Saturday, March 29, 2014

Contracted: Still on the fence between "Liked It" and "Really Liked It" let me know what you thought and help me decide.

I’m not gonna get my hopes up anymore. I probably would have loved Contracted had I not gotten my hopes up. It’s an independent horror movie, and that can mean anything. Toad Road? God I hope not. Absentia? I hope so. It was neither, and though closer to – it still was not a knock-out surprise that my wife and I found Absentia to be.

            I saw the preview of the movie, and still I thought the whole thing was going to be something more than what the preview hinted at. My wife did not see the preview and it wasn’t but a short while into the movie – probably around the time the Day 1 title card appeared – that my wife called what was going on. Again, I held out hope that it would all be something original, but alas my wife was correct once again.

            But then, so was I, to a degree, because it was done in a way that my wife and I agreed was original and an interesting perspective of a tired idea that was done very well for an indie movie.

            A movie is good if my wife will sit through the whole thing while having to look away more than once. If she doesn’t give up after having to look away more than once then she’s interested. I enjoyed the gross parts, crying out in discomfort (the scenes varying from massive menstrual blood – like multiple scenes of massive menstrual blood – to teeth being easily pulled out as well as nails being pulled off) but laughing at the same time.

            With everything that was good about this movie, the interesting take on an old idea, and the acting which was pretty good, the fact that it does still just all come down to something that we see way too much in movies now-a-days was a bit disappointing. The other part that hurt the movie was the fact that it takes quite a big step out of reality to keep the story going.

            The effects of the disease on the girl are intense and gross and her acting is well done so that it all combines a sort of tense dread and sorrow for the girl, but the way the story is written is has her reach a point of grossness that it is nearly impossible for the people around her to ignore or just pass off as her being sick – and yet they do, even the doctor reacts to things in a way that is completely unbelievable, and it is these moments that really hurt the movie.

            It may be unfair, but when a movie is really good, the most minor mistakes seem to be much bigger than they are because the rest of the movie is so good.

            I just did not understand why she had to be at the level of grossness that she was at and still she needed to do things that moved the story forward that made it unbelievable that she would even try to do those things with the state that she was in. Why not have her NOT be so gross, keep the story going, and then at the end reach that level when she essentially becomes the monster? She’s a good looking girl, I can admit that, but there ain’t no girl good looking enough (sorry to my wife) that I’d kiss, much less sleep with, when they got the sort of things going on with their body that this girl has – but in this movie, a guy can get over her teeth (rotting? Hello bad breath!), her skin (nothing a vat of lotion would probably still not help). I mean, at this point it’s clear what’s going on so there’s gotta be some obvious signs, smell, feel, taste, that would turn a guy off. Not the guy in this movie though, this guy powers through all that stuff like a pro and get’s the job done (if there’s a sequel, I’d love to find out if the sex was worth it for that guy).

            This movie is an origin story, and through all the bad parts in this movie, it’s not a bad movie, and though my wife said she’d put she liked it, I was on the line between liked it an really liked it.

            My wife said that this was the most disturbing movie she’d seen since The Human Centipede. Yes, my wife actually sat through that whole movie, and I will forever love her for that and will forever proudly tell my friends, family, and complete strangers how awesome my wife is for doing such a thing. Granted she hated it, but she watched it all, and that says something. Of course she didn’t watch the second one, but my wife and I – we’ll always have the first Human Centipede.

            Now I would not say it’s like the Human Centipede, even the gross factor is not the same, but my wife disagrees, so – whatever. Maybe it is, but I stand by my own feelings that this movie and the Human Centipede are not even close to being similar, this movie is gross and all but not like Centipede gross.

            A total bonus of this movie though is Dave Holmes. The minute he walked into the movie I had this smile on my face, and his one scene is hilarious and I had to pause the movie to fill my wife in on the history of Dave Holmes, and if you don’t know it then don’t read my blog, just get out, seriously. If you do know it, correct me if I’m wrong, but back in the day MTV would have competitions to see who would be the next VJ (trying to make it a big deal since it hadn’t been since the glory days of Tabitha Soren) and Dave Holmes actually lost to some weird guy named Dude, or something like that. Anyway, the weird Dude guy did like a few gigs as a VJ but it was Dave Holmes who ended up becoming like a guest VJ and got all the cherry gigs and went on to star in a few movies. Not sure what happened to Dude.

            Anyway, it was cool seeing him in this movie.

            I digress, though I’m pretty much done anyway. It’s not a bad movie, and with lower expectations it would be a pretty good movie, which, I guess that’s why I’m here, to lower you expectations of movies streaming on Netflix as well as blogs.

            You’re welcome.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Netflix: Streaming: The Host: I Hated It: Watch the foreign horror/monster movie The Host instead. You'll thank me.

The Host (2013) PosterMy second movie based on a young adult novel, and it was worse than the first.

            So I don’t read these books. I will be honest – though don’t tell too many people – that I did really try to read the first Twilight. It was before the release of the movie, but during the hype, and I thought I’d give it a try. You know, I just couldn’t get into it, and I didn’t read but a chapter or two but I feel I gave it enough of a try to know that it wasn’t for me. Unlike the Harry Potter books, I read the entire first book and started the second before I admitted that it wasn’t for me, and saw only the first two movies before I said the same about the movies.

            I should have admitted at the beginning of this movie that it just wasn’t for me, but I thought I’d give it a try, and I think the fact that I actually finished this movie says that it wasn’t horrible – although it kind of was.

            It’s just a simple fact that the story is not good. How can you take Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which is what this story is, and make it so extremely dull? Well, The Host answers that question like a pro. You make none of it scary, take all of the tension out of it, leave an iota of paranoia that is so feeble that it lasts minutes and is replaced with teenage lust, which leads to the next point of how to ruin a good story – make it all about teens.

            I know this movie is for teens, and hopefully they will look back on it and laugh at it as something they can’t believe they were into – like me and the cartoon Gummi Bears – but some may look at this and be inspired to write stories (great!) that are like The Host, or How I Now Live (not great! Wrong! Terrible, in fact!).

            These movies are for teens, and about teens who are acting how they feel grown-ups should act. Defy authority (How I Now Live) make love, not war (The Host), and there’s a reason why adults are not like that. Because after years of life we have learned how to play the game of life, and it ain’t by being a rebellious hippy, it’s by being a disenchanted and bitter a-hole to all the other a-holes out there.

            I’m not saying conform, nor shoot first and ask questions later, but what I am saying is . . . what I’m saying . . . I’m saying . . . Jesus, just don’t see these movies or read these books. Seriously, I shudder to imagine what my youth would have been like had Red Dawn (the original and not the watered down remake) been a young adult novel first (it probably would have been worse than the remake). I even shudder to think what my life would have been like had I grown up with such books.

            There is nothing redeeming about this movie. There is no reason to see it. If you think you will not like it, and it doesn’t sound good, then you will hate it. There are no surprises, it is exactly what you think, and it is as bad as you think.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Netflix Streaming: Ashton Kutcher plays Jobs, and Jared Leto pretends to be a nobody.

Jobs (2013) PosterThe way I look at it, Ashton Kutcher hasn’t really done much by way of movies to make me think he’s not any good at acting. That being said, I’ve never seen one of his movies, and only bits and pieces of that 70’s show he was on, so maybe he does suck. All I know is, he doesn’t generally make movies that I am interested in – like, at all.

This movie does have J.K. Simmons in it, and I will ALWAYS see a movie that he’s in, which is probably why they put him in it.

Mr. Nobody (2009) PosterI like Jared Leto. Well, I liked him in Fight Club, and he will never do anything that will make me not check out a movie he is in because Fight Club and all involved are awesome. Plus he won that award for that movie that I gotta see, and he gave that awesome speech about his mom so that was way cool.

Still not sure if this movie will be good or not, but I will definitely give it a shot, and like J.K. Simmons, anything with Sarah Polley is worth checking out.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Netflix: Streaming: How I Live Now: Incestuous love set against a vague and unbelievable World War III, and all of it based on a young adult novel

How I Live Now (2013) Poster
How I Live Now, is such an annoying movie in how bad it is.

            Just to be clear, if I can ask, because I do not want to go back and watch the movie again to make sure, but to anyone who has seen this movie – the boy she falls in love with and sleeps with – that’s her cousin, right? I mean, they are all her cousins, right? So that boy is her cousin, and not like a distant “if this were Nebraska it would be okay” cousin, but like immediate cousin, like, their moms were sisters? Or her dad and their mom were brother and sister? Whatever, they were cousins! Right?

            I really like Saoirse Ronan. Of course I’ve only seen her in Hanna, but damn that movie was freaking awesome, and she is awesome. I’m working on watching The Host, but damn that movie is freaking bad. The worst remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers I’ve ever seen. Like I said, I’m working on The Host so I may finish it and review it, I may not finish it, who knows (who cares, right?)? Maybe I should just forget everything else and remember only Hanna.

