grrgoyl: (satan)
Now, as promised, a buttload of movies no one cares about.

Cutting just in case somebody does, and yes for spoilers.

::Drag Me to Hell:: (yes, do it, please) )

In summary, Sam Raimi is a taste I never really acquired. Far be it from me to diss a cult favorite, but his movies are supposed to be funny yet terrifying and succeed at neither for me.

~*~

Year One:

I won't bother to cut this one because it will be short and non-spoilery. Jack Black and Michael Cera are cavemen who somehow wander into Biblical times with a goal common to all men ever since: to not be seen as complete losers and maybe get laid.

I thought this was HI-LA-RIOUS. But I also laughed mightily when I subversively ordered Paul Blart: Mall Cop on Blu-ray (I thought that movie was funny, but not nearly as funny as ordering it on Blu-ray when the rest of civilization apparently loathed it so deeply). I recommend Kevin James in high def if you have the means.

So yeah, this went straight to my Amazon Christmas wishlist. But while I was over there I couldn't resist checking out some reviews. Some people agreed with me, the ones who went in with low expectations and just wanting something silly after a hard day at work. The vast majority, however, covered the spectrum from disgusted to outraged. Puzzling were the people quibbling over the complete lack of historical accuracy -- were they hoping for a Cliff notes version of a history class for their kids? Still more perplexing were the people who claimed to be lifelong Jack Black fans (wait, I'm not done) who felt this was far beneath him and a complete betrayal of his fans. They talked like he was coming from a stint in Shakespearean theater or something. Like how I imagine I would feel if Rickman suddenly decided to star in Jackass: The Movie. I wanted to smack every last one of them.

The most offensive was a guy speculating on Michael Cera's sexuality because of his tendency to play awkward geekboys who find it so hard to get with girls. I guess by his reasoning all nerds must be gay. Him I wanted to smack hardest of all.

But yeah, this one is worth at least a rental. Just be warned, it's no Twelfth Night.

~*~

Another winner is Zombieland. Tery and I both called this America's answer to Shaun of the Dead, only a "buddy road trip movie...with zombies." Funny, action-packed, romantic (or dare I say bro-mantic?) with a kick-ass soundtrack. In fact, the only way it could have been better was if Michael Cera had starred instead of Jesse Eisenberg (Adventureland...some sort of witty comment should go here), but what can you do? Not particularly scary per se (until you get to the very malevolent-looking zombie clown at the end that was pictured in every single article about the movie ever written)


Just in case you missed it


but the "Rules of Zombieland" devised by our hero popping up in 3D throughout the movie were very Stranger Than Fiction, very Fight Club. Me likey. Sadly, this won't be out on DVD until February 2010, as I learned when I rushed to add it to my wishlist.

~*~

::The Fourth Kind:: )

When Tery asked how I liked the movie, my only comment was, "Well, I'm 6 bucks poorer" (thank god for matinees). Don't waste your money on this. Rent instead Fire in the Sky if you want a truly terrifying alien abduction film.

~*~

Since it was Halloween I was reminded of the After Dark Horrorfest: 8 Films To Die For, that I've had such a love/hate relationship with in the past. My Netflix queue was looking kind of...empty, so I decided to take the series back one last time.

::1. From Within:: )

As Horrorfest films go, I've certainly seen far, far worse. It reminded me strongly of the Buffy episode "Gingerbread," where the self-righteous and bloodthirsty Christians are scarier than the monsters. I like movies that do this, it reinforces my already established opinion of religious fanatics.

~*~

::2. Autopsy:: )

Apart from the name Autopsy making really little or no sense, this was also a surprisingly good offering from the Horrorfest. Gory but not cartoon gory like Sam Raimi. Violent but not excessively torture killer violent like Hostel (well, apart from one scene).

~*~

::3. The Broken:: )

Again, this movie continues the trend of slowly, tentatively restoring my faith in this series. Of course, there are still five more that could easily shatter it again. We're not out of the woods yet.

~*~

Haven't seen the movie yet, but after seeing this trailer twice I've decided it might be worth a look-see. But I'm also a sucker for a really awesome song in a trailer, in this case Placebo's redo of "Running Up That Hill." Of course, it works a lot better with that throbbing bass pumping on movie theater speakers.



C'mon, it can't be sillier than Twilight.
grrgoyl: (pale man)
Bonus post! Bonus post! Bonus post! Bonus post!


I thought I was done with this year's Horrorfest, and had breathed a sigh of relief, because it was truly, truly disappointing. Then this little gem showed up unexpectedly. And, while quality films like Goya's Ghosts wait for their treatment, for bad ones like Tooth and Nail I need to get the word out as quickly as possible, to prevent future unsuspecting rentals by my f-list.

