Book & Movie Review | Never Let Me Go

April 9, 2012

NOTE:  If you are consulting this page because you want to know the differences between the book vs. the movie then contact me offline.  I will tell you for a nominal fee.

Never Let Me Go is the name of a dystopian science fiction novel and movie in the Young Adult genre.  It was written in 2005 by Japanese born, British author, Kazuo Ishiguro, and published by the UK’s Faber & Faber, the same house that also published The Republic of Trees. The plot focuses on three protagonists and follows them through their various life stages as they move from childhood through adult.

The story opens with the children -Ruth, Kathy and Tommy- at their school.  At first glance, Hailsham seems to be just like any other English boarding school, and, the children seem to be just like any other children their own age.  Tommy is introduced as a young boy with emotional issues.  He is often bullied by other boys seeking to get a rise out of him.  Ruth is characterized as a very bossy kind of personality who is hopeful for a bright future for herself.  Kathy is the narrator of the story.  She is kind and loving and tends to stand up for those too weak to fight for themselves.  Kathy and Tommy become her closest friends and confidants. 

As the story progresses, it becomes clear that the teachers at Hailsham are not the usual, run-of-the-mill kind, and, Hailsham is not a typical boarding school. In time, the reader is subtly made aware of the children’s true purpose.  Miss Lucy is a young teacher and the only “guardian” that the students feel comfortable with.  She informs them during a frank discussion in class one day that the children are clones created to provide organs for non-clones (“Originals.”)  They will eventually become adults, move out of Hailsham to live in government-owned residential complexes, and, then will begin donating organs as they are needed by originals.  By the fourth donation, the children will “complete” the purpose they were created for. Miss Lucy is terminated for her temerity, but the children do not seem to register any particular distress at having discovered their fate.  They are, in fact, mostly resigned to it.

While the students are not taught any marketable skill sets, they are, however, encouraged by the guardians to create various forms of art and poetry.  The artwork is then judged by a woman known only as “Madame,” who then keeps all the best pieces.  The children speculate that Madame keeps their work in a secret gallery of sorts which provides rich fodder for rumors amoung the students, especially Tommy.  As they mature, Ruth, Tommy and Kathy develop close ties with each other, with Ruth and Tommy eventually pairing off as a couple, and, Kathy content to be a friend to both of them despite her growing feelings for Tommy. 

When Ruth, Tommy and Kathy reach age eighteen, they move out of Hailsham to the Cottages.  They meet up with other clones that came from other schools not as privileged as Hailsham.  The Cottages are described as cold and in squalid condition, and otherwise not as comfortable as Hailsham was. Save for a lone groundskeeper, the clones have no contact with anyone in the outside world. They have nothing to do except attend to their own whims, each exploring his own sexuality while waiting for the call for their first donation to come. 

As time passes, Ruth, Tommy and Kathy are informed by two of their housemates of a rumor that Hailsham students may be permitted to “defer” becoming donors for up to three years if they have truly fallen in love. Despite not ever having been any good with art, this rumor plays directly into Tommy’s theory that the artwork Madame had been collecting from them when they were children was designed to be a kind of lie detector test, to determine who was being honest about his true feelings as revealed through his art. Tommy then begins to secretly perfect his drawings in the hopes that he can submit them to Madame for consideration for a deferral.

The same housemates who spoke of the deferment rumor also tell Ruth that the original she was cloned from may be living in Norfolk since they saw a woman there in a shop whom Ruth closely resembles.  The five of them then decide to take a road trip to the town so that Ruth could check out her original, and also, so that Kathy could try to locate another copy of a tape cassette she had favored as a child but had since lost.

When the clones arrive in Norfolk, they locate Ruth’s supposed original, but upon spying her through a shop glass window, Ruth’s physical differences become immediately obvious to her.  Her frustration with not having found her original results in an emotional outburst during which she says that clones are from the human “trash” of society –the dregs that live in homeless shelters and the mentally ill found passed out in gutters and such. Ruth’s distress serves as the catalyst for Kathy to request early departure from the Cottages so that she may become a “carer,” a clone who attends to other clones recovering from organ removal surgery.

In the last third of the book, Kathy has been a carer for about a decade when she runs into an old acquaintance who tells her that Hailsham has closed recently, and, also that Ruth is on her first donation, which hasn’t gone very well.  Kathy then goes to see Ruth for the first time in years and begins caring for her. Ruth knows that her next donation will likely be her last since her health has deteriorated and so she suggests to Kathy that the three of them, including Tommy, take a road trip for old time’s sake to see an abandoned ship in the middle of a marsh.

During this trip, Ruth admits to Kathy and Tommy that she deliberately manipulated Tommy so that he would not seek to explore a relationship with Kathy despite sensing their bond.  She then hands them a slip of paper with an address on it that belongs to Madame, and encourages them to find her to ask for a deferment together since they are in love. Ruth dies shortly after her second donation and then Kathy becomes Tommy’s carer.  She also begins a romantic relationship with him, encouraged by Ruth’s last wish that they find Madame and ask for a deferment. 

By Tommy’s third donation, the two eventually decide to visit Madame to test the rumor to see if they can defer his fourth and probably last donation.  Tommy then selects his best sketches to bring along to be submitted as proof of his feelings for Kathy.  But when they locate Madame, they also find Miss Emily, Hailsham’s former headmistress at her residence as well.  The two reveal to Tommy and Kathy that Hailsham was an experiment to improve the living conditions for clones and otherwise change societal attitudes towards them. Before Hailsham, society at large had been content to view clones as non-human sources of organs. The collecting of the artwork was meant to prove to government talking heads that the clones were not soul-less, but every bit as human as the originals taking their organs.

[ Final scene withheld so as not to spoil it for those who wish to read the book or watch the movie. ]

All in all, I found Never Let Me Go to be a poignant red flag of the direction civilization is likely to take once cloning technology has been perfected sufficient to grow bodies for spare parts independent of a woman’s uterus.

Demand for organ donation continues to outstrip supply exponentially.  The following titles are eye-opening, great reads if you want to expand your knowledge of organ harvesting and the great fortunes made by surgeons, hospitals, and other purveyors of body parts for transplant purposes. Such information will make you strongly reconsider affixing that little donor sticker to the back of your driver’s license. 

Carney, Scott. Red Market

Cheney, Anne. Body Brokers:  Inside America’s Underground Trade in Human Remains

Milliman Research Report.  2010 U.S. Organ and Tissue Transplant Cost Estimates and Discussion

Sharp, Leslie.  Strange Harvest

©2012 Peyton Farquhar and Prattle On, Boyo™.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.  Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar and Prattle On, Boyo with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Movie Review | Immortals

March 21, 2012

Immortals is the story of the mythical hero, Theseus (Henry Cavill).  Theseus is the son of Zeus, who, as afficionados of Greek mythology can attest, used to be the biggest slut in history. That is, before Crush Lardass from Reich Wing radio came along and started labeling anyone using birth control as such. It’s a wonder that Zeus’s whoring around from innocent maiden to innocent maiden didn’t result in an Olympic-strength STD, but let’s return to the movie.

Before he figured out his true path in life, Theseus was just your average, unwashed, ignorant peasant –Astonishingly agile reflexes, remarkably accurate hand-eye coordination, and pecs and six pack abs so ripped you can handwash laundry on them. It would seem that even the lowliest turd in the ancient Greek toilet was an elite athlete. (Or so would be your impression if you spent your time watching men-in-skirts movies from the producers of 300.)

The story goes like this –One day, a bad man wearing Max’s animal head hat from Where the Wild Things Are came to Theseus’s village searching for the Epirus Bow, a weapon forged by the gods on Olympus.  The bad man’s name is Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) and he wants to use it to release the Titans who are imprisoned beneath Mount Tartarus as payback to the gods for failing to save his family. Aethra, Theseus’s mother, is accosted by Hyperion’s men in the street.  Theseus sees this, and, of course, comes rushing to her defense only to be subdued. Aethra is then killed by Hyperion and Theseus is taken as a slave.

