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Soccer Dog: European Cup (2004)
This dog needs his balls deflated.
My 7 yr old is football (not 'soccer') mad and was thoroughly disappointed with this terrible, terrible film. This film was made by people with no knowledge at all of football- the 'European Cup' is a charity match between a village team of the usual 'oddballs and misfits' and implausibly a team called 'London' with the biggest football star in the country in it. The representation of Scotland is equally inaccurate - from the accents it seems to be populated by mainly Irish and Welsh, kilts are everywhere and everyone eats Haggis at football games and have never heard of pizza.
The dog kicks a cartoonish looking CGI football around but probably the saddest thing is Nick Moran, who has descended from 'Lock, Stock..' to this. Strangely, on the DVD bonus feature cast interviews, Eastender Moran affects a Scottish accent and says that he'd never acted before this film! How ashamed of this film must he be to try to pretend to be someone else! Even the rest of the cast are joking and making ironic comments about how crap this film is. Anyway, if your kids love football, they will be bored by this. If your kids love animals they will be bored by this.
Go and watch a dog chase a ball around the park instead.
Makes as much sense as an actual dream does.
This film answers the question of how long and how low a horror franchise can go off the back of one quite decent original. Well, it's 6 films at this point and this one really plumbs the depths.
It starts with text on the screen telling us it's 10 years later and all but one of the teens of Sprinwood have been killed. A painfully long sequence follows this boy's attempts to escape ,going through numerous moments of waking up from a dream..oh no! I'm still dreaming...waking up...oh no I'm still dreaming.etc etc; with him ending up amnesiac and ending up in a young people's shelter. One of the doctor's -without any investigation or saying " hey that's the town where all the teens are dead" - drives him back, with a few stowaway teens in the back. They find the town nearly abandoned with the adults reduced to gibbering idiots, and the teens are inexplicably unable to drive out without coming full circle. This sequence is so unrealistic and dreamlike I assumed that it would turn out that this is a dream as well, but no, so why couldn't the kids escape? Just one of many unanswered plot-holes.
Anyway, two of the teens are killed in incredibly tedious, overlong ways - a deaf lad is made to have super hearing and Freddy eventually makes his head explode by...get ready for this...scraping his glove across a blackboard and another boy is sucked into a dated looking computer game and bounced around the house game character style for what seems like 15 minutes...
To cut things short, the survivor lad is killed and when they get back to the home no one else can remember the dead kids - this is because "Freddy didn't just kill them- he erased them!" says the standard horror film character :Mysterious Guy Who Somehow Knows What's Going On. How or why Freddy's suddenly started doing this is nver explained or mentioned again.
Get this- it then turns out that the Dr is Freddy's daughter and Freddy gets his power from 'Dream Demons' that gave him immortality when he was getting burnt.Think this might have been mentioned before now...
Having totally run out of ideas now ,they go back to the original film and drag Freddy into reality by waking up someone who grabs hold of him in their dream. His daughter kills him with his own glove and weapons from the stash confiscated from the kids in the home, including a crossbow, ninja throwing stars, and finally a pipe bomb.
It's really hard to explain what a total mess this film is. Freddy as a villain is totally ineffectual and unscary here- somehow moreso than recetn installments. The plot makes little sense ,with the lead character being killed off halfway and no explanation made of where he came from, or sign of his parents in the town. The surreal and absurd Springwood episode kills any credibility and a town with every teen been killed could have been developed into a very interesting idea, but all we get is a babbling schoolteacher. The script is terrible and the acting stands out as bad is in a series known for its poor performances. Freddy actually disappears for a long period in the middle, but when he appears all we get is bad one liners and very boring kills.Also ,it really looks like a bloke in a rubber head rather than someone with serious burns.
I think the problem with these films is that none of them are as good as the basic idea of a burnt knife-fingered maniac murdering kids in their dreams. They should have just left it at the original, because we are looking at an equivalent of 'Jaws the Revenge'here.
Ski Patrol (1990)
Would've called it 'Ski Academy' if they could've got away with it.
