Sunday, May 29, 2011

House by the Cemetery

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

House by the Cemetery - 1 out of 5

Lucio Fulci's final film in his unofficial Gates of Hell trilogy and, hopefully, the last Fulci film I ever subject myself to. Only one word can describe this film about a house (by a cemetery--hence the creative title) that has some, in typical horror film fashion, dark shit going on and that word is "boring."

Nothing really happens that could keep my interest other than the usual calamities that haunt Fulci's films. That being a weak story and a non-existence plot, lifeless characters with no depth, horrible acting, terrible editing and sound and bad make-up effects. The problem is that all these problems are bad on a level that it couldn't be funny, unlike that last film in this trilogy-that's-not-really-a-trilogy; The Beyond. However, one thing was amusing about this film and that was the fact that the movie is about a man who needs fresh human bodies in order to keep his unholy self alive and kicking (despite the fact he doesn't seem to leave the cellar of the house--which is something you think the relator would have noticed when she put the house on the market and sold it to the boring couple who bought it). The funny thing is (and funny because it shows the writers' lack of creativity) that they named this character Dr. Freudstein. That's about as subtle as naming a difficulty obtained mineral "unobtainium." Only an idiot would so blatantly show their lack of creativity. (Please note the sarcasm because James Cameron was stupid enough to not only call the mineral unobtanium but he also stole his story from not one, but three movies!).

Finally, if I was forced to come up with one other thing about this movie that is a positive is that it actually had something mildly frightening in it--unlike Fulci's other films. And that aspect would be a child who I could only describe as the Aryan Nation's answer to Chucky. Other than that, House by the Cemetery proved to me that it was no different than the other cult films that Lucio Fulci made: complete and utterly boring crap that focuses too much on gore (that doesn't even look real) rather than setting, narrative and character. But then again, horror film fanboys don't really look for that--at least that's the only reason I can come up with that will explain why shit films like Paranormal Activity actual make money and, even more mysteriously, scare people.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Beyond

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

The Beyond - 2 out of 5

The 2nd film in Lucio Fulci's unofficial Gates of Hell trilogy, The Beyond is just like everything else Lucio Fulci made back in his heyday: Complete and utter crap that, for some mysterious reason, has a major cult following.

After Fulci made City of the Living Dead (read my review of that terrible film here: http://revronmovies.blogspot.com/2010/11/city-of-living-dead.html), he decided to further explore the ideas of the supernatural as it concerns the intermixing of the living and the dead. What he created was The Beyond: a film about a hotel that turns out to be one of the seven gateways to Hell. And, like your typical Fulci film, I found this movie to be utter garbage--BUT, unlike his other films, this movie is bad on such a epic scale, that it is one of those unintentionally hilarious horror films.

The story is weak and don't try to find a plot as the writers felt they didn't really need one. Between you and me, it seems they didn't think to highly of their audience and that by just saying that the hotel was a gateway to Hell would somehow justify the seemingly random events that happen in the Louisiana town where the story takes place. But this really isn't that surprising because, like all Fulci films, passable writing is something that doesn't even take a backseat to what the true emphasis of the films is: the gore. In fact, the writing isn't even allowed to ride in the same vehicle as the gore and is forced to take the bus. For example, the writers decided to give no real depth to the characters (again, another staple of Fulci's films) and are really only given names and that's about it. The lack of depth of these characters is further emphasized due to the absolute horrendous acting (another Fulci staple). Characters' emotional displays will either be nil or cranked up to 11. This becomes quite amusing when one of the bland characters sees another character grabbed by zombies and shows absolutely no reaction on his face.

However, like I stated, this Fulci film is so bad that it's entertaining and made me laugh quite a bit. The make-up effects are painfully atrocious are victims' blood looks more like Kool-Aid and the make-up artists clearly couldn't be bothered to make the latex flesh match the skin tones of the actor they were applying it to. But the one thing that makes this film bearable to watch in its badness, is the teeth-clenching sound. Like all Fulci films, Italian actors were cast to portray American actors and they did their lines in English--HOWEVER, all lines were redubbed and quite obviously so. Some of the actors even try to sound Southern! So, basically, every single line spoken in this film is something to laugh at. But the bad sound doesn't end there--no, wait to you get a taste of the film's music. Never had I heard music more illogically placed within a horror film. Honestly, it seemed that the producers paid a band who makes elevator music and asked them to try their hand at making spooky music. Finally, this film has some of the worst foley work I've ever heard in a movie. Footsteps don't fade as characters walk down halls, blood apparently sounds like bubbles popping when it drips on a sweater and it seems that if you use scissors to cut a shirt, it sounds like a katana being removed from its sheath.

