Friday, December 30, 2011

RAGE (2010)

A self-absorbed doucher with a hideous beard goes into the city to break up with this chick he's been bangin' because, get this, "he still loves his wife" hahaha...what a loser! Anyway, right before the break up he has a small altercation with a guy on a motorcycle over a parking space. After the meeting, the motorcycle dude follows him and starts harassing him. It starts out simple enough with some staring and red light stalling, but soon enough it escalates into violence...but is it real? Could maybe the mysterious, helmeted stranger actually be his guilty conscience? Or maybe Karma fucking with him? Or maybe an actual psycho? Well, I guess you're gonna have to stick around to find out or maybe just have an I.Q. higher than an half-eaten Fig Newton.

I wanted to like this movie. Director, writer, editor, producer, cinematographer, sound department guy, digital effects guy, actor and nice guy Chris Witherspoon asked me to review RAGE on Happyotter so I was more than happy to oblige since I'm always looking for new films and I'm always willing to support low-budget, independent cinema, but I was not a fan of this movie. It's heart is in the right place, but there's just not enough going on to keep the viewer interested. I had some friends over when I watched RAGE and while their boredom didn't send them into fits of rage, my sofa has some gnarly sleep-drool stains that are gonna be a bitch to get out!

Despite this wonderful, stupid, shitty-looking website you see before you I am not a film expert, but I am more than willing to give advise on how to make a better movie. The biggest problem with RAGE is the script: 1) get rid of all of the flashbacks. They are fucking distracting, heavy-handed and pointless. Example: there was one flashback early on that was about an event that happened less than 3 minutes earlier! 2) the main character is a goddamn pussy. I hated that whiny bastard and wanted him to die. If he had just simply manned up from the beginning then all of his problems would have been solved. 3) there's no standout moments and really there's nothing in the entire script that we haven't seen before, even the bad guy looked like a mixture of the killer(s) from NIGHT SCHOOL and NAIL GUN MASSACRE. 4) streamline the entire story. The pace is too slow and the dialogue was boring. I could go on, but I'm tired and lazy and my cat is pestering me for a belly rub. Meow! Oh, I'm sorry, she just walked across the keyboard.

In conclusion, it's an OK film that means well, but with zero nudity, zero gore, very little blood, an unoriginal story, meow, unsympathetic characters, a nonscary villain, flashback overdose, mediocre acting and a lack of memorable moments I can't recommend it. If you need me I'll be in my room watchingMeow!!! ...I mean, I'll be giving Susie a belly rub.

Purrrrrrr.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954)

Ray Milland has had about enough of his wife. He's found out that she's cheating on him and suddenly that Last Will and Testament where she left all of her considerable money to him is startin to look pretty good. He's not in a rush though, oh no, he's taken months to plan out the perfect murder and tonight while he's out at a dinner party with plenty of witnesses around his wife is going to be murdered at their home...but if you know anything about Hitchcock you know there's going to be a twist or two or maybe not.

From what I've read Hitchcock only did this film due to a contractual obligation, but I believe (I have zero proof of this) that Hitch was partially interested in turning the play into a film because nearly the entire movie takes place on a single set and he wanted to maybe use the experience as practice for his massive single set masterpiece he would make later that same year: REAR WINDOW. Don't quote me on that, it's just me thinking out loud.

Anyway, DMFM is a good film. It's nothing groundbreaking (even though some of the camerawork is very impressive), but it's good for a one time watch. One thing I did notice that impressed me was Grace Kelly's dresses change color as the film progressed and her situation became more dire. The first five pictures (after the poster) below show the progression. At first she is happy and her dress is crimson red, then a darker red, then white, gray and finally black.

Not the greatest Hitchcock film, but still a solid one that deserves to be seen.
Hitch cameo.

Monday, December 26, 2011

SCREAM OF THE BANSHEE (2011)

SCREAM OF THE BANSHEE is a nice horror movie to watch while laying in bed trying to fall asleep. A college professor receives a mysterious package in the mail. Inside is a metal glove along with a hand drawn map of the bowels of the college. After some searching, her assistants find another mysterious box that when opened reveals a ancient severed head of an banshee. Suddenly the head comes alive screams a super loud scream and explodes into dust. Now everybody who heard the scream is cursed and the banshee monster is out to kill them. Of course nobody knows that, but they figure it out soon enough when they start showing up dead.

The idea is fine, it kinda reminds me of PRINCE OF DARKNESS a little bit, but unlike POD SOTB doesn't create an atmosphere of dread or do anything original (that bug creature freaked me the fuck out!). SOTB is strictly by the numbers and that's it's main problem: we've already seen all of this before. If you are going to have a horror movie with a bland story idea then you need separate yourself from the crowd by doing something unique whether it be ultraviolence or massive gore or lots of attractive actors/actresses getting naked or really witty dialogue...you need something!!! SOTB does none of those things. The actors do a good job with what they got, but there's zero nudity, zero gore, not very much blood, the banshee creature is silly looking and walks with that shaky seizure walk that I hate so much, Lance Henriksen doesn't even really show up until 75 minutes into the film and the special effects were a disaster.

