Tuesday, May 31, 2011

U is for...

Winner of four Academy Awards, including best picture, director, supporting actor, and best editing, Clint Eastwood's 1992 masterpiece stands as one of the greatest and most thematically compelling Westerns ever made. "The movie summarized everything I feel about the Western," said Eastwood at the time of the film's release. "The moral is the concern with gunplay." To illustrate that theme, Eastwood stars as a retired, once-ruthless killer-turned-gentle-widower and hog farmer. He accepts one last bounty-hunter mission--to find the men who brutalized a prostitute--to help support his two motherless children. Joined by his former partner (Morgan Freeman) and a cocky greenhorn (Jaimz Woolvett), he takes on a corrupt sheriff (Oscar winner Gene Hackman) in a showdown that makes the viewer feel the full impact of violence and its corruption of the soul. Dedicated to Eastwood's mentors Sergio Leone and Don Siegel and featuring a colorful role for Richard Harris, it's arguably Eastwood's crowning directorial achievement. (synopsis provided by Amazon.com)

released 1992

directed by Clint Eastwood

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spoiler Alert: The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy

People frown upon others spoiling the ending of movies - if the movie is good enough though you can know the ending but enjoy the journey anyway. Some movies though really don't have a good enough journey - or a good enough ending... So, it won't matter if I take the liberty and destroy the movie right in front of your eyes!!!

The first movie I will ruin for you is: The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy

Evil Dr. Krupp (or more commonly known as 'The Bat') builds a cardboard box robot to steal a treasure from the Aztec Mummy's tomb. The robot gets into a shoving match with the Aztec mummy for maybe a minute at the very very end - after the movie builds up to this advertised clash - and the movie kind of just stops - Mummy wins!

Until you realize the robot spun off his own sequels!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Movie [2004]

[So, I was going through my hard drive – and I found this review written March of 2010 – I don’t recall ever posting it – but I do remember the spirit in which I wrote this – so I recovered in and decided to post it]

Trying to consider myself a movie blogger who’ll review anything isn’t as easy as it appears – so let me try this out.

Spongebob’s sent on a mission to save the Chum Bucket by recovering Poseidon’s crown – and along the way he discovers what it means to be a “man”.

Believe it or not this is sitting on my DVD shelf – it’s one of those films that give me a little laugh. I’m not going to pretend it appeals to anything other than my immature side that still finds the sound of fake farts hilarious.

The character of Spongebob – if you are not familiar with the show – has two neighbors – his best friend Patrick who’s even more childlike than Spongebob – and the overly serious Squidward who’s constantly annoyed with the childish antics of Spongebob and Patrick – who are always looking for fun. Spongebob kind of falls inbetween – but is certainly more like his friend Patrick – a happy-go-lucky sea sponge.

Spongebob is just another in a long line of characters in movie history that holds his childlike innocence – he’s still got the wide eyed view of how grand the world is – and is good for teaching kids moral lessons in fun ways. He goes through what could be called a redefinition of his priorities – when he’s overlooked for the promotion at the Chum Bucket – and decides that being immature isn’t exactly always the best way to go through life. The journey he takes with Patrick – is his opportunity for him to show how he can be responsible – yet it’s the journey that teaches him that sometimes being immature is just as important to keep things fun. It’s a fine message – not to take one’s self so seriously all the time.

I really enjoyed the message – some of the goofy music (though some of it is too goofy) – and the characters. I thought the pacing was pretty well done – except towards the end where I felt it started to drag – but that’s probably more out of exhaustion from the wackiness of the movie. I liked the creative blending of the live action and traditional animation – though I love Pixar – traditional animation is still a fantastic underutilized medium. The voice acting by all the usual cast members is fun as always – and the guest voices are fun – though I felt Scarlett Johansson’s raspy voice didn’t work well for the princess.

