9.22.2016

Midnight Confessions Ep. 101: "Despite all our Blood Rage, we're still just Neon Maniacs in a cage"


Halloween season begins and we're starting with a couple 80's slashers to kick things off. This week we're taking a look at BLOOD RAGE (1987) and NEON MANIACS (1986). A new Murderock tune from their upcoming EP is premiered, plus music by Slayer, Black Sabbath and Anthrax.




 




Like "Midnight Confessions" Facebook Page: Midnight Confessions Podcast


Follow us on Twitter @MC_Podcast!


Subscribe on iTunes! - Midnight Confessions


Visit our archive stuff - MC_PodcastVault


We're now on Stitcher! - Stitcher Version

9.17.2016

Blair Witch (2016)


Director: Adam Wingard

Starring: James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Brandon Scott, Corbin Reid, Wes Robinson, Valorie Curry

Genre - Horror/Witchcraft/Found Footage

Running Time - 89 Minutes



Who knew that after 17 years, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT would still maintain a legacy that spearheaded a new wave of found footage horror films, for better or for worse? Even though 1980’s CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and 1998’s THE LAST BROADCAST did the found footage deal first, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT was the first film to use the internet in a powerful way to market itself to a broad audience. With multiple mockumentaries and advertising on billboards, websites, and television networks, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT turned a $60,000 project into a $248.6 million blockbuster in the summer of 1999. It also proved what a hot commodity low-budget filmmaking is, causing studios to cost their losses and produce low budget films for a huge profit. Many believe this started the downfall for the horror genre, but no one can deny how powerful THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT was to audiences and to critics alike.

Of course with any successful film, a sequel was quickly made in 2000. It was so widely-panned by audiences and critics, that a third film was dropped. A video game series was created soon after, but it was considered so unplayable, the video game series bombed. Everyone considered the BLAIR WITCH franchise to be dead in the water.

…That is until earlier this year at San Diego Comic-Con, when director Adam Wingard (THE GUEST, YOU'RE NEXT) revealed that his film THE WOODS was really a BLAIR WITCH sequel in secret. Audiences at the event praised the film, with glowing reviews popping up on multiple websites who were able to catch the film by surprise. The buzz by this new BLAIR WITCH film led to a wide release, hoping to resurrect the franchise back from the dead. Now that BLAIR WITCH has been released to audiences hoping for the simplicity and creep factor of the original, all I can say is - why did they even bother?

PLOT
Almost two decades after his sister Heather has gone missing after investigating the Blair Witch legend in Burkittsville, Maryland, James (James Allen McCune) is the subject of a documentary for his college friend Lisa (Callie Hernandez). Apparently after watching some recent footage from 2014, James believes Heather is still alive and wants to go to Burkittsville to find her. Lisa, best friend Peter (Brandon Scott) and his girlfriend Ashley (Corbin Reid) reluctantly agree to go with James to document Heather’s search. Along with two locals who found the 2014 tapes (Wes Robinson and Valorie Curry), the six of them head into the same woods that plagued the characters of the first film. After a few nights there, supernatural occurrences make the group very aware that maybe the Blair Witch isn’t just a myth after all.


REVIEW
I’m just going to come out and say it: I was never a fan of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT until recently. I went to an early screening prior to the film’s wide release, and wondered why I was the only one in the audience who left without feeling scared or unnerved by this movie. I’m one of the few who enjoyed 2000’s BOOK OF SHADOWS: BLAIR WITCH 2 right from the get go, preferring it over the original film. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I came to truly appreciate the 1999 original, respecting how simple and honest it was in terms of acting, direction, and its narrative. It helps that most found footage films that have been released since have been terrible, and nothing but business decisions rather than love for telling a good story. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT changed a genre and I can finally see why people embraced it so heavily at the time. It has a heart and a soul.

I wish I can say the same for the 2016 sequel. Reboot? Re-quel? With all the hype this new Adam Wingard film has received, it was a total let down and mis-fire for the director. BLAIR WITCH is not the worst found footage film ever made, but it’s definitely one of the most pointless. After 16 years of not having a BLAIR WITCH movie, I consider that a massive disappointment.

