VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Death Machine (1994)

4/5 stars, 8/10 from both of us, though the general public only rated it 2.7/5 stars (Netflix guessed 2.6 for us!) and 5.5/10.

This is the closest film I’ve ever seen to the movie Hardware (1990).

There are a few scenes that seem to be in DIRECT homage to Hardware. It lacks some of the comedy and psychedelia in Hardware, as well as the amazing cameos…

But in terms of cinematography, subject matter, style, and even character appearance (including the “villain”), this is simply a Poor Man’s Hardware. It even has William Hootkins (“we all sing, the wibbery-wobberly..walk!”), though he’s playing a suit instead of a perv.

Despite this being a poor man’s Hardware, it’s still better than 95% of scifi horror movies from the 1990s. So it gets 4/5 stars and 8/10, instead of the 5/5 stars and 9/10 rating that Hardware received.

Brad Dourif is pretty fricking crazy in this, and a lot of people are saying Heath Ledger must have watched this film at some point as inspiration for his insane portrayal of The Joker in The Dark Knight.

We watched the 111-minute (PAL/Europe) cut, though I would have preferred to get the 128 or 120-minute cut. Stay away from the 99-minute Netflix cut. You’ll be sorry. Get the PAL (europe) DVD if at all possible.

This movie also gets a very special LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD for having THE STRANGEST MARIJUANA JOINTS TO BE FEATURED IN ALL OF FILMDOM.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109575

VIDEO: MOVIES: CARTOONS: REVIEW: The Smurfs 2 (2013) [watched in 3-D]

Clint: 3/5 stars (3/5 for Smurfs 1), 7/10 (6.4/10 for Smurfs 1).
Carolyn: 3.6/5 stars (3/5 for Smurfs 1), 7/10 (6.6/10 for Smurfs 1).
Native ratings: 3.7/5 stars Netflix (3/5 for Smurfs 1), 5.2/10 IMDB (5.4 for Smurfs 1).
For curiosity’s sake: The original 1981 series gets 7.4/10 on IMDB. (I gave it 7/10.)
So anyway–Carolyn, Clint, and Netflix folk all liked the 2nd movie slightly more. The notorious haters at IMDB liked it slightly less.

This had some good smurf action and the 3-D was the best 3-D we’ve seen on our 3-D television since we bought it. I don’t know if it was the way they produced the movie, or the fact that they did HOU 3-D (over-under) instead of SBS 3-D (side-by-side), or if it was a good encode of the movie, but either way — Best 3-D we’ve seen, with the least ghosting (which you always get with active 3-D these days; we are in the infancy of 3-D at home — think VHS.)

That alone made it worth watching for us, but then there’s the fact that Hank Azaria (Moe Szyslak/Chief Wiggum/Apu Nahasapeemapetilon/Superintendent Chalmers/Comic Book Guy/Carl & Lenny/Professor Frink/Cletus) is great as Gargamel. Such a completely unrealistic character to exist in the real, live-action planet earth, and a great casting choice to pick someone with such nuance for funny voices, and such a long career with very little time actually on the screen. He deserves this.

For a kid movie, it didn’t focus on the kid very much. The kid “Blue” (the baby from Smurfs 1) is now at talking/walking age, but was barely in the movie. So that was good for adults like us who aren’t interested in watching kids. Just kids’ shows. ;)

Instead of taking place in New York, this one takes place in Paris, France. Other than that, it is very similar to Smurfs 1, except that they introduce 2 new Gargamel-created smurfs. Apparently they are the babies that showed up later in the 1980s series, but I think I had stopped watching right around when the babies showed up. Carolyn is 2 years younger than me, so she watched it a bit longer and recognized that when they called Vexxy “a sassy lassy” at the end, it was a nod to Sassette Smurf, a baby/younger female who showed up for 2 episodes near the 1990 end run of the original series. Incendentally, I totally forgot about Johan and Peewit/Peewee, and don’t really understand how they factor into the series. I also forgot/never knew that there were alternate Gargamels in the 9th season of the original cartoon. That was 1990. I took a break from cartoons approximately from adolescence until young adulthood (i.e. 13-20) so I might have missed the alternate Gargamels. Damn. I also didn’t know there was a 1965 Smurfs movie!

One bad thing was they seem to have forgotten that when choked, a Smurf is supposed to turn yellow. NOT more blue.

