the naked room

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‘Gravity’ is a masterpiece

GRAVITY

Holy Fucking Shit.

Holy Fucking SHIT.

I am in wonder. I have few words for what I regard as a magnum opus, a pièce de résistance for science fiction, and a monument of film in general. I have only been this awestruck by a motion picture once in my life, and that was with the splendor and majesty of James Cameron’s Avatar. But Gravity is different. Where Avatar exploded into theaters with a space-age smorgasbord of special effects, astonishing new technologies, and a thundering score, Gravity succeeds with minimalism. There is a dearth of characters -merely two, in fact- along with muffled, subdued sound, a profound and yet-subtle soundtrack, and a struggle with humanity which has never been more convincing.

Judging this film critically is a confrontation between my still-giddy attitude and an overall appreciation for what director Alfonso Cuarón has done to subvert traditional genre tropes.

I experienced Gravity in IMAX 3D, and it would be sloppy if I didn’t recommend this to any would-be movie-goer. I understand that IMAX is only available in a little over fifty nations, but if you’re lucky enough to live in one of those, spend the extra money: you will not regret it.

Sound engineering is a primary reason why this film succeeds; it’s composed and layered better than I’ve heard in any major production, ever. In space, it’s suppressed, muted, but inside, it’s loud, jarring, and powerful. It accentuates the visuals in exquisite fashion, pairing sudden, violent action with abrupt and harsh effects. The music is a triumph. It’s sometimes grating, sometimes stirringly epic, but consistently powers the narrative with razor-sharp precision. The audio underscores the artistry of the eye candy in a way which must be heard to be believed.

The visuals are in a class of their own. Technically, nothing appears artificial. The rigid, mechanical, and spiritless exteriors of the International Space Station, the space shuttle, and the Chinese Tiangong are hammered out peerlessly. These scenes endeavor the feeling that without humanity, space is empty, meaningless. Interiors are no different, although signs of habitation and rushed exit abound and supply integrity to the foreground. 3D effects are sophisticated and suggestive rather than brusque or impetuous; there are no in-your-face ‘hello I’m 3D’ moments, and yet I couldn’t imagine seeing Gravity without it. It imbues the film with genuineness and strength and crafts a complete experience.

From an acting standpoint, Gravity is unmatched. Ageless George Clooney is a steadfast rock, the commander of the mission and one who never shies away from lightening a dire situation with comedic anecdotes. A martyr, certainly, but a paramount exemplification of altruism all the same. He serves as a bastion of faith in an otherwise-hopeless imbroglio.

Sandra Bullock is perfection personified. She’s evolved from a Razzie-nominated appearance in Demolition Man to what I consider the single most prodigious performance by a thespian in the history of filmmaking. I’ve seen thousands of pictures, taken a dozen or so film-study courses in university, and encountered expansive interpretations of scripts extending from Casablanca to True Grit. Never have I viewed in awe what Sandra Bullock has done in Gravity. She begins the affair as a narrow, intransigent scientist on her first space flight, concerned only with repairing the Hubble. Throughout the film, she emerges as a human being, a soul intent on preserving its existence and the power of will to survive. Use of long takes and background noise cunningly frame Bullock’s face in a never-ending range of emotions, and she conveys the climacteric events of the narrative with fidelity and purity.  I have never been washed over with a sense of completeness before, a total  fulfillment displaying ingenuity and complexity which anchors a remarkable cinematic adventure.

Gravity is unique. The narrow focus of the plot is stringently concentrated and showcases a tour de force by Sandra Bullock and a commendably-impressive showing from George Clooney. The direction is forcefully sincere, a real no-frills proceeding which takes no time to pause and reflect on itself. It’s rapid, intuitive, and unparalleled -even with the long takes, grand framing of Earth, and serene solitude of space.

In short, Gravity is a masterpiece. It’s an apex film, a rejuvenation of science fact (despite a few fudgings for drama’s sake), and an example of how energetic and timeless space can be when presented with expert determination.

Conclusion: Perfection. 5.0/5.0

So…I watched ‘A Serbian Film.’ These are my thoughts.

fucking bullshit

A Serbian Film was supposed to be the most graphic representation of assrape, babyboning, corpsepounding, and general skullfuckery known to mankind. It was largely concluded that this film would leave viewers permanently disfigured emotionally and sexually, and it was effectually the worst possible snuff ever made…even though it’s not fucking snuff, it’s just a bunch of fake dicks, fake babies, fake skullbanging, and fake decapitation/necrophilia. But hey, beggars can’t be choosers so we take what we can get. Just like Mai-chan’s Daily LifeA Serbian Film refuses to stop once it starts, and if you’re not mentally prepared for what’s to come, you might well have to make like Budd Dwyer and kill yourself afterwards. And publicly: don’t forget that part. So the rest of us can watch it over and over again with our hands down our pants.

Thought the First: This film is elegantly framed and the cinematography is nothing short of gorgeous. Every single scene is fabricated with obvious TLC, as if director Srđan Spasojević and cinematographer Nemanja Jovanov knew precisely what they were creating and went about it with meticulous care. It doesn’t matter if it’s the building block scenes in the beginning, which characterize Milos, Marija, and Petar, or the concluding spectacles with Milos thrusting his erection through the eye socket of a villain. It’s all veraciously engineered, which makes the gruesome nature of its content that much more powerful. It’s compelling stuff.

