Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ant-Man (2015)

Marvel has a pretty good reputation for dependable action movies these days – in fact, they're addicted to making them. Hell, I think they'd go into a coma if enough people didn't re-tweet them on Twitter about each new movie that came out. But they did have one movie that was pretty weak, and it should be obvious what I am talking about by now, unless for some reason you didn't pay any attention to the title of this review.

I'll give you a hint though: If you've ever said the words 'my favorite movie is Ant-Man,' then you may not like this one.

Director: Peyton Reed
Starring: Paul Rudd, Corey Stoll, Michael Douglas

Co-written with Tony.

Ant Man is the kind of movie I think they'd produce if they asked the most generic human being alive to produce a movie that is acceptable – not great, not even particularly good, just acceptable. And then you took that and gave it to a robot who had never seen or talked to a human before to recreate it from memory. That's this movie. It's as unfunny, weird and awkward as you'd expect, while simultaneously also being pretty dull and ordinary.

This thing starts with Michael Douglas's scientist character punching another guy in the face for a disagreement at work – you know, one of those heated scientist disagreements that so often results in a physical altercation. Oh those rowdy scientists. Apparently Douglas is mad because they stole his formula to make people tiny. What, how does he know it's HIS formula? I mean, that's pretty self centered of him. What an attention whore.

Don't worry, he can't hurt you. He's all bad CGI to make him look younger.

Then we fast forward about 20 years to the middle of a Fight Club outtake starring Paul Rudd, who is less an actor and more of an alchemic combination of bad comedy tropes cobbled into something resembling a man. He's playing Scott, a Thief With a Heart of Gold™ who got arrested for stealing some stuff from a rich con man and giving it back to the people he conned. Don't worry – there's a scene about 20 minutes in that spoonfeeds you this information with all the nuance of a guy trying to fit a square peg into a round hole by just destroying the whole thing with a jackhammer. Exposition!

This movie represents prison like you would if you talked about a second cousin you don't see that often - vague and noncommittal. I know it's not the point of the movie, but could we have ANY effort at character development? Like at all?

But this only lasts a few minutes, because we have really important shit to focus on like the pretty racist caricatures of everyone else who isn't Paul Rudd. Like, the guy who picks him up from prison is the most stereotypical Hispanic character ever, like you'd think Donald Trump's idea of any Spanish speaking person is. His thing is that he talks in a really stereotypical way and goes on long, unfunny tangents when he's trying to convey information. Wow, what a great character idea. I'm sure glad someone's paying you to write this.

And who else do we get? A black guy whose only purpose in the movie is to steal a cop car? A European guy of vague descent who talks in a ridiculous accent and talks about his reverence for superstition in one scene while also being an expert at computers like a Die Hard villain the next scene? Wow. I guess it's progressive if you consider 'progression' to be having them in the movie at all?

Oh good, the local awful Improv troupe is here...

I just think it takes a lot of balls to write characters that most pornos wouldn't consider writing because they're too stupid and shallow. “Hmm, well, you've got a good start, but how much MORE racist can you get without getting protesters on our asses? Can you implement at least some of the stereotypes from 1950s conservative drug propaganda films before your time is up?” It's asinine exactly how bad this is – like, what, just because the KKK would still be like 'nah, that's weaksauce,' it's okay?

I guess Paul Rudd can't hold down a job at Baskin Robbins, which is a bad joke that the movie milks like hell with even worse jokes on top of it, like the manager at Baskin Robbins chewing scenery and talking in unrealistic dialogue about how cool it is that Scott stole things, but also saying they have to fire him. Yeah, convicts can't get jobs! Hilarious! A gut buster!

Ugh, ANOTHER movie in the pocket of Big Ice Cream, shoving its message down our throats...

Oh, and he tries to see his daughter at a birthday party only to get harassed by his ex-wife's new husband, a cop who seems to be so unrealistically douchey that I am pretty sure he literally has a stick rammed up his ass. Can we get a Kickstarter fund going to remove it and end this man's pain? He really is just such a douche to Scott that it comes off as hacky. Because ya know... a convict not being able to spend time with his kid, just more of that hilarity that is Ant Man.

The rest of the plot focuses around Corey Stoll's character Darren performing experiments on goats to try and turn them tiny, which doesn't work and only turns them into formless goop. I'm sure glad all this money is going toward this noble fucking cause.

