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Homo Erectus (2007)

Native ratings: Netflix:2.4/5 stars (guess for us=3.3), IMDB:3.4/10.

That’s pretty fucking low. So we knew this was going to be kind of retarded.

The “Stoned Age” title implies there’s going to be some kind of drug humor, but this is basically just a caveman comedy (think “Year One”, but worse, but with better cameos).

There are also a lot of notable people in the cast to help off-set the badness. It was weird seeing Ali Larter (the blonde schizo from Heroes, also in Final Destination 1) in a comedic role…

Or seeing Adrianne from Rocky, Carol Alt as an amazon queen, Gary Busey as a wizard, David Carradine in TWO roles, Ron Jeremy, and Tom Arnold (fortunately only a few seconds).

In the end, it was a mix of like and don’t like.
Carolyn: 2.6/5 stars, 5.0/10.
Clint::::: 2.9/5 stars, 5.9/10.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0484207

[IMDB]

This movie seemed kid of old and random. A lot of it fell flat. I guess this is why I don’t like older movies.

I probably would have liked this a lot when it came out, and if I’d seen it in the 80’s, nostalgia might have made me like it more now. But it was actually barely likeable.

Parthena: 2/5 stars, 5/10. “Some parts were funny, other parts that could have been either epic OR amusingly horrible were a bit…flat.”

Eli: 2/5 stars, 5/10. “I got my kicks out of kinda ripping off lord of the rings and I think
star wars, but all in all not amazingly well acted or cut together.”

Clint: 2.4/5 stars, 5.4/10.

Carolyn: 2.7/5 stars, 5.6/10. “I agree it wasn’t all that spectacular.”
Native rating: 3.5/5 stars (which was also Netflix’s guess for us), 6.6/10.

Peter MacNicol – the “weasel” from 24, Ally McBeal. So annoying! Not quite as annoying here, but I just kept screaming “WEASEL!” every time he went on the screen.

Valerian and Tyrian? Both actors who play them are now dead…

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082288

p.s. Happy X-Day or something.

Happy 4th of July!

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] This has gotta be one of the most underrated movies we’ve ever seen.

PLOT SUMMARY:

In a coma, a cartoonist finds himself trapped within his own underground creation and must find a way to get back, while racing against his popular but treacherous character, Monkeybone.

PEOPLE: What talent involved in this one!

Directed by Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, James & The Giant Peach).

With Brendan Fraser, Bridget Fonda, John Turturro (Barton Fink from Barton Fink) as the voice of Monkeybone, Chris Kattan as the most hilarious corpse since Weekend At Burnie’s, Giancarlo Esposito (That’s right, bitches! GUS FROM BREAKING BAD!) as a red, horned, devlish creature with tiny legs, Rose McGowan with sexy kitty whiskers and outfits, Dave Foley with blonde hair as a smarmy agent, Megan Mullally (Children’s Hospital), Bob Odenkirk, Whoopi Goldberg as Death.

And a cameo by Stpehen King. Except it’s not really him. Looks JUST like him, though.

QUIRKS:

Fantasy dream adventure based on Kaja Blackley’s graphic novel “Dark Town”.

Creepy dreamworld. Coma dreams. Greek mythology.

The craziest organ donor doctors since Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life.

Black, dark humor – ridiculously dark at times, without seeming dark.

The funniest corpse since Weekend At Burnie’s.

Similarities to Cool World, Beetlejuice, and Sucker Punch (which also used “Love Is A Drug” as a anesthesia-dream song, making me think this movie influenced Sucker Punch).

From IMDB: Comparisons between Monkeybone and Cool World: A cartoonist enters a strange world and meets his creation (Holli Would and Monkeybone). Vital scenes that take place in a night club (coma club/slash club). The cartoonist is offered a cigarette but refuses to smoke it. The cartoonist gets menaced by the strange world’s creatures when they first enter (road kill animals/Holli’s goons). The creation (holli would and monkeybone) both imitate Marylin Monroe. The creation plans to become human and enter the real world.

I’d love to see the (spoiler alert) alternate ending… In fact, the version we watched, while bluray in quality, lacked all the extra scenes described on that page.