I would’ve liked to see more with Squidward – he’s the classic curmudgeon character – who’s always got a fun snide comment. Since Spongebob is on his quest – of course their interaction is left at a minimum. There’s not much of Mr. Crabs – and that’s fine by me – he’s kind of a one note character – but he’s also the gateway character to Plankton the main antagonist who’s always after Mr. Crabs Crabby Patty recipe for his own burger joint. Since the whole story is brought about by Plankton’s mischief – you get a pretty good dose of his boisterous delusions of grandeur.

Well, all this being said – you know I’ve got this on my DVD shelf – so you must know I think pretty well of the film – and you’re right – it’s a solid 4 out of 5 – I don’t see it getting a better score in my book. There’s not much here to review – Spongebob is a pretty prominent character in today’s pop culture – everyone’s probably heard of him if not seen him or watched him. He’s one of those love ‘em or hate ‘em characters – so obviously if you hate ‘em – you won’t be able to stand a minute of this film.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Too Much Too Often

My “to watch” pile is starting to get a little out of control. I deem these films worth owning – yet – I watch my Netflix discs instead of them because I’m paying monthly for Netflix. I’m starting to wonder if this is what the ultimate flaw of Netflix for movie collectors/watchers.

Blockbuster was too late to recognize the advantages of Netflix – and they suffered. To me though, Blockbuster was deemed obsolete when I realized that their limited selection left me watching movies I didn’t really want to watch.

Netflix on the other hand had a much larger selection – which I love – movies that were passed up on my BB queue over and over were in my hands in days. So, it’s ironic that what I once felt was their main advantage is now their downfall.

I’m constantly finding interesting sounding movies on Netflix – and throwing them on the queue – but each new movie on the queue means one less chance to watch something off the shelf. Take into account that I’m not spending as much time watching movies these days – it adds up to a losing situation for the movies on my shelves – movies I know are good instead of movies I’m taking a chance on every week.

So, it’s time that I edit my Netflix subscription to send me less. It’s time to stop wondering if I want to add a Gold Subscription to my XBOX so I can stream to my TV. It’s time to start shrinking the pile of “to watch” and catch up with the old friends on the shelf.

Now, the disclaimer – this means that my blog might get stale – watching stuff I’ve probably already mentioned. It also means that my Director’s Roulette I’ve got planned might not be any good – as I have not seen films by some of the directors I picked (which I did on purpose to make me watch more movies).

I would like a way to supplement that – as the ABC-DVD collection is almost over – and doing that kept me working my blog every day – even though it was scheduled ahead of time. I might just do a director/actress/actor roulette thingy – or maybe not blog as much.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

T is for... [part 2]

With its hallucinatory visions of crawling dead babies and a grungy plunge into the filthiest toilet in Scotland, you might not think Trainspotting could have been one of the best movies of 1996, but Danny Boyle's film about unrepentant heroin addicts in Edinburgh is all that and more. That doesn't make it everybody's cup of tea (so unsuspecting viewers beware), but the film's blend of hyperkinetic humor and real-life horror is constantly fascinating, and the entire cast (led by Ewan McGregor and Full Monty star Robert Carlyle) bursts off of the screen in a supernova of outrageous energy. Adapted by John Hodge from the acclaimed novel by Irving Welsh, the film was a phenomenal hit in England, Scotland, and (to a lesser extent) the U.S. For all of its comedic vitality and invigorating filmmaking, the movie is no ode to heroin, nor is it a straight-laced cautionary tale. Trainspotting is just a very honest and well-made film about the nature of addiction, and it doesn't pull any punches when it is time to show the alternating pleasure and pain of substance abuse. (synopsis provided by Amazon.com)

released 1996

directed by Danny Boyle

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I'm thinking of going to see THOR - but there's something about the film that's got me a little concerned. Check out this trailer I saw featured on the Conan show.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

T is for...