Yes, The Beyond is an complete piece of crap that, for reasons I will never understand, has a cult following among horror film fanboys but the film is bad on such a level with its weak story, lack of plot, terrible acting, and lazy sound that it actually is mildly enjoyable to watch. However, not for the reasons that Fulci intended.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

RoboGeisha

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

RoboGeisha - 3 out of 5

When I first saw this trailer two years ago (I would have put it on my blog so you could get the idea but it's a mature rated trailer) I felt an uncontrollable urge to see the film. It was about a robot Geisha assassin that killed people with swords that came out of her butt, machine gun breasts and not to mention he actually murders someone using only fried shrimp. Add to the fact the trailer showcases a robot building that attacks another building and actually makes the structure bleed, I knew I had to see this film. The guys that brought you Tokyo Gore Police and The Machine Girl re-unite in order to bring this film of epic weirdness (want to make the experience even more amusing? Put on the English audio and turn off the subtitles. The dubbed voices make it even funnier due to the terrible voice acting). No one does weird better than Japan (if you've never played a Japanese video game, you must, it's the best way to understand the madness of their one-of-a-kind creativity).

There are not enough adjectives in a thesaurus for strange that can be given to this unbelievably over-the-top film. However, the film is on such another level that its novelty quickly wears off by the time it hits its hour mark. By that time, I just wanted it to be over because I had my fill. The jokes quickly wear thin and the cartoonish special effects (which could have either been done due to monetary constraints or to give it an extra dose of insane, who knows) start to get tiresome and make this movie become overbearing and formulaic--despite of how out-there it is. Sure it has some entertainment value because it's like nothing else to ever be released but there isn't much replay value to it. Now, I watched it by myself and, to be honest, I'll probably never watch it again unless I smoke a lot of weed or decide to watch it with some friends.

RoboGeisha is one of those absolutely strange films that will no doubt make you say, "What the fuck?!?" but the problem is that it's TOO strange, to the point it starts to become unbearable. Unless under the influence of a mind-altering substance or with some pals, it starts to get boring. However, if you do decide to watch it, have some fun with it and make it a drinking game. Every time the main character utters the word "sister," drink. Now you're probably wondering why she says "sister" so much. I guess you'll have to watch it to find out why because I'm not going to tell you. RoboGeisha rests at a moderate 3 out of 5.

The Monster Squad

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

The Monster Squad - 3 out of 5

I had never actually heard of this 1987 film until a friend of mine told me about it. So, I put it on my Netflix queue and read a couple of reviews before I sat down to watch it (not to sway my opinion of it prior to viewing it but rather to gauge what others thought of it). For the most part, the reviews by members on Netflix was quite positive. One review caught my eye because someone called it The Goonies with Universal's monsters. That set the bar too high I think because The Goonies is a masterpiece. The Monster Squad, however, is just a mildly entertaining film that isn't even in the same league as The Goonies.

The film centers around a small town (that apparently has the most moronic and easily killed cops to ever be put to film--seriously, a feather could hit one of these cops and they would suffer multiple fractures) and in this small town is where Dracula decides to gather the rest of the monsters Universal made famous (Frankenstein's monster, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Mummy and The Wolfman) and team together to take over the world. However, a small group of children obsessed with monsters decides they must take the responsibility to stop them after Abraham Van Helsing failed to do so many years prior.

There's no real actors of note in this film other than a couple of 80's staple stock actors and the story isn't going to change your life. The special effects are definitely dated by today's standards but the make-up effects and creature designs are truly the best part of this film. Of course, this shouldn't be surprising because a Mr. Stan Winston did that part!

