Monthly Archives: July 2012

Piranha 3DD

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Piranha 3DD

Josh cut off his penis because something came out of my vagina!

Now THIS is what a B horror movie should be! It totally doesn’t take itself seriously and everyone is having a ton of fun! IT’S SO AWESOME!

It starts off with a newscast. It’s been about a year or so since the first movie. The lake in the first movie was chemically bombed and nothing lives there anymore. The town is deserted as well and the voice over muses how ‘it’ could happen again…

Two old farmers (Gary Busey! Why weren’t you in here longer? Although, I suppose there would be just too many crazy eyes in it…) are wading through a pond to get to a dead cow. The cow is filled with piranha eggs and they hatch and eat the farmers. Gary Busey awesomely pulls one off of his face and bites the head off before succumbing to his wounds.

Then many gratuitous boob shots and naked chicks in pools. The Big Wet water park is reopening in a couple days in Arizona. It’s rebranded itself as a some kind of stripper water park, so yeah. Lots of nudity. Maddy is a grad student and co owner of the park with her stepdad, Chet. Her ex, Kyle, is the local sheriff (or deputy, I’m not 100% sure), and her friend who secretly loves her, Barry, and her friends, Ashley and Shelby are all working at the park. Ashley vows that Shelby will lose her virginity that night with a guy, Josh. Shelby and Josh go skinny dipping and a baby piranha goes up her vagina. Somehow, she doesn’t notice, but the pain kills the mood and Josh goes home frustrated. Ashley and her man o’the night get killed that night when their van crashes into the lake and piranha get into the waterlogged vehicle and kill them.

They’re reported missing. Shelby isn’t feeling well and vomits a lot. She claims her stomach hurts, but doesn’t know why. Shelby goes to the pier and Maddy goes to console her about the missing Ashley. Piranha attack them and break apart the pier. Shelby and Maddy get away barely, but a piranha jumps out of the water at them and they club it to death with some rocks. Maddy, Kyle and Barry go to Lake Victoria to talk to the resident piranha expert (Christopher Lloyd!!!!! You are so awesome in this!). They think that their lake and the original lake are connected by underground caverns and the piranha are moving between bodies of water via these caverns. Maddy checks the water park’s outflow pipes to make sure that the piranha can’t get to the park via those pipes. She’s attacked but survives. It’s also discovered Barry can’t swim… Even though he works in a water park.

Shelby decides to get over Ashley’s disappearance by having sex with Josh. She starts to feel unwell and we can see the little baby piranha swimming around her stomach under her skin. It bites Josh, who decides to take the drastic act of cutting his penis head off. OW. OW. OW!!! Shelby runs screaming, and covered in blood, to Maddy and Barry. Josh and Shelby taken to the hospital, but we never find out what happens…

Oh, and Chet and Kyle are in cahoots somehow. Chet pays off Kyle so that he doesn’t have to worry about cops.

The park opens the next day with celebrity guest, David Hasselhoff (playing himself). I’m not totally sure if he’s supposed to be pretending to be a sleazier arrogant version of himself or that’s just how he normally is, but it works as the tired, washed up hasbeen who has sunk to a new low! Also, the sheriff (Ving Rhames!!!) from the first movie is at the park opening. He lost his legs in the first movie and has serious PTSD and is trying to get over his fear of water by going to an innocent, NOT dangerous water park… DUN DUN DUN!!

Maddy discovers that Chet has been saving on his water bills by tapping directly into the water of an underground cavern beneath the park. You know, the exact same kind of underground cavern that the piranha are hanging out in and using to move around. WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT???

Well, an awesome ridiculous bloodbath happens next.

