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Review of Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (2012)

9 Dec

tumblr_mcqe04RoYK1rrllfeo1_500Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (2012) is a historical horror/action film, that is produced by The Asylum, a film studio specializing in mockbusters.

Directed by Richard Schenkman (The Man from Earth (2007), The Pompatus of Love (1995)).

Written by Karl T. Hirsch (Green (1998), Clown (2005)), J. Lauren Proctor and Richard Schenkman (Flower Girl (2009), Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God… Be Back by Five (1998)).

Starring: Bill Oberst Jr., Kent Ingleheart, Jason Vail, Debra Crittended, Bernie Ask, Canon Kuipers, Chris Hlozek, Richard Schenkman and others.

Is there really any better way to learn about American history than from a movie that depicts a dead president killing zombies.

Bill Oberst Jr., who is playing Lincoln is really good. The performance would fit just as well in a serious movie. Spielberg’s Lincoln could have him playing the lead role. It wouldn’t be as acclaimed as Daniel Day-Lewis, who is loved by everyone, but he could do it.

It is almost sad that a great performance like this is wasted on a silly B-movie. But I suppose in some oscar-bait piece we wouldn’t get Abe driving his scythe into the skull of a zombie, while yelling „Emancipate this!”.

For the budget the production value is pretty good. You can tell it’s cheap, but it tries to have a style. Which is more than most The Asylum movies have going for them.

The dialogue is also some of the best I’ve heard in an Asylum movie. Sadly, some/most of the actors aren’t really able to deliver it convincingly.

Lincoln gathers a group of people to go and… well, fight zombies, I guess. In this group of people there is a black guy named Mr. Brown. Obviously. The plot is kind of confusing, I don’t know if I must have some previous knowledge of American history, but I seriously doubt that the problem lays there.

As usually Asylum uses CGI in their movies and here we get some CG blood and it is kind of sad that even in a B-movie today, we have to watch the shitty looking CG blood spurting about, since it used one of the main attractions of  B-grade cinema that we got to see some realistic practical effects. I guess it’s easier to put in some cartoon violence afterwards. But judging by the really unconvincing fake facial hair on everybody, I doubt there was a great potential for any special effects artistry.

This is probably the best Asylum movie I’ve seen and not even in the so-bad-it’s-good category, more in the low-budget-we-did-what-we-could pretty competent B-flick. It would be unfair to compare it to Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, the blockbuster this is mockbusting.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie quite a bit. Of course it’s not a good movie, but as far as The Asylum goes, this was one of the best ones they can offer.

"I feel like going to theater, you're coming with me John 'not Wilkes Booth' Wilkinson!"

“I feel like going to theater! You’re coming with me John ‘not Wilkes Booth’ Wilkinson!”

Review of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012)

20 Nov

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012) is a fantasy/romance/adventure film, the fifth film in the Twilight film franchise based on the series of novels by Stephenie Meyer.

Directed by Bill Condon (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011), Dreamgirls (2006)).

Written by Melissa Rosenberg (Twilight (2008), Step Up (2006)).

Starring: Michael Sheen, Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Maggie Grace and a shitload of other good-looking people.

Here we are again. Thankfully, for the last time. Please, even if they decide to do some shitty spin-off, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. Unless it is about Aro. I want to see a movie about him.

I don’t know where to start talking about this, because I don’t want to. The series as a whole has been an incredible journey through bad female role models, bad acting, bad effects and bad filmmaking in every other way. A year ago we saw the first part of the adaptation of the fourth novel. It was one of the most boring movies I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen Heaven’s Gate, Titanic and Alexander‘s final cut. It dragged like shit. If you pressed your ass against the floor, had some diarrhea explosion and then tried to blow it along the floor, using your mouth, it would be a more or less acurate representation of watching that movie.

To be fair this movie was way less boring. I still got bored, but I could see the simple-minded fans, who like the blank characters, enjoying the ethnical stereotypes, idiotic plot and the horrendous special effects.

We start off with Bela Lugosi waking up as a vampire chick now, all her senses have heightened, so she hugs Squidward with her Hulk-strength and then decides to go hunting for deer, doing weird faces and feral noises. She almost kills some cliff-climber, who doesn’t look down to see her jump away in a humourously frozen position doing an arc over a canyon, one of the many special effects in the movie done by a 5-year-old with Down’s Syndrome. Just donate the money, don’t make them work for it.

Then she remembers her baby, which is the most fucking creepy thing I’ve ever seen. Now she’s kind of pissed that Sixpack has ‘implanted’ her baby, so he’s destined to bang her. Him saying „It’s not like that!”, when it is exactly like that doesn’t sit well with Bela Lugosi, so Kirsten Stuart tries to do something she hasn’t done before. Emotions. Sorry K-Stu, A for effort, but F for looking like you’re face and voice doesn’t understand the concept.

