Tag Archives: 0/10

Cinema-Maniac: Stonewall (2015)

In the early hours of June 28, 1968, began a series of violent demonstration by members of the LGBT community in Manhattan, New York City at the Stonewall Inn. These riots are the most famous, and often cited as the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement. Since the movie itself, even if taken as a work of pure fiction, doesn’t provide context for the significance of the Stonewall riots. Before Stonewall riots, incidents like the Portland Vice Scandal which basically forced sexual sterilization laws in Portland when nineteen-year-old Benjamin Trout revealed details about homosexual activity in the city. This would lead to police probing around the local area arresting anyone for simply being gay, or doing anything resembling gay activity. This was also many in the US first learned about homosexuality, and thus many profession would simply be able to fire you for being gay.

During one of the movie’s many misguided scene a character talks about serving in the Navy completely missing the opportunity to provide insight on history. For some reason, the scene doesn’t bother to even mention the mere existence of something called The Blue Discharge. What this basically did was get rid off gay soldiers, and stated in the GI Bill anyone with a Blue Discharge couldn’t receive any benefits during world war one, and world war two. Homosexuals had it rough during this era, but unfortunately something called the Red Scare post world war two included homosexuals on that list with this second wave being called the Lavender Scare. Assumed by many during the 1950s that homosexuals were more susceptible to blackmail. Ever met a person who thought the FBI, or government was after them? Well, if they were homosexual during the 1950s that’s exactly happened. The collective impact of these events would last decades, and wouldn’t be until the Stonewall riot that a swift in gay rights was reaching a turning point for gaining the rights they so desired.

This streamlined history of what homosexuals suffer before Stonewall is obviously too much for one movie cram into a single feature. However, it’s not impossible to provide some level of insight of these events, and the impact they made on society. A brief sequence, or snippets of dialogue dedicated to illustrating the pent up frustration some felt about this unfair treatment would have suffice. The Stonewall riot is set the piece were some finally had enough of being mistreated, and stood up for themselves. Sadly, you’ll learn more in these previous paragraphs about the significance the Stonewall riot than you will watching this movie. That is just sad on so many level. Only thing possibly sadder than that is simply calling this a bad movie ain’t doing justice how incompetent it is on nearly every conceivable level. Here’s a head scratcher before I go into the actual movie, apparently this was director Roland Emmerich passion project. You know, the director of Mel Gibson’s The Patriot (2000), and 10,000 BC (2008) which are consider some of the most historically inaccurate movies ever made.

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Brace yourself, it’s going to be a long one.

Stonewall follows the fictitious character of Danny Winters (Jeremy Irvine), a small town teenager outcasted in Indiana by his own father moving to New York in the months leading up the Stonewall Inn riots. For starter, Danny is purely a work of fiction, and using him as surrogate is fine to establish the treatment society gave to homosexual during that time. However, that’s about all it gets right on that front, and even then it doesn’t go into details how badly homosexuals had it during this time. I already mentioned a few examples in my previous paragraphs so I’ll skip the rehash here. I will add that before we see any homosexuals receive any beating from police officers; Danny first introduction to Ray (Jonny Beauchamp), and his group by a multiracial group of young, gay, and genderfluid street kids and drag queens vandalizing the neighborhood! Why would the film thought you would sympathize with a group of teens, regardless of sexual orientation, and what they identify as, whom throw a brick at a store to steal a hat, and go out disrupting people in the neighborhood is beyond me. Forget the fact they’re homosexuals, if this is how Ray, and his friends regularly act no wonder nobody likes them.

With Danny being our lead character it means actual characters based around actual activists during this time get sideline in favor of a coming of age, and young love storyline. A questionable decision cemented in the fact that those fictional portions of the movie are terrible. Exploration of Danny coming to terms with his sexuality is absent from the film. He goes from being ashamed of it to embracing his sexuality just like that. There’s little to talk about Danny character in any tangible form. It relies too much on the idea of the era, and how those in the LGBT community were treated to bother developing its characters. Danny comes off more like Roland Emmerich self inserting himself into Danny, and being the one who started the Stonewall riots. A significant event in the movie that isn’t impactful; Danny, nor the audience know the true length politics held back LGBT people, and simply claiming it was bad during this time isn’t good enough when it think it’s a important film. There’s also Danny highschool love, which the audience doesn’t get to see blossom. Therefore, making it’s bittersweet message in the movie bring hollow since, you guessed it, hardly appears in the movie. 

When it comes to depicting romance this movie fails in that too. Every person Danny falls in love with are poorly defined as individual characters. Ray for instance, a love interest that Danny can’t love (Danny says this himself) is tonal whiplash. One scene has him crying to Danny telling him about how he got a beating, and how things won’t seem like they’ll ever change. Next scene, Ray wakes up getting angry at Danny for finding a flyer for a gay rights meeting in Danny pocket. Trevor (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is another one of these love interest with a confusing portrayal. Part of the blame can be taken by the bad direction, but in terms of writing he didn’t come off as unreasonable. Sure, Trevor cheating on him is justified in Danny hating him, but at the same time that’s about it. The relationship is so spontaneous, and rushed through feeling sorry for Danny is impossible. Trevor is established to be fighting for gay rights since his introduction, and all Danny cares about is his heart got broken despite the fact he experienced, and witness first hand the LGBT community face!

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This movie in one still; it’s not pretty to look at

Leading into Danny is boring. He doesn’t take an interest in the political side of gay rights rendering whatever mention of activism purely be lip service. All he seems to care about is making a good life for himself. As a badly written character you won’t know what he aspired to become, nor understand how heart he is that he seemingly can’t patch things up with his Christian father. Reminding me of another plot point. One of the few defining traits of Danny is he loves his family, but the movie hardly shows him communicating to them. Being more wrapped up in the events of New York, and finding other like him. This becomes a bigger issue in the ending when Danny’s mother shows up to a gay pride march when she didn’t speak much to her own son. You know, possibly using Danny mother to get across that acceptance is slow, but can come.

Now the biggest nail in the coffin for Danny is the film gives him the first throw in Stonewall shouting “Gay Power!”. A fictitious character who mostly mopes around about a broken hearts takes away something that real people experience by giving the first brick throw to him. This wouldn’t be an issue if some of the film’s characters weren’t based around real people. Instead of being empowering, it comes across as pure cheese, and at worst possible insult that a teenage boy started a riot that would be the big push towards gay right all because he was sexually frustrated.

On top of a terrible leading character, the film writing has characters that disappear for long periods of time. Only bringing them back when it’s stuck to generate conflict in an artificial way despite the fact the movie is based around true events. One of these character is Ed Murphy (Ron Pearlman, I’m shocked too) is just bad, and that’s about it. He appears in one scene, disappears, and sells Danny into sex slave. A topic that isn’t explored either among the other number things that aren’t explored.

If I even bother to break apart the many aspects of history it gets wrong there would be no feasible end in sight. I will pick on the fact Danny sister is happily accepting that her brother is gay. It’s the 1960s, and homophobia is rampant during this time. The most exposure that Danny’s sister would get of homosexuals would be primarily negative. Maybe Danny told his sister he was gay when he was younger, but no such thing exist, even in throwaway dialogue!

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One of the many joyful scenes of police brutality. Physical abuse is the main way this movie can generate sympathy.

It’s much quicker to run down it gets accurate like the sex work depiction that did happen, and the mention of mafias owning bars serving gay people is right. However, the whole sex slave plot point is pointless as it contributes nothing to the actual movie. It does have activists like Marsha P. Johnson, Bob Kohler, and Frank Kameny in the movie, but more as decorations than important characters. Downplaying their roles in gay rights activism, and relegating what their did into a brief text crawl at the end.

The closest the film ever gets to being humanized is a brief scene where Ray sleeps next to Danny in a crowded apartment. Ray goes on about a better life for them, and Danny pretends to be sleeping smiling of such prospect. It’s the most subtle the movie ever gets. Just one scene in a movie that slightly goes over two hours! Filled with stereotypes of LGBT of all being negatively flamboyant, or obnoxious. Doing just about nothing in that time to make viewer understand them. As a pure work of fiction it’s simplistic depiction of complicated real world issues works against it. Discrimination that LGBT people face, and the battle they face to get their rights is something that needs a mindful approach. Not just a “people mistreat us! Let’s riot, and we get our rights!” approach which is sadly an accurate way to summarize this movie. When taken as a historical film, well, mentioned earlier, simply implying the Stonewall one riot automatically gave LGBT their rights in the US is astonishingly stupid! It glosses over so many facts you’re simply better off reading books, or watching documentary on the subject of gay rights. This movie doesn’t understand what makes a good story in a fictitious sense so entrusting it to discuss real world issues beyond some minor details is beyond its capability.

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Gay power! Or attempted murder. Both work.

On a technical side it doesn’t fare any better either. Roland Emmerich is insecure about his direction that it’s difficult to read what exactly he wants the audience to feel. For instance, it would be nice to actually see Jeremy Irvine who portrays Danny to actually show him be comfortable sexually. Nearly all of Jeremy Irvine sexual encounters is played off as tragic. Inadvertently implying homosexuality is a something bad instead of a part of a person that feels natural to them.

His biggest misjudgment is his representation of LGBT characters. With the exception of Jeremy Irvine, every actor is either the stereotype flamboyant gay person, or evil. Having his actors overact every scene. Leaving no room for substance, especially the opening text that is meant to establish a harsh mood, but doesn’t because of the over acting. The color filtered makes things either too dark, or too yellow. Emmerich is unable to hide the cheap look of his sound stage. This one block in the movie is simply filmed in different angle, and takes you out of the illusion. Music choices are fine, but don’t do anything special. The original on the other hand, lack subtlety in its bomb static sound. As for the riot itself it’s pretty lame to see. Police push forward, and LGBT people slowly back off. That’s basically all that happens in the riot. Cars, and windows are destroyed I presume because of the sound effects, but this portion of the movie is poorly done.

Stonewall is a cinematic that gets nothing. As a work fiction it’s too simplistic on discussing complicated issues with poorly defined characters. As a historical film it gets so many things wrong viewers will leave with possibly less understanding on the significant on the Stonewall riot. It’s a movie that is meant to appeal to everyone, but will end up satisfying no one except for Emmerich who inserts himself into the lead character. There’s history worth remembering, and being proud off, yet this movie does everything it can to not capture that. Failing to understand people, the community it represents, and the history behind it.

