The Pink Panther Snipes Again

Bad Movie Reviews with a Touch of Snark


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Frankenstein’s Army, or: I Was Promised Nazi Zombies

Great blog collab with A Voluptuous Mind, round 2! Read Christa’s review here.

The Film:

Frankenstein’s Army

Where to Watch:

Netflix

The Premise:

A unit of the Red Army attempts to complete a secret mission to find and destroy Dr. Frankenstein and his army of zombies (robot monsters).

The Trailer:

The Uncondensed Version:

This is a found footage movie, so we’ve got the obligatory explanation of a mission that’s about to go horribly wrong. It’s WWII, and a group of Russian soldiers are about to film their mission, to be completed in the name of Stalin!

We’ve got a pretty solid start thanks to epic marching through Mother Russia music and some terrible Russian accents.

Ra-Ra-Rasputin?

Ra-Ra-Rasputin?

The first action this unit of the Red Army sees happens when they have to take out a sniper’s nest (except for poor little incompetent Sasha who has to stay behind and guard their gear). After the fighting’s done, they encounter this weird monster skeleton, which is kind of creepy but, eh, they don’t give it a whole lot of attention.

We also get a better idea for who the soldiers are. Though I really only kept track of the attractive one (the Polish guy, OBVIOUSLY) and the guy who was a dick (because I wanted to see him die). Aaaaaaaaaand they all get drunk because that’s what you do in the Red Army.

Can we get a spin-off of the Polish dude just staring into the camera?

Can we get a spin-off of the Polish dude just staring into the camera?

Later, they hear an urgent message on the wireless from Tiger Bear, presumably another battalion, at a mining village nearby. There’s a lot of running through the sad, brown woods to get to the village. When they arrive, they find a pile of bodies, all nuns, being burned outside of a church. Surely the Nazis are responsible for this (spoiler alert: no, they aren’t. And stop calling me Shirley).

The Russians go into the church and discover it looks like a factory inside. Because they’re STUPID they start the machines up and encounter a robot monster, which salutes (of course). Before they can destroy the robot monster, it kills their commander pretty much by ripping out his intestines. Basically now either the asshole or the pretty Polish one is going to be in command. I think it’s the asshole guy. (I’m sorry, guys, but I need a more structured plot.)

Since they have no radio signal and no idea what’s going on, a small group goes into the village, where they find a house full of animals in cages. Suddenly the occupant returns and demands to know what they are doing (short answer: preparing to eat the animals).

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Russians: masters of sass.

He says everyone in the village ran from the things the doctor makes, but he knows where the rest of the Russians are. Of course they are in a creepy old basement, which doesn’t deter the jackass who’s in charge. As they navigate the narrow underground tunnels, they encounter a robot monster who awesomely has scythes for hands and a kind of steampunk-y helmet that clamps open and closed. There are some really pointless scenes in which one of the guys is mortally wounded and the Russians find a German nurse to heal him but he dies anyway…so I’m skipping those.

At this point, the cameraman reveals that there is no Tiger Bear, and there are no Russian soldiers awaiting their help. They are, in fact, on a top-secret mission to destroy the lab of one Dr. Frankenstein, mad scientist. After more robot monsters attack, including one with really cool metal lobster claws and a Pinhead look-alike, the Russians decide they’ve had enough and leave the cameraman to the robot monsters.

Now, having been sent down a chute by his own comrades, the cameraman starts muttering about Stalin (shame of all shames)! He reveals his Jewish parents will be freed in exchange for the doctor and generally feels sorry for himself. Eventually, he gets up and starts wandering through the lab. In the lab there are a bunch of odd hybrid experiments, including a woman’s head sewn to a teddy bear (how would that ever be useful to Nazis?) Then a bunch of really cool-looking robot monsters start chasing the cameraman. One attacks him with a sledgehammer. Camera glass breaking. Fade to black.

When the cameraman wakes up, Dr. Frankenstein feeds him this weird soup and explains his robot monster creations. He gets really offended when the film guy implies they’re puppets when, in fact, they’re individuals.

Post would be incomplete without still of mad scientist brain splicing experimentation.

