TwIsTeD ReViEwS... from the Mind of Sawman3

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Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
OK, Duderino. Did you post in 2008 or some other time? Or did you even post at all?
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Great review Chainsaw I love the Big Lebowski I especially love the homage to Busby Berkeley, I loved his movies when i was a kid [img]<a href=http://www.thesmilies.com><img src=http://www.thesmilies.com/smilies/animal/goat.gif border=0></a>[/img]
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A PHD in Whiskey and Stonerology
Thanks for the positive feedback everyone

@ Des: Wow, I totally forgot about doing my LSoH review. Thanks for reminding me, I'll get to that next before the rest of the group currently on my list.



A system of cells interlinked
Good reviews. Although I think Lebowski is one of the most re-watchable films out there...

Never gets old. Plenty of depth to it. I am always discovering new bits of comedy every time I watch it!
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Good reviews. Although I think Lebowski is one of the most re-watchable films out there...

Never gets old. Plenty of depth to it. I am always discovering new bits of comedy every time I watch it!



A PHD in Whiskey and Stonerology
TwIsTeD ReViEw #6:
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Review composed by Sawman3.

Musicals. By and large, I hate them. The Sound of Music? Save me. A West Side Story? Why, why, why, dear lord? It follows, then, that I was more than a little skeptical of this massive cult horror/comedy/social commentary classic from 1986, based on an even older play and film. Within about 10 minutes, that skepticism had disappeared. Little Shop of Horrors is one of the most enjoyable musicals (or films, for that matter), in recent memory.

Little Shop of Horrors was directed by Frank Oz, the man behind such other movies as Death at a Funeral (2007) and The Indian in the Cupboard (1995). We follow Seymour (Rick Moranis) and Audrey (Ellen Greene), two employees at a struggling florist's shop on Skid Row. Seymour, almost painfully earnest (and reminiscent, just a bit, of Woody Allen), is easily worried, girlfriend-less, and meek. Audrey is meek as well, but she has a boyfriend (a dentist), who both enjoys being the dominant male with the beautiful girl and enjoys inflicting pain on others. This leads to Audrey often showing up at work battered and bruised, to the chagrin and concern of Seymour, who thinks he may be in love with her but doesn't know how to show it, and their boss, who struggles to hide some genuine humanity beneath a gruff, money-loving exterior. Seymour, we quickly learn, has been more or less keeping the little shop alive by purchasing unique and rare plants from an Asian dealer down the street, who runs a small outdoor stall and is forever ruddy-cheeked and cheery. One day, after witnessing Audrey arrive at work late and beaten again, and after not seeing a single customer, Seymour makes a visit to the Asian man, hoping for a stroke of luck. He finds nothing that suits him, however, and turns to leave. At that same moment, a solar eclipse occurs, and in the ensuing darkness a mighty bolt of light crashes down into the plant dealer's stall. When light returns, Seymour spies a bizarre plant in a tiny pot where nothing interesting had stood just moments before. Confused, and sure that it must have been nothing but a simple oversight, Seymour purchases the plant and head on back to the shop.


Frank Oz.

Now Little Shop of Horrors can really build up some steam. The plant instantly brings customers into the shop, but Seymour quickly runs into a problem: the plant is dying, despite exhaustive research and his best efforts to give it sunlight, rich soil, and water. Then one night, while once again pouring over his agricultural texts, Seymour pricks his finger. When he comes close to the plant, which he has dubbed Audrey-II, it suddenly moves, lunging outward and snapping at his finger. We learn that Audrey-II requires blood to be able to survive... and not only to survive, but to grow. With just a few drops of Seymour's blood, Audrey-II grows to more than twice its original size. The customers are flocking in, but trouble awaits... only Seymour knows of the plant's appetite for blood, and Audrey (the human) is still being abused by her boyfriend.

I won't give away any more of the plot, because its twists and turns, and even its predictable events, are far too pleasurable to be revealed here. You have to watch the film and see them for yourself. I can, however, proceed with a critique.

The thing that Oz does best with Little Shop of Horrors is maintain a careful balance between dark comedy and genuine horror and social commentary. At any number of points the movie could have tumbled into one of the many pitfalls that await films like it: The Pit of Taking Oneself Too Seriously, The Pit of Not Taking Oneself Seriously Enough, and The Pit of Sudden and Uncalled For Departure from a Heretofore Reasonable and Well Contained Storyline, to name a few. As it is, however, Little Shop of Horrors plays the viewer like an instrument: I laughed just when a laugh was needed, I noticed real-world connections and dark predictions precisely when appropriate, and I reveled in the creepiness and action whenever Oz decided such revelry should be so. This leads me to another point about Little Shop of Horrors... it leaves you feeling, if just a little, manipulated. You feel that you, like the film's ill-fated characters, have been drawn into the alien plant's web of deception and control, and the ending, an ending which normally I would have seen coming but under Oz's masterful direction did not, only strengthened this feeling. A synonym for it would, perhaps, be "dirty", or "sullied". Yet, strangely, this feeling did not detract from my overall enjoyment of the piece.


Ain't 'e purty?