We really learned a lot from this...

I guess this is what Michael Douglas's old scientist character perfected years ago, which he didn't release to the world and now Stoll's character wants to make a whole army of tiny soldiers to go and do evil shit like assassinate world leaders. They have a whole video presentation about this, like it's some sort of weird school presentation, which is kinda funny. It should really just say “WE'RE GONNA DO REALLY EVIL SHIT” across every picture in boldface lettering. Like, who the fuck was actually in charge of making a goddamn video presentation about assassinating world leaders and doing military coups?

Douglas, I guess, has the one suit he used locked up in a safe which Scott goes to burgle. He breaks into the safe and tries on the suit for no real reason except shits 'n' giggles – like, he broke in already, so why not, I guess? Then it shrinks him down to the size of an ant and we get a pretty decent action scene of him being tiny and running around and stuff. Though I am not sure why this mansion Michael Douglas lives in is apparently in the same building as a fucking night club...

I guess Douglas just likes a good time.

Also, how does he not die when he gets sucked up by the vacuum cleaner? I mean, I guess I've never really TRIED to do that. So maybe I can't criticize the movie on this part.

This is not the movie for you if you're afraid of vacuum cleaners at all.

Then we get a bunch of lame scenes of Scott waking up in Douglas's mansion, where he and his hot daughter live. They also have an army of ants in there that Douglas can apparently control, so he has them guard the bed Scott is in so it's almost like he's a prisoner there – if he steps off the bed, they'll sting him I guess. Except then that turns out to be pointless as he gets out and there is really no threat to him – so, whoop-de-do I guess.

Then there's a bunch of training scenes with him and the daughter, who is the most boring and lame type of female character – the super stoic, badass chick who says everything in a deadpan monotone because THAT shows strength, right? The only type of strong woman is the kind who never experiences emotion because she was probably created in a laboratory as a domesticated robot to deliver quips. I mean, what kind of woman ever has emotions, or a personality, am I right? Oh, she fires back blandly sarcastic quips to literally everything Rudd says? Yes, exactly how real people talk. And in this movie about a guy who shrinks down to the size of an ant, THAT is what I am most worried about for realism, yes.

Her wanting to cause Paul Rudd pain is the only believable part of her character.

Oh, what's that? You didn't think we had enough scenes of forced, dull fucking family drama with the daughter and Douglas shouting about how they didn't really love one another and a whole bunch of other stuff that makes me fall asleep? The movie has you covered.

Then there's a lot more bad jokes, stiff and unrealistic dialogue and lame stereotype characters as the climax clunks along. They stage some plan to break into the lab and I guess Stoll is so far gone by this point that he just ends up dressing up in the suit and going full on supervillain like, immediately. Wow. I dunno why THAT was his first choice, but one thing is clear, and that's that this lab really should do better background checks and mental health analyses on these people before hiring them.

Who, aside from gun sellers in the US, could look at this and go 'yes, this is a mentally OK man'?

Because this is still so cliché that it borders on parody, Stoll goes straight to the house of Scott's kid and threatens his family. How would we have any conflict if we didn't make it super personal right away? I mean, there's NO other sources of things a villain can do that are evil.

But to be fair, this is actually a good scene, and one of the only ones in the whole movie that actually works – I like the silly stuff they can do with the shrinking fight scene, like when they knock stuff over, it falls over with the weight of a mountain in their eyes. But then they show it just looked like some little thing falling over in the regular world:


It's really just one of the only scenes that actually works for the movie's sense of humor – why couldn't they have put this kind of effort into the characters and dialogue? Visually, it's good. Though I think the world could have done without this giant Thomas the Tank Engine and the mutant giant ant... I mean, is this like what the 1950s-era horror films predicted would happen? Jesus.

I guess there really is no price too high to give kids nightmares in this movie's universe.

That is pretty much the end really – we get a few more scenes of things winding down in a happy way, and I don't really care. That's Ant Man!

