Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ten Statements About....GODSEND (2004)

Yeah, it could be fun to stare at Rebecca Romijn...except
when she's in crap horror movies...
"I know it's scary, but we talked about this...the possibility that things could change once Adam crossed the age he died."

1) Boy, this film rockets through the first act in roughly twenty to twenty five fact, they rush through the set up so quickly that we don't get a real sense of the characters or their relationship with each other or anything similar that could serve to give us an impetuous to watch this film to its inclusion. And speaking of relationships...

2) ...this is a script that relies on the relationship between the parents and their child, and between Rebecca Romijn's Jessie and Robert DeNiro's Dr. Wells...and it fails spectacularly on both counts. In the case of the former, it's because Cameron Bright's Adam has no chemistry with either Jessie or Greg Kinnear's Paul. In the case of the later, it's because the script so hamhandedly introduces Dr. Wells by having him, you know, walk right up and claim to be an old teacher of Jessie's...which would be fine if Jessie was somehow connected to genetics or medicine instead of an art photographer. We're deep in the realm of 'Just Go With It,' folks.

3) This is the sort of movie where the main villain can be easily identified by the fact that he's the biggest name on movie poster in spite of being billed third. And DeNiro doesn't disappoint in being the 'Big Name Just Cashing A Paycheck' by not even bothering to pretend to create a character.

"I'm sorry, but that fee only gets you the 'not giving a crap'
performance...accept it."
4) The city in the first act is supposed to be New York. The small town in the rest of the film is supposed to be some generic New England hamlet. At no point does it not look like Canada. Could anyone be bothered to sneak into New York and do five minutes of landmark shoots so we get an impression that anyone gives a crap?

5) And while we're on the subject of, does that scene of Kinnear being mugged, only to be let go by the mugger because he's 'the best teacher I ever had' come off like write Mark Bomback has never, but ever had any contact with anyone below a certain economic class.

6) I'm sorry, but the bulk of this film relies on the acting skills of Cameron Bright to convey the different personalities sort of stuck inside Adam...and he is thoroughly incapable of showing this. He is so over-the-top in his performance that you can't believe that his parents are so blind to his affliction.

7) Getting back to Bomback's script, the thing that strikes me is how once we get into the actual meat of the story, there's absolutely no reason for the whole science fictional element. This is, at its core, a child possession/ghost story, and throwing in the disreputable scientist looking to prove his theories only complicates the plot. And even worse, giving the whole thing a J-horror influenced look only makes it seem even more derivative than it already is.

"What if I held this axe?  Would I be scary now?"
8) Incidentally, why do all these disreputable scientists always have these super-sleek futuristic institutes? It's like DeNiro's Dr. Wells dragged his Godsend Institute back from the world of Sleeper or something.

9) I absolutely love how Adam kills a local kid while he's in his Evil Child Fugue State...and that plot thread is dropped after Paul and Jessie witness the discovery of the body.

10) The ending is such a botched mess of trying to be clever for its own good that it wasn't until I listened to director Nick Hamm and Bomback bleating like goats on the commentary about what they were actually trying to tell us that I figured out what happened.

Overall...a film that can't decide whether to be science fiction or horror or something in between, underacted and with some final twists that are just ludicrous. Plus gratuitous J-horror wananbe stylings. Avoid.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ten Statements About....VERONICA MARS SEASON TWO, EPISODE FOUR 'Green Eyed Monster' (2005)

I'm sorry...I briefly lost the capacity to think....
"There's a fine line between looking for a problem, and creating one."

1) As you'll learn as we go deeper into this season, it's pretty grim...thus, we hit the first of a couple of 'breather' episodes, mostly done in one stories to give us a break from the relentless gloom of The Bus Crash Overarc. This one is pretty frothy, although I should warn you--a couple of the others are almost as grim as the thing we're taking a break from.

2) Of course, that doesn't mean the various story arcs set up in the first three episodes are ignored--we get nearly ten minutes at the top of this episode devoted to the continuing Alicia's Got A Past storyline. Trust me--it may look like it's still going somewhere, but...well, it'll go twisting off into oblivion soon.

3) I know that this episode is supposed to be light hearted and all, but Laura Bell Bundy's Julie may be too far into the comedic, becoming shrill and unrealistic. Hell, she's so paranoid that you have to wonder why her fiance'--who comes off as rather nice and reasonable when we meet him--puts up with her.

4) And here in the middle of everything, we have the first mention of the Fitzpatrick family, who are going to pretty much be nightmares for Veronica for the rest of the series. We'll talk more about them when we get to their first onscreen appearance.

"And I will grow a mustache ttttthiiiis big!"
5) Seriously, why was Tessa Thompson cast? Weren't there other African-American actresses more capable of expressing emotions in a way that was more realistic than her? If her earlier 'I's so proud of my man' moment was bad, wait until you endured her jealousy hissy fit when Wallace heads off to help Veronica. Totally and thoroughly unbelievable.

6) As mentioned earlier, I do rather like Michael E. Rodgers' Colin in his one extended scene. It's played for laughs, with Veronica trying to play temptress, but he's an excellent straight man.

7) All of Laura Bell Bundy's goofiness is worth it just to see Keith finally deliver a little truth to his daughter. At this point, Colantoni and Bell are so comfortable with each other that they can do what might come off in a lesser show as an abrupt shift in character tone and make it make sense.

"Is this a good psycho face?  Be honest, now...."
8) Of course, the brilliance of this is that while Keith takes the high ground, he turns around and starts invading his girlfriend's privacy in his desire to get to the bottom of the whole situation with her and her ex. And it's doubly hypocritical when we see that Veronica chose not to invade Duncan's privacy when it comes to reading his emails to Meg.

9) Gleefully, writer Dayna Lynne North once again drags in the Curly/Aaron Echolls connection as part of her continuing campaign of it gives us a logical excuse to have Veronica confront Logan anew, keeping that relationship still percolating.

10) And speaking of Duncan...we get the first murmuring of his storyline. You'll see throughout the year that Rob Thomas is determined to streamline and refine his supporting cast, writing some out and reducing the importance of others. As we'll see, some of these movements aren't entirely successful...and I'd kind of put Duncan's repositioning in there, as we'll see. okay episode muddled by those storylines that really don't go anywhere and a truly broad performance that sort of makes you want to root against Veronica making things work out for Julie.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ten Statements About....ALONE IN THE DARK (2005)

" you thing!"
"My mommy says that there is nothing to be afraid of in the dark."
"Your mother's wrong, kid. Being afraid of the dark is what keeps most of us alive."

