Sunday, April 29, 2012


Edgar Allan Poe is one of the grandfathers of horror.  You find a writer who writes most of their work in the horror genre these days and they were either influenced directly by or influenced by people whose work were influenced by Poe (myself included).  The man himself was said to have died under mysterious circumstances (he was found after having gone missing for 5 days, drunk out of his skull and yelling about a man named "Reynolds").  A Hollywood screenwriter I guess who was a fan of Poe's biography picked up on this and wrote a largely fictionalized account of what Poe's last days involved when he "disappeared".  A similar film was made about another famous writer who vanished for a short period of time (1979's Agatha starring Dustin Hoffman and Vanessa Redgrave, a fictionalized account of the 11 days Agatha Christie went missing in 1926). I guess whether you like the film or not hinges on how much real-life Poe stuff is involved and how you feel about the murder investigation which is the chief plot of the movie. 

Well, for those who want an accurate portrayal of Poe and his life, by all accounts, it's pretty accurate.  Poe is a drunk, he hates Rufus Griswold (who wrote his obituary in real life after he died) and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (who he hated for some reason), his destitute economical situation, his marriage to his wife Virginia, being kicked out of Westpoint, screaming for Reynolds when he died in an asylum, it's all in there, even shown or mentioned.  However, there is still things that did not happen (and we're not talking about the murder mystery either), stuff like he didn't actually own a house in Baltimore (as he was too poor), his relationship with Emily Hamilton (complete fiction) and when he was found just before he died, he was not wearing his own clothes, but someone else's (a minor point but in real life it showed his death may have been helped along by someone else).  So, if you're thinking this is a true reflection of Poe's life, like a lot of "autobiographical" films, there are elements of truth and elements of fiction and it depends what you're comfortable with in that regard.

So, on to the murder mystery.  I think it was okay, it was clever to have the murderer kill people like people died in some of Poe's works (such as The Pit and the Pendulum and the Cask of Amontillado) and the mystery itself is good enough to keep you guessing who the murderer is (though I narrowed it down quickly to where they at least worked).  I think the murderer when revealed is a little bit of "been there, done that" and their motives are fairly generic, which is a little disappointing, I think the premise of the film is better than the execution of the film.  I liked John Cusack as Poe, he brought some life and wit to the role.  I liked Luke Evans as the secondary character, the inspector trying to catch the murderer.  Everyone else is fine, but not noteworthy.  I did not find the romance stuff between Poe and Emily very convincing, for some reason it didn't work for me, maybe it was the age difference, I don't know, but it just smacked a little forced to me. 

However, I did overall enjoy the movie.  I thought it had great atmosphere, it reminded me a lot of From Hell which I enjoyed, though I liked that film a little better if for no other reason than I thought the story was a little better in From Hell and had more to do with actually finding Jack the Ripper where this one, the investigation takes longer to get to as they're trying to establish the relationship between Poe and Emily. That's not to say it was bad or anything, but for my own personal tastes, I think they could have got on with getting Poe involved with the mystery a little sooner.  Also, at the end of the day, putting Emily in danger with the murderer was not needed because the police already identified they needed Poe and would have made him help them regardless if Emily was in peril or not, so that was a bit superfluous as well.

In the end, The Raven is a nice movie that could have been better.  I liked Cusack as Poe, I think the premise was great, I liked the atmosphere of the movie, but I thought the film was somewhat generic for what it had to work with, I didn't think the romance was really needed or really worth the time invested in it and I'm going to give it a good rating, but not a great one. 

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

- Stephenstein

Random Song of the Week -- Who Watches The Watcher

Who Watches The Watcher? is a theme song for The Watcher video blog on and Youtube. Just getting into the merry Marvel spirit for The Avengers movie, opening in North America May 4th.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Total Film's 50 most hated films of all time # 36 - Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions

So, Total Film tried to slip this one on us.  2 for 1!  That's right, they lumped both Matrix sequels in on the most hated films of all time.  Nice try, but this one seems like a slam dunk.  Sure, the online internet population may hate on these two movies (something that actually annoys me...more on this later), but are these two movies really hated?

See, I wasn't that huge a fan of The Matrix.  Back when it came out, everyone was pumped up for it.  People emulated the look of the characters in the movie (long dark trenchcoats, wrap-around sunglasses) and the infamous bullet-time photography was spoofed and stolen all over the place.  Like I said, I wasn't a huge fan...I mean, the movie was good and it had it's points for sure, I would not take that away from it, but people were all excited about this movie's action scenes, when frankly, the guy who choreographed this film had done tons of Asian films.  It wasn't like he was saving his best stuff for North America or anything, it was just what he did, but no one had seen this before because quite plainly, a lot of people here are really, really ignorant about world cinema.  

Anyhow, I wasn't dying for the two Matrix movies.  When they came out, yeah they were boring and obtuse, it seemed to be reaching for a higher goal than the films could actually attain (or audiences were willing to put up with...I mean let's face it, people mostly remember the action scenes from the Matrix, not the religious allegories).  Anywhoo, the movies made a mint at the Box Office and people seemed to be talking excitedly about the highway scene from Reloaded and the 1000 Mr. Smith fight from Revolutions.  Then boom, before you know it, these movies are hated.  At least, according the idjit at Total Film who came up with this list in the first place.  

The fact is, there were two initial big sellers in Blu-Ray sales: The Dark Knight and The Matrix Trilogy.  You can say all you want about how there wasn't much initial selections and this and that and the other thing, the fact is, people were WAITING for this film trilogy to hit Blu-Ray and they were snapped up as soon as they hit shelves.  For the longest time I would wander into a store and I'd be damned if I can even find a Matrix trilogy set.  When you lump in a bunch of movies with Dark Knight, you know you're getting into heady stuff.  Don't give me the "they just wanted 1" thing either, because then they could have just waited for individual releases or hell, just held on to their DVD copies, I mean if they hated 2 and 3 so much, why double dip on the whole damned set?

