BloodRayne (2006)


Would You Stop Throwing Things at me?

On a day when most people are going out to see the Avengers, I chose to watch three movies spawned by Uwe Boll, a man whose top rated movie on Rotten Tomatoes pulls down a whopping 11%.  I say this only as proof that I make poor decisions.  In actual fact, I was simply unable to go and see Avengers on the opening day and will be putting it off until next week.  My anger over this leads me to want to take it out on some movies I know to be super shitty.  No better place to look than an Uwe Boll movie for super shittiness.  The man who is potentially the worst director of our time and the Ed Wood of our decade has hurt me more than many others by not only making shitty movies, but making them out of properties I was fond of from the video game world.  Today’s movie is one of these movies.  This movie is BloodRayne, written by Guinevere Turner, directed by Uwe Boll, and starring Kristanna Loken, Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Matthew Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Billy Zane, Will Sanderson, Meat Loaf, and Geraldine Chaplin.

Rayne (Kristanna Loken) is a half human, half vampire, all carnival attraction known as a Dhampir.  She is the spawn that resulted from the Vampire King Kagan (Ben Kingsley) raping her mother, and then later killing her.  She escapes from the carnival when one of the workers tries to rape her and takes it upon herself to kill a lot of the people on the way out.  But at least she gets a sweet pair of swords out of it.  This gains the attention of three members of the vampire hunting group called the Brimstone Society and Sebastian (Matthew Davis), Vladimir (Michael Madsen), and Katarin (Michelle Rodriguez) set out to find her.  With some advice from a fortune teller, Rayne sets off to find an eye, a rib, and a heart that belonged to a powerful vampire named Belial so that she can face and defeat Kagan.

Fuck you, movie.  And fuck you, Uwe Boll!  It’s no surprise to anyone that’s seen some of his movies that Uwe Boll is a terrible filmmaker.  What can surprise is how much his terribleness can seep into everything around him, making ideas that were good into shit and making actors that were great forget how to act completely.  There is scarcely anything within this movie that could stand as a reason for anyone to watch it ever.  The story of the movie is dumb and disjointed.  It’s been quite some time since I last played a BloodRayne game, but as far as I can remember, this movie has nothing to do with those games.  The only thing in common is that it stars an attractive lady vampire named Rayne.  Then it’s a bit of origin story which turns into a training thing with some junk about finding body parts of an old dead vampire.  You won’t be interested in any of it.  A lot of what Uwe tends to do is realize after the fact that either the scene does not really explain what was going on or the people that would be willingly watching this movie are stupid so he adds in some ADR dialogue over the scene to try to explain it, whether the person’s mouth is moving or not.  He does this early on when people are riding their horses through a scene and some really bad ADR is talking over the scene and even worse later when a guy is examining someone and says, “He’s dead,” even though his lips aren’t moving.  The dialogue is just as bad as the rest of the story.  There’s one part where someone is telling Rayne that, “Dhampirs are rarely the happy product of a vampire and a human,” and Rayne yells, “You lie!” at her.  So, wait…  Are you trying to make the argument that they ARE mostly from happy relationships, or did you just think this was the best time to get indignant even though you weren’t listening to me?  They also get phrases wrong, like when Katarin says something is a “bitter threat”.  The threat isn’t bitter, lady.  The threat doesn’t have emotions.  You may have a bitter ENEMY, or even just a terrible threat, but … oh what’s the point.  You’re dumb.  There’s also a lot of stupid going on in the movie, like when we cut from one scene to a random bit of Kagan biting a random young girl, then just moving on.  This girl never comes back into the story and the scene served no purpose.  It was almost like they didn’t believe that we believed them when they said that Kagan was a vampire so they had to prove it.  And how is it that, in bad movies, guards will kill anybody unless it serves the story for the people to get captured?  Sebastian and Vladimir had gone into a pile of enemies with their swords drawn and started killing them, but then let themselves get overtaken and they were captured, even though Kagan had given no orders to take them prisoner.  But don’t worry: this is an action movie!  Oh wait … the action is crap too.  There was no evidence that anyone tried to choreograph these fights at all.  They just gave the actors some fake swords and told them to get in there and swing them.  But all of the actors swung the swords as if they were really worried about hitting someone with the fake swords.  I understand that, but you’re in a movie.  You at least have to make it LOOK like you want to kill your opponent.  The sex scene is the only reason I can think of to legitimately watch this movie, but only because Kristanna Loken is hot and she has nice boobs.  The sex and the romance come completely out of left field.  I guess they could’ve fallen in love because they’d both lost their parents, but I think that would’ve just made me mad if I was Rayne.  She says that her mom was killed by Kagan and Sebastian comes back with BOTH of his parents were killed.  Alright, I guess you win the sob story game, you son of a (dead) bitch.  The ending also pisses me off, but I’m not going to waste my time putting up spoiler alerts.  I don’t want you to watch this movie.  The ending was vaguely reminiscent of the first Conan movie because Rayne is the only person still alive at the end, so she sits down on Kagan’s throne as the camera zooms slowly into her face.  Then we start cutting to various random scenes that were particularly violent from the rest of the movie, as if the movie was going to start over, but in slow motion and even more annoying.  I was about to open up my wrists until I realized that it wasn’t starting over.  But, as I think about it, maybe the ending fits the movie.  Nothing suits a terrible movie better than a terrible ending.

