Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Monsters (Review)


Monsters (2010)

Directed by Gareth Edwards

"It's different looking at America from the outside in"


It wasn't Gareth Edwards intention to make a film allegory about the US immigration policy with Mexico. But that's what comes out of Monsters, a sci fi Lost in Translation meets District 9 sorta film.

It's also an excellent display of indie and guerrilla style filmmaking by Edwards, his crew and actors Scoot McNairy and the beautiful Whitney Able. It's easy to Blomkamp this flick with comparisons to District 9. It's got a restricted zone, a military policy towards the alien "invaders" and a look into the world of the quarantine zone. But the film does two things District 9 doesn't. It subtly establishes a pseudo budding relationship between our intrepid photographer and a daughter of a media mogul and it blends in "monsters" into commonplace lore. And it does both effectively.

Sure seeing the monsters in small increments makes it a little irritating, the acting is completely improvised which leads to odd exchanges and the suspense is a bit cliched but it clearly has the heart of a indie film that does the more than most blockbuster Hollywood flicks do with 1000x more budget.

At the end, you feel like you walked away from a seeing an allegory thinly disguised as a sci-fi drama and the aliens seem to have more in common with us than you think.

Boring Plot-O-Matic

Six years ago NASA discovered the possibility of alien life within our solar system. A probe was launched to collect samples, but crashed upon re-entry over Central America. Soon after, new life form began to appear and half of Mexico was quarantined as an INFECTED ZONE. Today, the American and Mexican military still struggle to contain "the creatures"...... Our story begins when a US journalist agrees to escort a shaken tourist through the infected zone in Mexico to the safety of the US border.

Awesome Review-O-Matic

What you notice right off the bat is how seemlessly Edwards integrates the sci fi in Monsters. He is of course an FX wizard first before a full fledge director. We see night vision battles, smoldering ruins, fighter planes in the sky and newscast shots of the skyscraper tall tentacled aliens battling the Mexican and US military. All the signs of a "restricted zone" or "gas mask prices" have been digitally created within shots filmed in real life locations. It's a sight to behold and it's all done quite creatively.

You clearly get transported into a North America that looks gritty real, in a mid post apocalyptic world. Kaulder, a photographer on the hunt for his big payday ends up in Mexico where he's told by his boss he has to escort Sam, the daughter of the company's CEO back to America. Their relationship grows throughout the film.

Soon there trekking to the coast in a bid to get on a ferry to America. The film spends alot of time having Kaulder and Sam talk about their lives. Both have different motivations to go home, Kaulder for his son and Sam to her fiance. But these motivations are deceptive in the big picture of just getting back the the good ole USA alive.

We get a montage of fun and later the easy route leads to a harder one as the duo have to trek back to America by land instead. It's filled with a boat ride with some solid extraterrestrial WTF scenes of suspense. A fighter jet disappears via mysterious tentacles and a group of guide soldiers gets slaughtered.

As we approach the end, Sam and Kaulder are clearly attracted to each other in that "we survived multiple alien attacks" romanticism that comes from well you know surviving such an ordeal. The ending is a little wild and bit of a "Huh?" but it is what is.

Scoot McNairy and the hot Whitney Able both give great performances in a movie that they were only given an outline of what they needed to do. If all the dialogue was improvised, it's a credit to them with coming up with conversation that seems plausible and funny. Able is a presence on screen, a mesmerizing beauty though cliched damsel in distress. McNairy plays tough, lovable fun guy. An alpha male with a heart.

But the monsters should be as important as these characters and through glimpses via news footage, some shots in some climactic scenes and one at the end, they are only their as background. As the titular name of the film, they should have had some focus, possibly their plight of being targeted by both governments (like they did in District 9). This is where I had a few gripes. The aliens seem to have no agenda, no motivation and no adequate screen time which leads to a lacking trifecta.

If your going to make a alien flick, you need to get some meat on the bones of the aliens. They shouldn't be treated like a establishing shot of a sunset. It's only at the end do we see the aliens have relationships as well, a budding family per say and there main motivation it seems is the resources America has. Somehow, it's an appropriate parallel to real life events.