Thought the Second: The characters are manufactured impeccably, to the point where you can feel for them. Headlining personality Milos, played by Srđan Todorović, displays a tour-de-force, transforming from a family-oriented father figure, who has given up his porno days for the sake of his wife and son, to a despondent man with no choice but to pull the trigger on his brood. Primary antagonist Vukmir is likewise interpreted to be a purveyor of snuff products to a rich elite, ruthless in the execution of his cause.

Thought the Third: A Serbian Film is chock-full of lulz. Everything you’ve heard about this movie is true to some extent or another. There’s a scene where a pregnant woman delivers her offspring into the waiting hand of a man who promptly sticks his dick in the infant; there’s a scene where the main character unknowingly surprise buttsexes his own son; there’s a scene where Milos doggy-style nails a woman (while on “fuck-dope,” which he was tricked into drinking), then is handed a machete and hacks off her head in order to induce rigor mortis; there’s a scene where a woman’s teeth are all knocked out, she’s throat-fucked, then suffocates to death on cock; there’s a scene where Milos’ wife, Marija, is porked by his brother, who had previously fapped in their lavatory; there’s a scene where Milos is buttreamed by a man; and during the finale, a man orders another to knob-blast the corpses of Milos, Marija, and Petar, and to “start with the little one.”

Thought the Fourth: There is no possible way these previously-mentioned lulz are any sort of allegory for anything other than those who suffer from a distinct addiction to guro and/or severe cock envy (see: Sigurdur Hjartarson). Due to the fact that everyone’s front-mounted bitch splitter is gigantic, and that there’s about as many scenes with male members exposed as their female counterparts, I can do nothing but conclude that the writers, the director, and the actors are all raging douchebags. Despite Spasojević’s claim that A Serbian Film is: “…a diary of our own molestation by the Serbian government… It’s about the monolithic power of leaders who hypnotize you to do things you don’t want to do. You have to feel the violence to know what it’s about,” I find no evidence to support this inside the film itself. There’s nothing to support this claim, from which I deduce that A Serbian Film is nothing more than simple exploitation of a theme previously established by Eli Roth’s Hostel series. And by the way, Hostel did it over one hundred times better; this film focuses far too much on itself to be taken seriously. It’s an egomaniacal delineation of slashfic and/or a severe obsession with rape.

Thought the Fifth: It’s really not that graphic, particularly when compared to some of the bullshit I’ve seen on the internet. If you’ve been using the interballs for longer than five minutes, or are over the age of nine, finding actual snuff (e.g. 3guys1hammer, 1guy1jar, 1girl99stomps, 1lunatic1icepick, 1guy1screwdriver, any number of beheadings on BestGore, hai2u, or tubgirl) is pretty goddamn simple. Even LiveLeak has worse and far-more-gory imagery than A Serbian Film. The only exceptions I can think of would be the babyfuck scene and when Milos assravages his own son; these two scenes are the only time I thought the film was “pushing its priorly-established boundaries” a bit too far. But even then the film doesn’t really show either act distinctly, besides a little ballsac.

In Conclusion: A Serbian Film was incontestably created to shock audiences. There’s no hidden meaning whatsoever, regardless of what its creators might have you believe. It’s not a statement about politics, about Eastern Europe’s fascination with sex, or about the region’s rape culture. It’s pure pseudo-snuff through and through. Although it’s beautifully constructed, A Serbian Film really falls without a larger picture. The shock value alone isn’t enough to hold the thin narrative together, which is really a travesty considering what it could’ve been. In the end, I don’t recommend anyone really go watch this film. If you’re in the mood for a little disturbing excitation, go read this, or find a copy of Fitna to watch, or just fap to buttsex porn. Do pretty much anything besides waste 104 minutes on a subtitled try-harding lampoon of infantrape, eyefuckage, necro, and incest.

In Conclusion #2: Just so any of my previous statements aren’t taken out of context and/or misunderstood; I didn’t like this movie. I thought its graphic nature was pointless, without real ambition. Despite being well-shot and well-acted, A Serbian Film lacks a statement or thesis. Also, in case you were confused, I find skullfucking, assbanging, buttsex porn, and God/Jesus slashfic hilarious. When I know it’s completely and so obviously fake, what other suitable reaction is there? Should I be shocked and turn off the film? No, that would be admitting defeat. Should I be buttflustered and write an angry letter to the producers? No, that would accomplish exactly nothing. Should I be mad that such a film was even created in the first place? No, because like in reality I can’t retcon existence/life. Should I not have watched this movie in the first place? To that I can say definitively ‘yes,’ since I really didn’t have a good time. But unlike watching actual snuff, where my reactions range from quickly closing the tab in Chrome to having to go outside for fresh air, A Serbian Film is so over-the-top in its execution that I found it amusing. Am I a pervert for saying that? Frankly I couldn’t give a shit.

