Thursday, November 28, 2013

Review: Highlander 2 (1991)

Review by Disgruntled Monkey

Director: Russell Mulcahy
Starring: Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery and Virginia Madsen
Writer: Peter Bellwood

Highlander 2 was the first Highlander movie I actually watched. It wasn't until I watched the original that I realized how insane this sequel is. But despite being insane it's also got a reputation for being one of the worst movies ever made. However i'm about to put forth a controversial statement. While it's not a good movie, it's far from the worst thing put out there.

First off the acting isn't bad at all. You've got Sean Connery who is a great actor. Christopher Lamber who may not be the best but has a very easy charm to him. Virginia Madsen who's a great actress in her own right and finally Michael Ironside chewing the scenary as the main bad guy. There not given anything solid, in fact they are given some insane stuff to deal with but they are still engaged with the movie.

Visually the movie is a mixed bag, but in my opinion creates an interesting and bleak world which does feel rather oppressive. Some of the special effects are cheesy, but other manage to hold up and are still more impressive than your Sy Fy fare. There are also some fun set pieces that manage to really create a nice sense of action.

Where things truly fall down is the story. Mr Bellwood must of been on some serious drugs when he wrote this because nothing really makes sense, nor is it explained. Everything from the original is changed or morphed slightly. The biggest change would be that the immortals are now aliens rather than being mystical. From there the movie goes about with out a real care for the original and no regard for trying to make sense. All the films problems stem from the script and Russell Mulchy who doesn't seem to try anything to stem the bat shit insane.

Highlander 2 has things going for it but it's truly buried beneath a big pile of steaming script shit. Taking a look at where the series went I can't give too much crap to this sequel cause the weird is at least entertaining. If you want to dive into Highlander start at the beginning, but if you are a fan maybe give it another look. It's not the end of the world.

Category
Rating
Reason
Entertainment
0.5 sword out of 1
Despite not making sense it's fun in an insane way.
Script
0 swords out of 1
The first case for negative points.
Acting
0.5 sword out of 1
Good actors make this crap bearable. Kind of.
Directing
0 swords out of 1 
I think Mulcahy was never in full control
Technical
1 sword out of 1
For the time it looks good and some stuff holds up today.



Overall
2 swords out of 5
I've seen true movie abominations and this isn't one of them.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Disgruntled Monkey's Vlog 27.11.2013 Reassessment Renegade

Another day, another vlog. This one is contemplative and is a reassessment of what I want to do with these damn things.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Review: Basket Case (1982)

Review by Disgruntled Monkey

Director: Frank Henenlotter
Starring: Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith and Beverly Bonner
Writer: Frank Henenlotter

When you jump into the world of cult horror classics, Frank Henenlotter's name will probably be brought up eventually. Even with not having watched any of his movies, I've had his work leave an impression on me. I remember watching trailers for Basket Case 3 and Frankenhooker when I was a lot younger and always wanting to watch them. Well today I finally start my Henenlotter journey with his first feature film Basket Case.

Man I wish this journey didn't start so bumpy.

Basket Case deserves it's cult status if only for it's central theme. Siamese twins are born, one normal and one a freak. Having been separated against their will they've now come to New York to take revenge on the doctors who performed the operation. It's a fun story which is bolstered by Henenlotter who creates a quirky feel to the film and doesn't take itself that seriously.

However when you get away from the story and tone you bump into a lot of problems that stem from probably a lack of cash in the production. The acting is absolutely horrendous in this movie, distressingly so. It's almost like first year drama level's of acting. Sometimes I would just laugh at the acting so much I would just lose track of the film. So maybe this is a good thing for people who like the so bad it's good movies.

Effects and visuals are also pretty low rent. You get this idea that the film is shot guerrilla style in the shortest amount of time possible. It's a testament to Henenlotter for getting a coherent film out of it all, but it doesn't make for that visually exciting film. There is a charm to some of the claymation like scenes of the monster twin Belial going about his business, but they are few and far between.

Story and tone was strong enough for me to put the sequels on my Quickflix list for future watching, so I'm thinking that's a big positive for the strength of the main idea. However this still doesn't change the fact that it's a bad movie. Watch if you're intrigued at the premise and want to see all the Basket Case movies but just be pre-warned. Here's hoping the next Henenlotter movies are an improvement.

Category
Rating
Reason
Entertainment
0.5 freaks out of 1
Despite the flaws, there is some entertainment to be had.
Script
0.5 freak out of 1
At the core there is a foundation for a good cult classic.
Acting
0 freaks out of 1
Hold your nose, they stink.

Directing
0.5 freaks out of 1
Potential but Henenlotter's strength seems to be writing.
Technical
0 freaks out of 1
Lack of budget kills this movie.



