Wednesday, December 25, 2013

CHRISTMAS SPECIAL! Green, and red, and dead all over.

RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE (2010)



Do you carry the holiday cheer in your hearts all year round? I do. So when I hear of an uber violent foreign film with a christmas touch... game on!

So, this movie is from Finland. Don't know much about Finland... its cold. And well, the opening little bit of this film is pretty damn confusing. Also you may ask yourself why does this child not wear pants? I mean, he'll catch his death of cold... (Ya I just had a christmas dinner so Grandma speak is in my head).

Your yultide plot: Father and Son (not the closest since the death of the Mom/Wife) exist in a small town beside a big mountain. A group of diggers are looking for something of value in the mountain. The young boy - through hours of dedication and a healthy fear of Santa Claus - knows that within the mountain lurks the frozen remains of the demon Santa. Sadly, he is powerless to prevent the awakening, and christmas chaos ensues.

So, did we get hold of Bo Beep yet? 
First this movie is played pretty straight. Or perhaps I am just missing Finnish humour... Ya, it could be that. That said, it's not a bad thing. I mean they actually go for the real deal here. If this film had been made in say Britain, the laughs, and black humour would have been dripping off every scene. Here, they know the story is ridiculous, and thats enough, go for broke with it. Sell it hard.

I was in when the little boy hands a demonic "ancient" picture of a demon Santa Claus to his friend and says "The real Santa Claus was totally different. The coca cola one is just a hoax".

But well, it never really goes anywhere. I mean with the intensity of the film, the R rating, the building to something feeling boy howdy are you ready for some good ol' fashion Santa violence. Only it never really comes. It fact this film is pretty much a Pg-13 family type adventure if you eliminate the old man nudity (full nudity I may add). Heck this probably was a kids film in Finland.

I stand here for Mika, the choreographer. 
And that's a problem. Because if this movie had just went for it... balls to the wall terror, and violence, we may have had a new contender to the holiday horror throne. As it is, it just starts, hangs around, and ends. I mean we don't even get any Santa Claus violence. We never actually get to see the demon Santa loosed.

Just a bunch of twisted old men that like to throw pick axes. Who apparently were buried with him? Or did they just show up from the North Pole? Not sure. But man was I let down. I mean really, there is hardly any action here... at all. There is build up. Some amazing directing (this film is beautifully shot), but no bloody climax!

Where are the flying limbs? Bloodshed? Elven violence that we were promised by the enticing opening few minutes? Nowhere to be found. Just a story about a strange boy that ends up proving his worth to everyone when his crazy theory on a Demon Claus comes true. Yup, really this is a boy finds himself tale. Like Monster Squad, or the Goonies, only with a demon Santa and naked retirees.

A real bummer with the fun that seemed to be on it's way...

There is definitely a cult status possibility what with the quality of the production and completely insane ending, but outside of that I don't see this film getting too much attention. I will have no need to watch it again... not even on the days leading up to everyones fav holiday... well the cool ones anyone...

Movie scale 2.5 out 5 stars
Holiday Horror scale 2 out 5 stars

There is better, cheesier, and just plain funner holiday horror out there! For instance the insanity of Goldberg in SANTA"S SLAY. Love that, and clamation.... that is gold Booniacs, gold. My Christmas gift to all! I hopes Santa hooked all you worthy and mostly nice Booniacs and Buckleheads up! Accept for Greenberg, hate that guy...

:)

-CBB

@Tallwhitefox

Monday, December 23, 2013

Alien uprising... in my pants!

ALIEN UPRISING (2012, 2013 over here)



I wanted to like this movie.
I mean I really wanted to. An indie british film version of Independence Day, with a small role from JCVD himself...
Long live the Damme (you've all seen the leg split video - yes you have!)
However, very quickly I realized.... bad. There would only be bad. The biggest problem with this film.... well maybe you're thinking;
Is it the writing?
Well, yes, it's bad, but there a few moments that generated a giggle, so- no, try again.
Is it the acting Boony?
No, there are a few moments of decent acting in there, including the aforementioned Jean Claude van Damme.
Is it the effects?
I mean I am watching a low budget british film... If I spent too much time bitching about the CGI I'm wasting my time.
It is one thing. One thing, above all others: The directing. The directing is so horrible I don't even have words... well scratch that I have words... I mean I'm Chuck Freaking Boonsweet. But if ever a director came close to removing my clever wit from it's ability to respond in the written word, well, this came close.
DI-REC-TORS! Your public at large has expressed a growing dislike/hate with shaky cam. Why.... why do you continue to use it? And this isn't even normal shaking came. This is we fed our camera guy 18 1/2 red bulls, had him spin in circles for 6 minutes. Let him fall down and vomit... and then handed him a camera. Oh and what about the scenes that aren't shaky camera... well most of them are cameras that for some reason tilt. Often leaving the tops of heads cut off, or deciding to move slowly throw a crowd.
Just... the worst I've seen in a very long time...

Say hello to my... No screw it. No point. But u still Rock JCVD!
You know... I got distracted by rant I haven't even gotten into the plot... My bad.
Ok, so let it be known... all of this plot takes about 30 minutes to get into. Why? No reason, I guess all the banter between friends and people who have sex was suppose to make us care about them... What is it them kids say? Epic Fail.
So aliens show up over a town in the UK. A group of friends try to survive the chaos. Um, I think That's it.

You may be wondering (if you are a true Booniac - and really who isn't) why this film isn't a CRAP segment. Well, two reasons... and they barely... barely lifted it out from CRAP level.

Reason #1 - The fight. There is a fight between an officer and the main dude that is simply awesome. Bloody, vicious, and so out of place in the film you will wonder what happen. There's even some cool Guy Richie slow mo going on.
Reason #2 - JCVD. I cant hate him. I love the guy, and he literally towers over the rest of the amateurs in this film. Oh but don't get too hopeful... he don't hang around long....

So you've survived the painful 101 minutes of this film... you're thinking with that plot summary it can't possibly be too complex?

WRONG. Hows this. There's pieces of tech from the area 51 crash that the aliens want... there may be more aliens... they may all look like the same 4 people... um... sometimes they attack each other for no reason. And, they may have taken over the world at the end... yup. Not sure.

So, a last thought. Just a couple of things that bugged me... Ya i know right - More things? Yes. More freaking things. The power gets knocked out.... everywhere. So they have to use candles. So they light a bunch... and then proceed to clearly shoot in a house where all the lights are turned on lol... yup. They somehow missed that. Then. All the watches stop at 12:36... only when the one character is bed later her watch says another time. Oh, and a woman walks down to a kitchen to get water... its night. The lights are out, she has a candle... then 30 secs later they run outside and its dawn.

Hahahaha.

And. Dammit. There is a lot of "and" in here. Whatevs. I have BADD (Blog attention deficit disorder). The whole handling of Van Damme's character goes from... OMG! He might save this film to "Wait, what the F just happen to the only reason to watch this film?" Ohhhh... you vaporized him... for no reason... at all. It was not cool! Not cool!

Sigh.

movie scale 1.5 out of 5 stars
sci-fi fi scale 2 out of 5 stars (1 point of that is for JCVD... just saying)

That is all folks.
I had to watch John Carpenter's STARMAN after this just to wash the shite scifi taste out... :)

- Chuck B. Boonsweet.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hugh Jackman is winning an Oscar.

PRISONERS (2013)



YA.
So I know the future and stuff... have I not mentioned this? Well, you should see how polished my crystal balls are. Like... mirrors. So I tell you here and now, if Hugh "Call me Wolverine" Jackman does not win the Oscar for this film I will be shocked. Yes. I know there are always a multitude of smaller films, with brilliant performances from actors we've never heard of, or once did, but have since forgotten. But... ya. It's going to Hugh.

Alright. Dammit. A paragraph in and I'm already all over the damn place. Let's settle this bitch down yo.

Your plot: One day, two young girls disappear. A strange young man who drives an olden style RV is accused of the kidnapping... but is let off. A Father of one of the girls is obsessed with the young man, convinced he knows where his daughter is. While he goes about his dark path to uncovering the truth, a young Detective Donnie Dar - Wait I mean Jake Gyllenhaal, is trying to put together strange pieces of the puzzle himself. All the while... the time for these two girls is running out...

