Wednesday, September 18, 2013

KFZ: Kentucky Fried Zombies

***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. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I would make a joke here but the film is a joke in and of itself.

KFZ: Kentucky Fried Zombies – 0 out of 5

Where do I even fucking begin? It’s not like I expected brilliance from a film called Kentucky Fried Zombies (also called Die-ner (Get It?), yeah, I get it but that doesn't change the fact it's not funny) but the end product was so awful that there is no way I can even have the remote sense of being polite in this review and it's so downright terrible that all those involved in the film should be forced to A) Pay anyone who’s seen it and refund their money plus give them another $10,000 for the mental anguish received and have the viewers' therapy bills reimburse and B) They should be banned and possibly jailed so they can never be allowed near a camera again.

The face you'll make while watching KFZ...right before you explode in a murderous
rage and destroy every lamp in your house...because the world should be dark
after watching this piece of shit.

KFZ is about a serial killer named Ken (Joshua Grote) who invaded a “kiss my grits” style diner where he immediate kills the cook and the only waitress working. Soon, an arguing couple comes in and he’s forced to pretend to be a waiter until he decides it's time to kill them too. Sadly, zombies start showing up and then the film really gets pointless as the story forces you to sit through boring, mundane and mind-numbing scenes that ultimately go nowhere until the film ends abruptly.
Alright, first up…the DVD box art to this one…

Pictured:  The only part of the movie that had some effort placed
into it.

The art that is featured on that box looks better than the entire movie and secondly, it promises that it’s a mix of Pulp Fiction and Zombieland but it’s clear that whoever was the marketing wizard that came up with that tagline has never seen either film (like Bruce Willis' father's watch in Pulp Fiction, something is getting stuck up someone's ass but it's your dignity and it's being forcefully shoved up your anus by the production). Sure, it’s obvious from the shitty dialogue that the writer (who is also the director) thought he was writing brilliance as we are “treated” to a terrible (and long) monologue from the character of Ken that talks about humanity’s evolution. The lines are so full of themselves with such false superiority you would think a Redditor wrote the damn film and that the writer thinks he’s next Tarantino but, in reality, the end result was a laughably bad script that, and I’m guessing, probably read like a posting on a forum; filled with spelling errors and piss poor grammar (maybe even a diatribe about how Obama caused the Boston Marathon bombing but was, ultimately, removed from the final film). The dialogue would almost be funny (especially when you watch actor Joshua Grote perform them with such delusional grace) if the reality wasn’t so sad as it seems that the writer/director (who doesn’t deserve to have his name added to this review and I’ll just call him Satan—because asshole isn’t bad enough) wrote them and probably high fived himself for thinking he wrote something amazing, witty and funny...however, I don't believe that because I think something more malicious was at play here.

Pictured:  What some asshole thinks a mixing of Pulp Fiction and Zombieland
looks like...I guess the mixing of the two is boring and out of focus.

Things only become more unbearable when the director tries to incorporate some backstory to our serial killer in a failed attempt at making him a person you can sympathize towards. This is done artistically through flashbacks that show Ken as a child but when I say artistically, I mean it is haphazardly edited in and then eventually forgotten about as the director decides to go back to a story that is wandering around like an Alzheimer’s patience in the middle of a large field.

GAH!  A zombie!  No, wait...sorry.

It’s almost insulting that the zombies on the box art look better than the half-assed zombies within the film. A couple of them are given some attention to make them look like decent walking dead but a majority of them are just smeared with some blood on a spot on their body (or two) and then they were allowed in front of the camera with someone saying, “Close enough.” This could be explained through budget restraints or laziness but I’m guessing, thanks to a shitty script that is soaked in delusions of grandeur, that the lazy make-up and lame looking zombies has to do with the fact that this entire production was done in an effort to cash in on the zombie craze with absolutely no respect for the history of the genre (and there's the malicious part I talked about earlier).

A few blood smears equals zombies.

