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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Holiday in Handcuffs (2007): Sleighed by the Bell

Holiday in Handcuffs 2007

I can only imagine that there are less than a few of my readers who would actually watch a movie like 2007's Holiday in Handcuffs. An ABC Family Christmas movie staring Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez does not make up the type of cinema of those who normally frequent Chuck Norris Ate My Baby, but I do know there are a select few out there whose love for bad cinema isn't solely relegated to horror and action films. There is a certain level of bad taste that one must possess to get on board and actually watch a movie like Holiday in Handcuffs, and I think the entertainment value comes from how silly and utterly ridiculous mainstream, feel-good movies can be. Like, in a way, when you laugh at a film such as this, to the point of enjoyment, it's almost as if you're laughing at what normal people actually find entertaining. It's like laughing at country music in front of people who like it.

Holiday in Handcuffs 2007 (4)Written by Sara Endsley and Directed by Ron "Tremors" Underwood, Holiday in Handcuffs follows the tale of an artist named Trudie (Melissa Joan Shart) whose Christmas is not going as holly and jolly as she'd like. From a botched job interview to Mr. Perfect dumping her the day before he is supposed to meet her equally perfect parents on Christmas Eve, Trudie, being the outcast of the family (aka the artist), is fearful of the prospect of once again being looked at as the family loser. But ya know, she is, so she really should just roll with the punches at this point.

Anyway, in an act of desperation, Trudie uses this antique gun displayed at her restaurant job and takes a random guy hostage with the thought that she can force him to act as her Mr. Perfect and keep her parents off her back. And guess who her Mr. Perfect replacement is? No, not Danny Trejo… it's Mario Lopez, of course. However, I think we all know the real Mr. Perfect is Zach Morris, but I guess his salary wasn't in the budget. Conquering Kelly Kapowski demands the big bucks. 

Holiday in Handcuffs 2007 (2)

So there you have it, Trudie takes Lopez hostage, forces him to act as her beau and completely believable hijinks ensue. From convincing her parents that David has a social quirk that causes him to act as if he's been kidnapped, to an impossible chance where love is so blind that it transcends being taken hostage at gunpoint.

This being an ABC Family Christmas movie staring Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez, Holiday in Handcuffs is mildly entertaining at best and can only be relegated to those who like televised parades and minivans. Or someone like me, but I digress. Much of the fun I have watching a film like HIH (that's short for Holiday in Handcuffs) is predicting every little thing that will happen before the film even begins, only to be right almost every time. However, I also had a blast watching Joan Hart, or Hart, or whatever, constantly make these faces as if she just shot up some incredible black tar heroin. Like, I thought I was watching Intervention: The Movie for a second.

Holiday in Handcuffs 2007 (5)Something else I found to be pickle tickle worthy is witnessing Mario Lopez trying is damnedest not to be A.C. Slater. I mean, this guy is only three preppies, a momma and a backwards chair away from being full-on Slater. The guy cannot fight it, no matter how much relaxer he puts in his hair. 

Since I already feel like I'm running out of shit to say about this film, I suppose I can take a minute to mention the rest of the cast, which is surprisingly pretty solid. The ever lovely Markie Post plays Trudie's mom; Tim Bottoms shaves his BUSH to play her dad, while June Lockhart does her best "I'm a sassy but kind of unaware about it in a way that is simply hysterical" performance as Trudie's grandma. Oh, and mom, dad and grandma are their character names, just so you know.

Besides mentioning the cast outside of team Lopez/Hart, or Joan Hart, or whatever, and the fact that the cabin setting is off the hook dope, there's not much else I can drudge out of myself to say about this one. Depending on your specific tastes in cinema, there is a good chance that you may find Holiday in Handcuffs to be the feel good movie of 2007. Too bad it's 2011.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

CNAMB Presents: Presents!