I got a book off Deceptisean named Film Classics.  It talks about (are you ready?) classic films from different eras.  You know what he talks about in the book?  The Matrix Series, that's right, 1, 2 and 3 and he praises all three films to the hilt.  For some guy to put all three movies in a book about film classics and then have it published?  To me, that's already showing that those movies aren't hated. 

Rating: Worth the hate?  They're not hated.  Period.

- Stephenstein

Thanos is in Avengers

In the end credits. You probably knew that. But have you seen the footage? Don't click the below link if you don't want to be spoiled for the movie!

The video has been removed from the below link at Disney's request.

Nerd Reactor has a link (above) to the actual footage from the end credits. It's a little blurry as it looks like someone recorded it off a phone or something. But he's there. They only show bits of him. His costume looks pretty intact from the comics. His comment about "Challenging mankind is to court death." rings true to his comic book roots as he's a super-powered mutant who has fallen in love with the entity Death and kills as many beings as he can to impress her. He searches the cosmos for opportunities to kill as many people as possible. Avengers 2 anyone?


Saturday, April 21, 2012

50 Most Hated Movies of all Time - #37 - A Nightmare on Elm Street

Now, before you start commenting that they obviously are naming the remake of this movie on the most hated list and not the original, let me stop you -- I know.  The original is considered a classic and obviously the first one wasn't.  What I find amusing though is that this film, Texas and Halloween all made the most hated list, but they still omitted other horror classics that got remade.  Friday the 13th? Black Christmas? The Hitcher? They made a completely useless prequel to John Carpenter's The Thing, why not get mad at that?  I guess we know now where the hierarchy of horror films stands with the person who originally made this list. 

So, let's get down to it -- does this film deserve to be on the most hated list?  Well, as a movie in the series, it isn't really one of the better entries, Freddy for one thing is too short and basically, it's going back to Freddy's origin which quite frankly, has already been covered by the rest of the series, so it's pointless.  Also, calling A Nightmare on Elm Street obviously draws comparisons to the original and next to that film, this one is extremely deficient.  So, all in all, I don't think there's much point to this movie and I can understand if you're a Nightmare enthusiast, not being too enthralled with this film. 

I think though that is an extremely small subset of the population.  The fact is, people have been bagging on the Nightmare series for years, with every film, the reviews just got worse and worse.  Personally, I think the first five in the series are ridiculously solid and above a lot of the garbage people heap on them.  Sure, a menacing Freddy is better than a silly, wise-cracking Freddy, but there's enough imagination and creativity in those films, enough thrills and neat stuff happening to forgive their shortcomings.  Six was a hot mess and Seven is just in a league of its own, I can't even begin to tell you how special Seven is, just for what it goes for and the spin it puts on everything, New Nightmare is a crazy movie that will never be duplicated.  

So, what's my point?  My point is, people have decided they haven't liked the Nightmare series for years, so for them to hate this new addition, you have to convince me that you loved the original series, not just the original movie, but the whole damned thing because if you hate this movie, it's because it perverted everything that made the original movies so good (I'm not accepting "I love the first film but don't care about the rest, either...that's a copout if I ever heard one).  So, is this film a disgrace to the Nightmare series?  Frankly, it's not as bad as that -- somewhat pointless, no doubt and it has it's problems in terms of story, plotting and all the logic stuff.  It does have decent atmosphere though and Freddy is still the showcase of the film I said, unless you have posters plastered all over your residence with Freddy's mug on it, then quite frankly, I don't get the hate. 

Rating: Worth the hate?  For non-Nightmare on Elm Street Series fans, I would say no.

- Stephenstein

WTF is happening with the DC comic movies??

In two weeks, The Avengers opens around the world, the crowning blow solidifying Marvel's dominance over the superhero movie market. It's been quite the climb over the last 15 or so years, a climb made even more impressive by the fact that, before Marvel studios, Marvel didn't have a central movie studio from which to launch all of their characters onto the screen. They went through Sony, 20th Centruy Fox, Paramount -- and yet movies like Fantastic Four, the X-Men movies, Spider-Man, even frickin' Blade penetrated the mainstream conciousness and nine times out of ten were successful.

So imagine what a movie studio can do if it outright owned a whole comic book company that had iconic characters such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, and Green Lantern. Wow, a company like that could eviscerate the competition, right? No rights disputes, no fuss, just pure ownership of characters that you can launch on the screen at whim, right? Right???

Enter Warner Bros., the studio that actually owns DC comics. And while Marvel has run rough-shod over Warner Bros., what has been Warner Bros.' response? A big-budget video-game looking rendition of Jonah Hex, a character nobody knows unless you're deep into comic fandom. Yes, they've had success with Batman, but that's one character. They made a Superman movie so terrible, they have to relaunch the franchise next year with Superman: The Man of Steel, starting over from scratch with the character after only one movie. Between the time of the failure of Superman Returns (2006), and next year's release of Superman: The Man of Steel (2013), Marvel will have released the three X-Men movies (Last Stand, W-Men Origins: Wolverine, First Class), two Ghost Rider movies, two Spider-Man films (Spider-Man 3 in 2006 and this year's Amazing Spider-Man) a rebooted Punisher picture, and have launched their own studio from which they produced two Iron Man movies, a rebooted Hulk film, Thor, Captain America, and ambitiously tied all of those movies together from day one to culminate in the Avengers film coming out in two weeks. Marvel isn't resting after Avengers -- they have Thor 2, Captain America 2, and Iron Man 3 in the works and a second Wolverine picture set up at Fox in the pipeline.

DC/Warner Bros.? They're still relying on stalwart property Batman this year with The Dark Knight Rises, and then will reportedly take a rest from Batman for a while (mistake!). Superman is next year. Green Lantern came out last year in a failed bid to try and ape Marvel's strategy of releasing movies based on characters and tying them all together in a Justice League movie, but Lantern didn't do as well as expected (in a market still hungry for superheroes??) and Warner Bros. still needs to re-launch their bread-and-butter character Superman next year, and Batman might re-launch after this year's movie in order to fit the super-team-strategy, so they'd have to wait for that to happen. Meanwhile, Marvel will have sequelized all of their launch characters and will probably release Avengers 2 with more characters they can spring-board into their own movie franchises to then further sequelize (Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man anyone?).

