Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Cinema File #99: "The Last Stand" Review

Not being a resident of California where he just spent the last decade fucking up the local economy like it was his live in housemaid, I still have the luxury of loving the crap out of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Doesn't matter if he's fighting robots, clones, terrorists, or even the Devil himself, if Arnie's in it, I'm there. Hell, I even liked The Last Action Hero, F. Murray Abraham and all. Coincidentally, his latest film is shaping up to be his biggest box office bomb since that one, and while I definitely wouldn't come close to calling it my favorite, The Last Stand eventually gets around to being a solid Schwarzenegger joint that left this long time fan more than satisfied.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

In Defense Of: Honey Boo Boo (Seriously)

Many have scoffed at the idea that Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is on a network called The Learning Channel, as if we could never possibly learn anything from it. I learned a very valuable lesson after the few episodes I watched - that a great many Americans who consider themselves normal and socially acceptable as compared to Honey Boo Boo and her family are actually huge assholes. Okay, I sort of already knew that, but this really brought that notion home.

I'm always late when it comes to pop culture trends, usually because I hate most of them and try to deliberately avoid them whenever possible, but in any case, I finally got around to watching the Honey Boo Boo show recently, and something about this one has really bothered me. Now, I'm not talking about the show itself, but rather the reaction to it. Everything I heard about this show before I watched it was how it was not just awful, but somehow illustrative of a new low in our society. South Park did a whole episode expressing just this point, and Adam Levine famously cited the new show as evidence of "the decay of Western Civilization," about which he is apparently jealous, as his band Maroon 5's shitty music is evidently not causing said decay fast enough. I haven't seen every episode, so maybe I just haven't gotten to the one where the family starts fucking each other or eating people, or whatever horrible thing I'm supposed to find so shocking, but frankly, I don't see what all the fuss is about.

The Dirty Sons Of Pitches Podcast, Episode #36 Is Available!

Join us won't you, as my friends and I discuss the proper way to introduce a podcast, JJ Abram's taking over of the Star Wars franchise, a smorgasbord of movies, alternate endings to Rise of the Planet of the Apes involving sloths and bestiality, Western Pitches!, and Tom Hanks on Tom Hanks violence in and out of volcanoes. If your someone predisposed to loving this, I assure you, you will love it.
CLICK HERE for the latest episode

CLICK HERE for the main page.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Cinema File #98; "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower" Review

I think I'm a little too old and jaded for this review. I just finished watching The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, and while I can definitely see highschool me digging the hell out of it and relating a great deal to many of the characters and their problems, bitter, gave up on his dreams by his mid-twenties me finds it all just a little bit tiresome.

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is the story of a highschool freshman with a history of severe emotional problems finding acceptance among a group of friends on their way to college and adulthood. Before seeing it, without knowing much about the movie or the book upon which it is based, I mostly knew this as that movie Hermione is in where she's not all Harry Pottery, and if nothing else, I'd say it does a good job of establishing Emma Watson as an actress in her own right outside of her famous franchise in a way Daniel Radcliffe has yet to be able to do. I'm still going back and forth on what my overall opinion of the movie is, and ordinarily I'd wait to write a review until I had a more solid idea, but I get the feeling that this one will only get murkier in time.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Cinema File #97: "Jack Reacher" Review

I've always liked Tom Cruise, and I've never really understood the post-Couch Jumping hatred a lot of people have for the man whose turned in so many great performances. Okay, that's not exactly true, I do understand it, I just don't accept it. I know Scientology is the one religious group everyone seems to agree is okay to make fun of, but as a generally agnostic person, I don't see anything specifically wrong with it relative to any other religion, and I find it a bit disgusting to find so many people, especially those who believe equally goofy things, judging a man and his work unfairly because they are uncomfortable with the church he goes to. The point is, I don't have the reflex a lot of people seem to have nowadays that automatically assumes a Tom Cruise movie's going to be bad, and while there are a lot of problems with his latest film Jack Reacher, I still think his involvement elevated the material a great deal, making what would have been an otherwise terrible movie at least watchable, if not somewhat enjoyable.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Cinema File #96: "Crawlspace" Review

So...was the giant ape a hallucination, or a mutant, or a mutant hallucination, or what? Can you blow up hallucinations with grenades? I don't know, but I watched the Australian sci-fi thriller Crawlspace recently, and while its a bit muddled and more than a bit derivative of science fiction movies past, I found a lot to like about it nonetheless.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Cinema File #95: "Android Insurrection" Review

Well, I suppose its better than the only other movie I can think of with Insurrection in the title. Not that that's saying much. 

