Friday, July 28, 2017

I Know Who Killed Me (2007)

Remember when Lindsay Lohan was, perhaps, one of the biggest young, rising stars in Hollywood?  Also, she was really super hot?

Of course you do.  What you probably don't remember all that well, is that her rising star and super hot lady thing lasted an extremely short period in time.  It was like a frozen moment that we all remember being at least a little longer than the one or two years that she possessed those titles.  We look back on that time in which she starred in Mean Girls and had a couple really nice photo spreads in your Maxims, Details, or whatever as if we're looking at a mosquito in amber .

That star fell kinda fast.  Now, I don't know the lady, and I'd probably like to give her the benefit of the doubt, but I think she probably enjoyed her sudden fame a little too much.  Soon, she was seen drinking and doing drugs and things just went downhill.

That period of her skidding from stardom begins right around time she was making this movie.  Ten years ago yesterday, I Know Who Killed Me was released.  Supposedly there were some health issues and rehab problems during the filming of this movie, but still, this seemed to have the hallmarks of something guys would have probably wanted.  This is an R-rated movie that features a young, hot starlet opening the movie as a stripper.  There's a good girl/bad girl element in which you don't know if her character, "Dakota" (a total stripper name, by the way), is this good girl of a family who believes they have recovered their missing daughter or if she is the bad, damaged stripper likely loaded with all sorts of daddy issues.

These are things dudes (at the very least) would be way into.  The general feel of a saucy murder mystery novel could appeal to bored housewives.  So...  Why is this movie the beginning of the end of Lindsay Lohan's fame?

Because it is a little too bonkers for it to truly appeal to anyone.

From the back of the DVD box, the synopsis reads: "Aubrey Fleming (Lohan) was living the small town life, until the day she was abducted by a sadistic killer.  After a frantic search, Aubrey turns up alive, but changed.  She is missing limbs, but has gained a new personality - that of bad girl Dakota Moss.  Her parents and the FBI think she's suffering from delusions, but if 'Dakota' is just a trick of her mind, why do strange wounds keep appearing on her body?  Desperate and alone, Aubrey must now unlock family secrets to unmask a mysterious killer with a deadly obsession."

That's a whole lotta stuff in that synopsis.  Let's dive in and see if we can sort it all out.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

What's this?  Another utterly disappointing fourth film in a franchise to be released in July of 1987?  You bet it is!

In a span of four weeks in the middle of the summer of 1987, moviegoers had to be subjected to Jaws: The Revenge from Universal, this week's feature, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, and Masters of the Universe.  The latter two being massively popular intellectual properties for young kids - both released by Cannon Films.

That's fucking depressing to know that much shit flew out of screens into your face in such a short period of time.

But enough about last week (and what's coming for you all in two weeks).  Let's talk about Superman IV.  In 1983, Superman III dealt with the Man of Steel taking on computer genius Richard Pryor and his maniacal bosses who wanted to... control the weather.  There were certainly enjoyable things like Clark  Kent going back to Smallville for his high school reunion and reconnecting with his crush, Lana Lang, but there are all sorts of other problems that were a little too much to ignore like we could with the first two films in the series.  That equaled a diminished profit margin compared to the other films and left Warner Brothers trying to figure out where to go from there.  When Supergirl failed in 1984, producers Ilya and Alexander Salkind all but abandoned Supes thinking their series was dead.

Enter Cannon Films who purchased the rights to produce further films in the series.  When they budgeted Superman IV for less than $20 Million, it proved to be an all around bad marriage for Superman and the Golan-Globus Group.  Reused shots from the much more expensive and well-made Warner films and reused effects from within this movie itself proved that you can't really cut corners on something like Superman.

You may be curious, before we start, what the movie is actually about.  Well, it's nothing more than Superman has decided to take it upon himself to rid the world of our nuclear weapons and enforcing peace across the planet.  That's the main gist of this plot.  And if you think that sounds weird, you're fucking right!  Superman is traditionally a symbol for hope and a shining example of what we should aspire to.  He rarely interferes in a way that makes decisions FOR us instead of to HELP us find solutions for ourselves.  That's the Golan-Globus way, though.  Most of their action flicks were very conservative almost to the point of a harsh, near-fascistic order being established by their heroes.  I could spend hours writing about that with examples, but I won't.  I'm here for Superman and that's what we're gonna talk about, goddammit!

