Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Devil Seed (2012) @ The Devil In Me @ The Darkness

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Vanessa Broze plays a bitchy busty blonde. Should've been the lead.

At a glance:
Toronto London Michelle Argyris Devil SeedTalk about run-of-the-mill safe bets. Readin on the outset itself about how Matchbox Pictures' goals are to "utilize the assets that Canada has to offer to make commercially viable entertainment appropriate for a target audience with a main focus on low risk - high return genre pictures" almost exonerates the film as yet another horror runabout with the usual paranormal possession flim-flam. To be fair, Devil Seed is very accomplished, if not derivative and unremarkable, shot with the Red One camera on a reported budget of just CAD 250,000. So no surprise it scored enough distributor deals to get our attention. With token nudity, competent SFX, suitable sound design and several impressive set-pieces, you wouldn't begrudge the rental fee if you're givin this a go tonight on Netflix or AppleTV.
Devil Seed sexy Darkness 2012Bad news on the doorstep:
shower sexWe can go a little light on it since it's a maiden project, but lead Michelle Argyris is unfortunately a self-conscious actress with limited range, who might have done better here as a reserved brunette like co-star Shantelle Canzanese instead of a scowlin sexpot. The busty blonde bitch played by Vanessa Broze brought more to the table and maybe they should've swapped places. Hell, even the cameo by fitness model Sabrina D'Amour at the end made me think that she could've lent some Meg Foster appeal as the lead. The ones who definitely stuck out like sore thumbs are Wayne Conroy as the professor and Michael G. Wilmot as the Catholic priest. They looked like they just walked in on set.
Perennial wonderment:
Lisa Surihani
Possessed? No problem. Just give it a Google.
How come I seem to remember every recent possession movie depictin the afflicted victim sat in front of a PC doin a Google search on "possession"? Surely this has become a B-movie bane that filmmakers should avoid.
Reminds me of:
Bedside romp sex positions cowgirl party
Well, I think it's safe to say Lionsgate retitled it The Devil In Me in the U.K. to benefit from the obfuscatin association with The Devil Inside earlier this year. Strangely in this case, the lesser known copycat is actually much more enjoyable than the supposedly superior big studio release. I hate that movie! Also, all this seed business reminds me of Demon Seed (1977) with Julie Christie. Gotta dig that up sometime.
horror movie poster
Devil Seeds in different markets.
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A little more innovation is needed for us to pardon the intensity-sappin performances. Still, a success story of a first foot forward for the filmmakers. For more info, check out the official Facebook page and the official website. That reminds me, has anyone seen The Apparition? That's a well-sold movie with very strong visuals - but critics have torn it to shreds just like The Devil Inside (2012) and I even read that the keyart actually gives away the movie. Leave me a comment? Back to Devil Seed, I'm lookin forward to the next project from this promisin production house - Kingdom Come - but I hope they stay off from the Exorcist (1973) retreads this time.★★1/2
Bonus material:

Shooting in London. That's London in Ontario, Canada.
I'm learning, too.
Nympho sex
Michelle Argyris, a good, hard-working find. Hope she'll improve.
Lead Michelle Argyris with director Greg Sager.
shoot a porno
"Hey, why don't we shoot a porno instead?"
Catholic Priest possession
"D'ya reckon you could do the Latin
without soundin' like you're orderin' Greek food, pal?"

 Vanessa Broze

Friday, 24 August 2012

For A Good Time, Call... (2012)

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Ari Graynor: "Did you know that every time you masturbate, a pony dies?"

