Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Last Orders

I have not read Graham Swift's Booker prize winning novel on which this is based but those who have all tell me it's a hard one to follow do to the flashbacks. There are actually flashbacks WITHIN flashbacks. I can't comment on the book but I can say the film can be a bit difficult to follow unless you give it your full attention. It's a classic story of a group of men who deal with the loss of one of their own and in doing so examine the collective lives which brought them to where they are today. With the likes of Bob Hoskins, Michael Caine, Ray Winstone and Helen Mirren you know you're in for something special. Although a bit slow at times LAST ORDERS certainly demonstrates what a good British film is made of and I have to give a tip of the hat for casting JJ Feild to play a young Caine.


This Matteo Garrone film adapted from the million copy selling expose on the dealing of the Camorra mafia by Roberto Saviano is all the rage right at the moment with the elite film snobs. Hmmmmm...I wonder why that is.....it's a foreign piece with subtitles, it's long and frankly it's rather boring. This is not to say it isn't good but I did catch myself asking the question "would I like this if it wasn't an Italian film" and the query is a valid one and I'm not sure I have an honest answer. What I can tell you is if you thought THE SOPRANOS was realistic and gritty you haven't seen anything yet. GOMORRA, in which most of the action takes place in a delapitated housing complex, is one raw piece of work. Out of the myriad of characters we encounter I can honestly say you will only have empathy for one and it ain't the young kid. Unlike the mentioned SOPRANOS there is no pontification on the psychological aspects of what motivates the players involved and if there is any central message to GOMORRA it would be"don't think, follow orders.......don't wonder, act". On a lighter note, besdies the horrific implications of this organization's toxic waste disposal is their choice in fashion and even more so the fact if you were ever stupid enough to call a member on it you would more than likely have your head blown off. Some eye opening facts concerning this Naples based group flashed on screen at film's end will leave your jaw hanging more than anything you actually witness in the picture most notable being their involvement in the rebuilding of the Twin Towers.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Meet the Spartans

Bloody fucking hell....was this ever a stupidly bad film! Even though I usually enjoy this nonsensical offerings I had been told by enough people this was a genuine dud, of course I had to check it out for myself and sadly the masses were right. You just have to feel for the EASTENDERS Sean Maguire. The man has vast talents but you'd never know it from this one and Kevin Sorbo....he'll never be an A-lister but shit damn he deserves better than this. I suppose we can all give thanks for films like this as they keep Carmen Electra in whatever it is she needs and prevents her from doing bad porn. Hell, even SHE is bad in this clunker. There are some laughs to be had, notably the "pit-of-death" sequences but you sadly have to wait til the end credits to see Ellen DeGeneres get booted in! She is portrayed by the lovely Nicole Parker who also does a mean Paris Hilton, Paula Abdul and a killer Britney Spears impersonation in this one. Sadly, Paris does NOT get the big boot into the "pit-of-death" here. I've heard Parker may be touring with WICKEd as Elphaba which would be a real treat for those fortunate to catch it. It should also be noted Ken Davitian, who shot to big time fame because of BORAT (etc. etc......) has a few good moments here. amazing how funny the acting world can be, Davitian has been kicking the can since 1977 and it is only now people recognise him.
I've already spent more time writing about MEET THE SPARTANS than you should watching it but I have to say the GRAND THEFT AUTO spoof was friggin' gut bustingly funny.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Haunting in Connecticut

It would seems the critics in general have managed to do their damage on this Peter Cornwell film as when I saw it yesterday, opening night there were four people, including myself, in a theatre which seats six hundred. Four people! This tells me either people listening to the scathing reviews of which I've read a couple dozen, not one of them complimentary or this economic tail spin we are all in is far worse than I possibly imagined. All of this being said, THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT wasn't that bad at all. A standard "based on true events" things that go bump and do other squidgy things in the night spook house freak fest. My biggest complaint would have to be with Kyle Gallner who did a bang up job but I just can't watch without thinking I'm looking at Wil Wheaton! Not a bad thing but damn does it ever throw me off. Virginia Madsen does fine as the stressed out mother of the brood being terrorized by the beasties from beyond and we get some fine support from Martin Donovan and Amanda Crew though I think they could have made better use of Elias Koteas. Something about him playing a priest when he could have been one of the ghoulies without needing makeup just doesn't seem right. Speaking of makeup, because of the cancer wreaking havoc with the body of Gallner's character we have him running about in practical white face for most of the film which is genuinely creepy and on the topic of creepy you just have to feel for the family currently residing in the Southington, Connecticut house which has been haunted for real but looney tune ghostbuster wannabes! I also feel for the cast and crew as they shot thissucker out in Winnipeg which would be enough to scare the hell out of me! As the events this supposedly depicts took place in '80s I have to make special mention of the great job the arts department did with the sets and continuity and of you can see it on the big screen do so as the sound work is spectacular.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

