Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Hurt Locker (where people get hurt)

I've always been rather adamant that the U.S. should pull out of places in the Middle East, like Iraq, as they really aren't solving anything, and all it's doing is putting American soldier's lives in danger. Then along comes a movie like The Hurt Locker. Now, I'm sure they should pull out, and better yet, not even enlist to go there, because if you think war was Hell, you should see what the guys in this film goes through.

Basically, the film is about the last days of a 3 man platoon of bomb specialists, knows as Bravo company, and the "unique" situations that they come across. Things like, bombs in the streets, bombs in cars, bombs attached to people, bombs in corpses, everything, and anything may be a bomb. As well, there are snipers, kidnappers, insurgents, and guys who might have any sort of device to detonate a bomb, from phones to watches. If I walked away from this movie knowing one thing, it's that the terrorists in this movie know how to make frigging bombs.

The other thing I realize, is that you have to be insane to go over there and serve, especially in that unit, and if you're not insane when you leave, you definitely are when you leave. A former co-worker has a brother who served in Afghanistan, and when he came back, he would do things like drop down to check under his car for bombs, or suddenly zone out and check for snipers. The soldiers in this movie are depicted as being paranoid, and with good reason. You never know who the hell is out there with a bomb, or a gun, or something to end your life. It's absolute madness, and if real life is even ten percent of what this movie showed, then they should be pulled out of there, right now.

The really screwed up thing though, is the lead, Jeremy Renner (who has been mentioned as possiblities to play both Captain America or Hawkeye...he centainly has that All-American look), returns home, and finds that all he's good at, is defusing bombs. He comes back with horror stories about murders in the streets, and what not, and his family just has no frame of reference to talk to him about it, so he returns for another tour of duty, because these guys can't intergrate back into "normal" society, the stuff that happens over there is just so deranged and unbelievable, that the only place they feel comfortable is in an environment like that, you can't watch a father of four blown to bits in the street, and then return home to pick out cereal, it's just too surreal.

So in the end, this was a really good movie, a little draggy in parts, but nothing to get too excited about. It doesn't have a lot of re-watchability, but it is something I would recommend watching at least once.

Rating 4 stars.

I bid thee a fond goodnight

- Stephenstein

500 days of anger

I watched this movie, because of a serious attraction I have for Zooey Deschanel. Hey, I can admit it, I'm weak...I think she's really beautiful, I love those big blue eyes of hers. Oh yeah, and up to this point, I've been searching for a film of hers I've liked. This one, I did not know much about, and generally when I come across one of those, I end up being pleasantly surprised. Was I here? Let's put it this way...I'm still searching for a film she's done that I've liked.

500 days of Summer is not a love story. The movie goes to great lengths, and great pains to point this out. In this way, it is ususual, because it is not a romantic comedy, the two leads do not end up together (oh there I've gone and spoiled the movie, so everyone will now not see this picture...not that they were going to, anyway). I would commend a film for being honest about how much finding love sucks nowadays (spoken like a true bitter single man...but then again, I am a bitter single man, so who better to say it?), but the problem is, it's just too realistic, and makes me pissed off, just thinking about it.

Surprise, surprise, I have major problems with the Summer character (Deschanel). She starts out with this big soapbox speech about how she doesn't want a boyfriend, doesn't think that people should have labels, etc, etc. Okay. However, she calls Gordon Joseph-Levitt a "friend." Okay, class, any questions? Yes, you in the back! The guy with his hand up! "Isn't that a label?" Shut up! You're making sense! We can't have that in this movie.

Okay, so calling someone a friend isn't a label, but calling someone a "boyfriend" is. Fine. As long as you aren't, you know, trying to initiate a kiss in the photocopier room, or jumping into bed with him, or suggesting that they have shower sex, based on a scene you've seen in a porno you've both rented. Oh wait, she does all that. So...wouldn't that make him your boyfriend. "I'm not sure." Okay...are you doing this with your other friends? No. WELL THEN, HE'S YOUR BOYFRIEND, ISN'T HE? It's like, I think this attitude actually exists with some girls, but I dont' need to be reminded of this.

Then she states she doesn't believe in love, or getting married. That's one of things she tells him, and one of the reasons she leaves Joseph-Levitt, later on. He wants a commitment, she doesn't believe in that. However, she does appear to believe in that later on, when she gets married...oh yeah, but not before leading on Joseph-Levitt, that he still has a chance with her, before she ignores him at a party, and shows off her engagement ring to someone else at the party. Later on, when he confronts her about this, she explains that what happened with her decision was "what always" Okay, can I say something now? Bulls**t. It's a cop-out to say that, and shows the character would rather hide between generic platitudes then own-up to her own deception.