My first introduction to the independent film company Pandora Machine was The Prometheus Trap, a mockbuster of the Ridley Scott film Prometheus that I felt did a good job of presenting a fun time travel story, even if the technical side of things made the Asylum look classy. When I found that they'd put out another movie in 2012 that wasn't a knock off of any big budget film (or at least any current or obvious ones), I was instantly curious, as I actually felt that The Prometheus Trap's biggest flaw was that it tried to hue too closely to the tone of what it was ripping off, and would have been better off had it been completely separate from any other film. Unfortunately, while not entirely without entertainment value, Android Insurrection does not excel for lack of a big budget template, but rather somehow finds a way to be even more derivative of classic sci-fi cliches.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Cinema File #94: "Dead Before Dawn" Review

Evil Dead 2 is one of my favorite movies of all time. It is arguably the quintessential horror comedy and next to the first Re-Animator probably did more to encourage my love for the genre than any other movie growing up. Clearly I'm not the only person to hold it in such high esteem, as more than twenty five years later, we still get at least one or two new films a year that are if not outright rip offs, at least do their best to pay homage to it and capture the same anarchic tone that it displays so effortlessly. Today's review focuses on only the latest example, with a cheeky title that's an obvious attempt to appeal to fans like me, and while it has its problems, Dead Before Dawn is by and large a solid and loving tribute to a beloved classic.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Cinema File #93: "The Master" Review

Oh dear God.

Fuck you Paul Thomas Anderson. Fuck you as hard as possible in any and every orifice on your body that might prove detrimental to you should it have a cock in it, up to and including the eyeballs. Okay, you know what, no, that's not right. Come to think of it, I don't blame Paul Thomas Anderson for this travesty, that's too easy. I blame you, America. This is what happens when you want to seem hip and sophisticated and pretend that shitty Paul Thomas Anderson movies are great. "Oh, but he made Boogie Nights!" Fuck you and your Boogie Nights. You're the reason this movie exists. You're the reason we'll one day have to utter the phrase, "Oscar winner - The Master". And you make me sick.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Cinema File #92: "The Paperboy" Review

Is Nicole Kidman still the highest paid actress in Hollywood? I don't usually keep up on stuff like that, but after watching The Paperboy, if she is, she really needs to give some of that money back.

The Paperboy is the story of a group of journalists in the 70's trying to prove the innocence of a man on death row. Ordinarily my opening synopses are more involved than that, and truth be told there is much more to the story involving love, sex, death, and racial politics, but for the life of me I can't be bothered to try to describe this movie in any more detail than that, as anything resembling a story in this piece of crap does not merit the time and effort required. When I set about to watch this movie, a friend of mine noted it as "that movie where Nicole Kidman pees on Zac Efron," and while I knew what scene he was talking about, I immediately thought to myself that surely there must be more to The Paperboy than that. No, there isn't. Not to say that that scene is even all that riveting or makes the film any better than it otherwise would have been. In fact its completely tangential to the story and seems to only be there for the shock value of it. For the record, there is no making this film better.

The Dirty Sons Of Pitches Podcast, Episode #35 Is Available!

If you like, this week on my podcast my friends and I discuss the Film Noir genre and pitch our own ideas for Noir Movies, as well as our various theories/gripes surrounding the mystery of Manti Te'o and his phantom girlfriend, a freaky Nazi dream I had one night, Mummies from that sitcom Coach, Ryan Gosling's soft spoken lack of badassery, and Noir as applied to the Disney Universe. Enjoy everyone.

