Thursday, April 21, 2011

Shit List: Ulli Lommel's Black Dahlia

I'm going to be honest here, I'd sooner gut myself with a dull knife while laying on a bed of broken glass than ever, I repeat EVER, watch this film ever again. I'd sooner chop off my dick, feed it to a pack of dogs, and rub salt in my wounds than ever, I repeat EEEEEEVEERRRRR, watch this movie again.

This movie is so bad, that I set my TV on fire and hurled it out a third floor window onto a group of passing nuns. This movie is so bad (HOOOW BAAAD IISSS IT?), that I took a shit in the DVD-case and sent it back to Walmart in a box that was marked "You LET me buy this you soulless whores!". This movie is SOOOOOO bad, that I sent a singing telegram to Ulli Lommel to sing about how absolutely worthless he was, for six straight days.

I have seen my fair share of shitty movies, but I couldn't even stomach to get through this movie the first time around (and I am definitely regretting the fact that I made a second try at it). With movies like Plan 9 From Outer Space, I could at least chuckle and ironically like the movie, but the mere fact that time went into making this movie is enough to make me sick. Calling it a "movie" at all makes my stomach churn with flash backs of the abortion that is this steaming pile of crap.

What upsets me more is that there are people out there who actually like this movie unironically (I couldn't even like it ironically if I was huffing stupid gas). They say shit like "cult classic" and try to justify why this movie makes me want to pour burning acid into each of my eye sockets. There is no excuse for the time that was spent to watch this movie and I suggest that anyone with any sanity left NEVER watch this movie.

The first time through, I barely got past the opening scenes, I was struck so hard by the pure godawfulness of the movie that I HAD to turn it off before I started trying to throw feces at other adjacent human-beings. The second time through, thankfully, I had a friend to suffer through it with. Unfortunately, I think I've scarred him for life, considering he now sleeps with a gun under his pillow. It was really a dangerous experiment to see if having a friend to lessen the blow; we both nearly lost our sanity (made evident by the screaming and gorilla like behavior) and now refer to it as "that" movie.

"How can a movie be so bad" you ask? How could one person be so fucking worthless that everything they touched started mutating into a radiated form of suck? How could someone, without trying, commit movie genocide? Let me tell you exactly how...

The Scripts: The script is a complete mess that only manages to tell a repetitive and unoriginal story between bouts of horrid/forced dialogue. The events and conversations are so sloppy and poorly thought-up that it felt like I was watching something a high school film student wrote on a bad day.

Are you honestly telling me that someone looked at this script and thought: "HOLY FUCKING DONKEY BALLS WE SHOULD MAKE THIS MOVIE!", because I don't buy it. I can't believe that there wasn't a shred of doubt in a single crew/cast member that didn't think "hmm, doing this movie could be the equivalent of career suicide."

Story: Like I mentioned, the story is repetitive, unoriginal, and sloppy at best. I don't mean kind of repetitive, I mean it is FULL OUT repetitive! You see the same four sequences again and again until you grow completely sick of every single frame. Kill/police/research/dream, kill/police/research/dream... by the fourth round of this bullshit extravaganza me and my friend were YELLING at the T.V. screen (not exaggerating at all).

The plot isn't even about the real Black Dahlia, it is about a bunch of copy-cat killers (and by copy-cat I mean the only similar thing they do is cut the body up and everyone somehow thinks its like "The Black Dahlia Murders"). The main character is supposedly a cop, but I was too distracted by the fact that he looked like someone who would be more fitted for a high school chess team. He, apparently, doesn't know what the Black Dahlia Murders were so, instead of searching through crime files that would be to his disposal as a cop, he decides to go researching on sites that look like they were made on tripod. I don't even want to go into the rest of this story, because I think I repressed most of it out of trauma.

The cinematography: May I start by saying the camera-quality looks like it was bought from walmart for pretty fucking cheap. The shots just look awful with a bunch of ridiculous compositions that didn't do anything to help tell the story. I was pretty surprised that I didn't see any equipment accident dart in and out of any of the shots.

Editing: This is the conversation I imagine happening between Ulli Lommel and the editor. "Yeah, put in a bunch of cheap ghosting effects...randomly turn that black and white...flip that shot...randomly stick this clip there...white out transitions everywhere," said Ulli

"BAAHHH I LIKE PANCAKES!" said the editor.

