Red Eye

red_eyerating-4.0Part Hitchcock thriller, part typical "girl in trouble" slasher film, this is a fairly taut tale of woman forced by fear of peril to do something for a dark stranger who threatens her father...

Adding a touch of political intrigue to the mix, Red Eye manages to deliver both a film that is somewhat different for Wes Craven and a movie, though to a certain degree rote, that manages to offer fast-paced and not absurdly dramatic thrills.

Rachel McAdams, the hot actress du jour, stars as a young hotel manager on the way home from a funeral who, after several chance encounters with a dark and charming stranger played by the excellent Cillian Murphy, is seated next to him on a plane. A simple flight quickly turns to danger as they get off the ground and Murphy reveals that her father will be killed if she doesn't move a high-power politico to another, more easily attacked room in her hotel.

There is the inevitable tense back and forth and McAdams holds up her end well as a strong but unsure woman balancing her fear of her father's imminent death with her desire not to see others dead by her hand. Murphy does his normally blistering job of acting with sharp smiles and glaring eyes, a fire that's shown in his performances in Batman Begins and particularly his career-making role in 28 Days Later.

Jayma Mays and Brian Cox do an excellent job rounding out the cast, adding the weight and charm of their performances to the mix and keeping the film very solid.

Craven shows his first bit of inventive and fresh direction in many years and the clean simplicity of this movie blows away most of his more popular films, not to mention keeping him well within the bounds of a conventional thriller instead of outright horror.

All things considered, the movie is drastically better than I would imagined and reigns in the annoyances of such a thriller. The fact that the writer went on to pen Disturbia might mean that the film may be less horrible than it appears (though maybe not).

At very least, it's a victory for Craven, whose career leaves much to be desired these days.

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The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

pellhamrating-4.0Men board a subway train in New York and, halfway between stops, take it over and shut it down, holding a single car hostage in the tunnel.

This is the premise of The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three, a film from the early 70's that heralds the coming of films like The French Connection, but without the humorless and bleak undertones.

Walter Matthau stars as a transit police lieutenant who has to deal with the crisis, as four men hold the passengers hostage in exchange for a million dollars. His nemesis, Mr. Blue, is played by Robert Shaw, the villain's color-based code names obviously being an inspiration for Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs heisters.

What follows is a tense standoff and the mystery of how the four men in the tunnel expect to escape, no shortage of wit and bitter comedy taking place outside the tunnel, where an incompetent mayor attempts to pull his weight and the acid-tongued Matthau tries to keep the situation in hand and take stock of the kidnappers.

Probably one of the best films of the time period, the simplicity and lack of unnecesary 70's grimness gives the 60's feel of the proceeding a touch of the future of crime films without stripping away all the fun. Vulgar and smartly humorous, the film doesn't carry unneeded fat and keeps a high pace. Nothing stops the film from start to finish and it makes you wish for the days of Matthau again, when a man could be just as funny as he was serious.

One of the finer films of the 1970's and an unheralded classic, the ensemble cast delivers an excellent and well-thought-out movie, still enjoyable today.

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My Big Fat Independent Movie

independentrating-0.5One of the most deeply unfunny "comedies" I've ever seen, this "parody" attempts to mock independent cinema, or at least all of its biggest hits, as if it is somehow above those films.

Movies like Pulp Fiction, Mulholland Dr., Desperado, Amelie, Swingers, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Pi, Secretary, and many others are openly derided, but without any whit of humor and with no comedy whatsoever. The film's desperate sense of humor involves overdoing the original films to the point of annoyance. But nothing within the film comes within thousands of miles of the actual movies being mocked.

I cannot say enough bad things about this fucking atrocity. Stupid people, such as anyone that posts on IMDb messageboards, may like this fucking retarded assemblage of high-handed horseshit. It's as unfunny as Scary Movie, edited for PAX. And that movie was already pretty damned unfunny to begin with. The film shows nothing but open contempt for its source material, while not understanding or appreciating any reasons that the films were well-regarded in the first place, though much of the independent cinema being parodied is a decade old and already well past the point of parody.

The fact that this is co-written by an editor of Film Threat shows just how unbearably worthless that magazine is, as anyone who can preach from the pulpit of the critic and then make a fucking waste of time like this deserves no credit and to be gangraped by a pack of howler monkeys and a black bear.

Dear Cunts: You can't write. Kill yourself.

Everything is a comedy worst-case scenario. Absolutely nothing elicits a laugh of any kind and if I ever heard that anyone laughed at this piece of shit, I'd punch them in the face.

If you thought this movie was in some way funny or went so far as to compare it to an actual comedy like Airplane! (I'm talking you to, IMDb fuckbag), I want you to go outside right now and suck on your own exhaust pipe until you can't wake up anymore.

Even Uwe Boll is above the ineptitude required to write such a blisteringly retarded film.

imdb   amazon

Alone In The Dark

alone_darkrating-1.5Alone In The Dark has gained the reputation of being one of the worst movies of recent decades, somewhat unfairly. Surely wretched, the movie is far from director Uwe Boll's worst, yet it is treated as such. Boll, best known for ruining every form of movie he touches, almost always video game adaptations, has become this generation's Ed Wood: a genial but incompetent douchebag who churns out awful but somewhat entertaining fodder for people ready to pass judgement on the horrid proceedings with a vicious mind and a joy for the abjectly stupid.