See, it wouldn't anger me so much, but I have to stress, that the Deschanel's character initiated everything...the first kiss, the first night of sex, everything. Then, she just drops him, (saying that favourite bone crusher when she does "Tom, you're still my best friend"), and despite all of her speeches, she ends up falling in love, and pays absolutely not penalty for the damage she inflicted on Tom. That is why I did not like this movie.

I did however like the Gordon Joseph-Levitt character (with his greeting card soliloquy being the highlight of the movie), and that's what saved this movie from being a complete and utter disaster, but nevertheless, I was not impressed.

Rating: 2 stars

I bid thee a fond, angry goodnight.

- Stephenstein

Zombies and Annoying Girls

Zombieland...a movie I thought I would like more than I did. In fact, it's probably going to make my worst list of the year. Why? Well, let's put it this way: this movie was top ten material until the girl's showed up...and the pop culture references came with them...and isn't it cool how hip we are with this story, isn't it so about the here and now! I mean yeah, we can have zombies, but let's also have a weak ass romance, as well...and Bill Murray! Let's put in Bill Murray! Yeah, that's good.

But he'll play Bill Murray! Yes! That will be cool! What can our heroes do in Bill Murray's home? How about, smoke some pot! Yes! That's cool! That's so here and now, because everyone sparks up! [high-fives are handed out]

I swear, that must have been what the writer's were thinking. The main character, Columbus, is a nerdy kid who has never been with a girl, has poor social skills, and lives by a list of rules to keep himself alive in Zombieland (there was a virus or something, and everyone except a few people are zombies...not real explanation provided, nor needed). He meets Harrelson, who is searching for the last twinkie on Earth. That's right. Harrelson actually brings some life to the movie, and works as a good foil for Columbus, but it all goes downhill when the girls show up.

First of all, these girls worked as con-girls before the virus hit, which means they were already taking advantage of people before the world basically ended. Now in Zombieland, with so few people not zombies, do you think they've changed their ways? Nope. "Wichita" and "Little Rock" (Wichita's little sister) screw over Columbus and Harrelson twice, even though there's really no reason to do so, especially the second time. Then they tried to play Wichita and Columbus having a romance (which seems really forced, and when Columbus goes to save Wichita at the end of the movie, it makes no sense, considering how many times she screwed him over, especially the 2nd time, which was pretty bad).

This movie also references Facebook, "He's Not That Into You", and other pop culture things of today, which just pisses me off. I hate that sort of thing, because it's just a sad attempt by the writers to show how hip they are, they know all this pop culture stuff, meanwhile, it's all going to be gone in 5 years anyway, I mean Twitter has already partially replaced Facebook, so how long until the rest of this stuff is gone, too? I did like the references to Ghostbusters in the film, and they even kind of acted out one of the scenes from that movie, but all it made me do is watch Ghostbusters, instead of Zombieland.
In the end, there were zombies, there was action, and there was Woody Harrelson...and that's about it. If that's all you want, and you can ignore the other annoying things I mentioned, then you may like this film...and you may also be a redneck!

Rating 2.5 stars

I bid thee a fond pop culture goodnight

- Stephenstein

Down with Up

So Pixar is in this streak right now, where it can't lose. Every Pixar movie that comes out, people are dying. Up is no exception. Right now, this movie is ranked as the 65th best movie on IMDB, of all time. Let me repeat that: OF...ALL...TIME. Wow. That's quite a lot to live up to, even for a Pixar movie.

Well, not only is this film not one of the best films of all time, it isn't one of the best films of this YEAR, or one of the best films Pixar ever MADE. Why? Well, for one thing, it tries to be both thought-provoking and cutesy. Sometimes this works...and sometimes, this doesn't. In this case, it doesn't. It's like combining ground beef with chocolate...I like both...just not together.

What do I mean by this? Well, this film's first 20 minutes has probably some of the most depressing scenes I have ever seen. I'm like wow, can this be any more depressing? Yes, it can! Boom! Howdya like that, sailor? So, yes, it's depressing, and when Carl sends the house away on a balloon, you realize he has no choice, as his life couldn't get any worse. However, you now combine that with:

When he lands, he brings along Russell, a dim-witted yet good-hearted boy scout, needing a surrogate father for his absentee one. Fine. Russell is the comic relief for this picture. Fine. Russell can tend to be annoying. Not...fine. Okay, then along comes Doug, the dim-witted but well-meaning dog with a collar that translates his thoughts into now we have the dim-witted kid...and the dim-witted dog. Okay...and they're both comic relief. Okay, how much comic relief do I need? Is this to make me forget those first 20 minutes when it seemed life was no longer worth living?

