Saturday, March 27, 2010

What's Your Sign?

Many people have criticized Zodiac, one of my favourite movies, for being "slow", or lacking action, or being "boring". To those people, I say go watch a Bruce Willis movie (preferably Hostage 'cause it ROCKS). Zodiac, based on the book by Robert Graysmith detailing his involvement in the investigation of the Zodiac Killer, is a perfectly paced cinematic masterpiece. It hits just the right note with its methodical detective work and creeping suspense. And humour is still a perfect component in the pairing of Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr. Everything about this movie is spot on. The music, the directing, the cinematography, the ACTING. Every piece of the puzzle is meticulously placed and it all fits together perfectly. Clearly, I am a huge fan.

Now, I could gush for hours about how wonderfully executed this film was, but that's only half the story. What I really want to address are the complaints that the movie generated by some people.


I've heard quite a few complaints that Zodiac was too slow and didn't hold the audience's interest. There are many great movies wherein the pacing is purposefully slow. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, the film's pace is supposed to metaphorically match the speed of real space travel. It takes a very long time to travel from Earth to Mars, and the movie's pace reflected that. That's only one of a million reasons why 2001 garnered so many favourable reviews. In Zodiac, the pacing is supremely important because the movie tells the story of a police investigation spanning several decades. To jump from one action sequence to the next would destroy the atmosphere of the film and turn a chilling story into a laughable attempt at horror.

THE (lack of) ACTION:

Another common beef with Zodiac is its lack of explosive, non-stop action, but truth be told, the movie is not meant to be an action flick. Now, personally, I found the murder scenes more disturbing than in any other film. There's no telltale music indicating that a death is near. The lighting isn't dark and threatening. The victims are not running in terror from a towering monster. The victims are regular people doing regular things. The one that really makes me shudder is the murder of the couple on a picnic. It all just seems so realistic, and it should, since it really happened. The lighting is bright and cheery and the landscape is gorgeous. They're just enjoying their afternoon when a man approaches them and stabs them to death, and not in the cheesy, horror movie way with blood spatters and over-exaggerated violence. No, the murders are supremely real and supremely terrifying. Again, the acting is so spectacular that it sucks you into the film and you feel as if you're really living the investigation alongside its characters.


I cannot be professional when addressing this one. THEY NEVER CAUGHT THE GODDAMN KILLER! They can't just say, "Yeah, this is the guy. DEFINITELY.", end scene. To this day, the identity of the killer is still unknown. The movie does offer Robert Graysmith's opinion on it, and honestly, that should be enough. You can't really expect a movie (based on a book) based on fact to just disregard everything that the movie's been working toward for the entirety of the film simply to satisfy the small percentage of the audience that dislikes ambiguity. It's a ridiculous expectation and, had it been implemented, it would have ruined what is actually a pretty fantastic film.

Okay, well, I really did just gush over the movie for the last three paragraphs, but in my defence, I did address what I intended to refute. I'm not saying anyone who dislikes the movie is an idiot (this time), but I do believe that if you complained about the movie for one of the reasons I've mentioned, you're pretty fucking stupid. You knew what you were getting into. Or you should have.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Paranormal Inactivity

Paranormal Activity could have condensed all of its "content" and been a perfectly good 45-minute movie. Instead it drags on for 86 minutes. 99 if you watch the extended edition, apparently, though I didn't notice any difference at all until the very end. Or perhaps the extended edition and the edition with the alternate ending are different versions. In any case, they both sucked and both endings were unsatisfactory.

I love a good ghost story. I love a good documentary-esque movie. Not Cloverfield, but Diary of the Dead, hell yeah! Or Brutal Massacre. That was so hilarious, but I suppose that would technically be categorized as a mockumentary. Anyway, my point is that Paranormal Activity is boring because of the complete lack of action. I would say that only 8% of the movie actually includes any kind of action. But when you call it a "horror/thriller" that is supposedly all about a very violent haunting, you expect there to be some violence. And haunting. No. Paranormal Activity saves it all for the last 6 minutes. That is not how you make a good movie. That's how you make a pile of crap.

I was very disappointed. I knew it wasn't going to be fantastic, but I at least hoped to be creeped out or scared. I'm a huge chicken. How in the world did they not creep me out? But sucking a cock the whole time, really.

