Movie Review – Cloverfield

CloverfieldCloverfield is about some people trying to survive an attack on New York City as seen through a video camera one of the characters carries around for the whole movie.

This not-so-good movie rates a 6 although at times I probably would have given it a 5.

Too much time is spent introducing the characters for the first 20 minutes or so. They are unsympathetic and boring. I actually whispered to my friend that, “I hope they start getting killed soon!” They are having a going away party for Rob and one of the characters is using a video camera to film messages to Rob from the other guests. The building shakes, and everyone runs outside as the Statue of Liberty’s head comes bouncing down the street.

Four of the characters spend the rest of the movie trying to find another person and survive the rampage. Hud, a real doofus, carries the camera around for the whole movie and gets it all on film. The clever bit about this movie is that the entire film is shown through the camera that Hud carries around. That is also its biggest downfall (besides the poor plot and lame acting). Remember how the camera jerked around all through Blair Witch? Multiply it by 5 with much more wild swinging about of the camera to get an idea of how this movie shakes and shimmies.

For almost the entire movie, I felt physically ill. I had to look away frequently to keep from getting sick. It was just too much – never a break from camera swinging wildly around. I felt shaken up for about a half hour after the movie ended, and I very much enjoy going on roller coasters and sky diving. If you must see it, sit in the back. All five of us complained about the camera shaking as we crucified the movie afterwards. The plot was poor. It did not have suspense or scary parts. Not much blood either. The movie never explains what is attacking (it does show it), why or how. You just made me feel ill for 88 minutes. At least tell me what the hell is going on! The lack of information left at least three different explanations for what happened.

The ending actually leaves unclear how the movie ended. Not good. The acting was crappy, and I was hoping for the death of all the main characters. As a soldier tells them, “We don’t know what it is, but it’s kicking our ass!” Exactly.

Movie Review – Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz Cover


Hot Fuzz is a British police farce.

Because I was a tad bored for the first half before the rousing finish, this only gets a 6.

Simon Pegg is Sergeant Nicolas Angel, an overachieving
London cop reassigned to a quiet country town so that he no longer makes the other

London police look bad compared to him. Naturally, he is assigned an incompetent, bone-headed partner, and they proceed to discover the town’s deep, dark secrets.

Half of the cast were in other British comedies most notably Shaun of the Dead, which I have heard is very, very funny. The actors were pretty funny and the plot was more interesting as the movie rolled along. This is probably a good rental for when you are bored and have some beers just waiting to be consumed in rapid succession.

The movie was kind of flat and semi-monotonous for the first half. It began to get more interesting as more of the mystery became exposed. Once the climactic gun battle at the end got rolling, the movie became very enjoyable and particularly funny. Of note was the sequence where the hero jumps a fence and kicks a shotgun toting, 92 year old woman in the face. Everyone in the theater laughed so it must be funny kicking old ladies in the face. Try it and see. The gun battle was a great over the top spoof of all other cop movie gun fights.

~Elric the Damned 

Movie Review – Night Watch

Night Watch Cover3/14/06

Night Watch is a Russian vampire story.

This fascinating, cheaply made, meat shop is only a 6.

But they tried.

My brain said, “NO!”  Then my heart said, “No!”  But my spleen.  My spleen said, “Hmmm.”  The nice thing about the Cedar Lee (
Cleveland’s independent movie theater) is that you can buy a half bottle of wine for only $8.50.  It helped but didn’t kick in until much later in the movie. 

Anyway, the movie was a modern vampire story in Russian with Subtitles set in
Moscow.  The forces of Good and Evil have a truce.  Each has a police force to watch the other side for rule breaking.  Thus, the Night Watch title.  The forces of Evil have their own Day Watch.  Cute.

This movie was done in the gritty, washed out way that a cheap Russian B horror flick could only be done in with.  Yeah.  Having never seen a Russian horror movie, I sat in fascination and contemplation as I enjoyed my grape juice and watched the sloppy plot and dialogue unfold before me like a cheap French whore on her cigarette break.

Basically, if you wish to do an autopsy on something that should be dead, go see it.  It is in very limited release, so a rental would be in order.  I considered it an educational event and now feel much more fulfilled.  Ok, I’ll stop.

The theater was mostly empty; there were about 8 personages in attendance.  Two guys were sitting behind me as I sat too far in the front to where I would almost cross my eyes to read the subtitles.  One had a unique laugh.  He had an almost-hysterical laugh/giggle .  They may have been cinema majors from Case Western.  I see Those people all the time at the Cinematheque…

None of you will ever see this movie, but I felt like writing it up anyway.  I had a good time.  My therapist says that is a good thing.  And so does Martha.