It needs to be noted that the director allowed this shot to remain
in the film and, at no point said, "This is fucking ridiculous...
even by this movies sub-par standards."
 There’s a lot of bad working in the movie and nothing is worse than the acting in the film. The two actors playing the arguing couple are the equivalent of a paper cut; their scenes are just painful to sit through. If those two (that are probably friends or family members of the director) are the paper cuts of the film than Joshua Grote is the loss of an entire limb after unending hours of torture of the film. To call any scene he’s in painful isn’t enough to describe his terrible acting. Things only get worse as it is clear he thinks he is an amazing actor and always looks like he is one more bad line of dialogue and faux-über-cool bad guy one-liner away from blowing himself for being the next Academy Award winner.  Grote’s performance reminds me of the guy you see on every competition reality show that clearly lacks talent but has spent their entire life being told they are the best at their chosen dream because they are so fragile that if their friends and family were honest and said, “You suck at acting and should stick to what you know—working the deep fryer at McDonald’s,” he would break down, cry, and wet himself before imploding like a collapsing star…coincidentally, it would be the only time they would qualify being a star.

You can almost see the thought bubble of him saying he's the greatest actor
to exist.

Despite the fact this film was made in the last decade, the quality of the film looks like it was made on a camera produced prior to the 1970s and with film stock that, I can only assume, was composed completely of the tears of failed filmmakers with actual talent upset over the fact that their dreams aren’t coming true but, against all that is good and holy in the world, KFZ is produced. Seriously, the first cell phone to include a video recording camera would have produced a better looking film.

The clarity is so sharp and defined.

 Then, as if to emphasize just how shoddy looking this movie is, the director decides that having shots that look decent, actually show what’s going on and are capable of remaining somewhat stationary in order to convince the audience that your cameraman is NOT working under duress (like, say, your director is holding your family hostage and pointing a gun at your dome) and thought these were all completely worthless for the production. Instead, he settled for pointless close-ups that show nothing (except maybe some ankles and shoulders), sequences where we have action occurring but the camera focuses on the blank canvases that is the actors’ faces rather than what they are doing (like a scene where a guy is trying to burn through some rope to escape being held against his will and we only know he’s doing this because he is saying he’s doing it while the camera remains on his girlfriend’s face) and having to deal with the fact that the director clearly didn’t own (or bother to rent) a tripod and every shot looks like the camera is in the hands of the elderly.

So, the director's vision involved a scene with hand
washing and the very act is obscured.  It's art, clearly.

KFZ: Kentucky Fried Zombie, with its ridiculously pointless title that really has nothing to do with film (they could have at least killed one zombie with some chicken or a deep fryer), is, to put it simply, a shit film. There’s no story really to speak of, the actors are too annoying and painful to endure to call them bad actors (and calling them actors in any sense is insulting to even the worse actor to exist), the zombies are lazy and pointless and, despite advancements in technology, the film’s visual quality is vomit inducing. KFZ is just lazy filmmaking that makes a mockery of entertainment. The film crew can’t argue that they couldn’t get the financing because that won’t explain the fact that the story is shit and the fact it looks like the actors are there against their will (except Grote, he’s still jerking off and saying he’s the greatest actor of this generation).

If anything, at least he can fall back on a career as a Bud Bundy impersonator.

It’s obvious the writer/director Satan said, “Hey, people who like zombie movies are idiots and will watch anything. Let’s make a shitty one and wait for the checks to come rolling in.” So, in closing, Kentucky Fried Zombies is such a lame crap film, and on such a scale, that I can’t help but feel that the makers of this film are guilty of torture…torture most inhumane.

Insidious: Chapter 2

***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. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Somewhere there is a critic hoping this franchise makes it to Chapter 11 so he can make a hack joke about this franchise going bankrupt.  Never give up on your dreams, little guy!

Insidious: Chapter 2 – 3 out of 5

Aside from a few scares that genuinely gave me major chills in the spinal area of my body, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first Insidious film. However, I have a horror film nerd for a girlfriend and those two scares the film gave me were enough to spend my time (and the ridiculous amount of money it costs to see a film in the theater nowadays) seeing the sequel that shows that continuing story of the Lambert family and their battles against agents of evil from the other side.

                                                                                               FilmDistrict/Stage 6 Films
"Shhh, I have a secret...Don't tell anyone but...I'm dead."

Renai Lambert (Rose Byrne) is concerned for her husband Josh (Patrick Wilson). He hasn’t been the same since the events of the first film; events that included the death of the ghost hunter Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye). Josh seems distant and very much unlike the man she married (of course he is, did you see what he did at the end of the last one?) but things get worse when she sees her son may have the abilities to travel to the other side and that the hauntings they thought had ended where still lurking around them. Soon, her mother-in-law Lorraine (Barbara Hershey), a former colleague of Elise (Steve Coulter) and the bringers of unfortunate comic relief in the first film; Specs (co-writer Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson), have discovered a horrible truth from Josh’s past and that, after he saved his son from the Darth Maul demon that lived in a Steam Punk paradise in the first film, he may have brought something back with him…

                                                                                                 FilmDistrict/Stage 6 Films
"We're just one big happy big, haunted as fuck, happy family."

