Archive Page 2

18
May
18

The Other Side of the Door, Doctor Strange

The Other Side of the Door
This 2016 horror movie tries to be the Indian version of The Grudge, but is too inept to be scary, and too stupid to be entertaining. Some white people living in India get in a car accident, and the mom’s son dies. A mystical Indian woman (this movie assumes all Indian people are mystical) tells the mom if she spreads the son’s ashes on a temple’s steps at night, she can speak to him one more time. The catch is that they have to talk from opposite sides of a door, and she can’t open the door no matter what. This being a horror movie, and the characters all being idiots, she obviously opens the door and lets her son’s evil spirit back to the land of the living. The son’s spirit terrorizes the family, but it’s mostly just stuff to startle the audience. The film’s low body count prevents the audience from feeling that there is any real threat to be found. The acting is dreadful, and there is a lot of scenery chewing and screaming over ridiculous things. The mystical Indian woman dies, but other mystical Indian men ultimately save the day. In a “twist” ending that is completely hilarious and eye-rolling at the same time, the mom dies, and her husband brings her back from the dead and opens the temple’s door, starting the whole thing over again. If the movie wasn’t so badly acted and directed it could have been decent, but it languished. Setting it in India could have given us an insight into a culture we rarely see in Western cinema, with a unique twist on the horror genre, but it’s all couched in generic mysticism, and the entire point of being set in India is lost. This movie is only good if you need to laugh.
Verdict: Shitty
Doctor Strange
Benedict Cumberbatch dropped his Sherlock Holmes role and donned a doctor’s white coat and a bad American accent for this 2016 film. As far as Marvel movies go, Doctor Strange wasn’t too bad. It is removed from the super-self serious tripe we got with Captain America, and the herky-jerky “everything and the kitchen sink” stuff from The Avengers. Unfortunately, it plays out like every Marvel origin story. Cumberbatch is an egotistical neurogsurgeon (has there ever been a movie doctor that wasn’t egotistical?) who loses the use of his fine motor skills, but replaces them with the ability to conjure magic. Yeah, sure, okay. The villain has the same powers as him, which is something we always see in Marvel origin stories. It’s completely predictable with nary a story-telling stray alley or twist to be found. On the positive side, the visual style is rather unique. The psychedelic magic made it rather a pleasure to watch. There were enough moments of levity sprinkled throughout to keep the movie bouncing forward without becoming a self-parody. Basically, it’s a generic Marvel movie wrapped up in a fresh visual style, and a lead actor who is fun enough, and doesn’t take himself too seriously. I didn’t find myself getting bored with this one, which is more than I can say for most of this studio’s output.
Verdict: Average
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30
Apr
18

Mom and Dad, The Witch

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad is a weird film, and since it stars Nicolas Cage, that’s saying something. It tries to be a hybrid of genres, combining zombie and home-invasion styles to create something new and utterly terrifying. Except it isn’t terrifying in the least. And it isn’t interesting, funny, exciting, or well-acted. It’s a giant turd of a film, and when you watch it you can’t help but wonder how something like this ever got financed. The premise is a mind-control signal is broadcast on TV, and any parent who sees it wants to kill their children. They don’t want to kill other children, just their own. The parents act like fast-running zombies while they try to kill their children. However, the bulk of the film takes place in a house, with the kids trying to escape being killed by their parents. The movie is peppered with flashbacks which don’t work, and go on for far too long. The music is mostly heavy metal, which clashes with the 70s vibe they go for visually. The acting is atrocious, although Cage gives his usual 110% so he can’t really be faulted. It doesn’t offer any explanation for why this happened, any cure for the parents, or even an ending. It just stops mid-sentence, in fact. It’s a slog to get through as it offers little to grab onto, and no characters to identify with. I have read that this is a “black comedy” but there’s no fucking way that was the original intent. The film is utterly bereft of humor. I think the marketers slapped the “black comedy” label on it after it failed at being any other genre. Fuck this movie, what a waste of time.

