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Fast & Furious 6 (2013), bigger cast, bigger biceps, bigger explosions and bigger stakes.

April 13, 2017


MY CALL:  This sequel seems to mostly be about “more.” We have more of everything fans love down to more fights and chase scenes. I’ll always consider part 5 the best, but part 6 is sure to please any action movie fan.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Fast & Furious 6Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) for one. Of course, there are also a lot of other Fast and Furious films.  Personally, after the original (for the sake of historical franchise significance), I most strongly recommend Fast Five (2011; for a second opinion check out Mark’s review of Fast Five), followed by Furious 7 (2015), and this sixth installment (for a second opinion check out Mark’s review of Fast and Furious 6). However, Mark ranked the films quite differently than I did—Ranking Fast and Furious 1-6—and he’d suggest his favorite to be 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003). For yet more Fast and Furious opinions be sure to check out our Podcast on Corona, Belgian Beer, BBQ and the Fast and Furious films, A Closer Look at the Corona Drinking in The Fast and The Furious Franchise and Paul Walker’s 7 Best Fast and Furious Moments.

Fast Five (2011) took the typical sequel path of “going global” and taking us to Brazil.  But evidently a single venue change just isn’t enough.  Now we find scenes speckled all over the globe: a crime scene in Moscow, Brian in Spain’s Canary Islands, Han and Gisele in Hong Kong, and now the crew is summoned to meet in London.

Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson; Pain and Gain, Ballers, G I Joe: Retaliation) has even greater anger management issues than in Fast Five (2011) and I couldn’t be happier about it.  I guess it’s a bit comical when, during an interrogation scene, he tosses a pretty large dude up into the ceiling and across the room into the wall.  But The Rock is such a physically tremendous person with such a bigger-than-life persona that, you know what, I’m just gonna’ give him a pass and enjoy it.

So, at the end of Fast Five (2011) Hobbs said, “I’ll see you soon.”  And here he is knocking on Dom’s door asking for some big time favors in exchange for full pardons for his crew.  What’s the deal?  Dom’s crew of international criminals need to help Hobbs catch yet another crew of international criminals that also has an affinity for highspeed precision cars.

The already huge cast of Fast Five (2011) grows yet stronger—like a ‘roided out bicep!  In fact, with some added muscle mass from preparing for Pain and Gain (2013), The Rock has also literally come into this sequel bigger than before!  We sadly lose the comic relief of Leo and Santos, but gain Riley (Gina Carano; Haywire, Deadpool)!  And for our new villain we have Shaw (Luke Evans; Dracula Untold, Beauty and the Beast, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies), who is far more methodical than Fast Fives Reyes.

At 46 years old (in 2013), Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel; The Last Witch Hunter, Guardians of the Galaxy, Riddick) shows us that you’re never too old to wear a tight white tank top and continues to choose bare biceps over sleeves, Brian (Paul Walker; Brick Mansions, Hours, Into the Blue) and Mia (Jordana Brewster; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Chuck, Dallas) are starting a new family, Gisele (Gal Gadot; Fast and Furious, Dawn of Justice: Batman vs Superman, Wonder Woman), Han (Sung Kang; Tokyo Drift, Fast and Furious, Ninja Assassin, Bullet to the Head), Roman (Tyrese Gibson; Legion, Transformers 1-3, 2 Fast 2 Furious), Tej (Chris Ludacris Bridges; Crash, Hustle and Flow, Gamer, 2 Fast 2 Furious, and rap performing artist) and Elsa (Elsa Pataky; Snakes on a Plane, Fast Five) return to round out our cast of heroes.  But, most importantly, everyone gets their moment to shine whether through humor or sentiment.

When we first meet Shaw he zooms from an exploding crime scene in an armored stock car aided by his accomplice Letty (Michelle Rodriguez; Resident Evil, Machete Kills, Avatar), who is actually alive and suffering from soap opera-levels of amnesia!  Shaw’s team is like the evil mirror image of our favorite drag-racing crew, down to the “white Hobbs” (Kim Kold; Star Trek Beyond, Deliver Us from Evil), wispy mysterious woman (Clara Paget; Black Sails), and Jah (Joe Taslim; The Raid: Redemption, Star Trek Beyond) among others.  This cast is humungous!

