Category Archives: Movies

3 Line Cinema

This is actually CheekyDiva’s prompt dealie, so it’s her thing really, this is just a way I can keep inspired, selflessly promote others while shamelessly promoting myself. And yes I would randomly promote you too, just because you are neato. Yes, You too!

Anyway the topic is movies, the technique is Haiku, and the object is for you to care enough to guess the movie.

1. My hand is possessed?!
Chainsawed it off; now can’t read
A Farewell to Arms

2. Days shooting mynocks
Who knew ‘wasting time with friends’
Would pay off some day?!

3. A chick with three boobs?!
And spy games on Mars…who cares!
A chick with three boobs!!

4. A futile journey
Past bikers, Large Marge, ‘pet’ snakes…
There was no basement!

5. That Jeff Goldblum flick
A catch-phrase mumbling genius…
No, the other one.

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Filed under Haiku, Movies, Poetry, Writing

Trifextra 44: Rebel Scum

For the weekend challenge, we’re asking you to write exactly 33 words about rebellion and/or revolt. Interpret it as you will, just keep it to 33 words.

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If you’re planning a startup Empire- first, ally yourself with clumsy aquatic or adorable woodland species. You may not need them, but they’ve assisted rebels in many critical battles, and always (inadvertently) win.

_______________________

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Filed under Creative Writing, Life, Movies, Politics, Trifextra, Trifextra Writing Challenge, Writing, Writing Challenges

Ketchup With Us #4 – Who’s Laughing Now?!

In 57 WORDS OR LESS, retell the plot line of your favorite horror movie. And, if you can find one, be sure to include a movie clip of your own. Ketchup With Us

Ms Mel and ODNT are at it again with Ketchup #4. Get in on it!

After racking my brains out over all of the (ridiculous) horror movies I have been watching, it came to me, why overthink it? Get back to basics, the movies that got you INTO horror. Freddie, Jason, Michael, even the Toxic Avenger are all legit. To me though, the icon of cheesy horror is Bruce Campbell, better known as Ash in the Evil Dead series.

And so I decided to go with the cult favorite: Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn.
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Sam Raimi’s horror classic, starring Bruce Campbell’s chin, comes complete with a 1973 Oldsmobile, tape recitation of the Necronomicon which unleashes evil, possessed hands & chainsaws (never a good mix), sight gags (A Farewell to Arms), and a cellar dwelling monster who provides an eye- popping scene. The climactic ending proves you can’t escape fate. Groovy.
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Oh a trailer was requested. I found one for the Evil Dead (remake). Rarely do I endorse that idea.

Rarely am I actually terrified by a trailer. Part of me wants to see this in theaters. Another part wants to hide now.

Seriously, the trailer is crazy. Click at your own risk! Enjoy!

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Filed under Horror, Humor, Ketchup With Us, Movies, Writing, Writing Challenges

Movie reviews – Be Independent

What’s the difference between a B movie and an Indie film? Both have lower budgets, are released through smaller movie companies, and if they are lucky will make a film festival before heading straight to DVD, or Netflix instant. Sometimes, it’s the intention of the director to make something campy, other times, a big movie company might create a smaller label to give some funding to a movie idea that they bought into wither sullying their illustrious reputations for only releasing the highest standards and ideas on reasonable budgets and modest fanfare.

Whatever the case, from the days of my teenager-ness when I purposefully hunted down the worst movies I could find (la la la) to this recent resurgence of interest into lower-budget/tier movies (blockbusters like Transformers and GI Joe have left me disillusioned), I’ve been making the most of my Netflix Instant subscription.

Rubber (2010)

The cover says it all, I think. Well yes a tire. It’s about an old, abandoned tire that somehow becomes sentient (I hesitate to say ‘alive’), and out of all the abilities (besides being sentient) that it gains, it gets the power of ‘blowing stuff up at will’ (there is a technical term for this, which I suspect is telekinesis, but does that necessarily mean blowing things up or just being able to manipulate them?).  Anyway, in order to put some dialogue and a backstory into this, since the general idea is not that deep (ya think?) there is a twist! The movie itself is being shown as a movie, or at least a live action cinematic display (perhaps also known as a PLAY?!) to an audience who are provided with binoculars, by a nameless host/organizer. The random crowd of people is/are instructed when the day’s ‘showing’ begins and ends, and sleep out in the desert at night. They are not fed or given any other amenities, and the organizer begins, or rather continues, acting strangely. But enough about them, that is, without spoilers. Back to the tire.

