Sunday, October 31, 2010

Week of Reel Whorror!: Dead is Better Day 7

Happy Halloween Stargazers! In less than 15 minutes, my most anticipated fall television series begins. If you're like me, you're bouncing off the walls to see AMC's The Walking Dead. AMC is using Dawn of the Dead to lead into the new series. In honor of Romero's Of the Dead franchise (and to kill a few minutes before the premier), here's a blast from my review past:

Land of the Dead

Release: 06.24.05
DVD Release: 10.18.05
Rated R; (DVD: UR) 

1 hour, 33 minutes;
(UR: 1 hour, 37 minutes)


We've watched zombies evolve from the shambling, grunting corpses of 1968's Night of the Living Dead to those who spew blood a dozen feet and give chase like they’re Usain Bolt a la 28 Days Later. How can the king of the undead genre hope to compete? Simple; writer-director George A. Romero has the zombies who awoke in the night, ravaged in the dawn, and overran in the day now exert their will over the land.

Humans have taken up refuge on an island city where a societal class system is still in effect. The poor masses huddle beneath the Utopian skyscraper of the rich known as Fiddler’s Green. Fiddler’s Green is run by Kaufman (Dennis Hopper, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) who uses money and influence to command an army and a team of scavengers. Riley (Simon Baker,
Ring Two) leads the lowly scavengers alongside Cholo, played by everyone’s favorite typecast Latino, John Leguizamo (Spawn). The duo, with scavenger crew in tow, lead a foraging run to a neighboring zombie-infested city where the zombies’ have attained the ability to communicate and react. Shortly following, all Hell breaks loose as the zombies unite to swarm the human outpost.
While the evolution of zombies into thinking, rationalizing creatures is contrary to their very nature, you have to admit that it makes for a cool film concept. Big Daddy zombie uses his jerky movements and disgruntled moans to fuse his rotting brethren into a menacing, unstoppable force. Riley and Cholo are the stereotypical heroes, the Cain and Able if you will, of the scavengers. Riley is a hard-working, honest, and caring leader who just wants to retire far away from the dilapidated existence humans know. Cholo is a self-centered hustler looking to buy his way into Kaufman's high society Kaufman.

As with previous Romero flicks, the humans’ superficial aspirations blind them to the more immediate threat of being devoured by shuffling nimrods, so just imagine the panic and carnage when those nimrods start wielding knives, guns, and jackhammers! Post-apocalyptic vehicles, fireworks, and massive explosions fill the voids between the shallow conflicts emerging among the city’s denizens.
The zombie make-up and special effects are friggin’ awesome. My favorite was the perpetual pearly whites of Number 9. Keep a close eye out for zombies that have made appearances in previous Dead films; in particular the infamous Bub from Day of the Dead and the Seersucker Zombie from the original Night of the Living Dead. I’m certain there had to be more cameos, but with so many zombies in Hollywood, it’s hard to remember all their faces.

Dirty Undies
Ahh, the refreshing aftertaste of an R-rated film! Romero dishes up a sensory overload of violence, cursing and racial slurs! The 65-yr-old even flashes us a nice pair of chesticles; after all this is a man who made his bread and butter in the heyday of the 70’s and 80’s.
Watching these shambling, festering corpses take up arms, and literally, arms to fight against the infringing humans is intense. The prolonged sequences of gore and destruction as the undead turn humans into wishbones; tearing hunks from throats, snacking on sausagesque intestines and wrestling over scraps of actual finger foods will surely sate even the sickest of appetites.

The Money Shot
Not only does Romero improve upon his zombies, but also his story's undertones. You’ll leave the theater ruminating whether the humans were really the victims. Preponderances aside, Land of the Dead is ideal brain candy for the mindless theater masses.

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Week of Reel Whorror!: Dead is Better Day 6

 ***The following review is an encore presentation for the Week of Reel Whorror! ***

Attack Girls' Swim Team Versus the Undead

Release: 12.09.08
Rated UR
1 hour, 28 minutes

A Netflix Night

It takes a special kind of cinephile to even consider a movie titled, Attack Girls' Swim Team vs the Undead. By the way, it's also known as Joshikyôei hanrangun in its native Japan and Undead Pool by IMDb and the international community. My interest was spawned by a trailer preceding the film, Siren. Never heard of it? Both are Japanese horror films starring adult video (AV) stars. Interested now?

Attack Girls features AV star Sasa Nada as Aki, an orphan raised by a madman and trained as an assassin. Aki wanted more from life; specifically, she dreamed of being a normal high school girl. One night she escapes the complex and slips into a nearby high school. She makes fast friends with a student who encourages her to join the swim team. It just so happens, one of their members has fallen ill and they'd have to forfeit the meet without another swimmer.

Aki agrees and everything seems to be going great. Aki even discovers that her new friend shares a similar birthmark on her chest, leading them to realize they were twin sisters separated at birth! Nothing good comes without a price, however, as the sick swimmer was not an isolated incident. Most of the students and teachers have fallen ill. The strange disease causes those aflicted to turn into shambling, flesh-eating zombies. For reasons unknown, the rest of the swim team seem unaffected by the virus. Under Aki's leadership the girls go on the offensive, trying to stay alive long enough to find a cure.

