I missed ten to fifteen minutes of Lady Terminator – it probably featured a character named Tania Wilson (Barbara Anne Constable) speaking as her natural self dying in San Diego, but apparently, that isn’t important. So instead, I’ll start when me and this movie crossed paths.
A beautiful woman in her birthday suit with the face and body of Tania Wilson emerges, perfect posture and all, out of the Pacific Ocean into a city that we’ll assume is Jakarta, Indonesia. Her body emasculates men mid-coitus, and I’m being cryptic with those words because I already get enough creepy Google searches. And somewhere along the way, à la Arnold Schwarzenegger from The Terminator, her naked self gets a leather jacket and shoots up people. Whatever she is – it turns out that Tania is possessed by the evil Queen of the South Sea – she needs to die, and that’s the job of some Aryan American man who relocated to Jakarta because his wife died? While he’s recovering from widower issues he finds a love interest, a TV personality/singer named Erica who is descended from the Queen’s 100th husband (how does she find the time?) and thus, the Queen’s target.
This could also be the last – and best – movie to use post-production dubbing, giving among many things, the Queen this alto that couldn’t have been Constable’s real voice and adds to her inhumanly slutty character.
This is a movie about tacky 80’s hair and ill-fitting outfits of the same decade. Who are these white people who found themselves acting in some C- movie in Southeast Asia? Did they piss off the CAA? They look to beautiful to be drifters. Constable is also responsible for the movie’s make-up department which either is good enough for a movie like this or they gave her credit for bringing her own lipstick to work. Either way, most of these people never acted again. And whatever their stories before, during or after Lady Terminator is golden material for some ‘Behind the Movies’ feature, the pieces of which should be scattered on the internets somewhere.
I wanted to start out with how after watching War Horse, I had many choices that night (a good movie or a movie I worked in) but instead I chose to see Gone, because I’m good at decisions for which I don’t have to pay. That I highly disliked Amanda Seyfried because she, sober, can only get roles that Lindsay Lohan would when she’s constantly intoxicated and that I miss Lohan and I’m glad that she’s back. That how Seyfried obtusely chooses movies so terrible that Kristen Stewart selling her soul seems dignified in comparison. Or how she talks, in interviews, the way an intoxicated person would when you’re sober. The movie itself isn’t bad, but it is a hot mess.
In Gone Seyfried’s character Jill starts out just on the edge of normalcy, suspicious walks to Portland’s Forest Park and all, until her sister Molly (Emily Wickersham) is nowhere to be found, not leaving a note nor without a change of outside clothes. She reports this incident as a missing persons case to the police like Det. Pete Hood (Wes Bentley) who hears this news while clouded by the knowledge that she’s also an ex-kidnap victim two years ago and believes that her abductor has been taking the other young women who are missing in Portland and is out to kill her because she was the one who got away. She has also been diagnosed and mentally institutionalized for a year before her sister has taken her home.
Her police report is a crucial scene, at first revealing the details of what her memory says what has happened between the last time she has seen Molly – which is before she left for her night shift at the diner (I guess that despite her mental state she has to take what she can get, or that this could have been her job when she was ‘normal’) – and the present. She talks meticulously, like a paranoiac who remembers every detail for when something bad happens to her or to her only family.
One of the movie’s contrivances is that the police is hell-bent on ignoring her at the price of her life and her sister’s. They show their doubts, revealing other cases when ‘responsible’ women become ‘wild,’ and that’s when Seyfried stops sustaining her arc and starts yelling uncontrollably at them. Maybe she needed a better director to guide her to when she’s supposed to be belligerent or calm. But whatever she does for the rest of the movie – lying to her neighbors or ‘interview subjects,’ pretending to a couple of twelve-year olds that she can get them backstage passes to a Justin Bieber concert, toting a gun and finding Molly and the killer herself – will be marred by how she behaves during her worst. It’s too early for her ‘crazy’ scene either way, which is also the fault of the structure of the screenplay.
But the script, between car chases, isn’t that bad, portraying the vernacular of these characters in their private lives. Molly tells Jill that they should get fat together. A police officer tells his female partner that ‘when a man hits a woman a second time, she’s an accomplice.’ A skateboarder tells Jill that his girlfriend thinks that another man – sorry if you had to follow all of that – has ‘rape-y’ eyes. We hear the way women talk to each other, men talk to women about other women and women telling what they really think of men. It’s the whispered prejudices pasted into two hours or less of a movie, along with its leading actress who tries her best and the Craigslist-like meeting she dives into in the end, that are this movie’s saving graces. 2.5/5
Ugh, why do I bother? Neveldine-Taylor’s Ghost Rider 2: The Spirit of Vengeance recounts the back story of the comic book because no one bothered to watch the first Ghost Rider movie. This second installment begins in ‘Eastern Europe’ just in case the powers that be who birthed this movie thought that their audience was stupid enough to use their phones to look up where Romania was in the map. Think about that while they set the ending in a specific place in Turkey, which is apparently the furthest place from heaven. Like what did Turkey ever do to deserve that? It’s a movie of locales, stopping by an American diner in between the kinetic 3D highlighting the majestic rock formations and structures of Europe and ‘Europe.’ If you count Turkey as part of the European continent and union but anyway….
