Wednesday, February 24, 2010


In Transsiberian, Woody Harrelson and his wife (Emily Mortimer) are leaving a missions trip in China and taking the Transsiberian express train across China and Russia to see the countryside, such as it is. The couple gets another couple as cabinmates who are a bit creepy.

Pineapple Express

This film starts with a military-sponsored marijuana experiment which gets shut down (which then doesn’t end up having anything to do with the rest of the film at all). Then it cuts to Seth Rogan driving around wearing various costumes, serving people subpoenas. He’s dating a girl from high school and when he goes to visit her between classes he argues with one of her teachers. She’s trying to get him to meet her parents for dinner but since he has a job, he’s having trouble working out the timing.

He drives over to his dealer’s house and they have a very in-depth weed conversation and smoke some Pineapple Express before Seth goes back to work. Seth heads back to work and while smoking weed in the car, a cop pulls up behind him. The cop goes into the house he’s staking out and Seth sees a bunch of people getting shot up. He freaks and drives away and goes back to his drug dealer’s house. They both get paranoid and freak out and leave, but some of the bad guys show up at the dealer’s house to wait for him. Since the two are paranoid, they smash their phones to bit so they can’t be tracked and then when they wake up 18 hours later, they’re screwed. Seth makes it to his girlfriend’s parent’s house and tries to get them to run for it.

More zany adventures happen and it’s basically a ridiculous end to what wasn’t a great movie to begin with. The film is really long and even though, there are some pretty hilarious scenes, it really doesn’t stand up to any sort of scrutiny at all. It was very long (over two hours) and it seemed to drag quite a bit. I hoped this film would end a couple of times. The dialog and plot are pretty basic, even for a drug movie, and there’s a lot of stuff that just plain isn’t believable in it (then again, it’s a drug movie). I was a tad let down by this movie, but I’ve never been a fan of the genre, so take that with a grain of salt. If you liked Supertroopers or a lot of other Seth Rogan stuff, you might like this film. But I have heard people say they’d only watch this film again if they themselves were baked out of their mind. That should speak for itself.

Monday, February 15, 2010


This is a zombie film with the running-crazy zombies rather than the undead crawling up out of their graves kind of zombies. It stars Woody Harrelson, whom I personally have blacklisted from film since his brilliant performance on Cheers, back in the day. This movie changed my mind though.

The film starts after the zombies have already taken over the country (possibly world, but it’s not really discussed). This young kid (Columbus) who’s playing the part of Michael Cera (let’s just be honest, he IS) is writing down a list of rules he’s compiling which help him to stay alive during this zombie apocalypse. It’s pretty common-sense items, so it all makes sense. He runs into Woody Harrelson – or Tallahassee – and they agree to stick together for a very short while, as long as it doesn’t interfere with Tallahassee’s search for Twinkies (yes,really).

Tallahassee plays a bad ass gun slinger who is very good at killing zombies. They come across these two girls who trick the boys into surrendering their vehicle and guns to them and despite the fact the girls get away, they keep running into each other throughout the duration of the movie. Which also means Columbus falls in love with one of the girls. They are trying to get back to an amusement park in Hollywood which they believe is zombie-free. The group runs into Bill Murray along the way and end up crashing at his house. The Bill Murray scenes are a little campy, but not too terrible. I heard a lot of people had issue with that particular part of the film, but it was passable. The girls steal the car again and head to the amusement park. It is zombie-free, until they flip on all the lights and rides and draw the attention of thousands of zombies. I won’t ruin the ending for you, but it’s probably about what you’d think it would be.

Overall, I thought this movie was really well made. The special effects, even though I loathe CGI, were pretty awesome and almost 100% believable. Lots of blood splattering and hilarious situations that, despite being outlandish, were hilarious to watch. It's meant to be funny and gory, so be ready for both of those things. And honestly, some of the best slow-motion camera work I've ever seen. It just added to the comedy in almost every situation. There was some cheesy dialogue in the film, especially with the Bill Murray stuff, but on the whole, it was VERY entertaining. Not the best zombie movie I’ve ever seen, but I liked pretty much all of it and laughed quite a bit in this film. It’s worth a look, for most people.

Return to Oz

This film from 1985 is a sequel to the original wizard of Oz from back in the day. The film takes place a few months after Dorothy gets back from the Oz. She hasn’t been sleeping and her Aunt Em is concerned about her mental health. Em decides to send Dorothy to the doctor for some electro shock therapy, since it’s all the rage.

Dorothy spends the night in the hospital and just as she’s about to get zapped, there’s a power outage and an odd girl helps Dorothy escape. The two girls fall into a river and when Dorothy wakes up, she’s back in Oz with her pet chicken. Yeah, Toto has been upstaged by a chicken. Oz isn’t the same when she gets there. The yellow brick road is all grown over and the Emerald City has been overrun by the Wheelers – guys who skate around and thug people for their mistress. Dorothy enlists the help of a copper robot and a pumpkin head guy to find out where the king has been taken (the king is the scarecrow who has risen to power). The kingdom was overrun by the king of the gnomes who took back all of the emeralds the citizens of the city had stolen from him.