After this, Sixpack goes to show his six-pack to Bela Lugosi’s dad, Charlie Movember. Sixpack for some reason thinks that taking off his clothes and turning into a cartoon-wolf would somehow explain his daughter’s absence. It doesn’t. Like at all. Charlie Tom Selleck is the saddest character ever. Every scene is him saying „Fuck it, no one is telling me shit, there’s no reason for me to be in this movie, I’m just going to grow my fucking moustache until someone decides to actually give me something to do.”

So basically Eddie Van Paleface and Bella Van Blankface have their horribly deformed child. It seems she’s ok, except for Sixpack’s  pedophile curse, being half-vampire and having this disgusting CG face. It’s uncanny beyond the valley of death. I wanted to turn away every time I saw it. 10 actresses play their daughter. So they all (or at least 9?) have CG faces. It is insane.

And that is not the only awful effect they have. They’re all rubbish. Almost every scene takes place on a set. There’s a shitload of blurry matte paintings, green screen as shitty as they get. Having people wave their arms in front of a green screen, and then replacing the background with a sped-up footage of a forest is not an effect I should see in a 100+ million dollar movie.

The movie starts as an unfunny fish-out-of-water comedy with Bella Lugosi discovering her abilities, having PG-13 extreme close-up sex and ironically having to learn to act human. Then it transforms into a superhero team forming movie, where vampires from all over the world are gathered. They all have various superpowers and represent stereotypes, eurotrash Russian guys, red-haired Irish ones, an Egyptian (might as well be Indian) who is the last airbender, yet conveniently forgets to use his abilities during the final battle and even some Amazonians and later Brazilians dressed in loin-clothes and face-paint.

They need to gather this team of vampire X-men, to protect them from Volturi, the evil vampires, who want to kill Squidward and Bela’s daughter Jailbait, because they think it’s a full vampire and not a half-ling that will look like a full-grown woman at the age of 7, when Jacob is going to fuck the living shit out of her unstable pre-school psyche. For some reason they manage to gather this team from every corner of the earth during a couple of months or something, while the Volturi are travelling from Italy. What is taking them so long? Are they taking the bus?

The plot they devise to protect the little CG-creep is so stupid and involves so much unnecessary details, which does not make sense when they have a chick, who can tell the future. I guess these vampires don’t get wiser as they get older. Just like the wolves keep looking completely awful as the movies go on.

I do have some good things to say. Since the love triangle is resolved, the movie is a lot less annoying, since characters actually have some motivation. The actors seem more comfortable. Chicken-Stu attempts emotions, Bobby Patterson at times seems to enjoy himself and Squidward laughs when Betty is kicking the mexican’s ass. And the mexican gypsy is somewhat likable, since he’s moved on and is saving his sixpack for Charlie Brown Moustache and his 8-year-old granddaughter.

Another thing I loved was Michael fucking Sheen. He acts so over-the-top flamboyantly gay, I almost felt like being prison-raped and loving it. I think he knew exactly what he was doing and joyously screeching at the sight of the abomination that is the little half-vamp Renesmut, is something he did specially for me the desperate anti-fan, who somehow failed to feel the tone of scenes despite the constant bombardment soft rock and score telling me what to feel.

So yes, the ending that involved the most decapitations you’ll ever see in a movie, Michael Sheen’s constant mugging, mincing and overacting, while masturbating in his pocket and leaving the unconvincing love-triangle in the dust made the movie barely, but bearable. Despite the ending introducing a cop-out twist, some deus-ex machina and Beige saying „No one’s ever loved anyone as much as I love you, Squidward.”, which is an outright lie. Turning it into a B-movie was the right choice.

Overall, it was better than the previous Twilight movies, but that’s like saying a kick in the balls is better than a paper cut on the tip of your penis. Some might disagree, but most will agree that both are pretty bad. I would never recommend this movie to any sane person. But let’s rejoice, it’s over.

“Oh my, Carlisle, you’ve been working out, haven’t you? And that neckerchief, a feast for eyes, you are.”

Review of Looper (2012)

17 Oct

Looper (2012) is a sci-fi/action/drama film, set in the future, where time travel is illegal and used only by criminal organisations.

Directed by Rian Johnson (The Brothers Bloom (2008), Breaking Bad (2008 TV)).

Written by Rian Johnson (Brick (2005), Evil Demon Golfball from Hell!!! (1996 Short)).

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Pierce Gagnon, Paul Dano, Noah Segan and others.

