TwoBeans


 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] A classic movie — something Carolyn & I very rarely watch. I’ve been disinterested in this film my entire life, but finally decided to acquiesce to everyone saying how great it is once the bluray came out. These bluray release are proving to be a great time to watch movies you weren’t previously sure about. The visual boost of HD makes all movies more enjoyable. Nice to actually see the film instead of being held back by the limits of DVD, VHS, or NTSC broadcast signal.

PEOPLE: Directed by directorial master Stanley Kubrick (A Clockwork Orange, 2001, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut), who co-wrote it with Terry Southern (Barbarella, Easy Rider, Saturday Night Live 1981-82).

Starring Peter Sellers (Inspector Clouseau from The Pink Panther 1970s movies) in THREE [originally 4] roles: Group Captain Lionel Mandrake (who was pretty damn funny), The President (who was also really funny; I opt Kevin Spacey to play this role in any remake), and Dr. Strangelove. George C. Scott as the paranoid war room general (he played military roles right up to his death in 1999). Sterling Hayden (19 years dead) as crazy General Jack Ripper (he was Captain Martin Treleaven in Zero Hour, the movie the comedy Airplane! was based on). Colonel Bat Guano was played by Keenan Wynn, who was Captain Cully in The Last Unicorn movie. Major King Kong (from the famous bomb-riding scene near the end) was played by Slim Pickins (21 years dead), who was in Blazing Saddles.

We also have a very young, not-so-low-voiced-back-then James Earl Jones (Darth Vader, “This…Is CNN“, Conan The Barbarian) in his first movie ever! And a dude named Glenn Beck, but not the fake-tears idiot pundit Glenn Back that most people in 2010 think of. This Glenn Back was an astronaut in 2001, and was Abraham Lincoln in National Treasure 2. The hot “secretary” was Tracy Reed. They just don’t build secretaries like they used to, eh? (She was in Playboy!)

PLOT SUMMARY: A rogue general decides to nuke Russia. The President finds out. Antics ensue as America tries to stop America from destroying America by provoking Russia.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Military-industrial complex loses loyalty to world leaders, destroys world.

QUIRKS: Based on a book. Man, you know how you know Hollywood is totally out of ideas? When they can’t come up with any original stories themselves. Everything is based on a book, or a comic book, or another movie these days. Those uncreative idiots. Wait, what? This movie was made 45 years ago? I can’t use the “based on a book” shtick everyone uses today on old movies? That’s okay, I was just making fun of everyone anyway. I have zero problem with movies being based on books. I think the boring medium of text only is a great proving ground for stories and imagination; a great garden to pluck the plots of movies from.

Heavily referenced in future works.

VISUALS: Unfortunately black & white (Kubrick’s last)… But now on Bluray!

SOUNDTRACK: Mostly “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”. Which is actually an Irish anti-war song that warmongering Americans repurposed for post-war celebrating. The closing song of the movie, “We’ll Meet Again”, is referenced a lot in other works that end in that song to tribute this movie.

MORALS: Two opposing groups will often fight each other even when it makes absolutely zero sense and is in nobody’s best interest. That’s why the best thing to do in any violent conflict is not to rationalize the violence, but to try to stop it.

POLITICS: Don’t trust the military-industrial complex! Something movies have been trying to tell us for decades! And something that only half of people seem to understand. Unfortunately, our country never stopped fighting wars, not even 45 years after this movie.

It’s pretty easy to satirize warmongers, as they have been killing human beings since the dawn of history.

This film also affected politics in real life. Scenes were shown to Congress during hearings talking about whether crucial information could reach the right people in a nuclear emergency. Actual changes in policy were created to ensure that scenarios like those in this movie could never happen.

GOOD STUFF: Much more of a comedy than I expected! Some of the situations, when described via plot summary, sound kind of dry. But as scenes in the movie, they are often absurdly hilarious.

Watching the movie, experience wise, seems to be an exercise in ridiculousness. Works for me!

NEUTRAL STUFF: Hmm, maybe they should have kept the original ending? I don’t know. It sounds like one of the most insane movie endings ever. But it’s true that it doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the movie.

BAD STUFF: Normally I’d put “being old” as a big, bad, automatic “BAD STUFF” criteria. But in this case, a lot of the plot elements — military, nuclear bombs, mutually assured destruction — are nearly as applicable in 2010 as they were in 1964. Even the brands used — Coca-Cola, DoubleMint gum — are obviously recognizable today. (Even if DoubleMint did ruin their gum by changing their 90-year traditional gum into a shitty new flavor crystal-based, thinner, rot-able, inferior variant.)

CONCLUSION: Okay… This was way more funny and ridiculous than I thought. I probably should have watched this long ago, but I’m glad I waited until I could see it in HD, for what it’s worth. I was surprised by how relevant this movie is, even today. It only seemed a bit dated, and it didn’t matter for the comedic and satire purposes of this movie. It was damn funny, damn ridiculous… And actually kind of scary, when you think about the fact that about half of people on our planet are really like this. Anyway, for old-movie-haters like Carolyn and I, this was a very pleasant surprise.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 4.2/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 8.6/10 (34th highest rated movie ever, though females under 18 and over 45 don’t like it nearly as much), Netflix: 4.0/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.5/5 stars–likely estimated lower than average because we tend to dislike anything old and dated).

RECOMMENDATION: Don’t shy away from this movie just because it’s old! It’s actually aged quite well, like a fine wine.

MOVIE QUOTES:

“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!”

“Mandrake, have you ever seen a Commie drink a glass of water?”

“You don’t think I’d go into combat with loose change in my pocket, do you?”

COMMENTS FROM FRIENDS:

Anonymous:I put it on once for several friends who came over tripping…that went over really well, but also left them kinda dazed – so funny, but also what it was really saying…..he he he…..that was a good experiment, good results….”

Neil F: “I’m actually surprised that you haven’t watched this. It really is one of the best of Mr. Sellers career.”

Neal MD: “how have you never seen this before? :\”

iDRMRSR: “Shakes head sadly. How many generatians haven’t seen this classic because it’s “old” and in B&W too! I suppose one day young viewars won’t evan undarstand the Nazi referances, too!” He also offered up this article about the movie.

Scott Smith: “Never not funny. Worth watching Fail Safe to fully appreciate the humor here.”

Stacy McM: “Interestingly, I know a couple guys who flew nuke bombers during the cold war, and both are huge fans of this film”

Jsun: This is one I love throwing on any day I’ve determined the entire Air Force is completely fucking retarded.Also: A really cool friend of mine lent me his wheelchair for Halloween & I got to dress up as Dr. Strangelove. Channeled the character all damn night. THAT was fun.

Daniel H: Great great great movie! Among other interesting tidbits, George C Scott was “tricked” into many of his comedic performances in this movie and swore he would never work with Kubrick again.

Radha: One of my top 5 movies of all time. It’s one of the ones I go to when I can’t decide what I want to watch, because I’m always in the mood for it.

  • “You know what I think? I think you’re some kinda deviated pre-vert. I think you was organizing a mutiny of pre-verts, and General Ripper caught you…”
  • Best line though…”sapping us of our precious…bodily………………fluids. We’re still not quite sure what he meant by that last part.”

(more…)

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

PEOPLE: Directed by Jay Roach (Meet The Parents, Meet The Fockers, Austin Powers 1-3). Starring Paul Rudd as the straight guy, and Steve Carell as the schmuck (was originally going to be Sasha Baron Cohen).

With Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover, Tim And Eric Awesome Show,Great Job, What Happens In Vegas) as the IRS douchebag schmuck, Jemaine Clement (Flight Of The Conchords) as the pretentious artist, Stephanie Szostak as the girlfriend, Lucy Punch (Hot Fuzz, St. Trinian’s 2007) as the crazy stalker, and Kristen Schaal (Flight Of The Conchords, Get Him To The Greek, Toy Story 3, Shrek 4, Kate & Leopold, Freak Show, and 1 ep of Xavier:Renegade Angel and Aqua Teen Hunger Force) as the secretary.

Also with David Walliams (Prince Caspian, 1 ep of Spaced) as a ridiculous German investor, and Lucy Davenport (Gangs Of New York) as his wife. Bruce Greenwood (Capt. Pike in the Star Trek reboot, The President in National Treasure 2, I,Robot, Exotica, Batman in the Young Justice cartoon, 3 eps of Larry Sanders, Knots Landing, St. Elsewhere) as the Big Boss. Ron Livingston (Office Space, Adaptation, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Swingers, Sling Blade) as the snarky co-worker. Octavia Spencer (Halfway Home, American Virgin 2000, Drag Me To Hell) as another dinner guest I recognized.

So it’s a great cast.

PLOT SUMMARY: Rising worker cog must attend dinner with fancy snobby bosses. The requirement is to bring one idiot that everyone can subtly make fun of without the idiot realizing. But this is just the framing plot for the bigger issue in his life: Getting his girlfriend to finally agree to marrying him. But even that is just the framing plot for a LOT OF WACKY STUFF to end up happening.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Couple wrecks each others’ careers due to relationship indecision.

QUIRKS: A screwball comedy. Remake of The Dinner Game (1998), a French movie (rated 7.7/10 on IMDB). All kinds of crazy, painful, ridiculous situations arise.

VISUALS: The mouse art is interesting.

SOUNDTRACK: Alright.

MORALS: People involved in capitalistic profit don’t tend to have as many.

GOOD STUFF: Ridiculous situations. Cringe comedy that makes Season 1 of the American office look easy to watch in comparison. A crazy stalker chick. Douchey co-workers. Idiots from many walks of life coming together.

BAD STUFF: The middle is such a disaster [in terms of how much Paul Rudd’s life is getting messed up by Steve Carell] that it actually HURTS to watch. You may be tempted to think that means it’s not funny, but it’s simply dry cringe comedy humor. Most humor is dry anyway, so try to revel in the pain here.

