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THE TOWN (2010)

>> Monday, September 27, 2010

Ben, Dardevil I get. But Armageddon?! COME ON!!

In a life lead by misguided thoughts and multiple directions, many people will wonder what path is theirs. If you are surrounded by friends and family who support you, they may tell you that (although it may not happen right away) that pursuing your passion no matter what will land you in a job that has meaning for you and that you’re good at and eventually, you will end up where you are meant to be. This may account for about 90% of all American Idol auditions, sure, but it’s also responsible for Ben Affleck’s inevitable realization that maybe he belongs behind the camera, as opposed to in front of it.

This is an obvious insight for those of us who have seen Affleck’s acting (which I never minded as much as others) compared to some respectable behind the camera work as with Good Will Hunting (1997) - which snagged Affleck his only Oscar to date. Only after Gone Baby Gone (2007) was released, however, did people take note of the insight Affleck had as a director. When you think of doing something for as long as Affleck surely did, though, perhaps it wasn’t an unusual thing there was one diamond in the rough. But to do it again would take actual talent - something Affleck surely didn’t have.

At least, that’s what most people may think walking into Affleck’s second stab at directing, The Town. They may find themselves pleasantly surprised, however, by how well this film is put together. The Town is about four guys who live in Charlestown (which is in Boston, Massachusetts). Apparently Charlestown (or ‘the town’) is America’s bank robbery capital and gives birth to more bank robbers in the US than any other city. I’m guessing that’s nothing they would like to advertise on the ‘Welcome to Charlestown!’ sign as you’re driving into town.

These four guys (which include Affleck and Jeremy ‘I want another Oscar nom’ Renner) may seem under- educated and nothing but simple quarry labourers by day, but by night (or day as well since it’s a bank) they are bank robbers, and pretty good ones at that. They know how to cover their tracks, have back up cars, get in/get out in a timely fashion all while playing it cool. That is until Doug (Affleck) takes hostage Claire (Rebecca Hall) as insurance during one of his heists, then begins to stalk her to make sure that she doesn’t know anything. He inevitably gets too close and what do you know? He starts to like her. Doug’s long time friend James (Renner) is concerned this will get in the way of their ‘work’ and starts to have a general dislike for their relationship when Doug starts talking about him and Claire running away together.

The decision to leave Charlestown with Claire also puts Doug in another sticky situation. The crime boss Doug and friends work for, refuses to let him get out of the game and go lead his fantasy life, especially since there’s a heist being planned that will rake in roughly $3 million. I won’t say what it is, but the place they plan to hit is quite a clever idea and serves for an interesting setting when the time comes to make the move. It’s also very representational of the location The Town is set in.

I had seen the movie several days ago but due to other projects and just being busy in general I wasn’t able to write this review until now. That’s given some time to let the movie sink in and see how it settles with me. Turns out, it settles quite well. Now, The Town is a really well done movie. From the startling images of the nun outfits (notorious with the poster by now), the unique relationships the characters have with one another to the atypical crime boss who runs a flower shop, The Town not only shows that Affleck has an eye for directing and camera set up – but one for character as well. Affleck’s acting in the film was alright, btw, but nothing anymore special than his performance in Daredevil (2003). The rest of the actors are good enough though that they overcome any burden Affleck’s acting may have had and carry him through to the end.

I am giving The Town an open door. It’s exciting enough to hold your attention throughout the movie and Renner’s performance along with Hall’s may snag them some Oscar nominations. Is The Town my favourite movie of the year? No. Frankly, movies like this or The Departed (2006) never really drew my attention – as good as they may be. But it shows Affleck’s growth and ability to grab attention with a simple image, such as the nun outfit and many more throughout the film that play out like a modern mob tale. Guess you could say he went to town on The Town – creatively speaking that is.

*Stills courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures


DEVIL (2010)

>> Monday, September 20, 2010

You get to die! You get to die! You all get to DIE!

