Monday, January 31, 2011

The seventh and final?

Saw 7.

I have seen every Saw film in the theatre but this one. The 3D just killed it for me, so I was forced to wait for DVD.

I am a fan of Saw and always have been. I actually think its the best horror series to come out in decades. Iconic villain, with great theme music (that doesn’t change every movie) all the same actors return for all sequels, good gore, and good story Saw basically proved that you can make a good horror movie that is has gore and story! This is something I always wanted to do and I respect the film makers for succeeding.

So on to 7. This again was a great movie. I don’t know, this series is crazy. Every instalment is just as good as the last.

If you loved the others, than this is a great entry. They left it open for a sequel BUT if they choose to end it here, it would be a good ending. Not much more to say, you have seen the rest of them, so you will enjoy this one!

I have only 2 small criticisms – one I cant tell you, since it’s a spoiler and the second is that Tobin Bell (guy who plays Jigsaw) isn’t in it much – only one scene really. But that one scene was great.

Now to bash my 2 criticisms – well the first one can be explained by “behind the scenes” stuff - which is something to do with the making of the film and the rights and franchise payouts etc. The second gripe – well Tobin Bell wasn’t really in the first movie either. He was just laying down and in a couple of flashbacks. It was the skinny guy that was doing everything, but he was just part of the game being forced to do it. We like Jigsaw cause of part 2 and 3 where he was the star and he was great. In this one, there isn’t much flashbacks and he’s dead in the series, so there’s not much for him to do!

I will be looking forward to a nice box set of the series.

PS – this 7th in the series has the most gore of all – and the most traps by far! There is a trap like every 5 mins!



Wednesday, January 26, 2011

No, it's not a remake of Halloween 3.

Season of the Witch.

I have discovered a formula for how well movies will do. I know what you are thinking – they do well if the movie is good right? Let me note Speed Racer, Watchmen (did well, not well enough in my view), Wizard of Oz (yes it was crap when it came out), Dracula 2000 (which starred Gerard Butler – before he became famous to women because of his ass roles in rom-coms), Dune, Rambo 4 and the list continues. But then shit movies do well, like Hangover, 40 Year Old Virgin etc. I have discovered the formula.

Fun movies = people hate them
Stupid movies = people say they are fun
Super serous movies = great (whether or not they actually are)
Semi serious movies = they suck

Season of the Witch is a fun movie that pays tribute to the old Hammer Studio / Roger Corman productions that were meant to be creepy and enjoyable with over the top sets and effects and some nice gore thrown in. Of course the Corman stuff was pretty low budget, but they were still fun! The Hammer’s seemed a bit better in production, but again, these were fun popcorn movies that are meant to be enjoyed and not over analyzed. I DO NOT think that is BAD. People now equate fun movie with cheesy or stupid. That is NOT THE CASE. I am ALWAYS criticized for over analysing stuff, but then when I like a movie for pure fun I am told that it sucks and people cannot understand why I like it.

Season of the Witch fits right in with those Hammer films. In fact, while watching I was thinking that if this movie come out in the 70s or 80s people would be dying over it. Christopher Lee is even in it! (see imdb for his bio of Hammer stuff) But in today’s attitude (if its not over-hyped online then it must suck) movies that are enjoyable just don’t get their fair share.

I really enjoyed this a lot and I am happy with the treatment of all the characters (which are unique and fun) and I thought the Witch (played by Claire Foy) was really cool. All the actors did a good job and there was some really cool moments. Each scene featured something neat.

The opening had a great witch execution scene, then we got the Crusades montage, then we got to see some plague victims, a wooden bridge that is just dying to break apart, demonized wolves, giant demonic monsters, zombie monks and Ron Pearlman head-butts a Monstrous demon – TWICE!!!!!!!! You’re not gonna get that in films like BLACK SWAN, or THE FIGHTER.

Eat that Oscars.



Monday, January 24, 2011

Mission to Soundstage.

Capricorn One.

3 astronauts are about to travel to Mars, but right before launch they are asked to stop out of the ship and are taken to an island. Once there they find a warehouse that is set up like film sound stage, that looks like the surface of Mars. They are there to film a fake Mars landing, and if they don’t, then their families will be killed.

There are reasons for this and they make sense. The dialogue is very realistic and this whole movie was really well made.

You can tell intelligent people wrote it and the story is something that could very well happen! In fact, some claim the moon landing was faked too. Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 sure as hell looks real and that was shot BEFORE the real moon landing – so the government could easily fake something like that.