What Death-cember would be complete without a post where I show-off the Christmas goods that I received, while completely ignoring the true meaning of the holiday in a completely selfish and childish way? So here we are, only a few days after Christmas, and - despite the fact that there was not even one flake of snow to be found and the sun was shinning strong like my chest after an intense aerobics class - it was quite the wonderful Christmas celebration indeed. Of course, the fact that the overall holiday was very satisfying and fun on all fronts, the main factor for success is certainly do to all the awesome gifts I got! How selfish?!   

For this holiday season's edition of Presents, I went and saved myself the headache of having to spend an hour and a half typing, instead opting for the much elongated six hour headache of trying to make a video post with a shitty phone camera and cumbersome editing software. Soon enough I'll be able to use my actual video camera (it's a long story), and poorly synched videos littered with horrendous image quality will be a thing of the past.

Anyway, why am I typing when I already did the video? Go ahead… press play, enjoy and be sure to share the awesome gifts you received in the comments section!

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Great Gift Ideas For: Robocop

Santa and Robocop

Christmas shopping can be quite the task for many of us, especially when it comes to picking out the perfect gifts for those who we love and care about the most. While it's tough searching out the perfect holiday gift for your aunt Janice, whose main interests are cat hair and cigarette butts, no one is more difficult to shop for than your local Robocop. I mean, what exactly are his hobbies? What is Robocop passionate about? What is it exactly that you could purchase that would force Murphy's gun to pop out of his leg with a joyful glee? Well, I went ahead and came up with a few great gift ideas that you can use while out making moves for the Robocop in your life.        

  • A new chick - Seeing as Murphy spends much of his time moping about, daydreaming of a past relationship that is long gone, a great gift idea for him would be a gift card to match.com. I mean, who wants a bummed out Robocop around? Not me, and the only way to get his mind off that old dime piece of his is to get his oil squirting again.
  • A hat - Because Robo's head is wicked off-putting, and it doesn't take much to cover that thing up. I understand he is going for the whole "I'm still a human being with emotions and feelings" look, but when it comes down to it, your head is a total gross-out, bro.    
  • A bottle of stainless steel cleaner and polish - Working the streets of Detroit can take one heck of a toll on a stainless steel bod. And using a stainless steel cleaning/polishing product will not only clean Robocop right proper, it will also give him that freshly brought to life look he had when he first opened his eyes and focused on that pen.  
  • A pair of middle fingerless gloves - In the event that he must extract important information, or just flip someone the metallic bird, a pair of middle fingerless gloves would be a nice way to keep Murph's hands warm without cramping his style.
  • Christmas shoes - Something that has always plagued Robocop is the fact that every year when he shows up to church for Christmas mass, there is never a time where he isn't totally embarrassed by the incredible sounds his steel boots make as he strolls into god's amphitheater. A nice new pair of Christmas Shoes, tailor made to fit his specific arches, is the perfect gift to help Murphy with this problem, while also giving him a true sense of style and pizazz. Of course, no pair of Christmas Shoes would be complete without a copy of NewSong's classic Christmas shoe song, The Christmas Shoes. Suddenly, Robo's got a whole new attitude when he's walking down the aisle, ready to take that communion without any fear of standing out in front of the rest of the churchgoers.

Hopefully some of these gift ideas help inspire you to bring joy to the Robocop in your life, while also bringing joy to the world, because a happy Robocop is a hard working Robocop, right?! ED 209 best watch his non-Christian ass.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

All I Want For Christmas…

…is for The Raid to get its bad ass out and into a theater where I can see it, stat!

Also, how about Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive on DVD/BD for crying out loud? In this day in age, a four month wait for a home video release is like an eternity, especially for a film of this caliber!

Drive 2011

Lastly, I would absolutely love it if Garry Marshall stopped making movies.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Elves (1989): More Camels than Elves

Elves 1989 Poster

Written and directed with at least ten pounds of acid in his system, Jeffrey Mandel's Elves (1989) is a holiday horror film that goes well beyond your typical B-Movie and into a realm where nonsense makes perfect sense.

