Wednesday, January 7, 2009

We are the Sprocket Holes vol. 50

more tiny movie reviews/ratings;

CHAOS ( aka Last House on the FAIL. ) - 0/10: This is about as dumb as it gets. A blatant rip-off of Wes Craven's seminal Last House on the Left, only without the style, atmosphere, character drama, and oh yeah THE POINT. Don't believe me? check out the poster for LHOTL:

now check out the original (i use the term loosely) poster for Chaos:


now LHOTL was itself a modern version of Igmar Bergman's the Virgin Spring, which is something defenders of Chaos waste no time in pointing out, right before they say that Dave "The Demon" DeFalco's film "goes places that LAST HOUSE never could" (a direct quote from this fucking idiot). It makes no fucking sense to love Chaos while deriding LHOTL; the film it exits to be, but i digress. The point being is that while LHOTL borrows the structure from the fable Virgin Spring, it is NOT a near note-for-note knock off of Bergman's film adaptation of the cautionary fable, and thus can stand on its own two feet. on the contrary; Chaos can't even begin to exist without mentioning LHOTL. It's practically a xerox. The only differences are

1. the married couple being interracial
2. the ending, which is as text book a case of not-fucking-getting-it as there ever will be.

The actors (one of them being Sage Stallone, who owns Grindhouse Releasing and has more hair than anyone on the planet) seem like they might be decent in other films, and really they are not at fault. they really do the most they can with the sub-material they are given... i can say that much. The ineptness of this film lies solely in the script and the direction of former pro wrestler and current loonbar David "The Demon" DeFalco. He has no sense of mood or timing, is literally at a loss when it comes to building tension or crafting strong leads to carry the film, and is seemingly more concerned with flexing his muscles in a mortuary while carrying on about how the critics just don't understand that he really has something deep to say about the nature of violence in society through his film (retardedly credited as "an original idea" from the producer and himself). Trouble here is that the message has already been said by Craven, Ruggero Deodato, and other more capable filmmakers, and the message was sent 30-40 fucking years ago. Chaos is just illogical cruelty that believes it has a message because the film it's ripping off had something to say. But anyone can stage set pieces... it takes a real intellect to know why the set pieces are being placed and what they represent.... and THAT is when they achieve their true power, through their everlasting remembrance in the mind of the viewer. Otherwise it's just empty shock value that's ill-defendable when the inevitable debate of "have films gone too far" rears it's played out head.

most brutal movie of all time? it's not even the most brutal movie you'll see this afternoon.

PS: oh and speaking of FAIL;

trailer for 2009 remake of the Last House on the Left at

pointless. there's no other word for this. pointless and sad.

sidenote; can we please but a moratorium on the whole "bumbling cops" complaint already? if that minor subplot was enough for you to dismiss the power of that film, than really your opinion is baseless and irrational. ; end sidenote

and yet again i find people are psyched for this thing. mostly they're people who haven't seen the orignal, but some are people who hated the original, but think this looks better.


i can understand people not liking the original film; it's a messy lo-fi product of its time, so to younger viewers who believe they have seen it all, Craven's film seems cheap, irrelevant, and dated. Personally i think it's a benchmark of horror, cause without LHTL we probably would not have had the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the rest that came after that. Whether you hate the movie or not, it is a vital piece of genre film history.... there is no disputing that. you can try, but you'll be wrong.

that being said, while i can understand people not liking the original, i can't understand people being excited over the remake of a movie they hated to begin with. i mean, it's the same damn movie. i can only assume it's some superficial thing, like the remake looks more pro, has better looking women, etc, and that's what kept them from appreciating the original. to each his own i suppose.

what is so maddening about this particular remake? ... it's total sanitary film making. the original film's look and atmosphere matched the brutality and ugliness of the material pound for pound. It didn't care if you were repulsed by it. It looked like newsreel footage, which gave it a spooky realism that made the film perhaps impossible to deny, because these looked like real people in real situations. This 2009 version however, is all slicked out, dressed up, and packed with self-consciously "stylish" music video tricks that don't serve to compliment the material, but to placate a crowd that isn't normally into these kind of films. i mean those shots of Mari in the water look gorgeous, and nothing... NOTHING about the Last House on the Left should look gorgeous.

do not want.

here's a trailer and a documentary on the real fucking thing;

PHILOSOPHY OF A KNIFE - 10/10: Andrey Iskanov now cements his place in my top ten favorite film makers. This thing is a monster in every imaginable (and unimaginable) sense of the word. Maddening. Deadening. Visceral. Poetic. Iskanov blends the surreal dementia of his previous work with the accuracy of the most anal retentive documentary film makers around. Absolutely unreal. I couldn't take my eyes off it... all 4 and a half hours of it. What was that you were you saying about being "the most brutal movie of all time"? sit the fuck down, Parts Unknown... here's a 4 and a half hour nightmare amputation with sulfur radiators, frostbite try-outs, experimental dentistry, and cockroach gynecology.

"bu..but i cut off a girl's nipple and made her eat it while she cried. that's sthuper hardcore."

*pats roid money on the head* oh well that's adorable.

CRANK - 5/10: oh good... Energy Drinks: The Video Game: the Movie. What's with all the nerd-love people have been giving this thing? loud and dumb doesn't always equal fun. The characters suck, the editing is shit, the villains are weak, and no matter how hard you try to convince me of his bad-assedry, JASON "eye've gut fyve uh clock shadough all day ehvry day eye doo" STATHAM ANNOYS THE FUCK OUT OF MY PISS. granted he's a more legitimate action star than the Fresh Prince of Bell Air or Ted Theodore Logan, but this monotone douchechill could be fighting a blackhawk helicopter in the belly of an Orca Whale made of LSD and pocket vaginas and i'd still be bored due to his consitantly bland performance. I love over the top action films (see my reviews of Rambo, Shoot 'Em Up, and Punisher: War Zone), but i hate this obnoxious jump-cut X-Box Jolt Cola bullshit genre of film making.

MILLER'S CROSSING- 9/10: Holy Shit Daddy Warbucks is a fucking bad-ass. TAKE THAT JASON STATHAM. Seriously though, this is one of the best crime movies ever made. Fantastic performance from John Tuturro.

RABID - 7.5/10: of Cronenberg's early body of work (talking pre Scanners), this is my least favorite, but i dig the concept, and it's still a joy witnessing Cronenberg's teething process... before he truly morphed the fabric of films with Videodrome and so forth. plus Marilyn Chambers is a sex-bomb.

FIRECRACKER - 4/10: Mike Patton anally rapes little brother. that's pretty much it.

Seriously, anyone who calls this movie brilliant should be sterilized with a curling iron. It's never as clever or artful as it believes itself to be. It's all so cynically put together to invoke arthouse thrillers like Blood Simple or Blue Velvet without retaining anything that makes those films the enduring classics they are. It obfuscates vaugeness with mystery, needless hate with engrossing quirk, and is quite frankly one of the most frustratingly unoriginal films i've ever seen. It pilfers much of its imagery and ideas from Lynch, most noticeably from Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet, right down to naming the sadistic villain "Frank" (this character played by Mike Patton, who also plays the aforementioned brother-raper) and having the boyish protagonist lust after a defeated nightlife entertainer (Karen Black is your Isabella Rosalini). it also plucks little bits of the Cohen Bros. for additional hell-smoldering-beneath-a-small-town-exterior shenanigans ie. Fargo, Blood Simple, and so forth. This is a dull, vacuous movie undeserving of its influences and any sort of attention beyond derision or pity. I hate you, movie.

No comments: