Monday, November 19, 2012

V/H/S (2012)

Found-footage-horror films seem to be quickly growing into an unstoppable sungenre of horror. While I love the horror movie genre, I find it to be filled primarily with large amounts of steaming manure. My feelings about camcorder-horror generally do not differ much.

When I was a child I use to have nightmares of a screaming woman behind a red lit window and a chainsaw yielding madman. Fast forward to the UTDF contributor of today and what remains is a strange man with a penchant for women screaming and chainsaw yielding madmen.

My desensitized sensibilities find a person’s fear of red curtains and floating sheets quite laughable.

Fake blood is fake blood to me. I get the willies much more so from random people with bad teeth at the bus stop than movies meant to terrify an audience; until now.

Before I move forward I must explain that in order to preserve the sanctity of creepy fear this film causes me there is quite a bit that inherently must be left out. In other words, there will be no spoilers in this review, and there is nothing I can say here to capture the jaw dropping and wide eyed moments of “What the hell!?” found within the chapters of V/H/S.

V/H/S strings together several short sequences of terror via VHS tapes shot by camcorder POV cinematography. At first, V/H/S feels like any other found-footage-horror movie out there. However, the commonplace atmosphere quickly fades and fear floors the screen.

Each sequence of V/H/S screams, “Kiss my ass Blair Witch,” and in less than two hours V/H/S contains anything a fan of horror could possibly desire. Excessive and brutal gore in some moments, and cut away macabre that only the grotesque imagination of the viewer can fill in others. Maddening betrayal, sickening perversion, supernatural disgust, and shocking cinematic twists of dread are merely a few of the ingredients of V/H/S.

Warning! UTDF does not recommend this film to persons with the following conditions: seizures, migraines, heart conditions or abnormal blood pressure, IBS, bed wetting, schizophrenic episodes, general sissyness, under the influence of psychedelics, expectant mothers, or any other conditions that may be irritated by a truly terrifying cinematic experience.

That said, just toughen up. UTDF challenges anyone to watch this film without wetting their pants. Those that do are stronger than our entire staff. V/H/S has found itself at the top of  UTDF's list of horror movie recommendations for 2012.

3.5 Stars.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Believe all of the hype, don't scoff at the fanaticism, and see The Dark Knight Rises as soon as possible. Brilliant and powerful. Christopher Nolan is a force to be reckoned with. The Dark Knight Rises, and it's preceding chapters, define what the makers of the cinematic experience should hope to achieve.

Not only did Mr. Nolan provide a simply entertaining masterpiece, but he also successfully fills in all the gaps of telling the story of Batman where others failed fans miserably. Mr. Nolan deserves an applause and a thank you. I thought Rises would enrage me, and would provide a Matrix III type folly. Wrong. While I would hate to diminish my love for Michael Keaton, I have to say Christian Bale, at very least, now ties for the best batman. I must own the Blu-Ray.

Wonderful performances, stunning special effects, dynamic plot and characters, a screenplay executed with an acknowledged intellect of the audience, and the best f@cking movie in cinemas right now.

4.4 Stars

Don't forget to comment!

Hesher (2011)

Have you seen Hesher yet?

Hesher, the most under-rated film of 2011.

Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt of who I am now forever a fan. Additionally, one of the first performances of Natalie Portman I genuinely appreciate. Hesher is beautiful.

I ask you please watch this film, and if it is not your thing you may be at the wrong blog. Jokes, how dare I. This is the only film blog you should be reading.

4.5 Stars.

Biff & Jaffy Do Sedona

An unofficial "Two Minute Crappy Film."

Saturday, July 14, 2012

TED (2012)

TED is the type of film that makes you want to spit on a bad review, or fellow coffee shop patron that pretentiously talks shit about the comedic timing and the disappointment Charlie Chaplin would express.

Mark Wahlberg does an awesome job (as usual,) the bear is freaking hilarious, Mila Kunis does Mila Kunis beautifully, superb writing, watch it over-and-over factor through the roof, and generally a great time. Thank you Ted.

A local critic, from a very popular publication, decided to review the film as though she orginally intend on viewing the Titanic in 3-D re-release. Up Till Dawn Films and friends would like to say, "Shut up bitch, you don't know what you're talking about."

4.3 Stars.

Editor's note: Comments, questions, disagreements? Please feel free to comment freely, just please don't post porn or spam. Even shamless self-promotions are ok with us, just no bullshit, you dig? Anonymous comments and attempts to troll are permitted as well. Don't forget to click the 'ted' poster to pre-order the Combo Pack!

Friday, July 6, 2012

V is for Zombie (2012)

The 2-Minute Crappy Film Series!

Episode #3:
"V is for Zombie"

This 2-Minute Crappy Film is extra special. We didn't watch the film, Vengeance of the Zombies, in its entirety, but the piece is simply cinematic genius.