My recommendation is to just save your money and rent Diary of the Dead instead. At least that's funny and has some wicked action sequences. And zombie slayings.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

New Blog

It has come to my attention that the douchebag population in this city has sky-rocketed lately, so I decided to document my (and my friends') run-ins with local douchebags. In order to do this, I've started a new blog called What A Douchebag which will be updated every time I encounter another douchebag.

This will not count as this week's post. I plan to upload a new post tomorrow, most likely in the evening. (I actually do have a life on occasion.)

Enjoy your weekends and have fun (not) caring about the Olympics! As I will be doing.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Watch Your Back (Or I'll Blow It Up)

I know this will come as a shock to most of you, but yes, I love movies. I also love my DVDs. Because I legitimately buy all of my movies. Why? Because I fucking do. It's legal and better. And usually better quality. By now, you may be wondering, "What the fuck is her problem?" My problem is that I am sick and fucking tired of my DVDs leaving my house and never fucking coming back.

I lent out The Cave and Kiss the Girls to a good friend of mine over two years ago. I trusted that he would return them in due time. What a fucking idiot. I waited. I waited a long time. Finally, I reminded him. "Hey, when are you gonna return those movies?" His answer eventually morphed from "Oh yeah, remind me next time I'm at my house." to "No, I gave those back." When I saw them in his fucking house, he responds, "No, I think my dad has these movies." NO! HE FUCKING DOESN'T! THEY ARE MINE!

So why are they not back in my possession? Because in the real world, I am a pushover. I have since replaced my copy of Kiss the Girls, but as yet have not found another $6 copy of The Cave.

Then, Misery went missing. MISERY. As in Stephen King, James Caan, Kathy FUCKING Bates! Yes, that Misery. That one, I believe, is also in the possession of said friend. I do love him. He is, in almost all respects, a fantastic friend. But insofar as DVDs? Not so much.

Then it was 28 Weeks Later. If it had been 28 Days Later I would be more upset. 28 Weeks Later is everywhere for pretty fuckin' low prices. Yeah, I'm pissed that a certain someone promised for six weeks straight that he would bring it to work to return it, but as he's a huge douchebag and I have no intention of ever seeing him again, I would rather pay another $6 for a new DVD.

But this time, the gloves are fucking OFF! This time it's HOSTAGE. MOTHERFUCKING HOSTAGE! Hostage is one of my favourite goddamn movies, and I know for a motherfucking fact that I would never lend that shit out. That's like me handing over JAWS and saying, "Hey, keep it as long as you want! I can get another one!" FUCKING NO. NO, NO, NO, NO, NO! Hostage is my motherfucking movie. I fucking love that shit. I once watched it eight times in two fucking days! This is un-fucking-acceptable! I have searched my entire goddamn house for this goddamn movie and I will not rest until it is back on my fucking shelf!

Beware, movie thieves! I SHALL HAVE MY REVENGE!!

Yes, I am pissed. This won't count as this week's update.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

When A Problem Comes Along

You must Whip It! I can't help thinking that every time I talk about Whip It! Pat can only think of "whip-its", but his mind is full of drug references.

Pat's brain.

Whip It! is the latest Ellen Page indie film, meaning everyone who loved Juno is also inclined to love this roller derby marathon. I loved it. I've loved every Ellen Page movie thus far. Well, with the exception of The Stone Angel. I rented it forever ago, but I never got around to watching it. It was a love story. No blood, no gore, no Michael Cera. It did have Ellen Burstyn, but I just wasn't in the mood for mush.

As far as
Whip It! goes, it's one of those movies that is awesome every time you watch it, but is slightly ruined for you during every re-viewing because you know what happens with Oliver (portrayed by Landon Pigg -- such a fitting last name for that role). This is one of those movies that I recommend you watching without me ruining the plot, so I'll leave any further comments about Oliver out of this review.

Wrong Oliver. Though this one has better beats.

