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Archive for March, 2008

Reader’s Choice

I’m looking at the blog stats and apparently, I get enough hits every day that I feel I can safely whip this one out without looking like a complete jerk.

Or, this could potentially backfire and I could look like…a complete jerk. If this works and you, o’ reader of mine, enjoy this, I can continue to do it on a consistent basis. If you don’t like it, all you have to do is tell me in the comments.

I’ve updated my Netflix queue and I’m giving anyone the chance to decide the next movie I review. Here’s how it works: I’m going to post the top ten movies in my queue, and all you have to do is clicky-click the little comment button below and tell me which one you want to see next. I’ve tried to select ten movies from a variety of genres so that there’s something for anyone in the list.

If you want. Or you could just point, laugh, and say, “Haha, jerk!”

The movie with the most people voting in the “Yay! That one!” column gets delivered to me next. I’ll give it until Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., Central Standard Time for anyone out there to comment.

Without further delay, here are the ten movies, in no particular order:

  • Bloodsport
  • Willow
  • The Darjeeling Limited
  • I Spit On Your Grave
  • Cool Hand Luke
  • Jawbreaker
  • Shinjuku Triad Society
  • Prom Night
  • The Dreamers
  • In The Name Of The Father

I tried to make it pretty diverse, I promise.

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I should preface this by saying that I hate Uwe Boll’s movies. (This is probably not an unpopular opinion among movie buffs.) I’ve sat through at least four of his movies, trying desperately to find something redeeming in the hot messes he makes, but so far, I haven’t found much.

In the comments in an earlier post there was a small discussion between me and The Best Haiku Writer Ever, also known as andrew, about Uwe Boll’s movies wherein it occurred to me via another commenter that not everyone was aware of the horrific nature of this man’s movies.

Uwe Boll is a German filmmaker/producer who uses German tax shelters in order to make his movie. From The All-Knowing Wikipedia:

Boll is able to acquire funding thanks to German tax laws that reward investments in film. The law allows investors in German-owned films to write off 100% of their investment as a tax deduction; it also allows them to invest borrowed money and write off any fees associated with the loan. The investor is then only required to pay taxes on the profits made by the movie; if the movie loses money, the investor gets a tax writeoff.

Germany, your contributions to cinema have been duly noted.

Boll usually prefers to make adaptations of video games, like the movie I have just watched. In short, I’m not sure that Boll actually puts anything but half-assed effort into his movies. I’m not sure how in the world he keeps on doing what he’s doing, but he manages. His movies have terrible acting, horrific directions, plots and scripts so shoddy they just should have been reworked about eighty times before anyone decided to put them to celluloid; what disturbs me most is that the man takes something that could be theoretically decent and somehow screws it up. I never get the feeling Uwe Boll loves movies or even thinks he should have to work hard at making a decent film. In short, his movies piss me off because they’re mediocre pieces of crap that he is content to continue to unleash upon the public. None of his movies have improved; in fact, House of the Dead is probably one of the better movies I’ve seen that he’s done — sadly.

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So here we go, through House of the Dead.

(more…)

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…You didn’t think I was serious, did you?

So, tonight was a weird night for me. For any of you out there wondering, I don’t watch TV shows. If I do, I usually watch them in several sittings on DVD. I don’t watch network TV in the slightest. I think the last TV show I saw was the season finale of House, Season 1. Yeah.

I usually watch a movie a night, either from Netflix or from my personal stash. I find it infinitely more enjoyable than TV. That’s just me, personally. I’m also a big hockey fan, so most of the time during the regular season, I’m watching several games a week which balances out the movies nicely. We’ve hit the dead part of hockey season right before Stanley Cup playoffs start, so I’ve had a lot of downtime to watch even more movies.

Tonight, however, I had dinner out to celebrate making it another year without sticking any forks in electrical sockets or having a piano dropped on my head, came home and had cake and presents and then settled in to watch what I hoped would be a relaxing, enjoyable hockey game. It was not.

“Curses!” I said to myself. I sat through 65 minutes of a crap sporting event to discover it’s now almost 12:30 a.m. (my time) with little time to watch a movie and write a blog post where I attempt to be funny and fail and then make some crap up. (It takes more time than you think.)

So I delved into my Trailer Repository. The link is in the sidebar if you ever want to see my YouTube account with trailers favorited for upcoming movies. Instead of watching one movie, I could watch snippets of like, six movies, without much effort and time and then tell the internets what I think of them.

Win!

Onwards…

#1: THE LOVE GURU

Okay, so this movie is about a guru who comes from India to reunite a hockey player and his estranged wife, which makes…no sense. First of all, most of this looks like recycled jokes from the Austin Powers, which I hate. Either make Austin Powers IV, Mike Myers, or don’t. Your choice, jerkface. Secondly, the only reason I would go see this movie is for Justin Timberlake playing a Quebecois hockey player. Well, and the fact that very funny comedian Daniel Tosh is in this movie doesn’t hurt, but it’s not urging me to spend $10 of my money, Mr. Myers.

