Saturday, September 27, 2014

Chiller Classics present: Scarecrows (1988)

Welcome my friends to Chiller Classics, where I Charles Bartholomew Boonsweet take you on a trip to the olden, sometimes golden, days of horror.  Hopefully I will introduce you to some fine genre flicks you may not have heard of, either because of how old they are or how obscure, and break down some gory, chill filled, education in Horror History 101. And for those of you who are already well versed in the "good ol' days" of horror, hopefully this will help bring back some nostalgic memories and maybe entice you to see some of these classics again.

So what we have here is one strange, twisted, original, gory, and very, very low budget 80s horror. See, I know some of you horror hounds out there just like me just felt that special kind of tingle with that intro. Already you are leaning closer to your screen, your phone, your... well, actually does anyone do anything any more not on their phone? Ya you're probs on your phone. And for every one of your now gore-erect horror fans out there there is some one else who just went - Nope! 

Obviously this is a film not for everyone. But then hey... you are visiting my website (and more than likely following my awesomeness semi-religiously) which makes you at least slightly smarter than the average bear... and you are now... if still reading this... two and a half paragraphs into a column entitled "CHILLER CLASSICS" so hey, I will assume you are at least marginally curious...

So to plot then: Robbers (of some kind), hijack a plane, forcing a father to pilot it or risk injury to his daughter. Then one of the robbers double crosses them and ends up in a strange piece of wilderness (after having jumped from the aforementioned aerial flying machine). There he finds a house and a whole bunch of creepy looking Scarecrows... Hmmmm... The other bad guys then land and come back for him, and their money.

Some people take the "Say Cheese" smile a little too far... Dang. 
So if you guessed that after this point it is mostly creepiness and Scarecrow violence... congratulations, you Sir, or Ma'damn, are correct. Really though I have to call one very strange little bit of audio with this film. The voiceovers. I mean the endless voice overs. It is so very comical, especially at the beginning. Towards the mid, and end of the film, I actually found it becoming part of this bizarre films charm.

Basically every character will at multiple points be walking around will their thoughts are shared with you dear audience. Now was that because with the insanely low budget (which you will understand with the opening "Grenade" explosion), or because the filmmakers actually wanted to voice over half the film... who knows! It's really weird and I think I liked it... well, once I got used to it.

Now to horror stuff. There is tons of blood letting, and practical 80s blood letting at that. Some of it very creative... and when I say people will be stuffed with hay... or they will be stuffed...

Really as a horror fan when you stumble across a gem in the rough, it's a big deal. Is this one of those films... maybe... just maybe. For me the opening 30 minutes was rough, a little too rough for me to recommend this as a CHILLER CLASSIC you must see... but the last half is a blast. Pretty much non stop action. Blood. And a pretty fun ending. But man, who ever did the sound editing on this film was seriously in love with his/her craft... news reports in the back ground... voiceovers...

The scare crows are actually creepy.

That in it's self makes this film worth seeing if you love you some 80s. For all you new school Saw loving horror folks... this (and no offence is meant here) will prob be a little 'Too" ol' skool for you. No shame in that.

Horror scale 3.5 out of 5 stars
Movie scale 2 out of 5 stars

What's that saying about hay? Make hay while the sun shines... or avoid rain... ah whatever... a fun little flick... and a great start too HALLOWEEN month... Bring it ONNNNNNN!

- Chuck Boonsweet.

KITE (2014)


It has been a while since I could say this without pause, further consideration, nope this is plain, and clear... The director destroyed this movie. Oh you can complain about some of the writing, the fight choreography, sure you can complain a little. But the lighting, the camera shots, the lighting... and the camera shots, are so horrible that you would swear a 90s music director shot this film...

OH WAIT, he is a 90s video director... who knew. In all honesty, I did not know that till I just searched the director (who you know what I won't even call out by name here) on IMDB.

