Monthly Archives: May 2011
Directed by Len Wiseman
Screenplay by Danny McBride
I tried to think just what exactly it is that I like about this film. What is the one thing that stands out in my mind? Is it the story? The film tells the tale of a battle between vampires and werewolves that has raged for centuries. Is it the allusion to Romeo and Juliet with Selene and Michael? She a vampire, a Death Dealer, has sworn to slay the Lycans no matter what. He, a Lycan, with a secret in his blood that will affect both clans and will change the course of their very history before it is all over. Was it the cinematography? Underworld is awash in shades of an eerie blue that complements the film greatly. It is quite a sight to behold. Maybe it’s the Lycans. After all they are probably the best looking werewolves I have seen since The Howling. I know it’s a lot of CGI, but its damn good CGI. Hmm, no, it’s not really any of those things, although they are a big help. The one thing that I loved the most about this film is…
…Kate Beckinsale. Her performance as Selene is astonishing. The role is as physical a role as has been written and she pulls it off with the grace of a swan. There is not one wasted motion from her as she tumbles and flips her way throughout this film. Every move she commits to is done with a purpose, whether it dropping hundreds of feet and landing like a cat or that amazing walk that lets us all know that this woman-this vampire-has a reason in everything she does. Underworld is her movie and she holds nothing back.
The rest of the cast is very good. Bill Nighy chews the scenery as the Vampire King Viktor. Shane Brolly is all smolder and swagger as Kraven and Sophia Myles is gorgeous as the spurned vampire Erika.
The only thing wrong with the film, and in turn with Beckinsale’s performance, is that it is directed by her husband Len Wiseman. So I’m sure there are cries of ‘nepotism!’ to be heard. It’s okay, because in the end she makes believers of us all.
The movie was initially pitched as “Romeo and Juliet for vampires and werewolves”.
Days before its US opening, the president of Screen Gems green lit not only a sequel to the movie Underworld but also a prequel after seeing the number of tickets sold in Canada alone.
The ‘attack dogs’ outside of the vampire mansion were actually very docile and playful canines, which were the only dogs available at the time. For the scene where they chase Scott Speedman, director Len Wiseman had to film short clips of the dogs running and later put in sounds of vicious barking. If you look closely though you can see their tails happily wagging back and forth.
TOOTH AND NAIL-United States-2007
Written and Directed and Edited by Mark Young
First things first, this movie wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The whole thing about the world ending as we know it because we’ve run out of gas was a bit hokey. Possible, but still hokey. Basically, the film is about a peaceful group of people, the Foragers, living in a post-apocalyptic world and trying to keep from being eaten for dinner by a group of cannibals, the Rovers. Michael Madsen and Vinnie Jones are a couple of Rovers. I kept expecting to hear Madsen say “Are you gonna bark all day, little doggie, or are you gonna bite?” Tarantino fans will know where that’s from. The cast is rounded out by Rachel Miner, who looks like the love child of Naomi Watts and Gwen Stefani, as well as Rider “See, I told you I have a career after Boy Meets World” Strong and Robert Carradine.
There’s a decent amount of hack and slash gore as the result of axes and meat cleavers slicing into human flesh. The film is not overly gory, but it does have it’s moments. The acting is good. Miner stands out as a highlight of the film and Strong is a bit of a weak point. Madsen and Jones aren’t on screen long enough to make any kind of judgment on their thespian skills. Although I don’t think anyone will ever accuse Jones of being John Malkovich (pun intended). I know damn well Madsen can be a good actor, but he’s wasted in this film. The best performance comes from Nicole DuPort as Dakota, a member of the Foragers who is forced to make a stand to protect the people in her care.
As I said at the beginning, this film wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. But let’s be honest, it could have been a lot better.
Most of the “Foragers” (excluding Darwin) are named after automobiles, in relation to the main cause of the social collapse being gas shortage: Dakota (Dodge Dakota), Ford (Ford Motor Company), Viper (Dodge Viper), Torino (Ford Gran Torino), Nova (Chevy Nova), Max (could be a reference to the Metropolitan Area Express), Yukon (GMC Yukon), Victoria (Ford Crown Victoria), and Neon (Dodge Neon). Likewise, the “Rovers” are named after canines: Jackal, Mongrel, Shepherd, Wolf, Dingo, Lobo, Black Dog, Hairball, and Pug.
