Monday, August 29, 2011

my very brief thoughts on.... 'Assault Girls' aka 'Asaruto gâruzu'

Good god, I hardly even want to write about this, so called, movie. It was so hard to sit through and was not very good at all. About the best thing going for this is the cinematography, but even that could be seen in any late night soft core porn. It's all soft lenses and pretty people. I highly recommend that you go play a video game and just record each of the little in-between movie things. That's basically what 'Assault Girls' is.... a one hour long video game storyline. There is no real plot, no real dialouge, no real point. It literally is 1 hour out of a video game with live action people. It just makes me angry even thinking about watching it.

The so-called "plot": (taken from "When a video-game company creates an immersive gaming environment where players wage war against gigantic sand-dwelling monsters, three gorgeous gals armed to the teeth (Meisa Kuroki, Hinako Saeki and Rinko Kikuchi) accept the challenge and jump into the virtual desert. But as they blaze their way into the game's higher levels, they face ever-more ferocious foes." Let me clarify that by "ever-more ferocious foes", they mean the same worms with slightly different markings. THIS MOVIE WAS CRAP! grrrr....Let me get this review over with, it's just making me mad thinking about the time I wasted. 1 out of 5 stars, for the visuals ONLY! Watch the trailer, if you want, it's the only thing worthwhile about the movie. You get all of it in a short little clip. Seriously, this is not something I recommend to anyone. At all. Ever. Period. Pure and utter garbage.

If you like this, we can't be friends. Go stare at a video game for an hour, it's probably more exciting. Did I mention this was CRAP!

Friday, August 26, 2011

my thoughts on.... 'Drive Angry'

So.... you want to watch 'Drive Angry'? Why yes, yes I did. Actually, I heard so many mixed things about this movie I was a bit hesitant. A lot of it was negative, but I have to say that I think a lot of it was either ungrounded or due to overly high expectations. If you walk into 'Drive Angry' with an open mind and the desire to see something new and fun, then you'll walk out happy. It is a prime example of over the top, balls out, big and silly, dumb and mindless fun. This movie does not claim to be Shakespeare or anything classic. 'Drive Angry' just is what it is, unapologetic. I'm actually kind of surprised it got the greenlight. It is an oddball story that might not fly with everyone. However, I would expect no less from the writer, Todd Farmer ('My Bloody Valentine 3D' and 'Jason X') and director Patrick Lussier ('My Bloody Valentine 3D' and the upcoming 'Halloween 3D'). Maybe that's why it got such mixed reviews? I personally feel that it had to do with 2 things. 1) the CGI leaves a bit to be desired and 2) Nicholas Cage is kind of over the top in the the best way. He usually shines when he's playing oddball, out of control characters. There also is quite a few people who don't feel that he's a good action hero and should stop making these types of movies. I agree, in some respects as he is getting older and sometimes seems kind out of place. (see 'Bangkok Dangerous')(which I haven't seen yet, just the trailer.) Anyway....

Here's the strange, yet funtastic plot: (from "John Milton is up against the clock: Jonah King, the leader of a Satanic cult, has murdered Milton's daughter and kidnapped her baby. In three days, King and his followers will sacrifice the child at midnight. Milton picks up the trail in Oklahoma as well as rescuing a waitress named Piper from her brutal, two-timing fiancé. There are odd things about Milton: his driver's license is out of date, he has a very strange gun, and he's being pursued by a man in a suit who carries FBI ID and calls himself the Accountant. Piper, who's lived a life on the sidelines, has to piece things together on the fly as they close in on King." What they failed to mention there is that there is some serious other wordly stuff going on. As in heaven and hell kind of stuff. That's all I'm going to say about that.Well, it's obvious that I dug this popcorn flick. From start to finish, it was a damn fun ride that I would love to take again. Even with all of it's little flaws and unbelievable action, you can't help but just lose yourself in all the goofiness. I was actually kind of sad to see it end. If I was to classify this movie, I would absolutely call it a "man" movie. It's chock full of muscle cars, big guns, half naked chicks, good vs. evil and blood guts and gore. What more can you ask for out of a movie? Really, what more can you ask? Nothing.

At the end of the day, I ultimately can only cough up 3 out of 5 stars for it. I would seriously give it 4 out of 4 if it wasn't for two things. 1) The horrible CGI in the opening sequence. It was just so obvious and dumb that it felt like an entirely seperate movie. Kind of like the CGI in Disney's 'Aladdin'. (minus the flying carpet.) 2) The horrible CGI at the end of the movie. It's exactly as bad as the stuff from the beginning. I mean, I watched 'Battle: Los Angeles' and 'Skyline recently.... two movies that also have questionable reputations as good movies. However, they both have pretty killer CGI. Why can't this movie have spent a little more time getting quality people to work on it, rather than just settle for CGI from 1996? Ah well, I'm just picking on the little stuff at this point. I just say that you watch it with an open mind and a lack of expectations and you'll feel good when it's over. That's all I have to say about that.

If you like this, check out.... hmmmm, I'm at a loss for other movies like this one. I guess, just re-watch 'Drive Angry' again.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Short List Of Movies Or Films Without Full Reviews: part 7

As a lover of cinema, I watch a lot of stuff. Sadly, I don't have the time, energy or even desire to write reviews for everything I see. Rather than to just continue to let these movies sit on a list, I've decided to post them here with a rating and maybe a little word or two. If you trust my judgement or agree with me on my decisions, then maybe this will be helpful to you in finding some keen new stuff to watch. I think it will also free up my mind a bit to see a much shorter list of things to review in the future. That being said, here we go!


Once I started this movie, I realized that I was pretty sure I'd already seen it. For some reason, I watched it until the end, again. This movie is terrible.... forget all the praise it may or may not have received, it's bad. 1 out of 5 stars.