Like I stated before, I wasn’t too keen on the first film (Wow, I really just typed “keen.”). All I heard was good things about the film so I took a chance but found a movie that was incredibly boring during its opening build up. Eventually, the film came to a part where it really creeped me the fuck out and I thought that I made it passed the bad part and was on my way to a sea of scares…sadly, I didn’t get that. Instead, Specs and Tucker show up and the film uncomfortably forced some humor into its now devoid hollow of missing scares and then everything goes out the window in the final act as things just enter into something that looks like a drug-fueled frenzy. The entire film felt out of balance and nothing about it felt like it belong to other elements of the movie. I just found it messy. However, I found I enjoyed this sequel much more.

                                                                                                 FilmDistrict/Stage 6 Films
I looked exactly the same after my third day of reading all the bullshit statuses about
Miley Cyrus and the twerking ordeal at the VMAs.

First off, there’s no boring opening half of the film that rewarded me with only two amazing scares and then decides to slap me in the face for the rest of the running length. Right off the bat, this movie is all about the spooky. While the film is mostly a collection of generic “jump” sequences where the ghost/demon/anonymous threat jumps out at you, director James Wan does this better than most cliché horror films by establishing a real sense of foreboding horror, dread and fright throughout the film. The home the Lamberts are living in is terrifically crafted into an unsettling establishment thanks to his use of dynamic camera movement, shadowy lighting, great music and impressive camera positioning. Chapter 2 is one of the few times in the genre of horror where watching the played-out scene of a girl walking slowly towards an unidentified sound actually gave me goose bumps and not a case of incurable yawns. And it’s all thanks to what Wan did behind the camera (seems kind of a waste now that he decided to no longer do horror films).

                                                                                                 FilmDistrict/Stage 6 Films
There's no way this scene doesn't have to do with wire hangers.

The film is also very strong thanks to Patrick Wilson’s acting (who seems to have decided to only do horror flicks now). Wilson pulls double duty in this film as we get to see the strong, protective side of him as a father trying to shield his family from harm but we also see a darker side to him thanks to the evil that is surrounding him. Wilson is fantastic in both aspects and really carried the movie well as he was able to make some of the strongest emotional scenes and also some of the damn creepiest ones.

                                                                                              FilmDistrict/Stage 6 Films
Fun Fact:  There is a little Dr. Manhattan penis lighting up that lantern.

Sadly, Rose Byrne doesn’t match the performance of her fictional husband. For the most part, Byrne really brings nothing to the role of Renai other than being able to look at things with a frightened gaze of wide eyes and a jaw that refuses to close. While Byrne was involved in some of the spookiest scenes in the film, I felt she brought nothing of value to the scenes she was in other than just looking horrified. Since the scenes involved having the scary shit play AROUND her, her presence and response to the supernatural threat didn’t do much to accentuate the terror unfolding around her. Unfortunately, anyone, or even no one, could have been in these sequences and they still would have been terrifying.

                                                                                                 FilmDistrict/Stage 6 Films
I'm assuming all her lines of dialogue in the script came with the direction, "Look Scared!"

Since Specs and Tucker are back in this film, Insidious: Chapter 2 has brought back the comedic relief as well but, unlike the first film, it didn’t feel out of place or annoying to me. This time around, the gags and jokes sprinkled around the story and script felt like they belonged and were used to break tension and kept the film from getting too heavy and, more importantly, used to just make the movie fun as well as scary. I can’t help but think this was one of the biggest improvements of the film as this movie would, at one moment, leave my skin crawling with creepy moments and then, a moment later, having me busting a lung from laughter.

                                                                                                 FilmDistrict/Stage 6 Films
Boy, these two sure watch "Two Girls, One Cup" with the focus of a laser beam.

