Sunday, 26 August 2007


This one really hurts.

I was really looking forward to the film adaptation of Stephen Hunter's Point of Impact earlier in the year when it was released. I even wrote about it here. Sure, I was hesitant about the casting of Mark Wahlberg as ex-Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger, but I was ready to roll through it. You know...for the sake of the art involved. sucked. Big time!

Sorry. I hate to be one of those jerks who complain about how Hollywood ruins books when they transfer them to film. I tend to agree with someone like Alan Moore who believes that any film made from previously published source material should be viewed as an entirely different entity. But damn, "they" really ruined this one!

And that sucks, because Stephen Hunter is an award-winning film critic for The Washington Post, and his novel almost reads like a screenplay. But "they" had to fuck with it. Fuckers!

But the crappy screenplay is only the beginning of the problems with this film. The acting was absolutely atrocious. And that includes the awful work done be Danny Glover and Mark Wahlberg...usually dependable actors. Wahlberg mumbled his way through the entire movie and Glover was almost as hard to understand. I think he had braces on his teeth or something, but he was really annoying to listen to every single time he was on screen.

I'm not even going to get into the crazy political message that the filmmakers were or were not trying to make. I got too bored to try and figure it out. Actually, it's not too hard to figure out. They beat you over the head with it. It's just too tiresome to chat about here.

Your best bet? Stay far, far away from this MOVIEGRENADE!

Friday, 24 August 2007

The Covenant.

This is very, very special indeed.

It's so bad it's highly, highly amusing, and also contains what I think might be the worst line I have ever heard in a movie. Ever. Amazing.

Okay, the 'plot' centres around a group of four friends, who are teenage boys. They're all real purdy, too (why are they never ugly?). They're also all witches, living in the town of Ipswich in Massachusetts, I think. They are descended from four families of 'untold power' from back in the day; there was a fifth family, but they wanted too much power and were banished or some such shite.

Anyway, strange things start happening to the excessively arrogant boys, like someone else is using some powers and stuff. They suspect one of their own, but then they remember the earlier script reference to a fifth bloodline that vanished and figure it's back.

And what are the chances? The child of this bloodline is also very pretty with a hot body. How lucky it wasn't a KFC-guzzling porkster, or that swimming scene would have made the movie an NC-17 in the States. Or possibly an unprecedented NC-82.

So the boys' girlfriends are sued to gain leverage by new witch-boy as he tries to get Caleb to 'will' him his powers, as he is about to 'ascend'. Using the powers is addictive, and it seems to have sent new bloodline boy a bit mental and power-crazed - but he's more powerful than our 'heroes' as he's been willed his father's powers.

With Caleb's powers too, he'll be even stronger, and more mental.

It's flimsy, it's filmed like a pop video, and the cast seems to have gotten work because they look nice. It could easily have been maybe 40 minutes long, but somehow has been dragged out to more than 90. And the twist which helps our hero survive is flagged so early in the film I feel embarrassed typing this.

Oh, and the worst line ever. Picture the scene. Two boy-witches fighting. It's like normal fighting, but they're 20 feet apart. And I mean it's exactly like a regular fight - they're throwing punches but they're like, erm, wobbly air, and they hurt and stuff. Even kicks produce this devastating wobbly air. Whoooo, dramatic. And really, really boring.

Anyway, they're facing off, and more-powerful-new-bloodline-boy is kicking the fuck out of the super-purdy Caleb. MPNBB then says, from on high, looking down at his wounded opponent:
"I'm going to make you my Wee-yotch!"

You see what they did there? It's like bee-yatch, but for witches. And it made me laugh out loud, then feel shame for all the professionals involved in this utter piece of shit. And to think, Renny Harlin's past movies have often been passable. A couple were even damn good – Cliffhanger and Long Kiss Goodnight, for example. But watching this, he is clearly nuts, as are the studios who financed this pile of hairy arse.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Lady In The Water

I've been mulling over whether to include this as a grenade or not, and I've realised today that I have no choice.

