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Sunday, July 31, 2011

CNAMB 'Turned' 2!

As I sat here reading an old review (that shall remain unnamed), twitching and nearly vomiting at how awful my grammar and sentence structure used to be, I suddenly came to the realization that my birthday should be just around the bend. Not MY birthday, mind you, but the birth of Chuck Norris Ate My Baby, the site that will end the deficit disputes, fix global warming and uncover the mystery of whether or not Jamie Lee Curtis is a bro. Naturally, I immediately checked, only to realize that it was indeed my birthday. Yesterday. Yep, late to my own birthday.

In any event, it was two years ago yesterday, July 30th, 2009 that I posted something that was really meant as nothing more than to simply get any sort of post up so I could get this sumbitch started. Thus, the birth of Chuck Norris Ate My Baby, and the start of a revolution that would change the way people think. Or not. At least one of those things is true.

If I had foreseen this incredible event before it had already passed by, I might have written some sappy fucking thing where I got all introspective and shit, so it's probably good that I forgot. In any event, I MUST say thank you to each and every person that has wasted their time reading anything that I have ever written. I am honored to have any sort of readership, and I hope I am able to generate some sort of emotion out of you all as a payment for spending time with me, my opinions, my bad jokes, and my obsession with writing about the things I love. I also want to thank anyone that has supported CNAMB in any way, shape or form, and that includes people that have supported me and my wife in ways that they already know about. You know who you are, so this song is dedicated to you and you and you! Oh yeah, and you too, I guess.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Exit 33: You Take the Exit, He Takes Your Life

Exit 33

All right, there is no way that I, being of sane mind and body, can jump right into a review for Exit 33 without first addressing that DVD cover art. While some may write off such a fine piece of computer created majesty as being cheap and utterly terrible, I personally find it to be infinitely incredible in every way, shape and form. Like, there is nothing that calls to me more than THAT fucking cover art. NOTHING! And look at Kane, all standing there to the side, pipe in hand, daring people to take Exit 33. I think every DVD release and theatrical poster should just have Kane on the side, handlebars all tearing it up, no matter what the film may be. I mean, there'd be a greater chance of me ever seeing a movie staring Ashton Kutcher if I saw "The Hod" straight chillin' in the cut on the side of the poster, just intimidating unsuspecting moviegoers left and right.

Directed by B-Movie auteur, Tommy Brunswick, Exit 33 is, as that cover art would suggest, a low-budget Slasher film staring 'horror legend' Kane Hodder. Instead of focusing solely on the young characters getting stalked and slashed, Exit 33 is mainly told through the eyes of Ike (Hodder), a psychotic gas station owner who gives choice costumers water instead of gasoline, thus causing them to break down and giving Ike the opportunity to bash their heads in with a pipe. Now, Ike is clearly a madman, but as the film's tagline would explain, he does have his reasons for being this way. Without spoiling anything, I'll just say that Ike is haunted by a mysterious one-eyed female spirit. This spirit, along with Ike's carefree son, seems to be the inspiration for who Ike chooses as his victims, all of whom consist of attractive females, naturally.

Exit 33Luckily for Ike, a group of mostly good looking ladies (and a few dudes. I know, gross) are driving separately to their five-year high school reunion, and the quickest way there is to take EXIT 33! Off Exit 33 lies Ike's Last Chance Gas, which, as one could most probably guess, is a gas station owned by Ike. Ike's Last Chance Gas is best known for Ike's totally human free dear jerky, but it's also known as the perfect place to go if you want to spend some time in Ike's slaughter house getting one of your eyeballs plucked out. And really, what gal doesn't want both of those things?

