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In the immortal words of Dr. Dre: “Never let me slip, ’cause if I slip, then I’m slipping”. While I may not be tripping with my non-existent Nina, I do feel that bar applies to me, because I haven’t had a new post in a while. I’ve been busy, catching up on Dexter in time for the new series, trying to get rid of some clothes and the like, and generally living life, I guess. I had no idea that this would be what would get me to start writing again though. Here it is.

As I previously mentioned, I just got around to watching season seven of Dexter. A superb season, as per usual, and one of the highlights was Ray Stevenson’s portrayal of Isaak Sirko. He comes off as effortlessly badass, and when I looked up his filmography and saw him as Frank Castle, I knew I had to grab it. Add to it Dominic “McNutty” West, and you’ve got a winning combination.

Out of all of the Marvel characters, the Punisher is one I’ve never really taken much interest in, I’d never watched any of the previous films, my only real interactions with him is in the PS2 game, which was awesome, of course, and Marvel: Avengers Alliance. Despite my lacking knowledge, I knew enough that this wouldn’t be the deepest of films – that said, this did blast past my expectations.

This is primarily due to Stevenson’s ability to convey emotion. When he’s supposed to be upset, you believe it. I learnt that from Sirko, and this has built upon that ability even further. Of course it’s mainly about the excessive violence, falling under the Marvel Knights banner, but there was more of a storyline that I had expected. I dunno, with this kind of film, I expected something akin to Machete, with non-stop violence, and, in honesty, probably would have preferred that. But it’s a moot point, Stevenson and his supporting cast, including the lovely Julie Benz, made the downtime enjoyable.

What’s a hero without an antagonist eh? Luckily, West came through as Jigsaw; the rest of his crew weren’t to the same standard, but he worked well. I had wondered how I could come to dislike the man who took part in one of the best television shows of all time, but he pulled it off, if only for an hour and a half. I would have thought he was too likable, but he showed his versatility here. Also, that accent was hilarious, bonus points for that. The transition from Billy the Beaut to this disfigured monster was good too, providing some of the highlights of the film.

Some of the violence was of course over the top – this was to be expected, but it kind of gave off a Hobo with a Shotgun vibe at parts. I’m not sure if that’s positive or negative to be honest. Oh, and the opening sequence reminded my greatly of little-known Christmas film Santa’s Slay. You have to watch this.

Although I said the film was more storyline-oriented than I had expected, that’s not to say it’s a deep tale or anything like that; it’s just coherent enough to keep it all together, and I suppose I should have expected that of a reboot. I would like to see a sequel, but after destroying every villain – and the five-odd years since the release – I guess that’s not going to happen. While it wasn’t an Oscar grabber (obviously), if you’ve got a couple of hours to kill, you could do much worse than this one. Give it a watch, despite the negative reviews, you may like it.

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I don’t know what’s wrong with me. As much as these reviews are completely different from what I would write now, I feel I have to bring them over. It doesn’t feel right just abandoning them, and it gives you guys a chance to see what I’ve written in the past. Also, there are only three or four reviews left to bring over, it’ll be all new content like The Shining coming after this. This was originally published on the 28th of May, 2011. I just hope you can stick with it long enough to see something better; until then, while not the best review I’ve done, you get a film I still love, Machete.

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Machete. I had no idea what to expect here at all. I hadn’t seen Grindhouse or the trailer for this. I wasn’t even entirely sure what genre it was. I had heard good things so I took a gamble on this. All I knew was that it was going to be a bit of a gore fest. But it’s so much more than that.

Pretty much the whole experience was new to me. To my knowledge, I’ve never seen a film with Danny Trejo in before; I’ve definitely become a fan now. I don’t think I’ve really watched any B movie, exploitation style films before either but I’m looking forward to the sequels coming too. I’m sat here praising the film, but I haven’t even spoke about it yet.

