Considering all of the critical acclaim and audience praise that Horrible Bosses received, I thought it really sucked. 3 guys who hate their bosses plot to have them killed. Not a very amusing premise really. And if they're going to sell us on that concept then I would have preferred it to be a whole lot darker. Every performance is excessive and pushes too hard for laughs. I was irritated by every single character in this movie and found myself looking forward to the end-credits. Subtlety would have lifted Horrible Bosses and I would have been sold on these guys plotting a deathless revenge, rather than murder. And I found their references to Strangers on a Train and Throw Momma From The Train a desperate attempt to convince the audience of what they were trying to do. Fail.
How do I discuss Second Skin with sensitivity? I know a lot of online gamers, some of whom read these reviews, and outside views of their virtual world aren't always appreciated. So let me just lay it on the table, I am not going to mince words. It's up to you if you read on...
Second Skin is a 2008 documentary exploring the cultural impact of MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) and the impact they have on the lives of those who play. The film focuses on World Of Warcraft and Everquest but encompasses all virtual worlds. It's jam packed with uber nerdy people trying to convince the audience that no one can possibly understand the mindset of a gamer unless they are themselves gamers. What a load of horse shit. This movie documents a group of people who use gaming to escape real life problems and issues. I found the film really tragic and it's an important social commentary of a problem that has become epidemic. 80% of gamers fit the same profile... overweight and lonely. They use the virtual world to create new lives and become the characters they wish to be in real life. Rather than doing something to change their situations they choose to shut-off from the real world. In this film jobs are lost, health is neglected and suicide is an ugly factor. Now of course this is a harshly negative view, and there are most certainly positives to this ever growing world. But I am afraid that I find it too difficult to see past the problem. The film annoyed me. It didn't open my eyes nor did it change my opinion. In trying to let the world into their mindsets, I was only reassured how arrogant and anti-social the addicted gaming community is. It's an environment I sure am happy to be distanced from and can never see myself being in and the most positive thing I took away from Second Skin is a renewed desire to walk and explore the outdoors. Fresh air and exercise have never been this appealing.
Oh Hell Yes!! You've probably noticed that i've been getting fully stuck into a lot of Aussie genre classics recently. I can't get enough of them. As featured in the documentary 'Not Quite Hollywood', the 70s and 80s really were a golden era for Australian cinema. While Aussie new wave was sweeping the world with movies like Picnic At Hanging Rock and My Brilliant Career, there was a torrent of genre movies dominating our screens. At the time we couldn't get enough of them but as the years went by, these films died off and were forgotten. Until recently they were generally looked back upon with ridicule... thankfully they're finally getting the recognition they deserve. These are great movies, made well. Tonight I watched Dark Ages. A monster croc creature-feature from 1987. A giant croc starts picking off men and a local preservation officer is tasked with hunting it down. The local aboriginals believe the creature to be spiritual and believe that no man can kill it. John Garret leads the movie and he does a great job. He had quite a screen presence back then. Considering the budget, the croc scenes are done well. One particular scene shows the beast fully crush a small child's head and thats just something films rarely show anymore. This is great fun from a really special time in Aussie cinema's history.
When Raiders Of The Lost Ark came out there were a heap of copy-cat movies. High Road To China and Romancing The Stone are two well known ones... and then the Aussies wanted a slice of the pie and so we have Sky Pirates. Released in 1986 it is very much an imitation of Indiana Jones... the score is very reminiscent of John Williams' famous theme, the action sequences are very Spielbergian and it even uses overlapping shots of a plane flying across a map with that funny red line. BUT it all works really well. I think Sky Pirates is a great flick and I'd go so far as to say it's my favourite of the Indy clones. The story begins with an RAAF pilot in the 40s flying a research team to Bora Bora. Its a classified mission and the plane is caught in an electrical time storm/warp. They land in the ocean and find themselves in the Sea of Lost Planes, a sort of Bermuda Triangle, close to Easter Island. This starts an adventure featuring elements of time travel and ancient cultures as well as an extraterrestrial mystery. The production is good and John Hargreaves is fantastic in the lead role. There's a few continuity flaws (obvious ones) but they're easily overlooked... its just a damn fun movie.
