Only at the Grindhouse: Review for "Grindhouse"

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The title of this review says it all. Only at the Grindhouse can you see two highly acclaimed directors, blood, gore, zombies, cars, machine-guns, stunt drivers, an fake B-list cast (kind of), and Tarentino in both films making cameoes.

The first film to feature is Robert Rodreguez’s Planet Terror. Just like a real grindhouse film, the film features melodrama, blood (lots of it), a stripper with a machine gun prosthetic leg, and most of all: zombies. The film plays well on the zombie effect and there is a lot much melting flesh and a truly horrific scene that has Quentin Tarentino playing a rapist who wants to do Rose McGowan. There is a funny scene, which does greatly with the “Grindhouse” effect, where Bruce Willis’ head blows up, who plays a scientist in the army, which is very cheesy, just like the Grindhouse films.

Then the fake trailers appear with such titles as Rob Zombie’s Werewolf Women of the S.S., Ed Wright’s (Shaun of the Dead) Don’t, and Eli Roth’s (Hostel, Cabin Fever) Thanksgiving (honestly, who would think of a holiday horror movie like this?). Each are very funny and give the film a realness to it. In real grind-house theaters, they would show trailers for other exploitation films, so to add that to a movie pretending to be a grind-house film is really a smart move.

The last fim is Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the fatser paced, women’s revenge themed, and more psychologically powerful film of the two. The film ia a homage to films like Vanishing Point and has an A-list cast including Rosario Dawson and Tracie Thoms, who both were in Rent. Kurt Russel stars as Stuntman Mike, a forgotten TV stuntman, who decides to go on a rampage. He first picks up Rose McGowan, who already had a role in Planet Terror (In grind-house films, the budget was often so low, they had to hire the same actor for different roles in the same doubvle-feature). She ends up being thrown around in the passenger’s seat of Russel’s skull and crossbone laden car. She hits her head too hard and dies. Then he goes after a threesome of pot smoking girls and purposely craches into them, leaving them dead. After a few months, he targets Zoe Bell, Dawson and Thoms, who play a game of shipmast (you haang onto the front of the car by hanging on to a belt…while the car is in drive). He tries to kill them, which pushes their buttons. Now it’s time for revenge. In a heart pounding car chase, the best car chase in years, the women fight back and go after Mike. Both films are great and Tarentino and Rodreguez have made a masterpiece. Both films have sctaches on the film and “missing reels”. A truly great peice of film from great directors, this film is one of their best. You get a sense of realness to it, and after the film is over, you may be left breathless.

Grindhouse: A

Planet Terror: B+

Death Proof: A

Faux Trailers: A
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Pretty Good Room Service: Review for 1408

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John Cusack is a good actor. In 1408, the new horror movie based on the Stephen King short story, he gives the performance of the year for horror movies (which, I guess, isn’t really sayng much, considering the acting mess that is Hostel and Saw). But the point is, that when he is trapped in the hell-bent room, his acting is soectacular and powerful. 1408 is about Mike Elinson (Cusak), a skeptical writer that researches haunted houses and basically debunks them. Among the famous Mote-hells is the Dolphin Hotel in New York. It’s not the actual hotell that’s evil, but it’s room 1408 that gives reason for 53 people to commit suicide in the room (est. 1952). Mike doesn’t take the dire warnings from the hotell’s manager, played brilliantly and maliciously by Samuel L. Jackson. It is said that no one can stay an hour in the room without commiting suicide. Mike ignores him and goes to the room…ad he’s fine. The first couple of minutes are completely normal, but the rest of the hour is one hell of a ride. But when the subject of his dead daughter and his estranged wife is brought up (by the room), you cand feel his pain; his need of someone he loved. Yet the room taunted him by giving him his daughter back, and then torturing him by having her die again. But there are parts that the cinematography is sometimes very cheesy. Also, there’s the cliche of him waking up to find none of it was true, then realize that he was still in the room the whole time. But other than that, it’s all pretty good.
Grade: B+
Stars: 3.5/5
Stars: 7/10

Weird (and Annoying) Science: Review for New Fall Show: The Big Bang Theory

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For a lot of people, watching quality programming that is also chock full of smart subjects and anecdotes is often entertaining (like Fraiser), but those of who are math geeks and those of who are expecting a great comedy from The Big Bang Theory, they will be sorely disappointed. The two main characters are absolute geeks, not even mentioning easy things like E=mc2, they mention things far beyond and a little irrelevant (“Did you know that if a stair is even 2mm off that most people will trip?” says Sheldon, played by Jim Parsons). Two geeks, Sheldon and afore mentioned Leonard (Johnny Gelecki), get a kinetic shock when a blond “beauty” moves in across the hall. Then “evolves” a relationship between desperate Sheldon and bimbo Penny (Kaley Couco); relationship meaning Sheldon will do ANYTHING for her and stares at her. Considering she works at the Cheesecake Factory, this relationship sounds unbelievably cliche. The fact of the matter is that you don’t need to know the difference between 3x (-4ab + y) and 3+5 in order to get the jokes. Worst part is that there’s a laugh track. The hype of the show makes it look like the jokes are cunning, snarky and very geeky (kinda like the jokes that make The Office‘s Dwight so funny), but the jokes always fall flat (not by means of gravity). The jokes very rarely have anything to do with being sophisticated and scientific, no inside jokes. They are mostly picking at Beauty and the Geek romances. A few of the jokes are mildly enjoyable and Leonard plays a very good sidekick/pal who often enjoys giving random anecdotes. In a nut shell: you don’t have to be smart to watch this show, it’s important that you enjoy dumb jokes. Grade: C
Stars: 2.5/5
Stars: 5.5/10

