February 2010

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Children as “zombies”? How terrifying. Do we get to see a bunch of children killed?? That’d be awesome.

A Clive Barker zombie movie where every zombie is a kid.
Turned out not to be the greatest horror movie bid.
The movie’s title was The Plague.
Let’s try the writer at The Hague.
The value of this film isn’t even a few quid.

HAIKU REVIEW: A failed horror film:
Zombie kids should be scary.
Too ambiguous.

PEOPLE: James Van Der Beek, who I haven’t seen in a movie since the *incredible* Rules Of Attraction. Ivana Milicevic (Paycheck, Jerry Maguire). Brad Hunt. Joshua Close. John P. Connolly (someone else who looks familiar, but I don’t know why — his IMDB has nothing I’d know). Brittany Scobie (who I’d like to see more of). Mostly nobodies.

QUIRKS: Zombies that are kids. On the same day, all kids under the age of 9.000 fell into a coma. With synchronized seizures and everything. New births were born comatose. Ten years later, all of the age 0 to 19.000 year olds wake up and wreak havoc on society.

BAD STUFF: And then what? Where’s the action? Where’s the conclusion? The conclusion makes no sense. They read this page a preacher wrote about his dream at least three times in the movie, but it doesn’t drive the point home. The point is completely missed. Who did this? What was the coma? What are the kids? What’s with the soul absorption? What’s with the conclusion? Did she die? Were the zombies placated? Are they still evil?

Expect no answers… To anything!

CONCLUSION: IMDB: 5/10. Netflix: 3/5 stars. And that’s only because we were entertained during a lot of the movie. Overall, it left us pretty unsatisfied.

The best part were the two “19.001 year old” characters. Born on the cusp of the coma-age, the zombie children thought they were young, and therefore zombies as well. Especially the girl. She was kind of an emo, so the zombies thought her one of them. They were probably the most interesting characters… But in the end, their uniqueness did not serve to advance the plot AT ALL.

The movie was interesting. Then it left you completely unsatisfied. You almost feel tricked, because you were interested for such a long period of time, without receiving any proper answers. I hate movies that make me feel like this. (No Country For Old Men was one of them… But this one is far more unsatisfying of an ending.)

Also: This had WAY less gore and action than one should expect from ANY zombie movie.

RECOMMENDATION: Skip it, unless you’re a zombie or Clive Barker completist!

SIMILAR MOVIES: Most zombie movies. (more…)


obesity = economic opportunity?

One of the favorite things I hear people who are in support of our capitalist medical system (the only one remaining in the modern/westernized world) is that, “If we had socialized medicine, all our good doctors will leave for another country where they will make more money.”

What country would that be? We spend more on medicine per capita than most of these other nations, and yet are less healthy than many nations (Cuba, UK) who spend far less per person. So my question is: Where will doctors go and make more money?

Also, if doctors automatically flock to wherever they get paid the most — wouldn’t that mean that (because we are the country that spends the most, and has a capitalist system) a lot of shitty doctors from other countries are actually coming here to make more money? Hell, we could end up getting other country’s shitty doctors!

I kind of think bad doctors are far more likely to come here for our money, than good doctors here leaving us to go to — where? Where do doctors make more money??? Unless you’re doing a private practice for the rich (who live everywhere), you’re probably going to make more money in America than anywhere else. This is why people come to America (in general).

So yeah. Until someone cites some real numbers with their argument, I am no longer going to believe this anti-socialized medicine argument as being necessarily valid.


If he were alive today, he'd probably rescind some of his quotes, after seeing the behavior of corporations today. Charters had only begun to fall out of popularity near the end of his life. Corporations didn't get the same rights as people until after his death.

Read The Birth Of The Corporate I for a big picture view at what corporations once were, and what they became after Lincoln’s death.


 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] [Wikipedia link]

PLOT SUMMARY: A man reads a book that seems to be about his own life.

LIMERICK REVIEW: There once was a man named [Walter] Sparrow.
who lived a life that seemed straight as an arrow.
Then events started relating to the number 23 —
There was actually a deeper secret to see:
A fate that could not even be predicted by Tarot.

HAIKU REVIEW: It’s not possible
to create a twenty-three
syllable haiku.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Murder cover-up leads to complications.

