Friday, February 20, 2009


Cast: Arnold Schwartzenegger, Austin O’Brien, Brigette Wilson, Mercedes Rheul, Tom Noonan, F. Murray Abraham, Charles Dance, Anthony Quinn, Robert Prosky, Sharon Stone, Robert Patrick, Art Carney, Damon Wayans, Chevy Chase, Hammer, Maria Shriver, Frank McRae, Ian MckKellen, Joan Plowright, Tina Turner, Noah Emmerich, Angie Everhart, Bobbie Brown, Michael V. Gazzo, James Belushi, Colleen Camp, Little Richard, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Melvin Van Peebles

Directed By: John McTiernan
Written By: Story: Zak Penn & Adam Lieff; Screenplay: Shane Black & David Arnott
Cinematography By: Dean Semler
Editor: Richard A. Harris & John Wright

This is what I would consider a fun movie it’s so bad that after awhile it kind of wins you over and keeps you entertained if it wasn’t specifically big budget action this would be a excellent midnight movie it’s campy over the top and ridiculous

Where the movie I believe went wrong is that it thinks of itself as a satire and making fun of the action clichés but then it goes so way off the path. (The animated cat being partnered with the rookie while is a good dig at the ridiculous cop partnerships in films it still is a little much) that it ceases to be funny and your left just shaking your head about how half of these supposed jokes made it into the movie.

This is obviously a vanity project for Mr. Schwartzenegger allowing him to make fun of himself and look like a good guy for doing it.he maybe been first but George Clooney did it better in ocean’s twelve while he did it with style and grace. Schwartzenegger does it like a dork laughing at his own jokes while no one else is laughing with him. That is sort of what this film is like it’s making jokes and elbowing you in the ribs so that it’s not really subtle and soon you are just laughing at them trying to make you laugh so pathetically. It’s a great bad movie. Though one of the reasons I think tho movie bombed was that if you are a fan of action films and particularly of Arnold it seems like it is talking down to you and making fun of the very things you enjoy

The plot is a young movie fan from New York goes to a secret early screening with a magic ticket from Harry Houdini who while watching the film get’s sucked into it he tries to tell everyone they are a movie but no one believes him until the movies villain gets ahold of the ticket and comes into the real world and the boy and the action hero come back to the real world where the action hero has a hard time dealing with reality instead of movie magic written for him.

Now don’t get me wrong the movie does have it’s moments it’s not totally horrible but
I think it’s more enjoyable if you are a movie fan to begin with and know a bit of film history. Originally the film was supposed to be about living your own life and not having imaginary adventures through movies at least in the original script it also put a emphasis on reading but for a big budget movie that just wouldn’t work telling the audience to stop seeing these kind of films so they changed it to a action spoof that get’s heart in the last act.

One of the other problems with this film is that while I like John McTiernan as a director die hard is after all one of my favorite films and favorite action film of all time he just wasn’t the right director for this film even though he does get to spoof the shot from die hard where Alan Rickman falls off the roof. He just seems to boxy and restrained for this type of film and uncomfortable with comedy he never reaches the right groove. Too many close ups and small spaces.

One of the things that does work is that this is a all-star film so seeing all these respected actors playing for laughs is hilarious and kind of sad but more hilarious then anything. Anthony quinn in particular. Charles dance as the villain is strange but common as the British Shakespeare trained actor playing the villian in a popcorn film to feed the masses

I say give it a shot a Strange but maybe enlightening rental


Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Cast: Lar Park-lincoln, Kane Hodder, Terry Kisey, Susan Jennifer Sullivan, Heidi Kozak

Directed By: John Carl Buechler
Written By: Manuel Fidello & Daryl Haney
Cinematography By: Paul Elloit
Editor: Barry Zetin & Mary O’Connell & Martin Jay Sadoff

The premise of this movie is that we all know Jason is practically a non-stop killing machine but this time he may have meet his match in a girl who has telekinesis. She having been brought there by her therapist who seems intent on exploiting her powers for his own gain.