1) Not even five minutes in, and there's a definite sense of this world being populated entirely by wooden puppets in the guise of actors--oh, and Christian Slater and Tara Reid, which might not mean much difference, come to think of it.

2) Boy, is this film score's action music, with its bongos and disco beats, really, really goofy.

She's a gifted archeologist, and he's a paranormal
investigator.  No really....
3) Movie, if one of your major plot points revolves around a box made of shouldn't kill a tiny bit of genuine atmosphere later on when a character discovers the after effects of that box being opened by shooting the inside, where we can clearly see that it's a wooden crate spray painted gold.

4) As bad as Slater's psuedo-Chandler posturing is as paranormal investigator Edward, his energy levels just high enough to justify his getting a paycheck for this film, he's thoroughly eclipsed in awfulness by Reid's Aline. With her herky-jerky physical acting, flat line reading and perpetually unbuttoned or belly-baring wardrobe, she's pretty much laughable. She's the most inappropriate archeologist/museum curator ever.

5) I'd be more freaked out by the Xenos, the Alien-like creatures that make up the main threat of the film, if they weren't animated to have this hunched-over with hands together stance that makes me think of them as armored squirrels.

6) One of the fundamental flaws in this film is how it's so intent on trying to share with us this deep mythology of the game that it's based on--you know, the whole Native American Who Discovered A Gateway Into Another World thing, the whole Bureau 713 thing, the whole backstory of Edward--that even the big ol' action sequences of soldiers versus the armored squirrels get bogged down in expository sludge.

One's a cop that doesn't play by the rules.  One's an armored
monster squirrel...they're partners....
(I've just written a better premise than this one)
7) I would really love to know how Uwe Boll justified the frequent cutaways to Catherine Lough Hagquist's Krash, whose whole purpose in the plot is to sit in Bureau 713's HQ in a skullie complaining about how they can't get a signal. Was she doing something for Boll to prompt him to give her so much screentime?

8) Look, I get that the nineteen orphans were experimented on by Bureau 713, and that Edward was the twentieth orphan who escaped...but did we ever get a resolution to what happened to the grown up orphans after they answered the summons of the gold-painted-wood box? Was that whole storyline even necessary, given that the film degenerated in the last twenty five minutes into incoherent punchy-punchy run run?

9) Granted, this makes a little sense now that I know of Boll's proclivity for shooting first drafts...but when you have a character hand another a file saying there is info on three people in it, and the second character proceeds to flip through updates on five people....don't you think it's time to fire your continuity person?

10) Do you think Stephen Dorff curls up in a ball late at night and silently cries himself to sleep in mourning for his career? I mean, at least Slater and Reid had brief windows of success in their career, when Dorff was once touted as the next big thing and can't get work in anything other than direct-to-video films, Tarsem Singh work-for-hire projects...and this, apparently.

Overall...All over the place and messy to the point of incoherence, this does get punctuated by moments of brief hilarity thanks to its gallery of awful performances, awful performers, unbelievable characters (do you think Reid's Aline and Denise Richards' Doctor Christmas Jones meet regularly for Inappropriately Attired Scientist Lunches?) and gobstoppingly bad dialogue. If only that last twenty minutes didn't tip the whole thing into loud nonsense, it might be in the 'unintentionally funny' category.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ten Statements About....FANTASTIC FOUR (2005)

"Okay...I'll do this...but only if I'm in a much better movie six
years from now..."
"You need to control yourself. Think before you act."
"Yeah, but see, that's your problem, Reed. You always think, you never act. What if we got these powers for a reason. What if it's for some higher purpose."

1) Here's a bit of heresy--I actually think that by putting Victor Von Doom in space with Richards and company, the script streamlines itself very well, doing away with the need for a second, separate origin story.

2) You know, I could buy the whole family angle a lot easier if a) the older sister didn't look younger than her kid brother and b) she wasn't, you know, obviously of Latino origin as opposed to her all-American looking brother...but then....

3) One of the biggest miscasts in this film--and miscasting is a key flaw in this movie as a whole--is entrusting the one of the central character (for the Reed/Sue/Doom triangle is the engine that drives the script) to an actress who's not only incapable of handling weighty emotional acting, but doesn't even seem to want to be bothered to act in this silly comic book movie. Yeah, you look cute in your skin-tight scuba suit, Ms. Alba...but no thanks.

4) On the other hand, Evans and Chiklis are magnificent in their roles. These two definitely have that grumpy, argumentative-but-affectionate chemistry Johnny and Ben have, and both have these little physical moments that make you believe they're fully invested in the film as a whole.

"Look, I don't care...they cast me because I'm the Flavor
of The Week, and you're stuck with me.  DEAL WITH IT!"
5) You know, not only is the whole 'Corporate Takeover of The Bad Guy's Company To Give Him Motivation' waaaay to similar to what Norman Osborne goes through in Spider-Man, I'd swear they use the same building for Victor's HQ that they used for Norman's townhouse.

6) Movie, I can buy the accident turning Victor Von Doom into some sort of ferro-organic being. I could even accept if, let's say, he used his genius to create an electromagnetic bolt thrower or something, and an exoskeleton to make him super-strong...but giving Doom electromagnetic powers and superstrength....that's a deal breaker. Doesn't help that you cast Julian MacMahon--a competent actor, but not competent enough to make this underwritten part work.

7) If you took all the coincidences and montages out of this film's second and third act...well, you wouldn't have a second or third act.

8) Okay, can do effective 'flame guy' and 'invisible gal' about we do something about how fake your 'stretchy guy' tricks are, because...well, Reed looks like a chew toy.

"If only this mask didn't make me look like I was perpetually
asking for cheese..."
9) While I acknowledge that jealousy plays a major part in the Doom/Richards dynamics in the comics, reducing Doom's motivation solely to jealousy in this film makes him come off as...well, small and petty...which I guess plays right into the whole 'Glorified TV Pilot' feel this movie just never can escape.