File this under the "seemed like a good idea at the time" section...as in a bunch of executives with one too many a brandy and a bit too much nose candy say "let's take one of the greatest albums of all time by one of the greatest band of all time and grab EVERYBODY we can find kicking around Hollywood and brutalise the shit out of it" and this is pretty much what you have with this film and yes...it is every bit as bad as you would expect it to be. It is however worth a look just to play the face recognition game, hell, they even managed to squeeze Paul and George in there and considering they snagged Alice Cooper you just have to wonder where John and Ringo were hiding. Marks the film debuts of Steve Martin and Carel Struycken and maybe a hundred other people as well and amazingly enough director Michael Schultz is STILL doing television work. Good television work at that!


"Every war is different.....every war is the same" so goes the line uttered by Jake Gyllenhaal's character towards the end of the film and they are important. Important because many, including myself were of the opinion this was just a poor man's update of Stanley Kubrick's FULL METAL JACKET. The similarities cannot be dismissed but are easily explained. Like Kubrick's film based on the autobiographical novel by the late Gustav Hasford detailing his experiences as a journalist in the Vietnam War, JARHEAD is the adaptation of Anthony Swofford's rather similar tale as a marine years later in the Gulf War. The boot camp scenes are pretty much the same leading one to believe not much had changed in the years between the two conflicts but this is pretty much where the comparison should end. Sam Mendes who had great succes with AMERICAN BEAUTY and the recent REVOLUTIONARY ROAD does a superb job of directing his cast and more importantly illustrating the "hurry up and wait" aspect of Operation Desert Storm. It seemed to me to be a rather odd roll for Gyllenhaal but as with most of his work his portrayal of Swofford is nothing short of spell binding. The real surprise for me was Jamie Foxx as Staff Sgt. Sykes. I'm not a big fan of Foxx but he delivers a realistic and compelling performance here and deserves full props. Great little cameo from Chris Cooper here and excellent film editing by the great Walter Murch. The politics are kept to a minimum here which works to JARHEAD's favor as this is truly about one man's journey and one you won't soon forget.

Mirror Mirror

There are three very scary things baout this 1990 low budget number if we don't count the fact it looks like it was made ten years earlier. The first would be Karen Black who turns in the worst performance of her entire career. I'm serious, it looks like somebody loaded her up on Scotch and antidepressants and pushed her in front of the camera which is sad as she's a wonderful lady and has done some stunning work over the years. The second would be Rainbow Harvest. Yes, this is an actress and not some long forgotten hippie porn star. Her character here is a angst ridden Boy George clone and trust me, this is the scariest thing you will find in MIRROR MIRROR. Oh, I said there were three scary things......try THREE more in the MIRROR MIRROR series after this one and yes, I've seen them all. It's obvious I'm missing something here as this series has quite a cult following and this might have to do with the fact it was directed by a women and written by the Cascone sisters who went on to work on two of the sequels. Actually, that is all the Cascone sisters would go on to but this is besides the point. Along with Black we have a couple of other well known names in William Sanderson and Yvonne De Carlo but for my money they don't help much. As I said, it has quite the cult following and appears to have spooked the shit out of a number of kiddies out there so you might want to take a glance into this one.

Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story

Horse films are a genre unto itself and it is for this reason the comparisons between this and SEABISCUIT are wrong. Yes, they both involve a "broken" horse who should never race again and they are both based on actual events. The big difference is the pacing. SEABISCUIT moves to fast in my opinion to be a "true" horse film and DREAMER does not make this mistake. It takes it sweet time to move it's simple little story. Don't get me wrong, I loved SEABISCUIT but when you think of a classic, say such as THE BLACK STALLION there is a slowness to how things unfold which seems to be intrinsically linked to the sentiment of horses in general. As to if you will enjoy DREAMER or not depends on how you feel about Dakota Fanning. Never mind Kurt Russell or Kris Kristofferson, this is her film and I fully understand she drives some folks right around the bend. I happen to like her work and she is in fine form here, so much I honestly can't think of anybody else for the role. Oddly enough this is the only piece to date directed by actor/writer/producer John Gatins and I hope this changes soon as I greatly enjoyed his style. One scene in particular come to mind, this being when Fanning feeds the popsicle to Sonhadora (Dreamer) through the stable wall, it's amazing sequence of visuals and sets the tone of the relationship to come between Fanning and the mare. With fine support from David Morse, Elisabeth Shue and Luis Guzman as the trainer this heartwarming tale of healing and triumph is perfect viewing for the entire family.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Oh, you are just waiting for me to rip this one to shreds aren't you. Ain't gonna happen!
I'll fess up.....I bloody HATED this film and I honestly think I'd rather have some dominatrix hammer nails into my scrotum than sit through it again BUT it is a well made film and it certainly wasn't made for me. Hey, I'm a guy who has probably spent a total of eighty hours or more of my life watching some guy in a hockey mask chase people around and I'm not talking about Patrick Roy! So, even though I thought the characters in THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS were vacuous retards ( and if I were directing said guy in hockey mask would have had at 'em!) and the sountrack even worse it is a well shot and properly flowing piece of work. I've not read the three "novels" by Ann Brashears they jammed together to make this movie but I did have the "pleasure" of listening to an ample sized group of tweenies howling on and on about which characters did and did not work so for anybody out there reading this who just MIGHT happen to care there is apparently some issues with the casting though I swear I'll never be able to in this or any other lifetime tell you what they are. I will tell you this, if you are a guy stuck babysitting and you get roped into renting this one you will be regarded as a lecherous old git if you get caught drooling over Blake Lively running about in her panties so be a good guy and stay in the friggin' kitchen making 'smores or whatever the hell the little urchins want and whatever you do make sure you have, like, a WAREHOUSE of damn Kleenex about and EARPLUGS because I promise you there will be tears and wailing a plenty which is about all any sane adult male needs to know about THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS.

SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2

The late Bob Clark directed a few classics in his day, MURDER BY DECREE, TURK 182! and PORKY'S but I'm afraid this one, sadly his last, was not one of them. The first was bad enough but this clunker just ambles on and on and on like a baby in a carriage with a broken wheel. You just know Jon Voight did something in this or a past life to end up here and if Scott Baio continues to do work of this ilk he'll be still single at sixty! As for Vanessa Angel and Skyler Shaye, I doubt either will ever win an Oscar but for gawd's sake ladies, fire your agents and move on in this life!
Bad, just simply bad!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Exorcist: The Beginning

This supposed mess of a film sure was exorcised from theatres lickety split being slammed by critics and viewers alike clear across the planet. It was a troubled production right from the get go much as I`ve heard was William Peter Blatty`s LEGION of which this is loosely based. John Frankenheimer was supposed to direct and then bowed out literally weeks before he died, then Paul Schrader took the helm but the studio didn`t like what he produced so Renny Harlin was brought in, along with a retooled, less cerebral script and Izabella Scorupco as a doctor I don`t recall ever having been in the novel. Doesn't matter to me as I'm always happy to see this Polish beauty who sadly doesn't do enough film work. The Schrader version does exist though I have yet to see it so what we have here is an attempt to give the back story behind the Father Merrin character made so famous by Max Von Sydow in the original. Stelland Skarsgard does duty and the young priest (oddly enough 10 years older in real life than when Von Sydow played the role!) who has lost his faith. Granted, the film is not a great one and the main reason is they present it in the same fashion as a FRIDAY THE 13th film, characters are pretty much introduced only to die in a gruesome fashion while little bits of religious stuff float about in the background and they mix in some message about how bad the Nazis were in World War II. This is not necessarily a bad thing. If you take the film on this level it's not that bad. Skarsgard does a fair enough job carrying it and for my money it was worth watching just to see Scorupco turn into a devil bitch! Oh, did I ruin something for you......don't worry...you'll see it coming from a mile away. All in all, not nearly as bad as the Reny Harlin bashers would have you think though of course you are still way better off with the original.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Stronger than Fire:The Eva Olsson Story

