Twixt (2012)

The Clocks are Set Incorrectly … BECAUSE OF EVIL!

Twixt (2012)I saw a movie on the shelf of the local DVD store that caught my attention.  It was in the Horror section, so I made a mental note of it as a potential for the October Horrorthon.  I also found myself interested in it because it included three things that I have liked in the past.  The writer/director of this movie is a highly acclaimed man, and two of the stars of the movie have both been in some great movies.  But why had I heard nothing of this movie?  It seems like the writer/director alone should have made this movie blip on my radar.  Well maybe I’ll figure out why as I review Twixt, written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and starring Val Kilmer, Elle Fanning, Bruce Dern, Ben Chaplin, Alden Ehrenreich, Don Novello, David Paymer, and Joanne Whalley.

Writer Hall Baltimore (Val Kilmer) goes to a small town on a book signing, but finds that he can’t even talk people into being interested in his presence.  Local Sheriff Bobby LaGrange (Bruce Dern) eventually comes to the signing to attempt to enlist Baltimore to read his own horror novels.  When Baltimore shows his disinterest, LaGrange has Baltimore follow him to the morgue to show him a dead body, getting Baltimore involved in the murder investigation of a young girl.  Hall gets drunk and has a dream about a young girl named Virginia (Elle Fanning), who may or may not have some connection to the murder.  Also, she may have been the murdered person.

According to Wikipedia, Coppola said that the idea for this movie grew out of a dream he had.  That makes sense because the movie doesn’t.  I barely have any idea what was going on here.  It seems like it’s very dangerous to make a movie involving Edgar Allan Poe, because both this and The Raven sucked pretty hard.  I kind of had an idea that I was in for something that didn’t make sense when the Nick Nolte-sounding narration was describing the town’s clock tower and said that there was something evil afoot because the seven clocks that lined the tower were all set to different times.  …Yup!  No other possible explanation for that.  And that fact terrifies me because it means that most of the clocks in my house are evil.  After that, the story is about Baltimore taking a lot of head trauma and taking drugs so that he can fall asleep and go into the dream world where he keeps finding new information about the mystery.  That is not a joke.  And by that I mean that I did not intend it as a joke, and if they did it was so devoid of comedy that it cannot be considered a joke.  It’s hard to tell with this movie because there were a lot of things that seemed like they thought it was funny.  I actually managed to stay hopeful in this movie because their constant talk about thinking of a bulletproof ending for Baltimore’s book made me think they were hinting that there was a bulletproof ending to the movie.  This was not so much the case.  It was some bullshit about a vampire with braces that fired off of her teeth when her fangs came out and some “reveal” about Baltimore’s daughter.  I wasn’t even sure that I was supposed to be surprised by that.  Lemme ask you something: if you see a guy with a drinking problem and a failing marriage looking at pictures of a daughter you never see in the movie, what are you going to think about her current status?  If you checked “Alive,” then you also checked “idiot.”

Here’s the part where I say one good thing about the movie: it mostly looked good.  The things that were supposed to look spooky achieved that.  Sometimes almost too much.  The scene when Baltimore was walking through the forest was so spooky I would describe it as what a child would draw if you told him to draw a picture of “spooky.”  Now, this is not to say that it was effective.  It was so textbook spooky that I feel like it flipped on itself and wound up being more pretty.

I don’t know if I can blame anything on the cast of the movie.  None of them seemed to take the movie seriously, and I couldn’t blame them for that.  The sheriff character struck me as pretty stupid, and not just for his stupid bird house business.  They love doing wacky hobbies in movies to make their characters seem more interesting.  I’m talking about the fact that he’s the sheriff of a town and meets a random writer and decides this dude needs to check out this dead body in the morgue.  You are a terrible public official!  I was also fascinated by the fact that Father Guido Sarducci (Don Novello) was in this movie.  And you can all be fascinated by who the hell that is as I’m probably one of the few people that remember who that is.