VISUALS:

Did I mention who the director was? Same guy who did Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, and James And The Giant Peach?

You don’t see as much animation in this one as in the others, but the visuals are pretty consistent with that. Darker than James And The Giant Peach, but not as dark as Nightmare Before Christmas. And not quite as creepy as Coraline. But definitely dark and creepy nonetheless.

SOUNDTRACK: “Love Is A Drug” – used both in this movie and Sucker Punch, which is also about coma/anesthesia dreams.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Careless driver’s erection-based character rapes his fiance. (oh man… oh man…)

BACKWARD PLOT SUMMARY: [highlight for spoilers] Zombie gymnist scares the shit out of successful animator, causing him to go into a coma.

MORALS: I don’t think this movie had a real moral message to it — it’s just an adventure where some things happen. I guess you could say: Never give up.

POLITICS: Imagine if the main character in this movie was Terry Schiavo…

GOOD STUFF:

Great stop-motion animation — though you won’t see TOO much of it, as a lot of this movie takes place in the real world.

The movie kept getting better and better. By halfway through, I thought it would be a 4-star movie. But the plot and such kept going and going. It actually felt like the movie was done, but then we were only 38 minutes in! Stories that keep going after you think they are over are awesome — but stories that do this AND keep improving and getting better?!? EVEN MORE AWESOME!!

BAD STUFF: Brendan Fraser. We don’t mind him, but him being in a movie is an automatic turnoff for a lot of people. It’s also apparently too random for some people, even though IT’S A FUCKING COMA DREAM. It’s not SUPPOSED to all follow a sense of order!

CONCLUSION: We found this to be a brilliant comedy that was dark, morbid, AND lighthearted at the same time. With great fantasy visuals, and so many talented people involved, it’s hard to beleive this movie gets a 4.5 on IMDB, and only 20% on RottenTomatoes. What could everybody have missed?!? We both gave it a 9.

Apparently, if your inner child has died, you lack imagination, hate animation, or simply hate Brendan Fraser to the point of having it affect your ability to enjoy a movie, then this movie will just seem random, weird, and stupidly written. To which I say: Fuck you. This was great. What part of you had to die for you to not like it? And what do we have to do to re-awaken that part of you?

Anyway, while not as visually appealing as Selic’s other works, the appeal is still there, and it’s much more of a comedy than any of the others. This is like Cool World meets Beetlejuice, with a tiny dash of The Mask & Sucker Punch.

RATINGS:

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

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

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 4.5/10, Netflix: 2.7/5 stars (but Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.6/5 stars–it definitely knew we’d disagree here).

RECOMMENDATION: If you love fantasy, aren’t a hater automatically turned off by certain things, still retain your sense of imagination, and love darkness (i.e. morbidity; goth sensibilities) — YOU SHOULD FUCKING WATCH THIS. A lot of people hate this, though.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Already mentioned: Cool World, Beetlejuice, and, to a lesser extent Sucker Punch. But also: The Mask, and maybe the movie Ink (but only for the love angle).

MOVIE QUOTE:

Stu: “The woman I love is living with a horny little monkey that looks like me.”
Kitty (Rose McGowan): “What a lucky girl!”

“Wait! We’re doctors! We don’t want to hurt you, we just want some organs!”

COINCIDENCES: (Journey To The Center Of The Earth [2006], Monkeybone [2001]) 2 Brendan Fraser movies 2 nights in a row with him riding a mineshaft car roller coaster, along with a reference to a currently-airing-when-we-watched-it adult cartoon [Family Guy in Journey…, South Park in Monkeybone]. TRIPLE COINCIDENCE TYPE! Very rare! Usually get 0-2 of these a year.

OTHER STUFF Monkeybone webisode – http://www.flinch.com/anim/monkeyboneroadrage.swf and http://www.thepixelvixen.bravehost.com/cartoons/mb.swf. Monkeybone poo game – http://www.flinch.com/sites/poogame.swf. ^^ Special thanks to Compn — who actually saw this in the theatre — for finding those.

