Archive for malcolm mcdowell

Rob Zombie’s ‘31’: Send in the Clowns

Posted in Action, horror, Movies, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 5, 2016 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Rob Zombie

Studio: Bow and Arrow Entertainment

MPAA Rating: R

Review Rating: 7

There’s no real point to an introductory paragraph for this movie, so like Rob Zombie and his singular movie-making style, we’re just gonna dive right into this. No mercy, no pity, and no escape, we’re falling headlong into another Zombie world.

Things kick off with this black and white world of a psycho clown terrorizing a victim in a priests collar, a-rantin and a-ravin to his terrified audience of one. This goes on for a while, and is abruptly ended by an axe in the guts. Now, while I’m personally all for rants from what appears to be the main villain (or one of them anyway), the opening salvo from he whom we learn later is known as Doom-head has no real bearing on what comes later. It kind of reminded me of that gross poor soul in Human Centipede 2, and that can never be a compliment.

Well anyway, backward we go to October 31st, 1979 (it says so in the tagline) and a van-full of what are apparently circus performers. And here, oh man it was inevitable, we are introduced to the eternal Sheri Moon Zombie character in every single last one of RZ’s movies, this one a simpering kerchief-wrapped chick called Charly. Roscoe Pepper is the standard muscle-man braindead type, though he does show some small bits of chivalry when shit pops off. Panda is the token black Rasta character, complete with the accent and the weed; hell, he could be considered the main token black character, as poor Levon is the first to bite it when our circus gang get where they never expected to go. And rounding out our weird-ass gang of friends, we have Venus Virgo, veteran of the circus act trade, a fighter who really should have gotten a better shot at this sick game the Scooby gang is forced into.

A stop at a self-serve gas station and some seriously odd conversations later, and hey next thing we know, Malcolm McDowell in French powdery getup is telling us it’s time for the hunting game known as 31! (I never quite understood why the Big Game itself is called ‘31’, unless it’s always held on Halloween every year.) Other fiends in French wigs and dresses are betting large sums of money on our now-numbered circus gang’s survivability, and indeed, throughout the time period of the Big Game, Father Murder pauses to announce the odds on our victims as they go up or down.

In theory, the game is simple: survive the next twelve hours, no matter what kind of insane hunter is thrown at the gang. The circus performers are even given dubious weapons, though most of them are unable to put them to effective use. And then we have the hunters, each of whom are named “something-head”, such as Doom-Head. Each hunter dresses and acts for maximum, I guess, shock effect, though how effective it truly is remains to be seen. I personally had a really hard time trying to see Sick-Head, the midget hunter dressed in Nazi clown regalia spouting Spanish (I’m not even kidding either), as anything other than a complete joke.

But we go through other hunters and most of our victims, until the victims begin to fight back better and Father Murder ups the ante, calling in their best hunter, we recognize him from the ranting intro, Doom-head, to take care of this years’ victims left once and for all.

There is a good deal of the feel of desolate roads and endless desert hell that RZ tried diligently to portray in The Devil’s Rejects, plus that throwback nightmare homage to Texas Chainsaw Massacre and of course Zombie’s own personal Dark Carnival style in 31. Legend says Zombie read somewhere a statistic that said Halloween is the number one night of the year where people go missing inexplicably, and thought it would be a good premise for a movie. The poignancy of the final end scene does kind of bring that thought home, but it was never particularly expressed in the movie itself, and without it, the film is a kind of forgery unto itself, perhaps lacking in originality but sure ready to make up for it with gore and enthusiasm – like most of Rob Zombie’s horror film work.

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Antiviral

Posted in drama, horror, Movies, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2013 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Alliance Films

MPAA Rating: N/A

Director: Brandon Cronenberg

Review Rating: 8

In a futuristic dystopia society where obsession with celebrities is a literal plague on the world, fan-atics can pay to be injected with viruses suffered by their favorite celebrity.

Visually, the movie is slick and stunning and has this kind of determined grip like Gattaca. Everything is sterile white, the extreme closeup shot of the perfect face, and the exhaled breath before the moment of pain blossoms into beauty. The iconic image of main character Syd March, a thermometer dangling from his lips like a cigarette in front of his celebrity obsessions’ face blowup poster, slouched like James Dean, shows that while the image may stay the same, the underlying meanings can be quite different. It helps that Syd, immersed by Caleb Landry Jones, appearance-wise, is a Ginger vampire of the most frightening order. Unfortunately for us, the arresting visuals have to make up for a lot of hesitant pauses in the story itself.