Twixt was not a good movie.  Or maybe it was… I have no idea what was going on.  Whatever it was wasn’t entertaining, so I’m going to assume it sucked.  The story was goofy and made no sense, and since it calls itself a horror movie they probably don’t want to be.  I feel fairly confident that everyone that participated in this movie can do much better.  There’s no reason to watch this movie, and probably no reason for me to even say that because most people don’t know it exists.  I’ll probably do one last horror movie for the October Horrorthon since I can barely count this one.  Twixt gets “Whuh?” out of “Huh?”

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Tombstone (1993)

You Tell ‘Em I’m Comin … And Hell’s Comin With Me!

It’s come time for me to say what my favorite movie of all time is.  This has always been a difficult question for me to answer as I usually just have a sliding scale of “Like” or “Dislike” for movies, but don’t usually make the claim of having an actual favorite.  What I determined to do was to just pick a movie that I really like and just say it’s my favorite.  I used to say it was The Crow, but eventually decided that there was at least one movie that I find completely awesome every time I watch it.  It’s never aged for me, it’s in one of my favorite genres, and it has the hands down best performance by more than a few people in the cast.  This movie would become the movie I would say is my favorite ever.  Whether or not it truly is my favorite is debatable, but we’ll see if its awesomeness is when I review Tombstone, written by Kevin Jarre, directed by George P. Cosmatos, and starring Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe, Michael Biehn, Stephen Lang, Thomas Haden Church, Tomas Arana, Dana Delany, Michael Rooker, Buck Taylor, Peter Sherayko, Terry O’Quinn, Jon Tenney, Billy Zane, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, Joanna Pacula, Paula Malcomson, Lisa Collins, Harry Carey Jr., and Billy Bob Thornton.

Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) and his brothers Virgil (Sam Elliott) and Morgan (Bill Paxton) go to Tombstone, Arizona with the hope of finding their fortunes.  Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer) is already doing alright for himself with gambling and shooting, but he goes to Tombstone as well to hang out with his buddy Wyatt.  Even though he’s married to Mattie Blaylock (Dana Wheeler-Nicholson), Wyatt starts developing feelings for a travelling actress named Josephine Marcus (Dana Delany).  Wyatt takes a job as a dealer at a saloon and gets some friction from a band of outlaws called the Cowboys, and more specifically their leader “Curly Bill” Brocious (Powers Boothe), Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn), Ike Clanton (Stephen Lang), and Billy Clanton (Thomas Haden Church), but the Cowboys are somewhat comforted by the fact that Wyatt is retired as a peace officer and has no interest in taking the law into his own hands.  That being the case, when Curly Bill kills Marshal Fred White (Harry Carey Jr.) while high on opium, Wyatt pistol whips him and takes him into custody.  Ike and Billy try to get Wyatt to release Curly Bill, but find themselves out-awesomed and leave.  Tensions continue to mount and, if you’ve read your awesome history of the West, you know some shit’s about to go down at the O.K. Corral.