Monsters is made on the attention spans of the YouTube crowd. Doing more with less is a testament to everybody involved in the movie. Edwards does a fantastic job of getting the most out of his special effects laden flick but missed a chance to shed some light into an important subject in current events. The plight of the monsters is as important as the plight of our leads.

America's population will constantly be a changing demographic and so will our alien flicks change as well. Monsters is a step into a new frontier of indie sci-fi, one where we have to adapt our expectations on what it can be, not what it should be.


A few scattered bodies, nothing a tween couldn't handle.



WTF moment

The tentacle tango between the aliens at the end

The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis

Monsters is out on DVD now via Magnet Releasing. If you're in the mood for a more arthouse Cloverfield flick with a touch of Lost in Translation and some District 9 danger, Monsters is the clear cut choice for you.

The Vitals


Check out the trailer below.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Shortround: Hike (Review)

From the jaded viewer inbox comes a another edition of The Shortround. The latest entry is Hike, from writer and director Jennifer Campbell. It's a shorty short, at about 7 minutes and is simple in its simplicity. Here be a synopsis.

Hike is a horror short about what can happen when you go into the woods. A man and woman embark on a day trip, hiking to a remote area in the woods. No one is around, and they are alone. After awhile they stop to rest and relax. Things seem okay but something is not quite right. A gruesome discovery is made and grisly circumstances unfold as a result.

the jaded viewer says: With all the horror shorts I get, in order to break through the clutter you really need to go all 360 on me. Either you tell a story I've never seen before, end with a super duper clever twist (ala Daywalt Fear Factory) or set up something that will end with a WTF. Hike is a film that represents the latter of the 3.

Simply, it's a man and woman going hiking in the woods. But of course when you watch a horror short, you know a twist is coming. The visuals are nicely done and the music adds some tension. But most of the first 5 or so minutes are a few hiking and camping cliches that build up to a pseudo twist. I'd had hoped we'd get something new added to the mix but we get your standard scene set up. At one point we get a peeing in the woods scene when they've hiked for like 1 minute. Honestly, I'd have appreciated some other set up before our poor victim makes a shocking discovery.

After a frenetic chase scene, it's pretty much the end that had me going WTF. And it's indeed crazy sick and twisted. Solid splattery slice and pull.

Campbell's Hike is like a first take of a movie scene. I don't want to classify it as a work in progress but it feels like it. It's got a solid premise and a POW! ending but it feels like a first draft. Campbell has solid techniques but sometimes even the best filmmakers need a few tries to get things right.

She has a feature called Final Weekend in development and Hike seems to fit into a testing ground for it. I'm looking forward seeing what's to come for Jennifer Campbell, she's got the talent to make something shocking and new and that's what I look for in every movie I review.

Check out the trailer below. Here's a link the IMDB page as well as to the official site.

Hike Official Trailer from Jennifer Campbell on Vimeo.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

I've been chosen!!! (to attend the NYC Halloween Haunted House Spring Edition)

I'm glad to tell you I've been chosen to participate in the spring edition of NYC Halloween Haunted House. Woohoo!!! I'm excited and scared at the same time. It''s a little different as this haunted house is an invite only. You had to participate in the October Halloween Haunted House to get a chance to be invited to this one.

I detailed my experience with last year's house in detail. Here are a few links:
It was filled with psychological trauma, mental and physical torture, a bit of full frontal male and female nudity and a helluva lot of WTF. That being said, it was fuckin awesome.

I can't wait to have what they have in store for the one coming up. So far, there has been some hints and clues on their Facebook page and the others who have partaken in this craziness are scared shitless and completely eager to get their scare on.

According to some recent posts, 60-70 invites have been sent out. Last week, I received 3 e-mails with 3 dots on them as did the others. What does it mean? 3 dots? Does this mean the haunted house will be in 3 weeks? Who knows? It's part of the pregame scare and brilliance by Josh and Kris.

