Thursday, September 30, 2010

FROZEN (2010) - Should've gone to the beach, dumbasses

The first time I saw the poster for Frozen, it struck me as a bit odd that anyone thought a compelling horror/thriller movie could be made out of sticking people up on a ski lift for an hour and half. There just didn't seem to be enough of a story that could be fleshed out with such a limited setting without having the director go the easy way and litter the film with flashbacks. Thankfully, Frozen avoids the cliched grainy, black and white flashback explaining the characters' backstory and their caloric intake that fateful morning. It's gripping and suspenseful, but has several parts that drag the running time for a bit longer than it should and it suffers accordingly.

Frozen has our group of three friends going on a snowboarding trip, and wastes no time in introducing them. Dan (Kevin Zegers) and his blonde girlfriend Parker (Emma Bell) join up with Dan's best friend Joe (Shawn Ashmore) to hit the slopes. Immediately it becomes obvious that Parker has no business being up intruding on the guy time, since they spend all day going down easy slopes and Joe understandably gets annoyed. He begs Dan for a real run even though it's getting late, and he agrees, although Parker being the obnoxious nag that she is, just has to tag along. They predictably get stuck halfway up the mountain and left hanging some sixty feet off the ground when the ski lift attendant takes off. As night falls, they get to experience the lovely, wonderful sensation of frostbite, hypothermia and exposure. Since it's Sunday night, and the resort wont open until the next Friday, then they're reasonably scared shitless.
At least the view is pretty good.
A word about the actors, since the movie depends on their performances. They mostly suck. It's as simple as that. The only somewhat famous actor is the guy playing Joe, Shawn Ashmore. Ashmore played Iceman (LOL irony's a bitch) in X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand. He is by far the most convincing in his portrayal of the guy who feels guilty for having goaded his friend into agreeing to go on another run when it was clearly not a good idea.

In fact, most of the problems I have with this movie are plain stupid mistakes that no one in their right mind would make when being frozen to death on a damn ski lift. Throughout their ordeal, they are in constant danger of freezing to death and getting frostbite. Yet they have scarves, hoods and ski goggles that THEY NEVER PUT ON. Seriously now. You're freezing your face off and  you can't put on the damn goggles or zip your jacket all the way up? Shiiieeeet, halfway through the film I was just hoping an epic snowstorm would come and then the movie would just cut to black, and then after the credits we'd see them all frozen to death like the chumps they are.

 It just could have been a lot more effective if obvious mistakes that strained credibility were left out. Without going into spoilers, that doesn't even begin to cover it. Be prepared to see some ridiculous, batshit decision making by all three characters. Even with all the dumbassery  on display, there's some pretty exciting sequences. At one point, one of the guys tries to scale from one ski lift to another, getting his hands sliced open on the razor sharp wire. There's also a pack of wolves that shows up halfway through the film that patiently waits for our three idiots to make a false move and get some human dinner.

Frozen is a decent thriller which doesn't have to rely on excessive gore or jump scenes to keep the viewer's interest. It goes on for a good half hour longer than necessary and although the execution leaves a lot to be desired, it is an intriguing concept. I'll admit that it had me wondering just what the hell I would do if I were stuck 60-ft off the ground with wolves waiting for me to fall and die. A better cast and a better director would have done wonders.

Final rating: 5/10

tl;dr: hurr durr let's go up the mountain when a storm is coming and at night. oh shit we're stuck...

Monday, September 27, 2010

GOLDENEYE (1995) - Nintendo 64 fans rejoice

If you were born sometime in the last half century, chances are you've played the greatest first person shooter in the world. GoldenEye 007 was the best thing since sliced bread came along, and made the Nintendo 64 a lot cooler than it really was. All the kids with Playstations were secretly jealous that your little Japanese box had it and they didn't. You probably enjoyed their tears. And all was good. Suffice to say, the movie the game was based on was not too shabby itself. It's undoubtedly one of the better modern Bond flicks, and the best featuring Pierce Brosnan.

New Bond. Same old great Q.
It's 1990s post-Cold War Russia and those Slavs are up to no good. They've got corrupt generals selling state secrets and a badass space satellite or two that can fire an electronic pulse to knock a country back into the stone age. So who do you send when Russians thievin' and murderin'? Everyone's favorite womanizing, probably alcoholic and violent Englishman. This was Pierce Brosnan's debut as 007 and he hit the ground running. He's got the charm and suave character that some other previous Bonds lacked, but is also more believable as a guy who's got a license to kill than Roger Moore.