I am still perfectly comfortable saying this movie is my favorite movie of all time.  There are definite contenders for the title, but this movie is definitely up there.  You probably can’t give a whole lot of credit to the story as it seems to mostly stick to what actually happened, or at least what is said happened around then.  Watching this movie always makes me start looking up information about what happened in Tombstone and it’s apparently hard to find solid information about it because most people in the town were biased either towards the Cowboys or the Earps.  This movie obviously takes the side of the Earps, and I’m okay with that.  It turns out very awesome, so I wouldn’t dare complain.  I’m sure it’s not 100% historically accurate, but I don’t watch this movie for a history lesson.  As it pertains to the movie, they show what they need to when they need to, and I like that.  They even do something to show the character’s personality right in their introduction to save time.  Wyatt Earp starts off by hitting a guy for whipping his horse, showing that he’s hardcore and big into justice.  Doc Holliday starts off coughing and being hilarious and awesome at a poker table.  Johnny Ringo shoots a priest in the head soon after we meet him.  Now we know who we’re dealing with.  The story is pretty damned solid too.  It starts off with just the tension building between the Earps and the Cowboys, and the Earps’ sense of justice leading them to feel they should get involved.  And the first good portion of the movie – assuming you know about Wyatt Earp and the others – is just building up for the most famous gunfight in American history: the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.  And it does not disappoint.  From what I’ve read, it’s around 90% accurate to what actually happened, which adds weight to the scene.  It’s not only awesome because it’s awesome; it’s also awesome because it feels like we’re time-travelling to watch it.  And the last big chunk of the movie is watching Earp’s Vendetta Ride, which is also very awesome.  All of the action in the movie was great.  They only went for the classic tension building before a quick draw contest twice and the rest of the action was regular shootouts and fist fights, but they were all awesome.  The Vendetta Ride was mostly just a series of montages, displaying any random images of people looking awesome while shooting guns, but it was great and time-saving.  Some of the “action” in the movie was even hilarious, and I’m mainly referring to the part where Johnny Ringo is showing off by twirling his gun around and Doc Holliday responds by doing the same with his cup.  I would say that the dialogue in the movie was great, but I think I mainly mean that Doc Holliday’s dialogue was great.  Everyone else only got to occasionally say something awesome, but almost everything Doc said was fantastic.  I think one of my favorite lines in cinema history is Doc Holliday saying, “I’ve got two guns, one for each of ya.”

I also loved every performance in this movie.  Almost every male character in the movie was a stone cold badass.  But let’s face facts: Val Kilmer steals this movie.  Val Kilmer looks like the Devil in the greater majority of this movie.  Pale skin, red around the eyes, often bleeding from the mouth, and even has that goatee goin’ on.  He was fucking awesome in this movie.  He’s hilarious and badass in equal measure.  Kurt Russell is also a bona fide badass in this movie.  He took care of the majority of his problems in this movie with sheer intimidation, not even requiring that he use a gun.  He made a little bitch out of Billy Bob Thornton and Stephen Lang on more than one occasion.  Michael Biehn was also epically badass.  The way he talked always made me think there was something supernatural about him as most people talked as if he sold his soul to the devil for his killing prowess.  I believed it.  Sam Elliott is also entirely enjoyable, and that’s not something that surprised me.  Not only is he usually great, but he seems to be made for westerns.  I think I would’ve found more conflict if Wyatt’s wife, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, was ever a likeable character.  I didn’t really care that she got left behind.  She was a drug addict and a bit of a bitch, whereas Dana Delany was fun-loving and free-spirited.  Seems like an easy decision to me.

Tombstone may not be the smartest movie you’ve ever seen, but it will probably be at least a contender for the most awesome.  The story is easy enough because it’s based on historical data, but it’s also based on some of the most awesome historical data in American history.  It’s compelling, it’s exciting, and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but it’s pretty awesome as well.  All of the people in this movie perform greatly, but I think we can all agree that Val Kilmer steals the show.  I love this movie, and you should as well.  Tombstone gets “Make no mistake, it’s not revenge he’s after.  It’s a reckoning” out of “In Pace Requiescat.”

Who here’s shocked to hear that Chris won this one again?  Fuck this guy, am I right?

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Red Planet (2000)

Fuck This Planet!

The worst thing I could do now is come out of the October Horror-thon with a bad movie. That being the case, I offer to you my review of Red Planet. … DAMNIT! Oh well, I can make this work. I have no idea what compelled me to purchase this movie on BluRay beyond the fact that it was $5, but I done it and now you can read about it. Red Planet was directed by Antony Hoffman (which you should not read as Anthony Hopkins like I did), and stars Carrie-Anne Moss, Val Kilmer, Benjamin Bratt, Tom Sizemore, Simon Baker, and Terence Stamp.

