Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ultra-Megazord Update

I wish I had more time in the last few weeks to update this so that the posts wouldn't have to take so much time, but hey, what are you gonna do? A constant stream of projects have left me pretty much devoid of time and energy to keep up with it, yet I've had enough time to spend pretty big chunks of our tax return, to the point that I actually feel exhausted from buying movies. Oy vey. On to the few films I've been able to eek out.

This was a movie my wife had seen when she was younger and really enjoyed, thus sending me on a quest to find it, which was difficult at first since she couldn't remember the name of it. After a somewhat lengthy search, we finally tracked it down, leaving me somewhat surprised that Le Femme Nikita was in it which made it more interesting for me to see it. However, after all that, it was somewhat disappointing to see that it was on par with most of the generic thrillers USA and Cinemax used to dabble in at three in the morning on a Thursday. Right off the bat we get William Baldwin, easily the most useless Baldwin, which soured me almost immediately. I think the best performance he ever gave was in an M&M's commercial. I don't think Anne Parillaud worked on improving her English in the eight years betwenn Innocent Blood which only hurt the performance of the film all the more. The film has a lot of intriguing ideas, but it just doesn't have the budget or talent to really pull them off, though some neat scenes do pop up every now and then, such as the old house filled with crabs. The film was at least interesting enough to keep me wanting to see how everything played out but it feels like there's a better movie somewhere waiting to break free.
Grade: C-

At one point in my life, I actually used to look forward to spoof films. Airplane and the Naked Gun movies were favorites growing up. In recent years, they're probably the most repugnant form of film to me outside of dance movies and inspirational teacher movies. Even though this was directed by the same guy in charge of the old movies, this is still just as stupid and unfunny as any others being put out, though I do give it credit for having less fart jokes than your average spoof movie. It was somewhat decent in the beginning with a few jokes actually hitting home, but as it kept going, it got more and more tedious to watch. By the end, it had stopped even trying to be funny and was just trying to convince people to quit bitching about the war and that George Bush wasn't so bad which was about the last goddamn thing I wanted to hear,especially in what should of been a breezy dumbass comedy.
Grade: D

For everything I liked about this movie, there was something else that I didn't. While the subject matter is certainly compelling, I couldn't help but feel that the filmmakers were just using the subject matter to make a name for themselves. The subjects in the film are sincere (save for one vapid and callous bitch that almost made me throw the remote across the room) and tell their stories, but there's a sense that while there is a message in their segments, the filmmakers don't seem to grasp it themselves and every segment seems a bit shortchanged, almost as if they're just biding their time to show some more "sweet" clips of people jumping to their deaths. While it is compelling enough to watch, I could never shake the feeling that this felt like some surface level art school cliches that picked a subject they knew people would want to see.
Grade: C

Speaking of spoof movies...I'll be honest, the only reason I have this is because Best Buy had the blu-ray for only 7 bucks and I had a five dollar gift certificate to use. After years of horrible spoof movies, as well as having already been soured on An American Carol, my expectations were pretty piss poor for this one. To my surprise, I ended up enjoying it for the most part. It actually made me laugh, which is more than I can say for the last few Scary Movie films. It was nice seeing them have fun with horror movie cliches again, something Scary Movie lost a long time ago. I even enjoyed the character of Stan Helsing himself who looks like an uber-douche upon first seeing him. Even the typical annoying blond wasn't too bad and provided some decent jokes, even if her running gag got pretty damn stale by the end. In fact, the whole movie tends to run out of steam in the last third where it felt a little too aimless for me. And I still don't care for Kenen or Kel or whoever the hell he played at all. I'll go ahead and eat my own hat to say I actually had a decent time with this one.
Grade: C+

The best thing about this movie? It's a truly emotional, meaningful film that is 100% free of the typical pap and manipulation of the audience that makes up pretty much all of the usual tearjerkers shelled out. This movie is completely genuine and leaves you better off after having seen it. It's one of the best films to touch on lives lived and lost that really hits home in the final scenes. And even though it only makes up a small section of the film, the scenes dealing with an outsider's view of Japan are far greater than the vastly overrated Lost in Translation. The photography is top notch as well, where not a single frame is wasted and always ties in to film in some way.The less I say the better. This is one of the better films I've seen in the last few years and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for an honest story free of the normal pandering we usually get.
Grade: A

I had enjoyed another documentary, called Star Woids, about a group of people lined up for the premiere of Episode 1 and I was hoping for something similar with this, even though I knew it was made by a completely different group of filmmakers. I guess the law of diminishing returns works even on completely unrelated projects. One big problem is that there's not really anyone to like in this film. Everyone's kind of either a jerk or a douchebag so there's not really anything enjoyable about watching them. The only real interesting aspect of this is to see exactly how this people function as a society in their obsession. That, and there's a great part where some Hot Topic dipshits get the crap knocked out of them. It also isn't shot very well. You can tell this wasn't a group of professional filmmakers. Other than that, it came, it went, and I was over it.
Grade: C-

