Showing posts with label Running Commentary Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Running Commentary Review. Show all posts

January 8, 2014

Blu-ray Essentials: Bates Motel (TV, 2013)
Bates Motel: Season One (2013)
Universal Studios
Price: Currently $22.99 on Amazon (click pic above to order)
50 GB Blu-ray disc
2 Disc Set
UV Copy
Digital Copy (Download)
VC-1 (22.02 Mbps)
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English SDH
Region: A, B

As Horror TV Shows go, most of them are fairly bland to us; sure, the Grimm's and Supernatural's of the world are fun, and have some great things about them, but in the end, they're safe shows created to cater to as broad of an audience as possible. Nothing wrong with that, sometimes that's just what we're in the mood for.

For the most part though, we do prefer our shows to play it straight. We'll take absorbing drama, a forward-moving narrative, and some shocking twists/developments any time over the more pedestrian "case of the week" type of fare. A show like Bates Motel gives us just that, and so much more.

A modern day prequel to Psycho (and thus, the legend of Norman Bates), Bates Motel is a pretty straightforward Thriller/Suspense vehicle about an odd teenager and his Mother who movie to a quiet Oregon town, buy an old motel, and get sucked into the surrounding community's drama and seedy goings-on. Sex trafficking, pot farming, murder, rape, sexual deviance... it seems as if everyone in town is creepier or more dysfunctional than the not-yet-psycho, Norman. Add two mentally unstable people to the chaos of those troubled surroundings, and you have the makings of a pretty compelling story.

Bates Motel is honestly every bit as much Norma's story as it is Norman's; sure, we know that she ends up dead, and Norman ends up dressing up like her and killing women unfortunate enough to rent a room at his creepy motel, but for now, his mommy issues are front and present and dominate the plot. His mommy, for the record, is pretty bat-shit nuts, and aside from being controlling and mentally abusive to her son, she seems to have no issue with murdering people.

Freddie Highmore is great as Norman, but it's really Vera Farmiga that makes the show; her Norma Bates is a character for the ages, and for most of the first season, we forgot that Norman was a burgeoning maniac, because we were waiting to see what crazy shit his nut-bag of a Mother was going to do next.

That's really what makes the show so great. Aside from being well made, and boasting a really solid cast, we already know where the story of Norman Bates is heading, and now we get to see exactly what happened in his life that lead him to the point of being the Serial Killer that we all know an love/fear.

How can you not love that? 

You just know she has to die at some point, right?
It's a brand new TV Show, so it's bound to be crisp and clean on Blu-ray, right? It's shot digitally, there are no visible artifacts to be found (at least not to our untrained eyes), the blacks are deep as they should be, and everything pops with natural perfection. This BD set looks gorgeous, as well it should.

His creepiness is so crisp and detailed in HD.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix offered on these discs is crisp and sharp, and feels almost like its a cinematic effort. The score is fantastic and sounds great in this lossless format, and even the hum of the Bates Motel neon sign is deep and warm. Those with a proper surround sound system should be happy with this effort.

Ordering a pizza? Now?!?
The Special Features on this two-disc set aren't anything all that great or compelling, although the Paley Fest panel with the Cast & Crew was a fun and interesting watch. The Manga cards were a neat touch too.

We bought this BD to own the show, so the lack of extras don't bother us all that much in this case.
  • Deleted Scenes (5 on each disc)
  • Previews- Blu-ray/DVD previews for Grimm, Defiance, The Best of Hitchcock, and a few other TV Shows & Movies.
  • The Paley Center Panel Discussion with the Cast and Creative Team
  • Manga Cards- Actual cardboard replicas of the book pages that Norman finds under the carpet.
Is Jere Burns ever not awesome?
A solid show that does the legend of Norman Bates and his Mother more justice than we expected it to, Bates Motel is a must-see for genre fans. It's a solid Drama with enough Horror through lines to keep things nice and tense. It's bloody, too. Maybe not Hannibal bloody, but it gets the visceral job done in its own, more subtle way.

The 2nd Season of Bates Motel premieres on March 3rd, so now is the perfect time to catch up with the show if you missed out on it the first time around. It's definitely worth your time.