There are ideas called 'napkin ideas'. These ideas usually form when you're sitting at a coffee shop or a restaurant and doing nothing but enjoying the afternoon sun or people watching (for all you stalkers out there). All of sudden and for no apparent reason a great idea pops into your head. Instead of letting it fly off into Neverland ceasing to be heard of again, you grab a napkin, steal the waitress's pen and write madly. That random idea right there, soon turns into an amazing idea that will lead to people asking you "how the hell you ever thought of it". To which you reply - I dunno, guess I'm a friggin' genius.

Then there are ideas you get in other places - like in the bathtub (Archimedes), in your car and maybe, just maybe... in a friggin' elevator. This is undoubtedly where M. Night Shyamalan got his 'brilliant' idea for Devil. I'm guessing he threw this idea together when he was 'going down' (laugh out loud if you must, those around you won't judge - I promise).

I want to quote what is probably one of the funniest movies truths I've heard of recently. This statement comes from Quint over at Ain't It Cool News when describing the trailer for Devil:

"The 'Shyamalan Groan' is well documented as the trailer for the first Night Chronicles flick, Devil, continues to screen. If you're not familiar with the term, it's when that trailer plays and Shyamalan's name comes up ("From the mind of M. Night Shyamalan") inducing groans and/or laughter from the audience."

After such Shyamalan bombs as Lady in the Water (2006) and The Last Airbender (2010) it's no wonder why people think Devil is another one of M. Night Shyamalan's attempts to relive his glory days of The Sixth Sense (1999) - and don't get me wrong, it most definitely is. Now I understand this movie was not directed or fully penned out by Captain Twist, but from this point forward (and since it is M. Night's idea) I will be referring to it as a movie belonging to him. Mainly because Shyamalan should be the one to blame for this and probably (although hopefully not) the second and third installments of the upcoming Night Chronicles. Also, I just don't feel like I should blame director John Erick Dowdle, who also directed 2008's Quarantine (which I really liked); nor should it be the fault of the other writer, Brian Nelson, who wrote the awesomely dark Hard Candy (2005). My guess is that even if either of those two wanted to change anything about Shyamalan's 'idea', he probably would've stopped them. There's no reason those two couldn't have come up with something better put together than what they did. The only bad move Dowdle and Nelson really made with Devil was getting involved with The Night Chronicles to begin with.

Devil begins one dark and stormy day when five strangers enter an elevator in a New York City high rise. Much to their chagrin, the elevator gets stuck and no matter what anybody does it seems to be good and jammed (I blame gremlins). Thankfully the building's security and eventually the police are informed, and the passengers are relived to hear they'll be out in no time. There's no real hurry, anyways, as the biggest threat seems to be the annoying mattress salesman's (Geoffrey Arend) badly timed humour. That is, there's no hurry until the lights go out and somebody dies... (dum, dum, DUM!!!). Bad murder mystery anyone? As expected, that's when everybody goes into panic mode including the security personnel and Detective Bowden (Chris Messina), who have been keeping a keen eye on the situation via a security camera that's wedged into the corner of the elevator car.

As a rule of thumb (and common sense, really) I tend to dislike a movie more when it gets lazy and uses a character to tie up all the loose ends and/or explain the rules of the movie. In Devil that role is filled by the security guard Ramirez (Jacob Vargas), who is assigned to watch over the building's video surveillance. Turns out his religious grandma (or some other wise entity in his life) warned him about the Devil, and told him stories of how it would occasionally come to Earth in human form to torture the poor souls it was about to drag to Hell. Worse yet, when the Devil has it's fun - that's when everything around you starts going wrong. The security guard then (and I'm not shitting you here) drops his jam-draped toast onto the ground showing that it lands "jam side down". Goosebumps abound! Detective Bowden scoffs at security guard for mentioning this idea (even with such compelling proof) and continues on his merry little detective way - collecting crazy things like 'clues' and 'evidence'. It's only later on when things get really crazy that the detective (who has a dark, alcoholic past by the way [shocking, I know]) looks Ramirez in the eye and says "Alright, hypothetically speaking, lets say your right...". (the nerve of some people, hey?). If that wasn't bad enough we have an unknown voice narrating Devil that makes what the security guard says a retread anyways (actually, maybe they're one and the same). Fail.

