Sunday, November 19, 2006

Scary Movie 3

Scary Movie 3.5 (2003)

Directed by: David Zucker
Written by:
Craig Mazin, Pat Proft
Starring: Anna Faris, Simon Rex, Charlie Sheen, Drew Mikuska, Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Anthony Anderson, Kevin Hart, Leslie Nielsen Pamela Anderson, Jenny McCarthy and all kinds of other people.

Okay... so the Scary Movie series appears to be imporving. I have yet to see Scary Movie 4, but I have seen the first two and I can say without shame that they disgusted and disturbed me.

This one is primarily a spoof of The Ring and Signs, if it's possible to link those two. So there's a little girl in a well, and aliens come down to stop her or something... I dunno.

I think the number one difference between this and the first two is that it switched from being a Brothers Wayans production, to being directed by David Zucker (who, of course, directed such esteemed films as Airplane!, Top Secret! and the Naked Gun movies (at least the first two and a half)). So naturally it's going to have Leslie Nielson in it.

I'll get this out right now. I do not like Leslie Nielsen. He may be a fellow Canadian, but he's a horrible, horrible man, and he eats puppies. And his name's Leslie. How sick is that?

That aside, he was pretty funny in this movie. There was less sex humour, less body hair, less generally disgusting stuff than there was in the first two, and it seemed more funny than angry. Not that I have a problem with angry. I can get angry. Sometimes I turn green...

Anyway, I didn't feel quite so ashamed when I laughed at the stuff in this movie. A lot of it was actually funny, and not just so overwhelmingly gross that I had to laugh or cry, and laughing is slightly more dignified.

However, I did find myself somewhat liking Charlie Sheen, as weird as that is. He was funny. Even though he's a short little man who looks just like his dad (no, really. It's kind of like Kirk and Michael Douglas...).

Of course, for all of my intellectual allusions, such as they are, my favourite part of the movie was when Simon Cowell got blown away. That was great. Okay, out of all the judges on American Idol, or on any of the damned idols for that matter, I like Simon the best, but I still liked to seem him being brutally killed. It's an awful, awful show.


Saturday, November 18, 2006


Click (2006)

Directed by: Frank Coraci
Written by: Steve Coren & Mike O'Keefe
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kate Beckinsale, Christopher Walken, David Hasselhoff, Henry Winkler, Julie Kavner, Sean Astin, Jennifer Coolidge

Pretty entertaining film about a man with a remote that controls everything, but completely ruins his life.

It's an old idea (anybody know the story about the little boy who pulls the string to make his life go faster?) but done in a new, amusing way. With Christopher Walken. My God I love him.

And, for all his vices, Adam Sandler is pretty funny too. It almost seems that he's been getting more and more likeable these days, much to my disgust. Still, his very name inspires feelings of nausea. I just can't get over that.

The cast in general is good, and fun to watch. And hey, Kate Beckinsale can actually hold her own without a leather suit. Alright, she was a little hard to recognize. I kid. I like her.

It did have those horrible kinds of heartwarming elements, like the man who learns to appreciate his family or whatever, but they were handled fairly well and didn't make me feel like I was being tricked into watching a wholesome family film.

It was much too dirty for that... although, some of those kiddie movies can get pretty dirty, and violent! My God. I guess that kind of thing just sails over kids heads, though. If they don't understand it, they don't register it. And I can say that because I'm close enough to my glorius youth to vividly remember that sort of thing!

Moving on, I'm still debating with myself over whether or not I liked this better than Bruce Almighty. Same writers, same principle. Bruce has Jim Carey and Morgan Freeman, Click has Adam Sandler and Christopher Walken. It's a tough call. I'm going to go with Bruce though, just because I love Jim Carey at least twice as much as I love Adam Sandler. (Okay, that was only after I saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind...)


Friday, November 17, 2006

Three Extremes

Saam Gaang Yi (2004)

Being a collection of three, short films from Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea

Directed by: Fruit Chan
Written by: Lilian Lee
Starring: Ling Bai, Miriam Yeung Chin Wah, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Meme Ti

About a former TV star who will do anything to regain her youth, right down to eating chopped up fetus in dumpling form.

For an unprepared, American viewer such as myself, this comes off as extremely disturbing. Maybe it's shocking in Hong Kong, too, I have no idea. I just know that I have never seen anything like it in Western film. There's an abortion scene in particular, which made me kind of want to vomit.

