Tag Archives: car accident

I Love You Phillip Morris

This is one of those movies you don’t think much of when you see it first released, but comes back to surprise you. I had no idea how much homosexuality, adult themes, and gay sex would be portrayed in this film. At all. I sat up late the night I watched this, clutching my pillow, wondering if Ace Ventura was really kissing Obi-Wan. It’s not that I’m opposed to the lifestyle and part of the sexual spectrum these characters lay on. It’s just so surprising to see how committed actors can be to a role they’re given. And it can turn out to be the best of performances.

In I Love You Phillip Morris, Steven Jay Russell (portrayed by Jim Carrey) is a local police man and loving husband to his wife, Debbie (Leslie Mann) and daughter. The

Carrey and Mann, a loving couple?

only thing he can’t get over is that his mother gave him up for adoption when he was a baby. In search of his true mother, he finds that she gave him up… and kept her other children.

With his life’s dream fulfilled and ruined all in one fell swoop, Russell is involved in a bad car accident, changing his life around. He resolves to live his life the way he wanted to for so long. And that life he will pursue will be as a gay man. I thought the first angle of this movie, never having read the accounts of Stephen Jay Russell or anything related, was going to be about him being a con man. I didn’t realize he was going to find his homosexual roots before he met Phillip Morris in jail, but that was just my movie plotline brain buzzing. All the more power to him, because his cons and jail escapes were unbelievably top notch.

A little bit of the lavish life for a pair of gay men.

So Russell meets other men, some sexual interaction (AKA butt sex. I must add this scene, although dramatized, shocked the shit out of me.) and he meets his Latino boyfriend, Jimmy (Rodrigo Santoro). After his losing bout with AIDS, Russell goes for one last big haul, and gets himself thrown in jail. But that wasn’t before trying to escape in the only way he knew how. Con city, bro.

While in jail, Russell meets Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). The gentle and noble disposition of Morris changes something in Russell’s deceiving nature changes. He looks out for someone other than his

The moment they meet. In jail. How touching.

own interests and finds true love in a world that had given up on him and his ways. It is at this point that Russell will do anything in order to get Phillip Morris out of jail and to make a stable life for the both of them. As luxurious as that may come off…

What overall impressed me about this film were Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor’s performances. They were so convincing as a loving couple onscreen that you had to root for them, even if one of them was a con man. The kisses felt real, the holding and touching was that of a chemistry ridden couple. And by couple, I mean just any kind of couple. Gay, bisexual, straight, biracial, you name it, they showed the characteristics of two people in love. By the end of the movie, no matter how homophobic the person watching may be, you came to like and accept Russell and Morris for who they are. That’s something that can cross all lines when it comes to the world of movies.

Some of that steamy man love.

The other thing that I loved about this movie were the cons. And based on real cons, as far as I can see. This entire movie was based on Steve McVicker’s novel about Steven Jay Russell’s life entitled, I Love You Phillip Morris: A True Story of Life, Love, and Prison Breaks. These cons are so well played out that you could only believe they would work in the movies. Or, in this case, Texas or one of the Southern states. Yes, a slight against Southerners from the liberal movie makers, who knew? But how well and entertaining they were to watch one right after the other. You felt shame for the law enforcers and businessmen by the end of the film for being so able to be swindled.

This movie takes a whole new approach to the con man, and to relationships in general. How far would one of us go to break their love out of jail? To risk it all one something illegal in order to see their love happy and smiling? That is exactly what Stephen Jay Russell did. And the end of the movie let’s us know that he is serving a life sentence under constant surveillance, while Phillip Morris was finally let out in 2006. This movie of the con man, set in the 1980’s and 90’s, really explores an era that was exploring itself. This movie shows the liberation of the man from his chains, both

Good form.

literally and symbolically. And Jim Carrey gave one of his best quirky drama performances in a long time. I love all of his work, and this is another title to notch in his bedpost. Gay con artist. A well deserved 8.8 out of 10.