Is that plot dense and crazy enough for you? If so, don't worry about the hateful swim coach who is brutally murdered only to return unscathed as the nicest teacher on campus. Or let's not ponder why one teacher, when zombified, only speaks English (and yet still gets subtitled)! Attack Girls is a pool of insane ideas that forms a gooey, gushy, sexy, steamy, awkward mess instead of congealing into a poorly executed film. Problems range from minor ones like Aki's vanishing 'birthmark' to a crazy corkscrew mindfuck of a third act where absolutely anything, and I mean anything, goes.

Dirty Undies
Attack Girls is also a misnomer for our band of high school heroines. They should be called Attacked Girls because they are just a group of swimmers who join forces under the leadership of Aki, the only girl with any true fighting skills. Aki does get in a few solid blows, but director Kôji Kawano seems more inclined to have Aki recollect the flute-induced sexual rutting her old mentor gave her at the complex.

The steamy bits aren't all bizarre rape sequences. Any shamelessly exploitative movie rife with teenage girls wouldn't be worth its salt if it didn't include some girl-on-girl action.

The gore and zombie effects aren't much to write home about either. There's a good deal of heavy makeup and colored corn syrup splashed about, but it's all so hokey it could never be considered cringe-worthy.

The Money Shot
I've only scratched the surface of all the problems Attacks Girls suffers from. That said, it's the kind of twaddle that you can't appreciate without having seen it. I recall feeling it was confusing, never-ending crap as the credits rolled, but since then I've found myself smirking at the outrageous silliness of it all. Sometimes terrible movies reach a noteworthy plateau of their own. Would Attack Girls' Swim Team vs the Undead qualify as one of those? You decide.


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Friday, October 29, 2010

Week of Reel Whorror!: Dead is Better Day 5

 ***The following review is an encore presentation for the Week of Reel Whorror! ***


Release: 10.02.09
Rated R
1 hour, 20 minutes

Full Price

Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg, Adventureland) has managed to survive the zombie apocalypse by following his rigid list of rules, first and foremost being cardio. He's traveling from Texas to Ohio to reunite with his family when he meets Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson, Semi-Pro). The two reluctantly team up to travel to their eastbound destinations. Along the way, the duo encounters sisters Wichita (Emma Stone, Superbad) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin, Signs) who turn the fellas' post-apocalyptic world upside down, causing them all to end up in Los Angeles.

I've been pondering ways to draft a clever review for Zombieland. I thought recapping the highlights via an extensive list of rules a la Columbus would be neat, but that'd require a lot of structure and discipline.

I could have talked about the trinity of obnoxiousness sitting behind me in the screening. You know the three: Detective Clueless, Mr. Obvious, and The Braying Mule. The first is the dumb chick who asks, Why'd they do that? about every scene. The second is the nimrod best friend to the blind moviegoer, explaining events such as She dropped a piano on him. Finally, you'll recognize the Mule as the fella who is apparently discovering the art of comedy this very moment, causing him to unleash a near-deafening guffaw over a scene no other fucker in the theater found funny.

Yeah, I could berate those tools, but let's not and say I did. What kind of review does Zombieland merit? One that gushes over its high points and forgives its minor foibles. Columbus is a wimp, but his carefulness and ever-expanding rules save him time and again. His physical and social limitations provide some hair-raising and hilarious moments. On the other hand, there's Tallahassee, a reckless action junkie who takes breaks from the road trip to blow off steam and zombie heads. He fills the carnage quotient and his insane quest for Twinkies is a great running gag. Watching the two of them riff off one another is just good fun.

When the ladies are introduced, Little Rock is a trip with her uninformed stance on any and every pop culture reference more than two years old. Wichita is the straight woman, a hardline loner who'd rather this happy band disband so she and her little sis can find peace on their own. The film has one cameo, which steals the thunder from the cast, but given who it is would you expect any less?

Dirty Undies
Told from Columbus's perspective, Zombieland relies on voiceover and montage to bring the audience up to speed. The opening montage front loads the film with action as zombies graphically devour human innards because people fail to adhere to Columbus's rules. Tallahassee's killing sprees are sickeningly creative and Harrelson seems to relish every moment. Wichita is one hot chick with a gun; Emma Stone's bedroom eyes and husky voice may have something to do with that. Somehow director Ruben Fleischer manages to slip in a swinging pair of pastie-clad zombie juggs for pervs like me. The language is as foul as a zombie's breath.

The Money Shot
Zombieland feels every bit as short as its eighty minute runtime, making you wish there were more. One might argue that I may be biased because any movie that pays homage to Ghostbusters is a must-see in my book. Zombieland is far from perfect, but neither the minor makeup and special-effects flaws nor the idiots behind me were enough to curb my enjoyment. The last few movies I've seen were so dull I haven't mustered up the energy to review them; this one was as refreshing as a hot shower or a fresh Twinkie.

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FMK Friday: Final Girls Fight! - The Results

While the Week of Reel Whorror is still on a break, let's take a brief moment to review the results of this month's horror themed round of Fuck, Marry Kill! If you are unfamiliar with the game, here's how it goes:

To play I present you, my readers, with three people. You must decide which person you'd like to bed, which you'd wed and which you want dead. It's not always as simple as it sounds.

