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Friday, February 23, 2018

Film Review - Jeepers Creepers 3 (2017)

Red Star 1
Jeepers Creepers 3

The third instalment in a film series usually tends to have some resemblance to, or even a remembrance, of its predecessors. Or so you’d think. Roughly 30 minutes into Victor Salva’s Jeepers Creepers 3, all semblance of what made the original film interesting (and unique) is wiped away and replaced by everything that you don’t want in a monster movie: a villain turned goofy (both stylistically and aesthetically), too many scenes that take place during daytime, too much character exposition (in which all of it is superfluous), and a very, very silly and goofy final 30 minutes.

Oh, and there’s no point to the film, whatsoever, as a whole.

Jeepers Creepers 3 takes place in a small Louisiana town, in which all of its inhabitants are familiar with the tall tales and legends of the Creeper; a winged, possibly centuries old creature that hunts humans, skins them, eats them, and can even smell our fear. And apparently, it does so every 23 years. In the original film, it takes a long time before what the Creeper looks like is revealed to the audience, and when it’s revealed, it’s done under minimal lighting (to ramp up the creep factor, and for budgetary reasons). Even the fact that it can fly is a third act revelation. A couple of years later, a sequel was made, and for the life of me I can’t recall even a single event that had transpired in it. But I remember watching it in the theatres and I remember hating it. Now comes Jeepers Creepers 3…

…and it’s also very, very bad. For starters, every cop in town wants to hunt the creature down; there’s an old woman whose son had encountered the Creeper 23 years ago, found and buried its severed hand (I’m still not sure how that happened), died at the hands of the Creeper, and now haunts his elderly mother and periodically warns her about the Creeper’s imminent arrival and its intent; that elderly mother’s granddaughter who dislikes a local bad-boy (who really doesn’t have a reason to be in the film), and a local farm boy who feels bad for the girl and her situation… how they all fit together is immaterial because it’s all misdirection. It’s misdirection that leads to nothing.

There’s also the discovery that if the Creeper’s severed hand is touched, the person touching it is magically lifted into the air, put into a trance, and is shown the Creeper’s entire backstory and origin. Not one but two of the film’s major characters go through this ritual, and not once is any of this is shared with the audience. These characters make a point of staring at the camera, claiming that they now know everything about the Creeper, and not sharing any of that useless information with the audience.

And when I write “useless”, I seriously mean useless. I'd love to spoil the last 5 minutes of the film, how utterly goofy and silly they are, and how they feel like 2 or 3 different directors had worked on this project, and all at the same time… but alas, I can’t. As much as I’d love to, the Code of the Critic forbids me from doing so, unfortunately.

Honestly, I was somewhat looking forward to this film. It’s been 14 years coming, and knowing that it was still made after 14 years and released straight to VOD (Video On Demand) should have been an ample warning. And here’s the good news: most of the film is, honestly, shot and lit very, very well. Victor Silva is no slouch. He does the best that he can with such tiny budgetary constraints and a gross lack of resources (and mostly Gods awful CG), but he has a very good eye for shot compositions, camera movements and fluidity, and lighting. The rest is utter trash. There’s no actually story in the film, not even a plot; most of the character are overwritten without being important, and they usually deliver clumsy and superfluous exposition; the dialogue is atrocious and entirely unrealistic; and, as aforementioned, the CG is Gods awful.

So, it’s well shot and lit and some of the performances are needlessly decent, but what makes up the rest of the film is horrendous. It’s not a complete waste of time, seeing that anyone can watch it in the comfort of their own home, and probably for cheap (or even free), but it’s not even close to being a decent film. I’d say… skip it. Yup. Even if it’s on Netflix, skip it. Just rewatch the original film from 2001 and ignore this one. You’ll dig the original film. It’s short, unique, thoroughly creepy, and gets straight to the point.

