Tuesday 28 July 2015

Midnight Sex Run (2015)

As intermittent as my blog posts/reviews have become lately, I was hoping that I would only pop up now and again to sing the praises of some lesser-known new release, or to just join in with the barrage of opinions that appear for every blockbuster (a la Terminator Genisys). Little did I realise that I would soon see a movie that would leave me compelled to warn others off it. A movie so horrible that I genuinely couldn't believe what I was watching at times (spoiler alert - and yet a certain degreee of technical competence still leads me to score it a generous 2/10). Midnight Sex Run is that movie.

I don't even know how it came to be on my radar. I had no idea what it was about. But you lucky people won't have to go in as blindly as I did.

The film starts with an animated sequence showing two kids bullying another kid at camp. One firecracker later and the bullied kid has no manhood. Fast forward a number of years and we meet Jordan and Ted (played by Jordan Kessler and Ted Beck, the two men who also wrote and directed this crap, with their obvious lack of imagination clearly displayed by the fact that they can't even create different names for themselves). Jordan and Ted don't seem to be having any luck with ladies, although a large part of that seems to stem from the fact that they're selfish assholes who don't deserve any female attention anyway. Yes, I get that this is all set up to show their journey throughout the movie as they potentially grow and develop, but I also get that, no, no it's not. Because they don't. Not really.

But I digress. Jordan and Ted have their fathers kidnapped by Jeff (Dave Shalansky) and his mother (Florence C. M. Klein). Jeff is the boy with no working penis now all grown up. He tells Jordan and Ted that their fathers will be safe IF they can sleep with ten different women in 24 hours. They must get proof on camera, and Jeff's mother even gives them a roofie each to help them along. Yes, if you're already squirming uncomfortably then you might know how I was feeling at this point.

And so begins the sex run portion of the movie, which takes up the majority of the runtime. Things start off slowly, but just as horrible as anything else to come, when the two guys try to get up close and personal with a nurse. The vibe is pretty rapey, there's no other way to put it, and I only hoped that things would turn around. They didn't. Because next on the list is a homeless person, a horrible, crazy woman that Ted tries to ply with booze and get hot 'n' heavy with. I won't cover every single episode in detail, but they're all very similar, with "highlights" including the use of the roofie on a sweet-hearted older woman, an attempt to win the heart of a woman first seen searching around in a dumpster, and an encounter with a comedienne that moves from supposedly-funny-but-just-disturbing daddy/daughter roleplay to hilarity involving an enema. And the finale is arguably even worse than anything I've yet mentioned.

Kessler and Beck seem reasonably okay as directors. They don't overstretch themselves, although they don't manage to hide the low budget either. But as writers and actors? Whoah, that's where the trouble lies. Now, MAYBE this premise could have been turned into something fun in the right hands. Maybe. But to make something this consistently unpleasant, and try to label it a comedy, shows that either those involved were incompetent, or nobody seemed to recall the big difference between good bad taste and bad bad taste.

Many viewers will be offended by this. I tend not to get offended. I just get angry when my time is wasted, especially by something so incredulously misjudged and misanthropic.



Tuesday 14 July 2015

Comic-Con 2015: The Hits.

Here is the news you need to be up to date with, the big reveals from Comic Con this year.

First of all, the latest trailer for Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice made even those who disliked Man Of Steel think that DC might yet have a contender to outdo Marvel yet.

And then came the Suicide Squad trailer, which had some more points to criticise (mainly Leto and Smith) but still looked pretty damn good. I WANT it to be a blast, but the use of the song in the trailer reminded me of a certain major Marvel trailer from the past year. And I am unconvinced by that supporting cast (although LOVE Robbie rocking her Harley Quinn portrayal).

The Deadpool trailer was well received, to put it mildly, but the leaked footage has either disappeared for now, or what I could find wasn't worth placing here.

The latest Fantastic Four trailer still felt remarkably . . . . . . . less than fantastic.

And we also got some more X-Men footage, for X-Men: Apocalypse (again, only poor footage is online at the moment).

Those Star Wars fans eagerly awaiting the release of Episode VII were placated by this behind the scenes reel.

Is anyone feeling similar anticipation for The Man From U.N.C.L.E.? It's doubtful, but this extended trailer sure does pack in a lot of fun.

And then TV and deadites came together in the gloriously demented promo spot for Ash Vs The Evil Dead, a show I had very little interest in. Until now.

Oh, and someone tried to take the most superhero-filled selfie yet.

Wednesday 8 July 2015

EIFF 2015.

I went along to cover the festival again, as usual. And here are links to all of the new reviews that appeared at Flickfeast. As well as some photos of my celebrity stalking victims. I mean . . . . . . . . coincidental meetings.

