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Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure

Skuggs' Yuletide Family Tropical Getaway
Just about 15 years after the release of the original National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, the much-loved 1989 comedy starring the always content Chevy Chase and the always buxom Beverly D'Angelo, the X-masses are finally being treated with a sequel -- National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure.

Yup. Island Adventure.

I found out about this movie a couple days ago, and here I am not wasting any time in informing you oft-misguided souls that this yuletide treat is...not worth your holiday time. F@ck, right?

Before I get into National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure, which is quite possibly the second longest movie name I've come across (second to, yup, Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood), I need to make a statement: Randy Quaid is the man. I have no idea what's going on in his personal life regarding Hollywood Star Whackers, but I just want to say I support. There are a few evil entities in the world and Hollywood is most assuredly one of them. If Randy says people are trying to kill him, I wouldn't hesitate to let him sleep in my basement. Secondly, conspiracies are cool to think about. Nothing wrong with questioning things. Thirdly, he played the best mad scientist to ever grace the silver screen as Elijah C. Skuggs. Case closed. No more giving Mr. Quaid crap. Okay, on with Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure!

Now what the hell is NLCV 2: CEIA all about anyways? The answer: not much. Cousin Eddie works as a nuclear waste test subject and loses out on his job to his chimpanzee coworker. But, lucky for him, the monkey bites him on the ass and Cousin Eddie and family get a free Xmas vacation to an island in the South Pacific. Bad jokes and lots of meandering about soon follow, and then the family find themselves trapped on an island, and then, yes, more bad jokes ensue. It's a very predictable film that the seven-year-old me probably would have really enjoyed. Snot the dog from the first Christmas Vacation is back and he farts a ton, which is all the young me ever really wanted. Farts. The adult me unfortunately needs much more in his cinema, namely farts and breasts.

For such a lame-duck movie, the cast wasn't so bad. Ed Asner was in it. For some really strange reason, the always entertaining Eric Idle makes a cameo. The actor who always seems to be up for a sh!t role, Fred Willard makes an appearance. Honestly, Willard's in so much crap. He must have something sinister going on in his life, too. He can stay in my basement if he wants as well. But enough about my soft spot for down-on-their-luck celebrities. The bottom line here is this movie is Christmas crap that you should only catch if you really enjoy the original, and/or Randy Quaid, and/or if you want to see Sung Hi Lee lounge about in a bikini.

Night Claws

Shut up, Cindy.
It's been a while since I've watched a So Bad It's Good type of film, and really, that's all I was hoping this would be. I saw Ted Prior's name, I saw bigfoot in the synopsis, I was in the mood for cheese....what the hell am I waiting for? Let's get going! First off, after starting it, the title calls it Apex-Predator. Whoa, that's even worse than Night Claws....alright!

It doesn't take long for this film to show it's ugly bigfoot head. We got a bad acting right from the get go, and the acting as a whole is what will keep you watching. There may have been one nip slip in the opening scene but nothing else, and there's only minimal blood/make-up effects. So there's no surprises to be had with Apex Night Predator Claws.

Getting back on track and the sole reason to watch this film is to watch the camp. There are a handful of "well-known" B movie actors here, but Reb Brown and Ted Prior stole the show for this guy. When I say "stole the show" I actually mean, kept me from falling asleep. Reb Brown is so amateurish he warmed my heart. He was almost cute with his acting. You could see him remembering his lines, trying to use the correct amount of emotion, it was awesome. He also had a couple funny sequences too. Then we got Ted Prior who is just a hot-blooded, son of a bitch the entire time he's on screen. You get the gist his character is a tough guy, but he takes it one step further and just becomes a jerkoff. So much so, it becomes a positive. He tells his wife in it to shut up at least 5 times. Telling your wife to shut her yap = gold.

So yeah, watch this flick if you truly enjoy camp and/or are a bigfoot enthusiast. If you're neither, pass on this all day long and then some. If you're a little of column A and Column B, I'd say check it out. If you came here looking for any advice on dating, then you've come to the right place. If she talks too much, dump her ass!

The Hunter

Oh, Stallion Face, you're just awful.
Recently I've come to learn the hard, unforgiving, yet understandable truth that our beloved Mr. Dafoe has an incredibly large penis. With that said, here's my exaggerated review of his recent film, The Hunter.

Dafoe pretends in this movie that he's some type of hunter/mercenary guy who's off to the wilds of Tazmania to hunt down the possibly extinct, Tazmanian Tiger. His goal is to find it, kill it, extract some juicy good stuff, and then dispose of any evidence. Fun! I'm down! Whoa, hold your horses now. You have to wait for the good stuff around these parts. First we have to first wade through the trenches of this southern Australian state that's chock full of melodramatic, cliché ridden, audience toying clap-trap. Say what?

It doesn't take long to possibly realize this film may flop more than it flips - and flop it does, belly style. Forget about the lil girl who playfully swears like her dear old Daddy, forget about the amazing listening and drawing abilities of the mute little boy, hell, toss away the predictability of the unfriendly locals ("Bring the children inside. Hurry."), what you should focus most of your attention on is the lackluster screenplay and script. At times during the movie you could assume that the film was some type of dramatic improv session. There were at least a couple WTF moments that instantly make you question what the writers were thinking about. And really, the acting, no matter how understated it tried to be, was rather poor. Leading the way there is Frances O'Connor who bleeds out that she's an actress – she really did bring this movie down a peg with her overly feminine antics and greasy stallion face. I can't blame her entirely I suppose as there were even moments where I thought Mr. Big Dong was acting like a piece of petrified wood - which hurts me to say that. Wilem, the man, who played so many OTT roles so brilliantly, flounders about around Tazmania looking like a dead fish, using those wide-eyes and dead stares to rile up our emotions to no avail. The writing sucked here. Sucked! Shut up!

I'm pretty shocked (actually not at all) by the overly positive responses this film is getting. My biggest underlying issue with this film is that it tries to be too many things. Instead of focusing on the exploits of the hunter which are of a more mature and heady theme, the movie juggles bits of charm and light-hearted wishy-washy melodrama. To me it's an obvious attempt by the film-makers to cater to everyone involved. Not only did it not work, it was glaringly noticeable, more so in tone than anything else.