The theme of Round 7, Final Girls Fight!, received a total of ten votes. Not too shabby a turnout for just a few weeks of voting. Here's how the queens of the 70s, 80s, and 90s final girls fared under your scrutiny:   

Fuck Nancy (or Sidney),
Laurie (or Nancy),

Sidney (or Laurie)

Wow! I think these crazy voting splits is a first! Taking a closer look at the votes we see:

It's obvious voters have a love/hate relationship with Sidney, but Laurie and Nancy are on equal footing with one another.

Fuck Sidney: There is something alluring about Sidney Prescott and the bulk of voters are definitely drawn to her. I, too, came close to bedding Ms. Prescott, but ultimately I saw a couple of huge advantages to laying with Laurie Strode. Sometimes, there has to be more than a great pair of lungs on a gal.   
Marry Laurie or Marry Nancy: If not for my vote, the majority would have made Laurie the marrying type. Lucky for Nancy I swooped in and tied things up. Let's be real; long-term Laurie is a nutcase and no one wants to be hitched to an unbalanced woman (Is that redundant? I kid!) Nancy knows her way around a bedroom and is skilled at using rope, two keeper qualities.
Kill Sidney: The Army of Darkness line, "First you wanna kill me, now you wanna kiss me," springs to mind for Sidney. As many of us wanted her dead as we wanted her alive and screaming, myself included. Sidney is a fearsome contender, but I just couldn't see her surviving one night with me, let alone for the long haul.


This would be the time when I introduce our next set of contenders to the FMK Friday challenge. Instead, I'm going to let these ladies revel in their victories. I now return you to our regularly scheduled Week of Reel Whorror!, already in progress.


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Trailer Trash: The October 29th Quickie

I interrupt the Week of Reel Whorror for this Trailer Trash quickie. For those looking for non-zombie entertainment this weekend, IMDb is reporting you've got one guaranteed option, or if you're in a happening town, you may get one or two of the six limited releases. The Reel Whore's always up for a sure thing so let's take a look.

Saw 3D The original Saw rocked (thanks mainly to the ending). Saw II and III were entertaining. Good thing I stopped seeing them in theaters after that; part IV was utter shit, V tried to redeem the franchise and VI is still in my NFQ. What's my prediction for VII? This may be the first installment that induces vomiting. It's not that it'll be any more violent or graphic than it's predecessors, but the uber-hella-lame "Your Turn to Play" gimmick from the trailer makes my fucking stomach churn. The scariest thing about Saw 3D is that this screen-bursting bullshit will probably make it #1 this weekend.  

Verdict: Exercise the Right to Cinematic Celibacy.

Unfortunately, I do not live in an area hip enough to get The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest so I must wait patiently. Rumor has it, it will open here on the weekend of my birthday. That would be one awesome present. If you get the chance to see it before me, don't spoil it!


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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Week of Reel Whorror!: Dead is Better Day 4 Plus

Stargazers! In the spirit of all things zombie, tonight's episode of Community was a pretty damned funny shout-out to the genre. If you're a fan like me, you saw it and were equally impressed. If you're not,

a) What is your major malfunction numbnuts! 


b) Keep checking Hulu until the episode Epidemiology posts and watch it immediately! 

Don't make me sic Chang on you!


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Week of Reel Whorror!: Dead is Better Day 4

Release: 07.14.09
Rated R
1 hour, 18 minutes

See It, Take a Friend, Buy the DVD!

Host Ángela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman Pablo (Pablo Rosso) are filming a segment for their documentary series While You're Asleep at a local Barcelona fire station. Although her escorts, Manu (Ferran Terraza)and Álex (David Vert), tell her most emergency calls are for minor things like pet rescue, Ángela hopes they'll get something more exciting. Later in the evening, they are called to help a woman trapped in her apartment; not a blazing fire, but some action is better than none. However, the firemen, police, Ángela and Pablo make a frightening discovery at the apartment and before they can evacuate the building, they are all quarantined within by authorities.

[REC] is told completely from Ángela's perspective with Pablo's lens as her eyes and ears. The directors Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza start with a slow, almost bored pace; perfectly emulating the tedium one might encounter when filming the minutiae of a fireman's job. That makes it so awesome when the foursome get completely flipped on their asses by the events at the apartment!

It isn't an immediate plunge into insanity, but the rising tension among the safety workers and the building's tenants is palpable and nerve-racking. Passing comments and observances become crucial information that Ángela and company employ to survive as all hell breaks loose.

Dirty Undies
The mood is frantic, furious and creepy as fuck. Once folks start getting covered in blood, you forget all about how cute Ángela looks in her pigtails.Thinking back, I'm not even sure you see anything all that graphic; the insinuation of an enraged, blood-covered zombie-esque person ripping into someone's throat is more than enough to put audiences on edge.

The Money Shot
[REC] spawned a near scene-for-scene remake in the US titled Quarantine. Although I saw the remake first, the original is a must-not miss. I have my favorite characters and moments committed to memory (Manu's quick thinking with a sledgehammer comes to mind), but I won't give anything away. I suggest you let [REC] burn itself into your mind.


