Tag Archives: plot device

The Sitter: The Fat Before the Form

Okay, so by the title you might have noticed I’m gonna focus a lot on Jonah Hill in this review. The movie is basically about him right? But unlike the woefully misinformed Rotten Tomatoes that thinks that “groundbreaking originality” is the only thing that gets a high rating (along with “the reviews” it claims), I actually kinda liked this movie. Who says that sticking to a plot device that works so well with all those other movies

Close dat mouth, tubby.

(Superbad, Knocked Up, any sort of out on the town trouble film with hijinks) is all that bad? Sure it may not be “fresh” (what the hell does fresh have to do with movies anyways?), but it sure made me laugh, the whole point of comedies, remember?

So what clicked so well with me in this movie? This is the first film where Jonah Hill gets to stand alone. No Michael Cera, no Judd Apatow cast, it’s all him. And to see a sidekick comedian like Hill perform wellis a breath of fresh air. I admit it, Superbad was a flop of a film for me, couldn’t get into it. Ever since then, sorely disappointed with Judd Apatow & gang.

Never made Minivans look so ballin’.

(And that’s from someone who considers The 40 Year Old Virgin his favorite comedy, followed closely by any Jim Carrey film.) And why did I find Jonah Hill so funny now instead of all those other times?

He embraced his inner Farley. Plain and simple.

From the first time he gets sprayed in the mouth with perfume, to getting laid out by a black chick, he kept me laughing with never-gets-old slapstick. Something you don’t see in these gross-out, absurdist films these days. He went off the rails a little bit and he looked mighty comfortable in the role he was in. I know now he’s lost weight, but he was going after it as the fat man falling through quite a bit of this movie. And still gets the chick.

So let’s back this bitch up a bit and go back to the plot. Noah (Jonah Hill; I’ve always wanted to call him that for some

Gotta be jive to stay alive (one of my favorite scenes).

reason…) is a couch potato pansy that got kicked out of college. He doesn’t do anything with his life and disappoints everyone around him. He’s capable, he just doesn’t apply himself (sounds like myself…). His dad left his mom and him for a babysitter, and he has always had an attitude since then. But it’s all going to have to change if he’s going to cover this babysitting job his mom needs him to take.

The after lights out night life.

So after meeting all the tikes, Noah gets a call from his “girlfriend” asking him to buy some blow and head on over for some sex, the first time in his life (I think…). Without thinking, Noah heads out in the baller ass mini van and hauls it all over to Craig (Sam Rockwell) in order to get the goods. What happens in the course of that ride is what makes for some pretty sticky situations. Formulaic, they may be, but decently funny all the same.

This is one of those movies that I haven’t seen since Role Models that actually had good child actors. (Ronny will never be beaten though.) Slater is played by Max Records (ironic name, no?), the kid people may remember from Where The Wild Things Are. His panic attack of a character isn’t all that funny, but more of the straight man in the group (oh the

Kaah-Kaah!

puns…). Kevin Hernandez, a kid I’ve never seen before, plays Rodrigo, the bad boy in pajamas and cowboy boots. In some strange manner, he plays the Latino stereotype everyone is afraid of, or something… I wasn’t sure. And rounding out the group was Landry Bender as Blithe, the celebrity-slut in the making. She was adorable, and, like Ronny, said some things kids basically learn from rap music. Sad.

Throw in a hilariously psycho performance from Sam Rockwell and you have a well rounded out cast. All you gotta do is add the mass amounts of African American kids that Noah went to school with and you paint a picture of an unnamed town with a nice suburban feel and

Taking him back to El Salvador, eh Jonah?

a threateningly urban vibe. Because what film would there be if Noah didn’t run into some major problems with the homies? Oh, and a bat mitzfah (did I get that right? That’s the female one… right?).

