And You Thought It Was Safe(?)

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

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
At least the ax wound is well-done.

At least the ax wound's a nice touch.

The presumptively-named Final Chapter opens with a highlights reel, reminding you (by which I mean me) of an editor’s power to twist truth into previously unthinkable of geometries. Intercutting Paul’s campfire recap of series’ mythology from Part 2 with shots from Jason Voorhees’ Greatest Murders might give the uninitiated a false impression of this series’ quality.

That could be dangerous, so let me state plain: Quality has to scrape Friday the 13th off its shoes every time it visits its aging parents. Don’t want to track things across the “family” room carpet, now do we? Continue reading

Bang Bang You’re Dead (2002)

"Shouldn't I be shooting grenades out of my wings?"The writers/directors of Duck! The Carbine High Massacre warned us this would happen. Bang Bang You’re Dead is just the “‘made for TV’ movie” the opening title card for their little school-centric rampage picture warned us about. Based on the one act play of the same name by Eugene, Oregon resident William Mastrosimone, Bang Bang You’re Dead attempts to combine the maudlin sentimentality of an ABC After School Special (and, in fact, won a Daytime Emmy Award for its apparent success at just that) with a bit of social realism that’s strictly safe-for-cable. The results are pick-n-mixed to an astonishing degree…but I’ll be damned if the film didn’t almost get me.

Thankfully it doesn’t take long for Bang Bang to remind me of its origins. This is, first a foremost, a Showtime Original Picture (suppress your shudders), produced in association with Viacom, the international media octopus which owns Showtime, Paramount Pictures, Comedy Central, and a whole host of other criminal corporations hell-bent on reducing all of us to uncritical “entertainment consumers.” Few things are more insulting than a film with its own Study Guide…save when that film comes to you from the director of The Babysitter (1995) and the people who own MTV. {More}

Star Trek (2009)

It's the Enterprise...kinda, sorta.I knew this would happen, if for no other reason than that this is the eleventh motion picture in the Star Trek canon.

Good Trekies will know exactly what I mean by this broad, sweeping generalization. Ever since William Shatner ran Star Trek V into the ground odd-numbered entries in the series have always been looked upon with suspicion, if not outright derision. I suspect The Final Frontier is itself responsible for this prejudice, but no matter. Tonight’s entry reaffirms its basis in fact, along with all of my worst expectations. {More}

Cloverfield (2008)
February 2, 2009, 7:07 am
Filed under: Movies, Reviews | Tags: , , , ,

I feel remiss letting the one self-conscious, big-budget, daikaiju movie of 2008 pass without comment. I have no illusions about the utility of these comments, however. Every fan on the Internet has already seen the film and come down fo’ it or again’ it. Instead, I plan to cut a path straight through the ambivalent center, because that’s just how I roll. My hope is this vantage point with throw Cloverfield‘s good and bad sides into stark relief allowing us to have fun. This is, after all, supposed to be entertainment. Not the Second Coming of Godzilla. Not the Third Coming of the Blair Witch (God help us if it is). Cloverfield is neither of those things, in spite (or perhaps because) of the fact that it was probably sold as such.

“Probably,” hell. This is one of those movies where you can almost hear the producer making his pitch over the first reel, with no commentary track required: “Okay…it’s Godzilla, meets The Blair Witch Project…with creepy bugs thrown in for good measure. And I’ll do it all for under twenty-five million. I’m telling you, we can’t lose.” Unlike the film’s characters. {More}