Right, from the offset, this film is not going to be for everyone. There is gratuitous violence in this. If that offends you, then there’s not really much point reading on. It’s not the Hostel sort of violence, more comedic with each bullet shot unleashing a torrent of blood that cascades down walls like water. However, this all fits into the style of it. There is a grainy effect on the screen and an announcer at the beginning and the end. There are moments of comedy, romance, thrilling and chilling. It’s got a bit of everything. I’m not going into the story too much because I don’t want to ruin it, although it’s not exactly complex, no delicate plot twists, just 105 minutes of action.

The audio is good too. There’s no real soundtrack to it, but the dialogue is just expert, in my limited experience it’s similar to the sort of thing that would have been heard in the original B movies from the 80s. It’s full of clichés but it’s hilarious all the way though.

[Note: The original review contained the original film poster. Of course that’s gone now. I wish I could keep it in, just because of the line mentioned in the caption]

Come on. You want to see this don’t you? “They just messed with the wrong Mexican”! Worth seeing just because of that line!

I’d be remiss to neglect talking about the cast. Danny Trejo as the title character is just completely believable in the role. He’s a complete bad ass, but he sort of shows emotion. He does but he doesn’t. I can’t explain it, me saying it has caused such a contradiction I’ll leave it there. He’s bad ass though, that’s for sure

There’s a whole host of attractive females in it too. Jessica Alba as an immigrations officer, Michelle Rodriguez as the leader of the revolution and Lindsay Lohan as a nun with a gun. I won’t say anything else but they all look pretty fine and put on great performances throughout. Most films I can pick someone out who doesn’t do such a great job, but there’s really no one that doesn’t play their part here.

Robert De Niro. A fantastic actor to be sure. I’ve never really seen him in this sort of role, of course he’s been a villain before (Cape Fear anyone?) but I think this is a great part for him and he played it to perfection.

The rest of the cast is great too. Steven Seagal, Jeff Fahey and horror icon Tom Savini among many more all do a great job. I think I’ve covered most of the bases here. I’ll give the scores now!

Audio: I’ve already covered this at the beginning, but I like the dialogue a lot. I laughed a lot throughout. I’m probably being generous but I don’t care. Just awesome. 80/100

Visuals: The almost cartoon effects are just incredible and hark back to a simpler time. I’d assume it gives a nostalgic feeling to those who watched them at the time and even does to me who didn’t. Again, I loved it, just awesome. 80/100

Story: The story is a great idea. A former Mexican Federale who wants to do good in the world, but in a completely unconventional fashion. At least I think that’s what it was about! The story has a lot more depth than it first appears, and I’m looking forward to the sequels, Machete Kills and Machete Kills Again. For the third time, it’s just awesome. 90/100

Overall: Just awesome! This film is incredible, the overall score is 83/100!

I really wanted to review something bad so I didn’t continually give out really good scores. That said, I had to get this out while my viewing was still fresh. It’s great. Anyone who isn’t offended by this type of film should definitely check it out. Just remember…Machete don’t text!

Alright, this one is less of a review, more of a play-by-play. To be honest, most of my reviews are, but Thom’s Play-By-Plays doesn’t have the same kind of flow. Yeah, so, I’ve seen this a few times before, and, while enjoyable, and featuring some great performances, I’ve never entirely got the hype surrounding it. We’ll see if it fares any better this time.

Throughout this review, I’ll be referring to the characters by different names. I’m annoying like that. Here’s the cast that I talk about a various times though, with their different names.

  • Jack Torrance – Jack Nicholson
  • Wendy Torrance – Shelly Duvall, Olive Oyl
  • Danny Torrance – Danny Lloyd
  • Scatman Crothers – Dick Hallorann

Opening drive. This scene is cool, I dunno why, but I’ve always liked this scene. Maybe it’s just the majestic nature of that long road with the water nearby, it’s beautiful.

After the beginning of Jack Nicholson’s interview, it cuts to his wife and son having breakfast, and the little boy is being weird with Olive Oyl. This serves as an introduction to Tony too. Back to the interview again – Nicholson looks bored. He’s warned about the isolation involved in the job and he likes the sound of that. He got the job — if he didn’t, this could be a boring film. Danny first shows his psychic ability. Nicholson’s hair is still…there.