Compared to some of the other ridiculous plots that Bond movies had to suffer through (Moonraker, anyone?), GoldenEye is actually an above-average 007 story. Sean Bean plays Bond's rival and turncoat agent 006 and has help from a Georgian assassin played by Famke Jansen, who kills guys she seduces with her massive thighs of steel. Sometimes, she uses an AK-47. Yeah, the AK-47 is probably more effective, but the thighs have style going for them. That being said, Bean is a stand-up guy whenever it comes to playing villains, and his 006/Alec Travelyan is one of the most memorable in recent 007 outings. He's no Baron Samedi or Jaws, but he's cunning, ruthless and knows Bond almost like a brother. An interesting twist later reveals his reasons for betraying James, and overall, GoldenEye enjoys a better script than the Brosnan sequels that were to follow.

Bond destroys most of Moscow in a tank. Napoleon and Hitler, eat your heart out...

Some of the standout scenes in the movie that tingled my man senses were the initial opening scene in a chemical weapons plant, which true to Bond fashion was exciting and completely impossible to pull off in real life, and a balls to the wall chase through Moscow. In the latter, corrupt Russian general #3745 takes Bond's girl (the hot Izabella Scorupco... DAT ACCENT) and tries to make a dash for it in a shitty Lada. Well, Bond ain't having that so he jacks a beastly Russian tank and proceeds to level most of Moscow while in pursuit.

Only in a Bond movie could a computer nerd be hot.
There are some slower, filler scenes but overall, GoldenEye is a much more action-oriented film than the newer Casino Royale and was probably responsible for saving a franchise that had been languishing after the last of the Timothy Dalton-helmed Bonds had been sucking pretty badly. It brought some new blood, faster pacing and smarter direction to the series and kept it somewhat more relevant to a newer audience. If you're a Bond fan, or enjoy action movies of a tad higher standard than the latest Vin Diesel bullshit, give it a watch.

I always did hate the train level in that game.

tl;dr: GoldenEye 007 was based on a movie which in fact did not suck. 7.5/10

Sunday, September 26, 2010

PREDATORS (2010) - Get to da sequel!!!!11!!111!

When I first read the news about a new sequel in the Predator franchise being made, I'll admit that I considered buying a pump-action shotgun and wreaking havoc on whoever it was that thought it was a good idea to make yet another damn shitty rip-off. The original Predator was a classic 80s action film. It was a fantastic mix of action, suspense and sci-fi. The way that the film seamlessly moved from standard shoot-em up fare (let's demolish a small Latin American country) into a thrilling man vs. monster stakeout (Holy shit Batman, an invisible monster is skinning Arnold's team) in the jungle made for great viewing. Sadly, the sequels that followed were plain and simple bullshit. Predator 2 was just terrible. The Alien Versus Predator series has been shitty to the max as well, and I thoroughly expected this new flick to be a steaming pile of wasted celluloid.

Most of these guys probably wont make it...
So I was surprised when about half an hour into Predators, I realized it wasn't half as bad as I feared it would be. Sure, there's no way in hell Adrien Brody could ever replace the likes of Schwarzenegger and it's cliched to hell, but the vibe is there. The movie goes back to the roots of what made the first flick so good. It puts the emphasis back on the humans fighting the Predators. It puts them smack dab into the claustrophobic jungle right from the beginning and has them rely on each other to survive. It's also got a decent cast, with the likes of Danny Trejo (as a Tijuana drug cartel assassin) and Oleg Taktarov (carrying the enormous Minigun) alongside other faces you've probably seen in other stuff. One of my favorites was the death row inmate (perfect casting with Walter Goggins), who at one point  in the movie shanks a Predator while yelling "DIE, SPACE FAGGOT!"

