Archive for October, 2010

Top 5 Halloween Films

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 31, 2010 by brundleflyonthewall

Well, it is perhaps my favorite holiday. Halloween. Horror films on TV, documentaries about horror films on TV, and haunted houses galore. It’s a good, good time of the year to be certain. So, in honor of the day I bring you a list of the Top 5 Horror films to watch today. One caveat before we list away: this is not a list of my top 5 horror films of all time. While there would be a few similarities, this list is merely the best films to watch and enjoy with a group of friends on Halloween.

1. The Descent

The Descent holds the crown for the most frightening film I’ve ever seen in a theater. It’s a phenomenal film for a number of reasons. Its use of light, though, is what makes the film so unsettling. The sequences in the cave are dark, claustrophobic and very intense. This is absolutely due to excellent direction. The film so perfectly executes darkness and frenetic pacing without becoming muddled or confusing. It’s an under-appreciated film that always scores well with horror fans. Enjoy.

2. The Exorcist

I’m not gonna drone on about this movie because it has received every praise from every critic and fan over the last 30 years. The movie deserves every bit of the acclaim. It’s a must watch.

3. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

Here is where my list veers off the best of all time mindset and appeals more to the purpose of just fun horror films to watch on Halloween. The fourth film in the Friday the 13th series is absolutely my favorite. It has all the nostalgia of being set almost entirely on Crystal Lake (no freighter ships to New York). Also, it does give us an interesting, worthy adversary for Jason in the form of Tommy Jarvis. Great gore effects, a high body count. The Final Chapter encapsulates more than any other Friday the 13th film, all the good and delightfully bad that people appreciate in this series.

4. Halloween (Rob Zombie directed version)

Rob Zombie’s re-imagining of the horror icon is one of the best horror films in recent memory. It has all the visceral intensity that a horror film should, along with an interesting attempt to add life and history to the maniacal Michael. It’s an intense film, and really updates the dated original.

5. Child’s Play 2

Another film that would be something of a long shot to make an all time best list but serves my purposes today rather nicely. Chucky’s cackling laughter and gleeful murders are a Halloween movie fest must. Child’s Play 2 is a lot of fun to watch. Gore, early 90’s clothing, and more gore. That’s all I ask a film provide, and provide this one does.

Contrarian Viewpoint- Halloween Edition

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 31, 2010 by brundleflyonthewall

I’ve been seeing a number of best of all time lists for horror movies since it’s that most beloved time of year for horror movie fans. However, I’ve noticed that the majority of the lists look very similar with slight variances only in order of the films. But basically the top five is the top five on all lists. And while it is absolutely reasonable to assume intelligent viewers and critics will come up with similar results; I think there is something to be said for lesser critics just parroting what is the mainstream accepted opinion on films. So as I was reading these lists one film in particular stood out to me as being particularly overrated.

*yaaawn*


Halloween. I really and truly feel that this is one of the most overrated horror films. It is always lauded as one of the top horror films of all time; a designation I very much disagree with. And perhaps it is due to my age, I wasn’t watching horror movies until Halloween was almost 25 years old. But, to that point, The Exorcist is older and was truly unique and frightening. Halloween just looks and feels dated. It is bloodless, it is plodding and I don’t enjoy it. An analogy: the earliest laptops or cell phones were very important and milestones for the technology. However, no one uses those in lieu of newer models. Halloween is that older technology. It was great for its time, but there’s no denying that there are better options out there.

Halloween is almost a totally bloodless film. And I really don’t care for the argument that ‘off-screen blood/violence makes the film scarier’. No, it does not, it puts significantly more pressure on the director to use other means to make a film frightening without using violence . There’s the scene where one of the misfortunate coeds is displayed on the bed with Michael’s sister’s headstone. She clearly has had a crew member put a small streak of stage blood across her throat. The skin is clearly intact beneath the blood syrup. The blood is bright red, yet viscous and not moving. Now, while my formal training is not in blood pathology, I at least know that coagulated blood does not look like corn starch syrup with red dye in it. And for such a major artery, there’s a tiny amount of blood.

Horror films work when we connect to the films. We identify with the characters and their fears become our fears. Now, the further removed from our reality a movie goes, the less scary it becomes. And the details of a film are what establish the reality. Not putting gratuitous gore in a film can be a directorial choice. Blair Witch Project is a film that is very successful in making an effective, frightening film with most of the scares coming off-screen. The first person perspective of the film, though, changes so much of what the director can and cannot do. Off-screen violence is so much more effective with a film focused on the character’s own perspective. It’s harder to make a traditionally framed film that effectively doesn’t show violence. Jaws is another film that is noted for keeping the shark off-screen and scaring us more with what we cannot see. Although, Spielberg has said that mechanical shark difficulties and malfunctions made it a necessity to film scenes without an actual shark. However, while this works for Jaws to build tension, the shark eventually becomes a huge part of the film in its climactic scenes. Imagine the finale of Jaws if the shark and blood were kept off-screen … … … … … … Oh sorry I fell asleep from boredom just typing a description of Jaws with off-screen blood. Horror films with off-screen violence are like porno films with off-screen nudity (soft core snoozefests). The lack of gore in Halloween is mostly due to directorial inexperience and budget/time constraints. John Carpenter did not turn down special effects masters because he envisioned a film where stab wounds produced no blood. He did not have the budget or time to make a more thoroughly realistic film.

