Tuesday, 13 September 2016

IMDb Bottom 100 Review - Number 32 House of the Dead

Urgh this movie. I had been dreading this one for a while, because let’s be honest, it looks complete shit. And it’s yet another Uwe Boll flick. Does this guy know no mercy? Why? Why are we being targeted for his shitty artistic outlets? This movie, unsurprisingly, sucks. And it involves zombies. And a ridiculous cast. And shitty locations. I could end the review now, and you would walk away knowing everything you needed to know about this flick. But that’s not how this works, is it? No. No it isn’t, dear reader. I sit through the movie, and write this, and you have to read it. That’s our dynamic. So let’s just get it over with, and follow me down the feces infested rabbit hole as I take a look at…
Fully Headless Nick fights main dude, I think. When I snapped some shots from the movie just now, the red shirted guy seemed to be there at the end, so I assume he's the main guy.
House of the Dead (2003)

First off a small disclaimer: I actually watched this movie in May, and just never got around to writing this review until now (it’s September). Partly because I was busy with exams and then went to see my beloved girlfriend who lives thousands of miles away and she kept me occupied all summer. But also partly, and perhaps even fully, because I just hated this movie and couldn’t bring myself to spend even five minutes cranking out one shitty sentence to describe it. I know I’m slacking off, but I’m worn down by this project. Alas, I reap what I sow, as the proverb goes. And I’ll soldier on. Because it’s what Jesus would do. If he had existed. Jesus would watch all 100 shitty movies for you guys. I’m basically Jesus. A version of him that actually exists though. Anyway, I’m straying off track here. House of the Dead was what we were talking about. And what Jesus would’ve thought… alright forget about Jesus for a second. He isn’t relevant.

Oh yes, I remember the zombie origin subplot. Something about a captain and a treasure. Or something. I think Clint Howard was wise to their game. 
I’m desperately trying to remember the plot of this movie, or if it even had anything worth remembering. I feel as if this movie reminds me of like 4 or 5 other movies I’ve seen, so pardon me if I get them confused. The description on IMDb says college students travel to a remote island for a rave. I don’t know if this sort of thing is really normal anywhere in the world, but it certainly seems to be, since several of the worst movies ever made depend on this plot device to work. You never see rednecks travelling to remote islands to attend Klan meetings only to find bloodthirsty zombies have taken over. Or perhaps those movies dwell comfortably in the 3-5 point range, and because of that I will never see them? These particular college students miss the official boat, or are banned from it or something, and have to resort to convincing a shady captain and his Clint Howard seaman to get them to the island. Obviously Clint Howard and his boss have ulterior motives, that I’m sure will become vital later on. A big star such as Clint Howard isn’t used just willy nilly, that much I do know.

Clint fucking Howard. He isn't much of a looker, but he can act the socks off of your grandmother. 
The rave is predictably lame, because who the fuck has a rave a place where people can’t get it without super expensive boats? It would have been more believable if they were going to a mysterious dinner party in the mansion of Dr. Acula. The main cast stray off, and zombies start emerging. I’m desperately racking my brain trying to figure out if we see why the zombies come about or if it’s just understood that zombies are everywhere just waiting. But zombies happen, that’s for sure, and one by one, people succumb to the walking dead. Clint Howard and his scurvy captain are smugglers who have weapon caches everywhere, and we are treated to a sequence of excessive zombie killing, at the end of which a few people are holed up in a house, with zombies trying to get in. It’s the whole tedious routine we know and hate. Somebody finds a secret tunnel, and I think there is something about a cult too. Wow, this movie just blends in. Nobody gives a shit about the plot anyway. One girl makes it out alive. There. Done.