Detective Code 1 : Overuse of Hair gel leads to clue uncovering
So. Grab the edge of your couch/chair/comfypillow is suspense lately? In unbearable periods of stress, and uncertainty? Well, if you haven't, and you've been missing it... I give you PRISONERS. I mean we are talking out of this world build, and explosions of tension here. The director, a Denis Villeneuve, is poised to take home a golden statue from his own work here. The build up from serene normality to the depths of darkness is amazing. I remember staring at my screen trying to understand why the man would leave his camera on a front yard tree for a minute of screen time, and realized thats the point... everything is slow. Is normal. Is perfectly neighbourly.

Then, piece by piece, he and the screenwriter rape your comfort levels. It is hard to fathom that the man that wrote CONTRABAND wrote this. I mean contraband was as plain, and uninspired, as a drug film could be. I mean by the numbers does even cover it, and yet, for his next film Aaron Guzikowski, dials up one of the most original and intense pieces of adult mystery fiction ever created for the screen.

Comparison - the only thing that I can think of, and that others have highlighted, the film SEVEN. There was a well written, emotional dark, riveting piece of R rated cinema. The kind that left you excited, and drained all at the same time. And, well, I may suggest this film surpasses it on some levels. Not all, but, as far as building the point to a successful, and crowd rocking ending... I have to give an edge to PRISONERS. As far as the rest... too close to call...

 Mmmm... anyone else noticing the couch and sweater match? lol
But. BUT... this is a superbly acted film. Forget my affection for Hugh Jackman's leading role. Jake is just as good as the young and brilliant detective putting the pieces into place. Challenging the audience to beat him to his conclusion... then there is Maria Bello as a grieving mother. Terrence Howard as a best friend, and similarly devastated father. A crazy awesome performance by Paul Dano (seriously this young man is racking up an impressive catalogue)... The supporting cast is excellent. No role goes without purpose, and execution.

Listen, there are thrillers, and then there are the rare experiences that capture lightening in a bottle... or attract fire to the screen, however you wanna look at it. And this is one of them. Writing, acting, directing, and yes... a worthy ending. All of it combining for an experience worth anyones time. I know quite a few people that have seen this film; from good friends, to family, this film comes up and bam! its a firestorm of water cooler chatter.

Is it the best in it's genre? No. But it is the finest to come along in a very, very, long time. One seriously twisted, and complex, journey to the dark side.

Oh, and did I mention Hugh is going to win the Oscar? hahaha... his work here... one scene in particular, a small surrender of will nearing the finale... watch his body. Forget the face, the words, look at how his entire body is committed to the emotion... that's rare folks. He has the physicality to pull it off, and the talent to understand that... We have come a long way from Paperback Hero...

Movie scale 4 out of 5 stars
Thriller scale 4 out of 5 stars

A truly engrossing experience. And at almost 3 hours, I could not believe how fast it seems to go by...

- Chuck B Boonsweet.

@Tallwhitefox.


Monday, December 16, 2013

The Lil' Injin that could

THE LONE RANGER (2013)



Wow, did this flick get hated on. I mean all of you guys float through this here worldwide internet. Peeps tore up the huge budget (200 million I believe) Johnny Depp starring flick. Now I have a theory, and I have backed it up on a few occasions. Not saying this is the best example, but I'm gunna share it here anyway -

After a certain level of success, hollywood, and the universe, decides to hate your bloody guts.

Yup that's my theory. The best example of this is with Kevin Costner. The man made field of dreams - Huge success, Dances with Wolves - Huge success, then a big budget THE POSTMAN and the world just bashed it into the ground. What was a half decent, fun, action romp was sent to audience oblivion. So here we have the whole crew from the Pirates of the carribbean flicks. Same director (Gore Verbinski), producer (The internet sensation himself - Jerry Bruckheimer), and star Johnny Depp. Doing another big budget summer movie... So hate... Was pretty much guaranteed... I think the internet hate collectively decided to banish this film into oblivion before it even hit a screen... question is, is it warranted?

The final stare contest will determine who gets the oats.
The plot: A man in the early part of wild west in the states of America, goes home to find his town in a power struggle over trains, and silver. After having everything taken from him, including his life (more or less), he returns in a leather mask, with a entertaining and strange indian (Depp) by his side. Together they will find the truth behind a band of outlaws, and perhaps, save the west from itself.

This is, in case you didn't know, based on the insanely popular show of the same name from the early/late 50s... 60s... well somewhere in there. Point is, no one really cares about the old show, so why make a movie? Cause you have the money too. Does anyone really love the show enough to tear up all the differences in the plot... (for instance making the stoic indian friend - Tonto, insane, and basically Johnny Depp channelling his Captain Jack Sparrow character)... No I don't think so. And if there are they probably didn't watch the original anyway, just a review pointing out all the differences.

Well den, what about this movie on it's own? Is it a great movie? No. Is it a good movie... maybe.

I will word it like this. The opening 30 minutes with the train... and the last 30 minutes with two trains... are awesome. Some of the funnest, crazziest, popcorn crunchiest, entertainment on screen - period. The problem is the hour and a half of filler in between. Yup, its 2 hours and 30 minutes long, and really for no reason.

Yo, Tonto, I think I'm a-head of you. Get it? What no smile?
There is this whole plot device with Tonto all old, and having a conversation with a young boy... in I think modern day.... ish. Of course the boy is hallucinating on bad popcorn or something, whatever. Point it, it serves no purpose whatsoever. Why is it there? Because some idiot said - Hey, we need a little more comic relief, and Depp screen time. It just distracts from the plot and is honestly a little annoying. Everything else in between the train chaos is well... shit. I mean everyone is really trying here...

Ruth Wilson (from one of my all time fav shows - Luther) is a great actress, but really has nothing to do here. I mean nothing. I don't even think they give her 20 seconds of screen time to mourn her husband... right. Right... because she's actually the romantic interest for most of the men in the film...

Armie Hammer as the title character just seems lost in the material until the action kicks in. Not his fault, he's written as in incompetent priss, when he is suppose to be all superheroic and stuff. And ya its about building him up to that, but by the time they get there... two hours have passed! William Fichtner is great as over the top bad guy. Although, by the half way point you will be looking at the screen going... Seriously you're letting the guy that ate your brother's heart walk... again!? Why would you do that you idiot!!!! Oh, right, to fill up two hours. So ya, a great bad guy gets ridiculously boring by the end, then eclipsed by the much more interesting captain of the soldiers.

And what about the Johnny Depp TONTO. Hmmmm well, I thought he did a good job playing it as he did. It's fun, and crazy, and interesting... the only thing interesting about the middle hour and a half. Though it is worth noting, it is basically Jack Sparrow with a slightly slowly speech pattern. Which I'm ok with.

Again the problem is, Armie is so incompetent, comically so, that Tonto has no straight man to play off.  The other thing about the indian sidekick is that after a fun intro to his people... they more or less just slaughter all of them. Every indian of his tribe massacred.... and they just move right passed it. No - wow we just killed an ENTIRE FREAKING TRIBE in like 34 seconds. No - how are you Tonto? Do you need to sit down. Two and a half hour movie and they manage to spend no time on the one thing they probably should've.

But.

And this is the but. The first half, and last half hour are that damn good. When the Lone Ranger theme kicks in, and he's riding his horse across rough tops, chasing a train... man, it just feels sooooo good. I couldn't help but think - WHERE WAS THIS WHEN I WAS LISTENING TO POINTLESS BANTER? Where was this when Johnny D was screen hogging. Anyway. It's awesome. Creative and let's face it... director Gore is a genius at capturing huge scale CGI/Realworld action scenes. He may have topped anything he did in Pirates here. It's a blast.

The whole subplot with a love interest... really, I guess it needed to be there. Though... and this is a big one, why the hell did everyone in the movie need to find out who the Lone Ranger was? I mean, maybe one bad guy... or the girl (though I always support a secret identity), but everyone... that was kind of pointless, and took away from some of his heroic doings near the end.

Three hour flick... it's a lot of time to invest, but overall I think it's worth it. The action scenes are amazing. There are writing issues sure, and yes, it's a big budget flick that perhaps didn't need to exist... but hey, I was entertained completely for 60 minutes that more than I can say for quite a few movies... In summary. This movie will not win awards, hell its not even great. Its just a decent waste of time... with explosions and stuff.