premiere pussy
At a glance:
Although this review site jumps at the chance of coverin sex-dripped movies, I had to think twice about puttin this up. It's an unapologetic gay director's first feature film and I had the discomfort of havin sat through the Toronto premiere in a hall full of fags (looks like I won't be learnin not to use this word, as advised in Dax Shepard's Hit And Run last night). If anythin, watchin this movie, served as wake-up call for this homophobic writer that my professional days in this line are well and truly over, especially in this neck of the woods where I'm the odd one out. Still, like any conservative bigot strugglin to improve, I'll write this review on the artistic merits of the film, which I'll concede as a pretty solid indie comedy about two desperate frenemies embarkin on a phone sex operator business together.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Bridesmaids (2011) taught us box office sensibilities about how the boys shouldn't have all the fun (e.g. The Hangover, 2009) and this movie drives home that point, whether I like it or not. For A Good Time, Call... (2012) celebrates hedonism, feminism and self-empowerment with unabashed aplomb, with a bouncy script drawn from real life experiences, co-written by Lauren Miller (also one of the two leadin ladies) and Katie Anne Naylon. The filmmakers even saw fit to take a swipe at their lifestyle detractors by includin a Christian fanatic character in the movie (Sugar Lyn Beard) only to be demonised for her deeds, "like some fucking Jesus of Nazareth". At this point I wanted to walk out of the screenin. I could take a joke but this line was loaded and the context was vindictive.
phone sex operator business
Lauren Miller learns the timeless art of phone-fucking from Ari Graynor.
Perennial wonderment:
Some observers note that Seth Rogen's screenwriter wife Lauren Miller is about as credible and significant an actress as Judd Apatow's wife Leslie Mann. Is this true? I haven't seen enough but her role here as a sullen yuppie is rather watchable. Her easy chemistry with Ari Graynor's spritely toilet-mouth tramp provides the sellin point of the movie and while the obviously more talented Graynor commands genuine star appeal, it should be interestin to see Mrs. Rogen's upcomin roles.
For A Good Time, Call...
Justin Long, gay again.
Watch out for:
Justin Long, playin an effeminate version of his gay character in Zack And Miri Make A Porno (2008), has a memorable supportin role and a particularly inspired, laugh-out-loud Lion King (1994) gag.
Most memorable line:
I'm too lost in the density of dirty jokes to remember any.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi? 
84 R-rated minutes of well-crafted camp, punctuated by smutty laughs. More intelligent than those in-your-face Happy Madison material, though. Giggle at your soul's expense.★★1/2
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Because high fives aren't enough.
Bonus material:
poster premiere Toronto Scotiabank For A Good Time, Call... 2012
Photo taken at Scotiabank Theatre, Toronto. 23 August 2012.

Scotiabank premiere
L-R: Local critic Richard Crouse interviews the cast and crew.
Photo taken at Scotiabank Theatre, Toronto. 23 August 2012.
Lauren Miller Ari Graynor sex phone chat baby premiere
L-R: Scriptwriter Katie Anne Naylon, director Jamie Travis, leads Lauren Miller and Ari Graynor.
Ms Graynor certainly lost some weight since the movie was filmed.
Photo taken at Scotiabank Theatre, Toronto. 23 August 2012.
For A Good Time Call, Toronto premiere Ari Graynor Justin Long Lauren Miller phone sex Scotiabank Richard Crouse naughty girls Julia Ziegler bogel Jamie Travis faggot
Free sticker. Err... thanks.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Hit And Run (2012)

Bradley Cooper and henchman walk in on a party of swinging septuagenarians.

