Saturday, August 20, 2011

TEN: Priest (2011)


1. Look at that poster! Blue tinted Underworld (that I hate) riff with that British dude and a whole lot of Screen Gems mediocrity on display. Wake me when it’s over… oh, wait this is pretty cool. Alright! So number one is that it was much better than I expected.

2. It was much better than I expected because I haven’t read the comics. People who like the comics hate this. I like the story so I just ordered the comics Volume 1. So if nothing else it introduced me to a new thing. Unlike Constantine, who trotted out Shia LaBeouf, so I don’t care how awesome Hellblazer is supposed to be, there will forever be that association.

3. Listening to the Christopher Young sound track as I type this up, and I really dig Christopher Young. I remember him from back in the day doing those great Hellraiser soundtracks. Now he does a lot of Raimi’s stuff. And the soundtrack has some great organ. Listen to the first track here http://youtu.be/KxzCVWH6s3g . It is sort of generic, but has a BIG EPIC MOVIE feel to it. And that was something I was not expecting from this…

4. THIS THING IS BIIIIIIIG, it is bleeding out money and mood. It feels like a big deal, like there is a whole new kind of world opening up here. You feel like you are watching a big movie, it’s all so well shot and composed and pretty to look at, not just another glorified Sci-fi movie (or Underworld sequel). One reason it feels so big, is that…

5. This world is a cobbling together of a lot of other movies. You can sort of watch it and click off the references, Blade Runner, Judge Dread, Matrix, Underworld, Eastwood Spaghetti Westerns, Mad Max, THX 1138, Aliens, and pretty much any totalitarian state drama you’ve seen. Because I like all those movies, it didn’t care. Especially the Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome ending, didn’t see that coming (I never watch trailers anymore).

6. Maggie Q! She is the best actor in the film, she has the best character, she has the most interesting story. I remember seeing her in Die Hard 4 and going, whoa, she’s good, and in this she runs away with the movie, leaving Paul Bettany standing around wondering where his movie went, I’ve seen him good in other stuff, but here he’s just a Keanu graphical element moving around the screen. Maggie Q owns this.

7.Karl Urban, never cared for this guy until his dead on Bones in Star Trek made me a fan. And he is really cool in this. Sergio Leone Cowboy Vampire.  

8. We’re running out of space here, so we’ll combine the two awesome supporting cast members, Brad Doriff playing an old west snake oil salesman, makes you think that the people making this movie must actually like watching movies. And Christopher Plummer, who has never been bad in a movie, and I shudder to think that one day movies will no longer have surprise bit cameos by Chris Plummer. Then what? Let’s hope Malcolm McDowell stays 58 forever.

9. Out of space. I must tell you how much I loved the animated opening that sets up the world. Kind of a Genndy Tartakovsky type thing (I just looked it up, it was him, never mind). So it starts with this awesome Tartakovsky animated thing that sets up the whole world and I kind wish they had done the whole thing in that style.

10. SHOWSTOPPER! It’s appropriate, it stops the show, it involves dynamite, a jet powered brushed metal motorcycle, Road Warrior imagery, and Maggie Q owning the movie. It’s the climax, and it be really cool.

BONUS – The scene with Brad Doriff and Karl Urban was great! A great pairing up and I love any scene dealing with greed and betrayal and comeuppance.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Splat!

TEN: John Carpenter's The Ward - 2011



John Carpenter's The Ward

1. Antiseptic, the whole movie looks like it was scrubbed down with some terrible smelling germ killer. The frame is clean and ordered and lobotomized, and has had its nails cut to the meat, the dipped in Lysol. This is a good thing. It is the cleanest movie ever.

2. Camera Movement, the little guy just goes and goes and goes, it was a thrill, at no time does it sit there and think, we are always in the action, and with the characters.

3. Scary, they jump at you, but there are nice build ups and smashes, nothing revolutionary, we didn’t reinvent the genre here, but it is effective at making you go, “here it comes, here it comes… wait, where isAHHH! Stop being a jerk movie!”

4. Amber Heard, a lean mean mothering machine. She comes in and takes care of business. She is good here, and has a wonderful bit with an ax versus ghost. I was glad the movie went there.

5. The ghost make up was great! KNB, and the skin is what gets you, just the most disgusting rotting translucent dead wrap you’ve seen. Amazing. It looks pretty great.

6. The chick from Kick Ass is in this, Lyndsy Fonseca, and she has the best acting bit, where she has to convince everyone that she is sane and ready to go home. A great little moment in the movie.

7. Does it all work, no kids, sorry. Like in Insidious, we have a knock down drag out climatic fight scene in this, which is a well done fight scene, but seems to be thrown in out of, “oh we need something exciting to happen here”. It just doesn’t fit with the quiet trapped feeling of the rest of the movie.