Lady In The Water is fundamentally really, genuinely not very good at all.

I'll tell you why I was in two minds though; like all of Shyamalan's movies, it's just so fucking sincere. With all his films so far, if you can buy into the premise, it's nearly always an interesting ride. Not always great, sometimes not even good, but usually interesting. And I am a fan of his. Unbreakable is one of my favourite films, it's incredibly good. It may even be in my top five. Signs is excellent, especially the second time when you can watch with emotional distance and see how damn funny it is.

But Lady In The Water… Not so good.

The plot's kind of tricky. This chap (Paul Giamatti) is working as a caretaker in an apartment complex. He's nice. A lady appears in the swimming pool, seemingly from nowhere. He takes her in. She's chased by a bad wolfy-grass beast.

Did I say it was tricky?

Okay, water nymph lady (as it turns out) is there to fulfill some destiny malarkey; different people in the complex will play different roles as she seeks the person she will inspire. Luckily, as this is all from some ancient Chinese folk story, there is an ancient Chinese woman in the complex.

Christ, now I'm writing the plot down, I can't think for the life of me as to why I was in two minds about this GRENADE!

Anyway, a giant eagle is to collect the nymph and take her home as she's a special, special nymph, and the people in the complex have to help her do that safely. (and you thought the synopsis couldn't get any worse)

The assorted characters are fine, and all well played, with particular nods to Giamatti, who is probably the main reason I was undecided about this, and M Night Shyamalan, who I thought was also pretty good in his role.

The problem is that it's just hard to care about the nymph. A giant fucking eagle? A wolfy thing made of grass that looks like it's actually made of Lego when you actually see it? Too many contrivances make you feel manipulated, and this fucker is packed with them. It's too neat, too pat, and yes, too damn contrived.

Best thing about this film is the guy who is experimenting by only bodybuilding one side of his body. He's great. But even his role is telegraphed from distance, if you know your movie devices. He crops up early on, then just about disappears; the rest of the cast have similar introductions but stick around. So you know he's coming back for something significant, and as soon as that thought clicks, it's a short step to figure out what that role is.

All in all, annoying, without charm, with some damn good performances that can't save what is, ultimately, a big pile of old wank.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

The Marine

OK. I've really got no excuse for watching this horrendous piece of shit. It was really late and I couldn't sleep. Maybe I got taken over by an alien pod-thing that loves pro-wrestlers. I dunno. All I do know is that I think I lost 10% of my brain cells during the excruciating 85 minutes that was this film. That sucks, because I usually like to kill brain cells the old fashioned way...with alcohol.

So John Cena (WWE wrestler) plays the titular ex-Marine. Hey...shouldn't they have called it The Ex-Marine? Anyway, he comes home from a tour o' duty and he and his wife get accidentally wrapped up with some bad guys on the run. Bad guys kidnap wifey, and Hulk smashes!!!

Robert Patrick (he of Terminator 2 fame) has the only fun in the movie as bad guy with a sense of humor. He is so over-the-top in his portrayal that he actually winds up on the bottom again. But there he goes...chewing up all the scenery Australia has to offer. Oh yeah, it was supposed to be set in South Carolina, but someone obviously thought that SC and the land Down Under were pretty interchangeable. Someone who has never been to either South Carolina or Australia, if you ask me.

So here it is...the best/worst moment in the film. Cena comes after the bad guys with a vengeance. Every time they think they lost him, he pops back up again. At one point he is chasing them on a motorcycle and one of the bad guys says: "Who does this guy think he is...the Terminator?" Cut to a shot of Robert Patrick in the rear-view mirror making a surprised look with his eyes.

Yeah. They went there.

You....stay away. Please!

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

A Sound of Thunder

I had only heard of this stinker in passing when it came out a few years ago. The title doesn't really give a whole lot of insight into what the film is about, and I think it spent all of one week in the theaters.

