REVIEW: Hollow Man (2000)

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Hollow Man: C+

I love Kevin Bacon. Other than James Woods, no one can play a scumbag like him. Imagine a world where Kevin Bacon is a scientist who creates a potion that can turn him invisible. Now imagine that when he becomes invisible, he goes on a raping/bludgeoning spree and laughs a lot. Now, watch this: PRESTO! You have just imagined up Hollow Man. 

The film was defecated on by critics but it has a lot going for it. It was directed by the guy who did Total Recall, Robocop, and Starship Troopers. The special effects were nominated for an Oscar. There’s one scene where Bacon and his scientist buddies inject a gorilla with chemicals to make it invisible. The chemicals don’t work all the way and we are treated to a half-invisible gorilla that looks like a transparent rendering from a zoology textbook with its half-invisible circulatory system and half-invisible gorilla dong hanging out. It’s pretty fucked up.

Then Bacon injects himself with a modified formula and we get all the raping/bludgeoning that you got all excited about when you read about it in my introductory paragraph, you sick fuck. Bacon’s vanishing is all dramatic like the gorilla scene and there’s exposed circulatory system / exposed Bacon dong. He sneaks into houses and rapes up a storm culminating in his unscrupulous murder of his victims and Bacony snickering.

They never explain if his perviness is a side-effect from the invisibility juice (which slowly makes you crazy) or if he was just mad with power and down to do some rape. You’ll have to draw your own conclusions there.

Elizabeth Shue plays the sexy scientist co-worker whom Bacon would like to rape and Josh Brolin plays the hunky scientist co-worker whom he would like to bludgeon. Most of the movie focuses on Bacon trying to achieve these things and him giggling while murdering anyone who gets in the way.

All the Invisible Man tricks show up. They spray him with stuff to make him visible. He has to walk around naked. Echoy corridors make it hard to pinpoint where Bacon is. It’s a fun movie with genuinely good actors playing their rolls with a silly sci-fi script. Check it out.

REVIEW: Gallow Walkers (2011)

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Gallow Walkers: D+

Did you See Blade and think that it would have been vastly improved had the mythology been tweaked to include the Wild West and the special effects had been severely downgraded? Well then you would fucking love Gallow Walkers!

Wesley Snipes is back from his forgot-to-pay-his-taxes “vacation” as Aman, not Blade. Look how Bladey he is, though!

Blade is the son of a mortal woman and a vampire, determined to hunt the undead, whom he hates, because they killed his mother. Aman is the son of a mortal woman and a demon, determined to hunt a band of ever-resurrecting outlaws, whom he hates, because they killed his sister.

Blade was raised by a biologist vampire slayer in a filthy auto body shop. Aman was raised by a shaman demon hater in a filthy slaughter house.

Blade uses small firearms, a sword, and projectile weapons to murder vampires. Aman uses small firearms, a whip, and projectile weapons to murder demon outlaws. Both of them have uncanny precision too!

Aman doesn’t fight Triple H with fangs like Blade did, he fights Diamond Dallas Page who wears a metal bucket on his head.

The one-liners, Snipes voice-overs, and ridiculous hair will trigger Blade nostalgia.

The borrowing from other movies does not end there. Aside from bucket head DDP, the antagonists include a dude with no skin who must purloin it from his victims ala Hellraiser, a female outlaw who looks like Daryl Hannah from Blade Runner, some fucking goon who looks like Bib Fortuna from Return of the Jedi, an omniscient demon who sounds like Unicron from the Transformers animated movie, and a billion expendable Gallow Walker undead outlaws who vary in sophistication from stumbling zombie to suave megalomaniac kingpin.

Exposition overload! Entire characters exist only as plot devices to prompt Snipes to tell his life story. The flashbacks are constant. Not from all that acid I did over the span of the last decade, I mean the flashbacks of Aman’s stupid fucking origin story that is basically the same as Blade’s. I’m not talking about the chemicals that will be in my spinal cord for the rest of my life.

The spaghetti western nod is there, and for the effort, they get credit. The action/gore is minimal and computer generated. Almost all of the kills are from gunshots that blast the victim off screen. The music is exactly what you would expect in a cheap western.

Nothing special to see hear, worth a few chuckles and interesting enough to play the whole way through.

 

REVIEW: Dream House (2011)

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Dream House: F

The only thing “Dreamy” about this movie is Daniel Craig. I mean, seriously, his eyes alone are Dreamy as fuck. They’re like two cobalt planets made entirely of virginal arctic ocean. Two shards of a warm autumn sky, just for you. Dim crystal tunnels that spiral to a world of passion where their cold gaze steams from an inferno of desire.

The rest of the movie is an pitiful labyrinth of horse shit…

Actually, there is a lot of good acting in the movie but the convoluted story and quintuple “twists” are simply too much and thus build the aforementioned maze of excrement.