This is another one of those cases, where I feel like saying anything is almost spoiling too much, but I have to say something, so I won’t reveal anything, that the trailers didn’t already show.

So the movie takes place in the future, 2040’s, time travel isn’t invented yet. But it will be invented in 3 decades. There’s these people – loopers, who work for a criminal organisation, that wait for people who are sent back from 2070’s and kill them. Our „hero” is one of these guys. He kills people and gets a shitload of silver for it.

But in the future-future there’s this bad guy The Rainmaker, who decides that the loopers should be sent back in time and be executed by their own younger selves. This is where our „hero”, 30 years older, comes in.

First of all you’re introduced to this future world, which is very realistic, it’s not some over-the-top dystopia, it’s mostly different by having more advanced technology and different trends, it does not like Blade Runner, but it does have that feel of it, There are these people controlling stuff and our hero isn’t sure of his loyalty to those people, also dipping into film noir quite heavily, starting with voice over, multi-dimensional characters with huge flaws and the clothing. And considering Rian Johnson made a modern-day true film noir film with Brick, I bet this was very intentional.

Both Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Joe and Bruce Willis’ Joe are not the best people, they are anti-heroes to the point they drop the hero’s part, especially older Joe. They act in their own best interests, ready to do the most awful things if they find it necessary.  Both actors are just brilliant. Levitt is becoming one of the most convincing actors of his generation and in combination with the phenomenal make-up work mimics Willis with such precision you forgot it’s even him. And it doesn’t feel cheap, like making him look like Willis early in his career and doing an impression of him. You’re convinced this guy could get older and look and act like the older character played by Willis.

The performances by supporting actors are also excellent. Jeff Daniels is charismatic as the young Joe’s boss, who would usually be this stereotypical villain, here he is a mildly evil used car salesman with a lot of power. Paul Dano is Joe’s friend, it’s a pretty small role, but memorable, Dano is a young actor, who has been mostly excellent for the last decade, Emily Blunt is good as a vulnerable single mother with a tough exterior. And the 5 year-old Pierce Gagnon actually might have delivered the best child performance of quite a long time now. He totally sold it and I wasn’t annoyed by him as I am usually with child actors (Jake Lloyd?).

The time travel aspect is actually really well thought out and no wonder, since Shane Carruth, who made Primer consulted Rian Johnson and if there’s one person in Hollywood (read ‘sort of making movies’) that understands how hypothetical time travel might work, it’s Shane Carruth. But Johnson’s brilliant writing makes it so it’s not a cold examination of time travel paradoxes, but actually makes it a moving, human story, which happens to have awesome sci-fi concepts in it.

Overall, it’s nice to see an intelligent, entertaining, well-made, original and emotionally moving film, that’s a fucking R-rated sci-fi action piece. So far this is probably my favourite movie of the year. Definitely recommended.

“Hey, young me! I will shoot that midget if you don’t let me ass-fuck you! What are you worried about? If you think about it, it’s just some good ol’ masturbation!”

Review of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)

14 Oct

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011) is an action/fantasy/thriller film, based on the Marvel Comics character Ghost Rider and is the sequel to Ghost Rider (2007).

Directed by the filmmaking duo of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (Gamer (2009), Crank (2006)).

Written by David S. Goyer (Death Warrant (1990), The Unborn (2009)), Scott M. Gimple (The Walking Dead (2010 TV), Life (2007 TV)) and Seth Hoffman (House M.D. (2004 TV), Prison Break (2005 TV)).

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Violante Placido, Ciaran Hinds, Idris Elba, Johnny Whitworth, Fergus Riordan, Christopher Lambert and others.

Neveldine/Taylor is enough for me to sell a movie, ranging from their best (Crank 2: High Voltage) to their worst (Gamer) movies, one thing is clear, it’s going to be interesting to watch what crazy shit they’re going to pull this time. So here we have a sequel to what is generally considered one of the worst comic book movie adaptations. And then there’s Nicolas Cage.

We open to some black guy coming to a monastery led by Giles from Buffy. He rescues a woman and her son from some bad guys. And then the woman and kid run away from the black Frenchman, who decides to turn to our good old friend – burning skull guy.

Poor Johnny Blaze, his hairline has completely changed in just a couple of years and now is decidedly receding. So the black guy approaches him and basically says „Save this chick and you’ll get your soul back,” and Blaze is like „ok”. The deal is some bad guys have the woman’s son and he goes to get him back. He does get him and then there’s scenes where Blaze and the kid, who is pursued because of his destiny, start bonding and the boy starts admiring him, it reminded me a lot of Terminator 2.

