Sunday, August 31, 2014

Film #73: The Social Network (2010)

Plot - The one and only fact I learned from The Social Network: Mark Zuckerburg is a fucking asshole, and anyone who thought his life was interesting is a bigger asshole.

Form - Why is everything yellow? Real life isn't fucking yellow all the time.

F/X - No.

Acting - No.

Mise en scene - "What am I going to use to design my set? Let me think...oh, I know: yellow."

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - If this category was boring shit, it'd be a 7/7. I've never seen a film so difficult to enjoy.


Film #72: Game Changer (2012)

Plot - A truly ridiculous ensemble plays in the most confusing film about politics ever. It's all about them randomly picking Sarah Palin to be John McCain's running mate, but from there it sort of gets confusing. Do candidates really sit around watching MS-NBC to gauge what the media thinks of them? Is Palin supposed to be brave for running for vice-president or a total fool for not knowing anything about foreign policy? Did Palin actually give great speeches like every character in the film tells me? It's propaganda to be sure, but who does this serve?

Form - Eh.

F/X - No.

Acting - Everybody's great, and Moore proves herself to be the ultimate Sarah Palin clone.

Mise en scene - Not really anything cool. This is "reality" after all.

Quotables - Eh.

Cool stuff - I dunno. The whole film is really muddled and unfocused, and I'm not sure who's version of history it's presenting. Perhaps that's an honorable accomplishment in and of itself.


Film #71: 24 Hour Party People (2002)

Plot - Lock a bunch of hipster-ass post-punk people from England in a movie and you get this shit.

Form - Half the movie I'm staring at the main actor talking about how film blurs the lines between reality and fiction. Thanks for spoon-feeding me hipster though.

F/X - CG pigeons suck/

Acting - Hipster shit.

Mise en scene - Hipster shit.

Quotables - "I'm so glad we made a movie about my life, it blurs the lines between reality and fiction blah blah blah blah oh god I just took a huge hipster shit mid-sentence, but anway the club was costing us money and blah blah blah."

Cool stuff - No.


Film #70: Rudy (1993)

Plot - Pauly Shore's best friend stars as Rudy, a short and stupid guy who wants to play college football. Sentimental shit, but it's sort of funny because Sean Atstin's in it.

Form - It's a lot like those Lifetime movies if they were shot on real film.

F/X - No.

Acting - For a confused and aimless short person, you can't do better than casting Sean Astin.

Mise en scene - Bright as shit.

Quotables - "I'm short and stupid and I want to play football" is Rudy's mantra.

Cool stuff - No.


Film #69: Lock Up (1989)

Plot - Stallone's locked up, forced the finish the last of his minimum security prison sentence in a maximum security prison all because he pissed off the wrong warden. Psychological torture ensues in the most entertaining way.

Form - The warden confrontation scenes are pretty phenomenal. I love the first meeting, where the warden's shrouded in a haze of red lights.

F/X - No.

Acting - Stallone and Sutherland killin' it.

Mise en scene - Grimy prison cells. Atmospheric stuff.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - I love the scene where Stallone's friend steals the warden's car and somehow survives getting shot at for five minutes, and the final showdown is legit intense.


Film #68: Honey, I Blew Up The Kid (1992)

Plot - It's the reverse of Honey I Shrunk the Kids. Very little of the original cast returns, making the story feel a little barren compared to the original.

Form - This film inhabits a strange space between late '80s and early '90s comedy, although it makes you think there wasn't that much of a difference anyway.

F/X - The baby effects look awful. I'm surprised I thought this film was good when I was five.

Acting - Everybody sucks.

Mise en scene - No.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - Giant baby.


Film #67: 48 Hrs. (1982)

Plot - Buddy cop bullshit. It's probably because it's one of the first, but there's not a whole lot to set it apart now from all the garbage it helped create.

Form - No.

F/X - No.

Acting - Isn't it kind of creepy that Eddie Murphy tries to look the same now as he did thirty plus years ago? Everybody's good.

