Saturday, April 30, 2011

Simone (2010) Short Film Review

Simone (2010) Dir. by Jason "Joops" Fragale

After a night of hard partying, Simone awakes unsure of the events that took place. The mystery deepens as her focus becomes clear leading to a chilling discovery.

This film starts out in only what can be described as a decent softcore lesbian porn... and ends in viciously horrific beauty. I'll admit that I didn't really know what to expect as I began this film. I had seen the trailer ahead of time on Youtube, but it didn't really show much, and the trailer didn't seem to have the best sound quality. It is a good thing the actual film isn't anything like that.

When Simone wakes up all disoriented and what appears to be make smeared on her face, it seems that she had a typical night for a college student. As she starts to feel ill, she realizes that there might be more to the night than she can remember. Jennifer Ward does an amazing job as Simone, and sometimes flashes what seems to be facial expression geared towards maybe she has a clue to what happened to her. Sometimes it feels like she has been through it before. I mean, as the events are transpiring, she doesn't really seem to panic at any point in time, and that fact helps build the tension even more. Like... what is this girl? Who is this girl? What has she done? When she finally discovers what she has done... you feel like you know everything about her.

With very little dialogue, this film manages to build steady tension with an absolutely amazing musical score. Some of the splashes of loud compressed music sometimes got a little annoying, but it was you well enough, that the only thing it did was spike the tension. Both actresses do an amazing job, and seem to take their roles very seriously, and making it all the more believable. The cinematography (by Jerry Orzel) in this film is what I really want to talk about. Beautifully framed shots appear throughout this film, almost making it a bit of an art house flick. Great lighting, and inventive camera angles line the screen from beginning to end, and it kept me very engaged through the film. If I had to pick on flaw of the film, it would have to be what appeared to be a continuity error near the beginning of the film, when moving to the bedroom, the beautiful Eve (Erin Cline) removes her bra, but in the very next scene in the bedroom the two girls are in their bras are feeling each other up and making out. The pace could have been picked up a little bit, but it might have only saved a minute or two, so that isn't a big deal. It probably could have received the same desired effects without the nudity, but it was done very tasteful, and it will get the little boys howling at the moon, so I respect it. That... and it doesn't really distract from the film, at least for me.

I'm really happy that Joops gave me the opportunity to view Simone, and I look forward to him eventually getting to make a feature. What he did with Simone was a fresh take on a old story, and I had a blast watching it.

Entertainment value: 8 out of 10 hairballs
Cinematic value: 7 out of 10 hairballs

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mortal Kombat Legacy Ep 3 quick review

Mortal Kombat Legacy Ep 3

This episode took quite a different turn than the previous two. I can't say that I liked it that much but it felt necessary. It was all about Johnny Cage, played by Matt Mullins, and he does kick some ass. It focused on how Johnny Cage was being tossed aside as a failed action start. Cage was pitching various show ideas to the tv executives, and he was being rejected. Eventually he was told they weren't working with him anymore, but when he overheard them using one of his ideas with a female action start, he flipped! He did indeed beat some ass, but the key was once again having a great cliff hanger! Some showed up to recruit Johnny, and it appeared to be Shang Tsung.

Here is the link to go watch for yourself!

A Serbian Film (2010)

A Serbian Film (2010) Dir. by Srdjan Spasojevic *UNCUT VERSION*

An aging porn star agrees to participate in an "art film" in order to make a clean break from the business, only to discover that he has been drafted into making a pedophilia and necrophilia themed snuff film.

This film has a lot of stuff buzzing around it, and all the controversy only makes someone want to watch it more. That being said, it takes a lot to disturb me, and A SERBIAN FILM manages to do it on a level I have not experience before... and I have seen some crazy S**t! There has been Audition(amazing), Ichi the Killer (Great), and Cannibal Holocaust(up in the air), but this filming manages to go beyond all those and disturb me in a completely different way.