Director Justin Lin (Tokyo Drift, Fast and Furious, Fast Five, Star Trek Beyond) has brought us more than just a bigger cast, but bigger action.  Consistent with Fast Five (2011), our chase scenes are not only by car but on foot.  And one split-cut pair of chase scenes lead us to my favorite part of the movie: THE SUBWAY FIGHT.  Riley and Letty beat the ever-loving crap out of each other as if this was a UFC event while Han and Roman team up against Shaw’s wily martial artist Jah.  The fights trade scenes as the fighters trade brutal blows—I winced a few times.  The close-quarters combat choreography was excellent!  What I loved about these fights (unlike so many non-finale fight scenes in action flicks) is that no one is flawless here.  Everyone gets beaten up, and the winners scramble or limp away after being bombarded with drop-kicks, choke holds, arm bars and spin kicks.  These brawls honor the high standard set by Fast Five’s (2011) Dom-Hobbs fight, complete with rib-crunching tackles.  The fight scenes and action sequence in the finale is a blast as well.

The car-crashing, shoot’em up action is in high gear, teeny bikinis get their fair share of screen time, subtle jokes about “Samoan Thor,” a destructive high-speed tank scene, and a great soundtrack all complement this action movie favorite.  But don’t forget, it’s not just about the action.

Somehow even more than in Fast Five (2011), you’ll hear the word “family” every ten minutes just remind you that this all started with barbeques, Corona, and drag racing in the ghetto.  In fact, you’ll even see a grill in the first 15 minutes harkening back to Dom’s driveway get-togethers.  But we are far from the NO2 days of living life a quarter mile at a time. Now everyone’s a millionaire! Despite that wealth, Dom remains a romantic and his heart will always belong to Letty.

We end part six much as it all started 12 years prior with everyone sharing a barbeque, Coronas, and grace with family at the old 1327 Toretto house.  We also end exactly as part 5, “I’ll see you soon.”

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John’s Horror Corner: The Void (2016), the indie horror where The Thing’s (1982) practical effects meet Lovecraft and Barker!

April 12, 2017

MY CALL:  This indie horror film performs wonders with a small budget, honors your favorite concepts of 80s horror and practical effects, and honors Clive Barker, John Carpenter and H. P. Lovecraft to end.  MORE MOVIES LIKE The VoidThe Thing (1982), the prequel/remake of The Thing (2011), Harbinger Down (2015)…but also The Fly (1986), Hellraiser (1987) and Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988).  I’d focus more on the four 80s suggestions, even if you’re young and think “older horror” isn’t your style.

I’ve been waiting for this film for a loooong time—ever since I wrote Trailer Talk: The Void, an unfinished Lovecraftian horror labor of love that needs your help.

Small town sheriff Daniel (Aaron Poole; The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh) brings an apparently drunk, injured man to a hospital.  Preparing to relocate, the hospital is running on bare essential supplies and minimal staff including Dr. Powell (Kenneth Welsh; The Exorcism of Emily Rose, TimeCop, Of Unknown Origin), nurse Allison (Kathleen Munroe; Alphas) and trainee nurse Kim (Ellen Wong; Silent Night).

Shortly after admitting the patient things get weird…fast!  A nurse kills a patient and mutilates herself, the phones and even police radio go out, murderous cultists surround the hospital, the electricity goes out, and you know the Lovecraftian sh** has hit the fan when patient zero has bloody whipping tentacles emerging from his face!

The dialogue is really just passable with equally unimpressive writing (but a great premise), but I’m going to call this a great horror film anyway!  Written and directed by Steven Kostanski (Manborg, The ABCs of Death 2 segment W is for Wish) and Jeremy Gillespie (Father’s Day)—two men reared on the creative and effects side of the camera—I am dying to see what they can do with a little more experience (now under their belt) and a bigger budget on their next project. And there better be a next project because, and I think I speak for all of us, we want more of this!  Why?  Because the effects were OUTSTANDING!!!!! Their premise was also a story I’d like to see further developed—but I can’t explain that without huge spoilers.