Elves is a Christmas set monster movie about an "elf" that is released from its three inch grave when a 28-year-old teenager named Kristen and her two friends (collectively dubbed the 'Sisters of Anti-Christmas'?!) partake in some cockamamie séance in the middle of the forbidden woods using her grandfather's forbidden book of magic. Or something along those longwinded lines. Anyway, releasing an elf that, in all likelihood, will go on a B.A. rampage of death and destruction is the least of Kristen's problems.

First of all, Kristen (Julie Austin) has this shitty waitressing job at the mall, where her boss is a complete dick and the mall Santa asks her for a bit of oral just before he's mysteriously murdered by the titular (and singular) creature. So, yeah, work sucks for Kristen. Things don't get much better when it comes to her home life, either. Kristen's little brother is a perv who likes to peep on his sister's "big fucking tits," as he so eloquently (and wonderfully) puts it. Her mom, well, her moms (played by Deanna Lund) is a total full-on bitch in a way that one can only find in a film from the '80s. However, very few bitch mothers were ever so asshole-ish enough to punish their daughters for going out into the woods by taking away all the money in their savings account.

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Empty bank accounts and booby obsessed brothers be damned, for they are minute issues in the big scheme of things as Kristen's biggest problem is her very own grandpa. *Spoilers ahead!* A man who is planted firmly in a wheelchair and ever so profusely gargling out the worst and most inconsistent German accent I have ever heard, Kristen's grandfather (Borah Silver) is not only a bad grandfather, he is a bad father, too. That's right, Kristen's grandpa is also her father, but grandpa's moral compass isn't so much defined by his incestuous ways as he did have his reasons for banging his daughter, and that was so Kristen could be born. You see, grandpa is a Nazi who, with his bestest Nazi friends, were planning to use Kristen's womb as a grow room for the master race. To achieve these results, at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, Kristen must be impregnated, through penetration, by the elf.

You still with me here?   

Unlike its "inspiration," Gremlins, which totally delivered on its plural title and, unfortunately, had very little in terms of Nazi incest and monster boning, Elves is somewhat lackluster when it comes to monster-induced terror. The elf itself (isn't a rapper, like myself!) is a complete and total joke, which is fine, mind you, because jokes make me laugh, and I did a lot of that throughout my time spent with Elves.

Elves 1989 2

The creature, in all its one facial expression, foam rubber glory, is super fun time awesome, but there are so many other things about Elves that really make it stand out as a true leader of the (shit) splat. One thing that immediately makes me smile in my mental Elves retrospect is the dialogue. With that said, I shall provide a few lines of said dialogue to entertain you with:

Kirsten's Mom: "You look terrible."

Kirsten: "Yeah, well, I had a rough day at work... Santa got murdered."

*

Some chick's off the cuff poem: "Life is long and life is hard, Kevin's is thick and Dave's is a yard!"

*

Kristen's pervert brother: "Is everything all right?"

Kirsten: "No, Willy. Gramps is a Nazi."

Now, while this magical dialogue is, well, quite magical, some of the best verbal wordplay belongs to the real star of Elves. A man who rains pure gold from his very being; a man who pours out of his celluloid confines and forces his way right into all of our hearts; a man known simply as Dan "The Dragon" Haggerty.

Instead of typing up Hag's brilliant dialogue, word-for-word, I nabbed this YouTube clip and set the code to start at the correct scene, just so you could hear it for yourself, right proper. Trust me when I say it's incredible.

Up until this point, there is no sort of reference to Hags ever being a detective, so this here is a straight up, talking to yourself while in a Santa suit, expositional scene.

Anyway, Haggerty owns the shit out of Elves; when he graces the screen, it is with the poise and the presence of a lion. It's as if the world simply stops to watch him run around, straight tearing shit up in his grey sweater, sleeves loosely rolled up with a continuous trail of Camel brand cigarette smoke following closely behind his flowing golden mane. And really, while talking about Haggerty in this movie (who's character's name is, 'Who Cares'), I have to go over his smoking for a second, because the amount of butts this cat puts down is the stuff cancerous legends are made of.

