12.29.2014

The Interview

I mean they ARE kind of ignorant.
"Please do not believe these ignorant dishonorable Americans!"

Hi folks, welcome back to The Tagline. Today I want to close out the year by reviewing the Interview, which as you may or may not know is a dire threat to North Korea. Despite all the wacky hemming and hawing, Sony eventually gave us all the chance to watch this no doubt silly and inconsequential movie, despite the threats of vague entities on the internet. I mean, the president said we should keep going to the movies, so I guess that makes it essential right? DO YOUR AMERICAN DUTY AND WATCH THIS GOOFY SETH ROGEN/JAMES FRANCO MOVIE. The Interview if you somehow don't know, is a movie co-directed and written by Seth Rogen, and starring him and James Franco (this is the same full team responsible for This is the End) as a TV host, David Skylark (Franco) and his producer, Aaron Rapaport (Rogen). Skylark's show is a garbage program that does stupid things, like most "entertainment news" programs on real television. After some douche Aaron graduated with takes a cheap shot at his show, He urges Dave to do something more serious. This is when he gets the idea to interview Kim Jong-Un (the supreme leader of North Korea), who is a big fan of his show according to his Wikipedia page. This request to conduct an interview is approved, after Aaron takes a trip into the mountains of China and gets accosted by men who jump out of a helicopter. Around this time, Dave and Aaron are approached by Agent Lacey (Lizzie Caplan) who wants them to help the CIA assassinate Kim, in order to facilitate a coup d'etat. They agree, mainly because they have no choice, but also because Dave makes decisions with his penis.

12.25.2014

The Santa Clause

hoo ho hooo.
"You've Never Seen Santa Quite Like This Before."

I wish I STILL hadn't seen Santa like this, but alas, no such luck. Welcome to the Tagline everyone, and Merry Christmas. If you don't celebrate Christmas, well don't worry, by the time I'm finished with this review no one will be celebrating. Grinch that I am, I thought I'd spread my holiday cheer by reviewing this ridiculous Kirk Cameron movie about how we need to all buy into the holy godliness of like hot cocoa or something, but my dreams for the world's misery were dashed because the stupid movie is still in a theater somewhere, and therefore not available on DVD. Bitter as this disappointment was to me, Christmas wasn't quite ruined yet. No there was still hope, as I channel surfed and fell right into a movie from Christmas past. This is 1994's The Santa Clause, a movie concept based almost entirely around a pun about contract law. If that sounds offensive, well I haven't even gotten to the part where it stars Tim Allen yet. That's right, fresh off the set of Home Improvement, and ready to ham it up in a Santa suit.  Merry Christmas folks.

12.18.2014

Team America: World Police

Here to save the motherfuckin' day.
"Putting the F Back in Freedom."

Hi gang, and welcome back to The Tagline. Originally I had intended to review a different movie tonight, but the recent withdrawal from theaters of The Interview, followed by the withdrawal by Paramount of Team America: World police, prompted me to change my plans, and instead review Team America, which I realized I had not done. If you find that offensive somehow, the idea of me reviewing a movie where a team of American puppets attempt to thwart the plans of terrorists and Kim Jong Il to blow up the world, well fuck you, too bad. Here at the Tagline we don't respond to threats, only generous bribes. Since Paramount and Sony have refused my generous offers to be bribed, I will instead review the greatest masterpiece in puppet existence, TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE. From the genius duo that brought us South Park, Orgazmo, and who starred in BASEketball, the thing my girlfriend always gets mixed up with actual basketball, Team America is the movie that Matt and Trey said they weren't going to make. After the South Park movie, the guys were pretty disdainful about doing another movie. Despite this, they were inspired apparently by how stupid the idea of The Day After Tomorrow was, and originally planned to re-shoot the whole movie only in puppet form. They were informed that this could have legal difficulties, so instead they opted to just make a puppet movie that was a send up of all manner of big action movies. Team America is about a stage actor named Gary who is recruited to be part of Team America, an elite Thunderbirds-esque team that fights terrorists around the world, by shooting them and blowing them up and stuff. Awesome right?

12.15.2014

Batman Returns

Those poor penguins.
"The Bat, the Cat, the Penguin"

Hello everyone, welcome back to The Tagline! Tonight I thought I would warm up for the big day by doing a Christmasy movie, and what says 'tis the season more than an army of subterranean penguins rising to the surface to murder all the firstborn children? Nothing, that's what, so I'm going to be following up on my earlier post covering Batman and talking tonight about Batman Returns (which for all you folks wondering, IS also on Netflix, for your viewing pleasure). This movie was the tumultuously produced sequel to the 1989 film, and was very nearly nothing at all like it ended up being, for a variety of reasons. For starters, Tim Burton, cinematic genious and master of the new and inventive (I'm being sarcastic!) was very hesitant to make another Batman, having been dissatisfied with the results of his first outing. He said he would only return if the movie offered something "new and exciting", though that didn't seem to be an issue when he made the Corpse Bride. OTHERWISE he said it was "a most dumbfounded idea." which is funny because that's not what that word means. There's a Princess Bride joke in there but I can't be bothered to make it, I'm sure you can all do it for yourselves. Anyway, despite his lukewarm feelings on the matter, after directing Edward Scissorhands, Burton came around, once he was given more creative control, which allowed him to make this movie feel a lot like Edward Scissorhands. As much as I think Tim Burton is a tool who basically hasn't made a movie OTHER than Edward Scissorhands since like 1993 (when he made The Nightmare Before Christmas) Batman Returns is probably one of the most original and excellent things he has ever done. Maybe not as profound as he might like to think (wow really the real villains are corporations?) but still great. It almost wasn't great though. It was almost about Penguin and Catwoman searching for a buried treasure or some bullshit like that. That sounds like some Adam West-era garbage. Also they considered the Penguin trying to make Gotham colder (a thing they actually DID in Batman & Robin god help us) but Tim Burton correctly demanded a rewrite with a plot that was less stupid, so I am at least grateful for that.

12.12.2014

BASEketball

Get it, they're balls.
"Two guys invented a game... and turned the sports world upside down!"

Welcome to Friday gang, welcome back to the Tagline, where now ball jokes are king until the end of this post at least. As part of my spectacular series on films you can stream on the Netflix garbage superhighway, today I will be taking us back to 1998, to talk about one of the great late 90s oddities, BASEketball (yeah it's really spelled like that just look at the cover, but I'm not going to spell it like that again). Before I go into the movie, let's study a little history. Like I just mentioned, this movie was released in 1998, in the end of July to be more precise. This would mean that it was released approximately one yeah after Trey Parker and Matt Stone began work on South Park. South Park was an immediate success, though at that point it was still a new thing and not the culturally immovable point it has no become, and so this I guess opened up some new opportunities for these... fine gentlemen. BASEketball is notable as being the only production Stone and Parker have been involved in to date that they did not write, direct, or produce in some way. They apparently did have some creative input with the director David Zucker (noted for such jewels as Airplane!, The Naked Gun movies and several of the latter-day Scary Movies unfortunately) so I guess there IS that. This movie's core concept was actually centered around a game Zucker had actually made up, which is sort of like a combination of Horse, Around the World, and being an asshole to the other players. The movie focuses on loser best buddies Coop (Parker) and Remer (Stone) inventing the game to occupy themselves during unemployment, which presumably is ongoing. The game has rules that allow them to level the playing field between themselves and more athletic individuals, and it becomes popular rapidly. Eventually a rich old guy, Ted Denslow (our second Ernest Borgnine performance this week how about that), offers to make the sport a major league of its own, and to keep it from becoming a corporate shit show like other sports.