Verdict: Shitty

The Witch

The Witch has been heralded as a modern horror masterpiece. Horror is a bit of a stretch, and masterpiece isn’t even a part of the equation. It’s a boring, turgid film that will test the patience of any seasoned film-goer. It takes place in colonial America, and an ultra-religious family is kicked out of town to go live in the countryside. While there, strange things begin to happen. Unfortunately, strange does not equate with interesting. Nothing interesting happens at all. The family just goes from scene to scene, fucking around, being boring, praying, and farming. A few times, when it seems like something interesting might happen, the film cuts away so you don’t see it. The filmmakers are so obsessed with building atmosphere, that they do it at the expense of things happening. It become excessively aggravating as you desperately want something, anything to happen, but the film refuses to attempt anything noteworthy. The culmination, with everyone dying, happens in the last five minutes or so. And then, the main actress goes off into the woods to become a bride of Satan. Apparently, the goat was supposed to be Satan or something, but whatever, who gives a shit? A movie this boring cannot be considered scary in the slightest. But as cure for insomnia? Certainly.

Verdict: Shitty

20
Mar
18

Mute, Radius

Mute

When you decide to make a movie about how the Amish are affected by a dystopian future, you have officially reached the bottom of the idea barrel. “But wait, there’s more!” writer-director Duncan Jones cried out. “What if the Amish main character was also mute?!” What follows is a pathetically uninspired fart of a film. The gist is that Alexander Skarsgard plays a mute Amish guy in the neon-lit big city of the future. His girlfriend vanishes, and he tries to find her. In theory, I could get behind a noir film about a mute person trying to perform an investigation. It has obvious roadblocks, and the idea is kind of intriguing. But the movie overreaches in trying to smash that idea together with a dystopian future that ultimately serves no purpose in the story. Nothing much really happens, it meanders slowly, and we quickly stop giving a shit about Skarsgard or his girlfriend. The acting is atrocious with everyone phoning it in (Skarsgard) or turning in caricatures (Paul Rudd). Rudd seems to actively hate his role as he does everything possible to make his acting as cringe-worthy as possible.  The movie strokes Duncan Jones’ ego as it wastes millions of dollars on glossy special effects that serve a poorly-plotted story. Who is this movie for, anyway? Who did Netflix think would like this? Were people clamoring for yet another dystopian movie? Are the Amish subscribing to Netflix now? What the fuck? This movie offers nothing of value to anyone.

Verdict: Shitty

Radius

Radius is a 2017 Canadian film that has a killer premise, the kind of premise you wish you had thought of first: an amnesiac discovers that any living creature that comes within 50 feet of him dies instantly. It’s a neat little sci-fi thriller film which banks too much on the thriller side, and goes too light on the sci-fi angle. It has solid performances, and an excellent mystery. There are problems, though. The biggest problem is the story isn’t robust enough to justify a feature length. It could have been better as an episode of The Twilight Zone or Black Mirror or something. There are several parts where the pacing drags, and nothing happens while minutes just tick away. The other major problem is that everything the characters do, every plot point, is in service of unraveling the mystery (why Liam and Rose have amnesia), and the sci-fi angle gets short shrift. The mystery’s solution is cool once it is revealed, but it is completely disparate from why Liam can’t get within 50 feet of anyone else lest they die. Finally, the conclusion was what happens when you write yourself into a box. There were several better possible endings, but they picked the most obvious and dumbest way to end things. And how did Liam know his solution would work? It’s not like how he ends up would suddenly stop his body from being radioactive, so he solved nothing. Poetic justice could have been served when Rose had him walk into the lake, but the writers were too obtuse to realize that, even though the solution was screaming in their faces. Anyway, Radius is an interesting movie with good acting, but its writing isn’t smart enough to properly service the premise, and it’s light on content.

