Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Movie Bitch Just Got Sucker Punched

Bad ass girls, steampunk Nazis, fishnets, Don Draper, an awesome soundtrack, these would make for something that I would enjoy yet it somehow would not work.

I was wrong.

When I saw the previews for this film, I didn't have high hopes. Knowing Zack Snyder's previous works, I knew it was going to be a visual masterpiece, but everything else would fall so short.

Again, I was wrong.

I might be losing my cinephille street credibility by saying this, but I enjoyed Sucker Punch. In fact I liked it a lot.

I initially dismissed this film as a fanboy's wet dream and I didn't really high hopes for it, so I made no plans to see it. But then I heard about the steampunk Nazis and the awesome soundtrack, suddenly, my interest piqued. 

The film in many respects does give fan service to those horny fanboys out there, but there is a complexity to it that many critics may have missed.

Subtlety is not Snyder's strong suit, but this film has it. I know it may be hard to believe but the film has a lot of subtext and subtlety behind all of the guns blazing and sword fighting.

The film is about a young girl named Baby Doll (Emily Browning, who you may remember as Violet from Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events) who tries to kill her very evil stepfather in a fit of rage and tries to protect her little sister from him, but ends up accidentally killing her instead. In the first few minutes alone it is implied that Baby Doll was raped on several occasions by her stepfather and was trying to protect her little sister from that same fate.

Poor Baby Doll gets sent to the insane asylum and plots to escape from there with the help of sisters Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish) and Rocket (Jena Malone), Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens, who is trying to escape from the evil clutches of the Mouse) and Amber (Jamie Chung).

I can understand why a lot of critics would not like this movie. It is confusing when you first see it because you can't really tell which is the reality and which is the fantasy. Throughout most of the film, the viewer will be in the brothel sequence and as such is where the subtleties begin to come into place. 

In Baby Doll's head and through her imagination it is obvious that all of the girls in the asylum have been raped, sexually, physically, mentally and emotionally abused. The film is using that brothel sequence as a means of showing the actual horror but in a symbolical manner.

Even in the other realities that Baby Doll imagines, there are many implications as well and she is using her imagination to hide the horrific reality of her situation and the insane asylum.

If anything, this is the only way that Snyder can be subtle. Subtlety through noise and visual vibrancy. I know it doesn't make any sense, but this is Snyder's vision and this is his way of being subtle.

With that said, the acting in the film is great, but at times it can get over the top, in the case of Blue Jones (Oscar Issac), the fighting choreography is one of the best I have seen in a long time and at times is pretty inventive and impressive, especially the acrobatics, which is something that you don't see much in action films these days.

The story seems pretty straightforward, but with the lines of fantasy and reality blurring, it can be complex and it will either confuse you or it will make you think and even ask questions of what is real and what is not. 

The pacing of the film is just about right but it does go a little too quickly at times when it needs to slow down, but it manages to do a good job of not slapping the audience with an action sequence every five minutes or so, the film at least gives the audience a chance to breathe a bit and try to take in the information before moving on to the next action sequence. Although, admittedly the lack of transitions and explanations in the film will annoy and confuse a lot of viewers.

As I mentioned before, the soundtrack to this film is phenomenal. Most of the music used are mostly covers and different variations of those songs, but it works extremely well with the tone of this film.

This film in many aspects is a departure from Snyder's previous works, but his signature style is there. This is a film in which there is a lot of style and not much substance on the surface (the previews and the commercials for this film isn't really making the film look any better), but it is a lot more complex than that. The complexity is hard to see at first because it is loud, bombastic and visually stunning, but on a deeper level it does explore some very interesting points and ideas.

Overall, this film is by no means an Oscar masterpiece and it shouldn't be seen as that type of film, for the kind of movie that it is and to the audience its catering to, it does its job and then some. Sucker Punch tries to actually challenge the audience and even explore some complex ideas that would interest a lot of film theorists out there. It may not be the best approach, but the effort is there and it is genuine.

I will have to give credit where credit is due, at least Zack Snyder attempted to do something different. I personally enjoyed the movie, but I can also see how many people may not enjoy this film that much due to the complexity of the plot and the difficulty of understanding what is going on, due to how the film is presented.

My name is Maricruz Gonzalez and I'm The Movie Bitch, because somebody has to be.

Stay Sassy Planet Earth!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

We're Men...We're Men In Tights...

Like me they go around the forest looking for fights.

