Monday, May 15, 2006

Movie Mon - I'm a Sucker for Singing Mountain Goats, I Guess

Since last week I kind of let my unadulterated loathing of The Family Stone hijack my reviews, I'm doubling up this week; of course, the fact is that I've been occupied with other stuff, so my doubling up pretty much equals what would be a normal Movie Monday post.

Rumor Has It: Recently engaged woman (Jennifer Anniston) discovers that her family is the basis for The Graduate and goes off in search of the man (Kevin Costner) who slept with both her late mother and her grandmother (Shirley MacLaine). First, let me say that I have never understood the fascination with Jennifer Anniston; she's not a bad actress, but not a terribly good one either. Whatever charisma she has just doesn't click with me; outside of The Good Girl, I haven't enjoyed much of her work. As for the film itself, my feelings towards it are much like my feelings towards Ms. Anniston; not bad, but not terribly good. The relationship between Anniston and Costner was a tad creepy, and the cheesy, predictable ending was, well, cheesy and predictable. I did enjoy MacLaine as the saucy grandmother, and thought that, creepy factor aside, Costner did a fairly good job. If you're a fan of Anniston and/or romantic comedies, you'll probably find this one enjoyable; otherwise, I'd say give it a miss.

Mortuary: Horror flick from Tobe "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" Hooper about an abandoned mortuary whose new tenants soon discover that there was a reason it was abandoned, namely a strange fungus with a taste for blood. For a low budget film (with some pathetic CGI work), this one wasn't all that bad, thanks to an interesting plot and some entertaining characters, including Tasha Yar herself, Denise Crosby. But sadly, once the action moved into high gear, the film went south fast; horribly choreographed action sequences, nonsensical decisions from the heroes, non-stop screeching from the little girl (trust me, that grew real old, real fast), and one of the worst "this is only the beginning" endings I've seen in a long long time.

Tamara A rehash of Carrie, only this time instead of a prank by the popular kids on an outcast with telekinesis results in much bloodshed, the prank is on an outcast with a penchant for witchcraft. This one was a mixed bag: on the one hand, despite relying on the "spurned outcast" trope, there were some original touches in the plot, especially in the way Tamara used her abilities; on the other, the dialogue and acting were nothing to write home about. But, while not a home run of a horror film, it was mostly enjoyable, and at least its "this is only the beginning" ending made sense, as opposed to The Mortuary.

The Heirloom: Taiwanese horror film about a man who inherits his family mansion, which has been vacant (and possibly haunted) since the inhabitants committed mass suicide by hanging years earlier. This one didn't do much for me; while I thought the idea of "raising ghosts" was interesting, what was done with it din't really hold my interest.

Poseidon Adventure: 1970s disaster flick about a capsized luxury liner and a small group of survivors who try to find a way out. It's really difficult to watch this sort of movie without it being colored by everything that's come after; I'm speaking partly about other disaster films, but mostly about films that make fun of disaster films, most notably Airplane; it makes it difficult to take the "cross-section of humanity" aspect seriously. Plus, the film is definitely a product of its times in terms of characterization, acting styles, etc. But taken for what it is, it’s a pretty enjoyable film; a bit cheesy, yes, and the actors do love to chew the scenery, but there are worse things.

Munich: Story of the Mossad agents sent out as assassins to seek retribution for the Black September hostage crisis at the Munich Olympics. Very well done film; probably the best work Spielberg has done since Saving Private Ryan. Yes, at almost three hours long it's a tad on the longish side, but very little of it feels like filler. I thought Eric Bana did a great job in the lead, and Daniel Craig (a.k.a. the new James Bond) was fun as the gung-ho member of the squad.

Hoodwinked: Animated take on the tale of Red Riding Hood, told as a detective story where none of the four major players are exactly what they seem. I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would. I wasn't always impressed with the animation work, which was a tad inconsistent, but was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed all of the songs. My biggest complaint was the whole "extreme Granny" angle, a one-note joke that wasn't that funny to begin with. The singing mountain goat on the other hand . . .

The singing mountain goat made the whole film worthwhile. Well, him and Twitchy the squirrel. Oh, and the Schnitzel on a Stick song. Yeah, overall, a fun family film.

Forbidden Zone: Now, I'm not going to say this is the most bizarre film I've ever seen; what I will say is that it's probably in the top 3, at least. Words can't really do this one justice, but I'll give it a whirl: the Hercules family live in a house whose basement holds a portal to the 6th dimension; curious Frenchy Hercules gets sucked into the portal, where she becomes a concubine for the diminutive (but insatiable) King (Hervé "Da Plane! Da Plane!" Villechaize), much to the consternation of his domineering (and even more insatiable) Queen, necessitating a rescue effort from her brother, grandfather, and classmate Squeezit the Chicken Boy, whose twin "sister (actually his twin transvestite brother) is also trapped in the 6th dimension. Along the way, people burst into song spontaneously, meet the devil and his Knights of the Oingo Boingo (played by the band Oingo Boingo), and have run-ins with Bust Rod, the Servant Frog. Okay, that still doesn't do it justice: here's a brief clip.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg, folks. It's like a live action cartoon, albeit a slightly perverse one; this one is only for fans of the truly bizarre, which is why this one is a cult classic.


Photographer said...

Gee thanks for that lovely goaty clip. My girl child watched it about 30 times or till my laptop battery died anyway. I had to promise to buy the video next visit to Wal-Mart. YOU WILL PAY!!!

Cap'n Neurotic said...

*places fingers in the Pyramid of Evil Contemplation* Muah-ha-ha-ha!