Archive for the ‘Parody’ Category
Friday, June 1st, 2012
Genre: Horror, Parody
Country: United States
Starring: Danielle Panabaker, David Koechner, Katrina Bowden, Matt Bush, Chris Zylka, David Hasselhoff, Ving Rhames, Paul Scheer
Cameos: Gary Busey, Christopher Lloyd
Eye candy: Here’s a pretty good list
Director: John Gulager
Run time: 82 minutes
DVD distributor: Alliance Films
I went into Piranha 3DD with fairly high hopes and expectations. The first movie was such a bonkers good time, such enthusiastic pandemonium! The best thing about the Piranha 3D was that it had an utter disregard for normal movie pacing. The scene where the two impossible hot naked women frolic with each other underwater went on forever before the piranhas showed up! The finale seemed like a full forty minutes of Piranhas eating drunk spring breakers. It was a hell of a lot of fun.
So I was figuring that, even with a little bit of a letdown, the second movie had to at least be gleefully enjoyable to some degree. It turns out I was wrong. Sadly, painfully wrong. The biggest problem with the new Piranha is that the film makers don’t seem like they’re having ANY fun making this film. They have the bases they have to hit, they hit them, then they go home. It reminds me of all those made-for-TV sequels to surprisingly successful monster movies where some director whose biggest credit to date is a Jim “the Hammer” Shapiro commercial goes through the motions and comes up with a paint-by-numbers crap job. It’s probably no coincidence that David Hasselhoff mentions Anaconda 3 in this movie. Both movies are working on the same level.
Piranha 3DD opens with another bizarre cameo, just like the first one – only this time instead of Richard Dreyfuss, it’s Gary Busey. And instead of being a (vaguely) subtle homage to aquatic monster movies of the past, this one involves an exploding cow and a very cheesy decapitation.
Okay. So they got the cameo-setup scene out of the way. What’s next? Oh right, gratuitous naked chicks and boobs. So we cut to that, as Chet (David Koechner) unveils his new water park, where strippers and prostitutes are hired as lifeguards and there is an adults-only section for naked swimming and close-up underwater shots of all the girly parts. We get a few minutes full of boobs and a fair amount of gratuitous full-frontal, and despite the moderately-inspired positioning of one particular camera, there is absolutely nothing titillating about the nudity. It’s just boobs and vaginas. Then it’s done.
Sidebar – this may be the worst business idea of all time. Strippers earn about $1,000 a night just to take their clothes off and gyrate. Now you’re taking lifeguard-certified strippers, and getting them to work eight-hour days? Even assuming they are still working for only $1,000 a day, this guy has hired what appears to be at least 25 of them. That’s $25,000 a DAY in salary, not including the guy who cleans stuff up with a trident and the other employee who is there just to be fat or the guy at the bar or all the others. The price list is posted, and at an average of $15 a head, they would need about 1,700 paying customers a day just to break even. Not that I’m looking for realism in Piranha 3DD, or even vague plausibility, but couldn’t they have found a slightly better premise to get nudity shoehorned into this thing?
Now they’ve done the cameo and the boobs…what’s next? Oh yeah – we have to have a main character, a love interest and a bad guy. Within a few minutes they have established Maddy (Danielle Pannabaker) as the star of the movie, Barry (Matt Bush) as the guy who has pined after her since the 7th grade, and some villains in her on-again-off-again boyfriend Kyle (Chris Zylka) and her step-father Chet. Okay, done.
Cameo, nudity, love interest, bad guy…check, check, check, check. Paint by numbers #5 – the dire warning from the crazy man about the piranhas! Christopher Lloyd is actually pretty great as the crazy scientist, but his screen time is limited to a warning, a demonstration with a live piranha in a tank in his office, and some brief foreshadowing that fish might one day evolve to the point that they can – gasp! – walk on land! Then his time is done. He has another brief but disappointing scene later on, when the one thing we expect does not take place.
Paint by number #6 – carnage. Again, this is a HUGE letdown after that massacre scene in the last movie. See, this one is taking place at a water park. Which means that when the piranhas attack, it’s in pools. So…all people really have to do is get out of the water. Which means the only way they can be eaten is if they just stand there like dummies amid the carnage. And of course, some of them do – but most of the piranha violence is limited to people running on the deck covered in blood and body parts floating around in the pools.
