Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

The Initiation

Monday, October 20th, 2014

slashersearch14tn_initiationTHE INITIATION is yet another sorority-themed slasher movie (see also HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW, SORORITY ROW, SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE I and II, KILLER PARTY, BLACK CHRISTMAS, BLACK XMAS), but it’s toward the high end of that list as far as quality. “Introducing Daphne Zuniga” as Kelly (although she had already been in THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD), one of a group of new pledges beginning their Hell Week at a college in Dallas or Fort Worth while somebody possibly connected to her is going around stabbing people, mostly with a 3-pronged gardening tool.

It’s got a little bit of HALLOWEEN and a little bit of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. The HALLOWEEN is in the section that takes place in an insane asylum where the inmates all get loose at night and mob a nurse’s car. She gets stabbed, but we don’t see who did it, and none of these witnesses are gonna be able to explain it. They just giggle uncontrollably, suck their thumbs or flick their tongues like lizards. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Burning

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

tn_burningTHE BURNING is a slasher movie I like, and I can acknowledge that it’s not great but it just fits into my wheelhouse (you know, the house where I store all my wheels as well as some of the movies I like). Something about those FRIDAY THE 13THs and SLEEPAWAY CAMPs just engrained the summer camp of the ’80s into my mind as a perfect place for a slasher. By day it’s canoes and pushing people off of docks and wearing those gym socks with the stripes at the top. Then at night you realize you’re out in the middle of the fuckin woods! What the fuck are you gonna do if (let’s be honest – when) something happens? Where are you gonna go? Deeper into the dark, quiet woods?

But actually Jason and these guys are scarier when they strike in the sunlight. The sanctity of the summer paradise invaded by machetes and improperly used spear guns. Lens flares and dripping blood. (read the rest of this shit…)

Species

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

tn_species“Don’t go. Please! I want a baby.”

SPECIES is one of these movies of the ’90s that isn’t very good but that represents a weird enough collision of influences to be interesting. It’s a studio genre movie so it has an all-star cast. Ben Kingsley (PRINCE OF PERSIA, BLOODRAYNE) leads the government monster hunt, and his team of specialists is Forest Whitaker (BLOODSPORT), Michael Madsen (BLOODRAYNE), Alfred Molina (PRINCE OF PERSIA) and Marg Helgenberger (FIRE DOWN BELOW).

Behind the scenes they got a couple of legit horror technicians in the mix: composer Christopher Young, whose eerie score is very similar to what he did for HELLRAISER, and monster designer H.R. Giger does his biomechanical thing like in ALIEN, but this time with bonus eyes and boobs. This was the first time his creatures got the computer animation treatment, an exciting development in those days. It was only two years after JURASSIC PARK and just doing everything digitally was still in the future, they had to put in some effort to do it so it was usually a big deal. The digital parts look almost charmingly crude now, but luckily they got puppets and costumes in there too, like you did back then. (read the rest of this shit…)

Under the Skin

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

tn_undertheskinThis director Jonathan Glazer, I can’t really put my finger on him. SEXY BEAST I didn’t like all that much, but most people seem to, or at least they did at the time. British crime comedy stuff, mostly normal, but people forget the weird interludes with the half man/half bunny. What was that about.

Second movie BIRTH. Not as recognized, but I loved that one, a unique and creepy thriller with potent Kubrickian filmatism. Got me excited for movie #3, which turned out to take nine years and be his least commercial work so far even though it’s a sci-fi movie that has Scarlett Johansson taking her clothes off. The thing that gets me is none of these movies seem like the same director to me. He’s mainly a commercial and video director, so he likes to play with different styles, but that never stopped David Fincher or Spike Jonze from being identifiable. Maybe I’m missing it by seeing them years apart.
(read the rest of this shit…)

The Boxtrolls

Monday, October 13th, 2014

tn_boxtrollsHey, I’ve admitted it before. I’m a Modern Man, I can dig on the cartoons sometimes. But I don’t always gotta go public about it. For example I didn’t need it on record that I thought FROZEN continued the evolution of the Disney Princess formula in smart, pro-girl ways. The rest of the world took care of that, I didn’t need to say anything. Stoicism. But I just saw THE BOXTROLLS which was amazing and I don’t trust the rest of the world to make a big deal about this one, so here I am.

THE BOXTROLLS is the third movie from Laika, the stop motion studio out of Oregon who did CORALINE and PARANORMAN. Because of modern technologies like motion control, digital photography and now 3D printing this artform keeps getting more detailed and sophisticated, yet it has a very old fashioned charm to it. It’s all about the tactile and the textured. It’s puppets moving around on elaborate model sets. You can see the fabrics and stitches on the clothes, the brush on the paint. I like how you can see that the eyes are a hard, shiny material under the rubbery skin. That the eyelids look like separate pieces. I like computers, but this shit has an appeal that computers can’t re-create. (read the rest of this shit…)

Cutting Class

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

tn_cuttingclassslashersearch14“Shouldn’t you be bouncing a ball somewhere?”

