Saturday, February 28, 2015

Species II (1998)

The first Species movie was already about as bad as you could get short of putting in scatological porn, Tyler Durden style, in the split second takes between reels. I really had no idea what to expect for this second one. What more could they do? They already ticked off every box of terrible filmmaking. It's kind of the movie equivalent of winning every race and then having nowhere else to go. But Species never wins anything, except maybe most disappointed family members of everyone involved.

Director: Peter Medak
Starring: Natasha Henstridge, Michael Madsen

Co-written with The Observer.

But really, even though they had nowhere else to go, they tried anyway. God bless these plucky underdogs, coming back for one more round!

We start this sequel off with a ten minute dirge of a bunch of boring astronauts hangin' out in space, colonizing Mars or something.

"Wait, what do you mean we have to live up here forever? NOOOOO, WHY DIDN'T I READ THE CONTRACT BEFORE AGREEING TO GO ALL THE WAY TO MARS?!?"

I'm just amazed this movie had the attention span to actually stick to something this long with no boobs or violence shown, which is kind of made moot by the fact that this opening sequence is incredibly fucking boring. Also, what, did they just invent super light-speed space travel in the mid-90s that allowed them to get to and from Mars that fast? I mean, I am an expert on this. I've seen Interstellar; I know how tough space travel can be!

The Mars landing really important to all the people in this bar. Verdict's still out on whether or not they're actually cheering for the sports game on the other TV though.

What they don't show you is that this one bar was the only place anyone on Earth was watching, or caring at all, about the Mars mission. So sad, the decline of interest in things that matter...

There's this weird primordial alien ooze that sneaks into the ship and starts slowly creeping toward them – I love how fucking long this thing takes to get to them, like there's any suspense over what could possibly happen in this horror movie with primordial alien ooze in it. Ooh, maybe they'll get away! Oh wait, no, shit, it got them. If you’ve never seen a science fiction movie before, like Alien perhaps, or The Thing, well, I’ll spell it out—the alien is inside them now.

The astronauts actually black out for a minute, but never seem to question that at all. They have this whole process when they get back of having this doctor check them out, but he pretty much just gives them a clean bill of health. Even though they know they blacked out, the doctor just hand-waves that boring-ass shit away and tells them they're fine.

No quarantines? Not even gonna bother testing them a bit to make sure? Man, either that alien is just really good at hiding traces of itself, or the doctor was just waiting for an excuse to raise up the curtains and show the dozens of horny astronaut fangirls waiting for all of them, wanting to live vicariously because no doctor ever gets an entourage like that.

"I'll just pretend all of you are here to see me, like every other time a hot woman enters my office. Man my life is sad!" Also, I sure hope some of those chicks are lesbians and there to see the one lady astronaut. Otherwise that's massively unfair.

Either way, the “doctor” is so bad at his job, he was probably just some whackjob pervert off the streets and the real doctor is probably dead in the alley behind the building. Somebody go check!

Then we see a science lab where experiments are performed on a clone of the alien Sil from the last movie, though this time her name is Eve. I'm almost positive this had to be someone's fetish. I mean, look at this shit:

I wonder how that conversation went in the planning stages for this experiment...

“Hey, can we do experiments where we shower acid gas on her and see if the boils heal afterward?”

“Sure, why the fuck not?”

“Oh, and one other thing...”


“Can we also have her naked and strapped into a chair with leather bondage stuff?”

“Why would that be important? Isn't she pretty much already under our control and won't escape or anything? Couldn't we just do this to one part of like, her hand or something? Does she have to be naked?”

“Woah, woah, woah! Don't question me!”

At this banquet thing for the astronauts as they come back, the one guy goes upstairs to find two women waiting to have sex with him. He complies, but not really in the way you usually do things when you have two women who want to have sex with you – he just fucks them one at a time. Which seems kinda like a waste of potential, you ask me, but then again, I'm not an alien possessing an extremely attractive man. So really what do I know?