So not to leave you in the dark, I plan on documenting my experience without giving too much away. Like I did last year, I'll possibly give a walkthrough/spoiler when the attraction is over. In any case, I'll be posting my thoughts and giving you a blow by blow account on Twitter (@jadedviewer) and Facebook.

So when the time comes you'll be getting the inside scoop if you can't attend this scare-o-logy experiment. Remember to check back here for future updates!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fatal Secrets (Review)

Fatal Secrets

Fatal Secrets aka Balancing the Books (2009)

Directed by Meir Sharony

I'll admit I've watched my share of Lifetime Movies of the week. I've even documented it on this here site. So what? Are you judging me?

OK go ahead and judge because I recently watched another clone of these movies called Fatal Secrets. I wasn't expecting it to be a hardcore I Spit on your Grave rape and revenge nasty but maybe we'd see some psychological torture involved. But in the end it's a straight to cable sort of rape and revenge film that has some name stars in it.

Fatal Secrets is clearly a carbon copy of Lifetime's steady dose of women scorn flicks. Dina Meyer stars as Julia, a divorced woman who meets Scott but things go all wrong. Scott rapes Julia and now she's haunted by this mental and physical ordeal.

She confides with her friends Rebecca (Lea Thomspon) and Sharlene (Lela Rochon) who both have had past and current trauma themselves. After some investigating Julia starts to uncover the true identity of "Scott" by breaking into his house and doing some Mission Impossible style digging. Soon she's Googling his name and finding out about his mysterious past.

This leads to a trip to Texas and a church in a small community. Seems Scott has done some messed up things here as well and stolen some money. But Julia takes her own form of justice and kidnaps the man who hurt her. The conclusion I think does a 180 in terms of Lifetime movie of the week endings and clearly lives up to it's title.

OK I've watched a few women scorn movies but I'm no expert. I tend to use logic like an alpha male and start asking pesky questions. Call the police? Why wasn't this an option? I've seen my share of Law and Order: SVU and clearly the police can arrest somebody and convict them in an hour.

The performances are all OK and besides the big three we have cameos from Ernie Hudson and Ed Begley Jr. Dina Meyer plays prey turned predator decently enough and Scott played by Vincent Spano plays evil guy well enough.

With all this logic, I decided I should have the target audience watch this film. And who do I know that's the right demographic? My mom of course. I think she'd say it was "shocking" and "suspenseful" and had "a had a crazy ending". She digs the scorn and scorn avenged is this flick in a nutshell. So if you wanna watch a flick with your mom, this be it.

The Vitals
Rating (for mom's):

Check out the trailer below.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sucker Punch Photos are Weapons of Mass Erections

Ahh that photo above is my current wallpaper. I'm a big fan of Jamie Chung (and sort of a big fan of hot girls named "Jaime" in general). But that photo is clearly the PG for this PG-13 flick. There are a few more below that will get those guns cocked. (you see what I did there? I'm going to do that a lot)

Sure on some level, I enjoyed Zach Snyder's other flicks (300 and Watchmen) and I predict that Sucker Punch will lead to one big Hollywood steampunk revival. But I digress. A flick like this is clearly hitting on Snyder's base of amped up alpha horndogs who want to see hot girls blowing shit up. This is all about CGI bullets killing CGI targets and cutting to hot American actresses in retro Sailor Moon outfits in super duper slo mo.

And you know what? There's nothing wrong with that.

How can you go wrong with a cast of attractive women including Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Jamie Chung, Vanessa Hudgens and Carla Gugino? Add in some sword play, some giant machines and blimps and you're sure to see the theaters packed with tweens and teens.

But let's check out the photos. They seem to be subliminally telling us something more than what's on the surface.

Go team go! Chicks with guns is your generic photo of awesomeness. It says we may be 5"2 and the guns weigh more than all of us combined but we can so kick your ass.

Did you see the size of that gun she fired at us? It was bigger than her.

Must. Maintain. Eye. Contact...

Sure it looks like the dressing room of a strip club but the fishnet stockings say otherwise.

[Wipes drool]....Does that say Gold Diggers in the background? Clearly it's a hidden message about.....oh whatever [drools...]