For any non-hockey fans out there, I’d like to share a little something with you. It’s quite possibly the only thing in this trailer (besides Timberlake) that made me laugh. The guru’s agent tells him, “The Toronto Maple Leafs will pay you $2 million if you can get Daryl Roanoke back with his wife in time to win the Stanley Cup”. I kid you not, Dr. Pepper came out of my nose. The Toronto Maple Leafs are rivaled only by the Los Angeles Kings in the NHL for the title of “Worst Team in the League”. They’re bad. They’re so bad, I don’t even know where to start.

THE LAST TIME THE MAPLE LEAFS WON THE STANLEY CUP WAS IN 1967.

Obviously, either they’re poking fun at that, or Toronto was the only team that would let them involve their team in the movie. I suspect it was the latter.

#2: DECEPTION

I have no deep thoughts on this one except, “Mmm, Hugh Jackman. Mmmm, Ewan McGregor. Erm, can I preorder tickets yet?” In case you haven’t noticed, it doesn’t take a whole lot to draw me into a theater for some movies.

#3: SPEED RACER

I’ve only watched a few episodes of the cartoon, but man, this looks promising. Everything I’m hearing is positive and I understand the special effects are supposed to practically concuss me with awesomeness. I love that John freakin’ Goodman is in this movie. I’ll, um, probably see it in the dollar theater, but I’ll see it nonetheless. Also, is it just me or does Christina Ricci look like one of those Blythe dolls?

#4: WANTED

Highly unbelievable, stylized action flick featuring Angelina Jolie? I am there. I am seventy kinds of there. This one’s directed by the guy who directed Night Watch and Day Watch, both of which I’m very fond of, so it’s got that going for it as well. I’m not sure how I feel about Angelina’s “around the corner” gun, that’s for sure — well, ooookay, Angelina, if that’s how you roll. Also, I have no opinion on James McAvoy. He’s briefly shirtless in the trailer so I’m kind of leaning towards, “James McAvoy is kinda okay by me”. Hey, look, my standards are low.

#5: THE LOST BOYS: THE TRIBE

Whaaaat? What? Seriously, a sequel to The Lost Boys? Say it ain’t so! But..but..how can you make this movie without Kiefer? Without Jason Patric? Without Dianne Wiest? (Apparently, you can make it with Corey Feldman, but that’s because Corey Feldman checked his schedule and saw he had 80 games of shuffleboard lined up and figured shooting a movie was time better spent.)

That being said, it looks so cheese-a-riffic that now I have to see it. It’s probably just an “updated” version of The Lost Boys, but hey. I want an explanation about how Edgar Frog became a surfboard shaper and where the hell Corey Haim and Jason Patric ran off to.

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Movie Crack: Zombie

For those of you who remember my previous movie blog, you know that I’ve used the term “movie crack” before. It still applies, so if you don’t like me carrying it over, well, I would say, “That’s too bad for you, friend”.

Movie crack is any kind of movie that I can sit and watch 27,000 times in my life. Movie crack can be bad, movie crack can be good. Movie crack can be really, really bad, like that DVD copy of Broken Arrow I own that I’ve hung on to for years and years.

I told you it could be bad!

So movie crack gets its own snazzy little category here on 1,416 and Counting. Think of it as a fascinating view into my film-addled brain, or perhaps a bizarre commentary on (mostly bad) movies. Maybe you could just point at me and laugh as you say, “Seriously? She likes that movie? Oh god, forget this! I’m going to Cinematical where they know what they’re talking about!” (And to that, I’d like to say in advance: I never promised greatness, only the misinformed opinion of one simpleton here.)

Anyways, I digress. I’ve probably watched Zombie at least once a year since I was seventeen and it never, ever gets old. I don’t think the plot requires much explanation from the title, but basically some zombies get loose on a tropical island where some crazy research is going down, and the people visiting the island for one reason or another have to deal with a combination of dead Spanish conquistador zombies and native inhabitant zombies.

Now, theoretically, you could go anywhere to get that kind of zombie movie. Aha! Oh, no, reader of mine, Zombie has two things that make it fantastically, amazingly crackalicious.

#1: ZOMBIE VERSUS SHARK

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Yeah, it’s an epic battle of undead man versus shark. Every time I see it, I can’t help but giggle. The ridiculousness of a zombie living underwater and attacking a shark never gets old. I could be having the worst day of my life and look at this picture (or watch the scene over again) and be instantly cheered up.

#2: THAT KILLER EYE SCENE

300_zombie2.jpg

Okay, is that stressing you out a little? Is it making you cringe? A freaking zombie grabs this poor woman from about two feet away and drags her ever so slowly towards this enormous splinter of wood. Fulci cuts from the side view seen above to a close up of the splinter to a close of up of this poor woman’s face repeatedly. The entire sequence is probably not over 45 seconds, but it feels like hours. Considering I have a monstrous phobia of anything bad happening to people’s eyes, this scene makes me cringe every time. From the photo above, I’m guessing you can draw the correct conclusion as to what happens to this poor woman, and the scream she lets out is decidedly unhuman, which is even creepier.