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So Syd March works for a high end and highly secure company that manufactures these virii from their sponsored celebrities, whose iconic faces are plastered everywhere. Each salesman is trained in their pitch, but noone does it like Syd March, with his quiet vampire-like obsessive voice eating away at whatever soul is left of the people that actually come here for these services. The clients select their strain, Syd injects them and reassures that they’ll begin showing in a week or so, endures daily inspections for corporate espionage, and goes home to do it anyway. That is, Syd is injecting himself with viruses and is involved with a butcher friend (who sells meat made from celebrity cells, I kid you not) to sell these sickenings elsewhere. But when Syd unknowingly injects himself with a tailor-made virus from his celebrity obsession Hannah Geist, the walls begin caving in and he finds himself the target of other espionagers, those who made the virus, and even his own body. Suddenly Syd finds himself being subject to kidnapping, quiet philosophic rants on the evils of societal celebrity obsession and obsession in general from guest star Malcolm McDowell, and next thing you know Syd is in the same room with the one everyone thinks is dead, his own personal fan-atical infatuation, Hannah Geist. Syd does manage to use his considerable persuasion powers to wrap everything up more or less neatly in the end, taking care of his would-be competitors and enemies, securing himself a new job and a continued existence, and even making sure Hannah continues to live. Sort of. I wouldn’t call that a life, but then this level of obsession over anything or anyone, I have a hard time wrapping my brain around.

It has to be noted that yes, this is the first official outing for the son of renowned movie mogul David Cronenberg, Brandon. And while I can see shades of the strange and lovely ideas in Existenz in Antiviral, Brandon did himself a very fine job for his first film. Nevermind following in his fathers footsteps, the son branched a new path all on his own, and boy is it unique. A rare gem in the Horror world, Antiviral is worth a look if for no other than reason than simply how unique the film – the concept, the story, and the execution – actually is.

Silent Hill 2: Revelation 3D

Posted in Action, drama, horror, Movies, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2013 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Anibrain Digital Technologies

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Michael J. Bassett

Review Rating: 7

Sharon is about to turn eighteen and when her father is kidnapped, returns to Silent Hill to confront the nightmares of her childhood!

I admit, that’s a bit of a muddled opening line for the movie, but then the plot had a tendency to get a little muddled, for no good reason I could see. Explanations from key characters are often delivered in a breathless manner, not just from fleeing the monsters either, as the plot hurries itself along to get to the confrontations. It seems as though a lot of iconic things and characters from the video game were stuffed into the movie with no explanation whatsoever, which frankly is rather unfortunate, and not nearly as much of a problem for the first movie. However, since one of the major selling points of the movie was supposed to be that it was 3D and highly visual, perhaps one can attempt to ignore the plotholes and plow on.

So Sharon (Adelaide Clemmens) is back with her father in the real world, after her adoptive mother Rose managed to get her out, explained in a memory sequence where Christopher (Sean Bean) talks to Rose in a mirror and young girl Sharon is delivered clutching an amulet. Now it’s years later and Sharon and her father have gone through a series of new names and cities, trying to avoid those crazed cult folk from Silent Hill, that Sharon’s father never actually told her about – she thinks they need to avoid the cops because some years ago her father killed someone. A few days before her eighteenth birthday, Sharon, now sporting her father’s mother’s name of Heather, begins getting plagued by nightmares of Silent Hill that intrude in her waking moments.

I want to interject a question here: what’s with these Horror flicks lately and Protag chars about to, or just having, attained the age of legal adulthood of eighteen? The Cult from the first movie were perfectly willing to sacrifice Alessa when she was a girl, nevermind legalities. On with the show then.

Sharon, now Heather, goes to school at a new high school, where she gives a grand speech about being left alone, makes a newcomer friend called Vincent (Kit Harrington), and is thoroughly scared by Douglas Cartland, a PI hired by the cult to find her, when he keeps insisting on calling her Sharon. Calling her dad for help, Heather goes to meet him at the mall, where of course he doesn’t show and Cartland does, to his great sorrow, for he’s carted off by a Silent Hill creature that looks like a Cenobite. Heather hurries home, aided by Vincent, to find her father gone and a message scrawled in blood inviting her to, what else, come to Silent Hill. After going through the box with mystical symbols, full of Silent Hill study and the explanation letter her father left for her, Heather and Vincent head to Silent Hill determined to get Christopher back. Of course, they stop for rest at a motel on the way and while there, Vincent has to breathlessly confess that he’s actually the son of the Cult leader, Claudia Wolf, sent out into the real world via rituals of pain and sacrifice, to find Sharon and bring her back.