Daniel Craig and his family move into the Dream House and they are happy. Then there’s weird dudes staring at the house all the time and some things going bump-in-the-night. Craig gets curious and he starts digging around in the past to figure out why people are malevolently staring at his house instead of lazily staring into his two azure skull-portals.

Cliche alert: You’ll never guess where his detective work leads him… TO A CREEPY-AS-FUCK MENTAL INSTITUTION!

Well then we have to ask ourselves if Craig might be a patient in the mental institution. Perhaps the Dream House is nothing but a delusion cooked up by that brain hiding behind Craig’s glamorous, flirty, cornflower whirlpools.

Go ahead and hold that thought for a fucking nanosecond because before you have time to explore that possibility, in comes Naomi Watts to spoil everything. Now the Dream House Fantasy is looking more like a Dream House Criminal Conspiracy or a Dream House Small Town Cover-Up.

“Well okay,” you think to yourself. “Maybe it is just a case of -”

“SHUT THE FUCK UP!” bellows the movie. Suddenly: ghosts. And fire. And hired assassins. And revenge killings. And duel-layered cases of mistaken identity. And ambient music. And more mental institution. And murderous psychos. And benevolent ghosts. And more coincidences than snowy flecks of white in Craig’s sexy sapphire marbles.

What a goddamn mess.

REVIEW: The World According to Dick Cheney (2013)

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The World According To Dick Cheney:  B

This is a mockumentary in the vein of Spinal Tap-so seemingly close to reality that it’s indistinguishable, from something that might really happen in the real world.

This movie asks some probing questions. It uses old video and pictures of historical figures into which several fictional characters that have been seamlessly CGI’d. It really is impressive work. The questions the film posits:

  • What if a dumbass with no clue and no interest in having a clue and who thinks he’s chosen by God became the US President?
  • What if the Vice-President was a soulless disgusting pig of a man whose alcoholism and greed and insecurity led to him to paranoid actions that caused the death of hundreds of thousands of people?
  • What if a big, bald fat-fuck with a heart condition got to treat the world like his own personal D&D board make money doing it?

Because all this, in the film’s continuity, happens. And the saddest part is…no one in this fictional America can or will try to do something about it. Which is the realest part of all.

The guy playing Dick Cheney has this sideways smile-subtle…but scary…and not caring that everyone knows he’s lying…because he has the power. If a man with no heart had secret control of the US government, he’d smile like that for sure.

And the end is so ominous-you see this Dick Cheney guy perfectly CGI’d into President Obama’s 1st inauguration. He’s sitting there wearing black in a wheel chair-still up on the stage in a place of honor. It leaves you with a feeling that the villain is still out there…most likely in an underground bunker near Denver with access to an Earth Quake Machine ™.

Which is just where I would believe he is now if he existed.

 

REVIEW: The Omen (1976)

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The Omen: B+

The anti-Christ is up in here, up in here and he’s a weird, bug-eyed little boy. This movie has a style similar to Rosemary’s Baby in that it manages to invoke “terror” and interest without in-your-face gore but instead with subtle suspense and events that gradually increase in creepiness, building up to the big Satanic conspiratorial reveal at the end.

Gregory Peck’s sexy ass is an American diplomat to England. When he isn’t eating bangers and mash while sternly furrowing his brow, he’s hanging out with his wife and their little boy Damien. Only Damien isn’t their actual son! Their son died shortly after being born and ol’ Peck was convinced by the creepy hospital staff to swap the dead baby for a newborn whose mother died in childbirth. And, get this, he didn’t tell his wife about the switcheroo!

What a dope.

Once Damien is around three years old, all of a sudden, there’s some morphine-addicted priest and the professor from Ninja Turtles 2 trying to convince Peck that his son is the anti-Christ and that he should take him to a church and kill him. Who the FUCK would believe that? Certainly not Gregory Peck. These priests. They’ll say anything for a little attention.

And so begins the cycle of the movie that involves Peck slowly realizing the truth while the body count rises and Satanists (both humanoid and canine) embed themselves in strategic positions to protect Damien.

I feel bad for Damien. Could you imagine being the Prince of Darkness but you have to sit there pretending to be a little boy all the time? Eating baby food and riding a tricycle? Pretending you don’t know how to talk or read just so you could effectively cause global annihilation one day? Bor-ing. At least he gets to kill someone in the funniest scene of the movie (which involves a tricycle).

The music is good, the Satan stuff is really funny (but meant to be scary). The kills are abrupt and fun.

REVIEW: They (2002)

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They: D

Wes Craven presents They, a herald of the onslaught of shitty early 2000’s PG-13 movies with CGI monsters and a played out story arc. They sucks and the actual “They,” Them, fuck Them; They are lame.

There’s this girl named Julia who gets night terrors. Really, it’s not night terrors; it’s just the “They” fucking with her. Isn’t that exciting?!

They are little CGI gremlin things that hide in her closet like the Boogie Man and they come out at night and try to, I don’t know, eat her or maul her or take her to the other closet world or something. Anyone else who has ever almost died huffing glue will know what I’m talking about. It’s like that, am I right?

