Saturday, October 30, 2010

Devil (2010)

My Synopsis: Five shady characters trapped in an elevator and one may be (the/a?) devil. Oh! And there's a tweest!

Comments: By now it's no secret that I am a masochist. There's nothing I like more than torturing myself by watching ridiculous crap that had no reason for existing. But in my defense I do these things for you. That's right, I am the self appointed martyr of the bad film world. I subject myself to cruel tortures to prove not only that my opinions have to be correct (I mean how can I vocally assault something without seeing it) but I also do it as a service to you, my faithful reader, as a warning to what you should undoubtedly avoid. I crucify myself for you, I am Jesus! Ok, that's over doing it. I have no delusions of savior. But I hope I save someone with this review. Although judging by the fact he keeps making movies (or adding his name to them) there are far more sadistic people than me out there.
'Devil' begs the question, even if you were making a supernatural flick with twists and turns, why would you think having M. Night claim it would help you? Now if Rod Serling was still alive I could see it, we're talking track record of quality stories, something M. Night is grossly lacking at this point. So much so the studio quickly went into damage control mode by limiting his name being mentioned in the trailers. It didn't stop it from dominating the open credits, of course, exclusive contracts rule. Apparently 'Devil' is executively produced by Shyamalan and is part of the M. Night Chronicles. I'm both unsure and worried as to which chronicles he is referring too. I can only assume it is a chronicle of movies 'inspired' by him. All the promo for this movie says “from the mind of.” This is a scary thought, especially since, and it pains me to admit this, 'Devil' doesn't even match up to Shyamalamadingdongs usual standards. Let me explain...

We'll begin with the story. Now I honestly don't care to be spoiler free, not just because of the usual ridiculousness of Night movie twists, but also because the first fifteen minutes makes the end obvious. Even so here's your warning, if you are determined to be 'shocked' by the twists stop reading now! Ok then, for the rest of us I continue...

As previously mentioned; five shady characters are trapped in an elevator - a mattress selling con man, a bad attitude temp security guard, a spoiled rich girl, a bitter old woman and a PTSD ex-marine. I know, it sounds like a joke. Which it pretty much is. The character development was almost non-existent and that which did exist popped in so fast that if you blinked you would have missed it. Which is why the only thing I remember about the old women and rich girl is spoiled and bitter. Now the PTSD guy is easy to remember because more time was spent on his flashbacks. Which means he's more important than the rest. Which leads us to the cop who also has a lot of baggage in the form of losing his wife and kid to a hit and run driver he can't seem to find. I think you know where this is going. Long story short, while trying to figure out how to get the people out of the elevator, as they one by one get killed off during power outages, the twist unravels without many questions. Thus not very Shyamalan like. Everyone knows a M. twist usually involves the most ridiculous answers. This made too much sense! In the meantime we get to watch the people stuck in the elevator become suspicious of each other as they are one by one killed off.

Finally, there was a worthwhile thing to mention about this movie. The end. Not just because it was over, although that was my favorite part, but the old woman that appears at the end was a very good devil. And though Mr. PTSD gets redemption (not sure why it was even offered to him while the others were indiscriminately eliminated, maybe because he was the only one with a little guilt) the devil woman gets the best line in the whole movie. 'Damn, I wanted you.' I can't say an hour and a half of crap was worth getting to that line, but it worked for me.

So, the lesson the movie is trying to teach us is that sinners will get there's, Hispanic elevator techs can prove the devil is around by dropping jellied toast and it landing jelly side down, and that M. Night should not only stop making movies, but inspiring them as well. Also, I really think Bruce Willis should have been in it. He would have made a great old lady devil.

Yea, you know it's true. Awesome call back to an earlier review no?

'til next we bleed...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Toy Story 3D

My Synopsis: Andy goes to college to party while Woody and the gang go to Hell!

Comments: So those Pixar guys are amazing! And the Toy Story movies still stand as the greatest demonstration of the perfect blend of story, voice acting, and animation. We all know it's true and I really don't feel the need to spend too much time confirming it. What I do choose to address is two major elements of this movie. 1. What is the point of the use of 3D? 2. This is a horror movie!

The first one is specifically phrased as a question because I'm really not sure. It is also the thing I am actually criticizing of the two. It just seems self defeating to 3D a computer animated picture. I mean, the purpose of cgi is to make a 2D animated picture appear in 3 dimensions. So what does the new 3D technology add? Honestly, the 3D was noticeable for only about ten minutes. I kept peering over the top of the glasses to make sure what I was seeing was supposed to be 3D. And yes, most of the time it was the usual blur, but the only time I noticed it in true 3D is when we were looking over a characters shoulder. Maybe I missed something? I welcome comments on this one!

Now for the second observation, this is one scary movie! I don't intend to spoiler-rific here, this movie, as is the case with all Pixar films, is totally worth seeing. But I will say the story content seems well above suitable for the age group these movies usually cater too. I mean, these toys get brutally punished for losing faith in their boy Andy. Which just made me realize this chapter in the Toy Story universe especially could be the subject of a very long religious paper with Andy as God, Woody as the Christ figure and the rest of the toys as disciples. In fact this whole movie, which can often be the case with Disney movies, is very biblical in nature. But that is not the focus here, I will leave those observations for a film student or evangelical minister to explore. Besides I usually try to avoid such analysis in favor of viewing each movie for it's entertainment value rather than it's religious implications. I only mention it now because it is integral to seeing Toy Story 3D as a horror movie.

Anyway, believing Andy does it want them they set out to find a new place in which they can get played with, because that is what toys want more than anything (it's been awesomely explained to me that, for the toys, being played with is equal to getting attention, as in, god is not showing them attention so they look for one that will, but I digress back into a religious discussion). As the new toys in the day care they are forced, by the purple Teddy bear and his mob (or cult followers) to be locked in the toddler room, where the toddlers torture and maim them in ways Jigsaw hadn't thought of yet! Before the end of this adventure they literally find themselves in Dantes Inferno. The images of their experience are as graphic and visceral as they can be considering we're dealing with toys. I have a hard time imagining this wouldn't scare a child, by the time they faced the flames of Hell I was scared!

There are a few other things that lent to the belief that this film may not have been intended for It's usual target audience. There's metro-sexual Ken (the gay undertones are hardly under, sure it confirms what we all guessed, and Michael Keaton is as always, brilliant) apparently Buzz is more sexy in Spanish mode (to me he seemed a touch more like Pepe lePu then Latino amorado, just seems like a stereotype that should some day be layer to rest), and, if the mangling of the toys has taught us anything it is to seriously reconsider having kids. Toddlers are vicious!

In conclusion, though I still believe it is an interesting chapter to the Toy Story saga, it made me question much about it's place in the whole scheme of the Disney Universe. That is not to say I didn't like it though. 3D aside, it is a very entertaining horror movie that deserves 3 out 5 Barbie heads. As always I welcome comments and opinions!

'till next we bleed