Steve's Nutshell Reviews: The Break Up

break-uprating-2.5I didn't hate The Break-Up, but it's still a turd (albeit it a turd that isn't THAT painful to watch; I mean, I gave it like a 2.8 out of 5. So, yeah). First, it's billed as a romantic comedy... But there's really few things all that funny about it. I really hate it when I'm told in a preview that a movie is one thing and turns out to be another.

What's it about? Here, read this Wikipedia link.

Done? Cool.

Yeah, I'm lazy. But this is a "nutshell review". What did you expect? A parade of what's best in writing and the English language?

Anyway, yeah, it's not all that funny, though it does touch on all those things that many couples fight over. Mr. Speck says that this movie could be re-titled The Harpy and the Douchebag, and that pretty much sums it up. Though Aniston and Vaughn play their parts well, the people they play kind of suck. Vaughn's less so. Jennifer Aniston's character is a total idiot and it's difficult to sympathise with her ass at all. OKay, well I can sympathise with her ass-- Hey, is my wife gonna read this?

So, it's not very funny and the main characters are written to be like scraping ones fingernails against a chalkboard. Seriously, Nancy Spungen would have been nicer to watch as a character. No offence meant to Aniston, as I actually like her acting. But the Vaughn character is better off without this bag of crazy.

(Put. The. Rock. Down! So I like Aniston... what? WHAT?)

Vince Vaughn also does an admirable job with such a dismal script (which he helped write, tragically). Even if this film was adverted as being a slightly cheeky romantic drama, I think I would still pan it. On the bright side was Jon Favreau's bit. A great charcater to be sure... until this part at the end where he drones on and on about hurting someone and such; it really doesn't need to be in there. Though the part is good, it really belongs in another movie. Jason Bateman also pulls off a great role.

And that's another thing. The pacing in this film is terrible and it has certainly been edited by drunk circus mice.

I bet those damned mice have a union.

Um... There's really not much more to say. This film isn't an atrocious affront to art and humankind like, say, Ultraviolet (damn you to hell, Kurt Wimmer, damn you to hell), but it certainly isn't all that great either. Almost or merely okay is a pretty spot on description. There are some great parts in this flick, but they're tied together with garbage bag ties to make up the greater whole. That's why I was so dissapointed. It could have been a great movie. ARGH!

The Break-Up stars Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Aniston and Jon Favreau. The director who should be caned is Peyton Reed. The writers who should spend a little time in a Turkish prison are Vince Vaughn, Jay Lavender and Jeremy Garelick.

imdb   amazon

Steve's Nutshell Reviews: Slither

slitherrating-4.0Many people told me this film would suck. I'm pleased as drunken punch to say that I really, really enjoyed Slither.

In-jokes abound and the influences are quite obvious. Night of the Creeps, Night of the Living Dead, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, John Carpenter's The Thing and many others can be seen. Heck,  even the spitting thing reminded me of Day of the Triffids or even better, the Alien franchise. There's a lot of 50's sci-fi and horror going on, too. I think fans of Lost Skeleton of Cadavra will see some fun in Slither, too.

The story is simple: Something from outer space lands (say it with me now... SPAAAAAACE!), takes over one of the locals in a rural area, and the near-by town is assaulted in the way that results in cool scenes of terror and gore (my favourite way, might I add). It all comes down to "victim zero's" love (a woman name Starla), the small town chief of police (played brilliantly by Nathan Fillion) and a teenaged girl  (who survives a "worm attack", thus gaining valuable insight on the alien menace).

There are other survivors, too... All played to the hilt. The Mayor especially! Jesus, what a hoot his character is!

This film does have its snags, though. The pacing is rough, and probably the weakest part of Slither. Also, there are a couple of other minor things that are typical of lower budget horror movies. Nothing all that big, though. This is certainly heavy on the cheese factor in spots, but that cheese is usually countered by snappy dialogue (a strong suit of writer/director Gunn) and some damn cool storytelling.

