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D.O.B.: 7/22/75, New York, NY
Residence: Northwestern, VA
Occupation: Disgruntled forklift driver
Preoccupation: Death/grind/doom metal guitarist/lyricist, guitar instructor, taxi service, inherent motivator, and procrastinator
Previous screen names: jca420666, Foreskin Sandwich
Winged Creatures (2008)
The Director's Commentary Is On the DVD For a Reason
As a certain reader from the UK shamelessly plugged a Gus Van Sant movie regarding gun violence, all the while disparaging the entire USA, stating that "we Americans need to get out more"; I, on the other hand, found this movie a mixed bag of sorts. I found this movie at a Blockbuster, boasting promises of, "Like Crash, but better" on the cover. It took a couple of viewings (with the commentary, mind you) to figure out that this movie is not about gun violence, but about PTSD, and the effects it has on people in the midst of tragedy. Viewers who do not possess the patience of witnessing a 90-minute emotional roller-coaster may want to steer clear of this film. Viewers actually wanting a film advocating gun violence should check out American Gun (which also stars Forrest Whitaker). While this movie had good intentions, the character development was a bit nonexistent, as if we were supposed to already know everybody's scruples in the film before the film even started. As the director even states in the commentary, ensemble films are tricky; some work and some don't. This one almost worked. With more thorough development, it could have been the Better Crash that it promised us it would be.
The Butcher (2006)
The Wrong Texas Hills Turn Has Chainsaw Eyes...
Just when you were convinced that (1): plagiarism is illegal, and (2): Lions Gate means quality; here is this steaming pile of cinema in which, if you were convinced anything, it's that even you can write a bad, unimaginative movie and convince a moron or two to capture it on celluloid. Just like bands that copy each other's riffs, this "movie" more than borrows, but hijacks elements from said titles. What we have here is your six attractive twentysomethings...on their way to...Vegas.
Why are young people in horror movies always going to Vegas? Never anywhere else, it's always Vegas. Are they all gonna get together and make one collective bad movie or something? But I digress.
Any horror movies with pretty people going to Vegas (or anywhere, for that matter) always begins with car trouble. Here, it's the telltale flat tire. If people in horror movies took care of their vehicles, there'd probably be no horror movies.
You got the D-Bag With Blond Girlfriend couple, the Bi-Racial couple, and the Lesbian couple. Charming, indeed.
In a brief synopsis: They change the tire, get accosted by a big ugly truck, play games with the truck, get one of the lesbians chopped in half (quite bloodlessly, I may add. There were no intestines flying or blood spewing, just some fake legs in jeans), freak out, run for help, and find...you guessed it...a creepy farmhouse. There is actually a line in the movie said by D-Bag, "don't you guys watch horror movies? You don't go in the creepy farmhouse". Is this intended as a sort of self-deprecation on the part of the movie makers in that they know they fkkked up...? (symbolism of sorts?)
But Wait! There's More! People start getting killed by the mad couple living in the Creepy Farmhouse, including, as predicted, the only cop to actually investigate the matter. A chainsaw enters the picture...Tobe Hooper's lawyers were probably calling at this point. It's bad enough they had the balls to steal half of the last name from TCM for the Mad Couple ("Mayhew" from Hewitt. I couldn't have faked it better).
In the end, a couple of them survive. Somebody had to live to tell the story, always armed with the defense: "I didn't write this, really. I just acted in it".
If you've been living in a cave, under a rock, or have been in a coma since 1973, see this movie.
If you know better, you probably wouldn't be reading this.
Children of the Night (1985)
Everything About the 80s Just Got Darker
Here's a TV movie not unlike the ones ABC used to play after the 11:00 news. We begin with the lovely and talented Kathleen Quinlan as a sociology student exploring the lifestyles of teenage prostitutes as a topic for a dissertation. What begins as a homework assignment, so to speak, becomes so much more as she begins taking these girls off the streets and into her home. While many of these girls take well to Quinlan's actions, our main focus is shifted to Valerie...a whiny, misguided and downright stubborn malcontent who Quinlan ends up rescuing about three times in the film, replete with the textbook, 80s disciplinarian dialogue that makes TV movies TV movies. That this is a true story makes the film so much more genuine. The film itself is about 90% night time, so those who don't appreciate 80s night films (i.e. super-dark; unlike later in film-making where night is represented by blue light) may find themselves adjusting the brightness on their TV. Add 80s mainstay Mario Van Peebles, playing the pimp, Mr. Spanish; coupled with Pat Benetar's "Hell Is For Children" for inspiration (and the fact that Ms. Quinlan dons high heels throughout the entire movie...awesome), and you've got a pretty decent drama that makes you wish there were more of Quinlan's character out there. Oh, did I mention she wears high heels throughout the whole movie...?
