more tiny movie reviews/ratings/ravings/rantings;
REPO!: THE GENETIC OPERA - don't know/10: Now this is disappointing. I was really looking forward to this one. it had all the makings of a true cult classic; outrageously gory premise, strangely beautiful visuals, unique/quirky casting (ranging from Paris Hilton as a plastic surgery junkie to Ogre of Skinny Puppy), unceremoniously dumped by its own studio, misunderstood/downright loathed by pretentious stuff shirts (ie film critics). What sinks this the film though, is the fact that it's a musical... and not a very good one. most musicals make my skin crawl (exceptions being Rocky Horror, Little Shop of Horrors, Willy Wonka, and Labyrinth), and this is no exception. The only members of the cast with any real singing talent are Sarah Brightman and Paul Sorvino. Everyone else completely falls flat. The music itself is aggressively mediocre late nineties "hybrid rock" ie a mash up of the most base elements of metal, industrial, and alternative, smothered with sub-standard opera vocals. i can't hate the movie too much, because it is an interesting experiment filled with ideas and imagination, and at a time when genre films are at an all-time low when it comes to experimenting with the boundaries of imagination, it's always nice to see someone try to go beyond the confines... but it just didn't work here. There is a real lack of quality control with the songs, and there is a cool movie buried somewhere in the low-octane sludge they call songs. they should've either done away with it entirely, or just let Sarah Brightman carry the weight, sort of like how Bowie did most of the heavy lifting when it came to the music of Labyrinth.
WHAT WE DO IS SECRET - 8/10: The Germs are probably my favorite punk band of all time, and arguably the first truly great American punk rock band. They were sloppy as shit and somehow totally brilliant. This movie focuses almost purely on the music/performances itself, only touching on the personal life of their infamous vocalist/lyricist Darby Crash. It's not sensationalistic like Oliver Stone's Doors, nor does it exploit hearsay-based urban legends ala Sid and Nancy. the one gripe i had was the musical performances were almost too tight... as the Germs were usually a fucking disaster live... and the slo-mo "Five Year Plan" scored heroin death ending felt a little to dramatic and flashy, but overall it's a well-performed accurate account of the life and times of Darby Crash and Co. oh and Bijou Phillips in a platinum fright wig = BONER TIME. for a more detailed account of their existence/the LA punk scene at that time, check the book Lexicon Devil.
TOKYO GORE POLICE - 9.5/10: Like an issue of Heavy Metal that was conceived as a fever dream produced between a Shinya Tsukamoto/Paul Verhoven mindlink. Everything Machine Girl should've been (and then some). The whole thing just pops off the screen. great costumes and make-up F/X, spectacular use of color, a metric-ton of lunatic imagination, and the women were adorable.
the Wrestler - 9.5/10: Everything good thing you've heard about it is true. as a lifelong wrestling fan, this was a joy to my eyes; a movie centered on professional wrestling that doesn't mock the sport or indulge its delusions. these people slowly murder themselves, especially in the smaller leagues, and all for some vague, fleeting sense of appreciation and camaraderie between fan and performer. Rourke is of course brilliant, never once missing the beat. got a real kick out the hardcore match w/ cult figure Necro Butcher, which looked as real as anything that has happened to or at the hands of the likes of Sabu, Cactus Jack, Abdullah the Butcher, and other well-known carnage miesters. my one gripe lies with Marissa Tomei. this is her best performance since My Cousin Vinny, and she is more gorgeous than ever here... and that lies the problem. As an "aging" stripper, and who frequently gets turned down by the younger clientele... i just didn't buy it. She's got a more amazing figure than women half her age, and no man, young or old, would turn down a lapdance from her. that's just my opinion, though.
Clean, Shaven - 9/10: the term "Psychological Thriller" gets thrown around a lot, but more often than not, they're just pulp detective stories with gloved killers and moody protagonists in a self consciously grimy setting. Lodge Kerrigan's Clean, Shaven however, takes you into the mind of the kind of disturbed individual that would normally be the antagonist of something like Red Dragon. This is one of those rare films where you truly feel, see, and hear everything through the character (played with chilling efficiency by Peter Greene), from the blades of grass that waft in the wind to the pair of scissors he digs into his scalp. powerful, experimental, and flawless.
Flowers in the Attic - 6/10: Meh. Needs more incest, more women being horsewhipped (for Jesus), and more murdered toddlers. Useless Movie Triva #406590590696-0-9-0596009: Wes Craven was originally commissioned to adapt VC Andrews novel Flowers in the Attic. Now i'm not saying Craven would've made a great movie, i'm just saying that at least it would've been somewhat fun, as even his clunkers like Shocker, People Under the Stairs, and Swamp Thing have some sort of unintentional charm about them. Anything would've been more memorable than this tepid exercise in lightening the load. The book is no masterpiece, but at least it went to some daring places involving domestic violence and incestuous sexual politics... at least the characters weren't just cut-and-dry heroic teenagers or lovable toddlers or sadistic matriarchs. It doesn't go far enough to aptly respect the source material, has near-infuriating leaps in logic, and worst off... no one gets hot tar poured onto their head whilst they slumber. I do like the scene with the empty graves, one for each child, but that's all.
