Wednesday, May 30, 2012

REVIEW: Identity (2003)

I’ve been debating recently as to whether the ending of a film can literally be so bad as to ruin the entire experience. If the rest of the film up until the third act has been a relatively pleasant and investing experience, can the ending really take it all away that fast? In Super, for example, it did kind of ruin the movie, as the ending undermined what the rest of the film was trying to do. In other movies, like today’s subject, however…it’s less complicated than that. In movies like Identity, the ending ruins the movie simply because it makes the whole thing completely suck while at the same time making you wish they hadn’t tried so damn hard to make something intellectual! Argh! But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s watch this stinker.

Director: James Mangold
Starring: John Cusack, Amanda Peet

The movie begins with a bunch of cops preparing for a late night hearing the last night before a convicted murderer is about to get executed, and apparently the defense found some new evidence conveniently right before he was supposed to croak. What timely events!

Then we cut to a seedy looking motel where a family that looks like they should be in that god-awful Cape Fear remake is driving around. They run over a spiked heel in the middle of the road – weird, right? The movie thinks so, too, so it takes the time to flash back to a hooker played by Amanda Peet playing bondage birthday cake games with an old fat man, like something out of a horrible caption contest picture. Seriously, just look at this:

Anyway, she packs her stuff and then remembers she has to get something while driving later, so even though she’s all alone on a deserted road, she can’t just pull over and stop to look for it, no; she has to try and do it WHILE DRIVING. So she loses a bunch of stuff from her suitcase, including the shoe that the family ran over. Was this flashback…at all necessary to explain why a shoe was in the middle of the road? Actually yes, yes it was. I was actually hoping they would show MORE of that flashback, like why Amanda Peet became a hooker to begin with! Or what she ate for lunch the previous day. Or the first time she saw Two Girls One Cup.

Anyway, then the mother who was in the car gets hit by another car driven by everyone’s favorite limo driver, John Cusack, who was in 2012 several years later where he also played a limo driver. Amanda Peet was also in 2012. I SMELL CONSPIRACY! Anyway Cusack wants to go help the woman he just ran over, but the bitchy actress he’s driving around says no, because…well, there is no reason. She’s just a callous and horrible person.

Cusack, being a decent person, helps them anyway and they all go into a motel run by this guy, who was in Winter’s Bone and…yeah, he was certainly in that…anyway, in this movie he's just really prejudiced against Amanda Peet's hooker character. This unnecessary and senseless bias makes up the core of his character.

"I'm the highest class of cheap seedy motel owners!" Seriously you dumbass, don't prostitutes come in there all the time? Look at the place you run! Must be hard to get what very little business you get if you're selective about your customers!

And yeah, Amanda Peet is back. She drives back by the place where she lost her stuff – hours later? Really? What was she doing that whole time? Did she just reach her destination and then think, “gee, I really liked that one shoe I lost! Better go get it!”? That…just seems strange to me. Anyway, she gets stuck, too, and picked up by the Cusack. They find this other couple driving around, Lou and Gina, who don’t have a cell phone for them to use. What? Don’t have a cell phone? In this day and age? Pfft…it’s like this was made in 2003 or something…

Meanwhile, since this movie had too much dignity before, Ray Liotta shows up as a cop transporting a murderer to add his own input to the movie. He’s a short-tempered gun-crazy lunatic of a cop, but he’s still better than his character from Hannibal.

"Allow me to prevent you from ever finding me likable at all...mmmm...sleaze..."

His convict is played by Jake Busey from Starship Troopers, rounding out the cast of B-level actors you know you've seen in other movies, but can't remember exactly which ones. Joyous.

Then we see that Cusack apparently has the magical main character powers that every hero in these movies has as he manages to stitch up that George guy’s wife who he hit with the car earlier – oh, did you not even remember that with all the other nonsense going on in this movie? My bad. Allow me to never correct this convoluted insanity. But I digress – you know how in all of these poorly written films, the protagonist is a guy with a shit job who can somehow, almost magically, do unexpected things like fix wounds and take charge in tense situations? Cusack is like the poster child for that in this movie.

John Cusack is God! He can do ANYTHING!

Meanwhile in the courthouse, people shout because apparently that’s what this movie thinks is dramatic. Don’t have any actual depth? Try HAVING ALL YOUR CHARACTERS SHOUT ALL THE TIME AND LOOK SERIOUS. Screenwriting 101!

So before you start to think this whole thing is the set-up for a horrible Nancy Drew book, things get hairy as the actress Cusack was driving around is found murdered in the washing machine, because I guess she wasn’t clean enough! This of course sends everyone into a panic, especially when they find out that the convict Ray Liotta was transporting has escaped. This causes Lou and Gina to go have a sporadic fight for no apparent reason. Apparently, Gina lied about being pregnant to get Lou to marry her because her best friend told her that she saw him talking to some girl at a bar and…oh, do you care? Just put it on Jerry Springer. The whole thing ends with Lou gutted in the corner:

Well that's a LITTLE bloodier than most couple fights get...

Then they find out that Liotta's convict, who has been tied up to prevent him from doing anything crazy, has been murdered - SO WHO WAS THE KILLER? They get their answer when they find out that Larry has a dead body in his freezer. He tries to drive away but actually just hits and smashes George against a wall like a cartoon character turned to a pancake, killing him instantly. So they tie him up and he tells them the story of how he was broke and strapped for cash and came across the motel and found the owner dead, so he just started acting like he was the motel owner.

Then all the dead bodies start disappearing without a trace, like they were cleaned up by Samuel L. Jackson in Cleaner!

Except that was actually pretty good.

Then it's wacky fun escaping time as that Gina chick and the little kid, Timmy, try to drive away, but unfortunately the car has other plans for them, as it's tired of being in this movie and wants a quick out:

Then things get even WACKIER as everyone realizes they all have the same birthday and that their names are all named after states, like Ed Dakota, Larry Washington and so on, so forth. What relevance does this have to anything? Well, just wait a few minutes - you're about to be horribly disappointed.

And then time just unravels as John Cusack wakes up and gets told by Shakespearean actor Alfred Molina – yes, they got a guy who was in The Tempest to be in this garbage – that he (Cusack) is actually just one of this serial killer’s split personalities, of which there are 10 in total (i.e. all the main characters in the film), and one of them has been “killing” the other personalities inside his mind at the motel for the entire movie up until now.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet THE ONLY REAL CHARACTER IN THE MOVIE!

So yes. This movie just basically did a ‘none of it really happened’ trick on us. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I’m not even going to be able to review the rest of this in a linear fashion – it’s bullet point time!

