Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I have a date with the Twisted Twins!

....and you do to. Ewwwww. Not like that. Well sorta. The twisted twins, the Soska Sisters breakthrough movie Dead Hooker in a Trunk is now out on DVD via IFC Midnight. Congrats to Jen and Sylvia for making their dreams come true. The Jaded Viewer and the Twisted Twins share a special bond. I was the first to highlight their flick on the horror-sphere and they in turn put a quote from my review in their damn trailer (which was super duper mega awesome)

To celebrate, we all get to watch DHIAT with them....on Twitter.

Grab your copy (or order it now via Amazon.com), read my review and at 8pm PST (11pm EST) tweet away with the Twisted_Twins on Twitter.

Don't take my word for it. Listen to these beautiful and talented filmmakers ask you out.




And here's my favorite trailer with my quote in it.



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Monday, January 30, 2012

Savage County (Review)

Savage County

Savage County (TV 2010)

Directed by David Harris

[this review is from The Jaded Viewer 2 DVD Giveaway Winner Kim K. She suffered through these awful flicks like a real soldier and for that I'm giving her a honorary jaded viewer gold star of awesomeness]

I was warned - these movies won’t be making any "best of" lists. Watching them was a test of will. I have a short attention span. I'm rating them not by spinkicks, but by how many failed attempts it took me to actually sit down with the movie long enough to watch until the end.

"Savage County"

David Harris is a first time director & this was a low budget, direct-to-video production. I have a soft spot for new artists trying to get an edge in, even if I’m not a fan; and judging by their Facebook page, he does have a following, which he is clearly catering toward. If you’re an 11-15 year old who is new to the horror genre & enjoyed the web series this was a spin-off from - you could potentially love this movie. It is the training bra of horror.

The plot follows a group of high school students about to graduate as they road trip out into the countryside one last time. When a prank goes wrong, the kids accidentally kill the eldest of a family of creepy homicidal hillbillies. Creepy hillbillies get pissed. Storyline marches forward into a watered down version of some of the most familiar (and successful) horror themes we know and love. (See: Deliverance, Texas Chainsaw, Hills Have Eyes, Wrong Turn, House of 1000 Corpses etc etc)

‘Recycled’ doesn’t necessarily resign a movie to a fate of suckage. When you’re playing to human fear, there are only so many threads to explore. Filmmakers in the genre build on and borrow from each other almost as a rule. But you’d better add something original to make it stick in people’s heads if you’re going that route. The fact that one of the hillbillies vaguely resembles Willie Nelson is not enough for me

As for the kids, we’ve got a small group of token everything out in this cornfield. The jocks, the cheerleader, the “good girl”, the punky loner, the nerd, the black kid. All of these stereotypes hung out together in your school too, right? There is one particularly useless girl back at base, whose sole job seems to be talking into a webcam and cueing awful music. The movie keeps awkwardly cutting back to her and it was precisely these moments that made me wonder if I needed to take another break.

The plot unfolds. Kids freak out after the accidental murder. Split up. Make one stupid decision after another. Cops get involved. Oops - cops are sided with the hillbillies. Hillbillies torture and pick off kids. The script remains one dimensional, and ends predictably while still leaving loose ends (I fear a sequel’s in the works); yet for a tween slasher-flick, it delivers what is expected and is certainly not the worst ever made. Though it did leave me feeling mildly lobotomized.

I rate this movie: 3 failed attempts.

Check out the trailer. I doubt you'll last :30 secs before you stop watching.


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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Interview with Stuff Monsters Like

It's rare that I get asked to talk about myself and my blog. But when I do, it's an honor and I will go out of my way to make it as fun as possible. So when the awesome-tastic site Stuff Monsters Like asked me to do a celebrity interview, I said "Who's the celebrity? Wait you mean me?"

So I obliged and answered the questions in only the way I can...by being all around goofy. Check out the interview and read my thoughts on the state of horror, how the jaded viewer got started and which country makes the best horror movies. Plus I think I make a reference to porn. I'm pretty sure I do. Yup, tons of free porn.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Kill List (Review)

Kill List

Kill List (2012)

Directed by Ben Wheatley

On the surface, Kill List looks to be your standard five and dime crime thriller. Underworld goons doing their trade eliminating threats for $$. But as I thought about the film after watching it, you start seeing the layers underneath Kill List that enable you to see a movie that has more than meets the eye.

Kill List is a film that slowly burns you into a look into the life of a retired hit man and scopes out a world where his past, his present and his future all collide into an orgy of madness. It's an interesting journey seeing a drama, gore soaked slaughter and a Wicker Man-ish horror flick all blended into one. Sure there is a twist at the end and numerous unanswered questions which make you go WTF but it stills hit you harder than a hail of bullets.

What you'll get from Kill List is a character study of a soldier turned assassin who elects to try to live as a normal but it seems PTSD and pure conditioning to kill are not as easy to shut down when you get home. There is pure hell to pay for the sins of your past and it seems mysterious forces want have molded our hit man's world into their own.

Kill List is a solid flick that may seem like Pulp Fiction without the glitz and glamour. And for that it gets high marks for showing me a touch of all the genres I love from the UK.

