Saturday, July 27, 2013

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: A group of teens invite the most sought after girl in school, Mandy Lane, for a weekend of fun when the teens start dropping dead.

Review: This is one of the most unusual slashers I have ever seen. It's not that they innovated or introduced some foreign concept, but it played out almost too realistically that it left more unanswered questions than a film ever should. Meaning, in real life, we hardly understand the motivations of deranged killers, but a film usually will reveal, hint, or have a character flat out explain their drive to kill for the audience. However, this film leaves you guessing too much as if I'm trying to solve the damn mystery myself! At the same time, the twist is not all that shocking because any reasonable horror fan should see it coming a million miles away. Lastly, I should note that this film is in a weird limbo-like state because it was made years ago, but did not receive a proper international release. It's not hard to track down, but watch out for the region it's meant for or wait for it to pop up on youtube or something as it has in the past. But let's find out for ourselves, why do all the boys love Mandy Lane?

I've read many complaints wishing this film had been supernatural in nature, but, while I do agree it would have been better as a conventional plot, I can appreciate what they were going for. There is this certain '70s-ish tone to the setting and atmosphere combined with an '80s slasher vibe that makes for a unique experience. The plot is so straightforward to the point of almost making no sense because it overlooks why the events are even occurring. So Mandy Lane is like the hottest girl in some high school, and apparently she used to be a dork or outcast of some sort. I do love the presentation of our dear Ms. Lane, played perfectly by the beautiful Amber Heard, as this virgin saint goddess! The funny thing is, Mandy says so little in this film, but Ms. Heard has mastered subtlety with facial expressions and looks that will make much more sense by the film's end. The film opens with Mandy and her friend Emmet reluctantly invited to a pool party with a group of supposedly cool kids. Emmet convinces some drunken idiot to jump off a roof toward the pool and kills himself; months later, Mandy is now friends with these kids and Emmet is seemingly stalking her. For some reason, this group has arranged a getaway at a ranch in the middle of nowhere where the plan is that every guy will have a shot at "getting with" Mandy. Once there, you notice Mandy having second thoughts as this group of bitches are so annoying you cannot wait for them to die fast enough. Mandy then runs into the ranch helper, Garth, who appears to be a great guy and, I suppose, a red herring. As the "fun" begins at this ranch, the group of bitches become even more annoying doing drugs, drinking, fucking, talking shit, etc. all the while thinking they stand a chance with Mandy and hitting on her.

Finally, as the group slowly makes each other angry, they storm off like babies in a tantrum where a killer lurks in the shadows to pick them off. My main gripe with a lot of these kills are that they were by shotgun rather than a genre-typical stabbing weapon, but, like I said, they were trying for more realism. Another problem is that it is revealed far too early that the killer is Emmet. The audience should have been left in the dark for as long as possible, because, even though knowing it is Emmet was necessary, there were too many red herrings and clues that pointed toward other possible killers. Now, it should come as absolutely no shock that Mandy is in on it. I've read people claiming they did not see her involvement coming as they thought she'd have some other secret relevant to the story, but come on people! She's so shady, had no reason to go on this trip, she clearly hates these people, and often buys the killer time or sends people out to die herself. Once everyone is dead except Garth, it is explained that Emmet and Mandy had planned this with everything ending in a suicide pact. Unfortunately for Emmet, Mandy had no plans to follow through and attempts to get Garth to kill Emmet. When this fails, Emmet and Mandy fight until Mandy comes out on top, killing Emmet's emo bitch ass. The film ends with Mandy patching up Garth as the two drive off into the sunset, and the audience is left wondering whether Mandy really likes Garth or plans to manipulate him as she had everyone else in the film.

Okay, now let's try and delve into the mysterious mind of Mandy Lane! The biggest problem with this movie is we have no idea why Mandy was a killer, why target these people, or pretty much anything! There are hints strewn about but most lead down different understandings of why she killed. Let's deal with the traditional revenge route: it is implied she used to be an outcast and maybe even ugly. If this group in particular were the ones that bullied her most, that would explain why the need to infiltrate and kill them from within. But if it were all about simple revenge, why betray Emmet unless she thought he was like them in some way? He was obviously in love with her; we just don't know enough about her and Emmet's relationship. There is also the fact that there is something going on with Mandy's parents being dead. Is that somehow her drive? Did she kill her parents? Okay, so maybe Mandy is just a pure sociopath who shaped herself to be desirable in order to manipulate people. Obviously Mandy's primary trait is that of a manipulator and those subtle facial expressions I mentioned clearly show she was enjoying the idea that these idiots were dying (can't blame her there though). We have evidence that Mandy got herself in shape by working out as shown by her constant jogging and that she apparently changed her look over just one summer. We can also pretty much rule out any of this working with Emmet notion because she clearly had no plan to go along with him since she says she never did read his journal he wrote about their journey together. Clearly Mandy felt she was going to make it through this, presumably, letting Emmet take the fall. But the degree to her insanity would be determined by whether she continues killing or was this a one and done situation? Furthermore, I've read so many people debating whether Mandy was a lesbian because of one scene where she is seemingly coming on to another girl and it would explain why she has no interest in any guys. Well, she has no interest in the guys because they're all scum, clearly likes Garth because he's a nice guy, but all of this is missing the point of the scene! The girl, Chloe, says the line that "you're hands are shaking," which I suppose one may think it's because Mandy's nervous or thinking about kissing her, BUT what do we see when Mandy is about to kill someone? Her hands shaking! This so-called lesbian scene was merely Mandy preparing to kill Chloe, which she does anyway later, but was interrupted by the other guys. Finally, the whole Garth factor makes it so much harder to determine if Mandy is a sociopath or out for revenge. She didn't respect Emmet because he was just another guy that wanted her while Garth was not going along with things so easily. If Mandy wants revenge, maybe she thinks she can now move on with Garth as her equal or maybe she views manipulating Garth as a challenge of sorts. I'm not even going to discuss the many nuances and details that appear from time to time that apparently had no connection to why Mandy was a killer. Whether you hate this film or not, it will leave a lasting impression as you try to get to the bottom of the twisted psyche of Mandy Lane!

