Friday, January 11, 2013

Judas Kiss (2011)

Number Rolled: 92
Movie Name/Year: Judas Kiss (2011)
Genre: Gay & Lesbian Movies
Length: 94 minutes
Rating: NR
Director: J.T. Tepnapa
Writer: J.T. Tepnapa, Carlos Pedraza
Actors: Charlie David, Richard Harmon, Timo Descamps, Sean Paul Lockhart, Julia Morizawa, Samantha Rund, Laura Kenny, Dale Bowers, Dennis Bateman, Genevieve Buechner

Let’s be honest, this kind of movie is exactly the reason I decided I wanted to review movies in my spare time. Before I write anything for this blog, I research it. I look up older reviews from various sites and blogs, hit up IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes and even watch interviews with members of the cast and crew. When I researched this film I found a lot of scathing reviews; none of which I agree with.

Granted, I’m a little bias in favor of this movie because I’m a huge fan of Sean Paul Lockhart – both as an actor and as a human being. Though his past is laced with dark marks on that permanent record all people in the public eye have, he acknowledges them and has moved on to work in mainstream movies and on campaigns for some issues very dear to my heart – such as safe sex. No doubt, if this movie had sucked, just his presence in it would have earned a star. However, I found this movie inspirational and I was completely absorbed by the story line, so his presence is moot. I don’t give above five stars. If I did, he would have brought it to six.

This movie was about a failed director that takes his friends place on a film festival judges panel and runs into a version of himself from the past. Doctor Who fans, this is where we say that time is really just a ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey… stuff. The movie never actually says that the main character, the older version of him, goes back in time, but it never actually says that the younger version of the main character goes ahead in time. In fact, the time travel issue is secondary to the drama. This failed director just gets a chance to help himself change his future; no DeLorean’s, no blue box, just a strange twilight zone-ish mesh of timelines. I found it quite unique, actually.

The actors made this amazing script seem even more so. Even though I have given the movie a perfect score, I can’t claim that it is actually perfect. There was some wording that I couldn’t get past, but that was really my only problem with it and really only came in near the end of the movie.

Even if my issues with the film had been greater than just three or four words near the end, I probably still would have scored it very high. I identified with the main character, but I imagine a lot of people would. Who hasn’t made some mistakes when they were younger that they wish they could go back and fix? Of course, it also helps that about two years ago I wrote a non-fiction book about my life, lied to say it was fictional and was too much of a pussy to do anything with it. This movie inspired me more than just as a reviewer.

I have an issue with the Netflix categorization of this film; “Gay & Lesbian Movies.” That’s it. That’s the only category they put this film in. Every other film I’ve reviewed for this blog had roughly five or six – or more – categories. I’m almost offended by it, like it’s a form of segregation. It wasn’t just a gay & lesbian movie, it was also a drama and a romance and a little bit sci-fi/fantasy. There were plenty of other categories they could have, and should have, listed this movie in.

Just saying.

Overall Opinion – 5/5

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

ZA: Zombies Anonymous (2005)

Number Rolled: 1
Movie Name/Year: ZA: Zombies Anonymous (2005)
Genre: Horror
Length: 108 minutes
Rating: NR
Director: Marc Fratto
Writer: Marc Fratto
Actors: Jenny Greeman, Joseph DeVito, Yarusha Jimenez, Lodric D. Collins, S. Vanessa Bryant, Gina Ramsden, Joshua Nelson, Mary Jo Verruto, Lincoln Cabrerra, Jennifer Brown, Mandi Bradbury, Shannon Moore

Imagine a world where the dead don’t truly die. The moment that last breath is taken, they rise up as the undead. Meat-craving, pasty-skinned, anti-living zombies, in the flesh; but instead of rising up to immediately hate and attempt to devour the living they continue their lives – in a manner of speaking.

The main character of this story, Angela – played by Gina Ramsden, is shot by her lunatic boyfriend about five minutes into the movie. We then go on a journey with her as she attempts to live in a world that fears and rejects her kind. It has the makings of a run-of-the-mill recipe coming of age movie. Even with the zombie dynamic. However, the movie manages to avoid that fate. There are few movies out there, that I’ve heard of/seen, that shoot from the perspective of the zombie rather than the humans. This one tells the tale very well and with an amazingly unique setting.

For a B-movie, it was absolutely incredible. There was only one actress I hated (Shannon Moore, no thanks), while the rest did a pretty decent job. A tiny budget led to a few issues with graphics and video, but it forced the director to be more creative, you can see it in a lot of the scenes. Granted, the quality of the film almost makes it feel like a bootleg, but if you can get passed that – it’s really worth it.

The soundtrack left a lot to be desired. It was like a badly created .midi file being looped so that you’re still hearing its annoying sound about a half hour after the movie was over. I could have lived without that.

Overall Opinion – 3.5/5

Monday, January 7, 2013

XXX (2002)

Number Rolled: 27
Movie Name/Year: XXX (2002)
Genre: Action & Adventure
Length: 132 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Director: Rob Cohen
Writer: Rich Wilkes
Actors: Vin Diesel, Asia Argento, Marton Csokas, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Roof, Richy Muller, Werner Daehn, Petr Jakl, Jan Pavel Filipensky, Tom Everett, Danny Trejo, Thomas Ian Griffith, Eve, Tony Hawk

XXX is about as action-filled as action movies get. Exactly what else do you expect from a Vin Diesel casted film, though?

A daredevil internet sensation falls into some trouble after earning his third strike. He’s whisked away by a government agency, tested and then offered a free pass on jail if he completes a mission. He accepts the deal and goes ahead to attempt to bring down Anarchy 99, a Russian crime ring.

There’s not a huge amount of depth to the storyline and lots of movies have done this brand of story before and since XXX came out, some have even done it a lot better. It’s not the most intellectually stimulating movie out there, but sometimes that’s just not what you’re going to be looking for. Sometimes it’s just about getting lost in another world where you can watch amazing action sequences and lose yourself in the imagery of it. At least, that’s how it is for me. I love a movie that challenges me and makes me think, but I also like the movies that are creatively done to highlight the action behind the story. Whether it’s for background noise, or because I had a bad day and just want to watch shit get blown up, this would be a damn good movie.

I’m not the biggest fan of Vin Diesel’s acting, usually, but I thought his flat-snarkiness really fit his character and it presented some laughs during the movie. As much as I enjoyed him, however, I enjoyed his co-star, Asia Argento, a lot more. She played a relatively stereotypical character, but she did it with finesse.

The one glaring issue I really had with this movie was the forced love story aspect. Now, if you know me and you’ve read some of my blogs up until now, you’ll know that I love a good romance. You’ll also know that one of my biggest pet peeves with movies is when they force the romance between characters where the movie just would have been done better without it. Let’s call that the Bloodrayne philosophy from now on.

Overall Opinion – 3.5/5