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Biscoito18 [2017] FILM

 

Jaws 3-D [1983] *

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"Jaws 3-D" (or "Jaws 3") takes the worst elements of the previous film and multiplies them by 1000. To attract young people, they discard all the actors, scenarios and original characters, leaving only an older version of the protagonist's children of the first film that only cite the past here and there. Instead of just extreme sports, they turn the movie into a circus with all kinds of cheap attraction to fill the time between the killings. It's just pathetic! The icing on the cake is the ridiculous 3D that pretty much makes the movie something unwatchable.

The new characters are boring and extremely caricatured, especially Philip FitzRoyce (Simon MacCorkindale) and Kelly Ann (Lea Thompson), but the film makes a point of spending as much time as possible with them.

There comes a time when a movie franchise reaches such a low point that it seems that there's no coming back (and most of the time, it doesn't). Ironically this moment is known as "jump the shark", because of an infamous episode of the sitcom "Happy Days" in 1977.

"Jaws 3-D" was the franchise's jump-the-shark moment, an abomination that looks more like a mix between an endless SeaWorld commercial and a cheap carnival attraction that tries to use the franchise's name to attract audiences, but it's just a lazy copy.


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Biscoito18 [2017] FILM

 

Cherry Falls [2000] * * *

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To say that "Cherry Falls" is the story of a killer whose targets are virgin teenagers would be just the first step to explaining the crazy rollercoaster that is this movie.

Released during the slasher revival of the late 90's/early 2000's, "Cherry Falls" is what some would call a copycat of "Scream", like "I Know What You Did Last Summer", "Urban Legend", "The Faculty", "Final Destination", "Halloween H20: 20 Years Later" and others.

Like in Wes Craven's classic, "Cherry Falls" is also a satire of slasher clichés, but focuses much more on the sexual side and the importance that sex and virginity have in these films.

If in "Scream" one of Randy's main rules to stay alive was to never have sex, here the only requirement to stay alive is not to be a virgin!

The film takes full advantage of this ridiculous premise and delivers some priceless moments, such as some nerds finally getting laid with popular hot girls desperate for a dick, as if it were a vaccine against being killed (joke used in the movie).

The film also develops well the "whodunit", featuring several coadjutants that could easily be the killer. The motivation of the killer recalls Billy Loomis and Roman's motivations in "Scream" and "Scream 3", but involving rape rather than consensual sex.

It's worth noting how ridiculous is the plot's attempt to make the actions of Michael Biehn's character less repulsive just to give a cheap dramatic weight in the end.

Brittany Murphy (God rest her soul) is so unique in her mannerisms and way of walking and talking that you can't take your eyes off her. Her chase scenes are frantic and at the same time hilarious.

Never a final girl had a more precise aim to throw all kind of vase on the villain!

I love the evolution of Jody (Murphy) who didn't have to lose her virginity to become a more determined woman (one of the most used clichés). She and her boyfriend act like real teenagers, making each other jealous in an endless little game of power. The dialogues between the teens are also mostly credible just like those written by Kevin Williamson in "Scream".

"Cherry Falls" is for anyone who, like me, loves the 90's teenager slashers. A simple but well-conducted mystery, fun chase scenes, a cozy small town atmosphere, and an entertaining satire of one of the most ridiculous clichés of the genre.


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Chad S. Walsky [2017] FILM

 

Hail, Caesar! [2016] * * *

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What's more absurd than the Coen Brothers' new film "Hail, Caesar!"? Watching it in an empty theater with two polyester-clad old men who did NOT enjoy the shenanigans unfolding onscreen. It was absolutely hilarious. The movie was pretty funny too.

I work Saturdays so I get a day off during the week. That day is Tuesday. A pretty ho-hum day, no doubt. But it has its advantages. Easy to get shit done. No interruptions. A sweet, sweet respite from my beloved family. But best of all - $5 movies and unlimited popcorn and soda. Cheap movies and adult-onset diabetes? Sold.

I check my local listings and see my nearby multiplex has a 9:30am showing. Sweet fancy Moses that's the greatest thing ever. 9:30am?? Maybe it's because I'm a middle-aged square, but there's something great about getting out of a movie before noon, and having the rest of the day ahead of you. So many chores can still be completed! Jesus, I sound old. *pops a Werther's Original, wipes tear from cheek*

Anyway, I get to the box office at Ward Avenue Cinema in a little place called La Crosse, WI. It's a goddam ghost town and I couldn't be more excited. Just me and a curly-haired 19 year old cashier who gave me a knowing nod - one cool guy to another, I assumed. Right on, young bro. Then it dawned on me - my "organic cologne" was probably wafting across his nasal region, and my moment of cool acceptance turned to one of seedy embarrassment. FYI, I'll occasionally reward myself with some much deserved "red-eyed lettuce" but I try not to be that typical burnout. You know the ones. UGH. But from time to time I treat myself instead of cheating myself, so stop judging me. You're not my father, goddamnit!