We are left with the rare predicament where the high points of the film are also the main detractors. I can applaud the use of a realistic duo of killers who were deranged and Mandy was perhaps even evil. But at the same time, this is a movie and the audience does not want to be left completely in the dark. There was certainly a desire not to spoon-feed anything to the audience so typically a second viewing is required if you're going to try and figure this shit out. But other than not understanding why things were happening, the pacing could have been tightened, the killer's reveal moved to later in the film, less one-dimensional characters, and don't close out on a flashback if it has no relevance whatsoever to the plot. On the other hand, there is a cool homage feel, the acting is decent enough especially from the subtle Ms. Heard, and the film successfully gets in your head whether you like it or not. I recommend this one for the horror fans out there as a cult following is building apparently leading to a theatrical release even though the film is seven years old already!

Notable Moment: You know I'm a man of simple tastes, and, I have to say, when Mandy is stripping down to her underwear to go swimming was phenomenal! But it was almost epic in its presentation with the rare usage of Beethoven's "Emperor" concerto which is a favorite of mine. Even the makers knew this scene was meant to be stared upon in awe.

Final Rating: 6/10

Ms. Heard preparing to go in for the kill.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Night of the Creeps Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: Two dorks inadvertently release an alien parasite that transforms its host into a zombie that breeds more parasites.

Review: Over the years this film has gained a strong cult following in the way many forgotten gems of the '70s and '80s have, but I was that geek that liked it from the beginning. But you knew it was going to be good because it was written and directed by the same guy, Fred Dekker, that made one of my all time favorite movies, "The Monster Squad." While this film isn't quite as good TMS, it is so loaded with '80s cheesiness that it is nearly bursting at the seam. The dialogue, characters, and offbeat oddity to the plot scream of '80's B-movie, but, then again, it has everything so perfectly balanced that it becomes awesome! Think about it, alien leeches, zombies, shitty gore effects, and likable characters including a hot chick, what's not to love?  It's hard to believe so many missed out on this bad boy back in the day, but, let's face it, a ton of shitty horror movies came out of the '80s and many good ones fell through the cracks.

The movie jumps into things right from the first scene as aliens are chasing, what appears to be, a zombie alien that has a creep in a canister. The creeps, as I will refer to them, are essentially leeches that attach to the brain, turning you into a zombie, where they multiply and attempt to infect others. I know for years I could not understand if the one alien was supposed to be a scientist or was everything an experiment gone wrong, but finally seeing the cast list revealed someone credited as "alien zombie." Finally that is cleared up in my head! The zombie alien launches the canister out of an airlock where it somehow ends up on Earth in the late '50s. This allows for some seriously cornball scenes and dialogue with a couple going out to some kind of lover's lane when they see the canister crash. There are a lot of elements incorporated from other films during this segment as, coincidentally enough, an escaped, killer mental patient is on the loose in the same area. As the guy in this couple finds the canister and is infected with the creep, the girl is chopped to pieces by the maniac. The slowness of the guy to become a zombie is merely one of many inconsistencies regarding the creeps so let's address that now.

So we skip ahead, all the way, to the futuristic setting of "pledge week--1986!" Oh shit, now you know things are about to get serious! Two dorks, named Chris and J.C., are hanging out at some party near a fraternity as Chris believes he sees the girl of his dreams, Cynthia, played by the smoking hot Jill Whitlow. While the acting may be shaky at times, the thing I like best about Chris and J.C. is that they have a realistic dynamic to their friendship. They talk to each other in a way that makes it feel as though they have had the same conversations before and have been through shit with each other. This kind of natural behavior and dialogue is one of the reasons why I actually liked "The Wicked" even though everyone hated it; it's hard to have dialogue that makes characters feel real and as if they've known each other for years! I should also note J.C. is disabled from some unknown condition which requires him to walk with the help of crutches. For some reason,  Chris is convinced that if he joins a fraternity he will stand a chance with Cynthia so they try and pledge to some guy who refers to himself as the Bradster. Yes, the Bradster. He's supposed to be the token douchebag, but his acting was so over the top I wished he were in more of the movie! Apparently the Bradster, who is Cynthia's boyfriend, wants them to steal a cadaver and bring it to a rival frat, but what can our heroes do but oblige? Do to sheer hijinks, somehow Chris and J.C. stumble upon the cryogenically frozen guy infected with the creep from the '50s. Now, let's completely ignore the outlandish notion that he would not zombie-out in the time it would take to cryo-freeze someone or that there has to be this cryogenic technology to begin with or why in the hell would they keep his body at a facility debatably on campus instead of the some government research lab?! If you're overlooking this stupidity, then chances are you're really enjoying this film! After releasing the guy, he comes to life and Chris and J.C. run away as the only scientist in the vicinity becomes infected.

From here we are introduced to Detective Cameron played by horror icon Tom Atkins. Oh come on, you remember him..."Halloween III" my favorite? That fucking piece of shit! Cameron is a mixed bag for many because his character will either come off amusing or annoying as hell since he's always sarcastic and saying "thrill me." Personally, I like the character because Mr. Atkins does a good job, and because I knew the character was meant to be an homage to classic detective novels which you even see strewn about his home. Cameron is also suicidal and a bit unstable since he was the ex-boyfriend of the girl who was chopped up in the beginning and he secretly killed the mental patient. At the same time, zombie guy finds his way to Cynthia's sorority and his head bursts into many creeps right in front of her. The next day, the Bradster and his flunkies confront Chris and J.C. about the prank that seemingly went awry. Cynthia overhears their side of the story as they explain they wimped out, but the Bradster does not likey and kicks out J.C.'s crutches. Cynthia then helps the dorks while ditching the Bradster as Cameron shows up to question the duo which he humorously dubs as Spanky and Alphalpha. The two convince Cameron they aren't involved as Cynthia later shows up at their dorm believing they are the only ones who may understand what she saw with the zombie guy. In all honesty, if someone as hot as Ms. Whitlow was speaking the nonsense she was saying I think I'd be even more interested! Cynthia even asks out Chris to some formal dance--lucky bastard. Unfortunately, J.C. had left to let Chris and Cynthia have some alone time when he is attacked by creeps and infected.

