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Saturday, July 30, 2011

SKYLINE



STATS:
Skyline
2010
Directed by The Brothers Strause
Written by Joshua Cordes and Liam O’Donnell
Starring Eric Balfour and Donald Faison

WHA’ HAPPENED?
Aliens attack all the cities of the Earth (I think) through giant beams of blue light that zap people up into their spaceships. The aliens look like tripods and they eat brains. The ending didn’t make sense, but Im not interested enough to google exactly what happened. Something about Eric Balfour having a glowing red brain that turns him into an alien, but a good one. And he gets to save his pregnant girlfriend or something. It is Shakespearean.


Also, very well-acted. Lots of blank gazes.

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
This film was made on the cheap by the special effects guys behind Battle: LA, another recent sci-fi misfire. Apparently, they were able to piggy-back off the effects from the bigger budget film, so they made an entirely separate movie with an entirely different plot. This one is about aliens battling in LA instead of… well, maybe it is the same movie. Either way, that backstory intrigued me for some reason.

SHIRTS AND SKINS:
Donald Faison walks around missing his shirt.


He is also missing Zach Braff, so I am not complaining.

Eric Balfour, however, is fully clothed the entire time. God damn you, wife-beater.


I mean the shirt, not the fact that this guy literally beats
his wife, because that would be a wholly different film.

BLOOD AND GUTS:
People get eaten by aliens. Big whoop. My favorite scene is when our hero pummels a giant alien to death with his fists and a brick. (No screen-cap, though. The picture would be entirely too awesome.)

RANDOM THOUGHTS:
I wish the ending wasn’t god-awful. And I wish the glowing alien lights had the power to zap off wife-beaters. That would be nice. Maybe for the sequel that will never, ever happen.

OK. IS IT GAY?
Nope. But it’s harmless. And Eric Balfour and his facial  hair always remind me of a sexy, sexy genie.

What did I say about blank gazes?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

WAR HORSE


Steven Spielberg hasn’t directed a movie since Indiana Jones limped back onto the big screen and whipped the audience until we paid him to leave. Three years later, the most successful director of all time is returning with War Horse, a historical drama based on the Tony-winning play. While the subject (a boy and his horse are separated by war and do a bunch of heroic stuff) doesn’t seem to fit into Spielberg’s typical interests, the trailer shows that this is going to be an extremely Spielbergian film. Here are the top five reasons why:

5. Kids gaze in wonder at amazing things.



Look at the amazed expression in this boy’s eyes. What’s he looking at? ET? The lost ark? Dinosaurs? It doesn’t matter. This is the default expression for any Spielberg kid. (And for the record, I’m guessing he’s looking at a horse. Don’t ask me why.)

If that wasn’t enough wonderment, his sister does the same thing. I presume every time Spielberg auditions another kid for his movies, he skips the dialog and goes straight toward the gazing-at-the-beauty-of-the-world section.

4. A harried parental figure reconnects with her child after said child goes on adventures.


Recognize that face? Dee Wallace Stone had that same face when she realized her son was growing up and saving aliens. Robin Williams had that face when he rescued his children from Captain Hook. Tom Cruise had that face when he realized that both his kids survived those germ-infested aliens. You simply can’t have a movie about adventurous kids without at least one moment when the parent looks like she’s about to wet herself.

3. Siblings hate each other, but they really don’t.


See these kids? They will fight and be competitive and probably race each other through the streets, but they will always share a deep brotherly connection.

2. Old people are wise and tell us stories.



Like this guy. I bet he has been on lots of adventures and will tell you about all of them whilst lounging next to a fire and a rug.

1. The main kid lives in a small town and will race through it.


Take a look back at Spielberg movies starring kids. They invariably have anyone under 18 racing through their surroundings, ET-style. Bonus points if the setting in an idealized small town and/or set during a major world war.

BONUS LESSON: There will also be parades. Ever since Sugarland Express, Spielberg has shown a big fat hard-on for parades.


But all-in-all, this film is going to be a crowd-pleaser with some beautiful scenery.