Post would be incomplete without still of mad scientist brain splicing experimentation.

Frankenstein starts cutting this Nazi’s brain open to splice it with a Russian brain, which will, in theory, allow the two sides to understand each other and end the war (riiiiiiiiiiiiiight). When this experiment fails, Frankenstein begins a new experiment with the cameraman. When the Red Army suddenly returns, Frankenstein flees, explaining that the robot monsters will go nuts without him as a leader. However, one of the Russian dudes shoots him. The cameraman pleads with his comrade to save him, but the Russians just take the camera and peace out.

The Critique:

Maybe this is just me, but I interpreted “monstrous new soldiers pieced together from body parts of the dead” (from the Netflix summary) as zombies. So I was highly disappointed by the lack of any zombies in this movie.

The summary also says the monsters were created by the Nazis, which really isn’t true—they were just created by this one crazy German guy. So the monsters weren’t even directly part of some Nazi conspiracy. Sometimes German robot monsters aren’t Nazis; they’re just German robot monsters. Admittedly, they looked pretty cool.

Also I didn’t think the found footage thing worked particularly well in this movie and made the film feel really disjointed.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 2/5 Pink Panther Heads

In a more generous mood, I might say 3/5 because it wasn’t that bad, but I’m cranky due to lack of Nazi zombies.


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Snow White, the Dragons, and the Seven Elves

The Film:

Grimm’s Snow White

Where to Watch:

Netflix

The Premise:

Snow White teams up with a group of elves to prevent her wicked stepmother from absorbing the power of a magical flame (no joke). Also, for no apparent reason, DRAGONS. EVERYWHERE.

The Trailer:

The Uncondensed Version:

Basically, a star fell to earth and became a magical flame from which two types of creatures sprang: dragons and elves. Being an elf really blows because, even though they have special magical amulets, many have been enslaved by humans. Since this movie is basically Snow White directed by Peter Jackson, there is a prophecy that tells of a hero who will rise in times of turmoil. That hero is…[dramatic camera pan out] Snow White. I think? Even though (spoiler alert) she doesn’t really do anything.

So, exposition/prophecy is out of the way, and we move on to the action of the film. The king of, I don’t know, wherever the fuck we are, is out hunting when a REALLY high quality CGI effect dragon attacks his party. The king calls out to one of his men for help, but the dude takes off running, leaving the king to a nasty end.

DRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGONS.

DRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGONS.

Cut to the queen, who has to practice acting super upset about the death of her husband, which she in fact orchestrated with the help of the huntsman, aka that guy who ran away when the dragon showed up. Not only does the queen have access to elven magic for reasons I don’t totally get, but she also has her magic mirror (of course). I guess this is just not an acceptable amount of magic because what she really wants is to find the mythical flame.

Meanwhile, one of the queen’s men has trespassed onto the lands of a neighboring kingdom, conveniently ruled by a handsome prince who wants to avoid another war. He decides to go visit the queen and propose marriage, so they will form an alliance/not kill each other. Insert obstacle: Snow White, who looks a lot like Alice in Wonderland since she’s blonde and wears a blue dress for almost 100% of this movie. When the prince sees Snow White, he’s super turned on. Or falls in love. For my (non-existent) less cynical readers. Snow White has come home after years of living in the convent where the queen sent her.

So anyway, the prince proposes to the queen anyway because he’s too noble, and acts all offended but invites him to stay to discuss later. This kind of looks like it was shot in someone’s living room, which I suppose is probably luxury compared to a lot of medieval lifestyles, and in general a risk you have to take when watching bad movies, but still. I kept expecting someone’s cat to run across the screen.

That evening, the prince wanders around the gardens, which is a useful plot point since Snow White’s only hobby is literally just walking around and humming to herself in the garden. The prince basically asks her out even though he’s kind of pre-engaged to her stepmother (which, I’ve learned from Facebook, is a real thing).

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Seriously, the Alice in Wonderland vibe is so distracting.

