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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Halloween II" review

Halloween II (2009)

Director: Rob Zombie
Writer: Rob Zombie

Sheri Moon Zombie ... Deborah Myers
Chase Wright Vanek ... Young Michael (as Chase Vanek)
Scout Taylor-Compton ... Laurie Strode
Brad Dourif ... Sheriff Lee Brackett
Caroline Williams ... Dr. Maple
Malcolm McDowell ... Dr. Samuel Loomis
Tyler Mane ... Michael Myers
Danielle Harris ... Annie Brackett
Margot Kidder ... Barbara Collier

I met my friends at the Mann Chinese 6 in Hollywood to see a double feature. "The Final Destination" followed by "Halloween 2". It just felt like the right thing to do. We had just finished watching "The Final Destination" and decided to take a lunch break while we recuperated from the D-Box experience. The D-Box is a vibrating chair that keeps up with the movie and shakes when something exciting happens. We hoped that "Halloween 2" would turn out to be just as much fun as the first part of our double feature. We were very wrong.

Going from the euphoria of a shaking D-Box chair to this debacle was truly a sobering experience. We should have stopped while we were ahead. "Halloween 2" has Michael Myers joylessly slaughtering people so he can reunite with his baby sister. Many poor souls will die needlessly horrible deaths as a fake Laurie Strode, (there is only Jamie Lee Curtis), screeches and wails her way around town as she tries to escape Michael's wrath. A second rate Dr. Loomis, (there is only Donald Pleasence), shows up as a greedy, narcissistic con man who tries to cash in on murder and mayhem. Rob Zombie tries to as well but there is only one John Carpenter and he's not it.

Enough is enough. No more. No more needless, unwanted remakes of classic horror movies. How could Zombie, who is clearly a lover of pop culture and horror movies, go so wrong with this movie? Everything that makes the "Halloween" movies enjoyable is shamelessly discarded. Dr. Loomis was a great character in the original movie. Why does Zombie want to turn him into a sniveling weasel? Was he too enjoyable as he was? There is not one likeable character in this movie. Jamie Lee Curtis was perfect as the innocent Laurie Strode while Zombie's version is a whimpering basket case. And where was Michael Myers theme song? One of the most iconic horror movie theme songs in history is scrapped for no apparent reason as Zombie doesn't seem to have any other tricks up his sleeve. The only thing he knows how to do is film people being brutally murdered. In Zombie's world, everyone is pathetic and deserves to die.

But there is one notable exception for Zombie. He loves putting his wife in his movies. Now I have nothing against Sheri Moon Zombie but she did not need to be within miles of this movie. Sheri shows up as Michael's dead mother who guides him towards his murder filled destiny. She also manages to have a pale horse walking along side her which symbolizes Zombie's pretentiousness. Every time that ridiculous horse ended up on screen, my friend couldn't resist letting out a contemptuous snicker for the audience to hear. I heard you man. I was laughing on the inside.

There's a lot wrong with "Halloween 2" but is there anything right? Well, Zombie does enjoy inflicting pain on his characters and there are many scenes of blood and mutilation. But it's a joyless movie as Zombie has no sense of humor about horror movies and prefers to keep things miserable for the characters and the audience. He also has a fetish for the 60's and 70's as there are many references sprinkled throughout the movie. Laurie Strode and the girls kick out the jams and dress up as Rocky Horror Picture Show freaks. There is also an extended scene as "Nights in White Satin" plays on the TV. Now that's realistic. If there's one thing you can count on in late night television, it's videos of Moody Blues tunes. Well, I suppose it's his movie and he can do what he wants.

But what did he want to do? Make a disappointing sequel to a mediocre horror remake? Ahh, who knows what's going on in his head? All I can hope for is that John Carpenter is cashing in on these movies and getting some well deserved compensation for his contributions to the horror genre. Even Zombie's bloody misfire can't destroy all of the goodwill that the original "Halloween" has built up over the years. Maybe Zombie needs to watch it again to remember why he liked it in the first place. "Halloween 2" only shows his disdain and disrespect for the original slasher classic.

