Sunday, April 10, 2011


Get out your guns and storybooks, we're reviewing Hanna!

Once upon a time, there was a very special little girl, who lived in the woods with her father...
An evil witch(Cate Blanchett)wanted to capture this special girl all for herself, but her father(Eric Bana) stole her away in the woods and trained her until she was ready. When the time was right, she went out into the world to kill the witch. The wicked witch sent all her most evil of henchmen to stop the little girl, but the girl would not stop.
That Hanna.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Disappearance of Alice Creed

Get your ski masks on because we're going to review The Disappearance of Alice Creed!

This is a gripping thriller about a kidnapping. It's very minimalist and very intense. It's also one of those movies that's hard to write a review for because you don't want to ruin anything.

Two guys trick out an apartment room and kidnap Alice Creed(Gemma Arterton). And then as they handle her being released for the money, things get crazy.

That's all I can tell you about the story, the rest you'll have to go discover for yourself. It's very minimalist(there are only three actors in the entire movie) and very badass. The first 5 minutes are in complete silence and it's just the kidnappers preparing the room for the kidnapping. And then they kidnap her.

It's very straightforward in a way that isn't done at all these days. No flashbacks, no side stories, no lovable bit characters, they don't even have phone conversations with the parents or police. It's just the kidnappers and Alice.

It's very suspenseful and has so many twists and has so many twists and turns right up to the very end. You never now who's playing who and who's in league with who. Also, it's got action and tons of nudity on both sides, so there's that.

So yeah, go watch it. Had it a different style it'd be a noir. It has some great acting and some killer twists. Highly recommended for those who love suspenseful crime thrillers.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sketched List: 7 things filmmakers should be copying from District 9

My apologies to the Prawn nation for any inaccuracies, I freehanded the crap out of this.

Last year, this year, and I'm sure years after, filmmakers are and will be trying to "make the next District 9". That is, make the next big breakout sci-fi alien flick. Monsters, Skyline, and recently Battle: Los Angeles all tried to do this with mixed results at best. What were they doing wrong and what are the aspects of the stupendous District 9 should they be copying? Here are 7 things the movie did right that filmmakers don't get.

7) It wasn't an invasion story

Most every alien story dating back to the 1950's has the same story: They come, they invade, we kick their asses back. This is not the story of District 9. The aliens landed sure, but not to invade and conquer; in fact they don't even say why they came to Earth in the first place. But the real story is about Wikus uncovering the mistreatment of the Prawn species and desperately trying not to turn into one of them and getting one of the smarter Prawns back home. This is a much more interesting and less egotistical story(They're a ridiculously advanced species and they always need to invade for our resources? Really?) In fact, a few of the better alien stories had this 'alien trying to get back home' story arc (See E.T and Paul).

6) It wasn't set in America
Not that I'm anti-America, and of course it makes sense for filmmakers to set it in America to pander to American film audience, but really, why do Aliens always feel the need to invade New York or L.A.? Is the Pizza really that good?(answer: yes) In fact Cracked did an article explaining why, even if there was a good reason to invade the U.S., it would be a poor war strategy to directly invade. In District 9, the aliens touched dirt in some hobunk town in Africa, a completely random spot. If you are going to pick the U.S. of A., at least pick some random town for no particular reason.

5) The main character wasn't a stereotype
Yes, he was a white male who worked in an office. But he wasn't a meathead, or a mysterious loner, or a nerdy kid trying to impress a girl for an entire movie. He was just a regular guy with normal needs and wants. He wasn't ridiculously altruistically good. He didn't come out at the very beginning of the movie citing how he's completely against the mistreatment of Prawns, he was just as racist(Specisist? Alienist?) as everyone else. He was damn near unlikable at times. This made him realistic, interesting, and gave room for a believable story arc in which he eventually turned into a hero.

4) Interesting Aliens
These aren't just humans with cat faces, or your generic run of the mill little gray invaders. These are dirty looking weird shrimp insect creatures that don't even have proper mouths! Oh and they're one of the only alien races to wear clothing for once. And you have to give them props for building robots in their spitting image instead of big lumbering boring mechs.

