Sunday, June 27, 2010

BRAIN TWISTERS

Brain Twisters Movie Review

A professor leads research on mind control, experimenting with his students. The problem is that his experiment is leading the students to kill others and themselves. This early nineties movie, the final one from the Gore House Greats collection, may fall under the “so bad it’s good” category. The acting, for the most part, is horrible, especially Terry Londerlee as the aforementioned professor. The story is more brain numbing than brain twisting. The entire movie moves at a snails pace. The dialogue is sub par. Through all of this, however, it is a somewhat enjoyable film. The music and effect sounds in it are interesting and, at times, very good, in particular the movie’s theme music, which is the same music that plays on the menu screen on all 3 discs in the "Gore House Greats" set. After hearing that music SO much throughout watching this set it seemed even cooler in the movie itself. Another thing I love about it is the “special effects” used in the experiments; they absolutely scream “1980’s”. These two things, coupled with a slight bit of 80’s hotness, make this enjoyable for me, but most will likely hate this movie.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Brain Twisters Complete Movie

LIVE ANIMALS

 Live Animals Movie Review

A group of college students are kidnapped, held in horse stalls, and sold into the sex trade. This horror movie is a low-budget flick that combines an equal amount of gore and off screen stuff, giving both a modern and 80’s throwback feel. There are a few things that bring this film down--the dialogue is really bad and the acting almost as much. The sound at times is so bad you can’t hear what the actors are saying (nothing important I’m guessing). There is a plot hole here and there, but nothing too bad. Still, I enjoyed this movie, particularly the final twenty minutes. The story is pretty interesting and there is even a decent twist thrown in.

An animal

The ending was a really good one too I thought, leaving a very bleak feel after the movie has ended—this is to say the ending before the very final scene, which I didn’t feel was needed at all. This is certainly not a masterpiece in horror, but I do think it’s worth a viewing.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Live Animals Movie Trailer

Thursday, June 24, 2010

DAYBREAKERS

Daybreakers Movie Review

The world is now under the rule of vampires who feed on human blood--unfortunately for the vampires, humans are near extinction. A corporation named Bromley Marks is trying to come up with a substitute, but Ed Dalton (Ethan Hawke, Reality Bites, Alive), one of their main scientists, is more interested in helping humans survive. This is a very dark, slick vampire movie that avoids some clich├ęs while falling into others. The story line is an interesting one, with vampires in charge of everything from corporations to the police force to the media, with the humans being the outcasts.

It's a vampire world

There is also an interesting subplot involving vampires who have withdrawals from not having blood and turn into monstrous vampires. All that is really cool, and the cast is strong, including a really good performance from Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, Event Horizon) as Charles Bromley, the man in charge of the corporation. There is another subplot involving Bromley and his daughter, but there is not enough time in the film to go into it too much. That is one of the huge problems with this movie--it is trying to do way too much in a short period of time. On top of the subplots already mentioned, there is also a conflict between Dalton and his brother, a whole story behind a character named Elvis Cormac (Willem DaFoe The Boondock Saints, Shadow Of The Vampire), and some other things. For me the movie skips a beat as it sends an obvious political message; this isn’t always a bad thing, and can in fact be very effective at times (see Romero, George A), but it felt out of place and cumbersome in this film. Also, the ending, which I will not go into, was a huge letdown and made little sense in that it was all TOO easy. Still, this is a fairly good horror film that is worth a watch, if for nothing else than to remind you that not all vampire movies being made in this day and age fall under the Twilight umbrella.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Daybreakers Movie Trailer

THE DESCENT PART 2

The Descent Part 2 Movie Review

Picking up where part one left off, The Descent 2 finds a rescue group looking for survivors in the caverns the women from part one explored. Once down there, they encounter the same nightmare from the first film. There is really a lot more I could say but I am trying to not give too much away for people who have not seen part one yet.

