Capsule Reviews: Lord of Tears and Monsters 2

Lord of Tears

This is the one with that Owl Man dude that everyone thought was super creepy. While I like the monster design, we only get to see it a few times. The rest of the movie, we're enjoying people talking about shit nobody really cares about, trapped in a film that looks like it was shot on a 20$ camcorder and then transferred to VHS, probably recorded over some old Seinfeld episodes.

It looks like garbage, it's slow as heck. There's nothing here.

I don't know. I just can't.

0 out of 5 Owls

 

Monsters 2: The Dark Continent

Hey, we should take that pretty decent indie flick that came out a few years ago and make a shitty sequel, mixing American Sniper in with Cloverfield. But make it extra shitty.

Bunch of soldiers head out to the middle east where giant monsters are hanging out. But they're still fighting those TERRISTS out there, while the monsters are an after thought. It's as if a rejected Jarhead sequel's script pages got mixed in with a monster movie. This is really bad and all the 'MURICA shit gets old real fast.

I mean, I dunno. Written and directed by the guy who directed the second season of Misfits, which wasn't that bad. Maybe he should leave the writing to someone else.

1 out of 5 Vagina Monsters (DNF)

 

Retro Stephen King Interviews

I was fascinated to discover some old Stephen King video interviews from the early and late 80s. It might only be of interest to S. King buffs like myself, but I found them incredibly interesting; getting a glimpse of the man he was decades ago and what he thought about writing, horror and his own fame.

He's already a best selling author in these, but he definitely wasn't the legend he is today. A lot happens in 20-35 years.


Dick Cavett Show

This one is for US residents only I'm afraid and I can't embed it either. It's a talk show featuring S. King, George Romero, Ira Levin and Peter Straub. If that doesn't blow your mind, something's wrong with you.


Master of the Macabre: A Conversation with Stephen King

Then there's this 4-part interview from what I think is a channel from the Netherlands. Check out King's pool and bitchin' jukebox. Also if you wanna see King drive a truck and sing along to some rock tunes.


UMO Graduate Profile

Then there's this profile on him from 1982. It's in English, despite the title.


I know there are a bunch of others floating around, but these were my favorites. Let me know if  I missed any great ones.

Capsule Reviews: Among Friends, Dark Summer, Death Do Us Part

Sometimes I watch bad movies and then forget all about them because they don't even warrant a review. But they gnaw at me, these terrible things, and thus I review them months later, half-remembered and half-assed.

 

Among Friends

Utterly forgettable, not completely boring and unoriginal as hell. The premise is ludicrous. The plot as I remember it: A bunch of friends have 80s themed party but it turns out a maniac set it up to get their revenge of them. They proceed to reveal their darkest secrets (and oh boy are some of these people fucked up) while he murders/tortures them. It's a bit like like Happy Birthday to Me but without the charm or the quality.

2 out of 5 Dark Secrets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark Summer

Some dude gets cursed or possessed or something and him, his friend and the girl he's crushing on try to save him. Oh yeah, I think he's on house arrest because he was stalking some girl. Peter Stormare chews scenery as his probation officer and I wonder what kind of student loans he has that made him work on this. College is free in Sweden, so this is a real life mystery.

It's like Disturbia, but not any fun at all. It's boring and the ending sucks.

1 out of 5 Cursed Creepers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Death Do Us Part

Do you like people yelling at each other in the woods? Do you enjoy watching a bunch of ''friends'' who are mysteriously horrible to one another and seem to hate each other's guts, yet they hang out constantly? Do you like telegraphed plot twists that make no sense? Boy do I have something for ya.

Some lady is getting married and she takes her friends and her SO's friends to a cabin in the woods to celebrate. Someone starts murdering people. Nothing of value is lost.

1 out of 5 Wedding Dresses (1 point deducted for that ludicrous ending)



Hellions Review

Ooph. Where to start. According to the marketing department, the director (Bruce McDonald), made a splash with his previous flick, Pontypool. I'm not sure that ''a big splash'' is the word I'd use for Pontypool, but I won't argue too much; I enjoyed it a lot.

Some of the same mad genius is in play here as well, but unfortunately, Hellions is an uneven affair. Probably more so than Pontypool was. And while Pontypool had a really original idea to prop it up (based on a book by Tony Burgess), there's nothing like this here to save it from mediocrity.

It looks good, and that probably accounts for most of the hype surrounding it (that, and the poster. Look at that fucking poster!)