For its time, the special effects were decent and it’s a freaking zombie movie, so take it as what you will. For some reason, though, the above two reasons separate it from the herd of other zombie flicks out there. It keeps me coming back year after year, which is why I’m understandably upset that my very nice copy has somehow developed a rather large crack in it, rendering it unplayable.

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Happy birthday to one Mr. Quentin Tarantino, that crazy weirdo, whose birthday falls on mine — March 27th. Aren’t you special, Quentin? You get to share a birthday with ME.

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That being said, I’m sure it’s not much of a secret that I totally love and adore your movies. Anyone who knows me well is aware of the fact that I’ve been griping and moaning about the fact that I will be unable to attend the screenings of Reservoir Dogs at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin that are being held just especially in honor of your birthday.

You’re a strange fellow, Quentin. You’re so fugly you’re kinda cute, and your movies are anything but original but yet are somehow new and fresh. I can remember my parents renting Pulp Fiction and being so horrified at the opening five minutes that they switched the movie off, never to be reaired in our house ever again. Imagine if they had made it to the last part of your movie. Needless to say, this made you the epitome of cool for a pre-teen who had spent many hours parked in front of television sets watching all kinds of movies, but it wasn’t until Reservoir Dogs that you really grabbed my attention.

And I will never get sick of seeing your Palme D’Or acceptance for Pulp Fiction, mainly because it features you, Kathleen Turner, the main cast of Pulp Fiction and some crazy French dame in a Hefty-bag dress made of gold lame.

You’ve defined a generation, Mr. Tarantino. Congratulations. Have a drink or several, and for God’s sake, will you hurry up with Inglorious Bastards already?

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Yeah!   I highly recommend that you check out the Large Association of Movie Blogs, of which I am now a member.   How they let me through the proverbial door, I’ll never know, but I got the awesome secret decoder ring and everything, so you should totally visit!

The sidebar will probably be morphing in the next few days, as I add some various LAMB related stuff and other gadgety things for your viewing pleasure.

If you were directed here from LAMB, welcome and thanks for stopping by!   I’d offer you a beer, but that’s kinda impossible through the internet.  Sorry, dudes.

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Sunshine is a weird movie in the sense that it feels like a lot of other movies, but it’s not exactly like said movies.

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Sometime in the future the sun is dying and a team of the best and brightest are dispatched deep into outer space to pretty much restart the sun.   It takes them a long time to get there and a long time to get back, and from the start of the film you’re pretty much clued into the fact that they’re all going a little stir-crazy.   The biologist lady played by Michelle Yeoh, for example, is way too attached to her plants.    The other people on board seem to be fairly homesick and cooped up.

You soon find out that this is not the first mission to the sun; there was another that vanished into space, never to be heard from again.   (Are we feeling a little like we’re watching Event Horizon?  Yeah, me too.)    The new Icarus II crew stumbles upon the old Icarus I vessel, but not without a few accidents claiming the lives of various crew members.   Once aboard, they discover some seriously freaky stuff.   Layers of dust are piling up all over the ship and what should be a fully operational vessel isn’t operational at all.   Even more disconcerting is the fact that they can’t find the crew…and when they do, they all sat themselves in front of the window facing the sun and pulled up the blinds.   They’re a bit toasty, to say the least.

A couple more people die and some of the crew manage to get back on board the Icarus II after a bad airlock accident, but someone from the old crew who didn’t deep-fry themselves in the solar observation room climbs on board the new vessel.  (Paging Sam Neill…)

This is a crew obsessed with achieving their mission at any cost for the sake of every human on earth.   With the exception of physicist Capa, we never see anyone they’re connected to on Earth.   Is it to reinforce the feeling of claustrophobia and utter solitude you experience in space?   I wouldn’t doubt it.    For people who are self-sacrificing themselves in the most maximum sense of the term, it’s hard to appreciate what they’re shedding.   These people are giving up what makes them human in a way — the ability to empathize and a total rejection of the structure ‘civilized society’ has given them — to save the planet at all possible costs, yet you never see anything giving them a real reason to save the planet.

The effects shots are gorgeous.   You can tell Danny Boyle had a fair penny spent on effects and it was well worth it; the sets are well designed.   Everyone turns in a capable performance, especially Chris Evans, who I had really only ever seen as The Human Torch in the godawful Fantastic Four movies.

My only real problem with the movie is that it feels a bit hollow.  It’s a little hard to get behind the crew, and the stranger on board the Icarus II is annoying to watch because Mr. Boyle somehow insisted on freakishly blurring the edges of the frame every time the mysterious crew member popped up.

All in all, though, even if it does smack a bit of other sci-fi movies set in space, I liked it well enough.  Like I’ve pointed out, I kept feeling as if I were having odd moments of deja vu to Event Horizon.   It was well worth the rental.

As far as my random noticings of the film go, would it kill Cillian Murphy to eat?   I spent half the movie afraid he was going to break in half.  They’re called carbohydrates, Cillian.  They won’t kill you, but they will stop your ribs from being visible.  My god, man.   Have you no decency?

 

 

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