Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Not Evil Enough: Resident Evil

Video game movies are hard to come by. No, wait, check that. GOOD video game movies are hard to come by. In fact, let's review.

Mario Brothers: Ahhhhhh. That's-a spicy meat-a-ball.

Mortal Kombat: Goro looks like a ball of silly putty...filled with crappy acting.

Tomb Raider: Angelina, what were we talking about?

Doom: Did the Rock just rip someone in half? Awesome!

House of the Dead: Why? Just why?

Alone in the Dark: NOOOOOOOOOOO!

Street Fighter: Didn't Van Dam fifty years ago?

So you can see the competition for a good movie from a game isn't exactly stellar. In fact, in some countries, mentioning "Alone in the Dark" is punishable by a severe beating delt by a large Albanian woman (not just in Albania). I was at a dorm a while ago and someone started talking about "Street Fighter." Goons leapt out of nowhere (seriously! Friggin' GOONS) and put him in a hurt locker.

I wasn't sure what that meant until then. It's pretty simple: Just a locker that's so small you can't get in without contorting like a pretzel, thus ensuring the "hurt" portion of the deal.

So what happens when a successful survival-horror franchise--THE survival-horror franchise--is brought to the big screen?'s not exactly what you'd think.

For those of you who are uneducated as to the Resident Evil games, allow me to enlighten you.

There is a corporation named Umbrella. It's bad. Real bad. It's public side makes awesome stuff for everyone, and it's so powerful that it made an entire city just to hold the support staff of its main facility.

On the inside, Umbrella tests out biological weapons, and its baby is the T-virus. This wicked little strain mutates living tissue, causing normal animals to become vicious killing machines. People suffer a worse fate: their skin dies, their organs become useless, and they eat the living. They become zombies.


So in the Umbrella town, Racoon City, a series of bizarre and brutal murders leads the STARS team to investigate. They find a mansion, puzzles, and enough dead people to fill an Eight Simple Rules audience.

The games were a huge success, and will continue on the next generation of gaming systems. But we aren't here to be game nerds (damn). We're here to discuss a movie.

A movie...with a hottie at the helm.

Milla Jovovich, the "perfect" girl from "Fifth Element" , rocks the set as Jane, an amnesia suffering damsel in distress with a lab full of the undead at her heels.

Let's forget for a second the video game, because the writer obviously did. Let's even forget how a good horror movie progresses, as the director was out of the loop.

Does anyone here know the rules about creating a horror movie (not the dumbass rules from "Scream". I mean the real rules).


I won't tell you what happens, because it's kinda cool. I just don't like it when horror movies run out of disposable faces.

"Resident Evil" had a good premise, and a great cast. The only problem was the writing moved the story too fast for a zombie flick, and stepped too far and too close to the game. The zombies most. Sometimes it's too obvious that they are people in bad make-up getting paid one dollar an hour.

On the plus side...Milla Jovovich.

However, when compared to "Alone in the Dark" and "Street Fighter", "Resident Evil" is actually...not bad. But it's by no means good. In fact, it's really kinda bad. But compared to the worst movie ever made, it really just needs some TLC.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go vomit because the words "Alone in the Dark" passed my lips.

Brit's out to Lunch: Shaun of the Dead

I am a horror movie junkie. Literally. I mean, if I don't watch at least one crappy remake of a Japanese film every month, I get the shakes.

I was in high school when a friend of mine--let's call him Paul B.--invited me to see the prescreening of a movie called "Shaun of the Dead."

Let's go back a step.

I first encountered the undead when I was but a buckin' lad, svelte and full of vim and vigor. Now that I've butchered vernacular we can move on.

I watched Romero's classic "Night of the Living Dead", followed quickly by the rest of the trilogy. I watched every zombie movie that came out, even the bad ones (ok, especially the bad ones). The "Trilogy" never left my thoughts, and I admit being hesitant, nay, dismayed, at the thought of "Shaun of the Dead."

To say I was wrong would be an understatement. In fact, this movie has become my favorite zombie film. I say that with complete certainty.

