Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I'm somewhat hopeless when it comes to DVDs.

You know, I'm starting to think that those fuckers at Sony have me figured out. They're releasing a new box set of the first two Resident Evil movies. Now, I'm sure you're thinking "Don't you already own both of those movies?" To which I would reply "Yup. In fact, I have 2 different copies of the first Resident Evil!" And you would respond with, "What are you, fucking stupid? Why keep buying movies you already own? You're an idiot!"

Well, you know what, to hell with you. I didn't ask what you thought, did I? Hell yes I'm going to buy it again (of course, this time, I might go ahead and get rid of my old copy). It has, get this, a new scene! That's right. They shot a new scene with a voice over by Milla (in character) to bridge the gap between the first two movies and the third. How sweet is that? I'll tell you how sweet that is. It's pretty fucking sweet.

Look, I know it's just an attempt to cash in, but I'm okay with that. I'll buy the set. I mean, it comes with a ticket to see Extinction, that means it's 3 movies for $20. That's a deal, right? (Last time I had a deal like that, I had to watch Peter Jackson's King Kong, so who knows if it'll be a good deal).

Monday, June 25, 2007

What is The Matrix?

Do you remember the first time you saw The Matrix? I remember seeing the first previews for it during the Super Bowl and how flat out amazing it looked as Neo dodged bullets at super speed. I remember having no idea what the movie was about, but suddenly wanting desperately to see it.

And, I remember going to see it. It was amazing. The first ten minutes, following Trinity as she is being chased by agents is just, still, one of the best action sequences I've seen. Sure, there's no explosions, or a real gun fight, but it's tense and suspenseful and, well, it's what action should be.

As she jumps from building to building, and the agents follow, you start to get a glimpse of what you're in for. She escapes the agents, to find a phone (which we learn is how they get in and out), and what's waiting for her? An agent. In a big truck. About to run down the phone booth.

Think what you will of Reloaded and Revolutions, it's hard to deny how much fun, and how interesting The Matrix was and still is.

How do you think the world would have reacted to Episode I had they not seen The Matrix only two months earlier? The Matrix changed the way we looked at it. Star Wars: Episode 1 was a special effects extravaganza, but suddenly, it was like it had been done before. The Matrix was special effects, sure, but there was this great story about Neo. Was he the chosen one? Was Morpheus right? And then two months later, there was Anakin. Was he the chosen one? Was Qui-Gon right? (Of course, in this comparison, it means that Obi Wan and Trinity fill the same role. Which isn't unreasonable, in Episode 3 he does admit his love for Anakin, "You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you." Jar Jar however, has no counterpart. He's kind of...special.)

The Matrix changed things. Think about how computers were treated prior to it. Johnny Mnemonic, The Net, Hackers. Hollywood had no concept of how people were using the internet or computers at that time. And, while a few things were...well, unlikely, there was nothing horribly out side the realm of plausibility. Well, ok, a few things, but not like had been done in the past. (sorry, there's nothing I've ever seen on a MiniDisc that was worth two grand)

I have one more comparison to make. One of the things that made Star Wars interesting was the philosophical questions that it raised, even if a lot of it was standard good vs evil kind of stuff. The Matrix went a bit further in it's questions. What is the matrix? How can you know what is real? I don't think that these are questions that mainstream movie audiences are asked very often. At the very least, not often enough.

I think it's neat, now, to be able to look back on the last 8 years since The Matrix was released to see the impact it had. Look at the camera work in the climax of I, Robot, or any of the stunts in Underworld (or, the look of Underworld for that matter). Did anyone really think it would be that influential back in spring of 1999? I sure didn't,

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Return of Quick Reviews of Bad Movies

Last night I watched I, Robot. And you know what, there was a lot to like about the movie. Great effects, good story. In all honesty this would have been a really good movie if it weren't for one thing...

Will Smith.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Surviving a Shark Attack; or What I Learned from Jaws

It seems to me, and this is based less on real experience and more on my living vicariously through movies, that if you're attacked by a giant fucking shark, someone is going to kill it. Hell, that someone may even be you!

In a shark attack, there are really only a few roles that you could have. Think about Jaws. You have Quint playing the role of Shark Food. You have Hooper in the role of Bystander/Survivor. And you have Brody in the role or Reluctant but Eventual Hero.

Now, like I said, these are the basic roles you can fill. Now, when you're attacked by a shark, you probably don't want to be Shark Food. However, it is the easiest role to fill, since the only requirement is that you be made of meat. Needless to say, you're probably overqualified.