I guess a lot of people like this, and that's fine – sometimes that many people ARE just wrong. I dunno. I just find it really dull and bland – the writing is bad and the characters are weak when they're not outwardly idiotic stereotypes that come off as vaguely racist. The plot is dime-a-dozen origin story stuff and there's really nothing of interest about any of this except for the wacky scenes where he shrinks down to ant-size. So I guess I'm saying, if the movie was just a 10 minute short film with only those scenes, it'd be okayish, so long as they cut out literally everything else in the movie.

Oh well, at least it's better than Batman vs Superman or Suicide Squad; because those are good standards to have!

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

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Silver Bullet (1985)

Any movie based on a Stephen King book is usually bound to be, uh, interesting at least. This one, called Silver Bullet, is about a werewolf and a kid in a magic motorcycle wheelchair invented by Gary Busey. Do I even have to say anything else to get you to read more? I mean, really?

Director: Daniel Attias
Starring: Gary Busey, Corey Haim

Co-written with Nathan.

This thing starts with a truck driver guy hangin' out by the train tracks, digging with a shovel to find something I don't even want to know about, I'm sure. Then he gets decapitated by a werewolf, which is always really a bummer way to end the night. But people in town just assume he got decapitated by the oncoming train in a preventable accident. Because, you know, it's one of those trains that extends a mechanical arm holding a Japanese Katana to decapitate everyone standing in its vicinity. It's just how trains work and is pristine, prime technology!


So we've established that everyone in this town is truly stupid and/or doesn't care at all about their fellow townspeople. Great... now we establish that our main characters are a little boy and girl living in town. The little girl is especially suited to be the lead in a horror movie, we see, as she gets scared by an obviously fake snake hanging from a tree in the middle of the fucking day. I'm not sure why that scares her – maybe cardboard and paper fake animals and bad attempts at pranks are just terrifying for her.

"Do you have any Halloween props from the costume store? BECAUSE THAT WOULD TRULY SCARE ME TO DEATH!"

Then she and her wheelchair-bound brother, played by Corey Haim of many 80s movies fame, are going home and she blames him for the prank, being that his friend was the one who did it. She says it isn't HER fault that he's in a wheelchair – so why does she have to take care of him, right? Yeah, if it's not your fault directly that someone is wheelchair-bound, you can just say fuck it and toss them to the curb. That's how it works.

I guess their drunk loser uncle comes into the picture, played by Gary Busey, whose acting direction in this seemed to be “just do whatever you want.” He mugs for the camera a shitload, screams a lot, and then accuses the mother of not really knowing her son and thinking his only personality is to be stuck in a wheelchair forever. Yeah, I love it when loser relatives stay at my house because they have nowhere else to go and then criticize me, too.

"I'm the kind of jackass who just says whatever he wants."

While that's going on, we get introduced to this idiot redneck guy who is about every cartoon stereotype of that you can imagine - he talks to himself about kicking peoples' asses, he drinks beer and he screams at everyone. What a rich, compelling character. Apparently he's interrupted watching pro wrestling (the injustice!) by the sound of someone messing around in his greenhouse. So wait a second, how does this guy have a greenhouse again? He really just doesn't seem like the kind of guy to have one. What is he growing in there? Weeds he can trample all over when he's drunk tomorrow?

Hey now. I'm sure this man has a Shakespearean background that would totally vindicate him for us.

I love how seemingly every setting in one of these movies looks like the architect went, “Okay, just make it look like it belongs in a horror movie.” They're already fucking creepy places to begin with. Did this guy just ask for the Jurassic Park set to be built on his property? For that matter, it takes a while for the werewolf to kill him... this werewolf seems to have an unusual amount of patience and discerning for a bloodthirsty monster.

The werewolf is not content to just slash peoples' heads off anymore... he's got a taste for plotting now. He has blueprints and carefully constructed plans and shit.

The deaths of luminary town members like this guy prompts outcry around town as they plan to go on a manhunt for the thing. They do try that, and they even bring along their one black guy in town so he can die instantly, because this movie and others like it are the reason that trope exists in the first place!

Then one other guy attacks the wolf with a baseball bat, only for the wolf to, apparently, take it from him and start beating HIM up with it!

You have to admit, it would be worth it to die for a cause such as the badassery of this scene.

I fucking love that. A werewolf wielding a baseball bat. How is that not the new coolest thing ever?