I liked the first movie and I love this one. It’s a total bloodbath of ridiculous and hilarious proportions. It’s a pure popcorn and fun movie. The characters are all cookie cutter, but hey, that’s what works! I don’t come to these kinds of movies for plot and character development and that stuff. I want fun, gore and tackiness! Piranha 3DD promises this and delivers. It’s all so ridiculous and it’s not serious at all. The end credits are great, full of bloopers and what I’m thinking are deleted scenes. Ving Rhames is awesome. He’s a total baby around the water until the blood starts flying and then HE KICKS SOME ASS!! He saved money on socks and used it to buy a shot gun leg! He gets over his PTSD by shotgun blasting piranha. And go Barry! He gets over his inability to swim in a pretty unique way. It’s pretty damn smart too. I don’t know how to swim either and I would never have thought of that.

This movie is all fun and worth it. A throwback to the 80s horror movies full of laughs, gore, tackiness and clichés. I’m glad it was nice and short because it might have dragged on if it had been longer or the director might have been tempted to do some kind of serious character development stuff. I’m happy with it just as it is. Don’t ever change.

4 shortbread cookies out of 5.

Chronicle

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Chronicle

Yes, it was the black guy this time!

I’m just going to say I really really do not like shaky cams and ‘found’ footage movies. When I go see a movie, I want it to look like a MOVIE, like someone spent lots of time, equipment and money making something look good. I don’t want to see something that some kid could have done with his dad’s digital camera. But luckily, that is not Chronicle.

Chronicle is about 3 high school seniors, the ultra popular but all round good guy Steve, his buddy with the implied perfect suburban family, the philosophical Matt, and Matt’s cousin, Andrew.  Andrew has a pretty sad home. His mother is dying (something to do with her lungs, I think lung cancer) and his dad is an alcoholic dickwad. Andrew himself is bullied at school and just lets out this air of vulnerability but with a lot of quiet anger. He gets himself a camera and starts documenting his life. Matt theorizes that this creates a barrier between Andrew and everybody else and that Andrew needs to let people in. At a party, Andrew gets beat up for filming another guy’s girlfriend. Steve comes to him and asks him to film this cool thing he and Matt found. The three guys go down an tunnel and a weird pulsating noise is heard. They come to a rock cave where there is a large glowing crystal structure. It’s changing colour and Andrew’s camera suddenly starts shorting out. He’s freaking out and wants to leave, but before he can convince the other two, the crystal lets out some kind of strong pulse that knocks out the camera.

Some time is implied to have passed before Andrew starts filming again. The three guys are shown levitating balls and throwing them at each other. They get nose bleeds each time, and Andrew shows himself to be stronger than the others, he is able to manipulate objects more deftly and build a Lego tower while the other two struggle to connect Lego bricks. He’s practicing quietly by himself at home. When they try to go back to the tunnel, they find it has collapsed. There are forest rangers there telling them that the whole area is unstable and collapsing.

Matt thinks that this new power of theirs is like a muscle. If they overexert themselves, they get nosebleeds, but as they slowly build up their telekinetic powers, they get stronger and bleed less. They start secretly pranking people as Andrew gets it all on camera. Innocent guy stuff at first, like making skirts flip up, making shopping carts move away from their owners, and in an awesome scene, make a teddy bear float around a little girl and then getting it to chase her. Steve is able to move a car to another parking space, making the owner freak out about who stole her car. But things take a turn when Andrew accidently shoves a truck off the road, making it smash through a guard rail and land in a river. Steve jumps into the river and pulls the driver out. Andrew tries to stop Matt from calling the cops, but Matt ignores him. The driver ends up alive, but in the hospital. Matt demands they make rules for themselves. They are getting stronger, but they shouldn’t abuse their power. They should never use their powers against living beings.

Later, Steve calls the other two and insists they come out to what looks like an abandoned mill or something. He can now fly! He teaches the other two, with Andrew being a quick study and Matt taking hilariously longer. They now go flying up in the clouds together, very happy. They almost get hit by a plane, but Andrew saves Steve (and the camera) and the three land on the ground, deliriously happy to be alive. Andrew that night tells the others that this day was the greatest day of his life and they agree. They also decide that after graduation, they want to fly around the world together, Andrew expressing interest in Tibet for its peaceful vibe and the monks who can supposedly float.