You can’t see me right now, but I’m gazing in wonder.

Monday, July 18, 2011

HELLRAISER: INFERNO



STATS:
Hellraiser: Inferno
2000
Directed by Scott Derrickson (Urban Legend 2)
Written by Scott Derrickson and Paul Boardman and NOT Clive Barker
Starring Craig Sheffer, Doug Bradley, and John Turturro’s little brother as “Officer Nenonen”

WHA’ HAPPENED?
A bad cop keeps finding little kid fingers planted at murder sites. Each murder brings him closer to “the Engineer,” which is the bearded guy who created the Matrix, apparently. The cop gets attacked by Cenobites too, including a legless version of Chatterer. Then Pinhead shows up for a cameo and explains that he’s been in Hell the whole time. WAH WAH.

Also, the little kid fingers are HIS, because he’s cutting off his own fingers because his flesh is killing his spirit because this movie is retarded and I have no idea what’s happening.

Look! It’s an Enya album cover!

WHAT YOU SAY?
“It's all a puzzle, isn't it, Joseph? Like a game of chess, perhaps. The pieces move, apparently aimlessly, but always towards one single objective: to kill the king. But who is the king in this game, Joseph? That is the question you must ask yourself.”

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
The first four Hellraiser films (the theatrical ones) made some major mistakes throughout their runtimes (i.e. the camera-head Cenobite from part 3), but they all told one continuous story about Kirstie and Pinhead and… well, maybe it wasn’t 100% continuous. But they did feel like a series. Then this movie came out on video, and it was a completely stand-alone film. It marked a turning point for the series, with each installment having less and less to do with the others. (The last one, in fact, even takes place in the real world.)

SHIRTS AND SKINS:
First of all, this film stars Craig Sheffer, who impressed me very much as a sexy-dead monster in another Clive Barker film: Nightbreed. It’s been a decade since then, and he’s looking a little more bloated.

This is how Elvis died.

He gets shirtless a few times, but the film is surprisingly sexless for Hellraiser. At least, that’s what I thought until two prostitute Cenobites show up and act all kinds of freaky.

This is how Roy Orbison died.

BLOOD AND GUTS:
Similarly, the gore quotient is a little lacking. We don’t even see the obligatory chains until the very end. And even then, it seemed like the filmmakers stuck it in because they were contractually obligated.

He looks bored.

However, we have Karen McClosky from Desperate Housewives walking around with her eyes poked out.

I guess Lynette’s twins went a little far with their latest prank.

RANDOM THOUGHTS:
One major gripe I have with most of the Hellraiser sequels (besides their meaningless and redundant subtitles) is that they use so much dream logic. There are no stakes in a movie where the characters keep waking up from horrible dreams. Even though a bunch of fantastical stuff happened in the original, the stakes were real because the setting was real. In this one, nothing’s real and everything just seems a little dumber because of it.

Also, Pinhead is freaking BLUE! I cannot stress that enough.

OK. IS IT GAY?
Not really. Aside from a single scene with the two slutty Cenobites, this film doesn’t really push the sexuality of any of the characters. It’s more interested in teaching us morals about life and drugs and hookers. Pinhead has never been so preachy before.

However, I will let you go with this homoerotic screencap. That’s just how I roll.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hellraiser Podcast


If you are a fan of Pinhead… or British accents… or stupid jokes about “Butterball the Cenobite”… then check out the new Hellraiser podcast on iTunes. I don’t agree with everything they say (particularly the vitriol they fling toward Hellraiser: Bloodline), but they come across as knowledgeable and passionate. They’ve done about half the series so far, and I cannot wait to hear their take on Hellraiser: Hellworld.

When there is no more room in Hell,
the dead shall play this videogame.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

HELLRAISER: HELLWORLD


STATS:
2005
Directed by Rick Bota
Written by Joel Soisson and Carl Dupre
Starring Lance Henriksen and the guy who’s about to play Superman


WHA’ HAPPENED?
A group of friends spend all their time playing a virtual version of Hellraiser, which is basically just a brainteaser game where they have to open a computer-version of the puzzle box. It’s not exactly Resident Evil. Even so, one of the friends gets so hooked on it that he lights himself on fire. Not surprisingly, this puts a damper on their fun, and they stop playing the game.

