Archive | May, 2012

Review of Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996)

30 May

Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996) is a horror/mystery/sci-fi film and the fourth film in the Hellraiser film franchise.

Directed by Kevin Yagher (Tales From The Crypt (1989 TV)) under the pseudonym Alan Smithee.

Written by Peter Atkins (Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992), Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)).

Starring: Bruce Ramsay, Doug Bradley, Valentina Vargas, Charlotte Chatton, Adam Scott, Kim Myers and others.

It opens up in space, the year 2127. Already, it is not a good sign. At least Friday the 13th waited until the 10th movie to send Jason into space.

There’s some exterior space scenes, where the ships look pretty cool, because they’re probably models and not CGI. But then we cut to awful CG shots of the puzzle box being solved by a robot hands. The actual robot, however, is some cheap animatronic that looks like a cross between T-800 and that robot from Short Circuit.  And the interiors of the spaceship just look like some warehouse.

A guy is controlling the robot and he releases Pinhead and then gets captured. Guess what happens next? We switch to fucking 18th century France as the guy tells about his ancestor, who is a toy maker and he makes the „Lament configuration” puzzle box. He claims this is his best work yet, but then his wife comes in and isn’t terribly impressed by the thing. I wouldn’t be either. It’s a puzzle that has no logical way of figuring it out and everyone who has had it solves it in a minute.

The toy maker runs to the guy who ordered the puzzle box and he has like an assistant played by Adam Scott, who I cannot really take seriously after all his recent comedy roles. So some bad shit happens, they summon some chick.

And we switch to 1990’s. Ok, three time periods, was it really necessary? Anyway, we now follow another one of his ancestors, who, fortunately for the villains, all look exactly the same. Then again, in movies they more often than not do.

There’s also Kim Myers from A Nightmare On Elm Street 2 and she still looks a lot like Meryl Streep. Doug Bradley steals his scenes, but in this movie it’s not saying much.

Considering that a lot of the movie was directed by a special effects guy, none of the effects are very impressive. There’s a clever, but kind of comedic scene, where twin brothers are turned into conjoined twins cenobite. Cenobites are a bit better here than in Hell On Earth, but that’s really like saying that being constipated is better than diarrhea, it’s debatable, but it’s really not worth it. The end result in both cases is shit.

We get a climax, it’s all ok, we feel like the movie should be over now, but wait, aren’t we forgetting something? That’s right, there’s 20 more minutes to go and we return to the future.

The movie turns into Alien as people just run around the spaceship, while cenobites run after them. The movie is no more about craving of pleasures and stuff, now it’s just Pinhead and other cenobites chasing people for the sake of it.

Oh, and [Spoilers] Pinhead is blown up in the end. That is the single most pointless thing they could’ve done. Sure, if they ever decide to set another Hellraiser movie in the year 2128, it will have some effect, but still, that did nothing. He is not a villain. [Spoilers]

Overall, a dull movie which tries to pack way too much in, so everything is watered down to keep the running time in check. Definitely one of if not the worst Hellraiser movie in the series. Not recommended.

“Yo, guys, this guy with some crazy ass piercings all over his head came up to me and gave me this, he said it’s called… um… something like “lame ass refrigeration” or something!”

 

Review of Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow (1978)

27 May

Se ying diu sau also known as Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow (1978) is a Hong Kong martial arts/action/comedy film.

Directed by Woo-ping Yuen (True Legend (2010), Iron Monkey (1993)).

Written by See-Yuen Ng (No Retreat, No Surrender (1986), Drunken Master (1978)), Chi-Kuang Tsai and Shiao Loong.

Starring: Jackie Chan, Siu Tien Yuen, Jang Lee Hwang, Dean Shek, Roy Horan, Hark-On Fung, Lung Chang and others.

So here we are, quite early in Chan’s career and his first hit movie. It’s the first of his signature action comedies and the first straight out martial arts comedy. We open up to the opening credits in front of Chan just doing various kung-fu moves with exaggerated sound effects. Spending my childhood watching action movies set me up for a huge disappointment when I saw actual fist fights, which had no punching sounds or choreography.