(A trailer exists, but it is harsh and contains stuff that I don't want you to have to see.)


If you like any of the four comics featured in this stand up comedy movie, then you'll like the whole thing. 3 out of 5 stars.


The sequel to the original, more of the same from the same four comics in the first one. 3 out of 5 stars.

(No trailer exists for this direct to DVD release.)


The last installment with the original four comedians. Not the funniest one. 2 out of 5 stars.

(And this final installment with the original four members has no trailer.)


I had no expectations going into this movie. It turned out to be a decent little horror flick, although it couldn't quite decide if it was a zombie/plague movie or not. Also, a slightly unfinished ending. A solid 3 out of 5 stars.


I'm still not 100% sure about this cartoon. It was really well done, but it's kind of dark and adult for kids. I enjoyed it and would love to watch it again, by myself. That way I could get a better feel for it. 4 out of 5 stars.


All of the guys in the Broken Lizard Comedy Troupe are charasmatic and funny. They are just fun to watch, no matter what they're doing. That's what made this stand up/skit comedy DVD worth my time to watch. If you like them, see how they started out with this stand up comedy special. 3 out of 5 stars.

(No trailer for this movie, but lots of clips from the DVD on


In this comedy from writer-director John Hamburg (I Love You, Man, Along Came Polly). You have Mark Ruffalo, Sam Rockwell, Paul Giamatti and Steve Zahn in this comedy and it's well worth the watch. A sweet little comedy and one showcasing some big talent early in their career's. 4 out of 5 stars.

(Oddly enough, but there is no trailer available for this movie.)


Wes Craven has done great things in his career, this could have been one of them. This movie has a lot going for it, sadly it just doesn't all click. The ending is kind of confusing and seems to be trying too hard. I am not sorry I spent time watching it, I just wish it could've done more with the source material. 3 out of 5 stars.


I had hopes for this movie. I had heard good things. In the end, I wasn't impressed. The ending was the only part that I found really exciting. 2 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Short List Of Movies Or Films Without Full Reviews: part 6

As a lover of cinema, I watch a lot of stuff. Sadly, I don't have the time, energy or even desire to write reviews for everything I see. Rather than to just continue to let these movies sit on a list, I've decided to post them here with a rating and maybe a little word or two. If you trust my judgement or agree with me on my decisions, then maybe this will be helpful to you in finding some keen new stuff to watch. I think it will also free up my mind a bit to see a much shorter list of things to review in the future. That being said, here we go!


Sadly, this movie was originally going to be reviewed another way, a much more fun way. That didn't work out so well. Despite that, I feel I must warn you against seeing this movie. It is a SyFy movie with nothing good going for it. It's nonsense with a side of stupidity. Barely 1 out of 5 stars.


I don't know why I even bothered watching this. I enjoyed the remake of the original 'Ju-On', 'The Grudge'. I didn't care for the 1st or 2nd installment in the series. They were just not very good. This movie celebrates the 10th year since the original was released and it's a sad reminder of the orignal. This is all shot on, basically, camcorders and has bad make up and a confusing story. Stay away. 2 out of 5 stars.


Let me start by saying that I do not like Gregg Araki movies.... at all. He's been a blight on the film commnuity for years and if I would have realized that he was the man behind this, I never would have watched it. There's a lot of wasted talent in this movie. It's not good, in my opinion. 2 out of 5 stars.


After re-watching 'Scary Movie', I felt like continuing on with a Wayans Brother movie.... this was my choice. It wasn't bad, it wasn't good, it was just a movie. 3 out of 5 stars.


I love a good action flick and I respect Luc Besson as an action writer/director. One of the reasons I love him is that he doesn't overextend himself like other action auteurs. He gets an idea, doesn't have time for it or whatever and passes it on to another great director to helm. This was what happened with this movie. It's fun, it's Travolta in top form and it's better than a lot of action out there. A solid 3 out of 5 stars.


It is no surprise to anyone that I have a mancrush on Ryan Reynolds. I can't get enough of his films. This one came recommended and is OnDemand from Netflix right now. I went in to it with high expectations and in the end, it was a decent flick. This one is not for everyone, it is a bit left of center. However, it is original and unique and is absolutely worth your time to watch it. 3 out of 5 stars.


Zombie movies. A genre that is very saturated right now. I'm not a fan of talking zombie movies, but 'Boy Eats Girl' was worth the time to watch, despite that. Oddly, none of the other zombies seem to talk.... only the main character. This is a fun little rom-zom-com, but not fantastic.... 3 out of 5 stars.


I really wanted to like this, I did. I love Brian Posehn and that's the main reason I watched this. I like the idea behind it, playing indie rock clubs. This just didn't work well and wasn't as funny as I'd hoped it would be. 2 out of 5 stars.

(No trailer available for this movie.)


This movie had promise, but ended up with only about 2 scenes of any interest. This was uninteresting, confusing and hard to watch. The ending was piss poor. I don't recommend it. 2 out of 5 stars.


Troma, oh how I love thee. This is a Troma classic, but still not a great movie. This is one to watch with all your friends and some alcohol. Fun, funny and gross. 2 out of 5 stars (5 out of 5 in my heart)

well, here it is.... my 300th post....!

