Posts Tagged ‘Crap’

MOVIE: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

January 30, 2015

guardiansThis movie was terrible. Terrible!  Terrible. Forced, trite, strangely lacking in any heart whatsoever, and featuring dialogue clearly written by a 13 year old boy (a precocious one, to be sure. Nevertheless).

THAT SAID, if LEGO Baby Groot ever comes to fruition, I will be first in line for purchase.

(p.s. TERRIBLE!)

[Netflix it | Amazon Buy/Rent]

Genre: Sci-fi, Crap
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Lee Pace, yer mom.



MOVIE: Godzilla (2014)

June 14, 2014

godzillaI saw this movie a few weeks ago. It . . . um . . .  let’s see.  What is there to say about it?  Well, okay, it had Ken Watanabe in it, which was nice because I’d just seen him the day before in another movie (review coming soon).  And it was about . . . um. . . a big dinosaur thing that came out of the ocean apparently to have a big fight with a giant bat thing. Or something? Because it likes humanity? Or it doesn’t care about humanity, it just doesn’t like the bat thing, or . . . I don’t know. Something. Oh my god, this movie was boring.

When I walked out of the theater with my two bad-movie-watching buddies, I exclaimed, “How do you make a creature feature THAT BORING?”  A silly question, of course, because this movie answers the very question it generates.  For example, one of the ways you can make a creature feature THAT BORING is to include at least 45 minutes of soldiers shooting at the creature with bullets from guns, without a single one of them thinking to themselves, “Hey, these bullets from these guns don’t appear to be doing anything — perhaps we ought to try something bigger?”

“Crap” consensus shared by both the ladies I saw this with, one of whom was a childhood fan of the original.    So there.


RAWR! The end.

[Prequeue it at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre: Monsters, Horror, Crap
Cast: Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, Ken Watanabe, David Strathairn

MOVIE: Stranded (2013)

November 12, 2013

strandedYou know it’s a bad sign when Christian Slater is the best actor in a film, god bless him. Especially if, as in this movie, pretty much all he does is arch his brows in perpetually confused disbelief and rattle off a bunch of lines in a language I like to call “Galumphing Exposition.”

This incredibly bad sci-fi “thriller” (wait, did I say “incredibly”? I meant INCREDIBLY)  is a flick I picked out to watch with my mom a few weeks ago. We have taken risks on such dubious pictures before, and have gotten lucky more than once; stumbling across a good-bad “trapped in space” movie can make for a truly excellent time.  Unfortunately, Stranded (not to be confused with its other brother Darryl, Stranded, though it would be easy to mix them up since that movie sucked too) is so badly written, poorly plotted, and laughably designed it wasn’t even fun to pick on.

Well, while we were watching it, anyway.  It’ll be fun to pick on NOW.

Let’s start with the story, such as it is — it’s about a group of scientists (ha!) who get trapped inside their moon base when an asteroid storm knocks out all their communications equipment (not hard to do, as it appeared from the opening shot that the moon base was built out of Legos).  Because they’re scientists (ha!), they decide to take the opportunity to go outside and grab a chunk of asteroid to study.  Might as well learn something, right?

Here’s where it starts to get ridiculous. The scientists (ha!), picking up a chunk of the rock, remark that it appears to be covered in “spores.” Then they take it inside the moon station completely as-is.  No containment or anything — not even a plastic sandwich baggie.  Heck, not even a vegetable-based compostable sandwich baggie. Just right in the front door and over to the lab, where they proceed to knock it into pieces, which, wonder of wonders, sends all the spores floating off into the air and up their noses.

Now, let’s pause here for a moment to remind ourselves of the definition of the word “spore.”  A spore is a “minute, typically one-celled, reproductive unit capable of giving rise to a new individual without sexual fusion, characteristic of lower plants, fungi, and protozoans.”   Most regular folk on the planet Earth think of mold spores when they think of spores, and then after they think “mold spores,” they think, “don’t breathe ’em, ya idiots!”