The fights are really good here, fast, interesting, tightly edited. Of course, the most impressive parts are not the bare-bone fist fights, but the slapstick parts, where everyday objects are used to show the most imaginative ways of using them. And the best part is that unlike modern action or fight scenes it has these long takes, so you can just enjoy the dazzling choreography and not go into an epilepsy seizure.

There’s a lot of good things about the movie, but some are just odd. First of all the scene editing sometimes makes very little sense. Or the one not-asian actor in the movie playing a bad guy who is disguised as a priest. Or an old man getting stabbed and then somehow just healing up in a couple of hours. Also for some reason when Chan sees that his mentor is stabbed he just starts picking his nose. Because, that’s what people do in a situation like that. Time is used very abstractly in this movie, Chan’s character becomes a master fighter in just one day.

The score at times goes insane. Whenever Chan is learning something, we get these trippy late 70’s techno pieces, which are really jarring in a period kung-fu flick.

It is paced in a way that you don’t have to wait very long for the next fight, because honestly that is why you’re watching a movie like this. Some of them are funny and some of them are important to the plot and serious.

The whole ending is just so incredibly absurd. Just to give you a taste of it, I can tell that I learned that pressing down on one’s head and then kicking them in the crotch, while doing cat sounds, will make the one die or maybe black out.

Overall, entertaining and very wacky, although I enjoy Chan’s 80’s films quite a bit more, still if you like him, this is one of his early career’s better movies. Recommended.

“Hey, look, I’m doing kung fu moves in a red room! There’s no reason for me to do this, except that they didn’t want the opening credits on a plain black backround, so watch!”

Review of Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992)

24 May

Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth (1992) is a horror/mystery/thriller film and the third film in the Hellraiser film franchise.

Directed by Anthony Hickox (Waxwork (1988), Submerged (2005)).

Written by Peter Atkins (Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), Fist of the North Star (1995)) and Tony Randel (Children of the Night (1991), Grunt! The Wrestling Movie (1985)).

Starring: Terry Farrell, Paula Marshall, Doug Bradley, Kevin Bernhardt, Ken Carpenter, Lawrence Mortorff, Sharon Ceccatti and others.

It opens with some guy walking into some kind of an art gallery and a homeless looking guy gives him the pillar of souls for whatever amount of money he chooses. Sure, he’s a legit art dealer. Then we switch to a TV reporter chick, who witnesses a guy being ripped apart by chains and after seeing her for a minute you realise that she is the blandest character you’ve seen so far. This means she’s our protagonist.

Of course she has to investigate and she goes to a night club called „The Boiler Room”, which is probably the most 90’s sounding fictional night club name they could think of. The owner of the club is the guy who just bought the pillar of souls. The pillar itself looks quite different from the last movie, but they definitely improved it.

There’s also some goth clubber chick played by Paula Marshall and I wish she was our heroine, because she was the only character I really liked. Although, there’s this whole stupid plot device, where she tells the reporter that she can’t dream (she probably just doesn’t remember her dreams) and the reporter is understandably like „yeah, ok, whatever, in my dreams, I see my father fighting in a war, so not worth it”, but then the goth chick is motivated to help Pinhead just because he promises her dreams. Really? After good dreams it’s disappointing to wake up and why would you want bad dreams? Dreams suck.

The club owner guy has sex with a Jane Krakowski looking chick in front of the pillar and the old pervert Pinhead opens his eyes. The pillar gets mad at her awful line delivery and shoots chains at her. There’s a lot of chains in the Hellraiser movies. What did hell use before the invention of chains? Ropes? Licorice? Pinhead eats her skin, we get a glimpse of some more skinless effects.

This Pinhead is evil and there’s Elliot Spencer who is the human side of him. A bunch of shit is thrown in there that completely demystifies Pinhead. This movie thinks he’s Freddy Krueger, I don’t have to know if Pinhead molested and killed and molested children before getting nails in his head.

The effects in this movie is far worse and unimaginative than in the previous ones. Especially the new cenobites, they look kind of silly.