As the tire goes on increasingly violent adventures, it has flashbacks of what it had recently done, as well as having once been on a car roaring down a similar highway. The movie needs on an ominous note, that is, if you took this movie seriously which you could. To a degree.  Camera angles/visuals are good; the film itself has a feel as if it were a final project for an upper level film course. Taken from my notes as I watched it, I waxed philosophical: “There might be a time when you wake up one day and find yourself somewhere completely out of the ordinary. What you do in that opportunity is pick yourself up, dust off, and move. Always keep moving. Go around, go over, go forward. Or just blow stuffs up.” Eat your heart out Socrates. 

Final Grade: B. Some critics would say it ran a little too long, but there was an attempt at character development. Yes for the tire, but also the side stories, weak as they were. Plus it’s a B movie.

Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)

A group of college kids, the guys pseudo-jocks, the girls pseudo sex-kittens, head for hormone-raging adventures in the mountains. On their way down a lonely backwoods country road, they ride alongside some rednecks in a truck, who give them menacing evil looks that can only mean one thing – Killer Rednecks! Eeek!

However, the plot twist come immediately, as everyone winds up at a nearby gas station, the college kids already expecting mass murder by the Killer Rednecks (Eeek). What we hear from the rednecks though, is that they are just shy easy goin’ fellers headed up to a cabin they bought.

What, what?

That’s right, those Killer Rednecks (eek?) are just simple guys with simple needs. To spend weekends/vacations at their lakeside cabin while fishin’. That’s all! In fact Dale has a bit of a crush on one of the sex kittens, and well his attempts at conversation are as painful as the ones you may remember trying. Well, YOU try telling anything to the knowitall college kids that will dissuade them from thinking you are about to hacksaw their limbs without spillin a beer. Even after one of the sex kittens is injured and put in peril, the rednecks’ rescue is misconstrued as kidnapping, and the knowitall college kids hatch some plans that, well, start to backfire on them…with deadly results.

Will the rednecks get their peace and quiet? Will the knowitall college kids figure out they are wrong and stop gittin’ themselves killed? Will there be yet another twist in the plot?

Though a modestly budgeted movie, the acting is superb! The location, plot(s) and idea are executed (yes pun intended) in their parody of traditional horror, with an original twist. There is some over the top gore, including typical items like a wood chipper (yes that is typical these days) which ‘add to the humor’ if horror parody suits you. Very little (in the distance) nudity, much less than any Friday the 13th, but you may or mayn’t miss the lack of T&A. I laughed, I groaned, I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Final Grade: A I didn’t expect much, but I got tons more enjoyment that I would have guessed. This movie was high quality and seemed more ‘indie’ than B genre goes  – definitely not in the ‘so bad it’s good’ justification that I will give a lot of times.  Acting was great, script excellent. Go for it.

Dead Snow (2009)

A German Zombie film! Subtitled of course. A group of horny German  med schoolers go on break (well not spring break since they are traveling in 10 feet of snow to a cabin that some distant relative/friend owned and loaned to them for their fun and frisky frolics. Crazy Eurpoeans do everything backwards. I guess their spring break schedule is metric also). Anyway, what the cabin owner (whoever that was) left out of the cabin details was a terrible secret! That secret is revealed, along with angry Nazi zombies who at the same time, rise from the earth…well the snow, and wreak havoc. Will the med schoolers get away/defeat the zombies who do not represent modern German politics? Will the zombies feast on med school brains? Will you have accurately chosen the person/people who will survive this menace?

Typical plot with a few twists. Blood and gore are well done with CGI, not high budget but effective. Some violent demises, like one zombie pulling apart someone’s head, are a little ‘unbelievable’ (yes I still adhere to physics and logic with zombie horror), and the ‘guts stuck on the tree branch and unraveling for a while before the person figures it out’ gag seems a little Wile E Coyote for me. During one part, after a fight with Nazombies (I am not going to copyright that name, or take credit for inventing it, even though the term was NOT used during the movie), one of the med school students is bitten, and laments that he will be turned into one of them. His friend, in pure dark humor, reasons with him “Are you sure they’d want you? You’re half-Jewish.” Ehhh a little tacky. Maybe they laughed in the German theaters, or maybe it created more awkwardness. Either way, the guy didn’t buy it and chainsawed his arm off. A side note would be that the chainsawing was the SECOND Evil Dead reference that I caught in this movie. Kudos to them for that. Another ‘flaw’ in logic would be that they are covered in zombie blood, but are fine – which contradicts the saliva/bite theory. Yes I will get all Spock on the logics. There is a brief sex scene (pretty much non-nude) in the outhouse; I mean really they are in the snow so who would strip down? There are ‘formal’ terms for sex acts in the bathroom; knowing these will not enrich our lives, so I will skip that. For med school students, they sure didn’t figure out the reason for the Nazombie invasion, when it was pretty obvious. Maybe if they had put up a dry erase board and went all House MD with theories (or a round of Win/Lose or Draw), they would have spared themselves…a little. The ending was not so bad; a very Ah-ha!/Oh No! moment.