This is the film that Quentin Tarantino (Director, KILL BILL VOL. 1 & 2, PULP FICTION, RESERVOIR DOGS) called "the roughest revenge movie ever made!"… THRILLER – A CRUEL PICTURE is finally making its U.S. DVD debut in this Uncensored Limited Edition. With only 25,000 units in the total DVD production run, this cult gem will soon be gone forever! Order now so you don’t miss out on THE exploitation DVD release of the year!

Growing up mute after a childhood sexual assault, a young girl (played by beautiful cult starlet Christina Lindberg) spends years working on a remote farm. After missing the bus one day, she is picked up by a suave young man who takes her out to dinner, drugs her and forces her into a life of drug addiction and prostitution.

Torn away from home, she rebels against her captor only to have one of her eyes gouged out as punishment (in a scene rumored to have been filmed with an actual corpse). After learning of the death of her parents and fed up with the cards life has dealt, she trains herself in the fine arts of fighting, killing and revenge. Transformed into a one-woman killing machine (and armed with a sawed-off shotgun), she uses her new skills to enact bloody revenge on those who have done her wrong.

Synapse Films has painstakingly restored THRILLER – A CRUEL PICTURE from original vault materials to bring you the totally uncensored version of the ultimate revenge-exploitation movie! Originally released in the U.S. in a heavily truncated form as THEY CALL HER ONE EYE, THRILLER is presented here with all the graphic sex, violence and action intact. Over 20 minutes of additional footage has been restored! (synopsis provided by Amazon.com)

released 1974

directed by Bo Arne Vibenius

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Easy A [2010]

High school girl, Olive, tells her friend a lie about losing her virginity – the lie is overheard – overblown – and suddenly everyone thinks Olive is a slut and ostracized like in The Scarlett Letter. Olive embraces the persona – allows others to “use” her and brag that they slept with her to hide various issues (homosexuality & feeling undesirable) – until this backfires in a huge way.

What I really liked about EASY A was the idea that “it’s none of your fucking business when and if I lose my virginity” – which is something I quite appreciate because there are too many films that revolve around teens losing their virginity and the glorification of it.

I liked Olive’s family, Thomas Hayden Church as the aloof teacher and Emma Stone as Olive. The writing was pretty solid for a teen flick – though it was a bit thin and cliché – it wasn’t bad.

What I didn’t care for was the webcam self-aware narrative aspect – Olive claims that she’s invisible – and writes it off as not being cliché high school girl film – but the entire film even when she was getting all the attention – she was still not listened to and not cared about for herself. It may have been me – but it seemed like almost every time she spoke – she was interrupted or ignored. Even when she embraced her bad girl persona – she found a certain level of self-respect – but no real respect from others.

I didn’t like how some of the characters were razor thin - even Olive was a bit thin. It took her no time to invent the persona and just accept and act the part. I would assume more outrage and denial would’ve gone on in real life before the embrace and full turn into the mega-slut persona.

Also, I know that 80’s romantic comedies and John Hughes films are ingrained in certain people’s hearts – but the references in this film were unnecessary. Yes, an acknowledgement of those films is fine – but you should create your own memorable scene instead of co-opting a famous previously used scene – you may think you can’t do better than what has been done – but you’ll never know unless you try. Just try.

[Guess it showed back up again - - so here you go]

Overall – it sounds like I have more complaints than love for this movie – but I really liked it for what it was. It was cute and fun at times – though it was flawed – I can appreciate it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Blue Valentine [2010]

The story of a couple falling out of love as juxtaposed to how they fell in love.

This movie hit me like an emotional wrecking ball – it was powerful in both story and performance. It was very voyeuristic – as the narrative was unfolding more as the characters blossomed as opposed to a very clear point A to point B story. The story was told from present day where Dean and Cindy are on the rocks – and in flashbacks of how they met and fell in love.