It seems years ago she got mad at her dad after arguing with her father and toppling his boat and causing him to drown. So she was so angry she caused the accident she has been afraid of using her powers but then she gets angry again after her psychiatrist argues with her and her mother she accidentally resurrects Jason again by electrocution. Then pretty soon Jason is doing his usual by now I have to consider Jason Voorhies a zombie who is never hungry.

It seems like with each new film the directors have set the bar and thrown down a challenge to each other to top each other as far as effects and kills go. Here director is luckily he has a premise that allows him to go a little over the top then a regular horror film sequel.

While this is not the best film or my favorite I remember being jazzed to go see it. Now having said that I have never seen any of these movies in the theater I’m sure it enhances the experience. Half the fun of watching these films is seeing the bad 80’s fashions and the same clichés played out over and over almost like in a bond film where you already know what’s going to happen you just go to see how they are going to dress it up and try and make it look different. You still have the teenagers doing drugs having unprotected pre-marital sex. Which instantly stamps there death certificates this one surprisingly has a lot less nudity then usual but at this point maybe the filmmakers realized it was redundant. But they forget that there main audience for these films are teenagers even though they shouldn’t be allowed to see it since it is rated R but by this point Jason voorhies is an icon so if they want to see it just like porn they will find a way. It doesn’t help that at the time most television networks show the Friday the 13th films on a regular basis edited but still anyone watching it would get the point of the films.

I think parents actually like the films they are sort of like a worst case scenario version of rules. You se what happens when you mess with drugs and have pre marital sex and leave your parents to hand out with those bad apples. More meant to scare kids then actual teenagers who watch these films and are amazed by its violence but laugh at the stupidness of the characters.

This film was supposed to be the original Freddy Vs. Jason but when the two studios couldn’t agree behind the scenes the decision was made for Jason to meet his match by going up against a psychic. One of the things cut was a alternate ending with Jason rising from the water at the end to kill a fisherman that had just caught and killed a bass. I guess a kind of PETA ad waiting to happen. It as deemed to similar to the endings of Friday the 13th part 1 and 3. as usual the MPAA made them cut a particularly graphic scene that was near the end and involved a woman getting a axe to the face we see the carnage of her split face and her eyes still moving and wiggling then throwing her to the side. It also let’s us see jason’s face for the first few times in the recent films. He is in full zombie mode here.

This is worth a rental if you are into the series but not the best one to start with.


FRIDAY THE 13th: Part 5 - A NEW BEGINNING (1985)

Cast: Shavar Ross, Miguel Nunez Jr., Anthony Barrie, Todd Bryant

Directed By: Danny Steinman
Written By: Danny Steinman & Martin Kitrosser & David Cohen
Story By: Martin Kitrosser & David Cohen
Cinematography By: Steven L. Posey
Editor: Bruce Green

They Lied. Een though the film does live up to it's title


This whole review is a spoiler

I Give this film credit as it is a ruse and kind of a cop out since there is no real Jason in the film but it is a continuation in the series as young Tommy Jarvis grows up and is put in a home for troubled teens. Corey Feldman was supposed to reprise his role but he was too busy filming “The Goonies” Wise decision or not you decide.

You know where this film is headed when the first kill is not by Jason but some random disturbed character that we think or hope we won’t be seeing again. The guy they kill is expendable because not only is he mentally challenged but fat. But the ending makes no sense since the guy who killed his son is behind bars why not kill him and get it over with instead of killing all these people who didn’t really have anything to do with it.

The film has a few good ideas of continuing the series sort of like Halloween 3 but a lot better. This film still keeps up the high body count and plenty of violence but in the end you find out that Jason is a imposter. You can tell early on look at the mask it has blue marks instead of red ones. But there are plenty of problems with the film even though it is supposed to be a typical Jason film why is it made lie a who done it the director makes it seem like certain members of the cast are killing everyone off even though we see it is Jason I can understand the characters in the film thinking this but why make the audience also think it.

Now I know the Friday the 13th films are short on logic but if this is a imposter Jason how come he has almost as much strength which borders on supernatural.

Now A the end and once you think about it you can see how the imposter came to be seeing as what happened earlier in the film how it could scar them to be driven to do this almost similar to what made Jason become the killing machine we know him as though without the strength and mongoloidism.

