Category Archives: Musicals
What madcap, steampunk, nonsensical adventure was this?? NEIL STRYKER & THE TYRANT OF TIME is like DOCTOR WHO on crack (and we all know that DOCTOR WHO is already on something, so hot damn!) and the result is absolutely GLORIOUS. Like, hi, move over Indiana Jones, a new action hero has stolen my heart – and he’s ridiculously emotionless, gravelly voiced and entirely capable of handling himself around robots (because YES, THERE ARE ROBOTS IN THIS MOVIE!!!). (And yes, I WILL apparently be using my caps lock key a lot.)
So Neil Stryker is a dude, on suspension from his job as…okay, I never really understood exactly what he did but kind of like the military + secret government operation + spies thing? Unfortunately for the world, Neil’s ex-mentor, the MAD scientist – complete with white lab coat, crazy sticky-uppy hair and crazy goggle glasses – has finally set in motion his dastardly plan to go back in time through the time portal he created to…steal a bunch of toys on Christmas Eve and have THE SEX (as E. would say) with Mrs. Claus! NOOOOO!!! Along the way, the mad scientist also kidnaps Neil’s son, so there’s that. Also the mad scientist is MAAADDDDD, which just leads to all sorts of shenanigans and tom-foolery. Oh, and he has a sidekick (of course) named Darrel who’s robotically challenged, musically inclined, and sneaky planning his own…uh, sneaky plan.😉 Darrel is actually my favorite character of the whole piece (sorry, Neil! I love you but I love Darrel more because he sings!), which makes sense, because his vibe is the epitome of “bad boy”, which media and society has conditioned women to view as totally normal and moreso, absolutely romantic (“omg, he got so mad he punched a wall? That’s soooo romantic – look how passionate he is about you! *sighs*” *rolls eyes so hard they fall out of head*). Anyway, despite his bad boy vibe, Darrel is more cartoon villain than romantic villain (think Dr. Horrible), so whatever, I dig him.
In fact, the whole movie is a cartoon come to life, with over-the-top…well, EVERYTHING. It’s a complete and total farce, and it’s AMAZING. Guys, there’s cars that fly! Robots! Goblins!! (I honestly have no idea WHY there were goblins, got totally lost there, but dudes – goblins!!- and they were adorable and evil and so cute, and then there was the Russian guy and the vodka…like The Fireys in LABYRINTH! Kinda…). There’s time travel! Souvenirs! Explosions! HEADS exploding! This movie has it ALL. It’s an 80s throwback that hits its mark perfectly.
In fact, those super kickawesome, evil, adorable goblins? Looked like they were right out of the Henson labs. They were brilliant. This film was shot entirely in Oregon and parts of Washington over the course of 9 years, and every single set, effect, every puppet was created by a Portland artist. Now THAT is what I like to see in homegrown cinema. Especially when the result is something as laugh out loud funny and enjoyable as this.
The sets were kick ass. The small amount of CGI was almost perfect (the explosions were a little off and fake looking, but they also might have been that way on purpose to fit the 80s theme, I’m not sure). The costumes were fabulous. The actors – ugh, I don’t think there was anyone in this films that I DIDN’T like and that rarely happens. Nic Costa (Darrel) captures the “sidekick craving more” trope perfectly. Rob Taylor as Neil Stryker is hilariously apathetic as the hero (anti-hero?) of the piece. And Rob Taylor as the Mad Scientist is ridiculously funny at being woefully inept. Oh yes, you did read that correctly – Neil and MS were played by the same guy – and I had NO freaking clue till the end of the movie when the credits came around! Not one inkling. Holy fuck, I loved this movie.
Currently playing at the Portland Film Fest, NEIL STRYKER & THE TYRANT OF TIME is a side-splittingly funny piece of comedy that had me alternately shaking my head at the melodrama, then giggling uncontrollably. With a bit of everything, it’s a madcap adventure of the very best kind – and there damn well better be a sequel in the making. I’m willing to follow Neil Stryker through the universe and time, so c’mon guys, let’s get to more adventuring!
Oh yeah, and watch the trailer below to get a taste of the wacky wildness that is Neil Stryker!