It is impossible to review this film without spoilers, so I urge you to not read this if you plan on seeing any time soon. That being said, I ensure you that my review may not share the same opinions you have about the film, as I have read numerous varying reviews.

A Serbian Film is a BRILLIANTLY shot film, and it look like something of an arthouse picture. The cinematography is intense, and some of the best I have seen in a long time. Beautiful lighting everywhere and a well paced film. It is sad that I will never watch such a beautiful film again. It was gutwrenching. Reading from the plot at the top of this page, you already kind know where it is going. The lead character Milos(Srdjan Todorovic) slowly starts to realize that the film he is making is not exactly a normal film. He is fairly in to it at first because of various beautiful women he is asked to engage in sexual activities with. This would be a good time to tell you that the film IS pretty much a porn movie, with really disturbing things to happen within it.

"Certain" things happen to Milos that make him decide this isn't what he wants to do, only to realize that he has already pretty much done the majority of it, and doesn't remember it. He has been injected with a sexual stimulant that allows him to have a non-stop erection, but it invokes rage, and the ability to listen to commands. Oh and I guess I can mention that those certain thing is being told to watch a new kind of porn, where a woman gives birth to a newborn baby, and a large bald man takes the baby and begins to rape it. This is where he loses his cool and leaves. I would have too. But then there is the Machete seen. While engaging a woman forcefully from behind he begins beating her in the back of the head and in the back, giving her large bruises and making her scream. Someone hands him a machete, and he proceeds to chop off her head while having sex with her from behind, then continues to have sex with her from behind, and has to be pulled off.

The scene that really gets to me is near the end where he is forced to have anally rape a young by with a sheet over his head while a masked man next to him rapes a woman with sheet over her head. The director of the film director slowly pull away the mask from the man next to him, and it turns out to be his insanely jealous brother (of all the fame he had as a porn star). Then he sheet is pulled away from the woman, revealing her to be his wife! His brother is raping his wife! Oh but it doesn't stop their, they pull the sheet away from the little boy, foaming at the mouth, blood spilling from his anus, and it is Milos's own son. Probably the most disturbing thing I have seen in a LONG LONG TIME. As a father of two young boys, this scene stuck with me for days. I was disgusted, and I still am. If the director wanted to shock me in to telling people about this film, then it definitely worked, but I can't say in a good way. I highly recommend that anyone who is easily disturbed by disgusting films, please do not watch this. I can't unsee it, and I regret watching it almost as much as I regret watching Uwe Boll films... but not quite. The movie IS pretty amazing at times, but the subject matter really overshadows the good. I will never own this on DVD, and I can't say I will give this director another chance. That is saying alot since I would probably watch Human Centipede Part 2, haha. I apologize if you wanted more from this review, but it is a hard topic for me to talk about.

Entertainment Value: 2 out of 10 Giant Erect Fake Penises
Cinematic Value: 4 out of 10 Giant Erect Fake Penises

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mortal Kombat Legacy Ep 2 Quick Review

Mortal Kombat Legacy Ep 2 Quick Review

Finally we get to see the Kano I remember! While watching this episode, I couldn't help but feel like it was just the extension from episode 1. Probably because of Youtube's time limits. Either way it was still 9 minutes of complete ass kicking, and I'm assuming next week we will get to see Jax's new arms, but who knows. I can't wait to see the rest of the characters listed on the cast.

Check it out below, and let me know what you think.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Scream 4 (2011)

Scream 4 (2011) Dir. by Wes Craven

Ten years have passed, and Sidney Prescott, who has put herself back together thanks in part to her writing, is visited by the Ghostface Killer.

