Monthly Archives: October 2012

WYSHW: Some Guy Who Kills People

Alright, you got me. I’ll check it out.

With a title like this, how can you resist a peek?  When I came across it, my mind was screaming, “Just how self aware is this movie?  Does he get caught?  Do I care?  Barry Bostwick!?  Aw yeah!”  Overall, I was pleased – hence why I am sharing this with you all.

This is a story about a guy named Ken Boyd (Kevin Corrigan), a man who’s straight out of a loony bin with a troubled past.  Living with his harping mother and working in an ice cream shop, Ken is your typical movie looser.  Ken’s life soon takes a hard 180 when not only does he discover he has a daughter, but also the guys who tormented him in high school have been popping up dead all over his quiet little town.  Ken might think that he has it made, but his mom’s boyfriend, Sheriff Walt Fuller (Barry Bostwick), is beginning to get suspicious.

“I have a splitting headache.”

Some Guy sets up like a slasher spoof, but delivers an odd sort of sincerity and a legitimate twist.  The twist isn’t terribly shocking, but it certainly was a relief – you actually get a feel for the main character, which was also unexpected.

I think just “unexpected” is a great term to sum up everything about this movie.  For instance, when we meet the sheriff and his deputy, they come off like a pair of screwball cops straight out of the ’70s – but then in a very well-written manner, the tone completely shifts, creating an incredibly entertaining experience.  The film is self-aware but only to a certain point, so it’s nothing like every other spoof out there.

Surprising and enjoyable, Some Guy Who Kills People is worth checking out sometime, whenever you’re in the mood for some revenge and stuff.  Next time on What You Should Have Watched, I’m going to break down an over-looked scifi romance.

Frankenweenie

After the death of his dog Sparky, an inventive young boy named Victor Frankenstein is inspired by his science teacher to bring him back to life with the power of electricity.  His experiment is a success, but Sparky’s presence is unsettling the quiet life of New Holland’s suburbs and opens a can of worms in a competition amongst Victor’s classmates.  Frankenweenie was originally a live-action short Burton made in 1984.  I was excited to hear that he was in-charge of a stop-motion remake, though nervous about exactly how he was going to flesh it out and what Disney was going to do once  they got their mitts on the production.  As a result, well, sorry folks but there are going to be some spoilers.

Less Barret Oliver is a good start.

I loved how this movie referenced classic horror films – sure the references weren’t at all subtle but I just love how they were engrained into this weird little world Burton created.  For instance, that scene where the parents are watching Christopher Lee’s Dracula in their quiet little suburban home, that moment feels like pure nostalgia to me – I can’t really explain it.  And of course the animation looks fantastic and everything – on the surface this film is just pure fun and plain adorable.

Impossibru!

Here comes the big fat however: I really just wish that they didn’t go with every convention for these types of weird kid movies.  Only this time all the kids were weird in their own ways, so I guess that leaves a little food for thought.  Regardless, we still get all the stuff about embracing differences and listening to our children and blah blah blah.  At first I thought ParaNorman topped this idea off for good, but when Mr. Frankenstein (long time no see, Martin Short) just says, “Sometimes adults don’t know what they’re talking about,” I think that just totally hit the nail on the head.  I mean I appreciate these messages, but they just get so draining after awhile.

I also still have mixed feelings about the character of Toshiaki – the character’s a complete stereotype but also voiced by a Japanese person, and I guess he was never made fun of other than his really thick accent.  At the same time he was also villainous and provided the Godzilla element.  I’m not sure if this is referential humor or kind of insensitive.  It’s not like this would be the first time Disney’s done something like this.

I liked this girl’s mystic poop cat.

On the other hand, I thought it was interesting how this film handled the explanation for the other kids’ experiments.   By focusing on the intent of the creation as opposed to the logic behind the results is something really refreshing.  After all, if something isn’t done with noble intent the results are well, monstrous.  There really was no sense to the happenings with the lightning, but I think that relates back to the sort of mysticism of this movie’s universe.  There’s a thunderstorm every night and there’s no explanation why.  Was it the miners or the graveyard?  We’ll just never know.

Frankenweenie is pure Burton fun just in time for Halloween.  It may lack depth but it still carries a genuine warmth, which is greatly appreciated.

Final Grade: A-

Looper

Aw yeah Willis and time travel.  Together again.

In the future, time travel will first be made possible, then illegal, only operated by the most exclusive crime syndicates.  The year is 2044, an elite group of assassins known as Loopers are assigned to eliminate targets before they have committed their crimes.  You must always hit your mark, no matter who they are – even if it’s you.  Which is exactly what happens to Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – the worst thing is, he lets himself (Bruce Willis) go.

I was totally drawn to this premise – granted, I’m a sucker for time travel but that’s besides the point.  I mean, how cool is this idea?  What would you do in this situation?  Well I was hooked.  And I’ll give it away – Looper doesn’t disappoint.  Apart from a fascinating story (and an interesting universe to boot), it has great performances, great rhythm and spectacular visuals – and they didn’t overdo the lens flare.  Crazy, I know.