Boring Plot-O-Matic

Eight months after a disastrous job in Kiev left him physically and mentally scarred, ex-soldier turned contract killer, Jay, is pressured by his partner, Gal, into taking a new assignment. As they descend into the dark and disturbing world of the contract, Jay begins to unravel once again - his fear and paranoia sending him deep into the heart of darkness.

Awesome Review-O-Matic

I'm going to break this down via Earth layers. Seems easier that way as far as I'm concerned.

The Crust

Kill List starts off as we see Jay and his Swedish wife Shel arguing about money. It seems Jay is a retired ex soldier with tours of Iraq who came back and went all crime underworld . We meet his friend and partner Gal and during a dinner party they talk about their lives, a past botched job and the life they now lead.

Clearly Wheatley uses this first Act to make us care for Jay and Gal and their alpha male shenanigans. Jay and Shel have a son and we see his fatherly side as well as Mr. Husband. Both Jay (Neil Maskell) and Shel (MyAnna Buring) have an uneasy relationship and you can see the scars Jay has been dealing with bubbling up. He's angry and all his instincts have have been dulled by being in this normal life.

Both Maskell and Buring give off good chemistry as a husband and wife who know they have had issues as they both transition to normals (Shel knows Jay is a hit man which is unique). Michael Smiley as Gal is still struggling to go normal but it seems as we move on the the list, we'll see who still has the instincts to do the job.

The Mantle


As both Jay and Gal fulfill their assignments, Jay slowly descents into what he was in the past. Before they embark on the kill, they stake out their victims finding in their now grey moral world reasons to take them out. The kills involving a Priest (highlighted in big white text), a Librarian are dastardly brutal. They slowly start out as professionals but it seems as Jay's scars get reopened (allegor-ized by a inflicted slice on his hand) he's going towards the deep end.

It begs the question can a soldier or even a hit man just turn off "their switch" when they retire? Is it just that easy to do? Kill List says no and I agree. Jay who seemed to be a brutal killer back in the day is as vicious when he gets a taste for it again. Each of the victims on "the list" are moral embodiments to stop him from going back to his killing ways. A priest representing morality, a librarian representing logic and a government official representing the law. Jay ignores all of this and slaughters them all.

The Core

The final scenes with the final kill go into weird Wicker Man territory. Everybody seems to have been played and characters who looked idle appear to be more sinister. A action sequence through a tunnel is mesmerzingly claustrophobic and vicious. These last scenes are very peculiar whipping in survival horror with bizarre rituals. It' s possibly fitting Jay confronts organized chaos as his final test. Having been now conditioned into a cold blooded killer/soldier, his instincts kick in and he becomes the embodiment of a savage.

Could we have gotten a better explanation of the "game" being played? Final answers on why characters actions became oddly weird? Sure but Whealtey seems to want us to fill in the holes which is fine with me.

Kill List gets a barely 3 spinkicks from me for taking me on a long journey of how easily a man can be stripped of his normal suit and launched into a naked and vicious savage. That's what you should take away from Kill List.

Nude-ipedia

Nada

Gore-ipedia

Hammer to the head trauma
Gunshots to the head
Torture trauma
Sliced bowel trauma

WTF moment


The twist ending

The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis

Kill List is available on VOD and on Amazon Instant Video. It comes out in theaters on February 3rd.

Rating:


Check out the trailer.


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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Jaded Viewer has been censored by the United States Government...


Learn about SOPA via the video below and contact your congressman or congresswoman letting them know you are against SOPA and PIPA. The Jaded Viewer and other sites rely on the flow and freedom of information to contribute to the lifeblood of the Internet. Any censorship by the government would discourage innovation and destroy creativity . Don't let this happen. Join in the protest and raise awareness.



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Monday, January 16, 2012

Best/Top Horror Movies of 2011 (Compilation from the Internet)

Hi y'all! (as Tucker and Dale would say) Well it's that time again where I make your life easier by compiling the top 10 (or best of) lists for 2011 for every major film and horror site, horror blog and online magazine out there on the interwebs. I'm not sure why I do this. It's a bit of a headache but it's fun comparing my list to everybody else.

I haven't tallied all of them but checking on most of them, you'll see the same movies on the list though a lot of different #1's. You'll see Insidious, I Saw the Devil and Tucker and Dale vs Evil on numerous lists. Yup they're all on mine as well. Be sure to check out my Top 10 Horror Movies of 2011.

Lot of readers or random stumble upon people like this aggregated post every year (Yeah I notice you all!). Everybody like me wants to know what they may have missed and get caught up. I'm the same way.

Well here ya go. Like last year, I've divided it up by different categories. Enjoy!

Horror Bloggers
Horror Websites
Film/Movie Sites

**Thanks to PromoteHorror.com for aggregating some of the lists**

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Did I miss a site or blog? Tweet me your list or post it on my Facebook page and I'll add you in. If you don't have a site, leave your top 10 in the comments below.

Appreciate the effort? Become a follower of the jaded viewer on Twitter and a fan on Facebook!

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Top 10 Horror Movies of 2011


Well here it is...ironically on the scariest day of the year Friday the 13th. My Top Horror Movies of 2011! Sorry for taking so long to get this posted but I had to catch up on some of the movies I missed this year. I usually look at other bloggers and horror site's lists and watch the movies that I missed.