So before watching it the other night, I looked it up on IMDB and saw that it was a time-travel sci-fi kinda thing based on a short story by Ray Bradbury. And it starred Ed Burns, Ben Kingsley and a bunch of others. Now Burns is maybe one of the worst mainstream actors out there, but his films are usually OK. And Kingsley is a legend, although he has starred in some shitters you never know.

I should've known with this one. What a fuggin' awful movie! The special effects were shit. Looks like it could have been made for a cable TV channel instead of a major movie company. I see on the trivia section of the site that the original production company went bankrupt during that could explain it. Lemme put it this way: the blue-screen scene in the original Wayne's World movie (we're in Delaware...ugh) was far superior to the shot of Burns and his assistant walking through the streets of future NYC. I almost couldn't believe how bad the effects were in that shot...for a movie made in the 21st century!

The plot was shit too! This tech company figured out a way to use time travel to send rich assholes back in time to hunt dinosaurs. The only catch is that they couldn't affect anything from the past. No stepping off the "Jesus walked on the water" path that they send back in time. No killing of anything except the dino, which was about to die anyway by getting stuck in a tar pit and then covered with lava and ash from a volcano that is about to erupt. Nothing. They are absolutely adament that any change at all can cause drastic harm to the current timeline. Even the killing of an insect, because that insect could lay eggs that...blah, blah, blah.

(Sidebar: They must have really improved the carbon-dating process in the future to figure out when this specific dinosaur died to the exact minute. And that it all happened 5 minutes before a volcano was about to erupt. Truly amazing what they can do in a crap script!)

Dum, dum, duuuuuuuuuh!!!!

Guess what happens? One of the asshole, rich businessmen steps on a butterfly by accident. That tiny event causes waves of changes in the future. It doesn't matter that the butterfly was about to go extinct anyway because of the volcano that was 5 minutes away from exploding. Nah...not to our screenwriters, it doesn't. The changes to the future happen in waves, like the ripples from a stone thrown into the middle of a pond. Our heroes have to figure out a way to go back and give this poor butterfly another 5 minutes of life to preserve our future.

Ugh...that bored me just writing it!

You know what? Just don't see this movie. Period!

Monday, 13 August 2007

Aeon Flux

Picture the scene: I'm on a plane, it's a 12-hour flight from Hong Kong to the UK. My tactic, to avoid landing and being completely fucked, is to stay awake through two movies, then sleep. This way, I wake up half an hour before landing, and the flight doesn't seem so bad. It's always the last few hours of a long flight that suck the hardest, after all.

Anyway, there I am. The plane is dark, and everyone else is asleep. I mean, the entire plane – we left HK at about 1am, so this is understandable. I flick through the movies on offer, and they're all either shite, or I've seen them before. Oooh, what's this? Aeon Flux? Charlize Theron's first movie after her Oscar-winning performance in Monster? Well, that could be interesting, I think.

The most interesting thing about Aeon Flux is that I'm sure there's a good porno version of it out there, in which they only had to take the 'l' out of the original title.

In the 25th century, a virus has wiped out a big chunk of the world's population. Survivors live in Bregna, a fortified city surrounding by a big, fuck-off wall. Wow, that's pretty much superfluous. If I'd just said 'fortified', I think you would have pictured the fuck-off wall. Aeon Flux is the name of a female assassing, played by Theron, who works for an 'underground' rebel group, led by The Handler (Frances McDormand) or something. Aeon is sent to assassinate Trevor Goodchild, head of hte council that runs the city, but Aeon finds out lots of stuff and decides to protect him instead. So she becomes a target for The Handler's crowd, and blah blah blah.

It's actually quite a nice looking film, though every scene looks like it was shot on bluescreen. Or greenscreen, pedants.The problem is that there's just nothing here. It's flimsy beyond belief. Who do we care about in the film? No-one. The cast includes Pete Postlethwaite, Frances McDormand, Marton Csokas, Sophie Okonedo (who was so brilliant in Hotel Rwanda) and many more, yet I wanted everyone to die in the first 20 minutes.

