Category Archives: Movie/Long Subject Reviews

Cthulhu (2007)

Ok so supposedly this is another mediocre, failed H.P. adaptation.

But before that…

Some people complain about the main character being gay; a “highly liked” review ends with the GHASTLY notion that this might leave people with the idea that Lovecraft was gay!!!

WHO GIVES A SH!T??? WTF does sexuality have to do with Lovecraft’s notion that people don’t have the SLIGHTEST idea what is really going on, that humanity is just a tiny speck in the cosmic scheme of (bigger, better, more powerful, more intelligent, etc…) things?

Answer: Nothing.

Oh, but H.P. was notoriously bigoted (see “miscegenation”), so it’s not a HUGE surprise that some of his fans are as well.

ANYHOO…as to the MOVIE…you know, the parts that MATTER…

It’s a mediocre adaptation of Lovecraft. BUT…and this is the point…it’s a very admirable, attempts-to-get-it-right adaptation.

And when I say get “it” right, it = the mood. See ‘ITMOM’.

It does about as well, I think, as a low-budget movie with no “name” actors and no real FX can do with the story.

Is that enough? No. But it does have its good points, and it’s not some cheezy cr@pfest like a lot of “Lovecraftian” sh1t films are.

The lead is actually pretty good…the family “drama” seems at least tolerably genuine and his acting is convincing throughout.

The creepiness seems to build slowly (LIKE IT SHOULD)…it’s not some stupid cheezy sh1t just THROWN at you (GASP! THRILLS! CHILLS! EXPLOSIVE! A MUST SEE!)

…and it actually IS *kinda* creepy, at times. Seems like it might have ripped a few movies here and there, but GOOD rips. ITMOM, for instance.

The ending is…interesting, and appropriately at-least-ambiguous-dark.

Grade: D+

Masters Of Horror: Dreams In The Witch-House (2005)

Really bad adaptation of another unduly-worshipped Lovecraft story.

Points for creepiness, I guess…and lots more against for dumbness and cheeziness. And WTF is the big deal with this sh1t ness.

I mean, come on. Lovecraft’s idea that “reality” is just a veneer over things human beings can’t possibly comprehend is an extremely interesting one.

But far too often his idea of what’s “really” there just isn’t all that great.

Nice ‘Holy Grail’ reference…THUMP.

Try ‘In The Mouth Of Madness’. Or, for a reverent mock, ‘The Cabin In The Woods’.

Grade: D-

Basket Case (1982)

So a guy carries around a basket with a dangerous psychotic entity inside, unleashing it sometimes intentionally and sometimes not.

The thing is animated very badly, but that only adds to the cheezy charm of it, if you like cheeze. I mean, it’s pretty darn silly-looking, but also pretty freaky.

It gets jealous whenever the carrier tries to have any kind of life for himself, and when it gets jealous it gets mad, and you DON’T WANT IT MAD.

As for moral analysis: I actually do feel sorry for both of them, because they didn’t really *ask* for what happened…so I get the loyalty there, the sticking-together.

But while it may have been reasonably sane at first, it eventually turns into a bloodthirsty, controlling thing; definitely an “it” as opposed to what it may have been.

Then again, this is a somewhat fun sh1t film, why am I bothering with moral analysis?

Blonde secretary/Love interest: Starts…squeakin’. Then does a great totally out of character mini-rant a bit later.

Several “Don’t do it man!” moments.

Full Frontal Nudity: Hello, Sailor.

Ending: To be expected, really.

Grade: C-

Attack The Block (2011)

The most effective and expedient initial alien-invasion response ever.

Fortunately, there’s more of ’em.

Re: critical acclaim – Character development my a$$…”social commentary” my a$$.

Character development: “I live here, neglected, that’s why i mug people, but I’m rugged so I don’t complain…FEEL the pain”. No…that’s half-a$$ed.

Social commentary: “The aliens are really society’s way of attacking black people. Wait, no, that theory is wrong…but it got mentioned with drugs and guns, so there’s the social commentary…

…Oh, and don’t help starving kids in Africa when there’s horribly cared-for and completely well-nourished teen muggers right here in England!”. Quarter-a$$ed.

It’s well made: it looks and sounds “real” enough, decent fx, decent score, and the acting ain’t bad.

But it’s a small teen gang fighting a small group of shambling, neon-toothed aliens.

