Sunday, February 26, 2012

What Comes Our Way

You have been warned, have been warned...

REVIEW: The Last Winter (2006)

Everybody cares about the environment these days. It’s a serious hot-button debate topic, and everyone has an opinion no matter who they are. Unfortunately, that applies to hack movie directors who make movies preaching their opinions like the gospel and which end up as some of the most worthless, inane prattle you will ever see. Folks, this is The Last Winter!

Director: Larry Fessendon
Starring: Ron Perlman in his crusade to star in the most worthless films on the planet

"I could never believe in a God who sanctions oil drilling."
-One Environmental Activist Idiot

Our movie begins with what I can only describe as a National Geographic documentary that wasn’t good enough to get into the real magazine, talking about how the planet is in danger because humans have the gall to want to drill for oil – in other words, total hippie propaganda crap that blows things way out of proportion and makes them seem worse than they really are.

Then we get our actual ‘story’ beginning with that god of actors, Ron Perlman, arriving at an oil drilling base in the arctic and being greeted by a bunch of nobody actors who you won’t ever see in a film again – and after a few more scenes you’ll realize why. They go outside and throw a football around, and then the camera man gets left outside to make his rotation around the entire base:

"Hmm, what can I star in next...? I have offers from directors like M. Night Shyamalan and Tommy Wiseau just stacking up at my mailbox!"

We then see the pinnacle of special effects this movie could buy!

The unsung stars of this picture.

Yes, this is probably the main draw of the movie – ghost caribou. They run past at the speed of light and make a sound that reminds me of the creaking noise in many broken elevators. I guess the story here is that these angry spectral ghost things are pissed off that Perlman and his crew are drilling oil, or some shit like that, and now they’re all seeing these things because of global warming. AHH, GLOBAL WARMING! HUMANS SHOULD FEEL SUPER GUILTY ABOUT THAT! Anyway, all it really does right now is give the guy who sees them a never-ending nosebleed which reoccurs periodically throughout the film. Exciting, huh?

Then we get some boring dialogue about the drilling project they’re doing. Perlman pretty much just scowls and shouts at everyone and the other guys all kind of blend into the background. Did this director ever watch Carpenter’s The Thing? Just saying, he could learn a few things from that movie’s excellent characterization. Here it’s just like ‘hey, we need some extra characters! Call all my mom’s friends’ kids; I’m sure they’d love to be in the movie!’ Putrid.

There is some romantic tension between Perlman and this other chick, who used to sleep together until he left for 5 months, upon which she decided to jump ship and start sleeping with the expedition’s resident hippie environmentalist asshole, who…for some reason just hangs around despite the fact that his agenda is radically opposite to everyone else’s. I guess there might be some obscure explanation stuffed into this movie’s rolls of fat, but hell if I’m going to find it, and it’s not like any of this is that important to the story anyway.

‘Story’…hah. That’s kind of funny actually.

Anyway, there’s a whole lot of moaning about how the government is sanctioning this dig and how there’s some rival dig around who they need to team up with but Perlman says no, and god, it goes on FOREVER. You think the scene from Red State where Michael Parks was giving his sermon was bad? It’s got nothing on THIS. This is excruciatingly boring! How is it even possible to make something this dull? It just keeps going on and on and on and on and on until I just can’t take it anymore!

It looks pretty epic, but really they're just talking about more incredibly dull oil businessman talk! Riveting!

Oh, what’s this? A scene of them going out and actually doing something in the snow? Well surely that ought to be a little more interesting, right? No, actually…it’s just as boring as the rest of the scenes.

But hey, there is a romance scene when Perlman tells the redheaded chick that he’s very disappointed that she found another boyfriend when apparently they never set any real definition to their relationship and he left for 5 months! Guess you should actually establish what kind of a relationship you have before you leave next time, you idiot. And I’m done talking about this scene.

Anyway, at night, we see that one of the guys starts sleepwalking naked with his camera and takes it out into the snow to film something. Yeah, because that would happen in real life, right? Seriously, how is he surviving this? He would freeze to death in an instant if he went out there naked in that kind of weather! And as we see the next day, he actually made it pretty damn far in the snow! But hey I guess facts like that aren’t important when your movie is telling a GRIPPING ENVIRONMENTAL MESSAGE like this one is!

That's what happened to most people who saw this movie anyway.

Perlman decides that they aren’t going to tell anyone what happened, and even when they find a tape with what looks like the first cut of a Fourth Kind sequel or something that the guy was filming before he died…

Hey, it's REC 3: Totally Implausible!

…Perlman just tosses it in the fire and lets it burn, because he can’t have anybody sabotaging his mission! Who cares if someone has died? The oil drilling is the most important thing! “Try to have a little positivity,” he barks at everyone who wants to do the sensible thing and bail and tell the officials what happened. Oil-drillers have no humanity and are completely soulless, evil demons! Do you get what the movie is trying to say yet?!?!

Speaking of the footage that guy took, it’s nothing but more environmentalist preaching crap. “We’re grave-robbers,” the guy says in a hushed, scared tone. “We’re robbing the Earth of its minerals.” Yeah, OK, now why don’t you actually do something interesting or even a little bit scary? Something that isn’t just forced window-dressing for the 30-minute long environmentalist propaganda video the director really wanted to do?

…no? Okay…

And it looks like Mr. Nosebleed finally drowned in his own blood! Glad his character added so much to the movie. Except he didn’t…

Rest in peace Sir Nosebleedium.

So after that, a plane comes to save them but instead crashes into the building and bursts into flames like a Michael Bay movie. I guess the pilot shouldn’t have been drinking all that Jack Daniels before he got in the cockpit.

The unfortunate victims of an awful plane crash...send money to the director to prevent future awful plane crashes!

But hey, don’t be so down everybody. Remember what Perlman says: “We need some positivity here!”

Being that their whole base is destroyed and they might freeze to death overnight now, Mr. Environmentally Friendly suggests that he goes to find a neighboring base which has a plane they can use. Perlman shoots that one down, though, as their equipment is from a different company than his is, so it won’t work. Astounding logic there…so you’d rather do things the hard way rather than go ask for help from some other company. Pride truly does make you stupid, doesn’t it?

They go out in the blistering cold and their sled breaks down almost immediately as they get far enough away from the base for that to be a problem. Perlman still refuses to go to the closer base, because that would just hurt his loyalist pride I guess, but he gives in once Mr. Environmentally Friendly talks to him in a more serious voice. He falls through some ice and almost dies, but the movie would have you believe it’s something he can just walk off without so much as a shiver or two, because again, logic and realism don’t matter when you’re telling an IMPORTANT ENVIRONMENTAL MESSAGE!