Despite being a vast step forward from the first one for me, Chapter 2 still had its drawbacks. Even though I liked the fact I didn’t have to wait for some decent scares this time around, most of the scares are still pretty generic and, I hate to admit it, weak and lame. While Wan did a fantastic job of making the atmosphere spooky and creepy, I still had to sit through one jump scare after the next. Granted these scares were done better than 99% of the other horror films released (especially “found footage” films—a horror sub-genre built upon the jump scare), there’s no denying that the scares placed within the story lacked imagination…but I won’t lie, two or three times I jumped out of my seat and nearly screamed like the 150 teenage girls that polluted the theater I saw it in.  I didn't, however, say, "OMG, that's was, like, totally scary," before laughing hysterically and then pulling out my phone and sexting someone...or whatever the hell teenagers do nowadays.

                                                                                                 FilmDistrict/Stage 6 Films
The man boobs did provide a good scare though.

Another major complaint I had (which, interestingly, is actually a minor thing in the film) was the mysterious decision to have some strange dialogue overdubbed in the beginning of the film. When the movie opens, we see a scene from Josh’s past and we see that the first movie wasn’t the only time he’s crossed paths with Elise. Since this sequence takes place in Josh’s childhood you can’t have Lin Shaye playing a younger version of herself so she is played by actress Lindsay Seim…BUT, and here’s the weird part, production decided to have Shaye’s voice added to the Seim’s performance. While this complaint may come off extremely nitpicky, this made the film feel really strange as I had to watch an entire opening sequence that involved a young actress (playing the younger part of an established character) speak with the voice of a much older woman…and they didn’t overdub it well because it looked like Seim was the ventriloquist dummy to Shaye. The only real reason this is a complaint is because it starts the film on a really bad note.

                                                                   FilmDistrict/Stage 6 Films
"Alright men, let's smoke out those rockin' horses!"

Insidious: Chapter 2 had some issues for me but I enjoyed it to a greater extent than I did the first film. While the scares were cheap, they are done better than most horror films that are produced on a yearly basis and it’s all thanks to James Wan painting a creepy tone, with his paint brush being the camera and the lighting (some decent makeup helped too). The film also does a tremendous job of tying together the first film to this one and, ultimately, made the films feel like they should be viewed one right after the other. This sequel ties up loose ends that were left flapping in the wind of the first one and adds a new level to the first film that makes me believe that both films should be edited together (maybe with a slight intermission in-between like they used to do in older films) into one great film because this second half really improves the first film and, putting both together like some sort of horror film Voltron, would make for an amazing horror film epic.

Cockneys vs. Zombies

***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. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Considering that zombies never really win these versus battles, how are they still finding opponents?  Shouldn't they have been eliminated from the bracket?

Cockneys vs. Zombies – 4 out of 5

Boy, those zombies will take on anyone in a fight. They’ll fight the military, just ordinary humans, kids who refuse to stay in domiciles they are instructed to remain in, guys named Shaun, girls named Barbara, Japanese swim teams and they are REALLY fond of fighting strippers. But now they’ve turned their attention towards the cockneys…

"There's is not something behind me.  What do you think this is?  A zombie movie?"

You fool!  Zombies hate fake mustaches.  Please don't
tell me you have one of those stupid marker mustaches
on your finger because they really hate those!

Cockneys vs. Zombies is about two brothers; Terry and Andy (Rasmus Hardiker—yes, that’s the actors name—and Harry Treadaway), who plan a bank robbery in order to get some money so their grandfather Ray (Alan Ford) is capable of remaining at the old folks home he is so fond of. So they gather up their cousin Katy (Michelle Ryan), their prerequisite incompetent friend (because every crime team needs one) and a mentally unstable veteran that goes by the name of “Mental” Mickey (Ashley Bashy Thomas—once again, that is the actor’s name). After being forced to take two hostages in order to escape the bank and the waiting cops outside, the group is shocked to discover that London has been taking over by the undead and now they need to get to the old folks home and save them before they become an aged meal for some zombies.

Not to get all agecist here but I can't tell who are the zombies and who are the old people.

I guess you can say that zombie doesn't have a leg to stand
on--OW!  A mysterious force punched me upside the head
before I could finish that lame joke.

Honestly, going into this film I had expectations that the film would be terrible. Since zombie films are churned out by the thousands on a yearly basis and since most of them put less time and effort (and money) into the films than the effort a typical girl puts into deciding what filter makes her grilled cheese look best on Instagram, I honestly believed I was going to be watching another phoned in zombie film with bad acting, no story and shitty gore and make-up effects that are meant only to cash in on the craze. However, I was completely surprised by this one.

He seems a little too okay with the zombie bite.

