Monday, April 30, 2007

Muscles And Rifles, Intelligence Not Essential: The Marine

Why do wrestlers make movies? Who started this ugly trend?

Looking back at such films as "Mr. Nanny" and "Santa With Muscles," I can't see where the alure was.

Nowadays it seems fair game for any juggernaut of the padded square to enter the silver screen with little more than a raised eyebrow to his name.

Granted Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson did an admirable performance as a gay man in "Be Cool," but such feats of acting prowess are few and far between in the wrestling world.

Now the WWE has thrown its bedazzled hat into the ring and started financing its own movies.

Lord have mercy on us all.

The newest "champion" of professional beating-the-crap-out-people is John Cena, a 300 pound mammoth of muscle and hate.

I bet he's got a big ol' brain banging around in there too, but you can be skeptical if you'd like.

Cena's fame landed him a sweet deal as the newest muscle-bound hero in "The Marine."

John Cena plays John Triton (these clever writers with their clever names) a marine who disobeys orders and ends up leaving the Corps. His much-too-hot wife (who gives "dumb blonde" new meaning) encourages him to settle down and relax.

So he takes a job as a security guard.

Here we meet the first of many characters without any purpose: The fat friend, aka, the comic relief. This guy does such a poor job of conveying any feeling that he's ditched after only a few scenes.

In fact, the whole security guard sequence has absolutely no purpose, except to show "how hard it is for a trained killer to adjust to society."

But really, the point of this movie isn't the emotional journey Triton must embark upon. It's about explosions.

Hot, nasty explosions that defy the laws of physics.

In fact, this movie is really just about defying physics (which I shall hence refer to as "magic", seeing as I have no idea how they work).

In "The Marine" wind doesn't blow, fire doesn't burn, glass doesn't cut, bullets are just about useless, and no physical harm comes from falling or being hit.

It's amazing people end up dying in this film.

In fact, the only people who are ever injured by bullets are the jihadists in the first scene and the odd bad guy who pisses off the big boss.

In one dazzling sequence, Triton sees his wife being pulled into his van by baddies. He charges at her, only to take a face full of fire extinguisher. Then, as he gets up, the gas station he's fifteen feet away from EXPLODES, throwing him through the convenience store.

When the dust clears, not only is he still sporting an unbroken face, his clothes aren't even singed.

There's not even a dark smudge where the smoke MAY have passed along him.

The entire film continues in this vein. It's not hard to see how folk can get a bad impression of action movies when this is what is being offered.

Another interesting little note is the severe lack of emotion from ANYONE.

Robert Patrick (the T-1000, and I shouldn't have to say what movie) is about the most believable character in the entire film, and he's a cliche spewing bad guy.

The token black man (and yes, he is token and plays his stereotype so humiliatingly that I was embarrassed) has absolutely no point in the film but to say things like "Oh right, blame the black man," or "I hate cops....and rock candy."


In another touching scene, Triton jokingly tells his wife that his father molested him and his brother...and they both LAUGH!

This film is bad. It's cottage cheese five weeks past the expiration date bad. I can't say I'd recommend it to anyone other than die-hard WWE fans who really need the boost.

I have a question I'd like to pose to the writers: Why doesn't Mrs. Triton seem to give a rats ass that her husband DIES about four times in the film?

I mean, a few tears would have been nice. Or some form of emotional expression. Maybe even complaints because SHE'S A HOSTAGE!!!!!!!!!

This film gets a four choke-slams out of twenty seven.

Watch carefully.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I Wanna Go Fast: Death Proof (amongst others)

This review contains plot elements and offensive letters. You've been warned.

Kurt Russell is the man.

Watch "Escape From New York," "Big Trouble in Little China" and "Tombstone" to get my drift.

So when Quentin Tarantino made him the villain in this psuedo slasher, I was pumped beyong belief.

I had no idea how much better it would get.

"Death Proof" is the ending title of the epic drive-thru homage known as "Grindhouse." Taking a que from such classics as "The Dukes of Hazard" and any movie with a muscle car, DP rocks over the screen with meaty sounds and gruesome crashes.