So, 300 posts on this silly little blog and I'm still going strong. Who would've thought that was possible? It's been a crazy journey, but one that's kept me sane. In celebration of that, I'm including some contact information reminders for me and for my friends. This blog isn't just about me and my ramblings, I like to think of it as a jumping off point for people to chat and to find other cool things out on the net'. Because of that, you'll find some of my favorite links. Check them out, it'll be worth your time and here's to another 300 posts! Let's start with my info, which I think i've shared here before, but to anyone who's new.... here you go. If you want to find me on Facebook, you can locate me here: (and be my friend?)
I also have a dedicated page for this blog, where I put updates when new posts go up and where, hopefully, people can talk with each other about movies and other things. You can find that, here:!/pages/A-momentary-lapse-with-joel/198969670132513?sk=wall&filter=2
if you need to e-mail me to talk more about movies or have general questions.... you can use my email address from my former podcast The Awful Show.... you can send the e-mail to:
Now, in a different kind of medium.... you can find me podcasting on 'The Undercover Unitards'. So if you've ever wanted to hear my lovely voice on a weekly basis talking about my week, movies, TV, video games, stupid stuff on the internet and porn (including she-males).... then maybe you should check us out. You can find us on iTunes or directly at our site:
I am very thankful for all of my friends, listeners and readers that check out my blog on a regular basis and that take their time to write their own or to podcast. As I promised earlier, here are some of my favorites. Enjoy!:
This is my cousin's blog and where I've guested with a blog post of my own and he wrote one for me as well. Good stuff.
This is my friend, Jeff's blog. He's a fellow movie reviewer and he also has a podcast with another friend, Jason. It's called 'Creepercast' and i'm sure you can guess what it's about. I've been a guest a couple of times and it's a fantastic show. You can find them on iTunes, Facebook and at the main site here:

My friend Mike has a podcast called The Tikigeeks. I've been a guest on the show and it's a damn good time. Check them out at the link provided, you won't regret it!:

A fellow reader of this blog, a regular to add comments and a good person, King Uke has a blog. Reviews written from across the pond. Good stuff! Head over there, here:

Being a big fan of horror, here is The Horror Blogger Alliance. A comprehensive site for all things horror blog releated. This link is:

If you're getting the writing bug, it all starts with a site and a desire to write. My host is I've been happy with how easy it is and it seems to be pretty popular with other bloggers. They're here:

If there is anyone that I've missed or forgotten, I'm sorry. I will be happy to add more folks to the list! Just drop me a line with the link and I'll get it up right away. The best way to get your voice heard is with cross-promotion with other like minded folks. And there are a lot folks out there with stuff to say.

Thank you, again, for all of the support. I will continue with this blog as long as I have something to write about and hopefully some people to read it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

my thoughts on.... 'Grave Encounters'

Hoooo boy, another 'found footage' movie! I know that's what you're saying right about now. However, before you jump to the usual conclusions, let me tell you a little bit about 'Grave Encounters'. First of all, it's got a bit more going for it than the average 'found footage' movie. The Vicious Brothers, who wrote and directed this, took their time to get some nasty special effects going on. Instead of relying on sound and things that aren't there, these two show you EXACTLY what you're facing. These ghosts are creepy and scary. When they turn on the 'BOO!' factor, it's on full blast! Secondly, they've taken a new twist on an old theme. What we have is a movie based on all those 'ghost hunting' reality shows that are out there right now. But in this movie, they say that 'Grave Encounters (the show) was way ahead of its time. You see a lot of behind the scenes stuff that probably happens on the real shows, but we never get to see it. That alone makes this movie fun to watch.

Here's the basic plot from "In this horror flick, the stars of a paranormal-investigation TV show spend the night in a derelict psychiatric hospital, hoping to uncover what's been going bump in the night. As their cameras roll, they find themselves trapped -- and hunted." The last sentences there is what really sets this apart in the end. In the beginning, it feels like very familiar territory. Low budget scares and night vision shots or things moving or opening and closing. In the second act, things change. Suddenly, the TV crew realizes that everything has changed in the building and it seems that the building is not going to let them get out.... alive. Everything keeps shifting and moving so they can't ever find an exit. The crew goes round and round for, literally, days trying to get out. In the end, will anyone make it out alive? You have to see it to belive what happens. (That last part is showmanship, the ending is kind lame actually.)I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. It's by far, NOT the best movie in this sub-sub-genre.... but it's a whole lot better than most. It kind of makes me wonder what The Vicious Brothers have next on their plate? I can honestly say that I'm anxious to see whatever else they put out in the future. This was a strong indie movie that shows great promise. I couldn't see myself giving it more than 3 stars. The ending was so poorly thought out, that it almost seemed like an afterthought. However, don't let that distract you from the good things in this movie.... like the scares. This felt like a new movie to me in a very saturated market. You all may have already seen the commercial or the trailer for 'Grave Encounters'. It gives away a few of the high points in the movie, but there is so much more than that.

'Found footage' is never going to go away and I feel that over time, it's going to become more and more common. These kind of movies are cheap and make a profit, it's the indie zombie movie of this next generation of film makers. Whereas, you can find 1,000 indie zombie films to watch because every first film maker wants to start that way. Now, it's the found footage movies that are taking their place. Is that a good thing? That remains to be seen. This movie gives me hope, as there are glimmers of hope sprinkled throughout.

If you like this, check out similar titles like, 'Paranormal Activity', 'Paranormal Activity 2', and 'Paranormal Entity'

my thoughts on.... 'Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night' aka 'Paranômaru akutibiti: Dai-2-shô - Tokyo Night'

We've all heard of or seen the cultural phenomenon of the 'Paranormal Activity' films. To date, there are three that have been made in the states. Two have already made their way to DVD and the third is finishing up production as we speak. However, not everyone realizes that after the success of the original hit our neighbors overseas, the Japanese wanted in on the game. They decided to make an unofficial sequel to the original that basically ties together with the American version and continues the story. Meanwhile, we were continuing the story on our own. What resulted is an interesting twist on something that was already interesting to begin with. It's another take on an already established franchise and it's kind of fun to see how it all plays out in another culture. Sadly, the version I watched had terrible subtitles and even though I don't speak the language, I could tell that what was written on the bottom of the screen, did not match up with what was actually being said. You don't have to be Japanese to understand that. What I did because of that was to read what was written on the bottom of the screen and made my best effort to make sense of it all. I think I got the entire story and I left feeling that I fully got the story and what happened. Is it a worthy addition to the franchise? That kind of remains to be seen. I haven't heard too much feedback on it yet and from what I have heard, it's not the most popular ghost film out there. All I'll say right now is that I'm a fan of the series, even if that's kind of unpopular, and I love seeing anything tied together with it.... no matter how removed.