(more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] A movie suggested by Parthena, watched with Parthena and Eli.

PLOT SUMMARY: Nic Cage is the douchiest boss of all time… and then he becomes a vampire. (Or does he?)

BACKWARD PLOT SUMMARY: Nic Cage finds his shit.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Untreated schizophrenia leads to employee rape, club murder.

PEOPLE: Nicholas Cage! Losing his shit! Totally and completely! The whole movie! The director and writer of this movie faded into obscurity… But Nic Cage remains. He is the reason to watch this movie. This is some of his best “acting”, which I put in quotes because it is the “Nic Cage Losing His Shit” / “Nic Cage over-the-top acting”, and not necessarily the conventional acting most people would expect. In fact, Nic Cage was a boon to what would otherwise by a kind of dark, heavy, dreary movie

His poor, poor, poor subordinate Alva was played by Maria Conchita Alonso, who went on to be in Predator 2 directly after this. But I’ve only seen 3 of her 50 or so movies, and nothing after 1990. Vampire chick is Jennifer Beals (The L Word, The Grudge 2, Sophie from Roger Dodger, The Book Of Eli, and Alex from Flashdance. Her first movie was My Bodyguard!). His shrink was played by Elizabeth Ashley, whose voice kept reminding me of Marge Simpson. Happiness is the only movie I’ve seen with her. His real “love interest” (the black girl, not the hispanic girl) was Kasi Lemmons, who was in Silence Of The Lambs and Candyman, went into directing, and is now back into acting in some 2012 movie named Disconnect.

Jessica Lundy was also in this! Gloria from the sitcom Hope & Gloria! Why do I never notice her in the movies she’s in? Perhaps this is why she’s only doing TV guest spots nowadays. The last movie she starred in that I actually saw were Single White Female (bit part). And David Hyde Pierce, aka Niles Frasier! TINY part that I did not even notice. So yes: NBC picked 2 super-minor stars from this movie to be 2 secondary characters in 2 later sitcoms (Frasier and Hope & Gloria). How weird.

QUIRKS:Vampirism. Absurdity. Being an ultimate douche. Surrealism. Insanity. Nic Cage with a Keanu Reeves Bill-And-Ted accent.

It’s supposed to be the accent of someone who is acting purposely snobby. It works. He comes off as SUCH A FUCKING TOOL in this movie. Like, one of the biggest douchebags ever. His personality invokes a punching response greater than Michael Cera and Jesse Eisenberg combined. His fake accent is more cringeworthy than Fran Drescher’s laugh. His treatment of his subordinates is worse than the boss in Secretary.

And he eats a cockroach in the movie. For real.

 

NIC CAGE LOSING HIS SHIT:

In fact, most of the clips from the first 1/3rd of that video are from this movie.

In fact, after writing this review, Rage Comics introduced a new Nic Cage meme based on this movie!

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/people/nicolas-cage

You Don’t Say?

“You Don’t Say” is a black and white drawing, often used in rage comics, of Nicolas Cage developed from a scene in the 1988 black comedy film Vampire’s Kiss, which revolves around a troubled literary agent’s descent into madness after convincing himself that he is turning into a vampire. In rage comics, the face is used as a sarcastic response to an obvious observation or statement.

 

VISUALS/SOUNDTRACK: The soundtrack comes off creepier than you think it should be. By the end of the movie, you realize why. The visuals aren’t remarkable — it looks like a late 80’s movie in New York. Nothing special here; not even hallucinatory/dream sequences were that fantastically shot. This movie is more about acting, then story; audiovisual is less important here than with some films. It’s kind of a psychological thriller masquerading as a comedy. It betrays your expectations, taking you places you didn’t expect. It’s a ride; take it.

Visual note: You’d see a nipple, but instead you’ll see a white pad covering her nipple. Do nudity or don’t do nudity, but please, Jennifer Beals, don’t *pretend* to be nude when you aren’t. Just makes you seem like a prudish actor trying to act sexy. It’s hard to believe when you’re wearing pasties.

BAD STUFF: For some: Nic Cage’s acting.