Lone is singer Chelsea Wolfe’s first film, one that combines her music and the artistic expression of filmmaking to create a visually wild ride. Directed by Mark Pellington and based around Wolfe’s album “Pain is Beauty”, the film is a series of vignettes and images interlocked with five songs from the aforementioned album. The combination creates a dreamlike landscape littered with beauty and horror.
I won’t lie – I was wary at first as the viewer is essentially watching an hour long music video and I wasn’t entirely sure that was going to work. But unlike standard music videos, this one manages to tell a story without telling a story, leaving the interpretation entirely up to you. While it may not work for some, it worked for me. And what a story it is – encompassing love, beauty, pain, horror, death, life, destruction, nature and everything in between. A story created with viscerally stunning images that vary from filling one with longing to filling one with uneasiness and a story that includes a plethora of people. A particular repeating image that stuck out to me was people wearing animal masks – I feel like I’ve seen this a lot lately, mostly in the horror genre. I’m not sure if this was their way of introducing horror into the framework of the story here or not but it was really the only imagery that felt to me to be a bit of an overused trope.
Wolfe herself has a haunting voice and her songs are raw, only serving to amp up the imagery that we’re seeing. While the songs are the focus, there is a bit of dialogue, mostly repeated phrases such as “I’m not afraid to remember.” and “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” I’m not sure which five songs from the album were used, as I’m not familiar with Wolfe or her work outside of this film, but she’s definitely garnered a new fan by using this medium.
Pellington’s direction is, at times, brilliant. Besides all the emotions and elements he combines, he also combines his original imagery with what appears to be old home movies and stock footage of natural disasters. The overall affect is a film that will stick with you long after you’ve finished watching.
Guys…guys, guys, guys…I really am not quite sure what to say about Freak Dance. It’s either the most brilliant social commentary ever done or the worst movie Amy Poehler has ever been in. I seriously can’t decide. I watched this about 3 days ago and it’s taken me this long to even attempt to write a review. Bullet points can’t really suffice because there’s too much WTF? happening – it would be the longest post ever. I could do another picture only review but it still won’t quite capture the…magic that is this movie. So I’ll see what I can do here because words kind of escape me when it comes to this.
We open on a young girl dressed as a ballerina dancing around her room in her mansion (and when I say young I mean 20 something). Cocolonia, as she’s called, wants to dance more than anything but her mother has forbidden it. So Cocolonia runs away to the streets to become a true street dancer, even though technically she can never be because she comes from money and has never smoked marijuana. Okay?
Then we have two street dance groups who are mortal enemies – Fantaseez and Dazzles. Fantaseez people are all about the love of the dance and dancing for love while Dazzles group is about dancing for sex. Also the main leader of Dazzles was, I’m fairly certain, either Richard Simmons or Perez Hilton…With Fantaseez, you get a lot of quotes about dancing like, “Learning to read is what dancing is all about.” or “Staying away from drugs is what dancing is all about”. There’s also A LOT of talk about dance bulges and how they help enable balance. Oh and there’s singing, did I mention the singing yet??
So Cocolonia joins up with Fantaseez and after they teach her how to work her ass (no, really), she kind of sort of becomes a member and starts to fall in love with their leader, Funky Bunch. Also there’s a scene in a slaughterhouse when she’s trying to learn to be poor.
Of course there’s an underground dance competition that turns into a freak dance off in an effort to save Fantaseez meeting place from being shut down by a building inspector who has ulterior motives and also the FBI is involved…or the CIA…I forget which. So the question is, can Fantaseez be saved? Will Dazzles convince Cocolonia to become a sex dancer? Who can outfreak the other?? Do you think it’s possible I could tweet Amy Poehler and actually score an interview with her about her motivations for being in this movie???
Okay, I kind of loved it. It’s not for everyone, hell, it’s really not for the majority of people and I think there’s maybe one person reading this who might enjoy it. But seriously, it’s kind of brilliant. No, really…
I haven’t done Hamlet 2 before have I?? I’m pretty sure not so without further ado…
If the idea of a song entitled “Rock Me Sexy, Jesus” makes you squirm, don’t watch this movie. On the other hand, if the idea of that same song conjures up thoughts of a warped version of “Godspell”, then at the very least watch the last 20 minutes of this film. Or just watch this clip to get a taste!