For those comic nerds who haven't caught the recent crop of animated DTV comic book movies, you really are missing out. While the Marvel films are typically hit or miss, the DC films are usually well worth checking out. The last Justice League movie, New Frontier, was one of their best ones and so I was looking forward to this one quite a bit. While it wasn't as good or as engaging as the other one, it was still a decent watch. One of the most interesting aspects of these films is to see what actors are brought on board to play the roles with the highlight of this film belonging to James Woods as Owlman. At first, it seems as though he's playing the role rather flat, it becomes apparent that he's going for a more icy, mellow tone that really brings out how unbalanced and nihilistic his character is the longer the film goes on. Another good thing about these films is that they try to get viewers accustomed to other characters than the typical Batman and Superman stories, with the Martian Manhunter getting a good spotlight role in this one. In fact, Batman sits out on a big chunk of the movie but it does a good job of building up to when he becomes involved. The middle section drags too much which I find to be an issue with a lot of these for some reason, but at the same time, it's almost maddening how they shorten the story to fit into a needless sub-70 minute running time. It;s not like they have to worry about getting as many showings in a day as possible like theatrical films so I'm not sure why they do this. This wasn't as good as a lot of the Justice League episodes you can catch on TV but it is worth a watch sometime. I'm really looking forward to the next release, Batman: Under the Red Hood, which is an interesting pick for an animated movie and should be fairly fucked up to see.
Grade: C+

This one was more for my wife and son than for me actually having a desire to watch it. It's your average Disney story. Talking animals, some quest or adventure, some bumbling sidekicks for comedic relief, a lesson learned, and a montage set to a song by no-longer-so-hot singer. It's hard for me to really critique something like this as it's not really bad or offensive but it also doesn't really bring anything new to the table. Though, it was nice seeing the MacKenzie Brothers again, even in moose form.
Grade: C

What could have been a favorite is ruined by such a degree of uneven characterization that I just can't overlook it. The idea, execution, and special effects of the film are top notch but the one character we are saddled with and have to spend so much time with is such an unlikeable son of a bitch that I could have cared less for him. He was a weaselly asshole that only cared about himself, which would have been fine if that was truly what they wanted, but not for a second did I ever buy his "redemption," though I don't blame that on the actor so much as I do on just sloppy writing. And at the same time, the movie did such a good job of showing how awful and nasty the aliens are I could care less about them as well, leaving only the prawn Christopher Johnson and his son to be the only engaging characters in the whole movie. Other than that, why should I give a damn about anyone or anything in this movie? Really, the only reason it's enjoyable at all is because of the visual spectacle which completely sells the alien inhabitants as believable and when the action kicks in, it leaves your jaw on the floor. The alien weapons create a kind of damage I can't even remember seeing before in a film. On the strength of that coupled with the success of the idea itself does the film manage to find some footing and be enjoyable.
Grade: B-

I think Jody Hill is probably the greatest comedy filmmaker working today (take that Judd Apatow!). Between The Foot Fist Way, Observe and Report, and this, he's already had a better run than most comedic directors have in the course of a decade. His sense of humor is absolutely pitch perfect and does a great job of making you feel awful that he just made you laugh out loud. The situations are so horrible and serious for the characters but hilarious to the viewer that it makes you uncomfortable for finding it all hilarious. The ending of the fifth episode actually had me laughing so hard I couldn't breathe, which the last time that happened might have been back when I watched Arrested Development so many years ago. It also helps that Danny McBride is probably the funniest working actor around today. I'm even tempted to watch Land of the Lost just for him. His character is one of the most delusional and self-destructive guys to have his own series. He's a walking disaster that you inexplicably can't help but like. It looks like it is getting a second season which is great news because these six episodes are way too little of such a great character.
Grade: A

