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Still need to incorporate my October Challenge views...
Skuggs' Yuletide Family Tropical Getaway
Just about 15 years after the release of the original National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, the much-loved 1989 comedy starring the always content Chevy Chase and the always buxom Beverly D'Angelo, the X-masses are finally being treated with a sequel -- National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure.
Yup. Island Adventure.
I found out about this movie a couple days ago, and here I am not wasting any time in informing you oft-misguided souls that this yuletide treat is...not worth your holiday time. F@ck, right?
Before I get into National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure, which is quite possibly the second longest movie name I've come across (second to, yup, Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood), I need to make a statement: Randy Quaid is the man. I have no idea what's going on in his personal life regarding Hollywood Star Whackers, but I just want to say I support. There are a few evil entities in the world and Hollywood is most assuredly one of them. If Randy says people are trying to kill him, I wouldn't hesitate to let him sleep in my basement. Secondly, conspiracies are cool to think about. Nothing wrong with questioning things. Thirdly, he played the best mad scientist to ever grace the silver screen as Elijah C. Skuggs. Case closed. No more giving Mr. Quaid crap. Okay, on with Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure!
Now what the hell is NLCV 2: CEIA all about anyways? The answer: not much. Cousin Eddie works as a nuclear waste test subject and loses out on his job to his chimpanzee coworker. But, lucky for him, the monkey bites him on the ass and Cousin Eddie and family get a free Xmas vacation to an island in the South Pacific. Bad jokes and lots of meandering about soon follow, and then the family find themselves trapped on an island, and then, yes, more bad jokes ensue. It's a very predictable film that the seven-year-old me probably would have really enjoyed. Snot the dog from the first Christmas Vacation is back and he farts a ton, which is all the young me ever really wanted. Farts. The adult me unfortunately needs much more in his cinema, namely farts and breasts.
For such a lame-duck movie, the cast wasn't so bad. Ed Asner was in it. For some really strange reason, the always entertaining Eric Idle makes a cameo. The actor who always seems to be up for a sh!t role, Fred Willard makes an appearance. Honestly, Willard's in so much crap. He must have something sinister going on in his life, too. He can stay in my basement if he wants as well. But enough about my soft spot for down-on-their-luck celebrities. The bottom line here is this movie is Christmas crap that you should only catch if you really enjoy the original, and/or Randy Quaid, and/or if you want to see Sung Hi Lee lounge about in a bikini.
Night Claws (2012)
Shut up, Cindy.
It's been a while since I've watched a So Bad It's Good type of film, and really, that's all I was hoping this would be. I saw Ted Prior's name, I saw bigfoot in the synopsis, I was in the mood for cheese....what the hell am I waiting for? Let's get going! First off, after starting it, the title calls it Apex-Predator. Whoa, that's even worse than Night Claws....alright!
It doesn't take long for this film to show it's ugly bigfoot head. We got a bad acting right from the get go, and the acting as a whole is what will keep you watching. There may have been one nip slip in the opening scene but nothing else, and there's only minimal blood/make-up effects. So there's no surprises to be had with Apex Night Predator Claws.
Getting back on track and the sole reason to watch this film is to watch the camp. There are a handful of "well-known" B movie actors here, but Reb Brown and Ted Prior stole the show for this guy. When I say "stole the show" I actually mean, kept me from falling asleep. Reb Brown is so amateurish he warmed my heart. He was almost cute with his acting. You could see him remembering his lines, trying to use the correct amount of emotion, it was awesome. He also had a couple funny sequences too. Then we got Ted Prior who is just a hot-blooded, son of a bitch the entire time he's on screen. You get the gist his character is a tough guy, but he takes it one step further and just becomes a jerkoff. So much so, it becomes a positive. He tells his wife in it to shut up at least 5 times. Telling your wife to shut her yap = gold.
So yeah, watch this flick if you truly enjoy camp and/or are a bigfoot enthusiast. If you're neither, pass on this all day long and then some. If you're a little of column A and Column B, I'd say check it out. If you came here looking for any advice on dating, then you've come to the right place. If she talks too much, dump her ass!
The Hunter (2011)
Oh, Stallion Face, you're just awful.
Recently I've come to learn the hard, unforgiving, yet understandable truth that our beloved Mr. Dafoe has an incredibly large penis. With that said, here's my exaggerated review of his recent film, The Hunter.
