December 2011


 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Not available on Netflix! Good luck finding this anywhere else other than bittorrent, and playing it anywhere else than your computer.]

QUIRKS: Based on the Jack London novel The Sea-Wolf, which was my favorite book ever for a short period of time near the end of middle school, before I discovered The City And The Stars by Arthur C. Clarke.

This is the 13th film adaptation of the novel, after versions in 1913, 1920, 1926, 1930, 1941, 1958, 1972, 1975, 1991, 1993, 1997, and 2008.

This was originally a mini-series, so it’s 2 1.5-hour “movies”, or one 3-hour “movie”, depending on how you want to look at it. And decent books *NEED* three hours to cover their events. Lord Of The Rings helped establish that, and the rushed feel of the some of the Harry Potter movies helped drive that point home further.

PLOT SUMMARY: Go read the The Sea-Wolf wikipedia page; it sums the plot up better than I ever could.

LIMERICK REVIEW: There once was a captain named Wolf Larsen.
Committed atrocities far worse than arson.
He murdered his crew–
Was trusted by few.
Survival of the fittest, like Darwin.

[Hey, I tried at least…]

HAIKU REVIEW: Don’t fall in the sea,
or some dick named Wolf Larsen
might force you to sail.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): Wolf Larsen is a dick.

(Carolyn: “I wanted to like him! … I really wanted to like him! … But he was a dick!”)

PEOPLE: Starring Stephen Campbell Moore as Humphrey Van Weyden. A beardy German TV actor Sebastian Koch as Wolf Larsen…People in the IMDB forum were like “What the hell?”, but I actually thought he was well cast and did a good job. And then we have well-known Neve Campbell (The Craft, Wild Things, 54, Scream 2-3, Party Of Five) as Maude Brewster — I still think she looks like Selma Blair, and she’s probably the most well-known actor in the movie.

Also with Tim Roth (Mr. Orange in Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Four Rooms, The Incredible Hulk, Funny Games U.S.) as Death Larsen, and Andrew Jackson as Johnson. (He was in a couple Smallvilles, and 174 episodes of All My Children.)

VISUALS: Some brutal violence at points! Movies at sea aren’t very visual heavy anyway. You mostly see a boat, some dirty people, and Neve Campbell.

MORALS: The whole movie is about morality. Justice versus “might makes right”. The same topics that are explored in the book.

BAD STUFF: Some would say the length. We wouldn’t.

There are some minor deviations from the book. I would have liked to see Wolf [highlight for spoilers] set fire to his mattress.

CONCLUSION: We really liked this! Carolyn had never read the book, and I was quite happy to finally see a movie adaptation of it that didn’t scare me away by being some old dated production. Though I hear good things about the Charles Bronson + Christopher Reeves version. It may be the case that a story taking place in the 1800’s can’t really be dated by production value because the story itself is dated. I don’t know. I just don’t like old stuff.

RATINGS:
Clint: IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: IMDB: 7.5 rounded up to 8/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 5.3/10.

We would both rate this 4/5 stars on Netflix… If Netflix had a page for it.

RECOMMENDATION: To see how it compared to other Sea Wolf adaptations, you may want to visit the IMDB forum for this movie.

SIMILAR MOVIES: The other 12 Sea Wolf movies :) (more…)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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

PLOT SUMMARY: More of the same.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): Bon Jovi fails at saving career.

PEOPLE: John Carpenter is no longer involved, and I think that might actually be an improvement — though Carolyn disagrees. This is now directed by Tommy Lee Wallace, who directed 2 episodes of Max Headroom:20 Minutes Into The Future and Halloween 3.

Bon Jovi (Cry_Wolf, National Lampoon’s Pucked) slaying vampires!!!! Cristian de la Fuente as another slayer. Natasha Gregson Wagner (High Fidelity, Urban Legend, Lost Highway, Buffy The Vampire Slayer the movie) as a daywalker almost-vampire. It’s rare that I say there’s bad acting: But she managed to achieve it. Diego Luna (Milk) as Sancho. Now he’s a director?! Darius McCrary (Family Matters, the voice of Jazz in the new Transformers movie, Saw 6, 15 Minutes) as the token black guy [highlight for spoilers] who gets killed first. And the strangely lovely Arly Jover as the head female vampire. She reminds me of Nina from 24, but actually played Mercury in Blade 1.

QUIRKS: Another generic vampire movie.

VISUALS: Barely any special effects, other than some violent gore that didn’t look as realistic as it could have.

MORALS: Sometimes you have to become what you want to destroy in order to destroy it.

BAD STUFF: Carolyn said the story wasn’t as good. To me, it was more of the same.

