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The Green Inferno (2013)
If you're a fan of the Italo-cannibal genre, see this!
Filled with in-jokes, homages, and snarky jabs at the SJW set (many provided by Sky Ferriera's sweetly dour stoner character) this movie was a pleasure from start to finish. It helps, a LOT, to have seen most if not all of the films this one references, but I was surprised and pleased to see some references to Werner Herzog in there too, which should be expected since Roth shot on the same river as Aguirre. But I digress.
Filled with enough blood, guts, and viscera for the most discerning gorehound, the film gets the kills going, includes an uncomfortable vaginal exam, and a very unpleasant plane crash which was probably the most horrifying thing in the entire movie from my perspective, since I hate flying.
A Cannibal Ferox ending followed by a Man From Deep River teaser in the credits? If Roth makes it, I'll be there. If you love these films like I do, go and have a good time.
The Taking (2014)
The idea of making a horror film based on Alzheimer's is a sort of tasteless one, isn't it? I know a lot of horror is tasteless in some way, but this left me wanting to take a quick shower. The image of an old woman in the student's pseudo-doc who's either dead or close to death early on in the film was unpleasant, but it didn't make me think 'oooh, scary', it just made me think the filmmakers were...let's be kind and say 'enterprising' for sticking that image in there.
It's exploitive enough, with a frail elderly woman walking around naked, having painful medical tests run on her (just like Regan MacNeil! Surprise, surprise!) and acting spooky, which is one thing, but then it switches gears to a dead child murderer and snakes and kidnappings, and it should have been cut by about thirty minutes to keep the suspense up.
There's an ostensibly happy ending for the old lady and her daughter--well, about as happy as you can get with a story about a possessed Alzheimer's patient, and yes, that does feel very silly to write--but an extremely stupid and out of left field 'evil continues' ending is tacked on for a character we don't care about, since she's in the film for all of five minutes, tops.
I found it more effective as a horror film when it was dealing with Deborah as a victim of Alzheimer's and not Deborah as a possessed snake lady. The woman who plays Deborah should get some kind of reward for wasting her time in this, as she turns in a decent performance.
Mileage may vary, but I thought this was an absolutely terrible film, and the supernatural second half was boring as boring can be.
The Sacrament (2013)
Terrible movie filled with missteps; you want to know about
Jonestown? Wiki it. Just reading about it is about a hundred times more disturbing than this film.
First things first. Adding the VICE imprimatur made this all the more unrealistic; do you mean to tell me that VICE, who introduced me to General Butt Naked, is not going to have any knowledge whatsoever of a creepy reverend operating out of some unnamed backwater? Or that they're not going to do any research before they go where they're going? Stupid.
AJ Bowen is a good actor when he's doing homages to eighties horror or even playing an asshole; he doesn't have the weight needed to pull his role off. I had problems with all the actors. The guy playing Jim Jones--why bother pretending this isn't what's going on in this movie--was decent with the 'material' he had, I suppose.
The speeches Father gave were neither chilling nor all that informative. There's no real slow burn here either, which is what Ti West is known for. One second everything is cool, the next it's shot to hell. If you read any book about Jonestown or watch the many documentaries which exist, you'll see how the People's Temple did start out as a fairly benevolent organization, one which existed for many years before Jones finally lost it. That 'fairly benevolent aspect' is why Jones was able to draw so many in.
Aside from this being a movie about Jonestown from start to finish, there's a lot more we see in the film that's a pastiche of things which have actually occurred. I didn't like the Budd Dwyer call out at the end that "Father" performs, or sister Caroline pulling a 'Buddhist monk immolates self in a protest against treatment by the Vietnamese'. The sudden pull of the gun and the manner in which Father bleeds out is exactly the same as Budd's suicide, Caroline's ghoulish dance is a fair bit different, but if you have the references, the movie just feels like a ripoff of things which already happened and in all cases are far more horrifying than this film.
Most people have heard the Jonestown tapes, and unless you're living under a rock, you've seen pictures of the aftermath. This movie did nothing to otherwise illuminate the story of what happened there, so why make it? Just make a Jonestown film instead. You know you're in bad shape when a thirty year old TV mini-series starring Powers Boothe is a better representation than the four million dollar movie you just made.
In closing, I thought the inter-titles telling us that "167 people died in the massacre at Eden Parish" and "It was one of the largest mass suicides in recorded history" were in stupidly poor taste.
You see, in contrast, 913 people died at Jonestown. That was the largest mass suicide/murder in recorded history. This movie is for a generation who can't be bothered to look at the past--much like the eerily prophetic sign which hung over Jones's chair.
Oh, you don't know about that either? The internet, she is your friend.
Bad Behavior (2013)
Boring and a waste of time.