12.09.2014

The Black Hole

I think the black hole has an infection.
"You can't escape the most powerful force in the universe."

Except when you can, and everyone literally spends the entire movie doing that, but I guess in this circumstance that's sort of splitting hairs. Anyway welcome to a new week at the Tagline, and today I'll be launching into the deepest, most boring portions of space, to talk about the 1979 Disney film The Black Hole, a movie which actually has very little to do with a black hole, it just sort of takes place near one, and I guess they go into it at some point or whatever. For the most part the black hole serves as backdrop for crazy scientist theater (and not the funny Mystery Science Theater kind). This will hopefully become a monthly tradition here at the Tagline (shitty ass movies on Tuesday) but for now let's just enjoy this really execrable instance of vintage science fiction. Released shortly after Star Wars made a big splash and brought science fiction to the forefront of popularity, the Disney goons decided it was high time to try and get a slice of that pie. This movie is significant (especially in light of Disney's mighty empire today) in that it represented the first Disney production that didn't receive an all ages rating, due to some mild portrayals of death, and some profanity. I find it rather hilarious that now, over 30 years later, Disney actually OWNS Star Wars. Anyway, let's go back in time to when Disney kind of sucked, and talk about this real piece of work. 

12.04.2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

Turtle power!
"Heroes in a half shell!"

Hello friends, welcome back, to the Thursday edition of The Tagline, where movies are things that dominate most of your waking hours. Today I once again peer into the maelstrom of streaming media, and pluck out a gem from 1990, which if anyone was wondering is now about 25 years ago. I'm talking about those totally radical dudes, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In particular I am talking about the first live action outing, not the one with that totally fresh Vanilla Ice song (haha I made a funny). This film was an interesting attempt to capitalize on the success of the TMNT in the mid to late 80s, first as a comic book and then later as a tv cartoon/merchandise and toys fuckstorm. This film acts as an origin story for the turtles, and also chronicles their first battle with the Foot and Shredder. An interesting thing to think about before I talk about the movie in greater detail, is that you are in somewhat perilous waters when you are trying to market a series that is about ninjas to children, because ninjas as a rule are assassins, in other words their job is murdering people. The original comic wasn't really intended for the kiddie audience, and so as it became mainstream concessions were made. At the end of the day though, they are still "ninjas" and that can cause problems. For instance censorship is apparently pretty wacky in the UK, and they changed the name to Teenage Mutant Hero turtles for the 1987 cartoon, and also in all of the original movie releases (the original trilogy) they censored out in particular Michelangelo's nunchaku, because I don't know. Maybe in the past the UK had a serious issue with ninjas that we just didn't hear about in the US. The point is, the movies were stuck toeing a fine line between boring and too violent, with varying degrees of success depending on the movie.

12.03.2014

Mockingjay: Part 1

Get ready for more dead children.
"The courage of one will change the world."

Hello all, welcome back to the Tagline! Today is finally that magic day, the day I will be reviewing the Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1:The Almost End: Subtitles Forever. No but seriously what the fuck we get it, maybe consider a bit more of concise of a title? At any rate, Mockingjay picks up right after the conclusion of Catching Fire (check out my thoughts on that one over here) with Katniss coming around inside a bunker beneath the bombed out ruins of District 13. Naturally the first thing she does is freak out, because she recalls that during the final fateful moments of the Quarter Quell, Peeta was left behind, as the District 13 rebels extracted Katniss, who is valuable to them above all others as a symbol and inciter of revolution. Katniss of course is a wreck of human being, having been now in not one but two hunger games, and separated from the only person that allowed her to hold herself together through it all. That said, the leader of District 13, President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore in one of her less insane recent roles, I mean compared to Carrie's crazy mom for instance) doesn't have time for any of that nonsense, and so together with Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman, this movie together with its part 2 were his final performances) and so go to considerable lengths to motivate Katniss.

11.28.2014

Addams Family Values

Kooky spooky etc etc.
"The Family Just Got A Little Stranger."

Hello and Happy Post-Thanksgiving Friday Consumer Nightmare! Maybe you've been out shopping, or maybe you're not mental and you stayed home, but either way, there's always good flicks on at the Tagline. As you all may or may not be aware, it's kind of tough to find Thanksgiving themed movies, because there frankly aren't that many of them (as opposed to say Christmas movies). For 2012's offering, check out this link, but I have a really good one this year. I guess you could debate whether or not it's actually a Thanksgiving movie, but I feel like there are some really great related moments, and also that there's a lot of thanks-giving going on. So without further ado, let's talk a bit about Addams Family Values, the 1993 sequel to the 1991 film based around the Addams Family characters created by Charles Addams in 1938. This movie sees the return of the original's cast (mostly, I think that the actress who portrayed Grandmama changed between movies). Raul Julia in what is perhaps his most remembered popular role, portrays Gomez Addams (okay maybe his most remembered role was as M. Bison, but I'm trying to draw attention away from that disaster), alongside Anjelica Huston as Morticia. Christopher Lloyd features as Uncle Fester, and a twelve year old Christina Ricci as Wednesday Addams. The family is rounded out by Wednesday's brother Pugsley, the Frankenstein's monster-esque caretaker of the house Lurch, the disembodied hand Thing, and in this movie we don't see too much of Cousin Itt, but he does show up briefly (and of course Morticia's weird witch-like mother Grandmama). This film opens with the family welcoming a new member, the recently born and grossly named Pubert. In typical child fashion, Wednesday and Pugsley are none too pleased with the new arrival, and set about trying to murder the kid, but fail because this isn't a movie about murdered babies (Not primarily at least).

11.25.2014

The Rocketeer

Come on look at how sweet this poster is.
"Three years before the United States declares war, Cliff Secord leads America's first battle against the Nazis."

Hello all and welcome back to a new week at the Tagline, with Thanksgiving right around the corner! Starting this week I am implementing the first wave of changes to the way I conduct this blog, though this part at least probably won't result in a noticeable front-end change. Just thought I would share! Anyway, let's start off the week right, with a story about Nazis and airships and rocket packs. Also as promised, this will be an excursion into another Disney movie! Today I will be talking about the 1991 movie The Rocketeer, This movie was based on the comic of the same name, featuring a airplane stunt pilot named Cliff Secord who after a series of chance occurrences comes into possession of a experimental rocket pack that was being developed by Howard Hughes. During the misadventure that led to him acquiring the rocket pack Cliff's airplane was shot to pieces and then blown up, leaving him with a sore need for a new source of income. This causes him and his partner Peevy to keep the thing, but this has consequences they maybe didn't anticipate, such as the rocket pack being missed by certain individuals. For starters a bunch of mob types with machine guns trying to get it back, and intending to give it to the guy who paid to have it stolen in the first place. Howard Hughes meanwhile believes the pack was destroyed, and is glad because the government wanted to use it as a weapon. The movie is set in 1938, so we're talking about a country just coming out of the depression and nearing war against the Nazis. Don't worry though, just because the U.S. hadn't entered the war yet doesn't mean there won't be plenty of fascists.