Now, there's always a chance that you didn't bring anything to the scene. Maybe a dramatic underwater attack, but you're ancillary to this part of the story. Since it's not really your story, you probably won't get to be the Hero. Sorry. That's the way it goes. However, there's a chance you won't end up as Shark Food either. The key here is to be friends with (or even better, related to) the Hero. He's not going to die, and either are the people he cares about, goddammit! Be invisible, but indispensable. Draw too much attention and you'll end up in the shark's hungry mouth unless the Hero cares about you. A lot.

Some ways to get the Hero to give a shit about you:
  • Bring him a bottle of wine.
  • Don't sleep with his wife.
  • Be his kid.
  • Be his other kid.
  • It's probably a good idea, also, to try not to be better looking than him.
Things to avoid:
  • Sleeping with his wife.
  • Making fun of his entirely justified fear of Sharks.
  • Firing him.
  • Insulting his children.
  • Stealing his children.
  • Eating his children for dinner.
  • You know, just leave his kids alone. What's wrong with you? Jerk.

Of course, the alternative is to BE the Hero. The Hero doesn't die. In fact, most often, the Hero survives in the most implausible way. If you're the Hero, you could be eaten by the shark and RIP your way out of it's stomach! It's that good to be the Hero. I know, you're thinking "I'm a loser. I've never done anything in my life, how could I possibly not only fend off a shark, but save people in the process?" And, you're right. You are a loser. But, that's ok. See, more often than not, it's the Reluctant Hero who does the job. You know, the guy who really would rather stay out of it. The guy who would rather just stay on land. Eventually though, something is going to happen, and suddenly, you'll find yourself out on that boat, praying you don't become shark food.

Look around you. What kind of people do you see? Is someone over confident in his abilities to get rid of the shark? Is someone smarter than the rest of the crew, and knows it? Are you the main character in this story? If you answered yes to all of these questions, well, hate to say it, but it might just be up to you to defeat the shark. You'd better start preparing for it.

Naturally, by preparing, I mean coming up with something witty to say when you defeat this shark. "Smile you son of a bitch!" has already been used. And let's be honest, you won't come up with anything better and you know it. You're line doesn't need to be the greatest ever though, you really just want to avoid something like "I think I crapped my pants!"

Some Ideas:
  • "Bite me!" - That's telling him!
  • "Anyone want sushi?" - Basic, but it works.
  • "I'll see you in hell!" - Kind of a classic, really. (This can also be used when paying for gas or rent)
  • "You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore" - Perfect if you are Dick Nixon (or you're being removed from office). Less perfect for anyone else.
  • "All your base are belong to us, baby. All your base" - This works well if you spend a lot of time on the internet. Or are living in 2002.
  • "Adieu haleine de poisson!" - French is always kind of classy. Sounds better if your name is Jacques.
  • "A kangaroo melts like chocolate in my mouth!" - Maybe a bit too surreal, but I like the way you think!

Catch phrase secured, it's time to do the actual killing. Most likely, you will not have a good, traditional way to kill the beast. You'll have to use your noodle. Also, you'll need to be really, really, lucky. It's not everyday that you have an electrical line in the water, or that the shark has a SCUBA tank in it's mouth. Keep your wits about you. You'll figure something out. Remember, this is your story. You're the Hero. You get to survive.

Just remember, when it's time for the final Man vs Shark face off, make sure it's just you. Everyone else should be gone by then. You'd hate to make it this far to find out you aren't the Hero, you're just more Shark Food.

Of course, the best way to avoid being Shark Food is to stay on land. Though, it's still not altogether perfect. There is always the possibility of Land Sharks. As always, be wary of anyone at your door claiming to be a plumber, with flowers, who can't pronounce your name. It is not a dolphin. It is a potentially deadly Land Shark. A deadly Land Shark with candy. And, you life is worth more than a box of candy, isn't it? No? Oh...well, be careful anyways.

If I've learned anything from Jaws, it's that the person most prepared to kill the shark can easily become Shark Food, and the one to save the day is going to be the one who didn't even want to be there.

Ain't it the truth.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

FGFC: Dude...why did they kiss like that??

It was 92 degrees in my apartment as I sat down to watch this month's Final Girl Film Club selection. (On the other hand, it was a pleasant 81 degrees outside) In other words, it was a sweaty evening en la casa de dreamrot. Well, it's not so much a "casa" apartemento. So, el apartamento de dreamrot. Yeah, that works.

The Innocents is a 1961 horror movie whose own trailer boasts that it is a ghost story intended for adults. Naturally, this got my hopes up for something...shall we say...titillating. Then I remembered, it's 1961, let's not get too excited.

Uncle is looking for a governess. You see, Uncle is...well, Uncle can't be bothered with raising children. It cuts into his social life. Uncle is a bachelor, not a lonely one, mind you, but a bachelor. And, well, he needs someone to raise the kids for him. Out in the country. And never to bother him. Ever. For anything. He will not acknowledge you. He will pretend he's never met you. He will put his fingers in his ears and sing Henry the 8th as loud as he can. Basically, you're on your own. Not get outta here.