Unfortunately, they did not follow the Up Till Dawn Films two-minute-max policy for crappy films. We gather the presentation would have received a Grammy or something, if only...

This piece of crap was so splendid we did not even have to outsource for the soundtrack. Everything needed some rearranging and trimming, but otherwise the original was a work of brilliance; overlooking the original length.

Take caution: this installment of the Up Till Dawn Films: 2-Minute Crappy Film Series! punches the psyche and is not for the feint of heart.

Copyright 2012. Burning Empire Media. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

On Grass (2012)

Up Till Dawn Films: 2-Minute Crappy Film Series!
Episode #2: "On Grass"

In our second installment, of the Up Till Dawn Films: 2 Minute Crappy Film Series!, we combined a crappy anti-marijuana propaganda film with some pro-tobacco propaganda.

When we finished mixing the ingredients in the blender a sensationally crappy pro-marijuana propaganda film poured out onto the screen.

The elusive Haight Ashbury Pimps re-worked and provided the soundtrack for this one. Enjoy!

Copyright 2012. Burning Empire Media. All Rights Reserved.

Check back soon for more of:
Up Till Dawn Films: 2-Minute Crappy Film Series!

Poster prints for sale soon too.

Piranha 3DD (2012)

Click to watch now!

Freaking awesome! I do not feel the need to explain what an individual should plan for when about to watch Piranha 3DD or "double-down." Even the title concept screams ridiculous nonsense, but I say, "okay."

A highly offensive tidal wave of naked madness. Piranha 3DD is a bloody mess of late night horror genius and fun. I love it.

Wonderful casting surprises, and almost as good as the first.

In very few theaters still, so convince your date to buy or rent this one when available, or watch it now on demand!

 3.9 out of 5 Stars.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

God Bless America (2011)

I wanted to see this movie as soon as I heard about it. After, listening to Bobcat discuss this film on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast my excitement tripled. Zed did not disappoint this audience.

Now one of UTDF's top five must see of 2011, God Bless America is a true patriot's film. Violent, offensive, bloody, vulgar, excessive and totally on point.

Bobcat Goldthwait is not only a hilarious screaming maniac but also a true master of his craft.

3.9 Stars.

Reprogramming v1.4

Little 4th of July ditty brought to you in part by UTDF!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Fleeting Victory (2012)

First of the Up Till Dawn Films: 2-Minute Crappy Film Series!

2-Minute Crappy Film Series

Burning Empire Media is proud to announce the Up Till Dawn Films: 2-Minute Crappy Film Series! A brand new style of remix film art that is sure to please. We all know the feeling when two minutes into a film we already ask ourselves, "What am I doing here? Why is this happening? I need to leave this place right now."

Up Till Dawn's 2-Minute Crappy Film Series takes care of this problem. We take a crappy film and make it two minutes. A two minute exciting thrill ride of adventure, disaster, and surrealism. All 2-Minute Crappy Films will initially be announced and released here on the Up Till Dawn Films blog. We don't just talk trash about crappy films, we make them too.

Our first film, A Fleeting Victory, is a remix tale of the classic War of the Robots. The film is essentially a bunch of people dressed up like Steve Zissou and fighting robots with lightsabers.  All while urging the viewer to jump off a bridge. We broke it down, spruced it up, had The Night Will Steal You redo the score, and chopped a more satisfying conclusion. In a truly irresponsible, zero-budget, for-profit, film house fashion we will release A Fleeting Victory today, tomorrow, or the next day.

Check back soon for the Up Till Dawn Films: 2-Minute Crappy Film Series! Look for the series on DVD in 2013! And buy Burning Empire Media Presents: on DVD now!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (2012)