You'll probably like the film if you don't know any better, but you should know better. You should know that this movie, this disappointing tale of a hunter with a massive hanging genital should have delivered, and it didn't, because some jerks, whomever they might be, wanted to grease their monkey paws with the hopes of grabbing some more bananas. And again, O'Connor, stick to commercials.

American Juggalo

The new Heavy Metal Parking Lot
For the 20+ minute running time of American Juggalo you're instantly and consistently given the same type of joys you took in the first time you laid eyes on Heavy Metal Parking Lot. Honestly, I was laughing my ass of within the first minute.

If you're not in the loop, a Juggalo is the term for a die-hard fan of Insane Clown Posse. I'm not here to tell you about ICP so do your own homework on that front, but I would like to say that I think they get too much flack because of their looks. I haven't listened to so much of their music, but from what I have heard, I thought was pretty cool and different. The Dating Game is a track I'll never forget.

Back to the movie! On the film-making front, American Juggalo takes the same approach as Heavy Metal Parking Lot - you only witness the fans interacting with each other and the film-makers. There isn't a single moment of ICP performing, and actually, I don't think I even heard a ICP song being played. Nevertheless, even though I would have love to see the fans freaking the hell out at a concert, just hearing these people chit-chat and mingle with one another....it's just nuts. It's like nothing you've seen before.

Chock full of make-up, tits, excessive swearing, flabby bodies, this flick is the truth. This flick has got all the exploits and laughs you'd hope it would have, but at the end of the story, you come away with one lingering thought more so than anything else. The Juggalo family is more hardcore than any other music family out there. They're legit, hardcore, ridiculous, and they're all about the scene to a level that verges on insane. It truly is an insane clown posse. Whoop whoop!!

For more ICP goodness check out A Family Underground, and Shockumentary.

The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)

My unedited review from 10/14/2011
Sequels are a tough commodity nowadays, with the majority of them being cash-ins just so the makers can make some extra bread. That's not a bad thing mind you, as everyone needs to make a living, but on an artistic front it sucks balls. You could argue that Human Centipede 2 was also made to deepen the pockets of Mr. Tom Six. But where his sequel differs from most of the other sequels out there is that, he actually did try improving on his second effort. He listened to his critics and his fans and put his thinking cap on to deliver a film that exceeded the original in every way possible – and I believe he did just that.

With the original, we witnessed a Mad Scientist torture and mutate a trio of humans into a weeping, crawling, pooping machine. I thought it worked, as the doctor delivered a good enough performance to carry the film. So how can you improve upon a Mad Scientist? You don't get much cooler than a raving scientist. Just ask Professor Farnsworth. One way to work things out is to think in the absolute opposite direction. And in this case, taking the polar opposite route worked brilliantly. Instead of a handsome, fit, and fiercely intelligent German scientist, we're delivered….well, I don't wanna be mean, but we're delivered the opposite…in the shape of a small rotund British man named, Martin.

Martin lives at home with his Mum, and works as an overnight security guard for a building's parking lot. The overnight gig not only puts food in his belly, but also gives him the opportunity to watch movies. I mean, movie. Martin, like any dedicated fanboy, watches his favorite movie, The Human Centipede nonstop. He's put together a collage book. He obsesses over the pretty girls in the movie. He has a pet centipede. He is quite simply fixated with all things Centipede. So much so in fact, that he's already initiated the process of creating his own Human Centipede – but this time with a dozen people. Martin thinks he can do it. He's got the passion, he's got the plan, and now he just needs the bodies.

With basically the whole story revolving around Martin's Centipede escapades, the film obviously has to deliver in other areas besides finding ways to attach faces to butts. Martin, psycho serial killer In the making, must surely have some type of back-story, right? He's not just an obsessed fan, right? Right. A much smaller secondary story resides in Martin's living situation with his dear ole Mum. I'm not going to ruin anything here for you, but let's just say Martin's past and present has been riddled with misfortune. So much so, that there are moments where you may be sympathetic towards the guy. Not sympathetic towards his goals, but towards his mental state. The Mother Son story delivered for me. It's been there done that stuff, but it was handled well, and of course, with Six's atypical touch.

To clear things up, the cut version of HC2 is no slouch. As a movie that is supposed to up the ante, it most certainly does. It improves upon the story, the lead character, the violence and everything that entails, and it also shows that Tom Six has improved as a director. Credit must be owed to Six in some way for helping the first-time actor, Laurence R. Harvey (Martin) deliver the performance he did. He didn't speak a single line, and still managed to convey a deeply troubled soul. Big ups to both you guys.

The Human Centipede, title alone, is reason enough for many to scoff, but that's fair, as it's pretty easy to judge this book by its cover or title. Assuming critics and disappointed detractors of the first will probably be overly judgmental and harsh, but not I, and not you! We both personally applaud the ideas, and willingness to push cinematic envelopes. The movie isn't perfect, and anyone with a clue can realize that, but as a sequel (and a horror film), it's legit, and tries to be a true sequel – succeeding at becoming a movie unto itself. A horrid, ugly tale of mental psychosis that's spliced with nightmarish fanboy heresy all sewn together to create an altogether abnormal horror film that will have you seeing brown.

I look forward to checking out the uncut verison as I hear it may be a bit different. One thing is for certain and that's I can definitely see myself rewatching this film, rewinding it, and rewatching it again…and again…and again…and again…

Now - I pretty much stand by this review and have since seen the uncut version with sandpaper and barbwire intact, and it's all just extra good fun.


Another unedited/unfinished review. This one from 9/27/2011
"Snowtown" is a shocking true-life tale of murder and manipulation that doesn't follow the linear paths of normal serial killer films.

Jamie lives with his Mother, older brother, and his two younger brothers. Life appears meaningless, stagnant, damaging, and as the film develops early on, it seems like it's only going to get worse before it gets any better. That is until John enters the scene and takes a firm hold of Jamie, introducing him to the real rights and wrongs of life as he knows it.

Finding out that this film was true was surprising to me, and then adding in the fact that the character John was Australia's # 1 serial killer really threw me for a loop. The majority of serial killer films that I know don't normally humanize their serial killers. Usually, you're just told this guy's evil and then you watch him do evil things. It's not like that here, as we're shown a man who shows compassion and care for family, but then that's intertwined with a man who's so utterly die-hard in his beliefs and ways, that you're confused about who this man really is. He seems to want to help, but he's doing so in the absolute worst way - which seems to be the only way he knows.

