Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review – Battle Los Angeles

I admit to walking away from Independence Day with the feeling that the experience would have been more enjoyable with less yakkity-yak and more alien battles. So perhaps I have no right to gripe about this highly similar picture, as this certainly serves up plenty of action. However, the pauses between firefights are downright excruciating. After a brief flash-forward, the picture gets underway with a maggot-gagging dose of grabastic buddy bullshit. The crap takes a back seat and the story turns good after the aliens begin their attack, and as long as things keep moving the movie is reasonably entertaining. But anytime the shooting stops the jarheadery returns in full force. Of particular note is the sorry-your-dad-died-Marines-never-quit speech, one of the least inspirational moments in the long, sorry history of combat speeches. Maybe some nice person will digitize this picture, edit it down to the fighting and post it on YouTube. Until then, if you decide to take this on, keep your finger on the fast forward button. Mildly amusing

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Satan, you can’t have my child-molesting husband

Mental Floss recently ran a quiz in which the object was to distinguish between Guns n’ Roses song titles and the titles of inspirational books available at CVS checkouts. At the risk of giving away one of the answers, one of the books was called Satan, You Can’t Have My Children. With such a tempting title, I just had to look it up on Amazon.

The book was pretty much what you’d expect (evangelist Iris Delgado shares fundamentalist family value hogwash). But one of the reviews was absolutely priceless. I reproduce it here in its entirety:

False advertising. Satan still got my kids. After buying this book, I put into practice all the recommended techniques. But the dark one still got my kids. He used their weakness, taffy, to lure them out into the back yard where they were escorted aboard his star-cruiser (which I've heard is roomier on the inside than it looks). For all I know, they're half-way to the Death Star by now! I've only received two calls from them, and it turns out Satan is treating them OK. But still, I want my kids back. Iris Delgado is a crook!

One of the other (actual serious) reviews of the Satan book pointed out that moms should make their daughters dress in demure, conservative outfits so that their fathers won't become aroused and molest them. Which makes me wonder how reliable an anti-Satan guide can possibly be if Satan himself actually wrote it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Review – Bag of Bones

Stephen King does a reasonably good job with novels. Mick Garris is okay at the hour-long horror TV series episode. This, however, is neither. One of King’s lesser novels gets turned into a two-part miniseries that suffers from a lot of the faults of the source material, particularly the bad pacing and general dullness. Pierce Brosnan stars as an author suffering from writer’s block in the wake of his wife’s death. His retreat to a lake house in the Maine backwoods brings him afoul of a small town with a sinister past. Almost all the actual plot points occur in the second half, though I suppose you’d miss a little important set-up if you skipped the first half entirely. In the alternate, you could just watch Ghost Story and get a similar story without a lot of the filler. Mildly amusing

Review – The Amityville Haunting

The Amityville thing gets the Paranormal Activity treatment, swiftly turning into a worst-of-both-worlds production. Other than being set in the notorious DeFeo/Lutz house, it has only the most marginal connections to the Amityville thread. Nor does it take advantage of low-budget benefits such as the freedom to include chills that an expensive production wouldn’t have the guts to try. Everything here is mediocre booga-booga crap. Indeed, the story can’t even stay true to its supposed “real footage” format, frequently including shots and edits that would have been unlikely if not completely impossible for a teenager with a camcorder to have captured. The result is one of those pictures that in no way rewards the amount of attention you have to pay to it to even see the spooky stuff. Wish I’d skipped it

Friday, February 10, 2012

Review – Bad Teacher

It’s entirely possible that if you’ve never worked as an educator that you won’t appreciate this silly sitcom as much as I did. But I reluctantly admit that I got a real chuckle out of Cameron Diaz’s turn as a middle school teacher who goes from simply irresponsible to downright awful when she learns that if her students get top marks on the state’s standardized tests that she can win a bonus big enough to get a boob job. Mildly amusing

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review – The Double

Thrillers of this ilk seriously rub me the wrong way. I flat out don’t see the merit in revealing the culprit in the first act. That essentially leaves the writers stuck with a tedious pursuit with only two conclusions: the predictable end or the ridiculous surprise twist. Or in this case both of the above. Richard Gere must have needed money for something. See if desperate

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Review – The Devil’s Double

Every once in awhile this tale of Uday Hussein’s body double manages to serve up an interesting moment, usually when it’s presenting an unflinching look at the evils of absolute power without any sense of moral restraint. Unfortunately, a lot of of the running time is devoted to anti-decadence moralizing, anti-Hussein propaganda a few years too late and a lot of simple melodrama. Mildly amusing