August 2009

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Yay sequels! But some endeavors can never be repeated again. I personally found Crank 1 to be groundbreaking; quite possibly my favorite action movie ever. Incredible style and energy. And for the most part, the Chelios character is an excellent anti-hero — committing incredible and brutal atrocities and murders, but pretty much being morally justified at all times because it was all in self-defense. Good stuff!

LIMERICK REVIEW: There once was a frenetic film named Crank,
about a man with the constitution of a tank.
Sequels are more of the same,
This one certainly wasn’t lame.
The filmmakers I would still like to thank.

HAIKU REVIEW: It sucks to be you.
Someone replaced your damn heart
with a battery!

PEOPLE: Same directors as the first movie. Jason Statham (The Transporter, Snatch, Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, The Italian Job) returns as Chelios. I sort of consider him “the white Jackie Chan”. Amy Smart (Just Friends, Scrubs, Robot Chicken) returns as Eve. Dwight Yoakam returns as Doc Miles, and it is revealed that the way he lost his medical license was [highlight for spoilers] botching his wife’s vaginal rejuvination surgery in his basement. Efren Ramirez (aka Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite) plays Venus, the brother of Chelios’s friend from the first movie. I did not even recognize Corey Haim as Randy, the mullet-sportin’ redneck stripper-pimp(?) character! But I did recognize Geri Halliwell (aka Ginger Spice) playing Chelios’s mother in a childhoold flashback. I should have recognized David Carradine, and I certainly should have noticed Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman‘s cameo. Ron Jeremy was, of course, hard to miss. And I recognized Jenna Haze… partially from the help of John The Canadien’s blog :)

QUIRKS/VISUALS: All the same quirks as Crank 1. Insane frenetic surrealistic on-screen visuals meant to simulate what it’s like to be Chelios. It works well. This is another style-over-substance success. The visuals aren’t quite as good as Crank 1. Carolyn said they used them more gratuitously and unnecessarily — yet I remember more of them in Crank 1, which may just mean that Crank 1 used their visual effects in a less gratuitous / more appropriate manner.

Definitely less video game references than the first movie. They only appear at the very beginning. You get to see the last scene of Crank 1 as if it were a 16-bit Nintendo game.

MORALS: When you’re dying, every action you take is morally justified as self-defense. Thus, we find an anti-hero who murders people and commits horrible atrocities, but is completely justified in most of what he does. If it wasn’t for the mile-a-minute action, there might actually be time to have some interesting thoughts and discussions about ethics and morality. But none of that! Here comes a fist at your face! Breakneck pace is what Crank movies are all about!

BAD STUFF: If Crank 1 was ridiculous, this was ricockulous. There is a scene where he is so juiced up that they show it as a 1960s Godzilla-style spoof. We kind of looked at each other like, “What … The … Fuck?“. Undoubtedly that is the moment the franchise jumped the shark for many people, but we know this movie isn’t supposed to be realistic in the first place. It’s like they wanted us to step back and realize that this movie is not to be taken seriously. Then they had the childhood flashback dream sequence where Chelios is a kid on a talk show about troubled kids. (His mom is Ginger Spice.) The Godzilla scene in particular would have been better as ANYTHING else… But it was only about 1 minute long anyway. So we moved on. :)

Also, the ending is VERY abrupt. But more scenes appear throughout the credits, so you really have to stay to the end.

CONCLUSION: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10. Not that this makes logical sense, but even if this were the EXACT same movie as the first, it would not score as high. You just can’t repeat the feeling of seeing something that’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. And it’s kind of hard to top Crank 1 in that respect. If Crank 1 didn’t exist, and this was the first Crank movie… Who knows, maybe I’d have rated it 5/5 stars, or at least 9/10 on IMDB. But alas, you just can’t repeat some things twice.

But they did a good job keeping up the insane frenetic feel, the anti-hero who does horrible things for all the right reasons, and repeating a lot of similar situations from the 1st movie (on purpose–for example, sex in front of a lot of people).