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Dance Moms: My Only Reality T.V. Obsession

I have to admit here at the very beginning that I, for some strange reason that has sucked me into it, love Dance Moms. I can’t get enough of the fighting, the drama, and all the strange and delirious opinions that Abby Lee holds inside of her enormously inflated head. I’ve watched every episode, enjoyed the dance segments (as small as they are) and analyzed them with my long time dancing girlfriend and before mentioned, Kim. We had caught an episode or two in the past and I had tuned in and out with my mom and sister to see what all the fuss was about.

At first, I hated the crap out of it. I found it to be degrading, conflict infested, and just downright train wreck level television. I thought there could be no way this would ever catch on. Something I still don’t understand is why any of those upset women wouldn’t just stage a walkout and tell everyone not to go to

The wonderful children of Dance Moms:
Nia, Paige, Chloe, Maddie, and Kendall. (There are more)

Abby Lee’s Dance Company. If they all did, she loses business and gains a reputation as a terrible woman. That’s something this show has done for her, but that’s besides the point. She should realize even she’s replaceable. Three girls on the show have shown that so far. But this show has caught on, and its won my heart.

The beast rears its ugly head!

Should I even divulge any of the premise of this show to those of you who unfortunately happen to come across this blog in my post? Let’s see…. Well, the show starts off with the degrading pyramid. Although most of the girls at some point made it to the top, Maddie erroneously held the top for far too long. I don’t want to degrade any of the girls because they are all wonderful little people. But Maddie (the “star” of the show) has to realize that saying arrogant things on camera and crying when you don’t win are things you learn when your mother tells you not to cry in the meanest tone and you always win. Anyways, this whole post is gonna be one long rant.

Next comes a confrontation between one of the moms and Abby Lee or another mom. They train, for 5 days it always seems, and then comes the competition. In between that comes some of the most

The guns, one of Abby’s questionable decisions.

incredulous backstabbing, loud and obnoxious drinking, and one of the most refined, well spoken, and intelligent women I’ve seen on T.V. Nia’s mother, Holly. For that show, Holly is a godsend. She is a rock among the turbulent tides that is the other Dance Moms. And her daughter, although not treated as well as the other girls because she struggles to keep up, still wins when she is given the chance and helps the group win. She wouldn’t be included if she didn’t have the potential and the talent.

All too common in Dance Moms…

Then the competition comes. Maddie (or Chloe) wins and the group comes in 3rd to 1st. And if they don’t, it’s the girls’ faults, not Abby Lee’s. Watch some of these episodes. Marvel and wonder at how she never blames herself, knowing we are all humans and people make mistakes. Every episode, this woman makes mistakes. She is just such a ridiculous woman, I am awestruck at every turn and utter from her croaky voice (what speech problem does this woman have? Or does she just yell all the time because she’s so unhappy with everything?) and the morbidly obese body that at one point performed dances. She has her extreme faults and her struggles with her “nemesis” Cathy from Candy Apples in my home state of Ohio, which is somehow stupidly depicted as farm country. She lives in Canton, a suburban/city town next to Akron. Get your stuff right Lifetime.

There’s a final confrontation, sometimes between moms and who should have won, and then the show ends with the best cliff hangers I’ve ever seen provided from a show. That’s where I’d give the Bravo! Bravo! Encore! Encore! in this. And that’s it. Take that formula and repeat 13 times each season. And then what?!?!? Abby Lee gets put in her place and leaves on hiatus? This is perfect. If I, at any point in this show, could have sat Abby Lee down and shown her every time she was wrong or a Hitler himself in this show, she probably wouldn’t change, but I’d feel better. That woman needs to learn.

And she will never learn. These wonderful children will never know a more enjoyable dance experience. These moms (the few who just don’t understand) will

The best episode of all time. This is all that needs be shown.

never learn. And the cycle will continue. And I will continue to watch. I can’t get enough of this car accident dance television. And it’s not that the show, from a filmmaking standpoint is any good. Who knows if it’s scripted. But, in the end, the show is only good for human’s sick addiction to reality crap television. As much as I’ll fight it, this will be around for a while. God save us all. Overall, this show gets a 3.5 out of 10. May good things always be on these girls, and karma prepare a slap for everyone else. Me as well.