Elves 1989 3

There is not a moment where Hags isn't seen with a fucking Camel tucked in-between his grotesquely yellowed fingers. Early on in the film, when Hags discovers a dead body and a shootout pops off at the mall, the dude is running around the place, all stealth like and raptorial, but the entire time he's smoking a butt! He even takes the time to finish off the last few drags before he leaps into action, and when I say finish off, I'm talking down to the filter. And if that's not enough, there is a car chase where the camera randomly cuts to the inside of his vehicle as he's driving, and there was a point where I swear he was pushing in the car cigarette lighter. Ten seconds later, while still in the midst of a serious car chase, the camera cuts back to a from behind shot of Haggerty and he is actually lighting up a smoke!

Unless you go the grey market or illegal download route, Elves isn't the easiest film to obtain, but it can be watched on You Tube in parts (which is where the above video is taken from). It's unfortunate that it's not available on Netflix instant (or how about DVD?!), as they often will put up a few rare and hard to find titles for streaming, but alas, no such luck as of yet. Regardless, if you find yourself entertained by the worst of the worst, then I cannot encourage you enough to seek out an evening spent with Elves. Because, quite honestly, nothing says Christmas like incest, Nazis and a heavy dose of the Turkish blend.     

Thursday, December 8, 2011

All God's Creatures: Love Heals All (Stab) Wounds

all god's creatures

When a person is damaged, in one way or another, sometimes the only solace they can find is by partaking in things that might not be reasonable within the bounds of normal human standards and practices. Some resort to drugs and alcohol to feel complete. Others may find that the only way to feel as if they are in control is through domestic abuse or even by partaking in some form of abnormal sexual deviancy. Then there are the select few that can only fulfill their emptiness in the most taboo of ways, by taking the lives of innocent people.

The latter is where Jon falls. Jon is not what you would call a very big fan of women. Well, at least not a big fan of women of the night, that is. You see, Jon spends much of his spare time away from his coffee shop job picking up hookers. But instead of letting them rock his world, he rocks theirs, by taking their world and ending it. While his reasoning for this awful habit is never made clear, Jon often spews out the phrase "filthy whores" (amongst a handful of other descriptives that most women do not enjoy being referred to as) as he ends the lives of these poor women. Therefore, it seems that at some point in his life, Jon was wronged or seriously hurt by a female that was important to him, thus creating an intense hatred for women and, more specifically, prostitutes.

all god's creatures4

Jon finds his happiness, his solace, in ending the lives of women that represent something very personal and possibly even painful to him. Something that is so deeply seeded that there is nothing that could keep him from continuing his nightly slayings. Nothing except maybe a woman. The right woman.    

In walks Delia, an extremely attractive woman who has a certain swagger and charm that Jon has never encountered before. From the second she walks into Jon's coffee shop, Delia steals all of his attention, almost shining a ray of feminine hope that Jon has not seen in a longtime, if ever. Jon witnesses a woman that is unlike any other, unlike any of those filthy whores he is forced to slay on the regular. Delia sees a man in Jon who is genuine, sweet and someone who breaks the mold of what she knows about men, specifically the men who have been in her life. Of course, Delia knows nothing of Jon's murderous hobby, but Delia also has a few secrets of her own.

Much like Jon, Delia carries more baggage than an airplane (yeah, of all jokes I went with that one!). She too is a lost soul of sorts and has many issues to deal with. Like Jon, Delia is damaged, broken from many years of abuse. Delia is in a place where she will do anything to set her life, and the life of one very important family member, on the right track. However, getting there is a difficult road, and the only way she can see to create the right life for herself is to resort to selling her body.

all god's creatures6

Delia needs to find solace for herself as well as for her younger sister, and the only way she believes she can go about it is by prostituting herself out. However, it goes much deeper than that for Delia as she is a woman (well, more than likely a girl at the time) who was sexually abused by a man. Her solace may come in the form of her domination over her clients, the men she sleeps with for money. She is using them to get what she wants and bosses them around as she sees fit. She is in control, and uses this sense of dominance to fill the emptiness left gaping from a haunted past.

