Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Cinema File #124: "Would You Rather" Review

I'm sure at some point, most people have played some iteration of the game Would You Rather. Its not even really so much a game most of the time, and more of an intellectual exercise wherein the options in question are usually both very abstract. For instance, on a recent episode of my podcast, our discussion veered towards the question of whether we would rather have sex with Jack or Jill from the titular Adam Sandler film. That specific silliness notwithstanding, its a conversation structure that at its most thought provoking can reveal how a person thinks when faced with having to determine the lesser of two evils. But what if the options weren't so abstract? That's the idea behind the new film Would You Rather, a grim and surprisingly dark thriller that I enjoyed immensely.

From The Idea Hole: This Meets That, Part Two (Cyber Soldiers, Time Traveling Dinosaurs, Crossdressing Aliens, Sadistic Gamers, and Space Chimps)

So I came up with this game called This Meets That, basically working backwards from the way studio executives describe movie plots as combinations of other movies. For a detailed breakdown of what the game is and how I arrive at my mostly random combinations, please see Part One, but the short version is I take two movies, selected at random, and try to come up with an original movie idea by distilling the themes of each movie into one. The more I play this game on my own, the more I think this might be my new standard way of coming up with new ideas for movies and TV shows, and the shallowness of that should probably bother me more than it does. In any case, here are some more movies derived from This Meets That.

1: Iron Cross (Robocop meets Inglorious Basterds)

You take the badass premise of a guy rebuilt as a cybernetic crimefighter, but switch it out so that the crime he's fighting is being a dirty Nazi. Set it during World War II, where an elite American soldier is mowed down and brought back to life with steampunk super science. The twist - he's brought back by the enemy, at first brainwashed into fighting for the Nazis, given the codename of Iron Cross, until he breaks his programming and fights for truth, justice, the American way, and the joy of punching Nazis in the face. I see an 80's action montage as the newly liberated Iron Cross paints over the swastika emblazoned on his armor with an American Flag, then proceeds to take on his greatest foe - Undead Cyborg Hitler! (and possibly Robillsa, Cyber She Wolf of the SS). Your welcome.

And the Nazis are also zombies, I forgot that part.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

This Is A Thing That Exists!: A Talking Cat!?!

No, I don't mean there's actually a talking cat that someone discovered out in the real world. That is not a thing that exists. A Talking Cat!?! is a movie I just found, and yes, the exclamation point/question mark/escalation point punctuation is officially part of the title. This film is, quite simply, amazing. I am in awe. Many have cited Tommy Wiseau's The Room as the pinnacle of terrible movies, a movie so bad that it transcends the very notion of terribleness into sublime unintentional comedy. Without any hyperbole, I would submit that this film, A Talking Cat (!?!) surpasses The Room in sheer craptitude in the first ten minutes, peeing right in its face as it does all of ours like so many Nicole Kidmans on so many jellyfish bitten Zach Effrons. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, This, is a Thing, that Exists!...!?!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Cinema File #123: "Beautiful Creatures" Review

I've only seen two of the Twilight movies, the first one, which I didn't really like, and the last one, which I technically liked better, but not by much (I'm still hesitant to post a review, as I think it might be unfair considering I haven't seen the others in the series). Even so, beyond the wussification of vampires which, as I mentioned in my Warm Bodies review I have intense distaste for, I've never been able to summon the kind of outrage so many people have for that franchise. I've always just been content to ignore them, which I would have probably done with this purported ripoff if I didn't now have a movie blog in need of regular content. The similarities in story structure are obvious, but this witch-centered take on horror romance does not seem to me at least to rise to the level of Twilight in terms of all the things I'm supposed to hate about those movies, and while its still not necessarily all that good, Beautiful Creatures is at worst perfectly okay.

The Dirty Sons Of Pitches Podcast Episodes #38 and #39 are Available!

You heard me right, count 'em, not one but two episodes of my podcast are now available. First up, episode #38 is our big spoiler heavy special where we pitch movies with famous twist endings, as if the twists happened in the middle. We also go more into Madea, talk about Pope shit, and play another game of This Meets That.

