Monthly Archives: December 2011

Possessed, You Say? (Part Two)

In this continuing series, DVD Critics Corner profiles the people and things that have been possessed by an evil force in the movies.

Part Two – Homes

Owning a home is an American dream, but it comes at a price; mortgage payments, the time and energy spent in upkeep and maintenance, demon beasts try to devour your family in the unholy fires of Hell, and those damn property taxes! Hoo boy, those will kill ya!

Okay, let’s look at a few movie homes that will not make you the envy of the neighborhood:

The Amityville Horror House

Type/Features: Dutch Colonial, 6 BR, boathouse, oozing green slime, flies

As Seen In: The Amityville Horror movie series

Possessed by: Long Island demons

The Amityville Horror is based on a true story of a family who moves into a Long Island house and is terrorized by evil spirits. Now there’s your problem – these spirits are from long Island! Ever been there? Long Island is the only place Hell is afraid of. Imagine the demons that choose to live there! Don’t believe me? Check out the fans at a New York Islanders home game. Long Island demons are about 30% more evil than those folks. And only 10% less drunk.

The Burnt Offerings Mansion

Type/Features: Neoclassical-Revival, 10 fireplaces, servants quarters, homicidal chimney

As Seen In: Burnt Offerings (1976)

Possessed by: That freaking creepy woman in the attic.

I know times are tough. It’s hard to afford certain luxuries, especially a huge old mansion for you and your family. Wait a minute…here’s a huge old mansion in the paper with everything you need! And the rent is super cheap! All you have to do is let the caretaker’s creepy old mother live there in her isolated attic bedroom! Now, if a loud warning klaxon isn’t going off in your head telling your brain moving into an old mansion with a creepy old woman is the worst idea since New Coke, I don’t know what to tell you. It’s like you want your family to be slaughtered by the fiendish house form Hell! Sheesh.

The Overlook Hotel

Type/Features: Resort Hotel/Lodge, hedge maze, ballroom, river of blood in main lobby

As Seen In: The Shining (1980)

Possessed by: Rich Ghosts

Let’s Face it; rich people are way better than the rest of us. They’re happier because they have so much stuff and all of it is awesome. Their children are way better than your kids because they go to the best schools, and they’re so beautiful, because rich people are just better looking than us normals. Even when they die their spirits haunt the best places, like exclusive hotels like The Overlook. Sure, Jack Torrence (Jack Nicholson) met with a horrifying death while trying to murder his wife and son, but every one of the ghosts who drove him to madness were impeccably dressed in their finest formal wear. That’s class, baby!

The Freeling House

Type/Features: Split level, 3 BR, skeletons in pool

As Seen In: Poltergeist (1982)

Possessed by: Steven Spielberg

You know at the climax of the film when the house implodes in on itself and vanishes into an eerie vortex? That wasn’t an elaborate special effect by the good folks at ILM. Steven Spielberg did that to an actual house…

With his freaking MIND! I’m serious man.

And finally…

The Walden House

Type/Features: Single family suburban tract house, 3BR, talking fish

As Seen In: The Cat in the Hat (2003)

Possessed By:

Oh my God! What the Hell is that? KILL IT! KILL IT! KILL IT!!!!! I cast you out, Demon Beast! The power of Christ compels you! THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!!!!

We’re not doing this again.

Click here to read part one of Possessed, You Say?

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If Dragonslayer and Star Wars had a baby…

Eragon (2006) Director: Stefen Fangmeier Starring: Jeremy Irons, Ed Speelers, John Malkovich Rating: PG for non violent sword fighting. 

With the monumental success of the Harry Potter film series, the movie studios (God bless their cold black hearts) have tried for years to come up with the next big fantasy epic for the big screen, because as we all know, an inferior rip-off is the sincerest form of flattery.

One such epic was the 2006 swords and dragon flick Eragon, which like Harry Potter, is a fantasy adventure film based on a series of books. But while Harry Potter  had an epic feel to it with its sweeping story, amazing visual effects, memorable ensemble cast and a jillion bucks in box office receipts, Eragon has a telepathic dragon, a bland hero who looked like one of the Hanson kids and a song by Avril Lavinge.

And by the way…Avril Lavinge was never a punk rocker.
She’s an Urban Outfitters cashier with too much eye makeup.
There, I said it.

In a faraway land, evil King John Malkovich (played coincidently by John Malkovich) rules his subjects with the stunning charisma you would expect from John Malkovich; a man so melancholy he probably listens to Morrissey  to feel better.
If only the famed Dragonriders, the extinct dragon riding knights of old (who are kind of like the Jedi but not enough to force a lawsuit by George Lucas) would return and set things straight!

Meanwhile across town simple farmboy Luke Skywalker – oops, I mean Eragon is going about his daily farmboy life, wondering if his wavy blonde locks could get more beautiful, when he stumbles across a large blue rock while skipping through the woods.
The rock turns out to be an egg, a baby dragon comes out, and before you can say “best pet EVER,” Eragon and his new pal are having all kinds of fun on the farm.
Of course evil Darth Malkovich gets word that his prized dragon’s egg has been poached, so he dispatches his army of ogres to kill everyone who might bring joy to his kingdom.