Doug Bradley is as always great as Pinhead and even though they fucked around with his character, there’s a bad ass scene at a church. Pinhead’s cenobite power is to always have blue light coming from the background, so when they throw him outside standing in a field in direct sunlight, he looks kind of absurd. Imagine looking outside your window and seeing your neighbour standing outside in his lawn in full Pinhead costume and make-up. Pretty much the same thing.

Overall, quite disappointing and feels completely different from the previous two films. This one feels more like A Nightmare On Elm Street movie. It’s not entirely bad, but pretty mediocre. Not Recommended.

Pictured: Something that looks a lot less scary than what my action figures looked like after my dog chewed them up.

Review of Repo Men (2010)

22 May

Repo Men (2010) is a sci-fi/action/thriller film based on the novel The Repossession Mambo by Eric Garcia.

Directed by Miguel Sapochnik (House (2004 TV), Awake (2012 TV)).

Written by Garrett Lerner (LAX (2004 TV), Boston Public (2000 TV)) and Eric Garcia.

Starring: Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Alice Braga, Liev Schreiber, Carice van Houten, John Leguizamo and others.

Say you need a new heart, right? Where do you go? To a corporation which issues brand new mechanical hearts. Sounds awesome, but they cost a shitload of money. Not a problem you can just do monthly payments like it’s a car and here comes the good part. If you don’t pay, they come and cut the fucking heart right out of your chest. ‘Live forever on mechanical organs’ boner is gone.

This a cool sci-fi action movie starring Jude Law as a bad-ass. You know, sometimes he’s a lanky British douche with a receding hairline and sometimes he is awesome. Thankfully this movie is the case. He works for this company and he is the one who goes to get the body parts back. Yes, you guessed it, it’s the age-old „guy works for a company and then is forced to go against it” type of scenario, but at least the company is an interesting one.

Liev Schreiber is like the head of the company and he is just so good at playing this total douchebag asshole, I loved him. On the other hand Forest Whitaker seems a bit miscast as Law’s partner and pal.

The city design is rather cool, it has a Blade Runner vibe about it, but then there is the suburban area where Law’s character lives with his son and wife that is just a bitch for no reason, she has no other characteristic other than being a bitch towards him.

The movie also has some dark comedy elements, which worked very well. The action is just great, especially the last fight scene. It has a decent amount of gore, mostly CG though. And in one utterly ridiculous scene I learned that if you stick you’re hands into another person’s abdomen, there no risk of infection and other bad shit as long as you glue the entry cut shut afterwards.

If not for the most idiotic kind of possible ending I would have totally loved the movie. That is the thing, you will be entertained throughout the movie, but then you’ll leave it with a bitter aftertaste, because you’ll be disappointed. Most critics have shat upon this movie, but I enjoyed watching it way too much to do that. I think it was a great action movie that didn’t take itself too seriously and also had an interesting premise.

Overall, incredibly entertaining and somewhat disappointing, but definitely worth to see Jude Law kicking ass. Recommended.

Pictured: Before Battleship Hollywood did another board-game adaptation. They just didn’t call it Operation.

Review of Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)

19 May

Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988) is a horror/mystery/thriller film and the second film in the Hellraiser film franchise.

Directed by Tony Randel (Infested (1993), Children of the Night (1991)).

Written  by Peter Atkins (Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992), Wishmaster (1997)).

Starring: Ashley Laurence, William Hope, Clare Higgins, Doug Bradley, Kenneth Cranham, Deborah Joel, Barbie Wilde, Simon Bamford, Nicholas Vince and others.

The Hellraiser franchise, I sort of have fond childhood memories about it. I remember a time when I was about five and watched one of them (probably one of the first three). That is, I watched it for a few minutes, until my mom came in and turned it off. That might be the only time I remember not being allowed to watch something, not because it’s past my bedtime, but because there’s a guy with a ton of nails in his head. Then some time later, during my childhood I bought a lollipop, it was from the high-end, where inside the wrapper they had one of those tattoos, that you stick on your arm and hold under stream of water. So for about a week I had an awesome Pinhead tattoo on my shoulder. So now, whenever I think of how I used to watch a lot of R rated movies when I was a kid, I remember this one time when I wasn’t allowed, probably just because of the intriguing image of Pinhead.

