Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Music and More

Spring Breakdown - 2009 - Dir. Ryan Shiraki
Location: On the Couch

I heard bad things about this, but I still had to see for myself. I really like Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch and, especially, Parker Posey so I figured it couldn't be that bad. It isn't horrible, but it's also not comic genius. Three best friends are losers in love and the ways of society but their yearly trip to the Women's Music Festival is coming up. This year Becky's (Posey) boss, the soon-to-be vice president, has a problem with her daughter who might cause a scene on spring break. Becky is sent to look after her and the girls come with her. As you can imagine their trip is full of hi-jinks.

There are a few chuckles to be had but most of the film is just there. It's a real shame that everything wasn't a little better because the cast is great. Jane Lynch plays the vice presidential hopeful and her daughter is played by Amber Tamblyn. There are also plenty of smaller roles filled by the likes of Missi Pyle, Sophie Monk, Seth Meyers, Mae Whitman (Anne from Arrested Development) and Will Arnett who plays a blind guy who won't date Poehler's character. Ha! I hate to sound like a pervert or something but for a film about promiscuous girls on spring break there is no nudity. How can you have a spring break movie without any T-n-A? I understand that this is from a woman's point of view and all but...

Meat Market - 2000 - Dir. Brian Clement
Location: The Comfort of My House

Have you ever sat down to watch a movie you haven't seen and realize that you had seen it? This doesn't happen very often, at least to me, but it did with this flick. A very low budget zombie film from Canada that I remember talking about with some gorehound I worked with about ten years ago. He told me over and over that I needed to see this and I thought I hadn't but a few minutes in things seemed very familiar. The good news is that after about the first forty minutes I didn't remember anything else so I must not have watched the whole thing.

There is not much to know about the plot other than there is a zombie outbreak and most everyone is dead. There is a small number of survivors scattered around and one couple is out looking for supplies when they run into a group of three vampires (!) who are also fighting the living dead. Can't have their food supply knocked off by the flesheaters. Together the five, and a blue masked luchador, kill as many as they can and try to survive another day.

The script is pretty standard and the acting is mostly subpar but there are a few redeeming qualities. No I'm not talking about the lesbian vampire scenes in a room with a makeshift bed and plain white walls. I mean the gore! Most all of the bloody FX are all practical and gush plenty of the red stuff. Your eyes are in for a treat but they are kind of ruined when you hear the sound design behind the visuals. Every bit of trickling blood sounds like a water fountain. It gets a bit ridiculous at times.

While this may not be the best zombie film I've ever seen, it's definitely not the worst of the low budget lot and you get some good gore gags to go along. There are also two sequels which I hear are better, and I'll watch them soon. If you so desire you can get
Parts 1 and 2 together on DVD here.

Elvis - 1979 - Dir. John Carpenter
Location: At Home

My dad is a huge Elvis fan so I have spent much of my life listening to and watching things about the man. There have been many movies, for TV or not, about the life of The King but I always heard from my dad that John Carpenter's made-for-TV flick was the best. It came out a year before I was born and was never available for home viewing until now. A couple years ago my dad was at a convention with me and one of the bootleg DVD tables had a copy of the film that my dad quickly picked up. Now, he doesn't have to watch that crappy TVrip in full frame because the new disc has the full version (just under three hours) in widescreen from the original film elements.

The story is the same story of Elvis you've always heard and there's not much new. It doesn't go all the way up to his death in 77 but after his big Vegas comeback. What I was real surprised about was the complete omission of the very famous 68 Comeback Special. Not sure why they decided to leave that out but it doesn't really hurt the film as a whole. The best part about the film is Kurt Russell's performance as Presley. Dad told me he was the best onscreen Elvis ever and I think I agree. He is just perfect in this role and it's a shame more people don't know about it. Hopefully that will change with the new DVD's release. Pick it up
right here.

It may not be as awesome as Heartbreak Hotel (1988), but it's still worth the watch.

ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway - 2007 - Dir. Dori Berinstein
Location: My House

I will watch most any documentary you put in front of me. When I saw this documentary was coming on cable and is not available for rent I set the DVR. It follows four new Broadway shows as they get ready to open all the way through to the Tony Awards. The shows chronicled are Wicked, Avenue Q, Caroline or Change and Taboo. I have wanted to see the first two on that list for a while. They both sound great but Q is right up my alley. Adult themed songs and fun all done with Sesame Street-like puppets. How could you not love that?!

There is not a lot of crazy tension here because it basically just documents what people go through to put on a musical. The biggest controversy explored is all the drama involving producer Rosie O'Donnell's court cases and Boy George's show Taboo. You do get to see some very wonderful performances and talented people do what they do best. You also get to periodically listen to a group of catty New York Theatre critics ramble about the shows.


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