At a glance:
In love on and offscreen:
Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell
at the L.A. premiere.
(Eric Charbonneau/WireImage)
Hit and Run, to risk an obvious pun, is all hit-and-miss. Apparently impressively made under 10 weeks and under US $2 million, this road movie is a labour of love from Dax Shepard (The Freebie, 2010), who wrote, directed and even got his fiancée Kristen Bell (You Again, 2010) to play opposite him in it. I think she might have been producer, too. Their sweet pillow talk starts us off on an overwritten script, as we follow the couple on the road to L.A. in a custom '67 Lincoln Continental for a job interview, while bein chased by an assortment of maladjusted characters on both sides of the law. I'll leave you to discover them yourselves.
Bad news on the doorstep:
It's easy to blame the crowded cameos and fleetin characters but I suspect they would've been just perfect if only the romance between the lead pair was a wee bit more substantial. The winsome couple draw well from their real life chemistry but without a stronger reason to root for them, the heart of the story is absent and their elaborate dialogue tend to turn petty. Hit And Run is funny only in spurts and I reckon a more traditional storytellin dynamic would've turned this into a top act instead just shiftin gears for mild giggles in between.
Perennial wonderment:
A GPS-powered app to find gay dates in your area. Really? Yep. In real life, it's somethin called Grindr. Funny how much you might be missin out on just by bein on the straight and narrow, eh? On a related note, the movie is full of references to derogatory terms and I'm not entirely sure if I was alright with one or two gags that might actually be genuinely offensive to me. Hit And Run is clearly made to appeal to a certain portion of middle America and if I watched this a second time I might really think it was out of order.
Reminds me of:
Underwhelmin crime capers like Cat Run (2011). Shame. It had a few things goin for it but the end credit feelings are reminiscent of Larry Crown (2011) - cute and likeable but with a hole for a heart.
I can't remember if I cried:
When the crew walk in on some butt-naked septuagenarians about to get busy with their swing party. Wow. I ain't seen such graphic inelasticity since Les Textiles (2004).
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi? 
Maybe I had higher expectations for this because I was a little pumped up from watchin Mel Gibson's excellent Get The Gringo (2012) the previous night. Anyway, show some love to Dax Shepard for puttin his best foot forward. Hope he'll work on gettin a stronger story if he decides to do somethin wacky like this again. Man the guy can really drive!★★1/2
Bonus material:
Dax Shepard and the custom 1967 Lincoln Continental used in the movie.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A.C.A.B.: All Cops Are Bastards (2012)

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In A.C.A.B. Cobra's (Pierfrancesco Favino) body is decorated with a Celtic cross
and his room wall with Mussolini paraphernalia.

Eradis Josende Oberto
plays a Cuban wife.
At a glance:
The onset of the general elections beckons in my troubled homeland Malaysia, so how better to get into the mood than with a nice spot of anti-police literature - and who better to get it from than the world's most passionate police haters - the Italians. I write from experience, so bugger off, you haters. Stefano Sollima's feature debut is an adaptation of Carlo Bonini's 2009 book, to which I haven't had the literary pleasure since it isn't translated. The film however is a slick cop drama with wide international appeal, though its stance on police vigilantism and use of excessive force is somewhat ambiguous, if not apologetic. We follow five riot police officers in Rome – white pride hardman Cobra (Pierfrancesco Favino), hothead wife-beater Negro (Filippo Nigro), string-along Carletto (Andrea Sartoretti), idealistic rookie Adriano (Domenico Diele) and their dogged leader Mazinga (Marco Giallini). A taste of authentic ultra is added no doubt by the fact that most of these actors are Roman-born.
Bad news on the doorstep:
A.C.A.B. = Roma Victor!
Shaft at Cool Awesome Movies points out that the riot scenes look a little underpopulated, possibly due to budget constraints, but this isn't fatal to the movie. If you've ever been arrested and beaten up by the cops for football hooliganism like I was, you'd know it only takes two people to make mayhem (Aha! And there you were thinkin the writer behind this blog is some middle-class fuckwit). The movie hits a few high notes, accentuated by an energetic rock soundtrack (Italian band Mokadelic) - but I think somethin more subdued would've suited some of the emotional downtime and given it a more dirty and desperate Children Of Men (2006) or Pusher (1996) feel.
Reminds me of:
All the English people I knew with those four dotted tatts on their knuckles. Half of them are just lowlifes who don't really stand for anythin, though. For the uninitiated, just give the movie title a Google and you'd learn a little about the significance of such a tattoo.
I can't remember if I cried:
The balcony scene with Filippo Nigro's anti-establishment monologue has been singled out as the film's most powerful play but I feel the most for Favino's Cobra. His body is decorated with a Celtic cross and room wall with Mussolini paraphernalia, but finds himself alone in hummin the tune that was supposed to drum up the camaraderie that once held his brethren together. This quiet scene, in a police van en route to yet another bust-up, defines the movie for me.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
"I don't really believe in anything. I'm just here for the violence". I think you'll like A.C.A.B. Check out the movie's official website (in Italian) and it's very decorated Facebook page for more details.★★★
Bonus material:
Lots of movie stills and behind-the-scenes shots for you. Photo credit Emanuela Scarpa.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Feast Of Love (2007)

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Feast of lesbian love: Selma Blair and Stana Katic in a doomed affair.

