Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
I Melt with You (2011)
4 Cowards Unable To Confront The Shame of Their Personal Choices
If you, like me, have watched the trailer for "I Melt With You" and are attracted to the allure of a philosophical tale about men confronting the harsh realities of late middle-age, think again. The trailer is a misrepresentation of the film. As a man, 42 years of age (at the time of this submission), I was enthusiastically intrigued by the premise presented in the trailer, but alas, I was misled. Instead, the film is nothing more than a romanticizing of the abuse of drugs and alcohol for the first hour and a romanticizing of suicide the second. Metaphorically speaking in a quite applicable and relevant sense, I thought I was partaking of some fine wine and discovered I was tricked into a bad acid trip.
To its credit, the film features spectacular photography and a provocative musical score, however this is extremely influential in an almost criminal way, because both are employed to glamorize ugliness and tragedy. Yeah, yeah... for those grabbing their "freedom of speech" muskets, the kind of message this film sends can be equated to some fictitious right child pornographers seek. It is destructive and it is reckless. Why? Because the film is advertised as a coming of age story and that is a blatant lie.
Four college buddies get together for their annual seven-day getaway to pop pills, snort coke, drink booze, smoke weed, pretend there exists some semblance of meaningful bond between them, pass out, then do it all over again each day. Truth is, these four guys are complete cowards, and save Christian McCay's character, are completely unlikable. The ring leader, self proclaimed MC (Thomas Jane) is a womanizing, a##h##e. Then there is the Madoff wanna-be (appropriately played by Jeremy Piven). Rob Lowe is his sleazy self as an MD who sells fake scripts on the side. Finally there is Tim (played by McCay, who reminded me of a Zach Galifianakis-iesque type personae) who was the only somewhat likable and identifiable character in the film. Actually, the only issue I had with the latter was that his homosexual orientation was so obviously and gratuitously introduced to remain PC and in reality, his three pals were the types that would have shunned and ridiculed him for being gay. (Come on, Mark Pellington, give me a break!) Like an MTV music video, the film carries along with truly effective moments of presenting the despair and dissatisfaction these four men recognize in their lives (as they continue to drink and drug themselves into oblivion), but then there is a turn for the worst when the sensitive Tim...
I don't want to commit spoiler-violation-treason here so let's just suffice to say the film continues its downward spiral from here as it attempts to glorify the most selfish of acts. Oh, and the crying and tears! I have never witnessed a film with men weeping and wailing so much and so frequently. These guys need to grab some balls and go watch 300! It was ridiculous! To watch the four grown men belly-aching and whining because of their regrets, mistakes, and doing drugs and drinking booze to hide from it (in that order) was quite frankly... disgusting. What a shame that four decent actors would partake of such rotten fruit.
The film offers no value because it was falsely marketed and it attempts to aspire to be something meaningful and profound that drugs, alcohol, and suicide will never equate to. When the credits rolled, I found myself compelled to take the same shower I took after Irreversible and Martyrs. Yep, the film is that dark, meaningless, empty, nihilistically ugly, and ultimately, pathetically shallow.
30 Minutes or Less (2011)
Eisenberg's Star Nose Dives
Rarely anymore do I find myself looking forward to a film's release with any real sincerity. 30 Minutes or Less was an exception and equally proved to be yet, another disappointment.
What happened, Jesse? I usually love your stuff. I've been a fan since Rodger Dodger. Your scene with Elizabeth Berkley and Jennifer Beals was one of THE most sexually and amazingly charged scenes I've seen on film to date. Usually you so adeptly merge your style and unique attributes with those of your characters. So many times, it has been solely you that has kept otherwise sinking ships adrift (i.e. Cursed, Adventureland). You won 2011 Best Actor hands-down, well deserved.
But man, I don't get it... This time, it was as if you had your mind on other things. Forgive me for saying so, but your performance reminded me of a preoccupied, constipated, Gary Oldman-style Dracula. Hey, just calling it like it is. Right out of the shoot I felt a wave of confusion when you attempted this tough-guy personae racing carelessly through the streets with this apathetic, f-you energy that was so-not your vibe. But it was when you went "live" that you transformed into this spineless jellyfish of a wet-your-panties, whiny, little b***h that was so nauseatingly unlikable I found myself keeping my fingers crossed that the film would take some unprecedented leap at originality and you would blow up in 30 Minutes or Less. Your acting in this, usually flawless, came across so canned and unrehearsed.
Now maybe, just maybe this was all intentional to take a back seat in effort to open the door wider for Aziz Ansari. If it was, then you're a genius, because you generously allowed him the show. This time, ironically, another actor saved an otherwise sinking ship.
Whatever happened, please don't let it happen again. We need your brilliance. There are too many Barbie and Ken dolls out there as your so-called peers. We need genuine actors and actresses breathing real life into their characters.
