Tuesday, June 19, 2018

REVIEW: Stealth

Well, judging by the movie's title you would be quick to think that the film is about aircraft that can avoid detection.  Technically that would be correct, but in truth these are merely planes that hide from radar when it serves the script.  It is mere minutes into the movie that missiles lock onto these futuristic planes because it wouldn't be very exciting if they just flew around and nobody saw them.  It happens more than once, and the fact that the title and logic of the film lies to the audience so soon is a statement for what we will be getting into for the remaining run time.  Heck, one plane loses their stealth ability, but remains completely undetected until a really cool scene with a grand entrance could happen.  Explosions!

The plot of this movie is that it's the near future, and the United States navy has these super awesome jets that I guess are supposed to be stealthy.  We have three high flying pilots set to push the limits in these miracles of engineering.  There's Lt. Ben Gannon (Josh Lucas), Lt. Kara Wade (Jessica Biel), and Lt. Henry Purcell (Jamie Foxx).  This movie was right after Foxx caught everyone's attention with his performance in Ray, and he proves here that he can still be magnetic even in some dire crap.

The three pilots and their planes are being stationed on an aircraft carrier (which apparently is seen having three different Navy Registry numbers throughout the film), where they meet up with their mysterious new wingman.  It turns out that the new addition to the group is another stealth fighter that is piloted by a computer (it looks like some kind of metallic June bug with afterburners).  Everyone on the aircraft carrier is stunned by the technology (remember, this is set in the future) when the plane comes in and does a vertical landing.  They are equally blown away when it performs a vertical takeoff the next day.  Apparently they (or the writers and director) were unaware that this technology had been in use since 1967.  Apparently they also think that if you don't want a near sentient super computer to listen in on a conversation you just need to step behind a white bedsheet.  This is when Bed, Bath, and Beyond's contract with the Pentagon made sense to me.

Essentially we have a tired and battle worn story of AI that starts acting on its own.  Self preservation is the name of the game from here on in, and we are treated to lots of shots of planes flying across the screen.  Director Rob Cohen knows well that zooming in on stuff equals tension, and keeping stuff from remaining in the centre of the frame equals adrenaline.  It is a pile on of superficial techniques that are deployed to try and make up for the fact that the script just isn't that exciting.

And neither are the characters, to be honest.  They are far from exciting  While I do still like Jamie Foxx's performance, his character was a womanizing dick.  Jessica Biel and Josh Lucas were lifeless, and it is sort of an indication of why Biel's career never became what people anticipated, and why Lucas faded from mainstream fare shortly after this film.  Biel's character becomes insanely annoying in what is supposed to be an intense moment as she ejects from her broken plane only to then decide to narrate every single thing that happens to her on the way down to earth.

The fact that this movie calls itself Stealth contrasted with what it shows quickly indicates that the only rules that apply in this universe is that which best serves a plot.  Deep down I am fine with that, but a story has to be entertaining to pull it off.  The second and third John Rambo movies work this way, but they are silly fun (not exactly what Stallone was going for, but this is what we got) and too cool for school.  They move along at a solid pace, and there is always something visceral happening (such as a helicopter playing chicken with a tank for some reason).  If you are going to create a world where logic only exists to create cool scenes, then your scenes do need to be cool and done with energy.  That is lacking here.  It is trying to be super serious while being a rock and roll action flick.  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this movie is that it was sued by Leo Stoller who claimed to own the copyright for the word 'stealth.'

Rating - 1 out of 4 stars

"Talon 2 going down.  I'm punching out.  Urgh.  I've ejected at thirty five thousand feet.  Urgh.  I'm under the plane.  Oh no, here it comes.  Gasp.  There's... there's burning debris everywhere.  It's all over the sky.  Urgh, ugh.  It's... it's gonna catch me.  It's gonna burn up my chute.  I've gotta pop closer to earth.  I gotta... I gotta reset from five thousand feet to two thousand.  Gotta stay ahead of this... stay ahead.  Woughfph.  I'm reading at ten thousand feet, I'm terminal.  Six thousand.  Five thousand.  Four thousand.  Twenty five hundred.  Here we go.  There's burning debris.  It's raining all around me.  Argh.  It got my chute.  I'm hit.  I'm hit.  My chute is on fire.  It is on fire.  Oh god.  I am coming in fast.  I'm coming in way too fast."