And I have to say, I was a bit let down. I was looking forward to liking this. Hellions manages to be at once both muddy and obvious. When it's not beating you over the head with the motherhood/abortion angle, you're getting nonsensical flashes of a parallel world, weird, budget special effects and lots and lots of screaming. It looks pretty cool, but ultimately doesn't seem to serve any purpose.

The premise of the film is fairly simplistic, but somehow confusing. Just like the movie, I am now confusing the shit out of you. What I mean is that while the movie straight up tells you what is happening eventually, in the meantime you're watching a girl run around her house, or/and a parallel universe, always screaming and crying at the spooky little kids that want her baby. And you're always expecting something more to happen, some kind of twist that will tie this together, but it never comes. Or maybe it does:

The cop that shows up about halfway through is both out of left field and completely on the nose. This was the point when my opinion on the film turned from ''Okay, this isn't that bad'' to ''Why am I watching this.''

It has a slightly stronger third act, but I had checked out by then. Your mileage may vary however, and while that's a given for any movie, I feel like this one might have its fans.

2 out 5 Creepy Halloween Kids

The Heart Does Not Grow Back by Fred Venturini

Now and again you pick a book, planning to maybe read a couple of pages, then check out what else you've loaded into your e-reader thing in the past few weeks as you impulsively buy anything that looks good on Amazon. My book pile grows larger every day and it's sometimes hard to commit to just one.

Then you get a book like this one and instead spend all night reading this one, perfect book until dawn.

I probably have a soft spot for books about kids growing up in small nowhere towns. That said, even the best of those end up doling out some melodrama sooner or later. I stayed with The Heart Does Not Grow Back because it didn't. While the events of the book are tragic, the book isn't a downer; it's too smart and it moves too fast for desperation to settle in. Don't get me wrong, this is a dark, dark book, but the way it's handled makes it more of a dark satire or even a black comedy.

Dale is a teenager when he realizes he has an extraordinary power: He can regenerate missing limbs as well a heal any wound at an extraordinary pace. Other than that, his life is pretty normal up the the point when a tragedy hits the small town, changing his life forever and leaving him a husk of his former self.

The ''catastrophe'' mentioned in the blurb serves as the catalyst for the later action. It's followed by a lull in the narrative that's I wasn't a big fan of, but I won't dock the author too many points; it serves as a springboard for what comes next. Any notion of Dale turning superhero are quickly squashed (and thank God for that). Instead, we're treated to the sad sack of a protagonist trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life and with his power, the two entwined. While Dale's constant angst does get a little tiring, it's never too much so; you end up rooting for the guy, even when he's holding on to a teenage crush for years or failing to look after himself and his best interests.

The end is pretty satisfying, equal parts cold hearted and smart. I almost wish for a sequel.

You should pick this up.

4 out of 5 Hearts

Southpaw

 

I expected to like this, but had my misgivings on the Kurt Sutter script. While I enjoyed the first season of Sons of Anarchy, the rest of them and Sutter's ridiculous social media presence and macho bullshit have long ago turned me off his projects.

On the other hand, I like sports movies and I like Gyllenhaal .

For most of the movie, I felt like Gyllenhaal, getting my ass beaten by cliches building upon cliches. The aforementioned macho bullshit mar an already weak script by trying extra hard to make things dramatic. Our hero is a winner, he's rich, he has a loving family, he dominates in the ring, but he does all this by letting himself get beat on because apparently he won't block or dodge. Apparently he does this because he's super tough and then he gets angry on the last round, hulks out and beats his opponent.

I'm no boxing expert, but I can tell you that's the dumbest shit you've ever heard. While there is such a thing as tiring out your opponent, nobody goes in the ring with the intention to get right hooks to the face for twenty minutes.

I wont spoil the plot, but suddenly, overly dramatic thing happens and this leads our protagonist to lose literally everything. His wife, custody of his daughter, his house, his money (early on he's giving out platinum Rolexes to his buddies, but six months later he's homeless. What.), his friends and his career.

He takes about a week to wallow in this and then gets back on the horse by getting a shitty job in a shitty gym that a has-been coach runs (Forest Whitaker), intending to reclaim his throne.

If you haven't had enough of cliches yet, the rest of the movie plays out like Rocky, only significantly dumber; the whole fight hangs on the use of the titular Southpaw stance, as if Gyllenhaal is a fucking Power Ranger striking his power pose.

However, it's not all bad (it's pretty bad). Gyllenhaal does the best with the lines he's given, 50 Cent was born to play the shifty, shitty manager and some of the bit roles are pretty good.

2 out 5 Left Uppercuts.

P.S. Sons of Anarchy sucks, go fuck yourself.