Like last year, I've extended this to 20 films but numbers 20 to 11 are listed briefly as honorable mentions. My list has few movies that have appeared on others but I do put a spin on the order. I had a different take on what was considered "the best" this year and my picks are totally abnormal from everybody else. I'm just quirky that way.

First some fun facts and sidenotes!
  • Though some of these movies came out in 2010, I label any movie that got wide releases or DVD releases in 2011 as coming out in 2011.
  • It's a mix of indie horror and theatrical releases but mostly indies
  • I missed seeing some theatrical and indie horror movies but you have to rank what you saw so that's what I'm doing.
  • The top 10 films broken down by country: USA = 3, Canada=1, UK=2, Korea =1, Hong Kong=1, Norway=1, France =1
  • The 10 films broken down by spinkick rating: 4 spinkicks=3, 3 and 1/2 spinkicks= 3, 3 spinkicks=4
  • A movie that had 4 spinkicks doesn't necesarilly mean it was better.
  • To read the entire review of the film click on the title.
So what did 2011 offer us in the world of horror?
  • This list is dominated by independent horror films
  • Korean revenge reemerges and reinvents itself
  • 3D Horror and remakes were everywhere and sucked yet again in most cases
  • The haunted house story likes getting retold
  • Everybody has Insidious in their Top 10 (it's not on mine)
  • The number one movie on my list is from the USA!!! (can you believe it???)
I take it some of picks will lead to WTF faces and "you're fuckin crazy". Isn't that the fun of these year end Top 10s? Let's get to the list! Here is #20 to #11 as honorable mentions.

Honorable Mentions


20.) Cropsey (2 spinkicks): Real life serial killer documentary examines the Staten Island Boogeyman.

19.) Paranormal Activity 3 (2 spinkicks): I didn't review this film but found it as good as the original but it brought nothing to the lore. Good scares for a prequel.

18.) The Walking Dead Season 2 (3 spinkicks): Sure it turned all soap opera bubble bath but it still had its killer moments of zombie craziness and WTF. Plus Glenn got some!

17.) Insidious (2 spinkicks): Everybody loved Insidious. Insidious is definitely a mixed bag for me but it definitely is slightly above average. With Insidious, James Wan amps up the traditional haunted house, flips it inside out, inserts twizzler twists and creates a genuine mythos based on extrasensory perception.

16.) The Human Centipede 2 (2 spinkicks): The Human Centipede 2 is not a good film by any means but its like a newborn's dirty diaper....you get a hell of a surprise. Devoid of any decent plot, a psychopath that is a couple of deadly sins incarnate (think sloth) and 100% medically inaccurate, its a film that is a big "FUCK YOU" by Tom Six for anybody who claimed the original didn't go over the edge.

15.) Kidnapped (2 spinkicks): Kidnapped will shock the shit out of you (that ending will stick in your mind like a splinter) but says nothing of why violence fascinates us. Kidnapped is awesome style, but little substance and stands on the lower ladder of the home invasion genre. It's also why I disliked The Strangers so much. I need more than "Because you were home"

14.) Machete Maidens Unleashed (4 spinkicks): I was salivating to see the history of Filipino exploitation films as I was too young to know what these films were and how they were made. Machete Maidens Unleashed is an awesome in depth look into a period of filmmaking history where anything went, labor was cheap, the blood poured and the boobs, well they were real and they were spectacular.

13.) Rage (3 spinkicks): Rage plays with it's audience so well, I even got duped by its overall simplicity. It's a mix of Hitchcockian slickness, Twilight Zone twistiness and Spielberg terror magic. Sure it's hindered by its low budget and some odd flashback placement but overall it's an entertaining movie that plays out like a long riddle of emotion. Rage tricked me big time and it's why it was so much fun.

12.) Stakeland (3 spinkicks): Stake Land draws a world of post apocalyptic America filled with non sparkly vampires and religious extremism taken to it's most extreme. Comparisons to The Road meets the Walking Dead meets Red State have to be made. And these are all good things in an above average flick.

11.) Bedevilled (3 and 1/2 spinkicks): Bedevilled is revenge cinema that will drive you nuts, pull at your emotions and above all make you think that all could have turned out differently if one only helped in a time of need.

The Top 10

10.) The Troll Hunter (3 spinkicks)

Thanks to Andre Ovredal's latest flick The Troll Hunter, my views of lovable trolls has now been smashed to smithereens. The Troll Hunter gives a unique spin in that now tired shaky cam/found footage subgenre. You've all seen ghosts, zombies, cannibals and other found footage flicks. What makes this one any different? Honestly, I gotta say it's trolls.

Somehow the subject of this college film crew discovering real life trolls makes the fantasy fun to watch. I actually didn't know much about the fairy tale and the folklore of trolls but as I watched the film it started educating me just like a documentary would. Add in some gratuitous running shaky cam, a glimpse of a real life Paul Bunyan troll hunter and some solid trolls FX and you have a great film that lives up to it's tagline.




9.) Attack the Block (3 spinkicks)

Attack the Block is a mix of a thugged up Goonies meets Gremlins and it's all freakin awesome. Blending a mix of comedy, monster mayhem, action-palooza and some class warfare "MESSAGE!!" it's a slice of fun fun fun. The unlikely criminal tykes we bloody fuckin hate somehow grow up, learn a lesson and gain respect the hard way.