But other than that, it was a generic family adventure. Stupid things that doesn’t make sense sometimes happen, because it is a generic family adventure. It is very clearly something released to make money, and I’m okay with that. The money made gave me a chance to revisit part of my childhood without having to *ACTUALLY WATCH* 1980s quality animation/writing. And while generic-family-blockbuster writing isn’t that much better than 1980’s-children’s-cartoon writing… The movie LOOKED pretty awesome, and LOOKS DO MATTER for movies. Also Jayma Mays (Hero’s waitress girlfriend from Heroes) might just be one of the most adorable females alive. Her and Emma Stone need to have a baby together.

So anwyay…. We were pleasnatly surprised. Not every sequel is better, but if you free your mind and allow yourself to enjoy things… Sometimes it actually works out.

So yeah, we’ll watch The Smurfs 3 in 2016, probably. It’s a prequel.

Directed by Raja Gosnell (Smurfs 1, Home Alone 3).
Written by J. David Stem (Smurfs 1, Shrek 2, 3 eps of Rugrats and the Rugrats movie, 2 eps of Mission Hill), David N. Weiss (Shrek 2, 3 eps of Rugrats and the Rugrats movie, 2 eps of Mission Hill, All Dogs Go To Heaven), Jay Scherick (1 ep of Caroline In The City), David Ronn, and Karey Kirkpatrick (The Spiderwick Chronicles, Charlotte’s Web (2006), The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy).

Neil Patrick Harris as Patrick.
Hank Azaria (The Simpsons, Herman’s Head, Eric in Stressed Eric, The Birdcage, Eddie Brock in the 1990’s Spider-Man, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Year One, Mystery Men, Run Fatboy Run, Grosse Point Blank, 2 eps of Family Guy) as Gargamel.
Brendan Gleeson (Alastor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody in the Harry Potter movies, The Secret Of Kells, In Bruges, Beowulf, The Village, Troy, 28 Days Later, Mission Impossible 2) as Victor.
Jayma Mays (Heroes, Epic Movie, Smiley Face, 1 ep of NTSF:SD:SUV, 1 ep of Six Feet Under) as Grace.
Nancy O’Dell (Scream 2-4, 1 ep of The Simpsons) as Herself.
Mr. Krinkle as Azrael.

And the voice actors:
Katy Perry as Smurfette.
Christina Ricci as Vexy.
Jonathan Winters as Papa Smurf. Did you know he was Grandpa Smurf in the original? There was an R.I.P. in the credits; this was his last film.
J.B. Smoove (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Clear History, Movie 43, The Dictator, Date Night, Mr. Deeds, 12 eps of Saturday Night Live, 4 eps of American Dad, 1 ep of The Simpsons, 1 ep of Robot Chicken) as Hackus.
George Lopez (118 eps of George Lopez, 1 ep of Curb Your Enthusiasm) as Grouchy Smurf.
Anton Yelchin (Chekov in the Star Trek reboot movies, Terminator Salvation, Odd Thomas in Odd Thomas, 1 ep of Curb Your Enthusiasm, 1 ep of The Life & Times Of Tim) as Clumsy Smurf.
John Oliver (2 eps of Gravity Falls) as Vanity Smurf.
Fred Armisen (Portlandia, Terry in Out There, Eurotrip, Saturday Night Live, he’s also a small part in The Dictator) as Brainy Smurf.
Jeff Foxworthy (Bounty Hunters, The Jeff Foxworthy Show) as Handy Smurf.
Alan Cumming (The Devil in God, The Devil And Bob, John Castaway in Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles, Rick & Steve The Happiest Gay Couple In All The World, Nightcrawler in X-Men 2, Garfield, 6 eps of The L Word, 3 eps of Robot Chicken) as Gutsy Smurf.
Gary Basaraba (Fried Green Tomatoes, Charlotte’ Web (2006), 1 ep of Nip/Tuck) as Hefty Smurf.
Adam Wylie (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Jimmy Olsen in Superman/Doomsday, Brainiac in Legion of Super Heroes, American Pie Presents Band Camp, 1 ep of Mad) as Panicky Smurf.
Kenan Thompson (Sit Down Shut Up, Saturday Night Live, All That, Stan Helsing) as Greedy Smurf.
Shaquille O’Neal as Smooth Smurf.
B.J. Novak (The Office, The Internship, Knocked Up, Inglourious Basterds, The Amazing Spider-Man 2) as Baker Smurf.
Paul Reubens (aka Pee-Wee Herman) as Jokey Smurf.
Jimmy Kimmel as Passive-Aggressive Smurf.
John Kassir (Mittens in Eek The Cat, Jack The Giant Slayer, The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy, Cryptkeeper in Tales From The Cryptkeeper and Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, Buster Bunny in Animaniacs and Tiny Toon Adventures, 2 eps of Adventure Time) as Crazy Smurf.
Tom Kane (Professor Utonium in The Powerpuff Girls, Narrator and Yoda in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, also Yoda in Star Wars: Clone Wars, Wolverine And The X-Men, 10 eps of The Eric Andre Show, The Angry Beavers, 1995 Iron Man-TAS, 6 eps of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, 5 eps of Robot Chicken, 1 ep of The Legend Of Korra) as Narrator Smurf.
And of course, Frank Welker (Freddy in Scooby Doo, and many many many animal voices in many many many of our favorite cartoons) as Azrael.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2017020/combined

