The Stuff (1985) Review

The Stuff (1985)

Directed & Written by Larry Cohen

Starring: Michael Moriarty, Andrea Marcovicci, Garrett Morris, Paul Sorvino, Scott Bloom, Brian Bloom, Danny Aiello, Patrick O’Neal

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A delicious, mysterious goo that oozes from the earth is marketed as the newest dessert sensation, but the tasty treat rots more than teeth when zombie-like snackers who only want to consume more of the strange substance at any cost begin infesting the world.

My Opinion:

SPOILERS. I’m gonna post spoiler-y photos because I have to. They’re hilarious.

This movie popped up on Amazon Prime recently and I was excited because I’ve been wanting to see it. Mainly because it’s on Arrow Video (look at that cool DVD cover at the top of this post!). I usually like cult Arrow Video shit. The poster is cool too. Looks like the kind of cheesy Eighties horror comedy shit that I love! Even the logo they use to market this “mysterious goo” in the movie is cool. Look at this! I’d buy this if it was a real product:

Well, the movie certainly doesn’t live up to its cool poster or fake product marketing. It’s not even “so bad it’s good”, which I was hoping for. It’s just bad. Bad and boring.

What can I say about this?! It’s one of those movies I ended up not really paying any attention to while I fucked around on my phone. I thought it might be a little bit body horror but the “gore” was really cheesy & low budget. At one point a guy got punched in the face and his face sort of caved in & broke apart and it looked dodgy as hell. Then another guy’s head basically blew up but not in a super cool Scanners kind of way – more in a claymation Peter Gabriel Sledgehammer kind of way (I love that filthy song). This movie might have worked as a serious David Cronenberg-style body horror. But nope.


“Open up your fruit cage…”

Then I thought it might be a horror comedy. But then there was no comedy (at least, I think not any intentional comedy). So… Nope again!

Then I thought it was maybe a clever social commentary, like Society or the 1978 masterpiece Dawn Of The Dead. Nope! Although I think it may have been trying to be this; It just did a piss poor job and the story was kind of incoherent.

Not a body horror. Not a horror comedy. Not a social commentary. Not some great “cult classic” like I was hoping. What a disappointment. Hell, even looking at these photos now I’m thinking “I totally want to see this movie! It looks awesomebad!“. Maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe it IS so bad it’s good?! Look at this, though – How dodgy-looking is this?!:

The most entertaining thing to come out of this was seeing Brian Bloom again, who I completely forgot existed. When I was 12/13 and buying girly teen magazines, they always had posters of him since he was this blue-eyed heartthrob. I had no idea what the fuck he was even in. There were several obscure actors always in girly 80s teen magazines so my mind wandered during this boring movie and I started trying to remember the more obscure ones (not the obvious ones like Johnny Depp and The Two Coreys and Kirk Cameron. Ha!). Let’s see… Andre Gower! Ryan Lambert! Brian Bloom! Who the fuck were they?! No idea. But they were briefly on my bedroom walls in the Eighties. And I’ve once again totally dated myself. God I’m old. Thanks, The Stuff! You were boring AND you reminded me that I’m fucking old!

My Rating: 5/10

*Okay, I’m a liar. I admit that I of course remember that Andre & Ryan were in The Monster Squad in 1987. Andre was my biggest crush of these three. And all three are still totally cute in the recent photos I found. Especially Andre. Cutie. Not that I went Googling him…

Ghost Stories (2017) & Starry Eyes (2014) Reviews

Happy Halloween Horror Month 2019! Today I’m reposting my mini-reviews of Ghost Stories & Starry Eyes. I wasn’t a fan of either…

Ghost Stories (2017)

Directed & Written by Jeremy Dyson & Andy Nyman

Based on Ghost Stories by Jeremy Dyson & Andy Nyman

Starring: Andy Nyman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther, Martin Freeman

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Ghost Stories is a 2017 British horror film written and directed by Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, based on their 2010 stage play of the same name. It stars Nyman reprising his role from the play, as a man devoted to debunking fraudulent psychics, who is tasked with solving three unexplained paranormal events.

My Brief Opinion:

Wow. This was boring. I normally enjoy horror anthologies and this sounded good on IMDb: “Skeptical professor Phillip Goodman embarks on a trip to the terrifying after finding a file with details of three unexplained cases of apparitions.” The overall story was pretty good, in a Twilight Zone type of way, but the individual stories were bog standard ghost/demon stories and the ways they were presented weren’t at all scary (I’m never a fan of seeing too much, especially when the effects & make-up look cheesy). And the “twist” ending, which was okay, didn’t make up for the previous almost hour and a half of cheesy, boring hauntings. Modern horror is so often a huge disappointment for me.

My Rating: 5/10

Starry Eyes (2014)

Directed & Written by Kevin Kölsch & Dennis Widmyer

Starring: Alexandra Essoe, Amanda Fuller, Noah Segan

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Starry Eyes features Alexandra Essoe as a hopeful young starlet that finds that fame’s price is not always easily paid.

My Brief Opinion:

I hated this. But I don’t feel like trashing it since, well, I assume it’s a low budget film that people worked hard to create and what the hell have I done with MY life? Huh? Nothing! I’ve never made a movie. So they’ve accomplished more than I ever will. Right? Man I hated this movie. I’m never listening to “Horror Twitter” users again. They praise ALL horror movies. I’ll give this an extra half a point for, um, the fact that they made a movie & I haven’t. I’m feeling generous today. Yeah, I realize this isn’t a “review”. I can’t be bothered. I’ve got stuff to do, dammit.

My Rating: 2.5/10

The Funhouse (1981) & The Monster (2016) Reviews

Happy Halloween Horror Month 2019! Today I’m reposting my mini-reviews of The Funhouse & The Monster…

The Funhouse (1981) (also released as Carnival of Terror)

Directed by Tobe Hooper

Starring: Elizabeth Berridge, Cooper Huckabee, Largo Woodruff, Miles Chapin, Kevin Conway, Sylvia Miles, William Finley

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film’s plot concerns four teenagers who become trapped in a dark ride at a local carnival and are stalked by a deformed killer inside.

My Brief Opinion:

Not only do I love 70’s horror… I also love cheesy 80’s horror! So this Tobe Hooper movie seemed right up my alley. PLUS it’s set in a carnival and I always love this sort of setting. And a Funhouse! What’s better than a creepy-ass Funhouse?! Well… damn. This movie isn’t exactly the worst 80’s horror I’ve seen since I’ve seen MANY bad ones – It’s just very forgettable. Maybe I hyped it up too much in my mind. Meh. Watch it only if you’re sad like me and feel the urge to watch every movie ever made in my favorite sort of genres…

My Rating: 5/10

The Monster (2016)

Directed & Written by Bryan Bertino

Starring: Zoe Kazan & Ella Ballentine

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Its plot follows a troubled mother and her adolescent daughter who find themselves stranded at night on a country road with a malicious creature hunting them.

My Brief Opinion:

This was fine for a (I’m assuming) low-budget indie “horror”. It’s more of a psychological horror, although you do see the monster (even though it’s symbolic of the mother and her strained relationship with her daughter). If you want a straight-up horror, this one probably won’t be your kind of thing. If you want an indie drama about a mother & daughter with some decent acting (for a “horror” movie), you might like this one. But I gotta admit it’s a little boring & the mother (played by Zoe Kazan) is a little too hateful.

My Rating: 6/10

Cam (2018) & The Love Witch (2016) Reviews

For October Horror Month, I’ll be re-posting some mini-reviews of horror movies that I watched in the past year. Here are my reviews for Cam & The Love Witch

The Love Witch (2016)

Directed & Written by Anna Biller

Starring: Samantha Robinson, Gian Keys, Laura Waddell, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Jared Sanford, Robert Seeley, Jennifer Ingrum

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars Samantha Robinson as Elaine, a modern-day witch who uses spells and magic to get men to fall in love with her with disastrous results.

My Brief Opinion:

Like American Mary, this was on Film 4 the other week and I was really happy as I’d been intrigued by the look of this one since it first came out. Damn – this was a huge disappointment. While I did indeed love the look of it, I can’t say that I thought the film was good. Film critics will say something about this exploring gender roles or some shit but I thought the film was all style & no substance. However, I appreciate the effort it made on its 60’s aesthetic and the lead actress is definitely beautiful (and half naked quite often, which may be why the positive reviews I’ve seen have mostly been from dudes. Hmm). As a woman, I was hoping to like this a lot more as it’s from a female director and has a strong female role. It’s artsy and pleasing to the eye but the intentionally bad acting and the slow pace made it a chore to even finish it. Still, it has fans and I can see why it would as it’s a unique film. It just didn’t work for me personally, so don’t let my unenthusiastic review keep you from watching it if you like the look of it.

My Rating: 5.5/10


Honestly, this chick is gorgeous. As if she’d need to use spells to get guys to fuck her.

Cam (2018)

Directed by Daniel Goldhaber

Starring: Madeline Brewer, Patch Darragh, Melora Walters, Devin Druid, Imani Hakim, Michael Dempsey

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Alice, an ambitious camgirl, wakes up one day to discover she’s been replaced on her show with an exact replica of herself.

My Brief Opinion:

I really need to stop trusting tweets from Twitter’s “horror community”. I’ve realized that they rave about every horror movie no matter how good or bad it really is. Cam is yet another Netflix film that everyone thinks is great, probably because they get to watch it at home as part of their subscription, which is a lot easier than dragging your butt off the couch to go the cinema to watch something that’s actually good. Netflix is the new equivalent of “straight to video” in the Eighties. Anyway, after all my bitching I can see why this would have some fans (especially horny guys). And, yes – it’s an original story so I definitely give it credit for that in this day & age of sequels and reboots. It’s a good concept but having a thoroughly annoying character as its focus didn’t really work. I don’t want to hate all the characters in a movie – it just means that I don’t care what happens to them. To be fair, this movie did have a good idea and I think I’d have liked it okay if they’d gone about it differently. Plus the porn thing didn’t work for me, I suppose, since I’m a girl. Hey – whatever happened to Babestation in the UK? Is that still around?? I haven’t been channel surfing at 3am in recent years…

My Rating: 5/10

Better Watch Out (2016) & Amber Lake (2011) Reviews

For October Horror Month, I’ll be re-posting some mini-reviews of horror movies that I watched in the past year. Here are my reviews for Better Watch Out & Amber Lake

Better Watch Out (2016)

Directed by Chris Peckover

Starring: Olivia DeJonge, Levi Miller, Ed Oxenbould, Aleks Mikic, Dacre Montgomery, Patrick Warburton, Virginia Madsen

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
On a quiet suburban street, a babysitter must defend a twelve-year-old boy from intruders, only to discover it’s far from a normal home invasion.

My Brief Opinion:

This was an odd one. I was excited about this as I like a good Christmas horror comedy: Gremlins is an all-time favorite & I thought Krampus was a fun film. The marketing was strange for this… I got the impression that it might be another comedy horror such as Krampus but it’s nothing of the sort despite being listed as a “comedy crime horror thriller” on IMDb. Everything I read said to avoid spoilers for this so I’ll not say much about it other than that I absolutely hated the turn that this film took. As I’ve said before, it takes a hell of a lot to offend me but I didn’t like the creepy way this played out. And, as always, I hate movies filled with hateful characters (though the girl wasn’t too bad). I don’t know. This has an okay IMDb rating (as far as horrors go) so clearly some must like it but I can’t for the life of me imagine who as I can think of no one I would recommend this movie to.

My Rating: 4.5/10

Amber Lake (2011)

Directed & Written by Joe Robert Cole

Starring: Carmen Argenziano, Mekenna Melvin, Natalie Smyka, Melina Lizette, Polly Cole

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
Three half-sisters, after being invited to their father’s lake house to meet him and each other for the first time, are each questioned by a local sheriff to explain the events that took place leading up to the discovery of their father floating dead in the lake.

My Brief Opinion:

This was one of those movies with a decent story idea but truly hateful characters. The low budget didn’t help either, I suppose. Actually, one of the Ambers was okay (Mekenna Melvin). The girls are all named Amber because their father is an asshole and you wouldn’t blame any of them for wanting to possibly kill him. The movie uses the Rashômon concept of telling the same story from different perspectives. But that of course worked in the hands of Akira Kurosawa as he was a genius and one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. Amber Lake is no Rashômon! Obviously. Um… I don’t actually know what to say about this. Here’s the plot synopsis from IMDb: “Three half-sisters, after being invited to their father’s lake house to meet him and each other for the first time, are each questioned by a local sheriff to explain the events that took place leading up to the discovery of their father floating dead in the lake.”

It’s on Amazon Prime in the UK if you’re interested but do yourself a favor & watch Rashômon instead. Or any Kurosawa film. To be fair, though, I’ve seen worse “horror” films (well, this is more of a “mystery thriller”) with much bigger budgets. I guess Amber Lake did have some potential and it had a decent ending. And I hated the baddie in Better Watch Out FAR more than any characters in this.

My Rating: 5/10

Bird Box (2018) & Winchester (2018) Reviews

For October Horror Month, I’ll be re-posting some mini-reviews of horror movies that I watched in the past year. Here are my reviews for the rubbish films Bird Box & Winchester

Bird Box (2018)

Directed by Susanne Bier

Based on Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Danielle Macdonald, Sarah Paulson

Music by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows a woman, played by Sandra Bullock, as she tries to protect herself and two children from malevolent supernatural entities that make people who look at them go insane and commit suicide.