I realize the film’s plodding action and non-stop shrieking was not nearly so cliched at the time. But, watching it now, the last half hour really dragged along. It’s assumed by any modern viewer that Jamie Lee Curtis will survive the ordeal and eventually prevail. However, the films still spends half an hour to communicate this. Granted, when the film was made these so called “rules of horror” about virginal heroins and killers never being dead were not established and thus would’ve never crossed the mind of a 1978 viewer. However, we cannot erase our knowledge of the stereotypes of horror films. I cannot view Halloween having all of a sudden not seen 100 films with the same plot set up. The movie makes for very dated viewing.

I am not saying it was not an important film. This movie and Friday the 13th were almost singlehandedly responsible for the de-marginalization of horror films as a whole by showing what commercial successes the films could be. Not to mention spawning the entire slasher genre that ruled cinemas for a decade. But I go back to my technology analogy. Just because the Atari was the best of its time and a milestone of computer technology does not mean that it need be ranked every year more highly than a Playstation 3. Halloween just does not deserve the all time status it is awarded.

The Test Results Just Came Back…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 29, 2010 by brundleflyonthewall

Excuse me if I’m a little choked up, but I just got off the phone with my urologist. He confirmed my worst fears. I’ve noticed for the past few weeks my jeans have been getting a little tighter, my voice a little higher and my hair a little longer and more feathered. Well, after being swabbed yesterday and running a number of tests through the night, Doc Brown called me this morning and delivered a devastating blow when he told me, “Son, it appears you’ve contracted Bieber Fever.”

I dropped the phone to the floor, speechless. Ran to my computer to check some movie news to try to get my mind off the terrible news. I figured I could do a Halloween post, maybe count down some of my favorite horror movies. Clicking through my regular run of sites I see a news tab: Never Say Never Trailer Released. “What is this? A new James Bond movie? Prequel to Connery’s Never Say Never Again?” Boy oh boy was I wrong.

James Bond it certainly was not. As I found out by clicking on the link and watching the trailer to Justin Bieber’s new documentary/self-pat on the back, Bieber Fever has a strange way of striking when you least expect it. I have so many questions after watching this trailer: Who are “they” who said he would never make it? Are we sure Justin Bieber isn’t just a girl who listens to the Indigo Girls and KD Lang? Why does Justin Bieber have a 5 o’clock shadow in this picture?

Oh jeez, I’m breaking out in hives, too much Beiber for one day! I’m gonna go get ready to do manly stuff tomorrow to try to get my fever down; drink some beer, watch some football and get my lady-killin Halloween costume together (check it out below!)

 

I'm going to need a stick to keep the girls from mobbing me this weekend

 

 

DVD Review: Frozen

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 28, 2010 by brundleflyonthewall

Had some down time earlier this week to check out budding horror director Adam Green’s newest flick Frozen.

This poster would be a lot more terrifying if his pants were around his ankles.

This time around Green (Hatchet, Coffee & Donuts) takes us on a horrifying ride up a ski lift, as three college-age buds become stranded on a chairlift and are forced to make a number of life-or-death decisions.

The poster claims that this movie “will do for skiing what Jaws did for swimming.” Hmm. Well I hate skiing, maybe it’s the fact that every time I went it was in Wrong Turn, North Carolina, or maybe the fact that the snow there was more like solid ice or perhaps it was that my last memory of skiing is having my lift ticket snatched off my coat by Ski Patrol or maybe just that I hate being cold. Regardless, skiing sucks. So “omg I hope this doesn’t ruin my skiing vacations for me” never really crossed my mind.

So not really having any real sense of fear or “could this happen to me???” going on, I still got a real thrill out of the movie. You get a nice little set up for the first 20 minutes or so, two lifelong besties “Lynch” (Played by Shawn Ashmore, Iceman from the X-Men franchise, lmao, ICEMAN?! FROZEN!?!? GET IT!?!) and “Dan” (Kevin Zeggers, stupid CW shows) take to the slopes for their annual getaway from the real world, but this time Dan brings his new squeeze “Parker” (Emma Bell) along. There’s a little tension between the three that gets you excited to see how it will play out once they become stranded.

From L to R: Hottie, CW, Iceman

I don’t want to get into any specifics or spoilers but the movie really does set up for the action and thrills nicely. The transition from “fun weekend” to “we might die” flows pretty well, with the fear and life-or-death realization coming pretty naturally, doesn’t seem too forced or anything. The characters are pretty stock, but all three young actors do a pretty good job of bringing some realism to them.

