Odd Thomas

"In Odd We Trust"

Hello all, welcome to a new bright definitely not super rainy spring week at The Tagline. Today I'm going to be talking about a film I'd nearly given up the hope of ever seeing, ever, for a variety of reasons. First it was caught up in a bizarre legal battle, and then shelved for years. Then last month, it received an extremely limited theatrical release, bringing it exactly nowhere near me (like I would have been going into a different state to see it). Finally after all that it was released this month on DVD, allowing me to at last see Odd Thomas, the movie adaptation of the Dean Koontz novel of the same name, the first book in a series about a character named... Odd Thomas. Odd Thomas is odd because he can see the dead, and is drawn to solve murders of those who died unnaturally, and bring their killers to justice. He lives in the small town of Pico Mundo, which is a desert sort of nowhere. He has the sheriff there backing him up (Willem Dafoe not playing some kind of heinous villain is just weird to me) and by day works as a short order cook at a local diner. He is dating the weird but really hot and awfully named Bronwen "Stormy" Llewellyn, because Dean Koontz considers his job incomplete unless everyone has a completely idiotic name. In addition to all this, Odd sees one other thing, a race of horrifying shadow monsters he calls bodachs, that seem to lurk wherever a bloody disaster is about to happen, and apparently exult in such disasters. Odd intimates to us that if the bodachs caught on that he could see them, they would probably kill him, which is a nice thought isn't it?



This makes it almost look not dumb.
"Defending Our World One Soul at a Time"

That is open to debate and remains to be seen. Welcome back to The Tagline, and pardon my Tuesday/Thursday late post earlier this week, it was the result of forgetfulness and being away in Boston all weekend. Incidentally, today's movie takes place IN Boston, and was actually shot, at least in part, on location there. I know this for a fact because there is a modestly lengthy sequence in the middle of the film that was clearly shot in the Hynes Convention Center, which is where I was in Boston for the entire weekend. The scene is supposed to be a finance convention or something, I have no idea. I was definitely not attending a finance convention. ENOUGH OF THAT THOUGH today I will be talking about R.I.P.D. a movie billed as a supernatural comedy film released last summer, based on a Darkhorse comic book of the same name. The film stars Ryan Reynolds (here taking his fourth bad turn as a comic book character by most people's reckoning, though I honestly didn't think Green Lantern was that terrible, and I think Ryan Reynolds was a perfect Hal Jordan) as imminently deceased police officer Nick Walker, and Jeff Bridges (AKA The Dude/Obadiah Stane I guess) as very deceased former U.S. Marshall Roy Pulsipher, as they work out their sentence in the Rest In Peace Department so as to improve their chances of not ending up at the big barbecue down below (that's Hell kids. I'm talking about Hell). Nick of course still has unfinished issues to work out with his violent death, where he was killed by his partner Bobby (Kevin Bacon, here as a ghost monster and not a pretend Nazi) after deciding he was going to turn in his portion of the gold they found during a drug bust. Nick is also worried about his wife, and just generally is dealing well with having been shot off of a balcony in a burning warehouse.



Prepare to get beaaaaat.
"Taste the fury."

Hi everyone, welcome to Thursday's Tagline. As I promised on Tuesday, today I'm taking us on a trip to distant Thailand, where violent martial arts movies are even more violent than elsewhere. The movie I'm interested in talking about today is Chocolate, released in 2008, and directed by Prachya Pinkaew, probably best known for directing Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior, a movie that lots of you are probably familiar with as it earned international fame and spawned a slew of sequels (though Pinkaew didn't direct those, in fact I think he only was involved as a producer on the first sequel). This movie was the springboard for the career of Yanin Vismitananda, who starred in a slew of successful Thai martial arts movies from 2008 to 2012, before taking a hiatus from movies after announcing that she was pregnant (as you can imagine being beaten up in a hand to hand sequence isn't great for unborn babies). Vismitananda herself was experienced in Taekwondo before becoming an action star, and consequently she does a lot of the stunts performed in the movie (all of them actually and I'll talk about that more a little later). Chocolate is sort of about a lady who is caught between a mobster and a really bad mobster, who then gets cancer. What it is really about is her daughter, Zen (that's Yanin) who is autistic. She lives with her mother next to a Muay Thai school, and is super amazing at mimicking things she sees, either there or on TV. Also, she has super mega-reflexes, so she falls into the typical movie category where having a neurodevelopmental disorder gives you superpowers like you're in the X-Men. I don't necessarily subscribe to, or encourage that kind of behavior or practice, but if it can be the avenue for brutal cinematic beatings in southeast Asia, then I'm willing to let it slide I guess.