Apparently, the crack team of scientists (ha!) we’re sending up to our moon stations in the future failed to learn even the most conventional wisdom about spores (“Spores bad!”), and, well, if you reread that definition up there, especially the “giving rise to a new individual” part, you can pretty much figure out the rest of the plot yourselves.

As if that weren’t dumb enough, after one of the scientists (ha!), a woman, becomes mysteriously pregnant with something that is growing crazy-fast,  Slater’s character (the boss) locks her up in quarantine, and then proceeds to run in and out of her room like a bajillion times, for no good reason and without any protective gear on whatsoever. Oh, good god.  I’m pretty sure that’s not what the CDC says you’re supposed to do when one of your scientists (ha!) is impregnated by an asteroid spore.

This movie’s tagline is “Fear is the infection!” which is kind of funny because, in reality, idiocy appeared to have been a much greater infection than fear for Team  Strandeds.  Unless what they meant was “fear of idiot scientists,” in which case, this film definitely effectively terrified me.

The truly sad thing about this movie, which I didn’t know until later, is that it was directed by Roger Christian, who won an Academy Award for set design on Star Wars.  I can forgive the man his Lego exteriors, but I had to roll my eyes at his “spore creatures,” which weren’t creatures at all but instead simply the same cast, only scowling menacingly instead of gaping idiotically.  Now, shape-shifting monsters that look like people can be very effective — think The Thing.  Only, for that to work, it has to be plot point that feels like it was part of the plan all along — here it felt like something the filmmakers had to come up with on the fly when they realized their set designer had blown the whole FX budget on colorful interlocking plastic bricks from Denmark.

ANYWAY.  It’s dumb.  Is what I’m saying.

[Netflix it if you must | Rent from Amazon]

Genre: Science Fiction, Crap
Cast: Christian Slater, Brendan Fehr

SyFy Shark Double-Feature: Sharknado (2013) and Ghost Shark (2013)

October 28, 2013

sharknadoAnybody who’s been paying even the slightest amount of attention knows that, with a blog post title like this one, I’ve recently been hanging out with my mother.   You can’t watch a movie like Sharknado alone — or, at least, you shouldn’t.  Movies like that are about a thousand times more entertaining with another fan of the genre.  And there is no bigger fan of the good-bad shark movie genre than Mom.

MAN, I was born into a great family.

Anyway, I know we’re several months behind the herd on Sharknado — we were waiting to watch it until we were together, see? — but it was well worth the wait because it meant we could combine it with SyFy’s spirited (literally!) follow-up, Ghost Shark.  A double-feature to die for!  CHOMP!

Obviously, Sharknado was a revelation.  It’s been so long since I’ve seen a movie quite as spectacularly entertaining as that one.  Even better:  the acting wasn’t totally terrible — I know!  We were surprised by that too!  I mean, who knew Steve from 90210 was going to turn out so well?  I hope they cast him in the sequel.  And set it in Beverly Hills.  And add Brandon and Dylan and the rest of the gang.  And call it Beverly Hills 9021-Sharknad0!

For those who live under a rock and/or on the dwarf planet Pluto, Sharknado was about a coastal town in California taken by storm by a storm that ended up shooting big ol’ water spouts up from the ocean, which in turn sucked up a bunch of sharks, which in turn ended up falling all over the town, wiping out unsuspecting people left and right. I say “unsuspecting” because who would expect sharks to fall from the sky?  And still be alive despite the fact they were not in water?

Steve from Bev is the hero of the story, racing around rescuing family members, buses full of children, tourists, Vin Makazian from The Sopranos, that dude from the mid-90s version of Baywatch (why do I know that? I don’t know!), and anybody else in peril, which is pretty much everybody else in town.

There are lots of people chomped by sharks, and, for the lucky ones, also a few swallowed whole.  I say “lucky ones” because, in case you did not know this — and I certainly didn’t, so don’t feel bad — human beings can survive inside the gastrointestinal tract of sharks for, like, an HOUR.  And then all you have to do to get them back out alive is get yourself swallowed whole — while clutching a chainsaw — and, well, you can take it from there.