+ First off, I must repeat – ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This is the worst ending twist I’ve maybe ever seen! How do you even DO something like this…you have a relatively good story going on and then you just completely BOTCH it with one of the outright stupidest ending twists ever! Couldn’t these idiots have just stuck to the motel story? That actually wasn’t bad! Sure, it was hammy, ridiculous and over the top, but it was at least an interesting story! The characters had some depth and they were getting kind of interesting. Why would I even WANT to watch a movie about some fat POS in a chair about to be electrocuted with multiple personalities? The movie has clearly picked the wrong plot to come out on the forefront.

+ So what, all of these characters are inside his mind, right? So Amanda Peet, John Cusack, Ray Liotta and that Winter’s Bone guy all live in the head of an overweight version of the Pillsbury Dough Boy? Somehow I don’t think that’s going to hold up. And since this guy was actually ‘acting out’ the whole movie in his head all along, just picture him doing that scene with the prostitute and the guy handcuffed to the bed with the birthday cake on his chest. Isn’t that a pretty picture?


+ Third, the premise behind this is that the multiple personalities this guy has are the characters we’ve been watching this whole time, and they are killing each other off in a mental “battle” for a dominant personality to emerge. This could possibly be interesting if it were handled in a better way (more on that in the next bullet point), like in some kind of really artsy film, but for what is supposed to be a grounded, semi-realistic psychological thriller? It’s beyond bad. The whole premise is that the defense lawyer for the guy is trying to get the court to overturn his execution by proving that the “killer” personality is gone. How are they supposed to prove that? Are they just going to point at him and say “Look, he’s cured now”?

There is NO WAY this would ever fly in any actual US courtroom. He would be sent to the killing chair the second that idiotic psychologist brought up the concept that his multiple personalities were literally killing each other off in his mind like a bad Friday the 13th sequel. I mean really, you might as well just use the South Park Imaginationland argument and argue that leprechauns are real even though they’re imaginary – in fact that argument was much better handled than the one THIS crockpot of a lawyer is suggesting!

+ And FOURTH and finally, this story is handled in a crapsack, hamfisted, clumsy-ass way! There’s no subtlety to this! Oh, it’s raining all the time because his mind is in chaos! Oh, the characters all have the same birthday because it’s really HIS birthday! SUCH SUBTLE CLUES! Why don’t you just slap a B-roll on the bottom of the screen explaining how we’re supposed to be SO AMAZED at this movie’s intellect the entire runtime? You might as well.

To sum it up, this plot twist is total, complete and utter ass!

Phew. So let’s wrap it up – Liotta is revealed to be an escaped prisoner who just disguised himself as a cop. He kills off Larry and eventually shoots John Cusack, too, who is a saint for actually giving a crap about his performance in this thing – seriously, acting like he cared about any of this must have been an exercise in sheer mastery of will – and then Amanda Peet kills him, too, escaping to an orange grove in Florida, a plot point which was explained somewhere while you were marveling over how stupid the end plot twist was.

Then we flash back to the real world again where the courts, probably because they were just tired of being in this piece of shit movie, have decided that the killer’s execution will be stayed, since they apparently DID believe that Liotta was the “killer personality” and that now that the Ray Liotta portion of his brain has been removed, he is no longer a danger to anyone. But since Ray Liotta has no brain, what does this really mean? Is it a statement on how little our minds actually see that’s true? Or is it saying that you should have spent your money on a different movie? I’m going with the second one.

Really, the only thing that could possibly make this movie any worse is if the little kid, who disappeared earlier, turned out to be the killer all alo---

Don't f*ck with little kids!

AW, GODDAMN, YOU JUST HAD TO DO IT, DIDN’T YOU?! You morons! Were you just trying for the worst possible ass-fest of twists you could think of? The Sixth Sense and Signs were still pretty recent; were you just trying to outdo those for worst ending twists ever put on screen? It’s made more insulting when they actually put in horrible over the top flashbacks from the kid’s point of view that explain how he killed everyone, like we couldn’t “get” it otherwise. Ugh! I don’t even care. This review is over. I don’t even have to explain why this one sucks, do I? Just don’t watch it. You’ll have a better day.

Images copyright of their original owners.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Starring: Matthew Modine, Vincent O'onofrio, R. Lee Ermey
Director: Stanley Kubrick

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Did your parents have any children that lived?
Private Gomer Pyle: Sir, yes, sir.
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: I bet they regret that. You're so ugly you could be a modern art masterpiece! 

Well, it is Memorial Day, so it is time once again to commemorate the day by reviewing a classic war film. Granted, it is a film that shows a group of Marines as they are psychologically traumatized in boot camp before heading over to be further traumatized by an actual war, so I cannot say it is the most patriotic of films to spotlight. That being is a war film and it is by Stanley Kubrick and awesome, so I am going to do it anyway!

Based on the novel "The Short-Timers" by Gustav Hasford, the movie follows a soldier nicknamed Private Joker (Matthew Modine) who in the first half of the picture attends the Parris Island boot camp, under the command of the tyrannical and profanity-laced Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermey). The drill sergeant is particularly cruel toward a sub par recruit whom he names Gomer Pyle (Vincent O'onofrio). Joker nervously watches as Pyle morphs into what Hartman wants them all to be: lean, mean, killing machines. The second half shows Joker in Vietnam as he heads to the front lines and witnesses the horrors of war and the effects it has on himself and his fellow Marines.

Like "The Deer Hunter," the film is intriguing in how it follows people as they go through the different stages of the Vietnam war. The boot camp is meant to be a training ground, a safe place for soldiers to hone their skills. Instead it seems more like the first phase of the conflict as they struggle to survive their commanding officer's wrath. Ermey does an outstanding job as Hartman, the iconic character who has come to epitomize the angry military authority figures we see in many of today's movies, television shows, and commercials (remember that GEICO commercial where Ermey is a therapist? Yeah, I liked that one too...). While it is likely that Hartman gets a bit of a sadistic pleasure out of torturing his cadets (for a supposedly model citizen and Christian, he sure does have a sexual-explicit vocabulary), it does seem to serve a twisted purpose, which is wear them down until they ready to release their fury upon the enemy when they face them. It should be noted that Ermey himself is a Vietnam veteran who was also a drill instructor while serving in the Marine Corps and he improvised a lot of his now infamous lines. Must have been pretty disturbing for the other actors! Another standout is Pyle, who is overweight and is not the sharpest tool in the shed, but seems to be a nice guy. However, the camp takes a toll on him and while he becomes a much better soldier, his mental well-being worsens, resulting in a disastrous conclusion. His struggles symbolize the destruction of innocence being inflicted on Joker and the rest of the men heading off to fight. 