Throw in some neato sci-fi monsters, a few splatter and gore and quick witted pop culture references rapid firing at a mile a minute and it's all the fun you'll have in 90 minutes.



8.) Black Death (3 and 1/2 spinkicks)

Black Death is a medieval throwback that stabs and slices with intense battle scenes and also challenges your cerebral with religious themes and the quest for power. It's an unbelievably constructed film that stays true to being a 14th century story without going into the ridiculous of being Monty Python. Director Christopher Smith takes the setting of the times of the bubonic plague and spins a story that you'll think about weeks after you've seen the film while balancing it out with characters that you empathize with. Only a master storyteller can keep you interested in such a tale and Smith just does that.

Black Death is a conflict waiting for you to see. A conflict of the body vs disease, man vs man and belief vs non belief. The contradictions man has to endure are as brutal as the battles and Black Death makes you experience all of these. There is no twist in Black Death. The only curveball is that it's brutally honest right up to the very end about the plight of humanity during one of the worst periods in history.



7.) Dream Home (3 and 1/2 spinkicks)

Dream Home is an uber slasher exploitation film that not only will make inner gorehounds FAP but make the intellectual cinephile think and FAP as well. Rarely does a Cat 3 make you think. Usually you think you're gonna watch some vicious kills and see some boobies. But with a stellar performance by Josie Ho and director Ho-Cheung Pang satirizing the desire for the have nots to have at any costs, it's a tour de kill slasher film of 2011.

Dream Home is intelligently designed to be an effective satire and an uber bloody and gory slasher which is to say, not an easy thing to do. Ho drives the movie, her performance yings to a woman who has lived harshly than yangs to her being a vicious, cold blooded motherfuckin killer.

I have not seen a HK Cat 3 movie that's left an impact this much like Dream Home. I think I've grown as a horror fan in that I'm not easily glamoured by wicked gore or spectacular splatter anymore. I expect my wickedly gory and spectacular splatter slasher flicks to say something about the world I live in.

Dream Home does just that.



6.) Rubber (4 spinkicks)

There is a lot of "no reason" in movies Quentin Dupieux through the character Lt Chad likes to tell us in the opening of Rubber. I'd never really given it great thought. Filmmakers slip in a deux ex machinas and you rarely question it. Maybe even a twist that makes no sense. But rarely does a movie go full frontal no reason like Rubber does. If the movie is trying to either make a statement about no reason in films or exists for no reason, you be the judge. All I can say is that it's an absurd motion picture that I thoroughly enjoyed. And I'm here to give you the reasons why I think it's one of the best of 2011.

Rubber is a throwback to all that is awesome about independent film like Linklater, Jarmusch and Kelly. Dupieux may not be on par with those names yet but he's brought back that vibe that percolated in the early 90s. Rubber is a genre film that somehow breaks all genres. I can't even generalize what it exactly is. It's a surreal-meta-weird horror comedy. It made me laugh countless times and made me think the rest of the time. Not a lot of movies can do that.

But the question you want to know is should you watch Rubber? I say yes and for one reason.

No Reason.



5.) Hobo with a Shotgun (4 spinkicks)

Don't fuck with the homeless.

That's the lesson I learned after watching Hobo with a Shotgun, the infamous grindhouse trailer turned full frontal feature from director Jason Eisener. If this was the 3rd film in a triple feature with Planet Terror and Death Proof, I'd have to say it was the best of the three by far.

Hobo with a Shotgun punched me in the face with it's witty humor, clever cleverisms and pure blood drenched awesomeness. It's a time travel throwback to 80s Troma mixed in with Street Trash and would be a banned video nasty if this were 1985. Each scene is like a mini trailer in itself, which you could cut up and edit and make 10 more trailers out of the film.

But even though it's hilariously ridiculous and you start scratching your head with one WTF after the other, it still never loses it's power to make you laugh, make you scream and make you applaud like a pimp at a whore convention.

Hobo with a Shotgun hits harder than a cop during a riot. You're not going to get a better throwback grindhouse movie this year. And for the first time in a long time, I'm giving it the highest rating the jaded viewer can bestow.


4.) The Innkeepers (3 spinkicks)

The Innkeepers is smart enough to know it's audience and by doing so gives us an old fashioned spooky throwback ghost story that balances the line between being cute and scary. The characters are drones, the guests are odd and the ghosts are cliched visual jump scares. With all the said, I still had a few problems with West's lack of a firepower ending and his overabundance to drag the movie into zzzzzzzzzzz territory but some things can be overlooked when I'm having fun.

But I'm all for the nostalgia for my vintage Poltergeists for the new millennium. The Innkeepers could be Generation X's's answer to that 80s classic.

The Innkeepers is damn fuckin smart. Characters react as I thought I would react, they get nervous, stammer and crack jokes like I would. Call me a horror hipster too. I'm not ashamed. The Innkeepers is a Generation X ode to the horror ghost story that younglings will like but keep us hardcore aged horror fanatics on our toes.



3.) Tucker and Dale vs Evil (3 spinkicks)

Sometimes looks can be deceiving and that's never been more evident in Eli Craig's Tucker and Dale vs Evil.

The fun in Tucker and Dale is that it takes the redneck/hillbilly slasher and turns it upside down. What if the hillbillies were just regular Joe Schmoes and the douchebaggy college kids were the dumb schmucks that caused 'da killin.

