Friday, August 07, 2009

En Espanol, Por Favor

I had originally set out to simply watch four foreign films, with a skew towards the thriller/mystery genre...but then noticed that I had quite a few Spanish flicks in my rental queue. Having taken four years of high school French, I definitely had to flip the subtitles on for these...enjoy.

Los cronocrimenes

In English?: Timecrimes

In the Beginning: While relaxing at home one afternoon, Hector receives a mysterious phone call...and things just devolve into strangeness from there. From his backyard, he spies a strange woman in the woods (whom he later finds unconscious and naked), he gets stabbed and chased by a mysterious bandage-faced man, and stumbles upon a mysterious science facility while trying to escape.

The Plot Thickens: Only a minor spoiler here, but while trying to evade the strange, bandaged man, one thing leads to another and Hector finds himself transported an hour into the past...with a chance to dig deeper into what just transpired.

Lessons Learned: 1) Those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. 2) Literally. 3) Sometimes three or four times.

Top IMDB Plot Keywords: Time Machine; Scissors; Woods; Car; Binoculars

And I Quote: Clara: "Time flies here..."

Curt's Take: Worth Considering - I rented this sci-fi mystery at the recommendation of Chris Hardwick (host of G4's Web Soup and @nerdist on Twitter). I have to say...was pretty damn entertaining. It took a little while to ramp up, but once you get the idea of what's going on, the whole movie turns into a puzzle...with the savvy viewer being able to figure out about 80% of what is happening, while being pleasantly surprised by the remaining 20%. Not a high production value, but you get over that pretty quickly.

[REC] (2007)

In English?: Well, it kind of is English...the title signifies the "record" button of a video camera.

In the Beginning: A reporter and cameraman for a late-night news program are spending the night in a firehouse, covering a typical night in the lives of a local team of Barcelona firefighters.

The Plot Thickens: Several hours into the news coverage, the firefighters respond to a call at a local apartment complex (with reporter/cameraman in tow). Seems that an elderly woman became trapped in her apartment...likely because zombies have trouble with doorknobs. Oops...spoiler.

Lessons Learned: 1) America doesn't just produce poor remakes of Asian horror films. It also produces poor remakes of Spanish horror films. 2) Not all zombies are slowpokes. Some can frickin' book it. Oh, wait...we already knew that. 3) At some point, put down the damn news camera and RUN.

Top IMDB Plot Keywords: Fire Station; Apartment Building; Police; Self Sacrifice; Violence

And I Quote: Angela [to the news camera]: "It's nearly 2am and we're still sealed in this building that we came to with the firemen earlier this evening to assist an elderly woman who attacked a policeman and a fireman. They're both in critical condition. The police won't let us leave and are giving us no explanations."

Random Trivia: In one scene, a body falls violently into the lobby from one of the stairwell landings above. None of the actors knew this was going to happen, so the reaction you see from those on film was one of genuine surprise and shock.

Curt's Take: Worth Considering - I'd seen the American version of this film (Quarantine) in theaters last year and while that some good moments of shock value, the remake doesn't hold up to this original (although I doubt I'm surprising anyone with that revelation). The strange thing is it looks like the American remake used the EXACT same building...which is strange since no sets were used in this version (only actual buildings). So, I enjoyed this film...but think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't already seen the remake. Plus, I'm a sucker for "first person POV" films, where the audience is told the story through "found footage" of a video camera (e.g. The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield). So check this out...but it IS a zombie film at its core, so keep in mind you'll also be getting all sorts of baggage that come along with that.

El metodo (2005)

In English?: The Method

In the Beginning: Seven job candidates find themselves in consideration for a high-level position at a mysterious corporation, and all come in on the same day for the final round of interviews.

The Plot Thickens: The candidates soon learn that this is no ordinary job interview, but rather one that employs The Gronholm Method, wherein the group of candidates is responsible for weeding the group down themselves, eliminating those that they deem unfit for the job. The fact that one of the participants may (or may not?) be an insider already working for the company doesn't do everyone's paranoia much good.

Lessons Learned: 1) Trust no one. 2) Always assume you're being watched. 3) If the previous two rules come into play during a job interview, you might just want to ask yourself if this is REALLY someplace you want to work.