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The Smurfs (2011)

Clint & Carolyn: 3/5 stars (Netflix avg=3.6, guess for us=3.3).
Clint: 6.4/10 (high 6)
Carolyn: 6.6/10 (low 7)
IMDB: 5.3/10.

There is so much wrong with this, but could I really refuse to watch a Smurfs movie because I think it MIGHT be lame? No, I could not. Especially with Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays (Hiro’s perfect match from Heroes), and Sofia Vergara.

And was it lame? Yes, in some ways.

Of course, the original 80’s cartoon is pretty goddamn lame if you sit down and watch an episode of it in 2012, so one could argue that this movie was actually an improvement. The problem is peoples’ rose-tinted nostalgia that causes them to reject everything made on an old idea. But The Smurfs WERE ALREADY AN OLD IDEA when they came to American television. The Smurfs as a franchise are 50 years old; the cartoon is only 30 years old. It was already an adaptation before it was adapted for this movie. So get over it. The movie was fun.

They went into the real world, which is a cheesy plot device used in so many cartoon movies, as well as an excuse to cheap out on the animation budget by using live-action people.

But there was also a real charm in seeing Gargamel as a ridiculous live-action person caught in a world he doesn’t belong to. He assumes homeless people are other wizards. It’s funny, in a 3rd Rock From the Sun Season 1 kind of way, to see someone try to figure out a world they don’t belong in.
And the CGI on Azrael was really cute.

When all is said and done, we have to admit to liking this movie, even if it wasn’t great.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0472181

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Scream 4 (2011)

4/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars (Netflix’s guess for us=3.9), 6.3/10 IMDB.

We definitely had to read the wikipedia summaries of the last 3 movies, because it has been soooo long since the first 3 Scream movies came out. Plus, the 2nd and 3rd ones weren’t as good.

Fortunately, Scream 4 seems to be continuing the trend of resurrecting old horror franchises with a sequel better than the last few sequels.

Final Destination 5 was better than FD3, 4, and maybe 2. And Scream 4 is better than S3 & S2.

Horray for fixing broken franchises!

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1262416

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979)

Clint: 4/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Carolyn: 3.6/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.8/5 stars (Netflix guessed 4.1 for us), 6.7/10.

An exception to our usual focus on modern offerings.

This movie had funny moments, and the Ramones were fun.  It was very much what people would think of as a stereotypical 1980’s highschool/teen-comedy movie. Except it had The Ramones in it, which is something few other movies can boast.

Most of the main characters in this movie still have acting careers today, which is a change compared to most b-movies. As for the “Riff Vs. Kate” debate, It’s almost a tie. Riff’s clavicle is the tiebreaker. I want to see cleavage, not Skeletor. Kate wins.

Interesting that CBS censors mentions of DDT in Teenage Lobotomy when this movie airs on TV, but cocaine and swastikas are just fine. Can’t mess with Monansanto!

And how the fuck are they remaking this? I guess this movie could be remade for every band out there that has a fandom, but it’s never going to be something as seminal as the fucking RAMONES!

It will probably still be better than the sequel I just found out about – Rock ‘N’ Roll High School Forever (1992) – staring Corey Feldman (feat Mojo Nixon). Or the 2nd sequel, Shake, Rattle and Rock! (1994), starring Renee Zellweger and Howie Mandel (feat Paul Anka). God help us all.

At least the 3rd one has some of the original characters and actors from the first one (including P.J. Soles).

Still though — good times!

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079813

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The Gamers: Dorkness Rising (2008)

4/5 stars, 7/10 from both of us.

A real D&D movie! That’s actually funny, too!

Super low budget though. I wouldn’t even call this a b-movie, I’d call it a c-movie.  The acting is quite often bad and stilted, but you know what? We still enjoyed it a lot anyway!

Major nerdgasm this movie was.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0447166

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

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