It really is that bad, looks like a monkey got a hold of Windows Movie Maker and started thrashing on the keyboard. It looks like a cheap jumbled mess that only the hackiest of hacks could create.

Acting: "Surely this must be good...". No. The acting is as godawful as the rest of the movie and I can only hope that anyone that was apart of this movie never got work ever again. Poorly rehearsed, ill-placed, and along with the unnatural dialogue the acting likes all natural flow.


Execution: I think it is safe to say that since nothing in this movie is good, there is no way this movie could come together and be any good. Just stay away from it...far away.

Score 0 out of 5
Summary: I'd sooner stick my fingers in a hot toaster...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Little Open Letter (For a Little DoucheCanoe)

I've been gone for fucking ever, I do apologize to my non-existent readers as I have been pretty fucking busy as of late. Before I get back to reviewing, I have a little itch I'd like to scratch first. I've noticed a small blunder in the world of "Cinema Loving" and I feel a strong urge to address it here. This particular subject falls into the realm of "illegal downloading".

This has nothing to do with whether it is "good" or "bad", I won't judge. This has to do with some people's reasoning or rationalization when it comes to downloading. Now, I like to peek into IMDB every once in a while to share opinions, rate movies, look for movies to watch, etc etc etc. This include checking out their little forum at the bottom of the page. I was checking on Hobo With A Shotgun (which currently stands at a 7.9), and noticed a thread titled "It's already leaked" or something of the sort. This is where the whole ordeal begins.

Someone just brings up the fact that the movie has been leaked not too far after its release. Now, the typical banter goes back and forth; "I support it", "I don't support it", "I don't care", but one particular post caught my eye for the pure amount of dumbfuckery it had behind it.

"Yeah, who gives a *beep* if it's free. God made man, man made the internet, so therefore by default, free films is what god wanted, go figure. And if there aint no God, it's better to exist than to not exist therefore free films are inherently better than ones you have to pay for. Filmmakers will always get money from producers, if the film is worthy to be made it'll be made. I mean, I love TROMA films to the moon and back, but I've downloaded all their films and not paid for a single one, my reasoning is, they can make the money out of the non-fans and let us people who really want it, have it for free!!"

Now, like I said, I am not judging people who are for it or against it, but this post makes me want to pluck both my eyes out and go driving on I-35 at top speeds in hopes that I plow headfirst into a bus of nuns. The amount of bullshit he spews in his mess of words is fucking infuriating and I can only hope that he somehow burns his nuts off to separate himself from the gene pool.

Its dumbfucks like this that make Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" seem less like a joke. What do I find so fucking oblivious, stupid, and all around "tongue swallower award" worthy? Thanks for asking, let me break it down for you:

"Yeah, who gives a *beep* if it's free. God made man, man made the internet, so therefore by default, free films is what god wanted, go figure."

Great reasoning, fucknut. God made men and men made microwaves, so I'm sure God's intention was for me to watch shit explode and melt if I was bored. I'm so glad that you can use some omni-present being to justify why you are too fucking cheap to help out an independent film maker who sunk his own fucking money into this movie.

"And if there aint no God, it's better to exist than to not exist therefore free films are inherently better than ones you have to pay for."

Do you fucking eat paint chips? Granted, I'm not nearly disappointed by a free bad movie as oppose to one that cost me ten bucks, but people time and effort to make these films, their jobs are on the line with whether or not the film flops. For them, a stolen movie is a step closer to a career killer, so its not inherently better you fucking dweeb.

"Filmmakers will always get money from producers, if the film is worthy to be made it'll be made. I mean, I love TROMA films to the moon and back, but I've downloaded all their films and not paid for a single one, my reasoning is, they can make the money out of the non-fans and let us people who really want it, have it for free!"

If there was an award for the worlds biggest dipshit, you would have been a shoe in for this fucking bit. Filmmakers won't get the fucking money if their history shows that their films don't make money. No money, means no movies. If Quentin Tarantino's movies weren't such a huge success, he would have never made it to Kill Bill or Inglourious Basterds. A Expro's job is to give out money to movies who they think will be able to return that movie. If said movie doesn't return said money, then they are less likely to install such faith into the filmmaker.