Mise en scene - This doesn't even have all the cool neon lighting that makes most eighties cop films great.

Quotables - There's supposed to be, but nah.

Cool stuff - Not as much as there should be.


Film #67: Romancing the Stone (1984)

Plot - Ghetto Raiders of the Lost Ark with a better cast. The last half hour is truly action-packed, with gators biting off peoples arms and everything!

Form - Ghetto Lucas.

F/X - The crocs are great, and gotta love that graphic arm bite.

Acting - Douglas is a much more believable Indiana Jones than Ford will ever be, and Turner is always great.

Mise en scene - Dense jungles. Dense, dense jungles and dirty villages.

Quotables - Not really.

Cool stuff - Tons! Falling down mudholes, tense confrontations, and wacky croc antics. One downside: it's absurd to even have guns in a movie where the baddies always miss. It's like an episode of the A-Team.


Film #66: Look Who's Talking Too (1990)

Plot - After pushing out Bruce Willis a year before, Kirstie Alley squeezes out Rosanne. The non-baby stuff is better than the first film, although a little random. Alley and Travolta randomly start fighting and break up, leaving the babies to cry a lot and not really understand anything.

Form - Same as the first.

F/X - The baby effects are actually better than the first one!

Acting - Travolta does a ridiculous dance routine with some five-year-olds while Gilbert Godfried runs around.

Mise en scene - The womb has great mise en scene again.

Quotables - Aside from the usual diaper jokes, there's a scary toilet that wants to eat your poop and a lot of discussion about the frustrations of not being able to walk.

Cool stuff - Even better than the first!


Film #65: Look Who's Talking (1989)

Plot - Kirstie Alley conceives Bruce Willis, who has some really cute scenes rolling about in the womb. Travolta and Alley's romantic comedy parts aren't nearly as entertaining as Travolta and baby's.

Form - Good.

F/X - The womb effects are startling and clinical, clashing with the comedic nature of the film. It's great!

Acting - Bruce Willis steals the show as the baby and everybody else sucks.

Mise en scene - The womb has great mise en scene.

Quotables - Lots of gags about poop and diapeys and stuff.

Cool stuff - Babies running around in the streets, Kirstie Alley constantly foaming at the mouth for some sort of father figure, some great stuff.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Film #64: South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)

Plot - As the US of A continues to hike back towards conservative entertainment, it's kind of depressing revisiting the un-PC South Park film. I laughed, but y'know. Sad.

Form - It's like the show!

F/X - It's like the show!

Acting - It's like the show!

Mise en scene - It's like the show!

Quotables - Dozens, with countless catchy songs.

Cool stuff - It's like the show!


Film #63: King of New York (1990)

Plot - Christopher Walken plays the titular King of New York, and everybody else either wants to kil him or give him a kiss.

Form - Action sequences aren't as quick-cutty or frenetic as most films, giving them an interesting flavor.

F/X - Gun blood.

Acting - Wesley Snipes, Lawrence Fishburne, Steve Buscemi, and a variety of other famous/pre-famous actors are featured. Walken scares children with his version of hip hop dance/

Mise en scene - '80s in a rather timid way.

Quotables - Lots, although surprisingly I can remember more about Lawrence Fishburn's character than anything else.

Cool stuff - One weird ass gangster film, punctuated with the goofiest ensemble cast imaginable.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Film #62: The Last Stand (2013)

Plot - If I had realized Johnny Knoxville was one of the film's stars, I wouldn't have put it on. There's barely any character motivation behind anything, with simple things like a quick handshake signifying that two guys are BEST OF FRIENDS. The reason they don't have time to make anything meaningful is because there are tons of shitty CGI action scenes that evidently needed more screen time.

Form - Crappy. The action scenes have that weird shakey camera effect that action films do nowadays. Shaking a camera doesn't make things look real, it makes it look like the camera guy has problems.

F/X - CG and all around bad.

Acting - Most of Arnold's action scenes involve him driving a car. Why? Because he can barely move!

