Saturday, 28 March 2009


Ever gone to a high end restaurant, had a lovely meal and decide to order the $25 cheesecake?

OK, good, so we’re all on the same page about this.

The $25 cheesecake gets to your table, you take a bite and, suddenly, you realize that you’ve been had. Because the $25 cheesecake? Tastes like frozen Sara Lee nastiness.

You keep eating, hoping, praying that somewhere, somehow, you’re going to hit that $25 bite.

No way, though. It’s over. The cheesecake sucked.

You’re thinking, I cannot believe I spent this much on something so unbelievably average, so incredibly uneventful.

And this describes my feelings about the Stephanie Meyer Twilight series.

I know I’m possibly subjecting myself to the rage of thousands of Cullen worshiping teenagers, and I’ll fully be expecting their version of a fatwa anytime now.

Like, totally, you’re, like, going to die. And, like, it’s going to be, like, by stoning. In. The. Gap.

Before I die, stoned and in the Gap, I’d like to say I did read all of the books. Like the metaphorical cheesecake, I took every bite, hoping and praying that it would get better.

Four million pages later, I sat there mired (or is it meyered? heh) in disappointment.

OK, so, fast forward to last weekend, when I finally watched Twilight on DVD. Why DVD and not the theater? After letting that series suck up to twenty hours out of my life (that’s four months in “I don’t have kids” years), there was no way I was hiring a sitter so I could see it.

This movie marked the first time in my life that I found the movie to be far, far better than the book.

Like the book, teenager Bella Swans finds herself awkwardly trying to navigate high school and connect with a generally estranged father with whose home she’s just moved in to at the po’dunk town of Forks. It rains about 355 days of the year in the Forks, there’s very little sunshine, and the nearest mall is about an hour away.

Already a teenage horror story.

Lucky for Bella, high school isn’t going to be a total drag because the guy who sits next to her in Biology is not only mysterious and handsome, but is also a vampire.

Like, oh my God, that is so hot.

The movie is visually beautiful, with lots of (wait for it, this is going to be where I get technical) blueish hues tinting up the screen. Everything is dark, melancholy and sad, as it should be when a brooding vampire is involved with a morose teenager.

The chemistry between Robert Pattison and Kristen Stewart plays nicely and accurately reflects that fine balance between the awkwardness and intensity of adolescent romance. And, really, this relationship and its tension is the heart of what drives the movie forward. (Read "chick flick").

Of course, the description of Pattison’s character, Edward Cullen, in the novel suggests that he possesses a beauty that is stunningly surreal. While I would have drooled over Robert Pattison every single day of my teenage existence, he’s a far cry from surreal or even beautiful.

Aside from this minor casting issue, the movie was well acted, well cast and each character more than adequately reflected the pictures of them I had formed in my mind while being subjected to, er, uh, reading the novel.

So, the movie? I would watch it again, but, mostly, because I love vampires.

Especially the kind that brood about women they can never, ever actually have.

And, now, off to the Gap for my stoning.

** The author of this post wishes to acknowledge that her analysis of any male vampire is irrevocably skewed by her deep and eternal love for Angel of the Joss Whedon series. Because I love him. Forever. And Edward Cullen? Is. No. Angel.

*** So, I know in nerd world, I'm supposed to talk about all the "features" on the DVD, but I didn't watch the DVD with the purposes of reviewing it. So, just deal. Next time, my nerdy friends, next time.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Prom Night (2008)

No shock here, eh?

There are remakes that I can understand and then there are remakes that I cannot wrap my itty-bitty primordial brain around. This remake of Prom Night (1980) falls in the latter category. Falls into it? Hell, it belly-flops into it. Never the high-water mark of early 80's slasher flicks, the original at least had Jamie Lee Curtis running around and screaming. Check that. At MOST it had Jamie Lee Curtis running around and screaming.

So instead of a remake of a classic in the genre like Black Christmas, Halloween, When a Stranger Calls or Friday the 13th, we are now blessed with remakes of second and third tier slasher outings. Thanks Hollywood. It's not like any of those previous remakes improved upon the original.