Bow-chicka-bow-wow....did you hurt your knee? I'll kiss it and make it all better Vanessa Hudgens. I know you're a sweet innocent girl who would never have nude photos of herself all over the Internet right?Ahem...RIGHT???

The audience will clearly not know WTF is going on so let's write down our goals on this here blackboard. We need a map, fire, knife and key. Can somebody post this on Facebook so we can remember?

So your like the creepy old guy that gives me the Sword of Omens...right? OMG! LOL! FTW!

Meow! Meow! I smell a cat fight coming. I think it's about who's going to go on stage next.

Clearly they just shot CGI bullets into a CGI target causing a CGI explosion leading to a sychronized landing and gratuitous slo mo pause. Clearly right?

Well there ya have it. Some tidbits on what you may have missed when checking out the Sucker Punch photos. You know you're going to thrust yourself into theaters this Friday to check out this steampunk homage (steampunkers around the world are weeping BTW). Never has movie made nerds and geeks turn into beta blocking alpha males like Sucker Punch.

I call it steampunk action porn....set to Led Zeppelin. And you know what?

There's nothing wrong with that.

Here be the trailer.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

The Shortround: Blinky (tm) (Watch the full short!)

With The Shortround, sometimes I review shorts you guys never get to see as they are usually sent via screeners or are touring various film festivals. Well, that's not going to happen with this one because YOU can watch the full short below and read my review after. I'm kind of excited to see what you all thing about Ruairi Robinson's Blinky TM (aka Bad Robot). A sci-fi horror blend of Asimov wickedness.

Robinson is an Irish filmmaker who has made a couple of sci-fi shorts his last being The Silent City. He was attached to direct the live action version of Akira but dropped out. Starring Max Records from Where the Wild Things Are, Blinky will make you cry, laugh and cringe. The tagline says it all.

Soon every home will have a robot helper. Don't worry. It's perfectly safe.

Check it out below.

Blinky™ from Ruairi Robinson on Vimeo.

the jaded viewer says: Blinky tm does so much in its 12 min runtime that it's almost a perfect short. Like a segment out of Issac Assimov's I, Robot, you get a feel for this future world that even Speilberg would be impressed. From the fake newscast to the Blinky commercial (I loved the quick warnings the commercial gives), you feel as if this world is only years away.

Max Records gives a great performance as Alex Neville whose parents are arguing constantly which leads him to want a Blinky, a R2D2 like droid that is part housekeeper, part playmate. The montage of happy times is hilariously LOL (they like to play Hide and Seek and throw Frisbees) and it's this contrast to the later half of the short where things fall apart that is so subtle it has a feel of a feature film ready to take off.

The twist of Blinky is that you feel the "The Three Laws of Robotics" is going to be twisted and bent here and it is. The roller coaster you go through is particularly brilliant. We the viewer feel for Alex who is seeing his parent's marriage crumble. Then we empathize with Blinky who sees Alex turn into his parents, becoming angry, confused and uncaring. It's so clearly intentional that it makes for a hell of an emotional game.

Robinson knows how to pull your strings and with Blinky's final minutes, he totally yanks the chair from underneath you. That is an impressive feat for a short. The special effects are awesome, top notch and stellar. Blinky moves and acts as a real character and ILM should hire this guy immediately!

When Skynet takes over, you better treat your robot slave well or you'll be looking for some spare parts of your own.

What did you think of Blinky (tm)? Share your thoughts about this short.

The Vitals

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Top 5 Slice and Dice Dismemberment Death Scenes

Umm this is kinda self explanatory. Slice and Dice deaths. Nuff said.

5.) Resident Evil

Lasers are awesome!

4.) Final Destintion 2

Death sure is creative!

3.) Cube

One of the first slice and dices I ever saw.

2.) Ghost Ship

It's all about the body count here and seeing rich people sliced and diced makes me happy.

1.) Underworld

It takes him like 30 seconds to fall apart!

Bonus Video!

Here's a few more that include the one's above. I especially like the Slither one with the intestines coming out.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Shortround: Waffle (Review)

Lets talk about waffles shall we?