Cameron later explains to Chris that he killed the mental patient as, conveniently enough, a creep brings the mental patient back to life to begin a new killing spree and infecting a dog with a creep. Cameron eventually kills the zombie again and sees the creeps running about. This leads to the next contrivance as somehow J.C. was able to leave a recording to Chris explaining how the creeps work, they are vulnerable to fire, and he was killing himself. I didn't want J.C. to die but it's a good thing he was able to explain everything to the characters and audience in a convenient manner skipping all that exposition! For some reason a bunch of douchebags are traveling to this formal dance by bus which crashes when trying to dodge zombie-dog. The doggie then proceeds to infect the bus full of mostly Bradster flunkies as the Bradster too is infected by the doggie at a later point. Chris and Cameron borrow a flamethrower from the police armory because uh, what police station doesn't have a flamethrower on standby?! Cynthia is all dressed up looking even sexier as zombie Bradster tries to infect her only for Chris to show up and save the day. For some inexplicable reason, Chris gives Cynthia the flamethrower as the bus full of zombie flunkies show up to meet their dates. You have to love the action in these scenes because it is just hilarious to see Ms. Whitlow torching zombies. Eventually they realize all the creeps are gathering in the basement of the sorority because a plot device presented earlier demands it! Cameron laces the place with gasoline and then blows himself up with all the creeps in a semi-epic manner. From here there are two distinct endings, one of which I only recently viewed. The ending I have watched my whole life involves the zombie-dog reappearing and infecting Cynthia. I never did like that ending because I don't want Cynthia dying damn it! But apparently the original, director's ending involved Cameron, charred and infected, making his way to a cemetery when his head bursts out more creeps. Then the aliens finally show up looking for the creeps. I much prefer this ending because it would make more sense that the aliens would have tracked down the creeps ala "Critters" style, and because I don't like the idea of Cynthia dying.

Is this film corny and full of over the top lame scenes? Yes. Sure, the acting is bad at times, the dialogue can be stupid, and some effects are really weak, but none of this deters from the overall presentation. Like other underrated horror movies, there is this certain charm to the film that shines through especially when it offers that rare instance of making characters appear to be genuine friends. You do need to have a certain appreciation for films like this, but it just works somehow. I have to give credit for the creativity and unconventional direction the plot goes in as well. I definitely recommend tracking this down and now that it has been given a proper re-release, it shouldn't be all that hard. Although, from what I've read, this updated version only includes the director's ending. So if you're interested in the ending people have been watching for years, look it up on youtube or something. Either way, give this one a try, but understand it comes off more as a comedy horror than meant to be serious.

Notable Moment: When J.C. rants about how Chris is a little bitch; it makes the characters feel more real with an established friendship. If only more films would take the time to add that little bit of development.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

The lovely Ms. Whitlow killing it '80s style:

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Conjuring Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: After a family moves into a new home, they discover it is haunted and seek aid from notorious paranormal investigators.

Review: I've begun to notice a trend that the better a film does the more people seem to knock it for no good reason. There are already reviews claiming this film was overhyped, not scary, and even bad. It had some cool trailers, but, beyond that, how was it overhyped? The real most overhyped movies this year were all the bombs--I could have told you "The Conjuring" was going to easily blow away the likes of "R.I.P.D." and fucking "Turbo." I mean, come on, really?! Yes, critics are praising it because it deserves the praise, but it's as if the more successful a movie becomes, the more people feel they need to take away from it; I want to refer to it as "Avatar/Inception syndrome" or something like that. The only real downside I noticed was an overall sense of unoriginality to the scares as it's mostly things we have viewed many times before, but this film still manages to make the scares their own and in a stylized way. Some have said most were jump scares, but I disagree and for me the best scene in the whole film didn't even show a ghost and was making me anxious as hell which I'll go into at the end. Obviously I really liked this film as it was truly creepy with some genuinely terrifying moments with that added sense of dread that perhaps some of the events may have actually occurred.

Okay, let's first deal with the validity of this allegedly "true story." I should note there is also a detailed and prolonged history to the film's production you can explore too. If you want to really get to the bottom of it all, check out the "House of Darkness House of Light" books to hear the story from the Perron family. But to be fair to the skeptics, the books tell the tale more than 30 years after the events and that leaves a lot of room to let your imagination run wild or, at the very least, for us to question the accuracy of your recollection. The infamous paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, have stated that it was the most disturbing case they had dealt with, but if it was as severe as it is claimed to be, why did the Perron family stay in the house for 10 years? No one died so the threat was not as immediate as well. Eh, I never know what to think in these situations, because I like to give people the benefit of the doubt but I am never satisfied with no major physical evidence (I mean beyond an audio recording, etc.); in the movie there's all kinds of recordings and documentation but not very convincing evidence in reality. Oh well, nothing I can say will change anyone's mind and I'm no expert on the story so on with the show!

As I mentioned, there is this stylized, old school 1970s feel, which is appropriate as it is the '70s in the story, but it's more than that. There was a clear and successful attempt to instill certain techniques, tone, and scares specific to that decade of horror films; besides the fact that there is a character who becomes possessed, this is one of the main reasons many keep claiming it feels like "The Exorcist." I don't necessarily agree with that sentiment, but I can understand why many draw that conclusion. However, like "The Exorcist," this film is scary as hell with some awesome setups, in your face scares, and, yes, even cheap jump scares, but they're done well. We first get an interesting introduction to the Warrens, to establish their extensive history dealing with the supernatural, when we are regaled with the tale of a haunted doll which leads to some freaky scenes both at the onset of the film and one of the best scenes toward the end. The Warrens are played excellently by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga who portray their characters with a lot of heart. And for some reason I feel inclined to say, Mr. Wilson (hey Mr. Wilson!), please stop doing other genres and become a horror king because you seem to feel so at home in these kind of movies. But the primary focus of the story is on the Perron family of seven as they discover the horror that lurks in their new home. The parents are played by Lili Taylor who does an impressive job carrying a large portion of the film and of course my boy Ron Livingston (Say hi to Lumbergh for me!). The five daughters are played mostly by recognizable faces from various recent films, but they're each given a time to shine throughout the film as they deliver a realistic sense of fright.

So the story is never that complicated as essentially we see one cool setup after another as the Perrons are haunted, seek the help of the Warrens, and then attempt to end the haunting. Now, granted, most of the early scares are things we've come to expect from a haunted house film such as items moving on their own, scared pets, whispers, etc., but as the film picks up we get some truly remarkable moments worthy of a top horror list. I don't want to spoil too many because it's best to see them for yourself and be caught off guard. I only wish the many trailers hadn't shown so much because the clapping game scenes are really great and would have had me more tense if hadn't already known the outcomes! There are multiple ghosts in the home but the main one is some kind of malevolent spirit that is semi-demonic so I guess it's like a hybrid. Supposedly there was a woman named Bathsheba who was believed to be a witch and sacrificed a child or her child to satan. The movie's version and the folklore surrounding this woman differ quite a bit so who knows what's truth here. Whatever, her evil spirit inhabits the house, and land for that matter, as she seeks to possess the mother and kill the kids; Bathsheba is disturbing-looking enough, but I would have preferred a slightly different approach to her makeup effects. The actual most memorable and horrifying moments are when you don't see anything and your expectations are toyed with. This is why I didn't understand the jump scare criticism since many scenes required the audience to put themselves in the situation to appreciate how unsettling the scenario was, but I guess if the music spikes that automatically makes it a jump scare? I'll admit the ending feels a bit abrupt, despite having a strong and insane climax, mostly because everything just wraps up in a nice, neat package with a typical Hollywood happy ending out of the blue. They're already discussing a sequel so maybe we will have more with the Perron story, but I imagine they will simply continue with another tale from the Warren's history.