PEOPLE: Jim Carrey, in a strangely serious role. I think this put off some people by causing them to think there would be comedic elements in this movie, or causing them to not be able to take Carrey seriously. Also with Virginia Madsen (Sideways, Dune, Candyman) as the wife, Logan Lerman (What Women Want, The Patriot) as the son, Danny Huston (X-Men Origins:Wolverine, The Aviator, 21 Grams), and smaller parts with Lynn Collins (Silverfox from X-Men Origins:Wolverine, 13 Going On 30, 50 First Dates) and Rhona Mitra (Underworld:Rise Of The Lycans, Doomsday, Sweet Home Alabama, Hollow Man, Beowulf, Boston Legal/The Practice), who I often mistake as Kate Beckinsdale. [I have lately learned to tell them apart, but when I showed selected parts of the movie Doomsday to John The Canadien, he still insisted it was Beckinsdale until I fast forwarded to the credits :)]

Directed by Joel Schumacher, who brought us the passable movies Flatliners, Falling Down, Batman Forever, and Batman & Robin, the much-loved non-sparkling-vampire film The Lost Boys, and the excellent psychological thriller Phone Booth. Of everything he’s ever done, I think this and Phone Booth are the best.

QUIRKS: Numerology. Obsession. Conspiracy. Finding a book that seems to be about YOUR life.

The number 23 has a pseudo mystical history behind it, relating to William S. Burroughs, and found in all kinds of interesting places. The latest album by The Church is actually titled “Untitled #23”, based on the mysticism of the number 23.

This album was released on Carolyn’s birthday, February 23rd. The movie actually takes place in February, too.

VISUALS: Awesome! A lot of the movie delved into the fantasy world of what happened in the book “The Number 23” (the book that Jim Carrey is reading in the movie). These shots were very artfully done, adding a visual layer that doesn’t exist with most modern-day suspense movies. Pretty much noir, but in color.

MORALS: Beware of apophenia.

BAD STUFF: Everybody hated this! Why?!?

8% on Rotten Tomatoes? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a rating so low!

Jim Carrey got a Razzie Award for Worst Actor? I think that speaks more of people wanting to typecast Jim Carrey, than of Jim Carrey’s acting. Much like how everyone hated Steve Carrell when he was serious in “Dan In Real Life“. (Which was an awful movie, but not because of Carrell.)

I blame some peoples’ bad ratings on the fact that they can’t deal with Jim Carrey in a serious role. In fact, I blame these people for typecasting in general. Probably the reason actors get typecast into specific roles is because people go crazy with the hate when someone dares to do something different from what they’ve previously done. “Even though he’s trying not to be, I can’t help but think of him as ____.” (insert whatever they are typecast as into blank)

This movie has twists. Perhaps, if people figure out the various twists in the movie ahead of time, that they wouldn’t enjoy it as much. But I still find that a fault of the viewer, not of the movie. Carolyn & I sure as hell didn’t know any of the twists ahead of time. I happen to think it’s very counterproductive to one’s viewing enjoyment to destroy your ability to be surprised by nurturing an ability to predict everything you watch. It’s absolutely unhelpful.

People might also have hated the fact that it could be considered a horror movie where everyone is running away from … a number. Not exactly the scariest beast to be avoiding!

And it sort of ambiguously straddles the genres of psychological horror and occult/supernatural horror. That ambiguity pisses off people and makes them perceive aspects of the movie as plot flaws, when they are actually deliberate ambiguities.

CONCLUSION: Out of the 25 horror/thriller movies we’ve watched so far in 2009 (It’s October 2009 as I write this), this is our favorite!

The movie Live! comes close, but not quite, to beating this. But Live! live isn’t quite a horror movie–it’s more sensational, whereas this was more creepy and psychological. But there’s an occult aspect to this movie, as well, which makes it even creepier.

Prevailing opinions disagree, but I actually found this to be a much better numerology movie than Pi, though Pi has less occult/supernatural aspects to it.

I think their choice of Jim Carrey as the leading role put off a lot of people, and should not have. This movie was absolutely amazing, both visually and cerebrally. And it all seems to piece together with most questions answered, if you just pay enough attention. Had I missed some things, I might not have liked this as much. But I did. We both freakin’ loved it!


Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9.5/10. Tho only reason I can think of to not give this a 10 would maybe be that the first 10 minutes seemed kind of boring. It’s still rounding up to 10 on my IMDB vote.

Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 10/10.

The native public rating for this movie is Netflix: 3.1/5 stars (3.8/5 stars for people who rate like me–apparently Netflix predicted that I would like this more than most people). For IMDB, the native public rating is 6.2/10.