Andrew can now film without holding the camera, floating it to follow him around. Steve and Andrew become very close, with Steve revealing that his parents are having lots of marital troubles and Andrew opening up somewhat about his father. Steve convinces Andrew to participate in the school talent show with him, and using their powers, do a great magic show. Andrew becomes very popular and at a large party, drinks way too much and, while trying to hook up for the first time with a girl, he vomits on her. Steve tries to talk to him, but Andrew screams for him to go away and stop laughing at him, revealing his deep insecurities that no one wants him. It’s a devastating scene, and familiar for anybody who didn’t have the greatest time in grade school.

Andrew begins to become withdrawn and starts killing spiders with his powers. His dad tries to beat him, but Andrew flings him back with a show of extreme force, almost knocking his dad unconscious. Andrew flies up to the clouds to be alone, but Steve finds him. Apparently, Steve got some kind of feeling that there was something terribly wrong with Andrew and he managed to find him through some kind of connection. I think that had they been able to go on further, they would have likely developed telepathy with each other, and because Steve and Andrew developed a closer emotional bond with each other than with Matt, that they could feel each other’s emotions more keenly. Like if you know someone so well you can finish their sentences. But Andrew won’t be consoled by Steve, and his emotions are so strong and his powers are so heavily tied in with his emotions, that there’s an accident…

There is of course more movie. Andrew’s descent into complete apathy and arrogance are so terribly sad because at the core, he just wants to be loved and accepted. But that can never be after what happens.

The three actors are fantastic. When they are discovering their powers, they are so believably giddy that I was happy right along with them. I’m glad they showed Steve as an actual good guy, and not the stereotypical Hollywood movie stupid popular jerk. He is much more believable this way. Matt reminds me of those guys in university philosophy classes, the ones living in the books and trying to draw parallels between what the books say and what’s going on in real life, but putting more emphasis on the book theory than what is really happening. But Andrew is the star, the focus. The most powerful of the trio, the most emotionally vulnerable and ultimately the weakest link. He’s the one everyone can really identify with. Everyone during their teenage years went through that whole ‘who am I, what am I doing, why doesn’t anybody like me, where do I belong’ stage, just his is compounded with the bad home life. You can even see a physical change as the character becomes more and more withdrawn, his face looks thinner, paler and bags appear under his eyes. He begins to believe that HE is the apex predator, the absolute top of the food chain and everyone else is beneath him. And he shows it in the most devastating way, forcing Matt to make a terrible decision.

I’m not even going to complain about the shaky cam. It only shaky cammed in a few places (that made absolute sense, like when the crystal sent out the pulse or when the camera was plummeting to the ground after the close call with the plane).  I really liked how they made it so that Andrew could make the camera float around after him, so that he wasn’t holding it, but just allowing it to follow the trio around. This gives it a shaky cam vibe, but with actual movie filming (i.e. it looks good). The CGI is quite good too. I really liked at the start when Andrew was building the Lego tower. And wow, I know they aren’t really flying, but it looks pretty damn good and the pure joy on their faces made me really wonder how they were doing it. I feel like I would have been acting the exact same way. The end sequences are where most of the special effects budget was clearly allocated and it was money well spent. It looks fantastic.

The crystal is never explained, but I figure it’s probably some alien thing. It sure looks like it, but it’s not really important to the story except as what gives the guys their powers. I do kinda wonder why they just didn’t lift the dirt out of the tunnel with their powers, but I guess they didn’t care how or why they had powers, it’s just enough that they have them. The super in the background romance between Matt and a girl are to me showing that the power isn’t that big of a deal to Matt. He wants to use it to help people, but it’s just a tool. He was already going to be altruistic, this just helps it along. It’s not his life unlike the other two.

