I Guess Advertising Really Does Work…

I used to be a real movie buff.  I mean, I used to see everything that was in theatres, just to go to the movies.  Once, my friends and I went to see something and there was nothing left at the theatre that we hadn’t seen.  I LOVE movies and didn’t care that it was what I spent most of my money on.

Over the last few years, I realized that I hadn’t been going to see as many movies as I did once.  In face, I see maybe three or four a year instead of five or six a month.  For a while I assumed it was because most movies nowadays weren’t as good as the ones I had watched back when I was a teenager/in my early twenties.  Then I thought perhaps just my tastes had matured and I wasn’t interested in the same things I had been back then.  This is probably a small factor, everyone changes their tastes as they age.

However, in the last little while, I’ve come to the conclusion that it may be a different factor entirely that has something to do with it.

I gave up television three years ago.  I cancelled cable and got myself a subscription to Netflix and I never looked back.  I couldn’t take the fact that it cost almost one hundred dollars a month for what amounted to about 5 channels that I watched regularly. 

I have found that, without being constantly bombarded by commercials and advertisements, I am far less likely to buy crap I don’t need; this includes going to see movies, apparently.  If I’m not constantly subjected to watching the trailers, it seems that I don’t really know or care about their existence.

When I visit my friends’ houses or I’m at my parents, I find myself being drawn back in whenever there’s a trailer for a movie that I didn’t know about.  I get all excited when I see something I hadn’t before and then I want to see it in the theatre. 

So, I have come to the realization that my need to see movies is mainly based on being inundated with advertisements for them on the television.  I still love movies but I’ve become far more picky about them and I only ever see the ones I really want to see instead of almost everything I see a trailer for.

Next up on the list of ones that I’m definitely seeing…A Good Day to Die Hard.  Because how the hell could I ever miss out on seen a Die Hard movie in the theatre?

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A Trivial Pursuit Game I Could Really Get Into…

I was at my local Chapters last Halloween and they had a huge display of various themed books and games in the middle aisle.  I was browsing around and being a big fan of the holiday, I was drawn to the display.  The following is probably one of the most awesome themed Trivial Pursuit game I have ever seen.

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Now, I’m a Tim Burton fan in general.  I’ve loved the man’s work since I was a tiny, wee child and saw the epic hotness that was Batman.  The twisted and dark essence of his movies were always some of the most fascinating and spellbinding works of cinema I could ever drink in and honestly, not much has changed since those times.

The Nightmare Before Christmas was my favourite movie that Tim Burton was ever affiliated with.  I LOVE Halloween and Christmas if obviously awesome so inherently, the combination of the two was absolute genius.  That is why, when I saw this game, I pretty much squealed with joy and just had to capture the moment.  I love to play Trivial Pursuit and this would be SUCH a guilty pleasure to play.

Sadly, however, I had no money on me at the time of this wonderful find and it was no longer in the store when I went back.  So to anyone reading this who feels the need to bestow a gift upon me, this is an appropriate item.  Granted, I’ll have to find some people who would play it with me…

Disney Blu Ray is a Rip Off!

I love Disney movies.  Who doesn’t, right?  We all grew up watching the classics like The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, or Aladdin.  Two out of three of the previously mentioned films were recently re-released in theatres in 3D for the enjoyment of a whole new generation of people (and let’s face it, the enjoyment of the previous generation as well).

While I didn’t get the chance to go and see The Lion King when it was released again, I did have the pleasure of re-experiencing Beauty and the Beast in all it’s glory on the big screen.  Something I hadn’t been able to do since 1991 when it was first released and I was only 8 years old.  I was annoyed by the 3D because it was distracting and pointless, but experiencing that movie again on the big screen literally brought tears to my eyes.

So of course, I wanted to purchase a copy for myself before Disney threw the movie back into their horrid and hated vault.  I HATE the Disney vault but that’s a topic for another post at a later date.

I trotted on down to the nearest Walmart and went straight to the Disney section, excited to own a copy of Beauty of the Beast for the first time since owning it on VHS.  Yes, that’s right…VHS.  My excitement at spotting my bounty was short-lived, however, when I saw the price tag stuck onto it.

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Yes folks, that’s right.  The price was actually $36.93.  My jaw fell to the ground and I literally said out loud, “Are you FREAKING kidding me?!?”  I then stood there for a long time and studied the Disney Blu-Ray section of the movies in Walmart, slowly coming to a realization.  They were all insanely priced.  Now I know that Disney movies have always cost a little more than your typical film and, in my opinion, this was alright because they were always top-notch productions that lived on pretty much forever.  But to be requesting almost $40.00 of my hard earned money was asking a bit too much.