Dafoe pretends in this movie that he's some type of hunter/mercenary guy who's off to the wilds of Tazmania to hunt down the possibly extinct, Tazmanian Tiger. His goal is to find it, kill it, extract some juicy good stuff, and then dispose of any evidence. Fun! I'm down! Whoa, hold your horses now. You have to wait for the good stuff around these parts. First we have to first wade through the trenches of this southern Australian state that's chock full of melodramatic, cliché ridden, audience toying clap-trap. Say what?
It doesn't take long to possibly realize this film may flop more than it flips - and flop it does, belly style. Forget about the lil girl who playfully swears like her dear old Daddy, forget about the amazing listening and drawing abilities of the mute little boy, hell, toss away the predictability of the unfriendly locals ("Bring the children inside. Hurry."), what you should focus most of your attention on is the lackluster screenplay and script. At times during the movie you could assume that the film was some type of dramatic improv session. There were at least a couple WTF moments that instantly make you question what the writers were thinking about. And really, the acting, no matter how understated it tried to be, was rather poor. Leading the way there is Frances O'Connor who bleeds out that she's an actress she really did bring this movie down a peg with her overly feminine antics and greasy stallion face. I can't blame her entirely I suppose as there were even moments where I thought Mr. Big Dong was acting like a piece of petrified wood - which hurts me to say that. Wilem, the man, who played so many OTT roles so brilliantly, flounders about around Tazmania looking like a dead fish, using those wide-eyes and dead stares to rile up our emotions to no avail. The writing sucked here. Sucked! Shut up!
I'm pretty shocked (actually not at all) by the overly positive responses this film is getting. My biggest underlying issue with this film is that it tries to be too many things. Instead of focusing on the exploits of the hunter which are of a more mature and heady theme, the movie juggles bits of charm and light-hearted wishy-washy melodrama. To me it's an obvious attempt by the film-makers to cater to everyone involved. Not only did it not work, it was glaringly noticeable, more so in tone than anything else.
You'll probably like the film if you don't know any better, but you should know better. You should know that this movie, this disappointing tale of a hunter with a massive hanging genital should have delivered, and it didn't, because some jerks, whomever they might be, wanted to grease their monkey paws with the hopes of grabbing some more bananas. And again, O'Connor, stick to commercials.
American Juggalo (2011)
The new Heavy Metal Parking Lot
For the 20+ minute running time of American Juggalo you're instantly and consistently given the same type of joys you took in the first time you laid eyes on Heavy Metal Parking Lot. Honestly, I was laughing my ass of within the first minute.
If you're not in the loop, a Juggalo is the term for a die-hard fan of Insane Clown Posse. I'm not here to tell you about ICP so do your own homework on that front, but I would like to say that I think they get too much flack because of their looks. I haven't listened to so much of their music, but from what I have heard, I thought was pretty cool and different. The Dating Game is a track I'll never forget.
Back to the movie! On the film-making front, American Juggalo takes the same approach as Heavy Metal Parking Lot - you only witness the fans interacting with each other and the film-makers. There isn't a single moment of ICP performing, and actually, I don't think I even heard a ICP song being played. Nevertheless, even though I would have love to see the fans freaking the hell out at a concert, just hearing these people chit-chat and mingle with one another....it's just nuts. It's like nothing you've seen before.
Chock full of make-up, tits, excessive swearing, flabby bodies, this flick is the truth. This flick has got all the exploits and laughs you'd hope it would have, but at the end of the story, you come away with one lingering thought more so than anything else. The Juggalo family is more hardcore than any other music family out there. They're legit, hardcore, ridiculous, and they're all about the scene to a level that verges on insane. It truly is an insane clown posse. Whoop whoop!!
For more ICP goodness check out A Family Underground, and Shockumentary.
Another unedited/unfinished review. This one from 9/27/2011
"Snowtown" is a shocking true-life tale of murder and manipulation that doesn't follow the linear paths of normal serial killer films.
Jamie lives with his Mother, older brother, and his two younger brothers. Life appears meaningless, stagnant, damaging, and as the film develops early on, it seems like it's only going to get worse before it gets any better. That is until John enters the scene and takes a firm hold of Jamie, introducing him to the real rights and wrongs of life as he knows it.
Finding out that this film was true was surprising to me, and then adding in the fact that the character John was Australia's # 1 serial killer really threw me for a loop. The majority of serial killer films that I know don't normally humanize their serial killers. Usually, you're just told this guy's evil and then you watch him do evil things. It's not like that here, as we're shown a man who shows compassion and care for family, but then that's intertwined with a man who's so utterly die-hard in his beliefs and ways, that you're confused about who this man really is. He seems to want to help, but he's doing so in the absolute worst way - which seems to be the only way he knows.