The year is 2056, Earth is in the middle of a crisis because of pollution and overpopulation. The opening narration goes on and on about these things, but I’ve broken it down for you so you can skip into the movie about 5 minutes. A crew is being sent to check on the terraforming of Mars that they initiated 20 years earlier by throwing a frat boy’s fridge up there and letting algae grow, which should create oxygen and give us a new planet to fuck up. This team is comprised of potential lesbian commander Kate Bowman (Carrie-Anne Moss), space janitor Robby Gallagher (Val Kilmer), cocky pilot Ted Santen (Benjamin Bratt), teammate killer Chip Pettengill (Simon Baker), douchey know-it-all Quinn Burchenal (Tom Sizemore), and rambling old man Bud Chantillas (Terence Stamp). A solar flare messes up their systems on their ship, causing the team to have to leave without their commander. Once they land, they start slowly dying off in various ways until only Val Kilmer escapes. The end.

I am comfortable confessing that, it turns out, I only bought this movie because I thought it was Mission to Mars. I was wrong. Not that either of them are good movies, but it was the corniness I wanted as opposed to the corniness I didn’t want at the moment. If I remember Mission to Mars correctly, I’m pretty sure there’s some nonsense they end up finding about aliens having been there before and leaving something in the face on Mars. THAT’S the corny Mars movie I wanted to watch. Instead I watched the corny one about little bugs that eat the algae and convert it to oxygen, making Mars habitable except for the fact that those little bugs also eat people … and their robot tries to kill them. Oh well, I guess we’ll talk about this movie instead.

The story of this movie is serviceable. The part about Earth being overcrowded is nothing new but not entirely overdone. The obvious followup to the overpopulation is moving to a new planet which involves terraforming, so that the obvious next step in the process. Something needs to go wrong, so no surprises there. It’s a story you could probably figure out from just watching the trailer, but it’s not all bad. There’s some fun to be had in this movie. Some of the dialogue is drawn out too long, but some of it is charming. Some might say it’s very progressive of this movie to make the only female on board the commander, but then others may argue that the fact that she was the one left alone on the ship while the men did all the hard labor and all she could do is sit around, watch what was happening, and take care of the dishes and laundry was less progressive. The production on the movie is pretty solid too. I liked the little bouncy contraption they landed on Mars in. Granted it killed the old guy, but I think it looked wicked fun. The robot that they brought with them that then tries to kill them seemingly for no reason was well done graphically, but possibly not well thought out. I think it was some EMP thing that scrambled it’s robo-brain and made it decide to kill them. Probably should’ve put Asimov’s rules of robotics in that mamma jamma.

The performances were fine, but also nothing special. Carrie-Anne Moss got to take it easy on the movie, having no real physical labor to speak of here. All she really had to do was be concerned about the people on Mars, which she pulled off acceptably. I’ve found Val Kilmer compelling ever since he was Doc Holliday in Tombstone, so he can’t really do wrong by me. But he was fairly charming in this movie. Tom Sizemore was also pretty entertaining as basically the comic relief on the team. Simon Baker had to put out the most acting chops because he inadvertently killed Benjamin Bratt and then had to hide it from the rest of the team. There wasn’t much else going on here.

Not much to say about this movie. I wish it had been the other corny action movie set on Mars that I intended to watch, but this one would probably be of the same quality anyways. This movie was thoroughly mediocre. Not bad, not good, not particularly memorable, not particularly anything. You will live a comfortable life if you skip the movie, but you also probably won’t kill yourself if you have to sit through it. Those are your choices. Pick one! Or don’t. I don’t imagine anyone is going to be forcing you to watch a mediocre and forgettable movie from 11 years ago anyway. I’ll give this movie “We just disappointed 10 billion people” out of “We’re taking the first piss on Mars.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

Top Gun (1986)

This review is when I set myself apart from all other movie reviewers by being the only reviewer I know that will use “Gay Balls” in the review of a movie.  There may well be other movie reviewers willing to do this, and I’m pretty sure I’ve used this term as well, but few movies have ever deserved it more.  More than To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, I ask you to hop in your car and join me on the highway to the danger zone with my review … of Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Anthony Edwards, Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer, Tom Skerritt, and Michael Ironside.