I can't recommend it at all. If you need me I'll be in my room admiring James Parker's mustache in PRINCE OF DARKNESS...well, that sounded much gayer than I intended it to.
I hope to Satan that's a fat suit.


FRIGHT NIGHT (2011)

If this FRIGHT NIGHT was the first FRIGHT NIGHT ever made, I doubt many people would've been clamoring for a remake...come to think of it, I can't remember anybody clamoring for a remake to begin with! Oh well, the damage is done so let's give it a shot and see what they've done. Who knows maybe it's awesome...

...it's not. The film opens with a vampire killing a family. The scene is so vague and brief that I could barely even register what was happening. Next we are introduced to Charley Brewster, an average teen with an unaveragely pretty girlfriend (well at least that's one improvement over the original!). Charley's normal life is turned upside down when his friend, Evil Ed, informs him that his new neighbor is a vampire...already this movie is diverging so much from the original that it might as well just be a completely new story all together. Anyway, so once Charley discovers his neighbor is a vampire he contacts a local celebrity, Peter Vincent, for help. Peter is no longer a funny, pathetic and loveable horror movie host. Instead he's a cocky magician that comes off like a bizarre lovechild of Criss Angel and Russell Brand. Ugh, you know what? Who fucking cares? As a remake FRIGHT NIGHT (2011) is garbage, but as a stand alone vampire film it's OK.

The whole thing comes off more like an episode of a TV show than it does a movie. Gone are the enjoyable characters from the original, instead they've been replaced with forgettable characters. Gone are the awesome actors that brought those characters to life, instead they've been replaced with actors that seem to be happy with just turning in an passable performance. Gone are the awesome special effects, instead they've been replaced with middle-of-the-road CGI. Gone is the tightly written script that masterfully mixed horror and campy humor, instead it's been replace with a generic script that masterfully mixes boredom and light blasphemy.

Wow. This review ended up a little more negative than I intended it to be, but I really love FRIGHT NIGHT and even though this remake wasn't bad, it does not deserve to be called FRIGHT NIGHT. If you're so out of it you didn't even realize this was a remake then you'll probably like this film, but if, like me, you hold the original close to your heart then you'll probably do best to watch it once and then promptly forget it. I know I will.

Part 1
Part 2
Remake 2

Look at that chick's face. LOL.

Easily the highlight of the movie.

Friday, December 23, 2011

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS (2011)

Back in 1931, Edward (somehow completely immune from sunlight) is training to be a veterinarian. On the day that he's to take is exam his parents (obviously adopted parents since he had been a vampire for over 10 years at this point in his life) die in a car wreck. Edward is very sad and just starts walking. Eventually he ends up on a train with a bunch of roughnecks. He doesn't use his vampire strength and instead just goes with the flow to see where this leads him. Ends up he's on a circus train and since he knows a lot about animals he's given the job as the circus vet.

That's all well and good until he sees the star attraction (and the boss's wife), Reese Witherspoon, the horse rider. Reese is immediately taken in by Edward's animal magnetism and he with her, but they keep it quite. Turns out that Reese's husband is quite the asshole and rules the circus like a dictator, even resorting to tossing workers off the moving train if he can't afford to pay them. Soon an elephant joins the circus and Reese and Edward are commissioned to create an act around the elephant that will save the circus from financial ruin. You can only guess what happens next.

I liked this movie. For a trimmed down novel adaptation (I'm totally guessing that the novel was more detailed and had better character development), WFE was an enjoyable film and I liked it. But I do have a few suggestions for any time traveling filmmakers looking to go back and remake the movie: 1. different director. Bring in somebody that can create a richer feel to the story. Ang Lee for example. The guy who learned his trade by making Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears music videos ain't cutting it. 2. slightly darker tone. Nothing evil, but make the boss character scarier. He was an asshole, but I never felt threatened by him. 3. create a greater sense of danger for the elephant. There was some abuse portrayed, but if at least it had been implied to be worse the audience would have been drawn in further. 4. replace Reese Witherspoon with Bella. I like Reese Witherspoon as an actress, but here she was too old for the character and there was zero onscreen chemistry between her and Edward. 5. where's the sex?! this is suppose to be a romance movie, but there wasn't even a sex scene! I'm not saying there should be a 30 minute porno scene in the middle of the movie, but it'd be nice if there was some steamy stuff to get your juices flowing. I'm thinking THE LOVER or LUST, CAUTION (oh hey, look, Ang Lee again).

Worth watching if you enjoy Hollywoodized romantic movies, but over all, even thought the story is interesting, it's too tame for it's own good.