Thursday, October 15, 2015

Movie Review: The Hitcher

Michael Bay And Company are at it again. This time producing the remake of the 1986 thriller The Hitcher. Why would Platinum Dunes remake this? Well, it seems that after the flop of Texas Chainsaw: The Beginning, the production company was trying to gain some sort of momentum and that is how they are now: frequently known for their horror remakes. To input on the original, It is what I deemed a cult classic. It takes the hitchhiker urban legend and turns it on it's head, complete with edge-of-the-seat suspense and well-crafted action scenes. Now with this new version, I didn't really mind the changes (surprise, surprise), especially the gender-swap with the leads, though, the great significance from this is the dynamic between the male hero and the villain antagonist and the creepy homoerotic context of the film. What REALLY bothers me about this remake, what really irks me, is how a film company take a fairly intense road thriller into a generic, forgettable teen slasher movie. I guess that's Platinum Dunes for ya.
The Story: A young college-age couple decide to go on a road trip for spring break when a mysterious stranger suddenly endangers their lives.

Okay, the only two actors I give credit for is Neal McDonough and Sean Bean. I just was not feeling the main leads and I'll tell you why.

Sophia Bush is an okay actress, I just don't think she can carry a movie on her own. In time, she has grown to be a better actress but she just doesn't bring anything new to the role and therefore just bland.

The character of Grace Andrews is anything but. Just a typical Mary Sue character who happens to be an action hero at the end. What's there to say?

Zachary Knighton as Jim Halsey was rather dull. Zachary Knighton is a cute guy with a lot of charisma up his sleeve but there really was nothing memorable about this version of the character or his performance. I felt no sense of chemistry between him and Sophia Bush and just ends up being the disposable boyfriend.

We have the very handsome and always charming Neal McDonough, who actually did a good job. Any movie that he's in, he always good in my opinion. But somehow, there's just not enough screen time left with and in the end is killed abruptly.

Sean Bean was actually the only spotlight in this remake. No, I wouldn't say he holds up to Rutger Hauer's chilling performance but he does the role his own way, which works for it.
Okay I'm going to through this quickly. There is no suspense to be found here, sorry to say.

Though there is one scene I thought was awesome, which shows John Ryder hunting down the police while the song Closer by Nine Inch Nails plays. Sean Bean, Neal McDonough, and that one scene is the best thing about the remake. Now we are in for the worst. Spoiler Alert Below!

I would like to highlight a particular scene that gave me nightmares. You remember the scene where Jennifer Jason Leigh's character gets tied up to two cars and gets ripped in half. What's scary about that scene is that you never see it.

But this version, this time having Jim in the crossfire, ruins it by showing the death clear in view, along with terrible CGI blood. Leave it to Michael Bay to totally redo a scene and make it as less scary as possible.  I rather him produce action films than horror films actually.
The Verdict? Of course, watch the original. Sorry to keep this review short but why should I? It's literally the same movie with little changes here and there. The original is an 80's cult classic that is a pure nailbiter. It had no business being remade.
So thanks to Platinum Dunes and people who were eager to see this crap in theaters at the box office, we have a long list of generic horror remakes to come. Special note though, this wasn't number 1# at the box office, so at least there's that.
My Last Word: Don't waste your time. Watching movies with a taste of originality is always the best.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Hunk Of The Day: Matt Bomer

Guys, brace yourselves because this one is a good one of for sure. I have been getting this guy on my list for ages and now he's finally made it. With his gorgeous hair, sculpted body, and those piercing beautiful eyes, he has been every gay man's wet dream. I would like to introduce to you, all around sex symbol...

Matt Bomer. Oh let the angels sing!


He certainly has a jawline for days

I swear those eyes do put a spell on me

Black and White is just right. Love the man cleavage

He certainly has biceps for days as well too

Now that's what I call a Lakeside Dream

Wow! The glasses makes him look even sexier!

Definitely love the New Wave vampire look

Okay guys, now here's for the real moneymaker! Brace yourselves, you might have to take a cold shower after this:

Oh yes! he really looks good with a wet t-shirt

Oh how can I forget his role in Magic Mike. Oh wait, there's more!

Well hello sailor!

Those are definitely Abs Of Steel

Now who would kick him out of bed?

Gotta look good for a little swim, shall I say?
Oh yes, tighties whities is a plus!

Morning Glory, yes indeedy
So there you have it! with his classic good looks and perfect ken doll-like features, this hunk is surely a favorite. But don't worry guys, there will be more to come. ;)


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Movie Review: Black Christmas (2006)

 Oh my gosh, I think it's time for me to do just wish me luck, okay?
Glen Morgan, best known for the Final Destination film series, decided to tackle on Bob Clark's 1974 horror classic Black Christmas. All of you should know that this was not a good remake. I'm just going to tell you right off the bat. Though most of the problems I have with this is the writing as the script will always be the backbone of any movie I will review. And I would also like to point out the lousy characterization of the girls. The characters are just awful in this movie and you just feel like throwing darts at them. Okay, there is one thing I like about this film, it's the directing. There wasn't any shaky cam or fast edits or it wasn't too dark that I couldn't see shit. It was perfectly fine and very much tasteful. It also has a way of capturing the beauty of Christmas while at the same time capturing the horror of it as well. The actors did a fine job, its just most of them had the misfortune of playing really shitty characters. The overall movie, though, is just a campy mess. It's too stilted and over-the-top to be taken seriously. I would point out the differences with the original but all I got is the sorority being trapped in a house for the holidays with a killer named Billy. So this version of Black Christmas is just your typical slasher movie who happens to have the same name as the 1974 movie. The end.
The Story: Bitchy sorority girls are trapped with an escaped mental patient while celebrating the Christmas holiday.