Exit 33 is a very cheap, direct to DVD Slasher film, and while it's completely cheesy and not at all original, the film is surprisingly much better than one would expect. Now, don't get me wrong, Exit 33 is not a good film, but it is actually decently made considering its budget and the type of movie that it is. It's rough around the edges and there are some crude moments technically, but I expected much worse going into this thing. Also, despite some pretty bad dialogue, the performances are okay enough, with the standout being from the big dawg himself, Kane Hodder. Hodder isn't given much to chew on as far as acting goes, which is too bad as he's surprisingly not too shabby in his ability. Regardless, his presence alone is enough to make him the clear strong point of the film for most fans, myself included.

Exit 33Unlike many B-Movies these days, Exit 33 doesn't attempt to be more than what it is. The film is certainly bargain bin and hokey, but it doesn't actually try to be either of those things. It never feels as if Brunswick was purposefully making a film that's so bad it's good as much as she was making a film that's as good and fun as can be considering the talent involved. Not that this all results in a masterpiece of modern horror, mind you, but I appreciate the attempt and the final result is more enjoyable than if it were to have been too forced.

So, before I wrap this sucker up, there are a few random observations I made that I feel I should share with you all, but I don't feel like trying to cram them into an awkward paragraph:

  • Girl tags a bathroom with a dry erase marker? Is that like the new, super ironic way in which the art of graffiti has gone? 
  • Making sex with your underwear on simply doesn't work, unless you are wearing you underwear on your head, that is.
  • Wiping your ass with a porn mag might be okay for you, but that shit would ruin my delicate ass worse than a stint in prison.
  • Never turn your back on some good jerky.
  • Holy ending

It's tough to give Exit 33 a full recommend, as it's not a film that everyone will enjoy. Hardcore Hodder fans should get a kick out of seeing the man behind the mask carry an entire movie on his shoulders, but I don't think your average horror fiend can truly appreciate the type of low rent film that Exit 33 is. On the other hand, if you are a connoisseur of a certain type cinema, the type of cinema that only a few dedicated (and maybe demented) fans can appreciate, then I think you could have a good time with Exit 33. I suppose the best way to summarize this one is, if you can appreciate that DVD cover art up there at the start of this review, then you can certainly appreciate Exit 33. If not, you might want to stick to the highway and take 34.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Shock Value: The (R)evolution of Horror

Shock Value

A major transitional period occurred within the horror genre during the 1970s. At the time horror was a genre considered no more than a joke, drive-in fodder for teens to make out to, critics to dismiss, and studios to scoff at. This was a time when thoughts of peace and love were slowly dwindling and being replaced by anger, unease and uncertainty due to the effects of the Vietnam War and a growingly unstable America. These feelings began to show up on screens thanks to a handful of directors that wanted to take the genre in a direction that horror directors before them hadn't, while scaring audiences in a way that they may not have been prepared for. Regardless, these unsuspecting audiences were instinctively hungry for such a change, and they embraced these films as clearly proven by the box-office receipts and cultural impact they had. 

The Last House on the Left 1972New York Times critic Jason Zinoman's book, Shock Value (The Penguin Press), is based off the idea that - while the likes of directors such as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Francis Ford Coppola were making a huge splash at the box-office and on critics - there were a handful of upcoming directors that took the horror genre and pushed it to the next level. Auteurs from John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Roman Polanski, Brian De Palma, and many others started a wave of what Zinoman describes as New Horror. 

 

Zinoman intricately looks at how this New Horror replaced Old Horror and he does so by focusing on the directors and films directly responsible for such an impactful change in the genre. Shock Value is based on the shift that horror took from creature features and monster mash-ups - that people didn't take seriously anymore in a growingly jaded society – to tales of serial killers without a motive and unexplained occurrences that brought about an ambiguity as to the root of evil, which threw audiences into a frenzy and forever changed the landscape of the genre and how it was perceived. 

john carpenterZinoman ducks and dives into a flurry of narrative that nicely shifts from director to director, bouncing back and forth between each one, connecting them through their influences, their rebellious natures and how their upbringing and lives affected the movies they made, as well as the people around them. Where Shock Value is strongest is in the intriguing information covering the background of these directors and how their films came to be. I often found myself mesmerized by a slew of captivating facts and riveting stories involving directors and films that I love. The overprotective and religious upbringing of Wes Craven; William Castle being bounced from the directors chair in favor of a modern, respectable director in Roman Polanski (the passing of the torch from Old-to-New Horror, as Zinoman describes it); the rift between director John Carpenter and screenwriter Dan O'Bannon after they made Dark Star, and a slew of other vastly interesting stories and accounts that truly make Shock Value a worthy read.