This was one of the opening shots, with voiceover going "We had broken up so I could study and she could fence." Seems legit. She totes utilized her fencing skills later. 
This was a completely run of the mill Uwe Boll movie. As I’m sure the diligent readers among you would inherently understand, this means that production is deviously clean looking. Money went into this movie. Not millions and millions, but more than a lot of the ‘dude we should totally make a movie with my cellphone’ or ‘Children, your homework assignment for summer school is to make a feature film!’ productions I’ve reviewed so far. I’ve gone into great detail regarding Boll’s schtick before, so I won’t bore you with it. But suffice to say, he has the power of the fifth largest economy in the world backing him up, and we suffer from it. Please note I’m refraining from making Nazi jokes even if they are right there, ripe for the picking. Not a lot of great names are involved in this movie. In fact, only Clint Howard (arguably a great name) and Jürgen Prochnow (arguably a name) stand out as anybody I’ve seen before. In anything. Except Will Sanderson - I’ve seen him in 3 other Boll productions on this list. But his name is far from great. Uwe has a knack for reusing actors who mistakingly believe they are a part of something worth while? I’m adding a question mark here, because anybody who has seen any of Boll’s movies, and have an internet connection must surely be aware, that his movies are universally, and rightfully, disliked or even loathed by the public at large. You accept a role in a Boll movie, you may get paid (and I’m not discounting that as a valid reason) but you’re also basically committing career sepuku. I get people like Will Anderson, who isn’t a huge name. But folks like Ben Kingsley or Jason Statham? Surely they have enough on their plates? For the record: none of those two people appear in this movie. But they are in other Boll productions. Christian Slater is too, but…. You know.

Jürgen whatshisface injured. He is going to play the old sacrifice gambit, where he lights a stick of dynamite with his cigar. You can practically smell the badass from here. 
The effects and all the other technical shit is on par with what you can expect from a b-movie. It’s decently made, without being totally on point, but also without you going “oh sweet mother of Jesus” every two minutes. I went “oh come the fuck on” a few times, but not because of the production value. Again, fifth largest economy pouring thousands of deutsch marks or euros (whatever era you adhere to) into Boll’s coffers. The relationship with the, peculiarly diverse, group of college students is completely wooden and without any kind of merit. None of the characters (with the possible exception of the always believable Clint Howard) have more than one dimension, and even that dimension seems warbled by redundant dialogue and decisions that would make a 7 year old cringe. You can’t engage in the action or any of the characters, because they have the appeal of getting your near frozen cheek flicked but the older kids in the school yard. It’s a movie I feel nothing much about. I disliked it when I saw it, but promptly forgot I had watched ten minutes after end credits were abruptly cut short by my finger on the remote. Uwe, you may not read this ever, and that’s probably for the best. But let me tell you this, on the off chance that you are; Jesus, had he ever lived, would probably find your movies kind of dull, and write a scroll about it, that somebody would find thousands of years later, and build a religion around. A religion I would be the pope of. Please cut down on making movies, or for once in your life, don’t write, produce or cast your own movies. There is a lot of talent out there. Please utilize it. Thanks.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

IMDb Bottom 100 Review - Number 33 Glitter

Another musical film on the list. Or a movie featuring a musician rather than an actor/ress. I’m counting Gigli here, because I’m still reluctant to call J-Lo an actress. But I digress. Traditionally singers turned actors do not fare well on the silver screen. With the possible exception of Will Smith. But then again, these days I’m reluctant to call him a musician. Anyway. This one I had dreaded for a while, because let’s be honest here. Mariah Carey. Turns out, I was partly mistaken. Or was I? No, I actually was. But not by much. Confused? Me too. Let’s try and clear things up with this review of…

Obviously this had to be in the movie somewhere.

Glitter (2001)

Like Gigli and Usher’s attempt at a serious(ish) movie, uh… Turn it up? No that can’t be right. In the mix. That it’s. I was close. Like Gigli and Usher’s In the Mix, Glitter is pretty much a movie built around the main attraction. J-Lo/Ben Affleck, Usher and Mariah Carey. Contrary to Gigli and In the Mix, the main attraction actually has a talent. Not acting. Acting is not that talent. But she has one. And that makes parts of the movie at least bearable. Let me just cast my verdict right off the bat here, so you know what you’re heading into: This movie isn’t good, but it’s not B100 bad. Not by a longshot. How do I determine? Well for starters, I didn’t want to murder myself and/or others immediately after credits rolled. This is a huge step up. Secondly, I was somewhat engaged. Granted, I played a whole Parcheesi tournament online while watching it (I won. Yay me) but still, a few times my little 10 second timer ran out because I accidentally got caught up in the movie. Crazy, right? So let’s have a look at the plot here, so you can try and get over this crazy turn of events. 

I think it's written in some music industry bylaws, that if you're a music producer, you have to wear a shit with golden records on it at least once a week. And wear it out.