3) It was a movie that delivered
It had great cgi alien creatures, insane drug lords, spaceships, giant robots shooting missiles and tossing cars, and for those who've played half-life 2, the godamn Gravity Gun. Unlike some other movies where there's just a flash here and there of action and then it's back to the talking and brooding, or a dramatic build up of the alien throughout the movie; they show you the aliens outright, show some toys you'd want to see played with and then they played with them.

2) It had Meat
And no, I'm not talking about catfood. District 9 had a story, it had depth, it had a meaning. It had multiple levels of understanding; how the prawns were treated and what that was a metaphor for, how accepted racism can be, and the degradation of a society. It had a deep story with varied and interesting characters. It wasn't just a rehash of Dances with Pocahontas in Furngully.

1) It was hard to watch
This is tough for film makers to do, but District 9 did it. A distressing movie is hard to watch but it compels us to watch it more. It puts characters we feel for through the meat grinder and blames us for putting them there. The main character is dying and there is no way to save him. Innocent aliens are being oppressed. A child is separated from his father. This wasn't a "fuck yeah blow shit up" feel good movie, this is a movie that made you think and made you hurt, and I defy alien filmmakers to do it again.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Go grab some popcorn and-OH SHIT WHAT'S THAT IN THE WINDOW?! It's Insidious!

Wasn't planning on doing the sketch this way, but just thought it looked creepier.

This is a seriously scary and creepy film. I really don't know how this got a PG-13 rating as this is scarier than most horror films I know(and anyways, they say the F word in it, so what the fuck movie ratings system?).

Written and directed by the guys who did Saw and produced by the people behind Paranormal Activity(there are nods to each in here. Try to find the drawing of jigsaw!), Insidious is about a family who's just moved into a house experiencing some strange occurrences. First their son goes into a coma, then the wife(Rose Byrne), starts seeing strange and horrible things. The husband(Patrick Wilson) doesn't believe anything is going on, even when their alarm goes off and their door is blown wide open. They move, but they soon realize that it's not their house that's being haunted, but their comatose son.

This is a scary movie that delivers. You know those horror films in which 75% of the movie is doors slamming and ghostly hand prints and then at the end maybe, MAYBE you see something? Yeah, you see something alright. They get all that bush league door slamming business taken care of within the first half hour. After that, you get to actually see things. CREEPY DISTURBING THINGS. Not whole complete things mind you, not over the top cgi monsters, but just enough to let you see it, you know it's there, and then it's gone. They're the masters of not showing and just showing enough. It really gives the sense that there's always something horrible standing there right next to you.

The soundtrack was easily the creepiest part of the movie. The score starts off wild and crazy and never let's up. It's relentless in it's spine chilling terror. We're talking crazy violins all up in this bitch. Seriously, they must have worked those poor violinists to the bone. I just imagine 20 of them going at it, then the conductor stops them and says, "ok guys, that was pretty good, but I still feel I can sleep at night so really go crazy this time." It was the kind of soundtrack I'd really like to buy, but if I ever listened to it at home, I'd never sleep in my bed again.

The sound effects were as well perfect. They had one particular screeching scratching noise that gave you chills every time you heard it. You're never sure if it's the glass freezing over, or tiny creaking footsteps, or bones cracking or nails scraping against the wall, but whenever you heard it, you knew you were about to be scared right out of your pants.

The story was about ghosts and demons and possessions, but it refreshingly didn't have the same cliches that were established with poltergeist and the exorcist. No puke spitting children, no priests coming to the rescue(they actually do bring in a priest, then he leaves 5 seconds later), no overarching battle between good and evil(just horrible fucking evil). They use new techniques, including a cool gasmask scene, and even poke a little fun at ghost detecting services. You'll notice I included ghosts AND demons as they have both in here and explain both in a nice seamless way.