Now let's give credit where it's due. George Romero is one of the greatest zombie creators--THE creator--of our time. Simon Pegg, a British comedian, decided to make a movie. A comedy.

A romantic comedy...with zombies.

What came about was gold in cinematic form.

Shaun is a loafer working at a convenient store. His love life is dying, his friends are couch potatoes, and his mother is...well, a British woman. I mean, it really doesn't get any worse.

Then, for no apparent reason, the dead begin to rise to hunt the living. Comedy ensues.

The camerawork is friggin' phenomenal. I mean, watch some of the scenes and tell me you aren't lovin' it.

The zombies look...well, dead, which I guess is good. I like the eye thing, where the pupils are covered in cataracts. It's creepy and disgusting and totally freaks you out. If I'm disturbing you I can stop.

Shaun's friend, Ed, is a man of a healthy girth who doesn't seem too upset by the whole "dead rising, consuming flesh" thing that's happening. He seems more interested in texting his friends, smokin' a "wi'l fatty", and ragging on his friend.

Shaun's love interest is played by Kate Ashfield. She wants to live a more exciting, more important life. Her wish comes true, though I do wonder if she truly wanted such events to pass. In fact, I wonder how anyone would handle the emerging zombie horde.

Let's have an example:

Bill: Hey, Sam, what's new?"

Sam: Aarh!

Bill: Wow, you look kinda dead. Long night?

Sam: Grrrr. UUuuugh.

Bill: Hey, not so grabby Sam.

Sam: AAAAAAARGH! (munching)

Bill: Ow! My face!

Yeah, I'm gonna go ahead and say F that. I never want the dead to rise. It would suck more than the new Hoover vacuum.

So I guess I need to give this movie a rating, seeing as I do review movies on this site, or so I say. I guess, on a scale of one to 10, this movie rates an evening with Salma Hayek, only to have Kate Beckinsale join you for a nightcap. Yeah, that's about how good it is.

Yeah. I'm gonna take a cold shower.

Stop reading.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Still Afloat: Deep Blue Sea

Sometimes a movie can take itself too seriously. When this happens, the unwarranted humor is lost, and the movie becomes a total flop. I'd provide a complete list of films that suffer this quality, but since only five of you have 200 Terabytes to waste, I shant.

The good news is that "Deep Blue Sea" is not such an offender.

Starring the venerable Samuel L. Jackson (let the record show: BAMF) and the spicy Saffrom Burrows (Wing Commander...and plenty of chick flicks), this epic tale of Mankind's unsatiable need to play G-d treats the viewer like a pony ride, until alas, the circle around the stick ends and you leave, smellier than before and feeling slightly cheated.

This movie fits within the spectrum of B by a hair, as it only has a about seven of the necessary fourty-eight traits required to be a B movie.

There is the THEME SONG, performed by L.L. Cool J (the only man with more initials than name).

There is the fact that the movie is a rip off of Frankenstein (in a way, but very well done).

And of course, the obligatory "we did this for the sake of humanity" excuse that all mad scientists give...right before being crushed/eaten/set-on-fire/shoved into a mailbox and shipped FedEx to the nearest volcano.

Before I go on, let me say that I liked this movie. I found it entertaining, and I would recommend it to anyone who comes to this site for any reason other than to mock/stalk me.

"Deep Blue Sea" is a tale about giant, super-smart sharks hell-bent on reaching the rest of the world. They reside in a floating laboratory and provide an essential brain fluid that will cure alzheimers. Seriously. It could work. Just watch "Shark Week" for a few days and this will be tossed around like Ashley Simpson at a Kenny G. concert.

Inside the lab resides the criminal-with-a-heart-of-gold Thomas Jane (not "The Revenger", the PUNISHER) who, inevitably, turns out to be the humans only hope. Sam arrives as an objective observer, hoping to shut down the crazy-with-power Saffron (who is pretty smokin', and get's down to skivvies). Also along for the ride is the afformentioned Cool J. (stands for Jebediah...who knew?) who is the cook and comic relief/BAMF No. 2.

Add some disposable scientists and you have a nice base.