Not as bad as the tepid, dull, and dim-witted Bloodrayne nor does it heap stupidity and purposelessness like House Of The Dead, Alone In The Dark attempts to ruin the career of Christian Slater, here seen attempting to perform as a noirish detective in a not-very-dark monster movie, somehow involving strange experiments, monsters of the darkness, and secret goverment agencies in the most haphazard of ways.

Slater is saddled with the world's worst actress, the always-drunk Tara Reid, whose inability to deliver a line with any serious import adds even less credibility to her supreme miscasting as an assistant curator at a museum, even more unlikely casting than Hilter in Fiddler On The Roof or Dane Cook as someone who's funny. The millstone of Reid hangs heavily around Slater's benighted neck as he drags through the sub-amateur writing and dialogue to spar with an even-less-enthusiastic Stephen Dorff, rattling off lines with all the verve of a man condemned to die.

Though some aspects of atmosphere and effects work and Slater tries somewhat, despite the obvious awfulness of the surrounding film, the film doesn't work worth a shit and comes to nothing more than a trainwreck of badly-written, badly-acted, badly-paced scenes, chock full of stupid decisions and sub-made-for-Sci-Fi-Channel action.

Everything reaches its "climax" in some underground lair where the shadowy dogs of hell come from and the good guys attempt to win, but we find in the "twist" ending that, apparently, it didn't work and the world is doomed.

One might say that I have ruined the plot by revealing this futile detail, but the movie is pre-ruined, so I can do no wrong in this regard. If I tried to give you any inkling of the actual plot, I would fail you, myself, and common sense, as there is no descernable method to the madness contained within, except excuses to perform the various acts of violence contained within. Even the sex scene is inexplicable and somewhat stomach-turning, particularly with the worst choice in music ever made...

The music is another vastly inferior element of the film, co-opting a soundtrack from the Nuclear Blast metal label, going so far as to feature music videos on the DVD, a feature indeed "special" in how awful it continues to make the film. Of particular badness is the end credits theme by Nightwish, one of the most inept and incompetent pop-metal outfits of the Scandenavian region, summing up the total feeling of the movie with its abhorently stupid lyrics.

Everything in the film could be satisfyingly described as "a fucking atrocity and a crime against mankind", yet it still doesn't ramp up the ineptitude to the level of Bloodrayne. And Christian Slater, poor soul, does his best to wear this albatross, forgiven for the smirky enjoyability of his 80's films.

We forgive you, Christian. Boll, for all his stupid charm, will never be forgiven. He hurts us all and yet tries again. For this, he must pay.

imdb   amazon


elizabethtownrating-3.0Elizabethtown tells the story of a suicidal business wiz, played by Orlando Bloom, whose career comes to total ruin and is only days away from being revealed as an utter failure to the world. His moment of self-destruction is interrupted by the call that he has to tend to the death of his father, travelling to rural Kentucky to see to the arrangements.

The film plays out the series of comical adventures Bloom witnesses as he deals with the extended family that he barely knew and the burgeoning interest he gains for the talky stewardess from his flight, played by Kirstin Dunst.

What the film is particularly adept at is its portrayal of an extended Southern family. The only filmed visions of Southern families previously have been wild and stupid charicatures or julip-sipping aristocrats speaking with thick gentile accents that have never existed. If you wondered what a large Southern family is like, strip away the most wildly humorous elements seen in this movie and what remains is exactly what you get. For that part, the movie is done right.

The rest varies wildly. The situations are often interesting and humorous, but the overall tone of the film is strange and uncomfortable. Dunst does a better job of not being a jabbering, retarded cunt than any of Cameron Crowe's other leading ladies, but things never quite click with Bloom, who does a great job with what little he's given to do other than react to his surroundings while delivering his few lines with a pitch-perfect American accent.

While parts work and are genuinely amusing or interesting, the end of the move fails under the weight of its bland and scattered ideas, along with falling into the trap of being, in its last part, your regular Cameron Crowe film. That is, overwritten with shitty half-baked dialogue, much of it revolving around obscure music and people talking in a stilted, unnatural way.

Admittedly, I think Cameron Crowe's movies are pile of shit. Fast Times At Ridgemont High is nothing more than the lowest form of shitty 80's teen movie, Say Anything... is overwrought, melodramatic, and foolish, Singles is crap, Jerry Maguire is mindless romantic-gratifying bullshit, Almost Famous, I'm told, is wretched and I would shun it like I would abhor a stillborn child, and Vanilla Sky is roundly castigated as being nothing less than an abortion in every sense. Aside from all that, this is easily his best film, though it comes off as a less-retarded and pitiful version of Garden State, replacing the wretched and annoying Natalie Portman with Dunst, whose idiosyncracies stand as amusing and attractive as opposed to strictly painful to watch. Still, it's a Cameron Crowe film and, while it's tolerable, it's still less than desirable.

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