Archive for » December, 2007 «

Monday, December 31st, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

In this episode we dissect recent releases “Sweeney Todd” and “Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem,” two films that are pretty much on the exact opposite ends of the scale in almost every way. Also, we discuss the 6 disc special edition of “Grindhouse” in Japan and why no one should have been surprised that the film failed theatrically. Oh, and I talk about why the scariest thing about “The Shining” has nothing to do with Jack Nicholson. Happy New Year everyone!

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Thursday, December 27th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

The Invasion

The space shuttle Patriot explodes on reentry spreading debris across the country. As NASA begins to investigate the accident, they find something strange on the wreckage; an alien spore resistant to extreme heat and cold. Cut to Washington D.C. based psychiatrist Carol Bennell. She begins to notice strange behavior changes in her patients, her sons friends, and now her ex-husband, a government official attached to the NASA crash investigation. As she digs deeper into her suspicions she soon finds that there is something fishy going on in the human race and her son may just be their savior.

When commercial first started airing for “The Invasion”, it seemed pretty apparent that this was an attempt at a remake of the classic “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. The problem was, there was no mention that this was in fact a remake. Generally remakes are bad enough on their own, but when the studio tries to hide this fact…it does not bode well for the final product. With that in mind I had little to no interest in catching this one. There’s so many remakes out there, so many of them stinkers, why bother.

Imagine my surprise as I settled in to watch “The Invasion” when I found out that, it’s really a pretty decent movie. The key to a movie such as this, a quiet and subvert alien invasion, is suspense. The main characters have to run about not knowing for sure who is a bad guy, and who isn’t. With this incarnation, director Oliver Hirschbeigel managed to hit this suspense head on. The movie wastes no time in jumping to the meat of the problem and we’re thrown into the conspiracy and intrigue straight away. What are these things going to do to the human race? Are they going to catch her as she tries to sneak down the street being non emotional? All of it plays together to keep you glued to the screen and scootched a bit forward to the edge of your seat.
There are a number of smaller touches thrown in as well to help flesh out the who’s who angle that is handled quite nicely. When Nicole Kidman is standing along side the road trying to blend in, a cop stalks up next to her and whispers that she’s sweating and that it will give her a way. Small touches like that help to weave a seamless atmosphere to help this one rise above the remake rabble. Even the underlying story elements, such as these alien critters putting an end to war and violence, and wouldn’t it be nice if the human race was peaceful for a change, these add a thought element to the horror as well; what would your choice be when faced between leaving things as we know it, or world peace at the cost of being a parasitic host?

Where the issues lie are in some of the acting. Nicole Kidman’s scenes with her son feel rather forced and unbelievable. Sure, she try’s to act loving and sincere, but it generally feels like she’s phoning it in. Had they written the plot so that it was not her son as a key element to survival and focused on her trying to solve the mystery and stay awake, the movie would have risen to a higher level of enjoyment. Many of her motherly mannerisms manage to do nothing but pull us out of an otherwise engrossing flick. Her relationship with Daniel Craig feels unnecessary as well. Craig is important; he’s the doctor who helps figure out what’s happening. He and Nicole can be best buds, I can live with that as well. What we don’t need are the hints that they have a deeper relationship possibility but she wants to keep it ‘just friends’. When faced with staying awake to avoid becoming an alien and the eradication of the human race as we know it… I really don’t give a shit about the characters love life. Leave that for a sequel that nobody will watch.

“The Invasion” was quite the surprise. When I originally saw this as a lack luster remake that tried to fool us into thinking it wasn’t a remake, I wrote it off as pure crap. What I actually saw was a fairly solid suspense thriller and a rare commodity in the world of ‘good remakes’. The purists may say I’m crazy enjoying it compared to the original. Sometimes though, it works.

3.5 who’d a thunk it would be good’s out of 5

Note: If Kidman would have worn her see through jammies for the entirety of this flick, I’d give it a 5 easy!

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Tuesday, December 25th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

Merry Christmas from Cinema Fromage!

May your tidings be good and your sweaters be ugly!

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Tuesday, December 18th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

I’m gonna guess she’s not listening to Irreconcilable Differences! But you should. It’ll take your mind off the worry.

Tonight, the First Lady and myself take on the estimable christmas classic…..

Join us live tonight at 9pm EST! at Blog Talk Radio!