11.19.2014

Big Hero 6

If this were Star Wars it would be Big Hero
5, because droids don't have souls or rights.
*fist bump* "balalala"

Hello all, welcome back to The Tagline! Where sometimes we don't have taglines at all because poster makers can't even be bothered to half-ass their job. Instead they like... quarter ass their job. If you guys are wondering "From the makers of Wreck-It Ralph" is not a tagline! Do you even need a tagline anymore... I don't know did we ever? It's just sad, because it gives me one fewer thing to taunt for being terrible. Regardless, today is a brand new day and we'll be talking about a brand new movie! While I visited the NYC, and before I succumbed to the inevitable sickness that overtakes me as soon as I return, I went to the movies with my friends to go see Big Hero 6, because it looked fun and I like movies about robots fighting bad guys. Even robots that look like fat marshmallows! Who am I kidding, ESPECIALLY robots that look like fat marshmallows. So Big Hero 6 was a no-brainer for me, and I have to say I was not disappointed. So here's a little background. In this confusing post-comic future we live in, where Disney owns Marvel, the lines blur and even as people complain about the movies being full of nothing but sequels and remakes, the possibilities to me seem to be expanding. This is the case with Big Hero 6, a movie made by Disney, based on a Marvel comic of the same name (albeit pretty loosely). The movie focuses on Hiro, a 14-year old super genius who uses his talents mostly to hustle people out of their money in robot fights. Tadashi, his older brother, is concerned that Hiro is wasting his talents, and so helps to convince him to apply to the robotics program at his university. Hiro comes around to the idea pretty quickly, and submits an innovative microbot system as his application project to the university. This is great but certain events (that I don't want to spoil too much) derail his attempts to enroll and Hiro's bots end up being lost/destroyed. Hiro ends up befriending the medical robot his brother created, Baymax, and then accidentally discovers that his microbots still exist, and are being mass produced towards some nefarious end by a mysterious man in a kabuki mask.

11.14.2014

Batman (1989)

Classic.
"..."

It's that time again! Welcome back to The Tagline, where movies are queen and I'm also a queen and we're all queens I guess. I don't know look... it's been a long week okay guys? Don't worry about that stuff though with queens, because really what it's all about today? Is fucking bats. Listen, I know it's an upsetting subject no one wants to talk about, but bats are all around us. Flying around at night? Those aren't just weird night birds, those are fucking bats okay? That guy driving the weird car he parked in the middle of traffic? Bat. The weird airplane shooting missiles at parade floats? Also a bat. That's right, those the Batmans are all around us, and we don't even notice it all the time! Recent years have been good to the Dark Knight, but it wasn't always that way. I can direct you to my grisly review of Joel Schumacher's war crime Batman & Robin. Then again, Batman Begins wasn't the first good Batman that ever happened either. There were some very different, but still good times with the Batman under the direction of Tim Burton believe it or not. I know I find it tough to believe too. Even more surprising is that neither of the Batman movies directed by Burton feature like... a Riddler played by Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham-Carter as... Poison Ivy? Catwoman? I don't know I'm gonna try to put it out of my mind. At any rate, today I want to talk about the very first Batman, starring Michael Keaton as the Bat, and Jack Nicholson as the Joker. This movie just recently found its way to Netflix, and so naturally I wanted to check it out and see how it stood up after all these years.

11.11.2014

Small Soldiers

He looks kind of sad actually.
"The few, the proud, and the small."

Hello my fair friends, welcome back to the Tagline, a land of whimsy and wonderment. Or profanity and boobs. I never remember which one it is, I need to work on that. It's not important though, because it is time for more movies! Today I am going to dip once more into that deep well of inspired cinema, the Netflix. I couldn't HELP but notice that Small Soldiers was cropping up in the like... popular with stoners on Facebook feed or something, and I mean, really how could I say no? So I loaded it up (the movie duh) and sat down to relive one of history's greatest cinematic triumphs, a movie with a action figure that sounds like Tommy Lee Jones attempting to kill the kid from Everwood. It's sort of like a Terminator thing, robotic being goes back in time to try and kill Gregory Smith before Everwood can ever even happen. Just like Terminator though, the robots were doomed to fail (spoilers the main character kid in this movie is not brutally murdered by action figures). Small Soldiers was a 1998 movie aimed at I am not honestly sure who, kids I guess, but like, slightly older kids... tweens? I guess so. Anyway it features Gregory Smith as a reformed-ish juvenile delinquent named Alan whose father runs a super lame toy store. In an effort to drum up some sales, he conducts a shady deal with a delivery truck driver to "acquire" some new fancy action figures. What baby Ephraim doesn't realize is that these toys are totally fucked. See Jay Mohr is an idiot who works for Denis Leary, who is in this movie Gil Mars, owner of Globotech, which is a massive corporation that has recently opened up a toy division because petrochemicals and military weapons weren't keeping him entertained or something. Did I mention Jay Mohr is an idiot? Well he is, and he decides to make the toys super cool by installing crazy learning military grade microchips in all of them. This is swell and all, except that their programming makes that sort of... let's go with problematic. That's nice.

11.05.2014

Anaconda

Is this The Nightman Cometh?
"When You Can't Breathe You Can't Scream"

Hello everyone, it is that time again! Welcome back to more from The Tagline, where terrible movies I saw that one time are king! Recently (last Thursday actually) there was a live Rifftrax presentation of the fantastically not good snake movie Anaconda. This reminded me that Anaconda was a movie that happened, for better or worse. So today I figured I'd share that recollection with you, and review ANACONDA, the least scary movie involving snakes ever made. Starring Jennifer Lopez as a documentary maker named Terri Florez who is attempting to locate the elusive Shirishamas tribe in the Amazon. This is also a region of the world where enormous, 70 mile long snakes who are all powerfule burst through boats and try to kill Danny Trejo (not before he shoots himself though!). For those wondering, the longest verified Anacondas range around the 25 ft marker, but firsthand reports have reached such outlandish numbers as 145 ft. This movie capitalizes on that absurdity, and so JLo ventures out into the jungle, along with Ice Cube, Owen Wilson, Kari Wuhrer (the queen of B-horror T&A) and that foppish british guy from The Mummy. Oh also there's some other guy but he gets stung by a deadly wasp and is basically not in most of the movie. This crew of mostly incompetents ventures into the Amazon aboard a ship captain by the second most obviously untrustworthy person in this film. After a short trip down the amazon into a massive rainstorm, the group meets the FIRST most untrustworthy person in the movie, Jon Voight's character Paul Serone, a man who is perpetually saying vaguely threatening things and leering at everyone. He may as well be wearing a high collared cape and be cackling while he ties maidens to train tracks. I assume the movie taking place in the jungle is the only reason he was NOT tying people to train tracks.

11.04.2014

Nightcrawler

Red car seems like kind of an eyegrabber.
"The City Shines Brightest at Night"

Hello all, welcome to a new month with the Tagline! Today I said I'd finally put down the horror for a few minutes, but that doesn't mean that I promised not to horrify you. As such, we will be looking straight into crazy land and talking about Nightcrawler today, a movie featuring Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou Bloom, a nobody lowlife living in LA, stealing fencing and copper pipes to try and turn a buck, when he stumbles over a new means of generating income: taking photos and video of dying people at crime scenes and selling them to TV stations. That is the setup that leads us into this film, as much about the darker side of life as it is about the darker side of human impulse. Nightcrawler follows Lou as he uses his spooky wacko personality and singular drive to go from street level no one to slightly higher street level no one. After witnessing some guys (mostly Bill Paxton) filming a fiery car crash, Lou gets it into his head that he could make some serious scratch by doing the same thing, and so steals a bike and sells it so he can buy a handheld camera and start filming crime and accidents. Naturally this starts out kind of rough, because it's a rough job that requires you to be a heartless shithead, but eventually Lou starts to find his footing, and becomes singularly obsessed with obtaining success as a crime scene photographer, freelance of course. This isn't really a one man job though and so using all of his bullshit spinning powers Lou hires the desperate loser/near hobo Rick to be his navigator and extremely underpaid assistant on his nightly prowls for shocking happenings worthy of the news.