Movie scale 2.5 out of 5 stars
Action movie scale 3 out of 5 stars.

That damn theme is gunna be stuck in my head ALL WEEK. Dammit.

- Charles Boonsweet

Monday, December 9, 2013

Stalled (2013)

I WOULD NOT GO IN THERE!!!!



Man, there are few things I love more in my favourite genre than a small indie horror zombie flick proving to be a few dentures above the rest.

Tagline "When there's no restroom in hell, the dead shall walk the earth" Hahaha gold.

Hello Booniacs, it is I your giggle inducing, so bad you - shutyamouth, reviewer, mentor, all around fantastic hombre - Chuck B. Boonsweet. So here we have it, the increasing rare, no budget horror flick, with a little heart, a lotta gore, a couple boobs... and well, just a lot of fun.

So if you were to look this film up on the almighty IMDB.com the plot summary is as follows: "A Janitor gets trapped in a women's restroom and encounters an all out attack by a zombie horde". There is surprisingly more than a little bit to it.

Washrooms are for experiencing new and exciting things
First that is the plot, well, most of it. But what makes this film a really good time is the writing. As with any film, on any budget. The writing is key. I had just watched MACHETE KILLS before this flick, and while watching STALLED all I could think is No stars, no money, and still 124 % awesomer than Rodriguez tried so very hard to be. Script is the most important thing, second is directing, and boy do these crazy blood soaked cinema loving small time filmmakers get their moneys worth.

All practical. Yup. Face eating. Body tearing. Toilet bowl head smashing, made by hand, makeup. Ya, all your horror/zombie fans just sat up and started paying attention didn't you. Ya you did. They use the simplicity of the plot to allow for some great creativity. A girl ends up in a far stall, and they can't see each other so the guy draws a face on the wall of his stall, while he talks with her the camera often drifts to this cartoon marker face. A small silly effect that has a surprising sadness, and realness to it. You get invested in her character even though she's a voice and a stall scribble.

Oh, you will be mine donut. You will be mine.
Some of the best creativity has to be launching severed fingers at an alarm box by way of a Bra-slingshot... Ya, let that visual sink in.

There's some very well crafted plot details in the mix. Such as why does this guy's toolbox have no tools, and a few thousand in cash inside? Who is this girl in the other stall, is she real? Will he get out? Can a screw driver hold a zombie head to a stall door? Are their really zombie rats?

Bottomline I think for most fans of smalltime big fun zombie adventures this is right up your alley. Ya its a low budget venture, but the payoff is pretty damn fun. Of course even indie movies have to do the "Screw the hero over" ending nowadays, and I can't just hype the flick up and not mention my disappointment at the final few minutes. It's as if all filmmakers have congregated and decided, "Hey let's never just let a movie end with the audience cheering" What kinda punk B.S. is that? Very frustrating and perhaps no more than in the horror genre.

You all know what I'm talking about. It's getting to the point you should just turn off a film with about a minute and a half left. Seriously. Arg.

But hey, everyone's doing it so maybe I shouldn't hate too much right? The film has it's heart in the right place. Body parts in the right place, and is a damn fine way to pass 84 minutes. I laughed, I cheered, and I nodded in bloodletting approval.

Movie scale 2.5 out of 5 stars
Horror/zombie scale 3.5 out of 5 stars

There have been a few brighter spots on the indie scene hopefully this continues. Although anyone see the trailer for that MIME killer flick? Ya a slasher with invisible weapons. That one... may take us back a couple hahaha.

Also extra Boon points for title recognition  - Ace for Life!

Till Next punks!

-CBB
@Tallwhitefox

Sunday, December 1, 2013

CRAP! (Dec '13)

CRAP! Some times movies are just so bad that by the end your palm is bruised from forehead impact, and your brain has liquified and began to drip, slowly, from your ears. So I Charles. B. Boonsweet have decided to stand up, and take the film loving bullet for you. I give you CRAP! A segment devoted to the silliest, worst, not worth time, films I come across. Sometimes new, sometimes old... but always, always... RANT inducing and remote tossing. The rules of my normal reviews do not apply (there is no film love here!). There may be spoilers, random rage, and hell... I might even invite the filmmakers to a parking lot throw down... we'll see... Enjoy Booniacs!!

DRACULA (2013)



So Booniacs, and Buckleheads it's time for another exciting episode of the rant-tastic, rage-hard, bitch the likes of which few have bitched before... Well, basically, we stumble across a film so bad that it does not require our usual restraint, and respect. A film so bad we reach outside our rules (No major spoilers) and throw it out there... in hopes that you will heed our warnings, and voyage not into the entertainment abyss we have just witnessed...

Plus.
It's a lot of fun.

For the month of December, in the 13th year of this new Millineum I bring you Dario Argento's Dracula. Why is it Dario's Argento's Dracula, well because decades ago Mr. Argento was one of the greatest, and most fantastic horror (or film for that matter) directors to ever grace the small foldy chair on set. The master behind Deep Red, Tenebre, Suspiria, Phenomena, and damn it the list goes on. But like many a directorial Genius he did not fade into the sunset... no he stayed around to do his best to destroy his legacy...

So plot. If you freaking want one. Dracula is a vampire, all powerful. He can transform into wolves, and bats, and bugs, and wait... was that a giant Praying Mantis? Yes it was. Yes... it... was. He can also seduce, memory wipe, hypnotize, and move objects with his mind. So you know, wow, no one could ever stand a chance against the guy really. Anyway, your shit plot continues... Man shows up to help Dracula with something. Dracula sucks his blood. His fiance shows up looking for him, then Dracula decides to suck her blood... but wait... Van Helsing shows up to stop him!

Prop guy: Ran out of fake blood. Found Koolaid pack... 


Ta-Da. The end. You know what, screw it, I could probably wrap this bitch up right there... but no... No i will not... FOR I MUST RANT!

First this film has some of the worst CGI ever. I mean we are talking below Syfy channel here. The wolf transformation is just shameful. There is also a scene where Dracula bitch slaps his large breasted vampire minion across a room... and wait for it - the body that slides across the room is CGI!? Why? I have no freaking idea. Is it that hard to drag someone across the floor? Make it look like they were thrown? I mean they did it in Paranormal Activity and that movie cost like 2.50 $. Le sigh.

There is also a CGI scene later when Dracula shows up as a swarm of bugs. This... this one probably bothered me more than any other effect because, I mean, Dario Argento made Phenomena like 30 years ago... about a girl that controls bugs, and had an entire house swarmed by flies (in a film with a smaller budget!)... and he some how decided to go with absolutely shit "I designed this on a freaking Ipad" effects. What the F is going on Dario? Have you simply forgot everything you ever learned, or did over the years?

People are always leaving their gum in the damndest places. 

Next up... oh lets bitch about music. Sure why not. I mean how often is the music so bad that you get to seriously bitch about it... You ever watched a comedy halloween special on the Disney channel, and the music is all super over the top, you know, for laughs. Well, apparently they sampled the soundtrack for this film. I do not joke. It is that bad. I mean this is a director that changed the idea of what a horror soundtrack could be (The band GOBLIN anyone?) again inexcusable. Then, as if to rub it in your face... he throws in a killer metal song at the end... as the credits rolled all I could think was - Seriously?! Where was this for the whole film.

Am i done? (dramatic pause...) NO I AIN'T DONE. But aside from the cheesy made for TV directing. But aside the horrible acting, writing, lighting (serious, she has one candle, and no electricity how is her whole room lit up?), costumes... I may have been able to let all that slide (No that's a lie) if not for the horrible switch at the end. Dracula goes from - All bad ass, and ready to eat everyone. I mean the guy killed a dude as a Mantis! A freaking mantis. Bastard goes hard. From that to - I'm actually just love starved and want you because you remind me of my true love.

Say Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

Blah, blah. Wait... was this movie suppose to be a comedy? Maybe thats it. I mean anyone who braves this Craptastic voyage... because you obviously love to torture the thinky parts of your brain... watch the part with the big boobed vampire getting staked, and tell me it's not a comedy.