Saturday, June 16, 2018

REVIEW: Paddington 2

For me, stellar family films always manage to knock something in particular out of the park that stays with me for long after the finale.  With Inside Out it was an amazing artistic concept of the complex emotions of adolescence.  Meanwhile, films like The Lego Movie and Zootopia create unimaginable worlds that I just want to watch over and over to take in the incredible detail spent on what happens in the background.  When it comes to Paddington 2, it is all about charm.  Thinking back over movies that I have seen, I can't instantly recall a more charming movie.  There was indeed a literal smile on my face from the time of the opening credits to the closing credits (whatever you do, do not turn the movie off as soon as the credits begin).  I cannot think of a movie that nails charm better than this wonderfully positive film.

In this film we see Paddington (Ben Whishaw) needing to get a present for his Aunt Lucy's birthday.  A unique pop-up book in an antique shop catches his eye, and he sets about doing whatever he can to earn money to make the purchase.  The book, however, also catches the eye of renowned thespian Buchanan (Hugh Grant) who theives the book and lets Paddington take the fall.  Yes, that's right.  The adorable bear is heading to prison.  You see, this isn't an ordinary pop-up book.  It is full of clues that lead to a grand treasure.

Paddington has a way of causing mild catastrophes around him whenever he attempts to do something.  This means that it is not long before his antics get him in the bad books of all the prisoners.  But, Paddington is all about that charm that was mentioned in the first paragraph.  He is befriended by the nefarious Knuckles McGinty (Brendan Gleeson), and soon the entire prison is a much nicer place as the influence of Paddington seeps its way throughout.  While all of this is happening, the Brown family, who he lives with, are trying to clear his name.

The script for this movie is one of the kindest pieces of work that could be found.  It is such a good natured ride, and, while it does dip into sadness a few times, it never betrays the positive.  In a movie about a human-like bear in a red hat it would be easy for the actors to play as though they are just in another family movie.  We have Mary (Sally Hawkins) and Henry Brown (Hugh Bonneville) as the parents, and these are two serious powerhouses of acting.  Hawkins is just coming off an Oscar nomination for The Shape of Water, and Bonneville was the man of the manor in Downton Abbey.  These two, along with every single actor in the film, throw themselves into the roles.  The way they are acting, Paddington is real.  It is this that really sells the film, as the actors are so invested in treating this properly that we forget that Paddington is nothing but computer imaging.  Director Paul King makes sure that these aren't people showing up to get paid, but people who legitimately seem to care about making one heck of a film.  

Bringing the bear to life is done by some really great special effects.  These aren't necessarily the kind that are pushing the boundaries and are going to be nominated for an Oscar.  They do something better than some of the crispest images found in a Michael Bay movie.  They capture emotions.  We gain so much insight into Paddington's emotions through technical subtleties in his face, as well as in his overall body posture.  There is one scene of Paddington with his shoulders drooping that really hits home.  The people working on these effects deserve a lot of credit for what they have done.

This may not be the deepest, thought provoking family movie out there, but the fact that it does what it does so well is reason enough for this movie to be held in company with some of the best films out there.  Paddington and his shenanigans is like the Three Stooges were crossed with a happy-go-lucky unicorn that speaks bird songs and farts cotton candy, while being raised by Mr. Dressup in a Wes Anderson story.  Children will fall in love with Paddington, and the true sincerity of the film should be kryptonite for adults, yanking them back to their wonder years.  There is great laughter to be had, a caper, and a character named Knuckles McGinty, played by the ever great Brendan Gleeson.  Regardless of your age, this is a recommendation that you should check out.

Rating - 4 out of 4 stars

Friday, June 8, 2018

REVIEW: Deep Blue Sea 2

It was 1999, and things were going to get crazy.  December 31st was going to be the last day of modern society, as computers (which we can accept as being able to complete complex math equations) were feared to be unable to change the date on their calendars.  Planes were going to fall out of the sky and humankind was going to break down into feral gangs on motorcycles fighting over the remaining fuel.  And canned food.  We were going to be fighting over lentils.  To the chagrin of preppers everywhere the end wasn't nigh, and everything carried on as normal.  We weren't in danger.  Or were we?