So, how does it tie together ploy wise? Here's the plot according to Wiki: "The Yamano family lives in a secluded home in a remote Tokyo residential area. Their 27-year-old daughter Haruka (Noriko Aoyama) suffered a compound fracture in a car accident while traveling in America. Haruka returns home in a wheelchair. There to meet her is her younger brother 19-year-old Koichi (Aoi Nakamura), her younger brother. Their father is away from the Yamano resident due to a business trip abroad. Koichi is left to take of his sister for until she can walk again. Not long after, strange occurrences happen in the Yamano home. Haruka's wheelchair, which was left in her room, is found in another room. Their is salt found spread around their house. Koichi becomes uneasy by these events and, because of this, he persuades his sister to set up a video camera in her room. The video camera is connected to a computer screen so Koichi can see what is going on and, if necessary, run to Haruka's room. What Koichi discovers is beyond anything he could have imagined. Noises at midnight, a cup on a table breaks, even a friend, who never gets scared, becomes terrified. The situation worsens with Haruka and Koichi threatened directly. Finally, a terrible fact is revealed." I don't think the secret is anything to amazing. As it turns out, the person who part Haruka in the wheelchair is Katie from the original film. It took place AFTER the end of the original, so I guess the theory is that the entity followed Haruka back to Tokyo? Based on the subtitles I read, that's the jist of it. Yes, that does seem a bit confusing and can almost be tied to the original timeline.... but you might need to take a small leap of faith.Well, how will this be received by me or by the general public? I'm a bit of a biased fan and I've already kind of made it clear, that I enjoyed this installment.... problems and all. But the rest of the world? I don't know. I think with the proper subtitling this might go over fine. The ending is quite a stretch and it felt like the makers weren't quite sure where to go with the storyline. It's sad to me, because there was a lot of strength earlier on in the story. Seeing how things were handled in a totally different culture vs. how the American counterparts handled it was the refreshing part of the film. All in all, the result still kind of ended up the same. The film also has some slow points, but so does the American version. This film and the others are not built around non-stop action, it's more about the slow build up to each scare. You never quite know exactly what's about to happen and that's right on par with the rest of the series. I think that despite it's obvious faults, this film still qualifies as a worthwhile addition to the story.

I may get letters of confusion about my feelings on 'Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night', but I would like to add this to my collection. I think the Japanese did the best they could based on the source material and made sure to put their own spin on the storyline. It felt like a part of the original, but still had it's own identity and voice. The actors were decent and sold the fact that they were supposed to all be living what was happening in the story. I kind of think that the side story with their father was a bit off track with everything else. The two leads were old enough to live on their own, I don't quite understand why they were still living with him. It also felt a little forced when they had guests over and one of them HAPPENED to be able to see spirits and quickly picked up on the haunting in their home. It was all a little too easy. In the end, I felt it deserved at least 3 out of 5 stars. Not the strongest in the series, but it didn't have to be.... it was unofficial. It was merely "based" on the original 'Paranormal Activity'. I'm left wondering how much re-watchability this film has? And exactly where I would watch it if I was watching them all in order? Would it come after number one or number two? That's all kind of moot anyway. Go out and track it down for yourself and let me know what you think. It's not readily available here in the states just yet, but you can track it down if you look.... bad subtitles and all.

If you like this, watch: 'Paranormal Activity', 'Paranormal Activity 2' and 'Paranormal Entity'

Sunday, August 21, 2011

my thoughts on.... 'Rammbock: Berlin Undead' aka 'Siege of the Dead'

I have to admit, when I saw this pop up as a film I might enjoy I ran out and watched the trailer, I was intrigued. When I finally got a chance to watch the actual film last night.... I was impressed. This film is barely over 1 hour and is better than most full length zombie films. As a matter fact, this is probably my favorite zombie film I've seen recently. I feel that it's the kind of zombie film I would write and produce, if I was able to. I mean, the end of the film, is almost identical to something I wrote back in 2000 and it was nice to see how it played out on the "big" screen. This film is German and I haven't seen to many German zombie films. However, if this is any indication of what they're capable of, I can't wait to see more. They cast a very unlikely lead in this film. He's balding, older and a bit on the heavier side. He's akward and unassuming and at first, you kind of feel sorry for him and want to help him. Soon you realize that he can handle himself and by the end, you're totally sold on his character. I just can't say enough good things about this film. Sadly, it only had a limited release and hasn't gotten much press. It deserves so much more for it's actors, director, producers, writers and cinematographer.... they are all geniuses. (no, I'm not being sarcastic)

The plot (according to reads): "Hoping to reunite with his girlfriend, Gabi, ordinary guy Michael (Michael Fuith) goes to her Berlin apartment, but instead of Gabi, he finds young plumber Harper (Theo Trebs) hard at work. Michael's day gets considerably worse when zombies suddenly begin to terrorize the city. Trapped in the apartment, Michael and Harper strike up an uneasy partnership while they attempt to help other fearful survivors in the building and find the missing Gabi." Seems simple enough, yes? The reality is that it is a very simple storyline and overall flim. That really doesn't change the fact that it's an amazing zombie film. They stuck with the modern 'fast' zombies and most of the rules of zombie films are in tact. They do tweak things in one way that actually allows the ending that happens in the film. It's a nice twist and not unbelievable.