Hey, wait. Maybe the remake geeks are onto something. Instead of remaking a classic and failing miserably, maybe they can truly improve on one of these lesser features with a new cast and a fresh look.

Nah! Nice thought, though.

The only improvement I noticed was the music. And the hip-hop/shitty pop in the new version is barely better than the crappy disco-era shit from the original. Barely. Certainly not enough to warrant anyone's precious movie watching time. I mean, I watched it. But that's only because I really, really, really love you guys and I would hate to see any of you actually watch this turd without warning you about it first.

Here's a brief summary of the film. Cute blond girl with weirdly attractive scar on her forehead comes home to find her family is being attacked by a madman. Turns out she is relaying a dream to a therapist. A dream rooted in reality as she was the witness to a heinous crime three years earlier and helped put away said madman.

Now the bad man has escaped and he has shaved and he is looking for revenge on cute scar girl. On her prom night of all days. Proms have sure changed since my time. The party is in a fancy hotel and all the kids have rooms or suites or penthouses to stay in for the night. That's basically a free banging pass that these kids parents are giving them. I think I hate these pretty, young, rich people. I think I would like to cut them up with a shiny knife.

I instantly regret that last line. Must have gotten caught up in the moment. I am watching a slasher film after all. Let's slow dance it down a notch, shall we?

One by one, cute scar girl's bubble-headed friends and some unlucky hotel staff (should have taken the night off) are picked off by the least scary looking killer I have seen in a tremendously long time. Check this guy out. Oh sure, he looks like a Grade A douche, but a maniac slasher? C'mon. More likely to hit on your boyfriend at the gym if you ask me. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I'm just sayin'.

Bottom line: Not scary. Not well-made. Not campy. I like my slasher flicks to have at least one of those characteristics. This one fails on all counts.

Except for the scar. I really thought that scar was kinda cute.

Sunday, 15 March 2009


It's been a while since I've turned a movie off after just a few minutes.

I did it yesterday, with Zatoichi. I was so, so disappointed. Why? Well, the reason is simple. The 'special' effects.

I was so looking forward to this. I even explained to the wife why Takeshi Kitano is so fucking cool. I explained the premise of the movie, and why it would rock when made by him.

Then, not 30 seconds in, we have the first deaths, and some of the shittest CG effects I have ever seen. Blood spurting and not actually landing on anyone nearby, even when it apparently spurts in their faces. It just looks cheap, and as I haven't watched or absorbed any of the rest of the movie, I don't know if Kitano might have been making some stylistic point with this. It just looked too shit for words, so the movie remains unqatched and, for me, unwatchable.

Poor effects in themselves are not a problem – I love trashy horror, for example, and bad effects there are forgivable if they have ambition and imagination fuelling them. But there was no excuse for this, it's not a cheap production, and we're talking about relatively basic effects even if they were produced physically rather than with computers. Just a bad, bad idea.

* According to Wikipedia, this 'stylising' was intentional. Well, it was fucking shit, Mr Kitano. Don't do it again or I'll have to go Zatoichi on your ass.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Black Christmas (2006)

Conducted an interesting experiment tonight. Well, interesting if you are a freaky-deak for slasher films like I am. I watched the original Black Christmas from 1974 for the first time, and I watched the remake immediately afterwards. For purely scientific reasons, of course.

The original film is often lauded as a classic by fans of the genre. A pre-cursor to films like Halloween and Friday the 13th. And I can't believe it took me this long to finally sit down and watch it. Hell, we even had it for about 3 weeks siting by the television. Just waiting for us to watch it. Maybe it, the DVD, even watched us like the eyeball of a maniac peering at us through the crack between the door and the door frame. Wait, what?

