Monday, October 24, 2016

Starry Eyes (2014)

Sarah is a struggling young actress who works as a waitress at Big Taters while trying to make it in Hollywood.   Her roommate and friends are actresses, actors and filmmakers all looking for their big break.  They're more friends of convenience than real friends since they can't keep her secrets, and one girl constantly makes passive aggressive comments meant to undermine her self esteem.

When Sarah gets an audition for a movie at a well known studio, her friends are jealous. But the audition doesn't go well and Sarah ends up in the bathroom screaming and tearing her hair out.  One of the casting directors catches Sarah in mid fit, and asks her to  repeat this in the auction room.  Sarah does but leaves feeling confused since they seem just as unimpressed as when she did her reading.

When Sarah gets a call back and is then invited to meet the producer, she is thrilled. They tell her this is a gateway role. She'll be the star and her face will appear on all the posters.  But there's a catch and it involves the casting couch.  Sarah is horrified and bolts.

But later that night as she hangs out with her crappy friends, she begins to rethink her decision  She's selling her soul working at dead end jobs, so what's the difference between that and selling herself for the stardom she wants?   Oh poor misguided, delusional, mentally fragile Sarah. This isn't going to end well.

Sarah's transformation, or disintegration, is pretty gross.  While she's a fragile character, she's too messed up to be sympathetic.  At times you feel bad for her, but she's willing to do anything to get what she wants.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Drive Angry 3D (2011)

Drive Angry is a crazy movie in 3D.  Is it good? No, not really, but it's got tons of action and William Fichtner gives a fantastic  performance as The Accountant.

Nicholas Cage - looking like the lead singer of Nickelback - is Milton, a man who's escaped from hell in a souped up muscle car.  He's come back to Earth to avenge the death of his daughter at the hands of a satan worshipping cult, and rescue his granddaughter before the cult can sacrifice her.

Milton teams up with Piper after he saves her from her abusive boyfriend.  Piper isn't your normal helpless female, although she appears young and helpless.  She drives muscle cars and isn't afraid to throw punches or shoot cops, if needed.

The two are tracking Jonah King, leader of the cult. On their tail are the police and the Accountant, who plans on bringing Milton back to hell.

This is one weird messed up movie. In one scene Cage has a gun battle and dives about the room while having sex with a waitress.  The Accountant has the most amusing scenes and Fitchner gives the best performance in the film.  Also watch for Tom Atkins as the Sheriff as it's always good to see him show up.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Eaters (2011)

After a pandemic turns most of the population into zombies, a weirdo doctor searches for a cure with the help of a few other survivors who procure zombies for his experiments. Oddly enough the zombie population is pretty slim.  There are more Nazi's than zombies, but that doesn't make things any more interesting.

The majority of the movie is the two main characters driving around, talking to each other, and occasionally shooting zombies.  Only two characters don't come off as total jerks, and overall the movie isn't that interesting.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Good Man (2014)

Every time I watch a Steven Seagal film, I assume it's going to follow the typical trajectory - he bonds with a small child to show how sensitive he is, and then kills everyone. This movie is no exception.

Seagal is Alexander, a bloated pufferfish with a jet black goatee and synthetic hair crafted into a questionable widows peak. Alexander is former Special Ops living in a low rent part of a European city where the Russian mob is prevalent.  He meets his neighbors - a twenty something woman and a child - when they get locked out of their apartment.  Since he's a handyman, he can help them get in. Let the bonding begin.

His neighbors brother Sasha is trying to pay off their fathers debt to the Russian mob.  The debt puts the whole family in danger, which is not okay with Seagal since he's a sensitive guy who cares about their well being. See? He's a multifaceted hitman.

After the plot set up, the next hour will be full of Seagal mumbling and walking slowly towards people who've threatened him. People who are saying things like, "it's none of your business old man" because they have no idea that this old jowel-y handyman is going to make them wish they'd never been born.

I'm guessing the opening dialogue, which consists of Seagal using the word fuck in every sentence, may be trying to convey he's a tough guy since he can't really do physical work anymore.  The fight scenes consist of Seagal twisting someones arm, causing them to cascade through the air in multiple spins.  Between the quick cuts and the stuntmen's talent, there are some passable action scenes.  Oh,  I forgot Sasha is still young enough to pick up the slack so we do have some okay fights in the film.

Occasionally there appears to sometimes be someone else dubbing Seagals dialogue, which isn't totally a surprise once you've noticed it in some of his other films.  Also watch for the scene where we discover that the Russian mob doesn't know how backpacks work.  They don't realize these bags  have more than one pocket.

Unfathomable dialogue-

Well I'm sorry to hear that because now I'll snatch every motherfucker birthday.