The ladies of Bates Motel, Season One: Vera, Olivia, Nicola, and Keegan. They're hot, and they all have unconventional names, which kinda makes them even hotter.

October 12, 2012

The 31 Days of Horror, Day Twelve- Smiley (2012)

Where to begin with this one...

We saw the trailer for Smiley not too long ago, and were pretty excited to see it. Now, I can only wonder if I was half asleep while watching that trailer, because the finished film is a painful mess of Internet in-jokes and poor everything else.

If you've been dying to see Scream ripped off by a few YouTube video "stars," and hoped that they'd rip off Candyman in an insulting way at the same time, then Smiley is for you.

If you're at all familiar with the website 4chan, particularly its infamous /b/ message board, then this movie is going to piss you right off. If you're not, then most of the in-jokes will be lost on you. You see, 4chan is one of the places on the interwebs where most of the memes come from. What's a meme? Things like the Rick-Roll, Epic Fail, Pwned, and most famously, the LOLcats. Basically they're funny/topical pictures with words, that get posted on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc...

Just Google it. I've explained enough.

We've used "Do Not Want!" as our lowest movie grade for years, and it is a meme. That's going to be very appropriate by the time we get to the bottom of this review...
If you're webcam chatting with someone and you type "I did it for the Lulz!" three times, a masked killer named Smiley magically shows up behind you and ends your life, apparently for the Lulz. Since it's mostly kids and Internet geeks who even know what the hell Lulz means, let alone how to use it effectively in a sentence, most people on the planet are pretty much safe from Smiley's revenge. That makes his Urban Legend kinda sucky, no?

Like, what?
Ashley is a painfully naive (stupid) freshman at some shit College. Her only friend is her new roommate, Proxy, whose name pretty much spoils the entire movie for anyone who knows what a proxy is... Anywho, Proxy is a whore who loves to party. She drags Ashley to an "Anonymous" party, which is full of  anon /b/tards and Pedobear lovers, and a gang of d-bags with shitty haircuts.

Not even Justin Bieber's mentally challenged cousin Clint, could save this movie...
The lead d-bag tells Ashley that his interests reside at "the intersection of Strange and Retarded," which is exactly where this movie dwells, so it's like a Meta reference of sorts. You know, the more I think about it, I have to believe that the filmmakers here trolled us all, making a shitty Meta movie just to make us cringe. If so, then well played, guys.

In this picture, Nolan from TV's Revenge is actually standing to the right of Strange and Retarded.
Long story short, someone types the dreaded "I did it for the Lulz!" and Smiley is unleashed. The whole movie is spent with Ashley wondering if she's crazy or if Smiley is real. Subsequently, the whole movie was spent by us hoping that Smiley would show up and slit our throats, so that the pain would just end.

Pretty much.
It ended. That was good. The ending wasn't good, but that it was over was really nice.

It's hard to find much good in this movie. Some YouTube kids with limited talent and vision got someone to pony up $13 million and made a movie, so good for them. That's a good. The Smiley mask was pretty cool, that's another good.

The painfully thieved plot elements, the bad acting, the atrocious dialogue, the long periods of nothing but talking, the annoyingly un-hip Meta jokes and references, and just about everything else was a bad. Very bad.

For example, we're treated to such lively and witty dialogue as "You're Pedobear, bitch tits?" And who is the Chud yelling "Pedobeayayyayer?" Good lord, it all hurt so much.

Wow. Just... wow.
So wait a minute... the Urban Legend of Smiley goes "You type "I did it for the Lulz" three times in an anonymous webcam chat, Smiley appears behind whoever you're video chatting with, and kills them?" Candyman should be pissed off that someone is ripping off his steelo in such a shitty, lame-ass way.

YouTube video makers should stick to making YouTube videos, and not mistake their "talent" of acting crazy in front of a webcam for being a filmmaker. You don't see Tay Zonday out there making a fucking movie, do you? No, you don't, and neither should you. Different dynamics. Different worlds.

...then who was phone?
Aside from the average 15-year-old who spends most of his time in Internet chat rooms, who in the hell is supposed to get the endless barrage of references thrown around in this movie?