10.31.2014

House of 1000 Corpses

This zombie not featured prominently.
"Life and Death are Meaningless...And Pain Is God."

Always one for subtlety that Rob Zombie. Anyway welcome to the spooky conclusion of my October reviews! Today I will round out this celebration of spook by talking about one of my favorite terrible horror movies that's great because of how completely ridiculous it is. Obviously this is going to be a Rob Zombie movie I'm talking about (see also here and here) in this case his directorial debut, House of 1000 Corpses. Though it may be his first, This movie bears all the great hallmarks of Zombie's films, including lots of gore, intense and overbearing background music and soundtrack, Syd Haig doing random shit, and Sheri Moon Zombie being naked on camera, and dressed in a bunch of kinky outfits. Sound familiar? Well YEAH IT IS, but there's so much more to enjoy! You ain't seen nothin' yet. House of 1000 Corpses starts with an almost completely irrelevant scene where two assholes try to rob Captain Spaulding's Museum of Monsters and Madmen. It doesn't work out so great and they both end up getting shot. Later two dumbasses named Jerry and Bill stop in with their girlfriends Mary and Denise because they're trying to write a guide of off-beat tourist attractions, because they're douchebags. On Spaulding's tour they learn about Dr. Satan, a crazy guy who used crude brain surgery to try and make an army of super-soldier zombies, which sounds a lot like the plot of Frankenstein's army actually, a really gross C-budget movie you can see on Netflix ANYWAY. The two assholes decide they just have to find the tree where this guy was hung, so they go driving out into the middle of nowhere in a thunderstorm, and nothing bad happens and they all make it home.

10.27.2014

John Wick

Gonna be a looot of gun pointin!
"Don't Set Him Off!"

Hello friends, welcome back to The Tagline. Today we're taking a brief break from the frightfest to talk about Keanu murdering dude, because that's what I decided to spend my Saturday afternoon watching. This particular movie is perhaps a return to form for Reeves, who spent a healthy amount of time as an action star before kind of falling off the edge of the world (though I recently reviewed Man of Tai Chi, which Reeves directed and also starred in as the primary antagonist) and now he seems to slowly be coming back into focus (I mean he's been in a steady clip of movies I just mostly didn't care about them, and I didn't care about HIS role in 47 Ronin). Reeves stars as the eponymous John Wick, a man who we're introduced to at a very vulnerable moment, as his wife has just passed away from cancer. He receives as a post mortem gift from his wife, an adorable little puppy named Daisy, and bonds with the little monster while going about the process of grieving his wife. This portion of the movie lasts just long enough that you start to wonder if you're in the right movie theater, or whether there was another Keanu Reeves movie playing right next door about a sad guy bonding with a puppy. Just around that point though, Theon Greyjoy shows up and murders John Wick's puppy and steals his '69 Mustang (okay so obviously it's not Theon Greyjoy, it's Alfie Allen playing the son of a Russian crime boss names Iosef but I found his character more or less the same). Iosef tries to sell the stolen car to Aurelio (John Leguizamo), and much like Theon might, he gets bitch slapped for doing something dumb and is sent out of the shop. Iosef's father, Viggo (Michael Nyqvist, probably most famous for portraying Michael Blomkvist in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movies, the Swedish ones) calls up Aurelio asking why he did such a thing, and Aurelio explains how catastrophically Iosef has fucked up. Viggo responds simply by going "oh..." 

10.24.2014

Zombieland

It isn't like that at all.
"Nut up or shut up."

I honestly can't believe this, but I guess I really never reviewed one of my favorite zombie movies! Anyway, welcome back to The Tagline! Congrats you've survived another week. Unless you work weekends, in which case congrats, the worst part of your week is just beginning! So... sorry for that I guess! Today I'm going to reach back into the past to talk about Zombieland, a 2009 horror/comedy film set in a zombie apocalypse wasteland, starring Jessie Eisenberg as the fearful shut-in Columbus, who meets up with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) a badass zombie killer who begrudgingly lets the meek Columbus tag along with him. The two are first conned and then later also join up with Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) and Wichita (Emma Stone, I'm still not over Spider Man 2) who are travelling to some amusement park because why not I guess pretend an amusement park won't be full of zombies, not like there's anything better to do right? Everyone needs to have a goal in life after all. Tallahassee's is to find a Twinkie before the last of them expire. The problem is it seems like all he can manage to find are snowballs, and I mean, who wants to eat that shit? Just not tasty, unpleasant texture combination, ugh the worst. This movie isn't about Twinkies though... well I guess it kind of is, but mostly it is about surviving in the very worst situation imaginable. Zombieland is full of those runner-type zombies, and you guys know how I feel about that shit.

10.22.2014

Life After Beth

She seems like a nice girl right?
"Til Undeath do Us Part."

Hello friends, welcome back to the Tagline! Today I'm keeping the spook rolling with a movie about zombies why not, in this case Life After Beth, starring Aubrey Plaza (you know) as Beth, the recently deceased girlfriend of Zach (Dane DeHaan) who is deeply distraught about it. Beth went hiking alone and died from a snakebite I guess, so that's all very sudden and tragic, except then after spiraling into a weird depression and hanging around her parents' house for a while, Zach notices Beth wandering around inside. This discovery leaves Zach understandably upset, and after some more stalking and almost breaking & entering Zach finally gets Beth's dad Maury (John C. Reilly) to explain what's going on, as best as he understands it. Which is to say he has no idea what's going on, just that Beth rose from the dead and showed up at their house, and doesn't remember dying. This is all very exciting for Zach, who was deeply distraught about Beth's dying, but it is clear from the get go that something isn't quite right with Beth, who seems constantly confused and thinks that she has a big test coming up or something. It isn't long before she begins to visibly decompose, become freakishly strong, and starts experiencing insane mood swings and tries to eat Zach. Those are all totally reasonable reactions to rising from the dead I guess, even if you don't know that's what happened.

10.16.2014

Maximum Overdrive

What a fantastic poster.
"The day horror went into overdrive."

Hi folks, welcome back to the Tagline, where its Spooktober all month, or at least until I get bored and decide to review something completely unrelated because I tend to do that. Today I am talking about a really scary movie, scary because it was DIRECTED BY STEphEN KIIINGGG WOOOOooOOOo. Sounds pretty chilling right? Well sort of. Have you ever heard of Trucks? It was a short story that Stephen King wrote in the early 70s that is about trucks (and other machines and electronics) coming to life to terrorize and murder people. If that sounds like a serviceable short story idea and not a great movie idea, I'd generally agree with you. Movie producers however did NOT agree, and they made not one but TWO movies based on this kind of absurd premise, the first one being written and directed by King himself, and that's this weird ass movie MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE. What could make a movie like this better than being about killer trucks? I'll fucking tell you what, if it was starring Emilio Estevez, and lo' and behold it does, as a parolee who works at a truck stop that becomes besieged by trucks. There's also some other losers at the truck stop, a kid riding his bike tirelessly for at least a whole day, a really annoying newlywed couple, and some drifter girl who was hitchhiking with a molester who sells bibles. King admitted later to being "coked out of his mind" for essentially the entire production of this film, which actually explains a lot of what happens during the film (this movie was released in 1986 and that was about the height of King's substance abuse problems). Keep that in mind while I talk about the rest of the movie.

