Monday, February 28, 2011

Free Jimmy (2006)

A CG animation directed by Christopher Nielsen.
Animal liberators, thugs and a biker gang all chase an elephant that is addicted to heroine.
This definitely isn't Pixar as the elephant gets dope-sick, all the characters swear, some have sex and people get their heads blown off graphically. In the picture, Jimmy the elephant is shooting drugs out of his nose. I thought the characters and plot were good. The pacing was a little slow and the style was dark, but appropriate for the subject matter. I'm rating this good.

Bangkok Dangerous (1999)

A crime film by The Pang Brothers.
A deaf-mute assassin gets involved with the mob.
The style of this film was very odd, to the point where the plot was almost incoherent. Every other aspect of the film was obscured by the style, so it's not worth writing about anything else. I'm rating it o.k.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Last Station (2009)

A drama directed by Michael Hoffman.
A new secretary goes to work for Leo Tolstoy.
This film was melodramatic and boring. The plot was as dull as the characters (I know I've said this recently, but still mean it) and the pace was slow. The style was decent, but with all other elements of the film working against it, this amounted to nothing. I rate this poor for being boring.

The Asphyx (1973)

A science fiction directed by Peter Newbrook.
A scientist discovers a spirit that comes to take dying people's souls to the underworld. He gains the key to immortality by trapping these spirits.
This film was very boring. The wide screen effect was extreme, with gigantic portions of the top and bottom of the screen black and unused. The plot was as dull as the characters. The pace was too slow. They should have fit this whole film into 15 minutes and made it a Twilight Zone episode. I'm rating it poor.

The Last Exorcism (2010)

A horror directed by Daniel Stamm.
An evangelical preacher goes on an exorcism call and finds crazy rednecks.
I thought that this would be completely faked from the Wikipedia classification as a mockumentary. In the beginning, the preacher even shows how he makes fake exorcism effects. I was expecting some exposure of a hoax at the end, but it didn't happen. It turns out to be an actual horror film that's just shot like a documentary. I'm rating it good for fooling me.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I Spit on your Grave (1978)

A horror by Meir Zarchi.
A woman moves into a cabin and is raped by rednecks. She takes revenge.
You may remember this from the 2010 film that I just reviewed. It's nowhere near as annoying in 1978 and easier to watch. The characters stay 2 dimensional and the plot is just as superficial, but it's not as badly done this time. I could actually sit through it without experiencing physical aversion. I'm rating it o.k. for not totally disgusting me.

Monsters (2010)

A romance directed by Gareth Edwards.
Alien monsters are loose in northern Mexico and a young man has to escort his boss' daughter to America.
The plot was trite and the characters were 2 dimensional. The style was totally worthless, but the pacing was good. I'm reviewing this as a crappy romance because I have no rating bad enough for it as a science fiction. I rate it shit anyway. Some Kind of Monster has been dethroned. This is THE WORST MOVIE EVER!

Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001)

A drama by Alfonso Cuaron.
A pair of friends take an older woman on a road trip to a beach.
Everything starts off really cool and the characters are having fun going to an unknown beach. They bring beer and stop at hotels on the way, but by the end of the journey, they hate eachother. I thought the plot and characters were good and liked the narration filling in back-story as appropriate. I didn't mind the subtitles, because I almost know Spanish and could kind of figure out what they were talking about anyway. I'm rating this adequate (which is happening a lot these days).

Bad Santa (2003)

A comedy by Terry Zwigoff, starring Billy Bob Thornton.
An alcoholic and a midget play Santa and his elf at a mall during the Christmas season, before robbing the safe on Christmas eve.
I normally don't like comedies, but this was great. The Santa character was very well done and this film has led to many a late night of liquor for me. I don't know why watching a dysfunctionally drunken Santa makes me want booze, but it just does. I'm rating this good for drinking inspiration.