Now knowing that John became one of Australia's most infamous serial killers delivers a surprise to the viewer, and it also gave the filmmakers the opportunity to utilize the character of Jamie to be the centerpiece and emotional backbone of the film. Witnessing John act as father, friend and mentor to Jamie created an ambiguous relationship between the two that had you constantly on guard for Jamie's well-being. Not showcasing hideous murders or spotlighting John as the main character was risky, but it seemed to pay off well. Unless, of course, you're fully aware of the story of "Snowtown," then you may be hoping for something more vivid – which was probably not the right thing to do, for the sake of the victim's loved ones.

Besides the different directions the film went, I was also impressed by the acting of the entire cast. First-time actor Lucas Pittaway delivered a believable and tragic portrayal of a meager-minded individual, whereas Daniel Henshall, who played John, gave us an imperious, conniving, and highly talented acting performance. Highlighting the actors was the film's creative camera-work; at times moving in gritty hand-held fashion, instinctively capturing the troubling atmosphere, and at others, brightening the story by showcasing the Australian landscape, an effective decision that acted like the yang to the desolate ying.

No Reason

Green's my favorite color.
Ittenbach's latest diabolical mind-bender of the colorful kind may bemuse you as well as shrink your dink.

If I tried explaining the story to you, or even – I'm losing patience just thinking about it – discussing what it all means, I'd probably come across dumber than I sound right now. So, with that said, let's give it a shot! Ya got a girl who's visited by a tentacle bearded demon guy that is trying to teach her the truth of her ways by bringing her to different layers of some type of afterlife realm…or some sh!t like that. Hey ya know, that wasn't that bad of a summary. What's most important is knowing if Olaf's flick was able to deliver while his cast of characters did their thing. The answer is sure.

Pretty early on you get the picture that the story is a take it or leave it type of thing. I personally thought it stunk, but if you dig heady, weirdo German type story-telling then I guess you'll dig it…at least a little bit. But again, we know better. Ittenbach fans know better than to expect an average tale. We hope for one, but we don't expect. What we do expect is blood. So we sit there with our bibs on, waiting for that first splash.

It doesn't take long.

What No Reason does have going for it is that it's possibly one of the goriest films of the past couple years. Besides some lighting techniques that may have cut corners around how realistic the gore should look, the film still delivers on the blood front. There's a sequence, a hellish sequence you would say, where we stroll along through a torture dungeon of sorts that is basically just non-stop atrocities. Some creative stuff is going down too. Graphic is an understatement, as we peep peeing girls, some skin tearing, a bound to be classic penile mutilation, and of course, lots of blood spurting. It's the highlight of the film.

There are other scenes of OTT violence, and our leading lady is one hundred percent naked I'd say 80% of the movie - nice bum, small boobs, camel toe in your face. So as you see, there is enough here to keep your eyes glued to the screen. At a little over 70 minutes the film does feel longer because of Olaf's talky tale of colors, but I'd say it's definitely worth any gorehounds time as well as a must see for fans of Olaf, and, without a doubt, a definite for feminist gorehounds.

An average output for Olaf by my standards, but still, gore is gore, ass is ass, and how much more can you ask for when Ittenbach is in the big boy chair?

La vida loca

My unfinished/unedited review from 2/18/10.
Not long into La Vida Loca I realized something. That my peculiar fascination for Central American gang culture has almost all but left me. Like probably many of you who've seen this film, I've also seen my share of S. American and C. American films concerning gang culture; the prison shows on TV, feature films, all of it. Seeing some guy or girl with tattoos covering their face is so beyond my scope of living that it has (had) this badass, semi-romantic feeling that I looked up to. Of course, I was aware of their daily wheelings and dealings but I kind of threw that off to the side so I could fantasize about how 'cool' they appeared and acted. I have to repeat, that mind-frame is now almost fully out the window - thanks to this movie. And I'm not so sure I'm happy about that.

La Vida Loca is just that, but more than anything else, it's La Vida Estupida. What we're shown here is a full-fledged look into C. American gang culture. The best and worst aspect to this film is how intimate it all is. This is a film with zero filters and zero self-consciousness, and what you see, is for more or less, how things go down. And what usually goes down is sadness, death, hypocrisy, chest-puffing.... The passion they show towards one another and their families is nothing but honest and real, but at the end of the day, it's seemingly all about selfishness. Gangs seem to not clash with opposing gangs than they do with their own self.

This is a documentary on gang-life, but it's not a truly informative piece of film-making; there's no questions asked, or answers given. The knowledge you're given with this film is more like common-sense; you should have known, but you just didn't. You're brought around and given really close peeks into these young lives, but most of the thoughts these guys and girls have are basically, for lack of a better word, bullsh!t. At wakes they regularly chant in unison about the evil of the world, and not hours later, you'll see them repeating the same stupid crap about revenge and that it's all about their gang. What frustrates me most is that there is a zest for life and change, but in their given situations, it seems that the gangs have found a certain level of comfort in the pain and violence.

If you're anything like me and that you have this interest in gang culture, be fore- warned that this film will mostly upset you. And hearing that the director himself was murdered by people in El Salvador...it makes me think if this film was even worth it.

The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day

My unfinished/unedited review/ramble from 4/4/10.
Do I have to mention that I'm a fan of the first? I see that quite a few comments are starting like that, so I guess I'll also roll with the flow. So, yep, I'm also a fan. Actually, in 2000 I bought a Boondock Saints VHS for 35 bucks on Ebay. Of course I'd have expectations for this movie. I want the Saints back in action, but I also want a solid flick, so this 10 year wait, was fine with me. That is, if the movie turned out to be worth it. Was it? No. It wasn't.