8. The big reveal at the end has been done before. You go, “Cool! Just like in that other movie.” I like how it was done here, it makes more sense than it did in that other movie (and I love that other movie), because the characters here seem to jive more with the concept, but it has a "been there, seen that" feel. But if you are 17 and have only seen two movies, I’m sure it will be really cool for you.

9. The whole thing works as more of a quiet little drama. The emphasis is on the characters and the messed up situation. It is a nice situation for a horror film, one that is simple but once you find yourself getting into it, you do start asking, “Hey what would I do, they are really screwed here”. You can tell THE MASTER was more interested in working with this ensemble and making an intimate film verses trying to put his name on top of some A-list “I wanna make the next Iron Man movie”. I respect him for being who he is and not giving a shit what others may think. I’ll stop now before I devolve into fanboy idolatry.

10. SHOWSTOPPER! The death by electro shock was such an awesome fusion of CG, mood, practical make up, performance, tone, music, menace, blood, and polished amber concrete. A great horror highlight.

BONUS – The location here, a state run mental institution, is always one of my favorites, and in this flick, when it goes to night, and there are lightning storms outside, and the orange security lights are on, and all that scrubbed metal and gleaming polished concrete floor, it is a thing of horror movie beauty.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

TEN - Insidious (2010)

***I'll try not to spoil things, but ya know, something might happen****
1. James Wan's best movie. He doesn't try to do anything like Saw, and
to his credit, he's not a double dipper. Some of the imagery reminds
me of Dead Silence, but whatev. They guy can shoot a slick flick, he
can spackle over any cruddy screenplay with a stylish razzle dazzle
that hypnotizes. It isn't until later that you go... wha?
2. Music is all Penderecki-ish, so you put that in your movie and I
will become the screeching cymbal playing monkey.
3. Moody moody moody, this movie earns it's scares. there are some
jumps, but they are honest, and the whole thing just has you in knots,
so when the "big scary thing" happens, you don't feel like you've been
taken advantage of.
4.This was a nice what if movie. "What if Steven Spielberg had nothing
to do with Poltergeist". I love Poltergeist, but man that aw shucks
gee wizz attitude can be grating. This was Poltergeist filtered
through the ol' J-Horror machine, and it really works.... until
5. The last ten minutes. Once we have a wrestling match with the big
evil ghost. It's pretty much over. It was for me. Once you see the
thing, and go, oh that's all it is!?, you get a good look at it and
it's over. They did great job obscuring the evil for the whole movie,
but in that final confrontation, it goes all punch punch kick, tumble
tumble fall, and bluh. Done with you.
6. The ending ending is huh, so what, now the wife is going to be all,
"Ed used to never fall asleep right after Wheel of Fortune." or "Ed
sure does love to eat at Piccadilly all of a sudden."
7. No obvious use of CG in this, so if that has been ruining your
movies for the last decade, you may like this.
8. Give it up to Lyn Shaye, I never really go, "Man that Lyn Shaye
rules." But I did here, she was really good, she was great here, I
didn't mind her lack of midgetness.
9. All the acting is really good and the characters have just enough
to make you think they are real. Nice calm performances. None of that
JoBeth hystronics going on here. I think the wife had issues that a
lot of people with kids can relate to, so props to that.
10. Show stopper - the first glimpse at the monster, I can't lie, it
got me, made me pee a little. Kinda like the dead girl in the closet
in The Ring, or the Crawler's first shadow in The Descent, this one
pulled a nice audible "YELP!" out of me. Good job.

BONUS - where does this guy teach? boy is making some serious bank.
Also, good to see Darth Maul working again.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

TEN - Quarantine 2: Terminal (2011)

1. Not a found footage movie, they didn't try to shoe horn the method
into the sequal, could have been awkward. Instead we have a nice doc
approach with a lot of jump cuts and I love that stuff.
2. SLICK! For a direct to video movie, this had a gigantic budget
(4mil according to IMDB), and so it looks really good and sounds
really good and is sooo much glossier then you would think. It looks
like um, a Highlander movie.
3. It also is like Die Hard 2. The first one is in a tall building,
this one is at an airport, so Q3 should happen in a taxi cab. (how's
that for in depth analysis, film degree was money well spent).
4. Loved the ending. Loved it. Didn't see it coming.
5. Frame by frame the death of the mad scientist, that is primo gore.
6. These aren't zombies, they are "infected with super rabies" and I
love the black eye foaming at the mouth look. Great make up in this.
7. Best argument about the difference between rats and hamsters ever!
A very heated debate in this that will make you think.
8. I liked the mad scientist in this, his cover story is really funny.
Like he was in his lab going, "what would those morons believe, what
is the least threatening thing I could possibly pretend to be?"
9. Mad scientist looks like the type of person I always suspect to be
up to stuff, who everyone else loves, and makes me seem like a cynical
jerk. Q2 will show'em.
10. Eyeball + big scary needle = even I looked at this through my fingers.
BONUS - South Side director Matt Green made the prop airplane wing
seen in the background shots. Pretty cool stuff.