Overall
1.5 freaks out of 5
Not completely devoid of good elements but it's not good.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Review: Fast and Furious 6 (2013)


Review by Disgruntled Monkey

Director: Justin Lin
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson
Writer: Chris Morgan

Somehow the Fast and the Furious series became the action equivalent of The Avengers. I'm not saying it was as good as The Avengers, but these movie became a joining of memorable characters from the first four movies. In fact I would go so far as to say that it does exactly what The Expendables wanted to do but never does it in a forced manner.

Minds will not be changed at this point. Nothing I say will really sway anybody who is still on the fence about this series. Honestly if you are reading this review trying to decide if the movie is for you, all you really need to ask yourself is, are you a fan of the old FF movies? If not don't bother.

What I personally like about this movie over number five, is that things are really being ramped up. It's weird to think about it, but there is a big story at play and it's been there since the forth movie. It also helps that Justin Lin as truly crafted this massive world, even managing to tie things in with his first outing, Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift. Sure some of the pieces have been jammed together to be able to fit, but Justin Lin loves this world and really seems to have a passion. A passion that actually allows this movie to move above it's B Grade foundation.

With Justin Lin bowing out for the seventh movie, I wonder if the series can keep this uniquely A grade B grade material viable. Thankfully most the cast will return, and that's great as they all bring a charisma to the movie, even generally wooden actor Paul Walker. Diesel, The Rock, Rodriguez, they all walk with such a swagger that it's hard not to be endeared to them. Backed up with the likes of Ludacris and Sung Kang; who provide a solid back up roster, there isn't really too many moments when we are begging for a character to get behind.

However all this is coming from someone who is a massive fan of the series. The same problems still exist in the series that have all ways been there. As much as the actors have charisma, not all of them are the greatest of actors. Paul Walker is probably still the weak link in the series. Also the plot is pretty ludicrous (see what I did there). If you try and comb through the movie too much it's going to fall apart. If you can't appreciate the action (and there is some top notch action here) then you won't really find anything to latch on to.

I don't think I really need to go on as you probably know by now if you want to watch this movie. I give it the thumbs up. When number seven comes out they can gladly have my money.

Category
Rating
Reason
Entertainment
1 engine out of 1
High octane action that delivers.
Script
0 engine out of 1
Plot holes and bumps big enough to destroy any car.
Acting
1 engine out of 1
While not stellar the charisma is off the charts.
Directing
1 engine out of 1
Directorial passion upgrades a B Grade movie.
Technical
1 engine out of 1
Action scenes are pretty fantastic.



Overall
4 engines out of 5
It may not change the movie world, but it's sure will entertain.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Review: Citadel (2012)

Review by Disgruntled Monkey

Director: Ciaran Foy
Starring: Aneurin Barnard, James Cosmo, Wunmi Mosaku
Writer: Ciaran Foy

'Hoodie Horror' is a genre of film from Britain. Dealing with the fear of youths dressed in hoodies it certainely plays on a growing concern in peoples minds. The genre isn't solely a horror genre as films like Harry Brown clearly belong to this urban fear. So how does Citadel do in this evolving genre?

In my mind it knocks it out of the bloody park. Taking a psychological paranormal brush to the idea's behind 'Hoodie Horror,' Citadel creates a deeply depressing world that shows a decaying urban area reaching all new lows. While it may create a tone that would turn people away, there is something truly special happening that can draw others in.

Tommy (Aneurin Barnard) is moving out of his condemned block of flats when his pregnant wife is stabbed by some youths in hoodie's. She survives long enough to give birth but is left in a coma. Moving forward in time we have a now agoraphobic Tommy battling his psychological break down as well as trying to raise a daughter. On the eve of his wife having her life support stopped, the same hooded youths come back into his life with an intent to steal his baby daughter from him.

As you can tell the story is a major bummer, that coupled with the bleak imagery and slow lingering pace that never wants to give you a reprieve, Citadel is not a movie for people looking for an easy viewing experience. Ciaran Foy who both wrote and directed this film know exactly what he wants to do and i'm excited for what he will do in the future. That man sure knows how to make you feel uncomfortable.

Unfortunately Citadel isn't a perfect film. The acting is a little over the place. Sometimes it feels spot on, but on occasion Aneurin can overplay it. It's the same for James Cosmo who plays a particularly foul mouthed priest. Also the origin of the supernatural hoodie members is a little silly. Ciaran Foy is careful not to over explain them, but perhaps even less explanation would of been better. Just having these beings be a symptom of the urban decay and leaving it at that would have been better.

Besides these honestly small negatives, the movie is still brilliant and I highly recommend it to people. It both powerful but a very depressing trip that is well worth the time invested. Get out there now and watch a leader in the 'Hoodie Horror,' genre.