Then we have the other dogs, the ones who are part of Doug's pack, the ones controlled by the villain, the old insane explorer. These dogs can be distracted by saying the word "squirrel" (which is kinda dumb, considering I don't know of many squirrels in the jungle, where most of this film is set), and they can be fooled by just yelling "squirrel" (which has consequences later in the picture). Their main leader, Alpha, a vicious doberman, is defeated by one of the most insanely stupid moments in film history...literally. I couldn't describe how he is defeated, because it's so insane.

Anyhow, I liked Carl, and this movie had some strong themes, such as never giving up on a dream, and letting go of things, and moving on with life, pretty heady thoughts, which doesn't really correspond with the dumb humour. This film was okay, but I really wanted to like it more than I did.

Rating: 3 stars

I bid thee a fond Pixar.

- Stephenstein

Bruce Willis is my Surrogate

In the future, everyone will have a surrogate, who will do everything for you. It's basically like, you build a robot, you control it, it does all the stuff for you, and if it blows up, hey! You just go and get another one. Kind of like what the American politicians are doing with the soliders over in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is Surrogates, a movie I missed in the theatre, but watched recently all in the confines of my home...without the stick floor, and the people whispering behind me (I hired two people to simulate the experience by whispering behind me, but fired them, when they weren't doing their job properly...I could still hear the movie).

Anyhow, this movie is all concept. The world is without war, or crime, because no one feels anymore (though people still find a unique way of getting high through their surrogates...even when we have developed a technology that revolutionizes modern society, people still use it for absolutely useless and destructive behaviour), there is no more human contact, and everyone looks way better than their real self. When someone kills a surrogate, there is an investigation, that leads our good guy Willis, to this zone where people refuse to get surrogates because it is artificial life, and thus not the real experience of life. Heavy. Things get even more kooky, when Willis' surrogate is destroyed, and his real self (who looks like Hell) tries to investigate, and realizes that society is now a shell of its former self, because it's all fake now.

Interesting idea, and something I could see actually happening, considering the sad state that society is in, now. I mean, the idea of a surrogate is enticing, as the person you present to the world is often idealized, stays that way forever, you can do extraordinary physical feats, and nothing can really harm you, because if your destroyed, you just get a new one and send it out there. In fact, people are stunned when they see real people. However, they also lose the capacity to feel, as whatever happens to your surrogate never happens to you (except the aforementioned "getting high", and oh yeah, there's also this weapon that can take out you and your surrogate...all for one low, low price), and you can see people begin to degenerate, as their physical selves are neglected in favour of their artificial dopplegangers.

If I have a criticism of it as a movie, and I do have one, it's that on the level of a murder mystery, it fails as it is hugely apparent who is behind the deaths of the surrogates and their operators fairly early. In the case of some thrillers like that, it's the journey that matters, not the mystery, but that is not the case in this one; you are supposed to not know who is behind it, even though the motives of the brains behind it is painfully obvious, and all the other developments in the film are easily predicted, as well. It seems that despite the concept of the film being interesting and provoking discussion, the filmmakers or the studio, or your Aunt Sally, or whomever was calling the shots, was content to have the plot unfold as another formulaic whodunit, with a ridiculously obvious antagonist.

Anyhow, I did enjoy this film, for the concept, and for Bruce Willis, who despite not winning any movie awards, always seems to turn in a solid performance.

Rating: 3.5 stars

I bid thee a fond and your surrogate.

- Stephenstein

Saturday, November 21, 2009

2012 (aka things blow up)

For those of you who don't know, 2012 is the year according to the Mayan calendar, Nostradamus, and a bunch of other sources, that the world is going to least, as we know it. I've known a few people who actually think the world is going to end in this year. I think that's a bunch of crap, though I think we are damaging the planet to the degree that at some point, either we're going to be wiped out like the dinosaurs, or we're just going to make this planet uninhabitable. In either case, I don't think you can pinpoint 2012 as the year we're all going down, but hey, Hollywood needs a reason to pour $150 million into effects for another movie, so it's as good a reason as any.