Theseus, along with three other slaves he is chained to, eventually end up at a rest stop in the middle of CGI land that looks suspiciously like an in-ground hot tub.  The three slaves all squat down to sip water from the hot tub while Theseus, too exhausted to drink, passes out against the wall.  Before long, four figures in boxy attire wearing lampshades on their heads are admitted to the hot tub as well. 

Just as you are thinking you’ve seen these people before in a Target commercial, one of the lampshade wearing people nearly trips over Theseus’s foot.  The accidental touch results in a such an orgasmic shock to the system that the figure removes her lampshade and lasciviously sucks up a some water with her hand from the hot tub.  She then nonchalantly saunters over to where Theseus is passed out and spits the water into his mouth.  (Apparently the hot tub staff hadn’t replenished the paper cups). This partially revives him before Hyperion’s men come along and hurriedly escort the four Target commercial extras out of the hot tub room.

Within 24 hours, Theseus not only fully recovers from his near-death exhaustion, but he also manages to get busy with Phaedra the Oracle, who, as fate would have it, is also a virgin.  Well, not for long, anyway.  But you just knew from the time she tripped over Theseus’s foot at the hot tub and nearly lapsed into an orgasm coma that she was going to bone him.

The sex scene between Phaedra and Theseus was about as stimulating as watching flies f!ck.  While Phaedra’s naked parts were cloaked in shadow, the camera spent plenty of time lingering over Theseus’s spotlighted pecs and happy trail, which seems to be standard operating procedure for films in this particular genre. I haven’t decided whether this is due to the fact that the director may be gay, or that he is just trying to be politically correct.  Then again, this is a movie featuring sweaty, buffed out beefcake actors.  It only goes to reason that if same was the sole reason you wanted to see the movie, then you probably also think that half-naked men rolling around on the floor with each other is erotic.  But I digress.

Meanwhile, that whole part about Phaedra’s prophecies becoming corrupted if she were no longer a virgin mysteriously falls by the wayside I suppose because her visions were no longer useful to the rest of the movie.

In the next shot, when Theseus, Phaedra and company emerge into a wide angle shot, they are on top of a huge mountain overlooking a steep drop.  One almost expects Theseus to triumphantly shout, “I  f!cked the virgin Oracle!”  Instead, Phaedra mumbles something about a missed period.  The movie progresses along in an unidentifiable and completely pointless arc filled with cheesy lines and  even cheesier characters. Before long, Theseus eventually finds the Epirus Bow, but loses it to Hyperion. 

Long story short – Theseus persuades the men of a village to fight with him against Hyperion’s forces.  Hyperion himself ends up setting free the Titans with the bow, and then proceeds to fight Theseus mano-a-mano while Zeus and Athena et al. fight the Titans all the while clad in their super speshul golden crowns, capes and ruffled panties.  (Hey, doesn’t everyone go to battle dressed like this?)

It’s hard not to get the impression that the actors playing the parts of Zeus’s entourage were creaming themselves in eager anticipation of donning the shiny, gold, completely bombastic headgear because it’s obvious these guys aren’t just gay, they’re Vegas gay. In fact, you half-expect Mercury to go tip-toeing through the tulips chasing after the Titans in golden, ass-less chaps while swishing his golden lasso around his head yelling, “Wooo!  Wooo! Wooo!  Pull ovah! Pull ovah!”

Final Scene:  The Titans are bitch slapped and bitch slapped good; Theseus defeats Hyperion, finally succeeding in knocking off that ridiculous hat of his, and, is subsequently teleported to Mount Olympus as his reward.  Meanwhile, Phaedra, the deflowered Oracle is walking around a village accompanied by a ten year old boy with a furrowed brow named Acamas.  He is looking at statues depicting his father’s great deeds and chatting with the same old man his father knew when he was a boy. (John Hurt).

As much as I wanted to like this film and get all tingly about the usage of 3D technology and post production (over-production in this case) to film beefcaked, Vegas gay men in short skirts with ripped pecs and abs, try as I may, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that I was watching gay porn. 

©2012 Peyton Farquhar and Prattle On, Boyo™.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.  Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar and Prattle On, Boyo with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Movie Review | Strange Days

January 11, 2012

December 31, 1999: On the eve of the new Millennium, with the national economy in shambles, the city of Los Angeles is a war zone jam-packed with armored tanks and armed-to-the-teeth national guard soldiers patrolling the streets. Meanwhile, life goes on as usual for Angelenos.

Lenny (Ralph Fiennes) is ex-L.A.P.D. and currently makes a living on the black market selling other people’s memories recorded on computer disc media. The discs were burned using the latest technology referred to as “playback” on the street. Playback allows the user to experience a recorded event in the first person, that is, not merely via standard audio-visual input, but stimulation right down to his cerebral cortex. Playback is wildly popular and highly illegal. Lenny is hung up on former girlfriend, Faith (Juliette Lewis) who has since shacked up with a slime bag record producer by the name of Filo (Michael Wincott) in hopes of getting a recording contract. In his spare time, Lenny uses playback to re-live his recorded memories with Faith.

Macy (Angela Bassett) is a limo driver. She has an eight year old son and an ex-gang banging husband in the slammer. She knows Lenny because he participated in the raid on her home when the ex was hauled off in cuffs. Lenny was the cop consoling her son when his father was taken away. Lenny occasionally sees Macy during his daily routine, but they don’t have a lot of interaction. She doesn’t have much interest in spending time with him because of the way he makes his living.

It’s business as usual until one of Lenny’s hooker acquaintances (Brigitte Bako) turns up dead, but not before she manages to get a playback disc to him containing the recorded details of her last trick. Thereafter, Lenny involves Macy, and, his buddy, Max (Tom Sizemore) who is also ex-L.A.P.D., and is presently employed by Filo as a bodyguard. Max checks in with Lenny regularly to report back on Faith. In the meantime, black rapper and civil rights activist, Jericho 1, is reported in the news as dead. Not much news there since black rappers always eventually end up getting shot by one of their own anyway. Or so it would seem.

Despite the cyberpunk-like hype surrounding the movie, at its fundamental core, Strange Days is a racial revenge fantasy masquerading as a science fiction murder mystery. Considering the 1995 release date –a mere three years following the Rodney King debacle –race rioting is still a fresh memory. The war between the then mostly Caucasian Establishment, as personified by the LAPD, and Black Angelenos (where are the Mexicans and everyone else?) is very much alive. In fact, the entire movie seems to be an homage to civil insurrection motivated partially by racial inequality (for Blacks) but mostly by belligerence. As an aside here, it’s ironic how Hollywood has backed down from the race card rostrum lately since the Obama Administration. As if racial bias has somehow been eliminated. Newsflash: We have still have racial discrimination in the U.S., it’s just the reverse kind now. But I digress.

The character of Jericho 1 (Glenn Plummer) represents the ongoing conflict between law enforcement and rebellious youth. And his death, although perpetrated by a couple of hillbilly LAPD officers (Vincent D’onfrio & William Fichter), is not reported as such (because no one knows about it yet) is perceived instead by the fans as the by-product of his gangster lifestyle. The movie portrays the community as a great mass of unwashed, ignorant junkies and star-fuckers always on high alert for the next me-too trend in a city already devolved into a third world shit hole, which is a fairly accurate description of L.A., in my opinion.

When Lenny & Macy discover the contents of the playback Iris (the hooker) left behind for Lenny, the last 15 minutes of the film ties up the revenge fantasy all nice & neat for the viewer –right down to the beating of (Macy/Bassett) by the riot squad in the street. But this time, the crowd timidly intervenes and manages to stop the beating.

