Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween to anyone kind enough to stop by and check out my thoughts. If you're planning on watching any horror films, this is the time of year to do it. Here are five of my favorite horror films to watch at Halloween.

1.) Halloween - Well, I mean c'mon, its "Halloween". Seriously though, this is one of, if not the best horror movie ever. I love it-- however, do yourself a favor and steer clear of any version with the name Rob Zombie on it.

2.) The Shining - This one may not appeal to the younger, more desensitized, "torture porn" horror fan, but it's a terrific film nonetheless. While not an "in your face scares" type of film, it maintains a truly spooky atmosphere throughout.

3.) The Nightmare before Christmas - This one works for both Halloween and Christmas, but since there are so many quality Christmas films out there, I usually watch it in October. Also, if you get the chance-- this film is now in Imax 3D theaters. Check it out.

4.) In the Mouth of Madness - Being a huge John Carpenter fan, this is one of my favorite films, period. However, it's also one of the films that scared the shit out of me as a kid. It's a great film that usually gets overlooked as a quality horror film.

5.) A Nightmare on Elm Street - I would say that all of the Nightmare films are fun, but only the first one is worthy of a Halloween night viewing. It's the birth of one of the all time great villains in horror cinema. And it has an absolutely classic last shot!

There you have it. If you want a creepy, spooky film for tonight look no further. All of the titles are linked to their respective IMDB pages, so click away if you want more info on any of them. Otherwise, enjoy the Holiday and if you're giving out candy this year, make sure it's something good-- don't be the guy giving out Mary Janes and Necco Wafers! Happy Halloween, Bitches!

Monday, October 29, 2007

DVD Review: "Hostel II"

Eli Roth's 2005 film "Hostel" takes some getting used to. In fact the first time I watched it I dismissed it as gratuitous, unnecessary and an altogether awful film. It wasn't until I watched the film again, with the commentary on, that I gained a different respect for the film, and it's director. Roth is an intelligent, well informed filmmaker who pulls from a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of horror films to try to surpass what the masters of the genre had done before him.

With the release of Roth's sequel, "Hostel II", I was expecting a slightly deeper exploration into the minds of the kind of men who choose to take part in the Elite Hunting Club, the company that provides the films victims. Instead, what I got was a sort of retelling of the first film, in which the guys from the first film were replaced by girls in this one. And the men who have paid for the chance to murder these girls? They are given a slightly larger roles this time around, though with nowhere near the amount of character depth that would truly flesh them out.

This film is yet another example of unnecessary horror film sequels. It joins "28 Weeks Later" and Rob Zombie's "Halloween"** as films that not only do nothing to further the story of their predecessors, but also lessen the impact of the films on which they are based. Would I recommend "Hostel II"? No. I say, if this film looks like something you're interested in, watch the original. I'll even go one further and say to only watch the original with Roth's commentary on. His excitement and detail over the film and it's production outweigh the performances of the actors anyway.

Score: 2 out of 5

** I know that Rob Zombie's Halloween is not actually a sequel, but you get the point.


I can't say much for the current generation of "Saturday Night Live" players, because I don't watch the show enough to give a fair evaluation. However, if these short skits are any indication, the show may be on an upswing. These are absolutely hilarious.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

DVD Review: "The Tripper"

It seems that horror films with a political slant are becoming a new niche genre. With David Arquette's "The Tripper", Kevin Smith's upcoming "Red State" and the newly announced "The Ripper 2: The Burning Bush", they seem to have caught on. One can only hope that they will learn from the mistakes of this film and improve what could be an interesting sub-genre.

To state it simply, David Arquette is not a subtle man. In this, his directorial debut, a group of college-age hippies attend an outdoor music festival in the California Redwoods. Little do they know, a maniac who is obsessed with former President Ronald Reagan is stalking and killing them one by one. The concept is sound and, if put in the hands of a good director, could have been a very cool film-- especially if the antagonist was treated with any degree of seriousness. Unfortunately, this film was laid in the heavy hand of Arquette, who chose to take it more toward the horror/comedy genre. Trouble is, it wasn't very funny, failing to even taking advantage of numerous chances for great one-liners. And it certainly isn't scary. Creating a tense, scary movie takes skill-- a skill Arquette doesn't seem to possess.