The plot for this movie is about as bad as you would expect. The U.S. President nobly stays behind to die with his people, rather than get his ass out of danger (and you know that Barack Obama would do the same in real life...yeah, right), Woody Harrelson stays behind to watch a volcano erupt, and blow flaming chunks at him...because he predicted it would happen (uh-huh...I've heard of people going to lengths to prove they were right, but...), you have plastic surgeons who can fly planes with minimal experience, and of course, you have the altruistic scientist, who uncovers a sinister government conspiracy to make sure that only rich people would survive the apocalypse (and people do survive, the entire race isn't' wiped out...which is a pretty far leap, when you consider the nature of the earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions in the movie)

This is a visual effects movie though, and the effects are good, as you would expect. Nothing beats the harrowing flight through a crumbling Hollywood, with subways, houses and other obstacles being thrown at our hero's plane. The cast, lead by John Cusack, are serviceable, and at least didn't piss me off. I did like the fact that movie at least admitted that only the rich would be allowed on the arks being built by the government to save the populace, and didn't give me a line about the best "genetically" viable people being saved. I mean yeah, if the apocalypse happened, heaven forbid we didn't take the politicians, then who the hell would swindle us in our new society?

Rating: 3 stars out of 5.

I bid thee a fond goodnight

- Stephenstein

Not-So-Funny People

I caught this one at my friend's place in London. I usually like Adam Sandler, and I've paid to see Click, 50 First Dates, and Anger Management, so who was I to turn down a viewing of his latest movie for free?

Needless to say, I did not really like Adam Sandler in this movie. In fact, I didn't really like anyone, other than Seth Rogen, (and Jonah Hill, but his part was too small to focus on), and that's saying something, because I don't usually give a monkey crap about Seth Rogen. Here are the reasons I don't like the other characters:

Adam Sandler - has sex with a girl after she tells him she has a boyfriend; belittles Seth Rogen to an insane degree on 2 separate occasions; tries to break up the marriage between Eric Bana and his wife in the movie (her name escapes me, right now), all because he suddenly decided her loved her...which in fact, was really about him supposedly dying (he doesn't die) of a rare disease.

Jason Schwartzman - tells Seth Rogen he will sleep with the girl he (Seth) is interested in after 10 days, if Seth doesn't make a move. Seth makes a date with her, but Jason sleeps with her anyway...but 21 days later, instead of 10 (that's his reasoning, anyway).

Seth's "girlfriend" - sleeps with Jason Schwartzman after making a date with Seth; claims she would sleep with Jude Law and Brad Pitt because they're hot, and famous. It's women like this that make me consider joining a convent...or hope that 2012 comes soon, so we can be put out of our misery (coincidentally, I'll be reviewing that movie, next).

Eric Bana - cheats on his wife

Bana's Wife - considers leaving Eric Bana for Adam Sandler, and destroying her family, all because she's convinced she's in love with Sandler, even though she broke up with him when he didn't care about her, anymore.

Unnamed 2 girls Sandler/Rogen hang out with after standup - 1 sleeps with Sandler immediately, the other one refuses to do anything with Rogen, because she has a boyfriend, but still bangs Sandler, afterward.

Wow, what a great gang of characters. Also, why is all the stand up acts based around genitalia? Every stand up act in the movie, shows the comedians talking about their private parts. It's like, is that all it takes to be a stand up comedian? I can do that! I can stand in front of people, and talk about a conversation my penis and balls had this morning. Is this really what "comedy" is coming to?

In the end, some funny bits, but nowhere near enough to make up for the rest.
Rating 2 out of 5 stars.

I bid thee a fond don't watch this movie.

- Stephenstein

Life is a Box

I wanted to check this one out when I saw the trailers, but I wasn't sure if I would catch it, just because, I don't know, it doesn't look like a "theatre movie". I wasn't dying to see it, but was interested enough to check it out. Well, visiting a friend in London, Ont, and I suggested we check it out when he asked that eternally entertaining question "what do you want to see?", and I was certainly not disappointed.

For those of you who wonder, yes, the box is a box, with a button, and you push the button, and someone you don't know dies, and Frank Langella gives you a million dollars. Yes, someone does die, and yes, they actually do get a million dollars. The ramifications of pushing that button, are staggering, though.

I'm not going to reveal more of the plot, but it's done by the Donnie Darko guy, based on a Richard Matheson short story (and yes, it was a Twilight Zone episode), but man, this movie was interesting as hell. I mean, I'm sitting there watching it, and I don't always know what's going on, but I always wanted to find out what was going on. The explanation of who Frank Langella is, and what his purpose is, is just awesome, in my opinion, and at the same time, I felt kind of bad for Cameron Diaz and James Marsden, because the concept of someone giving you the box is kind of preposterous, when you think about it, but at the same time...they shouldn't have pushed the button. I also loved Frank Langella's analogy that life is a box, we spend our entire lives in some form of box or another, and when life ends, they put us in a box, in the ground. Neat stuff.