Earlier in the year, on July 28th, Deep Blue Sea came into theatres, bringing sharks.  They weren't just killer sharks, but they were intelligent sharks.  With it came one of the best on screen deaths ever, and one that I am happy to have seen in theatre.  It wasn't the biggest hit, but it fared well in the box office.  It is the kind of movie that lives comfortably in the memories of fans of Hollywood camp and fun.  I mean, goodness... it finished with a song where LL Cool J claimed that his head was like a shark's fin.  Surprisingly it took nineteen years for someone to usher in a sequel.

Deep Blue Sea 2 starts off in a way that should be an indication to genre fans that this is going to be a silly ride.  It begins with, of course, poachers hunting for shark fins.  Poachers in creature features getting killed is quite common, and I love that director Darin Scott threw that one at us right away.  It doesn't take long for sharks to appear (using the exact same 'flying V' approach that Emilio Estevez taught to The Mighty Ducks,big shoutout to coach Bombay!) and ram into the boat.  Obviously the poachers are for some reason standing on the edge of the boat and, once again obviously, fall into the water only to surface thirty feet away from the boat.  Well, you can guess what happens next.

There are many ways in which this sequel throws back to the original.  Instead of professional shark wrangler Thomas Jane, we have the ruggedly good looking Rob Mayes doing essentially the same thing.  The difference?  Mayes has a phenomenal screen name, in playing Trent Slater.  Shark researcher Misty Calhoun (another great screen name), played by Danielle Savre enters the picture for reasons such as 'because.'  And there we have our obvious leads who will survive.

Like the first movie, the sharks in this movie are being used for research, which makes them hella smart.  It also has an underwater complex with many tunnels that only exist to give the actors something to wade through when it inevitably fills with water.  There is a rich person who is behind it all, and, like a good genre picture, he is also taking these mind enhancing drugs himself.  The problem is that the rich pharmaceutical exec, Carl Durant (Michael Beach) talks to Misty about how he is going to kill the sharks when he is done with the experiment.  Bad move, Durant.  The head shark, Bella (MacBook Pro), is eavesdropping on the conversation.  That's right.  Bad move, indeed.

Bella is knocked out by drugs to be inspected just before things go sideways.  If you have seen the original, the setting that this happens in will instantly bring up memories of shark violence, and there is a scene that plays specifically off of the first attack in Deep Blue Sea.  The other four sharks hatch a scheme where they cut loose the moorings of a boat and then push the boat, ramming it into a stack of fuel barrels that are precariously on the side of the dock for reasons such as 'because.'  Fire!  Electrical problems!  Hull breach!

Where this sequel tries to up itself from the original is that Bella was pregnant and gave birth to hundreds of tiny sharks that swarm like piranhas.  It's a different idea, but this becomes the most boring part of the film.  There is nothing exciting about seeing people running away from these lethal little critters that are represented by bubbles on the surface of the water.  People running away from a shark fin equals fun.  People running from approaching bubbles equals not fun.  Also, these baby sharks can only killt the people in one way, making all of their destruction rather routine.

That aside, this is a fun little movie that cannot be taken seriously.  There are some winks that those familiar with the first film will appreciate.  If you want to see a shark movie that is actually trying to be something that pumps adrenaline, do not watch this.  It is camp, but not as far in that direction as the crazy shark movies that were popular five to eight years ago.

Along side the drab nature of the little sharks there are also some pacing issues.  It's not major, but they are there.  Also, don't expect to see payoff to things that are set up.  Durant takes the magical intelligence formula, which causes him to see images of Cartesian planes and fractions.  At no point does that story point lead to anything at all.

