House (Not the show. DEAR GOD, NOT THE SHOW)

This is not a writeup about the show House, where a snarky doctor pops Vicodin and solves medical mysteries. If that’s what you’re looking for, turn back now. This has nothing to do with that show, and never will. There are no similarities, except for maybe that some of the actors are male.

There are lots of movies out there about haunted houses and people getting trapped in them. Or people spending the night in one and then getting trapped in them. Or people going to a house because they’re lost/car’s broken/think it’s a nice hotel and then get trapped in it. It’s a familiar story, and it can be said that it’s a little played out. But then, you could really say that about every movie out there, couldn’t you? All stories have already been told, it’s the way in which they’re done that we should be looking at.

And by god.

I think I originally began to watch this because I thought it would be crap, and maybe it would help me fall asleep. Michael Madsen was obviously another pull. He’s okay in my book. But it’s very likely that I didn’t really have much hope, though I swear to you now that I recall no such thoughts happening.

Mostly because this movie just blew all such thoughts right out of my pretty little brain. Then said brain was splattered against the wall.

This is, apparently, also a book. Which I’m going to have to seek out. Because wow. If this is what I get from the movie, I can only imagine what I’ll get from the book (*knock wood* please, don’t jinx me, please don’t let me be wrong, please don’t let it be horrible since I opened my damned fool mouth).

This doesn’t just get you through plain old every day fear, either. This really fucks with you all over the place. It’s like it had a party in your brain with Motley Crew and Guns ‘N’ Roses and didn’t tell you. It also didn’t tell you that it invited some heroin junkies and gave you some acid in your sandwich. Every single angle, this thing is coming at you. I loved it.

I think that more horror should be all encompassing, instead of just focusing on the physical horror or the psychological horror. Combining it can make some very beautiful music. Haunting, melodic music carrying a chainsaw. Oh, I know it can go the other way, too. I’ve seen it happen. I’m not an idiot. But more should at least try. If we do not try, we do not learn.

We can take notes from this movie, and spread them all over the place, and hope that little baby movies with this much intensity are born. Or something.

Prince of Persia (Movie)

I waited a very, very long time to see this movie. I knew how I would feel about it pretty much right away. I love the Prince of Persia franchise. From the very first one that I used to play in elementary school on the school computers, right up until the Two Thrones. I am wildly, madly in love with these games. I remember being pretty excited when I heard that they were going to make a movie, trepedacious, but excited as well. I hoped beyond a hope that this would be the video game movie to break the bad streak of video game movies.

Then I saw the star.

Now, please, for the love of god, do not get me wrong here. I also very much adore Jake Gyllenhaal. I have seen pretty much everything that he has done in his career, and I have found very little to complain about. I think he’s an amazing actor, and has a great range. So it’s nothing at all personal to Jake.

It’s just that… well.

He’s not the Prince.

My excitement didn’t just waver, it sort of completely and utterly deflated and left me with absolutely no wanting to see this movie. That’s a pretty big drop, really. I see now that I should have expected it, given Jake’s appeal and stardom, who was producing the movie, and the fact that there are only a handful of video game movies out there worth their salt (and no, I cannot name them off the top of my head currently, so don’t ask. [but I can say none of them are by Uwe Boll.])

I waited for it to come up on Netflix Streaming until I would watch it. And I wasn’t even really waiting for it. I was just browsing one day, bored, and realized that it was there. I thought “hey, I have a few hours to kill and no desire to think about anything or put much effort into life, why not”.

While I will say that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, it was bad. It disappointed me that they had to fuck with the story, they had to give everyone names. There wasn’t enough of the Prince jumping around like a supermonkey. It all sort of fell flat. Especially the ending. Flat. Predictable. Boring. About what I had come to anticipate.

I am glad that I watched it. It’s behind me now. I’ve seen it. I have an informed opinion. I wish Netflix had an added star for “meh”. Between “didn’t like it” and “liked it”. I didn’t turn it off. I didn’t loathe it to the core of it’s being. It was disappointing. I won’t ever watch it again, but I sat through it once. There’s no way to reflect that feeling on the Netflix rating system, and there really should be. I have felt that way about more than one movie.

I know it was exciting for Jake to have a role like this, who wouldn’t say yes to being the Prince? But maybe, just maybe, he should have taken a moment and really just thought it out. Asked himself if he was really right for the part, or if he was a fanboy getting his ultimate dream.

My vote? The latter.

The Expendables

If you like action, and I really mean that you deeply and sincerely like action, I really recommend this movie. There is so much action within this one movie that I dare say that it is the actionyist action movie that ever actioned or movied.