We graduate from some flailing face tentacles to a hulking, disfigured amalgam of human body parts and tentacles.  It’s all practical effects and it’s all glorious.  Even if clearly birthed from a humble budget, this is exactly what gorehounds want!  When the creature kills, it pumps its tentacles down its victims’ eye sockets and other orifices so as to absorb more helpless cadaver into the monster’s mass.  A head even emerges tearing its way out of the mutated body—much as The Thing (1982)—and we see lifeless, shambling mounds of reanimated undead flesh with melted mozzarella-gooiness.

The violence and gore includes loads of blood, wounds and flesh rending.  There’s even something of a metamorphosis through a messy birth scene.  But far more gratifying than the slimy masses of tentacles that await is the 80s homage to practical effects and iconic horror influences worn on its sleeve.  Not just the conceptual aspects of Lovecraft’s madness or Clive Barker’s Labyrinth (here the Abyss) and even a touch of Evil Dead (1981), but we find special effects honoraria to The Fly (1986), Hellraiser (1987) and Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)!

This film offers a lot…but it may not be what you expected.  If you want to see something that will unnerve you and frequently make you jump—watch Life (2017).  Want something with a slower tension built up through an atmosphere of uncomfortable mystery and dread?  That’s The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016).  No…this…this atmosphere is pure weird unsease…and it’s gross!  As I hinted before on the writing, this is a passable movie…but a passable movie with outstanding special effects and an excellent premise that honors (not rips-off, but honors) all the things we love and miss about 80s horror.  The ideas brought forth by these filmmakers are exceptional and I must see more projects spawned the Abyss.

MFF Special: A Closer Look at the Corona Drinking in The Fast and The Furious Franchise

April 11, 2017

You can have any brew you want, as long as it’s a Corona

Socrates (AKA Dom Toretto)

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With these beautiful words The Fast and the Furious announced its glorious partnership with Corona. Corona saw its zenith in The Fast & The Furious, but it got a massive push in Furious 7 when Dom famously turned down delicious Belgian beer in favor of a bucket of Corona. Corona and the Fast world have become synonymous with each other and have built a beautiful world in which nobody gets drunk or gains weight due to excessive drinking. However,  after rewatching all the films I’ve come to realize Corona doesn’t play that big of a role in the Fast world. In my mind, the entire team are always incorrectly chugging bottled beer while cruising around the earth engaging in shenanigans. I am 100% serious when I say I was surprised when I compiled the numbers of Corona sightings. Here are the numbers.

  1. The Fast and the Furious – 12 bottles opened and consumed (but never finished) – several empty bottles
  2. 2 Fast 2 Furious – 0
  3. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift – 0
  4. Fast and Furious – 4-6
  5. Fast Five – 0
  6. Fast and Furious 6 – 10 bottles laying around
  7. Furious 7 – 4 bottles in bucket

Here are some facts:

  1. The beer is only consumed when the gang is in California.
  2. The only time anybody other than Dom drinks Corona is when they are with Dom.
  3. No Corona is ever finished
  4. Some people don’t know how to drink beer.

 

I still don’t understand this moment….

The following post breaks down the data on the Fast and Furious franchise and analyzes whether or not Corona consumption affects box office and audience/critical reaction. Also,  I’m going to attempt to predict how many Coronas will be consumed in The Fate of the Furious.

Fast & Furious films that feature Corona

Movies: The Fast & the Furious, Fast & Furious, Fast & Furious 6, Furious 7

Average Inflated Domestic Box Office: $250 million

Average RT/IMDb Combined Average: 63.25%

The box office average was boosted massively by the insane $354 million haul of Furious 7. If I had to guess why the films have done so well is because they all featured Vin in a lead role and kept the “core” team together. After Fast & Furious the series became a money printing press and learned how to really embrace the smart stupidity of it all. I love that a Point Break ripoff has grown into a certified fresh blockbuster that just won’t quit.