Enough about my traumatic childhood, let’s get into the movie.

It starts with what seems like a recap, but it’s just random clips from the previous movie, that were totally unnecessary, since later on they go over what happened before. If that’s like a setup, to get you in the mood, then if you haven’t seen the previous one, you’d be like „oh, so it’s going to be about a bunch of monsters and cartoonish lighting bolts” and yes, this movie also has probably the only 80’s special effect, that I don’t like – the stupid drawn lightning effects, they are horribly dated, when other effects leave me wondering why modern movies do shitty CG effects instead.

We see the creation of Pinhead, but you do only see him turned from human to a cenobite, nothing is really explained.

Kirsty from the previous movie wakes up in a psychiatric hospital (always a pleasant surprise) and has the brilliant plan of telling the truth – monsters from hell came through a puzzle box and killed her family, leaving behind a bloody mattress, which works as a gateway. Of course no one believes shit like that and the main doctor there keeps the mattress for himself.

I like Ashley Laurence a lot, if I had to choose from all the virginal heroines from horror movies, she definitely would be one of my favourites, because she’s actually not bland. Also she reminds me of Heather Langenkamp.

In the room next to Kirsty’s there’s a girl who just solves puzzles all day. I bet this won’t play any part later in this movie about a puzzle box.

The doctor’s protege sneaks into the doctor’s house and finds out that doctor is actually a sick bastard, who has been studying some of the mystical shit. He puts one of his patients on the mattress (how nice of him), but then the mental guy starts cutting himself and from the mattress emerges Kirsty’s skinless stepmother Julia.

The first two Hellraiser movies had a lot of skinless people, but they later abandoned this, which sucks, since the skinless make-up is just mind-blowingly good. It’s terrifyingly realistic and disturbingly beautiful. This one could be a bit much for people who aren’t used to horror movie special effects.

So for a while skinless Julia just walks around the house in doctor’s white suit and leaving blood stains everywhere. The doctor has a very medical idea, he bandages her up so she looks like the Invisible Man.

Julia kills and devours a bunch of people until she looks like Clare Higgins again. So Julia and doctor guy open up a puzzle box and all things go to hell. See what I did there? To do it, they bring in the puzzle solving girl, but really, what’s the point, the box seems like the easiest puzzle ever. It’s like twist/push a button, a part emerges, twist that and it’s done.

Sadly as the cenobites appear logic disappears from the movie. There’s a bunch of random imagery in the cenobite realm, like babies with their mouths sewn shut, clowns, Kirsty suddenly appearing in a living room that starts bleeding, the puzzle box changing shape, people having blurry sex, something about Leviathan the lord of the labyrinth and other things that happen only because it’s not the real world. It would be ok, if the characters were as surprised as I was seeing those things, I feel like I’ve missed a meeting on „random hell stuff”.

The doctor becomes a cenobite and develops a knack for one-liners like „The Doctor’s in” and „I’m taking over this operation”.

Overall, a decent sequel with some great effects work, but a terribly confusing third act. Recommended.

“Shh, you don’t have to say a thing.”

Review of Natural Born Killers (1994)

16 May

Natural Born Killers (1994) is a thriller/crime/comedy movie, which follows a couple on a killing spree and it’s portrayal in media.

Directed by Oliver Stone (Platoon (1986), Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)).

Written by Oliver Stone (Scarface (1983), Alexander (2004)), David Veloz (Permanent Midnight (1998), Behind Enemy Lines (2001)), Richard Rutowski and story by Quentin Tarantino (True Romance (1993), Reservoir Dogs (1992)).

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey Jr., O-Lan Jones, Tom Sizemore, Rodney Dangerfield and others.

From the first frames you understand that this won’t be a conventional movie. I thought „Hey, this has a cool Tarantino-esque vibe to it”, but soon I realised that this is too crazy even for Tarantino, who originally wrote the script, but it was re-written so much he is only credited as the author of the story. Not that Tarantino wouldn’t make this movie, he unsuccessfully tried, but this is not the way he would have made it.

