27
Aug
16

Seeking Justice, The Hateful Eight

Seeking Justice

This is yet another New Orleans-based Nicolas Cage movie. I haven’t seen every movie in his oeuvre, but this makes at least four to be set there (The Runner, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, and Stolen were the other three for those playing along at home). Maybe the dude loves New Orleans, who knows? Anyway, this is a pretty pathetic excuse for a movie. Cage’s wife is raped, and he is approached by a mysterious stranger who promises to get revenge in exchange for a favor later. The bad guy, of course, wants Cage to kill someone, and he refuses. This turns into a boring back-and-forth between Cage and bad guys leading to a shootout in an abandoned mall. The problem with this movie is that it seems to not care about doing anything unique. They have a good setting and a decent premise, but just piss it away for generic plot points. Its ham-fisted plot and straight-forward directing style make it as generic as they come. Cage is perfect, though, he’s never been bad in anything.

Verdict: Shitty

The Hateful Eight

Quentin Tarantino’s newest film proves he doesn’t understand the definition of the word “brevity.” A sprawling three hours in length, his latest Western is a tale of loathsome people stuck in a cabin, riding out a snowstorm. It’s a story that could be taut and thrilling, easily told in a lean 90-minutes, but for some goddamn reason, it’s twice that long. Sally Menke had been Tarantino’s editor from Reservoir Dogs until Inglourious Basterds. After her untimely death, Tarantino has been off the reins. His new editor, Fred Raskin, either doesn’t have the balls or the wherewithal to tell Tarantino when enough is enough.

The movie contains all of Tarantino’s trademarks: rambling speeches, a growing sense of dread, anachronistic music, events out of synch, and ultra-violence. When this movie works, it absolutely works. From the point where Samuel L. Jackson’s character figures out who the bad guys are until the end, the movie is enthralling. But that comes over 90 minutes in. Almost everything up to that point is needless, and getting there is laborious.

The characters are great, the performance are great, and the music, by the legendary Ennio Morricone, is great. The problem is the fucking editing. I needed to take Adderall to stay awake during the first half of this movie, because nothing even remotely fucking interesting happens for the first 90 minutes. That’s an entire feature length! He really needed a better editor here. Even at two hours, this could have been a masterpiece. As it stands now, it’s needlessly bloated. Tarantino often indulges himself, frequently going in delightful tangents, but there is no delightful tangent here, The Hateful Eight just wastes time.

Verdict: Average

 

20
Aug
16

Horns, The Seventh Seal

Horns

Daniel Radcliffe is trying his hardest to not be typecast as Harry Potter. He is taking all sorts of bizarre roles in order to branch out, and one such role was the lead in the 2013 movie Horns. Radcliffe plays a man accused of raping and murdering his girlfriend. He soon starts to grow a set of horns, which have special powers. Everyone around him can’t help but tell the truth, as well as their darkest secrets. He decides to use this ability to find his girlfriend’s real killer.

The setup is kind of outlandish, but I suppose in the right hands it could have been a great movie. Unfortunately, not much really works. The tone is wildly inconsistent, jumping from horror to comedy to dolefully sad. This mash-up of genres works to the detriment of the film. Had it been able to maintain a consistent tone (any of them would have fine), it would have been much more effective.

Radcliffe himself does a pretty good job. He does have a laughable American accent, but if you forget about that, his performance was strong enough to carry the film. You do get lost in his sense of confusion and anger over the new horns and his desire for revenge. The rest of the cast turn in one-note performances, and Heather Graham is particularly strange as she chews scenery more than anyone I’ve seen in recent memory.

Overall, this is a weak movie. The plot isn’t riveting, the performances are bad, the directing is mediocre, and the tone is all over the place. The only saving graces are the lead’s performance, and the concept. Too bad they couldn’t get it more together.

Verdict: Shitty

The Seventh Seal

Let me just get this out of the way first: The Seventh Seal was not bad enough to qualify for a Classically Shitty review, but it is in no way an ultimate classic film that every movie lover needs to watch.