CLICK HERE for Episode #35

CLICK HERE for the Main Page

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Cinema FIle #91: "Ghostquake (aka Haunted High)" Review

Syfy Channel Original Movies often get a bad rap, and while it is not entirely undeserved, it sometimes obscures the fact that occasionally they can produce something halfway decent, even if its never been responsible for an outright masterpiece. Much like with the Asylum, I have a strange sort of respect for the SyFy Channel mold and its rejection, by both choice and necessity, of the normal rules of how to make a good movie, recognizing that sometimes a different formula can produce something unexpectedly enjoyable. Today's film Ghostquake, also known as Haunted High, is far from a masterpiece, and I'd hesitate to even call it good, but the elements that do work would never show up in a mainstream movie, and I have to give the network credit for making something I'd have no other option of even seeing anywhere else.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Five Oldschool Toys I'd Adapt Into Movies

A little while ago, I read an article online about how there were plans to make a movie based on the toy Stretch Armstrong. The jist of the article was that Twilight star Taylor Lautner, who had previously been attached to the project, was now no longer going to be playing the elastic superhero. My first thought was that we had really dodged a bullet on that one. My second thought was, why the fuck do I care about who plays Stretch fucking Armstrong?
Do I have some sort of special attachment to this character or any reason whatsoever to invest emotionally in this production? Do I have cause to hold as sacred the vast and complicated mythology and canon of the storyline from the commercials for this fucking toy? Did I even have this toy growing up? My weird and arbitrary overreaction aside, this thought process eventually led me to start thinking about what other toys I'd like to see made into movies. Then I couldn't think of anything, so I went on Wikipedia and found some at random. Enjoy!

1: Monsters In My Pocket

Two armies of supernatural creatures, many based on classic movie monsters, do battle right under our noses, one side led by Frankenstein (the monster, not the scientist), the other by Dracula. At least I think that was the basic plot. If I remember correctly, there was a cartoon that went along with this, but I don't quite recall all the details. I'd scrap the original mythos and tie it in even more closely to the Universal series by expanding on their origin, making the monsters once normal sized, until they were shrunk down and locked away for decades by Dr. Pretorious in order to save the world from the collateral damage caused by their war. Now awakened in the present day in the home of a suburban family, they continue their feud. It would be like Small Soldiers, only smaller, and bloodier.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Cinema File #90: "Painted Skin: The Resurrection" Review

As a contributor to the website Picture Show Pundits, I am one of a select few members of a small group of amateur film critics who gets to vote for nominations for that site's annual Silver Cine Awards. This is the first year I've been able to participate in this process, so I didn't even know what categories I'd be picking from apart from the average Oscar-ish ones, but I didn't have too much trouble until I got to the Best Foreign Language Film spot. I don't watch a lot of foreign films outside of anime, and since there was already a Best Animated Film category, I felt it would probably be good to watch at least one live action foreign movie that didn't have a Kamen Rider or a Super Sentai team in it before I voted. Luckily, I just happened to have one in my queue, and now that I've watched Painted Skin: The Resurrection, I'm happy to say it would probably get my vote even if it wasn't by default.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mockbusted #10: Transmorphers

Whenever I describe the concept of mockbusters, Transmorphers is usually the movie I bring up as an example. Not only is it the one most people saw back when the Asylum first started cranking these out on a regular basis, just the name encapsulates the concept perfectly. Its kind of like the movie you know, just slightly off somehow, and in a way that suggests its probably not as good, but may just be awesome. Transmorphers hits two of those four criteria. Regrettably, the two it meets are "slightly off" and "not as good".

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Cinema File #89: "Silver Linings Playbook" Review

Really, Oscar voters, this was the best you could come up with? 

Okay, I'm not the biggest David O. Russell fan. Before now, the only movie of his I've outright liked was Three Kings, and I thought even that one was a little overrated. I think anyone who expresses any sort of effusive praise for the man's work should be required by law to have I <heart> Huckabees tattooed on their forehead (and I say that even while knowing that he was also the guy who did Spanking The Monkey). Russell's latest movie is probably his most mainstream effort yet, and while Silver Linings Playbook is far from a terrible film and maybe my favorite work by this director, that doesn't exactly make it good, and certainly doesn't make it worthy of the accolades, awards, and nominations it has inexplicably received. 

The Dirty Sons Of Pitches is BACK! Double Episodes #33 and #34 are available!