It was beautifully shot, though, as is customary of Asian film, though this one stands out, even among these three films.

The music was perfectly inappropriate, being rather light and cheerful even when horrible, nasty, revolting things were happening. I love it.

The whole film had a sort of arty feel, and though a lot of it was sort of strange and abstract, it probably made the most sense of the three.

Written and Directed by: Park Chanwook
Starring: Byun-hung Lee, Won-Hee Lim, Hye-jeong Kang, Dae-yeon Lee

From Korea comes a bizarre film about a Director being held hostage by a deranged extra, who cuts off his wife's fingers in order to make him kill a little girl. Only, it isn't a little girl. I guess. That's about the point where I lost track of what was going on.

Maybe it's just my Western brain, but most of this didn't make any sense. It seemed kind of like it was trying to be deep or something. I don't know. It also had a really weird sense of humour. I think.

Very strange. Very, very strange. The guy who plays the extra is good and kind of amusing, in a sick sort of way.

Still, the big problem that I just can't get over is that I really had no idea what the hell was going on. That sort of cancels out any merits the film may have.

Directed by: Takashi Miike
Written by: Haruko Fukushima
Starring: Kyoko Hasegawa, Atsuro Watabe, Mai Suzuki, Yuu Suzuki

About a woman who feels really guilty about accidentally killing her sister 15 years ago, and keeps having dreams about being locked in a box and buried alive. Sort of.

Not in anyway logical or linear, but it sure as hell looked good. It was very dreamlike, occaisionally a nightmare, and all very beautiful and strange.

I don't know. It didn't make any kind of sense (well, it did, but not a whole lot), but I liked it. I like these Asian movies, the Japanese ones especially for some reason.

The editting seemed to me to be very well done for some reason, and I loved the sound (or lack there of). The silences are mind numbing, almost like... I dunno, something's being sucked out of you instead of an image being fed into you.

It's weird. The movie sort of touched something in my brain, and triggered some really bizarre effect on me. I don't know, I can't explain it, but it seems to shut off a part of my mind and I can't think straight. It's kind of narcotic, actually.

Overall, the movie is a sort of assault of the senses, disturbing, disgusting, and sometimes ridiculous. It doesn't all make perfect sense, but it's sort of more about mood and atmosphere than anything. I'm glad I watched it, and want to see the sequel.


The Lake House

The Lake House (2006)

Directed by
: Alejandro Agresti
Written by: David Auburn
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Christopher Plummer

An interesting idea, which didn't work on every level. It's about two people who both occupied the same house two years apart who defy the laws of time and begin corresponding with each other.

It starts out that they're writing letters back and forth to one another, but then it sort of just turns into a converstaion, which is a little weird and doesn't make any sense at all.

Still, it's fairly well done, and certainly romantic enough to at least make me feel slightly squishy on the inside. A time spanning romance... what could be better? Okay, I preferred Kate and Leopold or Time and Again, but those ones bridged quite a bit more time.

Keanu Reeves is terrible, as usual. He should stick to sort of dumb characters, like Neo or Ted. It suits his personality better. He's not a sweet, sensitive intellectual. He's a big Canadian dork, and he's no longer as cute as he used to be. I used to forgive him his nature, but he's getting fat.

Sandra Bullock on the other hand seems to be getting skinnier. She also doesn't seem to have half the perk she had when she was in Speed (her last movie with Keanu). She's losing her life juice. I guess.

Okay, on the plus side, the house in the title was really awesome. I'd love to live in a house like that. There wouldn't be much privacy, but it's on a lake in the middle of the woods, so who cares. I guess fishermen could see right through into your bedroom, but I'd be flattered if found me interesting enough to watch me sleeping.

I'd like to see the movie it was based on. Il Mare, I think. Hey, it's Korean, what do you know? The idea seems like it could have come from Korea...

It was okay, but I think it would make a good horror movie. Like if he were dead or something. Her dead boyfriend who she seems to be corresponding with from beyond the grave. Hey, that's not such a bad idea. I'll have to write that. I bet it's been done...


Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Changeling

The Changeling (1980)

Directed by: Peter Medak
Written by: William Gray & Diana Maddox
Starring: George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere (surprise surprise), Melvyn Douglas, Joan Marsh

A fairly decent Haunted House movie, and I've seen a few. About a man who moves into an old, spooky house recently after his wife and daughter died, and begins being pestered by the ghost of a dead boy inhabiting the house.

