The Cove

 Posted by at 3:36 am  3 Responses »
Jan 092011
 

Tl;dr – The Cove is “Bowling for Columbine” for dolphins.

Okay, here we go. Every couple of years, a documentary comes around that is touted as “important” – a word that in the film industry is code for “soul-crushing”. In 2009, that movie was The Cove. To no one’s surprise, it won the Oscar for Best Documentary and, like most “important” documentaries, large-toothed men in non-black suits and cowboy hats accused it of being fabricated propaganda. But all that is neither here nor there.

What is both here and there is that you should really probably watch this movie.

First, a little clarification: I wouldn’t call myself a “dolphin-lover”. I don’t own a sweet-ass dolphin necklace or a poster or a Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper. I’ve never even been to Sea World. In fact, when I think about dolphins, the first thing that comes to mind is this bizarre half-formed memory of being sick and shitting my pants while watching Flipper when I was little (it was last week). This is not to say that I’m dolphin-ignorant. I’ve seen Planet Earth. I’m fully aware that dolphins are one set of thumbs away from sending us back to the fuckin’ trees. I guess I’d describe my emotional relationship to dolphins as one of cautious respect.

That being said, The Cove straight fucked me up. Plus, now I’m totally gay for dolphins.

Here’s the skinny: In the 1960s a dude named Ric O’Barry captured and trained the dolphins that played Flipper (ugh…there’s that feeling again…gross). Basically, Flipper did for dolphins what the Taco Bell dog did for chihuahuas – people went batshit. So insatiable was the public’s appetite for frolicking, subservient dolphins that the marine entertainment industry exploded overnight.

Fast forward a few years. After some incredibly uncool shit goes down (which I won’t spoil for you), Ric O’Barry comes to the realization that this multi-billion dollar industry that he had a hand in creating is completely fucked up on every level imaginable so he does what anyone would do – he becomes a crazy-ass activist.

Director Louie Psihoyos and a group of guerrilla filmmakers team up with O’Barry and head to Taiji, Japan – the hub of the dolphin industry where every September, during their migration, dolphins are herded into a “secret cove” and captured by local fishermen. Some are sold to trainers and parks and some are sold for food. And according to O’Barry, shit gets pretty fucked.

In a shocking twist, O’Barry is not an insane person. Everything he said is true. After infiltrating the cove under the cover of darkness and setting up hidden cameras, the filmmakers capture events so flat-out abhorrent, they must be seen to be believed.

Ultimately, my list of reasons you should watch The Cove reads a lot like a list of reasons not to. I’m not going to lie to you – it’s a huge fucking bummer. But it’s an important bummer. You should really watch it.

I give it 5 out of 5 perfect spirals from Dan Marino. (Get it? He played for the Miami Dolphins. I’m trying to butch up after this teary sniffle-fest.)

Knucklehead

 Posted by at 5:39 am  1 Response »
Jan 072011
 

Not since Santa With Muscles have I been so excited for a WWE superstar to grace the silver screen. When director Michael W. Watkins (who I’m sure you know from the 6 episodes of Quantum Leap he directed) signed onto this project, he was faced with a tall order: Somehow manage to wrangle the effervescent star power of Wendie Malick, Dennis Farina, and sassy little black kid phenom Bobb’e J. Thompson and let Paul “Big Show” Wight’s light shine.

Was Watkins able to accomplish this most daunting of tasks?

I honestly have no idea. I fell asleep 10 minutes into it.

Having only seen 10% of this movie, (you can now deduce that this movie is 100 minutes long, and you would be correct. THAT’S CALLED DOIN’ SOME MATHS, SON!) it would seem to the casual observer that there is no way I could, in good conscience, write a review for it. Well you know what, casual observer? I don’t like your attitude.

In fact, not only was 10 minutes enough…it felt like 9 minutes and 6 seconds too much. However, C.O. has a point. Which is why in lieu of a standard review, I have decided to instead give you, dear reader, a gift…the gift of time.

Below you will find the film “Knucklehead”, painstakingly re-edited to retain all the nuance of the original narrative, but condensed into a manageable 54 seconds.

You now have 99 minutes and 6 seconds to do something awesome. You’re welcome.