The film is pretty dark, although I’m not sure how much darker than the original – that one was pretty dark as well. Almost all of the characters are creepy in this movie including Dorothy, the wheelers, the scarecrow especially, and just about everyone else in the film. It’s shot well (mostly) and is a good story (it’s based on one of the sequel books written about Oz, so it’s got to be a good story, right?). I basically just got a creepy vibe from the film, which is probably why a lot of parents were disappointed when they ran their kids to the theaters to see the follow up film. It’s odd, but it’s probably worth seeing if you’re a fan of the original.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tokyo Gore Police

This Japanese (overdubbed) film is about a girl, Ruka, whose father was killed in the first scene and makes her want to go into crime fighting. The first few scenes are filled with BUCKETS of blood spraying all over the place, chainsaws, razor blades, and bullets. Ruka is so bad-ass, she doesn’t even get blood on her uniform while standing in the middle of gallons of blood being sprayed into the air.

Tokyo is being overrun by these criminals called “engineers” who are super smart crazy people with a common trait – they all have a specialized tumor in their bodies that must be separated from the host to actually kill them. Ruka is actually an engineer hunter for the now-privatized Tokyo police corporation. There’s a brothel in town where someone is implanting some of the girls with this tumor. The madam of the place ends up getting milked for her blood for some reason that isn’t explained, but it’s an interesting way of extracting blood – weird. And then a commercial for teen-marketed razor blades: “Wrist cutting is so stylish! Yaay Yaay Yaay!!” WTF???!!! And then, just to be gross, I think, there’s a bug eating scene where you see the guy putting live bugs into his mouth and crunching them while they squirm around and try to get out. I feel a little sick now. Hahaha.

Ruka ends up fighting an engineer who begins the fight by pulling the top half of his head off and then gun barrels appear from his eye sockets. He seems to be carrying the tumor around with him like a key and puts it in her skin to turn her into a killing machine (which she kind of already was). Apparently, he is the master-mind behind the engineer mutants. Insert another commercial for a super-sharp sword for impaling yourself. Insane. Somehow, Ruka either isn’t affected or she’s faking it, since we saw the guy stick it in her skin. Then there’s another commercial for a Wii game where you can execute people by slashing them to bits while they’re tied up. Do commercials like this really exist in Japan? I MUST find out.

I have no idea what happens next, but there’s a stripper with a penis for a nose and an eyeball in her mouth. Then there’s another stripper whose breasts have been cut in half horizontally and then stitched back together. Then the third stripper has eyeballs on stalks like a snail. At the end of the little strip show, there’s a chair that’s shaped like parts of a girl that pees on the crowd – I have no idea what goes through some of these people’s minds. And the next scene is a guy sitting in another chair getting his Jansen chopped off by the half head engineer-tumor-impregnator. As you can see, it’s a little convoluted.

Just when I thought it wasn’t able to get weirder, it DOES. A girl pops out from behind a wall and instead of legs, she’s got alligator jaws. Now just picture that for a moment: regular girl from the waist up, right leg-upper alligator jaw, left leg-lower alligator jaw. And she keeps spreading her “jaws”. Frankly, at this point, I’m impressed. Hollywood can suck it. It gets better. Another engineer shows up with a katana for a right hand and also sporting a huge deformed phallus out in the open that makes an elephant trumpet sound when they show it. Also the wang shoots some sort of bullets – you know, like they do. In the second half of the film, they explain how the engineers got started.

SPOILER: There was a kid whose policeman father got shot by an assassin of some sort. That cop was also Ruka’s father. The kid grew up to study biology and biotech and the gene samples of various serial killers, so he could get vengeance on his and Ruka’s father’s killer. Then, he began to grow an army of mutants who kill random people. Even though it’s apparently Ruka’s brother, she still chops him in half and then goes and fights a bunch of engineers. Then a prostitute-turned-engineer sprays green acid from her boobs onto her opponent – yeah, seriously. There’s an awesome drawing and quartering scene shot from four different cameras on the same screen (kind of like GoldenEye for the N64) – kudos to the director for that stroke of brilliance!

SECOND SPOILER: Remember the tumor Ruka was implanted with? Yeah, when she gets mad, it activates and turns her into some crazy engineer with an extendable moray-eel-arm and cyborg eye. She’s mad as hell. She has to fight people she used to work with, one of whom is shooting the largest gun I’ve ever seen. And why, you ask, is it so large? Well, because, obviously, it shoots dismembered fists. Awesome. The final boss at the end has this pet person who has ninja swords for legs and arms and they did an awful job of cgi-ing a fight with Ruka – enough to really anger me. The makers of this film had been fine with the makeup and fake blood up until this point. Now I’m pissed. Now the movie just got plain ridiculous! Hahaha.

This film is not the greatest thing to come out of Japan, but most of it is fairly comical. Not laugh out loud funny, but still kind of WTF-funny. I don’t know that I’d recommend it to very many normal people, but purely based on the out-of-the-box thinking that went into this film, I’m slightly impressed. You, my friends, probably won’t be.