Perhaps I have written more than needed on this film.  Looking at my review, it is more robust than I expected at the beginning.  It is a film that I would recommend to certain movie fans, but tell others to stay away from.  For me, it was an enjoyable ride.  There are this time five sharks over the original's three.  At least I think it was three.  That's one way it tries to be a bigger event.  Another way it attempts to up the ante is in outdoing Samuel L Jackson's death.  It is good, but, like the rest of the movie, it is entertainment that will never be as memorable as the first film.

Rating - 3 out of 4 stars

EDIT: I forgot to mention that the opening title sequence is very much like a James Bond film for some reason.  It has an original song playing while there are shots of a curvy lady swimming up and down.  I'm not completely sure why they did this, but heck, why not in a film like this?

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Mother's Day, Birthday, And Influences From My Mother

This comes two days after Mother's Day, but it also happens to be my mother's birthday today.  A very special happy birthday shoutout to her from her favourite son.  Many times on the podcast that I co-host, The Movie Breakdown, I have made reference to the movie influences my dad is responsible for.  To be honest, I did watch a lot of movies with him.  He would set the VCR to record movies on Saturday nights, usually being Abbot and Costello, Vincent Price, or the swashbuckling effort of Sinbad the pirate.  As a teenager, we would have movie festivals, and it was during one such event that I saw my first Monty Python movies.

Much more subtle, yet still ever present, is the role that my mother played in influencing my tastes.  Alastair Sim may be most well known as Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, bringing a brash and uncaring presence to the screen, doing justice to one of story telling's most famous character arcs.  I never would have pictured him in a comedy.  That changed when my mother introduced me to The Belles of St. Trinians, a 1954 comedy where Sims plays both a school headmistress and her brother.

I don't remember as much of the film as i would like, but I know that I enjoyed it a lot, getting a lot of laughs out of Sims' dual performance.  This wasn't the only comedy of classic age that my mother brought into my life.  I got exposed to Some Like it Hot, which was my first look at Jack Lemmon.  I would meet up with Lemmon again in Grumpy Old Men, this time finding out about Walter Matthau.  The two showed incredible comedic presence, and I could easily understand why my mother enjoyed these talents so much.

There are wonderful memories of hearing my mother laugh uncontrollably while watching movies.  She will laugh when something's funny, but a certain type of hilarity is needed to really bring the giggles.  I don't think I will ever forget watching Home Alone and What About Bob with her.  The laughter that we shared in those moments was transformative, memories that force a wonderful grin on my face.

There is also something that my mother said around the time of Home Alone that has stuck with me.  When critics gave the movie poor ratings, my mother's response was 'what do the critics know?'  You may think that because I critique movies on blog and podcast form that I would take offence to a statement that took value away from trying to seriously analyze what makes a movie good.  But, ultimately, she made a point that is one of the most straightforward and true statements that could be made.

Honestly, who cares about what the critics are saying?  It doesn't matter.  I learned from my mother that you can enjoy something for what it is, and that it is okay to do that.  Critiquing a film is fine and all, but it is the personal experience of the viewer that matters most.  That's what really counts.  A critic just tries to act as a guide, and sometimes they can't grab the very things that will make viewers respond positively.  I try to set out reasons for why I like or dislike a film, but what matters is how you see it.  Honestly, that is seriously all that matters in the larger scheme of things.

From teaching me lessons about just enjoying movies, my mother also set me up for enjoying female centric material.  If there are simple things you need to know about my mother, its that she is bravely independent, proud to be a woman, proud of her accomplishments in male driven fields, and determination that woman are equal to men.  It is sad, but even in this 'enlightened' period, women still aren't on par with men in many aspects.  Look at top corporate structures.  Look at the tech industry.  Look at movies.

Now, these aren't movies, but they played a huge part in what I would call my feminist nature.  Every single week, we, as a family, would watch Murder, She Wrote.  Angela Lansbury walking around with a death curse that affects people around her, spending more time solving crimes than she does writing about them, which is odd because she is supposed to be a prolific author.  Anywho, I really enjoyed the Jessica Fletcher character.  Most of the times she had to deal with male sherifs, a lot of them brushing her aside for most of the episode until she had her easy to predict 'ah hah!' moment.  She, I suppose like my mother, was a woman in a man's world, just doing her thing.  And I loved it.