After that, I guess, the whole town is in mourning and they have a funeral service where everyone else also turns into werewolves, which is probably not how their dead loved ones would've wanted them to react. But it's all just a dream by the priest... I guess his active imagination is getting way out of hand. Maybe he should quit reading so many Stephen King books before bed.

Not good organ playing. Try again.

I guess everyone has different ways of coping, though. The priest may have dreams about werewolves, but Gary Busey makes his nephew a wheelchair that is more like a goddamn motorcycle, for the kid to ride. My favorite part of this scene is that Busey tells him to be safe and acts like it's just a normal bike. Dude, you made a fucking war tank for this kid. Seriously – he can drive at like 60 miles per hour on that thing. You can see him outspeeding cars on the road later!

"Remember to be safe on the horrific death machine I made you, kid."
A cop driving by scratches his head: "Is there even a law regulating what that thing is?"

Then the kid proceeds to race around also setting off fireworks while doing so! Because fuck safety, I guess. Hey, I'll give the movie this – at least it's versatile. I wouldn't want the only deaths in a horror movie to be from a werewolf, after all. Some of them can be from wheelchair/fireworks-related accidents.

But he doesn't die, further teaching him that he can do whatever he wants and be completely invincible. He can ride off into the sunset like this is some completely different, feel-good movie, because hey, why not?


Oh, should we maybe get back to the werewolf plot now? I mean, I had almost forgotten it was part of the movie. I thought this was just a movie about magic wheelchair daredevil stunts now. The kid DOES get into some trouble when the werewolf finds him while he's out at night shooting off fireworks – why are his parents letting him do that anyway? Do they just have no curfew and WANT the wolf to kill him? I mean, I know he's disabled, but... oh, God, are they trying to have him killed like some old Biblical shit where disabled children are deemed unworthy? Jesus. I mean, that's the ONLY explanation for something this stupid.

Or... maybe not. I dunno. Either way, the kid shoots the wolf in the eye with a firework, and is then able to escape.


The next day, he and his sister go hunting all over town for a guy with only one eye, thinking for sure that that means they'll find the werewolf. Personally, in a podunk small town like this, I dunno if "werewolf" is the only reason someone would have one eye – walk a block over and you could just find a guy who poked his eye out with a drill or something while making a new chair for his living room. But I like their optimism.

They find him pretty easily – it's the priest, who now wears an eyepatch and also has a garage full of a whole pile of shit unceremoniously thrown there with no order at all. Wow! You'd think he'd hide this better! I guess not! Gotta love the sister's reaction to seeing a small field mouse in the garage - she's more afraid of this and that dumb fake snake from earlier than she is of the real werewolf. I guess everyone is different!

Oh, and the way she figures out he's the werewolf is because she sees that baseball bat from earlier. Whoops. You'd have thought he would try to hide that better. I guess you would have too high expectations.

Pictured: the scariest thing in the movie.
It doesn't exactly take a master fucking detective...

Speaking of which, what did that priest tell everyone in town about why he suddenly has an eyepatch? “I was drafted in the Vietnam War for a day”? Not sure that would be convincing. But maybe it is, and maybe everyone in town is a fucking idiot.


Then we see how he acts when he's not a werewolf – he drives around spying on little boys playing baseball. Huh, that's odd – most monster movies usually don't have the monster's human form as the scarier part of him.

The two kids convince Gary Busey to believe them just enough to talk to the sheriff about it. The sheriff then goes out to the house alone with no backup – you know, like cops are supposed to do when investigating a possible suspect in multiple murders.

Surprisingly (did you read that with sarcasm?) the wolf easily kills him – so easily that it's like he wasn't a sheriff but a newborn baby, completely helpless and dumb. I love how, after this, nobody in town says a word about the sheriff at all. I guess you could say it's because the movie is nearing its climax and didn't have time to spend on him, but I prefer to think it's really just like “Oh, the sheriff vanished? Who cares!” This is how it is in my imagination.

What is the obsession with using bats in this movie? Does the writer know werewolves don't usually use baseball bats to carry out their kills? For a movie with a fucking werewolf in it, this has a surprisingly light amount of actual wolf-related carnage going on.

The climax is Busey and the kids holed up in their house and waiting around for the werewolf to show up, like the world's worst date who is late for everything. Apparently the wolf waits for Busey to get annoyed and shout at the kids for making the whole thing up to cut the power and attack them. He really has a theatrical flourish for timing. This wolf should be a magician or something else that needs good timing.

