Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Movie Review: XX

One of my favorite horror genres, besides found footage and slashers are anthology films. Anthology films don't seem to get a lot of love for whatever reason. Well, the main reason I hear all the time is "they don't set up a good story" or "it ends too quickly before you get to feel anything" and to that I say "Phooey!" You can easily tell a good story in 5-10 minutes...if it's done right.

I will admit there are a fair share of anthology films that aren't good. But I feel as if there are more good ones than bad ones. And the genre feels like it's being slowly forgotten. Thankfully, we have tonight's movie.

Which leads us to another opening statement which is about women in horror. There's be a big resurgence of women making horror movies as of late and I think it's fantastic. Hell, a woman (Mary Harron) directed American Psycho and that was pretty gruesome at times. But over the past couple of years when I stopped blogging, more and more women have stepped up and made their voices heard in the horror world and I hope douche bags will finally listen. And again, that brings us to tonight's feature.

Not only is this an anthology film, it's an anthology film...entirely made by women! I'm down for that!

I should state right now that I'm going into this film with an open mind and going to treat it like any other film and not be pandering in any kind of way. What follows is my honest opinion about this movie, despite who was in front of or behind the camera. With that said, let's begin.

The opening, and the cut scenes in between the four stories in this movie, feature stop animation of a creepy gothic house with a doll's face on it walking around. Actually, it was very much like a Tool video.


The Box

First story revolves around a family near Christmas time. A boy, Danny, is with his sister and mom on a subway when he notices this creepy old man sitting next to him holding a red gift box. Danny asks the man what's in the box and the old man cracks it open and shows him what's inside. And inside is...BELIAL!!!!


OK no. We don't see what's inside. Instead, Danny goes quiet and won't say what he saw in the box. When they arrive at home, dinner is ready but Danny insists he's not hungry. He goes three days without eating, saying he's not hungry but otherwise he's fine. The parents take him to a doctor who think it's a psychological problem but otherwise can't find anything else wrong with him. A full week goes by with Danny not eating but soon he whisper's something to the sister and she too doesn't want to eat. The Dad gets fed up and makes Danny tell him why he won't eat, which he does and now The Dad also doesn't want to eat. The mom, meanwhile, feels left out.

Eventually, it's Christmas and everyone but the mom is reduced to skin and bones but Danny still refuses to tell her what was in the box. Soon, everyone in the family dies from starvation and the mom just rides the subway looking for the man with the box. And...that's it. The end.

We never find out what was in the box nor why it would cause 75% of the family to go without food. This story pretty much gives fuel to those who hate on these films cause we could've used a bit more. It's an interesting idea and I'm sure it could lead to something profound and meaningful, but instead it just rushes to the finish line and we're left in the dark. Or "hungry" for more! OH SNAP!! See what I did...


First you cut a hole in the box.

Rating for The Box:
2 out of 5

The Birthday Party

Mary wakes up and it's her daughter Lucy's birthday. She's in a hurry to get everything ready for a big party she's got planned but soon she discovers the dead body of David, whom I'm assuming is her husband although it's honestly never said. Instead of being normal about it (crying, calling the cops, etc) she proceeds to calmly hide the body, which turns this whole story into a dark comedy of sorts.

The entire segment is just Mary hiding the body from Lucy, an annoying neighbor, and even some chick who I guess is the maid but she's super weird. The Maid is super skinny, dresses like Mike Meyer's Sprocket's character, and talks in a deadpan tone and doesn't show any emotion. 

I couldn't get a capture of the chick from the movie so imagine this but female.
The whole segment was just...weird. And didn't make any sense. Why did she feel the need to hide the body? What the hell was up with everyone's haircut in this film? I thought for a moment this was suppose to be happening in the '50s or '60s but they made a reference to medical marijuana so I have no fucking clue. And then the ending was just everyone at the party discovering the dead body stuffed in a giant panda suit and we get some title cards about how Lucy surpressed this birthday party and that's why she can't love or something. I don't know, man. I didn't care for this story at all.

Yes, that kid off to the right is dressed as a toilet.
This is the least weird thing about this segment.


Rating for The Birthday Party
1 out of 5

Don't Fall

Four friends (well, it's a little more complicated then that, two of the women are dating I think and one of the women is the sister of one of the guys) are out hiking in a desert and messing around when they discovered some ancient drawing on a rock. Later that night, one of the women suddenly mentions a cut on her hand which I swear I never saw happen and I was paying attention. Anyway, the woman with the cut turns into a werewolf and kills her three friends. The end.



Despite the short and simple premise, this was the better out of the segments so far. Probably has something to do with the fact this follows that previous segment. But I didn't think this was that bad. It was pretty tense in parts and the gore was pretty effective. The acting needed some work and the CGI was pretty bad in a couple of scenes but overall, I liked it.