It was both equally heartwarming and heartbreaking – very much rooted in the visceral emotional journey of the characters. The performances were incredibly gutsy – both Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams felt as though they were living out their lives in sorts in front of the camera as opposed to portraying characters.
The only thing I felt the movie lacked was a middle – but the film was about how passionately and quickly people can fall in love and many years later – the slow withdrawal into falling out. It’s also a testament to the performances and direction – that since they were so intense in their portrayal – the middle part was a strong curiosity. As a viewer you are meant to question how they fell apart – and the question arises literally in the film “is this you?” – and you are meant to wonder – could this happen to anyone.

I really liked the direction of Derek Cianfrance – it wasn’t flashy or there to tell the story – it was there to present the characters – and through those characters the story was told. I watched the fluff “making of” feature on the blu-ray – which usually amounts of a bunch of press junket interviews where the actors, director and producers pat themselves on the back (and there was plenty of that) – but Cianfrance also revealed how this story had evolved by discussing the characters over a period of 6-years with both Gosling and Williams. That kind of preparation could easily make a story stale – but there’s really nothing stale about this film. It was fresh full of life – full of emotion – and it certainly seemed like a very cathartic experience for Cianfrance.
I wondered as I was watching the film – that since I found Dean to be a sympathetic character – and Cindy a bit colder (in the present day falling out of love portions) that if I watched it with my girl if she’d find Cindy to be a more sympathetic character and be able to identify more with her plight. It just feels that well-crafted emotionally that it would seem that if I took a different approach I could find either character to be equally as sympathetic.

Gosling and Williams have both become such phenomenal actors – I’m excited to see their careers continue to blossom. They are bold and daring – and fearless in their roles. Though I wonder with how bold these performances were – what more was going to make this an NC-17 film? I would like to see that original cut – if there was one – or if it was just Hollywood politics trying to label it as too strong.

If I had my way – I’d go back and make it the co-captain of my BEST OF 2010 roster along with SCOTT PILGRIM – as they were equally outstanding in their own rights - and now both seem intrical to my movie collection.

Friday, May 20, 2011

S is for... [part 4]

With laughs and gross-outs aplenty, Slither is the best horror comedy since Shaun of the Dead. Having written for the jubilant trash-mongers at Troma Films before scripting 2004's well-received remake of Dawn of the Dead, writer-director James Gunn crafted this hilarious splatter-fest as an homage to the comically violent horror films of the 1970s and '80s, and he gets it just right with a low-budget look, perfect casting, grisly make-up effects and judicious use of CGI gore. The story's a deliberate monster-mash, borrowing from a dozen other movies with its plot about an invasion of slithery slug-like parasites from outer space, arriving (via meteorite) in the redneck town of Wheelsy, South Carolina, where they turn most of the local yokels into flesh-eating zombies. The first victim (played by Michael Rooker) turns into a squid-like, multi-tentacled host monster (kill him and you kill 'em all), and his terrified wife (Elizabeth Banks) teams up with Wheelsy's sheriff (Nathan Fillion, from Firefly and Serenity) and mayor (comedic scene-stealer Gregg Henry) to eradicate the alien threat before Wheelsy turns into Slugville. Gunn handles comedy and horror with exuberant flair, and Slither's greatest strength is that it never aspires to be anything more than it is: 96 minutes of good laughs and gruesomeness, served up with the kind of gleeful abandon that only true horror buffs can fully appreciate. (synopsis provided by Amazon.com)

released 2006

directed by James Gunn

Thursday, May 19, 2011

S is for... [part 3]