I will begin this review by saying that Mel Brooks is one of my comedy heroes. In fact he is one of the reasons why I wanted to do comedy. I have seen all of his movies and works and I have to say, with a few minor bumps (Life Stinks being one of them), the man knows how to do a parody film and he knows how to do it right.

I am posting this review as a comparison piece to Vampires Suck (one of the worst comedies I have seen in my entire life). This film is an example on how you do a spoof. You stick to the subject matter that you are parodying yet at the same time add some relevant and timeless humor that people can relate to.

With that said, Robin Hood: Men In Tights is the second to last film that he has directed in his entire career 
(he is still acting as a voice actor and producer) and this film still has Brooks' signature flair but it does have some flaws.

One of the flaws with this film is the pacing. The beginning and the end of the film flows beautifully, but the problem is with the middle of the film. The middle of the film seems to slow down a bit, but when it hits the "Men In Tights" musical sequence, the movie begins to pick up its pace again.

The other flaw with this movie is the rap group sequence in the beginning and the end of the film. I understand that Brooks' was trying to make fun of hip-hop, but knowing how he makes fun of pop-culture, this bit gives the impression that Brooks' treats hip-hop as a passing fad as opposed to a genuine form of music (then again with the current hip-hop trends with rappers rapping about opulence and objectifying women as opposed to what is going on with the world, this one is warranted in some respects).

There are some jokes that do fall flat and some that were timely then, are not as relevant now.

Overall, Robin Hood: Men In Tights has its flaws and it may not be as strong as Brooks' previous works, it still holds up as a comedy and it clearly does a great job making fun of the Robin Hood mythos while adding that Brooks' signature humor. Although some of the humor is outdated and the jokes are not as strong as the ones in his previous films, but as a Mel Brooks film, Robin Hood: Men In Tights carries its weight just fine, unlike Brumhilda's horse.

Mel Brooks, if by some off chance you are reading this review (I highly doubt it) please direct another parody film and show those assholes who made awful movies such as Disaster Movie, Vampires Suck and Date Movie how comedy and parodies are really done.

My name is Maricruz Gonzalez and I'm the Movie Bitch... because somebody has to be.

Stay Sassy Planet Earth!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

This Vampire Movie Really Sucks..Pun Definitely Intended

Well after a long break from writing scathing reviews on shitty movies, I have finally returned from my hibernation to review one of the worst vampire parody flicks that I have seen in a long time, Vampires Suck.

Rule of thumb: If it has the two same writers from Scary Movie, you know this is going to be a piece of shit.

Did these two writers from Scary Movie think they could get away with this?! I mean isn't it too freaking soon to make a parody of franchise that is unaware of the fact that it is a parody in it of itself?!

Let's move along before I get to this point.

I understand that vampires are all the rage right now and I have to admit I was a vampire fan girl back when I was in high school, then again I am a weirdo anyway so what does it matter. At least back in my day, I used to read the Sookie Stackhouse novels and I played Vampire: The Masquerade with my friends. Now there are the Twilight books, The Vampire Diaries and of course True Blood (which is ironically based off of the Sookie Stackhouse Novels). 

So its understandable that there are going to be an endless supply of parodies out there making fun of the whole vampire craze. This movie tries to capitalize on that...with the same guys who brought you such memorable shit like Date Movie and Superhero Movie.

Basically, we're fucked. Let's go ahead and sink our teeth into this festering pile of shit shall we?

So the movie begins with a flashback to Rebecca trying to save Edward from killing himself. All seems well and good considering at least they are somewhat following the Twilight trope very well. Of course Edward is sparkling and his dick is a disco ball, which I already suspected all along. 

I honestly wish this was the only "sparkle" that I saw in this movie.

So Rebecca jumps in midair that would make Super Mario say "How the fuck is that humanly possible?" while a Bill Compton look-alike tries to stop her from reaching him. Of course the movie begins near the end and then the beginning credits roll to go all the way back to beginning. God I wish this movie ended soon.

So Becca is pissed about moving into the town Sporks, Washington after dully monologuing about how her mom is banging a pro-athlete and traveling around with him (insert cheap Tiger Woods joke here, seriously, the movie used it). Of course she sees a vampire in broad daylight sucking a girl's blood. Yeah, when  you see that shit, it's best to tell your dad to turn the car around and get the fuck out of town. Of course her dad is played by none other than Diedrich Bader (a waste of a good comedian).