Unknown: The Unrelated Sequel to Taken

As with Taken, Liam Neeson leaves his comfort zone yet again as an action star. This classic Irish actor assumes the role of an American with a sophisticated upper class NorthEastern accent to kick some more ass. I don’t know how this all happened, but out of nowhere, Liam Neeson became a huge action star at the ripe old age of 56. It may have started in 2005 with Batma Begins, who knows. But the world (Hollywood) decided it was time for a 50+ year old man to be the star of oh so many action films. In his latest to be released, Liam Neeson plays Dr. Martin Harris, a biochemical engineer on a getaway convention in Berlin, Germany.

With The Grey to be released soon, I had to see Unknown before I could begin to handle Neeson bottle knifing wolves in the forest wilderness of Alaska. (I think that’s where it is…) By the suggestion of my mother (weird it isn’t just my own volition, huh?) I sat down with some Taco Bell and delved into something I wasn’t entirely ready for.

Aww, what a quaint father and daughter... I mean couple...

Dr. Martin Harris is a well to do scientist in Germany on business. He has decided to take his wife Elizabeth (January Jones) on this wonderful little convention at a well to do hotel in Berlin. (My mother suggested this movie to me because I speak German decently and enjoyed Germany.) Upon arrival, Martin Harris (he will frequently and forcefully refer to himself as such throughout the film) forgets his briefcase at the airport. Catching a cab back to retrieve it, Harris is involved in an unfortunate accident that takes him off a bridge (homage to Bourne Supremacy insert here) and loses his memory (continue Bourne reference).

WHO AM I? My age has restricted my memory...

Upon waking up in the hospital, Harris can’t seem to explain to the doctor just who he is or what he’s doing there. With a bit of probing, it all starts to come back to him. He is Dr. Martin Harris and he must get back to the hotel for the conference he’s been unconscious three days for. So he books it to the hotel with a stern message from the doctor and finds his wife. But his wife doesn’t recognize him. And there’s a man there, claiming to be Dr. Martin Harris (Aidan Quinn).

In his polite and assuredly forceful rage, Liam Neeson begins a Alzheimer’s induced rampage all over Berlin. He runs into the fraud of himself multiple times and argues semantics with his past that this man can spew back at the same exact time. This is where it gets weird. You think there’s a sci-fi/fantasy twist, but hold your breath, it’s something not as strange. But it does seem like The 6th Day right? Someone in my house eating my birthday cake with my child, right? It’s uncanny. And yet, it almost seems to actually be the delusion of some old man running into another old man and rambling like old men.

A love made in... Berlin?

The movie has some good action scenes, but with the unfortunate comparison to Taken, it’s just not as good. Liam Neeson elegantly and kindly stumbles around Berlin attempting to find out just why he’s so crazy. His logical mind kicks into full gear and recruits an ex-Nazi intelligence man, Ernst Jurgen (Bruno Ganz). This guy seems like a hardass and, with the way Liam Neeson’s career is going into action films, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Ernst karate chopped a few necks of his own. Harris (Neeson, they’re interchangeable) recruits the help of a renegade Turkish woman who was driving his taxi Gina (Diane Kruger) and strangely falls in love with her. It’s all just bizarre.

Get out of here J.J., you're terrible.

This movie, like Taken, takes cues from the Bourne series amongst other things. Car chases and explosions, intense fight scenes with a lady present, it’s got it all. What is doesn’t have is an element of romantic chemistry I felt it was going for. Liam Neeson is attempting to fight for and win back a wife who is 26 years younger than him. Sure, love comes in all shapes and sizes, but you feel absolutely none of that chemistry on screen. He remembers sleeping with her. A bit creepy. Imagining Qui Gon Jinn hooking up with Padme Amidala is a bit more realistic. When this movie started, I thought it was Taken 2, and Neeson was accompanying his daughter January Jones (funny, she’s born Jan. 5th…) to Berlin for a proper European vacation. I was sorely mistaken. And disappointed.