But it does allow them to show off some grisly pregnancy type gore when his alien STD infects them...

This just goes back to what I was saying about that doctor – he couldn't tell there was something wrong with those astronauts? Really? It's one thing to make a small mistake at your job, and another thing entirely to make a mistake that results in people exploding from the inside out. Pretty sure something about that was detectable, guys!

And, hey, the way the woman astronaut dies while having sex is kind of like what I imagine Phil Robertson thinks happens every time people fuck.

For some reason, the black guy astronaut doesn't have the alien inside him, which they find out after they send half a dozen secret service guys to ambush him having sex with this woman on a boat.

"We just like to watch random people fuck! It's not weird!" 

How did they not notice the secret service guys standing there even while they were undressing and talking to each other? Are they deaf and dumb, or do the secret service guys just know how to tip-toe around really well? Eh, probably a bit of both.

We get several scenes in between these ones of Eve being tested in that research facility. My favorite scene is when she's just sitting there watching a baseball game on TV and she starts to get psychic visions or something from the deaths the other aliens are causing, and starts convulsing like she's overdosing on crack cocaine. This one woman scientist goes “I didn't know she liked baseball that much!”

That's the face of someone who really likes baseball.

Yes – you're clearly scientist of the year. I also love the completely random experimental priority these scientists have. One day, they're stripping her naked and showering her in acid. The next day, just hook wires to her head and let her watch TV. Makes sense to me!

I guess the plot is that the alien inside that guy wants to fuck as many women as possible, which immediately makes a child alien pop out of them. He’s trying to, I don’t know, make an army or something. I can’t even imagine the money he has to spend on diapers for all these kids though.

"Aw man, I woke up next to an eviscerated woman and then another 10-year-old boy popped up. What guy can't relate to this problem?"

The situation gets so bad that they have to bring in the only true expert, Michael Madsen. He spends his time defusing hostage situations now, or something like that, because Michael Madsen is the guy I'd go to for that.

Everyone else: "Wait, who is this asshole again?"

I especially love the way this government military guy gets him to come join the mission – he grabs Madsen's car keys and refuses to give them back. Because if you still had any doubts that this movie was stuck in 4th grade, well, I think they're quelled now! The idea of a high ranking military official pulling that stunt, like something your annoying older brother would try when you were kids, is just incomprehensibly hilarious to me.

"Dammit, I didn't really want to be in this movie."
"I know, but we all gotta make sacrifices in this economy."

He gets paired up with that black astronaut, because Lethal Weapon, and because I guess going up to space means the government can force you to participate in citizen manhunts for dangerous aliens. Why don't they have a team of professional military guys handle this? Oh right, because it's a dumb action movie, so we need to throw in a bunch of loose cannons.

I guess you could make the argument that these people know the alien because Madsen and the lab scientist lady fought her in the first movie. But that level of knowledge doesn't get them far, because even though they have experience and know what they're doing, the Big Bad Military Guy shoots everything they say down, because RRRARRRRR MILITARY! That's good storytelling!

"Look for me next month on Ancient Aliens! Isn't my crazy eye so cool?"

They hook up Eve to this machine that will allow her to see through the eyes of the other alien, but the downside is, it also makes her hormones and anger through the roof – why? Fuck it, we just need a way to move this ridiculous story forward! Don't ask questions. It's just a very weirdly specifically made machine with side effects that somehow align directly with the way this story was supposed to go.

"This was really just another excuse to have a really hot chick tied to a table!"

Madsen and the black guy chase the alien down to a grocery store, where he has kidnapped some woman to go rape inside of a stereotypical big black van, which I'm sure wasn't suspicious to anyone at all – and, apparently, despite my sarcasm, it wasn't. Nobody noticed it.

"Eh, we see that every day in redneck-ass Ohio."

Madsen and the other guy, clearly sensing the urgency of the situation, run after them like fat worn-out mall cops after too many donuts – yeah, guys, no pressure to actually catch them. They find a black van and bust out the window and point their guns inside, only to discover it's actually some completely random couple that decided to have sex in a creepy black van in the middle of the day in a grocery store parking lot. You know, like you do. What a coincidence!