CONCLUSION: Started out funny, but a bit stuffier than you’d expect. That then that went out the door, and it got so awkward that it was painful. *Dreadfully* painful, dry, cringe comedy. But then everything went to a shitstorm and it became hilarious and ridiculous, turning into a genuine screwball laugh out loud comedy. And then it had a really great feelgood ending. Definitely a crazy and hilarious movie, with several noticeable pacing changes that keep you on your toes. Good stuff.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7.8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7.8/10.
TwoBeans: Aborted.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.2/10, Netflix: 3.6/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 4.3/5 stars–Netflix was right that we’d like this more than average, though both 3.6 and 4.3 round to 4).

RECOMMENDATION: Definitely worth seeing! It’s like a sampler platter of different kinds of comedy.

SIMILAR MOVIES: The movie it’s based on :)

MOVIE QUOTES:

“It’s my wife’s favorite finger!”

“I want you to say, ‘You can eat my pudding.'”

Kieran: “Have you ever lived among a herd of goats, for months at a time, as one of them?”
Barry: “No.”
Kieran: “That surprises me.” (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] The sequel to National Lampoon’s Lost Reality 1. We watched this the next evening.

PLOT SUMMARY: 12 “lost” reality TV pilots that nobody wanted… now presented here for our entertainment.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): A grim look at what watching television might be like in a dystopian future where nobody cares.

GOOD STUFF: Completely tasteless, exploitative, gross, outrageous, over-the-top entertainment.

MORALS: Nobody involved in any of these productions has any.

BAD STUFF: A lot of the stuff wasn’t that funny, or was in very poor taste. It’s why these shows weren’t picked up.

PER-SEGMENT RATINGS:

Money. More segments from the “anything for money” show that was screened in the first movie. For a few hundred, people let a homeless guy chew up food and drop it in their mouth, carry a 160lb fat midget across the street and back, put a dead squirrel on their head and go talk to a random woman, pump gas naked (that girl was cheap! only $200!), let a homeless guy urinate on them, etc, etc. Hilarious how peoples’ dignity disappears at a specific dollar amount. One guy, for $1000, ate a hot dog from in between a fat midget’s ass cheeks, then flossed with one of the midget’s public hairs. Wow. Humans can be turned into entertainment VERY easily, if you have enough money.

Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Clint: 4/5 stars, 8/10.

The Amazing Racist. This time he makes fun of Asians and Latinos. Including dressing Kabuki and asking for dog at restaurants, picking up day workers, driving over speed bumps, swerving, then dropping them off at the local INS office to watch them scatter. Really really mean shit that most people would never do. Frickin’ hilarious if you believe that NOTHING IS SACRED.

Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Clint: 4/5 stars, 7/10.

Project Redlight. Film students are told they will get to direct a film, which makes them very happy. But, unbeknown to them, they are paired with adult movie stars, and are making a porno. They get disappointed. Some potential here, but it was wasted.

Carolyn: 2/5 stars, 5/10.
Clint: 2/5 stars, 4/10.

Beer Goggles. Ugly girls are rounded up, and a guy is given drink after drink until he is willing to hook up with one. It would have been better if they’d picked uglier girls and actually shown some of the interactions “Blind Date-style”. But again, the potential here was wasted.

Clint: 2/5 stars, 5/10.
Carolyn: 2/5 stars, 5/10.

Scare Me. Guys literally go up to people and scare them in situations. Going up to a guy at a bar and making him spill the entire contents of his drink is pretty hilarious. Scaring the person bowling next to you is quite awesome too. I am continuously disappointed in human beings’ propensity for violence, however, as a lot of people seem to think it’s perfectly fine to assault someone for daring to scare you. It’s not. This show is freakin’ hilarious, but there’s really not much to it, so it was never picked up.

Clint: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.

Lifestyles Of The Poor And Homeless. Inspired by Bumfights, they found a way to be even meaner to the homeless. This time, instead of physically attacking them and possibly facing charges, they mentally attack them. Get them to fish for a wishbone inside a port-o-potty full of human feces. Tell them their reward is a night in a mansion with a hot shower. When they succeed, pull up the limo — only to drive them back to their original corner and tell them that their actual reward is only ONE DOLLAR. This actually seems meaner than Bumfights; the people in Bumfights knew what they were getting into. The people here did not. This is mean as FUCK. And that makes it funny, even if it’s wrong.

Clint: 4/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.

Swing House. Inspired by Big Brother and Temptation Island, they put 4 swinger couples into 1 house. Production was scrapped when the producer’s wife slept with one of them. This looks like a fuckfest with typical lame human drama. The sex doesn’t make it more interesting as a show. (It makes it more interesting as a porno, but it’s not a porno — it’s a reality TV show — so that doesn’t help.)

Clint: 2.4/5 stars, 5.4/10.
Carolyn: 2/5 stars, 6/10.

[the boner guy]. A guy walks around with a boner. Everywhere. Goes to Yoga classes, gets his hair cut, goes to the tailor. They said they found this tape in a trash can. This strikes me as the kind of thing Beavis & Butt-head would laugh at, but people who watch Beavis & Butt-head wouldn’t. The only funny parts were when the other chicks checked him out. At least his girlfriend was hot. (It was kind of weird that she was bought along with him. Perhaps she was a buffer in case people got mad or tried to call the police. Who’s going to arrest a man for having an erection around his hot girlfriend?)

Clint: 2/5 stars, 4/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.

Dumpster Dinner. Two chefs are given 3 minutes to dig whatever edible material they can find out of a dumpster. They are then given an hour to cook this food into various entrees which are served to unsuspecting customers. If the customer eats it, they get a point. If the customer sends it back, they don’t. HOW IS THIS LEGAL?? Soooo disgusting! The food does look good by the time they are done with it, but the customers complain that they taste “not right”, or “funky”, or “not like any fish I’ve had before”. The major flaw was that it resulted in a tie, so nobody won. What a disappointment. This had potential as a real game show.

Clint: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.

Payback. Parents turning the tables by torturing their kid. Whiny little girl is left alone in a super market, kneeling on the floor crying, as other passerbys ignore her. Loser college dropout kid watches as his dad pretends to have a heart attack. This was way funnier when levied against little children than college dropouts. Tormenting a 20-year-old is only 3/5 stars, tormenting a 5-year-old is 5/5 stars.

Clint: 4/5 stars, 7/10. I’d really rate the 5-year-old prank 5/5 stars, 9/10, and the 20-year-old prank 2.6/5 stars, 5/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.

Foreign Family Affair. A horny family with Pakistani exchange kid. They wear suggestive clothing, have him rub oil on the daughter while topless, the milfy mother comes in wearing just an apron, everyone gets really comfy with the exchange kid. But they must get him to complete certain tasks for the show to continue. This week, they must get him to say “motherfucker”. Corrupting someone from a culture that doesn’t appreciate sex as much? Priceless. This reminded me of Sherman Oaks in some ways.

Clint: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.

Midget Wars. Like American Gladiators, except 2 full-sized human guests fight against little people. The little people ALWAYS lose. Almost effortlessly so. Total exploitation. Not much to it, and yet… Little people are inherently entertaining. Especially the post-credits scene where the largest of the group of 4 little people — the sole woman on the team — tries to pep up her teammates to actually win. It’s never, ever, ever going to happen. So sad. So wrong. Yet funny. Like most of this.

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

CONCLUSION: I dunno… Carolyn said she liked the first one slightly better, but I think I may actually like this one better.

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: 5.1/10, Netflix: 2.7/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 4.1/5 stars–another huge difference).

RECOMMENDATION: This is some of the most interesting stuff I’d seen, but it’s not for the faint of heart, or the overly moral.

SIMILAR MOVIES: National Lampoon’s Lost Reality 1, of course!

MOVIE QUOTE: “I can’t even look at your face right now or I’ll throw up.” (more…)

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

PEOPLE: This is actually a collection of 7-8 different failed reality TV pilots. So they are all done by different people. Ron Jeremy is in one, though. So is Rip Taylor.

QUIRKS: A collection of shows. Are they staged, or are they real? It’s really hard to know. But they all appear to be different productions from different companies with different casts.

VISUALS: Varying video quality; nothing seems to be shot on actual film. There are definitely some visual horrors within this video. Not a lot, but enough to scar you.

MORALS: People will do anything for money.

GOOD STUFF: The variety of different shows keeps things interesting. If you don’t like one segment, there’s 6 others that you might like. And the funnier ones seem to be more toward the end.

BAD STUFF: 1 or 2 of these segments weren’t that great. These are all FAILED shows, so they already represent shows that were rejected by many, many cable and broadcast TV channels. This movie is definitely not for a film snob.

RATINGS FOR INDIVIDUAL SEGMENTS:

He Said She Said. Guys compete for a lovely Asian girl’s affections. Only problem is she’s a transsexual who then reveals her penis to them on camera.

Clint: 3/5 stars, 7/10. Kenny Vs. Spenny did something similar. It’s a common form of comedy.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.

The Amazing Racist. A Jewish kid pretends to be a racist,going through LA and Watts in a Ku Klux Klan robe. Nobody seems to realize he’s Jewish, who the Klan hates on an equal to or greater footing than blacks. He goes into a convienence store with a wooden cross and tries to buy some lighters. Then he goes to a dry cleaning establishment, calls the guy “Mr. Jefferson” and tries to get his robe and hood cleaned. Then, still in Klan robe, he tries to bum gas from black people fueling up their cars. In another episode he plays a Jew that sets up a souvenier stand outside a mosque. The stand makes fun of Arabs, including selling shirts that say, “I Went To Mecca And All I Got Was This Loudy Odor.”

Clint: 4/5 stars, 8/10. OMG this was some of the most awkard situations I’ve ever seen on film. Dealing with Tom Green is a walk in the park by comparison. No political correctness here; I’m really surprised he didn’t get his ass kicked.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.

Not from this movie, but a different clip of The Amazing Racist:

Don’t Get Caught Stealing. Two contestants are told to steal things. Watch a dude run out of the store wearing an Italian suit and steal a car from a car wash.

Clint: 2.6/5 stars, 5/10. It could have been a lot funnier, but it wasn’t.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 7/10.

