Posts Tagged ‘movies

13
Nov
09

“2012”: Why did I even bother?

I really had no intentions of seeing 2012. None. I knew from the previews that it was going to be impossibly lame. Bad characters. No plot. Just big disaster after big disaster, with characters impossibly escaping tragedy after tragedy.

And that’s what it was, for almost 3 hours.

Three hours of my life that I could have productively spent scraping wallpaper or downloading porn or napping or something — cause anything would have been better than this movie.

Luckily, they didn’t get into all the “2012” hype — like the Mayans and every other ancient culture has apparently predicted the end of the world in 2012 due to the solar system’s alignment with the center of the Milky Way or some-such. That all earned a brief mention. Oh, there’s some sciency hogwash that they throw in about huge solar flares unleashing altered neutrinos that somehow superheat the Earth’s core and cause the crust to slip and slide, but it’s just so impossibly stupid that I decided to shut my brain down during those moments.

“2012” is really just disaster scene after disaster scene after disaster scene, followed by snotty emo kid making a comment to his dad, his dad being sad, and then more disaster. It’s eye-stabbingly cliche when there wasn’t a disaster scene going on — but luckily for the audience, it’s 90% disaster scenes.

Here’s the type of person who would love this movie :

  • You think “Two and a Half Men” is brilliant, award-winning comedy.
  • You loved the scene in “Independence Day” when the dog evades the flaming doom in the tunnel by jumping in the little service nook because it was totally believable.
  • You cried during “Deep Impact,” and it wasn’t due to the acting.
  • You screamed “Run!” when the icy chill was closing in on everyone in the library during “A Day After Tomorrow.”
  • You are the type who would make Isaac Newton cry because of your complete disdain of physics. (“What is this ‘physics’ thing you speak of?”)

But if you’re like the rest of us who just want your physics to be not laugh-out-loud bad, just watch this video and save yourself the $5-$10.

Or better yet, if I saved you the time and money, donate what you would have paid to Burgh Baby’s Christmas Crazy fund. Do something good other than line Roland Emmerich’s pockets. I think I have to donate just for penance.

Unless you like your disaster movies with a healthy heap of cheese, there is no reason to see this flick. I mean, it’s astoundingly bad — and I enjoy bad movies. As a good buddy of mine always says, “Roland Emmerich makes Michael Bay look like Stanley Kubrick.” And you know, I think he’s right.

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27
Dec
08

He may be a scumbag, but …

… I gotta admit, I’ve wanted to do the same thing. Multiple times. Except with a chainsaw and lots and lots of malice.

Man shot for making too much noise during movie in Philly.

I’d also like to shoot those who won’t take crying babies out of the theater (and why is your infant at “Valkyrie” anyway?), who refuse to turn off their cell phones (you’re there to escape reality for a little while, ya know?), and those who say the absolute most retarded things imaginable … like the time a teen girl made the comment during the scene in “Saving Private Ryan” where the interpreter is cowering in fear and the German has just killed his comrades: “If he didn’t want to be there, then why did he go in the first place? Shah.” I’m sorry, but the “She had it comin'” defense should be perfectly allowable in that case.

Of course, the funniest part is that this reportedly happened  at “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” … because the alleged shooter so looks like he should be seeing “XXX” or “Fast and Furious 2” for the 100th time, instead.

24
Oct
08

Why I'm not going to see Saw V

If you know me at all, you know I’m a big horror flick fan. From the B-rated cheese to truly scary, if it’s on, I’ll watch it. Slasher flicks are also a blast, and my movie collection holds a few. Heck, my movie collection has some truly off-the-wall horror flicks, like “Prophecy.” No no, not the one with Christopher Walken. The 70s version with mutated bear that eats campers — I remember seeing the ads for it when I was a kid, and being afraid because of the scene where a kid is stuck in his sleeping bag, trying to hop away from the monster. It hits him anyway, sending feathers everywhere. It was awesome. I don’t think I dared step into a sleeping bag until I was a teen, had seen Red Dawn, and was convinced the commies were going to invade.

Finally getting to see it was a true treat. It was awful. Delightfully awful. I’m proud to own that movie because it is so freakin’ awful.