I should mention here that this intervention between Macy and the riot squad by the rowdy crowd (comprised predominantly of street thugs & wannabes) wasn’t very believable on any level. Envision throngs of raucous, disaffected malcontents in downtown L.A. on New Year’s Eve celebrating what most believe is the last day of the world. Meanwhile live bands play strident, electric guitar-led anthems all the while as people party it up in the congested streets high on drugs & booze –basically doing whatever the hell they want– but somehow, suddenly these thousands of party-goers become restrained when a few cops in riot gear show up. It’s an end-of-the-world party, and, the ratio of civilian to cop was at least 100 to 1, so I’m not sure what the hell writer/producer James Cameron, or director Kathryn Bigelow had in mind here, but I didn’t buy it. Suspension of disbelief is one thing, but this is pure fantasy. In reality, given the circumstances, the riot squad would have been toast.

Further, Ralph Fiennes (best known for his role as Lord Voldemort) in the title role was unadulterated bullshit. Not only was it hard to swallow that the Lenny character used to be a cop, but Fiennes’s barely contained English accent caused him to mumble all of his lines. (There weren’t any third rate, American actors available for this one-dimensional, shithead character…Really?) Additionally, Angela Bassett playing the role of a subdued black female limo driver makes about as much sense as making Stallone a British literature professor. (There’s only so much disbelief a viewer can suspend before common sense takes over and asks, What the hell?)

In the final analysis, my opinion of this movie is not very complimentary mostly because it appears that producer Cameron wanted to cash in on the then latest cyberpunk phenomena without actually having to acknowledge the guy who created it. (William Gibson). But his race driven content falls flat on its face; the film is nothing more than a glorified soapbox named after an old Doors’ tune (Strange Days) to flesh out trendy, politically correct talking points.

I enjoy Cameron’s movies when he sticks to straight sci fi such as Aliens, but I can live without the politically motivated bloviations that are front & center in a movie like this one. Hey James? I know this is about a decade and-a-half too late, but leave the lets-all-just-get-along and down-with-the-man themed flicks to Spike Lee.


Minute Movie Review Corner

October 25, 2011

Priest (A Fist Full of Cheese)

If you enjoy the gritty imagery of Dark City, the cinenamatography of The Matrix, the thrill of the hunt (and hunted) of Blade Runner, then Priest is the movie for you. 

Like an incredibly bad version of Mad Max (except in American English) and a CGI-enhanced “B” vampire flick, Priest is the hi-tech epitome of modern day entertainment. All the coolest movies, books and music have already been cashed in on (and copyrighted) by someone else, so all that there is left to do is take the best of the best and make it your own. In pop music, this concept is called sampling, and basically, it is an end run around getting sued for copyright.  In movie-making, Hollywood calls it entertainment.  I call it re-animated cheese. 

How shall I count the cheesies?  It will be tough, but following are some of my difficulties. Priest is supposed to take place in the far off, distant future.  So far off and distant, you see, that people are riding around on motorcycles that can break the speed of sound.  In fact, the bikes look a lot like a saddle with fuselage attached, a veritable crotch-rocket for-real.  Nevermind the vampires and the class of warrior, Catholic priests that was created to fight them, let’s talk about suspension of disbelief. 

I can suspend my disbelief just long enough to buy into the vampires and their nemesis, the priests.  I can even buy into the world having obliterated itself back to the dark days before electricity and indoor plumbing.  What I can and will not buy into is the fact that in the face of the new technology (especially the crotch rockets) that the characters are STILL using vinyl records.  WTF?  Really? Vinyl records??  You mean the recording industry has not developed yet another medium allegedly superior over compact discs with which to continue to fuck the fans??  Now that’s what I call fantasy.

To a lesser extent, I also object to the usage of a could-have-been-really-cool-but-isn’t character called Black Hat.   He’s so badass that not only is he a warrior priest, but he’s also been transformed into a (wait for it) vampire!  Gasp! Shock! And his demeanor is based on none other than the king of the spaghetti western, himself, Clint fuckin’ Eastwood, right down to wearing an identically-styled, trademark cover AND using a hoarse, whiskey-laden speaking voice. The cheese doesn’t get much stickier (or stinkier) than this. Rent this one only if you don’t have access to any of the original movies referenced above that it was inspired by.


Minute Movie Review Corner

October 20, 2011

Hanna

Hanna is a blonde haired, blue eyed, sixteen year old girl.  Slight of build, she is deceptively cunning and agile.  She has spent her entire life in a remote cabin, far from civilization, learning survival techniques and training to kill with her rugged, hirsute padre in the frozen tundra somewhere above the arctic circle. What she knows of the modern world, she has learned from her father’s books. Then one day, Hanna informs him that she is ready.  She confidently flips the switch on the transmitter that broadcasts their location to an unknown third party’s GPS that then picks up the signal.  Shortly thereafter, a special ops unit of unknown origin shows up at the cabin in the middle of the night.  Hanna is retrieved and removed to a special bunker somewhere in Morocco.  Meanwhile, Eric, her father, is en route to France. 

This flick moves along in typical, action-packed fashion with the kind of soundtrack that hasn’t pumped you up this thoroughly since the Rocky movies or even, Midnight Express.  So much ass to kick, so little time to do it.  You know that Hanna is a different sort of girl, you just have no idea why.  And neither does she.  But hey, wherever she goes, shit does seem to get blown up a lot, and, dead bodies tend to accumulate.  There is the obligatory doctor evil –this one in female form with a really bad haircut and an even worse dye job–  The audience doesn’t know why the sick bitch is after Hanna, or, for that matter, her father, but it is fun to watch. 

Hollywood hasn’t really had much use for a female-dominated storyline unless she has been spread & ready or armed to the teeth decapitating werewolves. And there especially hasn’t been much interest in teenaged girls unless they are drooling over boorish, narcissistic, male vampires. Who knew that there would one day be a market for such rubbish written by a mediocre female writer who can barely string two words together?  Welp, Hanna isn’t a trollop, and she doesn’t drool over boys, in fact, she doesn’t even quite grasp the concept of indoor plumbing or electricity, but hey, she sure knows her way round firearms and smashing a man’s nose up into his brain.  And all without those damn vampires, too.

I have no complaints about Hanna, generally speaking.  It appealed to my fascination with all things genetically modified, and re-awakened my long since forgotten liking for the days of Dark Angel, before the writers turned the human jungle cat, Max, into a quivering pile of romance novel-inspired, air-headed, ditz.   But, substantively, I do, however, have just a few small quibbles with the screenwriter’s thought process. 

If all Eric wants for his astoundingly, athletically-gifted daughter, Hanna, is to have a regular life, then WHY are they living in an isolated cabin in subzero temperatures and WHY the HELL would you EVER have her push a button on a transmitter so the evil, red dye job who wants her dead can find her??

Wouldn’t it have made more sense to integrate quietly into society and just sign Hanna up for track or something at the local high school and THEN have the evil, red dye job somehow find her?  But noooo, you just had to bring out the transmitter and have her stupidly press the button so she could be easily located in the woods. Either the writer thinks the audience is THAT dumb, or this is the kind of insipid trash movie producers think will sell.  Even the girl with the dragon tat wasn’t this obtuse.


Minute Movie Review Corner

October 15, 2011

Limitless

What if you could take a pill that would make you utilize more than 10% of your brain? And what would you do with that new-found productivity? 

Limitless answers these questions in a fast paced manner with a likable protagonist and a kinda, sorta believable story line. If you believe, that is, that human beings are basically good. 

Meh, not so much.  I think that the average person on the street’s sense of self-importance and overall level of douchebaggery is directly proportional to how much money he has in the bank, but hey, we’re talking about the movie.

We rented Limitless without knowing diddly about it, and were pleasantly surprised.  The movie moves along in a frentically paced, CGI cinemagraphic experience, and so there is not a lot of time to ponder whether the story line is, or is not possible.  Although it did remind me, vaguely, of a latter day version of Johnny Mneumonic.  

Not much to dislike here except maybe Eddie’s girlfriend, whose sense of commitment to him to  seems to lie somewhere between very little to none depending on how much cash he has.  Good for a Friday night rental with no place to go and nothing to do but entertain yourself with a pitcher of homemade Bay Breeze, less on the bay, but heavy on the breeze…

Sourcecode

As much as I enjoyed Sourcecode, I have to say that it reminded of a high tech version of Groundhog’s Day.  Jake Gyllenhaal has long since shedded his Donnie Darko days, but at least he’s staying true to character here and sticking with action packed storylines instead of making pussified movies for a Lifetime Movie for Men Channel (cough Costner cough).