Then the end makes no rational sense: Dracula kills an entire room of people in about 7 seconds earlier in the film. Blood flying everywhere. Even makes a guy shoot himself. But at the end he decides to beat on Van Helsing (the always watchable Rutger Hauger) for 1-2 minutes. Nothing much. Just repeatedly punching him in the face. Ya, turns out, the mantis was just a set up for Dracula's real power... the right cross. Then his love suddenly comes to and points a gun at him.

Do think Dracula;
a) Uses his powers of mind control to tell her to drop the gun
b) Uses his ability to move objects to slap the gun out of her hand
c) Moves super fast, and takes the gun from her
d) Cries like a bitch, reaches out for her begging for her love, and gets his ass shot, and dies...

You guess d)? Ya. Its friggin' D.

An absolute craptacular adventure, from one of the most impactful directors of all time. According to IMDB this movie made 3,085$ opening weekend. Ya. That's a true story. Not saying thats the ultimate fact... but I mean 3000$ hahaha

Thats just embarassing. Oh and Dario's daughter shows up to show her boobs. Thats something I guess. Imagine that call. "Hey honey its Daddy. You mind getting naked for another of my films. I really need something to sell people on this 3D thing"

Oh ya. Its in 3D.

And the crowd goes... actually they go nothing cause the theatre is freaking empty.

movie scale 1.5 out 5 stars
Horror scale 1 out of 5 stars

Dario. Man. This guy is a legend. This Crap! review despite the near orgasmic ranting... hurt me in the horror hallways of my heart...

-Chuck B.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Chiller Classics present: Suspiria!

SUSPIRIA (1977)



Alrighty, here we are Booniacs and Buckleheads, everyones fav retro horror loving segment. Where I, Chuck Boonsweet, or my co-hort in all things bloodshed film - Ken-Ken Bucklesworth, bring light to some cult, or not so much, classic entry in the horror/thriller genre. In Sept we brought you the Chucky Retrospective, which of course brought joy to all the horror kiddies. In October Bucklesworth brough you the monster slasher - Pumpkinhead... So how 2 follow up back 2 back awesomeness... well, there's only really one option... awesomener awesomeness... Yup. I will of course probably be making up more words as we go along...

The classic horror directors of all time. Craven comes to mind (Nightmare on Elm street, Hills have eyes, Scream, and the porno that turned into a real movie - Last house on the left), Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Eaten Alive, Lifeforce, Toolbox murders) and well... the list goes on. But what about movements on other shores that inspired all kinds of future Slasher entries? What about Gaillo? The italian sex filled, blood filled, genre that I (and a few others) could make a strong argument for creating the Slasher genre as what it is today... And perhaps the most prolific of those italian slasher/Gaillo Directors - Dario "Let the blood flow" Argentoooooooooooo!

Phenomena, Deep Red, Tenebre, and the list goes on, or well, some would argue stops shortly after those entries... the POINT is, when the man was on he was one of the greatest of all time. Perhaps more than any other filmmaker you can see his influence on modern cinema. From plot twists, to bloodletting, to camera techniques, and evolutions in soundtrack cohesion that can not be overlooked. And well, most, though perhaps not I, are firmly behind SUSPIRIA as being his masterpiece.

SUSPIRIA is a strange exception in the Horror genre. A film that is loved by the horror fan underground, as much as by the mainstream critics, and film buffs. A true representation of art meeting the most underrated (and timeless) genre of all time.

So, folks, your plot; American moves to a prestigious foreign Ballet academy. Creepiness ensues and she realizes there are sinister forces at work... possibly against her. And (shout out American Horror Story season 3) they might be witches! Dun. Dun. Dunnnnnnnnnn!

Sorry but dammit that is all the plot you need! Why are not here to tell you story shizzie, this is about awesomeness, and why this film is here in the revered - CHILLER CLASSICS! Or well, maybe the plot of this film is that easy to sum up... in... three lines. Haha... whatever, lets move on.


I thought I would take a break from my usual
awesome photo comments to simply call out the use
of colour, and angles in this amazing feature. 

From the very opening you know you are in for something special here. Perhaps his best opening (and I am saying I love PHENOMENA and DEEP RED - future Chiller Classic features? Yup). The subtlety of the music as she exits the airport. The shot of the headlights moving through the trees... this is just in a different league. In fact the opening 5 minutes of this movie showcase the mastery of the camera to which Dario awes nothing to no one. The shift in music, as our lead watches a woman run through the forest. All of this, as a horror fan should have you incredibly interested...

Why... why Dario just decided to ignore all this shit later in his career has baffled many a fan, and critic. Perhaps, it is a simple matter of he forgot, ah dammit. DRACULA 3D is creeping into my mind, ahhhhh... lets stay on track here.

Watching this film on bluray is nipple hardening. A little hard to find (Mine is a region B that forced me to buy a special player), but the good news is a North American release is coming soon. But hey for all my non NA Booniacs out there... damn it get on it! The quality of the transfer is amazing. If you are a hardened horror fan (you know such as me lol) the high def detail of all the practical death well enthral.

Ya, enthral... sue me I've been reading a lot lately...

Moving on. You can make a great argument that the american horror films of the late 70s early 80s were the nexus of creativity and chaos... but I counter that by saying, that Dario, and his Gaillo peers, where doing it in a way unlike anything made on NA shores. They were simply unafraid to go batshit crazy, and treat it like a completely award worthy feature. Does that make sense? Thats as close as I can get...

I mean this is a story about an evil ballet school full of witches, and yet, it manages to be fun, and involving throughout. Think Wes Craven could've pulled that off? I say no. I admit, I am not against debate on the topic... I expect some of you may challenge me on this. But watch the camera work of Craven vs the camera skills of Argento at his prime... two different levels of film-making. Not saying one is better than the other... but its american grind house shock vs Italian Arthouse shock.

Of course, we are talking 4 decade old italian cinema, so you can expect the writing at times to come across as a little forced or silly. And after some American success italian filmmakers were making an effort to make their films more appealing to NA audiences... sometimes thats a good thing, and ah... sometimes not so much. But occasional silliness aside... not effort to wipe the HD grin off my face.

Listen, if you are not a fan of ol skool horror... maybe this won't change your mind. But... it just may. The colours, lighting (including the awesome prism scene), directing, are extraordinary. And, heck if that last 5 minutes isn't damn near perfect. It may be a little slow at times, but in the tradition of the finest gaillo... it is a fun mystery/whodunnit/slasher lol...

Although... did I miss who the green eyed thing was? Ah maybe just a demon. No point in thinking too deep on it...

Movie scale 3.5 out of 5 stars
Classic Horror scale 4.5 out of 5 stars

Oh
How about a teaser... next months Chiller classic will be the oldest one I Chuck Boonsweet have ever done... Yup we going like 70 years back. Prepare for the first ever... black and white CHILLER CLASSIC... (and the crowd goes wild... or you know fist pumps by their PC... Booya!)

-Chuck Boonsweet.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Loving him was like Re-eh-eh-ed Re-eh-eh-ed

RED (2013)



Did I just Taylor Swift reference that title? Yup. And there ain't shit you can do about it. Hey, not my fault that damn blonde is everywhere. Smiling and singing and everything, and looking all tall and goody goody. On a side note how is T-swizzie single? Like, do you ever just really sit down and wonder what has to be wrong with this girl for her to get dumped by a Jonas Brother... hahaha. Ah pop culture. Anyway. Moving on.

So a couple years back a fun flick filled with old timers of all genres hit the scene RED, and had a marginal bit of success (90 million on a 50 million budget). It was fun, fast paced, and so damned packed with talent you could hardly stop yourself from smiling all the way through. They also threw logic (and in one instance physics) out the window in favor of laughs, and cheers. And hey, I'm ok with that.

Let us chat sequel... So the gangs all here (almost) Bruce Willis as the in love, and trying to be normal, Frank Moses. John Malcovich as the crazy and likable Marvin, Hellen Mirren (having probably more fun than she ever has on screen) as the deadly assassin Victoria, and Mary-louise Parker (the ultitate MILF from weeds) as the normal girl Frank fell for, Sarah. What can of trouble can they get into this time around? Well turns out Frank and Marvin were part of a mission years ago to protect a super evil genius that designed the ultimate bomb. Now, it seems the bomb was built, exists and everyone wants it, or wants anyone that knows about it dead. So it looks like retirement will have to wait. Which is a good thing as Sarah has grown tired of the plain, normal life, Frank is giving her. Turns out she's a little bit of a danger whore.