Overall, this was an incredibly scary film definitely worthy of the praise and success it is receiving thus far. Sure, it had it's fair share of flaws, questionable editing, a hint of unoriginality, and an overly sentimental ending, but it's strong points and high scare factor severely outweigh these problems. The acting, pacing, style, atmosphere, and musical score were all exceptional and commendable. There was also a creative use of a limited budget and a play on the audience's expectations and imagination that deserves to be mentioned. I highly recommend this film for reminding me I can still feel uneasy hours or days after watching a film. I really need to assemble a top 10 horror film list!

Notable Moment: When the one daughter is nearly pulled out of her bed by a ghost. The tension and fear is properly built up as she carefully checks under the bed only to realize the ghost is by the door. This is followed by the girl telling her sister something is in the shadows. Although we never see anything, this is how you execute an awesome scare by merely playing on the imagination of the audience. This is also a great example of how to create powerful scares with a smaller budget and without shitty CGI.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Witchboard 2: The Devil's Doorway Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: After moving into a new loft, a woman is gradually possessed by a spirit she contacts through a ouija board.

Review: As I already mentioned in a different post, I will not be reviewing "Witchboard III: The Possession" anytime soon, because I don't want to pay that much for it since I know it sucks ass. Maybe someone will put it on youtube for me! Besides, you know it is going to be stupid considering the first sequel is numbered and the third film is pointlessly given roman numerals! If you can't even get that much straight, what hope is there? Anyway, because you know I couldn't get enough of my '90s dream girl, Ami Dolenz, who I discussed in great detail in my "Miracle Beach" review, I just had to watch another of her films! Thankfully, my dear Ms. Dolenz has acted in a moderate number of shitty horror films that I will gradually get around to viewing so this will not be the last we hear of her. Without a doubt, she is the single best thing going on for this film as the lead character, Paige. She's looking oh so sexy here with some nice outfits on her petite, yet voluptuous, body while still pulling off that girl next door vibe; this really makes me wish she had performed in more movies.

Other than a few scenes at the end, this movie has absolutely no connection to the events of part one; so Malfeitor is off doing whatever it is Malfeitor does. Unfortunately, this film continues in the direction of nothing scary and only features one jump scare worth mentioning which is depicted on the fucking movie poster. There is also another lame love triangle, but it isn't nearly as annoying. This time it is between Paige, her ex-ish boyfriend, Mitch, and her landlord's brother, Russel. Once again, the boyfriend, Mitch the little bitch, is a total douchebag! What's up with the main guy being such an asshole? To be fair, Mitch isn't as bad as Jim and does get progressively more normal as the movie goes unlike our beloved Jimbo. Maybe, since his character changes considerably, it was simply bad direction depending on which scenes were filmed first? Russel, on the other hand, starts off cool and gets more weird as the movie goes as a lame and contrived red herring. You see, the film decided to make its focus a mystery as to how the ghost died this time around. Paige finds a ouija board lying around her loft which belonged to the previous tenant, Susan. She becomes more and more curious as to how Susan died as she communicates with the spirit. Bitch helps her get to the bottom of it all since he's a cop and Russel tries to stop her because he notices that the more Paige interacts with the ouija, the more she becomes like Susan (and do I love Ms. Dolenz getting all feisty!). It is later explained by a plot device that the more Paige talks to Susan, the more her spirit can act out in the real world allowing her to kill the more annoying characters, thankfully. By the end, you realize Russel's craziness was mostly due to his disbelief in the supernatural, and he really did have nothing to do with Susan's death. Apparently, Susan was just an evil bitch, who was indeed murdered, but after exacting her revenge wanted to control Paige's body. Russel gets killed and just as Bitch is about to bite the big one, Paige gains enough control to destroy the ouija board somehow conveniently getting rid of Susan's spirit. Yeah, I know, all it took again was the destruction of the ouija board to end it! Why does no one do this at the onset? The film ends with Paige and Bitch simply moving back together or whatever.

Alright, so this film was much better than the first, but mostly due to better action, more focus on a moderately intriguing mystery, and because of Ms. Dolenz steaming up every scene. But they still had a dumb love triangle, the whole movie could have ended in the first ten minutes if people had enough sense to burn the damn ouija board, the mystery isn't fleshed out enough and makes little sense, there is some annoying moaning sound you hear every other scene, not enough motive for why Susan is evil and she doesn't look scary at all, and the film ends with the same retarded zinger the first film had! For the most part, this is a different level of mediocre compared with the first film, but it is greatly enhanced by Ms. Dolenz in the same way I'd imagine others like the first one with Ms. Kitaen. I do feel this film is at least worth a view because it has more going on, but don't expect to be dazzled.

Notable Moment: The final scene when we have a cameo from Jim and a background friend of his taking away the trash. They humorously mention Linda and naming Jim's son Brandon. This was a nice little bonus despite the cornball final shot.

Final Rating: 5.5/10

My dear Ms. Dolenz looking as sexy as always!

Witchboard Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: After playing with a ouija board at a party, a couple find themselves haunted by a malevolent spirit.