I double dare you to go prod that tied up Predator. Do it brah!
Take a second and go over that last line again. I was snacking on some delicious pizza while watching it and nearly choked from laughing when I heard it. The story is just enough to keep the audience interested, but in a guilty pleasure movie like this, it's the action and suspense that has to keep things flowing. The first half hour was for me the best, as the team of mismatched goons makes their way around the alien planet and gets attacked by a few new creatures. However, there's something I can't stand in movies like this, and it's revealing everything in regards to the creatures.
Morpheus holding an alien gat. Your mind = BLOWN.
You can go the Aliens route, and have the things on screen all the time, but the action and pacing has to be perfect, which in this case it isn't. Or you can be smart and keep the audience guessing by showing the Predator in brief, brutal glimpses. The movie drops the ball in this area, but what the hell. Predators may not be perfect, but at least it's a breath of fresh air for a franchise that had been shafted and given donkey balls since the original came out in the 80s. You can sense the hand of Robert Rodriguez behind the scenes. This is the guy behind Machete, Sin City and other great guy flicks. He knows what makes a badass movie tick, and we can be thankful that it was him and not some ass like Uwe Boll getting his hands on a great a franchise as Predator. If you're a fan of the original, definitely watch it. If you're in the mood for some good-natured monster killing, WATCH IT.

tl;dr: finally a decent Predator sequel that doesn't blow monkey balls. 7/10 and worth a watch.

Friday, September 24, 2010

MACHETE (2010) - Mexico's Citizen Kane

If you have seen the trailer for Machete, and you still haven't made up your mind to go watch this film, you ought to check carefully to see if you lost your balls somewhere. Seriously, this movie fits the man movie description perfectly. Allow me to list the things that are right and proper in this film:
  1. Danny Trejo is an ex-con, and he was in Heat, one of the best guy movies of all time.
  2. The main character drives a motorcycle armed with two Miniguns and snarls a lot
  3. Cheech Marin with shotguns
  4. Lindsay Lohan dressed up as a nun shooting a machine gun
  5. Steven Seagal plays a Mexican drug kingpin complete with thick accent. READ THAT AGAIN.
Best Supporting Actor 2010 - Cheech Marin as the Mexican bandit priest
Does this movie have problems? Sure it does. The story is ridiculous. A bearded asshole (played by Jeff Fahey) hires Machete to assassinate a racist senator (Robert De Niro, wondering when he became too old to give a damn) in the midst of a political stand off about illegal immigrants. De Niro is in cruise control throughout the movie, looking like he's cashing a paycheck and wants to Audi up out of there ASAP. Jessica Alba was put in there for her shower scene (yeah) and Michelle Rodriguez plays the same character in all of her movies. Lindsay Lohan walks around mostly naked throughout the entire movie, so there's that.

Shit just got real, son.
WHO CARES? It doesn't matter, and I'll tell you why. Near the middle of the film, Machete is shot and taken to a hospital. He's being treated when a group of racist thugs busts in to take him out. He goes on to decapitate most of them, and makes a quick getaway by jumping out a window holding on to one of the guy's intestines.

You should watch this movie. Go watch it in theaters if you still can. You won't be disappointed. If  you can stand the constant MeXiCoOO StrONggGG!!!!!! barrage and shit about immigration doesn't bother you, it'll be a good time. Or you could wait for it on Blu-ray and watch it drunk, in which case you'd enjoy it over 9000 times more.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

KICK ASS (2010) - Giving neckbeards everywhere hope

Unless you've been living under a moldy rock for the past year, chances are you've heard of this little ditty called Kick Ass. Apparently it's based on a comic book...err "graphic novel" which everyone and their mother seemed to love. That's good and all, but since I can't be bothered to read things printed on actual paper and shit, I had no idea what this movie was about except that which I got from watching the pretty epic trailer.

So a basement dwelling nerd decides to become a real life superhero and goes around the city getting his ass beat into a bloody pulp. The movie goes out of its way to show you just what a loser Kick Ass really is: he spends all day on his computer, reads comics, talks about comics with his fat, obnoxious friends and the chick he digs is totally unaware of his existence. This last part is 100% totally accurate. No woman looking like Lyndsy Fonseca is ever going to be aware of you unless you are filthy rich or you are a total badass, in which case,  you wouldn't be reading a movie blog online.