GOOD STUFF: For some: Nic Cage’s acting. A LOT of people are saying this is his best performance ever. Which is also kind of like saying it’s his worst performance ever. He’s a one dimensional douche of the highest magnitude in this movie. It’s friggin’ great. You will be laughing in disbelief. The story isn’t comedic, but the movie absolutely is. That’s the brilliance. And it’s all Nic Cage. There’s a scene where he angrily recites the whole alphabet! Cinema GOLD.

TRIVIA: This movie was depicted on the Conan O’Brien show as the second-lowest level on the Nic Cage Terror Warning System.

CONCLUSION: Holy fucking shit! A riot fest of laughter, until you realize this is actually a black comedy, and are left completely aghast. What an amazing ride. I deem this the best Nic Cage movie to ever watch with friends. I laughed some of the hardest laughs I’ve laughed at a movie all year — and was disturbed at a very high level, too. Much more so than cartoony Friday The 13th horror movies. This movie gets a strange rating – 5 stars, but only 7/10. You see, the movie isn’t perfect, but Nic Cage’s best overacting ever makes it an unparalleled experience.

RATINGS:

Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.

Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10. “I rated it 5 stars because of a mixture of how ridiculous it was, and then how dark it turned… I thoroughly enjoyed it… It started out 4 stars because it just seemed like it was just so bad that it was ridiculous… but then when it changed direction, it got more psychologically creepy and that is what pushed it up to a 5 star for me.” [Clint’s take was that it was already a 5-star movie a bit before it got creepy, because of the ridiculous lengths Nic Cage went to act like he was losing his shit.]

Parthena: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10. “It was both ridiculous and hilarious and incredibly dark! I don’t even know whether they intended it to be a black comedy or a funny horror movie. I am kind of impressed he ate the roach for that role. This movie also actually managed to raise my appreciation of his acting ability, to act so completely fucked up and creepy and insane.”

Eli: Netflix: ?/5 stars. IMDB: ?/10.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 5.4/10, Netflix: 2.7/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.1/5 stars).

RECOMMENDATION: Someone gave some good advice – Don’t walk into this expecting a horror movie or a vampire movie; it’s more of a character study. And that character is NICK CAGE LOSING HIS SHIT.

SIMILAR MOVIES: It’s a slight bit of a spoiler, but this reminds me a bit of [highlight for spoilers] American Psycho. It even slightly reminds me of the “think they are a superhero” subgenre of movies: the movie Special, Defendor, and to a lesser extent, the movie Super.

MOVIE QUOTES:

Peter Loew: [as he runs down the sidewalk of residential part of town] I’m a vampire! I’m a vampire! I’m a vampire!

Peter Loew: Alva, there is no one else in this entire office that I could possibly ask to share such a horrible job. You’re the lowest on the totem pole here, Alva. The lowest. Do you realize that? Every other secretary here has been here longer than you, Alva. Every one. And even if there was someone here who was here even one day longer than you, I still wouldn’t ask that person to partake in such a miserable job as long as you were around. That’s right, Alva. It’s a horrible, horrible job; sifting through old contract after old contract. I couldn’t think of a more horrible job if I wanted to. And you have to do it! You have to or I’ll fire you. You understand? Do you? Good.

INTERVIEW EXCERPT FROM HERE:

SJ: What’s been your favorite weird role to play?

NC: Yeah, there’s been a few now. It has been a while that I’ve been making movies now. I would have to say that in recent times, Bad Lieutenant was certainly a weird role, but weird more because he was contorted with chemicals both physically and mentally. I loved Peter Loew from Vampire’s Kiss. He was really weird because he went into the world of thinking he was a vampire.

SJ: I love Vampire’s Kiss too. What would Peter Loew think of the Twilight vampires?

NC: I don’t know. [Laughs] I don’t know how to answer that. I think Peter Loew’s interests were more Kafka-esque.

TRAILER:
Like most trailers, I would recommend that you NOT watch this before the movie. I’m not sure how convincing the trailer is, either. If you do watch it, try to forget it all before actually watching this movie:
(more…)

I'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Not available on Netflix. Good luck finding it if you don’t have the right connections.]