I don’t want say to much about this, but I loved it. It’s one to own for scifi fans, or just fans of good films!



Double Big Mac Attack.

Super-Size Me.

I only got to see this now! I know it’s old news, but this film was very disturbing. The film maker decides to eat McDonalds for one month for all meals of the day and he must super-size his meal if asked.

He gains 25 pounds and doubles his chances for a heart attack and starts to get headaches if he doesn’t eat McDonalds. Big deal right? We all know fast food is bad, but the point was that even eating a bit here and there isn’t good either. Sure we wont gain that much weight cause we are not eating it every day, but still, there were a lot of alarming results, that even doctors weren’t expecting.

Check it out.



The greatest show on Earth.

The Great Ziegfeld.

Biopic of a Ziegfeld, who was a great Broadway show producer. The film recounts his whole life and its pretty good. He has ups and downs and goes through different women too.

The best sequence in this film is a one take performance where hundreds of performers rotate around this enormous cone shaped staircase. This scene is so unbelievable that it may be the best onstage sequence I have ever seen in any movie!

This Ziegfeld guy was really the master of Broadway shows!



Friday, January 21, 2011

Voyage of the Yawn Treader

Thanks to the magic of 3-D...I had to find other means of viewing this movie. Anyhow, I own parts 1 and 2 of this series, and despite the universal groan that seemed to come from everyone, I actually liked part 2...better than 1 even, though one was still really good. I liked the excitement and the battles, and the creatures, and all that good stuff from the first two I haven't read the books, so this one may have followed the book, and if so...hoo-boy.

There just wasn't a lot of excitement for me in this movie. Firstly, and I know they're probably just following the books at this part, but I didn't like having neither Peter or Susan there. That was my one and only problem with Prince Caspian, and it's just as I suspected. It's not that I don't like Edmond or's make an analogy, it's like the Beatles if it's just Paul and Ringo. Now, there's nothing wrong with Paul and Ringo, but you know what's better? All four Beatles! It just seemed something was missing, and I know why it was done, etc, etc, I'm not saying it was dumb, but it doesn't feel the same.

Worse though, is there is really no action in this movie. I mean yes, there's a fight near the beginning, and there's a decent creature battle at the end, but you have Edmond, Lucy, Caspian and the crew of the Dawn Treader walking around for most of the movie, looking for magical swords. Now, a clever writer would have had them go through big trials and tribulations for these swords. After all, they're integral to beating the main villain (more on that later). So, you would think they'd have to go through a lot to get the swords. Nah. They're mainly just lying around. You can just go and pick them up. Wah? Where's the adventure! Where's the danger and peril, if these damned swords are so important, why can I just go up, pick them up, and beat the villain? What's the point in even having these characters here if all they're going to do is ordinary stuff?

I didn't like the villain, either. Look, in part 1, we had the White Queen, and she was awesome. Part 2 had Caspian's uncle, and while he was not as cool as the White Queen, he still lead this big human army, and there was a hell of a battle. In this one, there's a mist...and it's going to corrupt Narnia...okay. So, you have to beat a mist. Okay. Then the writer's threw in (and believe me, this might all be C.S. Lewis' fault, if they're following the book) "if you think of something scary, it will be manifested in the mist". Okay, so it's Ghostbusters. The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man (or in this case, a big sea serpent) will show up, and fight the good guys. The sea serpent was cool, but I'm like, how is this mist going to corrupt Narnia? By swallowing people? Okay, but I'm not afraid of a mist...unless it's John Carpenter's mist. I don't care if it manifests something scary, or something tempting, or whatever, at the end of the day, you can blow on it, and it disappears.

It was cool to see some of the characters from previous films, and of course they had to work the White Queen and Aslan in there. I liked the characters who appeared previously, and the new major character, Eustace was alright (though it was better when he was turned into a dragon). All in all though, I think they could have done something better with this movie. I heard they wanted to make it more kid-friendly...the run time is a lot less than the previous films, so they probably condensed the crap out of the story...and they condensed all the action and excitement out as well.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (just because of how much I liked the characters from the first's closer to a 2.5, really).

- Stephenstein

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Top 10 of 2010

Another year, another batch of movies that have passed. I've already reviewed my first film of 2011, but have now decided to officially wrap up last year, and name my top ten list. Note those who are curious, that I will include movies I did not see in theatres, but saw elsewhere.