Well... Hellen... thats what you get for making the asian driver joke. 
I said the gang is all here, I lied. Morgan (I am everywhere) Freeman, for some reason does not reprise his role from the first one. Which is missed, his chemistry with some of this legends was great. Though they fill his absence with Catherine Zeta Jones as a former love interest of Frank's, and Anthony Hopkins as the abused (and insane) creator of super weapon. So I guess a Zeta and a Hopkins do equal a Freeman. Well, close anyway.

The story moves along quickly, it's fun, one liner's dropping everywhere. Marvin is a hoot, stepping up for a leading role with Frank, and their friendly/notsofriendly banter should have you grinning the whole way. The twist with Sarah turning out to crave anything but a normal life is great (including a lovely and hilarious end scene). The action however is a little lacking over the first one. Too much cool chatty I dare say.

A new addition Byung-Hun lee (the very entertaining Storm Shadow from the GI JOE movies) as Han, steals most of the best action scenes as the super hitman sent after Frank. He is a natural badass on screen, and I think we will be seeing more of him soon.

At 60 years old, Bruce and John have unique gun fight techniques. 
So you have fun, a great cast, a decent plot, some action... what's wrong? Well there's something, and maybe it's just me. There just never seems to be any real peril here. I mean, this is a film where bad guys aren't really that bad, and badder guys are just misunderstood, and the baddest guys might actually turn out to be friends... and quickly too. There is a part near the end of the second third where a fight occurs. It starts with "I will kill you Frank" (I paraphrase) and ends with "Ok, let's be friends". Its that kind of back and forth that steals away some of the dread, and accomplishment of our heroes.

Something the first one pulled off nicely. I think if you liked the first one, or hey, even if you haven't seen the first one... this is a good time. Not quite as action packed, or cool, as the first one, but maybe a little funnier. And with the cast... you really can't doubt the performances and characters. I just felt they went a little too far into the comedy this time around. Lost some of the grit on the original. Though I should say Helen Mirren's Victoria is still a blast, and manages to have a few of the more vicious moments in the film.

Movie scale 3 out of 5 stars
Action scale 3 out of 5 stars

It's a joke a minute fun time, with a great cast. That perhaps packs a few more laughs than explosions in.

-Chuck Boonsweet

Friday, November 22, 2013

NINJA MOVIE OF THE MONTH (Nov 2013)

IP MAN: THE FINAL FIGHT (2013)



Ok it is that time again foot to face, fist to kiss, fans around the world. The NINJA MOVIE OF THE MONTH. A segment where I, Chuck Boonsweet, or my dashingly daring co-host: Ken K. Bucklesworth, dive into a flick of the kung fu variety that has crossed our paths. Here we declare whether it has inspired us to rise up to challenge evil with only our homemade nunchucks, and chocolate chip ninja stars. Or... has left us as unsatisfied as day old delivery. Enjoy Booniacs and Buckleheads!

Oh God.
That was my deep, bass heavy, voice inside; as I heard the news they were making yet one more movie of IP MAN. Or Yip Man, or whatever. So do you guys know about him? No. Well heck then, here's a little catch up. Turns out this guy was a master of a martial art call Wing Chun. That in itself is cool, but he also happened to be responsible for an early portion of (wait for it...) Bruce freaking Lee's training. Ya that guy. You know the most famous on screen martial artist ever (Honorable mention to Jackie, and my boy Jet). Also he that basically brought martial arts to the mainstream.

Ya. So the out of the blue, peeps decided to make a film based on his life... Appropriately titled IP MAN and it starred the insanely talented Donnie "Should be so damn famous" Yen. And well, the world went nuts for it. Then they made a sequel, and it didn't make much sense... but he was fighting Sammo Hung on a table, so I didn't care. Then they made a prequel that turned out to be AWESOME... then they made a huge artsy kung fu flick about his life... the criminally overrated (as in people who don't like street kung fu love it) GRANDMASTER. And then they said... hey, let's make another... Seriously people... this like becoming the new SAW or POLICE ACADEMY... (hows that for a film reference, booya!)

Dammit, ok. 1 more time. I will master the handshake I swear!
Anyway so your plot. So Ip Man leaves wife and kid, or wharves. Opens kung fu school on roof. Yes it should be Wing Chun school, but hey his subtitled words not mine. So there's evil things happening to Ip Man's friends and family. Of course they are being prosecuted and all that. Or I mean, what is the point of whooping ass (I am aware I should be more caring, and concerned about the blight of others and all that... but this is 5 freaking movies of the same damn story... "sigh"). Anyway there is a friend of Ip Man that becomes a cop, and helps a gangster... and then Ip Man and his students have to come together to take the gangster and his men on. Good thing the Gangster turns out to be a martial arts master himself...

So here I am 40 minutes into this movie and funny thing... NOTHING HAS HAPPENED. No fighting. No cool Ip Man stuff. Just a lot of daytime drama. And his son narrating the film - This is my Dad. This is what my dad did. Things were bad. BLAH BLAH! And Ip Man meets a singer, falls for her, she falls for the master probably 40 years her elder... and ya. Ip Man is married, but whatever they pretty much kick her and his son out of the story. Well except for the voice over...

In case you're wondering. Be prepared for that face for 100 minutes

Then a really cool fight happens with another master. Sweet. It's all one on one... with eager students watching to see who the victor is... through the door... ? Wait a sec. I've seen that before. Ya, that really cool scene of master vs Master in IP MAN #1. What the hell?! Am I suppose to be all - Wow that's just like that other cool movie, this movie is so cool. Cause if I was, plan failed. Because all I am now thinking at this point of the movie is... shit that other movie was so much better.

Ah listen this is a 100 minute flick with I would say rough estimate 7 minutes of action in it. Maybe 7 and a half. Ya. That's a true story. And the last fight makes no real sense, and you're not really invested, because... they set it up so fast and without any build up that you kind of lose the moment. But hey, they do have a shot of the good guys looking all badass in the ran...

So, there's that.

So to recap. Big martial arts film. Almost no martial arts. Showdown is all right but so short its sad. Acting is blah. They make Ip Man out to be an emotionless wall. They drop Bruce Lee in there at the end to remind you - hey that's right this movie is about... ah I don't care.

No more. I am done watching anything based on this man's life. Like Gandhi doesn't even have this many films about him. Freaking Gandhi! And IP Man got 5 in 6 years. Anyway. By this point they have completely shit on the legacy of the first film, and dare I say the pure fun of the original sequel and prequel.

Anthony Wong. Did you learn nothing from watching The Grandmaster ? One expression acting is never good. Ever. Unless you are making an action film, between the years of 1981 and 1994.

Poop.

Movie Scale 1 out of 5 stars
Ninja Movie scale 1 out of 5 stars

There is better out there if you need to fix your Ninja, chop sockey cravings. Hell, check our NMOTH archives


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

On deadly ground

FROZEN GROUND (2013)



So everyone on the planet loved them a little killer, crazy twisty flick called Prisoners and I get it. A-list cast, brilliant director, oscar talk for Hugh "Bub" Jackman... but having just finished watching FROZEN GROUND, I gotta say... how in the sweet kaka did this film fly below the radar?

Ok. Granted, Nicolas cage is hardly the mega million draw he once was... but still.

Deep breath - so, let's chat story before I go all straight critic on your asses. First, true story. As in "Based on actual events". A serial killer of major proportion, Robert Hansen (Played awesomely against type by John Cusack) has been kidnapping and killing women for years.... Until, one day, a young hooker (Vanessa "I was in high school musical" Hudgens) manages to escape and finger him for her kidnap and rape. Of course no one believes her... except for one cop who manages to get the info to the higher up working the case, Nic Cage. Who then realizes he has his man, and now just has to manage to prove it.

So ok let's talk cast here. Nicolas Cage as a likeable and determined man of good, is great, and manages to really sink his teeth into a genuine decent cop. Vanessa as the hooker is bang on here. I am telling you folks; Spring Breakers, now this, forget just shedding her disney image, this girl is announcing herself as a serious actress. The sympathy she manages to pull form the audience, and then shift that into a real caring if she lives, dies, makes it through the film... expertly handled. Also, Dean Norris (Hank from the oh so sad its gone - Breaking Bad) has a nice bit part. Always good to see him on screen.

