Friday, April 30, 2010

Why are you screaming? I haven't even cut you yet...

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

With every passing week I get more and more assured that Hollywood has run out of ideas. But unlike some people I really don't mind remakes, endless sequels (I love Saw don't I?), and when films steal ideas because of that very reason. Hollywood can't make anything original. One person that has really perpetuated this and that is Michael Bay and his production group Platinum Dunes. Since 2003 they have remade most to all of the original slasher films (besides Halloween which Rob Zombie got) like Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre (both of them), The Hitcher and The Amityville Horror. Now Michael Bay and crew are back and this time they are revamping the classic series A Nightmare on Elm Street.

A Nightmare on Elm Street has always been one of my favorite horror series of all time. Besides the abysmal second one the series has maintained a sense of creepiness, actual scariness without jump scares and it's campy as all Hell. As the series went on Freddy got more and more vocal and by Freddy's Dead he was a snarky bastard who was as creepy as he was funny. Then in 1994 A New Nightmare was released during Wes Craven's "Tongue in cheek F-U horror films" phase. A New Nightmare saw a more evil Freddy, a more demonic Freddy and it brought him to the real world. Freddy then disappeared for nine years, resurfacing for the campy but fun "Freddy vs Jason." It's been seven years now and Freddy has finally returned, this time with a new face. And that face's name is Jackie Earle Haley.

This version of Freddy is a much more creepy than scary Freddy. Part of that is due to an actually touching but horrifying back story that they show about halfway into the film. In it, Fred Krueger is a gardener whose life revolves around the children at a local pre-school. (WARNING SPOILERS BUT REALLY IF YOU'RE SEEING THIS YOU KNOW THE STORY) Fred is a kind man and loves to play games like hide and seek and tag. He also lives in the basement of the pre-school. Down there is his "secret cave." In his "secret cave" he would bring the children down to paint and draw pictures. He would also get them to take pictures...and if you've seen Diff'rent Strokes you know how the rest goes. Anyway the kids told on Fred and Fred decided to flee only to be caught by the kids parents and burned alive. Unlike the original series it's never revealed how Freddy came back to life and how he got into people's dreams but it's a 90 minute horror film so what do you expect?

Either way it's many years later and the film starts with Dean and Kris. Dean keeps falling asleep and seeing this man. Kris tries to assure him he's not real...right before the dream man forces a knife into his throat. At the funeral Nancy, a local diner waitress, reveals that she sees the man as well but she keeps trying to forget and ignore him. A few days later Jesse, Kris' ex boyfriend, comes over to Kris' house after Kris has a horrible daydream in class that causes her to freak out. Jesse decides to stay the night only for Kris to get murdered in her sleep. Jesse gets arrested and dies shortly afterwards and now it's up to Nancy and her buddy who has a crush on her Quentin to figure out how to stop this man who reveals himself to be Freddy.


The film doesn't reinvent the wheel. In fact I don't think it tries to. It knows it's a modern day remake of a classic 80s slasher flick and in fact this new Nightmare tries to be a little more campy in some ways. It's not ha ha funny like the fifth and sixth film but most to all of Freddy's lines as Freddy are pretty tongue in cheek or more along the lines of an action hero who talks in one-liners. But where some films would become eye-rollingly bad from this walking one liner dispenser it's helped by the phenomenal acting of Jackie Earle Haley. Haley is the reason to stay and watch this film. He embodies creepiness and, despite him sounding like Rorschach the entire film, he actually pulls Freddy off quite well. And especially in the back story scenes he conveys this dark innocence and malevolence that only someone who starred in Little Children could do. He's the best thing this movie's got to offer. That's not to say the other actors are bad however. In fact most of them are pretty good. Their main problem however is that you don't really care about them. They are all kind of emo so it's really hard to root for them...except Nancy but she's the protagonist so you have to root for her.

But even with all the positives I've listed there are a few nagging errors in this film that DO bother me. The first is that they only use jump scares to induce fear. The back story scenes are a welcome change but everything else is "Quiet....AHHHHHHH....quiet.....AHHH!!" the entire film. There is barely any music (which is sad since the composer does a great job) and so it's a bit off putting to keep getting VERY LOUD musical sting after musical sting. Like the Wolfman and many horror films nowadays musical stings have become the only source of scariness in films. With the original it was more in your face. Johnny Depp got pulled in the bed and there was no jump scare with it. It was just "Oh he's getting pulled down...WTF is happening? OMG BLOOD GUSHER!" That was awesome. And instead of a musical STING it was like the Jaws theme in there. And THAT was scary.

See what I mean. That's scary. The music sting/jump scare thing is really the only major gripe I have. Otherwise my only other problem is it's a bit abrupt, poorly paced at times with lot's of talky pieces in between the death scenes and as a slasher junkie there weren't enough kills. There were a lot of off-screen ones that you only briefly hear or read about but only a few people die in this film. Remember Freddy's Dead? He killed thousands in that film!

Overall A Nightmare on Elm Street is a decent horror remake of a great film and features overall good acting that suffers from bad pacing, one note scaring tactics, characters you don't care about and not enough slashing. I recommend it but only after you've seen all the other films...besides two...this is MUCH better than two.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Demented Encyclopedia Episode 7- "What episode is this again? Eight?" "Seven..." "Hey guys it's episode eight...crap." "Sigh"

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Well it was another list episode this week but instead of top 5's we did top me this will be the last list for a while. We have the next two episodes planned out and neither of them involve lists in any way. So stay tuned for that.


Anyway first we started off with plugs. I plugged the Uwe Boll interview (see below) as well as my new Haul segment. Check them out.

Anyway in today's main topic we discussed our top 10 lists of guilty pleasures films that are really bad but we love or won't admit we like (I sneaked a chick flick in there).

My list consisted of:

10. Southland Tales
9. The Devil Wears Prada
8. Johnny Mnemonic
7. Dead Snow
6.The Room
5. Dead and Breakfast
4. Plan 9 from Outer Space
3. Alone in the Dark

2. The Wicker Man

and number 1: Snakes on A Plane

such a classic. Afterwards we discussed Survivor for more than a brief moment and then got into our Idol talk. After that we did Recommend A's in which I recommended the movie and comic version of "The Losers" and Nick plugged "Apocalypse NOW" a great survival guide book.