And so, Miss Giddens is hired and heads for the country to be with the children. She is replacing the former governess, Miss Jessel, who died. Very tragic. The little girl, Flora, really liked her, so try not to bring it up.

Flora is a nice child, but creepy in that way that kids tend to be. And she sings, often. Some song she learned from a music box. She has a brother, Miles. Miles is away at school. But, wait! What's this? A letter from Miles' school? He's been WHAT? Expelled? That little FUCKER! And, how did Flora know? Crazy!

So, Miles comes home, and goes all Eddie Haskell. Just, creepy in his politeness. Flora and Miles get along well together, a little too well perhaps. And Miss Giddens is starting to find it a little odd.

Speaking of things Miss Giddens finds odd, there's these visions she keeps seeing. Some dude wandering about. Apparently, he's a dead guy. When he was alive, his name was Quint, but now he's dead. Eaten by a shark...poor bastard. Miles was heartbroken when he didn't come back from that fishing trip with Brodie and Hooper. It was a shame really. Wait. No. Wrong Quint. This Quint was a valet, which I'm sure is some British term for something. I doubt he was a guy who just parked cars. Miles was, however, quite attached to the dude, and was traumatized by his death. So, you know, try not to bring it up around him, k thanx.

Miss Giddens though is curious as to what happened. So, she pressures Mrs Grose, the maid, to tell her what happened. Repeatedly. Until, finally, she relents. See, Quint was uneducated, but charming. Miss Jessel was very taken by him. And they had something of an affair. Then, Quint died. And Miss Jessel was devastated. And then she died. Of a broken heart. So tragic.

Miss Giddens keeps having really weird experiences around the house, and she thinks that the kids are causing it. After a little soul searching, and a really creepy kiss from Miles, Miss Giddens comes to the most logical conclusion. The kids must be possessed. Mrs Grose instantly accepts this. I have no idea why. I know she can't read, but that doesn't mean she's stupid. Regardless, the kids must be possesed. And there's only one way to get rid of this possession. Get them to admit it. Obviously.

You know, it was a really good movie. Chilling I might even say. It created a great atmosphere and didn't try to scare you by just making loud noises and using crazy jump cuts. It created an aura of fear. And you know, ghosts fucking scare me. So, a good ghost story will hook me every time. The ending was a ended? Inconclusive? Was she right? Was she crazy? Did he die, or was it just shock? Why did she kiss him like that? What kind of crazy movie is this?

Regardless, definitely enjoyed the flick. 8 turtles found in your country estate only to be thrown through a window in your dramatic climax out of 10.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Who's the sheep fucker now?

Having been to New Zealand, I can tell you a couple of things. It's an amazing place. Absolutely beautiful. Less pollution than anyplace I can think of. Just, one of my top 4 places on Earth. No hobbits, no shire, but you can't really hold it against the place.

One thing that stands out though, was all of the sheep. Sheep outnumber people something like 10 to 1. It's kind of crazy. That's the thing about Black Sheep, it couldn't have come from anyplace else. No place but New Zealand could a movie about genetically altered sheep attacking farmers be created.

It all starts on a farm. One boy is helping his father herd sheep, the other isn't. He kills a sheep and skins it, hanging the mutilated animal and wearing the skin to frighten his brother. In an unrelated incident, dad falls off a cliff.

Fast forward 15 years. Younger brother, Henry, is terrified of sheep, and on the advice of his therapist, is returning to the family farm. Older brother, Angus, runs the farm, and for a cool $2 million, is buying out Henry's share of the place. City boy and sheep-phobe Henry is all too happy to take the money and run. Except, it's decided that maybe he should go to the cliff that his dad fell from for closure or something.

Meanwhile, dirty hippies Grant and Experience have invaded the farm in an effort to expose the inhumane genetic research going on. Grant, being a bit overzealous, grabs a container with a baby sheep in it. In his attempt to escape, the container breaks, releasing a very alive, and very angry sheep thing.
'allo love

The sheep thing attacks Grant. Experience is trying to find Grant in the woods, but stumbles instead on Henry and Tucker. She steals their gun and forces them to help her find Grant.

Grant is turning into a sheep though! It's a crazy genetic mutation. And the sheep thing is attacking sheep in the herd, turning them into crazy, blood thirsty sheep zombies.

You see, Angus has been using his own DNA to create a new breed of sheep. Naturally, there's a slight running joke about him being in love with the damn thing.

I wish I knew how to quit you!

It's basically up to Henry and Experience to save the farm and stop the sheep from escaping and infecting the rest of the country!