Review: You know, there's a Korean horror movie with pretty much the same title and neither that film nor this one could make proper use of such a simplistic horror gimmick: the ouija board. It really can't be that hard can it? Damn it, the few shots in "Paranormal Activity" 1 and 2 that dealt with using a ouija board were scarier than this. Anyway, this is yet another '80s horror movie like no one has seen but me and for good reason. I remember renting this shit from the video store thinking it had a cool cover and promising plot so how could it go wrong? Well, quite easily actually. I felt as though they were attempting to channel the fear of possession that "The Exorcist" had except that that movie is more known for its awesome makeup effects rather than reliance on the ouija board. However, this film had no demon and instead employs a dumb ghost called Darth Vad--I mean, Malfeitor. We only even see Malfeitor once in a somewhat amusing jump scare while the rest of the film he's invisible, I guess, because we only see a lame-looking point of view shot when he's killing idiots; and even when we see him, he's not scary looking at all. Beyond this, the only major tension is that the main girl, Linda, is slowly being possessed through some made up bullshit the movie calls "progressive entrapment." Oh boy and when she's possessed talk about some bad acting! I should probably note the only real draw for many is the Linda character who is played by Tawny Kitaen who is known for her appearances in Whitesnake's music videos and being somewhat of an '80s sex symbol. But this movie came before all of that, and, honestly, she is not doing it for me at all. Yes, believe it or not, no extra points for the chick this time! For those Tawny fans out there, you should know you do briefly see her naked in the shower so I suppose there's that...but eh.

The reason why this movie sucks so much is mostly because of the super lame '80s love triangle; and yeah, I'm singling out the '80s on this one because the presentation was just that right level of hokeyness. So Linda's current boyfriend is a douchebag named Jim. Her ex-boyfriend is Brandon: Jim's former best friend. Brandon is undoubtably the better man yet Jim is supposed to be the main character and our hero? This makes no sense because he's such a huge douche and dumb as fuck. To make matters worse, it is later revealed Jim is supposed to be really smart?! Uhh no, the evidence speaks for itself. The whole film keeps giving you one reason after another to question why Linda is with Jim and why did she even break up with Brandon in the first place. All I can say is it's a major contrivance. I suppose you could argue Brandon was too busy playing with his ouija board and little ghost boyfriend but still. And come on, Jimbo acts like he's fucking Han Solo with lines like Linda saying, "I love you," and this clown says, "I know." Oh shut the fuck up, bitch! At least they had sense enough to show Linda having this "what the fuck?" expression on her face. Plus, Jimbo throws too many tantrums like a big baby for me to take him seriously as the hero. And then the reason why Brandon and Jim don't get along is so unbelievably stupid and boring. Is this a horror movie or a soap opera? Too much of this film is dedicated to this lameness!

There's not too much to say about this shit because it is mediocre all around. The acting is bad, the characters are annoying, there's nothing scary, the plot is totally wasted, and it's more of a lame soap opera with light horror elements. The way they defeat Malfeitor is beyond idiotic because all they had to do was destroy the ouija board which could have occurred at any moment in the film! While the film does have some entertaining cornball moments, the only real draw I can see would be for Tawny fans out there which I am not one of them sadly. This is an easy pass.

Notable Moment: At the end when Jim is knocked through a window. This shot is so hilariously bad that it's awesome!

Final Rating: 4.5/10

Friday, July 12, 2013

Dark Forest of Death (aka Dark Forest) Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: Five friends find themselves stalked by wannabe zombies in a haunted forest.

Review: When I reviewed "February 29" I failed to mention that it was actually a part of a collection of four horror films; this film is yet another entry and the other two are "Forbidden Floor" and "Roommates." I don't know when I'll get around to those, but I know I had watched all four at some point years ago not long after their release. It's not a big deal though because the films have no connection to one another as far as I know, and what I do remember is that "February 29" was the best one anyway. So, moving along, this movie pretty much sucks. Here we go again, right? The plot is so simplistic yet they couldn't even execute it with, what appeared to be, a decent budget. I was so bored while watching it that I was growing tempted to skip ahead or just turn it off which is rare for me. This should have been reduced to a half hour (or less) short with its script tightened and the padding cut down drastically; my god, is this movie loaded with so much filler! But the worst part is that the story is presented so overly dramatic as if the death of these characters are meant to tug on the audience's heartstrings or something. I kept thinking, "damn it, die already mother fucker!" Oh, and the pathetic twist at the end is hilariously stupid!

As I mentioned, the plot is mostly straightforward, yet complicated by mindless filler, as five idiots go "climbing" in a forest but somehow become lost while driving. Was there supposed to be a mountain hidden in these woods I missed? Or are they climbing trees? This part of the plot is seriously brushed over since they're supposed to be in a club yet they never mention any of the other members, wonder why they aren't there, and they don't seem all that prepared or dressed properly. The film thankfully sums up the one-dimensional nature of the characters by giving them nicknames that represent their personality which I will refer to them by even though the movie does not. Those nicknames are: Bigbrother, Witch, Tomcat, Lonely, and Twinkie. I will explain that Witch and Twinkie are girls and the other three are guys. Furthermore, I have no idea why that girl's nickname is Twinkie, because I thought that was like a slur against Asians; well, nevertheless, her and Witch are pretty cute! Speaking of such, the main character is Witch, and the film actually begins by showing us that Witch received some sort of clairvoyant ability from her sister who killed herself; this is more or less a contrivance to increase tension and drama but overall never really plays a significant role in the plot. Witch's boyfriend is Bigbrother and he and Lonely are brothers but there is unnecessary tension between them for no reason that is ever disclosed except for something about the boy scouts or some shit like that. I have no idea and don't care.