Boondock Saints 2, even though 10 years in the making, still felt like some sort of cash-in. Instead of using creativity to maybe make something worthwhile and truly sequel-worthy, they made it this sort of over-the-top comedy. Get the f@ck outta here! Duffy, for some reason or another decided to go the easy route. And what's the easy route? By taking every single thing that worked in the original and using it again, in an attempt to improve upon it. That right there, is the pussiest way to go about making a sequel. Oh, I guess you need examples. Alright. Need a new sidekick, right? Sure. Throw in a stereotypical Mexican dude who they have perform an arm-bar in the opening scene (cash in on the MMA craze much?). I would say he's the comedy relief of the film, but no, they have about four other characters being used for the same thing. Anyways, if the sidekick didn't work, in the case he wasn't enough like Rocco, they added a buffoon Mafia character that acted like Rocco. Oh, and if he wasn't enough, Rocco made a return as well! Of course in dream sequences only. And what the f@ck were those stupid macho rants about?

Then ya got the new female Willem Dafoe character. Oh man, this was a massive issue for me. Southern accent, walks like a super model, mimics Dafoe's methods from the first…get the hell outta here with this sh!t. That's all they could think of? At least you could have made her gay like Willem's character, or maybe even a tad risqué. A nip slip, maybe? Of course not. Were we really supposed to buy into this character? Was she supposed to live up to one of Dafoe's best performances? Really? Seriously? Wow.

One thing that some people don't seem to realize about the first Boondock Saints is that it excelled because of its all-male cast. There was no love-interest bullsh!t. There was no drooling over the girls. Just like with any comic book movie that comes out now, there is this seemingly out of place, romantic/love subplot that has to be put in because there needs to be something to relate to for our more sensitive/mainstream movie-goers. But there wasn't anything like this in the first, and that was wildly successful with all crowds…? Oh yeah, I totally forgot about how this was a comedy. It's all a joke. This movie is a joke. Maybe instead of trying to create a blockbuster, a comedy/action blockbuster, he'll go down a different route. Something on the darker side.

Boondock Saints 2 worked story-wise on one level moreso than any other. And that was the flashback sequences of when 'Da', Billy Connolly's character became who he was. One of those scenes truly worked, and non-surprisingly, it was the most violent scene of the movie. ……………………….

2/12/12 - Yeah, I just gave up with this review. Bottom line, the movie stunk.

Sick Girl

The Muffintop Massacre
Oh, Sick Girl. How sick you are. Ya got your kicks peeing on nuns, lopping off weiners, and kissing your brother. You actually sound like a pretty cool chick, it's such a shame you're monotone and you have a dumpy butt.

2007's Sick Girl, created by all around blowhard Eben Whatshisname, focuses on the small-town life of a girl named Izzy, who is forced to become head of her household when her brother ships off to the Marines. Things sour from there on out, and Izzy's already shaky disposition crumbles into a pile of constant premenstrual insanity. No one's safe anymore; not her flamboyant younger brother, nor their bike-riding bear of a neighbor. The blood flows, children die, and rats are fed and returned to the gay guy who did porn after being in Fright Night. You know the guy.

I'd like to say Sick Girl is a good time, but then again, I'd like to say I enjoy popping pimples along the under-carriage of my fanny. A little juicy, kinda painful, and totally unnecessary. This movie fails for a few reasons, namely its weak script and dodgy direction. If you enjoy drawn-out scenes of inept dialogue and really pointless scenes of gore, including a controversial moment where a severed member is forced onto a make-shift dildo, the less discriminating horror-hound may actually enjoy this sh!t show.

So throw on a wife-beater or two, break out the Christmas lights, and don't say I didn't warn ya. Sick Girl sucks.

Attack the Block

Nightmare on Sesame Street
Our story of block attacking begins as our rag-tag group of protagonist hoods surround and mug a poor, helpless lass. In the midst of the mugging, a falling meteor crash lands into a car mere feet away. The boss of the group of young punks, Moses, lets the woman run away as he wants to loot anything he can out of the smoldering wreck. Within moments he and friends are fighting off a sharp-toothed, little alien from another planet. Not long after, they find out that this freaky looking alien has friends coming – bigger, meaner, freakier looking friends.

Watched this flick a couple times now, and for the most part it stands up as a legit lil creature feature. This debut by Joe Cornish, is a consistently fresh looking and sounding flick that showcases some crisp and creative camera-work, some in-your-face social commentary, and, believe it or not, an actual story that was fun to follow, as well as some cool looking alien creatures that had me instantly nodding with approval – they were slightly Sesame Streetish, but with a twisted nightmare feel.

The writing and ott characters here, which is apparently how some real-life style young'uns in London talk and act, may get on your nerve a bit – it's like British and Jamaican rolled in one – I personally didn't have much of an issue with it. There's lots of quick delivered slang and silly hood posturing being spewed all about, but through good direction of these young actors, Cornish managed to bond the actors and actually created a cohesive cinematic relationship among them. So much so, that by the end I was hoping all remaining characters wouldn't kick the bucket. Which is basically opposite of how I normally act with modern horrors – I want everybody to be mince-meat by the time the credits roll.

Not a perfect film by any means as a couple scenes of tension faltered with its desired effect *ahemhallwaysceneahem*, the funny bone department was lacking, and a few moment of hamminess from some of our rough 'n tough 15 year old leads at times had me giggling to myself. Nevertheless, this is a fun and entertaining creature flick that should please most fans of the subgenre. Trust.

De lift

Did you know that elevators are twenty times safer than escalators?
And also twenty times more evil.

The Lift (aka De Lift) is a horror film about an elevator. So the question is, will you be taking it to the top floor, or will you be getting off early due to the old man with gas problems standing in front of you?

Of course you take it to the top! Even if this movie stunk, which it most definitely does not, you always finish off a movie about an evil elevator. Even the title itself rolls right off the tongue. Say it with me now: Evil Elevator. God, I love a good bit of alliteration.

Oh, sorry, what's the film about you ask? An elevator that kills people. Oh, you want to know the details of the evil elevator story? Ugh…well, if you must know, during some fancy-pants box social that's being held at the top of some building, an elevator's power supply box (??) is struck by lightning, and thenceforth said elevator becomes conscious….of its thirst for blood!!! Oh, you want more details? You're a pushy one, aren't ye? Okay, well, after a close-call involving Ernie the Evil Elevator, our protagonist and self-appointed hero, the Elevator Mechanic, comes along and you better believe he smells something fishy. People eventually start bucket-kicking in manners only an elevator is capable of kicking buckets. Cue nosey Reporter Gal, enter sci-fi mumbo jumbo, hit that button, which floor, to the top my good sir!