There are so many big name action heroes piled on top of one another in this film that I’m surprised that the cameras filming this thing didn’t explode from their sheer proximity. There are some in there that they didn’t even tell you in the previews were going to be there! They were just sort of surprise action heroes popping up left and right.

I wasn’t sure if Stallone was going to be able to catch my eye with his directing, but why did I doubt? Is he not one of the top tier guys that one wants to see when one goes to see an action movie? Doesn’t he know his shit when it comes to this genre? Of course, and absolutely. Really, he’s the perfect guy to stand behind the camera and tell people what they should be doing, when they should be bleeding, and if their surroundings are exploding.

I had a really great time watching this movie. Absolutely terrific. The plot was a little thin, but then we are speaking of action movies, are we not? And plot is not the reason one chooses to watch this sort of movie. It just isn’t. We watch because we like to see dudes getting the shit beat out of them, because we enjoy ridiculously huge explosions, and well, plot is just not so important here as it is in other types of film. Sure, you have to have some goal, something to get the stars from Point A to Point B, but it doesn’t have to be giant. Or really terrific storytelling for that matter. Not to say that there can’t be, it’s just not a requirement.

Personally, I was pleased. And I was glad to see that there was no Chuck Norris (I am not a fan as the rest of the world seems to be), nor was there Steven Seagal (I hate him with a burning passion). The faces present were perfect for the roles they were put in, and despite the outstanding egos, it seemed like everything fit pretty perfectly, and didn’t feel like an onscreen Who Has The Bigger Dick contest.

Okay, there were a couple of actors that could have gotten put in with these guys and would have fit. And there was one that I didn’t expect to see, and don’t normally think of in this tone, but worked very well.

I don’t want to give too much away actors wise, because there’s got to be other people out there who haven’t seen it. I can’t be the only person who didn’t go see it in the theaters. Which I now regret. This movie would have been so fucking awesome to see in theaters. Oh man.

True Grit

Ah. Well. What can I say? I didn’t think that I was going to like this movie. In fact, I actually avoided seeing it when it came out. Not that it didn’t look good. It did. I won’t lie. But I was avoiding it out of protest, out of a general principal. It’s a remake, you see (some of you youngins won’t know that, but it’s the truth), and I’m kind of sick of remakes happening when they don’t need to.

To top that off, I’m a massively huge fan of John Wayne. Giant. Since I was a kid. I literally grew up watching John Wayne movies. I have seen every single one of them. I have a pretty fair collection of them, as well. I honestly harbor a deep and undying love of The Duke, and (playfully) threaten those who disparage his name or claim to not know any of his work. (Playfully, I swear it)

So I was pretty upset when I saw this had come out. Ignoring the fact that I like all the actors in it that I know. Ignoring the fact that it seemed as if it was filmed right and followed the original pretty well (it’s a book, too, you know, which I have yet to read because I just found out, but damn straight I bought it, and it’s sitting in my To-Read-Pile).

Principal.

But, I questioned another Fan and he informed me that he enjoyed it and found some things in it that he liked better than the original, though the original was hands down the better movie. So, I finally gave in and watched it.

Again: What can I say?

You can’t tell John Wayne, but I think I enjoyed myself.

I guess another thing I was worried about was that in this day and age of constant political correctness and everybody tiptoeing around about every little tiny thing, in this world where I can’t say “I love my cat” without somebody shouting YOU MEAN FELINE AMERICAN!, I thought that they would try to soften the hard blows of the film. I thought they would try to disguise some of the dirty moments. I was concerned that some of the more intense scenes would be lost to filmmakers worrying about what moviegoers would say about them.

I was most pleasantly surprised that none of it was lost. It was all there. In fact, I think a couple of things may have turned out more brutal.

I laughed. I did. I won’t lie. There were really funny moments. And I laughed. Not just a little chuckle, either. But a good, honest laugh. Happy about that, too. The original might have been seen as a Western, but it was also a comedy, and it was also dark. This one turns out to be somewhat more dark, but it still fit quite snugly into the place where it should be.

And I have to agree with my friend, I did enjoy Matt Damon as the Texan more than the original guy. Not that I didn’t like him. But Matt Damon brought a certain thing to the film that only he can bring. Should it ever occur that time travel becomes possible, I will insist that he go back and star in the original alongside The Duke. Yes.

I think that the girl in the original had a little more pluck to her, but this girl didn’t do badly at all. She had the tone and the cadence of the original film and girl, and her tenacity was spot on.

I liked it. I did. And I think I’m going to buy it so it can sit on the shelf right next to the original one. And just to prove how sick I am, I’m going to tell you this: After I’ve finished the book and I own the new version, I’m gonna watch both back to back. Take that. 4 hours of Rooster Cogburn.