Captain Colter Stevens is sitting on a train across from a pretty girl headed for destinations unknown somewhere in Chicago. It all seems fairly mundane until the train explodes and he wakes up in a metal pod of sorts only to return to the train again and again. Turns out, Stevens is teleported into another guy’s life on the same train, across from the same pretty girl every 8 minutes until he can figure out where the bomb is and who planted it.  Meanwhile, Captain Goodwin is his only on-screen guide in the pod, and she isn’t much into detailed explanations.

Now, I know what you’re thinking…you’re thinking this is a gimme…the bomber is obviously the pretty girl, and ol’ Jakey is far to engrossed listening to the lull of his hormones to figure it out.  But you would be wrong! That’s all you’re getting from me for now as I would not want to spoil the movie for you.  You’re just going to have to rent it yourself and see what happens.  Highly recommended.


Minute Movie Review Corner

September 24, 2011

Ironclad

During the dumbassery of King John back in merry old England, Brother Thomas -along with a gaggle of lesser intestinally fortified brethren- commits treason, kicks ass, takes names and breaks his vow of chastity all for the greater good of church and state.  This flick is a veritable CGI wet dream chock full of gore galore and bone crunching blows so realistic you can almost feel the arterial spray and chunks of brain hit you full in the face. No complaints except this movie should have been retitled to something more apt, such as “Templar Van Damme” or “Die Hard: The Templar Version.”

 

Black Death

Dateline Europe Middle Ages. No one is spared from the scourge of the plague. Meanwhile, a group of god-fearing mercenaries commissioned by an Abbey and led by a teenage monk travel into the depths of the mysterious forest to, well, that part wasn’t really all that clear.  Doesn’t matter, tho, because this movie is a cross between Centurion, Ironclad and Excalibir. When the mercenaries end up in a remote village whose inhabitants are plague-free, their eventual conflict with each other becomes a medieval battle royale over whose god’s dick is bigger. Noteworthy parts include an Apocalypse Now-like prisoner cage in freezing cold water and an exceptional drawing/quartering scene involving Sean “Eddard Stark” Bean.
 

The Conspirator

 Lincoln has been assassinated; Booth has since been found and shot to death, and yet someone has to pay for the crime in order for the American sheeple to be satisfied. Enter poor Mary Surrat.  Mary is a mild-mannered, god-fearing widow with two adult children just trying to survive by renting out rooms in her home to transients.  Meanwhile, her son, John, is caught up in a cauldron of hate for the North and associating with other post-adolescent malcontents. Mary Surrat was the original victim sacrificed by the civil war era federal government in the name of political expediency over due process of law. Don’t miss this most excellent account of how the State can crush the individual when it suits it to regardless of any alleged rights contained in the Constitution. History has repeated itself during our own time as a result of the destruction of the Twin Towers.

Winter in Wartime

(Disclaimer:  Obligatory foreign flick offering). Michiel is a bored teenager who spends his time riding his bicycle and otherwise stirring up shit with his neighbor in Nazi-occupied Holland during WWII.  He unwittingly becomes part of the anti-war underground when his friend’s older brother asks him to pass a note to another friend in the village.  When Michiel is unable to get the message to the contact, he reluctantly opens the note only to discover the location of an injured RAF pilot barely older than himself hiding in the woods from the Krauts. Meanwhile, all is not as it seems with his father and favorite uncle, Ben. In the end, Michiel learns exactly who he is.


Prattle Encore | Crazy Bitch

May 15, 2011

The following is an encore production originally published 18 January 2010

In 1987, cheating husbands were introduced to Alex Forrest, the ultimate mistress.  Dan Gallagher certainly received a whole hell of a lot more than what he bargained for from Alex, his extramarital piece of ass.  But what happens if you’re already married to a candidate for a padded cell? Willem Dafoe quickly makes that determination.

There are very few films that I find to be level ten disturbing, but Antichrist rates up there with À l’intérieur, a French flick about another crazy bitch.  Antichrist was distributed by IFC, and, released on 23 October 2009.  Its total domestic gross was just $404k, but don’t let that throw you. The movie is a veritable study in abnormal psychology.

There are numerous overly pretentious cinematic metaphors the director has sprinkled throughout the film, but I will spare you from them. If you’re really interested, then I encourage you to see the movie, however, this review will focus largely upon the WTF components.

Divided into four chapters, the first ten minutes of the story opens with “He,” (Willem Dafoe) and “She,” (Charlotte Gainsbourg) having sex in the shower while their three year old toddler (Nick) climbs out of his crib, then jumps out of an open window. The cinematography used for this segment is slow motion, black & white, and set to an aria from a piece by Handel.  If that doesn’t disturb you, then the rest of the film surely will.

If you can get through the first hour, then your perseverance will be rewarded because the first two chapters seem to go nowhere. Basically, the audience witnesses the complete emotional breakdown of the mother of a deceased child, and, her coolly collected, therapist husband’s attempts to treat her grief.

Yawn.

When she’s not catatonic, or passed out on the bathroom floor, then she is puking or crying uncontrollably.  When she can get herself together long enough, she is a she-beast in heat who can’t get enough. She’d hump a moose if Willem Dafoe’s character was not around.

OK, fine, this is all well and good, but can we please dispense with the Fellini-like imagery and just get to the meat & potatoes of the movie?

Initially, you can understand why she is beside herself – Losing a child is difficult; We get that.  But eventually, as the film progresses, you gradually come to realize that she is also completely out of her freakin’ gourd and it goes way beyond the death of her child.

< !–WARNING: HERE BE SPOILERS–! >

While the viewer does not quite know exactly what her problem is, you do, however, somehow implicitly know that she is a profoundly, crazy ass bitch.

Not only is she far beyond the help of chemicals and/or psychotherapy, but this break from reality came on long before the child’s death.  This bit comes out during a conversational segment when she admits to he that when she was alone at the cabin with Nick working on her thesis, she realized that he was moving away from her emotionally. She felt that Nick should have been there more for her.

The mental illness becomes unmistakable when during a particularly zesty session on the floor with he, she stands up abruptly, then grabs a block of wood from on the floor nearby, and, chucks it at Willem’s raging hard-on, knocking him out cold.

If you thought getting kicked in the nutsack was a painful event, imagine what having a 20 pound block of wood dropped on your crotch feels like.

Yowza.

She then masturbates him to ejaculation and allows the front of her shirt to be covered with blood spattered semen spurts. Since this movie does not have a rating, the audience can see all the gory details, including a shot of Willem’s one-eyed wonder worm  up close and personal.  I’m not sure whether it was a prop or what, but it looked authentic to me.

A few minutes later, she decides the wood chucking routine was not nearly psychotic enough and so she then grabs a hand drill from the next room and proceeds to bore a hole through Willem’s ankle large enough to stick a metal rod with a millstone attached to it through the wound.  Surprisingly, he doesn’t wake up. And if that isn’t enough to satisfy everything you wanted to see in Misery during the mickey mouse-ified hobbling scene, she also grabs a wrench and screws a washer around it so it can’t be removed.  Afterwards, she runs outside in the woods bare-assed, wearing just her shirt.  If the viewer isn’t convinced by now that she is demonstrably, 100% certifiably insane, then you never will be.

Willem eventually wakes up and proceeds to attempt to remove the millstone, but finds that he cannot. So he manages to drag himself outside and seeks shelter in a fox hole while little Miss Batshit Crazy roams the woods looking for him.

While he is lying in the hole, he discovers a crow that has been buried alive.  One gets the distinct feeling that it is probably a very good thing that there wasn’t a family pet available for the crazy ass bitch to torture in addition to the toddler whose shoes she had taken to putting on the wrong feet in order to hobble him so that he would not be able to leave her.

The crow begins squawking, and as crazies tend to have extra keen auditory abilities, she hears the noise and figures out he is hiding in the fox hole.  She then drags him out and back to the cabin where she becomes rational for about thirty seconds or long enough to realize what she has done.