De Lift's (aka The Lift) ability to manifest itself from a predictable, cheesy horror movie into a film that actually delivered effective chills, engaging enough characters, and even a boob no less - was not what I was expecting. I don't exactly know what I was expecting with this here elevator movie; I guess just something much sillier. Well, I was certainly wrong about that assumption, as the viewer is elevated to heights here that are on the level, and played straight – on that same level. What I'm trying to get across here is…this is a good flick. A proper made flick about an evil elevator.

One last crap joke for the road. Whaddya say? Want a crap joke? Here ya go. So, I tells Mayvis. Mayvis, I says, if you're gonna take a dump, ya gotta flush. Flushing is what gets rid of the poop, I tells Mayvis. She tells me to go flush my own dump. So I then tells Mayvis I don't need her crap anymore. Mayvis doesn't get the joke.

Stingray Sam

Stars in the sky, shining up bright, everything will be alright.
When it comes down to cool-sounding sub-genres, I think Cory McAbee and company have figured out which may be numero uno. How can you go wrong with Musical Space Westerns? I really don't think you can. What can be better than that? Oh, I don't know...maybe something about Werewolf Hunters of the Mid-West…?

This go-around you follow Stingray Sam and the Quasar Kid on a rescue mission as they try to track down a kidnapped girl in the hopes of returning her to her father. Tack on a story of brilliantly silly proportions that include pregnant men, excessive olive eating, and legit sci-fi imaginations, and you have an instant cult-classic.

Once again, Cory delivers a memorable and altogether impressive musical space western that's chock full of catchy tunes (my favorite being The Lullaby), great over-the-top performances, and charm to spare. One aspect to this film that I thought was really well-done was how he utilized his own daughter as the little girl - whom he managed to direct amazingly well. At times he was able to bring that classic style of acting that a young actress like Shirley Temple made popular.

Cory's approach to film-making is unlike anything else being made these days - or at least anything that I'm aware of. They have this universal appeal that makes one think they're truly incapable of being disliked. Of course, that's ridiculous to say, but when it comes down to movies that showcase as much heart as Stingray Sam, or The American Astronaut, it's not exactly difficult to make such claims. Check his films out if you get the chance, you won't regret it.


Take heed haters of the slow-burn.
A couple years back, an independent film from the Philippines named Kinatay shocked and awed festival film-goers the world over. The film by Brilliante Mendoza was regarded as one of the most controversial films of the year, and was even coined a horror movie by some. I'm here to tell you - two years later - that all the overly enthusiastic critiques appeared to be just that.

The film is about a young newlywed who takes a friend's job offer to earn some extra cash for his wife and baby. The gig, which he discovers a bit too late, involves kidnapping and accessory to murder.

The film initially starts off in almost documentary style fashion with the camera capturing real-life tidbits while gradually introducing us to the amicable protagonist. Over an hour later, when the meat and potatoes have begun to be served, it switches to a more conventional style with close-ups and bits of stylish direction - it's this melding of creative approaches that impressed me most about Kinatay. Along-side a cast of talented actors and urban Philippino settings, the movie feels fresh and consistently realistic.

Besides the film's tedious opening hour, what ultimately hurts Kinatay the most is/was the hype that initially surrounded it. Hype can be good, sometimes, but in cases like Kinatay, where the buzz mainly circulated around the exploitative aspects of the film, said film can and will implode. This film isn't very controversial and nor difficult to process – it's actually rather straight-forward and only a bit graphic. Maybe it was some type of marketing ploy, who knows. Nevertheless, it remained an intimate look at how a person feels and acts when confronted with unsuspecting horrors.

Lastly, please take note that this is not an exploitation or horror flick. It's an art-house drama that does a pretty good job putting you in the shoes of someone doing something they don't want to. Ever hang out with people you didn't want to, but you stuck around because you knew you'd possibly reap a benefit or two? This is like that, but on a nightmare scale.


Note to self: If caught in rain, jump in lake.
What you have here with Curling is a rather unclear look at a rather atypical family life between Father, Jean-Francois (aka Moustache), and daughter, Julyvonne. Immediately your alarm should be going off, but hold on now, it's not like that. Well, it might be, but that's up for you to decide.

The Father is a hard-working and shy man who seems to going through the motions. At times it appears that this routine and mundane lifestyle is really his cup of tea, but then things begin to sour. He doesn't allow his daughter to go to school or venture outside at night, and his strict rules around the house instinctively suggest a curious double-take. Even with outside influences questioning him, he still holds steadfast to his ways, and it's this puzzling aspect of the Father that's the backbone of the film.

Like a peek behind-closed doors, the viewer is given a glimpse into this strange working life, but there's still something else going on...something fishy. Many questions circle about, like why is the father so protective of his daughter? Why does the character Rosie erupt and exclaim that Lucyvonne is soulless? What's the deal with the music scenes, and why is the Father so tentative and secretive? There are many questions to be asked during the film, and although interpretations may vary, the questions appear to echo back sinister motives.

More so than anything else, a lot of film-goers may have issues with the film's seeming lack of solution, but that's not really the case as the film does develop and bring about varying conclusions. My gripes with Curling are slim to none, but that's not to say I really enjoyed it. It's a strange film that possesses a strength which rewards the inquisitive thinker. Just a heads up: be careful to whom you recommend this to; even though the film has a similar tone to other bizarre flicks (like Dogtooth, for instance) I would say it's even less accessible. If you don't like films that urge you to clue things together, then I'd say go ahead and skip this.

There are many, many things said and shown on screen that'll have you flip-flopping between thinking if it's all innocent and relatable, or if it's all devious. One thing you will be certain of concerning this Father-daughter duo is that it is indeed strange and troubling. As I mentioned above I'm leaning towards the sinister side because it's more fun, but let's be serious here, that moustache ain't helping nobody.

Hobo with a Shotgun

When I grow up I wanna be a Hobo with a Shotgun.
Bloody babe: "You can't save the world with a shotgun."

Hobo: "It's the only thing I know."

It's true. Once he put that shotgun in his Hobo mittens he and shotgun became one. From this moment forth, whenever you hear the word, Hobo, you will always think, Shotgun. The shotgun is the Yang to the Hobo's Ying.