There was one thing that I did take notice to with the film, however, and it's something I've started to notice more and more as I re-visit films from the 1980's. That being the derogatory and downright homophobic language used like it's nothing in this film (and other films of the era). Young children throw the word "faggot" around like they're calling another kid "butthead" or more innocent insults (three times in one scene alone) and another kid is telling the other kid about the dangers of "homos." It goes to show you how times have changed and how were making progress towards acceptance of homosexual lifestyles because the talk and language used by these children in this family film (by 1987's standards) would now be used to vilify characters in movies produced nowadays. Not to go on a rant or anything but I've just noticed this more and more as I re-watch films from the 80's and think it's cool how progressive our society is becoming and how we won't allow such blatant hatred of homosexuality in family films anymore.

Anyway,this movie is one of those films that isn't terrible but not earth-shattering either. It has its moments that are truly entertaining and make it worth the time (like when the kids take out the mummy or the end battle--that part is loaded with hilarity, mostly unintentional, however.) It's just good enough to watch once and awhile when you don't feel like watching anything else and just need something you can zone out to and relax with.

I Am Number Four

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

I Am Number Four - 2 out of 5

You know your Sci-fi action film is in trouble when the action is saved for the last fifteen minutes and feels more like a rip-off of Superman and X-men combined together in an unholy offspring that should have been cast off the cliffs of Sparta than released into theaters.

Based on a popular book series (although after watching this movie, I can't understand why with its generic story) I Am Number Four is about some wayward alien children sent to Earth after their native race is killed. As these children get older, powers start to develop but they find themselves hunted by a rival group of aliens. The film centers around Number Four at the time his powers start to manifest but the fact that one of his powers is the ability to use his hands as flashlights throws up another warning flag that this is going to be a shitty ride. However, the film doesn't end up becoming a shitty ride...just a boring one.

It seems the filmmakers forgot to add action to their action film as they spend more time having boring and dragging scenes that showed our hero sitting and staring while horrible acoustic wimp rock plays in the background. Which brings me to our hero...it was very difficult--impossible, actually--to take this film's hero seriously as he looks like he just came out of an Ambercrombie and Fitch store rocking Nickelback on his iPod while throwing on his white-framed sunglasses, popping the collar on his pink polo shirt and reeking of Axe body spray. Why am I cheering on this seemingly douche bag who probably calls his friends "brah" when the camera turns off and instructs them to "crush it" when they're about to do something like hit on women? Add to the fact his acting was terribly lifeless and you have absolutely no reason to care about this character. Come to think of it, NO ONE in this film delivered in the acting department. Okay, so we have a douche bag for a hero, can the movie at least give us some bad guys that are badass? Not in I Am Number Four. Nope, the bad guys actually come off quite silly and it's just as hard to take them seriously as it is our hero.

After watching this film, I began to wonder how exactly did this book series (and ultimately the movie) get made because it is the most generic and re-hashed Superhero storyline I've ever seen. There's nothing unique going on here and nothing we haven't already seen a million times over in movies and comic books. Maybe that's why this movie is so insulting to the intelligence. It's quite obvious from the script that the filmmakers didn't take their audience seriously and believed that just because there's superpowers and aliens, geeks will automatically flock to the theaters to see this. And I'll be honest, being a geek, I sought this movie out but man do I regret it. The film and the characters lack depth and the story and all its elements have no motivation to go from scene to scene. For example, the powers these characters have contain no rhyme or reason other than to move the plot along. Apparently, Number Four--along with his booklight palms and telekinesis--can start cars when the plot needs him too. All this did was show how the writers were lazy but maybe that's another power Number Four has: breaking the fourth wall and showcasing the lack of talent behind the scenes. But seriously, Flashlight Palms? Who thought of that and thought it was cool? A power like that will get you a mega-wedgie from Colossus in Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.

The only reason I gave this movie a 2 out of 5 and not a more deserving 1 is the fact that Timothy Olyphant is in it and is the only person able to act. Honestly, his talent was wasted on this film and I constantly found myself saying that he should have dialed it back because all he did was showcase how bad the other actors were. Maybe if they cast someone other than Olyphant, they might have had more money for their special effects. The CGI in this film runs the spectrum of being passable and "Seriously? That's the effect you're going with?" In the end, I Am Number Four is just a boring film that lacks skills and imagination.

Gulliver's Travels

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Gulliver's Travels - 3 out of 5

Another retelling of the classic story by Jonathan Swift with an end product of a completely mediocre film. Jack Black stars as Gulliver, a humble dreamer working in a mail room of a major magazine who, after lying about being a writer, finds himself in the Bermuda Triangle looking for a story and ends up in a magical world called Liliput where he's a giant and can finally be the big shot he believes he is.

