Posts Tagged ‘Crap’

MOVIE: Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (2011)

January 19, 2012

I have one question for Guillermo del Toro (who co-wrote and produced this stinker) and that question is:  WTBF?  (What the bloody frak?)

This completely awful movie is about a family renovating a big old house that turns out to have, like, a portal to fairyland in the basement.  The fairies eat children’s teeth.  And sometimes whole people.

Yes, it’s a scary movie about . . . the tooth fairy.  Which is to say, it’s a NOT scary movie about . . . the tooth fairy.

WTBF, I ask again.  Considering the fact del Toro clearly had no qualms about ripping off his own film Pan’s Labyrinth for a good portion of this movie’s first half, I would’ve expected it to at least LOOK good.  But though the creatures were kind of cute — you know, for evil teeth fairies — the rest of the film’s look was boring and stale.  Spooky old house, yawn.  Spooky old garden (complete with labyrinth), yawn.  Creepy dark basement, snooze.   There’s absolutely nothing original here whatsoever, the dialogue is pure crappola, and my god, I think Katie Holmes is actually getting worse with practice instead of better.

The one saving grace, for me anyway, was that I really liked the kid.  The kid is the best actor in the entire film.  Go, kid!  Here’s hoping your next movie does not waste your time the way this one did.  Life is short — trust me.  You’ll know what I mean when you hit your 30s.  Try not to piffle it away on piffle.  LIKE I JUST DID.


[Netflix it | Buy/Rent from Amazon]

Genre:  Horror, Crap
Cast: Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce, Bailee Madison, Alan Dale, Jack Thompson, Guillermo del Toro

BOOK: The White Devil by Justin Evans (2011)

January 6, 2012

I’m way behind on movie and book reviews again — I left for a week’s vacation for the holidays (sans computer, go me!) and then, naturally, went down for the count with a nasty cold and subsequent sinus infection.  But I’m finally back in action, and since my “Best of 2011” lists are about to go up on the Boyfriend page, I want to whip through a few last-minute 2011 reviews here this weekend.  Getcha all caught up.

This book was the book I bought to read on my vacation, after reading several reviews of it that recommended it strongly, including one by Stephen King.  Stephen King!  Have I learned nothing in my 38 years of life?  I was so excited to pick up a new ghost story — total sucker for those — that the Master of Horror had said was not only spooky as hell, but literarily grand as well.  Oh, Stephen King.  You have absolutely abominable taste, sir.

This boring, overwritten, overwrought novel is set in a fancy-pants private school for teenaged boys in the UK, the Harrow School.  As the story opens, American 17 year-old Andrew Taylor has just bought his way into the school after having burned his way through several US institutions by selling drugs and getting expelled.  He’s ready to start over and knows a mention of the prestigious Harrow School on his college applications is the only way to save his future bacon.

It takes Andrew some time to adjust, but he finally begins making friends with the boys in his dorm, as well as his resident adviser of sorts, Professor Piers Fawkes.  But when one of Andrew’s new friends dies of a mysterious and sudden pulmonary illness, gasping out his last bloody breath in Andrew’s arms, Andrew soon finds himself accused of murder by his peers.  Trying to boost him back up a bit, Fawkes casts him as the lead in his new play about the poet Lord Byron, one of the school’s most famous alumni, saying Andrew looks uncannily just like him.  But as soon as Andrew begins to delve into the world of Byron and his history at Harrow, he finds himself being visited by a vicious spirit he soon comes to realize is also connected to the great poet.  And is the monster responsible for killing his friend to boot.

From there, a series of additional deaths, the discovery of a love affair that turned to murder, a ghostly sexual assault scene I really could’ve done without, and a whooooole lotta boring inanity.

Among the many problems I had with the extremely bloated mess of story lines in this book was the absolute lack of any creativity whatsoever.  The ghost is pale, gaunt, and breathes with a death rattle.  Yawn.  The two main characters, Andrew and the first female student at the school, Persephone, bond over their troubled pasts and fall into an equally troubled love.  Zzzzz.  And the ending — oh brother.  Ghosts real or not aside, the stuff about tuberculosis was wildly inaccurate, and the story of Byron’s homosexual love affair, based on a true story (sort of) is so twisted and nasty it almost felt cruel to me.  And the way they finally get rid of that pale, rattling ghost?  Golly, that was easy.  And convenient.  And dumb, dumb, dumb.