::Tooth and Nail -- spoilery, if you care:: )

Now, I think I'm done with Horrorfest. I'll still give it a go next year, Lord knows it can't get any worse.

This weekend is Parade of Homes, god willing. And even god unwilling -- I'll defy Him to see those million-dollar houses. The lengths I'll go to for my f-list.
grrgoyl: (ferrets attack)
More people-bitching, so look away. 

Tabby has always had a maddeningly anti-recycling outlook, which makes no sense when you consider she's about 18 years younger than me and the future of the planet will be a much more relevant problem in her lifetime than mine.  But she simply refuses to recycle, and worse treats with disdain anyone who does, i.e. Tery.

I couldn't be prouder of Tery.  She went from begrudgingly occasionally rinsing beer cans to carrying canvas tote bags to parties for ease of carting recyclables home, hers and everyone else's.  She even set up a recycling box in the breakroom at work, which Tabby of course sneers at.  She can't even be bothered to use it, despite sitting a foot away from the garbage can. 

"I just bought a Honda Civic!" she cries, which, to her credit, she chose based partly on its superior gas mileage.  "I've done my good deed for the world!"  As if changing one aspect of your lifestyle to green forgives you shitting all over Mother Earth in every other.

So in this respect she completely deserves Kay, who continues to be an ignorant, selfish cow.  Thank GOD I don't work with her anymore. 

At a recent party at their house to celebrate them finishing their basement, somehow guests started filtering out until it was down to me and a couple of vet techs from Kay's new hospital. 

Kay posed the question, "So, what do you guys think about me buying a bigger Jeep now that prices are so low?"  Yes.  Most American SUV owners are realizing they're driving a dinosaur and the meteors are falling, but Kay wants a BIGGER dinosaur.  Why?  Because her current Jeep Wrangler just isn't big enough to transport their dogs. 

I bowed out of the discussion right away, saying how much I hated SUVs.  The guy part of the tech couple shared my views, and presented all the rationales against SUVs.  The first of these was the fact that it's time to think about the rest of the world when making such decisions, not just our own personal desires -- to which Kay let out her guffawing horse laugh, and said, "Think about someone else?  Keep in mind who you're talking about here!"  I could've socked her in the face.

Other arguments against the global village:  Tabby thought it was okay to buy SUVs as long as you weren't doing it just to be "trendy" -- because everyone knows it's only the "trendy" ones that guzzle gas. 

Mrs. Tech's point was "Hel-LO.  We live in Colorado where it SNOWS.  We NEED SUVs!"  Okay, A.) Don't begin your logical debate with "Hel-LO," a catch phrase that should have been retired about 10 minutes after Friends finished its first run.  B.)  Yes, we live in Colorado, and it snows.  We also don't live in the mountains, which means the roads are plowed fairly regularly and when they aren't, snow melts all on its own within 24 hours.  C.)  Thousands of Denverites manage just fine driving cars in the winter.  How do you explain THAT anomaly, Chandler? 

I had to get out of there, especially after I asked Tabby if she were going to Pride the next day and Kay again guffawed, saying, "I have no idea what that is!"  I know, because you aren't gay (Kay is an Anne Heche lesbian, namely only for Tabby). 

Update:  Yesterday Kay drove her brand new Jeep to the hospital to show it off.  Tery says it looks bigger, but the interior seems the same size.  She wanted to spit.  I wonder if she's shown it to her one sensible co-worker yet?

I guess I'm done.

~*~

I'm slowly working my way through 2007's "Horrorfest:  8 Films to Die For" but have been keeping it to myself because, for the most part, they've been more silly than scary.  Another year, a little bit more jaded and bored.  A couple have had promise, namely "Mulberry Street" (New York sewer rats bite humans and transform them into bloodthirsty zombies man-rodents), and "The Deaths of Ian Stone" (a man is killed repeatedly by shadowy, nightmarish creatures.  Every time he resurrects he gets closer to piecing together the truth about his nature.  Might actually bear repeat viewing on something larger than a laptop). 

Then there's "Nightmare Man."

::The story is ludicrous. You can only imagine where it goes from here:: )

Why do I bother?  Why?
grrgoyl: (Shaun)
I wasn't really planning to see Beowulf, mostly because I kept forgetting the screenplay was by Neil Gaiman. As an English major I had taken an entire college course devoted solely to the study of the ancient poem, of which I remember not word one, so I hardly felt any special affinity for it. However, never underestimate the draw of Angelina Jolie's boobies well-done 3D (and IMAX) for me.

(Actually that boobie bit is such a joke to me. Someone at IMDb posted the anxious, hopeful query, "Do you actually see Angelina's boobs?" Dearheart, if you're relying on CGI nudity to get your jollies, save your money and buy some titty magazines. Honestly.)