SCORE: 2 out of 4 dead horses

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"The Final Destination" review

The Final Destination (2009)

Director: David R. Ellis
Writers: Eric Bress Jeffrey Reddick

Bobby Campo... Nick O'Bannon
Shantel VanSanten... Lori Milligan
Nick Zano... Hunt Wynorski
Haley Webb... Janet Cunningham
Mykelti Williamson... George Lanter
Krista Allen... MILF / Samantha
Andrew Fiscella... Mechanic
Justin Welborn... Carter Daniels
Stephanie Honore... Mechanic's Girlfriend

I met my friends at the Mann Chinese 6 in Hollywood to see a double feature. "The Final Destination" followed by "Halloween 2". It just felt like the right thing to do. While standing around waiting for our friend to get off the train, my other friend wondered if we should have gotten the D-Box tickets. I had no idea what he was talking about. "The girl at the box office didn't ask you if you wanted the D-box?" he asked. No, what is a D-Box ticket? "It's the movie theater chair that shakes as you watch the movie." My God, that sounds amazing. Bring me to the D-box!

After much thoughtful consideration, we decided to go ahead and pay the premium for the D-Box. If ever there was a time to feel your movie chair rattle and roll, it had to be at a 3-D horror movie. The side of the chair has a control bar that lets you turn up the juice to eleven or dim it down to nothing. Why you'd turn it off after paying for the ticket is unknown. Needless to say, we all had our chairs pumped up to maximum destruction level and prayed that it would send us flying out of our seats.

A guy has a premonition that everyone he knows is going to die. While watching a car race, he sees visions of death and destruction. His Final Destination is in front of his eyes. While he's watching the cars whiz around the track, my D-box chair is having a heart attack and leaning back and forth as flying metal spins into my face. He tells his friends it's time to leave before Death shows up. He becomes the hero of the moment as his vision ends up saving a lot of lives. But soon he begins to suspect that Death is upset with him for thwarting his grim reaper efforts. Various survivors don't survive for long as Death has macabre plans for all of them. My chair had a diabolical mind of its own as it shook my bones for most of the movie.

I enjoyed "The Final Destination". I'm not sure how much my vibrating chair played into my enjoyment but I had a good time nonetheless. The movie plays out exactly as you hope it would. You know people have a date with Death and Death does not like being stood up. Krista Allen is credited as MILF and gets cut down in her MILF prime. One guy loses a fight with a swimming pool drain and a tow truck driver wonders why can't we be friends. There are a few other ghoulish deaths to revel in as well.

"The Final Destination" plays to fans of the series. You want to watch people futilely try to escape their inevitable death and that's what you get. The success of these movies is based on how outlandish a demise the filmmakers can dream up for the characters to suffer through. There are some gruesome deaths here to enjoy which were aided with the help of 3-D glasses and, in my case, a rocking movie chair.

One last thought, there was one missed golden opportunity with the D-Box experience. There was one sex scene in the movie and the chair did not rock up and down. That would have been hilarious if the chair had kept time with the coitus. My electric chair let me down. The D-Box needs some carnal knowledge.

SCORE: 3 out of 4 rocking D-box chairs

Monday, September 21, 2009

"Sorority Row" review

Sorority Row (2009)

Director: Stewart Hendler
Writers: Josh Stolberg Pete Goldfinger

Teri Andrzejewski... Bra–Clad Sister
Adam Berry... Danny
Megan Wolfley... Trampoline Sister (as Megan Elizabeth Wolfley)
Marie Blanchard... Over-It Sister
Briana Evigan... Cassidy
Margo Harshman... Chugs
Rumer Willis... Ellie
Jamie Chung... Claire
Leah Pipes... Jessica
Carrie Fisher... Mrs. Crenshaw

I saw "Sorority Row" at the Arclight in Hollywood. Why I felt the need to pay a premium to watch this movie is unknown. I was one of three guys in the theater. The other two were near the back. I had three rows near the front all to myself. I think one of the guys was a regular at the Arclight as some of the ushers seemed to know him. Only die hard horror fans made it out to see this one. Slashers hunting sorority girls is a time honored horror movie tradition that needs to be embraced every time it creeps its way into a movie theater.

The girls of Theta Pi decide to pull a prank on some dim-witted guy. They want him to believe that his girlfriend is dead and that they have to dispose of the corpse. Hilarious! But their acting is too convincing as the guy feels the need to take matters into his own hands. He plunges a tire iron through her chest to make sure all of the blood pours out of her lifeless body. The problem is that she wasn't really dead. Now they really do have to dispose of a body and keep their dark secret from getting exposed. Months go by and a tire iron wielding lunatic starts stalking them at their graduation party. Could it be the girl come back from the dead? Who else could have known about their grisly prank? Someone knows what they did last summer...

