May 29th, 2009

Scary Books

Movie Reviews: The Woods + 30 Days of Night

The Woods (2005)

This is a deathly dull horror film.

In 1965, the sulky brat Heather is dumped at boarding school by her fed up parents. Falburn Academy does not agree with Heather, her only friend is Marcy, she's bullied by the violent Samantha (Rachel Nichols of 'The Inside'), the teachers are hysterics and she's plagued by bad dreams.

After many interminable dream sequences Heather learns that there is some truth to the school's urban legend about witches and murder. Can she save herself, her schoolmates and her father (Bruce Campbell) from killer ivy and wicked witches? This film never seemed to end, even Bruce Campbell doing a gross vomiting scene and the Kill It With Fire ending couldn't enliven this film. It was sadly dull, still it did have a few good lines.

Best Lines:
"How many football players put it in you before your mom got sick of having another tramp around the house?"

"Mom I just want to come home. I miss my friends."
"Heather sweetheart, you don't have any friends."

"It's not so bad here. Better than home."
"Home would be fine if my mom was dead."

30 Days of Night (2007)

After enduring endless trailers for films like 'The Tattooist', 'Unearthed' and 'Hot Tamale', the film finally began. The small town of Barrow, Alaska is about to go a month without sun. Which makes it a perfect feeding ground for a gang of nasty vampires.

Eben the Sheriff (Josh Hartnett, who keeps getting work for a reason that eludes me) and his estranged, idiot wife Stella (Melissa George) soon notice that strange things are afoot in Barrow. It seems a stranger (played by Ben Foster who both overacts and fails to act) has sabotaged communications, power and the helicopter and has killed all the sled dogs. Soon the vampires descend, led by someone who looks like a football hooligan (Danny Huston of 'Marie Antoinette'). Blood flies, people die and a small handful of surviours hide in an attic to wait out the month.

This was kind of dull with various people acting like idiots. Plus it wasn't scary. Questions remain: when they were hiding out for a month, how did they manage the sanitation arrangements? How did they escape the big oil fire at the end? Still there were a few good moments: the ship in the ice at the start, the poster that proclaims: 'Snowmobiling and alcohol don't mix' and the very effective overhead shot of the streets of Barrow covered in blood, bodies and rampaging vampires.

Best Lines:
"Stay in your homes, lock your doors and load your firearms. This is not a drill."

"There's a taser in the back. If he gives you any trouble, use it."


A Review of Eps 1 to 8 of 'Cane'

How to sum up 'Cane'? What a letdown is a good place to start. It's hard to believe but this soap opera about the dysfunctional Duque family and their rum empire is boring. I only kept watching it for Nestor Carbonell. This is no 'Falcon Crest', there is no David Selby in this cast. There's not even an untalented pretty boy equal to Lorenzo Lamas in this. It's all so dull, even 'Pacific Palisades' generated more interest than this.

The cast of characters is led by Alex Vega (a bloated and smug looking Jimmy Smits). Alex has a wife (who is also his adoptive sister) who looks about 19, despite the fact they have 3 children. The spoilt Vega brats only show up if the plot necessitates, otherwise they are neglected by their self-obsessed parents. The Duque patriarch is Pancho who shouts a lot. He has a wife who does nothing but show off her big hair and cook enormous meals for her freeloading brood. Pancho's youngest son Henry runs a nightclub with no skill, in fact Henry seems incapable of dressing himself without the aid of a special needs nurse. Then there is the put upon eldest son Frank (Carbonell of 'Lost'). Frank was supposed to run Duque Rum but Alex stole the CEO job. Frank broods about this and in-between bouts of brooding takes off his shirt. Then he broods some more because Pancho thinks the sun shines out of Alex's pooper, despite the fact Alex doesn't do any work.

Alex neglects his job in favour of acting like a thug, feuding with the Samuels clan and hanging out with criminals. The Samuels family are in the sugar business and Alex hates them because Daddy Samuels had a Duque child murdered years earlier. Daddy Samuels is a ludicrous villain, he's played and written so OTT evil and oily, it's ridiculous. You can't take him seriously and Alex's long running vendetta lacks credibility, seeing as he's guilty of the exact same sins as Daddy Samuels. Namely murder and blackmail. Daddy Samuels has a daughter, Alice who shows up either to pout, look cross, bang Frank or get arrested thanks to Alex.