I got a quick short via the jaded viewer indie mailbox from director Rafael Deleon called Waffle. It's only a 5 minute short but it packs a punch in it's short running time. So what's this about?

Disfigured science fair champion Wendy seems to have found a new, trustworthy friend in schoolmate Dana. Wendy even takes the step of inviting the girl to her house for dinner, despite being embarrassed by her proud mother. However, when Dana shows her ugly side, Wendy's natural reaction is to do the same. Petty jealousy and competitiveness are not welcome in her household.

the jaded viewer says: I'm not going to rehash the plot as it's really all above. The short is quite effective at getting you uncomfortable as you feel like you're the 4th participant at this dinner which includes Wendy's mom, Dana, the blonde haired pseudo friend and Wendy, our awesome science fair champ whose face we don't see for the first 3 or so minutes.

When a short is this well this short, it's pretty good that it amps up the suspense really fast. The conversation gets going when Wendy details a incident in 5th grade about one of her competitors which ends up with him being bloodied. But Dana seems to have her own motives for this dinner which Wendy overhears and we get to see her violent side and it's pretty intense. By the end we get to see full frontal Wendy face over some waffle desert it's pretty much what you'd expect....kinda ick and WTF.

I gotta say I liked Waffle. It reminded me of a Drew Daywalt or Fewdio short and it's got some good suspense and some solid makeup effects. My only gripes are I wish it was longer and oddly there was not one likable character in it. Also the ending was a little predictable and kind of didn't have the POW! factor I was looking for.

I've seen a lot of shorts of late but this one actually left a rectangular imprinted shape impact in my mind. That's a tough thing to do to the jaded viewer.

Check out the teaser trailer below. For more info, head to the official site. Here's the official blog.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Rubber (Review)


Rubber (2011)

Directed by Quentin Dupieux

"Why is ET gray?....No reason"

"Why is the president killed by someone he's never met in JFK?....No reason"

"Why does Robert the tire kill people with his telekinetic powers?.....No reason"

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.

At the end of the day Rubber is about the birth and journey of a tire that has telekinetic powers. But somehow it's also about the audience's perception of what they're seeing. Rubber has both as the audience we see is not us, but actual spectators in a hill in the middle of a desert town armed with binoculars watching this killer tire's life as it unfolds. Lost yet?

This is a meta and surreal film that reminds me why I love independent film. French filmmaker Dupieux takes Austin weird to a whole new dimension with Rubber. This is the first time in a long time I've seen a movie that's just a likeable oddity. It looks indie-ish and has a bunch of no name actors and a soundtrack that emotes the feelings of our viciously evil tire.

Rubber treads on the road of hilarity, 4th wall hypnosis and goretastic awesomness and is the most original movie I've seen in quite a while. The neo cinephiles will eat up this kookiness, regular moviegoers beware. The film is mocking you and you don't know it.

Boring Plot-O-Matic

When Robert, an inanimate tire, discovers his destructive telepathic powers, he soon sets his sights on a desert town; in particular, a mysterious woman becomes his obsession.

Awesome Review-O-Matic

Honestly, how could I resist not watching a movie about a killer tire? As the movie starts, we see a sheriff breaking the 4th wall and reciting a speech with examples of no reasons in movies. The thing about breaking the 4th wall is it's automatically telling the audience we're going to flip the reality from you for the next 80 or so minutes. You're going to have to decide if the entire flick is a "no reason" film or are we watching a tire kill people reason.

You either buy into it or you don't. I did because hell I've never seen a telekinetic "live" tire blow people's heads off. We see Robert the Tire awake and start to wreak havoc across the desert. He starts smashing things like a good tire would and when he can't he uses the power of his mind to blow up random wildlife.

Oh and it's gloriously awesome to see rabbits and birds explode into itsy bits of chunky goodness.