Then we did our Mono-Dialogue's of the week and while I did the Best of The Wicker Man...Nick did a spot on Heath Ledger with his rendition of the hospital scene from The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight - Hospital Scene (Two-Face and Joker)
Uploaded by EagleFire21. - More lifestyle, fashion and how-to videos.

ahh..a great scene...

Anyway stay tuned for our next episode and as always thanks for listening.

Interview with Dr. Uwe Boll...

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

I've always had a soft spot for Uwe Boll. Whether or not he is a good writer/director is an argument I try to stay away from. While he has made some horrifically bad films, like his video game adaptations and Seed, he has also made some really good films as well, like his filmography up to House of the Dead (three German films, a Deliverance esque thriller and a school shooting film) and his recent film Rampage. He's outspoken, ballsy, has surprisingly good taste in films, and if nothing else he can take as much as he can give. Critics all around the world have bashed the man and fans have even put out a petition to get him to stop. He's also been the butt of many jokes, whether a parody video, a comic or a video on That Guy With The Glasses. But through it all he laughs his way to the bank and isn't afraid to poke fun at himself (see his Postal campaign videos).

So what possessed me to interview him? Well I'll tell you. After watching Spoony (aka Noah Antwiler) interview Kristanna Loken, I had a fantasy of what it would be like to interview the good doctor. So I tracked him down and got an interview with him. It wasn't easy but it was definitely worth it.

So without further ado...Dr. Uwe Boll.

The Movie Encyclopedia: My first question is this-What projects are you currently working on at the moment? Any films coming up soon that we should know about?

Uwe Boll: We are in post production of BLOODRAYNE-THE THIRD REICH and AUSCHWITZ. I try in the last few years to make political, personal movies and genre movies. The more personal movies like POSTAL, SEED, 1968-TUNNELRATS, STOIC, RAMPAGE, DARFUR, and now AUSCHWITZ are always also written by me.

RAMPAGE and DARFUR are getting now in theaters in Germany in a mini-release and PHASE 4 in North America will release them also soon.

TME: Second question- A good number of the film's you've released over the years have been adapted from video games. What made you decided to take on this medium. Have you grown up a video game fan wanting to see some of your favorite games on the silver screen or did you just want to take a series that already had a fan base and go from that. Has there been any video games or series you've wanted to or wish to direct?

Uwe Boll: I came by accident into video game based movies. HOUSE OF THE DEAD I got by accident on my desk and I always loved zombie movies so I made the movie. And it is still to this day the most profitable movie I ever did. After this I tried to get movie rights to games I really liked and a few I got. Others like HITMAN or SILENT HILL I did not get. I tried to show with ALONE IN THE DARK, BLOODRAYNE, IN THE NAME OF THE KING aka DUNGEON SIEGE, POSTAL and FAR CRY that video game based movies are not always horror films. I showed the whole range of video games and I think with POSTAL I proved that the most the most controversial comedy can be a video game adaptation.

TME: Third question- What has been your favorite production. I mean I hear the stories of Romania with Bloodrayne (like with the stray dogs and cats) and I hear stories about all the things going on behind the scenes...has there been a film production that has been more memorable than others?

Uwe Boll: My favorite is POSTAL because after I long time I went back to scriptwriting with it and I packed all my dirty humor (even about myself as a lederhosen nazi) in that movie. We were laughing on set and in post production I love the result. I think with the personal movies listed above I made my best movies all in the last few years. It was also great to shoot IN THE NAME OF THE KING because of the size of the production and the work with all the big actors.

TME: Fourth question- What is your favorite movie you have ever worked on? Any actors/actresses you liked collaborating with and/or wish to collaborate with in the future?

Uwe Boll: Very impressive and with impact was the shoot for DARFUR-the movie about the genocide in Sudan. The Sudanese refugees played themselves and were unbelievably strong. The American actors like Kristanna Loken, Billy Zane or Edward Furlong were blown away. It's my most important movie because the genocide is still going on and right now a lot of universities in the USA are showing the movie and I hope it will grow. I like working with Michael Pare, he's my best actor friend after Will Sanderson retired. I also like Loken, Furlong, Clint Howard, and Ron Perlman...all great to work with. I would LOVE to shoot with Bruce Willis, Kurt Russel or Brad Pitt.

Fifth Question-What is your opinion on the petition to get you to retire? I personally think it's dumb because you've gone on record saying that you would never do it even if they got 1,000,000 signatures. But what is your opinion now?

Uwe Boll: The petition is now and old and uninteresting. It got a lot of press and a chewing gum sponsor but oh well...what a bullshit.

Sixth Question- Is there a certain genre you prefer over others? If you could only pick one to do what would it be?

Uwe Boll: I like doing different genres. I would hate it always doing the same movie like George A Romero does.

Seventh Question- What is your favorite film(s) and why?


Right now my number 1 favorite IS APOCALYPSE NOW because it was a visible adventure to shoot and the crazy production situations made the movie what it was and it really reflects the absurdity of war.

TME: Eighth question-Any advice for aspiring directors or writers?

Uwe Boll: Follow your dreams and work hard to make them come true...or rob a bank.

TME: Anything to keep in mind while making a film?

Uwe Boll: When you make a movie have enough sleep, vitamins, food and stay relaxed. Be aware that the crew is getting tired and the cast you must be disciplined and keep your energy up because it's your baby and not theirs. You must then sit alone in the editing, mixing and screening room so get everything in the can that you can.

TME: And finally...what was up with Raging Boll? Why did you decide then and there to box your critics?

Uwe: The boxing was revenge...I was (and still is) sick and tired of the over the top and unfair reviews I was getting.

So there you have it. My interview with Uwe Boll. Hopefully it was everything you hoped for and more. I got one shot and I did the best I could. He was a really nice guy and I was honored to talk with until next time.

And if you didn't like the interview...Uwe Boll has a message for ya! the angle of the dangle?