10.14.2014

Dracula: Untold

Anyone who says that's not a cool poster is lying.
"Every Bloodline Has a Beginning"

It's that time again my children of the night, time for The Tagline: Untold. Today as promised we will be travelling to Transylvania, where there are lots of spooky mountains and forests and it appears to be a creepy twilight almost all the time. This spookiness is obviously the perfect place for an awesome castle, and also VAMPIRES. So by that rationale was Dracula: Untold made, a story about the man who became the monster, or something. Dracula Untold stars Luke Evans (who you probably recognize best as Bard the Bowman in the Hobbit movies) as Vlad, the infamous impaler. After being sent away as a hostage and soldier for the Turks, Vlad returns home to take his place as the prince of Transylvania, has a wife who has a bad habit of being drained by vampires in film (Sarah Gadon, also see The Moth Diaries for her turn with Lesbian Dracula) a son and a host of loyal retainers who are certain to be dead in the following hour and a half. Things are going hunky dory until envoys arrive from the Ottoman Empire. The sultan, Mehmed II (Dominic Cooper you know Tony Stark's dad), demands in addition to his usual tribute of lots of ducats (10,000 ducats to be precise) that he be given 1000 boys to train as soldiers for his Janissary battalions. This is the same thing Vlad's dad did to him, and it looks like he's about to go for it and acquiesce, until the Turkish officer taking away Vlad's own son get's kinda lippy at him. Then in the space of I'd say ten seconds Vlad takes the guys sword and then kills all six of the Turkish soldiers with it. We must remember that at this point in the story he is just a man. A very scary man.

10.09.2014

Galaxy Quest

Never give up, never surrender.
"The show has been cancelled... But the adventure is just beginning."

Hello all, welcome to the encore edition of this week's Tagline, where I actually post a second time in the week and don't just disappear into the internet for five days like a deadbeat! It's more Netflix today as I wait for the weekend and the coming of Drakul to kick off this most spooky of months, before I go into full spook mode for the duration. We aren't quite there though, so here's another Netflix revelation, Galaxy Quest was put up with the last batch of new arrivals and I knew immediately that I had to review it. Really how could I NOT?! So today we venture into the world of parody, though in this case it is an exceptional parody that becomes so well regarded that it becomes a sort of weird meta-commentary on the original work. So, for the unfamiliar Galaxy Quest is a 1999 movie that parodies not just Star Trek, but also the fandom and professional lives of the TOS main cast, mainly that they became the prototype for the modern idea OF fandom, and conventions held by fans featuring them as guests. Galaxy Quest stars Tim Allen (yeah you heard me Tim the tool man Taylor so what) as Jason Nesmith, who portrayed Commander Peter Quincy Taggart who commanded the starship Protector in the Galaxy Quest television show (which is imaginary and like Star Trek more or less). Alongside him is Gwen DeMarco (played by Sigourney Weaver) who played Lt. Tawny Madison, a character whose principal responsibility on the show seemed to be to repeat the computer, Alexander Dane (played by Alan Rickman) who portrayed the alien Dr. Lazarus (the Spock stand-in) Fred Kwan (portrayed by Tony Shalhoub) who played Tech Sgt. Chen, and Tommy Webber, who played child prodigy pilot Lt. Laredo. Also their guest appearances seem to be facilitated by Sam Rockwell's character Guy, who was a crew extra that died in the first five minutes of one of the show's episodes (so the equivalent of a Star Trek "red shirt").

10.08.2014

Girl Most Likely

Kristen Wiig loves to be glamorous. 
"She has a lot to live up to. And a few things to live down."

Good morrow to you all, and welcome back to the Tagline, where movies are king or sometimes me posting late is king and movies are like the queen regent or something. It's a fresh week and today I'm going back to the Netflix to scrounge up something to watch and talk about. Today that refuse is Girl Most Likely, some slipped under the radar movie with Annette Bening (wow I misspelled BOTH her names on the first go) and Kristen Wiig. The movie centers around Wiig's character Imogene, a woman from Atlantic City who got out thanks to a writing scholarship, but that has since done nothing of note, living a kind of really sad desperate parasite life among New York socialites. You know like just really shitty rich people who do shitty things to each other, especially if one person is maybe not fitting in so well (like poor, incredibly depressing Imogene). After her complete douche boyfriend suddenly breaks up with her, what little control she has over her life is lost and she spirals into a deep dark place that anyone who ever lived in a pretty lie is probably familiar with, and decides that the best way to fix THAT issue is to write a dramatic note, take a bunch of pills, and try to kill herself. Her friend stumbles across her unconscious body though and so instead of dying Imogene wakes up in a hospital, and shares her really unfortunate history to the doctor, who then releases her into the... care of her mother (Bening) who is a compulsively gambling woman from Jersey that leaves Imogene sedated in the back of her car so she can gamble, which seems responsible. So without any of her belongings, money, or a means of transportation, and also with a legal order in effect forcing her to stay in the care of her mother for 72 hours, Imogene has no choice but to endure Jersey once more.

10.03.2014

The Maze Runner

Run dat maze boyee.
"Based on the Best-Selling Novel"

Hello everyone! Welcome back to another thrilling, chilling edition of the Tagline! Today I am going to jump back to the present and review a movie that I don't recall fondly from 20 years ago (god it is so unreal to think that 1993 was over 20 years ago). So instead of that, today we're jumping back into the vibrant genre of "movies based on young adult novels featuring dystopic or post-apocalyptic settings" Because hell if one movie like that is good then surely eight or nine hundred will be GREAT RIGHT? I don't know. Anyway today I'm going to be talking about the Maze Runner and not the Giver, I know it was a real toss up but there it is. The Maze Runner is a thrilling film based on a novel of the same name, and starring that kid from Teen Wolf as Thomas, a boy who wakes up in a cage that has opened into a grove full of young dudes, and is understandably freaked out, because really who knows what they might do to him. Fortunately it's not that kind of movie, and Thomas discovers that he has been released into the center of a massive labyrinth where many other youths have been released before him. He learns that there is no known escape from the maze, and that at night the area outside of the grove (the maze proper) is prowled by things called grievers, which no one has encountered and survived. They sound like shrieking hell monsters, and for the curious out there, once they show us one we as the audience discover that they also LOOK like shrieking hell monsters, that are also have mechanical. They're basically like something out of doom, as I was watching I had to ask myself like... why did they build them like that? Any mechanical thing chasing you would be scary, but these guys really went the extra mile in the bowel-voiding terror department. Anyway, no one has any memories of how or why they ended up in the maze, but they all want to get out, because living in a grassy grove surrounded by monsters and with a bunch of other dirty dudes isn't the greatest way to spend the rest of your life... I mean unless that's your thing I guess. No judgement.

9.30.2014

So I Married an Axe Murderer

I love axe murdering.
"The Honeymoon Was Killer."

