Archive for the ‘Thriller’ Category

Oldboy (2013 remake)

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

tn_oldboyBefore I talk about the remake of OLDBOY it’s important that I say I liked the original but only saw it one time 8 years ago. Here’s what I wrote about it then.

In the remake directed by Spike Lee and written by Mark Protosevich (THE CELL, I AM LEGEND), Josh Brolin (THRASHIN’) plays a Nick Nolte character named Joe Doucett. He’s an alcoholic, sexually harassing deadbeat dad and advertising asshole who after a long night of drinking, puking and crying in 1993 meets a woman who takes him to a hotel and when he wakes up he realizes she’s not there and there are no windows or doorknobs. One of those hotel conundrums, you know. And this was before Yelp and shit like that so he couldn’t even give them a bad review. Turns out this is not a normal hotel in that you can’t leave. Someone, for some reason, has locked him in this weird prison. Every day they stick a plate of dumplings and a bottle of vodka through a hatch in the door, but they don’t tell him why he’s here.
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Obsessed

Monday, December 16th, 2013

tn_obsessedI guess Beyonce Knowles released a “surprise album” on iTunes on Friday. They didn’t announce it in advance or anything and word spread like word spreads on the internet and holy shit it became the number one selling digital file album of such and such. Everybody lost their shit and wrote headlines and everything. Amazing! Revolutionary! It may seem like a clever attention-getting gimmick for a star of her size to not bother with marketing, but here’s the truth: her husband Jay-Z knew through the Illuminati that I had just watched Beyonce’s Christmas-time thriller OBSESSED and was about to put up a review. So she knew she had to rush the album’s release in order to take advantage of that extra spotlight. Your welcome, Beyonce.

Like in DIE HARD, the shit goes down at an office Christmas party for some L.A. financial something-or-other firm. But instead of faux-terrorists taking over the building it’s a stalker executive assistant trying to take a married man. Lisa (Ali Larter from FINAL DESTINATION) is a temp who’s been breathing all over Derek Charles (Idris Elba, GHOST RIDER’S SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE), listening in on his phone calls, finding out too much about him, putting him in uncomfortable situations. The camera makes her seductive, zeroing in on her crossed legs when she sits near him, her glossed lips when she smiles at him. (read the rest of this shit…)

Whiskey Mountain

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

tn_whiskeymountainWHISKEY MOUNTAIN is an obscure movie I came across through my usual Slasher Search method of scanning for VHS boxes in the horror section. It’s from 1977 and I’m pretty sure it was made after the filmatists saw 1974’s THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, but you could probly stick it in the DELIVERANCE redneck attack type of genre more than in horror.

This is the story of two couples who take their dirtbikes up into some mountains in search of treasure. Like in TEXAS CHAIN SAW they’re looking for family property they vaguely know about, and a local business proprietor warns them they don’t want to be nosing around on other people’s property. Also like in CHAIN SAW that local shows up later on as one of the attackers. (read the rest of this shit…)

Passion

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

tn_passionHoly shit, Brian De Palma made a new movie. It’s a remake of the 2010 French thriller LOVE CRIME, but it’s still a new Brian De Palma movie. Rachel McAdams from MEAN GIRLS plays Christine, a grown-up mean girl high up in an advertising firm. Isabelle (Noomi Rapace, DEAD MAN DOWN) has a big career opportunity coming to Christine’s place to work on a smart phone campaign. She’s nervous but they get along well. Christine seems to be a cool boss and collaborator until she brazenly takes credit for the ad that Isabelle came up with and created entirely without her. Even worse she convinces Isabelle that it was okay to do that to her because they’re a team and one’s success makes the whole team look good or some bullshit like that.
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The Purge

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

tn_purgeWhat if in the near future “unemployment is at 1%, crime is at an all time low, because one night a year” – on March 22nd, for a 12 hour period – “ALL CRIME IS LEGAL!”

You know, everybody gets all their rapes and murders out, everybody does their shoplifting and meth dealing, and public defecating and car theft and kidnapping and arson and all that, just let it loose on that day and unless you want to beat someone’s face in with a crowbar or jack off in front of your neighbors you just stay indoors and out of trouble. And all because of that 12 hours of mayhem the rest of the year the streets are so clean Paul Kersey could eat off ‘em!

Other than on March 22nd, llife would be so much better. And we must consider the value of this trade off. Would an almost-year of peace be worth the dangers and moral complexities of that one day? Thinking about THE PURGE you can’t help but consider the ramifications of trying something like this, ’cause it would obviously work, right? Why haven’t we done this?

Admittedly I have some questions. Are people really goonna postpone all their crimes of passion until that period? Can serial killers hold it in that long? Do mentally ill people know how to schedule when to snap? Can the drug trade get all their work done in one day a year? And what are they gonna do with their 364 day weekend? (read the rest of this shit…)

Gravity

Monday, October 7th, 2013

tn_gravityGRAVITY is the new one from Alfonso Cuaron, genius director who hasn’t done one since CHILDREN OF MEN seven years ago. You remember for that he and his criminally award-snubbed cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (THE TREE OF LIFE, THE CAT IN THE HAT [!?]) devised several completely jaw-dropping long take shots where the protagonists run through these crazy battles and go through all kinds of shit without any visible edits. Remember that scene where the car is rolling down the hill and they get attacked by a band of marauders, or the one where he has to fight his way up the stairs looking for his elephant? Or actually I think one of those was TOM YUM-GOONG. But even so there were some great ones in CHILDREN OF MEN, and for GRAVITY they took that to the next level, doing most of the movie in long unbroken takes. You just stop thinking about it, but apparently the first shot lasts 17 minutes. And this is in an era when 17 seconds without a cut would seem like a long time.

