Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bored to Death Season 1

***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!

Bored to Death Season 1 - 4 out of 5

Without a doubt, I think this is the weakest show HBO has ever allowed on their network. While this show is entertaining, it lacks the polish that has defined the premium cable network. Bored to Death feels more like it belongs on a 3rd tier cable network like TBS or TNT. The show focuses on a young writer named Jonathan Ames (played by Jason Schwartzman) who, after getting dumped by his girlfriend, decides to pretend to be a private detective while his boss (Ted Danson) and his best friend (Zach Galifianakis) tag along.

The premise has promise and the episodes are entertaining but for the most part, the jokes delivered in this comedy are nothing new and are way too predictable. But the one thing that hurts the show tremendously is having Jason Schwartzman as the main character. When the season first starts, he's playing the same character he's done his entire career--you know, the arrogant, depressed intellectual who feels he's superior to all others. Seeing this re-hashed character for the um-teenth time Schwartzman has played it makes getting into the series difficult. Then, as if the writers realized that Schwartzman is playing the same character, the show decides to make Ames a cool but awkwardly so individual. This would be an alright change but the problem is that Schwartzman can't pull it off--I guess that's why he plays the same character. Schwartzman becomes so unconvincing in his role that his scenes become amateurish and look like a college student film with an amazing budget.

However, there are two things that make this series worth watching and made this season passable and fun. That is Galifianakis and Danson. Zach plays your typical smart-ass character we've seen before but unlike Schwartzman's lack of diversity, Galifiankis is able to make his scenes funny because he can actually deliver lines and not come off like a pretentious asshole. But the biggest draw of this show for me was the character of George Christopher played by Ted Danson. Danson was so addicting and funny in this role that he immediately punched up every scene he was in and stole the show. He was hysterical by himself and absolutely terrific doing scenes with Zach Galifianakis but what was most amazing was how he was able to make scenes with Schwartzman bearable to watch and able to pick them up as Schwartzman brought them down.

I guess you can tell that I'm not a fan of Schwartzman and I won't lie, I'm not. I can't stand the guy because he only plays one role and he can't even play it well. I can stand him, partially, in some movies but watching an entire series with him as the main dude was going to be difficult. However, I'm an HBO fanboy so I had to give this show a shot. But with Zach Galifianakis kicking ass and Ted Danson stealing the show, Bored to Death is definitely a show I'll come back to.

Catfish

***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!

Catfish - 1 out of 5

Watch the trailer of this film and it sells you on the idea that it is a documentary showcasing a long distance, unique relationship between a photographer and a little girl painter that starts to turn into a mystery. The photographer begins talking to the little girl's older sister through Facebook, phone calls and text messages and they seem to fall in love...however, suspicion takes over and the photographer begins to wonder if this woman really exists--or if anything he's learned about these people was even true.

The trailers sell this movie like it's this dark, twisting depraved tale that will shock and horrify you and to top it off, they have the nerve to sell it as "real." However, within the first few minutes of the film, you quickly learn that this is not a documentary or even a mockumentary. Instead, it comes off as one of those shitty "found footage" films like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity. The only difference is, that after they lied and said the films were real, the filmmakers of those movies had the respect for the audience to say it was all a marketing gimmick and that they were indeed, fiction. Had the filmmakers of this piece of crap done the same, I might have enjoyed it but the fact they continue to claim it's real after all the evidence to the contrary, it makes it impossible to enjoy this film.

Why is it so obvious that this film was fake, you ask? First off, the man who is the photographer overacts. At no point does he react like a real person and it seems he thinks that he's Tom Cruise because he does all his acting with different variants of smiling. Finally, to top it off, he's got a tramp stamp--WHAT GUY HAS A TRAMP STAMP?!? There's also tons and tons of smaller clues placed throughout the film that scream, "THIS MOVIE IS FAKE!!!" but they're too numerous to get into now. However, the biggest glaring example of the lack of authenticity to this film is the fact that the cameramen are always around to conveniently capture all the key "plot points" of the film. And I won't even get into the idea that the cameramen are actively getting involved in the goings on with the photographer (a major no-no for documentary filmmaking). I also won't talk about why the photographer didn't do some research online about the child painter or her older sister until 8 months into their relationship. Also, the cameramen seemed to have started filming this story long before it would have ever been interesting--so the question has to be asked, "What motivated them to film the evolution between a child painter and a photographer?" The relationship started very innocent. The little girl painted a picture that was published and sent it to him and they eventually started a correspondence where he took pictures for her to paint. Why would this be interesting enough to make a documentary about? Did they have psychic powers and they learned he would eventually start to evoke romantic feelings for the child's older sister?

A part of me understands why they would claim that it's real despite the fact it's obviously fake. The film makes the commentary about how the internet has allowed us to lead virtual lives and that it can sometimes cause drama and trouble in the real world. So, by creating a fake documentary and passing it off as real speaks volumes about the point they're making. However, the commentary becomes a double-edge sword. Had the filmmakers been honest and sold the movie as fiction, I could have enjoyed it because it was well made (Morgan Spurlock actually had the guts to go up to the producers of this film and say they created the "best fake documentary" he's ever seen. Now that's bad-ass!). However, the fact that they still claim that it was 100% real disgusted me and quickly took me out of the film because it just showcased the arrogance of the filmmakers and classic sense of narcissism that they think that they somehow pulled the wool over the audiences' eyes and thought they were too stupid to realize. This act is just as insulting as when American Teen came out and the filmmakers claimed that one was real.

The Slumber Party Massacre III

***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 Slumber Party Massacre III - 2 out of 5

Another slumber party, another killer who likes to use a drill as a weapon.

The first two films were connected by a reoccurring character but this film has no connection to two with the previous ones. However, the story isn't that much different. A bunch of girls have a sleep over and some horny boys want in...the only problem is that one of the boys is a stranger to them. Pretty soon, the boys and girls find they're getting picked off one by one.

All the things you would expect from a teen slasher film is here...characters who lack common sense and can't make a single semblance of intelligent decision making in stressful situations (and a killer chasing you through a house is pretty damn stressful), pointless nudity, bad acting and predictable story. But like most B-movies I've been watching lately, The Slumber Party Massacre III is absolutely hilarious. Especially when the "massacre" portion of the film starts and the killer reveals himself and decides to have a murder buffet and go after them all at once. Why is this funny? Because of the forced way the filmmakers try to get around the major plot hole that is the idea that the characters could easily barricade themselves in a bedroom or could easily escape through one of the many entrances into the home.

However, one thing really struck me in this movie and that was how early they revealed the identity of the killer. His motives remain a mystery until the end of the film but the identity is revealed shockingly quickly. Characters like Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers and our hockey mask, machete-loving boy from Camp Crystal Lake; Jason, are never really kept a mystery in their films but their particular sub-genre in the slasher world is the exception to the rule. The only thing that was left to solve in those movies is the "why." Why is Freddy killing kids in their dreams? Why is Michael Myers out to kill his sister? Why does Jason hate camp counselors making with the sex so much that he has to put a blade in their faces? However, other slasher films have the "who done it" element to it and it isn't until the final moments of the film that we get to see who the killer was. Movies like Scream rewarded us at the end and kept the mystery going quite well and movies like Sleepaway Camp made us vomit in our collective mouths with the "what the fuck?!?" ending it had. That's why I was so shocked to find out how early this film revealed who the killer was.

