The Lost Skeleton Of Cadavra

lost_skeletonrating-5.0The Lost Skeleton Of Cadavra is the pinnacle of modern comedy entertainment: retro 50's schlock movie-making, parodied with dead-on accuracy and acted out with brilliantly bad abandon by a group of good actors who know how to act badly.

The perfect indie production, providing bad effects and low budgets with humor based around that lack of good effects and budget, this movie mimics all the cliche sci-fi notions of the time: scientists trying to find a space "element", Atmospherium, to help increase science or to bring back to life an evil skeleton (depending on the scientist in question), aliens needing the rock to power their spaceship, loose mutant monsters, forest animals turned into a woman, a housewife, and a hapless park ranger, all running loose in a state park. Really, the plot doesn't matter at all... You won't understand it anyway and it's just a framework for the comedy itself, just as pointless as the plots of the 50's movies it mocks mercilessly.

Every odd and uncomfortable moment, every drip of beautifully redundant dialogue, and every just-too-long lingering shot serves to increase the comedy into a torrent of neverending laughter, no matter how many times you watch it.

People who have no experience with the wretched black & white sci-fi and horror films of the 1950's may not get the jokes and references to the extreme badness of that period's low-budget masterpieces, but there should still be no end of comedy for anyone willing to enjoy a good belly-laugh at some intentionally awful filmmaking.

Nothing could be better than Larry Blamire's freshman masterpiece, at least not until his next film, the more colorful Trail Of The Screaming Forehead.

And who could ask for anything more than that?

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Action Jackson

action_jacksonrating-3.0One must give a certain amount of credit to Carl Weathers. He seems to be a fun, intelligent, and thoughtful man. And, as shown on "Arrested Development", he obviously has a good sense of humor, as well. Using all these talents, Carl drags us through the somewhat dim-witted plot of Action Jackson in a way that puts all the Stallone's and Schwarzenegger's of the world to shame. Arnold couldn't shine the man's short-sleeved t-shirt.

Obviously, as a martial-arts-wielding millionaire, Craig T. Nelson seems less than stellar casting. Not that the Coach's role seems that logical. But none could be worse than Vanity. I suppose she plays the part of a worthless junky whore well, but we never get any real inkling as to why Carl's bothering with her in the first place. Sharon Stone does us all a great favor by getting killed in the movie, a fact that should delight anyone that's ever had to see Sharon Stone act.

But, those facts aside, it's a damned shame that Weathers never got more play back in his day, because he's a more charismatic action hero than any of his other brethren. He is a thinking man's action hero: thoughtful and wise, though entirely capable of throwing down when the need strikes him.

And the need often strikes in this picture, full of brilliantly strange lines and weird flourishes that makes the film a very enjoyable, if not entirely brilliant, venture. Weathers is a steady ship in any storm, though, and he pulls you through the whole thing without a question of whether it will be horrible or hilarious.

But no Weathers vehicle is a bad Weathers vehicle, so absorb the film and enjoy all the Jackson-packed action.

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Flightplan

flightplanrating-1.5In the annals of history, there will be recorded a short list of movies so wretched and annoying that they scald the minds of those who watch them and leave them changed, broken, bereft of hope for the future. Flightplan is just such a film.

Flightplan seems to begin already on a down note. One could imagine the audience falling to sleep within the first three minutes, but that would mean they would miss out on every annoying and stupid plot twist.

Now, if you have any interest in ever seeing this movie, read no further. It's shit. When you watch it, you'll see that fact. Otherwise, I'm about to talk about the movie, "twists" and all.

I use quotation marks because nothing in the movie is really unexpected or surprising, except how low Jodie Foster has managed to sink.

Read more: Flightplan

The Hitcher (1986)

hitcherrating-3.0Yes, the original. I haven't seen the remake.

This isn't a deep film. I can see why they remade it, though I heard the remake was bad. This isn't a good movie either, but the remake and the original seem to be excellent in the same way. The remake is apparently a tour de force of Sean Bean's bloodthirsty brilliance. The original is a Rutger Hauer one-man show, existing only to show off what a bad-ass he is. They have this much in common.

C. Thomas Howell, often underrated, plays the silly young man who picks up a hitchhiker and you get to watch as his grueling litany of (someone unbelievable and often unforgivable) mistakes continues for one hour and fifteen minutes before he finally clears his name and prepares for the inevitable showdown with Hauer, who manages to annihilate everyone else in the movie without chewing a single piece of scenery.

Eric Roberts couldn't have done that. Nor Malkovitch or Kingsley or any other character-acting demagogue. His slightest sneer is worth 1,000 Willem Dafoe mental breakdowns and that's why people watch this movie: he's frightening because he's not. He's a normal man who does horrible things because he can and because it amuses him. And that's enough.

Howell does his best to keep up and, despite all the silly mistakes, hardens up and gives us the manly ending we desire, with the appropriate stand-off. And Hauer manages to become The Terminator, an unstoppable juggernaut whose path of destruction cannot be contained or stopped by any means. Much like the Terminator, we hate to see him go, because, fuck, he's way cooler than our heroes. Who doesn't want to root for that villain?

Now I just have to see Sean Bean try to out-Rutger Rutger. Because I'm sure it's a thing of beauty.

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The Zodiac

the_zodiacrating-2.5Not to be confused with the excellent-looking David Fincher film, Zodiac, coming out later this year, The Zodiac is written by the Bulk(e)ley brothers (they spell their last names differently) and directed by Alexander Bulkley, a producer on "Robot Chicken" and "Moral Orel". You would think that the producer of those Adult Swim shows would have a sense of humor, if anything. But his movie is a big snore, when not just retarded.

The direction is actually fairly good and the style is interesting, but the plot is both irritating and pointless. The movie comes down a totally irrelevant family drama more than the actual killer or murders themselves, focusing on one of the lead detectives in the case, a top-of-the-line douchebag played to the hilt by Justin Chambers, as he folds like a card table under the pressure and takes it out on his family, played by the often-underused Robin Tunney and Rory Culkin.

The plot itself is entirely irrelevant, as it's just a bunch of made-up shit that has very little to do with the actual case, which never has been and likely never will be solved. Any implication that there are good suspects or The bits in between the Zodiac's killings are just filler and an excuse for the family members to not get along and argue. The bits of the Zodiac himself are handled fairly artfully and add to the movie's limited atmosphere.

The fact that such a sleek-looking movie with the promise of such dark material manages to be a total snooze-fest is a damned shame. It should teach filmmakers to not bore us to tears with family dramas about shithead cops.

Please, David Fincher, erase this crap from my memory.

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