In these first eight eps, nothing happens. Alex rants, kills people, runs around with mobsters and gloats to Frank about stealing his job. His idiot spawn do dumb stuff. His wife whines. Frank takes his shirt off and broods. Pancho rants. The Samuels do evil stuff. You get the feeling that someone called an audible in the writers room to try to make Alex more popular: the whole Frank was sickly child plot point seems forgotten as well as Alex's eldest son joining the army.

All I can say is thankfully 'Cane' was cancelled so Nestor Carbonell could go back to 'Lost'.

Prison Break The Final Break: The Old Ball and Chain/Free Review

Michael and Sara get married, Sara is then arrested for murdering Christina. The plot setup is ludicrous, wasn't Kellerman supposed to take care of everything? Sara's flung into prison with Gretchen. Prison guards beat her up and the prison 'Daddy' (Lori Petty in full on scenery chewing mode) wants her. Meanwhile in the male wing of the prison, T-Bag and the General plot to kill Sara. Michael, Linc and Sucre plot to bust Sara out. Mahone fails to get his FBI job back (no shock there) and starts spying on Michael (he's learned nothing) and yet another FBI agent nemesis for Michael shows up.

The plot makes zero sense but Gretchen has a nice new haircut. Nobody seems too concerned about the massive conspiracy of the Company or the extent of the Company's crimes, all people want is revenge for the Fox River break. People act like jerks, just because they can. Somehow no-one can prove Christina was a baddie. The General and T-Bag are blights on the screen with their ham job acting.

Mahone decides not to betray Michael anymore after Michael says he trusts Mahone. Sara and Gretchen plot to escape by triggering a riot. But Gretchen gets caught and shows growth by letting Sara get away. Michael sacrifices his life to ensure Sara's freedom. People look sad. So Sara is an escaped con for life and Michael is dead. Joy. For some reason there is no police dragnet out looking for Sara.

This was a waste of time.

Best Lines:
"We won't hit the baby basket."

"I don't do favours for cons."
"Really, that's not what it says on the bathroom wall."

"I know where the hole is!"

Scary Books

Reaper Season 2 Ep 1 Review

Episode IV: A New Hope
Sock, Ben and Sam have been evicted from their swank apartment. Sam learns that just because he's the antichrist, it doesn't mean he gets any favours whatsoever. Andi whines continuously. Sock lusts after his stepsister. Sam has to reap about 20 souls at once to prove he's worthy of bringing about hell on earth. Sam who has totally accepted his satanic parentage, sets about reaping the souls to the tune of the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

This mediocre ep was occasionally funny but what was the point of the Andi whining/Sock and his stepsister subplots?

Best Lines:
"He's got a ton of kids and he thinks they all suck."

"You don't even know what you're capable of, what evil will come your way. What terrible things you will do at my bidding."
Scary Books

Bones Season 4 finale Review

The End in the Beginning
98% of the ep is Booth's coma induced fantasy where almost everyone works at Brennan and Booth's nightclub. Someone murdered a mystery man in the toilet and now the married duo of Brennan and Booth must figure out who.

In between bouts of comedy, romance and mystery solving: Zack's back as a blithering idiot, Jared's back and still a twit, Hodgins does idiot 'hardboiled' narration and Sweets sings. There are callbacks to the Gravedigger and Gormogon plot arcs. Brennan wears neon nailpolish, the murder is solved and there is an overly long performance by Motley Crue.

Then Booth comes out of his coma, with amnesia. So Booth's been shot, had a brain tumour and now amnesia? Poor guy. This was a good ep as TPTB finally got to lay on the Brennan/Booth stuff.

Best Lines:
"You're the type of moron who goes to jail for a murder he didn't commit."

"I'm English, we don't use guns. We use our foreheads."

"He screamed like slutty girl number 1 in a teen horror film."

"Gormogon, it's stupid name. What does it even mean?"

Scary Books

Book Review: The Year's Best Fantasy Stories 14

The Year's Best Fantasy Stories 14 Edited by Arthur W. Saha

This anthology is from 1988 and has a handful of good stories in it.

The Little Magic Shop
A man buys immortality at a magic shop and develops an odd bond with the shopowner. This was okay.

A man slips from parallel reality to parallel reality, each subtly different (very 'Fringe'). This is a sad tale.

Waiting For A Bus
Does a monster lurk at a bus stop holding people captive for its own amusement? This is a nice, creepy little tale.

Ever After

This is a fantastic retelling of Cinderella. The fairy Godmother gives this Cinderella a gift. But it's not glass slippers or a pumpkin coach, it's something far more terrible. This was excellent.