[FORGOT THE NAME] A dude has terminal cancer and wants to document the last days of his life. He tells off his boss then takes a dump on his desk.

Clint: 2.6/5 stars, 6/10. That was the most graphic close-up of a middle-aged fat male asshole shitting that I could ever have imagined. Kind of ruined the whole thing for me, and I”m not normally squemish about things. I’d rather watch the vomelette from Jackass!
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.

The Whore. Guys go on blind dates with a prostitute — but they don’t know she’s a whore. When the sex begins, the host ambushes them, telling the male they paid her to have sex with him. The Whore then proceeds to insult their looks and sexual prowess. “You seriously think I’d want to have sex with you? You’re hung like a field mouse!” (The Whore is played by Monique Alexander, who’s only psuedo-legitimate role was a porn star in Crank 2, and a guest on The O’Reilly Factor).

Clint: 5/5 stars, 9/10. Holy shit, this was some of the meanest, funniest shit I’ve seen in a long time. Is this really real?!
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.

Psych Ward. A game show where all the contestants are crazy people in a psych ward. The games are deliberately designed to be failed. The orderly has to drag each losing contestant out of the room as they scream, struggle, and resist. Completely makes fun of crazy people. Over the top.

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

America’s Porn Star (only on the unrated version of the DVD). Basically an America’s Next Top Model type show, but for girls wanting to be in porn. Ron Jeremy and another porn starlet are 2 of the 3 judges. Girls fake orgasms, masturbate, practice receiving loads of fake cum to their face.

Clint: 3/5 stars, 6/10. With such a great subject matter, they could have come up with something a bit more creative than this.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.

Take That Drug. A great little gameshow where people take a bunch of drugs — without knowing what they all are — then draw cards to do things like “pierce your ear”, “ask your parents for money”, or “hit on the pizza guy”. They then proceed to do these things while on the drugs they did. Unfortunately, this was really short and didn’t seem to show everything they could have shown.

Clint: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 8/10.

Money / Everyone Has Their Price. People on the street are asked to do stuff for money. One guy throws up on the sidewalk and then licks it up for $1000. We got a little gay midget and people are paid to kiss him and lick his feet. During the ending credits a guy is paid to eat in a Mexican restaurant with his date and do a poopy in his pants. Yes, we get to see it, unfortunately. Virginia Tech‘s Pritchard Hall did something similar with their “Anything For Money” show [which I recorded, and was at the taping of], but this was done with a “pick random people up off the street to get them to do it” vibe. Pretty outrageous stuff.

In fact, this famous Youtube clip, which I’ve seen several times before, is lifted directly from this show:

…But the version in Lost Reality is possibly more complete. Apparently this guy is an actor who vomits on command, so this is, in a sense, “fake”.

Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Clint: 4/5 stars, 8/10.

CONCLUSION:

Wow. What did I just watch?! That was some crazy stuff!! I actually would like TV a lot more if it picked up shows like these instead of the shows it does pick up.

RATINGS (OVERALL):
Clint: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 4.6/10, Netflix: 2.3/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 4.6/5 stars–a whopping double of the average rating! Wow! I’ve never seen such a big deviation.)

RECOMMENDATION: Not for the faint hearted; definitely for those very interested in niche and underground video.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Will review the 2nd movie tomorrow. There are some other, more legitimate compilations of failed pilots that I have watched in the past. This, however, is the most crazy and explicit failed pilot compilation. (more…)

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

PEOPLE: Directed by Zack Snyder, director of Watchmen, 300, and Dawn Of The Dead 2004. One of the 2 script co-writers wrote 2 episodes of Band Of Brothers. Metalbeak’s was voided by Annakin Skywalker’s stepbrother (Joel Edgerton). Kludd was voiced by someone from True Blood.

PLOT SUMMARY: A young owl is abducted by an evil Owl army. He must escape and seek out the legendary Guardians to stop the menace of the Pure Ones.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Parents don’t seem to notice when their son sells out his siblings, becomes evil, and dies.

QUIRKS: Based on the first 3 books of a 15 book series. FANTASY OWLS!! AT WAR!!

This is the owliest movie ever. This is the owliest ANYTHING ever! OWLS OWLS OWLS OWLS!

VISUALS: Excellent cutting-edge cgi. Too bad we didn’t see this in 3-D.

SOUNDTRACK: Shitty song used during training montage. You gotta have a montage. Even Rocky had a montage. Fortunately, this movie does not have a large soundtrack.

MORALS: Some things need to be believed in, even when you can’t see them. Justice, not Jesus!

POLITICS: Some Nazi/Holocaust parallels with the Pure Ones, of course. In fact, the book goes into greater details; specific characters represent specific politicians. Ezylryb was a personification of Winston Churchill, for example.

GOOD STUFF: Epic! Adventure, enslavement, rescue, retribution, justice, and death!

Also: The fact that some parents will take kids to this thinking it’s completely family friendly, when in fact it features owl war, owl death, owl enslavement, owl “zombies”. The thought of some kid getting the shit scared out of him because his idiot parents a) coddled him into being a coward; and b) were too stupid to pay attention to what is in a movie before taking their kid to it…….. Is the most hilarious thing since hearing the parents complain about Coraline.

BAD STUFF, COURTESY OF CAROLYN: I feel like they really just glossed over the supposed [highlight for spoilers] death of the brother. Yes, Soren mentioned they never found the brother’s body, and we, the audience, get to see that Kludd survived and is now taking the mantle of MetalBeak, but the parents didn’t seem the least bit bothered by the loss of their family member. I almost got the impression of, “Thank goodness that douchebag black sheep of a son is gone.”

That was the one fault I found in the movie… I saw a lot of talk in the imdb forum thread about how including the emotions of the family would “ruin the pace of the movie”, but in my mind, it really should have been addressed better to show that the family was at least bothered by their family member’s actions and behavior. There should have been some family moment where [highlight for spoilers] Soren and the sister break the news to the parents about how the brother is now missing or dead, and how he had sold out his siblings to the bad guys… Then the parents could be all disappointed that they failed as parents at guiding their young child to do what is right.

And I will note that I have not read the books, and in fact, I didn’t know there were books until going to IMDB after watching it. I’m sure the books had a different feel. Since I read in the forum that [highlight for spoilers] the sibling is bad from the start — actually pushing his brother out of the nest….. the books sound much darker. So it’s like, it seems to me they changed it up for the movie to make it “family-appropriate”, but then just end up falling flat on their face because they tried to lighten up the mood of [highlight for spoilers] the brother’s death to make it “family-appropriate”. It seemed like they had to really gloss it over, but in my mind, it’s an epic fail.

All in all, I thought the movie was really good, except for that one point about the family relations bothering me.

After writing this out, I just feel like this “wholesome naysayer”, but really, I just feel like the movie didn’t execute dark subject matter in an efficient way. I’d much rather read the books instead of watching some watered down “family” version.

CONCLUSION: Getting the director of violent movies like 300 and Watchmen to bring some legitimacy to a “CGI owl war movie” is a good idea. This movie was actually quite an epic and dark fantasy war, and the thought of a parent bringing their coddled child to this movie only to be confronted with violence and scary characters is frickin’ hilarious. This was actually very good. Think Lord Of The Rings, but with owls, without the Macguffin of “the ring”, and shortened to fit into one movie. That might not be the most accurate description in the world, but what it boils down to is: A fantasy owl battle in a world wear owls wield weapons, wear helmets, speak, and have mastered fire. It’s fresh and we all really liked it.

2015 Update: had a movie night & re-watched this movie in 3-D with Nathan, Paul, Evan, Callan & Wolf.  Carolyn Casl & I ended up raising our ratings. The 3-D helped. Good times.

RATINGS:
Clint (2011 2-D): Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
Clint (2010 2-D): Netflix: 4.6/5 stars. IMDB: 8.6/10.

Carolyn (2011 2-D): Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7.6/10.
Carolyn (2015 3-D): Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8.4/10.

Evan (2015 3-D): Netflix: 4.5/5 stars,IMDb; 8.8/10.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 7.1/10, Netflix: 4.0/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.5/5 stars–strange that it made it lower for us).

TwoBeans (2011 2-D): Ended up surprised at how it became “epic Lord Of The Owl Rings war”; he thought it was “Disney Owl family wholesomeness” during the first 10 minutes. (But his opinions should be ignored, because he’s an irresponsible douchebag who makes awful music.)

RECOMMENDATION: Don’t let the kiddie angle of this throw you off. This is more like Lord Of The Rings than The Lion King.

SIMILAR MOVIES: The Secret Of Nimh. Though I couldn’t help think of Jonathan Livingston Seagull at points! (But bringing up JLS is this context is an insult to both The Secret Of Nimh and this movie :))

MOVIE QUOTE: Echidna: I foretold you so! [probably the funniest moment in the movie, when heard in context] (more…)

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

PEOPLE: One of 2 movies both written and directed by Paul Brickman. The other is Men Don’t Leave (1990).

Starring a very young pre-Scientology-nutcase Tom Cruise (who worked out 7 days a week, lost 10 pounds, then ate fatty food for a “baby fat” facial look), and a hotter-than-anyone-remembers Rebecca De Mornay (Wedding Crashers). I daresay she looks better as a brunette.

With Joe Pantoliano (Cypher from The Matrix, Daredevil, Teddy Gemmel from Memento, Gabe from Percy Jackson & The Olympians, Caesar from Bound, The Fugitive) as the badguy pimp. Cruise’s buddies are played by Bronson Pinchot (Balky Bartokomous from Perfect Strangers, True Romance, Beverly Hills Cop 3). And introducing Curtis Armstrong (Booger from Revenge Of The Nerds, Snot from American Dad, Viola from Moonlighting, Ratko: The Dictator’s Son, Pucked, Dodgeball).