Top IMDB Plot Keywords: Message; Revelation; Eating; Bitterness; Rage

Curt's Take: Must See - I was very pleasantly surprised by this. I had thought this was going to perhaps be more of a suspense/thriller than it was...with the candidates being put through grueling physical tasks, risking bodily harm for themselves and the others in the group...but it was much more of a psychological drama. Much of the movie is filmed with the candidates seated around a table talking to each other...and while this could potentially doom the film to being forgettable, it actually drew me in and held my attention unwaveringly. So if you're looking for a change of pace, give this one a shot.

El orfanato (2007)

In English?: The Orphanage

In the Beginning: A woman, Laura, moves into a large manor home with her husband and son, hoping to refurbish it and turn it into an orphanage that she would then run. It helps that the manor used to be an orphanage...and that Laura had been an orphan there many, many years ago.

The Plot Thickens: Mysterious events during an open house for the soon-to-open orphanage lead Laura into wondering whether the strange occurrences around the house are more than her imagination.

Lessons Learned: 1) Crosswalks are for crossing...not standing there, motionless. 2) You're never too old for a game of hide-and-seek. 3) Seeing is believing...but sometimes believing is seeing.

Top IMDB Plot Keywords: Orphange; Children; HIV; Adopted Son

Curt's Take: Must See - I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to get from this film, but the few previews I'd seen of it a couple years back made it look like an artistically shot thriller. Plus I knew that Guillermo del Toro was a producer on the film (and I liked Pan's Labyrinth), so I figured this might be something I'd really like...and I wasn't disappointed. This film had me at the opening credits, which were beautifully designed, and kept me straight through to the end...weaving a wonderful story the entire way through. I was expecting it to be scarier than it was, but what I ended up getting was a perfect mix of mystery, suspense and drama. Check this one out.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

DVDead Selections

Not much to go into here...four flicks, all of which have "dead" in the title. And, surprisingly, they aren't all horror movies.

Dead and Breakfast

Expectations Going In: When you've got a terrible pun in the title of a horror movie, things do not bode well. Really just hoping it's so bad that the mockability factor make it enjoyable...I do like a cheesy flick. There will probably be a bunch of young actors I don't know...then one fairly well-known (though not recently employed) actor that makes an appearance.

What I Got: Well, this was not at all what I expected...but that's what I get when I rent a film without reading the description. I had assumed that this was a slasher flick, with a handful of young guys and gals getting bumped off one-by-one at a creepy bed and breakfast. Instead, it involved an evil Tibetan spirit getting unleashed on an unsuspecting town, turning all the locals (both the living and the dead) into a mob of possessed homicidal psychopaths. Plus, ended up being a lot more tongue-in-cheek than I had anticipated.

Familiar Faces: I was right on one count, though...this had a lot of people I didn't recognize in it. But there were also a lot of familiar faces that had brief cameos: David Carradine, Portia de Rossi, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Diedrick Bader. In addition, Jeremy Sisto had a pretty major role in the flick.

And I Quote: Lisa: "Would you mind telling me what in the Sam Hill is going on around here?" The Drifter: "I don't think you would believe me if I told you." Lisa: "Friend, after what I've seen tonight, you could tell me an evil spirit rose up from the dead and decided to possess the entire town and I would believe you." The Drifter: [Awkward silence]

Random Trivia: Thirty-four gallons of "blood" were used over the course of the shoot.

Top IMDB Keywords: Bed and Breakfast; Heart Attack; Bad Teeth; Shot in the Forehead; Blood Bath

Curt's Take: Not a Priority - Although I was taken off-guard by this, and enjoyed it a lot more than I thought it stops short of getting a rating of Worth Considering. It's still not THAT great...but I was glad to see that it didn't take itself too seriously.

Dead Alive (1992)

Expectations Going In: Well, I know this is directed by Peter Jackson...and I've had friends give me a range of opinion on it, from it being an excellent cult classic of the horror genre to it beign one of the worse movies around. So, either way, I figure it's about high time I saw it.

What I Got: Wow. This has to be one of the goriest, over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek flicks I've ever seen. The contagious bite of a Sumatran rat-monkey wreaks all flavors of havoc on a small New Zealand town, turning many of its inhabitants into flesh-eating monsters...leaving Lionel, our hero, and Paquita, a local grocer, to save the day.

Familiar Faces: None that you'd recognize on-screen...but as I mentioned above, Peter Jackson is director.

And I Quote: Paquita: "Your mother ate my dog!" Lionel: "Not all of it..."