So the group wanders pointlessly around the forest babbling plot points as a means of exposition until they stumble upon what they refer to as a pagoda. I thought a pagoda was a style of building but if any Koreans understand this better, please enlighten me. Witch warns them not to mess with it but Tomcat and Twinkie just couldn't resist. Somehow messing with these rocks activates, in a manner of speaking, the unexplained supernatural forces residing within the forest. We get absolutely no explanation or understanding of what is behind everything but it somehow creates zombies in an inconsistent manner. The only rule, if you will, established is that if you bleed onto the forest, you're slowly (or fast if the plot demands it) turned into a zombie. It really makes no sense if you think about it and by not having an understanding of the cause makes it even more frustrating to watch. The first to turn is Tomcat who later kills Twinkie in an overly painful way I'll discuss later. Lonely cuts himself like an idiot and transforms so unbearably slow over the course of half the film. Eventually they run into some weird hermit who recounts the tale of his family turning into zombies and being forced to kill them. Even after all the hermit says, Bigbrother still hits the old guy and makes him bleed; for some reason the hermit disappears into thin air. At this point it feels like the film is just about wrapping up as they make their way back to the car, but wait, what's this? 50 more minutes left of the movie?! You've got to be shitting me. After painfully and tediously dragging out every scene to the maximum point of annoyance, Lonely finally turns and is killed by Witch, the hermit is killed by Bigbrother because he somehow regains his human side (why hello contrivance), and Tomcat and Twinkie are killed in zombie form. Well, it looks like this is going to end on a happy note when all of a sudden Witch decides to turn herself into a zombie because she claims she had a vision of Bigbrother turning into a zombie and her killing him (and apparently the road is now apart of the forest). Because the emo part of her mind says she couldn't bear to kill her dumb boyfriend, she decides it's better for him to be forced to kill her?! This is completely ignoring the fact that you fucking idiots are both safe! Okay, so is it finally over now that all the lame drama has been exhausted? Nope. In what I'm sure the writer's thought would be a clever twist, there is one more zombie out of the blue. Granted, the fact that the hermit does show a photo of his family that you don't realize was taken by an unknown party was kind of creative, but it makes no sense if you think about it. Wouldn't you be weary of someone running around the forest taking photos of your family? Now if they are implying the final zombie was the hermit's daughter, that's still bull because why would she be left out of the photo and flashbacks? But even if we make up an excuse for this mysterious photographer's existence, it still doesn't explain how this zombie girl was turned and why she was hiding in a car for a YEAR only to come out at the exact moment Bigbrother appears to be safe! It's so asinine and farfetched I have few words to describe how stupid it is! But is this movie finally over yet?! Nope, still not over. The final scene wraps up the bullshit by a news reporter as we see some cliche criminals heading into the forest.

I'm nodding my head is disbelief here. If it weren't for the decent makeup effects and gore, the score would be even lower. The story is so weak, it's plagued by obvious filler while still managing to be way too long, there are no satisfying explanations given, the characters have no depth even though the film seems to be convinced of the contrary, and worst of all it is beyond boring. Even the cute girls couldn't save this one and, hell, they killed off Twinkie so quick she hardly even counts. Do yourself a favor and do not waste your time with this one.

Notable Moment: When Twinkie is stabbed in her crotch to death. This scene seems to have bothered people the most to the point they claim it's a rape scene. I don't agree with that, but this kind of death was way out of place, did not fit the tone, and, honestly, Twinkie didn't deserve such a brutal and horrific death.

Final Rating: 4/10

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tormented (aka Rabbit Horror 3D) Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: After her brother kills an injured rabbit, a mute woman becomes unhinged as she is pursued by a giant anthropomorphic rabbit.

Review: I guess this is a semi-sequel to "The Shock Labyrinth 3D" following many of the same themes and uses most of the same imagery. Although this film isn't a direct continuation (thank god) it is meant to have some weird connection that is hard to properly describe as this film's plot is almost as convoluted! Basically, there is a scene when the main character, Kiriko, played by Hikari Mitsushima who was Sayu in "Death Note," and her brother, Daigo, are at the movie theater watching "The Shock Labyrinth 3D" when it suddenly interacts with them. Even though this film makes so little sense, there is a lot of room for speculation as to what is really happening unlike the last movie with a nonsensical, paradoxical loop with no explanation and full of contradictions. I'm not going to go over what was good about this film this time since pretty much everything SL did correctly continued onward except with improved effects, visuals, and 3-D. But, at the same time, I can't give them full credit because they still rely on the same spiral staircase, the rundown hospital, rain in slow motion, etc. Furthermore, the plot still seems to be about guilt which made this film feel more like a rehash than a sequel.

So what's really going on in this mess? The best way I can explain it is that it is the ravings of someone's mind--presumably Kiriko's head but not necessarily. At face value, the film presents itself about Daigo seeing a dying rabbit and killing it to end its misery, but onlookers misunderstand his gesture and think he's crazy. Later Daigo is tormented by someone in a rabbit costume that morphs, on occasion, to become a real, giant rabbit. It is revealed that Daigo's mom, Kyoko, Kiriko's stepmother, died giving birth to Daigo and he believes she is the one wearing the costume. From a distance, the father, Kohei, is observing Kiriko's behavior and becomes concerned and contacts some doctor for advice that will be relevant later. It won't come as a shock, but there is no Daigo and it is Kiriko imagining everything so far. This leads us to the next twist in which we learn Kiriko believes she killed Kyoko when she was a child because she did not like the idea of a stepmother. When the two were at an amusement park (the same one with the Shock Labyrinth), Kyoko was dressed as a rabbit to get Kiriko to play with her, but, upon learning this, Kiriko somehow freaks out and Kyoko seemingly dies killing her unborn baby as well. Supposedly Kiriko has been so consumed by the guilt it made her mute and block out the entire incident. Then, we can assume, when she killed the rabbit she invented this Daigo persona as a relapse in her psychosis since the rabbit somehow triggered her latent memories of Kyoko. So Kiriko appears to be aware of her hallucinations and visions and things appear to be getting better until Daigo begins to manifest in an attempt to control Kohei. Kiriko goes to the Shock Labyrinth attraction which is portrayed as a real hospital with some unknown connection to Kiriko. There, she climbs the spiral staircase to confront Daigo by stabbing him which in turn stabs herself and she falls down the stairwell to her death. The film ends with Kohei walking off into the sunset with Daigo and the audience is left baffled by what the fuck they just watched.

Okay, now let's really go down this rabbit hole! I will offer a few different interpretations of what this film is trying to tell us indirectly. There is a strong indication that perhaps Kiriko was the one who had been pregnant and maybe even Kohei was the father. First, the dying rabbit that triggered Kiriko to go off the rails was not, in fact, dying but was actually giving birth. Second, we have ample evidence of Kiriko trying to play mother to Daigo in her mind and images of her holding him as a baby. Third, we have a random shot of blood running down Kiriko's leg in her recollection when she was a kid. Fourth, Kohei is clearly guilty about something and is trying to keep Kiriko from the truth and forget the past himself while he's at it. Fifth, Kohei implies that Kyoko is Kiriko's mother and that there was no stepmother; he flat out says this, but I will address the actual validity to the statement later. Finally, the letters to Kohei about what to name the baby might have been from Kiriko and not Kyoko considering they are mixed in with Kiriko's torn and scribbled photos of Kyoko. Clearly Kiriko is crazy, but I suppose it could be more straightforward. I definitely believe the point in which Kiriko is restrained at the hospital is the last scene told in reality, if any of the movie was, considering in the next scene the hospital is empty and she's in different clothes. There is some indication that maybe Kiriko simply accidentally killed someone working at the amusement park who scared her in the rabbit costume or that she brought on the birth and this somehow traumatized her. It's tough to delve into such an unhinged psyche without all kinds of weird evidence supporting different explanations. So my other theory is that the whole movie is in Kohei's mind. Kohei is making a book about "The Little Mermaid" and many of the scenes parallel to that tale especially Kiriko being mute. The film obviously wants you to make some connection here, but I'm not necessarily sure what they're going for. The doctor that Kohei converses with tends to give us the biggest evidence in the film since he greatly implies that Kohei is crazy and lying to himself...but to what degree? Kiriko is probably real but what if she is actually the wife and there never was a daughter or Kyoko? I mean, Kohei keeps stressing that Kyoko is the mother and only wife and the doctor keeps looking at Kohei like he's talking nonsense and brings up the possibility that maybe it's not Kiriko that has a problem but Kohei; he says this hesitantly and carefully selecting his words. Furthermore, Kohei definitely looks directly at Daigo in one scene and we see shots of Kyoko lurking behind Kohei when he's alone. Why would any of these shots occur if it's all in Kiriko's mind when they are counter to her perception of reality? At the end of the day, you're guess is as good as mine. Maybe the whole movie is in the mind of the dying rabbit!