            So honestly, Ronan isn’t the worst part of this movie. I think the worst part of this movie is the fact that were I to bring up my problems with the movie to one who has read the book, they’d answer with: It’s in the book, you should read the book.

            Um, no, actually I shouldn’t have to read the book to understand the movie. This may be an adaptation of a book but it’s not an exact presentation of the book. It doesn’t have the author of the book above the title of the movie. If it did then I would say, yeah, okay, they’re totally connecting this movie to the book and so yeah I would probably benefit from reading the book or at least having a brief knowledge of the source material.

            That is not the case here.

            This is a movie – on its own – about a girl who is schizophrenic? She hears voices? And her sexy hunk of a cousin who can talk to animals? Is psychic? Guess what, it doesn’t matter because none of that is touched on. There’s also a world war – that is over in months? Weeks? But the cause, or who it’s between doesn’t matter because it’s never touched on. There’s an atomic detonation close enough for the kids to feel the shock wave and hear it, and have ash fall down around them like snow – but they don’t get sick? They can still eat and drink without getting sick? Guess what . . . yup, none of it matters because it isn’t explained how this is possible.

            So war has broken out, like World War III, in the closest major city, and news that people are being evacuated gets to the kids, and what do they decide to do? Well, they’re not going to be evacuated, because this is their house, and their mom will be trying to find them, so they hide and go about having sex and playing in the creek and in the forest and just generally having a gay ol’ time, like nothing at all is going on? I mean, I can sort of understand their thinking, seeing as how a freaking atomic bomb has just gone off but there’s no radiation. I think they’d follow orders and not be so happy were their hair and teeth falling out and they were getting sick and dying off, but hey, it’s not that kind of movie huh?

            The kids that we’re following throughout this movie seem like a bunch of dicks, and then the soldiers show up and separate the boys and girls and they’re apparently taking the teenage boys and drafting them into the army? WHAT!? I mean, what is going on in this war? London is bombed and wasted, okay, but there’s no other country helping out? They have to get boys of any age to help out? Dude, you have lost if that’s the case. Honestly. So but anyway, the soldiers show up and start bossing the kids around – the nerve! The dick kids fight against the soldiers – lose, of course, and the movie goes on.

            So things get exciting at least – not believable by any means – but exciting none the less, and I only had to sit through an hour and a half to get to it. With only 20 minutes left of the movie, the two girls escape the town they’re sent to and make their way back to the house and barn they shared with the boys. The scenes of their ambush by an unknown enemy was entertaining and gory with the death of a young boy, and then they’re travels at night and their coming into contact with the enemy that is apparently having some sort of sex party with a bunch of female prisoners was pretty tense. It all culminates in the two girls being caught by two men and that whole scene and how it plays out was a surprise to me and definitely changed my attitude from hating this movie to just not liking it. It was the only part in this whole movie that was honest and believable, in my opinion anyways.

            Then of course it all goes back to the same and it sucks again.

            Not much more to say – not even worth the one good part.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in a half-hour TV comedy show for TV Land - I mean, Netflix.

This bring up a few thoughts:

1. Netflix just picked its first major disappointment.

2. I love Lily Tomlin, but to me the greatest thing she’s ever done is yell at a David O. Russell while in a car with Dustin Hoffman, Isabelle Huppert, Mark Wahlberg, and Naomi Watts.

3. I love Lily Tomlin because she yelled at David O. Russell twice.

4. I love Jane Fonda because / but her best work was the opening scene of Barbarella.

This series could be great if Lily Tomlin is allowed to cuss and Jane Fonda is not allowed to get naked.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I "Liked It": Lovelace: A weak movie sprinkled with moments of true emotion

Lovelace (2013) Poster
The main reason my wife and I added Lovelace to the queue was because of Peter Sarsgaard. The main reason my wife did not watch this movie, and I believe never will, is because of everything else about this movie. Not that she’s missing much other than a bad movie that drops the ball big time.

            I know very little of Lovelace (the woman who starred in the most popular adult film (porn) ever) except that she was in the most popular adult film (porn) ever. Can’t say I was really all that interested in her story either until I saw the documentary Inside Deep Throat, which is no longer streaming, but I when it was I watched it and it was very interesting. Now, it’s been awhile since I saw that documentary, but I remember it talking about Lovelace’s claims of abuse and being forced into doing the movie, and how later in life she spoke up about how she was against pornography and the treatment of women, or something like that. Either way, the idea of the first real porn super star changing everything about her life and speaking out against it all, and presenting another side to the things she’d been through that most took for granted that she was okay with – that is a movie I would watch, and I’m still waiting to watch it because Lovelace is not that movie, not matter how hard it tries.