Let’s get the positives out of the way. BLAIR WITCH has some really good actors struggling with a tired narrative. I found all the actors likable in some way, making me care for them while they’re dealing with some supernatural stuff. James Allen McCune brings an earnestness and naivety to his role, making us understand why he would want to seek out his missing sister - even though we know it’s a dumb move and will end up creating more of a problem. Callie Hernandez is pretty great as Lisa, bringing a warmness and intelligence to the film. Her and McCune have an easy chemistry that I wish was explored a bit more. Brandon Scott brought the laughs as Peter, providing us with commentary for the audience about this whole thing. His interactions with everyone around him was very believable. Corbin Reid, Valorie Curry, and especially Wes Robinson provide tense moments that clash with the other characters. I think the best part of BLAIR WITCH is the cast. I just wish they were in a better film.

I also thought some of the cinematography by Robby Baumgartner was quite nice. The woods look pretty similar to the ones from the original film, with some nice overhead shots via a drone, and good framing and composition during important scenes. It’s all digital footage, but it’s nice looking footage.


And at least the final 20 minutes tries to be tense and creepy. I wasn’t affected by any of it, but I can understand why others would be. If you remember the ending of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, it’s pretty much the same but expanded. You see more of the shack. You see glimpses of a woman roaming around in there. You learn why one of the characters in the original was standing in the corner. Compared to the rest of the film, the final moments actually tries to expand on some things and scare audiences. It’s not perfect storytelling, but I appreciated that it tried to twist around what the original film had accomplished to meet its own goals.

The rest of the film, however, just left me feeling mostly nothing. Lionsgate will call this a sequel, but it’s definitely a reboot. Besides the James-Heather angle, everything else is pretty much a carbon copy of the 1999 film. The only differences are that we have more characters, the technology has been advanced (drones!), and our characters are aware of what happened in the original film. Characters go into the woods to document the search for Heather, as well as the legend of the Blair Witch. The characters hear noises. The characters see the memorable Blair Witch stick figures all over the woods. The characters get lost in the woods and start in fighting. They eventually find the shack and enter it to bad results. Every beat might not be the same, but BLAIR WITCH is just a modern retelling of the original film. Except, the original film had a simple narrative with memorable dialogue and character interactions that have stood the test of time. BLAIR WITCH offers no surprises, no twists in the story - it’s very similar to the first film. And after 17 years, audiences deserve more than that. If you’re not going to expand on the original story, what’s the point?

I also thought Adam Wingard’s direction wasn’t all that good. I’ve been a fan of the man for many years now, even when others haven’t been all impressed by THE GUEST, YOU'RE NEXT, and A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE. But this is his worst film by far. It’s all shaky cam for the most part, to the point where I got a headache. People in my theater actually ran out, covering their mouths with their hand as if they needed to vomit. The last half of the film is just overwhelming with shaky cam. The editing is a bit off at times, and sometimes you wonder what you’re looking at - which takes away from some of the mood’s effectiveness. I also found it quite silly that every single character needed cameras to document their search, making me appreciate the one camera direction of the original film. Switching between perspectives between characters makes me question why this was even found footage to begin with. It plays out like a traditional narrative, only using the benefits of the found footage theory when it needed it. The worst thing about Wingard’s direction is that his voice is completely lost. Instead of BLAIR WITCH feeling like a Wingard movie that happens to be a BLAIR WITCH sequel, BLAIR WITCH is a sequel that just happens to be directed by Wingard. Anyone could have directed this and I would have never known it was Adam Wingard if I wasn’t told that it was. It’s a shame because Wingard has an eye when it comes to telling stories. BLAIR WITCH just feels like he used the same script from the original and just edited it for 2016. It’s a shame.



THE FINAL HOWL
I really wanted to enjoy BLAIR WITCH more than I did, considering the crew behind this sequel and considering filmmakers had 17 years to really create something fresh in the BLAIR WITCH narrative. But the film just felt like any other found-footage film I’ve seen in the last few years - just with better acting and a bigger budget to give us a more polished picture. Instead of expanding on Heather’s disappearance, the Blair Witch legend and how it affected the other characters, it’s just the same old same old. People bash BOOK OF SHADOWS: BLAIR WITCH 2, but at least that film tried to be different and wanted to tell us something. 2016’s BLAIR WITCH doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know.



SCORE

1.5 Howls Outta 4



9.14.2016

Midnight Confessions Ep. 100: "A Look Back at 100 Episodes"


This week we take a look back at some of our favorite moments on the show. Yes, this is a lazy "clip" show--bite us, it's a free podcast.






 




Like "Midnight Confessions" Facebook Page: Midnight Confessions Podcast


Follow us on Twitter @MC_Podcast!