Lucy Hale ... (Pretty Little Liars TV)
Shenae Grimes ... (new 90210)
Anna Paquin ... (True Blood TV, Trick r' Treat)
Kristen Bell ... (Pulse, Heroes TV)
Aimee Teegarden ... (Friday Night Lights TV)
Brittany Robertson ... (Life Unexpected TV)
Neve Campbell ... (Scream 1-4, The Craft)
Alison Brie ... (Community TV, Mad Men TV)
David Arquette ... (Scream 1-4, The Tripper)
Courteney Cox ... (Scream 1-4, Cougar Town TV)
Hayden Panettiere ... (Heroes TV)
Emma Roberts ... (It's Kind of a Funny Story, Nancy Drew)
Marley Shelton ... (A Perfect Getaway, Planet Terror)
Erik Knudsen ... (Saw II, Scott Pilgrim vs The World)
Rory Culkin ... (The Zodiac, Mean Creek)
Nico Tortorella ... (Twelve)
Anthony Anderson ... (Transformers, The Departed)
Adam Brody ... (Jennifer's Body, Thank You For Smoking)
Mary McDonnell ... (Donnie Darko, Independence Day)
Heather Graham ... (From Hell, Blessed)

It is not my typical start to the way I review a movie, but I promise that this giant list of cast members serves a purpose. I wanted to show you it doesn't matter how man awesome actors you can pack in to one movie; it doesn't mean that it is going to be good. I'll get back to the cast in a little bit though.

Wes Craven is not a man; he is not a director or a writer; He is a legend. He birthed a legend with Freddy Krueger and the Nightmare on Elm Street series, and finished it off well too. Then also gave us The Last House On The Left, The Hills Have Eyes, Shocker, The People Under the Stairs, Vampire in Brooklyn, and of course the ground breaking original Scream. This is what makes it so painful for me to say that maybe with the exception of Red Eye, Craven hasn't made a good film since 1997. The is one hell of a dry spell for a man of his stature. I had high hopes for his return for another Scream movie. Although it had an amazing soundtrack, Scream 3 failed to do anything else for me, and I was willing to give him another chance at it. I don't really want to be the man pointing figures here, as I hate doing that, but a director is in control of what the finished product looks and feels like, and this was an epic fail. Underused, and over used characters; poor comedic one liners and delivery; reused kill sequences (excuse given in film); and definitely a poorly used theme of bring the horror genre in to the next generation of kids.

It had the typical jump scares, as to be expected, but I guess now a days I'm looking for just a little something more. Scream 4 was predictable, and basically followed the same outline of the previous 3 films, which was to be expected, but not to this extent. They talk about bringing the horror genre in to the new generation, and how killers now film their kills. Some of that may be true as I have seen it a few time, but the execution of this sidebar is such a miss. The Camera the killer is using is shown maybe two times, and I couldn't tell you if you ever really see the footage that it gets. I would have like to see more of a Laid To Rest or Saw style use of the technology. They sold it so much during the film, and just failed to use it.

Back to the cast... I'm going to split it up in to good and bad.


Lucy Hale
Shanae Grimes
Anna Paquin
Kristin Bell
Aimee Teegarden
Brittany Robertson
Neve Campbell
Courtney Cox
Anthony Anderson
Adam Brody
Heather Graham

Keep in mind that the majority of these characters are bad because they are underused. On the other hand, some of them were even bad at that cameo appearance. I really don't want to waste time on the bad ones, but Neve was just along for the ride, and Courtney Cox was just ridiculous.


Alison Brie was a BLAST! I have always been impressed with her on Community, and I didn't know she was even in the movie until she popped on screen. She played a bitch and was great at it! It was nice seeing Hayden Panettiere in a different role than I'm used to seeing her in, but man was haircut hideous!!! Marley Shelton is amazing as always, and she played such a fun character, and ended up being the majority of the comedic relief. Not what I had expected, considering the cast. The lesser-knowns stole the cast with Erik Knudsen, Rory Culkin, and Emma Roberts easily stealing the show. I was extremely impressed by all three and it amazed me that they were able to steal the show away from such veterans of acting. It just goes to show they will have a very long career in acting. I know there might have been a couple that I left out of both lists and that is mostly because they did well, but not enough screen time to really gauge it well.

