Hollow Point Productions

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Number 23 (2007) Review

I won’t beat around the bush on this one, The Number 23 is a very good movie with a very obvious twist ending that is likely to piss a lot of people off. Some critics have said that you can figure out the twist “twenty-three minutes in” and while this may be true, focusing only on the twist ending is kind of stupid to do, as the rest of the film (and even the explanation behind the twist) is very well done and shows that Joel Schumacher, despite fucking up the Batman franchise, is still as good a director now as when he directed The Lost Boys.

The story is as follows: animal control employee Walter Sparrow (Jim Carrey) is late to meet his wife on his birthday thanks to a final job involving a rather large dog named Ned. Upon finding his wife Agatha (Virginia Madsen) perusing a used book store, Walter is given a book entitled "The Number 23" by a mysterious author called “Topsy Kretts”. Soon, Walter becomes obsessed with the book and it’s lead character and narrator, called simply “Fingerling”, as well as the titular number. Secrets begin to unfold as Walter sinks into his crazed idea that the book too closely resembles his life and that the number is some sort of murderous curse.

My favorite aspect of this film are the scenes in which Walter Sparrow is reading the book and we see just what it is he’s reading. Actors are taken from the main storyline and plopped into the places of the “fictional” characters in a strange film noir sort of setting that is shot to look the way that one would envision the scene when reading a book—with the backgrounds continually moving around and a very vivid color scheme that makes it a real pleasure to sit back and watch.

The acting is all-around great, with the small exception of Logan Lerman (Evan Treborn, age 7, in The Butterfly Effect), who’s not as much a bad actor as his character is out of place. Basically, he’s just there to add a sidekick to Walter Sparrow while showing a few examples of how great a dad Walter is.

The only other complaint I really give past the twist is the number of coincidences used to hold together the plot. I can’t really give a good example without spoiling anything, suffice it to say that in the end not everything is welded together as well as it should be. The explanation behind the book holds up pretty well, but some things are just cop-outs that could have been handled with a little more grace.

Another note to make is that this is not a horror movie; it is a suspenseful thriller with some very tense moments (such as Agatha Sparrow searching a mental asylum that’s just downright creepy) and some jump scares that work for what they are. The mood more than makes up for most of the film’s shortcomings and is definitely the driving force behind the film’s bizarre feel.

Overall, with the exception of a cliché twist and a few bothersome coincidences, The Number 23 is a well-made, entertaining, and strangely suspenseful film that I would gladly watch again.

Directing: 8/10
Script: 7/10
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Scare Factor: 4/10
Extra Credit: 4


Friday, January 12, 2007

Bruce Campbell in Old Spice Commercial

In my first step toward writing more than just reviews, I present, albeit a tad bit late, a video I've been rather happy to see several times over the past week or so. I can finally confess my use of Old Spice...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Silver Bullet (1985) Review

Ah, Gary Busey. You salty dog you! Making a Stephen King adaptation--you fox!

As anyone can see, I'm being rather sarcastic. A Stephen King flick? Not the best career move in the world, good buddy. King adaptations are rarely very good, from The Mangler series (which, in order of the three films, featured Robert Englund, Lance Henriksen, and Reggie Bannister, FYI) to the Children of the Corn sequels, things don't tend to go too well. Luckily, this time, they weren't too shabby.

This film, like so many other horror flicks from the '80s, is very simple. A young boy in a wheelchair and his sister try to find a werewolf, eventually gaining the aid of their Uncle Red (Gary Busey). That's about it... We do get a bit of the werewolf's side, which I'll get into later, but yeah...

The acting in this film isn't very bad, just average at best. Corey Haim as the wheelchair-bound protagonist is a cute kid who you really don't want to see die... much... and who is continually harassed by his sister basically for being a cripple, when it comes right down to it. This is where the only real bad acting comes in. Not Megan Follows, but Tovah Feldshuh (she can be seen in Lady in the Water as Mrs. Bubchik), who provides her voice as the sister Jane, but older, narrating the story. Her performance is truly cringe-worthy, and really took from the movie a bit. If the filmmakers had gone without narration, it would have been a lot better.