That’s it. Just doesn’t do it for me.

Then again, if you’re in the right demographic (teens to mid 20s, British, lower-to-middle income family, somewhat of a loner) you might love this as YOURS.

But for me, that was ‘The Crow’…and even in objective retrospect, that setting blows this away.

Grade: D

Lurking Fear (1994)

Another attempt to re-create the mood of H.P. Lovecraft’s world.

Features the ‘Re-Animator’ guy doing some halfway decent acting. Come to think of it, the ‘Re-Animator’ guy should have appeared in EVERY SINGLE LOVECRAFT ATTEMPT after ‘Re-Animator’. It’s his only thing, really, but he does it convincingly and lends some cred.

Seems tolerable at first, some promise…

Low budget and all, but it’s surprisingly decent.

The problem is…it’s just not that interesting.

I blame H.P.

It gets kinda silly at parts. I mean, not exactly insanity-inducing.

More like WTF-did-people-see-in-this-sh1t-inducing.

Obviously, two things. One, H.P. wasn’t all-powerful. Two, this isn’t his best.

Whenever I try to envision a world defined solely by Lovecraft’s visions, I edge closer and closer to insanity at the dumb-a$$ horror that I can barely comprehend.

Inspirational Quote: “I guess, uh…we’re ready to go to Church.”

Grade: D-

3/17/17: Grade Correction. Grade: D

The Crazies (1973)

The reason this particular movie failed upon release is that it’s not very good.

George Romero had a nice little idea about reanimated corpses attacking and eating people, but then he got silly.

That’s all, really…he was never much of a writer, or a director; aside from ‘Night’ and ‘Land’, he’s made mostly cheezy, occasionally interesting cr@p.

A few interesting-creepy moments half an hour in here, a few more intermittently throughout. Besides them, it’s cr@p.

Upped a notch for the superior remake it inspired.

Particularly lame: the cutaways from a poorly-written military highups convo to really stupid military ACTION! bits.

Pretty d@mn bad: The writing in general.

Almost as bad: The acting in general…but then again, it’s hard to act well given these lines. Also, George has a habit of hiring non-actors to act: one from here reappears as a dumb-a$$ in ‘Dawn’, another moves on to bigger and better-acted things as Frankenstein in ‘Day’.

Fav bad bit: Persistent suit-muffled dialogue.

Inspirational Defiance: Ted Striker goes berserk.

Inspirationally Dated Song: The end theme.

Inspirational Monotone Quote: “Stop where you are…”

Grade: D-

Second Chance Dogs (2016)

A really sweet documentary about a group of dogs rescued and then slowly nursed to good health and adoptability.

Something to watch if you love dogs and love seeing them be happy, because *SPOILER ALERT* they all end up happy.

Like most documentaries, if you like the subject matter (and it’s well-made) you’ll like it, and it you don’t (or it isn’t) you won’t.

I love dogs, and the people involved seem just as happy to help them as dog lovers will be to see them get helped.

If you don’t like dogs (wtf is wrong with you?) you won’t like it.

Grade: C+ (A for rescue-dog lovers, F- for puppy mill advocates)

Blazing Saddles (1974)

Like every Mel Brooks movie, this has some jokes that just fall completely flat. Boring, cliche, obvious. Not funny.

For the first third, that happens maybe once. Really good stuff.

After that, the idea descends from inspired scenes, bits, and riffs to mostly lame and half-a$$ed character “interaction” and “development”…and Brooks sucks at that, so there aren’t any characters to interact/develop.

There are some good bits, but they’re scattered…enough to keep you watching for more but a steep cliff drop-off for the most part.

Smart move, I guess…draw ’em in with the good stuff and keep ’em hanging around for more. But man this mofo is overrated.

And Madeline Kahn sucks.

Inspirational Quote: “Excuse me while I whip this out…”

Grade: C

Honeymoon (2015)

Basically just a succession of tortures (mental and physical) and attempts at escape by a psycho and his kidnapped neighbor, respectively. Very little before or after.

Compelling (believable, decently-acted, creepy) enough to make it interesting, but gory and disgusting enough to make it revolting.

It left me with a hollow, mildly nauseous feeling. And, unless you’re a sociopath, a psychopath, an extreme sadist, and/or an extreme masochist, it will quite probably have a similar effect on you.

If you *do* enjoy being shocked and disgusted – I mean REALLY – then this is probably on the lower end of your disgust-o-meter.