Speaking of the environmental message, Mr. Environmentally Friendly himself utters these very intelligent words while he and Perlman are hiding in a tent that night: “I could never believe in a God who sanctions oil drilling.” Wow, movie; you just really want to shove your message down our throats until we GAG, don’t you? No shame at all, huh? I can’t even think of a good comparison for how preachy and ridiculous that is; it’s like a new ultimatum in awful, wretchedly over the top writing. Here’s a tip for you assholes who wrote this movie – being this forward about your message and shoving it down the viewer’s throat doesn’t make them want to support it! In fact it makes them actually hate it!

But I digress, because I am giving this movie more credit than it deserves with this review already. We see the red haired lady hiding in a closet because there are crows walking around in the kitchen of their base. That makes sense, right? No? Okay.

Yay, is it hide in a closet time?

Then we see the true face of evil as the ghost caribou return to feast on their victims! I guess they’re not vegetarians after all.

The last Ron Perlman.

And finally we get our closing scene where the red haired lady wakes up in a hospital and finds it deserted except for the ghost caribou sound effects off screen and the melted polar ice caps outside, because global warming and a lack of finances to film more monster scenes have won the day!

"I didn't really do anything in this movie..."

That’s The Last Winter, and man was it…you know, I can’t even think of a good adjective this time. There was nothing redeemable here. Even when I could tell they were trying to go for atmosphere like later on in the film when Perlman and that other idiot were huddled up in the arctic night, they ruined it shortly after with some stupid dialogue and those awful special effects. The characters were non-entities only used to propel the movie’s poorly written agenda, which was handled with no grace or class at all, just shoved down the viewer’s throat in an incredibly condescending manner. And yes, I do think this is the worst Ron Perlman movie ever. That is a hard feat to achieve.

So what I’m trying to say is, this movie is cinematic cancer. You want to make an asinine movie promoting a preachy green agenda? Fine, well two can play at that: Don’t recycle! Don’t turn off your lights! Let your car’s exhaust flow into the blue sky! Smoke all you want! Throw all pretenses of conservatism to the wind and let the polar ice caps burn!


Friday, February 24, 2012

Cinema Freaks Presents: The Observer's 2011 Oscar Picks and Predictions

The Academy Awards are here and all the critics are making their predictions and personal preferences as to who will and/or should win at the big event. I have decided to make my own list. The usual applies: I have not seen every nominated film and a bunch of my predictions might end up being dead wrong, etc. Last year I talked about expanding the list from just "the big six." But...I do not have a lot of time and I do not think I can do a proper analyst of a lot of them even if I did. So I am going to keep it simple again. Anyway, let's get started:

Best Supporting Actress:
Berenice Bejo (The Artist)
Jessica Chastain (The Help)
Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)
Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs)
Octavia Spencer (The Help)

Who Will Win: Octavia Spencer
Who Should Win: Octavia Spencer
Why: Spencer was struck a good balance between comedic and dramatic as the outspoken maid Minny Jackson in "The Help." She had a really presence on screen so I think she deserves it. I kind of feel bad for Jessica Chastain, however, because I really liked her in this movie as well, and she also did a great job in "The Debt" and "The Tree of Life," playing very different roles in each of them (I somehow did not make this connection until doing some research on her for this piece). I have heard that she should have been nominated multiple times, but I would go further than that. She should get a type of MVA (Most Valuable Actress) award just for everything she has done this year and which is not just connected to one film. I think its also a little more dignified than the Academy's somewhat meaningful but guilt-ridden/self-congratulatory Honorary Oscar, or as I call it, the Sorry We-Did-Not-Recognize-You-For-Your-Work-While-You-Were-In-Your-Prime-But-At-Least-We-Are-Doing-It-Now-Before-We-Think-You-Are-About-To-Die award. But that will have to wait for another time. Now, what was I talking about again...? Oh, yeah. Spencer should win.

Best Supporting Actor:
Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn)
Jonah Hill (Moneyball)
Nick Nolte (Warrior)
Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)

Who Will Win: Christopher Plummer
Who Should Win: Jonah Hill or Nick Nolte (toss-up)
Why: Once again, I seem to have difficulty with this category. I would be fine with either Hill or Nolte won, the former for playing against type as the reserved baseball statistician Peter Brand in "Moneyball," the other for playing Paddy Conlon, a recovering alcoholic father seeking redemption in "Warrior"(okay, that is not too much of a stretch for him, but he still did well). To be honest, though, I do not think that either role is that extraordinary since we have seen these types of characters before and they were not done that differently in either film. Maybe Plummer or the other guys did things better but I have not seen the other films so I cannot judge. Yeah, I am not putting a lot of stock in this category this year. Still, it is what it is, and Hill and Nolte did do well, so I they should get some credit for it.

Best Actress:
Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs)
Viola Davis (The Help)
Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
Meryl Street (The Iron Lady)
Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn)

Who Will Win: Viola Davis
Who Should Win: Viola Davis
Why: Davis gives a strong performance as Aibileen Clark, a long suffering maid in "The Help." It was also the only performance by someone from this category that I actually saw. So...yeah, that is kind of it.

Best Actor:
Demian Bechir (A Better Life)
George Clooney (The Descendants)
Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
Brad Pitt (Moneyball)

Who Will Win: Jean Dujardin
Who Should Win: Jean Dujardin
Why: I would like to see Dujardin, who plays the downtrodden George Valentin, win just because, as I said in my review of "The Artist," he really did have the look and feeling of a silent film star. A lot of people really want to see him win since it is supposed to be "THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS CAREER!" and because they want him to see win the Best Actor award. Umm...I get it, though I am a little more reserved about it. While I did enjoy him as the disgruntled father Matt King in "The Descendants" and he was required to give a little more emotion than he has in the past, I do not think his character was that much different from other roles he has played. Therefore, I do feel that this really proves whether he is an awesome actor or not. I am not even really sure if it is his best (I am still partial to his act in "Up in the Air"). As for the Best Actor thing...come on, guys! He won for Best Supporting Actor a few years ago, that still counts for something! If you feel so bad about it, just give him the Honorary Oscar in 30 years like you usually do! Besides, Dujardin is apparently kind of rusty when it comes to speaking English, so he probably will not be up there that long if he wins. If Clooney wins, he might give another pretentious political speech, form another smug cloud, and wipe out the West Coast. Your choice!