10. Saw 7 -- I wish I'd been able to wrap up the series properly, but the 3D nonsense they insisted on foisting on me convinced me otherwise. It's too bad too, because like the other ones, I really liked this one. If this is the end, then they wrapped it up well.

9. Salt -- I didn't think this one would make the list, but Angelina Jolie was too good in the movie. It was one of those rare action thrillers that stayed with you, and it was pretty smart.

8. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief -- I got turned off by the trailer for this one, which was my mistake. I saw it later, and saw how cool it was. It blew the inferior Clash of the Titans out of the water, and was one of the few kid friendly movies that didn't annoy me.

7. Centurion -- Another one I missed, but that's due to the poor release for the movie. I don't know why it wasn't released well either, considering it had plenty of action, gore, and story to keep people entertained.

6. The Expendables -- I had to put this one on the list, just based on the awesome cast alone. It was a pretty damned good action movie nevertheless, and it goes to show you what you can accomplish when you really set out to make an awesome movie to please the fans.

5. The Book of Eli -- This one grew on me, as I wasn't sure how I felt about the ending to this movie, but watching it again, you have to love Denzel, and his big mission. Plus, the shootout in the house was just crazy.

4. Inception -- I think I actually like Chris Nolan's original movies more than the Batman least I don't feel like he's screwing up something I really like. This was another engaging film, where even though I knew what was coming next, I wanted to see it anyway!

3. Predators -- Wow. You got to hand it to Robert Rodriguez. He said "I want to make a Predator movie for fans of the original". That's exactly what he did, and being a fan of the original, this one blew me away, when I wasn't even expecting much.

2. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World -- The most entertaining film of the year, this movie had everything for pop culture fans who grew up in the 80's, and wish our films had a little more fantasy. It's too bad this movie didn't dominate in the box office because it damn well should have.

1. Tron: Legacy -- Hands down the #1 movie of the year. Forget the talk that there was no story, and this and that, this movie brought the Tron world back to life, updated, but still with a feel for the first film. Jeff Bridges excelled in his duel roles, and this one is the perfect companion to the original.

So that's it for 2010, see you all again this time next year!

- Stephenstein

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Green Buffoon

Now, I confess...I've never watched the television show, nor heard the radio show. However, the television show had Bruce that counts for something, right? The trailers looked good, and I know a few of the guys were jacked for this film. Unfortunately, it does not live up to standards, at least in my book.

The problem begins with Seth Rogen. In fact, he is the major problem of this movie. I felt like I was watching Seth Rogen's Green Hornet...instead of what I thought the Green Hornet either would be, or should be. The trailers made it look like he's a party-boy ass, and then his father dies, and he straightens out, and becomes the Green Hornet. Well yes, he is a party-boy ass, and yes, he becomes The Green Hornet after his father dies...but he's still an ass. He's just an ass who is now the Green Hornet. He played the character for laughs far too much, and the problem is, and this has been consistent, Seth Rogen just is not funny. He thinks saying crude or stupid things in a smart-aleck way is funny...but it's not. Most of the time, it's annoying. I didn't like him as Britt Reid...he is better as The Green Hornet, but he's an incompetent schmuck...this is even mentioned in the film!

Kato is better, and I like Jay Chou, but his character also suffers under the script. Kato appears to be trying to be more cool and hip in this movie, which instead just makes him seem a tad pathetic. I also did not like Kato's relationship with Britt Reid. He has too much fun at Kato's expense, and one of the big fight scenes in the movie involves Kato fighting Britt! Why are they fighting? The rest of the cast in non-descript. Cameron Diaz is the obligatory girl both our heroes are panting after, Christop Waltz is fine as the main villain, but doesn't have a lot to do, and becomes sort of a caricature of a villain by the end of the film. There are a couple of surprise cameos, but overall, the cast struggles under the crappy writing.

The plot is pretty pedestrian. I wasn't expecting it to be any great guns, so it didn't really bother me, but I don't like The Green Hornet being so stupid! Cameron Diaz is the brains of their operation! They have no idea what they're doing! Like...I thought Seth Rogen got rid of Stephen Chow because he wanted too much comedy? But I think it's more along the lines that Rogen didn't want an Asian comedian upstaging him. That's why he went with Chou, who plays along with the Rogen's mugging, and stupidity.