Understand that this is the worst shot film I have seen in a film that is not bargain basement stuff. Now in fairness the original Director was found dead in his Hotel room, apparently after shooting had started so another director stepped... so hey... maybe I am blaming the wrong guy I don't know, but man does this film look like shit.

What do you mean you ran out of cookies?
Ok, you plot goes... futuristic society is all corrupt and stuff. A young girl, who is super lethal, with the aid of a cop (Sam L jackson) is taking down an entire cartel operation to get to the man on top. The man she believes killed her mother and father.

I mean not the most original plot, but not horrible. Here's the thing. I watched and own the original Anime, KITE (circa 1998 I believe), and man is it legendary. Some of the craziest violence, tons of sex, I mean it is infamously uncensored haha. Sawa is one badass chick. And half crazy. In this movie for some reason they play her like a weak innocent girl in one scene (where she can barely fight one female baddie) to an unstoppable killing machine (taking out a whole gang in another scene). But the direction and choreography is so bad during the majority of the fights it don't really matter.

Here's the thing, it's really too bad. There were moments here when the magic almost came through. For instance recreating the insane bathroom scene from the first film... only why not just do it. Why start off with the imitation and then just say screw it and do something else? Doesn't make sense. India Eisley is a very good actress, and I thought she did a great job channeling Sawa but the direction really lets her down.

Did I hear someone say they needed cookies?
To say this film is muggy is an understatement. I swear they must've smeared the camera for half the shots in this film. Sometimes it feels like you're watching it underwater its so unclear. Smoke. Colors. I'm sure some of that was to hide the limits of the low budget, but still... too much.

But... BUUUUT and I mean this. There is almost enough here. Sam Jackson, well, I really liked him here. No screaming profanity. No over acting for his fans, just good old fashioned man in a role. I liked that. India as mentioned is good, and strikingly beautiful. I mean they actually found someone that lives and breaths the look of the anime character. That is nuts right? The rest should have been easy. I would really like to see her get another chance at a badass character, and be given the chance to go all out. Sawa was ruthless, and maniacal in her dispatching of the villains. Here its as if she just manages to stagger her way through everyone.

Ah so many close moments here. The washroom fight. The earrings, and flashbacks... I mean they really almost nailed it. Closer than I've seen an anime to live action come in a long while.


Look. Not a great movie. But if you have never seen the anime you might have a little fun here, if you have seen the anime... I don't know. I'm pretty damn down about it, but there were some cool parts... Ahhhhhh if only Sawa hadn't been such a little weak girl in this. The opening scene is bang on her character.. exploding bullets and all... and then it just goes up and down the rest of the way.

Movie scale 2 out of 5 stars
Action Movie scale 2 out of 5 stars



Thursday, September 11, 2014

The November Man (2014)


Okay. You may be curious as to that title. Mo-vember. Well I speak of the wild wonderland of man-growth that is Pierce "call me Bond" Brosnan's chest. I mean. Way to keep the 80s alive my good man. And oh, those undershirtless button ups... always leaving them unbuttoned at least three down... Bam! Ladies lock up your daughters... and then lock your own self up, his unbridled man-ness will overwhelm even the most determined of character.

Yes. Pierce is a man's man. And I'm ok with that. He can also really freaking act, and I'm ok with that. He is still my fav bond (haters gunna hate haha), and I have always and will always love watching the man kick ass. Thankfully The November Man is full of ass whooping;.

So your by the numbers spy story goes - Spy gets caught up in a shady plot to elect a new Russian president, and ends up having to go against the man, and much younger man, that he trained.

1. Pop the top button. 2. Explode shit. 3. Slowly walk away 
Ya, okay, nothing new there really, but does it have to be? I mean we are talking an old school R rated (yes R rated action, how I love thee) so story aside, does it rock.... Well, I think the answer is yes. Yes it does. Yes you have seen the story tons of times, but who cares, Brosnan still rocks it. Leg kicks, and mean mugging hand gun head shots, what's not to love? The gun battles are nothing new, but the direction is quick and crisp, and you really get to see all the bullets hit their fleshy targets.

