JB & The Chop Do: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)

Peeps! It’s us! Again! So, following last week’s exploration of the movie that really gave rise to the crap that is found footage horror, we are going to explore the inevitable sequel this week. Well, how bad can it really be, right? Right? Hello? Anyone? Shit.

SYNOPSIS: A group of tourists arrive in Burkittsville, Maryland after seeing The Blair Witch Project (1999) to explore the mythology and phenomenon, only to come face to face with their own neuroses and possibly the witch herself. – via IMDB

Okay, so, hot on the heels of the unexpected (I am sure) success of The Blair Witch Project comes a *gasp* sequel. Seeing as the first one was not brilliant, but cost very little to make and gained crazy popularity, I suppose a sequel was not surprising. Also, it being shitty could also not have come as a shock. Okay, okay, that is a bit harsh. It is shitty, no doubt, but it could have been so much more offensive than it really was at the end of the day.

Upfront and honest in these reviews, right? Well, the best thing about this movie, without a doubt, was Marilyn Manson’s Disposable Teens and later on Rob Zombie’s Dragula. For reals, at least there was something good to listen to. The soundtrack overall is probably not too bad and the least offensive thing about this movie.

On to the actual movie. The performances! Dear lord, the performances! They were a particlar brand of wtf, not to mention the character logic. It astounded me immensely, and was beyond questionable, even for a horror movie. For example, if I miscarried, the last thing I would do would be to go stay at a stranger’s house. I would want my husband and home, comforts and all that. Not some random dumpy place in the bush and strangers. This is just one of the things that I was like erm… okay.

Our main peanut that we watch, good old Jeffery, is mad as a hatter. Like seriously, this guy has some issues, and we never get to see more about his cuckoo past, which is a disappointment. Actually, scratch that, is probably isn’t a disappointment, because I am sure they would have cocked that up to. Let’s not forget the sheriff. That character writing was hilarious. His phone call to Jeffrey and waving on TV? That was actual comedy gold, because… why?!

We have Wiccans and goths and “writers” out here, but it is all just… nope. It’s like every character in here was written purely from stereotypical conventions. Look, I get it was a budget movie and it was just a money grab and all of that, but have some self respect! Now, I must say, while it is bad, it certainly isn’t the worst movie I have watched. Let’s not forget that Eric and I continue to slog through the Amityville movies (I swear, there is no end in sight). If you don’t overthink this, it is just a sad, generic movie, but nowhere near as offensive as some. It is typical shitty sequel pulp. It could have been more, and Berlinger tried to make his own movie, using the concept of the Blair Witch and doing his own thing. Seriously, the opening for this movie made me think there was going to be more to it. I really liked it,  but it didn’t quite stick to that.

Oh, oh! Oh! How could I forget?! There was one true gem in this movie, which was the skit about how many Heather’s you would need to change a light bulb. Like I laughed, because it was so cheesy yet so totally fitting hahaha. Well played. I did like how the movie skipped between found footage and actual movie, so that it wasn’t all this disjointed shaky cam crap, but that does not save this or make it better. It was a concept that could have worked but instead it was just another scoop of awful to this… movie.

I think it is bad to watch this because yes, I am bitching about it being bad, and it is, but it is so offensive because it actually could have been something more. I see that there was a lot of studio meddling (surprise surprise) and I actually really liked the vision that Berlinger had and wanted to bring forward, because that would have actually made for a solid psychological thriller, and instead we got a shitty movie. There are moments where you can see what he wanted to do, and it is good. Like cut out all the random flash forward and back crap, and you can see the skeleton of what could have been. Oh well.

Okay, but forgetting the corny joke and the Manson and Zombie, Book of Shawdows is a typically messy, cheap cash grab, a practise which is yet to die out. Not the worst of the worst, but by no means a movie that you need to seek out. I think it might get a little more hate than necessary, too. It is not worth the eternal scorn I keep reading about. Seriously, guys, I know The Blair Witch was a big step for horror history, but it is not an amazing movie, either, so whoosa!

The year is 2000; we have all survived the media invented Y2K scare,  JB is like…. 8, we have AOL browsers, we have pay-porn on the computer, we’re all dying for something like MySpace or our own webpage, I’m still trying to rock a head full of long hair (think = fail) and they unleash this thing to a series of vile and cruel reviews by the newspaper and TV critics. IMDB has just started! Memories of whatsherface with snot coming out of her nose linger. I skip this because I don’t care and go on to other things. Life happens and I buy a house. My friend gets shot in the chest but survives and moves home and we smoke a lot of grass, drink tequila and we watch horror movies. Eventually this shows up on some cable channel, we watch it – fully sober (kidding) – and I say – “Well that wasn’t too bad….”