Also, since you "love" Troma so fucking much, you little glue sniffer, you should know that they working on becoming a big studio before they ended up going bankrupt. Lloyd Kaufman greenlighted the Toxie remake for the sake of the money, they aren't just getting handed money left and right to make movies. Not to mention they produce movies as well, they have to spend their money to help make and distribute the films you seem to "love" so much.

You, my dear sir, are a fucking douchecanoe. If you don't understand it yet, think of it this way. If the job you work at, if you've ever had one, (lets say its a store of some sort) wasn't making any money, instead of letting you lazy it up, they are going to fire you. If they aren't making money, they certainly can't waste it all on paying you. If you aren't going to help make them money, then there is no reason to believe you will be any different tomorrow or the next day. Then you have to live off what little money you have left, once that runs out you'll be homeless. You'll ask people for money, because eventually you'll use all yours up on food and since there is no money coming in you can't keep buying the food you enjoy, thus you die.

Make enough sense for you?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Review "Double Feature": Evil Dead/Evil Dead 2

Okay first review back after a break and an angry post. Lets get rockin...

Lets start off this review by saying: I fucking love Sam Raimi! I think the man is a genius when it comes to horror and a pretty damn good director all around. Sam Raimi firmly planted his feet into Hollywood with the extremely successful Spiderman Trilogy (Fuck you nay-sayers, I thought the first two were great), not to mention For the Love of the Game, Drag Me to Hell, and his adaption to The Quick and the Dead. Though, what really rocketed him to his now attributed fame was a little movie called "The Evil Dead".

To many horror fans, this film is arguably one of the best horror films ever made. Though a bit campy, this film is still an intimidating piece of film, for many reasons. First off, the genius of Sam Raimi quickly shines through as his impressive camera-work, breakneck-paced storytelling, and visceral content. What looks like another B-movie on the outside, is really a beast of a movie on the inside.

Story: Its your typical "haunted woods/cabin" story with a couple teens going up to an isolated spot for vacation and an all around good time. While introducing the characters Sam Raimi already shows that there is something brewing in the woods. After reaching the cabin, they spend time partying and socializing as the day turns to night. Our main character (a future god) Ash J Williams and one of his friends (Douchebag McDouchingstein) stumble upon a tape.

Upon playing said tape, they find that the person who occupied the cabin had accidentally unleashed demons by speaking the words from the Book of the Dead. One of the girls becomes very upset and they decide to hit the hay. This is where the fun starts, so no need for me to go on from here.

Acting/Dialogue: The over-all dialogue is pretty meh and there are really two stand out performances in the film (Bruce "Better-than-Chuck-Norris" Campbell and Ellen Sandweiss), but its not bad enough to take away from the movie (definitely a step up from ANYTHING Ulli Lommelz ever directed...ever). Its the typical banter back and forth; "we need to get out of here", "there is no way out", "we're all gonna die" and shit like that, but nothing cringe worthy, thank god.

Cinematography/editing: This is where half the fun comes in. Sam Raimi is notorious for his style of camera-work and editing. The camera helps tell most of the story and the editing almost disorients you as complex movements and shots come together to great a very surreal feeling.

For example, for most of the movie the camera-work is pretty typical (aside from the "Demon vision"), but soon as Ash is alone, all hell breaks look. The camera-work gets all over the place with quick cuts, strange angles, and complex movements. The whole thing is to give the impression that the Deadites have completely taken over.

One of my favorite shots in this movie is when Ash his standing over the camera. He sweeps his feet over the lens and as he does, it transitions to a completely different shot and it adds to the entire atmosphere.

Execution: Damn near perfect, the film cuts off the fat, but still manages to do more than kill off a bunch of teens we don't know. The demons are torturous, the blood is plentiful, and the movie is magnificent. Sam Raimi behind the camera, Bruce Campbell on the screen, just a completely unbeatable pair.

Score: 5 out of 5
Summary: It is fucking awesome, go see it.
Now that we've covered the start of this magnificent Trilogy, lets talk about the crown jewel, Evil Dead II. Funnier, bloodier, and more outrageous than the first.