Movies Watched: 10
- Shattered Image
- An American Carol
- The Bridge
- Cherry Blossoms
- Star Wait
- Brother Bear 2
- Eastbound and Down Season 1
- Stan Helsing (blu)
- Justice League Crisis on Two Earths (blu)
- District 9 (blu)
New Movies Bought: 190
+ Sand Serpents
+ Grizzly Man
+ The Hanging Woman
+ Vice Squad
+ Corpse Vanishes (MST3K Version)
+ Warrior of the Lost World (MST3K Version)
+ Santa Claus (MST3K Version)
+ Night of the Blood Beast (MST3K Version)
+ The True Story of the Nun of Monza
+ Nuns of St. Archangel
+ Images in a Convent
+ Rabid
+ The Night Porter
+ Grand Slam
+ Hamlet (Lawrence Olivier)
+ Winnie the Pooh: Heffalump Halloween Movie
+ Murder Loves Killers Too
+ Grindstone Road
+ Kamikaze Girls
+ To Live
+ The Little Polar Bear
+ Pep Squad
+ Small Town Folk
+ The Unbearable Lightness of Being
+ Prison-A-Go-Go
+ Razorback
+ Fright ('50s)
+ Stark Fear
+ Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell
+ Argento: An Eye for Horror
+ H-Man
+ Battle in Outer Space
+ Mothra (original)
+ Escape 2000
+ Peeping Tom
+ Le Trou
+ Le Corbeau
+ Flesh for Frankenstein
+ Alphaville
+ Mayerling
+ Le Jour Se Leve
+ Gervaise
+ Last Holiday
+ Greased Lighting
+ The Mack
+ Uptown Saturday Night
+ Eastbound and Down Season 1
+ City of Rott
+ Exotica
+ Ichi the Killer 0 (anime)
+ The Mummy's Shroud
+ Plague of Zombies
+ The Killer Must Kill Again
+ From Within
+ The Broken
+ Ring Virus
+ Snuff
+ The Seduction
+ Salems Lot (original)
+ The Gate
+ The Stepfather (original)
+ Campfire Tales
+ The Last Horror Film
+ They Don't Cut the Grass Anymore
+ Burial of the Rats
+ Gummo
+ Web of the Spider
+ Mr Show Season 3
+ Lost Season 2
+ Star Wait
+ Frozen ('96)
+ Last of the Living
+ One Missed Call: Final
+ Wild Man of the Navidad
+ Shuttle
+ Ghost Machine
+ Fear(s) of the Dark
+ Brother Bear 2
+ Curse of the Demon
+ Shrink
+ Dark Mirror
+ Albino Farm
+ Shattered Image
+ Bizarre
+ Night of Death
+ The Flesh and the Fiends
+ The Old Dark House ('32)
+ The Bridge
+ Overnight
+ Calamari Wrestler
+ Black Mama White Mama
+ Running Out of Time 2
+ Pervert
+ Killer Buzz
+ Pusher 2
+ Pusher 3
+ Blood Car
+ Spirits of the Dead
+ Crowley
+ Kidnapping of the President
+ Deathrow Gameshow
+ Walking Dead
+ Frankenstein 1970
+ You'll Find Out
+ Zombies on Broadway
+ Hunchback of Notre Dame ('39)
+ The Princess and the Warrior
+ The Brain That Wouldn't Die (MST3K Version)
+ Golden Years
+ End of the Line
+ Great Expectations (David Lean)
+ Picnic at Hanging Rock
+ Withnail and I
+ Gozu
+ The Telling
+ Messiah of Evil
+ The Strangeness
+ Between the Covers
+ Swinging Wives
+ Doctor Death
+ Derby
+ Running Hot
+ Stunt Rock
+ Deliver Us From Evil
+ The Fox Affair
+ Velvet Trap
+ Hot Nights on the Campus
+ Silent Scream
+ Trapped
+ Pets
+ Goodbye Gemini
+ Hoop Dreams
+ Night of the Dribbler
+ Weekend Murders
+ Riot on 42nd St.
+ Choke Canyon
+ Hot Moves
+ Teenage Mother
+ Teenage Graffiti
+ The Hit
+ Stranger Than Paradise
+ Hell's Ground
+ Brainiac
+ Beales of Grey Gardens
+ Masculin Feminine
+ Seance
+ Seance on a Wet Afternoon
+ Tokyo Zombie
+ Blast of Silence
+ Life of Brian
+ An American Carol
+ Perkins 14
+ Superman/Batman: Public Enemies
+ My Lucky Stars
+ Management
+ Tyson
+ Night Train
+ Showdown in Little Tokyo
+ Killing Room
+ Ghost Writer
+ Storytelling
+ Retribution
+ Wind in the Willows
+ Air Guitar Nation
+ Vinyan
+ Carriers
+ Deadgirl
+ The Scourge
+ Wild Country
+ The Shortcut
+ Chocolate (blu)
+ Gran Torino (blu)
+ Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (blu)
+ Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (blu)
+ 100 Feet (blu)
+ The International (blu)
+ The Wrestler (blu)
+ Sands of Oblivion (blu)
+ Stan Helsing (blu)
+ Where the Wild Things Are (blu)
+ Hardware (blu)
+ District 9 (blu)
+ Cyclops (blu)
+ Sukiyaki Western Django (blu)
+ Never Say Never Again (blu)
+ Jennifer's Body (blu0
+ Give Em Hell, Malone (blu)
+ Red Mist (blu)
+ Amusement (blu)
+ Appaloosa (blu)
Unseen DVDS: 3127
Unseen Blu-rays: 65
Unseen VHS: 119

It's like with every step forward, I take 20 steps back.

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