It constantly changes the visual styles, basically using every kind of filter, film stock, digital video format and lens Oliver Stone could get his hands on. If you had asked me before if that sounds like something good, I’d say „well, it might look interesting for 15 minutes, but then it would get self-indulgent and tiring”, but the fact is, it doesn’t. It is fascinating. At first I was a bit confused, especially when it first did this thing, where a dialogue is delivered and then repeated in black & white from different angle and slightly different delivery. When you realize what Stone does there, it’s pretty awesome. It must have been so fun for him to just go crazy and try whatever he wants.

The grotesque visuals also make the violence seem both more disturbing and kind of mesmerizing. So if you like Tarantino’s aesthetics of violence, this is somewhere along those lines. The whole thing feels like watching a really good movie during a bad acid trip.

Woody Harrelson is bad ass in this, a great performance. I have been always not sure about Juliette Lewis, I’ve always seen her as sort of annoyingly eccentric, yet undoubtedly talented. This movie was it, she is one of the greatest actresses of… this generation? I’ve never understood what generation is this and what’s the last generation. So, she’s really good and I can’t believe she’s only 21 in this. No one can pull off this combination of repulsive, sexy and batshit insane, like she does here. She and Harrelson is just perfect as this very stylised 90’s version of Bonnie and Clyde.

Robert Downey Jr. is in this as like an Australian TV reporter with a mullet. Yes, there was a time when he didn’t play billionaire playboys, except for Charlie Chaplin in Chaplin. Tarantino’s script was focusing on this character and although I could see it working, I think it is better this way as we actually follow these serial killers.

And the movie actually has a message. Stone’s tendency to hit the viewer over the head with it actually works to this movie’s benefit. A message that in this age of internet is even more current than back then. Now we idolize every fucking new thing and I don’t think it would be all that surprising if there appeared a movement all about some serial killer. Take the TV show Dexter, if news got out that there is in real-life a guy who kills only criminals, people would go crazy over him, he’d be the second coming of Jesus fucking Christ all over the faces of those who suck on the glorious dick of mass media. That’s right. We’re there, people.

Overall, an excellent and bold movie from a time when Oliver Stone still madecool movies and it’s one of those movies that makes 90’s seem a lot cooler than they actually were. Definitely recommended.

Pictured: 1990’s, when red fishnet shirts were cool… no, wait, I can’t say that. Fishnet shirts were never cool. Although, Woody does rock this one.

Review of Wrong Turn 4 (2011)

14 May

Wrong Turn 4 also known as Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings (2011) is a direct-to-video horror/slasher/thriller film and the fourth film in the Wrong Turn film franchise.

Directed by Declan O’Brien (Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead (2009), Sharktopus (2010)).

Written by Declan O’Brien (The Snake King (2005), Savage Planet (2007)).

Starring: Scott Johnson, Sean Skene, Tenika Davis, Victor Zinck Jr., Terra Vnesa, Jennifer Pudavick, Dean Armstrong, Dan Skene and others.

You know what I really wanted while watching the previous Wrong Turn movies? To know how the inbred freaks started out. I guess, that’s what the filmmakers thought, but who the fuck cares? They’re not interesting characters and you know what they did before they killed people? They killed other people. I didn’t need another movie to make it clear.

So the inbred kids are taken to some asylum, but, as we know, in movies every lock can be picked with a hair-pin. The inbreds break free and turn the place upside down.

You might think this is going to be some trashy horror flick after the previous movie being pretty shitty, but this one is way classier, since we get to see the gratuitous nudity only after 11 minutes. But the wait is rewarded by some interracial lesbian sex. Definitely worth it.

For some reason the budget looks bigger than in Wrong Turn 3, I guess, it’s just that the HD cameras have improved in the two years. It can’t be anyone put high hopes for this movie. I must give it credit, there’s some scenes in snowy landscapes, where the photography is beautiful, it’s sad that the movie keeps getting into the shot. Also the gore effects are much better.

By now I really care what happens to these important inbreds and I hope to god they won’t get hurt. Wait. It’s a prequel, so they’re going to survive. And to think I was getting worried.