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Fast paced, violent, stylistic, hilarious, over the top fun pretty much sums up "The Losers" in one sentence. Directed by Sylvain White, better known as the guy behind the underwhelming Stomp the Yard, and written by Peter Berg (behind films like The Kingdom and The Rundown) and James Vanderbilt (Zodiac), this adaptation of the highly acclaimed Andy Diggle comic book series is as funny as it is action packed. It may not win any awards for writing, acting or directing, but it's loads of fun and a thrill to watch.

The story follows five tough guy soldiers named Clay (Jeffery Dean Morgan), Jensen (Chris Evans), Pooch (Columbus Short), Cougar (Oscar Jaenada) and Roque (Idris Elba) who are sent on a mission to take down a drug lord in Bolivia. When they reach the target area and see that their target is a bus full of kids they decide to abort the mission. A mysterious man named Max (Jason Patric) orders a bomb to be dropped. Taking notice of this, the guys rescue the kids from the bus and put them on a chopper to safety. The problem is that as soon as the helicopter goes up, it gets shot down and all the kids are killed. The guys realize it was meant for them, tear off their dog tags and swear vengeance on Max...even though they are stranded in Bolivia with no money and no passports.

Before I go on you must realize that ALL OF THIS happened BEFORE the title sequence. That's how you start a movie! Anyway the group runs around and Clay gets seduced by a bar girl named Aisha (Zoe Saldana). They go up to a hotel room, fight and then burn said hotel down. After this Clay decides that Aisha should join the team and help them out since she has connections and so the crew get back to America. Pretty much from this point on it's wise crack, EXPLOSION, talking, wise crack EXPLOSION, talking rinse and repeat. It's this over and over for the rest of the film....

...and I am totally fine with that.
That being said the script IS the weakest part of the film. The plot is VERY formulaic and predictable filled with every action cliche in the book. You can predict everything that happens a mile away and that is somewhat disappointing. On top of that the action really does take over the second half of the film so most of the character development, side stories and everything else goes out the window. Added on with that, the character of Max doesn't seem like a really truly evil character, especially since Max is so subdued compared to the over the top characters that are the Losers. It seems like all the work went into the explosions, the Losers and the jokes.But despite that the jokes are quite witty and really hilarious and left me in stitches.

The acting is also brilliant. All the actors shine in their respective roles with nobody slacking off. It's essentially a game of acting one-up for the entire film. But the person who steals the entire movie of course is The Human Torch himself Chris Evans. Evans as Jensen is a wisecracking computer nerd who hits on women, sings in falsetto to Journey (guess the song), fake shoots people (stolen out of Crank but who cares) and is the continuous comedic relief of the film. Everyone, besides maybe Aisha, is actually REALLY funny anyway just with all the snarled and snarky one liners so that's gotta tell you something. On top of that the film is extremely stylistic and bright and flashy. Needless to say you won't get bored with this film.
Citizen Kane the Losers is not. But it's a fun and energetic film that gives you great mindless violence mixed with great acting and humor that's enjoyable from start to finish despite a formulaic and weak plot. If you want funny action and can't wait until the Expendables or the A-Team then give this one a look.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Don't hassle me about crumbs man, because I am on the edge of the edge.

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Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

A film that was considered so bad that it was almost sent straight to DVD and then almost cancelled altogether before getting enough backing to send it to theaters briefly. That sentence should almost guarantee this film gets my lowest rating. On top of that both the stars and the director apologized for the film. But while Envy IS a bad film, it does have enough of a redeeming value to make it semi watchable, mostly in part to overly silly sight gags and of course Mr. Chris Walken.

The plot of Envy follows two best friends named Tim and Nick (played by Stiller and Black). They both live semi-normal lives but Nick is always trying to think of get rich quick schemes. One day he invents VaPOOrize and gets rich of it. Tim was given the option of investing in the company but blew it off. Now Tim is pissed and green with envy while Nick is completely blissfully ignorant at how his friend feels. Eventually Tim meets a drifter named J-Man (Walken) who becomes Tim's partner in trying to bring down Nick and become rich themselves.

The plot's really not that bad but most to all of the non-Walken jokes really fall on their face. Add that on to lazy direction and poor cinematography and this becomes an ugly film all around. Stiller is his usual spastic self and that gets old quickly and as for Jack Black...well he plays Jack Black. By now you like the man or you hate his guts. I'm in the former so I thought he was pretty good in this. The rest of the cast is okay but forgettable which is sad because Amy Poehler is usually always pretty funny and Rachel Weisz is a good actress. But they get shoved under the bus and carried away once Black and Walken walk in. Walken does great as usual and his wild wig and his mannerisms are great in this film. Overall he makes the film watchable and I found myself skipping to scenes with him in it most of the time.

Overall Envy is a poorly written, directed and shot film with decent but forgettable acting (sans Black and Walken) and overall a pretty disappointing film.


The ocean fights on and anyone who knows the sea will tell you of her power

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Well Jaques Perrin is up to his old tricks again. The famed nature documenter and director of such awe inspiring films like Winged Migration (despite it being boring as all hell) and many others is back with a new film called Oceans. It took 50,000,000 Euros, four years, and fifty different locations to create this film. Painstaking effort when it comes to the visuals as well as the editing (they had to wait like 20+ hours to get one brief shot) really shows just how beautiful this film really is. Perrin, working alongside many other people including his friend Jaques Cluzard have created a stunning film that Blu-Ray was designed to show. While not in 3-D like the other recent oceanic film, this film makes up for it in just the sheer mass of "What the..." moments you experience.

The "story" of Oceans is a simple one. It's the story of the sea. All of the inner workings, all of the different creatures, all of the different interactions that people and other creatures have with it, how big it is, how blue it is, and some of the perils that come with the sea. But it's not just you sitting and watching the sea for 100 minutes. No we are guided along by Pierce Brosnan, who can't seem to pick an accent in the movie but does his damnedest to keep the story going. Brosnan is one of four narrators in the film but the only one that we in America are going to see. Perrin himself narrates the French version with Aldo and Rie Miyazawa doing the Italian and Japanese narration. Why Perrin picked Brosnan is baffling (was Morgan Freeman or Liam Neeson not available?) but that being said he provides a nice calming voice through the film.