At a glance:
Radha Mitchell bares all. Never again, apparently.
This was one of the earliest movies on a Malaysian screen that I watched and reviewed for my old work place and I still remember what a letdown it was. As appetisin as it sounded, the titular meal in Feast Of Love (2007) was reduced within the hour from what must be a 5-course luncheon in the 2000 Charles Baxter book of the same name, to a quick set lunch; and further cheapened into a McDonald’s Value Meal by the credit roll. Inasmuch as romance is concerned, the failure of Feast is even more surprisin when considerin that it was after all, an R-rated movie with plenty of nudity (though snipped) and top stars who never fail to engage an audience. In a Oregon tale of intertwinin love stories, Morgan Freeman goes on another one of his "wise man" narratives, this time as a love counsellor for confused hearts – the highlights bein Greg Kinnear (Auto Focus, 2002) as a failure of a lover; and Alexa Davalos (The Mist, 2007) as a gypsy-like, pseudo-Bohemian in her doomed lesbo romance with a recoverin junkie; while also frontin his own veteran struggle against the fadin of feelings for his wife (Jane Alexander) as an agein couple who had lost their son.
Bad news on the doorstep:
It's not that these relationships aren't interestin, for they are. Rather, it offers neither real solutions nor ideological perspectives that we haven’t seen before. Greg Kinnear’s loser character finds himself cheated on repeatedly, with no plausible reason as to why he is compensated when he eventually is. Alexa Davalos’ drifter character discovers the need-is-love love-is-need maxim, with no plausible reason as to why she ignores it. The worst is when Radha Mitchell’s promiscuous siren role is paraded with such glory (along with an overdose of skin) without offerin any real meanin or depth to her contribution. The characters in Feast Of Love are annoyingly moral-neutral, invitin dislike even before scepticism.This must go down as an ugly blemish in director Robert Benton's CV, which includes classics such as Superman (1978) and Bonnie And Clyde (1967).
Perennial wonderment:
How does Ebert do it? He astutely points out that director Robert Benton has made better movies about doomed marriages (Kramer vs. Kramer, 1979) but this one has no organic reality because it depends on three artifices: (1) the clockwork success and failure of relationships, (2) the need for Morgan Freeman as a witness, (3) the lickety-split time span that compresses the action so much it loses emotional weight.
I can't remember if I cried:
Erika Marozsán Gloomy Sunday 2007 Feast of Love sex naked failure romance Hungarian beauty sexy women free download call now
Erika Marozsán's Hollywood debut. Poor girl.
Extremely heartbreakin that Hungarian beauty Erika Marozsán (pic) waited almost 10 years since Gloomy Sunday (1999) only to star in such a mediocre film for a Hollywood first – and grossly under-utilised at that.
Most memorable line:
"There is a story about the Greek gods. They were bored, so they invented human beings, but they were still bored, so they invented love. Then they weren't bored any longer, so they decided to try love for themselves. And finally they invented laughter, so they could stand it."

Watch out for:
Radha Mitchell's nude scenes keep this movie relevant on DVD shelves today.
Radha Mitchell's sex scenes. She's reportedly fully nude for the first time - though I distinctly remember seein her with Ally Sheedy in some risque behaviour back in High Art (1998). Also, it was reported that she'd never want to do it again after this movie. Savour it while you can, boys.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi? 
Pardonin the cuts (that might have changed this into a four star movie, maybe), it's still puzzlin to see Morgan Freeman sweat so much over so little. Everybody makes their lives more important than they are; and so does the movie. Light-hearted films like Love, Actually (2003) had the humour at least but Feast Of Love is slow with nowhere to go, makin us wonder even harder about the sex that we missed. On a Malaysian screen, this turned out to be no feast at all. A silly snack, more like. The sort of love we get here is like GSC's caramel popcorn – easy to digest and just as easy to forget.★★
Bonus material:
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Where can I buy the matching black underwear Radha Mitchell wore in this movie?
The bra and panties set was more memorable than the movie!