Look at this thrilling cover.
"If you can see the future, you can save it."

Can you though? It can be really hard to save the future when you are Nicholas Cage, and you are being hindered by your insanity. I mean I guess he sort of did in the Sorcerer's Apprentice, but really he needed Jay Baruchel to help him and that's kinda sad. Anyway, welcome back to The Tagline! Today I'm attempting to bridge the movie desert that has been Q1 2014. This lack of interesting new releases, combined with my difficulty getting time to go to the movies is slowly killing me and my website, so I'll fall back onto a reliable source of entertainment: mediocre Nicholas Cage movies with supernatural elements that involve driving in some way! To that end, I watched Next, a film that was released in 2007. It is really, really, REALLY loosely based on a Philip K. Dick short story called "The Golden Man", only that story involved things like a weird future with mutants who are being sterilized by a government agency, and one of them is literally gold and can see into his future. Of those elements, Next preserves exactly one, a guy who can see into his future. Cris can see exactly two minutes into the future, which is really helpful in evading authorities, not getting beat up, and winning in casinos. He has a small magic act in Las Vegas, also easy to perform when you can see into the future no doubt. Cris has this obsession with this lady that he saw in a dream once, but he can't be sure when he'll meet her, he just knows what time was on the diner's clock in his vision, and so he goes there at that time twice a day, hoping to run into her. 


Birdemic: Shock and Terror

"Why did the eagles and vultures attack?"

That's right fuckers, welcome back to the Tagytagtags, it's time for SHOCK AND TERROR on a Thursday morning (or Wednesday night if you stay glued to your feed I don't know). Over the weekend I had the unique experience that is viewing Birdemic, a movie so impossibly bad that I at first was convinced that its shittiness was deliberate. Alas, my sense of shock and terror grew as I came to realize that this movie was a sincere effort, that just also happened to be one of the worst things a human being has ever done on camera under the guise of cinema. Directed, written, and produced by James Nguyen, a person I can only assume is criminally insane, Birdemic chronicles the life, love, and attack by killer birds, of Rod and Nathalie, two young successful young people living in I don't remember or care, California. Rod is a multi-millionaire, after he closes some great sales, his company sells for A BILLION DOLLARS, and he launches his own start up that sells solar panels or something. He drives a Mustang, or at least I assume he is driving it, but it's possible that he cut a hole in the floor and is powering it with his feet like the Flinstones, because I've seriously never seen a Mustang move so slow in my entire life. I honestly didn't think they could be running and move that slow, but now I know better I guess! Anyway, Rod meets an old classmate one day, who is a fashion model, which I guess is different than some other kind of model, and they're really careful to make sure you know how much she is a fashion model. She's really on the rise too, given that she has become "the cover model for Victoria's Secret". Is that a thing? I don't know, but gosh they sure are nonchalant about how she is now a super famous model suddenly. Anyway, despite these two collectively commanding the wealth of a medium sized third world country, they go on dates at town fairs and low-class looking vietnamese restaurants. Also they enjoy live musical performances by some weird guy singing a song about hanging out and having a party with your family.


Chopping Mall

Nothing like this happens. Ever.
"Where shopping can cost you an arm and a leg."