Oh, and if you are one of those assholes who think Man of Steel, or Batman v. Superman, or even Spider-Man 3, either of The Amazing Spider-Man movies, any Fantastic Four movie, or Batman and Robin are the worst mainstream superhero films, then I want to punch your fucking face in because this one is like the makers simply took a steaming shit on the filmstock and processed it, thus releasing nothing more than a brown shit stain all over the movie screen in every theater across the country.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Jaws: The Revenge (1987)

Oof magoof...  Talk about your ill-advised sequels.

1975's Jaws is a cinematic triumph in proportions never seen before.  It broke box office records.  It was the first, true "blockbuster".  It changed the way movies are released.  Hell, it created what would become the "summer movie".

The funny thing is, it shouldn't have worked out the way it did.  The production was a disaster with mechanical sharks used to depict "Bruce the Shark" constantly breaking down and nearly unusable to the point that direct Steven Spielberg had to become incredibly creative on how he shot the shark.  The production shot at sea which caused lots of problems when unwanted boats simply drifted into frame.  The film went way beyond schedule and way over budget.

Still, it became a cinematic masterpiece and put Spielberg on the map to make pretty much whatever he wanted forever.

Due to the overwhelming success of the film, Universal simply couldn't let it go with a single film.  They ordered a sequel no one wanted to do.  It did okay at the box office.  A third movie was made and released during the early 80s short-lived 3-D craze that turned out to be an utter mess.  So, in 1987, a fourth movie, directed by Joseph Sargent, was made ignoring the plot of the third film of the series.  Gone were any of the original actors from either of the first two movies save for Lorraine Gary as Ellen Brody.  Add in Michael Caine, and an insane plot, and, massively diminishing profits be damned, you've got yourself a Jaws 4.

Oh boy, do you have yourself a Jaws 4...

What's this movie about?  Well...  A shark attacks Amity, Massachusetts.  Again.  And Ellen Brody, wife of our heroic town sheriff from the first two Jaws movies, starts to think something is quite a bit different about this attack.  This time, she thinks, it's personal!

Yeah.  A shark is personally attacking the Brody family.  No shit...  Universal sold this movie with the tagline "This time it's personal."  I'm not kidding you.  Don't believe me that they tried this story for this film?  Let's take a look at the evidence!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Earlier this summer, Spider-Man 3 turned 10 years old.  It's really odd to think about that.  The third of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man Trilogy is only 10 years old.

Since the release of this movie, ALL of the Avengers movies have been released - among all the other outlying Marvel movies.  DC has now created four movies in their own expanded universe.  There have been 7 X-Men movies - including an entire trilogy of Wolverine movies and a completely rebooted X-Men series.

And as of today, Spider-Man himself has been rebooted twice.

I'm handling Spider-Man 3 a couple months late from its actual anniversary because Spider-Man: Homecoming is fresh off the presses and in movie theaters.  It's time to take a look back on one of the kookier superhero movies ever made.

That's why it's here.  It's Sam Raimi at his Sam Raimi-est.  This is a guy who has specific look and feel and style to his movies that is best described as over the top.  His style was perfectly suited for his Spider-Man films.  It felt like a comic book in its bright imagery and how characters interacted with each other.  There are little things between characters (like Kirsten Dunst's Mary Jane being totally incapable of simply calling Tobey Maguire's Spidey by anything less than his full name - "Peter Parker") that almost builds deep relationships.  You know, like you see in the actual comics over decades?

But what went wrong?  Spider-Man was great.  Spider-Man 2 was amazingly great.  When did the train derail and ultimately spiral Spidey down the drain with the rest of Sony?  That's what I'm going to try to figure out.  It's more than this simply being a bad movie.  It's...  Well it just is.

As for the plot, after the events of battling the Green Goblin and Dr. Octopus, Spider-Man is riding high.  His lady love, Mary Jane has run out on her own wedding to another dude to choose him, and he's becoming more and more beloved by the city of New York.  However, his best friend, Harry (masterfully played over the top by James Franco), still blames him for the death of his father (the aforementioned Green Goblin), the arrival of a strange black goo that literally drops out of the sky, and a new suitor in the form of the lovely Gwen Stacy makes life for Peter Parker a little more difficult.

Let's tear the top off this and let the Venom out.