Allow me to be your Redbox Warrior on this one. This film has enabled me to attain a deeper understanding of a particular vein of cinema. I imagine that even the below-average minded audience understands what type of film Abraham and the Zombies promises to deliver. These opportunistic straight-to-video releases have been labeled "mockbusters." The current climate of "mockbusters" shows that providing the release a genre tends to exonerate their appeal. When I learned of The Asylums format I found something commendable and Cormanesque about their purpose and business model. The question remains, "Why do their films have to be so crappy though." If you're in the business of quick opportunity can $150,000 not be put to better use? Costume design rarely flags in my mind while watching a film. They usually wash over me. Even the lowest of low-budget historical adaptations can be excused for a collar lacking 1800s consistency. I simply do not understand why the costume budget was not spent at a thrift store in this instance. Everything is crispity clean and definitely made within the last decade. It does not resonate. Everyone looks like five year old dressed up in their grandfather's fatigues. I would imagine there are thousands of people in the world that would have helped make this movie better, and I bet some would have even worked free of charge. Watching this film made me wonder if The Asylum pays someone to be a cinematographer or if they feel a high definition camera is enough. The light that beams of a crisp white collar screams 2012 B movie but the problem could have prevented and some money could have been spared as well. The fact is these Alien Origin style perfectly timed straight-to-Redbox features have a charm that is instantly diffused by pressing play. Learning more about the companies efforts to spread religious propaganda does not help their case much either. However, is this just another opportunistic mockery? I cannot answer that question. I can however tell you that this movies, among every other Asylum film I've glimpsed at, is complete and total shit. There is now a clear distinction between a charming low-budget indie film and a low-budget marketing strategy in which the production company pisses on the audience. Even more strange is that the fact that the owners are executives from Village Roadshow. Not my favorite but why taint the resume? Rock that business model to the grave, but a little more TLC would have inspired another dollar from me when Disposables 3 releases. I can't wait to see Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter now. I feel that a good studio should come around and now steal the "mockbuster" market from this company. I guarantee that for half the budget I could make a much more satisfying well-timed-opportunistic variation of any movie that will release in the near future. It comes out in less than a month, but give me eighty grand and we'll have The Black Bat Ascends in Redbox by the end of the month.
Most likely a better read.

Keep in mind I'm not the type of person who instantly jumps to negatively judge a film. When I was a teenager, myself and two other assholes made a film called Giant Mutant Lobsters in Outer Space in which we dumped Jack Daniels on a lobster and set it on fire. Along with a city made of cardboard and hot wheels cars. This was of course after the mad scientist fired off his giant laser that never actually appeared on screen. The difference between the two pieces of trash being ingenuity and passion. Enduring this film was pain-staking and traumatic at best. Zombies or not. I love zombies, but like many great genres Abe vs. Zombies is among a vast catalog of selections that breeds contempt. This type of film makes the porn industry seem more reputable. Certainly more interesting. On second thought, these films are porns, without the porn.

How about 1.3 stars, only because it provide a strong closing for my review.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Repo Man (1984)

A home library must have!
Repo Man, starring Emilio Estevez is one of many films that best reflects popular culture in this country. The "cult classic" film chronicles the events of an angry young man, Otto, who becomes a repo man. There is much more to the story and the goings on around Otto than the simple repossession of cars. The film is a commentary on the state of the world, American youth, growing up in America, drug use, nuclear science, war, UFOs, and the collective unconscious. The mixture of these themes set upon the black-comedy-science-fiction backdrop of automotive repossession and punk rock music not only results in an amazing piece of entertainment but also a reflection of culture that remains relevant in the cultural climate of today.

A culture in which many physical attributes have changed drastically, but continues to be rooted in issues, conflicts, and identities that have changed very little since 1984. One of the UTDF's Top Ten Film Soundtracks. 4.4 Stars.

Warning: Harry Dean Stanton Alert! This film is known to contain Harry Dean Stanton. The true psychological effects of Harry Dean Stanton are highly debated and yet to be scientifically confirmed.

Red State (2011)

This is an assignment that I had to do for school, but I decided that it is also quite suiting for Up Till Dawn Films' purposes. The direction of the review is based upon the rubric of the assignment. 

            An individual’s freedom to choose religious beliefs is a basic human right. Unfortunately, many times in society religious beliefs are used to justify extremely violent and deadly actions. Kevin Smith’s film Red State, starring Michael Parks and John Goodman, tells a story about a Christian fundamentalist group. The group uses their religious beliefs to rationalize violent and deadly actions inflicted upon those they categorize as “sinners.” The highly controversial film is a cinematic masterpiece that redefines Smith as a filmmaker. Kevin Smith is perhaps best known for his flatulence focused comedy films, passion for comic books, and network of podcasts. Red State came as a surprise to his most loyal of fans and the film industry in general. Written, directed, edited, and self-distributed Red State proves that Smith is not just a jokesmith satisfied with making audiences laugh.  The film demands that Smith be regarded as a sophisticated and multidimensional filmmaker. Smith accomplishes this sophistication by tackling the social issues and themes within Red State. Labeled as a horror film Red State is a shocking social commentary on religious intolerance and the violent consequences of extreme belief. Red State is a picture of society that shows the lines of terrorism are drawn by belief and action, not race and cultural background.