I ended up reading this entire novel primarily because it was the only book I had with me.  Big mistake.  Had I given myself an additional option, I would never have made it past page 50 in this stinker.  Badly imagined, boringly conceived, this book is an absolute waste of your time.  LEARN FROM ME!


[Buy from an Indie Bookstore | Buy from Amazon | Browse more book reviews | Search book reviews]

MOVIE: Tower Heist (2011)

November 20, 2011

This movie, about a bunch of swanky apartment building employees who decide to rob the penthouse owner who ripped off their pensions is . . . zzzzzzz . . . *jolt* What?  Wait, sorry, nodded off there.  What was I saying?  Oh yeah, so, Tower Heist, the latest comedy starring Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller, and Matth. . . zzzzzzz . . . *jolt*  Shoot.  Where . . . what . . . ?  Oh.  Right.  It was nice to see Eddie Murphy can still contort his face into all those wonderful expressions — no botox on that guy — and I’ve missed him and am glad he’s back and possibly has still got it.  But the rest of this movie was just . . . zzzzzzzz . . . *jolt*  The . . . No . . . I . . .  *yawn*

Never mind.

[Don’t Prequeue at Netflix]

Genre:  Comedy (Ha ha!  That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all day.), Crap
Cast:  Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Michael Peña, Tea Leoni, Gabourey Sidibe, Alan Alda

MOVIE: Horrible Bosses (2011)

July 22, 2011

Horrible Bosses = Horrible Movie.

(Shortest movie review ever? It’s really all you need to know, trust me!)

[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre: Comedy, Crap
Cast:  Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Julie Bowen, Donald Sutherland, Lindsay Sloane

MOVIE: The Hangover, Part II (2011)

June 20, 2011

I saw this flick Saturday night at a bar/movie theater in Seattle where you can have waitresses serve you fancy cocktails at regular intervals during the film, and I must say, that’s really the only way to go with this lame, lame sequel.  After my third drink, I almost stopped caring that it was painfully unfunny! Alcohol!  It’s like MAGIC the way it works sometimes!

Still love the characters, and it’s not like the movie is completely without laughs, but it would’ve been a lot more entertaining just to stay home and drink while popping the first one into the DVD player instead (my recommendation to you, sirs and madams).

Lame story; half-assed jokes mostly consisting of references to jokes from the first movie; a chain-smoking monkey, which is among the cheapest of cheap gags; a heavy focus on anti-homosexual humor that started to make me feel decidedly uncomfortable; and, well, hey, can someone go get me another Bogart (gin, cointreau, lemon-lime, and sage)?  I feel the urge to drink to forget.


[Prequeue at Netflix | View trailer]

Genre:  Comedy, Crap
Cast:  Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, Paul Giamatti, Mike Tyson, Jeffrey Tambor

MOVIE: Skyline (2010)

March 16, 2011

This aliens-invade-Earth flick is one of the dumbest movies I have ever seen.  And that’s really saying A LOT, my peoples.  There’s absolutely nothing interesting or original about Skyline.  It’s essentially 85 minutes of screaming and stomping and running followed by the most ridiculously stupid ending of all time.

That’s pretty much all that needs to be said about it, I think.  I mean, I could go on — talk about the foreshadowing thing that didn’t end up foreshadowing anything, talk about the horrible dialogue, talk about all the many, many elements that made me roll my eyes (braaaaaains!).  But, yeah — I think you get the picture.

BAD!  BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD!  Will Battle: Los Angeles be any better?  Hard to say.  But, naturally, I aim to find out.

[Netflix it | Buy it if you’re a glutton for punishment]

Genre:  Science Fiction, Crap
Cast:  Donald Faison, Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, Brittany Daniel, Crystal Reed, David Zayas, Neil Hopkins

Mega Python vs. Gatoroid – Coming Soon to SyFy

June 28, 2010

I don’t know about you guys, but I am IN.  Even though I found Mega-Shark vs. Giant Octopus totally lame (not even good-bad, just plain-ol-boring-bad), I am hopeful the filmmakers and SyFy network execs read my review and learned a little something from it.  Like, for example, to make sure to save a little something in the budget for the final duke-out scene.  So you don’t have to stage it using bath toys.