Outsourced

 Posted by at 7:06 am  Comments Off on Outsourced
Sep 242010
 

Did everyone have a happy equinox? I know I sure did…and if the 50 drained pig carcasses on my back yard altar are any indication, I’m gonna have one bountiful-ass harvest. (Much different from a bountiful ass-harvest. Hyphens are powerful things.)
Anyway, enough about the alignment so nice it happens twice…we all know the real reason for the season: Good TV is back.

I sat down this stagnant autumn eve (I would have liked to have said “blustery”, but it wasn’t and I’m not gonna lie to you guys for the sake of ambiance) to take in the NBC Thursday night lineup which, for the most part, has brought me a sizable amount of joy the past few years. (If you’re not at least watching Community and 30 Rock, you’re a gods damned tard.) Throughout the evening, I kept seeing commercials for a new show premiering called “Outsourced”, which appeared to be a borderline racist “fish out of water” situational comedy wherein a smarmy American 20-something moves to India to manage an outsourced call center full of offensively stereotypical Indian workers that comically misuse/misinterpret American colloquialisms.
(I’m 100% sure that someone pitched it as “It’s basically The Office but everyone talks like Apu” to which an NBC executive replied “AH-OOOOGA!” and his eyes turned into slot machine reels that spun and both landed on cherries and then a buzzer went off and then money started shooting out his mouth).

Did I watch it? Of course I watched it. You think just because a show looks like a half-hour-long backwards leap for society that I’m not gonna watch it? What else was I supposed to do until Sunny came on? So anyway, yeah, it was fucking terrible and pretty much what I expected (except no old Indian lady sang a Lady Gaga song while Too Cool McJeans shook his head in amused bafflement, but hey – it was only the first episode. You can’t shoot your comedy load right out the gate).

Trying to wrap my head around how this cultural abortion ended up on a major network while my groundbreaking idea for a Big Brother-style hide-and-seek gameshow called “Are You Smarter Than A Feral Cat?” goes unrealized, I did a little internet super-sleuthing and discovered “Outsourced” is actually based on a movie by the same name and whaddaya know…Netflix has it available to “watch instantly”.

In addition to being the source material for the most insipid television program since The O’Reilly Factor (zing!), the delightfully quirky and innocently hand-drawn  indie-romance cover art didn’t help this movie’s case any. I sat back, started the movie, and prepared myself to hate.

Brazenly defiant in the face of all evidence to the contrary, Outsourced is actually a really good movie. Like, not even just good for what it is…but like actually good for realsies. Well-written, well-acted, well-shot…I couldn’t believe it. Especially since it had bullshit written all over it. Here are a few of the themes explored:

– Stranger in a strange land
– Exaggeratedly evil corporate ambivalence
– Language barrier-based humor
– Witty jabs at American excess
– Forbidden cross-cultural love
– Underdogs pulling together to triumph at the last moment
– Losing everything to find yourself

Total cliché bullshit across the board, right? Yet somehow, it’s all delivered so honestly, dare I say sweetly, and without an ounce of pretension, you never think for a second to call it out. The characters are all so endearing and grounded in reality that when something flat out goofy goes down – like the excitable and oafish Indian worker trying to do his Robert DeNiro impression – it comes off as genuinely funny rather than some “Me rikey da flied lice” horseshit.

Besides introducing me to Ayesha Dharker, the new love of my life (Sorry Aisha Tyler…I’d love to marry you both, but a.) the two A(i/ye)shas thing would get confusing, and b.) that shit’s illegal. We’ve had a good run though…and we can still be friends…), Outsourced did something else unexpected, at least for its genre – It presented a completely plausible yet wholly satisfying ending. I was actually still grinning like a moron halfway through the credits.

Now, I’m completely willing to acknowledge the possibility that this movie isn’t as good as I think it is. It’s not infeasible that Outsourced caught me in a moment of weakness when I was susceptible to heart-warming douchery. It’s also conceivable that it just seemed remarkable in contrast to its ham-fisted, tactless television counterpart. Shit, maybe both. Or maybe – just maybe – it’s a great little movie that you should just shut up and watch.

I give Outsourced 9 out of 10 free-roaming sacred cows that you should totally be able to ride but I bet you’re not supposed to.

Teeth

 Posted by at 1:21 am  2 Responses »
Jun 282010
 

Looking at the movie poster for “Teeth” with its artful use of negative space and understated Sundance Special Jury Prize, you may get the impression that someone “finally got it right”. But don’t be fooled – “Teeth” is just another cookie-cutter, film-by-numbers, money-making juggernaut in the tired and worn “Girls With Teeth In Their Vaginas” genre that has dominated theaters for the last decade.