The ensuing fight scene is OK I guess. They kill him by shooting him with a... wait for it... SILVER BULLET! And then he turns back into the priest, in what I have to admit, is a pretty cool use of effects.

Well this doesn't look healthy at all. I wonder how they'll explain the dead priest in their house anyway. I'm sure that will be a fun conversation.

The film ends with some narration about how the sister loves her brother and what not... and then the movie ends without showing us the inevitable future where the brother rides that crazy wheelchair thing until he collides with a car and it kills him. So it's a happy ending, as is!

That's Silver Bullet, the silly movie about werewolves and wheelchairs and priests that become less scary when they turn into werewolves. The story is pretty over the top and Gary Busey only adds fuel to that fire. In the end, it's not too bad of a flick. Certainly one of the more entertaining King adaptations I've seen. If you want something fun and a bit goofy, Silver Bullet is a decent pick.

Images copyright of their original owners, we own none of them.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Unrest (2006)

Unrest is a movie about medical students doing the kind of stuff they do, which is awesome. I'm glad we finally have a movie that doesn't marginalize them, and fully shows their true identities as detectives who figure out why ghosts are haunting the place. That's just what I wanted.

Director: Jason Todd Ipson
Starring: Corri English, Scot Davis

Co-written with Michelle.

This was one of the Eight Films to Die For series that mostly polluted Blockbuster shelves a lot back in the 2000s. I don't know why they were 'to die for.' Honestly, a lot of them were pretty middling in quality and I doubt anyone would throw themselves on a sword for these movies or run back into a burning house to grab them. The only way someone might DIE for a movie like Unrest is if you dropped it in the street in front of your house while going to throw it in the garbage, and then the garbage truck hit and killed you.

Also, I'm pretty sure these movies were the reason Blockbuster shut down. That's a bit of a conspiracy theory, but trust me on this.

The film starts out with a couple of doofus coroners checking out the tits on this body that just came in. In these kinds of movies, there's never a point where they DON'T make dumb jokes about how hot a woman corpse is – it's like some kind of fucking rite of passage to be a bad horror movie coroner.

"Alright, Jim. Are you ready to spew this uninspired dialogue?"

Then we get our main character, a blonde med student who apparently lives in the janitor closet in the hospital. We find out later this is because her grant money hasn't come in, but honestly I think it's because she's a millennial and this seems like luxury to her compared to the actual apartments she's lived in. Woohoo, housing market!

"This is the nicest place I've ever slept in!"

The first day of class, we find out med school is really just a wacky, fun place where students do things like push down on a corpse to squirt corpse juice into the mouths of their fellow students! I'm sure that won't cause any random disease outbreaks or horrific Resident Evil or Walking Dead style disease. Seriously, how did nobody get expelled from school for shit like this?


Amidst that is the one guy in their group constantly flirting with her and trying to get her to fuck him. I guess this is to be expected – I mean, that IS what women go to these schools for, right? I like how they tell her not to get too personal when she starts wondering about what happened to cause the strange wounds on the corpse's body. Because the GUYS weren't being weird at all when they said she was into kinky bondage sex, but an honest wondering about what happened to her is “too personal.” Sure.

One of the other guys has a fiance who comes by and wants to see one of the bodies. I guess this is why she was with him – she was just biding her time for when he was actually in a place where he'd let her touch a body with her bare hands. Because yeah, that's what she does, just touches this dead body with her bare hands. Is every character in this thing just willingly going to spread the virus that kills all of humanity and turns the world into some dystopia hellhole? 'Cause touching magic enchanted corpses is kind of how you do that.

Then, like clockwork, she runs out in the hallway feeling ill, and when her fiance finds her, she's dead and there's blood all over the floor somehow.

Oh no, she died from... some unexplained thing we'll never go back to, but it has to do with that corpse I guess!

On Monday, everyone just comes back to class like normal... somehow the fact that a woman died for vague reasons after touching a corpse never caused any alarm, because no one knows about it until the professor comes up to their group in class and privately tells them about it. Like what, is people dying in this hospital from inappropriate contact with corpses so prevalent that it barely even registers anymore? I think this scene raises more questions than answers, but then again, people have always accused me of thinking too hard!

