but if you have the power, spending a day with Hitchcock is not a bad day to be spent at all. I’ll give this my marathon pick of the week!

In non-marathon Hangover news, at 11:00 Breakdown (1997) is playing on USA. I haven’t seen Breakdown in a long time, but I have decent memories of it. It’s a thriller style road movie, with trucks, and Kurt Russell, so you really can’t go wrong. Only thing better would be a thriller style road movie, with trucks, and Pat Swayze, but that isn’t the case. Still, Breakdown gets my solo movie pick of the week! 

 

At 12:00, you might want to “Get Down!” when Eraser (1996) is on A&E. It’s an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, so I have to mention it, as I have a deep love for the greatest action hero of all time. I actually saw this movie in the theaters, but barely remember it outside of Vanessa Williams and I think there was a cool futuristic gun used in it at one point, but that could be another movie for all I know.

 

Lastly, at 12:15 The Amityville Horror (2005) meh-make is showing on TNT. Movie is pretty wiggity-whack with a few good moments, but the whole “catch ‘em and kill ‘em” thing was one of the lamest hooks a horror film has ever had. The scene with the hot babysitter (I think she was hot?) was pretty cool from what I remember, but there is very little for me to recommend about this pile of pooh. Ryan Reynolds’ beard is very proper though…but as powerful as James Brolin’s? I smell celebrity death match!

 

That's all folks…not a lot, but there are some movies worth checking out. Hopefully I have lead you down the path of cable horror ‘n such, and you won’t feel so alone as you wonder why you slept with that nasty dude/dudette last night!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Freddy’s Friday Night Dance Party!: Top That! Edition!

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After having such a emotional and epic Dance Party with Ms. Ellen Aim last week, I thought I should take this weeks’ edition back to the streets. Hip-Hop has influenced many cultures, people young and old, and thankfully so, because if not, we wouldn’t have this clip from Teen Witch. The song is Top That and while it takes 35 seconds to get to the gold, the dialogue between our two bike riding babes is certainly worth the wait!

As already mentioned, Top That comes from the 1989 film, Teen Witch, staring one time über crush, Robyn Elaine Lively and the recently deceased Zelda Rubinstein. This groundbreaking track in the vein of Public Enemy meet’s KRS-1, Top That was written by Larry Weir and performed by The Michael Terry Rappers, who I could not find out all that much about, nor did I try all that hard either. Why ruin the mystique of something as impactful as Top That?!

Everything about this clip is amazing, from the close up of the boom box, the rolled up tight jeans with matching Hawaiian shirt, right down to the spastic, seizer like dance moves. And how about that dude with the suspenders?! Now THAT is Hip-Hop! My favorite part of the entire clip is when Teen Witch and her “normal” friend, Darlene Conner spot the Hip-Hop dance crew and Darlene says “Look at how funky he is,” then lingers for a moment before saying ”I’ll never be hip!” But how wrong she is, because thanks to the power of Witch Craft, Darlene spit’s some lyrics of her own! Back and forth Rap battle at its finest…I can’t even handle it! This might be my favorite clip of all time!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Fashion Sense, or Lack Thereof, of the Male Characters in Sleepaway Camp

When re-watching Sleepaway Camp for the first time in a long time, I began to notice a pattern. Not a pattern showing how the killer chose his/her victims, or even clues found in the numerous red hearings pointing to who the killer actually is in this 1983 Slasher cult classic. Nope, this was a pattern that included the outfits that many of the film’s male character’s picked out for their summer of fun in the sun.

Sometimes known as booty shorts, daisy dukes, short-shorts, hot pants, jorts (if they’re made of jean, that is), and why the hell is that man wearing those, slut cuts are a brand of short pants that exceed the legal limits of short and cross over into a realm of excessive inner thigh and possible pube sightings. I’m not here to judge these male characters for their odd choices in attire…instead, I am here to celebrate their decision to avoid tan lines, respect, and ambiguity as to how big their plunger is.

Here is an in-depth look, at the semi-nude, butt-cut boys of summer.


“Daddy, that girl’s bikini bottom cover’s more ground than your shorts!”

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“Ehh…whatevs.”

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“What time should I realize I’m wearing these shorts?!”

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“Man, your legs are really looking righteous this summer!”

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“Nice to see some of us got the new uniform memo…”

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A meeting of the thighs

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I think we may have found Snooki’s long lost father

(I actually don’t know if he was lost, so much as he probably ran away!)

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Who wears a half-shirt over a sweater?

(I know he’s the same guy, but he is beyond just one photo!)

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“HEY! I wanna be the catcher!”

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“Bet ya guys can’t get my blue shorts wet! Ha ha ha ha! ”

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Them some sexy legs, huh?! But no one in Sleepaway Camp quite has the stem presence like camp consoler Ronnie (Paul DeAngelo), who with his always poking pecker, brings a whole new meaning to the term, less is more.