It has the feel of some of those Japanese ghost movies that have been so popular lately, and I predict a remake. They wait roughly three decades before remaking these movies, by my calculations, so it's probably coming.

It seems like the quiet type of horror film, kind of slow and broody, with very minimal use of gore, and scare scenes. Almost like it's made for old people. I don't mind. I appreciate that kind of thing.

I liked the house. I thought it was very nice, and it's really the kind of house (well, mansion, actually) that I so desire. Ah, to be rich. Oh well.

There are a few creepy scenes, including the famous one of an empty wheelchair chasing a woman down a set of stairs. Still, it's fairly relaxed, and mellow.

It's got some pretty good actors in it, too (I like Melvyn Douglas quite a bit, just from watching Being There, actually) and it was made in beautiful Canada! O! Canada! Our home and native land! Sorry, I just really like Canada.


Cigarette Burns

John Carpenter's Cigarette Burns (2005)
Masters of Horror, Episode 8

Directed by: John Carpenter
Written by: Drew McWeeny & Scott Swann
Starring: Norman Reedus, Udo Kier and some people I've never heard of

Interesting, if not entirely successful. A lot like In the Mouth of Madness but about movies, even down to the look of the thing. There's a little bit of The Ring thrown in there, too.

It's about a guy who's trying to find a movie, Le Fin Absolue du Monde (or The Absolute End of the World, for those of you who don't speak any languages derived from Latin), for Udo Kier. Supposedly, it drives whoever watches it totally insane and makes them kill each other and stuff. Then he starts seeing this Ring all the time, and then he keeps hallucinating about his dead girlfriend.

Anyway, it's fairly impressive for something that's made for TV, but I mean really, John, could you try a little bit harder to come up with something new? Ghosts of Mars was just kind of like Prince of Darkness but set on Mars. He's off his rocker, I swear.

Still, his stuff is interesting, and it manages to be vaguely disturbing. This sure was disgusting enough - a man running his intestines through a film projector stands out in my mind. I didn't really get the whole religious subtext, but I don't always get it with his films. I've been trying to determine whether he's pro-Church or not. It's one of those issues that keeps me up at night.

Moving on, it was a cool idea, but, like I keep saying over and over again like some horrible parrot thing, I've seen it before. I might have excused it if someone else had made it, but seriously! I don't know, maybe he likes that idea. I thought In the Mouth of Madness was executed better, so this isn't really an improvement. I don't think Norman Reedus is a very good actor, either. What the hell do I know?

Another point, I didn't think Le Fin Absolue du Monde looked very interesting. I don't think I'd even bother to sit through it (a lot like the video in The Ring, only that one's short). I suppose if I was expecting an art film I probably would... I guess that's the trick.


Night of the Living Dead

Night of the Living Dead (1990)

Directed by: Tom Savini
Written by: George Romero, based on the screenplay by Romero and John Russo
Starring: Patricia Tallman, Tony Todd, Tom Towles, McKee Anderson, William Butler, Katie Finneran, Heather Mazur, Bill Mosley

I was really looking forward to this movie. A colour remake of Night of the Living Dead directed by legendary make-up man Tom Savini? What could be wrong with that? Well, Tom Savini's a make-up man and not a director.It's like he didn't really bother to direct it, his mind was competely on the effects. The acting is poor, the pacing isn't very good, and (sorry Georgie) the charcters just aren't good enough to hold their own. This could have made an eye-popping FX extravaganza, with buckets upon bucket of stomach turning gore. But it wasn't. It was a dull, kind of excruciating look at people yelling at each other in a house.

Besides, it was hardly differant from the original, and just made me miss Romero's directing skills. He may write shitty characters, but he's a good enough director to make them work. Okay, so Barbara's a tough, 21th Century, feminist biotch, which is cool, I suppose. I sort of preferred her as crazy and blond, but whatever. Katie Finneran gets to go crazy in this one.

By the way, Katie Finneran (as I just dicovered ten minutes ago) played Sharon on WonderFalls, a TV show by the same people who made Dead Like Me, which is just about the best show ever. This was her first movie.

Um... where was I going with this... oh yeah.

What I find really sad is that the element of racism has lost none of it's potency in 22 years, aand this has even more hints than the original, like the whitetrash rednecks lynching zombies.

I kind of liked the guy who played Ben, he was cute anyway, but I kind of like Duane Jones better.