The ambience of the movie was also mostly crap.  The settings and the costumes were the only things that I wouldn’t judge too harshly … for the most part.  Rayne’s outfit pissed me off though.  Not at first, though.  I liked her original outfit.  It looked like it did in the game.  It was skintight and sexy.  Near the end of the movie, they present her with a new, and vastly inferior, outfit.  It looked to be leather, but looked pre-worn and really dirty, even fresh out of the wrappings it came in.  And the pants seemed to have been sized for an aging soccer mom as they did not fit snugly to Kristanna’s beautiful ass.  The weapons all looked really awful too.  Most of them were really fakey swords, a couple didn’t even look like any decent sword design, and they never captured Rayne’s signature swords.  They were close in the beginning, but then she breaks them and they’re replaced with ones that are just pieces of metal that were clearly rounded on the tips, so as to be not much more effective than fighting with butter knives.  Boll also doesn’t have a terribly good grasp on how to make sound work for a movie.  Screams sounded goofy when they should’ve been emotional, impactful musical stings were noticeably absent on scenes where they would have helped sell the emotion of a scene, and none of it sounded good.  It’s the kind of thing you don’t really pay attention to until you see it done really poorly, so you definitely notice it here.

I think you’ve all gotten the general idea of this review already, so it comes as no surprise to you that the performances were crap as well.  And that is even more tragic because they had some great actors in this movie that gave the worst performance of their lives.  I’m not talking about Kristanna Loken, of course.  She’s not known for her acting.  She’s known for the sexy.  She brings that much to some parts of the movie, especially her uncomfortable tits-out sex scene.  Her best performance to date was definitely Terminator 3 because she didn’t have to speak.  She delivers lines poorly and never really brings emotion, like when she says, “I WILL stand a chance against Kagan.”  It’s hard to explain it here, but the emphasis was on “will” so it seemed like it should have preceded a statement of more confidence like, “I WILL kill the living bejesus out of Kagan.”  It doesn’t really sound right when it’s more akin to, “I WILL give it a shot, but probably die.  Please don’t make me do this!”  Ben Kingsley is exactly the kind of person who shocks me with his performance in this.  This guy won an Academy Award!  He was in Schindler’s List!  …AND BloodRayne!  Why?!  He gives a thoroughly unimpressive performance to this movie as well.  It made me wonder if they just said, “Why bother?  Uwe wouldn’t know a good performance if I hit him over the head with the Academy Award I won for doing it.”  I would say Michael Madsen would fit into that category as well.  I’ve seen him be amazing in movies before.  I’ve also seen him not impress before.  He went with that one for this movie.  I laughed really hard at one point where he was running up the stairs with Matthew Davis in tow and an enemy jumped out of the door, basically onto Madsen.  Madsen just kept going as if it hadn’t happened, because Davis was the one that was supposed to kill this guy that clearly just popped through the door a couple of seconds too early.

BloodRayne is an awful movie.  Uwe Boll did the majority of the terribleness in this thing, offering up a horrible and disjointed story that has little to do with the source material while simultaneously displaying his ineptitude behind the camera by allowing lame fights, awful acting, and terrible everything get captured onto film.  The only thing in this movie worth seeing is Kristanna Loken’s boobs, but you can live without them.  They’re not that nice.  Plus, you can just Google that.  You could stream this movie on Netflix but … wait … No you can’t!  You are not allowed to stream this movie!  I forbid it!  If you want to make fun of a movie, any Uwe Boll movie sets you up for plenty of that.  And, if you want to get into making movies, you will realize that you can do it so much better than someone that actually makes money doing it right now.  BloodRayne gets “I would sooner rot in your dungeon than sit at your table” out of “Your form is weak, lacking passion.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Fight Club (1999)


I Want You To Hit Me As Hard As You Can

Yeah, I couldn’t actually let you go an entire day without giving you a review proper.  I also don’t care what any of you think, the previous Fight Club review was hilarious to me.  Fight Club was recommended to me at one point, but I no longer have any memory of who actually supplied the recommendation.  It doesn’t really matter though.  Fight Club is an immensely popular movie, but I don’t recall being that enthralled with the movie as most people were.  But it’s also been a very long time since I last saw the movie, so I don’t have a whole lot of memory of it.  Now that I’ve watched it again, my memory is a lot clearer.  So let’s see what I thought of Fight Club, based on a novel by Chuck Palahniuk, written by Jim Uhls, directed by David Fincher, and starring Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf, Jared Leto, Zach Grenier, and Eion Bailey.