10) As much as I think MacMahon didn't have the skill set to handle Doom, making him come off as a glorified frat boy, I give him credit for the way he handles the use of his powers. The way he chooses to shoot his bolts from below the's the only time Doom feels like the royalty he's supposed to be. much as I didn't care for this film when I first saw it in the theaters, it really hasn't dated well. It never gives us the feeling that it deserves to be a movie, ending up nothing more than a TV Pilot with grander ambitions.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ten Statements About....SUPERMAN THE MOVIE (Donner Cut) (1978)

"Please don't start reciting poetry, Lois, or I swear I will
drop you right now."
"Wait! Who are you?"
"A friend."

1) I know there are some people who goof on Marlon Brando's Jor-El. I am not one of them. The genius of Brando's performance is how he approaches Jor-El with a grace and quiet that is extremely similar to Christopher Reeve's performance as Superman. This creates a definite sense of continuity between the two, so that even though they look nothing alike, we believe they're related. This is especially evident in the scenes with Superman consulting the computerized version of his father in the Fortress that were added in this version.

2) You know, Gene Hackman dismissively arranging for detectives to be run over by trains, or tricking Superman through massive misdirection into opening a box full of Kryptonite is pretty damn effective. It's just that so much of his time as Lex Luthor is spent in comedy sequences bullying Ned Beatty and Valerie Perrine and acting overall like the world's most egotistical real estate con man as opposed to behaving like a credible threat. That being said...

Because nothing says evil mastermind than a bad toupee
and a comedy henchman in a straw boater....

3) I have a modicum of affection for Perrine's Ms. Techmacher (and not for the reasons you most of you have for her, so rein it in). Much like Superman III's Loreli, there's obviously more going on in Ms. Techmacher's head than Luthor cares to recognize, and it's to Perrine's credit that much of this is conveyed through her physical acting and verbal choices. And I like the fact that it's Techmacher who allows Superman to escape--not because she's genuinely a good person, because her motivations for doing so are selfish, but because there's something about Supes that moves her to action.

4) It's curious how this film doesn't really disguise that Metropolis is New York playing dress up...and yet manages to create a sense of it as a place all its own (unlike in the hideous Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, where the film was too lazy to cover up posters and other indicators of the film's New York location)..

5) I really liked how the sequence of scenes I call 'Supes' Big Night Out,' beginning with the heliocopter rescue and going through his saving Air Force One, slakes our thirst for super-heroics by giving us a number of cool super-tricks (I especially like his inteaction with the cat burglar), quotable lines and reactions. By the time that set of scenes is over, we get a real sense of Superman's powers and of his 'public face' that we carry with us for the rest of the film.

6) I still contend that Margot Kidder is not a really good Lois Lane overall, but I can certainly see why she was cast as Lois. Not only does she have a good sort of awkward chemistry between Kidder and Reeve, she has a good sense of comic timing that makes what could have been wince-worthy scenes actually flow well, especially the interview scene. However....

"I am a bagel in a briefcase...I am a bagel in a briefcase..."
7) Did Donner really think that Lois' monologue/song-turned-into-a-poem (and as risible as this was, imagine how it would have been as the Salkinds intended it to be, as a full-blown disco song sung by Kidder) needed to stay in the film? I'm thoroughly into the flying sequence, can certainly understand what's going through these two people's head through their physicality and expressions...and then the chilling words 'Can you read my mind?' kills the mood dead.

8) What is it about super-hero movies and newspaper editors? While I have great love for Lane Smith's version on Lois And Clark, Jackie Cooper's Perry White is a joy to watch. Seeing him go through these great monologues in front of his employees is nothing less than entertaining.

9) One of the many truly brilliant things about Christopher Reeve is how, much like Brando's Jor-El, his voice remains level and calm while also conveying a number of emotions. Not only does it put him in sharp contrast with everyone around him, setting him apart from the rest of the cast, but it makes that one inarticulate roar of rage when he finds Lois dead truly heart-breaking.

10) Another truly brilliant thing? It's been said before, but Reeve makes Clark and Supes truly different characters--and you can see how he transforms himself literally in front of the camera so effortlessly that you can one hundred precent believe that everyone around him buys them as different people.

Overall...unapologetic about what it was, this is an essential film for students and fans of super-hero movies, a near-perfect machine that just ticks along never faltering for a second.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ten Statements About....VERONICA MARS SEASON TWO, EPISODE THREE 'Cheatty Cheatty Bang Bang' (2005)

"How do you get along without actual, you know, talent,Ms. Carpenter?"

"Somewhere that million chimps with their million typewriters must've finally written King Lear, because Sheriff Lamb is actually right about something. I have seen this man before."
1) As mentioned earlier, the mini-mysteries (in this case, Cassidy hiring Veronica to catch Charisma Carpenter's Kendall cheating) end up serving the overarc while giving us a satisfying done-in-one puzzle for us fans. Of course, we're still early enough in the season that some of the additions to this overarc, like the man washed up ashore with Veronica's name in his palm, just add to the maze we're going to spend a year trying to transverse.

2) As terrific as this season is--and I really do feel it is the best of the three seasons this series lasted--there are a couple of really baffling dead ends and we see early on with the first rumblings of what is going to be a really daft subplot involving the Fennels and the skeletons in their closet. Okay, it's just a little reaction of Alicia's when Keith asks her to come with him on a trip to Chicago right now, and a couple of appearances by a mysterious, vaguely menacing man, but trust me...soon we'll be up a cul de sac the series didn't need to go down.

3) The connection of our dead body to Aaron Echolls is actually sort of clever, as it gives us, the audience, a credible possible solution to the overarc tied in with last season's overarc. This ends up diverting us away from the real villain, who has shown his face several times already, and will show it a number of times before this season is over.

Everybody turns their back on Beaver...
4) This episode does feature the first one on one interaction between Duncan and Logan this season--and it is interesting how, even at this point, Jason Dohring is a little ahead of the game. The way he allows Logan all this anger at being abandoned--and then slips in the one thing that should unify these two friends--is very interesting. Pity that Logan is one of those characters that the writers don't seem to know what to do with, as he sort of drifts from ill-defined sub-plot to ill-defined sub plot for the first half of this season; he rapidly becomes the character the writers think is essential to the show, but have no idea what to do with...and it gets sort of worse next season.

5) I was never much of a Charisma Carpenter fan--thought she was kinda shrill and one-note in Buffy--but let's give her credit for one thing. When she needs to do a little comedic facial acting, like she does in her scene with Veronica in the gym, she's very, very good.