Howl (2010)

An art film by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman.
Allen Ginsberg's work, Howl is explored in many ways. An interview, a court trial, some animations, and a narration are woven together to present a complete picture.
I can't really say much about plot, as the film was non-linear. The style was good and I liked the animations. The song about death at the end was really cool. I'm rating this adequate.

Friday, February 25, 2011

And Soon the Darkness (2010)

A thriller written and directed by Marcos Efron.
2 young women are on vacation in Argentina and get separated. When one goes to look for the other, her phone is there, but the girl is gone. An English-speaking man is also suspiciously everywhere they go.
This wasn't really all that great. The plot was dull and the characters were shallow. It had no redeeming qualities. I'm rating it bad.

I Spit on Your Grave (2010)

A horror remake directed by Steven R. Monroe.
A girl goes out to a cabin to work on writing a book and is raped by a group of men. She then gets revenge.
The first half of the film was really hard to watch. I think it is because the audience is really supposed to hate them men. The revenge part is great. The rapists (now heavily hated) are all dealt with very violently. I'm giving this one a mixed review.

The Secret Of NIMH (1982)

An animated science fiction by Don Bluth.
A mouse who is famous among rats has her house in the way of the plow and it must be moved before her children are killed by the farmer.
This is one of those magical '80s animated films that you're never too old for. The style is great and the pacing is appropriate. I like the mysterious characters of Nicodemus and the great owl the most. I really wish kids' movies were still made like this. I'm rating it good.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Where Eagles Dare (1968)

A war film directed by Brian G. Hutton, starring Clint Eastwood.
A team of British soldiers goes into German territory during world war 2.
Boring! I don't care how hot "Hair Frown-line" is, she can't save this film from poor ratings here. The plot was as stereotypical as the characters and the style was absolutely dull. The only man who can make a fight with the Germans interesting is Indiana Jones, so I'm rating this poor.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

A science fiction by James Cameron, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In a future world where man fights against machines, the leader of the human resistance sends a cyborg back in time to protect himself when he is a teenager. The machines send a more advanced warrior to kill the human leader when he is young.
This film has a very dark style to it. I remember watching this when I was very young and my mother not wanting me to see it because I was only 10 years old. The extended version is really that much better than the original and includes scenes of John's father visiting Sarah and a few extra t-1000 morphs. I really like this film and it brings back fond memories of my childhood, so I'm rating it awesome.

Scarface (1983)

A crime film written by Oliver Stone, directed by Brian De Palma, starring Al Pacino.
A small time thug from Cuba moves to America and up the ranks of organized crime.
This is a very famous film in some circles. It's far more brash than the 1932 version and I would have to say, more entertaining. Al Pacino puts on the best performance as "the fuckin' badguy" and the plot is pretty good. I'm rating it adequate.

Catfish (2010)

A documentary by Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman and Yaniv Schulman.
A photographer in New York gets a painting of one of his pictures sent to him by an 8 year old girl in Michigan. This starts a waterfall of facebook friendships, one of which with a woman named Megan. After communicating online, the photographer goes to Michigan to see these people.
This film is the opposite of The Social Network, as the fake people are exposed. I really don't want to wreck the plot for anyone who is going to watch this, so that's all I can say. I'm rating it good.

Burke and Hare (2010)

A remake directed by John Landis.
A pair of poor Irish men sell corpses to make a living. One of them finances an all-female version of Macbeth.
This is a remake from the 1971 horror film to a black comedy. I've discussed black comedies elsewhere, so there's no need to get into whether they're supposed to be funny or not. I tried to get the 1971 version, but had no luck. This one was decent as there were some funny parts and the plot was alright. If you like watching what I call "accent" films (you'll get the joke when you hear the characters speak), you'll like this. I'm rating it o.k.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Apartment Complex (1999)

A mystery directed by Tobe Hooper.
A new building manager moves into his apartment complex and when he drags the old manager out of the pool, he becomes the only suspect in a murder case.
The plot was effing twisted. The setting and style were crazy too. It didn't matter that most of the characters were extras, this fucking ruled anyway. If you like good movies, you'll like this as much as I did. I'm rating it awesome. Unfortunately, I can't find a picture for it.