So it’s like 30 years later and a bunch of college kids go skiing or something, but they take the „wrong turn” and have to stay at this asylum I mentioned earlier. Thankfully, it has been kept tidy for all this time and the kids get to have some fun. There is the one douchebag, who scares his friends, so we can get some false jump scares as well. I thought to myself „None of my friends is that guy. Oh dear god. I’m that guy.” You know what? I probably am, but since me and my friends don’t usually stay in some desolate, creepy places, I hopefully will never know.

I’m also a positive guy, when I’m watching a slasher movie, I always think „Maybe this group of young people doesn’t consist from total morons.” And then one of them says „Hey, guys, I think we should split up in this spooky abandoned hospital.” and everyone is like „Ok.” and then Shaggy is like „Zoinks, Scoobie!” as eventually the cannibalistic inbred freaks appear.

They continue to make the most idiotic decisions possible. They get the freaks locked up. But they decide they wouldn’t be able to live with themselves if they killed them. Sure I would definitely be rolling around during sleepless nights thinking „Oh, my conscience is eating me alive, I killed these human eating psycho mutants, that killed my friends.” They leave a guy to guard them, but apparently it is incredibly easy to fall asleep when you’re sitting right in front of a cell full of crazy, disfigured people full of your dead friend.

And the girl who delivered the speech about not becoming monsters like them and being humane needs just 5 minutes to completely change her mind and go stabbing one of them like he’s Janet Leigh.

What I did like about it, was that I didn’t know who the final survivor(s) will be right from the start.

Overall, it’s a bland and idiotic movie in an unconventional setting for a redneck killers flick. Definitely not recommended.

“Oh, what have you been up to, you rascals? Three Fingers? Did you rape your sister again? Who put you up to this? Saw Tooth, how could you?”

Review of The Dead Pool (1988)

12 May

The Dead Pool (1988) is a thriller/mystery/action film and the fifth and last movie in the Dirty Harry film franchise.

Directed by Buddy Van Horn (Pink Cadillac (1989), Any Which Way You Can (1980)).

Written by Steve Sharon, Duck Pearson and Sandy Shaw.

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Patricia Clarkson, Liam Neeson, David Hunt, Jim Carrey, Evan C. Kim, Michael Currie and others.

Harry is back, his hair now is even whiter, face wrinklier, constipation frown even more intimidating and why he’s not in retirement or jail is anyone’s guess. Harry has changed, he is now a lot more liberal. But one thing stays constant. If there’s one thing Harry hates more than criminals, it’s bureaucracy.

We’re now deep in the 80’s and rest assured, this movie won’t let you forget it. We get to see a young Jim Carrey acting mental and lip-synching to „Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns n’ Roses during the filming of some The Exorcist inspired music video, directed by Liam Neeson with a more prominent Irish accent. Watching it now, it seems sort of delightfully bizarre, but back then?

Carrey is in the movie for like 5 minutes, however, and dies from a drug overdose. Oh, and in exchange for their song to be used as the background for Carrey’s junkie rock star video, Guns n’ Roses members cameo in his funeral scene. In another scene Slash even gets to shoot a huge-ass harpoon through a window.

When they want to assign a new partner for Harry, even he himself acknowledges that his partners aren’t the luckiest of people, but maybe he just doesn’t want an asian partner. I know he slept with an asian chick in Magnum Force, but who wants a partner, who is a bad driver. Ok, you might call me racist, but the movie isn’t any better, because soon we find out that the asian cop knows martial arts.

Patricia Clarkson is also in this and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her this young, but she’s still hot so it was no surprise she was stunning back then.

The dead pool is this game where people predict death’s of famous people and suddenly the ones from Liam Neeson’s list start dying. The idea is kind of interesting and makes the movie very mysterious, but then again the game is pretty pointless, since celebrities don’t actually die like every other weekend. Although, if I had this list, Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston would’ve definitely been on it.

It’s also a decent commentary on celebrity pressure and violent movies influencing people to be violent. Liam Neeson is an arrogant horror director, who’s movies are being replicated in the ways some people are killed, so there’s some slasher movie elements thrown in. And it sort of goes with my opinion, that only already unstable person could be influenced by a movie enough to go out with a hockey mask on and slash teenagers with a machete. But to quote this movie „Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has them.”, I’m thinking about making this the tagline of my blog.