And now, lookout, Warner Bros. is preparing to launch (are you ready for this?) -- a family friendly Lobo movie. Now, pause to think about that for a second. In a market where superheroes are obviously king at the box-office and Warner Bros. is getting eaten alive by Marvel movies which seem to have a clear, unified strategy behind them, Warner Bros. counters with Lobo?? Number one, nobody except comic fanboys know who Lobo is, so the mainstream isn't going to be interested enough to come out to this (and to address Watchmen, sure I loved it, but it was never going to be successful at the box-office -- the mainstream doesn't know or care who or what Watchmen is). Number two, Lobo was popular back in the mid-90's when bad-ass super anti-heroes were popular, but he's only fondly remembered now rather than being big enough to headline a big budget motion picture. I guess he still has comic appearances now, maybe his own series, but making a Lobo movie over Flash or Wonder Woman and expecting a return on investment? Seriously?? And number three, changing Lobo into a family friendly character who teams up with a precocious tomboy on earth renders the character unrecognizable to his fans, confusing to non-fans, and really opens the character up to ridicule. Lobo was always "ulraviolent", gory and vulgar. making a big movie about him that features none of those things is a little strange. And Warner Bros. is going to bank on this? Below is a student film based on Lobo. It's the kind of silly yet violent story Lobo would be featured in. I'm guessing this is not what Warner Bros. has in mind for the movie.

It might be cronyism, politics, or just plain incompetence, but I'm not sure what the hell is going on at Warner Bros. The second news broke that Marvel was arranging their own studio with a patient yet steady multi-picture plan to launch The Avengers, from which new franchises can launch -- if I were head of production at Warner Bros. I would have gathered everyone in a room for three days and hashed out a plan to launch every first tier DC character on the big screen -- and stuck with it come hell or high water. Sound naive? Really? Because it looks like that's what Marvel did. Hell, I probably wouldn't have waited for Marvel to get smart and own their own studio to moblize a counter-plan against them. I would have probably done that when Spider-Man broke box office records in its openning week. What the hell is going on? The Warner Bros. animation wing is cool and all, producing treasures every time out, but we're talking about theatrically released movies here. There is nothing on earth right now that matches the sheer pop-culture and mainstream penetration of a movie release. The cartoon films are cool and everything, but when a Superman live-action movie is released in the theatres, everyone from a two-year-old to my Mother to the homeless on the streets and everyone in between knows about it and that furthers the brand for years to come. I love Marvel and I'm happy they're doing so well, but I'm frustrated by the obvious bungling at Warner Bros. and their DC comics properties. As smart as Marvel's movie strategizing has been, Warner Bros. basically handed this victory to Marvel.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Random Song of the Week -- The Marvel Superheroes Have Arrived

Not to be confused with the Merry Marvel Marching Society, The Marvel Superheroes Have Arrived was another song released in the 60's on a single exclusively for members of Marvel's first fan club. With the hype for Marvel's Avengers movie entering its final weeks, I thought it was appropriate.


50 Most Hated Movies of all Time - #38 - Clash of the Titans

I've been using a lot of statistics and facts when making my arguments about whether or not I personally believe one of these films should in fact be on the 50 most hated movies of all time list.  As you can tell, the vast majority, I believe that answer is a resounding no.  There are a few where you could make the case to me, based on who you are and what your personal tastes are.  The bottom line is, up to this point, I seriously don't believe many of these films should be on a universal hate list -- after all, I believe it was the Penguin who stated simply but brilliantly in Batman Returns "you flush it down your toilet, I put it on my mantle".  While the analogy is more than little...disgusting, I think it's a very effective way to state that not everyone looks at something the same way.  With Clash of the Titans though, much like Superman Returns, the debate is a little more on the side of hate, in my opinion. 

Why?  First of all it's a remake and not just any old remake, a remake of a classic film.  The original Clash of the Titans was the last film ever made with Ray Harryhausen working on the visual effects.  For those of you who don't know, Ray Harryhausen is a legend in the effects field, the amazing effects we all take for granted today could not have been achieved without Ray Harryhausen pioneering stop-motion animation.  So, when you remake a film involving a legend of cinema, you better be pretty damned good, which this movie actually isn't.  In fact, it's a mere shadow of its predecessor, which is already enough reason to make me dislike the film.  However, there is also the problem with shaky-cam. 

Okay, I think we've all mentioned this to death, but if you've stumbled across this blog for the first time and have no idea what I'm talking about, here's a crash course: shaky cam is that effect where the camera is un-anchored and basically bounces around the frame like a alcoholic stumbling home.  On stationary objects, it's an annoying effect, with action, its annoyance factor increases a hundredfold simply because you cannot see what's going on.  Add to that the fast editing that filmmakers in North America seem to favor and what you have is a total waste of time.  I'm serious, shaky-cam does not add excitement to an action scene, a well-executed and choreographed action scene is exciting enough without tricks.  What shaky-cam actually does is try and mask how really inferior the stunts and the action really are.  

So, this movie did not start the whole shaky-cam process and did not begin the era of the shameless remake, so why the hate?  Because it has all these elements.  The movie is not exciting, it's storyline is full of holes and the you can't see the action.  Everything that you can possibly dislike and yes you could say hate about modern-day movies can all be summed up in the problems this movie has.  That's a reason to hate a movie, not because you're bored with a movie series or because you happen to want a certain genre of movie from a certain filmmaker, it's because you have valid points about what you don't like about movies and then present a movie as an example.  That's what Total Film's list missed out on and that's what I'm trying to figure out and qualify in this series. 

So if you were a fan of the original or if you just don't like your action scenes bouncing around like a ball in an ocean, then I can understand you hating this film.  Hey, Total Film can't be wrong all the time, can they?

Rating: Worth the hate?  Sure. 

- Stephenstein

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Raid: Redempton - movie review.

Lockout - Movie Review - Starring Guy Pearce

The Pink Panther - Original 1963 Movie Review.