The problem with movies like this is that they need to establish a universe for you to accept. The movies that do this best, do it without you realising. X-Men is a great example, as is Blade Runner. And Alien. You see things functioning, you see how the world works, and you're intelligent enough to accept and assimilate it. I'm always suspicious of movies that have to explain what's happening in too much detail. The obvious exception is Star Wars, which kept its descriptions so simple and its illustrations so detailed, they they worked very well together. You read the scrolling words, the next thing you see is a space pursuit with huge craft and flashing lasers, and robots aplenty. And you accept.

The world of Aeon Flux is well drawn, nicely realised, a little trippy and hyper-real in fact. But you just can't give a fuck about this non-existent script, a really slight story and no meat at all to grab on to. Even the action is average, being way too showy and extravagant. It's just not effective.

In short, if you watch this movie after reading this, you deserve to watch this movie. It's good enough for a 12-hour flight when everyone else is asleep and no-one can see what you're watching, but apart from that exact circumstance, avoid. Buy a box of tissues and rent Aeon Fux instead.

Friday, 10 August 2007


OK, this is a movie that I really, really wanted to like. It's got violence (of the ultra kind), vampires and a very sexy Milla Jovovich (My "v" button almost didn't make it through that sentence). What's not to lovvvve?

To date, I have tried to watch this un-watchable piece o' crap 3 or 4 times. I've never made it to the end. It's just so damn confusing. I've read on IMDB that the original version was over a half-hour longer, and maybe they cut some of the more important plot points in favor of the stylized violence that drives much of the movie. Dunno. All I do know is that a simple action flick like this shouldn't be that demanding.

Here's the plot in brief: It's sometime in the future. A virus has turned a portion of the population into Hemophages - vampire-like beings with enhanced strength, speed and intelligence. Their is a war going on between the humans and the 'phages. A woman (Jovovich) who is infected with the virus is sent on a mission to steal/destroy a weapon that the humans have developed to destroy all the 'phages. The weapon turns out to be a young boy who has anti-bodies in his system that can and will destroy all the hemophages. Silliness ensues! Phew...that wasn't easy.

The acting is awful, even with the presence of the lovely Ms. Jovovich. Let's face it...she's not much of an actress, but she is good on the old ocular lenses. There are some roles ably played out by character actors such as Nick Chinlund and William Fichtner, but even they can't save this movie grenade.

The action is mind-numbing. They often speed up and slow down the action ala The Matrix, because that's pretty hot right now...or was a few years ago. And it looks like the whole film was an excuse to play with special effects and blue-screen technology. Violet kept changing the color of her hair, nails, and outfits for no apparent reason than that the filmmakers could do it. Mission accomplished, douchebags! Next time give us a story and some dialogue to, er, sink our teeth into. Those of us with possessing more than a 3rd grade education appreciate it.

I would totally spoil the ending for you right now, but as I state above, I haven't quite gotten through this dud. Hopefully, I never will.

Monday, 6 August 2007

The Ring Two

I quite liked the Hollywaood remake of the first Ring movie; it had some atmosphere, and was shot with suitable gloom. It looked great, actually, despite adding a bizarre horse motif, perhaps to mark it out as its own film, as the Japanese Ringu is pretty fucking shit-hot.

This sequel, however, has no redeeming features and is shite from start to finish. I'd tell you why, but I already feel bad enough that I watched it. Just avoid, it's cobblers.

There, that was short and to the point, wasn't it?


Yes, the recent-ish remake. I think some spoilers might follow, but if you watch the movie and couldn't work them out anyway, you're a fucking muppet. So let's assume you would have and move on.

Now, this is a fun film. Dumb as fuck, great fun, loads of monster action. It's still shit, but it's a great guilty pleasure of mine.

It's a real MOVIEGRENADE! kinda film. Some moments of brilliance (the cars bouncing when 'zilla takes a step, for example – beautifully done) and one moment of utter shitness that stands out above all the others.

Well, most of them. And I will keep this short, as this 'blockbuster' has probably been seen by most of you already.

