Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
[Note - some folks have pointed out that I have omitted such yawning pits of self-indulgent nothingness as _Titanic_ and _Avatar_. This is true. I have not seen those, and touch wood, I never will. This list comprises only movies I have been entrapped into seeing. Make your own list glubdammit.]
True Grit (2010)
This is not a Western...
...is what you must tell yourself if you are a Western hater like myself.
Paradoxically, I list Peckinpah's _Wild Bunch_ at the top of my all time favourite films and have a deep soft spot for the lesser _Magnificent Seven_, which I've seen a 100 times and hope to see a 100 more. A great staple of rerun teevee. But the original _True Grit_? Few things make me reach for the remote to change channels quite as fast.
But I don't call either of those favourite films Westerns either. They are genius explorations of the maligned and taboo subject of "masculinity" - maligned especially in the sterile, ideologically puritanical times we find ourselves in today when anything with even a whiff of musky, sweat drenched maleness is denounced as an attack on women and cast out as the new twin secular Satans of "rape culture" and some mythical beast know only as The Patriarchy.
This is the story of a Man. A whiskey soaked, emotionless killer. But one that still possesses a useless trait that has been forgotten in our i-phone and Facebook neutered times - "honour". This Man crosses paths with a young girl, similarly weighed down with a burdensome sense of "honour" - a girl with pride, fearlessness and steel cold determination in seeking justice for the grave injustice of her father's murder.
This is also a a story of a rock and a hard place colliding, and how in the process, mutual respect, then a platonic bond, is forged. This is an archetypal story of a Man and a Woman.
Hailee Steinfeld and Jeff Bridges are the two core characters involved here and their performances are flawless. You forget this is a mere Western. And the Coen brothers, this is possibly their finest hour.
This is an impeccable film. You would do a great disservice to yourself to not give it a chance to suck you into its magic.
Minus one star for Matt Damon as a third leg in an otherwise perfect film. His role was far better suited for someone like Edward Bunker (RIP 2005). Waste of a good role.
Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)
A minor work of genius and a definite keeper for the collection
There is no genre so loathsome or guaranteed to make me roll my eyes and change channels than the American horror/comedy. The last work of any value here was probably the original _Re-Animator_ (tt0089885) with the prize tag-team of Stuart Gordon and Jeffrey Combs.
I reluctantly gave this flick a chance, it was on late night teevee and there was nothing else whatsoever on offer, and I expected the absolute rock bottom worst - sophomoric, predictable tripe a la _Scary Movie_.
What I got was _Scary Movie_'s absolute polar opposite - a slick, clever and thigh-slappingly, hysterically funny splatter fest. T&D vs. Evil takes the conventional "stupid teenagers head to the woods and run into hillbilly serial killers" slasher theme and turns it completely on its head. I won't say any more. This is one of those films where the less you know the better. Very, very highly recommended.
This is one for the hardcore fans of the comic
Seriously, if you have not read at least a couple of hundred old 2000ADs, please refrain from offering us your opinions. The sheer dumbness of comments like this -
"Horrible acting, main actor doesn't take off the helmet the entire movie."
are beyond flabbergasting, with the reviewer blissfully uncomprehending of the fact that the helmet is everything, and its removal the ultimate, unpardonable taboo that would have instigated mass backlash of the kind the earlier atrocious Stallone Dredd received. So please desist.
As for folks like myself, who grew up with 2000AD and still have have milk crates full of them in the basement, this film was a blessed relief, bringing to life the Dredd we groupies know and love *exactly* as he was on the printed page. Karl Urban was simply perfect, as was Olivia Thirlby as Anderson, a more human counterpoint to the relentless machine that is Dredd.
For me, as an unrepentant fan-boy of the comics, this film is a true keeper. Here's hoping the same team is kept if there is a sequel, and rewarded with more budget and freedom to tackle something really big - like the Dark Judges.
The Cohasset Snuff Film (2012)
Judging a film by reviewer ratings - a meta review
Firstly, is anybody really going to shed any tears when the "found footage" genre finally dies its long overdue death? Anyhow, I was prompted to add my thoughts after looking through the written reviews here and felt some things really needed to be added.