Before I discuss Beowulf the movie, I must discuss Beowulf the audience. I was the first to enter the theater, and chose a seat in the very back row high at the top. Because I just know it could be me and one other person, and that person would sit behind me and kick me through the entire film.

Next came a young guy, dressed like a gangsta but before we judge too hastily, he took his seat and whipped out a book -- you know, those paper-filled thingies with words that most kids don't touch outside of a classroom? I so would've dated him in school (but would make him lose the ridiculous skateboard cap).

After him came a succession of men, all middle-aged, some alone. Down near the middle of the theater, a pair of burly, silver-haired biker dudes were preparing to take their seats. I watched with great interest, ever since [livejournal.com profile] dopshoppe pointed out to me how some straight men put an empty seat between them, lest a stray brush of shoulder be misconstrued as an offer of oral sex. I felt a warm glow of pleasure when they sat arm to arm. I felt it blossom larger when I noticed them sharing a tub of popcorn. And I flat out fell in love with them when I noticed them sharing a soda (separate straws though). Movie food is damn expensive and if I were a guy, I would have no problem shoving social mores aside to save $7. And nor did they. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Which is not to say all my fellow moviegoers were perfect little microcosms of an ideal audience. Minutes before the film started, two mooks sat directly in front of me (empty seat between them), one of whose big fat head edged up just enough into my line of vision to make me move (after sitting in that seat for 30 minutes. Bitch). Minutes after the film started, another guy sat a little farther down, set up a feeding trough and proceeded to snarfle, snort and chomp loudly through the entire movie, perhaps pausing when Angelina's boobies made their appearance. I SO wanted to say something after the first hour, but other people were sitting much closer; surely THEY would speak up? Or not. Pussies.

::Turns out Mr. Piggy Pig Pig was in good company:: )

I'm going to stop right here because I'm telling the whole damn movie, which was not my intention. Since I have barely no memory of the poem, I can't tell you how much liberty is taken in this translation. I DO know that it was all Gaiman to make Grendel's mother's feet the shape of stiletto heels, I'm pretty sure those hadn't been invented in the fifth century. It was a nice touch. The story is engaging, with a compelling mixture of history and mythology as only Neil can do. The action is gripping; it's very easy to forget the movie is animated, the CGI is done so well. As always, if you have the opportunity to see it in 3D, I highly recommend it. 4.5 out of 5

Movies I fucking can't wait to see: I Am Legend (IMAX, shyeah baby) and of course Sweeney Todd (not in IMAX, dammit).

Then I came home to #6 in the Horrorfest series, Wicked Little Things. ::Oy vey:: )

Dismally bad. Incredibly stupid and pointless. 0.5 out of 5 Come on, "8 Films To Die For" -- IS THIS THE BEST YOU GOT????

~*~

Christmas. Season of Lies and Deceit. Already the stressful challenge has begun of not blurting out events of my day that might give away Tery's gifts.

When she got back from visiting her gay brother in New York, all she could rave about was this fancy Rabbit wine opener he had. I bought one from eBay for her, then it occurred to me how little fun it would be without something to use it on on Christmas Day. I emailed her brother for suggestions, since I knew very little about her taste in wine. He recommended two brands that were sure things.

All unknowing, I went across the street to our local liquor store to pick up a bottle. I balked slightly when I realized there were about six aisles of wine. I made an effort to look for the bottles on my own, but I felt about as out of place as a guy in Victoria's Secret. I felt my floundering made it obvious that I'd never bought a bottle of wine in my life, that I couldn't tell wine from champagne if I had a gun pointed at my head.

I asked the cashier for help. He couldn't find Jason's suggestions either, which gave me small comfort. I called Tabby hoping she'd know what Tery liked; she couldn't help ("Real alcoholics don't drink wine"). Friends Chris and Liana were similarly stumped, and I took bigger comfort in the fact that even her drinking buddies had no clue. Chris did at least steer me towards a cabernet, and from there I took the cashier's recommendation and bought a brand called "Insatiable" (I don't know about wine, but I am easily impressed if the label is cool enough).

It'll have to do. I've already spent X-hundred dollars on her for Christmas with the TV. I'm not going crazy on the wine too.
grrgoyl: (Black Books children's book)
My god, I watch a lot of movies. ::cut for sheer volume, not spoilers:: )

As long as I'm updating, I thought I should mention my run-in with one of the most annoying grocery store employees I'd ever seen. I'm fond of stopping into King Soopers on my way home from work in the morning, where I'm free of the burden of other shoppers, but frequently have to deal with palettes of food from the backroom and of course the shelf stockers, sometimes a loud raunchy lot who aren't accustomed to seeing the public while they work.