Come on, you know you wanna.

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Monday, December 17th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

This week we take the latest adaptation of “I Am Legend” to task, and the director of Santa’s Slay drops by to call shenanigans on one of our hosts. Also, DVD releases, Horror News, The Dark Knight, and discussion of the Cloverfield clip that popped up online recently.

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Sunday, December 16th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

I Am Legend

Robert Neville, a former soldier and brilliant scientist, has tasked himself with finding a cure for the deadly virus that was originally created as a cure for cancer. Having turned the majority of the infected into rampaging mutants filled with rage and a deadly aversion to UV rays, New York City is now an overgrown ruin of it’s former glory haunted by Neville and his faithful companion Sam, the German Shepherd.

To kick this off, I’m going to commit blasphemy to many of you readers out there. I’ve never read the original book. My research tells me that the ending has changed drastically from the book, but all I have to go on is this movie in itself in comparison to the previous two incarnations, The Last Man on Earth, and the Omega Man.

Judging from the previous two tenants of Neville’s shoes, Vincent Price and Charlton Heston, Will Smith had a rather large pair of shoes to fill. Having been known primarily for his wise cracking tough guy schtick in such outings as “Men in Black” and “Independence Day”, it’s understandable that some people would be a bit leery of Smith taking on a role that pits him and his acting skills…completely on their own. Thankfully, after taking in this latest revision of the story, Will Smith found those shoes a bit small for him.

With a movie that pits the majority of the movie on the performance on one man, it takes a special someone to pull it off. Will Smith managed to show that he has some legitimate acting chops with his portrayal of a man possible facing, and fighting off, the extinction of man kind. Sure, he managed to add a small bit of his patented Will Smith flair to the roll, but none of it was over the top and he made it fit in with the atmosphere around him. Sucking the viewer in to this tail, I judged his performance as such; it never felt like a chore watching Smith do his thing on screen. Charlton Heston’s version of Neville was filled with camp and swagger, Vincent Price’s was an old man filled with melancholy. Will Smith’s Neville was a man filled with a purpose, dealing with life without his family, and showing some fault where needed with the crushing wait of being possibly the last human left alive. His co-star, Sam, was surprisingly pretty enigmatic for a dog as well.

My problem with “I Am Legend” falls in the baddies that have been brought in to represent the mutated mankind left to roam the earth. Their acting was fine, even their animalistic tendencies were spot on, the problem was…they weren’t real. CGI pollutes a lot of movies these days and often times brings a movie down a notch or two. In “I Am Legend” the mutants were quite cartoonish in appearance and managed to look like a herd of Gollum’s tearing hell after Will Smith. They look fake enough at first appearance they pull us out of the movie that Smith worked so hard to suck us into. As they begin their attacks however the violence and mannerisms that they programmed into these protagonists fit quite well, despite not being able to wonder if they’re going to find ‘their precious’. For myself however, Smith’s performance, the flashes of back story showing the break out and break down of society, and the portrayal of Neville’s daily regimen to try and find a cure for their ills was so well done that I was able to overlook the cartoon bad guys. Yes, they will pull you out of it for a few but the rest of the movie is so good, you’ll get over it.

The ending of the movie is what is making other internet reviewers so vocal. With talks of the crew having to re shoot the ending, many feared, as did I, that after sitting through such an engrossing flick the ending would be a heavy let down. The ending we got however, felt right for this telling of the story. Like I said at the start of this review; I’m not a purist. I never read the book. That may be why the ending that we got worked so well for me. The ending of the book would have been rather nice as well, judging what I found in my research. The key to enjoying this for you purists is; they never make a movie exactly like the book. Unless you’re Peter Jackson. Try to keep an open mind to a new telling of the story and you’ll get along well.

I was apprehensive about Will Smith heading up a solo performance as storied as “I Am Legend”. I wasn’t sure he could pull it off. I can now happily say that this is a flick I’ll re watch quite a few times, and dare I say; I liked it more than the previous two takes of it.

Ignore the naysayers, give it a shot.

4.5 Will Smith makes this look gooood out of 5

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Tuesday, December 11th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

Be There or Be Square!

Tune in tonight from 9PM to 9:30PM EST as the First Lady and myself take a deep look at The Hills Have Eyes 2…both old and new!
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Allrighty gang! If you missed us live last night, fear not! Click here to download the archive and hear everything you never wanted to know about the Hills Have Eyes 2!