Clearly she's trying to compensate for her lack of a penis...
 Unlike times when zombies are engaging in fisticuffs against the ladies of the pole, this outing of a zombie deathmatch actually had a story to it. There was something actually going on with it. It had a problem (the home the grandpa loves so much is about to go bye-bye) and a solution (robbing a bank to get the money…sure, it’s not the solution most of us would go with but why not, right?). The zombies are thrown in as a complication and, while in other films this may seemed tacked on, Cockneys vs. Zombies didn’t make it feel that way. The zombie element doesn’t feel like a cheap gimmick to cash in on the popularity of the living dead.

"Oi!  We're gunna put a clobberin' on you rotten muckers."
(I think that's how cockneys talk...)

Once the zombies arrive, the film hits the perfect stride as it brings in some fantastic dark comedy with it. The gags are relentless and witty in their execution as the film will give you jokes about how slow zombies move (an old man with a walker is able to just barely stay ahead of them), some great gore gags (like a relentless zombie that won’t stop biting even after it takes some lead to the head) and even a pleasantly humorous offensive gag that involves a zombie baby.

Watch this movie with a parent without a sense of humor or someone who is easily
offended...once you get to this scene their reaction will be delightful.

That’s the real heart of it; the humor. The movie does the comedy extremely well and keeps the movie from becoming stale and repetitive. The fact it has decent actors, fun characters, a solid story and zombies that look extremely convincing and not something in your usual “get that zombie movie out there, make-up is of no consequence” movie, only act as re-enforcing agents that make the film that much stronger and more enjoyable.

With this revelation, it's a wonder zombies can catch anyone at all.

To boil it down, Cockneys vs. Zombies is basically a Guy Ritchie film with the walking dead added to it…which makes even more sense when you realize that Alan Ford, the guy who used pigs to dispose of his enemies in Snatch, is in this film and much of the fast-pace editing and backstory gags look suspiciously familiar. While the title suggests the film has the very real potential to be a piece of phoned-in crap with no imagination and effort behind it, CvZ is damn funny and very, very entertaining.

"Can we get some pigs to be our allies to help take on the zombies?"

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Iceman

***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. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! The Iceman...that's what I call the guy who delivers my ice.  I'm not really good with nicknames.

The Iceman – 5 out of 5

I tried to be a contract killer once…then I found out that a part of that job involves killing people and I don’t have the stomach for that. Who would have known that murder was associated with contract killing?

The Iceman is a stand alone X-men title about Bobby Drake—wait, sorry, that’s inaccurate. The Iceman is about the true story of famed contract killer Richard Kuklinski (Michael “Fucking” Shannon) and how he ended up in the business of being hired on to leave bodies in his wake and how he did it without his family finding out until he was arrested in 1986.

I’ve met quite a few people who’ve watched this one and they all raved about how awesome it was. I pretty much predicted that awesomeness would follow since Michael “Fucking” Shannon (that’s what I call him) was in it. Everything he touches with his epic and intense acting turns to cinema gold (shut up, Man of Steel haters! I liked that one a lot so my theory stands true…at least from my perspective.) Add to the fact it’s based on a true story, I had little doubts that this film was going to be great.

And it effing was!

Even as The Iceman, Shannon can still kick Superman's ass.

Straight up, the story is just great, engaging and interesting as all hell. The feats Kuklinski accomplished felt unbelievable—like something you would see in a movie (wait…it is in a movie!). The man killed over a hundred people and wasn’t caught for a long time. That’s just insane! The story is also presented in a gritty, raw way. The film’s plot is never flashy or stylized; just a dark presentation of the man who is believed to have killed Jimmy Hoffa (although that theory is never shown in the film).

They had to put sunglasses on Shannon because his stares were causing heartaches on set.

Besides having a story that is automatically interesting, the film has a stellar cast of actors making up the film. Winona Ryder plays Kuklinski’s wife and, while her presence is more used for the fact that Kuklinski had a family and was able to keep this secret from them, she performs her job nicely. She wasn’t overtly attention-grabbing but she didn’t kill the scenes she was in.

Being with a contract killer is a step up from being with Mr. Deeds.

"Okay James, the script is about--"
"I'll do it!"
 Other smaller roles were filled with familiar names like James Franco (who, apparently never sleeps because he’s in every movie that comes out) and Stephen Dorff comes out of being in e-cigarette ads to play Kuklinski’s brother. Neither role is large and each only has one scene but their interaction with Shannon and their place in the story really kept things moving and showed the depths of torment the man went through and unabashed malice Kuklinski was capable of. It only helped matters that each player did their job extremely well.

