Archive for the P Category

Pieces of April

Posted in P with tags , , , , , , , on December 1, 2008 by Schuyler

Schuyler says:

I could make fun of this movie. Quite easily. Anything starring Goth Katie Holmes usually earns my ire. piecesofaprilHowever, I guess I should consider this movie in context.

Because she’s never really shared her family’s view on anything, Katie Holmes has been ostracized from her family. This is not to say Holmes hasn’t gone out of her way to seek isolation though. She has moved clear across the country and resides with her live-in boyfriend in the ghetto.

Holmes is waiting for her family to arrive for Thanksgiving dinner, presumably the first time anyone has seen her since she departed from home. Despite all the trouble she’s had with her family, she wants to make a good impression on them, because her mom (who disapproves of her terribly) is dying of cancer.

Holmes has to overcome obstacle after obstacle in order to make Thanksgiving work. This is the main “meat” (or turkey) of the film. Her oven is too small. It breaks. She has to knock on doors to ask people to share their ovens, mere hours before Thanksgiving dinners are supposed to be served. This is a discovery process in finding out how creepy and crazy the people in her building are. All of them, except a disgruntled black couple who at least hear her plea. After a few minutes, they’re in tears and do everything they can to help her (and they let her use their oven for a few hours to get her turkey started, postponing their own dinner). Also, she eventually is aided by an Asian immigrant family who doesn’t know what Thanksgiving is. When I wasn’t yelling anime jokes at the characters, this was a touching scene as well. I’ve skipped over the various creeps Holmes begs for help, because it’s ridiculously predictable. Whatever you’re afraid will happen, happens.

Worst part in the whole film: Gay McHomoson from Will & Grace is a creepy dog lady (despite being a man) pieces_of_april_2who rapes Holmes’ turkey while it is in his oven. If that happened to me, I would need counseling.

Also, Holmes boyfriend who HAPPENS to be African American gets his ass kicked by a psycho ex of Holmes’ and his lame-sauce-posse. He gets his ass kicked, mind you, in a nice, dressy suit that Sisqo had just set him up with. He too was trying his hardest to make Thanksgiving nice for the visiting guests.

My friend D’Anna was watching this film with us, and she called the ass-beating in minute 6 of the movie. That’s how obvious it is. Do writers have any NEW ideas these days?

All in all, Oliver Platt as the daddy is funny a few times. Holmes’ younger sister is a twatburger. Mom is also excessively mean, although her attitude is at least understandable given her plight: cancer-sufferer. She gets stoned at one point, and another time pretends to die. Lame, Mom. Very lame.

Also, when the family finally gets there, and sees how ghetto the neighborhood is, boyfriend comes runningpiecesofaprilpic up to the apartment, face bloodied, brain in a daze, suit torn to shreds (after his fight with the posse). The family is apparently so scared by a harmless black man lumbering in their direction that they take off, abandoning Thanksgiving plans. They relish in the thought of eating at a nice, safe, shitty diner instead of seeing their prodigal daughter.

Then, Mom goes to the bathroom, overhears another mother who is fed up with teaching her daughter how to use the restroom storm out, leaving her daughter to deal with her mess all by herself. It is in this moment she realizes what a shitty mom she has become, and that she has long since abandoned the fundamental principles behind motherhood. “Oh man, I’m a bad mommy!” So she runs outside and hops on a motorcycle with her son and drives off, leaving Dad and bratty sister in the diner. They race to the apartment and have a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with the whole family, including the black couple who helped her, and the silly asians who don’t know what Thanksgiving is. It ends with a wonderful cornucopia of  ethnic melting pot-esque harmony.

Katie Holmes wins. The end.

That last sentence should clue you in to why I didn’t like this movie.

1000000 Scientology jokes were the only morphine that could get me through this sappy Thanksgiving hospital stay.

If my girlfriend wasn’t going to kick my ass for making fun of the movie any more, I would. But she will, so I won’t.

Grade: 79

Phantasm II

Posted in P with tags , , , , on October 8, 2008 by jharoldson13

James says:

Holy hole in a donut, Batman!  This movie is fucking ridiculous!  It has exploding eyeballs, exploding grenades, exploding cars, exploding everything!  I was originally going to review the first one, but after watching it, I realized that it was boring and didn’t have nearly as many guns as the second one.  This one takes place several years after the events of the first one (which ended with all of the main characters dead, incidentally), finding Mike at a mental hospital and Reggie…selling ice cream.  But then Mike gets out, Reggie’s family gets blown up, and the two of them decide to go hunting the mysterious “Tall Man,” the seemingly unkillable bad guy from the first movie.  Now, I’m not going to lie.  The guy that plays the Tall Man is probably my favorite part of the Phantasm series.  He’s scary, intimidating, has a creepy voice, and is, true to his name, tall.  He leads an army of deformed midgets (seriously) who are actually the squashed up bodies of the recently deceased (not joking) that he uses to perform slave labor in an alien dimension (fuck yes).