The dialogue is pretty cut-and-dry, nothing bad, but nothing spectacular. I really do like the interaction between the characters once they realize how much trouble they’re really in. Though it’s in the same vein as Open Water, the movie and the premise on the lift are both pretty original. The fact that Green wrote and directed the flick will definitely get me to check out some of his past work. All around a good little movie.

I’ll give it 3.5 Frank Caliendo impressions out of 5. Definitely a good rent for any thriller fan. Check out the trailer below.

*One more note, the entire time I was watching the movie I kept thinking “I know this Kevin Zeggers kid from somewhere.” Well, when I checked the movie’s IMDB page I checked out his filmography to see where I recognized him from. Gossip Girl? No. The Jane Austen Book Club? DING DING Coooorrrect NO. And then I saw it, way back from 1997.

That's right! A young Kevin Zeggers starred in everyone's favorite film from 1997, L.A. Confidential!

‘The Dark Knight Rises’

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 27, 2010 by brundleflyonthewall

Big news from Batman director Chris Nolan today.

He's contemplating contemplation

In an interview with Hero Complex, Nolan discussed a precious few details on the upcoming Batman sequel. The main points:

  • No 3-D; Imax and high def cameras will be used as in Dark Knight
  • No Riddler villain, as has been rumored
  • The title will be “The Dark Knight Rises”
  • … … that’s about all

Nolan was not very forthcoming with details, which comes as a surprise to no one after seeing how Inception and Dark Knight were handled pre-release. Nolan has such creative control on this film from top to bottom that I imagine we will get just as little as before.

I love, love, love Nolan refusing to use 3-D on the film. I’m sure the studio wanted to film it in 3-D or at least post convert because of the higher revenues. Nolan, though, is in the position few directors are where he can dictate almost 100% of what happens on his films. After raking in shit-tons (actual unit of measure) of money on Dark Knight and Inception, Nolan is pretty much untouchable. The studio truly needs him more than he needs them. The cinematography was fantastic in Dark Knight and we can now expect those same sprawling shots of Gotham’s skyline in the new one.

"Why is everyone staring at us? There's ice on the ground, it's safer to walk cautiously in pairs."

I was never buying the Riddler rumors because there was no indication that it was based on anything said by Nolan. Tom Hardy has been officially (I think) attached to the project and it would be reasonable to assume he would play the villain role. Certainly enjoyed Tom Hardy in Inception, and he’s got the chops to at least try to approach Ledger’s phenomenal villainous turn. I am a little disappointed as it seems the rumors that Joseph Gordon Levitt was going to be in the film appear to be merely rumors.

Feel free to read the full interview here

Also, Nolan discussing some of the technical aspects of his filmmaking options here

I’m assuming Batman’s dick is bigger than Robin’s because Clooney’s codpiece is significantly larger. Why would they highlight the dick armor? Was everyone on set not chuckling the whole time Clooney stood around looking like he was at a German BDSM festival. However, there’s still a certain movie codpiece that beats all other movie codpieces…

His penis and right shoulder seem to be the only parts of his body with any sort of protection from injury.

This one is actually just shaped like a penis. I really hope the future is a place where a man is judged by the detail and size of his codpiece.

Also, the hands on the hips, upright posture that both men share in these photos is a direct result of the confidence boost a truly great codpiece can provide a man.

meme watch

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 27, 2010 by brundleflyonthewall

Reggie is contemplating whether he should urinate on an unsuspecting Kim Kardashian

Tractor Trailers

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 27, 2010 by brundleflyonthewall

"Hey, does anyone know which one are Mikes and, in turn, which are Ikes?"

Scream 4 Trailer!!

As only the most astute readers could have possibly guessed, I am an absolute sucker for horror films. Especially good horror films from good directors and writers. So, of course I’ll see this movie. However, I am not sure how this will turn out. Scream 3 was a little too hokey and a little too meta to be an effective horror film.

The original Scream was so welcome and so fresh because of how bad horror films were in the 90’s. Wes Craven preceded Scream with the similarly aware New Nightmare film a few years earlier. The strength of these two films were the post-modern aspects that broke the cycle of emulating the best (and worst) of 80’s slasher cinema.  There were so many horror films prior to Scream that were so trite and silly that the genre was waiting for the reinvigoration that Scream brought.

Which begs the question now of: why is this movie being made? It’s certainly not likely to smash any notions of what a horror film can and should be. The genre is doing just fine right now in fact, despite the best efforts of the Saw franchise. However, Wes Craven doesn’t have the history of being a director to make a project without anything to say. The way that Scream was inventive in its use of cell phones and pop-cultural awareness could potentially be an issue of Scream 4. I hope the film doesn’t try too hard to be self referential or culturally relevant. In other words, if Twitter is in any way a part of this film, I’m going to pass out from non-stop dismissive wanking and eye rolling.

April 2011 release date.