RECOMMENDATION: If you avoided this because people said it sucks, you might not want to believe them. But if you can’t swallow Jim Carrey in a non-comedic role — or if you’re the type of person who, in general, can’t watch movies with certain actors in them because you hate those actors — then you should just avoid this movie. If you’re someone who is entranced more by the story, than the players in that story, then I would find it really hard to find fault with this movie.

*** MAKE SURE YOU GET THE UNRATED VERSION. *** Differences are here (with spoilers): differences.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Pi. A Beautiful Mind. [highlight for spoilers] The Machinist. The Usual Suspects.

MOVIE QUOTE: “I once read that the only philosophical question that matters is whether or not to commit suicide. I guess that makes me a philosopher.”

COINCIDENCES: (Wonder Woman, The Number 23) 2 movies in a row with Virginia Madsen. And it took us 3 days to watch both those movies. [cue spooky music]

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Daniel H & Orpheus Stain said it was a great movie. J. Walter Swartz really liked it. Benj liked it. Christie didn’t like it. Chris H/Lisa hated it. WTF.

This is one of the most underrated movies in years, in terms of it drawing out a lot of harsh criticism from people who think it had absolutely no value and was an utter piece of shit. (It’s IMDB rating of 6.2 isn’t too shabby. But the people who love this movie aren’t really speaking out about it; most reviews are negative.)

Here’s a funny YouTube video making fun of it, “The Number 47”:


 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] A sequel that’s a prequel.

PEOPLE: From the director of Underworld, I Am Legend, Silent Hill, Pitch Black, Independence Day…. And Super Mario Bros (The Movie)??? Patrick Tatopoulos sure puts out a lot of movies.
Starring Rhona Mitra (Beowulf, Sweet Home Alabama), who I just kind of assumed was Kate Beckinsdale, which was pretty stupid considering they don’t look like each other side by side. They’re both really hot, though. Except Rhona can’t pull off short hair at all. Also starring Michael Sheen as Lucian, Bill Nighy (aka Davy Jones from Pirates Of The Carribean, also in Hot Fuzz, The Constant Gardener, Shaun Of The Dead) as the incredibly evil Viktor.

QUIRKS: Vampires. Werewolves. Lycans. Castles. Slaves. Fights. Yup, it’s definitely another Underworld movie! With NO modern world at all, since it takes place in the past.

VISUALS: Excellent fights, though it is apparent that most of what is going on is CGI. Still, without CGI, what would we have? Puppets?

MORALS: Monarchs often care about loyalty more than love or true morality. Central authorities SUCK.

BAD STUFF: It’s a bit generic. And the c’oup de grace at the end? Should have been more. But obviously, given the “next” two movies… It had to be this way.

CONCLUSION: Rated this 4/5 stars on Netflix — though truly, it’s more like 3.5 stars. Rated 7/10 on IMDB. The crisp CGI visuals give us savage werewolf fights the likes of which aren’t usually seen on most movies, making it a cut above generic. But the movie isn’t really that deep. It’s basically a forbidden love/Romeo & Juliette movie with werewolves and vampires.

RECOMMENDATION: If you watched the first two Underworld movies, this is worth seeing. If you haven’t seen the first two — you should probably actually watch this first. This is more of a typical fantasy movie, because it does not take place in the modern world.

MOVIE QUOTE: Viktor: “I gave you life.”
Lucian: “You gave me chains.”
Viktor: “I thought you would have learnt by now; you cannot have one without the other.”

WILHELM SCREAM: There was one, but I didn’t notice it.

COINCIDENCES: Not really a real coincidence, because we knew it was a werewolf movie going in, buuut: Conan The Barbarian and this movie both had Werewolves. [NOT adding this to my master coincidence file.]


 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PEOPLE: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mako (Aku from Samurai Jack) reprise their roles. Olivia d’Abo (the older sister in The Wonder Years, TAK in Invader Zim, Wayne’s World) as the sexy virgin princess with heaving breasts. Her first film. Wilt Chamberlain as the insanely tall Bombaata. Grace Jones as Zula, the scary black chick warrior. She *totally* should have played Storm in an X-Men movie. Halle Berry was sooooo wrong for that role. Tracey Walter (Erin Brockovich, Man On The Moon, City Slickers, Batman 1989, Repo Man) as the comedic relief — a thief who was kind of annoying. Sarah Douglas as the bitchy queen. She played Una in one episode of Gargoyles, was in V, Space:1999, and was Ursa in Superman 1 & 2. Also, there was an uncredited part played by Andre The Giant!

