Archive for August, 2010

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Piranha 3D is the movie of the summer.

August 22, 2010

any film with motorboating has my vote

Notes from the back row- Aug 18/2010

Some people judge the quality of a film by how much bloodshed it has in it. I am one of those people. I also enjoy cinematic masterpieces with girl-on-girl action, shower scenes, ridiculously unrealistic one-liners and explosions. Severed torsos and/or creative beheadings always awesome too.

Does this mean I can’t appreciate something character driven like Barfly? No, but it most certainly means I can appreciate Piranha 3D an 88-minute masterpiece opening this week that has all of the above plus a person getting scalped by a boat motor propeller. Hard to beat that.

Gore-tastic French director Alexandre Aja (High Tension, The Hills Have Eyes remake) realizes that any decent fish movie is going to follow the Jaws formula but these days it’s all about finding  a creative way for your fish to attack a beach community, bonus points if the victims are scantily clad.

Aja’s fish are prehistoric man-eating piranha unleashed when an underwater tremor opens up a “descending fissure” into the land before time. Of course all of this occurs right below a resort full of hypersexed college kids on spring break.

Elizabeth Shue (Adventures in Babysitting, Leaving Las Vegas) stars as the sheriff in charge of being unrealistically hot for her job and Richard Dreyfuss reprises his role from Jaws in a clever cameo, almost as good as Christopher Lloyd’s.  Eli Roth (director of Hostel) also cameos as the emcee of a wet t-shirt contest. His exit is phenomenal. As well Kelly Brook and Riley Steele set he standard for lesbo-underwater dance numbers, and Jerry O’Connell knocks one out of the park. All the actors play it straight, despite the ridiculousness of what is actually happening in the film. It works.

Even though it was shot in 2D and converted, Piranha 3D is obviously supposed to be seen in 3D so I guess Whistler viewers will miss out on what looks like some killer visuals of swimming through weedy lakebeds and propellers jutting into our faces. Alexandre Aja previewed nine minutes of the film at San Diego Comic Con a few weeks ago and everything from the dinosaur-looking fish to the decomposed sunken corpses to the puking-right-at-camera looked amazing. Add in the fact that Aja reportedly used over 7000 imperial gallons of fake blood (by contrast Kill Bill Vol 1 used only 300 gallons) and Piranha 3D just might be the best movie of the summer, for people like me.

For the rest of you, Nanny McPhee Returns also opens Friday with a star-studded cast and a re-hashed, easy-bake Mary Poppins concept. And Vampires Suck opened Wednesday but it’s one of those stupid parody-comedies from the makers of Scary Movie. This time they mainly go after the Twilight crowd and the result sucks so much that even sexually frustrated teenage boys smoking pot for the first time will probably get bored less than an hour into this shitheap.

The DVD of the week, for the second week running, is 1981’s Piranha 2: The Spawning which basically rips off the plot of the first Piranha (government-modified killer fish? Again?) but this time the little beasts can survive out of the water and …ah….fly.  Sounds stupid right? Sure, but it starts with a killer underwater second-base-sex/death scene with a girl who looks a hell of a lot like Phoebe Cates, who would have been 17 at the time.

As well, Piranha 2 was directed by James Cameron and despite the hand-puppet fish and obvious b-grade-ness of  it all Canadian-born Cameron went on to write and direct the two highest-grossing movies of all time, Avatar and Titanic, as well as Aliens, The Abyss and Terminator 1 and 2. So I guess the moral is– bloody, gory, soft-porn movies are the birthplace of Champions. Which is probably why so many people like them.

Next week – Robert Rodriguez’s Machete started as a joke trailer but was so awesome looking it’s now a real film.

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Piranha 3D trailer

August 10, 2010

Piranha was one of the first horror movies i remember watching on VHS, rented from a laundromat by my buddy’s brother.

to say i am excited about Piranha 3D is an understatement. I am, to use the industry term, superfuckingexcited!

In theatres Aug 20, direced by Alexandre Aja, who made Haut Tension and the Hills Have Eyes remake.

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notes from the back row- Dance kids, the other guys

August 8, 2010

Notes from the back row- aug 3

Dance Movies don't get any better than Flashdance

The Kids aren’t all right

I’m old enough that I really can no longer claim to be in touch with the youth of today. I think dub-step is sleepy-time music and hip hop has been getting increasingly pussy-er (and watered down) since Eazy died. I ride a bmx with no suspension and I’ve never been to a rainbow party. As well, I’m not that into talking about my feelings, dry grads donation tins offend me, and I could care less about Twilight.

But one thing the kids and I can both get into is a good dance movie. I grew up on classics like Flashdance, Footloose and Kid n Play’s House Party so I can recognize that the dance movie genre is alive and kicking, even if the films are mostly full of rehashed underdog plotlines and un-subtle, pre-teen sexual innuendos. However, dance movies never get confusing even five or six bongs in.

Case in point, Step It Up 3D opens this weekend at the Village 8 (except not in 3-D because even though we are a “world-class” destination Whistler is still behind shitholes like Nanaimo and Quesnel when it comes to 3D cinema technology.)

Step it Up 3 is directed by John Chu (the guy who totally dropped the ball on Step It Up 2) and is a 107-minute slog of a film, full of exposition (that’s plot-explaining for all you kids out there) about a group of “pirate” dancers led by an orphan who have to competitively dance their asses off in order to save their studio, which is also their home and has a literal wall of old ghetto blasters that must have been a real bitch to wire together in synch. The dancing is a mix of breakdance, parkour, capoeira, gymnastics, stripper-pole shit, lots of Robot, and just a hint of classical, but director Chu shoots it too frantically for us old guys to follow.

Which sucks because beyond the dancing there is nothing to this movie at all except actors (and I use the term loosely) spouting lines like “One move can bring people together. One move can make you believe like you’re something more.”

It’s all bullshit of course. Dance moves have evolved but dancing is still all about the same idea that made it attractive to my gerneation and the previous one as well – you don’t dance, you don’t get laid.

I hear the youth these days are not into Will Ferrell either, which is a shame because he reteams with director Adam McKay this week in The Other Guys. Sure, Ferrell has limited range, bordering in one-trick-pony territory, but he and McKay are also responsible for Anchorman and Talladega Nights, two of the funniest and most-quoted comedies of recent years.

This time around Ferrell pairs up with Mark Walberg (The Departed, Rockstar) in a decent take on the buddy-cop comedy. As two paper-pushing under-achievers trying to step into the role of supercops, Ferrell and Walberg uncover a big corporate espionage scam and the plot takes over as they solve the mystery amidst shoot-outs, car chases and a weird separation-anxiety montage that could have probably been cut.

The Other Guys is decent but not amazing. Ferrell does his improv thing, but director McKay should have trimmed it down a bit and streamlined the plot while at it. Thankfully, the real star is Walberg, who nails the intense screw-up role perfectly. Hot-ass Eva Mendes co-stars, bringing just the right amount of crazy, and Michael Keaton delivers a top cop performance unlike any we’ve seen. Also noteworthy is the appearance of Damon Wayans Jr, who seems to have inherited some of his father’s comedic chops. Old men like me might not understand the kids these days but at least they’re funny.