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Monday, December 10th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door

Young Meg and Susan are left in the care of Aunt Ruth after an accident takes the lives of their parents. Starting off seemingly well, the household needs time to adjust as these two girls are injected suddenly into a family full of boys and their mother. As the summer passes on it becomes apparent that Aunt Ruth has some issues. She’s got a strong disliking of Meg and Susan. Soon the Chandler household transforms into a den of torture and depravity as Ruth works to bend Meg to her will. The neighborhood boys see what is going on but relish in the chance to watch and take advantage of the poor defenseless girl. Based on the Jack Ketchum novel that in turn was based loosely on real life events, “The Girl Next Door” is a disturbing tale of torture.

So let’s kick this off on the right foot. This is a disturbing flick. It will make you uncomfortable and perhaps will leave you feeling dirty for having watched said flick. For this review, we’re going to kick the moral issues to the wayside for a bit. We’ll get to them though, not to worry.

From a pure ‘film’ standpoint, “The Girl Next Door” is actually a highly engrossing movie. Well made, well shot, well acted, overall a top notch flick. For starters; the acting. Aunt Ruth, played by Blanche Baker, is portrayed in a superb and chilling way that sucks you in to believing…nay…knowing…that this lady is unhinged. There are problems with this lady, no question about it. From her interaction with her own boys or the neighborhood boys, Baker plays this roll so spot on it’s chilling. Starting off she seems some what stern with her nieces; but hey, her house, her rules. As the movie plays out and you see her tirades start to increase, the way she lets all the neighborhood boys drink beer in her house, and the way she enacts her punishment we become increasingly disturbed as she starts to unravel. Even young Meg and David are both played well by new fresh faced actors. Meg is the embodiment of sweet and innocent and lends to us feeling even more mortified that somebody would do something like this to her. David stands out even further as we can see his moral dilemmas as he works through what he must do. He knows the things that are happening next door are not right; but what can he as a kid do about it? Even the minor roles of the other children in the movie are engrossing as well as you see their ambivalence to what their mother is doing. “It seems pretty extreme but hey, it’s mom. Who are we to question her?” The writing in “Girl Next Door” is top notch as well as the movie follows along with the book nearly scene for scene. All of this ties together however to give us an engrossing movie that leaves you on the edge of your seat and wondering just how bad it’s going to get.

So, here comes the moral issues.

In today’s age of critics yelling out the word ‘torture porn’ at the sign of anybody chained up in a basement, “The Girl Next Door” comes along as a poster child for the anti movement. Yes, the movie’s graphic and hard to watch, especially in the final twenty minutes or so. That’s not to say though that this is “Torture Porn” in the sense that anybody trying to condemn the horror genre would hope. This is not senseless violence going on here. In fact, something very similar to this happened for real. Many would say that this is not a story to be told; I myself would say this is a story that needs to be told for the sake of the girl that went through this, and to show truly how big of a monster her aunt really was.

“The Girl Next Door” is a good movie. As I stated above it is well shot, well acted, and well written. It is an engrossing movie. It’s going to unsettle you some though. Just be prepared.

4 “it doesn’t feel right making a witty pun for this one’s” out of 5

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Monday, December 10th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

We duke it out this week over the best (and WORST) Christmas themed horror movies. We pay particular attention to both iterations of Bob Clark’s 1974 classic “Black Christmas,” and the campy film “Santa’s Slay” from 2005. Then we go hog wild over the rest of the list. We also touch on DVD releases, the Writer’s Strike, Horror News and Mark threatens to throw his computer out the window if he gets bitten by one more Zombie on FaceBook.

Be sure to check it out!

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Tuesday, December 04th, 2007 | Author: Casey Criswell

Allrighty folks, first show is in the can! Be sure to check out the link below to listen to the archive, and feel free to download if you want to! Please, be sure to leave us a comment either at blogtalkradio.com or here if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions! We’d love to hear them!

Irreconcilable Differences: The Cinema Fromage Live Talk Show!

Scary shit huh?

Tonight at 9pm est. is the inaugural show! Join the first lady and my self as we take a look at the newly released TODAY feature…

Be there and be square!
(No, that’s not a typo!)

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