Carrie spanish posterThe detail in which Zinoman goes and the way he weaves much of it together is quite impressive and one of the best aspects of Shock Value. With that said, there are portions of the book that are slightly tedious and overly analytical to the point where there are moments where my mind began to wander a tad. In addition, while Zinoman is clearly a respectable, true fan of the genre, I think that sometimes the horror of the past (pre-70s) is somewhat dismissed as mostly being made up of cheap, hokey B-Movies. But it is clear that he is showing a true affection for the films of the era covered in this book, the films that make up the golden age of modern horror. So it's possible that he is more or less just fully championing this era that he clearly loves, thus pumping it up slightly by taking the piss out of the cinema that came before it.

Where Shock Value focuses on the golden age of New Horror from the '70s, to me, it almost begs to ask the question of where the next wave of such influential horror is to come from. While I think Jason Zinoman is looking at things specifically from a theatrical standpoint - which is where all of the films he discuses made their incredible impact on culture, society, genre fans, and filmmakers for many years to follow - I think that holding leatherfaceones breath waiting for such a cinematic trend to ever reoccur on such a level is not conducive to a long life. If you were to take this notion of New Horror and applied those attributes to our modern cinema, many of these films simply wouldn't make it to the big screen. Instead, they would be relegated to no more than a short theatrical release, festival runs and eventually land straight onto DVD where the New-New Horror now resides.

The next level is upon us; the new golden age comes from films that will make their impact on those that seek them out, just not on the ones that would go to the cinema to see any old thing. They have mostly been factored out of the equation, thus making it difficult to ever have the impact of a Texas Chainsaw Massacre again. Films like Let the Right One In, Martyrs, Audition, and any number of challenging films that come along now would simply get lost in the shuffle, if they were to even have the chance to ever see the light of theatrical day, that is (though there are a few that do break through, thankfully). Hollywood takes very little in terms of risks, this we all know, so I cannot imagine that we will ever be so lucky to have an era cinematically as great as the '70s, but at least we can enjoy them in the next best way: in our living rooms with a bowl of reasonably priced popcorn and 40oz of Old English.  


You can nab yourself a copy of this here fine book over at Amazon for a very reasonable price, and if you want to read more about Shock Value as well as the author, Jason Zinoman, you can stop by the TLC Book Tour page.    

Friday, July 22, 2011

Great Moments in CGI: Sleep Center of the Southwest

Worst part about this sobering advertisement is the fact that the driver of the vehicle, Michael Paul Castleberry, was on his way to the Sleep Center of the Southwest for his first session with John D. Bray, M.D.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Insidious: More Like In-shitty-ous

insidious

I knew nothing of James Wan's Insidious up until I started to actually see trailers for it on television. I can't say that it completely grabbed my attention right away, but I did wonder what this film was that flew so stealthily under my radar up until that point. It looked as if it could be promising, but I paid little attention until mostly positive reviews started to roll in from fellow bloggers and other such reviewers. That, and how the film had a strong and long stay at the box office, making it one of the most profitable films of the year (and in comparison to its budget, a relative success) certainly got me very interested in seeing what was being described as a solid, spooky haunted house tale.

When the DVD saw release this passed Tuesday, I was pumped to finally have the chance to catch the biggest horror movie of the year, thus far, and I even made it my GBtMC DVD pick of the week. Sweet, right? Well, maybe not so much.  

insidious4

This has been a big film for people within the horror community, so I would assume that most of you that haven't already seen it have a good idea what it's about. However, this review is better suited for those that have indeed seen Insidious; with that being the case, I'd rather not waste keystrokes on a plot and just get right into the shit.