I will say that the last 15 minutes of the movie were pretty good, and should have been the whole movie. The action shots are clear, and you can see what's going on. I liked the Kato vision, and Chou has some pretty nice moves. The Black Beauty was sick beyond belief...that car was the real star of the movie! The Green Hornet and Kato appear in costume more than usual for an American super-hero movie, so that's a plus as well. I don't want it to seem like I hated this movie...I didn't. However, I think the potential was greater than the end product that was produced.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (would have been 2.5, but Black Beauty was too good, and the action in the last 15 minutes saved the movie).

- Stephenstein

Friday, January 14, 2011

There is life after death.

Resident Evil: Afterlife.

Milla is back as Alice with her T-Virus powers to kick zombie ass. I have seen all the RE movies in the theatre and have actually thought they got better. I liked RE, I really really liked Apocalypse, and I loved Extinction (even buying the poster for Extinction – which I love). I own all the soundtracks and even entered a design your own poster contest for part 2 (I lost, but the winners poster is actually available to purchase). So I was really pumped for part 4, called Afterlife (which I also bought the poster for!).

Too bad it was in 3D which is an auto-turn-off for me, so I skipped it. Too bad I did, cause this was even better than the last one! This was a kick-ass movie that never let up. It kept me guessing throughout and I think its one of Paul Andersons best films! (not saying much I know – but Mortal Kombat rocks!)

At the end of 3, Alice had been cloned 100 times and the others were off to Arcadia. Well those clones get destroyed in the first act taking down Umbrella Corps Tokyo Division. That may seem a bit of a let down, but at least we got an action scene with them, which is more than I thought would happen. Then Alice loses her powers (thus losing half a star in the rating for me – hello, losing powers is ass!). But then she teams up with Claire (from part 3 and the games) and finds her brother (also from games) and we learn why Claire didn’t go to Arcadia – I don’t wanna give out the plot too much, cause I thought it was pretty exciting. Simple, yes, but exciting! Plus we get to see Jill Valentine again (in the end credits only) and I thought she was the best in part 2!

Oh, and all the action is CLEAR and a lot of slo-mo parts which I love. The 3D would have been cool too – I can tell, as it was shot for 3D and not added after like Piranha.

So all in all I was really upset I missed this in theatres, but Ill make up for it on DVD!



Thursday, January 13, 2011

How much meat could a piranha eat if a piranha would eat meat?

Piranha 3D

This is a remake of a remake of the original Piranha film (Roger Corman) which there was a sequel made that was directed by James Cameron! Anyway, this is a modern remake, and its not part 3 (like Jaws 3D, or Friday the 13th part 3D). I saw this in 2D on DVD – gosh.

I’m glad I didn’t see this in theatres cause it wasn’t shot in 3D and there was no 3D potential – well maybe a couple of shots, so it wasn’t worth it for sure.

The movie is like 87 mins or something and the credits are 6 mins – I only mention that cause nothing happens for the first 45 and when stuff final happens the movie is over.

You know how in these killer animal movies the animal is always mutated and smarter than the humans. Like the humans will make a trap, and then they escape or turn the tables on them or whatever – well that doesn’t happen here and the way they destroy the piranhas is bloody retarded – I mean were they really defeated? Oh, and you know how in movies (Tremors, Deadly Spawn, 8 Legged Freaks etc) there is always a super version of the beast – like someone says “Oh no, we’ve only been fighting the babies,” Or like in Tremors “Those were just its tongues, the real worm is even bigger!” – you know what I mean. Well in this film that part is the ending. We don’t see the bigger ones????????
The last line is about how there are bigger piranhas and then we don’t see them!!!!!!!

Why am I watching this then? Perhaps its for the Sea, Sex and Blood – as the poster suggests – well there is a sea, and there is blood (more on that later) but there is no sex at all. Like no man and woman make love in this film. There is a few scenes with boobs, but nothing more than Machete or something – just the normal amount for a movie of this kind. People were saying this was all nudity – really? Perhaps in this day and age, but certainly not in the Sleepaway Camp / Friday the 13th days.

The gore however, delivers big time. Not only are the Piranhas eating people, but the chaos they cause is pretty sever – a girl getting her faced ripped off after her hair gets caught on a boats motor, guys being crushed in between fleeing boats etc. The gore is probably some of the best I have seen from a regular movie (not counting like Dead Alive or independent flicks made outside Hollywood).