The year is 2017; even though my web presence is basically dormant, JB still keeps in touch. Now facing the nature of snow and ice after she moved, we discuss cold weather. We decide to report on three more movie franchises – say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!! This one is agreed upon first and the first movie sucks complete balls. See last week’s entry. I start watching this on HBO one day and it sucks so bad I can’t concentrate. Jeffrey Donovan is absolutely miserable (Note: I loved him in Fargo Season 2), I thought I liked Kim Director but she sucks here, the non-HD shaky cam is gross, there are enormous problems with the story and the sometimes-useful use of time trickery in film just doesn’t work.  This is not Memento.

I understand cash-grabs. I understand milking things for all that they’re worth. But, like my good friend once said, “if you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a fucking pig.” This movie is the epitome of a pig with lipstick on. Here’s my spoiler summary: SUCK. This thing is both of those pictures of Donovan above…. red eyed and tired and then foaming at the mouth shitty.

I do agree with JB that there is a good story in there – but everything about this was bullshit. The acting, the dialogue, the script, the “Oh-shit-I’m-covered-in-scratches!-Me-too!” stupidness, that who-the-fuck-cast-that-guy-with-the-ponytail sheriff, the pitiful non HD footage (who can watch that on a 70 inch tv??), Donovan’s butt… nothing really worked for me here….

Because we do what we do and we do what we must and we do what we like and we like what we do, I have to be honest. I didn’t finish this fucker the second time around. By the time we got around to scheduling and writing about these things, this was no longer out on HBO and I was going to be damned if I rented this. I remember how it ended and I didn’t need a second go. So – am I being fair? I just typed the word ‘fart’… coincidence??  That sounds about right – this movie is a big fart, and not the good kind where you accidentally poot and sit down in it and it’s…. OK… this is a dog-fart-room-clearer…

I don’t really have anything else clever to say about this, not that I’m clever. I didn’t like much about it. I guess it wasn’t vile and wretched but I couldn’t get into it enough to finish it off a second time. To close out – here’s a butt for you. Enjoy! #butts

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Review: The Notebook (2004)

“So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me… everyday.”
– Noah

SYNOPSIS: A poor yet passionate young man falls in love with a rich young woman, giving her a sense of freedom, but they are soon separated because of their social differences. – via IMDB

So I recently decided to give this movie another squizz, haven’t seen it since it came out pretty much, and I liked it well enough then. So I popped in the soppy romance and got watching, and for the most part, this is a pretty good romance (but seriously, OTT soppy, just putting it out there).

Like, I would love to just come here and be like “Ryan. Gosling.” and leave it at that, but I suppose I can say a few more things about it.

I much preferred watching the scenes between Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams than the older couple – they had great chemistry and are just too beautiful to look at. The scenes between an old Allie and Noah are supposed to pack a bigger punch, but for me their scenes just felt a little off, and I am not sure why. They just didn’t flow as well as the scenes from earlier, though the message is still crystal clear.

The romance between Allie and Noah is not at all unheard of, but it is really nice to sit and watch them together. They have so little in common in a lot of ways, yet they work. They bring out the best and the worst in each other, but they love each other passionately, that cannot be denied. Watching Allie’s parents and their treatment of both their daughter and especially Noah makes me mad. So what if he is not rich? I am not saying this as a romantic or anything like that, but happiness really is about more than money (though let’s not even pretend that money can’t help you on the road to some happiness). Classism was definitely an issue in their relationship, but only on the outside. I burned with embarrassment to watch Noah have lunch at Allie’s family and be treated the way that he was, because that lacks class, and yet Allie is accepted with open arms in the “poor” house and not judged. Okay getting off this boat now.

I believe that Ryan Gosling was cast in this because he was relatively unknown (will give them that) and “not handsome”. Seriously, someone should have gotten their freaking eyes checked before they went that route. Dafuq? Most women see eye to eye with me on this one. I also had a good laugh watching this and thinking “pre Photoshop”. Man, Gosling really is gorgeous. But this is not a post all gushing about Gosling. But for the record, we love Gosling.