Unlike the other "massacre" movies, this movie actually has something that represents a "massacre." As I've stated in my reviews of the other films in this franchise, as well as the films in the Sorority House Massacre franchise, the word "massacre" feels needlessly tacked on as the body counts were pretty low and no one is really killed in any riotous fashion. The deaths in this film aren't really that wild or bloody but there is quite a few killings and the full out assault during the end almost justifies the use of "massacre." Combine that with a story and acting that is easy to make fun of and you have yourself a movie that can be quite enjoyable.

Piranha II: The Spawning

***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!

Piranha II: The Spawning - 2 out of 5

Believe it or not, James Cameron, director of the EXTREMELY overrated Avatar, made his directorial debut on this film. However, even Cameron admits that this movie is a piece of crap and joking admits that it is the best "flying piranha film ever made." This comment and his open mockery of the movie he worked on makes Cameron cool in my book...then I remember he made that piece of crap Avatar and he's instantly removed from that book.

For the most part, I agree with Cameron--this movie sucks. However, it sucks on that level where it's fun to watch. The story is not much different from the first Piranha--not the 3D one, obviously. Some government scientists have created a unique breed of piranha that is fast, killing-obsessed and--are you ready for this?--can fly!!!! Well, it wouldn't be a B-movie if these piranhas didn't get out and they set their sights on a beach resort where there will be plenty of bathing suited vacationers to munch on and it's up to a scuba instructor and Lance Henriksen (his voice in this movie is not quite fermented yet and to the point we all know it to be) to stop these uglies.

The movie is sloppy and sometimes hard to watch--hence, making it difficult to make fun of. However the sequences that are as crystal clear as they can be offer up cinematic gold to laugh at--for example, the movie opens with some scuba divers about to have sex underwater and apparently if a helicopter crashes into the ocean, it instantly explodes! Cameron admits that this movie gets better the drunker you get but I have to disagree with him because you need to enjoy this sober so you can better articulate your riffs and jokes you have at the movie's expense.

Hard to Die

***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!

Hard to Die - 2 out of 5

Hard to Die is basically Sorority House Massacre III that utilizes footage from The Slumber Party Massacre in order to tell its backstory. Many actors from Sorority House Massacre II come back to, basically, remake the movie. The story is, for the most part, the same--with a few (very few) minor changes. However, instead of some girls spending the night in their new sorority house, some employees of Acme Lingerie (I kid you not, that is the name of the business) have to stay late in order to do inventory and, after a package meant for the local museum, is opened, an evil spirit is released and the girls are in a fight for survival.

First off, I don't think I even have to mention that there is some pointless nudity in this film--the synopsis clearly sets up the pieces for that. In fact, the way the movie sets up the nudity is just plain hysterical because it did it so absolutely ridiculously, you can't help but laugh at it. Basically, the girls conveniently get dirty and are forced to take showers and wear some of the lingerie that the company has. That's right, while the girls are trying to survive an evil spirit and your typical character who is too obvious to actually be the killer, they are running around in skimpy lingerie. That fact alone is hilarious. However, believe it or not, this movie does offer up some genuine jokes making fun of the slasher genre. For example, one character, no matter the beating, stabbing and shooting he suffers from, he survives.

Gratuitous nudity aside, the film's ridiculous story (even though it's basically a re-hash of Sorority House Massacre II) and silliness of it all (intentional and unintentional jokes) is a great movie to kick back with some friends and have a good laugh. The movie is easy to make fun of when the film's real jokes fall flat so there is no reason why you won't be laughing the entire time you're watching this one.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pinocchio's Revenge

***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!

Pinocchio's Revenge - 2 out of 5

I started to type the title of this film into Google and the top suggestion for searches was "Pinocchio's Revenge shower scene." Yes, this movies claim to fame is a single scene where a mildly attractive woman bares all (and I mean all) in a shower scene. In fact, so much is seen that there's no doubt she gave a copy of this movie to her gynecologist for her yearly check-up instead of actually making an appointment.

Shower scene aside, Pinocchio's Revenge is about a District Attorney with a case about a man being accused of being a serial killer. At the beginning of the film, he is caught trying to bury his murdered son with a wooden puppet named Pinocchio--not Disney's Pinocchio. Well, through a turn of events, the evidence in a murder trial (the puppet) ends up in the hands of the DA's daughter. Suddenly, the daughter starts talking to the doll and it seems that Pinocchio is hurting, even killing, people who get in the way. But the question is asked: Is it really Pinocchio committing these atrocities...or the daughter? Dun Dun Dunnnnn!!!!

Yep, that's the story that surrounds the shower scene or, as lonely men on the internet have called the non-shower scenes, "the useless crap the sets up and follows the hot chick in the shower."

From the movie's description, you can pretty much tell what you're going to get. It's almost a guarantee that the acting will be terrible because you already know the story is stupid. And, of course, these two elements make the movie watchable because there's an entertainment factor to them but what makes this even better to watch (and riff on as you do) is that it's clear the filmmakers believed they were making a deep psychological thriller...with a wooden puppet. The way the movie ends, you know the writer, director and producers were high-fiving each other with the false belief that they just made something amazing...and the way the actors ham up their roles, it's clear they too thought they were making the Citizen Kane of cheesy horror films.

Continuing to ignore the shower scene, Pinocchio's Revenge is a great movie because it's utter crap. It's easy to make fun of and will definitely keep you entertained with its plot holes and all around silliness...and of course, you have a hot shower scene.

An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn

***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!

An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn - 1 out of 5

When a movie is called "one of the worst films of all time," a morbid curiosity within myself all but requires me to see it. I love bad films and when I see one of these truly terrible ones, I always hope that it's bad on special level where it is hilarious. Sadly, I didn't find that with An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn.

For those who don't know, Alan Smithee is a pseudonym registered by the Directors Guild of America to be used if a director feels the movie he has participated in has been changed so much to the point he no longer wants to be associated with the production. But what if there really was a director named Alan Smithee? That's basically the thin premise that this movie builds on and follows a editor turned director named Alan Smithee as he is hired to direct a action film starring Sylvester Stallone, Whoopi Goldberg and Jackie Chan called Trio (Yeah, the movie is asking you to really suspend disbelief when they try and sell Goldberg as an action star--of course, I really don't see Chan as an action star either, but that's just me). Well, the studio interferes and Smithee doesn't like the final cut of the film so he steals the master print and disappears, threatening to burn it. The film is presented in a mockumentary format as it interviews all the players involved in this scenario as they attempt to find Smithee and save the film.

First off, this movie is suppose to be a comedy but it is, at no point, EVER funny. The jokes feel like they were written by a comedian the studio found at an open mic--and it was the guy's first time on stage and only wrote the jokes he used that night while taking an extra long shit in the morning. I actually found myself feeling sorry for Eric Idle having to play the fed-up director, Smithee. The poor funny man had nothing in the script to work with. However, this film is interesting for a few reasons. Number One) This film cost nearly 10 million dollars to make and while it was in the theaters, couldn't gross 50 thousand dollars. According to Wikipedia, when adjusting for inflation, is less than what Plan 9 from Outer Space made while it was released. Number Two) This film was apart of a series of events that lead to the Directors Guild of America no longer registering the name Alan Smithee and is no longer used for films where directors no longer want to be credited in. But the most interesting fact about this film is the fact that this film, an example of art imitating life, became so massacred in the editing room by the studio that the real director, Arthur Hiller actually took his name off the credits and the credit went to Alan Smithee. At first you would think this was an gag but Hiller claims that he was absolutely disgusted with the way the film came out. As interesting as these facts are, they're not enough to give reason to watching this piece of crap.

