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something old, something new

Bloodrayne (2005)
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)
Adaptation (2002)
Super Size Me (2004)
The Hebrew Hammer (2003)
Mulholland Drive (2001)
Wild At Heart (1990)
Eraserhead (1977)
The Straight Story (1999)
Lost Highway (1997)
Bullworth (1998)
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)
Spanglish (2004)
Freedomland (2006)
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.

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I plan on picking up Sunset Boulevard, today if I can.

You won't regret it. It's an awesome flick.

hon... that icon?

so wrong.


I made it on a whim one morning when I decided I needed more movie-related icons. Heathers is one of my all-time faves. :)

I...ADORE...the classics. So, so much. One of my all-time faves is Bette Davis in Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? She is so brilliantly disturbing in this film, I can't remember if she won an oscar for her title role or not.

Joan Crawford: "If I weren't in this wheelchair..."

Bette Davis: "But ya ARE in that wheelchair, Blanche! YA ARE!!!"

(Vandals desecrated the grave of the author of Doctor Zhivago a few days ago, by the way. Dirty bastards.)

I saw Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? a loooong time ago. It's probably been at least ten years. All I really remember is the rat.

I've been having a blast going through all the Hitchcock films over the past year or so. And have so many to watch, still. I like mixing-up my movie watching, covering classics I've never seen with the newer stuff.

Sunset Boulevard is Metallica's "The Memory Remains," right?

Reportedly, yes. I've not seen it actually confirmed by a band-member, though.

Oh, Dr. Zhivago! Love, love, LOVE the score, and it's one of the most beautifully shot and scenic movies I've ever seen.

Plus, Boris Pasternak's story is fabulous too.

I've watched maybe the first 30 minutes of Doctor Zhivago and had to put it away and haven't had a chance to return. I've already been mesmerized by the cinematography. That funeral scene in the second sequence: WOW.

soopageek movie reviews.
I like this. Being I'm not a person who can watch movies all the time like some people can, it is nice for someone that I actually know is a living breathing educated person reviewing it. Then maybe I could talk myself into watching it if they liked it more than some one from the big stars who just want to make the movie money.

I feel the same way. I have a very VERY hard time watching movies even when I have the change. I'm.. mostly just hesitant. Been burned by too many bombs, I guess.

I'm kind of sad Bloodrayne was bad...with that cast it had the potential to be awesome. I'd never heard of the movie or the video game.

How was Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter? I've been curious about that movie.

And I loved Awesome: I Fuckin' Shot That.

Bloodrayne was undoubtedly bad, but it was fun bad. A few friends and I had a blast drinking in the back of the theater and making fun of it (on opening night. With five other people in the theater).

Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter is fantastic. It's low-budget camp at it's absolute finest.

I fucking LOVE The Hebrew Hammer. How does it hold up for the non-jewish set? So many of the jokes, it seems like you'd need some knowledge to get.

I was curious about that, too.

I LOVED Sunset Blvd. It was one of the best films I watched last year. I didn't know much about it before I saw it, except for the infamous lines, but wow, it was fantastic.

Two thumbs up for: SuperSize Me, The Straight Story, Harold & Kumar and Roger & Me.

I'm not much a reviewer, eh?

Supersize Me and Roger & Me were both superb docos, the latter in particular. I can't believe it took me so long to finally get around to seeing it. Harold and Kumar is probably one of the funniest, laugh-out-loud movies I've seen in a long, long time.

Re: Sunset Blvd.: Yeah, I'm with you. One of the best films I've watched in a while. I'm probably gonna hafta check out Wilder's other big cinema contribution Some Like It Hot now.

Apparently, the film that walked away with all the Oscars in 1950 was All About Eve, another film about an aging actress (Bette Davis), this time on Broadway. I haven't seen that either, but it's in my queue. :)

Uwe Boll needs to die a slow, painful death. He's got the rights for something like 5 more video games to movies (he did House of the Dead).
My cheap, "amateur" Bloodrayne costume I did for Halloween a couple years back (and Dragon*Con this year) looked more authentic than anything I saw in the promo and set pics. And everyone knows it's not Rayne without the bright red hair.

I've never played the game, but from what I've seen of screenshots, the film wasn't too far-off base in its visceral depiction of Rayne. Her hair probably could've been more red, but there's probably a fine-line between something looking natural and something looking cartoonish, even in a fantasy/horror genre.

That top picture really bothers me. Every time I scroll past it, I cringe. She looks so calm and cute for a woman with drying blood all over her face.

When I was searching for a photo to use for this entry, it was the most striking I came across. For me though, it kinda reminds me of a porn "facial", which is kinda how Uwe Boll treats his gore. There's always this lingering shot as the blood erupts from the body in each effects gag.

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