But you see, there’s awful — as in “so bad it’s good” — and then there’s AWFUL — as in “bad and not even entertaining.” And the Saw series falls into the latter category.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The first one was pretty decent, because it was kinda new and innovative. But every single one after that sucked ass. It’s like this generation’s Friday the 13th, without the saucy teens and machetes. And hell, I even gave up on that series after the third one — and it had the super cool 3D!

But I always love how people call the Saw (and Hostel) series “scary.” It makes me want to ask if I’ve been watching the same flick as them, because I never find any of them to be scary.

Scary is the clown doll from Poltergeist, or Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Movies that suck you in and use your imagination against you to produce fear. And because you don’t know what’s making that noise, don’t know what’s lurking under the bed, don’t know what’s in the closet — that’s when you start to curl up in the fetal position or pull the covers up your eyes. That’s scary. That rocks.

And then there’s Saw. You have a device meant to cause pain and death. You have a person about to be plunged into it. If you are overly empathetic, you are wincing at the perception of being thrown through that device, and the feeling of that pain. OK, that’s not fear — that’s anticipation. That can be scary (like getting a tooth pulled), but if you’re not empathetic to the character or situation, then meh. There’s no real bogeyman. There’s a voice on a recorder and a twisted puppet. There’s no chase — just manipulation to get the victim to the device. And while it shares the same elements as horror, it just doesn’t produce the same kind of fear as “what’s under the bed.” Is it its own genre, or part of the new “torture flicks” that seem to be popular now (ie, Hostel)? Maybe. I don’t know. I’m a little too hungover to think that far into it.

I vowed after I saw Saw IV last year that I would never watch another again. It was so contrived that I figured that it had to be the end of that series. But apparently not. Well, maybe by Saw X I’ll pick it back up … Jigsaw should be reincarnated by then, and running other infants through gauntlets of rattles, binkies and devastating nerf balls. That’s one that I’d have to catch — it’ll have just enough cheese to rope me back in .

24
Jun
08

I am George Lucas’ bitch

So, while dealing with my bout of insomnia last night, I turned to my sure-fire sleep getter: Star Wars.

Now, it’s not that I feel Star Wars is a hideous movie. Quite the contrary, I love it, despite all of its flaws. But after seeing it so many times, it has become like a warm glass of milk … comforting … so much so that I’m usually out cold before Vader snaps the neck of the first rebel.

But last night, that didn’t happen. And here’s why:

PS3 Blu-Ray upconversion and the LCD TV. Oh. My. God. The colors were simply gorgeous. I was seeing new details; like the fact that the droids were all scuffed up on the rebel ship … Stormtroopers’ armor was also all scuffed up … and I believe that C3P0’s right leg, at the knee and down, is more of a white gold than the rest of him. And the reflections of Tatooine’s  landscape on his body — it was just, wow. I sat like I was 8 years old, watching it for the first time. I started to notice things in the background, like the Stormies harassing their rebel captives in the neck-snapping scene. And it was crystal clear.

It still managed to put me to sleep (it was, afterall, almost 5am), but now I’m completely stoked to re-watch it, “Empire” and “Jedi” during my upcoming days off. I want to see what those Ugnauts are doing in the background in Cloud City. And I’m sure the speederbike chases on Endor will rock soxs. Boba Fett, I’m sure, is so completely bad ass in HD that I won’t even be fit to sit in the same room as his image. It even made me so curious that I’m thinking about buying “Clones,” because I’m sure the lightsaber fights are just amazing in HD. (However, I somehow doubt that even HD goodness will get me to buy “Phantom” — I hate the Gungans THAT much.)

And then, the inevitable thought hit me: “I’m going to have to buy the Blu-Ray versions of these.”

Oh sure, it’s not enough that I have the originals on tape. And the Special Edition on tape. And the boxed set on DVD. No, now I’ll have to repurchase the Blu-Ray versions. And I’m sure I will rebuy on whatever funky new and improved system comes out afterwards.

Damn you, George Lucas. Why can’t I quit you?

