Archive for September, 2009

Hell Hath No Fury

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 29, 2009 by jamesdrax

A Woman’s Rage | Dir: Robert Malenfant | 2008 | 3.5/10

I love crappy Canadian made-for-cable movies, even if they suck as badly as A Woman’s Rage. At least the makers know they have an audience and their movies are better than Australian trash.

This crazy woman named Allison (Cynthia Preston) keeps stalking her ex-boyfriend Brian (Cameron Bancroft) and finds out that he’s dating a hot blonde named Kathryn (Brandy Ledford), so she comes up with a plan to get back at her, which involves murdering her ex-boyfriend by running his bike off the road and then killing his sister Jordan and hiding her corpse in his forest cabin as part of her sick plan.

Throughout much of the film, she takes on the identity of his sister by dying her hair blonde (it works well on her!) and seducing Kathryn’s idiot teenage son Scott (Alex House), who’s on county probation for doodling pictures on walls with spray paint. He looks like his member is about to launch into orbit and fire deadly toxin globes every time he interacts with her, but he’s also the final part of her blueprint for her maniacal psycho wish-fulfillment. This is one type of nutty mega bitch not seen since the bunny boiler in Fatal Attraction (1987).

Kathryn is so down-to-earth compared to Allison, I can’t help wondering why she even allowed her onto the property in first place, even if she did tell her she was Brian’s sister. Her coercion and manipulation, all fueled by obsession and jealousy, begins to drive a stake into Kathryn and Scott, but never underestimate the power of maternal love! Allison’s weird developing relationship with Scott must have made him think “haha! Jackpot!” Do be more careful, boys! Kathryn eventually senses something’s wrong with this maniac, but she never puts her foot down in time like she should.

While the production values and scriptwriting are at about the lowest pits imaginable, it’s a workman quality TV thriller. In fact, what keeps you hooked is Cynthia Preston because she’s just so out-of-her-mind and cunning as a shit-house rat, you keep asking yourself how any human being can go this far in following through with their sheer sociopathic insanity. Ledford looks nice, but she’s very aloof and stilted, a perfect opposite to Preston’s slithery and laid back manner that makes her look so “cool” compared to stiff old “mom”.

You’ll probably never see it. It’s on cable.

Jack Nicholson is the nosey kitty cat who cried “Wolf!”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 29, 2009 by jamesdrax

If Roman Polanski needed a tip on how not to get caught by the Swiss authorities over some antique court case, he should have listened to Jack Nicholson.

He sure did warn him. He’s so experienced at life, he’s warned everybody about anything and everything! The alleged crime in question did apparently take place at Jack’s house. What were you doing, Jack? You warned him, didn’t you?

What exactly does Jack warn people about anyway? He reckons he warned Heath Ledger about the Joker role. He apparently warned Michael Jackson about his doctor. He warned Patrick Swayze about the chain smoking. Hell, I bet he even warned John McCain about the 2008 election results! If something goes horribly wrong for a celebrity, Jack is always there to say “that’s horrible”, then concludes with “I warned him”, but according to the Daily Mail and New York Daily News, he constantly refuses to elaborate.

Jack is always right, but no-one ever listens to him. It’s because he’s a very nosey kitty cat.

It Knows What Scares You

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2009 by jamesdrax

Poltergeist | Dir: Tobe Hooper | 1982 | 10/10

If anything as much as a chair starts to move on its own in your house, grow a brain and move out as fast as you damn well can… because they’re heeeere.

If any typical American family had one of those “who ya gonna call?” moments, the Freeling family living in a nice Californian suburb would probably be the first to dial. In fact, given a revelation in the plot about gravestones that have been moved but with the landscape developers’ negligence in leaving the bodies buried under the house, they probably should have just called Dial Before You Dig.

Anyhow, strange disturbances start to rattle the nice folks, especially revolving around the youngest daughter Carol-Anne (Heather O’Rourke), but the dopey pothead parents Steve (Craig T. Nelson) and Diane (Jobeth Williams) think it’s all pretty damn cool. They even knock on the neighbours’ door asking if he’d seen anything odd, but he thinks this happy couple are real pair of meth addicted weirdos from the way they keep giggling like kookaburras and scratching their faces like they have bugs crawling up their skin. Yes, who the hell would take them seriously until their son Robbie (Oliver Robins) is attacked by the freaky tree outside his window while Carol-Anne is sucked into a portal in the wardrobe (no, not the TV like your uninformed filmgoer keeps saying) that takes her to another dimension that exists between our world and the spectral light where spirits are supposed to go – heaven only knows what she went through.

