Friday, September 21, 2012

X-Men: First Class (2011)

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Starring: James McAvoy, Laurence Belcher, Michael Fassbender, Bill Milner, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, Beth Goddard, Morgan Lily, Oliver Platt, Alex Gonzalez, Jason Flemyng, Zoe Kravitz, January Jones

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Before he was Professor X, he was Charles. Before he was Magneto, he was Erik. Before they were enemies, they were allies.

Plot: Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto's Brotherhood and Professor X's X-MEN.
My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Yeah.

I dug it.  It's flawed but it's got some nice things going for it like most of the casting.  McAvoy and Fassbender are terrific as is Bacon.  I wasn't sold on Jones as Frost but it's not a deal-killer.  I liked the music and the attempt at making this set in the early 60s.  For the most part that worked.  The story did, too.  I was down with it but there's something about the picture that felt emptier than the rest.  It's like eating a good meal but still feeling hungry for something, as if you got everything but the steak.  I definitely want to give this one another go sometime.  Oh, and the cameo by a certain someone got one of the biggest laughs I've had in a long time.  That brief scene alone is worth seeing this picture.  It's THAT good.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Beer League (2006)

Director: Frank Sebastiano

Starring: Artie Lange, Ralph Macchio, Anthony DeSando, Cara Buono, Jimmy Palumbo, Joe Lo Truglio, Jerry Minor, Seymour Cassel, Laurie Metcalf

More info: IMDb

Tagline: No Gut, No Glory

Plot: An unemployed slacker (Lange) inspires his softball teammates to improve their game so they won't get kicked out of the local league.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again? No.

I like Artie Lange a lot.  He's the reason I watched this to begin with.  I thought for sure this would deliver some great belly laughs.  Nope, but I did enjoy the hell out of Lange.  What this picture was lacking in wasn't with the actors, direction, etc.; it was the script.  Lange and the director wrote it so this must be a labour of love and there are times when it shows.  The script needed some more professional tweaking.  It sucks that it's like that because there's some spots that the dialogue sounds exactly like what you think people would say (like shit I'd say) and those are great moments but the script as a whole feels like it needed some more polish to tighten up the slow spots and stuff.  I don't know, I feel really disappointed in this because I was all set to enjoy the hell out of I'm just sad.

Resident Evil (2002)

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Colin Salmon, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius, James Purefoy, Martin, Crewes, Ryan McCluskey

More info: IMDb

Tagline: A secret experiment. A deadly virus. A fatal mistake.

Plot: A special military unit fights a powerful, out-of-control supercomputer and hundreds of scientists who have mutated into flesh-eating creatures after a laboratory accident.
My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? No, but I will give the sequels a chance.

Gee whiz, I just watched this a couple of weeks ago and I'm having to skim through the movie now to refresh my memory - not a good sign.  I liked it OK I suppose. Jovovich is definitely the MVP in this flick.  Whenever she has a few moments to kick some zombie ass she's great and fun to watch.  RE is stylish and slick and it's entertaining.  I just didn't find it good-enough-to-re-watch entertaining but Jovovich is interesting enough to check out the sequels.  I was hoping to have gotten through them in time to watch the current film in the theater in 3D but no.  I work too damn much.  Oh, well.  I'm sure there will be a sixth instalment coming our way in the next couple of years.  The mediocrity of it all does make me want to play all of the games in the series because I've got a suspicion that they're better than the movies.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Fabulous Bastard from Chicago (1969)

Director: Greg Corarito

Starring: John Alderman, Maria Lease, James E. Myers, Vicki Carbe, Daryl Colinot, Whitey Wozniak, Gary Kent

More info: IMDb

Tagline: .....he blazed a path halfway across the country - hustling his illegal booze - bouncing from soft beds to violent brawls - making his own laws - living his own life - doing it all his own way!!

Plot: Sex pays as much as crime in David Friedman's prohibition tale, set in 1927 and telling the story of a bootlegger who sends his sexy dame to his rival to get precious information, but the plan backfires when the bootlegger's daughter is raped.

My rating: 3/10

Will I watch it again? I'm throwing it away.

THE FABULOUS BASTARD FROM CHICAGO is loaded with naked women and sixties haircuts...just like they had 'em in the Roaring Twenties! I almost always go into movies with an open mind. I knew this was a low budget exploitation picture and I figured I was going to have a reasonably good time but I had no idea that it was loaded with the 3 B's - bullets, boobs and boring. Fucking hell this picture bored the piss out of me and my friends. It was all good fun for the first twenty minutes, making fun of it and all but after a while I was ready for ANYTHING besides this and it goes on for an hour and a half or so. The fast forward button was our friend for the final third of the picture and even at 10x speed it was dull. I hate to do that to a flick (even one like this) but I felt forced to. The cars and the boobs were nice, though.

Pumping Iron II: The Women (1985)

Director: George Butler

Starring: Bev Francis, Kris Alexander, Lori Bowen, Lydia Cheng, Carla Dunlap, Rachel McLish, Steve Michallik, George Plimpton, Randy Rice, Clark Sanchez, Steve Weinberger

More info: IMDb

Tagline: A Story of Strength, Desire, Courage... and a New Definition of Woman.