So if gore is enough, then get this, if you need some kind of story/excitement then skip this. I know its supposed to be “bad” in a fun way, but it’s kind of not. It’s not fun enough in my opinion. Snakes on a Plane and 8 Legged Freaks was WAY more fun than this movie and it was more self aware. This movie doesn’t go far enough over the top to make it stand out.

BTW Richard Dreyfuss is in the beginning and Christopher Lloyd is the mad scientist (aka Mr Exposition) – but they are only in one scene.

3/5 (would be 2.5 but gore won me over – so I slightly recommend this one.)


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Machete - sharper than before.


I already reviewed this in September giving 4/5 - well I have to go back and give 5/5. I watched it again on DVD and love it. I have seen it 3 times in 5 days, so I think this proves I love it! I must also change my top 10 of the year to include it as well, so I hardly ever do this, but I thought i should.

You can put Machete at number 3 for me pushing the other movies down.

Just thought I'd mention it.


Monday, January 10, 2011

The Blu-Ray Bottom Line.

Everyone’s talking about Blu-Ray like it’s the greatest thing ever made. Well it’s not. I own a player and 47 movies (at the time of this writing) my DVD collection is at 2450 (all originals, not burned etc) and I have to say that I enjoy BR and what it offers, but you have to be careful when buying.

My player, like most, up-converts regular DVDs – and they look pretty good. I watched Machete in up-converted and it was pretty darn wicked! Before buying a movie you have to check the user ratings on these guys are good at telling you whether it’s worth it or not.

I wanted The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, but they said the PQ (picture quality) wasn’t that much better than DVD, so there’s no point. Now there are some movies where even a slight improvement is enough for me to re-buy – like my top 10 movies, like Superman, 2001 etc. Superman is better looking on BR than regular, but not enough for me to say go out and buy it. But for me, any little improvement is enough for me to get that. So with that in mind I have made the criteria for blu-ray.

1 – The movie needs to be new – year 2000 and on.

2 – If the movie is old, then it must be worth getting due to effects/visuals.
Ex – Star Wars, Flash Gordon, Ben Hur, Blade Runner etc.

3 – If the movie is old and not a visual style movie, then you have to LOVE it enough that any little improvement is worth spending money on – because usually the movie is only slightly better than regular DVD.

4 – The movie has to be something worth having in BR, not some comedy.
Ex – Mall Cop, Hitch, Fletch, Blair Witch Project etc. – I like Mall Cop, but I don’t need a BR version of that.

5 – Price. I am not re-buying a BR movie for 40 bucks. There are deals everywhere for cheaper BR movies. You can Terminator 2 and Hellboy 2 for 20 bucks at HMV.

There you have it, the 5 step process.

Just my 2 cents.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A real grit time!

True Grit.

The film is a remake of a classic John Wayne picture, which was based on a book. This version keeps a bit more true to the book I have been told – I cannot confirm this though, as I have not seen the original or read the book. I can tell you though that this movie is a great deal of fun and it’s definitely worth seeing!

Mattie Ross (played wonderfully by Hailee Steinfeld) is a little girl whose father was shot and killed by a man name Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). Instead of crying about it, Mattie decides to hire Marshall “Rooster” Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), whose reputation is for shooting first, asking questions later (as demonstrated in the courtroom scene in the first act of the film) to find Chaney and bring him to justice (one way or another). He agrees but only after Mattie’s persistence wears him down. They are joined by Texas Ranger Laboeuf (Matt Damon) and thus begins the hunt for Chaney.

The hunt is where the bulk of the film takes place – sure they find him near the end, but getting there is the fun part. Rooster is a heavy drinker but relatively good man, who butts heads with Laboeuf because Laboeuf feels he is superior. Mattie sometimes has to act as referee between the two.

I loved all the characters in this film, obviously Mattie and Rooster are cool and are probably the best, but I actually really liked Laboeuf too and all 3 of them are just great. Brolin has little to do in his small role, but plays it well.

Great film all around and a must buy for me.

On a side note, why is it that western films get better with time and comedies and action movies get worse. Unforgiven, 3:10 To Yuma, Appaloosa, and True Grit are all great, while crappy comedies and badly filmed action movies are running wild. I think the studios think that westerns are for an older audience or something and decide they should be made well.

Whatever, as long as one genre is getting good stuff.

4/5 for True Grit.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Jersey's first superhero!

The Toxic Avenger.

Troma’s number one hit character is the Toxic Avenger, the hideously deformed creature of super-human size and strength and the first superhero from New Jersey.