            I think the script is just so feeble a base for everything important in this movie that even the fine actors, Sarsgaard, and Amanda Seyfried (who I think can be a really good actress), are unable to feel comfortable enough to really perform. The whole thing felt like a bad, more tame version of Star 80 (minus the murder but with just a touch of Eric Roberts). The way the story is presented, showing a large chunk of Lovelace’s life, and then going back and showing parts of it all again, but this time you see that she wasn’t really into everything that you just saw not 40 minutes ago, and where the movie stumbles is that it’s not believable. I’m not saying it didn’t happen that way. I wasn’t there. Maybe she was forced into the drugs and the sex, and maybe her biography that she wrote describing her side of things is way better at presenting her side of the story than this movie, but I’m going off of this movie. This movie shows you things but it just doesn’t make them believable.

            At one point, during a party, in the room next door you can hear all this yelling and grunting and slamming against the wall, and the people of the party get a kick out of hearing Lovelace having such wild and crazy sex after having just filmed the porn. Then, later we see the scene again, and no surprise, she’s actually being beat to shit by her husband, but according to the movie no one ever notices that she’s been beaten. Again, I must stress that: “according to the movie”. There are times when Lovelace runs to her mother for help, and she’s been abused but her mother tells her that no matter what you promised to stick by your husband so you have to. It was pretty sad and frustrating, but why is only her mom aware – the one person who won’t do shit? Why not go to her dad? He’s kind of a quite and worthless man compared to his domineering wife, but still!

            I’m just saying that the movie did not show the story well enough, the whole movie feels rushed, rushed the whole way to the end when there’s really nothing that happens.

            So I ended up liking the movie. I know, I know, what the hell, right? Well, without getting too much into my way of rating (my wife has given up trying to understand why I rate movies the way I do), the supporting actors in this movie are great.

            Lovelace’s parents were amazing. I did not recognize her mom at all, and I don’t think it was because of the make-up or anything, I give it to her acting, I thought it was great, and her dad, who did nothing more than just sit and watch TV, almost brought a tear to my eye when he finally talks to his daughter and mentions that he saw her movie. Seyfried’s reaction and his talking about seeing the movie was heartbreaking. His voice, full of confusion and disappointment, and her inability to really defend herself seemed real, and made me think about the parents of those who do porn. I can see both sides, I mean, your kid is old enough to do whatever they damn well please, they wanna do porn you can’t do shit to stop them, so do you get upset, embarrassed, disappointed? Or do you support them, either openly, or silently – meaning, secretly hope they’ll come to their senses while still keeping them close? I have two little kids, a boy and a girl, and I can’t imagine them doing anything that would drive me away from them entirely, but at the same time I can imagine them growing up and doing something that challenges me and my love for them.

            They’re human, and the possibilities are there.

            Either way, as a father, I could see and feel the possible pain that Lovelace’s father was going through, and for me they both got that scene perfectly. If only the whole movie carried such impact.

            I would suggest people see this movie for that scene, as well as another one. The second scene  is when Lovelace is trying to get away from her abusive husband, she gets out of the car and runs down the street with him chasing her, and he catches her just as the cops show up. The cops see that it’s that girl from that porn, and their tone says that she’s probably the trouble here and not her husband, and the look on Lovelace’s face is the look of someone in a horror or sci-fi movie where even those paid to protect don’t care about her.

            The movie may not show the life of Lovelace all that well, but it does at times capture what I could believe to be the feelings of what was going on for her, and those moments when the acting was good and the writing was strong worked well enough to make me like the movie. I wanted to really like it, I wanted it to be interesting and cover the sort of things the documentary did, but had I not seen the documentary first, had I not known about the history of Lovelace and the story of the movie itself, I probably would have found this movie much more interesting.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I "Liked It" Random Acts of Violence: Or, Random Appearance by Kirsten Dunst

Random Acts of Violence is a realistic fantasy. Not a sci-fi Blade Runner fantasy, nor a psychological fantasy like Brazil. I can’t really think of a movie like Random Acts of Violence. Falling Down, but that wasn’t a fantasy – and yes, I guess you could say that Random Acts of Violence isn’t a fantasy, but seriously, it is. There is nothing realistic about it other than it is set in the real world, and it treats itself as real, but it’s a fantasy by someone who had the idea of making Grand Theft Auto into a real thing. Think American Psycho without all the intelligent acting and the intelligent film making and the intelligent and original story.