Oh weird! One of the call girls at the party was Megan Mullally, aka the crippled chief of the hospital in Rob Corddry‘s AdultSwim series Children’s Hospital, better known as Karen on Will & Grace. This movie was pretty much her 2nd role, though it was non-speaking. Here’s Rosie O’Donnel pointing her out in the movie in an 1999 interview here; it happens at the 4 minute mark:

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Irresponsible highschooler causes whores to damage property.

QUIRKS: All women in this movies are whores. Literally.

VISUALS: Well, the girls are hot… People remark that this was shot in an artsy way, but I wasn’t particularly feeling it.

SOUNDTRACK: 1980’s goodness. In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins. Every Breath You Take by Sting.

MORALS: All women are whores. No wait, that’s not the moral. That’s just how the movie works. All women in the movie are literally whores. The moral of the story pretty much seems to be to stay away from them, because they’ll fuck you over. Unless you find that one with a heart of gold and somehow convince her to magically be able to make money some other way.

Nah, the real moral of the story seems to be… DON’T listen to Curtis Armstrong and say “what the fuck”. It doesn’t really turn out that well. The opportunity brought up by the chaos of spontaneous freedom will be squandered in dealing with the repercussions to saying “what the fuck”. Don’t leave your comfort zone. In fact, this moral would work a lot better if they had left the original, sadder ending to the movie intact.

GOOD STUFF: Having a party in your parents’ house while they are on vacation… And filling it up with classy hookers.

BAD STUFF: There were lots of parts that were simply boring. When the instrumental music flares up, and the dialog stops… Expect to have to sit around for a good minute before anything happens. Several times. And the first third of the movie? Not a lot happens. It’s almost like soft-core porn at parts. Just waitin’ for the plot to develop. And a lot of the plot seems very arbitrary.

The “classic” scene where Tom Cruise slides into the room on his socks, and struts around in his underwear playing air guitar to “Old Time Rock N’ Roll”? While it was great to see the actual moment (and not a parody reference) for once, it just reminded me that this is not one of the best moments in 1980’s film. It’s one of the worst. Memorable? Yes. Worth committing to the annuls of pop culture references? Yes. Good? Hell no.

Too bad Hollywood made them change the ending to a happy one, eh? Maybe that’s why everyone remembers this movie as being better than it really was?

CONCLUSION: Honestly, this movie is a bit disappointing. Still overall likable, but not the epic I remembered in my mind. Lots of boring parts, and a plot not nearly as festive as I remembered when looking through my nostalgia glasses. It felt more random than anything. This should have been called “Tom Cruise in All Women Are Whores And All But One Will Fuck You Over”, because there are no female characters who AREN’T prostitutes, and only one of them turns out to really be a remotely good person. Still an “80’s teen sex comedy classic”, but honestly, I think what National Lampoon shits out on an annual basis with a b-movie budget is about as good.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 2.8/5 stars. IMDB: 5.6/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.7/10, Netflix: 3.6/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.2/5 stars–once again right in knowing we liked this less than average).

RECOMMENDATION: See it to revise your opinion; it may not be as good as you remembered it being in the 1980’s.

SIMILAR MOVIES: The Girl Next Door — which I think is much better than this. Definite similarities there.

MOVIE QUOTE: Miles: Joel, you wanna know something? Every now and then say, “What the fuck.” “What the fuck” gives you freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future. (more…)

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

PEOPLE: Written and directed by relative nobodies, except John Cusack who helped write this. Starring some notable actors: John Cusack (Hot Tub Time Machine, 2012, Being John Malkovitch, One Crazy Summer, Better Off Dead, The Sure Thing, Stand By Me) as the main character, and Marisa Tomei (What Women Want, Four Rooms, an extra in The Toxic Avenger 1) and Hillary Duff as his competing love interests. Not being a fan, I had no clue that was Hillary Duff… She did a good job apparently. I actually thought she was Middle Eastern. DERP. A lot of people complained that her acting was very bad in this movie… Or similar to her acting in other movies. I guess I’m lucky I haven’t seen any, because I had no problem with this. Her role was a Middle Eastern pop star influenced by the Western culture of the infidels…Which I think can help explain away any bad acting as the character herself trying to act western when she was middle eastern. Anyway, she looks quite hot as a brunette white girl pretending to be an Arab. Surprisingly so.

With Joan Cusack (Toy Story 3, High Fidelity, My Bodyguard) as his manager, and Dan Aykroyd (Saturday Night Live, Ghost Busters, Blues Brothers, 50 First Dates, Canadian Bacon, Caddyshack), and Ben Kingsley (Prince Of Persia:Sands Of Time, The Wackness, Species, Schindler’s List, A.I.) as the President. Basically, he is Dick Cheney, and a lot of this movie is “really” about Halliburton.

And Montell Williams as the GuideStar computer.

QUIRKS: Political satire comedy action romance. In that order. More straight-comedy here than in most political satires; less romance here than in most comedies with a romance plot.

PLOT SUMMARY: A political satire set in “Turaqistan”. Some people call this “almost a sequel to Grosse Point Blank”, but I never saw GPB.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Girl tries to fuck her murderer dad, then opens fire at wedding party.

VISUALS: Warzone/middle eastern sets. Lots of ridiculous satire, such as tanks with corporate logos on their sides.

SOUNDTRACK: Mideastern-pop sounding stuff, much of which is really Hillary Duff. “I Want To Blow You… Up”. Friggin’ hilarious.

MORALS: Gee, maybe killing people for the CIA (or whatever) isn’t the best way to bring peace to the world.

POLITICS: This movie is FULL of anti-corporate, anti-war, pro-freedom “liberal” politics. The corporate Viceroy may as well be Big Brother from George Orwell‘s 1984! I’d imagine Tea Partiers and the like would get totally hung up on the politics, and not be able to enjoy this movie. I challenge conservatives to like this!

GOOD STUFF: Lots of good humor here, and uniquely fresh situations. Great political satire, favoring making a good joke over making poingnant satire. Thus, it is not as dry as other political satire comedies like Wag The Dog.

I did not notice that some of the Arab names translated to “fuck you” and “fuck me” in pig latin. Well-played, movie. Well-played.

BAD STUFF: Man that ending was dark. Wow. Not really bad, just… Wow.

Also, [highlight for spoilers] the twist where his long-lost-due-to-his-job missing daughter turns out to be the pop singer girl who’s there to meet her father for the first time was pretty predictable.

CONCLUSION: Although utterly ridiculous on many levels, this film was quite funny, and had some of the most hilarious anti-war anti-corporate satire that I’ve seen in awhile. It also had a twisted plot with lots of odd quirks, like the OnStar navigator that delivers psychiatric advice in the voice of Montel Williams, as well as lots of fresh situations, like seeing a brunette Hillary Duff stick a scorpion down her pants. This movie finally delivered what I was hoping to get out of Wag The Dog. (And yet, Wag The Dog is more highly rated for some reason.)

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
TwoBeans: Definitely liked it a lot.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 5.7/10, Netflix: 2.7/5 stars (why so low?!) (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.9/5 stars).

For comparison, Wag The Dog got 7.1/10 on IMDB (and 7/10 from us), and 3.3/5 on Netflix (3/5 from us).

RECOMMENDATION: I particularly recommend this movie if Wag The Dog disappointed you, and if you are an anti-war, pro-freedom politically-aware individual.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Wag The Dog was in some ways similar to this movie. Not so much the plot, but the subject matter. Honestly though, I thought Wag The Dog didn’t deliver up to its expectations, while this movie did. Plus, it was heavier on the comedy than Wag The Dog, which was more of a dry satire. Also, As mentioned earlier, some consider this a psuedo-sequel to Grosse Point Blank.

MOVIE QUOTE: “I like killing people as much as the next guy, but I signed up to kill the bad ones! Health clinics, trade unionists, journalists, agricultural co-ops, catholic liberation theologians, impoverished Colombian coffee farmers, these are the barbarians that are brave opponents of civilization? We turned Central America into a fuckin’ graveyard! Whoever momentarily interrupts the accumulation of our wealth, we pulverize! I’m just not feeling good about that anymore, sir!”

“Did you know that the word “person” comes from the Latin word “persona”, which means mask?”

on second thought I guess I should have realized she was really white, but I don't get to see what a lot of Arab women look like because of their stupid veils and burquas

Faith H: “I loved this movie! It kind of was played up as a sequel when it came out to GPB (definitely watch that one Clint).”

(more…)

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

PEOPLE: Written & Directed by Mathias Dinter, who apparently does a lot of German sex comedies. Starring German actors who do Germany movies.. Nobody here is going to have heard of any of them.

The female love interest — a half-rate goth, Collien Fernandes, threw me for a loop because I couldn’t ascertain her ethnicity (Her father is Portuguese of Indian (Goan) descent and her mother is Hungarian.) Never would have guessed. I sillily assumed everyone in a German movie was going to be blonde-haired and blue-eyed :) Anyway, she was the Maxim girl of the year in 2003 and 2006 for the German Maxim magazine, so it’s really easy to do a google image search of her.


PLOT SUMMARY: Some less-popular stoner kids end up becoming zombies, and using this to solve their high school social problems…

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): Hanging out with goths makes your dick fall off. [highlight for spoilers] But you can staple it back on.

HAIKU REVIEW: Zombie comedy.
Sex, pot, Satan, parties, blood.
High school got better.

QUIRKS: German high-school stoner zombie comedy. Definitely not a horror, at all. A zombie comedy featuring high school stoner kids. It’s an awesome combination of subject matter, actually.

It’s always fun when a movie has a keg party.

VISUALS: Not particularly exciting, since this is a foreign film. It was shot in 2004 but the film quality looks like 1994.

GOOD STUFF: Hilarious! All kinds of good jokes, framed together in your typical 80’s-feel party sex pot teen comedy.

BAD STUFF: Other than the film stock looking like it came from another decade, there’s little that could really be considered bad here. The movie has a non-serious “80’s movie” feel that might put off some hipsters who want things to be all serious and poignant and meaningful. But people who like movies like we like are quite satisfied to have entertainment that doesn’t take itself seriously.