Babysitter comes to neighborhood house to do an overnight job, one of the kids is a paranoid schizophrenic, he keeps everyone locked in the bathroom for nearly the entire run time of the film. When the parents get home, we discover (it wasn't a surprise) that they're willing to go to any length to protect their kid and keep the babysitter locked up in the bathroom.
1. This is a busy suburban neighborhood. No one knows that there's a violent paranoid schizophrenic living in the house? Even after he cut his own brother's ear off?
2. The bathroom the babysitter and the two other kids are trapped in has a big fat skylight. Someone get on someone else's shoulders, bust the window, and leave.
3. The babysitter's parents don't start nosing around after their kid has disappeared? No cops get sent to the place where she was last seen?
4. The schizophrenic (a very stupid, poorly written version of a schizophrenic, anyhow) is shown to care for his little sister early on in the film. When they make an attempt to break out, she lags behind to grab a fake cell phone so the babysitter runs back to grab her and is caught again by the baddie. Why not leave and get help? Let's see: kid possibly gets hurt vs. going and getting definitive help. Yeah, screw the cops. So we can sit in the bathroom with the do nothing trio for an hour and fifteen minutes.
Poorly written and horribly paced, with lame hints dropped throughout to show you that the family is not all there, this was genuinely one of the worst movies I've ever seen. I like how most of the glowing reviews for this were all written on the same day by people who've never reviewed anything else here.
Avoid this like the plague and don't waste your time. It could have been rated G, it was so tame. Kids see worse on the SVU marathons they run on USA network every day of the week.
A Teacher (2013)
Awful, pointless film.
As a character study, it doesn't work, since we never learn anything about the two leads other than that they want to have sex with each other.
I don't understand the teacher's motivations for anything. Her sudden turn from rightly concerned that this will get out to insanely needy and obsessed? Don't get it, don't care much about it.
The boy is similarly a cipher. He sleeps with his teacher until she starts acting like a lunatic and then gets his dad and the school involved.
At an hour and 15 minutes it's hard to get any character development, let alone a plot, so saying that what this film wants to be is a great character study is missing the mark completely.
All I could think about was what a huge controversy this would have been if the roles were reversed. Male teacher, female student? Everyone would be up in arms talking about how horrifically the student had been abused.
I wished we could gotten a title crawl about how long this 'teacher' ended up in jail for, but no such luck.
Room 237 (2012)
Sounded like a good idea at the time
Concocting far-fetched theories about 'what it all means' when it comes to films I love is a fun way to spend an afternoon. This means that Room 237 should have been right up my street, but god, are these people bores.
I love the woman who thinks she's discovered some hidden meaning in the fact that Kubrick intentionally made the layout of the Overlook have an impossible geometry. This is film school 101 noise, hell, it's 'average joe film viewer 101' noise. Yes, the way the Overlook is laid out is physically impossible. We called that 'unheimlich' in film school, and it's a very obvious trick (once you've seen the film a few times) that gives credence to a viewer's feeling that there's something not quite right about the place. Impossible geometries flip people out. They're creepy and fun. The inside of the Overlook echoes the maze outside, it echoes Jack's breakdown, it's very simple symbolism. As for the minotaur? I think she read House of Leaves too many times and let's leave it at that.
The guy who seems to think the film is a metaphor for demons sexually abusing the Torrances creeped me out the most, I think. Dude, you are a walking Rorschach blot. Was he the same guy who giggled overmuch and said 'like' and 'you know' all the time? An excellent public speaker, that one. How is Wendy completely, totally, one hundred percent linked to the twin girls again? There was a lot of giggling and 'you know'ing, so that explanation never really went anywhere solid. Sort of like this film.
A lot of the dialogue used to support the both the moon landing and Native American theories are straight from the book, so I guess that was just a nice coincidence for Stanley? Apparently Stephen King knew about Stanley's dilemma and placed those lines in the book so he could use them. Could be. They both have the same initials (SK) which I'm sure also means something that I don't care about.
As for the key in the door which only spells out 'room' and 'moon'? It also spells out 'moor'. And 'moron'. But that's neither here nor there, I guess. When trying to cobble together shitty theories you have to toss what doesn't fit, am I right? It would have been a good idea to let us see the people attached to the crackpot notions, and also to separate the ideas themselves a bit more. After a while I felt like I was listening to one long ramble from the same loon (which may have been the intent) but it was ultimately a tiresome hour and change.
I did, however, go and watch Lamberto Bava's Demoni directly afterward, (scenes from which they kept using as filler footage) so it wasn't a total loss.
why do I bother with Asylum movies?
Minor quibbles: Richard Speck didn't rape and kill the student nurses in a hospital, he raped and killed them at their apartment. I don't know why this bothers me so much, but it does. The Asylum have a habit of altering history in their other films when the truth would work just as well--their Amityville film and the Anneliese Michel picture are both good examples of this, though at least the Amityville film is so bad that it crosses the line from suck into awesome.