Only twelve minutes into Sex & Fury, our badass heroine Ocho (Reiko Ike) duels a dozen men in the snow with a samurai sword--stark naked! You can bet Quentin Tarentino watched a lot of "Pinky Violence" flicks as he was working on Kill Bill. Ocho--gambler, pickpocket, and all-around babe--wants to avenge the murder of her father. She picks up their trail after helping a would-be anarchist assassin escape from the law, only to become embroiled in political machinations with a Western badass gambler/secret agent of dubious loyalty (Christina Lindberg, Thriller: A Cruel Picture, a.k.a. They Call Her One-Eye). You'd expect a movie like this to have a lot of lurid sequences but no plot to speak of; the particular glory of Sex & Fury is that lurid sequences abound--rape of a virgin, girl-on-girl action, garish spurting blood, a squad of switch-blade-wielding nuns (!)--and it has a coherent (if utterly preposterous) story. Ike, star of similar movies like Female Yakuza Tale: Inquisition and Torture and the Girl Boss series (all exemplary of the Japanese "Pinky Violence" subgenre), is by turns vulnerable and tough as nails. Her powerful presence lifts Sex & Fury above mere sadistic kicks and gives it an actual emotional core, underscored with psychedelic guitar. (synopsis provided by Amazon.com)

released 1973

directed by Norifumi Suzuki

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

S is for... [part 2]

Unanimously hailed as one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of the motion picture, Seven Samurai has inspired countless films modeled after its basic premise. But Akira Kurosawa's classic 1954 action drama has never been surpassed in terms of sheer power of emotion, kinetic energy, and dynamic character development. The story is set in the 1600s, when the residents of a small Japanese village are seeking protection against repeated attacks by a band of marauding thieves. Offering mere handfuls of rice as payment, they hire seven unemployed "ronin" (masterless samurai), including a boastful swordsman (Toshiro Mifune) who is actually a farmer's son desperately seeking glory and acceptance. The samurai get acquainted with but remain distant from the villagers, knowing that their assignment may prove to be fatal. The climactic battle with the raiding thieves remains one of the most breathtaking sequences ever filmed. It's poetry in hyperactive motion and one of Kurosawa's crowning cinematic achievements. This is not a film that can be well served by any synopsis; it must be seen to be appreciated (accept nothing less than its complete 203-minute version) and belongs on the short list of any definitive home-video library. (synopsis provided by Amazon.com)

released 1954

directed by Akira Kurosawa

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

S is for...

A young girl moves in with her Uncle Alexander after her parents car mysteriously explodes. After being taken in by her cousins, she soon begins to suffer strange visions. But what she doesn't know is that her planned role in the house is more sinister than she could have expected. (synopsis provided by the back cover)

released 1976

directed by Norman J. Warren

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Blue Valentine

This needed to be included in my top films of 2010 list... toward the top... it was so very good... more later...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Easy A [2010]

Son of a bitch...

I had a whole entry written up about my likes and dislikes and they were well thought out and well put and interesting - published it Thursday for Saturday... but Blogger apparently lost it all. I have a habit of thinking my reviews out in my head - writing them out in a Word doc on the side while I'm doing other things - and then once done - I copy and paste - schedule - and close (and not save) the word doc and forget. So, my review for EASY A is lost. Okay... Here's the rundown...
It's a good movie - I agreed that the whole approach of "who cares when you lose your virginity" approach - sick of those other teen movies that obsess about it. I liked the acting for the most part - even if I felt the characters were written without a lot of depth. I liked the questions raised about perception versus reality of which is worse. Didn't care for how no one ever seemed to listen to Olive at all - even when she was getting the attention - that really bothered me. Also, didn't find it realistic how quick Olive embraced her "bad" girl persona - a little bit of time denying would've been more realistic instead of going out and going nuts buying corsets to wear to school.

Friday, May 13, 2011


Happy Friday the 13th everybody – though my blog is still showing Wednesday as the most current entry – I think the gremlins got it for some classic Friday the 13th shenanigans. If you should ever see this entry – I’ve got a bunch of movies stacked up to watch so I’m not sure if I will partake in an installment or two of my favorite of the 80’s slasher films; FRIDAY THE 13TH.

But why not make a bonus (well considering my entry for today was deleted by the gremlins - this isn't much of a bonus anymore is it?) entry about my favorite of the films - the 6th installment – JASON LIVES.