6) More reasons why I think Enrico Colantoni is an amazing actor--look at the moment when he discusses wanting to become Sheriff again...yes, he's joking during most of that, but he keeps that somewhat serious tone and face from when he tells Alicia, 'Yes. Part of me likes being that guy.' It makes it very clear how important this opportunity is to him, even when he's making cracks about Veronica struggling to wrestle methheads into the cop car.

7) We've talked in the past about some of the really small done-in-one characters--Michael Kostroff's Mr. Pope is in maybe ten minutes of this episode spread out over the first two acts, and yet this actor infuses this teacher with a great deal of life and moral character. That he refuses Veronica's advice when it becomes obvious the Casablancas scam is about to go belly up speaks volumes for what kind of man he is...and that Kostroff sells it without going into hysterics is commendable.

8) Boy, that extended cameo by Courtney Taylor-Taylor, lead singer of the Dandy Warhols, was a bit...random, wasn't it?

Richard Casablancas...the lame-ass you get when you can't
get Jake Kane....
9) Here's why David Starzyk's Richard Casablanacas never quite works--unlike Jake Kane, Richard gets maybe four scenes over two episodes, then disappears in a rush when Cassidy reveals that Kendall has been cheating. Granted, the whole point of introducing Richard is to drive home Cassidy's feelings of neglect, but there needed to be more life in the elder Casablancas for this to work.

10) And we end with Veronica making the connection we made--that if the dead man on the beach was a stunt coordinator connected with Aaron Echolls, he probably was hired to cause the bus crash to kill her. And the brilliance of this is that it strengthen what the show has led the audience to believe...which allows their misdirection to continue further beyond this episode.

Overall...while this episode features a couple of the messy bits that will detract from this season as a whole (I'm not even mentioning the continued wince-itude that is Tessa Thompson), there are enough good bits that make this watchable.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ten Statements About....BUG (2006)

Michael Shannon shows Ashley Judd the budget for this film.
 "It's not a matter of opinion. An organism just is or isn', is there bugs or aren't there?"

1) The first thing that strikes me? How Ashley Judd is not afraid to look unglamorous. Without make-up or haircare, she seems downright normal...although her behavior in the opening, near-silent first ten minutes makes it clear she's anything but.

2) The biggest problem director William Friedkin had to overcome was how to make a film that's, at its core, a one-set stage play...and it's remarkable how he chooses to keep the film vital through framing and camera movement.

3) And speaking of that framing...I find it interesting that the Jodd's Agnes and Michael Shannon's Peter are originally framed normally only for them to be framed further and further away from the center of the frame when their dementia starts taking over. It's a subtle cue, and an effective one.

Boy, this remake of Singing in the Rain took a weird turn...
4) You know, it's obvious right from the start that Peter is not right in the head, even when Shannon is behaving all amiable in the film's first act. But the genius of the script is that we get a big ol' heaping slice of Harry Connick's Jerry as a compare and contrast in that first act. Because Jerry is so obviously malevolent, we are tricked into overlooking Peter's obvious off-centeredness....and by the time we have to accept that yes, this is the Wrong Man for Agnes to get together with, it's too late.

5) A lot is made of the way Agnes' son disappeared while she was in the supermarket, and some unperceptive viewers might think that plot thread is discarded without any resolution...but it's not there to be resolved. It's there to further illustrate Agnes' descent into Peter's insanity, as she connects every bad thing to his conspiracy-theory-addled delusions.

6) I can understand why we get these cutaways to insects and the like, but they're not really necessary--Friedkin's direction is strong enough to carry this film without these tricks. More effective is the heliocopter cues every time our couple's mental state deteriorates.

7) Yeah, this is a psychological horror story that doesn't rely on shock effects, but as someone who had some serious dentist phobias, the sequence involving Peter and a set of pliers...shudder.

8) Boy, that last act, taking place after Peter and Agnes has covered the entire apartment with tinfoil, turns a set we're intimately familiar with by now into an alien landscape. It helps that the tinfoil casts everything in a bluish light.

"I see you did the place up in early nutbag..."
9) It's obvious that Brian F. O'Bryan's Dr. Sweet's fate is marked right from the start...but so good and mannered is O'Bryan's performance that you actually feel sad that he's about to be cut open by a mentally ill man.

10) If I ever had any doubt about Judd as an actress, they're gone after her monologue in the third act. Watching her very subtlely yet slowly start to weave her sad reality with threads of Peter's conspiracy-based dementia is stunning. interesting curiousity that manages to transcend its one-set two-character limitations through canny camera movement, framing and some excellent central performances, this may not be for those people who find the PG-13 CGI horror drivel the height of the genre...but if you have a more adventurous taste for the genre, this might be worth a watch...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ten Statements About....VERONICA MARS SEASON TWO, EPISODE TWO 'Driver Ed' (2005)

Kevin Smith in this episode?  How can that be?
"Jessie, I wouldn't even know where to start with that. I mean, how do you prove that someone didn't kill themselves?"
"If I knew, I wouldn't be waiting for Veronica Mars in a bathroom."
1) And we start this episode with Veronica experiencing some guilt--and oh, yeah, the rather...annoying debut of Tessa Thompson's Jackie Cook. I warned you about her last episode, but to reiterate--she's the most unwelcome cast member since, well, ever, and no matter how much Thomas and company try to get you to have sympathy for her later on, we never do. And what's more, the fact that Wallace falls for her so hard so quickly sort of diminishes him in our mind.

2) Notice how Diane Ruggerio's script still uses the 'done in one mini-mystery' format...only this mini-mystery ties directly into the overarc, as Veronica is hired to prove that the bus driver responsible for last episode's tragedy didn't do it to commit suicide...

3) And on top of that, the shakedown cruise of the first season has given our writing staff a little more confidence in dealing with multiple balls--for an example, witness how the build up of the storyline involving Woody Goodman and his political ambitions dovetail nicely not only with the ongoing background noise of the increasing racial and economic tensions in the city, but introduces an intriguing slant in the character arc of Keith Mars. We're on edge with Guttenberg's Woody since everything about his presence screams 'this is your villian for the season'...and yet, his interplay with Keith is very genuine and he seems real in his desire to get things done (notice how he appears in the background of Sheriff Lamb's press conference).

"Noooo, Wallace!  Stay away from Annoying New Supporting
Romantic Interest Girl!"
4) Oh, yeah...this is the episode that features Kevin Smith in a small role. He's...okay, I guess (a damn sight better than Joss Whedon when he shows up a few episodes later), but he's dripping with red herring oil....