"We're really taking this seriously! Honestly!"
"It's the danger that really turns us on. We do this in different parking lots every weekend. Think of it as the Mile High Club for poor people."

But Jesus, what do the Walmarts in this world look like if the random grocery store parking lots are prime locations for mid-day fucking in vans? They must be even more rampant with vans with people fucking inside. Let's take a look, shall we?

Yup, just what I thought. Gross.

The alien escapes, and Madsen reacts with all the candor and personal attachment of a guy who's had, really, a pretty good day at work – he looks fairly satisfied actually.

"All in a day's good work. Now that we're done handling important things, we can focus on the other identical black van that somehow ended up in the exact same parking lot!"

The alien makes his way back to the lab and stares at Eve through the glass, which I guess is supposed to signify that they've “found” each other – I suppose what they have in common is the fact that they were both directed to act like coma patients on Xanax in this movie. Which is really the only kind of bond, if you think about it.

"Neither of us have any character...I'M HORNY FOR YOU NOW!"

Eve breaks out, and of course despite having God knows how many military guys around with guns, she escapes relatively easily. Then it's up to Madsen and his motley crew to go hunt her down in the only style they know how – half-jogging like he forgot his kid's toy in the car at Golden Corral on a Sunday afternoon. Again, no need to hurry! Not like anything important is going on.

In the middle of all of this nonsense, the alien-astronaut-guy's father learns about the murders his son has committed, in the same room we've seen him in all throughout this movie – because I guess he never leaves.

"These are the crimes your son committed."
"Meh, I've done way worse in my time!"

Then the father goes and finds the son at the cabin where he's been keeping all his alien-spawn children that do nothing in this movie. He and his son hug and then the father dies, I guess, I dunno. This would have been a great dramatic scene in a movie without dumb alien sex spawn and goofy Michael Madsen moments, and overall a movie that wasn't this one.

Madsen and the gang get to the cabin too and have a showdown, which mostly involves a lot more weird alien sex and Predator rip offs.

This is what Predators jerk off to at age 13 - and yes, I did just ruin that franchise for you.

After it's all over and our main characters have very regrettably survived, the black guy gets put in an ambulance with this hot black woman, and they immediately get together without any conversation or doubt, because black people are automatically attracted to one another no matter what – it doesn't even matter what her life dreams, goals or aspirations are and his tastes and preferences don't mean jack shit. They have the same skin color, so they're perfect. Racism is fun.

Hooray for shallow attraction based on physical attributes! WOOHOO!

Well, that was Species 2. It was pretty stupid, nonsensical and plotless, but what did you really expect? I set my standards low for this and really, it wasn't any worse than the first one. Neither of these movies were good! If you want some pretty hilarious, unrepentant bullshit, this should suffice...I mean, it's so dumb it's honestly hard to hate. This movie knows it's awful, and for that, I don't really see a point in wasting my hatred on it. So really, if you just need to laugh...there are a lot better places you could get that, but I'll be honest - Species II isn't the worst place you could turn.

Images copyright of their original owners; I own none of them.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Interview (2014)

Starring: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Randall Park
Directors: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen

"If liking Katy Perry and margaritas is gay, then I don't want to be straight."
-James Franco, speaking the most profound line in the movie

Yeah, you knew this was coming... again...

Yes, "The Interview," after a causing an international incident over its depiction of the attempted assassination of North Korea Leader Kim Jong-Un, ending up being released, and was... promptly forgotten by all those originally upset by it, a shining example of how incredibly pathetic human attention span can be. But... I remembered it, strangely enough. And so I decided it would be best to conclude this useless saga in pop-culture history by reviewing it. we go:

The plot starts off with a TV personality and his producer who mostly interview celebrities. However, in an attempt to be taken seriously, they get a chance to interview the Dear Leader (Randall Park). Before heading over to North Korea, they are recruited by the CIA to assassinate him. However, when they arrive, things get complicated...or stupid...mostly stupid...

