Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Star Trek (2009) Part 2

Click here for Part 1!

Upon learning his home world only has minutes to live, Spock transports to the surface to save the Vulcan High Council and his parents. The movie's even one step ahead of me by stating they are too far underground for the ship's teleporters to grab them. Point, Star Trek. Nero orders the drill retracted, which causes Sulu to fall off it and go plummeting towards the surface. Kirk dives off after him to catch him, screaming into his com for the Enterprise to beam them up. Since they're free falling at speeds I can't even begin to imagine, the cadet manning the transporter is unable to lock onto them but luckily Whiz Kid Chekov has the brains to figure out how to save them.

Just as soon as they materialize onto the ship, Spock kicks them off the teleporter pad so he can go down to the surface. He runs into the caverns where the High Council is, and I just want to stop and say something about this movie that it gets NOWHERE near enough credit for: how REAL it feels. Almost every single scene is shot on an actual SET, and not a stupid green screen. This injects so much atmosphere into the movie it's almost ridiculous. Disney could NOT have chose a better director for the upcoming seventh Star Wars movie.

A Ghoul Versus Star Trek (2009) Part 1

"Boldly go where no one has gone before... for the first time."

The original Star Trek series is everything that is RIGHT with science fiction. You can deride it for its laughably bad special effects and questionable acting (if you're a soulless killjoy), but you can't deny its heart was literally in the most perfect place ever: a future where the human race has set aside all of its differences and united in the cause of making the universe a better place. Sure, it had its flaws such as gender wise it wasn't as progressive as it could have been with the majority of the women wearing micro skirts and being relegated to support roles, but it was still head and shoulders above anything else at the time.

It was by far my favourite show as a kid and fostered my lifelong long for sci-fi, a love that only grew as I got older and began to appreciate the deeper themes and social allusions of the show. Case in point: I PROUDLY identify myself as a TREKKIE and know wayyyyyy more about the show than I should admit in casual company.

Naturally when I learned Paramount was rebooting the franchise I was scared because I didn't want to see one of my most beloved works of fiction given the Godawful treatment so many other classic franchises have received. This fear escalated to sheer terror when I heard they were putting this huge responsibility in the hands of director J.J. Abrams, a man who had just burned me with a little show called LOST. And yes, I know he had almost nothing to do with the later seasons but at the time it was impossible to see his name and not get filled with dread.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Liam Neeson's Taken

"I will find you, and I'll electrocute you, then I'll cut off your toes, then I'll inject Clorox into your arm, then I'll go after your family with a chainsaw, then maybe if I have the time I'll get around to killing you."

Tomorrow marks the release of the latest Liam Neeson thriller, A Walk Among The Tombstones which I SWEAR I thought was going to be Taken 3 when I first saw a trailer for it. The movie even has Neeson say something to the effect of “Your wife has been... TAKEN!” for crying out loud. But hey, it's Hollywood... milk what sells tickets until it's no longer profitable. Insert your own superhero movie genre joke here. At least with a Neeson film you're guaranteed SOME level of quality that you won't get in a Jason Statham or a, oh I don't know, let's go with a Jeremy Renner movie.

To celebrate this occasion, today we're going to go back to the movie that started it all: 2008's Taken. This came out of NOWHERE and dominated the box office, making nearly ten times its paltry $25 million dollar budget and transforming Neeson already lucrative career to heights not seen since John Travolta in Pulp Fiction. Let's just hope Neeson's career doesn't end with him dressing in drag and slow dancing with Christopher Walken. Actually, scratch that, that's EXACTLY what I hope happens.  Enough wishful thinking, I want to see Liam Neeson murder his way across Paris!  Let's get ready to walk the thin line between hero and psychopath as it's time for A Ghoul Versus Taken!

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Ethan Hawke's Getaway

"I hope you freaking love car chases."