PLOT SUMMARY: Same as the movie, except it doesn’t finish because it’s a pilot for a TV series, and thus the story was supposed to be stretched out a lot longer than the 2001 movie.

PEOPLE: David Lynch directs this (duh). The cast is actually more or less exactly the same as the movie.

QUIRKS: Same as the movie.

VISUALS: Much worse. This looks bad, even for an ABC series. Perhaps it was the worn VHS tape it was recorded on? Or the fact that ABC didn’t shoot in high def back then? Or the fact that it’s fullscreen instead of widescreen? Or the hissy, buzzy audio from the VHS tape. But overall… It just looked worse. Even Naomi Watts seemed to be about 5% less hot.

SOUNDTRACK: Angelo Badalamenti FTW.

GOOD STUFF: …Any good in this is overshadowed by how much better the actual movie is.

BAD STUFF: They didn’t even really get to the part where all the characters change and everything gets insanely crazy and confusing. No Naomi Watts masturbation. No lesbianism. The story never finishes (because it’s not supposed to). This is just kind of disappointing if you’ve already seen the movie. Some parts just came off as cheesy — like the cops talking to each other.

CONCLUSION/RECOMMENDATION: Completists … You’ve been warned. This is a good glimpse of what could have been, but does not provide any additional insight whatsoever to the experience of watching the later-produced movie version.

READ THIS LINK ON THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THIS AND THE MOVIE

“”All I know is, I loved making it, ABC hated it, and I don’t like the cut I turned in. I agreed with ABC that the longer cut was too slow, but I was forced to butcher it because we had a deadline, and there wasn’t time to finesse anything. It lost texture, big scenes, and storylines, and there are 300 tape copies of the bad version circulating around. Lots of people have seen it, which is embarrassing, because they’re bad-quality tapes, too. I don’t want to think about it.”” –David Lynch

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 2/5 stars (vs 3/10 for the movie). IMDB: 5/10 (vs 8/10 for the movie).
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10. “I wasn’t disappointed. It was supposed to be a whole series… you had warned me about that, so I didn’t get my hopes up too high for a resolution.”

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 8.4/10 — which is higher than the 8.0/10 rating of the actual movie! But that’s also comparing 120,000 votes to 330 votes. I’m sure if the 120,000 people who watched the movie then watched this pilot — that the pilot would get a lower rating. (more…)

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

PLOT SUMMARY: All-girl private school schoolgirls make all-boy private schools compete against each other for their prom dates. One school gets to take them to prom; the other won’t.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): Manipulating whores.

PEOPLE: Alia Shawkat. Really the best reason to watch this movie. Hopefully you remember her as Maebe Funke, George Michael Jr.’s cousin, from Arrested Development. While Michael Cera was busy making Superbad, this is what Alia was busy making. Bummer.

The chick who plays Victoria from Twilight is in this.

QUIRKS: Low-grade highschool comedy.

VISUALS: Schoolgirls.

SOUNDTRACK: Not really.

WILHELM SCREAM: Yes! Surprisingly! Guy fell down in the hall at school and Wilhelm Screamed.

MORALS: Dudes are horny and will do anything.

POLITICS: Only gender politics.

GOOD STUFF: Making fun of rich kids, private schools, bad breakups.

BAD STUFF: Sometimes I felt like there were TOO many characters. It got confusing. But mostly, it just wasn’t that funny. I think the competitions should have been focused on a bit more. Alia Shawkat should have been used more.

Also… The ending was kind of stupid.

CONCLUSION: It had its moments… It was O.K. Really a waste of time though. Not recommended.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 2.4/5 stars. IMDB: 5.4/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 2/5 stars. IMDB: 5/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 5.1/10 (pretty much what we rated it), Netflix: 2.9/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 2.7/5 stars–Netflix was at least right in realizing that we’d like this one less than average).

RECOMMENDATION: Arrested Development completists … stay away.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Two competing schools? That’s never been a plot in any movie ever!

OTHER REVIEWS: TINY review. Substantive favorable review. (more…)

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