            There is nothing to the main character of Random Acts, he is just someone spouting off the script and frequently shooting people on the streets or in their apartments or in the park. The violence is well done enough that it is, through-out the movie, a bit disturbing, but story and the acting and the film making aren’t strong enough to carry the violence and so when he’s not killing, the movie is dying.

            The main character is at times rather likable in his comedic timing; his working off of the director of the documentary crew following him around was occasionally funny. The main character had moments when you could tell that he could maybe possibly be a good actor at some point in his career . . . or not.

            The main thing I didn’t like about the movie probably had something to do with my mood, but for whatever reason, I was not in the mood to see a movie about New York City. I mean, seriously, what is so flippin’ great about that city? I’ve been there three times now? It’s a big city, lots of people, lots of history, I get it. The whole gentrification thing? I. Do. Not. Care. I couldn’t care any less than I already care, and after this movie . . . well, okay I could care less because after this movie I now care less than I did before. Seriously, what is the national threat? Why the need for a movie about it? I was under the impression he was just trying to start a crime wave. Maybe I need to read Netflix more closely or something because when I started the movie I was okay until he started talking about people moving in and blah blah blah. Who cares? Leave that part out? And it was kind of funny with the documentary guy talking back how the main guy wasn’t even originally from New York and I guess maybe they were trying to say something about that, and if so they failed. Everything failed and probably a minute into the movie I knew how it would end, and when it did end that way I was completely let down. There was nothing original with the ending, and everything remotely daring that they had tried to pull off during the movie was forgotten by the lame ending.

            This is just me, but I would be more upset and offended by the kind of people who have the time and energy to gather together with their friends and make spaghetti and laugh and have fun.

            I’m not a big fan of happy people; I’ll say that right now.

            Not that I’d go on a spree against them, I’m just not a fan of them. It’s like this guy’s passionate hate of the people living around him in his New York neighborhood and all – that’s how I feel when people around me are happy. I’m less happy when there are happy people around me, miserable people around me and I’m on cloud nine.

            The movie was good enough that I watched the whole thing. The writing was smart enough and clever and funny, and the girl’s speech about her theory of if there’s a God or not was pretty good, but I felt the story really started to lose energy towards the end and for a low budget movie like this, it can’t afford to lose energy in any specific area.

Monday, March 3, 2014

I "Liked it" Wishmaster: But don't get me wrong, this is a bad horror movie, but the physical effects were a fresh sight

Wishmaster (1997) PosterThe Wishmaster made me wish for the days of actual physical effects. 1997 was a crazy year for effects. You had Titanic, The Fifth Element, and Contact, 3 movies that had amazing special effects, and of those effects they were known for the computer generated effects. Wishmaster which I thought was much older than it is, relied on the soon-to-be “old school” physical effects, and because of that this movie was . . . pretty good?

            Don’t get me wrong, this is a very low grade horror movie. The writing is atrocious, and the acting is pretty funny, but man when horror stuff happens it’s pretty gruesome. The skeleton coming out of the man and getting up and walking around was gross but kind of well done because it was all done without any sort of computer touches (I’m assuming, really, I mean, I didn’t do any major research into this move – or any movie I review for that matter – but it sure did look like it was all done without computer help).

            Some of the funniest moments were when things were supposed to be scary and intense and the script suddenly becomes something I could have written when I was in high school. At one point the demon leaves a message on an answering machine for Tammy Lauren (who was just so much the epitome of a hot 90’s woman that I wished she was in more stuff now so I could see some of her work now and if she is still hot (my money is on the fact that she is)) and halfway through the message she grabs the phone and screams “Fuck you!” at the demon before hanging up and rushing to save her sister! It was truly one of the most unintentionally funny moments I’ve seen in a very long time (probably because I generally avoid movies like this).

            I am fully aware that one does not watch Wishmaster with the intention of seeing fine cinema, or even – let’s be honest – a good movie, which is why I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the movie because of the effects and then because it was such a bad movie it was almost enjoyable. Very almost.

            I have the intention of watching all 4 Wishmaster movies, but Jesus I don’t know if I can. The first one was pretty bad. The opening moments were, bad, yes, but also rather creepy with the freaky shit that was going on, and the ending which mirrored the beginning was also weird and trippy and that made it better than I had anticipated at least.

            Still, I really don’t know if I can watch any more of these movies, or if I do, it may be awhile before I can.