Meanwhile, a group of spectators with binoculars are watching these events unfold and are our sort of voice in the movie. These include a father and son, a wheelchair vet, a few chubby movie geeks, some tweeny girls and a boisterous black woman. As we watch the flick, they comment on exactly what we're thinking. It's a weird telepathic bond. An example is at one point one of the spectators, a boy says "It's already boring" and his father responds "Don't be so negative. It's just the beginning. It's going to pick up. Just be patient". I was honestly thinking the same thing and I was like "GET OUT OF MIND!!!"

It's this self awareity humor that makes you chuckle and admit the cleverity of it all is something you kinda think is hipster-ish cool. This is a modern day hipster movie with various scenes that will make the highest stoner laugh.

Soon our tire sees a hot girl, Sheila driving in a convertible and seamlessly gets obsessed with her. But this isn't before a few victim fodder fuck up our tire accidentally. Note to self: Never mess with a tire with psychic powers. Your Gore-ipedia includes some stellar (non CGI?) exploding heads that are insanely hilarious in that Scanners sort of way. Later in a motel, our tire voyeurs after Sheila and spends a few minutes watching TV?!?!

Yes, we see a tire watching TV (you know he loves the NASCAR).

With the deaths of a few more victims who've pissed off Rob after he sees a genocide on his people, the police are called into action and we get a unique speech from our Sheriff explaining to his deputies that "this isn't real life". Again the 4th wall is breaking down and culminates in our sheriff giving a demonstration of his theory. To say this is off the wall is not doing any justice. There is completely no logic in the movie and to try to understand Rubber is pointless as you watch it. You have to constantly keep reminding yourself that every question you may have should end with the words "no reason".

As the police close in on our berserk tire, an elaborate plan is executed to destroy the tire once and for all. The ending has more metaness in it and the last scenes are clearly a mock on the place where no reason movies come from.

The performances by the spectators (especially Wings Hauser as the wheelchair Vet), our inept sheriff (Stephen Spinella) and an accountant (Jack Plotnick from Reno 911 fame) are all quirky and ambitiously vague. Their performances are straight even though the scenes are completely weird. I must admit, watching Roxanne Mesquida as Sheila gave me a weapon of mass erection.

The film is shot and edited quite well. Sure we know somebody is rolling around the tire as they film but it seems so seamless. The CGI showing the tire spinning on its own is quite extraordinary. We even get a soundtrack that shows the emotion of our tire telling us he's either happy or angry. He may not be a name brand tire, but he's got personality. It's also got the funniest dialogue and odd observations as well. The spectators conversations to each other are like a sitting with Mike, Tom Servo and Croooooooooooooooow!

So what's the prognosis? Is Rubber a movie that exists for no reason or is there something that Dupiex is trying to say? I'm going with the latter though some may disagree. We constantly suspend disbelief when we watch movies from giant transforming robots to blue alien natives. We are asked to do it again with a killer tire that can explode heads. Why is one different than the other? It's not.

Rubber mocks the mockery by giving us scenes that exist for no reason but uber amplifies them into complete outrageousnessness you just go with it. The fact we can empathize with a tire says it all. If say the tire were an animal, the same emotional bond we would have would be the same. Hell I wanted Robert to fuck up anybody who was messing with him. Did I even question I was cheering for a tire?!?! Nope. Why would I?

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.


We get some side flesh from Sheila

WTF moment

The entire film

The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis

Rubber is currently on Video in Demand and comes out in theaters 4/1 via Magnet Releasing. Rubber may not be for everyone but if you enjoy watching the non Hollywood fare of indie cinema, Rubber is must see. It's the best movie about a tire that kills people you'll see this year.

The Vitals

Check out the trailer below.

Red Band Trailer

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Friday, March 11, 2011

A Jaded Viewer Giveaway: Win The Deadneks - Trilogy of Terror on DVD!

A few days ago, I reviewed The Deadneks - Trilogy of Terror for The Shortound.

It's a 27 minute grindhouse short via Ruckus Productions. The Deadneks - Trilogy of Blood features the psychobilly music of The Deadneks as it mixes a music video and mini exploitation homage as 3 city girls wind up in Bumfuck Hillbilly USA.

