Monday, January 31, 2011

External Linkage

Got a review up on, covering the upcoming horror flick, The Vanishing on 7th Street. You can either wait for theatrical release or, as these smaller movies have been doing lately, you can already find it on's VOD channels.

Follow the link to Brutal As Hell, and enjoy!

(these nearly identical links are for the VOD downloadable film, and for the Soundtrack, respectively. Choose, but choose wisely)


Friday, January 28, 2011

Old MacDonald Had a Zombie, ia ia oooooooongh

A new indy-distribution group called Maya-Entertainment has popped up, and sent a little bit out one of their upcoming horror releases to my inbox the other day. It looks interesting enough, so I thought I'd toss it up for you guys.

Part zombie, part voodoo! Desperate to end her husband’s domestic abuse, a young woman seeks asylum from a local voodoo priestess.  When warned that her husband (Khotan) may “change” if given a special potion, the abused wife is relieved.  But waking up in bed next to a zombie isn’t exactly the transformation she was hoping for.  Her once violent husband becomes the leader of a zombie uprising, terrorizing, and then converting the townsfolk into un-dead assassins.  Clearly, some things are far worse than death.

So, it obviously suffers from some of the usual bits of cheese thats typical to straight-to-video movies, particularly horror. I mean, the idea that people can be so focused on the spy video they're filming to not see a ring of about ten zombies circle their car and pop up from around them... yeah, video cheese, and a cheap jump-scare. 

Still, its kind of cool to see the notion of VooDoo zombies come back into play, as you don't really see it much any more. The rising popularity of Romero's zombie model continues to eclipse what had once been the sole vision of the zombie as a creation of black magic. Tales from the Crypt had some VooDoo creations in it, and I think before that the last feature about VooDoo was Serpent and the Rainbow. 
This seems to mix the two genres together, the undead appear to be pretty cannibalistic in that trailer; but still it could be interesting to see some magic, and someone crafting a little regional army of brainwashed ghouls. 

The DVD comes out March 8th, so it won't   be long before we can give it a shot!

Zombie Farm

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Them Goldenest of Globes

Tomorrow is the 2010 Golden Globes. I thought I'd take a moment to try to guess the winners, and maybe chime in on the selection of 'best films' for this last year. Overall, it was a weak year for films, the lowest attendance in theaters in 15 years. Despite that, there are always some gems that stand out above the rest. Even so, a few crap films slipped into the mix this year. Ahhh, studio politics.

Oh, and we're going doing the film portion of this. I don't watch TV, can't fairly judge it.

So, here we go...

Best Motion Picture – Drama
Black Swan

The Fighter


The King’s Speech

The Social Network

Five great films. The Fighter was an unexpected addition to the lists, but its in almost every category. I think every year, its just required that there's a boxing movie up for best picture. Its a genre unto itself. Aside from that we've got a dark, female, character driven drama in Black Swan. You've got a crazy sci-fi commercial hit in Inception (the popular one, to give the ratings a boost). And to round it off you've got 2 historic dramas in Kings Speech and Social Network.

The smart money here is on The Social Network. Kings Speech and The Fighter are both good, but their direction is a bit pedestrian. Black Swan is an amazing film, but I don't think it has the wide appeal to win over the judges; also, telling an analog of Swan Lake in a movie about Swan Lake, might be too cheeky for some. Inception is great, but very exposition heavy, and those big sci-fi crazy films don't USUALLY win at awards time. They're more about concept than cinema.

In Social Network, you've got a smartly directed drama peppered with fine performances, and fantastic dialog. Its been on the top of most critics' top 10 lists all year, and I don't think that's bound to change now.

Best Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical

Alice in Wonderland


The Kids Are All Right


The Tourist

Alice in Wonderland: Derivative Crap. Red: Predictable Crap. Burlesque and The Tourist: Just Crap. By process of elimination The Kids Are All Right will take it. That and its the only one with any dramatic punch on top of its comedy.