As for the ending, well I won't 'spoil' it for you - but this is an M. Night vehicle so you know it's gonna be a twist. For the record, it's lamer than the end 0f The Village (2004) - I know, I didn't think it was possible, either. The other thing that drove me crazy in this movie was the score. Some horror movies get it right (Halloween [1978], The Exorcist [1973] and Jaws [1975] - just to name a few), but here what you get is like a bad version of the music from Inception (2010). It seems to come at the wrong times and far too often and overbearing and once again drives home the idea that the filmmakers were being lazy and hoping the music would make Devil scarier. That, or they simply didn't know any better - which is even worse. Same goes for M. Night's tired idea that not seeing your villain is much scarier than seeing it (like he had used with Signs (2002) and The Village) - hence half the action in this film being in the dark (and the irony is not lost on me that the same could be said for M. Night and his story-telling skills).

I am giving Devil a closed door. It shouldn't be a surprise that I nor anybody with memories of the Final Destination or Saw series, would find this first installment of Shyamalan's 'Night Chronicles' a wholly unoriginal piece. You'll feel that comparison more if you see the film when Devil begins to reference its tag line - `Bad things happen for a reason`. Even at 75 minutes it drags on long enough to make it hard to believe that by the end there's not a single character you care about. This may have made a better short film in the end - hell, we may find that to be true with the two remaining pictures. And I want to be clear here. I don't think this was that terrible an idea. I like horror movies and at some point we have to admit every movie has something they seemed to have ripped off from something else - but there's an original a refreshing way to go about it. As aforementioned, Devil felt like a lazy mess that in the end will be nothing more than a discount DVD, sitting in a bin at your local pharmacy with the likes of Marmaduke and Vampires Suck. Oh, M. Night, what happened to you? You used to be so cool...

*Stills courtesy of Universal Pictures



>> Saturday, September 11, 2010

Zombies aren't the only ones losing their lustre here.

Oh-oh. Looks like those pesky, virus infected un-dead are at it again – and I imagine by this point Alice (Milla Jovovich) is gettin’ mighty pissed off at and tired of saving everybody from the ironically named (and somehow still funded) Umbrella Corp. and their army of ‘almost but not quite’ un-dead zombies.

We catch up with Alice during a raid on Umbrella Corp. where her and her incapable clones start tearing up the place all in the name of retribution - at least I think that's why she's there. Doesn’t really matter anyways as the first ten minutes of Afterlife is there for two reasons: to preview all the cool 3D effects director Paul W.S, Anderson is going to be throwing at you for the next eighty minutes, and to set up the new bad guy - Umbrella's man in charge, Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts). As the Alice clones attack the company and foreshadow certain destruction, Wesker safely escapes via aircraft. Alas, he is not alone. That's when the real Alice stands up and (compliments of Wesker) takes a syringe in the neck that makes her human again. At this point Wesker decides its a good idea to temporarily leave the control panel and walk over to Alice to give his bad guy speech. But dammit, wouldn't you know it, he forgot to stay and steer the plane (no, seriously) and that results in an obvious crash.

Unsurprisingly (or surprisingly, rather), Alice survives and heads to Alaska to meet up with her friends from the end of the last film, who were on a pilgrimage to find an unharmed and uninfected safe spot known only as Arcadia. On her way there we hear Alice's thoughts via video diary for some reason, which never really pans out. On that note, I sure as hell hope they're not planning on using that as a device for an upcoming sequel, akin to Quarantine (2008), Diary of the Dead (2007) or more recently, The Last Exorcism (2010).

Turns out something mysterious happened in Alaska and the only one left standing is Claire (Ali Larter, reprising her role from Resident Evil: Extinction [2007]). The problem is Claire has amnesia and can't remember and damn thing, including who Alice is. So, with no other searching to do (guess Alaska's not that big), Alice takes Claire back onto the plane and for whatever reason they head to Beverly (Hills, that is).

Flying above the over infested, filthy wreck that used to be LA (doesn't seem too different to me :-P), they spot a group of survivors hanging out on the roof of a prison. Alice does the damn near impossible and lands the plane on the roof, only to find the survivors disappointed she's not a rescue plane from the Arcadia (which is revealed to be a giant ship just off the coast). The group's goal is to now get to the Arcadia and seek refuge to end the horror that is their life.