His plan is, in essence, to travel around the American Northwest and visit small towns, draining their cemetaries for his own purposes and converting all of the dead into deformed monsters.  But to what end?  I’ve seen all four movies in this series, and I still couldn’t tell you.  In a world where the good guys die in every installment, and the bad guy only stays dead for like five minutes, it’s impossible to really have any idea what the fuck is going on.  That’s another scary thing about the Tall Man.  Sure, guys like Freddy, Jason, and Michael Meyers are all invincible killing machines, but at least they have the decency to stay dead until the next sequel.  The Tall Man comes back to life IN EACH MOVIE, just as the heroes are getting all excited about their victory.

Now, as to some of the cooler parts of this movie.  It has a quad-barreled shotgun.  Yes, you read that right.  And, it gets used on those awful zombie midgets!  Kickass.  It also has a flamethrower, which can only help a movie.  And it has two more boobs than the first installment, which brings the count up to two.  Also, the Tall Man has these silver balls that fly around, and when they get close to someone these blades come out and fucking STAB THEM IN THE HEAD; that’s pretty cool too.  Finally, one of my favorite scenes: the chainsaw battle.  I’ll keep this short, but it’s a totally sweet scene that is over far too soon.  It does end with a chainsaw to the groin, however, so I’m willing to forgive its brevity.

Overall, this movie is outlandish.  The plot is nonsensical, the characters were killed in the first one, and the whole thing is full of really cool, but very disparate ideas.  It’s all extremely interesting, but doesn’t really lead anywhere other than the next action scene, or crazy gore moment.  Yes, this is a very gory movie.  It features a scene in which a man gets hydrochloric acid pumped into his veins.  Gross.  All in all, a good watch.  Just don’t expect to come out of there understanding a damn thing you just saw.  Oh yeah, one of the main characters turns out to be psychic.  Chew on that one.

Grade: 75

The Producers (1968)

Posted in P with tags , , , , , , on February 6, 2008 by itlacksoomph

Joe says:

Only Mel Brooks could take a movie about praising Adolf Hitler and making it into one of the best comedies ofproducers.jpg all-time. If you loved Spaceballs, History of the World: Part I, and Blazing Saddles (Who didn’t?), you’ll love the film that actually came before them all: The Producers.

A failed Broadway director, Max Bialystock (played by the late Zero Mostel), is broke, and the accountants are coming to presumably clear him out. Leo Bloom, the nervous bookkeeper played by Gene Wilder, discovers that Bialystock’s financial reporting is flawed. A bunch of crap happens, and then Bialystock hatches a plan: they raise a ton of money, pick a horrible play, let it flop on opening night, and run away with the profit (for you see, they’d never have to repay the backers if it flopped).

Bloom reluctantly agrees, and Bialystock sets off screwing old ladies for dough (male prostitution in the ‘60s: you bet!). Bialystock sells 25000% percent of shares in the film, which panned out to about 2 million bills. From there, they read script submissions and settle on the flop of all flops: Springtime for Hitler, written by semi-latent expatriated Nazi and Deutschland über alles singer Franz Liebkind.

Bialystock and Bloom then hire an incompetent, unbelievably gay director and his boyfriend, and cast a hippie stoner as Hitler. For good measure, the producers attempt to bribe the reviewer and leave the theater during the opening number, assuming that the proverbial walls would come caving in. The opening number for Springtime for Hitler is funny and ridiculous, but the fictional audience is aghast. Just as people begin to leave (while the producers are raising a toast across the street to their failure), the spectacle of a toastedproducers1.jpg bum playing the Führer brings the whole crowd back, laughing.

The flop wasn’t a flop, and the movie ends a little slowly with the theater blowing up, trial and conviction of Bialystock and Bloom, and the Prisoners of Love crap. Didn’t make the final product any less funny.

The 1968 version is much, much better than that piece of crap that came out in 2005. Don’t get me wrong, Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, and Uma Thurman are fine actors, but it was far from the original. It wasn’t even 100% like the Broadway play, off of which it was based.

If you can’t laugh at this, it’s because you’re too afraid to laugh. Well cast, well written, and creative.

Mel Brooks is a friggin genius. I want him to make more of these movies into Broadway playsbefore…you know…he’s getting kinda old.

