Friday, September 25, 2009

Tropic Thunder (2008)

In a last attempt to quell trouble on the set and get a realistic reaction out of his actors, a director drops his stars off in the middle of the jungle and immediately dies by stepping on a landmine. The actors think this is just a special effect and decide to continue filming since the director had mentioned cameras being hidden in the trees.

As the group trudges through the jungle, they run into real soldiers and drug lords who kidnap one of the group. Then they decide to pull together for a rescue mission. Robert Downey Jr is really good. I like Jack Black, but his movie roles usually disappoint me and this one did too.

The funniest parts were Ben Stiller wearing the panda head as well as the little kid hanging off his shoulders repeatedly stabbing him.

Prom Night (1980)

When Kim was a child, her sister Robin died in an accident at an abandoned building which was caused by four older children playing a hide and seek. In their version of the game, the person who is it is the killer. When Robin tries to join in, the older kids gang up on her, taunt her with the phrase "the killers are coming" and chase her around in a menacing way until she falls out a window to her death. Instead of getting help, the nastiest girl in the group demands an oath of silence so they don't get in trouble and they leave her there.

While it doesn't sound scary, it reminds me of times when I was a kid where my brother would follow me around at a steady gait like a zombie. At first I would laugh and tell him to knock it off. But after awhile it would scare me, which I know is as ridiculous as it sounds. It's not like he would have hurt me if he'd caught up to me, but there was something about it that would really creep me out.

Fast forward to Robin and her brother Alex looking forward to the high school prom. The four who were involved in her sister's death are her classmates and they are getting phone calls from a menacing stranger. But he's not menacing enough for them to be overly worried, although they might be if they knew he was so organized that he crosses their name off his list once he makes each call. Oooooo, isn't that scary kids?

This is one of Jamie Lee Curtis's run of horror movies in the late 1970s/early 1980s, so it has that going for it. What it has against it is an overly long disco dance prom where we get to see Kim and Nick strut their stuff on the dance floor.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Time Barbarians (1990)

If you've ever wanted to see a movie about sword swinging barbarians who travel through time to a modern day metropolis, then this is the film for you.  American Gladiator Malibu plays Doran, a large barbarian warrior king,  who is married to Lystra. They cavort in the woods until evil villain Mandrak kidnaps Lystra, steals her powerful jewel, and ends her life.  

Mandrak flees through a portal ending up in modern Los Angeles, where Doran follows to exact his revenge.  Doran becomes a media sensation after being filmed beating up gang members who were threatening tv reporter Penny who is a dead ringer for his dead wife.

Mandrak, who has adapted nicely to big city living, sees Doran on tv and vows to get Doran before Doran gets him.  Yup, that just about covers it.  

Well, except that after traveling from ancient times to seedy modern LA Doran shows no surprise or in fact any reaction at all to skyscrapers, alleyways, clothing, cars, tv cameras, or apartments filled with electric appliances.  Actually the only thing that seems to stump Doran is the chainlink fence that he can't figure out how to get around. Bad acting or bad writing.... you decide. 

Camp Fear (1991)

Vincent Van Patten is an archeology professor at what appears to be a community college for women. He takes a few of the girls to the lake to dig for ancient artifacts.  On the way they run into some bikers and a drunk local who is played by Buck Flowers.

After setting up camp, they hear noises and find a Native American in a sweat lodge. In keeping with the theme of archaeology students who will fail their classes, the girls are completely confused about the strange man with the primitive hut and clothing.

The bikers have nothing better to do than to track down the professor and the girls, which leaves them all vulnerable to the giant druid in the woods who needs a sacrifice for his stone table.  Oi!

This movie is ridiculous, but I must admit I have had a soft spot for Vincent Van Patten since he was in Apple's Way in the early 1970s.  

Wicked Lake (2008)

Four women head up to the lake for a vacation and are visited by four creepy guys and some hicks they met at a local gas station.  The women are forced to do humiliating acts with the men until the strike of midnight at which point the tables turn and the men are in fear of their lives.  It was also at this point that we stopped watching because it was terrible.

Deadgirl (2008)

Rickie and JT skip school and head to the abandoned asylum to drink and vandalize.  While running away from a feral dog, they end up finding a naked girl under plastic.  She looks dead, but the plastic is moving as if she's breathing.  Rickie wants to set her free and get the hell out of there, but JT wants to keep her and use her for his own fun.  After they come to blows, Rickie leaves JT on his own with the girl.

The next day JT convinces Rickie to come back because he says he has to show him something or he won't believe it.  JT shoots the girl and then reveals to Rickie that this is third time he's killed her but she doesn't die.  

There is a juxtaposition between extremes with Rickie's character being in love with a popular girl at school and forsaking JT and any interest in sex with the deadgirl.  JT is a complete psychopath who ends up sharing the girl with another friend of theirs and spending all his time in the asylum with the deadgirl.

The movie is disturbing on so many levels, especially the realization that there are males in this world who would do the same thing as JT.   But even though it's sick, it's also fascinating because you want some sort of positive resolution which never comes.  The ending is very unsatisfactory, offers no explanation for the girl or what happened, and leaves bigger questions about why no one would notice a naked deadgirl tearing around the neighborhood.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sands of Oblivion (2007)

Cecile B. DeMille is shooting a move in the desert and using real cursed antiquities from Egypt for the props in his film. Years later an old man, who was a boy when the movie was filmed, goes back to the desert to find the box he buried at the end of filming.

At the same time there is a group of archaeology students on a dig looking for the rumored set which was left intact and buried by DeMille. Grandpa, played by George Kennedy,and his hunky grandson find his treasure box, but also find an entry to the hidden set where grandpa's arm is ripped off by Anubis.