I studied the section a bit more and made another discovery.  All of the films in the Blu-Ray section for Disney were not just Blu-Ray discs.  They all included the Blu-Ray, the DVD, and a digital copy.  This, my friends, is bullshit.  They’re charging large sums of money to essentially buy three copies of the same damn movie all at once.  I don’t know who thought this up, but they’re either a marketing genius or the scum of the earth; quite possibly both.  We don’t need 3 copies of a movie.  NOBODY needs 3 copies of any movie at all…ever.

So I looked around for just the Blu-Ray copy, because that’s all I wanted.  I did not want three copies of one movie…I wanted the Blu-Ray because it’s a beautiful movie and one I deem worthy of paying the already too high price (as compared to DVD) of buying it on Blu-Ray.  But it doesn’t exist.  If you want a Disney movie, you HAVE to purchase three copies of it.  I even saw a version that also included the 3D version as well.  So you were getting FOUR copies in that one.  Eventually I broke down and bought three copies because I was terrified of missing my chance and finding out it went back into the vault before I got my hands on it.  Have I mentioned how much I LOATHE the Disney vault?

I spotted another film I’ve wanted to own since it’s release as well.  I saw the movie Up.  Then I saw the price.

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Yup…$39.93.  No freaking way.  I paid too much for Beauty and the Beast because I love that movie and it makes me feel like a kid again.  There’s no way I am going to pay that kind of money for new Disney movies.  It just won’t happen.  So I left Walmart without Up and went home, hating Disney just a little for their shenanigans and thievery.  Later, I ended up finding a treasure trove of Disney DVDs and Blu-Rays at a used video store and scored them all for under $15 dollars each, including Up which had the Blu-Ray, DVD, and digital copy.

So this is my message to Disney.  I love your movies.  I have ALWAYS loved your movies.  However, I will never purchase your movies for the prices you ask for them based solely on the fact that you threaten us with taking them away forever and hoarding them in your stupid vault like a bully.  Please pay attention to what I have to say next, Disney, because it’s very important.  You will get far more of my money if you come to your senses and charge reasonable prices for them and make them more widely available.  I may have forked over the cash for Beauty and the Beast, but that’s the exception.  It’s a childhood nostalgia thing and nothing more.  Your movies aren’t worth $40 dollars and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Movie Review: Killer Klowns from Outer Space

The boyfriend and I had an experience lately that bears repeating.  We were bored one night, flipping through Netflix, and arguing about what to watch.  Finally, he suggested Killer Klowns from Outer Space.  I was annoyed enough with the flipped that I just said that was fine and he could put on whatever he wanted.  So he chose this one and we settled in to watch.

I will start by saying that I hope to hell that whomever made this movie intended for it to be as over the top ridiculous and cheesy as it was because if they were actually going to frightening, they failed on an epic level.

In rating it on the Cheese Scale, I give it a good rating.  This means it is it was quality cheese.  These movies are amusing, contain a the right amount of humour and character likeability with an amusing plotline.  The downside is, there’s not a whole lot of rewatch value to these ones.

I will say that the reason I liked the characters is that they were acted so badly.  I laughed my ass off at their apparently intended serious acting that was so awful, it blew a school play out of the water.  I love stuff like that, it makes my bad eighties movie just that much better.  To give you a run down of the bizarre and sometimes baffling things this movie had to offer, let me share some of the finer points of the film with you.

Just in case you care, there are definitely spoilers in this post.  If you are peeing your pants in anticipation to see this film, don’t read the rest of this or you will be saddened and dismayed.

First of all, the Klowns come to Earth in what can be described as a falling star/spaceship/circus tent.  Yes, their spaceship appears as a circus tent.  The first person to find this tent is an old man thinking he’s going to get rich and his blood hound named Poo.  That’s right, his dog’s name is Poo.  I believe at one point he calls it Pooh Bear, but it’s funnier the other way, so that’s what I go by.

The main character breakdown is as follows:

1. An old police officer who hates all the young punks in town (anyone under thirty) and continually mumbles monologues about how he hates those crazy kids.  Somewhat akin to the unmasked villain at the end of every episode of Scooby Doo.

2. College guy and girl up on make out hill who see the falling star and make the discovery and try to warn everyone.

3. Young police officer who is more open minded and used to date the chick that was on make out hill.

4. The moron twins who drive an ice cream truck and think that it will get them laid.  They talk rather like the teenager on The Simpsons with the squeaky voice.

The generic teenager working all the crappy jobs.