Subscribe on iTunes! - Midnight Confessions


Visit our archive stuff - MC_PodcastVault


We're now on Stitcher! - Stitcher Version

9.09.2016

The Blair Witch Project (1999) & American Psycho (2000) [Jay's Movie Talk Takeover Special]


For Episode 38 of Movie Talk, It's the last of the Takeover episodes and taking over this episode is yours truly!
Listen as I talk about my recent appreciation of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and looking forward to the new sequel.
I also discuss about how much I love AMERICAN PSYCHO and how it basically made Christian Bale a star.



Thank you for listening
Outro Song
Hip To Be Square
by
Huey Lewis and The News
Special Shout Out too BloodGuts&BluRay of the Coretemparts network
follow them on Twitter
@bloodgutsbluray
and follow their podcast on Itunes and Stitcher
at Blood, Guts and Blu Ray
be sure to follow
@Jaymovietalk on twitter
Check out Midnight Confessions Podcast
www.podomatic.com/podcasts/reverendphantom
Check Out Thats Not Current Website
www.thatsnotcurrent.com/

9.05.2016

31 (2016)

DIRECTED BY
Rob Zombie

STARRING
Sheri Moon Zombie - Charly
Jeff Daniel Phillips - Roscoe
Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs - Panda Thomas
Meg Foster - Venus Virgo
Richard Brake - Doom-Head
Malcolm McDowell - Father Napoleon-Horatio-Silas Murder
Judy Geeson - Sister Dragon
Jane Carr - Sister Serpent
E.G. Daily - Sex-Head
Lew Temple - Psycho-Head

Genre - Horror/Action

Running Time - 102 Minutes


*Review can also be found at That's Not Current*


There’s no doubt that musician/director Rob Zombie has become a controversial figure in the world of modern horror. His love of the 70’s grindhouse aesthetic, and white trash rednecks who make sailors blush with their profane language, have divided horror fans to the point where fans of the man have been bullied by those who aren’t - and vice versa. Personally, I respect the man for having a true vision and sticking with it for the most part. He’s had some great films [THE DEVIL'S REJECTS, THE LORDS OF SALEM] and some questionable ones [those HALLOWEEN movies], but you can always take something positive from each one of his films.

Now in 2016, Rob Zombie has unleashed his take on “The Most Dangerous Game” called 31. It has already separated the horror community just from its limited theatrical release alone. Is 31 as bad as some say? Is it the “best Rob Zombie film” like others have claimed? Better grab your weapons, because half of you aren’t going to like what I got to say…

PLOT
It’s Halloween night in 1976, and five traveling carnival folk (Sheri Moon Zombie, Meg Foster, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Kevin Jackson, and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs) end up on a deserted road blocked by a row of scarecrows. Suddenly, they’re abducted by a trio of rich socialites (Malcolm McDowell, Judy Geeson, and Jane Carr) to play an annual game called 31 - a dangerous game where they must survive for 12 hours while being hunted by psychopaths dressed as clowns. If they survive, they will be set free - even though no one has survived a game of 31.

REVIEW
I was really excited for 31. Unlike some people who will already hate a Rob Zombie film even before they’ve seen it, I actually look forward to Zombie’s films since they’ll provide at least some sort of horror entertainment on first viewing. Zombie’s last film prior to 31, the beautiful and haunting THE LORDS OF SALEM, wowed me on first watch in theaters, showing such a maturity from Zombie that he hadn’t displayed in his filmmaking career. So while I knew that 31 would go back to the grindhouse tone of Zombie’s first features, HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES and THE DEVIL'S REJECTS, I was hoping it would at least contain the maturity and quiet brilliance that THE LORDS OF SALEM had possessed. Unfortunately after watching 31, I couldn’t help but feel that Rob Zombie regressed as a filmmaker, playing it safe rather than stepping out of his comfort zone.

Let’s get the good stuff out of the way. As with every Rob Zombie film, his love for classic rock infuses the story he enjoys telling. The soundtrack for 31 is really great. Hearing songs like James Gang’s “Walk Away”, The Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin’”, and Aerosmith’s “Dream On” really sets a tone and setting for 31. Plus Rob Zombie’s score with John 5 adds some atmosphere to the film. No complaints here.

