Monday, January 28, 2013

CRAP! Jan ' 12

So CRAP! is still a newer segment where we watch a film that unfortunately, does not allow us to maintain our usually level of film respect and love. A film that by all accounts and purposes is such an utter waste of time that we have to rant... reach out to the masses and hopefully prevent the you -aforementioned masses - from indulging in the horrible collage of disappointment and confusion... in short... we suffered through it so you don't have to...

BRANDED (2012)

Someone lied to me.
Some punk, and the punks that worked for him, and the punks that he works for... all of them lied to me.
I saw the trailer for this film.
Please, you know what, I will wait here... watch it...

Editors note: Please take the next 2 minutes and 29 seconds to review the aforementioned trailer... also known as the deep thick of endless lies. Thank you.

Ok so if you watched that...
You now, more than likely, feel how I felt. Well, that looks interesting. All super dark, and twisted, and all about people messing with your mind, and one guy rising up against the evil corporation. Etc, etc...
And you know what... its all LIES!
Whoever did this trailer deserved a trophy of some kind... maybe several. Or at least a cookie. Not because he lied, no, no one deserves a cookie for lying... but because - How is the sweet hell he was able to create a trailer like that, from a film this... messed up, is honestly, amazing.

Obviously the film company saw this film and just stared at the screen for several minutes going Um, what was that. Then called up someone who I can only imagine is a close relation of Gandalf's and said, we need you to make people want to see this. Help us.

So here is the real plot.
Guy grows up to help marketing company take over Russia. He is also suppose to be spying on people. He gets really big, is a marketing Genius. Then he meets a girl, they fall in love. His boss screws him over. Then someone has a heart attack while they are arguing and he moves out into the country to leave it all behind. He then has a vision of sacrificing a red cow that will allow him to see the truth within the world. He does. He then makes it his mission to disassemble the art of advertising. Starting with the evil "Burger" corporation that has tricked Russia into wanting to be fat.

So you see that killer looking poster at the start of the segment? Here's how it looks in film...

While all that is happening, you will be treated to -
- Quite possibly the worst narration ever heard... in a film that it seems to take itself seriously.
-The legendary Max Von Sydow - who I think is on mount Olympus where he influences world trends um... just does a lot of really weird things.
-Brands that literally make war - before you go thinking it is... its not as cool as it sounds. And really, without covering too much more, a cow face in the sky speaking.

There is some real talent in this film. I'm not sure why, or how.

You know there might be some people out there that say this film has a strong message about the over saturation of our minds by ads, subliminal or otherwise, and our need as a society to put a stop to it. To those people I say this... Really? You think so? You think any person alive could miss that message. I have no problems with a message... and there are a few moments in there when I almost cared about the characters, or message... but just moments and they were lost while watching a man stare at a cow for 30 secs as it turns red.

I would be curious if the narration was even in the original script or if the studio begged to add something to help the viewer understand what the heck is happening. Not only is it hilariously out of place. But the actors have a way of staring into space, or standing still as it happens, almost like the off stage narration of a play.

The only thing that would have made this film enjoyable was if they actually played it for laughs. Maybe a certain large chinned hero in the lead lol... it may have worked then.

Movie scale 1.5 out of 5 stars
(I don't even know what genre to put here. I guess I'll go with the trailer's suggestion)
Sci-fi movie scale 1out of 5 stars

I wonder if maybe the trailer was meant to make us think the movie was good as a further message about the power of advertising...
I hope not. I really, really hope not. There done. Don't want to talk about the horrid lies anymore.
I could go for a burger...

- Chuck B.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


TAI CHI 0 (2012)

I want to apologize for the delay in relating movie awesomeness to all you Booniacs and Buckleheads. There has been a lot going on, moving up ladders here and there, and more importantly trying to get  this Zombie book off the ground. But, film, is always my heart. Or at least the nipple over my heart, so I say that is still pretty damn important. I mean, imagine if you didn't have a left nipple....

Somewhere out there... right now, there is a man with out a left nipple nodding, and wiping a tear from his eye...

Anyway, ninjas.
These are all qualifications of a NINJA MOVIE OF THE MONTH, but more importantly it just has to be foot to face cool.