Ronnie: A God amongst men. Or tennis players in the 80’s

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“Hey honey, you’re looking kinda wolfie down there. I got an extra bottle of Nair in the back if your up for a session?”

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Ronnie’s version of Capri pants

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“You have the right to remain…really hot in those shorts! What gym do you go to?!?”

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There ya have it…just a small handful of the impressive wardrobe choices found in Sleepaway Camp. All worn with pride. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m gonna hit the gym so I can do some squats and get ready for summer. Ladies, get ready to take a ride on the thighway when I hit up the beach this year.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Totally Tubular Trailers

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It seems like interesting trailers are hard to come by lately, however, there have been a few very recently that would warrant a viewing for good and/or bad reasons.

First up is the trailer for Dead Rising? Something that I had not even known about and apparently, neither did anyone else. Dead Rising is based off the game of the same title, which is a sort of homage to Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, in that it was a zombie game set in a mall. From the looks of it, this has very little in common in the game, which makes it all the more pointless, and I see not one shot from inside a mall in this entire trailer?! However, they do a great job of recreating the storage room’s from the game to a tee. I like wild and crazy Japanese movies enough, but this looks a bit meh for even me.

On a much more promising note, here is the trailer for The Last Lovecraft: The Relic of Cthulhu. Lovecraft is sacred and a major influence in horror, sometimes done well, sometimes not so much, but this is an interesting take seeing as it is a comedy set in the world of Fish Gods. I pretty much love all thing’s Lovecraft and I think this could be a fun breath of fresh air. There are a few funny moments in this trailer, but it also looks like it could be overly self referential too. Something that is not often a good thing.

One of the best of the trailers I have here for you today, comes in the form of yet another zombie film! The Dead simply looks awesome and is the type of zombie film not seen in quite some time with its African setting and great looking practical gore FX. The trailer speaks for itself.

Speaking of movie types we haven’t seen in a long time, thanks to 24Framespersecond, I learned about The Dark Lurking, which looks to get back to the old school 80’s Horror/Sci Fi/Action hybrids without the polished turd feel of films that we see nowadays. Like Doom, for example. It looks gory, expansive, gritty, and very low budget, but filled with ambition. And with a Game of Death styled plot, it could be very fun.

No, this isn’t a feature length film based off the Danzig song, instead, Mother is a Korean kind of thriller from director Joon-Ho Bong, who is best known for the giant monster movie, The Host. I’ve heard pretty good things about this one and with the directors previous work, I am certainly interested in checking it out. Actually, I think I may have posted the Korean trailer for this one in an old Totally Tubular Trailers, but this is the official U.S. trailer, therefore the reason for posting it here and now.

Some great trailers and I look forward to at least four of these movies…how about you?

Meet the Horror Bloggers Spotlight!

About a month ago, John Cozzoli aka Iloz Zoc of Zombos’ Closet of Horror fame, asked if I would like to be one of the horror bloggers spotlighted in his weekly Meet the Horror Blogger’s segment. Being that I truly enjoy talking about myself, I was very ecstatic and honored to be considered for the prestigious spotlight. It’s basically an about me – how I got into horror films and into blogging, with some personal stuff mixed in for some added flavor. Plus, there’s a ridiculous picture of me that I submitted, where I look like I have a dump in my pants.

In all seriousness, I had a lot of fun writing it and honestly, I wrote so much, I had to omit a couple of paragraphs to keep it from being too long (I’m like T.O., but with better hands)! It’s not easy to condense the many influences in my life that led me to where I am now, but I did my best and I hope you all can take a couple of moments to check it out. A huge thanks to John for asking me to partake in this…I really appreciate it and am truly flattered.

Clickity click the link and away you go!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Vote for Chuck Norris Ate My Baby!

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Horror website Bloody Disgusting is putting on a Horror Blog award’s thingy and amongst the many amazing blogs nominated, I am very proud to say that CNAMB has been included in the running. I can’t lie and say I wouldn’t LOVE to win, but I highly doubt I have any chance at all, however I would love to at least do well as it would be a great way to feed my ego!

What’s interesting about this whole thing is many great blogs are nominated and many of my readers and good friends are behind those blogs (I can forget about those votes!), so I want to wish them all good luck. If CNAMB doesn’t win, then it better be one of them! Click on the link below (or on the sidebar) to vote - you have to have a registered account to do so (and to keep it fair), but it’s really easy to sign up. If I win, I’ll review whatever movie each one of you wants me to!

Kisses!