It’s unfortunate I have to compare this to Taken. Based on the novel Out of My Head by Dider Van Cauwelaert, I found the premise and plot to be quite well paced and interesting. The casting is just too piss poor. With this new stigma of placing Liam Neeson in the wrong roles, there is a translation error. An unfortunate one that must be corrected. We should’ve stopped at Taken. A paltry 5.1 out of 10.

Oh, and January Jones is a terrible actress. Frank Langella was good though for his small part.

Time to get you chop on. Maybe in The Grey...


A Serbian Film: Those Serbs are Crazy

I have to say this right at the beginning as a disclaimer. If you are squeamish, if you find sexualized violence to be perverse and disturbing, or if you find horror in the 1st degree to be mortifying, this movie and this review are not for you. A Serbian film is the tale of an ex-porn star, Milos (Srdan Todorovic). A man of stamina and skill, Milos (pronounced Milosh) is down to no money and has a wife and child to feed. So what does this absurd bastard do? He decides to take one last job. A sort of “final bank job” if you will. What he doesn’t know is what comes to destroy him.

When I first heard of this film, my roommate had just come back from England. His roommate there told him about this film and told me to check out the trailer. I can’t post it on here due to graphic content, but I’ll post the tamer version below:

Anyways, this trailer blew my mind. From the look and sound of what it was about, I figured it was real. This is classified as a “snuff film”. That’s not a joke. The scenes depicted in the film are designed to look as real as possible. And throw in the ridiculous amount of pornographic content and you have one of the most messed up films since Hostel. Wait, scratch that. Since… Ever.

Should I even delve into the mind of this film? Should I tell you this contains quite a few of the most absurd fetishes to grace humankind? Let me reiterate this. There is the issue of child rape in this movie. That alone should say this movie is not for the weak. This movie wasn’t even for me. I consider myself a reasonable guy. I feel I can handle some of the images the world has to offer. But I have opened Pandora’s box of horror. And this isn’t all of it. There is an entire following of “snuff films” out there. This is just… one among many.

See?

A big thanks to ScuptingFragments for posting these videos on Youtube, opening me up to an entire genre of films I didn’t realize existed. You can tell, even from the length (and there’s a Part II to this video) that there is an unlimited amount of films out there about gore/torture/snuff. The names are ridiculous, the premises are absurd, but my eyes have been opened.

There are very few things I can show...

A Serbian Film is just the latest in a series of films that have been coming out for quite some time. Also identified as “torture porn”, this film is meant to unsettle the mind… and the stomach. And, you’ll hate me for this, but… It wasn’t as gory/horrifying as I thought it would be. Despite the ridiculousness of Serbia and the ability for a repressed country to finally make this film shocks me. And yet at the same time, there are films out there that would curb the sex and go for the same amount of torture and violence. I feel, with American films, the pornographic aspect is shunned (but what the Hell? Americans love porn and the sexualization of women…) due to the uncomfortable feelings it brings. A sort of taboo, if you will.

And what surprises me the most is that this film wasn’t trashed by reviewers or critics. Harry Knowles of Ain’t it Cool News said, “This is a fantastic, brilliant film – that given time, will eventually outgrow the absurd reactions of people that think it is a far harder film than it actually is. The film is an incredibly great film, where everything feels correct in the context of the film. It is never exploitive.” He even gave this film his Top 10 of 2010. Others said it was a movie with no substance. A film that defies you to find any deeper meaning. The director of the film, Srdan Spasojevic, said, “”As much as we try to deal with our life in this film allegorically, and with the corrupt political authorities that govern it, we are also dealing with today’s Art and Cinema and the corrupt artistic authorities that govern them in a similar manner here. The films that preach and enforce political correctness are the dominant form of cinematic expression today. Nowadays in Eastern Europe you cannot get a film financed unless you have a pathetic and

There are no words to describe the evil of this film.

heartwarming ‘true story’ to tell about some poor lost refugee girls with matchsticks, who ended up as victims of war, famine and/or intolerance. They mostly deal with VICTIMS as heroes, and they use and manipulate them in order to activate the viewer’s empathy. They make a false, romanticized story about that victim and sell it as real life. That is real pornography and manipulation, and also spiritual violence – the cinematic fascism of political correctness.”  Using the medium of realistic, pornographic violence, Spasojevic attempts to break the drabness of the former “Eastern Europe” in a way that will shock the world. I feel he achieved that.