So I scurry away red-faced and head towards the concession stand for an electric blue Mountain Dew Icee (no, I'm not 14, shut up). But at least I'm clear of young Finn, or Milo, or Tristan or whatever the hell this kid's name was. I approach the far end of the concession stand and await my helpful server. But oh shit. Finn is pulling double duty and he's heading over to get my drink! Noooooo! His Cheshire cat grin has now spread ear-to ear and he's sauntering over to me with the confidence of a man 30 years his senior. Should I run? Turn and walk into How To Be Single and cut my losses? Fuck no, I say. Man up and get that Icee. Which is what I did... even with Evan, or Trip, or Chazz (whatevs) knowing my dirty little secret. What a boss moment by me. Boom, movie time.

I enter the auditorium and the sonofabitch is completely empty. Amazing. At that moment I understand what Valhalla means. I strut in, head up three rows, and center myself in a pinpoint location. What a rare treat. Then they approach. Two hunched shadows with voices like HGH-infused bullhorns. In their arms are the two largest buckets of popcorn I've ever seen. It looks like someone hallowed out a giant pumpkin and filled it with twelve pounds of buttery maize. Unbelievable.

Now understand this clearly - the ENTIRE theater is empty except for me. The gents head in, head up FOUR rows, and plop down directly behind me. Like, right friggin' behind me. But okay, no big deal - it's a just a movie. Granted, the smell of Old Spice and Gin is mighty powerful, but who am I to judge. And who cares if the constant popcorn munching sounds like a thousand midgets tap dancing on a field of bubble wrap. It's a free country. What I didn't expect was the constant disgust directed at the film being projected above. I got to admit, I was engrossed by these surly critics. Here is a smattering of the phrases I heard uttered by these two geriatric rascals:

"This commie stuff is stupid." - twice, and agreed upon both times

"Is that the same girl?" - in reference to Tilda Swinton

"It's like The 10 Commandments I guess. Not all of it I don't think." - uttered at the beginning when one man immediately asked, "If this was the movie is?"

"That's damn good popcorn!" - at least 8 times

"Dump yours into mine before we go, and then we'll fill the empty one when we leave." - plans were made less than 45 minutes into the film

"Thought you said this was a comedy, Carl." - about 30 minutes left, disgust was clear

"Ooooh. Hey! There ya go. Hahahah. Yep." - When Scarlett Johansson makes her first appearance as a mermaid

This went on the entire time. I could also sense they would look at each other with bemusement every time I laughed out loud. I'm pretty sure they thought I was mentally disabled. No Matter, it was a great experience. And when the movie ended, as we approached the bathroom, one man randomly yelled to the curly haired hipster "SKIP IT!" at the top of his lungs. His buddy nodded vigorously. Wonderful. The kid replied "What ya see?" The old man was stumped and exclaimed "The one with Clooney!" I thought he was going to spit on the ground after he said it.

As for "Hail, Caesar!" I thought it was really fun. I felt it was almost a love letter to Hollywood, with Eddie Mannix as the patron saint of Tinseltown. He had to save all of God's (aka the studio) imperfect children (aka the actors) and try to become a better man (aka the savior) in the process. I thought that was pretty great, and balanced itself by taking the piss out of the business. Good stuff. I got to agree with the old men that the commie subplot was the weakest part, and never really came together in a truly satisfying way. But that's ok because I laughed A LOT and I'm sure I'll find more subtext on repeat viewings. But listening to Laurence Laurentz and Hobie Doyle go back and forth was more than enough for me. Who knew Ralph Fiennes could do exasperation so well. Comic gold. Oh, and Tatum's dance lives up to the hype and then some - C-Tates cannot be stopped.

Anyway, nothing matches a surreal movie like a surreal experience. Life is a funny thing. And so are the Coen Brothers.


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jmunky [2017] MUSIC

 

The Blue Nile - A Walk Across the Rooftops [1984] * * * * *

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Having purchased a new kilt, I decided I would watch Trainspotting for the 500th time tonight. And also another listen of The Blue Nile's "A Walk Across the Rooftops", which is even more delicious than a deep-fried Mars bar, and gets you drunker on life than a pint of haggis with a side of whisky. Many a good thing has come out of Scotland, that's for sure.


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Swartacus [2017] FILM

 

Blade Runner [1982] * * * *

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Life is disappearing polaroids.
People don't change, they are slowly forged by their environment.
Time is a glacier... forming, molding, shaping, carving...
Batty is the Id - chasing time, relentless feral motion, a slave unchained.
Deckard is the Super Ego - ever tracking, ever presiding, forecasting fate.
On a mad island of misfit toys, resides
an armored suit of fractured nostalgia.
Can you crack its metallic chest cavity?
I'm still trying.


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Curtis Loves Movies [2017] FILM

 

Blade Runner 2049 [2017] * * * *

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[*Spoilers*]

Often, when I love a movie I'm watching but the end fizzles (or worse, shits the bed), it can completely undo the goodwill I've built up for it. Blade Runner 2049 is the rare movie I can disassociate what I loved from what I didn't.

I loved the multiple levels of A.I. - even replicants have versions of artificial intelligence that serve them (Joe's car drone, his "girlfriend"). My guess is that if A.I. ever takes over the planet, it will be some subsequent generation, not the first.

I loved the atmosphere, especially in 3D. I felt the despair of living in that world, human or otherwise.