Like AVATAR, this plays like a live action movie but actually has more animation onscreen than organic human flesh. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play astronauts who are out in their astronaut suits fixing a satellite or telescope or some scientifical type shit when debris from an exploded satellite wrecks the shuttle and kills the rest of their crew. They have no contact with earth, no space ship and limited resources they gotta try to use to get their ass to the International Space Station or whatever. One of those space joints they got up there. Stop me if I use too much technical jargon and what not. (read the rest of this shit…)

Abducted II: The Reunion

Friday, October 4th, 2013

tn_abductediislashersearch13I think ABDUCTED was a barely seen drive-in type of movie. IMDb doesn’t even have a release date or box office info for it. Have you ever heard of it? No. But nine years later in the completely different climate of mid-90s DTV they actually made a sequel. The titleational reunion, thankfully, is not between Renee and Vern, it’s between three old college friends. And also between Vern (still Lawrence King-Phillips, still alive despite getting shot off a bridge and splattered against a bunch of rocks, legendary in the area, now even crazier and living in a cave like it’s a prequel to OFFSPRING) and his dad Joe (still Dan Haggerty, still hanging around the woods). And of course it’s a reunion between Haggerty, King-Phillips, writer-director Boon Collins and co-writer Lindsay Bourne.

It follows alot of the usual sequel standards: cheesier and more TV-movie than the first one, rehashed plot, ante upped. Well, they up the ante by having three women instead of one: Maria (Raquel Bianca), Sharon (Debbie Rochon) and Ingrid (Donna Jason). This time you get to know them a little bit before Vern jumps out of the bushes. They’re old friends on a trip together, they don’t like the idea of hunting, they’re rude to the locals, one of them is in the middle of a bad breakup, another one seems like maybe she’s gonna make a move on that one, etc. They camp out in a tent together, drink and are real loud and obnoxious even though they know they’re bothering a nerdy park ranger guy nearby (they don’t know that he’s thinking about them and jerking off, though). (read the rest of this shit…)

Abducted

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

tn_abductedslashersearch13This is not really a slasher movie, there’s not much of a body count and the villain uses a gun, not a knife. And I didn’t find it in the horror section. But it does involve an innocent woman out in the woods getting abducted by a crazy mountain man, and there is a part 2. It sounded like enough echoes of TEXAS CHAIN SAW to be worth giving it a shot.

Renee (Roberta Weiss, THE DEAD ZONE) is a lady in pink Nike sweats out for a jog on a hiking trail somewhere (it was filmed in or around Vancouver) when suddenly she gets jumped by a crazy shades-wearing mountain man named Vern (Lawrence King-Phillips, ROLLING VENGEANCE), who ties a rope around her neck like a leash and makes her come with him. The cover says it’s based on a true story so I want to make perfectly clear that they better not be saying it’s based on me. I never abducted nobody. I’ll sue. (read the rest of this shit…)

Summer Movie Flashback: Inception

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

tn_inception

2010

2010

The best way to explain the genius of INCEPTION is just to describe what’s going on at the climax. The main characters are all asleep on a jet, dreaming that they’re in a van that’s crashed and is falling off a bridge. All but the driver, Dileep Rao, are asleep and are also in a dream-within-a-dream where they’re tied together floating weightlessly in an elevator. Joseph Gordon Levitt is preparing to wake them up, the rest are asleep and in a dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream about blowing up a snowy fortress. But Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page are asleep there because they’re actually in a dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream where Leo is making the emotional decision to leave behind a SOLARIS-type living memory of his dead wife Marion Cotillard to go into a limbo to rescue his client, Ken Watanabe, who has lived a whole life there and is now an old man and forgets that he’s not in reality, because time passes at a different pace within each of these worlds. And there is a decades long slowed down music cue that tells Leo the van in the first dream is about to hit the water and wake them all up.

And here’s the kicker: all of this was understandable even on the first viewing for knuckleheads like me and the millions of people who made it a huge hit summer movie. I mean, you don’t have to like it, but it takes a silly motherfucker to deny the accomplishment of making such an effective mainstream thriller out of a concept this complicated. (read the rest of this shit…)

Summer Movie Flashback: The Taking of Pelham 123

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

tn_takingofpelham

2009

2009

After their disagreement over DOMINO, my eyeballs and Tony Scott’s movies weren’t speaking to each other for years. But UNSTOPPABLE was okay and then the poor guy died and my eyeballs started to feel kinda bad and got nostalgic for all the good times of TRUE ROMANCE and CRIMSON TIDE and all that, and they finally saw REVENGE and they liked that quite a bit. You know, maybe if they had known what was coming they could’ve patched things up like N.W.A. did when Eazy E was dying. But that just wasn’t the way it worked out. It’s too bad.

Anyway I got caught in the middle of that beef and that’s why I skipped PELHAM 123 until now. Plus I really like the original and thought (well, knew) it could only suffer from updating. (read the rest of this shit…)