Now knowing that John became one of Australia's most infamous serial killers delivers a surprise to the viewer, and it also gave the filmmakers the opportunity to utilize the character of Jamie to be the centerpiece and emotional backbone of the film. Witnessing John act as father, friend and mentor to Jamie created an ambiguous relationship between the two that had you constantly on guard for Jamie's well-being. Not showcasing hideous murders or spotlighting John as the main character was risky, but it seemed to pay off well. Unless, of course, you're fully aware of the story of "Snowtown," then you may be hoping for something more vivid which was probably not the right thing to do, for the sake of the victim's loved ones.
Besides the different directions the film went, I was also impressed by the acting of the entire cast. First-time actor Lucas Pittaway delivered a believable and tragic portrayal of a meager-minded individual, whereas Daniel Henshall, who played John, gave us an imperious, conniving, and highly talented acting performance. Highlighting the actors was the film's creative camera-work; at times moving in gritty hand-held fashion, instinctively capturing the troubling atmosphere, and at others, brightening the story by showcasing the Australian landscape, an effective decision that acted like the yang to the desolate ying.
My unedited review from 10/14/2011
Sequels are a tough commodity nowadays, with the majority of them being cash-ins just so the makers can make some extra bread. That's not a bad thing mind you, as everyone needs to make a living, but on an artistic front it sucks balls. You could argue that Human Centipede 2 was also made to deepen the pockets of Mr. Tom Six. But where his sequel differs from most of the other sequels out there is that, he actually did try improving on his second effort. He listened to his critics and his fans and put his thinking cap on to deliver a film that exceeded the original in every way possible and I believe he did just that.
With the original, we witnessed a Mad Scientist torture and mutate a trio of humans into a weeping, crawling, pooping machine. I thought it worked, as the doctor delivered a good enough performance to carry the film. So how can you improve upon a Mad Scientist? You don't get much cooler than a raving scientist. Just ask Professor Farnsworth. One way to work things out is to think in the absolute opposite direction. And in this case, taking the polar opposite route worked brilliantly. Instead of a handsome, fit, and fiercely intelligent German scientist, we're delivered .well, I don't wanna be mean, but we're delivered the opposite in the shape of a small rotund British man named, Martin.
Martin lives at home with his Mum, and works as an overnight security guard for a building's parking lot. The overnight gig not only puts food in his belly, but also gives him the opportunity to watch movies. I mean, movie. Martin, like any dedicated fanboy, watches his favorite movie, The Human Centipede nonstop. He's put together a collage book. He obsesses over the pretty girls in the movie. He has a pet centipede. He is quite simply fixated with all things Centipede. So much so in fact, that he's already initiated the process of creating his own Human Centipede but this time with a dozen people. Martin thinks he can do it. He's got the passion, he's got the plan, and now he just needs the bodies.
With basically the whole story revolving around Martin's Centipede escapades, the film obviously has to deliver in other areas besides finding ways to attach faces to butts. Martin, psycho serial killer In the making, must surely have some type of back-story, right? He's not just an obsessed fan, right? Right. A much smaller secondary story resides in Martin's living situation with his dear ole Mum. I'm not going to ruin anything here for you, but let's just say Martin's past and present has been riddled with misfortune. So much so, that there are moments where you may be sympathetic towards the guy. Not sympathetic towards his goals, but towards his mental state. The Mother Son story delivered for me. It's been there done that stuff, but it was handled well, and of course, with Six's atypical touch.
To clear things up, the cut version of HC2 is no slouch. As a movie that is supposed to up the ante, it most certainly does. It improves upon the story, the lead character, the violence and everything that entails, and it also shows that Tom Six has improved as a director. Credit must be owed to Six in some way for helping the first-time actor, Laurence R. Harvey (Martin) deliver the performance he did. He didn't speak a single line, and still managed to convey a deeply troubled soul. Big ups to both you guys.
The Human Centipede, title alone, is reason enough for many to scoff, but that's fair, as it's pretty easy to judge this book by its cover or title. Assuming critics and disappointed detractors of the first will probably be overly judgmental and harsh, but not I, and not you! We both personally applaud the ideas, and willingness to push cinematic envelopes. The movie isn't perfect, and anyone with a clue can realize that, but as a sequel (and a horror film), it's legit, and tries to be a true sequel succeeding at becoming a movie unto itself. A horrid, ugly tale of mental psychosis that's spliced with nightmarish fanboy heresy all sewn together to create an altogether abnormal horror film that will have you seeing brown.
