Posts Tagged ‘Bad Movie’

Jack Frost (1997)

October 9, 2015

I’ve actually wanted to see this movie for years but I never got around to it. Now, with the internet, seeing such things takes just a few keystrokes and is amazingly easy. I don’t know what it is about setting horror movies at Christmas or other snowy times. Maybe, like killer clowns, the people who make horror movies want to juxtapose things meant to delight us with things meant to terrify us. I ran to the window many a time during winter to see snow piling down, joy building in my heart. I listened to WBAL for the school closings (and later work closings) with intense anticipation. I was never a winter sports enthusiast but I always loved walking and playing in snow and ice as a kid. I still get a kick out walking along a snow-covered path and feeling the intense quiet a snowstorm seems to bring. So, I was excited to see this joy turned against me.

The movie follows a serial killer (named Jack Frost) who is caught by a small town sheriff (from the town of Snowmanton) based on a traffic stop. The killer is tried and sentenced to death which requires him to be transported at night in what appears to be a blizzard. The prison transport collides with a truck carrying genetic research also during a blizzard at night. Everything seems plausible so far. The two trucks collide and suddenly they got their murderer in the genetic goop and vice versa and now he’s a killer snowman. Yes, it’s that old chestnut. He proceeds to try to take revenge on the sheriff instead of the legal system that tried him or whatever. A hundred snow and ice puns ensue as people are slaughtered. The townsfolk seem alternately very scared and very apathetic about the whole thing.

Before college, I had very little experience with small towns. After college, my first job was right in the middle off a small town. In a small town, people are in each other’s business a lot. They can’t help it. In a situation where everybody pretty much knows everybody, you learn a lot about the few people you’re able to talk to. You grow uncomfortably close to these people. Also, it always feels like there’s very little to do in a small town which isn’t entirely true. There’s a multitude of bake sales, fairs, carnivals and other momentary distractions but it’s usually at least an hour drive to the closest movie theater and other such entertainment. It’s definitely a foreign world and one I never quite adapted to. This movie is rife with that claustrophobic feeling of being out in the middle of nowhere. Don’t worry, it doesn’t linger on this for long but it’s always in the background.

There’s no way anybody ever took this movie seriously and that includes the actors and crew. The thing kind of smells of Airplane-style parody as things are offbeat and very punny. It ends up being a little wackier than I expected which isn’t exactly a bad thing. The killer snowman was something that intrigued me as I expected the effect would be done with stop motion animation. What seemed like a no-brainer was too much money for a straight to video release apparently. Instead, most of the work is done with what looks like animatronics and voice overs. In fact, the killer snowman doesn’t appear all that much. He easily kills the dumbest characters that you could kill with a dull spork. One scene gets a little raunchy so this, in addition to a little gore, should discourage parents from letting their little kids watch this one.

My favorite part is that Jack Frost has a very set goal that he explains in the first ten minutes of the movie and it is repeated several times so we don’t forget it. He wants to kill the sheriff who caught him. However, he easily succumbs to the same psychopathic ADHD that plagues supernatural killers like Charles Lee Ray. Instead of pursuing his goal, he lets himself get distracted by easy targets and cracking jokes that waste time he could have been using to accomplish his goal. Of course, a horror movie needs victims so you can’t complain too much. In fact, I didn’t complain much and I would suggest if you’re in a jovial holiday spirit to check this one out. Make sure it’s the 1997 Jack Frost as the 1998 one is way too scary.

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Ghoulies

October 1, 2015

I have heard over and over that this movie is part of a rash of films that came out in response to Gremlins. Gremlins is a great little movie but it’s hardly very scary even when I was a little kid. It happens to be a pretty good movie because of the great direction and the good actors who help form fun characters. It’s good campy fun from beginning to end partly because it’s written by an earl of schlock named Chris Colombus. I never really watched Ghoulies or Critters because of this, although I did see Hobgoblins much to my regret. In fact, I forgot that the movie existed which is easy to do when you’re three years old when it came out. Also, it was free from Comcast OnDemand.

I had not realized the movie is made by Empire Pictures, a company founded by Charles Band. Charles Band is sort of like Roger Corman if he pretty much only focussed on horror. I have a history with Charles Band’s Fool Moon Productions. Last year I named one of their movies (Puppet Master) in my Top 11 and another of their movies (Evil Bong) in my Bottom 11. I’m not sure if he sets out to rip things off but the argument could be made. Whether this is his intention or not, he does it with enough new thought that he makes new franchises. Sure, they’re cheap and inferior, but they have a strange kind of heart. Of course, some of them have a lot of heart and no brains but we’ve all seen a lot of those kinds of horror movies anyway.

