“If you ever get the chance, shower with them. I did. Mmm, it’s a mindscrambler. Hurts so good.”
Weird Science (1985)
Directed by Richard Stanley
Running time: 94 minutes
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Hardware is a British-American post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film. Inspired by a short story in 2000 AD, the film depicts the rampage of a self-repairing robot in a post-apocalyptic slum.
This movie is all kinds of awesome. Why isn’t it more well known? First of all, it’s a “post-apocalyptic science fiction horror”. How cool is that? I love sci-fi, I’m not huge on horror but love it when it’s GOOD (like this is) and, for whatever reason, I’ve always been a sucker for that whole post-apocalyptic thing (you can see my list of My Top Ten Apocalyptic Movies HERE).
I will say this is quite low budget and feels more like a very early 80s film than a 1990 one. That’s a good thing anyway as the 90s sucked & had a terrible look to everything (watch a re-run of Friends – it’s not aging well!). Really, Hardware is a low budget Terminator but, again, that’s another movie that was all kinds of awesome so that’s fine by me.
As it says above, this is inspired by a short story in 2000 AD, which I know absolutely nothing whatsoever about. According to Wikipedia, that’s a British science-fiction comic most noted for its Judge Dredd stories. I did know this was based on some sort of comic book and it very much has the look & feel of that. Certain images in the film seem to be right out of a comic book (I mean that in a good way). When I try to figure out just what it is that I love about Hardware, I think it’s a combination of the overall look & style, the quirky (though extremely underdeveloped) characters, and the fact that it has one of the coolest soundtracks ever. Oh, and Iggy Pop & Lemmy from Motörhead are in it.
One other great thing is that Hardware has a strong female character. Dylan McDermott feels like the lead but, by the end, it’s just as much Stacey Travis. I’m surprised she didn’t have a bigger career (although she’s still around & has had lots of roles, mainly in TV). I mean, she’s a blow torch wielding metal sculptor in this. She’s cute & she’s cool. Come to think of it, she should have been on my recent list of Girl Crushes.
I haven’t said much about the plot but, basically, Dylan McDermott is her sexy post-apocalyptic soldier boyfriend who brings her home these robot pieces he bought off a nomad to give her as a Christmas present as he knows she loves that kind of thing for her metal sculpting art (not knowing it’s a killing machine that’s part of a secret government project). I actually found their relationship very sweet and they have a super sexy shower scene that is very high on my list of My Top Ten Shower & Bath Scenes In Movies. (Yes, I’m mentioning that list yet again as it’s my most viewed thing on this blog BY FAR. That post gets views every single day!). And the f*^king amazing The Order Of Death by Public Image Ltd (I love John Lydon) plays over the scene & fits in SO perfectly, making it one of my all-time favorite uses of a song in a movie. Screw it – I posted the YouTube clip of it before in my shower scene list and I’ll post it again at the end of this review. This song really defines this film for me and gives you a good feel for the vibe of the whole movie – I can’t hear it without immediately picturing the film.
This review is getting a bit long so I’m not doing well on keeping these CPD Classic reviews short. This movie is cool. It looks cool. The story is cool. The characters are cool. The music is cool. There’s biblical shit going on with the name of the robot (M.A.R.K.-13) & McDermott’s character (Moses). And, holy hell – I’ve not even mentioned the pervy peeping tom neighbor who is one of the creepiest characters in a movie EVER (they all walk the wibbly wobbly walk… *shudder*). Why has no one I know seen this? Why does it have such a low IMDB rating? Why isn’t this a bigger cult classic? Well, I may be alone (along with Mista Mutant) but I think this is a great film, especially for its genre. That’s why Hardware is a CPD Classic.
My Rating: 8/10
Directed by Andrew Jarecki
Philip Baker Hall
Running time: 101 minutes
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Inspired by the life of accused murderer Robert Durst, the film chronicles the life of the wealthy son of a New York real estate tycoon, and a series of murders linked to him, as well as his volatile relationship with his wife and her subsequent unsolved disappearance.