5) Another introduction--David Starzyk's Richard Casablancas, the father of Dick and Cassidy. I'm going to be honest--he never quite makes an impression, coming off throughout his appearances as a sort of 'Jake Kane Light', but he is essential in contributing to the overarc in a way that will pay out toward the end of this season.

6) I really appreciate how the solution to the mini-mystery comes out of a shift of perception that's thoroughly logical given the circumstances--yes, Sheriff Lamb gets it wrong, but not due to incompetence but placing the suicide note in the context of the situation as he sees it, whereas Veronica sees the real circumstance and acts upon it. And while we're on the subject...

7) The ultimate solution doesn't give Jessie the kind of comfort we'd expect it to--it's a solution that opens up a whole new box of messiness, and doesn't necessarily translate into accomplishing the goal of getting the insurance company to pay out.

8) Now here's something that I do think the second season--and especially the third season--tends to do that I think detracted from the show...namely pump up the soap operatics. The whole side trip to Veronica sleeping with Duncan and then learning that...dumdumdum...Logan has rented the suite next door just drags the show down into the netlet mud, erasing the smartness of the show even for a few minutes.

And the plot thickens....
9) Reasons why I love Enrico Colantoni as an actor--the single, sustained shot of his face as he watches Sheriff Lamb dismiss Jessie is magnificent. His expression doesn't change a whit, and yet you can see everything that is going through his head, including an increasing outrage.

10) And then, after putting paid to Wallace's mini-mystery and giving us a cool lil' bit between Bell and Colantoni which includes the hint that he knows she had sex....Ruggerio grabs hold of our attention to drive home that this is all about the overarc, as we get the stinger with Veronica's name written on the bus driver's corpse.

Overall...a pretty good episode bouyed by some great guest performances, the best thing about this is how it keeps introducing threads that all play into the greater tapestry of the overarc. Yeah, we're going to see some of those threads get pretty inconsequential soon, but right now we're just salivating for more.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ten Statements About....STIR OF ECHOES 2: THE HOMECOMING (2007)

Rob Lowe lights a candle for his career
after appearing in this film...
1) I knew I was in trouble with this film when it opened with an overexposed flashback to Rob Lowe's Ted in Iraq. Not because it was an overexposed flashback with artfully blurred sound and stutter-steppy movement...this film was going to be trouble because it was obviously shot on 'film look' video, which means that it would have none of the nuanced cinematorgraphy of the original.

2) And make no bones about it--this film is as subtle as being punched in the face repeatedly. Writer/director Ernie Barbarash seems intent on making sure everything that worked in the first film is discarded here. It's underlit, its scares are arbitrary and without logic, it's in-your-face where the original was subtle, and its lack of a sense of place is so awkward that I didn't realize this took place in the same neighborhood as the original until Lowe downloads an article from the Chicago Tribune.

3) On the plus side, Rob Lowe is so, so much better than this film deserves...and there are these rare moments when you catch sight of Lowe's face, and you realize he knows it as well. His performance is in an entirely different realm than this half-assed piece of crap needed.

4) You know, I don't like Vik Sahay's performance as Lester in Chuck on about the same level as I don't like Jennifer Morrison's as Cameron in House...doesn't mean I enjoy seeing him beaten, set on fire and locked in a dumpster.

5) And then there's the one rather tenuous connection to the original--namely the misguided appearance by an adult Jake Witzky, who self-blinds himself in an attempt to keep out the voices. Zachary Bennett's brief appearance is shouty and abrasive, and is easily the worst thing in an entire garden of awfulness.

6) Someone should have told Mr. Barbarash that the cookie cutter anti-Iraq War Gangsta Rap is not an adequate stand-in for 'Paint It Black'. For that matter....

7) ...while I'm sure Mr. Barbarash wanted to something truly meaningful about how the fallout from 9/11 encouraged racism and hatred, his treatment of this theme is not only winge-worthy in its heavy-handedness, it serves to date the film as quickly as its released. I can watch the original film over ten years later and it still feels new and current and modern. I watch this one and it already feels like a relic.

Beg all you want, Mr.'re stuck in this movie.
8) Are we really supposed to have any sympathy for Lowe's wife and kid? Granted, Ben Lewis' overdone pissed-offedness makes him unsympathetic even before we learn he's a murderer...but the fact that his wife, played by the dull and lifeless Marnie McPhail, tries to bully Ted into covering up the murder when she learns about it doesn't make you want to cheer her on. Of course, if these two actors were anything other than, well, mediocre, maybe they'd have been able to get a more interesting reaction out of us.

9) And the funny thing? At its core, all the hubbub at the front end about the Iraq war and Post-Traumatic Stress and the inconsequential. The only reason Barbarash puts it there is as a red herring...but because he puts so much emphasis on it, it hinders the flow of the story. It's the sort of complications that the original avoided (notice how everything that seems to be a red herring, like the thing with the babysitter, all dovetails into Samantha's story). and the ultimate result is that the film feels padded even with its shorter running time.

We couldn't get the rights to LIDSVILLE, so...
10) I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that the special effects scares show none of the thought or intelligence that the original showed...but it is odd how delighted it seems in the extreme gore the original managed to withhold on us.

Overall...In a perfect world, Eric Barbarash would be required by law to report to David Koepp's house so that he could be kicked in the crotch every week for pretending this mess has any sort of connection to his film. As it is, all I can say is...avoid.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ten Statements About....INVADERS FROM MARS (1986)

"He is not a madball...he is my BOYFRIEND!"
"They're huge, ugly, giant, slimy Mr. Potato Heads!"

1) The biggest flaw in this film--a flaw that threatens to topple it whole into true suckitude--is the performance of lead Hunter Carson. The kid has his face screwed up perpetually as if he's trying to recover from being hit by a 2x4, and his line reading are overdone. However...

2) the reason this flaw doesn't kill this film is that Carson not only has a good rapport with his real life mother Karen Black, who plays his estwhile ally school nurse Linda, but his onscreen mother and father, Timothy Bottoms and Larraine Newman. Even with Carson's lackluster performance, the three of them feel like an actual family, which makes the changes in the parents so creepy in spite of the subtlety.

3) In fact, Timothy Bottoms' George Gardner gives, hands down, the film's best performance. The changes he affects between Normal George and Possessed George are amazingly subtle, yet recognizable. I could certainly believe that the adults would not notice that George is different.