Sacrifice (2011)

A crime film written and directed by Damian Lee, starring Cuba Gooding Jr.
An alcoholic cop who has lost his family is working towards a big drug bust. A young man sells drugs to support his little sister, as they have no parents. Statues of the virgin Mary are being made out of drugs.
This was actually pretty decent. The quality was up to par, although it had a watermark on it. The plot was good, even though the characters were stereotypical. I thought that the virgin Mary made out of drugs was a neat idea too. The style was new and I'm not sure if I liked it. The pacing was a little slow, but kept me interested. I'm rating this adequate.

Go (1999)

A comedy thriller directed by Doug Liman.
A clerk at a store takes extra hours so she can pay the bills and her co-worker can go on vacation. While he's on vacation, he pisses of some gang leaders. Meanwhile, the clerk is using his drug contacts to make money to pay her bills, but almost gets busted by some gay men from a love triangle... It's "sit-com-plicated". Think Seinfeld with young people, drugs, sex and guns.
The interweaving plotlines of this film are what makes it worth watching. The characters are very dated, although their troubles amuse me. The style was not quite as good as it could have been, but with a plot like this, it's hard to complain much. I'm rating it good.

The Green Hornet (2011)

A comedy directed by Michel Gondry, starring Jay Chou.
A newspaper man's son inherits the business when his father dies. The son wakes up in the morning to find that his coffee is bad and that the man who makes it was fired (along with everyone else). He calls in the man to make his coffee and when he discovers that the coffee man is a technological genius, they become friends and try to fight crime together.
This is exactly what I've come to expect from modern Hollywood. When they want to do a film about something cool, they're going to fuck it up horribly. This film is a good lesson in that because, from the inside and the outside, stupid Americans fucked up a good thing. The split seconds of kung fu fights saved this from a shit rating. I'll just call it bad.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hitman (2007)

An action film directed by Xavier Gens, based on the video game.
An assassin saves the woman who he is supposed to kill. He then becomes the center of a political plot in Russia involving Interpol.
This was just another action flick. Design meeting transcript:
designer 1: "Guns!"
designer 2: "Yes! Lots!"
designer 3: "You know what goes good with guns, right? Chase scenes!"
boss: "Sounds like we've got our next blockbuster here!"
I've seen this stuff before. Everything looks "Hollywood perfect" and the camera-work looks like the camera men all overdosed on amphetamines. Sell it to someone else, because I sure as hell didn't pay for it. I'm rating this o.k. because chameleons are envious of it's powers of blending in.

Bruce Lee the Invincible (1978)

A kung fu starring Bruce Lee.
A kung fu student and his master go to an island to stop a rebel student of the same school.
Let's talk about crappy kung fu here. This is the kind where there is almost no coherent plot, the video and audio are terrible and the fights look so fake it hurts. There is quite a lot of this available and it is hard to decipher the real "jewels in the rough" from the rough itself. I got this for a dollar at Wal=Mart, so that should have been a clue. I bought it and watched it anyway and was predictably disappointed. I'm rating it poor for obvious reasons. If you don't trust my judgement here, get it and suffer through it for yourself.

Aeon Flux series (1991 - 1995)

An animated science fiction created by Peter Chung.
A spy infiltrates the strongholds of an enemy nation where she encounters her nemesis, Trevor Goodchild. They get mixed up in all kinds of strange adventures.
The style of this show is a little too serious for the animated format, but it ends up working very well. Peter Chung is a master of animation, despite the huge blemish on his reputation called "Rugrats". I will not be reviewing the newer live action film based on this series in the near future because I believe it to be blasphemy. The main characters of Aeon and Trevor are dynamic, while other characters are introduced for a short time as extras. I'm rating this good.