There’s a very interesting chase scene, where the chaser is an RC car. A pretty fucking powerful one at that. And watching the chase I realised that it must be a bitch to live in San Francisco. All those steep streets, it’s like going up the stairs for a whole block, I mean, you must feel like Rocky when he ran up those stairs in Philadelphia, but what if you just want to go to the store for some smokes? You’d die, before you had the chance to develop a cancer.

Overall, a fast and entertaining movie, cheesy, but with at least some substance. Not one of the better Dirty Harrymovies, but recommended nonetheless.

“Duuuuude, Mr. Popper’s Penguins is so funny on heroin.”

Review of Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead (2009)

10 May

Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead (2009) is a direct-to-DVD horror/thriller/slasher film and the third film in the Wrong Turn film franchise.

Directed by Declan O’Brien (Rock Monster (2008), Wrong Turn 4 (2011)).

Written by Connor James Delaney, who hasn’t done anything before or after.

Starring: Tom Frederic, Tamer Hassan, Gil Kolirin, Borislav Iliev, Jake Curran,  Janet Montgomery and others.

Let’s jump ahead 3 minutes into the movie. We get naked boobs. Already a mark of a quality film. There’s other marks as well. For example, it was released straight to DVD, which means you shouldn’t be fooled by the shitty “shot on digital video” look into believing that it is going to be the worst part of the movie. Because once you get used to it, there’s a whole lot of crap in the movie itself.

The effects are sometimes practical, but don’t worry,  because you still get to see a guy getting CG sliced in 3 pieces and another guy getting his face sliced off in effects shots, that even The Asylum would work harder on. But don’t get me wrong, the practical effects suck as well, one guy cuts another one’s leg off, because the inmates are chained together and he just goes through it like he was slicing a big cucumber. The inbred make-up also doesn’t look very good.

Of course, there’s the typical slasher movie set-up, where a group of characterless teenagers appear for a few minutes, just to be killed. Then we switch to our actual characters. In prison. I’ll give the movie that, it is an interesting concept than just some young people, I didn’t expect it. In this prison the inmates seem to be allowed to wear whatever they want, yet they all dress in the same prisony way. Then a group of them is transported in a bus by three prison guards, one of them being our bland protagonist. And we can enjoy some awful green-screen bus driving.

We get to see Three Fingers again, although he got shotgun-blasted in the chest in the last movie, shit, those inbreds sure know how to heal fast, due to the shitty make-up he looks like some kind of goblin. They are actually some amazing creatures. They’re all like idiot savants. They can’t really talk (or choose not to?), but they can master archery, trap-making, knife-throwing and be inhumanly strong and not feel pain. Three Fingers is an amazing archer, he shoots people in eyes all the time, he even shot a chick in the nipple, so when they decide he should miss someone completely, it instantly feel very unconvincing.

However, the interesting thing is that Three Fingers and the gang aren’t the villains of the movie, they’re like zombies, a big threat, but the real villain is one of the prisoners, who at one point is unconscious and everyone hates him, but do they kill him? Of course, not, because otherwise he couldn’t be back a few minutes later and keep being evil.

The bus falls of a cliff, the prisoners gain control and so they all just walk through the woods in search of a truck containing bags of money (no, they didn’t have huge dollar signs on them). Oh, no, that isn’t true, they just walk through the woods and stumble upon the truck. I think I’ll have to go exploring the woods.

They throw in a final little twist, which had me fooled for one second and I thought “Oh, ok, that happened.”, but then I realized how incredibly idiotic it was and got pretty pissed off..

Overall, a stupid and badly made movie, but it isn’t totally awful, if you for some reason like the Wrong Turn franchise (although, I did like Wrong Turn 2), then you might find it almost competent entry in the series. Still, not recommended.

Hey, turn a bit, at least then I’d feel like I’m watching Friday the 13th Part III !

Review of Sudden Impact (1983)

7 May

Sudden Impact (1983) is a thriller/action/crime film and the fourth film in the Dirty Harry film series.