Final Grade: B/B+. With all its good and bad, it seemed more like a movie that Europeans made in the American grain of horror movies (in which case they should have had gratuitous nudity). When done the other way around there is usually more success.  

Suck (2009)

A band, ironically called the Winners (yes they planned it), are anything but. Barely paying gigs in small clubs, they can’t get enough attention to make money cut a demo or get labels to come to a show. Throw in some ‘former relationship drama’ between Joey the lead singer, and Jennifer the bassist, and well things ain’t going their way. Which reminds me, even having a hot girl in their band isn’t working for them, which is kind of unbelievable (works in real life all the time).  

So how can things get worse? Well after heading out with a mysterious stranger (is there any other kind), Jennifer shows up late, not looking or feeling too well. Stranger still, at their next gigs, The Winners are garnering more attention. Well, Jennifer is anyway. One particular person is showing up, following them around – not a label rep, but a vampire hunter.  Yeap, Jennifer is now one of the undead, and as band members start suspecting one thing and another, they have to decide whether the risk of bodies piling up, or they themselves becoming a bloody Big Gulp, is worth the growing fame.

Music is good, they actually perform some songs. Joey (Rob Stefaniuk) is also the writer, director and soundtracker of Suck, so it’s not like they had everyone stand around pretending to pluck strings, which put this above some SNL or Super Bowl performances that are out there.

Special effect, camerawork and acting are all above par, as most of the actors have a good handful of past credits.

There are some great cameos, including Malcolm McDowell as the vampire hunter, Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins, Moby and Alice Cooper, each as burnouts or wretches of the entertainment industry in one way or the other (they likely just acted like people they have encountered at some point). Each is a surprise pop-up and actually hold their own.

There are several memorable quotable moments:

–“Nobody likes a judge.” “Nobody likes a vampire either!”
–“Did he just say we’re going to be famous?” “Yeah.” “Whoa. I gotta call my mom.”
–Van Helsing:“I’m afraid of the dark.” Bouncer: “Cool. I’m afraid of confined spaces and water fountains.”
–“How am I supposed to look at myself in their mirror?” “You can’t, you’re a vampire.” “Yeah you’re just going to have to suck it up.”

Final Grade: A-. Suck doesn’t suck. Acting as I said, is good, plot is not really original, cameos are great, all in all a good watch.

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Filed under 50 Movies in 2012, Movies, Reviews

Flick Picks Vol. 1

Like I mentioned, I have been watching more movies since joining Netflix, and well why not document those as well! I will contradict myself here, and mention that spoilers will be listed, but not the endings of movies, just what happens in some scenes. It will be just movies this time; will mix them in future blogs. Or not. Fell free to let me know what you think of these, if you decide to based on what I say. Since I am goign through Netflix, if you have an account you can ge them easily.

13 Assassins – 2010

After hearing of the atrocities of a Shogun’s relative (Lord Naritsugu), culminating in the harikari of a political figure in protest, another district counselor and samurai vows to bring the man to justice and avenge those whom he has brought shame and death upon, by taking his life in turn. (Seems legit to me) Typical samurai plot of course, but done well here. The camerawork is brilliant, the acting authentic, sets and locations arranged wonderfully. Music is kept to a minimum for much of the movie, the gravity of thoughts and decisions weighing heavily and needing no prompts. You can truly sense the tension in the air as they conspire, knowing, accepting, even hoping(?) that many of them will almost surely die; they only wish to have it happen in a fight and to not be discovered/have their plot foiled. There is a scene *spoiler alert* about 30 minutes in, where Shinzaemon is shown a woman who had her arms and legs cut off, and as she writes (with a brush in her mouth), her family and village was massacred. This scene hit me very hard, it’s very intense. What brought it up even a notch from that was Shinzaemon’s response. “Fate has smiled upon me” he says calmly, with what seems to be intensely controlled mirth almost making him smile at what he is seeing. He speaks about being a samurai, the pride and honor of it – but that he is a samurai during peaceful times. This, he feels, gives him and other samurai the opportunity to do what they are bred for; to fight with honor and die with it. His body language, and the way he speaks, even though I needed subtitles to understand, transcended what even the best words cannot explain. One of the most intense monologues I have heard from a movie in a while.
The second scene, again with Shinzaemon he stands at the roof of a building facing Lord Naritsugu. Rather than simply continue killing the army, he reaches into his robes and unfurls a parchment; holding it out, we see the words that the mutilated woman wrote out “total massacre”. The scene, and that brief moment where the tension once again hangs in the air, is a definitive scene, considering also that (bad guy) doesn’t even get it, until it is explained, and even then gives a brief recollection that is meaningless to him.
The last half hour is all fighting, a good balance of dialogue, plot/character development, and sheer brutal killing. Yin and Yang. There is a bit of mysticism with one character; not getting more out of it was not too much of a loss for me, as it gives even more of an impression of a tale, which always has some small embellishments.