Mise en scene - Brown.

Quotables - Here's Arnold's new catchphrase for the 2010s: "I'm the sheriff." That just goes to show how generic and diluted entertainment has become. Nobody would have given a shit if the Terminator ran around saying "I'm the Terminator." Or all these other great potential phrases: "I'm the barbarian." "I'm the Quaid." "I'm the cop." "I'm the twin." "I'm the dad." Whoever wrote that dialogue is an asshole.

Cool stuff - No.


Film #61: Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1997)

Plot - The illuminati tells Leatherface and pals to kill people, although the reason isn't very clear. Or interesting.

Form - Some great cutting back and forth, especially in the kitchen wife battery scene. Otherwise, mostly dumb.

F/X - Three people get killed on screen in this massacre. Stupid.

Acting - Matthew McConahahagfay is pretty crazy as the main killer, who isn't Leatherface.

Mise en scene - For a scary Texas Chainsaw Massacre style film, you'd figure there'd be more spooky arifacts. But there isn't.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - A boob and a half? Lame.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Film #60: Bleed (2002)

Plot - I can't believe it's not Scream, it just really sucks. Bad dialogue, bad ending, bad everything.

Form - It sucks, like all 2000s digitally-shot films.

F/X - Two good kills in the beginning, one head smash and one organ removal, but it's followed by 80 minutes of shit.

Acting - Putrid.

Mise en scene - Not at all.

Quotables - Nothing.

Cool stuff - No!


Film #59: Big (1988)

Plot - Tom Hanks is a little guy turned big, who then acts like a kid and makes everyone really happy.

Form - Simple in a good way.

F/X - No.

Acting - Tom Hanks is pretty infantile, so he fits right in.

Mise en scene - There's a lot of really, really cool stuff in Big. Old computers, old toys, old trampolines, old stuff that's cool in general.

Quotables - Don't remember, but I wrote a song for the sequel: "Big 2/Big Twwwwwwooo/It's big enough for me/then it's big enough for you"

Cool stuff - Everything. Piano dancing and all kinds of stuff.


Film #58: See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989)

Plot - Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder witness a murder and because one of them picks up a gun, they are instantly held suspect and run around blowing up stuff to prove themselves innocent. Dumbish. Oh, and they're deaf and blind.

Form - No.

F/X - No.

Acting - Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder have a weird screen chemistry that works really well. They're adorable!

Mise en scene - No.

Quotables - Plenty, mostly involving Wilder going "I'M DEAF!" and Pryor going "I'M BLIND!" a lot.

Cool stuff - There's plenty, including a blind guy/deaf guy car chase that's pretty great.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Film #57: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

Plot - Mike Myers is back, and he's killing people again. Thankfully, Donald Pleasence is back to spread a very end-of-days string of psychology to prepare everyone. It's quite suspenseful, and somehow gets me excited to see Michael Myers break out and return.

Form - Not a whole lot of cool.

F/X - There's one gory shot where Mike Myers tears a guys neck to pieces. The end.

Acting - Donald Pleasence is great, and considering he's on screen forty percent of the film, we've got a winner.

Mise en scene - Not really.

Quotables - There's a really good discussion between a hitchhiking Pleasence and a doomsday preacher.

Cool stuff - The build-up to the kills is frequently great, although the pay-off is always going to be some crappy cutaway kill.


Film #56: The Burning Moon (1992)

Plot - A very confusing and incredibly interesting approach. An anthology movie with a needlessly descriptive framing narrative, the film oscillates between actually being a decent film to gorehoundery.

Form - Well shot, especially for the German underground horror movement and shot-on-tape horror films in general. Sometimes the editing is incredibly confusing, but that has more to do with the technological limitations.

F/X - Insane! The last fifteen minutes in particular is probably the craziest gore effect sequence of all time. Five severed heads, tons of organ removals, etc. My favorite effect: an inside the mouth and esophagus shot of a girl eating an eyeball.