27
May
08

"They even had a bear in the air"

There are many movies out there that I’ve always wanted to see, just for the sake of seeing them…and yet can’t bring myself to rent or pay for.

So, the other day, I came home a little buzzed, and little bored, and after flipping the guide of my favorites and finding nothing worth watching, I hit “On Demand.” On Demand’s “free movies” is kind of like going to the bargain basement bin at Wal-Mart — it’s mostly garbage, but every now and then you’ll find a pure gem.

For me, on that fateful Friday, it was “Convoy.” Yes, THE Convoy. From 1978. With that stupid catchy song that, if you’re in my age range, you’ll recognize immediately and have all kinds of flashbacks because of it.

This was a no-brainer. I clicked on that sucker and strapped in for the ride.

And I enjoyed it. A lot.

Not because of the flick, mind you. It was pretty laughable and entertaining in that regard. No, I enjoyed it more because of all the comparisons that were going on in my head, flashbacks to my childhood and how times have changed in 30 years.

For example, when I think back to that era, I remember truckers were kinda considered on par with bikers as rebels of the road. And after seeing “Smokey and the Bandit,” we were all going to drop out of school at 16, get us a Trans-Am or a rig and just drive around all day. And CBs and the CB lingo were simply THE shit.

CBs. It seems like such a funny concept now. Kids today simply wouldn’t get it. You’re broadcasting … everywhere? Why? And the lingo would make no sense to them. I mean. I rolled into work and told Jen, “There’s a bear in the air!” She had no concept of what I was talking about … though I think she’s so used to my nonsensical ramblings that I shouldn’t be surprised.

Of course, if kids today were truckers, they’d all be wrecking and dying because of their constant texting. And you couldn’t just say, “There’s a bear in the air.” I’m sure they’d text each other with “BiR”…R because is sounds kinda close to “air.” Yeah, I’m rapidly becoming convinced that the majority of people under 25 are completely retarded. Cell-phone obsessed monkeys.

When I thought about it more, the CB world almost like a precursor to the Internet, or at least chatrooms. Think about it. Everyone has anonymous handles and people rarely meet in real life. But they communicate all the time. And when the feds get involved in trying to stop the convoy, the bad guy tells them that the truckers won’t answer if you don’t use their handles, cause it’s “like they have their own language.” And kids today think that their gang culture is unique in that regard. Stupid monkeys…that shit’s been going on for thousands of years.

“Convoy” had all kinds of other fun notions too…like the race-togetherness theme blending in with the redneck trucker culture. The socialist theme of “The people must unite and challenge the authority of police and government.” Oh, I could go on and on…but really, there’s a lot going on that I didn’t know what to make heads or tails of because I was laughing too hard. I mean, when you get a scene where Ernest Borgnine wrecks a car he stole from some hippy kids, and another cop comes to his rescue and the first thing he says is, “I’m Brad Buckner … and I hate truckers,” how can you NOT laugh. It’s not “Are you OK?” or “Wow, you’re lucky you survived” — no no — it’s “I hate truckers.” It’s so amazingly disjointed that I don’t know what the hell Sam Peckinpah was thinking.

And the use of the Convoy song as a narrator is pure gold. I especially loved the part where the song says, “…they even had a bear in the air.” And the scene flashes to Ernest Borgnine in a helicopter, and he says, “This is the bear…in the air.” I’m still laughing at that scene.

Oh, and the other thing that cracked me up–a reporter eventually talks to truckers, and they say things like “with the price of gas goes up, it costs more for me to get it to people, and then their prices go up, too.” Another guy alleges Big Oil has a link to Nixon’s government because of so-and-so’s brother-in-law, so high gas prices are obviously a conspiracy to enrich politicians and Big Oil. Sound familiar?

And for the record, this was the first movie that I’ve seen Ernest Borgnine play a bad guy (“Dirty Lyle”). And he’s not the typical bumbling sherriff that we’re used to. He may be a little on the dumb side, but he’s also nasty and extremely tenancious.

So, yeah, if you’re bored or a little buzzed or both, be sure to sit down and watch Convoy. Enjoy the flashbacks and the “ultra-cool” trucker lingo. My God, what a funny-assed trip it’s all been.