Powerwolf’s ‘Bible of the Beast’ makes me want to smoke meth, hail satan, and invent my own religion

titties and beer

I’m about as religious as a snail crawling through an 8-ball of coke, then falling off your mirror and landing right on the razor blade you dropped because you snorted a line that was waaaay too thick. Hint: the snail, despite his prayers to an invisible space wizard, gets cut in half by the razor and dies a slow, painful death drowning in his own blood. His shell did jack shit to save him, and as a result he died and then nothing happened because snails don’t go to heaven. Wait, jk; heaven isn’t real so it doesn’t even matter if he was a snail or Gerald Fitzgerald, nothing was there to greet him in terms of an afterlife. But hold on, says you, this is supposed to be a review of a power metal album and not a diatribe on my varied religious (or non-religious, as it were) opinions/beliefs. Well hold the fuck on there, dear reader, this is totally about music; I just like reading my own words. And, although I remember fondly what happened last time I made a post about religion, I really couldn’t give less of a damn anymore so here goes.

Bible of the Beast‘s inaugural track is ‘Raise Your Fist, Evangelist,’ and what an introduction it is; it successfully serves as an antithesis for the rest of the album. It’s almost laugh-out-loud hilarious given its content and all of the songs which follow it: “We conquer the land/the bible in hand/the glory of war and praise/are you praying for the final grace?” It’s a rousing and mocking antipode for any bible-humpers who might have accidentally run across this. Thankfully, the song is segued beautifully by its successor, ‘Moscow After Dark,’ which really is really the harbinger of things to come. “No hallelujah saves you/no cross can help you now/this is your nightmare calling” amps up the ubiquitous energy to demented levels.

‘Panic in the Pentagram’ is where the album really lodges its first impavid testimony:

Hail, hail pentagram
hail, hail pentagram
God dammit
what have I done?

Panic… panic in the pentagram
panic… Satanism ain’t no fun
oh… panic in the pentagram
oh… panic in the pentagram

I count my cash, it’s six six six
enough to cross the river Styx
I pay to Cerberos the fare

It’s a well-hammered track with frisky vocals and prodigious backing instrumentation. It’s enthusiastic and keen, which really generates presentiment for what’s to come. Its scion does not disappoint. ‘Catholic in the Morning…Satanist at Night’ is a hegemonic salute to the disjunction of the bible and its overall level of nonsense: “Hail the storm, the altar is divided… tonight!/the bible torn it cannot be decided now” evolves, later in the song, into “I heard the sound, and now I am enlightened… tonight!/my god is found, for all I need in life is loud/Raise your horns/the volume to the right/heavy in the morning/metal in the night.” In other words, if praising your whimsical sky fairy doesn’t work out so well (which obviously it doesn’t, given that cancer, AIDS, people who believe in abstinence, the astronomical price of PCP, the fact that 74% of the world has been trolled, and anthrax still exist), you might as well worship metal. Fuck yeah.

There are then three platitudinous tracks before the album’s transcendent effort.

‘Resurrection by Erection’ is incontrovertibly the most illustrious track on Bible of the Beast. Both its lyrics, which are fucking sensational, and its engineering, which is thrilling, amalgamate to spawn a masterpiece anthem. It begins from the top and trickles to the smallest facet; Attila Dorn’s vocals are dominant, smashing the verses out with gusto; Matthew Greywolf’s guitar work is supreme; and Falk Schlegel’s effort with the organ is preponderant. It’s a quintessential power metal canticle, and that it’s so irreverent makes it even more sophisticated. The chorus is nothing short of genius:

Resurrection by erection
raise your phallus to the sky and you never die
it’s resurrection by erection
raise your bone up to the sky and you never gonna die
hallelujah, resurrection

The lyrics continue in more or less the same fashion for the remainder of its playing time, and you can read them all here (trust me: you definitely should).

‘St. Satan’s Day,’ the second-to-last entry on Bible of the Beast, is flashy in its execution. Just like when God dipped his tip in Mary and dropped his load, thereby impregnating a supposedly-untarnished woman with himself (Jesus is commonly thought of as the most emo, cuntiest, and most retarded part of the Trinity, whereas God has all of the universe’s rcon passwords and relentlessly releases the banhammer on people who piss him off (children, homosexuals, animals, people who shave, people who associate with women on their periods, couples who bang before marriage (read: everyone), pornographers, people who masturbate (read: everyone), Americans, and/or Jews), and the Spirit which is basically a pedophile/rapist), ‘St. Satan’s Day’ is an iconoclastic bulletin which celebrates the album’s motif. The conclusion, ‘Wolves Against the World’ is likewise a flippant commentary on the world at large, with lyrics like “we’re banned from heaven” and terminating with the statement that [presumably] listeners are “forever wolves against the world.”

