Monthly Archives: January 2015

Brain Dead (1990)

brain-dead-movie-poster-1990-1020210657I think I only watched this because it expired from Netflix on January first. I don’t know much about it other than it is often confused with Peter Jackson’s Brain Dead (or Dead Alive). It starts off super slow, and this is one of those movies that hasn’t aged well. It doesn’t have aspects that make it super dated, but the acting and overall tone just screams 90s. Anyway, we follow Bill Pullman, who plays a neuroscientist who has a shelf filled with brains. His entire career is based on zapping people’s brains to collect information. All in the name of legitimate science, of course. Then he gets into an argument with some random bum, and is later subjected to nonstop and terrifying hallucinations that include a murderous surgeon.

Or is what he’s seeing actually real? Yeah, this is one of those. However, it’s really not that bad. The transitions from one hallucination to the next are pretty seamless. The biggest issue I have is the end. If you’re going for this surreal world the character can’t seem to escape, then stick with it. I don’t believe in making something like this open ended. After seeing a guy deal with back to back illusions, I kind of wanted an answer as to why these things just popped out of nowhere.

While the movie really doesn’t offer any conclusion, it’s strong enough to earn 3/5. If you can get past the first 20 minutes of cheesy acting and general weirdness, it’s not that bad. Just don’t expect any questions to be answered. It’s one of those artsy nightmares that never seems to end for the protagonist. Honestly I’m not even sure if the guy truly existed. If you’re in the mood for something a little odd and you have 87 minutes to spare, I say give it a shot.

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Love Actually (2003)

11174822_800I’m a fan of British comedies, but I can’t get behind romantic comedies. I personally think they’re unrealistic, and project the notion that “love” is some kind of virus that zaps common sense and logic from those that find it. I’m going to say Love Actually is by far the worst example I’ve ever seen of that. The biggest problem I have is how long it is: two hours and 16 minutes. Long movies aren’t bad movies, but it all depends on the plot and how smoothly things progress. The pacing here is so odd that I have to wonder if any editing was actually completed. This is also supposed to be one of those movies where everyone is connected and the subplots link together. However, that’s actually false advertising because the only thing linking the plots together is some horrid Christmas song that plays in the background.

The biggest insult is the subplots themselves. Three definitely could’ve been cut from the movie, while the others are filled with every romantic comedy trope in existence. The only one that stuck out (and not for the best reasons) is the one with Liam Neeson. He’s a recently windowed step-dad who encourages his grieving stepson to pursue his love for a classmate that will be leaving the country. This might be sweet if the kid was at least in his 20s. He’s only 11 years old. Why is this unnerving? His father actually gives him several ideas that I’m pretty sure could lead to felony charges.

I understand wanting to be the best parent you can be, but I really don’t know anyone that would blatantly tell their child to run through 2 different airport security checkpoints to proclaim their love. I don’t care if this meant to be a bonding moment between father and son. This is national security we’re talking about, and a little “innocent” act like this would have major consequences that we (of course) don’t see in the movie. This gets 2/5.

I give it some credit for having some decent one-liners but everything else is crap. Real love isn’t some mystical force that causes you to act like you’ve lost your damn mind. It does require some thought, patience, selflessness, and many other qualities that movies like this one fail to recognize. I’m not against romance. I just believe that romantic movies should still try to incorporate real life, not the pseudo-happy endings that we constantly see.

ABCs of Death V-Z

v is for vagitusSo…apparently the term for a newborn baby’s cry is vagitus. I guess I wanted to know that. I don’t know what to make of this one. There’s something about mentals, a decapitated baby that’s “The Prophet”, an infertile cop that is now it’s guardian… I think Andrews had about 4 or 5 different story ideas and just decided to use them all at once. I give it 2/5. Why vagitus? Is it commentary about how a baby’s shrill cry can make your head feel like it’s going to explode? I think Andrews just really wanted to showcase the many ways someone can lose their head, and they’re all equally odd. I should mention Kaare Andrews is more known for his work on comic books and graphic novels. He’s also the director of Cabin Fever: Patient Zero. That should tell you everything you need to know about his creative talents.