Just a reminder for anyone who hasn't caught it yet, I have an awesome podcast called The Dirty Sons Of Pitches where my friends and I talk about movies, play a series of movie related games, and pitch our own ideas for the kinds of movies we would make, which mostly serve to explain why no one lets us write movies. The first two episodes of the new year are up. We went extra long this time so we had to split up our first show back into a two-parter wherein we discuss the recent announcement of Oscar nominations, the rules of our patented Netflix Streaming Steaming Challenge, reverse gravity turkeys, Nazisploitation films, and of course, Dame Maggie Smith's epic love affair with Big Black Cock. 

CLICK HERE for Part One

CLICK HERE for Part Two

CLICK HERE for the main site

Enjoy America.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Cinema File #88: "The Dark Knight Returns" Double Review

I think at this point its impossible to view the latest animated Batman double feature based on Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns without comparing it to the most recent Christopher Nolan film that wrapped up his take on the same character. Without the miniseries that this two part release was based on, it can be argued that the character of Batman would not have had the resurgence in popularity that eventually led to a successful career in movies, nor would any subsequent movies have been quite so committed to the darker, serious tone the latest Batman trilogy is so well known for. At the same time, the themes of The Dark Knight Returns, for the most part expertly realized in these two new films, demonstrate in no uncertain terms everything that is wrong with the Nolan interpretation and practically provides a blueprint for how that series should have played out.

Zero Dark Thirty Revisited: Kathryn Bigelow Responds To Criticism That She Clearly Does Not Understand.

Recently I reviewed the film Zero Dark Thirty, which centers on the CIA's hunt for Osama Bin Laden in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. I was one of many reviewers who was frankly appalled by what I saw as the film's fairly obvious justification for the torture regime sanctioned during the Bush Administration, and the criticism of more mainstream like minded people has created something of a firestorm around the movie that the director Kathryn Bigelow has now responded to in a short essay in the LA Times. The link is here and I encourage you to read it before you keep reading this, as I will be referring back to it multiple times.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Cinema File #87: "Les Miserables" Review

I don't hate musicals. I'm an unabashed Disney fan, and while I'm not quite as conversant in live action musicals as others might be, I still have an appreciation for them when they are done well. Granted, my favorite musical of all time is Li'l Abner, so you may want to take all this with a grain of salt. Maybe its not a classic in everyone's eyes, but I love it, and I bring it up to preface my review of the latest big budget musical, so that when I start explaining what I don't like about it, it doesn't seem like I'm just not the kind of person who likes this kind of movie. I had no reason going into this to think I would hate Les Miserables, but by the halfway mark or so, I have never wanted a movie to end so badly in my life.

Les Miserables tells the story of Jean Valjean, an ex-con who breaks his parole to start a new life, adopting the daughter of a dead woman whose life he inadvertantly ruined while on the run from an obsessive lawman. Of course, when I say it tells the story, what I really mean is it sings it, and when I say it sings the story, I mean a lot. I've never seen this musical performed in any other context, but I can only assume its the same way on stage, and I just don't get it. Almost every line in this movie is sung, regardless of whether its in the context of a song, to the point where there is really no clear demarcation between the songs and the rest of the dialogue. This is so unnecessary and renders any drama not of the painfully melo variety impossible, as I can't help but laugh at moments I'm sure I'm supposed to cry or rage at.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Cinema File 86: "Ghoul" Review

I've never read the book upon which this film is based, nor have I read any by the author Brian Keene. From what I understand, the original novel is much darker and more of a straight forward supernatural horror story. Still, despite the changes and contrary to several poor reviews I've read of the film, as low budget TV horror movies go, I was pleasantly surprised by Ghoul.

