Marie Antoinette and The Prestige

THE PRESTIGE and MARIE ANTOINETTE double feature

This week was one of those ones that start coming up toward the end of the year where there’s just too many movies you want to see all coming out on the same day. And me being an obsessive motherfucker I try to tackle them all at once. We got three reliable directors all hitting the same day here. #1 priority for me was Clint’s FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, but I already saw that at an early screening. So that left Chris Nolan’s THE PRESTIGE and Sofia Coppola’s MARIE ANTOINETTE. So I watched them both in a row, liked both, also fell asleep during both. (You gotta go to sleep the night before one of these double-headers, it turns out.)

To be honest I wasn’t even gonna review MARIE because, let’s face it, I am not a girl. This is not only a girl movie but a long, arty, low on plot girl movie. I think some of you cinemasters are gonna love the shit out of it but alot of my readers would probaly never be able to sit through it. Still, I’ve read so many reviews that clearly didn’t fucking GET this movie that I decided I had to comment. (read the rest of this shit…)

Running Scared (2006)

I really don’t have a problem with America’s team captain, Paul Walker. Alot of people seem to hate this guy, but I think he’s pretty good at playing these straight laced hunky characters in movies like THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS and EIGHT BELOW. But I gotta admit, when I saw the trailer for RUNNING SCARED I thought it looked like the worst shit ever. Paul Walker doing an accent, playing a mob guy? I wasn’t buying it. It didn’t help that the trailer ended with mobsters trying to hit a glowing hockey puck into Walker’s mouth. Like it’s not enough to hit the guy in the face, they gotta make it visually appealing and EXTREME.

But there are two things that the trailer didn’t get across. One, that Paul Walker actually does a pretty good job playing this type of character. I was hoping that Clint’s FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS would be the movie that shows Walker is a little better than people thought, but his part in that one turned out to be minimal. Instead it was this one that makes you think huh, maybe he could play other types of characters. Hard to say. The second thing the trailer didn’t get across about RUNNING SCARED is that it’s a crazed, ridiculous movie where the day-glo hockey rink fits right in. And I guess the third thing is that Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines are not in this one, it’s Paul Walker. (read the rest of this shit…)

Phenomena

If you know your horror you know about Dario Argento, the crazy Italian fuck responsible for SUSPIRIA, DEEP RED and Asia Argento. Even if you don’t dig his movies or daughter you have to give him credit for putting together Goblin, the band who made the distinctive scores for alot of his movies as well as DAWN OF THE DEAD and that movie where Art Carney refuses to leave before Mount St. Helens erupts. I also really like INFERNO, the movie I brought up the most when trying to convince people that SILENT HILL was a surreal nightmare world and not just a moronic video game adaptation with stiff dialogue that made no sense like they thought it was.

I thought I had seen most of the big ones by Argento and I had kind of avoided this one PHENOMENA that didn’t have as good of a reputation. Maybe part of the problem is that it’s better known in the U.S. as CREEPERS, the version where they cut out about a half an hour. But at least in its uncut form I really dug this strange fucking movie about an American girl (Academy Award winner Jennifer Connelly) sent to a Swiss boarding school during a murder spree. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Marine

The second ever film under the prestigious WWE Films banner is sort of a half-assed COMMANDO rip-off starring John Cena. Yeah, I never heard of him either but apparently he is or was the heavyweight champion, he has a rap album and his championship belt has a rotating thing on it like those asinine spinning rims that rappers use to dispose of some of their disposable income. But he doesn’t do anything that cool/asinine in this movie. Basically, imagine a bland clean cut muscleman with no personality, and the PG-13 action movie that would be built around him.

The movie starts out with promising ridiculousness. First you got the WWE Films logo, which is still misleadingly classy with an orchestra tuning up, and still does not even explode or bleed or anything that you would expect it to do. But it does rotate into the opening titles which involve Mr. Cena in full marine uniform doing a salute while standing on top of a giant flag. So far so good. Then it goes to the prologue where John Cena (as the fictional character John Triton) is in Iraq, sneaking around an “al Quaeda compound, 100 miles outside of Tikrit.” (Bush hasn’t convinced the world that there’s a connection between 9-11 and the Iraq fiasco, but maybe he’s convinced the WWE.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Last Night at the Alamo

During my recent two-week TEXAS CHAINSAW binge I learned of the existence of this movie I’d never heard before. It was written by Kim Henkel (co-writer of the original TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, writer/director of part 4). It also stars Lou Perryman two years before he played the lovable loogie-spittin’ sidekick L.G. in TCSM part 2. (He was also assistant cameraman on part 1.)

But this is not a horror movie by any stretch of the imagination, in fact if I was gonna compare it to any movie it would have to be CLERKS. Because this is a low budget, 16mm black and white slice of life movie about some regular people hanging out in a bar called The Alamo. It’s the last night before it’s gonna get demolished, and almost the entire movie takes place inside, in the parking lot, or at a house right across the street. (The opening scene is the farthest you get from the Alamo, it shows one of the characters driving to The Alamo in real time.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern Reviews FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS!!