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Fast & Furious films that don’t feature Corona

Movies: 2 Fast 2 Furious, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast Five

Average Inflated Domestic Box Office: $163 million

Average RT/IMDb Combined Average: 57%

I feel really bad for these three films because they are my favorite. My top three are 2 Fast 2 Furious, Fast Five and Tokyo Drift. I think they all have their own personalities and still embraced family, cars and action. 2 Fast and Tokyo suffered from a lack of Diesel but they also introduced the world to my favorite characters Roman Pierce (Tyrese), Tej (Ludacris) and Han Seoul-Oh (Sung Kang). It bums me out that they are losing out to the likes of Fast & Furious and Fast & Furious 6.

Roman and Brian don’t need Corona.

The Fate of the Furious Predictions

Corona has to make an appearance in The Fate of the Furious. The product placement helps sales and even though it isn’t in LA I’m betting that 2 bottles are opened and zero are finished.

Charlize Theron’s character seems like an IPA fan.

How many Coronas do you think will be consumed in The Fate of the Furious? Make sure to check out our Fast & Furious podcast episode. It is glorious.

 

Fast Five (2011), introducing The Rock’s sweaty muscles and the franchise’s biggest cast to Brazil.

April 9, 2017

With the release of The Fate of the Furious (2017), I felt the need to back up and appreciate that brought The Rock and high-caliber villains to the franchise…

MY CALL:  Hands down my favorite of the franchise (of parts 1-5).  This is the most fun, has the coolest plot and produces the most engaging antagonists.  High octane testosterone fun for movie-goers who like high speed chases, sweaty biceps, explosions and brawling.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Fast FiveGone in 60 Seconds (2000) for one. Of course, there are also a lot of other Fast and Furious films.  Personally, after the original (for the sake of historical franchise significance), I’d only recommend this fifth installment (for a second opinion check out Mark’s review of Fast Five), Fast and Furious 6 (2013) and Furious 7 (2015). However, Mark ranked the films quite differently than I did—Ranking Fast and Furious 1-6—and he’d suggest his favorite to be 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003). For yet more Fast and Furious opinions be sure to check out our Podcast on Corona, Belgian Beer, BBQ and the Fast and Furious films and Paul Walker’s 7 Best Fast and Furious Moments.

In this fifth installment in the Fast and Furious (2001-2017) franchise, we find our favorite characters in Brazil laying low from the American eyes of Johnny Law…but still jacking cars!  Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel; The Last Witch Hunter, Guardians of the Galaxy, Riddick) continues to choose bare biceps over sleeves, Brian (Paul Walker; Brick Mansions, Hours, Into the Blue) and Mia (Jordana Brewster; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Chuck, Dallas) are still an item and as close as ever, and director Justin Lin (Tokyo Drift, Fast and Furious, Fast and Furious 6, Star Trek Beyond)—who helmed parts 3-6 in this worldwide franchise sensation—has become more ambitious with stunts.  God bless him for that!  We have flipping shredded prison buses, high speed plasma-cutting train heists, rocket launchers, exploding poop-launching toilets, and high speed vault dragging!

The fight choreography is getting more interesting (with each sequel), everyone has become a better martial artist, the explosions are bigger and more frequent, and cars continue to function unphased after devastating landings and hits. The action has truly been turned up to an “11” in this sequel and, after the youthful thrill of the 2001 original (I saw when I was 20 years old), this is, by far, the most entertaining and my favorite of the franchise…so far.

This film is like high octane testosterone.  There’s a lot of flexed-arm finger-pointing, flexed arm-crossing, very few shirts with sleeves, lots of yelling, lots of hard crazy-eyed stare downs, lots of large bald men in sweat-soaked overly snug shirts, and a lot of shiny biceps.  It has a lot in common with The Expendables (2010-2014) movies in that respect, only much better.

From the moment Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson; Pain and Gain, Ballers, G I Joe: Retaliation) busts on the scene every gym bro is reminded of why he’s their man-crush.  He’s all business, he’s a straight up killing machine and…well, it’s The Rock!  And whereas we meet Hobbs as an antagonist, we also have our “real villain” Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida; Desperado), a man of the people who spins anecdotes about why Portuguese is spoken in Brazil.  He’s exactly the refined villain you like, hate, like to hate, and want to see taken down.