The special effects are nice, for 1999, and the sharks are big enough to make you think: "So....never going to the beach again? All right, glad we agree."

There's some speeches about people's pasts, jump scares, and even one-liners at inopportune times that never affect anyone's ability to fire a shot/save a life. It's awesome sauce, seriously.

I don't have a rating scale, unless you count one Kate Beckinsale (who is in fact a 257 to the fourtieth on a scale of 1-10). I give this movie a "check it out, why don't ya?" I hope that helps.

In a post-script style note, one of the killables is Stellan Skarsgard, who is kick-awesome in his own right.

Watch on, faithful viewers.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

House of Boll: House of the Dead

It is said that the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was making people think he didn't exist.

I will not say that German director Uwe Boll is the Devil. But I fear he does his work.

I was young when I wandered into a Blockbuster in search of a film to watch one bleak summer night. I pulled a crisp plastic case from the "new release" rack and skimmed the title:


I laid the prurient psuedo skin-flick back down and sauntered on. A while down the road, something caught my eye.

It looked like they had taken a video game and made a movie! The gamer in me rejoiced, while the realist (then only a tiny voice who had yet to reach puberty) warned against such endeavors. I did not know the director, but that didn't matter. It was a zombie movie, and a game movie.

It had to be good.

To this day, it is regarded as the second greatest mistake ever made.

I watched the entire "film" dumbfounded. I took in every misguided, unfocused minute of the raw essence that was Uwe Boll's "House of the Dead." I was so sure that I had missed some essential part that I watched special features too.

What I saw inspired this site. What I saw made me realize that some movies are never meant to be seen, and only a few--a sad, unlucky few--must ever bear witness to the effluence that was those films.

I was taught in school never to bash a film. A review should be "elevator safe." This means that I would feel comfortable saying these comments to the director's face in an elevator.

Well the odds that I shall ever be in a confined space with Mr. Boll are slim, and slimmer still is the probability that those precious moments in his proximity would be sullied by my mentioninng ever having heard his name or seen his filth.

This movie made me weep for cinema. Everything that can be done wrong, even things that have NEVER been done wrong, were DONE WRONG.

The acting was...........well, there wasn't any. And there were actors in this film. You will be able to find them in other films acting very well.

The lighting was......wrong. I can't explain it any better than that. The whole film felt too.....unlit.

The make-up, or lack thereof, took a lot from the experience. The "zombies" looked as though they died from being stuffed in potato sacks and made to act in a terrible cinematic abortion.

Even the music, usually the easiest thing to get right by mistake, was atrocious at times.

I think there were two moments that really took me to another world of loathing this film, and I wish to share them with you:

One: Mr. Boll, in his infinite creative wisdom (read: conference with the Beast) put actual footage of the GAME in the film. No, I'm not joking. These shots do not add to the story, they just reenforce the idea that this film was made by a four-year-old with his father's camera, except four-year-olds shouldn't be lumped into the same category as Heir Boll.

Two: The odd, Matrix-like effects were either too odd for the scene or just too wrong for humanity. I threw up a little when, as characters were killed off, their images swirled and faded in "blood" red.

I would talk about the story, but there really is none to speak of. If I had to choose between reliving the events of watching that movie and actually going through a Max Brook's style zombie holocaust, I would break out by bat and crossbow and prepare to fight off the living dead.

My apologies to those of you who saw this film. I cannot express my sympathies any greater than saying this: You will die screaming, but your sacrifice will save millions.

I will end this "review" with a chilling thought: Uwe Boll still directs, and claims to only wish to film video game-inspired movies. He has his eyes set on the greatest works of our time. Gamers unite, and stop this fiendish source of excrement.

Pray for me, for I have not long this mortal coil. If "House of the Dead" was not enough, I actually watched "Alone in the Dark."

It was the worst movie ever made. And the day I tell that story, you will know why.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Can Hell Sing?: Van Helsing

I must lead into this review with a soul bearing preface: I have a severe weak spot for Kate Beckinsale. If you are a straight man, you will understand. It's just a simple fact that she is a beautiful woman. That said, let's move on.