The film does have a purpose though besides what I said however and it's both a positive and a negative for me: respecting nature and how we the human race are destroying it. Now I'm all for green, I recycle and I do my part to help mother nature, but at the same time I hate it when films have this preachy message that they try to subliminally shove down your throat. They don't tell you that you a heartless monster, they show you. Al Gore did it with an Incoveniant Truth and I hated that film. I see a lot of nature and political films that tell us how bad we are. I honestly didn't think Disney would. That being said I respect them for trying to get kids to go green but the "Help the environment" ads every 2 minutes on Disney does it's job well enough. But I only REALLY noticed if I looked. Most of the time you are just staring dumbfounded at the screen.
Overall Oceans is a good documentary with stunning visuals. It has a preachy message and is pretty slow at times but it's definitely worth checking out for the visuals alone.


Don't worry it's going to be like a bunch of Speedy Gonzales's running all over the place

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

I should have known this was going to be bad. Not terrible because Forrest Whitaker and Regina King would make it watchable at least but as soon as I saw Carlos Mencia in the main titles and learned it was a romantic comedy in some sort of Dad's one uping each other sort of way, I should have ran hard and far far away from this film. But I'm determined that I must be some sort of masochist as I sat through this film and honestly I was right. Watchable, but still painful to sit through.

Here's the idea of the film: Lucia is a law student at Columbia who has just met the man of her dreams Marcus, a Columbia med school graduate. They get together and they fall in love. Lucia drops out of law school to join Marcus in Doctors Without Borders. They won't move to Laos until AFTER they are married however but there are just a few problems:

1. Lucia is Hispanic and Marcus is Black
2. Lucia comes from a very traditional Mexican home and so Lucia must hide the fact that they have been living together (shocker she isn't pregnant...which is a first in these kinds of films).
3. Marcus' dad is a rich DJ whose car gets towed by Lucia's dad.
4. Therefore Marcus' dad and Lucia's dad hate each other...even more so once Lucia and Marcus announced they are engaged
5. Hi jinks ensue...!

This is something you would expect out of a sitcom...not a full length film. There are a few chuckles here and there but for the most part it's pretty painful to sit through. Groan and eye rolling inducing scene after groaning and eye rolling inducing scene.

It also doesn't help that the acting is almost across the board quite lame. Whitaker and King do okay as Marcus' parents but they are overshadowed by the annoying loud mouth Carlos Mencia. He SADLY steals the show and every time he speaks he gets more and more annoying. Add that onto the lazy editing, the lazy directing and the bad writing and it's even worse.

Overall Our Family Wedding is a painfully unfunny sitcom quality romantic comedy. Unless you HAVE to see it, please try to avoid this one.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

What is this? What are you doing to us?

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

I never have nightmares anymore. The last time I had a nightmare was after watching Antichrist. It's not because the film was scary but mostly because foxes eating themselves saying "Chaos Reigns" and a woman chopping her private parts off with rusty scissors is enough to make me never want to sleep again. And I thought after laughing my way through Seed, Saw and Hostel films that I was totally desensitized to creepy torture porn or weird horror films but I guess I was wrong. Well who do I thank for this. Well I thank the controversial Dutch director known as Tom Six who wrote and directed a little film called "The Human Centipede." Needless to say that film gave ME nightmares.

The plot is as follows: Dr Heiter is an evil mad scientist. He kidnaps a truck driver and we never see him again until later. Meanwhile Lindsay and Jenny are two American tourists whose car breaks down. They end up at Dr. Heiter's house to see if they can find a way to fix their car and when they finally get INSIDE the house...the shit hits the fan. The girls are drugged and forced into a makeshift hospital ward where they wake up and see the truck driver. He is killed for not "being a match" and the girls then wake up again to find a NEW replacement named Katsuro, a Japanese tourist. The Doctor explains that he is a world renowned surgeon known for separating conjoined twins. He has this idea to join three people together through their digestive track, a "human centipede" of sorts, and wants the three captives to be the guniea pigs.
Long story short, they end up joined together, are forced to do tasks, Katsuro gets angry and gets the crap beaten out of him, Lindsay is forced to swallow crap, Jenny's dying of blood poisoning, a couple of police officers show up, they go, Katsuro stabs Heiter, commits suicide, the officers return and Heiter and the officers get shot. Jenny finally dies of her blood poisoning and Ashley is left alone with two dead people attached to her.

This is one MESSED UP MOVIE. It's helped by the fact that it's well acted and written for the most part but it's still messed up. Heiter is a great mad scientist and one of the best villains I've seen in a while. The cops are good and, besides Katsuro, the captives are all pretty good actors. And the plot doesn't really screw around much which is appreciated. Don't worry there won't be any "Wait for 45 minutes before anything happens" going on in this film. Once it gets gets GOING.

The special effects are good and I HAVE to applaud the make up department. The lighting and the cinematography are quite good as well. The film has a very nice atmospheric feel which really adds a good tone to the film. My only huge issue with the movie is I couldn't get this out of my head...

Overall the Human Centipede is a messed up but decent horror film that takes risks and is quite original. It's not for the weak of heart or stomach but there are certainly worse films out there...
so if you're even slightly interested...give this one a look.


Oh yes, the wall of ego. We all have one, our equivalent of the dentist's fish tank.

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Love him or hate him its hard not to admit that Roman Polanski has talent. Most to all of his films pack visionary style, great symbolism, a deep message and an interesting story. Personal life aside this man is a genius. So it would probably come to nobodies surprise that I was excited for his latest film The Ghost (with Writer added at the end in the US).

The Ghost is the adaptation of Robert Harris' book "The Ghost," a controversial book which talked about the darker side or former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, under a different name of course. The story goes that a nameless ghost writer (Ewan McGregor) is given the assignment to finish the memoirs of former British Prime Minister Adam Lang. He accepts but is wary because the previous ghost writer died in a mysterious accident. Things seem to go alright though until Lang is accused of a war crime. The Ghost gets suspicious and starts looking for clues that might prove that Lang really HAS committed a war crime and is linked to the CIA.

From beginning to end this is a thrilling picture. The plot moves at a breakneck pace and really once the film has gripped you, it does not let go. It may not pack the bang of some of Polanski's other works, but his style and flair and attention to detail are definitely noticeable. His experience shines through and makes this a film that is thrilling AND fun to watch.

