Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Troll 2 Review: Part 2

Read the first part of the Troll 2 review before reading this one!

The mastermind in question is this lady, who is incredibly hammy, dressed like a Tim Burton-vomited-out gothic caricature, and who I am convinced is trying to win a contest for Mugging Into the Camera the Most, but is still more subtle than Catwoman from Batman Returns.

She serves them some drinks – because yes, I’d take drinks from a lady who looked like that! – and then watches as the unnamed girl turns agonizingly and slowly into a plant. She then invites the dorky 80s kid to drink his drink too…yes, because I’d totally drink something after watching my companion turn into a plant in front of me…while trolls come out and devour her. This prompts perhaps the most famous scene from the movie:

Such great acting is just unheard of in other movies…OK, OK, being sarcastic about it is pointless; it's been done a million times before. The scene, just that twenty seconds, is just so fascinating though. According to the Wikipedia page, the actors were all instructed to say their lines exactly as written, even though they were all in terrible Engrish and written by people who didn’t know the language. And it didn’t help that all the actors had basically no experience. But even THAT doesn’t explain the absurdity of scenes like this! I want to know how they physically told this kid to talk like that! You would think even foreigners would have a general grasp on how people talk, enough so that your scene doesn’t come out…well…LIKE THAT!

I digress, though, as there are still more horrors and amazements to come in this film…like when Joshua and his dad go into town to buy groceries and discover that everyone in town has gone to the Mass and the store is closed. The dad sits down in a chair and…immediately falls asleep.

What, do you have narcolepsy? I kinda doubt it. I think this guy is just a flat out moron. The kid doesn’t even notice! It’s like “aw, snap, dad randomly passed out again in public…at least it’s not like the time when he did it while on the toilet…” And the kid notices that Nilbog is Goblin spelled backwards. You’d think a bunch of goblins would be smarter than to name their town after what they secretly are. I guess goblins are morons.

Why is he even looking in the side mirror anyway? Does he just like looking in side mirrors from outside a car? What a weird kid.

So Joshua, being the smartest boy alive, decides to sneak around and go invade their morning mass. He sees them talking a bunch of gibberish about vegetarianism or something, and ends up getting caught. They try to force him to eat some of their green nasty-ass gunk which will turn him into a plant, but his dad comes in at the last second, begging the question of, what kind of father passes out and lets his kid wander around unsupervised for like 20 minutes? When he asks what they’re doing, the villagers say they were going to feed Joshua ice cream. Yes. They were feeding him ice cream. While holding him down and surrounding him like a cult of creepy pedophiles. Like an idiot, the father buys it and doesn’t question a thing. Well, then again, he DOES apparently just talk to random homeless men all the time too. I guess the family is used to it.

Meanwhile in the other plotline (seriously, Troll 2 has multiple plotlines…COMPLEX?!), one of the other doofuses goes out to buy food because they were morons and forgot to bring ANYTHING of their own…he gets accosted by a crazy madman in the grocery shop who mugs to the camera almost as much as the villainess from earlier. But not quite. No cigar, crazy general store man! You lose!

Even though this guy was just some mental patient on release for a few days, it's startling how he just seems like a normal member of this town, in the context of the movie. They're all nuts!

Speaking of the crazy villainess, she comes back in the next scene as the doofus is lured to her house and finds the first doofus turned into a tree-man hybrid, trying to free him. She catches them and kills the second doofus, and “punishes” the first with a chainsaw…still better than any Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequels! In fact, I’m just going to pretend this scene was the real TCM 2. It’s much less mind-numbing than the real one. I digress, though…what really makes this scene is more camera mugging! Yay!

I don't even think this lady was given direction. Well, aside from "more crystal meth than a Def Leppard concert."

Then we get some fun times at a house party where all the house guests bring food labeled ‘EAT ME’ and other asinine things, and of course it’s all very green and non-meaty. Grandpa comes back again, and actually turns real this time, which is never explained. He somehow summons a lightning bolt and kills the leader of the goblins, revealing him to everyone as his true goblin form…really, though, it’s just bizarre how everyone acts like they’re not even that surprised. I mean I guess they’re a little surprised…but it’s more the “oh, hey, an old friend unexpectedly dropped in” sort of surprised, as opposed to the “oh my god, he turned into a freakish aberration of nature!” sort of surprise…movie, why do I even try?

The father and Holly go and get Elliot from the camper and beat the shit out of him, threatening all the while that he BETTER GIVE UP THOSE DAMN FRIENDS OF HIS OR ELSE! Which, I guess, isn’t hard now, seeing as he only has one left. I can see this familial bonding ending well in the future, though. Probably with lots of lawyers, court appointments, crying, black eyes and 911 domestic dispute calls.

"Aw, but I just want some time with my fri---"
"NO! No friends! Your life will consist of your marriage and nothing else!"
"...can I have video games?"
"Kid, I'm gonna kill you with a rusty chainsaw."

The last dork is left on his own to hang out in the woods I guess; hope Elliot at least left him the keys to the camper just in case. He’s approached by the villainess of the movie, who transforms into a mildly hot woman who she guesses he’d like to fuck - if you're wondering how she transformed, just stop. You're using too many of your brain cells on this. They don’t have sex so much as re-enact a Z-grade porno and then make out while chewing on a Corn on the Cob...well, whatever turns you guys on; I ain't gonna judge.

And then...

Ah the popcorn-hangover...always a pain the next morning.

Popcorn. POPCORN!!! Nothing but popcorn. Why? You could write a book and not decipher the reasons why! You could fill the walls of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with the reasons why! I might as well just write any old nonsense here; that’d be about as good as anything this goddamn shit-ass-crack baby of a movie could conjure up! Don’t ever have the indecency to ask me WHY when it comes to this movie! Don’t even let it cross your mind! And do you know what’s even “better”? We never see the kid again! This is his last scene. Movie, I could shishkebab you with a broadsword right now.

The main characters all spend the last 15 minutes running around like chickens with their heads cut off, clearly not really going anywhere but away from the trolls goblins – c’mon, you’ve gotta have some kind of strategy! Go for the door! That's all you need to do! Grandpa comes back again but this time he only has 10 minutes for some unstated reason. He eventually disappears and is not seen again...why? Because his 10 minutes were up. Why were his 10 minutes up? Because. Just because. Stop questioning me!!!

Oh, and Joshua literally saves himself in the end by eating a bologna sandwich…yes, a bologna sandwich factors into the climax of Troll 2. Are you surprised? I think in order to be surprised, you’d basically have to have slept through the rest of the movie until now. Apparently it's because it has meat in it, and so the goblins are all repulsed by it. Suck it, vegetarians!

"I've got bologna and I'm not afraid to use it!!!"