I will say this movie was a tad confusing, and it will definitely be one I'll pick up, and watch again, just to see if I can pick up more the second time through. I'll give it 4 stars for now, but it could go higher with multiple viewings.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

I bid thee a fond box

- Stephenstein

I Don't Really Love You, Man

I'm not really going to write much about seeing this movie, because it doesn't really warrant a lot of discussion. Other than the fact that this movie is one of the few ones I've seen in recent years, that has a male protagonist and female protagonist, that I like, and that I believe would work as a couple. Usually, the chemistry isn't there, but this one has it.

That being said, this movie is just average, mostly due to the annoying Jason Siegel. Okay, maybe he himself isn't annoying, but his character kinda is. He actually reminds me of a guy I used to work with...however, Siegel doesn't try and sleep with his best friend's fiancee, and this guy certainly would have tried...and probably succeeded...which just is my comment on the state of affairs these days. Anyhow, this movie is mildly amusing, it has Lou Ferrigno, who is the best part of this film, so it's not all bad, just really, really non-descript.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

I bid thee a fond goodnight (actually, I have more posts)

- Stephenstein

Friday, November 20, 2009

Two Masters

So I get a call from my cousin, and she’s like. You wanna go see Stephen King, he’s in town. I say sure, but I have no money. She says its your Christmas present. I was like, yeah that sounds pretty darn cool. Then she says, oh and David Cronenberg is there too…I was like HELL YEAH we’re going!!! Cronenberg is my top guy man! Him and John Carpenter are my favourite directors and I actually think Cronenberg is a genius. So him and King together in one room is destruction good!

So I make sure Stephenstein tags along and we all go. What a great evening it was. King read from his new book “Under the Dome” which was promptly purchased by Stephenstein (he owns all King books in hardcover, I own all Cronenberg films on dvd). They also were giving out autographed copies, which none of us got (bastards!), and basically it was just King and Cronenberg talking to each other.

But man, it was great to have these two masters converse. I mean Cronenberg is just so wicked, and I love listening to his voice! Man, in Nightbreed, when he was the serial killer and he was talking about the filth of humanity; What a great moment in celluloid! And Stephen King is basically the only author that seems cool to read by everyone. The stiffs like him cause there’s some great messages in his books and they are well written, the punks, rockers etc like him cause he has sick thoughts and the geeks like him cause he creates wicked characters and great fantasy worlds, and the general public likes him because he himself is very likable and humble. This guy is the total package of authors. I mean the guy wrote over 50 novels! He will go down in history as one of the great authors!

Plus I loved how they plugged each others works, and Stephen King mentioned Watchmen and V for Vendetta! Woo hoo! See, even King knows Watchmen rocks!

That being said, Cronenberg also made a great comment on how writing comes from anger (he had read that somewhere) and King agreed, and actually I agree too. If we never got angry about stuff, we wouldn’t write anything.

Really interesting stuff. The only downside was that there wasn’t an autograph session, but that didn’t bother me too much, it was just great to see them both together!


Monday, November 16, 2009

2001 minus 2.


My good friend co-directed this picture as well as acted in it. So my review doesn’t mean a heck of a lot. I liked it. What can I say.

That being said, I will try to give a review that is for average people, and be as objective as I can be.

1999 is about Tamil gangs during the 90’s. A lot of young Tamil males felt that it was important to their survival, and culture to join gangs. They felt at home with their gang and it was more like a family. In the 90’s a peace treaty was formed among the gangs but at the beginning of this film, Jeevan (brother to Kumar head of one of the big gangs) kills the brother of the other big gang. Kumar learns of this and fears that the treaty will be broken, and there will be war on the streets.

Kumar is a nice guy (as nice as a gang leader can be) and doesn’t really want to be this leader anymore. His posse tells him to frame someone for the killing so Jeevan wont go to jail. Kumar, against his better judgement, frames his best friend Anpu.

The story is really about Anpu, and Akilan, two former best friends turned casual acquaintances because Anpu joined Kumar’s gang, and Akilan is nice schoolboy. The story shows their lives in a parallel style of editing. We see them pass by each other and then we follow Anpu. Later, we see the same exact scene where they pass each other, only this time we follow Akilan.