It’s the beginning of the ridiculous side of the series – after this film he fights a telekinetic, goes to Manhattan, Hell, outer space and then fights Freddy. It’s also the beginning of Jason Voorhees becoming more than just a masked slayer – he becomes supernatural with a little shout out to Frankenstein’s electricity reanimation scene. It could be argued that Jason was never killed in the previous films or that he has already been enchanted with some supernatural healing ability – but in this installment – there’s no denying – Jason had been dead and buried worm chow for years – only to be resurrected!

The film has a better pace – and more extreme/silly killings than its predecessors – and it’s cheesy as all get out – it’s actually more of an action film. It’s also infamous for not having any nudity – the only of the Friday the 13th films to exclude it – not that it doesn’t have probably the most memorable sex scenes in the franchise. That ridiculous camper sex – cheesy 80’s music scene will remain in my mind as one of the dumbest sex scenes I have ever seen.

The plot is typical for a Jason film – campers show up at the lake to camp and be teenagers – and Jason kills them. The things that make this film stand apart is Tommy Jarvis – the boy who stopped Jason in the 4th installment is so haunted by him that he digs up Jason to burn the remains of the body – only for Jason to be electrocuted and to rise again. There’s also a little interesting theme that plays into the whole angle that Jason hates immoral behavior – when he goes in to kill a little girl – she prays and he goes away.

The rest is Jason stalking around – killing at a good pace – and though it’s pre-Kane Hodder – it’s a solid performance by the actor(s) who play the hockey masked killer.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

R is for... [part 2]

One of those movies that helped usher out the era of action films that had plots that made any sense (and also helped reverse the direction of Patrick Swayze's career arc), Road House concerns a handsome, existential bouncer in a rinky-dink honky-tonk who owns both a degree in philosophy and a Mercedes. And that's perhaps the most believable aspect of the whole movie. Swayze stars as Dalton, "the best bouncer in the business," who runs afoul of Wesley (Ben Gazzara), the meanest SOB round these parts, by taking up with his former girlfriend, Doc (Kelly Lynch)--the only woman in town with an IQ approaching double digits, even if she had unfathomably hooked up with such a lowlife. Swayze had complained about being typecast as beefcake when this was made, but that didn't stop him from revealing as much skin as possible--even guys like him, as revealed in a luridly seedy scene in which one of Wesley's goons tells Dalton that he reminds him of the kind of boyfriend he had in prison (albeit in much saltier terms). It's so insulting to its audience that it's nice to be able to turn the tables and laugh at the filmmakers. (synopsis provided by Amazon.com)

released 1989

directed by Rowdy Herrington

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I apparently don't know movies...

THE KING’S SPEECH [2010, directed by Tom Hooper]
The academy’s pick for best picture is the tale of a Duke who becomes King – and overcomes a speech impediment so he can do some public speaking.

Holy crap! This movie was so stale. This wasn’t a best picture – it was a goofy side kick away from being a dumb romantic comedy between two men. It followed the romantic comedy story arc – two people meet under unlikely circumstances – they dislike each other – they learn to like each other – they break-up – something changes in one of their lives and it makes them realize how much they need the other – they reconcile and they live happily ever after.

Not that I really care which movie wins the awards – but this one was just a head scratcher. I mean – I stick by my motto that originality in films is overrated – but THIS is what is considered praise worthy? That just confuses me.

I didn’t even find the acting all that interesting – Colin Firth did a pretty good job – and honestly should’ve won for A SINGLE MAN – because that was a powerful performance – maybe if he shouted more profanities he would’ve been recognized for that beautiful performance. I mean in comparison THE KING’S SPEECH he pretty much gnawed on everything in a competition with Geoffrey Rush to see who could overact more. I’m struggling to speak and I’m frustrated! Get it! Over and over and over and over and over and over… One note the entire fucking movie. It was a clown hammer movie!

I found the movie average at best – pushed no boundaries in filmmaking – didn’t make me reflect on anything – didn’t leave me wondering or questioning or anything – just left me bored.