Just like reading Nietzsche and fapping to both CP and lemon party at the same time, Bible of the Beast is a piquant verbalization of the fact that the bible, organized religion, and the entire concept of ‘god’ is nothing more than an Everest-sized mountain of muddy dicks. Various fanboys around the world might try to convince you that their particular brand of hate-mongering occultism is the correct path to choose, but gratefully we have albums like this to steer the ‘nonbelieving’ masses away from such bullshit. Just like I wouldn’t download 20gb of loli onto a flash card then leave it at the police station with my name and address attached, or intentionally troll several billion ignorant dumbasses into believing that Yeezus is art, or steal my non-existent father’s credit card to buy my costume for the upcoming furry convention, I wouldn’t consider Bible of the Beast to be serious in its message. But what do I know, after all. I’m the jackass who has just written over a thousand words on a satan-worshipping power metal CD which I stole from the internet because the antichrist told me that music piracy is legal as long as you don’t try to burn the music onto a disc and then stick your flaccid dick through the little hole in the middle in order to jizz into the asshole of your neighborhood Christian cum-guzzling buttslut. But at least I don’t have to listen to Chris Crocker weep about Powerwolf, given that the band has under 2.5 million plays on Last.fm; I can delightedly enjoy my fucking music by blasting this brutally-lyriced god of metal into my ears via headphones I got from my mother last Christmas. Ha, isn’t that ironic; I ended this review with mention of the lulziest ‘holiday’ we humans have invented. BRB, I’m going to go wank while thinking about Rosemarie Fritzl and the dragon dildo I just ordered online.

Conclusion: There is no god. 5.0/5.0

Gloryhammer strikes gold with ‘Tales from the Kingdom of Fife’

dickmeat soufflés

I’d be lying if I said my listening habits weren’t at least partially influenced by badass album art. Just like Amon Amarth’s newest outing Deceiver of the Gods, Gloryhammer’s maiden voyage is predicated by resplendent imagery adorning its cover. And just like a circlejerk featuring David Duke, Don Black, and Spike Lee, Tales from the Kingdom of Fife is a fucking masterpiece.

The album debuts in fearless fashion with ‘The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee,’ a legendary chant prefacing the evil wizard Zargothrax, his corruption of the unicorns, and the mythical embodiment of lead singer Thomas Winkler (Angus McFife) swearing to slay the troublemaking scum. The track is absolutely  heroic with its chorus: “Fireballs and lighting are raining from the sky/chaos and bloodshed while all the people die/in this epic battle begins the final war/tragedy will strike this day, prepare thee for/the unicorn invasion of Dundee.” Grandiose riffs and histrionic vocals propel this introductory track to a stellar consummation.

The tale continues in ‘Angus McFife,’ the album’s third song. Serving as a declaration of preeminence, this track further acquaints listeners with our hero:

He is the prince of the land of Fife
noble and true with a heart of steel
now it is lost, vengeance shall be his
Angus McFife is his name

Across the wasteland, I ride upon swift steed
behind me lies the burning ruins of Dundee
no turning back now, my journey lies ahead
I won’t give up until the sorcerer is dead

The backing arrangement and sonic exposition is suitably bold; this anthem is a superb elucidation for the overarching narrative of the Tales from the Kingdom of Fife. Its followup ‘Quest for the Hammer of Glory’ is more or less self-explanatory. It tells of an ancient hammer “passed down by heroes/from centuries old” and its significance as the weapon which will destroy the enemies of fantastical city Dundee. It’s not the album’s best track by any means, but instead serves to bolster the chronicle of the tale.

man tits

‘Silent Tears of Frozen Princess’ departs from the immensity of its predecessors by empowering an amorous mythos about a lost princess and her fortuitous rescue:

Every night I feel you’re near
vivid memories
they dance within my reach
and still are so far from here
your angelic grace shall be ablaze
with lights again
my hammer may break the spell
before the last hope dies

It’s romantic both lyrically and melodically, and is most certainly an embarkation from the defining principles of the album as a whole. But that’s amiable considering its deeper meaning: Angus McFife is in love and perhaps needs to find this princess before his terrific showdown with Zargothrax.

Consequential tracks ‘Amulet of Justice’ and ‘Hail to Crail’ are both megaliths of power metal composition. Backed by extravagant and sensual guitar and keys arrangements, this pair of songs are potent reminders of the theme of Tales from the Kingdom of Fife. Taken together, they are definitively the best the album has to offer; and, likewise, both serve as bridges to the regal finale.

Standing at a long-winded 10:26, ‘The Epic Rage of Furious Thunder’ concludes the narrative in triumphant style. It details how Angus McFife, aided by his Hammer of Glory, riding his dragon, and backed by the warriors of Crail and a barbarian champion (sheathed in wolf’s armour) from Unst, assaults the tower fortress of Zargothrax:

…an epic war is fight
the knights of Crail make evil die
bring glory for the light
meanwhile inside the citadel
McFife has found the way
facing to face with Zargothrax
and single combat waged

The evil wizard falls to doom
and drowns in liquid ice

Despite -or perhaps because of- its length, this track strongarms the denouement to unparalleled excellence. With towering guitar work, thunderous drums, complimentary female vocals, and more than one tempo shift, ‘The Epic Rage of Furious Thunder’ is a gasconade of power metal supremacy. It’s the period at the end of the statement, and what a fucking statement it is.

In fact, Gloryhammer is the closest group I’ve heard which approaches Fairyland’s epic war metal transcendence…and that’s a valorous proclamation considering how peerless Fairyland really is. But without dubiety, Gloryhammer has orchestrated a sweeping, epic tale of warriors, wizards, and creativity which is a rare sight indeed. To be sure, it’s been attempted countless times in the power metal genre, but rarely have all elements coalesced into such a flawless confection. Tales from the Kingdom of Fife will not disappoint you, I can guarantee that. Unless you’re a complete twat, you’ll be overjoyed by this virgin output from Gloryhammer. I have high expectations for their future albums: they’ve set the bar indomitably high.