At no point is the film ever laugh out loud funny and probably elicited a single chuckle out of me during the entire film. In fact, most of the jokes are bottom shelf and predictable. While the story itself is quite straight forward, the filmmakers decided to add a romantic subplot between Black and Amanda Peet (who's career peaked after showing her tits in The Whole Nine Yards). However, this subplot feels tacked on and awkward as Peet's character isn't really developed and isn't mentioned for a good majority of the film.

Jack Black is exactly how you would expect him in a starring role. That being that you quickly reach your dose of JB within the first half hour of the film. Now, don't get me wrong, I love Jack Black. I think he's a very funny guy but I have yet to see him do justice to a starring role (with the exception of Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny but that movie had a lot going on in it besides JB). In fact, I've often found him to be like Chris Farley during that man's heyday--that being he always delivered amazing supporting roles but, with the exception of Tommy Boy, was an embarrassment in starring roles (and before you hate on me for saying that, watch Beverly Hills Ninja again and tell me you don't agree with me). So, throughout the entire run of Gulliver's Travels, Jack Black will run the spectrum of being mildly entertaining and outright annoying--he's never really entertaining mostly because the weak script really doesn't give anyone in this film much to work with. Also, there's a pointless song number thrown in but this just felt like a pathetic attempt to get Black to sing, as if reminding the audience of the existence of Tenacious D.

Even worse in this film is the completely underutilized presence of Billy Connolly. One of the funniest stand up comedians to ever exist, Connolly is nearly pushed into the background and only given a few lines (none of them funny) as the King of Liliput. However, this film was a major step-up after the nightmare inducing sequel to a great film called The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day. So, when I take that into consideration, Connolly's presence in this film isn't as bad as it could be.

Now, I sound pretty scathing on this film but let me assure you, it's not that bad. The film isn't terrible to warrant a reaction where you wish it didn't exist (like I did when I saw The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day--I only bring it up again because of Connolly). Like I said at the beginning of this review, Gulliver's Travels is completely mediocre. It's not great but not absolutely terrible either. But there are some great things going on that might give reason to give it a view other than the fact little children might find the jokes about wedgies funny.

First off, the special effects are very VERY good. And the filmmakers did an amazing job of creating a sense of scale and making Black look larger than life. But most importantly, Chris O'Dowd is just absolutely FANTASTIC in this film! I'll admit, I'm a big fan of Chris O'Dowd thanks to the amazing BBC program The IT Crowd. I've even gone as far as watching How to Lose Friends & Alienate People just because O'Dowd had a role in it. Granted it was a small part and the movie was utter garbage but the 3 minutes O'Dowd had was awesome. And even though this film isn't the best product he could have starred in (check him out in Pirate Radio, great movie all around), he does an amazing job as General Edward.

So, in the end, it turns out that special effects and the acting of one man is the sole reason to watch this film. But when you consider most the garbage that comes out in Hollywood, that's two more reasons than some other films have going for it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Big Love Season 4

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Big Love Season 4 - 5 out of 5

The fourth season of T.V's best show about polygamists--wait, it's T.V.'s ONLY show about polygamists.

Bill Hendrickson and his three wives: Barb, Nicolette and Margene, have entered a whirlpool of madness in this show's fourth season unlike anything they've faced in the previous seasons. I personally love this show but this season went above and beyond! I thought season 3 was a madhouse of activity with the season ending with Roman's death and Bill deciding to start his own church but right off the bat, season 4 decides to outdo itself. Roman's body is discovered, the Hendricks deal with the troubles of their new business (the Indian casino), Margene struggles with some feelings she's having for Bill and Barb's oldest son (something that's been building for awhile on the show), J.J. seals with Roman's widow Adaleen and it turns out that he's involved with some dark stuff at his Kansas compound where eugenics and inbreeding may possibly be happening, Sarah Hendricks gets married and leaves the family, Nicky is trying to get pregnant again, Alby gets involved in an appropriate relationship while trying to take his place as prophet in Juniper Creek and Bill decides that he's going to run for State Senate and wants to go public with his family and The Principle.