My Brief Opinion:

Ugh. I read the book by Josh Malerman (review HERE) and enjoyed it. Really good story only let down slightly by unlikable characters. I like Bullock but she was so wrong for this role. Not that it matters, I suppose, but the character in the book is half her age. Then the film changed the story so much until the very end. I don’t understand why films make changes when completely unnecessary and when it actually makes the story worse. This does pick up a little toward the end when the focus is on Bullock and the kids (and when it also isn’t straying so far from the book). Dreadful acting in this film, as well. Just read the book.

My Rating: 5/10

Winchester (2018)

Directed by The Spierig Brothers

Starring: Helen Mirren, Jason Clarke, Sarah Snook

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars Helen Mirren as heiress Sarah Winchester, with Jason Clarke and Sarah Snook, and follows Winchester as she is haunted by spirits inside her San Jose mansion in 1906.

My Brief Opinion:

Bloody hell. Modern horror really does suck. What an utter snoozefest this was. Again, it sounded so good on IMDb: “Ensconced in her sprawling California mansion, eccentric firearm heiress Sarah Winchester believes she is haunted by the souls of people killed by the Winchester repeating rifle.” How did they manage to make an intriguing story so damn boring? And what a waste of Helen Mirren (I like that saucy lady) and Sarah Snook (absolutely brilliant in the fantastic Predestination). To be fair, I was paying zero attention by the end since I was playing on my phone out of sheer boredom. Maybe I missed something that made this good? Unlikely since it was up for a bunch of Razzie Awards, I guess.

My Rating: 5/10

The Sentinel (1977) & Curtains (1983) Reviews

For October Horror Month, I’m re-posting some mini-reviews of horror movies that I watched in the past year. Here are my reviews for The Sentinel & Curtains

The Sentinel (1977)

Directed by Michael Winner

Based on The Sentinel by Jeffrey Konvitz

Starring: Chris Sarandon, Cristina Raines, Martin Balsam, John Carradine, José Ferrer, Ava Gardner, Arthur Kennedy, Burgess Meredith, Sylvia Miles, Deborah Raffin, Eli Wallach

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot focuses on a young model who moves into a historic Brooklyn brownstone that has been sectioned into apartments, only to find that its proprietors are excommunicated Catholic priests and that the building is a gateway to Hell.

My Brief Opinion:

Ugh. I love 70’s horror so had been meaning to check this out for a while as I’d never seen it. Plus, it has Burgess Meredith in it (love him!). I wasn’t missing much. There was some messy, incoherent story about, I dunno… priests or some shit? It doesn’t matter – the story was stupid. There was some fun weirdness in this, though, and some unnecessary nudity. Maybe that’s why some people remember this fondly; they got to see some boobies and therefore forgot that the overall film was a bit crap.

Oh, we also got to see Beverly D’Angelo playing with herself…

Yeah, that’s ruined National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation for me a bit. What’s funny is that, for a crap 70’s horror, this had some very big names in it! Here are some of them: Cristina Raines, Chris Sarandon, Ava Gardner, Burgess Meredith, Sylvia Miles, Eli Wallach, Christopher Walken, Jeff Goldblum, John Carradine, Jerry Orbach, Tom Berenger, and, of course, Beverly D’Angelo masturbating. This movie was a real waste of some big stars.

My Rating: 5/10

Curtains (1983)

Directed by Richard Ciupka (as Jonathan Stryker) & Peter R. Simpson (uncredited)

Starring: John Vernon, Linda Thorson, Samantha Eggar, Anne Ditchburn, Lynne Griffin, Lesleh Donaldson, Sandee Currie

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Centered on theater and filmmaking, its plot focuses on a group of actresses auditioning for a role in a movie at a prestigious director’s mansion, where they are targeted by a masked killer.

My Brief Opinion:

Meh. This probably deserves to be ranked below American Mary & The Love Witch (which I saw at the same time) as it wasn’t very good but I’m just a sucker for cheesy 80’s slashers. Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis for this mediocre horror film with a kick-ass poster: “A slasher film centered on theater and filmmaking, its plot focuses on a group of actresses targeted by a masked killer at a prestigious director’s remote mansion where they are auditioning for a role in a movie.” Look at that awesome 80’s movie poster for this film!

This stars Samantha Eggar (from David Cronenberg’s brilliant The Brood) as an actress so desperate for a role as a crazy woman in a new film that she has herself checked into a mental hospital for “research”. I’ll say that part of the reason I’ve wanted to see this for years was because of that doll in that cool poster. I love a creepy doll movie! Well, this isn’t a creepy doll movie, although the doll is used in an effective way in a couple of creepy scenes. This movie is fine. It’s a fairly predictable 80’s slasher but better than some of them. It’s worth a watch on Amazon Prime but only if it’s a genre you like.

My Rating: 6/10

Green Book, Instant Family, Can You Ever Forgive Me? & Eighth Grade Movie Reviews

I managed to see four 2019 UK cinema releases while on planes to and from America in August (I realize they were 2018 releases in the US). I’d not flown anywhere for years – When did the movie selection get so good & recent?? I figured I’d give these quickie reviews since I try to review all UK film releases each year. I’ll start with the best and end with the worst…

Green Book (2018)

Directed by Peter Farrelly

Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Set in 1962, the film is inspired by the true story of a tour of the Deep South by African American classical and jazz pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) and Italian American bouncer Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) who served as Shirley’s driver and bodyguard.

My Opinion:

I’m glad I managed to catch up on seeing this controversial Best Picture Oscar winner. I enjoyed it. I know there’s a lot of hate for this one but I thought the performances were strong and I always like stories involving an unlikely friendship between two very different personalities. I thought Mahershala Ali was great in Moonlight and, at the time, was hoping he’d get more roles so I’m happy that’s happening (and that he keeps winning Oscars). I thought his character & Viggo Mortensen’s worked well together and it felt realistic in that the friendship was often awkward and grew very slowly as they were so different.

Is it true to their real life story? I think some of the controversy comes from Don Shirley’s family saying the two weren’t friends at all (the film was co-written by Frank Vallelonga’s son) but interviews with Shirley himself say differently. Who knows? That’s just what I read at Wikipedia to try to find out what caused the controversy surrounding this movie but I’ve read no more than that. I love movies for their escapism so don’t often go for the “true story” films anyway. I like to think it’s all true but know that movies always play up the feelgood factor. As long as it doesn’t feel too over the top & phony, I’m happy enough with a little bit of feelgood cheese.

At least Green Book keeps it fairly real as things are far from perfect during their journey but I’d have liked a tiny bit more focus on the history of the actual Green Book itself (but that would easily make for another whole separate movie). The focus here is on the friendship between the two men and, as far as roadtrip friendship movies go, I found Green Book enjoyable despite any issues surrounding it.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Instant Family (2018)

Directed by Sean Anders

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, Isabela Moner, Tig Notaro, Margo Martindale, Julie Hagerty, Octavia Spencer

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb)
A couple find themselves in over their heads when they foster three children.

My Opinion:

This movie was fine. It actually had a great IMDb rating when it came out in the U.K. and I’d really wanted to see it but the feelgood cheese (as I mentioned in my Green Book review) was a little too much at times in this one.

To be fair, though, this movie was marketed as a comedy drama so it kept things fairly light instead of being a hard-hitting drama at all times (which isn’t my thing anyway – real life is depressing enough!). I just think that this situation in real life would probably be far more challenging than depicted and, for whatever reason, I never felt a strong connection between the couple and the foster kids although the actors all did a perfectly fine job.

The strongest performance was from Isabela Moner as the headstrong and challenging teenager. She was tough but not totally hateful, which is often a danger with teenage characters. The relationship between her character & Rose Byrne’s felt the most realistic and it was nice seeing those two grow closer. Overall, Instant Family was a nice and somewhat safe film that was at times a tiny bit contrived but, oh well – A feelgood film never killed anyone.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)

Directed by Marielle Heller

Based on Can You Ever Forgive Me? by Lee Israel

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a biographical film based on the confessional memoir of the same name by Lee Israel. Melissa McCarthy stars as Israel, and the story follows her attempts to revitalize her failing writing career by forging letters from deceased authors and playwrights.

My Opinion:

This was a pretty typical movie with Oscar nominations for acting: The acting was fantastic but the movie was just okay. The true story is actually pretty interesting but I guess it didn’t translate well to film as I was a bit bored throughout the movie. However, Melissa McCarthy & Richard E. Grant were so great and such entertaining characters that this one was still well worth a watch to see their Oscar-nominated performances. I think both of them haven’t gotten enough credit over the years (Yes, even McCarthy, whose brand of humor isn’t my thing for the most part but I can see why she has fans). It’s great that they got recognition for their parts in this film as they’re what made it enjoyable and they had really good chemistry. I’ll keep this short, though, as I honestly have nothing else to say about this movie. Good story, a little slow & boring at times, but fantastic performances and interesting characters.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Eighth Grade (2018)

Directed & Written by Bo Burnham

Starring: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson, Jake Ryan, Fred Hechinger

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The coming-of-age story follows the life and struggles of an eighth-grader, played by Elsie Fisher, during her last week of classes before graduating to high school. She struggles with social anxiety but produces vlogs giving life advice.

My Opinion:

This came out aaaaages ago in America but was only finally released in the UK in April this year. It got brilliant reviews from “Film Twitter” people and, even though I’m an old lady, I’m still always up for a really good coming of age film ever since falling in love with Stand By Me during my own coming of age years. Plus, I can relate to the whole socially awkward thing since I’m still awkward as shit.

Well, damn – This movie was very disappointing. I’ll say that the actress, Elsie Fisher, did a good job and felt very real (she seems sweet – I have nothing bad to say about the actress). She also did the socially awkward thing extremely well so, in that regard, I identified with her (even though she was actually far more awkward than I ever was!). However, I couldn’t relate to the character in any other way whatsoever. I know that pre & early teens can be annoying as hell but her character really was a bit too hateful for me to care at all what would happen to her. And her dad just put up with her whiny bullshit and her being a bitch to him and he didn’t monitor her time spent online AT ALL.

Yeah, yeah – I know I’m sounding old. But, seriously – keep your kids away from all forms of social media as long as fucking possible! It’s dangerous. And if you can’t do that for some reason, monitor what the hell they’re doing! FYI – the girl is a vlogger and this movie is NOT about the dangers of living a phony online existence – It’s just about not fitting in during the most awkward time of life. I’m simply having my own personal rant because seeing young girls living out their lives online and pretending to be something they’re not breaks my damn heart. Do we seriously need a whole generation of superficial KardashiJenners?! I can’t stand that fake bullshit and don’t want real-life girls like this character committing suicide when they can’t live up to the impossible standards set by “influencers” and people with an unlimited supply of money.

No, this movie isn’t about suicide or depression or anything like that – It’s a “comedy” drama, supposedly. Maybe I just AM too old for teen movies now as I found Booksmart disappointing as well. However, I thought The Edge Of Seventeen was very good and a more realistic portrayal of being a teen. I don’t know – I just think Eighth Grade would’ve been better with a more likeable and therefore more sympathetic main character. And possibly with “comedy” that was actually funny – I had to double check to see if this was actually considered a comedy. It also felt like it dragged on forever, despite being a short film. It has one of those typical meandering indie movie storylines that doesn’t go anywhere – I don’t know how I managed to stay awake watching this one on the plane. I suppose that reading all the hype for this one while waiting at least a year for it to come out in the UK didn’t help either as my expectations were probably way too high. What a massive disappointment.

My Rating: 5/10

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (2016) & The Girl On The Train (2016) Reviews

Two quick reviews of two film adaptations of two books I read. My reviews of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs can be found HERE & The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins HERE. Okay, one is a thriller but the other is close enough to being a “horror” so I’m doing these for October Horror Month. Let’s see what I thought of the movies…

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (2016)

Directed by Tim Burton

Screenplay by Jane Goldman

Based on Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Starring: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Chris O’Dowd, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp, Ella Purnell, Judi Dench, Samuel L. Jackson

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
When Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that stretches across time, he finds Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But the danger deepens after he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers.

My Opinion:

When I was in the middle of reading this book years ago, I said to the hubby “Tim Burton needs to make this into a movie”. Imagine my surprise when Hollywood did something right for a change! He was the absolute perfect choice to adapt this book & he did a very good job with it. The problem is that 1) I didn’t exactly love the book, although I loved the “gimmick” of the old photographs that were used throughout it and 2) Tim Burton hasn’t made anything truly fantastic in years, which still breaks my heart as I absolutely adored his oldest films. I’d say this was somewhat a return to form for Burton but, as I said, I didn’t love the source material so was unlikely to love the movie.

From what I remember of the book, it seems a faithful adaptation until the end. But I didn’t care enough to continue reading the books so it’s possible the movie continues a bit into the next book for all I know? I wouldn’t say it renewed my interest enough to read the remaining books but I’d certainly watch a sequel if Burton makes one. The performances were pretty strong and, like Burton being the perfect choice for director, I think Eva Green was a perfect choice for playing Miss Peregrine. The child actors also all did a good job (I think Burton always does well in casting his films), with the lead young roles (played by Asa Butterfield & Ella Purnell) as the standouts. Terence Stamp & especially Judi Dench weren’t given much to do, which was a shame. And I enjoyed Samuel L. Jackson as always (who doesn’t love Sam Jackson?!) but he’s phoning it in a bit with this baddie role. Sorry, Mr. Jackson! I apologize a trillion times!


Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is a good adaptation of a bizarre book thanks to its also bizarre director. And I liked the look & vibe of it, as I always do with Burton’s style. I wish I liked both the book and the film more than I do, though. I like “weird” so can’t really put my finger on why the story didn’t quite work for me. With the book, I think I just couldn’t connect with the characters. To be fair, I think Burton improved on this with the film and I’d say this is one of those cases where the movie might be slightly better than the book. It also helped that it got a proper ending, as opposed to the open-ended cliffhanger that just left me frustrated with the book.

My Rating: 6.5/10

The Girl On The Train (2016)

Directed by Tate Taylor

Based on The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Starring: Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Haley Bennett, Luke Evans, Allison Janney, Édgar Ramírez, Lisa Kudrow

Music by Danny Elfman

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life.

My Opinion:

I thought this book, although fun in a pulp-y sort of way, was pretty horrible. This was mainly because the characters were all truly hateful. The story itself was okay and I found it a very quick read as I wanted to get to the resolution of its mystery but, wow, I didn’t give the slightest crap what would happen to any of the characters. Not even ONE likable person? Really?? I’ll never understand stories that choose to make us despise everyone in them. And the thing with the baby upset me too much (and kind of pissed me off).

Well, the movie is a faithful adaptation, so… What can I say? I didn’t like the book so I wasn’t going to like a faithful adaptation anyway. The fact that is stars Emily Blunt, who is kind of a girl crush of mine, is what made me even bother to stick this on one evening & half pay attention to it. Meh. I don’t know. I just didn’t care. The actors did what they could with the material but the material was weak. Hold on a second – in this double review, Danny Elfman did the music for this movie but not the Tim Burton movie?! Now that’s bizarre.

My Rating: 5/10

Annabelle (2014) & Finders Keepers (2014) Movie Reviews

Welcome to Day 4 of Creepy Dolls Week here at Cinema Parrot Disco! I’ve already reviewed The Boy, Magic, and the imaginatively-titled Dolls. Now let’s have a look at two creepy doll films that, quite frankly, sucked. But, hey – most of the films in this subgenre are pretty crap anyway. More importantly: Are the dolls creepy or not?? Let’s find out…

Annabelle (2014)

Directed by John R. Leonetti

Starring: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Woodard (Oh, the lead actress is named Annabelle. Spooky!)

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A couple begins to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists.

My Opinion:

Annabelle the doll appeared in a short story at the beginning of the rather good (for a modern horror film) The Conjuring. She is a possessed doll from the real life case files of supernatural investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (or whatever title they go by). The “true story” of Annabelle the doll, as told pretty accurately in The Conjuring, is quite interesting & unsettling. (Read it & see the real pictures HERE. Although you may be a little less creeped out when you find out that “Annabelle” is, in reality, a Raggedy Ann doll). The completely made up story in the movie Annabelle is a pathetic attempt to cash in on the interest shown in the creepy doll at the beginning of The Conjuring. The true story is far better and I’m confused as to why they didn’t just use that instead of making up a silly (and not at all scary) story.

Well, no – it’s obvious why they made up a new story. The story of Annabelle works best as a short story & the whole thing was already covered in The Conjuring. But Hollywood has to make money. Like a vampire, it has to suck the lifeblood out of every idea it can sink its teeth into.


Look! A pram/buggy like on the cover of Rosemary’s Baby! Don’t be fooled – Annabelle is no Rosemary’s Baby…

I think one of my biggest problems with this film, meant to be set in 1970, was the look of it. Look at the pictures in this post – it looks like a low budget TV movie. It felt like they bought all the movie’s sets from IKEA’s retro ’70s Ödmjuk Smörboll line. Yeah, I totally Googled “IKEA product names” just now & then got sidetracked and read an article about the system IKEA uses to come up with those strange product names and, seriously, the article was a million times more fascinating than this movie. Anyway! The furniture, clothing, hairdos, etc, just looked so fake and the main actress looked more like she should be on the set of Friends with that hair & makeup. What’s most surprising is that The Conjuring got the look of this time period SO right and, if I’ve read this correctly, Annabelle’s director was the cinematographer for The Conjuring?? Hmm. Well, to be fair: I’m guessing that Annabelle had a far smaller budget.

I really like Alfre Woodard so it was nice to see her in this & she was great as always. But I like when we see her in bigger roles as it feels like she’s often on the sidelines and the same happens again here. Also, I can’t believe that the story used her in such an outdated fashion! I realize it’s set in 1970 but the movie was made now. Why are they still using this ridiculous trope? Oh well – at least we got some quality acting (no one did a bad job in that department, really).

I’m sounding way too bitchy. It’s not like I’ve ever made a movie, right?? To be fair, Annabelle was exactly what I expected: a braindead cash-grab that I could zone out to for an hour & a half. Not gonna lie – I’m tired & I don’t always want to think. No one wants to think all the time! Sometimes we just want to stare at a TV screen like zombies while chewing on some flesh (although I prefer popcorn). Therefore, I didn’t have a horrible time watching this. I enjoy movies about possessed dolls & have watched a lot of them even though very few of them could be called “good”. Annabelle probably ranks somewhere right in the middle if you were to compare the movies in this subgenre (I’d need to see quite a few more before I could really rank them, especially as I shockingly haven’t seen the Puppetmaster films).

Meh. Whatever. I’ve seen this now. I won’t remember much of it in a year. Annabelle herself is a pretty creepy looking doll, though, so they did an okay job with her design. Like the movie, she’s probably somewhere right in the middle of a “creepy movie dolls” list. Yes, I’ve made that list! You can see where I’ve placed her tomorrow. Unless, like the real doll, she mysteriously moves. 😉 (Oh crap – I’ll shit myself if that happens… Why did I type that?! SHE’S NUMBER NINE!!!! Remember that!)

My Rating: 5/10

Finders Keepers (2014)

Directed by Alexander Yellen

Starring: Jaime Pressly, Patrick Muldoon, Tobin Bell, Marina Sirtis, Justina Machado, Kylie Rogers, Mary Pat Gleason

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A divorced mother of one is thrown into turmoil when her young daughter becomes obsessed with an evil doll left behind by the previous occupants of their new home.

My Opinion:

I really went off on one there on Annabelle! I didn’t even hate that as much as it probably seemed. Annabelle deserves an Oscar compared to this. Don’t worry – I promise to not be as bitchy this time & I’ll keep this one short. 😉 This is a TV movie & I watched it with very low expectations. I suppose I was more harsh on Annabelle as I do have higher standards for a Hollywood film with a bigger budget.

I watched this for three reasons: 1) I knew I’d be doing Creepy Dolls Week and 2) It was on Netflix and 3) I noticed that the little girl in it (Kylie Rogers) was the girl from the underrated Space Station 76, which is one of my favorite films I’ve watched this year. I loved her character in that movie: sweet, lonely, and heartbreaking. She’s fine in Finders Keepers but it’s such a poorly written character. What a shame. At least she has SS76 in her credits – it’ll be interesting to see if she goes on to do many more films.

If you’ve ever watched another horror movie in your life, you’ll know the whole story already. Newly divorced mom moves into new home with daughter, daughter finds super ugly doll hidden in the floorboards which is naturally possessed because all super ugly dolls are possessed, mother has to investigate the history of the doll in order to save her daughter (using the expert opinion of a friend who falls into the same sort of ridiculous trope as Alfre Woodard’s character in Annabelle).

SPOILERS – I’m going to tell you who dies! Because you already know as everything is so damn obvious & cliché.

Oh look! It’s Marina Sirtis from one of my favorite ever TV shows (Star Trek: TNG) as the new friendly neighbor. She’s so dead! Wow – they got Saw’s Jigsaw himself, Tobin Bell, to play the child psychologist who suspects the girl’s mother of child abuse instead of the crazy psycho doll hurting the girl. Jigsaw: So Dead. Ex-husband’s new girlfriend: DEAD. Mother’s friend, a college professor (I think?) who is an expert on the type of voodoo or whatever the hell was going on with the doll – I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention because I was bored: So VERY dead! Professor’s assistant: Dead. Um, who else? Oh, that woman with the really recognizable face! Wow – I can’t even remember her character now. Was she a waitress? This movie doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page so I can’t check. Ha! She’s such a “Hey, it’s that gal” actor, though. She was clearly brought in just to: BE DEAD

I think there may have been more but I can’t remember. Guy who sold them the house, maybe? This movie had a high death toll! What about the mother, daughter & ex-husband (who turns out to be nice)? ALIVE! Of course. And living happily ever after. At least, until that cliché “let’s leave this open for a sequel” ending. 

So, yeah – Finders Keepers isn’t a good movie. But it’s a TV movie & I’ve seen worse (I was obsessed with TV movies when I was younger & had spare time to watch loads of shit. So. Much. Wasted. Time.)! At least it had recognizable faces in it (stick to comedy like My Name Is Earl, Jaime Pressly! Loved that show). Is the doll creepy? Fairly. I’d say the doll has a decent design. It doesn’t have a massive head like in the movie’s poster at the top, though. It’s hilarious that it looks as big as the girl in the poster.

My Rating: 3.5/10

Don’t Breathe (2016) Review

Don’t Breathe (2016)

Directed by Fede Alvarez

Starring: Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto, Stephen Lang

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Hoping to walk away with a massive fortune, a trio of thieves break into the house of a blind man who isn’t as helpless as he seems.

My Opinion:

I saw this a couple of weeks ago but figured I might as well save reviewing it for my October Horror Month. I had no intention of going to it based on the trailer but then it got a pretty high IMDB rating (for a horror – horror ratings are never too high). I need to stop looking at IMDB user ratings because the users seem to be more & more out of touch as the years go by. I’m making this sound like it was horrible now… It wasn’t. It was just “okay”. It’s the type of horror movie that I’ll remember very little of years from now except for one “shock scene” clearly meant to gross us all out. I saw this with a completely silent audience until that one bit, which got a big “ew” and a bit of a laugh. Gross. But at least it has one memorable part! I guess.

This movie suffers from one of my biggest horror movie pet peeves: Hateful characters. If you’ve seen the trailer & know the story, it seems like we’re meant to be on the side of the young criminals who break into the blind man’s home to rob him. Clearly he isn’t just some helpless old blind man after all but come ON – we need someone to root for in these films. Both the young criminals & the blind man are horrible people. Dylan Minnette was the least hateful of the main characters but, really, he’s still a criminal like the other two. Okay, the only character you really care about is the girl’s younger sister (the reason the girl, actress Jane Levy, is robbing people – to get her & her sister out of a terrible home situation). So that’s sort of a reason, I guess, to be on the side of a thief. But couldn’t they then make Levy’s character more likable as well?

Besides the decent reviews, I also decided to go to this as it was an interesting enough idea. Criminal teens find they have to defend themselves in a darkened home against a blind man who, unlike them, doesn’t need the lights on to defend himself. But that doesn’t really happen – there’s only a small part of the film in which they’re plunged into darkness. What’s the point, then? They clearly have the advantage of sight – it’s not that believable that this old man would so completely be able to hurt them. There’s a bit of him “using his senses” in creative ways but… Well, no – there’s not even much of that. This movie made me appreciate the Mike Flanagan film Hush, about a deaf woman terrorized in her home, SO much more. It was far more creative & the woman was a strong character who you were 100% rooting for. By the way, I’ll hopefully be reviewing Hush along with three other Mike Flanagan films at the end of this month…

I also realize that most horror movies are ridiculous so I do my best to suspend disbelief while watching them but there were way too many gaping plot holes to ignore in this one (and I’m not one to normally nitpick on this). The hubby loves to point these things out, though, so I got many comments coming from him during this one. The biggest problem for me was probably that THESE ARE THE WORST BURGLARS EVER. No way would these idiots have gotten away with all these robberies. They leave a huge trail with the first robbery we witness then again with the blind man’s home. I’m no expert on thievery but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t Google info about my target & his home or text my fellow thieves from within his home ABOUT the burglary I’m in the middle of. Plus I think the link between these burglaries had something to do with Dylan Minnette’s character’s dad working at the security company these homes use? Surely cops would make this connection pretty quickly?!? Ack.

Summary:

I didn’t totally hate this movie when walking out of it afterwards & I even thought it might be okay at first (when I thought we’d get to better know & like at least Levy’s & Minnette’s characters). A lot of the time I find that I like a movie slightly more after watching it & then thinking about it for a while (like when I reviewed Dario Argento’s Phenomena yesterday). Don’t Breathe is one of those rare occasions where the opposite is true – the more thought about it, the more I didn’t like it. If ridiculous plots & annoying characters don’t bother you and you’re curious about the one gross-out scene, go ahead & give this movie a go. Just be aware that a better title for this movie would have been Don’t Think.

My Rating: 5/10

**Thanks to the hubby (who was, I think, as disappointed with this movie as I was) for sending me a link to a fun website where you can vote on the main reasons why Don’t Breathe is “wildly overrated”. I’ve voted for a few myself but every single reason listed is accurate (don’t click the link if you want to stay spoiler-free, though). Vote on why this movie is overrated here: Ranker.com

The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three (1974), San Andreas & Pixels Movie Reviews 

Three quickie reviews today & I mean it. I’m going to try to not ramble on in my reviews anymore. I mainly just like discussing movies with people in the comments so I’m only really here to say whether I liked a film or not & then to hear what others have to say about it.