A possible flaw is that, in this movie, zombies are actually stronger than real humans. In horror movies I get the sense that, while they can take more damage, they are generally weaker than humans. Of course, there are zombie types like I Am Legend which are clearly super strong and super fast, so really, who’s to say how fast or strong a zombie can be?

CONCLUSION: What an enjoyable combination! This movie exceeded all our expectations and is damn funny. No wonder an American remake is happening. A teen sex/drug/romance comedy where the teens become zombies and don’t realize it at first because they’re too stoned? How can this go wrong?

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 4.6/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10. “It was definitely better than I expected.”
TwoBeans: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 10/10.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 5.8/10, Netflix: 3.2/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.8/5 stars–they were right to know we’d like this one better than average).

RECOMMENDATION: If you like stoner comedies… If you like high-school comedies… If you like zombie flicks… You just might like all three smushed together. There’s only one way to find out — watch this lesser-known film and judge for yourself! I had my apprehensiveness about watching something so osbcure, but it turned out to be quite awesome. Who knew Germany could make such a good film? This is probably only the 2nd or 3rd German film I’ve watched in my life.

Also, make sure to watch the alternate ending on the DVD extras! It’s like 15 alternate minutes!

SIMILAR MOVIES: The closest thing to a movie like this would possibly be some of the horror-spoof movies like Scream 1-4, or Jack Brooks:Monster Slayer. But that comparison does not do this movie justice. Wait for the remake to come out. It will be interesting to see where they take it in an American version. ESPECIALLY since it will be directed by Michael Showalter of The State! Wow! (more…)

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

PEOPLE: Directed by Gaspar Noe, who apparently writes and directs some pretty fucked up movies. He describes it as a “psychedelic melodrama”, and planned it for 15 years.

Introducing Nathaniel Brown as Oscar (who’s face you almost never see), and Paz De La Huerta (Boardwalk Empire) as his sister, Linda. She looks waaaay hotter in the movie than in her IMDB pictures.

PLOT SUMMARY: Minor spoilers here, but these spoilers were required to get me interested in the movie, so I think they should be shared with anyone else unsure about watching this: The main character dies 30 minutes in, and the rest of the movie is told through the eyes of his dead spirit, as it floats around the city.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Incestuous drug addict turns sister into whore, fucks wrong mom, and dies.

QUIRKS: Psychdelic spiritual drug-related drama.

VISUALS: Shot entirely in first-person view, though you end up seeing the back of the head of the person a lot of the time, so videogamers might still consider it 3rd person. But it’s not. This is called “subjective camera” in the industry. The director got some inspiration from Strange Days and the Smack My Bitch Up video.

But even without the first-person view aspect, the cinematography of this film is amazing. Strobes and flashes and things you’ve never seen before. Going into the ether; into the white… And coming back out again. A blacklight set the likes of nothing I’ve ever dreamed of. Crazy colors in places they shouldn’t be. Did I mention strobes and flashes? This movie is damn near seizure-inducing, even to those unafflicted by epilepsy. Visually, it is a LOT to take in. There were times when the screen literally hurt my eyes and made me tear. But I refused to look away.

MORALS: Drugs are bad, mmm’kay? But boy are they trippy!

GOOD STUFF: I’m amazed at the style-over-substance aspect of this movie. They took a typical story of a drugged out loser getting himself killed over a bad deal, and turned it into something extremely poignant, making you watch as the soul of the deceased ruminates over his final fate, and the fate of those whose lives he affected.

BAD STUFF: Some scenes were too long and drawn out. There are parts of the movie that do absolutely nothing to advance the plot, and are in there for artsiness’s sake. It comes off as a bit pretentious, and is a turn-off to many people. I thought Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 was incredibly boring — and because of that, NOT one of his best films. This movie definitely has its moments in pacing that make one remember the pain of watching 2001. The first 10 times they showed Oscar’s spirit drift from one location to another, it was amazing. Brilliant cinematography. Seeing rooms, buildings, and Tokyo from strange angles I’ve never seen before. But then Oscar started going longer distances. Did they really need to show the camera floating from one part of Tokyo for a full minute or two? Maybe once. Maybe twice. By the 10th time, it was just excessive. I often forgot that I was watching the movie, because there was absolutely nothing intellectually entertaining about watching the screen pan. I’d just as soon watch a computer program making random visuals; those would be more interesting.

However, these boring parts are not nearly as bad as those in 2001. You think about the gravity of the situation Oscar was in, and his life. They give you moments to reflect. Those moments are just agonizingly long. Longer than any awkward “moment of silence” you’ve ever had to sit through. They are excessive. But they are sandwiched within an incredibly interesting story told in an incredibly interesting way, so they are not nearly as much of a detriment to the movie as they should have been. We were still enthralled. There are just some moments where it’s convenient to pet your cat out of boredom.

But yes. This film is 2 hours and 41 minutes. You pretty much need to have an evening set aside for this. And a bottle of wine.

And this movie is not for the faint-hearted, but then I think the faint-hearted should not even watch movies. They should stick to cartoons and video games and puppies and shit. This movie is about real life, and is about as real as it gets. I’ve never seen anything so psychedelic and so real at the same time. In my life.

CONCLUSION: Although this movie contained a lot of REALLY boring parts, and is exceedingly long… It is one of the most trippy, interesting, spiritual, effective, and disturbing pieces of cinema that I’ve seen all year.

RATINGS:

Another hard movie to rate! We loved it, but not quite as so perfectly as some of the movies we love. There are flaws, so it gets a 5-star “loved” rating, but a low one:

Clint: Netflix: 4.6/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 4.6/5 stars. IMDB: 9/10.
TwoBeans: Forgot to ask, but he watched most of this with us.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 7.4/10, Netflix: 4.0/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.2/5 stars–oddly lower than average).

RECOMMENDATION: Not for the faint-hearted or the impatient; yet at the same time, it is one of the most amazing film experiences I’ve had this year.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Strange Days was an inspiration for this film, and there are some slight similarities in visual style. The Fountain definitely comes to mind as having a weird, disjointed pacing, a pacing that would arise from someone’s soul flying free and not being encumbered by the limitations of the physical world. But in the end, this movie is pretty goddamn unique, and not that similar to anything I’ve ever seen.

MOVIE QUOTE: “Do you remember that pact we made? We promised to never leave each other.”

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Read Ian B’s review here. It says a lot about this movie, though the one thing I really disagree with is his reception of the abortion scene. I didn’t find it particularly graphic.

Random: I kept thinking of the SoulFly song where they say “let your soul fly free!” a lot during this movie. This movie was essentially a soul flying around… How can you NOT think of SoulFly while watching this?!?! (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Fortunately, not available on Netflix.] [Official site]

QUIRKS: Based on a role-playing game called Midnight, which is a campaign setting (fictional world) in which Dungeons & Dragons is played; an evil-dominated world. So the genre is, obviously, fantasy. Go ahead and click the link and read it. It’s far more interesting than this movie. Here’s a 3rd-party review of the role-playing game.

Is not strictly a “real” movie. This is a failed pilot TV movie. Like Virtuality, for example. (Except Virtuality was awesome.)

PEOPLE: It is important that we remember who is responsible for this piece of garbage. That would be writer, director, and producer Christian T. Petersen. Let us remember this name, and to NEVER LET HIM WRITE OR DIRECT A MOVIE AGAIN. Let us not also forget that Greg Banage is credited with the story.

PLOT SUMMARY: A Legate [powerful bad magic guy] hunts down another Legate who has forsaken The Shadow. Blah blah blah.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): A world full of assholes who are assholes because their world is so fucking boring and nothing happens.

VISUALS: You’d think in 2008 with HD cameras they could at least get the visuals right. Indeed, they are the only redeeming part of the movie. But they are still a bit stiff and bottom-of-the-barrel compared to most movies. They made the Discworld movies (the great Christmasy Hogfather movie, and the so-so Color Of Magic movie) look like Hollywood movies. Apparently a lot of their props and sets were donated from the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.

MORALS: Don’t watch movies.

POLITICS: Evil rules. Let it. Your struggle will not be worth watching, even when turned into a movie.

GOOD STUFF: That blonde they showed for 2 minutes.

BAD STUFF: Everything. The dialog. The acting. The plot (is there even one?). **Even the editing** was retarded. They managed to fuck up even the editing. And oh, it’s long. And it’s a big build-up with a disappointing “climax” that barely counts as a climax. Then they ham it up with the power of books in the last 60 seconds. Really, everything about this so-called “movie” makes me want to murder the whole planet, starting with myself.

CONCLUSION: The worst piece of filth I’ve watched since Fraternity House.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 1.4/5 stars. IMDB: 2.6/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 1/5 stars. IMDB: 3/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 4.4/10. And rightly so. But one of the few movies we’ve watched with such a low rating that actually deserves it.

RECOMMENDATION: STAY THE FUCK AWAY. Or, alternately, if this is aired in front of your self, kill yourself as quick as possible.

SIMILAR MOVIES: I’m thinking the Dungeons & Dragon movie was 50X better than this.

MOVIE QUOTE: “I’m a stupid moron with an ugly face and a big butt and my butt smells and I like to kiss my own butt.”

COINCIDENCES: (real life, this movie) Several parts of me died simultaneously while watching this.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: My friends are too fortunate to have seen this.

OTHER REVIEWS: Just read the IMDB reviews. They pretty much sum up how much this FUCKING SUCKS. (more…)

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

PEOPLE: Executive produced by Steven Spielberg. But the director is Joe Dante, who previously collaborated with Spielberg (and Michael Finnell) with Gremlins.

Starring Dennis Quaid, Martin Short (what ever happened to him?), and Meg Ryan. The Cowboy was played by Robert Picardo, who was The Doctor in Star Trek Voyager.

PLOT SUMMARY: Dude gets shrunken down to microscopic level, injected into Safeway worker instead of laboratory rabbit. Hilarity ensues.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): Doctor endangers man’s life by injecting him without consent.

QUIRKS: Sci-fi AND comedy! Futurama made me realize it’s a combination that should be represented far more in films than it normally is. I want more sci-fi comedy!!