This film is basically one of the poorer 'Police Academy' sequels on skis with the usual rag-tag bunch of 'hilarious' oddballs. Watch this film if you like seeing someone out of control on their skis shooting down a mountain going "Whooooaaaa...AHHHH..WHHHHOOOAAA etc" every 4 minutes. Haven't seen this for some time but if I remember correctly a hot-dog cabin or something takes a slide at some point. As per Police Academy there's the 'badguy' rival who is trying to get our heroes shut down. I think they end up entering a dancing/singing competition or something in the local bar cos they need to raise money to save the 'ski patrol' or something like that. As is always the way the local bar offers a prize massively out of proportion to what the bar would hope to make from the extra custom such an event attracts;like $10,000 or something instead of a few free drinks that you get at such things in real life. Watch this if you love your 80's style 'screwball' ensemble cast comedies and have watch 'Police Academy 1-8' too many times, or if you are traumatised by a near fatal 'runaway ski' accident and watching 20+ recreations of your accident in a humorous context will help you get over it.
More catchphrases than 'Catchphrase'.
This is on of the best half hours you could spend in front of the telly. A fantastic darts based quiz captained 'Titanic style' by the legendary Jim Bowen with Tony Green as the reassuring rower on the lifeboats. Watching this in 2007 provides at least one laugh out loud moment per episode. Just yesterday I witnessed Bowen apologising to camera for a poor taste crack about giving one of the dart players a guidedog. Here is the secret to the show's success: the amateurish production values personified in Bowen. Marvel at his fifth rate stand up routine to 'warm up' the OAP studio audience. Witness Jim's clumsy attempts to direct contestants around and off the set as they couldn't afford a stage hand to do it. The average English speaker has a vocabulary of around 100,000 words - Bowen seems to have around 800. By the later series around 85% of what Bowen says is a catchphrase or stock response of some sort: Smashing, great, super...let's have a look at what you could have won...BFH...it'll take me 2 minutes to count this out...we have to say goodbye to...round of applause...'Faces' we'd like...I'm sure you'll wish them all the best....that's the gamble...pounds for points...the charity money- it's safe...non dart player to throw first...keep out of the black and in the red ,nothing for this game for 2 in a bed...listen to Tony... Even Tony got into the act with his mystical Indian mantra - "take your time" , but would then proceed to call out the score after every single dart, which anyone whose ever stood at the oche will tell you is incredibly distracting. Anyway, the format of the show: Three what Jim would amusingly always call "couples" despite them nearly always being mates from the pub.One dartplayer , one 'non dartplayer' After dying a death with his opening patter Jim would attempt some banter with them, usually with contestants with no personality/sense of humour. Firstly he'd try to enthuse about their invariably low wage unskilled jobs, then he'd throw in an few personal insults by the way of bad puns. If you were very tall or 'well built' Jim was sure to point it out for the amusement of the audience. Round one was them throwing darts at a special board in order to answer questions on topics such as 'Spelling', 'Affairs' 'Showbiz' and the rarely picked 'Books'. Any wrong answers would prompt an appearance by an animated 'Mooing' Bully. The questions were of the 'general knowledge' type with answers so obvious 20 years later they must have been lifted from the front page of that day's 'Sun'. Next, would be the 'traditonal matchplay' (or normal) dartboard. The teams would throw and whoever got the highest would answer a question to win that amount of money. The 2 lowest scoring teams would go out after 3 games of this with Jim pulling the prize money in a big wad of notes out of his pocket like a Northern Del Boy, and counting it out "during the break". A pro darts player would then throw 9 darts for charity, their score being doubled if they scored 301 or more. Strangely ,players you would see throwing a constant stream of 100s, 140s etc. at the Embassy World Championship would never do so well here - probably due to Tony calling every dart for the benefit of viewers who don't understand the layout of the dartboard. Next up , the immortal 'Bully's Prize Board', hitting the red sections of another adapted board to win up to 9 incredible prizes of the like of a decanter set, a pocket TV,a Walkman, a car power washer, a leather briefcase,a carriage clock, children's mountain bikes and 'Bully's Special Prize' for hitting the Bullseye - often a 'colour TV with remote control and teletext. As the players had to remember what numbers ,out of 1-8, represented the prizes they wanted to win,it was a "test of memory as well as skill" a mental feat which would have 'Krypton Factor' contestants trembling with fear. Finally, the couple could gamble the prizes and the money from earlier against a star prize hidden behind a curtain if they could throw 101 or more in 6 darts. If they'd "had a lovely day Jim" and declined it, the runners up would be given the chance, down to the 3rd placed couple. To be fair , this was quite difficult with the majority of couples failing. Probably due to the drumroll in the background and the fact that the only clever person the dart player knew was totally unable to hold, let alone throw a decent dart. The solution to the winning formula of: decent dart player + person with basic general knowledge who is also a reasonable dart player =... would have eluded Einstein.