And speaking of 3D, there’s some nice fetishistic shoe and sequins closeups that are nice and all. Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze goes crazy only and disappointingly once as he gets a deal from a French rogue priest (Idris Elba, with a questionable accent) to rescue a boy from being anointed as the Devil’s (Ciaran Hinds) son. Blaze and a younger woman, who is the child’s mother, go from point a to point b to carry out this mission and Blaze doesn’t even hit on her. Neveldine-Taylor combines biker Gothic pathos with infantile subculture humour but we just really want the campy version of the latter and we don’t get enough of that. In essence, we’re talking about the first boring Nicholas Cage movie, which is a shame. Anthony Head of Buffy fame cameos as a monk who dies way too soon. 1/5
For the opening sequences of this Canadian movie, we have to set our attention to the Strozkas, a loathsome suburban family, and their black sheep, Darryl (Nick McKinlay). There’s tension between the two camps that could easily be solved by better people skills or better writing.
For example, the Strozkas don’t have to verbally pounce on Darryl – the writer’s pass this off as comedy, by the way – or make fun of him for not having a driver’s license like Margaret Thatcher would. They could, instead use nepotism to get him a job so that he won’t stand out within the family or society.
Likewise, if Darryl didn’t compare employed people to Hitler, because that comparison hasn’t been used before, or if he didn’t have delusions about his childhood sweetheart still loving him, maybe I wouldn’t hate him as a main character so much. Isn’t he tired of being a loser?
Darryl’s old flame happens to be shooting a movie at the titular Moon Point, the same title Sean Cisterna’s movie a hundred miles away from him and his hateful family. So he goes on a trip with his paraplegic and recently MIT-admitted friend Femur (Kyle Mac) on the latter’s mobility device and the cart attached to it.
It would have been painful if the audience had to stick with the annoying Darryl and the whiny Femur so they inadvertently pick up a third for their journey. Along the road is a broken down car owned by boyfriend escaping Kristin (Paula Brancati). Her Sophie’s Choice to go on her way is to either an ice cream vendor who’s also a sex offender or the cart.
Kristin decides the latter and the three are on their way. Brancati is a glowing presence onscreen,a change from her gloomy yet equally powerful turn in “Degrassi TNG.” But her outgoing personality collides with her new dependence and attachment to these men, especially passive towards Darryl’s lies and amateur psychoanalysis. Why is she taking this from a stranger?
The movie has solid attempts towards being cartoony and this is a good thing, distracting from the character’s misanthropy.
This exists on flashbacks as a Darryl’s younger version reminisces about the love of his childhood’s life, drawn hearts and tears and all. These sequences have an off-kilter heart, as these pint-sized versions of the character mix age-inappropriate body, birds and bees humour with good old puppy love.
Darryl is himself a cartoon character, his lanky frame flailing around situations too strange and occasionally funny to be true. With Kristin he meets psychotic innkeepers of a Victorian-styled hotel and a AA costume party.
Another break from the messed up characters and plot happens near the end when Darryl finally meets his woman and not in the way he expects. She’s a fantasy, a woman who, despite her budding career apparently doesn’t care if her girlhood sweetheart is unemployed because she’s a good person and he is too.
This movie just affirms a man’s perceived and undeserved right for instant and consequence-free companionship, and it’s really sad that straight male nerds still think like this.
The Devil Insideis the first of less than mediocre movies that reached the top spot at the box office during 2012. I know some Oscar bait has a longer run in the theatres than this movie, but I’m reopening wounds by reminding you that it still exists.
Ms. Rossi (Fernanda Andrade) tells her story to a man filming a documentary. Her mother (Suzan Crowley) is in some Italian insane asylum run by the Catholic Church (?). When in Rome, she meets these two priests in a…University class about demonic possessions? I’ll keep an open mind because that’s what some people think about psychology then and now. In fact, exorcism was probably the norm before mental wards came into being. During the class and apres coffee-bar meetings with some of the actually enrolled students who are studying the occult. She discovers that within her new circle of friends are two priests do exorcisms that are not approved by the Church because they believe that the institution somehow is corrupt enough to disregard the well-being of some people possessed by the devil. Knowing what these knights of shining collar do on the sidelines, she enlists them into healing their mother.