So you promise, I'll never have to be in another disney movie? 
So this director/writer guy - Scott walker, what of him you ask. Ok, you didn't really ask, because let's be honest here... you had no freaking idea who the hell Scott Walker is. And thats just fine... neither did I, but I do now. At first I was worried, the camera was bouncing all over the place, edits were fast and furious... and then a strange thing happens... I got what he was trying to do: Make you feel like you were witnessing the events, not simply watching the movie about the events. Sound weird? It was, and for my two cents (and we all know how damn valuable Boonsweet cents are) really effective. It takes him a while to get his grove... about 30 minutes in, but once he does, game on!

Little things like leaving the camera in the empty office were you can hear the interrogation in the other room. Setting the camera low at the victims level as Robert parades around her. These little touches pay off... where towards the end the story comes rushing at you. And you feel you have no control... you simply a witness. And you know it's a true story, and true stories don't end like hollywood.... and dammit, yes, I was pretty sucked in here folks.

There was a lot to take in, in a relatively short 105 minute runtime. The shifting from perspectives works most of the time, but it does frustrate on a couple of occasions. I would have liked to see more of Robert Hansen's life. Especial the seemingly stressed relationship with his family. Having looked into the real story a bit after the film, i can tell you yes, liberties were taken... and well, in some points just plain unexplained. The back ground of the prostitution rings, the oil boom, etc, all helpful notes to average audience member in understanding how this place is so full of bad.

What is this photo? Who cares, it's provocative. 


So ya, there are some perhaps could-of-used-them tips left out of the final product. But if I just step back and ask myself if I was entertained. If I was pulled into the suspense, and if I enjoyed my damn self... the answer dear Booniacs is YES!

Do I perhaps still have an unhealthy bromance for the works of Nicolas Cage - YES! Are there those of you that think I am crazy for claiming Vanessa Hudgens may be on her way to be a great actress - YES!

But screw it, you know me folks... from the heart. It's how I roll. This film is a good thriller. Maybe not great, but good. And before anyone goes thinking I am saying it is as good as Prisoners no, I have not watched that film yet, though I am looking forward to it. I am however saying perhaps this film deserved more it got with the barely there theatre release. People have a tendency to dismiss anything with Cage these days, and it's sad... because the man can still rock it given the right material... and this is the right stuff baby!

movie scale 3 out of 5 stars
thriller/serial killer scale 3.5 out of 5 stars

Some white knuckle moments, event if it is had dot follow on occasion. And for the record, I tried very hard to resist posting a pic of Hudgens stripping. So, ya. Tried.

- Chuck Boonsweet

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Finally, a vampire flick with... Thumbnails... wait, what?

BYZANTIUM (2013)



So to all those people that go "Gosh, I am so tired of Vampire flicks, the market is so over saturated with those fangy bastards". Well I suppose you are the same punks that said the zombie genre was over saturated a few years back... and well, look, its still here and going strong just like it has been for 60 plus years. And Vampires, they've been here longer and I suspect they will be here long after most of us have exited stage left.

Of course there are going to be bumps in popularity in the genre. The darkly sexy tales from Anne Rice at her prime. The Dracula bomb as one of the original 3 universal movie monsters of the 30s, 40s, and 50s. The teeny vampires are "so sexy" of the 2000s with the (yes, sigh if you must) Twilight series. Now funny story about the director of this here flick... he is actually responsible for one of the more successful vampire movies of all time - Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire; Neil Jordan.

And the story goes: A Mother (Gemma Arterton) and Daughter (Saoirse Ronan) vampire try to exist in the modern world. The Mother pays their way by playing whore, and the Daughter mopes around wishing she wasn't a Monster and her Mother wasnt a whore. And there's a secret society of Vampire Men after them.

Hello, Mom... Um, had kind of a rough night. 
That's it in a nutshell. And I don't want to talk to much more on the plot basics. I have a lot to cover here, and well, there is a whole lot of structure to the tale of how Momma vampire became one of the immortals and I don't care to go through it all. I want to start with the direction. There is no denying that Neil Jordan set out to bring a class, and art, to a rather simplistic script, that truly does elevate the material. This is a beautiful film. Trust ol'Boony here when I say - Bluray brings this film to life. Gorgeous.

The next thing that elevates the material is the performances by Gemma as the Mother, and Saoirse as the Daughter. Gemma Arterton is climbing my list of incredibly talented actresses who can play unashamedly sexy characters without having it over power them. She is in charge of every scene she is in, and her sexual presence is unreal. I honestly don't think they could've made her boobs look bigger. So I guess you could also say that the director has no shame either.

But hey, aren't Vampire tales suppose to be seductive? Sexy? I think so. The problem with this movie is  I honestly don't feel like I watched a Vampire flick. I mean you guys know me... well, I feel at least a little bit by now. I am all for changing the game, trying something different with the genre... but the problem is here... they change to much at once. First - no fangs. Yup. No fangs. They actually have thumbnails that grow, and puncture and then the drinking of blood.

You just don't know clean, till you're blood shower clean. 
Two. Nothing really happens. It's well acted, and there's drama. But really if you replace the people tracking them with say... an angry Ex husband... nothing would really have to change. And I think that's a problem. I know they are trying to do something different here. But it's just boring at times... its all relationship, and emotional, and well, lacking vampire shit.

I mean they are basically normal people with a thumbnail that grows... Come on! What the hell. No cool vamp powers. No cool vampire effects. They give you a little taste towards the end, but they deny you any real action, and that is a problem. Because at the end of the day this film claims to be a bold, R rated, vampire flick. And to live up to that, you gotta give me a little vamp action. The showdown )if we can call it that, is just a lot of whining and emotion crap. No real go time. No real "Hey look what Vampires can do". Just more daytime drama.

There are some beautiful moments here. The waterfalls running red with blood. The sweet conversation with the old man. The way the daughter lives through her memories. This is a lovely piece of Arthouse Vampire film-making.

For me however, there just wasn't enough to warrant recommending this to a horror fan. Or to a Vampire fan. If you are in the mood to watch a well made drama of a Mother and Daughters quest to survive the oppression of men, and the modern world, well, hey, this might be right up your alley. And if you simply want to bask in the sexiness that is Gemma A, or the directing talents of Jordan... hey its worth a view.

But as a whole, a slow moving experiment in the Vampire Mythos, without a major pay off is just not for me. The other issue, yes, you may have guessed it already, ENDING... or lack there of. Another, let's leave it on a note where we can make a sequel should this indie project gain a fanbase. Hey, maybe I'm wrong ... it happens... I admit it. And a few people have stood up to say this is the best modern Vampire film in years putting it alongside Let me in. I liked Let me in and I get the comparison, but to me they are not in the same class. This one is a few grades behind.

Movie scale 3 out of 5 stars
Vampire/Horror film 2.5 out of 5 stars

It's pretty. And sexy. And slow. And unexciting.

I would totally take a dip with Gemma in the BloodFall (my name for the red water fall, I like it)... and drink from the bosom of her immortality. See, I can make dirty sound artsy too :)

Chuck B out.

Rood, Crood, attitood....

THE CROODS (2013)



Ok. I like horror, and blood, and boobs... for I am BOONSWEET! But dammit, really, at my warm squishy core; I like all kinds of stuff. And at that "I was a child once" part of my squishy parts (ya ok this squishy thing is going a lil longer than I thought) I love me some animation.

From classics like The Rescuers, Fern Gully, Emperor's New groove... To the modern Pixar exeprience, I still love me a good animated yarn. Lately, Dreamworks has really stepped up their We wanna beat Disney game. KUNG FU PANDA, and, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, are up there as some of my favs I've experienced as a mostly grown ass man.

So this brings us to this here review. The fact that I need to mix it up a bit, I mean I don't know how much violence I can pack in me brain before I start to lose my sweet lovable self... (And I'll just wait for the crowd to stop laughing at that one). So with that in mind, gunna get a few more other genres in the mix here, get back to Boonsweet & Bucklesworth's world travelled, genre blasting, film love... and hate.