The ending is a silly scene where they go home and the mom gets killed by the trolls goblins…look at the green plant-ooze at the end; it still has boobs just so you KNOW it’s the mother!

That’s how we end…on green melting boobs…truly an image that will stay with the fans for generations to come.

PHEW. That’s Troll 2. I’m not even sure what else to say. I’ve been rendered speechless…and frankly my fingers are getting tired. What I just watched…I mean, it was something else. Something totally alien to my previous perception of films. What could have gone into its creation? What would the actors have to say about it? I have so many unanswered questions about this…isn’t there like, a documentary or something that could possibly help put this movie into context both past and present?


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Troll 2 Review: Part 1

I have a confession to make…before tonight, I had never seen Troll 2. One of the defining bad movies of our generation, and I haven’t even touched nor made reference to it on the Cinema Freaks blog yet…how do I even have my Bad Movie Reviewing License at all? Oh wait, I bribed the guy giving them out with dirty pictures of him with hookers and forced him to give me the license:

That’s right. How did I get so confused? Well, probably because I just watched Troll 2.

Seriously, what is there to be said about this that hasn’t already been said? I’m not sure I can really add a thing that everyone else hasn’t already made fun of…from the terrible acting to the silly dialogue, Troll 2 is just a spectacle of everything that can possibly go wrong with a film. It’s practically an institution now. This is the bottom of the barrel for the mainstream world – the absolute nadir. They hold big old Rocky Horror-esque conventions now to watch this thing, even. I bet the makers didn’t expect that back in 1990 when it came out. And now it’s getting the Cinema Freaks treatment whether it likes it or not.

The movie starts off with a story about a guy walking in the woods when he’s approached by goblins in the woods…not trolls, goblins; it’s made very explicit that that’s what they are. So why is the movie called Troll 2 then? I’m two minutes in and already this is warping my mind! Jesus. What’s next, are they going to reveal that this is all a story being told by a creepy old bearded man to his grandson?

There's something wrong with Grandpa!

Huh. That was just a lucky guess.

This is Grandpa, who tells main character Joshua that he can’t interrupt Grandpa’s oh-so-great bedtime story about goblins in the woods. Because I’m sure that’s an awesome story to tell a kid. Back in the world of the story, the guy in the woods meets Freckles Girl, who has freckles, and so she gets turned into a plant and devoured! Just look at the expert costuming on these goblins:

They look like a cross between a monkey, an Ewok and a brain tumor. With spears!

Then the kid starts leaking Nickelodeon slime from his forehead…and no, I haven’t been smoking anything while watching or writing this…

So THIS is where Nickelodeon got their ideas...

Apparently this whole thing was just a cautionary tale to warn Joshua that his family will soon have a horrible ordeal involving goblins that can turn people into plants to be eaten. Because it’s good to have relatives that look after your best interests. My grandparents always used to warn me about the dangers of credit card fraud, and getting stuck in ATM boxes by crazed killers. Frankly, it’s just good to have your elders looking out for you.

But unfortunately for Joshua, he forgot again that his grandfather was dead…you know, because that always happens…his mother comes in and reminds him that the old fart died months ago and that Joshua is just as crazy as shit. SO WHO WAS READING HIM THE STORY? The movie wants us to believe that, yes, the grandpa really was reading him the story FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE! Eh. Still a better ghost story than any Paranormal Activity movie.

Then we get introduced to the greatest romance this side of Romeo and Juliet, the crazy sister, Holly, and her pushover boyfriend, Elliot. She keeps bugging him to stop hanging out with his friends, who literally followed him to his girlfriend’s house and are acting like total tools – who’s bright idea was THAT for a Friday night? “Hey, guys, let’s go to our buddy’s girlfriend’s house with him! Totally doesn’t make us look like needy morons!”

"Ooh! A girl's room?! I haven't been in one of those since my sister and her friends used to tie me up and put make up on my face!" Seriously, look at their facial expressions - shit's hilarious.

Also the girlfriend is totally 80s…I mean, with the spandex and the stupid music…really? This is what you’re expecting us to eat up?

Played to a symphony of poppy spandex-fueled 80s butt rock, this scene is a perfect picture of the 80s.

Also, when Elliot asks what’s wrong with spending time with his friends, Holly answers that only virgins do that…yes…the correlation between being a virgin and having friends is mutually exclusive; God these characters are such geniuses! Then she tells him how much her father hates him and finds him a good for nothing lowlife, and then says she can’t wait to see him tomorrow when he comes with them on the trip…such amazing incitement to go on the trip and not just get high, right? I’m really baffled as to why this guy puts up with this chick. She’s clearly batshit insane and does nothing but give him grief over everything…I guess the sex must be really good. Or he’s just retarded. Either one wouldn’t surprise me.

The next day the whole family is going on a trip out to a middle-of-nowhere town called Nilbog where they plan to switch houses with a rural country family for the summer. That’s a really stupid idea. There’s a really weird scene where Holly and her mother are both crying over the fact that Elliot never showed up like it’s a big soap opera – I’ve seriously never seen less realistic crying outside of one, anyway. The dad says it’s the final straw and he hates Elliot now, even though Holly said in the previous scene that her family already didn’t like him…yep, I’m confused again.

But it’s OK, because then it’s SINGING TIME! The mom asks – rather, demands – Joshua to start singing. She just out of the blue orders him to start singing, like he’s a hostage or a slave or something. I wonder what birthday parties are like for this family…

“OK Joshua, before you get your presents, YOU HAVE TO SING.”

“But Momma, I want to open my prese---“


“Momma, stop pointing that gun at me!”

“Do I have to ask again?!”

Horrifying. But not as horrifying as when they stop on the side of the road and Joshua talks to the ghost of his grandpa again (telling him to stop his family from going to Nilbog), but then it turns out to just be a dirty old homeless hitchhiker. Couldn’t this have just turned out so badly? He could have been kidnapped! This movie gets pretty dark at times…I mean, holy shit. And I must reiterate that I’m so glad the grandfather is helping Joshua stop the family from entering this crazy goblin town. That’s an oddly specific mission from God, isn’t it? “Grandpa, you will help your family to not be eaten by goblins who turn people into plants with green slime. I HAVE DECLARED IT AND SO IT SHALL BE DONE!”

"Aw, man, Joshua's talking to homeless rapists again. Joshua, didn't we tell you to stop that?"

Oh, and meanwhile there’s also the plot of Elliot the pushover boyfriend and his moron friends following in a camper that they park outside of town in the woods. I guess they’re late because they’re friends with each other, which of course means they’re going nowhere in life. Oh how ridiculous…then we get another scene of Joshua having a dream where Nickelodeon slime is dripping down his face and everyone is filmed with creepy wide angles and lighting from below. Joshua should probably lay off the crack.