The film also shows that while society has made significant progress, intolerance of race, religion, and sexual preference are still a serious reality. Red State’s main character Pastor Abin Cooper (played by Michael Parks) is especially intolerant of homosexuality. Cooper is a charismatic religious leader that uses his own religious interpretations and beliefs to fuel an anti-homosexual agenda. He passionately indoctrinates his beliefs onto the members of his congregation and motivates and mobilizes violent and murderous action. The intolerance of Cooper’s congregation is seen throughout the world. Red State reminds the viewer that the boundaries of homicidal intolerance are not set by religious, geographical, or racial difference. The intolerant only lack prejudice upon the selection of their victims. The intolerance of Cooper’s congregation is captured with a unique style of cinematography and powerful acting performances. Red State is presented in the clarity of high definition film photography. However, the film uses a grindhouse tone that captivates the eye of the audience and properly captures the gritty, dark, and violent nature for which the film is set. This unique style and powerful acting performances are what make Red State downright creepy. Michael Parks’ academy award worthy performance is essential to Red State. Early in the film an intense 10 minute long sermon is delivered by Cooper. The scene is scary and powerful. There is no doubt or confusion in the audience’s mind that Cooper can use charisma, manipulation, intensity, and belief to mobilize his congregation.
            Consequently, Cooper’s violent mobilization of belief is the fuel of terrorism. Cooper’s congregation is not a simple church group; it is a terrorist organization. Smith uses the character of A.T.F. Agent Joseph Keenan (played by John Goodman) to facilitate the role of government and a deeper view into the nature of terrorism. The fictional government’s policies regarding terrorism are no different that the policies of real-life society and as Keenan’s peer Agent Hammond states, “If you kill an American because of a religious belief you are a terrorist.” Smith further mirrors society when the Keenan’s superiors make the decision that Cooper’s congregation needs to be eliminated by any means necessary.  A barrage of bullets and death is traded between Cooper’s congregation and the A.T.F. The film takes on an almost action flick way of editing and sequencing scenes, but the violent and explicit deaths are not a glorification. When a young lady accidentally kills her mother it is clear that Smith wants the world to know that guns are not toys. Many times the doctrines and religious texts, meant as a guide, are taken literally. Red State captures the deadly ramification of when these misconceptions are acted upon.
            In conclusion, if Kevin Smith had something to prove, whether as a filmmaker or a commentator of political and religious ideology, Red State proves it. The film shows that intolerance and belief have the potential to be extremely dangerous and violent states of mind often mobilized into bloody terroristic action. It is the sense of realism that Smith uses to execute the film that makes Red State truly horrific. While the organizations and individuals of Red State are fictitious, Smith provides a mirrored view of the terrifying similarities found throughout our own society.

I use the term "multidimensional" too much. 4.7 Stars.

Monday, June 18, 2012

21 Jump Street (2012)

Click for Pre-Order!

One more tonight, for posterity's sake, and there is no better than the new 21 Jump Street film. I previously stated in a post that we're going to attempt to keep the inflammatory nature of these reviews to a minimum; or rather to the best of our ability. A perfect way to prevent this sort of inflammation comes from a 2012 film re-imagining/rendition of one of my favorite television dramas of all time. I happened to be somewhat appalled by some of the casting decision news that I initially heard  pertaining to this movie, but as a good friend said it best, "Channing Tatum is fucking awesome when he's not being a douche" (or well it was something like that.) The truth behind that statement is shocking. 21 Jump Street is a thrill ride of laugh-out-loud hilarity and Tatum is freaking awesome. Whether a viewer hates, loves, or has no clue what 21 Jump Street is does not matter. The movie is individually brilliant. Only half way through the year, but most likely my favorite comedy of 2012. If you're a die hard 21 Jump Street like me this film will not disappoint, and it includes extra goodies just for you. I have already seen this movie several times. The blu-ray combo pack options seem weak at this point, but if a later release provides something extra put it on my birthday list. My expectations were extremely low, but it is apparent that the makers of this film set the standards high. I also recently learned that the woman signing the chorus of re-hashed theme song is Esthero! Man big-studio-comedy re-makes don't get any better. The only disappointment it seems was Dustin Nguyen must have been busy during production or something.

A solid 4.0 stars. I actually want to give it more.

No Saints for Sinners (2011)

The chosen cover art for this film makes me somewhat angry. Imdb ratings of this film reflect a 4.2 stars out of 10. The masses are simply baffling. I found this film to be an surprise sleeper action hit. The first ten minutes of the film contain film editing orgasms that shall not be given away here. They set the tone, the pace, and everything else that rushes over the audience for the remainder of the film. No Saints for Sinners is the type of film you don't want to end.

Both score and soundtrack are noticeably superior without overshadowing the film itself. Certain moments in this film negate the possibility for the whole to categorically suck. Either way, the film as a whole is anything but sucky. Lead actor, Rick Crawford, does not manifest a man crush but he's a convincing bad-ass that I wouldn't mind seeing in some more roles. I really thought almost every aspect of this film was done very well. Acting, directing, cinematography, editing, music, script and dialogue are all of superior quality. There's a particular scene within the first act that will always stand out for me. 4.1 out of 5 stars! Comments?