Rating: 0/10

Cinema-Maniac: Homicycle (2014) Review

When determining what films to see, and review I welcome taking a “risk” once in awhile. By “risk” I mean going blind into a film that is not discuss in professional reviewing outlets, or among bloggers. What makes these “risks” satisfying is discovering a great film, and giving it exposure no matter the size of your contribution, or readership. Every review on an obscure title praising a good unknown anything will give it a better opportunity to grow. This is one aspect of the internet I embrace than no matter how I end up feeling about a finish product I get expose to all sorts of media I probably wouldn’t have checked out my limited knowledge. Of course there are films like Homicycle that make me question if the word standards is like a myth to certain filmmakers. Sometime there are bad films I encourage seeing either for building standards, or to find entertainment in a way that wasn’t intended. However, Homicycle is filled with so much deadweight I advise you not to see it to save your time on something better. As of this very moment, this is the worst film I’ve seen that has cycle in its titled. Yes, it’s even worse than the time I saw I Bought A Vampire Motorcycle.

Homicycle is about the titled character who dispenses vigilante justice against a criminal organization. It sounds cool, but that didn’t translate into a product that resembles entertainment, or even competency by bad filmmaking standards. For starter, the film quality of writing along the line of one of those kind of films that just has a single thin idea stretched out. In Homicycle, if we removed the filler material of the film than the actual meat of the film is 50 minutes long. With the filler, it’s only 70 minutes, yet feels allot longer than it actually is. The film has little essence of substance even on a surface level as neither story, or characters are expanded on beyond the basics. Scenes just go into random scenes disconnected from any semblance of progress. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the film self aware tone is what kills the film. It knows the setup is right up a traditional 80s B movie throwing in a simple story, odd characters, and some occasionally awful dialogue. However, intentionally making a bad film does not translate into an unintentional comedy. Since it knows what kind of trashy film it is making it impossible to enjoy to enjoy from a so bad it’s good perspective.

As for the actual story itself it’s one of vengeance. The film never confirms the of identity of Homicycle, but the single clue the film gives to the audience leaves little to the imagination who it can be. A character connected to the vigilante spells it out to the viewers by saying his name. Removing any possible mysterious aura from him. Another aspect about Homicycle is the lack of confirmation of what exactly he is. In one scene, he punches through a guy guts in order to kill him, but within the same scene get beaten by a normal man. Then there’s the fact the film suggests a character in the story, Eddie (Mac Dale), came back from the dead to seek vengeance. Having already explained the film doesn’t go beyond the basics. What kind of force made him come back to life isn’t surrounded by concrete material. If it was something supernatural it wouldn’t fit since nothing otherworldly is mentioned in the film. However, it doesn’t work the in the “realistic” vein either since it means Eddie survives a shot to the head at point blank, his wife buried him in her backyard, and been buried for who knows how long in better condition than he was alive. A film can’t just assume it audience will accept anything at face value if they did nothing to earn that trust.

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Public Service Announcement: Don’t jerk

What follows Homicycle around is a string of bad jokes escalating to sheer boredom. It place randomly with toilet humor, or innuendos jokes. When jokes are used to pad out the running it’s quite sad. Characters relationship don’t go beyond the basics. You’ll have to assume what archetype characters fall into. For instance, the villain of the film Brock (Peter Whittaker) is the best developed character in the film. He dresses up as a pirate, has odd fetishes, and is a criminal lord. That’s it. Nothing about why he acts the way he does, dresses the way he does, or what his goals are is shown. Picture the rest of the film characters being less developed than Brock. Filling the screen with characters that just mesh with one another in a forgettable manner. Having no personality of any kind.

The filler material consist of a sleazy producer talking about how scary the film apparently is. This is your introduction into the film. So, this sleazy film producer claims the film is so scary there’s sexy nurses are in the lobby ready to dispatch to help if the film causes you health problems. If I was watching this introduction in a film theater it makes since, but at home it simply tells me the filmmakers were to lazy to write the exact same scene simply changing two words to make it work when viewing it at home. Also, if you happened to die during the viewing of the film your family will immediately inherit 1 million dollars according to the sleazy producer. If that wasn’t pointless than the film inclusion of a bikini contest certainly will be. Sometimes when filmmakers know they’re losing their audience they’ll throw in some sex appeal to keep viewers awake. This bikini contest adds nothing of value to the film. The contestants names are Candy, Mandy, Brandy, and Sandy. Why all the contestants have Andy in their names I can’t tell you. Probably it was meant to be a joke, but that would be giving the film too much credit if I acknowledge it had any idea of what comedy is.

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For the last time. I’m not a Vampire. They suck.

 

The biggest waste of time in the film, besides the whole thing, is an intermission with ads for concession food. Homicycle, if we’re being generous, is 70 minutes long so an intermission is not needed. Besides being insulting that the filmmakers believe viewers can’t sit through a 70 minute long movie. This intermission is also pointless. Another pointless addition in the film is a concert that you might have guessed by now adds nothing of value to the film. These filler moments of the film break pacing as it brings things to a sudden stop. Another point of filler are repeating two scenes. A flashback showing Eddie death is shown twice in the film. Though, the biggest middle finger is the film opening sequence when is the same scene used to end the film. No variation as it plays the same opening sequence in its entirety for its ending. So when taking it all in, the film went in circles, and accomplished nothing pass the starting point.

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From a filmmaking point of view there’s also no passion shown in its production. The most amount of effort put into the film was copying the grainy image of a 80s B movie, and duplicating shots from that era. However, the visuals don’t improve the story, nor is able to hide the horrendous acting. Director Brett Kelly couldn’t be bother fixing easy mistakes. One of them was showing an actor firing a nail gun, and no nail being visually shown coming out of the nail gun. He lingers on special effect shots too long you can see the hose where fake blood is coming out when a person’s head is decapitated. Another trait of Brett Kelly is his sheer ability to add random things in post production. For instance, there’s a shot that last for a few seconds, and in the background the sky is purple. No reason why, it’s just there just because Brett Kelly can.

The one scene in the film that showcases Brett Kelly lack of understanding as a director is the film shootout in a warehouse. Brett Kelly made his fake gun muzzle effect, and fake splatter very noticeable in this sequence. The slow motion in the scene makes the poor special effect very noticeable. Apparently in the same scene, Kelly felt it was necessary to place render images of blood splatter in the background, yet whenever there’s a cut the blood splatter that was in the background is longer there. So Brett Kelly went out of his way to ensure there these special effects are in the film, but didn’t care enough to maintain continuity which defeats the purpose of adding special effects in the scene. He also forgets to place fake muzzle effects when a background actor is shown shooting at Homicycle. Another inconsistency are the CG bullets that come out of Homicycle automatic guns. Then for some reason Brett Kelly doesn’t bother placing CG bullets coming out the guns even though the rest of sequence he had them there before. Within the same sequence, Brett Kelly forget to show certain goons getting killed on screen, and absolutely forgets bullet holes despite the fact he chose to add fake blood splatter in post production. Also, the goon despite not being obstructed by anything all missed shooting Homicycle. This is the worst shootout I’ve seen in a homage film.

The acting much like everything else is awful. Only actor Peter Whittaker is noteworthy because of his over the top performance, and fake eyebrows. He puts effort into his performance attempting to make badly written scene funny. However, he’s unable to make jokes work because his co stars don’t bother putting effort into their performance. Peter Whittaker isn’t talented enough to make a joke work on his own. Brett Kelly not caring about producing anything of value spread to his actors which is why they phone it in. Special effects are cheap looking when they’re lingered on too much, and every single practical effect is badly executed. Music is forgettable, and the cinematography while good visually duplicating 80s B movie imagery is enough to hide the many issues of the film. If anything, I want to spotlight Trevor Payer, Jennifer Mulligan, and David A. Lloyd who are all given writing credits. Between three minds they couldn’t come with enough material to create a feature length film. That’s embarrassing.

Homicycle is the worst kind of film that doesn’t offer anything worth of value. When negatively dissecting the film, the self aware tone tells you the filmmakers made an intentionally bad movie so there’s not much to learn from it. There’s not much to dissect either as it’s dead air through it 70 minutes run, and 20 of those minutes are filler material that could have been out. In the end, you’re left with a film that is worthless. If the filmmakers didn’t put any effort to create a film of any value viewers shouldn’t put any effort themselves in seeing this garbage either.

0/10

Cinema-Maniac: Unfriended (2014) Movie Review

The following is an actual text chat between friends up on social media websites called “Facebook”, and “Skype”. This horrific event has been approved to be shared to the public by the authorities. Which ones specifically? Just, the authorities.

[The following is taken from Facebook]

Cesar: “Let’s watch Unfriended. Who knows you might enjoy it you said!”

Matoi: “The premise hasn’t been done to death in the horror genre.”

Cesar: “It’s no different than text chatting on literally any website with someone. Worse of all, I had to pay actual money for what was basically “Reaction: The Feature Length Film”. What a waste of day off. Thanks allot.”

Izanagi: “Hello suckas! That movie was eh.”

Cesar: “Eh? You’re telling me a whole film of people simply looking at their laptop camera classifies as an “eh” film for you?”

Izanagi: “It was realistic…”

Cesar: “Realistic? You’re telling me a teenager who grew up with the internet, and social media doesn’t know what a troll is? Not only that, but you expect me to me to believe this whole thing was recorded, and every one of the victims parents was apparently okay with this being shown to the public. Something like this isn’t public domain, you need people consent or they could sue you. You’re telling me the parents wouldn’t sue the film distributors for releasing this! There wasn’t even a text box that stated “We were granted the parents consent to show this”. That alone guarantees failure before starting the film since the number one thing 98% of found footage movies get wrong is simple logic!”

Matoi: “You’re thinking too much on that. What really bothers me is the fact despite YouTube strict regulations they apparently allowed a video where someone is being bullied to be up. Even though their policy strictly claims they do not approve of harrassments. The first sentence on their harassment, and cyberbullying policy says “We want you to use YouTube without fear of being subjected to malicious harassment”. If this was posted on a website like 4chan where any kind of content can be posted, or even the Deep Web I would have bought it. Nope, that didn’t happen so it invalidated the entire movie. That’s not even taking into account the title tells someone to kill themself.”

Izanagi: “Strict? YouTube is the website where you can find videos of people dying. So that’s far from its biggest issue. For the sake of this discussion that ruined the illusion for you. You don’t need to bring up the gap in logic by applying real world knowledge, streaming site policies, or even the law into it, but who stands around in a chat room quietly waiting for their one friend to finish writing to someone. I know what I would do, talk to one of the possibly 4 other people in that chat room!”

Cesar: “Seriously, the standards for horror films have fallen. I mean seriously, if the film was found footage why was the sound edited whenever Blaire played music. Or that one time the sound in the background was edited out so we could hear typing.”