Hi, wide angle lens! How are you today?

But let’s be honest – the mother was already creepy before this anyway. I mean, that scene where she makes him sing? That was just the tip of the iceberg. She’s constantly glaring, talking in a loud voice and acting like a domineering tyrant. I think Carrie’s mom was less vehement. Look at this face; how can you not shit your pants upon seeing that?

They get to Nilbog and find that the house they’re staying in has no food or pretty much anything in it, except some meals already randomly laid out on the table. Ignoring the fact that these meals could be stale or something, they just sit right down, not questioning a thing, and eat it – and did I mention it all is coated with some kind of green slimy, moldy fuzz? Appetizing!

Oh yeah, I would totally eat that. You wouldn't? You're just too picky.

Luckily grandpa climbs through the window and freezes time so he can figure out how to stop everyone from eating the food. Yes. He freezes time. I’ll let that sink in…OK, done. So what is Joshua’s brilliant solution to stop his family from eating the food? Well, I think showing as opposed to telling would be the best idea here:

Oh yeah, Troll 2 pissin' action time...why don't more movies have scenes where the main character has to pee on something to save the day? I bet Casablanca or Citizen Kane could have really benefited from that!

This also spawns the famous line from George Hardy’s father character, “YOU CAN’T PISS ON HOSPITALITY! I WON’T ALLOW IT!” And it’s true. You can’t piss on hospitality. That ought to be on some welcome mats at hospitals or nursing homes or something. Then whenever someone acts out of line even a little bit, the movie quote would be shouted at them violently. Ah, I do have the best ideas for health care…

After that nonsense, we have one of the nerdy 80s guys in Elliot’s van going outside and immediately finding a girl running through the fields clearly afraid. So he chases after her and tackles her down to the ground. She could be being chased by a serial killer for all you know, you moron! You could have just made it easier for him to catch her!

OK, there’s no killer…but she is scared, though she won’t say of what. For some stupid reason they don’t go back to the camper, but instead further into unknown territory, and end up just breaking into the first random place they find – some creepy church-looking building, which is coincidentally the home of the main villain of the film. WOW, you guys are incompetent! Try to escape and you end up walking right into the jaws of the person behind the whole thing! That’s a new level of stupid.

Aaaaand I’m out of space for this – the whole review is so damned long that I can’t even fit it all in one review. So click on the post above this and READ ON to find out who the mysterious villain of Troll 2 is...there is so much more to come! So much more!

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Slap Shot (1977)

Starring: Paul Newman, The Hanson Brothers, other people
Directer: George Roy Hill

You know all the sentimental sports movies out there? Where you have an underdog, either a single person or a team, and despite all the odds they mange to achieve their goals in a heartwarming fashion? Don't you get sick of those?! Well, yes, but keep in mind that the alternative might not please you either....

This cult classic film has gained a lot of popularity over the years and is considered by a number of people to be one of the best sports movies of all time, or at least one of the best hockey movies of all time (Wait, aside from "The Mighty Ducks" and "Miracle," what other hockey movies are out there?!). Look, I am not much of a sports guy, much less a hockey guy, but I do know movies. And in terms of entertainment value...I'm sorry, but this film falls flat on the ice!

The movie is about a lackluster minor league hockey team called the Charlestown Chiefs, located in  the rundown town of Charlestown. When the local mill closes and the team appears to be on the verge of folding, its aging player/coach, played by Paul Newman, comes up with a strategy to keep interest in the sport alive....by having the players beat the living daylights out of everyone and everything they come across!!!

So where does all go wrong? Let me start by stating something that I did not think I would ever write on this site, or anywhere else for that matter: Paul Newman is TERRIBLE in this movie! For someone who started in pictures as diverse as "Hud," "Cool Hand Luke" and "The Road to Perdition," (not to mention the fact that he is being guided by George Roy Hill, who previously directed him in "Butch Casidy and the Sundance Kid" and "The Sting") you would think he would give at least a halfway decent performance. Nope...! 

First of all, while Newman appears to be in pretty good shape for his age, he looks way too old to still be a hockey player. I know that is one of the points of the movie, but I have a really hard time believing that someone with a full head of grey hair can be playing a sport in which he is in constant danger of falling on the ice and breaking a hip.

But even off the rink he does not fit in. His character Reggie Dunlap is "one of the good ole boys" who is constantly joking around and hanging out with his fellow players. The thing is, he just comes off as being really awkward. He acts really immature and he sounds immature; he even dresses badly!

 Tell me that isn't a women's jacket!

And every time he swears (of which there is a lot of in this film) it just comes off as completely unnatural. Maybe I am a little biased because I have seen Newman in a lot of roles in which he is very smooth and charming. But...I don't know, its still kind of weird. Apparently, this was a role that Al Pacino really wanted, but he was rejected due to the fact that he couldn't skate. This is unfortunate because while I do not know if Pacino could have saved the movie, but I think he would have done a much better job, if only because he was younger and has a little bit more practice in the swearing department! I can only imagine what it was like when he got rejected:

"Hey George, I know you are still looking for a guy to be in that new hockey movie you are shooting. Would it be okay if I could to audition for the lead?

"Sorry, Al. You need to be able to skate in order to take on that role."


Most of the other characters do not do much for me either. They are mostly stereotypes of every one-dimensional characters that you see in other films: the young guy trying to work his way up in the world, the horny guy, the French guy, etc. In a way, all of them have the same persona. They are all angry, they hate the town they live in, and do not really have anything else going on for them. It just gets really unpleasant after a while. That being said, I would be remitted if I did not mention...these guys:

Yes, the infamous Hanson Brothers, the breakout stars of this film. Despite being very simple minded, to be polite about it, they are shown have one redeeming quality: being really good at beating up opponents and bystanders. While Newman is reluctant to put them in at first, he finds that they are a great fit for his new strategy: to attract a bigger audience by playing dirty at every game. While they are fan favorites, I really don't really care for them that much. They are just as stupid and obnoxious as everyone else in the film, they probably belong more in a 90s "Dude" comedy than in this one. I would talk more about them, but their really isn't that much to say about them.

Not that it really matter; this movie was meant for Newman, or at least his character, so most of the focus is on him anyway. He uses most of his screen time manipulating most of the other characters to do his bidding while also trying to reconnect with his ex-wife. At the same time, he starts to spread rumors about the team's eventual move to Florida. While there are ways of making this funny (think "Bowfinger") a lot of what he does just comes off as mean-spirited. For instance, he tries to enrage the do-good on his team by hitting on his disgruntled wife, going so far as to make her cry and briefly leave her boyfriend for him. You know, maybe if he spent about half as much time trying to be a coach and a role model to his players and not being a psychopath his team would not be losing so much to begin with!!!