These guys return

I have to say that part one is probably one of my five favorite horror movies, so I wasn’t really expecting a whole lot from the sequel--I was very pleasantly surprised, however, as this is one of the better sequels I have seen. It maintains a lot of the creepiness of the original, though it does lack some of the more psychological scares of the first. The dialogue is pretty good, as is the acting, and there are plenty of scares and even twists and turns as well. A lot of the surroundings from the first film are here as well, giving it a cool feel. You should really see the first film before catching this one, and if you have seen the first film, you know there are a couple different endings. The sequel goes with the ending I saw in the theatre but is oddly missing from my DVD. Anyways, this is a really good, scary movie that I recommend highly.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8

The Descent Part 2 Red Band Trailer

PRIME EVIL

 Prime Evil Movie Review

A group of satanic monks capture virgin women so they can drink their blood, all in the name of Satan. This 1988 film is really, really bad, and not in an entertaining way. Yes, the acting is terrible, the plot makes no sense, and the dialogue is mind numbing--this is all acceptable as long as there is something interesting going on; here, there is nothing. Prime Evil is as boring as you can possibly imagine. The borderline retarded janitor/killer has his moments here and there, there is a bit of senseless nudity thrown in, and Satan himself makes an appearance at one point, providing the only glimmer of entertainment in the film.

Hello Satan

In fact, he is so laughably bad that he brought this waste of time up a point. This is the worst of the Gore House collection.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3


Prime Evil Red Band Trailer (it contains nudity in an attempt to make the movie look at least somewhat interesting)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

LOST THINGS

 Lost Things Movie Review

Four friends head off for holiday on an isolated beach, but their good times soon turn into a nightmare. Yes, that’s vague, but to say much more gives too much away in this Australian film that is loaded with twists and turns. The movie starts sort of slow but it is one that is dropping clues along the way. The dialogue is nothing too exciting but something about it seems very real at times, mainly the interactions between the two guys in the group. This is sort of a slow-burn horror that at different times reminded me of Wolf Creek and various Japanese horror films. The four main actors do a decent job, especially Lenka Kripac as Emily.

Emily

And as I just looked up information about her I have found something interesting. Back in 2008 I saw a woman perform with her band on Jay Leno’s show and thought that the song was catchy and the singer was attractive, but I flipped it over during the performance and had no idea who it was. A year and a half later, I watch a movie with the same singer in it but don’t realize it of course. I just confirmed that, yes, the singer I saw on Leno was indeed Lenka Kripac. Weird. Anyways, this is a movie a lot of people will get frustrated with and give up on, or just not get at all. I happened to enjoy it and recommend it (and Lenka’s music as well).

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Lost Things Movie Trailer (I couldn't find this in English, so here it is in German)

HARDWIRED

Hardwired Movie Review

After a near-death accident, Luke Gibson (Cuba Gooding Jr., Rat Race, What Dreams May Come) has a chip implanted in his head by a company, headed by Virgil (Val Kilmer, Tombstone, The Doors), that is now able to track his every move. This science fiction film based in the future is terribly boring. The special effects are really cheap, the story drags along, the dialogue is bad, and the acting is sub-par considering who is in the film. There is really nothing new in this story at all--it seems to simply borrow from a lot of much better sci-fi films from the past. Gooding, who is a phenomenal actor, simply phones this one in. Kilmer, in a more limited role, seems bored. It really is a shame to see two such talented actors involved in this sort of film. Everybody’s favorite Jack Nicholson doppelganger Michael Ironside (Scanners, Total Recall), who is a talented actor known for being in bad movies, turns in the best performance as the leader of a small group trying to help Gibson. One of the few enjoyable things about this movie is seeing company logos on landmarks throughout the world. That was sort of interesting, as is seeing Tatiana Maslany of Ginger Snaps 2 in a role where she looks so much different than she did in that film.

Ghost? Is that you?