The story is interesting and I liked the style. The music was killer too (both songs and score), and I really didn’t know what would happen at the end. The “love story” is an interesting one because it only exists in the minds of Anpu and Akilan. They both love Geetha, but none of them have told her yet. Geetha (who is not shown in the film at all) doesn’t know that they like her, and we don’t see her choose. This is interesting in the sense that we (the audience) can make up our own dream girl Geetha and think about how we would approach her?

That being said, the pacing was a bit slow at times, and at a 2 hour mark, I felt that some stuff could’ve been cut. But it never gets boring, the musical score really helps, and all in all I think a lot of non-Tamil people would like it.

Check it out.
Ill be buying it of course!

*/* (no rating since I know the film maker)


This is not just a vacuum

Dust Devil.

From the man who brought you Hardware comes Dust Devil. I don’t know which came first, but I liked both movies. This one may be slightly more accessible to the casual viewer, but its just as slow paced, crammed with imagery and just as artistic as Hardware. Both are horror movies in a Lynch-Cronenberg style. Half the time we don’t know what the heck is going on. But we know its good.

That being said, I liked both movies a lot, even though they are slow. The Dust Devil himself is pretty cool and the way he is defeated is the bloody (and I mean bloody) best. Deceptisean and I had to rewind his death a couple of times to truly get the most value out of it!

If you have the chance to see it, take it!



Add Video

Billy Crack Corn.

The Born Losers

Billy Jack is part Indian (native American) and part white. He’s a jean-jacket wearing cowboy who drifts from town to town breaking horses. He’s low on cash and when he saves a skinny guy from being beaten to death by a biker gang, he is fined $1000 for vigilante activity.

Meanwhile the gang got a $200 fine for assault and they are let go. They decide to rape 4-5 girls (one is willing, so only 4 I guess) and then none of the girls want to testify because they are scared. Billy Jack comes in to TCB and its all good.

This is one ODD MOVIE!!!!!!! Plot sounds simple enough, but it’s very slow and Billy Jack doesn’t appear enough till the third act. And the biker gang is oddly sympathetic… till the rape of course. But one cool thing is that Jeff Cooper is in it! Jeff Cooper is the guy from Circle of Iron! WHOO HOO! He’s wicked!

All in all, this was fun to watch with a group of like minded friends, and there is actually a Billy Jack series! It formed after this movie. Billy Jack is defiantly the best character and I am dying to see the other instalments of the franchise.

I just like the fact that there is this 4 movie franchise on a character I never heard of!

If the series is good, ill get it! (right now a friend is loaning me part 2 – called Billy Jack)



Thursday, November 5, 2009

Saw 6

Yes, that’s right Saw 6. There is a new Saw movie every year. There will be 2 more confirmed as well. You’d think that with so many sequels coming out in so little time that the series would get boring or stupid. Not the case.

I think that with the number of Saw films in the series coupled with the time they are coming out and going against all other franchises, this may be the best franchise in any genre. Even James bond had a few stinkers along the way. Godzilla (as much as I LOVE Godzilla) had a few bad ones here and there. But not Saw, they are all great films!

You get what you pay for. Gruesome deaths, interesting contraptions, suspense, and a few twists.

All this and more was in Saw 6. Basically these movies are really just one big epic movie. Like Lord of the Rings, horror edition. Things get explained later on, then there are flashbacks to discuss any missed story elements.

Like in part 3 Amanda shoots the doctor…sort of for no reason. Later it’s explained that Amanda was just a wacko and wanted to kill people, not teach them the value of life (which is Jigsaw’s/John Kramers real purpose). But in This film you see the real reason she shot her. Interesting.

Anyway, if you liked Saw 1-5, I’m sure you’ll love Saw 6!



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Where no viewer has gone before...

I have gone where no viewer has gone before...well maybe not, but I did watch all 10 in a row, recently. Not all 10 in a row as in sitting there and just throwing the DVD's in there one at a time (though, I kinda wish I had, now)...but NO! I had to go to work, or some b.s. like that. Anyhow, I did watch all 10 recently, going from 1 - 10, and here's my ranking of them, from most to least favourite. (Keep in mind I never watched the shows, so I'm sure to piss off some fans with my rankings...bring on the hate!)

1. Star Trek: The Motion Picture - okay, yes, it's slow. Let's get that out of the way. I really liked the storyline, though! With V'ger, and how it's trying to merge with its creator, and all that, and I really loved the girl coming back as the probe, and there was all that stuff between her and Decker, and the whole wormhole thing...I thought it was damned good! Also, I appreciated the original cast coming together, and doing this film, years after the show ended. All in all, my favourite one, and deepest storyline of the bunch.

