Saturday, February 27, 2010

Paranoid Park (2007)

I am not a fan of Gus Van Sant's and had forgotten he had a hand in this when I rented it. The story revolves around Alex, a skateboarder who accidentally kills a security guard one night in a train yard.

Alex spends the majority of the movie dazed and expressionless. He is haunted by what happened but is also afraid. The police are investigating the death and think it might have been a murder. They are interviewing all the skateboarders at his high school since the murder happened near Paranoid Park, the local underground skatepark.

The story does not go in order and flashbacks of the event are gruesome. There is also a second telling of the same scenes from a different angle. This puts them in context but only happens halfway through the film once the accident has been revealed. It can be confusing and distracting, and if I hadn't read the description I would not have known what was happening in the first part of the film.

The acting is hit or miss. Once I got used to Alex's delivery, it worked within the context of the story. However Alex's friend Macy is stilted, unnatural, and sounds like she is in a high school play.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Red Sands (2009)

A group of soldiers on reconnaissance in Afghanistan destroy an ancient statue unleashing the Djinn that lived within it.

The soldiers are required to stay in a small building in the middle of nowhere and keep an eye on a nonexistent road. In the middle of the night, a young woman appears out of a sandstorm and seeks refuge with them. No one notices that she is not what she seems. The men start having strange dreams and seeing things which are not there.

There is a scene where a soldier accuses another of killing one of the other men in the platoon. The problem is it might have made a bigger impression if I'd have known the guy who killed the soldier was one of their own unit and not a stranger. I don't remember ever seeing this guy before.

Long Time Dead (2002)

Oddly enough this is the second film we randomly picked for the night that centered around the Djinn. A group of eight friends / roommates go to a dance club and decide to have a seance using a makeshift Ouija board in the upper part of the club, which appears to be in an abandoned factory.

One of the girls tells them that whatever happens, they must not break the circle as the spirit might get caught in their world. When the spirit tells them they will all die, one of the group freaks out and bolts out the door. Uh oh.

Shortly after this one of the girls dies and the rest of the group start to worry who will be next. As the killings continue, they try to figure out a way to stop the murders.

At one point the group finds that their creepy landlord has crime clippings and photos all over his walls of a murder that was committed by one of the student's fathers. The police immediately search his apartment, which is odd since I'm still not sure how having a wall full of newspaper clippings of a twenty year old crime can be considered enough to get a search warrant.

It is a really neat effect when the Jinn's eyes change for the first time, but other than that there isn't much interesting going on here. And the kids split up even after they know a killer is after them and should all stay together. No excuse for it.

Alone in the Dark 2 (2008)

Not that much of this makes any sense. There is a witch made up of smoke that people repeatedly try to kill by shooting her. The bullets pass through her smokey old self, but they continue firing until she kills them.

They also try to fend her off with an electric fence, even though they know she can disrupt the power. There is a back up generator, but of course it fails immediately and then they need to leave the safety of their electric cage to go start it.

Then there is a dagger which if it cuts your skin, will infect you with the witches curse. But the dagger also can be used to kill the witch if you put a piece of her heart in it. Yet when her heart is in it, people keep destroying the heart because the witch is coming.

When infected with the curse, a person starts having hallucinogenic dreams and the witch will be able to kill you if you look into a mirror. After being warned not to look in the mirror, this is exactly what the main character does. Hoooboy.

Also everyone is searching for the witches lab. That's right, not her lair, but her lab. The lab turns out to be a cave with nothing in it that would make anyone call it a lab. Also confusing is that two people escape from the lab by crawling through tunnels and end up coming out the sewer drains. Seriously? The sewer drains lead to the witches lab? How is it an urban explorer hasn't discovered this?

Somehow this nonsense managed to get Lance Henricksen, Bill Mosely, PJ Soles, Danny Trejo, and Michael Pare. Yes, I know Pare has done some real dogs, but holy moly is one bad.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Acolytes (2008)

When Mark sees a man in the middle of the woods filling in a hole in the ground, he decides to come back later with his friends to see what is buried. The three teenagers freak out when they dig up a female corpse. After considering calling the police, they decide to find the killer themselves.

Once they find him, the two boys decide to blackmail the man into killing a local thug who raped them when they were younger and is still terrorizing them.