Hello folks, welcome back to the Tagline, where it's all Mike Myers movies from the early 90s as far as the eye can see. After going on my Wayne's World bender earlier in the week, and while doing research for my post on the matter, I came across a movie so thoroughly forgotten that it had even slipped MY mind for a moment. This was 1993's So I Married an Axe Murderer, a movie that properly speaking had no right to be good OR entertaining, because it was dopey and simplistic at its core. Despite that, I actually really like it and think it's a really funny movie, in no small part thanks to Myers and also the general enthusiasm of the cast. So let's talk about it! So I Married an Axe Murderer was the first movie Mike Myers made after Waynes World 2, and it cuts a similar tone despite a very different premise. In this film Myers plays a beat poet named Charlie who lives in San Francisco. He seems really terrible, but people like him, so maybe I just don't know what a GOOD beat poet is like. Charlie has lousy luck with the ladies, mostly because he is paranoid and a commitophobe, constantly finding reasons or forming theories about reasons why his girlfriends aren't right for him. Around this time he meets Harriet, a local butcher who he immediately takes a liking to. The only catch is that he begins to suspect that she might be a black widow, as some of her strange behavior, along with a tabloid story about "Mrs. X" gets his imagination really running. Charlie has his friend Tony, who is a cop, looking into it. Tony himself has his own problems, centered around how disenchanted he is with actual police work, and how boring it is. Basic premise established, kind of a mixed bag of rom-com cliches along with some other thoroughly random bits, but really the random bits are what makes the movie entertaining.

9.23.2014

Wayne's World Double Post

Party time, Excellent!! WOOWOOWOO
"You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll hurl."

Good morning boys and girls. Today I'm going to do something a little different, but that is really not and is actually the same. Because that's what the game is all about, promising something new while delivering the same old bullshit as always! I decided over the weekend that I really wanted to watch Wayne's World, and then I realized afterwards that I also REALLY wanted to watch Wayne's World 2, so I did that also. I mostly wanted to write a review about Wayne's World 2, but I felt like that would be wrong, just focusing on the bizarre sequel and leaving out the movie that made it all possible. So I'm going to compromise and do a little bit about each film, and the ways that I liked them both. So let's start at the beginning! In the before times, long long ago, people watched Saturday Night Live, and Mike Myers was on it instead of being sentenced to play Shrek for literally the rest of his life (presumably this was some condition of the devil's bargain he made to become rich and famous). So Wayne's World was a recurring segment on SNL where Myers would play Wayne Campbell. a rocker guy who, along with his friend Garth Algar (Dana Carvey in maybe his all-time least hate-able roll) host a public access show where they basically do dumb stuff that is amusing in a public access kind of way, mostly talking about how much they like metal and hot babes, and tricking their local guests into saying gross and/or profane things. As a sketch featuring TWO SNL cast members who were going to hit the big screen (though obviously one a LOT harder than the other) it is not really surprising in retrospect that Wayne's World became a feature film. The basic premise of the movie is expanded on the sketch: Wayne and Garth do their show in Wayne's parents' basement, and attract the attention of a TV executive, Benjamin Kane (Rob Lowe, who decides he can make some money off of it and so sends one of his producers to try and figure out where the show is taped, so they do some sleazy contract signing, because 90s movies love to be about sleazy Hollywood guys. Wayne is on board, but Garth has doubts, but being the mumbly weirdo he is, he doesn't say anything about it. The two spend their new-found wealth the way you might expect, by going to rock concerts and buying expensive guitars and stuff.  It is at one such concert that Wayne meets Cassandra Wong (Tia Carrere) and starts spending a lot of time with her which causes DRAMA.

9.20.2014

Van Helsing

Look at his awesome hat.
"Adventure lives forever."

Adventure DOES live forever, man that tagline has a really good point. Welcome back folks, as always I am your host on this breathtaking tour of the underworld of cinema, and today I'm going to be digging deep into the past to 2004, with the release of Van Helsing, a kind of Universal Studios monster orgy that happened somehow and was gifted with an absolutely insane 160 million dollar budget. Yeah that's right, watch that movie and try to guess where they dumped 160 million smackaroos, because I can't quite figure it out. Anyway Van Helsing is not about Abraham Van Helsing, the character from Bram Stoker's Dracula, but it does involve Dracula prominently. In this iteration Hugh Jackman is Gabriel Van Helsing, an agent of the Vatican who is dispatched to kill Dracula. That seems pretty reasonable, because I'm sure that no one in Rome is a big Dracula fan, on account of him being a vampire and all. So Van Helsing travels to Transylvania with his loyal ammo monk in tow (the guy who played Faramir in the Lord of the Rings no less!) to try and deep six Drac. The Holy Order also charges Van Helsing with helping ensure that the Valerious family doesn't end up ever getting stuck outside of heaven's gates, because I guess they don't get to go to heaven unless they kill Dracula or something who fucking even knows. Of course Dracula isn't the only thing that can kill you in Transylvania. There's also werewolves, and Dracula brides, and... gross baby vampires that explode because they need different kinds of batteries or something... stay with me here guys.

9.17.2014

Mindscape

Join Mindscape now free for 3 months.
"Don't Let Her In."

Hello children, gather round for another edition of the Tagline, the only blog where I personally write about what Vanilla Ice was doing in 1991 and then make awkwardly sexual comments about members of the Avengers (haha members GET IT). Anyway this week was SUPPOSED to be kung-fu week, but due to some unforeseen acquisition challenges instead it's going to be random crap like every other week-week, but I can't bust out a gem like Cool as Ice every day so instead I'm going to be reviewing a movie that WASN'T a massive joke. After experiencing some challenge actually locating the movie, because the original name was different than the American title of the film, I tracked down Mindscape (called Anna in the US) a film reinforcing my already dubious impression of Taissa Farmiga. This film features Mark Strong in one of his rare roles as not a sneaky bad guy plotting to murder you, or an upfront bad guy who is nonetheless still trying to murder you. Instead he is John Washington, a sort of psychic detective, who can use a kind of hypnotism to enter the memories of others. This memory investigation is the principal conceit of the movie the "one thing" that's different from what is otherwise our world. John is down on his luck as the movie opens, due to a trauma in his past, that sometimes intrudes on his sessions and had previously caused him to have a stroke. The memory investigating and the way a person's own memories can intrude seemed a lot like the dream stuff in Inception, but it was distinct enough that it didn't feel like they were just ripping off that movie. Anyway, John is out of money to spend on booze, and so goes to his boss Sebastian (Brian Cox AKA Hannibal Lecter AKA William Stryker) looking for a job. He is offered one, in the form of Anna (Taissa Farmiga who as you may or may not know is a witch/ghost/member of the bling ring) who is on a hunger strike, and also maybe a complete psychopath. She's the daughter of incredibly rich parents, and is super smart but also extra strength weird, and is on a hunger strike. She eventually reveals that this is because she fears being drugged by her step-father, who wants to have her institutionalized. Ten minutes of her in the movie and I could really see where the guy was coming from, even if he WAS a douche.

9.12.2014

Cool as Ice

Okay, this situation is starting to really get grisly. I mean what am I supposed to do, go see THE NINJA TURTLE MOVIE? That doesn't seem like an awesome life choice, and I just hope it doesn't come to that. Not that their weird little Shrek ears aren't endearing or anything I just... if Vanilla Ice isn't in the movie then really what's the point. Hmm... okay, fuck it, since I'm grasping around for ideas about a movie to talk about, and now I'm thinking about Vanilla Ice, let's just commit and do this thing...

...oh good god this is the worst tagline ever.

"When a girl has a heart of stone, there's only one way to melt it. Just add Ice."

COOL AS ICE


9.10.2014

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night

No problem indeed.
"No pulse? No problem."