The Fourth Kind

I really thought that I was going to enjoy this movie. I really did. This was one that I really wanted to see in the theater, and I was disappointed when it didn’t happen. I was excited for it to move to first place on my Netflix list, and excited when it came in the mail. I excitedly opened it up and excitedly put it into my DVD player.

And now? Now that I’ve seen it how do I feel?
Well, I’m glad that I didn’t waste my money seeing it in the theater. I’m kind of sad that I invested any time into it, and wondering how it happened that I was so excited and I am left so… not. So quickly.

It’s not that the story wasn’t intriguing, because it was. I love a good alien true story. Fire In The Sky. I also love fake aliens. Such as those found on X-Files. It’s not even like the acting was bad, because it wasn’t. It was really good, honestly. In fact, this really had all the elements of being a very good movie. But it just wasn’t.

How does that happen? you might ask. How can all the elements, all the ingredients, be right, and yet it’s all so bad once put together?

They used real footage and real audio of things that happened in Nome, Alaska. I believe that what they were going for was to validate the dramatized scenes, making everything creepier because you’re seeing what actually happened. I can see the thought process behind it, and I could even see myself having the same idea if I’d been behind the making of this movie. It didn’t quite work out the way that they’d hoped. At least not for me. Instead, it worked against the film, hugely. Monumentally.

Firstly, putting in the footage and the other stuff felt like an interruption. It broke me away from the story and took me out of the moment. This resulted in me not caring about the characters or what was happening to them. I was so roughly jolted out of the movie that I didn’t have a chance to connect to any of it. I also found myself having to rewind and watch scenes again, not because they were incredible or interesting, but because I felt like I’d missed something. This is a bad thing to have happen in a movie, you don’t want your viewers to think that they blinked during an important part, or might have dozed off. And it happened more than once.

The second thing is; instead of validating the movie with reality, I found myself doubting the reality. Those scenes in which they cut away from Milla Jovovich and her costars and go to the real footage feel fake. They feel like they were made for the movie, and they feel forced. The woman, the doctor, comes off as a drugged up loser. I find no passion behind her words and no conviction. She tells her story but it doesn’t convince me. I felt as if all of it couldn’t be trusted. That the “actual footage” was just more actors. Putting these scenes in, using the real audio, made it so it was those scenes, not the dramatized ones, became fake in my mind.

I feel like they should have either just made a documentary using the real footage – there was more than enough of it – or, they should have dramatized the whole thing and put the real items in with the bonus features. There, people could see the real accounts of what happened in the movie, and in this removed situation would probably be more liked to be seen for what it is. Evidence. Proof. People would be awed by what they are seeing. I felt no awe, no wonder, no anything seeing these clips in the film.

I just don’t think combining them works. I am not finding myself intrigued by the happenings of this movie, thus dulling any want to investigate it further. In fact, I have a rather empty and disappointed feeling. The movie was lackluster.

Boring, even.

Which kind of makes me sad. This could have, and should have, been brilliant. The facts are enough on their own to be really fucking creepy. Dramatizing all of it would have taken away absolutely nothing from that. I think it would have made everything come together better, actually.

I can’t even recommend watching this. There’s nothing to be gained from it.

Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day

Despite Sean Patrick Flanery looking as if he was wearing a wax mask of his own face most of the time, and occasionally a melting wax mask of his own face, I really enjoyed this movie.

It was going to be a toss up, I knew. Either it would be good, or it wouldn’t. As it always is when it comes to things you’ve been waiting forever for. I can’t even remember how long this has been in the works exactly. I just know it’s been years. I’ve haunted the Boondock Saints website for a really long time, waiting on the edge of my seat for any sign that this might go through. Then I sort of stopped checking for a couple months and all of a sudden BOOM, there it is, being released.

I put off watching it for a really long time. I almost bought it the minute it came out, almost. But I kept thinking to myself – what if it sucks? What if I hate it? If I buy it, and then I hate it, I’m going to cry. If I just don’t watch it, I don’t ever have to know that I hate it, and the dream can live on forever.

Then Netflix had to go and put it on streaming. I still put it off.

I sort of wish I hadn’t now. Of course, that’s because I liked it. The small superstitious part of me deep inside (okay, maybe not so deep) says that if I’d watched it any earlier, it would have turned out bad. Yes yes, my rational brain is quite aware that that’s not how things work. Sometimes, though, my rational brain loses. There’s nothing to be done about it.

I was very glad to see them carry on with the boys’ black humor. And as much as I didn’t like the new sidekick at the start, he grew on me. By the end, I was rooting for him just as much as I was Connor and Murphy.

Now that I’ve seen the film, I will be buying it as soon as possible.