During the 80s and 90s I watched Nadia Tass/David Parker movies on rotation... Rikky & Pete, Malcolm, The Big Steal etc... the alluring factor was that they each had a quirk. Tass & Parker have a wonderful way of finding the oddities of life and Amy was the final Australian film of theirs for a decade. Its a story about a little girl who suffers a post traumatic stress after seeing her rockstar father electrocuted to death while performing. In her grief she shuts off from the world... she cannot hear people and she cannot speak. Desperate for answers (a cure) her mother (Rachel Griffiths) seeks help from the country's leading psychologists while fending off child welfare officers. Finally a musician neighbour (Ben Mendelsohn) discovers that Amy can communicate through song. She can hear singing and she sing's back and the movie gets a little weird with everyone from cops to yobbos singing to her. Its a kitchy flick but its a good one. It's a nice story told well. Tass & Parker have put a lot of love into painting a beautiful picture of Melbourne too. It looks gorgeous. After Amy they went and made a few hallmark-eqsue tele movies in the USA but thankfully returned recently and made Matching Jack (See review). They're back!
I totally loved this movie. A former mental patient, Ken, lives with his mother, works at an ice cream parlour and kills people. His 11 year old daughter, who he has never met, shows up on his door step and they work on establishing a bond. It was produced by John Landis and has his familiar comical feel about it. Every performance is fantastic. Kevin Corrigan in the lead role is really damn good and its impossible not to love this guy. The girl who plays his daughter is great and Barry Bostwick gives a fantastically tongue in cheek role as the sheriff who's investigating the murders (and dating Ken's mum). Lucy Davis from The Office is also really good... This gets released in Australia in May and I highly recommend it. It's a little left of centre and well written.
Herschell Gordon Lewis pioneered the "splatter" movie. He is known as The Wizard of Gore and has given us such blood-soaked classics as Blood Feast, 1000 Maniacs and The Gore Gore Girls. His work has influenced countless film makers and earned him an important place in pop-culture history. At 80 years of age he gives us The Uh-Oh! Show. Lewis himself acts as a host who ushers us through the movie. The story itself is about a zany game show where contestants are butchered whenever they get a question wrong. Its a prime time freak show dripping in blood, oozing with gore and scattered with severed limbs. It's ludicrous stuff.... and it's great. If you love having movie nights then get some mates over, get drunk and watch The Uh-Oh! Show. It deserves to become a cult favourite and I can envision midnight audience participation screenings. I almost died laughing when a fat guy gets shredded with a circular saw... and cheers along with the crowd, using his gushing intestine as a blood hose!! Pisser!
This is a great little film and I hope you all get a chance to see it. A woman whose life is falling apart gets into the back of a New York cab and tells the driver to "just drive". She falls asleep and wakes up on a highway in Pennsylvania. The cabbie is a guy who's life isn't any better and he uses her instructions to "just drive" as a means to easy money. That's the premise and the whole movie is spent on the road. Two people lost, desperate for something new. This movie really appealed to me from the get-go and there's so much to like about it. While we know exactly where the story is headed, the fun is all about getting there. It's an 'in-between' movie. This story of love unfolds slowly and it's refreshing to see a bond form gradually as opposed to the heightened whirlwind romances that dominate the rom-com genre. The lead actor, Sam Jaeger, also wrote and directed the film and the main actress is his real-life wife... and so the chemistry is solid between them. This is my type of romance story and I love when a movie leaves me with a massive smile... this one left me feeling really perked and as I said, getting to the end point was what the movie was all about. Well written, really well performed and beautifully shot throughout the vast stretch of emptiness between the east coast and west coast of America. Yay for this movie!
I did a rewind today and watched Johnny Be Good. I could only vaguely recall seeing it in the early 90s and the second it started today, it all came flooding back. Its one of those average teen flicks that is probably better forgotten. LOL. Its a coming of age story about a star footballer who is head hunted by dozens of colleges across the county. With fame and fortune thrown at him from all directions his ego takes over and he loses touch of reality. The concept itself is good and it could have been a great drama, but instead they've gone for the stupid John-Hughes style of comedy that fails on almost every level. Robert Downey Jr and Anthony Michael Hall have a good chemistry with some great scenes, but thats where the positives stop. Does anyone else remember this movie? Thoughts?
The Experiment is an American remake of the German film Das Experiment. A group of men respond to 'wanted' ad in the newspaper. A psychological experiment is being conducted where the men will be put into a prison environment. Some of the men are inmates while the others are selected as guards. They are promised absolute safety but warned that civil liberties will be taken away. Like the German movie, I didn't much like this....