I want to start by saying this film has no ninjas... but it does have a ton of flying feet, giant Jules Verne machines, and glowing Tai-Chi power eyes, so I think that counts.

So your story is a young boy, Yang-Lu is born with a horn/giantpimple/tumor on his head. He discovers that when it is pressed his eyes go all glowy and he whoops ass. His mother dies and he promises her as she passes he will master martial arts.Years go by, he gets turned into a super weapon by a general guy. But, after a battle, while in the hospital, he finds out that it he keeps pressing his head horn and kicking people in the face he will die. The doctor tells him he must learn the way of peace from an ancient Tai Chi village. He sets off to the village. There he learns outsiders are shunned, but he doesn't give up... insert an evil rail road company and their super machines of doom... and a side plot with a beautiful local who was in love with the rail road head engineer but now just wants to protect her village...

This film is (as described by my reviewing co-hort while watching) - Scott pilgrim meets a Jet Li flick. It is absolute cult American film making, with a typical Asian foot to evil face storyline. If that doesn't peak your interest, well, you may be reading the wrong review lol. This flick rocked. It was so freaking weird and off the wall. You'll see unexpected animated sequences, Health bars pop up over heads with "Fight" echoing through your stereo, vegetable showdowns, upside down recluse masters.... yup this movie has it all... even kung fu kids. I can't take the time to tell you all the cool peeps in this film... but the movie does. Every time a new actor walks on screen they take the time to tell you who they are - I thought it was a nice touch. A little girl walks on screen and calls a dude out and then up pops "So and so, martial arts prodigy from this school". Pretty cool. Also, the Asian female lead is a star of some kind that goes by "angel baby" in real life?

To top off all that cool, the fights are great... and why wouldn't they be, as they are choreographed by the man - Sammo Hung - (insert applause)

This is one Asian film that really got the American sense of humor right, at least with this particular genre. Did I mention no whining Asian kid side kicks? Boooooya.

This film has its flaws, having an annoying opened ending due to recently released sequel, being one of them. And yes, at times, it is too weird for it's own good... But I was in for the ride after the fight. There was a scene where the hero uses a bo-staff like a slingshot... so sweet.

I think you guys will dig. If chop-sockey is your thang...

Ninja movie scale 3 out 5 stars
Movie scale 3 out of five stars.

-Chuck B. Boonsweet.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chiller Classics Presents: Maniac (1980)

Wow, another month has come and gone already.  It seems like yesterday I reviewed Black Christmas.  This time around, in keeping with the recent remake of Maniac, I thought I'd spend this time talking about the original from 1980.

Ah, the 80's.  A time of longer cuts between dialogue, little to no shaky cam, and no overuse of CGI.  Maniac was made in a good time.  The story is as such: Frank Zito is the landlord of an apartment complex.  His likes include mannequins, heavy breathing and moaning, and killing women and scalping them so his collection of mannequins can have the hair they've always wanted.  He was raised by an abusive mother, who died in a car accident, leaving Frank an orphan.  After a number of women die at his hands, one day during a visit to a park he gets his picture taken by a photographer named Anna.  He finds out who she is and visits her home.  Instead of killing her he actually gets close to her, even going on a date or two.  But his dark, twisted side is still lurking in his psychotic mind.  What happens next?  You'll have to find out for yourself.

After 30+ years, the original Maniac still holds up to me as one of the best slasher flicks ever made.  Joe Spinell adds so much creepiness to the character of Frank, it finds few equals; his heavy breathing, moaning, random bouts of crying, and inner monologues and dialogue with his mannequins.  And yet when he befriends Anna, he shows a very convincing charm and confidence which really adds to the depth of the character.  Not many slasher flicks out there have shared such an inside look into the mind frame and life of a serial killer.  Also, the one and only Tom Savini did the makeup and special effects, and also had a small part in it.  Which leads to my next compliment for the kills.  The kills are yet another example of Savini's skills shining, particularly the 'shotgun to the head' scene you'll definitely have to see.  As well, one of the very last scenes in the movie is both gory and disturbing in it's own way.