That might’ve been the best scene I’ve ever seen in a shark movie EVER OF ALL TIME, by the way.

The best thing about Sharknado, of course, is that it doesn’t even put up the pretense of taking itself seriously.  This is not always the case with movies that have utterly ridiculous story lines, and it’s a vital component of the “good” part of a good-bad movie of that variety.  As long as you aren’t pretending to be something you’re not (logical, for example), you can do stuff like put sharks in tornadoes, and Mom and I will just nod and say, “Sure thing.”

Meanwhile, they ARE, in fact, already planning a sequel (doubtfully set in Beverly Hills, alas).  I’m not sure if it’ll be another sharks + tornadoes movie, but in case they’re looking for additional creature + weather ideas, I have a couple.  First:  Gnunami!  A giant tidal wave of hairy wildebeests comes crashing down over the Serengeti!  Chaos!  Madness!  Horns! (By the way, before you protest that a gnunami would be impossible because the Serengeti is not on the coast, let me remind you of this part:  GNUNAMI.  You can just stop right there.)

Second:  Actually, wow, these are kind of hard to think up.  Props, SyFy.  Okay, okay, how about this:  Hurricaques!  A whirling mass of macaques comes flying over a little girl, a lion, a tin man, and a scarecrow . . . no, wait, I think that flying monkey thing’s been done.

ghostsharkFine, YOU come up with some!   I’m moving onto Ghost Shark, the second feature in our double-feature of sharktitude.

Here’s the premise of Ghost Shark — you’re gonna love this:  when a bunch of rednecks on a fishing boat kill a giant shark, its body drifts into a magic cave, releasing its spirit into the ether.  While some sharks might appreciate being able to continue to inhabit the world and swim around in the ocean as spirit beasts, THIS SHARK IS HELLA MAD ABOUT IT.

Bent on revenge, Ghost Shark heads toward shore, and quickly begins to kill lots and lots of teenagers.  Delightfully, though initially Ghost Shark is isolated to the ocean, where it can only take out idiots dumb enough to go swimming after a bunch of their peers have been EATEN BY A GHOST SHARK, it eventually discovers it can kill from any source of water anywhere.  Oh man, so, so sorry about that, car wash girl eaten by a bucket of soapy water.  Okay, now, the rest of you, pay attention: Do not sit on a toilet.  Do not turn on the taps.  Do not go swimming.  DO NOT DRINK ANYTHING OH MY GOD WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

nightcourt8Just when you think this movie can’t possibly get any better/worse, Bull from Night Court shows up as a drunk lighthouse keeper who, it turns out, knows quite a lot about that magic cave.  Reluctantly teaming up with our two heroes, who I can’t even describe to you, they were that nondescript, the gang manages to release the spirit of the shark, who finally appears to them in a bright, pink light and says, “It’s amazing, Molly. The love inside — you take it with you,” and then turns and slowly swims into the afterlife.

Wait a second.  Sorry.  That was Patrick Swayze at the end of Ghost (SPOILER ALERT!).  To be honest, I can’t remember what happens to Ghost Shark after his spirit is released.  Whatever it was, though, I’m pretty sure he deserved better.  Stupid rednecks.

Bet you guys wish you had a mom as cool as mine.

Sharknado: Steve from Bev, Vin Makazian from The Sopranos, that dude from the mid-90s version of Baywatch (why do I know that? I don’t know.). Rent/Stream or Buy from Amazon | Netflix it

Ghost Shark:  Richard Moll in da house!  Not available on DVD or elsewhere yet, but watch for it to reappear on SyFy. IF YOU DARE.

MOVIE: The Apparition (2012)

September 24, 2013

apparitionCute couple Kelly from the Twilight Movies and Ben of the Silly Bangs are moving into their first house together, a perfect and perfectly enormous two-story home in a brand-new housing development in the middle of nowhere in the desert.

At first, things are going great.  Young love!  Trips to Costco!  But then weird stuff starts to happen — and I don’t just mean the fact Rick Gomez from Band of Brothers is in this as their slightly-creepy-apparently-as-a-red-herring neighbor, though that was plenty weird, to be sure — and soon Kelly and Ben realize they are being haunted by . . . the world’s most boringest ghost!

