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Killer Pad (2008)
Painful from start to finish
Well, where to start. This was the cinematic equivalent of the NTSB investigating a head on train crash - tragic ugliness everywhere you look.
Campy acting, insipid dialog, sophomoric humor (of the painfully unfunny variety) and with as many scantily clad B-movie kittens inhabiting the scenery, you'd think you'd at least get some obligatory nudity, but no.
If this film were used as an interrogation tool (which would probably be the best use for it) it would be ruled in violation of the Geneva Convention. So I'm giving it one star because there is no option available for zero.
So I guess to sum it up, if you have a choice between watching this or re-arranging your sock drawer, take the opportunity to get some home organizing done. I wish I had.
Not too bad
This film was technically well done. It seemed plausible, it was atmospheric and well shot, the acting was good and the setting looked first rate for this type of film.
The downside however was, it wasn't very scary.
The voice-over at the beginning conveys that the entire film is a flashback and the main character is still alive. So once you get over the initial creepy factor of being abandoned alone, locked-in an underground tomb and realize the main character has already survived, it severely diminishes any effect of imminent danger.
The ending of course reveals that there was no real danger and there wasn't supposed to be any but for the viewer, the fifty or so (sometimes dragging) minutes of her stumbling around in the dark is spent waiting for the payoff. Which isn't bad but it takes too long to get to.
Return in Red (2007)
Apparently the US government has an old ford van that it has equipped with a sound wave machine they salvaged from Lost In Space and are testing the effects of certain frequencies on an unwitting rural towns.
Talk about a snoozer. This film has enough in your face tedium to bring down a cape buffalo. I spent as much time watching the counter as I did the movie. (57 minutes elapse before anything interesting happens) It even moved slowly when I was fast forwarding through the volumes of dead time.
The bad acting and pointless scenes plod along to a banal conclusion without even a whiff of explanation, plot or character development. And the absence of anything resembling good dialog completes the disaster.
A couple of decent gore effects at the end are far too little, way too late.
This one has all the suspense of watching icicles melt.
Sports Action Team (2006)
This second rate improv troupe mugs its way through a painfully unfunny attempt at being the ESPN version of The Larry Sanders Show. Their attempts at humor could only be generously described as lame.
I guess the appeal is supposed to be the "zany" characters and their clashing, showbiz egos but none of the actors are engaging or comedically inclined while the dialogue appears to be half improvised and it shows.
Having watched this show on several occasions, I can't understand how insipid swill like this manages to get on television. Its only saving grace perhaps is that competes with the infomercials and coin selling shows that inhabit the late night broadcast schedule.
Masters of Horror: Homecoming (2005)
Get your politics out of my horror.
I had enjoyed the Masters of Horror Series until I came upon this infantile dung heap.
This anti-Bush propaganda piece masquerading as a horror film comes off like an episode of the original Batman done by Michael Moore. Political satire should be clever, this however, pulls a ten on the simpleton scale with all the style and credibility of an L. Ron Hubbard film.
In its campy, inane way, it accuses the Republicans of stealing elections, going to war for absolutely no reason and treating servicemen and women as mere cannon fodder. It even takes a swipe at the Second Amendment and religion. All that was missing was Caesar Romero as the President cackling in glee about how he orchestrated 9/11.
I guess the ending was supposed to be the "we support our troops" moment, but I think they would be more offended than pleased with the entire endeavor.
I'm sure the Hollywood elites are sitting in their Malbu mansions patting each other on the backs for this "pithy" work while the misinformed anti-war drones hail it as genius.
Time to get fitted with new tinfoil hats kids.
You're kidding me, right?
If a film study class ever needed to find an example of shallow, pretentious film-making this gem would fit the bill.
With a listed running time of 82 minutes literally half of it was spent on laborious, pointless tracking shots of people walking. Walking through hallways, across fields, through courtyards and other places I've probably repressed by now.
To add to the train wreck, there wasn't a shred of meaningful dialog, what there was of it.
I guess that's because the majority of the characters were high school students and we're supposed to believe they generally don't say anything meaningful during a typical day. But this is a film and it would've been nice to get some nugget of insight or humor or anything to make us care about any of them.
Finally after being bludgeoned by this seemingly interminable minimalist dreck, accented by useless time shifts, arduous 360 degree pan shots and different points of view of the same inane scenes (all a first year film student's wet dream), we arrive at the film's predictable Columbine conclusion. Yipee.
Killing sprees in schools are bad, thanks for pointing that out.
The Project Greenlight curse continues.
First of all, how can a screenplay win a writing contest when it contains virtually nothing? No plot to speak of beyond the obvious, no subplots, no character development, no attempt to explain what the creatures were or where they came from. It just seemed like all the writers wanted to do was to be clever and funny, which would've been fine if they had succeeded. But they didn't.
By and large, the acting was fine for a B-grade horror film except, most notably, Navi Rawat (the friend of the casting director whose audition tape was submitted to the studio without the knowledge of the producers or director) she was awful as Heroine.
As maligned as John Gulager was during the making of the film, the direction and look of the film was its best asset. Not perfect, some of the dimly lit action was hard to make out, especially when scenes were inter-cut. Also, the movie dragged in the middle and was hard to follow at points.
The biggest problem however, it wasn't scary. At all. Not even once, unless you find gallons of noxious fluid being spewed about spine tingling. This isn't an admirable trait for a horror film.
To condemn the film as the worst horror movie ever is a long way from the truth. There are a lot of mega-bad ones out there, I know I've seen a bunch recently. But for as many people as were involved with this, it was a big disappointment.