Then two years pass, and they totally forget about their dead friend. They decide to go to a Hellraiser-themed party at an old, creepy house. Strange things happen and these characters keep walking into stupid situations. Eventually, Lance Henriksen (the party-thrower) explains the long, complicated reasons for all this BS. (Hint: it involves drugs, cell phones, and getting buried alive.) Then the surviving kids go on their merry way, and Mr. Henriksen gets killed by Pinhead.


ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
Like the franchise’s previous installment, Hellworld was originally unrelated to the Hellraiser mythos. And then money got involved and this quiet, Holocaust drama morphed into a Hellraiser movie about video games and getting buried alive. It was the last film in the series until the upcoming Revelations gets in line to piss on Clive Barker’s legacy.

SHIRTS AND SKINS:
Did I mention that one of the leads is Henry Cavill, the British actor who was recently cast as Superman? Did I also mention that his smile lights up the screen? No? Well, I must have mentioned that in one scene, he receives a blowjob from a mask-wearing demon girl.

AND he wore an ascot.

BLOOD AND GUTS:
Of course. A guy gets decapitated. A girl gets her neck sawed at by some spinning blades. All the extras end up hanging by chains from the ceiling (because they were all hallucinations anyway… or something).

RANDOM THOUGHTS:
At one point, Lance Henricksen asks the surviving teenagers: “Like a bad horror movie, isn’t it?” Why yes, Lance, yes it is. And that’s exactly the problem. The Hellraiser movies are memorable because they aren’t like normal slasher films. They aren’t about a group of friends who slowly get picked off one-by-one. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what this one does. At the exact moment when Pinhead decapitates a guy with a meat cleaver, I realized that this film is the exact opposite of what the original set out to do.

That said, I enjoyed every minute of it.

OK. IS IT GAY?
There are no gay characters. There’s very little romance, except some chaste nonsense involving the main girl and her creeper friend. But there is eye candy, and that should amount to something. For the simple fact that we get to see future-Superman getting a blowjob, let’s give this one a solid Matthew McConaughey. It’s not gay, but it’s dumb and easy to look at.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Three Musketeers 3D


Alexandre Dumas’ classic French novel The Three Musketeers is set to swashbuckle into theaters this October. The story has been adapted for the big screen at least twenty times before, notably in 2001 with a completely different story and only one musketeer. It also starred a regular from Grey’s Anatomy. Judging by the trailer, this new adaptation seems both more faithful and less god-awful than that version. At the very least, it has the correct number of musketeers.

“Hey guys. Do you hear Bryan Adams? Or is that Sting?”

But with the story so familiar to audiences worldwide, does this version improve on one of the most beloved examples of world literature? It certainly tries. Here are its top five most shameless attempts at improvement.

5. It’s in three dimensions.

It’s good to know that The Gimp from Pulp Fiction is still getting work.

One thing about books is that they’re so flat. Plus, readers have to think… and use their imaginations… and sound out hard words. Moving pictures are simply easier to follow, especially if they’re jumping straight at you. Who needs clever wordplay when you can watch a guy in a leather mask poking at you with grappling hooks?

4. Things explode.

Thanks to the recently ratified Michael Bay Statute,
all Hollywood movie trailers must have at least
two main characters jumping through holes.

Sure, the novel had a bunch of political intrigue and chivalry and junk, but this version blows up France! Also, some of the explosions are surely in slow motion, so you can savor the three dimensional rubble pelting your popcorn-eating face. No piece of literature, not even the Anarchist Cookbook, offers that much bang for your buck.

3. The plot is totally feminist now.

Who knew that seventeenth century French
people invented Matrix-style bullet time?