Whether it’s Ocean’s Eleven (2001) or Mission: Impossible (1996), ever notice how in every movie it’s always “one last job” and then they’ll retire, it’s always against the biggest baddest opponent they can find (like the crime lord who runs Rio), and they always need to “assemble a team?”

Well, a motley crew they do assemble.  They have big engines, bigger biceps, big stakes ($100 million), and the biggest team cast in the franchise so far!  They meet, greet, hug and smile as we see new friends and old friends reunite.  After Brian, Mia and Dom, there’s the long and mysterious Gisele (Gal Gadot; Fast and Furious, Dawn of Justice: Batman vs Superman, Wonder Woman), the calm and cool Han (Sung Kang; Tokyo Drift, Fast and Furious, Ninja Assassin, Bullet to the Head), mouth-running Roman (Tyrese Gibson; Legion, Transformers 1-3, 2 Fast 2 Furious), tech whiz Tej (Chris Ludacris Bridges; Crash, Hustle and Flow, Gamer, 2 Fast 2 Furious, and rap performing artist), Santos (Don Omar; Fast and Furious, and performer responsible for Danza Kuduro) and Leo (Tego Calderon; Fast and Furious, Illegal Tender, and rap performing artist).  Maybe some of you thought Roman and Tej were funny characters, but Leo and Santos are show-stealing hilarious.  Nine in total, and complemented by Hobbs and Reyes.  That’s 11 stars in a “part 5” movie!

Our characters’ exploits are scored by an outstandingly energized soundtrack.  The foot chase scene is solid, filmed with numerous wide angle shots capturing the gorgeous cityscape of Rio’s rooftops.  Probably the best camerawork among the first five Fast and Furious movies.  We are also wowed by one of my favorite movie fight scenes (excluding martial arts movies).  When Hobbs and Dom go at it, it’s like two rabid junkyard dogs on steroids.  They hits are hard, frequent, and I question how many bruises the actors left the set with at the end of the day (of course, the stunt doubles had it much worse).  There weren’t enough windows and plaster walls in that entire warehouse for them to smash or throw each other through. This was a grappling, tackling, face-punch frenzy. My only gripe is that The Rock didn’t win. Not Hobbs, mind you…but The Rock.  Later, seeing Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson limp is like going to SeaWorld to see a water show starring a killer whale with a captivity-rendered limp dorsal fin.  It’s just not right. LOL.

Then there was the vault chase scene…STUPENDOUS! At every turn we find so much property damage as they swing that vault across the road in their wake through crinkled cars and mangled buildings.  Oh, and they were wholesale MURDERING cop cars, smashing up more vehicles than a Bad Boys Michael Bay flick.

Winding down after their victory and reminding us that they’re all one big criminal family, is that we have such a happy conclusion.  Much like the Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003) we have a bunch of endings, only these are much more succinctly handled and won’t bore audiences.  Brian and Mia got a beach house to raise their child, Tej and Roman jockey for “best car in the hemisphere,” Han and Gisele go honeymooning on the autobahn, and Santas and Leo do playfully dumb things with their money in casinos…it’s all very nice.  You’ll leave this movie happy.

So go see it (again), be thrilled, and be happy.

The Totally Necessary Updated Rankings of Nicholas Sparks Films: The Most Important List Ever

April 5, 2017

Hello all. Mark here.

When you hear the name Nicholas Sparks I’m pretty certain you will groan, scoff or say “I loved The Notebook!” His 11 book adaptations have grossed $882 million worldwide and provided Kleenex thousands of new customers. However, the romantic films have taken a nose dive in quality since he took over producing and screenwriting duties. The genre he helped create (Sparksian) has now become predictable, and each feels like a paint by the numbers retread of the prior movie. Just look at the posters.

Sparks movie posters

The first five differed slightly but then it became all about the face palms. Check out the poster breakdown here. 

Why have I decided to rank these movies? I have a strange fascination with these tear jerkers because they are critic proof, really weird and always cast big name talent. Their quality has slowly declined (or was it ever there?) yet some are better than others.  People keep coming back for more and must find the unabashed melodrama satisfying. Do people find enjoyment in untimely death, cancer, lost love, mom jeans, poster face grabbing and ghosts? I do know that when watching The Notebook, 87% of the people in the packed theater were crying their eyes out. It actually took me out of the movie because I had never been surrounded by so many crying people.