Unlike many movies from around that time, Maniac doesn't waste time raising the body count.  And in-between kills, you get to look into his window of madness, which makes the slow parts rather fascinating.  If you're going to watch this movie, you should be warned.  The story itself is nothing special.  By that I mean there are no complex plots or really surprising twists.  But you should also remember that this flick came out before the cliches of slasher flicks became prevalent.  So if you see parts that make you want to say "oh, I've seen that before", keep in mind that back then, it hasn't really been done much at all.  I reckon you'll see a review for the Maniac remake here down the road.  But I felt the original needed to be talked about first.

Movie rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Slasher rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

-Ken B. is a maniac, maniac on the floor.

Twitter:  @BoonsBuckles, @KenBucklesworth

Friday, January 18, 2013

That's what buying used gets ya - demons.


This movie got hate. Oh yes it got hate. To the point that I almost didn't bother motivating myself to check it out. But, here at the ol' Boony ranch (editor's note: the existence of a boony ranch can note be confirmed) I believe that any film that sparks my initial interest, warrants me checking it out. Of course there was the added bonus that the "Raimi's" were producing it as well.

The more I started really looking at the reviews, the more I saw a pattern... the same crap every time.

-Jeez, another possessed kid movie
-a by the numbers event that offers nothing new to the genre.
-Nothing to see here, an over saturated genre gets another entry.

Well folks, it really comes down to who you trust. Who you believe in. Who you bake small delicious cookies for... ok that last one doesn't happen nearly enough. Ever actually. I deserve cookies! Point being, I enjoyed this movie a lot.

Plot goes a lil something like this... Family is going through a rough time. A divorce, and Dad has just moved into a new home where his daughters visit. Wife and him can't go two minutes without arguing, older daughter is in "F it all" mode, younger daughter still loves Daddy (ok I know, not sounding so original so far, stay with me). They then stop at a yard sale, and the daughter decided to purchase a strange box (that we know is evil due to a very creepy opening scene). She then becomes obsessed with box and strange and evil things start happening around her. Will Father realize in time, will his Wife stop her bitching for 5 minutes and help, will Mom's new boyfriend survive the film without grave injury...

Ok. I know, I know. But here is where this movie stands out and on it's own.
1. Perhaps one of the creepiest and most messed up openings to a possession flick.
2. The acting is phenomenal. Jeffery Dean Morgan - Loser, watchmen, that guy from greys anatomy (ok I had a girl once that was obsessed. Give a little to get a little ok). Kyra Sedgwick. A very surprising Matisyahu as the religious assistance.
3. The directing is stellar.
4. The writing, though maybe not original subject matter, sells the material so well that I got caught up.
5. The effects (some $70 million I hear) are light years beyond most genre offerings.

So to recap, very cool opening. Good writing. A cast that is bang on. Great directing. Some VERY creepy moments ("What did you do with my box Daddy?")... what is not to like here? Yes there have been tons of entries lately, but that is not reason enough to bury a film. I mean how many craptacular indie slasher do I watch in a year? Well, I don't know either, but more than my fingers and toes, and I will still continue to seek them out because I love the genre, and every once and a while... gold. This folks is one of the most effective little horror flicks I've seen in a bit. Of course, and perhaps unfairly, all films of the genre get held against the exorcist... and well it would be blasphemy to say it was on par, I will say it was the closest I have seen... in a very, very long time. The Hebrew angle especially was very refreshing and added a certain element to the flick. And as far as rappers go actor... Matisyahu was pretty dang cool.

Did I mention the ending didn't suck?

movie scale 3.5 out of 5 stars
Horror/possession scale 3.5 out of 5 stars

I hope this film gets some love. I have a feeling over the next few years we'll see it gain some fans.

Boony saying I will put money on this film being way better than anything Ive seen advertised so far this year... The last exorcism 2... I mean isn't that an oxymoron? Or something close to lol.

P.S. - the whole scene with the exit sign above the girl's head was awesome.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Eat fish? Maybe not after seeing this.