*Warning: the next paragraph contains spoilers*

The movie ends with Newman finding out that the owner of the team plans to fold it no matter how well they do because she can use it as a tax write-off. Normally this is where your sympathy would be toward the "underdog" in the film. Except Newman kind of ruins it by storming off and calling her son a "fag." Her son is about ten. Way to keep it classy, Newman! Coming clean to his team, he tells them that he is retiring from the game and wants to go out in a respectable manner (I wonder if he would have done the same had been able secure a Florida deal...doubt it...). But the game turns into a fighting match anyway (as well as a strip tease...for some reason), and the Chiefs win the championship, though more by default than anything else. The team disbands and Newman finds a job as a coach elsewhere. He asks his ex-wife to join him and she says she'll think about it (she is not going to think about it). Not that he didn't deserve it, but that is a real bummer ending for the movie to go off on. But again, not that he didn't deserve it...

*Spoilers end here*

Look, the sentimental sports movie formula has been done to death, with some being better than others. But one of the reasons that they keep being produced is because people like to see films with characters they can root for. And on that front, this movie flops. Its characters are stupid and annoying at best and at their worse, they are just really of mean-spirited. The humor in this is similar to "Animal House," which came out a year later, but what that real classic got right (other than the fact that it was actually funny) was that, even though the characters were obnoxious, they were still fun to watch and you could relate to them to some extent. Same thing goes for "Major League," a baseball film in the same vein as this one which came out about a decade later and yet was a much superior film to this one for the same reasons. If your characters suck and you do not have any funny lines/situations to play off of them, it doesn't matter if you have Paul Newman as your star; it is still going to suck.

Well, that's that. I know this is a popular film among a lot of people and it has only grown over time (its spawned two sequels starring the Hanson Brothers). So if you are a hockey fan and you need something to do during the NHL lockout, by all means, go in see it. But in my opinion, it just doesn't work, so in general, I do not recommend it.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

REVIEW: ATM (2012)

Why do horror movies always title themselves after mundane things? Don’t they just know they’re setting themselves up for mockery? However, it’s always nice to see a movie that actually rises above the usual crap these direct to DVD flicks give us, like ATM. Yes. A movie about a bunch of people stuck in an ATM box is good. It’s not about an ATM that kills people, though, which would have elevated the film into god-tier level if that had come to pass…

Director: David Brooks
Starring: Brian Geraghty, Alice Eve, Josh Peck

This is a tight, tense thriller of the school of modern movies like Devil or The Strangers where you get a trapped person trying to escape from an enigmatic killer. There are very few surprises here as every notch is hit perfectly – you got the isolated area in the middle of the night where of course they can’t just make a run for it, you got the silent killer who is seemingly omnipresent and you got the cops and other random people who show up to get killed. It’s all incredibly predictable, but surprisingly I found myself drawn in and very entertained.

This is a cool movie. The characters are kind of goofy at the start, and at first the acting seems awkward, but their interactions are fairly realistic and the writing isn’t too bad at all. While nobody will ever watch a horror movie for the brilliantly awkward scenes of a guy asking a girl out, at least this one doesn’t pull any punches for realism when it comes to that. The realism helps when we actually get inside the ATM box and the killer starts working his magic, too, because the killer’s plot is so goofy and unrealistic that you need some realism or else the movie will just fail right off the bat.

The atmosphere is nice and seedy, the whole thing set in some shitty parking lot on a really cold winter’s night. The ATM box is confined, but not so much that the characters can’t move around, so you get an oddly cool effect where it’s like one story inside the box and a larger one outside the box, and it creates some good tension. There are a few silly moments – mostly of the “why didn’t _________ do this instead of that?” school, but you can level those complaints at any horror movie, and they don’t take the enjoyment out of something genuinely exciting.

A good horror movie isn’t always about straight up realistic plausibility, as movies in general are all about the willing suspense of disbelief. A good horror movie is about creating something so urgent, dynamic and exciting that it doesn’t matter how silly it gets, and ATM does that just fine. By the middle of the movie where they’re all getting colder and more desperate, I was getting genuinely into it, and by the climax, involving flooding ice water and a trash can on fire, I was pumped up. This movie, despite being pretty silly in its mechanics and logic, really brings home the bloody, heart-stopping thrills.

So, yes, next time you go to an ATM, try not to get trapped there by a crazy demented serial killer, because it’s generally not good for your health…and if you do, well…best of luck. Watching this movie would be a good enough tutorial on how to escape such a situation, and so I’d recommend it for that at least.

PS, Josh from Drake and Josh plays the best friend character in this...I mean, really, wasn't that just the ideal casting? When I watched that show as a kid, I know I was like, "this kid has to be in a movie about a serial killer in an ATM box someday."

PPS, I still think it would have been better to have a movie about killer ATM machines. "Please take your money...OR DIE!!!"

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

REVIEW: Looper (2012)

When I saw the trailer for this movie, the only thing I had to know to get me HYPED was that it was about a time-travel organization that sends people back to the past so a hitman can shoot them. The fact that it had Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing a future and present version of the same person – made problematic by the fact that Willis, the future self, was sent back in time for his past-self, Levitt, to assassinate – was only icing on the cake. It took me many months of waiting for it to come out and many weeks of trying to find free time to see it AND…it’s OK.

Director: Rian Johnson
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis

Yeah. Just OK. I really wish I could say this movie was the next masterpiece, and that it would end up on my year’s Top 10 List, but Looper is sadly just a solid movie, with some pros weighed out by some cons.

I like the atmosphere this movie has – the whole dystopian future with tropes of the Wild West and the 1940s mob era. It’s seriously cool, and done subtly enough so that it doesn’t feel like a cartoon like Repo or Sin City, so everything does have a very gritty and hard-assed feel to it that doesn’t come off as contrived. Maybe this grimy, crime-ridden hellhole of a future is a little too over the top dark at points, but mostly I got used to it ten minutes in and accepted the setting as naturally dark and seedy. I always hate when movies act like the future will be inevitably shittier than today’s world – it’s fear-mongering crap and lazy writing to boot, but Looper pulls it off fairly well.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is one of the greatest actors working today, only lately he just hasn’t been picking parts that show that talent. He was pretty annoying in The Dark Knight Rises and in this he does OK, but really I think director Rian Johnson was more focused on getting a good Bruce Willis impression out of him rather than a good performance. Still pretty fun to watch, even though it’s kind of like watching a kid dressing up as his favorite movie star for Halloween.