I am not really a fan of James Marsden (Cyclops, really), but man oh man, he is so good here, and I really liked him and found him to to be super sweet. Allie really did know how to pick them.

Ryan. Gosling. Really, that is all.

For what it is, The Notebook is a decent movie. Soppy as hell, but it’s a pretty decent watch. I definitely feel that my views on the movie have changed a lot more since I watched it when it first came out, when I was a young rugrat starting high school with no real concept of a relationship. The story has stuck with me since then, the main part of it, at any rate. I think this is definitely more in the chick flick category though!

JB & The Chop Do: The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Hello! Hola! Greetings! Salutations! That’s about all I know being from where I live and I am not a linguist. What’s the English one? Jolly good old cock? Or – “I am the Queen, let the Olympiad games begin.” ? In any case, Hi. Remember this movie? Remember the 2nd? Did you know there was a third and now a 4th (not released yet)? Did the first one scare the shit out of you? Did the 2nd suck as much ass as the population of Earth described? Did the third – by the guys that did “You’re Next” and “The Guest” – turn out all right?? When we get to the 4th will we want to harm ourselves???? Tune in over the next few weeks and find out!

Or else……..

SYNOPSIS: Three film students vanish after traveling into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend, leaving only their footage behind. – via IMDB

I remember I saw this in the theater. I remember the theater had an attendant come in before the thing and tell us its been make people sick all day and to be warned. I remember seemingly liking it. I know that I’ve never watched it again because of the whole non-ending. Now I’m set to give it another go almost 20 years later. Let’s see what happens.

This has got to be one of the more irritating movies I’ve seen in some time. I’m about 45 minutes  in and nothing at all has happened except for a lot of nonsense screaming about nothing, bad improvised dialogue and  just some weird sounds offscreen that offer no value. I would think that any sensible human being, when hearing a noise in the bushes, would hunker down and prepare to fight and not run blindly screaming into the dark, cold woods where the sound is coming from. Plus, if I were any member of that trio, I would have told the other two to FUCK OFF and left long ago. And it’s not even in fucking HD.

BRB

AT 59 minutes in, Heather is screaming the word ‘Josh’ so loudly and so close to the camera’s microphone that it made me want to puke. I’m really starting to wonder why I’m doing this to myself.

Who hasn’t seen this movie? Do you want to? It’s not scary one bit. The shaky cam footage really is nauseating.  All three leads (the only three) are all cut-your-own-fucking-ears-off-and-eat-them shriek-y and scream-y. There’s no payoff at the end and everything that is supposed to frighten happens off screen.

I remember watching Blair Witch 2 at some point on video tape back in my old apartment. I remember being the only person in the United States that liked it. I remember looking at it a few years later here at home when I was drunk and stoned turnt wasn’t on anything and have vague memories of liking it again but i guess we’ll see soon!

Okay, well, here we are! I figured it was worth giving this a shot – you all know how much I absolutely adore fund pottage (and for those of you who don’t, please don’t miss my sarcasm), but I also know that this was something I watched quite a few times when I was younger. Back when it came out it was fresh and new and it’s popularity skyrocketed found footage into the limelight… unfortunately.

Found footage is not the easiest thing to watch – usually a really shitty camera, or a decent one, but there is so much movement going on your head spins and you don’t have all the time in the world to follow everything, and a lot of things get lost in the hurry and confusion. Me? I like things to come together deliberately. Now all of that aside, The Blair Witch Project still holds up pretty well. I mean it guys! It is still one of the better films in the genre!

Heather is an absolute bitch. She is headstrong and rude and egotistical to boot, and she is right all the time and can never be wrong and is so… no. She got on my damn nerves, and I got why Mike and Josh got so annoyed with her. They were in a super shitty predicament and not once would she acknowledge that, nor would she ‘fess up and take even one iota of responsibility for the shit storm.

Low budget and all of that, The Blair Witch Project definitely comes together in terms of the authenticity of the actors going to pieces out in the woods. Usually found footage can feel so… forced, and this did not feel more so than say, her having the camera out and irritating people. In fact, the movie did a pretty damn good job at not having the camera rolling all the time, major complaints when it was running more than was strictly necessary, and later a begrudging acknowledgement went out as to how it took some fear and panic out of the hopeless situation.