The movie follows a young man who gets sucked into the occult and starts summoning little monsters or demons. It’s not really clear. The titular “ghoulies” were created by Stan Winston, a legendary special FX artist. They look good, with plenty of slime and drool to let you suspend your disbelief and see them as real enough. Of course, I find the puppets both inherently funny and inherently creepy but that’s the danger of puppets. At least the puppets in Puppetmaster didn’t make noise which is for the best because hearing them giggle and growl makes them decidedly less scary.

As with any horror movie focused on monsters, you’re really only there for the monsters. However, monsters need victims so let’s discuss them. Usually, by the time the killing starts, you hate the victims and can’t wait for them to die. This was true of the people in this cast because from the first time they were on frame I was ready to write them off. Well, the female protagonist was a little less annoying. Also, Mariska Hargitay (of Law and Order: SVU fame) made her film debut in this long before busting perps in New York City.

Most of the humans get a sum total of seven lines each. The bulk of the movie is acted by Peter Liapis who portrays Jonathan. His dad was a generic Satanist wizard and now he has inherited the power. He’s a good enough actor as he portrays a young man whose curiosity makes him an easy target for the seductive abilities of forbidden power and knowledge. His power grows as he fights with his girlfriend who is confused as to what is going on with her boyfriend.

The main complaint I have is that the movie is exceptionally slow. In a movie about killer puppet monsters, you expect it to be almost wall to wall monsters. The movie is 81 minutes long with credits and, although they make appearances, the monsters only gear up in the third act. However, if you can hang in there until the end, the movie gets really goofy and creepy in a fun way. It may be a crappy horror film but that’s what I grew up with anyway. Give it a watch if you’re into that sort of thing.

Vampire’s Kiss (1988)

April 25, 2015

I was a little disappointed in this movie. During the A to Z challenge 2015 I’ve reviewed a few movies and I was pleasantly surprised. This time the surprise wasn’t so pleasant. I had heard of this movie as the “Nic Cage thinks he’s a vampire and overreacts” story and so I expected wild antics and wacky hijinx. Instead I got something I had never thought I would see. Subdued Nic Cage. I didn’t think such a thing was possible.

Just kidding. He was batshit insane once you get through the first twenty minutes and it was glorious.

Let’s face it, Nicolas Cage is incredibly strange. He makes good movies and he makes bad movies but he’s always the most interesting thing in any movie he’s in. He makes some of the strangest acting choices of anyone I have ever seen. The only one that can compare to the sheer strangeness of Nic Cage is probably Christopher Walken.

This movie certainly didn’t disappoint when it came to strange Nic Cage moments. He spoke with the weirdest accent and often accented the wrong words in sentences out of nowhere. His character was one of the biggest assholes to the point where asshole characters in the Twilight Zone would tell him to tone it down. Of course, at least when the Twilight Zone character is punished they learn they lesson. Not Cage’s character. He becomes a bigger asshole.

After that, he basically goes insane and acts in ways that most human beings would find puzzling or terrifying. I pride myself on my writing skills but I don’t think I can accurately describe what happens in this movie. I think the reason is that I mostly don’t understand the motivations of the main character most of the time. I mean, yeah he’s an upper middle class asshole who thinks he’s a vampire but that’s what’s in the script. Sometimes Nic Cage is operating from a different script and only God knows what was written in that.

Don’t get me wrong, this movie was terrible. It was unquestionably one of the worst things I have ever seen and I cannot recommend it in good faith. I would suggest that you watch it in a group and talk over the movie, especially in between the crazy Cage moments. There were definitely some funny moments and some fascinating moments but the movie was so boring the rest of the time. It’s not a good sign when I feel my attention drift off to other things during a movie I haven’t seen before. Now that I mention it, I think that’s what happened to the guy who composed the score for this movie. He wasn’t paying full attention either.

So basically we’re left with a movie that starts out like a normal movie where we’re following a jerk before his comeuppance and redemption. Maybe he’ll be like Scrooge. Then the movie just devolves into weirdness and madness. Please don’t watch this movie seriously. Don’t watch it alone.

Oh yes. I’ll just put this here in honor of A to Z Blog Challenge…

A Blade Restrospective

January 22, 2015

Hello and welcome to the Blade retrospective where I talk about the Blade movies since I got the whole set cheap at Walmart.  I love buying cheap DVDs from Walmart and Target to add to my geeky movie collection.  I think that overall the Blade movies are good but don’t hold up to the current Marvel Cinematic Universe films.

All of the films are written by David S. Goyer who is very hit and miss as a writer.   He is responsible for good stuff like all three Nolanverse Batman movies, Dark City, the Constantine tv series and Jumper.  However he also is responsible for the awful FlashForward series, Nick Fury tv movie and Man of Steel.  He definitely has his faults but is just as capable of putting out decent stuff as he is of putting out crap.  There is no consistent director so all three films have different tones and visuals.