The character has had 4 films, a cartoon series, a toy line, a Genesis and Nintendo game, and even a musical! All versions are about Melvin – a super geeky mop boy who works at a fitness club. He is pranked by some local bad guys (who run over children for fun) and he falls into toxic waste and becomes a superhero.

The series features bizarre killings and really grotesque imagery that I will talk about. So if you cant take it, then don’t read on!

I have actually seen all 4 films and the first 3 cartoon episodes. This is a review of all.

The Toxic Avenger.

The first in the series and it’s really good. It’s easy to see why Toxie (as he’s affectionately called) took off. Melvin is a geek – like really over the top fake – and these villains (2 guys 2 girls) hate him for no reason. In fact they hate everyone – they play a game where they run over people for fun (same as Death Race 2000 – even the point system is used). Earlier in the film they run over a boy riding his bike and take photos of his exploded head to laugh at it later! Anyway, so Melvin falls into the toxic waste and transforms into the Toxic Avenger. He proceeds to clean up Tromaville (town in New Jersey) buy viscously destroying criminals. He rips arms off, he shoves hands into boiling oil, he bakes them in pizza ovens etc. If you wanna see criminals punished than this is the movie to watch!

My only gripe is that the main villains didn’t get as rough a death as some of the others in the film, but hey what can you do. He makes one of the really nasty girls sit on the hot rocks of a sauna! That’s pretty beats!

As for Toxie himself, he is just great. Everyone loves him and he speaks very politely – kind of like Superman. He helps old ladies cross the streets, he rescues cats out of trees etc. He even finds love. Sara (remember that name SARA) who is a blind woman he rescues grows to love him and stays with him the entire series!


The Toxic Avenger Part 2.

Lloyd Kaufman (president of Troma Studios) was attending several film festivals when someone said “Hey I want distribution rites to Toxic Avenger part 2 – I heard you have already started filming.” Kaufman was stunned as no plans were being made to do a sequel, but after hearing that someone wanted to distribute it, he lied and said they are ready to film! He quickly got a script together and shot so much footage that they made 2 films out of it! Toxic Avenger 2 and 3 were born.

TA2 has the first every appearance of Michael Jai White (Black Dynamite and Spawn) and the plot revolves around an evil chemical company Apocalypse Inc and how they want to destroy Tromaville with toxic chemicals.

Apco Inc have developed a way to kill Toxie (he cant be shot or stabbed etc) but only Japan can produce the chemical needed to kill him (Japan, as stated in the film, make all the good stuff that America has). The villains have to get Toxie to go to Japan though, cause the cost of importing from Japan is too high. They make Toxie believe that his father (long lost father) is Japanese. So Toxie goes to Japan and searches for his father. In the narration of the film Toxie tells us that he is half Japanese which explains why he sometimes has very NON-American thoughts like: working hard, saving money, and not living off of credit cards.

He goes to Japan and fights a bunch of guys and learns Sumo Wrestling and fights his father who ends up being a fake. Spoilers don’t count in Troma – if you watch a trailer it reveals it all anyway.

The problem with part 2 is that I got the “R” rated version – which means less gore and the gore was important in this one cause the story was kinda whatever. It’s true that there was some good fighting in the beginning, but the Japanese stuff was getting very boring.


The Toxic Avenger Part 3: The Last Temptation of Toxie.

Toxie returns from Japan to fight Apocalypse Inc. In part 2 they escaped, so they are now back. Toxie’s girlfriend Claire (the blind one) wants to see again – wait, CLAIRE??? I thought her name was Sara? I forgot to mention that in part 2 her name was changed to Claire and she is Claire again in this film. Anyway, Apoc Inc offers Toxie the money to get Claire her operation if he joins them as their mascot. He does, after they convince him they are now good guys, and Claire gets her operation and can see again! It doesn’t last long cause Toxie finds out that Apoc Inc is still bad and he must fight them.

As it turns out, the head of Apoc Inc is really Satan, whose true form is a Green Dragon that Toxie must fight in the end.

Now all this sounds really good right, but this is the worst of the series – really boring and slow. Satan looks cool, sure, but their fight is pretty lame, I even had the unrated version, but there wasn’t any gore anyway – that’s cause there were no fights! I assume that since 2 and 3 were supposed to be one film, that the violence in the beginning of part 2 was enough (villains blow up a hospital for the blind), but now that 2 and 3 are separate films, it just seems 3 lost out.