If you ever saw Wrong Turn, Friday the 13th. Texas Chainsaw and Hills Have Eyes films, you can grasp where this is going. It's been a while since I've seen a horror comedy that knows the genre its making fun of. All the stereotypical elements are dropped in from the music to the scary general store owner to Dale's maniacal laughter. But all are misunderstood elements that twist the hillbilly horror genre into a world of strange coincidences and full of LOLs.

It's a film that definitely holds its own in the Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland horror comedy pantheon of films. Tudyk and Labine are a comedic duo of devilish funnies. I'll say it right now. It may be the best horror comedy this year.
It hits all the right banjo notes, is awesomely quick witted and a very clever parody of redneck slashers.



2.) I Saw the Devil (4 spinkicks)

It wouldn't be the same if Korea didn't release an awesome revenge flick this year. But surprisingly they released 2 stellar revenge movies with Bedevilled being the other. I Saw the Devil is on lots and lots of Best of 2011 lists and deservedly so. It's a top notch, blood soaked crime thriller that echoes the pantheon of awesome Korean revenge but takes a step into a whole new frontier. You're not just given a rinse and repeat formula, oh no. In this dark and dreary tale, Jee-woon Kim serves up a curveball that will befuddle all your senses, pull your emotions and have your jaw completely on the floor.

What separates I Saw the Devil from its American counterparts is a sense of humanity that gets loss at our most vulnerable. The white knight becomes dark. And the level of grey is maximized to give the audience a decision to evaluate who is exactly the "devil" in this film.

I haven't questioned my loyalties in a while but I Saw the Devil is like a personality test for all those involved. Revenge is a dish best served on a heaping pile of decapitated heads and blood splattered walls and floors. I wouldn't want it any other way.



1.) The Woman (3 and 1/2 spinkicks)

Oddly enough, I think I was one of the few who watched Andrew van den Houten's The Offpsring, the original movie The Woman is a sequel to. I gave it a "C" which is the equivalent of 2 spinkicks.

With The Woman....the shock value is amped up to give you a fuckin punch in the nuts. What you get is a film that clearly satires the -ism it puts front and center and spews a vicious gore appetite, the squeamish may just walk out of the theater (which is what happened in Sundance).

Lucky McKee and Jack Ketchum with The Woman challenge your perceptions of civility by sending you scene after scene of what misogyny and sexism looks like on gamma radiated steroids. It's disgustingly violent and atrociously hard to watch but in this disturbed suburban nightmare, father demands he knows best and some may actually may agree. I was truly mesmerized by this tale of satire-sploitation. It's a film with exploitation characteristics but has so much to say as well.

The Woman will clearly be a "love it" or "hate it" film. It's a satire of the cookie cutter American family and the values they teach to their children. Even in this odd set up of a feral woman being "civilized", there is black humor and a few chuckles. The movie attacks traditional gender roles and the woman in The Woman maybe not be who we think she is. I have to say, it's a masterpiece of Americana horror satire, a film you have to respect because it hints at a truth that we all want to deny is real.

The Woman shows America's contradiction in a bloody gory horror movie. When you remove the blood and gore, what you get is an examination of how mentally savage we might be. That's almost as sickening as seeing our Woman slaughter her captors.

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OK, I know you fellow jaded viewers have your 2 cents. So go ahead and let me have it. Throw that smelly poop at me or if on the off chance you partially agreed on some of my picks, send me that love. Chime in and let me know what you think.

This list of the Top 20 Horror Movies of 2011 also is an opportunity to see the movies you may have missed that made many of the best of 2011 within the horror community. We all missed a few flicks here and there. I hope you all give all of these movies a chance and then come back and let me know what's the what.

The Jaded Viewer Related Linkage

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Best Elephants, DIY Indies and OMG! Movies of 2011

Before I post my top 10 horror movies (yes it's coming soon), I wanted to go over the other movies (yes I saw other non horror flicks) that I thought were super duper awesome this year. From the box office Hollywood juggernauts to the indie spectaculars, these stood out like no other (plus there the only ones I saw). There are also a few films you may have missed that will completely blow you away.

"Box Office Elephants"


1.) Rise of the Planet of the Apes: Best sci-fi/action flick of the year. Serkin made me care about ape-kind.

2.) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: I'm a big Potter fan (shhhh) so I liked how it all ended.

3.) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Rooney Mara gets all naked/grunty/scary in this remake of the Swedish bestseller. She drives a typical crime mystery into awesomeness.

"DIY Indie Spectaculars"

1.) Super: Not as good as Kick-Ass but fun nevertheless. Wilson and Page made an awesome crazy dynamic duo as normals become superheroes.

2.) Kaboom: Gregg Araki makes a comeback with a WTF film that will make you sexual uncomfortable as it will make you scratch your head...and your balls.

3.) Waldo the Dog: Best indie screener I received this year. Waldo the Dog will be unlike any other film you have ever seen. It's the equivalent of seeing a fancy car get wrecked, miraculously repaired and then totally wrecked again. As much as you'd like to look away you can't. It's just so mesmerizing to watch.

4.) A Foundling: A Foundling breaks the handcuffs of the conventional indie film. It's a serial Western with a twist and though follows such a simple story of 2 sisters reunited, it's even smart enough to comment on the world around them.