The star prizes were also magnificent in their impracticality for two friends to win between them - they would presumably have to draw up a rota for the use of a car ,speedboat, caravan or most impractical of all - a three piece suite and dining table set. So there you go -that's 'Bullseye'. To paraphrase and update one of Bowen's great catchphrases for 2007: "Cheap freeview cable channels aren't cheap freeview cable channels without a bit of Bully!"
Let sleeping dogs lie.
Here, Tommy from Part 4 decides, years later, to 'make sure ' Jason is really dead by digging him up and sticking a metal pole thru him. Naturally, the pole is struck by lightning and Jason comes back to life and a new rampage begins.
There's a few changes to the formula in this one: Firstly, Jason is now a super strength, indestructible zombie type, his running days are long over. A lot of the action is taken away from Camp Crystal Lake as Tommy has various run-ins with the local Sheriff trying to persuade him Jason is real. Therefore, the idea of being claustrophobically trapped in CCL is lost in this one. Instead we get a hackneyed 'race against time' sort of thing where Tommy is trying to save the newly arrived kids at the camp and few counsellors. So we get Jason making his way there, leaving behind an OTT body-count while Tommy has to give the Sheriff the slip/bust out of the jail etc etc.
Anyway, from reading some occult books (seemingly mid-film) Tommy decides that to kill Jason they need to drown him in the lake where he originally drowned as a young boy. Hmmm, hang on a minute - didn't Jason not drown at all? But anyway, Tommy manages to chain him to a rock and leave him at the bottom of the lake, with his neck chewed up by a boat propellor for good measure. Of course, at the very end we see Jason's eye is open, paving the way for part 7.
This film has a different mood and tone than 1-4, probably due to the slight change of plot/location. Saying that, the earlier films were hardly 'The Shining' in terms of atmosphere so that's not a great loss. The body count is a bit OTT with extra characters appearing and being killed in the same scene, as if they had a stock of death scenes on the shelf to use in this franchise and just edited on in here and there. There's a bit of humour in this one and a few references to the conventions of earlier films and this genre; the drunken grave digger, some cynically wise cracking kids, the cynical authority figure etc. Anyway, a few changes to the formula, but the end result is still the same, a 'paint by numbers' slasher film bereft of real horror, tension or scares best enjoyed for laughs, and despite the high body count the actual gore is quite scaled down. Part 7 followed, which was passable, as apparently no one thought to remove the body from the bottom of the lake after Part 6. It was downhill from there with the 'original' (pre Jason X)F13 films tho with 'Jason Takes Manhattan' taking place 90% on a boat and the truly awful,'Jasonless'(rip off of 'Shocker' and 'Fallen' with elements of the equally bad later Halloween sequels ) part 9. Anyway, it's unfair to judge these films against 'real' films so I'd say that this one is probably one of the 'best' of the sequels and is passable'ironic' entertainment.
haven't I seen this before?
this 4th , but not final, chapter picks up where 3 left off, with Jason being taken to a morgue after a nicely edited recap sequence which makes the previous 3 films look a lot better than they actually are. Here, Jason reanimates, for no reason whatsoever, without explanation, and after killing a randy porter and nurse, makes his way, somehow unseen, back to Crystal lake. here, we get complete deja vu, with another houseful of teens somewhere on the seemingly massive lake, a family with a teen daughter and preteen son, and also a 'Jason hunting' relative of a victim from F2 thrown into the mix. needless to say the teens are sex,dope,beer obsessed, and during the night they are dispatched in a variety of gruesome ways. This all follows the formula, with after the killings and the chosen few left alive, we have the familiar what I will call 'realisation', where the teen daughter and her brother (plus the soon to be killed Jason hunter)realise that Jason is after them;then the 'chase and reveal', where every time they turn a corner, open a door etc. a body falls out or is found.
They end up in the family's house where during a confrontation with Jason, the lad finds time to go off and shave his head and apply theatrical make up (its earlier established hes into horror makeup/puppets /effects) to make himself look like an artists impression of Jason as a boy he saw in a newspaper cutting. This, like the similar 'disguse/distraction' in part 2 doesn't really hold up to logic and scrutiny, especially when his sister is seconds away from a gruesome end downstairs. Anyhow, this distracts Jason long enough for the prerequisite 'mask off' moment and the boy to put a machete into Jason's head. Now correct me if Im wrong, but in parts 2-4 Jason's mask comes off in every film and in each one he looks completely different even though these films span only a few days. Oh well, anyway, the film ends with Jason twitching on the floor and the kid goes into a frenzy with the machete to finish him off. The final scene has a Dr. explaining to the sister about the frenzied violent behaviour her brother exhibited, and we end on a freeze frame of the kid with a mad look in his eyes. Of course, maybe the Dr. could have said,"well done, at last someone with the sense to decimate Jason's body when he was seemingly just about to come back to life instead of running off", but there you go.