You read that right.

Make World’s Most Boringest Ghost angry?  He’ll tie your laundry into knots!  Upset World’s Most Boringest Ghost?  He’ll chuck a dirt clod onto your kitchen ceiling!  Dare to challenge World’s Most Boringest Ghost?  He’ll pull the sheets super tight on your bed!  Try to take out World’s Most Boringest Ghost?  HE WILL KILL YOUR CACTUS!

Man, that cactus went down like a clown, Charlie Brown!

Just when you start wondering if this is all because they moved the headstones and not the graves (new housing developments can be fun that way), it instead turns out Ben was involved with some dumb parapsychology experiment years back in which a bunch of even dumber college kids messed around with stuff way over their heads and ended up opening a door to the Hellmouth, or whatever.

There’s some nonsense about a bunch of special equipment that generated the “brain power” of hundreds, or even thousands!, of minds, which is how they turned a regular ol’ séance into a full-on boring ghost problem (it’s a shame for all our sakes this equipment was fictitious; if we could’ve gotten even one mind into writer/director Todd Lincoln, it might’ve made a real difference here).

Worse!  The boring spirit that got through the door they opened is SUPER MAD these meddling kids released him from the torments of Hell — well, who wouldn’t be? — and now he plans to bore to death (feels like!) all those responsible for his plight.  Plus that one dude’s girlfriend who had nothing whatsoever to do with any of it.  Not a Twilight fan, obviously.

In the movie’s final moments (SPOILER ALERT! BUT KEEP READING ANYWAY BECAUSE WHO CARES?), Kelly decides to give up and let the ghost win, and suddenly, this movie feels a lot like Open Water without the benefit of sharks.

Now she just has to pick a poignant place to spend her final moments before she too is bored to death.  She knows just where to go, busting into her local Costco and lying down in one of the tents in the camping department.

Why?  Because it’s where Ben bought her that cactus, you guys.  Back when times were good, when she was happy, when cacti were thriving.

Full circle, stop.

I watched the whole thing!  I am awesome!

[Netflix it | Rent it on Amazon]

Genre:  Crap, Horror
Cast: Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, Tom Felton, Julianna Guill, Luke Pasqualino, Rick Gomez

Summer Reading 2013

August 30, 2013

As I mentioned in my recent review of the book Bold Spirit, I’ve been doing a fair amount of reading this summer but haven’t gotten around to writing many reviews.  Figured I’d just hit them all in brief in a little round-up.  Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Controversial Religious Shelf

goingclearzealotGoing Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright (2012)

Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan (2013)

Both these books are absolutely fascinating.  And that’s all I have to say about THAT, aside from the fact I was a little disappointed that despite spending half his book talking about Paul Haggis, Lawrence Wright did not once mention Due South, Haggis’s greatest achievement.  Whatever, Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist.

Craptacular Shelf (You knew there would be one)

deep stormDeep Storm by Lincoln Child (2007) – Scientists discover a stash of powerful alien weapons in the Mohorovičić discontinuity under the ocean!  In trying to get to it, lots of people die!

Utopia by Lincoln Child (2002) – Scientists discover that hackers getting into into the robot-programming system at a robot-controlled futuristic theme park can wreak a lot havoc!  In trying to stop it, lots of people die!

riptideRiptide by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston (1998) – Dudes, pirate treasure hidden in a deep pit that is perpetually filled with water AND there’s also a monster and the computers go all wonkeroo!  BAM!  Lots of people die!

Thunderhead by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston (1998) – AZTEC FUNGUS!  ET CETERA!

Look, I know it seems ridiculous. FOUR Lincoln Child/Douglas Preston novels in a row?  The thing is, I really enjoyed Deep Storm, which is essentially the book version of every good-bad disaster/sci-fi movie I’ve ever seen.  That got me started on the kick, and  once you’re reading super cheesy science fiction, it’s incredibly hard to stop.  Man, that was a fun book binge.  I might be through it now – but only for now.