Random Trivia: The movie is said to be the bloodiest of all time, as measured by the amount of film blood used during production. In fact, during the final scene, 300 liters of fake blood were used.

Top IMDB Keywords: Zombie; Love; Monkey; Zoo; New Zealand

Curt's Take: Must See - If you have any affinity at all for horror movies, you have to see this one, both for Peter Jackson's involvement and for what is simply an iconic masterpiece of tongue-in-cheek horror. I honestly can't believe I'd gone this long without seeing one of the most over-the-top zombie flicks in history. I do have to say, though, if you can't stand horror flicks and/or get squeamish at the site of blood and gore, you may want to pass on this one. But if you've always wanted to plow into a bunch of zombies holding a lawnmower aloft in front of you...then this should be on your list. Well done, Mr. Jackson...well done, indeed.

Dead Man's Shoes (2004)

Expectations Going In: I'm watching this at the recommendation of Nick, head of the creative department where I work. I really don't know much about this, except that he told me it's pretty powerful stuff. He's a Brit, we'll see what that means. Nick: Told you I'd get around to watching this, mate!

What I Got: An interesting revenge film in which Richard, a soldier, returns to his small hometown to get even with the local thugs that had been brutalizing his mentally-changed brother. Definitely goes to show that you shouldn't dish it out if you can't take it.

Familiar Faces: You've got several UK actors in this, but nobody you'd likely recognize.

And I Quote: Richard: "God will forgive them. He'll forgive them and allow them into heaven. I can't live with that."

Random Trivia: When Richard breaks into the apartment and spraypaints "Cheyne Stoking" on the wall, this is a reference to the name of the breathing pattern that is a sign of impending death in very sick patients.

Top IMDB Keywords: Brother; Revenge; Anger; Punishment; Home Movie Footage

Curt's Take: Worth Considering - I like a good revenge film. And, all things considered, this was a pretty good revenge film. Although it wasn't the main thrust of the film, I found myself really drawn to the idea that, no matter how big a fish you are in your pond, odds are there are bigger fish in bigger ponds somewhere else out there...and you best not mess with them. The accents made following along tough at a couple points, but I still was able to keep up. So you if you're looking for an engaging flick and stumble upon this one, I'd say it's worth checking out.

Dead Fish (2004)

Expectations Going In: Absolutely none. I only rented this to get a fourth film with "dead" in the title. So we'll see...

What I Got: An okay comic crime caper flick...but nothing remarkable.

Familiar Faces: A few unknowns, but you'd definitely recognize Gary Oldman and probably Billy Zane.

And I Quote: Abe: "I am Abe Klein. Today is my 21st birthday and it's the worst day of my entire life."

Top IMDB Keywords:Pregnancy; England; Dominatrix; Murder; Cell Phone

Curt's Take: Not a Priority -As you may tell by the brevity of the above commentary, this just didn't make a big impression on me. The cell phone of a young man and an assassin accidentally get swapped and hilarity supposedly ensues in the resulting confusion. It didn't completely suck, but definitely isn't something I'd go out of my way to see.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Leading into July

Trying to get back into the swing of things with these reviews, folks. It's been a few months, so I figured what better way to kick things off than a review idea I'd been tossing around in the back of my head for a's pretty easy to pick out...


The Basics: Originally a French nature documentary, the version shown on American screens was narrated by Morgan Freeman and won an Oscar for best documentary

In the Beginning...: Simultaneously, several troops of penguins in Antarctica leave their separate safe havens and trek for miles to gather together for a big ol' penguin orgy. Good times.

The Plot Thickens: The several months that follow involve a gauntlet of challenges: the male penguins keeping the eggs warm, the females venturing out on their own in search of food, the young penguins surviving the cold and predators. All done to perpetuate the species.

And I Quote: Narrator: "There is a mysterious ritual that dates back thousands of years. No living creature has survived it except the penguin. They have wings but cannot fly. They're birds that think they're fish. And every year, they embark on a nearly impossible journey to find a mate."

IMDB Plot Keywords: Penguin, Egg, Ice, Fish, Blizzard

Random Trivia: For March of the Penguins, Morgan Freeman recorded all of his narration in one day.