Anyway, in short, a serious case of deja vu from earlier (and later) films in the series. If you like/dislike the series in general then you'll have the same reaction to this due to it being so formulaic. There's a few decent (by 80's standards) makeup effects on the deaths if that is your sort of thing, and you think it can make up for shortfalls in plot,script, characterisation and originality. Probably best enjoyed if your 12/13 years old or with a few mates and beers if you're older.
Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
entertaining but incredibly plot-hole ridden sequel.
If you liked the original F13 you'll like this if for no other reason than the repetition from the original.We open with a too long pre credits sequence where we get a recap of the original via some dreamt flashbacks from the survivor of F13. However, we get to see Jason (for it is he we later learn)first give her a silent phonecall and stick a knife in her brain. Now as watching this today after seeing another 8 sequels we know all about Jason, like may you may have wondered just how Jason was able to track Alice down, phone her and travel possibly many hundreds of miles with the mind of a simpleton and a sack over his head. But if you're looking for logic, this is the least of your worries here. We then fast forward 5 years and a batch of anonymous teens turn up on the lake to attend a sparsely attended camp counsellors training camp. However, they aren't in Camp Crystal Lake, but in another camp on the same Lake. CCL is off limits, but after hearing a spooky campfire story of how Jason didn't drown and watched Mrs Vorhees take her revenge and then be killed, Aice disappeared a month later and since then the legend of Jason has grown of him living like an animal in the woods ,a couple of teens decide ti check it out. Surprisingly they aren't killed but taken back to camp by the local sheriff who is inexplicably at a long abandoned summer camp. The sheriff then sees someone (Jason) run across the road and chases him to a rather large and unhidden cabin where he is dispatched by the clawed end of a hammer. Also the crazy drunk guy Ralph is killed by Jason at the new camp sometime around here.
Anyway, after the usual evening of beer ,illicit sex and weed the teens decide to go into town, and it is the teens who haven't featured much so far/extras who go, leaving just the teens who have had some (minimal) character development, although the 'joker' does go and avoids the bloodbath. Needless to say the half dozen or so are one by one picked off by jason, including a wheelchair user who is stabbed and plummets the many steps on a steep slope, begging the question how he managed to navigate the rough woodland trails and steps up to every cabin thus far. Anyway, in a reference to Kevin Bacons death in F13 a copulating couple are speared together thru the bed. Id lost track of who was left by then but these must have been the last 2 cos the camp leader and his teen girl leave the bar and come back. It follow the now familiar formula - dscovery of bodies, chase, with more popping up en route. The gut is attacked and we think killed and the heroine finds Jasons cabin and there the decaying head of his mother in a shrine. Here, I wondered how the police didn't wonder where her head had gone but there you go. Oh yeah before this there's a fight in the cabin and at one point Jason is on the ground and there for the taking with the chainsaw she has but she inexplicably puts it down and hits him with a chair and runs out the cabin. Now this was really the worst example of slasher stupidity I've ever seen. Just chop hsi head off and its all over.
So anyway, they fight in jasons cabin and she absurdly puts Mrs V's jumper on and tries to fool him its her.As jason is about to kill her Paul, the fella from before turns up,(being the 3rd person in 1 day to wander across jason's secret cabin where hes been 'hiding' for many years) rescues her and stabs him. they unmask him and assuming hes dead go back to their cabin where a freakishly deformed jason jumps thru the window and grabs her. Cut to the ambulance crew loading her into the ambulance her asking "Wheres paul?". What is this all about? was the previous scene a dream, and if so where did it begin? at least in the shock ending in F13 it was clear she fell asleep in the boat or was flashing back in the hospital ? so we end up basically not knowing what happened to paul or jason. or if they did stab him, or if he did jump thru the window. If he did, did her leave her alone and kill paul? this scene just didn't work. It may have done if paul was dead and she was on her own. Anyway, the main problm with the film is that the idea of jason not drowning and instead of just climbing out the pool and carrying on as normal, deciding to live in the woods the rest of his life and become psychotic. And then years later watching his mother kill loads of people and being killed instead of saying "mum, I didn't drown!". however, this continuity is small fry when you look at a later film where Jason is dinsitegrated by toxic waste in a New York sewer and then reappears complete at the bottom of crystal lake in the next film!
pass the sleeping pills!!!