Click HERE for Episode #38

Episode #39 is our pre-Oscar show, an extensive conversation about our predictions for the 85th Academy Awards recorded mere hours before the ceremony, and some blog related It's Pat news. We wrap up with a series of pitches for the Ultimate Oscar Bait movie.

Click HERE for Episode #39

Enjoy everybody.

Monday, February 25, 2013

My Thoughts On The 85th Academy Awards

Well, since this is the first Oscar ceremony to come along since I started my largely movie related blog, I figured it was probably incumbent upon me to write a post about my reactions to the show, as well as the most important part, the winners and losers.

 As far as the ceremony itself, I actually thought Seth McFarlane did a pretty good job all told, especially considering the recent history of lackluster hosts. Before him, the last one I really liked was Jon Stewart, and before that it was the much maligned Letterman year. His timing could have been better and his cameo as Ted was offensive without also being funny, but anyone who doesn't admit that this was easily the funniest opening in years (ably assisted by Shatner) is just biased against the guy, and let's face it, the only reason we care about the host is the opening monologue anyway.

The Cinema File #122: "Fun Size" Review

You know, back in my day, Nickelodeon movies were about wholesome things like pre-pubescent espionage and the relative deliciousness of hamburgers. I don't know what happened since I grew up and started watching more mature films like FDR: American Badass, but evidently at some point that old orange nostalgia factory went and got all dirty on us. Fun Size, the feature film debut of some guy I've never heard of is a hit and miss coming of age tale set amid a wild and crazy Halloween night filled with zany mishaps and hormonal misadventures. Or at least, that's obviously what the movie is trying for, but despite some inspired bits here and there, it never quite makes it.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Cinema File #121: "Redd Inc (aka Inhuman Resources)" Review

When I'm not blogging, my day job places me in a boring office doing boring office things, the specifics of which are not really important. Its not a bad job actually; its easy as hell and most of the people I work with are very much like me, working a job that wasn't ever their dream career until they can find something better. Overall, the life of an office drone has never been for me the kind of soul crushing experience depicted in many films and television shows written by screenwriters pre-disposed to seeing a cubicle as a portal to Hell. Today's film takes the Office As House Of Horrors idea to its logical conclusion, setting a horror thriller amid the many cliches of bland middle management life, and though I couldn't really relate to its cynicism, I must say that I still enjoyed Redd Inc. quite a bit.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Cinema File #120: "A Good Day To Die Hard" Review

Wow. Really, I didn't think it was possible to make a Die Hard movie that was shittier than Live Free Or Die Hard. Honestly, I'm flabbergasted. How do you make a movie so bad that it makes John McClane and Justin Long teaming up against Timothy Olyphant as an internet savvy terrorist look actually half way decent? Don't get me wrong, that movie still sucks huge donkey balls, but damn man, the shit quotient of Die Hard 4, coming after the best movie in the franchise so many years prior, was a tragedy, not a public challenge to the next guy to do even worse! In any case, congratulations A Good Day To Die Hard, you did it. Everyone in the world is now dumber for having watched it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Mockbusted #14: Hansel And Gretel Get Baked

I'm not a big fan of pot humor. I don't smoke pot personally, though I don't make any judgment about those who do, its just not my thing. The thing is, even if I did, I still don't think I'd really get what was so funny about movies like today's feature, the last Hansel and Gretel mockbuster, Hansel and Gretel Get Baked. Is it just a reference to something familiar, like every Carlos Mencia joke? I mean, the few times in my life that I've been high, I never acted like most of the people who play being high in movies (I mostly just got sleepy), and come to think of it, I've never actually seen anyone who was high and acted that way either. Maybe its just easier to laugh at stuff when you're stoned, but I don't see the point.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Cinema File #119: "The ABCs Of Death" Review

This one might be a little hard to review, as the structure of today's subject would seem to defy a cohesive critique. The ABCs Of Death, if you've never heard of it, is not a single movie, but rather an anthology of 26 short films, each concerning the theme of death combined with something else starting with a specific letter. For example, the first short is called A Is For Apocalypse, and features a woman trying to accomplish her goal of killing her husband before the imminent end of the world. Each film follows this same title construction, but beyond that they are all vastly different, ranging from horrific to surreal to comic. They are each produced by a different team, from many different parts of the world, allowing for many disparate sensibilities. Given the off kilter set up, I'm almost sort of amazed at just how well the whole thing is pulled off, and how so few of the individual elements failed to entertain.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