A bad plan any way you look at it, but it becomes even worse when the killer decides to start looking for the teens who are blackmailing him.

It's an interesting premise, although the film does not deliver and the twist ending does not resolve itself. The whole thing is very disturbing, especially since no one seems to have any regard for human life.

Also the flashbacks are incredibly annoying as they are at least twice as loud as the rest of the film. I'm sure that's a scare tactic, but it was extremely irritating and made me have the mute button at the ready.

Incident At Loch Ness (2004)

After watching the Loch Ness Terror, which was fun, I thought I'd try this mockumentary regarding a film crew making a documentary about director Werner Herzog, who in turn is making a documentary about the Loch Ness monster.

I had read a few lines from the movie which made me laugh out loud. I was really in the mood for this based on the good reviews I had seen, which all mentioned how humorous the movie was.

Unfortunately I was completely disappointed. There were a few funny things, but mostly it fell short of humor. Even the lines that made me laugh when I read them were not funny. I believe it was the delivery. Whatever it was, I did not enjoy this one at all.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Inglorious Bastards (1978)

A convoy of soldiers on their way to military prison to await trial are attacked by the Germans. In the aftermath, they manage to escape and decide to head to Switzerland. They capture a German soldier to use as a guide and help them get past German squadrons in the area.

A misunderstanding in which they kill an undercover American team on a mission to stop a German train carrying a new missile is the catalyst that causes them to end up deciding to complete that team's highly dangerous mission.

While the film is listed as being from 1978, it felt more like a late sixties film based on the pacing.

Loch Ness Terror (2008)

When James Murphy was a kid, his father was killed by the Loch Ness Monster. As an adult, James has followed in his father's footsteps, becoming a cryptozoologist and continuing his search for Nessie.

When he hears of a sighting in Lake Ontario, James heads to town and begins his investigation, which is a good thing since Nessie and her babies have started to chomp the local folks.

While this is an enjoyable movie, there are several problems with Nessie. First is her ever changing scale. One day she's towering over someone on the beach, the next day she's sticking her head through a car window. Also the babies are super cute, so you feel sorry for them when the shooting starts.

Lastly, there are the lines right out of Dark Shadows where James tells Josh that Nessie is an unknown species and Josh replies, "What sort of species is it?"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Brutal Massacre: A Comedy (2007)

Mockumentary about Harry Penderecki, a low budget horror director trying to make a comeback years after his one big hit. He and his crew head to the country to film, running into a myriad of problems, including accidental death, crazy locals, taunting teens, and the lack of liquid assets needed to complete the film.

The idea behind it is solid, but the laughs just aren't there. Penderecki is played by David Naughton, best known for American Werewolf in London and 1970s Dr. Pepper ads (which managed to get him a short lived tv show).

Friday, February 12, 2010

Killer Movie (2008)

A reality tv show crew heads to a small town to film a high school hockey team, but there is also a serial killer in town. The crew hopes to capitalize on this angle as the first victim was the girlfriend of one of the stars of the hockey team.

The movie is done like a reality show with scenes intercut with interviews with the characters where they talk about what they were thinking during the scene. It's kind of distracting.

Most of the characters are unlikable, which I guess goes along with reality tv. There is a twist ending and some ridiculous stuff happens, such as leaving the little kid out in the hall while getting locked in an office.

The Swarm (1978)

Irwin Allen, king of the disaster movie, gives us another all star cast facing terror and a potentially insurmountable situation. Yes sir, it's The Swarm!

Killer bees descend on a town in the midst of their annual flower festival and attack a military base. Michael Caine, noted entomologist, believes he has the answer to defeating the bee menace. The military disagrees and thus we have in fighting which keeps the bee menace safe another day.

The movie seems really long. I'm not sure if it is really two hours or just felt like it. While there are many silly plot points in this film, the one I found the silliest was the doctor who tests the serum to reverse the effects of bee stings on himself.

He injects himself with bee venom. Then waits as long as it would take the other victims before they could get injected with the serum. This leaves him unable to grasp the needle and shortly thereafter all hopes for a vaccine die with him. Idiot! If you insist on doing this asinine test, at least have someone there to administer the shot so you have a chance of survival.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Adventureland (2009)

The advertising for this made it appear to be along the lines of Superbad, which it is not. I don't see how it could be protrayed as a comedy since it's not funny. It's the story of a college student who plans to go to grad school and then finds out his parents are not going to give him the money they promised him.