And that is only accentuated by the great acting across the board. Ewan is great in his role as the unnamed Ghost. His calm and collected but real as well. You sense his fear, his longing to know the truth and his determination to find it. Ewan gives probably one of his best performances I've seen. I will say though that Pierce Brosnan as Adam Lang is brilliant. He's smart, cunning, devious and he has a sort of calm insanity in him a la Hannibal. Brosnan really brings the swagger and charisma that the character needed and he really shines in this picture as well. Other performances from Tom Wilkinson and Timothy Hutton are quite good as well. The females do a good job but are definitely outshined by the two strong leads in the film.

Overall Ghost Writer is a great thriller with brilliant writing, directing and acting all across the board. Maybe not Polanski's best but still a great film nevertheless.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

LAMMY 2010 FYC...or just me shamelessly plugging myself

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Today the 2010 LAMMY'S were announced. In between Survivor Interviews, Uwe Boll interviews (which will be up by Sunday), Hollywood Hauls (and an upcoming Mall Haul), movie reviews which I'm hard at work on and dealing with college I totally almost forgot about the LAMMYs. The LAMMYs are the equivalent of the Oscars for the LAMBs. It's where we all can gather around and celebrate achievements and acknowledge that people really do care about your work.

I have been excited about the LAMMY's even before I was a LAMB. Once, while visiting my cousin Jimmy's blog (Diary of A Mad Film Fan) I noticed that he had a new sticker thing on his blog that said LAMMY winner. It was because of that award that I first heard about the LAMB's. So it's thanks to the LAMMY's that I am even a member today.

So needless to say I'm excited. So if you haven't already, be sure to send in your nominations today. They last until May 12th and then the nominees are announced. Once they are you get the opportunity to vote for who you think should win and then shortly afterwards the winners are announced.

If you are a member you can send the nominations in as well as a FYC (For Your Consideration) poster so that you can put your hat into the ring for everyone to see. Mine is at the top of the post and should show up on the LAMB sometime.

I'm not saying you have to vote for me or anything like that but every vote for The Movie Encyclopedia is appreciated. I made sure that ALL of my favorite sites and frequent commenter's got a nomination in some form or another (I reciprocate) and hopefully I meet a criteria of voting for you.

Best luck to all and stay tuned for Part 3 of the Hollywood Haul along with more reviews.

Monday, April 19, 2010

With no power, comes no responsibility...except that's not true...

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

"Flawed masterpiece," "defining period piece of our generation," "the most unrealistic realistic superhero film I've ever seen." All of these describe my feelings for Kick-Ass and more. My most anticipated film of 2010 next to The Expendables and the A-Team remake, Kick-Ass goes into the category of "love it or hate it" with me being in the former. Is it bloody and gory? Yes but not gratuitously. Is there language? Yes but not overwhelming or distracting. Is there violence? Yes but it all has purpose in the long run. Kick-Ass is everything I expected and more and is probably one of the best movies of this year.

*Warning-contains mild spoilers but nothing plot destroying*

The story of Kick-Ass faithfully (or to a certain extent) follows Mark Millar's comic book of the same name. It's the tale of Dave. Dave is your average high schooler except unlike other high schoolers he has no defining features whatsoever. He's not good at sports, isn't a mathlete, doesn't have a tattoo or piercing and isn't even the funny one in his group of friends. The only thing that defines Dave's personality is that he is a comic book reader whose mom died of an aneurysm and he's totally invisible to women. He's also a chronic masturbater who has fantasies about his English teacher. But despite not having any defining qualities Dave does have one thing: a dream. A dream of becoming a superhero. So after getting mugged after school one day Dave decides to buy a green wetsuit and fight crime. Problem is he sucks and on his first outing he gets stabbed and hit by a car which puts him in the hospital for months and ultimately gives him damaged nerve endings and steel plates all over his body, making him fairly immune to any pain-the closest thing to a superpower in this film.

While all of this is happening we are introduced to the other two main components of the story: The Macready family and the D'Amico family. The D'Amico family is run by Frank D'Amico, a mobster who has his hand in every major organization. He's rich, powerful and fronts a lumber store so he can sell drugs to everyone. His son Chris wants to get into the family business but Frank doesn't like the idea. The Macready family consists of Damon and Mindy Macready, two established vigilante heroes known as Big Daddy and Hit Girl. These two have been trying to take down the D'Amico family and stop their evil tyranny.

Eventually each of these families get intertwined as Dave gets out of the hospital and becomes the Internet phenomenon known as Kick-Ass. Big Daddy and Hit Girl want to team with Kick Ass and Frank wants him dead after believing that HE was the one who stole drugs from him.

It's actually a really well done plot. The story does take a while to pick up, the first thirty minutes ARE the origin stories (well all except Big Daddy and Hit Girl which is done later in comic panel form) so they have to establish character. That's not to say that they're a bad thirty minutes but in every first superhero film, the origin story does drag on for a while. The body of the story is also really good as well mixing humor with seriousness and of course balls out action. The last twenty minutes or so is what really makes or breaks the movie apparently. It's pure adrenaline filled action almost non stop with a satisfying conclusion. Yes it sets up for a sequel but not in a cliffhanger way but more as a "Next time gadget" sort of way leaving it ambiguous enough to stand on it's own as an ending but open enough FOR a sequel.
Where Kick-Ass really shines is in it's writing and the acting. Besides the plot, the dialogue is sharp, witty, dry and intelligent. Dave is a typical teenager but at the same time there is something deeper there. He is very reminiscent of The Narrator from Fight Club in the way he is full of cynical words of wisdom, jabs at himself and others and a inner monologue that both works as great character development and a good source of humor for the film. Even the small talk dialogue or even the body language of some of the characters is great. There is one scene where a girl is burying her head into one of Dave's friends and immediately the first thing he does is nudge his friend and point like in a "Oh yeah" kind of way. Just the subtle stuff is great. Overall the writing is great.

