Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Grosse Pointe Blank

A professional killer returns to his home town for his high school reunion in this clever action comedy. Featuring snappy dialogue, a clever script, and great performances by Dan Aykroyd, Joan Cusack, and Alan Arkin, the soundtrack is an uncredited character in this film. Songs by The Clash, Violent Femmes, The Jam, The Specials, Echo and the Bunnymen, Pixies, Motorhead, The Cure, Tones On Tail, and Siouxsie and the Banshees play throughout...

Hold on a minute. Let's be really honest about why I chose to review this film. My 90th high school reunion takes place in about a month. I'm choosing not to attend. There's been a lot of water under the bridge since I graduated from Miskatonik High. Murky, filthy, polluted water. But that's neither here nor there. I've taken the past few months to try to eat better, lose a few pounds, and generally tighten everything up. That means about an hour a day of cardio, pushups, and T25. I've been eating fewer snack cakes, and eating more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and leafy greens. I feel pretty good. My back issues are better. I've had to get some skinny jeans because my other jeans didn't fit right.

Plus, I've been training like Batman, except I don't really see myself so much as a superhero, but more as a super villain. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any fitness programs dedicated to the super villain.

Why am I doing this, you ask? Easy. I am completely shallow. Since I wasn't exactly Homecoming King, it's extremely important to me to be the coolest, fittest, and hippest graduate not attending the reunion in an attempt to fill people I haven't seen or care to see in decades with unfathomable envy. It's been quite a motivator. If living well is the best revenge, and revenge is a dish best served cold, I'll take two scoops of living well in a waffle cone.

Anyway, I very much enjoyed the slight dig the filmmakers made as Minnie Driver and John Cusack's characters are all associated with the cooler music, and the bland, disposable extras are all forced to dance to Nena's "99 Luftballons". I've probably said it, like, a million times before, but it really bothers me when sweet jams get appropriated by the uncool. I remember the 80s. It's a bit hazy, but I remember it. People did not walk down the street sporting A Flock Of Seagulls haircuts.

Only the misfits and outcasts had the nerve to do that. The people who had A Flock Of Seagulls haircuts don't man the booth handing out name tags at high school reunions. Heck, they breathed so much Aqua-Net they probably don't remember they attended high school. I know I don't. My point is everybody didn't look like Kurt Cobain in the 90s, KC and the Sunshine Band in the 70s, or Jimi Hendrix in the 60s. Everybody pretty much look like they always do, only the pant-legs and sideburns got a little wider. Everyone only remembers the freaks whose hair looked like poultry. So I'm annoyed when someone who had a Don Henley 1980s starts misremembering that time they had a Dead Kenndys 1980s when they didn't have the nerve to, when in actuality they were jamming out to Dionne Warwick's "That's What Friends Are For" wearing a button-down shirt with a sweater tied nonchalantly around their necks.

Everyone who enjoyed Mr. Aker Bilk, Starland Vocal Band, Billy Ocean, and Nickleback needs to just own it, and stop appropriating sweet jams as their own because they think everybody forgot, because I haven't and I won't.

Anyway, I find it completely surprising that John Cusack found a way to do a little kickboxing in Grosse Pointe Blank, and by that I mean I'm surprised Grosse Pointe Blank wasn't ALL kickboxing.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Avengers Grimm

Female fairy tale heroes travel through a magic mirror to Los Angeles to battle Mayor Rumpelstiltskin, drive a Chevy, and get into fights in seedy dive bars in this mockbuster based ever-so-slightly on The Avengers from low-budget film studio The Asylum. First of all, I'm going out on a limb and stating that I didn't mind Avengers Grimm. Sure, there are camera shadows and dodgy CGI, but there isn't a single Asylum helicopter scene in it. Plus, there's bustiers, somersaults, and some Little Red Riding Hood kung fu. Sadly, there's also Lou Ferrigno's bald cap, which is extraordinarily distracting and ill fitting. I was also a little bothered that the villain was a powerful recluse who lives in a penthouse, and I hope I don't have to become litigious if Rumpelstiltskin's character was based on me, because I had almost nothing to do with Starship Troopers.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Dollman Vs. Demonic Toys