This film took me about 4 attempts to finish watching it. Not because it was so profound and disturbing - because it was so boring. Basically it consists of a the cameraman , documentary style, walking up to someones house or other location, meeting someone and watching them kill themselves. There are various methods used, pills, OD's wrist slitting, various personality types -a terminally ill man, angst ridden goths, a guilt ridden paedo etc. However, this soon becomes very boring and repetitive with each episode following the same pattern with no development of plot, character or interest. The episodes are intercut with b/w filmed from the dashboard footage of the protagonists, a man and a woman driving to and from the scenes ,and there is the attempt to develop a few ideas: they are recruiting people via a website and plan to sell the footage and create a media frenzy, the sometimes feel guilty and discuss stopping and also that the cameraman is slowly becoming implicated in the deaths, where for example, he pushes a paedo who cant do it into a lake, smothers and agonsied suicider and finally shoots a man who looks to be having second thoughts. The idea is probably to try to raise the question of the viewer's voyeuristic involvement in these deaths, but they don't pull it off, simply because the viewer knows the film is fake, despite the realistic devices as the single hand-held camera etc. After at least half a dozen too many of these suicides the 'plot' comes to a conclusion where the protagonists plot to fake the man's death by having the woman pretend to run him over with a truck, he jumps away at the last moment and they cut to a shot of a dummy, leaving them free to enjoy the fruits of their filming. Somehow the man trusts the woman to stop and is predictably run over and the film ends with the woman smiling as she drives off. This is a tedious film which doesn't manage to pull off the main points it's trying to make. there's no character development at all, you generally neither know nor care why these people are killing themselves and the final 'twist' can be predicted as soon as they suggest it. One to avoid and a massive disappointment despite the intriguing premise.
Jeepers Creepers (2001)
good 1st half
This film has one of the most scary, tense and nail biting first halves in horror.Two teenagers see a figure dump what looks like a body down a pipe by a church at the side of the road and go back to investigate. It gets VERY tense when the boy falls down the hole, gets horrific when he finds a still alive mutilated victim and builds really well from there with them being pursued by this mysterious figure. Unfortunately once the monster is revealed as the usual 'Demon'it goes downhill fast into the usual kids and cannon fodder extras vs invincible Demon/monster standard fare. It goes further downhill with the introduction of the stereotypical 'psychic' figure, which may have been an effective way of increasing the tension if she'd appeared before it all kicked off, but doesn't really add much suspense when all hell has already broken loose.Watch it for the 1st half which is great, but shame they couldn't finish the job or we'd be talking about a classic.
Vegas Vacation (1997)
disappointing slump/death knell of promising series
This series built up nicely as a cult favourite to the more mainstream 'Xmas Vacation' which had a bit of money behind it and was a good all round comedy. They should have left it there cos this belated sequel is a big step back in quality in both production values and script etc, but has none of the low budget appeal of the first films and is disappointing and embarrassing viewing. The formula is tired and Chevy Chase is looking a bit too old for this, and its the usual series of misadventures, but without any really good jokes. The first 'big laugh' is Clark trying to give his wife one in the airplane toilet and getting his foot stuck and getting the blue toilet water all over himself which makes you look at whoever you're watching it with and exchange a look which says "this is going to be crap. " . It goes downhill from there, with bad set pieces such as Clark causing a leak on the Hoover Dam and swinging on a wire across it after getting somehow getting stuck outside on the face the dam. The only good bit is Randy Quaid as redneck cousin, which again is a poorer version of the jokes from previous films. It becomes clear that they had no budget for this when Wayne Newton who I assume is some big name Vegas singer gets to promote himself along with plenty of other crappy Vegas locations/shows. The low point is the result of some deal that the producers obviously cut with cheesy Vegas stage magicians Seigfried and Roy where they let them film a scene at their show in return of having a good few minutes of their stage show in the film. Recently Roy was mauled by one of the tigers and you wonder if it was in revenge for being forced to be in Vegas Vacation. Overall, disappointing, especially as the series looked to be going places after 'Xmas', but they left it too late to build on that films success.