Moon of the Wolf (1972)

A TV movie from 1972, Moon of the Wolf starts out as a police procedural then gets into the werewolf angle into its second half. When a woman is found dead in a small town around Louisiana, the sheriff questions the usual suspects and puts the clues together as to who could have done it. The girl died in a way that would suggest human involvement (she was struck in the head) and animal involvement (she was gnawed on by something that left teeth marks resembling a canine’s). She was pregnant with the coroner’s baby, which the corner tries to cover up, and her brother had a physical fight with her the night she died.
Truth be told, I found all of the stuff mentioned above more intriguing than the werewolf attacks that occur towards the end. And it seems like all of the dramatic elements I mention just disappear as soon as we learn who the werewolf is and he starts wolfing out (with black makeup around the nose and mouth and hairy appliances on his head, face and hands – not the most complex make up job). It’s a serviceable werewolf movie, but only has enough to hold interest for one viewing.



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Perfect Weapon - Movie review.

Publicity stunt in Belgium

In order to promote a new TNT channel in Belgium (which presumably plays action movies), a PR company devised a genius publicity stunt by placing a big red button in the middle of a quiet square. See what happens when you push it!

In North America, all these actors would get arrested.


Monday, April 16, 2012

50 Most Hated Movies of all Time - #39 - Epic Movie

You ever watch Dragnet?  Just the facts ma'am, just the facts.

Rating: Epic Movie rang in at a 2 percent approval rating.
Box Office: The movie grossed over $86 milliion worldwide
The Awards: Nominated for the Golden Razzie in 2007 for Worst Screenplay
DVD Sales: 1,040, 120 for $16, 807, 388 as of late 2009

So, why is this movie here?  Clearly because the critics did not like this movie.  They said it sucked.  I can understand that.  It looks bad.  The guys who made this movie, their 7th film, Vampires Suck, J-Man reviewed it on this very blog and he mentioned how bad the movie is.  I believe him.  It's bad.  However, I have to go back and look at a very important number in the last sentence. 

7.  As in these guys have made 7 spoof movies up to date.  Spy Hard, Scary Movie, Date Movie, Epic Movie, Meet the Spartans, Disaster Movie and Vampires Suck.  They're coming out with an 8th this year, The Biggest Movie of All Time 3D.  Now personally, I don't care for these types of movies.  Movies that spoof other movies, unless done incredibly clever are just garbage to me.  It's lazy storytelling, just poking fun at something popular in today's pop culture instead of concentrating on things that are universally funny.  It's the equivalent of sitting and watching popular movies with a bunch of your friends and making snide comments to each other.  Sure, it's funny to you, but to make it funny to someone else?  That takes more than having a sense of humor your friends appreciate.  That's bonafide talent and it's something I'm sure these guys are lacking.

That being said, it's hard to argue with the numbers.  This movie, deservedly or not, has sold over 1 million DVD's as of 2009, made close to 100 million in the box office and these guys continue to make movies.  Someone keeps seeing their movies and someone keeps buying their movies.  If the movies flopped and they didn't make anymore and everyone bad-mouthed them, I could make a more tangible argument that this movie is one of the most hated films of all time.  That isn't the case though, so as bad as this film may be, I cannot make a strong enough case that it deserves to be on the list.  I have the idea that most people are like me and just ignore the film, rather than concentrate our hatred on it.  There's far more important things to hate in the world. 

Rating: Worth the hate?  It's probably bad, but not hate-worthy.

- Stephenstein

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The 3 Stooges

So, as you all know (or should know), Larry, Curly and Moe aka the Three Stooges were one of the first great comedy teams in film.  They're in the same class of The Marx Brothers, Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy and probably better than Martin & Lewis and Hope & Crosby.  They were iconic for the 'nyuk nyuk', the slapstick comedy and the unique look of the each of the characters.  Even though there were several different incarnations of the Stooges, the most popular depiction of the group was the original Colombia Pictures team, consisting of comedian Larry Fine and brothers Moe and Curly Howard.  It was this version of the Stooges depicted in this film. 

I have two different feelings about the film.  The first is, these are the Three Stooges.  They are perfect carbon copies of the original Stooges.  Not just in their look, but in their mannerisms and routines.  There is a lot of slapstick in this movie and if you're at all familiar with the Three Stooges, then you know what I'm talking about.  A lot of slapping, eye-poking, and the rest.  There's also a lot of stupidity on their part, because they are after all, the Stooges.  A lot of not understanding what's going on, word meaning misrepresentation, etc.  If you're a fan of the Stooges and especially if you know Curly's trademark moves, it's all here, using Curly's head of a battering ram, he drops to the ground and runs in a circle using his shoulder as a pivot, he barks at people like a dog.  If they were ever going to do the Three Stooges and they needed to emulate the other Stooges, there is no other choice they could have made.  All three guys are perfect and when they're allowed to just do stuff, it's great. 

However, there is also stuff about the film I didn't like.  Particularly, I'm not a big fan of putting recent stuff that I think of as "pop-culture fad" into a film.  There is a scene where they showed Moe being part of the Jersey Shore TV show.  I thought originally that they would be a one and done, but nope, it came back and showed more of Moe at Jersey Shore.  I actually started to get annoyed because I think the film should be concentrating on coming up with funny things for the Stooges to do (which they showed they could) instead of trying to add in as many pop-culture references as possible.  Instead, we get mention of I-Phones, Facebook, Twitter, the Kardashians, Orlando Magic player Dwight Howard and the Jersey Shore cast make appearances...I mean, yes, you can point out the stupidity in pop culture today and society in general, but the point I find most contradictory about this is the reason why this movie was being made the 3 Stooges and their humour has lasted generations, they're still popular enough that someone greenlit a movie with their characters in there and the Farrelly Bros. still can't resist throwing in there stuff that quite frankly just shows how far we've gone downhill in popular culture.  I mean, if that was their goal, mission accomplished, but it just made me yearn for more Stooge stuff. 