I look forward to checking out the uncut verison as I hear it may be a bit different. One thing is for certain and that's I can definitely see myself rewatching this film, rewinding it, and rewatching it again and again and again and again
Now - I pretty much stand by this review and have since seen the uncut version with sandpaper and barbwire intact, and it's all just extra good fun.
No Reason (2010)
Green's my favorite color.
Ittenbach's latest diabolical mind-bender of the colorful kind may bemuse you as well as shrink your dink.
If I tried explaining the story to you, or even I'm losing patience just thinking about it discussing what it all means, I'd probably come across dumber than I sound right now. So, with that said, let's give it a shot! Ya got a girl who's visited by a tentacle bearded demon guy that is trying to teach her the truth of her ways by bringing her to different layers of some type of afterlife realm or some sh!t like that. Hey ya know, that wasn't that bad of a summary. What's most important is knowing if Olaf's flick was able to deliver while his cast of characters did their thing. The answer is sure.
Pretty early on you get the picture that the story is a take it or leave it type of thing. I personally thought it stunk, but if you dig heady, weirdo German type story-telling then I guess you'll dig it at least a little bit. But again, we know better. Ittenbach fans know better than to expect an average tale. We hope for one, but we don't expect. What we do expect is blood. So we sit there with our bibs on, waiting for that first splash.
It doesn't take long.
What No Reason does have going for it is that it's possibly one of the goriest films of the past couple years. Besides some lighting techniques that may have cut corners around how realistic the gore should look, the film still delivers on the blood front. There's a sequence, a hellish sequence you would say, where we stroll along through a torture dungeon of sorts that is basically just non-stop atrocities. Some creative stuff is going down too. Graphic is an understatement, as we peep peeing girls, some skin tearing, a bound to be classic penile mutilation, and of course, lots of blood spurting. It's the highlight of the film.
There are other scenes of OTT violence, and our leading lady is one hundred percent naked I'd say 80% of the movie - nice bum, small boobs, camel toe in your face. So as you see, there is enough here to keep your eyes glued to the screen. At a little over 70 minutes the film does feel longer because of Olaf's talky tale of colors, but I'd say it's definitely worth any gorehounds time as well as a must see for fans of Olaf, and, without a doubt, a definite for feminist gorehounds.
An average output for Olaf by my standards, but still, gore is gore, ass is ass, and how much more can you ask for when Ittenbach is in the big boy chair?
La vida loca (2008)
My unfinished/unedited review from 2/18/10.
Not long into La Vida Loca I realized something. That my peculiar fascination for Central American gang culture has almost all but left me. Like probably many of you who've seen this film, I've also seen my share of S. American and C. American films concerning gang culture; the prison shows on TV, feature films, all of it. Seeing some guy or girl with tattoos covering their face is so beyond my scope of living that it has (had) this badass, semi-romantic feeling that I looked up to. Of course, I was aware of their daily wheelings and dealings but I kind of threw that off to the side so I could fantasize about how 'cool' they appeared and acted. I have to repeat, that mind-frame is now almost fully out the window - thanks to this movie. And I'm not so sure I'm happy about that.
La Vida Loca is just that, but more than anything else, it's La Vida Estupida. What we're shown here is a full-fledged look into C. American gang culture. The best and worst aspect to this film is how intimate it all is. This is a film with zero filters and zero self-consciousness, and what you see, is for more or less, how things go down. And what usually goes down is sadness, death, hypocrisy, chest-puffing.... The passion they show towards one another and their families is nothing but honest and real, but at the end of the day, it's seemingly all about selfishness. Gangs seem to not clash with opposing gangs than they do with their own self.
This is a documentary on gang-life, but it's not a truly informative piece of film-making; there's no questions asked, or answers given. The knowledge you're given with this film is more like common-sense; you should have known, but you just didn't. You're brought around and given really close peeks into these young lives, but most of the thoughts these guys and girls have are basically, for lack of a better word, bullsh!t. At wakes they regularly chant in unison about the evil of the world, and not hours later, you'll see them repeating the same stupid crap about revenge and that it's all about their gang. What frustrates me most is that there is a zest for life and change, but in their given situations, it seems that the gangs have found a certain level of comfort in the pain and violence.