Help comes in the form of a group of para-psychologists who don’t seem to know what they’re doing. Their incompetence shows when one poor sucker starts seeing maggots eating their way out of a chicken drumstick that was in his mouth and starts tearing his own face off. So then they get Tangina (Zelda Rubinstein) to help get the kid back and exorcise the house, the latter of which she stupidly fails to do. “This house is clean” my arse. Just don’t jam her frequencies.

Tobe Hooper or Steven Spielberg, or whoever the hell actually directed Poltergeist, crafts probably the greatest horror movie of the 1980’s. It’s good because it’s not afraid to smack you in the face by exploiting the suburban setting and trashing the safe and stable domestic environment of Rockwell Americana. The intruding ghosts are an invading force that fragments the nuclear family by kidnapping the youngest and most innocent, being little Carol-Anne. It’s almost like these noisy spirits act as a cynical antagonist to the concepts of American freedom and individualism (it is Reagan’s America afterall) by terrorizing the home property into submission because they want Carol-Anne to become a part of the spiritually depressed collective – yeah, I’m reading too much into this crap but unpack it and it’s there.

Aside from a few technical goofs like a bizarre edit in a conversation between Steve and Diane, and one of the fakest looking stunts ever when Diane is blown across the room like a cannonball but falls gently on her arse like a feather, the film looks and sounds incredible. Richard Edlund’s ghostly special effects have that same misty rubbery look to what he did in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Ghostbusters (1984) and those effects have not dated because they really look like something you’d see in a creepy real-life ghost photograph, assuming you believe in that stuff.

According to Jobeth Williams, they actually used real skeletons in the pool sequence – does Hollywood have a secret Mortuaries ‘R Us? One of the bodies must have been a gypsy because these movies are apparently cursed. Since it’s alleged that Spielberg directed a significant amount of Poltergeist simultaneously with E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), it’s no shock that the quiet and serene town of Cuesta Verde looks a lot like the suburb that stumpy alien was waddling around in. How come that movie wasn’t cursed? Well, it probably was if you look at Drew Barrymore’s career, but it didn’t quite get the full brunt of it.

Jerry Goldsmith delivers a musical masterpiece that transcends any regular film score. Goldsmith’s music is not only cold, menacing, aggressive, and frenetic, it also has heart in its thematic representation of the family with the theme that resembles a motif from Alien (1979) as well as his incomparable “Carol-Anne’s Theme” that’s beautifully appropriate for the childlike innocence expressed in a lullaby structure. If you ever get the soundtrack, try listening to the last five tracks in one sitting and you’ll be blown away to the other side.

I cannot recommend Poltergeist enough to any fans of the horror genre, or those who wish to see a piece of film making history. It knows what scares you because you too would be fighting tooth and claw to protect your loved ones from invading forces terrorizing your home, your castle. Basically, if you have kids, you’ll be too afraid to go home; however if you are a kid, you’ll never want to go back to bed, especially if you have a crazy clown doll in your bedroom. Why the hell did they buy that sadistic looking piece of demented porcelain?

Speaking of that infamous Poltergeist curse that supposedly killed off a few members of the cast including Dominique Dunne and Heather O’Rourke at a young age, does it affect those who may just be talking about the film? Great, now my blog might be cursed. Damn that Sylvia Ganush!

Author’s Note 24/09/09: While writing this review, a thunderstorm roared outside my house that had the tree outside my room rattling my window. I really don’t like that tree.

Trust No Executive Decision

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2009 by jamesdrax

Executive Decision | Dir: Stuart Baird | 1996 | 6.5/10

Holy smokes, someone open a window to let the terrorists out!

When you have Kurt Russell and Steven Seagal fighting Arab terrorists in the same movie, one of these action stars being canceled out is bound to happen.  I can imagine audiences groaning when Seagal plummets 30,000 feet in a crumbling F-117 stealth fighter about thirty minutes in and wondering if they were just watching a teaser trailer. That got rid of Casey Ryback real good.

Arab terrorists have hijacked a commercial airline Boeing 747 demanding their leader, the world’s most feared terrorist, is released or else they’re going to crash the plane. Well the Americans release the top cheese, but the number 2 henchmen (a very chilling David Suchet) who’s hijacked the plane intends to crash it into Washington anyway, along with a bomb loaded with a Soviet nerve agent called DZ-5 that could potentially kill 40 million people on the east coast. If I’ve ever wanted to piss off the most uber-leftist in a social situation, I just say my favourite movie is Executive Decision. Try it sometime, you should see the look on peoples’ faces!