“Hamlet 2” started out big and went nowhere. It sold for $10 million to Focus Features at Sundance in 2008, almost beating out the record set by “Little Miss Sunshine” (sold at $10.5 million). Unfortunately, “Hamlet 2” brought in roughly less than half of what it was sold for. It just goes to prove that even if you’re quirky, that doesn’t always equal success.
It’s also unfortunate that it’s not hard to see why “Hamlet 2” did so poorly. Part of it was the hype and the nifty trailers which made the film out to be THE NEXT BIG THING, ergo when people actually watched it, they were more disappointed than if there’d been no hype. Basically it’s two hours of nothing. Now there have been movies that have done nothing well (for example “Empire Records”). But Hamlet 2 failed in its quest. It’s not all bad though.
Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan) is a failed actor turned high school drama teacher who still dreams of hitting the big time. Instead he’s stuck in a dead end town where a total of two students take his class. To satisfy his “creativity”, Marschz stages two person play of movies (such as “Erin Brokavich”). To add to his lackluster life, he is also tormented by a theater reviewer, who appears to be about 9 years old. Doesn’t get much worse than this, folks. Then comes the day when Marschz comes to work only to find his class filled to the brim with students! The movie takes a “Dangerous Minds” turn (in a WAY less serious and dramatic way) and with the school threatening to take away his class (his one reason for living), Marschz writes, directs and produces “Hamlet 2”.
So where’s the bad? Part of it is the awkwardness of the movie. It’s not cute awkward like Michael Cera, it’s at times uncomfortably awkward. Scenes drag and you find yourself checking your watch to see how much time has passed only to find that it’s been 10 seconds since you last checked.
And where’s the good? Well, David Arquette has a role where he speaks approximately 10 words. Elisabeth Shue is hilarious as herself. And obviously the best part of all is the staging of “Hamlet 2”, featuring “Rock Me Sexy, Jesus”. It’s a rockin’, irreverent good time!
Up to you, dear reader, which way you’d like to go with this one. It’s no “Terror Toons” but it’s no “Little Miss Sunshine” either.
If you hated Repo! The Genetic Opera, then you will hate The Devil’s Carnival. Why? Because they were both created by Darren Lynn Bousman. I, however, LOVED Repo and also LOVED The Devil’s Carnival – in fact, I might’ve loved this one just a tad bit more (just don’t tell Anthony Head because he is wicked hot even if he is way older than me). Part of it was the music here – I can’t think of a single song I disliked in this film and have had one on frequent play since I watched the first time (yes, I’ve seen it twice now!). This one actually:
The premise is three people die and they all wind up in Hell. From there we get three of Aesop’s Fables (another reason I loved this – fairy tales and mythology may be my big two things but I’m also a fan of Aesop!): The Scorpion and the Frog, Grief and His Due and The Dog and Its Reflection. Add to that the carnival setting, the quirky and sometimes frightening characters plus the stage and theatre setting and this girl was in love at first glance.
There’s a lot of the same actors in this that were also in Repo – Alex Vega, Paul Sorvino, Bill Moseley, Nivek Ogre. I didn’t even notice Vega was here until I saw her name in the credits, then I had to google to find out which character she was. This also only clocks in at 55 minutes so it’s kind of something light and airy to have on while you’re doing other stuff…and by light and airy, I mean kind of morbid and grotesque…eh, we all have our own definitions for stuff. ;) No nudity or sex to be found here (well, there’s a naked woman who is whipped during one of the songs but they don’t really show anything other than her back), just good clean devilish fun, so enjoy!
Yeah, I know. This is WAYYYY out of the norm for me because this movie is totally mainstream but oh dear gods above, I am so in love with this movie. I watched Pitch Perfect twice in a 24 hour time span and I am ready to watch it again. And again. And again. I also want to be in an A cappella group and have Rebel Wilson be my best friend forever after this. So much happiness in this here movie.
If you’re not familiar with it, here’s the low down. The Barden Bellas are trying to make a comeback after last year’s major loss at regionals or whatever due to one girl’s major projectile vomiting. Seriously, that was some hardcore puking and it happens a few times through out. And then there’s disturbingly gross yet hilarious puke angels being made…like snow angels but with vomit…but I digress. Anyways, they’re the laughing stock of their university and are in constant competition with the TrebleMakers an all guys group. No one wants to be a Bella so they recruit a pretty ragtag team of girls – Rebel Wilson as Fat Amy who is hilarious, a girl who talks constantly about her sexual escapades and can’t sing without grabbing her chest every two seconds, an adorable little Asian girl who is terrifyingly creepy and Anna Kendrick as Beca, who only wants to be a DJ but is being forced into this stupid college thing by her professor father.