Izanagi: “What did you expect? Need I remind you the awfulness that was M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Visit” even without my bet being made. People consider that a good movie by Shyamalan’s standard. If that’s a phrase that will get thrown around it’s no better than saying this movie was good by bad movie standards.”

Matoi: “Can we talk about the part where Cesar wouldn’t stop complaining through the entire thing. You were starting to get more annoying than the characters in the movie.”

Cesar: “Well when a fat guy takes the time to show us his blender of course I’m going to complain. Like I’m really going to question this guy has a blender in his house. It was unnecessary to deliberately show us he has a blender. That would like me showing you my dick to establish I have one, and then get killed by later on.”

Matoi: “No microscope would be able to see that tiny thing.”

Izanagi: “OHHHHHHHHH! You got burned!”

Cesar: “Walked right into that one.”

Matoi: “So you’re going to write about this garbage thing.”

Cesar: “You kidding me. It’s another awful found footage movie. They’re a dime a dozen. What am I going to say about this one that I can’t say for the majority of them. Bad acting, too polish on the production side to actually believe regular people recorded this, abusing jump scares, having no idea of proper cinematography in this genre, having credit sequences crediting actors playing these “real” people, and so much more.”

Izanagi: “Oh? Someone called the Phantom wants to join our chat?”

Matoi: “Well, clearly deny them access, and block them.”

Izanagi: “I’ll get on that.”

Cesar: “Even this basic action the film got incorrectly. Oh, also they could simply ignore the fake account, and go on with their chat. If not, simply tell everyone else to meet somewhere in person. Shut off the internet box in your house. You know, leave the laptop unattended if you believe it’s possessed. They could have done anything to survive, and the ghost didn’t have any power to force them to stay either in that one location. Don’t you find it funny the chick who committed suicide profile wasn’t already a memorial before the movie started?”

Matoi: “Says the guy who wrote a slightly positive review for Sharknado. Eh, still it’s a good point. At least in Sharknado, the titled tells you straight out the kind of logic it’ll have. In this, if I’m expected to believe this could happen to us it needed more researched to be done.”

Izanagi: “They won’t leave me alone, and the Phantom user might have multiple accounts. So why don’t we just text, or video chat on another site.”

During this time it’s unknown to account what happened to the three, but it is confirmed that a minute after that message the three went on Skype.

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Like what you here? Because this is how the entire movie is like.

[The following is taken from Skype]

Cesar: “So…”

Sex heard could heard in the background.

Matoi: “Cesar, are you watching porn?”

Cesar: “Uh no. I don’t watch anime when you’re around so what makes you think I’ll put on porn?”

Izanagi: “It’s me. I was watching an episode of Impractical Jokers.”

Cesar: “Sure you were.”

Izanagi: “No seriously I was!”

Horses could heard in the background.

Matoi: “The more you know. Ewww!”

Cesar: “Turned that off.”

Izanagi: “Fine. There you happy.”

Cesar: “Why yes I am.”

Izanagi: “Another unrealistic thing about the movie is Skype doesn’t record video chats. So how did the filmmakers get the footage? It can’t be found footage, if, you know, IT WAS NEVER RECORDED IN THE FIRST! Oh gosh. You infected with your cynical disease. Now how am I going to enjoy anything ever again?”

Matoi: “Stop exaggerating Izanagi. We all know you would have to be decontaminated if you’re infected with whatever Cesar was diagnose with. Any thoughts on the acting.”

Cesar: “The acting was nonexistent. They were given badly written characters to portray, and some awful dialogue to say. Oh, my favorite part of the film was the unrealistic moment when the power goes out in the of teens house, yet his internet is fine.”

Matoi: “Ghost Internet, a SyFy channel original movie.”

Cesar: “lol. I would so see that. Would be a much better movie than this.”

Izanagi: “What about everything else?”

Cesar: “I mean what else is there to talk about.”

Matoi: “Well there was Blaire who went crazy when her boyfriend didn’t reply to her immediately. Seriously, wait a bit for a reply.”

Izanagi: “Oh man that was boring. It’s one thing to actually do it, but seeing someone type a Facebook message in complete silence is not what I would call a good movie”

Matoi: “I seriously hate jump scares. I hate it more when it’s the only thing a horror movie tries to scare you with.”

Izanagi: “You know what my favorite part was? The fact the Ghost actually repositioned the webcams to show whenever she kills someone. How considerate of a vengeful spirit.”

Cesar: “So it unanimous among us this movie sucked. The writing is all over the place, the acting is nonexistent, relies only on jump scares to, and virtually nothing about it is redeemable.”

Izanagi: “I would say it’s unredeemable. It didn’t drag out, and the premise makes it reasonable for it to be called a “Found Footage” movie even if the writing is weak. It did something different in a tired genre. That was enough for me.”

Matoi: “Horny teenagers getting killed in a horror movie isn’t new.”

It’s at this very moment the power went out, and this is where it is presumed the three of these individuals made contact with aliens.

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Wasn’t joking. Ever chatted on Skype for 90 minutes? Basically like seeing this movie minus entertainment.

[The following is taken from a Facebook text chat]

Izanagi: “I still can’t feel my face! Seriously, they asked so many questions in 12 hours.”

Cesar: “You are lucky your rich okay. My boss, the first thing he does when I tell him I spend my day being questioned by the police is yell at me for not going to work. I seriously got no idea how I put up with him.”

Matoi: “12 hours? I was out in half an hour. Afterwards I went on a date.”

Izanagi: “With a cop?”

Matoi: “Nah! Some guy from my dorms. He wouldn’t let me talk so it ended quickly.”

Cesar: “Well, I’m just happy all three of us turned out fine. ”

Izanagi: “Later guys!”

Matoi: “You’re leaving already? Then what was the point of you joining this text chat.”

Izanagi has left the chat room

Cesar: “It’s just us now. Oh man. I do not look forward to tomorrow.”

Matoi: “How come?”

Cesar: “I’m suppose to meet some filmmakers I’ve never heard off. They want to turn our story into a found footage horror film.”

Matoi: “Really? Who’s playing me?”

Cesar: “Um, I think I overheard Dakota Johnson. I think she was in Fifty Shades of Grey, and Selena Gomez when walking out. I got some paper they gave me with potential casting.”

Matoi: “I guess I would be okay with Dakota Johnson, but not Selena Gomez.”

Cesar: “The part of Izanagi has been offered to Simon Yam, and Jacky Wu Jing!”

Matoi: “Who are they?”

Cesar: “Simon Yam is only one of the most acclaimed actor from Hong Kong, and Jacky Wu Jing is, well, a martial artist with some famous fight scenes under his belt!”

Matoi: “Well that’s lame. Why do I get the lame actors.”

Cesar: “You? What about me? The producers are contacting Justin Bieber, Kellen Lutz, and Lucas Cruikshank. The guy who played Fred on YouTube to play me. That is just terrible. No way am I’m giving them the rights to tell this story.”

Matoi: “Yeah, don’t give them permission.”

Cesar: “So, before I end the chat.”

Matoi: “No.”

Cesar: “Shot down again. This will be another chapter in the Biography of Heartbreak.”

Matoi: “Haha. You’re so lame.”

Cesar: “Oh well. Remember, stay awesome!”

Matoi: “You…you’re okay I guess. Bye!”

Matoi has left the chat room. Cesar has logged out of Facebook. The next day Cesar went back to talk to the film producers, but no one has seen since that day. Scary.

Public Disclosure: As a spokesperson for the authority, I, writer Nelson Greaves, and my colleague, writer/director Levan Gabriadze of Unfriended encourage all readers to not seek out the actual story of what transpire today. It was very disturbing, and very true what happened. No matter what, with caution, the internet can be a wonderful place. So please be careful, and do not ask Cesar, or his friends what happened as they’ll only feed you lies. Now, in the future please look forward to our next feature film titled Followed. It deals with the harassment of being followed on Twitter, and from our extensive research is the number one public stalking site on the internet. Very terrifying indeed when the whole world is given the power to stalk you. Also, currently in production there’s “Lying Faces”. A gut wrenching documentary about false friendships. You won’t believe profiles with insane lies in the film. We met a person who had around 500 friends on Facebook, but actually only knew around 30 of them. The truth of Facebook will be reveal to all. Finally, we’re proud to announce “PornHub: The Movie” which is our most accurate film to date. We had our entire production do research on this site to discover that all videoes on the site are actually recorded sex tape from real couples, even the animated ones! We were disturbed to see hundred of videos of mothers having sex with their children, people being held prisoners in sadistic dungeons, Angels having sex with humans, and so many others things. The world is a sick place, and we must inform the people.

 

0/10

Cinema-Maniac: Chappie (2015) Review

Neill Blomkamp debut film, District 9, I would vouch for being a sci-fi classic. While there was nothing subtle about it central theme it had a refreshing approach to storytelling. District 9 brought, and put Neill Blomkamp on my radar eagerly anticipating his next film. Elysium was a bad film aside from being unsubtle again, it was heavy handed in its message delivery, had weak writing, advance technology used in illogical ways, and badly edited action scenes. It was a disappointment regardless, in particular the writing as Blomkamp simply rewrote District 9 storyline into Elysium with minor changes. This same formula didn’t work the second time around. Now comes in Chappie, a film I anticipated since I see potential in Neill Blomkamp to make many great movies, and tell more engaging stories. When reading a synopsis for the film Chappie I had no interest in it, but with Neill Blomkamp named attached to it I was sold. What I didn’t expect after finishing viewing Chappie for it to have become one of the worst films I’ve ever seen.

Chappie is set in the near future, crime is patrolled by a mechanized police force. When one police droid, Chappie, is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. If you think the premise sounds high concept enough to carry an entire movie you are absolutely correct, but this is Chappie. Where words like sense, reason, or depth are absent from the writing before the first act even finishes. Nope, all it took for me to predict most of the story was the second time Hugh Jackman character, Vincent Moore (the villain), appears on screen in a such unsubtle way about its own execution was then made into a dreadful experience. Here’s the main problem, regardless of how many films, and formulas you’ve been exposed too Chappie is all over the place with its own ideas wanting to be shared. That it does not even obtain enough working pieces to be a bad functional story. An immediate issue with the film are its characters.

First, we have Deon Wilson (Dev Patel) who we’re told on the news is a genius for creating police robots, and within the first twenty minutes of the movie creates a brand new A.I. that thinks like a human. Yet, this same genius can phantom the simple idea of calling the police when a group of gangsters kidnap him, and steal a defunct robot he helped bring back to functioning order with his newly created A.I.. It would be understandable if Deon didn’t contact the authority if any of the following were used in the film.