1. This film has an average rating of 3.0 from 26 users
2. The written reviews rated this film at 9, 8 and 9
3. Each of these reviewers have a total of one, and only one, review on IMDb.
4. Subtract these three review scores from the total and the average rating drops to 2.3 - which is the level that should trigger alarm bells. It ain't easy to score that low here.
5. The one external review (horrornews.net) tries to be as polite as it can, but does raise some other points of interest which are not mentioned in the IMDb user reviews: the absence of film credits; that the "based on a true story" claims fall apart on investigation; and, quote: "Essentially what this film is, is a collection of the Youtube videos that follow Collin Mason from being a snot-nosed teen into his self recorded murder exploits".
6. The horrornews.net review has only one comment from a person under the pseudonym "CinematicCritic", claiming to be a horror cinema connoisseur and reviewer but offering no credentials or links, who attempts to reassert that yes, this is indeed based on real life but, again fails to provide references. The rest of the rather long comment has to be read to be appreciated as an exercise in true shill-craft.
My final thoughts. Horror fans are a fickle bunch. And there is a golden rule no aspiring new film maker should ever break. Don't take us for a ride by feeding us false premises and praise for one's own genius. We have long memories and we don't often get fooled twice.
Prison of Hell: K3 (2009)
Absolute drudgery to watch
First up, I am 99% sure that the external prison shots are of the same prison/fortress as in Jess Franco's _Barbed Wire Dolls_. In fact, I would not be even slightly surprised if much of the outdoor scenery shots were simply lifted out of that film and reprocessed for cleaner picture. I also suspect this is meant as a homage to BWD - the whole set up is almost a carbon copy.
The good news ends there. Whilst Franco has his own brand of sleaze that no one else can really come close to and is entertaining in its own right, Bethmann's effort is nothing of the sort. It is a chore to try and wade through to reach the pay off - and that is entirely the contribution from Olaf Ittenbach, no kudos to Bethmann for that at all.
The copy I got is the 106 minute version - I have no interest whatsoever in obtaining any extended cuts because, judging from whats in here, the chances of any added value are going to be nil. In fact, if you do score a copy of this flick, you can save yourself an hour of your life for something more useful and simply fast forward to the 85 minute mark where the only real content of interest (unless you like cheaply made and banal vanilla porn) begins.
There is no story or characters to speak of at all. There is no real direction beyond pointing the camera and the players just seem to be ad libbing from rough guidelines scribbled on a napkin. The first 85 minutes consist of little more than unimaginative vanilla XXX captured in a paint-by-numbers unimaginative way, interspersed with occasional lame and unconvincing S&M plays. I don't think I have ever seen less convincing whipping in any film as an example.
But the last 20 minutes do offer some meat for the grinder - and that is thanks to Ittenbach, and I really wonder why he is wasting his talents here. This brief pay off however is only really of interest to the more jaded of gore-hounds out there that like to keep up with what the genre is offering. If that's not your thing, then don't even bother with this thing at all. It is an embarrassment to have in your collection.
One bonus point to note - the finale has one of the best head-blown- clean-off scenes in recent memory. Wonderfully executed. Viewed frame by frame the trickery is seen to be cheap and nasty. But in real time, it looks absolutely brilliant.
But other than that, this is just plain crap. Bethmann does not exhibit any kind of cinematic talent, nor offer any hope that he ever will. This is all just some juvenile fantasy he seems to be playing out for himself and no more. Save yourself some time and get some real Ittenbach or Japanese gutter filth instead. This is a waste of time.
Rating 0/10 - raised to 2/10 for Ittenbachs contribution.
The Boondock Saints (1999)
Troy Duffy is no Guy Ritchie
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it does not make a crap film great. When you imitate to pay homage, you are expected to bring something new to the table to justify the indulgence. This is a very lame attempt to mimic the previous years magnificent _Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels_, but devoid of its wit, style and elegance and likewise devoid of any meaningful plot. This goes straight into the "most overrated films of all time" pile.