The main girl, apparently cursed to be in possession of actual brain cells, thinks there's something weird about the corpse that people die after touching. She tells her professor about it, and he just dismisses her as crazy – just one of those kuh-razy women, with their weirdo theories and estrogen and what not. I'm sure he's right and it's all fine, and the rest of the movie is here for no reason except to show her happily becoming a doctor.

"I'm just the stereotypical stick in the mud character here to step on your dreams."

I guess she takes a break from wondering about that to go out with that other guy and have sex with him. Which is, you know, fine, but why are we watching a movie about it? Is this movie under the impression that these characters are rich and interesting enough that we want to see what they do in the bedroom? Because I dunno about you, but I am thinking no.


There are some more scenes of the girl trying to figure out what happened to this corpse – because I guess med students are just doing the jobs of detectives now. That's what budget cuts do to you, I suppose. I wonder what the scene was like where the real cops found this body and apparently did no investigating on it at all...

DETECTIVE 1: We found a body out in the field! It's naked and all cut up with scars and cuts!

DETECTIVE 2: Really? Well, that is just super fucking boring.

DETECTIVE 1: Yeah, you're right. Just dump it in the coroner van and forget it. Now let's go down to the bar and pick up chicks and not investigate this at all!

DETECTIVE 2: Woohoo, it's fucking awesome being a detective!

The rest of the movie is mostly taken up by the same old clich̩ crap you expect from these movies Рmain girl talks to this older woman at the school who believes her about the corpse being supernatural, and plenty of more scenes of researching why everything is happening, combined with random sex and flirting scenes of main girl and whatever-his-name-is. It's like they just put together an Ad Libs version of a horror movie. I guess none of it is TOO bad, but is that really an accomplishment? Just not being AS bad as other bullshit movies?

I do like this one part where they figure out that the corpse is actually from an Aztec temple or something down in Brazil. They ask the one Spanish guy they know to help them translate their Portugese research documents, and he says Brazilians don't speak Spanish, so he can't help. They tell him his Spanish is still better than their not knowing of any other language – what a bunch of racists. But it turns out they're right and he's able to tell them exactly what they need to know. Because stupidity is all encompassing.

Then we find out that the woman used to be an archaeologist until she went to this ancient burial site in South America, at which point she became a prostitute and started killing her johns after giving them blowjobs. Wow. Had to find some way to fit a prostitute in there, huh? I love that it doesn't even really matter – she could've been anything and still had the main plot of killing people in this hospital. But they went nope, prostitute is the job most women have, so we gotta go with that!

"Bad lighting, no character, no plot. 1/10. This movie sucks."

The Spanish guy dies next, and the ghost is at least courteous enough to give him a warning:

I hope the ghost paid for that textbook she defaced...

Oh, and the next day, NOW everyone notices the dead body on campus... I guess this one was just more noticeable and stood out more.

Throughout all of this, the British doctor guy teaching the class staunchly refuses to do anything or consider that something supernatural might be going on. There have been like five deaths in this movie and he still is just like “how dare you think there's some connection between this and that corpse we brought in JUST before they started?” I guess life is easier when you're just a fucking moron. They finally make him get rid of it, and he says he does...

BUT... it turns out he didn't, and instead just tossed it in the tank full of body parts in the lab, like nobody would ever fucking notice. Then people keep dying and it's like, whoops. But at least our heroes are here to try and get the body out – by taking their shirts off.


Why are they doing that? Like, you're already dipping into nasty corpse water anyway. Who cares if your scrubs get dirty? Are those the only ones you were allowed to have, so you have to make sure they don't get dirty? That's what budget cuts do to you, I guess. Or it could just be because of boobs. I dunno.

They finally burn the body and take its ashes all the way to fucking Brazil to bury – how they got there, I don't know. I mean the girl was sleeping in the hospital because she didn't have any money. Did they sleep in the luggage bay of the plane for really cheap?


But they scatter the ashes, only to realize a second later that the spirit is actually, maybe, still back in the lab! DUN DUN DUN... oh, wait, they have no basis to think that and it's actually just sort of random. I love that they're not even 100 percent sure - they just kinda THINK the spirit could still be there. What a half-assed cliffhanger. It's like the agnosticism of movies - you're not really sure and it's all very wishy-washy and noncommittal.