"Sorority Row" makes the classic slasher movie blunder. It actually tries to have a plot. Is there anything more superfluous for a slasher movie than a plot? The guilt and accusations that arise form butchering one of their sorority sisters makes the movie much more convoluted than it needed to be. You don't need a plot when it comes to these movies. You have slashers and sorority girls. The movie writes itself! Just turn the slasher loose on their pajama parties and the movie will turn out just fine.

At their graduation party, the girls get picked off one by one as the slasher moves his way up the sorority ladder. The killer employs a tricked out tire iron with various knifes attached to each end. Some of the kills are fun but most are tame. The girls are the usual slasher movie cliches waiting around to get slaughtered. "Sorority Row" doesn't have any scenes that really stand out but it does provide a few gory kills and some brief nudity to assuage one's hunger for slasher movie entertainment. If you're in desperate need of seeing sorority girls screaming, it may be worth a look. If not, then you can let this one go.

One last thought, "Sorority Row" asks a very important question that we must answer now. Who was the hottest sorority girl at Theta Pi? Most of the girls looked good but for my money I would go with Jamie Chung, (Claire). She had the prettiest face to go with her hard body. None of the main characters in "Sorority Row" got naked but Jamie would get my vote as the girl most likely to succeed if she had. If she didn't succeed, at least I would have appreciated the effort.

SCORE: 2.5 out of 4 sorority row girls

Top of the Row.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

"Jennifer's Body" review


Jennifer's Body (2009)

Director: Karyn Kusama
Writer: Diablo Cody

Megan Fox ... Jennifer Check
Amanda Seyfried ... Needy Lesnicky
Johnny Simmons ... Chip
Adam Brody ... Nikolai Wolf
J.K. Simmons... Mr. Wroblewski
Amy Sedaris... Needy's Mom

Jennifer, (Megan Fox), is having boy trouble. She needs to keep eating them or she will die. A horrific fire serves as the catalyst that allows a demon to possess her. Megan Fox is a succubus. Not surprisingly, many men happily follow her to their doom. Her BFF, (Amanda Seyfried), starts to realize that there might be something amiss with her hot friend after she shows up at her house drenched in blood. Dead bodies start piling up in their small town as Jennifer uses her body as bait so she can chow down on the horny high school guys. Only a true best friend can stop Jennifer's evil.

I walked into this movie with one hope, one dream for "Jennifer's Body" to fulfill. I dreamed of a scene where they linger over Jennifer's naked body. It is with profound sadness that I have to tell you that there are no Megan Fox nude scenes in this movie. This is clearly the most obvious error in the film. The title promises Jennifer's body yet they do not deliver it. For shame. There was one scene where she was swimming topless in a lake, (not sure why but who cares), and she slowly pulls herself out of the water. The camera veers away from any of the interesting Fox parts so that we don't see too much of Jennifer's body. Why couldn't there have been a scene where she stretches out on the dock and does some topless sun bathing? Where is Jennifer's Body when I needed it?

So without salacious scenes of Megan Fox's nubile body, what else does this movie have to offer? There are a couple of bloody scenes as Jennifer tears open a few necks but nothing too gory to get excited about. "Jennifer's Body" is not scary enough to be an effective horror movie and it isn't funny enough to be a comedy. So what exactly is it? It's a Megan Fox vehicle disguised as a Diablo Cody high school fantasy. I can't believe that there weren't any characters named Juno in this movie. I was expecting to see a pregnant girl get bitten and say something witty while she's dying like "but I just drank my weight in Sunny D". It's never too early to start referencing your own work.

But let's discuss what's really important here. What is it about Megan Fox? Is Megan Fox just a younger version of Angelina Jolie? No she isn't. She's a young Megan Fox and we must cherish these precious moments that we have with her. "Jennifer's Body" gives us a lot of sexy scenes of Megan but they're just not lascivious enough for me. If they had put a prolonged Fox nude scene in this movie, the box office gross would have tripled. If Amanda Seyfried had joined in, it would have quadrupled. If there was a prolonged lesbian scene between the two, the sky would have been the limit. You have to think about the exploitation potential that a horror movie has to offer. Well, you don't have to but I like to.

Overall, "Jennifer's Body" is a fair movie. It's got sexy girls making bloody messes so it can't be all bad. It's trying to be a little different than the average horror flick but ends up being just another piece of Hollywood product off of the assembly line. It was designed for Megan Fox to strut her stuff and in that respect it succeeds.