Now, Whip It! is not simply Ellen Page's new movie. It is also the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore, a.k.a. "Smashley Simpson" (her derby name), and she does a bang-up job (pun totally intended). I don't know how or why she made the decision to jump to directing (in Kevin Smith style -- she directs and acts in the film), I'm just damn glad she did. The cast was brilliant, and there isn't a single performance that I feel needs ragging on. Actually, I absolutely fell in love with Pash, Bliss' (Ellen Page's) best friend, played by Alia Shawkat. If she looks familiar, maybe you saw her in Veronica Mars. I know I did! (LOVE that show! Or, loved, I guess?) She was also in Arrested Development, though, so perhaps you've seen her in that. Whether or not you recognized her, you must have noticed that she is SEXY. Very beautiful.


You know who else you may recognize (aside from the obvious)? A lot of people in this movie. For example, Ari Graynor, a.k.a. Eva Destruction, played Caroline in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and Lacey in Youth in Revolt, and was fantastic in Whip It!. Eve, best known as a "musician" who "featured" Gwen Stefani in her song "Blow Ya Mind" (and possibly other things), played Rosa Sparks in the movie. Kristen Wiig from Saturday Night Live played the head of the Hurl Scouts, Maggie Mayhem. For the record, the Hurl Scouts are the team that Ellen Page joins up with. Jimmy Fallon is in it, getting rejected by lots of women (as usual). Andrew Wilson, older brother to Luke and Owen, plays the Hurl Scouts' coach, Razor. And, best for last here, Marcia Gay Harden (best 'cause of that fucking hilarious name!), known for her roles in everything, plays Brooke Cavendar, Bliss' insanely religious mother who insists on forcing her daughters into beauty pageants so they can relive her youth for her. Needless to say, the cast is killer.

Also killer were the costumes. They are
awesome. Seriously, I want Ellen Page's clothes. And Alia's. And Drew Barrymore's. Man, there are some crazy-wicked clothes in that movie. It's basically a throwback to everything awesome about the 80s, blended with everything awesome about hipsters today.

I suppose the only bad thing I have to say about
Whip It! is that sometimes, it tries a little too hard to be indie. I know that's the cool new thing for comedies, and I can appreciate that (I love indie/emo music, too), but when you have to try to be indie, it automatically does the exact opposite. Like your uncool parents trying to dress like your friends and learn your slang.

Hey kids! What are you hep cats up to tonight?
Going down to the discotheque to get your freak on?

Have you ever noticed that the letters "G", "H", and "B" are very close together on the keyboard? Just thinking out loud here.

That is a LOT of work for three letters.

If the story of Whip It! has passed you by, here's a quick synopsis: Bliss Cavendar hates beauty pageants. Her mom loves them. Bliss wants to roller derby. Bliss' mom doesn't want her to. Bliss does it anyway. Hilarity (and drama) ensues.

It doesn't sound like a remarkably different plot, I know, but it
does have something no other plot in recent years has: roller derby. You'd be surprised how interesting it is to watch chicks in fishnets and short-shorts beat the shit out of each other. On the Worth It scale, Whip It! is an ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY.

If you haven't seen it, SEE IT. If you have, WHY AREN'T YOU WATCHING IT NOW?

Actually, right now I'm watching Coraline. I fucking love this movie! It's terrifyingly creepy for a kids' movie, and it has John Hodgman. Teri Hatcher is an interesting choice, but it's all good. Perhaps I shall review it next. See you next week! Probably.


Wow, I am horrible at keeping to self-imposed deadlines. Mostly because I have no time until the weekend (that's when Pat's busy), so I'm thinking it's time to rethink my choice of update day. I'm going to go with Sundays. I will update with a new review every Sunday. Let's see if this deadline sticks, eh?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Surrogates: The Internet IRL

I'd like to preface this post with an apology: I'm sorry this entry is late. It's hilarious that it is, since it's the first one since my self-imposed deadline. Not to get too specific, but I've been laid up in bed these past two days with a very unhappy stomach. I promise that next week's post will not be late. I think I'll be reviewing Whip It! Now on to the blog.


After adjusting to looking at Bruce Willis with hair, something occurred to me: I was thirsty. So I paused the movie and made the long trip down the hall to the fridge on a perilous quest for caffeine. It was on the trek back that something movie-related occurred to me: Surrogates. Surrogates is MySpace, but REAL.

"Life, but emo-er."