(There was a debate on whether he was mumbling snatch or smash. I like smash better.)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Navy Seals vs. Zombies (2105)

When the Vice President gets trapped in Baton Rouge by an outbreak of violence, an elite unit of Navy Seals is sent to rescue him.  No one informs the Seals of the real issue plaguing the city, which is zombies.

After locating the survivors, an annoying reporter trapped with the VP tries to show the Seals footage of what actually happened, but they blow her off.  They may want to be more open minded since they have no idea what made the VP and secret service scamper into a hiding place like frightened children.

They call for the chopper to evacuate the VP and are told that anyone who has been bitten is not allowed to leave.  No one shall ask why the Seals don't check any of the survivors for bites before allowing them on the copter - especially those who are mysteriously ill and can't walk without help.

Now you'd think that Seals would be leaving with the others, but instead they are told they have a second mission. Go across town and collect a scientist who may  (or may not) be the key to curing the zombie outbreak.

The annoying reporter and her cameraman refuse to leave because they want the story. So the Seals agree to watch out for them.  This is a terrible idea. It's not their job to babysit pesky reporters and this extra burden could jeopardize their mission.  And what the hell is Michael Dudikoff doing in this film?  I expect better from the American Ninja.

The Seals are not up to their usual caliber. One one is taken out by a single zombie, and another decides that he won't shoot a zombie because it's a child. It's a goddamn zombie, kill it!  I expect better decisions from the Seals.  But then again, it was obvious AJ was not going to get through this mission unscathed.  Not only is he a rookie Seal but his wife is expecting their first baby. He may as well have a target on his head.

The best thing about this movie is that it was  $2.99 to buy it, but $3.99 to rent it.  So... if I have don't keep it, you'll charge me more?  Hilarious!  This prompted a debate on whether it was worth saving a dollar if you have no interest in owning the movie.  It was 2 against 1 to save the dollar and purchase the damn thing.
screenshot of the options for rent and purchase
closer shot of prices showing it's cheaper to buy than rent

Friday, August 12, 2016

Unfriended (2015)

The biggest problem with this movie is that it takes place on a computer screen. So be prepared to spend a lot of time listening to characters type and reading their instant messages to each other.

Blair, her boyfriend Mitch, stoner Ken, blond Jess, mean Val, and jock Adam get on a private chat but  another person keeps joining them.  Since no one allowed this other person to join, they try a new chatroom. The mystery person is able to join their conversation again.  Creepily enough, it appears to be Laura, who committed suicide a year ago.

The kids can't get away from her.  She seems to have access to everywhere they go online.  They  even mute the sound, but Laura turns it back on. No one thinks of shutting down their computers or having a real life conversation. Sigh, kids these days.

Blair looks for advise online and finds a website which says you should not not answer message from the dead. This leads to a ton of exposition done through web searches, texts, and watching the kids faces as they're reading the texts.  I'm still wondering how the dead are able to type.

As people start dying and they need help, they use Chat Roulette to try to get the police.  Oh hey naked, creepy, non-English speaking, German guy in any town on the other side of the world. I need the police sent to my home asap because someone is trying to kill me.  Seriously?  Use your cell phone! Or how about texting someone nearby or post on the police Facebook page? It's all going to be quicker than finding someone on Chat Roulette, who is more than likely going to hit because you're a freak and they don't want to be pranked
This is what you'll spend 90 minutes watching

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Toxic Zombies (1980)

aka Bloodeaters

A group of hippies living in tents in the woods waiting to cultivate their crop of weed is targeted by the Feds. The Feds hire someone to crop-dust using a toxic chemical, but he doesn't differentiate between plants and people.

The hippies try to stagger away, but start vomiting blood and before you know it - boom, they're zombies and attacking their own kind rather than hoofing it out of there. The rest of the movie is random characters going camping and stumbling upon the killer zombies, some of whom carry machetes.

This is low budget with mediocre acting. It's fairly slow paced also, but if you like independent 80s movies, it's okay.  This is from the time when it was a big deal to get the resources and drive to make a movie, as opposed to the past twenty years where everyone has access to computers and video cameras.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Amityville: It's About Time (1992)

Jacob returns home from a business trip with an antique clock.  His teenagers, Rusty and Lisa, are underwhelmed with this new addition to the home decor.  Jacob's exgirlfriend has been staying with the kids, which is awkward since she has a new boyfriend. But that doesn't stop her from ending up in the sack with Jacob, even though she isn't interested in him anymore.

In the wee morning hours, the clock drills down into the mantle to secure it's place in the home.  Strange things begin happening immediately.  Rusty sees a different room in place of the living room when he flips on the lights. Virginal Lisa begins dressing like she's an extra in a 90s hair metal video, and Jacob is attacked by a neighbors dog while on a jog.