Shaolin Soccer (2001)

A kung fu directed by and starring Stephen Chow.
A failed soccer coach works for his old rival and starts a soccer team consisting of a family of poor brothers who all studied kung fu at shaolin temple.
The characters are all very pitiful until they re-awaken their kung fu skills. The special effects are the main point of interest here, as magical kung fu skills are shown being used in the modern world. The plot is good, but the style is a little cheesy. I'm rating it adequate.

Sin City (2005)

A film noir directed by Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller and Quentin Tarantino, starring Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Benicio Del Toro and Elijah Wood.
A detective seeks to protect the girl who he saved when she was a child. A thug has a one night stand with a hooker and wakes up to find her dead.
With a team of directors like this, the movie is as good as it should be. The style of the film is great and the scarce use of color is great for the film noir feeling. The characters are extreme stereotypes, but good anyway and the plot keeps my interest every time I watch it. I'm rating it best.
Excuse the short reviews today. I've got this giant stack of DVDs that I've seen a few hundred times each and I'm just cranking out reviews as quick as I can.

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000)

An anime written and directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri.
A vampire hunter, who is also a vampire, is hired to bring back a man's daughter who was kidnapped by a vampire. A team of brothers are also hired for the same task.
This is a great horror anime with magical style. The anti-hero talks to a face on his hand throughout the film, and sometimes heeds it's advice. The monsters are really cool and the action scenes are very graphic. The supernatural powers of the characters are the best part. The Barbarois scene is the best parade of magical monsters. I'm rating it awesome.

Rose Red (2002)

A horror written by Stephen King, directed by Craig R. Baxley.
A team of supernatural specialists go into a haunted mansion to investigate the myths they have heard about it.
I now see why this is called a miniseries, and not a film. That's because it's 4 and a half hours long. It is pretty good though. The special effects are decent and the style is creepy. There was even a part that scared me. It was when the dork was in bed and he turns around to see the ghost laying in bed with him. I'm rating it adequate.

Demon City Shinjuku (1988)

An anime directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri.
A young warrior follows the president's daughter into a haunted city to fight an evil magician.
This is my ABSOLUTE favorite anime. The style is great and the monsters are really cool. That's all it takes to make a good anime. I'm rating it best.

Conan the Destroyer (1984)

A fantasy adventure directed by Richard Fleischer, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Conan is unknowingly sent on a suicide mission for an evil queen who wants to resurrect a demon. He gathers friends along the way to help him.
This film was even cheesier than the original Conan flick. Conan continually prays to Crom, even though in the first film he said he doesn't pray to his god. The characters are good, although 2 dimensional and the sets are good as well. I'm rating it adequate because it wasn't as good as the first one.

Conan the Barbarian (1982)

A fantasy adventure directed by John Milius, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
A boy's village is destroyed by a snake cult and he is taken as a prisoner and trained to be a pit fighter. When he gains his freedom, he seeks revenge on the cult.
As much of a classic '80s film as this is, you really haven't appreciated it until you've heard it with commentary by Arnold himself. Try to imagine his voice here..."Do you remember when we were filming that scene?... That was so funny!". Obviously, I recommend getting the DVD with commentary if you want to experience the full '80s-ness of this film. I'm rating it good. The only thing better is "to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentations of their women".

Blood Fight (1990)

A kung fu with very little available information.
A trainer has to come out of retirement to win a world championship fight.
There's a reason that so little is known about this film: it sucks horribly. It's the bad kind of cheesy and the sound quality is absolutely horrendous. I'm rating it bad because it would give shit a bad name. I can't even find a picture.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Shoot 'Em Up (2007)

An action film written and directed by Michael Davis.
An unidentified man sees a gang chasing a pregnant woman and gets drawn into a series of chases and shootouts.
This was a standard gun battle film with a little bit of creativity thrown in. They used kung fu style techniques like sliding under things and along conveyors and there was a trap that the hero built in one scene. There was a LOT of shooting involved. An example: the man uses his gun to cut the umbilical cord of a woman who just gave birth. It was entertaining, so I'll rate it good.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