Paint by number #7 – body parts. Let’s see…what worked in the last movie…oh yeah – the severed penis! Let’s just do that again. (Actually, the severed penis scene in the first movie was the only scene I felt was more stupid than fun, and actually detracted from the film as a whole.) This time, it was done even more poorly and stupidly with no inspiration whatever. I’ll leave it at that.
Paint by number #8 – Ving Rhames does something badass. In this case he shows up in a wheelchair. Piranhas ate his legs in the first one, you see. He actually gets the best line of the movie – when he says “bring me my legs”, and shotguns are attached to his stumps, Paul Scheer asks him how he got the guns, and he says “I bought them with the money I saved on socks”. That’s pretty funny. But then his two minutes are up and he too goes away.
David Hasselhoff shows up, in what could be considered a parody of himself, the actor, and his failing career. Or, a parody of his character on Baywatch. In point of fact, it’s neither. He’s given some terrible lines, his scenes are half-assed at best, and all he really does is wander around aimlessly in the movie, adding absolutely nothing to it. Well, with the exception of the line “hello, rock bottom”. Which probably sums up the movie better than anything I could say or write.
Paint by number #9 – the finale. The bad guys have received their comeuppance (although it is very disappointing comeuppance, in that it does not come via piranha), the nerdy guy gets the girl, the destruction has stopped and the running boobs have stopped bouncing. They need one last laugh/scare. It might be the only really good one in the whole movie. It just came an hour and twenty minutes too late.
Final grade: DD-
Thursday, January 6th, 2011
Genre: Action, Parody
Country: United States
Starring: Danny Trejo, Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert DeNiro, Don Johnson, Steven Seagal, Cheech Marin, Jeff Fahey, Shea Whigham, Tom Savini, Mayra Leal, Avellan twins, Marci Madison, Alicia Marek
Eye candy: , , , , , ,
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Run time: 105 minutes
DVD distributor: Alliance Films
My stars. What a lot of stars. The Expendables got a lot of press for the extensive cast of action luminaries. But it’s Robert Rodriguez’s Machete that has managed to cobble together the most intriguing and amazing group of actors in a film this year. Sure, some of them are there only to get their names in the movie (Lindsay Lohan, I’m looking at you. And I don’t mean in an internet-perv sort of way). But every time I saw another familiar face, I got more and more excited. It’s Cheech! What’s HE gonna do?
Invariably, every new star does something awesome. As does every new hot chick. The movie opens with Danny Trejo, the Machete of the title, busting up a Mexican drug ring single-handed. With his machete. Heads and hands go flying, blood is splashed everywhere, and then the bad guys are dead. So Trejo picks up the naked chick (Mayra Leal) and heads for the door. This leads to a very hot, very memorable cell phone scene.
Then Steven Seagal shows up. In this movie, Seagal is playing a Mexican for the first time ever. I have seen him play Inuit, Italian, Russian, Irish and many other nationalities. All of which appear to have the same accent and delivery. And so Torrez, the Mexican bad guy here, just talks like…Steven Seagal. The instant he shows up, he must prove how badass and evil he is, so he chops Machete’s wife’s head clean off. Then he sets fire to the house and assumes Machete will die. Which of course he will not.
Now Machete can no longer be a federale in Mexico, and he ends up working as a day-labourer in Texas. Michelle Rodriguez runs a taco truck and also an underground network helping illegal immigrants get into America and get jobs and so forth. Jessica Alba is hanging around, conducting surveillance on the illegals, as a member of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. See, Alba has turned her back on her own people!
Then there’s Don Johnson as the creepy racist leader of a group of vigilantes patrolling the border. And Robert DeNiro as a state senator campaigning for re-election on a platform that would crack down hard on illegal immigration. And Jeff Fahey as DeNiro’s right hand man with connections to drug dealers. And Lohan as Fahey’s slutty internet-porn-producing drug addict daughter. And Alicia Marek as Lohan’s equally slutty and clueless mom. (The “love” scene between mom, daughter, and the tattooed, scary Mexican Machete is a creepy yet sexy moment that will someday be remembered as a classic – just you wait!)