So with all the language and kids there to hear it, Jonah Hill brings this movie above decent for me to a pretty damn funny level. All the parts I saw in the trailer made me laugh just as much in the movie, and there were some great surprisingly funny scenes thrown in there as well. If you like Jonah Hill or just a decent film to laugh at, this movie should probably be on your short list of recent films to catch. I enjoyed the 90 minute semi-gut buster, and maybe you will too. 7.5 out of 10.

 


Repo! The Genetic Opera

In a crossover genre that reminded me a bit of the only other big exposure I’ve had to operetta style plays/shows (i.e. Cats), Repo! The Genetic Opera was a twist and melding of something I’m not used to seeing at all. And, big plus, in the form of a movie. And what more could seal this musical deal? Darren Lynn Bousman, director of Saws 2-4, was the director. That’s a pretty sweet marmalade right there. And I was surprisingly not bored during this horror/rock opera/film extravaganza.

In a strange dystopian intro scene that may remind those of us who have seen Mystery Men of a similar grimy town flyby, there is a new way of living in the city. And that is prologued by the GraveRobber (Terrance Zdunich). In this new dark and sinister world, people are living longer. How, you may ask? Through the use of artificial organs. You

GraveRobber, the teller of our tale. (Is that a cat from Cats right next to him?)

can pay for these organs with a monthly fee, but it must be paid on time to GeneCo. If not, “Rotti” Largo (Paul Sorvino) will send his RepoMen after you and remove it from you.

The story focuses around a doctor Nathan Wallace (Anthony Head) and his sick daughter, Shilo (Alexa Vega). In a story of sick and twisted nip/tuck pleasure, betrayal and love, and discovered identities, Repo! The Genetic Opera combines the operatic style of singing with the gruesomeness of shock rock. What I found surprising, coming from a director who has done such a violent and intestine filled series, gave a bit of humor and poise to the blood and guts. I was never grossed out (as if this film or any other could do that) by the events unfolding before me, it was more with the type of music and subject matter. It was a winning combo, to be sure.

Paris Hilton, can you tell?

I liked the subject matter (dystopian world of the morbid) and found it to be a simple enough plot to get across with how many underlying motives were at play. What I was semi-impressed with was the singing. Anthony Head, star of Buffy and featured on my favorite British comedy, Little Britain, was a phenomenal singer. Alexa Vega, a bit weak, which surprised me. Terrence Zdunich was a phenomenally good stage presence in front of the camera. I enjoyed his pop out of a trash can every once in a while. He had the Cats vibe down. His morbid look was appealing and flashy, almost like a Rum Tum Tugger (although this guy didn’t do any theater before this, so far as I can tell…).

Some surprising cast though in this film. Paul Sorvino, star of musicals and dramas and a couple of Italian Mafioso films, was a good presence, but weak as a counter character/villain to Nathan (Anthony Head) the age difference was a bit of a problem for the plot device they had to deal with, and so it just came off as odd. His singing was a bit weak too, but I think that’s something that happens when you have to speak/sing lines in a rock opera. Sarah Brightman, English singing extraordinaire was delightfully pleasant for as small of a role as she was given. Her

A little bit of blood never hurt Buffy…

singing sent a few chills down the old spine.

And there’s even more! Throw in Bill Moseley, actor from a shit-ton of horror films, including a few Rob Zombie vehicles. And Nivek Ogre of Skinny Puppy (industrial metal band for those of you who don’t know)? Who knew? I could barely put the names and the faces together with this nip/tuck of a performance. Oh, and Paris Hilton for sex appeal. No big surprise there.

Enjoy that open wound, guy.

In an hour and a half of rockin’ and a rollin’, you’re exposed to the world of blood and guts, drums and guitar. I’ve never seen a movie like this before, and this sets the bar sort of high on expectations (and no, I won’t be watching Rent anytime soon). So move aside The Wiz, because there’s a new favorite musical film in town. And it’s got more of an edge to it. So strap in and hide your organs for Repo! A 6.4 out of 10.