A western directed by Andrew Dominik, starring Brad Pitt.
A young outlaw kisses Jesse James' ass.
As with all films that I've heard were "great" or "the best", this one keeps up the tradition of letting me down. It was boring and almost painful to watch "Bob" damn near rim-job Jesse. I had to turn it off at an hour and 15 minutes. I'm rating this shit.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ashanti (1979)

An adventure directed by Richard Fleischer, starring Michael Caine.
A medical couple are working in Africa when the wife gets captured by slave traders. The husband chases to win her back.
The characters and plot were good, everything seemed alright, but I fell asleep about 3/4ths of the way through this. I'll rate it adequate. I'm putting up the most suggestive poster.

Monkey Bone (2001)

A comedy fantasy directed Henry Selick, starring Brendan Fraser.
A cartoonist gets into a car accident and slips into a coma. In his coma, he goes to a fantasy world and his cartoon character steals his body.
The soundtrack was utter crap (besides the squirrel nut zippers tune) and the ending credits were the longest I've ever seen with the worst music I've ever heard. The monsters in coma-land were slightly amusing, but otherwise this was a total waste of time. I just don't get absurdist physical comedy. I'm rating it shit.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

James and the Giant Peach (1996)

A fantasy directed by Henry Selick, produced by Tim Burton, based on a book by Roald Dahl.
A boy who lives with his abusive aunts receives magical ingredients from an unidentified man. When the ingredients get on a tree, it grows a giant peach which the boy rides away on with some insect friends.
The plot was decent, but the characters were stereotypical. I liked the animation style and the pace was alright. I'm doing short reviews because I'm sick, so this one gets adequate.

Shaolin (2011)

A kung fu directed by Benny Chan, starring Jackie Chan and Andy Lau.
During the warlord era of early republican China, Shaolin temple is a total disaster area.
The plot was a little disjointed and some of the subtitles didn't work. What I mean is that "sub duration: 3,303" is not a substitute for important dialogue. There was some wire used in long jumps, or jumps off of buildings, but there was no flying. The heroes and villains each got equal screen time, which I thought was a little odd. Also, the sun did not make an appearance. It seemed like everything was done at night. This would have been o.k., but I know that real shaolin monks practice all morning, not in the evening. I'm rating this o.k. for being generally mediocre.

The Social Network (2010)

A biographical drama directed by David Fincher.
A college student starts facebook and encounters legal troubles from other students.
This film was designed to do 1 thing: make money. The subject matter was chosen because it was popular and even though he only plays a minor part in the film, Justin Timberlake was listed first in the "starring" credits at the beginning. All signs point to Hollywood bullshit. Hey, that seems like a good way to rate it too!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Coraline (2009)

A stop motion animated fantasy directed by Henry Selick, based on the book by Neil Gaiman.
A girl moves into a new house with her family and begins to have dreams of an alternate universe where everything is the opposite of the real world.
I had heard about this when it came out, but forgot it until someone told me not to watch it because it was too scary. I had lost all respect for this person by the end of the film. The style was cool and I really liked the animation. The end seemed like it may have been made in order to create a future video game based on the film. As far as new world order symbolism goes, The jumping mice create a pentagram during their dance and Coraline catches the rose with an Illuminati hand signal. Overall, it was pretty cool. I'm rating it good for being a little unique.

Zeitgeist: Moving Forward (2011)

A documentary by Peter Joseph.
The current state of the world is examined and a potential solution is offered.
This film is one step ahead of other documentaries like it, as it proposes a solution to the problems that are examined. At over 2 and a half hours, it is quite long, but worth watching. The creator of the film even put in humorous cartoons to break up the monotony produced by such seriousness. The only thing that I didn't like was the song at the end. I'm going to have to rate this awesome for being better than other similar films.