When I discussed this movie in my previous post, I said, based on the trailer, that this movie looked really stupid. But trailers can be wrong, right? Yes, but...not this time!

First things first: James Franco is the most annoying human being on the planet and he needs to be locked away forever! I know, I know, I am not exactly trending new ground by saying that. But...seriously! Almost every time his character speaks, it is an attempt to cram in as much bathroom/bedroom humor (and "Lord of the Rings" references, for some reason) as possible. And they are not quick one liners either: he just starts talking and never stops. It serves no value to the plot or the English language.

As for Seth he even in this movie? He mostly plays it straight and he (unwittingly) takes part in moving forward with the plan toward the end. And granted, he did co-direct the film, so maybe his attention was elsewhere. Still, he mostly seems like he is just reacting to events as opposed to doing anything productive. Oh, wait I forgot, the sticking the thing up his butt gag. Never mind, he was very important to the movie.

As for the movie as a whole, the best way I can describe it is that it is "Pineapple Express" if it took place in North Korea. It is two guys who get caught up in something they have no business in doing. You can say this is symbolic of the whole hacking incident, but that is to assume the movie is somehow deep (it isn't).

Now, the film is somewhat self-aware: it touches on the consequences of having a televised meeting with, and possibly killing, the leader of a rogue state.

And then James Franco tells a dick joke.

When you get down to it, the film as a whole is just a string of bathroom and bedroom humor jokes wrapped together to create a basic plot. A lot of this (as a bit of an inside-joke) centers around Franco's homoerotic tendencies, both toward Rogen and Jung-Un, whom he becomes buddies with (Park actually does play the part well, even if he looks more esteemed than the real Jung-Un and does not do much to hide his American accent). That might be the real reason Jung-Un was upset with the film; it was because it associated him with James Franco! In fairness, the friendship is rather odd: can you image something as weird as that happening in real life...

Oh, right...

But hey, at least I now know what "honey dipping" is, or at least the PG-rated meaning of the word (don't ask).

Now, I will admit, there were some parts that made me laugh. The funniest was probably at the very beginning when they interview Eminem (playing himself) It has little to do with the rest of the movie, but it is just fun watching him saying this ridiculous stuff in a deadpan manner. Forget "8 Mile," he should go into comedy if he decides to give up rap (I am going to regret this sentence years from now, aren't I...?). The other funny parts are a bit forced, but you take what you can get.

So, has my opinion changed about the film now that I have actually seen it? It is what I expected: a dumb movie about dumb people doing dumb things. And again, if everyone had just left it alone, this whole fuss would have never happened. And I would not have had to write not one, but two, posts about a movie when I should have written zero!

So, do I recommend it? If you want to stick it to North Korea, you probably already have. If you are looking for great political satire, you would be better served watching "Team America" instead. Other than that, it really depends on how much you enjoy this sort of humor. I am not above saying I like it in small doses or if it is done in a cleaver way, but this movie does neither. If what I described it not up your alley, then I would skip it. Either way, it is what it is. Nothing more, nothing less...

I felt the need to include this image for whatever reason.

Well, glad that is over with. Weird how worked up everyone got over this. It is just a movie. It is not like there is any movie in history that has ever caused real long-term damage or...

Oh, Jesus...

The images and links in this post do not belong to me and are being used for entertainment purposes only. Please do not sue me. Especially you, Franco.

Friday, February 20, 2015

My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009)

Valentine's Day is over and done. Did you have a good one? Did your special someone surprise you at work with a bouquet of flowers? Well, whatever you did, now that it's over, you can at least be satisfied that you didn't have a bloody valentine. That's the worst kind. I mean, if you had one of those, you'd probably be praying for a Valentine's day spent alone sulking in your room.

Director: Patrick Lussier
Starring: Jensen Ackles, Jamie King, Kerr Smith

Co-written with Michelle.

