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The Headless Family (2010)
Headless but not laughless.
This was my first excursion into Thai cinema and all I have to say is, if this represents even a small portion of what Thai movies are like, I'm all in for more. Wow, what a crazy ride this was. I'm still not sure I understood everything that happened, even though it was well captioned. But I know I had fun. You know those rides at the amusement park that are over before you know what happened but in the mean time you've gotten off the ride and your heart is pounding and your eyes are spinning and your body is covered in sweat? This movie is a little but like that.
Basically there is this nice All-Thai modern family. You have a mom and a dad and a kid ho's nickname seems to be Brazil. They all have amusing little episodes going on in their lives and the movie would have been funny just like that. But that's not enough for this movie, Oh no. After the characters are all established we( and they) learn to all our surprise that this family's heads aren't attached. They can take their heads off at will, and then put them back on. With no ill-medical side effects. I can't say there aren't any ill effects at all because sometimes their heads fall off at inopportune times which leads to trouble for them but laughs for us.
Eventually the family becomes internationally famous for this little quirk of theirs and the movie does its bit to skewer the Culture of Celebrity. I don't want to ruin it for you, so I won't tell you anymore.
The premise could have easily worn thin after awhile, but the movie is just the right length, and just endearing enough to keep this from happening. If you want some light and seriously off-beat entertainment, this movie is a good bet.
" We're going to drop the Space needle on Roboshark? But that's the iconic symbol of Seattle!"
The plot is pretty simple. A shark, out minding its own business, bites an alien ship and morphs into a shark/robot hybrid that then attempts to destroy Seattle.
Roboshark is a family friendly version of the Scyfy ( however they're spelling it now) Monster movie. it has some blood and some people, obviously, are eaten alive by the Roboshark but it's pretty tame. And it's funny. There is plenty of quick, throw-away humor, some subtle and some not so subtle. There's a little eye candy and a touch of suspense. They poke a little fun at Bill Gates.If you are a film buff, you can try and catch the dozen or so movies that are referenced here. The script is peppered with light satire. Basically it has a little something for everyone.
Produced by a Bulgarian film company ( BUFO) you can see some store signs sporting the Russian alphabet in some long shots.
It's got a relaxed, fun vibe to it. I bet the cast and crew had a good time making it. It's a nice choice for Movie Night for any family with kids maybe 5-ish or over, although for a 5 year old it would skirt the edge of being fairly scary.
Army of Frankensteins (2013)
"It's not right. You can't go around sewing cannons to people!"
The film begins in Virginia, 1864. A squad of Confederate soldiers is on a routine patrol when one of them breaks rank to rendezvous with his lover. Sadly, just as the soldier is about to commence his own Bull Run, the lovers are set upon by an army, not the Union Army, but an Army of Frankensteins!
As is so often the case, an ego-maniacal mad scientist is at the heart of our troubles, in an attempt to reanimate the Monster's corpse, the crazy Dr. Finski accidentally tears open a hole in the space/time continuum, pouring a multiverse worth of Frankensteins into the middle of the American Civil War. Correcting this little glitch in Time constitutes Our Heroes' Quest. I hate to give away too much in a review so I'll just give you a few highlights. This movie has a lot of good stuff in it, including nods to some of the classic Frankenstein films, (as well as Phil Hartman's version) some effective and often funny gross out effects, a plasma coil cannon, a Counter-Frankenstein, discussions on everything from time travel to the nature of true love, Igor played as a wise- cracking yet highly competent 12 year old boy, and Frankenstein's attempt to thwart Lincoln's assassination at Ford Theater.
Not only is an entertaining film with a good sense of fun, but it seems it was also made by a small group of independent artists and therefore could use your financial support. So spend your money on a product that is not only a good time, but that will help these folks turn out more quality entertainment.
A decent appetizer for those who are Hungry Like a Wolf
Remember that movie The Animal that starred Deuce Bigelow Male Gigolo and that mildly cute girl from the first Survivor? He was a security guard or something and he was horribly injured so a mad scientist transplanted animal organs into his body and he got their powers? Well this is just like that except unlike The Animal it's not even accidentally funny, but the acting is better and it's somehow more believable.
Basically Justine Bateman helps a dude out by replacing his damaged eyes with wolf eyeballs. This obviously leads to him developing wolf powers, like night vision, which is cool at first, until the more undesirable wolf traits start to manifest themselves, like growling, snarling, a thirst for human blood and butt-scooting across the living room carpet. This one's not bad and manages to add a twist to the werewolf mythology.
Murders in the Zoo (1933)
At this zoo, it's not the cost of parking and admission that's gonna kill ya!
When rogue sunspot activity grants the chimps at the zoo hyper-intelligence, they quickly rebel against their human captors, forcing the humans to ride tricycles while wearing ill-fitting bell boy outfits and smoking cheap cigars while mocking the humans' pale, unswollen buttocks. In an attempt to befriend the chimps, the humans refer to them as mere "monkeys" which sends the chimps into a face eating frenzy that transforms the zoo a cotton candy coated abattoir!
Okay, maybe not. This is actually a lean and mean tale of obsession and revenge. I don't want to spoil it for you by giving away any details except to say that this type of story, the pathologically jealous husband who views his wife as property, and the brave wife trying to escape him, has been told many times over.
This version however, is stripped down and raw, and the zoo setting gives it a slightly bizarre twist, just enough to jar you yet not so much it detracts from the emotional impact of the story. The acting is good on all sides with Atwill especially frightening as a man both driven and intelligent enough to exact a horrible fate on anyone he even suspects of crossing him. The opening scene is actually pretty disturbing and but does it's job well in that it lets the viewer know exactly how far Atwill will go to impose his retribution.