Pucker Up: The Fine Art of Whistling

***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!

Pucker Up: The Fine Art of Whistling - 4 out of 5

When I first sat down to watch to watch Pucker Up: The Fine Art of Whistling--a documentary following the contestants of the 2004 Annual Whistler's Convention in Louisburg, North Carolina--I had the same feeling I did when I watch a little documentary about an air guitar contest called Air Guitar Nation. I thought, what a bunch of weirdos dedicating their lives to such a specific and minor thing. But then I see the participants in action and I immediately am taken back by how talented they are at their chosen art.

There's no flash to this documentary, you're not going to walk away educated on some problem plaguing society or the world--no, this is just a straight documentary about people. The film is wonderful as it focuses on those who take their art very, VERY seriously. Some compare whistling to a religious experience, some believe it's a cure for depression or even a universal language. But at the heart of it, these people are flipping talented and watching them in action is just plain awesome. To be short and sweet: Pucker Up is a fun little documentary.

Marvel Knights: Black Panther

***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!

Marvel Knights: Black Panther - 3 out of 5

Last year, in partnership with BET, Marvel produced a short-lived animated program based on the bad-ass superhero of Black Panther. However, like all animated features Marvel produces, this was just as half-assed as the direct-to-DVD features.

The Black Panther is an amazing character with a great backstory--so, you would think, it wouldn't be hard to make an animated show or film about him. Get some great animators, writers and a fantastic voice actor to give life to the Chief and protector of Wakonda and you have yourself something epic. However, as Ultimate Avengers II and now this program, has proven, it's pretty easy to screw up this awesome character. So, by now, you're probably asking yourself, "How exactly did they get this series wrong?" First off, the show spends way too much time with backstory. There was only 6 episodes and 4 of them were flashbacks with hints of the current story. That means the last two episodes actually was moving the story forward. ONLY 2 EPISODES?!? I understand that the comic that this story is based off of has a lot of history to cover for the audience but I can't help but think this could have been better handled and not have the feeling that each episode is a history lesson and not an action story building to something. Secondly, the show spends way, WAY too much time paying lip-service to Marvel's other properties. Captain America and the X-men make cameo appearances (and they make them all idiots for some reason--except Wolverine, Marvel won't let their poster boy look bad despite the fact he's a shitty hero to begin with) and the show is constantly dropping names of other Marvel characters like The Hulk, the Leader and Abomination. This, at least to me, felt like Marvel and BET weren't taking the series seriously and was using it more as a two hour commercial for Marvel's other characters.

And speaking of seriousness...the writers brought on to this program really hurt the dark tone of the show by filling it with terrible dialogue and very bad humor (also, try and not laugh at the ridiculous theme song which has people screaming "Black Panther" in high voices in the background). In reality, the writers didn't have to do much since the show is the "Who is the Black Panther?" mini-series, so all they had to do was copy that, animate it and put it on screen. The tone was also hurt very badly by the animation. The show is done entirely in the style of motion comics--static images giving minimal amount of movement--basically a comic book kinda/sort-of come to life. Motion comics always come off awkward (which is why I don't understand why they're so popular all of a sudden) and, at many times, made these amazing characters move like they had a stick firmly embedded in their anuses. How can I take the Black Panther seriously when he walks like he has to take a shit?

Finally, there is some really bad voice acting going on in this show. Many characters are portrayed as simpletons--even idiots--and their voice acting is done to help add emphasis to this fact, making the show come off more as a shitty Saturday morning cartoon than a serious animated program being shown on cable. Phil LaMarr is on the cast of voice actors and he keeps doing the voice he does for Hermes on Futurama and it keeps taking me out of the show and makes me take the series less and less seriously. The only true highlight is Djimon Hounsou as Black Panther/T'Challa. He brings life to the character, gives him some cred and is the only thing that seems to be done right in the show.

I like the Black Panther and once again seeing him wasted on an animated project on ANOTHER phoned-in animated en-devour that Marvel has undergone is really make me start to wonder why I give my money to a company that doesn't take its creations seriously. This series was loaded with potential but the lackluster motion comic-style of animation, bad voice acting and out-of-place weak humor hurt this show a lot! While it is still, at times, entertaining to watch, this series ultimately felt like it was an opportunity that wasn't allowed to be what it could have been.

Mad Men 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!

Mad Men Season 4 - 5 out of 5

Everything that's familiar is still here in AMC's amazing show about advertising in the 1960's. A thick cloud of cigarette smoke is still in the air, heavy drinking at 8 in the morning is still prevalent, guys are still smooth as silk and sleeping with every woman they can get their hands on and the show is still as addicting as hell!

Often when a show gets to the point where they hit a fourth season the real threat of the show becoming stale and repetitive becomes apparent but it seems the writers of Mad Men were prepared for this. The events the ended the previous season really set up a fantastic fourth season. The new agency of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce has given the show new life as we watch this newly formed agency try to make it from the ground up. The Draper Daughter also starts to become a real player in the show and is no longer an accessory to the hard smoking, hard drinking and hard loving Don Draper. Finally, watching the torment Don goes through as he deals with the formation of the new agency but also must deal with the divorce that he and Betty are currently going through truly makes this season spectacular. The roller coaster we see him go through make the first half of the season fly by as we watch him spiral out of control in a storm tormented sea filled with alcohol and prostitutes.

The best part, however, of this season was the evolution of the times in the era the show takes place. Small changes like the decor in Roger Sterling's office to the new younger employees filling the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce really shows how, to quote Bob Dylan, the times are a-changing. Even more interesting is how during the last half of the season the show begins to give heavy emphasis to the civil rights movement as well as women's lib as we see the often under-appreciated female characters of Joan Holloway and Peggy Olson start to realize that they are living in a man's world and aren't getting the respect they are entitled too. This new emphasis was particularly interesting to me because it seemed like the show was openly acknowledging and challenging the people who criticized the show for being sexist and racially insensitive.

Every other aspect of the show: the style, the authentic look of the times and the stellar acting are all still here. Jon Hamm is still tearing it up as Don Draper, Christina Hendricks is still hot as hell and Vincent Kartheiser still has the creepiest smile I've ever seen as the character of Pete Campbell. All the amazing qualities that make this show great are still here and the writing seems to get even better. I can't wait till season 5 starts!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Name is Khan

***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!

My Name is Khan - 4 out of 5

First off, I guess I have to state that this movie is NOT a documentary about the villain from Star Trek II. Instead, My Name is Khan is a Bollywood film about a young man named Rizwan Khan living with Asperger's Syndrome who eventually leaves his home of Mumbai and starts a life for himself in San Francisco. There he falls in love with a woman and starts to form a future with her until the events of September 11th throws his world upside-down. Anti-Muslim sentiments from people who are 100% likely to love Toby Keith and probably own American flag themed underpants and think it's patriotic to do so, start to cause trouble for the likes of Khan and his family. Members of his faith are targeted and his own step-son is murdered. The pain and grief of the loss causes a rift between Khan and his wife and he decides to find the President and inform him that he is NOT a terrorist.