Best Director:
Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)
Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)
Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life)
Alexander Payne (The Descendants)
Martin Scorsese (Hugo)

Who Will Win: Michel Hazanavicius
Who Should Win: Michel Hazanavicius
Why: Hazanavicius, in his ode to cinema, brought the silent era of film to life and did a great job at doing so. While other films have done it since that time period, it is only done on occasion, and so he deserves a lot of credit for doing it well. The End.

Best Picture:
The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
The Help
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
War Horse

Who Will Win: The Artist
Who Should Win: The Artist
Why: Okay, I admit, I do feel kind of guilty about jumping on the "Artist" bandwagon. There are some valid reasons why it should not win Best Picture, mostly because it is a very "simplistic" film and is not really as deep as some of the other films that are up for the award. It also appears to be a bit self-congratulatory on the Academy's part since it is a period piece about Hollywood. But as I mentioned in my review, that is why I liked it: it is a simple story about a guy who is falling behind the times and does not know how he will go on. On a side note, this is something that happened to a lot of real-life silent actors back when sound first came to the screen (I thought about putting that fact in my review, but forgot about it until Doug "Nostalgia Critic" Walker mentioned it in his. Kudos to him). Is it self-congratulatory? Maybe. But hey, Hollywood is full of movies lovers and...I love movies, too (I know, big shock, right?). I cannot rightfully complain about that. And while I have not seen many silent movies, I like them because watching them is like opening up a time castle and get transported to another age where everything on film is kind of the same and yet so alien. And I think "The Artist," by being a silent, black and white picture and with the help of Hazanavicius and everyone else involved, really helped bring that feeling to life while also inserting a modern day take on it. Yes, "Midnight in Paris" and, from what I have heard, "Hugo" also did that, but "The Artist" stands out the most. And that is the big reason I am choosing it. I like most of the films on this list, but event though they are different, they tend to have very little difference between them in terms of their overall appeal. This film has a stark difference which makes it more memorable. Yes, last year, I chose the complexed "Inception" over the simplistic "The King's Speech." Well...I guess "The Artist" gets my vote by doing the opposite. Circumstances change, I guess. But what do I know? My favorite film of 2011 was "The Ides of March" which did not even get nominated. Oh well, I do my best...

Wow, this was a really long-winded and mangled segment. Sorry about that. Anyway, Happy Oscar Night!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Artist (2011)

Starring: Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo
Director: Michel Hazanavicius

"Why won't you speak?!"

Starting off in 1927, the movie is about George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), a silent film star who is at the top of his career. He fascinates audiences with his great cinematic exploits and charms a young aspiring actress named Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo). But the good life begins to fade when the new "talkies" emerge, making his style appear obsolete. George fights to stay relevant but soon realizes that he is facing the end of an era. Is it the end of him, too?

This film is great entertainment. Director Michel Hazanavicius has stated that this modern black and white silent picture was supposed to be a love letter to cinema, and it clearly shows. He is obviously a big fan of Really Old Hollywood: while I have only seen a limited number of films from that time period, I have seen enough to know how they usually operate and he captures the feel of them with spot-on accuracy. And when he does deviate from it, it is to serve a purpose. For instance, when George is first introduced to the talkies, he dismisses them as a fad and goes to his dressing room. However, in one of the best parts of the movie, he soon starts to notice that everything is making a sound...very loud sounds. He becomes overwhelmed by his surroundings before waking up from a dream, a metaphorical dream that is a sign of things to come.

The main focus is on George himself. He is, as the title implies, an artist. While he enjoys the fame and fortune, he above all loves working in movies. When talkies become the norm, he resists by making his own silent film. It flops and he is soon forced into bankruptcy. He sells off most of his possessions, but keeps his old film reels that remind him of his glory days (though they soon drive him close to madness). While it is not really explained why he does not attempt to breaking into talking pictures even when it is clear that they are the way of the future, it is implied that he is not comfortable with this new technique and that he does not want to compromise his abilities as a performer for the sake of connivence. So even though he can be pretty self-centered, prone to pity his own misfortunes, and not quick to adapt to his changing environment, you do care for him as a character because he ultimately has a heart and love for his work. A lot of credit goes to Dujardin, who has the looks and expressions of a true silent actor. The rest of the cast includes Bejo also preforms well, as does the rest of the cast, which includes minor roles by well known actors (John Goodman, James Cromwell, etc.) and a dog named Uggie (as played by Uggie). They all allow the film to flow at a good paste. While I admit that the second half is more a little more melodramatic than the first, it still has some uplifting moments. I also enjoyed the ending (which I will obviously not spoil).

So that is "The Artist." A short review, I know, but there is really not much more that need to be said. It is not the most complex film in the history and is pretty old fashion. Seriously, it is a black and white, silent picture! I am not even sure if you can get more old fashioned than this; that is virtually impossible for a full-length movie! But that is kind of the point. It is supposed to a simple, straightforward movie that mimics the bygone era it portrays and a man who must learn to find his place in life. And on that level, it succeeds splendidly.

I recommend it.

This review is dedicated to the last surviving silent film actors/actresses as of this writing, which include Carla Laemmle and Mickey Rooney.

Stay tuned for Oscar predictions, coming this week!

Monday, February 20, 2012

REVIEW: Red State (2011)

Hey guys, ready for an awful Kevin Smith movie that besmirches everything good he’s ever put to his name? I’m not, but I’m going to do the review anyway. This is Red State.

Director: Kevin Smith
Starring: John Goodman and who cares?

You know, people should just stick to what they do best. You wouldn’t ask a baker to write you an award winning novel and you wouldn’t ask a novelist to bake a cake for your wedding. The same principle even applies to movie directors who try and step outside what they’re usually known for. Kevin Smith, for example, is a comedy director. He makes quirky off the wall comedies about larger than life subjects with a lot of style and wit. Here, he has created a god-awful ‘horror’ film with nothing resembling his usual awesomeness at all. And alright, I’m all for people branching out every once in a while, but for Pete’s sake at least try harder than Smith did here!

So the film starts off with some home video quality directing as we see one of our main douchebags riding in the car with a woman who I presume is his mom, although really they look about the same age. They pass by some fanatical church protesters angry at gay people, and then he goes to school where his teacher is so cool that she says curse words in class and uses colloquialisms because that’s what Kevin Smith thinks happens in all schools…then at lunch the douchebag meets up with other douchebags who are totally different! Actually…no they’re not.

That's the smart thing to do! Why don't you just paint a big target on your chest while you're at it?

They talk about sex, use a lot of vulgar language and make plans to meet up with some random woman on the internet for sex that night, because that’s the only way they’ll ever be real men and have memorable times in high school. Wow. So is there…anything likable about them? Is there anything that doesn’t make me want to stab them all through the jugulars multiple times over? No? Okay then.