Mystery Shelf

killroomsweetnessThe Kill Room by Jeffery Deaver (2013) – Lincoln Rhyme’s latest case.  A bit of a yawn, unless you are SUPER DUPER into bitching about how evil Obama’s drone program is.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (2009) – Nerd-girl solves a mystery.  A little too adorable for its own good.

Non-Fiction Other Stuff Shelf

cleanClean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy by David Sheff (2013) – Sheff’s first book, Beautiful Boy, is a book I still recommend to people (read my review) four years after reading it.  A memoir of his years  as the father of an addict, it not only laid out his personal agonies, but also delved deep into the science of addiction.  This book, his second, is less a memoir and more a handbook for parents.  It too covers some of the science of addiction, but it focuses predominantly on youth prevention, treatment, and recovery — how to talk to your kids about drugs, what to do if you think your kids are using drugs, how to help your kid after s/he’s been in treatment, etc.  Wise reading for all parents of youths, but not nearly as engaging for me as Beautiful Boy.

Sad, Party of Two Shelf

bookthiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2006) – You know what’s weird about this novel?  It was apparently written for adults, and marketed thusly in Zusak’s country (Australia).  And then when it jumped the pond, or whatever the Aussies call that, it was repackaged as a book for young adults.  After having read it, I can only assume that’s because the American distributor reacted to it the same way I did, which was to think, “Man, I would’ve loved this book when I was 13.  NOW, on the other hand. . .”

Having read a number of novels set in Nazi Germany in WWII, not to mention seen a lot of truly devastating films about the Holocaust, it was hard to get into the more cutesy elements of this novel, which is narrated by Death, to unaffecting effect.  It’s about a little German girl, Liesel, whose family is hiding a Jewish man in their basement (Max). She steals books from the local mayor’s wife, with the help of her best pal Rudy, which is why she’s called the Book Thief by the author and his narrator.  It’s sort of a way to take control of her own losses, which are numerous, I would say. The kids are sweet and confused about the world around them and their feelings for people and each other, and lots of people die in horrible ways.  It’s enough to make a grown woman cry, really.  Only, despite a few flashes of brilliance here and there, I was pretty underwhelmed by both the story and the writing.  It’s sluggish and clumsy in many places, and it’s also very predictable (though I suppose you could argue that any book set in Nazi Germany is bound to be predictable, but whatever).  I read the whole thing, and I got a little teary at the end.  But it’s not one I’ll revisit or that I particularly recommend.  No plan to watch the movie.  I’ve seen enough.

unvanquishedThe Unvanquished by William Faulkner (1938) – This is a novel I’d read before (I’m pretty sure I’ve read all his novels before by now), but not since early college days and I had forgotten how great it was.  It’s the rare Faulkner novel actually set during the Civil War instead of after it, and also the rare Faulkner novel loaded up with humor as well (to specific effect, of course — the man’s not jovial for kicks).  This is an incredibly brilliant, moving story about two boys, one white boy and one black, raised together on a plantation and forced to grow up REAL FAST when the war begins.  “Men have been pacifists for every reason under the sun except to avoid danger and fighting,” one of the characters remarks.  Ain’t it the truth.  Man, whew.  So good.  It’s not a happy story, but it’s a joy to read nonetheless.

There are two other books I read this summer, but I’m going to do full reviews on them later.  Until then, hie thee to the library, and let me know if you come across anything great you want to recommend!

2012 Mini-Review Wrap Up: The Twelve Best Exotic Marigold War Horse Chimpanzees!

February 12, 2013

I was all set to write my last catch-up review for 2012 (finally!) when I realized I actually had FOUR still pending.  Dude!  I want to tell you about The Hobbit and this great book I just read instead!  So, here’s a quick end to 2012 for you!

BOOK:  The Twelve by Justin Cronin.