And I’d still watch Crank 3 if it ever comes out. And 4. And 5. etc etc. I just wont expect to eve be blown away as much as I was during Crank 1.

RECOMMENDATION: See it!!!! But see Crank 1 first, and don’t expect this to be as good. The reason I like sequels is not because they are better, but becuase they are more. More… versus nothing. I’ll take more over nothing, as long as it doesn’t totally suck. (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Been meaning to watch this one for a couple years now. The premise is that the main character is given a synthetic Chinese drug that will kill him in an hour. But as long as he can keep his adrenaline up, he can extend his life long enough to exact his revenge, and keep his girlfriend from being tortured/raped by the guy who killed him.

HAIKU REVIEW: Instant, crazed action!
Ultimate anti-hero!
Fucking amazing!

PEOPLE: Jason Statham (The Transporter) is great, and does his own stunts. He’s the white Jackie Chan. Amy Smart plays his girlfriend. Directed by relative newcomers Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor.

QUIRKS: Highly-stylized film. Instant action. Non-stop action. Amazing anti-hero.

Also, keep a watch for Berzerk (the Atari 2600 game) and Robotron: 2084. They are subtly referenced in the movie. They also use Google Earth several times!

NOFX‘s “Kill All The White Man” is used in the soundtrack, but so briefly that never noticed. The soundtrack has 32 songs, including some fast punk songs. Yay!

VISUALS: Shaky cameras and surreal effects help keep the viewer inside the mindset of our main character/anti-hero. For instance, he yells, “Do I look like I have ‘cunt’ written on my forehead?” during one scene — and the word is written on his forehead, and slowly fades. Or he’ll be on the phone with someone while driving, and you’ll see the reflection of that someone in his rear-view mirror. Or he will start to fade away, and you’ll see his view, with everything distorting due to his condition. The entire movie is just a non-stop attempt to put you in the head of the main character. And it works.

MORALS: Morally, our main character goes on a literal rampage — injuring people, destroying property, committing armed robbery, the works. And yet, he is completely morally justified in everything he does. While nobody would want to trade places with a dead man walking, you can’t help but be jealous of someone who can commit armed robbery in order to steal a bunch of Red Bulls, and be completely morally justified in it. He is in a rare predicament — one which makes us question our morals. If you only have an hour to live, you sure as hell are justified in not allowing the police to arrest you for speeding. If someone in a criminal organization is going to rape and torture an innocent girl, you sure as hell are justified in putting a bullet into peoples’ heads to make them stop.

BAD STUFF: You would expect a pure action movie like this to be full of flaws which the viewer must ignore. When he got in the back of a taxi, I yelled: “Plot hole! How is he going to keep his adrenaline up if he’s just sitting in a taxi, not even driving it insanely?” But then he forces the taxi driver to crank Achy Breaky Heart to full volume, and bangs his head into the seat repeatedly. I’m pretty sure that song at full volume would raise anyone’s adrenaline; our military uses that song for psy-ops! The only real flaw is when he gets defibrillated — I don’t think that speeds up your heart. That either starts it, or stops it. There are a few over-the-top moments that aren’t as believable as the rest of the movie. Killing someone within 50 ft of your girlfriend, and her not noticing. But she’s this ultra-oblivious, optimistic stoner, so they at least found a way to make her naivete and obliviousness plausible.

CONCLUSION: This might just be the best action movie I’ve ever watched in my life. Not in terms of “feel good”, but in terms of raw, frenetic, non-stop, crazed action. Action that, with the combination of stylized shooting/effects, puts you right in the head of what may just be one of the most desperate fights any man has ever fought in film history. I had no choice but to rate this 5/5 stars on Netflix and 10/10 on IMDB. While action movies may not be as deep as movies that focus more on story — this movie really doesn’t let up, not even for a second. I can find no fault in this, not even enough to lower it’s rating to a 9/10. This is a top-tier action movie, for sure. And there’s going to be a sequel — but it doesn’t look nearly as good. It looks like it’s going to be more on the ridiculous side. You really can’t follow something like this. Ever.