Well, for one the twist, that really isn't a twist, and is so painfully obviously a twist that when they twist - You groan. You may actually groan out loud. And well, I'm sorry but the Daughter angle at the end was so freaking unneeded that it almost sounded like someone decided after the script was done that they needed to give Pierce a softer side. He's cold blooded killer... Or wait. There is a point in the middle of the film where Brosnan rants to his student about how you can kill humans or be human... okay fine. Solid point. But then it does seem that you sir Brosnan kill anyone anywhere, and will torture innocent girls to get what you want... which is well, nothing really. And yet you have family and a daughter...


Real spies don't ride motorcycles they walk over them!
Okay. Crazy BS aside from that speech and random girl torture scene... This is still a fun movie. I think it would be worth a trip to your local theatre given that you are, like me, a Pierce fan. If you are not well, you may find the whole trip a little been-there done-that.

Still, no one kicks ass like Brosnan. Or well, maybe Brosnan and Liam Neeson. Ohhhhh wait, getting an idea... a TAKEN and NOVEMBER MAN crossover... we'll call it "TAKING NOVEMBER" Boom. Trademarked. Hollywood call your boy Boonsweet.

Movie scale 2.5 out 5 stars
Action Scale 3 out of 5 stars

ONE LINE REVIEW: It's no bond. It's no taken. But lots of people get shot and stuff.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Quiet Ones (2014)

Inside voices dammit. Inside voices!

Man, I really wanted to like this film. I am old school horror, Y'all knows that. And Hammer Horror was a company that could be relied on in decades past for grand horror spectacles. So with their return to the genre with The Woman in Black a few years ago I was all kinds of ready for The Quiet Ones. Alright before we get into it, lets get the plot out of the way.

Plot - Two students (who appear to blindly follow - ), a professor Joseph Coupland (played by the always entertaining Jarred Harris), and a film guy - Brian McNeil (the very good Sam Clafin), go to a remote house to "cure" a woman, Jane (a very talented Olivia Cooke), who the professor believes is telekinetic and severing severe emotional issues. This results in a whole lot of crazy shit that seems to suggest she is possessed... but is she? Luckily the camera guy is there to capture it.

Ok. This movie started off fantastic. Solid opening sequence, I didn't really know much about the film so finding out it was set in the 70s - great. Finding out it was based on a true story... Ah, you know what I don't even wanna bitch about it anymore. Whatever, sure, this really happened. The set up is pretty cool with a small group deciding to carry on with "The experiment" involving the young troubled woman, after the university pulls their funding.

Where are my cookies!!!!!
And the camera guy comes along. So once they get out to the house, things really heat up. Ok I'm gunna say this out right... and I could be wrong, feel free to correct me... The film cuts from standard to hand held, featuring the cameraman's footage. Now... I think cameras in 1972 didn't exactly come with amazing mic built in. I mean I know its a little tiny bitty thing... but the whole movie I just kept thinking... where's the boom hahaha.

Moving past that, because hey, I could be wrong. The movie is actually pretty intense at the beginning. Hell, I'll even give it the first 3rd. The tensions between the crew and the professor over his increasing dangerous methods... Jane's decent into madness, and the strange connection forming between her and the camera man... all very good and intriguing. The problem is this film is 98 minutes and feels like two hours or more. The reason is the pacing is probably the first I have seen in a long while.

I notice... You brought your camera.
The movie basically follows this trend for the whole second half... Creepy thing happens... argue about whether its Jane or a possession or they should seek help... creepy thing happens... argue about if it's Jane or possession or they should seek help... That's it other than the last say 12 minutes. And the creepy things that happen sometimes just seem so thrown in that it breaks any momentum the film might wish to build.

I mean the professors determination, and desire to avoid the truth is so bat shit crazy that by the end of the movie you just don't care. Cults. Demons. Psychological issues, whatever, it just doesn't matter. And the one relationship they have somehow managed to make you care about, Brian and Jane, they completely screw up in the end. Right, twist ending, who didn't see that coming... what, no happy? Just stupid bad shit happening to everyone? Yup, ain't seen that before, glad you really threw me a twist there...