Aaron Johnson was given a hard task with playing Dave/Kick-Ass. Already an established and well known (at least in the UK) actor, Aaron has to play the lovable hero but also can't outshine everyone else because he really is the weakest superhero out of all of them. Like my podcasting partner Nick said in his review he has the Harry Potter syndrome in the sense he has potential but relies on others to help him out. But Aaron still portrays a very real character and you really do relate and care about him. Along with Johnson, the film also stars Mark Strong, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin), Nick Cage and Chloe Moretz. Mark strong plays Frank D'Amico and does a decent enough job. He plays a good villain, as it was established in Sherlock Holmes, but he just comes off a bit stereotypical mob boss in this film. That's not bad but I kind of expected more sinister from him. McLovin (I can't help calling him that) does well but it's kind of hard to really like him. His character is well done, albeit slightly predictable, and he does a good enough job but he hasn't really stepped out of that McLovin shell.

The real stand outs of the movie though are of course Chloe Moretz and Nick Cage. Nick Cage, whose been quite good lately with films like Bad Lieutenant really shines as Damon/Big Daddy. His bipolar approach to life, one minute being this brooding angry bloke who can explode at any moment to "Oh Child what a lovely day" kind but demented father, is really quite interesting. Damon has really been through a lot of trauma and it shows without having to shove it in your face. He truly only lives to take down D'Amico and for his daughter, the one thing he cares about. His love for violence too is also a great social message as well. Unable to cope and accept life as it is, he is stuck in the anger part of grieving and instead of coping he decides to take it out on others and inappropriately find closure by killing D'Amico and his crew. As Big Daddy too he is quite mesmerizing because he is very meticulous and calculated and at the same time doing his best Adam West impersonation which makes me laugh every time.

As for Moretz she does quite well as Hit Girl, proving she can stand with the big names and in fact pretty much steals the show. Mindy is a brainwashed, cold but caring little girl who lives to serve her father. She is still a little girl (as noticed by the hot chocolate with pink marshmallows and her "Yes daddy I'm sowwy" when she messes up during a fight scene) but she's also had to grow up really fast. She is a whiz with weaponry ranging from guns to knives and she is very talented with acrobatics and thinking on her feet. She's also got quite the mouth on her which is surprising the first time you hear it. But she IS really a deep character and she grows on you. Even though she is this cold killing machine essentially you really care about her.

The film is not without it's faults though. Like I mentioned it takes a while to get going and it takes about as long to get to any action. The violence and the language may also put some people off, mostly because the violence is done by and towards Hit Girl who also swears the most. Also some of the side characters seem like they could have been utilized more, the love story is good but kinda seems tacked on at times (although the actress playing Katie is good). Also there are some side stories that get overshadowed like Dave's apparent fear of heights, the bullies that initially kick his ass, and Kick-Ass helping people out through myspace. But these aren't dealbreaker faults.

Overall Kick-Ass is a great movie with great action, great acting, great writing and is one of my favorites of the year.


PS: Did anyone notice the 28 Days Later theme in the film during the warehouse scene? Oh and that the library (or hall) scene was reminiscent of this scene from Wanted?

What part of "sudden death" didn't you understand?

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Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

I'm actually a huge fan of Reno 911. The show is hilarious, the characters are memorable and my two favorite characters are Dangle and Junior. So why is it that a movie, directed and written by Dangle and Junior (Ben Garant and Tom Lennon) sucks so hard? Now I'm not saying it's the worst movie ever, I've seen plenty worse, but this movie is a prime example of when comedy doesn't work. It does have a saving grace *cough who do you think?* but overall it's just not a good film.

Dan Fogler plays Randy Daytona, an Olympic table tennis player. After losing at the 98 Olympics, being publicly humiliated and his father killed by the Triad, Randy goes into hiding. 19 years later Randy is working at a casino doing table tennis routines. After being kicked out he is wrangled in by the FBI to take down Feng (Walken), a notorious criminal. He's trained by a blind man named Wong and eventually he finds himself in a tournament in which the winner takes on Feng to the death.

It has its moments of funny but Balls of Fury in the long run just isn't that funny. Without Walken's hilarious portrayal of Feng, which is probably the saving grace, this film would have been unbearable to sit through. Luckily there is enough Feng to make it bearable. Overall though the acting, sans Walken, is terrible, the writing is terrible, the directing is terrible and the plot is unoriginal and boring.

I wanted this movie to be better but in the long run it just wasn't. A sad role for Walken.


The Demented Encyclopedia Episode 6- I'm gonna get crucified upside down in barbed wire for this one

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Well it's another week and another episode of The Demented Encyclopedia. This time we were joined by our second guest host Jason Soto from Invasion of the B Movies. We brought in this colorfully hilarious character not only because he's fun to talk to and one half of the Lair of the Unwanted Podcast team but also because he has a very unique taste in films. Because of that and because we enjoy lists we decided to do our top 5 movies that people seem to love but we hate. Using colorful terms for how we were gonna get maimed for our choices, we went through our lists and briefly discussed each of our choices.

From there we moved onto a short D-Bag segment (people need to comment on our facebook get mentioned!) and then a lightning round of Reality Round Up which was accentuated by a story from Jason on how people supposedly think he looks like Andrew Garcia from American Idol.

After that we got into our recommend a's in which Jason plugged a book on bad movies, I plugged Splinter Cell: Conviction and Blaze Bayley and Nick plugged Gamers Dorkness Rising (which was interesting because I know one of the camera operators).

After that we got into our crazed version of our mono-dia-logue's of the week in which I did There Will Be Blood (guess which scene), Nick did The Huey Lewis scene from American Psycho and Jason did a B-Movie horror film.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

He Shot Cyrus' 10 Movie Facts About Myself

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Well my buddy Scott over at He Shot Cyrus decided to start a new meme. Since my Kick-Ass review will take about another day or so to write and my Courtney interview will come sooner rather than later but since he nominated me and I'm a fan of the site I decided what the hey? I've been doing personal posts lately so what's ten more facts about me?

So here is my ten movie facts about myself:

1. I have seen over 2050 films in my almost 19 years on this Earth (Why do you think I have the title "The Movie Encyclopedia"?)

2. I have had a bit part in an indie movie called "The Weight." It was written and directed by my cousin and I got paid 20 bucks to say "You're hand doesn't count asshole."

