Director: Reg Traviss (2010)
Starring: Charisma Carpenter, Paul Sculfor, Ricci Harnett, Justin Hawkins
Find it online: IMDB, Amazon UK (preorder)
The action kinda peters out where it should be really amping up a notch, but the whole thing is saved by a twist that's the direct opposite of what one might expect. It's a minor piece, but go in with low expectations and you might just have a blast. Psychosis is a slick, interesting little Spooky Brew that's about 50% better than it sounds on paper.
Director: Eric Forsberg (2010)
Starring: Paul Logan, Tiffany, Barry Williams, David Labiosa
Find it online: IMDB, The Asylum
"It wasn't an explosion. It wasn't terrorism. It was Piranha." And what Piranha. The featured nasties get bigger and bigger until a climactic glut of particularly ridiculous scenes in which you see them leaping out of rivers, suicide-bombing buildings and noshing on helicopters. "This is FUBAR." Indeed.
Starring: Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Michael Fassbender
Brolin plays the half-faced cowboy, disfigured by a villainous John Malkovich (to be fair, when is he not being villainous?) and lookin' for revenge. Brolin is passable enough, although he's not given nearly enough to work with. Sure was kind of the fella to take that bullet for Thomas Jane. If the horrible script wasn't bad enough, he has to share scenes with Megan Fox and her personal portable quality/charisma/watchability vacuum. She's terrible, in her usual nasal and vacant way. Obviously she's the worst actor in the movie, closely followed by John Malkovich. Even phoning it in, he's better than Megan Fox. Saying that, I think I saw a cactus that's better than Megan Fox.
I'm not as down with the Jonah Hex mythos as I am with other characters, but I know it can't be as bad as this movie. An R rating wouldn't have gone amiss (think Punisher: War Zone) or howzabout making the thing actually look like a Western? My ideal Jonah Hex would've been a cross between The Proposition and The Dark Knight. There are some great modern Westerns out there (Brolin's own No Country for Old Men, the aforementioned Proposition and The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada) but this is more like an unintentionally funny version of Wild Wild West, Shanghai Noon or Daredevil. You'd be better off playing The Proposition or rewatching the Two-Face bar scene in Dark Knight.
As a fan of comic books, Westerns and purposefully cheesy nonsense, I really wanted to like Jonah Hex. (Jonah) heck(s), I even tried to ignore the fact that Megan Fox was in it. But no, even aside from the across-the-board bad acting, Jonah Hex is a dull movie. It has its moments, but nowhere near enough of them. I honestly think that replacing one of the tertiary characters with comedy-sidekick Owen Wilson or Jackie Chan would've improved this movie; or at the very least made it a slightly more tolerable brand of bland.
The movie opens with a prologue. Kids in a schoolyard. Meet HARRY; A stereotypical nerd-type sits alone at a table, reading a comic book. Over comes the school bully and rips his comic to shreds. Harry starts crying. The bully is about to beat the motherlovin’ turds out of him when JOHN LESLIE intervenes. He wears a long leather jacket and a ponytail. Using some cool Aikido moves, he beats the bully to a pulp. Harry smiles. He and John Leslie shake hands. And so a friendship forms.
Fight scene!! The Mobsters (probably played by John C. McGinley and a Wayans Brother) attack. Leslie tries to fight back, and does quite well… but the Wayans Brother shoves him up against a wall and is about to shoot him when… Harry cracks a pool cue off’ve his head. He drops Leslie and the mobsters break out laughing. “Goddammit,” Leslie shouts, “remember what I taught you.” Almost gingerly, Harry punches the Wayans Brother in the throat. Or tries. Wayans punches him through a window. They join him on the sidewalk and are about to kill poor Harry rather violently when… Leslie runs them over in his truck. Harryclimbs in. They drive away. “Road trip!”
Cue ‘hilarious’ road trip antics. On the first night, they hire a motel – but they only have one bed! Epic LOLZ. The second day, Leslie decides he needs a gun. So they go to a GUN DEALER (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). Cue training montage in which Leslie hilariously fails to use a gun and shoots Mintz-Plasse in the foot. Then, they go to Leslie's old dojo so he can touch up on his fighting styles. Leslie's master is now dead, and the place is run by a bad tempered dwarf (Verne Troyer). The dwarf beats the shit outta Leslie, whilst a mad old man (played by Leslie Nielsen) sits in the corner laughing and drinking his own piss.
They sit in their truck, nursing their wounds. Leslie holds a bottle of whiskey in his hands, preparing to give it all up. Harry sits with him, they talk. Harry makes his old friend realise that he is loved after all, and he’s not so alone: “you’re my best friend. I love you, man.”
And then the car door opens, and there’s the mobsters pointing guns at them. Leslie beats the hell out of them, spurred on by the knowledge that he got a friend!
Training montage! Set to "Best Friend" by Queen. Harry and Leslie train. We watch as Leslie improves his marksmanship, then returns to the Dojo and kicks Verne Troyer in the face. At the end, they hug.