As far as I know there are still tickets to be had for this special event taking place at the Beach United Church (Wineva and Queem Street East, Toronto) March 28th, 2009, 7:00 PM where resident Beacher director Don Gray will introduce his documentary about the thoughts and life of Holocaust survivor Eva Olsson. I'm not sure if she will be in attendance or not but if the film manages to capture even a tenth of her unique strength and power it will be a special evening. Adult tickets are $15.00 with proceeds supporting local youth and family initiatives for peace, whatever that means but it at least sounds good. Don't forget, this is taking place in a church auditorium so don't come staggering 'round the corner from Captain Jacks! If you wan't to donate to the cause rather than doing said stagger, fire me an email and I'll collect it from you AND BRING IT RIGHT TO THEM rather than sit their getting all juiced with you lot and missing the film. Incidentally, should you ever have the chance to see Eva Olsson don't miss it, I guarantee a truly inspirational experience.

The Last House on the Left

I have many thoughts on this, the latest in the slew of Hollywood remakes and the first is how do you film a sensitive rape scene. This is important as it sets the tone for this picture. When I first heard they had cast Sara Paxton as Mari I couldn't help but think......how is she going to do this. Now, for those who have interest and have not seen the orginal.....stop here and come back later.
The whole set-up hinges on a very brutal rape scene, which I will discuss a bit more shortly. Paxton is one of those "innocent" types and only 21 so I just couldn't wrap my head around how they could shoot this and mantain the itegrity of the first if you will. Shockingly enough director Dennis Iliadis does it not only with the scene but the film as a whole. It's almost as if Goya were to do a painting in water colour. THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT is friggin' brutal, horrifying and yet it is subtle and poetic. I swear, with some good set design and the right cast they could turn this film into a bloody stage play. It is of course a very simple revenge story but it is important to remember the 1972 version ushered this genre in.
As for the film itself, I don't feel much more needs to be said. Outstanding acting all around especially from Monica Potter and Tony Goldwyn though I feel bad singling them out as everybody is excellent and for those of you who find yourselves scratching your head trying to figure out where you know the young boy Justin (Spencer Treat Clark) from it it GLADIATOR.
The ending is a bit weaker than the orignal actually looking like an add on though it is set up earlier in the film but all in all it does the job.
I will say if you plan on seeing it on the big screen to go soon as I went to see the late show last night, a Tuesday to boot and in one of the major movie houses at that and I was BY MYSELF. I have this happen from time to time at afternoon shows but I'd have to say this is the only time I can think of where it happened with a first run film.
I mentioned I had other thoughts on this one and I would like to share an incident with you. It had to do with one of those "know if fucking all" serious little film snob twits who was dense enough to try and expond on the sociopolitical merits of the original and how they were lacking in the remake. I thank the good Lord above, the older I get the easier it is for me to ignore morons, of which I'm more than well aware I'm often one but I try to keep my mouth shut more and I don't tie people up and toothpick their eyes to make them read my blog so I honestly feel I'm getting better in dealing with people. BUT, and yes, it is a big BUT, I had not yet seen the new one (it opened on the 13th and I did mention back in my WATCHMEN blurb, I've been distracted) so I asked how they handled the rape scene and did they save the "piss" scene to which this tit wad, I kid you not, started to argue was never in the original. Kind of like saying CITIZEN KANE didn't have a sled or GONE WITH THE WIND didn't have a fire!
Oh, I was going somewhere with this and I guess it was along the lines of how tired I am of people yapping about films they've obviously not seen. Honestly, I had to get up and leave or I was going to stick this mentaly challenged chump's head in a microwave. See, maybe I am getting better.
By the way, for those who care but are waiting for the DVD, they don't use the "piss" scene in the new one.