Best Director – Motion Picture

Darren Aronofsky – Black Swan

David Fincher – The Social Network

Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech

Christopher Nolan – Inception

David O. Russell – The Fighter

I immediately count out King's Speech and The Fighter. Kings Speech was good but too general. Fighter had some interesting shot choices, but the fight sequences were... ugh, just so bad. Movie wasn't really about that, but still, they looked like ass. Black Swan lacks any real problems, but I just don't think its going to push past the rest of the competition.

Its either Social Network or Inception here. 50/50 and I think I'm going to go with Inception as my guess here. While Social Network pulled better dramatic performances from its cast, Inception required an incredible eye for detail to pull off, and managed to turn a very complex, mentally taxing story into a popular success. I think only Nolan could have done that.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

Jesse Eisenberg – The Social Network

Colin Firth – The King’s Speech

James Franco – 127 Hours

Ryan Gosling – Blue Valentine

Mark Wahlberg – The Fighter

All fine performances here, but to me, it comes down between James Franco and Colin Firth. James Franco was the only man on screen for the majority of 127 Hours, and managed to keep you riveted with his one-man show. Meanwhile, Firth went through a complete transformation into Prince Albert with his very convincing speech tick. Look for Colin Firth to pull this one out, I think.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical

Johnny Depp – Alice in Wonderland

Johnny Depp – The Tourist

Paul Giamatti – Barney’s Version

Jake Gyllenhaal – Love And Other Drugs

Kevin Spacey – Casino Jack

Geh. All of these kind of came out of nowhere. Really, Jake Gyllenhaal for his turn in a fine but typically forgettable rom-com? Okay. Money is on Paul Giamatti. 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Halle Berry – Frankie and Alice

Nicole Kidman – Rabbit Hole

Jennifer Lawrence – Winter’s Bone

Natalie Portman – Black Swan

Michelle Williams – Blue Valentine

Impressive as Jennifer Lawrence was as the young lead in Winter's Bone, I don't think she showed the transformation, the range of emotion of the other actresses here. Her age wins her points, but it isn't quite enough. For me the choice is Natalie Portman, and I think this is where Black Swan will win its deserved award.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy Or Musical
Annette Bening – The Kids Are All Right

Anne Hathaway – Love And Other Drugs

Angelina Jolie – The Tourist

Julianne Moore – The Kids Are All Right

Emma Stone – Easy A

Again, Love and Other Drugs comes from nowhere. Interesting to see Emma Stone up there too, but I like her a lot. This one is going to one of the Kids Are All Right ladies. Flip a coin for which one ummmm... Annette Bening.

Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Christian Bale – The Fighter

Michael Douglas – Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Andrew Garfield – The Social Network

Jeremy Renner – The Town

Geoffrey Rush – The King’s Speech

Of the group, Jeremy Renner's the weakest. Geoffrey Rush and Andrew Garfield were good in their parts, but I don't think they stole the show. No, Christian Bale and Michael Douglas were the best parts of the films they were in, shining above the lead actors. I give it to Christian Bale, who again transformed himself from Batman to a crack head, losing weight, gaining the accent the mannerisms. Great. If Douglas wins, it'll be on a cancer vote. Hate to say it, but that's just how the politics of Hollywood work. Congrats, Mr. Douglas, on your recently announced remission, tho.

Best Performance by an Actress In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Amy Adams – The Fighter

Helena Bonham Carter – The King’s Speech

Mila Kunis – Black Swan

Melissa Leo – The Fighter

Jacki Weaver – Animal Kingdom

Again, tough choices. And two more from The Fighter! Never expected it, but the movie really did run on strong character portrayals. Still, the only one who stole the show here was Mila Kunis. She ran on par with Natalie Portman's powerful lead, turning a one-woman show into an ensemble piece. The two of them had to play reflections of each other for the film to work. She's grown so much from That 70's Show, and has finally cut her teeth as a dramatic actress, even if it is as a femme fatale.

Best Animated Feature Film
Despicable Me

How To Train Your Dragon

The Illusionist


Toy Story 3

If there's any dark horse here, its going to be The Illusionist, the seldom screened comedy by Sylvain Chomet, Director of the beloved Triplets of Belleville. Still, I think its a pretty safe bet that Toy Story 3 will take the prize here. It was good for kids, and still able to make adults weep at the end. Toy Story 3 brought a successful close to what I like to call 'The Abandonment Trilogy'. Those toys have issues.