Have you ever requested Rule 34 on something? Do the words Leet, Moot or Sage make you smile? Have your jimmies ever been rustled?  Do you know Scumbag Steve? Which seat should you take? Are you disappoint? Then who was phone? Chuck Testa? You mad? Then come at me bro!

Did any of that shit make any sense to you at all? No? Then you are the 99% (of the world that this movie IS NOT for.)

You're better than this shit, Keith David!
All of the great, well made Horror flicks out there that never see the light of day, and this is the crap that gets a Limited Theatrical release? We've been trolled, fellow Anons. This movie is bad on just about every level, so avoid it unless you like pain. If you like pain, then don't avoid it, and I guess... enjoy your pain?

Not even the Hotties of Smiley could save it from total ruin... although I'm willing to give them a second chance if they show up in something else. Let it never be said that I am not a fair person.

May 17, 2012

Battleship (2012)

Battleship ain't no Avengers.

The grammar in the above sentence made me cringe, but there's really just no other way to say it.

Like The Avengers, Battleship is a big budget summer movie that delivers tons of action, some eye-popping visuals, and even a few doses of cheesy patriotism. Unlike The Avengers though, Battleship is all but devoid of solid characters, emotion, and an intelligent story to fill out the action. Oh, and the dialogue is pretty bad too.

I think that Battleship is what many people expected The Avengers to be; a mindless, fun, visually pleasing action fest, that was hollow on the inside and offered no depth of script, directing and acting.

See, it's pretty cool looking...
Peter Berg once directed a movie called The Kingdom. For those of you unfamiliar with that movie, The Kingdom was a tight, tense movie about an FBI investigation into the bombing of an Army Barracks in the Middle East. It was a great movie, which was as action filled as it was emotional. Had Berg been able to follow that same template with Battleship, it would have been far more rewarding and surprising.

I guess the point I'm trying to get across here is if you like your action flicks huge with tons of spectacle, and you don't care if the characters are original, the story is cliche, and the dialogue is painfully hard to swallow, then Battleship will make you happy.

Ooh, shiny!
It really, really, really felt like a Michael Bay movie, only less good. The script was so shallow and weak, that it honestly felt like they just lifted scenes and gags from every other action movie that has come before it:  

"A misfit hero is on the verge of losing everything he knows and cares about when he's thrust into the middle of a crazy conflict. Now, only he can save the world, but first he must mature and gain the trust of his fellow soldiers, all of whom think he's a loose cannon of a maverick. Can he learn what love and duty mean in time, or is everyone doomed because he's the only chance they've got?"

As cheesy and generic as the whole thing was, I have to give credit to one scene that sucked me in; the Veterans.It was uber-cheesy, but for some reason I ate it up.

Come on, Rihanna... you... you don't really think you can act, do you?
I feel bad for Taylor Kitsch. He was so good in Friday Night Lights (TV), but this year he added the atrocious John Carter and now Battleship to his resume, both of which do nothing for his career. Hopefully he can move past them to find better roles, because the kid has some talent. And what is with Rihanna showing up in this? Girl is a singer not an actor. What about Alexander Skarsgard? He was good, right? Meh. He did what he could.

For the record, Liam Neeson does little in this movie aside from providing some "comic" relief. If you're going to see Battleship because he's in it, just know he doesn't have a big or important role.

The look on her face pretty much says it all for us too.
This movie earns a C- based on eye candy alone. If it weren't for the big, crazy, action set pieces, there's be nothing else to enjoy here. Peter Berg and his cast are all capable of much better than this, but then this is the summer blockbuster game, and it's not really about quality so much as bankable spectacle at this level, is it? If you want some big, dumb fun, then go check this out. If you can't stand mindless, derivative glitter, then go see The Avengers again.

Only one of Brooklynn Decker and little miss Rihanna look hot in this movie, the other spends the movie looking worried and sweating a lot. Either way, we're fine with that.

September 20, 2009

Running Commentary Review- Attack Girls Swim Team vs. the Undead (2007)

It's been too long since the last RCR, and I'm excited to get back too it again! This movie seems like the perfect candidate too... Keep in mind that these RCR's are nothing more than me making quick comments as I'm watching the movie, so some of it may seem out of place or random. this is all "Live as it happens" people!

