Rollerball (2002) review

Rollerball (2012) posterDirector: John McTiernan

Starring: Chris Klein, LL Cool J, Jean Reno, Rebecca Romijn, Naveen Andrews

“ROLLERBALL!” (Paul Heyman, Rollerball)

As I wrote in my recent review, the original 1975 version of Rollerball is a fantastic, prescient commentary on the way massive corporations suffocate society.

It’s also a superb action movie, with plenty of high-paced and violent sequences with rollerskates, motorbikes, fists and feet flying all over the place.

What a difference 27 years makes, then, because the 2002 remake is one of the biggest piles of vapid cockwash ever committed to celluloid. Continue reading “Rollerball (2002) review”

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (1987) review

Rock n Roll Nightmare posterDirector: John Fasano

Starring: Jon Mikl Thor, Teresa Simpson, Jim Cirile, Jillian Peri, David Lane, Denise Dicandia, Frank Dietz, Liane Abel, Adam Fried

Also known as: The Edge Of Hell

“You killed no one, Bub. Or is it less familiar to call you Beelzebub? Or do you prefer Abaddon? Or, as the Hindus called you, Shaitan? Or, as you are known to answer to, Ahriman? Belial? Apollyon? Asmodeus? Because, you see… I do know you.” (John Triton, Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare)

Well, now. Where to begin.

If you aren’t aware of Jon Mikl Thor, his Wikipedia page describes him as “a bodybuilding champion, actor, songwriter, screenwriter, historian, vocalist and musician”.

Having now watched Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare, which was both written by Thor and starred him in the leading role, I’m almost tempted to edit that page and remove “actor” and “screenwriter”. Continue reading “Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare (1987) review”

Voyage Of The Rock Aliens (1984) review

Voyage Of The Rock Aliens posterDirector: James Fargo

Starring: Pia Zadora, Tom Nolan, Craig Sheffer, Michael Berryman, Ruth Gordon, Alison La Placa

“I still can’t believe you’re an alien. What a novelty act!” (Dee Dee, Voyage Of The Rock Aliens)

One day in the future, when I have children, there will come a day when I’m asked “dad, what were the ’80s like?”

I already know how I’ll respond. Without saying a single word I’ll gesture to the couch, insist they sit down, turn the telly on and make them watch Voyage Of The Rock Aliens. Just to fuck with them. Continue reading “Voyage Of The Rock Aliens (1984) review”

Troll (1986) review

Troll posterDirector: John Carl Buechler

Starring: Noah Hathaway, Michael Moriarty, Jenny Beck, June Lockhart, Phil Fondacaro, Julia Louis-Dreyfus

“Harry, your sister isn’t an alien. She’s something much worse.” (Eunice, Troll)

You may already be aware of Troll 2, the movie some claim is the worst film ever made. I’ve already reviewed it, because that’s how cutting edge and cool and shit I am.

But what about the first Troll? What was so interesting about that film that someone decided it needed a sequel? Is it just as bad as its successor? How do they link up?

Actually, Troll has nothing to do with Troll 2. The latter was originally named Goblin until it was decided that changing the name to pretend it was a sequel to Troll would gain it extra credibility. No punchline necessary. Continue reading “Troll (1986) review”

Phantom Of The Paradise (1974) review

Phantom Of The Paradise posterDirector: Brian De Palma

Starring: William Finley, Paul Williams, Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham

“Look, Philbin. I am a professional. I have been in this business a long time. Now, if I don’t want to perform, it’s not because I got stage fright. It’s because some creature from beyond doesn’t want me to do the show. Now gangway.” (Beef, Phantom Of The Paradise)

Continue reading “Phantom Of The Paradise (1974) review”

Halloween: Resurrection (2002) review

Halloween Resurrection posterDirector: Rick Rosenthal

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Brad Loree, Busta Rhymes, Bianca Kajlich, Sean Patrick Thomas, Daisy McCrackin

“Trick or treat, muthafucka.” (Freddie Harris, Halloween: Resurrection)

Miramax achieved the impossible by taking the flatlining Halloween series and resurrecting it with the back-to-basics Halloween H20.

