Sunday, August 3, 2014

Lazy Weekend: Mad Movie Roundup

So, over the last three weeks, I've been binging on the J.J. Abrams series, Fringe. Yes,  a Fringe binge.  But, I basically wrapped that up, early on Friday. 100 episodes in three weeks. I loved the show, and I'll seriously miss it, but that's a lot of the same thing in a short period of time, isn't it?

But the funny thing about a binge like that, is once it's done, you don't quite know what to do with yourself. It's summer, so there's mostly crap on actual TV.  So, should I start a new binge? Too soon. No. Need a breather, I think. So, what then? Well, one thing I really ought to do is use all of the crazy amount of media I'm paying for, whether I use it or not. So, I thought I'd go ahead and use some. The Other Half was away for most of the weekend, and I had no particular obligations.

I managed to do my chores, get some errands done, and watch some stuff I don't usually get around to. But just wait to see the bizarre choices I made. . .

1) The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) (2011) - Having seen the intensely bad original, I knew I was what I was in for, or thought I did. This is one of those things you watch just so you can say you did. I didn't expect much. What I got, was a desensitizingly awful film that renders all further horror/gore films moot. It covers just about every awful thing that could happen to a body in every disgusting way, but told in the most grindingly boring way possible.

I should clarify, I grew up in the era of the Mom 'n' Pop video store, where VHS rentals were mostly either bad horror movies, or porn. I saw 'em all (the horror movies, silly), and so I have a soft spot for the odd gore fest. This one though? It goes so far, for so long, that it leaves you with the inability to be further shocked. One thing I liked: our demented killer in this one is not a skilled surgeon, so his methods are decidedly messier than what happened in the first film. It leant a small amount of credence to an otherwise incredible story.

2) Devil (2010) - Another horror film, but one that was a bit more mainstream, Devil almost plays like an extended Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock Presents kind of episode. It feels too small to be a feature film. It was all right, but light weight. I love Chris Messina, and liked seeing Jenny O'Hara. I guess it's an okay Netflix viewing, on a slow weekend, like I had. But don't make it a main event.

3) The Evil Dead (2013) - I suddenly remembered that I had this on a shelf, and thought, "why not?" Well, as it turns out, after The Human Centipede 2, this movie just has no punch. And after The Cabin in the Woods, the tropes are just too obvious. Plus, I kept thinking, "Hey, it's the girl from Suburgatory!" It's a gore-fest, it's not an improvement on the original, and it's just kind of pointless. Plus? Human bodies don't take that kind of punishment, and still allow you to function as these people functioned. At the point the protagonist pulls her hand off to escape, and then manages to wield a chainsaw? I'm just like, "really?"

4) Scary Movie 5 (2013) - This movie series was burning out either on part 3 or 4 (and part 2 sucked), so, I didn't expect much with this one. And I didn't get it either. The first Scary Movie was a Wayons Brothers effort that was way over the top, but hilariously funny. Part 2 had a very different tone, and a creepy Chris Elliott. It wasn't funny. So, Part 3 brought in David Zucker, 1/3 of the Airplane!/Naked Gun team. It was scatter-shot, but--seemingly accidentally, if you watch the outtakes--quite funny. Part 4 barely had a laugh. This one is worse. Don't bother.

5) V/H/S/2 (2013) - This is the second part of a horror anthology series, kind of a modern day Creepshow, with the conceit of "found footage" from video cameras, and still with a linking story around the vignettes. The first part was kind of headache inducing, but it had a couple of standout segments, so I gave this a view. And you know what? It's kind of fun! I mean, it's very low budget, and you won't confuse this with quality film making. But if this is the kind of movie you're looking for? It's not too bad! Most of the gore and scares come off as gags, more humorous than scary.

6) The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) - I never read the trilogy of books behind this film, but did watch part 1, so thought I'd give this on a go. It was actually pretty good. It is hamstrung by the same problem as part 1 though, the fact that they expect you to have read the books. There isn't much to let you know where or when this dystopian world is. Is it Earth? Is it the future? A little research via Wikipedia spelled it out a little for me, and filled in some blanks. I've got to think that if you have some of that knowledge going in, that you'll enjoy this film a lot more. But it's clearly a quality production.

And that was my after Fringe binge movie binge! I realize that the last one in particular doesn't really fit, but that's the way I roll. In all I can only recommend the last one, and only if you're into that sort of thing!

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