Grabbers (2012)

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The plot of Grabbers is this: a small town in Ireland suddenly finds itself being attacked by blood sucking, many-legged alien sea creatures. The town then comes to the realization that the only way to survive the attacks is to get drunk.

I was all about this movie for a few reasons: I’m a sucker for just about anything from the UK and I love a good horror comedy (Shaun of the Dead, Tucker & Dale vs Evil…you know what I mean). That aside, the movie was enjoyable. It wasn’t quite on par with the movies I just mentioned but it was 90 minutes well spent!

Acting? Good. Special effects? Pretty good. I actually loved the big male monster. That motherfucker barreling toward me would probably just make me drop dead. I was afraid the movie would be extremely cheesy – focus more on people being shitfaced than the actual plot. But they did an excellent job of balancing the two.

I don’t have a strong desire to wax poetic about this movie nor is it the kind of movie to merit such a thing. If you’re into horror comedy, you’ll probably dig it. I will say – even as someone who watches a lot of programming from the UK so I’m pretty good with understanding somewhat thick accents – there were a couple of characters that were damn near impossible to understand. So set up some subtitles and settle in.

Maybe grab some alcohol. The movie pretty much calls for it.

*** stars

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Redemption (2013)

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Behold! Another Jason Statham movie watched by yours truly. Surely you’re not surprised. Yes, I spent the afternoon watching Redemption (also known as Hummingbird) and being…I think pleasantly surprised.

It’s not Crank. It’s not Transporter. And frankly, I liked that. It was moody. It was almost Noir-ish. Jason Statham gets his life together to do the right thing (well, I guess you could say it’s the right thing.) He aims to be a good man. Most importantly, he spends most of his time in the movie acting as opposed to beating the shit out of people.

In fact, if you only want to see Jason Statham beating the shit out of people, just re-watch any other one of his movies. He only has a few scenes in which he’s being violent. Otherwise, he’s brooding and planning and wearing fancy suits (drool, amiright?). His character is an Afghanistan War veteran suffering from PTSD, living/surviving in London.

It wasn’t great nor does it have a ton of re-watch quality (though I would sheerly for Jason suit porn. I can’t help it) but I think it’s worth a viewing. He’s really not a bad actor, the plot is interesting and isn’t totally predictable. Also, it doesn’t pussyfoot around. It certainly exceeded my expectations in actual watchability.

*** stars

Bitch Hug (2012)

I am a sucker for coming-of-age stories. Something about teenagers/young adults finding themselves and seeming very real…it’s the kind of thing I’ve related to since I was about 8 and saw Now and Then. I think it’s a tricky genre to really do well. So many writers and directors have these great ideas but try so hard to make their characters cool, creating these fads and slang that just aren’t real.

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Bitch Hug did a pretty good job with the coming-of-age movie. The premise is that Kristin (probably 18), who is pretty cynical and can’t wait to get out of her small Swedish town gets the chance to go to New York. While there, she’ll be writing about her new life for her hometown’s paper.

People think she’s going to fail and that she’ll be back within a month. Unfortunately, she misses her flight to New York. In order to prove everyone wrong, she hides out in the country with Andrea. And surprise! They become friends!

I’m going to regret saying this, but Kristin verges on being an almost Holden Caulfield-esque character. She sometimes goes a little far with her realism and brings it into a cynical and mean territory. And that I could relate to. She’s got some good angsty lines that I think everyone has thought, like: “I don’t know what I want, but I know what I don’t want.”

There’s some nice cinematography, the acting was good (somehow, it’s kind of hard to tell in a foreign language how good the acting really is), and the soundtrack was killer. Perfect? No. Enjoyable flick? Yep.

And if you want to know what a bitch hug is, you might just have to watch the movie.

*** stars

Brideshead Revisited (2008)

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I was skimming through Stoker today because I really wanted to rewatch the “Summer Wine” scene – talk about a prime use of music and volume. Shivers, you guys. Shivers – and I thought to myself “Matthew Goode, you are great looking.” Which lead me to downloading a bunch of movies he’s in.

I started with Brideshead Revisited (which also stars Ben Whishaw and Hayley Atwell) and spent a long evening (2 hours and 10 minutes) with some fancy prose and subtle metaphors. And Matthew Goode’s beautiful face.