Now, I should state for the sake of this review I haven't had any real problems with the first three movies in this series. Resident Evil (2002) was a decent action movie with a great set up that didn't pay off amazingly well in the end. It's sequel, Apocalypse (2004), I felt was a retread of the first film so I didn't really like it - but I didn't hate it either. I did however, really enjoy Extinction (2007). I liked the new setting, I liked the characters and I even thought some of the action was pretty cool and original.

However, Afterlife, was like a mix of all the best parts of the first three films with a page torn from the "How to Make a Movie Like The Matrix" book. Everything from the villain, Wesker, to the slow motion bullets to the bullet time action caused my eyes to actually hurt from rolling them so much. I know the other movies (especially the first) used Matrix style action as well, but this film over does it. To top it all off there's a scene later on that 100% rips off a scene in The Island (2005) that took me to the point where I knew there wasn't one original piece of cinema in this entire film. You'll know which scene I'm talking about when and if you see this movie.

This is all outside the ridiculous dialogue that spews from some of the characters mouths during the movie, as well as the laughably cliche 'wouldn't be seen in a horror movie anymore' death scenes. The only thing missing (and I'm not even sure it was) was the post-death one liner.

Now, I know I'm ripping on this film a little harshly, and you're thinking "Charlie, is there nothing about this movie that is redeemable?". Well, yeah, there's something to like here. The 3D in Afterlife works really well, actually. Besides animated films like Up (2009) and Piranha 3D (2010), I generally don't care if there's 3D present in a film or not. Here they played to 3D nicely and there were some pretty wicked shots (think of the sunglasses flying through the air from the trailer) that at least showed they put a bit of effort into shooting the film knowing it would be seen in such a way. I'm hoping the same will be true for Saw 3D (October, 2010) - basically a movie that (I hope) knows 3D is for different dimensions and not just enhancements.

I am giving Resident Evil: Afterlife a closed door for obvious reasons. If you can stand mindless action and a wholly unoriginal story line, the 3D might be worth it. It's no doubt there will be a sequel for Afterlife. If the series continues on this same trend I don't think RE 5 will be any better. Because I like the idea of these movies enough and a sequel is inevitable anyways, I vote that this series get a reboot akin to Batman and more recently Spider-Man. Keep Milla, despite her limited range as an actress I like her enough to want to see her still play Alice. Everything else needs a good old fashioned Spring (er, Fall) cleaning .

By the way, I hate the idea that the Umbrella Corp. is still a functional company. The fact that even in the face of human extinction it still acts as though it has shareholders to make a good face for is awfully unrealistic, as is the ability to (somehow) keep on finding employees to … well, employ. At what point do you say “Alright guys, well, I think we messed up and things have gotten just bad enough. Maybe we end this whole thing because it’s definitely a tired gag we’re doing here.” Yeah, definitely tired...

*Stills courtesy of Constantin Film Produktion

*This review has also appeared on Ain't It Cool News! Check it out HERE!


MACHETE (2010)

>> Monday, September 6, 2010

Machete? More like MACHETE!!!

A few years ago the Onion News Network came out with a clever little news story that the wildly popular Iron Man trailer would be made into a movie, with extensions of scenes and even "additional scenes that were not in the trailer" (you can watch the story here). It seems they may have predicted the future. That same summer a very well done 3-hour movie experience showed up in some theatres called Grindhouse (2007) - which featured 2 main attractions (Planet Terror and Death Proof). As part of that experience there were fake trailers that were shown before each film. One of which, was Machete (original trailer here).

Machete (played by the always entertaining [and scary] Danny Trejo) is an ex-Federale who has been on the run ever since crime runner Torrez (the perfectly placed Steven Seagal) killed Machete's family in front of his eyes and put a bullet in the back of his head.