The movie also did a great job of--wait, is that David Schwimmer?!?

Wut?  Hunter S. Thompson was in this too?  How is that even possible?

Since it seems that there is a law in the world of films, Ray Liotta plays the mobster Roy Demeo that gets Kuklinski into the game of hired killings. While it is getting to the point that having Liotta play a mobster is cliché and formulaic, the scenes he shares with Shannon are fantastic. However, the real treat for me was seeing Captain America himself; Chris Evans, play a second killer that went by the name of Mr. Freezy (watch the movie, it’ll make sense) that Kuklinski essentially aligns himself with.

At this point, I wanna see Ray Liotta try to be the lead in a romantic comedy.

The role of Mr. Freezy was something unlike I’ve ever seen from Evans and it’s nice seeing him take chances on roles that you normally wouldn’t think the guy who was once Johnny Storm and in Not Another Teen Movie would take. Seeing Evans as a contract killer that rides around in a ice cream truck (see, I told you it made sense) shows how he continues to evolve as an actor.

Mr. Freezy gave up his life as a roadie for KISS to be a contract killer.

The real object that kept this movie going and made it stellar and epic is the main man himself; Michael Shannon (also referred to as Michael “Fucking” Shannon). I’ve already stated the guy is an amazing actor but this film shows you an intensity that you didn’t think was humanly possible. We already know the guy is intense—for example, whenever you hear a tension hook being played in a movie he’s in, that sound is NOT in the film’s soundtrack, Shannon’s body just naturally produces it—but the intensity he showed as Kuklinski was enough to bring chills down my spine. The real-life Kuklinski was called The Iceman for how cold he was and how he could stare down Death and make the Grim Reaper piss himself and Shannon captured that perfectly.

Damn...he even watches television in a bathrobe with an intensity that can cause
a sun to go supernova.

The Iceman is all kinds of awesome with nearly nothing holding it back in my opinion. Some may find the fact the story has a tendency to jump from one period to the next in Kuklinski’s life to be distracting but I just saw this as showing the full scope of Kuklinski's life and actions as well as an opportunity for Michael Shannon to rock some facial hair that is so badass it stops bullets and impregnates all women within a 50 meter radius.

It starts with sideburns capable of healing the sick...

Then it evolved into a mustache capable of producing clean, renewable energy...

Before taking its final form as a beard capable of great good or incredible evil...
it all depends on Shannon's mood.

With a great cast giving epic performances, a killer story (no pun intended) and Michael Shannon just being Michael Shannon with all his godly acting powers, The Iceman is a powerhouse of a movie…and I never call movies powerhouses!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness

***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. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Lens Flare:  The Final Frontier.

Star Trek Into Darkness – 4 out of 5

Set your phasers to fun—oops, I mean, set them to “stun.” There is no “fun” setting...and, while we're at it, maximize the lens flare because we’re heading into the new Star Trek film.

"Everybody else is seeing this, right?"

**Warning: This review will contain spoilers from a movie that was already in the theaters and all the spoiled plot points have long ago been placed on the internet for the world to see**

A terrorist attack from a shadowy figure forces Star Fleet into action and it’s up to Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and his crew aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise to stop this new threat. Not all is as cut and dry as it seems as this mysterious man, who goes by the name Khan (KHANNNN!!!!!), may have been a victim of an ambitious Star Fleet officer and now, reluctantly, Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto), Bones (Karl Urban) and the rest of the crew must help Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) on his mission of revenge…but who’s going to help them once Khan turns his attention towards them?

Don't act all upset because I reveled he's Khan.  He's fucking credited as Khan
on IMDb.

I’m not a Star Trek fan; not at all. I’m a Star Wars guy. I never got into any of the shows or the movies. I just could never get behind the characters or the stories. I’ve also never found the supposedly badass villain of Khan to be that interesting or intimidating (I blame the fake chest that Ricardo Montalban wore) but this film changed that. I watched the 2009 reboot of the franchise and was less than impressed (it was hard to see the action and story ripping off Star Wars over all the lens flare), so I walked into this one with very, very low expectations and I was immensely surprised to find that I really enjoyed it!

"Give 'er all I've got?  I never thought about that, Cap'ain."