I know what you’re thinking here: doesn’t every Kevin Smith movie have characters that act like total jackasses and talk about sex in rambling monologues? How is this movie any different? Well, where Clerks used that kind of dialogue for humorous purposes and backed it up with strong acting and directing, here it’s just like Smith didn’t even give a crap. It’s got no style to it. This is just random, tasteless nonsense. There’s nothing funny or interesting about it and it certainly doesn’t draw us into the characters, so why? I guess it’s “realistic” in some fashion, but even that’s a stretch to say. Realism only goes so far until it starts to actually detract from the film.

So our three cancerous blobs sneak out and go to a trailer in the middle of nowhere where an ugly middle aged woman answers the door with a bottle of cheap beer in her hand; isn’t this sounding sort of like a really awful Superbad rip off right now? This whole opening is kind of like that – like if Superbad took itself really seriously. And I don’t think anyone ever really wanted to see that, Kevin Smith!

The picture of romance.

But never fear, because Smith does change it up afterwards by introducing the plot twist that the whole online sex thing was really a scam; shock and awe…the kids are kidnapped by this cult of religious nutbags led by Michael Parks, who…was in some movies, I guess. And I mean this character is just asinine to the extreme. It wouldn’t be so bad if what he was saying was cut down to just a minute or two, but Smith keeps the camera on him for like 15 minutes while he just rambles on and on and on about how homosexuals are bad and whatever else. Pretty much you can just sum it up as “Blah blah blah blah blah…” There’s nothing of any worth here.

Easily the most annoying character I've seen in a while, and I watched REPO a few weeks ago.

And you’re tired of this after like the first 2 minutes. WE GET IT. Kevin Smith is making a commentary about the Westboro Baptist Church and other fanatical religious sects; it’s not like he’s saying anything controversial here! So why all the babbling? Why are you making us sit through this torture, Kevin Smith?

So there’s also this other plot thread about how the sheriff of the county is having a gay love affair with some random guy and hiding it from his wife. How riveting. Why don’t you actually show us something interesting or relevant next time? This is all just a set up anyway to get the deputy guy to go over to the cult church place and do the whole cliché ‘cop comes within an inch of finding out the bad guys but is too dumb to put the pieces together.’

"Duhhhhrrrr, don't make me think; I just came from a baked yams and honey and Bud Light and cowboy hat rodeo!"

Shame on you Kevin Smith…shame on you.

So yeah, as you can gather, there has so far been nothing in this movie that even merits a light hearted joke or jab. Which is sad. But don’t worry, we have some real raising the stakes moments coming up! Like when the church people kill a guy by tying him to a cross and putting a bullet through his head…

…and when they kill the cop who comes to visit even though that will CLEARLY, OBVIOUSLY cause problems. That’s great. You know, if these people are so gun happy, how have they even survived this long? I also love how when one of them gets killed by the hostage kid that escapes, the old lady who we first met starts freaking out and acting like it’s a Shakespearean tragedy. Because, you know, bad things usually never happen when you take people hostage and try to kill them. THAT’S JUST PREPOSTEROUS!

Also the sheriff can’t mobilize his forces because Our Lord and Master Michael Parks blackmails him about being gay! Good law enforcement? What’s that?!

Oh boo hoo, you whiny little jackass. Grow a pair.

Oh, and because this movie has absolutely no idea what it’s doing, it actually hid a John Goodman performance way far back into its recesses. Wouldn’t one good actor be the thing you want to focus on, Kevin Smith? I know you like being edgy and off-kilter but…seriously. It’s John Goodman! He plays a cop who is under pressure from the bureaucracy to…be bureaucratic more often, I guess. They go to the crazy cult church and the crazy people start a shootout with them! Because again, they’ve somehow survived this long without blowing themselves up and I guess they were just tired of NOT being blown up.

Then as if the movie wasn’t insulting enough, we get one of the younger girls freeing the only main character left and trying to force him to help her save her younger cousins. Yeah, because I’m really gonna have sympathy for any of these wretched characters now; that’s a laugh. Of course the main character actually agrees, which is one of the only things I liked at all in this. This plot thread could have worked, but never underestimate Red State’s mediocrity as both characters literally get killed off in their next scene. Yes, really.

Having plots that go somewhere is tough I guess

Hey, taking this movie too seriously? It’s OK, we have a scene where Michael Parks asks that crazy fake-prostitute lady to get him tea during a big battle scene. Hooray for incompetence!

Ugh, alright, I am just about sick of this…the movie ends with the government putting Michael Parks in jail and putting John Goodman in another department different from the one he’s in now. I really can’t even bother to talk about this one anymore; it’s just that bad.

Red State is total ass, and I can safely say that Kevin Smith has been caught red handed with this one as there just isn’t any quality to be found. Every plot thread brought up is quickly dismissed for no reason and without any fanfare, like the movie just couldn’t wait to shoot itself in the foot again and again and again, like a suicidal Looney Tunes character that won’t bleed out no matter how many times the gun sounds off. It's preachy as hell, too, and doesn't have anything really interesting to say on top of that. Yeah, religious fanaticism is BAD. Did you know that?!

The characters are awful…they really expect us to care one wink about any of these horrible, horrible people? Are we supposed to root for the idiotic dolts who tried to solicit sex over the internet, or the ridiculously heinous church cult members who are about as likable as dried up gum on the bottom of my shoe? The acting is Z-grade garbage, the writing is bland at best, the directing is an immature drunken mess…where’s the quality? Where the hell is anything in this movie that I can enjoy even one little bit? John Goodman is pretty good, but then, they don’t even use him to his full potential. What would Jay and Silent Bob have to say about this?

I thought so. Case closed.

REVIEW: Chronicle (2012)

A superhero movie that actually does something interesting with its plot is rare to find these days as many of them are adaptations from already existing comic books – so even the best ones don’t usually surprise us in many ways, being that they are telling stories that we have always loved. But Chronicle puts a different spin on things and delivers a surprisingly dark, haunting picture that I found to be quite addictive.

Director: Josh Trank
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan

Before I get into the rest of it, yes, this is one of those found footage shaky-cam movies, and no, I don’t think it detracts at all from the movie. In fact there are several scenes which couldn’t have been done as effectively in a normal filming style and the handheld thing is handled really well.