Jacob's ex doesn't feel right about leaving him alone. That's not a great decision especially since Jacob is actually on the path to glowering, hobbling, possession,and a nasty infection in his dog bites.  Because it is no ordinary clock that Jacob brought home.  It is the Amityville house clock. That's right.  They've officially run out of ideas. This movie doesn't even take place in Amityville, but across the country in California.

This could be named anything because it really has nothing to do with Amityville. The home is modern, but they show us that the two upstairs windows look like the windows in the original home. Well, they don't really because the home is modern, but they're in a similar area of the house.  Nothing original about this one.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Malibu Shark Attack (2009)

When an earthquake releases the supposedly extinct goblin sharks my the depths of the ocean, the first thing they do is start eating humans. No one shall ask why these deep water sharks who've been in darkness for years don't have issues with sunlight, or why they wouldn't suddenly develop a taste for human flesh.

Just when you think things couldn't get any worse for the  beach goers and lifeguards, they are hit with a tsunami.   Oh hell no!  Head for the hills because a giant wall of water filled with goblin sharks it coming to a beach near you.  Oddly enough, the wooden lifeguard tower easily survives this natural disaster. So hurrah!  Everyone will be perfectly safe unless the goblin sharks figure out how to make holes in the floor... oh. Who knew that blood likes to burrow down through a foot of water and right through the floor boards where goblin sharks wait to bash their heads against said floor.

The lifeguards and a few people working at a new construction project seem to be the only ones affected by the tsunami of sharks.  Oddly enough some of the construction workers decide to swim for it rather than stay at in the building which is above water and shark free. Chomp.

This follows the typical story line of killer sharks who appear to be more intelligent than the humans who are trying to escape from them.  This is your standard Syfy channel movie.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

As Above So Below (2014)

Scarlet is an archaeologist in search of the legendary Philosophers Stone.  She has a charming accent, but she's annoying as hell. Plus she's a lousy friend. Also for a reason that I can't remember, someone named Benji is shooting a documentary on her.

After risking her life to get information from a hidden chamber about to be destroyed, she calls upon her old friend George to translate the text. He reluctantly agrees due to the significance of the discovery. The translation leads them to a museum in France where George is able to secure entry from a n acquaintance.  Scarlet removes an ancient tombstone from the wall and pours cleaning fluid on it. George is not amused.

But Scarlet doesn't care because she finds info on the tombstone that leads them to France, where they secure the help of underground explorer Papillion. He agrees to guide them into the catacombs, and brings along two friends, Siouxsie and Zed, who are experienced explorers.

Scarlet brings Benji, but George wants no part of it.  Even though Scarlet knows George was traumatized as a child when his brother drowned in a cave and he was unable to help him, she pressures him to go with her.  Her lack of compassion regarding George or anyone else's feelings is something that will make you repeatedly want to punch Scarlet in the throat.

George makes the bad decision to accompany them to the entrance of the catacombs. This involves trespassing in an area where there are overly zealous police patrols.  When they are caught by the police, George is forced to head into the tunnels or risk arrest.  Scarlet cheers as George ponders why he doesn't have better friends.

When they reach a spot where the passageway Scarlet wants is sealed off, Papillion suggests a different way. He doesn't want to open the passage because anyone who enters it is never seen again. Locals believe the passageway is evil. Scarlet doesn't like listening to other people, even when it's a guide she hired to navigate a tunnel system she doesn't know.

As an archaeologist, Scarlet should be aware that legends and tall tales are often based on fact. They are stories to explain what is not understood.  So if everyone who goes into a corridor disappears, it probably isn't because of evil. But what about the possibilities of falling rocks, animals, bad air, mold spores, cave ins, holes in the floor, water, or a crazy person who kills everyone who enters.

You just know they're going to end up in that damn evil tunnel, and as expected, things do not go well.  They get lost, find strange things, people die, Benji's fat ass gets stuck, and Scarlet straight arms a ghoul (which is the best moment of the film).

At one point Benji screams, "First bones? Now rats?"  Good god, does he not even realize what the catacombs are?  You're underground in a dank tunnel where people are buried. Of course, there are bones and rats.

Although I couldn't stand Scarlet and wished someone would push her down a well, overall the movie wasn't bad. Actually for a point of view/found footage movie, it was way better than most of the crap out there. If only Scarlet weren't so annoying.  It's great to have a confident woman as the main character, but tone it down a bit.   She could have used more humanity and humility, rather than trampling over everyone else's feelings.  You can be driven, but still compassionate.