Also: Debbie Gibson AND Tiffany!  In the same film!  CAT FIGHT!

I’ll let you know when I hear anything about a release date.  Party at my house!  (And p.s., I have no idea what a Gatoroid is either, but I’m hoping it’s part gator, part robot.  Because that would be awesome, in the purest sense of the term.)

MOVIE: Dark Reel (2007)

May 18, 2010

I picked this one up the other day at my local video store after reading a review on the back of the box (I forget from where) that said this was the reviewer’s favorite horror movie of 2007.  I know, I know!  You should never trust reviews on books OR boxes.   But I figured if it was someone who liked bad horror movies and he liked this one the best out of all the bad horror movies he’d seen in 2007, it couldn’t be that terrible.  Or, if it was, it might at least be fun-terrible, right?


This movie actually starts out sort of good (relatively speaking), with a black-and-white scene set in the 1950’s that featured a dude picking up a gorgeous blonde at a bar, tantalizing her with an offer to shoot her in a screen test for his production company.  Because she’s dumb as a sack of Palins, she’s all, “That sounds great!” even though his “production company” is in an abandoned warehouse and he wants to shoot her “screen test” at 2 o’clock in the morning.  Hello, red flag!  Good gracious, lady, did your mother teach you nothing?

In any case, naturally, he turns out to be a serial killer and while she scream-queens it up, he hacks her into little pieces with a machete or somesuch, letting the blood from her dismembered limb shoot out in spurts all over her face.  Now wait, I know — that sounds totally gross.  But it’s not!    The violence in this scene was classic camp; what it made me think of were old horror movies I’d seen as a kid, before people had a general understanding of arterial blood spatter from watching too many episodes of CSI.   Seemed sort of promising, really.  If this was going to be a campy spoof of old slasher movies, I could be in for a pretty good time.

After the opening credits roll, we rejoin the story 53 years later with a down-and-out guy (Edward Furlong) who recently moved to LA with his girlfriend only to be immediately dumped for someone cooler and more likely to make it big.  Despairing, he spies a flyer taped to his pizza box  advertising a walk-on role in a new horror movie to the person who writes the best essay about why the horror genre rules.  He promptly fills it out, and the next thing he knows, he’s gotten the call of victory.

His movie ends up being a hokey pirate adventure thing made by the same company whose previous picture, Gnome Killer, he’d just been watching a few nights before (Gnome Killer was hilarious, by the way — we get to see a few scenes of it ourselves and it had me laughing out loud, which again gave me some hope for this film.  “Oh gnoooooome!” one of the characters cries out in terror — for that line alone, I’d slap down four bucks for a rental).  Most of the cast treats him like the peon contest winner he is, but the movie’s buxom saucy wench, Cassie Blue (she of Gnome Killer fame!) takes a shine to him.  She’s way, way out of his league, but lucky for Edward Furlong, she appears to find washed up T2 stars who look like they’re coming down from a six-week methamphetamine binge totally sexy.  Go figure.

Of course, this is a horror movie, so before the pirate director can rack up many completed reels, bodies start piling up under the mainsail and reports of a ghost of a mysterious blonde woman begin to roll in.

From there, you can pretty much write the rest of it yourself, no doubt, and you’ll probably do a much, much better job of it than these guys did.  Here’ s a hint: someone on the set is the original killer of the original blonde and someone else is her son, there to get revenge.   Blah blah headless corpses blah blah chop chop blah blah scream scream blah blah blah.

The primary problem I had with this movie is that while it had a couple of decent-enough moments of intentional camp and humor, it didn’t take that campy humor far enough.  It’s not successful as a comedy, and it’s absolutely ridiculous as a horror movie.  Instead, it got stuck somewhere in between, which is a bad, bad place to be.  I think it was also trying to parody the crazy world of film making (check out the sound guy, for example, who whoops with batty joy every time he successfully shoots a scene with “no reverb!”), but it got too hung up on also trying to be “scary” and didn’t go over the top enough with its over-the-top-ness.