When the troops are finally sent off to Vietnam, things really start to go downhill for them. They are caught in the middle of the Tet Offensive, putting them in the path of danger and destroying their morality. This is made clear when witnessing the actions and personality of Animal Mother (Adam Baldwin), a courageous but dangerously unbalanced Marine who you would not want to meet in a bar...or anywhere else for that matter. Except maybe the battle field, but ONLY if he was on your side (though I have to admit, along with Hartman, he is one of my favorite characters)! He basically replaces Pyle as the movie's poster boy representing what constant exposure to combat can lead to: effectiveness, but also to a loss of humanity.

It sounds like I am not paying much attention to Joker in this review. This is mainly because, even though he narrates the story and the plot is basically about what he did during the war, he is not really the main star. In reality, it is the actual atmosphere that is the real attraction of the film. There is relatively little use of music, but when there is, it is usually a low humming sound or drum beat that indicates impending danger, giving it a very chilling quality. Okay, the "Surfin' Bird" scene was a little weird, but hey, Kubrick always had a dark sense of humor. This can clearly be shown in various instances involving prostitutes, bigotry, and frank talk about the politics of the war. Needless, to say it also has a good amount of violence and heavy moments to pass around. The movie is a real psychological event to behold. Obviously, I cannot say how accurately this portrays the mindset of a soldier during Vietnam, or any war for that matter. From an entertainment standpoint, however, it certainly succeeds.

It is a classic for a reason and if you have not seen it already, I definitely recommend it.

I do not own the rights to the image and links in this post; they are the property of their respective owners and are being used here for entertainment purposes only.

My Thought Process While Watching "Super" (2011)

Director: James Gunn
Starring: Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page

This is the best representation of my thought process while watching Super. I hope you enjoy it.

I was excited for this one, as it looked sort of like Kick-Ass except even weirder and darker, which is always something I like. But man, was this a disappointment. I haven’t seen an ending ruin a movie like this in…well, since Identity, pretty much. The basic premise is that this dorky, socially awkward man (Rainn Wilson) who most likely has a mental illness loses his girlfriend to a drug dealer (Kevin Bacon), so he decides to put on a costume and start “fighting crime,” or rather, going up to drug dealers and, wait for it, people who cut in line, and bludgeoning their skulls with a wrench. He teams up with an even crazier, more morbid soul in Ellen Page’s character, who laughs cutely while cutting open peoples’ chests with hand-made Wolverine-style claws.

…sound charming yet? This is a really screwed up movie, and I liked that for most of the runtime. In fact, my exact thoughts – the exact post I made on Facebook while watching the first half hour – was as follows:

so far Super is an incredibly disturbing film about a mentally ill man who puts on a costume and beats people savagely with a wrench. If that's it's intention I like it. Weird commentary sort of thing.

Yeah, this movie wasn’t exactly clear on its real intention at first, which made me think “Oh, good, a film that is morally ambiguous while also having a really dark sense of humor – good!” Like a couple of scenes where Rainn Wilson is preparing to become a superhero, praying to God to let him save his wife – a rather chillingly pathetic and revealing scene. But then you get this image right afterwards:

Confusing, right? Oh well. Most of the movie is still pretty good so far. The scene where he brutally bludgeons a man and cracks his skull – like you actually see blood coming out of the split in his head up close – for CUTTING IN LINE kind of rubbed me the wrong way, but hey, it’s a dark comedy. The fact that this guy actually thinks he’s doing good, and doling out some kind of “justice,” should make for some really macabre humor later on, right?

Oh, and Ellen Page is in the movie now! She is way too excited about her new position as Wilson’s sidekick. She persuades him to go over to this guy’s house where they beat him up for, supposedly, messing up one of her friend’s cars. Then after Wilson nearly beats him to death in his own home, with almost no provocation, Page blurts out “I THINK this is the guy who did it!” Gee. This movie is actually getting really disturbing now. Where can it possibly go from here? What crazy things will Ellen Page do next?

The final battle comes around where we get to see Kevin Bacon and his minions in their big country ranch mansion. Wilson and Page ambush them from outside and slowly kill off the guards like it’s a slasher movie – note here how Page kills one guy in cold blood, quite happily, with some Wolverine claws. Note her apparent lack of any kind of empathy or human emotion at all – what kind of psychological disorder does she have? What was her past like? Well, we’ll never find out because she gets killed off and Wilson never even mentions her again. Another of his own mental failings? Maybe.

So he saves his wife and…I’m not going to lie; the ending is complete, total horseshit. You will be insulted beyond your wildest dreams. What transpires, in so many words, is this – Wilson takes his wife, who has had maybe 4 lines in the whole movie, back home where she of course instantaneously gets clean, and the epilogue is basically his revelation that he was “working” under God’s plan the whole time to save his wife, who apparently goes on to have a normal and productive life. What about the struggle of getting clean from drugs? What about Ellen Page? She’s never even mentioned again! What the hell were these writers smoking? This whole thing is played off so moralistic and cutesy that it’s like they forgot what movie they were making! I mean, hello, THIS IS THE MOVIE WITH BRUTAL BLUDGEONINGS FROM A CRAZY MAN IN A SUPERHERO OUTFIT.

I’m sorry; this movie is just so frustratingly inconsistent. The ending doesn’t fit at all with how it started or what the tone was throughout the film. These two characters, Rainn Wilson’s and Ellen Page’s, are deeply disturbed. They need help. The movie trying to play it off like they’re just quirky and silly DOESN’T WORK. You can’t have a happy, fluffy ending with characters like this – these are people who have no problem with cracking someone’s skull just because he was mildly rude to them. I want to see some psychological character development here! I want to delve into their psyches! Hell, I at least want some kind of more morbid humor in here than what we ended up with! And this movie actually has the gall to try and teach us a lesson with THIS SHIT in it?

Get real. Super is crap, and I can’t think of a worse missed opportunity in a film in recent times. It has no idea what it wants to be and fails horribly at absolutely everything it tries. Kevin Bacon is great and Rainn Wilson is actually very good himself, but even they can't save this mismatched pile of confusing nonsense in the end. Go watch Kick-Ass instead; at least that movie is actually good.

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REVIEW: The Caller (2011)

I did not really expect anything from this film, The Caller, but it turned out to be one of the more inventive horror movies of the last year, with a really creative premise that, while outlandish, actually works in the movie’s favor to create some real tension, drama and atmosphere. Does that sound surprising to you for a 2010s horror movie? Well, let’s dig into The Caller and see why it’s so good.