Story: The movie quickly goes through a Cliff note version of the first movie (with info tweeked a bit) and then sends us coasting back to where we left off, Ash still stuck in the forest and without a clue. He was knocked unconscious after hitting a tree (you'll have to see the movie to understand why) and when he comes to he has transformed into a deadite, but his memories quickly snap him out of it. Unable to cross the bridge, he is forced to seek refuge back in the haunted cabin that put him through hell. For the next half-hour Bruce "Made-of-pure-awesome" Campbell will fight everything from the furniture to his own hand...and it equals pure-fucking-gold! It has to be seen to be believed.

After a couple of shotgun rounds, a lost hand, and far after Ash has lost his mind, our new cast of characters make their way into the cabin. The leading female character is there to get in touch with her grandfather, whom we know has been long since dead, but instead she finds a blood-covered Ash with a chain saw...chaos ensues.

Acting/dialogue: Significantly better than the first. Like I said, Bruce Campbell makes this movie an instant classic as he makes fighting himself an epic duel to the death. The other cast members are better than the first, but really nothing Oscar worthy.

Cinematography/Editing: Same as before, if not better. This film reaches the bar and surpasses it. The film has a more stylized quality as it starts to set in just what kind of film it really is. You still get the eerie feeling that the camera is still alive and the editing continues its disorienting reign of terror.

Execution: Better than the first. This film takes all the awkwardness of the first one and uses it to its advantage to creating a boiling pot of pure genius. Only Sam Raimi could make such a film. Since I can't grade higher than perfect...

Score: 5 out of 5
Summary: more pure fucking awesome!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Taking a Shit": Dario Argento vs. Herschell Gordan Lewis

Now, despite what the title might make you think, this isn't a "Shit list" for directors. I actually enjoy both directors to quite an extent. The general idea of the "Taking a Shit" post is to kind of compare directors through the metaphor of (you guessed it) taking a shit. Now this may seem pretty weird, but I guarantee you there is a method to my madness.

Now, I'm sure any of my possible (hopefully existing readers) have seen the movie Juno (future review not pending...for many reasons). Within the movie there is a poorly written conversation between two characters about Dario Argento versus HG Lewis. This particular conversation ends with HG Lewis "winning" as the better of the two directors. To which I replied rather loudly to the TV screen "No way, Dario Argento takes shits more entertaining than HG Lewis!" and that was the moment this new segment was born. Now sit back and relax as I go into great detail about the shits taken by these two famous directors.

Dario Argento: At first Dario Argento simply sneaks around the toilet, spying on it for short increments of time before shooting back behind the wall. He slowly creeps up to the toilet, trying to not make his presence known. Finally, after much, much...much waiting he finally makes his move seizing a spot on the toilet. For a younger Argento it starts out smooth and quick going straight to the real meat and potatoes of the thing, but now-a-days it seems more forced and less desirable.

Asia Argento sits quietly in the bath tub, not sure what she is doing. They could have gotten someone better to sit in the bathtub while this is going on, but I guess it isn't the worse thing to happen. Though we should keep the focus on Dario, a surprisingly colorful shit seems to be emerging and no one really questions it despite the fact it doesn't make much sense.

Where it really shines though is that it almost seems like a nice staged like shit as if in a theatre of sorts. At this point the censors have started cutting out whole parts of the shit so we'll have to wait for an unrated cut to come out before we get the full genius of Dario Argento's shit. Even if there is a little blood, that's not what gets the people, its just how grim and vivid the shit really is every detail really out there for ya.

Now, even though its not the most well put together shit you still enjoyed watching and couldn't wait for the next one, even if they were all really the same. Dario ends it with a few clean wipes and throws himself backwards out a window for good measure.

HG Lewis: Even though we know what to suspect here, his shits aren't quite as predictable as Argento's. He starts off by jumping straight onto the toilet and immediately forcing what he can out to start the shit off. After the initial drop the rest of the shit is pretty bloody, but also loud enough to really make you lose interest. No one is paying attention to the direction the shit is going or what HG Lewis is doing while taking a shit, everyone is more focused on the gore and good fun nature to the shit.

Much like Dario Argento's shit, no one really knows whats going on besides that a shit is taking place. They give you some sight of the position of the shit, but not enough to really understand it. Though an HG Lewis shit seems to be more of a spectacle than a cinematic experience. Though it doesn't seem to bother HG Lewis, he seems to be enjoying the whole thing.