The Seventh Seal is about a medieval knight who wanders around Europe with no discernible purpose in his life. He meets Death who tells him his time is up. The knight makes a wager with Death: if he can beat Death in a game a chess, he will get to live. Death agrees.

The concept was cool, I’ll give it that, but the chess game is a complete afterthought in what comes next. The knight and his squire wander around meeting people and doing little. The movie showcases various people in different walks of life grappling with hunger, poverty, disease, witchcraft, and other maladies prominent in the Middle Ages. The movie is about humanity rather than the chess game.

You know what? That’s all fine and good, and I don’t have a problem with that. But the chess game should have gotten a more of the spotlight. And, no, I don’t mean we should have literally watched them play chess. I mean, there should have been more tension, a greater sense of growing dread, or even a cat-and-mouse-style of interplay between the knight and Death. As it is, the movie is fairly flat in its emotions. I guess we are meant to feel pity for the downtrodden people, but few other emotions are evoked. The only scene that gave me any kind of emotional reaction was when the knight realizes he is going to lose his chess game, and “accidentally” knocks the pieces off the board in an attempt to cheat.

The film is decent, I suppose, but I really don’t know why it is considered so influential. Nothing about it is particularly special. I suppose I could read up on it, but I choose not to. I’d rather be an uninformed nitwit.

Verdict: Average

13
Aug
16

Star Trek Beyond My Expectations

Brikhaus Prime: The 2009 rebooted Star Trek film has held up pretty well over the years. Sure, it has an overabundance of lens flares, but the story, acting, and special effects hold up. Plus, the inclusion of Leonard Nimoy as the original Spock was a clever touch for longtime fans. It’s amazing they waited seven long years to finally make a sequel. Considering how well this did at the box office, one would think Hollywood would try to cash in by making a hurried, cheesy, ill-advised interim film. Oh well, it’s good they didn’t, because Star Trek Beyond is out now, and it keeps the franchise moving ahead full-steam.

*** Interdimensional Rift explodes. ***

Brikhaus Omega: Stop! You’re wrong! There was another film!

Brikhaus Prime: What? Who the hell are you?

Brikhaus Omega: I’m you! From an alternate reality! Our two dimensions are merging, and it could mean the destruction of the entire universe!

Brikhaus Prime: That sounds bad.

Brikhause Omega: It is bad! But not as bad as Star Trek Into Darkness!

Brikhaus Prime: Star Trek Into what?

Brikhaus Omega: Darkness! The second film! The remake of Wrath of Khan!

Brikhaus Prime: *laughs* Why would they remake Wrath of Khan? That’s the most revered film of the entire franchise. That would be an obvious cash-in to just remake the movie that’s the most — oh, I see…

Continue reading ‘Star Trek Beyond My Expectations’

31
Jul
16

From Turkey With Love (James Bond 2)

From Russia with Love has long been considered by many to be the best of all the James Bond films. It perhaps isn’t the quintessential film as a few other aspects of the mythos wouldn’t be solidified until the third film. However, in terms of plotting, acting, directing, and spectacle, this movie has got it all.

Overwhelmed with the unexpected success of Dr. No, the producers hurried the sequel into production. The studio doubled their budget, and were expecting big things. The question was which of Ian Fleming’s novels to film next? Since they had already gone out of order (Dr. No is actually the sixth novel), they didn’t need to stay with any sort of continuity. Then-President John F. Kennedy had stated that From Russia with Love was one of his top-ten favorite books. So, why not use that one? They knew they’d have one fan eagerly awaiting the movie.

Since the source material dealt far more heavily with Cold War themes that the last, the producers decided to change a few aspects. SPECTRE once again became the primary villains. In doing so, the writers were able to carry over a few interesting aspects from the first film.

In 2008, the James Bond producers stated that Quantum of Solace was the first direct sequel in franchise history, coming after Casino Royale. Unfortunately, the current producers don’t know much about the history of their own franchise. If they were to watch From Russia with Love, they would realize it is a direct sequel to Dr. No.