Sidenote: Sparks said he was a better writer than Cormac McCarthy (No Country For Old Men, Blood Meridian, The Road) and thinks his books are Greek Tragedies. Just had to add that in there.

Along with the ranking I’ve included the “Sparks Meter.” I compiled 15 of his most repeated elements in an effort to figure out what is the most “Sparksian of all the Sparks movies. Here are the 15 elements.

Boats,  Widowed, Divorced, Only child, Death of a love interest, Two love stories taking place during one film, Cancer, Water smooching, Beach scene involving cuddling, frolicking, swimming etc…, Letter writing, Moving to new town, Secrets, Pickup truck. Love triangle, Angry parents

The Average “Sparksian” score is 8.

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1. A Walk To Remember

A Walk To Remember

Roger Ebert sums up this movie perfectly.

A Walk to Remember is a love story so sweet, sincere and positive that it sneaks past the defenses built up in this age of irony. It tells the story of a romance between two 18-year-olds that is summarized when the boy tells the girl’s doubtful father: “Jamie has faith in me. She makes me want to be different. Better.” After all of the vulgar crudities of the typical modern teenage movie, here is one that looks closely, pays attention, sees that not all teenagers are as cretinous as Hollywood portrays them. A Walk to Remember is a small treasure.

6 of 15 Sparkisms. (Widowed, Only Child, Death of a Love Interest, Cancer, Secrets, Angry Parent)

2. The Notebook

The Notebook

The Notebook was incredibly passionate and super bonkers (They die at the same time!) Rachel McAdam’s character is by far the most three-dimensional of Spark’s ladies (she literally fought for her character) and Ryan Gosling became a megastar overnight because of this movie. The Notebook is by far the most popular of the nine films because of the commited acting, passion, and all around care spent on the script.

8 out of 15 Sparkisms. (Widowed, Only Child, Death of a Love Interest, Angry Parent, Smooching in Rain, Boat, Letter writing, Pickup truck)

3. The Longest Ride

The Longest Ride

The Longest Ride is the least manipulative of all the Spark’s films. It tells the story of two couples who compromise, love and get all emotional. Jack Huston, Brit Robertson, Oona Chaplin (granddaughter of Charlie) and Scott Eastwood (son of Clint) do a fine job of playing the good looking people who fall head over heels in love. The Longest Ride defeated all of my skepticism and left me sort of liking the movie despite the ham-fisted storytelling and cliches. The best part is that nobody dies at the end via a flash mudslide!

10 out of 15 (Boat, Only Child, Widow, Smooching in water (X2), Letter writing, Pickup truck, Beach frolicking, Two love stories taking place at once, Secrets)

4. The Last Song


The Last Song

Greg Kinear is my homeboy. The Last Song is a teenager tear maker but it helps sea turtles and Justified’s Nick Searcy makes an appearance so it isn’t all bad. The Last Song is not good but poor Greg Kinnear acts his face off in order to create some emotional resonance.

7 out of 15 (Cancer, Divorce, Water Kissing, Boat, Beach, Secrets, Moving to new town)

5. The Choice

_MG_2788.CR2

The Choice is not a good film but you can tell the actors gave it their all. It is totally unnecessary schlock, but Teresa Palmer is likable and some of the cinematography is quite nice. The reason I put it at five is because it wasn’t trying to be anything other than a bad Sparks film that focuses on an insanely obvious plot twist. Also, I’m pretty sure it broke the world record for Teresa Palmer face grabs.

5 out of 15 (Boat, Beach, Pickup Truck, Beach Scene Involving Cuddling, Frolicking)

6. Safe Haven

Safe Haven

Lady on the run finds a nice family and talks to a ghost. Did I mention the ghost was her love interests dead wife? The twist comes so from a place so far off that is miles behind left field. If I had taken a sip of water before the twist reveal I would’ve spit it out from humor/shock. Safe Haven is bonkers and the How Did This Get Made crew covered it perfectly.