This book is the sequel to Cronin’s vamp apocalypse novel The Passage, and it’s part two of a planned trilogy.  That I think I’ve officially given up on.  I enjoyed The Passage, but for a few minor complaints, and I reread it right before I read this one last December and enjoyed it the second time too.  But The Twelve is, put simply, a bloated disaster of epic proportions.  Not only does it flip around in time way too much (pick a timeline, already!), but it has waaaay too many wholly unnecessary subplots and characters.  It’s easily 200 pages too long — something a good editor should’ve done something about — and while I liked certain elements of it (like the whole Red Eye population of semi-civilized half-vamps), and I read the whole damn thing, I spent most of it frustrated and and increasingly short on patience.  When I was done, despite the exciting ramp-up there at the end, I felt pretty done.  No interest in part three whatsoever, unless Cronin hires a new editor and the reviews are spectacular.  I’m still glad I read it — there were things I wanted to know and now I know them.  But another gazillion messy pages just won’t be worth the time for the resolution.  I feel resolved enough as it is.  Genre: Horror.  [Buy it]

The Best Exotic Marigold HotelMOVIE: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012)

I watched this movie with my mother, who had never seen Dev Patel in anything and is now a believer!  That boy is so damn adorable!  (I made her watch Slumdog Millionaire as soon as we were done, naturally.)  The cast of this film is astounding — not just good ol’ Dev, but also Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, and Tom Wilkinson, and though it’s weighted down in parts with a touch too much cheese, the joy of getting to see all these people in the same movie more than makes up for the tummy ache.  Each character has a unique, authentic personality (with the exception, possibly, of Maggie Smith, who is always the same character in everything these days and who goes from astounding racist to lover of all things Indian awfully abruptly), and each takes a journey into their “outsourced retirement” that comes to a satisfying conclusion.  Wilkinson’s subplot was particularly touching, and I really, really want to be Judi Dench’s character when I grow up.  This is a delightful film, and a great one to watch with your Mom! Cast:  Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Tom Wilkinson, Celia Imrie, Dev Patel. [Netflix it | Buy it]

MOVIE: War Horse (2012)

I haven’t seen the play this film was based on, so it’s possible it wasn’t really Spielberg’s fault, but dudes, horses, as wonderful and intelligent as they are, are not, in fact, people in animal suits.  The anthropomorphizing in this movie really got in the way of my ability to enjoy it, and Spielberg’s penchant for overwhelmingly artificial sweetness just left both me and my Mom feeling kind of beyuck in general when we were done.  Gorgeous visuals, and both Mom and I are suckers for movies about horses — one of the passions we both shared as little girls.  But this one’s a dud, start to finish.  Cast: Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Peter Mullan, Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irvine, Benedict Cumberbatch.  [Netflix it | Buy it]

MOVIE: Chimpanzee (2012)

This Disney documentary follows the life of an adorable li’l baby chimp named Oscar.  As most animal documentaries do, it begins with the death of the protagonist’s mother, and has kind of a predictable arc that follows.  But the way in which Oscar overcomes his challenge — is truly fascinating and unexpected (in short, he’s taken in not by the other female chimps, who universally reject him despite his near-unbearable cuteness, but instead by the male leader of the group — an incredibly rare thing in the world of chimps and a totally unplanable stroke of luck for the filmmakers).  The scenery can’t be beat, and though I suppose you can accuse this movie of anthropomorphization as well, it feels different when its our closest animal relations, you know what I mean?  Go ahead and call that cute baby boy Oscar.  I’m game.  This would be a great film for kids — though since it involves the death of a mom, you might not want to go too young on this one.  Chimpanzees are so damn cool.  For reals.  Recommended!  [Netflix it | Buy it]

Up next, we enter the present at long last, and there is a return of the Boyfriends!  BELIEVE IT!


[Netflix it | Buy it]

Genre:  Comedy
Cast:  Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Tom Wilkinson, Celia Imrie, Dev Patel

MOVIE: Prometheus (2012)

February 6, 2013

[Another catch-up review from 2012 — one more of those left and then I start. . . catching up on reviews from 2013 instead!  Whee!]