As goofy as the premise sounds, it's really very funny and very good. I really enjoyed watching it and will probably watch it again. It's a pretty creative story that defied my expectations. 8 farmers falling in love with their sheep out of 10.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Donnie Don and the Groovy Group

What would you do if a puppet suddenly showed up on your doorstep? In a box? Wrapped in plain brown paper? With your NAME on it? With no return address? Personally, if a large packet shows up on my doorstep with no known sender and no one around to even drop it off, I'd call the FBI and let THEM deal with it. Because, according to the FBI, it could be a bomb. And dammit, I'm NOT opening a bomb in this apartment. Not after what happened last time. And you know what? If the FBI opens this strange package and there's no bomb and instead there's a goddamn PUPPET? They can fucking KEEP it. Because you know what, I want nothing to do with it.

The thing about puppets is that, ultimately, someone somewhere is controlling it. And there's only one reasonable thing that I could do with it. Bury it. Under the dirt. Under concrete. Under a house. Under a pilot and co pilot. Underneath a fucking plane. And then, just to be safe. I'd do it in Chernobyl. Fuck that puppet dude. Do you know what happens if you don't dispose of it properly? It kills your family. That's what happens! And do you want that on your conscience? No. I didn't fucking think so. You love your family. And the last thing you want is some goddamn evil puppet mutilating them.

Naturally, it's because Jaime Ashen DOESN'T do these things that his wife ends up dead and he's the prime suspect in her murder. He's being investigated by constant shaver and terrible cop Donnie Don Wahlberg. I'm not kidding about the constant shaving thing either, every scene he's in he is shaving. With an electric razor. I have no idea why. Just, always shaving. Yet, somehow, he never manages to get rid of the caterpillar under his nose. It's crazy.

Following his wife's death, Jaime heads home. First though, he returns to his apartment (aka the scene of the crime) and takes the puppet. He's greeted, in a very friendly way, by his new stepmother, whom he's never met, and his, apparently, paraplegic father. He had a stroke a year ago and is now confined to a wheel chair. Jaime doesn't care about any of this, though. He's trying to remember a local nursery rhyme.

Beware the stare of Mary Shaw; she had no children, only dolls. And if you see her, do not scream, or she'll rip your tongue out at the seam.
All we had was Goofy Granma, and I don't even remember what her deal was anymore. Just that she was weird to some of the kids at my school. This Mary Shaw though, sounds like a rough old broad. Apparently, when she died she was buried with all 101 of her puppets. And, in fact, was made to LOOK like one for her funeral.

And, of course, she didn't die of old age. No, that's never how it happens. You see, some kid mocked her during a performance and then the kid went missing. The kid's family suspected Mary Shaw and killed her. And now, she's taking her revenge.

"Missing? That's a funny last name."

It wouldn't be much of a movie if it wasn't Jaime's family, so lets go ahead and assume that it is. It's Jaime's dad that tells him the story of what happened. About Mary going after the family from beyond the grave and how he sent Jaime away to try to protect him. He wasn't such a bad father, he was only trying to help!

Meanwhile, Donnie Don is tearing apart a cemetery in order to exhume Mary Shaw and the puppets (without a warrant or court order) to no avail. He naturally suspects Jaime did something and, conveniently, arrives at Jaime's dad's house to arrest him. Jaime, however, gets a phone call asking him to come to the theater where his innocence can be proven. Donnie Don is done with the nonsense and says that Jaime has to go to jail. Jaime points over Donnie Don's shoulder and says "what the heck is that" and escapes, once again eluding capture. Donnie Don gives chase and they end up at the theater for the final showdown with Mary Shaw and her creepy wall of puppets.

The movie doesn't get too into Shaw's origin which helps and hurts the movie in some ways. While the mystery is kind of fun, it would have been nice to see a bit more of how she got to her end. And, while the story has a nice twist, it's somewhat obvious. Not entirely. It's obvious like saying that there's a car on the freeway. Of course there is. Duh. But it doesn't specify what KIND of car. So, while it's SOMEWHAT obvious, it's not entirely. Is that vague and confusing enough? Let me know, I can make it worse for you. I'm good at that.

Dead Silence was an average movie. It was a neat premise and had a good look to it, but the characters were underdeveloped. Why Was Donnie Don's Dt Lipton shaving all the goddamn time? Why was he such an ineffective cop? Why was he SO doubting of Jaime's "ghost story" yet still willing to dig up the graveyard without a warrant? Why does there HAVE to be a twist at the end? Why wasn't Jaime more concerned about a random puppet showing up on his doorstep? 6 and a half tongues ripped out at their seams out of 10.

I think I missed a memo.

Apparently, they posted some new clips over on the Stardust website. That's cool and all, but I have something more important on my mind. Namely, when the HELL

did Michelle Pfeiffer get so hot? Crazy man.