I also enjoyed most of the acting in 31, particularly by the actors portraying the villains. Richard Brake steals the show as Doom-Head, a sociopathic clown who is considered the game’s cleaner - taking care of the loose ends in case the other clowns fail. Brake opens the film with a chilling, yet sophisticated monologue that draws you right in. And his entire role during the film’s final act is just wonderful and mesmerizing. Brake is one of the more underrated character actors that deserves more notice. He’s the highlight of the film. I really liked E.G. Daily as Sex-Head. She looked hot and portrayed her crazy character in a cute and sexy way. I even liked Pancho Moler as Sick-Head, making me laugh with his Nazi character. By the way, how can you not like a Nazi who happens to be a little person and Latino?? The irony is hysterical. The socialites played by Malcolm McDowell, Judy Geeson, and Jane Carr do well with their limited roles, bringing some class to 31. As for the protagonists, only the ladies really stood out for me. Sheri Moon Zombie has become a joke to Rob Zombie haters, but she does well as Charly. She has a bit of Baby Firefly in her, but uses it for good instead of evil. But Meg Foster really gave a great performance as Venus. Tough and sympathetic, Foster grounds the film in a way the film doesn’t really earn. If she was the main character and written as well as she was, I probably would have enjoyed 31 more.

I also thought the violence fit the story of 31. While not as gory as I was expecting, considering Zombie’s previous films, the action is definitely brutal and sometimes intense. Throats get sliced open. We get decapitations. We have blunt trauma to the skull. We stabbings and gunshots. 31 is not a pleasant film, but what else do you expect out of a Rob Zombie film? It fits with the whole grindhouse tone very well.

And I also felt some of Zombie’s direction was good, even if it wasn’t his best work. I enjoyed the set pieces and liked the lighting and mood of 31. The transitions that were still-frame and would transition vertically to another scene were a nice touch. And the film looks dirty and gritty for the most part, which fits Zombie’s aesthetic.

Unfortunately, the rest of Zombie’s direction wasn’t great. The shaky cam just annoyed me, taking scenes of violence and making them barely understandable. They lost their effectiveness because I could barely see what was happening. Shooting some of these sequences in close up didn’t help matters either. I’m not sure if this is what Zombie had intended, or the MPAA stepped in and Zombie had to censor himself. And the pacing was off at times - with a first act that felt like it came from a different film, to a dream sequence that didn’t add a whole lot but was fun nonetheless. People knock Rob Zombie’s films, but even the haters can respect and admire his vision. Unfortunately, even 31 fails at that. The visual presentation felt old hat and seemed like he de-evolved from what he had achieved with THE LORDS OF SALEM.

The biggest culprit of 31 is the script itself. I never found Rob Zombie to be the best, or most articulate, screenwriter in Hollywood history. But Zombie can bust out memorable characters, especially on the villain side, with dialogue you could quote long after the film has ended. The only character that really gets a memorable presentation is Doom-Head, but I already praised Richard Brake enough. The villains are a lot of fun, written as well as they could be, coming across as all memorable and different. But when it comes to our heroes, I really didn’t really care about what happened to them or not. Zombie never portrays them as real people until it’s too late. In 2002, these foul-mouthed, sex-crazed characters without much character development weren’t that much of an issue since the colorful villains balanced them out. But the villains aren’t really the focus of 31, having us followed main characters who are paper-thin and just come across as stock characters that audiences won’t really care live or die. Meg Foster’s Venus works the best since she comes across as a human being from the start, taking charge of things and actually displaying a heart and soul when it comes to certain situations. Even Sheri Moon’s Charly is okay since her dialogue gives away on how tough and independent she is. But the male characters honestly have no real arcs, making their acts of survival ring hollow.
I also had issues with the game itself. 31 is a variation of “The Most Dangerous Game” premise that has been used in multiple films [THE RUNNING MAN, TURKEY SHOOT, THE HUNGER GAMES, BATTLE ROYALE], with each one explaining why this game is happening and presenting some sort of commentary about social or class issues. 31 doesn’t even bother with that. Why is this game happening? Why are these three socialites taking pleasure in this? How come the villains all have to dress up as clowns? How come the psychopathic villains end the game when the time ends? There was no real good sense of time in the narrative, especially at the end, and there’s no real purpose other than violence. Maybe that works for some people, but I need a bit more than that. There’s one thing to capture people and play a murder game with them without reason. But if you do this every year, there has to be a reason for the madness. And Zombie never presents us with one. Mystery is good, but not for a premise like this.

And I really disliked the ending of the film. I won’t spoil things, but I just threw my hands up in frustration, expecting more. I guess I was expecting the ending to take a different turn, but it left a dissatisfied taste in my mouth.