Right off the bat I was a little concerned about the film's dialogue and some sketchy performances, specifically that of Dalton as played by Ty Simpkins. The kid sucked, plain and simple, and that is always a bad thing with any movie that has a child as its focus. Luckily, that bad performance goes into a coma, so I didn't have to deal with him too much after the first twenty some odd minutes. However, Leigh Whannell's weak and hokey sounding dialogue rears its ugly head enough times to cause multiple groans from this one man audience, and I couldn't help but feel sympathy for the actors that had to deliver some of these lines. And unlike Dalton, the dialogue never goes into any sort of coma, no matter how hard I wished it would.

insidious5

Now, before I move onto my other problems, now would be a great time to praise the film for what it does right, though, this will certainly work as a great segue into other issues I have. One thing that many had claimed about Insidious is that it is a genuinely creepy haunted house film, and that is, in fact, where it does work best. Wan uses a great mixture of music (at first) and film to disorient the audience effectively in a few early, key scenes, and this was a nice and welcome surprise coming from the man that directed Saw. Unfortunately, this leads into one of my biggest issues with Wan's direction in Insidious, and that is his lack of restraint.

Wan has no clue how to pull his punches, and there are some standout and very terrifying moments in Insidious that are slightly tarnished by taking the viewer one-step too far and into a place that's basically silly. For instance, there are two (of the film's better) scenes in particular where a little too much is shown "spirit" wise. One of the scenes is when Renai (Rose Byrne) is seeing someone walking back and forth outside of her window at an alarming rate. The person is going faster and faster when suddenly they appear inside of the house, which is a shit worthy moment until a second later when the apparition is revealed to be this weird, longhaired European guy who growls and attacks Renai before disappearing. Guess what? Leather jacket clad European dudes aren't scary unless you're bombed and at a club in Prague or in a Hostel film. 

insidious2

The other scene also involves Renai (who spells their name like that? And please don't say your mom. in that case, I'm kidding), and this is when she is in the new house alone, and that little creepy dude drops a beat and starts dancing like the dancing queen he was always meant to be. Now, this moment is a bit out there, but it was still pretty chilling in its oddness. However…Wan WANce again (ha!) goes too far when he has Renai look into a cabinet, only to have the little guy pop out and run away while giggling, and it's at this point that the tension of the scene is lost and I began to smile in disbelief. 

Things don't get much better when it comes to the main villain (?) of Insidious, the fire creature that haunts Dalton in the further (yeah, we'll get to the further soon enough). I actually thought the Darth Maul-esque monster was somewhat cool looking at first, but that was until I got a good look at his forked tongue and stomping hooved feet in the film's horrible climax. By this point, all I could think was really?

Everything about Insidious simply piles on waaay more than the audience needs to see, and far more than what is necessary to make a successful scary film. Too much is shown and way too much is explained, and it's all done with a drop of shitty dialogue mixed in for good measure. 

Key moment of bad dialogue meets way too much explanation: "I call it the further" Really. You call it the further, huh? Hey, since you gave it a name, why don't you go ahead and explain it to us? Oh, you will? I was kidding. Damn. 

insidious3Now, was any of that necessary? I mean, even if you blew your load over Insidious, can you really find any reason as to why any of that needed to be explained, let alone giving it a name such as the further?! I need to understand WHY!! In addition, it should be said that those whacky ghost hunters were a great way to break up the horror. When they showed up on screen, it really felt as if I was suddenly watching a scene from The Happening, and we all know how awesome that movie was.

I have one last order of business to attend to before I finish up here, and this is exactly where both Whannell's bad dialogue and the Wan's lack of restraint come together to fully fill up the toilet bowl in a way that only they, as a team, can. This is a small moment, but in many ways, this moment perfectly sums up the ridiculousness of Insidious for me.