Now I’m not gonna say whether or not I liked this film. It’s a basic plot. The acting, as far as I could tell from the Serbian language, was decent. The scenes are disturbing and I couldn’t comprehend how they made the sex look so real. But I commend them for going there. At the same time that I condemn them for exposing me to a horrid side of a world occupied by terrible human beings. It’s like a car accident you can’t look away from. Now, Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 4.9 out of 10. I’m not gonna judge and allow you to find out for yourselves, if you dare. All I’ll say is… Newborn infant porn.

 


Premonition: The Asian Early Edition

(Tagline not true)

So does anybody get the reference in my review title? If you do, this movie plot would sound familiar to you. I’m all for this movie, because I was all for that show back in the day. Kyle Chandler’s a pretty good character actor, and in one of my up and coming reviews, I’m going to discuss Super 8, a good role for his style of acting. Anyways, for those who don’t know, the plot of this movie and the plot of Early Edition is one and the same. One is just horror. In the short version, man finds a newspaper. It predicts terrible things that will happen that day (AKA day the newspaper dictates). Guy has to stop these bad things from happening for his own good. A perfect mix of the morality of stopping something before it happens and the supernatural. Let’s get it goin’.

So, in this particular film, Hideki Satomi is at an outing with his wife Ayaka and daughter, Nana. (Reference to anime, perhaps?) Stopping at a phonebooth in order to get service to submit a project he was working on like the unaware

This dad just cares too much.

working dad he is, disaster strikes. Hideki finds a newspaper clipping, quite old, of a 18 wheeler accident at their location. Not understanding, he turns around to find his wife out of harms way, but his daughter trapped in the backseat of the car. With no time to spare… Hideki doesn’t save his daughter.

Feeling like a failure of a dad, Hideki loses whatever job he had and goes to the degrading work of high school literature teaching. His wife, being as crazy and illogical as most mothers in situations like this, divorces her husband in pursuit of psychics and other fortune telling newspapers. That’s something I just really don’t understand. Why would parents divorce over the loss of their children, or, more to the point, the wife wanting to leave the husband. Maybe I’m not old enough or experienced enough to understand, but that would create a bond between me and my wife over that tragic loss. Unless it has something to do with seeing his daughter in his wife or something…

A husband and wife, reunited.

Anyways, Ayaka starts to discover a past of these predicting newspapers while her husband attempts to shut out all thoughts of the child he couldn’t save. In some way or another, the two are reunited and begin their journey to discover just exactly why these two were able to see and understand these newspapers. But all that is revealed is not necessarily good. In a spiraling torrent of evil and unearthed past, Hideki and Ayaka must escape the future in store for them for their pursuits of the deadly paper.

So, in comparison to the other Asian horror films I’ve been watching, this one probably takes the cake. Coming from Japan, the usual suspects of good horror films, this one had the most amount of jumpy parts and disturbing images. The plot was straight ahead horror. Unearthing a secret that changes their lives forever horrifically. Check. Discovering a not so good background. Got it. It’s all good. The acting is dec, (short for decent, get used to it) and the special effects are right there in the middle of the road, not spectacular, but good enough to make me squirm a bit.

A true dad sees his dead daughter, no matter the place.

But what this movie boils down to, as I’ve been told I’m good at deciphering, is the role of the dad. The father in this movie deserves to be subjected to exactly how good of a dad he is. For the record, there are three reasons he’s a good dad:

1. At some point in the film, Hideki attempts to/sacrifices his life in order to save his daughter. This gains any dad instant “dad martyr status.” In truth, if this happens, the surviving wife will tell their children about the courageousness of their father and just how great of a dad he was for dying for them.

2. Hideki’s life spirals into a terrible depression at the loss of his daughter. Any time a dad will grieve an entire life for their child just proves how much they care.