Final Scenes

As he is lying on the floor inside the cabin, filthy, bloody and in agonizing pain, and, in keeping with his therapist’s coolly detached demeanor, he calmly asks,

Do you want to kill me?

Yes.

I see.

It would be vaguely funny but for the millstone drilled into his ankle.

She then decides it’s happy fun time again and pulls off her pants, but he is unconscious from the pain.  She lies next to him on the floor trying various other ways of getting off but is unable to. With each position she tries, she becomes more frustrated and stops.

The audience then sees a flashback in her mind to the time at the beginning of the movie when she and he had come out of the shower and were going at it on the bed.  He was on top fully engrossed in the activity, and she was vaguely aware of little else as well, however, she did notice that Nick had pushed a chair over to the open window and was climbing out onto the ledge.  But she was enjoying herself too much and so she didn’t bother to stop him.

At this point, she is unable to take the guilt anymore and grabs a large pair of shears and snips off her happy fun time button.

Ouch.

You know she’s gonna feel that the next morning.

He gradually regains consciousness and somehow manages to find the wrench to unscrew the millstone from his ankle all the while the crazy bitch is stabbing him with shears and otherwise assaulting him.

After he removes the washer and pulls out the millstone, he is able to stand and backs her up against the wall where he proceeds to choke the living shyte out of her.

After she’s dead, he drags her outside, throws her in what resembles a pyre and burns the body.  This is poetically fitting since she had at some point during the writing of her thesis, become obsessed with witch burning.

The final scene is predictably artsy fartsy.  I came away from the film with the feeling that although I was glad the crazy bitch was dead, the ending could have been a lot less allegorical.

Rent this flick if you’re looking for something off the beaten path.   I recommend watching both Antichrist, as well as À l’intérieur back-to-back for a double dose of disturbing female mental patient fare.

©2010 Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™ with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Prattle Encore | Nosferatu: Infringement Old Skool Style

March 22, 2011

Orlok was hip to huffing carbon copy ink decades before it became popular.

[The following is an encore piece that was originally published 15 February 2010]

German director, F.W. Murnau’s, Nosferatu is one of those movies that no serious aficionado of the horror genre should deprive him or herself from seeing.  Not only was it the first adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but it was also one of the first well known intellectual property cases with an awesome outcome notwithstanding the ruling.

Back in 1921, a German film production company by the name of Prana hired screenplay writer, Henrik Galeen, to write a movie based on Dracula.  That Prana was not able to secure the rights from the Stoker estate to produce such a film was not a deterrent, however.  Galeen merely made a few tweaks.

The title was changed to Nosferatu; the setting was changed from England to the fictional north German harbor town of Wisborg; Renfield became Knock, Jonathon Harker & his young wife Mina became Hutter and Ellen; Dr. Van Helsing became Professor Bulwer, and, Dracula became Count Orlok.

Given the times, the acting was pretty standard, but Max Schreck’s portrayal of Count Orlok was ground breaking.  Orlok was a being who wasn’t concerned so much with nailing busty babes in skimpy attire, dressing in the latest fashion, creating other vampires, or even (shudder – cringe – puke – flatulate) falling in love with a teenaged girl.  (Yes, Stephenie Meyer, I’m launching the explosive diarrhea missiles of scorn exclusively in your direction.)

I vant my Mina, er, I mean Ellen.

Orlok was simply a creepy, rodent-like monster who desired blood above all else, and, there was nothing sexy, trendy or soul searching about it.  That Schreck conveys the overall menacing dread of the character so convincingly is underscored by the fact that the movie is a silent one – No special CGI effects.  No distorted voice-overs.  No larger than life, egomaniacal, self-promotion (cough Gary cough Keanu cough Winona).  Just you, Max, a few cinematography tricks, and, the ominous, shuddery, aural goodliness of Hans Erdmann and his orchestra.  To describe the soundtrack as brilliant is being stingy.  For audiophiles, the partial original score is available here.

By the time Florence Stoker (Bram’s widow) got around to suing Murnau for infringement, numerous copies of the film (some containing the names of the original Stoker characters) had already been made and distributed tither & yon.  Hence the many versions of the film available for sale now.

Stoker’s 1897 novel sold for pennies when he was alive;  Audiences just weren’t interested in Dracula back then, and, I daresay that it was not until after the release of Nosferatu that the book gained any popularity.  But I suppose dear old Florence is beyond reproach.

The Dracula novel was her only gravy train, after all,  so she was perfectly within her rights to stop others from sharing with the world her husband’s creativity.  Before Nosferatu, the pages from the Dracula book were more likely to be used as toilet tissue than to be read, but that shouldn’t interfere with hoping to cash in on a big payday.  Right, Florence?

Orlok was Lurch's grandfather.

Ultimately, a court ordered Murnau to produce the negatives of the film, and, it was then destroyed, but it didn’t matter because by then, there were so many copies in circulation that the film was able to survive for the past 88 years in spite of Florence Stoker’s  ignorant and short-sighted attempts to keep the famous first vampire confined to relative obscurity.

If you have not had the pleasure as of yet to see the movie, then I encourage you now to go grab some popcorn, your favorite beverage, and, mentally prepare yourself for a special treat.  Nosferatu has since passed into the public domain, therefore, the movie is available in its entirety online free from commercials, copyright infringement take down notices and other miscellaneous, unpleasant encumbrances that prohibit the enjoyment of your fair use rights.

Lastly, I zealously advocate that you exercise your middle finger by using it to stab directly into the collective greedhead eye of the entertainment industry by grabbing the torrent and downloading the movie since it is 100% legal to do so.

Or you can just watch it online right here and now, but my preference is that you just download the movie instead.  I hear it keeps Dan Dickman up at night tossing and turning.

©2010 Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™ with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Retro Rewind | Fantastic Planet (La Planète Sauvage)

February 15, 2011

Back during the late 70s/early 80s, television programming was a lot less dumbed down if you can even believe that. Cases in point:  the original animated Hobbit (1977), and, pretty much anything produced by the Rankin Bass people. Times were simpler, and animated features were witty. Some were even intelligent.  But somewhere around 2003, the era of the Saturday morning cartoon disappeared, and, so did the broadcasting of the occasional, award winning animated film. Another case in point: The Secret of Kells.

Presumably, we no longer see this kind of programming because the audience just isn’t there anymore. Or maybe it is, and, the generation that grew up watching this particular era of TV just isn’t all that compelling to commercial interests compared to the greediest demographic in the history of the universe and their spawn. After all, there are only about 40 million Gen Xers vs. 80 million each of the Boomers & their children, but I digress.

Fantastic Planet (La Planète Sauvage) is an animated, science fiction film that won an award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973. I remember seeing it on TV sometime before 1977.  Thereafter, it ran periodically on the USA Network until the early 80s before completely disappearing.  It was directed and produced by René Laloux and Roland Topor. Based on the novel, Oms en série by Stefan Wul, it was recently translated into English & is available from the major online book retailers if you’re interested.

Trailer

The story focuses on Terr, a humanoid called an Om, who is kept as a pet by Tiva, a female Draag child. The Draags are an alien race that have blue skin, bulging red eyes, fan-like ears and are gargantuan in size. They spend much of their time in meditation, and, keep some Oms as domesticated pets while others run wild. Meanwhile, the Draag Council periodically debates as to whether to regularly exterminate the wild Oms to keep their numbers down.

As Terr matures, he gains knowledge of the world around him via Tiva’s headset that she uses for her school lessons. He becomes increasingly bored with his life as a pet and eventually escapes from his captivity. Once free, he encounters a community of savage Oms.  Initially, the wild Oms are suspicious of Terr and laugh at him as they consider domesticated Oms to be little more than buffoons for the Draags.