A miniature space cop fights demonic toys in this sequel. After a voiceover narration-filled recap, a homeless guy gets a nasty head wound from an empty cardboard box, and the resulting blood awakens the demonic toys again. Suddenly, a stop-motion spider attacks a foot-high chick in a bikini, then Dollman somehow finds her address and saves the day. It's not very exciting and took quite a while to get there. Then there's another recap with narration. Then there's another recap with narration. Then Dollman and the chick have an unconvincing love scene in a kitchen drawer amidst the utensils. Actually, Dollman Vs. Demonic Toys appears to be mostly recap with narration.

Island Of The Fishmen

Criminals wash ashore on a mysterious Caribbean island filled with fishmen in this somewhat dull adventure film. There's scorpions, snakes, open pits with spikes, voodoo ceremonies, and Barbara Bach taking a lengthy bubblebath. Suddenly, Joseph Cotten appears, and he was living under the stairs the whole time. Did you know Joseph Cotten was in some of the greatest films of all time, and he was also in this? Neither did I. Then a guy named Claude gets clawed, and no one seems to laugh, but I did.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Kung Fury

A cop travels back in time to thwart a dangerous threat in this 30-minute short film that recently debuted on Youtube, reaching 10 million views in 3 days.

With a visual style reminiscent of old VHS tapes, Kung Fury features sentient, killer video game consoles, flying Lamborghinis, videotape tracking problems, headbands, Ray-Bans, a battle in space outside a satellite, ninjas, explosions, lightning, a sidekick named Triceracop, 80s synths, laser-raptors, viking chicks carrying gatling guns riding wolves, Thor, Nazi stormtroopers, Adolf Hitler AKA Kung Fuhrer, terrible mustaches, terrible puns, a severed arm being used as a helicopter, Mortal Kombat references, skateboarding on a spinal column, anime cobras on jet-skis, and David Hasselhoff.

It's sort of amazing.

What To Expect When You're Expecting

Men experience the joys of labor, delivery, and product placement in this dreadful bromantic comedy. Chance Crawford, Ben Falcone, Matthew Morrison, Dennis Quaid, Chris Rock, Rodrigo Santoro, Joe Manganiello, Rob Huebel, Thomas Lennon, and Amir Talai push strollers, race golf carts, eat chili dogs, have circumcision crises, cavort in musical montages, and do pull-ups while one of their children narrowly avoids injury from running while carrying a stick or getting beaned from a thrown pop can. Several women appear who rarely speak to one another, and I'm sure their cameos were extremely expensive. While surprisingly dialogue heavy for an action comedy starring men strapped down with gear, earning 23 cents more per dollar on average than women, or preparing bacon-based entrees in their food truck, sadly nothing explodes in What To Expect When You're Expecting, although one of the women vomits into a cup-shaped dancing trophy.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Love In The Time Of Monsters

Sisters on a family vacation must contend with zombies dressed as Bigfoot in this clever, funny horror/comedy. Featuring gore, severed limbs, spinal columns, vomit, melting skin, entrails, zombie moose, and a scientist dressed as Abe Lincoln singing dubstep as he pushes an overhead projector, Love In The Time Of Monsters' compelling characters, snappy dialogue, and good effects keep things interesting when it could have resorted to the laziness of Zombeavers. With a larger than usual cast, the characters seemed fully fleshed out, even with limited screen time. While the zombified woodland creatures seemed less than convincing, I found that aspect charming, adding to the film's comedic nature. I would rather see an unrealistic bloody zombie squirrel puppet than a realistic CGI bloody zombie squirrel any day of the week. With zombie Bigfoot, zombie birds, zombie fish, zombie squirrels, zombie moose, and a guy with electrical powers, the film probably could've cut a few of the many varied menaces to the cast and still kept the story churning along. I liked Love In The Time Of Monsters, and it's worth hunting down.