Monday, December 25, 2006

Holy Sheist

Tim Butron is at it again. Pee Wee's Playhouse is coming to the big screen, again. And yes, Paul Reubens is attached to play Pee Wee. That's all for now.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Death of a President: Reviewed

This film is a fictional documentary about the assassination of President Bush and the events leading up to the assassination, as well as the days and months following.

It's really an incredible movie, regardless if you're a Bush basher or supporter. Every aspect of the "what if" scenario is examined, including interviews with members of the secret service and others inside the president's administration, a forensic investigator, possible suspects and their family members. Fictional newscasts and actual file footage is used to add to the reality of the movie.

Something I found very intriguing is how a Muslim woman and her husband were afraid just to go in public after the shooting, fearing they would be arrested just because they fit the classic terrorist profile. The police eventually did arrest the Muslim man, and scraped up enough circumstantial evidence to bring him to trial.

The big pay off, the reveal of who the assassin is, comes out of left field. The Muslim, a white supremacist from Alabama, dozens of Al Cada terrorist cells, communists, Syrians, and hundreds of Bush haters all take credit for the killing.

I don't find the social commentary trite or cliche at all. It's an interesting theory of what the social and political ramifications could be if a president is killed while in office.

The movie stresses how intrusive the Patriot Act can be, and how justice really is blind, but these themes are overshadowed by the excellent storytelling. This movie is great because it tells a unique and interesting story extremely well. It would have been just as good and compelling if it would have been about Clinton, Kerry, Gore, or Regan. I don't feel it would have been as good if it would have been about a totally fictional presidential figure, because it wouldn't have seemed as real. I give this movie 4/5 stars!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

House of 1K Corpses: Reviewed - Finally!

When I was in high school, I saw a teaser trailer for a movie that looked totally sick. What appeared to be two men in space suits were digging a grave in a torrential downpour as the mud slopped around the shovels, a heartbeat pounded and a crow cackled; House of 1000 Corpses was introduced to the big screen. About six years later it finally found a distributor after Universal forced Zombie to censor the movie to get an R rating instead of an NC-17 rating. Many Zombie fans were disappointed with the movie, including Morty (contributor over at Book of Fitz) and myself.

As I mentioned, the movie was originally suppose to have an NC-17 rating, so Zombie took it to a different distributor that wouldn’t want to edit it down to an R. Eventually, after all other distributors passed on it, Lion’s Gate picked it up for the R rating.

The beginning of the movie actually hooks your interest. Murders start early. The characters are great, and there’s even some oddly good acting (for a horror movie). It’s the lack of direction that kills the movie (not the directing by Rob Zombie, instead it’s more like a stream of consciousness scenario). Things just happen without much reason or regard for how the movie will develop.

One of the gems of this movie is that Matthew McGrory is in it, though is hid by a mask the entire time. McGrory has been in Big Fish and not much else, and was known as Bigfoot on the Stern show back when McGrory was still alive (not to be confused with the new wack-packer Bigfoot, different person).

Zombie actually did a great job scoring the movie, which is very difficult to do. Too many movies are scored poorly, which just kills the movie. Although this movie is pretty much dead to begin with, the well-done scoring holds it together. The soundtrack is great, some original Zombie tracks included. His cover of Brick House is a breathe of fresh air, and not your typical kind of Zombie song.

The absolute worst part of the movie is the execution scene. At about the 59 minute mark, police investigate the suspected murderers’ house, only to have the murderers exterminate of all the police, one of them on his knees – a gun pressed to his forehead by the main killer. The execution scene is in slow motion and is scored by yodeling country music (the only poor song chioce in the movie). Right when the big pay off is about to happen and the last cop is going to get killed, the music ends and a crane shot begins for what seems to be a minute-and-a-half long, accompanied without sound or music. Finally the cop is offed at the crane shot’s 26 second mark, which is way past the rising action, climax, and well into the anti-climax of the scene. Zombie seems to be the only one that thinks this shot was a good idea and was different and terrific and unlike anything else in classic or modern horror cinema.

The only redeeming factor of the scene is that directly after the monstrosity is over, Sheri Moon bares her thong-clad ass, and some almost full-frontal boobage. The best part of the movie comes when Sheri Moon goes in the liquor store, and the clerk named “G. Ober” has a few hilarious and classic lines that almost make the movie worth seeing. Sheri Moon’s ass is the other reason that makes the movie worth seeing. Moon as Baby – Zombie’s long time girlfriend (wife?) - is totally hot, and shows some ass 25 minutes into the movie.

Other characters include Sid Haig as the evil clown, Captain Spaulding. Bill Mosely plays the patriarch of the killer’s clan, named Otis. Sheri Moon, who I already discussed, was in the December 2005 issue of Playboy. Harrison Young (old James Ryan in Saving Private Ryan) as the father of one of the kids that disappeared. Karen Black as the mother of Sheri Moon, who has been in Hollywood for about 45 years.

As much as I rag on this movie, it’s actually a very well authored DVD. The extras are good (as far as DVD extras go). The commentary by director Rob Zombie is terrific, and I’ve heard lots of lousy commentaries (including Mel Brooks on Blazing Saddles, Tim Butron on Sleepy Hollow, Alex Proyas on The Crow to name a few).

You can tell (from the commentary at least) that Zombie didn’t always stick to the script and had lots of on-the-fly changes, which certainly doesn’t help the movie out. To Zombie’s credit, it was his first time directing a movie.

The best analogy I can think of for this movie is a scary campfire story. It starts out well enough, you’re aware it’s total bullshit, and you’re going through the motions by paying attention it, but you know it’s just bad. It’s a big homage to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and a thousand other horror movies that no one’s heard of that Zombie grew up with.

The really bad part is, I think the movie’s starting to grow on me. I’m giving Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses 2/5 stars. I’m tempted to give it a better rating, but I think back to my first impression of the movie and I just can’t bring myself to do it.

Zombie is now in pre-production for his new horror movie, the ninth installment and remake of the original Halloween.