The film is very emotional and paints a pretty accurate picture of how paranoid and racist our country became after the awful events of September the 11th. The love story between Khan and the lovely Mandira is also wonderfully put together but ultimately the film feels like two separate stories squeezed together to create an extra long film (but then again, it is a Bollywood film and they like 'em long--seriously, this movie is almost 3 hours). One story is the love between Mandira and Khan and the other is Khan's journey to meet the President. Because each story could have been a movie all by its own, the film will tend to drag in the middle and towards the end--although it starts terrifically, instantly grabbing my attention.

What also hurts this film is how far fetched the movie progressively becomes. While grounded in reality in the beginning of the film, the movie ends up becoming a Bollywood version of Forrest Gump and Khan enters into near superhero-like status as he falsely accused of being a terrorist and ends up becoming a media darling as he puts these troubles behind him--as well as his mission to meet the President--on the back-burner so he can help out victims of a hurricane. The way the film exponentially gets "larger-than-life" ends up hurting the emotional content of the story. While it still pulls at the heart-strings (seriously, this movie made me tear up a couple of times) it goes from being something that feels real, to something that feels more like a Dollar Menu emotional film--it starts to feel more Disney, than reality. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, it does make the film seem a little cheesier than it originally started out as.

Shah Rukh Khan plays the young man suffering with Asperger's and does it amazingly. His performance is terrific and hypnotic. And this performance is mirror by Kajol, who plays Khan's wife; Mandira. However, some supporting players can't match up the level that these two deliver. Overacting from some younger characters and some law enforcement individuals are quick to throw you out of the story but Shah Rukh Khan's performance is so powerful, that once these scenes pass, he quickly pulls you back in.

While the film is longer than it needed to be because of the feel of two stories smashed together to make one long film and its sudden fantastic turn is a bit jarring, the performances of some great actors as well as the emotion displayed and the social commentary the film makes about a post-9/11 America definitely makes My Name is Khan a movie to watch.

Amusement

***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!

Amusement - 1 out of 5

Never in my life have I seen a horror film with as many plot holes as Amusement. But then again, when your killer's name is The Laugh, I don't know why I expected even a semblance of quality from this direct-to-DVD piece of shit.

Amusement is about a young, disturbed child who, after spending years and years in a mental institution decides to extract his revenge on three girls who made fun of him (when you see the flashback, at no point do you see them teasing him). This film forces you to suspend disbelief in a way a movie has never done since some producers first said, "Sam Worthington has the acting ability to be a star." For example, you must take into consideration that The Laugh has been in a mental facility for a decade plus some yet he apparently is infinitely wealthy and uses this to get back at the girls. I won't give up any spoilers but when you watch this (and I really don't recommend it) you will quickly come to the conclusion that The Laugh is somehow a millionaire despite the fact he's been a burden on the taxpayers for most of his life. Then, to top it off, the filmmakers decided that every character in this film has to suffer from a lack of brainpower as no one makes a single logical decision. Oh, and apparently every character lacks the ability to turn their head as there is literally several scenes where characters are hiding from the killer off to his side and The Laugh seemingly can't turn his head slightly to notice them.

I won't even get into the fact that this movie is the farthest away from being scary (seriously, why the fuck is your killer named The Laugh?!?) but it's not even near being funny either (usually bad movies can be funny but this one lands far away from this too). This movie is all by itself on an island where it defies description. There are times when a movie is so bad it becomes funny and this could have been possible for this film and maybe their title of Amusement could have been justified with its irony but because this movie doesn't work at all as it steals concepts and themes from more popular and better put together horror films, pads itself out to a running length by extending scenes to the point of nausea, delivers a weak, plot holed encrusted story with lifeless actors playing characters who barely have a single dimension and gives us quite possibly the lamest killer in the history of horror films with a razor-thin motive for his killings, there's only one title that could have summed up this film and gave it justice...Shit.

Community Season 1

***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!

Community Season 1 - 4 out of 5

Community has a little bit of a Scrubs vibe going on with it (This shouldn't be a surprise since executive producers of the medical comedy signed on to this show). Like Scrubs, Community is a ensemble cast-driven comedy that, unlike Scrubs, is set in a community college and not a hospital. Joel McHale is the Zach Braff character complete with douche bag attitude and gelled hair and is clearly the weakest point of the show despite the fact that the network, writers and producers try to make him the top selling point. However, UNLIKE Braff, McHale is actually funny without having to resort to stupid prat falls. Like Scrubs, Community's strongest selling point is the great ensemble cast of characters who are able to hold their own and make the show hilarious (my favorite is the combination of Danny Pudi and Donald Glover as Abed and Troy who are not only funny separate but absolutely hysterical together.)

As far as network comedies go, this show has definitely got it going on. It doesn't have to resort to a laugh track like CBS's comedies and the writing is very, VERY solid. The jokes are witty and extremely meta as it likes to, with its tongue firmly planted in cheek, make light of the fact it's actually a show and takes a lot of pot-shots at sitcom cliches. However, I have to ask: Isn't making fun of popular media cliches become cliche itself? And speaking of cliches, the will they/won't they relationship between Joel McHale's character, Jeff Winger and Gillian Jacobs' character of Britta is sickeningly tiresome and been seen in nearly 100% of sitcoms and the show could do very well without it. However, this complaint becomes null and void as the show's writers keep making fun of Glee and the mysterious appeal that horrible show has over people. (Note: To anyone who is reading this that willingly calls themselves a "gleek," I won't apologize for the fact you watch a show that puts more emphasis on what it's going to sing this week than the show's story or characters.)

Most amazing of this show is the fact it has acted as a comeback platform for the once coke-obsessed Chevy Chase. After his fall from grace and unceremonious tossing out of the glow of the spotlight, it seemed that Chase would never work substantially in Hollywood again and after a failed comeback in the film Zoom and other small parts in movies and TV, it seemed we would never see Chase as he once was but Community has seemed to breathe new life into him and he's just as funny as Pierce Hawthorne as he was as Clark Griswold.

With fun stories, great writing and a fantastic cast of characters (including great roles by the likes of Jim Rash as the Dean, Dino Stamatopoulos as Star-Burns and Ken Jeong as Senor Chang)--and let's not forget the eye candy of Alison Brie--Community is one of those rare network sitcoms that actually works.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Justified Season 1

***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!

Justified Season 1 - 5 out of 5

I've mentioned in previous posts that shows about law enforcement are a dime a dozen. In fact, I think they have a deal when a network picks up a drama about the police force, they get a medical drama for free. So, with this overload of crap drama shows about trouble officers who care too much and let the weight of the world fall on them, it takes a special type of show about law enforcement to get me hooked and stay hooked. So, what other network than FX could do this? None, that's what. They did it with The Shield and now they're bringing an another awesome law enforcement show to the air with Justified. Look, I'll be honest, FX could have a show that's nothing but a dude taking a shit in a box and they would somehow make it work. They would hire an amazing writer to give us a reason why the man would take a dump in the box. A devilishly talented actor would be hired to portray the man who took a shit in the box and he would do it with poise and talent and you know a director who could somehow make a man shitting in a box look good would be found. This network knows what works, picks it up, and gets it on our television screen every day, every week, all year long.