I loved that it's a legitimate sequel and not a bullshit "soft reboot" that's really a remake disguised as a sequel. It uses events of the first movie as a springboard to tell an interesting story of its own.

I loved that Joe is revealed to be a replicant right out of the gate. None of this is-he-or-isn't-he stuff. Speaking of which, I also love that the movie does not take sides on the "Is Deckard a replicant?" question. I know Ridley Scott has said he is, but fuck that. There is a perfectly defensible reading of the first movie that Deckard is human - and in my opinion, it makes for a much more interesting story.

What I didn't love is that the movie culminates in a pretty mediocre fist fight. The movie goes to great lengths to explore deep questions about the nature of humanity, and all we get at the end is some standard Hollywood fight between good guy and bad? Felt like some test audience pandering. I'd love to know if there was another ending scripted.

Hard to say if I'll ever want to rewatch this as many times as I've watched the original, but on first viewing I'd say it's a worthy successor.


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Curtis Loves Movies [2017] FILM

 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 [1986] *

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Everything about this is bad. Well, except for the Cannon Films logo. That rocked.

I am now fully convinced that Steven Spielberg directed "Poltergeist".

And I think I finally understand Rob Zombie's aesthetic. He's clearly obsessed with this movie, and has been trying to make his own version of it ever since.


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Swartacus [2017] MUSIC

 

Beck - Colors [2017] * *

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At some point, probably about 2-4 years ago... a weather-beaten siren was placed atop the Church of Scientology building in Los Angeles, California. This siren emitted a low dog whistle pitched hum which summoned Beck to the sept of Chief Thetan-master David Miscavige. Miscavige wore (as he usually does when meeting celebrities) an emerald green crushed velvet robe that a fellow L. Ron Hubbard "Commodore's Messenger" pilfered from a Wizard of Oz prop pile at a thrift store in Burbank.

"Come forward, young sire of Xenu!" puffed Miscavige as he produced a proclamation parchment made of the finest Thetan-fed calf skin.

This parchment shall read as follows: "Dearest Bek David Campbell, I hereby commission thee the highest honor of the Church of Scientology. I bestow upon thee the holiest of tasks, the impossible task of composing a 10 song musical cycle that Tom Cruise can f*ck to."

That is "Colors" the album. Tom Cruise f*ck music.


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Reviews by Morg [2017] FILM

 

Quantum of Solace [2008] *

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I knew going in that this one isn't very popular among fans of the series, but I guess I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised.

Crafting secret agent films always feels to me like following a strong recipe, with a few key ingredients needed in order to be successful within the genre, and a 007 episode is no exception to this truth. When you're cooking up your spy movie, be sure to include a base of well crafted set pieces and establishing shots, a dash of clever dialogue and subtle writing, a touch of scandalous sex for added spice, one villain who inspires intrigue in the viewers, a balanced touch of strong sound design and score (preferably one that inspires excitement and suspense simultaneously), and some steady pacing with just enough allowance for dialogue to really bring those flavors home.

Quantum of Solace does a few of these steps, but some pieces are a bit overcooked. I'm almost impressed that they actually made a film in which the pacing is off due to it being way too fast. There really isn't hardly any break in the action, and that's not something that works here. Within the few bits of character development and dialogue, the underlying motives revealed are either bland and washed up, or otherwise forced. Casino Royale almost did too much setting up in order to have a strong payoff when it came to Bond's grief over Vesper. In reality, everything about this film's predecessor is just done so much better, especially when we take into consideration those sweet poker scenes. Not even the sexual tension here measures up.

Where a strong sense of space within the action sequences once existed, now there stands a constant rushing and forced nature to the way everything is shot and designed. The best fight in the film is the only one which happens in close quarters, when all of the jump cuts and handheld camera nonsense is actually supposed to make sense. None of the framing that tries to be suspenseful induces anything but dizziness and annoyance. Not even the establishing shots look all that pretty.

What we have here is a grab-bag of spy movie clichés barely being held together by an immensely talented lead actor who gives the film its only merits on his delivery alone.


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audreyv [2017] FILM

 

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde [1941] * * *

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Given that I am..... Me, I have wanted to see this film for YEARS, and I didn't even know about Ingrid Bergman's awful accent until right before I started! I've seen quite a few Jekyll and Hyde adaptations but none with Ingrid Bergman as a barmaid who strips for Spencer Tracy. I do enjoy Stevenson's story and the concept of dividing the good and evil sides of an individual. And who can ever resist the Victorian era?! I mean period costumes + animal testing montage + dry philosophical discussions-- to me these are perfect cinematic ingredients, although the end result did end up pretty half-baked here.

One big weakness of this film is that there were not nearly enough cane beatings. Cane beatings are objectively some of the most exciting scenes of the original story and this adaptation just failed to deliver. The discussions of morality are thrown by the wayside in the middle as Hyde torments Ingrid unendingly and it just completely fell apart for me by the end. I'm not a big fan of Tracy; he has yet to make an impression on me. I didn't care about Dr Jekyll in this film at all so it didn't matter to me how it ended. Oh well! at least Ingrid was certainly on to bigger and better things!


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