Bart Got a Room

This is one of those teen high school comedies similar to SuperBad or Napoleon Dynamite. Danny is a regular kid with divorced parents and he’s trying to find a date for the senior prom. He attempts to ask a couple of girls including a sophomore cheerleader who changes clothes in his car regularly when he drives her home from school. Alia Shawkat co-stars in this film and she’s trying to get Danny to go to the prom with her (the guy is a complete moron for not taking her up on the offer – she’s smoking hot). All of Danny’s prom dates bail on him and he’s going to surprise Alia, but he then finds out one of his friends asked her. So the dad, played by William H. Macy, drops everything (including a date with the smoking hot Jennifer Tilly) to find his son a date.

It’s a tiny bit zany but it’s good clean fun. The acting in it is pretty amusing and kind of has a feel like “But I’m a Cheerleader” (which I’ve never made THAT comparison before, I assure you – but that’s what I thought of when I saw this film). It’s also got fun color treatment on the camera shots that make it kind of pop in a whitewashed sort of way. The comedy is mid-brow (as opposed to low brow or high brow) and will have you chuckle through much of the film. Make sure you watch for the boom mic operator in the final scene. Not the mic itself – the ACTUAL STAGE GUY made it into a shot and I can’t figure out how they missed it in editing. Weird. Good fun film that’s pretty non-offensive to most people.

Executive Koala

Executive Koala is a really bad Japanese film about a Koala (or a guy in a koala suit) that works at a large company. Koala boy puts in crazy hours for his boss (who is a rabbit – that coincidentally sounds like a Japanese Bugs Bunny). Apparently, the Japanese love their furries.

Anyhow, Koala’s girlfriend shows up brutally murdered and the police think he did it. It’s also suspicious that his ex wife has been missing for three years and they think he’s responsible for that as well. The police bring him in for questioning and there’s an article about him in the paper. People at his office freak out when he shows up for work, but his boss welcomes him back with open arms and suggests he puts in extra hours at the office.

Koala has a big client coming from Korea and takes him out on the town. This client has brought his pet flying squirrel into the country with him in a bag. Yeah, a flying squirrel. The squirrel takes a liking to Koala. Then there’s a Korean martial arts scene with hilarious shots of food in the background. Mr. Kim from Korea pens the deal with Koala and then later that night, drops the bombshell on Koala that he was his girlfriend’s previous lover. Apparently, she wrote him and feared that Koala would somehow hurt her. Mr. Kim showed up to size up the Koala. Apparently, Koala has a nasty track record of violence that he’s suppressed from his memories. Now he’s on a killing spree (apparently when a Koala’s eyes glow red, get the hell out of their way – good rule to live by). Then there’s a crazy weird singing part in a court scene. This all leads to a crazy surprise ending plot twist.

While this movie is one of the weirdest films I’ve seen, it’s certainly not the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Yes, there are a bunch of ridiculous costumes and really stupid dialogue, but the plot is more believable than some Japanese films. The film is supposed to be a follow-up to Kalamari Wrestler, but other than the same director shooting it, I don’t think there are any similarities. This is leaps and bounds more entertaining than Kalamari Wrestler.

Big Man Japan

This Japanese film is a fake documentary on a “real life” super hero who protects Japan from monsters. The film crew is interviewing Big Sato, who is the youngest (the sixth one) in a long line of monster-fighters in Japan (meaning he fights monsters, obviously). The guys in this family get phone calls from the department of defense and go to a power generation station to get electrocuted into a 100-foot-tall muscle guy.

Sponsors pay money to get their logo tattooed on his chest or hips or back. The big men fight the monsters and when they defeat the monster, the monster gets taken up into the heavens by a bright light beam. The film crew is asking questions about growing up and how the bloodline has gotten publicity over the years. Apparently things were pretty sweet for the rockstar “Fourth”. Then the Fifth gave himself too much juice at the power plant and electrocuted himself. The Fourth is now in an old folks’ home and gets regular visits from his grandson, the Sixth. At one point, the senile grandfather sneaks out, juices himself up and wreaks havoc throughout Tokyo while wearing an adult diaper (which they never explain how they made a diaper so big, but that’s the least of my worries in this film).

Big Sato has a daughter who is living with Sato’s ex-wife. He gets to see his daughter about once a month and the crew follows him for a visit. He’s good with his daughter, but his ex doesn’t want any more visits than she has to endure. Big Sato ends up dropping a baby monster and the public is outraged that he has killed a (50 foot) baby in broad day light. The media has a field day with him, and it’s not good. They make television shows mocking him having trouble defeating this one particular red demon kid.

The previews for this film made it impossible NOT to watch, but it was kind of a let down from the preview. I still laughed a couple of times, but mostly at myself being stupid enough to have actually purchased this film. The Japanese folks certainly have a way of showing Hollywood what TRUE creativity can inspire. IF they could wrap it into a more believable plot or add some worthwhile special effects, they’d be a force to be reckoned with. But as it stands, they’ll continue to make ridiculous movies. And I’ll continue to buy them hahahahahaha.