As an aside; for whatever reason I get offended when the stories they choose to tell are about real people. Just write your lousy dung about characters that you bothered to make up using your imagination. Impossible I know, since they have none. Or write your story with this in mind and then change the names to protect the innocent or whatever. File off the serial numbers. If I were a member of the families of the murdered girls, this movie would work my nerves even more than it already does. Same thing with the Anneliese Michel movie. Instead of scaring me, all I could feel was annoyance that they couldn't let this poor person rest in peace. Richard Speck was a piece of garbage, why do I have to watch a movie where his ghost rapes some chick? How sanctimonious of me, I know.
On to the review. Not much to say, to be honest. The movie is boring. Nothing good to say about it at all. Kills are ripped off from better films like REC and we even get a low-budget Entity callback. If you want a fun found footage film done on the cheap, go watch Grave Encounters, which is also a piece of crap but does have a sort of interesting premise.
Mostly, the Asylum pisses me off because they actually make money on these awful films. However, I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm totally envious of them for that very reason, so there you go. They suck, this movie is awful, they make money, I am jealous. The end.
The Encounter: Paradise Lost (2012)
I'm obsessed with
Christian films. They're so wretched that they've become a guilty pleasure for me, which is why this gets a ten. I have this awful tendency to hand out tens to movies which are so bad they cross the line into total awesome. It's a problem and I should try to stop, but I'm not there just yet.
Over time and many, many terrible, pretentious films, I've learned that David A.R. White is the cream of the crop when it comes to the bizarro world of Xtian filmmaking. He also bears an uncanny resemblance to a very good friend of mine, but why should you care about that? I know you don't, I'm rambling. Anyhow.
I saw the first 'Encounter' when digging through instantwatcher's Faith and Spirituality section looking for documentaries and soon after that I was hunting down these things like a junkie looks for a fix.
The sanctimony drips from the screen, the awful dialogue sometimes ripped directly from the Bible so as not to offend the faithful, the preachy nonsense--all of that's on display here. It's sort of like watching a Jack Chick tract come to life, and in my opinion there's absolutely nothing bad about that. All these films lack are cartoon devils yelling HAW HAW HAW at the folks unlucky enough to burn in never ending hellfire.
If you want to watch something so terrible that it might make you giggle, check out the wild and wooly world of Xtian film. Watch this movie! It's exciting, it's ridiculous, it MIGHT EVEN SAVE YOUR SOUL.
But watch out for the characters named Deville! And no, I'm not making that up.
I don't even know what to say.
There are a lot of shills on this board giving this high marks. That's one thing I can say. Are you all friends and family of the filmmakers?
To those of you discussing the masterful composition of shots: where? Shots go on for far too long to get them up to feature length, everything could and should have been trimmed drastically on both the head and tail ends.
This is essentially a student film. I say this, having been a film student myself and able to recognize the repetition, non-existent pacing and lack of plot that passes for a senior year project. The fact that it took four people to write this is shameful; I wouldn't have advertised the fact that even with four 'writers' working on this there's essentially nothing happening at all.
The lead is not a very good actress, she's not compelling to watch and her line delivery is pretty bad. There's a bit cribbed from Fatal Attraction where the lead switches a bedside lamp on and off post empty sexual encounter to symbolize her alienation, my response to this was a resounding 'who cares?'
Shot in and around Silverlake and Los Feliz, the only fun to be had is spotting your local landmarks. I'm sure there were lots of excited story discussions in just the right tone of voice so that the other diners knew they were making a film over glasses of red wine at--hmm. I'll take a guess and say it was at Alcove on Hillhurst, though Intelligentsia probably got hit hard too.
The 'shocking' ending doesn't make it any good, so don't count on it saving the day. It was probably conceived of as a short and should have stayed that way.
How do you rebar two people together? Another rip, this time from a Friday the 13th film, by the way, though I can't remember which one. And I don't know too many hipsters who keep an axe in or around their houses, either. Maybe the killer brought it with him to the party in the back of his Prius. Laughably bad.
P.S. It's a blue heeler, not a blue 'healer'. Did you want me to think your protagonist was stupid as well as utterly boring?
The Oregonian (2011)
ten lines, huh?
1. This is not a movie, it is art school 101 junk. 2. Please don't disrespect David Lynch by comparing this waste of time to anything he's done. 3. The 'actors' in this are very bad and should be ashamed of their performances. 4. Why do these awful directors even make movies? Where do they get their funding? Are they just maxing out their credit cards or asking mommy and daddy to refinance the mortgage? 5. The lighting is quite scheisse. The DP did a bad job. 6. The 'scary' old lady is not scary, even when she tries to be. 7. Ditto for the guy in the frog outfit or whatever the hell it is. 8. Flash frames are not visually interesting. 9. Neither are people on their hands and knees spitting up black goo. 10. Not even many cases of beer or other illicit substances will make this utter pretension worth your time. Avoid it like the plague.