Of course they go through the same shit as the Twilight movies and how Becca is paying attention to how the town is infested with vampires. Of course Becca is the new girl in school and she gets picked on within five minutes of arriving. I understand this is supposed to be a parody and all but this not how high school works. At least have some logic. Just because something is illogical and implausible doesn't automatically make it funny, there has to be context to it.

So anyway, like in the other movie, she has her friends which are a parody of some of the characters in that other movie.

Becca: Hey do you know how we can get out of this shitfest?
Jennifer: You know, Kristen Stewart asked me that same exact question a while back and I haven't the slightest clue.

So after the mindless humor and cheap and unrelated joke about the film Dear John (Nicolas Sparks films are going to get their due, I promise this), we are finally introduced to the Sullen Family (I admit, that's pretty clever).

Oh yeah, they look like your typical family...

So after the weird introduction in Biology class, Edward smells Becca and has to use a Hazmat suit to protect himself. Where did he get said suit is beyond me, I'm just going to go with the theory that he pulled it out of his ass. After class is over she almost gets hit by a car but Edward saves her by, get this, grabbing one of her classmates and using him to stop the car.

Is that even supposed to be funny? If anything that's down right cruel and even psychotic! How is this even comedy?! Everything that I have seen so far of this movie is down right cruel and so hateful! I don't understand how this movie could even call itself a comedy.

Anyway, Becca meets up with Jacob again who can't really hide his werewolf tendencies. Again, I understand that he is going through puberty, but just because it was funny the first time doesn't mean it will be funny again. Of course Jacob is desperate to get Becca to like her and does nice things for her. I cannot stress enough to go through the many problems this movie has, so I am going to try and get through this as quick as possible.

So Edward and Becca have an intimate moment with one another while in her bedroom. Of course she is sleepwalking and doing weird shit in which Ed tries to wake her. She then wakes up to see him and then goes back to bed. Of course Ed says some romantic line, she farts in his face and he goes out the window. Ha Ha funny, next scene.

Of course Ed visits her the next time around and Becca is wide awake and horny and tries to have her way with him, but he's not too keen on the idea himself and acts like teenage girl when he gets kissed by her. Of course violence towards a teenage girl which is considered to be comedy to the people who created this piece of shit ensues and then ends with the next scene.

There is some subplot about murderous vampires on the loose, but that's not really important.

They were just looking for some Cheetos and publicity.

So after a bunch of shit happens in this movie that's supposed to be funny but really isn't happens, Edward introduces Becca to his family, but shit goes bad when she has a nasty paper cut and his family goes insane.

Okay, she clearly does not need a band aid, she needs stitches and an emergency room!

Of course after that she gets dumped and starts pointing out all of the obvious plot holes in this movie (that's my job, missy) about how she should not be left alone in a forest in a town full of vampires. After Edward saves her from the attack, he leaves on his segway and gets rescued by the most homo erotic group of werewolves ever.

Lou Pearlman would cream himself for this boy band.

So after that Jacob helps Becca and a bunch of boring shit happens that I won't even bother to mention because it's not funny. 

You know what, I am just going to wrap this shit up because this movie is almost as bad to review as it was to watch it.

I'm almost at my limit here.

Iris finds Becca and tells her that Edward is going to kill himself because he thinks she's dead and they race to the prom to rescue him. We finally go back to where this shit fest started, Becca saves Edward, Edward turns her into a vampire after an unfunny fight scene and the movie ends, thank fucking god!

Edward: No matter what you do Becca, don't ever mention that you were in this film.
Becca: Yeah I think my career is already over before it began.

This just unbelievable. This movie is a piece of shit and this coming from someone who has seen some of the worst.

Admittedly, the actress does a good job mimicking Kristen Stewart's weird twitches but everyone else is so terrible in this movie. You have two really funny comedians, Diedrich Bader and Dave Foley whose talent and comedy was completely wasted in this film. The jokes are unfunny, cruel and even downright offensive. I don't even begin to understand how this movie is considered a comedy let alone how did a movie this bad get made in the first place!? It's unfunny, dull, offensive, hateful and cruel. The pacing is terrible and this is just another pop-culture parody film that is trying to ride the coattails of the success of Twilight. There were so many scenes that I didn't even mention in this review because it was so useless and unfunny. 

God I can write a funnier film than the two assholes who made Date Movie, Meet The Spartans and this piece of shit any day of the week. 