Whew! There is a lot going on in this season and is definitely the best one I've seen so far. The only real complaint I have is the change to the show's opening (I really like the original with The Beach Boy's "God Only Knows" as the show's theme) but with the amazing writing and the twisting and addicting story, this complaint is pointless. Add to the fact that each actor out-did themselves and the addiction of Sissy Spacek to the season and one of my favorite character actors; Zeljko Ivanek, having an even larger presence than in the previous season (of course, his character was introduced in the end of season 3) there is absolutely NOTHING going wrong on this time around. This is as close to perfection as Big Love can get!

Feast III: The Happy Ending

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Feast III: The Happy Ending - 1 out of 5

I realize the filmmakers were trying to be ironic when they call the final film in their series "The Happy Ending" but for me, the only reason it was happy was the fact the torture was finally ended. If you read my review of the 2nd film, you'd realize I was not a fan of it but was a fan of the first film. I say was because the horror I had to sit through for these two follow-ups have made me reconsider how I feel about the film that started it all.

When I first saw Feast, I thought that this was just about as good as it gets with dark comedies within the horror genre. The movie was soaked in the feel of a horror film but was witty with its humor and had a great script and cast backing it up. However, it seems that this quality was completely left behind for the 2nd one in favor of fart and dick jokes. This formula was repeated for the final one as well.

The story takes off where the last one left off and follows the continuing struggle for survival of the characters (if you can call them that) from the 2nd one. This film also establishes some new characters but the problem is that, like the last one, none of the characters are well acted or even interesting so you spend an hour and a half watching annoying people, for the most part, do nothing. Also, like the last one, scenes are padded out to the point of annoyance in a very obvious attempt to get this film to a feature length. Maybe I'm old school but if your script doesn't have enough story to get to at least an hour and a half WITHOUT resorting to five minute scenes of people screaming, you need to go back to the drawing board.

I could go on and on about why this movie is just crap but the reality is, everything single thing that was wrong about the last one is repeated in this film and I really don't feel like sounding like a broken record (read my review of the last one to find out why this one sucks so much ass). However, I want to elaborate how experiencing these terrible direct-to-DVD sequel has made me reconsider how I now feel about the first film.

Let's compare my experience to a relationship: The first film is like a great relationship with someone you care about. You're having fun and enjoying yourself but then the 2nd film comes along and it's the first time the person you care about decides to lie and cheat on you. You're hurt and upset but remember the good times so you forgive the person. However, the 3rd film comes along and it's the second offense. You're lied to and cheated on again and incapable of looking at the relationship the same.

In my opinion, it seems that the entertainment that came from the first film was a fluke. Just like how Peter Jackson got lucky thanks to loads of help and lots of money with The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (his luck became obvious after watching the torturous King Kong remake), the filmmakers behind Feast got lucky with their first film and had tons of cash backing them up (and many celebrities possibly helping with the script) thanks to Project: Greenlight. When left to their own devices, they create shit barely worth being called toilet humor. I mean the 2nd one and this one are bad enough on their own but imagine if they were combine into one long, horrible film? If you accidentally looked at the screen, your face would melt off like that Nazi in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Creepshow 3

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Creepshow 3 - 1 out of 5

It's expected that sequels within a horror film franchise (even the most obscure) will get worse and worse however I've never seen one take such a dramatic decline in quality as I saw in Creepshow 3.

I really enjoyed the first two films. They were sometimes off the wall silly but the stories they contained were often witty, humorous and a little spooky--many with delightful twisting, ironic ending. However, the creativity that was seen in the previous two was completely abandoned for this phoned in sequel. I really don't know what the filmmakers were thinking when this film was produced because right off the bat, the script should have screamed crap as the stories are far from interesting and the terrible writing would be obvious even on paper as it is on screen. The quality of these stories makes me believe that the filmmakers gathered them from a 6th grade creative writing class in the worst middle school in America. Only a naive pre-teen would think that the stories contained within this film were somehow creative and witty. And then, as if to emphasize the terrible stories, the director seemingly instructed his cast of individuals who I've never seen before (and probably never will again) to over-act every single solitary second of the film. The acting is so over-the-top and annoying, you should probably induce vomiting if you accidentally see any of it.