Rating for Don't Fall
3 out of 5

Her Only Living Son

Cora and her son Andy live in a small town and it's one day before Andy's 18th birthday. But Cora is noticing that Andy is acting more and more...strange. He's nailing squirrel's to a tree. He's ripping off other student's fingernails. And he's pulling off his own fingernails to boot. Everyone in town starts acting weird towards Cora and Andy and basically this is the spiritual sequel to Rosemary's Baby as we discover Andy's father is Satan and Andy is turning into a demon. This segment is my favorite out of the four, even though the ending didn't make sense (they squeezed themselves to death?) I stilled liked it. I almost thought this was a build up to Andy being a serial killer and thought that would've been interesting too but of course they had to go the Satan route. 

Rating for Her Only Living Son
4 out of 5.

Overall, the movie was just OK. It's not the worst anthology film I've seen but there are far better ones out there. In fact, I'm going to make a companion video to this review sometime next week about my favorite ones so stay tuned for that. Again, this is just my honest opinion about the movie. I know someone is going to say "UGH! You only didn't like this cause it was made by WOMEN!! SEXIST PIG!!!" No, that's not the case. I went in with an open mind and wanting to love this because I love the genre but not everything worked unfortunately. I'm sure the four filmmakers involved (Roxanne Benjamin (Don't Fall), Karyn Kusama (Her Only Living Son),  Annie Clark aka St. Vincent (The Birthday Party), and Jovanka Vuckovic (The Box)) are talented and I'm not super familiar with their stuff. But for me, I wasn't a fan. But if they ever make a sequel, I will watch it, again with an open mind and a hopeful spirit. If they do make a sequel, would it be called XXX....never mind.

Overall rating:
2 out of 5
-Jason

Monday, December 12, 2016

CineGamer #10: Hostage Negotiator/Hostage Negotiator

When all of Jason's friends cancel on his game of Eldritch Horror, he decides to play a 1 player game called Hostage Negotiator. Then he talks about a Lifetime (probably) movie called Hostage Negotiator. And things get weird. Like, Jason gets shirtless in one scene weird. Don't say you weren't warned.


Monday, October 31, 2016

The CineGamer Halloween Special

Presented for the approval of the CineGamer society, a ghost (Jason Soto) welcomes a group of psychics into the abandoned mansion he's been residing in for almost 100 years, in hopes that they'll be able to solve the mystery surrounding his death. Will they succeed and free the ghost or will they fail and suffer the consequences?!?


Saturday, October 15, 2016

So, You Wanna Do A 24-Hour Movie Marathon?

(Originally written on October 15th, 2009)

Hi, I'm Jason Soto. You may remember me from such helpful articles like "Virignity: Glad to Get Rid of it" and "Why The Sun Is Your Enemy". Today I'm here to talk to you about something many amatuer movie watchers have tried and failed at: the 24-hour movie marathon.

I've done my fair share of these, starting in 1996 and the latest one being 2008. I've also attended B-Fest, a 24-hour film fest, twice. I'm what you may call an expert.

There you are, sitting at home saying "I wanna do a 24 hour movie marathon. I'll rent 12 movies and watch them in a row! WEEE!!!" Sure, Susie or Johnny, that may sound like fun, but if you do that be prepared for something unexpected: DEATH!!!! Ok, no. But you'll wish you were dead because your bladder will be full and your seat will more or less implode upon itself. I will now instruct you on how to host a successful 24-hour movie marathon.

(BLOOP)

The first step is planning. You have to set a date. Then you have to plan what movies you will be watching. This is important because you need to set a limit on how many you'll watch. Me and my friend Bill made the mistake of thinking we could do at least 20 films within 24 hours. We were young and dumb. On the 24th hour, we weren't the same. Bill was taken the hospital and I now have waking nightmares. Don't let this happen to you.

(BLOOP)

Generally, most movies are around two hours, unless you get some huge ass epic movie that needs 2 VHS tapes or 3 DVD's. Avoid those at all costs.

1. Pick movies that have regular normal running times. So avoid "The Godfather", "Titanic" or "Lawrence of Arabia" and stick to stuff like "Night of the Creeps", "Friday the 13th," or even "Child's Play." Pay attention to the run times.
2. Do no more than 10 movies, although that'll be pushing it. I find you can normally squeeze in 8 or 9. Why? Because you have to do the following:

A-Go to the bathroom
B-Eat
C-Rest your eyes.

I can't stress enough the importance of those three things. You have to give yourself time to rest.

Here's what I do during a 24-hour movie marathon. After, say, the third movie I take a 15 minute break. Go outside. Rest your eyes. Give your ass a rest. You'll probably save the bathroom breaks for in between movies, which depending on your bladder you could do. But my friend Bill's bladder is the size of a chickpea and we do find ourselves pausing the movie.

When it comes to food, you should stick to the basics. Order a pizza. Get a lot cause you'll be munching on that during the entire time. I recommend this cause it's easy, can be eaten with one hand, and come it, it's fucking pizza. When it comes to drinks, caffine, caffine, caffine. You can do Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Jolt, or if you want Coffee. Whatever. You are staying up for 24 hours, you need something to keep the blood flowing. DO NOT TAKE ANY PILLS. I can't stress this enough. We've all seen the Saved By The Bell episode where Jessie gets addicted to caffine pills. I'm so exicted indeed.