The Buse is in top form here, playing a lovable, rebellious uncle with fine enthusiasm for the role. The man is funny, let's face it, and he is good at being funny. And with an uncle like him, who gets drunk and builds really fancy wheelchairs, what more can a handicapped kid ask for?

I'm sure many would like hear about the werewolf now, so here it is: pretty freakin' nice. The transformation even vaguely reminded me of An American Werewolf in London, and the resulting creature, while he does look a bit like he belongs in Planet of the Apes, is a fine addition to the likes of The Howling, the previously mentioned An American Werewolf in London, and the original Wolfman. My only complaint regarding the werewolf is the killings, which are less than amazing. A baseball bat? Really?! Fucking Jason Voorhees can do that, bring out the motherfucking jaws, bitch! --Which he does do, but come on, a bat?!

Other than that, I don't have much to say about Silver Bullet. It's a good King flick, the script is fine, and the direction is average. Also, I found a nice little similarity between this and The Scarlet Letter, which I won't get into here for the sake of spoiling the obvious, but let's just say that there is some good depth here and there minus the terrible writing stylings of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Directing: 6/10
Script: 7/10
Story: 8/10
Acting: 6/10
Scare Factor: 5/10


Saturday, September 30, 2006

Near Dark (1987) Review

I'm not going to try and keep it a secret--I'm in LOVE with the acting stylings of Lance Henriksen. So much so, I might even eventually see Pirates of Treasure Island! But that is neither here nor there, as I am now reviewing a film that is no doubt 56 trillion times better--the '80s classic Near Dark from director Kathryn Bigelow, who you might know as the mind behind such feats as the Keanu Reeves adrenaline-kicker Point Break and one of the few films with the honor of having Harrison Ford with a Russian accent, K-19: The Widowmaker. Needless to say, one of the few, the proud, the really talented female directors (let the hate mail flow!).

Anywho, Near Dark's plot is really quite simple. Boy meets girl, boy takes girl out, boy gets bitten by girl, boy becomes vampire. That's the set-up, and more-or-less the plot as well. After the farm boy Caleb (played by square-jawed Adrian Pasdar) gets hot and horny for stranger-girl-seductively-eating-ice-cream-on-a-street-corner Mae (played by babe-a-licious Jenny Wright, whose first on-screen credit was as an Americnan Groupie in Pink Floyd the Wall) and takes her out into the night in his hick truck, he is bitten by her fine vampire lips and finds out the hard way that it's a bitch to be a vampire in Texas, upon which time he is picked up by a band of evil vampires headed by Jesse Hooker (the one, the only, Lance Henriksen!). The less-than-welcoming group take in Caleb on the condition that he has to kill for himself, while Caleb's father (Tim Thomerson) tries to track down his son, unknowing of his devilish new existence.

Sound kickass? If so, that's because it is! Bill Paxton as the most sadistic of the group, Severen, packs a punch (and a kick!), most notably in a bar massacre halfway through the flick that should rightly go down as one of the best scenes in film history, and in the very hot conclusion in which he shows his ability to be really fucking intense. Homer, presumably the oldest of the vampires, played by then-child actor Jochua Miller (who can be seen in Halloween III: Season of the Witch as Willie Challis and will appear in the upcoming film The Wizard of Gore, a movie I can't wait to see) is a child vampire who appears to enjoy grabbing new acquantences by the balls--though it is later found that he isn't gay, just a pedophile. Lance--er, I mean Jesse's partner, the vampiress Diamondback, played by Jenette Goldstein, is the single one of the vampire gang I didn't really care too much about. She was really just there to be Jesse Hooker's babe--though she does fill that role plenty well, she ends up simply as an extension of Lance. And I think I may have just made a penis joke. I'm not sure, but that means I need to get on with the rest of the review.