Acting - Olaf Ittenbach isn't just a great director and special effects artist, he's also a great 26-year-old teenager who shoots up and karate kicks gang members.

Mise en scene - Some great fog, and the second story in particular, set in the '50s, has a really great German village look to it. Probably because it was shot in one of their Dorfs.

Quotables - As in most German movies, everybody says shit a lot. Most of the killers also talk about death as a cathartic release, which is probably the closest thing to a message this film conveys.

Cool stuff - Everything. One of the best car accident effects ever, inner eye eating, and a pretty radical gang fight. This film has a much grander feel than Ittenbach's first release, Black Past, largely because it takes a lot more creative risks.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Film #55: Some Kind of Monster (2004)

Plot - This documentary is about four middle-aged men who will spend the rest of their lives grasping for some sense of adolescent rebellion and individuality despite the fact that they're millionaire recording artists who need a psychiatrist with them at all times.

Form - Lots of close-ups of ugly old guys and big wide shots of their fucking awful paintings that somehow sell for millions of dollars.

F/X - No.

Acting - Dave Mustaine gives the performance of his life as a former member of the world's most popular metal band.

Mise en scene - They build this idiotic recording studio out of an old apartment. You can't make this shit up.

Quotables - Mis-quoted, but: "This is my two year anniversary of surfing", "We don't want this to be a cliche"x100, etc.

Cool stuff - These guys are awful human beings. Hilarious.


Film #54: The Great Outdoors (1988)

Plot - John Candy and Dan Aykroyd are somehow related, leading to Dan coming to John's cottage and ruining his life in various ways. Unfortunately, the ways he ruins his life aren't nearly as funny as you want them to be, and any sort of emotion is squandered on a hopelessly predictable plot.

Form - Shot like any self-respecting family comedy, although it lacks those horrible sped up shots of people running away from bears. This one has normal speed bear chases, so I'll give it a point.

F/X - There's a really cool shaved bear that runs around. I don't know if they actually shaved a bear's ass in preparation for the film, but it looks like they did.

Acting - Eh, yet Aykroyd's really good as an annoying guy that you don't want to ever talk to.

Mise en scene - No.

Quotables - No.

Cool stuff - Not really. I really hope I'm not supposed to fondly remember John Candy for films like this. His greatest performance: Cool Runnings.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Film #53: Violent Shit (1987)

Plot - There is no structure to this 72-minute tour-de-force. A serial slaughterer named K. The Butcher Shitter randomly kills various people in the forests of Germany. He falls down a lot for no apparent reason, and frequently has strange religious hallucinations, including crawling into Jesus Christ.

Form - Shot-on-tape films frequently attempt to replicate the style of mainstream cinema, but Violent Shit makes no attempts to do so. Most scenes are poorly framed around the glorious kill shots, a conscious decision that elevates the film to the highest state of garbage.

F/X - Very, very awesome and very, very anti-mimetic. A man gets ripped in half by a hedge-trimmer, a woman's entire body is slowly pried open like a giant clam, and waves of gore shoot out of everything. Punk as fuck.

Acting - Whoever plays K is really good at hobbling around with reckless abandon, and the other actors and actresses' dialogue is barely audible due to the awful sound quality.

Mise en scene - While most of the film is in the woods, there are some really great artifacts. There's a really creepy two minute sequence where the interior of a church is scanned over home movies style.

Quotables - Aside from people shouting shit all the time and loud grunting, there's not a whole lot of dialogue in the film. Thankfully, they're shouting shit in German, so it's still vaguely quotable.

Cool stuff - There is nothing not cool about this film. The soundtrack is also worth noting, a collection of off-time synth sounds and drum blasts. At certain points, popular songs will creep in, featuring WASP's "The Torture Never Stops" accompanied by a long, long take of someone driving a car in the woods. Few films are so chaotic. Even its director, Andreas Schnass, never made a film quite like it. The Violent Shit got more offensive and gross in terms of story, but they never again had such an utter disregard for viewer's expectations of what makes a horror film.