Thursday, December 18, 2014

Three Monkey Movie Reports

I thought this film was going to be a bit of mindless fun.  I was wrong, it wasn't any fun at all, it's just mindless.

The tamest bunch of juvenile delinquents is shipped off to a camp in the woods for some reeducation.  A hard ass drill sergeant like guy is supposed to work them till they drop and a caring social worker is supposed to get them to talk about what they did and how they can change.  But as happens so often in films like these, things go horribly awry.  Out on a hike one of the kids finds a horn from a slain ox and he steals it, next thing you know our little band of reprobates is being stalked and murdered by an axe wielding giant.  Then things go downhill from there.

How stupid is this piece of shit?  Let me count the ways:

  • Most all of it is shot in front of a green screen and it makes you realize that not all CGI effects are good, or even tolerable.
  • To say the acting is subpar is to give too much credit to all the bad performances in this film.
  • Even though the film is set in the Minnesota mountain wilderness, the hermit who is a friend to the axe wielding giant speaks with a pronounced southern accent.  It's jarring and annoying every time you hear him speak and unfortunately he doesn't get horribly murdered until near the end.
  • The teenage daughter of the sheriff looks like she's 35 years old.
  • The heroes of the film are some cammo wearing gun toting ammosexuals who belong to a local militia. 
Seriously, it's fucking awful.  

These late '70's horror films of Cronenberg's are quite the thing to behold.  They're not great but they're so fucking odd and compelling that you can't help but stay riveted.  In this one a divorced guy with a little daughter notices that bad things are happening to people in his life, and by bad, I mean people in his extended family are getting murdered by human like creatures.  He goes to see his ex wife's therapist who is the inventor of some kind of radical new therapy that taps into the patient's rage and when that's mixed with some role play with the therapist, it's supposed to cure the patient.  But things don't quite work out that way for the main character's ex wife.  Turns out she's having loads of asexually reproduced rage babies that grow incredibly fast and they attack and murder whoever is bothering her at the moment.

The film is chock full of Canadian actors who went on to be in a many north American produced films and TV shows. But the main 'names' are Oliver Reed as the therapist and Samantha Eggar as the rage baby producing wife.

This film is that good, it's very ragged around the edges and it feels like it was slapped together after a week or two of shooting, but it's still worth watching.  Oliver Reed is crazy as the simmering with his patient's rage and Eggar is sufficiently creepy as the mare of the rage brood.  It's very much a product of it's times.

After nearly 30 after this film came out I finally watched it.  It's definitely aimed at people younger than I am but I liked it because it's like a blast of nostalgia.

An unhappy teen girl (the incredibly lovely Jennifer Connelly) is roped into babysitting her infant brother, the product of her father's remarriage to a woman she dislikes.  The girl wishes the goblins would take her brother and then she's shocked when they actually do.  The baby is spirited away to the goblin kingdom which is presided over by the goblin king (singer David Bowie).  The girl is given 13 hours to make her way through the labyrinth to rescue her baby brother and if she can't then he turns into a goblin and will have to live forever in the goblin kingdom.  Of course she overcomes all the obstacles and she saves her kid brother and all is okay in the end.

It's a cute film, the script was written by Terry Jones of Monty Python fame and Jim Henson directed it, so of course it going to be chock full of his creatures and some are incredibly stunning and clever and some are incredibly stupid and annoying.  Thank goodness most are clever and not stupid.  Connelly is achingly beautiful and a joy to watch.  Bowie is oddly compelling and he plays most of his role in a pair of the tightest pants mankind has ever seen, while clad in said pants you can not only see the contours of his penis, you can count the hairs on his nutsack.

Like I said, it's aimed at a young audience but it's a film I enjoyed quite a bit.  Some of the effects and creature are wildly stunning and were way ahead of their time.

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