I also have to ask, at the end of the movie, what the hell was with the Public Service Announcement?  I mean, it was funny to see two jacked guys show up as the Farrelly Bros, but what the hell was that?  They come out and tell the audience that it was all fake and we shouldn't emulate the stuff we saw in the movie?  Really?  Because, I gotta be honest with you, after Jackass and Steve-O and all that garbage, I would be more worried about people emulating that crap than the Stooges.  Also, if a kid goes home and smashes his brother in the head with the hammer, my immediate question is: where are the parents?  Yeah, I didn't get that at all, it was right at the end of the movie and it was just awkward and bizarre. 

Anyhow, that's the Stooges for you.  It's faithful to the characters and I think if they avoided all the pop-culture references of today, I would have liked it a lot better.  As it is, I'll give it a decent rating, though it could have been higher. 

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

- Stephenstein

Nearly A-bad-don

So, a while ago, this guy at work gave my Abandon.  He said it was a great movie and I would like it.  Now, I knew this guy didn't know movies -- no more evidence was needed than he gave me the Fullscreen version of the film.  Unless you have no other choice, you don't buy the Fullscreen version.  Anyhow, last night I finally got around to seeing the movie. 

So, firstly, let me just say that I was sitting there watching the movie and I was saying to myself "the only way this movie could be redeemed is if this happens."  Luckily, what I thought should happen, actually happened.  So that's good, at least.  Let me tell you something though: if what I thought should happen didn't happen, then this movie is a bunch of garbage.  

So, the story goes that Benjamin Bratt's character is assigned a missing person's for this artsy-fartsy guy from a local college (think of one of those pompous windbags who does head-scratching artistic stuff that makes no sense and thinks he's better than anyone else) and Katie Holmes was his girlfriend at the time of his disappearance. As the investigation goes on, Katie starts seeing him everywhere and he begins to menace her. Meanwhile, her and Ben are starting something up.  Now, before the twist, I was seriously disliking the movie. Katie Holmes was either acting bad or her character just sucked.  Likewise, the missing person was a douche and I couldn't imagine anyone caring if he was found, other than the fact he was rich.  All this was ironed out with the ending, so I'll let it pass, but there are some things I won't. 

Firstly, Katie Holmes' friends, led by Zooey Deschanel.  What is their purpose other than being annoying?  Seriously, I could have done with all of them being massacred by Jason Vorhees, they were that annoying. Secondly, the relationship between Katie and Ben, too contrived and too forced.  The director/screenwriter said that their chemistry was undeniable but I am denying it, large.  They had no chemistry and it didn't work.  Thirdly, and this isn't giving anything away, but Katie's character has abandonment issues with men.  Hence the title.  So, along comes Gabriel Mann (Nolan from TV's Revenge) and he's a nice, normal, stable guy who happens to love Katie but she doesn't return his love.  If a woman has abandonment issues, does it not stand to reason that she would go with the nice, safe, stable guy who wouldn't leave her because he got tired of her?  That just didn't make sense to me. 

Overall, this is a movie that needs 2 viewings -- one to get the bad taste out of your mouth on some of the stuff going on in the film and then the 2nd one to watch it with the understanding of how the movie ended.  For people who don't know much about film, this movie will probably rock your world.  For those of us that do, you will probably call the twist well in advance and while the movie isn't terrible, it's not that great.  Any movie that needs to be elevated by a twist at the end is not good writing -- it's just trying to hide how mediocre the rest of the plot is. 

Rating: a very generous 3 out of 5. 

- Stephenstein

Pink Panther 2 - movie review.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

50 Most Hated Movies of all Time - #40 - Swept Away



Really?  Swept Away?  Really?

This is a pure movie geek pick.  Back in the late 90's/early 2000's, Guy Ritchie was hot as a pistol.  He had made the British gangster comedy Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and it as a sleeper hit.  I own the movie, it's okay, but in my opinion, somewhat overrated.  Then, he made Snatch, which is very much in the vein of Lock Stock, but with a bigger cast and in my opinion and funnier and more interesting script.  So, it was on the heels of that he made Swept Away.  Now, if he made a mistake in his whole thing at all, it was choosing to cast his real-life wife, Madonna, in the movie. 

Now, I'm not picking on Madonna.  I think she's fine, she showed talent in Dick Tracy and A League of Their Own and I'm perfectly fine with her as an actress.  However, she is notorious of making some really bad bombs.  Shanghai Surprise and Body of Evidence comes to mind.  So, when you have an actress who is reviled for making some bad films with a director who is entering a genre that he is not really in his element, you're going to have a movie that is critically reviled and thus, "hated."

Now, I did not see this film.  It didn't look interesting to me and even for the purposes of writing this series, I still did not watch it.  Does this mean I hate the film?  No.  See, I can separate hate from just thinking a film was badly made.  For instance, I do not think Battle Los Angeles was a particularly well-made film.  It has holes in the plot, the camera work is dreadful, the characters are not interesting and the action is unwatchable, thanks to the bad camerawork.  However, I do not hate Battle Los Angeles.  I understand it has an audience and while I do not respect the movie opinion of people who like this film, I also realize that every movie has fans, no matter how bad it is.  Battle Los Angeles didn't insult me personally or say someone like me sucks or say people of a certain race or gender or whatever's just a bad movie.  I'm sure Swept Away falls into the same category. 

As for Guy Ritchie, he immediately went back to the genre that made him, making Revolver and RocknRolla after Swept Away (as well as divorcing Madonna, who everyone blames for making Ritchie make the film in the first place). Interestingly enough though, he had to wait until making Sherlock Holmes to have another big hit on his hand (and for the record, the 1st was okay, the 2nd Sherlock Holmes sucked ass).  So, did Swept Away really derail Guy Ritchie's career, or was he really overrated to begin with?

Rating: Worth the hate? Unless you're a hardcore fan of Ritchie's previous two movies and just want him to make English comedies, I would say no, it's too generic to hate it.

- Stephenstein

Friday, April 13, 2012

50 Most Hated Movies of all Time - #41 - Constantine

Well, I think this one is pretty straight forward.  It's pretty obvious that everyone out there is a huge John Constantine fan from the comics and they were appalled that he was played by Keanu Reeves, an American, when everyone knows that John Constantine is British.  I mean seriously, they tried that crap before with Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and we all know how that turned out, hell, they made fun of that very thing in the Mel Brooks spoof...