Several years later and after accepting a job to assassinate Senator McLaughlin (Robert De Niro), Machete finds himself the pawn in a political game of chess set up by the Senator's adviser, Booth (Lost's Jeff Fahey - who is really good here). Now, it wouldn't be Machete if our 'hero' didn't want some revenge. It just so happens that this political web of lies leads Machete back to his original nemesis, Torrez. And boy is Machete pissed. The film is akin to a Spanish, more violent version of the Bride from Kill Bill (2003) (who just so happens to occasionally have relations with the wives and daughters of certain political advisers). Trust me, you don't want a badass like Machete (with a knack for MacGyver-ing his way down the side of a building with your intestines) on your bad side.

Those on Machete's good side, however, are glad to have him not only lead his own revenge killing spree, but one that coincides with the unfair treatment put upon Mexican immigrants entering the country (some of which are shot and killed crossing the border). Those on his team include government immigration agent, Sartana (Jessica Alba), taco stand owner and leader of the rebellion, Luz (Michelle Rodriguez) and Machete's Priest brother, Padr (the always welcome Cheech Marin). We also get some nice cameos from Lindsay Lohan (who bares it all) and Don Johnson - think of a B and C-list version of Ocean's Eleven (2001).

Even with the message of immigrants and the overzealous Texans who are pro-fenced border, Machete is not overly political. It makes an exaggerated statement, that's for sure, but really seems to be more concerned about the twenty ways Machete can use a scalpel, or a bone saw, or (and of course) a machete - which is fine, and the way it should be. Machete is as enjoyable as you would expect and occasionally, even more so. More remarkably (if you see the film and watch the original Grindhouse trailer) is how closely director Robert Rodriguez follows the original story and copies the shots frame per frame (unless they used some originals - which is possible). This just adds another level of cool to what is already a really fun film.

Machete is a good film. It does most things right and occasionally steps out of even it's comfort zone to do something unexpected - if for no other reason than because that's what the audience wants. Its fun, it's nasty, it's pointless and it works. Machete gets an open door because if I gave it a closed one, Machete himself would kick it down to make it an open door and slice my head off with a giant knife. Oh, Danny Trejo...

*Stills courtesy of Overnight Films



>> Friday, September 3, 2010

The power of Christ compels you! (to see this film)

"If you believe in God, you must believe in the Devil." That's the tagline for The Last Exorcism, a film about every aspect of religion from those that believe they don't believe, and those that can't believe that they actually believe. If that sounds confusing then your in the same boat as Reverend Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) - the subject of a documentary film that focuses on the hoax that is exorcism.

Marcus wasn't always a non-believer, in fact he was a child preacher born and raised by his father (also a man of God). Marcus used to perform exorcisms with his father and took over the family business as his father retired. Shortly thereafter, Marcus read an article about some rednecks somewhere that killed their child attempting an exorcism, all in the name of "Gettin' dat blasted demon outta 'er!" That's when he quit exorcisms all together - a job he was quite good at. Early in the film he shows all his tricks like a proud magician who's retiring - from the demon sounds someone will hear, to a shaking bed and the smoking cross he uses to place the proverbial cherry atop his glimmering exorcism sundae.

Marcus continued preaching though, as it was a "job (he) was doing so long and was good at" that there was no reason to quit. Plus he liked to perform even though he ceased to believe in the Almighty. At one sermon he even quotes his mother's banana bread recipe verbatim and simply spouts "Amen!" after and the "congregation goes wild!" - as they say. On top of all this he continues to receive exorcism requests via email, phone and snail mail - all saying the same thing - "possessed, livestock dead, strange sounds at night, please help, etc". Marcus takes one of those letters from the top of the pile and decides it will be his last exorcism, which (as aforementioned) he will use as an example of why its all a magic act used to scare people into wanting and needing religion.

Marcus follows the letter to the Sweetzer farm, where he meets Nell (Ashley Bell), a girl so sweet and naive that a demon could easily enter her soul and never leave. Well, just so happens... (insert non spoiler here). After an all out bells and whistles exorcism on Nell, Marcus deems her healed, collects his cash and is about to leave the Sweetzer farm forever - when some strange things start to happen. This is where the movie really starts.

