It’s Tuesday and that means you’ve had almost two full days to digest the Breaking Bad finale, so now that I’ve fulfilled my official blogger’s obligation to namedrop Breaking Bad at least one time in this post, we can actually move on to the task at hand. This Is The End is this week’s main offering, but as usual we’ve got a full and robust potpourri of films to choose from if you’ve already seen the one that gets the banner image. We’ve got Nicolas Cage films both live action and animated. We’ve got some new blood and a broken heart. We’ve got frozen ground and organic fertilizer. We’ve got cavemen and Christmas pageants. We’ve even got a film that has already cemented its place in Canadian cinematic history.
This Is The End
The Frozen Ground
So This Is Christmas
Fright Night 2: New Blood
The Book Of Daniel
Beyond The Heavens
Language Of A Broken Heart
100 Bloody Acres
Dead Before Dawn
Two of this week’s films are Dove-approved, but if you want to know which ones they are you’re just going to have to continue reading. Another one of these movies is about an abandoned mine. Sure, you may think you know which one it is, but if you continue reading you might be surprised by the answer. Or not, because it’s the one called Abandoned Mine, but you should keep reading anyway because at one point during this crazy adventure I end up quoting scripture and I for one think we all could use a little more Biblical influence in our lives.
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg write and direct this comedy about people trying to survive the Biblical apocalypse. It stars the likes of James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson (along with a host of other celebrities in smaller roles), and they all play comedically exaggerated versions of themselves. The movie’s domestic box-office alone has more than tripled its production budget, and the critics were surprisingly receptive to it (84% on Rotten Tomatoes) making this film an unqualified success. Vince gave it a ‘B+’ in the official FilmDrunk review, and you know how he normally feels about Canadians making light of Biblical prophecy. As usual, I haven’t caught this one yet, and while I’m eager to see it, I’m going to go on record and say that this movie shouldn’t exist. I have two basic problems with the existence of this movie. My first complaint is pretty simple: I don’t think it will still be funny 10 years from now. Now I know most movies aren’t made with the expectation of living long lives as classics that people watch and re-watch and share with their friends, but I do think most movies are made with the hope that that will be the case. Certainly most comedies and definitely most studio comedies with a large cast of recognizable stars that cost $32 million to make are made with that hope. We may laugh now at the James Franco-is-gay because he’s known for playing coy about his sexuality, but it will just seem stale and dated after he comes out of the closet, and the same holds true for how every ‘character’ is portrayed. The jokes are all based on the presumption that you know who these people are and are not only familiar with their work, but also with their personas. If I tried watching this with my son twenty years from now I’d have to explain who these people were and all the various pop culture references and he would have a hard time believing that Jonah Hill, the same Jonah Hill who -in the then current year of 2033- pops up on late night infomercials showing us how we can revolutionize the Martian real estate industry just by experiencing his 11-part seminar teaching his patented fool-proof system for intergalactic business transactions as obtained via extra-sensory memory file uploaded directly to our government-mandated neural-net cybernetic cortex database (thanks a lot, Obamacare), used to be a big enough star to actually draw people to a theater to watch a movie in which he plays himself. Of course I’m not saying that all movies hold up over the years, I’m just saying that this one seems expressly designed to grow stale over time, even if I were to find it hilarious right now. The bigger problem is my second complaint: simply put, this movie was too successful. This is going to be its own sub-genre now, and nobody wants that. Adam Sandler already freely admits he makes movies like Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2 as an excuse to hang out with his celebrity friends -what’s going to happen when they don’t even have to pretend to be characters? What’s sadder than watching Kevin James rolling around trying to be a zookeeper or an MMA fighter? Watching Kevin James rolling around just trying to be himself. Don’t even get me started on David Spade. So watch this movie if you want, and by all means enjoy it, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. It’s all fun and games when we’re watching Michael Cera pretend to have a drug problem, but none of us will be laughing 18 months from now when Kristen Stewart is playing herself in a movie about the time she was confronted by Twilight fans who turned out to be real vampires and we’ll be laughing even less a month after that when Miley Cyrus is playing herself in a time travel movie about twerking dinosaurs. Let me be clear: I would love nothing more than to see some twerking dinosaurs, but not like that. Not like that at all.