The Klowns themselves are bizarre.  They are really tall, look like they’re wearing blow up clown outfits and have very creepy but also very fake looking rubbery faces with yellowed, pointy teeth.  I’m actually fairly certain they spent most of the budget on the costumes for the Klowns.  They kill people by shooting them with a ray gun that cocoons them in cotton candy and then liquefies them, allowing the Klowns to insert silly straws (yes, silly straws) and suck them out through that.  Grotesque yet humourous.

They also have guns that shoot popcorn at people.  In the beginning, I was unsure as to what this would accomplish but apparently the popcorn later turns into snakes with Klown heads that try to eat you.  This just confused me to no extent.  Why would popcorn do this?  Eggs I could see, but popcorn is so buttery and delicious that I can’t see it harming me.  Though, I guess I couldn’t imagine being liquified by cotton candy and sucked up through a silly straw either, so there you go.  Something I found particularly amusing was the creation of a balloon animal dog that followed a scent trail.

During the inevitable takeover of the town, a biker gets his head punched off by the little Klown after the biker breaks his little bicycle (the Klown was wearing little boxing gloves at the time and acting quite impish).  A shadow puppet on a wall captures several peoples’ attention, then the several people and they are fed to a bag of popcorn…and we all know what happens when the popcorn gets involved.  There is a car chase involving a little Klown car, an ice cream truck, and a police car which is just ridiculous.  During all this, the townspeople are being collected up in their cotton candy cocoons with a giant vacuum on the Klown car.

One of my favoured discoveries in this film was the way to kill them.  Are you ready for this?  Pop their big, red noses.  Yes folks, that’s right.  The Klowns’ weakness is that giant red nose they all sport and by destroying it, they will spin around in a bright green tornado, turn into a crystal and then explode.

Just as a random observation, by the way, the main chick changed into leg warmers in the second half of the movie and then was kidnapped inside a giant balloon and taken back to the space ship.  I think she deserved it because the leg warmers were polka-dotted.

And now, for the final battle.  We arrive at the local amusement park, where the Klowns have moved the space ship to better disguise it.  Five Klowns get out of a tiny car and kill a security guard with pies…he melted and the little clown put a cherry on top of the goo pile.  This was awesome.  The boyfriend and I laughed quite a bit.  The ice cream truck losers fell into a ball pit with two girl clowns with giant, inflatable boobs.  They were in heaven.  They (dumb ass preppy guy and young cop) rescued the leg warmer chick and then they all tried to escaped.  Dumb ass preppy guy (wearing an argyle sweater) opens a door and finds another door.  He commented loudly, “Another Door!”.  This gag is repeated and every time he says, “Another Door!” like it’s the biggest shock in the world

The last boss (yes, I play too many video games) was a giant Klown with a crocodilian style head.  There was no special effort in finding his weakness, it was the same as the smaller Klowns.  The young cop popped his nose with his badge.  The spaceship blew up and that was pretty much it.

I love cheesy movies and this delivered on that whether it was intentional or not.  There was some unfinished business, however, that bothered me at the end.  How did the moron twins escaped the big boobed Klowns and why it was never defined whether leg warmer chick officially wanted young cop (that would be my choice) or dumb ass preppy guy in the argyle sweater?  The three of them just hugged at the end.  Though perhaps after all their harrowing trials, they will form a permanent threesome and live happily ever after.

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Sick and Tired of 3D Movies

Being a huge geeks and loving old school Sci-Fi, the boyfriend and I were totally psyched when we saw the first trailer for Tron: Legacy in March 2010.  Well, we finally got around to seeing it last night and it was as I thought it would be.  Definitely not as epic as the original, the story line was predictable and some parts took too long.

However, this is not a review of the movie.  This is a massive complaint about something else that is haunting our cinemas and has been for quite some time…3D movies.

Let’s face it, people.  This is just something people are cashing in on left and right because people are buying into it.  It’s been going on for a long time and I can’t say as there have been any movies so far that have really impressed me as of yet save one.  Resident Evil: Afterlife had some kick ass 3D and it was kind of cool to experience it.  Zombie brain matter sticking to the glasses?  That was a pretty kick ass effect.

That being said, I wouldn’t have cared if it wasn’t in 3D.  I loved the previous three just as much, probably better, without it.  I detest paying an extra $4.50 for my movie ticket to sit through a film with those stupid glasses on my face to see something in 3D that would have been more enjoyable without.  Guess what?  I saw Avatar in a theatre where they didn’t play 3D and I’m glad I did because it wouldn’t have been worth it.  The movie was only really “Meh” to me and I’d have been livid to pay four extra dollars to see it.