w is for wtfJon Schnepp directed Metalocalypse, as well as The Venture Bros. You know what this segment is? Rejected ideas for Adult Swim. It’s the same animation style as a lot of the other shows on there, and the same level of absurdity. This gets 1/5. All Schnepp had to do was sift through his reject pile, edit it down, and film it in such a way that does make you say WTF. It’s lazy and weird, and I expect more from the guy that edited Space Ghost Coast to Coast.

x is for xxlXavier Gens must like showing just how horrible people can be, and what that cruelty could drive others to do. He’s the guy that made Frontier(s), one of the most brutal French films in existence. That brutality is evident here. We have a lonely woman who already hates her appearance, and the verbal abuse at the hands of strangers causes her to do something unthinkable: cutting off her own skin and fat. As shocking as it is, the message is incredibly powerful. I give it 5/5. As sickening as it is, it’s still brilliant. It takes a huge problem of our generation, and it goes to the extreme while still getting the message across. I love it, and it is by far the best segment in the movie.

y is for youngbuckI can’t watch this without gagging. Do we really need to see the real life version of Herbert the Pervert licking pre-teen boy sweat off of bleachers? I don’t want to see an old man look at young boys the way I look at pizza. It just ain’t right. I mean I guess it’s cool the young boy gets his revenge, but at this point the damage has already been done. You’re so grossed out that you turn away before the creep gets his comeuppance. I have to give it 2/5. I’m all for revenge stuff, but this is one of those times where being that visual is not a good idea. Thank you Jason Eisener, for almost making me vomit onto my laptop.

z is for zetsumetsuTo recap, we have: naked men forced to make sushi at gunpoint, naked women fighting, and one of them had a giant penis with a sword at the end, an obvious Dr. Strangelove reference, swastikas, naked people shooting into the air like rockets, and a penis that ejaculates rice. Not quite sure what I’m supposed to say about any of this. I don’t even think anybody died. There were just boobies, sushi, rice, and random penises every 10 seconds. I’m just very confused, and highly uncomfortable. I’m going to give this 1/5. I don’t know this is, and frankly I don’t want to know. This is the man that gave us Tokyo Gore Police, Mutant Girls Squad, and Helldriver. What went wrong, I will never know.

And here we are: The end of the 26 ways you can (apparently) die. Liked it? Disagree with my ratings? Have your own idea about what happened in some of the segments? Let me know in the comments, and keep an eye out for ABCs of Death 2.

ABCs of Death R-U

r is for removedI don’t understand how I can watch something, and it makes even less sense every time. This is obviously a metaphor for something. The problem is Spasojevic fails to make it comprehensible for the rest of us as to what that something is. My best guess it’s something about commercialization of art. I know that makes no sense, but neither does this short. I give it 2/5. It’s gory…but there isn’t a reason as to why it’s gory, or why there’s a man whose flesh turns into film and bullets. I can see he was trying so hard to use symbolism, but it just doesn’t work if you can’t make any sense of it. For all of my fellow horror fans, does the director’s name sound familiar? He’s the one that unleashed A Serbian Film unto us all. That just tells me this dude has some serious issues with the film industry.

s is for speedI think is one of the few segments I really like out of the whole movie. It’s pretty badass how West decided to tackle drug addiction and eventual overdose. I really don’t have any problems with it, and I swear it’s put together better than all the other segments. I give it 4/5. Why doesn’t it get a perfect score if I liked it that much? This is the same director that did Doghouse. You know how I feel about that movie, and I find it hard to believe the same guy is capable of making something this awesome.

t is for toiletI probably shouldn’t have laughed as hard as I did at this. I was in tears and couldn’t breathe. There’s absolutely nothing funny about a child dying. But a Final Destination-esque death by dislodged toilet tank? And an elaborate killer toilet mutant nightmare before that? That’s freaking hysterical. I give it 4/5. It’s quirky, morbid, and it’s well done considering it’s claymation. And it has the same idea as S is for Speed: Get to the point, but do it effectively. I just wish the other segments could’ve been this good, or least just as funny.

u is for unearthedI really want to like this one, but it feels like something is missing. It’s interesting to see a vampire hunt from the view of the vampire, but the actual execution seems to be lacking. I think it’s because of the questions it generates. Do the citizens do this all the time? It’s obvious they knew the vampire when he was human, so why are they going out of their way to kill him? Is this supposed to be present day?  I give it 3/5. I like the point of view idea, but I don’t know if it was pushed as far as it can really go.