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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Week of Reel Whorror!: Dead is Better Day 3

Release: 04.18.08
Rated R
1 hour, 34 minutes

Second Run Seats

Stop me if you've heard this one; a soldier infected with an engineered virus stumbles into an illegal strip club and bites its headliner, Kat (Jenna Jameson, Private Parts). Despite dying, Kat rises from the dead, with her faculties and dexterity intact (unlike her infector), and promptly goes back to working the pole. The only real change, aside from the gaping hole in her throat, is she now prefers to be paid in man-flesh rather than dollar bills. Though the patrons are dropping like flies, club owner Ian (Robert Englund, Hatchet) doesn't care because guys are going wild to see zombie strippers!

You'd think Reel Whore would be equally wild about strippers nudefying themselves to lure men into the private room and literally devour them, but it was no great shakes. Granted, I didn't expect more than zombies and strippers and the combination of the two, but in the end I wanted... less.  

Zombie Strippers opens on an "elite" special forces team sent to eradicate the zombie threat. It's a testosterone-engorged bloodbath that establishes the hokey, low-budget mood. The strip club is where things really go wrong, both behind and in front of, the camera. Writer-director Jay Lee effectively illustrates the seedy, sex-crazed nature of the club, but introduces contemplative strippers who work hard for the money while seeking higher enlightenment. The awkwardly muttered philosophizing is kitschy at first, but when it's still spewing at the eighty-minute mark it's bothersome.

Dirty Undies
If you've come looking for stripping and zombie stripping, you'll get your fill twice over. Some actresses, like veteran adult performer Jameson, are quite impressive in both pre- and post-mortem forms. Others look sexy and then disturbingly hot as they do their Stripper 101 routines. Stripping in one form or another accounts for at least forty-five minutes of the movie, so if you were hoping for more substantial story, I suggest you move along. Stripping works up quite an appetite; the girls rip their patrons apart like tear-away hot pants, spilling spongy, right-red innards everywhere.

The Money Shot
I wish I could say come for the zombie strippers, stay for the story, but I'd be lying. As enjoyable as it can be at times, Zombie Strippers has a lot of wasted potential. Even mindless entertainment shouldn't leave audiences craving more. 


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The Hump: No. 73

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Week of Reel Whorror!: Dead is Better Day 2

Release: 10.18.85
Rated R/UR
1 hour, 26 minutes

Full Price

Yesterday, I posted about the forefather film of the zombie genre. Now it's time to examine a film based on the forerunner of zombies in fictional storytelling, H.P. Lovecraft's Herbert West-Reanimator.

Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott, Prophecy II) is a medical student at Miskatnoic University. He works hard and tries not to piss off the Dean; he's already on thin ice for dating his daughter, Megan (Barbara Crampton, Puppetmaster). Along comes Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs, The Frighteners), a creepy student who transferred from Switzerland after there "was no more to learn there." Despite the weird vibe Herbert gives off, Dan rents him a room. When Dan discovers Herbert using a special reagent to revive dead tissue, he joins the mad student in his quest to make medical history, though it may mean their medical careers become history.

Director Stuart Gordon (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids) blends the horror and comedy of the Re-Animator tale to gross, cheesy goodness. The actors lay their characters' emotions and reactions on thick, but it works perfectly for the film. It's hilarious that everyone is instantly disturbed by Herbert, which is believable thanks to Combs's excellent freak-stare. While Dan and Herbert may walk in the shades of gray of their research, the reactions are cut and dried.

On equally creepy footing with Combs is Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale, The First Power), the professor who's outshined by West's genius and Dan's charisma. The way he leers and sneers is simply delectable.

Dirty Undies
Re-Animator is as gory and violent as it is goofy fun. Burnt, bloodied cadavers rise up and run around bashing in the brains of anyone they get their hands on. Their reanimated rage is made doubly awesome because, as cadavers, they've all been stored buck-ass naked and the living dead aren't concerned with covering their junk before they mangle someone. If you prefer your flesh with a little ruddier complexion, Megan bares flesh and bush in the name of entertainment. This kind of movie a reel whore can get behind.

The Money Shot
Far-fetched? Absolutely. While some of the make-up effects are great for the time, many (ahem, Dan's bruised face) are atrocious. In the end, though, things like cheesy make-up and hokey reactions don't matter. The movie takes itself so seriously, despite its absurdity, it's admirable. Rumor is there's a new installment being released this year. To that I say, long live Herbert West!


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Monday, October 25, 2010

Week of Reel Whorror!: Dead is Better Day 1

Release: 08.04.32
Rated NR
1 hour, 7 minutes

Full Price

White Zombie is the first feature film about zombies. What better way to start my week of zombie goodness than with the one that started it all?

While visiting Port-au-Prince, lovebirds Madeline (Madge Bellamy) and Neil (John Harron) are befriended by the wealthy Monsieur Beaumont (Robert Frazer) who invites them to be married at his plantation. Little do they know he seeks to woo Madeline from her betrothed. When his attempts fail, he enlists the witch doctor Legendre (Bela Lugosi, Dracula) to make her magically swoon. Legendre, with his own schemes, transforms Madeline into a zombie. Her undeath mortifies Beaumont, just as her death crushes Neil; that is, until a local priest convinces Neil she may not be lost to him.