A.) Didn’t make Deon such a highly profile figure that the company he works for puts a picture of him on their website when listing the police robots inventor. Therefore, Deon world suddenly turning upside down wouldn’t be telegraphed to viewers.

B.) Human police officers opposing full robotic police forces if it put them out of jobs creating a disdain for Deon. This isn’t the case as humans police officers still work in this dangerous line of work. Also, there’s no mention of human police officers opposing these robots so there’s clearly no hatred for Deon from officers.

C.) If the gang that captured Deon consisted of more than three people. Not only is that a small number, but take into account none of the gang members that captures Deon are presented as smart individuals. If one of the gang member was a computer expert who can keep Deon in line by a number of means like blocking his signal if he attempts to call the police, threaten to bankrupt Deon and his entire family, or even incriminate Deon.

D.) If Vincent Moore (the villain) hired the gangsters, and pretended in aiding Deon in securing Deon life. Deon is given no reason to distrust Vincent Moore before his kidnapping so this would have given Vincent Moore an opportunity to incriminate Deon by taking pictures of him interacting with the gangsters, and a stolen police robot. Fabricating a lie to his boss that Deon deliberately stole a police robot, and is now working with them in unknown criminal acts under their noses. Therefore getting his project funded, and it becoming fully operational.

E.) If one of the gangster made a bluff that they have someone surveilling Deon every minute of the day. Deon is clearly in no position to hold his own against the gangsters, and him knowing his invention puts an end to their criminal acts would make him more likely to believe the bluff.

F.) The police was corrupt. Any level of mention alluding to corrupt police forces would have solved the issue as to why Deon does not call the police.

To add insult to Deon “genius” mind is the fact the gangsters don’t even hold him hostage nor is one gangster place on him to keep an eye out for his activity. He manages to escape successfully with his life, and instead of calling the authority, or telling anyone his busted police robot got stolen, and he was forced to install his new A.I. in said robot. Deon instead gets items in order to teach Chappie. This whole negligence of Deon refusing to call the police ruins the film, and leads to stating the obvious. If Deon contacted the police after escaping his kidnappers than the film story would have never happened. Who knows how many thousands of lives, and possibly millions dollars of damage would have been prevented if Deon simply, called the police. In case you’re wondering about the shortage of human police officer it is revealed at the end of the movie there were exactly 150,000 reserved human forces!

Secondly, Vincent Moore is nullified as a character. He brings up a valid point of giving robots the ability to think for themselves. In a much better film Vincent Moore character would have been challenged intellectually on his issues instead of being painted as a villain. Unlike Neill Blomkamp previous films there’s no politics involved in Chappie which is the first red flag of the film. Moving along though, with no politics Vincent Moore is written to do devious things in order to make the audience hate him, except he still has a point. His solution to create a giant killing machine, and control it himself is rejected by several other in the film, but never once is Deon questioned for his creation. What this does is undermined a reasonable concerned by turning it into a game of good vs evil instead. Can’t forget, Vincent Moore unfortunately suffers from the “Obviously Evil Bad Guy” syndrome. These kind of villains are good, but when place in a serious a film they all fail the same way. Immediately upon being introduced they have “Obviously Evil Bad Guy” written on them wanting you to take them seriously even though they belong better in a B movie due to how they act, and talk.

Third, the gangsters characters are all terrible people. We have Ninja from Die Antwoord played by Watkin Tudor Jones, but better known as Ninja. So Ninja in the film takes Chappie to a meeting at a sketchy place with a group of gangsters, and leaves Chappie alone with some gangsters that actually hurt a police robot. Once Chappie comes home from his lovely time with those gangsters, and a detour Ninja sees Chappie beaten with a missing arm and Ninja says “I didn’t know this would happen”. REALLY! LEAVING A POLICE ROBOT WITH THE A.I. OF A CHILD IN THE STREETS WITH A GROUP OF GANGSTERS, AND YOU DID NOT, AT ANY POINT, EXPECT THIS TO HAPPEN! YOU’RE IN THIS PROFESSION!

Ninja is sadly the leader of the gang that this film focuses on. The other members are Yo-Landi (played by Yolandi Visser), and Yankie (played by Jose Pablo Cantillo). That’s the entire gang consisting of three people don’t exactly spell intimidation especially when none of them specializes in anything. Seriously, one could have been the hacker, one could have been a veteran, one could have been a loose canon, one could have been righteous, and so many other traits. In this film it lumps all three gangsters together. They are also unlikable. Ninja for instance, wants to use Chappie for his heist so he lies to Chappie to steal cars, and teaches him the thug life. Best part, the film expects you to care feel for Ninja despite all he has done to Chappie.

Then there’s Yo-Landi who is meant to be a mother figure who just does nothing. She’s written to be motherly, but not act like it. Despite her insistence Chappie not be put in danger she doesn’t stand up to Ninja when she disagrees with him. Even after Chappie experiences the loss of an arm showing concern for him even though he’s a robot. This does not make Yo-Landi a good person as she later goes on to take part in a heist, and shooting without a concern for human life. She doesn’t change in any way as she is still willing to take part of a crime, and doesn’t look on her criminal lifestyle any differently. Then, there’s Yankie who is just in the movie. He’s not developed like the entire cast. His main purpose is to be the middle guy. Someone who sees both sides, but the film does nothing with this characters simply going through the motion of events. He doesn’t take an initiative in voicing his thoughts be content sitting in the background.

Finally, Chappie is an unsympathetic character. Virtually every single person he comes across in the film that isn’t Deon mistreats him. For some reason, the film decided to give him the mind of a child, yet this is not enough to counteract the fact he helps steal cars, and willfully hurts people in the film. Instead of seeing Chappie act as like this was some sort of game, Chappie views his ordeals in a inconsistent mindset. For starter, when told his battery is unable to get change instead of throwing a child tantrum Chappie insteads react violently as an adult choking Ninja. Another miscalculation in the script. There’s a scene where Chappie clearly understands killing, but through a lesson from Ninja thinks he’s making people fall asleep instead of killing. So this robot understands the meaning of pain, yet that does not influence him in his decision to take part of a heist. Nor it is use this as a plot point to at least see Chappie think out about actions.

Tips and Steps to write a Neill Blomkamp Film:

1.) Make the film villain a white, psychopathic mercenary from South Africa.

2.) Set it in South Africa. More favorably if it is in the slums.

3.) Make sure you’re leading character changes into something different by the end of the film.

4.) Former Regime Personnel are inhumane and nigh-unstoppable major foes.

5.) Write in someone getting blown up at some point, and highlight it

6.) Cast Sharlto Copley

7.) Cinemtraphopher must be Trent Opaloch

One last thing, the film has incredible leap of logic regarding supercomputers. Now this is set in the future, so how come Sony Computer Entertainment game console Playstation 4 is used to make a super computer. It’s a video game console specifically created to play video games. I should know I played every single Sony video game console at some point, and even owned the home consoles. So, I can’t make fun of this aspect of the film. I kid you not, I hate looking at specs of any hardware because it reads like Binary coding to me, but yes, several Playstation 4 hooked up together to make a supercomputer is actually possible. The Playstation 4 processing power is delivered in a System-on-Chip design with eight AMD CPU cores and 18 AMD Radeon Graphics Core Next (GCN) compute units, typically used to process all the software, games, videos, and motion sensor capabilities that enable players to interact with others through online services. Even more impressive, the same compute architectures found in the PlayStation 4 really are powering some of today’s supercomputer clusters. (This paragraph not brought to you by Sony™.)

However, it is still blatant product placement, and without an explanation to explain this is not a work fiction. Viewers will simply laugh at this aspect in the film, even though it is technically possible. It was possible with exactly 1,760 less powerful Playstation 3 to make a supercomputer which actually happened. Then, there’s the capturing of human consciousness into data. Chappie didn’t bother explaining how it’s actually possible to make Playstation 4 into supercomputers so why would it bother explaining how one can capture human consciousness, and fit it all on a flashdrive.

Dev Patel plays Deon, our “smart intelligent genius” protagonist of the film. Dev Patel doesn’t have a meaty role in Chappie. Lacking genuine concern in his vocal delivery thinking shouting is the same as emoting. He shouts frequently in the film in nearly every scene, but a bigger issue is his lack of chemistry towards the entire cast. None of it feels believable. Mostly in part due to the fact his interaction with the human cast lacking the range compare to when Dev Patel interacts with a CG/Practical effect suit weary Sharlto Copley. Patel is unable to make any scene feel genuine of any emotion.

Unlike Patel, Sharlto Copely was able to make some scenes work despite his limitation not just with the material, but a serious lack of any facial feature. Copely body movements is never robotic in the film moving like a human. However, scenes when Copely has to display a beaten up or scare Chappie work because of his body movements. Sadly, whenever Copely isn’t allowed to express the more vulnerable side of his characters the restraint are shown. It seems phoned in as most of his line delivery as done in the same manner of a child. Instead of feeling bad for Chappie when he’s lie too you end up wanting to punch Chappie full aware of the damage to your own hands to make him shut up.

Two of the most talented actors in the cast, Hugh Jackman, and Sigourney Weaver are given thankless roles. Sigourney Weaver has little screen time, and no bearing on the plot that her role could have been filled by any other actor, and not have turned out differently. Whenever Sigourney Weaver is onscreen she spout concern or greedy CEO dialogue that leaves little to the imagination. It’s a disappointing performance to see given the talent involved. Next, Hugh Jackman whose only meant to fit his antagonistic role aesthetically. Hugh Jackman simply looks evil in the film compare to the rest of the film cast. He’s bulky, foreign, and has an accent which has the making of lazy writers. Jackman doesn’t have much to do either besides appearing suspicious, and angry in his scenes. If Hugh Jackman went over the top it would have been fun seeing his simple character on screen, but with a realistic direction he is not allowed to make the character his own. The script undermines the performances of both Hugh Jackman, and Sigourney Weaver can bring to a film.

The remainder of the film cast is less encouraging. Instead finding great talent in the likes of Watkin Tudor Jones, Yolandi Visser, and Jose Pablo Cantillo it gives three perfectly good reasons why Hugh Jackman, and Sigourney Weaver deserved bigger roles. Jose Pablo Cantillo is the least harmful from the three since his character isn’t meant to be sympathetic. So when Jose plays his character he does not have any complexity to display. His co-stars do have too, which makes them their lack of acting experience that much more noticeable. Watkin Tudor sticks to acting gangsta, with only knowledge of the rough side to be filmed. Tudor lacks range to make his character likable. Whenever Tudor says anything remotely mean, and mean spirited he sells it like a person you want to punch. However, his character is meant to be sympathetic so his lack of charisma hurts his character. Whenever appearing nice it simply hurts the intention of his character. Yolandi Visser doesn’t fare any better suffering from similar issues. Opting for a bubbly portrayal of her character. She has neither the psyche (like the previous two actors) to be intimidating, or even sell the idea she’s living the gang life.