This is that Dreamworks animated film where Nicolas Cage voices a caveman who doesn’t want his family to ever leave the cave because he wants to have necessary-for-survival incest with his Emma Stone-voiced daughter but she’s not having it because there’s a new guy who sounds like Ryan Reynolds and he knows about fire and shit. By now we all know the drill: it’s an animated film targeted to kids so it made buckets of cash, a sequel is in the works, and those of us with kids will end up watching it because kids don’t have any discernment when it comes to their entertainment choices and we all stopped fighting the good fight around the time they could walk. Beyond that, the only analysis I have to contribute is the curious fact that the story for this fine piece of art was co-written by John Cleese of Monty Python fame. What’s strange is the fact that he did not provide a vocal performance for this film, despite doing so for such films as Planes, The Big Year, Winnie The Pooh, Shrek Forever After, Planet 51, Igor, Shrek The Third, Charlotte’s Web, Mickey’s Around The World In 80 Days, Valiant, Shrek 2, George Of The Jungle 2, Pinocchio (the really creepy one with Roberto Benigni as the puppet-turned-real-boy), The Magic Pudding, George Of The Jungle, The Swan Princess, and An American Tail: Fievel Goes West. I’m sure he really wanted to –because the movie’s just so great- but he was probably too busy filming Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure. You know the movie I’m talking about -the seventh film in the series about a loveable but mischievous St. Bernard. Christmas Adventure is the fifth straight-to-video installment in the epic saga by the way, and for those of you not in the know, Beethoven talks now and is voiced by Tom Arnold. So yeah, The Croods is probably pretty great.
Nicolas Cage and John Cusack headline this true-crime thriller about an Alaskan State Trooper played by Cage and his quest to catch Cusack, a serial killing rapist. Or would that be a raping serial killer? Serial killing rapist sounds better to the ear, but it kind of implies that rape is a worse crime than murder, and while both are horrible, if I were forced with a gun to my head to pick which was worse I’d probably say serial killing is worse than rape. I’m just sayin’. At any rate, Cusack rapes and murders young girls like Vanessa Hudgens, who plays the one girl who got away and becomes a junkie stripper, and Cage is convinced Cusack is the culprit, but he has no hard evidence so he gets Hudgens to help him but nobody believes her much anyway because, as I said, she’s a junkie stripper. Hank from Breaking Bad shows up too, as does 50 Cent, who also produced this movie. The Frozen Ground must really stink because despite the cast above and a budget in excess of $27 million, the film got a barely-existent theatrical/VOD release in late August and is now hitting DVD less than six weeks later. I don’t know what went wrong exactly, but if I had to venture a guess, I’d say it has something to do with limiting 50 Cent to a producer/actor’s role. A man of his immense talents, impeccable taste, and refined artistic sensibility really deserves to be given the director’s chair. If nothing else, I bet he’d be able to give us a straight answer as to whether or not Cusack’s character is a serial killing rapist or a raping serial killer.
Jeanne Tripplehorn and Leland Orser play a married couple struggling through the aftermath of the accidental death of their child. Laura Linney and Elliott Gould also show up to give the film some much needed ‘Oscar-nominee’ clout, which evidently didn’t work because this film played at a couple of film festivals three years ago but ultimately received no actual release until just last Friday, and then presumably only to fulfill a contractual obligation to have a theatrical release preceding the DVD release. Once again, we’re left to speculate about what went wrong with this film, but if nothing else we do have the sage wisdom of IMDb member mrrockstone:
Lest you think our good friend mrrockstone is just a troll, here is his thoughts on the casting of Need For Speed:
Say what you will about his anti-Semitism, but you have to admit the guy’s got a point about Bieber being the modern day Marky Mark.
It’s October and you know what that means: Christmas DVDs! This week’s pick features Vivica A. Fox and Eric Roberts in supporting roles as the married parents of Ashley, a teenager who hasn’t been making the best decisions in her life. (She comes home drunk!) Ashley meets a friendly handyman who encourages her to help out with the local underprivileged children’s Christmas pageant and in so doing she finds purpose and happiness and blah blah blah baby Jesus, frankincense, and myrrh. If you thought this was going to be one of this week’s Dove films, you obviously missed the fact that Ashley lives in a mixed-race household.