No James Earl Jones, or Sandahl Bergman… [highlight for spoilers] But that makes sense, since they died in Conan The Barbarian. But hey, here’s some Sandahl Bergman for you anyway:


^^^ the confusing effects at the beginning are basically what a lot of Tim And Eric Awesome Show,Great Job! makes fun of!!

QUIRKS: Epic fantasy quest! Horny virgin! Magic, fire, and ice! Resurrection of evil gods!

VISUALS: Really good fantasy world visuals for a movie made in 1985.

SOUNDTRACK: Well… I recognized a song as being from the first movie. There wasn’t exactly a noticeable soundtrack other than that.

CONCLUSION: I actually pretty much liked very close to as much as I liked the first one. Sure, we don’t get the childhood origin story, but that’s really true for any sequel, and it’s a bit unfair to count that against the movie. The bad guys aren’t as cool as James Earl Jones, or those demons in the night, but it was still a “fantasy quest that I really liked”. Some of the set/settings reminded me of The Dark Crystal for some reason.

RATINGS: Netflix: Clint: 4/5 stars, Carolyn: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.

RECOMMENDATION: If you saw Conan The Barbarian, you should definitely check this out.

MOVIE QUOTE: Jehnna: I suppose nothing hurts you.
Conan: Only pain.

COINCIDENCES: (Conan The Destroyer, Super Capers) In the same night as watching Conan with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Super Capers had a robot that sounded like Arnold Schwarzenegger, including saying “I’ll be back”.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Jordan really liked it. Parthena liked it. Ian didn’t like it, and I’d like to hear why, even though I would disagree :) (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] We watched the Special Edition with Parthena, who owns the original DVD. I thought I’d seen this before, but no. Don’t think I had. Carolyn thinks she has, though.

LIMERICK REVIEW: There once was a boy named Conan,
who grew up to be quite a ronin.
With revenge on his mind,
his destiny he would find.
Meanwhile always seeming to get the woman.

alternate last line:
With enough violence to make me go “Whoa, man.”

I am on my way to watch
Arnold swing a sword.

PEOPLE: Arnold Schwarzenegger. James Earl Jones (once again claiming to basically be someone’s father, more or less) … And damn is he an evil douche in this movie! …And Mako! We immediately recognized Mako’s narrating voice as Aku from Samurai Jack. And later, he came on-screen — our first time seeing his face. Sandahl Bergman as the blonde-haired brown-eyed Valeria (too bad her career went to the crapper… I’ll have to keep an eye for her in Airplane 2). She lost a fingertip to a sword while filming. Gerry Lopez, a famous surfer, as Subotai.

QUIRKS: A fantasy world with demons, giant snakes, swords and sorcery. Gladiator fights, extreme violence, camel-punching, organized cults, and a quest to be fulfilled. A quest for revenge. Arnold sure gets laid a lot in this movie. Though, one of these is best described as lycanthrocoitus interruptus.

VISUALS: Damn good, visually, for something made in 1981/1982. This movie was years ahead of its time, apparently. Director John Milius, whose directing career is over, but also brought us Red Dawn (the first widely distributed PG-13 movie ever) — should really have been allowed to have made more notable movies.

MORALS: Revenge is yummy! If someone kills your parents and your village — and gets away with it… There’s nothing wrong with spending a few decades to make sure they pay! Justice is a bitch!

FUN TRIVIA: The fake blood used in the film came in the form of a concentrate, which had to be mixed with water prior to use. Due to the cold weather, it was mixed with vodka (as an anti-freeze) instead. In the scenes in which the actors were supposed to spit the blood, they would swallow it instead, then go back to the special effects man for more.

CONCLUSION: 4/5 stars on Netflix. 8/10 on IMDB. A solid fantasy/adventure/action/revenge flick. It loses a few points for being a bit incoherent and all over the place, but that might have just been the alcohol in my system.

RECOMMENDATION: Fantasy lovers, violence lovers, action lovers… Even Ahhhnold lovers should really see this. It’s good entertainment! I’m totally going to watch Conan The Destroyer now!

I also did not realize there was a TV series or a new movie to come out in 2010.