If you're anything like me and that you have this interest in gang culture, be fore- warned that this film will mostly upset you. And hearing that the director himself was murdered by people in El Salvador...it makes me think if this film was even worth it.
My unfinished/unedited review/ramble from 4/4/10.
Do I have to mention that I'm a fan of the first? I see that quite a few comments are starting like that, so I guess I'll also roll with the flow. So, yep, I'm also a fan. Actually, in 2000 I bought a Boondock Saints VHS for 35 bucks on Ebay. Of course I'd have expectations for this movie. I want the Saints back in action, but I also want a solid flick, so this 10 year wait, was fine with me. That is, if the movie turned out to be worth it. Was it? No. It wasn't.
Boondock Saints 2, even though 10 years in the making, still felt like some sort of cash-in. Instead of using creativity to maybe make something worthwhile and truly sequel-worthy, they made it this sort of over-the-top comedy. Get the f@ck outta here! Duffy, for some reason or another decided to go the easy route. And what's the easy route? By taking every single thing that worked in the original and using it again, in an attempt to improve upon it. That right there, is the pussiest way to go about making a sequel. Oh, I guess you need examples. Alright. Need a new sidekick, right? Sure. Throw in a stereotypical Mexican dude who they have perform an arm-bar in the opening scene (cash in on the MMA craze much?). I would say he's the comedy relief of the film, but no, they have about four other characters being used for the same thing. Anyways, if the sidekick didn't work, in the case he wasn't enough like Rocco, they added a buffoon Mafia character that acted like Rocco. Oh, and if he wasn't enough, Rocco made a return as well! Of course in dream sequences only. And what the f@ck were those stupid macho rants about?
Then ya got the new female Willem Dafoe character. Oh man, this was a massive issue for me. Southern accent, walks like a super model, mimics Dafoe's methods from the first get the hell outta here with this sh!t. That's all they could think of? At least you could have made her gay like Willem's character, or maybe even a tad risqué. A nip slip, maybe? Of course not. Were we really supposed to buy into this character? Was she supposed to live up to one of Dafoe's best performances? Really? Seriously? Wow.
One thing that some people don't seem to realize about the first Boondock Saints is that it excelled because of its all-male cast. There was no love-interest bullsh!t. There was no drooling over the girls. Just like with any comic book movie that comes out now, there is this seemingly out of place, romantic/love subplot that has to be put in because there needs to be something to relate to for our more sensitive/mainstream movie-goers. But there wasn't anything like this in the first, and that was wildly successful with all crowds ? Oh yeah, I totally forgot about how this was a comedy. It's all a joke. This movie is a joke. Maybe instead of trying to create a blockbuster, a comedy/action blockbuster, he'll go down a different route. Something on the darker side.
Boondock Saints 2 worked story-wise on one level moreso than any other. And that was the flashback sequences of when 'Da', Billy Connolly's character became who he was. One of those scenes truly worked, and non-surprisingly, it was the most violent scene of the movie. .
2/12/12 - Yeah, I just gave up with this review. Bottom line, the movie stunk.
Sick Girl (2007)
The Muffintop Massacre
Oh, Sick Girl. How sick you are. Ya got your kicks peeing on nuns, lopping off weiners, and kissing your brother. You actually sound like a pretty cool chick, it's such a shame you're monotone and you have a dumpy butt.
2007's Sick Girl, created by all around blowhard Eben Whatshisname, focuses on the small-town life of a girl named Izzy, who is forced to become head of her household when her brother ships off to the Marines. Things sour from there on out, and Izzy's already shaky disposition crumbles into a pile of constant premenstrual insanity. No one's safe anymore; not her flamboyant younger brother, nor their bike-riding bear of a neighbor. The blood flows, children die, and rats are fed and returned to the gay guy who did porn after being in Fright Night. You know the guy.
I'd like to say Sick Girl is a good time, but then again, I'd like to say I enjoy popping pimples along the under-carriage of my fanny. A little juicy, kinda painful, and totally unnecessary. This movie fails for a few reasons, namely its weak script and dodgy direction. If you enjoy drawn-out scenes of inept dialogue and really pointless scenes of gore, including a controversial moment where a severed member is forced onto a make-shift dildo, the less discriminating horror-hound may actually enjoy this sh!t show.
So throw on a wife-beater or two, break out the Christmas lights, and don't say I didn't warn ya. Sick Girl sucks.