Oddly, amongst a cast that included three really good actors, Maslany probably turns in the best performance here. I really can’t think of a good reason to recommend this movie. I can’t even recommend it to fans of these actors (as I am) because their performances are so far below what they have done before. Just do yourself a favor and skip this movie entirely.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Hardwired Movie Trailer

Friday, June 11, 2010

SHUTTER ISLAND

Shutter Island Movie Review

Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio), a U.S. Marshall, and new partner Chuck (Mark Ruffalo Zodiac, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind) go to Shutter Island, where the most violent of the criminally insane are housed, to find a missing patient. Once there, they encounter mysteries they could not expect. I’ll say right off that this is a really good movie, but it had the potential to be a lot better. The acting here is top-notch. DiCaprio is really one of the most talented actors in Hollywood and he doesn’t disappoint here. Ben Kingsley (Schindler’s List, Sneakers) may turn in the best overall performance as Psychiatrist Dr. Cawley. There are also very brief but also very good performances from two of the best character actors out there, John Carroll Lynch (Gothika, Gran Torino) and Elias Koteas (The Fourth Kind, Zodiac). On top of all that you are also treated to outstanding performances from Max von Sydow (Needful Things, What Dreams May Come), Jackie Earle Haley (A Nightmare On Elm Street, Watchmen), and Patricia Clarkson (The Woods, Carrie).

And this woman

The story is a really good one, the scenery is outstanding, and the feel of the movie is pretty intense. Add to this the fact that the film was directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese and you would think this would be an instant classic; however, it does fall short of that. The main problem with this movie is that it really slows down a lot for a good period of time. I found myself loving this movie until it hit that point. There is a really long stretch where there is just nothing happening to advance the story. It does pick back up and grab your attention again, but then the ending, though really good, also falls into the category of dragging out a bit. This movie is almost 2 hours 20 minutes long and would have benefited greatly from cutting about 20 minutes out. But, as I said, this is a really good movie nonetheless, and one I recommend.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8

Shutter Island Movie Trailer

Sunday, June 6, 2010

POPCORN

Popcorn Movie Review

A group of cinema students hold a horror movie marathon--complete with gimmicks--in an old theatre to raise money for their group, but things go wrong when a killer attacks them during the event. This is a movie that falls under the dreaded category of “better in memory than in reality”. Most of the film is pretty boring, with poor dialogue and even worse acting. The killer looks somewhat cool when he is revealed, but there is a lot to sit through to get there. This schlock film is as much humor as horror, a nod to old 50’s horror films that were unintentionally that way. While I like the idea of that, it fails a bit in that the humor here is really not very funny.

...

One thing that is very enjoyable with this film is seeing the movies within the movie, the features at the event that are an even more direct nod to 50’s horror. Still, that is not nearly enough to make this movie worth another watch.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Popcorn Movie Trailer

THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS

The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus Movie Review

Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer, Twelve Monkeys, 9), the leader of a traveling show, lost a bet with the Devil (Tom Waits, Dracula, The Outsiders) and must give up his daughter Valentina (Lily Cole) when she turns sixteen. The Devil makes another bet with Parnassus and, with the help of a stranger named Tony (Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight), tries to save his daughter. The first thing that will get your attention in this movie is the incredible scenery. Utilizing fabulous costumes and vivid colors, the movie is a visual delight. The story is pretty solid and keeps your attention, even when it drags a bit. The acting swings from really good (Ledger, Waits, Plummer) to really bad (Verne Troyer, Andrew Garfield). Of course most know this was Ledger’s final role before his death. Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell all filled in as Tony in the imagination world to finish the film.

The many faces of Tony

Depp is good in a very brief appearance and Farrell is surprisingly good as well. Law, who I generally like, seems out of place here and very awkward. Unfortunately, the fact that Tony appears different in the imagination world and nobody else does hurts the film a little, but given the circumstances involved, it is understandable. This is a very interesting and very strange film; sort of Alice In Wonderland meets Monty Python meets a really intense acid trip. This isn’t a surprise considering it is directed and co-written by Terry Gilliam of Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas fame. This movie is not for everybody, but I really liked it and recommend it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8

The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus Movie Trailer (Kind Of)