Justified focuses on a U.S. Marshal named Raylan Givens who is re-assigned to his home town in Kentucky after his gun-slinging ways gets him into some trouble and he starts to be investigated for all the shootings he's been involved in. While the show contains an overall story arc of Givens investigation, as well as his relationship with the criminal Boyd Crowder, the show mainly contained self-enclosed stories of Givens investigating various crimes and criminals. While I would have liked to see a larger focus on the overall story arc, the episodes are engaging and addicting enough and filled with rich characters played by great character actors that this complaint becomes completely null and void. But the greatest--most epic--part of this show is the character of Raylan Givens being played by Timothy Olyphant.

Once again Olyphant sports a cowboy hat and once again takes the reins of a law enforcement individual (he was a sheriff in both Deadwood and the remake of The Crazies) but let's face it, the guy is a fantastic actor and really can pull off the authority role. But, in typical Olyphant style, he plays the part differently than his other roles in the legal system. Givens is a mixture of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood but with a softer edge and a little more humor mixed in. He's a quick-draw artist who never misses and clearly was born in the wrong era and the way Olyphant plays him makes him both charming and bad-ass at the same time. Great stories aside, Olyphant's portrayal of Raylan Givens is one of the biggest reasons to tune in. Finally, playing alongside Olyphant is an FX alumni from The Shield; Walter Goggins. Goggins plays the antithesis to Olyphant in the form of the criminal turned prophet; Boyd Crowder. Although Goggins spends most of the beginning of the season missing (due to his character getting injured in the pilot) his return mid-season leads to an explosive end to the first season and makes me very VERY anxious to start up season 2.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Testees Season 1

***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!

Testees Season 1 - 5 out of 5

As I stated in my last post, the review of the documentary Pitch, I'm a big fan of Kenny vs. Spenny. Recently, while surfing IMDb to see what Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice are up to now that KvS came to a close after its Christmas Special that aired last year, I discovered that Kenny Hotz created a show with Derek Harvie (from The Tom Green Show) that aired on FX in 2008 called Testees. Immediately, I found out the show (which sadly only ran one season) is out on DVD and put it at the top of my Netflix queue and then I punched myself in the face because I'm a fan of Kenny Hotz and I love the FX network and the fact that I didn't know this show existed forced me to physically assault myself.

The show was about two roommates and best friends named Ron and Peter who work at a testing facility called Testico where they act as human lab rats. Each episode focuses on a single drug and the effects it has on them, often ending up in some craziness--which of course should be expected because if your comedy show doesn't end in some wackiness, you probably have one of CBS's comedies. After sitting through all 13 episodes (and all the webisodes that came along with the DVDs) I am sad this show didn't go on for another season because the show was just hilarious. Sure the show is offensive and often at times childish with its potty humor but there in lies the show's charm. The fart jokes aren't cheap like an American Pie direct-to-DVD release but in the unique field that KvS fans will be familiar with thanks to the shows creator/writer/co-star Kenny Hotz.

Steve Markle and Jeff Kassel are terrifically funny as the two lab rats and quest appearances by Kenny Hotz as the overly arrogant fellow testee named Larry is the icing on the cake on these wild episodes which has the guys testing things like truth serums, paranoia gas, lady-attracting pheromones, and a wickedly smart vacuum cleaner. These episodes even offer great satires and parodies of movies like No Country for Old Men, every freaking "found footage" movie ever made like Diary of the Dead, Quarantine, and The Blair Witch Project as well as a terrific parody of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The only real complaint I have about the show is the character of Nugget, played by Joe Pingue. The character is basically an overweight, lazy con artist who refuses to work and has ridiculously high standards for women--ignoring the fact he's a dirt, ugly fat man. The character itself has some mildly amusing moments as he actively engages in cliche get rich quick schemes but the real problem I guess I have with the character of Nugget is the actor playing him just can't make any of his moments funny. Because of Pingue's inability to hit his funny marks, every time Nugget is in an episode, he tends to stop and nearly destroy all momentum the episode is making. Thankfully his role (as well as the role of another supporting player in the show named Kate) is greatly downsized and the focus becomes nearly solely on Ron and Peter and the drugs they are taking. However, due to the fact that the show was not renewed for any more season indicates that the damage the character Nugget did to the series was too great to recover from. Yeah, I'm putting the entire blame on the show's cancellation on this one character. But Nuggest aside, this show's wonderfully tasteless and offensive humor, it's unique and different premise than 90% of other television comedies and great actors carrying wild stories definitely make Testees a great show.

Pitch

***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!

Pitch - 4 out of 5

I'm a big fan of the Canadian program Kenny vs. Spenny and when I found out that prior to their fame of doing competitions in order to humiliate the other, they had made a documentary of them trying to pitch a script to Hollywood types, I knew I had to seek out this film.

The film is self-explanatory. In fact, I already told you what it's about in the previous paragraph. However, if you're expecting the antics of Kenny and Spenny as you know them in the show, you're going to be sorely disappointed. This doc was made before their show so you won't see the caricatures of themselves they showcase on Kenny vs. Spenny. You won't see Kenny cheating on a competition and torturing Spenny. You won't see Spenny whining or lecturing the audience on the world's troubles. What you see are two guys trying to come up with a plan and trying all they can to sell their script to anyone in Hollywood. They hit film festivals, seek advice from famous writers, producers and directors and even just hand their scripts to actors they run into at various events like Al Pacino and Eric Stoltz.

Bare bones and more interesting then funny, Pitch is a film that KvS fans can definitely get into as you see a different side of the characters you know and love. The film also acts as both a warning and a lesson to individuals trying to make it in Hollywood as a writer--a side of Hollywood not often focused on as it seems everyone wants to be an actor.

The Ricky Gervais Show Season 1

***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 Ricky Gervais Show Season 1 - 5 out of 5

The concept is simple: Take the immensely popular podcast of The Ricky Gervais Show and animate it. The concept is so simple that was comes out is just brilliant! With an animation style that looks like the old Hanna Barbara cartoons and funnymen Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant ripping on the strange thoughts and ideas of writer/producer Karl Pilkington, what you get is an absolutely hilarious cartoon series. There's really nothing else I can say about this show because it is so simple that it's nearly perfect. This could be the shortest review I've ever done.

Thor: Tales of Asgard

***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!

Thor: Tales of Asgard - 3 out of 5

In an effort to promote the live-action adaptation of the Norse God of Thunder Thor, Marvel released this direct-to-DVD animated feature that took the son of Odin and showed him as a teenager and the time before he lifted Mjolnir over his head to crack open the skies.

Now I like the character of Thor--I like most of Marvel's characters but it seems, at least to me, that Marvel has been putting too much effort into their live-action films. They seem to be more preoccupied with creating superior quality for their films in an effort to draw mass audiences and their animated features and their comics have suffered for it. Now I haven't been a fan of their books for over a decade now as I feel they have phoned in the storylines but it seems the lackadaisical approach I see them take for their comics has become more and more prevalent in their direct-to-DVD animated features. When these features started, they came out of the gate on FIRE! Ultimate Avengers, The Invincible Iron Man, and Doctor Strange all were amazing but then it seemed they stopped trying. Ultimate Avengers II was boring, they wasted the amazing character of The Hulk to focus on the generic Wolverine in Hulk Vs. and I just plain had to say, "WHAT THE FUCK?!?" when it came to Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow. Meanwhile, DC is pumping out kick-ass animated movies one after another. It was obvious that this movie was made to just get geeks' money without a single care for quality.

