Archive for July, 2009

#1553: Sudden Death

Nothing to start your day off right like some Van Dammage.


Image found here.

Van Damme plays a fire marshal who takes his kids to a Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game.   It’s not just any hockey game, it’s the last game of the Stanley Cup Finals.   The only thing he didn’t count on — cue the ominous music — is a madman who shows up and takes the Vice President’s box hostage to secure some $1 billion of government slush fund money.

It’s a ridiculous premise.   What’s hilarious is that it doesn’t take long for it to get more over the top.

As with all the Van Damme/Seagal/bad action flicks, Van Damme gets some useless plotting to portray what a loving dad he is.   An unnecessary scene involving him showing up to get his kids from his ex-wife is stupid and tired.   The ex-wife is a shrew!  Van Damme’s a really good guy!    He loves his kids more than anything!


I suppose if Van Damme can get his cinematic children Game 7 SCF tickets, he really can do anything.

Kids in tow, Van Damme heads to the game where an elaborate ruse is already being conducted.   People all over Pittsburgh are being held hostage.   Old people are being shot.   Powers Boothe is rockin’ a tuxedo.   These dudes are EVIL.


Why hello there, Mr. Boothe.   What are you doing here?  Fancy a drink?  Rrrrrrrawr.

Aside from the fact that Sudden Death is a testament to the insane shit people will come up with after smoking copious amounts of marijuana, Powers Boothe really is the entire reason to see this movie.    He plays the unnamed villain with a great sense of the fact that he’s in a film shitpile.   I’d like to think Boothe just spent the enter time being completely outrageous on set, showing up with a whiskey in one hand, cigar in the other and spouting silly axioms that made no goddamned sense.    Boothe plays it half-drunk, half-Bond villain.

Van Damme doesn’t get involved until some damn dirty bastard abducts his daughter to the VP’s box after she sees some bad shit go down.    It is more than a little hilarious that said damn dirty bastard is Icebergh.   That would be the Pittsburgh Penguins’ mascot.


Icebergh:  Abductor of children, hostage taker, killer.   Also:   Bringer of joy to thousands of Pittsburgh fans!

Now, we know Van Damme can’t let that slide.   That’s his daughter, man.  We previously established is the best father ever, so …


What other movie can you watch that offers Jean Claude Van Damme fighting a penguin mascot in a fight to the death involving meat slicers, fryers and a professional grade dishwasher?

That’s not all!   This one-time offer also includes a bizarre scene in which Jean Claude Van Damme plays a few minutes as the Penguins’ starting goaltender in order to hide from the bad guys!   Yes, you heard me right.   JCVD plays in a Stanley Cup Final to hide from the bad guys.   Because that makes TOTAL SENSE.


Goaltender extraordinaire.


Anyways, the bad guys have developed an unnecessary and intricate plan to have the money wired to them in chunks that correspond with the periods of the hockey game.  If their instructions are not followed, they shoot hostages in increments that involve math.   I never was very good at the arithmetics, so fuck that noise, but needless to say, it’s complicated.   They shoot old women and children.  These dudes are bad, bad men.

Of course, it all ends with Powers Boothe in a helicopter crashing to the ice rink at Mellon Arena.   Seriously.   If you didn’t see that coming, well … in the words of Cher from Clueless, “duh”.


It’s so atrocious but fun.

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Get your #2 pencils out, ’cause this is multiple choice.  You get FIVE selections.   The twenty movies with the most votes go on the slate to be viewed.   (Um, please vote, people?  That’s the only way this’ll work.)

Oh, and remember …

choose wisely

(I couldn’t help myself.   Honest!)

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… I give you the Marvel/DC Harry Potter parody!

Peter Parker as Harry Potter!

Batgirl as Hermione!

Deadpool as Ron Weasley!



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Oh, Guillermo del Toro!


Poster found here.

Hellboy II picks up mostly where the first left off.   The paranormal team is still fighting the good fight sans Harry, who was shipped to Antarctica, and a new member comes aboard.   Johann Krauss is a German ectoplasmic man in a steampunk looking suit and he’s a stickler for rules and regulations.   Naturally, he and Hellboy don’t get along well.

In other parts of the world, Prince Nuada of the elves has returned from exile with a mission — to unite all the pieces of a long forgotten crown broken apart in a truce between elves and humans in order to reawaken an indestructible Golden Army.   As fate would have it, Hellboy and friends are the only ones who can stop Nuada from extinguishing the human race.

I don’t know if there’s another director out there who can top Guillermo del Toro, who directed this, the previous Hellboy movie and films like Pan’s Labryinth, Blade II and others, for flawless style.   Del Toro’s films are almost always jam-packed with rich and stunning sets with laborious details.



Hellboy II is odd because it’s an inviting action/sci-fi flick.  It’s filled with warm reds and golds as well as these crazy sets and creatures that del Toro dreamed up.