Conclusion: Damn, son. 5.0/5.0

Derdian’s ‘Limbo’ is an excellent example of power metal done correctly

nipples

I haven’t written a music review since Tennis’ Cape Dory way back in 2011, and that was on my now-defunct website which will henceforth never be spoken about. But in listening to Derdian’s newest effort, Limbo, I couldn’t help myself. I simply had to fire up the old word processor and pen something which hopefully pays homage to how compelling the album actually is.

When taken as a whole, power metal albums are generally as exciting as a visit to the proctologist, which is why Limbo sat in my ‘to-listen’ playlist for the better part of two months. I was far too busy with Sabaton and/or Fairyland to bother with something untested and unlistened. Then, a couple days ago, I allowed Spotify to play through my list and was immensely surprised at the overall quality of Derdian’s majestic concoction.

Limbo kicks off the euphony with a 1:25 piece entitled ‘Carpe Diem.’ It’s not much, but this little snippet of tunage successfully introduces the following hour’s epic scope. With lyrics like “mind explosion/without reason/the beginning/of a new season,” the track is a superb exordium. “Let the music take your spirit/let a great emotion overcome it” serves as a fantastic bridge into the album’s best track.

‘Dragon Life’ is a saga of transforming a shitty existence and making it something worthwhile. With high-pitched vocals, a bitchin’ guitar solo, and pernicious keys, this song is a triumph. Excellent and explicit lyrics complement the phonic construction to a precise degree: “Do you still believe now that a/life at a desk is appealing why don’t ask/to yourself if here you can get more.” It continues with this mini ballad:

In your life you decide what you want to do
If you want a dragon life or live like a fool
Take your time, choice’s not mine
Sometimes neither yours
Fate will open all the doors
The dragon life, of course!

It might not seem like such an ode to prominence on paper, but with Ivan Giannini’s dynamic vocals and the deleterious keyboards by Marco Garau, ‘Dragon Life’ is a grandiose narrative of a man deciding whether to take  “a dragon life or live like a fool.” It’s enchanting to the end, and it’s far-and-away the ace of Limbo.

"Look how fucking tough we are"

“Look how fucking tough we are”

In the beginning, ‘Forever in the Dark’ appears to be nothing more than a throwaway track; but halfway through, things shift gears and it harkens to the groups which auspiciously combine power metal with its more heroic brothers, symphonic and viking metal. It’s glamorous and seductive, and it really opens the door wide for the rest of the album.

Which, thankfully, is as awesome as noticing that Allegra Versace looks strikingly similar to Marilyn Manson.

‘Heal My Soul’ provides an instructional guide to “drive my phantoms away,” which deftly references ‘Dragon Life’ and, indeed, the entire collection. ‘Light of Hate’ is doubtlessly the most haunting track on the album. Perched amidst  sweeping and simultaneously-aggressive riffs and unrelenting drums, the song details a father beating the main character’s mother and the need for quick vengeance: “I took a bottle of his own Jack/blinded by my hate/I broke and strongly stick it deep in his neck.” It’s powerful and malignant.

‘Limbo,’ the titular track, shows some signs of weakness, which is really unfortunate considering its protracted length. Its main theme once again alludes to the album’s primary thesis: “Thinking my life is suspended somewhere/hidden in a 9 to 5 lair” poignantly insinuates a strong hatred of conformity. However, the melodic architecture leaves something to be desired; it’s flat and uninspired, even with the inclusion of fetching keys.

‘Kingdom of Your Heart’ demonstrates a deviation from the previous tracks. It’s more romantic serenade than power metal fantasy, and its lyrics are justifiably robust: “No time to cry/no time to die/until I’ll be there/there will be no place/safer than your arms/let me hold your dreams.” Likewise, ‘Strange Journey’ portrays a dreamy peregrination which surprisingly doesn’t explicitly reference any previous track. It’s a pleasure all the same.

When judged in its entirety, Limbo is a magical adventure. Generally -at least from my perspective- power metal albums feature a small handful of quality tracks nestled amongst weaker counterparts. It’s a matter of picking and choosing the best from the rest; here, though, Derdian has produced a complete package. Certainly some songs are stronger than others, but as a continuous product, Limbo excels. I highly recommend it to all fans of power metal, and for those who haven’t taken up the metal crusade, it’s a good introduction to the genre.

Conclusion: A little depressing, but damn good. 4.5/5.0

‘The Numbers Station’ is goddamned awful

fuck this movie

I don’t set out to find the worst possible films ever made. I promise I don’t. I just queue them up on Netflix and let the results fall where they may. The Numbers Station makes about as much sense as Raëlism, and it’s even less captivating than getting a hand job from a 25-stone man while trying not to set off the land mine he’s stuck up your butt. 

I couldn’t think of a more bland or tedious actor than John Cusack. In every single scene, it appeared that he was bored out of his mind. Saying that he ‘mailed in’ his performance is letting him off a little light; just like saying jazz is ‘only’ pretentious, narcissistic shit, Cusack’s performance reeks of a quick cash in. That’s only the most obvious facet of wrongness present in The Numbers Station. Perhaps if the lead character was played by someone with more charisma -say, Marky Mark or Matt Damon- the film might have turned out to be something other than an insipid snoozefest.

