Tuesday, December 13, 2011


In a post-apocalyptic future, the world’s water supply is controlled by an evil coporation known as Eco-Protectorate. Among their many ventures is orphanages that are run like prison indoctrination camps. A small group of like-minded orphans finds a mysterious orb that may prove to be their way out of the prison like walls of…you know what, forget it, there is no reason to explain this movie further. Let’s switch gears. Let me sum it up this way, take Mad Max: Road Warrior, mix it with Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, toss in some crappy 80’s TV family sitcom writing, make the whole thing about ten rungs stupider and you have Solarbabies.

In 1980, Mel Brooks decided to start up a small studio, Brooksfilms, and start producing handpicked, quality (not always comedic) films projects. He made a great go of it too, with movies like The Elephant Man, My Favorite Year and The Fly. The Fly was his first mega-hit, making just under $61million domestically. He followed it with this hunk of garbage and Brooksfilms didn’t make another lauded flick for years and soon the studio went out of business. There is simply no element of this movie that propels the story. The acting is bad, the dialogue is bad, the effects are lame as hell, the casting was weird, the concepts are pointless, the entire movie itself is a complete rip off of so many others. Let me just point one more thing out, it has a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While I’m not one to rely on that site, 0% is pretty damn stark.

If you want to get sauced and watch a movie about roller-skating teenage heroes of the future and might like spotting some of your favorite b-list actors from the late 80’s and early 90’s (hey, there’s that guy from Point Break, you know the blonde one, and there’s the guy from 21 Jump Street who wasn’t Asian or Johnny Depp, ooh, and look, there’s…), then this is the flick for you. If you’re anyone else in the world, you could probably just skip this one. Consider this warning my gift to you.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ghost Warrior

The tagline of this movie was “A deep-frozen 400-year-old samurai is shipped to Los Angeles, where he comes back to life.” I know, terrible, right? Well, it pretty much sums up the story and the quality of the flick. God bless the ‘80’s, when crap like this got greenlit and a budget. The problem with this movie, however, is that it seemed to take itself very seriously. A good cruddy ‘80’s movie has to treat itself like bubble gum and, not matter how much you may like it, we all know you’re not going to get nourishment from bubble gum, and the maker should know this too.

So, a samurai is deeply in love and then watches his woman die right before he’s hit with an arrow and falls over a cliff into water. Somehow he gets frozen solid in water that isn’t frozen solid and somehow he lives for four centuries. Then, when he comes back to, thanks to super advanced scientists, he wants to get back to the business of ass-kicking. He is surprisingly well adjusted to seeing things like cars, tv’s and airplanes, as well as people who are dressed, speaking and acting most bizarrely. Despite the movie raising more questions than answering (and not purposefully for phsilosophical stimulation, mind you), they seem to put a great deal of emphasis on specific details that don’t drive the story at all, like having the guy use a dialect of Japanese that is from the era and not like modern Japanese. What they should have done is put a good deal of emphasis on story and ideas, if they wanted it to be a legit movie.

Moral of the story, if you’re going to make a movie about some guy getting unfrozen after a ton of time, don’t take yourself seriously, the only movies that have ever used this concept even remotely well didn’t take it seriously at all (think Austin Powers, Demolition Man and Encino Man). Then again, there's no problem in this movie a sizable amount of booze can't fix.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Down to Bizness

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I Love You Phillip Morris

I Love You Phillip Morris tells the all too true and all too bizarre tale of Steven Jay Russell. You see, Steven doesn’t do anything half ass. He’s either all in or all out. When he is married to a saccharine sweet Christian girl, well, he’s the choir director and is sappy sweet suburban goodness as well. When he decides to live more like a South Beach gay stereotype, well, he goes whole hog to the point of committing massive credit card fraud in order to buy extravagant gifts and clothes. This, unfortunately, lands him in prison. There, he meets Phillip and falls, you guessed it, over the top in love with him. He goes to extremes for them to be together, from pulling strings to get them bunked together to escaping prison to go bust him out of another prison, to which Phillip had been transferred. So, will they get away with it? Will they be able to hide and live the straight life (no pun intended) in order to stay out of prison? Or will Steven and Phillip’s antics end them right back in the slammer? Ask them and they may tell you it doesn’t matter, as long as they’re together.

