Jean-Blog Van Damme

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

American Psycho 2: What!?

Tonight I indulged in an on-demand showing of American Psycho 2 starring Mila Kunis and William Shatner. It was an absolute disaster of a film, but one that unsurprisingly found worthiness through the aid of alcohol. Satisfaction was derived by turning the film into a drinking game in which my fellow viewers and I were to drink for the following events:

1) Mention of G.P.A. or F.B.I.
2) Emergence of William Shatner
3) Death of William Shatner (one Shot)
4) Montages set to pseudo-pop music
5) Post-Killing one liners

This film had straight-to-DVD written all over it. Even expecting that from witness of the title, it was difficult not to be distracted by the image of Meg Griffen every time Kunis opened her saucy, student serial killer mouth. William Shatner was by trade predictably mediocre, but phoned in the funk well enough to earn the paltry paycheck he likely collected for his role. Thanks, Priceline Negotiator!

Monday, February 4, 2008

My Very First Vanity Project

I forgot to mention that I like to watch blatant vanity projects and I feel that they fall within the purview of this site.

The jumping off point this weekend was the spectacular "I Know Who Killed Me." Spectacular in this case refers to the fact that it failed spectacularly at pretty much every possible level. Acting, cinematography, editing, craft services. All embarrassing.

It's pretty obvious that the root of the problems lies with Lindsay Lohan, as this film is painful in its venality. It seems that Lohan wanted to show the world that she is not the goody two shoes that her past screen personas had been (art imitating life?). What actually emerges is an interesting meditation on Lindsay Lohan's life if you look at the film being semi-autobiographical and the two characters that Lohan plays (the All-American girl and the crackbaby stripper) being two sides of her personality (apologies for spoilers, but I am probably doing you a favor). But that would mean I would have to think about this movie and fuck that.

Anyways, rather than go into a long-winded explanation of how stupid this film is, I'll just do some quick laundry-listing of funny aspects of the film. Keep an eye out for constant crane shots descending from trees when the director wants to use establishing shots. THE COLOR BLUE. Lohan saying "fuck" like someone who never cusses. A hairless cat that has balls bigger than its body and appear to be poop to the untrained eye. Characters that are introduced then never returned to again. Attempts at artful shot compositions. Constantly swooping camera in indoor scenes. A stripper that does not get naked ever. Lindsay Lohan fake humping a dude (Maybe it was real?). A story that makes no sense and an ending that is embarrassing.

There's more, but I have tried to forget it. I will give the film credit for making me laugh fairly often, though. Lohan also has like a bionic leg that needs to be charged like a cell phone

Thursday, January 24, 2008

In Which I Let Off Some Steam

I caught the end of Commando tonight and it really represents to me what this blog is about. We have a super-jacked up Arnold going against a ridiculous villain (an Australian Village Person in chainmail) in order to save his daughter. The film ends with a fitting 80s butt rock type song that is hard to put into words but aficionados will recognize (I'm sure those with music backgrounds would be better able to explain). I wish action films of today would look at this movie and take some cues, such as not taking themselves (as much as a film can be self-aware) so seriously. I don't mean to say that Arnold and Dan Hedaya goof around in the film, but there is a tongue-in-cheek element of the film that is not present in today's big budget studio masturbations. I mean hell, in a close-up of his daughter after he saves her, it's pretty obvious that Arnold is flexing his pecs, creating a ridiculous juxtaposition.

I also feel like Arnold's foreign status makes his one-liners even more funny. Additionally, his character is named John Matrix, something that good action films of today like Crank mimic (Chev Chelios, in the latter's case).

Rae Dawn Chong is in the film, too, yum.

Monday, January 21, 2008

They Live

Like I said, Encore (Encore Mystery, specifically) totally came through with the meat yesterday, playing John Carpenter's amazing They Live. I actually missed the first 20 minutes of the movie, but it doesn't really matter because when I turned it on the police were terrorizing a homeless shantytown. At one point there was a giant bulldozer just going to town on the cardboard boxes and old junker cars. Jackbooted police were advancing in a line like robots beating down the people and it was all so surreal. Come to think of it, it doesn't sound that outlandish.

By this point I still didn't know what the movie was about (although, I had heard about it so I was waiting for the aliens aspect to come into play), but that didn't bother me because the star of the movie is Rowdy Roddy Piper of WWF fame. They Live is, in fact, one of the first films as far as I know to feature a professional wrestler in a lead role and this movie is the perfect vehicle for a wrestler. Actually, Rowdy Roddy does a pretty good job, which was surprising to say the least. Granted, his role mainly consists of kicking ass and physical stuntwork, but you could really feel the anger and emotion from him. Or at least I will say that to backup my lauding his acting.