"The OMGs"

1.) Ninja Kids!!!: One of the best films of 2011 from Takashi Miike. Ninja Kids is like Spy Kids on acid. Think Harry Potter but with over the top ninjas and slapstick comedy. It's a cute Japanese family film with a Miike insanity mixed in. And it works from start to finish. It's super duper funny, has some dog poop humor and a ton of CGI madness that only Miike could think up. Based on a long running Japanese TV show called Rantaro the Ninja Boy, it's filled with humor that's international in the LOLs. It's got visual wackiness, self aware parodies and villains that are basically clowns with swords and ninja stars.

What you get is a family comedy that leaves you feeling freakin awesome after you leave the theater. Ninja Kids is heartwarming Japanese wackiness, the Miike way.

2.) BKO: Bangkok Knockout: BKO: Bangkok Knockout which is without a doubt, the best action movie of 2011. BKO is an orgy and ballet of violence set to a soundtrack. You won't know the names of the characters or care if the bad guys get their comeuppance. Seriously, it's not important.

As long as you were mesmerized by the punches, kicks, double kicks, double punches and the synchronized attacks, BKO has done it's job.

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What non horror movies did you think were the best of 2011? Let me know!

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Winner of The Jaded Viewer 2 DVD Giveaway is.....

Well because of the holidays, it took me a while to get back into jaded viewer mode. But I've finally picked a winner for the jaded viewer 2 DVD Giveaway.

Like I said previously, I'll be honest, I had no interest in reviewing these flicks. Looking at some reviews, they're not what you'd consider "kick ass awesome" or even "mediocrely average". Sure I could have watched them and probably created awesome mockery reviews but I'm going to hope the winner can do that for me.

So the winner of this giveaway is....

Kim K.!

Congrats Kim. Now can you write me a review? :-)

More giveaways to come so keep checking the Jaded Viewer Facebook page and follow me on Twitter.

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Monday, January 09, 2012

Dream Home (Review)

Dream Home

Dream Home (2011 - USA)

Directed by Ho-Cheung Pang

I take pride in watching Category III Hong Kong flicks. I loved the Anthony Wong driven The Ebola Syndrome and Dr. Lamb, video nasties that were fucked up beyond recognition. So it's been a while since I've seen a Cat 3 HK flick but having seen Dream Home litter a few best of 2011 lists, I knew I had to seek this beauty out.

And what did it do? It slaughtered a few of the other flicks from my 10 story top 10 list and moved right into the building (see what I did there?) Dream Home is an uber slasher exploitation film that not only will make inner gorehounds FAP but make the intellectual cinephile think and FAP as well. Rarely does a Cat 3 make you think. Usually you think you're gonna watch some vicious kills and see some boobies. But with a stellar performance by Josie Ho and director Ho-Cheung Pang satirizing the desire for the have nots to have at any costs, it's a tour de kill slasher film of 2011.

Dream Home does suffer with issues with realism, the kills are somewhat comic bookey and there is a serious issue with the use of flashbacks that may confuse some viewers. A subplot of affairs and pacing issues also hurts the film a bit as does the super strength of our uber killer. But all that aside, Cat 3 HK flicks have always had a bit of slapstick and oddness about them that makes them mesmerizing to watch.

Dream Home is my dream movie. Fuck yeah.

Boring Plot-O-Matic

Cheng Li-sheung is a young, upwardly mobile professional finally ready to invest in her first home. But when the deal falls through, she is forced to keep her dream alive - even if it means keeping her would-be neighbors dead.

Awesome Review-O-Matic

Let's break this down movie down by different sections of an apartment building.

The Lobby

Cheing Lai (Josie Ho) works as a telemarketer for a bank around 2007. She's a regular office drone leading a typical life (working 2 other jobs, taking care of her father and brother, being a mistress and whoring it...you know typical shit). However, she has a dream. She wants to live in an apartment looking over the ocean bay of Hong Kong. Despite her lack of funds to buy this apartment she is willing to do anything to make her dream come true.

It's not everyday a movie opens with some suffocation via plastic bag and plastic handcuff restraints. With Dream Home, you get sucked in and the movie starts to establish a pattern of Cheing Lai going to slasher school while we also get flashbacks of her life as a child which establish her motivations for what happens in the present.

The Living Room

Soon we start seeing our girl in action as she slaughters her would be neighbors all in one night. The odd part of this is I usually root for the slasher and was kinda mystified by my lack of cheering as it seems silly to kill your potential neighbors to bring the price down of an apartment. But the slaughter is magnificio! Our first kill scenes revolve around a pregnant woman who is brilliantly suffocated via suction (you gotta see this shit...fuckin crazy...see below)





....and the old reliable ocular trauma makes a cameo. But as the movie went on, Cheing Lai showed she was vulnerable, getting wounded in the midst of her battles and though we shouldn't empathize with a cold blooded killer, I was hoping she'd be OK.

Maybe it's because she's a woman but oh have Cat 3 flicks changed. Cheing Lai rivals Anthony Wong's throne of being the hardcore of hardcore slashers.

The Kitchen

I mentioned previously the movie employs ill timed flashbacks. First with Cheing Lai as a little girl whose family has to deal with being forcibly removed from their apartment by Triads working for greedy developers. Later she sees the plight of her family and the tole of her dad being sick and not being covered by health insurance.