C'mon, the pay phone was the only telephone in the entire bar?
The Sopranos: Kaisha (2006)
What was that?
As I sat watching this episode I kept glancing at the clock waiting for something to happen. As the hour wound down I thought they were really going to give us a big pop at the end, and then - nothing. The whole family is huddled around the Christmas tree like something from the Hallmark Channel then, fade to black.
Perhaps one of the poorest season finales I've ever seen. Nothing at all to drum up any excitement for next season. The only thing thrown out as any sort of incentive to watch the next season was the ambiguous nugget offered up by Agent Harris while pawing a sub sandwich that the guys in New York were looking to get one of the guys in New Jersey. Wow, really? I would never expect something like that from mobsters, I'm on the edge of my seat.
It almost seems like they're trying to get everyone to lose interest. They start more plot lines that end up just disappearing than any show I've ever seen. They tease and hint but rarely deliver any more.
What's with the Arabs that hang out at the Bing? They keep throwing them in front of us and magically, nothing happens.
Paulie knee caps some kid after Tony promised his mother that nothing would happen to her son and, poof, gone in the wind.
And how many more meandering drug montages with Christopher are we going to have to endure? Please, have him get arrested or overdose or something interesting.
This was one of the few shows that I used to looked forward to watching but now, forgetta-bout it.
The Dukes of Hazzard (2005)
What did you expect?
It's comforting to know that some films deliver exactly what you expect from it. I thought this movie would suck, and it did - hard. Although I do have to say, this was a fitting tribute to an insipid, low-brow television series that also sucked - hard.
The script was juvenile and the performances were God awful. Jessica Simpson should never be allowed to appear in a movie again. But of course she will, she has no problem prancing around in a bikini and there's enough clueless boobs in the world who will pay to watch it.
To sit thorough an entire film that claims to be a comedy and not crack a smile is a testament to the garbage we are force fed by the major studios.
The biggest disappointment in all this mess was that the guys from Broken Lizard who gave us Super Troopers and Club Dread were heavily involved (one was the director) and they still couldn't manage to wrestle a chuckle out of me.
Not that there wasn't an upside, twenty five people were able to unload their beater 78 Chargers on eBay.
I'm asking Santa to please not let them make a sequel but I fear my request will be ignored, thanks to all the clueless boobs.
A multi-layered masterpiece. A crime movie that delivers action, emotion and humor woven together with multiple developed characters and several story lines to create a fast paced yet very complete work.
A tremendous cast delivers some of the finest dialog ever committed to film. What puts it over the top is that it's smart and clever while sounding completely natural, unlike many other "hip" movies in which it often sounds calculated and awkward.
In my opinion, this is Andy Garcia's finest performance. In fact, from top to bottom, the performances are first rate. There is no one to point at as a weak link. (Although the love interest comes close) If more films were at this Claiborne, the cinematic world would be a much nicer place to visit.
When a Killer Calls (2006)
Better than average
After wading through a morass of God awful horror films of late, this was, by comparison, a pleasant surprise.
Granted this is a knock-off (to be kind) of another B movie, I found it didn't have the flaws that run rampant through other entries in this genre.
It had a professional look, was decently directed and the acting was better than average for this type of film. Most importantly, the script was at least thought out, and didn't have the gut-wrenching plot holes and improbable logic (or lack there of) I've come to expect.
Don't get me wrong, it certainly isn't a horror classic by any means but if you're looking for something in this vein and there's nothing else to rent (as was my case), it won't feel like a waste of time.
Back-handed compliments to be sure, but I don't think the remake of When a Stranger Calls will be a whole lot better.
A cut above
I hate using back-handed, "well it's better than the worst" compliments but, having seen my share of low budget horror movies of late, I must say that Boo! is certainly a cut above most of them.
It's well shot, creating an atmospheric and eerie feeling not generally found in the genre today. The effects are well done. The plot itself is solid and there are some clever laugh out loud moments.
On the downside, the pace drags at times and some of the dialog is weak in spots but not too much to be distracting. Also, there are a couple horror movie, "why the Hell are they doing that?" logic issues.
The biggest distraction came with some of the casting. Most of the actors are capable although not great, but I felt one of the main characters was weak. On the plus side, the villain is terrific. (Sorry about mixing my tenses)
Horror movies are a crap-shoot, usually more crap than anything else. But if you're looking for something better than most, I would recommend Boo! It's performance will make me keep an eye out for other Graveyard Filmworks productions.
The Thing Below (2004)
Don't waste your time.
This film's plot is a rehash of Alien. Only here the evil critter is not found in outer space but fifteen miles under the Earth. Of course the US Government wants this thing, and wants to keep it hush hush, God knows why. Of course it gets loose on the oil platform where it was pulled out of the ground from and mayhem ensues.
One of the many problems is, the group of characters boarding the oil rig is straight out of the movie cliché handbook. The haunted leader, the bald black man, the inexplicable hot blonde chick, and the eccentric guy, who in this case thinks he's Butch Cassidy (including hat and six shooter).
Another is, this was made in Canada and many of the actors portraying Americans speak with a Doug and Bob MacKenzie accent, kinda weird eh? On the plus side, there is a far too long strip tease sequence performed by what looked to be an up and coming porn star (this accounts for my second star).
They obviously had some money to spend but the lousy acting, hokey cartoon alien and woeful, annoying "on the nose" dialogue drag this thing deeper than the underwater tomb their monster allegedly came from.