VISUALS: Surprisingly good special effects for 1987! Only a couple scenes look noticeably fake. And we watched this in HD.

SOUNDTRACK: 80’s! Rod Stewart, Wang Chung, Berlin.

MORALS: Tell your boyfriend [highlight for spoilers] if you’re pregnant. Yeah, the romance subplot was the only thing that really had a moral. The rest of the movie’s moral is probably more along the lines of “don’t let random people inject things into your ass if you’re not at the doctor’s office”. And of course, a “the magic was inside of you all along” moral RE: Martin Short’s character coming of age and learning how to not be a pussy.

GOOD STUFF: 1980’s sci-fi comedy hilarity, with pretty good dialog. Martin Short is a funny guy, and you just don’t see him around these days. The bad guys are hilariously cheesy, from horny Fiona Lewis, to the guy with the vibrator hand attachment. Jokes you might not have been old enough to get if you watched this back in 1987…

BAD STUFF: The very beginning–establishing Quaid’s character–is a bit cheesy and generic. The movie doesn’t reach its standard level of interestingness until the bad guys show up.

CONCLUSION: Pretty damn funny; one of the forgotten sci-fi comedy gems of the 1980’s. This movie still holds up today. Ever since Futurama was canceled, I just can’t get enough sci-fi comedy! Too bad Martin Short is never used anymore.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7.6/10 (a low 8).
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
TwoBeans: Netflix: 4/5 stars.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.5/10, Netflix: 3.4/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.3/5 stars–WRONG that it’s lower than average, it’s higher than average for us!).

RECOMMENDATION: Sci-fi and comedy are not mixed together nearly often enough. Did they do this more in the 1980s? This movie stands up to the “20 years later” test pretty damn well. Let’s not forget it exists.

SIMILAR MOVIES: I couldn’t help but notice a parallel to Inception — being inside another person [their body instead of their mind], with a climax that involves things happening on both levels (dream and dream-within-a-dream with Inception, and the macro and micro levels with Innerspace). This also reminds me of The Man With Two Brains, where Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin shared the same body.

Also, remember the Disney ride? I do! It was fun! Okay, so it wasn’t directly based on the movie, but still. I think I know how Dennis Quaid’s character felt in this movie — just a little bit.

MOVIE QUOTES:

Jack Putter: [stands up] No! Somebody help me! I’M POSSESSED!

Lt. Tuck Pendleton: “We’re gonna drink this one to Ozzie. A good man who tried to save my ass by injecting me into yours.”

Mr. Wormwood: You’ve got a great future in front of you in Retail Food marketing, and I just hate to see you throw it all away by going psycho on us.

Dr. Greenbush: The medieval remedy was to flay the skin off your body with brands of fire. I have no idea what the current technique is.

FRIENDS’ COMMENTS/RATINGS:

Mom loves it.

J. Walter S, on why we don’t see Martin Short anymore: “After a time Short went ‘full retard’. Not in this movie or 3 Amigos. More the Gimminy Glick period.

Sort of like Dana Carvey’s Master of Disguise. It’s hard to come back from:”

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

QUIRKS: Based on a cartoon: Avatar: The Last Airbender. We watched this in 2006 and rated it 5/5 stars. One of the best serialized cartoon stories we’ve ever watched.

PEOPLE: Written & Directed by M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, The Village, Signs, Unbreakable, Lady In The Water). Aang is played by a new kid (Noah Ringer), and I’m not convinced that he’s the right or best kid for the job. Katara is played a relatively new kid too. Sokka is Jackson Rathbone (Jasper from Twilight 3:Eclipse, Donnie Darko 2). It was a bit of a weird decision having Uncle Iroh played by Shaun Toub (Yinsen in Iron Man 1), as he’s much younger-looking than the cartoon character. I’m also not 100% on Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) as Prince Zuko. Fire Lord Ozai was played by Cliff Curtis (Push, Sunshine, The Fountain, Three Kings). Princess Yue was played by Seychelle Gabriel who, strangely, was in 3 episodes of Weeds. Dee Bradley Baker voices Appa and Momo, just like in the cartoon.

PLOT SUMMARY: A Buddhist supernatural fantasy world war :) To quote TwoBeans, “This is Buddhist as fuck!”

VISUALS: Unfortunately, we did not get to see this in 3-D. It would have kicked some ass, because the battles and scenes and effects are quite epic. Of course, this was post-production 3-D, not shot-with-3-D-cameras 3-D. But post-production 3-D can be quite awesome: Just watch Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D to see what I mean. They converted it sooo many years later…

Anyway, as fun as the cartoon was, this movie allowed us to see the same concepts fleshed out as special effects that probably cost more than the entire original cartoon series cost. And that… is kick-ass.

POLITICS: I can’t believe there’s a bunch of people whining about race issues, calling Shyamalan a racist, etc etc. People are way too fucking sensitive. Blah blah. It’s tiring. Go home. This is like people whining that Goku wasn’t Asian in the Dragon Ball movie. But Goku wasn’t even from Earth–the idiots! And this planet doesn’t really seem to be Earth either, does it?

GOOD STUFF: An epic storyline. Extremely faithful to the cartoon. We basically cover Season 1 of 3 of the cartoon. That was 22 episodes. The original screenplay was 7 hours before editing. Too bad they couldn’t shoot 7 hours. I’d love to see this as a 6 movie story rather than a 3 movie story. They’d be able to cover so much more.

BAD STUFF:

1) The actor for Aang, I think, perhaps, could have been better. I don’t know if he’s a perfect fit. Maybe this will become clearer when the rest of the triology comes out. They picked up in part because he was a blackbelt, and thus was pre-qualified for the movie’s martial arts.

2) Not the movie’s fault, but our fault: We thought this was not a trilogy, but a single movie. So the entire time, the pacing kept messing with my head. I thought they weren’t covering the story fast enough, and was hung up thinking about that. Turns out it’s a trilogy, so the pacing for the movie was JUST FINE. Silly us, letting our own misconception hamper the enjoyment of the movie.

3) Fucking whiners whining about this movie. Enough with the hate already. SHUT THE FUCK UP. This movie is rated soooo low, and almost every thread on IMDB is about how much people hate it so much. This tends to happen with any adaptation – low ratings. I don’t understand snobby fanboyism. I’m a rabid fanboy, so I understand rabid fanboyism. You could adapt Avatar:The Last Airbender using 10 different directors — and I’d probably love all 10 movies, provided they each had a huge budget and flashy effects that looked better than the cartoon. But the snobby fanboy? They hate this movie because races were changed. They hate this movie because “the cartoon was better”. And the rest of the general public? The ones who didn’t watch the cartoon? THEY JUST DON’T GET IT. A 103-minute movie based on a 462-minute season is going to move at a fast pace and cover a lot of different story aspects. And it might not make as much sense to someone who hasn’t watched the cartoon. This is the fate of someone watching a remake without watching the original. It’s similar to why I didn’t enjoy Watchmen as much as I wanted to — because I wasn’t familiar with the source material. But I still didn’t hate it. I think there’s just a lot of people who enjoy hating movies.

CONCLUSION: Despite the fact that it seems most people watch movies just to hate on them, this was actually an awesome movie. After being huge fans of the original cartoon (5/5 stars), it was so great to finally see the same story in the flesh! They better do the other 2 movies, damnit! There’s no point in this existing if they don’t do the other 2 movies; it would be like having a Fellowship Of The Ring movie, but no Two Towers movie (I’m looking at you, Rankin-Bass).

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 8.4/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 8.6/10.
TwoBeans: Netflix: 5/5 stars.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 4.5/10?!?!?!?!?! Clearly, the army of haters have gamed the system on IMDB once again. The Netflix rating is not tilted so badly, at 3.4/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.8/5 stars–it’s right that we liked this better than average).

RECOMMENDATION: Watch the cartoon, then watch this movie. WATCH THE CARTOON. SERIOUSLY. GET IT ON NETFLIX. NOW.

MOVIE QUOTE: “There are reasons each of us are born. we have to find those reasons.”

water bear totally looks like appa
see more Celeb Look-A-Likes (more…)

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

I’m not going to review this movie VERY HARD, because pretty much the whole planet saw it.

PEOPLE: From excellent director Christopher Nolan. His 2nd completely original movie. I haven’t even seen Following (1998), but now I’m thinking maybe I need to check that out.

Yes, that was Ellen Page from Juno / Hard Candy / X-Men. Yes, that was Tommy from 3rd Rock From The Sun, also in Mysterious Skin. Yes, that was Ra’s Al Ghul from Batman Begins.

PLOT SUMMARY: Let’s go into a dream within a dream to plant an idea into someone’s mind so that we can make money.

QUIRKS: A cerebral sci-fi heist movie.

BTW, I really like the use of tops in this movie. That’s a first for me. I was really big on tops in college. We played with them for HOURS. I have a whole collection of all kinds of different tops. They have different genres; magnetic tops, tops that draw, tops that make noise, tops that light up, wide tops that spin slow on steady, short tops that are spastic, tall tops that stay in the same place, battery powered tops that can spin for hours on end, stackable tops (ever spin a top and set it on top of another? I have), etc etc. So I gotta say, using a top as a totem is that much more of an awesome idea to Carolyn and me than to the viewing public in general.

VISUALS: Not as dreamlike as many people would want or expect. If you’re looking for DREAM VISUALS, watch Paprika or Pan’s Labyrinth or Terry Gilliam‘s Brazil, or any other myriad of dreamy fantasy movies. Watch a Nightmare On Elm Street movie. The dreams in this movie are mostly of the realistic kind. There’s a reason for this, and it’s explained in the movie. [highlight for spoilers] Basically, if you are invading someone’s dream, you want things to be as realistic as possible, so that they don’t realize they are dreaming.