The pleasures of this film though are Shavar Ross who will be familiar to fans of television as Dudley of different strokes as one of the first African Americans in the series and as a about face the first to actually survive. In going with all these breakthroughs he also has the realest reactions of a character in a horror film when he sees the killer monster he screams like a girl and hightails it out of there leaving his friend to fend for herself she is a afterthought. It also features Miguel Nunez in full bad 80’s rock gear complete with a jheri curl as one of the first African American characters killed by Jason and in the toilet none the less. Pure magic and hilarious

Later I found out there was a heavily edited Scene where Jason kills the punk rock girl originally he was supposed to stab her right in her privates and we watch her bled out that way instead of the usual slash in the intestines. Now most of these films it ends up as violent as they are the MPAA has declared war on these films citing it for being sexist and excessive I’m sure they are and certain age groups shouldn’t be allowed to watch these films but that is the responsibility of the parents these films are made for pure entertainment not social statements they don’t preach a certain rhetoric and just like I am reviewing them, you take what you believe from them attacking them doesn’t stop them as you can see they still come out in fact you stump the audience and creators by not showing the story to the best of there abilities I know how ridiculous this all is for a movie that is sub-par but it needs to be said.

The ending is just bizarre as the ghost of Jason sets up Tommy in the hospital to become the new Jason. Which doesn’t exactly happen but we don’t find that out until the next film. For now this is truly the only Jason movie that really has no Jason in it. Kind of a rip off but a interesting experiment for the series.


FRIDAY THE 13th: Part 4 - THE FINAL CHAPTER (1984)

Cast: Kimberly Beck, Lawrence Monoson, Corey Feldman, Crispin Glover, Barbara Howard, Camilla Moore, Carey Moore, Lisa Freeman, Bonnie Hellman

Directed By: Joseph Zito
Story By: Bruce Hidemi Sakow
Written By: Barry Cohen
Cinematography By: Joao Fernandes
Editor: Joel Goodman

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

BELLY (1998)

Starring: Nas, DMX, T-Boz, Method Man, Power, Tyrin Turner, Taral Hicks, Frank Vincent, Kurt Loder

Written & Directed By: Hype Williams
Story By: Nas, Hype Williams & Anthony Bodden
Director Of Photography: Malik Hassan Sayeed
Edited By: David Leonard

ninety minute rap music video. A bad ninety minute rap music video. This might have been the film that started the saying "all style no substance". Where as there is no denying hype Williams has tremendous talent as a director. He has unbelievably rich saturated visuals inventive angles and shots. but as a writer he leaves a lot to be desired. If that wasn't bad enough it is hard to believe it took three people to come up with the barely there storyline. Were they just sitting around playing video games together and in between the levels they wrote down a idea. After three days this is what they came up with. After all while watching this film I got confused by the plot, some characters and there motivations that just either disappear or make no sense at all.

The most inventive thing in this movie was having frank Vincent. a man who usually plays mobsters or villians here is playing a government agent his appearance in this film is always incomprehensible. You never get a good look at him but you recognize the voice. So you know he is there.

There are rich colors off kilter but defining looks and styles for each character. The ever present fish eyed lens camera shots a favorite of the director.

The plot is two friends who are drug dealers come up with a major supplier but they trespass on another dealers property. DMX Then has to do an assassination for the supplier, for his protection. Bu the man dmx kills is a protected made man. So they come after all of them. They're supplier is killed first in a scene ripped off from most rappers favorite film: Scarface. Dmx makes a deal with the government to stay out of jail and to protect him. But he must kill a powerful black minister. Meanwhile nas tries to survive the streets while planning to run away with his share of the money to the safe motherland that is modern day Africa. Exactly!!!

Along the way there is one subject that is touched upon that I found interesting. DMX's girlfriend is a gold-digger who he openly cheats on but she is happy as long as she has the finer things in life. Then the cops raid the place she lives at while hiding the drugs at her place. So she gets locked up for possession and doesn't rat on him taking the rap for her man. Who she knows doesn't love her nor makes any attempt to get her out. Maybe if that was explored a little more it could have been interesting.