That was Unrest, the frankly kinda dull movie about corpse superpowers and people dying in a hospital! What did we think of it? Eh. That's really about it – just, “eh.” It wasn't the worst thing ever, but there wasn't much of interest. I mean, a few mildly silly things happened, and there were some odd plot decisions, but it was hardly like the new The Room or Troll 2 or anything, so it couldn't even succeed on that front. It was just sort of a middle of the road, bland adventure. So unless you really want to see, uh, people dying in a hospital but from ghosts instead of medical causes... you probably won't love this movie.

Images copyright of their original owners, we own none of them.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Disappointments Room (2016)

Here we go again, with another ghost story movie that really could've been improved in a number of ways... most of all in this case, if the filmmakers had had any kind of point or plot to anything they were doing. Welcome to The Disappointments Room!

Director: DJ Caruso
Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Mel Raido

Co-written with Michelle.

Apparently this movie was made a few years ago, but only released last year after the studio came back from a bankruptcy filing after a bunch of lawsuits and missing loan payments. Would it really have been too much to ask for it to have just STAYED lost?

Also, director DJ Caruso was also responsible for Disturbia, which is... yeah, great, I guess? I dunno. Let's just dig into this crap pile.

This is another ghost story, paranormal type of film, in the mold of Insidious and The Haunting of Connecticut and God knows how many others. It's got a super original premise where a troubled woman, Dana (Kate Beckinsale) and her family are moving to a fancy house in the country to try and get away from their problems – something people in real life do all the time, and something totally relatable to the modern person. Not feeling good about anything? Just do the totally plausible and affordable thing and move to a fancy old house in the country. If you can't do that, YOU DESERVE TO SUFFER.

It's so simple. Just make sure you have access to enough wealth and personal opportunity to move to a place like this at any time you're sad. Then you'll never truly be in the dark.

The movie actually starts with the family singing in the car driving to the place, and it's really quite annoying. The dad is waaaay too into it, he looks like he's doing his best Off Broadway musical voice. Calm the fuck down, dude. I'm pretty sure there are no talent agents out on the road in the woods that will hear you.


I guess one of the first things that happens is a leak in the roof – you know, the best possible way to start off a horror film. I can't count the number of horror films I've seen where it was good but would have been improved with a subplot about a leaky roof. Also, it starts to rain – so this is a really bad movie to watch if you have to pee really bad.

They do some more boring shit like go into town to talk to the weirdest lady the movie could find – she's just super excited about everything, blathering on about how there's a hot carpenter in town who's father is an alcoholic, which is stuff I'd find really interesting if I was wasted off my ass at 3 a.m. and unaware of my surroundings. But I'm not, so this scene just falls flat.


But there's actually SOME creepy shit that starts happening... like, Dana sees a dog in the yard one time. OOOOOoooooOOOOOOOoooo! Scary!

It turns out to just be a wheelbarrow or something. Easy mistake to make, they look exactly identical.

There's also, of course, the weird little room they never heard about when they were looking at the house, up in the attic. It starts to weird Dana out, but she can't open it at all until a separate scene the next day when she finds a key to the place. Wonderful scriptwriting – no way at all that couldn't've happened in the same scene. But I guess the movie had to fill its insanely difficult hour and 15-minute runtime somehow! These guys really know how to write movies.


Then she does get in, and the door mysteriously closes behind her. That's just how houses in the south work – they're super polite, always wanting to make your living experience easier by taking steps out of everything. She tries to get out, but apparently the house doesn't want her to get out. Oh well. It happens. Then I guess she's just a really unmemorable person, because she falls asleep in there for several fucking hours and nobody notices she's gone.


Seriously? Her husband doesn't notice? I guess he WAS busy playing with his kid outside though. This guy is such a weirdly immature character that I'm not sure whose idea it was to do this.

This is actually advance footage of the next Avengers movie. Looks lazy.

The rest of this is just full of nonsense jump scares that we saw in 2004 and some really bad dream sequence scenes that are so obvious you could see them in space... like, yeah, I'm sure she really woke up and found her kid with blood all over him... no way THAT could be a hallucination. These scenes can work, but only if you have a strong story narrative and connection to the characters. This movie doesn't.

