Archive for the ‘ Movies ’ Category

Tromeo And Juliet

I don’t have cable, so my choices are the 3 channels my TV still gets, which means news and sitcoms, both equally vacuous and depressing, or Netflix. So I watch lots of old movies and pilots of shows that aren’t even on the air anymore. This is how I stumbled upon Tromeo and Juliet, directed by Lloyd Kaufman from Troma Entertainment.

We’ve all been subjected to the idiotic lunacy of the Shakespeare original. Now that I’ve seen T&J, the fact that I had to suffer through and try to like the original is justified. Continue reading

Piranha 3D: The 3D Invasion

3D movies are a gimmick, usually used to drive up ticket prices. Most of the films it’s used in lately do not need it all, and generally pull it off poorly. 3D was originally used in the 70’s and 80’s as a way to make bad horror movies look a little better and get people in the theater. Piranha 3D brings things back to basics, following this tradition, and embracing it.

Horror movies as of late try and take themselves way too seriously, which is not always necessary. When your premise is thin, it usually just makes the characters unlikable and the drama seem forced. Or, even worse, they just strictly rely on gore, shock value and jump scares (I’m looking at you, Eli Roth). Piranha 3D does not fall into this trap. The writers of the movie realized how ridiculous their plot was and they ran with it, but the actors still take their role seriously, making for a very enjoyable movie.

Piranha 3D is a killer fish movie, if you couldn’t figure it out from the title. The plot is simple: Prehistoric man-eating piranhas are released from an underground cave during spring break. If you need a better synopsis than that, then this movie is not for you. It’s a basic premise that is nothing more than excuse for nudity, gore, death, and suspense, as god intended in horror movies. The movie delivers fantastically in all these areas. It’s made clear the fish are a threat to anyone in the water, and when they attack, it’s brutal. Continue reading

Let The Right One In vs. Let Me In

“Let Me In” is the 2010 American version of “Let The Right One In” a 2008 Swedish film directed by Tomas Alfredson. I watched “Let the Right One In” (to be referred to as LTROI hereafter) at home on a lonely night when I was in a weird mood and wanted a movie to match. It left an impression. I wasn’t sure how to feel about “Let Me In” (obviously to be referred to as LMI hereafter), directed by Matt Reeves. I referred back to my experiences of The Grudge, both the Japanese and the American version and since I found merits in both versions, I thought this would be a similar experience, so I tromped off to the movie theater, with some vague memories of how it was all going to go down.

After I watched the American version, I came home, and instantly sat down to watch the Swedish film. I was unsure of how I felt and that left me troubled.

The American version is faster paced, with many of the small side stories  (primarily to do with the neighbors) completely cut out. Also, it starts in media res and then cuts back to two weeks leading up to the event. This allows you to be shocked to attention so you can sit through the actual plot of the story before either gore or heart rending angst can be tossed your way to keep you interested. Maybe the American audience is just so inured to pain and horror in our movies that the producers didn’t think we could face up to the plot in its original order and at its original pace. If you are not the type of person who can sit through a number of scenes where nothing of import appears to be happening, then the US version is probably all you need to get from this story. However, the original invokes much deeper and more genuine feelings for the main characters. Continue reading

Repo Men: An Inflight Movie Review

Flying has become a bit more pleasant these days. Sure, you have to get to the airport ungodly early and are now in danger of a cavity search due to a concealed umbrella, but at the same time most international flights now have individual TV screens and a pretty decent selection of movies.

Repo Men is one of the movies that caught my attention as I forced myself to stay awake on a trip from the UK back home (screw jetlag, I’m not gonna let it make a subhuman out of me any longer than necessary). I read the quick summary and it sure rang some bells. The plot is basically about repossession of past due human organs, now why does that sound familiar? Well, maybe because of Repo! The Genetic Opera.

Since I am currently on a plane and therefore cut off from the lifeforce that is Internet data, I can’t tell which movie came first (obviously I found some internet now, and yeah, The Genetic Opera (2008) has 2 years on Repo Men(2010)). In either case, despite the similarity in plot line, they are completely different and both excel within their genre. Continue reading

True Blood vs. Sookie Stackhouse Books

“True Blood,” a hit HBO series based on the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris, has been my guilty pleasure as soon as I saw an advertisement for it and for a second thought they really were trying to sell people synthetic blood. Instead, they were selling the show, of course, but for a moments, I was torn out of what I knew as reality and I liked it. Yes, it’s about vampires, and yes, there are lots of good looking people in it, but no, it is not “Twilight” for adults. Neither is it as deplorable as “Vampire Diaries.”

In case you aren’t yet a rabid fan of the show, here are some basics: Sookie Stackhouse, barmaid in Bon Temps, Louisiana, can read minds. She is tormented by this gift, because she has very poor control of it. A man walks into her bar and he is a blank. She is instantly attracted to the sound of nothing that she is getting from him. The reason his mind is not broadcasting to her, is because he is a vampire, but despite that, they fall madly in love. The world “True Blood” takes place in is much like our own, with one key difference. All the weird shit you read/heard about (barring outer space), is probably true, and it’s also pretty well organized. A Japanese corporation develops Tru Blood, a drink emulating the nutritional value and flavor of human blood, and bam! Vampires, who were real all along, can now leave the underworld and come into the limelight. The idea is that they no longer need to drink from humans and are therefore tame kittens that we no longer need to fear. Continue reading

Kick-Ass: With No Power Comes No Responsibility?

Not Spiderman, not even a little.

“Kick-Ass,” directed by Matthew Vaughn, is an action flick full of almost cartoonish violence and plenty of explosions. But I still liked it. No, I loved it, and I’ve hated almost every action-packed-stuff-goes-boom movie I’ve ever seen. What’s different here is that the story is much more grounded. People get hurt, and it hurts them. Bullets fly, and find their targets. Getting involved in a knife fight could get you killed.

Dave Lizewski (played by Aaron Johnson, who shines in this role) is a regular kid who, like many other guys his age, hangs around with his few friends, searches internet for porn, reads comics, and dreams of being something more. Finally, dream becomes reality and he takes that step that no one ever does. As a result, you are terrified and mortified every time Kick-Ass, aka Dave, sets his foot outside in his ridiculous costume.

The movie is more than just fun. Without beating anyone over the head with morals, it touches on real issues. The voyeuristic aspect of our culture is directly addressed in several scenes in this movie. Kick-Ass becomes famous because someone videotapes him in action on their cell-phone, instead of helping, or even calling the police. As the movie unfolds and we watch Dave deal with school, crush on a girl, and glory silently in his new-found fame and hobby, we also watch him quickly sink in way over his head. As he starts to understand that what he’s doing is more real than he’s ready for, he is also realizing that he can’t let things be as they are. Being a victim has become part of his daily life, and he has watched other people victimized, feeling he should do something but feeling out of place, foolish, and scared. We can relate to this. In his costume he starts anew, but the rubber scuba suit isn’t quite the same as a set of muscles and a serious selection of weapons. Continue reading

Still Partying with Andrew W.K.

Fans of Andrew W.K. rejoice, for in just a few weeks time the singer-songwriter and all around party animal bursts back onto the music charts with a new double album release.  “Close Calls with Brick Walls” and “Mother of Mankind” together combine for 39 tracks and approximately 2 hours of music.  Is this too much Andrew W.K. for one person to handle?  Let’s find out. Continue reading