"I'm an now Iron Man...this is highly illogical."
 First off, let’s not fuck around here…this ISN’T a Star Trek movie (at least that’s what my Trekkie friends tell me…in-between punches for not liking Star Trek). Star Trek Into Darkness is basically a Star Wars film infused with hints, nods and winks to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. And, you know what; I’m okay with that…in fact, the emphasis on action, rather than exploration and seeing an over-actor nail alien humanoids painted different colors, made the film incredibly entertaining for me. The story is decent and pretty cut-and-dry (no real surprises going on in the film) but the awesome action and Benedict Cumberbatch actually making a villain that I never really gave a shit about and turning him into something badass, cold and calculating really makes the film.

Look!  It's Ricky Mickey from Doctor Who!

Jerk off material for Trekkies.
 Into Darkness has its drawbacks; the film is far from perfect. There’s plenty of small plot holes that will drive the fanboys insane and much of director J. J. Abrams' work on it is annoying as all hell. Granted, he thankfully downplayed his love of lens flare in this one because, let’s face it, his obsession with this feature has become so prominent that lens flare actually gets its own credit now but the problems Abrams brought to the film didn’t stop there (the writers didn't help, either).

"Let's get logical, bitches!"

"Damn it, Jim, I'm a doctor not another joke at the
expense of the original series."
 Rather than focus on making a Star Trek film (let’s ignore that it’s more Wars than Trek for now), Abrams and the writers are more worried about throwing in as many nods and winks to the original series and films as they can. This ends up making the film feel more like a satire or a parody of Star Trek and it was one of the many things I couldn’t stand about the reboot. While occasional acknowledgements of the original franchise is expected, was there really a need to pointless throw in a tribble? And at what point does the scenery chewing performance of Anton Yelchin as Chekov stop being an homage to the original character and start just being annoying?  And at one point do I become a hypocrite as I criticize this element while making lame (and obvious) jokes at the behalf of Star Trek?  To some, this element is fun (and, for the most part, it was for me too) but there comes a point where you want it to boldly go where the other franchise didn't.

The trouble with tribbles?  The fact you even bothered to include them in the movie.

Let's face it, over-acting is an art you don't have.
I also had a problem with some of the acting. I’m not a fan of Chris Pine and his frat boy approach to playing Kirk is just as intolerable in this film as it was in the last one.  Shatner's hammy performances actually look deep and defined compared to Pine's one-dimensional approach to the character. Thankfully, however, Pine is overshadowed quickly and easily by the likes of Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Weller (yes, Robocop is in this movie!) and even Simon Pegg has a more commanding presence (and a better acted one) than Pine (and Scotty’s role in the film was greatly reduced when compared to the first film).

Gawd damn...even this seemingly stare of no consequence is performed
better than any of the acting of Chris Pine.

The story also doesn’t know what to do with its large cast of characters. Alice Eve is added to the roster as the daughter of a prominent Star Fleet officer (Peter Weller's character) but her presence in the story doesn’t drift any farther than her being emotional leverage during the climax and being a hot bod in her underwear.

Yes, this scene was totally beneficially to the story, Abrams.

Other members of the Enterprise’s crew feel like they were forcefully being put into the spotlight when it never really felt natural for their characters. For example, it’s clear that the writers were unsure with what to do with John Cho as Sulu so they kind of fumbled around to find something for him and the same treatment is given to Uhura (Zoe Saldana). Neither character had much impact on the story and it felt like any scene where they have a moment to shine was quickly added to the script. For example, Uhura trying to have peace talks with the Klingons—the scene of her negotiating with the Klingons ultimate ends up being meaningless and, besides it being a pointless excuse to include Klingons for the fans to see, it ultimately has no impact on the story as it is quickly forgotten (and it was established that venturing into Klingon space could end in war). After the set-up and then getting that scene, it felt like it was thrown into the story last minute so Zoe Saldana does more than offer up a few lines on the bridge.

Trekkies, control your boners...or whatever Klingons call it.  Klarpbrack...I'm
guessing that's what they call them.

However, for all the bad that happened, I still really, really enjoyed the film. The action is intense, the special effects are epic and Benedict Cumberbatch is chilling to watch as he makes the character of Khan a real threat. Star Trek Into Darkness has its problems (beyond being a Star Trek film—come on, Trekkies, that was an easy one. Don’t get mad...instead, get even by telling me why I'm an idiot for liking the prequels; yes, I admit it, I like the prequels) but it didn’t stop me from finding this movie to be a great popcorn action sci-fi film.

"Dead or Alive, Romulans, you're coming with me."