And You Thought It Was Safe(?)


The Avengers (2012)

Thor (2011)
If I had a hammer...I'd...oh, wait. I already used that joke for Drive. What is it with 2011 and hammers?

If I had a hammer…I’d…oh, wait. I already used that joke for Drive. What is it with 2011 and hammers?

I feel the same way about Thor most people feel about Superman. After all, Thor’s the Norse god of thunder. As such, he’s ridiculously over-powered and more than a little alien, depending on the personal taste of who’s writing him at the time. Over a fifty year history as convoluted as any other comic book superhero’s, Thor’s been a god trapped in a man’s bod, a man driven insane by a magic hammer, and more or less everything in between. Now he’s a movie star and I say, Good for you, Odinson. Maybe you can tell me why your movie isn’t better?

Except he doesn’t have to because I know the answer. You don’t exactly need to sacrifice one of your eyes to know the problem with all these post-Iron Man Marvel movies: they’ve stopped being movies and started contenting themselves with being prequels to The Avengers. In the four years since Iron Man it’s become evident Marvel approaches all their  films with a giant check-list of shit they’ll have to introduce before an Avengers movie even begins to make sense. Continue reading



Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

At long last, of the capstone to what I’m sure will soon be marketed to us as “Michael Bay’s Transformer’s Trilogy.” Though one of my esteemed colleagues, the Movie Preview Critic, found a much better way of putting it: “The Transformers movie times three.”



Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)
Yeah, I'd have that look on my face, too.

Yeah, I’d have that look on my face, too.

I won’t pretend I’m some knight-errant, riding in on a white horse to save Tomb Raider. I know that, as a hetero male nerd, I’m supposed to love Lara Croft, but I’ve despised every game in this franchise and things only got worse as it went on, each iteration more shamelessly copy-pasted than the last.

Then the old girl almost died in 2003, when Core Design and Eidos Interactive released the sixth game in the series, Angel of Darkness. It combined the tank-like controls and five-story screaming death drops of the previous five games with a headscratchingly stupid plot involving magic paintings, a camera that’s as bent on Lara’s death as the antagonists, and more bugs than Jurassic Park’s computer systems. Continue reading



Team America: World Police (2004)
So, if actors are such pussies, how come this one gets to use his magic Acting powers to save the world?

So, if actors are such pussies, how come this one gets to use his magic Acting powers to save the world?

Every morning I thank God we no longer live in that sick, bipolar year of your lord, 2004. Were we still stuck back there, in one of the crappier years of one of the crappiest decades in world history (so far), I’d have to start this review out with an equally crap introduction. Tons of them litter our great series of tubes, all saying the same damn boring things:

“Boy, it sure has sucked, suffering through all these films with explicit political messages. Sure do wish all these filmmakers would just shut the fuck up. How dare they exercise their right to free speech in a supposedly-democratic society? Thank God for Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and their Great Gift, Team America: World Police. It’s a film that gleefully farts in the face of our entire political spectrum. Thank God someone’s finally made a film for apathetic, hipster douchebags whose main source of current events is cable TV news…or award winning satires of cable TV news, Monday-Thursday at eleven, on Comedy Central. (Now where’s my damn check, Paramount?)”

Seems every hack with a movie website cranked one of these out and unjustly tacked them on to reviews of this film. Reading them all in sequence is like reading a series of variant print-outs from some evil artificial intelligence: the Critic-Tron 9000. They may be perfectly accurate descriptions of the South Park episode writer/directors Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Pam Brady turned in immediately after this film premiered (“Douche Vs. Turd”)…but as a description of Team America, they sell the film far too short. Just like I did, at the time. Continue reading



Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

Part One: Less Than Meets the Eye

Part Two: Puny Humans

Part Three: Car Commercials in Disguise



Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
"Round 1: FIGHT!"

"Round 1: FIGHT!" Portrait of a film critic and this godforsaken franchise.

Or, The One Everyone Hates. And I mean really, really, really hates. That’d be Part V for me, but I understand why everyone pretends that false start of A New Beginning never happened. And I understand the hatred of this…thing.

Seriously, this is Friday the 13th Lite, a cringing, half-hearted attempt to shift the series toward (of all things) respectability. It ended up disappointing everyone from casual movie watchers to the stuffed suits at the top of Paramount’s food chain by exceeding even the most cynical critic’s lowest expectations. Bucking a trend for the series, turned out to be derivative and dull. How did this happen? How did one of the most iconic horror franchises in history sink so low? Continue reading



Gen 13 (2000)

Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
The Eyes have it!

The Eyes have it!

In my Part V review I called that film

the point where the series stopped taking itself so dang seriously, signing its own aesthetic death certificate.

I stand by that, as I stand by every other half-coherent statement I’ve ever made, sensible or otherwise. But I’d be remiss not to confess that the very thing I criticized about Part V lies at the root of my appreciation for Part VI. I’d always liked Jason Lives, but now I fucking love it. If it were a woman, I’d shower its path with rose petals and cake. We’d go back to my place and I’d make Jason Lives fried potatoes and onions for breakfast the next morning. I see a healthy and long-lasting relationship in our future…just as long as we avoid her eleven electrical socket-licking siblings. Continue reading



Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985)
"I think I'll just stand here until you drop dead. Ya'all okay with that?"

"I think I'll just stand here until you drop dead. Ya'all okay with that?"

A New Beginning is bad…but there’s more to it than that. Yes, it’s The One Without Jason, but it’s also the one without standards, any regard for pace, storytelling, or even its own audience expectations. It’s the one that threw the series over a bridge. The point where casts and crews stopped even pretending to care about quality and settled for last place in the Generic Slasher Movie Olympics.

It’s the kind of film you don’t review so much as describe, like the scene of a horrible industrial accident. It could be a nuclear meltdown, or a poison gas leak on a day when the wind blew the wrong way, annihilating a major American movie franchise. It’s the point where the series stopped taking itself so dang seriously, signing its own aesthetic death certificate. It’s a film that circles back around the loop in the my critical scale and becomes so unforgivably awful…it’s actually rather fun. At times. Continue reading