Obviously, you already know that I loved this film. It's right up there with the French 'La Horde' aka 'The Horde' and the Spanish '[REC]'. I always thought that George A. Romero had cornered the market on this horror subgenre, but that just doesn't seem to be the case anymore. There have just been so many amazing zombie/plague films coming out from other countries that they cannot be ignored anymore. I only hope that the rest of the world can adjust it's gaze a bit from the USA and branch out to films with subtitles or people with foreign accents. There is a whole world out there of amazing cinema that is just waiting to be discovered. I remember when I was initially building up my film knowledge, it took a bit of a leap of faith to go out and rent my first foreign films. I still did it and it opened up a huge door for me. There are so many amazing films out there in every genre, that it's well worth an filmgoer's time to start branching out.

All that being said, I'm happy to give 'Rammbock: Berlin Undead' 4 out of 5 stars and I'm hoping that someday I can find it to add to my DVD collection. I'm a little nervous that it may not be as easy to track down as other films. If you see one out there, let me know! In the meantime, I'm probably going to watch it again tonight and enjoy the little nuances that I missed the first go around. There is just so much going on with this film. I mean, any film that only takes about 5 miuntes to get into the action and then really doesn't let up for the remaining 60 mins, must be doing something right.... right? Sure, you sometimes need a lot exposition to get a story going and to build up a strong storyline, but other times it's the best thing to just kick things into high gear right off the bat. This film is maybe not a new take on an old theme, but it's so amazing and amazingly well done that everything old feels new again. God bless the Germans.

If you enjoy this, check out: '[REC]', 'La Horde' aka 'The Horde' and 'Dead Snow'

Friday, August 19, 2011

my very brief thoughts on.... 'Class of Nuke Em' High'

I have the utmost respect and love for Lloyd Kaufman. I've met him and he's an extremely nice and passionate man. He IS independent film, in my opinion. I put him up on a huge pedastal. He makes low budget crap fests that will shock you and gross you out, but you have to give him credit for doing things his way all his life. He also tries to help out up and coming film makers and is always willing to share his wisdome and vision with anyone who'll listen. I love the man.

All of that being said, I did not like 'Class of Nuke Em' High'. Sorry Lloyd, this one is even beyond me. This movie is regarded as a Troma classic by lots of people and I'm not sure why. It's confusing and doesn't make a whole lot of sense, plot wise. It doesn't seem to have much heart to it, it's just a movie for the sake of making a movie. It's gross outs for the sake of gross outs. There just isn't much of anything good about this movie. The best part was the beginning, seeing the Troma Studios logo, and the ending, when I knew it was over. For some reason, they felt it necessary to make two sequels to this and I even tried to watch the 2nd, hoping that I might get the joke and enjoy it. That didn't happen.

This movie is barely a 1 out of 5 star attempt from Troma. They may be known for putting out low budget shock fests, but they've also put out some things that are amazing cult classics. I know that Lloyd has the ability to bring the world great things.... I've seen it happen. One way or the other, stay away from the 'Class of Nuke Em' High' series. They're not worth the price of admission.

If you want good Troma, check out: 'Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead', 'Sgt. Kabukiman, NYPD' and the 'Toxic Avenger' movies

my very brief thoughts on.... 'Zach Galifianakis: Live at the Purple Onion'

I have nothing against Zach Galifianakis. I've enjoyed him in several things and think he has moments of being very funny. Because of that, I took a chance on watching his stand up DVD in hopes it might be good. Now, it has moments of some very funny stuff going on.... but it's all so spread out and minimal that it's not really worth it to watch. I stuck it out though and hoped for some brillance. I kind of wonder if he writes his stand up ahead of time, because with the way he uses the piano and delivers his lines. If that was the case, then I could get a little more out of this and have more respect for him. Maybe I'm not getting the punchline? He's extremely popular and has a huge following, so perhaps I'm just out of touch. Either way, I wouldn't recommend it and wouldn't probably watch any other stand up from him. This is a 2 out of 5 star attempt by Zach Galifianakis and good for him for doing his own thing.... I can totally respect that. I just don't need to submit myself to it again.

If you like Zach Galifianakis, watch: 'The Hangover', 'Dinner for Schmucks' or 'Bubble Boy'

Thursday, August 18, 2011

my brief thoughts on.... 'Wrong Turn 3: Left For Dead'

Let me start by saying that I'm not a big fan of the Eliza Dusku original 'Wrong Turn'. I've seen it, but it didn't do a whole lot for me. The sequel, 'Wrong Turn 2: Dead End' starring Henry Rollins, was a whole different story. I enjoyed that one a lot and it just made more sense overall. Needless to say, I was hesitant to watch a direct to DVD release of the 3rd movie. It just didn't sing to me, at all. For some reason, curiousity got the best of me and I watched it last night. What I saw, I didn't hate.... but I was very far off from loving it. It only had two of the mutant inbred killers in it and it just felt low quality. The plot was trying to be original and just came off as kind of silly. There are huge continuity errors and implausabilities. It is what it is, cheap and simple.

The plot, this time around is: (from "A group of friends heads for the woods, only to end up on the menu for a cannibalistic mutant known as Three Finger. Only Fonda (Janet Montgomery) manages to survive, and she's soon joined by a truckload of escaped convicts also fleeing the ravenous freak. Throw in a cache of stolen money to distract the escapees and an unsuspecting search party, and it's a virtual smorgasbord for Three Finger." Does that plot sound interesting to you?There are no stars in this, but the director Declan O'Brien is famous for directing the amazing 'Sharktopus'. (i'm being sarcastic) The plot feels old and redone. The killers are kind of silly. The directing and film quality are subpar. The only real reason to watch this, is to keep some kind of continuity in the world of 'Wrong Turn'. This is a 2 star outing instead of 1 star for two reasons. 1) It feels very old school horror, like an installment in the 'Friday the 13th' series. 2) It has some interesting kills. They're over the top and pretty silly, but you can't help but have fun anyway. I gave it 2 out of 5 stars for being a one off watching experience.