The film kicks off with Cusack shooting some people with a silenced handgun, then getting pistol whipped by Davos Seaworth and a longingly-romantic gaze with one of his victim’s daughters. This all consumes about five minutes: that’s all the fucking backstory there is. We’re simply supposed to assume Cusack’s character is this elite black-ops agent when in reality he seems more lame than Tahiti’s 30-0 drubbing of the Cook Islands in September 1971.

"Please stop staring at my vagina"

“Please stop staring at my vagina”

I have two dreams. One is to become the best male stripper/high-priced escort in Nuuk, and the other is to see Malin Åkerman in something good. I feel like everything since The Bang Bang Club and/or Watchmen has been complete donkey jizz…and it’s not really her fault. I blame her agent, who clearly has about as much business sense as a back-alley dumpster baby. She has the ability to be a big-budget heroine, but for some odd reason she continually gets cast in roles with as much complexity as a NuvaRing. I mean fuck.

The Numbers Station‘s premise is standard thriller schlock. This so-called ‘numbers station’ sends out coded messages to field agents using disposable cyphers. The station gets attacked by an anonymous force consisting of a grand total of three bad guys, and sometime during this, messages were sent out detailing the hits of fifteen senior CIA members. Then, in what could possibly be the most exciting plot development since Harold and Kumar got high in Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle, it’s up to Cusack and Malin to send out amended messages to save the fifteen agents.

The entire film takes place at some abandoned military compound in the UK. It’s as claustrophobic as a transsexual Thai man’s asshole on Tuesdays, and while this stylistic choice was taken deliberately, it really results in a detriment to the film’s quality. By widening up the scope of the picture, director Kasper Barfoed could have come up with something more Bourne-esque. But as it stands, The Numbers Station is dull, sparse, and less appealing than watching this video.

If you like C-grade ‘thrillers,’ watching the two lead actors have as much chemistry as this girl, and having the piss bored out of you, I’m sure you’ll have a good time with The Numbers Station. If you enjoy fun things, like brain surgery, homemade chocolate chip cookies, or masturbating into a petri dish just to see what grows, then aim your sights just a little bit higher. 

Conclusion: Just no. 1.0/5.0

Watching ‘Battle Royale’ is like getting fingered by Fritz Graner

Fuck your mother

I have no taste for Japanese things. I don’t like anime or manga, I’m not overly attracted to Japanese women, and to be completely honest Japanese food kind of sucks. But like a brush with certain death at the hands of one of John Kramer’s ingenious traps, Battle Royale‘s bloody teen-on-teen violence is good enough to make up for its shortcomings.

Almost.

I knew what to expect coming into the experience; after all, there was much hullabaloo concerning The Hunger Games‘ supposed hack job of Battle Royale‘s themes. Overall, however, I feel that Suzanne Collins did better than a blatant ripoff, since Hunger Games is largely a superior product. And besides, it’s not like these concepts haven’t been explored in great detail in other media (see: GamerDeath RaceThe CondemnedLord of the Flies, etc). Sure Battle Royale might be the first and the bloodiest, but like Margo Stilley in 9 Songs, just because you’re more graphic does not mean you’re better.

Just like getting fisted by Popeye the Sailor Man, Battle Royale both succeeds and fails in certain aspects. I have a few general nits to pick, which, when put together, almost sink the film. But that’s just from my lame perspective. Who really knows.

First, and really the most annoying, is that these teens have absolutely unlimited ammunition for their weapons. I might have been on drugs when I watched the picture, but even then I noticed that only once or twice did a character run out of bullets; all other times they simply kept shooting, like a party with Andrew W.K. and a tub full of amphetamines.

Secondly, never did bullets make holes in anyone’s clothing. It seems like a small oversight, kind of like forgetting to mend the hedges before getting laid, but with the sheer amount of gunplay and blood present in Battle Royale, it quickly becomes irritating. Everyone’s shirts and trousers are splattered healthily with blood, but there’s no tearing or gashes visible. It’s fucking irritating.

Third and perhaps most important: there’s no sense of the larger impact of these “games.” Only once was there any mention of the bigger picture, and even then it was fleeting, just like my erection while I watched this video. I wanted desperately for Battle Royale to feature some narrative framing, but I was let down. The plot is tightly focused, which in my opinion was the wrong move.

"Quick, grab some medical tape"

“Quick, grab some medical tape”

But it’s not all bad. The major theme, I suppose, would be adults vs. children, which is presented very well. There’s a clear dichotomy between the two groups, with the adults pictured as fear-mongering megalomaniacs and the children as suicide-prone young ‘uns with about as much tactical sense as shouting that you’re “balls-deep in the butt pussy” while hammering your girlfriend.

Secondarily, senseless murder takes up position as an obvious trope. Even the main characters bite the bullet with about as much brouhaha as fapping while listening to The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could. It’s actually fairly satisfying to see characters die, because there’s a certain absurdity to it. I was never quite sure who was going to get shot, stabbed, or hang themselves next; I was constantly on edge, taking mental gambles on who was the next victim of the Battle Royale games.