I'm sorry?...what's that? didn't know John Constantine was British?  Oh well, that's okay, you probably haven't gotten around to reading Saga of the Swamp Thing, which is where he first appeared.  That's cool, you're probably reading a million comics right now.

What's that?...I'm sorry?, you didn't know he first appeared in Saga of the Swamp Thing.  Did you know that his series is called Hellblazer?  Uh-huh.  So, did you know anything about this character before the movie?  Did you even know he was a pre-existing comic book character? you didn't.  Why exactly did you hate this movie again?  Oh you, don`t like Keanu Reeves.  Keanu Reeves of the Bill and Ted`s franchise, Speed and the Matrix films, all of which were enormous hits.   Was he really that bad?  I mean, if you don't even know the character, how can you say he was bad for the part?  Just because you don't like him?  He was perfectly fine in the Matrix, though?

I don't get the hate for this movie unless you are a die-hard John Constantine fan.  This movie has nice effects, it has a good storyline, it has thrills, you're not quite sure how it's all going to turn out, there's mystery...if you are into occult stuff or the supernatural or lore, then this movie is for you.  Yes, Keanu Reeves is not John Constantine, but until recently, I knew little about the character and I'm thinking unless you're dying over the character, there's little for you to bitch about. 

Rating: Worth the hate?  Only if you love the comic John Constantine.

- Stephenstein

Random Song of the Week -- Tina Turner -- One of the Living

Featured on the soundtrack album for 1985's Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (hell, it was the song over the opening credits), this song to my knowledge is only on the Thunderdome album and never appeared in any of Turner's other records. That's a shame as One of the Living is awesome, intense and the perfect intro to the third installment in the Mad Max franchise. I love We Don't Need Another Hero, but I feel One of the Living often gets short shrift over that track.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

50 Most Hated Movies of all Time - #42 - Jersey Girl

.......Jersey Girl?
Why Jersey Girl?

I mean, I know this is coming from the era of when Ben Affleck was everywhere and very over-exposed and people decided to hate him because they realized he was being over-exposed for no good reason, but really? Jersey Girl?  Why not Gigli, or Changing Lanes or one of the truly awful films he did from that era.  Why...Jersey Girl?  I mean, if you want to talk about a totally unoffensive movie, that's Jersey Girl.  I can't really explain it other than the Ben Affleck factor...oh and let's not forget Kevin Smith.

At this point in time, Kevin Smith had been known for his adult, somewhat crude comedies where his characters talk on and on about geek topics and taboo topics and it all falls somewhere in between mildly amusing and extremely hilarious.  Mostly mildly amusing, but Jay and Silent Bob had it's moments.  I found the first five of the View Askew films to be so good to own four of them on DVD (I didn't get Clerks 1 as I just found it boring...and Clerks 2 was fine until the last third of the film).  Anyhow, the point is, that until his last few fans, I was a fan of Kevin Smith and I did see Jersey Girl.  What did I think?

I thought it was okay.  Not great, not let me bust down the door and buy this DVD, but it was okay.  A nice little story.  However, the thing that stood out was that this was by far Kevin Smith's most mature work. 


That's like having the Jackass guys try and remake Dr. Strangelove.  The Dr. Strangelove guys would be pissed because quite frankly, if you absolutely have to remake this movie, you DON'T want the Jackass guys doing it.  As for the Jackass fans, they would be pissed too.  Why are you trying to be all good and remake a classic!  Go do something stupid!  Run down the hall and slam your head into a wall!  Staple your testicles to your leg!  That's what they're paying for.  They paid for Jersey Girl to have a bunch of Kevin Smith-style penis and fart jokes and you know what?  They didn't get it.  They got a somewhat serious rom-com that had no toilet humour in sight.  In other words, Kevin Smith was trying to branch out and do something different and they murdered him for it.  That's why they hate this movie.  They think this was the start of Kevin Smith's downward spiral.  Without Jersey Girl, we don't get Cop Out.  He wouldn't be trying to go mainstream and please the world instead of his legion of insanely loyal, not-insubstantial fan base.  This is my opinion:

The guy can do what he wants.  He tried and to me, it worked, but because of the negative backlash, because this wasn't Jay and Silent Bob part 6, people hate it.  It's like Sean Connery -- he did Zathura after Bond and everyone hated it because they wanted Sean Connery to be Bond.  I say hey, Connery is the best as Bond, no doubt, but the man has the right too to be something other than James Bond.  Kevin Smith had the right to go mainstream if he's a shame this movie is "hated", because quite honestly, it's not half-bad, but because of the stupid expectations by his fan base who only want a certain style of humor, it's reviled.  Which point-blank, isn't right.

Rating: Worth the hate?  Nope.

- Stephenstein

Monday, April 9, 2012

Adam West Batman - Part 2 of 5

Adam West Batman - Part 1 of 5

50 Most Hated Movies of all Time - #43 - Resident Evil

When Total Film came out with the little gem that Resident Evil # 1 was the 43rd most hated film of all time, I have to admit, I was more than a little baffled.  Hasn't Resident Evil spawned 3 (soon to be 4) sequels?  If a film series keeps going, then what does that mean?  Ladies and Gentlemen?  It means...they are successful.  Successful.  Let me look that up for you:



  1. Accomplishing an aim or purpose: "a successful attack on the town".
  2. Having achieved popularity, profit, or distinction.

I'm sorry, what was that word in the second definition?  No.  NO!!!!!!!! Does that say...does that say the word...popularity?  The opposite of hated?  Popular?  NO!!!!!! Total website...can' be...error!  

The bottom line is this.  Yes the Resident Evil films have been critically lambasted.  The first film received the highest rating on Rotten Tomatoes of 34 percent, the others have hovered around the 20's.  This is the sole reason that Total Film has listed it in its Most Hated list.  When I read the reason why Resident Evil was on the list, I was given the reason (and I'm paraphrasing here), that Resident Evil launched the movie series that has lacked distinction and no one cares about (as in no one cares about these films they keep making).  So, no one cares about the series.  Box Office Mojo, can you please step in here, please?