Bloody Disgusting’s Horror Blogger Awards

Family Matters

mumanddad Just when you thought Falcon’s parents were insane, let me introduce you to Mum & Dad. Parents with incredibly high values and even higher expectations from their kids, but these aren’t pageant mom’s we’re talking about here folks. Instead of making their kids learn dance moves, go tanning, and wear bedazzled sparkle motion inspired outfits, Mum & Dad expect their kids to provide them with new children to support their sadistic habits. The entire family lives near an airport, where Dad and both his children Birdy (Ainsley Howard) and Elbie (Toby Alexander) also work. The family makes extra cash and keep’s their wardrobe fresh by stealing from the cargo holds and offices at the airport - which is also where they find new brothers and sisters to bring home to expand this loving family.

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Lena (Toby Alexander), a Polish immigrant who just moved to the area, makes acquaintances with Birdy while working together at the airport. Birdy tries to invite Lena out for drinks, but Lena isn’t interested and just wants to head home after her long day at work. Unfortunately for Lena, she misses her bus ride back home and Birdy talks Lena into coming home with her and Elbie to try and get a ride from there. Lena reluctantly agrees and goes to their house, which turns out to be a very big mistake when she meets Birdy and Elbie’s Mum & Dad.     

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What looks like a normal set of parents on the surface, Mum & Dad are actually a demented couple of people with a skewed view of what it means to be a family. After drugging and imprisoning Lena, she is explained the rules of the home. Basically, if she is a good girl, she will have a roof over her head, food on the table, and clothes on her back. If she misbehaves, she will be left to the devices of Dad, a homicidal maniac who doubles as a sexual deviant. Dad spends a lot of his time behind closed doors doing unspeakable things to previous bad children, which is only slightly seen at first, but it is clear that you want absolutely nothing to do with what he is up to. Mum, looks at Lena as her new daughter and shows how much she loves her by scarring her body with sharp instruments which are referred to as “battle wounds.” Seems like a pretty shitty thing, but if Lena doesn’t go along with it and resists the torture in any way, that would be considered misbehaving and lead to some alone time spent with Dad.

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Mum & Dad is a 2008 British film written and directed by feature length first timer, Steven Sheil. Sheil does a solid job for a newb and has a strong sense of movie making ability. He successfully creates tension for most of the running time as there is always a lurking fear that Dad might snap at any moment. Mum & Dad is a torture porn film (a term I am iffy about…actually, I kinda hate it) in how the story unfolds for the protagonist as well as how the film looks stylistically. There are the dingy, dirty dungeon looking bedrooms that you would expect from a movie of this genre, but there is also a contrasting other aspect of their home that looks very prim and proper. Very much like Mum & Dad themselves. A nice glossy veneer, but filled with madness and chaos just beneath the surface.

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Everything is lit nicely and there’s this very creepy and effectively odd score that is less musical and more of a pulsating sound - like feedback or static radio signal. Some of the things in this movie are unsurprisingly VERY harsh, but that’s to be expected with a film of this nature. This isn’t like a Martyrs harsh (or a Martyrs good), but there are some very sick moments and Lena is constantly physically and mentally abused throughout the movies runtime. There is one scene in particular involving Lena, a suitcase, a mallet, and a very unhappy Dad that is a little on the tough side to watch. Some of the scenes involving Mum and her torturous habits are jarring, especially in how she administers them in such a loving way.  Heck, even at the dinner table nothing is sacred and while being set in a very normal looking kitchen, instead of BBC or Soccer playing on the tele,  there is hardcore porno on.

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Dido Miles who plays Mum and Perry Benson as Dad are both fantastic in there roles and play some of the most callous and merciless parents ever to appear on screen. John and Kate Never seemed like such great parents all of the sudden when watching these two go to work. Both of the children are pretty good with Ainsley Howard showing a strong performance as the manipulative Birdy - Toby Alexander as Elbie is decent, but he doesn’t have much to do since his character doesn’t speak. Of course, Mum & Dad hinges on Olga Fedori as Lena and she does a nice job playing a very physically demanding role, and it’s hard not to find yourself hoping she will refrain from making any mistakes and pissing off the crazed parents.

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Overall the movie is well paced, but after a while it starts to get a little tiring and I began losing some interest around the end of the second act. While I do enjoy some of the films that this genre type has to offer, watching a movie like this can be a little taxing with the whole punish, torture, abuse, rinse, repeat. However, the last twenty five minutes or so make some of the slump more than bearable. Starting with the most demented Christmas celebration ever my eyes have witnessed, complete with human decorations and all, Mum & Dad hits a wicked high with its insanity, which then leads to a fantastic finale that totally pays off.