Director: Matthew Parkhill
Starring: Rachelle Lefevre, Stephen Moyer, Luis Guzman

The Caller is a film about a young woman, Mary, who has just moved to a new town. She starts getting mysterious, unsettling phone calls that it turns out are from a woman in the 70s. The woman keeps getting crazier and crazier when Mary tries to break off the phone calls, and looks for revenge in a way that I think many horror fans will just find delightful, it’s so creative and chilling.

Now, something this film requires that a lot of people do not have anymore is suspension of disbelief, that age-old creed that allows a film to go into uncharted territory with its plot and still retain the audience’s willing participation. Basically all one really needs to attain suspension of disbelief is to craft an air-tight story in spite of whatever oddities and unrealistic elements the plot harbors. This is a time travel movie, so some suspension of disbelief is granted there by its very nature, but the problem is that some people really won’t even watch movies like this simply because the premise is so goofy. I welcome a “goofy” premise like this! The Caller is one of the more original horror plots I’ve seen lately. Give me something outlandish, something ghoulish, something horrific! Give me something with imagination.

Okay, I digress – The Caller is a really well done horror film. The acting is solid, with Rachelle Lefevre giving a pretty good performance as the lead; nothing spectacular, but she gets the job done. That pretty much goes for everyone in this thing – no standout performances exactly, just enough to get you to believe they are who they say they are. The lighting is grimy and dark, and helps out with the seedy atmosphere the film creates. A lot of the movie is staged in Mary’s apartment, so the atmosphere had to be really good to make up for that, and it is. There is always a dark, dirty pall over everything in this film, even in the daylight. Nothing ever looks too nice or clean.

But mostly the draw of the film is just the batshit crazy story. At first I was like, man, this is just going to be another droll ‘phone stalker’ thing without much to redeem it, but once it was revealed that the mysterious and deranged caller on the other line is actually calling from over thirty years in the past, things get more interesting fast. Who is this nut of a woman? How is she making phone calls to the future? We don’t know, and that’s part of why it’s so bizarre and chilling. Apparently the woman was supposed to kill herself – the gardener tells Mary this, as he was the one who found herself. However, once Mary intervenes and incidentally changes the past…well, things start to get interesting fast.

The Caller is just a great flick. I don’t even want to spoil it too much; that’s how cool it is. This is in the unique position of being a horror flick that’s also a time-travel science fiction in its own way, and that gives it a unique flavor, but the strong writing, believable acting and creative, imaginative scares jettison The Caller into actual A-list quality horror. If you haven’t heard of this, well, here’s me telling you – go see it, and you won’t be able to sleep for a week.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

REVIEW: Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)

Zzzzzz....zzzzz....oh, sorry, I just dozed off during today's movie. My bad. It's, this is dull.

Director: Graham Baker
Starring: The Soundtrack, Sam Neill

Man, this is shit. Who would ever willingly watch this slop anyway? It's about as convincing and scary as your grandma's old phone books. There's more padding in this movie than in your average tampon factory. You could find a better Satanic end-of-world story in a Sunday School picture book. But it's one thing to talk about Omen III: The Final Conflict and quite another to actually watch this half-assed cobble of uninteresting crap. So, if you can stay awake, let's try and slog through this stinker.

The film begins with Damien, played this time by Sam Neill. You know, the guy from In the Mouth of Madness…well I sure hope he doesn’t…do anything he would have done in that movie…Okay, this joke sucked, moving on. He is actually aware of his role as the Antichrist now, and actively prepares for the day he can finally take over the world, which is coming soon. To do this, he needs to become the ambassador to Britain. However, there’s already another guy who has that job. So what does Damien do?

Realizing what movie he was in, this guy suddenly became very scared and later went back and constructed an elaborate scheme to kill himself. The dog later went on to star in The Stuff.

Okay, so the caption may or may not have been true, but here's a slightly different version of events: through an incredibly long, drawn out sequence of nothing, backed up with the film’s ludicrously over the top soundtrack, we see that the ambassador is hypnotized by a dog, or something, and then wires his office doors to a gun which will shoot him in the face when someone opens the door. So why couldn’t Damien have just hypnotized him to shoot himself in the head? Why all the pointless padding? Oh, right, because the film had no actual captivating material, just this nonsense. Right.

And yeah, the soundtrack is REALLY over the top. I know a lot of people praise this movie's soundtrack, and sure, the music itself is fine I guess, but when you play this really froofy, overblown symphonic nonsense when it's just some guy sitting down in his doesn't exactly work, movie. It's just kinda stupid.

Then we get about five minutes straight of pointless montages of a bunch of priests preparing for the coming conflict. We get some shots of them winning some knives in an auction that apparently can kill Damien. Then we see them all standing around looking out the window of a discarded Name of the Rose set-piece at a constellation of stars, alongside an ass-numbingly long sequence of them explaining why it’s so important. I’ll sum it up in one sentence – they find out that the reincarnation of Christ will be born soon. That’s it. WHY DO YOU HAVE TO WASTE SO MUCH TIME? God.

"Man, this is really getting in the way of my game of Pong."

Oh, but one of them said it’s the final countdown, so I have to post this:

Ah, much better than the movie.

Meanwhile, Damien talks to a statue of Jesus in his alone-time and shouts ominous, evil stuff at it because, well, otherwise I guess we wouldn’t understand his evilness, or something. And he also starts seeing this reporter lady named Kate Reynolds, who has a son, and that’s about it. The group of priests plans to kill him while sitting around a dark, cramped room, and eventually spring their attack by trying to jump him as he’s doing a TV appearance, because THAT’S truly the greatest way to do it! These guys are just geniuses!

Wow, that plan really went down IN FLAMES! HA HA HA...oh wait, no.

Yeah, just a word of warning…the priests in this movie are idiots. They really don’t have any better strategies to get Damien? I mean, look at this scene, where Damien and a bunch of other guys, including Kate Reynolds’ son, are out hunting. They have one priest, because I guess ambushing him with more than that would be a dumb idea, lure him up to this bridge where this happens:

What is this, a pound opening? This really isn't tense or scary, movie.

Yep, dogs…that’s all this movie has. God. The monks can’t put together a good assassination plot for the life of them and the Antichrist is as lame as can be; what am I supposed to latch onto in this movie?! Eh. Still better than The Hulk’s villain who utilized dogs.

Yep...still lame.

There’s another attempt on his life where he’s lured out to this church in the middle of nowhere following this one old priest. The movie DID take my advice this time, as there ARE more priests teaming up this time. However, Damien pulls the old bait-and-switch, as when they think he walks through the door, they jump him and stab him to death, only to find out afterwards that it was actually one of their own priests they stabbed. Because I guess checking beforehand would’ve been stupid! These guys couldn’t plot their way out of a paper bag even if it had neon glowing sign directing them how to!