But when they try to exorcise Mrs. Rossi, the devil jumps bodies from her to young renegade exorcist Father Keane – he doesn’t show symptoms until he drowns a baby. Then the devil goes to the young woman then to the man filming the documentary. This last possession leads to a anticlimactic ending. Which is unfortunate because they are going somewhere where their questions could be answered. Let’s look at what I said before. The devil jumps bodies, which means that the priests’ exorcising methods aren’t sufficient enough in extinguishing the evil entity possessing a person. The exorcists justify their actions, by saying that they’re spiritually healing certain cases that the Church considers as irredeemable. But what if the Church was in a way protecting those who could be saved, as they quarantine the possessed away from everyone. One body isn’t stronger than another so what’s stopping it from possession a holy man?
Despite of me trying to dig something into this movie, it’s constricted from expanding its ideas about the devil and God and people. And it might be because it set itself too low, choosing too small of a canvas and characters to tell their story that’s not really profound. 2/5.
- Movie Review: ‘The Devil Inside’ (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
I’m sorry for inflicting this movie unto you, which began Katherine Heigl‘s reign of terror of romantic comedies, making films more sexist that the ‘sexist’ Knocked Up. I tuned into 27 Dresses just when the impossibly altruistic Jane (Heigl) juggles two weddings during the same night. The Brooklyn Bridge backdrop during a montage makes it obvious that the studio didn’t want to pay real money for an on location shooting if this queen of box office flops follows her tradition.
Jane’s tricks a handful of people except for one man, Kyle Doyle (James Marsden), a marriage hater who writes for the style section of a minor league newspaper. Which, by the way, what other kind of newspapers are there in the Big Apple between the New York Times and tampon wrappers? Maulik Pancholy and Michael Scott’s girlfriend, by the way, costar as Kyle’s co-staffers. Anyway, Jane’s idealistic, he’s cynical, they bicker until the hour mark where he relents and they fall down the fuck in love.
Movies like this sets up glamorous stars like Heigl into ‘best friend’ types. Let’s dye her hair to a honey brunette so she’ll look frumpier compared to her hotter blonde sister, Tess (Malin Akerman), the latter falling in love with Jane’s boss (Edward Burns, Christy Turlington’s husband)! And what kind of person goes to the club and wears a top that makes her look like a Regency-era woman? Although I do admit that there are parts of this characterization that I believe. Heigl morphs her slender bone structure into showing us herself in her younger years, the kind of girl-turned ingenue with puffy cheeks and wore braces as a child. And there’s something about her line deliveries, a little husk in her alto voice, effectively playing a woman that’s frazzled yet witty.
And you know what? I also don’t mind the script, making its main gimmick to make Heigl look like a loser. It also allows its ensemble of B-list actors to talk on top of each other. This is the kind of movie that would be deemed a ‘classic’ had it been released in the 80’s or earlier. James Marsden’s charisma willfully distracts us from how Kyle is Jane’s terribly written foil.
Again, it’s ridiculous to have Katherine Heigl as the ‘always the bridesmaid’ type but it’s equally unfair for the talented Judy Greer to keep holding the ‘slutty best friend’ torch. She thanklessly gives the movie its dirty tongue colour – watch out for some daddy issues and sexual references from other characters too – and she slaps Heigl here, which is something, I assume, that you also want to do.
- Seriously, Another Katherine Heigl Movie?! (lessthanthreeit.wordpress.com)
Girl (Jennifer Lopez) meets guy, guy’s mother Viola (Jane Fonda) hates girl, Fonda plays a character less human than the one she played in Barbarella, piece of crap. At least Lopez has enough sense of humour to let the other characters make fun of her figure. And the slapstick wasn’t that bad. I don’t know what I had in me to watch Monster-in-Law, but I blame Fonda, wanting to be a latent best actress completist and all. No, obviously this movie didn’t have awards I’ve heard of, but it’s…fulfilling to see how the mighty have fallen. Although the film has competent cinematography, despite Fonda being mercilessly lit. I do want to pitch a Fonda movie where she, Gloria Steinem and Stephen Colbert cook for feminists. Ninety minutes of it.
Oh hai, Duck Philips, playing the most self-aware asshole in this film. And yes, that title is arbitrary. Also, Will Arnett is in this movie, his character apparently into college age chicks.
My real purpose for writing this post is o upload a picture of Adam Scott wearing women’s clothing. He’s one half of the only family she has in a film full of estranged characters. He doesn’t play his gay character stereotypically, as expected of the versatile character actor. In the first scene, Lopez’ character tells him that he’s allowed to rummage through her drawers while she’s away. If any of my real female friends tells that same joke, I will cut them. The end!