7 out of 15 (Beach, Moving to new town, Secrets, Widow, Pickup truck, Water Smooching, Letter Writing)

7. Message in a Bottle

So…….Kevin Costner plays a widow who is tricked by a reporter for a story. Eventually, the two fall in love and as he is going to visit her he dies in a freak storm. Basically, everything that happens in this film is unnecessary. I love me some Paul Newman though.

Paul Newman

Paul Newman was in this movie!

8 of of 15 (Widow, Secret, Beach, Boat, Death of a love interest, Letter writing, Pickup truck, Angry parents)

8. Dear John

Dear John

Entertainment Weekly sums up this film perfectly 

John (Channing Tatum) and Savannah (Amanda Seyfried) find themselves in a How I Met Your Mother situation when Savannah breaks up with John for Tim (Henry Thomas)—only for Tim to die of lymphoma, giving Savannah and John the opportunity to rekindle their love. The twist comes off as insensitive and implausible: ”Let’s celebrate this really nice dude’s death and how it conveniently made it possible for John and Savannah to hook up!” Poor Tim.

 

11 out of 15 (Death of a love Interest, Angry Parents, Widow (X 2), Boat, Letters, Water smooching, Love triangle, Pickup truck, Beach cuddling)

9. The Lucky One

The Lucky One boat

Nope. The whole thing is based on an unnecessary lie (just tell that lady) and features the stock drunk husband who will inevitably do something dumb and hurt his family. Both Zac Efron and Taylor Shilling have proven they have personalities in other movies, but The Lucky One sticks them so far in the muck there is zero enjoyment.

7 out of 15 (Boat, Secrets, Only Child, Divorce, Water Smooching, Moving, Pickup Truck

10. Nights in Rodanthe 

Nights in Rodanthe

Never put Diane Lane in mom jeans. Don’t kill Richard Gere in a flash mudslide. James Franco is in this movie. It is all very weird. It dedicated a five minute scene to Gere and Lane throwing canned goods into a waste basket. If they filmed this as a way to take a beach vacation I applaud them.

5 out of 15 (Beach, Loss of a loved one, Divorce, Water smooching, Letter Writing)

11. The Best of Me

The Best of Me

Dumb, manipulative and wastes all of its talent. The Best of Me has an 8% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (lowest of all the Sparks films) and the screenplay was written by Sparks (bad idea). I’ve never watched a more underwritten/overwritten (if that makes sense) snoozer and it kinda sucked because James Marsden and Michelle Monoghan are fantastic actors.

11 out of 15 (Water Smooching (X2), Loss of a loved one, Divorce, Pickup truck, Secrets, Two love stories at once,

Bad Movie Tuesday: Lady Terminator (1989), the Indonesian fantasy/action B-movie Terminator rip-off you’ve been looking for!

April 4, 2017


MY CALL:  This is exactly the Indonesian fantasy/action B-movie Terminator honorarium you’ve been waiting for!  Enjoy.  MORE MOVIES LIKE Lady TerminatorFor more Indonesian action/fantasy madness try The Devil’s Sword (1984).

Before we start, I think it’s critical that you understand just how classy this film is.  Because director H. Tjut Djalil (as Jalil Jackson; Mystics in Bali, Dangerous Seductress, Satan’s Bed) knows how to keep things classy.  Just listen to this IMDB synopsis: “The spirit of an ancient evil queen possesses the body of a young anthropology student, who then goes on a murderous rampage.”

Just to prove he means classy business, Djalil opens the film with a tastefully clothes-on sex scene culminating in the man dying because…well…something flesh-rending was evidently going on “down there” in her nether regions.  I’m reminded of movies like Teeth (2007), Evil Clutch (1988) and The Night of Something Strange (2016)…only this little Indonesian fantasy/Sci-Fi/action film turns out to be much more complicated. You see, her next lover “defeats” her by removing an eel from her—you know—which was evidently eating the penises of her past lovers in coitus.  He then magically turns her crotch eel into a dagger (don’t ask how, he just does it like he had been doing it for years) and she is furious about it!  So, she curses him: “In 100 years I’ll have my revenge on your great-granddaughter!”