So the queen gets upset at this point because (a) the magic mirror gives her sass about Snow White being prettier, and (b) Snow White is stealing her pre-affianced. This is the point where the queen tells the huntsman to kill Snow White. As he’s about to commit murder it becomes apparent there are elves watching. Additional obstacle: a dragon shows up and kills one of the men. For some reason, the huntsman cuts out this guy’s heart and gives it to the queen, while the elves save Snow White. The elves take her in and heal her, even though one of the elves objects (who is, coincidentally, named Orlando and is a really bad actor).

The queen then realizes Snow White is still alive thanks to her mirror, and feeds the huntsman to her were-dogs that kind of have mohawks. She turns her attention to Snow White and tells her guards to unleash the dogs because she is probably not legally allowed to say “Smithers, release the hounds.”

The dogs are about to get Snow White, but the prince saves her by distracting them. Then a dragon shows up, nooooooooooooooo, but everyone makes it out alive. When the prince tracks down the elves’ cottage, they deny the existence of Snow White. This is either going to end totally fine, or the prince is going to slowly lose his mind like Jimmy Stewart in Vertigo.

Just for the hell of it, Snow White and one of the elves go to the palace and sneak around; they see the queen convincing the prince that he was just hallucinating out of grief and they should get married ASAP. The elf is captured, but Snow White manages to escape. Now they need a castle insider, so they plan to recruit Isabella, an elf who works for the queen, when they see her at the market. This is a really shitty plan, as Isabella has no interest in helping, and the whole thing is pretty much a setup anyway. The queen, disguised as an old crone, gives Snow White a poisoned ring. Since they think she’s dead, the elves prepare to give her a Viking funeral, but the Prince shows up and realizes she’s still alive. He kisses her hand and wakes her up, which is at least less creepy than the traditional making out with a dead girl part of this fairy tale. The prince proposes to Snow White, and she accepts.

Evil Queen's hat game:  strong.

Evil Queen’s hat game: strong.

At this point, Snow White is reluctant to seize the throne from the queen, which sucks. However, she changes her mind after the prince is captured trying to free that elf from earlier. The queen can kind of bend minds to her will; when she does this to the prince he plays along and says he’ll marry her again. I should point out he’s chained up in a dungeon at this point, so we’re getting way closer to 50 Shades territory than I would’ve expected from this movie. The queen marches out with her army to destroy Snow White and the elves for good.

When he sees the army approaching, Orlando tries to give the elves a motivational speech…“We’re going to die with honor, etc, etc.”

4

One of many ambiguous facial expressions.

This is the prelude to some reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally bad battle scenes. The hitherto unmentioned Dark Elves show up out of nowhere and attack; they’re basically ninjas, which is pretty cool.

Unfortunately, the battle ends in defeat—the prince has been stabbed, and Snow White/elves have been captured. For whatever reason, the queen decides she’s going to marry the prince instead of kill him, which is just stupid. One of the elves, presumably dead, is actually still alive and frees Snow White, who fights the queen and decapitates her.

The elves heal the prince…and they all live happily ever after.

The Critique:

Snow White, already one of my least favorite fairy tale characters (except maybe in Fables), is just a total pushover in this adaptation. This is possibly (probably) more reflective of my own twisted psyche than the film, but the evil queen was awesome and should have won. All she wanted to do was to be all-powerful and hook up with a young, attractive dude; would you not do the same thing if you were the ruler of a kingdom? No? You’d be a constitutional monarch? Yeah, don’t bullshit me. The queen is basically Queen Elizabeth I in terms of badassery, and Snow White is…I don’t know, Catherine Howard or basically any of Henry VIII’s wives. Obviously way more fun to be QEI than dead/exiled.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 3/5 Pink Panther Heads

Largely because it combined Snow White and dragons.

P.S. Sorry to my former self who tried to keep blog posts under 1,000 words, but you know what? In the immortal words of OneRepublic, it’s too late to ’pologize.


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Ginger Snaps: Great (Voluptuous) Minds Think Alike

Prepare yourself for this blog’s first official collaborative film review experience.

I have teamed up with the fabulous Christa of A Voluptuous Mind for a virtual movie date/critique of Ginger Snaps. Be afraid, blogging community—I have a co-conspirator. Double the posts, double the snark (or, more accurately, snark squared).