This movie’s story is not really one that reveals its complexity through a summary. It’s about a group of kids that find a mysterious asteroid in the ground and gain telekinetic powers through it. One of the kids, due to his troubled home life, begins to go bad. The three main characters, Andrew, Matt and Steve, are the focal point of all the movie’s tidings and they are actually damn good characters. Sure, they sort of embrace age-old clichés like the jock, the popular kid, the loner, but they’re very well detailed and textured characters who have clear dimensions to them. These guys are good actors and they play the characters with a lot of personality and charisma to them – they tell the whole movie’s story through their interactions and the way they change through the infusion of their newfound abilities.

The abilities themselves are scarcely explained and I like it that way; this is so much cooler than just a boring ‘superhero origin’ movie because it doesn’t dwell on any of the usual crap that those do. It’s a smart, gritty movie that has some serious twists, turns and thrills that you won’t see coming. Unlike most ‘kid with superpower’ movies like Jumper and I Am Number 4, Chronicle is dark and feral all the way and doesn’t wimp out on the danger that would realistically be present. The focal character Andrew (can’t really call him a protagonist) doesn’t get the girl, not everyone makes it out OK and where a lot of films would go for a safer, more happy-go-lucky character arc…this movie just gets darker and darker. When you think it’s gotten to its lowest point, Chronicle surprises you and gets even darker where most movies would pull out and relieve the characters of their pain. I respect this movie for that.

The two supporting leads, Steve and Matt, are pretty good kids, with a good grasp on what they want to do. Some of the most entertaining scenes are at the beginning when they’re all playing around with their new powers and just having fun. An interesting thing about this movie is the setting, which is decidedly grittier and more urban than a lot of other movies like this. These aren’t kids who have everything – they’re just average, suburban kids who joke around in crowded department stores and live on roads and in houses that could all use a bit of fixing up.

Andrew is a child of a very broken home with little hope on the horizon – his mom’s sick and dying, his dad’s out of work and abusive. He is a troubled teenager to the extreme, and when he gets his powers he does not magically turn over a new leaf. This movie is a really good portrayal of a main character that is not anyone we want to identify with or even really follow, but then the film does it anyway, and it turns out compelling and even arresting at times in its insanity. It’s a great character study of kids like Andrew who exist in plentitude in the real world – kids who have nothing and don’t seem to be on the planet for anything else other than to be punching bags for the karmic forces. It’s tragic, and the movie portrays Andrew’s darkest moments in that light almost as much as they are deplorable and disgusting. Mostly they’re all three.

Maybe the saddest parts are those in which Andrew actually does seem to be getting better and going places in life – having fun on stage at a talent show, meeting a pretty girl – and then he never really does. He is always shoved back down to his usual lows and like too many kids, he cannot rise above his own surroundings and the meager inheritance he’s been handed in life. A lot of kids can’t. A lot of kids just crumble and lose themselves to the darkness.

The real deciding point for movies this dark is how they handle the serious subject matter. A lot of movies tend to go overboard with the whole morbidity and darkness of their stories and forget to actually ground it with a leavening of light. This is a concept called duende, which asserts that every great work of art has a helping of both dark and light in its emotional and textural palette. Chronicle is good because it manages its darkness with class and grace, and makes sure each moment is felt with the weight and clarity it deserves, and yes, with enough light in it to make sure it does not suffocate on its own bile. Chronicle is a chronicle of the weakness of youth and how easily it can be manipulated by outside forces. Brilliant stuff.

Images copyright of their original owners.

REVIEW: Drive (2011)

Director: Nicolas Refn
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks

Retro is cool these days, and films like Machete, Super 8 and God knows how many Quentin Tarantino films are having loads of fun harkening back to the pulpy, old school action films of the 70s and 80s. But what really takes talent is when a director comes along and delivers a slice of retrograde fun alongside some seriously introspective, in-depth stylistic filmmaking that has more in common with arthouse films. It’s kind of like dressing up Snake Plissken and sending him to a dinner with top-dollar corporate executives who eat caviar – it really shouldn’t work. But the fact is that Drive is a stellar movie with some memorable as hell scenes and some of the best directing and music of 2011.

Ryan Gosling stars as a silent, stoic car repairman who doubles as a driver for criminals and other shady figures. “You get a five minute window,” he says. “Anything happens in those five minutes and I’m yours. Anything outside of that, and I’m out.” The opening scene is him on one of his jobs, set to a riveting soundtrack from Depeche Mode – the music is one of the standouts of the film, as it is sleek and stylish as hell. The opening scene is almost wordless, but captivates with its strong car chase and the stylized directing.

That goes for most of the film really. It’s not full of dialogue, but the dialogue isn’t even the focal point. It’s almost like a background instrument. Drive is composed in an odd, flowing, musical kind of way where no one element takes the foreground. Everything from the visuals to the music to the characters just kind of moves as one, singular unit – a pulsating wave of cinematic power. The film is subtly graceful even when it’s as bloody and violent as Goodfellas or Casino, moving between scenes in a waterfall-like flow.

The basic story of the movie that unfolds is that Gosling’s character meets a young woman named Irene (Carey Mulligan) whose husband is getting released from jail. The husband, Standard (Oscar Isaac), is involved with some guys who are pressuring him for money that he borrowed in jail, and Gosling ends up helping him drive. When the operation goes wrong and Standard is killed, Gosling goes on a spree to kill everyone involved before they can get to the wife and her son. The path it leads him on is destructive and vengeful.

We never really get any insight into Gosling’s character in this film. He’s very quiet, unnaturally so even, and doesn’t tell us anything about himself except that he likes driving. When he talks to the wife, he doesn’t ask her if she wants to hang out or have dinner – he just asks if she wants a drive. But there is a certain precision and coldness to him that speaks of something significantly darker in his actions. It’s impossible to make any judgment on his past or the reasons he is the way he is based on this movie alone, but I like the ambiguity of his character, and Gosling is such a good actor that he conveys the mysteriousness of his character with stunning charisma.

The other character I really enjoyed in this was Albert Brooks as Bernie Rose, who makes one of the best villains of the year. I like that the film focuses almost as much on him as on Gosling himself. He is an incredible actor and really gives a 110% performance in this movie. He’s a classic Scorsese-styled mobster villain distinguished by a carnal, bloodthirsty performance that rivals anything in the actual Scorsese’s canon with some truly vicious conviction. There’s one scene where he stabs one of his cohorts in the jugular several times in the middle of a café front. Not exactly a guy you want to cross.

Ron Perlman is also in the movie and although he’s not given the most prominent role, this is one of the better performances I’ve seen from him in recent years. He actually gives off a fairly menacing vibe, and I probably wouldn’t want to sit next to him on a bus. He’s rather vulgar.