This movie is so cool that it comes with four pairs of 3D glasses so you can experience it in the glory that it was meant to be seen in.

And nothing says "cheap piece of crap" like glasses that you have to actually rip apart yourself by the seams.

Yeah, now that I have that, I'm definitely inviting three of my best friends over to watch My Bloody Valentine 3D! I probably won't have any friends after, but fuck it, it's worth it.

(As a side note, yes, the entire movie is 3D and ends up looking ridiculous if you don't have the glasses, hence the pictures in this review looking like a drunk person filmed the movie. In addition, they don't seem to work too well when watching on a computer screen, so it's doubly stupid.)

This is a movie with the distinction of having an entire slasher movie crammed into the first 10 minutes, as we see a killer breaking out of the hospital after a mining accident. But at least he stopped to let us know he really cared by drawing little hearts in the blood of his victims on the walls!

He also sent "sorry for your loss" Hallmark cards to all the victims' families! What a nice guy.

Then we get a bunch of dumb high schoolers hanging out in a mine, including this guy, who looks like they fished him out of a cubicle in Nebraska and stuck him in the clothes of a Texan kid who gets in fights after football games.

Unfortunately for them, a killer shows up to ruin the handjobs they weren't going to get anyway because they brought their dates to a fucking mine. He slaughters a bunch of them, but a few of them survive by virtue of being main characters. They manage to stay out of the killer's way for an absurdly long time considering he's walking around right around a corner.

That is, until this one dude comes out from nowhere and starts randomly calling out “Jason? JASON?!” at the killer for no apparent reason. He steps over several dead bodies and yet somehow doesn't seem to realize the guy he's calling at killed all of his friends. You could argue he was trying to call out to a friend of his, but I think he just got confused as to what movie he was in and thought he was in Friday the 13th.

His kills are similarly implausible though. Maybe that's why the kid got him confused with Jason.

Then the main characters leave the one guy, Tom, to die in the cave because they really have to high-tail it out of there and go fuck on a beach somewhere where the Creature from the Black Lagoon is all they have to worry about. The cops kill the killer, and Tom is saved.

Ten years later, the media just comes around, completely unwanted and uninvited, every year and obnoxiously films segments reminding everyone of the killer's massacre set against empty streets.

"Please give us a story so we don't have to keep reporting on the Kardashians and how cold it is this week! Please!"

The sheriff is played by Kerr Smith, who was in the original Final Destination film, so I guess his career really came full circle. The character's name is Axel, who has a ridiculously hot, loving wife who seems perfect, so of course he's screwing some 17-year-old on the side in sleazebag motels and laughing about it.

It's only jailbait if you get caught, right?

It's particularly asinine because this is the only time we ever see these two characters together – this subplot about them screwing on the side never comes up again. So really it's just to establish how much of an asshole Axel is. Peachy! She even says she's pregnant, which also never comes up again in the movie even though she still has scenes left in the movie and dies later on! Continuity and character development? Don't use those newfangled edumacational words down here, boy!, hell, just write whatever you want. Nobody is watching this anyway.

Later we get a scene of this one chick, having sex with some guy in a hotel, and then the guy reveals he was taping it all on camera. Wonderful...I love how indignant and offended the woman gets after she finds out it was filmed and he throws money at her like she's a whore. “Yeah, I'm not a whore! I just have sex with random dudes at truck stops! My morality is intact!” Then she runs outside, naked, to confront the guy as he's leaving. Because logic is for fuckin' morons.

"I'm really hoping this scene will land me a part in the next Quentin Tarantino movie! Boobs and a gun at the same time has to count for something, right?"

To lighten the mood a bit, the killer shows up and chases her around a bit. I don't know how exactly we end up with her hiding behind a bedframe against a wall and thinks that will somehow save her. But it happens, and you're probably a bit dumber just for sitting through it.

"You know, maybe I would have been better off making a run for it rather than trapping myself back, nah, it's fine."