Best Foreign Language Film
Biutiful (Mexico, Spain)

The Concert (France)

The Edge (Russia)

I Am Love (Italy)

In A Better World (Denmark)
I haven't seen all of these, but just to hazard a guess, it'll probably go to the intense Biutiful. Gotta love Javier Bardem

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Simon Beaufoy, Danny Boyle – 127 Hours

Christopher Nolan – Inception

Stuart Blumberg, Lisa Cholodenko – The Kids Are All Right

David Seidler – The King’s Speech

Aaron Sorkin – The Social Network

I liked all of these movies, but it has to go to The Social Network. There's no way around it. While the other movies were all driven by concept, The Social Network was driven by dialog and force of character. Aaron Sorkin is one of my screen-writing heroes, and here he showcases his mastery of wit, of characterization, and does it while adapting a long, complex series of events into two quickly passing hours.

Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Alexandre Desplat – The King’s Speech

Danny Elfman – Alice in Wonderland

A. R. Rahman – 127 Hours

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – The Social Network

Hans Zimmer – Inception
This award goes to Tron Legacy... wait, Tron isn't nominated for Best Score? Well that's bullshit. Say what you will about that movie, Daft Punk's score was pitch perfect, and can be listened to over and over again outside of the parameters of the movie.

Off hand, I'm going to go with Inception here, because it was the most memorable to me, but both 127 Hours and Social Network had great scores to accompany the films, so I wouldn't be surprised if either of them snuck up and took it.

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

“Bound To You” – Burlesque /Music By: Samuel Dixon /Lyrics By: Christina Aguilera and Sia Furler

“Coming Home” – Country Strong/ Music & Lyrics By: Bob DiPiero, Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey and Troy Verges

“I See The Light” – Tangled/ Music By: Alan Menken/ Lyrics By: Glenn Slater

“There’s A Place For Us” – Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader/ Music & Lyrics By: Hillary Lindsey, Carrie Underwood and David Hodges

And as for best original song... ugh, I don't even care. None of these stuck with me even moments after the movie. Dawn Treader had a song? Oh, was that the one played over the credits? I think we talked over it. How moving.

I leave that one to you, dear audience...

So, that's my predictions, check back in a day or two and we'll have the tally. Agree, disagree? Shout it out!

Green Hornet: UK Style

Finally got out to another advance screening the other night: The Green Hornet!  But when I sat down to write the review, I found that fellow writer and friend across the pond, Ben Bussey, had already written a review. And not only that, but his thoughts pretty much mirrored my own. What a guy.

Well, anyway, I'm going to save myself some typing time by just sending you over to Ben. Go check out Ka-Boomski!  Its his awesome action blog, where you can read about Green Hornet, and all of the guilty pleasure of the action genre. Explosions abound!


A couple of quick additions, before you go:

- My preview was in 3-D, and I have to say that the 3-D is not worth the extra money here. There are very few sequences where its noticeable, and even when it is, you can tell it was added as an afterthought. The 'Kato-Vision' sequences work, but the rest is forgettable. Save the money, see it normally.

- The beginning is really, really choppy. One minute Seth Rogan is getting yelled at by his dad, hung over from a party, and then a cut and Seth Rogan is coming home from a party, and finds out his dad is dead. It seems like a bunch of establishing scenes were cut out. There's also references to the Green Hornet blowing up traffic cameras before a scene that appears to be the first time they actually do that with the car's missiles. It seems like the studio did a lot of re-cutting and trims. It moves quickly, but feels awkward. But then, it is 2 hours as is...

- I really wish they would have given a more definite ending to the film. I mean, it ends, the story resolves, but The Green Hornet never really evolves as a character. A final action sequence with he and Kato both able to fight as equals, set over the Green Hornet theme, would have been awesome. It really is Kato's film.

Well, between myself and Ben, I think you are now prepared. Green Hornet isn't a great film, but its worth seeing. A fun distraction. And after the studio had written it off as 'disaster' in their usual political games, that's a pleasant surprise.