Continue reading ‘From Turkey With Love (James Bond 2)’

24
Jul
16

Sisters, What We Do in the Shadows

Sisters

Sisters is a raunchy comedy starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Both of them play against type. Poehler plays a prudish, responsible older sister, and Fey plays a free-wheeling, sexually liberated younger sister. Put them on screen together, and what’s not to like?

In theory, this is the perfect idea for a movie. In reality, however, it didn’t live up to expectations. More than half of the jokes fall flat. There’s a lot of blustering and screaming, and of course CRAZY HIJINKS, but none of it was very funny. Most of the antics are just that, antics. There weren’t many cleverly written jokes.

The film is about two forty-something sisters who return to their childhood home to throw one last party before it is sold. Throughout the night, the party gets more out of control, just like in every movie party. The sisters, of course, take what they learned from the experience to achieve personal growth by the end of the film.

Sisters kind of works and kind of doesn’t. There isn’t anything to actively hate about this movie. The cast is good, and it seemed like they had a great time making the movie. There are a few legitimately funny parts, as well. But overall, the execution was off the mark. Based on good will alone, however, I will give this one a pass.

Verdict: Average

What We Do in the Shadows

Another mockumentary? Oh, grrreeeaaat. Oh, it stars Jemaine Clement, one half of the insanely talented and hilarious duo, Flight of the Conchords? All right, I’ll give it a chance.

*90 minutes later*

Wow, that was really funny!

What We Do in the Shadows is yet another mockumentary in an overstuffed and tired genre. However, the topic hadn’t been done before. It’s about a group of vampires who share a house in New Zealand. The movie follows them as they go about their day to day lives.

The thing that makes this film work so well is how mundane the vampires’ lives are. They muck about in everyday life, just trying to fit in. We get a look into the difficulties of vampire life. It turns out to be way harder than you’d think to find victims. You can’t just waltz into any house and pick out a victim, because you have to be invited in. So why not just hypnotize them into inviting you in? Well, it turns out that the whole vampire hypnosis thing is much harder than it seems. And vampires aren’t all bad, either. They even manage to form friendships with humans, even if they end up going sideways. The vampires have their own share of unique struggles, which the film manages to find in boatloads, and mines for huge laughs throughout the film.

There are so many funny things, I couldn’t attempt to list them all. I’ll just say that they made all the right decisions while making this movie. It has heart, is well written, and puts a fresh spin on an old idea.

Verdict: Good

17
Jul
16

Happy (Shitty) Eight Year Anniversary

I’m two days late on my anniversary post this year. In fact, I completely forgot about it. So, I don’t have much of a post this time around. Mostly, I’m amazed that this shitty blog has kept on going for so long. I actually finished medical school and residency, got married, and had a kid in all that time. It’s pretty crazy stuff. The only reason this probably works is my once-per-week posting. If I posted daily, I’d burn out, and this blog would end up in the great trash heap in the sky. As always, I’d like to thank the people who stop by to read and comment regularly. This venture wouldn’t be half as much fun without you. Will Awesomely Shitty make it to year nine? Well, Hollywood will keep making shitty movies, so probably yes.

10
Jul
16

Rubber

There are bad movies, and then there are BAD movies. Rubber, if you couldn’t guess by the title alone, falls in the latter category. It purports to be a satirical take on horror/slasher films. I suppose it is, but it isn’t a good satire, it’s a terrible one. Pretty much every decision they made was a bad one.

The film is about a sentient tire that rolls through the desert, and kills people by exploding their heads with psychic energy. That idea is amusing enough for a one-shot comic or an SNL sketch, not a feature-length film. That’s the problem right there. A punchline can’t be stretched to accommodate an entire movie.

The bulk of the movie is about a cop who investigates the murders, and slowly comes to realize that the tire is the one doing the killing. He and his colleagues attempt to take down the murderous tire. Now, if that had been it, the movie might have been watchable. But it didn’t stop there, it took things further down the rabbit hole of shittiness.

Continue reading ‘Rubber’




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