This time the Ghost Rider effects look a lot better and he’s actually sort of terrifying. When you first see him as Ghost Rider you realise, that these guys were meant to make this movie. It’s as usual. visually very stylised, even dialogue is sometimes shot handheld with rapid zooms, there’s animated sequences, and great, memorable action set-pieces. Ghost Rider is actually bad-ass, he sort of now has a personality of his own. To be clear, I know almost nothing about the Ghost Rider mythos and so I didn’t care how faithful it was to it.

But the most important thing is that Nic Cage is used correctly, he’s a powerful tool in the right hands. I just love the guy. Here, they have him totally start freaking out as he’s about to turn into the Rider and Cage goes into his overacting mode, which is gloriously entertaining. The key aspect here is fun, when Cage seems to be having it, he’s awesome.

Maybe I’m not allowed to judge it, because I watched the movie on a 3D TV, but I really found the 3D barely noticeable. Speaking of 3D, Christopher Lambert appears as a monk with a tattooed face. Yeah, I know, maybe Christopher Lambert was worth a separate paragraph.

It’s not trying to be this over-the-top B-movie, but it is and that is what I like about Neveldine/Taylor, it’s that they do things that they think are cool and funny and those are the same things that I like. Seeing Ghost Rider pee fire? Count me in! Although, I would almost wish they would’ve gone even a bit crazier, but they did a lot within the constrains of the PG-13 rating. Yeah, I’m never satisfied.

Overall, it’s really not a „good” movie, don’t get me wrong, but it’s entertaining as shit. If that shit was on fire and hitting people with a chain while being on fire and hitting people with a chain. Recommended.

They’ve really outdone themselves in the special effects department this time. Those glowsticks look so bad-ass together with the halloween kids make-up.

 

Review of Contagion (2011)

3 Oct

contagion_ver8Contagion (2011) is a drama/sci-fi/thriller film.

Directed by Steven Sodenberg (Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989), Magic Mike (2012)), who frequently has been associated with all-star casts.

Written by Scott Z. Burns (The Half Life of Timofey Berezin (2006), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)).

Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Demetri Martin, Bryan Cranston and others.

You got to start at the beggining and the epitome of not knowing shit about a movie is taking a look at the poster and forming an opinion. And looking at the poster for Contagion what you see is six big name actors. I think having too many stars can be a bad thing, because it is just jarring.

Every now and then you are pulled out of the movie by going “oh, it’s that guy!”. Because it’s not just the main characters, it seemed rather odd to me that they would cast such big names in relatively minor roles. Gwyneth Paltrow is more of a plot device and doesn’t play much of a character, dying 5 minutes in the movie (yeah, spoiler alert). Demetri Martin seemed just randomly thrown in there and I was expecting him to say something funny. He did not. Bryan Cranston didn’t do anything all that odd, but I felt like he was some kind of a caricature of a dimwitted general, even though he has played that type on other occasions with better results.

However, the performances from the main cast I found quite impressive, although as there were no main character, there wasn’t much time spent focusing on who they really are. So what little screen time they had, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Matt Damon (a very pleasant surprise) and Laurence Fishburne did a great job.

Jude Law had some kind of a prosthetic, that made one of his front teeth crooked. Why? Because he’s British? Because he’s a blogger? Either way it is kind of offensive. On the other hand, I’m a blogger and my teeth are not straight. And Jude Law is British. Ok, movie, I’ll let that slip.

An interesting aspect that was handled a bit poorly, was the issue of printed press dying and internet media taking over, but also considering the aspect that most people don’t take bloggers seriously. Here I think one of the movie’s bigger problems became clear, it divides its attention without focusing on one main thing, so both the characters and subjects are gleamed over and lack the depth.

It portrays the threat of a flu a bit more realistically than you would expect in a modern Hollywood movie. And this leads to my main problem with the film. It seems to rely on the star-power to carry out a rather anti-climatic film. The middle part is slow and then it goes in to all these build-ups, yet they don’t ever pay off. Maybe it’s because I went into it expecting something like The Stand, I felt a bit disappointed in how unentertaining it was. But! I’m not saying it’s a bad movie, it’s well made, has social commentary and shit like that. No, I did not want a disaster movie, but it tragically lacks some kind of a punch.

If you’re a germophobe or a hypochondriac, better avoid this film, because it’ll spike your phobias to the max. Oh, and it has some coughing that sounds so deep and painful, that you start to feel like coughing yourself.

I recommend it, if you want to see a distanced mildly dystopian portrayal of a world where the flu panic had been well-founded. I do not recommend if you’re looking for a suspenseful sci-fi thriller.

Oh, yes, I fancy me some of those jolly old bolly woggles and tippety toes, with my crisps and crumpets!