2. First Contact - back on familiar ground now. The Borg is one of my favourite villains of all time in film, period, and I really just liked the idea that Picard's all conflicted with having to deal with them, having been assimilated before. Also, I thought the Zefram Cochrane character was interesting too, and how they remembered him being this big humanitarian, while he wanted to do the mission just for money.

3. The Undiscovered Country - I just liked how this one was more of a murder mystery (and was quite happy that they just didn't blame it on one faction in this one, pretty much everyone had a conspirator involved), and how this was the last journey for the original cast, and they actually acknowledged it.

4. Generations - okay, I know I'm going to take heat for this one, but I don't know, I really dug the Nexus, and how Soran was trying to get back into this thing, even though it had pretty much destroyed everything in its path. Yes, I also thought it was neat how Picard and Kirk managed to share a scene together and (spoiler, for those who haven't seen it), if Kirk had to die, at least he died in a heroic way, and not some cheese way.

5. The Wrath of Khan - number 5 man, I know everyone loves this one, but after the first one, the storyline is kinda whatever. I mean, it's just a revenge tale, it doesn't have the meat that the first one did. Luckily, Khan is just such an awesome character, he can't be ignored. Fueled just by him, this movie makes my top 5 of Star Trek movies.

6. The Journey Home - Ahhh...the whales. I remember really liking this one as a kid, and watching it years later, it's still good, though not quite as good as I remembered. I don't know, there's something about going back in the past that irks they're out of their element, which is cool, but also they don't quite get a chance to fly around the universe, and do stuff, which is what I think Star Trek of being, they're kinda stuck in San Francisco. Whatever, it's still good, though.

7. Nemesis - Why do people hate this one? It's still good! Picard's got a clone, who wants to take him out! The clone has Nosferatu guys with him! What's the reason? Is it because (spoiler, again) Data's destroyed? They don't like Shinzon? (I thought he was awesome, by the way). I don't know, this one was really good, and the Enterprise really had to fight to earn the victory in this one.

8. Insurrection - okay, another one people don't like, and I don't know why. You have a deep storyline, that is really kind of neat (when is it right to move 600 people off a planet, without them knowing), you have cool villains (the Son'a's), you have plot twists, and you have a chase, and the Enterprise duking it out with Son'a ships. What more do you want?

9. The Search for Spock - I was still into this one, but to be honest, it was kind of a ho-hum storyline (Spock's alive, and we know he probably won't die again, so no suspense), and there wasn't a lot going on, other than the Enterprise tricking the Excelsior, and the Kirk/Kruge fight at the end...though, Christopher Lloyd is a pretty damned good villain, so the movie had that going for it.

10. The Final Frontier - Okay, number 5 is the worst of the bunch, and yeah, the humour is pretty lame, but it still had some good ideas...I mean, the Enterprise crew go on a mission to find God, it doesn't get much bigger than that. It's true that such a heavy storyline doesn't really mix well with the hokey humour, but this movie wasn't a total disgrace, just a misguided mismash, which needed some direction in what it was going for.

So, disagree? Want to send me some hate mail? Think I'm bang on? Post on the boards!

Oh, here's my ratings for the movies:
The Motion Picture - 5
First Contact - 4.5
The Undiscovered Country - 4.5
Generations - 4.5
Wrath of Khan - 4
Journey Home - 3.5
Nemesis - 3.5
Insurrection - 3.5
The Search for Spock - 3
Final Frontier - 2.5

I bid thee a fond live long and prosper.

- Stephenstein

We didn’t start the fire…


Drew Barrymore and company (David Keith, Martin Sheen, and George C Scott) star in this Stephen King adaptation.

Don’t be alarmed, I have seen this before, but not since I was younger, so when I recently saw it again, I decided to review it.

Drew can start fires, her father can Push people into doing things (basically mind control, which they call Pushing – not to be confused with the recent movie called Push – hmmmm). They are on the run from THE SHOP, scientists that wanna use them and abuse them and make them into weapons – which would be cool mind you, but Drew doesn’t wanna be a weapon, she’s a little girl!

Basically they are on the run for act 1, and act 2 they are captured and a bunch of cool stuff happens. Drew is a cutiepie in this movie and she acted really well.

There is a lot on her shoulders here. She loses her mother, she sets guys on fire, she gets taken from her dad, held hostage and then forced by the government to do experiments and not to mention that George C Scott lies to her, pretends to be her friend only to betray her later…holly crap!!!!

That’s more acting that all of the movies that came out this year combined!