I'm usually not one for movies made before the sixties, but White Zombie is pretty damned spiffy. First off, the zombies of this film aren't what is typically pictured when you hear the word. The zombies of White Zombie are labeled the walking dead, but they are actually people who have been placed under some sort of mind control by the local witch doctor using Haitian voodoo, which is a combination of a potion, his zombie eyes and his zombie grip. That may sound preposterous, but when you see Lugosi's Legendre assume his menacing zombie stance, it does seem plausible

Dirty Undies
Seeing Madeline in her silk undergarments as she dressed for her wedding may have been a bit taboo for the time, but we see far more skin on ABC Family nowadays. The zombie cast assembled were a pretty creepy gaggle of guys,especially the former executioner, Chauvin (Frederick Peters). From what I've read, the most frightening concept in White Zombie, aside from the ambling, blank-eyed undead, is that these creatures cannot be stopped by a bullet!

The Money Shot
White Zombie is far from a cinematic masterpiece, but considering it was filmed in just 11 days using borrowed props from other horror films, it's damn good. I'm glad I can now say I have seen the originator of the zombie genre. It may not be the best of the bunch, but it kick-started an undying genre.

(Sorry, I couldn't help myself!) 

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MMM: Of Cemetary Things

Good morning stargazers! Welcome to not only the latest edition of the Monday Mood Music, but the official raising of Reel Whore's Week of Reel Whorror! If you can't tell from the banner, this year's whorror theme is ZOMBIES! I chose the living dead in honor of the upcoming premier of my most anticipated new show of 2010, AMC's The Walking Dead. More on that later; now let's get this party started!

What artist better suited to raise the dead from their rest and get their heads thumping than the man who adopted the moniker, Rob Zombie? Rob was the front man of the metal band White Zombie, a band named after the first zombie feature film. In 1998, Rob Zombie released his solo album, Hellbilly Deluxe and, shortly after having its head removed, White Zombie was no more.

This week's selection is the second single to come from Rob's solo album. The tune makes several references to various horror movies and, before you ask, I have not seen all of them. That doesn't stop me from enjoying the hell out of the song though. No more yapping, let's get to rockin'!

Rob Zombie - Living Dead Girl

By the way, the banner image comes from the 1982 film, La Morte Vivante a.k.a. The Living Dead Girl which was the inspiration for this song's title.


Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, October 22, 2010

Trailer Trash: The October 22nd Quickie

Four weeks into October and the number of new releases continues to dwindle. According to IMDb, we've only got two major releases opening today. I shouldn't be so concerned with the quantity; like they say, it's quality that matters. Let's see if either of these films qualify as quality productions...

Paranormal Activity 2 I'm not sure quality comes to mind when I look at this trailer for a rushed sequel exploiting the gimmick of last year's immensely popular original. On the other hand, the sequel's director steadied the cameras to avoid the nauseating shaky effect. The original didn't leave me dying for more so, short of possession, I won't be compelled to rush out opening weekend for this.      

Verdict: It's Friday, I Don't Want to be Alone.

Hereafter You don't need a sixth sense to know a film directed by Clint Eastwood starring Matt Damon will be a quality production. What gets me most psyched is that the trailer gives away next to nothing about the story. While some may find that bothersome, it's refreshing to have a major release that hasn't been advertised to the point of disinterest.

Verdict: Moist With Antici...Pation!

 I hope you stargazers are as excited as I am. In just a few days my Week of Reel Whorror begins! Also, don't forget to vote in my Halloween-themed FMK Friday! Less than a week remains to cast your vote, so you best get on it!

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Quickie: Jack Goes Boating

Release: 09.23.10
Rated R
1 hour, 33 minutes


Jack (Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Savages) is a shy, quiet guy. He frequently seeks escape in the soothing vibes of the reggae song, Rivers of Babylon. His best friend, Clyde (John Ortiz, Miami Vice), has conspired with his wife Lucy (Daphne Rubin-Vega, Flawless) to set Jack up with her guarded coworker, Connie (Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone). Despite some awkwardness at the dinner party, Jack and Connie hit it off and make a date to go boating in the spring. As the winter months pass, Clyde teaches Jack how to swim in preparation of his big date. Jack and Connie's relationship blossoms during this time, but it becomes apparent Clyde and Lucy had selfish motives for bringing the two together.

Jack Goes Boating is based on the Bob Glaudini play of the same name. Not so coincidentally, the play featured three of the four same actors. Despite having never played the character, Ryan seems as comfortable as the uncomfortable Connie as do her co-stars in their well-worn roles. 

Jack Goes Boating relies on the mannerisms and expressions of these gifted actors to convey the true heart of the story. As director, Hoffman never misses the chance to capture those uneasy, heartfelt moments. There are times when the languid pace he sets becomes too protracted. At least, these times are accompanied by an excellent soundtrack. Granted, I wouldn't enjoy many of these songs on their own, but they fit well within the context of the story.

Aside from this quibble, the quirky romance of Jack and Connie, commingled with the messy marital issues of Clyde and Lucy, make for engaging entertainment.


Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Hump: No. 35

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Monday, October 18, 2010

I Dun Learned a New Ting

Good morning stargazers! Did you realize that next week my annual Week of Reel Whorror begins?! It's only starting to sink in with me, but no worries, I will not let you down.