From The Idea Hole: This Meets That, Part One (Giant Monsters, Drunken Toons, Zombie Muppets, Badass Amish, and Robot Horses)

A little while ago on my podcast The Dirty Sons Of Pitches, my co-hosts and I debuted a new game called This Meets That. The game was inspired by the practice of movie studio executives to describe new film pitches in terms of combinations of other successful films in the past (i.e. "This movie is sure to be a hit, its Robocop meets Forrest Gump!"). Our idea was to work backwards from this construction in order to come up with an original pitch for a movie based on two randomly selected films pulled from a hat, distilling the themes of two movies to make up a third one on the spot. The game was so successful that I decided to experiment with it on my own, to see what I might come up with.

Robocop meets Forrest Gump = Inspector Gadget

To do this, I first assembled a random list of one hundred movies, just writing in a stream of consciousness, then supplementing that with various best and worst lists from various decades once I ran out of ideas. I then numbered this list and picked individual films using my trusty 100-sided die from my D&D kit, pairing every two movies together, and re-rolling whenever I hit one I already picked. Every few rolls I would remove movies I already used from the list and replace them with different ones, refreshing as I went along. I've gotten a surprisingly large amount of potential ideas from this, so I'll be doling them out in spurts, but for now, here are a few examples of what I've come up with.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Cinema File #118: "Fairytale" Review

If I didn't know any better, I'd say that this movie was a mockbuster of another movie I recently reviewed, the Guillermo Del Toro produced horror fantasy Mama. It has the same sort of dark fairytale horror set up surrounding a young girl forming an unhealthy relationship with a motherly ghost, with a strong female protagonist desperately trying to protect her. Coincidentally, Fairytale came out before Mama, late last year, but then Mama was to be released last year as well before it was delayed, so maybe there's something to it. Either way, while it is not a bad film by any means, Fairytale definitely suffers by being just okay, coming out so close to a movie with essentially the same premise, executed so much better.

The Cinema File #117: "Wrong" Review

I've never seen Quentin Dupieux's Rubber, the 2010 French film about the killer car tire with telekinetic powers. I vaguely remember hearing about it when it first came out and making a note to see it at some point, but I never got around to it, despite the bizarre concept being right up my alley (no pun intended). I've just finished Dupieux's follow-up, an odd little movie called Wrong that I can only assume is an expansion on the surrealist themes of his previous work, and much like the narrative of the film, I'm conflicted. On the one hand, there were many things I very much liked about the film, so much so that I am excited to go back and watch Rubber to see what I missed, but on the other hand, so much of Wrong is just, well, wrong, to the point where I don't know if I can recommend it to most people.

Monday, February 18, 2013

In Defense Of: It's Pat - The Movie

I'm always looking for lost classics, those diamonds in the rough that I skipped over in the past either because I didn't like them at an age where my tastes weren't so refined, or because I ignored them completely based on some erroneous preconceived notion about a movie's apparent quality. Every once in a while I'll be reminded of an old movie I've dismissed as crap, or hear some new fact about it that reignites my interest, and it compels me to go back and see if maybe my long held assumptions might have been incorrect. Such is the case with the film I'd like to talk about today, one that has long been held up not only by myself but by many people as the worst movie ever to be based on a Saturday Night Live sketch. I just re-watched It's Pat, a movie that for the years since its debut has been my go to reference whenever I needed a bad movie for comparison. But is it so terrible?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Cinema File #116: "Hold Your Breath" Review

If you've read this blog enough, you know I'm a huge fan of The Asylum, the low budget production company known mostly for releasing straight to DVD knock-offs of popular films days or weeks before their release to cash in on the more famous product. I devote an entire series on this blog to the mockbuster phenomenon they've become the masters of, but while movies like Transmorphers and Almighty Thor are their claim to fame, they do make completely original films as well. Today's review focuses on their latest non-mockbusting effort, a teens in peril supernatural horror movie called Hold Your Breath, which despite copious amounts of 30 Rock's Katrina Bowden's ass in short shorts, really shows that they should stick to rip offs.