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In the end, Mum & Dad is a solid film made for a very modest budget (£100,000 in British pounds, which equals to roughly 160 thousand U.S. dollars) and does a lot with a very little thanks to some great direction by Steven Sheil and solid acting from the cast. There are a few points where the film gets a little stale and if you’re not a big fan of torture porn styled films, then you will more than likely not change your view after seeing Mum & Dad, therefore, you shouldn’t bother. There was enough positive in the movie for me to enjoy it overall and the end is what sealed the deal for me in how the events unfolded and concluded in a very satisfying fashion. If you can handle seeing a father nut in an organ he used to masturbate, only to see it ooze out a little when he’s done, then you should know whether or not you would want to see Mum & Dad.   torture

Monday, January 25, 2010

CNAMB Presents: Monster of the Week!

In the short history of the Monster of the Week segment, there have been some great creatures, but this week’s pick is a true king in the vast jungle of Monsters, Mutants, and Madmen. Additionally, this pick would also be having a very long overdue, and very much anticipated return to the big screen without having to share any of the glory. With hair right out of the Caribbean, an arsenal of weapons that would make Kraven drool, and blood that would pique the interest of Herbert West, this weeks Monster of the Week goes to…

The Predator!

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Originally appearing in John McTiernan’s 1987 classic action film, Predator, the Predator has appeared in a 1990 sequel, two Alien vs. Predator movies, and numerous comic books, video games, and one of the best fan film’s ever made. Created by Jim and John Thomas, and designed by the late great Stan Winston, the Predator was played by the late Kevin Peter Hall in first two films and then Ian Whyte in the Alien vs. Predator movies.

While the AVP films are not up to par, the original Predator is one of the best, and manliest action movies ever made, along with being one of my favorite Schwarzenegger films. Even the sequel, while being very flawed, is quite enjoyable and I love the urban jungle that this sport trophy hunter was placed in. To say that I am excited about a new Predator film would be a major understatement, and it’s about time that this Monster got it’s own movie again after nearly 20 years. One of the most original, intimidating, and just flat out cool creatures ever put to screen, this ugly mother fucker is the definition of classic Monster and a solid addition to the Monster of the Week.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Horror Hangover

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What up suckas! Hope you got the remote handy, ‘cause I got a handful of movies for you to choose from this afternoon as you slowly disintegrate into your couch. So let’s get right into it, shall we? Like you have any say in the matter. Well, you could just go and read some other blog I guess, but they don’t love you the way I love you, now do they? 

Starting off at At 10:30, SyFy gives us Abominable (2006). I have a soft spot for all things bad, but an even softer one for movies that involve Sasquatch/Abominable snowmen (which usually means really bad). This is one that always piqued my interest and that interest is slightly raised after seeing the IMDB rating for the film is 5.1. That is way high for a movie like this and most of the Hangover movie’s playing on SyFy are around a 3, so there could be something worth seeing with this one. Plus, there are a few genre notables in the film, with appearances from Lance Henriksen, Jeffrey Combs, and Troma vixen, Tiffany Shepis to add to the positives. 

Next up at 12:30, SyFy once again crawls into the Hangover with Ice Spiders (2007). Lets see, genetically mutated spiders that take in a day at the local ski resort, with an IMDB rating of 3.2…sounds like business as usual!   

At 2:00, Road House (1989) is playing on CMT. Lots of badass brawls, a monster truck, Sam Elliott flipping his charcoal locks around, sweaty Pat doing ballerina inspired karate kicks, and you have the only reason I will ever put it on CMT for more than 20 seconds. 

2:30 marches in with Kelly’s Heroes (1970) on AMC. I love me a WWII movie and this is one that has unfortunately slipped through the cracks for what seems like forever. Plot wise, it sounds kind of like Three Kings (a film I love), with a group of U.S. soldiers going AWOL to find them some Nazi gold. The big selling point for Kelly’s Heroes is clearly the awesome cast. Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland, Don Rickles, Harry Dean Stanton, Archie Bunker! Word!    

Things warm up a little at 3:00, when Devil in the Flesh (1998) shows up on Lifetime. Now THIS is the perfect hangover movie…you know it’s gonna be great with a plot revolving around a high school girl (played by Rose McGowan) with an out of control crush on one of her teachers! I get a feeling that I may have seen this movie before, or at least parts of it, because it all just seems too familiar (and I’m not making fun of the story's originality either!). Either way, this should be some super Lifetime sleaze and a solid way to droll away a few hours.    

You might want to DUCK at 3:30 when A Fistful of Dynamite (1971) blow’s up the IFC airwaves. While I prefer to call it DUCK, You Sucker!, Fistful is one of my favorite Leone films, with one of my favorite Morricone scores. I love this movie, it’s characters, Rod Steiger’s pre-Tony Montana accent, and Coburn’s teeth. In fact, I think I’ll keep “MY” pick of the week with Kelly’s Heroes, but will make the pick for you guys A Fistful of Dynamite. Fantastic film and what better way to watch it than on IFC where it will be uncut, widescreen, and without commercials? Pick of the week, part deux!   

