Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Episode 6

Miami Vice - Based on the television show of the same name from the 80's, this film follows Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx through...well...some kind of police case. Normally I begin a review with a brief plot synopsis, but while watching Miami Vice I was not only confused by the events of the movie, but also bored by them. Not a winning combination. Hence, my recollection of what exactly happens during the course of the plot is a bit fuzzy, but let's soldier on, shall we? My initial disappointment with Miami Vice came when I realized that the villain wasn't played by Naveen Andrews as I had been told, but by this guy instead. Add to that minor misunderstanding that every other thing Colin Farrell said was so hard to understand as it was either mumbled, spoken in a strange accent, or both, and we're not off to a good start. Next, the movie was much too long. Cop movies need one of three things to justify any length exceeding about an hour and a half. Comedy, action, or a good plot. Unfortunately, Miami Vice was all but devoid of any of these. No comedy here, so you can scratch that one. As I can recall, there was really only one scene that qualifies as 'action' in my book, which was located at the very end of the film in the climax. Good plot? No. Plot? Maybe. I don't know. I was so fucking bored that if there was a plot it certainly wasn't good. Other little problems I had were as follows. The director of photography seemed to have a lot of fun filming things that had absolutely nothing to do with what was going on in a given scene. There were excessive sex scenes, not to mention two coed shower scenes. One with Farrell and one with Foxx. Speaking of Farrell and Foxx, neither of them made me give a shit about them for a single moment of the movie. There didn't seem to be anything redeeming or even human about either character. They each had one expression for the entire length of the film: stone-faced. I'll cap this review off with a quote. Warren Ellis, when asked by someone on a forum, "If you can't trust Michael Mann to make a watchable movie, who can you trust?", replied simply, "You didn't want to cut an hour out of HEAT?" In short, steer clear of Miami Vice unless you're in need of some good deep sleep. The only way I managed to stay awake the whole time was by MST3K-ing the movie after about the first 20 minutes.

Feast - Allow me to run down a brief history of worthwhile monster movies from the last thirty years. "Thirty?!" you ask? "That could take forever!" Actually, it really couldn't. Keep in mind that I said 'worthwhile'. Here it is in chronological order: Alien (1979), John Carpenter's The Thing (1982), Aliens (1984), Predator (1987), Tremors (1990), and Slither (2006). The eighties had us covered pretty well. The big two (Aliens and Predator) were there in full force, as was cult classic The Thing. The decade was preceded by Alien less than a year earlier and capped off with Tremors less than a year after it's end. Slither, however, clocks in much, much later leaving me to wonder "What happened to the monster movie genre in the fifteen years between Tremors and Slither?" Some people might be inclined to mention films like The Relic, Phantoms, and Mimic, which, while entertaining in their own right, are laughable in comparison to what the eighties gave us. You could even try getting away with bringing up sequels such as Alien 3, Alien: Resurrection, and Predator 2. Sorry, but these pale in comparison to their predecessors. And if you so much as bring up Alien Vs. Predator you deserve a swift kick in the throat for your sad display of ignorance. I have to admit, not much did happen in the monster movie genre between 1990 and 2006. Not much other than Feast, that is. You probably haven't heard of Feast, which makes sense as it was a fairly low budget film that was produced during the third season of the Matt Damon and Ben Affleck produced Showtime network program, Project Greenlight. Regardless of the movie's small release and non-existent press coverage, first time director John Gulager takes the creature feature genre and smashes it out if the park! Focusing more on the horrifying series of events than the creepy critters themselves, Feast delivers grotesque shock after shock, many of which are in fact so shocking that you'll find yourself laughing not out of disrespect or disapproval for what you're seeing, but simply because you won't believe what you're seeing. The film begins modestly by introducing all of the characters, who form a hodge podge group of patrons and staff at a bar in the middle of an unnamed desert. Suddenly, in a kick start like I've never seen in a movie before, a man crashes into the bar covered in blood and toting a large gun. Holding up the severed head of an inhuman creature he proclaims that vicious monsters are bearing down on the watering hole and that he's there to save them, only to be decapitated by a creature seconds later. Right off the bat this leaves the viewer, as well as the characters in the film wondering, "Oh shit...now what?" And that's the question you'll be asking yourself over and over for the next hour and a half. The cast of Feast, comprised of mostly unknown actors, but also featuring such recognizable names as Henry Rollins and Jason Mewes, pulls off the stereotypical 'terrified, irrational victim' better and less stereotypically than in just about any other movie of it's kind. Of course, I'd be hard pressed to name another movie of 'it's kind'. This is a must see for monster and/or horror movie fans who don't have weak stomachs. I'd also recommend it for anyone who wants to have a damn good time. One more movie for the 'worthwhile' list above.

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