Curt's Take - Must See: I had gone into this expecting the worst. Well, let me clarify...I wasn't expecting a terrible film, but I WAS expecting it take a nasty turn at some point. Somewhere along the line, I swear I'd heard from someone that you goes in a direction you don't expect. So my mind, of course, is going all sorts of wonderful directions: cannibalistic parents, mutant killer seals, death by glacial drift. No dice, though. What I got was a great story about how life...(to quote Jurassic Park)...finds a way. Check this one out.


The Basics: A supposed homage to the 1986 cult classic film of the same name, this horror film was straight to video and starred a bunch of folks you probably don't know (including Taylor Cole, who had a small role on NBC's Heroes and Josh Henderson, who played Edie's nephew onDesperate Housewives).

In the Beginning...: Desiree and Blaine Carter, millionaire siblings and orphaned members of the North Carolina upper crust (which, apparently, does exist) throw an elaborate debutant ball for a friend of theirs, invite half the town...all to pull an elaborate prank to embarrass their former friend, Milan. Any bets as to whether or not the prank goes horribly wrong?

The Plot Thickens: The prank goes horribly wrong.

IMDB Plot Keywords: Penguin, Egg, Ice, Fish, Blizzard

Random Trivia: The producer, Frank Mancuso Jr., was also the producer for the "original" film from the 1980s. He also produced Lindsay Lohan's I Know Who Killed Me, as well asSpecies III. Translation: He must be stopped.

Curt's Take - Don't Bother: At least the original is kind of funny. This was just painful. And predictable. And as a public service, I'm spoiling the hell out of this one: everyone starts getting bumped off a year later, one by one, and Torrance (the actress) is the killer...except the deaths are all a prank designed to get Desiree Carter to confess to poisoning Milan. No need to thank me.

May (2002)

The Basics: A romantic thriller/horror film, starring Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto and Anna Faris; Rated R for strong violence/gore, some sexuality and language

In the Beginning...: May, a shy, young woman who has a lazy eye, a collectible doll for a best friend and takes "socially awkward" to a whole new level, develops a crush on a local mechanic and becomes the target of a friendly female co-worker's affection.

The Plot Thickens: May, not the most stable person to begin with, doesn't really know how to handle it when her new-found relationships hit a rough patch, and the results are a bit...unsettling.

And I Quote: May: "I saw someone today. A boy. You know how when you meet someone...and you think you like them? And then, the more you talk to them, you see parts you don't like. Like that guy on the bench. And sometimes, you end up not liking any parts at all. But this boy is different. I like every part of him. Especially his hands. They're beautiful."

IMDB Plot Keywords: Doll, Hand, Eye, Sewing, Surgery

Curt's Take - Not a Priority: A good word to describe this film? Unsettling. You know from the beginning that May is just a And you don't really know where that's going to lead. You just know it's not going to end well...and when things DO take a turn, it's a pretty no-holds-barred ride through to the end. That constant tension kept me interested most of the time...but looking back, I can't wholeheartedly recommend it.

Junebug (2005)

The Basics: A comedic drama, starring Embeth Davidtz, Amy Adams, Alessandro Nivola and Ben McKenzie; Rated R for sexual content and language

In the Beginning...: Madeleine, a British art dealer based in Chicago, travels to rural North Carolina to track down a reclusive local artist. While in the area with her husband of six months, George, she visits her new in-laws for the first time...and hopes to make a positive first impression.

The Plot Thickens: While a guest of her husband's family, Madeliene struggles to navigate this rustic lifestyle that is unfamiliar to her, while puzzling out George's parents, his brother, Johnny and pregnant sister-in-law, Ashley...who themselves seem unsure how to react to this woman who is suddenly part of their family.

And I Quote: Ashley (to Johnny): "God loves you just the way you are...but He loves you too much to let you stay that way."

IMDB Plot Keywords: North Carolina, Art, Art Gallery, Pregnany, Artist

Curt's Take - Not a Priority: This is a tough one to rate. I think that, technically, it was a fine film: great cast, good script, etc. It's just that it wasn't something that I normally find on my plate, so to speak. You can't help but like Amy Adams in this, and the family dynamics are kind of interesting to watch...but there's nothing that really pulled me in and got me excited to see how the next 15 minutes were going to play out. And because of that, I can't wholeheartedly get behind it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Review of the Living Dead

And six months later...Take 4 DVD Reviews is back.  And what better way to celebrate the return of that which was thought departed then to review four films featuring the walking dead.  Ironically, this was written back in October around Halloween...and just now sees the light of day.