*** spoiler alert ***
As to be expected, chaos and mayhem is inevitable. A pecking order is formed and it's a survival of the fittest situation. What irritated me was the conclusion. There was no reasonable purpose and (for me at least) it felt like a big waste of time. I felt like I was being preached to and that the movie was a big moral lecture about the nature of man. Blah Blah Blah... yeah men are evil... we are violent by nature... yadda yadda. And so if this is the point they are making and they even show us visions of war then we're essentially fucked as a species and there's not much point to any of it... least of all this stupid movie.
For any of you over 30, this might be a big flashback. In the late 70s when movies like Mad Max, The Long Weekend and Mad Dog Mordan (amongst others) were saturating Australian screens, Dot And The Kangaroo came along and offered the kids something uniquely Aussie. It's a wonderful film... really gorgeous. Animated against a live action backdrop and set in the Australian bush, it is based on the popular 1899 children's book about a young girl, Dot, who becomes lost in the bush and meets an assortment of animals. She befriends a big red kangaroo and together they search for Dot's home. I would describe it as an Australian answer to the Wizard of Oz combined with The Jungle Book. It's such a unique little movie and it's a shame that its been forgotten with time. Director Yoram Gross went on to direct 8 more Dot movies as well as other films (Blinky Bill) and some of these are available outside of Australia (absurd). My video transfer copy is grainy and aged.. I would love to see a delicious remastered release on dvd and/or bluray.
EDIT: The film and it's sequels recently received a "collection" release. All in the one pack.
Friends With Benefits worked for me. It's a typical rom-com but there's something refreshing about it. Perhaps it's the self-satirical nature of it or perhaps it's the self-awareness of it's own genre. Then again it's well played. Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis hold the movie together... they have a great chemistry and then they're supported by Richard Jenkins, Patricia Clarkson, Jenna Elfman and Woody Harrelson. It's conventional all the way but well written and surprisingly effective. I needn't reveal the plot... it's all in the title... and you know how it's going to end, so just embrace the ride.
Abduction is The Bourne Identity for teenagers. It's a fast paced chase thriller starring Taylor Lautner as a kid who discovers his life was not as it seems and finds himself being chased by international secret agents as well as the CIA. It's really flimsy with absolutely no depth. Don't be mislead by the cast... Sigourney Weaver, Michael Nyqvist, Alfred Molina, Maria Bello and Jason Isaacs certainly add credibility but not enough to mask a weak and contrived story. This was directed by John Singleton. WOW. What's happened to him? Once a prolific filmmaker of titles such as Boys N The Hood, Higher Learning and Rosewood, now he's reduced to this drivel. His films have been progressively worse and it's sad to see. The kids will lap this up but I'd be steering them towards something better.
Screw The Notebook, this film is my kind of romance movie. One Day is a great story of two kindred spirits who stumble through 20 years of romantic misses. Their love was sealed from the start but over the years it never went their way. This movie it like an episodic version of Before Sunrise. The love story is engrossing and the performances are great. Jim Sturgess is always good (imo) and Anne Hathaway delivers the goods. Her British accent leaves a lot to be desired but she's lucky that her personality shines through. The gradual time lapse is well done and the years from 1988 to 2011 are like an explosion of flashbacks for me. lol I highly recommend this film... its how good romance films should be. Great poster too.
I am a proud devotee to Troma... "Toxie's Movie Group" is even a reference to them. In 1980 they made a movie called Mother's Day. It was a ripper of a flick too. Sadistic, depraved and quirky... and now over 30 years later we have the remake. I oppose most remakes, but there was a weird sense of gratification knowing that a Troma film was being given the attention of being remade. I have just watched it and the verdict is that this bares little resemblance to the original. This new version tells of a group of friends taking shelter in a suburban basement during an imminant tornado. While partying down stairs a family of hardened criminals busts into the house, injured and pissed off. This is their old house and while out of state, they were unaware that their mother lost it to the IRS. Mother turns up and the brutality begins. She's a psychotic, controlling woman with strong morals and convictions... we've seen similar characters before. The original film was set in the woods with a family of redneck hillbilly's holding 3 girls hostage. The mother in that film was simply mental and coaxed her children to rape, torture and murder. Again, the two movies are apples and oranges. Lloyd Kaufman of Troma produced this redo but I imagine it was a financial decision. The pay cheque may have funded a new Troma classic.... this new version ain't bad. Just another home invasion movie... but made well enough to hold me until the end. Rebecca DeMornay overdoes the mother character, however, and the movie is about 20 minutes too long. I've come to expect style from director Darren Lynn Bousman and he delivers that!