Our narrator and star was never given a name (although I never realized that about Edward Norton’s character until I started writing this review).  What we do know about him is that he’s an insomniac.  Based on a doctor’s recommendation, he starts going to support groups so that he can see what real suffering looks like.  Being able to release his emotions at these meetings finally allows him to get some sleep, but his bliss is interrupted by another imposter at the support groups named Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter).  After stewing over her presence for long enough, he finally confronts her and reaches an agreement so that they’ll never have to go to the support groups simultaneously.  On a flight home after a business trip, he meets a soap salesman named Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt).  When he returns home, he finds that his apartment was blown up in a freak accident.  He calls Tyler to find a place to stay and the two go out for drinks.  At the end of their bar visit, Tyler asks him to hit him as hard as he can.  He finds the fights that he and Tyler have help him see the world in a different way and, over time, they start a fight club.  This is also ruined by Marla, who starts banging Tyler.  Also, Tyler starts recruiting people from the fight club into a cult-esque organization bent on causing mayhem.

I admit that this is a good movie, but I still don’t find myself nearly as enthralled as many of the people I’ve talked to about it.  There’s nothing really wrong with the movie, it’s just not the revolution that most people would have me believe.  Perhaps it’s the story that enthralls some people.  It’s a very interesting look at the world with a message about finding value in something immaterial.  It’s very anarchic when it comes to Tyler Durden, but the narrator is just confused and whiny throughout the movie.  The big reveal at the end of the movie is cool and surprising, but it’s lost some of it’s steam after watching it knowing the big secret of the movie.  But it is a pretty cool story that probably never connects with me because I’ve never been in a fight, so I obviously can’t know that much about myself.  I’m also not super keen on anarchy, so I can’t really watch this movie thinking, “He’s right!  Let’s burn this mother down!”  I did like the humor in the movie as well.  People could find themselves interested in the look of the movie, and I’d tend to agree with them about that.  It opens up with a cool little animation (that I’m starting to find David Fincher is very fond of) that reminded me of the opening of the X-Men movie.  The rest of the movie does some really cool things with the direction and the look.  I liked when the narrator was telling the audience about Tyler by standing in front of the camera and speaking directly to us as Tyler was going about his business, but occasionally stopping to interact with Norton directly.  It was an interesting manipulation of the fourth wall.  Other interesting style choices came up in the movie, like the brief, one frame’s worth appearance of one of the characters during the scenes early in the movie, pointing out the cigarette burns on the film, and having the film warp and look like it was about to tear.  The music was also very good.  Most of it was a mix of metal and electronica, provided by the Dust Brothers.  It was also my introduction to the song “Where is My Mind?” by the Pixies, which I am now pretty fond of.

The thing I definitely connected with in the movie was in the performances.  Everyone in the movie knocked it right out of the park.  Edward Norton did a great job, losing a lot of weight and playing it really beaten down in the beginning, switching it up to a lot more confident and secure, and winded up being really manic and crazy near the end until the resolution.  I found Brad Pitt a much more interesting character, and that’s what he was meant to be.  He represented the man that most of us want to be: he’s strong, good looking, intelligent, funny, apparently very good at sex, but he kind of loses me when he wants to cause mayhem and anarchy.  I don’t want that part, but I might accept it if I can have all the rest of that stuff.  I also liked Helena Bonham Carter in the movie.  She was the one that allowed us to see what was actually going on when you watched it for the second time.  She was the one that showed the confusion in the situation.  She also got them boobs out.  Carter’s got a unique look that I can figure most people wouldn’t like, but I dig on it.  I’ve found her attractive more often than not, so I’m happy to see her in this movie.

Fight Club is a great movie that never really connected to me on the same level as it does with most people, but it’s a movie I respect and admire anyway.  It’s an interesting story that is kept from being a bummer by some real funniness, the look is fantastic, the music is great, and all of the performances are fantastic.  I’ll still recommend this movie to you as a watch because the chances are much higher that you’ll find this movie more significant and important than I did, and even if you’re more like me, it’s a good watch.  I still own this movie on DVD, after all.  Fight Club gets “Ah, flashback humor” out of “This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Spice World (1998)


No More Mr. Nice Spice

Today I get back into the long neglected list of review recommendations that I had to put on hold for most of October. Today’s movie was requested by my friend Amanda, probably with the express desire to torture me for her own twisted enjoyment. Well I am not one to back down from a challenge, so I bring to you one of the movies that will no doubt revolutionize cinema, winner of 47 Academy Awards, one for “Best Movie Ever”: Spice World, directed (I was as surprised as you that someone directed this) by Bob Spiers, and starring (in order of hottest to least hot) Melanie Chisholm, Victoria Beckham, Emma Bunton, Melanie Brown, and Geri Halliwell, as well as Richard E. Grant, Alan Cumming, George Wendt, Mark McKinney, Roger Moore, Meat Loaf, Barry Humphries, Naoko Mori, and Claire Rushbrook.

