Monday, October 20, 2008

Movie Mon. - This Blog Not Approved by the ASPCA

Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat: Tongue-in-cheek horror Western about a group of vampires who relocate to the remote ghost town of Purgatory and try to cultivate synthetic blood to curb their murderous impulses. A bit uneven, the film is at its best when it highlights the vampiric community, and at its most bland when it focuses on the human scientist who has been called in to help with the synthetic blood production and his family. Originally filmed in 1989, the movie is notable for a young, thin, and scenery-chewing Bruce Campbell as a Van Helsing. Worth a look for horror fans and Bruce fans, but don't expect too much.

Max Payne:
Lackluster video game adaptation about a loner cop who becomes implicated in the death of a woman who might be connected to the death of the cop's wife years earlier. Note to all those whose only familiarity with this is from the trailers and not the actual video game: this is not a supernatural film about the battle between Heaven and Hell as some of the early trailers made it out to be. Both Cap'n Shack-Fu and Li'l Random thought this was going to be a lot like Constantine, but it's not even close. Even taking the misleading trailers out of consideration, this just wasn't that good of a film. Most of the performances were fine -- I especially like Mila Kunis as a butt-kicking assassin, quite a departure from her days as spoiled princess Jackie on That 70s Show -- but the overall script was weak, and several of the action set-pieces asinine and pointless. Wishing now I'd stuck to my guns and not paid full price for it.

You Don't Mess With the Zohan:
Incredibly uneven Adam Sandler vehicle about a near-super-human Israeli counter-terrorist agent who becomes fed up with a life of constant battle and fakes his death so he can come to America and become a hair-dresser. On the whole I really only found it amusing when it focused on Zohan's outrageous physical prowess, such as the only scene in any of the trailers that made me laugh

or during the moments of more absurdist comedy, such as Zohan's arch-nemesis The Phantom's training regimen

or the variation on hackey-sack which had me rolling for several minutes

although I think "hackey cat" rolls off the tongue much better than "cat sack." But despite how much joy I got out of the brief moments of comedy*, the movie as a whole left me dissatisfied.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall:
Pretty entertaining comedy about a guy whose efforts to forget about his ex-girlfriend are thwarted when he accidentally winds up going on vacation to the same spot as her and her new boyfriend. Funny script and great performances made this one fun to watch, but it became an instant classic for me thanks to two little words: Dracula. Musical.

And then became a Super Tiger Dragon Edition instant classic at the end of the film when those two little words become three little words: Dracula. PUPPET. Musical. (WARNING: Clip contains major plot spoilers, especially early on; the really good -- and not quite as spoilery -- stuff starts at 1:40, and the moment that had me dying laughing for a good 5 minutes happens at around the 3:30 mark)

Yeah, I know the quality of the last clip is crappy -- and will probably be removed before too long -- but that's the best that's out there right now and I couldn't very well let all of October go by without posting some sort of horror-themed musical clip, now could I?

Street Kings:
Okay thriller about a cop whose attempt to rough up his former partner who he thinks is ratting him out to I.A. goes awry when his partner is gunned down before his eyes. Pretty predictable, not much here to set it apart from all the other cop dramas out there. Now there was one scene which Li'l Random and I found highly amusing, but sadly nobody else out there seems to have found Jay Mohr ripping apart a dvd player to get a disc rather than simply hitting the eject button nearly as YouTube-worthy as we did.

Bigger, Stronger, Faster:
Very interesting and entertaining documentary about steroid use as seen through the eyes of the director, a former power lifter whose siblings are both regular steroid users. Some thought-provoking stuff about the stigma against steroids and what some of the myths about them are. Plus, you get to see some freaks of nature, like the Belgian Blue bull with its genetic mutation that allows it to grow twice as much muscle as a normal bull

and Gregg Valentino, world record holder for Biggest Biceps; the really freaky shot comes at about the 1:02 mark

Yes, I know both of the last clips featured cruelty to animals heavily, but I gotta say, if laughing at people swallowing live baby chickens and playing hackey sack with a cat are wrong, I don't want to be right! Which reminds me of when my dad's cousin accused my mom and me of being sickos for thinking this Far Side strip was hilarious.