3. I have never seen the original Die Hard or the Bad Boy series. I have also never seen any movie, besides Citizen Kane, that stars Orson Welles. And I've only seen two Humphrey Bogart films. (All of these will be remedied shortly).

4. I have a soft spot for Uwe Boll and Ed Wood films...or maybe I'm just a masochist.

5. My main inspiration for this entire site came from two people: Doug Walker of the Nostalgia Critic (who gave me the idea to always use a tagline to start my posts) and my cousin Jimmy who is a LAMMY award winning blogger. His site is Diary of A Mad Film Fan. Doug and Jimmy's love for films sparked me to write about MY LOVE of film.

6. I am an avid collector of ticket stubs. I have been collecting since November of 2003 and still do it to this day. I don't know how many I have but I have three Hefty X-L sandwich bags full of tickets.

7. I own all 47 of X-Ray Dog's albums despite them not being available commercially (it's called connections). X-Ray Dog is the group that does all the music for the trailers. I also own a lot of film soundtracks my favorite being 28 Days Later.

8. I get compared to four actors all the time: for my humor-Jack Black and Jason Alexander, for my looks-Chris Farley and Matt Damon (specifically a FAT Matt Damon).

9. I have never seen a movie in theaters more than 4 times. And I've only seen about 10 movies 3 times in theaters. I tend to see most GOOD movies at least twice.

10. The first movie I ever saw in theater's was The Lion King. The first movie I ever watched at home was Old Yeller.

Hope these didn't bore you to death and thanks to He Shot Cyrus for nominating me. As for my nominations:

Tom Clift of Plus Trailers
Mike Mendez of Big Mike's Movie Blog
V. Shaft and Magnum from Cool Awesome Movies

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Coach kayaking tale and top 5 lists (not top films or actors)

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

Well I have plenty of reviews coming soon as well as more Christopher Walken Appreciation Month, but I thought I'd take this post to take care of some things that have been on my mind.

First is the Coach interview...when I do these Survivor interviews it is usually a pretty long discussion. In the end I usually end up with 8-10 pages of material. Some of it is making sure it's really them security questions, some of it is how are you doing and some of it is for the intro. What I then do is take that material, pick and choose the best, most detailed questions and answers and post it for everyone.

During the Coach interview I was quoted as saying "I've always been a fan of you and your kayaking stories" Do you want to hear one?" "No...anyway." If you notice I put a "..." in there. Usually if I put a "..." in the answers it is because between that and the next sentence...things are said.

My point is that Coach DID tell a kayaking story. The reason I didn't post it is because it's the story he's been telling everybody in all of his exit interviews. Because it wasn't unique or original I didn't think it was necessary to print on this blog. But since I won't stop getting crap for "turning down" a kayaking it is.

"I was down in Mexico and I was kayaking. This guy gave me ice that was actually some kind of poison or something. Probably something that was dipped in diesel fuel, I dunno. The ice sat there and melted in my cooler. I was three days south of the nearest land and it was 95 degrees out. The problem was I couldn't drink the water. So I dumped it all out and was without water. For four days I floated around without water with nothing around me. With the heat baring down on me I tried to push through it. But after those four days I finally passed out. Then out of nowhere Bill Ronstadt, of the famous Ronstadt family, came up to my kayak in a large sailboat. He fished me out of the water and pretty much saved my life. I was dehydrated, unconcious and almost dead. And he saved my life."

There you's not unique but it's still a good story.

Since I'm not one to waste posts though I also decided I'd take this time to create some top 5 lists. Does most of it matter? No. If you listened to the recent Demented Encyclopedia (widget in the doobly doo to the side) you know my top 5 films and actors/actresses, but what about my other top 5s? I won't do like food or extraneous things but I think you all deserve to hear some of my favorites.

First is my top 5 most read blogs:

If you've read my profile then you know that I follow A LOT of blogs. So to pick five favorites is really hard. So instead of just picking, I checked my view counter of all the blogs I've visited and found five blogs that I read the most often. So without further ado:

Rachel over at Rachel's Reel Reviews is not only a big part of the LAMB (she tallies all the LAMBscores), a contributing member of the LAMBcast on occasion and an always welcome co-host of the Demented Encyclopedia but she is also the author of a really great blog. Not only does she do great movie reviews but now she has great weekly features that range from what's on TV to what trailers are out now. She works really hard and considering she is also a mother of a young child, it's a wonder she gets anything done. A great site if you ever get the chance to check it out.

Jason Soto over at Invasion of the B-Movies runs a really great site. He not only does a phenomenal monthly podcast called "Lair of the Unwanted," he also has great features on his site (like Date My Mom, Bad Movie Ultimate Cage Match...which I dominated..., and lists (part of why I'm doing this)) and he has a great sense of humor about it all. He touches films that I would never touch again and he is actually an upcoming guest host on the Demented Encyclopedia. A good friend and a great's to lost by single digit numbers to number 3.

Ventilation Shaft and Magnum are a crazy duo. They're funny, they're entertaining, they're friends and supporters of The Movie Encyclopedia and they're a site you should check out. They are great writers, cover movies that I even haven't heard of, they dedicate an entire month to manliness, they're editorials are deep and thoughtful and they proudly show boobs...mostly because they can but hey I don't have the balls to do it. And these guys do. Don't let the content warning scare you away...let it encourage you to click yes. It's a site you shouldn't miss.

What more can be said about Dylan "Fletch" Fields that hasn't already? A stand up guy, a great writer, the creator of LAMB, the creator of the LAMBcast and the person who let me join LAMB and thereby helped me get to know all these other mentioned blogs. His site is great, his features rule, and if you don't read it...shame on are missing out.

I swear the fix isn't in. The numbers did all the talking with this list. But in all serious Nick Jobe of R2D2 is my podcasting partner, my closest blogger friend, a Ben Foster enthusiast, a fellow Shaun of the Dead lover and an all around great guy. This guy has a passion for film I rarely see and I always look forward to working with him on TDE. So congrats on getting number 1 deserve it.

Now onto another Top 5 inspired slightly by He Shot top 5 podcasts:

Oh and don't worry, LAMBcast and The Demented Encyclopedia aren't on there. I can be objective. With this list I just looked at my iTunes view counter and was able to come up with my top 5.