Enough about next Monday. Today I'm here to cheer for more of my favorite music. This past Friday I attended my second concert for this lady. The first time I saw her, she was the opening act for a group I didn't even stay to watch. This time, she was the headliner and gave one helluva show.

When I prepare for the Monday Mood Music, I like to do a little digging into the artist's past (i.e. check out their Wiki page). Today I learned I had heard Sara Bareilles's music long before the success of her 2007 release, Love Song. While at UCLA, she was a member of Awaken A Cappella and one of her songs is featured on the Best of College A Capella 2004 CD. I never knew I had heard her music long before she found success.

Sara's premier song (as it were) is Gravity. The stripped performance from Friday was easily the best of the evening. Here's your chance to enjoy it as much as I did:

Sara Bareilles - Gravity

Now I'm off to the salt mines. Have a good one.


Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, October 15, 2010

FMK Friday: Final Girls Fight!

I apologize for my negligence with this feature, but this one's worth the wait. Join me in the latest round of Fuck, Marry Kill!

To play I present you, my readers, with three people. You must decide which person you'd like to bed, which you'd wed and which you want dead. It's not always as simple as it sounds.

The theme of Round 6, The Siblings of Michael Bluth, received a total of eight votes. Though it looks like decent participation, the poll was up for an entire month! I am wondering if folks aren't keen on voting in FMK's featuring men. C'est la vie. In the meantime, let's see which of Michael's siblings is the most beloved:
Fuck Lindsay,
Buster (or Gob),

Gob (or Buster)

Taking a closer look at the votes we see:

It's pretty clear where Lindsay stands in voters eyes, but Buster managed to get the upper hand over Gob in death and marriage.

Fuck Lindsay: Shocker, but the attention-starved woman who parades around in a 'SLUT' shirt garnered the most votes for sharing stargazers' sex fantasies. I agree. Self-absorbed bitchiness aside, Lindsay is still a looker. Plus, she's the only one with long locks of hair; can't do much pulling or snatching with the fellas.
Marry Gob or Marry Buster: The majority voted to wed Buster, but I had to give my hand to Gob, making for a tie. Sure, Gob's an utter moron and he'll cost you thousands with his $100 bill magic trick, but there's a neediness to him that's irresistible. Besides, he can entertain me for hours with Franklin.
Kill Buster: As many of you wanted to marry Buster as you did kill him. In the end, Buster got my kill vote bringing him over the edge. He's just too much of a mama's boy to ever make marriage or a one-night stand work. I'm not about to share anyone with Lucille, or Lucille!


Welcome to Round 7. This poll should have went up on October 1, but as you may have noticed, I'm a slacker. At any rate, the big doings in October is Halloween. While I work diligently to compile posts for my Week of Reel Whorror, here's you chance to help your favorite final girl lay the competition flat on its ass. I've chosen one final girl from each decade, 70s, 80s and 90s, to duke it out. I would have chosen someone from the 00s, but, and correct me if I'm wrong, there isn't a lady worthy of the title.

Fuck, Marry, Kill
Final Girls Fight!

From left to right
Laurie Strode; In the Halloween series, Laurie is quite a catch despite having a psychotic brother stalking her. She's a looker, but don't stare too long or she'll poke your eye out with a hanger.

Nancy Thompson; Nancy is not only the target of the vicious dream-killer, but she's also a victim of 80s fashion thanks to the timing of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Look beyond the frizzy hair and fuzzy sweaters and you'll find a sexy survivalist.

Sidney Prescott; Sidney may not be as well-endowed as her contenders, but they call her series Scream for a reason. She's not a full blown skank, but I have it on good authority she gives it up in the first installment.

Round 7 will run through October 28th. That gives you two weeks to give your final girl the votes she needs to survive.  It's up to you whether your choice comes out on top or gets put six feet under.

Choose wisely.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Trailer Trash: The October 15th Quickie

As we enter the third weekend of October, the number of new releases is slim. According to IMDb, we have two limited releases and three major releases, one being some piece of bullshit propaganda that somehow weaseled it's way into mainstream theaters. Before I get on my soapbox, let's look at actual weekend entertainment.
Jackass 3D I've never been much for the antics of the Jackass crew. For those not familiar with these fellas, they are the Jersey Shore-equivalent idiots of MTV's new millennium generation. That said, this installment piques my interest. Mainly, I just want to see Bam Margera smacked in the face by a big fucking hand. Luckily I've seen that in the trailer so I'm set.

Verdict: Exercise the Right to Cinematic Celibacy.

Red What is Red? Red is not just a color, it's a choice. When you choose Red, you are not only choosing a movie, but your enjoyment. One Red ticket buys not only a fun, two-hour diversion, but the charisma of Morgan Freeman. Red buys the loveliness of Helen Mirren. Red buys the scene-chewing of John Malkovich. When you choose Red you get the awesomeness of Bruce Willis, and isn't that worth more than the other options? So at the movies, choose Red.  

Red is not the only choice for weekend entertainment, but it's the best choice.
Verdict: Moist With Antici...Pation!

