Sunday, April 20, 2014

So you like you Superheroes a lil' Mo indie....

SPARKS (2013)

Every once and a while a movie comes along and ends up being way more entertaining that I ever would have suspected. 2014's first entry and the Surprise I entertained your Ass is SPARKS. A quirky little bit of independent superheroness, that I have to say... was pretty damn good.

Ok. I hear this is based on a graphic novel. I won't speak to that as despite my love of comics I have not crossed paths with that title.

Next on to the style. Before I go further, this film is essential the style of SIN CITY crossed with the message, and realism of the superheroes of WATCHMEN. Now if that sounds fun to you. If that peaks you curious parts... then read on Booniacs, and Buckleheads, here we goooooooooo.

Your story. A long time ago there was a meteor strike that gave 13 people powers. And red super goo stuff. And the 13 were experimented on, and there was a serial killer... ok the opening bit is a little crazy. Fine. They were packing a lot in, I forgave. Next up present day and our title hero SPARKS is on the run accused of murder, and in a lot of trouble. He proceeds to tell his story to a reporter. The story goes: I grew up, became a hero after the death of my parents, met the love of my life, and then bad things happen and I met a super villain.

"Kickass... Ya we hang out"

This movie kinda creeps on ya. At first I was kind of "Meh".  The acting (despite a few strong cameos) didn't really seem that impressive. The fight choreography was just horrible (the training scene in particular will  cause chills). Then the second act drops, and low and below the characters are just so damn determined to get you to care, that I started to. Soon, the twists and Sin city noir had me invested in the evil doings, and Sparks effort to triumph. Then the third act hits and all is revealed and the bodies start hitting the floor... and fun is had.

I really enjoyed this. It's not great. But, it is better than a lot of stuff out there in the genre. The script really pulls it together in the last half of the film (Hitchcock's famous line three things to make a great film A script, a script, a script). One thing that did bother me was the fact that all these "supers" actually don't have powers. So, basically, people just decided to dress up and fight crime... like say in Kickass only back in the 40s? 50s? whatever it was. Little more explanation needed perhaps. Another issue, and ok, I'm being petty, but, the one guy just seemed way to OK with his kids being killed... just saying.

The green screen effects, and look of the movie, worked for me. It ain't no sin city, but, they managed to get quite a lot out of the budget, and really this is a superhero flick that is more about the plot and characters than any action... so it doesn't really hold anything back. To all you folks bitching about the grand scale destruction in many of todays superhero movies Oh why they gotta break so much shite yo? Why can't you punch someone ah-round the building? Well here you go. Low scale. Low budget Heroic deeds with heart.

A genuine out of left field surprise.

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

Seriously if you like you hero tales dark and R rated (though really, it probably could have been a solid PG-13 with the exception of a couple of scenes), this is for you. Cult status will be sure to follow. The noir aspects of it all but guarantee it.

Till next Booniacs
-Chuck B Boonsweet


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cottage Cheese


So a black slasher type comedy starring Malin "I should always wear spandex" Akerman, and Tyler "I'm a funny man" Labine... I mean sign me up! Right? Right? Am I right?

Hell yes I'm right.

So you plot goes - lovers head up to a cottage to spend the weekend together and set the stage for Todd  to ask Cammie to marry him. All is well, and romantic, and den... Todd's D-bag brother shows up Salinger (played by Dan Petronijevic aka the reincarnation of Pauly Shore, kinda)... and well, Todd accidentally kills him in argument. His wife to be is determined to stand by him, and well, the bodies keep piling up as they try to keep the murders under wraps and their wedding on track.

Ok. This movie was awesome, and funny, and sexy, and all that... well, let me rephrase. The first half of this movie is Funny and awesome and all that... the last half... well pretty much kills every bit of a good time you had in the opening 35 minutes. I mean I actually had to think back and say Hey. Remember when this movie was cool. Ya. That was the bestest.

Seriously Bro... like I got this. 

You see the issue is this film just gets way too dark. And well, I'm gunna do it and compare to another murder/horror/black type comedy Tyler Labine starred in Dale and Tucker vs Evil. That film had it right. Stay fun. Keep the action moving. And no matter what - STAY FUN. This film just gets way to bogged down with actually consequences.

And by the end the relationship is falling apart and this couple that you really liked at the beginning and were rooting for is reduced to bickering idiots. That's the problem. They second guessed themselves. Or the writer just didn't know how to keep it going without going so dark that it becomes a different movie. What is so wrong with just keeping me laughing? Letting Malin Akerman be sexy... and rolling with that till the wedding at the end. Hell, have them go all out, kidnap a priest and have him marry them on the run from the Pooooooooooo-leece.


Well you know what they say: The couple that kills together...

This movie goes from B movie R rated gold to late night Indie Channel shizzie. Another little bit of a way to keep the fun going if they had found out that all the murder actually cranked up their sex life... woulda been a great way to keep the action going... Ya. I know. I am a freaking Genius... on my couch... with a laptop... and socks that may or may not match...

I digress.

Sigh. I was so bummed, another great start from a film that just dies and loses its identity. I mean, I was actually sad at the end. Like depressed. No film with Tyler Labine... a man how has made me laugh for years so ever leave me hollow and sad inside... (Colon Left parenthesis).

Bloody Comedy scale 2 out of 5 stars
Movie scale 2.5 out of 5 stars

So that opening half not enough to last through the horribly dark third act. Nearly unforgivable to turn such inherently likeable people into complete Assholes.

But hey, if you like your films depressingly dark (i.e. Very Bad Things) then this is right up your alley. And the acting is pretty damn good throughout.

Just a string of SoSo here... Waiting for something to really blow me away.