Remember how the original novel involved d’Artagnan fighting stuff because he was in love with some countess? Well, this movie improves on all that plot nonsense, because now the women fight too. Surely this is more historically accurate. If I remember anything from French history, it’s that Marie Antoinette decapitated a bunch of people who tried to eat her cake… or something like that.

2. There’s unnecessary nudity.

Here is the countess showing off some serious shoulder skin. Hey now.

Just to show that the movie isn’t TOO feminist, the countess takes a break from spinning roundhouse kicks to show off some skin. Because this is still an American action film, female nudity will outnumber male nudity by at least two sets of boobs. There is, however, a slight chance of a few humorous butt shots. For example, the three title characters might get drunk and go skinny dipping. If this happens, then the rules of cinema dictate that some French peasants will steal their clothes and they’ll walk back into town while trying to cover their privates with leaves or hats. Either way, we’ll take what we can get.

1. And the number one way that this movie tries to outdo the book: its cast is really, really good looking.

This is the new d’Artagnan, played by Logan Lerman
(Percy Jackson and the Harry Potter Ripoff), who has
grown up a lot since audiences first saw him as
mini-Ashton Kutcher in The Butterfly Effect.

Previous movies certainly didn’t skimp on the beefcake, but they were usually a mixed bag. For every Chris O’Donnell, there was always an Oliver Platt. Here, we have Mr. Darcy, the Punisher, Will Turner, and Percy Jackson, among several others. The cameras will probably spend a lot of the movie lingering on Milla Jovovich as she jumps around and jiggles in the right places, but gay fans will certainly have enough to ogle.

And for the sake of comparison, here is the real life d’Artagnan, who would probably be played by Helena Bonham Carter with a fake beard:


Do these blatant attempts to modernize the classic novel mean that the movie will be any good? Nope. But as the above picture shows, sometimes the originals could stand a facelift.





Thursday, July 7, 2011

WHITEOUT


Whiteout is an action thriller from a few years ago that just came and went. I remember watching the trailer and thinking, “Damn. I have to see that!”

“Why?” you ask. Because I love office supplies? Because I’m really really racist against Caucasians?

No and no. It’s because I’m fascinated by Antarctica.

Land of 1000 dreams.

I don’t know why. I don’t like the cold. I live in a place in Arizona where much of the year is in triple digits. I’ve never really seen snow, except for clumps of parking lot whiteness up in Flagstaff. Whatever the reason, I’m a sucker for Antarctica.

And this guy. He’s hypodermaliscious.

I wasn’t expecting much from the movie, and that’s exactly what I got. Unlike the stupid trailer tries to imply, there is no snow monster attacking the science base. This isn’t The Thing with Kate Beckinsale. This is a story about a serial killer who murders a bunch of people because he’s trying to get his hands on some Russian treasure (aka vodka). It’s a stupid mystery, and the killer ends up being the guy I always suspected. (It comes down to the Scooby Doo Effect: There are two suspects. One of them is suspicious. It has to be the other guy.)

But there are a few cool things about this movie. There are some nice special effects, mostly involving a Russian plane and a lot of wind.


This fuzzy blur is some guy falling to his death.

There’s also a gnarly scene where Ms. Beckinsale loses two of her fingers.

Surprisingly, the two hideous black ones ended up being fine.

And of course, there’s the requisite beefcake, this time supplied by The Spirit’s Gabriel Macht. He’s bundled up throughout the entire film, and he spends a lot of the time looking twitchy and suspicious for no reason, but he’s still dreamy.


So was this film a complete waste of time? Not really. It’s been a few days and I honestly don’t remember most of what happened, but I did enjoy the beautiful white scenery:

And the snow wasn’t bad either. Get it? Get it?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

HELLRAISER: DEADER



STATS:
Hellraiser: Deader
2005
Directed by Rick Bota
Written by Benjamin Carr and Tim Day
Starring Kari Wuhrer and a bunch of Romanians

An artist’s rendering of my viewing experience.