~Elric the Damned

Movie Review – Hostel


Hostel is a movie about a trip to Europe gone wrong slasher/death/torture kind of thing.

This “presented by Quentin Tarantino” but not directed by Tarantino was fairly boring and rates a 6.

Don’t spend $8 to see it. If you want a great slasher movie with lots of humor, rent Rob Zombie’s House of 1,000 Corpses (reviewed in May of 2003) and it’s sequel, The Devil’s Rejects. Both were 9s.

Two privileged American kids go on a European backpacking tour before they head off to law school. They wind up in Amsterdam and learn about a hostel in Slovakia where the chicks are super hot and love to do American guys. They go there, of course and get put in a semi-private room with their new buddy from Iceland and two super hot chicks. They party. There’s a lot of very gratuitous, sexy chicks with bare breasts and some sex thrown in. People start disappearing, and you know the rest with a plot twist done in many other stories before.

The acting was ok, nothing notable. It was pretty slow-paced and took a while for the story to do anything. I actually got tired of the multitude of well-proportioned bare breasts on the hot Eastern European chicks (either I’m getting old or had good sex this morning). I was there for the slashing and blood. Anyway, the plot was not terribly original and the ending was not terribly plausible.

I attended the movie with a friend of mine, who is a psychiatrist. He gave it a C, which I would translate into 6. After the movie, we discussed the science of it. He liked that it was medically accurate for most of the cutting, etc. He did note that cutting an Achilles tendon is not clean and should have some white stringy things hanging out and that when the optic nerve is cut, it should not ooze an orange goo. I just thought that they wanted some other color than red to give a little extra effect but noticed the error myself during the movie.

My friend accepted my offer to loan him The House of 1,000 Corpses. I would advise you to run out and see it for yourself. It is truly violent and bloody but well worth it for the laughs.

Movie Reviews

Greetings and salutations! Adaen has been so kind as to grant me a page to post movie reviews. I have my own 1-10 rating system with details below.


Elric the Damned’s Logarithmic Rating System of Death, Doom, & Despair

1: A rating of 1 means that I have already put out a contract on the director’s life. Actually, I am the one who has accepted the contract and am currently hunting the bastard down… Keep an eye out for splashy headlines in the tabloids. “Director Johnny X Dies in a Technicolor Explosion of Buffalo Wings and Pina Coladas: Police Suspect Foul Play.”

2: This movie so infuriates me that I am likely to disable my air bags and play chicken with other cars on the highway with the intention of losing. I mean really losing. Why? Because my nails are not sharp enough to claw out my own eyes (at least not properly).

3: This kind of stupidity or irrelevance just should not exist. Definitely, letters of disdain are on their way to the respective studios and actors if they can be called that.

4: This is a movie that has annoyed or bored me enough to get up and walk out. If at home, I curse sullenly and hit the rewind or stop button. Then I move on to activities better worth my time like clipping my nails or polishing my shoes. The Adventures of Pluto Nash (Eddie Murphy) is such an example. I was just shocked and very, very disappointed.

5: During a 5, I very seriously consider getting up and leaving. But I sit through to the bitter end for whatever reason. This would be better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick, but just barely. See League of Extraordinary Gentlemen for further explanation. I wouldn’t recommend a 5 to anyone, except to Adaen; I want him to suffer. Another example is the first Charlie’s Angels. It is just a wolfie-4 dressed up in sheep’s clothing(never thought I would be saying that sheep were attractive and sexy…).

6: The movie was good enough to watch but did not have anything unusual or especially good about it. A 6 is usually best watched on video unless it is one of those big screen action movies. Sometimes I will rate a movie a 7 when it is really a 6 because the action effects on the big screen tricked me. Schwartzenegger’s movies have been falling into this category lately, which is very sad (True Lies being a very notable exception at 8 or 9, it was pre-rating system [reviews started in 2000] thus the range).

7-8: This is where good movies reside. Most good movies are here. I really enjoyed them, and they were well
made. I smile and am happy. Ahhh.

9-10: These are rare indeed. These movies are exceptionally well made and speak to me at some level. These movies don’t need to have a specific relevance to my life, but they take me to another level. They are outstanding, and I would see them more than once at the theater (not always true but in theory). Besides the ones I have already listed in my reviews, examples would include Fight Club, Gladiator, Silence of the Lambs and The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood(really, would I lie to you?). Very few movies reside in this hallowed ground. And did I mention Quills? Have you rented it yet? Well? And Run Lola Run? Hmmm. Well, get busy.

~Elric the Damned, High Adventure Games