SPOILERS! Steve was obviously what was keeping them together and Andrew’s more destructive tendencies in check. Here was the guy who seemed to have it all, but could really empathize with Andrew’s bad home, especially since his own was imploding. To me, he seemed to be of almost, if not equal strength the Andrew. Steve was the first to fly. And since the powers seem rather emotion based, because Steve was going through bad times too, he was strong. Steve and Andrew used the powers to forget about the bad things in their lives. They would tell secrets to each other and say ‘but don’t tell anyone’ but they kept talking to each other about it. He was the buddy Andrew had always wanted and needed, the guy who would be Andrew’s bridge between his antisocial self and the wider world and his loss sent Andrew on a crazy egotistical rampage. Matt seemed too in control of himself and he didn’t need the powers to make his life better, so he seemed the weakest, but that control saved everybody.

Good movie. Great actors. Good special effects. Just good.

5 sour gummy keys out of 5.

Lockout

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Lockout

Your two minutes start now.
Shoot me if you want, but I can guarantee this opens if you give me five minutes.
… Good sales pitch.

What a totally forgettable movie. I think it’s trying to be Escape from New York in space, but it tries way too hard.

Snow (Guy Pearce, why are you in such a bad movie? Did you just do it for the fun? Because you seem like you’re having fun.) is a former CIA agent. He’s being beaten up by some guy named Rupert during an interrogation run by Langral (Peter Stormare, who is pretty cool), a Secret Service guy. Something about some colonel being killed and Snow taking off with a suspicious briefcase. In flashbacks (between punches by Rupert) we see that Snow was protecting the colonel but didn’t do a great job because the man was killed. The colonel passed his lighter to Snow and warned him of a mole in the government. A bunch of governmenty looking guys in SWAT gear burst in, with a helicopter outside too. Snow tries to take off with the briefcase and there are some really pathetic CGI chase scenes. Okay, I get it, you did this in front of a green screen, but can’t you blend it a bit better? Sin City was entirely in front of a green screen and looks great, but this, not so much. It made me think of those old shows where people are doing a car chase but they’re not moving, only the scenery backdrop does. You can almost hear the gears in the scenery motors grinding. Anyways, Snow makes it to the subway and tosses the briefcase in train where his informant, Mace, grabs it. Snow is taken in, and Mace puts the briefcase in a locker in another train station before accidently killing a cop. Snow’s old friend, Harry, stops Langral’s interrogation and Snow secretly reveals that Mace has the briefcase.

Meanwhile, the president’s daughter, Emilie (I have no idea who this actress is, except that she’s trying to do a Charlize Theron impersonation that isn’t working), is visiting the maximum security prison in space, MS One. She wants to know the effect of stasis on human minds. She’s some kind of bleeding heart and worried about the prisoners and whether or not the enforced stasis causes dementia, increased aggression and general psychosis. Of course her idiot Secret Service guards smuggle in weapons and when a thawed prisoner, the crazy Hydell, (Joseph Gilgun!) is near them, he grabs the gun and starts off this huge chain reaction which of course frees all 500ish prisoners. It didn’t make sense to me. I mean, there is ONE scientist lab guy in the main centre of the prison??? No guards? Pass keys? Codes? And he somehow has the ability to open ALL of the cryopods?  Don’t they have fail safes? Maybe even some kind of password? Mall security cop? A KEY that only the warden has??? Hell, lab guy looked like an intern to me. But nope, with a gun to his head, lab guy pushes ONE button and all the pods open.  And all hell breaks loose.

To avoid an ugly all the hostages are killed situation, ‘they’ (that is, Langral, Harry and the President) decide to send Snow up there. And they send him up there to save ONLY Emilie. The rest of the hostages can go fuck themselves. Well, theoretically they want Snow to get her out and then they will send in the Marines. They didn’t really think this through very well because Emilie clearly can’t keep her mouth shut and it’s going to be a PR nightmare either way. Either she gets out, everyone else is killed and she tells all about how they only saved her and fuck the other hostages, or best case, she gets out, then the Marines get everyone else out and then EVERYONE talks about how they only saved her at first and fuck the other hostages. Oh, and the prisoners don’t know they have the president’s daughter. Snow goes up because Harry tells him Mace is on MS One and only Mace knows where the briefcase is that can clear Snow’s name.