The best part of the film to me, obviously, is LANCE HENRIKSEN. If there wasn't already a great site about him, I'd surely make one myself. In fact, this is where one of my only two problems with this movie come in: NOT ENOUGH LANCE!!! I wanted so much more of his kickass character, but the film focused more the much duller character of Caleb. The other problem is the ending. Not only do Jesse Hooker and Diamondback get the raw end of the style stick (I just made up a new phrase! Worship me!) at the end, but the way that Caleb ends up dealing with his vampirism is a blatant cop-out that made me wonder WHY there are ANY vampires in the world. Besides these two rather trifling matters though, everything is nice and jolly with this fantastic vampire film that ranks up there with the likes of The Lost Boys and Salem's Lot, though--with the exception of some intense moments from Bill Paxton and his blood-sucking fellows--it contains far less eerie or frightening moments, and remains more of a dramatic thriller (with vampires) then the later.

So, to wrap this up: if you haven't seen Near Dark, then WHY ARE YOU READING THIS SHIT?! GO OUT AND GET IT!!!

Directing: 9/10
Script: 8/10
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Scare Factor: 5/10
Lance Henriksen Bonus: 5


Unpleasant Tidbit: Lance was the voice of the Stranger in the recent shit-tastic remake of When a Stranger Calls. The man who actually played the Stranger in said shit-tastic remake was Tommy Flanagan, who co-starred with Lance in another shit-tastic "film", Alien vs Predator.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Nightmare on Elm Street *Special* Review

On Wednesday I went and did something I never thought I would get the chance to--I saw A Nightmare on Elm Street on the big screen. Ooooh, the wondrous wonder of it all!! To sit in a large, smelly room with a guy in front of you dressed as Freddy Krueger, eating milk duds and watching '80s cheese--goodness, I almost had a bloody orgasm (picture that next time your eating). However, despite the massive amount of fun I had, I must admit that the classic Wes Craven horror fest has not aged well.


Where to start? How about the acting! Despite the technology used to clean up the picture and sound of the film, those high-up technicians just can't help the '80s acting. I'm not afraid to say it either, Heather Langenkamp was not a good actress, neither was Ronee Blakley, and Robert Englund, while being pure brilliance in most of the sequels, wasn't very good in this film. When Nancy sets out the traps and he's chasing after her like a 1984 Ghostface, he is just way too stupid to be a frightening killer. However, all this can be put to the side, since as I already said, it's 80s cheese, a genre all it's own.

The movie itself strays into plain old stupid moments, most notably the "hall pass" scene and Tina's body being dragged down the hallway, and that stupid cop who only starts thinking he should go get Nancy's dad after she's broken windows, set fires, and screamed her fucking lungs out. Of course, these things are easily excused as well, simply for the laugh factor of it all. Some other things that annoyed me while keeping me in bizarrely high spirits included Freddy's badly-done super-long arms and the brief use of a midget double that chases Tina--oh, and need I mention Nancy's mom being, uh, taken by her bed?

Of course, these things don't take away from Tina's famous death scene (later ressurected for the less-than-lucky but sadly lovable baby sitter in New Nightmare) or any of the other deaths for that matter, which have made even the worst of the series watchable (well, maybe not Freddy's Revenge, but gimme a break!). The score by Charles Bernstein is also a masterpiece that will live forever, especially in the minds of horror fanatics like myself.

A note on the presentation of the new theatrical release of Nightmare: the montage of Freddy's best kills that was promised? How about EVERY SINGLE FUCKING KILL THROUGH FREDDY VS JASON?! How does THAT rock your boat, MOTHERFUCKER?! Oh yeah, that was some gooooood stuff. Several people, including my good friend Charlie (who is one of the few to agree with me that Lady in the Water kicked ass), who just happened to be there as well, were overly enthusiastic about that little bonus. I couldn't help but throw my fist in the air several times, most notably for the kills from Dream Warriors, and make snide comments about several others that are blurry to me now. But, yeah, just to let you know that if you didn't go, you missed right the hell out!

Anywho, what with Johnny Depp in his first freakin' movie being finely blended into a nice cherry-strawberry smoothie and Robert Englund creating one of the most iconic screen villains of all time, I think I can safely say that A Nightmare on Elm Street remains a great, awesomely cheesy '80s flick that is sure to still scare the old-timers and chicks. No offense, ladies, but you scream too goddamn much.