Like I said the cast is decent, especially Andrea Martin (who starred in the 1974 original) was a hoot as the house mother, Michelle Trachtenberg, and even Katie Cassidy, who is yet again in a horror remake. Don't worry we'll see more of her in the later reviews, trust me. But the rest of the characters are either bland, shallow, or just plain repulsive to sit through. There is no sense of realism to them at all. In the 1974 film, I related to the characters so much more. They were actual characters. People that you cared about. And they weren't these overglamourized Barbie dolls like how they are in this forgettable remake.

Katie Cassidy did a surprisingly good job. I'm not saying she's a great actress or anything, she was good with what she worked with. Though how I describe Kelli Presley is that she's really bland. The typical Mary Sue character who is a perfect blond good girl who has higher morals than the other girls. She actually one of the few likeable characters but that's what you expect from her.

I've always enjoyed Michelle Trachtenberg as an actress (though I wouldn't say I'm a Dawn fan) and I would say she was very charming in this movie. She doesn't really bring much to the table but that's only because there's not much focus on the character of Melissa. Though I would say she as well is one of the more likeable, nicer characters. You think she would have more agency to be the final girl or at least be one of the survivors but she gets it and she gets it quite gruesomely.

Lacey Chabert was really funny in Mean Girls but I can't help to say she pretty much plays the same character in this movie. Hell, I can't even remember the character's name. And therefore I don't care too either. So moving on.

Then we have this new version of Barb. Nothing else to say really. To add this though, Barb in the original 1974 movie was the epitome of the drunken sorority college girl. She was brass, told it like it is, and would play childish pranks for her own amusement. But through it all, Barb was really funny and likeable character and it makes you think, 'hey I had friends like that', which made her death in the original really tragic and disturbing. So you all know how my feelings about this version of the character is. She was just plain annoying and had nothing to offer. To be fair, this girl does NOT hold a candle to Margot Kidder.

We have the very underrated Mary Elizabeth Winstead but seem to be wasted as spoiled southern belle type.

Andrea Martin returns, this time as a house mother and I have to say she was kind of hilarious. In the 1974 film, she played Phyllis, the kind, nurturing friend to Jess and Barb. Now as a sort of shout out to the original, Andrea Martin gets a cameo remake that seems to be extended through time. However, I really enjoyed her performance and she was one of the best things in the movie.

A new character is introduced in the form of Leigh Colvin. She supposed to be a substitute of Clair's father in the original. In this version, she is Clair's half sister, who is trying to reconcile with her. It may seem that she's your typical frosty bitch like half the spoiled sorority girls but in the end, she really does care about her sister and even manages to save Kelli in the end. The acting of Kristen Cloke was particularly strong and gave the character a bit of an edge.

Lastly, we have Kelli's jerkass but also very hot boyfriend Kyle. It may seem he's the perfect boyfriend but in the end it's all a fa├žade.

Turns out he was cheating on Kelli with one of the sorority sisters and videotaped it! What. An. Asshole. Let's just say he gets what's coming to him later.
Can I just say this? There is absolutely no suspense or tension in this movie. Okay, I would say there are certain intense scenes like the climax for that matter, but the biggest fault to this movie is the kills.

Remember Clair's death in the original and how she was suffocated with a plastic bag. Be prepared to see that in each of the death scenes in this version with an addition of an eye stab or an eye gouge. There is no creativity puts towards the kills and it just becomes repetitive afterwards.
From what I heard the script was received much better than the actual movie with more character development on the girls and a comprehensive story but maybe that had to do with studio interference.

Speaking of studio interference, this was the biggest sin created by the studio. Once you see the trailer, there are particular scenes that are not even from the movie. And my fifteen year old self was pretty much fooled by this. I regret ever coming to theaters to see this but hey I was a teenager.

There really wasn't a need to extend the backstory of the killer Billy. What I liked about the original was that he was more of mystery, not even going so far as to show his face. There was no rhyme or reason for his killings, he was a just psychopath, that's what scary about him. Having these chains of events like witnessing his father's death, being abused, neglected and raped by his mother, having a child out of incest, and eating human skin like cookies and milk was so forced. Okay, I will admit the look of Billy was kind of cool but I can't help to think the filmmakers tried to make him look like The Yellow Bastard from Sin City. Interesting look, though.

Lastly, the movie is over-the-top gory to the point where it's unnecessary. Sure, this could be a treat for gorehounds though what it's missing is the tight-knit suspense and the unease tension that the original had. It wasn't about the kills, it was about the scares. All I have to say is, just like with Texas Chainsaw: The Beginning, the gore is not going to help the movie.

There is, you guessed it, a twist. there is actually two killers in the movie. Billy's accomplice turns out to be Billy's daughter/sister, Agnes. Though, it puzzles me why after Billy attacked her, gouged her eye out, killed her family and then decides to join her dad's killing spree is beyond me.
This movie also have two endings, which baffled me. Just as you wanted the movie to be over, it just never ends and the second ending is a literal rip off of Halloween 2. There are also many alternate versions of scenes, even a UK edition and it makes me think, 'boy, this movie had a lot to go through for it's process.'
The Verdict? Go with the original. I can tell some people are fans of this. Yes, it is sort of a guilty pleasure if you have nothing to do on a Saturday night but at the same time, it's a campy incoherent mess that almost becomes a parody of the original. The original did have a sort of black comedic tone to it, however, it still had creepy, intense moments that balanced it out, which worked for it.
This should've have been remade at all. To have this titled Black Christmas is insulting. It was any other run-of-the-mill horror film with a strange premise as this, I would've went with it. As a horror remake, however, not in a lifetime.
My last word: Avoid this at all cost unless you're drunk with friends, of course.