Unsurprisingly, this movie is about Mariah Carey. Well Billy Frank really. But also Mariah Carey. It’s not autobiographical, but I don’t think Mariah Carey has the capacity to play anybody but herself, so… Mariah Carey. Her night club singer mother, who is living life a little too carelessly, has to give the 7-12 year old Billy up for adoption or foster care placement. I say 7-12 because the scene after she is given up, Billy appears in school in what looks like a kindergarten classroom, but she, and the two girls she meets, look a lot older than kindergarten. It’s unimportant. The two girls become her life long friends and co-dancer/singers. Cut to some years after. 1983 the caption claims, which is obviously a lie. We’ll deal with that later. Billy and her troupe are discovered in a club and asked to sing back up for some talentless lady. Mariah Billy outshines her, and is discovered by Terrence Howard, and then rediscovered by Dice (Lucky 7s) a prominent NYC club DJ. Dice wants to produce Billy, and they enter a partnership that eventually leads to a romantic relationship. Dice buys her contract off of Terrence for a 100 large, that he doesn’t pay. Terrence, perhaps with good reason, is upset by this. 

Terrence is down a 100 grand, and this pleases him not at all. Here seen threatening Billy with physical violence.

Dice starts making some noise for her, and rejects offers from small time producers. He believes in Billy, and it pays off. Warner or some other large production company signs her, and things move fast. Studio execs want to take over, and it causes some issues with jealousy and competition between Billy and Dice, but Dice bows out gracefully. He simply loves Billy too much to hold her back. But he’s bitter, is Dice. Bitter than he isn’t as successful. After some show, he’s drunk and says hurtful things to Billy. Billy doesn’t like having hurtful things said to her, and can we blame her? No. We cannot. She bails. With her cat. Dice regrets everything. Billy’s start shoots, and her and Dice’s dream of her playing Madison Square Garden becomes a reality. Billy visits Dice’s apartment while he isn’t there, and sees he’s writing a song for her and that he has a ticket to her show. On his way to the concert, Dice is shot dead by Terrence, and Billy goes on stage and gives a teared up rendition of some song that was special to her and Dice and which may or may not have come from Mariah’s actual catalogue. Right after the concert, in a letter from Dice, Billy reads that her birth mother has been found. She heads directly from the concert and meets up with her. Roll credits. 

A kiss for the song that the late Dice worked on. So heartfelt.

Alright. 1983. No. Just no. I mean sure, perhaps. But in that case, they should fire the props, costume and music department, because nothing is early 80s about this. It’s mid to late 90s at best. Now, I don’t know if they made the movie and didn’t realize or if they just thought fuck it, the demographic this movie caters to won’t know the difference. But it was not 80s. Mariah Carey was executive music producer on this, so I guess she should’ve been fired too. She used, or had somebody use pretty iconic 90s music. This may be chalked up to artistic liberty, but it just seems sloppy. Like nobody gave a shit about that aspect. Hairstyles and outfits were not in the least synced. Especially not Mariah who basically looked like Mariah all the way through. I mean she could’ve done that movie yesterday, and we wouldn’t have known the difference. 

That hat pissed me off more than anything else in this movie.

Plenty of the actors involved are ones you’d remember from some obscure little role in some obscure film og series. A few have done bigger things. Mariah Carey was obviously the star here, which is probably why she’s in almost every scene. Mostly people deliver decent performances. Nobody where I was appalled or wanted to phone the proper authorities. Like I mentioned, Mariah wasn’t as crappy as I had suspected she might be. It is the director, though, that kind of startled me the most. When I saw the name Vondie Curtis Hall on screen, I had this weird idea, that I’d seen that name before. And I felt pretty sure he was related to Arsenio. Turns out I was correct. Vondie Curtis has been in thousands of movies and series, but where I remember him from, is the overwhelmed Zamundan concession stand worker that wants a picture taken with Eddie Murphy in Coming to America. That’s the guy. Crazy that he’d go on to direct Glitter. What a time to be alive. 

"No Dice. I don't owe everything to you. I'm my own person. My own person and my cat." - Billy Frank, probably.

After watching this movie, and figuring it wasn’t B100 material really, I had to ask myself the question: Why is it on this list? And at 33 no less. Well I’m going to assume it’s much the same reason that 5 (yes five) of Paris Hilton’s movies are also on this list. That’s almost all Hilton’s collected works in feature film. People just don’t like Mariah Carey. Now I wasn’t a big fan of Glitter. I won’t recommend it probably. And I won’t ever watch it again. But like I said, I didn’t hate it. And I didn’t hate Mariah Carey for it. I’ve never been a big fan of hers but even a cold hearted sum’bitch like me can’t deny, that she has a voice and the skills with which to use it. Paris Hilton has zero skills worth anything in the movie business save a brand. Glitter belongs in the 4-5 range of the grading scale, and not >3. The love story was a little forced, and Dice and Billy both make some weird choices and do some weird things. It’s amore, I guess. But really, lots of this could’ve been handled if they had gotten an agent and a lawyer and negotiated a proper deal, instead of just half assing it. But alas, I’m just a lowly review writer. 