Because while it might fit loosely on the level of ‘Cut’ and ‘Dumplings’, it takes that … Extra bit of graphic disgustingness and wastes it on the mild pretense of a story, dramatic pauses, mood, and the believable character reactions of the female lead.

It has a happy ending, of sorts. I mean, reaping the whirlwind and all that.

Grade: D-

A Christmas Horror Story (2015)

Shatner: dull. He drinks more as the movie goes on, suggesting a possible
way to tolerate it.

Family visit: sucks
Boy in a tree: sucks
Crime scene visit: kinda creepy
Santa and his zombie elves: cheezy cr@p

Ending: horrible

No, it’s not quite stupid enough to be funny.

No, you can’t just watch the non-sh1tty one, because it cuts back n’ forth between them all until the end.

Inspirational Quote: “Elves becoming the walking dead; no, it does not make any sense.”

Grade: F

They Look Like People (2015)

Positives: Well-directed, interesting premise, solid acting.

Negatives: Moves too slowly, not creepy enough, not “believable” enough.

It’s about a man slowly going insane, his friend, and how it affects them both.

It gets more creepy and interesting as it goes along…slowly…at first.

Then, it plateaus with everything pretty much “laid out” for you. And it stays there. Until the end. Which is disappointing.

Too clinical, too step-by-step analytical, and not enough SCARY AS HELL.

Think Jack Nicholson from ‘The Shining’. The typing scene. That…is scary. REALLY creepy, convincing GOING CRAZY.

TAP…TAPTAP…TAPTAPTAP…TAPTAP…

This is not. It’s like it was made from the viewpoint of someone who had read a dozen books on severe mental illness, but never actually experienced anything close to it themselves.

Despite all that, its intent, the acting, the direction, the quality of it…make it interesting.

But don’t expect to be scared. Just…intrigued.

Cute moment: GHOST WARS

Grade: C-

My Boyfriend’s Back (1993)

Zomromcom about a boy who loves a girl so much that he comes back from the dead to fulfill his dream of taking her to the prom.

It’s totally deadpan: there’s no “horror”, because the tone just never allows for that.

It’s more like a typical high school “loser slowly wins over the most popular girl from the dumb jock with his sincerity” movie, except that the plot twists impacting the relationship (the focus of the film) are due to things like body parts falling off and a growing appetite for human flesh. You know, no big whoop.

The lead is very even-keeled despite his zombiehood, and doesn’t understand when other people are mildly confused by his return (that’s about as strong a reaction as he gets at first…maybe that’s a joke on how noone really paid attention to him when he was alive anyway).

His parents are blissfully ignorant of the fact that he’s come back from the dead in a “oh, hi, welcome back” everything-is-fine 50’s ‘Date With The Family’ sort of way. His mother stays just as pleasant as she adapts to his new appetite; like the rest of the movie, it’s amusing/interesting at first, but eventually runs out of ideas and “surprises” and becomes mostly just silly.

It does stay at least mildly interesting until right near the end, though, so it’s worth a watch. The ending is rather weak, but tolerable.

Inspirational Quote: “I was at the mortuary; they’re practically *giving* them away.”

Grade: C

Shivers (1975)

The scariest thing about this movie is that, in researching it a bit, I found out that one of the things at the top of David Cronenberg’s wish list was/(is?) to work with Burt Reynolds. And NOT in a mockumentary.

The overall idea is interesting and the movie is disturbing – like most of Cronenberg’s work, I think – but despite some inherently disturbing scenes it’s decidedly un-scary; it seems like the idea was conceived well enough and then just written very poorly.

The doctor’s brief escape from the perilous pool scene reminded me a bit of Galahad’s just-in-time rescue from the Castle Anthrax.

Suggested dialogue upgrade (this did come out at around the same time, so it could have been L.F. Dibleyed):

(Doctor) *internal dialogue* “At this time I felt I was in great peril; however, something inside me insisted that I go back, and face the peril, even if perhaps it would be too perilous.”

OMG what a horrific, terrifying ending…(besides the rotten sax solo, I mean): Not since Ed Wood’s classic ‘The Violent Years’ couple-in-a-car scene has the male population of the world felt so incredibly threatened as by the second car leaving the garage.

In other news, this shows that you CAN, in fact, improve as a writer/director/filmmaker. Because, unlike some of Cronenberg’s later works, this sucks big-time.