So, having recently been going back through all my reviews from last year to prep my “Best of” lists for 2012 (sure, it’s now February 2013, but I’m sure you all still care), I feel like it’s safe for me to make this declaration officially.  I’ve reviewed all the reviews and it’s not even a close call:  Prometheus was, hands-down, the stupidest movie I saw all year (and people?  I saw a movie called METAL TORNADO.  So. . . you know.)

I’m not even sure where to begin witht his one, it was so rife with stupidness.  But I guess I’ll start with a quick overview, in case any of you guys managed to miss all the hoopla about it (luckies!).

This flick is Ridley Scott’s prequel (as much as he weirdly kept insisting it wasn’t) to his brilliant 1979 film Alien, a movie that holds a special place in my heart as it’s the first scary movie I ever saw (thanks to my uncle, who let me watch it when I was about 8 years old. Great babysitter, that guy!  I highly recommend him!).

It’s about two archaeologists — a married couple named Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) — who discover a series of ancient cave paintings they come to believe is a map to an alien planet, the original inhabitants of which created mankind.

Magically, they manage to convince an old rich dude named Weyland to fund a space expedition to the planet, despite the fact they have absolutely nothing of substance to back their theory up except for their love of aliens (Holloway) and pseudo-religious beliefs (Holloway).  Lucky for them, Weyland is looking for a fountain of youth, as all rich, old white guys in sci-fi movies do (feels like!), so he doesn’t ask too many questions (including, for example, why there’d be any reason to expect the aliens who created mortal man might hold the solution to eternal life).

Naturally, they get to the planet, they land on the planet, they do a bunch of really astonishingly stupid things, and they more or less all end up dead (SPOILER ALERT HA HA!).  For a good play-by-play of all the really astonishingly stupid things, check out this video, “Everything Wrong with Prometheus in 4 Minutes” (I was going to make a list for you myself, but why reinvent the wheel when there are, like, 86,000 other reviews of this movie that list all the same bullpucky?):

In theory, this should’ve been a fairly easy movie to make.   Despite the eyebrow-arching Creation concept, the rest of this movie sounds, well, a lot like (right down to the teeny tiny crew aboard the GINORMOUS space vessel, by the way — for some reason, the Prometheus, with its crew of about 7 people, is so huge it even has a BILLIARDS room).  It could easily have been an entertaining, fairly straight-forward sci-fi/horror flick, with lots of room for cool special effects, interesting character dynamics, and thrills and chills.

We know, after all, that Ridley Scott can make a seriously great goddamn sci-fi/horror movie about aliens, after all, right?

The problem, though, is that instead of going with a group of really smart, talented, and creative script writers, Scott went with. . . Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof.  Spaihts, as near as I can tell, is mostly “famous” for writing a sci-fi movie that never actually got made.  And Lindelof — well, Lindelof is famous for creating the TV series Lost, which was similarly bogged down with overly “deep,” underly thoughtful spiritual and philosophical nonsense.

This movie is absolutely drowning in pseudo-intelligence, to the point where it’s hard to even be interested enough in what it was trying to say to complain about how dumb what it was trying to say actually was.  There’s a scene in the movie that kind of summed up the whole film for me, and I was surprised it wasn’t in that little video I posted earlier, because it’s also a pretty spectacular gaffe.  Here’s how it went:

Charlize Theron’s character to David (the android):  How long were we in hypersleep?

David (the android): 2 years, 4 months, 18 days, 36 hours, and 15 minutes.

Why does that sum up the whole film for me?  Because it’s SO DUMB.  This is a copycat movie, trying to ACT like an intelligent science fiction movie, right down to the android whose computer is so advanced he speaks alien languages his programmers have never even heard of, yet doesn’t seem to know there are 24 hours in a day (18 days and 36 hours??  Dude.).  It’s just dumb.  A dumb person wrote that line.  A person who wants to sound not dumb, but who is, in fact, really dumb.

I got into a discussion about this movie with a friend recently who really enjoyed it and she was saying my problem was that I wasn’t willing to suspend my disbelief (about Creation, for example — be it by God or by aliens) long enough to let the movie’s entertaining elements really take over.  Suspension of disbelief is key to enjoying science fiction movies in particular, she said — and I agree.