THE FINAL HOWL
31 is a film I wanted to love, but felt nothing but disappointment once it ended. Rob Zombie has proven himself to be an interesting filmmaker, presenting ideas that most mainstream horror directors won’t touch to go against studio expectations. But 31 feels like a step back from his previous work, giving us glimpses of greatness and promise that would have been presented better with a rewrite or two. I liked the villains, but didn’t care for our “heroes”. The direction was a mixed bag. 31 wants to fit in the world of HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES and THE DEVIL'S REJECTS, but just makes itself feel inferior to those two better films. 31 isn’t a terrible film and Rob Zombie fans will definitely find something fun with it. But I was expecting more and it just wasn’t made for me. Maybe with a rewatch, I’ll appreciate it more than I do now.


SCORE
2 Howls Outta 4


8.31.2016

Midnight Confessions Episode 99: "A Bit of the Ol' Ultraviolence"


For our 99th episode, we dedicate to the whole show to Stanley Kubrick's A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. So come and get one in the yarbles, if you have any yarbles...






 




Like "Midnight Confessions" Facebook Page: Midnight Confessions Podcast


Follow us on Twitter @MC_Podcast!


Subscribe on iTunes! - Midnight Confessions


Visit our archive stuff - MC_PodcastVault


We're now on Stitcher! - Stitcher Version

8.18.2016

Midnight Confessions Episode 98: "3rd Annual Summer Sextravaganza"


It's that time of year again. In this double stuffed summer sextravaganza edition of Midnight Confessions we take a look at some WIP film (THE BIG DOLL HOUSE and THE BIG BIRD CAGE) and some nunsploitation (KILLER NUN and SCHOOL OF THE HOLY BEAST).

We also discuss Stranger Things, and I give the scoop on the summer movies of 2016. 

Plus music by: Wendy O. Williams, Ozzy Osbourne, The White Stripes, Dwarves, Twisted Sister and Nasty Nuns.






 




Like "Midnight Confessions" Facebook Page: Midnight Confessions Podcast


Follow us on Twitter @MC_Podcast!


Subscribe on iTunes! - Midnight Confessions


Visit our archive stuff - MC_PodcastVault


We're now on Stitcher! - Stitcher Version

[Animal Summer '16] Snakes on a Plane (2006)

DIRECTED BY
David R. Ellis

STARRING

Samuel L. Jackson - Agent Neville Flynn
Julianna Margulies - Claire Miller
Nathan Phillips - Sean Jones
Flex Alexander - Clarence Dewey
Rachel Blanchard - Mercedes Harbont
Kenan Thompson - Troy McDaniel
Bobby Cannavale - Agent Hank Harris
David Koechner - Rick Archibald
Lin Shaye - Grace Bresson

Genre - Horror/Science Fiction/B-Movies/Action/Bad Animals/Snakes


Running Time - 109 Minutes




This review can also be found at the awesome That's Not Current



2006’s SNAKES ON A PLANE celebrates its tenth anniversary this week, still remembered for one line of dialogue that has become a meme that will live forever as long as there is an internet. I still remember when this movie with the silly, yet straightforward title was announced. As it starred A-lister Samuel L. Jackson in the lead, as well as other familiar faces in the cast, many people weren’t sure what the deal with this film was. Was SNAKES ON A PLANE a serious film with a dumb title? Or was SNAKES ON A PLANE a B-movie schlock-fest with big time actors dumbing it down for a paycheck?


SNAKES ON A PLANE had a ton of hype going for it that almost rivaled 1999’s THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT at times. The legend that the film was actually a drunk idea to see what would be the worst film idea ever created, yet greenlit by New Line Cinema, is just fascinating. The silly trailers added to it. The music video starring Cobra Starship, Maja Ivarsson of The Sounds, and Travie McCoy of Gym School Heroes captured the cheesiness of the film. Even Samuel L. Jackson and director David R. Ellis (FINAL DESTINATION 2, CELLULAR, SHARK NIGHT) promoted the hell out of the film, endorsing fan made trailers, parodies, and anything that seemed to be honoring the film’s existence. But despite a massive theater count opening weekend, a large internet buzz, and even a surprising 68% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, SNAKES ON A PLANE was a massive disappointment for New Line Cinema as it only made $62 million on a $33 million budget. While the famous line of dialogue had a life on its own, the film itself has been pretty much forgotten by many due to recent B-movies like SHARKNADO and LAVALANTULA.