Let’s summarize. … Uh … Well … It’s basically all about the Spice Girls (Melanie Chisholm as Sporty Spice, Victoria Beckham as Posh Spice, Emma Bunton as Baby Spice, Melanie Brown as Scary Spice, and Geri Halliwell as Ginger Spice) and how they love being famous and getting to write movies about how awesome and funny they are, but they’re also sad because they work all the time and they know an Asian person who’s having a baby (Naoko Mori). They go through a bunch of things to prepare for their big show, some guy irrationally decides he needs to destroy the cultural phenomenon known as the Spice Girls by getting a paparazzi to take pictures of them and have them be misconstrued, and there’s also a camera crew making a documentary about them. In the end, they are there for the birth of the tiny Asian person, they do their show, they make the paparazzi see the error of his ways by making him hit his head on a wall, and there’s also a camera crew making a documentary about them. That’s the movie. Fill some time with random scenes about Mark McKinney pitching TV show ideas starring the Spice Girls, fill it end to end with Spice Girls music, and call that movie Spice World.

What can one expect out of a movie about the Spice Girls? You expect to see 5 attractive ladies spout some nonsense about “Girl Power”, sing a bunch of songs, and have no real point. Congratulations, that’s what you get here. The story has as little point to it as the Spice Girls themselves. Obviously it’s going to be chock full of Spice Girls songs, so your feelings about those songs will inevitably influence your feelings about the movie itself. Personally, I accept the Spice Girls music for what it is. They’re pop songs. Catchy enough, their voices aren’t the worst thing ever, and they don’t mean very much. But they are catchy and not horrible. And, since the movie is mostly like a music video or a live concert video, you’ll have plenty of time to figure out how you feel about their music. The rest of the movie is definitely strange. The girls try to be funny but never really succeed, and causing me to smack myself in the forehead on more than one occasion. Their attempts end up being more adorable than anything else. It’s like when a child tells you a joke. It’s not funny and they probably didn’t tell the joke very well, but it’s cute that they tried. They also seemingly decided to add in dream sequences and imaginary situations of things they thought would be funny, but they were mostly strange and out of place. One of them was a TV pitch for a crime fighting show where each one had their own specialty, like Mistress of Disguise Ginger Spice that can walk into a phone booth and become Bob Hoskins. But there was truly no point to these little sketches and, since they weren’t funny, they kind of wasted my time. There were plenty of other things that were ridiculous in this movie. The girls traveled around in a bus that was about 4 times as big on the inside as it was on the outside.

The acting was … the Spice Girls. Even though they complained at one point about being typecast as their self-imposed titles, they did everything they could in their performances to exemplify them. On their illogical bus, they even had their own compartments that helped them stereotype themselves. Sporty spends most of her time on the bus on an elliptical machine, chases down enemies of the girls, and wears track suits and tank tops. Posh has a catwalk on the bus, is always dressed up and talking about clothes, and acts pretty snooty. Baby has a swing on the bus, can apparently get the Spice Girls out of trouble like large scale destruction with her innocence, and often talks about stuffed animals. Scary and Ginger didn’t have anything in particular on the bus, but Scary did like to make scary faces at the fish on the bus and Ginger had red drapes that I’m sure matches the carpet. I did spend most of the movie wondering why most people I remember hearing from thought Ginger was the best looking. In this movie, I never found her attractive. I wouldn’t kick her out of bed or anything, but she was the least attractive of the five. I’m a Sporty man, myself. Potential lesbianism be damned! Beyond them, this movie was ridiculous with cameos by far more talented people. Meat Loaf was their bus driver, Elvis Costello was a bartender, and Elton John showed up as someone that would be interested in 5 attractive women kissing him. I assume that, once you’re big and famous, you would only do a bit part in something you desired to support, so what were they doing here?

Beyond showing lots of scenes of 5 attractive women with attractive accents, this movie only serves to remind me of the world as it was back in 1998, when the world would accept a musical act just because the women were attractive, wore wacky outfits, had moderate singing abilities, and acted like what they were doing meant something more than making them a ton of money. And in a world with Katy Perry’s and Lady GaGa’s, we are far too intelligent to fall for that again. … Anyways, you don’t need to see this movie. You may laugh during the movie, but more “at” than “with”. Still, it’s not the worst thing you could sit through. I’ll give Spice World “Call Hootie and the Blowfish” out of “We need five for the power of Spice.”

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