The animation is weak--UBER-weak. First off, the style looks like generic American-style anime (Thor looks like Ken from Street Fighter with longer hair and, for some reason, has the voice of a 40 year old man) and the animation itself is flat and static. While in the earlier releases of Marvel's animated movies, there was creativity coming in like nobody's business. Integrating both 2D and 3D animation all the while creating a composition of amazing scenes and direction. This feature, however, looks like a cheap Saturday morning cartoon with no real direction. Scenes play out with no real "camera movement" and a heavy emphasis on a LACK of action. These static scenes cause the film to be extremely boring but this isn't helped by the movie having a severe lack of emotion. Even more offensive about this is the fact there is literally a wealth of material they could be using to give these characters some life and feeling. For Christ's sake, Loki, Thor and Odin are a family of gods.

If you're a fan of Marvel or Thor, you might want to give this a chance--and this movie is worth only one chance. Because Marvel put all its attention on the live-action films, Thor: Tales of Asgard becomes another in a line of half-assed animated movies that is quickly become the norm for Marvel. Well, at least DC is still kicking ass with its animated films.

The Slumber Party Massacre II

***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 Slumber Party Massacre II - 2 out of 5

Believe it or not, the nudity is toned down quite a bit in this follow up to The Slumber Party Massacre creatively titled, The Slumber Party Massacre II. While the first one was written by a feminist out to create a satire of the slasher genre, the producers filmed it like a serious film--and in the process, accidentally created a unintentionally funny film. However, the filmmakers seemed this time around they wanted to make an off-the-wall slasher in order to be amusing but the fact it's not funny ends up making this hilarious...if that makes sense.

The film follows the younger sister of the "new girl in town" from the first film and is one of the survivors of the Driller Killer. While it seems that she has moved on to a normal life--even created a shitty all girl band (the scenes of her band playing are hilarious as the character clearly don't know how to play their instruments)--her sister, on the other hand, ended up in a mental institution. Then, instead of visiting her disturbed sibling, she decides to join her band and some guys for a party weekend at a cabin. And that's when the nightmares start...

Now, at this point, you would believe that she would be having nightmares about the Driller Killer from the first film and for the most part you're right--HOWEVER, an element that only exists in the sequel creeps into the dreams...the element of ROCK AND ROLL!!! For some reason, music was the overwhelming theme in this film as the main protagonist is in a band but the killer isn't the man from the first film but rather a Andrew Dice Clay looking guy in leather and a guitar complete with a giant drill on the neck. I must assure you, I am NOT making up that last part. As the dreams continue, our protagonist (Courtney Bates) starts to appear crazier and crazier as she has visions of her friends dying and there's even a point where she hallucinates that an uncooked chicken attacks her. Once again, let me assure you that I did NOT make that up.

Eventually, the dreams become a reality and the Rock and Roll Driller Killer manifests himself. This of course made me wonder if the man was a Freddy Krueger like character who existed in fantasy and made the jump to reality or if Courtney was having visions of the blood soaked future or if her mentally unstable sister was sending her a warning of this man coming to kill her and her friends but I stopped wondering when this scene happened...



That's when I realized all bets were off and this movie was just plain ridiculous. But there in lies the beauty of The Slumber Party Massacre II. Sure the story is stupid, the acting is horrible (surprisingly, it has some decent practical effects) but the "WTF" factor this film has will keep you glued to the movie. While it's clear the filmmakers were trying to be funny, their jokes are terrible and because the jokes are just plain crap, they become funny on a completely different level. That's the only reason to watch this movie.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Battle: Los Angeles

***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!

Battle: Los Angeles - 4 out of 5

Alright, the critics hated this film but I saw it in the theater and loved it. People complained that the film was cliche, there was a thin premise and the characters were one dimensional. Okay, yes the film is cliche--alien invasion films are nothing new but Battle: Los Angeles did what no other alien invasion film has done--they made it look real. And as far as the premise being thin...remember how critics loved Independence Day? Well, why is that film's thin premise okay but Battle: Los Angeles' isn't? Oh, because we got to see eye candy like the White House being blown up, that's why. And, the characters were pretty unbelievable in that one too. Come on, a President who gets in a fighter jet and actually FIGHTS for not just the country but all of mankind? Never would happen. Some critics even crapped on it because they said it was just a two hour commercial for the marines. Of course, the individuals who said this are probably the same people who praise and want to suck Toby Keith's red, white and blue cock every time he puts out a song that exploits the tragedy of 9/11. When I went to see this one in the theater, I wanted explosions and marines handing aliens their asses with their guns blazing and, guess what, I got it!

Another thing that bothered me when this came out was a lot of people I know comparing it to District 9. I won't lie, District 9 is a fucking amazing film. But these two movies have nothing in common except the fact aliens are involved. Comments like this made me realize that these people weren't paying attention to either film. But this and the critics hatred of this one aside, I really enjoyed Battle: Los Angeles. Unlike other alien invasion films, this one looked and felt real. The creators kept the aliens grounded in reality and didn't give them amazing, world-devastating weapons. There was no secret way to kill them like an allergy to water. There was no Will Smith yelling something like "Oh no, you just didn't shoot that green shit at me," or "I have got to get me one of these" or one of the other dozen lines he required to say when playing the same wise-cracking cop/detective/superhero/fighter pilot he always plays. There wasn't any D-list actors who don't deserve the title of celebrity or douche bags playing (unconvincingly) heroes like in Skyline--no, instead you get balls out, shoot 'em dead, oorah action. I didn't want an intricate plot or some lame twist ending. I didn't want lame character add-ons to drag out the story. I just wanted aliens to invade and the army to send them packing. And I got that. The film wastes little time in getting the action going and waste even less of it as it goes. There are times when the film gives a little flavor to the marines in action and offers up some character development but it does it without dragging the film down.

The only real complaint I have about this movie is the presence of the worst female actor to ever get work: Michell Rodriguez. But this is ignorable as the action, special effects and awesome sound makes it easy to immerse yourself in the action and forget that Rodriguez is a terrible actor. Plus, when you have Aaron Eckhart tearing it up like he always does, you almost forget that she's in the film altogether. So, in conclusion, I think Battle: Los Angeles is a fantastic action film that can entertain you for two hours while you shovel in the popcorn. However, there was one thought that was in my head during the entire run: This movie would make a great downloadable campaign in Call of Duty.

Jackass 3.5

***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!

Jackass 3.5 - 4 out of 5

Jackass 3.5 is nothing more than a feature length set of stunts that didn't make the cut of Jackass 3D
put together in a documentary-style. Basically, this movie is all the special features that could have been crammed in on the last DVD but released as a separate film in order to get more money. It's not much different than any other Jackass film expect it lacks the polish presentation of the theater-released films. Most the stunts are okay--some better than others--but at no point did I laugh out loud like I did in the other films. All this movie does is show the stuff that was on the cutting room floor and you easily see why. Now, I know it sounds like I hated this but, trust me, I didn't. While it is mildly amusing, the idea that this was only released in order to get money is very offensive. But it's funny enough, Johnny Knoxville is badass enough and they show Bam Margera being a tool and getting his ass served to him by the others enough to warrant this being a rental.