"Death" Becomes Her: Review for "Agatha Christie’s Poirot: Death on the Nile"

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David Suchet returns as the dapper Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. This “film” is part of the A&E series Agatha Christie’s Poirot. This is a rather accurate adaptation of the Christie novel of the same. Lynette Ridgeway, played brilliantly by Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) has everything one could imagine. Her friend, Jacqueline de Belfeur, is engaged to Simon Doyle, but poor Doyle is out on his luck. He needs money, so Jaquie decides to be Lynette to give Simon a job on her new estate as land agent. But a few months later, it is announced that Lynette is engaged to Mr. Doyle: she’s stolen Jacquie’s fiancee! Jacquie is filled with anger and wants revenge, so she follows the two wherever they go: Italy and abroad.When the couple are relaxing peacefully in Aswan, Egypt. Jacquie surprises them with a drunken visit in a ballroom. Miss Ridgewat tries to convince Poirot to try to get Jacquie to use her common sense. The couple then decide to take a trip up the Nile, trying to evade Jacquie; but surprise, surprise, Miss de Belfeur shows up to make the trip misserable, while Poirot watched in earnest. Lynette and Simon take a look at some of the sites, and while they sre restinng, someone dislodges a large ruin which almost kills Lynette! But Jaquie was far from the scene, so she couldn’t have done it! That night Jacquie feels unbelievably depressed and gets drunk. In her state, she shoots Simon! During the night Lynette is shot throught the head, and again Jaquie could not have done it! It is up to Monsier Poirot to catch the killer. This adaptation of the classic crime is very good, and pretty accurate. Jacquie’s performance is not emotional enough (e.g. she “begs” Lynette to give Simon the job, but she sounds too bored and dull and not enough excited). David Suchet’s pervormance is unforggetable, but this Poirot is not as humorous or soft spoken as was in the original PBS Mystery! series.
Grade: B+
Stars: 3.5/5
Stars: 7/10

Life and Its Puzzles: Review for Saw

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Saw is the first of four horror films. Adam (writer Leigh Whannel) and a Dr. Gordon (Cary Elwes) wake up in a disgusting bathroom. In their pockets are tapes that say “Play Me”. In the middle of the floor is a a dead body with a tape player in one hand and a gun in the other. These two strangers are pawns in the sick life games of Jigsaw (Tobin Bell). Jigsaw is infamous for teaching sick life games in which they end up killing themselves. The moral is to not take your life for granted. As each of the strangers’ lives unravel, the sick mind of Jigsaw drives through the twists and turns. The script is extremely well written, featuring “How far would you go…?” situations and great psychological aspects. Jigsaw is extremely smart, thinking of everything before he begins. The life lessons are truly ingenious (e.g. You have this device on your head that rips your mouth open and the key is in your cell mate’s stomach.). How Much Blood Would You Shed To Stay Alive? reads the posters. But when you watch this film, think about what you would do in their situations. Though the acting from Elwes and Whannel are pretty bad (Elwes acts like he’s Whannels soccer coach), the film is a scary, smart, pyschological, suspenseful thriller. The first film directed by newcomer James Wan and writer Leigh Whannel, which is based on a short film they made in film school of the same title. Grade: B+ Stars: 4/5 Stars: 7.5/10 Writing: Grade: A- Stars: 4.5/5 Stars: 8.5/10

A Royal Ball: Review for "Enchanted"

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Enchanted is the the cute story of Giselle (Amy Adams) who is about to marry Prince Edwards (James Marsden) in the animated land of Andalasia. She is lured by Narissa (Susan Sarandon), Edward’s evil stepmother, and is pushed down a well and ends up in…New York City. She has help from Lawyer Robert “McDreamy” (Patrick Dempsey from Grey’s Anatomy), and it is up to Prince Edward and his little chipmunk friend Pip to find the soon-to-be princess. Robert, meanwhile, is trying to convince that there’s no such thing as true love, while she is still hoping the prince is still trying to rescue her. Having stayed with Robert and his daughter for two days, she falling in real love with him, not that fantasy stuff (which is somewhat controdictive to what Robert is saying). The ending, in which Narissa turns into a dragon, is exciting enough, but is unneeded. Amy Adams is really into her role. She really makes you feel for her character. The film is cute enough for kids and funny and romantic enough for adults. The sings are enjoyable, but one song in particualr, “That’s How You Know”, deserves an Oscar nod. Also an Oscar nomination for Adams, for she is Enchanting. This film is also filled with homages to old Disney classics.
Grade: A-
Adams: A++

Fa-Sin-ista: "The Devil Wears Prada"

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This chick flick based on the bestseller about a woman who works with a boss from hell was based on Lauren Weisberger’s real relationship with former boss, Anna Wintour of Vogue Magazine. Young Andy (Anne Hathaway) is looking for a job in the Big Apple, and the last place she applies is the famous Runway Magazine, the fashion Bible, run by the ruthless devil Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). Once getting te job as receptionist, she is taught the basics by fellow hater Emily (Emily Blunt) and learns that she would rather have gone to Hell than work for the Queen of Fashion Mean. She is met a promotion, while Emily is fired. It goes all to Hell and a hand basket from there. Meryl Streep’s preformance an the Editor in Chief from Hell is sinfully delectible, while Hathaway’s Andy is pretty good, judging from her past workd in The Princess Diaries series and Ella Enchanted. The film gets kind of yuppie toward the end and Stanley Tucci as the fashionista who works with Priestly is marvelous. Grade: B+ Stars: 3.5/5 Stars: 7/10 Since its a “boss from hell” story, it has to be here: having a boss from hell is scary.