Victor Silva… no more Creeper films. Please. You’ve ruined it, twice.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Film Review - Deadpool (2016)


Humour is subjective, which is why it’s always difficult to review a comedy. And make no mistake, Deadpool is a comedy. Is it a good comedy? You’ll find out soon.

Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) was a mercenary who upon being dishonourably discharged from the military began working “for the little people”, usually in the form of roughing up jerks. One day, he meets with a prostitute named Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) and they fall in love with each other. Together they have a relationship that’s mostly hinted at being sexually explicit, but this is not the type of film that takes chances. More on that in a bit.

A few months go by and Wade learns that he has contracted an incurable form of cancer. Vanessa wants to help Wade through his upcoming tough time, but Wade decides to leave her because he wants Vanessa to remember him as he used to be and not to have to suffer alongside him.

In his search for a potential cure, Wade is met with a man who sells him on the idea that a cure does indeed exist, and Wade decides to take it. And here enters the film’s villain Francis (Ed Skrein). Francis, a mutant who can’t physically or emotionally feel anything, informs Wade that he too will be turned into a mutant and possibly even a superhero. However, the process requires days, if not weeks of physical torture and Francis takes pleasure in torturing Wade. However, the moment that Francis informs Wade of his true intentions behind creating mutants (which is too silly to mention here), Wade escapes the facility. Later on, Wade will decide to hunt Francis down and kill him.

Here’s my first big problem with the film: Wade’s motivation throughout the entirety of the film makes no sense. The mutation treatment does actually cause Wade’s cancer to subside, but it also disfigures his entire body to the point of resembling Freddy Krueger’s. Just not as badly. Wade then dubs himself Deadpool, dons himself a costume, and tracks down Francis with the full intention of having Francis turn him back to normal.
…and all for the sake of getting back with Vanessa. However, now that he “looks like an avocado that had sex with another, older avocado”, he believes that Vanessa won’t even give him the time of day.

Really? I know that this is an adaptation of the popular early ‘90s comic book series but the script borrows from the “book of indie film relationships” and it tries its damndest to have relatable, human characters (ish) who look and speak like real human beings. Yet, in a rational, realistic world, Vanessa wouldn’t care less what Wade looks like if she truly loved him. They were going to marry at some point, but Wade pulled away from her because he loved her enough to not want her to suffer alongside him. So what made him think that his ugliness would push her away?

There is another comic book series from the early ‘90s that has a similar premise, and that’s “Spawn. Its protagonist, Al Simmons, dies of an explosion but is eventually resurrected by The Devil himself. It‘s a raw deal, however, because Al then looks exactly like he did when he died: a charred, horrifically disfigured corpse. His motivation for not approaching his wife and revealing his face to her is sound, but he continues to protect her from afar regardless, because he loves her.
Wade, in this film, doesn’t look nearly as bad as Al does, but he doesn’t even stick to Vanessa like a guardian angel. He just casually stalks her like in a romantic indie film, waiting for the perfect moment to reveal his new face to her. Not trusting Vanessa to love him solely for who he is took me out of the film from early on and the film didn’t captivate or interest me in any way, as a result.

And here’s another big problem that I have with this film: in the comics, pre-cancer Wade is a mercenary nicknamed “The Merc with a Mouth” because he’s always cracking jokes and has somewhat of a low attention span, kinda like Spider-Man (but not Peter Parker). But Wade cracks jokes even outside of battle. He’s annoying to those around him, but he’s still likable. In this film, pre-cancer Wade is annoying and is an unlikable (pardon the French) asshole. He narrates the film from time to time and constantly reminds the audience that he’s not a superhero, or even a hero or a good person. I find that removing what little there was to like about Wade from early on was a huge mistake because after Wade is turned into Deadpool, Deadpool develops a split personality. In the comics, Deadpool has two different colour speech bubbles, signifying when Wade is talking and when Deadpool is talking. Wade is still The Merc with a Mouth, but Deadpool is constantly breaking the fourth wall, and is even aware that he’s a comic book character. He says random things all the time, and he loves chimichangas and boobies. He’s infantile, but is also mostly cleverly written. In this film, he’s almost the same before and after his mutation. There’s little change, and as a result I was annoyed, bordering on boredom. Add his (personally) pathetic, unrealistic motivation for revenge and the film is a dud. It’s a slog, even at 100 minutes, there are very few action sequences throughout it, and the humour almost always fall flat.