BLACK SWAN [2010, directed by Darren Aronofsky]
A ballet dancer is having a mental breakdown under the pressure of putting on the performance of her lifetime.

I thought the acting was fine – but the story was lacking. Yep, it’s trippy and confusing – and all this stuff is kind of happening here while there’s other things happening there – but it didn’t make for a compelling enough story for me to really care. It would’ve been nice if they didn’t announce early in the film and make such a big deal about there being someone playing a dual role – a little bit of a surprise or something – maybe some subtly would’ve worked.

Not as clown hammer as THE KING’S SPEECH – but almost. I think about it and Darren Aronofsky's other big praise worthy film THE WRESTLER was pretty much the same way – and though I quite like it - it was as subtle as Mickey Rourke’s face. “I was once famous – now I’m not – and I want to relive my past glory – but I can’t – boo hoo” but it worked for that movie because it was about wrestling. This is ballet – a far softer touch in the subject matter would’ve been suitable.

Considering these were the big winners over this past awards season along with the fading praise for the more competent, interesting, compelling and relevant THE SOCIAL NETWORK which ended up losing more than it won - must mean that I don't know what the hell a "good" movie is anymore.

You know what though? I'm fine with that! I think everyone needs to make up their own minds about what they like and enjoy it - no one needs people to agree with them in order to enjoy something. I disagree with several of the bloggers I follow on several movies - and could care less - because it's the discourse and the insights they have that I don't share that I respect and find interesting.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

R is for...

From Executive Producers who brought you Quarantine, comes the movie that inspired the terror. A beautiful TV reporter (Manuela Velasco, Law of Desire) and her cameraman are doing a routine interview at a local fire station when an emergency call comes in. Accompanying the firefighters to a nearby apartment, the news team begins recording the bloodcurdling screams coming from inside an elderly woman's unit. After authorities seal off the building to contain the threat, the news crew, firefighters and residents are trapped to face a lethal terror inside. With the camera running, nothing may survive but the film itself. (synopsis by Amazon.com)

released 2008

directed by Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Q is for... [part 2]

At exactly 6:12 am, government research scientist Zac Hobson (a powerhouse performance by Bruno Lawrence of SMASH PALACE and UTU) awakens to discover that he may be the last man on earth: homes, highways and entire cities are deserted. Empty planes have fallen from the sky. Every living thing has disappeared. But for Hobson, the ultimate shock is still to come months later when he finds that he is not alone. With the addition of a beautiful young woman (Alison Routledge) and a Maori trucker (Pete Smith), the apocalypse suddenly becomes very

personal. What has happened to everyone else on the planet? Why has Zac himself survived? Will sexual tension lead to sudden violence? And what is the ultimate responsibility for a man of science when the end of the world may be just the beginning? (synopsis provided by Amazon.com)

released 1985

directed by Geoff Murphy

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Top 5 Revenge Films*

It seems perverse to me to celebrate someone’s death – but I can’t help but feel good that we’ve finally got that asshole. So, with that in mind - I decided to do a top 5 on revenge films - but narrow it to the conclusion of the films; the final acts of vengeance*

I really enjoy me a good revenge film - and I could go up and down my favorite movie list and put down the first 5 revenge films that show up - but some don't seem to have the punctuation that others have. Such as PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE which has a great ending - and I consider a revenge film - but as much as I love the end – it feels anticlimactic in a way. The same goes for OLDBOY – which has a fucking great end – but turns you on your head so badly that it’s hard to say it’s satisfying solely as a revenge film as your focus shifts so much. Also films like SEX & FURY, MAN ON FIRE and KILL BILL – where the build up to the final act far surpasses the ending to a point where as good as it was – you feel a little jipped. Honorable mentions go out too many to mention as revenge classics - though they may or may not fit my criteria.