Let’s start reviewing the Blade movies.


Blade

The first movie is pretty good.  Wesley Snipes is absolutely the best casting choice anybody could have made.  He has the ability to be stoic while having the charisma to deliver a one-liner or two.  He actually does a decent job with a few emotional moments as well.  Kris Kristofferson is amazing as the gruff but loveable Whistler.  Stephen Dorff is Stephen Dorff, a villain you want to punch in the face forever which is actually a good thing here.  Rounding out the main cast is Donal Logue who I am actually a huge fan of.

The fight sequences are the highlight throughout which makes a lot of sense when you consider that Snipes knows martial arts.  The rest of the movie is pretty formulaic but that’s just fine with me.  There are plenty of cliches and corny bits but I found them fun and not yet tired.  Overall I recommend the movie if you like action and cool effects.


Blade II

The best Blade movie ever and not only because it was directed by Guillermo del Toro.  This time around they actually saw fit to develop the characters more.  They also went for a much creepier mood which fits a story about a vampire hunter teaming up with vampires to fight the next stage of evolution.  We get Wesley Snipes and Kris Kristofferson returning and turning in even better performances.  Leading a cast of relative unknowns is awesome character actor Ron Perlman who is awesome.

As with any del Toro venture, this one is loaded with awesome visuals and dark storytelling.  However, the a lot of the cool fighting is still there as well.  This movie has more substance but it does have a few third act problems.  Since the movie was del Toro experimenting and proving that he could helm a Hellboy movie that makes some sense.  It still holds together better than the first one which was a bare bones action/horror/comic book film. Again, I recommend this film.


Blade Trinity

A lot of people did not seem to like this movie and, to be fair, I can see why.  After Blade II, Trinity is way too light with a change in cinematography and more jokes.  There is a distinct absence of Kris Kristofferson but we get Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds instead.  Then you add in four named villains.  One of them is played by Hunter Hearst Helmsley of WWE fame.  With all of this going on you could accuse the movie of having too big a cast but it’s only slightly bigger than Blade II.  Snipes seems to be barely trying which makes sense as he was upset and feuding with the screenwriter during production.

There seem to be less fight scenes due to the limitations of Biel and Reynolds and spreading the attention between the three leads.  Instead of fight scenes we get more action sequences and more ranged weapons.  I don’t see this as a huge problem but it does kind of stray from the meat of the first two movies.  Overall I would say that Trinity is not as bad as people think.  I think it follows the spirit of the first movie.  Reynolds is actually pretty funny and there’s plenty of vampire killing action.  While the movie feels lighter there are definitely some darker moments that seem edgier than the first movie. You know what?  I recommend this one too.

So that’s the Blade movies…  Wait, what?  A NEW CHALLENGER APPROACHES!?

3 out of 4 ain't bad
Blade IV: House of Chthon

Yes there was technically a fourth blade movie.  I was intrigued when I first bought the DVD and wondered why I never knew about this.  I usually keep abreast of comic book news.  I knew about the Blade anime series (which is decent) but I didn’t know about this.  It turns out this was the pilot for a Blade series that went 12 episodes.  It was on Spike TV which is the first nail in its coffin being on what is basically the Cops network.  I struggled through this movie because I apparently hate myself.  It was poorly paced and passionless throughout most of it.

The series includes Blade who is now played by a man named Sticky Fingaz who acts like LL Cool J doing his best Wesley Snipes impression.  Though, for a series supposedly about Blade, there is a distinct lack of Blade actually doing anything.  Instead we spend most of the “movie” following the female protagonist, Krista, trying to investigate the death of her brother and stumbling upon the existence of vampires.  Blade pops up now and then to kill a few vampires but is otherwise laughably ineffectual.  Eventually stuff actually happens and Krista gets captured and transformed into a vampire.  In the end, Blade and Krista seem to make an agreement to use Krista as an undercover agent inside the House of Chthon.  I yawn and I am grateful that the movie is over.

I have two words for you as advice concerning this movie:  Stay away.  It probably had potential considering the relative success of Dusk Till Dawn: The TV Series and Fargo: The TV series.  The pacing and acting are horrible and they probably decided to save all of the exposition for a later episode.  The writing is muddled and they save a good concept for the last twenty minutes after boring you for over an hour and 10 minutes.  All I know is that I don’t want to hear anybody badmouth Blade Trinity after watching that.

Man of Steel

January 12, 2014

So on New Year’s Day 2014 I finally decided to sit down and watch Man of Steel. I watch every single comic book movie (eventually) no matter what because I am a huge comic book fan. I was wary about a Superman film because the franchise has really burned me in the past. At least when Batman was bad it still entertained me. Superman Returns was so boring though. Still, it was time to man up and get through Man of Steel. Maybe all of the negative buzz was wrong. Maybe. I kind of live tweeted throughout the movie which is what you’ll see below along with explanations and further reflection. This is going to get spoilery fast, folks. To those who might complain I only have one thing to say: Rosebud was his sled.