Verdict: Average

19
Feb
18

Slow West, The Salvation

Slow West

Slow West is a pretty good title for this movie. Boring West would also work. It was helmed by Scottish director John Mclean who barely understands the genre. The film’s languid pacing makes this 84-minute film feel three times as long. The characters are barely characters at all, merely one-dimensional constructs for lurching the plot along incrementally. The only action scene comes at the end of the movie, and the main character retardedly throws himself into a bullet and dies. Michael F. Assbender stars in this, and it was the only reason I gave it a chance. The movie sucks, and even though he’s a good actor, he couldn’t save it. Westerns without a story or at least without a charismatic character are pointless. They thrive on personal drama, punctuated by violence that has come after slowly building suspense. Slow West delivers none of that, only the slowness.

Verdict: Shitty

The Salvation

The Salvation is about a Danish immigrant who travels across the old west. I liked this angle, because there were a lot of immigrants in this period of U.S. history, and until now they have been left out of the story on the silver screen. Mads Mikkelsen plays a former Danish sharpshooter who immigrates with his family, only to have tragedy strike at the hands of ruthless gang members. What follows is a dual tale of revenge, with gang leader Jeffrey Dean Morgan attempting to get revenge on Mikkelsen, and Mikkelsen attempting to get revenge against the entire gang. Morgan is completely over-the-top with his scene chewing, and almost ruins the movie, but manages to keep it reined in enough to not lose it altogether. Mikkelsen is pitch-perfect as a man-on-fire looking for vengeance, but who is also smart enough to know he needs to keep his cool in order to survive. I liked that he prefers a rifle over a revolver, which is a different choice for the genre, and set the action scenes apart from genre standards. Eva Green is underutilized as Morgan’s girlfriend, but she has a great scene at the end. The biggest problem is the movie doesn’t feel like a real, lived-in world. The town feels like a set, and none of the characters are fleshed out except for Mikkelsen. You don’t really get fully absorbed, and always know you are watching a movie. The Salvation has plenty of action, and will satisfy any fan of the genre. It’s worth a look, especially for Mikkelsen’s performance, and the fact that it’s a modern western that isn’t boring.

Verdict: Average

 

01
Feb
18

Bright, Death Note (2017)

Bright

This Netflix original movie comes with an interesting premise: orcs, elves, and magic exist alongside humans in the modern era. Unfortunately, the bland writing does nothing for the concept. It’s a standard buddy-cop movie set in the gritty streets of L.A. But instead of Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, we get Will Smith and an orc played by Joel Edgerton. Every character is hugely racist against orcs, and Smith especially comes across as an insufferable asshole. I guess it’s to help you sympathize with Edgerton, but it’s overboard here. They don’t even trade witty one-liners, it’s just non-stop racism and swearing.

The story is rote. Director David Ayer cribs from his own filmography, bringing out every cop movie cliche in the book from dirty cops (like in Street Kings) to two cops trying to escape gang members in the ghetto (like in End of Watch). Smith and Edgerton stumble across a magic wand, and are constantly running from everyone who wants to get it for themselves. It’s mostly Smith and Edgerton surviving shootouts and car chases, and none of them are inventive or memorable. The entire concept of fantasy characters in a modern setting is irrelevant to the story. Something more should have been done to make this stand out, but writer Max Landis was too busy jacking off from creating a cool concept to be bothered to write a compelling plot.

The acting is borderline atrocious. Smith and Edgerton are fine, but everyone else is hammy as all get-out, with Noomi Rapace turning in one of the most over-the-top performances this side of Nicolas Cage. When the credits finally rolled, I was happy to turn Netflix off, and I have no interest in revisiting this world for the already-announced sequel.

Verdict: Shitty

Death Note (2017)

Death Note exists in a lot of mediums from the original manga, to anime, to several live-action Japanese films, and now a Netflix live-action movie. I’ve experienced every version, and there is no doubt that Neflix’s version is by far the worst. Trying to compress 37 episodes (going by the anime) of material into 100 minutes is an impossible task. Plot lines, world building, characters, important scenes, and character development are all tossed by the wayside. How can you even have character development in such a compressed running time?

Light is changed from a brilliant sociopath with a god complex into an average, angsty teenager with misgivings (somewhat) about what he’s doing. His girlfriend Mia is more of a threat than him, and ends up being a more interesting character. L is portrayed accurately, but even he devolves to shouting at everyone when things go sideways. The things that made the original Death Note great are not to be found here.