There is nothing--ABSOLUTELY NOTHING--that works in this film. The stories are inane and lack the unique perspectives the first two films had (one story is nearly identical to one in the 2nd film) and the acting is enough to drive a person insane. And I don't even want to get started on the film's attempt to be humorous. Let's just say I would rather see a double feature show of Dane Cook and Carlos Mencia doing all the jokes they stole from more talented comedians in order to become famous than watch a single joke from this film. In fact, it actually took me three sittings to make it through the film because I would end my torment and come back to it days later...it was that hard to sit through.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Tillman Story

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

The Tillman Story - 5 out of 5

I'm not a sports guy. I would rather be rolling twenty sided dice and playing L.A. Noire than watch a single sports game. Call me emasculated, call me whatever you like but sports just don't interest me. However, documentaries DO interest me--no matter what the subject material. And when the documentary is about an atheist pro-football player turned soldier who dies in action and the details of his death are covered up by some of the highest of the higher ups in our government, you've sold me in spades!

If you're a sports guy (so, basically, not me) you know who Pat Tillman is. The man who gave up millions of dollars playing for the Arizona Cardinals to go and fight in Iraq. It's no secret that Tillman died in duty and many douche bags in our government decided to use his death to push their own political agendas. Let me clear that up because when I say douche bags in our government, I pretty much described 99% of the politicians in the good old U.S.A. The specific douche bags I'm talking about is guys like John McCain, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Donald Rumsfeld and even some D-Bags at Fox News (there I go again describing all of them) got into the mix and used Tillman's death to push the war and sell him as an American Hero. Something his family assured he DIDN'T want. However, what was a secret about Tillman's unfortunate demise is how the government (those same D-Bags who used his name to push their agendas) covered up the details of exactly how Tillman was killed--even going as far as lying to the man's family and widow.

Josh Brolin narrates the documentary and from beginning to end it's interesting and pulls at the heartstrings as it compiles interviews with Tillman's family and fellow soldiers who witnessed the man's death along with videos and photos of the man himself during his playing days. It was hard to NOT cry as you see the pain our government put this poor family through who already were suffering a tremendous loss and it's even harder to not already hate an administration that was already questionable with its ethics (yeah, I'm a liberal and this review is bias towards it, I admit it, I'm not Fox and would lie and say I'm "Fair and Balance").

The story is tragic and heartbreaking but the documentary is well put together with overwhelming evidence of wrong doing by our government. If you like documentaries, this is definitely one to check out.

Howl

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Howl - 4 out of 5

It would be easy to make a film about Allen Ginsberg and the infamous obscenity trial about his poem Howl but if you're going to do a film about one of America's greatest poets, you better make it as creative as the man's own voice.

That's exactly what filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman did when they created Howl.

The film focuses mostly on the trial itself and when Ginsberg first debuted the poem in 1955. Events are never told in the order they occur but rather thrown together in a disorderly--BUT orderly--fashion. Events taking place in the trial are shown in color and while Ginsberg's early life show in gritty black and white. While this technique is quite simple, it's able to express words beyond measure as it not only gives the feel of an older, simpler time (hence black and white) but is an easier way to illustrate to the audience the time period this particular segment of the film is taking place without having to actually spell it out for the viewer. By showing these scenes in black and white it also works to give the scenes in the trial more depth as it is able to depict how something as simple as a poem can shake the foundation of the way people see their world. Forced to experience something beyond their comfort zone, they have to see the world isn't the sharp contrast of dark and light they once believed...or maybe the directors just like to play with the cinematography of the film.

To make this film even more interesting to view is the visual dance the film gives you as Ginsberg recites the controversial poem. Animated sequences of cartoons that could easily belong in a Pink Floyd video grace the screen as Ginsberg (played by James Franco) reads aloud. These sequences are beautiful and seem to be the icing on an already delicious cake.

James Franco plays the famed poet who sparked a literary revolution and, like every role this young man plays, he knocks it out of the park. I'm starting to get the idea that there is literally not a single part this guy CAN'T play. Franco is also joined by two men who are not only great actors but have terrific scenes with each other in the court room. John Hamm plays Jake Ehrlich the attorney in charge of defending the publication of Ginsberg's poem against David Strathairn playing Ralph McIntosh, the man who desires the censorship of the art. Their scenes together aren't your typical courtroom drama with passions flaring like suns going supernova but are restrained and absolutely captivating.

Unique and creative, Howl tells a historical story in a non-typical fashion. With great acting, tantalizing visuals, and an engaging story, this film is very entertaining and worth the watch.