Finally, the music by Hans Zimmer is awful. Just awful. Every single time dubstep was misused, and sounds like a collection of noise than actual music. It was annoying throughout the film. Special effects we’re well done, but went to waste under a bad script. Fueling realistic special effects to a very, dislikable lead. The action scenes in the beginning of the film is well done, and nicely shot. Sadly, the film lacks action afterwards for over an hour until it reaches the climax which by then has failed to provide engaging characters, or rising action. There’s nothing to care for on screen despite a seeing a robot shooting dozen of gangsters in a single area, and blowing up parts of it.

Chappie is the first film where I had to pause the film halfway through, and take pain reliever. That has never happened before in any film I’ve seen. This, is the first time, I ever had to take any sort of medicine because of how bad a movie was. It was so bad, it caused a migraine. Everything I saw on screen was so unpleasant to my body it physically hurt it. Thankfully, the worst it got for me while viewing Chappie was a severe headache.

Chappie is a total mess of filmmaking. Nothing about the film works, has a clear point, or a purpose. It’s confused in every single aspect of the word film. It’s the only film I have review, as of now, that has given me a migraine. It’s the first film I needed to take medicine for in order to complete. It does not entertain. It does provoke a thoughtful discussion. It does not offer anything unique. It does take away allot from the viewer, and rewards them with nothing. Except in my case it gave me a severe headache.

0/10

Cinema-Maniac: God’s Not Dead


(This review of God’s Not Dead was first posted on May 19, 2014. I posted this review on a movie site called Rotten Tomatoes under the username Cinema-Maniac. This posting has some spelling and grammar correction, but it’s virtually the same review as before.)

A straightforward title like God’s Not Dead leaves little to the imagination for debate. In the same way the same person wrote the Ten Commandments said “Thou Shalt Not Kill” nearly wiped out every single specie with a flood. Now, my proof that God did spread this message it with my supporting evidence in Exodus 34:1, “The Lord said to Moses, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke”. Further supporting my evidence with Exodus 34:28, Moses writes “the words of the covenant, the ten commandments” onto the second set of tablets. These words were not the same: both God and Moses wrote on the tablets, but only Moses wrote the Ten Commandments. It is sometimes appropriate to describe an agent as doing something even when he delegates the work to someone else. God wrote the Ten Commandments onto the tablets, even if he used Moses to do so.

I know for a fact my argument can be defeated by those who actually read the Bible unlike myself which is intentional. This film does not inspire to this kind of level of thinking. While I am not a Christian nor a follower of any particular religion. I do, however, favor Buddhism teachings personally because of Buddha himself, and you better believe I would try convince non believers that not every person in a specific faith wants to force their beliefs down your throats like this film claims. Not only are it arguments favoring God existence and depiction of atheists one sided, but also how it represents the Christian community so poorly it has the power to devert Christians. Ladies and gentlemen of the court. I present to the jury or readers my arguments for why God’s Not Dead IS THE WORST CHRISTIAN FILM EVER MADE.

Hate Thy Neighbor 

In this film if you’re an atheist you will suffer. For example, there’s a reporter who gets cancer because she’s an atheist and took offense when a “Duck Dynasty” actor prays on his show. Instead of choosing to dive into the complicated subject of how a man sticks by a faith even when it’s against his personal way of living. Preferring instead to proudly claim atheist hate Christians. Not only that, but according to this film shooting an animal will not cause it any suffering.It’s refer to as “Mercy Killing”, but this is one scene in the many subplots that go nowhere. Seems like the writers fail to acknowledge its audience is not brain dead as they are. So the reporter attempts to get support in her hour of need from her boyfriend who’s also an atheist. Once she tells him she has cancer her boyfriend responds with “How could you do this to me?”. Going by this movie logic it’s because she’s an atheist. I’m curious to witness what the resolution to this dilemma will be? Oh it never gets resolved. The atheist couple end up separated never working to fix the relationship and the reporter conforms to Christianity which according to this film makes everything better…except she still has cancer and is not shown accepting it as part of her life.

Another subplot is an over controlling Muslim father whose daughter he physically beats when he discovers his daughter is listening to the bible on tape. Yeah, because college students will be jamming to the “Book of Genesis” around campuses. I’m not even Muslim and even I got offended by this film portrayal of the Muslim community. It’s almost like this film is ignorant of the same message it’s trying to send. So what happens to the over controlling Muslim father and the daughter who chose a different faith? One screening later. Man, even the Devil would call that needlessly cruel. Okay, so this Muslim family never resolves the differences between religious beliefs, and the daughter has been tossed out to the street without us ever being shown a place where she can safely sleep. Call me insane, an atheist, (going by this film logic) the Devil, but I don’t think her going to a Christian concert is something that will fix the hardship that comes with breaking family traditions. I’m just saying…oh I just learned from the film I’m going to Hell for challenging it’s broken message. Oh, how nice of it.

Finally, the antagonist, who is also atheist is professor Kevin Sorbo. Well to be fair to Sorbo I would also lose faith if Kellen Lutz played the same character as me. Professor Sorbo is a terrible teacher who knows nothing about Philosophy. “God Is Dead” is a phrase popularized by Friedrich Nietzsche doesn’t mean that the Christian God was alive, but has died, nor does it mean that he never existed (as Kevin Sorbo’s philosophy professor character states otherwise). Nietzsche was simply saying that god wasn’t a consideration for how most people live their lives. You wouldd think a philosophy professor would know that, but apparently the straw-man professor in this movie hasn’t even read “Philosophy for Dummies” or lazy research on Wikipedia.

Atheist Professor Sorbo doesn’t have philosophical justification for what he believes, which you’d think would stack the deck in favor of Christians in this movie. Instead, it does the opposite. By misrepresenting the atheist position, the filmmakers are telegraphing their insecurity about the arguments. The entire atheist position is reduced to a quote from Stephen Hawking, a distortion of one Richard Dawkins argument, and the problem of evil, and even these arguments are only discussed as a cartoonishly over-the-top grotesque parody. What you don’t get is an intellectual debate; being replace with misunderstanding of how science works, but also fails in raising philosophical questions which Sorbo teaches though ignores.

“YOU JUST SAID HOW CAN I HATE SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T EXIST YOU CHRISTIAN! SOMEONE YOU WERE TRYING TO PROVE DOES EXIST FOR YOUR ARGUMENT! I WIN! HYPOCRITE!” – Professor Sorbo/Hercules original dialogue

In the film Professor Sorbo loses faith in God because God let his mother died. Yet, was okay with world hunger, wars, political corruption, terrorism, and so much more before his mother died while believing in God. I would call Kevin Sorbo character a overly dramatic mama’s boy, but Hercules name has been tainted enough. Not only that, but he also dates a Christian who leaves him because he’s an atheist. Sorbo girlfriend was okay with him being an atheist until the plot said so. So twice it provides to example of atheists beings unable to maintain a healthy relationship with another person.

What happens to Professor Sorbo? He gets run over by a car and the driver, who I must emphasize is an atheist, never bothers checking if Profess Sorbo is okay. You know, just the nerve of a hardworking atheist who gives college students an education is irritating. Even in Sorbo moment of death two Christian preachers happen to be close by and one asks if he wants to believe in God before he dies. Well the intention was nice, but heavy handed none the less. This gesture doesn’t matters when the same preachers get a text saying “God’s Not Dead” and one happily says “This is a time worth celebrating”. Despite the fact that an atheist died before their very eyes. Then again, this is a film bloated with pointless subplots (one of then being a preacher attempting to start a car) than a fair depiction on difference religious views.

Conformity Equals Freewill 

The protagonist of the film is named Josh Wheaton….nope can’t insult someone whose name is similar to someone (repetitive, but) hardworking like Joss Whedon. I think I’ll pick out a nickname based on a historical figures that best represent the film protagonists ideal and I’ll pick Little Hitler. Now before anyone says I’m going too far comparing a freshman college student to one of the most hated human being here’s the basic idea. As written in Mein Kamp by Adolf Hitler, “We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity…in fact our movement is Christian” is the philosophy followed by the film protagonist Little Hitler. So Little Hitler has the opportunity to switch classes if he’s so offended by an atheist who tells his class to write “God Is Dead” on a sheet of paper in the first day of class. Disregard the film depiction that all college professor want to manipulate easily impressionable young minds, but instead focus on Little Hitler who is so outraged by the oppression of the school system which allows him to change classes, report teachers acting out of conduct, and a atheist teacher who nicely tells him to change classes if he offended takes it upon himself to be the voice of the oppress and manipulated college students who could care less about skipping some lessons ahead in the material. Accepting the challenge of the atheist that god is not dead. HEIL GOD!

Also like Adolf Hitler, Little Hitler is a hypocrite. So he spends the entire film trying convince others that god is not dead. Little Hitler asks Professor Sorbo why he hates God and Sorbo responds that his mother died while praying to God. From this comes the final words to win everyone over is “How could you hate someone who doesn’t exist”. Umm…Little Hitler you do know that could also serve as a counter argument? Why bother following the teaching of a man whose existence which you even claimed is not proven in your supporting arguments favoring God’s Not Dead is not conclusive to assure a victory. For that matter, what was the point of Little Hitler arguing in the first place? He sets out in a blaze of fury organizing everything he learned from books to prove the existence of God, yet the argument that declares him the winner goes entirely against his purpose because of bad writing.

Little Hitler also has the nerves to say he’s spreading freewill. Yeah right “free will”. Little Hitler forces his views down on his peers to the point it clouds the meaning behind Christ teachings. He neither presents other religions when presenting his argument because he’s want everyone to be a Christian. He’s not allowing the students to choose for themselves since he only wants them to follow in his lead. Not once does he bring up Buddhism, the Quran, or another religion for that matter. Nor does he ever accept anyone truly wants to be an atheist and no matter how well argue they will never convert their ideals. After seeing this film I wouldn’t blame anyone instantly turn into an atheist over night. Man it’s terrifying how much this film protagonist bares similar motive to Adolf Hitler of all people.