Resident Evil: 102.4 million worldwide
Resident Evil: Apocalypse: 129.3 million worldwide
Resident Evil: Extinction: 147.7 million worldwide
Resident Evil: Afterlife: 296.2 million worldwide

This is not even counting DVD sales, merchandise and other profit-making arenas.  What this tells me is 2 things.  1) The Resident Evil movies continue to make more and more profit with every movie (and the budget remains under 100 million) and 2) Total Film clearly did not take into account that worldwide, this franchise is huge (over 50 percent of all earnings have been from overseas films).  The fact is, this is a very, very profitable series and as long as it remains a profitable series, there will be more movies.  Total Film looks at things from a purely newspaper critic, North American view, which means they are very narrow-minded indeed.  So in closing, let me do a simple mathematical equation to sum up my feelings about this film being hated:

Popularity + Profit = Continuing Movie Series.

And that formula is simply hate-proof. 

Rating: Worth the hate?  You're joking, right?  5 films and counting...

- Stephenstein

Sunday, April 8, 2012

50 Most Hated Movies of all Time - #44 - Fantastic Four

You know, comic book movies or should I say, the reaction to comic book movies (and specifically for the purposes of this post, the Marvel Comics movies) is weird these days.  First and foremost I guess is the Marvel Studios films where movies range from the really good (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor) to the not-so-good (Iron Man 2, Incredible Hulk).  New Line had a good thing with Blade, until the 3rd one sucked the joint out.  20th Century Fox usually have hits with the X-Men series (though I don't really know why, the movies aren't that great) and Columbia Pictures have either had hits (Spider-Man 1 & 2, Ghost Rider), or misses (Spider-Man 3, Ghost Rider 2) or colossal bungles (Spider-Man 4...okay, it hasn't come out, but the movie looks like ass).  Which leads me to the Fantastic Four series.  Yes, all the series I've mentioned previously have had their ups and downs, but it seems at least with the Film A-hole and Rehab Troupe (or FART, if you will), this series is among the most derided.  The question is, why?

First of all, I think unlike some of the other movies mentioned, this comic book movie series is actually fun.  Yes, that's right; FUN!  Imagine a comic book series that's actually fun.  We can't have that!  We can't have fun!  Where is all the brooding if we have fun?  The grittiness?  The realism? NO!  No fun!  Movies are not fun, they are serious educational pieces about how a billionaire who dresses as a bat could realistically clean up the city! NO FUN!  You see my point.  The Fantastic Four was not gritty, no realistic, no brooding, not taking social issues of today and trying to jam them into a place they don't really belong.  The Fantastic Four was just a jolly good time and nowadays, that is not permitted, at least not if FART has anything to to do with it. 

Secondly, it appears there are problems with at least one of the actors and we know who we're talking about.  It's not Michael Chikilis or Ioan Gruffald.  It was Jessica Alba.  At the time (and I suppose this still goes on today, though her career appears to be in a black hole right, now), Jessica was one of our resident hotties, a girl who got more press for her looks than for her talent.  Right or wrong you can debate until the sun goes down, but the more people panted for her physically, the more it seemed that the rest of the critics, the serious people mind you were more than willing to rip down her talent as they could not do so with her looks. We're talking about a woman who has been nominated for 4 Razzies for 11 films she made (including both Fantastic Four), so that may have something to do with the movie's hate label as well.

The third reason and this might be the most deserving reason why these films are "hated" is because they made some bad choices.  Look, I really do like these films and would consider getting them on blu-ray at some point, but in both films, they kinda screwed the pooch a little.  They didn't use Dr. Doom enough in part 1 and they completely frigged up Galactus is part 2.  We heard about these bad choices all over the 'Net and I do agree, these were mistakes.  However, I feel that looking at the sum of the movies, (and the sum of other movies as well), these mistakes while not being completely forgiven, can at least be put on the backburner a little bit.  The 4 look good, they have their powers, they have their origin, they do have a big fight with Dr. Doom at the end, they have the right personalities for their characters...what more do you want?  Yeah, I could have used more Dr. Doom as well, but the Director's Cut gives you a little bit more as well...I don't know what else to say.  For this film to be hated, it just boggles the mind. 

So, that's my analysis of Fantastic Four.  A movie that is hated for being fun, hated for the publicity giving to the main actress and hated for some mistakes in their story.  If not following the comics to a T is cause for hatred, then all comic movies, including the blessed Dark Knight and the rest of the Marvel movies should be hated as well.  

Rating: Worth the hate: NO!  

- Stephenstein

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Adjustment Bureau - Movie Review.

Five Element Ninjas - Movie Review.

50 Most Hated Movies of all Time - #45 - Halloween (2007)

When they first announced they were going to remake Halloween, I'll be completely honest with you -- I was angry.  How dare they remake a horror classic!  Mind you, this was a complete knee-jerk reaction on my part because by this time, why not ,they were remaking every other horror classic!  It's just I like the first film so damned much, I just didn't see a point to doing this film.  Rob Zombie was doing it and it seemed though that everyone else was on board with it.  I thought they all were afterwards as well, as there was a part 2 which J-Man reviewed a few months back on this very website.  Needless to say, I may have been mistaken considering it's on this list now...but then again let's delve into this a tiny bit deeper...

I only saw the work print of this film, I guess you could call it the director's cut?  I'm not sure, but from what I saw, yeah, I didn't like it.  The first part was just pure backstory, trying to justify why Michael Myers turned out to be a knife-toting psychopath.  Umm...wasn't it that he was just purely and simply evil?  Must everything be explained ad nauseum?  Why did I go bald?  Well, you see Stephenstein, there are hair follicles and stuff happens sometimes...yeah, we don't need explanations for everything, especially considering we had a perfectly good reason in the first place.  The second half was like Halloween's greatest hits, just with more annoying people.  