The “spectacular” ending was better than the ending of the last one.

The plot holes were more minor. (That didn’t look like a “couple months” of drugs — 180-pill pill bottles are HUGE.) They didn’t make the mistake of talking about how killing the head vampire would return people to normal this time, so it wasn’t a glaring hole when people didn’t return to normal after they did it.

CONCLUSION: Carolyn didn’t like it as much as Vampires 1, but I think I liked it better. Though it still gets the EXACT same rating from me. Both are ultra-generic pass movies. But this one had a fewer flaws to me. And as much as I hate to say it, Bon Jovi > James Woods.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 2.6/5 stars. IMDB: 5/10. “I can’t believe you liked it better than the 1st one, Clint!”
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.4/10 (higher than 5.8 for the previous one), Netflix: 3.0/5 stars (lower than 3.3 for the previous one). Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 2.5/5 stars, which is actually kind of accurate.

RECOMMENDATION: Bon Jovi fans should check this out. If you could stand Vampires 1, you might be able to stand this. Some people really like this franchise, but I think it’s kind of generic.

SIMILAR MOVIES: I don’t think we shall watch the 3rd movie, Vampires: The Turning. As tempting as it is to complete the “franchise”, that one only gets 2.9/10 on IMDB. Though the fact that it is in Thailand with Asian vampires MIGHT make it interesting, IMDB commentators seem to disagree.

MOVIE QUOTE: Ray Collins: You ain’t lived till you got head from a vampire. (more…)

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

PLOT SUMMARY: Kill original vampire before he learns how to make all vampires walk in daylight. Wasn’t this the plot of Blade? Someone should make a chart of vampire movies. Columns for plot elements, rows for movies. I bet a lot would have the “stop them from daywalking” column X’ed out.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Catholocism creates deadly complications.

PEOPLE: Directed by John Carpenter (Escape From New York, In The Mouth Of Madness, Prince Of Darkness, Big Trouble In Little China, Starman).

Starring James Woods (Videodrome, Cat’s Eye, and a voice in Final Fantasy:The Spirits Within–and don’t forget the Family Guy episode all about him), Daniel Baldwin (Clark Remington from the horribly underrated National Lampoon’s Beach Party At The Threshold Of Hell), Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks), and Thomas Ian Griffith as the head/original vampire.

Sheryl Lee sure likes to play party girls who get fucked up, abducted, tied up, and taken over by supernatural forces.

QUIRKS: Based on a book. Which almost means nothing in the context of a generic vampire-killing flick. Especially since the author said the film ended up containing a lot of his dialog, but none of his plot. (And the dialog was some of the worst part, so I wonder if the book totally sucked!)

VISUALS: Generic action.

SOUNDTRACK: Unnoticeable.

MORALS: Kill vampires. Blame their creation on Catholicism. Funny!

BAD STUFF: The plot wasn’t the greatest. And some of the dialog was pretty bad.

I kept saying “just burn the building down or knock the roof off! Then the sun will get them! Dumbasses!” [highlight for spoilers] But they saved that obvious move for the ending fight.

And then there was the whole, [highlight for spoilers] “Wah wah, once we kill the master you’ll be fine, Sheryl Lee.” And then they did and they weren’t. No explanation. There were still vampires even though they killed the head/master/original vampire. WTF.

CONCLUSION: Ultra-generic vampire-killing movie with very few special effects, characters, interesting locations, or unique aspects.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 5.8/10, Netflix: 3.3/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 2.9/5 stars).

RECOMMENDATION: Stay away from this, unless you really want to see every vampire movie ever made. SOME people really like this, though. And we’re still gonna watch the sequel.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Every other generic vampire-killing movie in existence. But Blade definitely come to mind.

MOVIE QUOTE:

Jack Crow: Can I ask ya somethin’, Padre? When I was kickin’ your ass back there… you get a little wood?

Jack Crow: You ever seen a vampire?
Father Adam Guiteau: No I haven’t.
Jack Crow: No… Well first of all, they’re not romantic. Its not like they’re a bunch of fuckin’ fags hoppin’ around in rented formal wear and seducing everybody in sight with cheesy Euro-trash accents, all right? [Do they sparkle? -Clint] Forget whatever you’ve seen in the movies: they don’t turn into bats, crosses don’t work. Garlic? You wanna try garlic? You could stand there with garlic around your neck and one of these buggers will bend you fucking over and take a walk up your strada-chocolata WHILE he’s suckin’ the blood outta your neck, all right? And they don’t sleep in coffins lined in taffata. You wanna kill one, you drive a wooden stake right through his fuckin’ heart. Sunlight turns ’em into crispy critters. (more…)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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

PEOPLE: Directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man 1-2, Made). Starring Will Ferrell as the elf (it was going to be Jim Carrey… And that actually might not have been as funny.) Also with James Caan (Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs) as Elf’s dad, Bob Newhart, Ed Asner, Mary Steenburgen (Back To The Future 3), Zooey Deschanel, Amy Sedaris, and even Peter Dinklage (Death At A Funeral, Nip/Tuck).