Let me start by saying I was shocked to see this was #1 at the box office this past weekend. Opening up against I LOVE YOU MAN and DUPLICITY this is no small accomplishment nor is this Alex Proyas feature a small film. Hell, it's about the end of the world dammit! It also happens to be about some MIT prof with a broken life and a serious drinking problem who has lost his faith and believe the universe is a cold and uncaring joint. Sound familiar? It should (and no...I am NOT talking about myself) because we've seen this all before and this is one of the big problems with KNOWING.....we kind of...uh...know we've seen this all before from THE SEVENTH SIGN, to SIGNS, to ARMAGEDDON to hell....even Bugs Bunny cartoons....we've seen it all. ......well....kind of. KNOWING at least has a nice little metapsyichal spin on things and I'm rather surprised there haven't been fundamental Christian groups protesting it somewhere. Am I giving something away? Who care.....trust me....you pretty much seen it before.
The other problem with KNOWING is Nicolas Cage who is quickly joining Leelee Sobieski here for blurbs about films that suck. Cage's performance here makes Keanu Reeves look like a Shakespearian thespian which is not intended as an insult to either but fawk me...Cage is like a cardboard cut out in this one and I have no idea why. Here is yet another problem....the damn film WOULD NOT WORK without Cage! I'm well aware I've just contradicted myself but I found myself trying to think of another male lead for this picture and ended up with the conclusion Cage was the natural choice. This could explain why it beat all of the other films with it's draw this weekend past, people love Nicolas Cage EVEN when he's not at his best.
From all I have written you might be of the mind KNOWING is a bad film which isnt the case. It manages to provide a nice little creepy atmosphere, much like Proyas did in DARK CITY and THE CROW not to mention I, ROBOT, and entertain you to boot.
There are a couple of mind bender action scenes, sadly CGI and with that damn shaky camera work I'm always complaining about but they are intense enough to make the twelve bucks and a trip to the movie house worth every penny. Anybody who went to Sunday school will enjoy the "clues" as they unfold and yes those "black rocks" have a signifigant meaning. One last thing I feel needs to be pointed out is DON'T get up and leave when it looks like the film has ended. I'm not sure if it was editing or what but half of the audience left before the true climax of the film happened, and I can fully understand how the mistake was made because I almost did it myself, and to miss it would be to not get your money's worth!


Ok, ok! I've been getting your emails concerning this one and I hear you loud and clear, just let us say I've been "distracted" and as such have not been able to get to blurbing this highly anticipated feature. As it is, I've now seen it three times, the third being due to aforementioned "distraction" and for the sake of those who have been too damn lazy to get out to the cinema and have been pestering the bloody hell out of me for an opinion I will give you a spoiler free take.

It doesn't suck and see it on the IMAX!

For those of you who have seen it, but not on the IMAX, do so while you stilll can and this isn't so much for the visuals and the sound which is stunning in this format.

I mentioned the film does not suck and this is important as many fans of the comic (yes, it was a comic mini series before the graphic novel kiddies!) were overcome with the stomach of dread concerning this adaptation of Alan Moore's vision (yes, I know Dave Gibbons did the art but I highly doubt he was a major influence on the story itself) fearing another train wreck like THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN. This, coupled with the idea WATCHMEN, like, say DUNE, was one of the complex projects many felt could never be properly brought to the big screen. Amazingly Zack Snyder and his crew pull it off. It is not 100% much of the back story being presented dury an itroductory montage sequence (awesome by the way) and then working the key elements into a presentable picture.

This is all you really need to know about WATCHMEN as far. My praise is high and my complaints few but I will address them.

First off, the film is amazingly too long. I say amazingly as the story is such you would expect it to be long but they decided to dwell on the eye candy a bit too much and this brings me to my second complaint which is the way the fight scenes are shot. I've had it up to the eyeballs with this trend of slowing down action sequences. Sure, looked cool the first time we saw it, much like the wirework in THE MATRIX (yes, I know, ripped from the Japanese films....don't bother emailing me!) but enough already. I'm of the opinion if they had not uitilized this technique they could have easily shaved ten minutes off of the running time. My saying this should give you an indication of the amount of violence in this film and I was stunned to see parents bringing their 5 to 10 years olds to ALL THREE screenings I attended.

If people have not managed to twig to this concept yet I'll say it...WATCHMEN is not a kiddie flick!

My other problem is with the dialogue. Some of it works fine in the comic, it should have been adapted better for the movie and this is especially bothersome in the case of Rorschach. They flip his intonation all over the place much to the detriment of the character and this is important for as many characters their are floating in and out of the picture WATCHMEN is his story. Critics across the board have been ranting and raving about Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Comedian in this one but the real star her is the Oscar nominated Jackie Earle Haley who I swear is even more threatening without his mask. I simply cannot stress how phenomenal his performance is here which brings us to our next topic.