The most prominent thing your likely to notice about the way Ashley Bell performs as Nell, is the fact that no CG or special effects were used to enhance her 'demonic possession'. In fact, its simply Bell bending in ways no normal human should. It works and boy howdy, it's damn freaky. Bell sells her performance well here and I liked it almost more than I liked Linda Blair's performance in The Exorcist (1973). Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE The Exorcist. To say this is better is mere apples and oranges - they're of the same kind and only compliment each other. But Linda Blair's performance became scarier because of makeup and special effects, etc. Ashley Bell however, relies on nothing more than an empty look in her eyes and some double joints. It's a more organic performance and that's what I really liked about it.

What I also found interesting about The Last Exorcism was the way the story was told. The film had amazing foreshadowing and subtle hints about upcoming events. What was nice about it was they were subtle enough that you didn't know what they amounted to until the end. There may even be more little things I missed that will only be discovered upon a second watching. The other thing I found titillating was the idea that The Last Exorcism may not be as one dimensional as it appears to be. Throughout the film Marcus keeps on mentioning that his work (preaching, exorcising) is all based one key factor - illusion. Yet people blindly believe whatever he has to say. This film completely centers itself around the idea of illusion and uses it to its advantage. Is everything Marcus is seeing real or is it he who has fallen subject to smoke and mirrors? What is really happening with Nell? The other question surrounds the ending, which I'll leave you to see and debate.

Speaking of the ending - the only note I do want to make on it is that at the point the film ended, I could have easily stood watching another twenty minutes of The Last Exorcism without thinking it was too long. Instead, it sort of just ended in a way I wasn't really happy with. Other than this though, I had absolutely no problems with everything leading up to it. If you can recognize everything that came before and sort of push the early ending out of your head, this film will make you giddy.

I give The Last Exorcism an open door, and if you enjoyed The Exorcist or, more recently, 2005's The Exorcism of Emily Rose - you'll definitely have fun with this. I got jolted a few times and at the very least, I unexpectedly laughed more than once at the moments the filmmakers actually wanted you to. Its an all around enjoyable scare-fest. Praise the Lord and alleluia!

*Stills courtesy of Strike Entertainment


PIRANHA 3D (2010)

>> Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Piranha bites – in a good way.

Elisabeth Shu stars as Julie Forester, a small town sheriff who’s busiest time of year is spring break - when all the youngins come to town to drink, skinny dip and give the middle finger to the Man. Her son, Jake (Steven R. Mcqueen) gets stuck in his usual good son role of babysitting his younger sister and brother, rather than going out and doing what kids his age should be doing. That is until Jake gets offered a job by the eccentirc producer of, Derrick Jones (Jerry O’Connell). You see, Derrick needs a local to show him the hot spots in order to shoot his new spring break vid, and before Jake can even accept the job, he is on Derrick’s party yacht and they’re heading out to their first location. What they don’t know is something lurks below and around the town, unearthed by tremors that until now, have kept an underwater, prehistoric lake out of reach of the hands of time.

So what is it that lurks? Well, it’s not the tranny from Sleepaway Camp (1983) – although how fun would that be?! No, it’s the vicious, cannibalistic, 2 million year old ‘thought to be extinct’ original boss of the water – the piranha! And boy, do they know how to throw an ass-munching party. With all the naked and scantilly clad partiers in the water due to spring break, this is nothing short of an all you can eat for them – and the piranha are hungry!

Now, I liked this movie. I actually really enjoyed it. I compare it to Snakes on a Plane (2006) in the sense that Snakes on a Plane knew it was a bad movie, and it did it right. That’s what you get with Piranha, a really well done B movie that takes a note from the original – which is even represented in it’s posters. We even get a cameo from Richard Dreyfus who isn’t in it long, but (according to IMDB) is playing the same character he played in the basis for this and all ‘don’t go into the water’ movies – Jaws (1975). But he doesn’t steal the thunder here. By far the highlight of the movie is seeing ol’ Doc Brown himself, Christopher Lloyd, as the movie’s fish expert, Mr. Goodman. It took me straight back to the Back to the Future trilogy (which conincidentally also stars Elisabeth Shu). I would like to see this guy in movies more. It’s like seeing a favorite uncle you haven’t seen forever. Nothing but fond memories and grinning. I should mention Jerry O’Connell also takes over every scene he’s in. He knows the ridiculousness of this film, and O’Connell plays it to a tee. The rest of characters seem to fall into the shadows and when something does happen to them eventually, you just don’t care.