Grade: A. Definitely worth your time.

Keywords: Drama, Violence, Vengeance, War, Samurai


Saints and Soldiers – 2003.

A lower-budgeted movie set in World War 2. A group of American POW’s escape from their Nazi captors and try to maneuver through a wintry French countryside. Along the way they meet a British airman who has vital information that needs to be delivered. You know the formula – a group of completely different personalities have a seemingly impossible goal, come across smaller adventures/dangers along the way, while some of them start getting picked off along the way. As I said it is a lower budget flick (I think it went straight to DVD), so don’t expect much in known actors (they have made movies SINCE then, but no one that I recognized right away. Not much in F/X, or musical scores, but then again – who needs it? Simple script, a bit of drama from the soldier with PTSD, and some critics point out the religious/Mormon angles/ideals that are pushed a bit (it was funded by Mormons and filmed in Utah), but it’s not flagrant like Mel Gibson movies, or the Left Behind Series – I didn’t even pick up on it until afterwards.

Grade: B. Worth the 90 minutes on Netflix, for a snow day or if the fish ain’t biting.

Keywords- Drama, War, Violence, WWII, independent film, Nazi


Zombie Girl: The Movie – 2009

Low budget documentary about a low budget movie. Win win – if that’s your bag. A 12 year old girl who is a horror movie fanatic, writes a script for her own movie “Pathogen”, but in this day and age of easily accessible technology, decides that she wants this done, I mean really done, now now now. At first you’ll think that, again, in this day and age, a kid would not have the attention span to see it through. Well, you’re half right. Some small indie producers/actors, friends and other would be actors, local comic store/theater/trade show organizers, a crew filming a documentary, and her parents, all band together to support this movie. Are they helping her along or carrying her? You will see glimpses of teen angst/brattiness, and the film cuts to months later with little explanation (though schoolwork and budget are pretty obvious I guess), and her own half-hearted attempts to secure a film makers guild grant (why bother when you know your parents and/or the crew filming you will pay for it?), along with the obvious issues of amateur acting/filming in a suburban town. Again, the idea that this is getting done is just as much the overindulgence of the parents as her dedication, but you’ll find yourself rooting for her, and curious as to how the end product turns out.
If low budget flicks, and incredibly cheesy B horror movies in general, along with documentary crews who seem to be just as new as their subject in making films are your bag, well then you’ll like it. Otherwise, I would skip it, and just sit on your porch yelling at those rapscallions with their cameras and fancy phones to get off your lawn.

Grade: B-,  curved from C+. It’s a B movie after all…
Keywords: Documentary, Film, B Movies, Horror, Independent film.


Lisa Lampinelli: Tough Love- 2011

A recording of a live LL standup concert. She goes through the motions, picking out people from every demographic from the audience and goes back to them with stereotypical statements from bits in her routine, peppered in with sex jokes from her sex life. Not something that I wanted to visualize at all. Her voice is annoying, her routine outdated (I get that she is breaking through the thin-skinned PC rules of how specific races/cultures are, and yes I laughed, but I laughed at those jokes 20 years ago). Tried to get through it twice, but nope couldn’t do it.

Grade: Incomplete –F. A sign of the times. That sign is ‘dead end’.
Keywords: movies, reviews, standup, comics.


Joe Rogan: Live – 2006
Yes he’s host of Fear Factor and gets to ogle the women who have to strip down to bathing suits for at least one ‘stunt’, but that’s the only thing you would put the show on for. This concert is nothing but a musclehead with a backwards hat shouting stupid jokes. I can’t stress it enough that he shouts, endlessly. Sort of liek when people raise their voice when speaking to someone who doesn’t undertsand their language. If you’re not in a frat house doing a keg stand, you shouldn’t waste your time.

Grade: Incomplete –F. Again, if you like today’s comics, or comparing them to comics of yesteryear, then go for it.
Keywords: movies, reviews, standup, comics

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