Don’t think of the title of John Dies at the End as a spoiler in the conventional sense, thought there is a character named John and, well, you know. This movie, written and directed by Don Coscarelli and based on a novel by Jason Pargin (writing under the pseudonym/Cracked.com internet handle David Wong), is not really about John, in any case, and is either entirely spoiler-proof or completely self-spoiling. It lays waste to linear narration, thematic coherence, psychological plausibility and just about everything else you might expect to encounter. It zigs, zags and trips over its own feet and on its own home-brewed hallucinogens. It’s a ridiculous, preposterous, sometimes maddening experience, but also kind of a blast. Continue reading
In the year 2000, America is ruled by an emperor masquerading as the President. With his power, and to preserve that power, he created the Race. Every year, violent role-playing psychopaths are placed behind the wheels of high performance killing machines and sent across the country. Their goal is to run down as many pedestrians as possible, earning points for every person who becomes a screaming pile of road hash. Points for kills are determined by the victim’s age and sex (women are worth ten extra points). The nation gleefully subscribes to this gory event, even embraces it.
Oh me, oh my. The long awaited, much hyped Tom Cruise movie, Oblivion, is finally out. The press machine has been running strong. Is it worth your time to see?
No. Oh sure, it looks fantastic, but it’s an uninspired, routine and utterly boring movie. It’s not even worth a full review, which is why there’s no jump cut. I’ve been incredibly busy this week and without a hesitation, I can say that Oblivion was a waste of my time. There’s no reason to care for any of the characters and it feels like a rejected SyFy television show plot, but rushed. Take that in. The film is just a barren as its landscape. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
There’s a thin line one must walk when remaking a film such as Sam Raimi’s cult classic Evil Dead. It’s understandable. The original Evil Dead was nothing short of a horror phenomenon. A micro-budget shocker about a demonic book that unleashed hell on a group of vacationing teenagers, the film made a mint at the box office globally, spawned two hugely successful sequels, and launched the careers of Raimi and star Bruce Campbell. Of course, you have to remain true to fans of the original series, which has become known for its excessive and often comical gore, as well as plenty of one-liners from Campbell. And then there’s an audience less acquainted with Raimi’s style, coming in expecting a straight modern horror film with cheap jumps and easy scares.
So what’s a filmmaker to do? Fede Alvarez does something a little unexpected, finding inspiration in Raimi’s more recent horror work Drag Me to Hell. I’m serious, and it pretty much works. Continue reading
Let’s be honest: we could use some new fairy tales. After all, passive princesses hardly reflect the modern mores of 21st century audiences. So Snow White and the Huntsman, a solemn but mostly savvy rewrite, is a welcome upgrade. Not a great or fantastic upgrade, but welcome enough. Continue reading
Legendary film critic Roger Ebert passed away today. He was a giant inspiration to me and an incredible part of how and why I look at movies the way that I do. Even though I’ve never met, I will miss the man dearly.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter proved that one joke involving a former president in an action context could not sustain a movie, and now FDR: American Badass, has disproved that notion all over again, with a passion.
Trust me, no one is more surprised that I wrote that sentence than me. The movie is attempting to win every award for low budget insanity ever made. It’s an obvious money grab made in response to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer, but whereas that gem sought to preserve a bit of history, it takes history, injects it with polio, glues 8 pounds of fur to it and lights it on fire.
Once again, no one is more surprised that I wrote that last sentence than me. Continue reading
Who remembers a movie a scant three and a half years ago called GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra? Based off the toyline, it starred Channing Tatum before he was Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon Levitt just after he really became Joseph Gordon Levitt and Marlon Wayans after having still been Marlon Wayans. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t necessarily horrible (though that was also because it came out after the abysmal Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, so it might be a big candidate for “take it with a grain of salt”). The movie was certainly watchable for a dumb afternoon, though there are better action movies out there.
Despite that, like most licensed property movies, the film made a ton of money and a sequel, GI Joe: Retaliation, was made. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was added, which is almost never a bad thing. But then the real craziness happened. Slated for national release in late June, it was pulled just a month before then and given a new release date of March of the following year. The reason given was to add in 3D, but industry rumors were that numerous reshoots for Channing Tatum’s Duke had to be done.
The movie has finally been released. Sort of. I was given a chance to see an early screening of it last night. Was it worth the extended wait? Hit the jump to find out. Continue reading
This past weekend, a friend of mine had a cookout at his house. This is big news, because here in Virginia, you can never be truly sure of what the weather will be like in March. It could 30-some degrees and below freezing with oncoming snow or it could be 80 degrees and humid as could be. Luckily, it was a gorgeous 60 degrees with nary a cloud in the sky. I could not ask for better temperatures in order to drink copious amounts of alcohol and searing the flesh of birds.
March is upon us for another year, which means, as always, I break out the baddies. Because I’m apparently something of a masochist, I’ve decided to see how quickly I can bring down my mood from a good event thanks to the movie I’m watching.