Consequently he gets a summer job at the local amusement park as his degree in comparative literature, and lack of previous work history keep him from getting every other job he pursues.

The movie follows his romance with a fellow worker who is having an affair with a married man, and his interactions with other people at work.

Actually the best thing about this movie is that whoever picked the soundtrack did a really great job.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Severance (2006)

The sales department for a weapons company on their way to a team building retreat at a luxury lodge in Hungary, finds themselves alone after their bus driver refuses to drive down a dirt road that their boss believes is a short cut.

The group arrives at a large industrial building which their boss insists is the luxury lodge, but turns out to be an old asylum where Soviet soldiers who were psychotic killers were housed.

The group soon realizes someone is in the woods watching them and factions split as to whether to leave or hold tight. Then the killings begin and everyone is fighting for their lives.

The movie is advertised as a horror comedy, but I disagree. This is a horror film that has some funny lines, but it is not a comedy in any sense of the word, not even a dark comedy.

Also there is the inexplicable stabbing dream. Anyone can have a strange dream, but in the context of the movie, I have no idea why this was thrown in there.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Retardead (2008)

Retardead is the sequel to Monsturd and picks up with Dr. Stern taking a teaching position at a school for the mentally challenged. Dr. Stern has developed an intelligence serum and has decided the perfect subjects will be the students.

His daily injections quickly change the kids into classical music playing, literature reading, mathematician brainiacs. The drastic change doesn't seem to alarm anyone, which is too bad since one of the side effects of the serum is that the kids turn into flesh eating zombies.

Even though I love zombie movies, I'm not a fan of gore. I think whether you like it or not, this will work for you as there are some pretty gross scenes, but some of it is also funny.

The scenes in the warehouse could have benefited from some ADR. There is also a side plot of the police trying to catch someone called the Weenie Wagger which could have been left out of the film and it wouldn't have mattered.

In one of the first scenes where the zombies are locked in a room at the school and are eating someone, the bald zombie does not have any makeup on top of his head. There is a line right across it where the makeup stops. I think he might have been wearing a hat at one point, but I can't remember. It looks pretty funny though.

Before the movie begins there are two fake drive in trailers for sixties style horror movies. These are complete with bad dubbing, poor acting, and period graphics. My favorite of the two was the brilliantly titled, Frankenstein and the Bloody Beast of Ghastly Terror.

There is also a voice over by Herschell Gordon Lewis and a cameo by Jello Biafra.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Nature's Grave (2008)

A married couple who can't stand each other decide to go on a weekend camping trip with another couple, but end up on their own when the other couple never shows up.

The two are extremely unlikable. The wife is condescending and nagging, while the husband is selfish and oblivious. Both essentially destroy everything they come in contact with and don't care. They litter, shoot at something in the water, hit a baby kangaroo with their car, and make mother nature hate their guts.

The movie seems much longer than it is as each scene is just the two of them showing how little they care for anything or anyone other than themselves. They are completely callous and unsympathetic, and you will want them to die.

The Ghost in the Tiny Bikini (2006)

After the first five minutes of softcore, we realized it wasn't going to be anything else and we stopped watching it. So if you're looking for that, you may enjoy it. Anyone looking for a horror movie, move along now. Nothing to see here.

Hells Ground (2007)

A group of students rent a van so they can go to a concert that is hours away from their home. They become lost while trying to take a short cut and stumble upon an area where the people have turned into zombies from drinking polluted water.

After escaping and giving a strange man a ride, the van runs out of gas. Several of the group decide to try to find help and shortly afterwards the massacre commences.

The movie is more Texas Chainsaw Massacre that a zombie flick since the zombies are few and far between, which was a disappointment for me since I watched it for the zombies.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

After Sarah breaks his heart, Peter spends weeks pathetically sitting around his apartment. Then he decides to go on a vacation to get away from everything. Unfortunately he ends up at the same place Sarah is vacationing with her new boyfriend, Aldous.

This awkward situation gets even worse when Peter finds out Sarah started dating Aldous long before they broke up, and the only room Peter can get is next door to them where he can hear the noises coming from their room.

The movie is pretty funny with the stand out being Russell Brand. Jason Segel and Paul Rudd are good as always.