Anyhow, a special commando team infultrates the plane in mid-air, but after Seagal makes his Janet Leigh-style exit, the team’s chances of success are greatly dimished. You have to admire the stakes being raised to incredible heights. So Russell, John Leguizamo, Oliver Platt and Joe Morton, an unlikely group, have to work against the clock to defuse the bomb and take out the bad guys before the Pentagon decides to blow them out of the sky, and be home in time for a drink, a big drink. In addition, Russell makes landing a jumbo jet seem really easy if you have Halle Berry as a stewardess behind you reading the instruction manual like it’s a car stereo. You’d hope there’s a bloody good movie on this flight to die to.

Executive Decision is such a relic of its time during the 1990’s when American exceptionalism was at an all-time high and the Yanks had no qualms about realizing plane hijackings and crashing them into Washington D.C. and no-one would get upset because it hadn’t quite happened in real life yet. An action film such as this might have been severely panned upon its initial release, but these days, it’s seen as a part of the generation of action films from the 80’s and 90’s that gets a quick case study in American Film and Hollywood university classes. I bet they weren’t thinking that when they were making this conveyor belt junk.

If you’re familiar with this style of filmmaking, you’ll be thinking this is such a Joel Silver movie with all of those macho action characteristics – I gotta love this action/suspense type because they just don’t make it anymore; all we seem to get in the 2000’s is gratuitous shoot ’em up rubbish – terrorists not only killed people on 9/11, they took away our fun to watch action movies, too! Ultimately, the film is enjoyable, and even Jerry Goldsmith’s score puts you in a strut mode.

Thankfully, Russell gives you a sly tip that you can usually always woo a pretty woman if you have two hockey tickets.

The Shadow knows… hahahahaha!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2009 by jamesdrax

The Shadow | Dir: Russell Mulcahy | 1994 | 7/10

Back in 1994, while every other 9-year-old was probably out watching Disney’s The Lion King singing Hakuna Matata, I was sitting in an almost empty cinema watching The Shadow humming Jerry Goldsmith’s catchy score.

Alec Baldwin as Lamont Cranston starts off in Asia running an opium trade with an iron fist going by the name of Ying Ko in a scene reminiscent of Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now (1979), but his corruption is about to be tamed and undone by some mystic holy man who teaches him to fight for good by using his shadow to cloud mens’ minds. So Cranston was apparently an American soldier fighting in World War I who somehow rose to power in the far East and turns into a sadistic baddie bent on power and opulence. This sounds a lot like Pinhead’s back story in the Hellraiser movies. Did the first world war really have that effect on veterans?

Anyhow, jumping seven years later to New York City in the mid-1930’s, Cranston returns with his new secret identity as the city’s elusive superhero – the Shadow, along with a whole network of agents at his disposal. How he gathered these agents in a short space of time is anyone’s guess, he just saves peoples’ lives, gives them a flashing signal ring, and presto, they’re agents of the Shadow because they “owe him their lives”. Imagine if Superman did that to everyone he saved, there was an episode of Lois and Clark that dealt with that idea when some guy who got Supes’ powers sent people a bill for saving them. I don’t get it, didn’t Cranston become the Shadow for the sake of his own redemption? If so, then why the hell in his mind would anyone owe him anything?

The Shadow himself isn’t an ordinary superhero, naturally he has a dark past and isn’t a goodie-twoshoes, so he has no qualms about killing bad guys, and thankfully fans don’t complain about him killing anyone or at least inflicting a great deal of harm on his enemies when he needs to. This is all done with tongue-in-cheek humour, so he’s not a stiff. However, what the hell is it with his face changing when he becomes the Shadow? He looks like he’s turned into Stephen Baldwin when he’s in the hat and cloak! It reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where Jerry was dating a girl who looks fabulous in certain lighting, but then looked like a hobo in other certain lighting. Maybe she was also a student of the Tulku.

The villain, Shiwan Khan (John Lone), the supposed last descendant of Genghis Khan (which is a lie because he allegedly has descendants all throughout the Asiatic peoples), is a real scene stealer. He’s another Shadow who can cloud men’s minds, so he’s a perfect nemesis to Cranston, along with his desire to rule the world and finish the job of his great-great 40³² grandfather by blowing the city sky high with an atomic bomb. Are we sure he’s not Persian? I heard Iran called, they want their bomb back. Almost everything the guy says is hilarious with lines spoken with that creepy hypnotic stare like “In three days, the entire world will hear my roar, and willingly fall subject to the lost empire of Shan Kahn. That is a lovely tie, by the way. May I ask where you acquire it?”