Your plot. A family of cavemen, The croods (title drop), have lived their life in constant fear of impending death and doom. The eldest (Emma Stone) is at odds with the old, and funless, ways of her over protective Father (Nic "The ladies call him caveman" Cage). One night she follows a flickering light out from the cave. She finds a young man, Guy (Ryan Reynolds) who has invented fire. And is also aware the world is ending... and so her isolated, unevolved, and somewhat fearful, family must leave what they know... and discover... the world beyond there small cave...

Can we just take a minute and bask in that voice talent. Deep breath. Yay. It is legit, and it shows. Nic Cage as the Father is gold. And I cannot move on without a little love tossed towards Ryan Reynolds as Guy... very impressive.

So she says "what're you slow?" And I say, no, baby, I'm Sloth.
The story arch is very cool, I was not expecting them to make the Croods, well, so cavemanish. They are simple people. Not so much stupid, they just don't know anything beyond their cave. Watching their simpler ways meeting with Guy's ideas makes for some truly entertaining moments... I actually laughed out loud (by myself, on my couch... what? Don't judge me dangit) watching the Croods introduction to FIRE. Watching them try to pet it, and feed it... gold.

The other plot device that makes for a great time is how strong the Croods are. They are used to solving problems with fists, and rock throwing ... so learning to use their "Brain" (Guys word for where ideas come from, gosh what are the odds?) is a rewarding experience.

Ok so there are laughs, and a decent family message in here for the kiddies, and the kid in ... ALL of us (and the audience "Awwwwwwww"s) what about the animation? Well, dreamworks is no "Caveman" in the effects department. Ah, alright, that was a lil weak, but you get my point... it's pretty. They just go for crazy, and bright, and cool, and hey... I, Chuck B. Boonsweet, approve. They definitely borrowed from Avatar: The last airbender (the show not the movie people). All the animals are mixes of creatures... is that historically accurate? No. Who cares, elephant rats are the bestest.

Ok everyone, say - Primordial Ooooooooze
Overall, a really fun ride here folks. I was a little sad when all the sappy "Time to learn today's lesson" crap hit. I get it, and ya, the kids get it... but it was just such crazy fun, wanted that to continue. Animation has a long history of comedic relief animal sidekicks and Guy's "Belt" (a sloth) is a welcomed addition to those ranks.

Lastly the direction is damn good. I have to give props where props are due. Chris Sanders (the man behind one of my all time favs - Lilo & Stitch) and Kirk De Micco (the man who helmed the indie animated flick - Space Chimps) do a great job cranking up the action, and basking in the 3rd dimension of awesome.

Is it up there with Pixar's best? Maybe not, but Dreamworks is really starting to find there place in the market. And if you look at their worldwide box office... well, maybe the divide is not so great. This is crowd pleasing, kids will be clapping, animated fun. No over thinking, no deep social message, just the heart in the right place (surprisingly so actually, the sly bastards got me a wee bit towards the end, I ain't gunna lie)... and things that make you smile.

You can ask questions like - Where did he get fire? How does he know stuff? Why are there Piranha birds? Sure... but where's the fun in that?

Movie scale 3 out 5 stars
Animated scale 3.5 out of 5 stars

By yaself... with kiddies (yours, not ones you borrowed)... with a cartoon loving better half... whatever the reason. I think there's enough here to warrant ya time, and your 3d specs, if you are lucky enough to have a super sweet digital set up... or a friend with one...

Ok, ok, last thought promise... shout out to the composer... I know these kids movies can be a little bit over-soundtracked sometimes. Or just filled with catchy pop crap. But this one... is actually kinda cool, and epicy at moments. Is epicy a word? No. Shame on you websters. So, good on you Alan Silvestri.

Charles "Ladies love the Caveman" Boonsweet saying "Grrrr, ooooo, ooot, hah, grrr"... caveman for "Till next Booniacs"



Friday, November 1, 2013

Plan A: Arnold and Sly - beat everyone up.

ESCAPE PLAN (2013)



How many really fun action films are there nowadays? I ain't talking superhero filled 300 million dollar budgets here... I'm talking good old fashioned bullets making swiss cheese outta the scenery. Not that many. Sure we get the FAST films, and the odd entry like Olympus has Fallen or Dredd but really, there is not that much out there. It would seem the movie companies are more than happy to risk hundreds of millions of dollars on new teen book to big screen. Oh and then they fail, and hollywood starts complaining about downloads and basically anything except it being their own damn fault for ignoring that 20-40 million dollar genre films continually bring in tonnes of coin... well... more often than not...

Well. Here you go. A grade B action adventure, with a very big plus - Arnold "The terminator" himself, and Sly Stallone. Two of the big three from the glory days in one picture... starring... finally. I mean too bad it came twenty years late... but whatevs... I'm alive, they're alive, all good I guess.

Your plot dear Booniacs... Sly plays Ray Breslin, who is a master escape artist. He is hired by the state to test their best prisons, and in escaping, show them the flaws. So someone has built a super prison and they wish to make sure it's as super as they think. They offer Ray some fat cash, and he agrees. Then, the next day he is grabbed off the street, and wakes up in this super prison. His safe word doesn't work, it looks like he was set up... and he will have to buddy up with ARNOLD! to break out, and defeat the evil warden.

Is it just me Jim, or is the service at this restaurant horrid... and creepy?

So lots of things blow up. Bad guys are bad. Tuff guys beat up tuff guys, and Jim "Don't call me Jesus" Caviezel, chews scenery as the evil warden. Do you need more? Are you not excited? Has your man (or woman) juice not started to warm and flow with greater speed? If not then this film is probably not for you.

However if you have ever cheered while watching Arnold mow down nameless drug dealers, and dirty cops... or lifted your arms in the air celebrating Stallone's triumph over mountain side terrorists. Then this here will have you smiling ear to ear.

First let me point out a few of the weaker points. One... plot. I mean, this guy just gets in the predicament way to stupid and easily. Hard to believe he's as uber smart as he is suppose to be. The man can figure out how to break out of a max jail with toilet paper and the plastic sheet off a milk carton, buuuuuuut when asked to be shipped to an unknown, secret, super prison, his answer... is - sure, kidnap me here.

Say what? Anyway. Moving on, Ray Breslin's super team of assistants (one of whom is 50 cent... ya... that guy. I guess Gangsta rap is dead so he's gotta do something) is pretty much useless. I'm not even sure why they are in the movie. I mean really... maybe to make it look like Breslin has a love life... and a friend... but they are useless. They lose Ray in like two minutes and spend the rest of the film trying to locate him... unsuccessfully.

Arnold - "Yes. Ok. We are both very sawy we took so damn long"


So to recap. Some plot holes, and a useless supporting cast... Although Sam Neill as the conflicted doctor was a nice touch. Though, he really didn't have any sort of back story to explain his all goody goody in a sea of bad guys thing. I mean, I think they could pick a decent heartless doctor for their facility.

Other than that, we are green light go for good times. One of the coolest parts of the film is a strong Muslim character. With a strong faith. That's right; after years of slaughtering endless parades of middle eastern, and such peeps, in the name of defending america... they decide to include a 3 dimensional and heroic Muslim in their film. I thought it was very cool. A welcomed touch if you will.

The action is a blast, the one liners are great, and Stallone and Arnold have a blast working together. It really makes you sad these folks didn't get together sooner. But then I guess there was enough action pie to go around. Unlike nowadays when it seems you gotta pack two, three, 4 stars in to draw the crowds. But thats the price for blasting the paying public with sub par action flicks... Transporter 2 and 3 anyone?

This (much like Arnold's LAST STAND) is a great time. I actually saw this one with quite the diverse group and they had a blast with it. Blood flying, lots of bass boosted punches thrown... and a really fun, buddy action flick. With a little mystery, and some fun "Oh no will they get caught" moments.

As far as action goes... you won't find much to hate here. Yes they are getting old, but they both have a ton of charisma. It really makes me excited for this here next Rambo I keep hearing about.

Stay strong Booniacs! The mindless action flick lives!

movie scale 3 out of 5 stars
Action movie scale 3.5 out of 5 stars

This flick was originally gunna be called THE TOMB after watching the flick... think I kinda liked the original title. Just my two and a half cents....

Later Punks

-CBB

Monday, October 28, 2013

There will no forgiving this...

ONLY GOD FORGIVES (2013)



Wow.
So you have a brilliant writer/director, Nicolas Winding Refn (the would be heir to genius throne creator of Drive, Bronson, Valhalla Rising), a great actor, Ryan Gosling, a killer story about gang violence, and dirty cop goings on in Thailand. I mean what could go wrong?