What we end up with is a kinda funny, sorta scary debacle that would have never graced the silver screen of even one theater if not for Arquette's name being on it. I always feel that when a low budget horror film decides to go the route of "horror/comedy", it's usually a cop out. 9 times out of 10, the script is just not very scary and it seems like pushing the story to the absurdly funny makes up for it. Well, at least in this case, it certainly did not. To quote the man who inspired this film, "Facts are stubborn things", and the fact is: This movie stinks.

Score: 1 out of 5

View the trailer here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Trailer: "Repo: The Genetic Opera"

I've been hearing about this film for quite some time now. Before last night, the most I had known about it was that Paris Hilton is in it-- and that's enough for me to not take it seriously. However, during last night's Scream Awards I saw the full trailer and I must admit I am thoroughly intrigued. Could it be a complete piece of trash? Of course. But I will say this-- I am getting sick of the same old shitty horror movies that keep coming out one after another. I would rather see "Repo" than whatever new J-Horror flick gets an American remake (Regardless of how hot Jessica Alba is, "The Eye" will still be the same old shit.) A lot of message boards are saying "There's no way this will compete with Rocky Horror!" Well guess what? Maybe I'm in the minority, but I hate Rocky Horror, and I always have. Anyway, count me among those who will be catching this one in the theater.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

DVD Review: "Incident at Loch Ness"

Werner Herzog is a great director, and an enigmatic man. He has directed a lot of incredible films and attempted a few that notoriously ended up falling apart. One thing he has always done is strived to create interesting and unique cinema. Though he didn't direct this film, his persona supercedes any of its other elements and he is by far the main reason to watch the film.

This pseudo-documentary tells the story of Zak Penn (Screenwriter of "X Men 2" and "Behind Enemy Lines") attempting to produce the next great film by Werner Herzog. As they construct a production team, there seems to be conflicting ideas about exactly what type of film they will be making. Herzog is interested in the nature of myths, like the Loch Ness Monster, and why as a civilization we need to believe in them. Penn, on the other hand, has a decidedly more "Hollywood" type of film in mind.

It was quite obvious early on that this was not a real documentary. The story is told through the cameras of a film crew who is making a film about Herzog's life. They intend on accompanying him throughout the filming of this new film "The Enigma of Loch Ness." Problem is-- any sharp viewer will notice that the "candid" footage being captured during the shoot often slips into standard filmmaking techniques, such as shot-reverse shot in dialogue scenes. If there was only one camera, and this was shot on the fly, a shot-reverse shot could not happen. However, this didn't take anything away from the film as a whole, mainly because of Herzog himself. Whether it is his hypnotic accent, or the way he seemed to be the only one who truly wasn't acting, whenever he was on screen I was interested.

The film is certainly tongue in cheek. Director Zak Penn's character seems to be poking fun at the idea of a typical Hollywood producer, going as far as trying to hire a Playboy model as Herzog's official sonar operator. He also designed matching "Expedition Suits" for everyone on the crew to wear, bringing the feel of the film dangerously close to that of "The Life Aquatic." The film was funny, a little surrealistic and ultimately compelling. Even though I was in on the joke from the get-go, I was never bored. If you are a fan of Herzog, this is a must see-- even if just to see Zak Penn point a gun at him and exclaim, "Shoot this scene, or I'll shoot you." Good stuff.

Score: 3.5 out of 5

Click here to see the trailer.

Monday, October 22, 2007

DVD Review: "Saw"

After the second and third films in the "Saw" series, I must admit that the Jigsaw act had started to wear a bit thin. However, in Hollywood, profit is paramount and these films bring in the audiences in droves. Now, with the upcoming release of "Saw IV", I decided that I should return to where it all began and re-evaluate the original film.