Zombie (1979)
The Basics: An Italian horror film (directed by Lucio Fulci), with a mix of American, British and Italian actors/actresses (including Ian McCulloch, Tisa Farrow, and Richard Johnson); Released as Zombie in the US, but originally titled Zombi 2; Rated R for horror violence/gore and nudity
What's Going On: A reporter is sent to the Antilles in the Caribbean to track down the owner of an abandoned boat that drifted into a New York Harbor (well, there was a zombie on it...but nobody, technically, you know...alive). He is joined by the missing man's daughter, and together (along with another couple) they trace the missing man to a secluded island...where the dead don't seem to be staying dead.
Voodoo or Viral?: It's hard to classify these zombies. At one point, they are attributed to a curse/spell cast by a witch doctor on the other side of the island.but these zombies appear to be your rotting/not-so-fresh-from-the-casket variety, whose bite turns others into the walking dead. So maybe voodoo raised 'em, but a virus spreads 'em.
Top IMDB Plot Keywords: Slap in the Face; Extreme Gore; Notorious; Body Bag; Gash in the Face
Things to Watch For: An epic battle between a zombie and a shark. Definitely must-see TV.
And I Quote: Dr. Menard: "The boat can leave now. Tell the crew."
Random Trivia: Despite being called Zombi 2, the film is not a sequel to anything. When the makers found out that there was another unrelated movie called Zombie coming out at the same time, they added the "2" in to differentiate the two films.
Curt's Take - Worth Considering: The over-the-top gore that characterizes the Italian horror genre is something that has to be witnessed first-hand. I mean, the acting is pretty bad.and it's a bit disconcerting when some of the actors' voices are dubbed over, and some aren't. But the special effects (especially the make-up effects) are pretty damn good for something made in 1979. I'd go so far as to say that I wouldn't try watching this one sober, though...otherwise, it falls pretty quickly into the Not a Priority range. But as far as horror movies (and zombie movies) may want to check it out if that's your cup of tea.
The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)
The Basics: A horror film (based on a book by Wade Davis) starring Bill Pullman, Cathy Tyson, Zakes Mokae and Paul Winfield; Rated R (having a hard time finding out why.but guessing it's because of horror violence/gore)
What's Going On?: An anthropologist (Pullman) travels to Haiti, on behalf of an American pharmaceutical firm, to get details on a drug that can either bring people back from the dead...or do a damn good job of mimicking death. Unfortunately, hilarity does NOT ensue, as our hero gets deeper and deeper into the political climate and voodoo culture of the island nation.
Voodoo or Viral?: Much more voodoo in nature, than viral. No rotting corpses or spreading of infection here. Just mental games, soul snatching, and drug use.
Top IMDB Plot Keywords: Male Nudity; Disturbing; Cockfighting; Female Nudity; Voodoo
Things to Watch For: Lots and lots of beheadings.
And I Quote: Lucien Celine: "Whatever happens, death is not the end."
Random Trivia: Due to political strife and civil turmoil in Haiti during the production, the local government informed the film crew that they could not guarantee their safety for the remainder of the shoot. The crew subsequently relocated to the nearby Dominican Republic to complete filming.
Curt's Take - Worth Considering: I'd heard of this one, but added it to my last after it made VH1's Top Horror Films list. It wasn't your typical zombie flick, and you can tell Wes Craven (the director) tried his level best to ensure this horror film kept a cohesive storyline, even though it rolls more like a mystery/thriller for a good deal of the film, but the last half hour or so is a trippy horror flick. Bill Pullman does a good job, too. So...if you're looking for a classy zombie film, you might want to catch this one.
SARS Wars: Bangkok Zombie Crisis (2004)
The Basics: An action/horror/comedy from Thailand, released under the Thai title Khun krabii hiiroh; Not rated, due to no theatrical release in the United States.but guessing it would be rated R
What's Going On?: Another strain of the SARS virus migrates from Africa to Bangkok, via a very resilient mosquito, infecting many of the residents of an apartment complex, where it just so happens that the daughter of a wealthy businessman is being held for ransom. Can the man sent to rescue the young woman get both of them out alive?
Voodoo or Viral?: Definitely viral. No voodoo here. Plus, uncharacteristically, these zombies can MOVE. I mean, they're damn fast. Not your typical group of shamblers.
Top IMDB Plot Keywords: Thailand; Sword Fighting; Zombie
Things to Watch For: Where to start...this is one weird movie. I guess I would be remiss to not mention the pregnant zombie and her little baby zombie. Who knew umbilical cords were so elastic.
And I Quote: Master Thep: "We have zombies, a bomb, and now a giant snake..."
Random Trivia: Apparently, there's quite a cult following to this. And it sounds like there's going to be a sequel. Dear Lord, help us all.
Curt's Take - Don't Bother: Shocking, I know.but you can probably just go ahead and skip this one. It's meant to be funny.but it's just...I don't know...weird. Shaun of the Dead is a much better spoof of the genre. You really should only check this out if you have a LOT of alcohol (or other stuff) on hand. That might bump up the rating to Not a Priority¸ but even that's being generous.
Undead (2003)
The Basics: A horror/sci-fi comedy, starring some Aussies (Felicity Mason, Mungo McKay and Rob Jenkins, to name a few); Rated R for strong violence, gore and language
What's Going On?: The small town of Berkeley (located somewhere in Australia) is beset upon by strange glowing meteors that seem to leave behind a wake of zombified townsfolk. So what's up with the alien sightings, strange downpours of scalding rain and huge wall of spikes that seems to be surrounding the town?
Voodoo or Viral?: Much more viral than voodoo. And definitely spreadable. But since meteors are involved, we're probably looking at some sort of space virus.
Top IMDB Plot Keywords: Shot in the Head; Fall from Height; Basement; Nordenfelt Gun; Farmhouse
Things to Watch For: Subtitles...was a bit hard to follow the accent at times. Also, though, some pretty wicked plot twists.
And I Quote: Marion: "One day you're out on your boat.and you get attacked by zombie fish. They munch at your face, like you're the main course at an all-you-can-eat crazy country boy buffet. You walk away, tell the town your story; they think you're mad. Everyone thinks you're mad. You think I'm mad. It happens again. This time it's not zombie's zombie Berkeley. But this time I'm prepared, I'm ready to fight whatever they can throw at me. Still...I wasn't strong enough, the strongest ones are always the last ones left; if that's not me, it must be you. If that was the case you wouldn't have battled the undead and lived. You'd be the entree at a smorgasbord of brainfood."
Random Trivia: The original screenplay did not have any swearing. Most of the swearing in the film was ad-libbed by the actors.
Curt's Take - Worth Considering: By no means a GREAT film, but it was pretty damn good...took me by surprise, as I think I just expected your typical zombie flick. But this definitely put a unique spin on things. You're not only wondering who is going to survive, but this one has you thinking the entire time, trying to make sense of everything that is happening. And if you do figure things out doesn't ruin the movie. Sure, it's gory.but this fresh take on zombie films was will keep your interest and enjoyment levels high. Would recommend checking it out.if you don't mind horror films.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Take 4: Rock-Tober