As someone who has never read the book nor seen the critically acclaimed miniseries from the 80s, I got what seems to be the least favored of all its incarnations. Which is not to say it isn’t good – it is. But everyone else raves about the other two. Oh, well.

It’s absolutely beautiful. The costumes are immaculate and scenery is…well, you’d have to be a real asshole to not want to travel in time to England in the 1920s. Aside from the lack of the modern amenities that we have now. Give me an English countryside in a big ass castle and some WiFi. Heaven, methinks.

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I was hoping it would be sexier. There, I said it. I wanted some scandalous 1920s action and I just didn’t get it. It was very much a character-development heavy movie, a study of relationships, faith, family, and society. It certainly wasn’t a thrill.

A highlight was Emma Thompson and Michael Gambon – that’s Professor Trelawney and Professor Dumbledore – playing an estranged married couple. They kicked all the ass; class acts, those two!

It was definitely reminiscent of something like Atonement. Kind of split up in two parts – the first being intriguing and almost mysterious. The second part being devoted to basically every character becoming depressed, dying, dealing with inner demons (how’s that for some alliteration?) So, a bit of a long, drawn-out downer but kind of lovely.

This has been a real bullshit review.

*** stars (solid acting, lovely to watch, kept me interested. Not a lot of rewatch qualities. Except to check out Matthew Goode’s aaaaaass)

Welcome to the Punch (2013)

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James McAvoy wielding guns and yelling? Yes, please. Sign me up. I’ll have what she’s having. Is anyone else feeling faint?

This is all incredibly biased because James is in my Top 10 of nearly anything ever. He’s one of my dream men. I could watch him doing anything. Accidentally sending letters with vulgar language, as a half-goat man, in a wheelchair, anything. Absolutely anything. Already I want to give this movie 5 stars solely for starring him.

But, y’know, realistically it wasn’t the worst and it wasn’t the best. It had some fun gun fights (though some of these gun-wielding men had some questionable aim), no obligatory “sex-scene-in-an-action-movie-to-make-the-main-character-deeper”, and a couple of twists that were actually a little twisty. Nice.

My biggest complaint is the opening scene. James is on the hunt for Mark Strong, notorious baddie in almost everything, and his motley crue of motorcycle-riding thieves. So, they’re driving around what I guess is maybe somewhere in London? Either way, it’s a metropolitan area. And there are zero cars. None. Not one parked on the street, not one driving around. Sure, it’s the middle of the night, but cities don’t shut down because it’s 2 AM. People are out committing dirty deeds and out for late night ice cream treats.

You want me to believe that these streets are DESOLATE right now? Please, what do you take me for? A total sucker?

Stylistically, it was pretty fucking cool. Clothes were awesome (sorry, I’ll never say no to James in tight jeans and a nice leather jacket), it all had a very blue tone (which kind of worked for it), and it was sleek.

The movie was all right. It was a cat-and-mouse almost-caper where you weren’t quite sure whether you were supposed to be rooting for the protagonist or antagonist (really, you’re supposed to like both I think, but you know what I mean). For the most part, it is predictable. It’s obvious who most of the traitors are – and you know from the first few minutes that there will be traitors – but a few might catch you by surprise.

Honestly, I just wanted to see this movie so that I could witness James wielding guns.

Oy, mate. Look how fit you are!

*** stars (points for hot, points for style, points for lots of guns. Not really any points for plot.)

Evil Dead (2013)

Of course, I shelled out the money to see Evil Dead in the theater. I love horror movies and I love the original. C’mon son! There will be spoilers so read at your own risk. I’m not sure that there’s much to spoil ultimately – it’s a horror movie and a remake. I think most people can do the math.

Generally, the movie follows the same plot as Raimi’s version: five youths go to a dilapidated cabin and one of them unleashes an evil demon and hell (pretty much literally) ensues. Plenty of references to the original and of course, a chainsaw shows up along the way.

The bit that bothered me the most though is how these people came across the evil book. The opening scene shows a group of (weird looking) people persuading a father to burn and dismember his daughter who is a demon. And this book – there are warnings, things are scratched out so they can’t be read easily. It’s clear people do not want others to find it. This group takes care of business and we are transported probably less than five years into the future to our main cast.

They show up and encounter a terrible smell followed by a rug hiding a whole bunch of dried up blood. They go downstairs into the cellar and find a bunch of dead animals strung up and the book sitting there. But it’s bound intricately by wire and a bag.