Directed by Nick Cohen
Written by Mark Anthony Galluzo and Chris Baker
The Reeds is the kind of movie that you watch because you want to see what happens next. It’s not that you’re interested, it’s just that since you’ve watched this much you may as well go a bit further. The film tells of a group of young Londoners who charter a boat christened the Corsair Star through the reeds of the Norfolk Broads. Now, seeing as this is a horror movie, we very well can’t have them make it safely through so they can go home and live happily ever after. No, we need frights. So, let’s throw in an enigmatic gang of youths that they encounter at different points in the film. How about the hooded figure carrying a shotgun? Or the skeletal remains in cages below the surface of the water. But wait, there’s also a twist of an ending that you see coming a mile away, or not.
There’s really not a whole lot that can be said about this film and therein lies the trouble with it. The cast is credible, but they really don’t generate any air of excitement among them. No character stands out and no scene stands out. As for any scary scenes they are telegraphed long before they occur.
It’s quite interesting that a film like this should be set on water. Simply put, it’s stagnant.
No trivia for this film
As a security guard I have an immense talent for pissing people off. Don’t come to my desk griping and complaining that you’re having chest pains when I saw you five minutes ago smoking like a chimney and talking to God knows who about God knows what on your cellphone.
I have yet to see the movie Twilight or any of the sequels. I feel that this is a good thing.
I never danced with the devil in the pale moonlight.
Remember that little kid from Jerry Maguire? I don’t either.
You ever wonder who decided what foods were edible? I mean, if I had been the first guy to see an egg drop out of a chicken, I would not have been thinking “Hmm, I bet if I crack that egg, and mix some cheese in with the insides, I could have an omelet.”
The first pornographic-related injury occurred when Grog the caveman dropped the centerfold on his toe while flogging the mammoth. Think about it, you’ll get it.
There is no such thing as an original idea. Somebody, somewhere thought of it long before you or I did.
After watching No Country for Old Men a second time, I figured out what the title means.
I wonder if famous people would be famous if they had different names. Melvin Presley. Orville Springsteen. Olive Spears. Hmm, nah!
Before he was Alexander the Great, he was Alexander the “Okay, you’ll do.”
I am grateful to anyone who even spends one second reading my blog.
It’s really annoying when some doesn’t finish a sen….
Directed by Jim Mickle
Written by Jim Mickle and Nick Damici
The best thing that one can say about Mulberry Street is that it’s not a bad little movie. The worst thing that one can say is that it’s a not a good little movie, either. It’s a movie that’s just…there. The film centers around the tenants of a New York City slum apartment building. The entire town is going through an epidemic caused by rats, but the focus is mainly on that one building.
The film is set after September 11, 2001. One of the main characters is a returning war veteran and another character is quick to blame Osama Bin Laden for the trouble. However, the trouble is purely of the animal kind as anyone who is bitten becomes a rat-like creature with a taste for human flesh. The mix of people is almost stereotypical of what you would find in an old apartment building; former boxer, old veteran, tired bartender, black drag queen.
The trouble with the film is not that it’s stereotypical of the characters, but that it doesn’t bring anything new to the table in the first place. From the poster I can see that the film was featured at at least five film festivals and other than Tribeca I really can’t see why.
Maybe the filmmakers were trying to make a metaphorical film about post 9/11 New York. I’m sorry, I just don’t see it. What I do see is a film that tries, and fails, to be something it’s not.
No trivia for this film.
Written and Directed by Joel Anderson
“There’s no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were.”-Dwight David Eisenhower
There’s no ’60-40′ or ’70-30′ when it comes to the belief in the supernatural. It’s always ’50-50′. You either believe in ghosts, or you don’t. At the beginning of Lake Mungo we are told that “In December of 2005 the death of 15-year old Alice Palmer began a series of supernatural events that would haunt her grieving family.” Alice is with her family at Lake Mungo on an outing when she disappears. Later that night her body is recovered by divers and her death is ruled a drowning. Throughout the rest of the film the family goes through a series of strange supernatural occurrences that lead them to believe that they are indeed being haunted by the ghost of their daughter. What’s even more disturbing than the haunting, however, is finding out the secrets that their daughter kept from them.
Lake Mungo is the type of film that comes along every once in a while that shatters your expectations completely. From looking at the cover art I expected a cheap little ghost story with little or no scares and even less plot. What I got was a film that, although it is about ghosts, is more about closure for a grieving family. each family member deals with Alice’s death in their own way. The father sinks himself into his work, the brother becomes more passionate about his photography and the mother begins to suffer nightmares. As a whole, they are trying to come to terms with the loss of Alice and with the secrets about her that are revealed to them over time.