As I said before, this is a horror movie that delivers, and a delivers in a very old school way. They have barely any cgi and instead focus on the psychological and the creepy. Things just get worse and more creepy, and near the end they take you to a place that's talked about in films but rarely shown. A lot of people will have a problem with the ending and call it cheesy, but I thought it fit in a classical creepy way. The ending had a nice semi twist; nice for a horror movie and semi because it was foreshadowed heavily, but still it was the logical progression, so I can't complain.

Overall this is an excellent and very scary movie recommended to horror fans and people who don't want to sleep at night. This will have you keeping the lights on, the music loud, and not wanting to look into any windows or mirrors any time soon for fear of catching a glimpse of something disturbing. I hope this film is successful enough that it ushers in a new age of films going back to psychological terror, but not so successful that they feel the need to make a crappy sequel. Now go release your bowels while you still have dry pants!

The Source Code

Strap on your time belts and get ready to go back in time, we're reviewing The Source Code!

I tried something new with this one. Hated it. Started over. Still don't like it.

For anyone who's already wondering if it lives up to Director Duncan Jones debut film, Moon, it does, and so much more. I would say this surpasses it in every category(except for the creepy robot voiced by Kevin Spacey category).

A mad bomber has taken out a train and has plans of another larger target. The only way to stop him is by sending Captain Colter Stevens(Jake Gyllenhaal) back in time within the body of a person who was on the train using...the source code. What exactly is the source code and how Colter Stevens fits into this is the mystery.

This is an amazing and thought provoking movie on so many levels. I saw a trailer for this saying it was more twisting than Inception and I instantly went, "OH REALLLLY." But seeing it, I have to agree. Inception was very linear and explained everything to you instantly. This lets you slowly discover how everything works and what's going on, and then it still leaves you guessing.

I, like most fans of Moon, saw the trailers and was worried that it would be too overly romantic. I'm relived to tell you it doesn't really focus on it too much(ok, yes, it does seem as though they fall in love rather quick, but A) he repeatedly only has 8 minutes to live, and she thinks she's talking to someone she's known for months, possibly years). I'm guessing they overhyped the romance to bring in the mainstream crowd. It was a mere afterthought, as was the plot of trying to find the mad bomber, compared to the real story of Colter trying to figure out what exactly is the source code and how he can use it to save everyone. They actually find the bomber earlier than expected(I can't speak for others as to how predictable it was, but I called it at first glance).

All the cast did a stand up job. The characters seemed realistic and everyone had their own unique voice. Even the bit players, the passengers on the train, were interesting and funny. Jake Gyllenhaal of course was perfect as a remorse soldier trying to figure out what's going on.
Jeffery Wright did a great job of being the cold and detail oriented Dr. Rutledge, and there was a surprising cameo by Scott Bakula!

The music was light and suspenseful. It wasn't overly stated, but it did it's job when it was supposed to. The effects of going back and forth in time from within the source code were nice and there were a handful of beautiful shots of downtown Chicago. I know you're not going to see a movie for nice city shots, but I don't know what else to talk about in this movie without ruining too much.

The Source Code deals with time travel, dreams and reality, alternate realities, fate, and perhaps even the afterlife. A lot of people didn't like the ending siting it as being too hollywood, but I loved it because it opened up so many more questions. It even makes some nice nods to Quantum Leap and Groundhog Day. It's a great sci-fi thriller that will get your brain juices flowing and I can't recommend it enough. A must see! So go see it!


Put on your scantily clad outfits and splash on the eyeliner(you too ladies), we're reviewing Suckerpunch!

Seriously, all the areas where you wouldn't want fishnet, there are fishnet.

That sums up my whole review. It's kinda good but what's the point. See it, don't see it, who cares.

Well ok, if you REALLY want a review...

Written and directed by Zack Snyder, who also directed 300 and Watchmen(So if you liked those movies you already know whether or not you're going to see this), this is a story about a young girl named Baby Doll(Emily Browning) unjustly put away in a girls insane asylum by her evil stepfather and her plan to escape said insane asylum with the help of four other girls stuck in the same position. The main doctor(Carla Gugino) teaches girls they can take control their life and oppressors by imagining their environment however they want it to be. Scantly clad adventures ensue.