And last, but certainly not least, ION continues to support all of our Van Damme addiction with Bloodsport (1988) at 4:00. Bloodsport is on TV every 38 seconds, but it’s always worth a mention.

That about does it kiddies, hope you have a great afternoon and a fun filled day of cinema with 65% less Hangover!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Freddy’s Friday Night Dance Party!: Streets of Fire Edition!

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This is a serious jam I have lined-up for you all tonight and there is a good chance you might not be able to handle how great it is. The song, Tonight is What it Means to be Young is brought to us by Ellen Aim and The Attackers, led by Dian Lane at her hottest! Hope you’re ready to rock, cause this shit is no joke!

Tonight is What it Means to be Young was written and produced by Jim Steinman for the 1984 rock fantasy, Streets of Fire. While Ellen Aim is not really a singer, the song was performed by Fire Inc., a fake band put together for the propose of this movie. Fire Inc. was made up of a number of vocalist’s, including Holly Sherwood (who was lead vocalist), Laurie Sargent, Rory Dodd, and Eric Troyer and they also recorded another song for the film (another song that also ROCKS!).

I love this song so much…why? I don’t know. It just means so much business (and Diane Lane doesn’t hurt either)! My favorite part of this song and clip, without a doubt, is at the 3 minute mark, when shit get’s hectic as Ellen Aim pumps her fist with such meaning and power, that it’s hard not to feel the moment along with her! She beats that beat back so hard, I thought I was watching a rerun of Jersey Shore.

Now, I’m a big fan of Streets of Fire, and if you’ve never seen it, do so, it’s a great movie that is just so different from anything else. An awesome mash-up of genres mixed together with tons of versatile music and it’s directed by Walter Hill, who at the time, was at the top of his game.

Paracinema Confidential

Not my best title ever, that’s for certain…

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Before I get into the task at hand, I want to thank everyone that took the time to check out my best of the decade list and left comments, and shared their thoughts on Twitter, etc… I put a lot of work into it for the propose of sharing with you all some films that mean a lot to me, so I truly appreciate the feedback. Fo realz.

So as you can tell from the lackluster title of this post, I am sending you to the bowels of cinema awesomeness known as Paracinema…The Blog, for yet another edition of magic and mayhem!! In this week’s episode of Paracinema…The Blog, I bring you a review of the powerhouse cult classic (classic?), Student Confidential. It’s a Troma release, but not a Troma film, which is a good thing, ‘cause Troma makes pretty sketchy films that even for a fan of crud, I’m not always down with. They have been doing some cool shit as a distribution company, however, putting out some films that are worthy of release and of a viewing, so kudos to them.

I bumped into Student Confidential totally by accident the other night and to say it is an interesting film, would be selling it short. Does interesting equate to good? You’ll have to read the review to find out. I will say, what you see in this trailer makes the film look like something completely different than what it is.

Student Confidential Review!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

You’re Undefeatable!

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Hellllloooo ghoulies! Just wanted to direct you all to a review I recently wrote for the Godfrey Ho film, Undefeatable, which you can find over in the newest issue of BThroughZ. Staring the lovely Cynthia Rothrock, Undefeatable is the film that was the insane subject of my very first post here at CNAMB and it contains what is known as the worst fight scene ever (or best if you’re snarky and have bad taste, which I am guilty of both)! The film is something else, to say the least and I would love if you took the time to head over to BThroughZ to give it a read. 

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Now, what is BThroughZ you might be asking? Well, it is simply an online magazine (or e-zine as the kids with the spiky hair call it), that specializes in all thing’s horror, cult, B-Movie, etc…this would include movie, video game talk, books, music and everything in-between. I found the site thanks to the awesome Reverend Phantom who does written and video reviews for the magazine. It’s a very cool site and something that is more than worth your time past reading my mediocre review for Undefeatable. So check out the magazine, check out my review and leave lots of comments/lies like “This is the best review EVA!” and “Wow, you are amazing Matt!” It would make me look good and I have no shame damn it!

ATTENTION!!! This is future Matt-suzaka, and sadly BThroughZ no longer exists, so here is a link to this review of Undefeatable which is now located on this very blog you are reading! Enjoy! CLICK HERE!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

CNAMB Presents: The 25 Best Films of the Decade Part 2!

I got some nice feedback with numbers 25-11 yesterday, so thanks to everyone that commented. I can’t wait to hear what you folks think about the rest! Continuing right where we left off yesterday, I present you with my top 10 films of the decade. Ready-set-GO!