Hey, it's human nature, we love to compare things even when they shouldn't be.

THE DARK KNIGHT is the better picture, it will have a greater lasting appeal but when you put The Joke alongside Rorschach...well....let's just say they are both amazing and don't waste your prescious time on the subject.

Our next point of major contention concerns Malin Akerman as Silk Spectre II. For years now the fan boy perverts have been yipping and howling about who the hottest from the page to the screen comic naughty hottie was with the hold trilogy being Michele Pfeiferr as Catwoman, Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity and Jennifer Garner's Elektra being benchmark and no, Charlize Theron as Aeon Flux (I can't find the funny little "AE" key, forgive me!) doesn't count as the original was an animated series though she could have melted an iceberg from her hotness in that one! It now seems Akerman has knocked the lot of them from the mantle but in my opinion only because of the sex scene. Sure, she looks great in vinyl and said romp scene had a number of geek heads trotting off to the little boy's room but I still say Garner's Elektra tops them all.

Speaking of sex, I was saddened to notice what seemed to be the biggest attraction of WATCHMEN was Dr. Manhattan's neon blue schlong! The laughing and titters it caused from the audience were damn close to unbearable at times and on the way out from all three screening it was all I could hear anybody talk about and this may perhaps be the biggest problem with WATCHMEN...it's too complicated for whats left of the average audience menber's mind.

To sum all of this up, it is an amazingly stylish piece of work, yet another reason to make the effort to see it on the IMAX. Also, I truly thought the casting was stunning. The only face I recognized was Matt Frewer though I swear it is Tony Cox (who is not credited!~) in the prison scene with Rorschach and this does wonders in allowing you to escape into Alan Moore's world. I gather he would not allow his name to be on the credits no longer wanting any association with adaptations of his work. I haven't heard what he thought of WATCHMEN but I can honestly see no reason not to be proud.

And there you have it readers, you don't have to email me anymore about this one and, as much as I love you all, stop with the messages concerning the new STAR TREK.....despite what you may thing I have NOT seen any advance version and as far as Sam Raimi's upcoming DRAG ME TO HELL, well....I'm not supposed to say anything but it will be, by far, the best horror picture this year and Sam went back to his roots in a mighty big way!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Moulin Rouge!

I have no problem with Bazz Luhrmann's work, he is an amazing film maker but in the case of MOULIN ROUGE! it's all about one thing........pussy....as you ain't gittin' none if you don't sit though this one and keep your trap shut! One would think this to be an easy task considering you have a stunning Nicole Kidman running about in various states of costume and undress but sadly we have to listen to Ewan McGregor sing. Sure, a high quality and esoteric actor and right for the role except his vocal stlye would be better suited to a heavier rock format and not the warbling goings on and on of a poor man's Sting or what have you. I should also point out this whole pussy business only works if you already have a partner. Honestly! I am unable to count the number of times I've sat through MOULIN ROUGE (fabulous sets by the way!) only to have some wine laden wench try to do the cancan on my head or cry on my soldier only to wind up doing a dance of my own...the blue-ball shuffle.

Transporter 2

Jason Statham has built himself quite the interchangeable character as the man who knows how to drive and bust heads which is pretty much just what he does here. I happen to quite like this style of entertainment so the film works for me, besides, I have to say something nice about director Louis Leterrier as his version of THE HULK employed damn near everybody I know in the local film industry.
Yes, the italics function is jammed on my keyboard!
The biggest thing of note to me on a recent viewing of TRANSPORTER 2 was Kate Nauta. I could swear I was watching PINK do an action role.....which would by no means me a bad thing but the resemblance is remarkable.
Good straight forward action for those who crave it.

The Young Land

This is a bit of an odd duck as films go and one you no doubt have seen floating around in the cheapie DVD bins of late. While billed as a Western it is rather more of a courtroom drama and not a bad one at that. On trial is a young Dennis Hopper for gunning down a Mexican and the little border town has to bring in a judge played by the late great Dan O'Herlihy. Along for the ride is the Duke's son Patrick Wayne who we would later know from SINBAD AND THE EYE OF THE TIGER and Batgirl herself Yvonne Craig playing a rather odd love interest. Not the best picture you'll come across but far better than it might seem at first glance. Even garnered an Oscar nod for original song but went up against HIGH HOPES from A HOLE IN THE HEAD which is akin to Stuart Little picking a fight with the Predator!