Now, it must be said that the movie is far longer than it absolutely needs to be. Like, way too long. It could have been half this length and probably told exactly the same story, which would have worked out far better, I reckon. Well, just some editing. Take this down to an hour. That’s a big thing with FF – it just drags on way longer than it should.

The Blair Witch Project is too long and way too screechy at times, but it is one of the better ones of the genre, flaws and all. I didn’t want to yank my teeth out, at any rate.

Review: Role Models (2008)

“No, venti is twenty. Large is large. In fact, tall is large and grande is Spanish for large. Venti is the only one that doesn’t mean large. It’s also the only one that’s Italian. Congratulations, you’re stupid in three languages.”
– Danny

SYNOPSIS: Wild behavior forces a pair of energy drink reps to enroll in a Big Brother program. – via IMDB

You know, I watched this movie when it came out and I have gone back to it a few times over the years and I still thoroughly enjoy it. No, it isn’t a perfect movie or anything like that, but it is a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

First and foremost, Paul Rudd is absolutely fantastic in this. I adore the man, so will pretty much watch anything he’s in. I think he’s sweet and hilarious and so dry, which works for me. This is no exception, he is plenty entertaining, and works wonders with Stifler Seann William Scott. Scott provides just the type of role you would expect from him, but he does it well. McLovin Christopher Mintz-Plasse entertains endlessly as awkward Augie. Another hilariously awkward character is cocaine-crazy Sweeny, and Jane Lynch has a ball with the role. As you can tell, the movie hinged quite heavily on the actors having fun with the material, and it works. 

The humour made me laugh, too. It’s witty, dry, sarcastic and crude at times throughout, and it totally works. The movie also doesn’t drag out the run-time, so it plays it out and does its thing but doesn’t overstay its welcome, which is great. You just have fun, and then it is over, before it wastes away and tries too hard to be something it isn’t. The story, while not new, is handled deftly. There are a lot of crappy movies in this genre, but every now and then there is one that stands out, one that tries to and succeeds to be more. This is one of those. It has a lot of heart and a lot of humour, knows what it is and goes for it, without being apologetic.

I really enjoyed some of the situations the characters found themselves in and I liked how things were handled. There was even character growth to be found throughout here, which is more than I could have asked for. The soundtrack and score worked, not once taking over and becoming the focus, which is just fine.

So, all in all, if you haven’t checked out Role Models before and feel like a good, light comedy with plenty of heart, I can highly recommend this one, it is quite fun. I don’t really know what to say other than I like this one and I find myself returning to it time and time again and enjoying it without fail.

Review: 1922 (2017)

“I believe that there’s another man inside of every man. A stranger. A conniving man.”
– Wilfred James

SYNOPSIS: A simple yet proud farmer in the year 1922 conspires to murder his wife for financial gain, convincing his teenage son to participate. – via IMDB

So, in keeping up with 2017 being Stephen King’s year, I had to check out some more offerings. I quite enjoyed It, and heard good things about the Netflix offerings, so I figured I may as well check it out. 1922 is engaging, one can absolutely not deny that. It is a slow burn, which might irritate some, but I thought it was the right pacing to set the right tone for this film, because the story is not a fast, crazy horror. It is a psychological slow burn that creeps up on you and takes you down.

First off, while the world might not love Thomas Jane, I quite enjoy him, and I think he is pretty awesome for King adaptations, so I was pleased to see him return for yet another outing. He plays Wilfred James, a farmer who is quite taken with his lands, and to watch him move from simple farmer, father, husband to some greedy man is wonderful, as Jane handles the shift well.

1922 has some solid pacing working in its favour, too, as this is not a story that should be told in a rush. It is a deliberate setting with a deliberate outcome, and is not a mile a minute story. The slow burn totally worked for me, but I know not everyone is sold on it. The story is rather fascinating, too. Not revolutionary, that’s for sure, but engrossing nonetheless. There were some rather intense section to sit through, too.

I think that 1922 is a solid outing and worth the watch. You get a chilling look into James’s mind, his greed for the land and his manipulating and conniving was quite something to watch. His refusal to accept the repercussions was intense, and to see what his horrendous plans did to his son and to his family is something else. 1922 is a dark tale that slowly sets itself out before you, one that gets under your skin. Well worth the watch.