Half way into the shit HG Lewis starts laughing, realizing the humor behind his shits and begins to use that potential to make an even louder and bloodier shit. Making it even more entertaining to watch for the many fans spectating today. The only downside to it really is that it is kind of hard to take him seriously as a shitter when there are so many people who do it better than him.

At the end, seeing he has no toilet paper, uses his hand to wipe, creating an even bigger mess to the whole thing. To avoid complicating it any more he simply walks away from the toilet letting us kind of comprehend the entire shit.

In review: While the shit may become confusing, both Argento and HG Lewis make it enjoyable to watch in their own way, but the far better shitter would have to be Argento for his pure understanding of the logistics of the shit and passing that information down to younger shitters to try and carry on his legacy.

Bonus shit: Tom Six: This man doesn't need a toilet. In a genius move to reduce trips to the bathroom, he has surgically attached some poor victim o his ass and has been laughing that so many people actually came to see this major disappointment.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"Shit List" Review: Begotten

I'm not gonna lie, I've enjoyed a fair amount of experimental and artistic films, but I can safely say there isn't a single thing of this planet that would convince me to watch Begotten ever again. This film is so infuriating that, after watching it, I spent the next hour trying to figure out why this film is hailed by critics. I would have preferred gargling a gallon of cat piss over watching this movie. While this may sound harsh and somewhat over-dramatic, I am prepared to make my case for putting "Begotten" on my shit list.

This story: Now before a bunch of art house film fanatics stumble upon this and decide to flank me with how I "don't understand" this movie, I must state that the movie made complete sense to me. The opening scene depicts God killing himself by repeatedly stabbing himself with something similar to a straight razor while piles of organs slowly slip from his body. After God dies, mother nature appears, walks around awkwardly, jerks off god, and then more or less gives birth to humanity (can you smell oscar?). This is the first ten minutes of the film (and arguably the most enjoyable part) and I felt it was at least a decent start. The next sixty or so minutes is filled with you watching this guy being dragged around a barren land scape and being beaten by some indescribable figures (not like the cool HP Lovecraft kind of "indescribable", its more of that squinting your eyes and going "what is that?" kind of indescribable).

This is suppose to represent the agony of the human race and its painfully futile existence. This wouldn't be a problem if it were a short film (then maybe I would have never heard of it or wasted my time watching...I could have made a pizza instead or read a book), but it is seventy goddamn minutes of this. After the first 20 minutes it offers no more insight and refuses to tell anymore of a story (like porn without the tits).

Film Grain: I understand the intent of the film grain, I am aware that he went through a process in order to make it appear the way it does, but it honestly doesn't do shit for me. I didn't mind it as first, but as the movie progressed (and I use that word lightly) I found it becoming more and more of a pain in the ass. It makes it almost impossible to see half the things going on in the film (not that I am missing much). Even if it was trying to pull off that "atmosphere of distress without seeing the actual event" it is a very poorly executed idea. (With this being said I do understand it was an experiment and experimenting is a main part of art films, but it is still an extension of my frustration with the film itself.)

I also feel the "independent black and white" has run its course thoroughly and can be put away for a little bit. Its not that I feel that Black and white film is stupid, I just feel purposely using Black and white film is more of a cheap trick to create false depth within the film (though there are films that do wear it very well).

Sound: There isn't a single reason to have the volume on for this one. No dialogue, no sound effects (besides crickets and wind), and no music through the entire movie. Again I mention that this would have been fine for a short film, but not a film where people will have to set aside some time in order to watch.

It also annoys me on the grounds that I wish to pursue sound production as a career and it really takes away from the film to really offer no audio stimulation to go with the film itself. Which in the long run might not seem like a big deal, but there are plenty of movies that could have been broken without a good soundtrack and proper mixing.

Hell, I would have taken two people having a conversation playing as the audio to the movie instead of the dull and lifeless soundtrack that didn't even seem to go that well with the movie. In fact, in order to get through the rest of the movie, I turned the volume off and just played some music to go with it. Nothing like barely being able to watch a guy get beaten to death while listening to your "best of rush" mixtape.