Earlier in the year, I decided to start a Ryan Gosling Project where I’d watch all his films. But then… I don’t know, I just sort of fell out of love with him. So I haven’t continued that project but I guess I can add All Good Things to the list HERE.
I thought this was a decent “based on a true story” (suspected) murder mystery movie. It’s not a genre I really go for but occasionally I’m in the mood for this kind of thing. I have to admit that I sometimes miss those (horrible) true story made for TV Lifetime movies in America. All Good Things is that exact sort of thing – It’s a Lifetime movie with a bigger budget & better actors. Okay, those Lifetime movies do get played in the UK but I just don’t have time for those (horrible) wonderful movies anymore. I miss Nancy McKeon, though – is she still doing that type of stuff?? And Valerie Bertinelli! And Meredith Baxter-Birney!
So, anyway – this film is based on the story of wealthy Robert Durst, whose wife went missing in 1982. The case remains unsolved but Durst is suspected of two other murders 20 years later (and was tried for one, in which he claimed self-defense). Gosling plays Durst (but with the character name changed to David Marks) and Kirsten Dunst plays his wife Katie.
I’ve never really liked Kirsten Dunst but I have to say she really did a very good job in this film. She was the highlight of the movie for me & I thought her performance was even better than Gosling’s. Obviously, it’s not a spoiler to say she disappears & we never see her again but, luckily, the film spends the majority of the time focusing on the marriage so she’s in the film a lot. After she disappears, the film goes through the next 20 years or so very quickly (maybe a little too quickly considering that this is when things got REALLY interesting & f%*ked up!).
Ryan Gosling also does a good job but I kind of feel like we’ve seen too many similar performances from him before. He plays the character as a quiet, deeply troubled man (the type of role he plays so often). He plays it very subtle & it’s nice not seeing some over-the-top psycho but, again, we’ve seen this from him before. My very favorite Gosling movie is Lars And The Real Girl – he plays the role of Marks the same sort of way as he played Lars (but with a crazy anger underneath the surface – Lars was crazy but just sweet). He was great as Lars – if I hadn’t already seen that film, I’d probably be more blown away by his performance in this one. He is good in this – I’m not saying he isn’t. I just thought that Dunst felt like the true star in this one.
All Good Things is a very intriguing mystery based on the real life 1982 disappearance of the wife of a wealthy businessman. Gosling & especially Dunst give very good performances and a lot of time is spent exploring their characters & their relationship. Then she disappears & things get REALLY odd. I liked this movie quite a bit considering it’s not my favorite sort of genre. It really is an interesting case so I can see why they made a film out of it. I recommend this if you like “true crime” dramas.
My Rating: 6.5/10
Directed by Jason Moore
John Michael Higgins
Running time: 112 minutes
Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Pitch Perfect follows a women’s college a cappella group, The Barden Bellas, as they compete against another a cappella group from their college to win Nationals.
Let’s get another review done! I need to start this review by saying this: I’m old. I grew up on John Hughes teen movies & NOTHING has ever or will ever come close to those in my old person opinion. I do still like watching movies aimed at teenagers & twentysomethings – I’m just always on the lookout for another Breakfast Club, though, and that has yet to happen. There have been some movies that I’ve enjoyed and are a bit of fun but won’t exactly become all-time favorites of mine. Pitch Perfect is one of these.
– Anna Kendrick: She’s a decent character I know I would have liked if I was still that sort of age. I always like a kind of “tough girl” (although, please! She’s not fully believable as one. Come ON – she’s SO not a “tough girl”! They obviously went “Let’s stick a tattoo on her & make her angry at the world!” Please). But a strong female lead is always a good thing & I’d happily have a teen daughter look up to this character instead of the many horrible female role models around these days.