Grade: 91

Pan’s Labyrinth

Posted in P with tags , , , , , , on February 5, 2008 by igrldremer

Izzy says:

Pan’s Labyrinth is worth your time. That I can say right off the bat. I remember hearing someone compare Pan’s to Alice in Wonderland For Grown-Ups because it mixes fantasy and hard-core reality into one. That’s pretty much true.
The film is split into two parts – the part where little girl Ofelia wanders off into the “labyrinth” in her step-father’s property and meets a fawn and fairies and has to do some pretty crazy shit in order to prove she’s a princess (it’s better than it sounds I swear), and the part that involves the Spanish civil war and Ofelia’s fascist stepfather that kills and tortures many of the rebels, etc.
I’m not going to go into the plot of the film because ANY website can give you that. I’m going to talk about why this movie is so ridiculously hard to rate.
First of all, I haven’t seen many foreign films. I’ve seen a few, but not many. I really liked Amelie, Triplets of Bellville, whathaveyou. But this movie FELT like a foreign film. There were some elements to it that just made it very…not American. And that was kind of a breath of fresh air, and kind of really frightening at the same time. There were parts ofpan3.jpg this film that, even though it is technically a drama, felt like a horror film because of how graphic it was.
<SPOILER ALERT!>
For example, the film wastes NO TIME in showing you just what a fucking bastard Ofelia’s stepfather, the Captain, is. Within the first fifteen minutes, he kills a guy with a glass bottle (not even shards of a glass bottle, but the bottle itself!) by repeatedly smashing his face in with it. Why? Because he “might” be a rebel. Turns out he wasn’t. Not like the Captain cared. I KNOW the point of that is to show you how heartless he is, but just thinking of that scene sends shivers down my spine because it was so disturbing.
Other disturbing scenes include:

-The Captain torturing people for information…grotesquely.
-Mercedes (the most-empowered female character I have seen in movies in a LONG time) cutting the Captain’s cheek from his lips straight across (this makes him look like his mouth is just REALLY wide) and then the Captain sewing it up with a huge needle BY HIMSELF.
-One of the creatures puts eyeballs in the palms of his hands and looks very, very fucked up. And he eats children. And fairies.
</SPOILER ALERT!>

I tend to get easily impressed by scary scenes in a movie. This is why I can’t watch something really scary right before I go to bed, or else I end up dreaming about it and waking up in the middle of the night REALLY freaked out. After seeing Pan’s for the first time, I had about 3 different dreams about the faun (because he just looked like the spawn of the devil…what with his green horns and creepy white eyes) and although it was COMPLETELY unrealistic I was still unable to fall asleep…this is probably just me, though, but if that sounds like something you might do, I’d consider seeing this film at like 2-3pm with a few friends and then going out for ice-cream or something pleasant and happy.

Aside from the scary/disturbing parts of the film, I’d say it was pretty darned amazing. The acting was fucking brilliant. The bad guys were REALLY bad and you wanted to see them all destroyed. The good guys were good, but not OVERWHELMINGLY Mary Poppins good. You know how sometimes you can’t side with the good guys because they’repan1.jpg just too “goody goody”? This was not the case in Pan’s. They had their flaws, but you sided with them anyways, and that’s how they should be. And then there’s the characters that are a big question mark as to good or bad, like, the faun. Sure the thing looks like it’s right out of hell, but Ofelia tends to trust it (yet she’s a little girl so what does she know) and it seems to get her mind off of the crap that’s going on at home with Spanish Hitler (is it bad that when I wrote Spanish Hitler, the first image to come to mind is Hitler wearing a sombrero with a taco in one hand and a bottle of tequila in the other? I know that’s more like Mexican Hitler but it’s still kinda funny), but Mercedes tells us not to trust fauns and she seems pretty smart, so…who knows?

happen? Is she just using this faux fantasy world as a way to escape her life or did sheAnd then there’s the whole battle of what’s real and what isn’t. Is Ofelia just making the whole thing up? Is she pretending that she met someone in the labyrinth or did it really stumble across something straight out of one of her fairytale books?

One thing I don’t like about the film: The title. Why “Pan’s Labyrinth”? Pan is a Greek godpan2.jpg of music and nature and all that and is said to have the legs and horns of a goat, but the rest of him is human. Pan does not appear anywhere in this film. And yeah, I wouldn’t call the faun in Pan’s labyrinth “Pan”, because that’s just not who he is. I think the title is somewhat lost in translation because in Spanish, the movie is called “El Laberinto del fauno”. Now, I don’t speak Spanish, but I’m guessing “Pan” is the same in Spanish and English and I don’t see the word Pan in that title anywhere…so by my deductive reasoning, I’m going to assume the title means “The Labyrinth of the Faun” or something similar. Why couldn’t they call it that in English? Because no one knows what a faun is? If you don’t know what a faun is, you’re not going to know who Pan is, either. So yeah, poor decision making there.

To sum it up…gory/graphic, not for the weak hearted, excellent acting, brilliant costumes and scenery, very different, very neat. But like a good piece of cheesecake, this movie is very heavy and filling. Once you’ve seen it once or twice, you’re not eager to see it again for a long time.

Grade: 87