Hey look, it’s a straight-to-video sequel to a reboot that wasn’t successful enough to merit a sequel, so they had to recast all of the returning characters! The ‘New Blood’ subtitle refers to the cast! Tremendous! Instead of Anton Yelchin we get Will Payne! Instead of David Tennant we get Sean Power! Instead of Imogen Poots we get Sacha Parkinson! Instead of Christopher Mintz-Plasse we get Chris Waller! No, I don’t know who Will Payne, Sean Power, Sacha Parkinson, or Chris Waller is either, but good for them for getting work, and just because they are unknowns doesn’t mean the movie will be bad. Just check out this piece of trivia from IMDb:
Charley Brewster is hiding in the coffin and watching a woman getting killed and hung upside down. While she is in this position, her scars for her breast enhancement surgery are visible.
That’s the only piece of IMDb trivia for this film, by the way. Well I know I’m intrigued! Also of note, in the first film (well third film/first reboot…) Colin Farrell hammed it up as a vampire named Jerry. In this film we get Jaime Murray (who, to be fair, I do recognize from a few Syfy shows, and admitting that makes me sad) playing a sexy lady vampire named Gerri. Cute, huh? You think she’ll turn out to be Jerry’s sister, like the sexy lady vampire was in the original Fright Night sequel? That would be pretty neat, huh? A reboot’s sequel that tries to reboot the original’s sequel, what fun! It’s like we need a whole new term like ‘bootquel’ or ‘resequel’ or ‘re-quel’ or ‘shit’.
It’s been a while since we’ve been graced with a Dove-approved DVD, but this week we’ve got two and first up is this film adaptation of the Biblical book of Daniel. First some casting notes: You might recognize character actor Lance Henriksen in the trailer, but the real coup here –if IMDb is to believed, and I have my doubts- is Gallagher. Yes that Gallagher, the one who smashes watermelons. He’s not in the trailer and there’s really nothing else like this in his list of credits, but IMDb says Gallagher portrays Astrologer-Abib, so who am I to say he didn’t? As for the movie, Dove loved it (as you knew they would) giving it a full 5 Doves and saying in their official Dove Worldview:
This movie is wonderful. It sticks very closely to the scriptures regarding Daniel and his relationship with King Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and Darius. With terrific special effects featured the viewer sees the three Hebrews, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, walk in the midst of the burning fiery furnace and suddenly a fourth figure walking with them, one that protects them from the flames. We see Belshazzar and his impending doom after he drinks from the goblets and vessels used in the service of the temple of the Hebrews. We see the envy of three rulers who attempt to trick the king into killing Daniel in the lion’s den. But to their amazement Daniel survives and it is they who must face severe judgment.
This movie literally brings the story of Daniel alive. The acting is excellent, the music is terrific, and the story is inspiring and remarkable. “The Book of Daniel” is a good tool to use in Christian Education or Sunday School Classes. This movie has earned five Doves from us.
I can’t be alone in detecting an undercurrent of bloodlust in those paragraphs can I? I know the three dudes don’t actually burn up and I know that Daniel doesn’t get eaten by the lion, but the Dove reviewer seems a little too excited by Belshazzar’s impending doom, which is to say nothing of the ‘severe judgment’ of the three rulers who tricked the king. A good tool for Sunday School Classes indeed. And yet I know if you showed this guy the same exact movie, but removed all references to the Biblical God of the Old Testament, he would be outraged by this violent filth. Just so, you could take any episode of Game Of Thrones and just re-dub the dialogue to reference how swell Jesus is and this guy would think it was the greatest show of all time –until he saw the gratuitous nudity, I mean. I’ve said it before -Bible stories are insanely, graphically violent. Just check out Judges 3:20-25:
20 Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his palace and said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king rose from his seat, 21 Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly. 22 Even the handle sank in after the blade, and his bowels discharged. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it. 23 Then Ehud went out to the porch; he shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.
24 After he had gone, the servants came and found the doors of the upper room locked. They said, “He must be relieving himself in the inner room of the palace.” 25 They waited to the point of embarrassment, but when he did not open the doors of the room, they took a key and unlocked them. There they saw their lord fallen to the floor, dead.
That’s some f*cked up shit right there, but I guess it’s still A-Okay for kids because while there was full penetration, it didn’t involve the filthy penis of an unmarried man.