When this film was released, it wasn't expected to do much more than rent well on DVD. It had a meager budget ($1.2 Million) and no marquee star power. Much to the surprise of the studio, this film screened well. Here we are, 5 years and 3 sequels later and I still think they had it right the first time. In this case, the low budget worked for the picture. The emphasis had to be on the story, the acting, and of course the twist. In the sequels there seems to be a need to up the ante in terms of gross out traps for Jigsaw to subject his victims to. In the first film, there was no ante to buck up to-- no prior example for this to be compared to. I suppose that gave this film an edge, but the fact remains that it is still the best film in the series. The acting is kind of hammy and the story is derivative, but this is a horror film. All great horror films are influenced (read steal) from others. That's the name of the game. The major requirement is that you put enough of your own spin on it to make it different. This film succeeds there. It may be hard to see that now, in the age of the splat pack, but this film was something new when it came out.

If money wasn't as big a factor as it is in getting sequels greenlit, this may have been a one off picture. If that were the case I do believe "Saw" would be considered a classic in horrordom. As it stands, the status of this one is somewhat dependant on the amount and quality of the sequels. In my opinion, unfortunately, that does not bode well for the original. As long as the films are cheap to produce and make the audiences cringe, we'll be seeing annual iterations of "Saw" for a long time. Like they say, if it's Halloween, It must be "Saw."

Score: 3.5 out of 5

(View the trailer for Saw IV here)

DVD Review: "Planet Terror"

When "Grindhouse" was released last year, the trendy critique was that "Death Proof" was a masterpiece, and "Planet Terror" was just awful. The problem with that logic is that most critics are notoriously hard on genre films, especially those of the horror/sci-fi variety. If viewed through a horror fan's eye, this film has a lot to offer, from nods to other great horror films to terrific cameos from genre legends.

The film has a typical B movie premise. A Scentist (Lost's Naveen Andrews) has developed a chemical that turns people into mindless, brain-craving zombies. A group of deranged Military men, led by Bruce Willis, are after the scientist because they've been exposed, and the only cure after exposure to the chemical is a slow, constant supply of the chemical in concentrate. Needless to say, all does not go as planned and the store of chemical is released on the unwitting inhabitants of a small town. The story weaves several characters stories as they fend off zombies through the night in an effort to meet up and try to flee the country.

This is schlock on a grand scale, from the gratuitous gore to the stylized violence-- even a 5 year old kid is fair game in this one. If you're a fan of Zombie films, B films, or even just want to push the limits of suspension of disbelief and chomp on some popcorn, you should see this film. Whether or not the popcorn will stay down during the gory parts is another question entirely.

Score: 4 out of 5

Sunday, October 21, 2007

DVD Review: "Day of the Dead"

I am a relative newcomer to George Romero's "Dead" series. I had seen "Night of the Living Dead" while in film school, and I liked it. Within the past year I had also watched both "Dawn of the Dead" and "Land of the Dead." Though enjoyed them both, I began to suspect these films of producing diminishing returns. Upon viewing 1986's "Day of the Dead", my suspicions were proven correct.

The film was originally envisioned as the epic finale to what was then supposed to be Romero's trilogy of Dead films. Unfortunately, due to budget constraints and several other problems, this one didn't exactly have the epic feel he was going for. I think it was due in large part to the acting. I understand that zombie films aren't exactly scooping the cream of the acting crop, but these actors were distractingly over the top. I also found that too much time was devoted to the human characters and their struggle for dominance over one another. I was watching the film for the zombies, not the politics of who is in charge when everyone else is dead.

I will say that the film delivered in one major aspect: the effects. Special FX guru Tom Savini outdid himself on some of the more extravagant deaths in the film. Unfortunately the bright spots were just too few and far between. Overall, I would say that this film fits right in with my theory of Romero's films losing more and more steam as they go along. Hopefully his 2008 picture "Diary of the Dead" will be the boost he needs to get out of this two decade long rut.

Score: 1.5 out of 5

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

DVD Review: "Battle Royale"

"At the dawn of the millennium, the nation collapsed. At fifteen percent unemployment, ten million were out of work. 800,000 students boycotted school. The adults lost confidence, and fearing the youth, eventually passed the Millennium Educational Reform Act - AKA: The Battle Royale Act..."