It’s an odd assortment today but I can tell you that one was really good, one was really bad but fun, and one was just really bad with a great concept it somehow managed to shit all over. I’m sure you can guess which is which…

The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

Directed by Joseph Sargent

Based on The Taking of Pelham One Two Three by John Godey

Starring: Walter Matthau, Robert Shaw, Martin Balsam, Hector Elizondo

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
In New York, armed men hijack a subway car and demand a ransom for the passengers. Even if it’s paid, how could they get away?

My Opinion:

I really enjoyed this movie. I love movies from the 1970s and was happy when both this & Escape From Alcatraz became available on one of our movie services. Man it’s hard keeping track of which movies are available where, when & how – I know I’m old school but I still kind of prefer just being able to go to a video store. So, anyway – I made the hubby watch them both with me about the same time last year and they were great. Alcatraz was better and I highly recommend that one but Pelham was really good as well. No, I’ve not seen the remake with John Travolta and I don’t plan to.

If you’ve not seen this, imagine Speed set on a subway train in 1974 instead of a bus with attractive people in 1994. So, I guess Walter Matthau is kind of the Keanu Reeves in this. Gotta say I prefer Keanu (he was such a hottie in Speed). Actually, I found Matthau a bit distracting but he was probably the only thing I didn’t really like about this as he just seemed out of place. Robert Shaw was great as one of the hijackers, though! I think I’d only ever seen him in Jaws before this (which he’s AWESOME in). All the hijackers were great & I loved all the drama on the train. The only times the movie dragged a little were when we got away from that action and back to the cops & Matthau’s character dealing with the hostage takers’ ransom demands. Overall, though, The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three is a great 70’s action thriller I’d definitely recommend to anyone who is a fan of this sort of genre.

My Rating: 7.5/10

San Andreas (2015)

Directed by Brad Peyton

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario, Ioan Gruffudd, Archie Panjabi, Paul Giamatti

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey with his ex-wife across the state in order to rescue his daughter.

My Opinion:

Ha! This movie was so bad. But it was “fun bad”. It was exactly what I think we’ve all come to expect from these cheesy disaster movies so, therefore, I kind of enjoyed it. It’s utterly ridiculous. Some random people get saved at the last minute, which is supposed to make the audience all cheer while thousands of others are sucked into the Earth to their deaths. Never mind those people as long as a girl with big boobs & a dog get saved! Actually, San Andreas didn’t pull the “save the dog” trick. Damn – I always laugh out loud when the dogs get saved…

Alexandra Daddario wears a shirt over a tight tank top which, conveniently, has to he taken off & used as a bandage or something. I don’t remember. But this is just in time for the coming flood which will see her submerged in water while wearing the tight tank top, of course. She’s ended up with a somewhat dorky boy her age who can’t believe his luck at being in an earthquake with such a babe and his little brother who I realized was Rickon Stark. Then they had to run from the earthquake while Kylie Minogue shot arrows at them. Okay, not really but that would’ve been funny. But Kylie Monogue was seriously in this. WTF? Not for long, though – she falls out of a building. Sorry! That’s not really a spoiler since she’s a bitch & this film follows the disaster movie rules of “If you’re an asshole, you die”. Then Dwayne Johnson dies. HA! Just kidding! Of course he doesn’t. He’s not an asshole – he’s the hero! Can you believe that this is the only Dwayne Johnson movie I’ve ever seen??? Oh yeah – and I totally forgot that Paul Giamatti was in this in a completely pointless role. I guess we all gotta pay the bills, huh? And, let’s see… Dwayne Johnson & Carla Gugino (Alexandra “tight tank top” Daddario’s parents) are divorced because they have a tragic past that tore them apart but now they have to work together to save their daughter and THE END IS A COMPLETE SHOCK THAT I DIDN’T SEE COMING!!!! Lol. Just kidding. Predictable disaster movie bullshit every step of the way. GOOD! That’s exactly what I wanted & this movie delivered. Fun bad! But still very bad… 😉

My Rating: 5.5/10

Pixels (2015)

Directed by Chris Columbus

Based on Pixels by Patrick Jean

Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad, Brian Cox

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
When aliens misinterpret video feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war, they attack the Earth in the form of the video games.

My Opinion:

When I found out they’d be making a full length movie of the fantastic Pixels short film, I was excited. It’s such an awesome concept & the short is great. What could possibly go wrong, right? Holy shit – how did they manage to mess this film up so completely?! You can watch the (far superior) short film HERE.

I actually don’t hate Adam Sandler like I know a lot of people do. He’s been in plenty of movies that are complete & utter shit but he’s also been in several that I liked okay. He’s from “my” era of SNL and, overall, I don’t really have anything against him. But I worried like hell when I heard that this would be an Adam Sandler film & thought “well, maybe it will have decent writers & he’ll just star in it”. Nope, this is an Adam Sandler movie. It’s not the worst of his worst: it’s one of the “mediocre” Adam Sandler movies. But that’s not what this should’ve been! There was so much potential here to make a decent movie out of that brilliant short and instead they decided to make The Waterboy version of Pixels. Pixels Gilmore! Pixels Madison! Pixels Nicky! You Don’t Mess With The Pixels! I Now Pronounce You Pixels & Larry! 8 (Bit) Crazy Pixels!

This movie was such a massive disappointment. Sandler is actually fine, I guess – he’s far less annoying than the other characters. Kevin James plays the most unbelievable President Of The United States in the history of film. Peter Dinklage is, sadly, just plain embarrassing. Not only did this movie piss all over the short film but it also managed to somewhat destroy one of the greatest Game Of Thrones characters for me! Rickon Stark was better in San Andreas. Oh, and that reminds me: Sean Bean has a small role in this too. How could I forget Ned Stark being in this as well?! Because the movie is forgettable, that’s why. Michelle Monaghan, unsurprisingly, plays Sandler’s usual paint-by-numbers love interest. Q*bert plays a character WHO TALKS. What the @!#?@! That really annoyed me. Wreck-It Ralph got Q*bert right! Wreck-It Ralph got a lot of things right. That movie has really gone up in my opinion over time & Pixels made me appreciate it even more. Watch the Pixels short & watch Wreck-It Ralph. Watch any of the movies in my list of My Top Ten Video Game Movies. Then watch The Wedding Singer if you want to watch an Adam Sandler movie because that one is good. Then, if you really MUST satisfy your curiosity, watch Pixels with extremely low expectations. After all my bitching, I should give this a lower score but I’ve seen movies that are worse and I have to admit that one cool thing came out of watching this: it got my daughter very interested in classic arcade games. That alone made the movie worthwhile but, dammit, I really wish it had been good.

My Rating: 5/10

**The soundtrack for Pixels predictably features songs that you just KNOW Sandler chose from his own collection of personal favorites. The main song featured was Cheap Trick’s Surrender:

The Legend Of Billie Jean, Less Than Zero & Private School Movie Reviews

Welcome to my 80’s Quickie Movie Review Special! I’m catching up on reviewing the things I’ve watched the past couple of years and, since these three were from the same decade (the BEST decade), I’ve decided to stick them together. One is a film I saw at the time & really liked but hadn’t re-watched in years, one is a throwaway film that was exactly what I expected for its sort of genre, and one is a film I’d badly wanted to see for years & found to be a big disappointment after finally seeing it for the first time now. Here we go!

The Legend Of Billie Jean (1985)

Directed by Matthew Robbins

Starring: Helen Slater, Keith Gordon, Christian Slater, Peter Coyote, Yeardley Smith

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A Texas teenager cuts her hair short and becomes an outlaw martyr with her brother and friends.

My Opinion:

I did watch this on TV several times in the 80s & I really liked it but it never became an all-time favorite like other movies from the era (even though Christian Slater, one of my big teen crushes, was in it). It was a lot of fun watching it again with the hubby several months ago, though, and it’s gone up in my estimation due partly to nostalgia and partly to being older & able to appreciate things such as the female empowerment going on (which will have gone straight over my head when I first saw this at the age of 13 or so). It reminds me a bit of the same sort of theme running through the little known 1982 Diane Lane film Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains and the two would make a great double feature. Any female bloggers want to come over to my place for a movie night? We’ll watch these two. Bring lots of popcorn! No pillow fights, though – we’re not going to feed any male fantasies. They can just go watch Private School (review below). 😉

I love Helen Slater (she’s a definite girl crush) and it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing Billie Jean. I like the City Slickers connection with both Slater & Yeardley Smith (Lisa Simpson) also being in that together (love that movie!). I also like that this movie has a period scene on my list of My Top Ten Period Scenes In Movies & that I get to link to that post again. Ha! There are great songs in this like Pat Benatar’s awesome Invincible (the movie’s theme song) & Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell. Oh, that plot synopsis above is pretty crap so here’s a bit more if you’re curious: Basically, Slater & Slater (no relation IRL!) are a poor brother & sister in small town Texas. C. Slater’s motorbike is trashed by local hoodlums & H. Slater demands that the (rich by small-town standards) father of the main hoodlum boy pay for the repairs. After the father instead attempts to rape H. Slater, C. Slater accidentally shoots the asshole in the shoulder. The siblings & their friends then go on the run & H. Slater’s Billie Jean ends up a media sensation & heroine outlaw to all those who believe in how she stands up for what’s right. Through it all, her only demand is that her brother’s motorbike repairs be paid for by the prick responsible. It’s actually a great, simple story & I can see why it has achieved a sort of cult status.

I do really like The Legend Of Billie Jean even though it’s not one that I watched 1,582 times as a teenager. It’s a must see if you love movies from this era but somehow missed out on it. I’m not sure how a younger generation might feel about it but it has aged slightly better than some other movies from its time so it may be worth checking out if you like the sound of it.

My Rating: 7.5/10

Less Than Zero (1987)

Directed by Marek Kanievska

Based on Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis

Starring: Andrew McCarthy, Jami Gertz, Robert Downey Jr.

Music by Thomas Newman

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film stars Andrew McCarthy as Clay, a college freshman returning home for Christmas to spend time with his ex-girlfriend Blair (Jami Gertz) and his friend Julian (Robert Downey, Jr.), who is also a drug addict. The film presents a look at the culture of wealthy, decadent youth in Los Angeles.

My Opinion:

I didn’t see this movie at the time as I suppose I was a little too young for it but then I just never managed to catch it on TV or anything. Anyway, it’s a movie from 1987 starring big 80’s actors so I’ve of course been wanting to see it for almost 30 years now (yikes! I’m old). I also loved the big song from this movie (a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s Hazy Shade Of Winter by The Bangles) and I saw that video full of clips from the film so many times that it almost felt like I had seen the film. Was the movie worth the long wait? No, it wasn’t. Damn – what a disappointment. I was surprised to find it quite boring, especially as the novel is from such a controversial author. I think it was one that needed to be seen at the time as it’s not at all shocking nowadays.

The film is about rich California kids & Robert Downey Jr is a drug addict whose friends try to help him when his family give up on him. Downey Jr was fine as was McCarthy, I suppose (I never liked McCarthy – he’s so boring & bland. He’s like an American Hugh Grant). I’m a fan of Gertz mainly because of my love for The Lost Boys but she feels the most miscast of the three. None of them feel quite right in their roles, though, and the story isn’t very hard hitting for one about drug addiction. The story just kind of meanders & the sex scenes with McCarthy & Gertz felt awkward – talk about less than zero chemistry.

I’ve never read a Bret Easton Ellis book so can’t compare this movie to the novel but I don’t like the film American Psycho & what I’ve read of the book sickens me while I absolutely hated The Rules Of Attraction film & found it extremely offensive. I’m not normally easily offended (I’ll get into this a bit more with Private School) but, considering how much the author’s other adaptations have pissed me off, you’d think Less Than Zero would at least have some balls. This is probably the most tame “drug addiction” movie I’ve seen. Very disappointing. I watched this several months ago & barely even remember it now. Good soundtrack, though! I do remember appreciating that.

My Rating: 5.5/10

Private School (1983)

Directed by Noel Black

Starring: Phoebe Cates, Betsy Russell, Matthew Modine, Michael Zorek, Ray Walston, Sylvia Kristel, Kathleen Wilhoite

Music by Rick Springfield

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Private School is a 1983 teen oriented sex comedy film. It follows a teenage couple attempting to have sex for the first time.

My Opinion:

Being the age that I am, I saw plenty of teen sex comedies while growing up. It’s difficult to watch them nowadays without cringing. I suppose it was a very different experience to be a girl watching them in the 80s as opposed to a boy. It’ll seem strange to females nowadays but, in my day, we didn’t give teen sex comedies much thought. It’s amazing that we didn’t find them offensive & I’m happy that they’re, for the most part, a thing of the past. Private School certainly isn’t a “good” movie but, if you really love 80’s sex comedies, it’s worth a watch. It’s better than crap like Porky’s and the girls (whose boobs we see plenty, yes) are fairly decent characters instead of just feeling like victims for the horny male characters (like in movies such as Revenge Of The Nerds with its rape scene that would never be allowed in a movie nowadays. Yikes). I didn’t find Private School offensive & there’s certainly enough nudity in it for horny males everywhere so I think it gets the right sort of balance for both sexes to be able to watch it. But, of course, we get no male nudity. No surprise there!

***WARNING: SOME BOOB PICS BELOW****

Yes, we get a guy spying on the girls in the showers. But, nowadays, he’d take pictures & stick them online. 80’s sex comedies usually don’t feel sinister in the same sort of way that the few modern day films do. We also get the guys dressing up as girls & sneaking into the girls’ dorm. They’re so obviously boys, though, that the girls just have fun messing with them. Especially the below girl, who surprises everyone with a topless ride on a horse. I’m sure it was a very popular scene with young male viewers.