While Maguffin and his goons are distracted, Leslie bursts through the window, having jumped from the roof of the opposite building. Being a fat bastard now, it’s quite the impact, and he crashes through Maguffin's mahogany table. “I’ll kill you extra hard for that, motherfucker!” Maguffin fights with Leslie. The goons attack Harry, who shoots one of them dead. He tussles with McGinley’s character (what, I can’t think up names for everyone) and, in his ultimate moment of manliness, throws him out of a window.
Maguffin and Leslie fight. Leslie is old and fat, and Maguffin is just useless, so it lasts a while. Leslie (well, a body double) high kicks him in the face, so hard that it breaks his neck. Exit MAGUFFIN.
The two stand side-by-side, weary but happy. In the corner, a safe full of money. Harry remarks that there’d be enough money in that safe to take over his company completely. Leslie smiles. “Who’s going to know?”
Look out for Washed Up. It'll be coming soon to a cinema, DVD, television, streaming site, dustbin or nothing near you very soon. Or not at all.
Likewise, cameos from Marilyn Burns, John Dugan and Paul Partain all fall flat thanks to the preceeding 90-odd minutes of pissing all over their legacy. The Next Generation is a horrible entry into a previously excellent franchise, a horrible horror movie and an all around horrible movie in general. I've watched a lot of foecal movies in my time, but none have ever made me as all-out angry as this lazy, insulting excuse for a movie.
As anyone familiar with Charlie Brooker's work might expect, the writing is sharp, scathing and funny. His Big Brother housemates are at once recognizeable, grossly caricatured and sympathetic. It also has the perfect villain in Andy Nyman's Patrick - possibly the most unpleasant character ever committed to TV. It's to the series' credit that they actually managed to create an individual more unlikeable than the programme's real-life contestants. But there are so many great characters in Dead Set that it's unfair to pick Patrick as 'best' by any means. I also enjoyed the sympathetic chav, Jaime Winstone's sympathetic Kelly, hippy Joplin and especially Zombie Davina McCall. Its character work is perhaps the series strongest point.
This is the definition of a gushing review, but there's so much to love about Dead Set - especially when approached from the perspective of a horror fan. The amount of gore and violence on display is a shocker when you consider this was broadcasted on national TV - and the action easily rivals that of 28 Days Later or the Dawn of the Dead remake. And in a grotesque sort of way, the ending is just beautiful; the perfect ending to such a story and the perfect peice of commentary on our Idiot TV Nation.
This year, as I've done every one since 2008, I won't be tucking into the final series of BB. I daresay it'll be back in some form sooner or later, like the proverbial bad penny it is. No, I'll be showing the zombie apocalypse some love with Charlie Brooker's Dead Set. I always hoped there would be a jungle-set riff on I'm a Celebrity/Zombie Holocaust sequel. Until that happens, I'm Dead Set on re-watching this outstanding little piece of genre TV.*
* Shi-iit. That makes this the third post in the row ending on a title based pun. This place really does suck.
Ever wonder what a (modern) Steven Seagal movie would be like without even Steven Seagal to laugh at? The answer is Half Past Dead 2 (Rotting O' Clock or A Quarter to Deader, surely?) a movie so terrible even Seven Seagal or Ja Rule wouldn't star in it. Instead wrestler Bill Goldberg handles Big Hardman duties, with rapper (so they tell me) Kurupt as his sidekick. I've literally no idea why this movie exists, but there was nothing else on and this column needs writing.
If I remember right, the first Half Past Dead had Steven Seagal as an undercover FBI agent trapped in Alcatraz with (c)rapper Ja Rule as his sidekick. The plot consisted of some ugly terrorist types trying to find the location of some hidden gold via a soon-to-be-executed convict. Like the Shawshank Redemption really, except uterlly not. It was to be the last Seagal movie with a cinematic release (at least up until this year's Machete) and heralded the arrival of his Straight To DVD era. Even for a late Seagal curiosity, Half Past Dead is a stupid, boring movie. Like the Rock except without any of the humour, excitement or Good. See, you're practically getting two reviews for the price of one here. The more I write on HPD2's predecessor is the less time I have to spend thinking about the terrible sequel.
Kurupt reprises his role as 'Twitch', a mouthy annoyance character. I don't remember him being in the first one, but there you go. The less I remember about this franchise the better. Anyway, this time he's transferred to an even harder prison than Alcatraz, where he meets
Santa Claus Burke (Goldberg) and finds himself in the middle of a gang war between rival gangs. Like Prison Break, except without good actors, good storylines or, well, anything Good. There are some perfunctory fight scenes and explosions, but it's as worthless a sequel as one could ever expect to find. Why anyone would ever write, make or watch this waste of DVD disc/airtime is beyond me.
Prison movies always have the potential to be good, but usually just end up being a lazy excuse for half-arsed action, stupid tough guy dialogue and charicature villainy. Not only does HPD2 check every single one of those boxes, but it creates a bunch more. It's boring, slightly mysoginistic and crap to boot. This is one franchise that should have called it a day at the chime of Dead O' Clock*.
* Shit, two posts ending with crap puns on movie titles in a row? This review hole is really starting to stink.
Director: Greg Mclean (2005)
Starring: Cassandra Magrath, Kestie Morassi, Nathan Phillips, John Jarratt
Find it online: IMDB, Amazon UK, Amazon US