The 4th installment is already underway and soon to be released. Luckily it sounds like an origin story/prequel. That could prove interesting, if done right. I just don't know if I'll ever understand the attraction of the killer deformed hillbilly's.

If you like this, go ahead and watch the other three, 'Wrong Turn', 'Wrong Turn 2: Dead End' and 'Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings'

my thoughts on.... 'I Spit On Your Grave' (2010)

A while back, I wrote a fairly extensive review (by my standards) on the 1978 film 'I Spit On Your Grave' aka 'Day Of The Woman'. Meir Zarchi's exploitation epic is nortorious for many reasons and virtually wrecked the career's of a lot of the people involved. Well, somebody thought it would be a good idea to remake it and play with fire. I suppose with the release of the remake of Wes Craven's 'Last House On The Left', that it just seemed like the right time. Both are similar in tone, topic and end results. I've never really been a fan of films involving rape. I respected what the original was trying to do, but I can't say that I enjoyed it. Because of my experience with it, I was very slow to watching the remake. I'm kind of glad I didn't rush into it. After finally seeing it last night, I realized that I really needed to be in the right mind set to experience it. It is hard to watch and extremely graphic. Steven R. Monroe not only set out to remake the original, but to up the ante as well. I think that he also did something the original didn't do.... made it feel less like and exploitation piece and more like a revenge/empowerment piece. This version would have been more aptly subtitled, 'Day Of The Woman'.

The plot follows the original almost to the letter. There are a couple of subtle changes, but I imagine they were approved by Meir Zarchi as he was a producer on this film. The changes don't affect the overall story a lot, but if you've seen the original, it might throw you off a bit. The plot, according to "Writer Jennifer Hills takes a retreat from the city to a charming cabin in the woods to start on her next book. But Jennifer's presence in the small town attracts the attention of a few morally depraved locals who set out one night to teach this city girl a lesson. They break into her cabin to scare her. However, what starts out as terrifying acts of humiliation and intimidation, quickly and uncontrollably escalates into a night of physical abuse and torturous assault. But before they can kill her, Jennifer sacrifices her broken and beaten body to a raging river that washes her away. As time passes, the men slowly stop searching for her body and try to go back to life as usual. But that isn't about to happen. Against all odds, Jennifer Hills survived her ordeal. Now, with hell bent vengeance, Jennifer's sole purpose is to turn the tables on these animals and to inflict upon them every horrifying and torturous moment they carried out on her." I think that sums it up completely.This film is a revenge story 100%. This is classified as a horror film, but the horror is all too real. There may not be a masked killer or a terrifying ghost, this film boasts monsters that exist and could possibly be people you've already met. One of the things the Mr. Monroe does differently than the original is to add a 5th party to the rape and attempted murder of our lead. I won't tell you who it is, but let's just say that he adds another level to the whole ordeal. It also adds another level of horror to the flim, as this person is possibly the last person you'd expect. It's a nice addition and what that I honestly didn't see coming. Another thing that's different (obviously), but I think better.... is the new leading lady. Camielle Keaton was great in the original, but Sarah Butler takes this character and brings it to a whole different level. She radiates off the screen and exudes so much emotion and eventual strengh. She automatically became a new favorite actress for me. Granted, she's not done much to speak of, that doesn't matter.... she has a bright future ahead of her and if I was making a film, I would hire her in a heartbeat. The setting, the cabin and the bad guys are all very similar to the original. It even feels the same when you watch it. This is a more modern take on the 1978 version, we have cell phones and computers.... but when it comes down to the final revenge, it's all old school. Yet another positive for this film.

The killings that our 'hero' Jennifer Hills carries out in the end are brutal and well deserved by the bad guys. What they did to her and the amount of time they terrorized her, earned them a lengthy stay in hell and she drags them down into that pit very slowly. The original boasted a lengthy rape scene, nearly 45 mins. The remake isn't quite as long, but still extremely graphic and hard to watch. What both films suffered from was bad poster design. Why do we need the rear end of a woman, half naked holding a knife? It just glorifies the wrong aspects of the film. Other than that, I felt this was a solid 4 out of 5 stars. I don't know if it has repeated watching written all over it, however I think it just might. I would never recommend this to a general audience. This film is for hardcore viewers only. This is a film that will stick with you and make you rethink staying alone in a cabin, especially if you're a beautiful woman. Just check your brain at the door during the scene with the crows.... they look a little too fake to me.

After thought: In the 78' version, Jennifer uses her sexuality to lure the rapists into situations of trust. Once they're in her realm, she dispatches her own brand of justice on each one of them. They never tried to kill her in the original version, they just let her go, expecting her too be to ashamed to say anything. Therefore, it makes it easier for her to convice them that she wants to be with them after the fact. In the 10' version, they attempt to murder her, but she escapes. She hides out plotting her revenge for 1 month before returning. She doesn't come to them trying to convince them of anything.... she hunts them down one by one and kills them slowly and painfully. They have no idea that she's even still alive. It seems much more believable to me and a lot less like they were trying to exploit Jennifer in the modern version. It's just a thought I had and something that I felt needed to be pointed out.

If you feel this is a good film, please watch: 'I Spit On Your Grave' (1978), 'The Brave One' and 'Extremeties'

Monday, August 8, 2011

my thoughts on the new Juliana Hatfield album 'There's Always Another Girl'

The first thing I kept reading from Juliana Hatfield, after the digital release of her album, was to give it multiple listens before making up your mind about it. Therefore, I'm passing that same bit of information onto you. I'm hoping that you will consider purchasing the album in one format or another and helping to support Juliana in continuing to make amazing music. And then to give her that courtesy, by listening to the album in its entirety more than once, before making up your mind about it. Okay....? I'm off my soapbox, on with the review.