Don't Worry, I'm a Ghost (2012)
Not quite what i expected
I should start off by saying that the version of this movie that I saw was sub-titled, and pretty badly.
However, despite this, I think I got the gist of what was happening most of the time. I can't really comment on nuances of dialogue though.
Basically, a young guy is out on his motor scooter one night when he gets slammed into by a car. He wakes up in a hospital and discovers he has lost his memory. His cellphone was destroyed so he can't find any clues to his identity there. However the police, and a beautiful young female ghost get him off to s good start. As the film moves forward the ghost helps him to gradually recover his memory. This eventually results in the revelation of a tragic and terrible secret from the young fella's past. It's a secret I'm not gonna reveal. Don't want to spoil it.
So at first I thought this one would be just another supernatural Rom-Com. Bot meets ghost, boy falls in love with ghost, boy and ghost break up, boy and ghost get back together. At some point though, the film veers off course and it ends up in rather unexpected territory.
However, all in all it was interesting and the lead female actress is quite charming. She almost has an Audrey Tautou thing going on. It's worth a watch for sure.
The World's End (2013)
If you haven't seen the movie yet, stop reading the reviews!
I've missed out on some fun because I knew too much about a movie before seeing it. So I've made it a point to avoid all the reviews and movie news about films until after I see them. I went into this one knowing only that it starred Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and Wow, at a certain point, this movie blew the top of my head off. If you don't know what to expect there is a twist( and that's putting it very lightly) that you'll never see coming. So from here on in Here Be Spoilers!
For the rest of you, who I assume have seen the film, WHAT A BLAST! Oh man, when Gary got in a fight with that teen and the kid's head shattered in a spray of blue ink! Holy Cuh-Rap! From the first half hour or so I thought I was in for something like Wild Hogs, except, you know good. I figured the boys were making a comparatively relaxed comedy about reaching middle age and not attaining your dreams blah, blah, blah. Not too bad but nothing to write home about either.
Then they dropped the bomb and all bets were off. What a ride! It was a comedy, but it also had some pretty effective thriller moments. And there was some social commentary, which I figured they borrowed from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but the movie doesn't bog down in it, not for a second. The comedy, the suspense, the commentary, it's really well balanced. I really appreciated that the creators never forgot, and never let the audience forget, that this movie is primarily a comedy. It has laughs galore. There are multiple little jokes crammed inside of bigger jokes. This is the comedy version of the famous Russian nesting dolls. Might I also add that I've never seen beer filmed so lovingly before. Each pint that Gary drinks looks like the Platonic Idea of A Pint. Seriously, when I left the theater I wanted only two things. To talk about the movie with my friends, reliving the laughs, and to hit 12 pubs for 12 pints, the beer looked that good. As P.G. Wodehouse might have put it, I required a strengthening tonic.
Actually there was one other urge I felt after leaving the theater, an intense craving for a Marmalade Sandwich.
Smart, exciting, at times gut-wrenchingly hilarious, this is the kind of movie that makes you leave the theater on a pure movie high.
Identity Thief (2013)
It's an occasionally funny "Midnight Run" for the Jerry Springer crowd.
As you know, Jason Bateman goes to Florida to catch an identity thief and bring her back to Denver so he can get his life back after she ruined it by stealing his identity. It's a pretty simple premise and a pretty simple movie.
The leads had a decent chemistry and if the script had been more intelligent it would have been a better film. But it opts for the lowest common denominator type gags at every turn. That gets pretty old in a film almost 2 hours long.
This is the type of movie where the two main characters are supposed to start out hating each other but eventually develop an understanding and even appreciation of each other. You've seen it in movies like Midnight Run, Planes, Trains and Automobiles and 48 hours. When it's done well it works. When it's done like this it falls flat.
I hope the kid appreciates what his parents went through for him.
It's Red Forman vs. Highlander in a classic Cat and Mouse prison escape film. Seems in the future Humanity done effed too much and now every couple is limited to just one child, even if that child dies at birth. Duncan Macleod's child does just that, and then his wife gets preggers again. When They try and escape to another country they're captured and thrown into the dreaded Fortress, a corporate prison managed by Warden Poe, played by Kurtwood Smith aka Red Forman aka Clarence Bodiker. It's directed by the Re-Animator guy and although low budget and cheesy it's entertaining because of the interesting ideas and creative use of the budget dollars.
Django Unchained (2012)
If John Ford and Kinji Fukasaku had a baby.
I really liked Django Unchained, or as I like to call it: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence right through the eyeball and then the bullet continued through about 7 other torsos, shot out from a guy's belly button bringing a plume of intestines with it, ricocheted off someone's jugular vein, then snapped the cord holding up a chandelier causing said chandelier to plummet like a lead balloon, crushing the skulls of various evil varmints and polecats and then plunging into an occupied outhouse where the dynamite was also stored, causing the outhouse to explode in a crimson rain of blood, guts and offal.
But I guess all that wouldn't fit on the poster.
Django has everything you'd want in a movie, action, humor, suspense, drama, and even some romance, all washed down with gallons of blood. Did I mention some beautiful western vistas? it's got those too. And there are plenty of references to some of the great westerns of the past, some of them only visual so pay attention. There is the trade mark Tarantino dialogue as well.
I'm sure other reviewers will talk about racial-political implications and social commentary and such. I'm not that smart. I just thought this was a fast paced and satisfying film for movie fans from beginning to end. Leonardo Di Caprio makes for a great villain, keeping himself just this side of over-the-top. Jamie Fox played Django as quiet waters that ran deep but Christopher Walz steals the show.