I’m finally getting around to watching Man of Steel.

This one is kind of self-explanatory but is included as to be accurate and complete.

There sure are a lot of good actors in this mostly uninteresting movie.

Man of Steel has an impressive cast. I think I posted this when Larry Fishburne first showed up and I realzied just how good a pedigree this film’s cast had. When I bad mouth the movie later, keep in mind that I am in no way blaming it on the cast. They were just all hamstrung.

I seem to remember that being the worst way to deal with a tornado. Google agrees with me.

At a major point in the movie, the evil, mustache twirling tornado from Twister appears and Kevin Costner tells everyone to get out of their cars and get under the overpass. I vaguely remembered that this was specifically a very bad idea. Google happened to back me up this time. Here’s a link.

Oh Amy Adams you are so pretty and so utterly wasted.

I love Amy Adams in almost everything. I used to say that I love Amy Adams in everything but not anymore. I prefer to think she was a mediocre reporter and idiot who stole Lois Lane’s identity and tied her up in a closet in this one. Lois Lane is brave and intelligent. She takes so many stupid risks in this that I wanted to shake her. The top one was “Ooh there’s a menacing robot thingy. Time for flash photography.”

At this point, I wish they had just made a Russell Crowe sci-fi adventure and just left the rest out. He was badass.

Russell Crowe was the best part of the movie. The Krypton sequence was so good and new and interesting and it was because Russell Crowe was dynamic and determined. The mix of alien biology and technology was pretty interesting. After entering the rest of the plot, I wanted to retreat back to Krypton.

It’s like every morning before shooting, they made each cast member take a shot of nyquil.

Nobody seemed to act like anything actually mattered. Almost nobody was charming. They all seemed irritable and sleepy. None of the actors seemed to be able to muster much personality at all and it made the movie drag by so slowly.

This movie is no fun. Daredevil was way better. Ghost Rider was better. Ang Lee’s Hu… ok wait no that one sucked too.

Let me explain something. I am a fan of Daredevil. I think it was a fine movie. Ghost Rider was an ok movie and I definitely enjoyed it. I will never forgive Ang Lee for Hulk. Never.

What’s with all of the bug ships?

My friend Joe reminded me that Jon Peters was involved with this one. Jon Peters is obsessed with insects as Kevin Smith told us. Still, every one of Zod’s ships looks like a insect or arachnid. This post was specifically about one of the shuttlecraft looking like a beetle and not about the giant spider.

This movie needs a Gene Hackman.

Or even a Kevin Spacey, really. Everybody in this movie was acting all broody and dark, I desperately wished for a fun, over the top villain. Zod was basically grumpy cat going against emo Superman.

I feel bad about yelling at my laptop. It didn’t do anything wrong.

I think this was me yelling at Superman to actually try to save people instead of just slugging it out with the vilains. Ursa (or whatever her name was in this one) was mopping the floor with the Air Force or Marines or whatever but Superman didn’t make an effort to break away from Andre the Giant to help them even once. He didn’t even cast a sympathetic glance in their direction.

Suddenly the villain is both dynamic and sympathetic. What the hell?

When Zod lays out the full gravity of his situation, it looked like the cough medicine had suddenly worn off and I actually felt for the guy. That’s what I needed the whole movie but I got it for maybe two minutes in the last ten minutes of the movie.

This wasn’t a Superman movie. This was an Elseworlds tale about Superman In Name Only (SINO). Another Earth where everything’s all sad.

Yeah, this was a response to the controversial ending. I just about hit a BSOD on this one. It was not right. There was probably twenty different ways to deal with that ending that could have been way better. Way, way better.

Zack Snyder you suck. David S. Goyer, I expected better of you. Christopher Nolan… I’ll forgive you but only this once.

Alright, here’s where I take some of the venom out of my previous statement. Zack Snyder does not suck. 300 was watchable and I really liked Watchmen. David S. Goyer did a great job with Batman. Christopher Nolan did magnificent thing with Batman. The thing is, they tried to do Dark Superman. They tried to do Superman in shades of gray but Superman is not shades of gray.  Superman is good versus evil. Superman is truth, justice and the american way. This was not your father’s Superman. This was not even my Superman.

And that was Man of Steel. The last thing I will say is: Kick his ass, Affleck. Kick his ass!

I still think that Superman has a reckoning coming. Why would the world trust this asshole after all of that? I think Batman would need to have a talk with Supes after all of this.

So was it a bad movie? Yes. Was it as bad as I initially thought? No. The effects were fun and like I said the Krypton part was neat. It’s not as bad as Ang Lee’s Hulk but it got close enough.


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