With Michael Myers relevant and scary again, it was therefore inevitable that another Halloween would come, even though it seemed Myers was well and truly dead after the last film.

How did they manage to bring the pale pursuer back then? Well, I’ll tell you, because I’m nice like that. Continue reading “Halloween: Resurrection (2002) review”

Any Given Sunday (1999) review

Director: Oliver Stone

Starring: Al Pacino, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, LL Cool J, James Woods

“Life’s a game of inches, so is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half-second too slow, too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the fuckin’ difference between winning and losing.” (Tony D’Amato, Any Given Sunday)

Take one of the greatest actors in the world, team him up with one of the greatest directors in the world, throw in an amazing supporting cast and set it all on an American football field. The result is Any Given Sunday, one of the finest sports films ever made.

"I'm going to win this staring contest, you goddamned schmuck"

Pacino plays Tony D’Amato, an aging coach who’s trying to lead his team, the Miami Sharks, to glory one last time. Standing in his way are Christina Pagniacci (Diaz), the daughter of the team’s late owner (and Tony’s friend) who doesn’t believe in tradition and wants to move the team to another city, and the team’s doctor (Woods), who’s been giving players illegal injections to keep them playing, despite the risks to their health.

Tony’s players have their own issues, too. His quarterback (Quaid) is also feeling the pangs of old age and fears his career is coming to an end, his wide receiver (LL Cool J) is annoyed he’s not being thrown the ball enough and believes it could affect his sponsorship contracts, and the rock in his defence (played by real-life American footballer Lawrence Taylor) has injured his neck and is one bad tackle away from permanent paralysis at best, death at worst.  Continue reading “Any Given Sunday (1999) review”

Demons Never Die (2011)

Director: Arjun Rose

Starring: Robert Sheehan, Jennie Jacques, Jason Maza, Ashley Walters, Reggie Yates, Tulisa Contostavlos

“The truth is we’ve all thought about it at some point – death that is. Life can be painful, we’d like to know that we can end it all if we had to. The warning signs are there if you look hard enough. Those pretty girls who seem to have everything – smiles on the outside, but inside they’re broken.” (Bates, Demons Never Die)

Slasher films have been ten-a-penny since the early ’80s but Demons Never Die is to be commended for trying something different – it’s a slasher film where the victims actually want to die.

Set in London, Demons Never Die tells the story of a group of college students, depressed for various reasons, who have all agreed to carry out a suicide pact. They decide that they’ll all meet up somewhere in the near future and overdose on pills together. While they’re in the process of arguing the whens, wheres and hows of this grim little arrangement however, someone in a mask is offing them one-by-one anyway, annoying the other members of the group who think their chums are killing themselves on their own instead of sticking to the pact.

Here's the lovely Tulisa, double-checking the script to see if she's really only in the first two minutes of the film

It’s an interesting idea (at least initially), but one that throws up its own problems. Many slashers suffer in their inability to make the audience feel empathy for its characters – in between all the killings and screaming it’s often hard to develop a character enough that the person watching grows to like them and doesn’t want them to die. Since the characters here all start off wanting to die anyway, it’s very hard to build up some sort of sympathy for them and think “oh, I hope they don’t get killed”, since you know they’re going to run off and have a hundred Nurofen later anyway.  Continue reading “Demons Never Die (2011)”

Leprechaun In The Hood (2000)

Director: Rob Spera

Starring: Warwick Davis, Ice-T, Anthony Montgomery

“A friend with weed is a friend indeed, but a friend with gold is the best I’m told.” (Leprechaun, Leprechaun In The Hood)

By the time the Leprechaun series reached its fifth instalment horror’s pint-sized Paddy had already terrorised a young Jennifer Aniston, hunted for a bride, rampaged through Las Vegas and even gone into space. Logic therefore dictated that there was only one place left for him to go – the hood.

It probably goes without saying given the title and the premise, but this film is madder than a caravan filled with seahorses. Rapper-turned-actor Ice-T plays Mack Daddy, a pimp who discovers the Leprechaun in a fossilised state and steals his magic flute, which gives him the ability to enchant anyone who hears it.