The plot about time-travel assassins and a more efficient way to dispose of bodies is really cool, and had a lot of potential. For a while it’s very well done, and bright spots pop up until the very end of the film, but overall it’s kind of baggy and unfocused. The first half hour is set in the grungy, dirty city and focuses on Levitt’s everyday life, and we learn some stuff about the organization of “loopers” that kill people sent from the future. It’s a lot to buy, but eh, at least it’s interesting a little bit…and there’s some stuff about ‘psychic’ kids who can do minor telekinesis stuff.

After Willis is introduced, it basically becomes a different movie. I mean it’s like night and day…suddenly we see a whole future for Levitt’s character in which he grows up into Bruce Willis and gets married to a beautiful woman, who is accidentally killed when the “looper” organization comes to call for him. So he escapes and runs back to the past to kill the kingpin who ordered him captured in the first place, thinking if he can do that, then his wife won’t be killed. Unfortunately, in Levitt’s time period, all the people who might be the kingpin called the Rainmaker are little children, and so we get a bunch of scenes of child murder in the middle of the movie. Bet you didn’t expect that!

After that we get introduced to some other characters, namely a mother and her son living on a farm in the middle of nowhere, of which the son is one of the kids Willis is hunting. Levitt hides out with them aiming to protect them and kill Willis when he shows up. We get some decent character development, a few commercial scenes like Levitt and the woman having sex, and some scenes to show how the child is psychic and can’t control it yet. It’s all pretty standard stuff for a set-up like this, and is done rather well, though I would have liked something a little less mainstream-y. Oh well.

The climax is pretty good, although it gets pretty pretentious as well, but the whole movie kind of was anyway, with lots of very self-indulgent camerawork and the whole thing being rather into itself. The pretension does make this a grander, more epic film than it would have been otherwise, but I wish the movie itself had been stronger to compensate that.

Overall I think this was more suited to be a three or four-part TV special on HBO or something rather than a feature film, as it just feels disjointed and cluttered and ultimately too long, even at only two hours – there have been longer movies this year by far, but Looper just kind of drags, with a few pointless characters and over-long scenes not aiding that fact. I have no qualms with the story or characters except that they could have been serviced with a better movie to make their depth more apparent – here we mostly just get a straightforward and frankly dull approach that neuters what complexity there could have been with a plot like this. Looper is entertaining, but it’s entertaining mostly in spite of itself, and for a better Rian Johnson-directed flick starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I’d recommend Brick.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

REVIEW: Candyman (1992)

I apologize in advance for the excessively gory images that you are about to see. But if they stop even one person from watching this horrible movie, then I've done my job well.

Urban legends are like the modern oral folklore. One could say they are simply a passing-down of the traditions from times before man had the written word to convey expressions and stories. If that’s the case, then Candyman is the modern equivalent of stories back then told by dumbass 15 year olds trying to scare their little siblings with tons of tasteless gore.

Director: Bernard Rose
Starring: Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd

I really don’t know where to begin with this. It’s not like the movie has absolutely nothing going for it…they have a cool setting and they start off with a decent build up. But after that? Nothing. Even worse than movies that are all-out bad from the start are the ones that have something going but then do nothing with it, like a cool looking car that peters out on you after twenty minutes on the freeway without even hitting 80 mph. And to top it all off, this is another tale “inspired” by the “brilliance” of that lovable Clive Barker…my heart can barely contain its joy…

Well we start off with some idiot telling a story about a girl who cheated on her boyfriend while babysitting with…Joseph Gordon-Levitt from Looper?

Well, as long as Bruce Willis didn't come back trying to kill a bunch of little kids, I think it's OK that he's in this house where his girlfriend is babysitting.

And they have a rather bizarre method of foreplay…telling stories about a supernatural serial killer called Candyman who appears when you say his name five times in a mirror and then guts and disembowels you with a bloody meat hook. They even start groping one another and the girl even takes off her shirt while they’re talking about this! How perfectly insane!

"Oh baby, talking about people getting murdered with a rusty hook and disemboweled really turns me on! Almost as much as picking each others' noses or talking about our embarrassing bowel movements after eating Chipotle!"

Anyway, they get killed and we get introduced to the real main characters – Highlander 2 survivor Virginia Madsen and her best friend, Token Intelligent Sophisticated Black Woman. They’re doing a study on urban legends for a graduate school class, and throughout the first half hour we get a lot of different people telling stories to them, sometimes when they don’t even plan it, about various urban legends they hear of, including the Candyman story. It’s kind of hokey, but it actually does create some suspense…suspense that the rest of the movie will fail to live up to.

Madsen’s husband is a dorky looking professor at the same school, because that happens so much! And their marriage is so good that she immediately gets jealous whenever a young girl even looks at him the wrong way…yeah, I’m sure she’s a great catch…pfft.

Madsen and her friend discover an interesting fact about their apartment building; that it was actually built the same way as another building called Cabrini Green where everyone apparently lives in fear of the Candyman who was mentioned before. So they hatch a plot to go break into Cabrini Green while dressing like they’re going to experience a winter in Russia.

Off for a Siberian winter in ghettoville...

Inside, they find some pictures and graffiti on the wall that all points toward the larger-than-life Candyman myth that has taken hold of Cabrini Green – I really like the setting here, and more movies should utilize this kind of ghetto urbanized city setting for a horror movie plot. Again though, the movie will eventually even throw this out the window and replace it with overwrought hokey nonsense masquerading as something “deep.” Doesn’t that sound fun?

We also get the story of Candyman told by a fat guy who looks like Ben Franklin’s loser cousin…apparently he was a slave who fell in love with a white noblewoman and got her pregnant, so a bunch of villagers killed him with bees.

Trouble strikes, however, when Madsen talks to a little boy who tells her to go look in the public bathroom where some other little kid allegedly got his balls cut off by the Candyman. She goes inside, finds some bugs using the toilet, and gives them some privacy:

After that, she’s confronted by some gang members who give her a black eye for using their favorite bathroom…because a black eye is always the WORST thing a whole group of violent thugs can do to a vulnerable white woman who they have cornered! I’m totally convinced!

But seriously, THIS is what I mean when I say the movie had potential! We could have had a very interesting take on urban legends by having the whole thing end up a hoax perpetuated by gang members who want to rule the neighborhood. Maybe some slight supernatural leanings would have been OK if they were really vague, but if I was re-doing this story, I sure wouldn’t have gone full-out Nightmare on Elm Street mode after this. Ugh. What could have been a great commentary on poverty and believing in myths reduced to a third-rate slasher horror movie with as much imagination as a pet rock. That’s great, guys. Just great.

OK, back to the review, back to the review…so after telling on the gang members, Madsen is confronted again in the parking lot by the real Candyman! He talks in a cool voice and…that’s really about it. If you thought Pinhead was too white, or the guy from Lord of Illusions was too lame, well Candyman is for you!