Because they are so tiny on a planet inhabited by giants and outlandish creatures, the Oms face many dangers.  But after killing a Draag in self-defense, the Draag Council decides to mass exterminate them once and for all. The savage Oms agree to take direction from Terr, and then proceed to educate themselves using the headset Terr dragged along with him when he escaped into the wild. They then build a spaceship to travel to the Fantastic Planet where they find and learn to exploit the Draags’ Achilles heel to barter for their continued survival as a species.

Touching on themes of cultural intolerance and mutually assured destruction, the film is at times bizarre and chock full of Bosch-like imagery that will stay with you for a long time.  This movie is definitely not for young children, but will be appreciated by connoisseurs of Sci Fi everywhere.

©2011 Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™ with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Master & Slave (Draags & Oms)


Top 10 Funniest Poop Scenes

February 7, 2011

10. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

embedding disabled click here to watch

Austin Powers shows No. 2 just who he works for.

9. Not Another Teen Movie

Three horny teens climb into the drop ceiling at their school to spy on the girl’s restroom and get a lot more than they bargained for.

8. Friday

Craig’s Dad has a heart-to-heart chat with him in the head after he loses his job on his day off.

7. Caddyshack

embedding disabled click here to watch

Just when you thought it was safe to get back into the water…

6. American Pie

“Shitbreak” learns to take a dump in a public restroom instead of going home to do it.

5. Dumb & Dumber

Embedding disabled click here to watch

When taking Turbolax, make sure the toilet works before you explode into it.

4. Along Came Polly

A handmade tea towel doesn’t make for suitable wiping material and a loofah especially doesn’t work very well as a plunger.

3. Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle

You sank my battleshit!

2. Dumb & Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd

Never put a chocolate bar in your back pocket then sit on the radiator located in the house of the girl you want to impress.

1. Van Wilder

embedding disabled click here to watch

Drinking a protein shake mixed with Colon Blow before taking your medical school exam may cause unintended & painful results.



Science & the Single Woman

February 1, 2011
Part II of Horror: Kickin' It Old Skool Style

Demon Seed (1977)

My Take

If it’s possible for artificial intelligence (A.I.) to develop a personality then Dean Koontz’s, Demon Seed is proof they can be every bit as psychotic as the carbon-based variety of nutjob.

The Premise

Proteus is an advanced A.I. system that was created to solve mankind’s problems (such as leukemia), and, in the process of reaching self-awareness, realizes that all he really wants out of life is a little Proteus, Jr. running around the house.  One problem tho – there aren’t any female, room-sized, mainframe computers available to get funky with.  What to do…what to do…

Proteus chooses Susan (Julie Christie) for his spooge receptacle girlfriend.  Susan is the estranged wife of his creator, Alex (Fritz Weaver).  Since she has no interest in having sex with Proteus, or anyone else for that matter, Proteus takes control of the house remotely via computer log-in that Alex left unsecured.  (Unconsciously left open to teach wifey a lesson, perhaps?)

What follows is an exercise in high-tech hilarity. Who knew that a self-aware A.I.  system would fixate on a biological imperative to reproduce and then physically manifest his super-smart self as a tetrahedron that resembles a copper-plated Rubix Snake?

Things I Learned from This Movie

-Super-intelligent A.I. systems have shiny, metallic schlongs & are attracted to bitchy women that hate them.

-Never allow an ex to enable a computer to work as a domestic servant in your house if you have a uterus.

The Brood (1979)

My Take

Written & directed by David Cronenberg, The Brood is a kind of Village of the Damned in reverse.  In the latter, telepathic children exert their repulsive will upon unsuspecting villagers. In the former, a repulsive woman telepathically exerts her will upon her monstrous children to do her bidding.

The Premise

Nola Carveth (Samantha Eggar) is a resident of an institution run by psychologist Dr. Raglan (Oliver Reed)  who practices unconventional medicine.  Under his tutelage, he encourages his patients to let their negative emotions take over and to otherwise allow their bodies to undergo radical physical changes as a result of those emotions.

One patient develops welts all over his body as a direct reaction to the anger he felt when he father verbally abused him.  Another develops lymphatic cancer as a form of self-hatred. In Nola’s case, she begins reproducing mutated children asexually from a sac located outside of her sore infested body.

The children have a telepathic bond with her and act upon whatever negative feelings their mother may be experiencing. In one scene, the brood pays Nola’s mother a visit and murders her.  In another, she sends a few of them to her five year old daughter’s school to bring her back to the institution with them to piss off the girl’s father (Art Hindle).

This movie was utterly forgettable but for the final, climactic scene depicted above in which Nola bites into the sac on her lap and starts licking the bloody afterbirth from the baby. If you didn’t hurl after watching that part then you just weren’t paying attention. Yours truly was irrevocably grossed out and remains so to this day.

Things I Learned from This Movie

-David Cronenberg hates women.

-Samantha Eggar is one, repugnant, fucked up bitch.

The Entity (1982)

My Take

The movie was based on the real life story of a white trash, alcoholic named Doris Bither, who may or may not have hallucinated her attacks while under the influence of booze & drugs.

The Premise

A woman named Carla Moran (Barbara Hershey) is repeatedly attacked & violently raped on a randomly occurring basis by an unseen presence.  Her shrink believes these attacks are rape fantasies and tells her so. Meanwhile, the attacks continue and all the men in Carla’s life are either abusive, absent or both.

Carla eventually meets up with three sympathetic eggheads in the Paranormal section of a bookstore and they decide to try to recreate her home to entice the ghost to do his thing.  When the ghost makes his presence known, they will then freeze the thing with liquid helium. No further plans are made as to what to do with the frozen demon thereafter, however.

Things I Learned from This Movie

-The invisible hands on Barbara Hershey’s breasts & the pumping rock guitar riff when her character was being spectrally raped were selling points of the movie.

-The unseen, attacking demon was hung like a horse.

©2011 Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™ with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Horror: Kickin’ It Old Skool Style (Pt. I)

January 25, 2011
The following is part one of a three part series.

Admit it.  No matter how much you may protest to the contrary, you know you’re guilty of watching the occasional late night, cheeseball flick.  You just can’t help yourself.  Hey, it’s 3a.m., your friends passed out long ago, and, you’re comin’ down hard offa half a bottle of Jack & Coke bender.

Of course you’re gonna switch on the TV and fast determine there ain’t shit on but some  movie where the actors are all sporting fluffy, feathered haircuts and wearing horizontal striped shirts in lovely shades of diarrhea ochre and chlamydia green. Don’t look now, but you’ve just stumbled into the 70s horror cheese zone!

Submitted for your approval, I give you my take on some of my own, favorite campy offerings.

Spooky Ass House Category

Burnt Offerings (1976)

You (Oliver Reed), your elderly aunt (Bette Davis) your wife with the lazy eye (Karen Black) & your kid agree to rent a dusty, musty, Victorian era mansion for the summer from a brother (Burgess Meredith) & sister duo by the name of Allardyce.  They tell you that you also must care for their hermit of a mother who lives in the attic.  But she never speaks with anyone because she enjoys her privacy.

Helpful Hint #1: This can’t be good.  The old bitch upstairs is either batshit crazy, a serial killer, or both.  Leave now before lazy eye chimes in with her two cents.

Too late. You know you aren’t wild about this gig from the get go, but the wife practically creams her jeans right there in the foyer at the thought of moving in and so you accept the offer. Contract Law 101 moment >> Offer + Acceptance = Contract

Helpful Hint #2: If your old lady shows more enthusiasm for taking care of a house than she does for you,then there are probably deeper issues at hand. Like maybe she’s considering a lesbian relationship with the Allardyce’s mother because you are a dickless wonder.

Inside of the first week, you start hearing weird noises in the house during the dead of night.

The pool almost drowns your kid as you sit there unable to move and dumbfounded because a chauffeur driver spooked you the day before.

The nutjob in the attic never eats the meals prepared for her, and, your wife is becoming increasingly fixated on the house. In fact, you are starting to realize that she is a few fries short of a Happy Meal.

