Teleportation, drug cartels, vigilante serial killers, mutant genitalia and horses. Welcome to the glamorous job of a film critic. Short on pay, long on enjoyment. I guess this is one way to note that we aren’t getting the same old-same old with today’s crop of reviews in Scott’s Film Geek Journal.
DAY 15: JANUARY 18, 2013
JUMPER (2008) – A young man discovers that he has the power to transport himself at will – allowing him to travel the world in a day. He uses this to escape his dead-end small town life and become a wealthy if somewhat lonely playboy. But jumpers have always been hunted by those sworn to destroy them. Soon, he’s running from Samuel L. Jackson, who is already angry that he signed up for this mess.
I watched JUMPER when it first hit DVD a few years ago. I didn’t like it back then but for some reason, I’ve felt the urge to give the film another chance. After all, what a great premise. Surely the film couldn’t have been as bad as I remembered. Yes it could, and in fact quite a bit worse.
The script is terrible and the few moments we get for drama are too phony and fleeting. Doug Liman, who can direct action, seems to be aiming for a Disney Channel TV movie vibe. Everything is horribly shot. Worst of all, the hero of the story is completely unlikable. Yeah, this one is still terrible. Fool me one, shame on you. Fool me twice… ★ out of ★★★★
THE LAST STAND (2013) – first viewing – Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to the big screen in this action film that sees him as a small town sheriff who likes things peaceful. But when the head of a drug cartel escapes from federal custody (in an experimental sports car no less), he realizes he’s the only one standing in the way of this cold-blooded killer making it across the border.
Sure, I could tell you what I thought here. But honestly, I’ve already written 1,000 on this sucker today. Been there, done that, fellow film geeks. Why don’t you go read my full review instead?
More? Okay then. BAD BIOLOGY marks Frank Henenlotter’s (BASKET CASE, BRAIN DAMAGE, FRANKENHOOKER) return to directing, following a fifteen year absence. It’s about a woman with mutant genitalia that causes her to have an insatiable sexual appetite. This means she picks up new partners nightly. Unfortunately, her “bad biology” typically causes her to murder them either during or after sex and she inevitably gives birth to a mutant baby mere hours after the act. She disposes of the fetuses by abandoning them and letting them die off. She discovers a young man who has a giant, sentient penis – one who threatens to detatch and go on a rape and murder spree – and decides that it’s a sign from above. “God is real and he wants to fuck me,” she says. Unfortunately, the guy doesn’t want anything to do with her and just wants a cure for his condition.
Unless you are a fan of strange, psychotronic cinema that pushes boundaries and seeks to offend everyone, the film is not for you. If you’re the type of person who needs logic throughout the film, a film free of non-sequitors, then the film is also not for you. But if like me, you get intrigued by the whacked-out combo of trash cinema and biting satire, then we are kindred spirits and you should probably check this one out. For some reason, this did not get nearly the acclaim people were expecting. Everyone has a theory as to why and in fact the film only received mixed reviews from fans. Personally, I think it’s great and it’s lack of cult status leaves me speechless. ★★★½ out of ★★★★
GOD BLESS AMERICA (2012) – Does modern society fill you with rage – the reality TV, the bile-spewing pundits, the hate groups, the spoiled children and spineless parents? If so, I’m with you and GOD BLESS AMERICA was made for both of us.
Bobcat Golthwait gives us another of his pitch-black comedies here. Frank (Joel Murray) is sick of the world. His marriage is over, his daughter is a brat, he has lost his job and now he has been told that he’s dying by an unfeeling doctor. He’s about to off himself before he gets the idea to take out the bratty kid on one of those MY SWEET 16-styled shows instead first. He completes the murder, but is stopped from his suicide by a teenage girl (Tara Lynne Barr) who suggests they continue ridding society of its most repellant and unrepentant slime.
This is a wonderfully cathartic film and a pretty decent film about two outsiders finding common ground in a civilization that has become uncivilized. Naturally, you won’t agree with all of their targets (I happen to like Diablo Cody, thank you.), but that’s not the point. The point is the spirit of the film, combined with the surprisingly sweet character dynamic. It is Golthwait’s most accomplished film thus far. ★★★½ out of ★★★★
SYLVESTER (1985) – first viewing – A teenage girl (Melissa Gilbert – Laura Engels herself) tries to raise her two brothers after their parents are killed in a car accident. She’s got a gift for breaking and riding horses, which she applies working for a crotchety old ranch owner (Richard Farnsworth). She begins to train an unruly but very special horse and takes him all the way to a horse riding event.
But because it’s 1985, there’s nothing I can say right now. Believe me, I want to – oooh, how I want to. But you’ll have to wait until we cover it on our podcast, And if you haven’t checked out FILM GEEK CENTRAL PRESENTS: THE FILMS OF 1985, what are you waiting for? Two episodes down with many, many more to come! Go have a look!
Total films watched in 2013 so far: 42
My soundtrack for January 18, 2013: “If wellness is this, what in hell’s name is sickness? But business is business! And business runs in the family…”