Don't worry guys - tree rape happens in this one, too.

Don’t worry guys – tree rape happens in this one, too.

BUT IT’S LEFT OUT IN THE OPEN. These people went through a fair amount of trouble to make sure no one opened the book (but come on, it literally just took wire cutters) but opted to leave it sitting out on a table rather than oh, I don’t know, burying it? Or throwing it in a river? Or tearing it up? Or anything? Obviously they knew that people would be returning – there are photographs all over the cabin and they carefully placed the rug over the trap door to prolong anyone finding the creepy sacrificial altar. They did about 90% of the work but apparently the last 10%, the important part, they were just like “Eh, I’m tired. Hope this family that appears to visit frequently never has to go into their own basement and if, god forbid, they do, I hope this wrapped up book doesn’t intrigue them so that they might open it.”

Moving on. The movie is gross, definitely. There is a lot of blood, some scenes that had me scrunching my face up and half covering my face. And that’s really about it in terms of “horror.” It isn’t particularly scary or terrifying (despite the poster boasting that it would be the most terrifying movie ever) but it is gory and gross and still manages to be a little campy. There isn’t a ton of humor but there are bits here and there to keep things a tiny bit light.

The thing that’s interesting about this movie is that the characters are at the cabin for a reason: one of the girls has a drug addiction she’s trying to kick. Of course, she’s the first one who sees demons and stuff and of course, everyone writes it off as her having a difficult detox.

What’s more interesting is if this movie is intended to be a metaphor. The girl is facing her demons – literally and figuratively. And her drug addiction is affecting those around her. Her attempt to kick the habit is tumultuous and makes her feel like she’s being torn apart. The girl goes through hell so that she may survive at the end.

evildeadThe demon thing that shows up at the end is either played by the same actress or looks suspiciously like her (I couldn’t tell. It was raining blood all over). So when she defeats the demon thing, she is defeating herself, her dark side. Moreover, she does so by splitting the demon right down the middle. Perhaps a symbol of the real her and the addict her being split apart?

Or it’s just a movie and they were just trying to give the characters ~depth~.

Ultimately, it was enjoyable. I think I got a bit too excited and expected a bit too much but I still liked it. And it was interesting take on a classic. I don’t think it tarnished the original or sought to outshine Raimi’s version. It was it’s own thing.

*** stars (I took off some stars for it not being that scary and also because of a pretty shitty portrayal of women)

Seven Psychopaths (2012)

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Most people are going to say “Seven Psychopaths is totally like a Quentin Tarantino movie” or worse yet “it’s so QT” and you know? I think that’s wrong. Why does Quentin Tarantino have a monopoly on movies that involve semi-crazy “character” characters wielding weapons? He shouldn’t. And as much as I love Tarantino and his movies, I can imagine myself hating him.

So yes, Seven Psychopaths has some zany characters and there is a fair amount of violence and it’s a dark comedy – emphasis on dark. People get killed, it verges on being a little heavy at times, and the jokes made me feel sad sometimes. Then again, this is a movie from the guy who made In Bruges. If you didn’t enjoy that movie, I’d venture a guess that you won’t like this one.

Some stuff in the movie is offensive not so much because someone is saying it but because I was watching it and thinking “I know people who would or have said this.” It was offensive that the characters weren’t caricatures but characters in somewhat absurd situations that could probably exist. Got a couple uses of the N-word (no Samuel L. Jackson, I won’t say it!), “fatty”, “faggot”, etc. Was it meant to be surprising and to offend people? I just don’t know. Did I think “Fuck, I have encountered that man and he is the WORST”? Yes. One hundo percent, yes.

All the same, I thought it was just okay. The acting was good – I mean, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, SAM FUCKING ROCKWELL, and Colin Farrell – come on, slam dunk. And yeah, I’m a fan of gratuitous violence so it delivered in a few scenes. But it just wasn’t all there. I didn’t feel invested, I never laughed out loud, I was never worried. I felt no emotional connection which kind of means a lot to me in a movie.

A quality one-time watch. I have no desire to watch it again nor would I go around telling every human person I encounter to run out and see it, but ya know…it was all right and all that.

And a quick note to dudes hoping to see Abbie Cornish and/or Olga Kurylenko and their wicked bods? They’re on-screen for about two minutes each. And they’re clothed.

*** stars