Check out her post here. Here goes mine:

The Film:

Ginger Snaps

Where to Watch:

Hulu; Youtube; UK Netflix, apparently

The Premise:

Two sisters who have vowed to die by age 16 must change their plans when one is attacked by a werewolf.

The Trailer:

The Uncondensed Version:

Someone or something has been terrorizing the small Canadian suburb where sisters Brigitte and Ginger (B+G) live. As our film opens, the neighbor is screaming that the creature has killed her dog…and basically no one cares.

B+G continue to go about their normal activities: staging their own deaths in dramatic photos, reminding each other of their pact to kill themselves before they reach 16, and rocking the ‘90s Goth look.

The sisters share their project with the class, and everyone is pretty into it except, of course, for the teacher (played by Ranger Gord from The Red Green Show [after all, this is a Canadian production]).

I love that Brigitte has a bone pen.  And excellent bored teen facial expressions.

I love that Brigitte has a bone pen. And excellent bored teen facial expressions.

As we get a glimpse of B+G’s high school existence, it becomes obvious Ginger is the hot sister who won’t put up with your bullshit (especially not from the douchey jock who keeps hitting on her), while Brigitte is the quiet nerd who tries to be as inconspicuous as possible. Trina, the cheerleader who takes pleasure in torturing Brigitte, pushes her into the corpse of another dead dog that’s lying in the field. Brigitte pukes, and Ginger starts attacking Trina, threatening to kill her. As part of a really creepy revenge plot, B+G decide to kill Trina’s dog.

That evening, Ginger makes the mistake of complaining about her aching back during dinner. Her mom enthusiastically tells her she’s getting her period, which dismays both B+G. When they sneak away that night to carry out their revenge plot, they encounter…A WEREWOLF (please at least pretend to be surprised). The wolf attacks Ginger and drags her away. (Women, fucked over by their periods yet again.) Brigitte runs after Ginger and helps her escape, but Ginger has already been mauled pretty severely. The werewolf runs after them, but is hit by a van. Coincidentally, the driver, Sam, is the guy who hooks all the high school kids up with drugs and has a thing for Brigitte (I have no idea how old he’s supposed to be b/c he looks MAYBE a year or two older, but Ginger later calls him out for being a creep).

When B+G make it home, Ginger’s wounds are already healing, so she manages to convince Brigitte not to call 911. Ginger now has to suffer through the agony of her first period while simultaneously transforming into a werewolf. When B+G try to explain her symptoms to the school nurse, she just says it’s a normal period and gives them condoms (remember—this is Canada).

The creepy jock guy tells Ginger getting high will take the edge off, so she lights up with him and some other dudes in Sam’s van. This leads to a major falling out between the formerly inseparable sisters (sounding a little familiar, eh, Disney? Ginger suddenly sprouts white streaks in her hair as well. WHAT).

The rift between B+G means Ginger gives into her sudden uncontrollable sexual appetite and hooks up with that jock asshole, while Brigitte reads up on lycanthropy (seriously, I think performing dramatic secret research is a requirement for all werewolf movies). Sam continues to be really into Brigitte, but when your sister is turning into a werewolf, you don’t have time for that shit.

"No, I don't want to build a fucking snowman."

“No, I don’t want to build a fucking snowman.”

Ginger finally turns to Brigitte for help when she starts growing a tail and tries to eat the creepy jock. Brigitte tells her to say the same thing about him if he starts spreading rumors about her, but Ginger tells her it doesn’t work like that (TRUTH). It’s really hard not to take Ginger’s side in all of this; she’s such a fucking badass. In an effort to control her transformation, Brigitte pierces Ginger’s bellybutton with a silver ring in a scene that is the most disgusting in the entire movie (if you’re me, anyway).

Sam shows up at the high school because he’s trying to help Brigitte (who told him she was the one who was attacked), but she blows him off when Ginger gets jealous (God help the mister who comes between me and my sister).

That night, Trina comes to B+G’s house and demands they give her dog back. Ginger attacks her, and Trina dies when she hits her head on a kitchen counter. They hide the body in the freezer.