The “story” I guess is that this old house used to belong to a family who had a deformed daughter and kept her locked up in the attic. This is relayed extremely calmly to Dana by an old lady in a museum who knew about it before and didn't tell them when they initially talked about buying the house. GEE, THANKS A LOT, LADY!

"Heh heh heh... fucking with the new people in town is the only way I feel alive anymore."

If you're wondering, like I was, what's going on with that leaky roof thing, then never fear. The movie rushes through all that boring “horror” shit and gets back to that with a scene probably longer than the horror ones – the super handsome construction guy from the town comes to the house and openly flirts with Dana with apparently no shame, and she hashes out a deal for him to work on their house. Wow! WHAT. GRIPPING. CINEMA.


Like, what in the fuck are you doing, movie? There's barely any horror in your horror movie! This thing doesn't even seem like it wanted to be a horror film – it seems much more preoccupied with these scenes of Dana and Hot Carpenter Fuckboy there quasi-flirting. Where's the scares?

Oh – another overly long hallucination dream scene of her kid supposedly getting eaten by a dog. Yeah – not convincing me, movie.

Apparently part of the reason for all this, we find out, is because she accidentally rolled over and suffocated her other child a while back and has been traumatized ever since. This is a horribly tragic thing to have happen. But this movie just isn't doing very well at articulating that. Can't it take a page out of a film like, oh I don't know, Lars von Trier's Antichrist?

Then what? She decides to burn some old paintings in the house for... better interior decorating, I'm guessing.


But who cares about that? What's going on with her and that carpenter guy now?! I guess he finally takes it too far when he offers to sleep over when her husband is away. Ooh, shot down like a U.S. government drone flying over the farm of a devout Luddite with a gun.

Keep in mind, this movie is less than 80 minutes long, and this is what we're focusing on.

How about a scene where the husband is talking to a therapist about his wife's troubles? Is THAT going to be any good?

He is actually talking to just a pair of legs.

What is this movie's fascination with showing us scenes like this that have NOTHING to do with the movie? I get it, character development is good. But they're not developing characters! They're just showing us random bullshit that distracts from the point. It's like if The Shining took a detour to show us Wendy and Jack sitting at the table talking about what color curtain to put in their bathroom at home, no scares or anything else revealed. Just ridiculous.

After finding the grave of the deformed girl in the woods, Carpenter Wonder Boy is then killed by a ghost himself, and hung in a tree where Dana finds him. Later on, it's revealed that apparently he wasn't really in the tree. Even though we see him killed by the ghost from his own point of view, apparently that DIDN'T really happen. These ghosts are up to some super complex Houdini type shit, I'll tell you.

It's extra funny if he really did die though - in that case, apparently they just leave him out there to rot while they have their little family therapy session in the house later. What a bunch of dicks.

I guess there's some sort of a “climax” after that, where she learns through magical unexplained psychic ghost powers that this old guy in the house murdered the disabled girl in the attic. What an awesome revelation that I truly care about.


Then, I guess, the ghost of that guy tells her that her son will die, so she runs to his room with a hammer and attacks a pillow that she thinks is the old man's head trying to attack her son! But really it's just, you know, a pillow, and she scared her kid. Whoops.

Wow, what an imagination she has! She should go into creative writing.

Then she and her husband talk in the kitchen about her grief from letting her baby die, which wasn't her fault, but really kind of was. Her husband says it's cool and they can work on shit, and they hug and then the screen goes to a sunny day with them leaving the house. Because that's all you need to cure emotional trauma! A hug and a 'it'll be okay' and then you're fine. Nothing else necessary! Wow! I never knew it was that easy. Apparently anything is fixable with enough money to move to a nice country house, move out and the support of a loving family. That truly is a great moral, movie. Really learned a lot from this!


This is a lame and awful movie. It didn't even feel like a finished film. But I will give it this – its plot was generic tripe I've seen a thousand times and should've been retired five years ago, but at least this movie didn't spend too much time on it. This one was trying really hard NOT to even be a fucking horror movie, what with all the time spent on the roof fixing plot, that they barely spent any time on the usual cliches I hate.

Speaking of that, what ever did happen with the roof of that place? I guess the family moved out before it could get done, which is the real reason I think this sucks! No resolution to its main plot!

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