Caprica Season 1.5

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Caprica Season 1.5 - 2 out of 5

While the first half of the only season of the the prequel to Battlestar Galactica had some promise and aired a few good episodes (mostly the pilot), the final half of the season just become a tangled mess.

Towards the end of season 1.0, episodes didn't do much except drag out the ridiculously thin premise the producers dug themselves into (mainly that being the idea of Daniel Graystone putting Zoey's avatar into a Cylon body and then Zoey wanting to get out) but this final half of the show's only season sees a little more going on in the story department as Zoey is now free of her robotic body and running wild in the Holoband with her fellow terrorist attack victim turned avatar, Joesph Adama's daughter; Tamara. The final half of the series also focuses on the activities of the terrorist organization that believes in the one god and how they ended up getting their hands on buttloads of Cylons (a whole bunch of Cylons? That should have been the focus the entire series.) All the while this is going on, the same stuff is still boiling. Things like the growing tension between Daniel Graystone and Joseph Adama. Ultimately, the show ends with Cylons becoming a part of society, technology being developed for the "skin jobs" we loved from Battlestar Galactica and the gospel of the one true god starting to get in the audio inputs of those war-loving toasters.

As I said before, this season was just a mess as it started to feel like too much was going on (it's like the producers realized their time was up and they tried to get everything in) and the final episode is the only real episode to watch. In fact, even the final episode felt piled up and crammed together. Had they stretched the activities going on in this half of the season to reach the entire series, the show may have been easier to watch and made it past a single season. However, it didn't work out that way.

When it began, I had high hopes for Caprica but after it was all over, I think my hopes may have been too high.

Caprica Season 1.0

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Caprica Season 1.0 - 3 out of 5

I'm a big fan of the reboot of Battlestar Galactica. So, you can imagine how excited I was when it was announced that the frakking awesome series would have a prequel come out that would show the 12 colonies BEFORE the first Cylon/Human war and show how the toasters ended up believing in a god (machines believing in god was interesting enough) in an otherwise polytheistic society. Sounds awesome to me! However, then the actual product was aired and I realized my excitement was wasted.

Prior to the release of the series (about an entire year) the producers unleashed the extended (mature rated) pilot. While it didn't have the distinctive qualities I came to know and love from BSG, it held some promises. However, all promise and potential is completely wasted as the series finally gets going. In an effort to bring in more female viewers and not repeat the formula that made BSG amazing, the writers and producers created a show that followed two rival familes, the Graystones and the Adamas, on the world of Caprica. After a terrorist attack claims the lives of the daughters of the two men of these families, Daniel Graystone, an obscenely rich engineer (played by Eric Stoltz), decides he can recreate his lost daughter, Zoey, thanks to a deeply rich avatar she left behind on the Holoband (basically a virtual reality internet). He decides he will place this avatar into a Cybernetic Lifeform Node (a.k.a. a Cylon) body and will do the same for Joseph Adama (the father of William Adama from the reboot series and played by Esai Morales). However, after implanting the avatar into the body, Daniel unknowingly creates the prophet for the word of the one true god that the Cylon's believe in.

Now this sounds amazing but like I said, all potential was completely wasted as the show didn't focus on the rise of the Cylons but rather aimed it towards family squabbling (all for the female viewers, producers? Was it worth it?). When we could have seen the evolution of the Cylons, what we got was a spoiled, annoying brat acting like your typical teenager. The character of Zoey at no point comes off as a messiah to the Cylons during this first half of the season (the only season too, thanks to the poor ratings) but just comes off as a self-entitled punk who arrogantly believes she is right about everything--your typical teenager. If it wasn't for the great acting by Morales and Stolz, this series would have put me to sleep with it's dragging story that did little in the development department. When compared to the reboot of BSG, this show moves at a snail's pace and doesn't offer much intrigue, so all desire to move to the next episode is almost nil.

Okay, I'll admit it's unfair to compare the show to the reboot series since they are two different animals. Battlestar Galactica is an action packed thrill ride filled with compelling stories and captivating characters and Caprica was intended to be more of a focus on family dynamics, loss and the impact of technology and religion on an already unstable society due to arrogance and complacency. While I dig the concepts that Caprica was going to focus on, the reality is, I didn't dig what was delivered. After the pilot, the show had a few episodes that were able to keep my attention and were genuinely interesting to me but after that and towards the end of this first half, all interest was gone as episodes will pass with not much development on story or characters going on.