Hello friends, welcome back to another hopeless walk through the trackless desert that is September, a month that has thus far proven to be a cinematic death march into the fall season. I mean really what's taking me to the box office this month? I guess A Walk Among the Tombstones (aka Taken 2.5)? Maybe the Maze Runner? I guess I shouldn't complain too much, as October will bring Left Behind, a movie based on the long running series of novels about the end times. Why am I looking forward to this ridiculous guaranteed shitpile? Because it stars Nicholas Cage, and that means that Thanksgiving is coming early for this boy. So there's at least a light at the end of this tunnel, and that light is the flames from the lake of fire I guess. Enough of that though, today I'm here to talk about mediocre and under-promoted movies about paranormal detectives. As an expert of mediocre paranormal fiction it seemed only fitting that I deliver the prognosis for Dylan Dog: Dead of Night. This was a movie that I'd initially intended to review over a year ago, when I first saw it, but I became occupied with movies that were more pressing, so it ended up on the back burner until the world class famine I have on my hands now. In case you aren't really into Italian comic books (how weird!) Dylan Dog is a long running Italian horror comic (started in 1986) about the eponymous Dylan Dog, an investigator who is an expert in dealing with the nightmarish and bizarre. In the film adaptation this holds true, with a few changed details (namely his assistant is not a Groucho Marx impersonator, and I personally am really grateful to whoever made that executive decision, because that sounds terrible). Dylan works in New Orleans instead of London, that makes sense, this is an American movie after all and we couldn't possibly have an UN-AMERICAN HERO, that's insane. Along with his undead buddy Marcus (Sam Huntington, also known as the werewolf on the U.S. Being Human) Dylan doesn't just go around blowing the faces off of the things that go bump in the night. Rather he also acts as an intermediary between them, working to maintain the uneasy peace that exists between various groups.

9.04.2014

Repo Men

Certainly looks edgy right?
"For a price, any organ in your body can be replaced. But it can also be repossessed."

Hey everyone, welcome back to the Tagline, where it's all pulp sci-fi all the time apparently. Today I am going to be talking about Repo Men, a movie that is not Repo: The Genetic Opera. Are they similar? I don't know, I haven't seen that, because I didn't want to so sue me. This movie has Jude Law in it, so that instantly made it more interesting to me, also it looked pretty violent. I was not disappointed in THAT regard for sure. Repo Men is another science fiction story set in a dystopic future where artificial organ technology has advanced wildly, so that virtually any organ can be replaced. The caveat is that distribution of these organs is controlled by a company that charges astronomical prices for them, because its the shitty future, and people often are coerced into getting these organs because otherwise they'll die. Then again, the average person can't pay 750,000 dollars for a new heart, and so they end up going into delinquency and then it gets kicked over to collections. As you've probably deduced, that's where the repo comes in, If someone misses enough payments, the property gets repossessed. Out of their chest cavity. You might have guessed that having a guy stun you and literally carve your heart out often results in a distinct case of death. They have that whole Temple of doom thing going on, ripping the heart right from your chest, only with less lava I suppose.

9.03.2014

Johnny Mnemonic

There's that cyber slam again.
"A pulse-pouding cyber-slam."

Now be honest, that kind of sounds like some sort of robot sex act doesn't it? Yeah I thought your silent agreement would be forthcoming, but that's beside the point! The point is that today I continue my aimless trek through the empty expanses of cyberfilms of the 90s. Today I go out of the hacker films all the way into full blast cyberpunk, with Johnny Mnemonic, a movie based on a William Gibson short story of the same name. If you don't know, William Gibson was one of the major voices of the cyberpunk sub-genre and also later of what would be known as post-cyberpunk (some of my all time favorite novels were among his later works) Johnny Mnemonic is relatively common of the genre however, and features a data courier who uses his own head for storage. Now me personally, I feel like if I were going to be a courier of stolen data who might be pursued by criminals, I wouldn't want brain to be the receptacle. I guess it guarantees that for a while my head is safe from bullets, but I feel like it sort of increases the chance of the rest of me getting torn up. At any rate, Johnny (played by the ever expressive Keanu Reeves who is 50 today, happy birthday Neo) seems less concerned with this, and more worried about getting enough money to have his implant removed. See while trafficking some guy's data is maybe lucrative, it comes at a serious cost. In this particular case, Johnny has lost all his memories of his childhood, and so is saving up to have that damage reversed, which I don't know how it's possible but apparently it is. So there's Johnny-boy's motivation, but what about the job? Well he's supposed to pick up some obviously hot merchandise from some nerds, and then carry it for them to their potential buyer. The problem is that it's way too much data, substantially more than johnny can carry safely in his noodle (I guess that isn't so surprising given the person we're talking about). Repeated warnings don't stop him from doing it anyway though, and moments later ole' Johnny is running for his life after his employers are shot to pieces and diced up by the Yakuza.

8.29.2014

Wargames

Make a cover that's mostly black space.
"The only winning move is not to play."

That's also good advice if you feel yourself being drawn into an argument on the internet! Hello friends and welcome to a slightly late edition of the Tagline, I wanted to give Tron some time in the spotlight by its lonesome, and it looks like everyone got their money's worth. Now that time is over though, and it's time for us to move exactly one year ahead, to 1983, where a computer program was deciding not to try and take control of mankind, but rather to just blow it straight to hell. Today's feature film is WarGames, a film that I think is more or less forgotten along with things like the Cold War and Matthew Broderick. In this film Broderick starred in one of his first major roles as David Lightman, a generally delinquent high school student who prefers to spend his time hacking computer systems, only not in the really dumb way that Hackers did. One day while idling his time away by dialing every number in his town with his modem, he finds a computer that won't identify itself, and decides to investigate further. David eventually finds a way to access this computer, but doesn't realize that this machine is the supercomputer at NORAD that controls the nuclear missile silos of the US, and is continually running launch scenarios, and learning from these simulations. David engages the computer in a rousing, friendly game of "Thermonuclear War" which I think we can all agree is a really fun game to play on a sunny afternoon when you have nothing else to do. David chooses Russia as his side, proving that Matthew Broderick is a communist, and does not realize that in doing so starts the computer with its metaphorical finger on the metaphorical red button down a path that leads to mutually assured destruction. Oops.

8.26.2014

Tron (1982)

Yeah the cover's pretty similar too.
"Trapped in a fight to the finish inside the video world he created."

Hello all, welcome to a new week at The Tagline! Summer is meandering towards its conclusion, and I am slowly being driven insane, so I thought now would be an opportune moment to explore a movie that features less preposterous science fiction than Hackers. To that end, I will be talking about Tron today. Yeah maybe it was a lame joke, but seriously, today I'm reaching back deep into history so that we can have a chat about the original Tron, a movie that spawned a franchise over the course of several decades, and eventually a sequel in 2010, which some people who clearly had never seen the original didn't like (and I'll talk more about that in a little bit). Originally conceived in 1976 by its director and writer Steve Lisberger, Tron was intended at first to be an animated feature, but as time went on and no one picked up the production, the emphasis slowly shifted towards backlit animation mixed with live action and computer animation, which was what ended up happening when Disney eventually picked up the film (yes it was always Disney, some people didn't know that I guess? I shouldn't be surprised but...) There it developed into the work that would eventually spawn a fairly prolific franchise, including a cartoon and a number of games. It's important to take this movie in a little bit in context of when it was made. In 1982 computers were very much not the mainstream, and even video games in their earliest form (Pong being a major inspiration for Lisberger) were an extremely niche attraction. It was the director's hope that he could sort of open up that world, and eventually that DID happen, though at the time Tron was not extremely successful (that being said it wasn't a flop either, it almost doubled its money).