After this, the movie basically gives up like a dumb sixth grader on a long division question. So I guess Tom has come to town because his father used to own the mine that all those kids died in, and Tom is selling it because he wants to move on with his life after a traumatic event. This makes people so angry they try to punch him when he so much as enters a bar. Because you know, that will really fix the problem.

Oh yeah, getting punched by an old man is how I want all my horror movie heroes to act. You got it right, movie!

Then it's Cliche Scenes 101 as Sarah and Tom have a conversation about why he's really back and how he's a coward for wanting to sell the mine and move on with his life. It's very hollow and I think both actors cared very little while writing this. We then see exactly what Sarah's advice was worth as Tom goes back to the mine like she said and some guy ends up dying while he's in there. Great advice, lady! Maybe this is why you never got that job at the psychiatric institute.

This woman in 10 years as a therapist: "You have PTSD after getting your leg blown off in Iraq? GET BACK OVER THERE AND FIGHT, PUSSY!" 
This wasn't even the fault of the killer. That guy was just really clumsy.

We get a really boring chase scene set in a supermarket, which is the prime location for slasher chase scenes. The scene ends with the one chick Axel was cheating on Sarah with getting killed, and of course it happened off screen and the killer had time to do this whole elaborate setup in the five seconds before anyone found the body.

Required: suspension of disbelief even greater than understanding a Holocaust-denier.

Then after that we get a sequence of scenes that pretty much put me to sleep. Some of them are about Axel and Tom fighting over Sarah in the same way they fight over who's killing all these people, because priorities schmiorities. I really fucking hate the “drama” in this movie – watching any of these characters pine after old high school sweethearts like some awful 1990s sitcom is about as endearing as day-old cat puke on your rug.

Other scenes are about Sarah conflicted as to who the killer is – either Tom, who has no alibi and showed up right when the murders started, or Axel, who has some weird stuff in their house that makes her suspicious. It's kind of like a dating show, except written by Ted Bundy. I'd really be drawn into all of this if I didn't already want to kill both of these characters by slow bludgeoning death with a foam baseball bat. But needless to say... Hitchcock, these writers certainly were not.

It turns out it was Tom who was the killer, as he starts screaming about the killer being in the room when really there's nobody there. It's actually kind of a good scene and, handled by better people, could have made this a better film. But this is just his evil switch flipping on, and he goes nuts after and they have to shoot him.

LOOK AT HOW COOL OUR 3D EFFECTS ARE! LOOOOOOOOKKKKKK! As a side note, I've done you all a favor by leaving out the several other really dumb, gratuitous shots like this all throughout this movie. You can leave your thank-you cards, gifts and free booze at the door on the way out.

Because, you know, that's how mental illness and PTSD works – you just turn into a serial killer automatically when your delusions are confronted. Thanks for being a complete worthless hack-work piece of shit with zero redeeming value to society, movie!

Eh, that's what I see every time I look in the mirror too.

Oh, and really? We're ending on a cliché “killer gets out by pretending to be a worker and covering his face with a mask” thing? I get the idea you could probably find babies with better imaginations than the writers of this movie. Seriously – fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck you, My Bloody Valentine 2009.

Writers in this scene: "Oh yeah, nobody has EVER seen that trick before! We're geniuses!"

No talented writing, no good acting, no good scares – this was just awful; the complete collective void of thought of a thousand brain farts sent to die in the area where no neurons light up anymore. You could literally just make a list of slasher cliches while watching Friday the 13th Part 3 while high on pot and make a home movie in your basement and it'd be better than this.

...and wait a minute; now that I think of it...what the ever-loving fuck did this have to do with Valentine's Day?! There was no connection made, at all! Maybe the original 1980s version made more of a connection, I dunno; but in this, there was absolutely no reason for the film to be Valentine's Day themed.

I've never been so insulted in all three dimensions at once. Frankly, this is the worst thing associated with valentines since the St. Valentine's massacre. I think I'll keep the glasses, though.

Nailed it.

Images copyright of their original owners; I own none of them except for the ones I took of the glasses. I do own those.