Many have claimed SNAKES ON A PLANE failed because it’s a terrible movie with an awful title. But does this film deserve the venom some have given it, or is it a misunderstood masterpiece?


PLOT

While having a holiday in Honolulu, Hawaii, adrenaline junkie Sean Jones (Nathan Phillips) witnesses a mob hit led by Eddie Kim (Bryon Lawson). Sean escapes, but is now a target and a leading witness to put Kim behind bars. During an attempted murder, FBI agent Neville Flynn (Samuel L. Jackson) saves Sean, putting him under his protection. Wanting to stop Kim, Flynn decides to take Sean back to Los Angeles, commandeering the first class portion of a flight to protect him.

Unfortunately, Flynn and Sean are unaware that Kim’s men have planted a lot of venomous snakes as cargo aboard the plane. Using a pheromone, the snakes are unleashed mid-flight, destroying the control panel and attacking anyone aboard on the plane. Now in peril, Flynn must find a way to stop the snakes, save the passengers, and land the plane while keeping Sean safe enough to testify.


REVIEW

Despite its dumb title and silly premise, SNAKES ON A PLANE has a lot going for it. The film never tries to be what it isn’t, constantly being entertaining whether it tries to be somewhat serious or hilariously chaotic. The screenplay by Sebastian Gutierrez and John Heffernan embraces all the silliness you’d expect out of a film like this, while never trying to insult one’s intelligence and actually trying to tell a good story. While the script does attempt at some serious moments of character development and tension, SNAKES ON A PLANE is at its best when it throws all logic and sense out the window. Once the snakes appear, the film never lets up. Watching CGI snakes stop a couple from experiencing the Mile High Club, bite a man’s penis, and caressing a woman’s leg while she sleeps with arousal definitely earns its humor. Plus snakes in barf bags, snakes in oxygen masks, snakes eating small dogs, and snakes squeezing the life out of jerks we hated anyway is always a fun time. Gutierrez and Heffernan went all out taking a concept that was meant to be terrible to begin with and turn it into something charming, fun, and entertaining. Unlike another disaster film that was released around the same time, POSEIDONSNAKES ON A PLANE takes the sub-genre into a B-movie territory and doesn’t feel ashamed about it.

Of course, the screenplay has some funny bits of dialogue. How can you not laugh when a man pulls out his penis and asks it, “How’s my big boy?” We also get a makeshift pilot towards the end, with the audience believing he took actual lessons – but in reality, this character learned how to fly by playing video games on his Playstation 2. And of course, we get that line by Samuel L. Jackson, which has become bigger than the film itself.




Even after ten years, I still laugh at it. So great.



Speaking of Samuel L. Jackson, SNAKES ON A PLANE would be a massive failure without his presence. Many people wondered why Jackson signed on to a film like this, considering he’s a huge A-list star who could probably do any film he pleases. But Jackson knows exactly what film he is, acting seriously during the serious moments, and hamming it up when the film calls for it. He keeps the film grounded and makes for a great lead in a silly film like that. The other actors are a mixed bag, only because I’m not sure if some of them are being intentionally bad, or just are. Julianna Marguiles plays it straight, adding a bit of quality to the acting. Same with Bobby Cannavale, who plays it seriously in a way that he tries to go against the cheesiness of the script while coming across just as cheesy. Not many actors can do that. Kenan Thompson is a highlight, playing the film for laughs and has some good one-liners. Flex Thompson and Rachel Blanchard come across as really terrible actors, but I think it may be intentional. And it’s cool to see Lin Shaye, David Koechner, and Taylor Kitsch on board. Considering the kind of film this is, SNAKES ON A PLANE has a pretty cool cast of people we know.

David R. Ellis is the perfect director for a film like this. Ellis knows exactly what type of film he’s making, directing everything firmly tongue-in-cheek and having fun doing so. The snake attack sequences, even after all these years later, still work surprisingly well. I found them to be full of tension and suspense even throughout the chaotic comedy. The CGI snakes haven’t dated well, as you can really tell which snakes are real and which ones aren’t. But compared to recent films like SHARKNADO, the effects are still slightly better. And we get the usual disaster film cliches with the plane almost crashing, and the survivor’s guilt that turns the characters into fighters. Ellis knows he’s making a big budget schlock film, but still manages to infuse it with charm and class, caring about turning a stupid script into a good film.