I get it. You have teeth in your vagina. Big fucking whoop. It’s been done to death. Next.

What blows my mind is that of the 237 some odd movies that make up this grossly over-saturated genre, none of them have the balls to venture off the beaten path for even a moment. There’s a million things that could be done outside of the standard “Girl has teeth in her vagina -> Girl bites a bunch of rapist’s dicks off -> We all learn a very important lesson about not raping girls because they might have teeth in their vagina that will bite your fucking rapist dick off” formula.

For instance, what if one of the vag-teeth got a cavity? You could have a really captivating sub-plot involving the HMO arguing that technically, it’s neither dental nor gynecological exclusively, so they deny the claim. These are the sorts of issues that affect those who suffer from Vagina Dentada on a daily basis. Perhaps instead of exploiting these poor girls, making them the punchline of every single joke on late night TV, we should turn an understanding eye to them and, oh I don’t know, maybe try to help them. I’m looking in your direction, Science. I know that a douche that also whitens isn’t impossible. So what’s the hold-up?

Alright, this is getting progressively less funny. Go watch Teeth. It’s fucking amazing.

Oh…and try singing “Vagina Dentada” to the tune of “Hakuna Matada”. It’ll be in your head all day. You’re welcome.

I give Teeth 9 out of 10 munched up dicks. OM NOM NOM.

News Flash! – Resurrection

 Posted by at 1:20 am  Comments Off on News Flash! – Resurrection
Jun 282010
 

Almost two months. Damn.

Alright, where were we? Oh yeah…movies.

Here we go!

Cube

 Posted by at 6:35 pm  Comments Off on Cube
Apr 282010
 

For years now, people have been trying to get me to watch this film. I honestly have no idea why I’ve been so hesitant – it may have something to do with the fact that a cube killed my family and that I’m allergic to movies, but I’m probably reading into it too much. The point is that last night I finally gave in and quite frankly, I wish I’d folded sooner. Had I seen Cube thirteen years ago when it was released, I’m pretty sure it would have blown my mind and changed my life forever and honestly, there’s no telling where I’d be now. Senior Advisor to the President of Space, perhaps? A debonair Private Eye? A jackass with a Cube poster on his wall? The possibilities are endless.

Cube’s opening scene is so badass that my dog and I high-fived each other without even looking. Let me spoil it for you: A dude wakes up in a room with doors on each wall, the ceiling, and the floor. He silently goes to each door and opens it, revealing seemingly identical rooms on all sides. Obviously thinking “fuck it”, he walks through the last door he opened and into the center of the adjacent room. Suddenly there’s a quick, clean metallic noise – like a knife being unsheathed – and lines of blood form all over his face and body until he quietly peels apart into little squares of dude that drop to the ground like the weird, slimey ham cubes you put on salads at crappy buffets. It’s then that the camera changes focus, revealing a grid of bloody steel wires. The grid folds up, disappears, and boom – Title screen. At that moment, you are officially this movie’s bitch.

But Cube isn’t just one brutal death scene after another. That opening sequence just serves to show you what this place is capable of. The rest of the movie follows six other (slightly more cautious) unwilling participants as they wander about the Cube, looking for a way out whilst trying not to get dead in the process. No one remembers how they got there and each person seems to have been selected randomly, but as the “prisoners” get to talking (as prisoners do), they begin to discover that perhaps each other’s presence there isn’t so random after all. That’s when the paranoia and self-preservation kick in and the whole thing turns into “Survivor: Death Cube” (Dude I would watch the SHIT out of that for realsies).

While I can understand the paranoia and fear in a situation such as this, I have a hard time understanding the open hostility that everyone shows to one another. Now maybe I’ve just been lucky in that all my death cube experiences have been with the even-tempered and polite, or maybe these folks need to slow their goddamn rolls for a second or two. These constant strange over-reactions by a couple characters are the only moments that the film loses steam for me, and really, if that’s the worst thing you can say about a movie, it ain’t half bad – especially if it was made for only $365k…which it was. And that’s Canadian dollars, motherfucker. So that’s like six bucks U.S. which is super impressive.