 


100 Feet

It’s not every day you see Famke Janssen under house arrest for killing her husband. And it’s not every day that you see a vindictive poltergeist wreaking havoc all over her life for killing him. In this version of what I would consider Jennifer Lopez’s “Enough” gone wrong, Famke Janssen is haunted by her husband she killed in self defense. There are some frightening scenes and I really enjoyed the way that the jumpy scenes are strewn throughout without warning, not just built up until the end. With a minimal cast and quality acting, this was a horror movie that was unfortunate that I hadn’t seen sooner.

Marnie Watson (Janssen) is a newly paroled felon who has just been released from prison and given house arrest in her house. This is the very house that she killed her husband in in self defense. A little twists is that her husband was a police officer, and the partner cop to the man who will stalkingly watch her for the rest of the film, Officer Shanks

Famke Janssen, terrorized all over again.

(Bobby Cannavale). I was semi-impressed with Cannavale’s performance in this film, only because it wasn’t a stretch for him to play a hardened Brooklyn cop. He’s a character actor and it’s all good.

So Famke’s ass gets locked up with a house arrest anklet that only allows her to go within a 100 foot radius in her own house. If she leaves the confines of the house, the alarm will set off and she has only seconds to return to the barrier. This is a problem because parts of her huge and nicely furnished house are off limits to her, including the basement. Plot device, anyone? So Marnie returns to a semi-life of normalcy and goes about buying groceries, cleaning house, ad finding anything she can do to keep busy.

The face of a wife beater…

It’s not any help that the entire neighborhood doesn’t believe that she fought in self defense to save herself. Looked down upon by everyone, only one delivery boy, Joey (Ed Westwick) finds no problem with her. Attempting to be her friend, Marnie copes with a life of solitude. Until her husband starts attacking her from beyond the grave. In a series of scenes that bust up her and her house, Marnie starts reliving all the horrible beatings her husband gave her in life. And this time around, Marnie has had enough of this poltergeist B.S. She’ll fight back at any cost necessary. Without being able to leave her house, this plot restricts her from running away. It’s time to kill again.

I really liked the simplistic plot of this film. It was a creative idea, although I’m not sure they would lock her up in the same house she killed in, as poetically justified it may seem. There are some great haunting scenes in the movie involving a lot of things breaking (including some bones). Ed Westwick plays a reasonably real character in this film, although he’s a straight tool for his work on Gossip Girl. I’d say this is one of his better works. Hauntings and devilish exorcisms and demons are more my style when it comes to horror, so this movie was right up my alley. There’s a great kill scene in the movie, and, although the CG effects in this movie are a bit Syfy channel middle of the road, it doesn’t detract from the whole overall

I know I’ve been stalking you for a while now, but did you know you look like that read headed wench from X-men?

experience of the movie. It’s brutal, and it does the job of performing as a threatening and horrifying film (didn’t scare me much, but all the same, the lights were on).

Most of the time, I’m a tool.

The one thing that will either disappoint you or make you laugh will be the end of the film. There’s some strange confrontation and a ridiculous explosion of an ending that would give Michael Bay a boner. It ruins the whole¬†otherworldly¬†feel of the movie and gives rise to a really dumb explanation of why he’s haunting her and how to stop him. Everything is resolved and, in a really sloppy style for a poltergeist, Shanks believes her and gives her the happy ending she wanted from the beginning. It just really comes down to the sub-par dialogue at the end and that explosion. I can’t get over how that ruined the movie.

But, from beginning to middle, this movie was well executed. It has the right amount of horror and plot, jumpy scenes and furthering events. Famke Janssen did her job (not as Phoenix from X-men, obviously) and gave the woman in peril role new meaning. She fought back with a butch attitude I wasn’t entirely expecting. She doesn’t frighten away like most women do in films and really sticks it to her husband in the film. There’s a real in your face attitude about this horror movie and that made it a breath of fresh air. It’s only the ending that takes down the rating. I’ll give this little horror film a 6.2 out of 10.

Janssen won’t back down easily.