Another aspect that cannot be ignored is the subtle and not-so-subtle social commentary on display in Little Shop of Horrors. The actions of Audrey-II and the sadist dentist, but also of the media and businessman on display later in the film, are clear, embittered jabs at, in no particular order, American consumerism, capitalism, sensationalist media, and society's constant need for new, better, and more shocking entertainment. As is to be expected the placement and timing of such commentary is impeccable (as mentioned above), which resulted in my never being pulled from Oz's grasp. The "horror" in Little Shop of Horrors is inspired as much by this commentary as by the actions of Audrey-II itself.


Alien flesh-eating plants don't take orders from anybody!

All and all, Little Shop of Horrors is a neatly packaged, beautifully wrapped and presented cult musical masterpiece from Frank Oz. Cliche as it may be, I cannot avoid saying that this film has it all. Gore, action, humor, depth, and, yes, a cameo by Bill Murray. If you haven't seen it yet, I wholeheartedly suggest that you do. If you have, I suggest with equal fervor that you take this gem for another spin.

Rating:


or 9.8/10




A PHD in Whiskey and Stonerology
I'll watch it soon, that's for sure

I have some other stuff that's higher up on my priority list in terms of film viewing, though.



A PHD in Whiskey and Stonerology
TwIsTeD ReViEw #7:
The Devil's Rejects


Review composed by Sawman3.


Where to begin? It is hard for me to decide, sitting here and reviewing the emotions I experienced while viewing Rob Zombie's second ever attempt at film creation, whether to start by lambasting the end product or highly praising it. Perhaps a bit of the required information should be given while I think.

The Devil's Rejects was released in 2005, presented as a pseudo-sequel/spin-off to Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses, which dropped two years earlier in 2003. The film stars Sid Haig (Captain Spaulding), Bill Moseley (Otis B. Driftwood), Sheri Moon Zombie (Baby Firefly), and William Forsythe (Sheriff John Quincy Wydell), and offers the dubious feature of being written, and not only directed, by Rob himself.


Monsieur Zombie.

Ah. Now that that's out of the way, I believe I'll start with a lambaste. The Devil's Rejects is an absolutely sick, twisted, unrepentant, and perhaps socially misguided conglomeration of schlocky 70s camera work, nails-on-chalkboard moments, and gritty Southern tunes. It is hard to find a facet of Rejects that could possibly redeem it to those who view it in the wrong light. In fact, almost anyone expecting a straight up horror movie is bound to be disappointed and more than a little disturbed by the end. The acting is good, even commendable, but it's often overshadowed by the sheer intensity of each given situation. And an almost palpable air of tension and menace overrides any attempt at serious dialogue or emotionality (save for one particularly well done scene in the last 15 minutes of the film; more on this later). Then, of course, there's the violence itself, which is certainly graphic, but that's to be expected of almost any R-rated feature today and certainly a given in a Zombie film. What's really unsettling, then, is that the violence is far less nauseating than some of the head games the rejects play with their victims. In one scene, Otis forces a woman to wear a mask fashioned from the face of one of her companions. In another, Sheriff Wydell allows a certain someone not to be named for fear of giving spoilers, to run so that he/she can know the terror being chased by a large, burly man with an axe. Finally, Zombie seems to be almost commending his rejects at times, which makes for the stomach-turning sensation of being in way, way over your head (that is, if that sensation isn't already present after some of the scenes described above).


Close your eyes.


There is a lot to be said for ending this review on just that note. Nauseation. But unfortunately, it would be unfair to Zombie and to his brainchild to conclude things without adding this: The Devil's Rejects is a masterful piece of work. Yes, that's right. After all that, I called Rejects masterful. But there's no getting around it.

And now, of course, I must explain why.

First off, there is that constant tension that I believe I mentioned earlier. Few films I have seen have done such a job of maintaining tension. This feeling, I believe, is due partially to the crappy (purposefully) camera work itself. There are no glossy effects here. Just grit, freeze frames, stuttery slo-mo, and some jiggling and light refraction, almost, but not quite, as if the entire movie was shot by one scared-witless guy and a home camcorder. The colors are muted. Everything, inevitably, fades back to that same sandy white-brown. And everything is dry. I don't remember seeing water, except in a sink, at all. This lack of moisture, of color, of life, adds a breathless quality to the tension. Almost panic. In other words, Zombie gets you right where he wants you.


Don't you just want to get a picture with him?

Second, the film is a brilliant homage to the kind of grindhouse, exploitation cinema that Zombie clearly adores, and some moments feel Tarantino-esque. Not much more to say on this front, except that it's nice to have another director for this kind of cinema really doing well again.

Third... the really nauseating bit. Zombie does a brilliant job of making you absolutely hate his protagonists, revile them so much you can feel it--and then turning all of your emotions on their heads for the final sequences. In the end, despite all of your better instincts, you feel profoundly sorry for Zombie's rejects, these heinous, twisted, inbred minds. You actually want them to succeed, to escape, to reach their goals. And this want is always underlied by your memories of their irredeemable acts.


What have we here?


In all, you'll turn off Rejects feeling dirty. Of this, there is certainty. But I believe you'll also feel somehow elated, in the same awful way you feel elated after watching a terribly sad movie or a particularly violent fight. These feelings mean that Zombie has done his job. He set a goal for himself and accomplished it with Rejects, a wholly abominable masterwork of horror, shock, and tension. Rent it, but don't buy it until you're sure you can stomach it.

Oh, and a final note--watch it with friends. If you don't, most of Zombie's carefully inserted dark humour is sure to go unnoticed.

Rating:


or 9.0/10