How about everything. Yup, everything. Oh, Booniacs, buckle up kiddies we are going in a deep dark rant here... I mean, you might wanna hydrate. Seat ya damn selves.

Plot: White kids (Gosling being one of em), two brothers, run a drug business in Thailand for their Mom (and the mob family). A cop who used to be a thai fighter, now runs the whole scene in Thailand. Gosling aka Julian, his brother is all kinds of twisted and decides, seemingly for no reason, to kill and rape a young Thai prostitute. The cop then lets the father of the girl brutally kill Julian's brother. Why? Who knows. He's twisted I guess. Anyway, Mommy shows up from america and wants justice... thereby leading to an unavoidable crossing of paths (showdown) between her forces and that of the Thai cop.

Ok. Now, before I start I wanna make a few... Little, tiny, things clear. This is a near awe inspiring film. If you appreciate the art of film making, yet again, jaw dropping. The camera work, lighting, acting, colors, tone, all of it, brilliant. You may have one of the more intriguing Villain, would be hero, arcs ever created. Especially considering the 90 minute run time.

So, I understand that there are gunna be art house addicts, and all kinds of other film freaks out there talking about how "Daring" and "original" and Blah blah, this film is. And despite the people that have walked out of this film during film festivals, those that remained, surely left saying "My those people are not true film fans. They have lost their way". Well, if you have been following me since I was chaotically birthed into the blog-a-sphere, then you know a few things about me.

1. I like a Good showdown.
2. I love original and daring film, as long as it pays off in the end.
3. An ending. It doesnt matter how good the film is. The ending is the most important part. Period. No excuses.
And 4. I am dangerously addicted to hot sauce, and spicy foods.

Ok. 4 is not really important to this review... Mmmmm hot sauce.... Ok... 1+2. This movie actually stole both of those things from me. I was in folks. From the first slow moving camera shot, to the weird twisted nature of the narrative, Charles B. Boonsweet was IN! And as it began to move towards the end, in my mind I was begging it... Begging this supposed genius director to just please... remember drive... remember the joy a solid ending brings an audience... Remember me, Boonsweet. But NO!
Nooooo he rips it all away.

Oh. God. So I just pretty much do this face? For 90 min? Ok. I can do that.


When the showdown between Julian and evil cop comes (and believe me it is set up well - the "Want to fight" line is gold), I was on the edge of my seat and den- its a one way whomping, and for no apparent reason. Then, well, there appears to be a second showdown on the way... but no, we get denied that in favor of slow motion, nonsense, and a Karaoke.

The supporting characters are actually very interesting. The Thai girl that Julian actually cares about. His twisted mother, heck the Thai Cop is fun as hell. But here's my Point: WHY PUT ALL THAT EFFORT INTO BUILDING A CLIMAX IF YOU DON'T WANT ONE?! Oh right, its because this is an art house director. And after Drive, he was bound and determined to crap all over his audience to show them just how brilliant he is.

Ha. Ha.

Good call.

This actually reminded me of how I felt after another little indie WTF flick - Holy Motors which I was not very kind too. Because Damn I loved it, and I love ONLY GOD FORGIVES, and they both just decided to give up on ending the story in any kind of way that was beautiful, or wonderful, or fantastic... no they opted to be all I made a movie, and I'm smarter than you - worship my genius. You don't understand the ending because its way deeper than the mainstream. 

After this film I am serious doubting I will ever watch another film directed by this guy. Well maybe directed but certainly not written by. This and Valhalla Rising have proved that this guy is something close to amazing, but so caught up in his own art that he forgets others be watching. I know, the old argument - Art is whatever the Artist creates. No one can Judge art. Well, I beg to differ. Opinions, are always valid. And this website is just mine.

No seriously... I think it will look better on you. 

Like I said, many folks will support this film, but to me it falls sooooooo far from DRIVE I can't imagine anything worthwhile coming from this source for a bit.

Ahhhhh I'm just so damn frustrated. This film is amazing, and then after the fight, just straight down... Whooooooop. If the last 20 minutes of this film had paid off, man, we may have been calling this a straight master piece.

This Director Mister Winding Refn has had the benefit of working with some truly amazing actors, and actresses. Really putting life in his films, with the addition of his awesome work on camera, its just a shame he didn't step up and make a damn stand up cheer (or at least fist pump) ending. But hey, some people are just determined that part of art is never being fully accepted. Taking rejection as a sign of triumph. Well... congratulations sir... congrats.

A couple of you might be wondering why this isn't a CRAP! review. Well, as you can see, I loved much about the film, except the ending. The film is just way to well made, and stylized, to be anything close to CRAP! worthy. In this case... I am a reviewer scorned... deeply scared, and ranting, because he loved....

Art does not exempt plot. Or climax. Or structure.

Movie scale 2 out 5 stars
WTF/ART movie scale 2.5 out 5 stars

I am so bummed right now. Prob take me a bit to get the stain of this one out of my head.

-Boonsweet.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Chiller Classics Presents: Pumpkinhead (1988)



Hello and welcome to another session of Chiller Classics. Today, as you probably figured out, I'll be talking a little about a movie that I watched recently for the first time in over a decade, Pumpkinhead.  It was on my "to watch" list for quite a long time, but there was always a reason that I never got around to watching it, be it another movie took precedence or just life in it's many distracting forms.  But that is finally a thing of the past now.  So allow me to take you back to one of the best decades ever for horror, the 80s.

The plot is very simple: One day Ed Harley (Lance Henriksen) goes to mind his store with his son Billy.  While there, five teens from the city drop in to stock up on some food for their cabin and do a little dirt-biking in the area while parked.  Harley takes off to deliver something to one of his customers and leaves Billy to mind the store.  Billy's dog runs out the door to chase after the dirt bikes, with Billy making chase.  He accidentally gets smashed by one of the dirt bikes ridden by teen Joel, and Joel panics and drives off.  The rest of the teens go to their cabin to call for help, except for Joel's brother who stays behind with Billy.

Even Pumpkinhead can't resist taking selfies.


Harley returns to find Billy on the ground, and drives off with him.  Sadly, Billy later dies in Harley's arms. Devastated by this, Harley takes action.  He has heard of an old woman who lives in the nearby hills who has strange powers and tries to get info as to her exact whereabouts. Upon getting the info, Harley immediately makes his way there.  Unfortunately she is unable to bring Billy back to life.  However, she offers an alternative plan: to summon a revenge-taking demon called Pumpkinhead to find and punish the teens responsible for the death of Harley's son.  Harley goes through with it, but because he is linked to the demon by blood, he psychically sees and feels the suffering that the demon causes.  Unable to bear it any longer, he goes out to try and stop the destruction he has started.

Pumpkinhead is a gold mine of 80's horror and cheese.  Admittedly, there are a few issues revolving mainly around the talent level of the supporting cast, as well as some weak dialogue.  But let's face it, you're only going into the movie to see Lance Henriksen and the Pumpkinhead demon dishing out payback to some dumb city kids.

Ed Harley's hatred of pitchforks was not unfounded.
Even though effects legend Stan Winston directed Pumpkinhead (Winston's directorial debut I might add), he didn't actually do the effects this time around, instead delegating the responsibility to a team of effects artists.  And an incredible job they did.  I personally love how Pumpkinhead looks, and I thought it was a nice touch that Pumpkinhead's face eventually altered shape to gradually take the likeness of Harley's face. Despite the premise of a demon remorselessly killing off people, the movie is not nearly as gore-filled as you might expect it to be going in.  But it still delivered enough to satisfy.

Admittedly, I never really got around to seeing the sequels after all this time.  I do recall one of the sequels being on TV once, and I also recall me turning it off after seeing that whoever was responsible for that particular sequel thought it would be a great idea to go with a CGI Pumpkinhead for the part I watched.  A VERY shitty looking CGI Pumpkinhead I might add.  Maybe sometime if I feel like punishing myself for something I'll dip into the sequels and see what comes of it.  For now though, I'm still feeling that happy feeling after seeing the classic original, and I urge you to make it a part of your Halloween watching quota.

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Horror Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

- Ken Bucklesworth.

@KenBucklesworth, @BoonsBuckles