Greetings from the dark underworld of movies, it's time for more Tagline! Today I decided that it was a fine time to explore the wide world of B-movie garbage, and so took to the archive. This brought me into striking range of the dross produced by Roger and Julie Corman, and eventually to Chopping Mall. You might suspect from the name that Chopping Mall is a horror movie about a serial killer or ax murderer in a mall killing people. Maybe you'd think it was about a mall where people are chopped up, in some sort of bizarre dystopic world. You would be wrong in both cases, as this movie is actually about killer robots! Originally released in '86 as Killbots, I guess that wasn't punny enough so they re-released it as Chopping Mall, and it did a bit better afterwards. The premise of the movie is not super complicated. There is a mall. Then there are robots. The robots start killing people in said mall. That's about all there is to it. I mean, I guess I can go into more detail about the highly scientific way that the robots get to this point.


Don Jon

"There's more to life than a happy ending."

Hello and welcome back. Before I talk about today's movie, I want to briefly talk about another movie I watched, Kill Your Darlings. This movie was about Allen Ginsberg and his crew and while I didn't take issue with any of that (though admittedly I found the whole movie kind of generally uninteresting) the casting made the movie a really uncomfortable experience for me. What do I mean? Well Daniel Radcliffe is portraying Allen Ginsberg, and I just got really weirded out when Harry Potter started kissing men. Especially when the man was the kid who went crazy at the end of Chronicle (who I think is Harry Osborn in the upcoming Spiderman movie). I'm not super into watching dude make-outs to begin with, but I particularly don't want to watch Harry Potter make out with a two-time supervillain, doing some crazy drugs, and then manically jerking off. I don't want to see like... any of that happening. I know I know, he's not always Harry Potter... but really he's always Harry Potter. Also did I mention the movie was pretty boring? Basically when some gross sex act wasn't being performed (get a bj from a girl in the stacks while you lock eyes with your best friend and are also committing a book crime) people were being super pretentious about writing. I didn't end up making it through the whole movie, I just got to a point where I felt like there was no point in continuing.

She's very convincing in this role, almost TOO CONVINCING.
But that isn't the subject of today's post, which does admittedly have to do with a lot of sex, it's just a lot less weird and no one gets murdered at any point, and they didn't let Michael C. Hall in on the proceedings which was probably for the best. Don Jon represents the first directorial outing for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who also wrote the screenplay. To add a third role, he also stars as the eponymous Don Jon. So more or less he everything'd this movie. Don Jon is a film about a guy, who would you guess it is named Jon, and his friends call him Don Jon, because he's so good at closing the deal with ladies inadeclub (I have a Sean Paul related speech impediment). Jon states early on that not much matters in life to him, except his boys, bangin' random ladies, his car, working out, his family, and of course, constantly watching internet porn on Pornhub. Yeah, that's right, its all about the pr0nzzzorrzzz or whatever I don't know. Anyway, Jon is doing great with that arrangement until he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson) who if you haven't been paying attention to the media is so attractive that it will melt your face off. Jon immediately compromises everything about himself to attempt to snare this lady, and eventually he succeeds.


How I Live Now

This looks way more badass than the
actual movie.
"Love will lead you home."

Though sometimes home might be a blasted out shell of its former self! Hello folks, welcome back to The Tagline. Today I'm going to talk about a movie where World War III takes place, but all we get to see is some dreary English blocks and forests. I'm going to talk about How I Live Now, a 2013 film based on a novel of the same name, released in 2004. Really though what movies now are NOT based on a novel? What do screenwriters actually do anymore? Do they even exist? That's something to think about for later, anyway let's get back to the moviebook. How I Live Now follows the life of Elizabeth "Daisy" during a time of civil unrest. For reasons never adequately explored, Daisy has come from the US to the UK, where she will be staying with her cousins for the summer. What is immediately apparent to the viewer is that Daisy's cousins are English rascals always getting into woodsy British hijinks. The other is that Daisy has some serious issues with hostility, and trying to exist in general. She spends time living at the backwoods home of her cousins, and being extremely anti-social, though the movie telegraphs via slow motion staring at each other that Daisy is going to be kissing cousins with her oldest, most handsome cousin. This also opens up the question of why are movies seemingly obsessed with family members making out all the time, I feel like that's coming up more than I'd care for. That comes later though, at first it's just Daisy not talking to anyone and maybe having an eating disorder, again not fully explored. Eventually Daisy gets pushed in a river and then she bonds with everyone because of that or at least that's how the movie makes it look.
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