Lost Boys: The Tribe

You might be tempted to file this in the "why the hell did they bother" drawer and I wouldn't blame you but there are three reasons to give this one a quick look. The first would be the cameo Tom Savini does at the beginning of the film.....bloody funny enough to warrant the three bucks for a rental all on it's own! The second would be the cool vampire death by deer antler scene. Even though it's a cheap CGI pop it's a bloody cool scene. The third would be the return of Corey Feldman as Edgar Frog. Hard to tell if he's having a grand ol' time with the role reprisal or just simply pissed with his agent for making him take the part. As the Platinum Blonde song goes it doesn't really matter because he's funny as can be even if it wasn't intentional. Other that these bits the film is standard stuff but at least they were kind of able to get a Sutherland on baord for the project.

Bound by Lies

If seeing Kristy Swanson in a bunch of soft bondage photos is your cup of tea then you may derive some pleasure from this one. Then again, if sticking toothpicks in your eyes to stay awake and some kind of sordid endurance test is your bag well then have at 'er folks because I have two more words for you about this one.........Stephen Baldwin!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Geek 2 Geek

Anybody notice that little Google Ad link above my blog posts? The braintrust at Google Headquarters who I gather are akin to S.M.E.R.S.H. or S.P.E.C.T.R.E. or what have you use some metacrawlier device to tailor advertisements to match the content of my blog so you see spots for DVD companies or new releases and the likes. Recently though I've noticed spots for GEEK 2 GEEK which I reckon from it's blurb is a dating service for Star Trek heads and the likes. Just curious, anybody try it yet? I mean, you're supposed to be clicking the ad box anyway so I can makes gazillions of dollars and have my own swank headquarters just like the Google folks instead of my Victorian digs tucked away in The Beaches of Toronto....and yes..it is THE BEACHES not the friggin' BEACH as those head-stuck-up-their-arse Post-Proto-Yuppies have now labled it. Back to the Geek 2 Geek ad, I wanna hear from you. I mean, do you get ads like "SWF Borg Queen looking for long walks in THE BEACHES.....must love dogs" or "SWM (?) Klingon looking to play Star Trek Six Pack with dominant Vulcan sylph"? Hell, curious minds want to know, besides, if you people were clicking those spots like you were supposed to be I would have seen THE WATCHMEN by now and you'd be reading a review of that instead of this! Alas, perhaps if I had posted my own GEEK 2 GEEK personal add, such as "SWM useless tit seeks sugar Gorn for romantic evenings at the local Irish pub, must own their own lightsaber and a dilithium mine" I wouldn't have such problems, and yes, I know I mixed genres but hey, as they say, cast your Tholian web wide.

Friday, March 06, 2009

The Last House on the Left

While it would be five years later in 1977 when Wes Craven would leave his mark on the horror landscape with THE HILLS HAVE EYES it is important not to overlook this, his debut picture which of which the remake will "grace" the big screen this coming Friday the 13th. Not sure if they'll get my 12 bucks for that one but I do look forward to seeing any special DVD they may release of the original as a tie-in. Oddly enough I mention Friday the 13th as a young Steve Miner who would go on to help create that franchise broke into the business with THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and this also an early film for now veteran actor Martin Kove. This tale of loss and revenge was touted as being true but I;ve heard many time in the art houses it's a reworking of some Igmar Bergman film from the '60s. Cant confirm that but it certainly holds it's own in the early realm of realistic horror brutality. I still like THE HILLS HAVE EYES better but this one is well worth seeing especially as it will be well available again soon......and yes...I could say a hell of a lot more about this film but anybody who has ever read Fangoria or any book on modern horror will have heard it all before so why bother.

Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo

I must admit I found the first one to be quite funny but with distribution problems and a six year gap I sure didn't expect much from this one hence it collected dust in the DVD piles for ages. Alas, thanks to the UNBREAKABLE incident the "new" DVD player is working overtime and let me tell you...this film will pretty much piss or gross out....well....pretty much everybody. Of course I loved it and yes, actually did laugh out loudm by myself at just how downright silly and offensive EUROPEAN GIGOLO is. Believe it or not the script is well crafted, Schneider is what he is and Eddie Griffin I find hilarious no matter what he's in but the real surprise here was Jeroen Krabbe who add an interesting flavor to the whole mix. Nice to see a cameo from Nadia van de Ven and even if you despise this genre of film it must be seen at least for the dolphin sequence at the beginning as it's gut busting.


With the recent relase of perhaps the most anticipated comic related film in years, THE WATCHMEN, let us take a quick peek back at M. Night Shyamalan's UNBREAKABLE. Regular readers here know full well what I think of Shama-lama-ding-dong's work but I will give him cred for a great concept and this film head the geek squad chasing their collective tails trying to garner bits of early footage and script leaks. Again, great concept...bloody wretched film! Slow, plodding, may be the worst thing Bruce Willis ever did andas much as I love him that is certainly saying something and even Samuel L. Jackson can't save this one. Problem for me is I've sat through it half a dozen times, theatre, video, special DVD and now on what I hope to be my final viewing in this or any other lifetime video again and do you know what....the fucking tape of UNBREAKABLE jammed in my player and BROKE my friggin' VCR! Dead, flatlined...kuft-ka-frakin-poof!........and that my dear friends is the last I will ever speak of this one!


I had only encountered Masayuki Ochiai's work with his segment in DARK TALES OF JAPAN but it was enough to have me excited about this Americanized remaked of the 2004 Thailand original. My excitement ended ten minutes into the film. I don't care how smoking hot Rachael Taylor is and I don't care how fond I've become of Joshua Jackson since becoming addicted to FRINGE, no......SHUTTER does not work. It is far too simple as a mystery, it's "boo-factor" is close to nil and truth be told I've been more scared by items I've found in my refrigerator than anything I found here. Worth a peek for the jaw-dropper scene if somebody happens to have a copy kicking about, otherwise, avoid at all costs.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


OUT OF AFRICA down under is how this one appeared to me without seeing it. I don't think I can take full blame as this was marketed as one of those epic love story bits of fluff with a war going on in the background. You know the type, love against all odds and then somebody gets snuffed out by the mean old world and we have to watch some grieving tit wail for the last half hour or what have you.
AUSTRALIA is NOT that film!
What we have here is a good old fashioned mish mash of the kind you would find back in the '40s and 50's...hell...maybe even the '60s which might be why the critics brutalized it so which is unfair. Baz Lurhman delivers one hell of a spectacle with this one and Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman are more than up to the task of following along. Usually when they throw a kid into the mix on a film like this I cringe but they give Brandon Walters such an interesting character to work with you can't help but love it. May be a bit long for somes liking but well worth seeing just to witness one of the greatest CGI action scene put on the big screen to date.


Despite being in the business for years this 1998 film pretty much marks the introduction of Clive Owen to the audiences on North America. It's a dark bit o' British work depicting Owen as a wannabe novelist who runs a roulette wheel to make ends meet and winds up going off of the rails. Put this one next to THE INTERNATION (without all of the running) and you'll see what I mean about him needing to take a break. It's a slow film but very authentic and is one of those you'll either love or hate. Love for Rhona Mitra in a "high" profile bit part.


Let's see, we have Tom Savini in a film with no blood to speak of, Joseph Pilato as a good guy and John Harrison actually on screen rather than behind the scenes in a movie shot in 1974 but never released or seen until it hit DVD in 2005. Do you really need to know more about this? Hey, rabid fans of any of the above mentioned will want to see it for the sake of curiousity but that will sadly be about all.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

North Country

For some reason I always mix this one up with MONSTER. Sure, they both star Charlize Theron in less than flattering roles and they are both based on true stories but it still puzzles me why I continue to confuse the two. In this case we have the story of a lady coal miner who spear heads a class action sexual harassment case. It's a fine enough film though the court room scene at the end is far too cinematically contrived for my liking. The monlogue Richard Jenkins delivers made the film for me and I always like to see Sean Bean even if he is underused here. Somehow Woody Harrelson puls off his lawyer role and nice touch of casting magic bringing Sissy Spacek on board.