Watchin’ Stuff #41

An early Tobe Hooper movie that seems to have been completely forgotten about, but with good reason. Horribly grimy and unlikable characters and an equally unpleasant setting. The villain is just a crazy old dude who runs a hotel and likes to randomly kill his guests and maybe sometimes feed them to a giant alligator outside. Oh, it’s not as interesting as it sounds. The guy just rambles incoherently to himself non-stop, which is more annoying than creepy, and this kind of sets the tone for the whole movie. It’s hard to put into words, characters just have very strange, out of place reactions to things in a way that makes you wonder what the hell was going on with the direction. DNF!

An obscure Spanish video nasty, Edge of the Axe is one of those odd ones that’s painfully cheaply made, yet has a bit of inexplicable charm to it. The characters and script are goofy as fuck, but it’s good for a few laughs and it puts an interesting twist on the whole slasher thing. Not amazing, but decently enjoyable.

A little eye-roll-inducing in its “people shouldn’t be jerks” theme, and maybe a little confused about what kind of movie its trying to be, but still a mostly entertaining film. Black comedy which kind of abruptly descends into ultra-violence. Again, not amazing, but decently enjoyable.

The sequel to Chinatown, apparently. The Two Jakes tries, but it just can’t hold up compared to Chinatown at all. The sets and costumes are noticeably cheaper and really don’t sell the time period anywhere near as well. Nicholson is supposed to be playing the same character, but is clearly not acting the same way under his own direction. He just seems more like the stereotypical 90’s overly-smirky version of himself. That tone seems to extend to the whole movie too. It’s not as deadly serious as Chinatown was, it tries to become oddly comedic at times, even kind of slapstick comedy occasionally, almost feeling like it’s stretching into old Warner Bros. cartoon territory at times. Maybe I shouldn’t compare it to Chinatown so much, but that’s kind of hard to do when the story turns out to rely heavily on you remembering the details of the previous movie and beats you over the head with connections to it, despite this one taking place something like 10-15 years later. It’s just an inferior production, and one with a story that never grabbed me at all. Yet another DNF.

Why did they change the title of this from Ghostland to Incident in Ghostland, as if that’s an improvement? Why is it even named Ghostland for that matter? There aren’t even any ghosts! The latest from the director of MartyrsGhostland is just a story about a family that gets captured by a large mentally disabled man and a cross-dresser, both of which are obsessed with dolls and being kind of torturous and rapey. There’s a “twist”, which bafflingly comes in at around the 33% point and then disappears not long after, leaving you wondering what exactly the point. It’s kind of an interesting angle in theory, but has so little presence and impact on the overall story that it just feels like a waste of time. Other than that it’s just a pretty generic home invasion/Texas Chainsaw Massacre-type-crazies knockoff that doesn’t really have much to offer at all.

Meh. Don’t really get the hype surrounding this one. It’s considered a big deal classic thriller, but it all seemed pretty generic and boring to me. Kid sees murder, bad guys come after kid, Harrison Ford tries to protect kid, but kid is Amish and so instead it turns into a bad romance film as Ford ends up learning to appreciate the Amish culture, falls for the kid’s mom, gets in trouble with an Amish rival who thought the mom was going to be his, blah blah blah, it’s all so paint-by-numbers and it seemed to completely forget about the whole witness thing for so long that I just lost the will to continue. DNF.

Ugh. What an awful movie. Trailers led me to believe that this would be a goofy 80’s martial arts action movie with a young Van Damme as the villain, but instead it’s really more of a teen drama that just happens to be slightly martial arts related. It’s like a very poor man’s Karate Kid. Everything is just so poorly done. Awful acting, awful dialogue, awful music, terribly filmed, horrible sound quality, even the editing sucks. I don’t care about the whiny main character or his insanely bad breakdancing black sidekick or the offensively inept fat local bully character that plagues them both. This is the kind of movie that makes Gymkata look good.

Somewhat entertaining for what it is, but it does have a lot of problems. The puzzles and religious-themed mystery are kind of interesting and Ron Howard does his best to keep things compelling despite the lack of action and how goofy a lot of it is, but man there’s some silly shit in there that really shouldn’t have been left in. Like when the two main characters are about to be shot to death, but then are saved because a random fucking bird just flies down out of nowhere and distracts the bad guy for long enough for them to start running away. It really runs out of steam in the last half hour too and you have to wonder what they went through all that trouble for when they don’t even bother doing anything with the huge secrets they uncover concrete evidence of in the end. They’re just like “Oh, the church has been part of a massive cover-up for 2000 years, all in the name of suppressing women and other religions, to the point where they’ve even been murdering a ton of people over the years, but eh, we better not tell anyone because…faith?”. Whatever. I’ll probably still watch the next one anyway because I’m a sucker for these kinds of stories.

This just didn’t do it for me. Had some pretty well done practical effects, but the 10 minutes or so of good violence didn’t make up for how slow and uninteresting the rest was. Mostly a lot of time wasting with characters that ranged from boring to annoying.

Don’t know why I had the sudden urge to revisit this one. Probably haven’t seen it since I was about 10. It reminds me of a live action version of a bad cartoon, but it still managed to get a good amount of laughs out of me. John Ritter was great, as always. Think I’ll save the sequel for next time though.

Not sure what to think of this movie. All the lobbyists and politicians are so scummy and unlikable, even the main character, that it’s hard to feel any kind of sympathy for anyone. Even though what the titular Miss Sloane and her team are fighting for seems to be a good cause, the way they go about manipulating votes and such is pretty awful. It is well written though, and Jessica Chastain’s performance is pretty great, which is all that saves it from being too unpleasant to watch.

What a mess. A sequel to a surprisingly decent jailbreak thriller with Schwarzenegger and Stallone, except they couldn’t get Schwarzenegger to return and Stallone’s actually more of a background character now. Just a miserable excuse for a movie, with awful camerawork, awful action scenes, cheap shitty CGI explosions that look like they were done in Adobe Premiere, and some unbelievably shitty actors that seemed like English wasn’t their first language. Couldn’t get past 20 minutes, it was that bad.

A dark and disturbing Stephen King murder mystery/family drama. Slow, but compelling if you can get past how miserable and depressing it all is. Possibly the best movie of the week (two weeks), since there wasn’t much in the way of competition and wife wasn’t around so that we could start watching Luke Cage season 2. Better luck next time…

3 comments on “Watchin’ Stuff #41

  1. Peter Saturday says:

    didn’t even know Escape Plan 2 was a thing, dang too bad you didn’t like Primal Rage, I was honestly more of a fan of the monster in general, I dug the fx stuff alot…have you ever seen EXISTS? I think that one’s the best of the Bigfoot horror..

  2. Peter Saturday says:

    PS I love Witness!

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