I'll give this film some credit, it really forces you to think even if it wasn't all that good. The pacing, acting, visuals, special effects, and cinematography are all excellent and keep you entertained long enough to get you through the confusion. But, the story is pure nonsense tackling too many ideas at once while never providing clarity or even consistency; although some of the ideas were interesting like a shot of Daigo's shadow climbing a nonexistent ladder. Plus, I never understood what role the Shock Labyrinth was meant to play since the amusement park is there and Kiriko has some bond with it. And what's up with the rabbit doll and rabbits in general?! Rabbits represent fertility? Kiriko and rabbits and babies oh my! Oh wait, rabbits...rabbit in Japanese is usagi...Usagi is Sailor Moon...the movie is about Sailor Moon! There we go, it all makes sense now. Eh, the movie is sort of worth watching and had a few scary moments. But it suffers from SL's problem that it would have worked much better as a straightforward, conventional horror film. And I should stress this movie will make even less sense (hard to believe, I know) if you don't watch SL first.

Notable Moment: When the rabbit doll comes out of the movie screen. Now if this were the actual premise then there could have been near limitless potential for the direction to take the story.

Final Rating: 5.5/10

The Shock Labyrinth 3D Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: After a traumatic event ten years earlier, five friends reunite only to relive the same experience.

Review: This is one of those movies that would have been good if they simply played it straightforward instead of attempting some pretentious nonsense. I mean, I still don't know what the hell even happened, because no matter how I try to rationalize it, and come up with a scenario in my mind to explain everything, it just doesn't add up! It's annoying because the first 20-30 minutes of the film are really interesting and lays the groundwork nicely for an intriguing mystery. Unfortunately, the film fails to deliver on the buildup and is unable to provide a meaningful resolution to the story. The 3-D gimmick is also stupid and misused while loosely scattered making it almost irrelevant to the plot except to make a few scenes look cool. I've been noticing more Japanese horror movies pulling this bullshit which sucks, because I thought they'd learn from Hollywood's mistake but I guess not...

So let's address the few things this movie did right first since those are more technical while the story is a mess. While the 3-D mostly looks like shit, the overall imagery is strong and the cinematography is to be commended. There are many, many shots that feel inspired and creative to the point I wish they had been applied to a better film. I especially loved the spiral staircase that is effectively displayed as well as the foreboding corridors. As an extension of the film's look, the setting is creative as the film takes place predominately at a "haunted house" attraction within an amusement park called, you guessed it, the Shock Labyrinth; it's actually supposed to be an abandoned hospital, but I don't know how else to refer to it. Seeing some decently scary looking mannequins and props lying in the background annoyed me because they are not utilized properly; this is what I meant by the film would have been more entertaining had this concept been the focus rather than the convoluted story given. The mannequins do come to life toward the end, but at that point it feels so unnecessary, but I should still mention it's the best scene. Finally, the opening scenes are genuinely captivating and immerse you in the mystery of what really did happen to the characters when they were kids. Sadly, only disappointment will follow as the story unfolds.

The reason the story is so stupid is because the very premise is a paradox. Essentially, ten years ago, the kids were at some amusement park and then snuck into the Shock Labyrinth attraction when it was closed. Within the attraction they came face to face with their future selves and were frightened. At first I thought they'd be panicking and try to flee but for some reason the kids recover the confidence to keep fucking with each other which in turn leads to the apparent death of one of their friends as she falls to the bottom of a large spiral staircase. Because the kids each had some lame reason why they did not try to help the girl, this led to the present day guilt they feel leaving them in a state of forced amnesia as they attempt to forget what happened. We continually see aspects of the story shaped by the future selves interacting with the past thus shaping the memories they had as kids, but this makes no fucking sense! This cannot possibly work on any level. This is just like "Ju-on" with the goddamn haunting yourself phenomena except this makes even less sense since we have no reason for time travel nor do we get any sort of explanation. Plus, why are we introduced to the grown up version of the dead girl since she appears to be trapped in the attraction as a little girl? Fuck that, it's worse because we later learn the girl didn't even die! But if that's true, why didn't her sister and mom care to mention that fact earlier?! Ugh. You kind of have to see this shit for yourself to fully grasp the circular nature of the plot, but, suffice to say, it makes you want to hit your head against a wall. I'm not even going to try and explain the random shots of weird shit, multiple plot elements introduced that have no purpose or connection to anything, and the outright shenanigans that appear for no discernible reason except to further perplex the viewer. I get that this was supposed to be mostly psychological and focus on coping with guilt but there are better ways to cover this material without shoehorning in time travel as a terrible plot device.

In the end, there were some good ideas and the beginning started off quite promising while the film as a whole had great cinematography and memorable imagery. However, the story is convoluted and no matter what explanation anyone will come up with to make sense of this plot, there are too many contradictions and nonsensical developments that destroy any logical flow. How the hell can you scare your adult self who already possesses your memories of being scared of the events they're forcing to play out in an endless loop?! Just read that retarded question a few times and let it sink in! Had this film simply been about a bunch of kids that saw some creepy shit at a haunted hospital only to be mysteriously brought back there as adults with the attraction coming to life--that would have been worth my time. Hell, having the place simply haunted would have at least been a worthy excuse to brush over the randomness rather than the apparent haunting by a little girl who can appear as an adult while simultaneously not even be dead! Okay, so a lot of reviewers have trashed this movie (including me) and the rating on IMDb is really low, but, as nonsensical as it was, I still feel it's not that bad. The acting, pacing, and visuals are strong enough for me to declare this an average movie and just barely worth a view if you're feeling curious.