-Ish. Anyone can just design a face and say, "This is the new me", while spending their biotic life attached to a creepy sex-chair (it looks like a sex-chair. Or what I imagine a sex-chair would look like). That actually happens in the movie. Some old, fat guy is discovered in his apartment, dead, after his "unit" (DIRTY) is destroyed. His "unit" (still dirty) was a 20-something blonde bombshell (I sound 50), who was decidedly female. Imagine how easy it would be to become a tranny, eh?

"Hey, baby. How you doin'?"

And yet, the fact remains: a surrogate is still just a glorified avatar, and though technically you're not in any real physical danger if your surrogate ends up boning a major creeper, it is major weird. For example, a 15-year-old could be using a surrogate that looks 25. They meet someone sexy who looks to be around 25 as well, but behind that sexy, 1/4-century-old face lurks a 60-year-old pedo. Chris Hansen's electronic head would explode.

"I like to make love." -- Chris Hansen

Of course, if both "surries" (I can't believe I just typed that. I need to go vomit.) look 25, what are the legal repercussions for the people controlling them, if one is 15 and one is 60? Man, you would think there would be regulations of some sort, controlling who uses what "unit". Also, for the record, I did not make up the term "surries"; it's one of the nicknames for surrogates used in the film. It's my least favourite term for them. To me, Surrey is in England. Anyway, I'll stick to calling them surrogates, or "units" (gonna stick to quotation marks, though).

I won't lie. I love Bruce Willis movies. Hostage, Mercury Rising, Pulp Fiction (he's in it, at least), UNBREAKABLE (HELL YEAH!), Sixth Sense, Lucky Number Slevin, Tears of the Sun, and on, and on, and on. I did not love Surrogates. I didn't really give a crap about it. It was okay, at best. For everything it could have been, it really fell short. I expected there to be more to it. That's not to say that the story wasn't interesting (though not interesting enough, apparently), it just left way too many holes. PLOT holes.

There were a lot of questions brought up by the subject matter that were never dealt with. Also, how fucking easy would identity theft be in that universe? Anyway, what bothered me was when Bruce Willis' a.k.a. Tom Greer's partner was killed and her surrogate stolen. It's made clear earlier on in the film that advanced surrogate models (because there are cheap ones and fancy ones; like hookers) are tailored to the user's genetic signature (like hookers) ... (Wait--). So how the hell does the guy who steals her surrogate use it?

"Heh, heh, heh. Suckers."

Man, imagine how annoying surrogates would be if they glitched all the time. Lag would be uber-annoying, particularly during sex or some shit.

This, but she's on top of you.

But the real issue here, and with the whole concept of surrogates, is the psychological impact. I mean, talk about midlife crises now. With surrogates, how would you ever know who you really are? You'd never know if your husband/wife really loved you or your sex-bot. You'd also never feel anything real again. So what if your "unit" has the most advanced "touch/feel" systems? It's not real. Basically, it's the next step in human evolution, if people can't get their heads out of their computers and get their asses off social networking websites.

Or their heads out of their asses and
their computers off social networking sites.

I know I haven't mentioned the plot much, but in truth, it's not a bad plot. It's a poorly executed one at times, but not bad. I still recommend seeing the film, particularly if you love Bruce Willis. I just also recommend not going into it thinking it'll be the best movie ever. Then again, my mom loved it. And hated Whip It! The world makes no sense.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


What? That's how you spell it. I know the movie's called Pandorum, but every time I read or say it, I think of "pandemonium" (foreshadowing?). Which might have to do with the name, but I'm thinking it's more like Pandora. What is with the film industry and Pandora lately? You know, maybe it's not pandemonium or Pandora. Maybe it's pandas. Space pandas.

Space Pandas. It's going to happen.

We all know sending animals into space usually results in either important research results, or horrible, horrible movies.


Actually, not so much with the important research. In any case, what does all this have to do with Pandorum? Well, space. And pandas. Not really, though. Just the space.

It's actually kind of ironic. I picked up Pandorum when I read that it took place on a ship (I had just watched Ghost Ship and wanted more nautical horror), however, I didn't realize that the DVD cover meant space-ship, not ship-ship. Admittedly, I was disappointed. But I didn't write it off just yet. C'mon, it had Ben Foster in it. And Dennis Quaid, but whatever. The irony? I actually ended up kind of liking it.