*SPOLIERS*

There is one key moment of awfulness involving Josh (Patrick Wilson) and that European longhaired guy as they are fighting to the death (or whatever) in THE FURTHER! Josh, being afraid and in THE FURTHER, is getting his ass kicked, however, thanks to some coaching and inspiration that explains to him that he is strong enough to beat the European dude, he summons the power of Gayskull and effeminately pushes the European guy away while yelping: "Get away from me!" I could not believe my eyes and ears. This moment was so laughable I thought I lived in an alternate universe where bad was good, up was down and my farts smelled nice. It has the same impact as one of those rape protection self defense videos that teach women to protect themselves by fighting back using assertive verbal skills as they punch their trainer in the cock.

           

And yet, this chick has way more balls than Josh does

I could go on and on and on and on about how troubled Insidious is. From the horrendous final act to the even worse ending, Insidious had so much potential to be a great, frightening horror film, but instead it turns out to be a yet another disappointment from the guys that have led me down this path more than once before. Despite showing some incredible diversity in style (the film looks quite incredible overall) and being able to genuinely create some truly eerie moments, team Wan and Whannell have once again duped me into believing they might have made a great horror movie. However, maybe it's not so much their fault as it seems as if many fans really enjoyed this film. Maybe it's me; maybe I'm the one that's wrong here…

Nah. 

 

(You can rent Insidious as well as over 70,000 other titles at www.lovefilm.com)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

$2 Dollars Saved. Thanks Netflix!

netflix
I knew this email was on its way after reading about all of this nonsense online, so I was already pretty furious of such inevitable news from Netflix. I like having the one DVD sent to me, as that one DVD is what fills the void that Netflix's streaming service has in their library. But if you want to charge me an extra six bills a month to do so, then how about I save that money and rent the two or three new films I rent from the Redbox and still have a few beans left over to buy a taco and a delicious fountain drink?

I understand the fact that Netflix isn't quite making the profits they would like with the streaming/DVD bundle package, but to go and make such a bold price change is simply ridiculous. And sure, some of this money could be used towards investing into more content and a better service at some point, but the point is, this pisses people off and could very easily force many to jump ship entirely from the service. Especially with options such as Redbox and Hulu Plus being out there, with Hulu Plus being just as available as Netflix instant is.

Personally, I see a major benefit from the streaming service over the mailed-in DVDs, so that is where I will be going as of September 1st, and I assume many others will be sure to follow. If that's the case, Netflix not only loses a handful of subscribers, they will also be losing $2 of income from each and every person that drops the DVD plan altogether. That collectively could be a huge loss for the company, unless the ones that decide to keep both services can carry the rest. Either way, I will be losing something, sure, but I will also be saving $2 dollars a month, which is nice. Maybe I'll go to Bermuda.
 

Totally Tubular Trailers

In between Kenpo practice, meditation and these sick free form basket-weaving classes I've been taking, I've found a dash of time to cook up a batch of trailers that I consider to be totally tubular, brah. Hopefully you agree, but the only way to find that out is for me to shut up and let you get to watching them for yourself!

sector 7
Staring things off is the trailer for the South Korean monster flick, Sector 7. Directed by Kim Ji-hoon, Sector 7 is your typical man VS monster flick, focusing on a crew trapped on an oilrig with a creature whose only desire is to eat their asses. Well, probably not just their asses; I'm sure it will eat their faces, too. Either way, South Korea's been steadily releasing giant monster movies over the passed few years, and doing so with reasonable success, and Sector 7 looks to be yet another entertaining entry into genre.

Check out the trailer, and see if you can guess how the movie is going to end. 


 

assassination games

Previously known as Weapon, the recently retitled Assassination Games stars Jean-Claude Van Damme and Scott Adkins as rival assassins that, get ready for it…join forces so they can take down a drug cartel. Okay, let me just repeat that: JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME AND SCOTT ADKINS ARE RIVAL ASSASSINS THAT JOIN FORCES SO THEY CAN TAKE DOWN A DRUG CARTEL!!