By the way – in looking for pics for this post, I discovered that the topless horse rider (Betsy Russell) is Jigsaw’s ex-wife in the Saw films. Speaking of movies that I find offensive, I find stuff like the Saw films far more offensive than 80’s sex comedies. Yet movies with excessive violence are more readily accepted by society while the briefest flash of a nipple starts riots (way to go, Janet Jackson!). It’s a fucked-up world. Private School is a pretty forgettable film (unless you’re a 13-year-old boy) and it sure as shit isn’t very good but at least the female characters are treated like human beings & have personalities. They’re actually stronger characters than the boys, who are quite dull.

Oh! And Kathleen Wilhoite (in the above photo with the lovely Phoebe Cates) is in this. She’s such a “hey, it’s that girl”. She’s also in Road House. God I love Road House! Road House is “good bad”. Private School is just kind of “meh bad”. I love that I got a Road House mention in here.

My Rating: 5/10

Love these songs!!! Soundtracks from the Eighties are the best. And you get clips from the movies as well. 🙂

Tank Girl, Bronies & Class Of 1999 Movie Reviews

Here are three quickies for three shitty movies. I wasted enough time watching them so I don’t want to spend much time writing about them. Here we go!

Tank Girl (1995)

Directed by Rachel Talalay

Based on Tank Girl comic by Alan Martin & Jamie Hewlett

Starring: Lori Petty, Ice-T, Naomi Watts, Malcolm McDowell, Iggy Pop, Scott Coffey, James Hong, Don Harvey, Jeff Kober, Reg E Cathey

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Tank Girl is set in a drought-ravaged Australia, years after a catastrophic impact event. It follows the antihero Tank Girl (Petty) as she, Jet Girl (Watts), and genetically modified supersoldiers called the Rippers fight “Water & Power”, an oppressive corporation led by Kesslee (McDowell).

My Opinion:

I recently read a collection of early Tank Girl comics (which I reviewed yesterday HERE) so figured I better finally watch the movie adaptation afterwards despite it being pretty widely trashed. While reading Tank Girl, I kept thinking “how could this actually work as a movie?”. The answer, of course, is that this movie doesn’t work. What a mess…

I’ll start with some positives: I didn’t mind Lori Petty as Tank Girl and thought she had the right look & attitude. I’ll try to ignore the fact that she’s not at all Australian! I didn’t love her as Tank Girl (I’m sure someone else might have been better although I’m not sure who) but I didn’t hate her. She seemed to have fun with the role, anyway. Tank Girl is an awesome character and I think that does come through in the movie even though they don’t quite capture her spirit. And, um… Another positive?? Let’s see… The soundtrack is pretty good! Although I would’ve liked much more punk plus they should’ve tried to use bands mentioned in the comic (but a “score by Ennio Morricone” actually wouldn’t have worked even if the comic liked to credit him with its score). 😉

In the comic, there wasn’t much of a storyline. Tank Girl was daft (and usually drunk) and the whole thing was crazy & all over the place. I liked that. I’ve only read the earliest of the Tank Girl comics so don’t know how many I missed or if there’s actually a similar story to the one in the movie at some point but I didn’t think it worked. The story & the script sucked. Malcolm McDowell was a pretty crap villain and… Naomi Watts was in this?! I didn’t know that beforehand – she must be embarrassed now.

I wondered how they’d deal with Tank Girl’s boyfriend being a kangaroo and, although the movie doesn’t really manage to pull it off, I’m not sure how you ever could portray that in a film without it looking cheesy as hell. I like this bit of trivia at IMDB:

“MGM insisted on cutting a scene of Tank Girl and her kangaroo boyfriend Booga reclining after sex, despite spending $5,000 on a prosthetic penis for Booga.”

I don’t know what else to say about this movie. It just didn’t work but, to be fair, I think it’s a very hard comic to adapt. I do wonder if it would work nowadays with the right director since comic book movies have gotten a lot better and “darker”. I’d like to see a violent, R-rated version. Like Dredd but with a sense of humor? I don’t know – it still probably wouldn’t work but I did read that this movie was very heavily cut & that the director, Rachel Talalay, had no control over that so I suppose that didn’t help. I’m giving it a higher rating than I think it deserves because I really like the character of Tank Girl and, at the very least, I don’t think the movie tainted the character. But I’d like to see that fake kangaroo penis.

My Rating: 5/10

Class Of 1999 (1989)

Directed by Mark L Lester

Starring: Bradley Gregg, Traci Lind, Malcolm McDowell, Stacy Keach, Patrick Kilpatrick, Pam Grier, John P Ryan, Darren E Burrows, Joshua John Miller, Sean Sullivan

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Robot teachers have been secretly placed in the schools where the students have run riot. The teachers do a good job of controlling the unruly youngsters, until they go too far and some students get suspicious.

My Opinion:

On paper (or on a screen since that’s how we read everything now), this movie sounds awesome. To me, at least. The synopsis (killer robot teachers in a high school!), the cool poster & the fact that it’s from the 1980s had me all excited to watch this movie that I’d somehow never even heard of. Well, damn – it’s not good. What a disappointment! I was hoping it would at least be a low budget sci-fi cult classic type of thing like Hardware or something (yes! I got yet another Hardware mention into a post!). I didn’t hate it but it’s not very good despite having so much potential to be something I’d like.


One thing I always love about watching movies from this time period is seeing familiar faces from my favorite era and Class Of 1999 has lots of these. Look – a Tank Girl connection with Malcolm McDowell! He plays the school’s principal in this – I think Hollywood had him on speed dial for these types of movies back then. The movie’s hero (Bradley Gregg – a teenage delinquent who’s actually a “good guy”) is in two of my favorite movies: he’s Eyeball Chambers in Stand By Me and also the character whose death topped My Top Ten Nightmare On Elm Street Deaths in Dream Warriors!!!

The robot teachers are played by Patrick Kilpatrick, John P Ryan & Pam Grier (with dodgy-looking fake robot boobs). Stacy Keach is the main baddie in charge of the robots and for some reason seductively eats a banana? I immediately recognized Sean Sullivan as the drunk one who Garth doesn’t want spewing in the Mirth Mobile in Wayne’s World. Finally, Bradley Gregg’s sweet little delinquent brother is played by Joshua John Miller(!), who (whom?) I know very well from lots of 80’s movies & TV shows including my favorite episode of Highway To Heaven. Haha! Highway To Heaven!! I was such a nerd. I just looked him up & he co-wrote the screenplay for The Final Girls. What?! I should really try to watch that…


To be honest, I’m not sure what actually made this movie so bad. Yes, the acting is pretty rubbish and the special effects look dodgy and the script isn’t the greatest but I still can’t help but look at these images and the overall plot & cast and think that this is exactly my type of movie. I think it didn’t help that, when it started and we saw the exaggerated “futuristic 1999 punk kids”, it reminded me of the teenagers in Class Of Nuke ‘Em High. I’m pretty damn sure that no movie ever wants to make you immediately think of a Troma film.


Also, I watched this and the Bronies documentary very late one night as they were both about to disappear from Netflix. I kept falling asleep through both of them so I may have not fully given this movie a chance. Okay – I think I’m now trying to talk myself into liking Class Of 1999 for some reason?? It’s an okay film but extremely dated and would only possibly be appreciated by someone my age who likes this sort of thing. I’m glad I watched it but I’m not too bothered that it has disappeared from Netflix. I’m sure I’d have appreciated it more if I’d seen it when I was 15 or so. Has anyone seen the director’s previous film, Class Of 1984, which sounds like the exact same movie minus the robots? It has a higher IMDB rating. Hmm… I’ll watch that too if it shows up on Netflix!

My Rating: 5.5/10

Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony (2012)

Directed by Laurent Malaquais

Produced by Anglie Brown, Morgan Peterson, Michael Brockhoff, Tara Strong, Lauren Faust & John de Lancie

Starring: A bunch of bronies!

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony (formerly titled BronyCon: The Documentary) is a 2012 documentary film centering on bronies, the adult fans of the 2010 animated television series, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.

My Opinion:

I said I didn’t want to waste much time talking about these movies but I did blather on a bit in my other two reviews. Well, this one will truly be short as there’s not much to say. I find the “Bronies” thing sort of fascinating as I still don’t understand why a bunch of grown men have supposedly latched onto My Little Pony but this documentary doesn’t really explore the “why” at all. It’s just not a very good or in-depth documentary and was quite boring considering its odd topic.

I actually don’t remember if the above guy was in the documentary but this is one of many photos that come up if you Google “Bronies” (I don’t think the guys I used in the photo at the very top were in it). You’d think I’d remember if he was but I can barely remember a thing about this now. That’s the problem – the documentary failed to make a bizarre topic at all interesting. I do, however, remember the below guy as I kept thinking he looked like Corey Feldman.

I’d say that you’d probably only want to watch this documentary if you’re a fan of My Little Pony. I actually found the bits with the voice actors (Tara Strong and, oh my god – Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation, John de Lancie!) & the creator of the Friendship Is Magic series (Lauren Faust) more interesting than the interviews with the fans of the show.

Not surprisingly, one of the Bronies talked a little bit of the bullying he’d had to endure thanks to being a fan of the show (if I remember correctly, he had a gun pulled on him? God bless America!). That kind of thing always pisses me off because, although it may seem strange to a lot of us, these guys aren’t exactly hurting anyone by liking My Little Pony. I guess it was a little disappointing that the psychological aspect of what exactly it is about this show that has apparently drawn some grown men to it wasn’t explored but, hey, this was someone’s project and they did a decent enough job gathering together fans & those involved with the show. I’m sure it didn’t have a huge budget… I’d be interested to know what My Little Pony fans thought of it but I must admit that I don’t personally know any adult fans (although I did love old school My Little Pony as a young girl!).


This is the one I had!!!

My Rating: 5/10

I figured I should end this post with something from the Tank Girl soundtrack, which had potential but could’ve been much better overall. This is one of my two favorites from the soundtrack (I’ll post the other for Music Video Friday this week): Richard Hell And The Voidoids – Blank Generation:

Class Of Nuke ‘Em High (1986) Review

Class Of Nuke ‘Em High (1986)

Directed by Richard W. Haines, Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman (as Samuel Weil)

Starring: Janelle Brady, Gil Brenton, Robert Prichard, Pat Ryan

Distributed by Troma Entertainment

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
The pupils at a high school next to a nuclear power plant start acting and looking strange after buying contaminated drugs from a plant worker.

My Opinion:

You know that I’ve watched an absolute load of shit in preparation for my blog’s month of horror when a goddamn Troma movie isn’t the worst one that I saw. Honestly, it’s probably somewhere in the middle. And it’s utter shit! Of course it is! But it pisses toxic green liquid all over The Victim and Repo! The Genetic Opera. I also preferred it to The Quiet Ones, possibly to Let’s Scare Jessica To Death, and maybe even to Mama. (These were all so bad that I did mini-reviews for most of them together in one post HERE and a longer review for Mama HERE, in which I now think I was a little too harsh). Troma movies are meant to be bad, though. Right?! I don’t think that the others I mentioned were meant to be bad. Therefore, they’re actually worse whereas I can be more forgiving of a Troma film. I guess.


I kept wanting to stick a roll of toilet paper on that guy’s nose ring.

I’m not going to pretend that I like Troma films. They’re godawful and a chore to watch. They’re bad to the point of being unwatchable as opposed to “so bad they’re fun”. I’ve done this as part of my horror comedy week since I think all their films are meant to be a part of this genre even though they’re completely unfunny and not at all scary. Right? Having said that, however, I’m now going to totally confuse everyone and say that I think every movie blogger should watch at least one of them before they can truly call themselves movie bloggers. It should be, like, a rite of passage or something.

My Troma experience is limited. Back in college, I saw the first three Toxic Avenger movies when they were on TV three nights in a row and I developed a sort of a fascination with them. If you’re going to watch only one of these, I’d suggest The Toxic Avenger as it’s somewhat watchable. At least, to a 20-year-old it was… I’m sure I’d struggle making it through those three films again. (Dan at Slip/Through has done a really good review of The Toxic Avenger HERE that you should give a read if you’re interested – he’s more likely to talk you into watching it than I am!).

I also attempted to watch Tromeo & Juliet once just to see the penis monster thing but ended up just watching the whole movie on fast-forward. Seriously. Here you go – you can skip that movie now. You’re welcome:

That’s it – those are the only Tromas I’ve seen (unless you count Studio Ghibli’s masterpiece My Neighbor Totoro which, believe it or not, a sub-division of Troma Films first distributed to the West with their own dubbed version. so… thank you for that, Troma!!!). The only other one I ever had any interest in seeing was Class Of Nuke ‘Em High as I always thought it sounded like it at least had a decent idea for a story. Guess I’m just a fan of the toxic chemicals thing. So, I’ve finally watched it! I’m done now! I’ve had my fill! I’m done watching these!