This is strictly for fans of Toxie only.


Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger Part 4.

Stan Lee narrates this film and tells us that he is sorry about how crappy parts 2 & 3 were and that this is the real sequel. How often do studios do that!

Anyway, this one continues from 3 but Claire is back to Sara again and Toxie now has his morbidly obese sidekick Lardass. The “Diaper Mafia” attack the school for the very special (a school for retarded children) and they start killing them all – Toxie shows up and kicks major ass – the villains here are so evil but Toxie really just punishes them so badly – disembowelled one guy, made another guy eat his own shit, and rammed a guy’s own head up his ass (weird I know). Even though Toxie wins this battle, the diaper mafia sets off a bomb that blows up everyone but Toxie, Tito the Retarded Rebel, and Honey Sweety (a retarded girl). The explosion causes a dimensional rift and The Toxic Avenger gets replaced with his evil doppelganger The Noxious Offender, from a parallel universe.
“Noxie” ends up in Tromaville and kills a bunch of people. No one knows that he is not the real Toxie (they both look the same – but Noxie has some hair and a gold “N” necklace) and they now believe that Toxie has gone evil. The mayor (played by Ron Jeremy) assembles other heroes to take Toxie down – these heroes include: The Vibrator, Master Bater, Mad Cow Boy, Dolphin Man and Sgt Kabuki Man NYPD (who has his own movie and is already well known).

In the meantime, the real Toxie and the 2 retards have to escape Amortville (tromaville backwards) and get back home.

This is the best film in the series by far. All the comedy is spot on and its very vulgar in its satire of social issues like abortion, school violence, media violence, treatment of retarded people etc. There is so much packed into this movie that it’s hard to believe its only 100 mins.

Toxie ends up fighting the evil Kabuki Man in one great fight sequence! It’s cool to see him fight another hero from a different Troma film.

This one is a must buy and you can enjoy it even if you didn’t see the others – one special note – in Amortville Noxie’s girl is named CLAIRE and in Tromaville she is named SARA – even the film makers know they messed up the names!


Toxic Crusaders.

Saturday morning style cartoon based on Toxic Avenger. Ok, now this cartoon is aimed at all audiences. They even made toys! So how the hell are they gonna do this? Well they did it. They simply ignore and omit all the gross stuff, nudity and violence. Melvin still falls into “waste” (not toxic waste – is there a difference really?) and becomes a hero. This is one odd cartoon and it didn’t last long, but I have to say it’s really fun! I loved it! I only saw the first 3 episodes, but they were funnier than part 2 and 3 and I like how Toxie works as a kids hero!

It’s defiantly hard to see him that way after watching all the crap from part 4, but hey, it worked for me. I loved it.


So there you have my 2 cents on the whole Toxic Avenger series – I heard they are remaking it, of course that will suck unless Troma does it, but they wouldn’t – they would just make part 5. Whatever, it’s all good.

I really wanted to see the musical, I heard that was excellent, but its not playing in Toronto anymore, but when it returns ill check it out and give my thoughts on that!



Monday, January 3, 2011

Up above them all.


Where do I begin. Pixar has some great films, and they seem to be getting better and better. Wall-E was brilliant not just as a cartoon, but as a science fiction film in general. Up too has those qualities – a great adventure film with heart and a message. This is not just another made for money CGI film that only wants to deliver cheap laughs and pop culture references.

Up begins with an amazing montage showcasing the life of Carl and Ellie – a married couple who always wanted to visit South America. Even though they saved their money (in a penny jar) they just never got to go. Something always came up, car troubles, house troubles etc. the money they saved kept being used for other stuff. Eventually Ellie dies and Carl is left alone. He decides to finally go to South America and bring his house to Paradise Falls (where Ellie always wanted to live). I think this montage was so well done. Their entire lives were shown in a few minutes and you really got a sense for their love and it was very emotional.

The rest of the movie plays as a typical adventure picture – Carl meets a boy (Russell) who tags along and is a bit annoying to him, (but not to me or the audience cause it’s well written – take note Hollywood), but of course he grows to like him. The villain in the movie is actually very sympathetic for once. His whole life was devoted to discovering rare animals and then suddenly is proclaimed a fraud. So the rest of his life is spent in the pursuit of a bird that will prove he was never a fraud. Of course someone would eventually go insane – imagine your passion for something (art, writing, whatever) and then suddenly everyone says you suck – you’d be pissed too right!