Also, there was The Golden Girls.  My mother showed me through this show that woman could be just as funny as men (we also watched Designing Women which did the same thing).  Really, this was a show with a top notch cast.  Rue McClanahan was the vivacious one.  Bea Arthur was down to earth, and, if I recall properly, a tad sarcastic.  Estelle Getty was the 'shoot from the hip' mother of Arthur.  And then we have Betty White, the criminally funny Rose, who always had a story about her time in St Olaf.  I didn't know this, but according to Wikipedia, this show is only one of three sitcoms  ever to have four talents earning an Emmy award.  It was deserved.  These woman throw away convention as to what a single woman in their later years would be like.  They were funny, they still had active sex lives (something that truly seemed groundbreaking for a show depicting older women), and they shared life together.

Yes, these are only two shows, but the groundwork that they laid has lasted through my entire life.  Sex didn't matter in making a story work.  That was what was proven.  I believe it with all of my heart, and I am continually dismayed every year when statistics of female participation in cinema come out.  It is wrong.  It is grossly wrong.  There is a chance that the #MeToo and Time's Up movements will begin to change things, but honestly I shed a tear over how unlikely it is that it will happen soon enough.

Of the top 100 grossing movies of 2017, only 8% were directed by women.  Ten percent of films had female writers.  A measly two fucking percent are cinematographers (I will be honest, this issue does make me unapologetically swear).  Twenty four percent of producers were females.  Women represented 14% of editors.  These numbers are not good.  While there have been better years, the numbers aren't much different since the turn of the century.  Movies with female protagonists was 24%, down four percent from 2016.

Something happened last year, though.  Something that could actually cause some change if the studio executives are paying close enough attention.  The top three grossing domestic movies all had a female lead.  This is definitive proof that the larger audience will accept not having male leads, and that it can be profitable for studios.

Even though I spent more time watching movies with my father, the influences of my mother are huge.  Three of my favourite protagonists of all time are female.  Ellen Ripley in Alien, Sarah Connor in Terminator, and Nancy Thompson in A Nightmare on Elm Street.  You could easily throw onto that list more recent entries like Rey from the recent Star Wars movies and Emily Blunt's Rita, from Edge of Tomorrow.

I love my mother a lot.  The support that she has shown me over the years is something that would take a full book to detail.  Growing up she taught me that equality matters.  Not just with gender, but with race and religion.  So, to celebrate my mother's birthday and Mother's Day, I say a huge 'thank you' to her.  You didn't just raise me, you shaped me.  And I am eternally thankful for that.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Critics Had Nothing To Do With DC Failing

With The Avengers ripping through the theatres, I can't help but think about the people over at Warner Bros.  Ultimately, they know that this is exactly where they should have been back in November.  It was their turn for a gigantic extended universe team up with Justice League.  Not only did Justice League not do as expected, but it ended up being the lowest grossing DC extended universe movie, both domestically and world wide.

While Marvel has had a lot of financial success, their movies have also been critically appreciated.  The lowest ranking film was Thor: The Dark World with 66% on Rotten Tomatoes.  DC, on the other hand, has been plagued with films that fail to connect with critics.  The only movie on the Warner Bros side of things that got a 'fresh' rating is Wonder Woman, with a stunning 92%.

What ended up happening fairly early on in the DC franchise was that fans of the properties began blaming the lack of financial breakthroughs of the films on critics.  I know that the internets had that sort of talk, and I had people talking to me in person how the critics were out to sabotage DC while promoting Marvel. There was an insistence that the DC films were actually really good, it was just that those darned critics had some sort of vendetta against them.

The people who are saying that seem to be forgetting that one of the most acclaimed superhero movie series of all time were Christopher Nolan's Batman films.  Critics have absolutely nothing against DC heroes.  Even Lego Batman got 90% on RT.  Two of the Nolan Batman films even came out after the beginnings of the Marvel universe.  Critics were not setting out to pick one side over the other.  They have shown that they are willing to root for DC, even after Marvel started doing its thing.