For the purposes of this edition of Take 4, “Clarktober” is on a brief hiatus…but only for the time it takes you to read this review of four movies starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Then back to your regularly scheduled month of awesomeness.


Doom (2005)

The Basics: A sci-fi/action/horror flick, based loosely on the video game of the same name, starring The Rock and nobody else you know; Rated R for strong violence/gore and language.

What is The Rock Cooking?: As the leader of a group of Space Marines, The Rock is cooking up a scheme to stop a deadly threat that is rapidly taking over a research facility on the planet Mars, with the hopes to contain it before it spreads through an interplanetary portal and end up on Earth.

Top IMDB Search Terms: Villain Played by Lead Actor; Chase Scene; Character’s Point of View Camera Shot; Extreme Violence; One Word Title

Random Trivia: The locker the BFG weapon (and bonus points if you know what BFG stands for) is stored is designated “IDKFA.” This is the in-game cheat code that will give the player full weapons and ammo.

And I Quote: Samantha Grimm: “Ten percent of the human genome is still unmapped. Some say it's the genetic blueprint for the soul.”

Curt’s Take: Run in Fear – This was pretty bad. Cringe-worthy. Avoid it all costs. Successful film adaptations of video games are few and far between, and this attempt plunges into that gap of failures like a cast-iron lemming. Acting, camerawork, writing…it’s been close to two months since I’ve seen this, and it still leaves a sad, sad taste in my mouth.


