Archive for the ‘Yoda’ Category

National Poetry Month 24/30: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK in 5-7-5

April 24, 2010

Celebrate National Poetry Month!  Write a haiku about Yoda in the comments below!

STAR WARS V:  THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

Judge him by his size?
I wouldn’t recommend it.
Yoda’s a bad ass.

MOVIE: Halloween II (2009)

September 4, 2009

halloween2A couple of years ago, my mom and I were watching a bad disaster movie while my sister and her husband happened to be hanging out in the same room (I phrase it that way, instead of suggesting they were actually watching WITH us, for the sake of their own reputations, by the way).

All of a sudden, during a scene in which an airplane crashed into a snowy mountainside, my brother-in-law exclaimed, “Hey, they stole this footage right out of Stallone’s Cliffhanger!”  After an initial dropping of jaws (hey, Marni’s husband knows Cliffhanger so well he can identify a scene from it?  Dude, this guy can STAY), we decided he couldn’t possibly be right.  I mean, don’t be ridiculous – nobody would ever just STEAL footage right out of another movie, right?  And certainly, if you were going to steal footage, you wouldn’t steal it from Cliffhanger.

But as soon as the bad disaster movie was over, we decided to humor him.  We plunked in a rented copy of Cliffhanger, and guess what!  He was right!  The plane crash scene in the bad disaster movie had been lifted directly from Sly’s flick and spliced right in!  And the best part?  They hadn’t even bothered editing out the shots that included characters who weren’t actually IN the bad disaster movie!  It was hilarious and awesome, and also completely mind-boggling.

Why do I bring this up?  It’s because I was reminded of this experience Monday night while watching the new Halloween movie from Rob Zombie (read my review for his first one, 2007’s Halloween, here).  As I was settling into my seat with my bag of popcorn (dinner!), the trailers began to run, including the now-ubiquitous one for The Road. (Note: I’ve seen this trailer so many times in the last four weeks I’ve started to groan audibly every time it shows up.  And not just because it looks like an excruciatingly terrible bastardization of the book, either.  Oh wait, it is just because of that.  Never mind.)

At long last and half a bag of popcorn later (what? I was hungry!), enter Halloween II, which quite sassily opens with what looks like a direct remake of the original, complete with hospital setting and orderlies who delight in inappropriate sexual humor, which is how we know they’ll be the first to die.  Just as I started to get kind of annoyed – straight remake, Rob?  And not even a cameo from Lance Guest, in that case?  LAME, man.  Lame. – the movie suddenly switched gears.  Delight!  (Come to think of it, this might be one of the only times in my entire life I have been happy to see an “And then I woke up” scene in a movie.  Bravo.)

A few minutes later, we in the audience (and by “we” I mean “me,” because I was the only one there – score!) finally catch our first glimpse of the latest incarnation of Michael Myers, and this is where I suddenly had that thought about Cliffhanger.  Because, as it turns out, Halloween II stars Michael Myers as. . . wait for it!. . . Viggo Mortensen from The Road!!

Okay, okay, I’m not being LITERAL about that.  But by the time Zombie had plunked in the FOURTH clunky shot of a shadowy, grizzled, hoodie-wearing figure walking slowly through the early morning mist down an empty street or through a deserted field, I was laughing out loud, it was so similar to what you see in the trailer for The Road.  Dude, points OFF.

As for the rest of the movie, though, I am somewhat surprised to report that I thought it was pretty good.  I was pleased to no end that it wasn’t just a straight remake – straight remakes are boring, tedious, and almost always a complete waste of time – and I really enjoy the things Zombie has been doing with the character of Mike Myers in these last two installments in the series.  Zombie’s Myers actually seems more like a real person to me, which is something I find far, far scarier than the original Myers, who just seemed like an impossible, plodding, unstoppable creature of some sort.  Creatures don’t scare me, but violently crazy people do.  Zombie makes a real effort to make Myers seem human – sociopathic human, of course, but a person with a past and a complicated emotional history.  He seems plausible, in other words.  And plausible is the most terrifying thing of all.

Zombie also has a great eye for shots, in my opinion, as well as a terrific sense of humor, which he can apply with subtlety:  a rare gift.  Additionally, and maybe this sounds silly when it comes to a slasher movie, but I felt that in both these two Halloween movies, Zombie used an extremely sensitive hand at times when it comes to death.  Not often – there’s still a lot of skull-stomping (ugh) and brutality in general – but there was at least one scene in both films that made me feel truly SAD.  Poignantly sad.  And that too is a very rare gift, especially when it comes to horror directors.

This is not to say this is a great film, of course.  It has many, many flaws.  One of the biggest issues I have with Rob Zombie movies in general – and it’s just getting worse with time as he continues to insist on doing it – is that all the women in his movies, including the teenage girls, are totally trashy.  They dress trashy, they look trashy, they act trashy.  All of them.  Newsflash, Mr. Z.:  not all chicks are Sheri Moon Zombie.

And speaking of Sheri Moon, she was my other major problem with this movie.  Zombie cast her as Michael’s dead mother, and she appears in visions/hallucinations he has as a white-clad angelic-type figure there to offer support and advice – you know, sort of like Yoda and Obi-Wan in Return of the Jedi, except her advice is a little more Dark Side than The Force.

The whole “after-world” aspect of this movie was sort of ridiculous to begin with, but it MIGHT have worked — MIGHT — if Zombie hadn’t cast his wife in the role of Momsy.  Sheri Moon is a ridiculous figure – I loved her in The Devil’s Rejects, which is one of the most cleverly satirical and thoroughly disturbing horror films I have ever seen, but she’s absolutely miserable when it comes to playing a serious role.  No matter what she’s saying or how she’s trying to say it, she always, always looks like she’s on the verge of a maniacal cackle to me.  And that just made her “serious” scenes in Halloween II laughable, which was distracting because they definitely weren’t intended to be comic.

Piracy of footage from The Road trailer and miscasting of the director’s hot wife aside, though, this movie was surprisingly entertaining and well done.  Reasonable storyline, great acting from everybody except Moon (I’m a total sucker for Brad Dourif now that he’s old, by the way), and even a cameo from Weird Al Yankovic, which, what?, but never mind.  And even though the ending made me roll my eyes, it’s consistent with the originals, and workable for a round three.  Let’s just hope if there IS a round three, Zombie stays in charge, because I like the way he’s been handling these “reiminaginings” overall.

Though, dude, let your wife sit one out, would you?  Just ONE?   Hire her on as the grip or something, and you can still mack with her between shots, seriously.  We won’t mind.

[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre: Horror
Cast:   Sheri Moon Zombie, Scout Taylor-Compton, Danielle Harris (trivia from intrepid IMDb user and BotW reader Liz: Harris played creepy clown girl Jamie in the original Halloweens 4 and 5!), Brad Dourif, Malcolm McDowell, Tyler Mane,  Margot Kidder, Weird Al (??)