The backbone of the anime was the cat-and-mouse game between Light and L. In this film, it is gone, with L figuring out Light is Kira immediately, and trying to ram home the conclusion to his investigation as quickly as possible. The movie is too stupid to even follow its own rules. For example, they mention multiple times that the Death Note can only have one owner at a time, and it can’t change hands unless it is separated from Light by seven days. Then, they have Mia stealing pages and killing people left and right, and even L possibly writing Light’s name down at the end, all while Light was in possession of the book within the seven-day window. For fuck’s sake, the filmmakers don’t have the attention span to follow the rules they established thirty minutes earlier.

The ending tries to include Light’s trademark elaborate machinations, but it comes across more as deus ex machina rather than the workings of a criminal genius. All of this happens amid a swirling shit storm of bad acting, corny dialogue, and poor plotting. The only positive thing I can say was Willem Dafoe was perfect as Ryuk, even though his character was watered down from evil/mischievous to boring/asshole. Worst of all, there was no scene of Light eating the potato chip! Total letdown, utter garbage.

Verdict: Shitty

12
Jan
18

Saga of Tanya the Evil, Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-Chan

Saga of Tanya the Evil

The premise of Saga of Tanya the Evil is so ludicrous that’s it’s borderline genius. Here’s the setup: a modern day salaryman dies by getting run over by a train. In the moment before his death, he is condemned by God for being an atheist. The salaryman tells God to piss off, so God sentences him to life in a parallel universe as a prepubescent girl. This parallel universe is in the midst of a world war, which is partially fought with magic. The salaryman is now Tanya, who is ruthless, and quickly ascends the ranks of the military with her cunning and magical prowess. She also vows to get revenge on God.

This story could only work in anime, but it works fairly well. Watching Tanya worm her way up the military ladder is rather interesting. However, apart from a couple of moments, she doesn’t do much to live up to her ruthless title. The battles are fun and well-animated, and the story goes in unexpected directions. The biggest problem is the show has no ending. It just stops jarringly because they animated all the source material they had. As such, it reaches an unsatisfying conclusion with no showdown between Tanya and God. There are some pretty annoying moe side characters, but they don’t get the bulk of the screentime, and that’s a good thing.

This show is worth a watch at least once for the premise, but ultimately is somewhat unmemorable due to its non-ending. Apparently, there is a sequel film coming out in the near future, but unless it concludes the story, or at least has Tanya battle God, then I don’t see what the point of it will be.

Verdict: Average

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-Chan

It’s no mystery that I’m a huge fan of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. It took the anime world by storm, and remains an anime touchstone. It had wit, charm, fun adventures, and effective drama. Like many, the two seasons and movie were not enough for me. I wanted more. So, I was ready to devour this spin-off series the moment it came out. Unfortunately, it’s a fucking bland, pointless anime.

The show takes place in an alternate universe where Haruhi never formed the SOS Brigade. Yuki is not an alien, she has a crush on Kyon, and she and Ryoko are a part of the literature club. The biggest problem with this series is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAPPENS! It’s 17 episodes long, and it’s just Yuki crushing on Kyon, and Kyon being mostly oblivious until the end. There is a slightly intriguing story arc where Yuki meets another version of herself, which ultimately goes nowhere, and ends with Yuki in pretty much the same place she started.

The only times this show shines is the few moments when Haruhi takes charge, and is her classic, manic self. Unfortunately, those moments are limited, and the series drags most of the time. I don’t know what the fuck they were thinking animating this piece of shit. There are plenty more Haruhi novels they could have animated, and any of them would have been better than this garbage.