The story follows a group of kids who discover that their underground club house is adjacent to the subterranean lair of the titular local urban legend that has begun kidnapping woman and killing children at night. I love movies like this, coming of age stories where young protagonists face off against supernatural evil. I grew up in the 80's and 90's with films like It, The Lost Boys, and Monster Squad, and I appreciated the hell out of this movie's apparent aim to recreate the feel of that largely bygone era of film. The production values are as cheap as you would expect for a TV movie. Prepare yourself for, among other things, some of the worst animated and illustrated props you will ever see, including a Scooby Doo style cartoon that looks like it was made in Russia, and a series of comic books that I could have done in an hour with MS Paint. The budget is obviously small and the acting is often less than top notch, but as always, that didn't deter me from what was otherwise a solid adventure horror film.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Versus #2: "Cage Fight!" Cameron Poe Vs. Castor Troy

I really intend to do this one more often, its just that other things have distracted me and gotten in the way. I guess I'm just lazy, and its easier to watch and review a movie than construct an elaborate scenario in which two fictional characters fight each other to the death. If you missed the first episode of this series, that's basically the jist of Versus; its the cinematic equivalent of those old comic book arguments about who would win in a fight between this or that superhero. The catch is, both characters taken from movies or television shows have to have been played by the same actor. This time, the focus is on one of my favorite actors currently working today, part time Coppola and possible immortal vampire, Nicolas Cage.

Occasional Bear suit not withstanding, I think Cage gets a bad rap most of the time, though I have to admit it is largely his own fault. Like Robin Williams, another actor I like in dramatic roles, Cage seems to love money as much as he loves making quality films, and takes on a lot of crap that you can clearly see he has no passion for outside of the paycheck. But, also like Robin Williams, when he does have passion for what he's doing, he almost always turns in a captivating performance. For my Nicolas Cage installment of Versus, I thought I'd go with two iconic roles from the 90's that made him a star to many in my generation, before his unique style became something of a punchline.

Cameron Poe (from Con Air)

Castor Troy (from Face/Off)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Cinema File #85: "Hyde Park On Hudson" Review

I've now officially seen both FDR centric films of 2012, and while the more mainstream effort Hyde Park On Hudson is a decent if somewhat low energy romp through presidential history, I can safely say that it is not nearly as good as the one where he fights werewolves in a rocket launching wheelchair.

Hyde Park On Hudson tells the story of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's historic meeting with the King and Queen of Britain on the eve of World War II through the eyes of his fifth cousin and mistress. Yes, as it happens, FDR was not content in just boning one of his distant cousins (and marrying her), but apparently felt the need to make kind-of-sort-of-definite incest a thing he was particularly known for. I guess he thought Polio, WWII, and the New Deal weren't enough, I don't know. The subject is brought up somewhat delicately with a mention that everyone is somehow related to everyone else in the small region they all live in, and evidently this was just more acceptable back then, even if I never quite bought that explanation in High School History class.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Cinema File #84: "Hitchcock" and "The Girl" Review

Last year, much like the competing releases of the two Snow White related films Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsmen, we were given another set of two movies released roughly around the same time both focusing on the same basic topic, specifically, the life and work of Alfred Hitchcock. The theatrical film Hitchcock centers on the director's relationship with his wife Alma through the production of Psycho, while the TV movie The Girl centers on his relationship with Tippi Hedren through the production of The Birds and Marnie. Contrary to film snob canon, I've always preferred The Birds to Psycho personally, but my taste regarding the relative subject matter is only the first of many reasons why The Girl comes off as the far superior film, and why Hitchcock fails miserably both on its own and by comparison.

The Cinema File #83: "Upside Down" Review

I've given Cloud Atlas a lot of crap on this blog and on my podcast this year, and I think that after giving it some time, my main problem with the film was and still is the fact that for all its ambition, the whole grand scope of the thing just seemed like a hollow attempt to couch the same old high fallootan psuedo-intellectual Wachowskian crap in a new more palatable package. Saying that Cloud Atlas is more palatable might sound strange considering how outwardly inaccessible the movie is, but despite taking us to places as disparate as a slave ship, the 70's, the far flung future, and the even farther flung future, the thematic backbone of the film, with its over-simplistic pablum and pandering, might as well have been Forrest Gump even before you threw in Tom Hanks making funny voices. I bring all of this up again to highlight another movie I've just seen, Upside Down, also starring Jim Sturgess, and also set in a strange sci-fi world, which unlike Cloud Atlas fully embraces and exploits the ingenuity of its premise and never promises any more than it delivers, a delightfully rather than painfully simple romantic fantasy.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...