Ethan Hawke has been acting for nearly thirty years now, accumulating a massive filmography of virtually every genre in that time. He's kind of become the king of “Hey! It's That Guy” roles as he's not the flashiest actor but is among the most consistent as he always gives a solid performance. He has starred in many great films, including Ghoul favourite Gattaca, Before Sunrise, and the criminally underrated Lord Of War.

Naturally though, we're not here to talk about any of these. Last year he starred in today's film Getaway, which scored a whopping TWO PERCENT on Rotten Tomatoes. TWO PERCENT. To put that accomplishment in perspective, critically reviled films like Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen somehow managed to scrape a nineteen percent, while the worst film of the 2000s, Battlefield Earth, nailed a three percent. Hell, even the legendary terrible Rob Reiner film North got a fifteen percent rating.

How did Getaway become one of the worst reviewed films of all time? That's what we're here to find out, so take a seat in a pimped out Shelby GT and get ready for A Ghoul Versus Ethan Hawke's Getaway!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Looper (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

Joe jacks a nearby hoverbike and escapes into the cornfield as well, which is kind of strange because he should be pretty easy to find on a thing like that. He looks over the piece of the map he took, tracing it to a very nearby farm where we meet the third star of this movie, Emily Blunt. She's playing a farmer named Sara, whose hobbies include pointlessly hacking at a stump with an ax and pretending to smoke cigarettes. She's kinda weird.

Back in the city, Abe takes Blue's gat away from him. He's very mad at Blue for trying to capture Bruce on his own, but once again isn't scary at all. Blue is played by the excellent Noah Segan, who was also in Brick as well as the MEGA fucked up film Deadgirl, a film which can be described as “not right in the head” in the understatement of the decade.

Segan is really good in this film, playing Blue as a cocky hitman who doesn't have the brains to back up his swagger. He also really wants to please Abe, again nearly in tears that he's failed him again. Abe doesn't kill him though, instead taking a hammer and breaking his gun hand. I take this as proof Blue is Present Abe, since he doesn't kill Blue when he really should have and seems to be taking great care to protect him.

A Ghoul Versus Looper (Part 1)

"This time travel crap, just fries your brain like an egg..."

Rian Johnson is a writer/director who made one of my favourite films of ALL TIME, an indie picture called Brick that I once found in a bargain bin at Blockbuster and am eternally grateful I took the chance because it "had that one girl from Lost in it".  He took a very typical story and completely turned it on its head thanks to some extremely clever and layered writing, in addition to some beautiful cinematography and all around great direction.

The film also starred a young Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who instantly made me a fan due to the insanely good performance he gave in that movie.  Up to that point he'd always been "that one kid from that one stupid show about stupid aliens" to me.  Since then he has gone on to become one of the hottest actors currently working today, I'd even go as far to say he's the best young actor in the world right now.

Take these two, throw in one of one of my favourite genres (time travel), and add an actor who can deliver an epic performance when properly motivated (Bruce Willis), and you have a movie I've been dying... er, I'm already dead... living? to watch.  Mmm, that didn't end well.

Pocket some bars of silver and grab your trusty blunderbuss, it's time for A Ghoul Versus Looper!

A Ghoul Versus The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

Jace also shows Clary a portal they use to teleport around. Whoa, I was just joking about teleporters earlier. Clary wants to enter it to find her mother, but he warns her it takes a lifetime of training to learn how to use it without ending up in Limbo. Clary will take this advice to heart and not try to use the portal until she's spent years practicing. Wink wink.  He now wants to celebrate Clary's birthday, taking her to an arboretum in one of the upper turrets of the castle. In a scene ripped straight out of every Disney movie, they have a touching moment set to Demi Lovato's ultra cheesy “Heart By Heart”.