The Lord of Disappointingly Boring Scenes cometh!

I’m not going to lie…after this scene, the movie just gives up. It doesn’t even bother to try anymore. The movie just turns into a really bloody slasher movie with nothing good about it. Disappointment, thy name is Candyman…I’ve seriously rarely ever seen a movie just up and stop dead in its tracks like this, just cease to be relevant or meaningful on any level beyond hey, look at our cool special effects! Well, not since The Dark Knight Rises, anyway.

But I digress again…do you like severed dogs’ heads and screaming, crying women and lots of blood all over the place? Is that your idea of what constitutes real fear? Well then you’ll love this scene.

And there's some BLOOD and KNIVES and SCREAMING and oooh, just so creepy, right?! WE ARE THE EDGY ONES! LOOK AT US AS WE BREAK SOCIAL TABOOS! So violent and gross!

Apparently Madsen has been framed for the murder of a dog, the kidnapping of a baby and the smearing of a ton of red paint all over the walls…amazing…and the cops who were previously very understanding to her plight are now total jackasses without even one inch of any kind of humanity towards her!

After another scene in which the Candyman brutally murders her best friend for no reason...

This just pisses me off. I know characters die in horror movies, it's just part of the territory, but this was just SO BADLY DONE of a scene! There's a difference between adding kills to scare the audience and just being straight up cruel, which is what this is. Needlessly, relentlessly cruel. Why did this character deserve to be murdered in such a brutal, undignified way? What was her crime outside of being dumb enough to take a minor role in a Clive Barker film? Fuck you, Candyman.

...Madsen is institutionalized and kept there on drugs for a whole month. The doctor calls her into his office one day seemingly at random, and to prove that the Candyman is real, she decides to look into the randomly placed mirror on the wall and say his name five times. Even though she KNOWS HE’S GOING TO POP UP AND KILL THE GUY…she just does it anyway! What, did the drugs addle her brain so much that she forgot he was a killing machine? Did she think he was just going to sit down with them for a polite discussion about how he framed her for all the murders so far? Oh well, who cares…GORE!

Killing off a random doctor who was just trying to help? Great job, Virginia Madsen...great job...you deserve a Darwin Award at this point. If she had just SHUT HER DAMN MOUTH and NOT summoned him from the mirror, this whole thing could have been avoided. 

Then she finds out her husband is shacked up with one of his much younger students, but really Madsen herself was already a student to begin with…so really, he just moved from one nubile young woman to another. What a pedophile. I bet he and that weird priest from Pinocchio’s Revenge would get along fine.

"I actually listen to his confessions every week..."

So she runs off to look at the ocean while Candyman intones some more pseudo-intellectual poetry over the scene, because that’s really all he’s got besides framing random young women for murder. He should look into other hobbies, like doing movie trailer voice-overs, since that one deep-voiced guy who used to do them has sadly passed away – I think Candyman would be a great substitute personally. He has just the right amount of dramatic deep-toned grittiness in his voice...hey, wait, what was I talking about again? The movie is so dull that I actually completely went off topic.

How is a film with this much admittedly decent gore effects so BORING anyway? It's practically the eighth wonder of the world. By all human logic, there should at least be some kind of enjoyment out of how ridiculous and tasteless the gore is, but the tone of the movie is so suffocatingly serious and somber that I can't even enjoy the gore! It just comes off as mean spirited, ugly and unpleasant.

But what the hell is Candyman's plan, anyway? Kill everyone who can help Virginia Madsen until she goes so crazy that she has to love him? That’s stupid. Almost as stupid as this scene:

Yeah, maybe a better dental plan is in order.

He forces her to come die with him in a big bonfire conveniently happening that night, only she stabs him with a big burning stake and saves herself and the kidnapped child. After that, we get a scene of her husband and his new fuck-buddy hanging out in his apartment as he cries in his room about how Madsen is dead…how are we supposed to feel bad for the scumbag who just ditched the woman he married in a time of need to start dating someone probably not even 21 yet?

"I'm looking in a mirror while wearing a sad expression...aren't I so deep and tormented?"

The movie doesn’t know either, because after that, he says Madsen’s name five times and she somehow appears to him in ghost-form and kills him with a hook! The film then ends on a “shocking” gore sequence, which maybe would have been shocking if we hadn't seen the same effects like 12 times by this point...

Aw, man, now she'll have to clean the bathroom and everything!

Are you surprised? I’m not! Why would anyone be at this point? I can think of painful surgical procedures more enjoyable than this movie. How did anyone ever find redeeming qualities in this? All the decent ideas in the beginning are just thrown in the garbage in favor of tastelessly done gore that adds nothing to the atmosphere or overall story. The Candyman himself is dull as hell and doesn't do anything half the time besides just intone boring monologues at a snail's pace, and the whole thing is just a drag to watch, too, as it tries so hard to be all deep and profound, with all its deep-voiced narrations over wide-panned shots of the city, when really all it is is a stupid slasher movie huffing and puffing to try and make itself look cooler and more serious.

Candyman is a very nasty, stupid, unpleasant movie with nothing at all to say and no real value to anyone who wants more out of a film than gore effects Tom Savini could do better on one of his off days. It doesn't even work as a gore flick because the whole thing tries so hard like I mentioned – the people who want some over the top gore will be bored by the attempts at being all artsy and atmospheric, which are as clumsy and hamfisted as I've ever seen. It pleases neither audience.

This is one of the worst movies I've ever reviewed on this site, and I feel very confident in saying I cannot see what anyone finds appealing about it. As a straightforward horror flick it’s a boring plod-along, but as an attempt at being anything else – anything with more atmosphere or cerebral satisfaction to its scares – it's just sad and a total waste of brain cells from everyone involved. Candyman can go right to hell and I am glad I will never have to sit through this crap again!

Images copyright of their original owners.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

First Thoughts: Dexter - Season 7, Episode 2: Sunshine and Frosty Swirl

The second episode of the new Dexter season boasts one of those magnificent titles that just rolls off the tongue and offers a sort of microcosmic view of what the episode is really about. It’s a great title. And the episode itself is pretty good, too, as I’m not in the business of reviewing episode titles alone – let us get to the main review.

This one was the dealbreaker after the last one’s first foray into the new concept of Debra knowing Dexter’s identity as a killer – how does she react after he flat out admits that, yes, he has been murdering people? Well, she does not take it at all well. She shouts a lot, her voice trembling, and she punches him and then goes outside and vomits. It’s all incredibly awkward to watch, as it damn well should be.