It’s also at least 30 minutes too long, jam-packed with some of the most tedious filler in the history of tedious filler.   It took forever to get going, and once finally rolling, took forever to end (felt like!).  The only thing about this horror movie I found even remotely horrifying was when, in an online interview, director Josh Eisenstadt said he had been forced to cut dozens of scenes from the film and wished he could’ve kept them all in.  Truly the stuff of nightmares, sir.

Furlong has to be one of the most consistently boring actors I have ever encountered, by the way, and as he gets older and is relegated to more and more crap like this, you can see his career’s failings taking a huge toll on his appearance and drive.  He was sleepwalking through this entire picture, only energized when he finally got to make out with Tiffany Shepis, that poor dear.  Time for him to retire and find something else to do with himself, because acting is simply not gonna be it.

And Henriksen, argh.  I love him, and I still love him, and I will always love him.  But, well, let’s just say he ought to do us all a favor and stick to movies about Sasquatches and Yetis (or Sasquatch-Yetis, for that matter, like in Abominable).

Major, major stinker.  Don’t read the box, whatever you do:   TRAP!

[Netflix it | Buy it if you have $20 to set on fire and are too dumb to listen to what I just told you, GOD SERIOUSLY]

Genre:  Horror, Crap
Cast:  Lance Henriksen, Edward Fulong, Tiffany Shepis, Rena Riffel, Tony Todd

MOVIE: Sorority Row (2009)

April 19, 2010

Here comes another 80’s horror movie remake, which I was fully intending to skip, loving, as I do, the original (The House on Sorority Row, 1983).  But then somehow it ended up in my Netflix queue anyway.  SOMEHOW, I say.

Shut up.

SURPRISE!  Guess what!  This movie is absolutely unbearably awful!  You know how in slasher movies, you typically either  root for the prey to win, or, if the prey is annoying, you root for the predator?  In this one, I just wanted everybody gone as quickly and painfully as possible.  I cheered every time the killer took one of the sorority dingbats out.  And in the end, when the killer’s identity was finally revealed (oh for god’s. . . that was the best you could do, writers?), I couldn’t wait for (his/her) final demise either.

Every character in this movie is either insufferably stupid or absolutely boring as all get out.  The “prank” that kicks the movie off (by going horribly awry) is ridiculous, offensive at its core, and wholly unbelievable to boot  (unlike the prank in the original, which made a whole lot more sense and was much more believably accidental, if you ask me).  And the rationale of the killer, revealed in the end, was just plain dopey.

God.  How do these things get MADE?  It makes me want to punch something, knowing how many of my friends are scriptwriters and how much smarter than this every single one of them is.  And no, of course I wasn’t surprised this turned out to be crap.  But even in a crap movie, I can usually find one thing — ONE THING — that is the tiniest bit of interest.  One character, one shot, one death scene, one something.  Even a crappy movie’s very crappiness can be kind of intriguing at times.  But this one leaves no cliché unturned.  No yawn unyawned.  No trite tripe untriped.  I.  Ugh.  What a waste of time, money, effort, and space.  Pummel pummel KAPOW.

Go rent the original instead.  Believe me, its worth every red cent if you like a good slasher flick.  This one, on the other hand, ain’t worth a dime.

p.s. Really, Carrie Fisher?  Really?   Not even for irony’s sake.   No, ma’am.

[Netflix it | Buy it]

Genre:  Horror, Crap
Cast:  Jamie Chung, Rumer Willis, Audrina Partridge, Carrie Fisher, Matt Lanter

MOVIE: 2012: Supernova (2009)

November 18, 2009

2012supernovaOkay, so, I was down in Oregon this weekend visiting my parents, which means, of course, that I’ve got about five movie reviews in the works, at least one of which is going to be for a totally terrible disaster movie.  You know how this goes.  You’ve been here before.

THIS movie?  Is that one.   And while we were in the video store looking for our magical totally terrible disaster movie, it occurred to me that we actually have developed, over the years, an extremely detailed set of criteria for our selection process, believe it or not (and I suspect you do not, but listen up anyway).  Since you guys have been loyal readers for so long, I figured it was about time I let you in on the secret.  The secret to picking really entertaining terrible disaster movies.