They’re driving there, talking about the Donner Party. No idea why I’m going into depth on this. It’s all just setting the scene at this point. They get there. The little boy sees creepy little girls. Looks like they ruined his game of darts. The two adult Torrances are walking with Stuart Ullman. Ullman looks like Ed Hurley from Twin Peaks. Well, they have similar hair anyway.

Duval and Danny meet Scatman Crothers. He has the Shining. “What’s up Doc?” from Hong Kong Phooey?! Thanks for letting me know about that James, you Nintendo Nerd. Him and Danny talk about the Shining, and Room 237. “There ain’t nothing in Room 237!” Yeaaaaaah, we’ll see if that’s true. Well, I know, as I’ve seen this before, but I’ll let it go for now. Jack is going in with his tennis ball!

Now Danny on his tricycle. One of those iconic scenes the film produced. Really haven’t seen all that much of Nicholson yet, despite how my words may have come across. The mother and son are briefly having a walk through the maze, Nicholson looks at a model of it which transforms to the real thing. Dunno why, but I found this funny for some reason.

Danny is back on his trike, sees 237. Don’t go in kid! He doesn’t. You can’t going all in with a psychological film like this that quickly. Jack’s on his typewriter. “Get a lot written today?” “Yes.” He’s started a kind of passive-abusive relationship and the film has barely started. I thought the happiness went on a bit longer, but hey, had to get into it at some point. Oh yeah, and the phones aren’t working. Nightmare.

Danny sees the two girls. They want to play, but they’re dead. Nightmare. For them. And Danny I suppose. Very bad dreams seem to be a recurring theme, at least in my review. It’s just like pictures in a book Danny. According to Holloran anyway — that looked pretty real to me.

Jack Nicholson is wearing spandex. Oh God, he has gone crazy already. He wants his son to have a good time. That’s nice of him. Probably be better if you didn’t try to murder him. Ahh, can’t believe I forgot the spoiler alert. Yeah, spoilers. It’s not like it’s a new release or a huge twist, don’t flame me!

Danny goes into 237. That’s it. The segue is a fade to Wendy. Jack’s going mental, dribbling, moaning, you name it, he’s doing it. He dreamt he killed Wendy and Danny. Ahh, a foreboding. Or is it? No more spoilers from me. Until I get to it, obviously. Danny is here and he’s been harmed. Poor kid. Jack looks absolutely crazy, yet stoic at the same time.

He’s at the Gold Room now. Having a chat with Lloyd. This is probably the best scene of the film. It makes me want a Jack Daniels, but that’s irrelevant. I think Jack is in a similar situation to me. Luckily for Jack, he can get a bourbon, because Lloyd is not busy! A revelation occurs here, a previous episode of abuse occurred on Danny three years past, which he attempts to justify as a loss of muscular control. Wendy runs in and tells Jack about a woman in a room; “Are you out of your fucking mind?”

Scatman has great photos on his wall. Ahhh yeah! Yeah, anyway, more Shining business occurring here, Dick feels it, Danny is dribbling. Dribbling, like bad dreams, seems like a recurring theme. This film is better than I remember to be honest.

Jack seems scared at first when he sees the woman, but this turns to happiness when he sees her naked body. Classic Nicholson here. He decides to risk his marriage by having a kiss. Then all hell breaks loose, she’s a bloody reanimated corpse! Well, an old woman at least. Whatever that was, I’m glad he got out of there, I couldn’t look at that much longer. He leaves and says he saw nothing. I couldn’t keep that a secret, but that was a pretty convincing lie. Fair enough, but now he’s trying to convince Wendy that Danny is self-harming. Woah, Jack!  (Woah, Arthur!) He ends it with this phrase that continues to stick in my mind:

Wendy, I have let you fuck up my life so far, but I am not going to let you fuck this up!