That is the introduction to Kinji Fukasaku's 2000 film "Battle Royale." Based upon the 1999 novel by the same name, the story takes place sometime in the near future, when almost all Japanese teens have abandoned school. They've lost all respect for elders and essentially do as they please. The government creates an initiative to randomly choose one high school class per year to be kidnapped and taken to a deserted island. Once there they are fitted with electronic tracking collars, given survival packs and told that they have three days to battle each other to the death. If at the end of three days no winner is declared, they all die.

The film leaves something to be desired in terms of exposition and a thorough explanation of the so-called "BR Act"-- namely, what are they hoping to accomplish with the BR Act? However, the concept and delivery of the film's action make up for most of its rough spots.

Fukasaku's film seemed to have a strong socio-political message, however it was hard to decipher exactly what he was trying to say. The fact that there isn't an official U.S. DVD release didn't help, as I do believe the subtitles on my disc were sometimes incorrect. The music cues in the film were also a little strange. Some of the most dramatic scenes were made incredibly melodramatic by the overly emotional score. The strong point of the film was the "Lord of the Flies" inspired elements-- forcing friends to kill one another for survival is just a really hard idea to handle.

"Battle Royale" was very compelling and, though it left me with a few questions, the story was an interesting take on an established theme. If you can bear with the flawed subtitles and cheesy score, this one is definitely worth checking out.

Score: 4 out of 5

** This film has been tapped for an American remake, though given the the main theme of the film, and American audiences notoriously prudish sensibilities, I don't think it will happen anytime soon.**

Monday, October 15, 2007

DVD Review: "Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon"

"Behind the Mask" is a humorous, behind the scenes look at what it takes for a man to raise himself to the ranks of the great cinematic horror villains of all time. While it falls short of its ultimate target, the originality and, excuse the pun, execution of this one make it worth the watch-- especially for horror fans.

The film follows Leslie Vernon, an affable, delusional subject for a documentary being made by 3 local graduate students. Vernon plans on returning to his hometown to claim vengeance on the townsfolk who believe that his mother had murdered him as a child. Part mockumentary, part black comedy-- the film eventually devolves into a somewhat traditional horror film when the graduate students come to the realization that not only is Leslie serious about being a mass murderer, but they have been a part of his plan all along.

While this one may have a hard time finding a larger audience, first time director Scott Glosserman made sure that at least horror fans would have a ball with the film. Horror veteran Robert Englund (Freddy Kreuger from A Nightmare on Elm Street) plays a supporting role, and if you look closely, Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th's Jason Voorhees) even has a cameo. Never funny enough to be an outright comedy, never scary enough to be a true horror, the value of this films is in it's novel treatment of the horror film antagonist. I recommend it for anyone who enjoys comedy or horror and is looking for something different.

Score: 3 out of 5

Sunday, October 14, 2007

My Bachelor Party

Thanks to anyone who was able to make it out to my bachelor party. I had an awesome time, and I actually remember it, or at least most of it. For anyone who couldn't make it, please refer to the photo at the top of this post for my opinion. Just kidding. Hope to see you all at the wedding on 11/17/2007!

Friday, October 12, 2007

DVD Review: "28 Weeks Later"

Danny Boyle's 2002 film "28 Days Later" was the first film in the zombie genre that I recall featuring so-called "fast zombies", that is, zombies that don't react like the slow moving zombies of the George Romero films. Personally, I find this to be a much more scary, and more realistic depiction of zombies-- at least as realistic as the undead can be.

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's sequel "28 Weeks Later" deals with the rebuilding effort of London in the wake of the first film's events. Essentially they had evacuated all of London, leaving the infected people to starve to death. After six months, they begin to repopulate the area, with the help of U.S. Armed Forces. What they don't realize is that some people who were attacked were not fully infected, and have become carriers of the virus. It's a decent setup, but I couldn't help but think that the use of U.S. Armed Forces as the occupying force in London wouldn't turn out to be more than a pseudo-political potshot at the American Military. After all, some of the most notable zombie movies are known to have socio-political commentary at their root-- just look at Romero's "Dawn of the Dead." Turns out I gave this film too much credit, because this one had no discernible subtext to it at all.