No really, that’s what their leader, Aubrey tends to call them. She also puts “acca” in front of lots of words so you have “acca-scuse me?” and so on. Oh and I can’t forget the use of the word “toner” which is a musical boner. SO many words have been added to my vocabulary after this movie. And I lost count of how many times people here say “We make music using only our mouths.” And I haven’t even gotten started on the rest of the dialogue. I’m a writer – when words are done right, it makes me melt, seriously. And the majority of the time here, words are done SOOOO right.
Aubrey – “I can see your toner through your jeans!”
Beca – “No. That’s my dick.”
Asian Girl – “I set fires to feel joy.”
Treblemaker – “That is so adorable.”
That last one in particular makes me smile because my friend Brad and I had the exact same conversation when we were 19…*sighs* Nostalgia.
Oh and cannot forget these two. They’re the hosts of all the competitions and they have some of the driest, funniest lines. Elizabeth Banks in particular is hysterical.
I’m so not talking this up like it deserves, not at all but it is, in my opinion, fucking awesome.
Well, we’ve got E over at theipc to thank for this entry into The First Five. ;) I haven’t done one of these in quite awhile and honestly I didn’t mean to do one now but my gods was this atrocious!! Okay, not entirely E’s fault as he didn’t know – he just wanted me to a guest post over on his site and found this streaming on Netflix and suggested it and since it was already in my queue I ran with it. Now I feel compelled to warn the world – AVOID. Just AVOID at ALL costs. And just forgive any cursing that may happen from this point forward, please? Geez Louise….
WHAT THE FUCK, VICIOUS LIPS?? WHAT THE FUCK?? Okay, gotta be honest here – this is really the first 22 minutes. That’s the point where I gave in and emailed E and told him what was going on and he started yelling, “Abort! Abort!” and then there was this whole bit of mass confusion and well…yeah…I honestly don’t have a clue what this is supposed to be about other than a rock band in space. I think.
Basically all I got from what I watched was this:
- Dude looks like a lady!
- Yowza at that guys teeth – somebody should’ve invested in braces when they were a kiddo.
- It’s like Street Trash meets High School Musical meets The Jetsons.
- Oh and there’s Judy Jetson? And she sings like a guy. Really? Why is her name now Trudy?
- What?? Oh wow. Judy/Trudy has obviously been some sort of mindwashed and The Dream appears to be her trigger word because now there is some crazy punk rock video epicness happening!
- I don’t even know if this movie is SUPPOSED to make sense. Why did that guy just lose an eyeball?
- Geez, if this is what MTV was like, I’m so glad I missed out on it. This is headache inducing.
- Wait, now Judy/Trudy can sing? Like a girl? And well?
- Why did we just hear someone’s thoughts? Is telepathy coming into play? Or was that just a weird choice in narrative?
- At this point, I’m just waiting for everyone in this movie to die. That would make me happy.
- And now Judy/Trudy has a Southern accent. Oh for the love of…
- Eric, I want you to know that you are NEVER picking out another movie for me to watch EVER. Between this and The Sinful Dwarf, I’m pretty sure you hate me, which is sad-making because I am AWESOME.
- Oh yes, filming things in neon red light makes it all SO much better.
- Worst dance party ever.
- So many montages. And we’re only 22 minutes in.
- Yeah, I want to be on drugs right now too, lady.
- At least that one woman is dressed like a Christmas tree so this film is kind of in the spirit of the season.
- Did I even mention that there’s spaceships? No? Yeah, there are.
- Spaceship crashed. Unfortunately it looks like everyone’s still alive.
AND…that’s as far as I could go. Just please, for your own health & safety, avoid whatever the hell this
steaming pile of movie is attempting to be. Seriously. You’ll thank me.
Today, I got to go to upstate NY with some friends and partake in some Evil Dead: The Musical which I was wholly excited about . I had an excellent time (there was also a chocolate fest going on in town!!) and the musical was great fun (I can think of several of you guys who would totally dig on this) but unfortunately the entire experience overall left a bit to be desired.