Basket Case

***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!

Basket Case - 2 out of 5

After this little film about a man and his mutated conjoined twin going on a revenge rampage on the people who separated them, the filmmakers claimed they were making a dark comedy but I don't buy it. While the film is so bad it's hilarious, it also reeks of your typical horror film stench of a real, honest attempt at making something unique and scary. Not to mention the biggest indicator of the fact that this is NOT a dark comedy is the fact that it contains no satire, follows horror film cliches and doesn't have a single joke within its hour and a half running time. So, basically, the writer/director Frank Henenlotter (who actually went on to make a sequel to this film and actually went on to make some real dark comedies) pulled a Tommy Wiseau and took the fact that his film became a cult classic due to how bad it was and tried to claim that was the intention all along.

And honestly, the fact it is so bad is the only reason to watch this movie...provided you don't go insane from the absolutely terrible sound. 90% of this movie is really loud, poorly recorded screaming that will require you to take every single ounce of strength you have to NOT press the stop button on your DVD. When these scenes occur (and they occur a lot) simply breath, remain calm and make fun of the crap you are seeing. And don't worry there's plenty of stuff to make fun of. For example, the bad acting (a given in a film like this), tons of continuity errors (it's either that or characters have the ability to teleport and the film doesn't cover that) and the conjoined brother itself is a source--nay, a wealth--of material. Try and figure out how he kills people during the killing scenes and try not to laugh at how cheap he looks. I mean you can actually see the seems of where the plastic was put together and the makers didn't even bother to cut off the extra bits that hang on these seems.

Despite claims by the director, Basket Case is NOT a comedy but it's so bad it's funny.

The Dana Carvey Show Season 1

***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 Dana Carvey Show Season 1 - 3 out of 5

Season 1? It was the only season so it seems like Shout! (the individuals responsible for unleashing it on DVD) are trying to smear salt and lemon juice into the wound of this extremely short lived show (it didn't even make it to the 10 episodes they were promised). ABC cited that low ratings and controversial material is what caused it to get the boot. Low ratings I get but watching this show now, it's hard to believe that these skits (which are tame by what gets passed the censors now) caused any uproar among viewers. I never got to see the show when it aired but the fact that it had Dana Carvey rehashing all the mediocre impressions he somehow became famous for was more offensive than the skits that were co-written by the brilliant Louis C.K.

Occasionally I found myself laughing at a few of these skits. Like this one...


Now did you notice something there? No Dana Carvey. That's right. The funniest stuff doesn't involve the man the show is named after. 90% of the skits that Carvey was in was an excuse to use his terrible (and now obsolete) impressions--now to mention that most of Carvey skits are now dated. However, skits that involved the very funny Robert Smigel, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell make this collection worth sitting through. In fact the only good thing about this show is that is became a launching pad for the stellar careers of Carell and Colbert.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Slumber Party Massacre

***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 Slumber Party Massacre - 2 out of 5

Okay, the title says it all--I don't need to tell you what this movie is about. And even just reading the title, you know the sole reason this film was made was to show some boobage and some killing. What's hard to believe however is that The Slumber Party Massacre was written by a feminist who was trying to create a satire of the slasher genre but the producers decided to make it a straight film and not a send up.

All the things you would expect from this film is here: Gratuitous nudity that actually becomes laughable in the obviousness of it all (there's a shower scene where the camera is literally panning from girl to girl and making sure that each of their naughty bits are framed dead center in the shot), bad special effects when it comes to the killing, a tacked on killer who, predictably, was an escaped prisoner who decides at random to attack these ladies trying to have a sleepover and a body count that doesn't quite justify the use of the word "massacre." Let's face it, when a slasher film has "massacre" in the title, you're guaranteed to get anything but.

The Slumber Party Massacre is good to watch for only one reason--and it's not the nudity, bub. This movie is fun to watch because it is so lame, it's hilarious. The acting is terrible and the story is so paper-thin, it's hard to NOT make fun of this movie. This is one of those bad slasher films that is great to get a bunch of people together (preferably in a sleepover setting) strip into sexy nighties (even the guys--come on, you got to match the dress code of the film) and laugh your asses off as you wait for the pizza guy to come over with your delivery only to find out he was killed by the bad guy. Actually, that last part won't happen in real life, you'll probably just get your pizza. Probably.

Shivers

***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!

Shivers - 4 out of 5

There's a definitive theme to David Cronenberg's films. There are two elements that he absolutely loves and no film better showcases those themes like Shivers. Those themes are sex and violence: The Cronenberg way--a way that almost stopped him from every making another movie as Shivers was his first feature length film and it was so hated that it not only cost him his apartment (that's right, his landlord evicted him because of this movie) it nearly cost him his future in films as well.

In an isolated high-rise apartment building, a crazed doctor created a parasite that unlocks the primitive (sex obsessed and violent) side of a person. This parasite gets loose and all sexy, violent hell breaks loose. Unlike most horror films of today's era, this film is saturated in social commentary as it came out in the midst of the sexual revolution and used people's fear of the act of copulation as well as fears of homosexuality in America--and it worked because the reaction that was created from this movie is something we just don't see anymore. People weren't walking out of One Missed Call smashing their cell phones on the sidewalks--maybe vomiting from the stupidity of that film but not smashing. But the reaction that critics and audiences had to this film was well deserved because this movie is disturbing. The violence, rape, and themes of incest and promiscuity running rampant and out of control are things that can be unsettling. While the sex itself in this film isn't something hard to deal with, it's the idea of people losing control and become a new form of zombie that's not interested in the brain in your head, but rather the brain in your crotch. Thirty plus years later, Shivers is still hard to sit through and extremely thought provoking.

Zombiemania

***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!

Zombiemania - 4 out of 5

Zombies are everywhere now. They are a big business and filmmakers and writers know that as long as you throw zombies into the story, brainless peons will shuffle their way into the theater or bookstore to pick up whatever piece of crap you throw onto the screen or pages (isn't that right Marvel Zombies and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?) Well, in 2008, Starz produced a little documentary that focuses on the presence that zombies have in the popular media but if you're one of those types who watches zombie films for the gore, you probably won't want to watch this because the focus of this film was the social commentary zombies make.

Personally, I'm a big fan of zombie but I hate 99% of all zombie media. While I may enjoy films like Flight of the Living Dead on an ironic level, the reality is that most zombie stories are thrown together, filled with blood and then tossed out to the masses that are pretty much zombies themselves. I don't want to sound like a snob but I want some intelligence to come with the brainless undead. That's why films like Night of the Living Dead and works like World War Z and The Walking Dead speak to me. The gore and the violence isn't the focus--it's the impact this sudden change on the world has on survivors and how the presence of the living dead give off an eerie mirror image of the world we once knew.

The film does a great job complying interviews from psychiatrists who discuss why zombies have become huge as well as insight into the men who made this a pop culture explosion. Men like George A. Romero (the man who gave birth to the zombie genre and clearly stopped trying to make quality films after Land of the Dead. Remember when his films were filled with social and political commentary and not just bad jokes and gore?) The film also has extensive talks with Max Brooks and the influence he's had in keeping the ideas of decaying corpses trying to consume the living fresh and interesting--as well as how to survive the zombie apocalypse (I'm still waiting for this day to come). These interviews are informative and thought provoking but the doc also provides a little fun as it talks with Greg Nicotero and Tom Savini and the technical work that went into creating zombies on film. But one of my favorite portions of the movie is when the creator of the graphic novel Dead Eyes Open admits that most people phone in the zombie genre by filling it with gore because that's what the masses want. That statement is a sad commentary on the state of art and fiction in America. "We don't care about quality, just make it visceral so I don't have to think."