Thy Commit Secular Promotionalism 

(You can skip this section all the way to the closing paragraph if I convince you of my position already)

A film that claims to take the moral high ground of religious debates it selection of music is one sided too. Rather than have music for “God’s Not Dead” that touch on various issues it’s too is shallow like the film depiction of Christians. Let’s take the theme song for the film which both share the same title that neither understand the meaning behind the saying. I’ll admit and say Christian music is not my thing, but I have heard some terrific piece of deep music from “Jesus Christ Superstar” which is my standards for what I consider good Christian music (and is a fantastic musical as well I highly recommend regardless of beliefs). The lyrics for the theme song are as follows.

The Newsboys – God’s Not Dead 

Letlove explode and bring the dead to life

A love so bold to bring a revolution somehow

Now I’m lost in Your freedom

In this world I’ll overcome

My God’s not dead

He’s surely alive

He’s living on the inside

Roaring like a lion

Roaring, He’s roaring, roaring like a lion

Rinse and repeat that same verse through the whole song four times. By these lyrics alone it’s getting those who already believe in their faith pumped up. Like I said earlier it’s music is as shallow as it depiction of Christians. Every song basically says just keep the faith and spread good will. That’s nice and all, however the opening song in “Jesus Christ Superstar” is well complex.

Jesus Christ Superstar – Heaven’s On Their Minds 

My mind is clearer now – at last all too well

I can see where we all soon will be

If you strip away the myth from the man

You will see where we all soon will be

Jesus! You’ve started to believe the things they say of you

You really do believe this talk of God is true

And all the good you’ve done will soon get swept away

You’ve begun to matter more than the things you say

Best part about this particular track from “Jesus Christ Superstar” is that does not repeat any verses and goes to tell Christ story while expressing the point of views from one of his followers. Out of sheer laziness I rest my case on “God’s Not Dead” music is shallow. The only thing left I haven’t raged upon are the cast which sadly play their roles straightforwardly. For a film this cartoonish and horribly executed the cast is clutter with not enough screen time to define their characters. This results in no one in the film having any resemblance of chemistry. Nearly every line is delivered with the same wooden and emotionless way. Even when Kevin Sorbo is dying (even Hercules is not immortal to this power) it’s wooden acting.

Thy Faith Shalt Be Wronged By This Film 

God’s Not Dead is a poor existence of a product. It’s ignorant to the point that it paints those it is defending in a negative manner that make them just as evil and shallow as the people it’s attacking. This film is a sin not just to filmmaking, but also to the teachings of its religion. According to this film I would burn for all in eternity in the deepest regions of Hell with the worst torture imaginable. Being expose to this film non-stop with my head constantly exploding and regenerating in a endless cycle. God’s Not Dead lives in a far off distant land where Christianity is only way to salvation. That might sound nice to some followers who live in the real world. The same real world where there are intellectual, and respectful debates base on these same drastic beliefs. The same real world where the followers of these teachings are challenge everyday to maintain their faith in the world around them. The same real world with religion tolerance where both atheists and those who follow a specific religion can be friends.

It’s not just bad filmmaking. It’s not just a horrible movie. It’s not just an ignorant and insulting piece of a film. IT’S BAD CHRISTIANITY.

0/10

Cinema-Maniac: Ninja Apocalypse (2014) Review

In every rare viewing of a bad film there are things you never expected to see and ponder thoughts you never believe would come to mind. For me it’s perhaps the first time I actually wished a film would fully commit to ripping off another film because of how unsalvageable the original material was. “Ninja Apocalypse” takes ninja with superpowers, an apocalypse setting, an underground military bunker, and zombies committing the unimaginable sin combining all of those elements into a boring film.

Ninja Apocalypse follows The Lost Clan gang from…it’s never clarified where the movie takes place so lets us pretend New York. So a charismatic leader summons several gangs in a post apocalyptic world in a bid to overtake their rivals. When he is killed, The Warriors are falsely blamed and now must fight their way home while every other gang is hunting them down to kill them. My mistake I meant The Lost Clan not The Warriors. It’s hard to believe even though it rips off the basic premise it manages to make whatever material it steals from “The Warriors” come across as the most competent components in its script. Except this time the context and the setting are extremely nonsensical. Then again should one really judge the logic of “Ninja Apocalypse”. Yes it should be judged because if there’s one thing it lacks is a working brain cell. Now aside from the basic premise and three plot devices (the sacrifice, seduced by women wanting to kill males characters, the ending) calling it a ripoff of “The Warriors” would be praising it instead of criticizing it. Yes, the fact it didn’t ripoff “The Warriors” successfully is a negative. Especially in regards when it comes to the film “plot twist” in the end finally revealing who shot Cyrus, I mean Fumitaka. It’s a failure of twist because the character doesn’t appear for a majority of the film and whatever recurring characters do reappear in the film don’t get enough characterization to make audience guess who the culprit is. Part of the fun of a “who done it” is guessing who actually committed the crime which you can’t do if you aren’t provided anything that’ll allow that.

I’ll buy the utter nonsense premise like anyone who likes seeing B-movies, but stocked characters, plot exposition upon plot exposition filled dialogue, attempts to add humor only to discard it within ten minutes, and bereft of a story can’t be overlooked. Our cast of heroes consist of two brothers, a woman, a deaf mute blackman, and a ninja with questionable loyalty. From that selection of characters their background are simply mentioned. It never elaborates on Cage having a family or ever goes into detail in how he became the leader of “The Lost Clan”. The same applies to all of its characters where it simply mentions moments or characteristic than moving on without elaboration. Another area it lacking is logic. Now with a title like “Ninja Apocalypse” of course it shouldn’t be taken seriously, but radiation doesn’t work the way this film believes it does. In this film ninja have powers so it would safe to assume it’s a result of radiation. Except later on in the film it is said by our heroes that radiation basically turned people into zombies. Not just any zombies, the kind that if cut in half can duplicate. So if the radiation turns people hundred of feet in an underground facility into zombies how in the world are people not below the earth not zombies! Radiation does not work like that! If it was just this oversight I would have not given it another thought. Than it claims the lowest level of the underground facility contains radiation. Hmm….so the inside of an underground facility consisting of hundreds of level below the surface of earth contains radiation yet the surface doesn’t. These writers can’t seriously be this stupid…oh yeah they probably are given they were to lazy to fully commit to ripping off “The Warriors”.

On a technical level everything about it will come across as low budget not for the reasons you expect. Yes everything looks cheap from the convenient store bought costumes, the fake weapon props, and the very shoddy CGI effects. It’s the tinier details that also display the lack of funds that even with it budget wasn’t enough to make such a simple movie. For instance there’s a fight scene consisting of several gangs against “The Lost Clan” and in the background it’s visible the performers are standing still. Only to be moving when they see some sort of signal off screen. Issues like these are always present in the action scenes despite taking place in the same location bodies will sometime disappear in a cut. Details like blood spatter on a wall will disappear immediately in the next cut in the same fight scenes. Adding to the problem are the slow performance of the action scenes that make these issues noticeable. Fight choreography is below average and these fight scenes instead of diverting your attention from the inconsistencies is build around that to reuse as much as resources as possible. In context the characters power aren’t used to diverse the kind of fight scenes you see all usually resulting in a fist fight or sword fight. The most visually annoying about how it shot are the dozen of lens flares and few instances of white flash effects. If the story or acting was any good the lens flares wouldn’t have been much of an issue since there’s something to divert from that issue. However, like everything else the lens flares are a results of visible light posts in every scene. Intentional or not they get distracting.

Late in the film there’s a scene that can causes seizure if seen in the dark because of how much white flash effect are onscreen in less than ten seconds. Set design, much like the performers in costumes, reused the same textures, material, and structures. Actors have to go around in circles to give off the illusion the set is actually a lot bigger than it actually is. The acting is no better. All of the performances are stiffed and wooden. Christian Oliver is incapable of selling himself as the film heroes. Even when he’s angry there’s no ferocity in his delivery. If anything Isaac C. Singleton Jr. does the best among the hero cast given he can’t speak or listen to sound. Not to forget Ernie Reyes Jr. who plays the villain is weak. If “The Rundown” could make Ernie Reyes Jr. beating up Dwayne Johnson look convincing with less screen time what’s this film excuse. Even Reyes Jr. fights against Christian Oliver whose physically same size as him never comes across as a threat. Just everything in this film is poorly assemble together.

Ninja Apocalypse fails as a ripoffs not coming close to duplicating anything with success from the source its copying from and fails as a b-movie due to it’s failing in every area without entertainment to be found. It could have been a ripoff, it could have been a entertaining b-movie, but in the end is devoid of anything positive from a filmmaking and entertaining perspective.

0/10

Cinema-Maniac: D’Agostino (2013) Review

“I HATE people. I think of them like pegs. Part of this neverending boardgame constantly moving around in circles, but going nowhere. Look HOW they talk. I’m sure most of it is about nothing. They’re always selling something. Just look at them. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. This guy is a narcissist. You’re not the first to open up to me there trust me. I seek self gratification through dominance and ambition…..I am so bored! So SICK and TIRED of the same routine. I’m pathetic! Habitual. It’s taken me a while, but I’ve finally fell into that same abyss. Just like the rest of them. And I hate it. Look around. They’re, they’re smiling. They all seem so happy, but I know inside they’re miserable. Scrolling through life because they know they have too. They don’t have a choice. Neither do I. HOW PATHETIC! HOW DO FAT PEOPLE CARRY THEMSELVES?! HOW DO UGLY PEOPLE LOOK IN THE MIRROR?! There’s nothing worse than someone who’s fat and ugly.” Opening narration written by the film’s director Jorge Ameer.

Just…..you get the deal. Whenever anyone creates a list of worst film directors one individual who always gets overlook is Jorge Ameer. He is incompetent in every single possible thing he does in filmmaking, and repeatedly fails to learn from it. Now think about your least favorite film, and Jorge Ameer has likely made something worse than that. Unless of course your least favorite film is by Jorge Ameer than it’s nearly impossible to top. I am in no way over exaggerating on his lack of talent. Ameer made film called “The Singing Forest” (it’s in RT database as “Singing Forest”). It is a romance film that inter-splice actual footage from of the Holocaust made tasteless when the Holocaust has nothing to do with the movie. He manages to make that film even more tasteless by despicable characters and boldly claiming rape babies have no soul. Jorge Ameer is the kind of filmmaker you don’t want to punch, but kick in the balls because of how bold he is to deliberately not use common sense.