In my opening sentence I’d mentioned that humour is very subjective; subjectivity is the deciding factor of whether humans, as individual people, enjoy certain comedic films or not. I didn’t find most of the humour in this film funny or even interesting because it was mostly improvised. I’m not a fan of improvisational comedy in general, and I wasn’t a fan of it in this film. I find that it generally takes away from actually clever, humorous writings and that it confines situational comedy into one-liners that don’t propel the story forward. Such is the case with the humour in this film, and as a comedy I find that it majorly fails. Deadpool’s story is driven by jokes, and jokes don’t power stories. And the plot is already weak and unrealistic (even for a comic book adaptation), and I’m starting to repeat myself.

There are also very few action sequences in the film, as aforementioned briefly two paragraphs above, but let’s talk about clichés, instead. Besides being improvisational, the film’s style of comedic writing thrives on being self-aware. Not only is Deadpool aware that he’s a character in a film, but he addresses the audience on several occasions and comments on popular clichés and action/superhero film tropes before and after they appear. To me that’s always been a double edged sword because that affords the writers a one-time ticket to cram their script full of clichés. You can really only get away with it once. That’s why movies like Cabin in the Woods won’t have successful sequels. And at the end of the day, Deadpool has generic action set-pieces (only two, actually), and a final climactic battle that takes place outside of a warehouse/shipping yard/construction site (take your pick). And when the film’s production looks cheap, Deadpool simply jokes about the fact that they can’t afford something better, and poof! The audience laughs because the film is self-aware. Well, guess what? The film still looks cheap. Commenting on it won’t fix it, it’s simply a form of misdirection, and I find it to be dishonest. Some of the special effects also looked very cheap, most notably Colossus.

Deadpool is slightly different than Disney’s MCU films in a good way. But it’s still not much more than a different kind of cartoon. It’s definitely sillier, but it revels in being silly. DC films can learn a thing or two. And the marketing spews an R rating onto the audience, but it’s a very soft R. It’s barely violent, you see a strip club for 5 seconds, and every character in the film speaks like a teenager who’d just watched a Judd Apatow film for the first time. It’s infantile and it’s silly.

Did I like this film? Not really. Was it funny? Hardly ever. Was it entertaining? Not really. But I wasn’t bored, and that goes a long way. I really wanted to like this film because it’s nice to see murderous anti-heroes like Deadpool receive R rated film adaptations, but this film lacks what makes for a good action film, a good comedy, and a good comic book film adaptation. Better luck next time.

Monday, July 14, 2014

New on DVD and Blu-ray - July 15, 2014

A Night in Old Mexico (2013) - DVD and Blu-ray

A Night in Old Mexico 2013

Armored Attack (aka The North Star, 1943) - Olive Films DVD and Blu-ray

Armored Attack 1943

Arch of Triumph (1948) - Olive Films DVD and Blu-ray

Arch of Triumph 1948

Black Dynamite: Season 1 - DVD and Blu-ray - Grade B-

Black Dynamite Season 1

Hell on Wheels: Season 3 - DVD and Blu-ray

Hell on wheels Season 3

Kill la Kill Vol. 1 - DVD and Blu-ray

Kill la Kill vol. 1

Marty (1955) - Kino Video DVD and Blu-ray - Grade A

Marty 1955

Open Grave (2013) - DVD and Blu-ray

Open Grave 2013

Orphan Black: Season 2 - DVD and Blu-ray

Orphan Black Season 2

Pickpocket (1959) - Criterion Collection DVD and Blu-ray - Grade A+

Pickpocket 1959

Rio 2 (2014) - DVD and Blu-ray

Rio 2 2014

Road to Paloma (2014) - DVD and Blu-ray

Road to Paloma 2014

Scanners (1981) - Criterion Collection DVD and Blu-ray - Grade A

Scanners 1981

Under the Skin (2013) - DVD and Blu-ray - Grade B+

Under the Skin 2013

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

New on DVD and Blu-ray - July 08, 2014

Bad Words (2013) - DVD and Blu-ray - Grade B+

Bad Words (2014)