Now what really gets me: I decided to look up what IMDB thought of the film (a mistake on my part) and it had a somewhat positive review. Then I looked through their miniforum at the bottom of the page and saw someone with a fairly similar opinion to mine and he was more or less blasted by the IMDB crowd for "not getting it" and how he should go back to watching "Michael Bay films". I feel this was quite unfair, just because I didn't like it doesn't mean I am a cinematic neanderthal (I can't speak for the other person in this case, I have no real idea where his tastes are). I feel I have enough taste where my opinion is as reasonable as anyone elses.

0 out of 5
Interesting idea gone very very wrong and long. Everything worked against itself to create this film and I feel that everything in general could have been executed better to make a far more enjoyable film altogether. Its in a long list of experiment films, but its really the first one that I felt really had no point or entertainment value.

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Shit List" Review: Battle Royale II: Requiem

Now, I would usually never put a well produced movie on the shit list, but this one deserves it. In the vast amount of movies I have seen along with their sequels, this is possibly the worst sequel I have ever had the displeasure of watching. I got so close to the end, but I basically said "fuck it" and just had to turn that crap off. There are so many reasons I hate this movie, I'm going to take it step by step.

The plot: I don't give a shit if it spoils the movie for you, I am doing this for your own good. In the sequel, survivors of previous Battle Royales, led by Shuya Nanahara (the hero of the first film), have formed a rebel group called the "Wild Seven". The "Wild Seven" must be the worst rebel group ever imagined for the mere fact that their base is located on the same fucking island they escaped years ago. Not only thaat, but the majority of the group is children, because it is apparently an "anti-adult" group (its just that fucking silly).

As in the first film, a class of teenagers from Shikanotoride Junior High School are kidnapped by the Japanese government (almost in the EXACT SAME WAY! Only if the rest of the movie could have been the same). Instead of stereotypically studious Japanese students, these ninth graders are “a ragtag collection of delinquents and losers from all over Japan,” (I seriously prefered the stereotypical students).

After their school bus is diverted to an army base, the students are herded into a cage, surrounded by armed guards, and confronted by their schoolteacher, Riki Takeuchi, who lays down the ground rules of the new Battle Royale game.

Instead of being forced to kill each other (the whole reason I watched the first one), as in the old Battle Royale, the students are ordered to attack the terrorist group’s hideout and kill the leader, Shuya Nanahara, within 72 hours (as opposed to sending in an actual army to do it. Really it is just an excuse for the film). Most of the kids are not interested in being forced to avenge their families, but are coerced to fight through exploding metal collars, which their captors can detonate by remote control. The students are also put into 'pairs'; if one student dies, then his or her 'pair' will also die because of the metal collars set to a certain frequency (I actually liked this idea, but wait they ruin that too).

The students are sent via boats onto the dangerous island base of the Wild Seven, and a number of them are killed during the journey onto the island, leaving only a cluster alive. Most notably (only because they are the only ones with any personality), two of the survivors are the main protagonist Takuma Aoi, and Shiori Kitano, the daughter of Kitano, the "teacher" from the first film who died after being killed by Shuya (a plot point they never pick up on as far as I've seen). Taken into the Wild Seven's base, the surviving students' explosive collars are removed and they are welcome to help the members of the Wild Seven rebel against the Battle Royale for good. Which leads me to my next point...

The Collars: WHAT THE FUCK? You put in this cool idea for the collars and then get rid of them? What I forgot to mention was that they did this with an EMP device that they magically make appear. I loved the collars, the collars turned the first one from good to amazing. To see them destroy the whole point of them is completely ridiculous.

Dialogue: It is awful, almost everyone who dies has this long-winded monologue that doesn't lead to anything. In fact when they are explaining the new battle royale rules, they lead into this list of countries America bombed, but then they don't even connect it to the rest of the speech. Nothing these characters do or say seem realistic and I can only hope the idea of a third movie never comes into play.

Characters: Like I mentioned before, you will not remember anything about anyone besides the main characters and that is kind of annoying since the first one was so good about character development. Not to mention a lot of the characters look annoying as hell, like a stereotypical version of whatever personality they are suppose to pull off.

0 out of 5
There isn't a single thing that I liked about this movie that mattered. The plot is annoying and confusing, the dialogue cheapens it up even more and I don't give a flying fuck about any of the characters. This is possibly the worst sequels I have ever seen and I wouldn't wish this torture on my worst of enemies.

The "Shit list" strikes again.