Interjection #2: I’m failing to understand why the Cult who caused the sundering and evil of Alessa in Silent Hill in the first place, want to bring the loving half of her soul, housed in Sharon, back there. If they try to meld Alessa’s evil and Sharon’s love, Silent Hill might just well implode.

Vincent’s been taken, Sharon’s back in Silent Hill, and the one bit of wisdom he left her with was to find his grandfather, who is of course in the Asylum. Sharon has a nice unhelpful confrontation with Alessas’ mother Dahlia (Deborah Kara Unger), who at least warns her to get inside as the dark ash that changes the town is coming. Sharon takes a run through a mannequin (?!) factory, being chased by the completely CGI Mannequin Spider Monster, who, while looking fairly nifty, clearly fails to inspire fear or even creepiness. Vincent’s been denounced by his mother and taken to the Asylum for “cleansing”, and of course that’s where Sharon heads. Where…she meets Vincent’s grandfather Leonard Wolf (Malcolm McDowell) and after mistakenly giving him the Amulet of Metatron, which he immediately stuffs into his chest to reunite with its other half, he turns into a Silent Hill monster and is intent on dragging Sharon…somewhere unpleasant. Sharon manages to defeat him, extract the now-whole amulet, and escape into the Asylum bowels. The crazy faceless nurses, made famous from the first film, are in evidence in the Asylum and preparing to chop Vincent into gobby bits, when he’s rescued by Sharon and they manage to escape to the amusement park for the semi-final showdown between Sharon and Alessa.

Intermission three: this is one of the few times Alessa is in the film at all. I’m not disputing her abrupt change from young girl to Sharon’s age, that’s totally understandable. And, at least they went to town with the makeup for Alessa, instead of CGI-ing up her face to hell and back. But on a burning merry go around, there are a few moments of heartfelt black conversation between Evil and Good, and then apparently Evil is defeated and swallowed by Good. That is, Sharon-now-Heather absorbs Alessa. Really? Even aided by the whole Amulet of Metatron, it was that easy?

Next it’s on to confront the Cult responsible for all this mess in the first place, with Vincent and Harry and Christopher in tow. Claudia Wolf (Carrie-Anne Moss), who frankly to me looks like she stepped from the Morlocks cavern in The Time Machine 2002, gives some sort of explanation about destroying Alessa and using Heather’s body as an incubator for their new God’s birth, who will cleanse the earth of sin as soon as they all escape Silent Hill. Heather has Claudia touch the Amulet of Metatron, which turns her into the Cenobite-style monster that killed Cartland in the mall, and there’s a final showdown fight between her and Pyramidhead. Annnd with the cult defeated and Alessa taken care of, ash stops falling on Silent Hill, and Vincent and Heather get picked up by trucker Travis Grady (Peter Outerbridge), a character from Silent Hill: Origins, even though the movie didn’t explain that bit at all. And Christopher just has to stay behind to look for Rose. All of which leaves things open for another movie, but frankly I don’t know that that’s a good idea.

Suing the Devil

Posted in comedy, drama, Movies with tags , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2012 by aliciamovie

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Mouthwatering Productions

MPAA Rating: PG 13

Director: Timothy A. Chey

Review Rating: 7

Down and out law student Luke O’Brien decides to sue the Devil for 8 trillion dollars, and to his surprise, the Devil actually shows up in court with an army of lawyers!

I was really stoked about being able to see this movie. I had heard of the premise, seen the trailer, and holy cow it’s Malcolm McDowell as Satan himself, that’s awesome! Turns out, not so much. Not to say that McDowell didn’t turn out a fantastic performance, he did. But the movie itself could’ve been so much more of everything – funny, world-reaching, hell even moralistic, and it wasn’t. The sheer snark of Dogma wasn’t there, and despite the fact that it’s in an Australian Court, the courthouse scenes are reminiscent of My Cousin Vinny, which I did enjoy, but it’s still a hick court in the middle of a hick town, please keep that feel in mind.