Then a little less of the the gun battles and flossing of expensive things. This film would have been better more intriguing then a wannabe gangster epic of miniscule proportions which if they would have done there homework they would have noticed do have gun battles and flashy things but are also well plotted and very dialogue driven things again this movie seriously lacks.

At the very least. we could have seen nas in africa (Which is a interesting movie title) so we can see Mr. Williams illuminate it. I have to say the acting runs from horrible to passable no good or outstanding performances. The ladies can act so can method man DMX is sort of playing himself and nas just looks like he couldn't have been bothered to put up an effort. to show the logic of this film. In one scene a guy from the criminal crew is beaten by dmx and he swears his revenge on nas. Even though he had nothing to do with him being beat.



Starring: Catalina Sandino Moreno, Greg Kinnear, Bruce Willis, Esai Morales, Paul Dano, Patricia Arquette, Wilmer Valderrama, Ana Claudia Talancon, Luis Guzman, Bobby Canavale, Ethan Hawke, Avril Lavigne, Ashley Johnson, Kris Kristofferson, lou Taylor Pucci

Directed By: Richard Linklater
Written By: Richard Linklater & Eric Schlosser
Based On The Book By: Eric Schlosser
Director Of Photography: Lee Daniel
Edited By: Sandra Adair

The film tries to pass itself off as traffic for the fast food industry. Traffic had emotional well versed and thought out intricate storylines. Where as with fast food nation it's storytelling to me in this very minute. Just like industry they are portraying sloppy and artificial. I really felt no connection to most of the storylines or character except for one.

The only really good story is the Mexican immigrant storyline. I know it has a downbeat ending and that is more truthful to life then a tacked on happy ending. but don't know maybe it's because I like Catalina Moreno's character so much that I felt like she was really one of the few pure characters in this movies. I felt like she was being punished. Her slutty sister prospers. So does her sister's asshole user boyfriend. but her boyfriend get's injured and her she has to suffer indignity to indignity to make her character sorrowful and really drive the point Home. this seems to be a habit of her's she always seems to play the innocent victim I can't wait to see her sink her teeth into a really meaty role with shades of being a wickedly interesting person.

If they would have made that story line the only one it would have been "Maria full of grace 2" (The Traffic Of People Smuggling) only without the drug smuggling. But it would have at least made this movie a little more interesting overall. Another interesting scene is the teen storyline was an interesting aspect of both parents and daughter working dead end jobs to make ends meet. but the daughter is more responsible then the mother's roles are reversed. Then after one conversation her ideology of life has changed suddenly. it wasn't really a big persuasion either. I just feel this move missed it's mark.

Now don't get me wrong. I understand the other storylines were to help us show how this industry works. The problems but the teenage storyline seemed senseless except to show the ideals of youth and how easily they can be tainted. The Greg kinnear storyline was interesting but it would have been nice to have some closure instead of his eyes being opened and him just accepting that's how things are. The film just ends again I'm guessing to show this is just a slice of life things don't workout as planned. People die people change but time and the day and life goes on. Like a passive message movie.

I seem to have a problem with Richard linklater. Sometimes I think he makes beautiful films that I can rave about for days. but then he makes others which I can't stand to sit through a second time because I barely survived the first. He made this film while working on "a scanner darkly" and maybe it shows because the college kids storyline could have been taken from "a scanner darkly" or "waking life" but he made "tape" a great movie while making "waking life"a piece of crap. So that is no excuse maybe it's just the work he seems to be making movies at a faster pace one after another. Maybe it distillted his talent behind the camera or made him a commercial filmmaker rebel. "Let me make my films with my messages I'll promise you box office plus a bad news bears remake to boot"

There was a sex scene in this movie. i'm not complaining but it was out of place.

Also there are two scenes of extreme violence that might turn your stomach right before the ending. which if you have a weak stomach skip the last 10 minutes of this film you see the inside of a slaughter house and all details involved In making meat. This is not one I like I would say out of all of his films I only really liked three but at least he tries to be original but more often then not he misses his mark.

The only other connection to traffic is the character like in many Robert altman films literally pass-by each other. but the difference is in this film they rarely engage each other.