Digressing, Rowdy Roddy finds a box full of sunglasses that he carries around the city for a while trying to look as inconspicuous as possible, but managing to be completely indiscrete. After navigating around 45 deserted alleyways, he finally decides on one and opens the box with the gusto of a virgin opening a condom packet. I should mention that these sunglasses are completely and totally rad and only wish that I could find a pair of them in real life. Anyways, dude puts them on and sees that all the signs and advertisements are just subliminal advertising ("STAY ASLEEP", "MARRY AND REPRODUCE", etc.) and that many businesspeople (I believe Encore says "yuppies", a great sign that it was made in the 80s) actually have horribly disgusting alien faces. Roddy stumbles around LA in a daze looking like a drunkard and generally making himself conspicuous to everyone he passes. Eventually he goes into a grocery store and calls out an old lady for being an ugly hag, at which point she talks into her watch-radio thing and lets her fellow aliens know that they have "one that can see."

At this point, the film picks up because Rowdy Roddy is confronted by two cops and he beats the shit out of them and takes their weapons. He heads to a bank (yes, a place where there would be no upper middle class people) and proceeds to deposit lead into many aliens' bodily checking accounts. Oh, also, one of the best lines is uttered here: "I came here to chew bubblegum and kick ass..and I'm all out of bubblegum." There is a sort of poetic genius to it, don't you think. At some point Roddy gets into a car with a woman and makes her drive him to her home in the hills of LA (that should've been a red flag, Roddy, you moron). He kind of demands that she puts the sunglasses on but she refuses (what the fuck?) so he goes to turn on the tv or something and she decides the appropriate course of action is to hit him int he head with a wine bottle and defenstrate him 3 stories up. It's all very sudden and hilarious, a pretty defining point in the film. How's THAT for women's liberation, Mr. Wrestler?

Some other stuff happens and then he meets up with the immaculate Keith David (of Marked For Death fame, the totally sweet Seagal flick set in Jamaica), who he also attempts to convince to wear the sunglasses. This is met with repeated refusals by Keith David and eventually leads to one of the coolest fight scenes I've ever seen. The two get into an all out street brawl for literally like 5 minutes. Many times you think it is over and they will shake hands, but no, it keeps going. And all of this because some motherfuckers wouldn't want to put on some sunglasses. Hell, I would've worn them regardless of anyone asking because they look so sweet. Lesson here: Always wear sunglasses when asked, especially by a large wrestler.

After seeing the truth, the two of them set out to kill all the aliens. They come into contact with a resistance group and are invited to a meeting. Acting as a guard for this meeting is a Latino-looking Hell's Angel facsimile. He was incredibly nice, leading me to believe they don't know anything about those type of people. Anyways, the meeting is eventually raided by the cops (I should mention that the woman who knocked Rowdy Roddy the fuck out earlier was there, leading me to believe she is a plant) and there are a bunch of violent shooting deaths and grenades exploding indoors (good idea, guys). Keith and Roddy escape and head underground to escape but find themselves in a labyrinth of alien hallways, one of which leads to a ballroom where there is a reception going on. Of course, everyone is dressed in tuxes and they are standing there, acting like nothing is weird, in their consruction outfits. No one really says anything either. They're given a grand tour which at one point involves going to an underground spaceport, complete with outerspace being a couple feet away from them.

Eventually they get to the tv station where the aliens broadcast their brainwashing signal (subtle message there) and they realize they need to destroy the satellite dish. When they are asked for id, they say that they have it right here, but pull out their guns instead, which is completely solid. I won't spoil what happens, but the last shot of Rowdy Roddy flipping the bird to the aliens is hilarious and the actual ending is even more insane as it involves a naked woman riding an alien for some reason.

Best quote from the film: "Brother, life's a bitch and she's back in heat."

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Incredible Muscles

I've noticed that there is an incredible lack of low-budget, B-movie action blogs. I hope to remedy this problem with this blog. I will probably get lazy, though, and erratically update this weblog. Apparently the word "blog" is an acceptable spelling but "weblog" is not. Just more evidence of the influence Big Blogging has on the Internet. Anyways, I'll watch Encore and Starz tomorrow and I'm sure something of interest will come on; if not, I'll pop in Kickboxer and write about how awesome it is.