Summary:

Did I even talk about Class Of Nuke ‘Em High?! I guess not. You know what? It honestly doesn’t matter. The idea of a Troma film is far better than the actual experience of watching one anyway. The posters & the images almost make Troma films look like they’d be entertaining. This one has a pretty good title, at least, and actually has a fairly fun poster: “Readin’, Writin’, and Radiation!” Ha! So stupid! But still better than anything in the movie. However, even though I’ve not seen many, I’d venture to guess that Class Of Nuke ‘Em High is one of the “better” offerings from this studio. I didn’t hate it – it was exactly as shit as I expected it to be. If that makes sense. It wasn’t fun to watch but I didn’t get mad at it wasting my time as I knew what I was getting into when I hit the Play button. It’s almost as “somewhat watchable” as The Toxic Avenger, which is the closest I can get to giving it a compliment. I guess. So my rating is more on a “Troma scale of 1 to 10” (just to confuse Brian since he always complains about my confusing ratings). I suppose I can call this my “second favorite Troma film” but do yourself a favor & just watch The Toxic Avenger instead of this one. It’s everyone’s duty as a serious movie blogger.

My Rating: 5/10

(Actually, that rating still makes no sense as this is probably 8/10 on an actual “Troma scale”. Aw, fuck it- who cares? it’s shit!)

Five Horror Movie Mini-Reviews (They Sucked Too Much For Their Own Posts)

These movies not worthy of full-length reviews are: Repo! The Genetic Opera, Let’s Scare Jessica To Death, The Quiet Ones, The Crazies, & The Victim.

I always do this – I plan to do horror movie reviews all of October then get bored halfway through. Unfortunately, I’ve watched a lot of bad movies in preparation this year and don’t have enough to say about them to do full reviews. So, I’m doing the worst five all together (leaving me with nothing to review the final week of October, unless I get time to watch some more. Oops!). This is because I only do movies I can watch on TV or Netflix so maybe next year I’ll actually spend out on some decent older films instead of reviewing whatever crap happens to be available to me at no extra cost.

Here we go! I’ll do these from “best” to worst (to be fair, the first one isn’t actually bad – it’s better than both Mama & The Sacrament, which I did review in full)…

IMG_1191

The Crazies (2010)

Directed by Breck Eisner

Based on The Crazies by George A. Romero

Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson, Danielle Panabaker

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The Crazies takes place in the fictional town of Ogden Marsh, Pierce County, Iowa, “friendliest place on Earth,” whose town water supply is accidentally infected with the “Trixie” virus. After an incubation period of 48 hours, this virus gradually transforms the mental state of the infected into that of cold, calculating, depraved, bloodthirsty killers, who then prey on family and neighbors alike.

My Opinion:

Sorry lovers of The Crazies – I just don’t have much to say about this one although I did think it was pretty decent for a modern horror movie & can see why it has its fans. I love Romero’s zombie films so did try to watch the original of this one years ago. I don’t remember much now but it started out very slow and, for whatever reason, I never finished it. It was no Dead film! I’ll give it another try if it pops up on the Horror Channel or something as I do like the concept of a virus making people go crazy. So… it’s not a lot different from the zombie thing anyway. This remake is really just 28 Days Later but not as good.

As you can see by that picture, this one is pretty bloody. It was a bit too violent for my taste (I hated one bit with a pitchfork but found that scene pretty tense so I guess it did its job in that regard). I thought the movie almost got the balance right, though, in focusing on a small set of characters in small-town-Midwest-America and making us like them in between scenes of pitchfork nastiness. I’m always kind of fond of movies set in small-town-Midwest-America as I can still relate to that having grown up in a town so similar to this movie’s Ogden Marsh. I’m not sure why I didn’t like The Crazies more than I did as it had the perfect set-up (for me) and, at first, seemed like the type of movie I was really going to enjoy. Had they focused on the character development a little more and the violence a little less, I’d have rated this more highly. Plus, there’s a big explosion at one point that looked so dodgy that I couldn’t help but laugh even though I don’t normally notice that kind of thing.

I think I was just too distracted while watching this because, like with most movies I watch at home these days, I’m sure I was getting a blog post ready while it was on as I don’t have time to do just one or the other. That’s why I’ll be cutting way back on my number of posts once October is over – I want to enjoy movies again when I actually make the time to watch them. Sorry for the little tangent but I’m just trying to explain why I maybe didn’t fully appreciate The Crazies. If I ever watch the original, I may revisit the remake again as well and see if my opinion changes. I wanted to like it more. I’ve certainly seen worse! (Like, the four movies below….).

My Rating: 6/10

Let’s Scare Jessica To Death (1971)

Directed by John Hancock (I wonder what his signature looks like?)

Starring: Zohra Lampert, Barton Heyman, Kevin O’Connor, Gretchen Corbett, Alan Manson, Mariclare Costello

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A recently institutionalized woman has bizarre experiences after moving into a supposedly haunted country farmhouse and fears she may be losing her sanity once again.

My Opinion:

Let’s bore Jessica to death by making her watch this movie. Apparently this is a cult classic? Well, that’s said about lots of old horror movies so I don’t know if that’s true or not. Don’t get me wrong – there are elements of this movie that I did like and I’d always choose to watch some old moody & atmospheric 70’s horror movie like this, bad clothing and hairstyles and all, over the crap that gets made nowadays. But this one really is just too damn boring, even for an older person like me who has a fair bit of patience and can appreciate a slow build-up. I thought nothing was ever going to happen in this thing. Luckily, the last twenty minutes or so are pretty good. Well, compared to the rest of the film anyway. Or maybe I was just happy that something finally happened?!

So, Jessica is nuts and her husband moves her to a secluded farmhouse to recover after she’s been released from the hospital. But all this weird stuff starts happening and, through Jessica’s rather annoying thoughts (which we can hear out loud during the whole movie), we don’t know whether she’s once again going mad, if her husband and all the creepy locals are playing games and trying to drive her insane, or if there really is some ghostly shit going on. Jessica becomes obsessed with an old photograph in the farmhouse showing the family who once lived there & is told by the local antiques dealer that the young woman in the photo drowned and that she now haunts the area as a vampire.

So what’s really going on?!?! I have no idea because I lost interest! Which is too bad since this movie was almost cool at the end – it had a real Rosemary’s Baby feel for a few minutes there with some eerie old small town locals (in that picture up there). Well, I suppose that’s an insult to the far superior Rosemary’s Baby. If you really REALLY love low-budget 70’s horror that’s more about mood & atmosphere than actual gore & violence, you might like this okay. It’s the type of thing I normally like but this one just didn’t work for me. It probably didn’t help that Jessica was annoying as hell.

My Rating: 5/10

The Quiet Ones (2014)

Directed by John Pogue

Starring: Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Olivia Cooke, Erin Richards

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The Quiet Ones is a 2014 British supernatural horror starring Jared Harris as a college professor attempting to prove poltergeists are manifestations of the human psyche and not supernatural beings. The film is loosely based on the Philip experiment, a 1972 parapsychology experiment conducted in Toronto.

My Opinion:

Good lord – this was as boring as Let’s Scare Jessica To Death! But this one doesn’t have the advantage of actually being made in the Seventies like that one (although it’s set in 1970-something), so therefore it’s not groovy in any way. Fake Seventies grooviness just doesn’t work in the same way – American Hustle is proof of that! This is just a boring movie made in 2014 in which the characters wear ugly clothes & listen to Slade’s Cum On Feel The Noize over & over. (Although I’m not gonna lie – I totally like that song because I’m old & thoroughly uncool).

So there’s paranormal stuff and experiments on a crazy girl with a doll and Slade and the chick I couldn’t stand in Gotham (Barbara) which I stopped watching along with most every TV series I’ve attempted to watch in the last five years and, hey, the crazy girl with the doll is the girl in Me And Earl And The Dying Girl which I kind of wanted to go see but couldn’t talk the hubby into and my god they play that Slade song a lot in this (just in case you forgot it was 1970-something!!!) and the Me And Earl’s Dying Girl spits a lot of black shit out and most everyone gets killed and I really was paying no attention by the end and was questioning why I watch shit like this just to have something to “review” in October.

My Rating: 4/10

Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)

Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman

Based on The Necromerchant’s Debt by Terrance Zdunich & Darren Smith

Starring: Alexa Vega, Paul Sorvino, Anthony Stewart Head, Sarah Brightman, Paris Hilton, Bill Moseley, Ogre, Terrance Zdunich

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A worldwide epidemic encourages a biotech company to launch an organ-financing program similar in nature to a standard car loan. The repossession clause is a killer, however.

My Opinion:

What the fuck? No, seriously – what the fuck?!? No, really – can someone explain this thing to me?? I’d never even heard of this one until someone mentioned it somewhere on my blog recently (I don’t know who or where but I think they said something favorable about this movie. Here’s hoping whoever it was doesn’t read my review. If whoever you are is reading this, I apologize). 😉 Because I hated this stupid piece of shit!!!!!!!


That’s Sarah Fucking Brightman of, like, famous musicals fame & shit. In this fucking movie! WTF?

So this was some actual opera several years before the movie, I guess. I didn’t do much research into it as I disliked the movie so much but, as far as I can tell, this has a following in the same way that The Rocky Horror Picture Show does?? I saw plenty of cosplay photos when looking up images for this post. Okay, fine – I can understand that. This movie is clearly about “image” and I can see why girls would want to dress up as Brightman’s Blind Mag or Shilo, the movie’s young heroine:

According to Wikipedia, this movie is a “splatterpunk, rock opera, musical comedy, horror film“. Splatterpunk?? I’d not heard that phrase before but it sounds like the perfect way to describe this one. Splatter indeed! Of these five movies, this one is the goriest & most blood-splattered by far. As you can see from the poster, it’s from the producers of Saw. Barf! I hate the Saw films (well, the first was okay). I didn’t know this before sticking the movie on when I saw it was on the Horror Channel. Just like I didn’t know that Paris Hilton had a big role in this. Paris fucking Hilton! She plays a spoiled rich bitch addicted to plastic surgery. At least her face falls off: 

I think what annoyed me so much is that this movie sounded kind of cool and I was excited when I saw that I’d be able to watch it. And it started out okay and had the potential to be a bit of fun. Plus the repo man himself looked pretty rad:

This movie is a Goth Sado-Masochist’s wet dream. If that’s your sort of thing, rush out and watch this movie immediately. No, really – you’ll love it! I’m not being a smart ass – I totally understand why this movie has a fan base. That’s why I’ve included all the pictures as it’ll give you an idea of what this movie is like. But, goddamn, the movie is a fucking mess. It’s just really bad. It looks good, yes! The visuals and the costumes and the set and the comic book imagery scattered throughout the film are all pretty impressive but they don’t make up for the godawful acting or the fact that half the actors can’t sing for shit (not that it really matters with such unmemorable, mediocre songs). Plus, the constant singing with the constant, obnoxious, “heavy metal” guitar noise drove me mad. MAD! I wanted to repo the cast’s fucking vocal chords!

Hey, though, Anthony Head is in this monstrosity. Remember when he had that “coffee romance” over a series of several Taster’s Choice commercials? I loved those! I always thought they should do more commercials that told a story like those. And I found out a few years ago that the woman in those commercials is Alice Eve’s mother. “Alice Eve hot” is one of my top search terms so, awesome, I just managed to mention her again in a wonderfully obscure & roundabout way!

Anyway, those Taster’s Choice commercials were a million times better than Repo! The Genetic Opera. I think the main problem is that this movie tries too damn hard and ends up feeling completely forced, desperate, and pathetic. Basically, this movie is a 40-year-old stripper. Get off the damn pole and look for a new career! Speaking of strippers, let’s move onto the worst movie I’ve watched in the three-year history of my blog…

My Rating: 3/10

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The Victim (2011)

Directed, written by & starring Michael Biehn

Starring: Michael Biehn, Jennifer Blanc, Ryan Honey, Denny Kirkwood, Danielle Harris

Plot Synopsis: (via me)
The slutty brunette stripper (who we find out in flashbacks is actually a sweet slutty brunette stripper), gets killed. Michael Biehn fucks the blonde stripper. I don’t know what happens after that as I only saw the first half of this movie & that was more than enough for me.

My Opinion:

I’ve mentioned my love for Michael Biehn’s Kyle Reese several times on this blog. So, one day, Filmnerdblog’s Laura tweeted me about a movie on The Horror Channel that was directed by, written by, and starring my beloved Kyle Reese. Er. Um. Ugh. (Do you think there’s any chance that Michael Biehn might read this?? I better keep it short as I actually still find him pretty hot).

Two skanky strippers pick up these two guys (cops if I remember correctly – I can’t be bothered to verify). They go into the woods and the fucking commences. The cute one (Danielle Harris – she’ll be very well known to horror fans. What are you doing in this, Danielle?!?) lets one of the disgusting dudes screw her Game-Of-Thrones-Style (from behind like a dog) while she looks bored & says things like “Why don’t you just come already?”. Charming. So he snaps her neck. Do strippers know how to pick ’em or what? The blonde stripper gets away & ends up at Michael Biehn’s house in the middle of the woods. He’s a hot old recluse. They screw & she says something along the lines of “you may be 54 but you don’t fuck like you’re 54″ (or whatever age he was in this). Really? Oh, Michael Biehn… You were so damn sexy as Kyle Reese but I really question your writing skills.

Anyway, one of the two guys (the actual killer or the other guy – I don’t remember) ends up at Biehn’s house & Biehn ties him up and starts to torture him a bit. At this point I turned it off as I couldn’t be bothered with it anymore. I did, however, plan to finish it another night (while writing a blog post as it played in the background). But when I went to play the recording, it had disappeared off the box! I was devastated! And by “devastated”, I mean “relieved”. I’ve forced myself to finish every single movie I’ve started since I began this blog. It’s, like, my duty as one of a million shitty blog writers! I’ll now never know how this sad stripper tale ends or be able to see more cheesy flashbacks of the two strippers having a girly chat to prove that they’re actually “nice, sweet strippers” who don’t deserve to have their necks broken. Okay, I could read about the ending online but I’m happy to let the rest of the film forever remain a mystery.