So if you haven’t seen Cube, I’d strongly urge you to do so. Like, very strongly. No, seriously, do it. DUDE I WILL BITE YOUR COCKSUCKING FACE OFF. Sorry. It’s contagious.

I give Cube 4 out of 5 descents into madness and myself a gold star for resisting the urge to reference Portal throughout this review.

Oops.

Bloodsport

 Posted by at 2:13 pm  Comments Off on Bloodsport
Apr 252010
 

When we began JCVD Appreciation Week, we decided to focus on the less popular titles under the assumption that everyone has seen the classics. You would think that somewhere along the line, most people would have stumbled into Bloodsport half way through on daytime TNT or walked into their creepy uncle’s house while he was watching Cyborg or, at the very least, fallen asleep with the TV on and woken up to Timecop. But talking with some folks the other day, I realized that an unsettlingly large percentage of people are not down with their JCVD roots. While this may be completely understandable, it’s still unacceptable. Let’s get you some culture.

5 Reasons To Watch Bloodsport Tonight

(Other Than The Fact That It’s The Best Movie Ever)

1.) Donald Gibb is decidedly unfuckwithable. That’s why no one calls “bullshit” when his character Ray Jackson is somehow easily able to go all the way to Hong Kong to fight in a secret and highly exclusive martial arts tournament despite having no martial arts training. His ability to decimate dudes’ heads by smashing his meaty fists down upon them is enough. Fucking badass. By the by, did you know that in real life this dude actually owns a  brewery in Chicago called “Trader Todd’s Adventure Beer”? My life’s goal is to get a hug from this man.

2.) Bloodsport is the only film in existence wherein you can see a young Forest Whitaker chase a giggling, showboating JCVD through the streets of Hong Kong. You may also notice that he doesn’t look much different in 1988 than he does now, which proves my theory that Forest Whitaker is a magical, timeless being, wholly unaffected by the laws of nature.

3.) You probably know that the Mortal Kombat character Johnny Cage is based on JCVD…but did you know his signature nut punch was inspired by this amazing scene?

4.) I can’t be positive, but I’m pretty sure in the flashback scenes showing JCVD as a gawky teenager, the actual voice of the child actor was replaced by JCVD himself doing a falsetto. If that is the case, it is positively the best thing ever. And if it isn’t? Fuck it. It is in my mind and that’s all that matters.

5.) I assume that much of the supporting cast never spoke English before doing this movie or probably after. With subtitles apparently not in the budget, the resulting dialogue is some of the best delivered you will find anywhere on Earth. If you were to try to write down a collection of “memorable quotes” from Bloodsport, it would just be a copy of the script.

So there you have it. If you have somehow managed to never see Bloodsport, you need to get the fuck on it, if not only to realize how many times you’ve unknowingly seen it referenced in other movies. It’s an American classic and you are doing yourself a disservice by remaining ignorant to its awesomeness. You should be ashamed.

I give Bloodsport infinite roundhouse kicks out of a possible 10.

Death Warrant

 Posted by at 3:19 am  2 Responses »
Apr 232010
 

There’s just no two ways about it – Death Warrant is fucking bizarre.

Here’s the deal – JCVD is a Canadian cop. He hunts down some crazy dude that I guess killed some people (it’s never really explained) nicknamed The Sandman (also never explained). JCVD shoots him a bunch of times in the chest but it doesn’t kill him for some reason and I guess he’s arrested (he looked pretty dead but he shows up later quite alive so whatever).

Okay, jump ahead an oddly specific 16 months. A bunch of inmates are turning up dead in prison, so the governor of California (I think?) decides to hire JCVD to go undercover as an inmate and get the scoop. Some stuck up lady is his liaison posing as his wife. Their shitty attitudes towards each other assure us that they will never bone, so later when they do bone, it’s a surprise.

So JCVD goes undercover to a prison where there are four guards, the cell doors never close, everyone has knives and guns, and the general atmosphere is pretty much that of the Mos Eisley Cantina.

So after doing karate to a lot of people and things, JCVD finds out who’s been killing inmates and why. Unfortunately, as soon as he does, The Sandman shows up and tells everyone he’s a cop so everyone tries to kill him and A LOT of karate happens. Then JCVD wins and escapes and does some big time make-outs with the girl he didn’t like.