This movie has a great deal of good things going for it. It’s visually interesting, the tone is lighthearted and sweet and the character that is Russell seems tailor made for Jim Carrey, who plays him very well. I won’t go into the end of the story, because I think you’ll enjoy not knowing, but, suffice it to say, it takes a bit of the fun out of things. I think part of the movies flaw is that it’s not terribly engaging, at least not for me. I didn’t care a whole lot what happens to these characters and I can’t say it had me on the edge of my seat or anything. In the end it’s fun and enjoyable but nothing all that mind blowing. I wish John Waters would have gotten his mits on this one, then we’d have had something interesting. If you’re looking for a quirky interesting story about two wackos who are out of their senses with love, then this is your flick. If not, meh, skip it.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Dr. Rodman works for a major pharmaceutical company and may be on the verge of a cure for Alzheimer’s, in that he’s developed a drug that appears to regenerate damaged and dying brain cells. Of course, the company wants to test this out on chimps first, but the project goes caput when one of the chimps attacks a boardroom full of investors. The problem for Rodman…the drug worked. Not only did it work, but apparently the chimp it worked on was pregnant and the baby appears to be even more advanced than the mom. So, he tries the drug out on his dad, secretly, and it works on him too. Of course, no major motion picture is complete without conflict, so let’s suffice it to say, things don’t exactly work out as planned. His father starts declining again and the wonderchimp starts wanting more than living with a scientist in some suburban San Francisco home. The father spirals out and the chim revolts.

I don’t have much to say about this movie because there’s really not much to say about it. People can be greedy, chimps are purer, the underdog triumphs, blah blah blah. I’m sick to death with formulaic wide-release action dramas. In them is nothing surprising and out of them comes nothing but shallow, easy messages. Also, how the heck is this movie part of the planet of the apes series? It has nothing whatsoever to do with any of the movies. Ok, it’s vaguely related to the fourth one, but the director said it’s only a loose association, that, really, this movies is supposed to be a prequel to the first one. Ok, fine, but how is it a prequel set in the modern day? Think about it. Also, and then I swear I'll stop, I have never become a fan of CGI. I don't care who you are, CGI just doesn't look real and, in fact, it looks unreal in movies, like this one, that are going for realism and, thereby, it detracts from the suspension of disbelief. Put another way, it's distracting rather than engaging. I bring it up here because there's a freaking ton of CGI in this movie.

That said, if you are not a curmudgeon like me, then there is a chance you may dig this flick. It does have that classic underdog story going for it and the majority of the country seems to have enjoyed it far more than I. It wasn’t awful, it just wasn’t, well, much of anything.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Conan O'Brien Can't Stop

In case you lived on a deserted island a couple years ago and haven’t interacted with the media since then, I’ll lay out the basic facts that led to the events behind this documentary. Jay Leno announced that Conan O’Brien would succeed him as host of The Tonight Show, then he didn’t leave for years, then, when he finally did leave and O’Brien took over the show, Leno announced that he would start a new show and it would run immediately before The Tonight Show, essentially stealing a chunk of O’Brien’s thunder and audience. Then Leno convinced NBC to move his show to The Tonight Show slot, moving O’Brien to after midnight. O’Brien had enough and quit, quite publicly.

NBC paid him heaps of money and let him leave without suit if he would agree not to appear on television or speak ill publicly about The Tonight Show for one year.

So, does the workaholic, driven O’Brien take this time off to opine or write or spend time with his family? Of course not, hence the title. He launches a live show tour of the US called The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour. This documentary is somewhat about his fall from The Tonight Show and somewhat about his plans for the future, but largely it’s about the tour and, via the tour, a look at his life immediately following the Tonight Show debacle.

O’Brien was a lead writer for The Simpsons, Saturday Night Live, Late Night and The Tonight Show. He’s a seriously funny guy whose comedy has greatly impacted modern comedy in ways many people don’t realize. When this crap all went down last year it was a great disservice to him. This doc is an interesting and thorough look at his reaction to this disservice. It is not fluff, it’s a very transparent look at a dark time for O’Brien and it’s certainly a good watch.