Here be the plot:

When a trio of sexy city gals picks up a broken-down hillbilly in the backwoods of Virginia – the three kittens get A LOT more than they bargained for when they accept the drifter’s invitation to a down-home barbecue. What these lovely ladies don’t know just may hurt ‘em – when they find that the menu of this hayseed hoe-down isn’t the standard ‘burgers and dogs’…

Well I have 2 DVD copies of The Trilogy of Terror that I'm giving away. I'm not going to have you jump through a hoop this time to enter. All you need to do is leave your name and e-mail address in the comments and you'll be automatically entered. US only residents. At the end of the month, I'll randomly pick 2 winners.

That's it.

Thanks to Charlie Ruckus for providing the DVDs for this giveaway. Say thanks by following him on Twitter @ruckusprod and checking out the official site.

Check out the trailer below to see what the film is all about.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Director Eric England defends "cliched" Madison County trailer

I usually only post a trailer of an upcoming horror movie if I really like the flick or I think it's inventive, creative or unique. We can watch these trailers anywhere, so there really is no need to post it up on the jaded viewer.

But I did get a press release for an upcoming slasher film called Madison County and I checked out the trailer. So what's this about?

Madison County is about a group of college students that travel to a remote, mountain town called Madison County to interview the author of a tell-all book on the accounts of the grisly murders that happened in the town over two decades ago.

Upon their arrival, the author is no where to be found and the townspeople state that they've "not seen him in years." They also deny that Damien Ewell, the notorious murderer, ever existed and that the murders never happened. As the kids start to dig around to get their own answers, they come to find that the stories, and Damien, maybe more real than the townspeople are letting on.

Now check out the trailer.

Let's break this down like Donkey Kong.
  • Naked blonde girl running on a dirt road
  • Redneck Cannibal Town, USA
  • Dumb urban college students
  • Private Property? Fuck that!
  • Deserted house with wind chimes!
  • Slasher with pig mask and big fuckin ax
  • Local townie that warns dumb Ambercrombie and Fitch dumb white kids to leave
  • Quickly edited running around montage
  • Slasher swing and a miss
  • Hostages with no hope of surviving
  • A random oozing of blood
  • A name to our slasher that sounds really familiar
  • Face molestation
  • Title Card!
  • "Inspired by True Events" declaration
  • Last "scare" shot
Yeah I just listed many of the cliches and slasher formulas we've seen before.

So why am I talking about a cliched upcoming slasher flick? Because it's a cliched slasher flick. The director of Madison County Eric England recently wrote an interesting article defending his movie and trailer in his blog which you can find here.

He wrote: "I didn't pitch this film as "the most original slasher film ever made" when I tried to get it made. In fact, slasher films themselves have been done to death. But that's exactly why I wanted to make Madison County. I LOVE Slasher films. Love them. And I want to see them live on."

He goes on to say that he loved Adam Green's Hatchet and that most movies are retelling of the same stories over and over again. Well this got me thinking. Can I really bash Madison County's trailer because I think it has those overused slasher cliches when I wrote a review of Hatchet and Hatchet 2 praising the slasher cliches in Adam Green's films?

Ah ha you're saying right now. Would I be a hypocrite for doing such a thing? Am I contradicting myself for asking indie horror filmmakers to make creative and new films but praising films that follow the same old formula? For instance, I liked Laid to Rest for being a cliched sorta new slasher film and Slither for being an homage monster slug movie. If I like those Hollywood is going to keep remaking those flicks. I'm just contributing to the Hollywood machine aren't I?

Regular loyal jaded viewers know I support indie horror and will try to hold judgement on a movie before I see it. But when I watch a trailer that seems generic, I kinda start forming an opinion in my head. After seeing so many horror movies, especially slasher flicks you know what's coming. You know all the tricks, the stereotypical characters, the BOO! shots. The one thing that Hatchet had going for it was the kill scenes were pure blood drenched gore-tastic moments that made your jaw drop....literally.

So I make a call out to Mr. Eric England.

I want to know what's different about Madison County from the other slasher films we've all seen? Explain to me why I should see college kids get sliced and diced in Redneck Country, USA by a slasher in a pig's mask?