Oh, did I mention the Leprechaun also has three demonic fly girls? Well he does

In time Mack Daddy becomes a huge rap star thanks to the flute, but when a trio of young up-and-coming rappers ask him for some help and he “disses” them (as the youth of today say) they break into his house, steal the flute, hide out at a drag queen’s house for some reason then use the flute to kick off their own rap career. Oh, and during all this, the Leprechaun’s come out of his stony state and is ready to fuck up whoever has his flute.  Continue reading “Leprechaun In The Hood (2000)”

Lockjaw (2008)

Director: Amir Valinia

Starring: DMX, Wes Brown, Louis Herthum, Lauren Fain

“Don’t forget, at the end of the day it’s just a snake. A really messed up snake.” (Nick, Lockjaw)

I’ve seen some bad films in my time – as you’ll know if you’ve taken more than a brief glance at some of the other reviews on this site – but Lockjaw is by far one of the worst movies I’ve seen in the past couple of years. It’s not the CGI effects or the hopeless music, those I can deal with. It’s the plot, the script and the acting that make this one such a stinker.

The film starts with a flashback in which a young lad called Alan and his friend Becky break into a voodoo-loving man’s house and steal a dangerous voodoo pen from him before he and his son (more about him later) find out.

So how do you defeat a mystical snake summoned by voodoo? With a voodoo bazooka, of course. Seriously.

Alan, disturbed by his dad’s abusive behaviour towards his mother, decides for no apparent reason to draw a picture – using the voodoo pen – of a big monster eating his dad. Sure enough, after his drunken father leaves the house, he’s gobbled up by the beast and never seen again.

Fast forward to the present day and Alan and Becky are now married. While they do gardening at their home Becky digs up the pen, but before she gets to ask Alan about it she’s run over by a van containing a group of teens who happen to be the biggest bunch of absolute cocks you’ve ever seen in any film to date. Alan uses the pen to draw the monster again, this time attacking the van, and so one by one the teens start getting picked off by the beast. A guy summoning a monster to get revenge on people killing someone close to him? Ah, so it’s basically Pumpkinhead then.

In one of the more impressive effects scenes, the filmmakers make this moron look capable of feeding himself

It’s hard to properly describe just how painful Lockjaw is to watch. Almost every member of the main cast has at least one infuriating quality – there’s the quirky guy who talks really loudly because he’s desperate to steal every scene, then there’s the slutty one who was clearly hired for the inevitable nudity alone but then doesn’t even get naked (resulting in an awkward sex scene in which she groans away as if she’s getting some then quickly jumps out of bed when she hears a noise, revealing that she’s clothed). Even rap legend DMX, who only appears in a couple of scenes, puts in a half-hearted performance at best because it’s clear that deep down he knows this is no 8 Mile.

The plot’s got more holes than an orgy – how did young Alan know to draw a picture with the magic stick in the first place? How could Alan get a good look at everyone in the van as it sped past after hitting his wife, to the point that he could draw good renditions of all five of them? And who was the joker who told the people in this film “you know, I reckon acting’s the job for you”?

Here's Lockjaw - a snake with a crocodile head. Great idea wasted on a shite film

The only thing Lockjaw has going for it is that the stupid CGI monster thing looks slightly more convincing than the stupid CGI monster things in SyFy-funded films like Dinoshark and Mega Python Vs Gatoroid. That’s literally it though – everything else is just cringeworthy. Every single scene is an exercise in amazement as you realise the director actually must have said to his actors “that’s fine, let’s move on” time and time again instead of “can you do that again, only not shit this time”. Don’t be swayed by the potential comedy value of DMX being in it either – he barely features and he’s as wooden as a bookshelf when he does.

When a film is so half-arsed that it doesn’t even bother to provide enough music to cover the whole of the credits (the music simply stops halfway through leaving the rest of them scrolling upwards in silence) then it’s clear that there wasn’t a lot of effort put into this one. Stay well away.

WHERE CAN I GET IT?
You’re really a glutton for punishment, aren’t you? Lockjaw is available at the time of writing for £6.49 on DVD, but if you check Amazon’s New/Used you can find some people selling it for the princely sum of £0.01 plus shipping. If you reckon you can stretch to that then click here to go shit-shopping.