I got a $25 gift card from my sister and her boyfriend to the movies for Christmas and I still had to tack on $3.5o for us to see Tron last night.  I was pissed off.  3D films are annoying in many ways.  I find it distracting from the movie.  I hate it when something pops out of the screen and travels around and then disappears because it left the side of the screen.  That takes away from the fantasy for me, then I get annoyed, and then I miss stuff in the movie because I’m stewing in my annoyance.  Also, I wear glasses.  If you don’t, then you have no idea how difficult it is to wear those honking big, stupid, plastic glasses over a set of glasses you have to wear to see anything, just to see the movie because if you’re not wearing them, the movie is blurry and you get a headache.  If you don’t wear your prescription glasses, the movie is blurry and you get a headache.  So either way, you’re screwed.  You end up sitting there with your head slightly tilted back so the plastic ones don’t fall off your nose because you can’t push them up any more because your prescription glasses are in the way…

Ugh, I just had a moment of rage thinking about it again.  I hate those stupid glasses.  I detest the fact that I have to pay extra money to be able to use them for a movie that I don’t want to see in 3D and then I have to give them back because I’m not allowed to use them again.  I have to pay another $4 for another pair of glasses that I hate for yet another movie I don’t want to see in 3D.

Sometimes, you have a choice and you can see the movie in 2D.  I always take this choice.  I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 in 2D and it was freaking awesome.  It didn’t need 3D…it’s Harry Potter.  I wish I had been able to see Alice in Wonderland in 2D because I didn’t enjoy it and I paid too much to see something I didn’t enjoy.

I hate that every trailer I see now says “In 3D” for any kind of movie…even those that having them in 3D is just a stupid concept.  I could see it for the computer animated movies, they look kind of neat in 3D.  I can see if for ones with huge and spectacular special effects, though I would probably still choose 2D when they give me a choice, but if they start bringing out chick flicks and dramas in 3D, I’m done with movies forever.  Or at least until they take the 3D away…

Ditching the Old Ball and Chain (Otherwise Known as Cable)

I used to love television.  I used to know the schedule of all my favourite shows, what time they were playing on which day and I was totally absorbed in many different story lines in many different shows and eagerly looked forward to each one.  My friends knew who to ask when they had questions about past plot lines and how they had led to the present and I could explain it to them so they were caught up and ready for that week’s upcoming episode.

That was back when I was in high school (yes, I was just that cool).  Back when I would never leave the house on a Sunday night, nor would I accept any phone calls between the hours of 9 and 10 because I was immersed in the world of Mulder and Scully (Oh yes, I was one of THOSE kind of nerds).

This is a visual representation of my dedication to TV during my teen years...sadly, it's pretty accurate

When I moved out of my parents’ house at the age of 19, I watched less television.  This was mostly due to the fact that I had to share the TV with at least three roommates (one year, it was up to five).  This creates very strict scheduling necessities and discussions about what shows will be watched on what nights by whom.

I will say, from the time I moved out, we had time shifting on the cable, but PVR was not available for about five years after that up here, so that was not an option.

I shaved the list of shows I religiously watched down to about five, easy to do since they all corresponded with shows that various other roommates were watching.

Over the years, various reasons came about for the list of dedicated shows to grow smaller and smaller.  Buffy ended and a year later, Angel was also gone.  I disliked the direction that Grey’s Anatomy took and reality TV was just simply getting annoying and predictable.

Over the years I stuck with my few shows and mostly movies and then when I met the boyfriend, I discovered that he was not an avid fan of fictional television.  He loved reality TV.  When I moved in, in an unspoken and unintentional compromise, I gave up pretty much all of my television shows aside from a couple sitcoms (I also recently picked up Glee and adore it) and he gave up most of his reality television except the ones that I would watch with him.  So together, we had Survivor and Hell’s Kitchen to look forward to every week and I would watch my fiction shows, for the most part, alone.

A year passed and I was heading to a friend’s house once a week to watch Glee and pre-recorded episodes (PVR had finally arrived!) of How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory.  The boyfriend and I had given up on watching everything but Survivor on the television, instead catching up with them a few episodes at a time streamed online.

I found myself resenting cable’s presence in our lives more and more, strictly for the fact that it was there, there was television, but I tended to always find there to be nothing to watch.  I would put National Geographic channel on in the background while I surfed the net, but I wasn’t paying any attention to it half the time.

So we assessed the situation and some very serious discussions about it (ie. I asked the boyfriend if he cared about cable and he was like…meh).  So finally, decision made.  Cable went away for good.