Beautiful, striking features only carry you so far and that’s where Hellboy II stumbles.   The story is nothing new or inventive, of course, but the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Blah Blah Blah is so tiresome, so banal that you wonder why the camera lingers with them for so long.   Selma Blair’s Liz Sherman gets a new haircut and some new power control but remains the same wishy-washy sort of girl from the first movie.   Hellboy obsesses over Liz but refuses to do dishes, griping about it all the way.   Abe Sapien has a childish crush on an elven princess.   These stories are engineered to make an audience feel receptive or sympathetic but all they do is grate on one’s nerves.

The slog through the boring character arcs is worth it for the gorgeous visuals; no expense was spared on special effects and sets and it shows.   If Hellboy II had reached a little higher on the characters, it could have been much better, though.

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Random Movie Thought


The older I get, the more I find Sid Vicious and his oft-repeated life story to be worthy of little more than an eyeroll.

The older I get, though, the more and more interesting I find Gary Oldman’s portrayal of Sid Vicious.


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For Allison, I believe, who requested it.   Ask (and if I agree), you shall receive.


Image from here.

Start throwing your undergarments, ladies.   Hey, has anyone watched Lie To Me?  Is it any good?

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Why are there so many holiday themed horror movies?  Halloween I can understand, but Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and now April Fool’s Day?   Gracious.   Does this mean some day I can look forward to President’s Day, where the reanimated corpses of former U.S. Presidents rise from their graves to fight an ancient evil?

Okay, so President’s Day would be kind of awesome; you know George Washington would run around punishing liars with that axe he used to chop down a cherry tree.  Abraham Lincoln would emancipate some folks from breathing and Teddy Roosevelt could run around beating people to death with big sticks.


Non-spoilery:   It’s April Fool’s Day and Spring Break.  A group of friends are traveling to their mutual friend Muffy St. John’s (yes, that is her name in the movie) isolated rural mansion for a week of fun and frivolity.  When they arrive, however, people start disappearing and dying in strange ways.  Muffy acts bizarrely and there’s no boat coming to the island the St. John’s own to pick anyone up.   What follows is a combination of a slasher flick and an older, Agatha Christie style murder mystery.

Spoilers behind the cut.


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Here are the submissions so far:

  • High School Musical 3
  • Bring It On
  • A Walk In The Clouds
  • Constantine
  • 13 Going on 30
  • Johnny Mnemonic
  • Drumline
  • A Walk To Remember
  • Biodome
  • Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
  • Uncle Buck
  • Adventures In Babysitting
  • Van Helsing
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  • Down With Love
  • Four Rooms
  • Mona Lisa Smile
  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • Where The Heart Is
  • Baseketball
  • Escape from LA
  • Joe Dirt
  • Josie and the Pussycats
  • Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers
  • Alien vs. Predator:  Requiem
  • Joe’s Apartment
  • Hackers
  • Cabin Boy
  • Hudson Hawk
  • Dude, Where’s My Car?
  • Let It Ride
  • Cool Runnings
  • City Heat
  • Love at First Bite
  • Zorro The Gay Blade
  • Big Trouble In Little China

Edited to add:

  • Love, Actually
  • Confessions of a Shopaholic
  • Empire Records
  • Real Genius
  • Face/Off
  • Young Guns 2
  • Top Gun
  • U.H.F.
  • A Boy and His Dog
  • Rock ‘n Rule
  • Curse of the Queerwolf
  • Jeffrey
  • The Forbidden Zone

    If you still have a movie you want to submit, drop the title in the comments.   You know the drill.

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    #1549: The Hangover

    Doug (Justin Bartha) is traveling to Las Vegas with his friends Stu (Ed Helms) and Phil (Bradley Cooper) as well as his soon to be brother-in-law Alan (Zach Galifianakis).    Stu’s stuck with a harridan for a girlfriend, Phil’s excited to get away from his wife and kid and Alan … well, Alan’s just got a few screws loose.  They arrive at Sin City in Doug’s future father-in-law’s vintage Mercedes, do a couple of shots of Jagermeister on the roof and a few hours later, the gang minus Doug wakes up in their swank hotel room.    There’s a baby in the linen closet, a tiger in the bathroom, Stu the dentist is missing a tooth, and no one has any idea where Doug is.

    Thus begins The Hangover.

    I think I must be the only person in America who doesn’t find Zach Galifianakis all that funny in this movie.  His portrayal of Alan is one of a brain damaged, socially inept whacko who reads awkward speeches about wolf packs and has a Rain Man moment in a casino.   While his performance is worth a few chuckles, he’s mostly way out there and a source of strange tension.

    The real comedy of The Hangover is in the strange, absurd moments like the tiger in the bathroom or a naked man popping out of the trunk of a car and beating everyone in the vicinity with a tire iron.   The constant apparitions of the unknown and bizarre keep the film lively, interesting and funny.   These events are paced so well, the film doesn’t even peak early with a hilarious cameo from Mike Tyson a third into the movie.

    The friends’ desperate search to find Doug in time for his wedding back in LA is comical but the payoff to the search isn’t as good as one hopes it will be.   In fact, almost all the characters in The Hangover smack of buddy-comedy / road trip clichés; it’s really the variety of the absurd that makes the movie worth watching.

    Worth the $9.50 a piece Younger Sister and I spent to see it, but nothing life-changing.

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