Maybe the little guy was dropped on his head as
a kid...yeah, that's it...
4) Boy, does Louise Fletcher dig into his scenery dinner with both hands as Mrs. Mckeltch, who becomes the human 'face' of the aliens. Granted, since an argument can be made that her conversion happens before we first meet her, we never get a sense of her 'before' self, but her vigorous performance makes for some fun--and since this film is not about scares per se, but fun, it's exactly what the film needs.

5) And that's the big surprise--that Tobe Hooper never loses sight of the fact that the original was a science fiction film for kids. Thus, there is more action than violence, and the scare scenes are more gross than horrifying, like when Carson catches Fletcher downing a live frog.

6) I really dig the alien designs by Sam Winston, these strange madball like monstrosities that are mostly teeth with long arms and stubby legs. Plus it's obvious a lot of thought went into the design of the ship around them, with its emphasis on round objects--even their guns are orbs that hang onto the side of their heads. It's distinct...and yet, it's also comes off as if a child's drawing came to life.

7) It's weird seeing Karen Black in this film. She's at the end of her 'sex symbol' days, but is still physical enough to carry on all the running around and screaming she's asked to assay...but even now, it's hard for me to see her then without also seeing the human grotesque she has become.

"I'm in the alien scalping business...and business is picking up."
8) Is James Karen not one of the most under-appreciated character actors of this era? We see him once again assaying a character different from the ones he's more noted for--and like those other roles, he infuses his idealized General Climet Wilson with a life all its own, making him come off as a soldier's soldier, a grown up boy scout.

9) I like the fact that just as that first act comes off as a typical young boy's nightmare, that third act comes off as a typical young boy's action dream. The soldiers all defer to him, everyone is all about protecting him first and foremost, and it's David who provides the essential information that allows everyone to escape. And because this whole climax is tailored to David's interests and desires it doesn't make the 'it was all a dream' twist come off as a cheat, but as a logical conclusion after what we've seen.

10) If I was Tobe Hooper, I would have ended this film a tiny bit earlier, with David looking on horrified as Strange Lights Play On His Face. Sure, the real last shot, with him giving us that same horrified look as he opens his parent's door, is kinda ambiguous, but the shot of the ship landing sort of blunts what could have been a chilling moment.

Overall...forgotten because of the one-two punch of it being a Tobe Hooper film with no blood and a Cannon Film (man, was it weird seeing that old 'unfolding hexagon' logo at the start of the pic), this is a shockingly affectionate little paen to kid's science fiction that has equally shocking excellent moments. I've always assumed that Hooper was one of those directors who had only one good film in him who had the misfortune of doing that one good film right out the box...but this shows what he could have done if he wasn't pushed back into the horror box time and again.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ten Statements About....IMMORTALS (2011)

"Raaaaah!  I's a scary method actor on the decline!"
"Deeds are immortal. Flesh is not."

1) I know there are some people who would sneer that is Tarsem's attempt to 'me-too' a film on the back of other virtual set historical fantasies as 300 and the modern Clash of The Titans. But that's not the case; it's just that Tarsem has been waiting until technology and, more importantly, film language has caught up with his vision. This film's look and feel is consistent with his previous films, and he seems tailor made for this kind of widescreen spectacle....

2) ...which is why it's so frustrating that this script is an unholy mess. Obviously written to be a cash-in on those above cited films, it can't decide what it wants to be. Characters who speak in mock classical dialogue sit side by side with those who speak in idomatic modern English, the film wants to be a humanist propaganda piece while also wanting to throw us monsters and gods, there is an attempt to be realistically violent while also giving us superhuman fight scenes, it gives lip service to historical accuracy while also going whole hog into myth-world...the inconsistencies go on.

3) Henry Cavill certainly knows how to be vigorous, dancing on the edge of being a scenery chewer without jumping in with both feet. He just the right amount of larger-than-life theatrical for this kind of film.

(and yes, in case you're wondering...that means I feel a bit more confident in his taking on Superman two years hence.)

One of the benefits of being an action hero in Anceint Greece?
You get to sleep with the virgin oracle Frieda Pinto...
4) Frieda Pinto--who is absolutely stunning--seems to have a face and body made for these kinds of epics. She naturally draws the eyes, and looks like she stepped out of a particularly vividly drawn edition of Bullfinch's Mythology.

5) It's particularly comforting to know that even when he's playing a marauding king from the Age of Myth, Mickey Rourke still plays...well, Mickey Rourke.

6) There's a weird recurring thing in this film where the script hamfistedly sets up something to happen in such a way that you know it's coming a mile off and yet, when it does happen--like when the Hellenic Council Member played by Stephen MacHattie dickers and calls for discussion only to have him be beheaded before he starts his bid for peace--there's a strange sense of satisfaction.

7) It looks rather obvious to me that Tarsem is more excited by the goofy stuff up on Mount Olympus with the Gods and the other fantasy elements. When he has to focus on the intrigue going on in the real world, the pacing slows perceptibly, and the coherence of the story loses focus. This is particularly obvious--painfully so--during the early parts of the second act, where a long stretch of the film is devoted to the capture of Theseus and the 'gathering of the team' that will be Theseus' traveling companions for the rest of the film.

How to recognize Greek Gods #15:  Greek Gods all wear
goofy golden headwear...
8) If you want proof of how far ahead Tarsem is in understanding the film language of the modern genre film, take a look at the fight scenes. While they do have faint echoes of both the ramping-happy sequences that populate Zack Snyder's recent films and the shaky cam of so many others, Tarsem is able to keep the action focused so that we know exactly what is going on while also giving us a sense of extreme hyperreality, like everything is going on around us in double time.

9) You know...if you don't want to make it obvious that this is a bid to squeeze some more money out of the people who liked 300, you prolly shouldn't end the film with a sequence that pretty much evokes the 'and now Greece has a future' feel of that film...or give Theseus the sort of big ass speech to the massed soldiers that Leonides gave his men...or...

You get the idea.

10) what was the point behind building up Joseph Morgan's Lysander to be a kind of anti-Theseus when, come the big confrontation he's just quickly run through? Okay, I get that the screenwriters wanted the big confrontation to happen between Theseus and Hyperion, but you shouldn't have spent so much time with that guy just to have him written off.