The film is told in mock-u-mentary style and I feel that this was indeed the best way for it to be presented. It gives a closer insight into the lives of the family and the grief they are experiencing than any high budget film could achieve. Writer and director Joel Anderson has crafted a film in the tradition of Paranormal Activity that I must admit gave me chills at certain points. By making the main focus of the film about closure he has fashioned a ghost story to be remembered.
Directed by George Bessudo
Written by Daniel P. Coughlin
Bad, bad, bad,bad,bad. This movie sucks worse than finding out Rosie O’Donnell is posing for Playboy. The Lake sisters, Brielle, Kelly and Samantha, inherit a motel left to them by a grandfather they never knew they had. So, they take off for the lake along with their significant others for a nice little look-see slash camping trip. Oh, wait. Did I mention that their family is a bunch of in-breds who want to keep it in the family? I didn’t? Oh, must have slipped my mind. I mean it’s not every day you get to see a mom and son kissing like they were newlyweds. Oh, and if you ever wonder what those annoying cavemen did before Geico then look no further than this movie. The two inbred brothers look just like them.
There is not one redeeming quality to this film. There is no feasible plot, horrible acting, and a script that wouldn’t even work as a porno film. It’s movies like this that make people hate horror films. In this case, I really can’t say that I blame them.
Sorry-No Trivia for this film. But you will be glad to know that no inbreds were harmed during the making of this film.
KILL THEORY-United States-2009
Directed by Chris Moore
Written by Kelly C. Palmer
We’re all given choices in our lives. Each and every day we are faced with decisions. Do I go to work or call in ‘sick’? Do I love my wife or cheat on her? Do I love my unborn child or abort it?
The ability to make choices is the premise of Kill Theory. Six people, all friends, are given a choice by an unseen killer. They have until 6 A.M.-three hours-to kill each other. The last one standing goes free. But, if there is more than one person left alive, everybody dies. The choice is theirs.
Okay, first of all it looks like somebody has been watching a little too much Saw. It’s obvious where they got the idea for this movie from. However, a rip-off though it may be, it’s not a bad one. Where Saw seemed to paint it’s picture with a much broader brush stroke, this film succeeds for the most part by keeping things tight. The best thing about the film is that although every one in the film is pretty much a cookie cutter character, the roles are all filled by credible actors who carry the parts well. Ryanne Duzich impressed me the most in this film. Her character was as cliche’ as they come (the drugged-out alcoholic slut), but she plays the part well and never lets it slip into parody. The weak link in the film is Teddy Dunn as Brent. He, unfortunately, does allow his character (the rich frat boy) to slip into cliche’ oblivion.
I didn’t list the main killer in the credits. He’s not a big name actor, but you’ve seen him. I think it’s a good thing to leave some things a mystery. Oh, and if you want to know what I’d do in a situation like this; well I’d…
Sorry. No trivia for this film.
Let me start by telling you that the story you are about to read is 100% bullshit free. My parents, my brother and sister and I lived in my grandmother’s house when I was growing up in Spartanburg,South Carolina. I don’t remember if my two siblings were still living there when all this happened, but that doesn’t matter. It happened to me, not to them.
To say that my grandmother was an eccentric woman is pretty much hitting the ten-penny nail on the head. When I was growing up she was already well into her 90′s. She used to yell at the TV if her beloved wrestling show was interrupted. When they cut into the show to announce that we had landed on the moon I could her shouting “I wish they’d land on the sun. Interrupt my rasslin’ for this garbage, dadblast’em!!” Yes, indeed, grandma was quite a sweetheart.
As the years passed she began to get a little bit crazier and a whole lot sneakier. You don’t know what it’s like to be all alone in the house with her late at night. My mother and father would be out and my brother and sister would be with friends. I’d be at home stretched out on the couch watching “World Wide Wrestling“. I was reveling in the joy of watching Wahoo McDaniel tomahawk chop the living snot out of the hated ‘Nature Boy‘ Ric Flair. Suddenly I would catch something out of the corner of my eye that made me jump clean out of my skin. It was my grandma, peering around the corner, her white hair standing up like a cross between Don King and Albert Einstein and with a wash cloth dangling out of her mouth. Now just sit back and get a good mental picture of that and tell me you wouldn’t jump too. Anyways, after the initial scare wore off I would do what I would always do and that would be to calmly tell her ‘Grandma, go to bed.’ She would let out a low moan and then I would hear her shuffling her house slippers across the carpet as she headed back toward her room. I would continue watching the wrestling and all would be well.