Then there’s Cheech Marin as a priest, an endless parade of hot chicks and boobs, and Tom Savini as an utterly inexplicable hit man for hire named Osiris Amanpour. I’m not really going to divulge the plot, because I don’t think it’s that important. I also won’t describe too many bonkers scenes, because it might ruin your enjoyment upon seeing them for the first time.
But here’s the thing. Machete is a parody. It’s a sendup of the exploitation violent films of the 70s, and in that respect it’s masterful. And here’s how. Every now and then, I forgot about the genre. I started getting into the story, and the politics of illegal immigration, and I would really get engrossed in a conversation two bodyguards were having about letting Mexicans do their gardening. And just at that moment, Machete would do something to remind me that oh right – this is an insane movie.
And these moments pop up at exactly the right times. Scenes involving a weedwhacker, a man’s intestines, a meat thermometer, a severed hand – they are all so over the top that they jarred me back to reality. Oh yeah. I’m not supposed to be taking this movie seriously. I’m just supposed to sit back and enjoy it. And oh man, did I ever enjoy Machete. Every single glorious minute of it.
Wednesday, January 5th, 2011
Genre: Horror, Parody
Country: United States
Starring: Elizabeth Shue, Ving Rhames, Jerry O’Connell, Kelly Brook, Paul Scheer, Adam Scott, Steven R. McQueen, Jessica Szohr, Riley Steele, Brooklynn Proulx, Sage Ryan
Cameos: Eli Roth, Richard Dreyfuss, Christopher Lloyd
Eye candy: Shue , Brook , Szohr , and many many others (see below)
Director: Alexandre Aja
Run time: 89 minutes
DVD distributor: Alliance Films
Everything about Piranha is scuzzy, exploitative and crass. Just as it should be. Jerry O’Connell plays a sleazy disgusting jerk of a porn producer, a Girls Gone Wild type, who shows up to videotape naked boobs on spring break. I got the feeling watching this movie that the director of Piranha, Alexandre Aja, had a similar mindset. No boob is bad boob! All boobs are great boobs! Put as many boobs on camera as you possibly can at all times! Boobs!
There are, you might imagine, a LOT of boobs in Piranha. Including one long, protracted scene where superhot model Kelly Brook and superhot porn star Riley Steele writhe and make out underwater. It’s over the top, gratuitous, goes on way too long, and it’s perfect for this movie. That’s what these exploitation movies, after all, are all about. Boobies, lipstick lesbian sex, almost-hardcore porn, and then…bloody horrific attacks on both the naked and the innocent!
What makes Piranha better than just generic exploitation is that in addition to the many many boobies, it also has many many piranhas. Not that the piranha attack scenes are specifically impressive. They’re just a sort of silly chaos of fish close-ups and quick bites and blood and thrashing, and it’s almost impossible to figure out what’s going on. But the sheer volume of piranhas, and the volume of blood, and the fact that there are so many attacks that it would be impossible to count the victims is awesome.
Again, in the horror-exploitation tradition that gets sent up so wonderfully in this film, there is a scene where just about every single Spring Break partier gets eaten by the massive swarm of piranhas, all at once. The water runs red with blood. The heroes hop on jet skis and start shooting the fish, the naked chicks freak out and thrash as they get eaten. The structure on which everyone climbed to escape topples over. It goes on WAY too long. But again – as with the naked swimming scene – WAY too long is kind of the point.
Piranha doesn’t work as a horror movie, although there are some reasonably startling scenes. It doesn’t work as a porn, because it just can’t quite go far enough. All it can be is a sendup and homage to the classic monster-porn movies of yesteryear. With cameos by big name actors, and possibly the distinction of being the only movie ever made which gave top billing to both Richard Dreyfuss and a porn star. And on that level, it certainly works.
And now…some other hotties in the movie. Keeping in mind that this represents about 1/4 of the total amount of naked boobs and hotties in bikinis…
Riley Steele , Dina Meyer , Ashlynn Brooke , Gianna Michaels , Kim Stys , Heather Arthur , Eva Lauren , Devanny Pinn , Bria Roberts , Cami Spiegel , Chantel Gonsalves , Rossie Cottrell , Victoria Paege ………….the list goes on. Just watch the movie.
Tuesday, May 12th, 2009
“Never Give Up. Never Surrender.”