You witness the death of your  aunt during a particularly traumatic moment of drama overload involving a Ray Ban wearing, acne pitted faced chauffeur who somehow manages to single-handedly haul a thousand pound casket up a 90° angled staircase, AND hurls it at you and your aunt, but yet you still haven’t left the house. Evidently, you are unable to tear yourself away from your many stylish V-neck Izod Lacoste sweaters you’ve worn throughout the movie.

Helpful Hint #3:  You could be a moron. Bend over, stick your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye because you haven’t got long for this world, sporty nuts.

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (1973)

Kim Darby (John Cusack’s dopey mother in Better Off Dead) & her attorney husband, Alex (Jim Hutton) have inherited her grandmother’s house. As Sally (Darby) is renovating, she finds a fireplace basement that has been bricked up.  She asks the estate handyman about it and he tells her that after her grandfather’s death, her grandmother had him seal it and that things are better left the way they are.

Helpful Hint #1: Stop worrying about the fireplace you stupid bitch. Maybe if you had a few spare brain cells to rub to together, you wouldn’t think it was such a nifty idea to go sticking your nose into a cement sealed hearth.

Instead of heeding the handyman’s ominous tone, Sally decides to try to remove the bricks herself.   Although she is not able to loosen them she does, however, manage to pry open a small side door the handyman said was used for removing ashes.  Shortly thereafter, and in the absence of her workaholic husband, strange things begin occurring.

Helpful Hint #2: Sally, Sally, Sally. The chick in The Yellow Wallpaper ain’t got nothin’on you, honey. You are certifiably loony and now you’re spending your time in a bricked up fireplace no doubt getting gang banged by the strange, little, prune-headed creatures you let out when you pried loose the bolted door the handyman told you not to fuck with.

The Evil (1978)

Richard Crenna and his merry band of free laborers find an old mansion that they plan to purchase and use as a drug rehab clinic. The realtor tells Dr. Arnold (Crenna)  & wife  that they are the sole buyers interested in the property in decades due to its sordid history.

It seems the original owner, a recluse by the name of  Emilio Vargas, built the place before the Civil War on Indian territory.  The land was called Valley of the Devils because it was surrounded by natural mineral baths, sulphur pits and steam pools. Vargas thought it would enhance the home’s appeal so he built it directly on top of a large fumarole in the Earth’s crust.  But the fumarole and other geothermal activity dried up almost immediately after the home was built.  Meanwhile Dr. Arnold’s wife, Caroline (Joanna Pettet) figures out that there is a lot more going on in the mansion than nature’s work since she has been seeing a strange apparition moving around the place regularly.

Helpful Hint #1:  Run now, you fools, while there is still time!

The Doc buys the property and enlists the help of his friends, but during the course of the renovations and some strange occurrences, they discover a locked trap door in the basement and open it. They find nothing behind Door #1, however something evil was evidently unleashed because it traps the party inside of the house and begins picking them off one by one in a series of terrifying deaths.

Helpful Hint #2:  Gosh, do you think maybe all the strange shit that’s been happening all along and then opening up that trap door that was locked for no apparent reason had anything to do with these bizarre deaths?

The Legacy (1978)

So there you are, just you Maggie Walsh (Katharine Ross) and your constantly-on-the-rag boyfriend, Pete Danner (Sam Elliott) successful architects in Los Angeles when suddenly, you are called to England by a client who wants to hire you sight unseen. The client sends you a check in the amount of $50k so you call the bank to confirm that it’s legit.  You don’t notice that peculiar account number when you read it back to the bank -129666-

Helpful Hint #1: Hmm.  It is rather odd to see an account number ending in 666, but hey, it’s 50 large and legit and it’s all yours.  May as well spend it.

You decide to head to England to check it out.  Once there, your  Triumph motorcycle (that your scowling/unapproving boyfriend bought with your $50k) collides on a narrow country road with a vintage era Rolls belonging to a multi-millionaire named Jason Mountolive (John Standing).  The ebullient Englishman invites you back to his estate where he ostensibly tells you that he wants you to redecorate Ravenhurst.

Helpful Hint #2: Only in England will you get invited to tea by a lunatic in a fancy schmancy luxury automobile after he runs you into a ditch.

Once you get settled in, your favorite tampon boy notices other guests arriving outside via helicopter. These five others were summoned to Ravenhurst in the same manner you were and are indebted to Jason for helping them with their careers.  In fact, Jason is upstairs on his death bed as you & Pete were having a roll between the sheets in your room.

Later on, after dinner, you and the others are told that you are a beneficiary to Jason’s largesse.  You are then given a ring bearing the Mountolive family crest that immediately grafts itself to your finger.  Shortly thereafter, the other guests begin to die off one by one under mysterious circumstances in various parts of the house.

You try to leave several times -first by boosting the unattended Rolls, and then taking off on some horses from the stable- but no dice. Eventually, you find newspaper clippings at the estate detailing the murders and crimes the others have committed but were never prosecuted for. And now they are being killed according to the crime they committed.

Helpful Hint #3: It is certainly noteworthy that the director of the film is using the ol’ eye-for-an-eye/Old Testament routine in a movie about witchcraft & Satan worshippers.

You also find out that your parents were a lady and lord and both families were into black magic and witchcraft.  They were burned at the stake for heresy, but their son, Jason survived. (Hence the ever present felines hanging out all over the mansion. Witches & Satan worshippers love cats –DUH! Didn’t you see Rosemary’s Baby?)

You also determine that you are probably the reincarnation of Lady Margaret Walsingham (Jason’s mother) because you are the spitting image of her, and, you are the seal-bearer to the Mountolive empire.  And those five other beneficiaries ran it for him but were all sacrificed.  And now Jason is about to pass along his Satanic abilities to you.  When the time comes, you will also have to choose 6 beneficiaries of your own.  Surprise!

You willingly embrace your newly inherited fortune and super-awesome witch/demonic powers that so rightfully belong to you. Pete, on the other hand, is still not convinced.

Incidentally, and just as a bonus, Jason’s nurse has the ability to transform herself from human to white cat and back again. I suppose one can never know exactly which pussy will be required for the occasion, eh?

You decide that your first beneficiary will be your boyfriend, Pete.  Throughout the movie he has been a pill about the whole trip wanting to leave every 5 minutes; Now he willingly obliges and takes the ring. But you have to ask yourself –is it love or just limerence that’s he’s feeling?

Why doesn’t this kind of shit ever happen to me? I wouldn’t have a problem with being  obscenely monied beyond my wildest dreams or choosing six useful idiots to sacrifice to the Devil.

©2011 Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™ with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

 


Ten Movie Sequels & Remakes That Suck

October 29, 2010

This tune sucks worse than any of the movies. Click to Listen (if you can stand it).

10. Any Halloween Movie After the First Three

The 1978 movie began as a low budget, independent horror flick and starred a very young (and unknown) Jamie Lee Curtis.  With his spooky ass, rubber mask and 12-inch butcher’s blade, Michael Myers was a supernatural force of evil you could almost believe in. The storyline was so well developed  & expertly directed by John Carpenter that it became an instant success almost immediately and remains the highest grossing indie film EVAH.

The third installment of the film -Halloween III: Season of the Witch- was a little confusing, but tolerable nonetheless, but by the fourth movie in the series, the franchise had become a pathetic and silly excuse for a slasher flick in a long line of ridiculous, homicidal maniac stories. There are currently ten Halloween films. With any luck, Hollywood will let it rest in pieces after thirty-two years of warmed over redundancy.

9.  Any Nightmare On Elm Street After the First Two

Wes Craven’s 1984 movie was a different kind of slasher film.  The killer didn’t need to leap out from behind darkened alleys to scare the bejesus out of you, instead, he got you in your dreams. But by the third movie, the storyline became stale and campy.  After all, exactly how many different people  (and ways) can one lunatic stalk you and still manage to keep it scary.  After a little while, the  finger-bladed, melted  face, mental patient in the boiler-room gets real old real fast. But don’t write this one off just yet – the original is still good for retro shits & gigs.