However, if you're one of the people who, after watching Dawn of the Dead, sit down and discuss how Romero was making great points about how the commercialization of our society has basically turned us into buying zombies, you'll love this documentary. My only real complaint about this film is the fact it is too short--Starz could have made this longer. But then again, if they did, we would have had to deal with them looking into the films that, in my opinion, ruined Romero's credibility as the grandfather of the zombie film: Diary of the Dead and Survivor of the Dead. I certainly don't want that.

Fright Night Part II

***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!

Fright Night Part II - 3 out of 5

The first film was fantastic fun. As far as vampire fiction goes, it was a great piece of work--especially when you consider most films about vampires are weak. This 1988 sequel is far better than a majority of vampire stories put out there and utterly destroys crap like Twilight.

William Ragsdale returns to portray Charley who, at this point, has convinced himself that the vampire neighbor and the events that took place in the first one didn't occur. However, Charley seems to be a vampire magnet as he is once again is thrown into a mix where he must take on the undead with the help of Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall reprising his role as well). However, unlike the first film (and something typical of sequels), this film is not as fun as the last installment.

First off, Roddy McDowall really phoned in his acting in this one and it seems clear he only took part for a paycheck but the worst thing about this film is the villains. In the first film, Chris Sarandon was so amazing as the vampire Jerry Dandrige that it was nearly impossible to replace him so the filmmakers put Charley and Peter against not one but four vampires. The problem is that even combined, these four bad guys can't even hold a candle to Sarandon's performance. However, there is one thing that makes this movie worth of viewing--and that is the special effects. For 1988, the practical and make-up effects are amazing and hold up tremendously well (unlike the pathetic bat on a string in the first one). While the story and antagonists aren't the greatest, the special effects alone make this worth viewing.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Shred

***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!

Shred - 1 out of 5

I'll be honest...there was only one reason I watched this snowboard comedy. That reason is that Tom Green is in it. I'm a fan of the Green Man and other than the fact he was in it, I really had no other invested interest to see this 2008 direct-to-DVD video.

Shred is about two disgraced snowboard legends who lost the spotlight and now work a chairlift while their hated rival has made a name for himself. The film then follows the usual plot, story and (for the most part) the rules of a skiing film that had a very brief 15 minutes of fame in the 80's and early 90's. The only thing we don't get is a training montage. Jackass alumni Dave England plays one of the disgraced riders (don't worry about who plays the other guy because no one's ever heard of him and the actor plays the character like he has Down syndrome) but England's acting is about what you would expect from a guy who's made a career of shocking his nuts with a taser gun and when you have Tom Green going opposite him, Green's acting looks downright Academy-worthy (not that I've ever felt Tom's acting was particularly bad--in fact, he's come a long way from his early days--but England's lack of emotion and complete inability to deliver a believable line makes Green look like a Clooney or a Pitt).

Acting aside (I'll also pass over the terrible soundtrack that is full of shitty pop-punk rock that has whiny male singers screaming or songs that make absolutely no sense when posted over the action on screen) this movie is NOT good. The story is cliche and, not to mention, it's a cliche I thought died with Ski School 2. But I guess since the extreme sports crazed hit in the 90's, the snowboarding/skateboarding douche bags of the world were clamoring for their chance to "save the mountain" and to have their own ski movies. The only problem is that with the skiing films of old, there was a clear protagonist and antagonist. The evil guy with the girl was rich and out to "take over the mountain" and make life hard for the skiers who did it for the love of skiing. In Shred, our two "heroes" are no better than our film's "bad guy." In fact, at times, they come off worst as they are constantly belligerent and rude to others, constantly insulting and instigating battles against Tom Green's character. In the old skiing films, our bad guy started it and forced the good guys to retaliate with some kind of prank that always ended with an old woman getting a bowl of punch dumped on her at the rich guy's party or something similar. The film also goes a step further in order to vilify Tom Green by making him look like a closet homosexual. What do these two aspects have in common? Simple, these are both common among the skating culture.

It's a stereotype, I know, but skaters come off as antagonist, homophobic douche bags who claim to be a counter-culture that is despised by the mainstream even though it's more mainstream than ever. But in all seriousness, watch some skaters sometime. They constantly start trouble with other people in order to establish dominance or insecurity over the size of their genitalia--I don't know which--and all this happens while they try and fail to land tricks. They call each other "faggots" and "homos" but are the first person to tell a member of their same sex to "suck their dick." It's these insecurities and overall prevalence of homophobia among skaters that the writers decided (maybe unconsciously) put these elements into the film. While it may fool a snowboarder or skater and make them believe that the film's "protagonists" are the good guys, in reality, there isn't a single person in this film that is worthy of cheering on. Even the side characters are lifeless and act merely as set pieces.

Also, in case you're wondering, the cliche of having the "good" guy's girl end up with the "bad" guy and then, at the end, she leaves him to return to the "good" guy is here and pointlessly tacked on.

There very much is a audience for this film and I was NOT it. If you chug a Monster Energy Drink before you "crush it" on some "fresh powder," then this movie is meant only for you and only you will find the terrible jokes to be funny. Everyone else, this movie isn't even bad enough where you can laugh at it ironically.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Jekyll and Hyde...Together Again

***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!

Jekyll and Hyde...Together Again - 1 out of 5

I don't know what possessed me to watch this 1982 comedy but once the credits hit, I began to regret my decision to do so.

The story of Jekyll and Hyde has been told over and over again in every way, shape and form imaginable since Robert Louis Stevenson wrote the story in 1886. However, in the 80's they decided to tell it in a way that summed up the decade that was built upon excess and Member's Only Jackets. The filmmakers decided to make this film one giant cocaine joke. And it's not even a funny joke. But I'll be honest, unless there's a Rock and Roll Clown named Dr. Rockso, to me, cocaine jokes aren't really that funny.

The film is about a promising surgeon named Dr. Jekyll who decides that he is going to devote his time to creating drugs to help his patients. What he creates is a drug that looks like cocaine (and is snorted like cocaine) that turns him into a raving douche bag complete with a gold-plated razor blade on a chain around his neck and a coke nail. Other than the fact that this jacked up Mr. Hyde is trying to get laid all the time, there really is no story beyond my basic explanation. There's also a severe lack of quality jokes. But I think cocaine is also to blame for this.

It's clear the writers of this film were snorting as much of this stuff as they could while writing it because that's the only explanation I can come up with to justify the weak and predictable Airplane-style jokes this film tries to hurl at you (hurl and land well away from the target of funny). And things only get worse as the man pulling double duty of playing Jekyll and Hyde (Mark Blankfield) seems to be fueled only on the white powdery substance. His performance is cranked well past 11 and constantly comes off as trying way too hard and basically sullying the good name of physical comedy.

This film is so bad that Robert Louis Stevenson would roll in his grave--WAIT, he did, at the end of the film. I kid you not, they literally had an effigy of Stevenson in his grave rolling over from the tragedy of what was done to his story in this sorry excuse for a comedy. This probably would have been a witty and funny joke if it was placed in a far better written comedy than this one--and when you compare the writing of this comedy to nearly everything else every written, this joke could have work in every film every made! Even Schindler's List could have made this joke work better than this movie could have.

Jekyll and Hyde...Together Again is an obscure 80's comedy that I never should have uncovered.