04
Jul
07

Red Dawn

So, it’s been a rainy two days. And right now, I’m thankful for it. I’ve slept more in the past 2 days because of the rain and cloudiness than I have all summer. I swear, my body just shut down and refused to move. And as much as I hate to admit it, it’s been relaxing.

The TV has been tuned in to a couple different channels, but I wake up, watch a bit, and then fall asleep again. One channel has been AMC, which has been repeating their Fourth of July “Heroes” lineup. It includes such classics as “Force 10 from Navarone” (with a young Harrison Ford), “Patton” and “Red Dawn” among others.

Wait a minute…”Red Dawn” is now considered a classic hero movie?

If you’ve never seen this movie from 1984 or so, it’s basically about the U.S. being invaded by the commie hordes from the Soviet Union, Nicaragua and Cuba. During the invasion, a bunch of high school kids take off to hide in the mountains (they live in Colorado or something), and end up becoming a kick-ass guerrilla group, killing billions upon billions of commies. It stars Patrick Swayze as “Jed,” the leader of the “Wolverines.” It’s also Charlie Sheen’s first movie, and the first movie to ever get a PG-13 rating.

It’s also ridiculously awful, now that I see it as an adult.

So as I sat wondering how this is now an “American Hero” movie, I thought back to when I was 14 or so, and seeing it for the first time with my friend Jeff in the Cinema I II III in Allegheny Township. And then it hit home.

Back then, a Soviet invasion was still a pretty real thing. The U.S. didn’t enjoy the technological edge that it does now, so the scenario was still in the range of believability. And after seeing the movie, we were all pretty much convinced that the commie hordes were, indeed, coming. My friends and I started planning out where to stash food and munitions in the woods, because when they got here, we were going to be ready and were going to make them pay. Now, it all seems so ridiculous. But back then, we were absolutely inspired.

I mean, in the movie, these kids learned how to operate AK-47s, RPGs and DSHK machine guns with no effort. So why not us? I mean, RPGs are notoriously inaccurate–they’ll spiral off and do their own thing, from what I understand–but in the movie, a kid hits a single guy in the window of a HIND helicopter with one. Rock on! Ok, why he didn’t bother to hit either rotor assembly was beyond me (then and now, actually), but he smoked that one guy good!

There were some differences though. We didn’t know how to ride horses and properly butcher game like the kids in the movie did, but we were in western PA, we could learn! We also (technically) didn’t have mountains to go hide in. We would have never been more than a mile or so from someone’s house, no matter how deep in the woods we got, so that was kind of problematic.

There was also a problem with the guerrilla group’s name. In the movies, they take on the name of their high school mascot, the Wolverines. Well, ours was the Cavaliers, which sounded pretty gay as far as a kick-ass group of teen warriors goes, so we had to come up with a new one. At first we thought we’d just take on the “Wolverine” name, but when we had our “war games” going on at Jeff’s farm (lots of cornfields and such to hide in), whenever someone scored a big kill, he’d scream “Wolverines!” Then the arguments would start. “Hey, you can’t use that, that’s our name!” “Nuh uh! We thought of it first!” “No way, we did!” “Shut up!” “No, you shut up, you’re dead!” I don’t think we ever came up with a consensus on that one, but since there were several different groups of us all trying to call ourselves “Wolverines,” you can see how it’d get confusing.

But as all teen movie inspired dreams of glory do, our dreams of killing loads of commies came to an end. The commies weren’t coming. We didn’t have the time or money to buy cases of canned food or ammo and weapons, and we weren’t quite daring enough to steal from our parents. We tried sleeping out in the freezing cold in Jeff’s plywood cabin, but came in after the temperature dipped into the teens. The final straw came during one of the war games after it had escalated into use of BB guns, and I had shot my friend Jeff in the nuts. Twice. He dove behind a tree after the original shot, and when he re-emerged to surrender, I shot him again. As he sat with ice on his crotch, we all decided that it was better to just to let this idea die.

So, I guess in a weird kind of way, “Red Dawn” did inspire a warped sense of patriotism and many bad ideas. I guess that makes it a classic movie afterall.




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