On the run from the bad guys, Eragon hooks up with veteran British guy Jeremy Irons who is not I repeat NOT playing the Obi Wan Kenobi part! He just happens to be a retired Dragonrider who agrees to teach Eragon the ways of the Dragonriders to bring down his old arch nemesis who was once his friend before he became evil. It’s totally not Obi Wan!

This is a Dragonrider's lightsab - uh, sword!

Soon Eragon learns that he and his now fully-grown dragon are psychic friends, and can communicate with each other telepathically. Safira the dragon (voiced by Rachel Weisz) tells Eragon that the bond between them is forever, and if he should perish then she dies as well, which is something every guy wants to hear from a girl he’s just met.

Eragon and Safira meet up with a small band of rebel fighters waiting for a chance to take on the evil empire – you know what, I’m not going to bullshit you anymore, this  movie is Star Wars set at a Rennaisance Fair – and the Dragonrider is reborn in a glorious battle that is just spectacular enough for the budget of this movie.

Of course they win the battle but not the war, and Evil King John Malkovich lives to brood quietly on his throne for another day, because this movie is based on the first book in the Eragon series and the producers hoped to get a multi part movie franchise off the ground. Which they didn’t.

It’s a shame because there was a lot of cool things that could have happened in future installments:

Like in the sequel  Eragon and Safira learn that they’re actually brother and sister and that John Malkovich is their Dad! And then they do an Eragon prequel where we meet a young John Malkovich when he was a happy little Dragonrider before he turned to the dark side and Jar-Jar Binks plays a local blacksmith who helps young Jeremy Irons win the podraces…

And Now…The Movie News!

Welcome to Movie News, featuring the latest stories from Hollywood brought to you by your friends at DVD Critics Corner!

Every Actor in Showbiz to Appear In New Years Eve 2

(Hollywood) Warner Brother’s holiday comedy  New Years Eve hasn’t even hit theaters yet, and the film’s director Garry Marshall is already hard at work on the sequel which will feature a cast bigger than any other in the history of movies.

New Years Eve has a great ensemble cast,” Marshall said as he arrived for a meeting on the studio lot. “But we only had about twenty stars in it. New Years Eve 2 is going to be much bigger with a lot more stars! Anybody and everybody who’s ever been in a movie will be in it! Is Jane Russell still alive? If she is, I want her in it!”

Marshall has a team of screenwriters working day and night on a script featuring over 150,000 characters with speaking parts. “We hope to start filming in January and continue around the clock until we get everyone. I think there will be a lot of group scenes. That should save time, right?”

I See Wet People

DVD Critics Corner takes a look at another film featuring one of our favorite actors: Paul Giamatti.  

Lady In The Water (2006) Director: M. Night Shyamalan Starring: Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard Rating: PG-13 for scary creatures and general creepiness

If you are a parent, I have nothing but love and respect for you. Raising children is a difficult job requiring lots of patience, love, and dedication. I tip my hat to you. However, no matter how great you think you are at guiding the younglings through life and shaping their impressionable little minds, I have some bad news for you.

M. Night Shyamalan is a better parent than you will ever be.

Why? Well I read the “Sixth Sense” director writes his own original bedtime stories to read to his kids, which is far superior to what normal everyday overworked parents do: tuck their kids in and let them drift off to sleep to the soothing sounds of Jimmy Kimmel Live.

One of the stories Mr. Night created for the kiddies was an elaborate tale featuring a race of water dwelling humans, evil wolves and gigantic eagles, because when I was a small child thoughts of freakish predatory animals was exactly what helped me get to sleep in a dark bedroom.

Shyamalan’s bedtime story became the 2006 film entitled Lady In The Water, and at the risk of spoiling things for you, this film contains no shocking plot twist at the end, no brilliant story reversal to catch you off guard, just veteran character actor Paul Giamatti trading dialogue with a perpetually damp Bryce Dallas Howard, a woman whose complexion is so fair she makes Casper The Friendly Ghost look like George Hamilton.

Giamatti plays Cleveland Heep, a lonely superintendent in a Philadelphia apartment building who finds a naked lady (Howard) frolicking in the swimming pool. Before you can cue the sexy porn music, the naked lady named Story tells Cleveland that she’s not exactly from Philly.

Turns out she’s a storybook character; a water nymph/faerie called a narf who has come to our boring normal reality to find a human called the “vessel,” who is destined to save us mankind, then return to her world, which you can get to by going past Narnia then hanging a left at NeverLand. If you find yourself in Middle Earth, you’ve gone too far.

Of course poor Cleveland can’t just call a limo company and dump the naked girl into a Towncar. “The Great Eatlon,” which looks like a large CG sparrow is the only creature capable of taking Story home, and adding even more complications, some wolf like creatures called Scrunts have also come to this world, determined to have our naked visitor for dinner before she can complete her mission. Oh, and there are monkey beasts in the trees.

And I though Philadelphia sucked because of their sports teams.