Here’s this week’s second Dove-approved film, but rest assured, it isn’t as intense as The Book Of Daniel. Beyond The Heavens is the latest film from writer/director/star Corbin Bernsen, who likes to make family-friendly Jesus flicks when he isn’t busy collecting fat stacks of cash appearing in sinful horror films like that one that hit DVD a few weeks back, Lizzie. Beyond The Heavens is the tale of Oliver, a curious young boy who is struggling to find faith in God because his family has experienced so much unhappiness and tragedy because his older brother went missing years ago. Luckily a goofy looking angel comes down on a meteorite and teaches him that God loves him. I’m not kidding, that really is what happens. This film was reviewed by the same faithful Dove critic who gave The Book Of Daniel a full 5 Doves (and again, hearty approval for all ages). This film, however, only gets 4 Doves, which luckily is still enough to earn the Dove Seal Of Approval, but the reviewer does have some reservations and age-restriction suggestions:
We are pleased to award our “Family-Approved” Seal to this DVD for all ages although it is best suited for those eight and up, mainly due to the tension and arguing between Oliver’s parents.
Yeah, that tension can be rough. As for the content warnings: “LANGUAGE: G-1; H (as a place)-2. DRUGS: Beer in a scene. OTHER: As science is mentioned in the beginning we see drawings of evolution, a primate becoming a man; a dead frog is seen and about to be dissected; one character refers to God as the “Big Fella”; a couple argues a few times; grief over a son who came up missing years before; a young man questions God’s existence and says, “I I don’t think there is a God” but he changes his mind later in the movie.” This guy actively encourages parents to show their kids videos in which people get thrown into flaming ovens and fed to lions, but gets his panties in a bunch about a movie mentioning science. I’ve got to think even the B*g F*lla finds that a little bit off.
The writer/star of this film is this dreamboat who goes by the professional stage name ‘Juddy Talt’. Nothing makes sense anymore. That is all.
This Australian horror-comedy is about two brothers who use dead car crash victims as the secret ingredient for their organic fertilizer business. They’ve got no bodies left and a big new customer to impress so younger brother Reg shows some initiative and abducts three hitchhikers, and just like the wacky gory fun begins. There are two reasons this movie is getting featured this week. First off, it stars Justified’s Damon Herriman as Reg. (I can’t get over the fact that Dewey Crowe is an Aussie; he always seemed more, I don’t know, Icelandic Laplanderish to me.) Second, it’s getting crazy good reviews, with an 87% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes. If you need any more motivation than that, please look at this photograph of the film’s writer/directors. They look exactly like a couple of Australian horror-comedy directors should, right? I bet just out of frame there is a kangaroo with a can of Foster’s in its pouch. For real though, I’d be a lot more comfortable and a whole lot less confused by everything if one of these guys was the one named Juddy Talt. I’m just saying.
Another horror comedy, this one stars the older brother from the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid films, the chick from Superbad who isn’t Emma Stone, and Christopher Lloyd. Not only is this the first ever live action Canadian film to be shot entirely in full 3-D, its director, April Mullen, also gets to boast the claim of being the youngest director (and only female) to date to shoot an entire live action feature film with the technology. Check it out today, available exclusively on DVD and 2-D blu-ray.
Hey remember a week and a half ago when Burnsy showed us the Alexa Vega sizzle reel from Machete Kills? Yeah, it’s kind of creepy that the same guy who hired her to be the child star of his kiddie movie franchise is now not only parading her around in her underwear in what is literally intended to be an exploitation film, but is also promoting that film with a video encouraging viewers to leer at her tits and ass. Of course I know she’s a 25-year-old divorcée and therefore far from being still a child, but you can’t help but see it as kind of wrong. It’s like if a dad were inviting you to admire how well his daughter’s tits filled out. You were probably already staring at them, but his enthusiasm and encouragement just makes the whole thing a little too awkward. Anyhow, she’s in this movie as well and the trailer I’ve included below claims that this is ‘The Best Film Of Its Kind Since Signs’. So, yeah, I guess what I’m saying is it looks like just the type of movie a former child star would perform in before resorting to appearing in a quasi-incestuous Mexican exploitation film. Honestly though, Rodriguez should at least exploit equally. I mean, am I the only one who would feel much more comfortable with Machete Kills and be much more interested in it if we knew that it also featured the little boy from Spy Kids running around in a leather speedo that’s just barely containing his surprisingly meaty cock and impressively large balls? Aw hell, you know what I mean. I’m not saying I’m gay for the guy, I just mean it would be nice –for a change- to see little boy actors get sexually objectified once in a while. God damn it, I should just stop right here before I make things harder for myself –I mean hard on myself –I mean –please enjoy this film starring Alexa Vega. Good day and Juddy Talt.