CUTTING CLASS is the slasher movie starring Brad Pitt. It’s one of his first couple movies, so I figured he would just be a supporting character, like, smaller than Johnny Depp in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. But he’s actually one of the three leads. There’s Final Girl Paula (Jill Schoelen) and two serious suspects for a series of murders that are going on around her school: her jock boyfriend Dwight (Pitt) or Dwight’s childhood best friend Brian (Donovan Leitch, THE BLOB), who was just released from a mental hospital after being blamed for the murder of his father. The movie does a good job of leading you back and forth about which one of these guys is the killer. Or if you want you can go ahead and believe the parts where the creepy janitor (Robert Glaudini, writer of the one movie Philip Seymour Hoffman directed, JACK GOES BOATING) acts suspicious. (read the rest of this shit…)

Offerings

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

tn_offeringsslashersearch14“Hello, girls. Now what’s all this about a ear?”

Who the fuck needs Michael Meyers when we got John  Hadley (Richard A. Buswell)? Well, everybody. This is not a very good movie. But if all the discs rot and HALLOWEEN gets erased from The Cloud and we as a society need to remember what it was like, I guess we could watch this knockoff and hope it would jog our memories.

The childhood prologue is different from original HALLOWEEN, it’s a little more like remake HALLOWEEN because John is a victim of bullying and abusive parents, though he does not wear a Kiss t-shirt. He doesn’t talk, and he’s good at checkers. But the neighborhood shitstains ride up on their bikes to taunt him, shame him into walking on the edge of a well, frighten him into falling in and then run away like bitches. 10 years later he’s a disfigured zombie in an asylum who they say literally chewed his mom to death. (read the rest of this shit…)

Gone Girl

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

tn_gonegirlGONE GIRL is the new David Fincher popular fiction adaptation, another murder mystery but this time I guess you could say with a lighter touch than SEVEN, ZODIAC or THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck, PAYCHECK) comes home on his fifth anniversary to find his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike, DOOM) missing. They were unhappy and he’s not good at faking it, so suspicion quickly falls on him. Meanwhile Amy had a tradition of leaving a series of clues for an anniversary treasure hunt, initially romantic, these days bitter and mean. While Nick and lead investigator Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens, HOLLOW MAN) follow the trail of cute riddles, we start to see Amy’s diary entries telling the story of their relationship from her perspective. And this may shock you but it eventually turns out that there’s more to the story!

This is one that you really need to see without knowing any more than that, so I’m not even gonna attempt a spoiler-wary review. From this point on don’t read unless you’ve already seen it or are mortally wounded and aren’t gonna make it another 2 hours and 25. In which case thank you, I am honored and flattered that you chose to live out your last moments here on outlawvern.com. You know I hope this isn’t too forward of me but if you don’t have any heirs and it’s not too much to ask maybe consider making a bunch of expensive purchases through my Amazon links before you kick. I really appreciate it man, thanks alot bud and good luck to you. (read the rest of this shit…)

Mystery Train (and a visit to Memphis)

Monday, October 6th, 2014

tn_mysterytrainIn NASHVILLE, Robert Altman used the city to represent America in some way. In MYSTERY TRAIN Jim Jarmusch kinda does the same thing with Memphis, but the joke is that it’s three stories about Memphis through the eyes of foreigners. For all they know the whole country hangs Elvis portraits in their hotel rooms.

The first and favorite story is of two Japanese tourists, Jun (Masatoshi Nagase, THE HIDDEN BLADE) and Mitsuko (Yuki Kudo, RUSH HOUR 3) who arrive in Memphis on a train. I know, I thought this was gonna be a remake of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, or possibly a story about a talking train that solves mysteries, but most of it doesn’t have to do with the train at all. You just see the train going by every once in a while. What the “mystery” part of the title means is, well… an unanswered question.

I like this story because I like these two. Mitsuko is obsessed with Elvis, Jun never misses an opportunity to say that Carl Perkins is better. Fuckin show off. He has a carefully maintained rockabilly rebel persona with slicked back hair, a white undershirt tucked in under a big belt buckle, etc. He’s very stoic, almost never smiles or says something openly nice, but it rarely dampens her enthusiasm. In one great scene she tests his cool by making goofy faces, then putting on alot of lipstick and sloppily smearing it all over his mouth via kiss. He manages to stay completely deadpan with his clown makeup on, smoking a cigarette that she lights for him with her feet. But he gives a tiny smile when she walks away.

That’s mostly what this movie is about, goofy little character moments done very dry and quiet, in long takes. So it’s a Jim Jarmusch movie. (read the rest of this shit…)

Nashville (and my visit to Nashville)

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

tn_nashvilleI don’t know what I expected Robert Altman’s NASHVILLE was, but not this. It’s about 2 1/2 hours, and it’s about Nashville, and it’s about America, and I don’t know what it’s about. It might be stretching it to describe it as having a plot. It’s a huge cast, too many characters for me to keep good track of, and it purposely doesn’t bother with explaining who they are. But I rarely felt lost or bored.

The characters are mostly people hovering around Nashville’s famous music industry (circa 1975). There’s an old country legend (Henry Gibson), a white gospel singer (Lily Tomlin), a black country singer (Timmy Brown), some rock n roll guys, some managers and associates and what not. And they’re all kinda buzzing around the same events: a ceremony for returning soldiers at the airport, a traffic jam on the way home, an outdoor concert, a fundraiser, a concert for an independent presidential candidate whose platform we hear blaring out of speakers all throughout the movie but whose face we never see. (read the rest of this shit…)