Fighting in the car. Billy has to chose between her man or her friends. She goes with the guy. Rookie mistake.

The whole mom subplot was… It was pretty stupid. You didn’t get the idea that Billy had done all this shit all along just for her mom. She mentioned it at one point, because she finds a box of her mom’s old stuff. But it’s not really a thing besides. Yet when she reads Dice’s letter, it says her mom has been living clean for the past few years, which begs the question: why the fuck didn’t her mom both know Billy Frank existed and/or try and find her. Nevermind. But Billy goes to her mother’s house which is the fucking colonial giant of a house located in this super pictureque location, with trees and fields and meadows all around. I’m like “she was a drug addict down and out dive bar singer. How did she manage a massive house in Maryland like this? And why?” Don’t get me wrong, I only want the best for Mariah Carey’s pretend mother, but a street walker from Jackson Heights? Did she win the lottery? I’m going off on a tangent here. It really doesn’t matter. Glitter. Don’t watch it, but also don’t hate it?

Mom's humble abode. I know right? Cray.

Friday, 29 April 2016

IMDb Bottom 100 Review - Number 34 Emret Komutanim: Sah Mat aka Yes sir

Just like Hannibal I love both elephants and when a good plan comes together. When every intricate little aspect of a well laid plan executes with clock work precision, despite possible involvement of elephants - notorious for being unable to adhere to a time table. It’s beautiful to watch, and gives you the sense of something lurking behind the scenes of life, pulling threads so events fall in your favor. Imagine that magnificent scene, and then picture the polar opposite of that. What do you now see? This movie. Please, if you will, let your eyes wander downwards and soak up the thoughts in my head put into words on your screen. Yes, you guessed it. It’s…

Pretty much how I felt watching this movie.

Emret Komutanim: Sah Mat aka Yes, sir (2007)

Another Turkish movie. And, I fear, not the last one at that either. I don’t know if the Turks are particularly horrible at movie making, or if the Turkish movie watching crowd are particularly apt at rating said movies for shit on IMDb. It’s really hard for me to say, because I do not speak and/or read Turkish. Coincidentally that also made picking up nuances in this movie exceedingly tough, since I was unable to procure a set of English subtitles. Or indeed any of the numerous other languages I would understand better than Turkish. The plot wasn’t super tricky to follow, don’t get me wrong, but even so, I’m thinking I would’ve understood why I hated this movie a little better than I do now, where my hate is largely unsubstantiated by anything else than “It was superbly boring and I hated every character in it.” That may not be much different from the previous some 70 films I’ve had the dis/pleasure of reviewing for you guys, but still, as a guy with, what I think of as, a critical sense, it’s nice to understand why strong emotions are invoked. But we’ll see if I can reflect on my thoughts as this review is written. 

Levent and his colleagues' office. I like the little coffee table setup in front of her desk. Also is that two identical pictures of Ataturk in one room? Bold.

Plotwise, this movie was both simple and confusing. Like I said, I understood what was going on, but never why it was. A bad guy, Karpov, surrounded by matching ladies in silver hair and skimpy outfits, look to cause a military guy of undeterminable rank, some harm. Either personally or in his capacity of being a military officer. He accomplishes this, or attempts to accomplish this, by exploiting an annual event at the barracks where a group of special needs people are allowed to don uniforms and participate in military drills and exercises for a day. With this group of special needs people, he sends one of his non special needs guys cleverly disguised with slightly goofy looking glasses with a piece of thick white string tied around his neck. Blends right in. The ringer manages to switch out the officer’s phone, so Karpov can track him on this Nintendo looking screen, and real time move little action figures around on a crude, and ridiculously pointless, scale model. 