So then, and I’m not kidding here, the next fifteen minutes or so is just infanticide. That’s right, we get to see a bunch of infants getting killed, because one of them (of the ones all born between midnight and 6 AM the previous day) is supposed to be the reincarnation of Christ. Isn’t this just so peachy and cheerful? It’s pretty tasteless and doesn’t even have much of an impact visually, but there is one part that I really like:

BEACH BALL KILL! The ball hits the stroller and it rolls out in front of a truck, like a bad 1950s comedy routine gone wrong. Yeah, that’s the most random, out-of-nowhere kill I’ve seen in an Omen movie since…well, about ten minutes ago, I guess. How come nobody in this crazy world can come up with any plausible, efficient kills? Why are they all so ridiculous? And for that matter, what if the woman or someone else caught up to the stroller and stopped it before the truck hit it? Would Damien just go “Oh, snap,” and then make the baby spontaneously combust?

So it turns out there’s really only one baby left and it belongs to Damien’s right hand man. Now this brings up another stupid moment – all movie up to now, the assistant guy has been telling everyone that his son was born BEFORE the cut-off date for the supposed Christ reincarnations. Even though he’s been lying, for some reason Damien just went along with it. How can Damien not tell that his assistant is lying? Can’t he like…see into peoples’ minds or something? And even if he couldn’t, why not just look at the medical records for proof? He knows where all the OTHER babies are that were born at the right time, but he can’t figure out that one of his own employees is lying to him? For a future ruler of all darkness, Damien kinda sucks.

Oh, and how about this, where the priests get so desperate for ideas that they just start going around door-to-door of all the people with new babies born who could be the Christ reincarnation and telling them they’re in danger. He talks to Damien’s right hand man’s wife, and tells her what’s going on, and she believes him. However, he then talks to that Kate Reynolds chick, who’s supposed to be a smart reporter, and she doesn’t believe him, as she just goes to hang out with him the next day anyway and ends up having sex with him, because again, being the Antichrist gets you chicks:

She really knows how to pick 'em. How does this supposedly rational journalist not see who Damien really is, anyway?  Oh yeah because the plot depends on stupidity...

And all at the same time, her son has been possessed, or something, by Damien and is now working for him to spy on the priests. Man, banging the woman AND using her son as a minion; Damien sure knows how to get around! That priest guy comes back to talk to Kate again, and says that he knows that her son is working for Damien. Apparently he DOESN’T realize that the kid has been stalking him the whole time, though…pretty stupid…man, I’m bored; let’s just wrap this up in a paragraph:

Damien kidnaps the son and makes Kate lead her to where the Christ child is, because somehow she knows that, I guess. The kid dies – man, this movie really likes killing off kids for some reason – and then the priest dies, too. Damien wanders around a bit, wondering how come he’s fighting against his girlfriend, as in real life, Sam Neill and Lisa Harrow were dating around this time. But I guess they were having some problems:

This movie is a waste of time if I ever saw one. Nothing has any weight or drama to it, all the deaths are stupid as hell, there are a million little inconsistencies and plot-holes, the soundtrack is silly, the acting is bland and the story is completely trite and played out, with no surprises. Why would I ever watch this again? Oh, wait, no reason. Omen III is horrible and anything involved with it is horrible, too. A Satanic film so bad that it actually turns around and just starts reading the Bible again.

The images do not belong to me, they are copyright of their original owners.

Friday, May 18, 2012

REVIEW: Next (2007)

SPOILERS afoot here! Beware!

Nicolas Cage is a lot of things. He’s a bad actor, a so-bad-he’s-good actor, a producer of films and an all around odd character in real life. Whatever you can say about him, he is certainly noticeable. And what way to make him MORE noticeable than to put him in a movie where he plays a psychic stage magician on the run from Julianne Moore? This is Next.

Director: Lee Tamahori
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Jessica Biel

I really do like the flashy aesthetic this movie has. Pretty much anything involving Las Vegas is automatically cool. This is no exception. It’s just all about the visual eye candy. The flashy lights, the gaudy buildings, the slick streets, the fast cars…it’s all here in spades, people, with a healthy American scent all over it. This really is a very American movie in the end, with a lot of shots later on of perhaps the most American thing ever, the Arizona desert – truly a majestic sight. Any movie that has people driving through the desert gets at least one brownie point for aesthetic worth. There is a lot to be said for the atmosphere of a film and how the locations chosen affect the viewer’s enjoyment of the whole.

Cage himself is his usual stoic, too-serious self of his latter days – this is the melodramatic try-hard overly serious Cage of Drive Angry, not the silly Vampire’s Kiss-styled Cage of the 80s and 90s. He’s not a good actor and never will be, but where he succeeds is pure passion and energy into what he’s doing. Cage is always an intense guy and even when he can’t emote for shit, you can always tell he is into what he’s doing. He will never purposefully half-ass a performance and he will definitely never sell out. He just loves acting – even if the rest of us have to suffer sometimes. And I think that’s what makes him a respectable actor. In his own weird little way.

Julianne Moore is…well, Julianne Moore, playing the usual overly confident, smug lady cop she has played in other movies. Jessica Biel is probably the weakest link in this thing as she just doesn’t have much of a character other than being eye candy – and she does work as that, but as an actual character she leaves a lot to be desired, mostly just acting as your generic Mary Sue female protagonist with no flaws or personality. Pretty boring.

The story is a Die Hard sort of tale, about terrorists and bombs and what not, except the twist is that Cage’s character can see two minutes into his own future to find out what’s going to happen next. Moore and her people want to capture Cage so they can channel his power to help find the terrorists, only he doesn’t want them to because he doesn’t want to be locked up like a lab rat. He does eventually team up with them when Biel is kidnapped. The whole third act is just a thrill ride, maybe not as good as any Die Hard movie, but close enough, and nail-bitingly exciting in its own right.

The only problem with this movie is actually the reason why I can’t recommend this as a bona-fide good film – it’s not exactly a small issue. One of the recurring plot points in this movie is that Cage’s psychic visions are sometimes presented to us as actual happenings in the film. Like something will happen, but then a few minutes later the screen will flash and Cage will just be sitting there THINKING about whether or not to actually let it happen – the benefits of his psychic foresight, but not exactly a strong filmmaking technique. The first few times it’s OK, as it adds to the humor – like the numerous visions he has about different ways to ask Biel out. That was pretty funny.