The film’s arc explodes once Standard is gunned down in their failed robbery and Gosling is left to pick up the pieces and make sure Irene and their son are safe. We get a number of really cool hitman scenes where Gosling is just taking these people out – including a very memorable one under a bright moon at the beach…chilling stuff.

So Drive is a great film that I don’t think you should miss. It’s artful and yet also ass-kicking good. This is a mature, sleek and memorable film that will surely make it onto a lot of end-of-year lists, and for good reason.

Images copyright of their original owners.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

REVIEW: Highlander (1986)

This review was co-written with Colin and Clayton. Thanks, guys.

There are bad movies like…well, almost everything I give detailed, long reviews on this site…and then there are just campy movies. These are the movies that just do so many goofy things and go so over the top that you can’t help but laugh – all the way through the movie. They’re bad, but they’re bad in a fun way! Everyone knows ‘em and everyone loves ‘em. And one prime example of this phenomenon is Highlander, revered the world over and even the starter of a huge franchise including 4 more movies after it and a TV series, even. That’s a lot of praise. It’s kind of like giving Killer Klowns from Outer Space its own franchise, only this movie makes THAT one look positively tame in comparison! Is Highlander really as good as everyone says it is, or is it just a big ol’ flop? Let’s find out.

Director: Russell Mulcahy
Starring: Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery

The movie begins in the simpler times when boys and girls had the same goofy mullet haircuts and wrestlers with hairy chests brought in huge crowds with their neon spandex – the 80s! Yes, that glorious time…but we’re focusing on a very serious looking guy in a rape trench coat who feels like he has to go out into the parking lot and get into a sword fight with one of the rejected Mr. Smiths from The Matrix. Don’t we all have those impulses?

Can you see why they rejected him for Mr. Smith? Not exactly the picture of athletic health there...but he was good enough for this movie's randomness!

So after cutting off the guy’s head, he goes and sits back down in the fight, and then we get a sudden flashback to medieval Scotland! Do you think that doesn’t make sense? Well then you’re an idiot; it makes perfect sense! No, seriously; this just comes out of nowhere! Were they high or something making this? Don’t answer that…it was a rhetorical question.

Apparently the story here is that McLeod, a respected soldier in the army, and they get into a fight with a guy who looks like a rejected He-Man villain, in which McLeod is killed.

We then flash back to present-day times where Mr. Rape Trench Coat, or McLeod again (confused yet?), is being arrested for cutting off the guy’s head. They interrogate him at the police station and they have his weapon and know he was at the crime scene, and he even assaults them in the interrogation room, so what do they do? Let him go a few minutes later of course. No point in looking up his records, keeping him on the charges of assaulting an officer or interrogating him for longer than a few minutes, right? Best. Cops. Ever.

Some more poorly cut-and-pasted flashbacks reveal that McLeod came back from the dead somehow and shocked everyone in his village, who shunned him and threw him out, intending to kill him. They tie him up and are about to get rid of him when one of his old buddies has a change of heart and somehow lets him go…although he still didn’t have the sense to untie him, I guess. Some friend there. But I guess you really can’t have your cake and eat it too.

In the present times, McLeod is followed by some kind of police officer/archaeologist (how does that work again?) who I will describe as the most generic 80s movie chick ever. Seriously, she’s got the curly, poofy hair. She’s got the rebellious, nosy attitude that’s going to lead her to trouble later. She’s got the spunky, no-nonsense relationship with the main character that she dislikes at first. Could she be any more generic? Might as well just give her a name like…I don’t know, Julie, or Brenda or something.

What’s that? Her name IS Brenda? Well…I rest my case. So for some reason, McLeod follows her to the crime scene where she’s investigating for the second time, and then he approaches her in a bar and acts creepy and weird. So of course she accuses him of stalking her and then storms off angrily! But when he goes into the alleyway and gets attacked by what I can only describe as the bastard son of Shredder from Ninja Turtles, Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget and a horrible BDSM fetish all rolled up into the goofiest villain you’ll ever see:

So after that’s over, we see that Brenda has followed McLeod into the alley despite everything she said before about stalking being bad. Friggin’ double standards. They make a date at her apartment and I guess everything is peachy, so it’s time for another flashback!

We get to see that McLeod is now living idly in the mountains with his new wife, who he probably neglected to tell about the whole coming back from the dead thing. I so love relationships built on not telling your partner the whole truth! They’re having sex in the middle of a field when they’re interrupted by…

Oh, God, no. You can’t just…throw this at us, movie. It’s Sean Connery in a flamboyant outfit that looks like something out of a period-piece porno flick or something. But to be fair, it IS Sean Connery, and as expected, he makes the role completely awesome in every way. He’s just a great actor, with tons of charisma and verve to him. But there is that small problem of him playing a Spaniard character and then speaking in an unabashed Scottish accent. But I guess it makes as much sense as anything else in the movie…

Anyway, it turns out the big story behind this whole ordeal is that McLeod is immortal, and was born into a sort of eternal battle, in which he has to train for in order to be ‘the one.’ That's the big line this movie popularized - "There can be only one!" I have to admit it's pretty epic. There’s something called ‘the Quickening’ that is prophesized to happen, apparently, in the 80s, which is appropriate because that’s when this movie was made! What a coincidence! So Connery trains McLeod for a long time and they run barefoot on the beach like a medieval Hallmark card, and it’s all good.

I want to spar with Sean Connery's stunt double too!
This is so happy that NOTHING could ever go wrong, right?!

Back in the present time, we get McLeod’s ‘date’ with Brenda, and…I’m not gonna lie, it’s one of the simultaneously BEST and WORST scenes in any movie you’ll ever watch. This is so cheesy it ought to be radioactive, and I’m going to have to don my special Hazmat suit and go into bullet points for a play-by-play…brace yourselves, folks! Brace yourselves!

So he comes over and stands in the doorway with a smile that says quite loudly ‘I’m going to murder you in a back alley someday.’ She lets him in and then goes and talks to her mirror to see if she can divine an explanation for how weird he is. He finds a gun in her apartment and responds with the proper facial expression:

Then he pours some wine and starts to randomly talk about how great the 1700s were, because that’s not weird at all, and he tells her the date that America’s independence was officially recognized by England, being that he was actually there and all. She acts surprised…weird, considering that she’s a history buff. Did she really not know that?

Then it’s revealed that McLeod knew all along that Brenda was just trying to play him to see if he was guilty or not. She then tells him that she just needs the sword to make an important historical discovery, to which he angrily responds ‘Don’t you ever think about anything but what you want?’