The monitor on which Karpov, well, monitored Levent and his crew of ragtag soldiers. 2007, ladies and gentlemen.
Karpov lures the officer, whose name might be Levent (?) and his forces out into a remote location. I don’t know what pretenses are set up to accomplish this, but it happens. Some of Karpov’s henchmen drive an 18 wheeler into the location, rig it with a bomb, and bank on Levent and his group being close by when it goes off. They are. So close, in fact, that the plan would’ve succeeded, had this not been a really shitty movie. Everybody survives a pretty big explosion, despite being in a 20 feet radius of it. Oh well. Levent is kind of miffed by this whole thing, but decide to send his men back to the barracks. Underway they are tricked by, what I’m gonna have to label as, the lamest and most preposterous hot-ladies-broke-down-car scheme I’ve ever witnessed. So many stereotypes are inadequately purported here, I was almost in shock for a few minutes. Obviously every single one of these super inappropriate dudes are captured and brought to Karpov’s compound. Levent and his, apparently equally ranked, lady friend (possibly girlfriend. We don’t really know), go on a rescue mission, and despite complete lack of control over anything from tactical approaches to trigger discipline and several instances of conduct unbecoming, they save the crew and incapacitate Karpov. The end. 

Levent dons guns akimbo and utilizes his military training to invoke deep concentration, before he shoots to literal fucking bombs at close range.
I can’t figure out what Karpov’s motivation was. He had enough money it seemed, with all the shitty hardware and the obscene amount of women and henchmen he had in his employ. Also a tracking device in Levent’s phone kept a Super Mario looking avatar updated real time on Karpov’s main viewer screen. One silver haired lady was almost constantly at the computer, punching buttons and fiddling with levers. I’m not sure why, but there we are. And then Karpov spent a lot of time moving little toy military vehicles and figurines around on a mock battlefield. It was stupid and made him look like a 5 year old moron. Karpov was played by Mehmet Ali Erbil, a person I fear we (you and I, dear reader… you and I) will not be rid of that easily. His unimpressive catalogue includes two more movies I will be watching in the near future, and his performance in Yes, sir taken into consideration, I’m pretty depressed about that. I couldn’t find anybody on the cast list who have appeared in other movies that one might know. Ali Erbil voiced Woody in Toy Story and Toy Story 2 (Turkish versions obviously) but had apparently fallen from grace when the time came for a third outing for Woody and his gang. Perhaps they had seen these movies of his, and figured fuck that. Rather risk the continuity snafu in a different voice for Woody than have this guy ruin more movies. 

General's office. Or the Turkish equivalent. Same god damn picture of Ataturk again. It's a thing apparently.
The military ranks piqued my curiosity, but like the rest of the movie it left me severely disappointed. All officers (I assume) have insignia on their collar flips, and I assumed they indicated rank, but Levent and the woman and somebody who is clearly above them in the chain of command, all have this special emblem on their shirts. The ranking officer has several stars on his shoulders, however, where Levent only has two. I checked Turkish military rank and found nothing that matches. So that’s kind of a bust. I could’ve learned something, but even that was denied. Everything was, as far as I’m concerned, in this movie. A reviewer on IMDb tore this movie a new asshole, and still gave it 3 out of 10 stars. I don’t know why. He compared it to the 1980s classic franchise Police Academy. I don’t know if I quite agree, but I suppose the inept and supposedly lovable dipshits save the day concept is somewhat similar. However, these dorks accomplish precisely nothing, they save no day and they basically just fuck around aimlessly for 100 minutes, until Levent, in a glorious fucking stunt, shoots two bombs at 4 feet, to free his men from two cages. I mean he literally points a gun in each hand at the bombs on the bars of these cages, and shoots them. Like what is that even supposed to accomplish? Granted, bomb disarmament and dismantling is only a hobby of mine, but it takes skills well above the UN sanctioned 9000 to be able to safely shoot bombs at close range. Insanity. 

I wonder if subtitles would've let me to a greater understanding of these girls matching outfits, and why they mostly just stood around.
I fear for the next few Turkish movies coming at me. This was from 2007, and still I could not find subtitles for it. The next two are from the year before, so I don’t hold high hopes. Say what you will about the many many many crappy movies I’ve watched so far, but at least when they’re in English, I can understand just what it is about them that I loathe so very much. I feel handicapped watching this. On the plus side, I can stick this on, and pretty much do something else, since the dialogue isn’t keeping me marginally distracted. It’s just moving images on screen for a 100 minutes, until credits roll and I get to write this. So there are pros and cons. Mostly cons. Even the pros are kind of cons. Next week, thankfully, I’ll be back in good old sub-Hollywood to review a wonderful movie featuring Mariah Carey. I literally can wait. 

The scene of these girls in the back of military vehicle with super inappropriately behaving soldiers made me uncomfortable.