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Hammer you should know better!

Listen as I sorta mentioned at the start, the acting is very good. Every actor gives their all. Olivia Cooke in the lead role is indeed a rare and captivating beauty. Hmm... "Rare and captivating" I've been reading too much lately haha. But she is amazing, and Sam Caflin brings a lot to the camera who can't help but fall for her. Hero syndrome I imagine... but they are good. The writing just lets them down often, despite their efforts to sell every shot.

This film was 40 minutes away from greatness, and then 5 minutes away from being above average... as it is, hardly worth mentioning. Yes there are a few scares, and genuinely creepy moments (A huge shout out to the lighting guy, especially in the very well shot attic scene). But it's just not enough and most of the scares are shameless jump scares anyway...

Le sigh.

Movie scale 2 out of 5 stars
Horror movie scale 2.5 out of 5 stars

ONE LINE REVIEW: Close, but no Hammer. 


-Charles B. Boonsweet.

Mostly Ghostly: Have you met my new Ghoulfriend (2014)

Cheesy. Family. Disney Channel.

You know do I even have to write the review after that opening? Ah maybe not, but going to anyway. Listen, this is a disney family halloween flick, and dang it am I the only one still happy they make these every year? Am I? I mean isn't a family friendly horror adventure around this year special genre season a good thing. A few little scares for the kiddies and a couple silly laughs for the adults.

So your plot is... well apparently there was a Mostly Ghostly 1 ... which I will not be watching. So in relying on the flashback in this sequel. There was a bad super ghost who had a plot to control all mankind with ghosts, which involved turning the family of the man who released him from his magic urn prison, into ghosts. But then a kid moved into the house found magic ring and defeated him. Now, the evil ghost is back, with a plan to well... get the ring conquer the world.

Did I mention the evil Ghost is called Phear. Ya. Sound it out.

Look, I really don't have any problem with cheesy family shizzie on halloween. How many classics were TV movies, or G-PG variety and line our DVD and blu-ray shelves? Hocus Pocus, Something this wicked this way comes, Ernest Scared Stupid, Monster Squad, Poltergiest, Ghostbusters... point is a lot. The problem is that with the success of certain Disney channel shows (such as Wizards of waverly place) the primetime simplistic humour is just littered all over everything now.

So what ol' Boonsweet here is saying, this could have been a fun little piece of horror family time. A little more Classic Dracula channelled by Phear, a little less - This is a kids show  - writing, and well, that about covers it.

Also isn't Bella Thorne the next heir apparent to well... wherever popular Disney stars go when they head in the opposite direction of Lindsay lohan. She just seems out of place here, good, but just a little bit lost in the material, like they just threw her in here to sell some product. Note her Lead billing yet she is hardly in the movie more than ten minutes. Just showing up every so often so the lead can drool in her direction haha...

No comment other than #Bella4MJ that is all. 
I'm biased as I have been on the Bella should be Mary Jane kick for a bit. Heart throb, redhead... Bam! Get on that you spiderman folks. #Bella4MJ ... started it here... Booniacs tweet that planet wide!

Plus Ok, little issue here. The plot seems to involve a clearly explained power in Max's ring that allows him to scare or command all ghosts.... and yet while wearing the ring... a ghost can enter his body? I just... what? Does that make sense? Even a little bit.

And here's an idea... You have a family gathering to watch this... well probably. Why not go a little more practical with the effects? Wouldn't it add to the nostalgia for the parents, and heck, the kids wouldn't care. The CGI is just so cheap at the Disney madeforTV level it just seems the better idea to get rid of this.

What happened to the idea you can put kids in real peril, and still have it be fun? This movie is just so dang loveable and message laden that it just kinda moves past the cute stage in a real hurry. I mean half way in we already have Be yourself, that's what matters... and Stand up for your friends, they have your back (even if they are ghosts).