Snow gets on the station, but thanks to a kerfuffle, the head prisoner (also Hydell’s brother), finds out that Emilie is the President’s kid and goes to get her, but she gets away with her dumbass bodyguard (he of the smuggled in weapon that started this trainwreck movie). They hole themselves up in a room, but somehow, when the bodyguard shot out the lock, he screwed up the oxygen supply to the room. Great bodyguard you got there. So now Snow has to get through to her before she dies.

And the rest of the movie is just them trying to get off the station, he takes her to the escape pod, she decides not to go so that the other hostages are freed, there’s a time bomb, the space prison is falling into orbit, whatever.

It was very, well, not exactly boring, but not terribly engaging. I kept checking the time to see when the movie ended. The exterior of the space station is great, but I’ve got the feeling that’s because it’s a model. Of course Emilie does some stupid heroics which wind up *SPOILER* getting the other hostages killed anyways. Who didn’t see that coming? HE’S A PSYCHO, of COURSE he’s not going to keep his promises! Emilie is supposed to be some kind of ice queen with a caring heart of gold, but comes off as a whiny brat. Snow, well, Guy Pearce is clearly having fun playing an asshole. He’s just not really caring how bad the movie is, he’s just having fun shooting guns, beating people up, and sprouting off one liners. His entire script is just one huge one liner. It’s like he’s trying to be an amalgamation of every 80s action hero. No one feels terribly invested in their characters. It’s fast food movie. It’s just to give you a vague sense of satisfaction but isn’t very filling. Except for Hydell, that is. He’s fully in the crazy moment.

Yes, they find the mole at the end. Yes, the lighter is important. Yes, Emilie magically figures out where the briefcase is by somehow figuring out what the babbling Mace was saying (oh, they found him, but he had stasis induced dementia and was reduced to saying seemingly random and unconnected words). No, you don’t ever find out what the secrets were. No, Langral is not actually a bad guy, just a guy trying to do his job the best way he can. When it ended, I just felt relieved. I don’t even know if there were end credit scenes. Didn’t stick around to find out.

1 deep fried banana out of 5 (Guy Pearce is having a LOT of fun!)

American Reunion

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American Reunion

Is it… an erectile problem? Because sometimes, you can buy a little time with a well placed thumb…

I watched the American Pie series (not the direct to DVDs) at the exact right time, so I was a bit apprehensive when this came out. And you know what? I LOVED it. I love the nostalgia factor and that the guys haven’t matured in the slightest. It was exactly what it promised and not an attempt to deviated from the awesomely established formula.

It’s been 12 years since the guys graduated. Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan, you are so awesome!!!!!) have a son and are stuck in a sexual rut. He catches her pleasing herself in the tub with the shower head and promises to give her more pleasure than the shower. They’re heading to their 12th reunion (because no one went to number 10) that weekend and swear to break through their inhibitions. Oz (Chris Klein) is in LA doing some sportscasting and has a bitchy shallow model for a girlfriend. She’s redecorating their fancy mansion with the help of a guy who Oz thought she was sleeping with, but decorator man turns out to be flamingly gay. How DO you make your butt muscles move like waves under a Speedo??? Anyways, Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is basically a housewife and Finch (My favourite!!! Eddie Kaye Thomas) is supposedly doing mysterious things out in the world. Stifler (Seann William Scott) is the same crass self and a temp in an office with a dick boss.