Overall...while I rejoice that Tarsem is back (and apparently back for good, as he's already gotten Mirror, Mirror, his version of Snow White in post-production), this film tries to be everything for everyone and ends up being nothing for nobody. If you're interested in the visuals and the storytelling, there might be something here for you. If you're interested in an actual story, well....

I went to the AMC Village 7 for this, and got a grand total of seven trailers, including the teaser for The Avengers, which is as good on the big screen as on the small, the latest Jason Statham vehicle Safe (I'm convinced that Statham has become the only 70's/80's style action star left, where he plays what is basically himself in a series of thrillers which are at their core excuses to see him beat people bloody), another viewing of the Mark Wahlberg/Kate 'I'm Generic' Beckinsale vehicle Contraband and an unnamed found footage film about three college kids experimenting with telekinesis and having things go horribly wrong.  In all, a dim view of my movie-going future.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ten Statements About....WHERE THE TRUTH LIES (2005)

You may think hot lesbian sex is all good..but when it's an
Atom Egoyan film, you're going to regret the ogling...
"See, what you have to understand is that Vince and me were essentially a boy/girl act. I was the tramp ready for any sort of action, and Vince was the gentleman always trying to make me behave myself. I was pleasure, and he was control" I was rock n' roll, and he was class. His presence gave America permission to like me."

1) While the lure of this film is its presentation as a murder mystery built around speculations on the break-up of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin (even though the facts of the characters of Lanny and Vince are altered wildly, we are never allowed to escape the idea that these are effigies of Lewis and Martin), it's typical that director Atom Egoyan manages to find ways to twist that mystery in such a way to allow his particular obsessions--grief, sexuality, emotional coldness, control--to shine through.

2) And speaking of emotional coldness, I am not sure how I feel about Alison Lohman. She has an undeniable presence, but there is also a stiffness and coldness to her as an actress that serves to keep us at arm's length, even when her character Karen is in situations that cause her passions to rise. Yes, that chilly nature makes her perfect for Egoyan's distinctive style...but I don't if it works when it comes to a murder mystery like this, where we need to feel the desire for this character to uncover the truth.

3) Whereas Lohman may be too cold for this film, Kevin Bacon is not. Unlike Colin Firth, who moves his effigy so far away from Martin that he'd be unrecognizable if Egoyan took away the marathon and the gang connections, Bacon takes a character of his own creation and logically layers on echoes of Lewis through body language and the pace of his words. And more importantly, Bacon creates a character who is monstrous at time...but also is fairly sympathetic. We feel for Lanny even as we suspect he may be a killer.

And this is me in front of the Eiffel Tower--no wait,
this is an Egoyan film, so it's a photo of you having
cosplay lesbian sex!"

4) There's an interesting 'he said/she said' element to the film, with the developing narration Karen is creating as she writes her book contrasting with the already written out memoirs of Lanny. And as the movie progresses, we see how these two narratives intertwine and reflect each other, allowing Karen to unravel the real truth behind what happened.

5) While I wasn't surprised to see the usual Egoyan acting suspects, I was pleased to see them in parts I didn't expect thanks to the more American sensibilities of this script--Maury Chaykin playing a foul-mouthed New Jersey mobster was particularly amusing.

6) People like my partner Derrick who love movies about writers might like this--Karen is pretty much the POV character, and there's a definite theme of oral history here. The core of the mystery's solution, and many of the plot beats, are triggered because someone identifying herself as a journalist was getting it all down on tape.

7) One of the drawbacks to the solution of this mystery comes from part of the motivating factor for the murder. It's not the why per se--it's the fact that the script is never clear as to the extent of that why. There is an implication that Lanny shared Vince's feelings, not only in the revelatory scene but in some of Lanny's narration...but it's never clearly stated. Egoyan is famous for being ambivalent when it comes to motivating his character, but this is a murder mystery--and a murder mystery needs to have motivation spelled out.

8) I don't know how they simulated Lohman as a ten year old child....but Ye Gods, do those brief scenes with the Alice-y dressed Karen on the telethon come off as creepy. But then, that might be intentional on Egoyan's part.

This may sound weird, but trust me...this is one of the
scariest moments in this film.
9) There's a lot of Alice In Wonderland imagery, which makes sense since Karen starts out as a wide-eyed hero worshipper obsessed on some level with the comedy duo who visited her when she was recovering from polio and ends up falling 'down the rabbit hole' into a tawdry world of lies, fetishism and misconceptions. If only Lohman was able to better pull off the before in that first act.

10) The final disclosure of what actually happened to the murdered girl works incredibly well--not only because of the true monstrousness of the act motivated out of a desire to play out a long game but because the black humor of the solution did not escape Egoyan in the least. I only wish he had found some way to work in the dialogue in a deleted scene that ends with Karen accusing the villian of not only taking a girl's life, but the heart of the girl's mother, and the father's mind. Yes, the scene played wrong and would have screwed with the pacing Egoyan maintained...but the villian's retort of 'I also took my time' is so supremely chilling he stands revealed as the grotesque we didn't suspect he was throughout the film's running time until this moment. intriguing entry in Egoyan's canon that takes a number of risks. While it doesn't succeed entirely, it has enough elements--and a tremendous performance by Bacon--that makes it very watchable.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ten Statements About....THE MASK (1994)

There are very few films where I find snot jokes acceptable.
This is one of them.
 "It's Party Time! P-A-R-T...why? Because I gotta!."

1) You know why I can watch this Jim Carrey film where he goes all gonzo when I can't stand watching him in so many others? Because Carrey underplays Stanley Ipkiss--his Stanley is very grounded and very realistic, and that makes it clear that his Mask persona is an abberation. It's an anomaly, which makes the grotesqueness of that persona's behavior understandable as opposed to some of the outright psychotic characters that Carrey plays in later films.

2) It's really impressive how director Chuck Russell established what kind of world this film exists in within minutes of its start time. Through the use of a recognizable matte, the art deco style of the titles and even the music cues, Russell makes it clear that Edge City is a weird fusion of modern and pre-WWII style, something he keeps consistent throughout the story.

Here's the best special effect of this film..
3) Look, I like Cameron Diaz as she is now, even if she is a stick insect....but MAN, has any woman ever just grabbed hold of the screen with both hands and took control of it like she does in this movie? Everything that made her what she is today is all there, plus she's got major curves and obviously knows how to use them in those production numbers. Plus....

4) of the keys to this movie is how much fun everyone is having making it. I could watch the dance number solely for the looks of pure joy on Diaz' and Carrey's face alone. This is a conedy that is made all the more fun because it looks like it was such a blast to make!