It’s likewise fascinating to wonder how I would have handled the situation. Some characters make alliances, some are bloodthirsty lunatics, and others hurl themselves off lighthouses. I’d like to believe I’d be a reckless slaughterer in it only to win, but when pitted against friends, I can only guess. And that’s what is so bewitching with Battle Royale; every character seemingly has different objectives. Some are taciturn killers, some are too wrapped up in teenage melodrama to realize just how perilous their situation is, and some are simply attempting to survive.

Overall, Battle Royale doesn’t hold up so well against contemporary cinema. I didn’t find the violence all that graphic, and the pandemonium surrounding its acerbic savagery was lost on me. In a world post-Hunger Games, I don’t think any film with this same concept is going to be surprising or even good. I fully understand that Battle Royale outpaced Hunger Games by more than a decade, but that means little to me. If you’re looking for senseless gore and a thin take on teens vs. adults, you’ll probably have a good time. Otherwise, hunker down with your waifu, grab a bottle of lube, and jack it to your favorite anime.

Conclusion: Outdated. 2.0/5.0

‘Stolen’ is about as good as a female-on-female porno scene featuring Blanche Barton and the corpse of Grace Kelly

Holy fucking shit, bitch

I honestly don’t even know where to begin with this lake of stale rat piss. Nicolas Cage was definitely among my favorite thespians, but after spending the last couple years pumping out nothing but garbage, I don’t know what else to say. I came into this film expecting something better than Seeking Justice (which approximated rubbing Bengay Ultra Strength on your balls while sticking your dick into a lava lamp) but was instead greeted by a bland and generic action flick with about as many convincing scenes as 2005’s Pirates XXX.

Ever since I was pleasantly surprised by Season of the Witch and Drive Angry (which I proudly own on DVD), Nicolas Cage has deviated his career into F-grade “thrillers” directed by incompetent personnel and featuring as much titillation as a male-to-female transgender taking selfies in the mirror and then posting them to OkCupid.

The “plot” here involves a botched bank heist followed by Nicolas Cage’s daughter being kidnapped by Josh Lucas (whose long hair looks like a pile of Matthew McConaughey’s pubes) and an ensuing ransom demand for 10$ million. There’s some other bullshit involving an FBI agent chasing him around and M.C. Gainey being shot by the po-po and then also Malin Åkerman not being naked, but none of that really matters. What’s featured here is Nicolas Cage running to and fro and extensive shots of him sprinting in long jeans and a jacket. Just what the doctor fucking ordered.

Mother of god

Please, make a comment about my hair. I shampoo and condition it.

Simon West’s direction is terrible. The action sequences are so dull I just about wrapped my dingus in tin foil and put it in the microwave. Somehow Cage’s character is both the best thief in the universe and simultaneously a black belt in muay Thai, but there’s no exposition at all. We as viewers are simply told he’s a modern-day superhero and when he beats the crap out of some FBI agents and then stabs Josh Lucas with a metal pole it’s supposed to make sense. But really what makes sense is that Stolen is less fun than masturbating to Zeena Schreck’s eyebrows.

I’d rather a movie was made about Blowfly Girl than suffer through another of Nicolas Cage’s shittastic 90-minute on-screen diatribes. And also that Malin Åkerman signed on is even worse; I haven’t seen her in something so bad since Catch .44, and that’s a shame since her performance in The Bang Bang Club was something to enjoy. But hey, we can’t all get what we want. In fact, what I want right now is to get my 90 minutes back so I can do something worthwhile, like play Age of Conan: Unchained, find pictures of Carmen Luvana’s ridiculously-fake mammaries, or play freeze tag with an orangutan.

Steer clear of Stolen. There’s a reason it was pulled from theaters after two weeks: it’s really bad. I don’t know how films like this get funded, because even the script is terrible. For fuck’s sake, even Uwe Boll could have done something better with the actors. Whatever. Unless you like being bored, do something else, something like:

  1. Listen to (həd) p.e.’s discography
  2. Watch All About Anna twice
  3. Beat off to every one of Stoya’s 41 films
  4. Dig a hole, fill it with water, then take a mud bath
  5. Eat a passion fruit cake
  6. Ring your aunt and talk about your dreams and aspirations
  7. LOL at this gif
  8. Drink toilet bowl cleaner
  9. Get run over by a cement mixer

Conclusion: Seriously, just don’t. 0.5/5.0

‘Conan the Barbarian’ is a $90 million sack of shit

fuck you

Sword-and-sorcery and/or sword-and-sandal films occupy a precious position in my heart. Not too long ago I penned a brilliant thesis on this genre and scored top marks for my presentation about how popular they’ve become. Unfortunately, Conan the Barbarian is a perfect example of how not to execute this type of picture. Thanks to Khal Drogo’s man boobs, Rachel Nichols’ tepid performance, and Stephen Lang’s inability to escape his Colonel Miles Quaritch role, this outing is less fun than a colonoscopy.