WHA’ HAPPENED?
An American reporter working in London travels to a seedy city in Romania because it’s cheaper for the producers to film there. Actually, she’s there because she is investigating an ill-defined cult of about twelve people who can cheat death by breathing on each other or something. They kinda use the puzzle box, but not really.

The reporter is flung headfirst into this underground world. Things make less and less sense and has a series of frustrating dream sequences until she kills herself to prevent the gates to Hell from opening. Pinhead is in it for a grand total of two minutes.

WHAT YOU SAY?
“Dreams are fleeting. Only nightmares last forever!” [Editor’s note: this nightmare lasted for 88 minutes.]

ISN’T THAT SPECIAL?
This film has one of the dumbest titles of any horror movie I’ve heard of. (The cult members call themselves “Deaders.”) The film is also pretty infamous for originally having nothing to do with the Hellraiser franchise. Apparently, the writers decided to coast on Pinhead’s coattails and they just rewrote some scenes to give lip service to Hellraiser fans. (It shows.)

SHIRTS AND SKINS:
It might’ve shown some lady skin. I can’t remember. Nothing gay, though. We do get a lot of dead bodies that are both male and female.


It’s like a very subdued ketchup orgy.

BLOOD AND GUTS:
In a franchise first, Pinhead’s chains shoot through five people at once. Including this Eurotrash guy:

Yeah. Yeah. This effect was pretty cool…
when it was on Death Becomes Her!

RANDOM THOUGHTS:
In one scene, our main character spends a solid five minutes trying to get a knife out of her back. She’s not dying, because this movie is stupid and reality has no bearing on what is going on. But the point is: this scene goes from mildly scary to an absolutely brilliant example of unintentional physical comedy.

So, so stupid.

OK. IS IT GAY?
Naw, it’s not much of anything. There are about three people in the entire cast who have any bearing on the plot. It’s mostly a bunch of nonsense going on in the reporter’s head and she has no control over anything (until she kills herself, because… yay feminism!).

To sum up this movie, I’m going to give you a screenshot of our main character, covered in blood, reaching out in a futile attempt to touch nothing at all.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

11-11-11


Director Darren Lynn Bousman’s new film 11-11-11 is set to hit theaters this year… and now we FINALLY have a trailer.

Most of you would recognize Mr. Bousman from such wide-ranging movies as Saw II… and Saw III… and Saw IV. But I’m a bigger fan of his OTHER directorial effort, the one that involves Paris Hilton’s face melting off her skull. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen: Schindler’s List.

Did I say Schindler’s List? Wow, I feel Freudian. I actually meant Repo! A Genetic Opera, starring the female Spy Kid and Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That film was 100% god-awful, but it was also ape-shit insane. So I can’t wait to see what he does with a movie that’s half Number 23 and half End of Days.

Check out the trailer. While it doesn’t have the same visual flair as Repo, I have a feeling this is going to be one memorable movie.



And for the record, guess what date this film opens. You got it: Christmas Eve.

The Covenant

Doesn't it look like the one on the far
left is about to pee on something? 

The Covenant is a teen horror/action/trainwreck film that is universally acknowledged for its blatant homoeroticism.

Not complaining. Well… maybe a little. About the plot.

I vowed to myself that I would never write about this film because Cracked did a really funny article that I wouldn’t be able to top. But I would like to mention a spin-off comic that is straight-up horrible.

Why are they twelve? And why is one of them fat? 

Gaze in utter confusion at the page on display. Anyone who has seen the film, or even the trailer, or even the poster, knows that the Covenant is not about a bunch of young kids summoning a demon at summer camp. It’s about hot teenagers who shoot magic from their fingers and walk around shirtless. I bought this comic for $0.99 and expected some similarities to the movie besides, you know, the title and the number of main characters.

I also bought it to see a drawn version of this guy.

Basically, this comic is not at all homoerotic. Nor does it have anything to do with anything. Nor does it make sense.

At the very least, it drops the girlfriend characters, who were as integral to the movie as embarrassed-looking props.

Where IS everyone? You know what, screw this.
I'm going to transfer to that school from The Brotherhood.
The guys there really know how to treat a lady.