The only real problem I had with Piranha was its ending. Now, the ending itself isn’t the worst finish in the history of cinema, it just feels...unsatisfying. Throughout the movie you are building up to the climax where the piranha attack the folks visiting on spring break. Once you get to that scene (where the majority of budget was certainly spent), you unsurprisgingly have a huge smile on your face for the whole time its on screen (roughly 5-10 minutes). After that, it cuts to the end scene (which I won’t mention here), for a good 15-20 minutes. In the end, you have this huge buildup over the first hour and some and then it’s sorta like...nothing happens (or nothing you really care about anyways). So boourns to that.

Now, in the theatre I went too I was shocked and entertained when a set of parents walked in with their son and daughter who couldn’t have been more than ten. I assume they didn’t know what Piranha was exactly, but wanted to treat their kids to a 3-D movie. Which is cool, and I don’t blame them - Step Up 3D was the only other 3-D movie playing, and no matter what Piranha wasn’t going to be as damaging as that. However, this movie is still not for kids – at all. Not only is there your usual course language, but there’s also extreme gratuitous nudity and (because this film is produced by Hostel (2005) director Eli Roth) extremely shocking (and awesome) violence. Needless to say, I wasn’t shocked to see those same kids were missing from their seats immediately after the nude underwater ballet scene (which I’ll admit - as pointless as it is, is actually kinda pretty). So note to parents, go see something a little less damaging to your kids that they’ll like more – like Scott Pilgrim.

What I also want to share with all ye who look upon this review is that I too have experienced the wrath of the vicious, terrifying piranha. That is, I have three of my own red-bellied piranhas and although they have never attacked me personally, the feeder golddish I put into their tank every day or so certainly know how truly frightening these creatures can be. This may have been the initial thing that perked my interest in this film the first time I saw the trailer. At the time I thought nothing more of it than another peice of trash heading our way, courtesy of the Hollywood fat cats in order to capitalize on the popularity of 3-D.

Then I started to hear things. Be it in person or on the interweb, this film picked up some speed and it seemed more likeley we’d see another Snakes on a Plane rather than another bad Jaws ripoff. That’s when I knew I’d be seeing this movie before the drone of Oscar-driven movies werre released and pushed this thing into the cheap theatres, never to be seen again in 3-D or on the big screen.

I give Piranha 3D an open door, because it’s rare that you go see a bad movie that was supposed to be awful on purpose. It’s fun, and the actors have fun, and the violence is epic. The nudity is whatever, but exxxpected. This movie is a direct and accurate shoutback to the 70’s and 80’s cheesy horror movies that made me love the genre in the first place. I recomend you go see this before it leaves theatres, because it definitely won’t be as good at home.

*Stills courtesy of Atmosphere Entertainment MM




The reason I refuse to see this film is not because I hate the US or am extremly pro-Canadian. So let me get that out of the way. I also don't hate George Clooney. In fact, I relatively like the guy. He's a smart, charming actor and for the most part I appreciate his acting style.

The reason I don't want to see this film is because the trailer for The American tells me exactly what this movie will be like. Not the whole story, per say, in fact I didn’t know what the hell was going on in the trailer – and not in a good way as with a mysterious trailer for something like Inception (2010) or next year’s Super 8 (2011). No, here it seemed like a lot of cliché lines from a character that plays by his own rules and is afraid to settle down because he has a crap load of insecurities. It’s your typical Oscar-hungry drama and I guarantee you George Clooney and company are hoping this will be another Up in the Air (2009) or Munich (2005), and I don't think it will be anything close. The trailer all in all just seems like we've seen it before and is sorta... meh.

Than again, maybe I'm be wrong. This could be a good movie, at which point I'll check it out much later. For now, and this month - I'm not interested.

For those of you who are interested in seeing The American, it opens everywhere today. For those of you who are curious about what I’m talking about, here’s the trailer:


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