Uh…what? I’m sorry; did he read that line correctly? Why is he saying that like they’ve known each other for years? How is wanting to do something for one’s career “not thinking about what anyone else wants”? Isn’t it actually incredibly important to make such archaeological finds? There are too many questions for such a short scene! Movie, learn how to write dialogue better!

After that it’s flashback time again, as we venture into the darkest day of them all…Sean Connery and McLeod’s wife are sitting around in the house when they’re attacked by Mr. 80s Leather and Spandex, although here he’s just Mr. He-Man Villain instead. Long story short, he kills Sean Connery, rapes McLeod’s wife and McLeod himself is…fishing happily on the greener grass on the other side of the field, because apparently the destroyed castle and lightning striking don’t alert him at all.

McLeod must have been doing something VERY IMPORTANT to miss filing his nails...okay, there's no friggin' excuse for this.

What an oblivious dolt.

In the present time, McLeod meets up with his old buddy…this black guy:

"So...I used to own you. Damn Civil Rights movements."
"Don't push it."

In flashback land, we see that McLeod once got drunk in the 1700s and fought a snooty British lord, who subsequently, shot his own assistant. Why? I dunno, no reason really. It serves no purpose at all, but hey, it padded out the length of this bloated DVD reissue some more!

Then in the real world again, Mr. 80s Leather and Spandex takes time out of his day to intimidate the hotel manager where he’s staying, but not enough time to show us the whole fight scene with McLeod’s black buddy. Yup, we only get to see the final couple of minutes of it! Joyous. Because, yeah, that whole scene with the 1700s American Revolution thing…THAT was worth keeping in the movie, but the potentially interesting fight scene? Nah, scrap it! It’s not important at all.

Then Mr. 80s Leather and Spandex takes a joyride with Grandma!

Clearly this was his mission all along - all that other stuff about killing and cutting off heads? Just collateral damage. Rides with old ladies are what he really lived for all along! He's only been a shell of a man until now!

Can this be any sillier? Also, where the hell are the cops? I guess they have enough manpower to interview the victims of tragedies that already happened, like when they interview the guy that Mr. 80s Leather and Spandex plowed into a wall earlier, but not enough manpower to actually stop a crime. Best. Cops. Ever.

Then in flashback land again, we see that McLeod’s wife played with puppies in the meadows, and that caused her to grow old and be sick in bed, where she makes him promise to light a candle for her on her birthday every year for the rest of his life, or else SHE’LL HAUNT HIM FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE. Well, okay, that last part might not be true.

In the present day, McLeod is at a church and Mr. 80s Leather and Spandex arrives with a shaved head, looking even more ridiculous and silly than he did before. He says it’s to disguise himself from the cops, who know what he looks like now, but if that’s the case, why is he being so loud and over the top? He makes faces at the clergy, laughs maniacally and sticks his tongue out like he’s a lost member of KISS. HOW IS THIS HIDING FROM THE COPS? YOU’RE A MORON, MR. 80S LEATHER AND SPANDEX. How did he even survive this long? He’s as subtle and tactical as a goddamn wrecking ball!

This guy is clearly the next genius of our times.

So he kidnaps Brenda and ties her to a big billboard while he and McLeod fight to the death. They used up all their money on these special effects of a big tidal wave hitting the building, so the final fight is relegated to standing in front of a warehouse window. Then McLeod finally kills off 80s Leather and Spandex and becomes the only one to be struck by lightning:

All the glowing Tic Tacs flow into him like a river...

There’s some narration that tells us he now knows all things, is everywhere, and can read everyone’s minds – so basically, he’s become The Internet! Yes, about 15 years before it became a household item, Christopher Lambert in Highlander was the internet. What a revelation! And that’s the end of the movie. What a trip.

Man, this was cheesy. It’s so cheesy it ought to come with a warning for people who are lactose intolerant! And I love the hell out of it. Highlander, for all its ridiculousness and nonsense, is a pretty awesome movie that makes no sense and has a ton of fun boasting about that fact. It takes itself in stride and struts its overly silly plot like it’s the most epic, serious, groundbreaking thing anyone has ever seen, and for that it is a lot of fun. This is a real product of its environment, born out of the dusty depths of the 80s, and while it is incredibly dated, it’s also remarkably fun to watch and contains a real epic, heartfelt story as well. So go check it out if you haven’t; it’s a great flick.

All images copyright of their original owners.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Repo! A Musical Review (Repo the Genetic Opera, 2008 review)

Due to the fact that this is a musical, I’m going to do a lyrical review. That’s right, get ready for something different!

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Starring: Anthony Stewart Head, Alexa Vega, Sarah Brightman

Darren Lynn Bousman, creator of the better SAW sequels, made this film
Which is kind of like saying that the better half of a horse’s ass was in charge
It’s really silly and really over the top by large.
And if I had a choice I’d rather watch Dr. Horrible again, or any other musical in the world.
But since I’m not that lucky I guess I’ll keep trucking
And give this thing a whirl.

The film starts off blaring like the sirens uncaring
Without any subtlety they launch into song with this guy
Who looks like The Crow, without much to show
For why we should care about his ridiculous shiny hair.

Oh pish posh! It's a Tim Burton tea party!
I might as well put it out there now,
It's no better than anything he's been a part of.

Apparently we’re in a world that uses cheap-ass comic panels for a trite backstory
And it's quite gory, but that doesn't mean it's got any class.
There’s some stuff about humans falling prey to organ failure, what a plot device!
And this demented Newt Gingrich sells them new organs at a price:
If they can’t pay their taxes then he sends a guy to cut them up again!
Oh how I hope this isn’t what he has in store if in 2012 he wins…

Political jokes might be passe,
But I can't help it, what can I say?
He looks too much like him
For me not to take a stab or two at my whim.

Then we get some girl who’s outside for the first time in a while
Running around a graveyard, because that’s the best place for a child
And she meets the Crow-lite, who sings some unmemorable tunes
Which do nothing but attract the police – you buffoon!
And instead of trying to hide, like a sane person would,
He just screams louder and louder; would probably wake the dead if he could!

Dude, you’re doing it wrong; you’re not supposed to scream when you’re being chased
That will just alert the cops to your whereabouts. You think you’re some kind of ace?
How retarded are you; were you dropped on your head? But hey!
I guess I shouldn’t expect much from a guy who looks like he was rejected from KISS, killed himself and then was resurrected from the dead!

Then the girl is taken home where we see that her father is Giles from Buffy.
Oh how lovely.
He’s too good an actor for so silly a flick
How did they even get him to sign on for this?
Did they give him a really big check?
Did they beg and insist,
Until they pushed him to a boiling point like a time bomb ticking?
Apparently the daughter is surprised she saw dead bodies
In a graveyard…truly he has not educated her spotlessly at all.