I know I have kinda ripped on the film so far, but I would like to point out there are some really good things that happened with it. They really tried to amp up the gore for a scream film. I REALLY appreciated this... I really did, and seeing someones gutted intestines hanging out was not something I thought I was going to see there, the special effects were horrible for the most part. I there were a couple of created kills... not many... but a couple. While most of the film was fairly predictable... I must say that the end did surprise me quite a bit, although it probably could have ended 20 minutes before it actually did. I did have a little bit of fun at Scream 4... it is a little entertaining, but I wish some better filmmakers would have taken a crack at it. Williamson's script read like it was written for a PG13 film for an "R" rated film. If they were planning on relaunching this as another trilogy, I think it will fall flat, and the numbers so far seem to be agreeing with me. I can't honestly say that going to the theater is going to do anything extra for anyone, so just wait for the DVD and rent it.

Entertainment Value: 6/10 Ghostface Killers
Cinematic Value: 5/10 Ghostface Killers

Friday, April 15, 2011

A History of the Great Zombie War: The Simpson Experience - Book Plug

A History of the Great Zombie War: The Simpson Experience

It is not very often where I talk about horror books, but I wanted to give this one a little shout-out! My friend, Keith Bryan, helped cowrite this brilliant post-apocalyptic zombie book. Much like World War Z before it, this book brings multiple views to the same catastrophy.

Here is the description given on Amazon:

Product Description

There was little warning. It was upon us. Living death. This collection of historical documents includes excerpts from diaries, audio recordings, official reports, and chatrooms, as well as photographs, maps, propaganda posters, and even a fornication license. Together they illustrate stories of sacrifice, heroism, and craven cowardice among the population of Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. These are people from all walks of life, all ages, all colors and creeds, united in one goal: survive the zombie apocalypse. This is our memorial to the fallen.

About the Author

Nicolas Proctor is a history professor at Simpson College. A leading authority on the Great Zombie War in the Midwest, he is currently attached to the documentation program managed by the Department of Recovery. He also teaches American History.

Here is the link where you can purchase the book. You know you want to!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mortal Kombat Legacy Ep.1 - Quick Review

Mortal Kombat Legacy Ep.1 - Quick Review

Please stay with me on this one. It is wicked early in the morning and I just really wanted to touch base on episode one of the new live action Mortal Kombat Legacy by Director/Writer Kevin Tancharoen. I'm sure many of you saw his little short live action Mortal Kombat: Rebirth film last year. It started out as a fan film, and exploded from there. I knew it would happen anyway, but I didn't know it would happen as fast as it did. I also didn't know it would come from Kevin Tancharoen; the same guy who directed Fame, and produces two teeny tv shows - Twentyfourseven and Dance Life. But he did it, and depending on who you are, Rebirth was either amazing or weird... or both. It still peaked my interest, and got me all excited to see this new web series from Machima. I couldn't believe the cast he got to do just that little short film, and I really need to look up how much the budget was. Michael Jai White (Spawn,The Dark Knight, Black Dynamite) as Jackson Briggs, and Jeri Ryan (Dracula 2000, Shark-TV series) as Sonya Blade head up the cast of episode 1. Tahmoh Penikett (Trick 'r Treat, Battlestar Galactica and Dollhouse - TV series) was also in the episode as Lt. Kurtis Stryker, along with Darren Shahlavi (300, Slither, and various shitty Uwe Boll films) as Kano.

The first episode was a slow and mostly uneventful as I had imagined it would be. The problem with a first episode of any series is character development. It is required and it is much needed, so don't get me wrong when I say that it really slows everything down. Towards the end there was some good hand to hand combat between Jax and Kano, a decent shootout, and some cheesy Machimo special effects, but for the most part we were slowly building these four man characters to fill these new boots of live action. Tancharoen really is trying to create a brand new Mortal Kombat world, but staying respectful to the source material, and as a fan of all the MK's I appreciated this. All in all it was a good first episode, and got me excited for the rest of the series.