That's all I got.
Sucker Punch (2011)
Sin City Meets The Matrix
Sucker Punch plays out like a video game/music video, and although some of its tactics are questionable, it proves to be somewhat of a unique and wow-inspiring experience.
Young girl (20? yeah right! Try more like 17) is committed to an insane asylum by her evil, pedophile stepfather after a rape attempt goes awry and she accidentally kills her little sister. The stepfather bribes one of the orderlies to put a rush order in for her unwarranted lobotomy, but during the week-long wait for the procedure, imagination propels her into an alternate reality consumed by action-fantasy. Accompanied by a handful of hotties, she does battle with colossal demonic samurai, ferocious orc-like Nazi stormtroopers, metropolis-destined WMD's, and even a fire-breathing dragon, all the while dressed in cleavage-boasting tops and schoolgirl miniskirts. It is a teenage boys dream come true.
Not over-overwhelmingly original, the trip is fun, the effects are cool and stylish, and I really dug the backdrop tunes. But I like video game flicks and admittedly, I found myself contemplating which of my library I was going to slip into the PS3 once I got home. To that end, the film was a bit of an inspiration.
I disagreed with the PG-13 rating. Responsible parents beware. The movie is packed with strong sexual under and overtones. Now before all you anti-censorship zealots get your panties crammed into wedgies, I agree that to take away from its extremely sexy seductiveness would leave it naked and rather impotent and I am merely suggesting it should have received the R-rating it deserved. Never mind that the matinée I hit held 50+ year old men as the majority in attendance (hmmm)... This is an exploitation flick flaunting young, scantily-clad, cuties wielding swords and kicking ass while trying to escape a whorehouse. I just don't think the little kiddies should be Sucker Puch-ed. My only real exception, as is true with any film dealing with similar subject matter, is the making light of pedophilia. This movie opens disturbingly with a dirty old man about to rape a young, preteen girl. Something of that nature has no business even being insinuated or associated with ensuing images clearly intended to titillate and peak the libido.
Red Riding Hood (2011)
Red Riding Hood is so ridiculously pathetic on so many levels that I find it difficult to separate and itemize each attribute which contributes to that statement in any concrete and specific fashion. It is awful to its core. It wreaks! Gary Oldman took the cake, though, with his typical overacting and apparent attempt to reprise his Dracula role which ruined Coppola's 1992 remake. Hey Gary, why the thick and phony accent? Didn't you notice none of the rest of the cast even bothered? No troll here. I forked out $50 for a couple of my kids and I to go see this joke and it was my choice. I wasn't expecting Oscar material and I figured it would have a Twilight-type storyline. I'm usually able to find something positive in any flick. Hell, I even surprisingly found the Justin Beiber "Never Say Never" film to be somewhat enjoyable (which eerily enough currently holds a one-star average on IMDb whilst this soft and sloppy piece of dung has five.) If I could have achieved it without embarrassing the kids, I would have walked out and requested my money back. Honestly, folks, it was that bad and I grew up as a teen in the 80's and that decade farted out some real doozies...
Just like everyone, I believe in guilty pleasures and movies so bad you can't help but like them... But unlike those, this takes itself seriously and that is both worrisome and frightening. However, what is even more concerning is that so many movie-goers actually attempt to courageously defend and recommend it. There is definitely something toxic and mentally debilitating in the public water system.
The Losers (2010)
Just as most reviews are describing...
Hadn't heard of it and knew even less about it when I saw The Losers and I just had a blast! It was a movie for guys who like movies with its mean action and a constant humorous undertone that stays in stride with the tempo of the film. It was hot chix, cool tricks, and explosives throughout.
I didn't dig the slow-mo too much, though. That John Woo stuff just rubs me the wrong way and I find it so pretentiously distracting! ugh.
But beyond that... if you want an entertaining "don't need to think about it flick", The Losers generously provides. If you're looking for something to stick with you to puzzle upon or stimulate you intellectually, search elsewhere.
Halloween II (2009)
Rob Zombie Makes Uwe Boll Shine
At first I was flat-out infuriated by this film. I've never been infuriated by a film. Disappointed, sure, but never angry. Then I realized something. Rob Zombie doesn't give a hoot about how he has aborted a legendary horror franchise. He cares about only two things: further projecting his ugly, misogynistic view of the world on screen and making as much money as possible doing it. He has no imagination nor even the slightest sense of originality. The characters in his films are all the same. Men are portrayed as misogynistic, white trash and women are trivialized as foul-mouthed sluts. He even whores out his own wife. So the thing is, we shouldn't be angry with Zombie. He has established what we can always expect from him
garbage. Nope, we should be angry with Dimension Films for what they allowed him to do to the Halloween name, but even more, we should be angry with the folks out there who actually enjoy this type of abomination and lap it up at the trough.