 Conviction (limited) It's been over a decade, but Sam Rockwell is back behind bars. Lucky for him, Hilary Swank is on the case and, if anyone's seen her previous movies, you know she's in it to win it. I expect no less than phenomenal performances from these two, but I do worry how thick the melodrama will be. Either way, I will catch this if it comes 'round this way. 

Verdict: It's Friday, I Don't Want to be Alone.

I Want Your Money Until this week, I hadn't heard about this. In fact, the official trailer wasn't released until last week. The Whore's not one to get political, but I'm so sick of this Tea Party rhetoric polluting my TV, and now they invaded my sanctuary!

The film's caricature of Obama pounding Reagan (may he RIP) into the mat may incite those who'd dub the Gipper a god. FYI, within the first two years of Ronnie's presidency, unemployment was 10.8%, the highest post-Great Depression rate to date. Plus, the national debt tripled to 3 trillion under his watch. To put that into perspective, those are in 1980s dollars accrued during peacetime. I'll step off my soapbox now, but instead of wasting time and money on a collage of pandering clips, why not get properly edumucated?

Verdict: Exercise the Right to Cinematic Celibacy.

That's all I wrote folks! Well, technically I'm writing this part too, so this would actually be ALL that I wrote. Unless I keep going like this in which case this is all I wrote. You know what? Have a great weekend, go see a good movie, and don't over think it.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Unmatched by Anything...Including Cake

Release: 09.17.10
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 32 minutes

Full Price

Olive (Emma Stone, The House Bunny) is a sassy, whip-smart high schooler who lies to her best friend, Rhiannon (Aly Michalka, TV: Hellcats), about losing her virginity. The school's holy roller, Marianne (Amanda Bynes, She's the Man), overhears and quickly spreads the scandalous news. Having a bad girl rep is much improved to the complete lack of one, so Olive plays along. When good-natured Olive uses her new rep to "aid" less fortunate students, she's labeled skank-superior and each new lie ostracizes her even more from her classmates.

Emma Stone just furthers my belief she'll have a lengthy, successful Hollywood career with every new role. Silly, sexy, sarcastic with a scholastic aptitude far beyond her peers; Stone is wonderful as Olive. At times her performance is overshadowed by the excessively quirky parental performances of Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada) and Patricia Clarkson (Lars and the Real Girl) or by Thomas Haden Church's  (Smart People) undoubtedly cool teacher role. These are but brief interludes; progressing the story and keeping the audience engaged rests firmly upon Stone's shoulders.

It's apparent director Will Gluck and writer Bert V. Royal are hoping to add their work into the annals of iconic teen comedies. Whether that will happen remains to be seen, but Easy A is a nice homage to John Hughes. The writing is highly entertaining, but there is something overly simplistic about the presentation.

Dirty Undies
Not that Emma Stone isn't captivating, but it is nearly impossible to focus during the first fifteen minutes. That is mainly due to the two stars of TV's Hellcats hogging the spotlight. Have you encountered them?

Michalka's breasts are entirely too distracting! In Easy A they even point out that her tits are how her fellow students know her. Luckily (or sadly, depending on your preference), they step aside once the plot gets going to allow Emma to shine. Despite being about fake rocking people's worlds, Easy A stays relatively chaste. The sauciest thing about Olive is her occasional slip of the tongue.

The Money Shot
Mostly great performances and snappy dialog take Easy A a long ways despite its lack of visual appeal. Be clear, I'm referring to weak direction; its stars are fetching and infectious. Easy A is a bit of a misnomer, Emma Stone works hard to get this film its high marks.


Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Hump: No. 30

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Monday, October 11, 2010

MMM: I'm Back on a Boat!

Not technically a boat, more like "I'm back in a theater." After three weeks of weddings, road trips, and various other odds and ends, I was finally able to once again plant my ass in the dark and stare at that luminous screen. You may be wondering what brought me into theaters after all this time. It was Phillip Seymour Hoffman's directorial debut, Jack Goes Boating.

The Jack Goes Boating soundtrack worked very well with the story, but I don't think I'd enjoy every selection were I to hear them out of the film's context. Of them all, there is one song that I've liked for over two years. That tune, White Winter Hymnal, was the first single from the self-titled, debut album of the Fleet Foxes. Fleet Foxes are a Seattle folk band on the rise. It's a short, but infectious tune that's sure to stick in your head. Consider yourself warned.

Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal

Now that I've dipped my toes back into movie-watching waters, it shouldn't take me long to get back into proper, stargazing shape.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Sunday, October 10, 2010

To Be Totally Random

As I sit here, dreading the work week ahead I just realized that it's the tenth of October in 2010 or, to be more exact, it's...

10/10/10 10:10!

How about that?! I guess technically it's 10/10/10 22:10 in military time and that had I realized this at 10:10 in the morning. it may have been even cooler, but still.

By the way, I was asked to Bitch About It by Blake over at Bitchin' Film Reviews. If you get a chance, check out the answers my fellow bloggers and I gave to the following question:  

You’re stuck on a desert island and before your plane (a plane full of every movie ever made) crashes, you have time to pick three that you’re stuck with the rest of your life.  What are they and why?


Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, October 8, 2010

Trailer Trash: The October 8th Quickie

Welcome to the second week of October where apparently, all the turds settle out. Oops, I'm getting a little ahead of myself. According to IMDb, this week offers three major releases along with the usual handful of limited fare. Even though I've spoiled my attitude for these films, why don't you humor me?