Although I really do have to give credit they fit the nerd wanting the popular girl, the nerd winning a sports event (against all odds) into a movie about resurrected ghosts... impressive you sly disney folks you.

Look, maybe I'm wrong, and kids today don't really care about plot holes, and bad acting, and well medium writing and horrible FX. But why just feed that to em? Why not put a little more effort into this shizzie? There was (after a little researching) 4 years between films. It's not like they rushed this... there would have appeared to have been time for some real fun here.

As it is... C grade.

Movie scale 2 out of 5 stars
Family horror scale 2.5 out of 5 stars

I'm not sure if I'm against or For random group dance numbers... I choose for now, to be for it. Hey, gives you an excuse to gather with your Kidlets right. So I say do it. With appropriate expectations.


-Chuck Boonsweet

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)


Some of you hate Tom Cruise, but I think there are more lovers than haters out there. And really when you have a film career that spans 3 decades, and includes multiple blockbusters, the evidence speaks for itself. I for one, am a Cruise fan. He brings an intensity to all of his roles, and to anyone that says he's basically been acting in the same character for ten plus years... shut it! That's like saying Harrison Ford's been stuck on Hans Solo, or Bruce Willis on John McCane. Isn't that why we love them?

The story goes. An alien race attacks the earth, and we are in a war to survive. We are losing. Enter Tom Cruise a man who is no soldier who finds himself on the front lines, where he dies... and then wakes up... at the beginning of his day. Hmmm. So with this new found ability he and the soldier superstar, Rita (played by the very sexy Emily Blunt), are going to try to save the world.

Listen I have been on record stating that there are only some many Blue prints that you can base a science fiction flick on, and hey, this one ain't rewriting the genre... what it does though, it does very, very, well.

First the acting is top tier all the way around. Who knew Emily Blunt could be such a badass? New Sigourney Weaver anyone? I think so. Well, at least the new heir apparent. Tom Cruise brings the love it (or hate it) likeability to his "Everyman" hero caught up in the craziest shizzie you ever did see.

No, seriously, I press this button I get even sexier... Be warned. 
Second. The action is exceptional. Doug Liman (the man Behind The Bourne Identity, Mr & Mrs. Smith, Jumper, go) brings a crazy pace, and the action when it does explode across the screen is delicious eye candy. Yup. You may have to check your Pupils for cavities... Unlike so many modern day action films (cough, Transformers, cough) the battles are clear and for the most part easy to follow. EVEN THE NIGHT ONES! Come on, take notes hollywood. Part of the credit goes to the FX team and the great creature designs.

This aliens are creepy, and crawly, and all kinds of fun to watch being destroyed. One scene nearing the end involving a broken plane/flying thing, is just amazing. I found myself smiling.

Listen there are a lot of people out there summarizing this up as war of the world meets groundhog day. And you know what, maybe that pretty bang on. But, BUT, that does not mean any part of this film will feel familiar. With a running time under two hours, the pace is so swift I challenge you not to get caught up in the chaos.

First rule to surviving a hostile alien invasion... Cardio. 
You know there are a lot of critics out there claiming it is a shame that more people didn't show up to support this film in good old North America. Crying about how original, and awesome this film was... Well to those critics I say... Wasn't it you bitching about how it looked like the same out shit when the trailer dropped. Talking about how Cruise was just plugging into another Generic entry like his recent Oblivion? Hmmm...? Yes that was you wasn't it. Months before basically telling the public it looked like nothing special... so Guess WHAT! They listened! You don't get to cry foul after. Take some damn responsibility.

Great action. Great fun. A pure summer masterpiece, and one that I suspect will find itself on many a genre fan's shelf soon. And dare I say it, a pretty nifty little ending.

ONE LINE REVIEW: A little sexy, a little cool, a lotta exploding stuff, a sweet sweet sumer adventure.


movie scale 3.5 out of 5 stars
Scifi scale 4.5 out of 5 stars

-Boonsweet is out.