Generous grade provided by the idea itself and a few halfway-decent scenes. And so as not to offend my Canadian readers.

Grade: D-

The Invasion (2007)

So let me get this straight…

An alien organism possessing (supposed) intelligence, that spreads and “infects” a THOUSAND times easier (even ACCIDENTALLY) than, I don’t know, let’s say…human-sized seed pods that take hours to function after being smuggled into your basement…and the ONE group they fail to target/infect is by easy definition one of – if not – THE most dangerous threat(s) to their assimilation aspirations?

I was gonna give it a D- for competence, a few mildly interesting scenes, and a nice little car-smothering chase. But when it didn’t go for the obvious, cliche (but competent and believable) ending, and instead chose the WTF, dumba$$, there’s no fcken way that would happen one, it lost even that.

There is nothing here that is not either:
– Totally predictable, OR
– Totally annoying in crushing any (almost-guaranteed superior) ideas you might have for it.

Try either of the ‘Body Snatchers’ movies (original or 70’s remake), ‘The Puppet Masters’ (borderline, but still), or anything else but this if you want the genre.

Great missed casting opportunities as extras: Keanu Reeves, Christian Bale, Nic Cage.

Inspirational Quote: “Yeah, we’re here. You wouldn’t believe this place, man; so much Nobel gold here you’d think you’re in Fort Knox…”

Grade: F

The Rezort (2016)

A mildly interesting opening take on the old (zombie) idea.

Unfortunately, all the slick direction and loud noises can’t mask the fact that the acting is either over- or mediocre.

The characters are mostly undefined, and the movie seems to say “oh, fck it” after a brief attempt at inspiration, content to devolve into the usual.

It picks up a little near the end, with a couple of interesting moments; but it’s still strictly for the zombie-movie-obsessed, and only if you must.

Grade: D-

Cabin Fever (2016)

After ‘Shaquille O’Neal: Comedy’, you might want something to make you laugh.

So there’s this. It’s a zombie/undead/infected/etc movie (remake).

It’s so over-the-top you might laugh at it. But more likely you’ll just stop watching it.

Or, if you keep watching it, more likely you’ll just be testing your endurance of how shockingly, free-stylingly-because-some-of-it-could-NOT-have-been-writtenly bad it will get.

Grade: F-

How To Get Ahead In Advertising (1989)

Saw this a LONG time ago; remembered it as creepy, funny, and really weird. Now, was this my relative youth, or is this a little gem of a movie? Let’s see…

Great little intro speech by the lead; really shows both how little he gives a fck and how good he is AT not giving a fck and being as coldly ruthless as seems possible.

He’s pretty clever and he KNOWS he’s pretty clever, methodically and without hesitation wielding that cleverness without a single (not second, not FIRST) thought about anything besides efficiency, exploitation, and profit.

He plays his role well, with decent supporting casters, as the movie quickly moves toward/into more and more absurd territory.

Clearly a comedy, as the man’s hatred of and aversion to boils and boil-on-the-botty talk is really over the top, and the music plays along well with fake “tension” amidst this horrible problem (yeah right).

The attempts at humor are rather tasteless and occasionally amusing, as the sometimes-sh1tty/sometimes-stupid “plot” and dialogue provide a few chuckles (or at least mild smiles). Played straight at all times, which is the key to it being worth anything at all (See ‘Dead Alive’).

Eventually the lead has a revelation/breakdown in which he realizes how evil all advertising is and tries to rid himself of all ties to it. At this time he also acquires a boil, which seems to grow and mutate rather as quickly as his personality changes.

He’s non-stop over-the-top and a ball of energy the entire movie: both as a cold, vicious weirdo and a concerned, reborn weirdo.

Unfortunately the whole thing runs out of steam about 2/3 of the way through. I mean, the setup moves along, the plot point, the boil’s formative years, etc…

But then, when what should be the conclusion (in some way) happens, it doesn’t end. It has a bit longer to go to make it movie-length, and so in true pre-revelation ad-man form the film is padded to go all the way, even as it gets less and less interesting and more and more stupid-boring, as opposed to ridiculous-amusing.

Worth a watch, though…at least for the first two-thirds, and to say you’ve watched it. It’s a fairly unique oddity, after all.

Inspirational Quote: “I’m an expert on t1ts. T1ts and peanut butter.”