I know I’m right…

Anyway, They drive her crazier and crazier as the movie progresses. Her friend looks like the guy who loves torturing Theon in Game of Thrones. Even his wily ass doesn’t believe her when she tries explaining Them.

She winds up going to the nut house because They made her so hyphy, she hurt some folks. I’ll admit, I kept watching until the end to see how it all wraps up. You know how at the end of most Freddy movies, the kids figure out what is going on and there’s a climactic confrontation and exciting explosions and awesome cackling and frightening animatronic monsters and acts of heroism and raw carnage and violence? Wasn’t that mind-blowingly badass? Well, there’s nothing like that at the end of They. The ending is just a big busy unscary cluster-fuck of CGI Them.

Thanks, Wes Craven.

Wah-wah.

 

REVIEW: Compliance (2012)

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Compliance: B+

When I was a teenager, I used to make prank calls with my friends. We used to convince people of all kinds of crazy stuff. We had one really elaborate one that involved calling Denny’s and telling them that we were driving the pancake batter truck.

Before I go on, let that sink into your head.

Pancake.

Batter.

Truck.

Got it? Okay, so then we’d tell them that the truck crashed and there was pancake batter all over the road. One time, we even told them that the hot pavement turned it all into one giant pancake, and that pancake was blocking holiday traffic.

The best thing about these calls? We never had to struggle to get people to believe what we were saying. The argument would always come from us telling some poor assistant manager that they had to send somebody down to clean the stuff up. Nobody ever just hung up and told us that we were being stupid; instead, they’d argue that they couldn’t afford to send somebody down. Also, they’d get confused with the imprecise directions we’d give, as we always told them that it crashed on “the freeway near there” and would only repeat those directions in an annoyed, condescending manner when they questioned it.

What do pancake batter trucks have to do with this movie? Nothing. However, when you’re watching it, you might find it implausible that a simple prank caller can get people to do all kinds of stupid, twisted stuff. When that thought enters your head, think of two things: 1) this is a true story and the basic setup happened more than once, and 2) pancake batter trucks.

The point is, people are stupid. When I was a kid, I thought it was funny to get people to believe that there was a big pancake on the road. This movie taught me what I could do if I didn’t have a conscience, and I thought it would be amusing to get people to violate a young woman.

When you watch this, you’ll yell at the TV and want to find all of the real-life people that this was based on so you can beat the shit out of them – except for the victim, she’s already been through enough. I think I got a lead on one of those fuckers. Want to join me in busting some heads? I can pick you up in my pancake batter truck.

REVIEW: American Psycho 2 (2002)

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American Psycho 2: F

What a mess. Kunis has the dignity to be openly ashamed of this movie, so I will give her that.

The connection between this straight-to-DVD mistake and the first (and only) American Psycho is virtually non-existent. I’m fairly certain they had a script for a shitty thriller and they just spent a little extra money to mention Patrick Bateman in the film so they could put “AMERICAN PSYCHO” on the cover above Mila Kunis’s emotionless face and next to what looks like a photoshopped meat hook. This is a business plan that horror fans know well; if you like this genre, you have seen the memory of some of your favorite movies defiled through cheap sequels and reboots.

The studio was hoping you said one of these things to yourself when you saw this movie on the shelf:

1. “Oh boy! American Psycho 2! I loved the first one! Better check this out!”

2. “Oh boy! Mila Kunis as a serial killer! She’s a babe! Better check this out!”

3. “Oh boy! Shatner is in this? I hate my life so I better check this out!”

I’m sad to say that I fell for it, mostly because of #3. Now I hate my life even more.

The movie is about Mila Kunis killing her classmates so she can be Shatner’s teaching assistant. Or at least that’s what I got out of it while I was jamming pencils into my ears and eyes.

The movie was shot in 20 days total and oh boy, is it obvious. AP2 has none of the cleverness, gore, meaning, or downright evil of American Psycho. There is no social commentary and the acting is a centrifuge of suck. It’s like Shatner and Kunis are having a competition to see who could make their lines sound more forced. There are gratuitous voice-overs used to remind us that Kunis’s character is a psychopath.

The soundtrack has goofy whimsical music you would expect to hear in a kids’ movie like Air Bud or Problem Child. I don’t know what they were going for there. It plays over and over whenever Kunis’s therapist shows up. They probably bought it for cheap.

There are about a half dozen off-screen kills that cardboard teenage victims walk into like dummies. Most of Kunis’s time on screen is spent staring off into nothingness while one of her terrible voice-overs plays. She is pondering what it means to be a killer but it is so contrived, I barfed. And she looks/behaves like a dead-eyed vegetable, which I do not mean as an insult; I actually respect her for phoning in every syllable.

I gave it an F instead of a UV because maybe you’ll like it if you have a Kunis fixation. Check it out of you want to see her and Shatner shout their lines as quick as possible before grabbing paychecks.