Critics are so not the issue here.  The fact, plain and simple. is that the Warner Bros attempts were just not as good.  I understand that there are a lot of people who liked the movies, but ultimately it is not the majority who think so.  If the problem was in fact that critics were setting out against this franchise, then there wouldn't be generally lower audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes, or lower CinemaScores for these films.

The best piece of empirical proof is the financials of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  If the problem was simply the critics, how is it that the film's opening weekend ended up representing 50.3% of its total domestic take?  That is the sort of opening weekend skewing that happens with insanely horrible horror movies, definitely not blockbusters.  The first weekend to second weekend drop was 69.1%, the type of drop that is pretty much unheard of for a movie of this scale.  Now, Star Wars: The Last Jedi had a dip of 67%, but its not the same thing.  First of all, its second weekend was right before Christmas.  As well, even with an enormous drop into its second weekend, its opening weekend still only represented 35.5% of its domestic tally.  The difference here is that The Last Jedi otherwise held up really well, representing continuing interest from audiences.

We could also look at the fact that while Dawn of Justice had the seventh highest world wide opening ever, it failed to perform past that.  The film currently sits at fifty seventh all time world wide, dropping a total of fifty slots from its opening weekend ranking.

The point that I am making is that these movies, excluding Wonder Woman, do not really hold up that well in terms of consistent performance.  The DC movie that held up the best after opening weekend was 2013's Man of Steel, where the opening represented 40.1% of its domestic total.  Wonder Woman, on the other hand, had its opening weekend ending up as 25% of its total.  That's the kind of first weekend representation that reflects strong audience engagement.

Some might say that the reason why Wonder Woman performed like that is because it was the one DC movie that saw favourable reviews.  We don't have to look far to see that critical response doesn't necessarily have much of an impact on consumer behaviour when it comes to blockbusters.  Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon scored 19% and 35% respectively on Rotten Tomatoes.  Revenge of the Fallen's opening weekend was 27.1% of its domestic take, while Dark of the Moon saw its opening weekend represent 27.8%.

There are some genres where critical opinion can affect the financial success, but those genres are typically those of prestige pictures.  Horror, comedy, and tentpole blockbusters are generally immune to Rotten Tomatoes.  I'm not saying that the critics have no influence on audience behaviour for those types of films, just that success does not hinge on what the critics are saying.  There have been many a film that have done well without the backing of critics.

I get that sometimes the way you view a film makes you want others to 'wake up' and see it as you do.  There are a large number of movies that I quite enjoyed that got railed by critics.  Both myself and my podcast co-host Christopher Spicer gave three stars to The Hangover Part III.  However, just because I liked it doesn't mean that the masses got it wrong or that people were setting out to destroy it.  There was no conspiracy, just the fact that I liked a movie that, in reality, may be considered a bad film.  It happens, and I invite fans of the DC Extended Universe to not blame critics, but just accept the fact that they may just happen to enjoy a movie that actually isn't as good as they view it to be.  And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Some movies that I enjoyed that the critics did not like
The Hangover Part III - 21%
Dead Man Down - 38%
Dark Shadows - 37%
The Kingdom (I didn't just like this, it was one of my favourite movies of 2007) - 51%
Drive Angry - 46%
Olympus Has Fallen - 48%
Bullet to the Head - 47%

The list goes on.  Rotten Tomatoes doesn't seem to be working right now, so this is where I will stop.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Breakdown of 'The Week Of,' 'Kodachrome,' and 'Candy Jar'

Holy smokes!  It's Tuesday, and for some reason The Movie Breakdown podcast is just now getting published.  Well, let me tell you there is a very good reason for this happening.  You see, I got the podcast file prepared in record time and then decided to not pass it along to my co-host, Christopher Spicer, who publishes it.  Yep.  And this isn't the first time that this has happened.  I turn forty soon, so I will lay the blame on a memory that fades as the years pile on.

The good news is that we have three Netflix originals to talk about.  One of them is the latest Adam Sandler flick, The Week Of.  We talk about it, and are surprised at how we aren't as insulted and offended as we usually are with Happy Madison productions.  From there it is the road trip film, Kodachrome that has wonderful acting talents such as Elizabeth Olsen, Jason Sudeikis, and Ed Harris.  The third movie is a high school movie about two hard core debaters.  It's called Candy Jar, and it seems to imply during the film that it is a Romeo and Juliet styled tale, even though the similarities are few.