10. Apocalypto

 

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After some concise, simplistic character development, Apocalypto throws our main protagonist headfirst into a nonstop, tightly paced adventure that will suck you right in from the very first moment. The movie is shot in such a way that it makes you feel as if you are along for this frightening ride with “Jaguar Paw” as he and his fellow tribesmen are tortured and beaten along the way to their impending sacrifice.  His motivation to escape is so overwhelming, that there is nothing that will stop him from getting back to his preggers wife and son, and the tension built from him looking for any opening to escape is incredible. With the use of Yucatec Maya dialogue, the amazing nobody acting and the true to history locations and costume design, Apocalypto is like watching history come to life in the truest sense.

9. Requiem for a Dream

 

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I caught Requiem at the local (at the time) dollar theater and walked out of it mentally crushed by how unapologetically bleak and dark it was. Darren Aronofsky took what he had started with his feature debut PI, mixed with the intense writings of Hubert Selby Jr. and brought to life a story with themes of obsession and the clouded madness that can come from one’s infatuation. Technically, it is a stylishly made film filled with dreamlike (and nightmare like) qualities and an erratic editing style that would inspire many less than capable filmmakers still to this day. From television, obsessing about one’s looks, to over the counter medicine and street drugs, the numerous themes of addiction are something that could hit home for a lot of viewers and that is where the movie’s effect is strongest. On a side note, Ellen Burstyn was robbed by that fish face scrub for the Oscar…maybe Burstyn would have won if she made her tits look bigger. 

8. Battle Royale

 

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Even with films such as Ringu and Ju-on being best known for spearheading an explosion of interest (and remakes) in dark Japanese cinema, another film that may be just as impactful, but certainly less mainstream, is Battle Royale. A social commentary about the injustices of government, Battle Royale had a lot to say politically, but what it came down to was a bunch of high school kids forced to kill their classmates for the purpose of population control. The brilliant idea of a last man standing, no escape or your head will come clean off, game, played by kids nonetheless, is jarring and incredibly taboo. This is a film that got me to seek out even more Asian cinema than just what it had to offer horror wise and that influence is something that led to me watching other films, films that are also on this list. 

7. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

 

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Here is another example of a game changer…one that influenced cinema and introduced a lot of people to a world of Martial Arts films outside of what people saw in America. I grew up on the genre, a genre that is more than vast, and to go to a theater and see a movie as well crafted as Crouching Tiger was quite mind-blowing. The fight scenes are some of the best and most beautiful action sequences ever put to screen and the look of the film is more than brilliant with explosive colors and amazing locations. Even outside of the grand brawls, the epic love story was so immense, it could have stood alone as a non-Martial Arts movie.    

6. Let the Right One In

 

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One of the freshest and most original takes on the Vampire genre couldn’t have come at a better time. A beautiful movie from head to toe, Let the Right One In is a very complex and deep film, one that can inspire many different thoughts and theories all wrapped up in what is a basic story about loneliness. Two completely different characters in similar places, but for entirely opposite reasons, you cannot help but feel for both Eli and especially Oscar. There is so much depth to each of these characters and their harrowing back stories that they are destined to come together, with each one needing something that can be found in the other. Let the Right One In shows what can be done in the horror genre, a genre that is often frowned upon. And that ending! But that’s for another time.     

5. The Two Towers

 

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Love the Lord of the Rings films, but by far the best one of the trilogy for me is, The Two Towers. Right from the hair-raising “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” opening and on through to the final battle for Helm's Deep, I was blown away, jaw dropped all the way to the floor when I saw this film. It is one of the most epic, grand and fucking awesome action/fantasy films ever made and the rollercoaster of emotions that are gone through when watching it are intense.

4. Oldboy

 

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Being able to take a revenge film and make something that is as beautiful, operatic, and thought provoking as Oldboy, is an amazing feat. It has a challenging story that left me thinking for days, rationalizing the decisions that Oh Dae-su made and thinking how wrong is it to do what he did for love? There is no other film that touches on such subject matter and as shocking as it may be, it is made to be almost understandable coming from his perspective. That takes balls. Chan-wook Park has a visual style all his own and one that is better than most every filmmaker working today. The use of colors, patterns, and camera angles come together in a way that can almost boggle the senses - throw in a song like The Last Waltz and you have a film that will forever be embedded into my personal cinema history as groundbreaking. 

3. Unbreakable

 

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Say what you will about M. Night, he can make an amazing film and has done so a few times now. With the exception of  The Happening, I pretty much love all that he has done, but Unbreakable is his masterpiece and one of my all time favorite films. First off, the realistic approach to comic book characters is done so well, it is to the point that you almost have no idea that you are essentially watching a comic book movie…if super heroes were real that is. The acting is top notch and that leads to what is the biggest strength of Unbreakable and that is it’s emotionally driven scenes. There are at least three scenes that choke me up every time I watch this one and the emotion is created in so many different ways. All of the scenes involving David and his son are enough to send chills right down my spine.

2. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

 

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Well, I just gushed over the man a few movies ago and here we go again. Many people give me a strange look, or a typed “really?!” when I say that I like Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance more than Oldboy, but I do and that has not always been the case either. Showing just how great Chan-wook Park is, Mr. Vengeance could not be any more different from Oldboy in almost every sense, outside of the revenge aspect that is. It is the definition of slow burn, and yet, it has more going on in it than you think and you don’t even realize it until a second, or even a third viewing. Everything about how this story is told is done in a (technically and narratively) slow moving and very quiet, natural way and it goes along so greatly with the deaf character of Ryu and how he is forced to communicate to the world around him. There is a lot of shit going on in this movie, yet, nothing is force fed to the viewer and we are left to understand what is happening, because it happens, not because someone told us. Park doesn’t treat his audience like children with no ability to think. I have sooooo much more to say about this film and once again, this is not the time, nor the place…so I need to move on.

1. Children of Men

 

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By far and without a doubt, the best movie of the decade in every way, shape and form. The story is very layered and deep, with extreme undertones that mirror modern society in so many ways that to get into it here would be a terrible idea and a very long one at that! It is made in a way that you are on an adventure with Theo and not once are you ever away from this character. Even when he is not the focus of a scene, he is just around the corner and his presence is very known to the viewer and so important to the story. There is much to be said about what the miracle baby represents and the impact and effect on everyone involved, whether it be positive, or negative, the baby represents something greater than flesh and blood and it brings out the worst in people, or the most heroic.

There are a few scenes in this film that are beyond astounding and the one in the car when the protagonists are attacked is so mind-blowing, but it is the end that really does it for me. The last 15-20 minutes of Children of Men is the most powerful, chaotic, frightening, hopeful, and beautiful 15-20 minutes in cinema history. Period. I so want to go on about this movie, but I will save my ramblings for a better time. The fact is, Children of Men is my favorite movie of all time, for the time being and unless something else better comes along, then it will remain that way.  

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Aaaand…done! I had some honorable mentions, but decided to scrap that idea at the last second. There are plenty of other movies that I loved and could have made this list, but to bump anything else off wasn’t going to happen. Once you hit a ceiling, you have to stop and I didn’t want to name movies just to name them…there are too many and it seems pointless. This is the list and I am very happy with it - these are all films I have and will watch many times and films that will give me something new with each viewing. I certainly want to hear your thoughts on my list and if there is anything you disagree with or think I missed, tell me all about it. Thanks for sticking this one out guys – see ya on the other side!

Monday, January 18, 2010

CNAMB Presents: The 25 Best Films of the Decade Part 1!

And here it is, one of the most difficult things to do as a film fan, put together a list of the best/my favorite films of the decade that has now past us – the 2000’s! Wha-WHAT!!! This shit was so hard at first, trying to decide what should go where and then I thought of a few other films I would love to have on this list, but couldn’t take anything off either. And heaven forbid I forget something and someone reminds me! I may have an aneurism!

Now, I was going to post all 25 in one shot, but my lady friend said that might be too much to ask of people to read in one sitting and I think she’s right. So this is 25-11 and tomorrow I will put up my top ten films of the decade!

Alrighty, nuff shit chat already, let’s get this party started!

25. No Country for Old Men

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The Cohen brothers came out with one of their best films period and showed they still have the chops to make movies like they did early on in their careers. This film partially brought the awesome Josh Brolin back into the limelight and even more so, gave us one of the greatest on screen villains of all time in the form of Anton Chigurh played brilliantly by then mostly unknown, Javier Bardem.

24. Slumdog Millionaire

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Danny Boyle is one of the best filmmakers working today and the variety of cinema that he has brought to us is quite impressive if you look at his solid career as a whole. He hits on all cylinders and touches on many different genre aspects with Slumdog Millionaire - A movie that mixed the horrors of violence, poverty, and street culture, with a story about childhood and love, and all done with an artistic visual style all its own.

23. The Departed

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That’s three best pictures in a row! Sure, it’s a remake, but it is a remake that is just fantastic and The Departed brought the cool back to American gangster films and even brought me back into Leonardo DiCaprio’s corner with his great performance. It’s a rollercoaster of a movie that goes at a hundred miles a minute and never lets down once – there is no lull and absolutely no downtime. It’s straight beat after beat and doesn’t stop to linger for even the slightest moment.

22. Equilibrium

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One of the best Sci Fi films in the last ten years, this highly under known film was completely overlooked due to The Matrix, but Equilibrium is a phenomenal movie that was nothing short of badass. Christian Bale has been one of my favorite actors for some time (though he is starting to stray) and that is mostly due to his amazing performance in this film. The action is so original with the Gun Kata and the emotion of the story was spot on and heavily influenced by the classic Fahrenheit 451…which is one of my favorite stories to begin with.