January Blind Spot Review: Eastern Promises (2007)

“Anger is dangerous. It makes people do stupid things.”
– Nikolai Luzhin

SYNOPSIS: A Russian teenager living in London who dies during childbirth leaves clues to a midwife in her journal that could tie her child to a rape involving a violent Russian mob family. – via IMDB

I have been meaning to watch this for ages (imagine that?!) and decided it was time to get it off my Neflix list so I could at least move on with my life, and I have always heard how good Viggo Mortensen is in this one. Well, let me tell you, he is hands down the best thing about this movie, that’s for sure. I know Mark, another instance where you and I aren’t seeing eye to eye 😦

I found Eastern Promises to be tonally uneven, and the story skipped around too much for my liking. Not artistically, either, just messy and contrived. There were moments in this where you could totally see how great it could have been. It dealt with a heavy story and had so much more potential than it ultimately went with. Like, there were moments I sat there and I was like “wow, this could have been phenomenal“, but the execution, off-key acting and everything just bogged it down.

I like Vincent Cassel, but he just didn’t nail this down properly, and came across as more awkward than anything. Armin Mueller-Stahl is also good, and does the sinister Russian mob boss just fine, what with a more understated portrayal. Naomi Watts just didn’t really work for me – she didn’t come across as sincere at all. But then, I find that to be the case with her more often than not. That brings me to Viggo Mortensen, and holy crap, he was fantastic here. I mean, the guy is a solid actor, and this outing from him highlights that about him once again. He can rise to the occasion, and looks like he did a lot of research for this role, and he comes across as authentic. He was well worth the watch, and made the movie worth watching. 

The violence you see in this is not too frequent, and isn’t as crazy as some movies (I totally think that stupid fucking Saw franchise warped my concept of what is considered “violent” more than it was before that), and it pretty much all served a purpose, it wasn’t just random and there to be there.

Overall, I found Eastern Promises to be a movie that didn’t have the guts to go for glory, or just missed out on the vision. Not a terrible movie, but it is a rather flat affair all round, except for Mortensen, who really gets into his role of Nikolai.

Blind Spot Series 2018

Here we are, another year, and because I have enjoyed doing this so much, I am going to do another Blind Spot list for 2018 – you know, we all have those movies that we are forever intending to get to and just never do. Well, this challenge definitely helps narrow it down a bit 🙂 Over the years this series has encouraged me to check out some absolutely phenomenal movies (as well as some really bad ones), so I am excited to see what awaits me this year!

Rogue One (2016)

SYNOPSIS: The daughter of an Imperial scientist joins the Rebel Alliance in a risky move to steal the Death Star plans.  – via IMDB

Vertigo (1958)

SYNOPSIS: A San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend’s wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her. – via IMDB

Big (1988)

SYBOPSIS: After wishing to be made big, a teenage boy wakes the next morning to find himself mysteriously in the body of an adult. – via IMDB

The Goonies (1985)

SYNOPSIS: In order to save their home from foreclosure, a group of misfits set out to find a pirate’s ancient valuable treasure. – via IMDB

Before Sunrise (1995)

SYNOPSIS: A young man and woman meet on a train in Europe, and wind up spending one evening together in Vienna. Unfortunately, both know that this will probably be their only night together. – via IMDB

Eastern Promises (2007)

SYNOPSIS: A Russian teenager living in London who dies during childbirth leaves clues to a midwife in her journal that could tie her child to a rape involving a violent Russian mob family. – via IMDB

Sixteen Candles  (1984)

SYNOPSIS: A girl’s “sweet” sixteenth birthday becomes anything but special, as she suffers from every embarrassment possible. – via IMDB

Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

SYNOPSIS: An I.R.S. auditor suddenly finds himself the subject of narration only he can hear: narration that begins to affect his entire life, from his work, to his love-interest, to his death. – via IMDB

This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

SYNOPSIS: Spinal Tap, one of England’s loudest bands, is chronicled by film director Marty DiBergi on what proves to be a fateful tour. – via IMDB

Miracle of 34th Street (1947)

SYNOPSIS: When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing. – via IMDB

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

SYNOPSIS: Ron Burgundy is San Diego’s top-rated newsman in the male-dominated broadcasting of the 1970s, but that’s all about to change for Ron and his cronies when an ambitious woman is hired as a new anchor. – via IMDB

Straight Outta Compton (2015)

SYNOPSIS: The group NWA emerges from the mean streets of Compton in Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1980s and revolutionizes Hip Hop culture with their music and tales about life in the hood. – via IMDB