Every new slasher is a little different, has a unique backstory and can kill in new and inventive way. I'm hoping Damien has a little creativity in him. Hell he has some farm supplies he can arm himself with. Let me know what's going to separate Madison County apart from the rest. That's all I ask.

As for my fellow jaded viewers, my question is this. Are we all being hypocritical when we praise a slasher flick filled with the same old cliches but demand Hollywood stop making remakes?

What do you all think?

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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Homemade Monster (Review)

Homemade Monster

Homemade Monster (2008)

Directed by Brandon and Leia Gadow

Fresh from the jaded viewer indie mailbox, I was sent a very DIY film by Brandon and Leia Gadow of Scumbag Films. When I say DIY, I mean it. Scumbag Films based out of San Diego is run by this husband and wife team and they do it all. Act, produce, write and direct. They've produced a wide variety of music driven films and in Homemade Monster, which was made for around $400 they create a musical revolving around that old reliable Frankenstein cliche.

I gotta admit, I've seen some low budget indie films but I've never seen a low budget rockabilly horror musical. And if I, the jaded viewer have never seen it, you earn bonus points just on that.

Homemade Monster may have been made on a dollar cent budget but it's got a mixture of indie spirit and a killer soundtrack that make it a Misfits song come to life. It's clear Mr. and Mrs Scumbag are amateurs in the filmmaking world, but this musical has lots of ambition and they don't overdue it or try to hard.

What you get is a funny, jazzy DIY film that's like seeing a garage band music video.

Oh yeah it's got boobs and blood too.

Boring Plot-O-Matic

Faced with an unspeakable act at her own hands, she attempt to rectify the situation and since she is frustrated with men, our heroine decides to make her own. This story is about her struggle to gather the necessary parts, put together and animate the man of her dreams. Music by The Jim Rowdy Show, who’s psychobilly rock and roll parallels our character’s
inner turmoil but hopefulness.

Awesome Review-O-Matic

Leia wants a man with all the qualities that will make a lasting relationship. Somebody who cares, has brains and of course has a big dick. After a fight with her boyfriend she drugs and kills him and comes up with the bright idea to make her own new super boyfriend by assembling them out of the parts of various dudes.

Well that's the the gist of the story.

The film which runs about 45 or so minutes is littered with rockabilly tunes delivered by Leia as she sings her troubles, her plans and her ultimate goals. Some are catchy like the opening number and a song where she seduces a bar patron. They all have their country twang sound with a psychobilly beat and I'll admit, it's a bit catchy.

The big number comes after Leia assembles a brain from a yawny professor, a heart from a chubby bartender and Johnson from a big ole cowboy, she finally finishes assembling her masterpiece. Now all frisky she goes all stripteasy, gets topless and makes monster grunty with her dream man. We get lyrics like "cuz I am bringing you to life." as she tries different methods to zap him to life.

However it gets kinda repetitive at times and with all musical numbers you expect a elaborate dance routine to accompany the beat. We get sporadic moments of a choreographed number but mostly it's singing with monotonous acting.

The acting and singing are all pretty solid but the glaring oddness of it all is the lack of budget. I'm not going to criticize the film because of that but it's pretty funny to see SyFy-ish rain and lightning, a beer can labeled beer and some cardboardy acting by the other actors. Some scenes were way too dark but I wouldn't expect we'd get proper lighting on a $400 budget. During a penultimate scene where our Mrs. Frankenstein wishes her monster to "come alive!" we hear a dog barking in the background. It seems intentional but I got a chuckle out of the homemade-ness of it all.

The film is decently made for a husband and wife team with no film making experience. They do a good job of getting set ups to music numbers and there were different settings. But at the end of the day, it's all about the music and as a punk rocker in a former life, I dug the tunes. If you enjoy listening to the rockabilly you'll enjoy this rockabilly horror music video.

I can rest easy now that I've watched my first ever rockabilly horror musical. I can check that off my bucket list.

The Vitals


Check out the trailer.

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