THE BAY (2012)

Ok, the title is a little misleading.  Chances are, this flick will not deter you from eating fish (for those of you who do eat them that is).  It certainly didn't change my mind any.  However, unlike most found footage style movies, the scenario in The Bay is one that is a little more likely to happen in real life.  I say a little, mind you.  But enough of this rambling, let's dive in shall we?  (Pun not originally intended, but when I realized it was there, I decided to let it stay.)

A journalism student looking to prove her worth in the world of reporting gets an opportunity to do a report on a Fourth of July celebration in the town of Claridge.  There are plenty of laughs and good times had, until people start exhibiting signs of some kind of sickness.  Large patches of blisters and vomiting are the first symptoms, and before long, the hospital is packed with patients.  It's revealed fairly early that the local bay is infested with parasites called isopods.  Certain areas of the bay are littered with millions of fish being eaten from the inside out by the isopods.  And anyone who has contact with the water, whether it being swimming in it, drinking it, or eating anything that came out of it, can and (in pretty much all cases) will become infected by these parasites.  The footage we watch is from many different areas.  From the up-and-coming reporter, to doctor/CDC conversations, to a pair of oceanographers trying to learn what is happening and how it might be stopped, and at least three or four more perspectives that don't really amount to too much in the end. 

So, let's talk about the positives.  With a couple of exceptions, I found the acting convincing enough to complement the seriousness of the situation in The Bay.  While I mentioned the other perspectives that didn't amount to much, one of those perspectives was the scene with the couple and their baby going for a boat ride.  The juxtaposition (a word I don't get to use much) of their laughing and "not a care in the world" scene, compared to the strife and dire situation of the residents in town was an interesting addition.  The makeup and special effects were also impressive, from the early stages of infection straight through to the final outcome of the victims.    

Before I get to the negatives, there's something I have to bring up, and I still don't know how I feel about it.  This movie is taking itself very seriously.  I mean, Boonsweet and I watched this, and neither of us expected this level of seriousness.  Whenever I watch a horror flick, there's almost always some part where I can chuckle or riff on it, and it would take some of the heavy out of the flick.  But in The Bay, I couldn't find any part that lightened things up in any way.  It was a very bleak movie throughout.  Even that scene I mentioned with the couple enjoying themselves on their boat didn't help to lighten things up, because it just reminded me of what was going on in the town.  Also, I was thinking the entire time I watched them that something was going to happen to ruin their day.  You'll have to judge for yourself if I'm making too much of this, and let me know what you think.

Anyway, on to the negatives.  Not a whole lot to say about negatives really.  As I said earlier, some of the perspectives weren't necessary.  Either the people included died quickly after being introduced, or they just weren't relevant to the progress of the story.  Also, because there were so many perspectives, there was on occasion a lot of fast switching between people.  I thought that the main characters I mentioned above were really enough to keep things going.  Also, the reporter wannabe is clearly inexperienced and somewhat inept in her attempt at reporting.  I have trouble believing she was capable of gathering all the different footage we view, especially when the government is looking to keep the situation quiet.  But hey, maybe I'm just nitpicking.  And as far as the isopods go, I was kind of hoping they would grow larger then they did.  I mean, not too big.  I would have been happy with football sized tops.  But it wasn't that big a deal.

In the end, this was a good watch.  While not my favorite found footage feature, it certainly wasn't the worst either.  The Bay has a dvd release date of March 5th, so go buy some popcorn in advance, and check it out on its release. 

Movie rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Found Footage rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

- Ken Bucklesworth has spoken.  Also, be sure to follow the blog on Twitter @BoonsBuckles, and yours truly @KenBucklesworth.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A chainsaw by any other name...


There are few films that horror owes as much to as "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". It was one of the original based on actual event films. A film that multiple decades have not lessened the impact. It's true, horror fans world wide hold a large number of films in very high regard for their influence, or camp value, or simple awesomeness, but how many can you throw in your bluray player tomorrow night and still freakout a room full of non horror-hounds? I dare say it is a very small number indeed.

So this here... is, let's see... The seventh reincarnation of the Chainsaw franchise, and it's star, the chainsaw cutie himself... Leatherface. I say reincarnations because there have been sequels, prequels, next generations, remakes... so ya, reincarnations.

I went into this film with very little in the way of expectations. I knew that a) there would be someone wearing human faces and swinging a chainsaw around, and b) it was in 3D. That was enough.