Verdict: Shitty

01
Jan
18

Awesomest/Shittiest Things of 2017

It’s that time once again, people. Time to look back at the awesomest and shittiest things of 2017. As always, it remains a struggle to find things for the awesome category, and to keep the shitty category to a minimum. Check it out:

*sorry about the low quality of my “awesome” graphic, Photobucket is now locking me out of my own images, and this is the best I could do*

Awesome:

  1. The #MeToo Movement – Hollywood has been rocked by allegations of sexual harassment. The perpetrators are taking falls. And it’s been happening elsewhere too, like in Congress. This is a great thing. People need to keep their cocks in their pants. It is not difficult. And if you can’t abide by the rules of society, then you deserve what you get.
  2. Doug Jones Defeats Roy Moore – A guy who has prosecuted the KKK defeated a child molester in an Alabama senate race. This should not have even made headlines except for the facts that Donald Trump supported the child molester (no surprise), and that Moore almost won. Apparently, in Alabama, the only thing worse than a child molester is a democrat. At least enough people showed up to the polls to vote for someone who isn’t a despicable piece of shit.
  3. Nintendo Switch – Nintendo’s newest system is both a console and a portable. Plus, their new games like Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey have been critically acclaimed. It looks like Nintendo has gotten their mojo back, and we should have lots of great games in store for us soon.
  4. Florida Man Beats Up ATM – This guy got overpaid by an ATM. It pissed him off so much, he punched the ATM. He got arrested for property damage, but still, you have to hand it to him. He doesn’t take any crap from the machines. When Skynet rises to destroy humanity, this guy is going to be our John Connor. Although why someone would be mad about getting extra money is a mystery…
  5. Elon Musk Going to Mars – Well, at the very least he’s sending his Tesla roadster to Mars. That’s cool, right? Maybe someday he can help make space travel a reality. I can “get my ass to Mars” a la Schwarzenegger in Total Recall, and have sex with hot three-boobed alien babes.

Shitty:

  1. Everything Donald Trump – The greasy Cheeto who wormed his way into the highest office in the U.S. despite having no political or military experience, or even a functioning brain is probably the worst thing to happen to the world this decade. Historians will someday write volumes about how much this dipshit set world progress back. Here is the briefest of lists of terrible things this shit-gargler did this year: lying to the American public about the number of people at his inauguration, firing FBI director James Comey, attempting to obstruct justice in the Russian investigation, passing tax cuts for the super rich because they aren’t already doing well enough, saying that white supremacists are “very fine people,” instituting the unconstitutional muslim travel ban, trying to roll back everything the Obama administration did “just because,” backing out of the Paris climate accord, shrinking the size of national parks to allow for oil drilling, and supporting child molester Roy Moore for a U.S. Senate seat. I could go on, but you get the idea.
  2. United Airlines dragging passenger off plane – Seriously, how terrible is UA anyway? Dragging dude off of planes due to their own fuckup? It was beyond reprehensible. At least that guy got a windfall from those douchebags in a legal settlement. This just proves the airlines are run by corrupt assholes (like most corporations), and they are the worst way to travel.
  3. Las Vegas massacre – It was the worst mass shooting in modern-day American. The saddest part was that it has become so commonplace that we barely even blink anymore. And the worst part is Republicans saying that it still isn’t time to talk about gun control. Apparently, “never” will be the right time for them. The only way they would want to talk about gun control is if Trump suddenly decided it was a good idea, and they’ve got their heads so far up his ass they would have no choice but to agree.
  4. Hurricane season – Hurricanes decimated people, cities, and entire countries this year. I don’t have much to say about this other than these were terrible tragedies, and if there’s any way you can help (i.e. through donations or volunteering), then give it a whirl. A lot of people need our help.
  5. Death of Net Neutrality – I guess Awesomely Shitty won’t have to worry about traffic slowdowns since no one actually reads this site, but a lot of big ones like Netflix are in trouble. Anytime you try to monetize a utility, it turns out horribly. I’m sure losing Net Neutrality will nothing but fill coffers of rich assholes, and piss off everyone else. Never mind that the FCC is now being run by a huge tool, who got paid off by the big companies to kill Net Neutrality. Ugh, what a fucking joke.

Well, another year has come and gone. 2018 is just getting started. I’m sure there will be many more awesome and shitty things happening during the Earth’s long trek around the sun. Let’s hope, no matter what happens, we can ridicule them with reckless abandon.




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