"Planet Terror", according to Tarantino, is a horror movie, while "Death Proof" is a terror movie. Until now, I honestly didn't think of the differences.

Horror usually means there will be scantily clad women having outrageous sex with muscular men before being devoured by some form of monster.

Terror means scantily clad teenagers making sweet backseat romance with football captains before a crazy man stabs them with a letter opener.

In this case, its the latter.

Kurt Russell stars as Stuntman Mike, an ex-stuntman whose fame never actually came. He sits in bars, not actually drinking, but stalks women he considers attractive/annoying/pretentious.

And then he kills them.

What's awesome is the medium through which he accomplishes this.

His car. His nasty, manly car.

The title of the film comes from the fact that, as a stuntman, Russell made his car "death proof." But to quote, "to get the full benefits, you've really gotta be sitting in [his] seat."

After killing a few women, Russell picks a fight with the wrong group. Rosario Dawson, Tracie Thorns and Zoe Bell take a joy ride in a muscle car, performing an insane stunt where Zoe lies on top of the hood at high speeds.

Russell tries to have some fun.

The following chase is gritty and intense, with some stuntwork that will blow out the back of your anus. What's even better is how funny it all comes off. Tarantino really has a knack for keeping action, suspense and comedy in one package.

I won't ruin the movie for you, as the ending is pretty satisfying, so we'll just move on to a few of the previews.

"Thanksgiving" is a complete parody of the first "Halloween", complete with ridiculous scenes of cheerleaders making out with boys, turning, and looking back at a suddenly headless torso.

It has the most disturbingly funny ending to any preview in the whole show. I can't say any more than it seems to parody an old "South Park" episode.

Finally there is "Don't."

There's really nothing special about the preview, but it's funny for some strange reason. Honestly, you really can't describe the attraction, it's just there. Watch and you shall see.

Well, we've reached the end of this double-parter. I hope you liked it as much as I did. Coming soon, another bad movie.

Watch carefully.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Now That's Just Gross: Planet Terror (and friends)

The following review is in depth and contains plot points and funny moments. You've been warned

I don't get grossed out at movies. It just doesn't happen to me.

I mean, I've seen so many heads severed and intestine removed via fist through stomach that I simply can't find conventional gore disgusting anymore.

All that changed at the onset of "Planet Terror", Robert Rodriguez's addition to "Grindhouse."

But before we begin, let me tell you about "Machete."

In order to give the film a complete "this is a drive-in" feel, Tarantino and Rodriguez got some of the best B-movie directors to come up with fake trailers to fake movies, all parodies of other films.

"Machete" is the tale of a Mexican immigrant who'll do anything for money...even kill a senator.

But when he's betrayed by the mob, he becomes their worst nightmare.

They just messed with the wrong Mexican.

It's honestly the funniest trailer I've seen in a while, save the oh-so-crappy Tooth Fairy thing I saw when I watched "Voodoo Moon." But that wasn't intentionally funny, so I don't think it counts.

"Planet Terror" is a fantastic film, and an homage to zombie movies from time immemorial.

It begins with the introduction of the monster, in this case a diseased soldier trying to find a cure (Bruce Willis, who is in every freakin' movie coming out this summer).

A crazy scientist (Naveen Andrews from "LOST") is willing to sell the deadly poison needed for the officer's devious purposes, but all goes awry. The gas is released and spreads everywhere, and it has a nasty side-effect of melting skin and causing spontaneous zombitus.

Oh, and the mad scientists collects balls.

I'm serious, he collects two out of three of a man's holy trinity when he's angry (or when the mood strikes), and he keeps them in a jar. Now that's the kind of detail you just don't get anywhere else.

This movie has all kinds of sick and twisted moments. Fergie of BEP gets brain eaten, a dog is run over, spraying hot latina twins with blood, and a man pulls a boil off of his cheek and pops it in another man's face. And those are the tame moments.