"Hey, don't go outside."
"Okay, I'll obey you and never lie!"
Seriously, that would be unrealistic.
The movie's got teenage rebellion right in my eyes.

He sings some songs about his dead wife,
Who he had to kill because she was poisoned
The lyrics are crap, but hey, compared to the SAW movies it deserves at least a clap.
Giles keeps his daughter locked up because he’s actually the REPO Man
Who cuts out peoples’ organs if they don’t pay their taxes!

Character motivations? Consistency in actions? What are those?
You can tell lots of weed was what these writers chose.

Wait, what?
This is a real plot thread? Not a farce?
He takes too much enjoyment in this by far
For such an otherwise passive character,
This writing makes no sense
I am filled with no suspense.

So Newt Gingrich is dying and one of his crazy children will have to take the throne
Will it be the Leatherface ripoff? The neurotic Jim Carrey?
Or Paris Hilton? That last one is not a joke – it really is her!
How could a film sink so low? My brain hurts!
She plays a character addicted to plastic surgery
What a fitting fit, what a perfect stupid story!

Am I really going to go so low
As to make a Paris Hilton and political joke
In the same review? I don't know.
(PS, I feel sorry for those guys in the rear,
I'm not sure this is what they had planned for their careers!)

These characters, they’re really grating
They sing about brains and blood and copulating
With all the grace of a box of rocks.
Bill Moseley plays one, always a stock
Who can never ever play anyone who isn’t a stark mad raving lunatic.
The other guy wears peoples’ skins over his face, and boasts about getting laid.
It’s almost like this movie is a TCM 2 reunion! Oh, what a dreadful proposition!

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 was not good at all.
I hope these idiots realize that Bill Moseley's not a star
And his character in that movie will not get him far
Please, oh please, don't go down that road!

But Gingrich has some brains, he doesn’t trust any of them even a grain
And so he picks Giles’s daughter Shiloh, whose mother was his ex-lover
Who Giles stole away from her, so he poisoned her and killed her
And made Giles think it was his own fault…gee, this is sounding like a soap opera.

And what am I supposed to do
With all the random singing in this?
I know it’s a musical but the songs have no flow and no sense
And they just sing at random whenever they want
I’ve seen more coherence from random bums on the street.

So then Gingrich entices Shiloh to come out with him
Where they partake in ridiculous song and dance
Like something you’d see on a drugged out Vaudeville show.
It’s really kind of boorish, just a little corny
There’s no rhyme to these songs so why should I rhyme in this?
Paris Hilton threatens to sing and she’s already singing when she says that
Does anyone who made this have any brains?
I think not.

Then we see this guy again:

I think they forgot about this guy,
It's really quite a shame.
His character had no purpose
Who will take the blame?

Did you forget he was in the movie yet?
I almost did…

So then we get this lady who sings for their silly carnivals
Because she was too stupid to read between the lines
When they offered her a cure for blindness!
There would be no story if these characters were even a little ornery
And just once did the smart thing and read the fine print. What a sham!

And she was Shiloh’s mother’s best friend, which makes her Shiloh’s godmother
Oh what a coinky-dink! Does everyone in this film know everyone else?
So of course Blind Mag (that’s her name indeed) goes to the house
And breaks the careful illusion that her father put up
Which really could have happened any time…and hey, here’s a drinking game!
Have a shot every time someone in this film mentions Shiloh’s mom!
That’d have you in a coma by the time the dawn came.

Sarah Brightman sings well
But can she save this sinking ship?
It's too early to tell, but she's got more makeup on her lips than most actresses wear in a lifetime.

So Giles gets mad and won’t tell Shiloh why he can’t help Mag.
And she sings about how she’s a teenage rebel at seventeen years long
After which he hits her, which I would do too if any child of mine
Ever sung such a poor and terrible song!

Gingrich wants Giles to help him kill Mag because she wants to break contract
And because I guess we don’t have enough stories in this movie already,
Seriously, it feels like it’s going to overflow any second!
There’s another overblown opera that night and Shiloh’s invited
Gingrich is plotting to kill her father too, because he won’t kill Mag
The whole thing is so convoluted even the actors have no idea what’s going on!
But it’s OK; we have more ear-raping, eye-gouging fun to engage in!

No literally…eye gouging.

Eyes, gouged out.
I guess Brightman was tired and really wanted out.
Can't blame her at all for that, she's done enough
Getting through this flick must have been tough.

After that Giles is captured, and on stage they pretend it’s part of the act.
Giles reveals that he made Shiloh sick on purpose,
Poisoning her blood so he could keep her to himself.
What a shitty parent! I think he deserves what he gets!

In a Hamlet-esque ending everyone dies,
Gingrich has a heart attack and never again will he rise.
Giles lies dying in his own blood
And they try to portray him as a noble father doing what he could.

NO! I shout, NO! He’s an awful father, no matter his intention.
He deserves nothing but scorn and lifelong detention.
But I guess we need some kind of heartwarming final scene,
For afterwards we get nothing but the reveal that the bad guys took over; how obscene!
And more sequels could result now! Oh, I don’t want to be sober.

Phew! That was tougher than I thought. Okay, I might as well expound on this rambling thing before people lynch me, because I do know a lot of people enjoy this film. I actually did not hate Repo! The Genetic Opera. It was silly as hell and some parts of it were pretty bad, but overall the dramatic arc was halfway decent, and in the mode of Sin City and Sucker Punch it was pretty OK. Some of the singing was truly excellent, especially Anthony Head’s and Sarah Brightman’s, which should be no surprise. Paul Sorvino was excellent too and young Alexa Vega was damn good herself.

But the bad is just as prominent. The songs aren’t catchy at all and they’re forced so awkwardly into this thing that it just becomes downright embarrassing to watch. Like one scene they’re in this limo and Paul Sorvino’s character is singing about how he got the daughter into the limo – you really need a song for that? I mean, they sing everything! They sing when they’re just making casual greetings and pointless banter, and segue into normal talking without any rhyme or reason to it! It’s completely haphazard and all over the place. And some of the visuals are just awful. I mean really awful. Like the bowels of Hot Topic, Spencer’s and the Goth kids from South Park spewed out their worst possible creation ever and it actually made a movie – that would still be more dignified than this movie sometimes.

So some parts are good, some parts are bad, and the whole thing just comes out kind of jumbled and directionless. It’s really not for me and I don’t enjoy it too much, but I guess I can see how people would. So with that said, this is the perfect Valentine’s Day movie.

Wait, what?