There's a 'thrilling' chase through Manhattan's streets, with Godzilla chasing a bunch of helicopters that were initially hunting the big fella/fella-ess. Godzilla is big, and fast; the helicopters are hunted down, hunter becomes hunted and all that shite.

What I've never understood is, why didn't they just fly up? I mean, they knew Godzilla couldn't fly or anything, and they… well, they were flying.

Maybe that's not so surprising. Maybe it's more surprising that the script went through rewrites and rewrites, was read by studio, director and producer, plus cast, and not one of the cunts realised that the helicopters could just fly up.

Like I said, it's dumb as fuck. I'd even go so far as to say, Godzilla is so bad it's good. And it has a decent cast struggling manfully with a slender script – Jean Reno, Harry Shearer, Hank Azaria, and, erm, some others.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Into the Blue

Just wanna thank the daddy of badger for asking me to join him in trashing some truly "bad cinema". It never gets old.

So, as I mentioned on my blog last week, I stayed home last Saturday licking my wounds from a truly out-of-nowhere drunken evening the night before. Part of my penance was to watch this truly awful movie from beginning to end. I thought about changing the channels many times, but I just didn't feel that I had suffered enough yet. Then I wanted to see how far they would go in copying The Deep from beginning to end.

They went pretty far.

First the plot: A group of divers (Paul Walker, Jessica Alba, Scott Caan, and Ashley Scott) discover an ancient, long believed to be mythical, shipwreck. They also discover a downed plane in the vicinity with a whole shitload of cocaine. Didn't that happen in The Deep, but with morphine? Anyway, local drug-runners soon find out that they are diving in that spot and they may have found their coke. Lots of macho posing later, they finally come to a *hum* heroic underwater climax. Good guys win, bad guys lose. Pretty sure that happened in The Deep too! Wonderfully original. I say if you are going to remake a film, you should fucking acknowledge that it is a remake.

OK...a couple of things I liked about the movie. Jessica Alba's ass, but that should go without saying. It was so perfect that it was inhuman. Real women don't have asses like that. I'm pretty sure she must be a robot. Also, I've been a huge fan of Ashley Scott ever since the short-lived series, Birds of Prey. She's all right! She did get her leg chomped by a shark in this one, and I am fascinated by sharks and shark that worked for me. And I have to be honest, I was utterly amazed by Paul Walker's swimming ability and his underwater acting while holding his breath. I don't know how he did it!

Yeah, that was about it for the good things about the movie...which was real pretty to look at. Just like a beautiful, dumb blond with fake tits and a good tan. You know, that's how the NY Times should have reviewed this bomb. "Into the Blue: a beautiful, dumb blond with fake tits and a good tan. Enjoy!"

You know, one of the weakest things that an "adventure/action" film can do is give away a seemingly important plot twist in the very beginning of the film. We are introduced to the #1 wreck diver early in the film played by James Brolin. Fairly well known actor, and from the get-go there is tension between him and Paul Walker's character. Turns out...dum dum duuuuh...that he is not really a wreck diver, but he IS the local top gun of drug running. Wow! I totally didn't see that coming! Well known actor shows up early in the film as a minor character, but then winds up being the big bad later on in the film? Must have been looking at Jessica Alba's ass or something. Do they really think we are stupid? Dumb question. Of course they believe we are stupid. It's why Hollywood keeps making piles of money on piles of shit like this one.

Generally, the acting in this MovieGrenade, was poor to mediocre at best. Ashley Scott and Jessica Alba are nice to look at, but they can't act their way out of a paper bag if they tried. I guess the same can be said for Walker and Caan, except I don't float that way. Hell, they even got model-turned actor Tyson Beckford to play a baddie in it. I don't see any Oscars in the future of any of these "actors".

I think that if anyone out there wants to see this movie, they should do themselves a favor and watch it with the sound off.

Then it would be just like having a pretty scene of an aquarium playing on your TV, and that can be really soothing.