SOUNDTRACK: I’ve heard so much hullabaloo about the score… analysis of the music… parodies of the music. And honestly, I didn’t really notice it. I was too busy paying attention with all the HEAVY THINKING and events and dialog and layers. I did notice that I had to turn my center speaker to like +1db, when i usually have it set… to -6db or -3db for most movies. Maybe that was why other people felt the score was so obtrusive. Score: +1 for those who watch movies on their own hardware, -1 for those who pay big bucks to see movies in theatres.

MORALS: The moral of this movie is pretty much the polar opposite of The Matrix. Instead of worrying about whether your world is real, you should just sit back and enjoy what’s there in front of you. The Matrix is all about taking the red pill; the conclusion of this movie seems to be that the blue pill is not so bad after all.

POLITICS: Capitalism and money make insane situations worth doing.

GOOD STUFF: The plot. OMG. What a trippy movie! So cerebral. WHAT DOES IT MEAN???

BAD STUFF: The ending perturbed some people. If you didn’t like it, I suggest reading this piece. Basically, [highlight for spoilers] the conclusion is that the whole movie is a dream. The character finally found his redemption and doesn’t need to question whether he’s really in a dream anymore. After all, if it’s not real, he’ll eventually wake up anyway, so why not enjoy it? He never should have left limbo in the first place. I wish I could spend 50 years creating a world, like a God, with Carolyn, while my body never ages. That sounds like paradise.

CONCLUSION: FUCK YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 10/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 10/10. (She was gonna say 9, but I kinda kept asking, “Why is it only a 9?”, and she decided to change it to 10.)
TwoBeans: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 10/10.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 9.0/10 (Top 250: currently #4! as of writing this review, but it will probably drop down by the time this review is posted, years later); Netflix: 4.5/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 4.7/5 stars).

RECOMMENDATION: OMFG SEE THIS!!! This is one of the best films of the year. If you don’t get it, WATCH IT AGAIN!

SIMILAR MOVIES: I don’t know. This was pretty goddamn unique. People inevitably mention The Matrix due to the “false reality” angle, or “Dark City”. But are all false reality films really that similar to each other, or is the similarity only that they simply use the same gimmick/trope of false reality?

MOVIE QUOTE: “You’re asking me for Inception. I hope you do understand the gravity of that request.”

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: A few people didn’t quite get it, or appreciate it as much as everyone else (B- from Dad?!?! Lauren W thought the ending made the whole movie “directorial masturbation”), but, for the most part, everyone’s response is.. “Wow. Amazing movie.”

OTHER REVIEWS: Ian’s review talks about some of the visual effects, and the plot as a whole, without spoiling too much detail. Outlaw Vern reviewed it too, of course. His review has spoilers. (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Another Japanese gore flick with the word “Girl” in the title. This movie is very similar to The Machine Girl, except worse.

PEOPLE: Written and directed by 2 Japanese b-movie directors, the first of which served several roles [but not director or writer] in The Machine Girl. So of course there are similarities. The actors are Japan B-movie actors. The vampire girl is very, very beautiful, but in an unassuming way that you almost don’t notice. The Frankenstein girl is “cutesy high-maintenance girlie-girl” hot. Someone you’d take home, but not marry. So the casting of these 2 characters is at least done very well — they are arguably hotter than the 2 hot girls in The Machine Girl.

PLOT SUMMARY: Really, the whole plot is a huge contrivance made up in order to have a battle between VAMPIRE GIRL and MACHINE GIRL.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Serial killer trades up boyfriends.

QUIRKS: Japanese B-grade gore, with an emphasis on vampirism and utterly ridiculous situations that make no sense. Apparently, this might be based on a manga. Ha!

VISUALS: It was very colorful. They sometimes used virtual sets — which were neat, even if they looked fake. There were way more hot girls and colorful costumes and different types of people in this movie (compared to The Machine Girl). And the racist club of Asians who made themselves look like racially-stereotypical black people was a sight none of us will ever forget (more on that below). The wrist cutting club was pretty awesome too. The visuals are a 7/10 — but not enough to save this movie.

Of course, the special effects were all really bad. Some things didn’t even make sense. Poor CGi blood, and poor spurting “analog” blood as well. This really reminded me, exactly, of The Machine Girl.

SOUNDTRACK: Weird out-of-place songs. It was more interesting than the soundtrack of The Machine Girl.

POLITICS: Racist humor apparently flies over much easier in Japan. The “black Asians” club was some of the most ridiculous shit I’ve ever seen. Especially when they started talking about Obama, and chanting “Yes we can!” over and over again in Engrish. Oh. My. God. That was so over-the-top. They’d be scared to be this funny in America, where you can wear any color on your face except black. Of course, this is merely an over-the-top depiction of the ridiculous-in-real-life Ganguro Japanese subculture. Just click the word to see pictures of these real life Japanese girls. Yup. They definitely need to be made fun of. To quote one IMDBer, it was the “most mindbogglingly racist thing that I’ve seen on film in the last 40 years that wasn’t a parody.” But of course, this movie is a parody of good movies, and they were a parody of Japanese Ganguro girls, so his statement might not be valid.

GOOD STUFF: It was funnier than last night’s movie too. i was originally thinking 7/10. The wrist cutting club was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in awhile.

BAD STUFF: So now vampires can walk in the sun, die from falling, and can control their own blood in a telekinetic manner? Who decided this? Well, I’ve always been one to preach that every vampire movie has different rules… But making swords out of your own blood and fighting with them is, to me, lamer than sparkling in the sun.

In general, this went for “shamelessly ridiculous”. We actually thought Machine Girl was shamelessly ridiculous, but it turns out that movie actually had shame. You wouldn’t know it until you watch this one, but this movie is like what Machine Girl would have been, had they not exercised artistic restraint. It’s quite amazing how this movie’s main function seems to be to make The Machine Girl look better in comparison.

The dialog is worse. The acting is worse. The writing is worse. The costumes are better, though. The film looks better, though. The best effects out of the 2 movies are in this one, even though they are bad in both. So you really gotta be prepared to be underwhelmed when watching this.

CONCLUSION: This movie beats Machine Girl in the categories of ridiculousness, bad acting, bad writing, and bad plot, but also beats it in the category of hot girls, “shit you never thought you’d see in your life”, colorful visual effects, racist humor, and shamelessness. I think this movie’s primary function is to watch after watching Machine Girl, just to see how much worse Machine Girl *could* have been, had they abandoned all shame and restraint. Either way, both movies are ridiculous gorefests full of laughs. This one is arguably more interesting, but not as good. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

RATINGS:

Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 5.6/10 (a low 6). Though visually, I’d rate it 4/5 stars, 7/10. Too bad for the sake of Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl that a movie is more than just how pretty its pictures are.

Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 5/10. “It had some slightly funny moments, and it was entertaining, but it was ridiculously over the top. And not in an especially good way like Troma movies, or even Machine Girl.”

The native public rating for this movie for IMDB is: 6.2/10 [Machine Girl got 6.0/10]

The native public rating for this movie for Netflix is: 3.0/5 stars [same as Machine Girl].
(Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.2/5 stars, unlike the 3.9/5 prediction for Machine Girl. Netflix is smart!)

RECOMMENDATION: Watch this after watching The Machine Girl, just to see the “right” way and the “wrong” way to make a Japanese gore B-movie. Both movies are very interesting and hilarious, yet this one is clearly worse. I have no idea how this one managed to be rated as good as Machine Girl. It may be by virtue of the fact that it simply looks more modern [despite both movies coming out within a year or two of each other]. Apparently, you can enjoy with with the subtitled turned off as well. I think you’d get less out of it — but you’d also manage to escape some cheesy dialog.

SIMILAR MOVIES: The Machine Girl – a more serious, less ridiculous, less funny version of this movie. By the way, I never in a million years expected to use the adjectives “serious” and “less ridiculous” for Machine Girl. Never in a million years. Let alone 24 hours.

MOVIE QUOTE: Kenji Furano: “Dicing one’s daughter is true happiness!”
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 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] A girl gets her arm replaced with a machine gun. That’s it. That’s enough to make me watch a movie, no matter how bad it may be. LET’S GO!

PEOPLE: Written & Directed by Noboru Iguchi, who has some 40 titles under his name. Quite a few with “Girl(s)” or “Boy(s)” in the title.

PLOT SUMMARY: In the land of the Yakuza, the one-armed woman is queen.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Serial killer kills serial killers.

QUIRKS: So ridiculously campy, it’s almost like watching a bad comic book in movie form. Was this inspired by the character in Grindhouse who had a gun replacing her leg?

VISUALS: It was well shot, but then there were the CGI special effects. Bad CGI special effects. Even some of the non-CGI special effects were bad. Like, so bad they looked like they came out of a different decade than the film itself. I am hoping this was deliberate campiness for cheeziness’s sake. Still, I felt it detracted from things. At least in a Troma movie, things are consistently bad. But this was shot in high-def, with decent cinematography — looking like a 2000’s movie — but with effects that looked like 1980’s Troma movies effects. The blood is either analog “real” blood that spurts out like a sprinkler in an utterly ridiculous and unrealistic fashion, or it’s digital fake blood that’s rendered so poorly that the blood in the weightless ship-fight scene in Star Trek 6 (or was it Star Trek 5?) — a movie that came out ~10 yrs prior to this — actually looks good in comparison.

The 2 main female characters (Ami, Miki) were indeed quite hot.

MORALS: Non-violence doesn’t solve all problems. Sometimes, violence is the only solution. And sometimes — it is the best solution.

POLITICS: Yakuza seems to have too much power in Japan!

GOOD STUFF: Soo ridiculous, so much girl-fightin’ action. Utterly campy. Often in a good way. Ninjas with track suits? Yes. Lots of blade fights. Knives, scythes, swords, you name it. Lots of gunfire too.

Man, the bad guys are SUCH ASSHOLES in this movie. Needless assholes. This movie is really good at making you hate the bad guys… So that you enjoy seeing them meet their just desserts later.

BAD STUFF: The special effects and fights. They were so poor as to actually detract from a movie that is already obviously going for cheesy camp. That’s a big mistake.