To the two guys that made those movies that I mentioned above, please leave comedy to the professionals who know how to make a funny movie.

My name is Maricruz Gonzalez and I'm the Movie Bitch...Because somebody has to be.

Stay Sassy Planet Earth!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Did South Park Just Make A Circumcision Joke In Their Movie Title?

Yes. They Did.

South Park is certainly no stranger to controversy and this film is living proof of it. I remember being at least 11 years old when this movie came out in theaters and hearing many parents and censorship groups protesting this film due to the coarse language in it. By that time my brother and I were watching South Park and we have heard much worse in public schools and at home compared to some of the foul language used in the show and in the film. If anything, a lot of the foul language in this film is hysterical and a lot of groups and protesters missed the point that the movie was trying to make. This film is obviously about censorship, but the deeper subtext of the film is that parents need to take the responsibility for what their kids do until their kids are 18 years old. Of course this is not the only issue that this film raises.

My brother and I first watched this movie when it came out and we understood the message they were trying to send, so how does this movie hold up a little over decade later, the answer is that it does, for the most part.

The main message of censorship and parents taking responsibility and the time to talk to their children is certainly there and is as relevant today as it was then (being that kids today are becoming more miserable than ever, due to the over-emphasis of the "me, me, me" culture that in some part the "self-esteem" movement has caused). 

The songs are still funny and viewers will still laugh at all of them, of course the idea of Brian Boitano being the "Chuck Norris" of the show is still pretty funny, although if you're not a fan of the show, then the joke will definitely be lost on you in some respects.

Another thing that some viewers may not realize is that the music in this film and some of the characters and situations pay tribute to Les Miserables and parodies Disney films like The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. Another joke and homage that may be lost to those who are not very familiar with musical theater or may have missed the cues.

Of course there are some jokes that are a little bit outdated, but these jokes are not entirely detrimental to the enjoyment of this film. Although, it is the only movie in history that still holds the world record for the most swear words in a movie, it is understandable why some critics may see this movie as immature. Some critics will say that a comedy that uses so much foul language is often using it as a means to mask the inadequacy of the film itself and the lack of humor in it.

South Park: Bigger, Longer And Uncut uses this to its advantage to test the censors and the MPAA of what is considered to be obscene and offensive. This movie was originally slated for the dreaded NC-17 rating which is the kiss of death for a lot of movies, but one of the valid points that was raised in this movie is when the Canadian Prime Minister replies to Shelia Brofsloski "American television shows graphic violence everyday. How could a film with some foul language could piss you off so much?" 

It is one of those lines in the film that made me really think. There have been many interesting films that have been made and that will never see the light of day or get the distribution they need because of the dreaded NC-17 rating. The NC-17 rating is mostly reserved for movies that contain explicit sexuality, nudity, or extremely graphic violence but a lot of the movies that ended up in the NC-17 rating list are mostly films that contain the two former and not the latter yet the films that are extremely violent simply get the "R" rating.

While South Park: Bigger, Longer And Uncut's message is clear about their position concerning censorship, freedom of speech and individual responsibility, it also satirizes and criticizes the MPAA's rating system and on some level, American Culture as a whole and America's fetish and obsession with violence. It is that message and issue that was definitely missed when I first saw this movie at 13 years old and most certainly missed when this movie came out, but now as a little over a decade has passed and as I have gotten older, there are many other issues and messages that I also see now that are especially important to talk about.

Considering the MPAA almost gave Zack And Miri Make A Porno the NC-17 rating in 2008 (due to a sex scene that wasn't even explicitly graphic in the "pornographic" context) and that they were willing to give Rambo an "R" rating, it makes you think what the MPAA considers more appropriate for the viewing public and where their priorities and beliefs lie.

This film explores that through using foul language and even challenges the MPAA through its foul language and what the boys say. This film is definitely worth looking into, not just for the fans of the show, but also for those who love films and consider themselves a film scholar.

As far as the MPAA's motto goes, Shelia Brofloski said it best: "Remember what the MPAA says; Horrific, Deplorable violence is okay, as long as people don't say any naughty woids!" 

My name is Maricruz Gonzalez and I'm The Movie Bitch...Because somebody has to be.

Stay Sassy Planet Earth!

Trailer Trash Time!

That's right! Here are a few movie trailers of films that I will be reviewing in the coming weeks. You're going to have to guess which of these movies will be reviewed for the one year anniversary of The Movie Bitch.