If you must, go ahead and have 12 movies, but make two or three of them "backups", meaning if time goes by fast and you watched all 8 or 10 movies and you got at least 4 hours left, you got some backups. Make these backups movies you do kinda wanna see but you're not in a hurry to see them so if you don't get to them today, no big deal.

(BOOP)

3. You got your food, you got your movies, and you gave yourself time to rest. This part is optional but might I suggest you have a friend or two along for this ride. Only because what you're basically doing is shutting yourself in for one full day and one full day with no human contact can do strange things to a human being. At least if one of the movies is bad you and your friend can make fun of it. Plus it'll be much like "Nightmare on Elm Street" where you'll be keeping each other up. Thankfully, I'm unable to sleep when there's any kind of noise on so I'm good for this.

In fact, just invite me over. I'll be like Jamie Kennedy in "Scream", shouting out rules and stuff. I'll be right BACK!!!

(BOOOP)

That's all I got. I hope you learned something. If you have any input or questions leave a comment. Class dismissed.

(BOOP)
-Jason

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Top Ten Lists And Coughy-Cough Cough.

So I realized I haven't updated this site in awhile. I thought I posted the last video here but I see that I did not. I apologize for that. Let me tell you what I been up to since that last post.

First, I went to GenCon at the beginning of August. I made some new friends there and talked to a few publishers about some games they had out. Here's one on Bill And Ted's Excellent Board Game. Here's one from Big Potato Games. And finally, here's me learning how to play Sharknado: The Board Game.

Immediately after GenCon, I got a cough. I didn't feel like I had a cold, it was just an annoy cough that came and went throughout the day. Some days I felt better than others but I was doing alright. I had this cough all throughout August. Toward the end of August, I had a week vacation from my job, which was perfect because it gave me time to work on the next episode of CineGamer.

During that week, I wrote and filmed the episode, which took about 2 days. On the 3rd day, I went to upload the footage to my camera when I noticed an error message. I unplugged my camera and plugged it back in and it connected with no error message...but there was no footage to be found on the memory card. It got wiped somehow. Pissed off, I realized I wouldn't have time to refilm everything again cause September was coming up and I was planning on taking that month off to work on another project I have going on and prepare for October. So I made a video explaining all of that. I won't link to it cause it's pretty much just me saying what I just said and that's it.

Now it's September and I go back to work. But the cough isn't going away. Then it finally does go away for a few days, which makes me excited. Then just one day, out of the blue, my cough gets WORSE. The worse it's ever been. So bad that I couldn't sleep for an entire night. The next day I called off of work and decided to see a doctor to get this checked out and hope to get some antibiotics and be on my merry way.

I see a doctor and she gets all super worried cause my blood pressure is super high and my lungs sound terrible. "You should go the ER. I think you have pneumonia". Mind you, this was literally 2 days after Hillary Clinton was on the news for having it. So this was weird timing. Since I know pneumonia is a serious thing, I do check into the ER where I get poked, prodded, treated like a leper, and asked what my name and birthday was roughly 2000 times.

After being in the ER for what felt like 15 hours (it was maybe 3 hours at most), I see a doctor who goes "Yep, it's pneumonia but we need to get a CAT Scan just to make sure." One CAT Scan later and they said it's in the back of my lungs. Oh joy. They're also worried about the high blood pressure so they hook me up to an IV and pump me full of all kinds of drugs to not only treat the pneumonia but the blood pressure as well. At this point, it's almost 11PM at night and I'm still hoping to go home soon, when one of the 20 nurses who poked me comes in and says "OK, we got your room ready!!" Apparently, I'm staying the night for observation. GREAAAAT!

After texting my boss to tell her I'm pretty much not coming in to work the rest of the week, I go to my room, which is RIGHT across the hall from a nurses station. So I couldn't get any sleep on this night thanks to the coughing AND hearing all the nurses gab all night.

The next morning, I constantly ask when am I going home and I guess being persistent pays off cause after another round of visits and some prescriptions, I'm on my way home, where I just chill out for the rest of the week. Well...about two or three days after my hospital visit, I made my first Top Ten list, where I count down the 10 movies that disturbed me.

Anyway, I'm doing much, much, better now. I did make my second Top Ten list video, about my favorite party games that I own. I hope you enjoy it. Next time you all hear from me, it'll be on Halloween when I post the terrifying Halloween Episode of CineGamer!! OOOH!!!!! See you then!
-Jason

Saturday, July 16, 2016

CineGamer #8: Exploding Kittens/The Uninvited

I show you how to play the awesome Kickstarter darling Exploding Kittens and then review the craziest cat movie I could get my hands on called The Uninvited
Also, I'm joined by Toby and Sharon to play 3 rounds of Exploding Kittens.