Dead Air (2009)
Great Idea Pathetic Film
The idea behind Dead Silence is great: zombie outbreak takes place during an edgy paranoia radio talk show. There was so much going for this film. Unfortunately, as soon as the zombies made their appearance, all was lost.
The film is ridiculous and only those with a passion for cheesy, b-flick horror will enjoy it. The zombies were soooo stupid! They ran around flailing their arms. They looked like a bunch of people putting on a haunted house for elementary students.
I know this is a brief review, but I just don't see the need to invest much into this. It's a dumb movie. You've been warned.
A Children's Rendition of Shakespeare's Mollasses
Really I need only describe Brick in one sentence in order to establish how pathetically self important and obnoxiously awful Brick is: Lukas Haas plays a high school drug lord chauffeured around in a minivan sitting in the back under the light of his mother's living room wood based lamp.
Listen, I get it. It's supposed to be film noir. I understand the intent, but it is just so insanely miserable. It reminded me of 9th grade in mean old Mrs. Ketterer's's English class when we all took turns reading from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Everything is life or death important when you are a kid and the kids starring in this film are no exception. This was potentially their big break, but what kid uses the word "sap" to insult his peer? The dialogue was so ridiculously pretentious. Ugh!
Don't let 'em try and convince you that only a true connoisseur of film can appreciate Brick. Trust your better judgment and go with your gut. It is a stupid, stupid movie with a script that is about as fitting as King Kong's love scene on ice in Peter Jackson's atrocity. Don't be suckered in by the ranking as a cult classic. Plan 9 From Outer Space is considered a cult classic, but that doesn't make it any good either.
The Echo (2008)
Some Genuine Creepiness In This One
The Echo had a handful of scenes with an uncomfortable creepiness akin to classic J-Horror. Rarely do I reach for the remote anymore having experienced most every range of horror film out there, but this one seeped under my skin and had me on edge more than twice. And it is that sort of unsettling moodiness combined with frights you hafta' be paying attention to catch. You know, the kind where after they've come and gone you must back em up for a second take. Truly those "WTF" type instances.
Jesse Bradford plays Bobby, a twenty something recently released from prison after doing a stint for killing a guy who attempted to rape his HOT girlfriend (played by Ameiia Warner) in a restroom. Having nowhere else to go, he heads back to the ol' East Village NYC neighborhood. Mom has died a spooky death from starvation, he learns, when he moves in to her old apartment. There's bloody fingernails on the piano keys and rumbles in the walls and a mean-looking cop next door who enjoys beating his wife and little girl. Bobby starts to see things, though, and these things aren't making any sense and they're a bit ghastly to boot. It's when Bobby decides he can no longer put up with the abuse he is overhearing next door and reports it to the cops, only to have them respond to a completely vacant apartment next door, that things go from odd to friggin' strange.
Bobby's apartment reminded me a lot of the apartment in the game Silent Hill 4: The Room with its eerily watered down dingy browns and rusts. There are holes in the peeling plaster walls and everything gives off the mood of worn and filthy. It's a truly lonely place that flattened my spirits each time Bobby returned home.
The Echo is not without its disappointments and inconsistencies which converge on a far too abrupt ending that leaves the viewer feeling a bit jipped. Oh well, though. It is a decently freaky ride getting there.
Lost Signal (2006)
Every once in a while, well these days more often than not, there comes along a flick so bad that after struggling through it, I feel compelled to sit down here and warn people against it. Dead of Winter aka Lost Signal is such a flick. It is so bad on so many levels that it seems a crime to invest in its 104 minutes. Wretchedly ridiculous, I found myself watching the clock with my finger hovering over the fast forward button like it was the trigger and the remote was some gun to end my suffering, my eyes glazed over frostbitten by boredom.
Kevin (Al Santos) and Tiffany (Sandra McCoy) are a young couple making the foolish plunge to move in together. On a New Year's Eve, as if to christen the event, Kevin talks Tiffany into snorting some meth followed by a shot of liqueur. When Kevin catches his pusher making moves on Tiff, he and Tiff leave the party abruptly. Before long, it becomes evident that the liqueur was laced with a hallucinogen of some sort and Kevin and Tiff begin to trip out in the woods suspecting someone is after them to do some harm.
Sounds intriguing enough, doesn't it? Well, don't be seduced to the lousy side with this one. Right from the start, you cannot help but despise Kevin. He's rude to Tiff's father. He's a piece of garbage for pushing meth, of all drugs, on his girlfriend, and he is the most pathetic Jack Nicholson wanna-be to ever violate celluloid. He even takes off running from perceived danger leaving his lady far behind in the freezing snow.
Dead of Winter, like so many B-horror releases in recent years, feels like some failed film school project. It's just a dumb movie that insults the viewer's intelligence by taking itself seriously. It was just so stupid!