I folks, am very torn on this film. Ok, let's get to the basics...

The plot
This is an actual sequel to the original film. Whoa, I was not expecting that. Nor was I expecting the insanely cool 3-D clips from the original film... Ok. Interest officially peaked. It leads up by way of these wicked sweet clips to the famous closing scene from the original film. Those of you that need a refresher - Leatherface chases last girl, loses her, gets mad, dances in a rage circle with his chainsaw - and so this movie begins. Girl goes to cops, cops and town show up to deal out some justice. Fire. Dead read necks. Surviving baby... and present day. Those of you keeping track... that means 38 years have passed. Annnnnnd den, baby grows up into super sexy young woman - Alexandra Daddario - who finds out she is adopted when papers show up saying her grandmother has died and left her a house. She then decides to go on a road trip... in a um... familiar looking van. I love homages, but that one was a little weird. Anyway, she takes her three sexy young friends with her, they pick up a drifter on the way. Arriving at the house they quickly start partying, then they start dying... then all the dirty little family secrets come to the surface... and Leatherface goes the F off.

But mom, I wanted to go to the fair :)
Hmmmm... first - the opening was really awesome. Throw in a cool cameo from the original lady of survival herself - Marilyn Burns, and you have a few well appreciated threads to the original. Then you add some very sexy ladies, the aforementioned Daddario, and Tania Raymonde (of the criminally underrated Death Valley). Things are looking good. Add some very impressive 3D that never fails to make you happy and sometimes legit grossed out. Things are still in the green... heck about 3 quarters of the way through this movie I was willing to forgive its failings because it was just so much fun... but...


It just got way too stupid. Inexplicable to the left of weeeee-tarded. Stupid characters is one things (It's a slasher horror film, I am not expecting Tarantino dialogue), but when those characters do things that are so unimaginably stretching of the bounds of believable, well... it's hard to hold onto the joy. No joke, the last ten minutes of this film I was just staring at the screen while in my head a small little old lady rocked back and forth on a chair chanting "WTF".

For instance, dumb moments - You hit a stranger with your car. You then give him a ride. You then leave this stranger that you have known for what 45 minutes of travel time? In your new house with countless valuables... by himself. Okay, fine, right, horror film, I can live with that. Cliches, car not starting, people going alone where no freaking human being would ever go alone... especially if they knew there was a chainsaw wielding mass murderer there... fine. Horror film, I can live with that....

And now for a moment of absolute, brain jarring, stupidity - Um. Wait. Does that person feel sorry for Leatherface? The guy that kills anyone, anytime, with a giant chainsaw... and hooks of varying sizes. The guy that wears human faces... and eats flesh... because... um... his crazy family got burned? Or because... he's all alone...

Ya. I am trying so hard not to give away any real plot points here, as heck, maybe some of you will appreciate the twists... blah, blah. But to me, I just couldn't believe what I was seeing. I mean - extreme violence, awesome opening, chainsaw 3D action to fulfill my every want (including a lovely blood splattering out of the screen for a solid ten seconds, yay), a few genuine jump moments, great cheesy scare score... some terrific one liners "Well, a chainsaw don't make you bulletproof"and yet... the last ten minutes...

I mean a lawyer that seems like a good guy -
A sheriff that seems rational -
A lead female that um, at the very least seemed to care about friends and things...

All of these people and more, will just up and do things that just can't happen in a world even pretending to be real. It would be like if I, Chuck Boonsweet, decided to give up chips and dip and only watch reruns of Grey's Anatomy. It wouldn't make sense. At all. I love dip. I mean I seriously love dip.

And to my review.
Movie scale 2.5 out of 5 stars
Horror 3D scale 3 out of 5 stars

The last ten minutes are stupid. Accept that. There is a whole lot of pure over the top here that I think most would enjoy. Does it have the intensity of the original, or even the remake... no. But it makes up for that with a wonderful body count, and just buckets of the red stuff. Most of the time flying out at you. That is what I paid for, so I guess, maybe I should just remember I never asked my brain to come along... sadly... he invited himself.

- Chucky B.

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