Start- They're warning me that the movie contains graphic violence. I certainly hope it does! It's 1 day until the big meet, and some chick is practicing her swimming. I think there's a Zombie in the pool. Nope, it's another chick... Or not. I'm confused.

3:23- Japanese schoolgirls and heavy metal; things are picking up! Coach Yang sure is tough on the girls. Like seriously, he pushes them down and smacks them right in the face! "A new virus is going around. Please remember to wash your hands and gargle."

Coach Yang is a dick.
Who is this?
7:02- Shower scene! Aki is taking a slow, wet shower after falling in the pool? Oh wait, another girl is joining her... and they both have the same bruise/birthmark on their boob. This is very gratuitous.

They're so nervous.
And coach Yang is toast! Wait... if this is a zombie movie, why is someone getting stabbed to death? "A new virus is going around . Please remember to wash your hands and gargle." Okay, we heard you the first 30 times!

Gargle on this!
10:40- Vaccination time. Apparently there's a virus on the loose in school. Oh, I see. Students get their shots first then the teachers get... a different vaccine. Methinks the creepy doctor has some sort of nefarious plan brewing... And the chicks from the shower have the same mole too. What is their connection, aside from the obvious lesbian tension between them? I think hope they might end up in love.  

15:12- In the midst of everyone getting "sick", they found coach's corpse. But he's alive... and happy? I think everybody is Zombifying. That or they're getting the flu. Nope, it's not the flu.  

WTF! Zombie teacher is juggling rulers? In a fantastic display of multitasking, he's also severing spines and limbs with them while giving his math lesson. Why is no one running? Limbs are flying everywhere! Blood is spraying in fountains! Eyes are popping! Schoolgirls are vomiting! I think the shit has just hit the fan! Why is no one running?!?!?!?

Why you no run?
20:45- Miss Mariko has the principal tied up in the bathroom, and is cutting off his toes. Also, Zombie schoolgirls are everywhere! Luckily for Aki, she knows karate! She also has no problem slitting throats and breaking necks, so she's all set.

With only the girls swim team unaffected, it's up to them to survive alone! Oh sweet Jesus, here's that juggling Zombie teacher again. What is it with him and apples! Get him, Aki! Good girl.

30:00- Aki's crazy doppelganger friend is feeding her soup and going on about how they will still go to the swim meet. Yep. "There was this crazy doctor. He was a crazy doctor." You just said the same thing twice Aki.

Flashback time... He was a crazy doctor! He keeps Aki naked, forces her to jog and do bikini push ups, wear a ball gag, and trains her to be an assassin. A water assassin.

I support this.
End of flashback. Now, the crazy chick is feeding Aki soup again... with her mouth! Forget the soup, now they're making out. It must taste like soup. Off come the shirts, to compare bruises of course. And now they're having sex. Afterward, the weird chick tells Aki that she was separated from her twin sister at birth, and then plays guitar. I think two sisters just had lesbian sex.

I also support this.
42:31- Crazy teacher with a chainsaw! Luckily, Aki shows up and kicks her ass. Running to the pool, Aki also discovers that chlorine is the antidote to the Zombie vaccine? But only in the students? Crazy teacher returns, and they throw her in the pool, sans chainsaw.

It looks ronery.
Shower time again, and apparently flashback time again too. What the hell is with the flute? Holy shit, this guy is the pied piper of pussy! His smooth tones make Aki drop trou faster than a Kenny G song makes me want to hurt small animals. I'm not sure, but this may be rape.

The song is called "I want to be in you."
56:00- The Pied Piper is back and behind all of the viral shenanigan's apparently thinking that he can have Aki for himself with just a few toots of his flute. Wrong! She's on the swim team now! Attack Girls Swim Team super crazy amazing rainbow fight time now!

1:03:08- Aki and the crazy chick are making out again, but this time... oh crap, another flashback. To say anymore would give away the "twist", but let me just say this: WTF?!?

That's what you get for making out with everyone, hooker.
End- Seriously, the ending made me yell WTF?!? Out loud.

All I'm saying is, vag-laser.
Lot's of boobs, plenty of lesbian sex, some regular sex, shower scenes, all kinds of gore, and a plot that left me baffled.
It's not Tokyo Gore Police, but it's crazy enough to deserve a solid, guilty pleasure-laden C.