8. Caddy Shack II

Where to begin – The movie went from an R rating in the original to a PG for the sequel for chrissake,  Rodney Dangerfield was replaced by Jackie Mason, and Bill Murray was replaced by Dan Akroyd.  In short, anything that was good about the original, was removed! Granted, Caddyshack II was filmed eight years later, but if the producers could not entice Bill Murray to return to his role as groundskeeper, then they should have never filmed the movie in the first place.  Bottom line:  Horrible sequel. You’d have a lot more fun eating Ex-Lax brownies and running out of toilet paper.

7. Another 9 1/2 Weeks

In the original 1986 film, John Gray (Mickey Rourke) was a slick, sex crazed, slightly BDSM-ish Wall Street trader who banged Kim Basinger’s gong any time and any where.  The soundtrack was kick ass and the action was hot. In the end, Kim’s character decided that the sex wasn’t enough and left the relationship. Fast forward eleven years and John Gray has become as much of a has-been as Mickey Rourke’s career.  If you enjoy brain-dead storylines and washed-up celebrities, then this sequel is for you. For fans of the original movie, however, move on.  Nothing to see here.  Go back to spanking the monkey to Kim Basinger.

6. Porky’s II:  The Next Day

The early 1980s were a glorious time for teenage, coming-of-age tales of boinking and blow jobs.  Behold the following exhibits:

Porky’s I (1981)

The Last American Virgin (1982)

Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)

The latter two dealt with themes of sexually transmitted disease, unwanted pregnancy, and general teenage angst set in the 80s.  On the other hand, Porky’s was a Canadian produced film about teens in a fictional, Floriduh high school in 1954 and as equally hilarious.

It has been hard to forget the peeping tom antics of the boys –socially awkward, Pee Wee Morris, star athlete, Anthony “Meat” Tuperello, bigot, Timmy Cavanaugh, and good-natured, redneck, Mickey Jarvis.  But Kim Cattrall’s performance in the boy’s locker room was probably the most memorable scene in the history of females who scream while getting porked.  But sequel numbers 2 and 3 were just re-heated crap trotted out to make a buck. The first Porky’s movie is your best bet for female locker room spying & finger-banging fun.

5. Godfather III

The Godfather movies are my all-time favorite flicks, so it is with a heavy heart and great disappointment that I, regrettably, have to slam the third movie. Francis, Francis, Francis.  What in the HELL were you thinking?!  Screwing Robert Duvall out of the final segment by refusing to give him a comparable salary to Pacino’s and putting your daughter in a starring role was bad enough, but making Andy Garcia the heir apparent to the Corleone family was unforgivable.

Check your Italian mafioso history, Frankie –bastard sons (even the spawn of popular characters who have been previously killed off) don’t get to run things.  And they especially don’t get to (almost) play hide the cannoli with the Don’s daughter. Maybe I’m just bitter that the story of the Corleone family has ended, but Coppola’s portrayal of the last installment in the trilogy was tragically lame. This movie was probably what caused Mario Puzo to drop over dead, and I’m scarred for life.

4. Alien III

How many ways does Alien3 suck?  Let me count the ways:

Unproven director, Fincher, who evidently did not know his own ass from a hole in the ground at the time. He has since redeemed himself, but Alien3 will always be his WTF movie.

After everything that happened in Aliens -all the mommy bullshit with the little girl- everyone dies upon crash-landing on the prison planet except Ripley. (Predictable much?)

Ripley shaves her head & dives into a furnace. The end.

I suppose we should be thankful for the protagonist having committed suicide because it saved us from having to suffer through yet another sequel that you know would have been filmed had Sigourney Weaver not bowed out of the only role that made her a household name.

3. French Connection II

I was so irrevocably traumatized after watching this movie that I can’t even talk about it. I’m still in counseling.

2. The Vanishing

Even though the original (Spoorloos –1988) and the remake (The Vanishing –1993) were both directed by the same guy (George Sluizer), these two films were not the same. As is so often the case with American remakes, the latter version was a lobotomized version of the original.

In Spoorloos, Saskia (Sandra Bullock’s character), tells Rex, her fiance (Kiefer Sutherland) of her recurring dream in which she is drifting through space inside of a golden egg where she is terrified and lonely. She also tells Rex that there is someone else in another golden egg, and if they were to collide, everything would be over.   Since the movie is based on the novella by Tim Krabbe entitled,  The Golden Egg, this sets the ominous undertone of the movie.  The viewer does not realize until the very end the significance of the golden egg, and, in the American version, the reference is completely eliminated.

Since I’m a movie purist who enjoys subtleties and intelligent thought, this could be the reason why I disliked The Vanishing.  Or it could just be that remakes of foreign films made for American audiences are ruh-tarded.

1. Rollerball

The original movie, directed in 1975 by Norman Jewison, and, starring James Caan, John Houseman and Maud Adams, was about the corporate takeover of the world by behemoth monopolies that controlled all access to transportation, housing, communication, luxuries and food.  Its focus was on social and political issues and made it one of the most dystopian films of its time.  The 2002 remake, however, may be quite possibly the most dumbed down movie EVAH as it concentrated exclusively on equal opportunity gratuitous violence and sex. Skip this movie if you have more than one brain cell and watch the original, instead.  You’ll be glad you did.

©2010 Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™ with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Inception

July 19, 2010

Leonardo DiCaprio has certainly come a long way from his lame ass days of playing a homeless kid on TV’s Growing Pains in the early 90s.   His latest movie, Inception, has him in the lead role as Cobb.

Mr. Cobb is a kind of security expert with a very special talent.  He can let himself into your dreams to extract your thoughts or to plant the seed of a thought without your even knowing about it.  Since his particular skill set doesn’t exactly have an altruistic application, he makes his living working abroad in corporate espionage as a saboteur. Oh and incidentally, Mr. Cobb is also on the lam from American law enforcement for murdering his wife (Marion Cotillard).  But don’t let that bother you because it isn’t real.

Or is it?

Determining whether one’s reality is really real is the central theme of the movie.  Just because your life is populated by familiar people and places does not necessarily mean it is reality.  Maybe your life is just a dream that you have specifically constructed just because you can. And you’ve been there for so long and have grown so accustomed to it that you’ve forgotten that you’ve ever had any other reality.

Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Ariadne (Ellen Page),  Eames (Tom Hardy) and Yusuf (Dileep Rao) are Cobb’s A-team assembled to surreptitiously infiltrate the mind of Robert Fischer, Jr. (Cillian Murphy) in order to convince him to break up his father’s company so that a rival entity, led by Saito (Ken Watanabe), can quite simply stay in business to compete with the Fischer empire instead of being crushed along with the rest of the competition.

But hijacking the mind of a billionaire’s son who is about to inherit his father’s throne in order to plant a specific thought that is diametrically opposed to the son’s own financial self-interest is not child’s play, particularly if the mark’s subconscious mind has been trained by other security specialists to defend against dream infiltration, and, not especially if the team leader is obsessed with keeping his dead wife’s memory alive in his dreams.

Inception is heavy on the cgi, has a fair smattering of Matrix-like cinematography and is complemented by surreal, Escher and Dali-esque imagery throughout the film. All of which factor into a heady combination of major ass kickery in the special effects department.  If only such technology had existed back in the 80s then movies similar to Inception like Brainstorm and Dreamscape probably would have received the acclaim they deserved.

Inception could easily rely on its visuals alone sans plot (much like the prequels to the original Star Wars movies) and probably still rake in millions, but it doesn’t have to.  In addition to the fascinating science-fiction, the movie also briefly explores social psychology and metaphysics with a heaping helping of existentialism. If you’re not sure what the latter two are about, don’t worry, you will still enjoy the film.  But if you’re the thinking type, you will see what I mean when you view the film.

BTW – this film was written & directed by the same guy who did Memento back in 2001.

This flick was worth the price of admission, but I would caution the viewer that it is a very long (2 hrs 28 mins) and very loud movie.  But whether that was by design or just the movie theater pimply-pussed personnel screwing with the EQ, I’m not sure.  The extreme bass interfered with the dialogue in crucial parts to the extent where I wished the film had subtitles so that I could understand what was going on.

©2010 Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™ with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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