Rutger Hauer plays the slightly-losing it old hobo who after decades has finally realized what he wants to do with his life - be a landscaper; he wants to mow lawns. So, on his ventures of hoboing up and down the railroad tracks looking for a means to a beginning, he's arrived at 'Scumtown', and this is where he meets up with trusty ole Shotgun.

See, Scumtown is controlled by Drake and Sons. Three psychopathic dudes who get serious kicks out of decapitation, burn victims and simply put, gore. Confused ole Rutger the Hobo is privy to just one too many counts of evil and puts his shoe (with the hole in the toe) down. What follows is a tale of revenge, then more revenge and then...some more! Blood!

On the over-the-top action and splatter, this movie delivers big time. It's basically non-stop offensive, silly, gross action. But what makes it stand-out over any other recent modern exploit flick is the style it moves with. Karim Hussain of Subconscious Cruelty fame helms the camera here and does a very good job doing so. It's vibrant, colorful, and had just enough creativity to raise an eye brow or two.

Any real gripes by me are related to the writing as that it's so supremely OTT with countless swears and screaming it verges on head-ache worthy. And the emotional scenes are so sappy and cliché that it does nothing besides make ya roll yer eyes or crack a grin. So, with that said, it's not really complaints per se, but just silly aspects of the film that wear thin faster than the others.

As I said, from this moment on, the Hobo Shotgun duo are now joined at the hips - if it wasn't already. This is a bona-fide insane film with boner-fried sights (literally) and lots of the red stuff. You really can't ask for much more from this film, and maybe, you might be asking for less.


I'd rather watch Mac and Me again.
Pegg & Frost's latest outing goes grey with it's new comedy, Paul. The two pals head to Comic-Con and are living life when they stumble upon Paul, an on-the-run alien who's looking for a little assistance. He's being chased by dingus FBI agents, and basically, that's it. Save Paul, learn life-lessons along the way. Ugh.

Gotta admit, this didn't do much for me. Besides the treasure trove of movie nods this movie dishes out, there are only a couple redeeming aspects. Of course, the acting is solid, as all involved are truly talented actors. Well, I should say Simon and Nick weren't that funny, as they wrote this thing, and only fanboys and poindexters will truly find this worthwhile.

There's lot here to complain about. Be it the lackluster bad guys chase good guys, or the reliance on hearing Paul or whatsherface swear to make you laugh, or the super lame gay jokes....it was just a total wash. And how many times did they use the triple boob joke?

The film had a nice light vibe about it all, which will sucker you right along with it, but the filler - the cliché filler combined with the very disappointing writing, will have many people (probably not you though, because you GET humor) feeling pretty let-down. I know I was.

And this leads me into my college approved thesis for my Film Studies class - the Mac and Me vs. Paul throwdown!

As I mentioned earlier, more than any other aspect of the film, they succeeded big time on the movie nod front. They even said the word, 'Butthorn'. Only a select few will know where that's from. They also mentioned the film Mac and Me - a timeless classic family movie that revolves around a little alien connecting with a little handicapped boy all while trying to find his family. What I'm trying to get at is, what is the better of the two films? Paul, a big-budget scifi/action comedy with big name stars, or Mac and Me, a average budget film that is sponsored by Coca-Cola products? Let's get it on!

Paul has swear words, Mac and Me does not. But Paul relies on swears words for laughs, and that's never a good thing. Mac wins this round.

Paul the alien is voiced by Seth Rogen; a bulbous Jew who sounds like he has a toad in his throat. Mac is a non-speaking alien played by some no name actor that communicates by whistling. Mac wins again.

There is a dance sequence in Paul where they dance to crappy music around a camp-fire. In Mac and Me there is a legendary dance scene at a McDonalds with break-dancing and awesome 80s beats. Mac + 1.

Paul has a mediocre sounding mainstream soundtrack. Mac and Me has a soundtrack with amazing ballads and again, awesome 80s tunes. Mac for the win again.

Paul is a comedy that tries to splice in dramatic elements to no affect; it's neither funny (minus a couple giggles) nor emotional. Mac and Me is a family film that delivers an emotional roller-coaster of a ride as you watch Mac's family starve to death and Mac himself suffer tremendously. Mac with another easy win.

Paul like Mac had some action in it. Paul had a couple shoot-outs and some car stunts. Mac has a stunt where a dude in a wheelchair jumps off a cliff into a quarry, another stunning wheelchair stunt in high-speed traffic, huge explosions, chased by dogs....

Paul is about an obnoxious alien who has the heart of a frat boy. He smokes, swears, and make witty quips. Mac is a curious little fella who doesn't complain, drinks soda, eats skittles, and can whistle dixie in your face! Mac!

Paul has special abilities. He turns invisible, can pass knowledge to others by physical means, and can heal living beings. Mac can whistle, break-dance, stretch his limbs, roll like a ball, flatten like a pancake, put his hands into the position of a 'big vagina' ala Larry David to communicate with his family, is fire-proof, AND can heal living beings. Beat that hot shot!

Enough is enough. The bottom line here is Paul was a disappointing film that didn't bring anything new or cool or funny to the table. Mac and Me, is hard to beat in any comparison.


Need to get me some troll stink.
Recently our Viking brethren from the Icey North have dipped their manly toes in the creative waters of film-making. That's not to say they haven't before, but I would say films about an evil Santa Claus, Nazi Zombies and now, Troll Hunters are probably not Norway and Finland's go-to themes. I could be wrong, and I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think I am.

Nevertheless with that, what we have here with The Troll Hunter is a story that starts with a trio of young college documentarians trying figure out why there are so many bear disappearances happening. Through Carmen Sandiego-like sleuth-work they come upon a Troll Hunter - and then, the...hunt...is...on! Trolls are loose and it's now up to them to put an end to their trolly shenanigans! The film goes down the right paths, and follows a rather formulaic story-line, but with such a unique story leading the way, you're more than happy to take the voyage through troll territory.

The biggest and most satisfying aspect of this film, for myself, was that the film didn't shy away from any one area. A recent Scandanavian film that I won't name *fart*rareexports*fart* - excuse me. That film brought you along and hoped to entice the viewer with emotion, an early surprise, and then male nudity - it didn't work, and I was left stunned by the lackluster 'Fin'ished product. Here, they talk about trolls, and go off to hunt trolls, so you'd think there would be trolls. And yep, there are! And not only that, they informed the viewer quite well about troll history and the different types. It was the type of love you hoped would be present here, and I can't help to feel thankful for such research and creative thinking.