#5. INGLORIUS BASTERDS [2009, directed by Quentin Tarantino] – Now, I may find this film overly long, overly talkie and self-indulgent to the point of frustration – and even though it’s more of a “men on a mission film” – it really is hard to deny that ending as pure greasy fried delicious vengeance. With two very big Nazi killing porn exclamation points that act as the cherry on top of this sundae. Unlike Tarantino’s DEATHPROOF the ending justifies me wanting to watch all the casual conversation as way of building tension all over again to catch the final acts.

#4. MAD MAX [1979, directed by George Miller] – Long before SAW threw a hacksaw at our feet and told us our options – Max gave us one of the most chilling and most well deserved endings in revenge cinematic history. MAD MAX is also one of the greatest film paradigms of how destructive revenge can be. The once charismatic Max becomes despondent and empty – because the hole that was created by the biker gang that doesn’t fill itself back in once his mission of revenge is complete – as we can tell from the other films in the series. That’s what drives revenge though it’s the emotion of it all – the exacting of it – if we were to know what happens after – would we still do it? In Max’s case – I think he would. And what’s brilliant about the ending is it’s that emotion that’s left in the viewer when Johnny is given his decision – and Max walks back to his car.

#3. THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE [1974, directed by Bo Arne Vibenius] – After long, punishing, grueling sequences of repeated abuse, rape and torture – THRILLER gives us every drop of sweet pure revenge – by giving us super slow motion gun fights and action sequences so perverse – it could be viewed as almost as punishing as what she went through – and that would be the point.

#2. LADY VENGEANCE [2005, directed by Chan-wook Park] – Not as action packed as OLDBOY – or even as poignant in the idea that the act of seeking revenge is far more destructive than getting it - but certainly an ending that elicits a certain amount of justifiable satisfaction that OLDBOY doesn’t provide. There’s a certain element of disgust – but the brutality is in many ways left to your imagination – which makes it worse – because you imagine what he deserves and in your own way become a participant in the revenge.

#1. UNFORGIVEN [1992, directed by Clint Eastwood] – My favorite film of all time – but also happens to have my favorite scene of revenge ever put to celluloid. The entire film is in fact a revenge film – where Will, Ned and the kid all go after some cowboys who cut up some prostitutes – but it’s not until the final 20 minutes that the full destructive power and the demon that Will had become shows its face. It’s got the dialogue – it’s got the action – it’s got the bone chilling horror of everything one could ever hope for a scene of pure vengeance to ever witness. What comes walking into that bar to confront Little Bill is no longer of this Earth – its brutality is nothing any human could muster – the fear in the eyes of all the men tell you – the way they run, hide and refuse to shoot – tells you that if they fuck with the devil – the devil will not forget.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Q is for...

Daniel Craig hasn't lost a step since Casino Royale--this James Bond remains dangerous, a man who could earn that license to kill in brutal hand-to-hand combat… but still look sharp in a tailored suit. And Quantum of Solance itself carries on from the previous film like no other 007 movie, with Bond nursing his anger from the Casino Royale storyline and vowing blood revenge on those responsible. For the new plot, we have villain Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), intent on controlling the water rights in impoverished Third World nations and happy to overthrow a dictator or two to get his way. Olga Kurylenko is very much in the "Bond girl" tradition, but in the Ursula Andress way, not the Denise Richards way. And Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, and Giancarlo Giannini are welcome holdovers. If director Marc Forster and the longtime Bond production team seem a little too eager to embrace the continuity-shredding style of the Bourne pictures (especially in a nearly incomprehensible opening car chase), they nevertheless quiet down and get into a dark, concentrated groove soon enough. And the theme song, "Another Way to Die," penned by Jack White and performed by him and Alicia Keys, is actually good (at times Keys seems to be channeling Shirley Bassey--nice). Of course it all comes down to Craig. And he kills. (synopsis provided by Amazon.com)

released 2008

directed by Marc Forster

Monday, May 2, 2011