21. Pan’s Labyrinth

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Over the years, darkness and heavy subject matter have been traded for wallet emptying merchandising in what would be considered the fairytale. In fact, it really isn’t a genre that exists anymore and I think many a horror fan yearned for a dark, adult geared fantasy film and Pans Labyrinth is the movie that gave it to us. Guillermo Del Toro shows why he is a master as he guides the viewer through a modern day fairytale that isn’t afraid to be tough and dark.

20. REC

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No, there is not a lot of depth or anything of the sort in this Spanish zombie film, but what it lacks in thought provoking themes, it certainly makes up for with the horror factor. REC expertly uses the handheld vérité style and never feels forced, but very natural in how the filming is executed. You can’t quite make everything out at times and that makes you physically peek your head as if you might actually see something more than the camera is showing you. There were some very effective jump scares and the tension is so thick at times that you can’t help but jump. In the end, it is scary as shit and just a true horror flick in its purest form.

19. Kill Bill vol 1

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Kill Bill made a whole genre of film cool again and people can scream rip-off, I scream amazingly made homage to films that almost no one knew about beforehand. Great music, awesome fight scenes, and amazingly shot, Kill Bill is a movie that can mix over the top Japanese samurai cinema, with epic moments of honor and emotion. Kill Bill also has one of the best all time cliff hangers to boot.

18. Martyrs

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Here we go again, talking about Martyrs. It was number 2 on my best of ‘09 list and it makes my best of the decade list too. No film challenged viewers more than Martyrs and even if you aren’t into how things unfold in the movies third act, as I am, you cannot deny the perfection with how this film is crafted. This will be a film horror fans will be talking about in 30 years and I think it may be most comparable to what The Texas Chainsaw Massacre did to its audiences back when it released.

17. Donnie Darko

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Mixing science fiction with what could almost be a coming of age story, Donnie Darko captured a decade with a creative eye and injected a certain amount of realism to all its inhabitants. It is a film filled with tragic characters that would do nothing more than try and make a difference in someone else’s life through selfless acts. I was Head Over Heels for this film and the impact it had on me as a movie fan looking for something different is why it makes this list.

16. Inglourious Basterds

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And again, Tarantino has showed up on my list with a film I have talked about more than once. It was my favorite film of last year, so of course it is in my top 25 of the decade. “Wait for the cream!”

15. Shaun of the Dead

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One of the best comedies of the decade and even more so, one of the best horror comedies of all time. I think we all know that it’s not an easy thing to do, make a horror comedy that is. The balance is tough to work – keeping the funny, funny and the horror, scary enough. Shaun of the Dead brought something so fresh to the Zombie genre as well as horror in general and Nick Frost and Simon Pegg are one of the best on screen comedic duos ever!

14. American Psycho

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And here is another reason why Christian Bale is one of my favorite actors. He brought to life one of the most insane characters to ever grace the screen and I have no need to spew out the classic lines about shitty 80’s pop music – we all know them, we all know how gosh darn funny that shit was too as he waxed intellectual about music while waxing a couple of fine asses. The blackest of black comedies, American Psycho is a film that created a perfect mix of madness, humor, and is one of the most original horror films of the decade.

13. The Royal Tenenbaums

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Wes Anderson made magic with Rushmore, but that magic made was just a warm up for the masterful story telling of The Royal Tenenbaums. Amazing character development, beautiful color palate, brilliantly shot, this is a film that is completely hysterical at times, while being powerful in its emotional impact at others. One of the best ensemble casts ever put to screen with performances that were just plain wonderful from all involved.

12. A Bittersweet Life

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From one of the finest directors working today, Ji-woon Kim crafted a gangster film that is much more than meets the eye. With deep undertones of self inflicted loneliness and one characters search for the happiness and enjoyment that can be found in the intricacies that life has to offer, this is a film where silence speaks volumes. There are action scenes that are just superb and staggering in how they are shot with such originality and freshness. And the performance by Byung-hun Lee is movingly subtle and it is this role along with JSA that made him one of my favorite Korean actors.

11. 3-Iron

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I actually wrote a review back in November for this one and just haven’t posted it yet (I tend to do that), but this is a film that I saw very recently and it is one that made an incredible impact on me with its thought and heart. One of the most original, unconventional, and wonderful love stories ever made, Ki-duk Kim has an ability to go way outside the box and his metaphorical presence is an ability unlike very few filmmakers can achieve. 3-Iron is a movie that should be the blue print for how to make a film with depth and meaning. It shows you do not need to cater to stupid, just to tell a love story and actions speak more than a thousand words, while the smallest of touches result in the biggest of impacts.

That about does it for now ladies and germs, hope you found a few interesting picks among my list thus far and please let me know what you think. Otherwise, see ya tomorrow with 10-1!

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