The problems begin with Jason Momoa. Just like a blowjob from Anton LaVey, Momoa can’t carry any feeling of satisfaction or intrigue. His acting skills are limited to:

  • Looking tough without a shirt on
  • Looking tough with a shirt on
  • Looking tough with a sword
  • Looking tough while balls-deep in Tamara
  • Looking tough while doing tough-looking things

As good as he was in Game of Thrones, that’s how bad he is in Conan. There’s no plausible scenario where Momoa has the acting chops to carry a big-budget endeavor on his shoulders. And what’s worse, his supporting cast does little to keep the picture afloat. Rachel Nichols, who I would definitely like to bury my dick in, is less exciting than a titty-fuck from an 80-year old Armenian prostitute. And like I mentioned before, Stephen Lang’s role as the antagonist is so boring I almost had to stick my left thumb up my own butthole in order to feel some sense of enjoyment.

dickmeat sandwich

“I dare you not to stare at my tits”

But what kills Conan the most is that there’s no sense of adventure. Director Marcus Nispel would have done well to take a page from Mike Newell and his 2010 extravaganza Prince of Persia. While obviously Prince wasn’t a shining jewel in the genre, at least it had the fortuitous glamour of being a Pirates of the Caribbean clone. Every penny of its enormous budget was put towards stimulation of the senses instead of hiring B-grade actors and expecting them to magically produce something excellent. Just like a David Cronenberg film, that idea is about as flaccid  as my non-existent erection.

The combat is mildly pleasing in its bloodiness, and here Momoa does actually excel. Experiencing him slash and cut up people with a sword is at least fun to watch, and while the body count is somewhere in the vicinity of the number of people who have banged Lindsay Lohan, at least it’s sensually appealing. Sadly, while the fighting is bloody, it lacks any feeling of congruity. The cinematography makes everything from the stunts to the jousting seem cheap and underdeveloped. But what do I know, I’m just some asshole who writes film reviews on the internet for an audience approximately as large as the Abercrombie & Fitch catalog.

Conan the Barbarian is an embarrassment to the genre. Its failure (financially and critically) obfuscates the possibility that more sword-and-sorcery films will be made. It’s shit like this that really pisses me off about half-assed “blockbusters.” If you aren’t going to produce something worthwhile, then make like Jon Nödtveidt and fucking kill yourself.

Conclusion: It fails to stimulate genre die-hards in almost every way. Avoid. 1.5/5.0

‘House at the End of the Street’ is about as exciting as a complex partial seizure

Fucking death and gore and stuff

I came into today wondering what I was going to do. I considered knocking over a convenience store, or perhaps tweeting about my morning wood, or even listening to Femme Fatale on repeat. Instead of doing any of those much-more-fulfilling things, I logged in to my brother-in-law’s Netflix account, stretched out on my bed with my Kindle, and spent approximately 95 minutes being thoroughly not-entertained.

House at the End of the Street is about as thrilling a thriller as that time I bought a handle of cheap vodka and watched Avatar without any pants on. Except instead of being, you know, fun, this film was more like swift and not-really-accidental anal penetration while doing doggy with your best mate’s mother. The parts are there, and Jennifer Lawrence is still as strong as she’s always been in the acting department, but everything falls flat on its face when the SURPRISE TWIST occurs.

"I dare you not to stare at my tits"

“I dare you not to stare at my tits”

I’m not even going to supply the dignity of explaining the plot to you. It’s so boring that I almost would have rather suffocated on a bag of rotten Roswell-era dicks than watched it. The only reason I’m actually writing a review of House instead of other films I’ve seen recently (Iron Man 3 (it was fucking awesome), or Star Trek (it was fucking awesome), or Oblivion (it was pretty damn good), or The Great Gatsby (it was mediocre), or Jack Reacher (it wasn’t that great) (2016 edit: I retract that statement–Jack Reacher is great)) is due to the fact that I really would rather hate than anything else. Plus it serves as a warning to anyone else to spend a precious 95 minutes doing literally anything else (like falling off a cliff, writing a romantic space opera screenplay while masturbating to bestiality porn, or getting run over by a giant hot dog truck).

It’s really a shame that Jennifer Lawrence chose to star in such a lackluster effort. There are precious few moments of suspense, and what suspense it does create is quickly lost on pointless exchanges between Lawrence and a terribly-flat performance by Maximillion Drake Thieriot. Megan Fox’s effectiveness in Jonah Hex was far more convincing than Thieriot’s, and that’s saying a great deal considering that Fox only had about five minutes of on-screen duties. It was more like an extended cameo. Actually, if Megan Fox took the place of Thieriot, House at the End of the Street could have played on lesbian overtones and been a pretty good erotic thriller. I’ll pretend that’s what I did watch instead of this heap of llama shit.

I’m not really one for horror/thriller pictures in the first place, but at least I know when what I receive is trash or quality (a la Drag Me to Hell). Horror/thrillers tend to rely on cheap sleight-of-hand and nifty camera framing to create a false sense of tension. House is no different, and despite all its other shortcomings, that’s what really does the film in. There’s nothing new here; it’s all standard affair. So fuck it. Just watch The Hunger Games or Silver Linings Playbook again if you want to see Lawrence in something worthwhile. If it’s a quality horror/thriller you’re after, find something else. Anything else. Just watch The Cabin in the Woods or turn out all the lights, grab a torch, and make funny shapes on the wall with your dick.

Conclusion: A complete waste of time. 0.0/5.0