One last thought, the best scene in the movie is the one that saved "Jennifer's Body" for me. Jennifer shows up at her friend's house to tell her the truth about her demonic demeanor. But first, they have to kiss hello. The camera goes into extreme close-up so we can enjoy every subtle nuance of two pretty girls kissing. This scene was magical. This is a brilliant example of how to film women kissing each other. Concentrate on the lips and you can't go wrong. As you may know, this is what girls do when they're alone. Oh yes. It's true. This beautiful scene helped save "Jennifer's Body". I wasn't sure how I was going to rate this one until Megan Fox and her lips saved the day. Now, it's worth a look.

SCORE: 3 out of 4 Jennifer's kisses

And Jennifer's Body

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"Busty Cops: Protect and Serve!" review

Busty Cops: Protect and Serve! (2009)

Director: Michael Whiteacre
Writer: William Williamson


So there I was, watching what I thought was "Busty Cops 2" on late night Cinemax. That's what the cable guide said. This was not "Busty Cops 2". It's actually "Busty Cops: Protect and Serve!" I had seen half of it one night but wanted to watch it from the beginning so I could get the full Busty Cops experience. Since I couldn't wait another minute to get some Busty Cops in my life, I discovered the joys of cable on demand. It was ready to go in seconds. I demanded some Busty Cops and Cinemax delivered.

As I'm watching this rough facsimile of a movie, I swore I had seen some of these scenes before but I couldn't remember where. One scene has Hannah Harper in front of a brick wall and it jogged my memory to visions of another Busty Cops adventure. For the answer to the origin of my Busty Cops flashback we must go Back In Time....

I had seen clips of this movie when it was known as "Busty Cops: Back in Time". The director, Michael Whiteacre, shared a few scenes from the movie with me awhile back. In his version, the Busty Cops travel back in time to the 1980's to do battle against nefarious Reagan-era bad guys. He didn't share any of the sex scenes with me, (dang it!), but there were a few funny scenes that showed the Busty Cops hanging out in the 80's. Cocaine and Rubik's Cubes were prevalent in most scenes. Belinda Gavin was also in an extended scene with a coked out surfer guy.None of the scenes I saw made it into the finished movie.

So now in 2009 we have "Busty Cops: Protect and Serve!". But what the heck is it? It is a stripped down, bare bones, brutally efficient, cut all the noise and get naked version of Whiteacre's movie. It also makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. But it is clear that the businessmen behind this spectacle are not interested in little details like plot, coherence or anything else that distracts from the softcore action.

"Busty Cops: Protect and Serve!" is a hard movie to describe but an easy one to like as one sex scene rolls into another. Nikki Nova, Hannah Harper and Lexi Marie are the Busty Cops. They are sent on a dangerous mission to get laid as much as possible. An annoying narrator tries to hold the film together but only ends up exposing the movie for the stapled together mess that it is.

So "Busty Cops: Protect and Serve" took the sex scenes from the original movie and trashed the rest. This is B-movie madness in action. The good news is that there are some quality sex scenes to enjoy. Hannah Harper has the best sex scene with two other women in front of some blood red lockers. This scene is followed almost immediately by a foursome with Aimee Sweet and Nikki Nova. While an abundance of nipple licking is going on, there is a glimpse of a "Footloose" poster on the wall. Then the girls go over to a dresser drawer and there is a pile of cocaine on it. A few images of the 80's managed to make their way into the finished movie after all.

But not all of the sex scenes were working for me. Lexi Marie was fairly disappointing in this one. She has one sex scene with a guy on some stairs and another with two submissive guys in a dream sequence. Both scenes are shooting blanks as she seems dazed and confused as to why she's there. Although there's an orgy scene where a girl wearing pigtails, (Princess Leia look maybe?), starts making sweet love to Lexi's rear end. That whole sex scene was pretty good.

Overall, "Busty Cops: Protect and Serve" has some good softcore sex scenes and little else. It is a nonsensical late night adventure with plenty of sex and nudity to help keep you awake. Although, I have to wonder what Whiteacre's version would have looked like if the Cops had hopped into the Delorean so they could tell some 80's punk to go ahead and make their day. I wonder how the movie ended up as this version from the scenes I originally saw. I wonder...

SCORE: 2 out of 4 busty cops

I don't know the context of this cut scene, (nor do I need to), but Belinda bound and gagged should have been in the movie for the Busty Cops to rescue. Busty Cops in big trouble. Who will save them? The editors got around that dilemna as this scene is also nowhere to be found.