3. Last but not least, Hideki sees images of his dead daughter and it gravely shakes him. This achieves “prophetic depressed dad” status. Any dad, if they truly cared for their child, will never get over the last image they had of their deceased child.

Combine all 3 of these criteria and you have one great dad. Subtract those parts of the film in which Hideki departs from the path of the true dad, and Hideki ends up with about 145 dad points. (100 points if you sacrifice your life for your child.) There’s no particular cap on dad points, but that’s a pretty damn good score. (If you enjoyed this segment of my blog, please like this post or let me know through comment and this’ll come back in the future.)

Not this, Sandra, not this.

And now the rating. I’ll give Premonition (not the Sandra Bullock film) 6.8 out of 10.


Heavy Rain

What is there to say about Heavy Rain that hasn’t been said by thousands of other game reviewers? This game is awesome. This game is incredible. Not as intense as most action games as you’d expect, but if you just like pressing buttons and being immersed in a cinematic experience for about 6 hours… Play. This. Game.

What should I say about the plot. First of all, the title isn’t random. It is badass as Hell though. Think about it. Heavy Rain. A lot of shady, ridiculous shizz goes down in back alleys and seedy motels when it rains hard. Just look at Identity. Great movie, very similar in feel and tone to this game. Watch them in conjunction, I don’t care. Or watch Se7en, there’s no end to the parallels between thriller movies in crummy cities and this game. This game epitomizes that and makes it 6 hours (or more) long.

There are four characters you play as in this game. Gotta say right off the bat that two of them really aren’t that strong. Ethan Mars is a Dad. Enough said. His son is killed in an unfortunate car accident and his other son is kidnapped by a

Ethan Mars. He's a dad.

certain “origami killer”. (In this game it’s pronounced Ori-gamee for no reason.) You must be a true dad and save your son at all costs. You also play as Scott Shelby. He’s a P.I., out looking for the kids being kidnapped by the Origami Killer. Fat and overweight, he has a good soul. And there’s Norman Jayden of the F.B.I. This guy wrecks shit. He has this crime scene investigative turn-of-the-century ARI gadget that allows him to analyze and solves crimes instantaneously on scene. There is a catch to that though. And then there’s Madison Paige. She’s a slutty reporter.

Ahhh, the amazingly graphically stunning seedy motel.

The greatest part about this game has to be the decision making. You can play this over and over again and unlock any of a number of outcomes and endings for your characters. Every individual choice you make has repercussions that flow throughout the entire game. (Make sure you kiss/don’t kiss Madison. Huge repercussions either way.) You can make your characters do classic SIMS things like… sexually take a shower or pee. Also, you can fight in a number of quick draw reaction command scenes that could potentially kill your character based on your decisions. The entire games ending is up to you. Use this power wisely.

Norman Jayden. Will kick your ass.

Not to forget when it comes to this game that the graphics are out of this world… for February 2010. Since this game isn’t that old, it’s going to hold up for some time to even the biggest neurotic game design critic. Hands and the occasional motion are a bit skewed, but it doesn’t change the amazing camera angles that are employed to make this feel as if you’re watching a movie. Despite it being a one player game, invite the friends over, but don’t tell them it’s not a movie. Have someone hide with a wireless controller and have them sit there for every long hour of the game. It will fly by. And they will love it.

The game play doesn’t change much per difficulty, so its pretty accessible to

Madison Paige, useless slutty reporter, on the prowl.

whomever wants to play it. What’s great is the interactions with the controller. You can utilize the motion of the controller in order to throttle, punch, and get out of tight holds. Even balancing the controller can result in an action in the game. What wonderful technology Sony has created. A Wii motion combined with a Playstation/Xbox controller style. What will they think of next?

What decision will you make?

So with great plot and good voice acting (almost extending into character acting with playable characters being based on real actors) this game will immerse you in a run to the finish, a game against time, life and death to its fullest extent. If you like horror/thriller movies like Saw or the Hannibal series, this game was meant for you. Enjoy and hopefully there will be a Heavy Rain 2.

9.5 out of 10.