Not much of a curse is it?  It seems to me that when you curse the descendant of a descendant of a descendant of the person who wronged you, the cursed person won’t live to see it. Not a significant punishment at all, if you ask me.  So, to prepare herself for this curse she wanders into the sea to join other evil forces or something.  Perhaps if I was more educated on Indonesian mythology, this all would have made perfect sense.

100 years later Tania (Barbara Anne Constable) finds a creepy book on the Southern Sea Queen from a creepy man in a library with a creepy taxidermy display.  She informs us of her credibility with such lines as “I’m not a lady. I’m an anthropologist.” During a routine anthropological scuba-diving expedition she is teleported to an unreasonably large bed and raped by an eel, resulting in her apparent possession. Things typically don’t go well for anthropologists in horror films (e.g., Cannibal Holocaust, The Serpent and the Rainbow) do they?

Based on the ensuing events, this film clearly becomes a cautionary tale for those who would engage in unprotected anonymous sex with strangers in the 80s.  Tania emerges from the water and does her best nude T-800 walk, even turning her head like Arnold and stiffly strolling around naked until she meets some local punks and “sexes them to death” with her intrauterine eel—FYI, that part was not stolen from Terminator.

It’s as campy as it gets. We see a lot of boobs, the blood spurts are silly, and she steals a punk’s leather jacket (just like Arnie).  Now she just needs to find Sarah Conner…errrr…that long dead cursed guy’s great-granddaughter.

I’m sure we’ve firmly established the badness of this film, but here are some additional ways we know this is a bad movie:

  1. During an improvised gynecological exam, a man pulls an eel from a vagina and is, in no way, shocked.
  2. With no disclaimed wizardry schooling, he straightens that eel into a dagger!
  3. This film was based on the Indonesian legend/Goddess The Queen of the Southern Sea. If Terminator was also based on this, I had no idea.
  4. The star actress also received top billing for make-up. Two pay checks, girl!
  5. This film was also released as Nasty Hunter. Nasty Hunter = CLASSY!
  6. Intrauterine eel rape and eel penis-eating.
  7. Topless telekinetic mediation sessions in a sleazy hotel.
  8. Apparently simply shooting a car in an 80s B-movie results in an explosion!
  9. When killing men with sex just won’t do, Tania-nator gets an automatic weapon and shoots like 10 guys in the dick just like Kung Fury’s Triceracop!
  10. She cuts out her eyeball with a pen knife…just to wash it off!
  11. Eye lasers. She shoots laser beams from her eyes!
  12. Oh, right! A woman kills men by having sex with them…to death!

This films begins about as original as they come, but then steers right into a Terminator copycat with a skewed premise.  Warlock (1989) was also a Terminator (1984) rip-off, although a bit less overtly so.  But you know what?  I’d highly recommend this to any B-movie fan, and this is clearly on the high end of B-movie quality.

All the way to the dumbly-dialogued action-packed finale, this movie tries really hard to give you a lot. A lot of nudity, a lot of bullets, a lot of eel bites to the dick, and a lot of zany nonsense.  This is a B-movie cult favorite for a reason.

The MFF Podcast #94: Return of the Listener Questions

March 31, 2017

MFF

Download the pod on iTunes,  PodBean, or LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO.
If you get a chance please make sure to review, rate and share. You are awesome!

Summary:  We dig deep and answer a batch of Listener Questions that are all about horror movies.  Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Freddy Krueger find their way into questions about famous franchises along with The Birds and Salem’s Lot. So join us as we nitpick and defend your favorite horror icons. If you enjoy this episode, try Listener Questions or Listener Questions Strike Back.

We answer the tough questions in this podcast!  For example…

“What made Hitchcock’s birds so crazy?”

“Is Jason Voorhees more than just a zombie?”

“What was going on with that deserted hospital in Halloween II?”

“Do vampires need to plan their human-cropping more carefully?”

“Did Michael Myers pass driver’s ed?”

LISTEN TO THE POD ON BLOG TALK RADIO,
or head over PodBean or  iTunes, and if you get a chance please SUBSCRIBE, REVIEW, RATE and SHARE the pod!

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