But it turns out Biel’s character is some kind of psychic enhancer for him, somehow, so with her he can see even further into the future. This plot point is never properly explained – how is she able to do that to him? And it’s made even worse by the fact that the entire climax, yes, the entire action-fueled, tense climax, all turns out to be part of Cage’s vision. None of it actually happens! This serves, I guess, to show us that Cage has to make the tough choice and leave Biel behind while he goes and saves the city on his own, but still, it’s a pretty damn big cop out. At the end of the day, there simply isn’t much that actually HAPPENS in Next, and that’s where the film fails in the end. It’s just the principle of the whole thing. While this film is entertaining, and quite original, the fact is, not a lot of stuff really transpires in the film – a lot of it is just in Cage’s head.

Next is a fundamentally flawed film that still remains enjoyable in spite of those flaws. Not every movie has to be absolutely spotless, and sometimes a few flaws can make a movie more interesting, as they do here – there wouldn’t be as much to talk about if this was just your average Nicolas Cage action movie. And your mileage will vary on just how much the ending disappoints you – it really just depends how much you like the idea of a lot of it only being in Cage’s mind the whole time. If you can get past that, great; you’ll probably dig it. Otherwise, it’s worth a watch and has a curious enough plot to warrant one. Go see it.

Nicolas Cage told me to tell you that the images here aren't mine. They are copyright of their original owners.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

REVIEW: My Soul to Take (2010)

It’s Wes Craven time! This famed director can really go either way. On the one hand, he directed A Nightmare on Elm Street, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and Scream. On the other hand, he directed The Serpent and the Rainbow and the subject of today’s gala of wrongness, My Soul to Take.

Director: Wes Craven
Starring: Max Theriot, John Magaro

This is a very interesting type of bad movie. It looked like a generic Nightmare on Elm Street rip off – I mean, it’s a story about a bunch of kids stalked by a serial killer who died years ago; come on – but really, it’s bad for COMPLETELY DIFFERENT reasons! I know I’m usually a lot grouchier than this when a movie this terrible comes around but…I can’t help it; this is just too interesting to me! I’m like a kid in a candy store with this shit.

The film starts off with some guy who can’t act, trying to act. He’s a father with a wife who likes to watch on the news about what kind of knife a serial killer currently on a killing spree uses, because, you know, THAT’S something the news would broadcast! What, do they just think people are going to be able to get a close enough look at the knife to be able to quickly call 911 and report it before they get slashed? And for that matter, the knife says ‘Vengeance’ on it…why? It’s never explained! Not even two minutes in, and I’m already confused!

"Ooh, a knife! Cool!"

Then the father finds the knife in the sink and the movie has an epileptic seizure trying to convey the idea that the father is crazy. He does some silly voices and the camera flashes in-between really choppy scenes of creepy angles of him. Then we find out he killed his wife, and the cops come and get him, but he won’t die, and talks to them in a voice that sounds like Jigsaw from the SAW series. Then some stuff blows up, we find out that seven babies were born at exactly midnight and…we flash forward 16 years later!

Okay, I gotta take a breather; this movie is exhausting. That was like 5 minutes of screentime right there. Maybe even less! This whole thing is like the cinematic equivalent of a speed junkie’s personal video blog. You don’t have to cram EVERY SECOND of screentime in with nonsense, Craven. You CAN have a quiet, atmospheric moment or two, you know! Why am I the one telling him how to make his movies? I’ve never made one!

So in the present day, I guess, a bunch of kids are all gathered around in the woods where they apparently glorify the killer from before every single year on the exact day he died, which is their birthday – that’s right, these seven kids who were born when the killer supposedly died all get together each year to ritualistically pretend to kill a big puppet made to look like what they imagine he looked like. They get stopped by the cops because apparently there’s a curfew in town, and they’re all really surprised at this. Why? They do this every year. They should know about the curfew! Why is it such a surprise to them?

Anyway, we see our three main heroes, Bug, random black kid we won't see much, and our main star, Asian kid!

Hey, it's The Goonies/the kids from The Sandlot/the kids from IT/the kids from Chronicle...

Now, in an interesting twist, the Asian kid is actually a really well developed character in this movie. He has a clear motivation, a lot of depth and faults that anyone can relate to…nah, just kidding, he gets killed off in the next scene:

Yes, apparently this serial killer does it execution style and throws his victims off bridges...

After that it’s high school time, as we see one of the kids, Alex, getting into a fight with his drunk, abusive jackass of a stepfather, who drinks Pabst Blue Ribbon, so according to South Park, that’s why he’s a drunk, abusive jackass of a stepfather. I’m so glad Matt Stone and Trey Parker are there when I need them. But hey, if my stepson was in The Box, I’d be pretty angry at him too, so I can kind of sympathize with the stepfather a little.

Alex goes to school and meets Bug, where they hatch a plan to put Bug’s phone in the girls’ bathroom to overhear what they’re saying. Am I in the same movie still?

No, really; am I in the same movie? This IS a horror movie, right? And not Bratz: The Movie or some kind of fashion model photography shoot? Because you're not making a very good case for the former, Craven, I gotta tell ya.

Yeah, apparently the girls in this movie are like the mafia of high school, led by this one chick who’s watched way too many Helena Bonham Carter movies, Fang. Yes, Fang, that’s what they call this girl. They talk shit about Bug and Alex and some other people and it gets them both slightly pissed off at one another. They say that Bug has been in institutions and has killed people before. They say Alex just uses Bug like a monkey. This of course causes both friends to turn on one another with disbelieving looks! But wait, if they’re such good friends, why are they so ready to believe random shit-talking they secretly overheard from the girls’ bathroom? Shouldn’t they be good enough friends to where they would KNOW that whatever the girls said wasn’t true?

We also get this really strange scene where Bug starts imitating everything Alex does and says somehow, like he’s possessed, and has to be slapped to snap out of it. It’s…mostly incredibly pointless. Just like this little paragraph!

We see some religious girl talking to another girl who the head jock of the school got pregnant, I guess. Isn’t there supposed to be a serial killer in this movie? We’re 40 minutes in, and not more than one poorly explained, brushed over kill scene has happened! The pregnant girl is worried about her baby, so religious girl says “It’s a baby, not a bomb.” Well unless you’re in Dracula III: Legacy:

I bet you didn't expect me to reference Dracula III again, did you? But yeah, to make a long story short, they both get killed I guess.