Jim and Michelle arrive at Jim’s Dad’s (Eugene Levy, as cringingly embarrassing and clueless as Jim’s Dad as always. Never change!) place. His mom has been dead for a while and Jim’s Dad is getting lonely. Jim runs into his next door neighbour, Kara, who is turning 18 that weekend and clearly has a thing for Jim. She asks him to come to her birthday party the next day. The guys meet up at a bar and run into Selena, who used to be at band camp with Michelle and has grown up into a hot girl. They are looking at a yearbook and reminicisng about what their teenage selves hoped for. Oz is clearly stuck by his younger self’s desire to be ‘coaching his son’s lacrosse team.’ Stifler gets the guys drunk and Jim wakes up in his dad’s kitchen with no pants. Selena and Michelle come in to clean up the mess left in the kitchen and Jim tries to hide behind the counter, but it doesn’t work so he inadvertently grabs a clear glass pot lid to hide himself. Selena points this out and he switches it for a frying pan. Wow, full front male nudity! Not as hubba hubba as Michael Fassbender, but this is more for the hilarity factor anyways. Also, OUCH.

That day the gang go to the beach. The guys muse on how the beach just isn’t the same, with Finch pointing out that it’s not the beach that’s changed, it’s them. They run into Oz’s ex, Heather (Mena Suvari) who is dating a cardiologist. There are some beach hijinks, with some teenage guys stealing the bikini tops of random girls on the beach. The guys go to deal with the teenage hooligans. Stifler craps in their beer cooler and then ties their jet skis to his truck and takes off. The guys are horrified because they’re adults now and have a lot to lose. The gang go down to the beach again that night, except for Michelle, who is home taking care of her son and Jim promises he will be home early for some ‘them’ time. There’s a high school party there, with Kara in attendance. They all get very drunk and Heather’s boyfriend proposes that Oz and him swap partners which he pretends was just a joke. Kevin runs into Vicky (Tara Reid, whom I don’t think I’ve seen in anything but these movies) and they get very drunk. Jim drives the very very drunk Kara home but she keeps trying to seduce him in the car and pulls off all of her clothes. They get into a minor accident and Kara is knocked out, with her head in Jim’s lap. Of course John (John Cho) or half of the MILF duo, drives by right then and assumes that it’s Michelle with her head in Jim’s lap. Jim gets the guys to distract her parents while he sneaks Kara back into her house, and it’s very embarrassingly revealed that Kara’s mom lusts after Oz. It’s also pretty funny when Stifler helps out, because apparently he’s done ‘this’ a million times. He politely inquires whether or not he can use Kara’s parents’s phone because his car broke down, only to have Kara’s father ask why don’t any of them have cell phones? He lets them in because his wife recognizes Oz, and Stifler grumbles that the last time he did this, there were no cell phones. Kevin wakes up the next morning, in his underwear, next to Vicky. He bolts.

Stifler is holding a party the next night to try to recreate the high school party experience, only to find that everything and everyone is changed except for him. Someone has put on soft music because it’s more ‘baby friendly’ (WTF??) and there are martinis and finger foods instead of kegs and bags of chips. Also, most of his old sports buddies are gay. They weren’t just wrestling in the shower. Well, they were, but there were no losers. Everything comes to a head as the cops come, Jim and Michelle dress up in gear to recreate their first experience (‘You made me your bitch…’), but Kara shows up and the first meeting between Stifler’s Mom and Jim’s Dad.

I loved this. I watched the others when I was at the exact same, I don’t know, time of life/age as the characters. I like that they’ve grown, but not really. I can relate. Stifler is the same crass, vulgar jerk but he’s the STIFMEISTER. He has to be that dick everybody knows!  And he takes revenge on Finch, who, in the middle of a hookup with Selena, suddenly stops because he has kind of premonition that something really really bad is about to happen. And yes, translating the Brother Karamazov into Latin IS SEXY!!! Everybody from the series have brief cameos. Oz is the one who actually ‘grows up’ during the movie. Something about being back in the town, seeing Heather again, and reading about what his teenage self wished for strikes a chord in him. Unrealistic perhaps, but a nice sentiment. Usually it’s Kevin who gets all sentimental and weepy. He just has a panic attack about whether or not he slept with Vicky and cheated on his wife.

I like the nostalgia factor. If you haven’t really seen the other American Pies, you might not get the humour. But those who have will enjoy it.

3 ice cream sandwiches out of 5