What got me even more excited for the rest of the series is seeing the list of the rest of the characters Tancharoen plans to recreate! You can find this same list on IMDB, but here it is:

Jackson Briggs
Queen Sindel
Johnny Cage
Sub Zero
Sonya Blade
Shao Kahn
Kurtis Stryker
Shang Tsung
Quan Chi
King Ryuk

That list is VERY promissing. I can also see it pissing a lot of people off, but I think it is goign to be badass! The question is... with a list like that, who could they possible bring to the table for season two?

Here is the link to see the first episode:

I hope you enjoy it, and stay tuned for more updates and next week's episode review.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Source Code (2011)

Source Code (2011) Dir. by Duncan Jones

An action thriller centered on a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he's part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train.

This article should be renamed, "Duncan Jones is amazing." I had no actual intention of seeing Source Code this weekend, but after my friend talked me in to it instead of seeing Insidious... I went. Boy am I glad I did. I'm not saying Insidious would have been a bad choice, but I had a blast with Source Code. Let's start with the weak points first.

If I had to pick one particular item that wasn't on the same level as the rest of the film it would be the acting. Yes I understand that a majority of the characters had to play the same scenes over and over again and react to them differently, but still. Jake Gyllenhaal shows that he can in fact play the leading man, and do it fairly well, but just not quite at that level he needs to be. Michelle Monaghan plays a similar character as many of her other films, but what can I say... She is from Iowa. Of course I am going to support her and watch her films. Vera Farmiga is seen in definitely a new creative role compared to her other films, and she plays it with some force. Facial expressions were dead on, and told a story all of its own without any words. I was extremely annoyed with Jeffrey Wright, and his project inventor/director role. It seemed like he was trying way to hard to be an original character that it came off more like overacting. That being said... he has come a long way from playing Peoples Hernandez in the Shaft update back in 2000. Most of the acting was believable and I never thought twice about it while the movie was running, but it did come to mind after the film.

Now to the real story... Duncan Jones is a genius. I personally think right now he is hands the more amazing director out there, and I think if he keeps it up he will go far. While Source Code had a huge budget compared to Moon, you can still see all the really creative ways he saves money, just by watching his film. I don't want you to think I'm going to compare this film to Moon... because I can't. Moon is a film all on its own, and I don't think Jones can ever make a film as amazing as that again. That being said... Source Code is ONE HELL OF A FOLLOW-UP! While more directors taper off in to one hit wonders are to redefine themselves on a different level; Jones comes back with a bang. His attention to details is incredible. Every angle, ever item within the scene, a particular clip cut in to editing, and it is all for a reason. It is a circus for the eyes, and I enjoy it every time. With Jones, it never feels like there is any filler shot. If he needs a character to get from point A to point B, he just does it. There is no messing around. If the action is not necessarily relevant to the story, Jones doesn't waste any time making a big scene out of it. There is no time for nonsense. Jones injects ever scene with as much raw emotion he can get out of it, and it truly shows. He has a love for the cinema, and it shows. He is not making just another large budget film, and he couldn't have done it without a great script from Ben Ripley (badass name). The same guy who wrote Species 3 and 4 really surprised me on this one, but my guess is he should be thanking Duncan for helping make his stuff look good. I need to stop rambling, or people are going to think i have a crush. Duncan Jones gets me excited for film again. It is such a blast watching a film from a man who cares so much about every frame. He inspires me to do greater things myself, and now I look forward to his next film... whatever it may be... you will find me in the theater watching it.

Just keep your eye out for the ironic cameo of Colter Stevens's Father. I called it when I heard his voice, and laughed out loud when I saw his name in the credits. Some of the film was a bit predictable but I'm willing to look past it based on the fact that I had an insanely good time, and Jones's creative style of filming just blows me away.

Entertainment Value: 9/10 Comedians on a Train
Cinematic Value: 9/10 Comedians on a Train