I did not see Van Helsing in theaters, as the FDA had already removed it from film. I Netflixed it (shameless promo for which I am not getting paid: Netflix rocks your face). When the disc arrived, I received more than my fair share of snide remarks from friends and loved ones, which meant this had to be a winner.

Well, even I have my limits.

I will not say this movie is all bad. It has two things going for it: Kate Beckinsale and...well...ok, Kate Beckinsale is all the reason you need. She is why I saw both Underworlds twice.

The special effects were good...sometimes. Othertimes you wondered if these people realized the budget they had for this movie.

The acting is, for the most part, funny? Hugh Jackman (Wolverine, and that's the only role he ever needs) plays a James Bond/Shepherd Book warrior monk Van Helsing with a cutting wit and wavy locks of hair. He is the only sensibly dressed person in the movie, as Kate Beckinsale's Anna Valerious thinks a corsette is body armor.

His comic relief (which is a staple in an action B-movie) is played by David Wenham. Davie does a nice job, though sometimes you are confused to the point of laughter by the plot shifts.

Ahh, the "P" word comes up. Is there a plot in this movie? Does there need to be? I actually think the writer should be commended, as I did not see the twists he pulled out of thin air in this epic quest. I won't sully the experience by listing them all here. Needless to say, it's a trip.

I can tell you one thing...Dracula is in the movie, and he ain't so great. Played by the veteran actor Richard Roxburgh (M:I 2) he prances around the scenes with a come-and-go accent and a short temper. I was never sure if I should be excited to see him when he appeared.

I wouldn't even list this movie if not for one thing: The extras. I know that shouldn't affect a movie's rating, but their was a blooper reel, and it gave me newfound respect for Mr. Jackman. He fumbles his lines, his accents, trips on his feet, and giggles like a schoolgirl. It's magic. In fact, watch that even if you don't watch the movie. It's just as entertaining.

So at the end of the day, what does Van Helsing rate on a scale of one to ten? That's an easy answer.

Kate Beckinsale.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Truth in Advertising: Snakes on a Plane

It's not everyday that a B-movie comes out with an A-list cast and A-list special effects. In fact, if it hadn't been for the simple fact that the movie is about snakes...on a plane, this would have been a summer sleeper hit.

I went in fully aware that this was the beginning of a new era for cult classics: the manufactured bomb.

Now the preceding phrase might seem redundant, as all bombs are inherently crafted by man's imperfect hand. But think about the reality of this movie. It is not political in nature, though a plane is, in a way, hijacked. It is not dramatic, though there exists within the elements of drama. Nor is this film in any way a B-movie in the usual sense, though it has been finely tuned to become a B-movie.

Let's review a little history.

Samuel L. Jackson, probably well know throughout the world as the biggest BAMF in the history of man. No, seriously, it's in Encyclopedia Britannica, check it out if you don't believe.

So Sammy comes home after a night of drinking, womanizing, and single-handedly saving the free world from losing the f-word when he discovers a script sitting on his desk. He reads the title, his cold eyes tracing the curves of each letter until he finally sets the manuscript down, a smile twisting his lips. Feel like you were there?

Sam isn't one to turn down a movie, as is shown by his appearance in Deep Blue Sea (review to come soon). He likes taking movies where he can be whatever the hell the writer dreamed of. He's been an ex-FBI agent, con man, pusher, user, and on both sides of the law so many times he has ceased to follow character guidelines. When he is in a movie, his character is simply Samuel L. Jackson with an alias.

So he goes to the audition and says, "I'm in your movie, I'm the lead, and the title stays the same or I kill you and your whole family." Well, I'm sure it went something like that.
I have to admit, I wasn't in the room. I was off somewhere else, eating pizza most likely, and drinking a Mr. Pibb because it's what I want to put in my head.

The film is made quickly and leaked on the internet. Because people on the internet are all rabid movie junkies (I mean, why else is this the fiftieth blog about SOAP you've read today?) the response is instantaneous. And what's more, the fans have requests...nay, DEMANDS!

And what's really amazing? The director listens. And reshoots scenes. And adds more content.
The result is a movie that is made by fans, for fans, of fans, and shall not perish from this earth....or maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.