Wait, there's monkeys? Seriously?

Because doing battle with grass covered wolf creatures with a naked chick is much more interesting than unclogging a toilet in 5G, Cleveland buys this crap and helps Story locate “the vessel,” a blocked writer (played by M. Night Shyamalan himself) whose unfinished book is destined to change the world, and probably get him a top spot in Oprah’s Bookclub.

With her mission accomplished and the writer finishing his great book of world changing stuff, Cleveland recruits other tenants in the building to help Story catch her giant bird home before the Scrunts close in.

Now I can believe in water nymphs and wolves covered in astroturf, but the movie totally lost me when they expected me to believe that tenants in apartment buildings actually know each other, converse with each other, and help each other in dangerous situations.

In the 13 years  I’ve lived in my apartment, the only thing I know about the others in my building is someone on the second floor has a dog and in 2003 a pretty female tenant  I passed on the stairs actually acknowledged me when I said hello to her.

In conclusion, leave your suspension of disbelief in the bottom drawer when you watch Lady In the Water. In fact, give your suspension of disbelief fifty bucks and the car keys and tell it to head to Appleby’s and load up on appetizers when you watch Lady In the Water.

And just for the heck of it all you Moms and Dads, tuck your kids in tonight and tell them some made up creepy-ass tale of a race of evil half bat/half goat creatures that live in the old oak tree out back who only come to life when children lie to their Mothers or say the F word in front of company.

Trust me, it’ll be good for them.

Possessed, You Say?

In this continuing series, DVD Critics Corner profiles the many people and things that have been possessed by an evil force in the movies.

Part One – Vehicles

A somewhat famous British man once sang: “Here in my car,  I feel safest of all. I can lock all my doors, it’s the only way to live.” I’m not so sure how safe you’d feel if you were anywhere near the following cars that appear to be powered by more than gasoline. Lets take a look at some killer vehicles from some cinema classics.

Christine

Make/Model: 1958 Plymouth Fury

As Seen In: Christine (1983)

Possessed by: Something that really likes nerds

Cars are like women. You go easy on the upholstery and take them out once in a while, and you’ll be enjoying the ride for years. And like women, cars will violently murder anyone who crosses her and her man.  Unfortunately, Arnie (Keith Gordon) learns the hard way that relationships, especially ones with demonically possessed homicidal cars, require boundaries.  And Turtle Wax.

The Car

Make/Model: Heavily customized 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III

As Seen In: The Car (1977)

Possessed by:  Demon that hates cyclists

In the opening scene the title character, a monstrous black sedan with double chrome bumpers and a loud truck horn mows down a couple of cyclists out for a ride along a rural canyon road. Now don’t get me wrong, murder is very bad, but sometimes those cyclists can be really annoying with their $8,000 bikes and jerseys with logos we don’t recognize. And they’re always talking about how incredibly fit they are. Who cares what your resting heart-rate is! Did you know they’re the ones who drink Michelob Ultra? Yes, it’s their fault that product exists.  I’m not saying the evil death car in the movie was right. But it’s not very wrong either.

The Wraithmobile

Make/Model: Dodge M4S Concept Car

As Seen In: The Wraith (1987)

Possessed by: Very mean space aliens

Judging by the slick armored suit he wears and the high tech supercar he drives, the Wraith’s quest for vengeance in the Arizona desert wasn’t forged in the fiery pits of Hell.  My guess is the protagonist Jake was revived by aliens whose sole mission to earth was to help some poor bastard exact bloody revenge on those who have wronged him. Instead of “we come to this planet on a mission of peace earthlings” he got “Hey dude we found your dead body in the desert, how can we help you F those guys up?”  I like that. We need more cool space aliens around here. I’m talking to you, floating glowing wussy aliens from Cocoon. 

Happy Toyz Co. Tractor Trailer

Make/Model: White Western Star 4800 Truck

As Seen In: Maximum Overdrive (1986)

Possessed By:  Cocaine. Lots and lots of Cocaine.

WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! YEEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHH! HUMANS, MAN, THEY’RE RUINING EVERYTHING!!!!! WE GOTTA RUN EM OVER MAN!!! WOOOOOOOOO!!! LIKE A FREIGHT TRAIN MAN!!! CHOO CHOO!!! CHOO CHOO!!!

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Make/Model: Custom built early 20th century European style touring car

As Seen In: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

Possessed by: Satan

For decades adults and children have delighted in the grand adventures of this magical motorcar and his human friends, first as a movie and later as a Broadway musical.  What’s not to love about Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? The shiny brass accents, the rich wood trim, the whimsical engine noises. The way he flies through the air and swims the sea… all thanks to the Dark Lord Satan himself. Yes, only the antichrist himself could have designed and built such a fanciful machine empowered with a sinister ability to bend the will of the humans to do its bidding. One shudders to think when Chitty and his unholy master will bring the end of days to the earth and all its inhabitants, but to those few who survive the all consuming fire, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang will truly be the envy of all he surveys.

Please note: The author of this article does not condone the murder of cyclists. He’s just jealous of them because he looks hideous in those bike shorts.