Directed by Clint Eastwood (Play Misty for Me (1971), J. Edgar (2011)).

Written by Joseph Stinson (City Heat (1984), Stick (1985)), Earl E. Smith (The Shadow of Chikara (1977), The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976)) and Charles B. Pierce (The Barbaric Beast of Boggy Creek, Part II (1985), Bootleggers (1974)).

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Pat Hingle, Jack Thibeau, Wendell Wellman, Bette Ford and others.

Harry is back! And he’s starting to look kind of old. But the great thing about Eastwood is that the older he gets, he also seems to use the time to figure out alternative ways to kick your ass, so even now when he’s over 80, he looks like the most intimidating almost dead guy on earth.

This is the only Dirty Harry movie directed by Eastwood, but this is no Million Dollar Baby or Gran Torino, no tears are supposed to be shed during this. Only blood, sweat and bullets. This is also the one, which made the phrase „Go ahead… make my day!” a staple of pop-culture. Rarely the fourth movie in a series is the one to leave a big impact. But this was also the highest grossing Dirty Harry movie, which in combination with a deal that gave Eastwood a big cut from the profits, assured his wealth for a bit more.

We are reminded of Harry Callahan’s awesomeness by being shown how he stops at least five people robbing one little cafe for some reason. The waitress gives Harry a clue about something going on by pouring like a pound of sugar in his coffee in front of the robbers. Real subtle.

When Harry is done with that, he goes into a restaurant, threatens a guy and unsurprisingly gives him a heart-attack. After pulling his usual stunts (they never learn, do they?), he is sent on a vacation. What do you think Harry’s vacations are like? Of course, it’s just him going out-of-town and practicing target shooting.

Only in this movie I really started questioning Harry Callahan’s existence. I know he’s only a character, but I thought he could be based on some bad-ass real-life cop (he is kind of based on Dave Toschi), yet when I saw him get „suspended” for god knows which time, I started thinking. Would really a guy who has killed 45 people (that’s just on-screen) be allowed to keep going around with a handgun equivalent of a cannon and a police badge? In real life? I hope not. In movies? Hell, yes!

I actually liked a lot how this point was accented. Harry’s boss says that he’s staying the same in a new world, a bad guy in the restaurant says the same and when he’s chasing a robber in a bus full of old people, they cheer him on, it is funny and also serves to make a point.

This time Harry doesn’t even get a partner. Not surprising with how he keeps going through them like… something you dispose of every few years and never mention again… oh, I know, like toilet brushes. Also Harry gets a dog and for some reason in most movies they don’t give a shit if the doubles trained for other things look different. That might work in some trash for kids like Air Bud or Beethoven movies, but here it wasn’t so easy to not notice the dog changing genders.

We also get an interesting opposition. Harry, the embodiment of manhood is trying to find a woman who shoots men in their genitals. Similarly to Magnum Force, this genital-shooter Harry’s going after, isn’t really doing something wrong by Harry’s moral standards. Sudden Impact feels like a revenge thriller, where the revenger (probably not an actual word) isn’t the protagonist.

Wendell Wellman is an interesting actor I haven’t seen before. He has only two scenes and in one of them he talked a bit like Heath Ledger’s Joker. A very intriguing performance, I’ll have to check out his other… five movies.

Towards the end there’s this scene in a fair at night. Harry is coming towards the camera and you only see a silhouette, which is holding… a stick? No it’s a fucking huge gun! And that is seriously the best shot in the whole series, when something is recognizable just in silhouette, you know it’s a pop-culture icon. Though, about the gun, I don’t know why, but they decided that at one point Harry should exchange his .44 Magnum revolver for the less cool looking semi-automatic .44 AutoMag. I guess it’s Harry keeping up with the times.

Overall, mostly entertaining, better than The Enforcer, worse than Dirty Harry and Magnum Force. Recommended.

“Hey, you want to know what is my hobby? It’s kinda funny actually.”
“Go ahead… make my day.”
“I secretly kill men by shooting them in the balls.”
“This is so not what I expected to hear.”