Born Yesterday (1950) - Blu-ray

Born Yesterday (1950)

Brannigan (1975) - Screen Archives Entertainment Blu-ray

Brannigan (1975)

Caught (1949) - Blu-ray

Caught (1949)

Jodorowsky's Dune (2013) - DVD and Blu-ray - Grade A

Jodorowsky's Dune (2013)

The Lost Moment (1947) - Blu-ray

The Lost Moment (1947)

Nymphomaniac: Volumes I and II (2013) - DVD and Blu-ray

Nymphomaniac Vol. I and II (2013)

Point Blank (1967) - Blu-ray - Grade A

Point Blank (1967)

Radio Days (1987) - Screen Archives Entertainment Blu-ray - Grade A

Radio Days (1987)

The Raid 2: Berandal (2014) - DVD and Blu-ray - Grade C+

The Raid 2: Berandal (2014)

Rigor Mortis (2013) - DVD and Blu-ray

Rigor Mortis (2013)

Southern Comfort (1981) - Blu-ray

Southern Comfort (1981)

The Time Machine (1960) - Blu-ray - Grade A-

The Time Machine (1960)

The Vanquished (1953) - RaroVideo U.S. DVD and Blu-ray

The Vanquished (1953)

Violent Saturday (1955) - Screen Archives Entertainment Blu-ray - Grade B+

Violent Saturday (1955)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

New on DVD and Blu-ray - July 01, 2014

Afflicted (2013) - DVD and Blu-ray

Afflicted (2013)

Cannibal Holocaust (1980) - Blu-ray

Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Cry-Baby (1990) - Blu-ray - Grade B+

Cry-Baby (1990)

Good Sam (1948) - Blu-ray

Good Sam (1948)

Helix: Season 1 - DVD and Blu-ray

Helix: Season 1

Kindergarten Cop (1990) - Blu-ray - Grade B-

Kindergarten Cop (1990)

The Legend of Korra - Book Two: Spirits - DVD and Blu-ray

The Legend of Korra: Book Two

The Lunchbox (2013) - DVD and Blu-ray

The Lunchbox (2013)

Operation Petticoat (1959) - Blu-ray

Operation Petticoat (1959)

The Unknown Known (2013) - DVD and Blu-ray

The Unknown Known (2013)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

New on DVD and Blu-ray - June 24, 2014

300: Rise of an Empire (2014) - DVD and Blu-ray

300: Rise of an Empire (2014)

Blood Ties (2013) - DVD and Blu-ray - Grade C

Blood Ties (2013)

The Bridge: Season 1 - DVD and Blu-ray

The Bridge: Season 1

Enemy (2013) - DVD and Blu-ray - Grade A-

Enemy (2013)

A Hard Day's Night (1964) - Criterion Collection DVD and Blu-ray

A Hard Day's Night (1964)

Masters of Sex: Season 1 - DVD and Blu-ray

Masters of Sex: Season 1

Ranma 1/2: Set 2 - Blu-ray - Grade A+

Ranma 1/2: Set 2

Rob the Mob (2014) - DVD and Blu-ray

Rob the Mob (2014)

Star Trek TNG: Season 6 - Blu-ray

Star Trek TNG: Season 6

Winter's Tale (2014) - DVD and Blu-ray

Winter's Tale (2014)

Wolf Creek 2 (2013) - DVD and Blu-ray

Wolf Creek 2 (2014)