Ginger realizes that her sexual urges are actually urges to kill (a problem we can all relate to), and she only feels better when she’s ripping someone’s face apart. Brigitte tells her there’s an herbal remedy they can try and locks Ginger in the bathroom while she enlists Sam’s help.

I don’t know if the drug-making scene is supposed to be sexy or what, but it kind of is. Just so we’re clear, kiddies, I don’t condone drug use except when it can cure lycanthropy.

I think it's the '90s hair and mood lighting that does it for me.

I think it’s the ’90s hair and mood lighting that does it for me.

Meanwhile, Ginger escapes and flashes some dudes at school; Ranger Gord sees this and instructs her to come to his office. She kills him and then kills the janitor.

It becomes apparent that Ginger passed on the werewolf disease to the jock, whose, ahem, red pen exploded in his pants (yeah, he’s totally peeing blood).  Brigitte goes to school to find Ginger and encounters the infected jock guy, who attacks her. She injects him with the antidote, and he is cured. Problem solved, yay! Except now she’s out of the antidote, boo.

When Brigitte finds Ginger, they have (another) major falling out. Ginger decides to seduce/kill Sam (most likely both). She breaks his arm, but Brigitte shows up to stop her. To prove that Ginger is still her top priority, Brigitte cuts their hands and they make a blood pact. As they leave, Sam hits Ginger with a shovel because he didn’t realize Brigitte was luring Ginger back to the house for more of the antidote (men, ruining everything since always).

Brigitte and Sam manage to get Ginger into the back of the van, but when they arrive at the house, she is awake and even more werewolf-y than ever. She escapes into the house, while Brigitte and Sam make more of the antidote. It basically looks like they’re cooking up meth, I think. I still haven’t watched any of Breaking Bad, so I don’t really know. Best guess.

Sam tells Brigitte he’ll give the antidote to Ginger, but she attacks him immediately and drags him to the basement. As she follows Ginger, Brigitte drops the syringe down the basement stairs. Fuck.

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For whatever reason, Ginger in full werewolf form kind of reminds me of ET?

Ginger, having completed her transformation is there, standing over dying Sam. She starts eating his flesh, and Brigitte tries to join in as a show of solidarity. However, Brigitte can’t handle how disgusting all of this is and throws up. In response, Ginger kills Sam. Brigitte tells Ginger she won’t die with her, and Ginger attacks. Brigitte stabs her, then hugs werewolf Ginger’s body as she dies.

THE END.

The Critique:

God, I love werewolf movies. I will NEVER stop watching/reviewing them. I also have a soft spot for teen movies, esp. those dripping with sarcasm and laden with dramatic eye-rolls. I just can’t get over how perfect the werewolf/menstruation metaphor is.

I believe I watched this movie in high school and liked it but was traumatized that both Ginger and Sam died (still am). At least Ginger is back in the sequels, which I really need to watch. Honestly, this film doesn’t need to be almost two hours long, but it’s so darkly funny that I forgive it.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 4/5 Pink Panther Heads

I love this movie, but I’m really reluctant to give anything a 5.

This blog collab has been so much fun already.

I look forward to our next virtual date!


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Super Bowl Sunday: A Time for Lesbian Alien Romance

While the rest of ‘Murica watches the Super Bowl, what am I doing? Reviewing movies about lesbians from outer space. Duh.

The Film:

Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same

Where to Watch:

Netflix

The Premise:

Lesbian space aliens whose uncontrolled emotions have destroyed the ozone layer of their planet arrive on Earth to overcome their feelings.

The Trailer:

The Uncondensed Version:

Our film opens with a therapy session in which Earthling Jane describes a note that reads “What are you doing later?” dropping out of the sky. The therapist suggests these fantasies prevent her from acting on her desires; she is unable to put herself out there and talk to other women.

Cut to an alien news broadcast covering the destruction of ozone in the planet’s atmosphere: when feelings of love become too intense, they leave the body and destroy the ozone layer. The aliens Zylar, Barr, and Zoinx, whose feelings threaten the ozone, must be sent to Earth to prevent further damage. By spending time with Earthlings and having their hearts broken, they will be numb and unable to love anymore.