The pace of this film is not nearly as frenetic as the original. Being that it is about a group of survivors, led by a US sniper, eluding both the zombies and the Military who believe them to be infected, all of their movements are much more deliberate and tactical. There were a few decent scenes, most notably one which involves a helicopter mowing down a field of hapless zombies, "Dead Alive" style. But for the most part this was just a rehashing of everything we've already seen in the first film.

I'm not convinced that this sequel was necessary. It did nothing to further or enhance the story of the original. This is a sub-par entry in the zombie genre, offering nothing in the way of a new take or a diffrerent aspect of the genre. If the themes of this film grab your fancy, pick up the first film, "28 Days Later", as this one is better left on the shelf. And in case you are wondering: yes, it was left open to a sequel, one that will further sully the original's chances at being considered a classic. Pity.

Score: 2 out of 5

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Trailer: "No Country for Old Men"

The Coen Brothers look like they are back to form after a pair of films that were poorly received by both critics and fans alike. "Intolerable Cruelty" and "The Ladykillers" were two of the worst films of their respective years. The Coen Bros. new film, "No Country for Old Men", looks like they've returned to their roots, to the likes of such great films as "Fargo" and my personal fave "Miller's Crossing." Now, I'm not completely sold on Josh Brolin in such a high profile role as the main character, but Javier Bardem certainly looks like he'll pick up the slack. I like the dark, twisted worldview that most of the Coens films have had, and this film seems to be no exception. This one has now become one of my most anticipated upcoming films. Check out the trailer for yourself here.

Save the cheerleader? Eh, if I get around to it.

I was late hopping aboard the "Heroes" bandwagon. I missed the first few episodes, and with serialized dramas that makes it hard to fully comprehend the plot. I was very excited for this show to come to DVD, as this is how I originally got up to speed with my favorite show, "Lost". With "Lost" I literally made it through the first season in about 3 days. I would watch 4 or 5 episodes at a time. With "Heroes", I don't know if it's the mediocre acting, the comic-bookish writing or the snail's pace at which the plot seems to crawl, but this show just isnt doing it for me. And believe me, I wanted it to.

Currently I am up to episode 15, and honestly. I'm in no hurry to finish watching. I attribute my lack of interest in large part to three characters in particular.

1.) Micah (Noah Gray-Cabey)-- This is one of the worst child actors I have seen since Jake Lloyd in "Star Wars: Episode I". He's another example of producers giving adult mannerisms to a child actor (ahem... Dakota Fanning) It doesn't work. This kid's nasal, whiny voice is topped only by his Jheri curl hairdo as his character's worst aspect.

2.)Niki (Ali Larter)-- Micah's Mom is one of the least compelling, worst acted characters in the show. Her story is contrived and is the one that I would be most eager to have cut from the show. And that whole "two different personalities in the mirror" effect has lost it's novelty. In fact it lost it's novelty when it was first developed sometime in the early eighties.

3.)Hiro (Masi Oka)-- I suspect that I may be in the minority here, but I find his character's high-pitch voice and innocent portrayal incredibly annoying. His is another story that is dragging on and getting very boring. I get it, this is your destiny-- so get to it already.

Basically, the only storyline I care about is that of Claire and Peter Petrelli. All of the other heroes just seem to detract from the interesting parts of the story. Maybe I am just spoiled from holding this show up to the bar set by "Lost." But I feel like I have been forcing myself to watch this show and like it. I have come to the realization that it is just okay. However, take what I say with a grain of salt-- I still watch "Saved by the Bell."

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

DVD Review: "Dr. Giggles"

Keeping with the somewhat schlocky picks I've been reviewing lately, I chose Manny Coto's 1992 horror flick "Dr. Giggles." This one has quite a storied history, as it was released and subsequently taken out of print making copies of the film hard to find and thus very expensive to buy on ebay. Now, at last, it's been released on DVD as part of Warner Brothers "Twisted Terror" collection, proving supply an demand does indeed work, even for cheap horror flicks.