So Luke O’Brien has very little, he’s a down and out struggling law student who apparently recently lost his mother to a drunk driver. The night the bad guy gets let out from prison, Luke storms off from his girlfriend to study late night in the law library. And there he gets the inspiration to, that’s right, sue the Devil himself. And amazingly enough, the female judge does not throw her gavel at him, have him in contempt of court or anything like that, she tells him if he actually serve the defendant with these suing papers, she’ll consider it. And Luke actually goes through the motions, as best he can, of being his own process server – to an oil company, a strip club, a few Satanists, you get the idea. Really? Poof, we’re back at Court and Luke is about to get tossed, when Satan actually shows up and the whole thing goes to trial. Satan, or Prince as he likes to be called, has himself a bevy of the best and most savage lawyers from all over the country, they keep saying, and yet they’re completely farcical in court and the judge repeatedly tells the whole lot of them to shut UP and sit DOWN! Like convinces some lawyer friend of his who just passed the Bar exam to help him, and together with his sickly girlfriend offering moral support, they take on the Devil in an Australian courtroom, suing the ancient Fiend for, yes, 8 trillion dollars. Noone ever asks, if Luke is to win, where this 8 trillion dollars is to come from, but it ends up not mattering. Luke and Prince go head to head in the Courtroom several times, battling with demons and angels, faith versus sheer antipathy. Somewhere in there, Luke seems to go from angry and depressed to the front man for soldiers of Jesus Christ against the Old Adversary, sans the Templar style violence in the Courtroom of course. And I began to actually get a bit annoyed at this point, this was not how the movie was advertised and it’s not as though I want Luke to lose, but come on. Prince does get his grand speech a la Al Pacino in Devil’s Advocate style, and while it is fairly impressive to see Malcolm McDowell screaming to the jurors, “I hate all you humans!”, the judge actually rules it, wait for it, inadmissible and orders the jury to disregard the entire speech. Oh and the excerpts with Barry, Tony “The Hip” and Jasmine, people on tv covering the trial with their oh so vaunted opinions for the rest of the world, just gets in the way, only providing cut-away relief from the courtroom itself. Back in the Courtroom, public opinion turns this way and that as the final speeches are given, and of course the jury brings back a verdict in Luke’s favor, complete with the 8 trillion dollars. And then, as I throw things at the screen, Luke O’Brien wakes in the law library a changed man, having to run home and share his changes and newfound love for the Lord and Jesus Christ with his girlfriend! It explains all the incongruities of the movie, but I reeeeeally don’t like cheap endings like that. The film had it’s moments, but those moments don’t outweigh the bad parts.

Doomsday

Posted in Action, horror, Movies, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , on February 19, 2009 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Rogue Pictures

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Neil Marshall

Review Rating: 7 out of 10

 

In the not-too-distant future, the deadly Reaper virus that wiped out most of Scotland and led to its complete quarantine from the world, has popped up in the slums of London and an elite team needs to go find the cure in a land forcibly forgotten by humanity.

 

Narrated by Malcolm McDowell, who also plays the scientist turned King Kane, this movie isn’t half bad. Certainly not what you would expect from the trailers I saw, but a worthwhile waste of two hours, at any rate. Rhona Mitra of Underworld fame stars as Major Eden Sinclair, the leader of the team being sent into the no mans land that Scotland has become to try and find the supposed cure for the Reaper virus.

Bearing in mind that Scotland itself has been forgotten and/or ignored by the entire outside world, for thirty years or more. Most people think noone at all lives inside the quarantine zone anymore, barred as it is by a high wall of steel that goes all the way around the island, and the no-fly rule for planes. But there are still people alive in there, and with no real food or fresh supplies being brought to them or made, most of the people have degenerated into chaos. When the team first goes in, they encounter a large group of what look like punk savages from hell, who of course also turn out to be cannibals. (Which I didn’t quite get, as the team encounters scores of cows when they first go over the wall.) The cannibals are led by Saul, who turns out to be the son of the scientist Kane that the team is looking for, and Saul sends his madness and rage out after anyone who dares enter what is clearly, his domain.

After a lot of fighting and some deaths for the team, they escape to way across the island, where another kind of society has been revived, led of course by Kane, who has now more or less crowned himself King. After all, Scotland does have several castles still standing, it wouldn’t take a whole lot to revive the medieval society bit. It rather strikes me as interesting that both groups are still centered around a whole lot of fighting and yet more death, but when there’s no electricity to really speak of and humans need their entertainment, I suppose things can degenerate into that fairly quickly.

A pretty good movie, all things considered. Rather than give away the ending, I’ll simply say go ahead and watch, and laugh out loud when the blood splatters splash across the screen.

 

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Like Mutant Chronicles, Doomsday is a little-known movie that most people will actually get quite a kick out of.