– The Crazy Quiet Girl: There’s a girl in The Barden Bellas (Lilly) who’s this tiny little thing who goes around mumbling and no one can understand her. When you DO catch what she says, it’s something completely insane like “I set fires to feel joy”. I loved this character! Her lines actually made me LOL and I am so NOT a LOLer. And when I recently reviewed Sound Of My Voice, I said there was no good puking scene in the history of cinema besides in Stand By Me (because puking is disgusting). Well, I forgot about Pitch Perfect. I don’t necessarily like the puking scenes in this but the thing Lilly does (I don’t want to spoil it) is disgustingly hilarious! I LOLed at that too. She really needed a bigger role in this & more lines because she was the highlight of the film for me.
– The Story & Humor: It’s not exactly the most original plot but it was fun & I do love a movie that ends with a competition of some sort. It’s also a fairly funny film overall. I think I have a weird sense of humor because I like very few comedy films these days so the fact that Pitch Perfect actually made me laugh a couple of times is pretty amazing. Heck, I also didn’t mind the predictable romance. I mean, I can SO relate to two people bonding over great movies! 🙂
– The Breakfast Club Reference: It’s funny how so many teen movies now seem to try to be like the great 80’s teen movies. I assume this is because the filmmakers are often my sort of age & grew up on Hughes as well. It’s good that some films at least TRY to live up to that.
– The Breakfast Club Reference: Can’t current teen films just try to be good on their own without having to rely on mentioning the genius that is John Hughes? Easy A did this as well. However, it does fit better into the story in Pitch Perfect – it felt very forced in Easy A (I didn’t really like that movie).
– The Music: Okay okay. Sorry. I know that’s the whole point of this movie. But the reason I didn’t rush out to see this is because I hate things like Glee. Glee is awful. I tried to watch Glee for a while & just got annoyed whenever they took a good song & made it all cheesy & crap. Pitch Perfect is quite similar to Glee in some of the “slightly naughty” humor and, obviously, in the cheesy singing. Luckily, it works better than Glee. The story is better & funnier and the songs aren’t TOO terribly annoying. But stay the hell away from Simple Minds, people! LEAVE THE BREAKFAST CLUB SONG ALONE!!!! The best song in this is actually the original one.
– Rebel Wilson: I dunno. I have yet to like her in anything I’ve seen her in. She does have some funny lines, though, and the fact that she calls herself Fat Amy “so twig bitches like you don’t do it behind my back” was pretty damn funny.
– The Fact That I Can’t Remember Much Else Besides What I’ve Listed: I watched this several months ago & don’t remember it that well anymore. But I can recite so many lines from my favorite John Hughes teen movies even though I haven’t watched most of them in years.
Pitch Perfect is a fun movie with a predictable plot but some great unexpected humor thrown in which does make it stand out when compared to other current movies aimed at teens & early twentysomethings. Like many other movies for this age group, it wants to be a John Hughes film but of course can’t manage that. However, it does stay on the right side of the line in trying to achieve this. And I LOLed a few times. I don’t LOL much.
My Rating: 7/10
Directed by Park Chan-wook
Written by Wentworth Miller
Music by Clint Mansell
Running time: 99 minutes
India Stoker’s beloved father dies in a car accident on her 18th birthday. Soon after, the mysterious Uncle Charlie comes to stay with India and her cold & distant mother. India never even knew her father had a brother and she starts to suspect that Uncle Charlie may not be all he seems.
First of all, thanks to everyone for voting when I asked which film I should review next. Stoker was the winner.
I think it’s pretty well known that the inspiration for Stoker was Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow Of A Doubt. Being a pretty big Hitchcock fan and having just watched that one this year (review HERE), I can certainly see how similar the films are and how much Wentworth Miller clearly must love Shadow Of A Doubt. As to be expected, though, it’s not as good as Hitchcock’s film.
I missed Stoker when it was in cinemas and I was so mad because it looked interesting & I really wanted to see it. But as it wasn’t Fast & Furious 23 or some shit like that, it was only on for one week at my local cinema. So, anyway, after fellow movie geeks seemed to love it despite some not so great reviews I think I had probably hyped it up too much in my mind & that may be why I was a little disappointed with the film.