Damn we loved this movie! Best movie I’ve seen in 2009 so far (this review was written on 2/18/2009).

Watch it on a big screen, while not sober. This will help put you into the headspace of the main character.

And if you have a nasal spray prescription (like Nasonex), or illegal stimulants — wait until you watch the movie, and do them at the same time the character does. Audience participation! (NOTE: If these instructions are illegal in your jurisdiction, do not follow them.)

And make sure to see the “Crank as a Nintendo game” bit after the end of the credits.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Shoot ‘Em Up is a pale echo of this movie. It’s the over-the-top not-trying-to-be-at-all-realistic laughable version of Crank. Crank 2 just might be that as well.

Chev Chelios: What is this stuff?
Doc Miles: Synthetic ephedrine diluted with some saline.
Chev Chelios: Feels sort of good.
Doc Miles: Yeah well. I got a little Meth in there too, so that’s the endorphins you feel running to your brain.
Chev Chelios: Wait a minute so I’m not better?
Doc Miles: Fuck no you’re not better. You’re in such shit shape it’s stunning. I can’t believe your heart’s still beating. Shit should be in a fucking medical journal.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Jordan liked it. I’m surprised more people haven’t seen this. (more…)

I’ve been inspired by the hilarious Uncomfortable Plot Summaries for movies blogpost. Inspired enough to have read all *361* comments on it. But comments are unfortunately closed, so I didn’t get to add my own! WAH! Plus, a lot of people don’t quite get the spirit of it. It’s not about a quick summary. It’s supposed to make it more awkward/uncomfortable as well.

So I will use this post to add my own (probably as comments) later. I’m also going to start adding these to my movie reviews…but those wont show up until 2010.

Caution.. spoilers ahead.

Brazil (my favorite movie ever): [highlight for spoilers] Typo kills man, causing another man to refuse a promotion, assist a terrorist, and get tortured until he is insane.

Oldboy: [highlight for spoilers] Incest tattle-tale solves mystery of why he is punished; eats live squid and rips out own tongue.

Sympathy For Lady Vengeance: [highlight for spoilers] Wrongly imprisoned ransomist engages in group vigilante justice, and eats cake.

Gummo: [highlight for spoilers] Rednecks make life difficult; especially for chairs and cats.

Aachi & Ssipak: [highlight for spoilers] Drug addicts poop for more drugs.

A Scanner Darkly: [highlight for spoilers] Paranoid stoners trick friend into going insane to bring down corporation.

Fanboys: [highlight for spoilers] Friends use friend’s cancer as excuse to trespass on celebrity property.

Miss March: [highlight for spoilers] Friend use friend’s coma as excuse to trespass on celebrity property.
(^^ One of the tropes used in the original article is multiple movies having more or less the same awkward summary.)

Rules Of Attraction: [highlight for spoilers] Virgin falls for detached drug dealer, boyfriend forgets who she is, so she gets raped instead.

Donkey Punch: [highlight for spoilers] Sexual deviance with strangers leads to complications.
(^^ One of the tropes used in the original article is things “leading to complications”.)

Hardware (1990): [highlight for spoilers] Government policy for allocation of scarce resources leads to complications.

Escape From New York: [highlight for spoilers] Government policy for allocation of scarce prison space leads to complications.

Repo! The Genetic Opera: [highlight for spoilers] Government policy for allocation of scarce organs leads to complications.

That’s all I’ve got for now. (more…)

Disclaimer: I have seen neither, and this is only a possible answer.

Dorf > sisterhood
golf > traveling pants
golf > sisterhood
guys looking ridiculous > sisterhood
kneeling on pants > traveling pants (more…)

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