Top Gun follows Maverick (Tom Cruise) and his copilot Goose (Anthony Edwards).  To go off on a tangent real quick: how pissed is Goose?  He hangs out with people whose handles are Maverick, Iceman, Cougar, Merlin, Jester, Hollywood, and Viper, and he somehow lands the moniker of “Goose”.  Lame.  Anyway, Maverick is a fantastic, but dangerous, Naval pilot who goes to the Top Gun academy when the number 1 pilot steps down because of a near death experience.  When they arrive at the academy, they meet their rivals, Iceman (Val Kilmer) and … whoever the Hell his copilot was.  Iceman got his name by flying cool as ice, never making mistakes and wearing his opponents down.  But this is the time of rebels; we know how this quarrel will eventually end up.  The two are in constant competition in the Top Gun rankings until one day when Iceman wants so badly to take down an enemy that he refuses to get out of the way for Maverick, who has the shot.  When he eventually does, the jet wash from his engine causes a flameout on Maverick’s plane, sending him into a flat spin.  Maverick and Goose eject, but Goose slams his head into the canopy on the way out.  Well his Goose is cooked.  Yeah, I went there.  So he dead, and Maverick blames himself even though Goose’s wife (Meg Ryan) and Maverick’s own girlfriend (Kelly McGillis) tell him it wasn’t his fault.  His remorse makes him suck at flying.  Can Maverick overcome and be the best again?  Yeah, probably.  Not a surprising movie, here.

This movie has caused me much grief in my time.  I did not see this movie when it came out … and I was 3 … so I have no reminiscences to make me like it.  I probably saw this movie when I was 25 and I had a higher standard for movie.  And, since I saw it, I have had 2 women tell me this movie is the best thing since sliced bread.  One such girl said she had no interest in seeing Rocky (you know, the 1976 Academy Award winner for Best Picture and Director?), but called this movie “her favorite movie ever”.  The other girl said this movie was better than Schindler’s List, and this girl requested I review this movie (CHRISTIAN!).  Feel free to tell her how wrong she is in the comments section.  But be nice, she apparently just loves really gay movies.

As I hinted at before, this movie is uber gay.  So many scenes of hot body mens doing homoerotic things together.  The volleyball scene alone is probably the reason all gays and women like this movie at all.  Most of the exposition of this movie takes place with the dudes wearing nothing but a towel in the showers.  If it were me, I’d say “Hey, Maverick!  I haveta yell at you.  Put your clothes on and meet me outside”.  And did the captain really have to come and have a heartfelt conversation about recently deceased Goose while Maverick was wearing only tighty-whiteys?  Again, a simple “Oh, I can wait” could fix all of my pain.  And I’m pretty sure the whole “You can be my wingman” exchange was Iceman and Maverick asking each other out on a date.

As for the rest of the movie, it’s serviceable at best.  I highly doubt this movie ever tried to get itself nominated for an Academy Award (DANIELLE!!), so it was only trying to be some good times for about 2 hours.  It kind of manages that.  The story is equal parts cliched and annoying, though I find it difficult to wonder how cliched something from 1986 was.  Maybe this type of story started with Top Gun, but probably not.  The acting is fine, but not spectacular.  And almost every song besides “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling” seems to be Kenny Loggins 80’s gayness.

By far the best part of this movie is the aerial battles.  I don’t think these were miniatures, so they must’ve gone to the Navy and said “Look, we’re making a movie that is basically a giant hand job to the Navy, wanna let us film you doing things?” and thus it was born. I could have totally watched these aerial battles on YouTube.  Although I’m sure that the inverted bird-flipping that Maverick gave a pilot from an unnamed enemy country would not have been safe to attempt in real life.

If all this movie showed was the aerial battles, this movie would be great.  Since they had to have conversations, it wasn’t.  As it is, the movie is watchable, and should probably be watched at least once so you can get the homage’s made in other movies, but the next time someone tells me this movie it’s their favorite movie without qualifying it with favorite guilty pleasure movie or favorite jet fighting drama from 1986, I will spit.  I also say you should watch this so that you can enjoy Hot Shots more.  I give this movie a “GAY BALLS” out of 96.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.