Grade: C

What We Become (2016)

There’s absolutely no reason to watch this movie.

The acting is decent, the writing is decent, the filming is decent.

The fx/makeup are mediocre at times; but even if they weren’t it wouldn’t change a thing.

The reason is because it’s totally redundant – there isn’t a thing here you haven’t seen before, as good or better.

Nothing surprising, no twists on the scenario, nothing exceptional.

In the context of that, the grade is wholly appropriate.

Competent and completely unnecessary. Re-watch one of your zombie favs instead.

Grade: D-

Night Of The Living Deb (2015)

So. Back to zombie movies.

You know, seriously, this is actually sort of my contribution to society. I watch these, so that – for the most part – you don’t have to. Vis:

This is not a horror movie. It’s a comedy all the way.

The absurdity is RELENTLESS. I mean, joke after joke after joke parade on and by, some of the time lagging, some of the time the decent ones quickly covering for the bad ones. Twenty minutes in I actually laughed; it was eye-opening.

That’s after a weak, trying-too-hard-to-be-clever intro that made me think the whole thing would be the same. Fortunately, it actually GETS clever after it warms up, STAYS clever (at points, I emphasize…it’s spotty), and maintains a certain level of “quality” before fading near the end. Never revelatory, but it DOES have good points.

It’s only 1:24, so I guess the padding was necessary…but let’s just say you’re not missing anything at the end. You’re really not missing anything anywhere; in the sense that, wherever you start watching, it makes as much sense. And it means as much. And the jokes fly rat-tat-tat-tat as much, til about an hour in.

So I’d say start from about 12 minutes in (after reading the short description of the movie, which pretty much says all you need to know) and watch for as long as you like; if you like it by 20-25 minutes in, great. If not, you’ll never like it.

After an hour or so just stop watching, unless you’re either REALLY into it, drunk, or you’ve fallen asleep.

Here’s a note I took that I just HAD to put somewhere:

– A pretty good Ben Affleck imitation does a surprise Stuart Smalley imitation.

Inspirational Grammar: “Your/You’re”

Grade: D+

4/5/17: I find myself won over by Deb’s cute n’ SASSY-ness. But yeah, it runs out of steam somewhere around the “family” scene. The rest is simply tolerable, but hey…a guilty pleasure zomromcom. Grade: C-

Masters Of Horror: Incident On And Off A Mountain Road (2005)

In 50 years or so – if not sooner – the intro to these short films will be about as scary as your average cheezy 60’s horror movie poster/intro/movie is today.

When the axe drops in the intro: HAIKIBA!

But on with the review:

A woman tries to turn the tables on a psycho, with varying degrees of success; her methods are explained in flashbacks.

Interesting premise. Interesting advice.

But it doesn’t progress much from said premise, so there’s really little point in watching.

I mean, the intro…the flashbacks, the initial “chase”, the endless story possibilities provided…at a certain point they just collapse, and you’re left with nothing except some disturbing images and an incredibly weak and unconvincing ending.

Grade: D-

Sweeney Todd (2007)

Disney makes singing tolerable by the assurance that their movies very probably – at least – don’t stink.

This isn’t a Disney movie, and I’m not a big enough fan of Depp/Burton to plow through it.

Supposedly it’s really good, and if you’re a Depp/Burton fan you’re probably gonna see it no matter what, just like any other Depp/Burton/(sometimes)Elfman movie.

But I really couldn’t care less.

Grade: Incomplete

Louis C.K.: Live At The Comedy Store (2015)

Louis don’t need no stinkin’ intro.

He’s 47, he’s got a big belly, he’s relaxed and…having fun?

And he’s still funny. Some laughs, yeah!

The only question I have is: did he WRITE “I don’t give a fck, here’s some jokes” or is it a real thing?

Because he doesn’t give a fck, here’s some jokes.

Highlights:
dead baby on demand
forklift n-word
life advice
girl-rat orgasms

Lowlight:
voices

Inspirational Quote: “Don’t worry, baby, you’re *definitely* gonna die.”

Grade: B-

Pandemic (2016)

This is a generic infected film, with a dash of drama.

Generic infected film – generic infected stuff.

Drama – mother “rescues” her daughter (or tries to, at least).

I *have* to watch these…that’s my thing.

You don’t…so don’t.

Worthless cr@p.

Grade: F