Meanwhile, these MIB types are on a stakeout, presumably on the lookout for any lesbian alien activity (this film is not a porno, I promise).

As soon as she arrives on Earth, Zylar places a personal ad reading (you guessed it) “codependent lesbian space alien seeks same,” which gets her quite a few more dates than you might imagine. However, they are not particularly successful dates as Zylar is (understandably) a bit strange.

Zoinx, on the other hand, wanders into the stationery store where Jane works, hoping to purchase a radio transmitter. Jane finds Zoinx delightfully quirky, and the two go on a date together. (My cat sat on my lap at this point, which suggests he was rooting for Jane and Zoinx as a couple.) After going to a movie, they head back to Jane’s place. Zoinx asks “Is it permissible for me to touch you?” and touches Jane’s nose. (HOT LESBIAN ACTION.)

Apologies to all internet creeps who were actually looking for hot lesbian action. This is about as hardcore as this movie and blog get.

Apologies to all internet creeps who were actually looking for hot lesbian action. This is about as hardcore as this movie and blog get.

As we discover, Zylar and Barr were in a relationship, but they’re trying to move on. They don’t actually want to be heartbroken, so they just try to be sad. For example, the indifference of a revolving dessert tray is sad in the way that “the cheesecake comes towards us and then revolves away.” Pretty devastating.

Barr wants to be in a committed relationship, but Zylar has started vlogging about her various relationships. In her vlog, she tells one of her lovers “I said I would meet your family, but I didn’t think we’d be going out this long.” Barr discovers Zylar’s online presence after she brings her cheesecake, which is a pretty fucking romantic gesture if you ask me.

Meanwhile, the MIB keep tabs on Jane and Zoinx. The two ladies are on a date at Coney Island. As the MIB watch they discuss what exactly constitutes a lesbian date, Boston cream donuts, as well as the Little Mermaid-themed wedding of the older officer. Apparently children weren’t allowed at the wedding: “We made sure everyone had a great time by not forcing them to spend time with children.” Pure genius.

After Jane and Zoinx leave Coney Island, there’s an incredibly awkward shower scene; Zoinx doesn’t take off her collar.

Not sure which is more awkward:  Zoinx's facial expression or her refusal to take off the collar.

Not sure which is more awkward: Zoinx’s facial expression or her refusal to take off the collar.

Later Jane tells Zoinx she has a gift for her: a mug with “Zoinx” written on it (which initially said “Zoe,” but Jane she painted over the rest of the letters). They go to a movie together, but Zoinx is very distant. At this point, Zoinx confesses she’s a space alien; she wanted to tell Jane earlier, but she thought it would be too difficult to believe. Funnily enough, Jane has no trouble believing Zoinx is an alien.

Suddenly, the aliens are called back to their planet since it’s been discovered that it’s not emotion destroying the ozone layer, but the sun reflecting on their bald heads.   Zylar seems to be up to her usual antics and goes on a dating show. On this show, two men have to guess which answer to a series of questions belongs to each participant. This is actually all part of Zylar’s plan to communicate with Zoinx that they’ll be returning to their planet.

Bonus points if you can guess which one was Zylar's answer!

Bonus points if you can guess which one was Zylar’s answer!

The MIB attempt to intercept the aliens before their journey home. The younger guy who is kind of a jackass suddenly starts shimmering. When they spot the aliens, he deliberately fails to follow them; the other guy gets out of the car to pursue them on foot, but they escape. Ultimately, the jerk MIB guy just sort of disappears at the end. (WHAT.)

All of the aliens leave Earth in their extremely low-budget UFO, and Jane decides to leave with them in order to be with Zoinx.

Not sure if UFO or burrito...

Not sure if UFO or burrito…

The Critique:

This movie was a pleasant surprise. It’s obviously very low-budget, but it takes advantage of that to create some really funny awkward pauses and strange dialogue.

It embraces the strangeness without falling into the po-mo hipster bullshit category.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 4/5 Pink Panther Heads

For once, I have nothing else to add. I approve of this film.