The Cinema File #115: "Atlas Shrugged Part 2" Review

[Warning: This is not actually a review of the film Atlas Shrugged Part 2. It started out that way, but then just sort of devolved into a rambling screed against Ayn Rand's philosophy in general. If you just want to know what I think of the actual movie, skip to the last paragraph where I reference it directly. Otherwise, enjoy my bile in text form.]

Everybody knows corporations are fucking evil, right?

I mean, I don't have to even mention why the philosophy behind Altas Shrugged is completely intellectually bankrupt, do I? I would hope that I can simply bypass this point as something blatantly obvious, but you never know. I remember standing in a theater after a showing of Dinesh D'Souza's "documentary" 2016: Obama's America, a movie I saw out of morbid curiosity and at the insistence of a snarky liberal friend, and hearing the audience of true believers applaud uproariously. To think that so many people could exist mentally and emotionally in such a vastly different world than the one in which facts and evidence hold sway would astonish me if it weren't so frightening, and frighteningly common place. Luckily, I wasn't able to go to a theater to watch Atlas Shrugged Part 2, the low budget sequel to the most ironic box office failure in history, but I wonder if even the most hardcore Randians could bring themselves to applaud this tripe.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Idiot Box: Spinoffs I'd Like To See (Monster Edition)

Not This

I've been re-watching a lot of old TV shows on Netflix recently, and it inspired me to start a new series akin to my recent impromptu video games as movies thing, this time imagining the various ways I would expand and continue the universes of some of my favorite shows. Many of these proposed spinoffs will have already been suggested over the years, while others are entirely invented. I've decided to split these up by genre, starting with the one that led me to this in the first place - supernatural horror.

1: From Angel - Wolfram & Hart

I swear I'll finish the Buffy retrospective at some point eventually, but in the meantime, I'm almost halfway through Angel, the rare spinoff I'd argue was better than the original. One of the things I love about this show is how, unlike Buffy where evil was always an obstacle to be overcome, Angel's world was one where evil was a fact of life, and something you had to live with and account for. The best example of this theme lies with the recurring villains Wolfram & Hart, a demonically influenced law firm tasked with managing the day to day operations of Hell on Earth.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Cinema File #114: "Strike (AKA 7-10 Split)" Review

I don't normally review movies as old as this, though I do plan to have a regular section for older reviews at some point. The reason I'm doing one now is because I finally managed to track down a movie I've wanted to see ever since I first started this blog last year. One of my favorite movies of 2012 was FDR: American Badass, written and directed by Ross Patterson, and I liked it so much that it convinced me to check out one of his other movies on Netflix, Poolboy: Drowning Out The Fury, which wasn't quite as good, but still highly enjoyable. My main criticism of both films is that Patterson's complete lack of a filter sometimes leads him to go too far trying to hit that crudely funny sweet spot, and sometimes forgets the funny part, so when I noticed there was one movie on his IMDB page that he wrote, but didn't direct, I wondered if it might be a situation where his humor would be channeled more efficiently. Unfortunately, Strike, also known as 7-10 Split, is an all around disappointment, failing in every way to live up to this writer's more recent work.

The Madea Challenge! Part Seven: Madea's Witness Protection

Free at last! Free at last! God all mighty, free at last! Which is to say, I am free from this self-imposed movie marathon, because I am at the very last Madea movie. Also, despite this film series causing me to believe even less in God than I did before, the fact that it ends might just be proof that the all mighty does exist afterall, and knows some semblance of mercy. Then again, I'm pretty sure there's a Madea Christmas movie coming out this year, so maybe that's going too far. In any case, I just watched Madea's Witness Protection, the last film so far in the Madea franchise, and the first not based on a previously released play. Is there a difference in style or execution, and does the lack of his own source material to work from make it better or worse? Find out after the jump! (Hint: terms like "better" and "worse" have very little meaning in the context of how terrible these movies are.)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Cinema File #113: "Mama" Review

I mentioned in my review for Ghoul that I've always liked supernatural horror and fantasy movies with younger protagonists. Something about telling that kind of story from the skewed perspective of a child and combining a coming of age tale with magic and mystery has always appealed to me, so its no wonder that I can't really think of a movie Guillermo Del Toro has been involved with that I haven't liked. The latest, which he didn't direct but has his stamp all over it, is Mama, and it is no exception.