Overall, the actors and writing delivered a fine job as they juggled tongue-in-cheek overacting with some scenes of serious drama. Basically every area of the film delivered to how you would want, and I was totally content with how the fx and trolls all looked. It's one of the best found footage films around, and if you enjoy fantasy in the slightest, you should give this a look.

My only real complaint here is how they could have neglected to put in the only troll that is still regularly found in modern days. I kept on asking myself, 'Where the hell is the IMDb troll?' The stinkiest, most pathetic troll to have ever lived is not put into the film? I suppose watching a troll whine to his or her mother about picking up the new and improved Oxy 5 zit medication or a bulk supply of super strength maxipads isn't really must-see TV. It would have been nice to get a view into what their lairs must look like, but I guess, it would have taken away from the adventure aesthetic of this film. I suppose then it's up to me and you to stop the IMDb trolls. First things first, if you see a hungry one, restrain from feeding it. After you do that, leave it to me. *pulls on troll disemboweling gloves*

Natural Enemies

Wiping the slate clean.
Natural Enemies aka Hidden Thoughts, based on a novel by Julius Horowitz, is a serious and incredibly intriguing film that begins with a voice-over narration by the Father/Husband (Hal Holbrook) telling us his reasons why he is heavily leaning towards shooting his manic depressive wife (Louise Fletcher), his three neglected children, and then himself. This is a man at the end of his rope, and you realize the film just began.

Throughout the film he speaks of many topics such as monotony, predictability, disappointment, lack of emotion, connection and love. His words and demeanor are at times sullen, blunt, and always feeling as if thought through entirely. You tag along as he visits a brothel, talks with suspecting friends, and as well watch him struggle and overwhelm himself, others, and the viewer with his thoughts and pessimistic stances. You watch the film in a very uncertain manner, wondering if any of his many interactions will have any lasting affect.

Natural Enemies takes all the correct turns when attempting to feel like a true slice of life, and with such great writing and acting, the film delivers a consistently difficult, at times relatable, and always thoughtful story.

Ang-ma-reul bo-at-da

"A real complete revenge."
Are most revenge stories totally complete? Is Hammurabi's Code not good enough? An eye for an eye, a life for a life? 'I Saw the Devil' doesn't think so, and I have to agree.

With top Korean names as Ji-Woon Kim (A Bittersweet Life, Tale of Two Sisters), Byung-hun Lee (A Bittersweet Life) and the always amazing Min-Sik Choi (everything), this film had some lofty expectations, and I can easily say that whatever expectations I had, they were smashed, bashed, and slashed into smithereens and finally, thrown out the window.

Wronged by the blood-thirsty psycho Choi, Agent Byhung takes vengeance into his own hands in unrelenting fashion. And boy howdy, we got some serious, flesh-ripping and bone-shattering revenge here. Mix in great direction, cinematography, choreography, music, and, of course, dynamite acting, you've got one fantastic flick.

Not long into the film, I began to wonder if Min-Sik Choi was delivering one of the all-time anti-hero performances, and for a minute or two, I was definitely thinking that this was the case. However, those anti-hero thoughts were quickly dashed away - he's straight up evil. Always the reliable actor, Min-Sik may have out-done himself; he successfully transformed into one of cinema's most memorable serial killer/villains.

Beyond wishing for a stronger emotional impact, this film is just perfect stuff in my eyes. Serial killer movies are being made brilliantly by our beloved brothers from South Korea, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart with big hugs and kisses.

The Reef

Keep your goggles on!!!
Three blokes and two sheilas go out to do some snorkeling. Bad thing happens and now they have to make a choice to either swim for land and risk the chance of being shark bait, or wait for safety and risk death by more boring odds. Of course you swim! We all know one of the coolest ways to die is being eaten alive by sharks.

Anywho, Black Water director sticks to what he likes and makes Open Water with a White Pointer...basically. And really, that's all you need to know if you want to see the movie or not. Oh? You want to know if there's boobs and blood as well? There's no boobs, but there's some blood...nothing crazy...just bloody water.

The Reef aka Swim If You Dare aka Great White Snackaroonies aka Open Water with a Bad Script is a film that suffered mostly from having a bad script. I'd be lying to you if I said the film didn't open remarkably close to soft-core porn territory. People seem to confuse themselves when they're privy to minimal dialogue. Just because they're not speaking at a normal rate, doesn't mean it's more effective because of it's simplicity. This film is unique here as the actors did rather well with what they had. They really did. The script was still weak though.

There's lot of nit-picking and complaining to be had here. You'd think by how popular shark week is nowadays, that most people, especially people who are snorkeling in Australian waters, would know a lil bit about how to act when faced with shark problems. I'm not gonna get into it, as it's not Learn Time, but there was a lot of dumb stuff going on. But the thing that got my goat more than anything was our main man's issue with constantly taking off his goggles. Seriously, if there's a shark in the water...a BIG f@cking shark...you need to keep an eye out for it. Don't just look for 30 seconds, pop back up and say that you can't see anything. Keep your head down and keep a look out you stupid son of a bitch!!!!!! I'll kill you if you take those goggles off again! I mean it! I'll kill youuuu *gets swallowed whole by huge shark because of pretty boy not wanting to keep goggles on*

With all that said, the movie is about a great white shark making pathetic humans cry and be scared. That's fun. It's very simple. Great Whites are better than human beings. Therefore, movies with Great Whites are better than most movies that don't have Great Whites. Understand? Good!

The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia

Brought to you by Budweiser and Marlboro...
...and marijuana.

With the Dancing Outlaw 1 and 2, White Lightnin', and an episode of Roseanne, our beloved Jesco has been the main White focus; but not anymore. Jesco is still on-hand, guffawing, tapping and being just a good ole boy, but we now get a glimpse of the bigger picture. The whole dang White family tree.

In The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia, you're introduced to a whole bunch of Whites. And in the beginning you may be slightly confused with who's who and what's what. But eventually, you get the swing of things as the film turns and basically places it's attention on the female side of the Whites; The trio of the Biggest (Mamie), the Meanest (Sue Bob) and the Baddest (Kirk), and I can't forget Mousie, or the gentle Bertie Mae.

