Director: Uwe Boll
Starring: Kristina Loken, Ben Kinglsey, Michelle Rodriguez, Michael Madsen, Billy Zane, Meatloaf
I added this to my Netflix queue only on the recommendation that it was, quite possibly, one of the worst films ever made by my pal stormodacentury. He's right, it's very, very bad. However, it does have some qualities which redeem it, if only very slightly, to keep it from being completely unwatchable. It's based on a video game, which is a strike against it already. There's yet to be a really good film based on a video game; they're typically made just to cash-in on the popularity of the title and this one is no different. What is different about it however is the lengths to which Boll goes to show you death sequences. There are more gory, blood squirting death gags in this film that you typically see in any mainstream American feature film: slashed necks, heads/limbs chopped-off, torsos severed at the waist, crushing heads, people burning to death, swords and arrows through the mouth, impalement, disembowling. And every one is given a perfect split-second setup; just long enough during normal viewing for the effect to be appreciated when edited into the action. For gore fans, Bloodrayne is a blast as far as genre pics go. Outside of that, though, it's a lesson in how to waste talent. Ben "I-got-a-friggin-Oscar" Kingsely is in this for cry'n out loud, reduced to uttering mindless dialogue with no motivation. Wanna see a good motivated Kinglsey villain, go rent Sneakers. But it's not just Kingsely, Madsen stands around wincing likes he's constipated most of the time because that's what he does when he has a lack of direction for his character and Rodriguez is left to brood and scowl sexily like every other character she's ever played. Loken, the star and title character you may remember as the strong, silent-type from T3 as the female Terminator. She does a respectable job with the awful dialogue, but it's the action where it becomes laughable and, sadly, it's probably not her fault. It's Boll's direction and editing that makes her look like a kid playing with swords in the backyard. In T3 she was pretty bad-ass as I recall, here she just looks absurd. It's the "B" actors that steal the show in this; in a pointless sequence, Meatloaf cameos as a hedonistic vampire smothered in an orgy of naked women. But even better is Billy Zane sporting a bad hair-piece as a campy, flaming vamp. Imagine Tim Curry's Dr. Frankfurter as a 17th century aristocrat and you're getting close. This is not worth your time unless you just really like watching gory effects or you're like me and want to see a real train wreck of a film.
The sad thing is, a sequel has been slated.
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Director: Billy Wilder
Starring: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim
Even if you've never seen this film, chances are you know its most famous line: "Alright Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my closeup." If you've never seen this film, you're also missing out on of the all time great cinema classics. It is imaginatively filmed, creatively cast, superbly acted, and still as wickedly funny as it must've been over 50 years ago. It's the story of young Joe Gillis, a Hollywood screenwriter down on his luck with bill collectors trying to repossess his car. While eluding them one afternoon he stumbles into the grand and decaying mansion of Norma Desmond, a star of the silent screen era who has been out of the public eye for over 20 years. Upon introduction, Joe goes, "You were in pictures. You used to be big!" Norma replies indignantly, "I am big, it's the pictures that got small." A sad and dark story unfolds as Joe enters Norma's delusional world, as grand and decaying as the mansion she lives in. The humor is dark, even mean spirited at times right up to the tragic final sequences when the film's most famous line is spoken. If you've never seen it, do yourself a favor and rent it. You don't have to be some "old film nut" to enjoy it.
Other movies I've watched/rewatched in the past few months, if you wanna give a shout-out, dis, quote, or ask how it was:
Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter (2001)
Super Size Me (2004)
The Hebrew Hammer (2003)
Mulholland Drive (2001)
Wild At Heart (1990)
The Straight Story (1999)
Lost Highway (1997)
The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
The Hills Have Eyes 2 (1985)
The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
Dial M For Murder (1954)
Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice In the Hood (1996)
Scary Movie 4 (2006)
Awesome: I Fuckin' Shot That! (2006)
Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle (2004)
Mad Max (1979)
The Forgotten (2004)
City of Angels (1998)
Roger & Me (1989)
In the coming weeks, director David Lean's trilogy of epics: Bridge on the River Kwai (finished), Doctor Zhivago (started), and Lawrence of Arabia (queued). I'm gonna do an entry covering all three the next time I tackle movies.