Anyway, I really enjoyed the original film. It was fun seeing John Saxon, Andrea Martin, Olivia Hussey and Margot Kidder doing it like it was a crazy episode of Love American Style. Man, I used to love that show. If you haven't seen it yet, well...I won't spoil it for you. But it was pretty unique for a slasher flick, even by today's standards. And, like I said before, it was highly influential for pretty much every slasher film made after it.

The remake, however, sucked huge smelly gorilla balls!

Not that it was the necessarily the fault of the film-makers. Okay, it was mostly their fault. What I meant to say was that the mere act of remaking a seminal film in a given genre is that, almost by default, the film has to bring something new to the table. Gus Van Sant did a shot-by-shot remake of Psycho and while it was technically decent, it bored us to tears. So that ain't gonna work here. And you have to stay true enough to the source material or you might as well make a totally new movie with an original plot. Yeah, right!

So what does the earnest film-maker decide to do? Generally speaking, for the slasher genre at least, they decide to give the audience a more detailed back story so that we know why the killer is fond of sticking sharp objects into random or not-so-random sorority girls/babysitters.

And that is a bad idea.

What made the original Black Christmas so effective was what we didn't know about the killer. We don't know his/her motivation. We don't know what childhood events shaped their psyche. We are given snippets of information that really don't make any sense, and we really couldn't be expected to piece it all together. There is a big bad man with a knife or a machete or an ice-pick and he wants to do things with it. We don't know why, and that makes it scary. Simple, right?

But the makers of this remake went for the back-story route and they told us everything about the killer. EVERYTHING! Hey, he was born yellow. Huh? Hey, his mom locked him in the attic when he was 5. Yeah. Oh, and she banged him when he was 12. Wait, what? And he had a sister/daughter from that humpty dance. Sure, why not. And blah, blah, blah fucking blah. Who cares? You were scarier when you were just a pair of hands and a voice on the other end of the phone line. Rob Zombie made the same freakin' mistake when he remade Halloween. I'm sorry...when he re-imagined Halloween. Whatever.

Another thing that infuriated me? They took one, semi-inventive death scene from the original movie and made it into the killer's modus operandi for the remake. Plastic bag over the head followed by stabby stabby in the head with something pointy. Yawn!

So if you are in the mood for a fun and/or scary slasher flick I would recommend that you stay far away from this hunk o' junk. But check out the original, if you haven't already. That one was loads of scary fun.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

My God, Kevin Smith is a hack.

Don't get me wrong. I've been a big fan of the guy in the past. Some of his films are classics. But, unfortunately, it's been a while. I could go on about my love/hate relationship with Kevin Smith, but I would just be re-hashing what I wrote about it on my other blog. Go here to read it, if you are interested. I know you are.

Anywho...this one could have been decent. He basically watched every Judd Apatow film from the past few years and hired those actors. Nice start. The plot about a couple of friends who decide to make a low-budget porno with some folks in the neighborhood guaranteed an ample supply of dick and fart jokes. A Kevin Smith staple.

So what went wrong?

Just about everything went wrong.

It just wasn't funny enough. And the stuff that was sorta funny was telegraphed from a mile away. Brandon Routh's character was gay? Who saw that coming? Jeff Anderson getting shit on? Wow...that really took me for a loop. I mean the actress said she was constipated and how that was good for anal sex because it relaxes her. And then Anderson sets himself up directly under the couple while they are doing the chocolate deed. Even warns them to watch it when they pull out. But I just had no idea that Kevin Smith was gonna go there! Genius! And please, please, please show us Jason Mewes dick. Please Kevin?

That being said, I still laughed a few times during the first half of the film. Mostly at/with Craig Robinson who is the absolute shit in everything he does. But the second half of the film felt like waiting for the paint to dry. It. Was. Awful. As much as I loved most of Chasing Amy, I just don't think that Kevin Smith has it in him to write a decent romance.


Don't waste your time on this lame-ass waste of talent.

Go rent The Moguls instead. Basically the same without the "it's been done a million times before" romance between the two leads in this one. And pray that Kevin Smith either starts making movies like he used to or that he retires. I think I would be fine with either outcome.