D’Agostino is about Allan Dawson going to Santorini to discover a human clone in his recently inherent property. Your first impression of the movie is with that monologue in the opening of this review. Our protagonist utter those words and does not at any point become likable or worth of an analysis. The way he talks in his opening monologue is pretentious because he at no point attempt to elaborate on why he hates fat and ugly people. Pretending to be deeper when in actuality he’s about as shallow in his perception of people. I would go as far as to say that opening monologue is pointless in a film that is about nothing. Sure the synopsis gives the facet it’s a small scale and possibly thought provoking sci-fi thriller. Except for the fact cloning is only mentioned twice in the film. Once in the first act when Allan discovers D’Agostino backstory by typing his name in a internet search. [One enraged therapy lesson later]. The other time it’s mention is fifty minute later where Allan Dawson barely makes the connection technology can now make clones which in this movie is about a couple of weeks. Talk about slow in the head. I’m of course referring to Ameer thought process not the fictional character.

Now some background information on Allan Dawson maybe wife (which he refers to her by). Dawson maybe wife wants to have a child. That’s all the development Dawson maybe wife gets and is used only use once other time as a purposeful plot device. What astonishes me about Ameer is his ability to one up himself in sheer stupidity. In the film, Allan Dawson hasn’t propose to his maybe wife even though they live like one. It’s unclear how long they’ve know each other, but if both are comfortable enough to sleep together in bed in their pajamas and later on get fancily dressed for dinner than they have a good relationship in movie logic. In a twist pulled out right out of his, well I’m not sure if Ameer has one since that would actually make some level of sense. Oh yeah, in a spontaneous twist the clone kills Dawson wife, and cooks her to which Dawson has no problem accepting to eat. Proposing to a woman Dawson known for a long time is difficult, but accepting she got killed, and eating her is relatively simple. Got to admit, no one has quite the misunderstanding of people like Jorge Ameer.

So Dawson maybe wife is just a character created for a single plot point. Now the reason Dawson goes to Santorini is because his mother is recently deceased, and left him her home in her will. Any logical person would explain no matter how poorly or flimsy why the protagonist mother has a naked grown man in her dungeon closet. This in no way is ever addressed neither are numerous questions. I wonder how no one, especially neighbors, discover Dawson has a chained naked man in his closet. Than I remember there is hardly any extras in the film. I know Jorge Ameer is a [removed profane comparison between Donkey and WW2 propaganda], but come on extras…okay I got nothing. If I were to choose between taking the lead role of a Uwe Boll (director of several films consider to be the worst ever made) movie or a one minute background character in a Jorge Ameer movie. Call up Uwe Boll because at least I’ll have some dignity putting that on my resume. Sure Boll films are consider trash, but it’s not Jorge Ameer trash which is significantly better.

Back on track, nothing is ever given much of an explanation. There is also very little story in the film despite being two hours. If you were to trim the fat of this film you would have thirty minute of story material. The fat has no subplot, void of any meaningful characterization, padding shots of Dawson walking around Santorini for minutes, montage of Dawson looking at the sunset, and scenes devoid of acting and story value. The final character in the film worth talking about is D’Agostino. Through out the film he does not learn to act like a human always being held on a dog leash. He’s treated like…um…well…a slave. I would say a mistreated pet, but Dawson has no problem whipping D’Agostino with a belt whenever he misbehaves. No matter how small D’Agostino action are. I could look past the fact that not a single person noticed a naked grown man with a dog leash wondering around in public, and forgive the fact the actor playing the character is very awkward in the role. Where I draw the line is the complete one-eighty in the final act.

D’Agostino has only learned one word near the end of the movie, and with around ten minute left how do you end a film that presented no conflict to begin with or develop any issues challenging the protagonist beliefs. By making D’Agostino look at purple electricity and suddenly knows how to be human. Apparently purple electricity gives him money, the ability to buy a ticket from Santorini to the United States, the skills to kill a person, knowledge on how to bring a corpse back to Santorini without airport security discovering it, and cook all in a couple of hours. I’ll buy the fact D’Agostino could apparently make a trip from Santorini to the United State at night, somehow know where Allan Dawson wife is despite never seeing her, and return before morning, but why did purple electricity give him the knowledge to all of that.

On the technical side it has all of Jorge Ameer staples. One of those staple includes terrible editing. There is a moment where actor Keith Roenke has to walk from one side of a small room to the door. That basic action doesn’t require a cut, but in an Ameer film Roenke goes from one end of the room, skips the middle, and is at the door with the same medium shot. That’s incompetent editing when you can’t make the simple action of walking flow properly. Jorge Ameer is also in the film and his acting is terrible. His lines are clearly dubbed which is welcome since at least now you can hear every word of bad dialogue this time around. Though that should be expected of any filmmaker to make sure what the actor are saying be easy to hear. Not be an exception to a man who can’t do one thing correctly yet tries his hands at writing, directing, producing, and acting. Ameer role in the movie is superficial. He appears on camera and goes away like a mythical creature contributing nothing to the film. He’s also terrible as a visual storyteller. Forty seven minute in Jorge Ameer display an unwelcome sight. Now I have to problem seeing genitalia on screen regardless of gender, but Ameer I don’t want a close up of male genitals when the person is urinating. It contribute nothing to your film.

This film made me physically sick. I’ll repeat that, D’Agostino made me physically sick. “Nekromantik” which has a scene involving a couple having sex with a corpse did not, at any point make me physically sick. It’s the same movie that shows a rabbit being skinned and gutted. It is repeatedly shown and that didn’t make me physically sick. “Jungle Holocaust” has a prolonged sequence of an actual Alligator getting skinned and eviscerated while alive did not make me physically sick. D’Agostino which has nothing as vile as the two films I mention made me physically sick. That’s quite a new low given the sort of content I’ve seen in certain films in particular those in the Cannibal genre.

What sickens me about the film is director/writer/actor/cinematic Devil was inspired by his relationship with his cat. There’s a special feature dedicated to the lost of Ameer cat (whose final moments are shared in every DVD copy to further add to your depression of regretting your purchase) to which I say I’m sorry for your lost Ameer. However, that lone special feature showed me a more cohesive story, an actual heart, and better editing than the actual film that you were inspired to make from his death. With the source of the inspiration made clear why the fffffffff is there a montage of Allan getting blow jobs from his so called human pet. You have one very, very, very, sick mind Ameer. What exactly was the thought process behind including that montage in the film. If it was inspired by your cat I would rather not know what you did with your cat. Also what statement Ameer were you trying to make? The “twist” in the story is Allan human pet killing his maybe wife, cooking her, and upon discovering this Allan Dawson sits down to eat her. Did something similar happen to you which is why you’re dedicating the to your cat? If so, why did you eat your wife and had no problem with it. Ameer, whatever statement you were trying to say comes across negatively. I didn’t think you could sink lower after inserting Holocaust footage in a romance film, but the fact that you made a film possibly inspired by bestiality, and not tackle that issue is an insult.

D’Agostino is a Jorge Ameer film plain and simple. Everything you need to know is all their by name value. Jorge Ameer is not known for nonexistent story, questionable content, incompetent editing in the simplest of areas, padding his movies to no shame, and his desire to work in multiple area as a filmmakers unable to successfully pull off any them. Jorge Ameer is the definition of a bad director, but also filmmaking in general failing to do the most basic of tasks successfully. His whole resume is a testament to horrible and clueless filmmaking.

0/10

Cinema-Maniac: Spirits In the Woods (2014) Review

I’ve been visiting the “Indie Scene” less frequently since it can take seven hours to reach my destination with good traffic. Also, the lack of any film property catching my attention. This year I tended to bat an eye away from them. However, “Spirit in the Wood” is different as John Lepper (a producer of the film) attempted to convince me it was worth my time. Once Lepper mention it was a found footage horror film I started walking off, but told me about it came into production. Apparently it was only possible through the fundings on Kickstarter.

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Anthony Daniel who’s the writer, director, producer, music supervisor, casting manager, first degree idiot, and editor who despite not being able to get the budget he wanted still made the film. I can respect that in an aspiring filmmaker. With that finished I gave it a shot out of kindness knowing full well I might end up not liking it.

Once the film got started it was thankful enough to wait seven in to provide a title card that said, “All this footage is found and real. Viewers discretion is advised”. Thank goodness for that warning too since the acting in the first seven minutes is horrific. Not a single a movement, not a single line reading, nothing about the actors made me believe I was seeing real people. It didn’t help either the small audience didn’t buy it either. All that was presented in the first seven minutes are some college students mysteriously vanished (like the audience attention) when entering “Spiritual Woods” known to be haunted. Also, I should note that within these seven minutes it insults horror movies by claiming their plotlines are basically a fabric of fiction and nothing could compare to the real story of “Spiritual Woods”. Once your horror movie has “found footage” labeled to it your horror film lost all rights to trash talk any other horror film.

Spirit in the Woods is about five college students getting lost in the woods. For those wondering that’s the whole movie. Ideas are so scarce that every single thing wrong with the film can be generalized without in depth detail. You’ll find this hard to believe, but the film actually attempts to build up the sense that something is wrong by oddly positioned tree branches. Well they are in the woods and there are tree branches everywhere in the woods. I’m expected to sympathize for a couple of college students that believe there’s a correct way to position tree branches in the woods? Good luck trying to get anyone to a feel any emotions for these “real people”. Every scene is repetitive, conversations are repetitive, absolutely zero likable characters all of whom are annoying, lingers it deadweight proudly, and a ending that shoehorned in promotion for a sequel. So here’s a rundown of the plot without skimping on any details. Five college students get an assignment, five college students decide to do their assignment on “Spiritual Woods”, they go into “Spiritual Woods”, get lost, and killed. That is all folks that happens. Dialogue generally goes back and forth between “I heard something. Oh it was nothing”, “Wait I think I saw something? Oh never mind it was nothing”, and “We’re lost”. For sixty minutes the repetitive dialogue drive these points across. Around the twenty-eight minute in this lovely screen appears.

spirits in the wood

Dream Comet Studios (founded by the film director Anthony Daniel) had time to “fix up” the footage, but couldn’t be bothered to do a proper spell check. To get the point across to the filmmakers especially Anthony Daniel. Here’s an example so you’ll remember to how tell the two words apart. You use “are” as in these filmmakers are clueless about making a tolerable film. And “our” as in you wasted our (the audience) time with this technically unviewable film with no story. The rest of the film beyond that point is the same thing repeated. Five college students talk about hearing or seeing something that turns out to be not there and being lost. It isn’t until the final fifteen minutes that it breaks away from a cycle of repetition that hammers that perhaps something evil is in the woods. They get killed in by last minute plot twist by girl that just went insane. This twist is just spontaneous as the character never shows ever collapsing into a mental state of insanity by any signs.

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Actual still from the movie.