To hear the review
To hear the review
Galaxy Quest managed to be two things at once when it was released in 2000. Totally generic, and totally new. And the terrific balance between the two was what made it terrific. I really, really like Galaxy Quest. It’s generic in that it tells the story of people we’ve seen in movies many times before, every character is a cliche, the plot follows the same arc as almost every other movie ever made, and it involves Tim Allen. It’s new in that the generic nature of the characters and plot are done on purpose. And the casting of Tim Allen was actually a good idea. And showing Sigourney Weaver’s cleavage the whole movie is totally hot, but with a reason. Just about everything in this movie works.
Galaxy Quest has clearly been released, by Paramount Home Entertainment on May 12th, as part of Star Trek week. With the new movie doing crazy box office in the theatres, everything Star Trek-related will have a market. I hope Galaxy Quest gets a bump from this crowd, because it’s better than ANY of the Star Trek movies. Well, maybe Wrath of Khan. The idea is that Galaxy Quest is a TV show just like Star Trek. And it has a crazy, rabid, nerdy following of people who are obsessed with the minutiae of the show, just like Trekkies. And the actors who starred on the show have done nothing with their lives or careers since the show ended, and make their money attending the nerdy conventions. Just like…well, you get the picture.
The characters are fantastic – Tim Allen plays the Shatner role, the commander of the Starfleet, the Big Star everyone is waiting to see. Sure, he hasn’t worked in years, but he loves the fans and loves being adored, even though he’s a broken-down deluded old superstar outside the convention circuit. Sigourney Weaver was the big-boobed, all-cleavage eye candy on the show, although she had no role other than repeating what the computer said. She still looks spectacular years later. Alan Rickman might be the best character in the movie. His character on Galaxy Quest was an alien of some kind, with weird makeup and a funny head. And he is constantly bemoaning the fact that he was once a serious actor, and a GOOD actor, but now he’s reduced to this convention stuff which is so much beneath him.
Also solid are Tony Shalhoub as a stoner actor who goes to the conventions because he doesn’t care about anything, and Sam Rockwell as an actor who appeared in one episode of Galaxy Quest and was killed in the first two minutes. Like an ensign on Star Trek. Justin Long shows up in an early role as the Nerdiest Of The Nerds, the Biggest Galaxy Quest Fan In The World. Just as a spoof on “what might have happened to the cast of Star Trek” movie about the conventions and the actors who frequent them, this film would have worked. But instead they tell a story along the most generic arc of all – rock bottom, followed by a deception that lifts them out of the dumps, followed by a conflict they attempt to escape, followed by the revelation of their deception, and then of course their collective redemption.
This story arc comes courtesy of a group of ACTUAL aliens who have seen the old Galaxy Quest episodes which have somehow been beamed into outer space. They believe that the episodes they have seen are “historical documents” of this group of people on Earth, and they think this crew can save them from an evil menacing alien race of bug-looking creepy things. Which is basically the plot of Seven Samurai, or Magnificent Seven, or, more accurately, The Three Amigos. The actors at first have no idea what they’re getting themselves into, but once they realize that they are, really, in space, they decide to make the best of it.
It’s the little touches that make Galaxy Quest so good. Most of those touches come before the crew are actually in space. The scene where the cast are opening a shopping mall in front of a small gathering of loyal geeks is priceless. Tim Allen is (dare I say) actually good as a Shatner-esque actor in love with his own reflection, and the scenes involving Justin Long as the crazy nerd trying to figure out some tiny detail about the spaceship and the flux-filtration system (or whatever it is – I didn’t write it down) are where Allen really shines. And little things like Allen’s cheesy line from every Galaxy Quest episode - “Never give up. Never surrender.” – are what make this movie so clever. It SEEMS like a tough-guy, outer-space sci-fi type line, but really it’s redundant nonsense.
The deluxe edition of Galaxy Quest comes out May 12th from Paramount Home Entertainment, and includes several bonus features. Historical Documents: The Story Of ‘Galaxy Quest’, Never Give Up. Never Surrender: The Intrepid Crew of the NSEA Protector, By Grabthar’s Hammer What Amazing Effects, and some deleted scenes and actor features. It’s a movie that has been forgotten over the past ten years, but it remains as good as ever, maybe even better with time. Pick up Galaxy Quest, it’s certainly worth it.