As you all know, Juliana Hatfield is my favorite female performer. She's made such an impact on my life, that I named my only daughter after her. I've seen her more times than I can remember and have had the pleasure of meeting her once. She's an amazing musician and a multitalented artist. I try to spread her music to as many people as will listen and I try and support her when I can. When I heard that she had a new album on the way, I got excited to see what she would be doing next in her career. Well, the day finally arrived that it was released and I downloaded my pre-release digital copy right away. Funny thing is, I couldn't bring myself to listen to it until I had the actual hard copy of the CD in my hand.... that finally happened today. I'd love it if you'd all fall in love with her music as much as I have, but that's unrealistic. Instead, I hope that with whatever positive energy I can send her way and any new listeners I can find, it will help her to continue to make music. It's just that simple.

The album runs 50 mins 36 secs and contains 14 songs. It's another full band record, meaning it's not just her and an acoustic guitar.... which was basically her last album 'Peace and Love'. Along with the songs contained here, she's also made the demos available on her website to download on a 'pay what you want' basis. I always recommend checking those out too. It helps to kind of understand the artistic process and a lot of times it gives you even more music to enjoy! Below is the track listing in order, with thoughts on each song:

1. Change The World - The opening song to the album opens with a quiet meditation. It reminded me, as soon as it started, of sitting on a rooftop in Chicago at dusk, with a light cool breeze and daydreaming about life and what's gone and yet to come. It's an interesting way to start an album. Rather than go for the powerhouse opening, it sets a different tone for what you're about to hear. An amazing first song.

2. Taxicab - A much more upbeat song and one with a fantastic guitar riff leading the way. It seems that Juliana has taken a more clean approach to her vocals. There is very little done to them and it creates a nice live or living room feel and let's us (the listener) enjoy it for what it is. 'Taxicab' kind of lives up to it's suggestion of a driving song. I could see listening to this while cruising down the road with the windows down.

3. Don't Wanna Dance - From the very first sound of the solo guitar playing, you get the sense of why you love her music in the first place. This song has a bit of a throwback feel to previous outings and that's not a bad thing. It actually gives an automatic recognition to the song. There's some fun vocalizations on this tune and it's damn catchy.... one that'll stick in your head if you're not careful. I could hear her having fun recording this one. A standout track for me on the album.

4. There's Always Another Girl - By the title alone, you can assume this'll be a song with a slow burn. The lyrics hit me in the gut right away. Juliana has written a song full of truth. 'There's Always Another Girl' will leave an impression on you and you'll want to go back and re-listen to make sure you heard every word she uttered. "Don't you love it when a beautiful woman self destructs?"

5. Candy Wrappers - Something that has given Juliana a strong fan base and longevity, is her ability to try new things and not be afraid to be brave. Every album of her's is different. 'Made in China' is completely different than 'Peace and Love'. This song is yet another example of her branching out. To some it may seem like she's looking for her voice. For me, I see it as this is her voice that we're hearing and it's loud and clear. I've heard this song listed as a fan favorite and I can see why.... it's catchy and hooky, but no one ever said Juliana couldn't write a great pop song.

6. Someone Else's Problem - Echoing vocals open this track and it gives me shivers for some reason. This sounds like a track from 'God's Foot' to me. I wonder sometimes how she decides on what effects to use and when to use them. This song blends several effects and sets a slightly different tone than the others songs did. But all of the things she incorperates works like a charm. This one is slowly taking on a favorite song status for me.

7. Sex And Drugs - Another fan favorite, from what I've read about the album. This would be a great one to see live. I can see the audience eating up singing along. What I love about this song is, not only the music, but the lyrics. Listen to them and see if you don't agree.... although the music is pretty damn great too.

8. Stray Kids - Blake Babies anyone? It takes me back to the songwriting from that era of her life. That quickly fades as the chorus kicks in. This is modern Juliana Hatfield. An artist at the peak of her form. Oh and it ends in such a way that you'll want to reply it again right away.

9. Failure - This is one of those songs that as soon as it started, I knew I was going to love it. The chorus, with the blending of the guitars, creates a nostalic mood for something that has yet to even happen. I don't know if that makes sense? But I find that certain sounds, smells and times of day create a certain sense of nostalgia, even if they have no direct tie to something in your past. It's just something about those things that lends themselves to that emotional response. This is one of those songs.

10. Vagabond - Sometimes, you need to slow things down and take your time with the simple things. Some artists aren't afraid to do things at a reduced pace and Juliana is one of them. It's not always about how catchy the hook is or if the song is under three minutes to hold the listeners attention. Sometimes, it's just about the song, the music and the moment. I'm thankful for songs like these. Before you get to comfotable in what you're hearing musically, rewind and focus on the lyrcs.

11. And Again - "In the arms of mother, you always have trouble sleeping. It never feels like heaven, it never seems like a sweet thing. And the night is long, you want to jump into the heart of a song." But wait, is that a song you've heard? Suddenly you're hearing the chorus to 'Candy Wrappers' and you realize what's just happened. Clever, clever indeed. This is 'And Again' the song 'Candy Wrappers' but done slightly differently.

12. Batteries - From the old school robot type sound, you wonder what lies ahead. Well, it's not exactly a song about 'Batteries', not in the sense you'd expect. This is probably my favorite song on the album lyrically. "The batteries are dead. Totally completely dead. Completely fucking dead" And with that ends a song on an almost Flaming Lips note.

13. Wasting Time - College, this songs takes me there. The lyrics scream that out to me and the music just plays along like a pied piper leading me to a place I like to visit every once in a while, but that I can never go back to. That's the beauty of music, it's ability to allow you to do things that you might not ever be able to do otherwise. And to share experiences with other people that may not be the same, but are still universal.