Then there’s the lovely Penelope Ann Miller as Cranston’s bleach blonde love interest Margot Lane who has the natural ability of telepathy. This freaky psychic power she has is just a real turn-on for Cranston as he’s always looking just a bit further down than her clever neckline than what any woman in reality would be comfortable with, but it also happens that her colour-blind father (Ian McKellen) is building the bomb under Khan’s hypnosis. One thing I didn’t get about this is that Cranston can’t cloud her mind no matter how hard he tries. At first, I thought it was a literal thing that he could only cloud “mens’ minds”, but then that didn’t make any sense as Khan was able to hypnotize her with that bizarre cigarette billboard that could change into his own face puffing smoke rings. Is this a typical David Koepp script blunder or is Cranston just clueless with dames?

It’s a shame this lavish movie bombed at the box office. Despite its plot holes and elements of style over substance, I’ve always had a great affection for its pulp serial look and structure, as well as Goldsmith’s music, which is really such a fun and textured work that you wouldn’t hear in a movie of this kind these days. I’ve heard some critics say that the The Shadow doesn’t take itself seriously enough and should have been more like Batman Begins (2005) – you’ve gotta be kidding me, that movie was an ultra-serious bore with a tone that wouldn’t work for the 30’s serial style of this film. Just no. The colourful cheese factor in this film is welcome.

If you want to see Alec Baldwin tear the skin off his face to find someone else underneath, I recommend The Shadow as an almost forgotten cult classic. That’s really some kind of mystery.

Shatner’s Toupee – The Final Front-ier

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 17, 2009 by jamesdrax

Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of people who have found this blog page have been searching for information on the infamous hair belonging to the Kennedy family. No doubt they’re all looking for this piece. While I appreciate this has brought a lot of readers to Moonraking Drax, what the hell is wrong with you weirdos?! Is this a widespread fetish?

Anyhow, I found a fantastic blog titled Shatner’s Toupee, which should be of great fascination to you hair freaks who may get a kick out of chronologically fluctuating hairlines. I’ve also added it to my blogroll.

Live with long hair and prosper.

Drax Enterprise Corporation Monopolizes Health Care

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on September 8, 2009 by jamesdrax

San Francisco, CA.

The Drax Enterprise Corporation has purchased the exclusive rights to distribute health insurance in the United States.

The corporation being a military contractor and builder of advanced weapon systems such as the Moonraker Space Shuttle Program, has bought up every private health insurance dealer in the United States for pennies on the dollar.

The deal gives wealthy industrialist Hugo Drax totally unprecedented dominion over the entire health care industry, allowing him to control consumers’ health budgets, their employment health benefits, and now has the power to impose immunizations and other experimental trial programs to the consumer populace through the force of his elite private army.

The absolute monopolization of health insurance in the United States by a major corporate body has dealt a major blow to the Obama Administration’s hopes for passing universal health care in the Democratically controlled Congress. Additionally, most of the House members have allegedly accepted exorbitant amounts of money to vote against the government scheme, as well as to vote for the bill that gives the Drax Corporation the largest tax break in history at 0%.

Mr. Drax delivered a sweeping speech yesterday from his orbiting space station that highlights his eugenics agenda for whom he personally deems acceptable to receive his unique brand of militarized health care.

“First there was the dream, now there is reality. Here in the untainted cradle of the heavens will be created a new super race, a race of perfect physical specimens covered by my exclusive health insurance. You have been selected as its progenitors. Like gods, your offspring will return to Earth and shape it in their image. You have all served in public capacities in my terrestrial empire. Your seed, like yourselves, will pay deference to the ultimate dynasty which I alone have created. From their first day on Earth they will be able to look up and know that there is law and order in the free market,” Mr. Drax said.

Mr. Drax’s business partner Max Zorin, chairman of Zorin Industries commented that the Drax Enterprise take over of health care in America was “intuitive improvisation” being the “secret of genius”.

“For centuries alchemists tried to make gold from base metals. Today, the government provides health care from Medicaid and Medicare, which is common tax-payers’ money, but far better than gold,” Mr. Zorin said.

Mr. Zorin also addressed health care insurers directly, telling them that they would have to join the largest corporate take over in history, or else.

“Now, for several years, we had a profitable partnership, you as health care insurers, while I acquired and passed on to you industrial information that made you competitive, successful. We are now on the unique position to form an international cartel to control not only production, but distribution of health care insurance. There is one obstacle – Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Chicago.”

Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the coalition of 39 private health insurance companies, but Mr. Drax and Mr. Zorin dropped the federation’s CEO Scott P. Serota a thousand feet from an airship just outside San Francisco Bay.

For now, the only thing that stands in Drax’s way is the government’s Medicare and Medicaid programs, but Mr. Drax’s response was less than benign.

“Look after those programs, see that some harm comes to them”.