This one guy really took the cake though. In the brief amount of time I was inside the range of his voice, he must have mentioned the fact that he was working on his day off at least three times. That's okay, people can't get enough of hearing THAT. But then he uncovered a pile of boxes that incited a tirade that he tried to drag anyone who would listen into (names changed because I don't remember them exactly).

"Look at that. Lady asks for two cases, we order six. That's just great. Perfect. Whaddya think, Gary? Lady orders two cases, we get six. Doesn't that seem like the thing to do?

Silence. Gary had either taken a break or Christmas had come early in the form of blessed hearing loss. Not that this deterred the lout in the slightest. "Whaddya say, David?

"What's that?" David answered, though it seemed inconceivable that he could have missed the previous, very loud exchange (although I know what it's like working in different aisles and tuning everything out). The outrageous scenario was repeated anew, adding "We'll be trying to sell mincemeat until Easter." David's response was a noncommittal sort of grunt. I've rarely felt this sorry for a group of coworkers in my life, and will certainly think twice before stopping at THAT King Soopers for awhile.

Butchest thing I did this Thanksgiving: Fixed our leaking refrigerator.
Butchest thing Tery did this Thanksgiving: Fixed our partially flushing toilet.

Repairmen? We don' need no steeenkeng repairmen. : )
grrgoyl: (jayne calm)
Courtesy of Netflix, I watched the fourth installment of Horrorfest, The Abandoned. Before I get into that, can I just say (at the risk of gloating) that with all the lights shut off, and the TV on its "cinema" settings, oh baby -- THIS is how DVDs are meant to be watched. I'll never have one of them fancy shmancy basement home theaters, so this is the closest I can come. Of course, you all are welcome to hang out and watch some movies with me anytime.

But not even the Aquos can do much to maintain the proper mood in the face of Tery arriving home early, insisting I go about my business but turning on the kitchen light, sizzling some pork chops in a pan, clunking ice cubes into a glass, running the sink disposal, her cell phone going off (with her new Connecticut UCONN Huskies ringtone -- which, like most other college fight songs, is completely incompatible with atmospheric horror); however, I'm not holding the Sharp Corporation responsible for this shortcoming.

Between these very disruptive elements, I think I managed to piece together most of it: ::Not that it's terribly complex:: )

I suppose the ending has a kind of symmetry to it that I can appreciate if I overlook the bizarro time loop that preceded it. Again, as far as "too disturbing for general audiences," I really do fear I've become too jaded -- or perhaps it was all Tery's fault. 2.5 out of 5
grrgoyl: (vincent)
As a horror movie fan who has despaired of ever returning to that state of innocence that enables one to feel actual fear while watching movies, the much-advertised "Horrorfest: 8 Films To Die For" fills me with a tiny ray of hope. These are supposed to be movies "too graphic and disturbing for general audiences." Fortunately I've never considered myself to be a member of a general audience.

I'm not completely hard-core, mind you. I love the Saw franchise but refuse to ever watch Hostel. et.al. I think the distinction can be summed up in two words: Quentin Tarantino. Ever since the ear-cutting scene in Reservoir Dogs, I've had an aversion to his too graphic, too ultra-realistic horror. Yes, I know this makes me a bit of a hypocrite. Let me 'splain: I don't really enjoy seeing people tortured for long periods of time, and in Saw typically the physical torments are brief (but the psychological......). Does that make sense?

I thought it was mighty strange, then, to see a commercial on SciFi announcing their airing of last year's Horrorfest. If these movies are "too disturbing for general audiences," is it really a good idea to show them on cable at 4 in the afternoon? I suspected massive editing must be involved.

Since I never get to surf, I was unaware of them being shown and only caught three on SciFi. The rest I'm leaving up to Netflix. Here they are in no particular order:

::The Hamiltons:: )

If this was the industry's idea of "too graphic for general audiences," it didn't bode particularly well for the rest of Horrorfest. Or maybe I AM more hard-core than I realized. 1 out of 5

Next up was ::Penny Dreadful:: )

I thought of a handful of twists for the end that would have been amusing and refreshing: What if all this was staged by her therapist as sort of shock therapy? You know, "Yes, car accidents are awful, but there are so many far worse things that could happen to you"? That was the best one. I had more, but I forget them now. It's moot, since the filmmakers opted for the utterly predictable ending that I saw from a mile away but hoped that maybe, this once, I'd be wrong. 1.5 out of 5

Hmmmm. So far 0 for 2. Fortunately, next was ::Unrest:: )

Unlike those other two, this one was genuinely scary (to me) so I don't want to give away anything else. Scary enough that I might like to see the unedited version someday (again, assuming SciFi had to cut something to preserve the sensibilities of the fragile, childlike general public). 4 out of 5, for getting me to cover my mouth in terror and restoring a tiny bit of faith in the horror genre.

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