Be Cool (2005)

The Basics: A crime comedy (and sequel to Get Shorty…and based on the novel by Elmore Leonard), starring John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, Cedric the Entertainer, Debi Mazar…and The Rock; Rated PG-13 for violence, sensuality, and language involving sexual references.

What is The Rock Cooking?: As Elliot Wilhelm, a gay bodyguard to Vince Vaughn, The Rock isn’t cooking up much. He isn’t a lead character, and is resigned to working in the background while John Travolta’s character, Chili Palmer, moves his focus from the movie industry to the music industry…bringing his unique East Coast mobster-esque vibe to the West Coast entertainment scene.

Top IMDB Search Terms: Sequel; Gay Interest; Acting Musician; Baseball Bat; Basketball

Random Trivia: The scenes at the NBA game with John Travolta and Uma Thurman were filmed at the Staples Center during a game between the Lakers and the Sacramento Kings on February 26, 2004. Although the film depicts the Lakers winning the game, they lost 101-103.

And I Quote: Chili Palmer: “I hate sequels.”

Curt’s Take: Not a Priority – It’s been many years since I’ve seen Get Shorty, but I remember liking it…kind of a “fish out of water” tale about the movie industry. Here, we focus more on the music industry…and it just didn’t seem to translate as well. There were a few chuckleworthy moments, but nothing that made it worth strongly recommending. I have to admit, The Rock jumped wholeheartedly into his role as a gay bodyguard.


Walking Tall (2004)

The Basics: An action/comedy (based loosely on real events), starring The Rock, Johnny Knoxville, Neal McDonough and Kristen Wilson; Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense violence, sexual content, drug material and language.

What is The Rock Cooking?: Here, The Rock is cooking up a big ol’ tub of whoop-ass. Fresh out of the Army, he comes back to the town he grew up in…only to find that the big name in local business isn’t quite working within the bounds of the law (not that the law really cares that much). Much ass-kicking ensues.

Top IMDB Search Terms: Football; Old Flame; Court Scene; Gun; Broken Leg

Random Trivia: Dwayne Johnson's stunt double in this movie was his cousin, Tanoai Reed.

And I Quote: Jay Hamilton: “Do you get tired of being all that you can be?” Chris Vaughn: “No, I'm still all that I can be.” Jay Hamilton: “Oh yeah? We'll just see about that...”

Curt’s Take: Worth Considering –Truth be told, I only added this one because I needed a fourth movie starring The Rock…and it sure as hell wasn’t going to be that one where he plays a football player who discovers he has a daughter from a previous relationship and has to welcome her into his life (The Game Plan?). And I was pleasantly surprised. Very much so. It’s a decent action movie, and a pretty good “fighting the power/cheer for the underdog” flick. Sure, there are better movies out there…but I kinda liked it.


Southland Tales (2006)

The Basics: A drama/comedy/sci-fi film starring a bunch of people: Dwayne Johnson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Seann William Scott, Justin Timberlake, Nora Dunn, John Larroquette, Jon Lovitz, Mandy Moore, Kevin Smith, Cheri Oteri and Amy Poehler; Rated R for language, violence, sexual material and some drug content.

What is The Rock Cooking?: Here, The Rock is cooking up trouble as a former soldier…but more as a witless pawn than anything else. It’s a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, and The Rock (as Boxer Santaros) is waking up in the sand, with a pretty bad case of amnesia. Sure, he was engaged to the president’s daughter…but he can’t quite remember that. And so, he ends up part of a massive conspiratorial plot…that’s way too convoluted for me to explain here.

Top IMDB Search Terms: Soldier; Blackmail; Dream Sequence; Alternative Timeline; Allegory

Random Trivia: This was the first film for Dwayne Johnson to drop "The Rock" in his billing.

And I Quote: Boxer Santaros: “I'm a pimp... and pimps don't commit suicide.”

Curt’s Take: Worth Considering – I think I drank the Kool-Aid on this one. After I first got done watching it, I was like, “Wha…?” But then I parts of it sink in…and found out that it was written and directed by Richard Kelly, who also was behind one of my favorite movies, Donnie Darko. Maybe it was just me rationalizing things after the fact, but I started getting more intrigued by what I saw. So, some advance warning: 1) It’s a bit surreal and all over the place and 2) it’s a bit long, so go into it well-rested. Still…it’s pretty damn unique AND it takes place right in my own neck of the woods (with many scenes set in the South Bay and Venice Beach). I plan to see it again.