Category
Rating
Reason
Entertainment
0.5 hoodie out of 1
Depressing but enthralling.
Script
1 hoodie out of 1
Despite some over expository, it's remains powerful.
Acting
0.5 hoodie out of 1
Can be good but it wavers too much.
Directing
1 hoodie out of 1
Strong idea creates a strong atmosphere.
Technical
1 hoodie out of 1
Simple yet effectively convey's a decaying urban landscape



Overall
4 hoodies out of 5
Brilliant horror movie that captures a dark world.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Review: This Is the End

Review by Disgruntled Monkey

Directors: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen
Staring: James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel and Craig Robinson
Writers: Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg 

Their will be two major hurdles to you enjoyment of this film. First off most of the humor comes from one joke. If you do not care for this joke then it's best to move on. You see This Is The End wants you to know that in an emergency, celebrities are going to be doomed. They are fragile, hopeless things and pretty much are fated to be the devil's sex toy's if things go down.

The second big hurdle is that if you do not enjoy the comedic stylings of Seth Rogen and co then you will probably not enjoy this. It's not as bad as some purposely cringe inducing comedy, but the comedians personality is all over the place. Still I should point to the anecdotal evidence of my wife still enjoying some scenes even with her dislike of the style of comedy, so it's not all that bad.

Get past all that and you have a very funny film. While I didn't laugh out loud all the time, I was consistently giggling to myself. I was also very much into the cameo's of other celebrities, especially Michael Cera who gets to play the douchiest version of himself. Not only is the comedy rather good but there is actually some heart to it, especially with the friendship of Jay and Seth taking centre stage. I've also got to tip my hat to Danny McBride who goes full on asshole and in some ways is the greatest villain of the film, a film that I should point out that has Satan in it.

As for all the apocalyptic shenanigans, the movie manages to feel like some real crap has gone down while being in a relatively limited location. Special effects are impressive for a comedy movie and there are some disturbing imagery that I didn't see coming. Also the deaths are pretty visceral and couldn't help but laugh at severed head soccer. It's a nice to see a comedy movie concerned with every aspect of the movie and not just the laughs.

Honestly if you have no problem with the two hurdles I mentioned at the beginning of the movie, then you should get your butt a copy of this. It's well crafted, funny and gives a different take on all the apocalyptic movies. Also seeing celebrities hopelessly trying to survive the end of the world is always an ego boosting experience. 

Category
Rating
Reason
Entertainment
1 Mars bar out of 1
Funny as hell.

Script
1 Mars bar out of 1
Solid with a charming heart.

Acting
1 Mars bar out of 1
Actors play themselves but turned to 11.
Directing
0 Mars bar out of 1
Nothing to write home about.

Technical
1 Mars bar out of 1
Some great camera work and solid effects.



Overall
4 Mars bars out 5
A very good movie that offers a hell of a fun ride.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Review: Stitches (2012)

Review by Disgruntled Monkey

Director: Conor McMahon
Starring: Ross Noble, Tommy Knight, Eoghan McQuinn
Writers: Conor McMahon, David O'Brien

Ross Noble is a funny man. Ross Noble is a comedian I have a lot of time for. When I heard that a movie about an undead killer clown was being made and that Ross Noble was going to be said clown, I was overjoyed. Yeah I was wrong.

I'm not sure who made the choice. Maybe it was Mr Noble or maybe it was Conor McMahon, but someone thought that they should have Ross Noble down play his performance as the killer clown Stitches. He delivers line with such a dreariness that I was getting bored out of my ever living mind. 

If the movie was a drama about a foul mouthed and mentally exhausted clown trying to get his life back on track, I can see where Noble is coming from. However in a movie that has death by ice cream scoop, detachable clown nose and just some over the top deaths, the tone does not gel well with the performance. There are moments when Noble does amp it up and it seems like the movie will pick up. But it's over too quickly and I'm just not having any enjoyment.

The main characters are a rag tag group of teens that range from mean assholes to wimpy little shits. I had no sympathy for any of them. Well maybe some sympathy for Bulger (Thommas Kane Byrnes), but that was fleeting. Sometimes a horror movie gives you characters that are meant to be nothing but dead meat walking. You cheer for the villain to kill them. Unfortunately going back to my main problem, Stitches is such a boring flat character I didn't want to cheer for him or the kids, I just wanted the movie to end.

On the bright side there are some inventive gore sequences and some ideas that really clicked with me. I loved the idea of a secret clown cult of necromancers. There were some visuals that also showed that the director has some real talent behind the camera. If Conor McMahon makes another film I'm going to watch it.

What the biggest shame of this entire movie is, is that there is something here and maybe if they got Noble to ham it up a little things would of really connected. Unfortunately I can't recommend this movie as the characters either repel or bore. I'm going to take my red nose and floppy shoes home.