Anyway, everything that happens in this movie is well thought out and well done. Obviously the effects are great, but it’s not even about that – the movie is excellent in all respects!



Going to town in style.

Yankee Doodle Dandy.

James Cagney. What can I say about him, he is amazing. A brilliant actor who can tackle any role. I am a big fan of his and he is in competition for my favourite actor of all time. I think after this movie he may have won.

This is a true life story of George Cohan who wrote, starred in, sang in, and directed several Broadway shows. He won a metal of honour for writing several inspirational war-time songs that motivated the troops and brought hope to all.

Cagney is so wonderful in this role and it’s hard to believe that he mostly played gangster roles. His acting talent is such that he can play ANY role and be amazing. Did I mention he sings and dances in this picture? Well he does and he does so with such talent that you cannot believe this the same guy! In fact, he started his career as a performer and he can tap dance like the best of them!

What a great film in this man’s career of great films. Every time I see Cagney I feel sorrow for those who haven’t discovered him and for those that believe black and white films are boring.

To them I say – try it, you may like it, and if they refuse to try, then it’s their loss, and who needs em.



How much is that -

Woman in the Window.

Ed Robinson (great actor – one of the best) is a school teacher that makes the mistake of going out with a mysterious woman for drinks. Her boyfriend/lover gets the wrong idea and tries to kill him. In self-defence, Eddie kills him first. The pair decide to hide the body – since proving it was self-defence will be difficult. They hide the body and then the investigation begins.

If you know nothing about police investigations, then you will LOVE this movie. It really gets into the details of how police track down killers. But for someone like me, who knows most of this stuff already, it was less informative, but still really fun. Nothing to die over, but it was still a well made movie.

Beware – the ending may be controversial, at least it was in my household, but none-the-less it was an enjoyable thriller.



Sunday, January 2, 2011

How True is Your Grit?

True Grit.

Well, I watched the original before seeing this "remake". The original had John Wayne, Glen Campbell, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, and Kim Darby. It was mediocre at best, hurt badly by Darby and her Mattie Ross character. Darby plays her as a whiny, demanding brat who wants things just because she does. She plagues the film with her incessant bleating about this, that and the other thing, and made me want her dead within 2 minutes. I had to laugh at the final scene when she suggests John Wayne's Rooster Cogburn would want his grave next to hers, and Wayne counters with "wouldn't that be for your husband." Yeah, as if any man, woman or child could put up with that bitch for longer than 2 seconds without killing either her or himself.

Anyhow, the new one has a 14 year-old as Mattie. I held out some hope at least if the character was whiny again, that at least it sounded better coming from a young teenager, and not a woman in her twenties. It helps too that when she does start complaining that things don't go her way, that Jeff Bridges puts her in her place, and fast.

She wasn't really whiny, though. In fact, she was quite good, as was the rest of the cast...and this was a damn fine movie, to boot. It is different that the first film, but in a good way. A lot of the problems I had with the first film were altered in this one (thus making it one of those remakes that actually improves on the original instead of proving why the original is the superior film), and the banter between Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon's character is jokes. While the first film tried to suggest there were these deep interpersonal relationships that were being developed on the journey to find a killer (and did not really work, considering that neither Wayne nor Glen Campbell had any on-screen chemistry with Darby), this film is all business, and I like that. These 3 individuals are kind of thrown together for a common goal, and they work hard to achieve it. Each has a reason for being on the expedition, be it fuelled by money, and revenge, and it's not all lovey-dovey at the end, which I like.

As expected, it was also far more brutal than the first film. People get shot (sometimes at close range), one character's tongue almost gets ripped off, one guy has his foot planted on the face of a 14 year-old has it's moments of brutality. The thing is, the movie is realistic, and does not pull punches. The killer is not remorseful for his acts, and even though he has murdered again and again, he just feels sorry for himself. Mattie's two companions are interested in the venture for the money alone, and even though they do care for Mattie and don't want any harm to come to her, it's not like their big friends after the fact, there's a few differences of opinion that leads to split-ups at various points in the film.

All in all, the movie was a solid Western. The movie was serious, but it had it's moments of levity, it was a big journey film, and it was a journey. Each of the characters displays their "true grit" (which is more than I can say for the original), and in the end, I was satisfied. At the end of the day, that's all I'm asking for in a movie.

Stars out of 5: Original - 2.5, Remake - 4

- Stephenstein