REVIEW: ‘Saw VI’ (2009)

William Easton (Peter Outerbridge) finds there are worse things than government Health Care Reform in the series-revitalizing "Saw VI".
William Easton (Peter Outerbridge) finds there are worse things than government Health Care Reform in the series-revitalizing "Saw VI".

There are any number of clichés I could start this review with…

It’s Halloween, it must be Saw.
I would like to play a game.

But the one that would be most appropriate with this foundational Lionsgate franchise would be this: The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be. When we last left our intrepid killer (Costas Mandylor) had just squished his FBI counterpart at the end of what was likely the weakest movie of the series. By this point, Saw had devolved from John Kramer (Tobin Bell), or rather, Jigsaw’s extreme methods of getting people to appreciate the gift of life to being just another slasher film with elaborate set pieces. To me, it was the aspect that Jigsaw didn’t just want to kill the people in his traps, he wanted them to sacrifice, and through that, realize the errors of their ways. It was the loss of this focus that made Saws IV and V weaker than their three predecessors.

And then, along came “Saw VI.”

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REVIEW: ‘Paranormal Activity’ (2009)

Yes, I wanted to punch Micah in the face too in "Paranormal Activity".
Yes, I wanted to punch Micah in the face too in "Paranormal Activity".

Years ago, I remember going to my friend’s apartment. He’d just rented this really cool game and I just had to come over and play. It was the first Resident Evil game. We played for hours before the need for sleeps started to creep in around the edges of our eyes. I left his apartment and walked out onto the breezeway. It was eerily still. Occasionally, crisp autumn leaves would whisper across the ground and a chill would grip my shoulders. I looked around, halfway expecting to see something shambling out of the shadows or leaping through a window. So, like any strong, rational man in his twenty-somethings, I ran like a scared little girl to my car, locked the door and drove home. It seemed more like a reflexive reaction than anything thought out.

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REVIEW: ‘Zombieland’ (2009)

Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) and Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) nut up in the horror comedy, "Zombieland".
Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) and Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) nut up in the horror comedy, "Zombieland".

Zombies, for whatever reason, are a Western Phenomenon. In this writer’s humble opinion, they represent a fear set unique to our Judeo-Christian based culture: they represent the loss of the Ultimate Certainty. In death, we are assured either reward, punishment, or rest. The concept of the zombie robs us of that, instead replacing it with the fear of continuing on as a mindless automaton, existing only to serve the basest needs of survival – all in all, not entirely unlike spending eternity in a corporate cubicle farm.

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REVIEW: ‘Jennifer’s Body’ (2009)

Megan Fox perfectly cast as a hope-eating demon in "Jennifer's Body".
Megan Fox perfectly cast as a hope-eating demon in "Jennifer's Body".

I am not the kind of guy who is easily impressed by feminine wiles. Whether it is from years of marriage or from DJing one too many nights at topless clubs, I’m not sure. Whatever the reason, though, I’m not the kind of guy to cut a woman slack because she’s pretty. Yes, I am the kind of guy who goes to Hooters for the wings and also complains about the service. It should then go without saying that I was NOT looking forward to seeing Jennifer’s Body, the latest vehicle for movie babe du jour, Megan Fox. I guess I’d just gotten tired of hearing innumerable fanboys going on about, “Who cares if Transformers 2 sucks… Megan Fox, dude.” I really didn’t mind the statement so much – it was just all the drooling that accompanied it. I’m sorry, but a pretty face doesn’t make a crappy movie any less crappy. So, as I sat waiting for the movie to start tonight, I dreaded what was coming.

I ended up with some pleasant surprises.

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REVIEW: ‘Thirst’ (2009)

Very Human. Very Monstrous. The vampiric world according to Park Chan-wook's "Thirst".
Very Human. Very Monstrous. The vampiric world according to Park Chan-wook's "Thirst".

Korean filmmaking, for most of us, brings to mind the painfully bad “Dragon Wars”. For the rest of us, it still bring up the painfully bad (and aforementioned), “Dragon Wars”. Unfortunately, my cinematic travels have not included a whole lot of Korea – none of it, in fact. So, I went into this screening almost completely blind, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Ideally, a critic should go into a movie with no prejudices, judging the movie solely on its own merits.

And ideally, Hollywood should turn out movies that are entertaining and not just ground out for the sake of making a buck.
But I digress.

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REVIEW: ‘Orphan’ (2009)

Boy howdy there is something wrong with Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) in "Orphan".
Boy howdy there is something wrong with Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman) in "Orphan".

Have you ever had a surprise birthday party that wasn’t a surprise? You know the kind: some over-eager friend or relative just can’t contain themselves and spills the beans ahead of time. Later at party time, you have to walk in and come up with your best surprised reaction, knowing full well that the advanced warning has sucked all that was special out of the surprise.

Fortunately, it’s doesn’t make “Orphan” any worse of a movie.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t make it a better one, either.

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