Category
Rating
Reason
Entertainment
0 red nose out of 1
Anything entertaining is undone by bland or horrible characters.
Script
0 red nose out of 1
What ever potential was in the script, is wasted.
Acting
0 red nose out of 1
Noble just makes the wrong choices when it comes to Stitches.
Directing
1 red nose out of 1
There is talent behind the camera
Technical
1 red nose out of 1
Great visuals and great make up.



Overall
2 red nose out of 5
A movie that makes me feel like a fool for watching.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Review: Demons (1985)

Review by Disgruntled Monkey

Director: Lamberto Bava
Starring: Urbano Barberini, Natasha Hovey, Karl Zinny
Writer: Dardano Sacchetti

Demons is a heaping helping of Italian Horror Cheese and boy is it tasty. To tell you the truth I actually watched this by accident. I was trying to get Night of the Demons but couldn't remember the title at the time. Still this was one of those pleasant mistakes as the movie was pretty damn entertaining.

First off I should state that this movie is not the purveyor of great acting. Add to that some weird English dubbing, you get a blend that could turn people away. However there are things to keep the horror hound interested.

One such thing would be the practical effects. Sure it may not be up there with some horror classics but it's gory enough to be entertaining. These Demons are particularly vicious and will scalp a bro if it's needed. Also the actual Demon make up itself is pretty simple but for some reason I dug the red veins expanding all over a possess persons face.

Bava also brings a lot of style to the film and manages to use lighting to really create some visually arresting scenes. There are also some nice camera tricks used in the more action packed scenes that I kind of dug. Mainly involving a katana and a motor bike.

Story wise we have an interesting set up, but nothing of any substance. People go to a movie, movie is about demons, people in cinema turn into demons, chaos erupts. That's about it and I didn't need any more. But I couldn't help feel that the whole film within a film was slightly miss used. But just when I was going to question it, someone's jaw got ripped out.

Horror fans need to make a stop at the demons station. There's plenty of fun to find here even if the movie isn't that substantial story wise. Cool visuals, nice gore. A recommend for a horror movie night, for other's who don't like horror. Um. Maybe move on, nothing to see here.

Category
Rating
Reason
Entertainment
1 crucifix out of 1
Fun as hell.
Script
0 crucifix out of 1
Bare bones of a story.
Acting
0 crucifix out of 1
Just bad.
Directing
1 crucifix out of 1
Bava gives the movie some stylish moments.
Technical
1 crucifix out of 1
Old school practical effects in the hizzie.



Overall
3 crucifix out of 5
It's a devilish good time but don't expect high art.

VLog 13.11.2013 State of the Union Address

GOOD GOD I LOOK FABULOUS!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Review: Sushi Girl (2012)


Review by Disgruntled Monkey

Director: Kern Saxton
Starring: Tony Todd, Noah Hathaway, James Duval and Mark Hamill
Writers: Destin Pfaff, Kern Saxton

God damn is this a tight, well paced, crime flick that has oodles of character and a collection of well known B actors given time to strut their stuff. When this movie wrapped up I knew that Kern Saxton was a director to watch from now on.

Honestly the movie starts rather slowly but as we are introduced to the feature characters we get a sense that something big is about to unfold. Five criminals come together after one of them is released from jail after six years. The thought on everyone's mind is, where are the diamonds they stole back from a heist gone wrong?

There are other stories, important stories, playing in the background but to go on about them is to ruin a butt tonne of surprises. The great thing about the surprises in this movie are they are well set up and don't crumble under intense scrutiny. By keeping the story simple everything just works damn well.

But for me, the highlight of this movie had to be Mark Hamill as Crow. Holy heck is this man awesome. Crow could easily be Hamill taking his Joker voice work and just bringing it to a live action film. Instead he manages to take some notes from his work as the Joker but infuse Crow with other characteristics that make him probably the most interesting character in the film. I'm amazed, my jaw is on the floor.

Tony Todd is also an excellent presence and bring a certain menancing coolness to the head thug and man who's organized the entire night. It's a nuanced turn and only get over shadowed by Hamill because Hamill is larger than life. There are also great turns from other actors and all of the main criminals are just brilliantly drawn.

Anyone who's a fan of crime flicks with an exploitation flare should track this movie down and watch it. Get out there and buy it. Find Kern Saxton and just give him money. You may say that this movie has made a massive impact on me and i'm drawing the line here. What ever that means. Just watch that damn thing.



Category
Rating
Reason
Entertainment
1 Sushi out of 1
Fun characters, fun times.
Script
1 Sushi out of 1
Tight script, logical suprises.
Acting
1 Sushi out of 1
Mark Hamill steals the show.
Directing
1 Sushi out of 1
Very focused.

Technical
0.5 Sushi out of 1
Competent but nothing special.

Overall
4 Sushi's out of 5
A wonderful feast of a film.