We showed up an hour early because none of us had ever been to this particular theatre. We find it and there’s a guy on the street trying to drum up some business who tells us to go on in so we can buy tickets and then come back later. Head in and absolutely no one is to be found but we see a door (oohhhh, mysterious door!) and hear lots of talking behind and don’t see a sign saying “STAY AWAY OR THE EVIL DEAD WILL CONSUME YOU” so I knock. And the door opens and a face peers out and the door promptly slams in my face. Yeah, there was a definite lack of common theatre courtesy and conduct happening at this show today. Besides the slamming of the door, there was also through out the show various techies and crew coming in and out of side doors (normally crew are in place and wherever they should be at the start of the show). Admittedly, this was black box theatre (black box just means really small room, really small stage, very intimate and it’s usually painted black) so maybe they needed to do a bit of running around? But it was distracting and detracted from what was happening on stage. Luckily, not too long after the door slam a super nice crew member who was obviously incredibly harried and hectic was able to help us and apologized about a million times for being so busy. She rocked and I wish I’d gotten her name. We finally got our tickets and headed out to wander around Nyack.
We headed back to the theatre about 15 minutes to show time and find out there’s been a delay (seems someone forgot part of their costume…). Again, we head out and again we head back in. We’re finally led into the theatre somewhat on time and sit and wait. And wait. And wait. The show actually didn’t end up starting till 30-40 minutes after it was supposed to. I understand that in live theatre shit happens but the last show I did we had a girl throw her back out opening night and one of our main characters fell down stairs and sprained her ankle THEN ended up on closing day coming in with her eye swollen shut due to an allergic reaction of some sort and we still managed to get on stage on time and all…After about 15 minutes, they finally made an announcement about a technical difficulty and sent out a couple of guys to do some live music so that was cool of them.
Finally, finally the show starts and from here we break it down into The Good, The Bad and The Ugly…
This may be one of the best musical scores I’ve ever heard (well, if you’re into horror and rock that is). I loved pretty much every song and the guitarist and pianist did an awesome job.
This was a vague collaboration of all three of the Evil Dead movies and since I haven’t seen them in awhile, there were times where I went huh, what? but then Ash cut off his hand and got all chainsawed up and it was “Oh hell yeah.” PURE AWESOME.
One-liners, one-liners galore. “Who’s a stupid bitch now??” “My name is two letters! E-fucking-D!!” “Hey Ash, need a hand??”
Jake (Jacob S. Viens) and Ed (Dean ten Eicken) where pretty darn great in their roles. And Cheryl (Karolin Yahyaoglu) was hysterical as Ash’s sister.
Considering the small stage and what I’m assuming was a small budget, they did well with their resources. Instead of full blown demony makeup they went with some cool Day of the Dead reminiscent masks that worked nicely.
The tree scene. Omg, the tree scene.
Ash (Charles Edward Roberts) was completely monotone and not the greatest singer. In fact, most of the people here weren’t the best singers (although I can’t really judge because my own mother told me as a child that I can’t sing and I figure if your own mother says that, your pretty much shite…). But the monotone thing…I couldn’t tell if it was an acting decision made to offset the craziness from the rest of the cast (you know like pretend Native American in Dust Up?) or if it just had to do with this being Charles’ first live performance. Also we’re pretty sure he was the one who slammed that door in my face…so when it comes to his performance, I was ambivalent and my friend pretty much hated his characterization.
Like I stated above Cheryl, Jake and Ed were pretty awesome. Linda (Allison Samuel) didn’t have much energy going on and looked vaguely uncomfortable most of the time. She had a sweet voice that wasn’t terrible by any means but her whole demeanor was reserved. It was a matinee and matinee’s can sometimes be hard so maybe she was just having an off day.
Shelly/Annie (Andrea, who actually told us after the show that in the original they didn’t have money to cast two actresses for these roles so they double cast one actress) was losing her voice so how her actually singing would be was kind of hard to tell. She was definitely fun in the two roles (which were extremely different) and this was her first time back on stage since ’99 and I know that feeling so I can’t really say anything horrible about her – she was fun and she made do with what she had.