Let me first comment that I am a guy watching this, so my view of watching hot girls in skimpy outfits kicking ass is understandably skewed. There's been alot of back and forth on every other review site about how Snyder is degrading women and/or uplifting them. Personally, I can't really say it's the most female degrading film(that would be Twilight), and I can't say it uplifts in the way Snyder intended it to be. it's just jumbled, somewhere in the middle. He's saying one thing but showing another. The message comes on way too heavy especially at the very end.

I'm not going to say the skimpy outfits and obscene amounts of make-up themselves are degrading to women because I now quite a few women who love to wear just as ridiculous outfits and tons of make-up. They do burlesque, they model, they party, don't tell me it doesn't happen. Where it does fall is context. There are a couple of scenes where it's supposed to feel like a real drama, like one in which they're all crying over each other, trying to convince each other to escape, and it's obviously suppose to be serious, but they're still in they're ridiculous burlesque costumes with glittery eyelashes. So when they're hugging my male brain instinctively goes, "Are they...are they gonna make out?" Wait, does that say more about how Snyder handled the context poorly or my male chauvinist brain?

I do have to say, they're not "exploiting" their characters but they're making action figures? Yeah, sure.

Moving on to the actual visuals, if you came to see hot girls in skimpy clothing fighting ridiculous crap, you'll be pleased to know there's hot girls in skimpy clothing fighting ridiculous crap. There's orcs and dragons. There's mechanized samurai with miniguns. There's futuristic robots. There's freaking steam powered nazi zombies for crap sakes! Honestly, I don't know why this wasn't a videogame.

The fighting sequences were pretty good. The problem I have with them is that they're Zack Snyder fighting sequences. Which means fiiiiiiiirrrrrrrssssssssssssttttttt eeeeeeeeevvvvveeeeeerrrrrrryyyyyytttthhhhiiiiiiiiinnnnngggg iiiiiiiissssssss ssssslloooooooooowwwwww andthenit'sfast aaaaaannnnnnnnd theeeeeennnn ittttttt sllllloooooowwws dooooooowwwwnnnnnnnn aaaagggaaaiiiinnn. So if you can't handle that, you will not be happy.

I think this is the movie that ruined it for me. In 300 it was new and stylish, Watchmen took it's sweet time but it was still ok, but this is just waaaay over the limit. The first sequence is especially tiring. Halfway through I was wondering when it was going to speed up. One could argue it's artistic, but if I want to look at a painting longer, you don't have to extend the canvas to infinity. Does he really need to focus on Every little miniscule detail of everything all the time and turn it into a 3 hour movie? I think in real time this movie would take half an hour.

The other problem with the fighting sequences(and overall story) is that I didn't really care about the characters until midway through when they started dying off. Sure, in Watchmen it was cool when Rorschach had awesome fight scenes because we love him as a character, but they never give us much to grab onto here, other than they're beautiful battered women.

And then there's the dialogue and soundtrack. I feel I need to include these together because I frankly thought there were more words in the songs than in the dialogue. I'm forever a minimalist and I'll be the first to say you should always show rather than tell, but he wasn't really saying anything with the imagery, other than, "hey look, girls shooting crap!" It's doubly annoying because I rarely like wordy songs played over the movie. It just feels cliche and takes away from it(though I do have to say I like the soundtrack and will probably buy it). A friend of mine said that it was like one big music video and I can't help but agree. Incidentally, why the hell isn't Zack Snyder making insane ass music videos?

The Cgi does all look nice, and by gum there's alot if it. There are some even some nice acting spots in Carla Gugino, Oscar Issac, John Hamm and Scott Glenn. I do have to give credits to the credits though, they're very stylish of the girls doing burlesque dancing, but it never once goes to the black scroll. Have you ever seen graphical credits that go all the way to the end?

So all in all, MEH. I did enjoy parts of it, wouldn't call it terrible, but wouldn't call it a masterpiece either. It's got some great sequences and all the cgi looks nice and it even has some nice acting here and there. If you like seeing scantily clad women kick ass you can't go wrong. Otherwise, I'm sure there's another movie worth your time and money.