8.22.2014

Tombstone

Back in black?
"Justice Is Coming."

Hello friends, welcome back to Tagline: Guest Suggestion Edition! On Tuesday we all had the great pleasure of experiencing Hackers, a movie that had about as much in common with real hackers as I have in common with a Tyrannosaurus. Today we're going in the total opposite direction, back to the old west with Tombstone, a movie about Wyatt Earp (Played by Kurt Russell, maybe the only man to live who looks MORE ridiculous with that mustache than the ACTUAL Wyatt Earp) that has as much historical truth to it as more or less any other Wyatt Earp movie or story I suppose, which is to say not very much. This particular film focuses on specifically Earp's time in the eponymous boomtown of Tombstone, where people mostly seem to busy themselves by getting drunk and then shooting each other, which doesn't seem like a sustainable enterprise. Meanwhile, leaving behind life as an officer of the peace in Dodge City, Wyatt and his brothers Virgil and Morgan are trying to go into business for themselves. They decide to do this in the most obvious way they can think of, by becoming promoters at a saloon, and (presumably) this includes things like running the in-house gambling and also being pimps. Sounds like good old-fashioned American heroes to me! Along with the Earps Doc Holliday (Portrayed here in an awesome performance by Val Kilmer) rolls into town as well, to be sickly and look like he's about to die from Tuberculosis, but still scare the ever-loving crap out of everyone because he's so great at shooting people (Historically he mostly seemed to have a record of challenging African-Americans to gunfights with little to no provocation so try not to think about that I guess)

8.19.2014

Hackers

CAN YOU FEEL THE EXCITEMENT.
"Hack The Planet!"

Hello everyone, welcome to a fresh week of excitement here at The Tagline! Last night, in a moment of weakness I asked my Facebook for movie suggestions, and I don't know why I was surprised at the outcome. While there were a fair number of varied suggestions (many of which you will most likely see over the coming weeks) there was also a public outcry for me to review Hackers, a thing that I desperately did not want to do (as you may remember, earlier this year I reviewed another 90s cyberthriller, Sandra Bullock's The Net). Still, as reluctant as I might have been, the people spoke, loudly, and some of them said cusswords at me to emphasize their point, which I returned in high volume (which is to say I swore loudly, at my computer screen). The end result was that I decided I had to watch Hackers, in all its mysterious computers of the early 90s glory, only not actually because I question whether the people who made this movie had ever seen a computer. If you were not around in the 90s, or just suppressed this part of them feverishly when trying to craft an idyllic picture of your past, cyberthrillers pretty much had their day at the early to mid section of the 90s, when computers and the internet were just common enough that people knew they were a thing, but had no idea how they functioned or what mad wizards operated them. People mostly STILL don't have any idea, but they know at least what computers look like and that you can browse Facebook on them. Hackers stars Jonny Lee Miller (who mostly went on to a career in TV, but remember him in Aeon Flux?) as Dade Murphy AKA CRASH OVERRIDE, a high senior with a past as a hacker (when he was like 10) that gave him both a record and a reputation. Despite his bad history with the law and the net, he can't stay away from those tasty, crispy cyberwaves, or what the fuck ever they decide is thematically appropriate slang in this movie. Dade immediately falls in with a group of hackers upon moving to NYC and arriving at his new school, and that's when things start to get complicated. He finds himself quickly caught up in a complex web of plots and futuristic looking 3D animations, as his friends become the targets of a set-up that will allow inveterate asshole Plague (Fischer Stevens who was most notably also in The Super Mario Bros movie ouch) to steal 25 million dollars from the company he works as security for. Everyone needs a scapegoat I guess!

8.13.2014

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Shadow Recruit? Look how bright it is!
"Trust No One."

That's good advice no matter what you're doing! Hello everyone and welcome back to another exciting week at the Tagline! Today I would like to take a moment to detour back into the land of those damn dirty commies trying to attack Amurka the beautiful, and really who knew how to do that better than the late great Tom Clancy himself (This was actually the last movie he wrote before passing away last year). For those who are not familiar, because really why would you be, Jack Ryan is a character who is not new to the silver screen. As the central protagonist in a large number of Tom Clancy's novels, Ryan has been featured in film a total of five times if we count this movie, and portrayed by four different actors. In the Hunt for Red October he was portrayed by Alec Baldwin, and later in Clear and Present Danger AND Patriot Games by Harrison Ford. Though we'd like to try and forget, in The Sum of All Fears Ryan was portrayed by Ben Affleck, that last one being a generally pretty crap movie. Each movie takes a look at Jack Ryan at a different point in his career, working as a CIA analyst to thwart various plots to destabilize the American government and also as a result the rest of the free world. This latest entry puts our new Captain Kirk, Chris Pine, in the role, as a sort of re-imagining of Jack Ryan's origin story. Because the original Ryan was born in like 1951, this tale was updated to incorporate the 9/11 attacks as the inspiration for Ryan's urge to serve, and then get shot down in a helicopter. At that point it's looking like ole Jackie boy is done barely after he begins, but his determined physical rehabilitation, coupled with a pattern he'd discerned in enemy movements before his helicopter was shot down, attracts the attention of Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner, keeping busy this year) who recruits Jack into the CIA, placing him in a Wall Street firm as a covert agent, looking for suspicious financial transactions that could indicate terrorist activity. Eventually something really suspicious crops up, and then it's off to Russia for some good old fashioned espionage.

8.06.2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

This IS a badass poster though.
"All heroes start somewhere."

Hello former friends and colleagues, welcome back to The Tagline! Originally I had planned to put off seeing Guardians until a little later (mostly just because I knew it would be in theaters forever and I wanted to see some other things that were less likely to stick around) but circumstances shifted and I ended up seeing it over the weekend. If you've lived in deep space for the past week or so... I imagine you still were picking up a lot of chatter about this movie, as roughly the entire internet has been orgasming about it basically since it was released, or some time that was significantly BEFORE that. Still, some background. Guardians of the Galaxy represents a relatively gutsy gamble on the part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, focusing on a group of interplanetary misfits who end up... guarding the galaxy I guess. First among them, as the unifying force that makes them a team, is Peter Quill, aka Starlord (Chris Pratt, having a busy year between this and The Lego Movie), who in the movie is abducted by aliens approximately 3 minutes after the movie starts, and 10 seconds after his mom dies from what looked like cancer. The movie jumps forward to his adulthood, where he has become a Ravager (who are like space pirates I guess? They are the guys who abducted him) and steals stuff from places while banging ladies who are interesting colors like pink why not. A particular salvage brings him into conflict with Ronan the Accuser, who if that sounds like a guy you don't want to be in conflict with to you, you've got a good sense for guys who hang out in giant space ships waiting to kill you with a fucking hammer. The guy's space fortress is called the Dark Aster for crap's sake. This is clearly a dude lacking a sense of humor, which is too bad for Starlord because that's one of his strongest attributes? I guess. Starlord's lot is tossed together with a motley group of cock-ups, including Gamora (Zoe Saldana gets green, maybe she liked the looks of her roomate at Starfleet Academy), who has betrayed Ronan and Thanos in order to prevent disaster, Draxx the Destroyer (Dave Batista, as in the pro wrestler) who seeks revenge against Ronan for the death of his family, and the duo Rocket (who is a talking raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot (a humanoid tree voiced and motion captured by Vin Diesel). 
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