Then we see this girl named Brittany running away from head jock asshole guy Brandon, who wants her to give him a blowjob. She comes across the dead body of the religious girl outside, which is weird, because they weren’t even anywhere CLOSE to there when she was killed just ONE SCENE AGO…but what’s even stranger about these scene is that Brittany assumes Brandon did it, just at the drop of a hat for no reason. She accuses him of killing this girl like she’s accusing him of stealing her homework. What a smart character. Luckily her punishment for this moronic dialogue is death!

Not EXACTLY a good shot...

Then Brandon gets axed, too, and the killer utters the brilliant line: “Fuck your fucking unborn child!” Wow, Wes Craven…just wow. I don’t know why I expected better lines than this from a movie serial killer…OH WAIT it’s because Craven directed A Nightmare on Elm Street, which was famous for its killer’s witty one liners that DIDN’T involve profanity and ridiculous try-hard tough guy-isms! Silly me.

At home Bug finds out that his mom baked him a birthday cake. He tells her he likes that Brittany girl – you know, the one who just got killed – and she says “Isn’t she a little sophisticated for you?” What the hell? I guess she won’t be winning any Mother of the Year awards! You might as well just tell him “Honey, you’re a hopeless loser and you can’t even talk to most girls; just give up.” I mean…wow! That was pretty cold.

After that we see one of Craven’s brilliant plot twists as that Fang girl who was acting like the Godfather of the high school mafia is actually Bug’s older sister the whole time. Yeah. Real riveting twist, right? She tells him she hates him and that he ruined her life because he’s actually the son of the serial killer from the beginning of the movie, who everyone thinks is back and killing again. Then she beats the living crap out of him, because nothing says horror movie protagonist like getting beat up by your own sister:

So…HOW did this never come up in any of their no doubt wonderful familial conversations in the past SIXTEEN YEARS?! I’m sorry, I don’t buy it! There is NO WAY none of this crap was just NEVER brought up that whole time Bug was growing up!

After that we see Alex again for the first time in about a half hour. He comes in and talks to Bug about some stuff and then casually mentions, near the end of the conversation, that he just got back from murdering his stepfather. Yeah…wouldn’t have mentioned that FIRST THING, would he? I guess he just didn’t think it was very important.

Bug goes to get him a drink, sees his dead religious girl friend in the mirror, gets his father’s knife with ‘Vengeance’ written on it back somehow, and then goes downstairs and finds his mom dead. One cop comes in – yes, one cop; I guess sending more would have been a stupid idea – and tries to arrest him, angry that Bug would kill his mom NOT because he killed his mom, but because he was a symbol of hope for the town after his father killed his actual mother in the opening scene. Yes, HOW DARE HE HAVE A SERIAL KILLER FOR A FATHER AND COME OUT SCREWED UP BECAUSE OF IT! What an inconsiderate little shit.

The cop then gets killed by the actual killer a second later.

Bug and the killer fight a little bit and the killer apparently has teleportation powers, avoiding every gunshot fired at him somehow. Bug goes upstairs where it’s revealed that Alex was the killer the whole time, because the killer’s soul randomly picked his body at birth 16 years ago to transfer into…I don’t know, just go with it. Alex goes outside while he internally monologues about how he isn't the hero the city needs, but the one it wants right now, and that he can fake it FOR THE SAKE OF THE TOWN…

Actually on second thought, no.

Yeah, this movie was special. I don’t even know what to say about it. Craven conjures up, somehow, some decent drama with this thing, but there are so many plotholes, stupid scenes, terrible acting and horribly inconsistent storytelling moments that I can’t overlook them all. My Soul to Take is honestly a trainwreck of a film that you could probably miss and be a better overall person for it, and if you really want a GOOD 'troubled teen' movie, go watch Chronicle instead. But if you want something so terrible and so ridiculous that it's actually hilarious, well, My Soul to Take will do the job. Happily, in fact.

None of the images or videos here belong to me. They are copyright of their original owners.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

REVIEW: Hulk (2003)

Well, with The Avengers finally out and winning worldwide acclaim, it looks like superhero films have finally hit their stride and become worth talking about again – it’s been a long time coming with a lot of steep roads, but finally we have some viable superhero flicks to lead the genre and prove that it isn’t a big half-assed joke just made to cash in on the comic books. Indeed, we certainly have come a long way since movies like the 2003 Hulk film with Eric Bana, a movie so lame and so boring that it feels like you yourself are getting a radioactive zap straight to the brain. And yes, I did just use a joke that bad. I should be ashamed, but then again, I’m still better than the people who made THIS.

Director: Ang Lee
Starring: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott

I mean MAN this is a dull, plodding, hackneyed piece of nothing. Who knew you could make The Hulk so boring? It’s got all the elements you’d expect a Hulk film to have, but they’re done incredibly poorly, and mostly it will just put you to sleep. Eh. Let’s…try and get it over with, I guess…

We start off with a guy named David Banner doing illegal experiments without the government’s permission like experimenting on his own son – what a douchebag. He gets sacked rightfully, as what he’s doing is highly illegal. He starts to freak out and break shit and then immediately runs home to kill his son; what a champion father. We don’t exactly see what happens next, because the movie is as incoherent as your average meth addict, and just fades into another scene with main character Bruce Banner as a teenager about to go off to college and leave Woody, Buzz and all the other toys behind for the last time:

Maybe I got the wrong movie franchise...

Okay, seriously, what’s up with the flashbacks? Does this director just not think we’ll be able to understand The Hulk’s plot without showing us Bruce Banner’s past? And for that matter, why change the story like this? Bruce Banner was a normal guy who got caught up in radiation and became a big green monster. THAT’S IT. What is all this nonsense about his father conducting secret experiments on him and trying to kill him as a little kid? It’s just needlessly complex and dark.

So we finally get to the present day as we see Bruce Banner played by Eric Bana and his ex-girlfriend Betty, played by Jennifer Connelly, neither one of whom ever seems to give a shit about any of their lines throughout this thing. I’m serious, you could get cardboard cutouts to play these characters and you’d have the same level of emotional attachment. These two are ex boyfriend and girlfriend and it seems like this is supposed to be a point of contention between them, but the way Bana and Connelly act, it’s just a minor inconvenience to laugh about. So glad THAT riveting emotional character development was avoided!

They mosey around for a while exchanging some nonsensical dialogue and the scenes are transitioned horribly through schizophrenic drug induced hallucinations that look like stuff you’d see in a 1995 computer game. The whole thing is just too cluttered and claustrophobic, with short scenes broken up by tons of bright, flashy colors enough to give small Japanese children seizures. How am I supposed to be invested in this? It’s practically the cinematic equivalent of a hyperactive little girl on too much sugar!