Alien vs. Predator 2: Requiem - 3/10: Alright... I'm not going to talk about the Predalien (Predator/Alien hybrid), cause we all know what a travesty that thing is. I'm not going to talk about the inane script that feels more like a long episode of WB's Supernatural than an Alien or Predator movie. I'm not even going to talk about the fucking CGI Facehuggers. instead i want you to think about everything that is awesome about both the Alien and Predator films. cause for me, what makes those movies classic is not just the pressence of stuntmen and interpretive dancers in ornate monster suits. for me, these two things come to mind;
1. Strong human heroes and villains that you care about.
in the Alien series, It's Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley, along with her crewmates, space marines, prison-planet lifers, all whom of which are populated by some of the greatest, strongest collections of character actors ever assembled. Yaphet Koto. Harry Dean Stanton. Ian Holm. John Hurt. Charles S Dutton. Michael Wincott. Ron Pearlman. Lance Henriksen. Brad Dourif. as for Predator, well mostly the first one, you have the closest thing ever assembled to a real life team of comic book mercenaries. Shwartzenegger. Apollo Creed. Jesse Ventura. mother fucking Bill Duke. hell, even part 2 had Gary Busey, Maria Conchita Alonsa, and Bill Paxton. point being, these were warriors. these were people you believed could take on a violent extraterrestrial menace.
AVP2 has Jesse the Pizza Boy, whose despondent that the girl he digs is in love with a total douche. so yeah, amidst a gore-war with 8-foot tall space grotequeries, we have a goddamn high school love triangle acted out by crystalline waifs. brilliant work.
2. Nightmarish Settings.
Rusted, bombed out space colonies bathed in perpetual twilight. smoky steelworks and factories packed with towering, ornate machinery. Large jungles filled with violent militia groups and deadly animals. Sweltering crumbling metropolis teeming with blood thirsty drug kingpins who wage war on the cops, creating Beirut on our homeland. these are the ominous, chaotic settings of the Alien and Predator films. cause only areas that rely on this kind of carnage can fully illustrate what kind of monsters we are dealing with. The Aliens and the Predators always had a playground that served to enhance their horror, that matched their gore-drenched instincts pound for pound.
In AVP2, we're in a Colorado suburb, filled with things and people you see everyday. No stone cold mercenaries. No world-weary space travelers. Just single mothers and fruity "problem" children. The titular characters have their big showdown in a fucking Sporting Goods store. I swear i thought the Predator and the Alien were going to grab lacrosse sticks and JOFA helmets to further wage their war.
Seriously... if the movie is called Aliens vs. Predator, give us fucking Aliens and Predators battling it out it a cosmic nightmare of epic proportions, not suburban douchebags running around a dreay small town while the main event is obscured under rain machines and black lights. i wrote better, more epic Aliens vs. Predator stories with my action figures when i was ten years old. I still have them, as a matter of fact.
poo to you, movie.
Meet the Spartans - fuck you/10: hey... hey Meet the Spartans. FUCK YOU. No no no... Fuck You. You are a fucking asshole. you are the feces that is produced when shame consumes stupidity. You are the reason the economy is failing. You're the reason culture has been murdered. You're why there is war in the middle east. You're the reason Chris Brown assaulted Rihanna. ooooo boy i just busted out a pop-culture referencing non-sequiter! i bet i just busted the proverbial gut with that one. after all... those are people you've heard of and that's the stuff that happened to those people you've heard of! you guys might wanna consider hiring me as writer for next late-term abortion. we'll call "Movie Flick" or something. Lets see if i can craft a scenario worthy of those humor-factories you call brains:
Rorschach from Watchmen shows up to inspect a crime scene. Apparently pop sensation Chris Brown was thrown from his window by an unknown assailant.
As he inspects the scene, he puts on his flash light, throwing it over the apartment, which is covered with all sorts of irreverent pop culture artifacts, such as I-Phones, a Nintendo Wii, a bottle of Jenkemm.
flashbacks reveal Brown sitting on a couch with James Franco and Seth Rogen's characters from "Pineapple Express", The Miner from "My Bloody Valentine", and T-Pain, playing "Rock Band" and huffing the poopee gas from a yellow umbrella with the "Watchmen" Happy Face on it. Everyone screams "LEEEEROOOOYYYY...JEENNNNN-KEMMMMMMS!" to which T-Pain repeats in a pro-tooled melody. Rhianna walks in, says "don't forget your umbrella...ellla...aye aye"... which prompt Brown to beat Rihanna savagely with the bottle of poo and pee, thus leaving her covered in poo and pee. tee hee. poo.
a copy of Kim Kardashian's sex film is found in the DVD player, which Brown was watching while clad in a green Snuggie, which was apparently pulled off in the attack (Flashback to that, while he drinks a bottle of Skittle Vodka in slow-motion, cause you know that what they did in that other movie).
As Rorschach (whose ink-blots move to form oh-so hilarious shapes, like Sexy Lady Mudflaps, a black-and-white painting of Andre the Giant, and whatever other comedic gems you can conceive... i'll leave that to you, since you're the smart ones and i'm just a lowly writer.) further scans the apartment, he comes across a big door. He opens the door and is shocked at what he finds: Christian Bale, on the set of the new Terminator film, who is none to pleased at this intrusion.
Bale goes on to recite his tirade verbatim from what was leaked to the press (it's funny cause you see it happened, and well people know about it). Than part of a car falls onto Rorschach and Bale spreads his arms wide, producing a black cape. he runs and jumps through the broken window, singing "Paper Planes" by MIA. it's funny cause it's a song and the guy who played Batman is singing it.
on the ground, Katy Perry is standing in the street, and the blond chick from Chuck shows up, to which Katy Perry Says "hey you're the blond chick from Chuck". The blond from Chuck than says "Hey, you're that annoying crazy eyed pretend lesbian". than they make out while a bunch of guys stand around and cheer, cry.
Suddenly, Bale swoops down and close-lines the two, going back into his on-set tantrum, this time in the middle of the street. When he's done, a fat guy in a Heath Ledger Joker shirt screams "your Batman voice sucks!, then throws a monster truck tire at Bale, which squishes him
where's my check, assholes?