'Nuff. Fucking. Said.


 

urban explorer

Next up we're taking an underground trip with Andy Fetscher's Urban Explorer, a German Slasher film that sends a group of explorers on an underground search for a walled up Fahrerbunker filled with forbidden Nazi graffiti. Naturally, some bad stuff happens, and people will more than likely start getting killed at some point. Or at least that's what we all hope, right?! One foreign review I read for the film called it Wolf Creek meets The Decent, which is really quite the praise if that comparison is reflective of quality as much as it is aesthetic. Outside of being a tad too hyper for my taste, I dig the trailer, specifically the style in which the titles look. Not that they at all reflect the film, but I dig the artistic flair.


 

5 days of war

Last preview of the day is 5 Days of War, which comes to us from the great Renny Harlin. Okay, maybe great isn't the best adjective that could be summed up for Harlin, but fuck it, I dig most of his work for being simple, fun and action packed, and 5 Days doesn't look to disappoint in any of those departments.

The film is about an American journalist and his crew who are caught in the crossfire of a raging war between Russia and Georgia (a country VS a state seems kinda unfair, no?).  I really like this trailer and think 5 Days looks quite promising, though, being a huge Val Kilmer in his peak fan, seeing him so bloated always kind of freaks me out (he must be on his period. Forever.). Luckily for me, Emmanuelle Chiriquí should keep my eyes busy enough not to notice Val's ever expanding dome piece.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

'Zero' People Came to My 'Bloody Birthday' Party

What's up, man. I see you decided to stop by this fine and often magical place known as Chuck Norris Ate My Baby. That's very nice of you, and I fully support your browsing of this here scene, in fact, I encourage the shit out of it. However, I have to ask you a real big favor. No! I don't want you to hide drugs in your girl's bra, again! Geez…that was one time two months ago, and she only had to spend one night in jail. Don't worry, this is way easier than shoving an eight ball down an A-cup.

bloody birthday5

Okay, first I'm gonna need you to give me a quick ride to Dalton McBeal's house so I can grab that cash he owes me. Then we'll head over to Wal-Mart so I can pick up a 'Bloody Birthday' cake for my little brother's birthday party that's being thrown over at someplace called PARACINEMA. I think it's near the Y. Gas money? Man, you know I got no cash to spare! This is a recession! I have just enough for a pack of smokes and a ten bag. How about I smoke you up instead?   


 

zeroposter

Thanks for the lift, bro. I appreciate it and all, but you think you could do me a solid and swing me by Darius' crib real quick so I can pick up that cash he owes me? Thanks, man. I always knew you were my boy. Hey, you think I can use your phone to give him a quick call first? I have 'ZERO' minutes left of my cell, and I gotta make sure he's home and not over at that STRANGE KIDS CLUB picking up STDs again. Thanks, man. Hey, you got an extra smoke by any chance?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dear Young Women of America,

Mr. T (and your parents rearview mirror) called, and he want's his style back.

mr t

A bunch of fools that are in dire need of pitying.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Dumpster Diving for Gold III: The Quickening

The DVD dumpster gods have been kind to me as of late, which only gives me the opportunity to make yet another video where I shall successfully make an ass out of myself while telling you what I got. Enjoy.

Post video thoughts:

I neglected to mention that I spent a grand total of $16.85 on this batch of bad-ass.

Did I unwittingly sing an 'NSYNC song?

I'm straight killing that maroon V-Neck like it's no one's business.

Thankfully there was never an H.P. Lovecraft dildo made. But if there were, would it be called H.P.'s LoveCraft?

Boughten? Really?!

I put my cell on vibrate, yet, I neglected to ignore it?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Great Moments in CGI: Mega Piranha

"And one and two and three and four…Kicking Mega Piranha sure does make for one heck on an abdominal workout! One look at these results, and you'll want to order the Mega Piranha VS Super Abs workout video today!"

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