Two different people with two very different ways of coping, coming together and finding solace in one another. But can that solace be broken when one potential partner is a serial killer who enjoys murdering prostitutes while the other is just that, a prostitute?  

all god's creatures3

Directed by Ryan Cummings and Frank Licata and shot in 16 days on a budget just under $20K, All God's Creatures has this certain level of charm about it, and much of that can fall on the well-written lead characters and the actors that portray them. Both Jessica Kaye (who plays Delia) and Josh Folan (who plays Jon and also co-wrote the film with Billy Fox) put out some great performances in this extra low-budget film. Folan is convincingly intense and intimidating as Josh, while Kaye has this indescribable presence about her that I find difficult to pinpoint. Her performance is quite refreshing, and she has this certain thing about her that is completely and utterly charming. She fully embodies the character of Delia, which is very important in a film where a serial killer is swooned by someone he would normally look at as a potential victim.

Despite the film's financial shortcomings, All God's Creatures is a nicely made independent thriller, though, there are a few questionable technical decisions. This would be specific to the handful of strangely handled montages that play throughout the film. The way they are shot and the odd, pop-infused music choices seemed to be quite off kilter from what the movie is going for and is slightly reminiscent of Canadian made, teen focused Lifetime movies. A traditional score or maybe something a little more simplistic with a slight edge would have worked better for certain moments. However, I do believe these montages and the music choices were meant to play more towards the sweet, romantic angle of the film, but they just seemed to be distracting from what is the heart and strength of the movie.

all god's creatures2

Regardless of those few minor tonal and technical fumbles, All God's Creatures is hinged on the characters, the performances and the idea that there is always someone out there that can help fill those empty voids in our lives. The viewer is put in a position to care and root for both Jon and Delia's relationship, despite their respective dysfunctions, and the fact that the movie is successful in generating sympathy, as well as a desire to see them succeed, says a lot about the success of the film as a whole.

If you fancy a date with a serial killer or, better yet, a nice looking hooker, then you can nab yourself a copy of All God's Creatures by clicking here and going to the official website.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Death-cember Has Begun (like, five days ago)!

christmas1

Oh, hey, this blog.

Posting has been more than scarce around these here parts as of late, and while CNAMB fatigue played a small role in things early on, it's now more or less become an issue of time. Not Time magazine, but time as in the thing that you can travel through if you own a car created by a cocaine dealer in the '80s.

Anyway, factors for not having much time are my extensive training in the Martial Arts, raising black bear (does that need an S for plural?), working on my own brand of four-ply toilet paper, and, of course, a whole lot of time spent at work. Guess which one of those sucks the most? So yeah, I've been wicked busy with work, but I've also been totes busy writing about other stuff on another site that is not at all film related, but it's a paying gig that brings in that extra cash for doing something I like to do, even if it is not film related.

With that out of the way, I cannot let another day pass without at least mentioning the fact that it is Death-cember, the month where I focus my reviews and other such nonsense on movies set in the winter/snow/ice/cold and/or the holidays. Clearly my lack of posting has shown how prepared I am for such a joyous occasion, however, I am working on a few things that are sure to stuff your stockings in a way that only I am able to do. You can look at this Death-cember as the year mom and I are too broke to afford all the gifts you wanted (because it went up our nose, just like your tuition), but it's the thought that counts, and the love we share is what matters the most. YAY! Christmas is the best when you have love! 

Need some Death-cember in your life? Click on that Creepy golden Santa to the right and read away, while also enjoying posts that aren't formatted properly anymore!

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