Anyway, Drew makes them all pay with one hell of a fire show and basically blows up everything that can be blown up with the budget they had.

You should see/buy this movie.



This is the Twilight Zone and you are on your own…

Twilight Zone: The Movie.

TZ was a TV show, that was all about screwed up stories that alter time, reality, and space. Anything and everything was possible. It was great show so obviously a movie would come to be.
I have seen this before, but since it was on during Halloween, I decided to watch it.

There are 5 stories in this one. Most are re-created from old TV episodes, and just modernized a bit.

The first (and maybe the best) is about 2 guys driving down a lonely road and trying to pass the time. The driver starts to do weird stuff to scare the passenger (played by Dan Akroyd). Later the passenger asks if the driver wants to see something really scary. I wont tell you what happens next!

The stories were directed by Joe Dante, Steven Spielberg, George Miller, and John Landis. All are good and worth seeing. I also love the last story where a man, who is travelling on a plane, looks out the window and sees a monster eating the engine!

All cool stuff.

You should all see it.



So, what exactly constitutes Good Hair?

I managed to see Good Hair on Friday. The wife and I were actually looking for Michael Moore’s latest, but apparently it’s no longer playing on any screens near us. But there was Good Hair, a documentary starring none other than Chris Rock, who in my estimation has always been a little more socially minded than most comics of his generation (if you haven’t seen it, you should track down CB4, a vicious harpooning of “gansta rap” that’s actually more relevant today than when it was made).

Good Hair is about the constant drive among African Americans and the media to straighten black hair, and why straight hair is referred to as “good” hair among blacks. It’s something I’ve always been curious about too, and Chris happened upon the subject (as we’re shown in the movie) when his 3 year old daughter asked him why she didn’t have good hair, being born with naturally nappy hair. It’s amazing to think that we just accept Black people with super-straight, long, flowing hair as natural when we watch music video divas and such and we forget that they weren’t born with hair like that.

Chris takes us into some sort of hair styling competition, a trade show for black hair products (a multi-billion dollar industry) and the inner workings of the industry (with a lot of the companies run happily by African Americans). He also goes to India where Indians shave their heads for religious ceremonies not knowing that their hair is worth millions and is turned into weaves sold in the U.S. (there’s one scene where an Indian man is lugging a suitcase full of $15,000 of hair around L.A., selling to salons). And there’s a hilarious scene where Chris is in a barber shop and asks the men there if not being able to touch a black woman’s hair (because black women straighten or wear weaves that are not to be touched) drives black men to white women. One dude gets up and shouts “Yes!” and makes this big speech while other men are trying to shush him up and a bunch of women start getting mad. The camera cuts to Chris and he starts laughing.

A lot of this film rides on Chris Rock’s capable shoulders. He’s a very easy going guy, not too aggressive, and he’s not out to make fun of people or make them feel bad. He’s just showing us this side of the African American experience and asking why we have to subject black girls (some as young as 3) to the painful process of straightening (a.k.a. relaxing) hair. There’s one scene where Chris gets a chemist to do some experiments with the chemical used in “relaxing” black hair. The chemist dips aluminum Pepsi cans (I’m sure Pepsi was happy with this) into vats of these chemicals, and they’re completely eaten through! Heck, one can actually turns transparent before crumbling (reminding me of the “transparent aluminum” from Star Trek IV, but I digress). They show the effects of the chemical if it’s left on the scalp for too long (too long being a minute or 2) and there are these thick scabs burned into peoples’ skin. And they put this on children to straighten their hair! Chris talks about why straight hair is glorified in society while kinky or nappy hair is seen as “not put together” and “neat” enough.

It’s odd to me, after seeing decades of African Americans screaming about certain things oppressing them like “black-face” or gansta’ rap portraying young black men as killers and the like, to see African Americans on the whole at total peace with seeing their own natural hair they were born with be politicized and perceived as “dirty” and running out and undergoing painful processes to achieve more “European” or “Asian” looking hair. And this is practically across the board. I never in this documentary see anyone express regret about that, nor did I see anyone try to come up with a solution, like maybe coming up with a new hairstyle involving natural African American hair. If anything, most of what’s talked about by the people Chris interviews is one subject: money. How much certain styles and weaves cost, how much the industry makes, how much company X makes, how much certain countries make off of America’s hunger for weaves, etc. In many ways, I think it’s good that Chris Rock made this film because I don’t think there had been any serious dialogue about this subject before this film came out.

Anyhow, this is an interesting documentary. Catch it when it comes out on DVD.

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