What makes PT amazing are the characters. Freddy Rodriguez plays Wray, a possible-ex-soldier-super-spy who's turned junkyard worker. He flies around the screen, killing zombies with flare and landing every scene with a witty one-liner.

His love interest is the one-legged vixen Cherry (Rose McGowan from "Phantoms"...come on, you saw that movie and loved it). Her line comes after performing some pointless acrobatic act: "That's useless talent number four" etc. Once Wray straps an M-203 grenade launcher to her leg, she becomes something more.

Wray's line is "I never miss." This will mean more in a bit.

The whole film is hilarious, with cameos every other scene and a running gaggle of disfunctional players, including a mother who lets her son blow his head off.

I can't go into every scene, as there's too much to cover, but there is something I should mention.

Aside from the previously stated fact that a scientist collects johnny's bowling partners, there are a lot of low blows in this film, if you take my meaning. Quentin Tarantino performs his usual "I'm gonna die soon" cameo and, well, partsparts of him melt off.

It's kinda graphic.

The movie ends on a somber note, with humanity running away from the viscious zombie-face-melter virus, and Cherry as the leader of the survivors. Along with her is a beautiful baby girl, Wray's daughter (like he said, he never misses).

I fell in love with this film, and it disgusted me at the same time. Well played, Rodriguez.

Well played.

Before signing off I'd like to talk about another preview.

"Werewolf Women of the SS."

I really don't have to say much about this film. You get the general point.

One thing I need to mention is the cameo by Nicholas Cage...

As Fu Manchu.

Utter genius.

That's all for now, folks. Come back soon for "Death Proof."

Watch carefully.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Now Ain't That Something: Grindhouse

It's rare that a movie breaks away from the tried and true methods of filmmaking.

Most directors are too comfortable with their jobs to attempt anything out of the ordinary, and few writers wish to risk their necks for the sake of something new.

Quentin Tarantino is niether of those people. His films often border on the satirical while still retaining a gritty and lifelike tone. Though not all of his movies hit the nail on the head, they are enjoyable and violent and full of witty banter.

Rent "Reservoir Dogs" if you don't believe me. Or "Pulp Fiction."

Anyway, let's take a quick look at what a Grindhouse film really is before we dive into this review.

Imagine every dirty and disgusting scene you've ever seen in a horror movie. Imagine all the guts and blood and severed limbs and dripping flesh that you can handle, and now add a few gallons of blood and intestine.

Now make that the staple of EVERY SCENE in the movie.

That was the original Grindhouse theater. Two awful movies shown back to back in dark and unsanitary places while high schoolers smoked weed and had illicit sex in the back.

Tarantino heard all of this and said, "I'm in."

So enters "Grindhouse" a double-feature from the dark minds of Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is the man behind "Sin City." And "Spy Kids," but don't hold that against him.

These two directors, along with a host of other B-Movie veterans such as Rob Zombie and Eli Roth, put together a sick and twisted bit of movie magic that dances across the screen and shoves an M-80 down your throat.

I don't know what that meant, but it's the truth.

This film is raw and unsavory and not reccomended for people who like to eat food during movies. Some of the visuals are so dirty and awful you may want to look away.

If you're a wuss.

At no point during the two-and-half hours of madness does the film try to be serious. Everything is tongue in cheek, from the cameos to the costumes to the one-liners and reaction shots. This is Cheese done absolutely right.

This isn't to say the film is perfect. There are times when the pacing drags, or the dialogue starts to get too witty for its own good. But these moments are usually broken up by something disgusting, violent or deprave.

Now, I know this is a little bit of a cop-out, but I'm going to have to do it.

As this film is in fact several films and previews, I am going to break this review up accordingly. In fact, you'll have to wait until the next post for the first film: "Planet Terror" and two of the previews.

Don't worry, I won't make you wait as long for this post. With luck, it will be out in a day or two. School is finally winding down and free time is returning to me. Then I will be able to post once a week (with luck).

Until then, watch carefully.