5. Big Mike's Movie Podcast

"Big" Mike Mendez of Big Mike's Movie Blog not only has a great site, but he also has a great podcast. Despite only having had 4 episodes so far, each and every one of them is thoughtful, deep, interesting and a joy to listen to. If you aren't listening, you should be.

4. The Film Cynics

Not only do they have a great podcast (just look up the Film Cynics) and a great blog, but they have a great video blog as well. Here is just a small excerpt. But these guys are great fun to listen to and you really NEED to listen to these guys.

3. Filmspotting

With almost (or by the time this is published they will have reached it) 300 episodes, the guys over at Filmspotting are a force to be reckoned with. Fun, insightful, entertaining, the pinnacle of movie podcasting...besides The Demented Encyclopedia of course =p

Just check can't miss it.

2. The Matineecast (or manateecast whichever you like)

Mad Hatter has got a great thing going. His blog is amazing if you ever get the chance to check it out and on top of that he has a brilliant podcast that is fun, funny, interesting, entertaining, engaging and a bunch of other adjectives. Our Canadian brother has a well organized and well oiled machine and someday I hope to be honorable enough to guest star. A brilliant site and amazing podcast.

1. The Simon and Joe Film Show

Oh Simon and Joe...funny, insightful and brilliant are understatements. I'm half tempted to use the "It's British therefore it's better" line but it's not just because they are British. Their unique spin on podcasting, their great back and forth's, their great material and now their brilliant video podcasts as well, it's hard to say that it is not one of, if not the best podcasts out there. They are also supporters of The Demented Encyclopedia and I was even mentioned in two episodes. One for good because I ticked off Simon...but we smoothed that over. In the end it's my favorite podcast and certainly my most listened to.

Well that's it for the FILM related stuff but I would also like to do my top 5 games and songs while I'm at it because when else will I have the opportunity?

TOP 5 FAVORITE SONGS (well 6 but one is a tie):

5. Knights of Cydonia- Muse

Muse is a very unique band. These three Doctors (they all three have PHD's) create masterful song after masterful song. Some are haunting and deep, some are just kickass, some are anti-government, and then there is Knights of Cydonia. On top of being one of the best music videos of all time, the song is the equivalent of the modern day Bohemian Rhapsody. Starting off slow and haunting and slowly climaxing into a huge power driven guitar solo and powerful harmonies, this song always gets me going in the morning, even on the crappiest of days.

4 (tie) The White Stripes-Seven Nation Army and R.E.M-Losing My Religion

Meg and Jack White are an interesting duo. Claiming to be brother and sister but really ex-husband and ex-wife, this duo creates music that is unheard by modern day standards. Even though it's only two instruments at a time (guitar and drum, bass and drum, piano/keyboard and drum) it sounds like an entire rock band of 6 or 7 people. This song always gets me pumped up, is fun to listen to and is how alt rock SHOULD sound.

But I'm a moody person and sometimes I just want a song to unwind to and that's what my other number 4 is for

R.E.M is a great band. Political activists, openly gay singer, mandolin toting, spit fire lyrics (you know what song I mean) and they're timeless. A great metaphor of a song with great lyrics, this is the song to unwind to.

3. Blues Traveler- Runaround

A song forgotten by many but not me. One of the few songs I can actually play on guitar, this song is upbeat, true to my life, fun, and it's just a song I've grown up loving and I've never stopped loving it. Silly? Maybe. But one of my favorites.

2. Rush- Tom Sawyer

Ahh Rush...arguably the smartest band in the world still touring today (I'm seeing them in concert in August). Their lyrics are deep, passionate, thoughtful, intellegent and full of symbolism. You could take a college course devoted to interpreting their songs. Add that to brilliant bass and guitar playing and the second best drums of all time and you got my number two favorite of all time.

BEFORE going to number 1 here are my honorable mentions that fill out my other 5 in my top 10 list
10. The Who-Won't Get Fooled Again
9. Paint It Black-Rolling Stones
8. Rage Against the Machine-Wake Up
7. Harder,Better,Faster,Stronger-Daft Punk
6. Metallica-One



Even before Mike Tyson parodied it on The Hangover, In the Air Tonight has always been my favorite song of all time. Slow, haunting, oddly disturbing tale of retribution and revenge, beautiful voice, and great, subtle instrumentation leading up to the money shot...the drum solo. The drum solo, albeit brief makes this song stand out from everything else. Not only is it powerful, but in context with the song it's the exclamation point that really moves you to goosebumps. Here's to you Phil Collins.

Now onto my final Top top 5 video games...

5. Splinter Cell Chaos Theory
The entire Splinter Cell series (and for that matter the world because the books are amazing) is a brilliant work of video gaming and has left a lasting impact on gamers everywhere. The newest one is simply brilliant but the one that will always stand out to me is Chaos Theory. The most thought out and mature story, the best combat, the best stealth and the most polished, Chaos Theory stands out as the best of the series.

4. Heavy Rain
Quantic Dream's smash hit and debut on the Playstation 3 is brilliantly acted and written and is a true evolution of gaming storytelling. It does things that you wouldn't expect a video game to do and it really is a very engaging and touching game. It has a slow pace and it takes about 30 minutes to really get into it but from beginning to end this is a wonderful game.

3. Indigo Prophecy
The game right before Heavy Rain, Quantic Dream's Indigo Prophecy was a game that didn't mess around. You wake up and you are covered in blood with a dead body in front of you. From there you play a double story playing as the hunter (cops) and the hunted (the killer). It's a deep story with plenty of twists and turns and it's still fun to play all these years later.

2. Shadow of Destiny
A very under appreciated and unloved game, Shadow of Destiny was the first game made by the Konami team after Silent Hill 2. If you can find this rare gem it is definitely worth it. A time traveling murder mystery where the victim is you. Yeah...that's hard to beat...why isn't this a movie yet?
1. The Secret of Monkey Island

Pirates+George Lucas+Monkeys+Tim Schaffer+timeless humor+lovable characters+adventure=my favorite game of all time.

Well that about does it. Hope you could stomach all of this and I will be back with more reviews shortly. Thank you.