Monday, September 27, 2010

Bitch Slap

Bitch Slap is not what one might call a subtle movie. If it were a puppy it'd be the kind of puppy that would be barking and attacking the other dogs to vie for your attention. It puts up a good fuss and has a lot of fun energy, but ultimately you want a puppy that's not going to shit in your slippers and shred your newspaper. Yes I just compared Bitch Slap to a disobedient puppy. It just seemed like Bitch Slap was trying too hard to be noticed and ultimately suffered for it.

The film follows the story of three beautiful women on the search for some stolen diamonds that have conveniently been stolen from them. That's not where the story winds up though because this thing has so many convoluted twists I was surprised when it DIDN'T say “from the mind of M. Night Shyamalananananaian”. I should state for the record that I did actually kind of enjoy the film, but it failed in a lot of what it was attempting to do.

  1. I'm sorry I don't care how much blood is in a film if there are no tits it doesn't deserve an R. Maybe they should create a lower case “r” rating for “sure there are some swears and a lot of fighting, but despite the three sets of HEAVING, SWEATING, GIGANTIC tits you don't actually get to SEE any of them”. It's also not a consolation to set a scene in a strip club to make up for this fact. I was interested because one of the girls looks insanely like Mila Kunis and frankly I was hoping to see some of that sweater meat.

    A graphic representation of "Sweater Meat"
  2. This may hearken back to point 1, but if you're going to try so desperately to feel like Russ Meyer's film then you've got to expose some flesh.
  3. If it hasn't been 100% obvious I'm a old school kind of guy and when 85% of a film is shot in front of a green screen it kinda ruins it for me. I get that they were trying to look cheap(or more likely trying to look like Sin City), but it didn't have to look so stale too. Digital is all well and good when it works, but when done wrong (even intentionally) it ruins the whole thing for me.

OK so enough of me harping on what I didn't like. Lets chat briefly about what I did like. The acting was gloriously over the top. Every line reminds me of a bygone era when shitty acting was the norm. This could have very well been unintentional seeing that the biggest achievement of the three female leads comes from Julia Voth who is the likeness for Jill Valentine from the 2002 remake of Resident Evil on. So yeah, not very high hopes for these three. The names had me laughing; Trixie, Hel, Camaro are the leads, but there's also Gage, Deputy Fuchs, Hot Wire, Kinki and so on. The only name that every seemed really forced was Camaro, it became a chore hearing that name over and over.

Another aspect I rather enjoyed was the cast of celebrity cameos. It was a who's who of Sam Raimi produced television. Kevin Sorbo, Lucy Lawless, Renee O'Connor (Gabrielle from Xena). They all livened up the movie if even just for the brief moment they took the screen. It was a reminder that there were some good actors in this thing too.

Kinda makes up for Kull, Kinda

So despite Bitch Slap trying too hard to be the next Faster Pussycat Kill Kill!! it still pulled off being a fun sexy action film. I said there were no tits, but by golly if there aren't a lot of cleavage shots and it's more than enough to get the blood flowing. Bitch Slap is the kind of movie to watch with a couple of friends, get really drunk and poke the shit out of it while ogling some boobies.

3 out of 5

Drink Up, I've Got Movies to Watch


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Dungeon Masters

The Dungeon Masters -

Every now and again I like to indulge my inner (though mostly outer) nerd and watch something incredibly nerdy. I've done this twice recently and the first nerd night involved having my lady over. Which granted was the least nerderific quality of the evening, but hey all nerds when they have a girl like to flaunt it right? We played some Magic: The Gathering (jealous?) and settled down to a documentary, the nerdiest film genre, about D&D game masters. Sadly Magic: The Gathering was the more fun item on the agenda.

The Dungeon Masters tells the depressingly true story of three Dungeon masters, hitherto fore to be referred to as DMs. Each DM was more pathetic than the last, each with their own tale of woe and longing for social acceptance. The film really does little for nerd culture. It just makes D&D players out to be the sad loners that the stereotype has always suggested. I thought we had gotten past this? Sadly no.

And this wasn't in the movie, why?
Stereotypes sometimes exist for a reason and though it is true that there is a certain amount of geek chic going around these days you have to remember that it wasn't all that long ago that it would be considered uncool to be a D&D player. To be a DM it takes a special kind of personality. You want to be entertaining and skillful in storytelling, and not be afraid to kill off an entire party if they do the wrong thing. And to have control over every situation within the game. If these three had any of these qualities it was barely touched upon.

LARPers, yup...they went there
Frankly the film would have been significantly better if it were a celebration of the game and not just a travelogue of the three incredibly depressing DMs they chose to follow. Only one of them was interesting enough to really have deserved being in the film and he spent the entire time moping around because he can't get a book deal for his shitty writing. Seriously dude, STFU and go run a campaign! The girl they decide to follow was so morose that she had me contemplating re-rolling my proverbial character sheet on a few occasions. The guy who seemed like he may have been the best DM of the lot, though you'd never know because they barely shot any footage of them playing games, looked like such a child molester it was disturbing. His reunion with his estranged “son” didn't help the matter either. He wouldn't look right at him, yet the guy had a big creepy smile on his face the whole time. Awkward much?