My Rating: 1.5/10

This Is 40, Admission & Bad Grandpa Movie Reviews

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Time to start getting more movies off my “Reviews To Do” list! Since starting this blog, I feel like I must review absolutely every single movie I watch. I’ve put off reviewing some because I just don’t have much to say about them (especially things like throwaway comedies & the occasional chick flick) so I’ll start reviewing movies like these together every now & then. Most movies like these are ones I watched in 2014 so I’m a little behind. But they’re on my list! I gotta do them!!! 😉

So here are three quickies! One was boring, one was okay, and one I really enjoyed.

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This Is 40 (2012)

Directed by Judd Apatow

Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, John Lithgow, Megan Fox, Chris O’Dowd, Jason Segel, Melissa McCarthy, Graham Parker, Albert Brooks

My Opinion: This is the one that was okay. I watched This Is 40 at least a year ago & remember thinking something along the lines of “I enjoyed that but I better review it quick because I won’t remember much of it in a year”. Ha! It’s true. For example: That annoying Melissa McCarthy was in this? Really?? And I forgot that the even more annoying Megan Fox was in this. Well, I watched this for Paul Rudd. If it had been a different male star, I doubt I’d have bothered.

I have yet to love anything from Judd Apatow. I feel like I should as I suppose I’m the sort of target age range for his stuff? I don’t know… Who here is a huge Apatow fan? What am I missing? Looking at what he’s written and/or directed, I did like The 40 Year-Old Virgin and remember that pretty well even though it’s much older and I only saw it once. This Is 40 is probably my second favorite but considering I only remember certain parts of it a year later doesn’t say much for it, I guess.

I liked Rudd, as always, but this wasn’t exactly my favorite ever character of his. He & Leslie Mann were fine but there was maybe a little too much of the “Oh god! I’m 40 & having a midlife crisis!” thing going on. I liked the family as a whole & they felt like a real-life family. Of course, it probably helps that the kids are the real-life daughters of Apatow & Mann but the Hollywood nepotism thing and Apatow’s insistence on always casting his borderline-annoying wife is, like the characters in This Is 40, getting a little old.

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I do remember laughing a few times throughout this movie. It’s not a laugh-out-loud comedy but an observation on our relationships in life and, of course, growing old. It’s much more grown-up than some of Apatow’s other films and I can’t see as many people enjoying it unless they’re approaching or past the big Four-Oh. For the most part, I think this was a pretty well-written film and I liked the different sorts of relationships between the three generations of both Rudd’s & Mann’s families. It’s just a “watch it once and you have no need to watch it again” type of film. I’d only recommend it if you’re a fan of any of the stars or the director AND you’re at least 35.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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Admission (2013)

Directed by Paul Weitz

Starring: Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Nat Wolff, Michael Sheen, Wallace Shawn, Lily Tomlin

My Opinion: This is the boring one of these three movies. As you can see, it’s Paul Rudd again and I only watched it because he’s in it. This is one of those damn “dramedy” romance movies. Dramedies sometimes work but this one didn’t have much comedy and I didn’t care enough about Tina Fey’s character to give a shit about her drama. Like This Is 40, this is a more grown-up movie for a slightly older audience but the forced quirkiness of some of the characters and Tina Fey’s uptight Princeton admissions officer just didn’t work for me.

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Paul Rudd was his usual adorable, likeable self but I’ll admit he always plays the same character (which is fine if you like him like I do). I’ve never really been a fan of Tina Fey, who also plays her usual self, so I can’t say I liked her character (which isn’t good as she’s the main star & the film centers on her career & relationship struggles). Nat Wolff was in this, who played the slightly annoying friend in The Fault In Our Stars and has the lead role in the next John Green adaptation coming out (Paper Towns, a book I really didn’t like so it’ll be interesting to see if the movie is any better). I did like Lily Tomlin as Fey’s mother and Wallace Shawn had a small role as Fey’s boss. It always gives me warm fuzzies just hearing his distinctive voice… “Inconceivable“! This is one of those movies that just tries too hard to be intelligent & serious and ends up feeling fake & forced. To be fair, romantic dramedy isn’t my favorite genre in the first place but this one just didn’t work for me at all.

My Rating: 5/10

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Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (2013)

Directed by Jeff Tremaine

Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicoll, A bunch of unsuspecting victims

My Opinion: Well, damn – I thought this was hilarious. Why am I ashamed to admit that?! I’ve thought all the Jackass movies were a riot. They’re not the sort of movies I’ve ever felt the need to watch more than once but they’re entertaining as hell on a first watch when you don’t know what kind of outrageous stuff to expect. I don’t really get why I like them as, in real life, I hate dumbass guys who do childish, idiotic things. I guess you have to give Johnny Knoxville credit for making a career out of it – he earns way more money than I do!

It was kind of weird at first how they acted out this fictional story of “grandpa & grandson” but I think it worked and, in the end, it was actually sort of sweet in a weird, f*%ked up kind of way. Johnny Knoxville was also in the movie Fun Size with the kid (Jackson Nicoll) and the kid was the best thing about that strange but somewhat enjoyable Nickelodeon movie. This kid cracks me up but I can’t say I’d ever let my kid hang out with any of the Jackass guys… Ha! Talk about bad role models!

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Anyway, I never thought I’d find explosive diarrhoea (UK spelling, FYI) or an old man’s testicles funny but what really works in this movie, I guess, is the shocked reactions from the poor bastards they play their pranks on. Looking at photos for this post I was reminded again of the pageant bit… Hahaha! Why do I like these juvenile Jackass movies?!? I should be ashamed. But I’m not!

My Rating: 7/10

Limitless (2011) Review

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Limitless (2011)

Directed by Neil Burger

Based on The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn

Starring:
Bradley Cooper
Abbie Cornish
Robert De Niro
Anna Friel

Running time: 105 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
With the help of a mysterious pill that enables the user to access 100 percent of his brain abilities, a struggling writer becomes a financial wizard, but it also puts him in a new world with lots of dangers.

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My Opinion:

This movie sounds really exciting from that plot synopsis! Well, I was bored. I fell asleep a few times, I think I missed some stuff & couldn’t be bothered to rewind, and I had to force myself to finish it just to say that I had so I could write this fabulous, in-depth review months after watching the movie. 😉

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Let’s see… What’s good about it? Well, the concept. A pill “that enables the user to access 100 percent of his brain abilities”? Sounds intriguing! So, although this sort of “thriller” genre isn’t usually my type of thing, I’d still been wanting to check it out at some point. This movie reminds me a lot of Man On A Ledge. I sort of felt the same way about that one before seeing it. I was like “Hmm. Not usually my type of movie but it’s a great idea & the trailer looks pretty exciting & I’d like to see where they go with the story”. Then the movie totally sucked. Limitless was probably the better film of the two but Man On A Ledge almost became so ridiculous it was fun whereas Limitless stayed serious (and boring). Also, Bradley Cooper kind of annoys me & Robert De Niro’s character felt pointless & he totally phoned in the performance so I’d have to say I preferred that silly Man On A Ledge movie. Plus, I like Elizabeth Banks.

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I’m not going to win my argument here but, honestly, if you want to watch a movie where someone uses “100% of their brain abilities”, watch Luc Besson’s Lucy instead. Yeah, a lot of people hated that movie. It’s an odd one. But at least I can say it was not boring. God I hate boring movies! I want to be entertained. Why would I want to waste two hours of my time on a dull movie I won’t remember in a year’s time? (Like how I remember so little about Limitless that I’m successfully avoiding talking about it at all in this “review”! Ha! I need one of Bradley Cooper’s magic pills). 😉

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Summary:

I watched Limitless a few months ago. I barely remember it. It clearly didn’t make much of an impression. I reviewed it anyway. This was my review. Go watch Lucy – it’s weird but more fun & you’ll at least remember it a few months later. I squeezed this brilliant “review” out during my 30 minute lunch break. Time management!

My Rating: 5/10

*I dunno – I gave Into The Woods a 4.5/10 and I HATED that so I figure Limitless deserves a higher score than that one even if I don’t remember it. 😉

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Tomorrowland (2015) Review

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Tomorrowland (2015) (aka Tomorrowland: A World Beyond in the UK)

Directed by Brad Bird

Starring:
George Clooney
Hugh Laurie
Britt Robertson
Raffey Cassidy
Thomas Robinson
Tim McGraw
Kathryn Hahn
Keegan-Michael Key

Running time: 130 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film tells the story of a former boy genius (Clooney) and a young girl (Robertson), who travel to an ambiguous dimension known as “Tomorrowland”, where their actions directly affect the world and themselves.

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My Opinion:

Damn. Damn! Damn damn damn! Tomorrowland was one of my most anticipated movies this year. In fact, it’s the one I chose over everything else (even Star Wars!) when Luke over at Oracle Of Film asked the question: What is your most anticipated movie?”. Damn. Is it too late to change my answer?? What a disappointment.

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I desperately wanted to like this movie. It seemed to have everything going for it: Live action Disney sci-fi directed by Brad Bird! Everyone loves Bird’s Ratatouille and of course The Incredibles but my own personal favorite of his is The Iron Giant and I think I was hoping that Tomorrowland would have the heart that that one does. Unfortunately, Tomorrowland feels very cold & sterile and most of the characters, other than teenager Casey played by Britt Robertson, aren’t very likeable. In fact, George Clooney’s character is so grumpy & unlikeable at first that I wasn’t able to warm to him at all, especially after he knocks Casey off his front porch in a way that could’ve broken her damn neck. They explore his past to show us that he was once an optimistic “dreamer” but don’t really explain why all that changed. We’re given hints but not enough to make us care.

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I don’t know if this is SPOILER TERRITORY so look away for the rest of this paragraph if you still want to see this movie. A lot of the rather convoluted story revolves around an android girl and she’s almost as unlikeable as Clooney’s character. This movie reminded me in a lot of ways of A.I. Artificial Intelligence, which also felt very cold & sterile and was a bit convoluted and unsure of its message. However, Haley Joel Osment was at least very good as the “robot boy” and you cared about his character. It IS possible to make us like “robot people”! Loads of movies have managed it. Heck, even D.A.R.Y.L. managed it! (Yes! I got another D.A.R.Y.L. mention into one of my reviews!). But in Tomorrowland, I didn’t care at all about this little android girl and her world so I didn’t really care if Clooney’s & Robertson’s characters would be able to save it or not. I should point out, though, that I don’t think any of this was the fault of the actress (Raffey Cassidy) as I think she was very good in a poorly written role. Oh! By the way – Hugh Laurie is in this too in a rather stupid & pointless role. He’s really not even worth mentioning. Although I guess I just did…

I’ll mention that there’s quite a bit of violence against the androids, which may disturb young kids as the androids look completely human and the very young may not understand that they’re just robots. This includes one sudden & shocking Final Destination/Meet Joe Black moment that felt out of place in a Disney film.

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I’ll say that the one thing I did like about this was Britt Robertson. I know I watched this silly show that she was on for a while (The Secret Circle) and she was the one thing that really stood out. I’m not surprised that it seems she may be on her way to bigger roles now and, although she’s 25, she has a very young look which means she can play a teenager in something like this without it being embarrassing like Olivia Newton John in Grease. Her character helps save Tomorrowland from being a total disaster, at least.

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Summary:

Tomorrowland has a convoluted plot set in a cold & sterile environment where everyone (besides the main teenage girl) is unlikeable and the audience won’t be able to buy into them or care about their fate. Its story is far too complicated for young kids plus the level of violence was a bit surprising for a Disney “family film”. It’s hard to figure out who this movie is aimed at as the confusing story won’t make any kids like it (even I was confused by the end as to what exactly was going on) and there’s not enough here for adults to enjoy either. I can’t see this being a movie that most homes with kids will own and that will get played over & over again, which is unusual for a Disney film. I know it’s very unlikely that I’ll ever see it again (and I have no desire to) and I highly doubt my kid will ever ask to watch it over and over again like Frozen or most of the Pixar films. The movie’s message gets lost in the confusing plot but, basically, it’s saying that we should all be “dreamers” and full of hope. It’s unfortunate that Tomorrowland can’t achieve what it clearly wants to as it isn’t going to actually inspire anyone. I’ll say the final scene & image are pretty good & is the closest the movie comes to achieving its vision but it doesn’t come even close to making up for the previous two hours of the film. I’m very disappointed but it won’t make me give up on Brad Bird as I think he’s very talented and hopefully has another The Iron Giant in him. I blame Damon Lindelof.

My Rating: 5/10

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In A World… (2013) Review

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I’ve done a review for the lovely Cara over at Silver Screen Serenade for her NOOOOvember Series. The idea of this series is to talk about movies we expected to love (or at least like in my case) but that ended up leaving us very disappointed.