Of course going into this film you're expecting the craziness and entertainment that the family is known for delivering, and that's all well and good. But really, it wouldn't have been enough for this doc to succeed. What had me nodding in approval after the film had concluded was the layer of emotion the movie delivered. Jesco has spoken in the past about the misfortunes of the White family, but it's not until now do you really grasp it. Unless you've gone through similar things yourself.

The White Family is undoubtedly questionable and intimidating with their life-styles. At the same time they live a very predictable life-style that unfortunately seems to repeat itself. Lots of sadness, violence and drug abuse revolve around this family, and they mask a lot of their sadness by rolling with the flow, and living up to their legendary name. And it kinda makes me think this streak that they're going on, may come to a sad and depressing halt. Then again, they're quite obviously tough, crafty and without a doubt survivors. I just hope they can learn to embrace their rebel ways, while slowing down on the drugs. One White made it out, and it seems Kirk is on the way.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Sally vs. The Fire-place Goblins
With the remake of Don't Be Afraid of the Dark looming around the corner, I thought it best to check out the original beforehand. And with that said, I can safely say that that was a great idea by me.

Sally and Alex, two star-crossed lovers (not really) move into an old house, fix it up and hope to start a new life. Alex has a new bizz deal on the horizon and is already making plans to move, but Sally has always dreamed of having house of her own, and especially a nice lil room where she can be 'romantic' in. Well, unfortunately for Sally, this room isn't her dream room; it's bolted and bricked up so zero sun-light can get in, and nothing can get out; of the fire place that is. Small humanoid creatures make their dwellings in this house, and more specifically, down the fire-place chute where the ashes lay. Well, these lil bastids want Sally, and they want her bad. With warnings from an old man, and resentment from her husband, Sally is at a crossroads of belief, loneliness and horror.

First things first, this is a classic made-for-TV horror flick that easily and speedily races up to some of my favorite TV movies. With really great acting, especially by Darby, a creepy-dark atmosphere, and surprising chills, this flick delivers far more than any modern film viewer would expect.

Besides the film being so great, I did have a couple thoughts of my own. First things first, the casting of Darby was just fine and all, but yeesh...when paired up with her husband here, she looks like she's his daughter. She's pudgy, cute and innocent...and it's weird/awesome when the two kiss. Secondly, the film has a slight...and I mean slight, demeaning nature towards women here. Two lines really stuck out at me. One was, 'How's it feel to be the wife of a man with a great future?' and the other, 'I'm a perfect woman; stubborn and curious.' Haha, I may be stretching things here, but with the vibe the film delivered, and how the husband was dominant....it just seemed to feel that way. Funny stuff for sure, and take it or leave it.

Anyways, this flick is great, and I'm curious to see (like a perfect woman) how Del Toro tackles the re-make. It's a cool as hell story, and with one of the few bright spots in horror today giving it a go, I think any self-respecting horror fan should at least be interested.


Cephalopod lovin'.
Here we go, let's go, Monsters! Monsters! Monsters! Disgusting, blood-thirsty monsters! Monsters! Monsters! They're are gonna rip your flesh and chew your bones! Creatures of the night that haunt you dreams, shatter your souls, and make you pee! Monsters! Monsters! Monsters!

*turn table scratch*

Sorry, but those type of monsters are not in this here movie. Big squid that resemble the tri-pod robots in War of the World mixed with creatures whom probably dwell in The Mist are what we have here. If you're expecting a horror movie, or a movie with heart-pumping tension, you will be disappointed.

Monsters, for more or less, is a chick flick (with a side dish of suspense). You read that right. The film has zero scares. Contains a couple scenes of moderate tension, and I don't think there's a single on-screen death in the flick. Instead of any good stuff, we're brought on a trip through the jungles and streets of Mexico as a photographer is hired to bring home his boss's daughter.

I'm assuming the goal for this movie was to create a sense of dread while you hope to care for the two people. For me, it didn't work well enough in either area. The tension was mild, scattered and predictable, and the characters and dialogue between the two was rather simple, cliché and at times bothersome. Of course you want to have feelings, bad or good ones for your protagonists, but that wasn't attained as they chose a been-there-done-that style of innocent girl likes boy, cocky boy has hots for girl, boy does something stupid, girl mad at boy, boy apologizes, girl speedily accepts apology, and guy ultimately never changes and gets away with being a hidden douche.

The aspect of the movie I enjoyed most (besides the gorgeous scenery and quality cinematography - which I hear was done a stunningly low 15 grand!) was not the themes of immigration or misunderstandings, but the idea behind the Monsters and their cephalopod (octopus, squid, cuttlefish) background nature. Have you seen footage of squid or cuttlefish interacting in the wild? Their skin pigment displays? The way they entangle their tentacles? The makers even snuck in some footage of a creature from the abyss on one of the TV's that was playing in the film; which is a nod in my eyes. I've always enjoyed the idea that some of the creatures in our oceans have come from else where, so this was a cool thing for me.

I can't help but feeling disappointed by this movie. Screenplay issues, lack of horror and suspense, the film relies much too much on the environment and central idea of the story to carry you along. And when you reach the ending point you (me) end up feeling less than impressed.

High Score

"Nobody made history by being a big puss."
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade; two great documentaries on classic video gaming. Well, with High Score, I can now say there's a holy trinity of video game documentaries. There could be others out there, and I really hope there are, but from what I know, these three are the go to ones if you enjoy to watch nerds do what nerds do best. And no, it's not pop zits or chug soda...it's dominate video games!

Missile Command is a game that the average player plays for only a couple minutes or so. Our main man, Bill Carlton, is on a quest to topple the high score of 80 million points by playing it for around 55 hours...straight. Through talent, mental strength and having a solid sense of humor, Bill is definitely the man for the job. All he needs is an arcade that won't poop out on him.

High Score was a great little documentary that is thankfully led by a pretty damn unique guy in Bill. And that gets me thinking....guys named Bill are really good at playing video games. But anyways, Bill's perseverance, confidence (he constantly says he's gonna kick the game's ass), talent, red hair and humor are on full display here, and if you're a fan of the other docs I mentioned above, don't hesitate to check this one out. And let me tell you something else, the ending of this movie will have you laughing your ass off. Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill!

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