Nice guy. So, he’s off to the ballroom now, and there’s a party! Jack’s happy to see Lloyd again. More free drinks! Yes! Anyway, he goes off and Delbert Grady spills a drink or two on him, before taking him to the toilet. Not as bad as it sounds. Grady was the caretaker here. No wait, Jack has always been the caretaker here. Who knows? If my brother is right, Rob Ager of Collative Learning knows what’s going on, I may have to check some of his stuff out at some point. But yeah, Grady has always been here himself, throwing in a little bit of racism every now and then. It has a point — he’s letting him know about Crothers and Danny’s ability. Speaking of which, Dick is on his way back now.

Wendy has come to the typewriter to find “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” multiple times You probably already knew that. Many, many times. Jack’s here now, scaring his wife with a simple question. She’s not going to enjoy the rest of the film. Yeah, so, direct confrontation here. Nicholson’s sarcasm is absolutely hilarious here.

You’ve had your whole fucking life to think things over!

The scene climaxes with Jack following Wendy up a staircase, with many classic lines. Among them:

I’m not going to hurt you, I’m just going to bash your brains in! Bash ’em right the fuck in!

Wendy decides to make the first strike. Also the last strike, as after a small knock, a huge baseball bat shot to the head knocks him down the stairs. Whammy! Nicholson is being dragged to a storage room, dribbling once again. Now he’s locked in there. He’s completely deranged now, letting Wendy know that methods of outside contact and escape have been sabotaged. Not much she can do really. Grady lets Jack out of the room. That came out of nowhere. His intentions are made clear now.

Dick Hallorann is back. Danny’s on his REDRUM vibe. Well, Tony is at least. Jesus, he’s got a knife. That’s not safe, put it down kid. Play with some crayons or something. Perhaps not the best advice, how about lipstick? Maybe even worse. Wendy sees murder in the mirror, and murder’s about to burst through the door with his best Johnny-Carson-introduction-impression! Danny has escaped, but Wendy can’t fit through the window. It’s time for the scene that you know, even if you’ve never seen the film…here’s Johnny! To retort, Wendy cuts his hand open. That’s got to hurt! Scatman’s coming in, and Nicholson’s on the prowl. Poor Hallorann gets an axe to the heart.

Jack’s looking for Danny now. One of the weirdest scenes I’ve ever seen occurs here, Wendy witnesses a guy in a bear suit fellating a man on a bed. I’ve still got no explanation for this one. Shelly goes on to see Hallorann’s body on the floor, as well as a bloodied man complimenting the party. Certainly not a party for the rest of them. A trifecta of creepiness for the lady, as she witnesses the river of blood from the elevator. Not going well for her at all.

Yeah, so it’s the climax now, Danny is a smart kid who manages to outwit his father who goes on to freeze to death. He escapes the maze and finds his mother. The end. Not how you’d expect it to end, really, but it’s effective. I would say I could explain the problems the guy is going through for anyone who is interested, but I won’t attempt to act smart, as anyone with access to the internet could likely find as much as I know. This is just my way of letting you know I’m a psychology student. No reason for me to bring that up, I’ll just bring this to a close now. The end shows an old-time photo, from the July 4th Ball at the Overlook Hotel in 1921, with Torrance in the middle, confirming what has been stated throughout the film.

One thing I have neglected to mention is how important the hotel is to the film. It seems like a living organism itself, what with things moving and changing throughout. I’m not going to go into detail though, if you’ve seen it, you’ll know what I mean. If you haven’t, go watch it now!

You know, all in all, I enjoyed this so much more than any other time I’ve watched it. My brother loves it, and I think I just like to disagree, but it is a very good film. Very well thought out, with many hidden meanings that I just can’t go into here – this is already a huge post, especially by my standards. I’d recommend consulting him, or checking out the aforementioned Collative Learning, give it a Google, it’s likely you’ll find it entertaining. For anyone who hasn’t seen it, give it a go. You shouldn’t be disappointed! This film cements Jack Nicholson’s position as one of Hollywood’s all-greats, with films such as One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest to his name, there’s no disputing it, and this just builds upon his legacy. So that’s about it then. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading it, let me know what you think! Oh yeah, and keep an eye out for my next review too. It’ll be good, I promise!