But she does not arrest him – a cynical mind could say that this is because the show would not have anywhere to go if she did, but really it’s because she’s got something dark inside her too, something that’s willing to fight and tangle with Dexter’s own darkness, because he’s her brother and they’ve been through everything together. Remember that one scene from Season 5 where she talks to him about how the rapist-murderer villain crew from that season deserves to die, and says that whoever is picking them off is in the right? That’s where I see this plot thread going as the season continues. She won’t turn Dexter in because she can relate – even if only a little bit.

From there Deb demands that Dexter move in with her so she can watch him and make sure he doesn’t kill again. She is sure she can ‘cure’ his serial killer tendencies. We get a really great scene at the dinner table where she asks him what it feels like to have the urge to kill, and he gives this amazing little speech about how he ‘sees red,’ and the urge just devours him until he can’t stop himself. And to top it all off they’re eating spaghetti with very suspiciously red sauce layered over it…this is a classic Dexter scene with a great mix of dark humor and some profound character development. It’s a lot of fun to watch.

Everything else that happened in this episode, from further developments with the mysterious Louis and the smooth-talking new villain played by Ray Stevenson, is not well developed enough yet to really talk about in full, as they can go either way from this point. The episode also has this subplot about a convicted killer who mirrors Dexter’s own situation as he ‘confesses’ his kills by supposedly helping police find these bodies he buried years ago…it’s a traditional Dexter thing where they take some other poor soul and show how Dexter himself could end up if he plays his cards wrong.

So, yeah, good episode, keeping up the quality as usual…with this series it’s pretty much the norm to get this level of high quality. Really not much else to say but bring on more new episodes.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

REVIEW: Pinocchio's Revenge (1996)

A film with a title like this at least merits a look. Pinocchio’s Revenge? What’s next? Dumbo’s Godlike Wrath? Ronald McDonald’s Satanic Powers? Nah…neither of those is as catchy as Pinocchio’s Revenge…yeah, I’ll review it. Sure. Why not?

Director: Kevin Tenney
Starring: Rosalind Allen, Brittany Alyse Smith

The movie kicks off “five years earlier,” whatever that means…with some cop who looks more like an orderly in a nursing home, he’s so wimpy, driving along the road at night in the rain when he comes across an abandoned car. He then goes through a DO NOT ENTER sign which the movie makes sure to notify the audience of by doing a lingering close up shot of it. Weird…but then we see that the road was blocked off because some guy was burying a creepy wooden puppet in the ground!

"Man, 12th time this week that we've found a doll at a crime scene! What with that whole Good Guy Doll thing in the next neighborhood over...it's like an epidemic or something."

Then we learn that the guy was arrested for several murders “in the present day,” and was actually burying the body of his own son out there. The prosecutor is arguing for the death sentence, and the defendant, who is also the movie’s main character, says he should get off because he only murdered his son as opposed to the others, which had a different M.O. and variations on the style of killing. Yup, he only killed a child, and his own son at that! What’s the big deal, right?!

The main character’s name is Jennifer, and she has a daughter named Zoe. Their relationship is apparently based around the fact that the father left I guess, because otherwise it’s not very well defined…and really the first half hour of this movie is pretty much just a big courtroom drama where they go back and forth for a while with terrible acting until the guy is sentenced to death. Like all courtrooms, they just haul him right in there after the trial is over and kill him.

Yup, they just take you from the courthouse to the electric chair. True Life.

Jennifer sees it aaaaand I guess that scene was in the movie to show that she saw the execution! The end result? The movie is five minutes longer.

Then we get a scene where she talks to a priest about the nature of evil over a cup of coffee. She goes into this Episcopalian church but then tells the priest that she’s not Catholic anymore because she got divorced. So what, she was just blindly walking around and just went into the first church she found, not paying attention to what type of church it was, but knowing she would just snub whatever she found no matter what? Isn't that kind of like...the most religiously intolerant, bitchy thing a person could possibly do to a church?

The priest’s response to this nonsense is to agree to go out to coffee with her. Did we miss a few lines of the script here? It’s like, “Hi, I’m not a Catholic but I’m willingly using your church anyway, by the way I’m divorced, want to go out and get some coffee?”

"Your religious intolerance amuses me."

And check out the awkward acting on priest guy! Newsflash, guy: when you laugh, try to actually make it sound like HUMAN LAUGHTER. Not…whatever creepy, vaguely pedophilic “I’m covering my ocean of insecurities” sort of expression you’re doing here. Can’t you just see that face on To Catch a Predator in a few years?

So in case you were wondering why the movie is a half-hour in and there is no sign of any revenge or any Pinocchio, the creepy puppet that almost got buried alive is in Jennifer’s office and mysteriously ends up in her car later, too. Does she question this at all, or stop the car to remove it and take it back into the office? Of course not! I personally love having evidence from murder trials in my car, so I guess I can see why she doesn’t seem to care.

Ha! I remember last week when I took home a blood-soaked knife and gave it to my girlfriend to cut up vegetables for dinner. Fun times.

She finds out her daughter’s birthday present, some random doll, won’t be there in time. Most parents would just accept this inconvenience and stop by Wal Mart to pick up some cheap knock-off instead. However, THIS parent decides the best thing to do is to give the daughter the creepy puppet that belonged to a murderer who was just executed that very day as a “substitute” until the real gift arrives…at times like this, I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea at all to have a test you have to pass before you can become a parent. Seriously, IT’S A PIECE OF EVIDENCE FROM A MURDER TRIAL. I don’t think passing it along to the defense attorney’s kid is really in order here!

So Zoe starts to bond with Pinocchio while her mom starts to bond with Mr. Replacement Dad here:

Yes, because when I think erotica, I think Pinocchio's Revenge every time.

And since it’s right next to Zoe’s room, she can hear all the fun next door as she’s trying to go to sleep!

Give the kid some credit, that's some good acting there. The look on her face is so appropriately scarred. And I love that her mom has the gall to have sex with her boyfriend at her house ON HER BIRTHDAY...yup, happy birthday kid! You get to listen to your mother having sex with a man who is not your father, because nobody loves you. Ha ha! Oh the wackiness...

Can you spell ‘psychiatrist for the rest of her childhood life’? Especially since she starts trying to mimick what her parents do except with Pinocchio...eugh, NO! Just NO!

Please hand me the brain-bleach so I can erase the implications of this scene from my mind forever.

As if the movie is apologizing for this scene, we have to have a typical slasher movie ‘naked girl in the shower’ scene, with the babysitter! It’s got no purpose besides gratuitously showing off tits and ass from a woman who clearly doesn’t have her green card yet, so she probably was forced to do this. And we see that Pinocchio is perving out on the bed…well, he’s got his needs too! And no, I’m not going to make a ‘wood’ joke. That is beneath even my standards.