Ten years after the fact, it’s quite obvious that SNAKES ON A PLANE desperately wanted to be a modern cult film. In fact, it tries a bit too hard at times. Just the famous Samuel L. Jackson line alone gives that fact away. And what about that film title? Maybe I’m alone in this, but I prefer my cult films to earn that respect organically. SNAKES ON A PLANE is a great title and a damn original premise for its time, I won’t fault the producers for that. But you can tell that New Line Cinema was banking on the internet hype to make this film a cult classic, rather than just letting us viewers decide that for ourselves.

I also felt that while Bobby Cannavale’s performance was good, his more serious hunt-and-chase scenes ruined the film’s fun flow. These scenes are important for the film’s final act and its resolution, but transitioning right from comedy to a dramatic scene is a bit jarring. Plus, these scenes weren’t particularly interesting or fun to watch. Like I mentioned, I get why they exist. But these scenes felt like they belonged in another movie, rather than the main SNAKES ON A PLANE film.


I also felt the film slowed down towards the end, losing steam by the final act. The middle portion of the film is full of snake action, but we don’t get much of it near the end except for a few moments. Say what you will about those SHARKNADO films, but you’ll most likely always get shark action even during the more serious scenes. SNAKES ON A PLANE needed more snakes doing more things on a plane, in my opinion. You went all out with the premise and the film’s title. You might as well do the same when it comes to the story and direction on film.


THE FINAL HOWL

Look, if you’re going to watch a film like SNAKES ON A PLANE  you can’t expect some Academy Award level filmmaking here. While it’s not perfect, SNAKES ON A PLANE is a really fun movie for the most part and still holds up very well ten years later. Samuel L. Jackson is still great, the snake action and direction still works, and it’s nice for a bigger budget film to embrace it’s B-movie status without a care. SNAKES ON A PLANE gives you what you’d expect, and that’s more than fine with me. It’s an entertaining movie and nothing more. 



SCORE
3 Howls Outta 4




8.01.2016

The B-Movie Bungalow Presents - Sharknado 4: The Fourth Awakens (2016)


Directed By: Anthony C. Ferrante

Starring: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, David Hasselhoff, Tommy Davidson, Gary Busey, Cody Linley, Stacey Dash

Genre - Science Fiction/B-Movie/Action/Adventure/Bad Animals/Sharks

Running Time - 90 Minutes


Plot (from IMDB): Five years after the East Coast was ravaged in 'Sharknado 3,' Fin (Ian Ziering) and his family have been blissfully sharknado-free, but now sharks - and 'nados. - are being whipped up in places (and ways) that are completely unexpected.


Review: Another year, another SHARKNADO movie on SyFy. Who would have believed that a really stupid B-movie from 2013 would become one of the biggest film franchises of the modern era? I think I’ve been one of the biggest supporters of this franchise, reviewing each installment year after year, hoping to get it out there that these films can be fun if you just sit back and enjoy them. I re-watched the previous three films prior to seeing SHARKNADO 4: THE FOURTH AWAKENS, realizing that the first film wasn’t really as good as I remembered it, but loving the second film for knowing exactly what it was, and the third film - which does the same, but tries a bit too hard at times. Even with its clever title and known cameos, I wasn’t expecting much out of this sequel. By this point, I figured the well was very dry and the series had peaked with the second one. But color me surprised - as I found this fourth installment to be the most fun and quicker paced film of the entire franchise.

The story is what you’d come to expect with a SHARKNADO film. The characters are still the same, even though some of them have gained extra perks and arcs that could lead to interesting future developments. I liked the film had taken place five years in the future, with the shark problem finally solved - at least when it concerned water sharks. The idea of having a variety of sharknadoes that involved sand, oil, electricity, radioactive chemicals, and so on kept the narrative going for me. It’s a dumb plot and doesn’t make a lick of sense, but I’m glad the filmmakers tried to give us an evolution of what had been established and tired by the third film. The sharks became more of a threat and I kept being amused by the different types of storms that threatened our heroes. I also enjoyed that the film was centered mainly on the Shepard family, bonding them stronger as a unit against these sharks. It sucks April survived [damn you, viewers], but she did have some chuckle-worthy moments in her new character. Plus, seeing a five-year-old with a chainsaw is not something you see everyday. The ending pretty much tells us where the series is going in the fifth film, which I’m kinda hoping is the last one. I mean, what else can you do by this point?