I’ve never seen Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy and had wanted to do this review along with that one but just haven’t had time to watch it. I’m assuming it’s a better film with all the best bits of Stoker, like some great visuals and all that director-y stuff that I know nothing about, but with a better story. Stoker looked great & it had this wonderful creepy atmosphere that I really liked. But the overall story wasn’t all that shocking or original and, with a different director, I think it would be a very forgettable film.
I also think everyone did fine in their roles but no one really blew me away.
Mia Wasikowska was fine but I think plenty of other actresses could have played the role too. Matthew Goode has this insane look going on in his eyes so I think he was right for the role but, again, I think there are others who could have played Uncle Charlie and I can’t help but say that Joseph Cotten was a creepier Uncle Charlie in Shadow Of A Doubt. At least the character of India in Stoker has much more depth than Hitchcock’s Charlie, niece of the uncle with the same name. Nicole Kidman is also fine but she always is – I didn’t really feel like we were seeing anything new from her here.
Overall I just found the story too predictable. It was too much “style over substance” for me. I don’t think it was bad but, if you’re going to make a film so clearly inspired by Hitchcock, I think you need to do a better job on the suspense in the film. You’re not going to top the Master in that regard but there are other films that have achieved a growing sense of anxiousness more than Stoker does, which never exactly had me on the edge of my seat.
Stoker is a very atmospheric film that is lovely to look at and one I’m sure that people who know anything about filmmaking would probably appreciate. In the hands of a less talented director (and without a certain shower scene), I think it would be a very forgettable film. It’s a good Hitchcock-inspired mystery but just can’t match his brilliantly suspenseful storytelling. But who can? Although it sounds like I almost hated Stoker, I did actually enjoy it. It’s a solid effort & I appreciate the attempt to make something other than the same old tired mainstream movie in this world full of horrible sequels, remakes, and “Ow, my balls!” comedies. Stoker is worth a watch for film fans but I would hope that everyone will have already seen Hitchcock’s biggest classics first to see the true master of suspense at work.
My Rating: 6.5/10
Strange Uncle Charlie
Masturbating in shower
Hitchcock this is not
Which leads me to two of my lists on which Stoker probably now at least deserves an honorable mention. 😉
Okay – When looking at my stats I’ve noticed that people often seem to have come to my blog after doing a search for Amber Heard along with words such as hot and shower scene (this would be because I mentioned her shower scene in my review of The Ward). So… I figured I’d do an Amber Heard post again and see what happens! 😉 She really is hot and my current girl crush but I still love Ryan Gosling the most (he gets lots of hits too!). Here are two great pictures of them:
Just watched John Carpenter’s The Ward. Probably only because I have a bit of a girl crush on Amber Heard… But, seriously, this movie is meant to take place in 1966? I don’t think you could find an actress who looks LESS like a girl from 1966!
Anyway, I wasn’t exactly expecting a masterpiece. And I certainly didn’t get one! But I was hoping it would be a bit better than it was. The MOST disappointing thing is that I already saw this EXACT same movie in 2003! I can’t say which one as it would then completely give away the plot of The Ward but let’s just say that one did a slightly better job of telling the exact same story. This one just stuck some hot chicks in there to make things more interesting. And a shower scene. Amber Heard was probably hottest in the shower scene:
So… If you go for movies with girls in mental wards, I’d recommend either Sucker Punch (SO many things wrong with that movie and it’s not exactly “good” but it’s a fun & entertaining guilty pleasure) or The Uninvited. Both starring Emily Browning. Maybe I have a girl crush on her too. 😉
4/10 for The Ward
Watch these instead:
The Uninvited is a remake of a South Korean horror movie called A Tale Of Two Sisters which I’d always wanted to see. Didn’t know The Uninvited was a remake of it when I watched it. Should really watch the original now.