Plot: Join four women as they prepare for the 1983 Caesars Palace World Cup Championship: the sultry and curvaceous Rachel McLish, the current champion; the almost manly, super-muscular Bev Francis, Rachel's toughest competition; and newcomers Lori Bowen and Carla Dunlap. Four women who have devoted their lives to the pursuit of their conception of the "perfect" female form, spending grueling hours torturing themselves on Nautilus machines and browning themselves under tanning lamps. Learn their personal struggles and public triumphs that make up their unique world as they struggle both with their bodies' limitations and the world's limitations on what that body ought to look like. If muscles make a man "masculine," what do they make a woman?

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.

In my youth I thought female body building was a freakish sport. I didn't think it was attractive. As I matured, my life experiences changed all of that, expanding my tastes and widening my range of beauty which now includes women like these. They are sculpting their bodies into works of art. I admire the dedication it takes to excel in any sport. Years back I got to know a woman who was a former competing bodybuilder and she was magnificent. In the short time we spent together I learned an awful lot about the sport.

This documentary (I haven't seen the first film) examines a group of women who are about to compete in Las Vegas for the ultimate prize in women's bodybuilding. What I find archaic and fascinating is how the male-controlled sport's rules are created and enforced. It's obscene, really, how they try to put limits on how the girls can look. There's one in particular, Bev Francis, where, without naming here, one of the rule-enforcers says she's not feminine enough and that they are responsible for looking like what women want to look like. Fuck that old man. The guy's a relic and he needed to be smacked up side his tiny, bald-ass head. I hate people like that. Anyway, the film is quite good and very interesting. The last half of this near two hour film is the competition and it's the best part even if the contest results are completely fucked up. And as if you need any more convincing to see this has a shower scene!

Snatch (2000)

Director: Guy Ritchie

Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Dennis farina, Vinnie Jones, Brad Pitt, Rade Serbedzija, Jason Statham, Alan Ford, Mike Reid, Robbie Gee, Lennie James, Ewen Bremner, Jason Flemyng, Ade, Stephen Graham

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Stealin' Stones and Breakin' Bones

Plot: Unscrupulous boxing promoters, violent bookmakers, a Russian gangster, incompetent amateur robbers, and supposedly Jewish jewelers fight to track down a priceless stolen diamond.

My rating: 9.5/ 10

Will I watch it again? Oh, yeah.

No need to say much about this one since everyone should have seen this one already. It's fucking fantastic and funny as shit. It put Statham and Jones on the map and Dennis Farina has never been funnier. Pitt was hilarious, the music is perfect, it's stylish without sacrificing anything and the story is solid. By the way, Brick Top needs his own fucking franchise. Alan Ford is an acting god!!!

Puppet Master 2 (1991)

Director: Dave Allen

Starring: Elizabeth Maclellan, Collin Bernsen, Steve Welles, Greg Webb, Charlie Spradling, Jeff Celentano, Nita Talbot, Sage Allen, George 'Buck' Flower

More info: IMDb

Tagline: His unholy creations hold the strings to your life.

Plot: The puppets return, this time they hunt some Paranormal Researchers to take their brain fluid for the dead/living puppet master, Andre Toulon.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yeah.

Back in the 80s, during my teen years I watched so many horror movies that I've forgotten most of them. Me and a buddy of mine would rent several horror movies on VHS and watch them until the wee hours of the morning, munching on junk food and downing Co-colas. This is one (along with the first film) that we watched. I may have watched it a few times back then but I wouldn't be able to remember. All I know is that I had only ever watched the first two flicks in this series and for some reason stopped. I guess I can blame going off to college.

Oh, yeah, the movie. You can always count on Full Moon's movies to be short. Sometimes they're barely over an hour but that's OK because they're often fun with a little something different than the big budget Hollywood fare. I love killer doll movies and these are the coolest dolls out there - so cool that I want all the toys. I guess it's budget restraints that keep the killer doll action to a minimum. The kills are fun and the stop motion puppet stuff gets me giddy every time. I can see watching this again but more boobs and gore would be nice along side some stop motion puppets out for revenge! This franchise seems ripe for a bigger budget re-boot and it'd be super cool if it started in 1930s Nazi Germany. Ooh, the kick ass possibilities are so ripe for it.

Unbreakable (2000)

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Starring: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Robin Wright, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodard, Eamonn Walker

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Are You Ready For The Truth?

Plot: A suspense thriller with supernatural overtones that revolves around a man who learns something extraordinary about himself after a devastating accident.

My rating: 10/10

Will I watch it again? YES!!!

The less you know about this movie the better it will be when you see it.

I...LOVE...LOVE...LOVE...THIS...MOVIE!!! It's perfect. I wouldn't change a note. The performances are right on target. The relationship between David (Willis) and his son, Joseph (Clark), touch on something that has me choking up every time I watch it. Elijah (Jackson) is such a sympathetic character that it makes the ending even more shocking and powerful. James Newton Howard's score is just all kinds of awesome. I really dig this guy's scores for M. Night's movies. I don't get the hate that people have for this movie and M. Night. Up until THE HAPPENING (2008) I thoroughly enjoyed everything he did. Now, not so much but I haven't written the guy off. He's proven to be one hell of a film maker. For a while he was compared to Alfred Hitchcock and I can get behind that. Not everything Hitchcock made was a home run. He had a really good run for 20 years until the mid-60s when the quality of his output suffered, something from which he never recovered but people generally neglect his final films. UNBREAKABLE is a remarkable genre film that cleverly makes what's essentially a comic book movie seem more real than anything that came before it. M. Night has always talked about his being a trilogy. I'd love to see them but only if he can go back to being the film maker he was a few years ago before his shit hit the fan.