That being said, I have come to understand that Rob Zombie himself is a big fan of the original Halloween (not to mention horror movies in general...House of 1,000 Corpses and Devil's Rejects, anyone?) and the wanted to pay a sort of homage to the original.  Now, whether or not he should have bothered with remaking it instead of making a part 9 and just making it really well, we could talk about that all day, but the point is, based on the second half and how Michael Myers is treated as a sort of anti-hero, I can believe he is a big fan of the original, if not the iconic killer of the series.  If he was going out with a smart-assed attitude that he would make a better Halloween than the original, (something I doubt anyone could do), than we may have a problem, Houston.  However, based on the fact he just really wanted to show his love for the original (as well as pander to today's audience who clearly all have ADD), then how can the film be hated?

Okay, so it wasn't as good as the original.  Did you think it would be?  Halloween is a classic, one of the first if not the first slasher film and to this day, it still gets me.  When the kid is running and bumps into Michael and you get that sound cue?  Awesome.  When he's chasing Laurie across the street and you have that unbelievably amazing soundtrack?  It doesn't get better than that, ladies and gentlemen.  You could say that I'm letting Zombie off the hook for Halloween while I blasted Singer for Superman Returns, but it's different.  Zombie loves Halloween and you can kind of see it, at least in the work print, which I consider the director's cut.  Singer didn't show any love for Superman in Superman Returns.  That enough is good enough for me to say this movie should not be on the hated list. 

Rating: Worth the hate?  No, but it should have been part 9 instead of a remake.  That may have avoided some of the hate, at least.

- Stephenstein

Random Song of the Week -- Police Academy (theme)

A reminder that even screwball comedies received epic musical scores in the 80's. I've been watching Police Academy movies lately and I can't get that theme song out of my head!


Friday, April 6, 2012

50 Most Hated Movies of all Time - #46 - The Exorcist II: The Heretic

The idiotic A-hole who made this list in the first place decided to break the streak of naming movies that had been released after the turn to the 21st century as "the most hated films of all time" and decided to name a movie that was actually made around or before the time he was born.  I know, I was shocked too.  Anyhow, this will mark a new review for me, because I never actually saw this movie.  However, unlike the drooling halfwit staff at Total Film, I'm actually going to do something they would never do...and actually research something before talking about it.  

So, for those of you not in the know, The Exorcist is probably one of the most popular films of all time.  Released in 1973, it was the talk of the movie world, what with reports of strange occurrences on set, people fainting in the movie theatre during screenings and even hysterical insistence from some people with a few bricks shy of a full load that a demon inhabited the actual film.  Now, all ridiculous mishmash aside, people wouldn't talk this much about a film unless it was really, really good, really, really bad or really, really weird.  The Exorcist is really, really good.  So, I can understand if the sequel came out and it wasn't up to par with the original, that people wouldn't be impressed.  However, one of the worst of all time?

Well, maybe not so much.  I read an article on Wikipedia that some people say that the film has been misjudged and mistreated, that it's not the honking big pile of donkey crap that Total Film would have you believe.  They don't ultimately believe it's that great, but it does not deserve the derision that the film has received from multiple sources.  I find it interesting too to note that there have been 3 sequels after this film and I remember that 4 and 5 weren't received that well, why does get all the blame?  Just because it's the direct sequel to the film?  See, this is the reason why I don't like Total Film or their stupid list: they have no perspective.  They don't question why they feel a film is hated or if there is another reason or if there is something else that causes the hatred.  They just knee-jerk "oh...bad"  My question is this: if none of the films will ever live up to the original, should they not be hated as well?  In fact, every sequel that does not live up to the original should be hated!  The list would be five miles long!

So, what's my point?  My point is, this movie probably isn't as hated as some believe and probably should not be on the list.  There have been other movies that have not only been worse than the original, but insulting by either recycling the original without adding to it (The Hangover Part II) or by crapping on everything that was good about the original (Superman Returns).  Ultimately, there are probably worse movies out there and more damaging ones than the Exorcist II.  However, for some strange reason, it made it on this list. 

Rating: Worth the hate?  Only if you're prepared to put every disappointing sequel on the list as well...

- Stephenstein 

Wrath of the Visual Effects

So, here we have Wrath of the Titans.  You remember the first film, Clash of the Titans, the remake of the Harryhausen classic?  Not to worry if you don't, apparently it's one of the 50 most hated films of all time and a move I will be writing about in the future.  You know a movie is hated when a studio throws hundreds of millions of dollars into a sequel...y'know, because the first one was so hated, it didn't make any money or anything.  I'm getting a little ahead of myself, because the first one actually wasn't that good...but this one looked to be better.  The question was, was it?

Well in terms of action, yes.  Not really because I believe you got more, but with the exception of the Minotaur scene, at least you got to see it!  Wow, no shaky-cam, except for one part?  I guess the director will get fired as soon as that's discovered.  That being said, this movie is about the creatures, the visuals and the action pieces.  As action goes, it's nothing revolutionary (except the very little shaky-cam today's day and age, that's REVOLUTIONARY), but it isn't bad, either.  The big winner in here is the creatures, the Cyclops's, the Chimera, the Minotaur (what you see of him), Cronos, his minions, all that stuff is good. 

The story?  It's nothing special.  Hades kidnapped Zeus, he's draining his power for Cronos, Perseus has to stop him, blah, blah, blah.  Some of the dialogue is a little wince-worthy (you look 10,000 years younger, brother), bu then again, I wasn't expecting Shakespeare.  I read on the 'Net that some critic mentioned this movie is for teenaged boys (and we had 4 of them in fact, sitting next to Deceptisean...and they were probably the four most expendable people who ever walked into a movie theatre), but my reaction is this...did you see the first film?  Did you look at the television ads?  The trailers?  Then you would know, this is not a high-brow flick.  They did not pay millions of the dollars to the screenwriters for 'The Artist, Wrath of the Titans edition'.  This was a movie solely relying on being able to produce cool enough creatures to fight the protagonists until they can meander their way to the inevitable climax and conclusion.  In that way, this movie delivered as expected.  A wonderful murder mystery script would have been a nice bonus at best and a cumbersome oddity at worst. 

So, that's Wrath of the Titans for you.  It's not going to change the way you look at life, but as far as time-wasters go, it isn't half-bad. 

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

- Stephenstein