Notable Moment: When the attractions come to life finally. Even with such a cool buildup, it still managed to be a major letdown.

Final Rating: 5/10

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Ramblings of Ryan Volume 1

Okay, so this is something random I have been planning on doing for a while now. This is more of a traditional blog post to keep whoever updated on what I am doing at the moment and to discuss things not necessarily movie related. I will probably do something like this once every couple months or as certain things catch my attention that I would like to discuss. While I have many interests beyond geeky hobbies, I will continue to focus on those subjects since I want to keep the blog's tone lighthearted and devoid of such topics like politics, current events, etc. But before jumping in, I wanted to explain that I had a kidney stone a week and a half ago, and so I haven't really been able to put together any reviews for a while. I was always under the assumption that such illnesses were for old people, but apparently it can happen to anyone at any age depending on specific factors. Regardless, I'm recovered and I have a lot of movies I need to review before I forget too many details! To name a few, I'll be adding "Witchboard" 1 and 2, "Hatchet" 1-3, "The Shock Labyrinth," and "Tormented." I may bring this up again, but I couldn't track down "Witchboard III: The Possession" unless I wanted to pay $10 or more for a used DVD; of course I am saying hell no to that! Plus, from everything I've read, that movie is pure shit, and I don't want to waste that much money on something that stupid not even new. Another thing I've been considering is trying to formulate a top 10 horror movies list, but it's much harder than it sounds. Do I go by movies that scared me only such as "Shutter" and "The Ring" or how do I factor in awesome movies that don't scare me like the original "Halloween?"

So the first thing I've really wanted to mention is an upcoming video game for the PC called "Dreadout." As an ardent supporter of Asian horror I want to inform as many people as possible of this games existence since I'm sure many will be unaware of it. Basically, the game plays similar to "Fatal Frame" relying on photography, but it is made by Indonesian developers mostly funded by donations. Not only does this game look scary as hell, but it seems to have some solid ideas with surprisingly good graphics for an indie game; I'd say the graphics are above PS2 but slightly below PS3. The main protagonist, Linda, is also one of the most attractive video game characters I've seen in a long time--easily on level with the "Dead or Alive" babes. Right now it's still at demo stage, but it has been greenlit by Steam so they are projecting a Fall release. Definitely check out the demo if you can, and I will link to the youtube trailer where you can learn more information about the developers and whatever else catches your fancy:

"Dreadout's" main website where you can download the demo:

Now something I've been reading a lot since "Man of Steel" came out are increased comments about Superman vs Goku. I've already discussed that I'm a big Batman fan, and only the most misguided fanboy would believe Batman seriously stands a chance against Superman. Well, the same applies here with Superman standing absolutely NO chance of defeating Goku. I mean, where did this idiotic concept come from? Goku is one of, if not, the most powerful fictional beings ever conceived! Let's put a few things in perspective: Superman cannot blow up a planet so keep that in mind. Vegeta in the early episodes of "Dragon Ball Z" destroyed a planet with two fingers; Goku would later defeat Vegeta. Then after becoming at least 100 times stronger, Goku fought and defeated Frieza who blew up a planet with some of strongest fighters in the universe with one finger! If that weren't bad enough, after growing even more ridiculously powerful, Goku fought and defeated people who could flick Frieza to death. And then, finally, at the end of DBZ, Goku fought a being so powerful it threatened to destroy the universe with sheer brute force and was able to kill the creators of the universe singlehandedly. So please tell me how little ol' Superman can even begin to stand a chance against a fighter dealing with menaces of that magnitude?! I mean, maybe Superman would give kid-Goku from "Dragon Ball" some trouble, but that's about it. None of the DBZ characters should be compared to other fiction because they exist on a plane of vast powers all on their own. Besides, Goku would never fight Superman nor would Superman fight Goku, because both believe in the same principles and are heroes through and through.

I had originally planned to do a giant rant on how stupid X-box One was turning out to be, but they thankfully retracted most of their asinine proposed ideas. But I still wanted to chime in a little to say that this issue brought up how brainwashed (or braindead) it appears so many alleged gamers are. Despite all the controlling measures Microsoft was taking, there were still people willing to pay for such an abomination of an "entertainment" system. I love X-box and it's been my main gaming system for years now, but there was no chance in hell I would support such an anti-consumer product. This then led to the ridiculous claim that individuals don't really own their games and that used games are killing the market. That is such utter bullshit it's hilarious. Not only is any product bought now property of the buyer but to say otherwise would imply you're only renting a product. Since we are not renting, even though I'm sure greedy companies would love that, then we own the item! Furthermore, never in any other case would people say such an outlandish and stupid statement. So when I buy paint from a store to paint my house, I can't actually do what I want with it? Or when I buy bread, if the company doesn't like me toasting it, I can't? As for the used games killing the market? Uh, what about used cars, homes, furniture, etc.? If you can't provide a good enough product that people are willing to buy it new, then up the quality or lower your production costs. I remember only a few short years ago it would take all year for a game to lose value unless it sucked. But because they have brainwashed the minds of their customers to constantly desire new merchandise and jumping onto the next game immediately, companies are now feeling the backlash while still trying to pass blame. How typical. Honestly, I agree with some critics that an industry crash seems to be on the horizon.

Finally, I wanted to discuss a topic I don't nearly have enough opportunities to bring dear sweet Rika Ishikawa: the world's most beautiful woman! Sure, I use every chance to mention her, but she just doesn't do enough movies unfortunately which would make sense since she's mainly a singer after all. Oh well, I'll always make sure to mention her here! My only gripe with Ms. Ishikawa is that she doesn't maintain her natural hair color enough. For those who still don't know about this goddess she is a former member of the famous J-pop group Morning Musume as well as a variety of other splinter groups. While it's hard to ignore her looks, she has a quirky personality which gave rise to the nickname "Charmy" as she often is easy going with an odd sense of humor. She's also known for her physical fitness and extreme flexibility performing a signature standing split when prodded by interviewers. There's a lot to say about my beloved Rika, but it's hard to find current information because most websites that talk about her are in languages I can't read! Anyway, Rika, if you can ever read this, marry me?!

Close things out by basking in a Rika montage!