NOT enough blood splatter. They give a warning at the beginning that if you’re sitting in the front two rows, you risk the chance of getting sprayed with blood but there really was hardly any blood at all. It was disappointing.
*The above is NOT the production we saw, it’s just a clip I found on YouTube.*
This show should be campy. It’s to be expected from something entitled Evil Dead: The Musical. But this overall production…again, I don’t know if it was acting choices or director choices or what exactly happened but….let’s put it this way, the cast for the most part could give the cast of Bikini BloodBath Car Wash a run for their money. Campy is one thing. Satire of campy or whatever this was is an entirely different matter.
Again, the level of theatre conduct was just not there. It’s disappointing and maybe this is a weird Southern girl thing but dammit, be polite to people when they’re coming to pay you money for something.
So final verdict? I’m torn between love and hate. The musical itself I adored. This production of it I did not. There were moments I enjoyed but overall the whole experience was like going to a party and expecting there to be kegs and kegs of beer and shenanigans but instead you wind up with wine and cheese and philosophical discussions on the comparative art of avant garde Czechoslovakian directors (actually, I’d be totally okay at either of those….). If you’re in the NY area, don’t waste your money on this production but if you ever have the chance to go see this, I HIGHLY recommend it.
Oh, J.C., you are a superstar. Not only are you the son of God but you are one multi-talented kick ass prophet! Thank your father for this movie which shows us all the ways in which you rock.
Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter is no ordinary movie, oh no. It’s a smorgasbord of good times and fun featuring the most excellent skills of one Jesus Christ, not to mention giving us a glimpse into our future world where vampires kill lesbians precipitating the second coming. (What? I don’t write this stuff, I just watch it.) Anywho, J.C. returns to earth to wreak havoc on the vampires and takes down some atheists along the way, ultimately saving the world, getting the girl and becoming best friends with a Mexican wrestling superstar.
How does he accomplish this? Why, with his kickawesome ninja skills of course!! Turns out our guy knows some serious martial arts. He kicks, he slices, he dices, he takes down at least 30 atheists in one scene alone! J.C.’s one heck of a fighter and he manages it all (or at least most of it) wearing a dress. I mean, robe.
J.C. also has an invisible deejay following him around to soundtrack his life, enabling him to not only break into song and dance in the middle of the street but also to inhabit several different personas. One second he’s Shaft, the next he’s ghetto fab white boy. I want a deejay to soundtrack my life now. Wonder where I find that?
After all this ninja’ing, singing and dancing, you’d think ole J.C. would want a break but no. See, having these skills just isn’t enough. J.C. constantly tries to top himself by becoming a drummer, a jazz musician, being a healer and ultimately stopping the vampire apocalypse. Is there anything this guy can’t do??? Apparently not!
So next time you feel alone and unsure in your life, watch Vampire Hunter and remember Jesus has totally got your back.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve likely heard me mention Terror Toons at least once, as I consider it quite possibly the worst movie ever made (and that’s saying something!). So I decided it was time to share the atrocity…um, I mean love with you all!
With a title like Terror Toons, I certainly wasn’t expecting greatness but this went from bad to some form of horror that I’ve never before or after encountered. The premise of the movie is a little girl (of course played by a busty mid-20 year old) who receives a videotape called “Terror Toons”, a cartoon that features a mad doctor and his sidekick, homicidal gorilla (see? Sidekick homicidal gorilla should = hilarity but NO). While she’s watching the cartoon, the two characters come to life, jump out of the t.v. and embark on a killing spree that’s part disgusting and part ridiculous.
Meanwhile, the girl’s older sister and friends are in the living room playing what is, as far as I can tell, the only documented game of strip Ouija EVER. How does that even work?? You take off an article of clothing when the friendly spirits tell you to? They fail to notice the little sister’s death…their friend’s death…the pizza delivery guy’s death…you see how this is going right? It’s not until the mad scientist and evil gorilla actually pop out into the living room and start singing and dancing (yes. Singing and dancing. It goes to there…) that they notice something strange is going on.
And then? And then the whole house turns into one big cartoon acid trip with swirling colors and…well, honestly, that’s when I had to turn the movie off. It’s not often a film beats me but dear god, this was so horrible I admitted defeat. I can only recommend this for heavy drug users or hardcore revenge.