5) That being said...I really felt sad watching Richard Jeni's performance in this film, knowing that all his timing and comic sensibility that he shows in this film gave what could've been a thankless role a life of its own...and he talent away by committing suicide.

6) One of the truly ingenious things about this script is that, for all the weirdness and the gags and the special effects, it's Stanley as Stanley who saves the day and gets the girl. The Mask is not the hero, but a device--literally--that allows him to recognize in himself the qualities he needs to be the man he wants to be.

7) Give Peter Reigert credit--if I didn't know he was an foreign national, I wouldn't have known from his portrayal as Lt. Kellaway. Granted, it's an urban cop informed by 40's cop movies....but given that Edge City has one foot in the whole WWII style, it works.

8) You know...Diaz is volcanic and all, but there's a lot to be said about Amy Yasbeck as Peggy Brandt who has her own kind of sexiness to her. I almost regret that she disappears whole from the film the second she hands Stanley over to Dorian (I understand that a deleted scene shows the Mask'd Dorian throwing her into the printing press and killing her), as I would've liked to see her character continue to the end.

"I've heard of the phrase 'gimme some tongue' but...ewwww...."
9) And speaking of Dorian...I admit, I rather liked Peter Greene's Dorian as the main bad guy. Yes, the character skews a lot closer to the modern day criminal sensibilities than the rest of the film but maybe that's the point--namely that Dorian represents the encroachment of time on a timeless city, which is why his Mask'd persona is much more ruthless, dark and bloodthirsty than Ipkiss'.

10) And what discussion of this film would be complete without citing Max, the Jack Russell Terrier who plays Milo, Stanley's pet. This is one amazing dog, judging from the things they manage to get him to do without apparent aid of special effects...Hell, the one time it looks like they had to fake one of his stunts (jumping up to Stanley while our hero is incarcerated) looks all the more fake due to their attempts to cover the artifice up.

Overall...a film that still holds up due to some great performances and an attention to internal and external consistency, it works as a comedy, an adventure...and even as a semi-musical. Plus Cameron Diaz showing us exactly why she becomes Cameron Diaz.

Ten Statements About....SEE NO EVIL (2006)

Yeah, I'd be pissed if my director was
ripping off Jim Van Bebber...
"What if you get us caught, asshole?"
"By who, Captain Hook?""

1) This is a horror movie written and directed by people whose understanding of horror movies was derived solely by watching horror movies circa the mid-00's. It's all there--the video ramping, the wobbly-cam, the quick cuts, the whole derelict esthetic, the industrial hum every time we get a smash cut scare, the transposition of an innocent song with scenes of extreme carnage...I could go on, but I don't want to.

2) Actually, I could go on, but this film is shot so darkly that, quite frankly, it's hard to even figure out what's going on. Oh, sure, you can glean that all the eye-plucking and hook slinging and forcing people to choke on their own cell phones or feeding people to a pack of wild dogs (obviously all designed to appeal to the torture porn audience), but only if you squint and fiddle with the brightness control of your television...and even then you might only figure out what's going on in the abstract.

3) Hmmm...did director Gregory 'New Wave Hookers' Dark think that those video-name-tags on the kids when they're exiting their prison would allow us to understand their characters more quickly? Because, you know, I still couldn't figure out who was who, even with everyone yelling everyone else's name all the time.

4) Honestly, Mr. Dark, couldn't you have concealed that revelation about the kindly old woman from the Historical Society really being the mother of Jacob Goodnight who tortured him into becoming an eye-plucking serial murderer just a little bit more? Because anyone who didn't figure that out at, oh, roughly the ten minute mark when she's introduced really doesn't have a clue.

"I like cheese.....heh...."
5) And while we're on the subject of Jacob Goodnight, Mr. Dark...don't you think that if you're trying to create a new horror movie character ripe for a franchise--for that's what WWE Films was originally intended for, right? To create movie franchises for wrestlers so they wouldn't leave the promotion?--you should mention the character's name once? Seems counterproductive to never tell us what to call your boogeyman when you're hoping we'll want to see his further adventures.

6) Okay, I get that Christina Vidal's Christine is meant to be a Final Girl because her mentor Williams tells us how she got arrested for protecting her sister from their abusive stepfather. And I can accept that Samantha Noble's Kira can survive, even after being Jim Van Bebber'd in a cage and threatened with eye-plucking and torture by Joshua, since Dark takes pains to establish that Christine is protective of Kira. But when you spend so much time establishing how Luke Pegler's Michael beat the shit out of Kira and was out for revenge on her for sending him to prison, and show him throughout the film acting like a horny, destructive asshole....don't expect me to accept him as the film's hero in the last act.

7) The sad thing? Glen Jacobs, billed here under his wrestling name of Kane, is a real physical presence. Not only does he endeavor to show some nuance in his portrayal of Goodnight--he fails, but I respect he tried--he obviously is able to translate his physical ability as a wrestler into some decent physical acting. However, this character is so badly underwritten, and ultimately results in a downright embarrassing scene which requires Jacobs to mime masturbating while watching Noble squirm around in a cage that any credit he earns in the first two acts is pissed away in the third.

"Awwww, man...she's a hot chick, he's got a pipe, and I'm
black...I'm SO gonna die here!"
8) Considering that, at its core, this is an 'old dark house' film, there's no real sense of how this hotel that's serving as the old dark house is laid out. Hell, I didn't realize there were two sets of elevators in this place until a key point in Act Three. Similarly, there are plot seeds dropped about the history of the hotel that never blossoms or even explored beyond their being mentioned in passing. But then....

9) This film--and I have to give Dark and writer Dan Madigan some grudging respect for convincing Vince MacMahon and his then-new start-up company to finance this--doesn't have a plot. And by that I don't mean it's one of these meandering string of set-pieces I usually refer to as plotless...I mean that there's not enough story to fill an average paragraph. It's not a plot, it's not an's a pitch sentence in movie form.

10) And I can think of no more perfect metaphor as to what watching this movie felt like other than the post-credit stinger after the cast credits rolled...namely, the scene where a stray dog trots up to Jacob Goodnight's cooling corpse and--in close-up, not less!--pisses in his empty eye socket.

Overall...unless you want to watch this as a curiousity...don't. Just dont'. And for that matter, don't let porn directors direct horror movies.