PLOT SUMMARY: Elf that’s really a human returns to the real world.

VISUALS: Seeing Bob Newhart as an elf? Priceless.

SOUNDTRACK: Christmas songs.

The 12-second belch was courtesy of Maurice LaMarche! Awesome.

MORALS: Something about open-mindedness with your children? Oh, and also, everyone should believe in Santa, of course.

GOOD STUFF: Will Ferrell acting like his typical typecast man-boy character. It works even better when there’s a good reason for him being such an idiot.

BAD STUFF: Family friendly.

CONCLUSION: Cute. Glad I watched it. Good Christmastime movie. Ferrell is almost always funny.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10. “Nothing spectacular, but it was a cute Christmas story.”

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.8/10, Netflix: 3.6/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.3/5 stars–and they were right to estimate us lower than average in this case).

RECOMMENDATION: Watch, but only during Christmastime.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Fred Claus.

MOVIE QUOTE: “It’s just like Santa’s workshop! Except it smells like mushrooms… and everyone looks like they wanna hurt me…” (more…)

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

PLOT SUMMARY: Couple who avoids Christmas for 3 years now must go to 4 different family Christmases in 1 day.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Free spirits eventually succumb to the control of their biological clocks. DNA rules you!

PEOPLE: Starring Vince Vaughn (who seems a lil’ fatter) and Reese Witherspoon (looking even better than usual).

With other family members played by Kristin Chenoweth (she is Miracle Grohe from Sit Down, Shut Up! And looks a lot like her animated character! Boobs, too.), Jon Voight (Jonas Hodges from 24 in 2009), Robert Duvall (Karl’s Father in Sling Blade), Sissy Spacek (Blast From The Past), Jon Favreau (Swingers, Made, I Love You Man, Iron Man, Daredevil), Mary Steenburgen (Back To The Future 3, Step Brothers), Dwight Yoakam (Crank 1 – 2, Sling Blade), Tim McGraw (fortunately very minor), Katy Mixon (The Informers) as the pregnant spray-cheese girl, and Colleen Camp (Last Action Hero, Wayne’s World) as a cougar aunt. I mention her, because Carolyn was like, “That lady.”

Although she was only in it for a minute, I totally recognized Collette Wolf from Observe And Report (and The Foot Fist Way), even though she was blonde here.

QUIRKS: Families. Holidays. Family stress. Relationship stress. Wait a second — is this a comedy?!?!

MORALS: Free will gives way to DNA programming. You have no choice. May as well have a crib full of shit-producing babies and get it over with. (Ugh.)

BAD STUFF: I totally identified the exact, precise moment (within 1 second) that the humor stopped. It was predictable like that. Basically, the first 2 Christmases were funny, the 3rd one began the tension, and by the 4th one there was no comedy left.

CONCLUSION: Not as much of a comedy as we had wanted, but it was good to watch during the stressful holiday season, to see the funny parts.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10. It would have been 4/5 stars if the comedy had been consistent, but it fell into the romantic comedy pitfall.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: /10, Netflix: 3.6/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.3/5 stars–and they are right because we ultimately rated this 3/5 despite more people rating it 4/5).

RECOMMENDATION: Keep in mind that this is ultimately a romantic comedy. Proceed with caution. There are definitely funny moments, and if you’ve had to run around and visit multiple Christmases like the 3 we used to have to go to (before people started dying and the number dropped to 2) … Then the stressful situations will at least make you happy via schadenfreude.

MOVIE QUOTE: Howard: Boys, I don’t want to speak ill of your mother on Christmas, but she’s nothing but a common street whore.

Darryl: Look, Brad. I’m not trying to be your father, you already got one of those. I’m just hoping for a chance to be your friend.
Brad: You were my friend, Darryl. You were my best friend. We grew up together, we rode bikes together, we used to smell each others hands. But now you’re sleeping with my mom and it’s a little bit weird for me. Can you appreciate that?

COINCIDENCES: (real life, Four Christmases) While watching a Christmas movie during Christmas season, fog caused the events to happen in the movie, and it was actually super-foggy outside when this happened in the movie.
(more…)

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