The problem is, I’m perfectly happy to suspend my disbelief of Creation for a sci-fi movie, but only when that sci-fi movie is actually making an intelligent case for its new idea.  It can be a completely invented case, based on futuristic stuff that’s all made up — that’s cool.  But it has to MAKE THAT CASE.

In Prometheus, the two scientists tell the crew of their ship that aliens created mankind, and everybody on the ship essentially responds, “Seriously? Awesome!”  And then there’s no attempt whatsoever to explain how that could be even remotely possible, given the enormous wealth of evidence against it (evolution, e.g.).  And sure, maybe the plan is to explain that down the line, in the inevitable sequel.  But in the meantime, I was left with a cast of characters who all seemed perfectly happy to accept without question the idea that all our science on the origin of man was wrong.  There isn’t even a DISCUSSION about it.  And that’s the number one sin crappy sci-fi movies can make for me — relying on my ability to suspend my disbelief and accept a radical idea without making any real attempt to convince me why or how.

Will I see that sequel?  Crap.  Probably.  But not in a theater, and not with any expectations whatsoever, that’s for sure (wait, no, that’s wrong, I do have one expectation:  that it’ll involve Weyland as a young man, since that’s the only reason whatsoever I can think of for casting Guy Pearce in that role wearing that much make-up in this installment!).  Should you see THIS movie?  Crap.  Probably.  But while I am usually quite fanatically against Internet piracy, I highly recommend you go steal this one from somewhere online.  It’s not worth the $4 it’ll cost you to rent it legally, and damned if I want anybody to keep rewarding filmmakers for making stupid baloney like this.


[Buy it | Netflix it]

Genre: Science Fiction, Crap
Cast:  Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, Charlize Theron, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall

MOVIE: The Possession (2012)

January 24, 2013

possessThis movie, about a little girl who buys an ornate wooden box at a garage sale only to find it, and then herself, possessed by a Jewish demon called a Dybbuk, is really, really silly.  Though I will say this is the first Jewish exorcist movie I’ve ever seen, after a long, long list of Catholic ones, so props for originality for that, I suppose.  (Also, I like how Jewish demons turn little girls into cute little emo goths instead of making them look all gross with vomit all over them and stringy hair and stuff.  That makes Jewish demons seem way classier than Catholic ones somehow.)

This movie is based on a true story, by the way — at least, inasmuch as some Jewish people believe Dybbuk boxes (boxes that contain demons and are sold at garage sales) truly exist.  Oh, you really, really silly people.  (Though, I suppose if I wake up tomorrow speaking in tongues after having insulted a Dybbuk, we’ll know who the REAL really, really silly person was. . . Ha ha, sorry, Dybbuk demon dude!  I’m totes just joshin’ witcha!)

I love Jeffrey Dean Morgan (obviously), but not even his cute little dimpled smile could save this movie from drowning in a self-made vat of dreck (instant dreck: just add dreck!).  Though, for the record, I wasn’t really expecting it to be any good.  I just really, really like that cute little dimpled smile.  Ah, me.  Talk about really, really silly. . .

[Netflix it | Buy it (no, don’t)]

Genre: Horror, Crap
Cast:  Natasha Calis, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, Grant Show, Madison Davenport

MOVIE: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

May 27, 2012

Zzzzzzzzz.  *sleep apnea snort*  What?  What?  Oh, was there a movie just on?  There was?  Huh.  Go figure.

(In other words, what a snoozefest this stinker was!  I think once you go Benedict Cumberbatch, you just can’t go back.  There’s no mystery in this mystery, no real clue-hunting, or clever deducting.  It’s just an action movie, plain and simple.  Which:  Yawnsville, UK.  Maybe worth a rental, but don’t blame me if you have to try it three times before you can actually stay conscious for the whole thing.)

Lameity lame lame lame-o.

[Prequeue at Netflix]

Genre:  Crap, Action
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Jared Harris, Eddie Marsan, Rachel McAdams