Merrick here…

The fabulous Vern sent in his thoughts on FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS. His reviewis rather long, so I’ll get out of the way and let him speak for himself.

Here’s Vern…

Well, shit. I feel like an asshole giving a room-temperature review to my man Clint Eastwood’s long awaited WWII drama. Because Clint is the best. If there was some reason why the entire human race had to be destroyed except for one movie star, and I had to choose who it would be, I would choose Clint. I don’t care if he’s old, he’s the number one Badass Laureate of all time. He’d make a damn good last representative of our species, and he could still take on the vampires pretty good I think. But despite (and partly because of) my great respect for the man, I gotta be honest: I don’t consider this a great movie. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Slumber Party Massacre

This is a slasher movie about girls at a slumber party, and a dude with a portable drill. There is no pillow fights or nothing but otherwise it pretty much plays out how you would imagine.

Almost anywhere you read about this movie they say it’s a feminist slasher movie. I can see a touch here or there that supports that theory, but I am positive that pretty much every one of these people would be saying it was misogynistic if it was directed by a man. In most respects it’s exactly like every other slasher movie of the time, including showing lots of gratuitous female (and not male) nudity. When the girl gets up in the morning you see her take her shirt off to change into a dress. When she goes to school you see lots of nudity in the locker room, including a really funny shot (I’m not sure if it’s intentionally funny or not) that pans down and just focuses on a girl’s ass for a while before panning back up to where it started. Then during the slumber party they all take their clothes off to change into their night clothes and for the most part don’t wear pants for the rest of the movie. The other characters, who don’t get naked, wear those tight running shorts that were popular at the time. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern tells you all about the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2: THE GRUESOME EDITION DVD!!!

Boys, boys, boys–

These last couple weeks have been tough on my mental facilities. I reviewed that great new “ULTIMATE” edition of the original TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, I also revisited parts 3 and 4 in that original series, then on Thursday I reviewed the new prequel to the remake. So by that point I’d studied and written about pretty much every angle to the whole Texas Chainsaw deal. You’d think I’d be done with it by now, but there is one final chapter: the one spinoff of the original movie that achieves its own level of True Greatness. I am talking about Tobe Hooper’s 1986 sequel, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2. It’s been available on DVD for a couple years in a bare bones edition (get it, that is a pun because of all the skeletons they have) but Tuesday it comes out in a much deserved special edition with new commentaries, featurettes and deleted scenes. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN vs. CRAPPY TEXAS CHAINSAW REMAKE: THE PREQUEL!!

SPOILER ALERT !!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

Honestly, I didn’t even have the energy to write this one up. I am depressed by how much I disagree with Harry and anyone else who gave this a pass. This is what we’re settling for now in horror? I think it’s a huge mistake to demystify something as potent as Leatherface, and I think this is every bit as rotten and bankrupt as Nispel’s remake a few years ago.

But why take my word for it? Here’s Vern, who I trust to explain it for you:

My friends,

Against all odds, this is actually alot better than anyone could’ve imagined. Admittedly, a prequel seems like a bad idea, and the director has only done one movie (that even he says is bad), and he told the Fangoria horror magazine he never even saw any TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE movies before he signed on. But somehow this movie is good ol’ horrory fun!

That’s how my review would start if I was a lying scumbag. But I tell it like it is, so I gotta tell you, if you hated the remake like I did you should skip this one. It’s the same old shit. The best compliment I can muster is “It has a couple funny lines.” Or how about, “I haven’t decided if it’s as bad as the remake or not.” That would make a good quote on the poster I think. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre

TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION

Well in a serious bid to not hate the upcoming TEXAS CHAIN SAW remake prequel, I decided to mentally condition myself by rewatching the two bad sequels, parts 3-4. But I don’t know, maybe I’m getting soft in my old age, maybe the remake lowered the bar, maybe it’s some kind of Stockholm Syndrome deal, but this week I found out I really don’t hate these two movies like I used to. They’re not good sequels, no, but I was able to appreciate them a little more after all these years. The little fuckers are starting to grow on me.

I also realized the secret behind the failure of the sequels. Every one of them is basically a loose remake, but without all the elements that were in place to make the first one work. You can’t catch lightning in a bottle 4 times unless you’re really good with a bottle, and not even Tobe Hooper is that good with a bottle anymore. The sequels are all closer to the original than the actual remake is. They change the reason why the victims are in town, they have a different lineup for the family (and a different person playing Leatherface), and they add some new twists here and there. But they’re all basically some people come to town, get stuck at the house, they’re tormented in crazy ways, there’s the dinner scene, they escape, they battle, they get away. (read the rest of this shit…)