Sunday, February 26, 2012

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!