I think the best part of the script for me were the throwback to famous pop culture moments or dialogue that fit well with the situation. We get the obvious STAR WARS homages, including the classic opening in SHARKNADO form and a character begging to “Stay on target!”. We get a few TERMINATOR references for April. Lloyd Kaufman makes an appearance to “Nuke ‘em high”. There’s an Action Comics #1 cover homage. The awesome Baywatch reunion with David Hasselhoff, Alexandra Paul, and Gena Lee Nolin is great. Christine, the car, makes an appearance with Steve Guttenberg’s LAVALANTULA character. Gary Busey is wearing the same glasses he wore in THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY. And the best stuff was with Caroline Williams, speaking in her heavy Stretch accent from THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2, claiming that “the Saw is Family” and that “it wouldn’t be Texas without a chainsaw massacre”. Clever stuff that worked better than it had any right to.



The direction by Anthony C. Ferrante, who has directed every single one of these films, is what you’d expect from this series - except I felt the pacing and flow was a long quicker for the better. I’m sure this was done to compensate for a weird script, but SHARKNADO 4 had the most visual energy and style of the four films. There was never a lull in the film like in the previous three. We’d get certain character stuff really quickly before an action sequence pops up. I also felt some scenes looked really cool. In particular, the pirate ship scene at the start looked inspired by Dario Argento with its red, blue, and green vibrant colors. The final act resembled a Saint’s Row video game, as it was visually chaotic - but again, I liked that. The CGI is still as cartoony as before, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I felt Ferrante was very inspired with this installment, sort of directing with the same energy he had while filming the second film in New York City.

The acting isn’t the greatest per usual, even though I felt the quality was a bit above the other films. Ian Ziering is still the same straight man as Finn, playing a wannabe superhero that gets to do cool stuff. Tara Reid is back and she didn’t annoy me as much as she had in the previous films. I think it’s because I could tell she was having more fun with her new role and being more comfortable. She seemed more engaged this time around. David Hasselhoff is still one of the coolest dudes in the room. Cody Linley seems to be having fun starring in a SHARKNADO movie. Tommy Davidson seemed to forget he was in a SHARKNADO movie, actually acting well in his role and really standing out amongst the other actors. Gary Busey halts the crazy, playing his role a bit more subtle than expected. Stacey Dash uses her current pop culture persona to her advantage as the mayor, leading to an awesome WIZARD OF OZ moment [there are a lot of those here]. The cameos here are pretty cool as well. We get Seth Rollins, Gilbert Gottfried, Carrot Top, Adrian Zmed, Lloyd Kaufman, Caroline Williams, Dr. Drew, Corey Taylor, the Chippendales dancers, the Millionaire Matchmaker, Steve Guttenberg, and Gena Lee Nolin and Alexandra Paul from Baywatch. Plus Christine, the car, makes an appearance! I thought the cameos really worked here.



SHARKNADO 4 continues the level of CGI violence we’ve come to expect. The sharks seem weaker this time though, exploding pretty easily from just simple punches, kicks, and pelvic thrusts. We get the regular decapitations, sharks sliced in half with chainsaws, sharks squashing people, etc. We also get other animals doing some damage as well, such as cows and whales. The final act alone is chaotically violent in a cartoon way.

The sexuality in SHARKNADO 4 is standard. Chippendale dancers, Tara Reid shows her enhanced cleavage, and the Baywatch babes. There’s something for everyone.

The cheesiness is off the charts here. Nukenado? Oilnado? Firenado? Sandsharknado? Tara Reid as a cyborg with a battery pack? People with superpowers? Sharks with spikes? A lot of funny one-liners from famous films? We even get a space segment that starts with the classic STAR WARS opening. Yep, cheesy as hell.



The Final Howl: Look, if you’re not on the SHARKNADO bandwagon by now, you will never be. If you love SHARKNADO, you’ll really enjoy SHARKNADO 4: THE FOURTH AWAKENS. If you don’t like SHARKNADO, don’t bother and don’t try and ruin it for the rest of us. Bad acting, bad special effects, a silly narrative, and just a great sense of fun, amusement, and campiness. I personally feel that SHARKNADO 4 is the best of the series, as it went by super fast and genuinely made me laugh and mark out over certain pop culture references. Sometimes I want to watch serious movies. Other times, I just want to escape in the bizarre world of SHARKNADO. This was a lot of fun. Bring on the fifth one!


SCORE
3.5 Howls Outta 4




Related Posts with Thumbnails