So Banner and Betty do some more experiments until their dumbass friend accidentally breaks the machine and gets Banner infected with the radiation. It should kill him, but instead, mysteriously, he’s OK, and even better than before. He then gets visited by a creepy old Unabomber impersonator, his own crazy father who escaped from a mental ward and disguised himself as the janitor of the building, played by veteran actor Nick Nolte. How did they get him to do this? Well, I imagine a lot of horrible, horrible blackmail was involved. And what’s up with the three random dogs he has with him all the time? Is this supposed to be taken seriously?

The true picture of villainy; a crazy homeless man from your local subway with a bunch of weird dogs around him for no reason.

Nolte hams it up in front of the camera as he’s going to do for the entire movie – this guy is seriously just terrible here, and it’s baffling because I know he can do good in other movies. What happened, was he just told to act as poorly as possible? I also love how he tries to get all self righteous and finger-pointing at Banner for not being a good scientist or whatever when HE was arrested for malpractice and experimenting on humans and then put into a mental ward. Not exactly in the position to chastise others, are you pal?

And what is also so strange about this is…HOW THE HELL DID HE GET HIRED BY A GOVERNMENT-FUNDED SCIENTIFIC BUILDING? He has a criminal history! Do they just not do any background checks on their employees? “Hey, I know this guy was arrested thirty years ago for doing illegal experiments and has been in a mental ward ever since, but I really think he’s perfect for our scientist building as a janitor! NOTHING BAD could possibly result from this!” USE YOUR BRAINS YOU MONGOLOIDS.

Banner turns into the Hulk and destroys the lab, causing everything to get shut down by the government and Banner to be arrested the next morning. Betty’s father the military general (Sam Elliott) comes in and arrests Banner despite Betty’s pleas otherwise – he’s ONLY a danger to all mankind as long as he’s free, after all! Why do some parents have to be so inconsiderate?

That night we see David Banner’s most diabolical plot yet…three rabid super-dogs, one of which is a French poodle. I swear I am not making that up:

Reminds me of The Breed...
Or, no, wait. It's like Cujo II:  Who Let the Dogs Out! There we go!

I…can’t tell if this is stupid or genius. But we get a pretty decent action scene I guess, remarkable enough for the fact that it involves a demonic French poodle, but decent enough otherwise, too. Then they go back and we find out that Betty really wasn’t so loyal after all, as despite the fact that Banner helped her, she tranquilizes him and lets the military take him. What a whore.

They take him to some compound where of course they NEVER do anything stupid like…just letting him walk around all he wants with his ex girlfriend with no guards or protection, thus putting everyone in danger…oh wait, they DO do that. What a bunch of morons! But at least they’re prepared for a Hulk break-out in case they do some experiments on him underwater and he gets angry and breaks out…oh, wait, they’re NOT prepared at all, and have to run around like their heads are up their asses just to make sure he doesn’t kill them.

Aren't you glad the US is paying taxes in this world to fund idiotic experiments like this, which could have literally been orchestrated better by a five year old? How is it THIS HARD to NOT waste valuable resources? If you want to make The Hulk come out, how about actually getting prepared for it, and setting up damage-proof settings where he won't destroy anything? But I guess that would make too much sense. Instead these guys just love to run around like turkeys with their heads cut off while The Hulk demolishes all their hard work. But hey, whatever works, ya know?!

Is anything these guys do sensible or smart AT ALL? I’ll just spoil that for you and say no, no it isn’t.

So the Hulk breaks out of the compound and goes on a rampage all around the desert and even through the Grand Canyon. And okay, even I have to admit, this is the only good part of the movie, with some excellent scenery and even some decent action for once. Seeing the Hulk jump around the Grand Canyon is pretty awesome.

But the movie RUINS it soon after by having David Banner, Bruce’s father and now a crazy Unabomber wannabe, talk to Betty alone and try to get her to let him talk to Bruce again, even offering to turn himself in. Now, in any rational universe, the military’s response would be “No, you crazy freak, we’re just arresting you and putting you back in that mental institution for the rest of your life.” However, in THIS MOVIE, the military just goes along with his demands and agrees to them!



ARE THEY OUT OF THEIR MINDS? What kind of military is this? They ACTUALLY let him see his son after everything he’s done? I mean, he’s only an escaped mental patient locked up for doing dangerous experiments on human beings. It’s not like he’s, oh I don’t know, CRAZY or anything, right? This makes no sense! What kind of military organization would ever negotiate with a hostage like this? What do they gain? Brownie points for reuniting a son and his father, even though the father is a known lunatic and could do anything to activate his son’s Hulk persona and sabotage everything the military themselves is working for? Are they just TRYING to screw up as much as possible? Is that the experiment they're doing; how to royally mess up everything as much as possible? I’m sorry, I don’t get it, and this movie has officially crossed the line into complete WTF territory, never to return. Movie, YOU NEED HELP.

So anyway, now we have a second climax which involves David Banner biting on a big electric wire and turning into, well, what looks like a big pile of Transformer droppings:

Noogie noogie noogie!

They fight some more and David turns into…oh, do you even care anymore?

I really don't, so I'm not going to bother explaining this part.

Then the military bombs them and leaves them for dead without even checking to SEE if they’re dead or not – have I mentioned I’m not exactly enthralled with the way the military acts in this movie? – and we’re done, right? No? There’s still another ’1 year later’ epilogue scene? Oh come on, JUST END ALREADY, you big pile of green garbage!

Sigh. So apparently a year later, Jennifer Connelly still can’t act, as when she says she still loves Bruce, she sounds like she’s just saying she lost her shoes or something – don’t get TOO emotional there honey; don’t want to actually make us give a shit there or something! And we see Bruce himself in the jungle with some native tribe, getting robbed by some thieves. He glares at them and says, in a foreign language, “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”

So, just to recap that, the signature line of the Hulk series is only uttered in a foreign language at the very end of the movie – it’s not THAT BIG of a deal or anything, but it just points out how much this movie utterly fails.

And fail it does! This was crap. Aside from the awful special effects, acting and storyline, it was just so cluttered with nonsensical transitions and too many plotlines for what should have been a relatively simple movie. I didn’t really get a chance to mention it in the review, but this movie is also really, really friggin’ pretentious and ponderous, with far too many faux-philosophical ramblings from Nick Nolte’s character that just get on my nerves with how self-indulgent they are. For psychological superhero movies, The Dark Knight was still a long ways off.

So yeah, this sucks. Go see the 2008 one instead. It isn’t anything amazing, but it’s at least a real movie, unlike this haphazard collection of psychedelic music video images and pretentious college-student speeches. And I think that’s a big plus!

Images copyright of their original owners.