The curse has been unleashed and the archaeologists and grandson must try to stop the carnage. Some really stupid things happen, but the best part is when Anubis tears through the dig site and one of the students states that she doesn't know what that thing was, but it had a head like a dog. Oh dear sweet useless child, you should not be on this dig and you are definitely going to fail archaeology.

The Intruder (1989)

The night crew at a local grocery store is terrorized by a killer.  All signs point to him being the cashier's boyfriend who has been stalking her and was hanging around outside the store all night.

Everyone just learned that the store is going to be sold and that they will all lose their jobs.  Sam and Ted Raimi are two of the employees, and Bruce Campbell has a bit part as a cop. There is a really nicely done scene with a table saw to the head.

Trespassers (2006)

Five college students head to Mexico to surf and meet up with one's older brother, only to find the beach deserted. After gallivanting around, they find the brother's truck abandoned in a sand dune and become concerned.

The group splits up - always a bad idea - with a couple heading off to town to see if the brother went there for help, and the others looking for the brother's camp site which he said was at a compound near the beach.

In town they are told the legend of a cult that lived in a compound at the beach and how there have been attacks on Anglos in that area. One of the students theorizes this is just local talk to keep outsiders off the local beaches.

The zombies are not typical zombies. In fact, I'm not really sure what sort of zombies they are, but do not expect real zombies.

The movie features one of the smartest moves when a character buries himself in a sand dune so the zombies can not find him. Brilliant! Only his face is sticking out of the slant of the dune and it is night so he's hard to see. However this must have used up all his brain cells because later he makes the dumbest move ever when he lights a fire at night and starts having sex with his girlfriend. Aaarrgghh!!!!!

You know the zombies are looking for you. They've killed your friends, they've tried to kill you, and now that you escaped you're going to make a fire!?! It's inside a ramshackle cabin which means the light can be seen through all the gaps in the door, the windows, and between slats of wood. It may as well be a neon sign announcing their presence.

San Franpsycho (2006)

A move starring Joe Estevez and Todd Bridges?  How could I not watch it?  Well, one reason would be to have your serial killing psycho walk in slow motion for a long, long time to pad the film.  

Joe Estevez is a detective who watches tv and tries to catch a killer.  The killer follows his victim in the train station, on the platform, in the train, gets off at the same stop, walks down the street about fifteen feet behind her, and she doesn't notice until she gets right up to her front door and he pushes his way inside.  Way to go, movie!  You actually pushed us to a point where we couldn't watch you anymore because you were too painful - and look at the crap we've watched!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Surface (2005)

I seem to recall seeing adds for this series when it was on, but it never interested me.  In fact I had no interest in watching it now either, but I ended up watching one episode due to it being about sea monsters.  While everyone in it seemed to do stupid things, it was still enjoyable and I wish I had the time to watch more than one episode.  I want to know what the creature is and if the kid who stole it's egg is going to befriend the hatchling or get killed by it.  I'm hoping for carnage rather than an ET moment, but it's a tv series, so I'm guessing it'll be the cute cuddly scene.

Simon Says (2006)

Crispin Glover and Crispin Glover star as psychotic twins who terrorize five college students on a camping trip.  The group stops by Simon and Stanley's store to get gas and alcohol.  The gas pump out front doesn't work, but inside there are dusty bottles of scotch that the kids snatch up while insulting the brothers.  Oh stupid kids, always insulting local town folks and making yourselves targets for their wrath.  

The group decides to camp on the site of an old homicide - yay that'll be fun!  Shortly afterwards the twins are wandering the forest in their camouflage suits made of grass and twigs, hunting down their prey.

Crispin Glover gets more and more over the top as the film goes on, but still it's Crispin Glover so you won't care.  The rest of the cast is interchangeable.  Features the only scene I can remember of someone bursting through the dead body of a friend, yeech!!!  Also the door is left open for a sequel.

The Woods (2006)

Heather  is sent off to boarding school due to her new found interest in setting things on fire.  The school is out in the middle of the woods and the teachers seems a bit off. Several of them look like men in drag and one even looks like SNL's Church Lady.  It has nothing to do with the story, but it's certainly distracting.

The girls in the school are strange and Heather has conflict with the school bullies when they pick on her new friend.  At night, the other girls fall into a deep sleep, but Heather has disturbing dreams and awakes to see the woods coming into the room to get the girl in the bed by the wall.  In the morning, it looks like the girl is sleeping but when the covers are peeled back, there is only a pile of leaves.

There are stories that many years ago there were girls who were witches at the school who disappeared after being chased through the woods by the rest of students.  Heather discovers that all the girls are given a test when they arrive, certain girls are singled out due to the results of their tests, and Heather is one of those girls.  

Bruce Campbell has a small role as Heather's henpecked father.

Private School (1983)

The story of the girls at Cherryvale Academy and their male counterparts at Freemount Academy and the hijinks that ensue.  Christine and Jim are planning a nice little weekend getaway to lose their virginity.  Meanwhile Bubba is back at the dorms betting his friends that he can get sleazy rich girl Jordan into various states of undress.  But Jordan wants to date Jim and tries to break up the young couple in love before they go on their weekend.

In between, the guys sneak into the girl's school dressed as women, there is a school dance where the guys get wood, Jordan goes topless horseback riding (ouch!), and there are various states of undress and sexual escapdes.

This is a typical 1980s teen sex comedy, which means the jokes aren't funny, but it is enjoyable in an oddly painful, nostalgic sort of way.