A face you can't trust your kids with

There are better games worth playing out there, dig a little deeper and you'll find one.

2 out of 5

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Big Shots

There was a time in my life when this movie would have been the bee's knees for me. I would have been 14 at the time and I wouldn't have known that two greats in the industry were making this piece of crap. Ivan Reitman produced Big Shots and Joe Eszterhas wrote it. Most of you probably know Reitman, he's a big name. Eszterhas maybe not so much, but if you're into the kind of movies I watch then you'd better know him. His writing credits are near legendary; Basic Instinct, Showgirls, Sliver and THIS? C'mon Joe, seriously?

Anyway, Big Shots tells the story of 12 year old Obie played by Ricky Busker who did literally nothing else in film after this. It starts off nice enough with Obie having that awkward father/son talk about sex and people's parts and what they do. Obie sums it up perfectly when he asks “Why do we always have to talk about this gross stuff?”. Well Obie won't have to worry about that for much longer because you see, daddy dies pretty quick. The Obester takes it so bad that he hops on his bike and rides it to the inner city of Chicago. He realizes he done messed up once he can only see those mythical creatures he's only heard about in his monochrome suburban school (for rich kids), black people. In a touch of the subtlety Eszterhas is known for Obie is robbed pretty much the second his bike stops.

"The name's Obediah, it's in the bible" - Obie
Then we get to meet Eddie Winslow, er, uh I mean Scam. Yup, they named the little black kid “Scam” played by Darius Mcrary in his debut role. Scam is a really bad street hustler who somehow manages to scrape by. He's essentially a walking stereotype, but that's just more of Eszterhas' subtlety. Big Shots is essentially three films in one.
Imagine this, but shabbier
The first bit of the film deals with family turmoil and the death of Obie's dad. The second film is a comedy about street smart kids trying to get back some stolen goods (specifically Obie's stolen watch). Lastly it's a film about friendship and doing whatever you can to help a friend. This last bit is essentially the entire second half of the film. Obie and Scam steal a car from some bad guys (and like the cover of the box says “they stole a car with a body in the trunk”). The bad guys find out and a transcontinental car chase ensues. The boys are surprisingly good drivers for 12 and one of the inexplicable questions that never gets answered is why no one ever seems to question WHY these two obviously underage boys are DRIVING!

The best part is that the kids seem to have very little understanding of the danger they're in, probably the least realistic aspect of a film that's already borderline fantasy. It's not until the bad guys are ramming their bumper that they realize they MIGHT be in some kind of trouble and the only thing they can spout out is “those are the guys that want their car back”. A car, let me remind you, that has had a dead body in the trunk for at least a week not counting the drive from Chi town to Louisiana where Scam's (ne Jeremy's) father lives.

Note to future 12 year olds, if you're gonna steal a car...steal this one because you won't get in trouble.
The more I think about this movie the more it hurts my brain. It's like the entire movie is one giant loose end after another and nothing ever gets explained. Scam's dad has been gone for years and hasn't even tried to keep in touch and yet is thoroughly excited to see him when he gets there and again doesn't ask them why they're driving. The cops do nothing despite the smokey and the bandit style car chases that leave dozens of cars wrecked and one entire used car lot engulfed in flames. Obie's mom somehow makes it the exact spot Obie is heading to despite no one telling her. She had the address the boys were given by the uncle who's in the IRS, but the boys were told where the father was by a bar maid in Louisiana. The bad guys get caught, but it's never explained what happened to them. Why didn't scam's father cry when scam told him that the mother died? I'm assuming it would have been off screen, but he's all smiles and lack of child neglect from the moment Scam gets there. Why did Obie feel the need to tell his sister she had a nice ass and why did she like that he said that? Do the boys ever get in trouble for stealing a motherfucking cop car and kicking a cop in the nuts after they rob a pawn shop? And that's just about half of the lingering questions I had as the film progressed. When I say nothing is explained, I mean that NOTHING is explained. It's baffling.

The best part about Big Shots is the supporting cast whether it be the small time thief and hustler who becomes the boys “surrogate father” Johnnie Red played by the amazing Paul Winfield. To the Sleazy nogoodnic pawn shop owner played by the usually much more cheerful Robert Prosky. The supporting cast is just amazing and it's littered with faces you'll recognize. Most likely because at the time Ivan Reitman was a big deal to work with. Certainly not because this is any kind of good movie.

I'm a Star Fleet PIMP!
If you like open ended story lines that require you to figure out what happened then you'll most likely enjoy Big Shots. Personally, I prefer to save my brain power for good movies and schlock like this should be spelled out. Big Shots is a discombobulated mess that should probably be avoided unless you happen to be a Joe Eszterhas completionist even then I'd say “pretend he never wrote this”. The sad thing is that Big Shots had a couple of really great moments that I can't deny, like the two boys getting all worked up because the country bumpkin bartender in the south told them flat out “niggers don't drink here” and they flip out and tell him that someone's gonna come in one day and “smash his face in and piss on it”. Those moments are so few and far between that it's hard to stand the bits of film between those parts.

P.S. the boys never once looked like this in the film!

Drink up...I've got movies to watch

2 out of 5