At school, Pinocchio gets thrown over a fence by some mean girls. So in retaliation he pushes one of them in front of a bus…dammit, this movie stole my idea for an anti-bullying campaign: don’t bully other kids, or else a small wooden puppet will push your bike in front of a bus. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN GENIUS!

In the middle of all of this nonsense, there is a subplot about how Pinocchio is “killing off” all Zoe’s other toys, including the gruesome stabbing and intense mutilation of a female doll and throwing a plush whale in the garbage. Somehow I don’t really think those two are equal kills. But hey, what do I know? I’m not the kind of numbskull who would make a slasher movie where more toys die than humans.

Well, I am just outraged. I have never seen such outrageous brutality against a toy...I will be contacting the Association for the Protection of Dolls immediately!

So, yeah, after that we see more of the mother’s brilliant career-defining defense attorney work as she tries pathetically to defend a guy who hung a pimp from a hook, burned and tortured him to death and recorded the whole thing “so he could listen to it again and again,” according to the prosecutor. They even play the tape and listen to the screams the whole way through, which are about as subtle as a wrecking ball smashing into your mom’s house. It’s completely ridiculous, over the top and probably also the best part of the movie. It’s just so out of nowhere and is completely hilarious to boot…like the prosecutor’s hilariously over the top smug smile, or just how fake those screams sound. And then the criminal guy starts cracking up while the screams are playing…it’s too much. Just too much!

What is this, a lost member of the Hell's Angels gang?

I also just love this; the guy tells Jennifer that his TV told him to kill the pimp. She’s writing notes on her legal pad and…

Insanity defense QUESTION MARK? Yes, he says his TV told him to do it…maybe he’s crazy! I dunno! Maybe the 2012 election will result in a president that will divide public opinion! Maybe Adolf Hitler wasn’t exactly the best role model for children! ANY OTHER GROUNDBREAKING OBSERVATIONS I NEED TO CLEAR UP HERE?!

Yeah, didn’t think so; anyway, next we see Mr. Replacement Dad-Boyfriend guy get pushed down the stairs. Zoe sees a psychiatrist, but brings Pinocchio with her. When the psychiatrist leaves the room for a second, Pinocchio starts talking to her in a silly voice and questioning what exactly happened to the boyfriend guy when he fell. Did Zoe actually kill him and is just imagining the puppet talking, or is Pinocchio really super-real? Such psychological intrigue is just bending my mind!

So Pinocchio goes and pulls the plug on the boyfriend guy and then we see the psychiatrist telling Jennifer that Zoe is crazy, showing her the tape from before, only now we don’t hear Pinocchio talking, so it just looks like she’s talking to herself. Jennifer feels attacked and starts shouting at the psychiatrist that, despite obviously just looking out for the best interest of his patient’s safety, she will go after his license if he tries to recommend Zoe for further psychiatric treatment. She says there isn’t enough solid evidence to show that Zoe is insane. Okay…where do I start with this?

First, “HOW DARE YOU DO YOUR JOB?! I’LL TRY TO HAVE YOU DISBARRED FROM IT FOR ACCEPTING MY MONEY AND DOING YOUR JOB!” Sheesh. You know, it’s not like he’s insulting your daughter or your parental skills…he’s saying she needs help. Is such a vitriolic response really necessary? I wonder if she treats all work employees that way. Does she scream her lungs out if the guy at McDonalds gets her order wrong?

Second, how the HELL does this woman NOT think that a videotape of her daughter screaming at thin air, or rather at an inanimate puppet, constitutes tangible proof that the daughter needs psychiatric help?! What kind of parent are you, lady? You’re stupid! You’re absolutely retarded! YOU are the WORST DEFENSE ATTORNEY EVER! God! Somebody just take away this woman’s right to be a parent and a lawyer. She doesn’t deserve either one!

Then she sees the priest guy again and they have a contrived conversation about the nature of evil, because yes, when I watch a movie called Pinocchio’s Revenge, I’m really in a contemplative mood about the nature of evil. Jennifer has apparently figured out that it was the crazy guy’s son who was killing all the people and that he killed his son to stop him. That WOULD make sense if this weren’t a movie with an evil, talking puppet in it…but it is, and so you just wonder why the hell the puppet is in the movie anyway. But more on that in a bit, as first we have the climax to contend with!

Yes, apparently Jennifer goes home and finds Zoe scared and hiding from Pinocchio. Jennifer gets attacked by Pinocchio and they stumble around in the dark a bit. Look at this one scene:

This puppet should start a club with the SAW doll, Chucky, Rumplestiltskin and the Puppet Master dolls and call it the Toy Mafia. That would be cool...man, what am I even talking about?

Doesn’t it just look like the doll just got thrown on her back by someone off screen? C’mon. At least try a little more than that…and what, how did he jump that high? Was he wearing his Air Jordans?

Anyway, Jennifer finally manages to throw Pinocchio through a glass table, only when the lights come up…

Truly up there with Vertigo or Psycho for an ending twist, huh? But seriously, while I'll give the movie credit for a twist I never saw coming...I didn't see it coming because it makes no sense. So it balances out.

WHAT? PLOT TWIST!? Seriously, that doesn’t even make sense…so what, was the daughter attacking people the whole time, or was this just a trick by the puppet? Was she crazy, or is the mother just seeing things? Was the puppet possessing the daughter the whole time? What about the guy who got executed from before – what was the deal there; did the puppet kill everyone then, too, and make him think his son did it? If so, how did the puppet even get such powers? Or was the entire movie just sort of a mind game and everything was all in the characters’ heads? You can’t have a plot twist if you don’t even know what you’re trying to imply with it, movie!

Well that’s Pinocchio’s Revenge…it’s a silly train wreck, there are so many problems with it I couldn’t cover them in one of these reviews, not by a longshot. The characters are ludicrous, the story is confusingly vague and spends most of its runtime as a courtroom drama rather than a slasher film and the killer is just weak as hell. What 'revenge' was there in this movie, pray tell? Pinocchio had no motive beyond just killing everyone around him so he could be closer to Zoe - where's the revenge? I find this title highly misleading!

And it’s amazingly fun to watch. I mean, this is a terribly incoherent mess of a movie, but man is it hilarious! I laughed so much when I saw this, and it truly is one of those bad movies that becomes golden by virtue of how over the top goofy it is. Give Pinocchio’s Revenge a watch, you guys – you won’t regret it. As an unlicensed professional doctor, though, I will recommend ceasing to view the movie if you start to see visions of a small puppet trying to kill you. In that case, remind yourself that this is only a movie...for real lawyers would never be this stupid or this incompetent, and real killer puppets are a little more considerate of the feelings of other toys. They'd at least ask them to form an alliance first...sheesh, movie, you really got a lot wrong!

Pictures copyright of their original owners, I do not own any of them.