14. Thousands Of Guitars - The last song on the album and a great title. I don't know if there really are thousands of guitars in the song, but that's not what she meant. There are thousands of guitars that she's singing about. This is the way to close an album. A song that feels like the ending score to a film. One where when the credits are rolling, you're wanting to see the film again or run out and buy the soundtrack.... you just can't decide. It proves that Juliana not only knows how to create amazing things, she also knows how to put them into a logical order that the listener may not appreaciate or understand, but it matters as much as anything else. Just another reason why she amazes me and continues to for all these years.

Obviously, this review is going to seem a bit tainted by my unbridled bias. However, I listen to every new album she puts out with a fresh ear and try and take it at face value. That being said, this is yet another amazing album from Juliana Hatfield. This one really feels like she made it out of love and a desire to make music. It doesn't feel rushed or like her hand was forced in anyway. It's something that I seem to have noticed since she's been putting things out on her own Ye Olde Records label. It's like its freed her up to be who she wants to be. Granted, I'm sure it has its pitfalls being your own label.... but I hope that it's also given her the license to be whoever she wants to be as an artist. I'm giving this a solid 5 out ot 5 star rating.

Is this album for everyone? I can't say. That's the beauty of all things artistic.... it's all up to the individual to make up their mind if they like something or not. There is literally something for everyone out there. I would however, recommend that you give this one a chance. Even if you haven't heard anything of hers since 'My Sister' or 'Spin the Bottle', take the time to catch up with an old friend. She's been here all this time making music for anyone who'll listen and I think that's made what she does all the much more enjoyable.

Thank you Juliana and I look forward to whatever comes next. (That covers album you're talking about sounds like fun to me!)

Support independent music! Please buy the album directly from Juliana Hatfield via her own label, Ye Olde Records at:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

my very brief thoughts on.... 'Barb Wire'

I went into this expecting nothing. I was told, by some, that it was a good/bad movie. What I quickly learned in about 10 minutes of the movie was that this was going to be complete crap. I didn't enjoy a single thing about this movie. I don't like Pamela Anderson, she's a waste of space and truly overrated. I can't say anything nice about this movie, so I won't say anything more.

1 out of 5 stars. The best part of this movie is when it ended. 1996 must have been a bad time for action movies. I think I blocked it out or maybe it was just this one.

If you like this.... you need help.

my thoughts on.... 'Red, White & Blue' (2010)

This film is not an easy one to watch.

This film has characters that have not very many redeeming qualities.

This film presents you with a large number of morality questions, with no real answers.

This film ends ambiguously, but it ends amazingly strong.

This is an amazing film, but I feel strange saying that based on the subject matter.

This is one of the best films I've seen in a while, end of story.

This film has been written about and puzzled over in many online blogs and publications. It's been in my queue for quite some time and I've been putting it off, as I was waiting for the right moment to settle in to watch it. Last night was that night. The reason it keeps coming up, is that it's such a unique storyline with characters that seem to have no likable characteristics.... however, they're very watchable characters. These are characters that you have to find a common ground with in order to watch the film. I spent the entire, almost 2 hour run time, puzzling over how everyone ended up in the situation they were in and if they were justified in their actions. To be honest, I'm still asking myself the same questions. I haven't been able to stop thinking about this film since it ended. I can't say it's a recommended watch, perhaps only to those with a strong stomach and an open mind. This is a film that doesn't come along everyday, it can't be.... not based on the storyline. It's so dark and so harsh.

Enough of my babble, on with the storyline....

Plot taken from Wiki: "Erica (Amanda Fuller) spends her nights trawling the bars and beds of Austin. Emotionally withdrawn, her only form of human contact is a series of one-night stands, until she meets the mysterious Nate (Noah Taylor), who claims to have been honorably discharged from Iraq. Despite his air of danger, Nate’s the only man who seems to want for more than sex, and the two form a hesitant bond. But one of Erica’s casual sexual encounters, Franki (Marc Senter) — a young, hot-headed wannabe rock star — is about to return dramatically into her life." And when he does, things go straight to hell for all three people and everyone in their radius. That pretty much sums it up, although there is so much more to it than just what's writte here. It's such a hard film to sum up in a paragraph.For all of the horrible things that happen during the course of this film, there is still an underlying love story (in a way) and true caring and concern for someone else. It's what makes this all that much more of a difficult film to dissect. Case in point, the violence is focused on in the reviews you read.... but in reality, a lot of is it implied. Granted, there is some horrific stuff presented on the screen, but only snippets of it is visual and the rest is left up to your own imagination. That creates a visual far worse than anything Simon Rumley could have created. There is also some confusion on the backstories in the film and the ending. What I have to say to that is that if you're paying attention and going along with what the characters believe and say, then you'll understand everything that happens. However, if you're left feeling unsatisified at the end.... there are plenty of sites attempting to crack the final scenes. I think it was done in such a way that it doesn't treat the audience like idiots. It allows some interpretations, but is pretty concrete.... however subtle it may be.

All in all, I am very close to a 5 star rating, but after my inital viewing, I am going with a very strong 4 out of 5 star rating. This film has a unique voice that screams out to have all of the directors other films added to the queue and watched as soon as possible. I am so happy that I finally took the leap of faith to watch this and that I waited to be in the right mood. This is not your Saturday afternoon pleasure viewing film, this is for the thinking person with an open mind and a bit of a sadistic side. If you have the time and the desire, this is a film that deserves a wide audience and all of the people involved in this put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it and it shows. Amazing.

There is a great scene early on in the film where Nate is talking to Erica and telling her a story about when he was a kid. He talks about how he used to do horrible things to animals, but when he was given a kitten to take care of, he treated it like his own child and would never hurt it and would protect it to the death. However, it didn't stop him from hurting other animals. This is just an example of the beautiful way that things are forshadowed in the film and you almost have to take everything said and done in the film as more than what it appears. Everything has a meaning a purpose. That's why I love this flim.

If you like this, check out: 'Death Sentence', 'The Brave One' and 'Death Wish'