This film deserves billing somewhere between the trailers for Eli Roth's "Thanksgiving" and Edgar Wright's "Don't". That's right, I'm bringing up "Grindhouse" again. After all "Dr. Giggles" is absolutely, without doubt a grindhouse horror/comedy, complete with mounds of doctor-related one liners.

The antagonist, Dr. Giggles ("Darkman's" Larry Drake) is an escaped mental patient who believes that he followed in his Father's footsteps and became a surgeon. There isn't much more in terms of backstory offered, nor is it necessary. What this movie is all about are the one-liners the giggling doctor dipenses before he "operates" on his victims. The main character, Jennifer (Holly Marie Combs) has just enough high school pals for the Doctor to practice on before he gets to her and brings her home to his "office" for a special operation. If you're thinking this sounds similar in structure to the original "Halloween", you're not alone.

Overall, this is a fun slasher film. It's not very gory by today's standards, most of the more disgusting deaths take place just off camera; That's fine by me. Today's horror market seems more interested in the intricate details of what the innards of a murder victim would look like and less involved with creating what everyone really wants-- a great villain. Think about it, Freddy Kreuger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers-- they were all more important than the gore displayed in their respective films. While I won't go as far as to put Dr. Giggles in the pantheon of great horror villains, I will say he's enough of a character to make the movie fun. Grab a few friends, some beers and enjoy the cheesiness. Hell, I'm positive someone could make a drinking game out of this one.

Score: 2.5 out of 5

P.S.-- The DVD release of this film is very lackluster. It defines the term "bare-bones" having no special features, no trailers, no commentary and it doesn't even have chapter selection! That is very frustrating.

Monday, October 8, 2007

DVD Review: "Escape from L.A."

This year "Grindhouse" re-introduced, or at least tried to re-introduce film goers to the idea of exploitative, action driven films. Most people have long forgotten what fun a good, campy movie can be. After all, today films don't even make it past the script stage unless they have a bankable audience that the studios know will be there in droves opening weekend. One person who has never forgotten how much fun a good romp through post-apocalytic landscapes can be is John Carpenter. Snake Plissken, the hero in his classic "Escape from New York", may not have the cache that a Peter Parker or Jack Sparrow has, but by God he's got one thing they don't- Balls.

"Escape from L.A." is the sequel to Carpenter's aforementioned 1981 flick, this time with Plissken (Kurt Russell) being given the job of entering Los Angeles, which has now been turned into a prison-island, to retrieve a world controlling remote control MacGuffin. Along the way he must battle the L.A. underworld crime boss Cuervo Jones, who bears a striking resemblance to one Che Guevara. Helping him in this quest is a then up-and-comer Steve Buscemi, a "surfer dude" Peter Fonda and Pam Grier giving a turn as a transexual criminal Hershe Las Palmas.

This film is camp action at it's best. Make no mistake, Plissken is certainly written with tongue planted at least somewhat in cheek. Any writer who would write scenes where Snake both surfs on a tidal wave down Wilshire Boulevard and hang glides into a bombed out Disneyland and not cop to seeing the humor in it is lying. But the point is, it's fun. That's what it was meant to be and that's what it is. It's a popcorn flick and it's a damn good one. I had fun watching it, and if you were in the minority that enjoyed "Grindhouse", you'll most likely get your money's worth out of this movie. After all, it was only 5 bucks.

Camp Score- 5 out of 5

True Score- 3.5 out of 5

Friday, October 5, 2007

So that's what it looks like when a shark is jumped...

Season three of "The Office" has begun and through the first two, hour-long episodes several facts have become apparent. None is more evident than the fact that the quality of the show has gone down dramatically. Here are just a few reasons why I believe this is so.