Willem Dafoe, who I normally love, is simply awful here, over acting in an effort to bring some substance to an otherwise shallow character. I somehow doubt this is a film he would place prominently in his resume. The film itself is equally shallow - being little more than a series of highly stylized and gratuitous violent set pieces glued together with bubble gum and cardboard. And what exactly was the purpose of portraying Dafoe's character as gay in a single scene with an Asian toy-boy if there is no relevance or expansion on the theme? It's all just like a bunch of Youtube clips glued together in a collage.
I will not say "don't see this film". It is something you should view, if only to further aggravate yourself to see how Hollywood can ruin anything. It is one of those rare films that made me want to hurl my beer bottle at the TV. Pretentious, vapid crap and an absolute waste of resources that could have been spent far more wisely elsewhere. Simply awful.
Mr. Freedom (1968)
High school film project with a set and wardrobe budget
It had the premise, the wardrobe and the set design to be something special in the absurdist farce genre. And failed spectacularly.
I'm hazarding a guess, but it seems to me that director William Klein is (still alive?) a pretty ardent Alfred Jarry fan and this was an effort to mimic his surrealist theater in an attempt to skewer the concept of "American Empire". The contempt, both warranted and unwarranted, has no subtlety whatsoever - it's filmed at a Banana Splits teevee show level, albeit less entertaining in delivery.
There is no coherence or continuity in the story, the acting often painful, the direction amateur film school level. The opening few minutes are haphazard and forced, as though there was only budget for single takes, and that sets the standard for the remaining 90. I have to say this was one of those films that is a chore to watch - that you only go the distance to prove you can.
Which is a crying shame. The costumes and sets had the potential for something truly special as far as absurdist splatstick goes. Other reviewers compare the absurdism to Dr. Strangelove. I have a more appropriate comparison - The Day the Fish Came Out (which destroyed Mihalis Kakogiannis' career): that is how you make the theater of the absurd come to life on screen. But Mr. Freedom is just a poor case of squandered opportunity and resources. Sad.
100 Years of Evil (2010)
Half ideas half executed in half a film - an opportunity squandered
Surprisingly, to my knowledge, there have been no conspiracy satires postulating Hitler's suicide in the bunker being a hoax - this concept is such a golden opportunity for vicious, biting and black gallows humour. Sadly, that opportunity is largely frittered away.
This film looks more like a beta-promo proof-of-concept slap together with which to entice investment for the real thing. Just a bunch of set pieces barely held together by a stream of thought, occasionally losing coherence altogether. It is a very poor product and of marginal interest only. Really, I would like to see the creators pull it - learn from their mistakes, fine tune it, invite some devious writers, or even float for public input, and craft this properly. It is a crying shame seeing something like this so sloppily done.
Special Dead (2006)
Nowhere near as bad as expected...
... but that's not an endorsement.
Retards and zombies is a genre sorely lacking, but this effort did not hit home. There is squeamishness evident throughout at laughing at the intellectually handicapped - which kills the whole premise. C'mon, if you are going to make fun, you need to let go with both barrels or not at all. This squeamishness is what undid what could have been a true cult keeper.
I expected a _Police Academy_ brand of American idiocy. In this regard at least I was surprised. Nowhere near that level of dumbness. Zombies are good. Story not entirely predictable. Acting is passable. Still, opportunity squandered. I imagine what could have been in the absence of guilt and ethics. A _Bad Taste_ on steroids. Sadly, this blew it.
Worth seeing with pizza and a case of beer. But very easily forgotten.
Time Bandits (1981)
This is a work of blackly Cynical (as opposed to cynical, yes there is a difference) genius. This is Athenian Cynicism that Diogenes would be proud of.
12 yo Kevin has his life destroyed by a gang of midgets. There are some interpreters that think he has a light at the end of the tunnel at the conclusion - but that is irrelevant. It is the journey, not the destination that counts.
This is Gilliam at his unrestrained best. Bitter, black and noxious. Yet uplifting. This film is pure joy for those that like the dark side.
The scenes with Napoleon are magic, especially _me and my shadow_, as are those with Agamemnon. After 30 years, they still reduce me to giggle fits.
This is a keeper. Enjoy it with your kids and grand kids.