Like the time I bumped into Wedge AKA Denis Lawson


Aubrey Plaza also appears in Fresno, and I met her at EIFF 2014

Scottish Mussel
Tu Dors Nicole
Misery Loves Comedy
The Wolfpack
You're Ugly Too
Blood Cells
The Summer Of Sangaile
The Pyramid Texts

James Cosmo. The man, the legend, and STAR of The Pyramid Texts

Brotherhood Of Blades
The Houses October Built
Welcome To Me
Dead Rising: Watchtower
The Road Within
Parasyte: Part 1
Liza, The Fox-Fairy
Chuck Norris vs Communism
The Sisterhood Of Night
The Incident
Cut Snake
The Violators
Inside Out
Remake, Remix, Rip-Off
The Diary Of A Teenage Girl
Future Shock! The Story Of 2000AD
Turbo Kid
Precinct Seven Five

Two dodgy guys together? Me and Michael Dowd, the subject of Precinct Seven Five

That Sugar Film
The Hallow
The Messenger
Brand New-U

The lovely Nora-Jane Noone (stuck with me), who stars in Brand New-U

Paper Planes
Therapy For A Vampire
Cop Car
The Legend Of Barney Thomson
She's Funny That Way

Rhys Ifans, who starred in She's Funny That Way and a few other festival films this year

Every Secret Thing
Big Gold Dream: Scottish Post-Punk And Infiltrating The Mainstream

The ubiquitous Keith Allen, who appeared in Hector

And the lovely Natalie Gavin, who also appeared in Hector

600 Millas
The Closer We Get

And here is a photo of me and Karen Gillan. Just because.

Sunday 5 July 2015

Terminator Genisys (2015)

I DID say the hiatus may be temporary. While there definitely won't be a review here every day, my recent EIFF 2015 attendance spurred me back into some enjoyable writing.

Terminator Genisys didn't seem to have much going for it. There's that title for starters. A horrible mess that seems like nothing more than an attempt to blend in with the cool kids. And it was coming along after Terminator Salvation. I like Terminator Salvation. I am, however, aware that my positive view of the film (and my equal enjoyment of Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines) puts me firmly in a minority. And then we had that spoiler-filled trailer, which actually puts it on a par with Terminator 2: Judgment Day in the "potentially great twists ruined by the need to market to a wider audience" stakes.

Despite the fact that you may have already had plenty spoiled for you, I'll try to surmise the plot without giving anything major away. Jai Courtney plays Kyle Reese this time, and he's sent back (as we all know) in time by John Connor (Jason Clarke). But instead of finding a frightened and vulnerable Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) he finds a woman all-too-prepared for the battle that will affect the future of the planet. This is mainly due to the fact that she's had her own terminator (Schwarzenegger) serving as a protector for many years. She even calls him Pops. With everything so different, our leads hope to prove that the future is not set in stone, and that judgment day can be averted.

Let's cut to the chase here. Nostalgia. That's what proves to be the best thing about this movie, and also proves to be the worst. This is a film, arguably more than any other franchise instalment I can think of in recent years, that is reliant on the nostalgia of fans to carry viewers through a number of weak scenes. Newcomers are brought up to speed quickly enough, and will enjoy seeing everything unfold, but it is the older fans who will get the most from this. Scenes are either replicated from the first two movies or they are inverted in ways that writers Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier clearly think are clever. They're not. Every Terminator movie has had paradox problems (indeed, it's almost that way with every time travel movie, period), but this would seem to be the first movie in the series to take the paradox and just heap more and more complications on top of everything until viewers realise that this is one knot destined to never be undone. There's no satisfying explanation for that first major plot twist, which would surely already be known to everyone if the script wasn't cheating, and then we have Kyle Reese and his "impossible memories", people careening into the lives of others without any more notable ripples of cause and effect, and also a surprising lack of any sense of real threat while everyone moves from set-piece to set-piece.

Arnie makes it all worthwhile. Some will view him as Conan, some will always think of him fighting against the Predator, but he'll always BE The Terminator to me. Showing him as an older model here is the best idea that the film has (and the explanation doesn't entirely suck). Occasionally pitting him against the younger version of himself provides the best moments in the film, simply because the CGI doesn't feel overused or overly familiar in those moments. Jason Clarke is a decent John Connor, but that is the best I can say about the leads. Emilia Clarke isn't necessarily bad, she's just not believable as a tough woman who has been primed for her role as warrior and potential saviour of the planet. And how the hell Jai Courtney keeps getting work is a mystery that even Scooby Doo and co. couldn't get to the bottom of. I charitably mentioned to others that he wasn't as bad as usual here, but then I remembered that he was supposed to be portraying Kyle Reese. No. No, no, no, no. He doesn't work, which is pretty much how you could sum up his performance in every movie he's starred in. J. K. Simmons does well with a character who doesn't need to be in the film at all, and Byung-Hun Lee deserves more than the small amount of screentime that he's given.

Director Alan Taylor feels as if he's playing things very safe, allowing himself to be led by the script, and the movies that have come along beforehand, instead of putting any kind of personal stamp on the material. It's a savvy move, I guess. This instalment will inevitably make money so why take risks? Yet it's hard to stop thinking about just how much better things could have been if everyone involved had attempted to move slightly off the beaten path. How much more enjoyable could the action scenes have been if they didn't feel so familiar to scenes from the first two films, especially when they suffer in comparison? The FX work here varies in quality, and nothing delivers that impact that most of us felt when we first saw Terminator 2: Judgment Day (which was almost twenty five years ago now - a quarter of a century). And don't even get me started on just how lame the entire finale is. The writer in me wanted to think of a better word than "lame", the realist in me knew that it was the most appropriate adjective.

Although I've already seen a wide range of opinions on this movie already, from the outright hating of it to the pleasantly surprised, I have to say that I think most people will at least enjoy parts of it. Despite the many complaints I have about different aspects of the movie, I was entertained for most of the runtime, and a few of the action beats were very enjoyable. It's just a shame that this is the blandest and safest Terminator movie yet. AND it has Jai Courtney in it.