The film begins with Ben Foster being birthed from a cryo-tube (or something) after waking up to a seemingly deserted ship. Now, for anyone who hasn't seen the cover of the film, this is it:

I feel like he should be holding an apple.
Or a baseball. Pretty much anything round.

Look at those tubes. Those are INTENSE! Apparently, space IVs are made large enough to accommodate solid food. I think I'd only fear what happens next if "what's next" was getting those things removed. Holy shit.

After Ben Foster tears the PVC pipe out of his flesh, the saddest part of the movie occurs: he puts his clothes on. Up until then, he was walking around in very little. But I suppose it makes sense. Must be cold in space. Once his clothes are on, he attacks his monster beard (which has grown a lot, but his hair is still incredibly short. What's with that?) with the coolest razor ever. A laser razor. I want one of those things. It's friggin' magic! Anyway, then the scariest part happens: Dennis Quaid wakes up and is also scantily clad. However, before Dennis wakes up, while Ben Foster is trying to make sense of his sudden wakefulness and his memory loss (he finds a handy sign telling him that cryo-sleep, or hyper-sleep, or whatever, results in temporary memory loss), he looks himself over and finds a number tattooed along his left forearm. According to the film, that number is his crew number, rank, and social insurance number (the last part may not be true). Also according to the film, that was not tattooed there by Nazis. You win this time, Pandorum, but I'm on to you.

What really made me laugh was the one German chick who attacks Ben Foster every time she sees him. She's German and attacking the guy with the arm tattoo full of numbers. I wonder if that was at all intentional? You know, I think for once I will not ruin the ending of this film. Or the whole plot. I'll just point out things that made me laugh. Or question the sanity of the filmmakers.

The original movie poster. Failed the public appeal tests.

This film was actually more like an amalgamation of Lost in Space, Ghost Ship, and The Cave (I'm still missing my copy and that chafes my ass). They're lost (and on a space ship), the ship is seemingly deserted, and eventually, they encounter very interesting and dangerous creatures. And of course, there is a twist at the end. Not in the style of Shyamalan. More like the twist ending that all horror/thrillers have. "Oh my god! The killer was really his father's brother's wife! That's why she stole the necklace! She was supposed to have it, according to the will, but everyone thought she was dead! Oh my god!"

Also in true horror fashion, the main character, Ben Foster, is always falling down. "Hey, some stairs. Shit!", "Wow, that's a really cool gun! Whoops!", "That looks like a solid foothold. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu--!" You get the idea. I understand that his balance is probably a bit off considering he's been sleeping in a tube of goo for a really long time and his muscles have probably weakened somewhat, but really? Does he really need to fall every 5 minutes?

I'll just pop downstairs and flip on the react-- AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!

But never mind about Ben Foster's lack of equilibrium (not a bad movie, actually). The reason for this monster space trek is that Earth is dying and humanity needs to establish colonies on a new planet before they're all kaput. They decided to send out a space ship full of army guys, botanists, biologists, and every other profession you can think of that isn't lawyer or hair stylist. (Also no carnies.) When Ben Foster wakes up, he realizes that the ship has no power. The navigation systems are down, the engines are down, and the ship is experiencing random power surges. Ben, with Quaid's help, makes his way out of the locked crews' quarters (all the doors are down since there's no power. I don't remember DOORKNOBS needing power.) and makes his way to the reactor. He's the tech expert on the ship. Which means he's the only one qualified to flip a big switch.

Don't worry. I'm a tech expert.

On his way, he collects a random group of "survivors" and they all stick together on the path to the reactor. This is my favourite part of the film. They're finally at the reactor and when the camera pans to it, it looks like it's got three giant-sized (as in 3 feet tall) AA batteries stuck right into the side. Comedic gold, right there.

As I've promised not to ruin the end of the movie, I won't go on anymore about the plot. I will say that that is one gory movie. Not on the same level as Fargo, or what I assume SAW would be, but it has its moments. Of gore.

The verdict for this movie is that it's surprisingly not awful, though it does get a bit repetitive. And ew to Dennis Quaid with no pants on.

Next up: Surrogates.