MOVIE QUOTE: Valeria: Do you want to live forever?

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Parthena & Jordan loved it. Christian D really liked it. Ian liked it. Glen didn’t like it (unsurprised). Benj was not interested in it (surprised). Dave O rented it but needs to rate it :) (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Seen in [fake] IMAX 3-D, on the day it was announced to be the highest grossing movie of all time. (Jan. 30, 2010)

PLOT SUMMARY: 3-D blueness. Actually, that’s the visual summary. But this is a visually-driven movie. That’s kind of the point of seeing it.

LIMERICK REVIEW: There once was a planet named Pandora–
The polar opposite of Sodom and Gomorrrah.
Our corporations had no qualms
about covering it with carpet bombs…
What a horrible waste of glowing flora!

HAIKU REVIEW: Bad corporation!
Stop stealing those resources!
Leave those Smurfs alone!

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Cripple assists in interplanetary genocide, then betrays his own race.

PEOPLE: Everybody knows this is James Cameron, of Terminator / Alien / Titanic / Dark Angel fame.
Starring Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation), Zoe Saldana (Uhura from the new Star Trek reboot), Sigourney Weaver (Alien, Ghostbusters, Be Kind Rewind, The Village, Galaxy Quest), Stephen Lang as the douchebag military guy, Joel Moore (Grandma’s Boy, Dodgeball), Giovanni Ribisi (Lost In Translation, Lost Highway, The Postman, and Phoebe’s brother Frank in Friends).

QUIRKS: Sci-fi with alien encounters — the best kind.

VISUALS: 3-D blueness. A whole planet that looks like a head shop, or the back of a Spencer’s Gifts (HT Arlo). Hands down, this was about the best visual experience I’ve ever seen in a movie. A big part of that was seeing it in 3-D, and seeing it in [fake] IMAX, instead of the smaller screens that are usually there.

MORALS: Nature, environment, indiginous people.

POLITICS: Don’t fuck with indiginous people. It’s never good. (And yes, this counts Palestine.)

Oh, and did you really have to cut the sex scene? Fucking Americans.

BAD STUFF: It’s not the most original story in pure plot terms. But let’s face it: The uniqueness of the plot is not the selling point (or enjoyment point) for something. Jack London sold plots for $5, because they don’t matter. The same story can be told 1,000 different ways. Having a complex plot is only one of many ways a story can succeed in being enjoyable. Didn’t he tell us in advance that this was inspired by every sci-fi book he read in his youth, so it’s supposed to appeal to a wide audience?

It’s also very long. 2 hours and 40 minutes. I think this is good, but if you hate the movie, that will draw it out. Of course, people at the theatre clapped when it was over. But a lot of people are haters. [They should probably learn to find a new hobby they more consistently enjoy!]

CONCLUSION: Blown away. Sure it might not be an original story… But it’s the voyage, not the destination. And the voyage here totally kicked 3-D IMAX ass.

Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.

Lauren W: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.
Ian H: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10. “One of the better fantasy movies I’ve ever seen plot-wise… Kept me engaged from start to finish… And I’m sure it goes without saying that the visuals were worth the hype. There were definitely points during the movie when I felt as if I were *in* Pandora.”

Chris Z: Graphics: 8-9. Preaching: 7. Tactics: 3.
Eve C: “Less generous” than Chris Z.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 8.6/10 (currently in the Top 250 as #42), Netflix: 4.4/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 4.5/5 stars).

RECOMMENDATION: See it in 3-D. Only see it in 3-D. See it before it’s too late. Blu-ray just won’t be the same.

SIMILAR MOVIES: It’s more Pocohantas than Dances With Wolves.

MOVIE QUOTE: Jake Sully: “Everything is backwards now, like out there is the true world, and in here is the dream.” Yes. That aspect was a good one too. Going into your Avatar was almost like a Strange Days experience.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Jordan loved it. Ian & Glen really liked it.

The RedLetterMedia review of Avatar is both scathing and hilarious! I’m just glad I’m not as jaded as the reviewer. To be someone who wants to watch movies, yet can’t enjoy them, seems like a curse straight out of The Twilight Zone S1E1. Anyway, here they are:

Did you know there are over 1,000 *pages* of topics in the IMDB discussion for this movie? And 1975 reviews? That’s insane! The best IMDB topic? “Did they get a guy with AIDS to play Jake’s legs?” Ohhh, that’s mean. Haha. (more…)

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