James Gunn proves again that he can write a fun and somewhat compelling film, full of great characters and nice bits that will make you smile. Directing it is another story; but I think that Gunn does a passable job. He's lucky that the stellar cast really carry this movie for him. I do wonder what this film would be like if Zack Snyder (Dawn of the Dead 2004) had directed it, for instance.

All in all, Slither is fun! Nothing all that scary, but it did have me on the edge of my seat in parts... And you may never look at meat the same way again.

Nathan Fillion needs to be in more movies, dammit.

Oh, yeah, and I should add that if Slither had been made 10 or so years ago, it would be considered a classic. Sadly, it loses classic status in a broader sense of the term because the bar has been set much higher on films of this nature... and it falls short a bit (once again, due to Gunn's direction, which many would call "lazy" or "unfocused"). I still enjoyed it, but I can see where many others would not.

imdb   amazon

The Hills Have Eyes Part 2

hills_2rating-1.0It's amazing how easily a simple, though not great, premise and a tolerable movie can turned into the worst kind of serialized bullshit, filled with all the stupid cliches and bad characters of any Friday The 13th or Nightmare On Elm Street movie.

How a movie about an isolated family being harassed by hill-dwelling cannibals got turned into an idiotic teen movie about a bunch of stupid teenage motocross assholes picking fights with the cannibals as a sort of joke, I will never understand.

And who thought it would be a good idea to make the surviving cannibal girl into a spruced up heroine, gone to civilization and returned to so unfortunately come across her former hill-dwelling family.

It's depressingly dumb and comes across as nothing more than a cheesy made-for-TV movie.

The fact that Wes Craven made it makes me wonder why the man is considered to be a great director, when much of his output has been on this level.

imdb   amazon

Where The Truth Lies

truth_liesrating-3.5This movie comes off as interesting and prurient, though I greatly feared that it had Atom Egoyan directing it after seeing Exotica, a wretched and dull-witted excuse for filmmaking and barely worth mention even as cheap softcore porn.

Where The Truth Lies, on the other hand, is very sexy, while maintaining a dark intrigue as a fictionalized dirty analogue for the career of Martin & Lewis and the breakup of their dopplegangers' relationship based around a death.

Rather intriguing material, even if Egoyan's style is rather poor for the most part. This movie manages to come off as sultry and interesting period drama, instead of cheap eroticism.

Definitely worth looking into once.

imdb   amazon


beerfestrating-5.0I went into the film with somewhat low expectations. I am a huge fan of Super Troopers and enjoyed Club Dread, seeing them both in the theaters, and also enjoyed Broken Lizard's first film, Puddle Cruiser, though it was somewhat light on the kind of humor that they'd become known for. Upon rewatching it in its extended cut, Club Dread turned out to be a much better, funnier movie than it was in its theatrical version, but none of that made me much more hopeful of how good Beerfest would be, given its constant appearance as beer-soaked frat comedy. I was most decidedly wrong.

Broken Lizard is easily at the top of its game and Beerfest is the proof. Those who would speak ill of the movie are either soulless or stupid, because the comedy is brilliant in its simplicity and silliness. It's nothing more than it appears or aspires to be and it does what it sets out to do very well: make very vulgar and somewhat banal jokes at a regular intervals and keeps the audience laughing, hard, for the whole length of the movie.

The plot is simple and straightforward. It's the standard plot to the average feel-good sports movie: brothers, dishonored, compete (with the help of their wacky friends) to show the better-organized and trained champions that they can do one better. Except, in this case, it's a series of beer-related drinking games. And the dishonor is much more complex and, therefore, funnier.

But you couldn't possibly find a better comedy that involves excessive drinking, male prostitution, and animal masturbation. And definitely not handled without being totally stupid and vulgar, in the American Pie way that has infected the consciousness of America and lead people to believe that dumb = funny.

And this movie may be occassionally dumb, but that isn't the crux of its comedy. Its comedy is in its oblivious lack of knowing how dumb it is or in its crass disregard for convention. Or, occassionally, it's just vulgar enough to have you guffaw.

imdb   amazon