I think the only distracting thing was what they did to JGL:

Something’s…different.

When I first saw the trailer I really didn’t notice much, but once I saw him in action…his face seemed a little unnatural.  I expected the jaw prosthetic – which was fairly flawless, but I think it was the creepy green eyes that threw me off.  Admittedly, the transformation to make JGL and Bruce Willis the same person is pretty awesome after it stops being jarring.

Looper is arguably the most solid sci-fi I’ve seen to date, deserving a spot snug against Twelve Monkeys.  I’m glad Bruce is back.

Final Grade: A

Science Fiction Double-Feature

Alrighty folks, it’s October!  A time for cider, candy and spooky scary skeletons – but most of all, awesome movies.  Whether we’re dealing with slashers, psychos or downright crazies, the horror genre encompasses all – in this case, cult movie musicals!  That’s right, I’m using my Don’t Quit Your Day Job feature to segue into my new category, Drinking the Kool-aid, where I delve into awesome examples of cult cinema.  Without further a due, let’s have some old and new with The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Repo! The Genetic Opera.

Oh my.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

When it comes to sci-fi cult classic musicals, there really is nothing that compares to The Rocky Horror Picture Show – I mean, there’s nothing like it.  Granted it is a parody of B-Movies of the 1940s-1970s, but this film reigns strong on its own as one of the more popular cult film of pretty much all time.  Just what makes it so darn awesome?

Well to start off, the music’s fantastic.  I seriously cannot find anything to harp on about it: it’s well-written, well-performed, and catchy as all hell.  As of now “The Time Warp” stands as a staple on most Halloween party albums and plays at the occasional Hard Rock Café – that’s not half bad.

Let’s take into consideration Dr. Frank N. Furter’s big intro number, “Sweet Transvestite”:

This song serves as a pivotal moment in the movie.  Once our young protagonists Brand (ASSHOLE) and Janet (SLUT) meet this man, this turns from a musical misadventure to a most bizarre sex romp.  It’s like when From Dusk Til Dawn went from a crime thriller to a Mexican vampire gore fest.

I think the addition of the sex element to the B-Movie formula that makes it so unforgettable.  Rather than a Dr. Frankenstein, we’re given an omnisexual Frank N. Furter, whose life’s work is creating the ultimate sex toy, a living muscle-man known as Rocky Horror.  Brad and Janet are thrust into this perplexing world and forced to become part of Frank’s self-absorbed floor show.  And if that wasn’t enough, it’s revealed that Dr. Frank and his (SLAVES) servants (SAME THING) are aliens! Dun-dun-duuuun!

Like I said, I think if it wasn’t for its originality in combination of how the film’s presented, we would not have the pop culture iconism that we have today.  There is a sequel, Shock Treatment, but it’s not nearly as memorable…or good.  Personally I just wonder about how these shout-outs and other Rockyisms came to be.  Were they planted during the Broadway run or was someone at the midnight show just that bored?  The world will never know.

Repo! The Genetic Opera

Oh Repo, where do I begin?  Repo was a graphic novel turned stage play (not unlike Rocky Horror) – eventually gaining interest from Lionsgate.  Then things kinda went south and it really didn’t get much promotion – it was pretty much known as that goth musical with Paris Hilton.  For shame, I say.  I think it’s fair to say that Repo is this generation’s Rocky Horror – complete with midnight showings and shadow casts and the whole bit.  I honestly don’t know if there are shout-outs or cues or anything but it really wouldn’t surprise me.

More angst I say!

Repo! The Genetic Opera is dystopian tale where in the near future mankind will fall due to a horrible onslaught of genetic disease.  Fortunately, a company called GeneCo has discovered how to farm healthy organs.  However, if you do not make your payments on time, your organs will be repossessed by GeneCo’s Repo-Man.  So far it sounds a little like a failed movie, huh?  (*cough*rip-off*cough*)  The story of Repo focuses on a young girl named Shiloh (Spy Kids‘ Alexa Vega), whose father is a Repo-Man.  Not only does she not know her father’s terrible secret, but she also doesn’t know that her family holds the secret to the future of GeneCo.

To be honest the music in this movie is fairly hit-and-miss.  You get the greatness of Buffy‘s Anthony Stewart Head belting his heart out, and you learn that Frank Sorvino can actually sing really well.  Also  Phantom of the Opera‘s Christine herself, Sarah Brightman, makes a memorable appearance as an opera singer known as Blind Mag.  On the other hand, well, other than Paris Hilton, some of the songs can be annoying, such as “Seventeen.”  Yes!  I get that you’re seventeen Shiloh!  I totally don’t care about your typical rebellious nature!  Overall I think that the good outweighs the awful on this one.

Now what really raised the bar for me was the GeneCo heirs, namely Pavi Largo, played by Skinny Puppy’s Ogre.

You’ve got a little something on your…oh.

This is a man who sleeps with women and cuts off their faces.  I’ll be honest here, he fascinates me.  He’s just a strange little character who ought to get more screen time, but whatever the movie’s not about him.  He’s just a sweet little perk to this strange and wonderful world.

Watch for the performances, stay for the Pavi.