There is also some discussion on Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski getting expelled from the Academy.  There are many different views people can take here, and we try to make some sense of it.  On top of that, Avengers: Infinity War has broken all sorts of records, so we are talking about what studios (pay attention here, Warner Bros) need to learn from its success.

You can find the podcast on iTunes, and feel free to leave a review if you enjoy it.  Next weekend will see some more interesting films talked about, and perhaps, if all goes well, I won't keep it to myself.

REVIEW: Alone in the Dark

There are times when I may forget a movie that I had watched.  It isn't very often, but it does happen. I can quickly recover by looking at the movie's IMDB page.  That jogs the memory.  Last year, however, I saw a film that I had completely forgotten by year end.  The IMDB page didn't jog my memory.  Reading the entire plot synopsis on Wikipedia didn't work.  I even re-watched the first twenty minutes and nothing could make me recall the film that I know I had seen.  This was a first.  But it just got outdone.

Three days ago, I decided that I should finally watch an Uwe Boll movie.  For people who don't know, Boll is a director who is completely unapologetic about the quality of his movies, ready to insult and get into a boxing ring with his detractors.  Not that Rotten Tomatoes means everything, but his highest scored movie is at 25%, and he has five films that scored less than five percent.  It is one of those films, Alone in the Dark (1% on Rotten Tomatoes) that I decided to dig into.

The film starts off with a narrative scrawl of text to explain the setup for the movie.  It is quite long.  Not only do we get to read all of this, but it is also spoken.  After a number of minutes of that, we jump to narration by Christian Slater, who plays Edward Carnby.  That's a total of three devices to deliver expository dialogue right off the bat, and it doesn't end there.  Everything is overly explained. And yet, somehow, a miracle happened.  Even with being told everything along the way, I completely lost track of what was happening.

This film was watched over three different sittings, but that's not what caused me to feel like I was forgetting what was happening.  In all honesty, there were so many times that I completely blanked out while watching.  I ended up getting trapped into thinking about grocery lists, what was going to be for dinner, what chores I needed to do, and so on.  All matter of mundane found its way into my mind while I should have been paying attention to this film.  Seriously, I cannot give you a coherent outline of what happened.  As hard as I tried, I just couldn't pay attention to this hack job of cinema, this duel-seated, century old, full to the brim, outhouse of a film.

(Alone in the Dark kind of outright stole from Alien, even to the point where monsters were called Xenos)

This is the story, at least what I can remember of it.  There is an ancient native tribe.  They made something out of gold, perhaps?  And then an orphanage had a Christian Slater, and a nun stood outside.  Then the Christian Slater found an artifact, and Tara Reid hasn't been in anything of note since 2005 other than Sharknado.  Bunny Lebowski is looking at artifacts, and then is completely useless and doesn't add anything to the plot, outside of suddenly having sex with the Christian Slater.  Some old guy has a boat, and I think he didn't know what was in a box.  Then an animal got loose.  Another old guy liked artifacts, and I think he liked the animals that got loose.  Suddenly a tippity top notch squad of soldiers show up.  They look like they are on their way to roller derby.  Rock music blares, and people are shot.  There's a gold mine, and a bobby trap pit has a ladder built into the side of it.  Then an old man yells at the Christian Slater, and a knife kills him, but he opens an ancient closet door.  And then I think something happened, and Stephen Dorff runs through a mine tunnel that has a lot of natural light.  Then there is a vacant city, and seven minutes and forty six seconds of credits.

Actually, I think that was a pretty concise summary of the film.

There is a huge part of me that enjoys watching awful movies, but that part of me was not satiated with Alone in the Dark.  It was just boring as anything you could ever imagine.  There were some awful special effects that lightened things up a little, but nothing was a proper cure for the comatose state that Uwe Boll put me in.  This is the first movie, ever, that I forgot about while I was watching it.  It would be getting zero stars, except the Christian Slater did some sort of flip via way of MacBook Pro.

That is all.

Rating - 0.5 out of 4 stars