Tales from the Darkside (1983 - 1988)

A horror series by George A. Romero.
In each half hour episode, a fantasy, science fiction or horror plot plays out, with a plot twist at the end.
A few of these episodes were cool, but overall they sucked horribly. I would equate watching them all for the good ones to sticking your hand in a backed up toilet for a quarter. It's just not worth it. That's why I'm rating this bad.

127 Hours (2010)

An adventure by Danny Boyle.
A young man goes out to the desert with his mountain bike to have fun, but gets trapped in a canyon when a rock falls on his arm.
The "survival adventure" genre is not my favorite, but this film was pretty good. The style and pace were good, but the split screen sections were a little annoying. Overall, I'm rating it good.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

As Good as It Gets (1997)

A romantic comedy directed by James L. Brooks, starring Jack Nicholson and Cuba Gooding Jr.
An antisocial, obsessive compulsive writer in New York city has his life changed by external influences.
Jack Nicholson was PERFECT for this part. He exudes asshole and when emotion is called for, he has it on tap. The gay artist reminds me of someone I know... The characters and plot were great and the pacing and style signified the end of the "golden age of modern cinema" that I speak of so often. I don't normally like romantic comedies, but this one is actually good. Lets have a quick cheer for the film and call it awesome.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Apartment Zero (1988)

A thriller by Martin Donovan.
A man who runs a theater gets a strange new roommate. Meanwhile, at the theater, the ticket seller hosts a committee to view death squad videos in an attempt to identify the men in them.
This film was slow and strange. The characters and plot were complex, but the style was deceptively mundane. It wasn't Hollywood bullshit, but didn't seem like a totally underground independent film either. I'm rating it adequate.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Return of the King (1980)

An animated fantasy by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin Jr.
This is the final part of the Tolkien series. It follows the style of The Hobbit, but uses more songs to convey the plot. My favorite is the song that the orcs sing while they march. The scope of the film is much grander than The Hobbit, but it doesn't get boring like The Lord of the Rings. This one only gets an awesome rating because it doesn't have that "first time magic" of The Hobbit.

The Lord of the Rings (1978)

An animated fantasy directed by Ralph Bakshi.
A mixed group of adventurers embark on a quest to destroy an evil ring.
Bakshi and rotoscoping go together very well and Tolkien helps too, but this film is incredibly long and gets boring. Another video technique used by Ralph Bakshi in this film is called posterization, but I was unable to find an adequate definition. I'm rating this adequate because it's cool, but long and a little boring.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Hobbit (1977)

An animated fantasy by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin Jr.
A country gentleman hobbit is elected to be a thief for a band of traveling dwarves who are on a quest to reclaim their kingdom and wealth. They go on a long journey to this area and have adventures along the way.
This ranks right up there with Holy Mountain in the best films category. The animation is superb and the film elements (plot, characters, setting, pace, style) are all very good. The style is what really stands out and makes this a classic. I hope that people will watch this far into the future and marvel at it's quality. Obviously, I'm rating it best.

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974)

A drama directed by Ted Kotcheff, starring Richard Dreyfuss.
A money-grubbing Jew grubs money.
I'm not trying to be antisemitic at all. That's seriously what the film is about. As such, it sucks horribly. It was extremely boring and I didn't even watch the whole thing. I'm rating it shit.

The Boondock Saints (1999)

An action film by Troy Duffy, starring Willem Dafoe.
When a pair of brothers are attacked by mafia men after a bar fight, they decide to take the law into their own hands and kill evil men.
Everything is good in this film. This is how to do an action movie the right way. My favorite parts are when the crime scene investigator is recounting the events with style applied liberally. This gets a best rating.

Generation RX (2008)

A documentary by Kevin P. Miller.
The risks of prescribed drugs for children and teens are discussed at length.
This film presents the same evidence and the same argument over and over. I'm not saying they're wrong, but repetition does not make the case any stronger. I just don't see why this had to be an hour and 20 minutes when it could have been 10 minutes. They interviewed professionals and specialists and did everything to try to make it a documentary film, but didn't succeed in making it a good one. I'm rating this bad for wasting time.