They obviously don’t know how throwing stars (shurikens) work. In this movie, I referred to them as “tossing stars”. Really, it’s so unbelievably bad you have to see it.

The writing is bad. The dialog isn’t great, either.

Also: The ending. She doesn’t [highlight for spoilers] kill herself because something rustled in the bush? Really? That’s the worst “reason to live” I’ve ever seen in anything ever.

This is, most definitely, a very flawed film.

30 ROCK: Also, look for a clip of Machine Girl in the background of a bar in 30 Rock S3E13.

CONCLUSION: Despite its flaws, Carolyn & I still both “really liked” this movie, but not as much as most movies we “really like”. The cheesiness was cool, but then they over did it to the point of making it distracting and detracting. Still, it’s quite an awesome action movie for being SO UTTERLY RIDICULOUS. It’s like watching a bad comic book unfold in a Troma-esque way. The end also isn’t as good as the middle. The blood was ridiculously bad. All the effects were ridiculously bad. This seems to be an obvious tribute to the American Grindhouse-style movies of the 1970s — much like Machete (which was way way way better than this). That’s what saves it. Well, that and hot Japanese girls covered in blood.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 3.6/5 stars (“a low 4”). IMDB: 6.6/10 (“a low 7”).
Carolyn: Netflix: 3.6/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.
TwoBeans: 27/40.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.0/10, Netflix: 3.0/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.9/5 stars–nice job, Netflix!).

Neal D: “i watched this movie earlier this year, i loved it”

RECOMMENDATION: If you want ridiculous Japanese girl action, done in a grindhouse style — go for it. But be prepared to laugh at the bad special effects.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Look for the 22-minute “spinoff sequel”, Shyness Machine Girl aka The Hajirai Machine Girl (2009) (rated 5.6/10 on IMDB, vs 6.0/10 for this movie). It does not feature the same Machine Girl from this movie, except in flashback scenes.

LET’S REVIEW THE SPINOFF!

LET’S REVIEW THE SPINOFF!

SHYNESS MACHINE GIRL: Okay, we watched it the next day. It’s too short to warrant a separate blogpost review, so here’s our mini-review:

Wow. That was retarded. Just flat out retarded. And oh, everyone killed in the movie who appeared in this movie miraculously had an operation resurrecting them from their deaths in The Machine Girl. A butt-gun? Bullets that don’t leave any wounds? Embarrassment as a combat tactic? Eyes popping out? Again: A butt-gun?!?!? Basketballs and machine guns falling out of the sky? Tokyo Tower up her ass? What?!

RATINGS:
Clint AND carolyn: Netflix: 2.4/5 stars (almost liked it, but ultimately didn’t). IMDB: 4/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 2.4/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 5.6/10.


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

PEOPLE: Starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. Just like Vanilla Sky.

We also recognized Viola Davis, but I’m not sure from where. Sure, we’ve seen Traffic, Kate & Leopold, and most of Solaris (so awful I aborted, a 1 in 400 movie occurrence) — but I wouldn’t think she’d be memorable from those.

PLOT SUMMARY: Clueless car-loving blonde bumps into Tom Cruise, and suddenly her life is in danger from a global conspiracy. Wait — is this the real life story of Katie Holmes? (No, not really.)

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Taxpayer money fails to kill innocent civilian.

QUIRKS: Over-the-top, ridiculous action. Cartoonily ridiculous. Think Crank / Shoot ‘Em Up / Wanted ridiculousness levels. This is an action-romance-comedy.

This movie passed through 7 different writers and several sets of stars before finally morphing into what it ultimately became.

VISUALS: Fights!

MORALS: Nope, not really. Surviving a government conspiracy is simply a roll of the dice. No real morals here.

POLITICS: Government corruption kills innocents.

GOOD STUFF: The action/romance angle is funny, and a refreshing when compared to romantic comedies that have no gunfights.

BAD STUFF: It’s a romantic comedy in disguise. But I’ve long thought that shitty genres mixed with good genres produce watchable films. It’s why I don’t mind the Twilight movies. They’re certainly better than shitty teen romances without vampires and werewolves. And this is certainly better than shitty Tom Cruise / Cameron Diaz romance movies without vast, ridiculous government conspiracies.

The action is ridiculous. People survive situations they’d never survive in real place. Suspension of disbelief is required; this is one of the “cartoony aspects” of the movie.

Carolyn: “Why are they having a moment right now?!?”
Clint: “Becuase the pacing of a formulaic movie requires that this happens now.”
Carolyn: “Oh. Right.”

CONCLUSION: For mindless ridiculous action combined with a paper-thin romance story and predictable pacing… This was still entertaining. Call it king of the turds; we still both liked it despite it’s vapidness. Ridiculous cartoony action is fun. Michael Bay probably could have made this better, haha.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10. Met my expectations rather precisely.
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10. Exceeded her expectations.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.5/10, Netflix: 3.7/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.8/5 stars).

RECOMMENDATION: This could be a good compromise movie between a husband who wants some cartoony action, and a wife who wants a romance story about a scientologist and a girl who gets cum in her hair.

SIMILAR MOVIES: There’s a level of ridiculous action, like in the movie Crank, or the movie Wanted, or the movie Shoot ‘Em Up. But I’d say, out of the three, that it’s most like Shoot ‘Em Up, but if it was done as a romance-action instead of a gun-loving action.

MOVIE QUOTE: “Don’t worry. I’ve got it.”

COINCIDENCES: Two videos within a week featuring a howto on how to escape someone grabbing you from behind. The other was The Boondocks episode where the black guy who acts white conquers his fear of going to jail and getting anally raped, and uses the same move to escape his captors.

OTHER REVIEWS: Outlaw Vern’s review captures a lot of the flaws in this movie.

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I'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Not available on Netflix. I don’t get it. Why not?]

PEOPLE: Produced by Twisted Pictures (Saw 1-7, Repo! The Genetic Opera). Starring Jesse Metcalfe (John Tucker from John Tucker Must Die, Tristan from Loaded (2008), Desperate Housewives) and Erika Christensen (Traffic, Veronika Decides To Die).

PLOT SUMMARY: Parents get revenge for the torture and murder of their child.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Tax evader commits suicide after vigilantes torture him.

QUIRKS: Torture-based revenge flick. If you think the death penalty is too good for child molesters, you should have to watch this movie.

VISUALS: Some pretty gruesome torture. But, since the movie is so quick, and they only have one victim — not nearly as much torture as I was expecting. I was expecting something on the same level as the Saw or Hostel movies.

MORALS: This movie is quite morally interesting, as it’s a reversal of typical horror movies. In this movie, the victim is the monster, and the ones doing the torture are arguably justified in their actions. Of course, [highlight for spoilers] the twist completely changes things, turning the moral into one about how revenge is not right because mistakes can be made. But it seems the only way they can say revenge is not right is by showing someone taking revenge against the wrong person. In reality, mistakes are made by police, both letting murderers go away, and convicting people of murders they didn’t commit. So I think they failed at achieving the moral statement they were trying to achieve.

POLITICS: Plea bargains. A bad idea. Letting murderers off early in exchange for showing us the locations of the bodies? Really lame. Surely there’s another incentive to get murderers to show the locations of missing bodies without giving them a less harsh sentence.

And torture? A bad way to get information from people, as they will tell you anything you want to be told; they will confess to crimes they didn’t commit. History has shown this again and again, and this movie [highlight for spoilers] helps make that point with the false confession letter the guy wrote before hanging himself.

GOOD STUFF: Rooting for the torturer?!!? This movie put me into situations I haven’t really been in before: Wanting to see someone tortured because they deserved it.

BAD STUFF: Some possible plot holes involving [highlight for spoilers] the somewhat predictable and somewhat unnecessary twist. For instance, [highlight for spoilers] it seems odd that the police would stop their huge search the second they found the murderer, and then not make any effort whatsoever to find the tax evader guy. Wouldn’t the dogs be able to track him down too? Or maybe the police only targeted the dangerous murderer. It just seems like the main characters had a great possibility of getting caught. Especially since the real killer got away, and possibly saw the father for a minute when he talked through the internal window on the police van. You know, later, they saw the news, realized they had the wrong guy, realized the confession note was a fake confession under duress of torture, and probably had to live with a lot of guilt that would have caused problems for them down the road. And maybe they were even caught later.

CONCLUSION: For a movie about torture, I was expecting *a bit* more torture and gore. For a movie about vigilantism, I was expecting a more neutral moral to the story. This movie wasn’t as good as it could have been, but it’s short (80 minutes), and is over soon enough. It entertains; it’s intense; it’s fucked up; it puts you in the situation of rooting for the monster instead of the victim. This film, while not living up to its potential, has definite value.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7.6/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7.6/10.
TwoBeans: 3/5 stars.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 5.6/10.

RECOMMENDATION: Worth seeing.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Plot is similar to the book 7 Days Of Revenge, which is currently being adapted to film. (more…)

Out of the 176 movies we watched in 2010, 27 (15%) could be classified as action/adventure/superhero movies, and 15 could be (8.5%) classified as thriller/mystery.  About half of the ones we rated 5 stars were actually over-the-top unrealistic comedic action movies like Machete, Scott Pilgrim, Kick-Ass, Bitch Slap, and The A-Team.  Over-the-top ridiculous action is better — action movies were never really realistic to begin with, so why pretend?

We watched two adaptations (1996, 2009) of The Phantom. Guess which one was way better?

Read past the jump for the lists of individual movies, separated by rating. (more…)

Out of the 176 movies we watched in 2010, 29 (14%) could be classified as horrors.
(NOTE:I count thrillers and mysteries as being their own category separate from horrors.)

This list actually contains some of my favorite movies of the 176 I watched in 2010 (especially Deadgirl), as well as my 4th least favorite movie of the 176 watched in 2010 – Zombie Strippers.

Read past the jump for the lists of individual movies, separated by rating.

(more…)

Out of the 176 movies we watched in 2010, 27 (15%) could be classified as fantasy.

Read past the jump for the lists of individual movies, separated by rating.

(more…)

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