The flashbacks show up without any notice and sometimes I got lost in where I was. Early on years were subtitled in but it's a bit confusing as one can't tell where we are with the story. I'll say the flashbacks do give you a glimpse of our slashereta's motivations of why this apartment by the sea is so important. Sure it's not justification to kill people but for a crazy insano like Cheing Lai, I guess it is.

The Bedroom

Ahh the bedroom, because that's where the good action all takes place. Cheing Lai's best kills when she home invades a group of Chinese hipsters, whores and drug dealer. The movie climaxes in the kill scenes here with a variety of creative kills ranging from intestine spillage, toilet trauma, glass beaker neck stabbings and wood to mouth Fangoria approved slaughter. And some J. Bobbitt. Because's what's a slasher movie without a penis trauma right?

It's a testament to non CGI-ness of it all. Cheing Lai also gets some luck to get out of the mess she's been in as the cops want to bust in and stop the madness. It's this ridiculousness that makes Dream Home a little fantastic. Can a dude still smoke a joint while his intestines are all over the floor? Dream Home says yes.

The Patio

With all this fuckin awesome slaughter, the movie poses a few ideas about why our mistress of slasher-dom does what she does. The movie satirizes what one is willing to do to buy her own home which in turns plays out the notion of how the housing crisis evolved. Sure Cheing Lai goes the fuckin beserk route to get the price down by the real estate agent by murdering a bunch of people in the building but in retrospect the working class, even the poor are willing to do what it takes to own their own home thus taking those shady deals from the Fannie Mays and other home brokerage companies. Should they have known better? Of course. But somebody should have told them it was wrong. These companies didn't.

As the flashbacks indicate, the HK government seemed to conspire with the mob and real estate developers to remove poor people from their homes in order to replace them with luxury high rises. It seems we can then conclude that the movie was implying that the working class wanted what was originally theirs. Cheing Lai is the embodiment of that.

The movie ends in irony and it's pretty obvious that nobody will live happily ever after. But what Dream Home establishes is a why in the midst of the chaos. The slasher genocides these people for her own selfish reasons but in a way the movie wants us to ignore that she's killed innocent people and empathize with her working class background.

Dream Home is intelligently designed to be an effective satire and an uber bloody and gory slasher which is to say, not an easy thing to do. Ho drives the movie, her performance yings to a woman who has lived harshly than yangs to her being a vicious, cold blooded motherfuckin killer.

I have not seen a HK Cat 3 movie that's left an impact this much like Dream Home. I think I've grown as a horror fan in that I'm not easily glamoured by wicked gore or spectacular splatter anymore. I expect my wickedly gory and spectacular splatter slasher flicks to say something about the world I live in.

Dream Home does just that.


Nude-ipedia

Whores show boobies
Simulated sex and BJs
I love Cat 3 nudity!

Gore-ipedia

See my descriptions above
So much awesomeness and creative kills, it should go into the Hall of Fame

WTF moment


The whore gets floor boarded

The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis

Dream Home came out in Hong Kong in 2010 but was released in NA and EU in 2011. It's available on DVD via IFC Midnight. Rarely does one see a Cat 3 film and say that it's thought provoking. Usually I go and say that shit was hilariously fucked up. I can proudly say that it's both!

Rating:


Check out the trailer.



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Friday, January 06, 2012

The Best Jaded Viewer Features of 2011 You May Have Missed

Sometimes throughout the year, I'll miss a damn good post by another horror blogger. It's hard to go back and see what good stuff has been written by them. I mean how will I ever get to read it if he or she doesn't tell me about it again?

Well I'm hoping you use this post to get to read some of my best features, reviews, lists and article I've written in 2011. Seriously, some of these are kinda hilarious if I say so myself. I re-read them and I'm kinda amazed I actually wrote it.

My favorites out of 2011 are my Half Moon review, the Sucker Punch photo blog, the Netflix vs VHS post, the Occupy Wall St/Romero article and when I reviewed Exit 33 starring Kane Hodder by parodying Rebecca Black's Friday.

I hope you get a kick out of these and LOL as you read them. Enjoy!

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

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Thursday, January 05, 2012

Kidnapped (Review)

Kidnapped

Kidnapped aka Secuestrados (2011)

Directed by Miguel Ángel Vivas

I've always thought the home invasion film is one of the most terrifying genres in all of horror. I mean the reason why is pretty obvious. It realistically could happen. That's terrifying as shit right?

Lots of movies have been made about this and I've seen a lot of them. Them (aka Ils), The Strangers, Inside and Funny Games are all the notables. When I first saw Michael Haneke's Funny Games, I'll admit I was blown away. Vicious violence and Haneke's attempt to chide us and ask if we were desensitized to it all was revolutionary. Now we're given yet another home invasion film that's just as nihilistic and unrelenting as Funny Games and one has to ask why?

Vivas's Kidnapped is a Spanish import that puts the audience uncomfortably close to a home invasion playing in real time and let's us squirm as a family is robbed, tortured and terrorized. It's pure cinematic wickedness as Vivas employs only a few cuts/edits and instead hovers the camera around the action as it plays. It's a damn eerie and effective technique, one where audience has nowhere to escape but feel as terrorized as this family.