They kiss as it starts RAINING. OH MY GOD. I hope they go to Paris next so they can share a milkshake at a cafe and then go rolling around in a grassy field. The rain was actually just sprinklers, but my point remains.  They head back to Clary's room, where they kiss outside her door. However all the fun is ruined when Simon opens the door. Jace is mad because he thinks Clary and Simon are sleeping together, and Simon is mad because she was kissing Jace. Clary tells Simon they were jut kissing, and this gets Jace even madder. We get this absolute gem from him:

“How swiftly you dismiss our love.”

A Ghoul Versus The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones (Part 1)

"How is being dressed like a hooker going to help me find my mom?"

Harry Potter was an unprecedented success in Hollywood. Sure, there have many book-to-movie adaptions before but this was the first one to do it for an entire franchise with each movie breaking box office records.  It spawned seemingly millions of knockoff books that in turn all spawned seemingly millions of knock off movies, but none of them could get past the first film. This all changed with Twilight, which definitely replaced Harry Potter as the Next Big Thing.

Whereas Harry Potter was (originally) for children, Twilight was for the highly coveted Young Adult audience and their mountains of disposable income. Top that off with their nonstop passion to be on top of what's cool, and there suddenly existed an extremely fertile breeding ground for imitators that could be successful.

Not to say that a lot of the books that followed were written as Twilight knockoffs, but there is no way these books would have gotten picked up to be published unless companies sensed they could market them as a franchise like Twilight had become. Before it took years for a book series to become huge, now all they have to do is slap a “the next Twilight!” sticker on it and BAM! Instant millions of sales. They have it down to a science now.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Ghoul Versus Liam Neeson's Non-Stop (Part 2)

Click here for Part 1!

Bill finds Jen watching the news report, which is building a psychological profile about him. They reveal his daughter died of cancer when she was eight, which planted the seeds of his madness as well as explaining why he had no current pictures of her. A comment a news reporter makes about air marshals being able to walk past security with no checks activates a light bulb over Bill's head, so he goes back to Jack's body and finds the bomb hidden inside his coke stash.

Exiting the bathroom he immediately gets jumped by the cop and his buddies, trying to fight them off but loses his gun in the process. They wrestle him to the ground, ignoring his warnings about the bomb until Tom grabs the gun and moves them away. Tom demands the truth so Bill tells them, something he probably should have done WAY earlier to avoid most of this clusterfuck. He admits everything on the news story about him was true, confessing his sorrow over working instead of being with his daughter as he was too afraid to watch her die. This tugs all the right heartstrings, so Tom gives him his gun back and everyone backs off.

Bill comes up with a plan to move the bomb to the back of the plane and stack everything they have against to hopefully lessen its blast, as well as having the plane lowered in elevation to help alleviate the pressure if it does go off. And in case you're wondering why they just don't throw it out of the plane, the film is one step ahead of you with some kind of bullshit explanation it'd set the bomb off... or something. Bill gives the cop Jack's gun, asking him to take action in case the texter shows himself.

A Ghoul Versus Liam Neeson's Non-Stop (Part 1)

We are now boarding flight 117 to London, we will be seating any families with children, those needing additional assistance, and any madmen with nonsensical master plans first.”

Today I'm going to review Non-Stop, which once again unites Liam “The Man” Neeson and Jaume “How The Hell Do You Pronounce My Name?” Collet-Serra in ass kicking bliss. You may remember their first effort, the underwhelming Unknown, which will forever be known as the film that launched the Ghoul Meme: “Don't Fuck With Diane Kruger”.

Sadly she's not in this one to save the film, so we're going to have to rely on the always awesome Julianne Moore. Did you know she's 53 years old? She obviously drinks from the same enchanted spring of eternal youth that Tom Cruise and Keanu Reeves drink from- wait, there's no Keanu films on this blog yet? That's CERTAINLY going to have to change soon!

Just like Unknown, we have two great actors paired with a director who I'd say is pretty competent, so will this mean a highly engaging and tense thriller or a somewhat interesting movie that gradually buckles under the weight of its own premise? Grab a pistol and an air sickness bag as we get ready for A Ghoul Versus Liam Neeson's Non-Stop!