When my grandma was 97 she fell and broke her hip. As is the case many a time with an injury of that magnitude she did not recover. Soon after her death I moved into her bedroom. It was about a year after that the main part of this story, which I have taken all the way around the world, took place.
It was late one night, probably around 2 a.m. I was lying in bed facing the wall with my back to the room. I heard the sound of my grandmother’s slippers shuffling on the carpet behind me. Without thinking I did what I always did when I heard her moving about through the house at night. ‘Grandma, go to bed.’ I heard that low familiar moan and I knew that she had heard me and was on her way to bed. Now, there are just two things wrong with that whole situation I just told you about. One, my grandmother had been deceased for a little over a year and two…
…I was in her bed.
I froze with that little piece of information running through my brain. Then, and like the rest of the tale this part is 100% bullshit free, I felt the bed shift behind me as if there were someone crawling into it. I could feel their back against mine as they settled in to sleep. I know you may think that it was my brother or sister but neither of them were the type to play a practical joke. It certainly wasn’t my mother and father. They had very little sense of humor and were well into their eighth hour of sleep.
I didn’t turn over the entire night. I finally feel asleep around 5 a.m. When I did I could still feel my grandmother’s back pressed against my own. I still to this day don’t know why she paid me that little visit. Maybe it was to say goodbye and to let me know she was okay. Maybe she wanted to feel the warmth and comfort of her old bed again.
Then again maybe she just wanted to scare the shit out of me one last time.
Directed by David Slade
Written by Brian Nelson
Sometimes a film will come along that is a pure bitch to review. Hard Candy is one of those films. It is such a great film, but at the same time it is one of those films that forces you to think. It questions your personal beliefs and opinions and raises new ones of its own. It questions not only the role of child molesters and pedophiles in society, but also the role of the victim. Do child molesters deserve death if they don’t actually kill anyone? Child molestation may not be an act of physical murder, but it is an act of murder nonetheless. It is a murder of innocence. Once that is taken away from a child they can never get it back. The same eyes that viewed the world with eyes wide open and knew the joy of growing up are now slits that view everyone and everything with suspicion and doubt.
Hayley Stark is a young girl of 14 who meets Jeff, a man in his 30′s at a downtown coffee shop. They have arranged the meeting via text messages. After small talk they go back to Jeff’s apartment. Hayley plays innocent, but laces her speech with subtle come ons. She offers to pour Jeff a drink. It is from that point on that things take a drastic change. Jeff awakens to find himself tied down and at Hayley’s mercy. She has been tracking him and believes he is a pedophile. Without giving very much away I will say that Hayley puts Jeff through hell on earth and then some.
To me, what makes a movie like this so good is that it raises questions. Does Jeff get what he deserves? Is Hayley angry at him for his crimes, or is there something deeper that drives her? At the hands of a lesser director, this would be a vigilante film where Hayley carries a machine gun and a machete and goes around shooting pedophiles and chopping their penises off. However, this is David Slade’s first film and he makes the most of every scene. The film never really drags, except maybe in the scenes with Sandra Oh. The scenes with her do nothing to further the plot of the film and are unneccessary.
Ellen Page is chilling as Hayley. Even I found myself scared by her at some points in the film. Page is able to switch emotions on a dime and that is a very important requirement for this role. On the other hand, Patrick Wilson deserves major kudos for taking on a role like this. There are times in the film that you feel sorry for him and begin to wonder about his guilt. Slade keeps us guessing for most of the film before the big payoff at the end.
Hard Candy is one of those films that will get people talking. Better than that, though, it will get them thinking.
When they were filming the scene where Hayley implies that everything Jeff thinks he knows about her is a lie, producers asked if they could include a line where she states that she was actually 18 years old rather than 14. Ellen Page was adamantly against the suggestion because she thought it undermined the premise of the film.
Some working titles were “Vendetta” and “Snip Snip”. “Hard Candy” was finally chosen because it implies both sweetness and spice. The expression is also slang for an under-aged girl, amongst pedophiles who troll the internet.