1.) Jim and Pam are now officially a couple. The whole romantic, dramatic pull of the show was based upon the Jim/Pam unspoken attraction. Now that they are together, they are just Jim and Pam, a couple. It's much more boring and leaves a hole in the show where the taboo of Pam and Jim 's true feelings used to provide brief moments of emotion in an otherwise silly show.

2.) Michael is now apparently semi retarded. It's the Homer Simpson syndrome. People think it's funny that he is stupid, so they say "Let's push that to the Nth degree!" For God's sake, he drove his car into a clearly visible lake because the OnStar told him to. Into a lake, fully submerging his car. It just wasn't funny, and they need to bring it down a notch. Over-the-top comedy is great when it is used sparingly. Subtlety and classic in-office comedy are the bread and butter of this show.

3.) Not every episode needs to be an "event" episode. The first episode was the "fun run" and took place mostly out of the titular office. The second episode, while set mostly in the office, dealt largely with Michael visiting the offices of seven accounts Dunder Mifflin had lost in order to try to win them back with gift baskets. I'll save you the suspense- him and Dwight make asses of themselves and win back no accounts. I long for a self-contained office episode where not much happens except for the awkward, non-sequitur type scenes that had been the staple of the show.

All in all, I feel like the writers of this show have fallen victim to the trap many good shows do- they think anything they write now is gold. Well, let me be the first to say, it's not. Too much concept, not enough delivery for my taste. I am seeing more and more each day just why Ricky Gervais only let the original office go on for two years. He had said and done all there was to say, and knew when it was time to end it. That is an admirable feat. Hear that Steve Carell?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

BREAKING NEWS- Sweeney Todd Trailer hits; Goth kids en masse cream jeans. Read more below!

The trailer for the much anticipated Tim Burton/Johnny Depp film adaptation of "Sweeney Todd" has just been released. I have to admit that it looks damn good. It's a return to the darker, scarier Burton and thankfully far away from the likes of Willy Wonka.

So, I wonder when Burton is going to break down and just sexually assault Johnny depp in his trailer. Word to the wise, Mr. Depp, don't lay your drink down around Timmy. I'm just saying...

Anyway, the movie looks really cool and from what I understand every Hot Topic in the US is clearing shelf space for all of the pseudo-goth merchandise this one will spawn. Anyway, December 21st.... I'll be there. At the theater, not Hot Topic.

Watch the trailer for yourself here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

DVD Review: "Bug"

"Bug" is legendary director William Friedkin's adaptation of Tracy Letts' play of the same name. It's Friedkin's first film since 2003's forgettable "The Hunted", and his first horror film in over 20 years. Often times a play adapted to the screen encounters problems due to the fact that it was written to be on one stage, so there usually isn't much leeway in terms of setting. This actually worked in the favor of "Bug", and created a sense of claustrophobia to accompany the mounds of paranoia the characters go through. However, the film does have numerous other, fatal flaws.

It isn't often that a film will get to me enough to cause a physical reaction to sitting through it. For example, 1998's "Very Bad Things" was a black-comedy scream fest that absolutely gives me indigestion every time I see it. All that yelling and lack of a moving plot- who wants to subject themselves to that? I felt much the same way about "Bug". Everybody can remember a time when they have been cornered by a crazy person. Maybe you were at the grocery store or the mall, and you were approached and subsequently drawn into a conversation with this delusional person. I think I speak for most people when I say, in that situation, all that you really want to do is walk away from the person as fast as possible. Well, plunk down the 4 bucks to rent "Bug" and you've just given 2 such delusional people a captive audience for 2 hours.

The performances were over the top (and not in a good way) and the way in which Judd's character simply buys into the story about the "bugs" in her room is a little weak. Defenders of the film can play the "Was it all in her mind or was it real" card, because she is after all a depressed, delusional drug addict. But my response is, regardless of what was in her mind and what was real, the execution of the film did nothing for me but make me want to slap Judd across the face and tell her to snap out of it. Maybe that was Friedkin's point, who knows. What I do know is this film was equal parts frustrating and boring. And if you're looking for a scary movie, or even an entertaining one, keep moving because there's nothing to see here.

Score: 1 out of 5