It’s been two weeks since the big step towards freedom and I haven’t noticed a huge loss in my life.  There have only been a few times where I though, “Gee, I’d really like to watch [insert random show title here]” and then I’d realize that was not possible and find something else to do.  The only thing that has happened that made me actually wish we’d waited a month was the fact that I found out I would be missing Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.

Somehow, though sharks terrify me and have since childhood, I LOVE Shark Week

The best thing about having no cable to pop on in the background when we’re eating meals or bored?  We are FINALLY working our way through the backlog of television shows that we keep buying on DVD but never watch.  We’re almost finished with My Pet Monster and will be moving on to complete the first season of She-Ra next.

This was my fave cartoon as a child. I used to run around with a plastic sword and pretend that I was She-Ra.

Movie Flashbacks: A Few Favourites

A trip to the movie store last night resulted in choosing a few favourite movies to bring back home, to see if they were still as good as we remembered them.  As a reference, here is a link to the movie rating system that is being applied to these three films.

Tremors (1990):  (film information) Yes, that’s right.  The classic film involving a bunch of hicks living in the middle of the dessert, eking out a life from the dirt and bothering nobody.  The two main characters are Earl and Valentine, making their living as random handy men for the people of Perfection, doing whatever they can to make a few bucks here and there, all the while dreaming of getting out of town.  When they finally decide to do it, they run into some trouble in the form of nasty, worm like creatures living and moving about underground, able to sense your presence from the vibrations you make with every sound and movement on the surface.  For the residents of Perfection, with the only road out of the valley blocked off by a rockslide, this presents a life and death problem as they try to escape across the dessert to safety, while trying to avoid being eaten by monsters underneath them.  The casting was awesome; Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward as Valentine and Earl were the perfect comedic/hero duo, Reba McIntire as the wife of the paranoid, ready for WWIII gun toting conspiracy theorist, and the obnoxious teenager who is everyone’s pain in the ass.  The Graboids (the name of the monsters) were not CG but actually man made robotics and pupeteering, the humour was completely on par with the situation and it was a combination of horror, comedy, and thriller that still entertains to this day.  This movie falls into the Great Cheese category, with tonnes of rewatch value that will always keep you laughing.

The Running Man (1987): (film information) This movie was Arnold Schwarzenegger at his 80’s best.  A wrongly accused convicted felon in a future where the government controls everything and the people are placated by television, Ben Richards (Schwarzenegger) is forced to participate in the country’s most popular game show, The Running Man.  A game where felons must make their way through a series of trials, trying to survive while being hunted down by stalkers of various eccentricity and mental capacity.  It is a population controlled by violence and savagery, not unlike the Gladiator games of Ancient Rome.  Richards must of course, avoid being killed, save the girl, bring down the evil corporation and expose the truth to the people.  The story line is a little ridiculous, the special effects weren’t all that fantastic and the acting was what you could expect from any action movie of the 80’s.  However, though compared to the movies of today, it may seem poorly done, to those who grew up in this time period, who saw all the action movies and loved every horribly acted second of them, it still lives on as a classic.  This goes into the good cheese category.  It’s rewatchable, but really only to the people who were around when it first came out.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988): (Film Information) Nobody that was born in the 80’s doesn’t know what this movie is.  Roger Rabbit is one of the foremost influential movies of the decade and will live forever in the hearts and minds of those of us who were fortunate enough to see it in it’s day.  A movie combining live action and cartoon, this was groundbreaking and almost mesmerizing to watch, keeping the audience glued to their seats for every second.  The best thing about it was, there was absolutely no CG involved in any way.  The animation was done by layers of actual drawings put on top of each other to give it a 3D look and the actors practiced with real to life sized dummies of the cartoon characters to know where to look and direct their dialogue.  Puppeteers floated objects held by the cartoons around the room magically so it looked like the animated characters were actually holding real life objects as they interacted with the actors.  This is the story of a down and out private detective, sworn off of helping cartoon characters ever again after one murders his brother.  He is suddenly thrown back into that world in order to prove that Roger Rabbit did not murder the owner of Toon Town.  It is a movie filled with cartoon characters, both classically loved and new to the scene, humour for both adults and children and a magic that will never be replicated with the aid of computers, no matter how hard Hollywood tries.  The anniversary edition DVD we rented is filled with special features including an hour long documentary on how the movie was put together, how the actors worked with characters that weren’t there and how exactly they made the animation look so real.  It is most certainly a movie in the excellent cheese category, with the ability to entertain over and over again and should be shown to everyone and passed down through the generations to show what real animation was like back in the day.