The whole thing really plays out like a super fucked up kid making up a story. Shit just kind of happens and everything is inexplicably surreal. Considering the myriad of completely badass movies in the JCVD catalogue, there’s really no reason you need to watch this. Unless you’re going as a Bajoran for Halloween and you want to use utter confusion to help you practice wrinkling up your nose. (Star Wars and DS9 references in the same review? AND during JCVD week? That’s fucked up!)

I give Death Warrant 2 jugs of toilet wine out of a possible 10 jugs of toilet wine.

Double Impact

 Posted by at 11:02 pm  Comments Off on Double Impact
Apr 222010
 

Listen, I know CineMEH can seem pretty dude-centric at times. What with all the talk of boobs and gore and boners and explosions and such, there must be a significant percentage of the fairer sex that feels not particularly catered to, nay, downright excluded…especially in the throes of JCVD Appreciation Week.

Well, it should be known that we here at CineMEH are anything but misogynists. In fact, I’m ovulating right now and I couldn’t be happier about it. So as a gesture of good will towards our wombed readers, I present  my review of Double Impact tailored especially for you.

I give Double Impact 10 out of 10 minutes with my shower head…AM I RIGHT?!?!?!?!

Street Fighter

 Posted by at 11:10 pm  Comments Off on Street Fighter
Apr 202010
 

So you have 35 million dollars and you want to make a movie based on a video game, huh? Sweet. That’s a really good idea.

But with so many video games out there, which one do you choose? Well, if it’s 1994, which it is in this scenario, you’d be a total dumbass not to choose the most popular game on planet fucking Earth: Street Fighter II.

There is, however, one problem with basing a movie on Street Fighter II – Aside from some character bios in the instruction manual and 30 seconds of story when you beat the game, there is no real plot to speak of. It’s just Dragon Punches and Hadoukens and getting mad at your buddies for cornering you like a bitch with E. Honda’s Body Splash even though they promised not to.

So how do you turn frustrated button-mashing into an enjoyable film experience?

Well, you could use the actual story from the Japanese game or even the arcade version. Or I suppose you could just indiscriminately smush all the game’s characters together and have them run around like assholes for an hour and a half. If you really wanted to be a dick, you could just say fuck the whole “street fighting” angle and give them all guns.

Holy shit, that’s what you did? Man, that is gonna fucking SUCK. How are you gonna get people to watch that garbage?

Oh, I see. Well played.

Street Fighter is proof positive of the true power of JCVD. By merely existing, he manages to make an unwatchable pile of shit somewhat watchable, but not in his usual fashion. It doesn’t open with him doing a flying kick off a building onto a guy’s mouth or something. In fact, he doesn’t even karate anything until like an hour and fifteen minutes into the movie, but every scene up until he does is still super intense because you know he could totally lose it and do karate at any second. He’s like a fucking coiled viper.

But JCVD doesn’t rely on this potential energy to carry his weight. The man does not rest on his laurels. No, he took shit into his own hands. In my head, his first day on set went like this:

JCVD: “Hi everybody. Now, I know this Guile character I’m playing is supposed to be some sort of pissed-off ex-Air Force guy hellbent on avenging the death of his friend, but that sounds pretty gay. From now on, he’s a handsome back-sassing loose-cannon Army Colonel who plays by his own rules in both combat and love. Cool? Cool. I’ll be in my trailer fucking whoever or whatever I want. Come get me when you need me to be awesome. Don’t bother knocking…I’m not ashamed of what I do in there.”

As a result of this assumed executive decision by a man who knows what he wants, Jean-Claude spends the majority of the movie snubbing authority and cracking wise with boyish charm rather than Flash-Kicking Russian bear-wrestlers and beating up 4-door sedans for bonus points. These quips, delivered as only JCVD could, are priceless and pure genius. I was so taken by one particular scene in which Guile is calling out M. Bison that I remixed it into a song you can bone to. (It’s only 44 seconds long, though, so you better hold your breath and concentrate really hard if you wanna finish by the end.)

JCVD #1 Summer Jam

Fun Fact: Emmy-winning actor Raul Julia played the role of evil dictator M. Bison, who is killed by JCVD in the end of the film. Mere months later, Julia died in real life – proving once and for all that if JCVD kills you…even in a movie…you stay dead.

While I may only give Street Fighter 1 out of 10 jab Yoga Fires, I give JCVD’s performance 10 out of 10 fierce Yoga Flames.