Directing: 9/10
Script: 8/10
Story: 8/10
Acting: 6/10
Scare Factor: 7/10
'80s Cheese Bonus: 5


Unpleasant Tidbit: I like this movie way more than it would seem. Note the orgasm comment.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Demons at the Door (2004) Review

I offer you, noble reader, a question of questionable proportions: What is the the worst movie you've ever seen? There have been many answers, such as Gigli, Son of the Mask, Showgirls, Monsters-A-Go-Go... but I am here to say right now that, with the possible slight exception of the later, that I have found THE very WORST "movie" of all time: Roy Knyrim's Demons at the Door.

Allow me, if you will, to daringly explain the amazing plot of this phenomena of a film: In the photoshopped sands of the Middle East, there lies a place--a place where a hot female archaeologist and some disposable guy work to uncover... SOMETHING!!! What is this something? Why, it's a bunch of foul-mouthed, rapping demons of course! After a blue-eyed Arab terrorist is blown up in a less than well-planned maneuver, vicious demons enter our world seeking the Eye of Satan, an amulet with mystical powers that will propel Satan into powerful powerfulness! Eehgad!!! Who can stop these rampaging demons? Why, two muscly hunks (Richard Benedetto as the white one and Sean'e La'Dae as the black one) and said hot archaeologist (Leslie Brockett) of course!! After being aided by the less-than-helpful angel Uriel (famous body builder Bob Cicherillo in an... interesting... cameo), the three are left alone with the hot archaeologist's father (Angelo Benedetto) to battle the "hordes" of demons.

I reeeaaallly hated this movie. No, really, I could barely fucking stand the shittiness. The only thing this movie made me do was feel better about my soon-to-be displayed talents. From the Nickelodeon-esque green slime spraying out of a torn-in-half sink monster to the cut-and-paste eye ball, this movie has surprisingly little merit. The big draw is on the DVD cover, which states that it features music by Insane Clown Posse, a rap group that I can't say I like, but I don't find as annoying as most. Yes, it has plenty from the group, but the songs never really fit the situations, with maybe a smidgen of an exception.

Now, while I could go on and on about the drudgery of this film, I will take a moment to speak of some okay moments. One of the muscly hunk soldiers guarding the base (?!) does have a funny little conversation with a headless corpse, a lone giant eyeball screams "OW! My eye!!", an occurence of a nice little Evil Dead reference, plus a WTF?! ending all help boost the movie past being pure shit--it's really more like shit with corn in it.

Aaaaand back to the bad stuff!! The acting was atrocious on all fronts, the brief scene of nudity is reeeaaally random, even for my sensibilities, and the demons making racist jokes and talking about rape just bores rather than shocks. Oh, and, from what I learned from this movie, demons are REALLY easily tricked.

On a technical note--still crappy. The FX are worse than anything on the Sci-Fi Channel and the camera and lighting are crap.

Maybe it would be good for a MST3K bashing, but otherwise, avoid this dreck and it's really badly photoshopped ending (hopefully you will never know what I mean).

Directing: 1/10
Script: 2/10
Story: 2/10
Acting: 1/10
Scare Factor: 0/10


Unpleasant Tidbit: I found this in Blockbuster.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Coming Attractions

Okay, well, thanks to a serious amount of distractions and road blocks (including a goddamn girl who can't get off the goddamn computer in the goddamn theatre room at the goddamn school), my latest review has been delayed. But don't worry (who would worry about my reviews, I haven't the slightest), I have some goood shit for you coming soon.

First off, my rentals for this week include Near Dark, the original Cape Fear, The Andromeda Strain(which I'm debating whether or not to review), Silver Bullet, and Golden Years.

Secondly, my next review will deffinately be up tomorrow or early Friday, and it will be of Demons at the Door, which should be... interesting... to write after what I saw.

And thirdly, as well as most importantly--I'M GONNA SEE A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET TONIGHT ON THE BIG ASS MOTHAFUCKIN' SCREEN, BITCHES!!! Expect a review not only of the film, but also of the overall presentation and look of the slightly tweaked new version. Hoo ha!

Gunslinger out!