But it has to get better in Season 1.5 right?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hellraiser VIII: Hellworld

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Hellraiser VIII: Hellworld - 2 out of 5

Finally, after all the brutally bad direct-to-DVD sequels this franchise produced, it finally made one that is so laughably bad, it's great!

Right off the bat, the film is just silly as it's about a group of kids addicted to an online video game called Hellworld. The game takes all the elements of the Cenobites, the Lament Configuration and other staples from the series (that the characters in the story believe to be fictitious) and puts them together for gamers to solve. One of the kids ended up killing themselves and the rest believe it had to do with the game--however, this doesn't stop them from playing the game. Well, after the funeral, all the friends solve the puzzle box in the game (remember in my last review when I complained how easy it was to solve the box? Well, they didn't make it any more difficult online) and their reward for their "hard" work is an invite to a party with other sick and twisted individuals who love the game and love to have promiscuous sex even more. However, it turns out that the party was all a plan by the father of the kid who committed suicide (played by the man with one of the coolest voices in the business, Lance Henriksen) in order to get revenge on the kids he blames for the loss of his son.

For the most part, Pinhead doesn't have much of a role in this film. This movie also turns out to be the last film that Doug Bradley stars in as the iconic Pinhead (a ninth film was made without him and only released into a single theater--there hasn't been word on if it will be released on DVD before the remake of the original comes out--or ever really). The film spends more time focusing on Henriksen dishing out the pain on the teenagers at the party. However, like I mentioned before, this movie is so bad, it's funny. The acting is atrocious and is nearly equal to the story. However, it's so bad on a level that it never ceases being funny--especially the acting of many of the kids as they overdo it to the point that it would make Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter say, "Whoa, dial it back, guys." Even the fact that puzzle box and all things Pinhead went online is enough to keep you giggling throughout the entire run.

Hellraiser VIII: Hellworld is NEVER scary and the story is never interesting or engaging but because it's funny with its endless stupidity, it's actually better to watch than the other direct-to-DVD sequels and, as I feel, warrants its 2 out of 5.

Hellraiser VII: Deader

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Hellraiser VII: Deader - 1 out of 5

Above all other films in this extremely mediocre horror film franchise, this seventh installment has the honor of having, in my opinion, the dumbest title of them all. Sure the other ones have titles that have the word hell added to other words in order to stick with the overall theme of the series but using the word "Deader" just sounds silly to me. Sure, it has something to do with the story but it doesn't change the fact I find myself snickering at it.

The extremely hot, Kari Wuher stars as a reporter who is sent to investigate a cult that supposedly can cheat death called Deaders (so that's where the stupid title comes from. It's all coming together like a puzzle with only a few pieces). Through her investigation, she finds the familiar Lament Configuration and accidentally opens it. As usual, chains erupt out of the box and Pinhead makes his appearance but he doesn't come for her soul but rather offers her warning that she's in danger. The reasons for the torturer's warning becomes clear as it seems that the cults (*snicker* the Deaders) may have found a way to invade Pinhead's realm of hell without the aid of the puzzle box.

First off, I need to go on a rant about the puzzle box. Early in the series, the Lament Configuration was something that took time to solve and the characters in the series seemed to struggle with getting it to work. However, as the series progress, the difficulty level required to figure the box out has greatly dropped as each time all they have to do is press a single button and the box solves itself. Not much of a puzzle then, is it?

Like the previous films, this film is just boring and even the fact they've worked some more gore into it that they retracted from in the last two films isn't enough to save it. Even the fact you get to see Wuher's boobs isn't enough to warrant a viewing of this movie. The concept to the film has promise but the film never capitalizes on it. I liked the idea that a cult (despite their stupid name) is somehow able to infiltrate Pinhead's world and stop themselves from dying but the film takes all the potential it COULD have and wastes it but centering the film ENTIRELY around Wuher's reporter character. I think seeing the events from a couple other perspectives and getting to know the other characters would have been a good thing for this movie. However, it was clear from the second this film started that, like the other direct-to-DVD sequels, that the filmmakers were only looking to ride the franchise's name and get a little bit of cash back and had no interest in making a good film.