The acting is atrocious by the non actors. Their performances prevents the film from selling any dreary mood in the haunted woods. They all come across as just bunch of annoying, dumb college students. As you noticed the image above that’s a picture I took right from the official Facebook page of the film. This pains me to say it, but it doesn’t look like it cost $1,300 dollars to make. At best the filmmakers got three cheap cameras, some gasoline, and some food which consider the talent behind the camera should be around one hundred dollar. Anyone could literally film their friends getting lost in the woods for around eighty minutes which is this biggest problem. Nothing about it presents any good quality from good filmmaking. The editing is a mess and the “fixed up” footage looks worse than the already grainy looking film. There’s no reason for every single moment to be filmed as contradicted by the “real people”. Whenever they say they should stop filming they immediately turn on the camera seconds later. It’s just horrible on every level. Even during the final ten minutes credits roll over a still playing film. Don’t these people know the important things in a movie come before the closing credits not during it.

Spirit in the Woods is the absolute holy grail of bad found footage horror movies. Presenting every negative aspects without a care like using its format as a gimmick, lingering in a deadweight plot where nothing happens, and the nerve to sell itself as “real” while insulting horror films for the same reasons itself fails for. This film is a complete failure in every conceivable way and should have remain lost to never punish any unsuspecting human being.

0/10

Extra: Personal Side Story

So right before the first of several closing credits sequences it has a badly photoshop missing persons poster that says to visit its Facebook page to learn more on the true story. Naturally I did and imagine my shock when the film official fan page posted updates mourning those who died in 2013. Then I go to director Anthony Daniel Facebook profile to find those same people who were considered dead in photo from this year thanking its cast. Just wow! That deserves a sarcastic round of applause as Anthony Daniel does give a VAN DAMME on the integrity of his own fiction and creation.

spirits in the woods

Cinema-Maniac: Japanese Hell (Jigoku) (2000) Movie Review

The 1960 original Jigoku (Japanese word for Hell) is not a film I would consider a classic due to it’s unintentional humor to its serious plot, but it’s a film I would have no problem recommending because story structure is perfect for it, has amazing visuals (especially the impressive third act), and a meaningful message through relatable human actions. As for the remake I could only say bad things about it to the point that I would be send to Jigoku. It’s soulless from the unsalvageable story right down to the half baked force message will encourage viewers to do certain things to the filmmakers than make you think about your way of life as intended.

Japanese Hell is about the goddess of death name Enma (“terrifying”) giving a tour of Hell to an innocent young women and showing the consequences of sinners past, present, and future. I’m going to give a scenario to best get across why I hate this story and the meaning it’s hoping viewer will find in it soulless message. So picture a sick dog who has a terrible, incurable disease suffering for days. It’s constantly coughing up blood, unable to eat anything solid, and crying on a day to day basis from pain. Finally having had enough of seeing the dog suffer you decide to euthanize the dog much to your displeasure. According to this film you earn your ticket to Hell. The fact you ended a living creature life with a good intentions and you had no pleasure in putting it down doesn’t matter one bit to this film. Things like morals are a joke in this film. You either have to be 100% perfect good or 100% percent evil with no middle ground to be accept in either Heaven or Hell. If the film wasn’t trying to say something towards its audience this simplistic view on humanity would have been fine, but it deliberately set up to send a message you have to follow someone to be “saved” by force not will. Conformity is not the answer for everyone as it could work the other way making people do questionable activities. Oh the film ending….okay one of the deadly sins is Lust and the last thing we see are naked women. Why after taking a tour of Jigoku (Hell) would the last thing we want to see are naked women? Backward thinking like this is one of many, many, many, many, many, many, many reasons this film story is worthless.

Personal hatred aside here are other reasons why it’s an unsalvageable story regardless whether or not you seen the original. Narrative structure is messy, sloppy, and nothing connects it together. As a traditional narrative it doesn’t work because it has no central protagonist and deviate too much from the central characters preventing any meaningful to be gain from their journey. In the form of an anthology narrative it’s a bigger disaster because it only has two different story making it very evident which had more focus. One of the two sinners story is short while the other one overstays its welcome. The first sinner is a person who takes pleasure in killing young girls with no redeeming values. Automatically there’s the main problem as this kind of character will relate to a slim number of its viewer if any at all. Never does it bother to look into why the sinner temptation controls him and never bother to explore why this sinner is unable to gain a positive change. This also applies to the second sinners which is a false religious group who scam their believer out of millions of dollars for personal gains. At no point does the film attempt to use these characters wrongdoings as a correlation to how some outsiders might view religion in general. None of the characters are ever developed only being split into good or evil with no reasonable middle ground nor a reason why the character are who they are. Also, for a film with its setting in the title it does a terrible job incorporating Hell into its story. We never spend that much time in Hell never coming across as this unspeakable place of never ending sufferings of the essence of evil. Not to forget the most annoying thing is yes the lord of evil Enma who punishes people comes across as a hero. I’m might be looking to much into this, but this film supports the goddess of death more so than it does any positive religious figures.

Production values are a joke. Upon entering Jigoku and traveling on the Sanzu river we see a gate shape like a demonize women va….better that I keep it vague. It also has rejected costume from I could only assume are for a lost gritty reboot of “The Flintstones”. Apparently the minions of Hell are a compilation of cavemen with horns, a horse-man creature, and a very disfigured old man. The attention to detail given to these costumes is impeccable rivaling those you would see at a cheap costume store. That same amount of care also went into creating Hell which is constantly being covered in fog only adds an extra layer of detail to hide the blank canvas of the sets. Gore effects are cheap made more evident when the sinners punishment take a long time to get their point across. Another trait aside from the fog are the constantly spinning backdrops that attempted to give the allusion of an otherworldly place, but just makes the viewer think how the poor use of it budget was this bad. Acting like everything else is of the lowest quality. Ranging from over the top to no effort was even into put into that performance. If anything this film does serve as a blueprint on how not to spend your money in a low budget flick. It’s nothing short of amazing how director Terui Ishii manages to not only destroy all essence of good filmmaking, but absolutely have no understanding of the original film execution of its message nor the value behind the existence of Jigoku which is quite sad.

Japanese Hell is about as soulless and phoned in you can get with a horror remake. Nothing that made the original worthwhile is present and this new version of the story does nothing more than encourage its viewer to do things to the filmmakers it wants us to avoid. It’s a film that both believers and non believers could agree is unsalvageable, soulless, preachy trash. If you ever have more good things to say about Satan than you do the actual film focusing on Hell you pretty much know just how little hope you have left after it’s all over.

0/10

Cinema-Maniac: The Lion of Judah (2011) Movie Review

I lay here speechless on how to open this review in third person upon realizing this is the first animated movie I’ve given a zero in two years. The last animated film to have garner that was the ever so infamous “Titanic: The Animated Movie” which had talking rats, a rapping dog, a two minute romance, and ended with “Happily Ever After”. My criteria for any animated film to earn a zero I thought was originally unobtainable as a animated movie had to equal or be worse than “Titanic: The Animated Movie”. “The Lion of Judah” without question has set a new low standard for all future bad animated movie to scope down to.

The Lion of Judah follows the overly long, uninspired, stereotypical, and drawn out adventures of a bold lamb (Judah) and his friends (The Stable-Mates) as they try to avoid the sacrificial altar the week preceding the crucifixion Jesus Christ. Oh man where to even begin. Just about everything you could think off a film could do wrong this film does. All the characters are annoying stereotypes consisting of the dumb character, an emo, an energetic child, wise old man, unfunny comedic relief, and every shallow character type in existence. Plot points are drawn out to unbearable length consisting of moments that kill brain cells. Pointless conversations involve crows (one with an eye patch) talking about how his dream of sheets, animals debating on kicking a box, a discussion on whether or not to save a friend who’s to be killed, and stretching every joke at it disposal. Making all this more painful is moving at the pace of a glacial. Glacially pace you’ll slowly begin to discover the film reuses the same formula for three acts. All the acts require one of the main character to be saved only to be captured again two more times. So with no character to latch on to, a glacial pace that where a single joke can be stretched to several minutes, and three acts that reuse the same formula it further deteriorate itself by involving a false understanding of Christianity.

Now the title of the film is “The Lion of Judah” which is very misleading. There is not a single lion or an animal that remotely resemble a lion in the film. The character Judah is a lamb and according to his mother will set animals…no human free. Although I am not a Christian the film false understanding of Christianity and the nerve to deliver a message from its false understanding is a slap to the face having the subtlety of nuclear bomb. It’s about as force as you can get in message delivery. The worst part being Jesus Christ teachings takes a back seat to slapstick. There is not a minute that goes without slapstick yet Jesus Christ crucifixion is a throwaway plot point. Telling us nothing about Christ or his teachings serving no significance in the story. Downright insulting it audiences by daring not to go into the grey area of religion. Combining all these flaws into a single script it’s incredible how a film that’s under ninety minutes could feel like five dull hours of pure nothingness yet be very insulting on the way it handles religion.

Animation has never been so cheap, ugly, stiff, and most importantly lazy. Anything that requires basic movement goes very slowly even during the motion of running and flying there’s no distinction in speed movement. Characters models aside from being undetailed scream pure laziness. Certain animals will have fur that remain in place while other animals (some of the same kind) will have no fur at all. Another issue being the basic anatomy is inconsistent. There are several occasion where animals body parts are larger than they normally are. Further criticizing the sheer lack of effort are body parts goes through characters bodies. As for the visuals they are far behind Toy Story which was released in 1995. Textures are ugly becoming fuzzy whenever shown up close. Worse of all there are several scenes where textures on a wall, animal, or fur haven’t render correctly and is left as it is. Looking and moving like an early alpha for a video game. Voice acting is not worth discussing. Ironically given the characters stereotypical personalities the voice actor sound exactly how they would. This not a good thing since some of the voices come across racial stereotype (the horse midway in the film gains an cliche Indian accent). Music on the other hand is forgettable. Only being used in montages comes and goes away quickly.

The Lion of Judah is an endurance test in tolerance with the viewer reaping no benefits from what they what see. There is no effort presented in any frame of the film. Animation and visuals are inferior to the first 3D animated film ever made, a plot with nothing redeeming, racial stereotype voice acting, and finally feeling longer than it actually is. Nothing about “The Lion of Judah” is interesting, passionate, or watchable. It’s existence is a sin to all things cinema.

0/10

The Aftermath of “The Lion of Judah”:

So not only was it that I just viewed a film that had completely wasted my time, my breathe, and my eyesight, but on the same day after finishing viewing it my internet service experiences an outage. This being the first time this ever happened I can only conclude that this film was cursed in more ways than one. Ironically my internet was out for two days and it just so happen to have come back on the third day. Talk about irony.