While She Was Out (2008)
Ms. Basinger Must Be Nostalgic For The 80s
Here's yet another cat-and-mouse vigilante movie that would make the Cliché Police proud. A despondent housewife with an abusive husband runs to the mall for wrapping paper and is accosted by a conveniently ethnic variegated gang of apparently inexperienced thugs after she leaves a note on their car regarding their parking skills. Throughout the movie she manages to kill all 4 of these delinquents with the contents of her Red Toolbox Of Death. The stupidity and general implausibility of these thugs places their guesstimated ages at about 17. As predicted, she spends most of the movie running, running, and then running some more (in a trench coat, mind you), that, at one point, I felt like I was watching The Warriors. What I found quite amusing was the fact that, during the melee, she finds time to stop and take a leak (hey, even the pursued gotta go sometime). That's something you don't normally see in films of this ilk, as it adds a touch of humaneness (I mean, Harrison Ford never stopped to pee in The Fugitive. I'm sure by the end of the film, his bladder was ready to burst). By the end, the thugs are dead and she returns home as if nothing happened. Then, to add insult to injury, the husband, completely unaware of the events that had transpired, had the nerve to ask, "So what'd you buy me at the mall?" Overall, this would have been a great movie...if it was still 1986. By today's standards, what with our New Millennium Me! Me! Me! Generation, this movie falls a bit short in comparison to the CG-reliant films of late. However, if you're in the mood for a completely ridiculous, yet somewhat entertaining film, this may be for you...
How Many Movies Did They Watch Before They Made This?
I had to buy this DVD, as I am a big Ali Larter fan. After seeing the trailer, I expected a predictable stalker film (i.e. Fatal Attraction, Poison Ivy). When I saw the back cover of the DVD saying, "Experience The Beyonce Mania", I thought, "mm-hmm, marketing ploy; I'll bet the whole soundtrack is her, too" (which, surprisingly, it wasn't). This is the same thing that happens when you put LL Cool J in a movie. Anyway, the general synopsis is: White Chick obsesses over black guy; black guy hides truth from apparently overbearing wife; wife finds out and kicks him out; wife finds out the real truth; wife goes after White Chick. Completely by-the-numbers. The font used in the opening titles looks exactly like the Lifetime Movie font (a hint of things to come?), and the movie has not-so-subtle hints of "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle", particularly when Larter is in the house handling the baby (for a second, I thought she was actually going to start breast-feeding him), and in the ending fight scene, as well; half of which takes place in an attic, just like "Cradle" (although there is a "Kill Bill" moment when Larter wields a floor lamp and uses it like a ninja sword). And let's not forget Larter falling through a glass table at the end (the same way Billy Campbell dies in "Enough"...without the whole chandelier thing, of course; the chandelier is more "War Of The Roses"). Throw in the requisite cheesy one-liners, courtesy of Beyonce, and you have an over-boiling cauldron of cliché stew. Overall, I actually enjoyed the movie in a no-brainer sort of way, even if it is predictable as hell, right down to the title. Anyone looking for originality should steer clear of this movie, but if you like campy, thrilling stalker-fun, this just might be for you.
You Will Be Yelling At Your Television...
I bought this DVD (for $2, mind you), as I am an avid fan of Morgan Fairchild...and although she's not wielding a shotgun and blowing stuff away, as in "The Seduction", she does her best to portray the Despondent Housewife With A Self-Loathing Husband In A Financial Rut-Who Knows Of A Treasure Buried In A Storm Drain. At the other end of the spectrum, there is Michael Pare, playing the Mental Patient On The Loose After Way Too Easily Escaping The Mental Hospital. After a hilariously brief attempt to retrieve the treasure (exacerbated by the husband falling into the storm drain and injuring his leg(s) about twenty seconds after they got there), the paths of Ms. Fairchild and Mr. Pare cross right after she goes for help and finds out...get this...she locked her keys in the car. Imagine that. After checking only 2 of the 4 doors to see if one was unlocked, she flags down the first motorist she sees. Guess who it is? Yep, Mr. Pare, driving an RV, complete with newly-dead-previous-owners. From there, she is abducted, and, though she is seemingly given about 10 different chances to escape, somehow chooses to remain the victim for about two thirds of the movie (complete with a "Morgan Running Through The Woods" montage of sorts). Meanwhile, our pathetic husband, who is making less than a zero attempt to get out of the storm drain, continues to sit there...but he found the treasure...no matter, he's still stuck in the drain...which is slowly filling up with water...which he ridiculously starts drowning in because he's too lazy/stupid to try and stand up. An ensuing gun battle between Mr. Pare and the VT police force (all of whom, of course, miss him with every shot while Pare predictably shoots all of them with his gun that never seems to run out of bullets) later results in Pare's eventual demise, but it's the events tucked within these points (particularly in the pathetic husband, who, once finally rescued, can suddenly use his legs) that will have you yelling at your television. Add to this the super-corny dialog, and you have the makings for an R-rated Lifetime Movie. Campy, clichéd, and ridiculous, yet attempting at something genuine, this is the movie that you watch with your friends once...and alone forever after.