Why so serious?
Kick Ass, played by Aaron Johnson, soon starts making enemies, namely Mark Strong's mob boss character, as well as some new crime fighting friends in the form of Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz) and Big Daddy (who else but Nic Cage). A word about Mark Strong. This guy just oozes cool and menace. He's had a couple of great roles in Body of Lies and RocknRolla and it's good to see him getting more quality screen time in American movies. McLovin also plays another loveable loser as Mark Strong's son, but who gives a crap. For the love of god, they've got to stop giving McLovin acting roles. Anyways, this movie belongs to Hit Girl. It's safe to say that without her character and her father, Kick Ass would be been much more bland as a film. Whenever Big Daddy and Hit Girl are on the scene, there's going to be bloody violence galore.

Yeah, not gonna happen in real life, bud.
The story is somewhat generic but does enough to keep the movie breezing past at a good pace. The set pieces are pretty interesting, with a night-vision shootout near the end and Big Daddy wrecking some mobsters' shit at a drug warehouse being the standouts. There's eye candy in Lyndsy Fonseca's scenes as well, and there's some inspired musical choices. As a piece of film making, Kick Ass would be above average at best. There's better superhero movies out there by a mile, but as a guy flick, you can't go wrong. The action is slick, gruesome and fast paced and there's memorable lines and characters.

Worth a watch IMHOTBH.

TL;DR - A nerd becomes a superhero, gets his ass beat a lot and Nicolas Cage dresses up like Batman - 8/10.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

THE TOWN (2010) - "Heat" goes to Bawwwston

Seeing as how this was the most recent movie that could qualify as a guy movie that I've seen in the theater, it'll have to make do as my first review.

First things first, The Town is a solid action flick. It's got plenty of guns being shot, three slick heists, cops getting their shit ruined by robbers, a good car chase, and a guy gets shot in the grape in slow mo. So far so good. To be honest, I was a bit hesitant towards watching Ben Affleck's Boston-boner popping movie since I saw the trailer and automatically thought: Heat in Boston. Don't get me wrong, now. Heat is a great movie. It is undoubtedly among the best crime movies ever made, and since Michael Mann was behind the camera it has the loudest damn gunfight ever caught on tape, not to mention a fantastic cast.

The good news is that The Town is a good enough movie to stand on its own. If you've seen Gone Baby Gone, you know that Affleck has what it takes to direct a movie.

The story begins with a group of dudes wearing Skeletor masks and packing serious heat making their way into a bank. They strip the joint clean and take Rebecca Hall's character hostage (stupid idea #1). Blah blah blah and eventually you see where this is going. Love interest develops, she becomes a liability, and it all plays out into a great last half hour of gunfire-fueled orgy of destruction on the streets of Boston. The dialogue is smooth and there's a few good quotable lines that got me saying "hell yes." It's got a strong cast with Affleck, Jeremy Renner (plays a psychopath and shoots people with a Tec-9 or beats people with bats. This is good.) and Jon Hamm. Also rounding out the cast is a great scene by the always good Chris Cooper and Pete Postletelpslelsteplwelwwaithe (he shot dinosaurs in Jurassic Park 2). Affleck has had his manly credibility on shaky ground ever since he released that turd of a movie Gigli, but he makes up for it in this flick by nailing his part as leader of the crew pulling off dem bank robberies throughout the city. His character is grizzled and conflicted (yeah we get it, robbin banks is hard) and is convincing in his relationship with Hall's bank manager. Renner steals the show however, displaying some of that great ferocity he showed in The Hurt Locker. He's an unabashed, cold-blooded hard bastard and it's great to see him explode in random bouts of violence. There's a pretty memorable scene between him and Affleck roughing up some thugs in their apartment.

All in all, you could do worse with your $11.00 at the box office. You could be watching Step Up 3D...

tl;dr: The guy from Mad Men shooting guns at Ben Affleck and that one guy from The Hurt Locker while they rob banks.

Gat -wielding Skeletor gives The Town a 8.5/10 and says you should watch this shit.

inb4 another movie blog... oh wait.

As of now, this is the official interwebs temple for films made for manly men of the manliest kind. The kind of men that know that once upon a time, Steven Seagal made a single good movie, which had a battleship in it, and a bunch of guns, and Tommy Lee Jones in it, and a gratuitous tit scene. And Gary Busey was in it.

If you love seeing shit get blown up, good one-liners, nameless villains with foreign-sounding names and most likely Mexican looking faces getting shot/stabbed/decapitated/eaten by animals on screen, you will come here often. Why?

Because the world has had enough faggy movies like 500 Days of Summer.