Snakes on a, it really blows the mind, doesn't it. I mean, imagine being on a plane. Really, close your eyes and imagine. OK, don't close your eyes, you can't read if you do. Come on, open up. OK.
You're on a plane, cramped and scared of the millions of things that can and will go wrong. You listen to everything the stewardess says because when the engines give out and you careen toward the ocean at 600 mph, you need to know how to use your seat cushion as a flotation device.

So you're sitting uncomfortably next to a 400 lbs Norseman with the stench of Odin whose girth swells over the hand rest into your face, when all of the sudden you feel a sensation on your leg. You look down (which is difficult with the descendant of Beowulf pressing your face against the double-paned window) and see a flash of yellow scales. Horror seizes you as you realize you are smack dab in the middle of the one event no airline plans for: Snakes...on a plane.

Back to reality. This movie is a joke gone too far, but it's fun the whole way through. The characters are stereotypes, from the nervous newlyweds to the too-full-of-himself rapper to the bastardly Brit. You'll know without a doubt who will live and who will die based on the opening introductions.

There's cliches abound, because nothing says "B-movie" like a good ol' cliche. There's the flight attendant on her last trip until retirement. Some flyers decide to join that infamous club, only to learn the lesson about having sex during a B-movie. Snakes jump out at the camera and shock you. There's even "snake vision," which breaches the line that makes this movie enter B territory.

Sammy plays Agent Flinn, an FBI officer with a can-do attitude. He enters the movie with flair that only Jackson can provide, shooting off his mouth and gun as much as humanly possible. He rescues Sean Jones (played by surfer wonder Nathan Phillips) and takes him off to testify against a vicious crime lord. That's really all you need to know to get into the movie. In fact, let's forget those facts and skip right to the meat:

How do snakes end up on a plane?

Well, it just so happens that the Chinese crime syndicate has a guy that knows a guy that knows a guy who deals in snakes. Their idea of a quality hit is to release hundreds of poisonous snakes onto a jumbo jet and hope for the best.

What follows is a few hours of mindless entertainment, pointless interactions, and an ending that practically writes itself. I walked out of the theater (at the end, after the credits) with a smile on my face. If you enjoy B-style movies, and more importantly if you enjoy anything Sam L Jackson does, go see Snakes on a Plane.

It's proof that there still is some truth in advertising.


I am a trained professional. I have been watching bad movies since I was a child and have developed an immunity to the natural toxins within each film. Do NOT attempt to watch all the movies I review as studies have shown this to cause cancer in lab rats that were infected with cancer. The jokes might go over your head. If that happens, ask a friend, or better yet, just start laughing so people around you will think you are a cool guy who knows his humor.

Watch carefully.

It's hard to watch a B-movie with a straight face. Every other word is a bad cliche or one-liner, the gore is too fake too enjoy, and the plot is borderline nonexistent. So why do we flock to theaters and movie warehouses to watch or rent these cheesy box-office rejects? Simple: They're damn enjoyable to watch.
I've spent more than half my life watching the best (and especially the worst) cinema has to offer. I've seen the Living Dead anthology many times, as well as the Return of the Dead spinoffs and remakes. I've seen the Carnisaur trilogy, Manos: Hands of Fate?, and most of the movies seen only on sci-fi at three in the morning. I've rented and bought dozens of B and C movies that only existed out of a sick twist of fate. And yes, I have seen most of Uwe Boll's "films."
I do it because I enjoy bad films. It's not that I have bad taste (and that's not just self promotion, my collection outshines Blockbuster) I just happen to enjoy films that have no suitable reason to exist. I view them with friends and, much like the trio on Myster Science Theater 3000, make fun of every spoiled aspect.
I would love to only watch fine filmmaking, sticking to the Se7ens and Mementos out there, but where would this blog be then? In the gutter, cursing its pathetic transience. So I am going to do what no one else seems ready for:
I am going to watch bad movies, so you don't have to.

Welcome to B-Movie Review.
(the "B" is for "wow that really sucks")

Adam K