You can read my entry, a review of In A World…, HERE. Thanks for letting me be a part of this series again, Cara! I’m really not as grumpy as I may appear after writing this review and the one for Interstellar yesterday! 😉

The Boxtrolls (2014) Review

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The Boxtrolls (2014)

Directed by Graham Annable & Anthony Stacchi

Based on Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow

Starring:
Isaac Hempstead-Wright
Elle Fanning
Ben Kingsley
Toni Collette
Jared Harris
Simon Pegg
Nick Frost
Richard Ayoade
Tracy Morgan

Production company: Laika

Running time: 96 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film tells the story of an orphaned boy named Eggs (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) who was raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collecting trolls called the Boxtrolls. The Boxtrolls are targeted by an evil exterminator named Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) and Eggs has to save his family from Snatcher.

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My Opinion:

I’ll get straight to the point: I didn’t enjoy this one. At all. I really really wanted to! I thought it looked very promising. Last Halloween, I watched and reviewed ParaNorman and I liked that one a lot. However, I also fell asleep halfway through Coraline YEARS ago and never bothered to finish it, so… I guess that’s only 1 out of 3 Laika films I’ve liked so far. Hmm.

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I’ll give The Boxtrolls this: the stop-motion animation is amazing! I can’t fault that in the slightest. I also really liked the overall look & style of the movie. What I didn’t like, however, were the characters or the story so I really couldn’t buy into it all despite the boxtrolls themselves being pretty likeable. Unfortunately, they weren’t IN the movie enough. There was far more focus on the human characters than I was expecting and I got very bored when the boxtrolls weren’t onscreen. I could kind of take or leave the main boy in it (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) but I found the girl (Elle Fanning) quite annoying, especially her voice which I think just didn’t work for the character. Unfortunately, the rest of the human characters were even worse (although I suppose the baddie, Ben Kingsley, is at least a very memorable character). Seriously – The Boxtrolls needed more boxtrolls! I liked them just fine. Although I do this ALL the time when I watch a movie at home, I never do this when I go to the cinema: I fell asleep off & on somewhere in the middle of this thing when it was just the annoying human characters onscreen. Probably not a good sign… 😉

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I’m not going to ramble on about this one. Is it bad? No. It just wasn’t for me. If you think it’s your type of thing or that your kids will like it, don’t let me talk you out of going to it. My hubby liked it FAR more than I did. The five-year-old with us also seemed to like it okay, so…. Maybe it IS just me! The movie is an odd one. As for the age it’s suitable for, it’s certainly not as scary as ParaNorman or Coraline, which I would never let a five-year-old watch. This one is aimed younger than those but I’d say kids would have to be six or seven for the most part to actually appreciate it and the main bad guy is probably far too scary for those under five or so. As always, though, every kid is different.

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Super Short Summary:

I just didn’t like this one. Sorry! Giving it a lower rating would be unfair, however, as I know it’s not “bad”. Based on ParaNorman, I’d still watch another film made by Laika. Awesome stop-motion animation, at the very least!

My Rating: 5/10

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Magic Mike (2012) Review

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You may be aware that The IPC was taken over this week by these lovely ladies: Zoe, Smash, and Cara (or should I say Miguel?? I don’t want to piss him off!). 😉

Anyway, Eric stupidly kindly agreed to let me take over today. The fool! So I posted about a shitty movie full of half naked men. You can read my review of Magic Mike HERE.

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Insidious (2011) Review for Halloween Horror Fest

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Insidious (2011)

Directed by James Wan

Starring:
Patrick Wilson
Rose Byrne
Barbara Hershey
Lin Shaye

Running time: 103 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Insidious is a 2011 American supernatural horror film. Written by Leigh Whannell and directed by James Wan, the film features Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, and Barbara Hershey in starring roles. The story centers on a couple whose son inexplicably enters a comatose state and becomes a vessel for ghosts in an astral dimension.

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For my Halloween Horror Fest, I’ve mostly chosen to watch films that I’ve seen reviewed by bloggers I follow here at WordPress. At some point I’d like to do something where I take recommendations from people on films I should watch & review but I worry that I’d not like some of them and wouldn’t want to hurt those people’s feelings. I mean, I feel bad for not liking Insidious even though it was entirely my decision to watch it after reading these reviews on these great blogs:

Insidious reviewed by Celluloid Junkie HERE and an Insidious 2 review from Silver Screen Serenade HERE

So I’m sorry I wasn’t crazy about Insidious but those are two awesome blogs that all of you should follow! There’s also a (potential?) November blogathon at Silver Screen Serenade if enough people would like to join in. It would be called NOOOOvember and you’d get the chance to vent about a movie that really could and should have been good but ended up a huge disappointment. Anyone interested should check out her post HERE. 🙂

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My Opinion On Insidious:

I can’t say I really liked the look of this one when it was out but, after being impressed by James Wan’s The Conjuring (my review HERE if you’re bothered), I decided that maybe I should check out Insidious after all.

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Things do start out fairly promising in Insidious. A nice young family with two young sons and a baby move into a new house (Ha! I know I know – they all start that way, don’t they?). Pretty soon things go bump in the night and stuff gets weird and, naturally, the husband is often away at work in the evenings. So all your basic supernatural scary movie stuff is there at the beginning. I didn’t have a problem with any of this – it was all a bit cliche and predictable but I kind of like that with these kind of movies anyway. And they still manage to make me jump even when I KNOW something is coming. I still jumped when the red dude/beast/evil devil person thing was suddenly behind Patrick Wilson even though I’ve seen that image a million times as it’s all over the Internet! So I don’t think this is much of a spoiler – Here you go:

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Anyway, it was all going along fine and the little kid ghost thingy dancing around to Tiptoe Through The Tulips (which has always been a creepy song) was a bit unsettling but then the movie took a turn for the worse. This is where modern horror movies & I part ways. Seeing TOO MUCH of the scary thing(s) just isn’t scary to me. I’m always much more frightened by the unknown and the things that we don’t see as the imagination is a powerful thing. Plus, I just don’t find a silly looking Darth Maul scary.

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And I do love supernatural stories but you have to do things just right to get the audience to buy into the story. You see, the kid in the coma is actually stuck in this mysterious place called “The Further” and demons or whatever are trying to possess his body or something? Okaaaaay. Well, that’s fine – I can handle these sorts of stories. Hell, I love me some Stephen King and the first few seasons of Supernatural. But it just didn’t work for me in Insidious. I think it didn’t help that I didn’t really like Lin Shaye (sorry Lin Shaye fans!) as the “medium” type woman (or whatever she was called) who tries to help the parents save their comatose child from The Further. She has nothing on the lady in Poltergeist. And then the movie really goes downhill once we enter The Further – The people (dead people/demons/whatever) standing around and making funny faces were just silly and then we had that stupid Darth Maul dude dancing around like an idiot. And then we get the typical “we’re leaving this open for a sequel!” stupid ending. Meh.

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Summary:

Insidious starts out as your standard “predictable but fun” supernatural story with some decent eeriness and a couple of things that should make you jump. The family are sweet enough so that you like them plus they don’t do TOO many stupid things like those in horror movies always do. But then the movie turns into a pretty silly mess, especially once we enter “The Further”. Disappointing – Especially when watching this after The Conjuring, which is far superior.

My Rating: 5/10

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IMDB Top 250 Challenge – Movie #15 – Slumdog Millionaire

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Slumdog Millionaire (2008) – IMDB Rank #194

Watched 28/4/13 as part of my IMDB Top 250 Challenge.

Directed by Danny Boyle & Loveleen Tandan

Starring:
Dev Patel
Freida Pinto
Madhur Mittal
Anil Kapoor
Irrfan Khan
Mahesh Manjrekar
Tanay Chheda
Tanvi Ganesh Lonkar
Ashutosh Lobo Gajiwala
Ayush Mahesh Khedekar
Rubina Ali
Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail

Plot Synopsis (courtesy of IMDB):

A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers.

I’ll add that this takes place when he’s answered all but the final question. They never expected him to get that far so they interrogate him before he’s able to go back & finish the show. We’re shown his life in a series of flashbacks as they go over each question he’s answered so far & he explains exactly why he knew the answer to each of them.

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My Opinion:

Urgh. Okay. I’ve been putting off reviewing this. There are obviously people who love this film. It won 8 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. AND it’s in the IMDB Top 250 films, which I see as more “real world” and more representative of what people actually like. Well, I think the IMDB voters were swayed by all those Oscars and have given this film a far higher rating than it deserves. Yet another current film in the Top 250 simply because it’s current and lots of people have voted for it.

I posted a little while ago that I’d watched this and didn’t really like it and then waited for the backlash. Turns out I’m not alone in feeling this way about the movie. The main thing people kept saying was “overrated” and, although I think that word sometimes gets used too often when talking about movies, it really is the accurate word to use for this one. I don’t want to start trashing this movie TOO much – it’s not horribly bad, just average. So I’ll divide it up into the Good & the Not-So-Good like I did with Iron Man 3 (also average – Sorry! But at last I enjoyed that one far more than I did Slumdog).

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The Good:

The main character – Jamal. He’s fine. Thank god for that at least – it would have been unwatchable otherwise. I didn’t feel that he was as fully fleshed out as he could have been & I didn’t feel TOO strongly about his character & what would happen to him but I think that was the fault of the script, not the actor. I bought into him a bit more as a young boy than when he’s grown up but I think that’s because the majority of the scenes where he’s older are when he’s on the game show or when he’s being questioned about cheating.

The love story between Jamal & Latika. Although, I have to say, I found it totally unbelievable it was still sweet and you do find yourself rooting for the guy at the end & wanting him to get the girl.

The concept. It’s an excellent idea for a story! I know it’s based on a book so I looked it up & read a bit about it. Looks like they changed A LOT. It’s really just the overall concept that’s stayed the same but, again, it’s a REALLY GOOD concept. Which is why it was all the more disappointing that the movie was so weak! How did they make an exciting story so boring? I’ll go into that more in “The Not-So-Good” below.

The final 20 minutes. It DOES finally get fairly exciting at the end.

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The Not-So-Good:

The shit-covered kid. Jamal jumps down into a huge pile of shit after his brother has locked him in an outhouse & it’s his only way of getting out. This is in order to get some big famous actor’s autograph who happens to show up right at that moment. This actor is the answer to one of the first questions Jamal later answers on the show. I obviously won’t give away any of the other questions but I had to mention that one as it’s SO ridiculously stupid. What is it with Danny Boyle & excrement? Honestly. You know I tried to watch this movie about a year ago? I didn’t make it past that bit the first time around.

Jamal’s brother – Salim. He starts out as your typical prick of a brother when they’re young & then turns into some pathetic & totally unbelievable version of Tony Montana.

Poorly developed characters. Aside from Jamal (who actually isn’t very well-developed either), we really don’t get to know anyone. WHY is his brother a prick? They have a horrible life growing up – all they have is each other so why wouldn’t he treat Jamal better? Latika is slightly more believable as a young girl than when she grows up to be absolutely stunning – I felt they REALLY wasted her character. We know nothing about her! She becomes nothing more than a pretty face for Jamal to want to win a game show for. But you still want things to work out for them as they’re the ONLY likeable characters in a film filled with hateful people. Oh, the game show host – PRICK! And the gangsters… Oh yes, there are bad guys in this. Gangsters. But, like, really shit gangsters – not Scorsese gangsters. Yeah. Honestly – the “baddies” in this were so unbelievable. I didn’t understand their motives or why they even needed to be in the movie AT ALL other than to add a bit of excitement I guess? So unnecessary – the story itself is exciting enough without having to add all the lame one-dimensional bad guys.

The way they took an excellent & exciting concept and managed to make a boring movie. Seriously – How did they make an exciting story so boring? I think one problem is that they made it too unbelievable. Surely the audience (film audience) is meant to be convinced by Jamal’s story of “why” he knew each of the answers. Some of it was just too far fetched, though. And I expected the “feel good” film that was promised. I expected a moving drama. I didn’t expect to keep looking at my watch up until the final 20 minutes when it finally gets exciting. (Okay – I don’t wear a watch. Does anyone wear a watch anymore?).

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Summary: Slumdog Millionaire takes an excellent concept & manages to make a totally unbelievable & shallow film with two underdeveloped main characters that you only slightly care about. The rest of the characters are very one-dimensional, especially the “baddies” who felt totally unnecessary. This supposed “feel good film” just left me cold. And I obviously won’t give away the ending (if you still want to see it?) but if you’ve seen it you’ll know what I mean when I say: And now what? Honestly, what is going to happen AFTER how this film ends? Luckily I don’t care!

But you probably shouldn’t listen to me – Slumdog Millionaire won 8 Oscars. Including Best Picture. Yeah.

My Rating: 5/10

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Looks sweet, doesn’t he? A wide-eyed dreamer? He’s taking a shit.

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And I thought my review for Danny Boyle’s Trance was a bit harsh… Turns out I enjoyed it more than this one. But I never want to see a kid covered in shit OR Rosario Dawson’s vagina ever again. 😉

I’ve also now watched another IMDB Top 250 film & I’m happy to report it’s MUCH better – Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious.

The Rum Diary

Okay – I watched this because of Johnny Depp. I’ve loved him since his 21 Jump Street & A Nightmare On Elm Street days.

I was bored out of my mind! It’s one of those movies where I fell asleep halfway through and could barely be bothered to finish it the next day. Sorry!

And I’m less in love with Johnny Depp these days. Too many dodgy movies in recent years, I think. Gotta say I’m more into Amber Heard now. 😉 I can’t be bothered to really review this movie – Let’s just look at a few pictures of her in The Rum Diary…

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My Rum Diary Haiku:

Johnny Depp is old
I don’t know what’s going on
Amber Heard is hot

My Rating: 5/10