Secretariat This looks to be the triple crown jewel of the weekend. Hollywood trots out a sentimental, horse drama every few years and today is post time. Diane Lane's 'do is freaky-frightening, but I'm more bothered by seeing John Malkovich playing, apparently, the tallest ex-jockey ever! I'm not rushing out to see this, but if I were a betting man, this will be the only movie of the weekend to place. Okay, I'll stop the puns now.

Reel's Title: Equus Caballus Dominus Weekendus

Verdict: It's Friday, I Don't Want to be Alone.

My Soul to Take This is the latest offering of horror by Wes Craven and I couldn't care less (and not just because it's offered in horrifying 3D). Nothing from the trailer compels me to the theater. The only interesting scenes remind me of his earlier, superior films. I wonder if it isn't just a lame promotion to remind fans that Wes Craven's next installment of the Scream franchise will be out in a few months.

Reel's Title: My Cash to Take

Verdict: Exercise the Right to Cinematic Celibacy

Life as We Know It Months and months of waiting and finally I will be rid of this craptastic trailer. If I'm really lucky, the movie will vanish in a couple weeks. This would break box office records if audiences were watching Heigl and Duhamel make a baby, but raising a baby, not so much. Hopefully, this concept won't evolve into a poor-man's Look Who's Talking trilogy.

Reel's Title: You, Me, and that Shit-Ass Baby Our Two Dead Friends Left Us 

Verdict: Exercise the Right to Cinematic Celibacy

Another week and three more reasons not to visit the theater. Lucky for me, the limited release It's Kind of a Funny Story opens at my favorite art house theater. I also have four other must-see movies that my recent busy-ness has kept me from seeing so no worries. What will it take to get you into theaters this weekend?


Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Hump: No. 12

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Monday, October 4, 2010

MMM: Hakuna Matata Mutha...

Good Monday to you! I know you've probably come looking for a Monday Mood Music, but today I want to do something a little different.

As you may have heard, comedian Greg Giraldo passed away on September 29, 2010 as a result of an overdose of prescription medication. Just the week before I had been having dinner with friends and telling them how they should check out his hilarious act. His very adult, many times offensive comedy wasn't the most TV-friendly, but he was a regular participant in the Comedy Central Roasts. You could always count on his roast being one of the funniest of the evening.

I was lucky enough to see him perform here in Raleigh, a show which had me crying from laughing so hard. I am thankful I was able to meet him afterward and let him how much I enjoyed it, but I am saddened I will never get to hear his spin on all the future silliness the world has in store for us.

In honor of his recent passing, here's a clip from a live performance at Virginia Tech he did one year ago. Take a moment to appreciate Greg's NSFW comedy.

In Memoriam: Greg Giraldo
1965 - 2010

Thanks to Greg, the word half-a-tard will forever be in my vocabulary. He will be missed.  


Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, October 1, 2010

Trailer Trash: The October 1st Quickie

That's right, stargazers. By popular demand (as in one person requested I keep doing it), the Trailer Trash will continue to get the Quickie treatment. Yay for me since another week has seemingly taken my life by storm. Reviews promised still lie about unfulfilled and new theatrical releases go unwatched. There must be a cure, some formula...

Until that day comes, I can still skim the interwebs for my local listings to see what new releases have my heart all a twitter. According to IMDb, there are three major releases with another three limited releases in tow.  None of the limited releases are opening in my area, so let's focus on the week's big three.
The Social Network Jesse Eisenberg has come a long way since filming stinkers like The Village and Cursed, hasn't he? Fincher's Facebook movie has piqued my interest since trailer number one and unless you're shock critic Armond White or the two other dicks currently dogging this out on Rotten Tomatoes, I expect if you see this, you'll give its fan page a big 
Verdict: Moist With Antici...Pation!  

Let Me In The interwebs has been all a buzz about the remake of the Swedish thriller Let The Right One In for longer than I care to remember. Now that it's finally here I've got to say, meh. I like Chloe Moretz and Richard Jenkins has made a nice career shift into the estranged old man with emotional baggage, but I shudder at the thought of how badly this version will mutilate my fond memories of the original. My advice to you is deal with the original's subtitles and see why this story was worth the undoubtedly inferior rehashing.

Verdict: It's Friday, I Don't Want to be Alone.
 Case 39 I hadn't heard of this until I read the IMDb entry. The trailer reminds me of dozens of other mediocre-to-subpar-to-pure-shit thrillers about a mysterious something that seems incidental to the hero until they and their loved ones are waste deep in 'oh fuck.' To make this movie worse, Renée Zellweger and Bradley Cooper get to flaunt their relationship to the world. That prospect is more horrifying to me than the premise.

Verdict: Exercise the Right to Cinematic Celibacy

Looks like a muddled start to October, folks. Right now, I'm wishing I lived in Los Angeles or New York so I could go see Barry Munday. Of all this week's trailers, the thought of watching Patrick Wilson lose his balls has me the most excited. I must still be carrying around some bitterness from Hard Candy. Just kidding; Judy Greer in full-on, freak mama mode is a must-see reason to seek out this limited release.

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