At least it still has the line "They're coming to get you Barbra, bwahahaha". Cracks me up every time.

Other than that, I can find very little that makes this worth it. It's not especially well written, directed, acted. It's not artistically interesting, nor are the FX half as interesting as they could have been. I liked the zombie that was sort of stuck of the side of the road with it's legs twisted around backwards, but they killed it off pretty fast. In the end, I didn't really care if the charcters lived or died, unlike in the original, where I would have liked to see Barbra get away. Poor old Barbra.



Q, the Winged Serpent (1982)
(Not the James Bond character. Unfortunately)

Written and Directed by Larry Cohen
Starring Michael Moriarty, Candy Clark, David Carradine, Richard Roundtree...

A very... strange film. A bizarre combination of cop drama and monster movie, with a weird sense of humour.

The plot involves a series of bizarre deaths that lead a detective to believe that someone has resurrected the Aztec deity, Quetzelcoatl (I think I spelled that wrong, but who's going to know?), by means of human sacrifice. And then there's this small time crook and his girlfriend...

Anyway, it's pretty entertaining, well written, nicely paced, but I kept wondering what the hell I was watching. It almost felt like a longer, weirder, dirtier episode of The Night Stalker (which I guess is a shorter, serial version of The Night Stalker, but I confuse myself).

The stop motion beastie was really quite fantastic, but it wasn't used that much. That was the build-up of suspense, I suppose. It actually reminded me a little bit of the dinosaurs in King Kong. The original one, that is.

So it's hokey, and bizarre, but fun in a weird, mindless way. Like old monster movies, but not quite as old. You don't really have to think about it. Actually, I would recommend not thinking about it because if you do, it probably won't make any sense at all. But, in all, not a total waste of time.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Omen

The Omen (2006)

Directed by John Moore
Written by David Seltzer
Starring Liev Shreiber, Julia Stiles, David Thewlis, Mia Farrow, Seamus Davey Fitzpatrick, Pete Postelthwaite, Michael Gambon

So I saw The Omen last night, expecting another piece of shit remake of something from the '70s (they seem to be doing them in order, too, which is weird). Alright, honestly, I thought it was going to be pretty cool. I mean, who can argue with that cast? Besides, I'm not really a fan of the original Omen anyway.

The plot involves a US ambassador who finds out that his son may be the Anti-christ. I think they could have handled that a little better. Movies involving Satan usually only work if you believe in Satan, which I don't. Still, there's enough freaky stuff in so that it doesn't matter what your religious beliefs are. Catholic or not, the image of the air bubble travelling down the tube into a woman's arm is really disturbing.

That's the one thing I will say for the Omen series (and I've seen four out of five, including this one) is that they have really creative ways of killing people. That's pretty much what keeps me interested (and also what attracts me to shows like Six Feet Under or Dead Like Me, although in those cases I quickly got attached to the characters). It's hard to beat a guy getting decapitated by a massive pane of glass in the '76 Omen, or the guy getting cut in half with a cable in Omen 2, or the guy covered in burning plastic in Final Conflict. Indeed, the deaths in the remake were just as cool as the ones in the other movies.

Of course, there is the major problem with this movie. Most of it is line for line the same as the original (although it somehow manages to be creepier). I didn't find the first movie very memorable, however, so this one is a vast improvement.

I thought the cinematography was extremely good, as was the use of sound. The movie had a really good atmosphere, in other words. I loved how everything was kind of grey, except for occaisionally something that was red (which is very Shyamalan, but I'll let them get away with it). It's just one of those movies that has a certain quality to it that makes me very happy.

It also doesn't hurt that it's jam packed with actors who I absolutely love. Don't get me wrong, Gregory Peck and David Warner are pretty exciting, but I'm not quite as familiar with them as I am with Liev Schreiber and David Thewlis. That sort of added some emotional attachement to the characters which made me care whether or not they were going to die (and having seen the original, I knew exactly who was going to get it, as well as how and when, which removed any suspense there was). Still, I kind of hoped that maybe it would be okay, and nobody would get beheaded (which was disturbingly realistic) or impaled with big spikes, and that the good guys would win. Of course, that can't happen. The good guys have to wait for two more moives!

I do anticipate a sequel, and maybe, just maybe, I'll get to go see it (I'm still a little bitter about going to see X3 instead of this, especially now that I know it's good). In the original series, the Omen 2 was the best one, so I have high hopes for the sequel to the remake, should there be one (and by God, there will be one.)