First of all, you have to know, and know well, the disaster genre.  There are four primary categories of disaster movie, each of which has numerous subcategories.  All four primary categories are worth checking out, but, and this is key, not all of their SUBcategories are worth checking out.  Listen up:

Monsters — Good choices: snakes, gators, komodo dragons, zombies (see also: virus), dinosaurs, cave monsters, sea creatures (esp. sharks, squids), The Thing, The Blob, The Abominable Snowman (esp. incl. Lance Henriksen).

Bad choices:  bugs, rodents, bats.  Well, sometimes bats can be okay, but only if they are accessories for more interesting cave monsters.  Also, Bigfoot can occasionally be substituted for The Abominable Snowman (see: Abominable, which is actually about Bigfoot even though it doesn’t seem to know it — all the better to love you with, Matt McCoy).

Mother Nature — The best Mother Nature disasters are volcanoes, fires,  tornadoes, and other storms (including ice-age-inducing weather phenomena), as they tend to involve the greatest duration of actual disaster.  Earthquakes are over far too fast, as are tsunamis, and movies about either of those two things tend to focus more on the depressing aftermath than the build-up and actual disaster itself.  (Tornadoes work for this, by the way, because they frequently come in multi-packs.)  Stuff being destroyed = good.  People cleaning up debris = bad.

Space — Space disaster movies often bring as part of the package a ton of hilariously bad science (for example, gravity in places where it does not belong), as well as a healthy affection for nuclear weapons, computers and other gadgets, meteors, and exploding space debris.   Sometimes there are even aliens, though not nearly as often as we’d like.   These are all good things.   The key to a successful space disaster movie, though, is that it has to FOCUS ON THE SPACE DISASTER.  Not to go into too much detail, because it’s really not worth talking about (trust me), but that is where 2012: Supernova fell down on the job.   It may be worth noting, incidentally, that space disaster movies are 6.3 times more likely to feature naked women.  Do with this information what you will.

Diseases – Virus and other disease movies, as with storm or fire movies, are good because they tend to involve long-term actual disaster.  We like to problem-solve when we’re watching disaster movies — a good virus story leaves a lot of room for that sort of thing.  Also, some of the best zombie movies of late have technically been virus movies, and this is a combination I think can work extremely well (examples:  28 Days Later, Zombieland).  Overall, I have to say the Disease Disaster category tends to produce the most consistently watchable films, even though those films tend to be exactly the same in most regards.  If it works once, it’ll probably work forever, right?  Just ask the people who keep cranking out Saw movies.

Okay, now, knowing the genre can obviously help narrow down the selection:  put the rat movie back on the shelf, pick up the one about the komodo dragons.  But this still leaves hundreds and hundreds of potentially unwatchable movies.    How do you know which one you should rent when faced with several equally-acceptable-looking options?    Well, I am happy to report that after years and years of experimentation, my mother and I have finally discovered the secret.   We call it the 90 Minute Rule.  And it goes like this:

Any movie that is less than 90 minutes long is approximately 9.8 times more likely to be unwatchably bad (note: we did not actually do the math, but I am 87.68% positive that number is accurate).  Movies that are longer than 90 minutes, on the other hand, are far more likely to be the kind of bad you watch with giddy joy.  It’s so simple, it’s almost embarrassing it took us this long to figure it out.

There’s only one problem — what about a movie that is EXACTLY 90 minutes long.  Say, for example, 2012: Supernova?   This is where you can still run into trouble.  Because  a movie that is exactly 90 minutes long is a risk.  A MAJOR risk.  It could so easily go either way — there’s simply no predicting it.  And that’s where it helps to know someone who is willing to rent that movie and watch it for you and then tell you how it is.  For example, ME.

This is how it is:  Absolutely terrible.  (Note:  Not in a good way.  If it were absolutely terrible in a good way, I would’ve said, “Absolutely terrible (in a good way).”)  May it never be the case that the survival of our planet is ever riding on the brains of three “scientists” who are anything like the big wheels who drove the storyline in this wreck.  Because if it is, we’re DOOMED.

Anyway, try this technique out next time you’re looking for a good-bad disaster movie to rent and let me know how you do!  Just make sure you leave 2012: Supernova on the shelf.  WHERE IT BELONGS.

[Netflix me | Buy me]

Genre:  Sci-fi, Space Disaster, Crap
Cast:  Brian Krause, Heather McComb, Najarra Townsend