But the problem with Kidnapped lies not in it's dread or viciousness but in it's characters. Our family are ridiculously badly drawn: Dad is inept, Mom is too houswifey and daughter seems like a spoiled brat. The bad guy's don't fair either. I'm going to use a Miami Heat analogy that may or may not work to explain their dumb-ititude.

In the end Kidnapped will shock the shit out of you (that ending will stick in your mind like a splinter) but says nothing of why violence fascinates us. Kidnapped is awesome style, but little substance and stands on the lower ladder of the home invasion genre. It's also why I disliked The Strangers so much. I need more than "Because you were home".

Boring Plot-O-Matic

Three hooded Eastern-European criminals burst into a home in a Madrid gated community, holding the family hostage in its own home, and forcing the father to empty his credit cards.

Awesome Review-O-Matic

Let's get that pesky plot out of the way. Innocent Spanish family has just moved into an awesome new home and they display all those qualities of rich families I despise. Dad is mega rich, Mom is all into house wife duties and the daughter wants to party. When 3 ski masked criminals invade their home, they are abused and fucked up. Dad is forced to get PINs for all his credit cards and driven out into the city and take out the max from ATMs. Meanwhile, mom and daughter are guarded into a sense of home invasion normalcy.

Later, unexpected visitors ring that damn doorbell and get caught in the mix. It's up to our fearless duo to make sure their master heist goes according to plan. The camera work here is utterly flawless. The shots hover like a guardian angel, we peek in from scene to scene with no cutting whatsoever. Violence becomes almost dreamlike. In one scene where our girls try to escape, the terror is amplified by a Vivas technique where he goes split screen and we see the action take place simultaneously. It's damn effective revealing the horror of both scenes. My eye wandered to the criminals as I knew I'd see mega fuckedupness on their end.

It's this style that is suspenseful and draws an eager viewer into this hellish world that's taking place. Kidnapped is paced so well that it's a testament to the actors and actresses to get all their dialogue, motions, etc all accomplished without any cuts. You really do admire this type of cinema as its exhilarating to watch.

Let me go into that Miami Heat analogy. When one goes into home invasion as a criminal activity you'd think the 3 of them would be on the same page. Let's break them down with their Heat counterparts.

Master Chief Criminal: Wade

We have a leader who is the one takes the dad around town maxing out his cards. You'd think this guy could be able to handle his crew but you'd be wrong. He's doesn't have the pulse of his team and seems to be a useless kind of leader. But you get the feeling he's gonna put a dagger through your heart and come up with a Wade like game winning bucket.

Petty Criminal Crazy Guy: LeBron

OK this guy is kinda nuts. He goes all crazy and almost goes all Lebron in the 4th quarter. The entire heist was in jeopardy because of his actions. He goes all murdery on a inspector and decides to "SVU" the daughter. He's totally the muscle of the crew but definitely a total choker...you know like Lebron.

Petty Criminal Morality Guy: Bosh


This guy has a total change of heart and feels bad that Lebron guy is totally fucking up everybody and is out of control. Like Bosh, he's the 3rd fiddle and he brings absolutely nothing to the game. If you're recruiting for a home invasion, you need soldiers willing to do anything to get the job done. They brought Morality Bosh Guy. And he's a fuckin pussy.

So there you have it. Your Big Three master criminals. The master plan is completely flawed. How much can one really max out from an ATM machine to get a big score? Not a helluva alot I would imagine. Home invasions are bash and dash. You get in, you loot and you get out. But these guys are having a fuckin sleepover. Plus their team isn't as solid as one might think with a bad captain, a crazy guy and a wuss.

If it wasn't for Wade guy saving the day, they'd have lost to the damn Cleveland Cavaliers family. In every home invasion movie, the family always tries to fight back or escape. And sure our family does here. I'd take the argument that summoning up courage is hard to do when you fear for your life. But one has to make sure when they are fighting back, you actually defeat your enemy. I like to think in a way that the family was only up by 2 pts and thought they had won the game. That's when Amazing happens.

Kidnapped's characters are just not at all interesting and the logic is a little off. The style as I said was spectacular but the substance of what this nihilistic journey was for is lacking. In Funny Games, Haneke broke the 4th wall and talked to the audience and asked us what WE WOULD DO. It seemed that Haneke wanted to provoke the audience and ask why we want to see the violence and when he REWINDS the action, we're even more thrilled. There is a message within Funny Games with its clean cut villains and the quagmire they give the family.

In Kidnapped, it's all glitz and glamour. Oh we see our big 3 wreak havoc, we see the dazzling dunks of gore and splatter and a game winning shot and I enjoyed seeing this mayhem. But it didn't really give me anything to talk about after seeing it. I didn't come away with something that might be thought provoking or worthwhile.

Kidnapped gives you a taste of home invasion genre, the life and death struggle but doesn't have a conceptual theme of what we just saw. It's nihilism for nihilism's sake and sometimes that's all you get.

Nude-ipedia

Daughter has serious cleavage issues

Gore-ipedia

Sliced throats
Gunplay
SVU action
If I told you more, the movie might be spoiled

WTF moment


The ending

The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis

I know Kidnapped is high on many Top 10 lists and it will get an honorable mention from me in mine. I expect more from my home invasion and I got what I expected. European imports usually have both style and substance. I'm kinda shocked Kidnapped didn't have the latter.

Rating:


Check out the trailer.


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