The Dirty Sons Of Pitches: Episode 37 is Available!

Come join us once again for another episode of The Dirty Sons of Pitches, where my friends and I gather each week to discuss movies, play a series of movie related games, and pitch our own ideas for future classics. This week we talk about my journey into the world of Tyler Perry, Groundhogs Day marathon related madness, zom rom coms, our ideas for unrealistic biopics, and a new game that I'll be carrying over to the blog sometime very soon called This Meets That. Enjoy peoples.

Click HERE for the current episode

Click HERE for the main page.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Cinema File #112: "6 Degrees Of Hell" Review

I never thought I'd say this particular series of words in this specific sentence construction, but after watching 6 Degrees Of Hell featuring a wrap around cameo by Corey Feldman, man, that movie needed more Corey Feldman.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Cinema File #111: "Warm Bodies" Review

I find myself going back and forth when it comes to zombies. On the one hand, I can't deny the over-saturation of the sub genre in the last decade or so, and I'm always looking for the next big thing to revitalize it with an original or unique take. On the other hand, I wouldn't be looking for that in the first place if there wasn't still some part of me that just loved the crap out of a good zombie movie, and I've found on many occasions recently that I've been able to enjoy some contemporary efforts even without any innovative element (see HERE, HERE and HERE for examples). This ambivalence carried me into the zombie romantic comedy Warm Bodies, the latest attempt at a new twist on the walking dead, and while I'd say it was better than I expected, I still can't get over some of the unavoidable structural flaws that keep it from reaching the level of say, a Shaun of the Dead or a 28 Days Later.

The Madea Challenge! Part Six: Madea's Big Happy Family

Back again...Part the Sixth. I think I'm drowning here. I'm not even kidding, Madea is starting to enter my nightmares. There I am, minding my own business playing Go Fish with Hitler, Warwick Davis, and the cast of Scooby Doo, and all of a sudden this old black lady bursts in like the fucking Koolaid man to lecture me about how I ain't livin' right and how I need ta recognize something or other. I can't really understand half the shit she's saying, because she's Madea, and her incredibly fake accent that I'm now almost sure is not authentically southern or authentically anything just bleeds together into a slow discordant hum. And then I wake up, and then I have to watch another fucking Madea movie! Madea #6 ya'll.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Cinema File #110: "Movie 43" Review

Okay, this is probably going to be another review where my current (and currently failing) attempts at being a professional screenwriter have left me a bit biased as to the subject under discussion, so keep that in mind as I talk about what I thought of Movie 43. I'm currently writing a sketch comedy film with my friend Nate Zoebl, mostly culled from sketches he and I wrote and produced for a local comedy show a few years back, interconnected by a loose Mr. Show style framework bridging from one sketch to the next. Much like the last time this particular bias presented itself, I'm not sure if Movie 43 being this terrible is actually a benefit to our script, or a detriment, but in either case, it certainly is terrible.

The Madea Challenge! Part Five: I Can Do Bad All By Myself

Welcome back to another edition of The Madea Challenge, wherein I attempt to watch all the Madea movies and report back on my journey into madness. Parts One, Two, Three, and Four are in the links provided. Today's foray into the mind and fat suit of Tyler Perry is I Can Do Bad All By Myself, the story of a woman in an abusive relationship who learns through the power of God that its probably a better idea to choose the other attractive man in her life who doesn't treat her like dogshit. Yeah, we're back to that again. We had two consecutive movies with a different plot, both of which I marginally enjoyed in comparison to the others, but it looks like Perry couldn't resist going back to the familiar narrative structure that made him so successful. Its Madea #5 everybody, over half way done, thank Gawd!

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