A Thousand Acres Preview

Well we continue our march to mapl.de.map history. This week is girls’ night out and we get to watch a little classic known as A Thousand Acres… what’s that? No one actually knows what that is? Well it’s based on a Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Jane Smiley (which I read, obvs) about a family of farmers in Northern Iowa. The plot loosely follows that of King Lear and the book was excellent. Apparently the movie was not as excellent. We’ll see though. This obviously takes the Iowa spot on the map, which I’m saving to update in the near future. Let’s go!

A Thousand Acres (1997) – BMeTric: 14.2 (November 13, 2016)

athousandacres_bmet

athousandacres_rv

(Pretty classic older movie plot. Votes go up, rating regresses to the mean, BMeTric reaches a plateau. The votes are so low that the BMeTric is generally below average for a bad movie. Expected. Commentary generated on November 13, 2016)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – When a stubborn, single-minded widowed father decides to relinquish ownership of his farm to his three daughters, a family is abruptly torn apart, and long-held secrets come out of the closet. The only thing missing from this melodrama is character motivation, which presumably did exist in Jane Smiley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, a variation on King Lear. A hollow film notable only for the strong performances of the two leading ladies (whose companies jointly produced the film).

(Well, having read the novel I will admit that the character motivations are a bit hazy but mostly because everything is told from a particular point of view. The character who tells the story is naive and a bit too optimistic, so she is generally blind to the underlying motives of several of the major characters… you know, to be totally serious and analytical about this whole thing. Long story short: don’t talk about things you don’t know anything about Leonard.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGH5iZZxFBg

(“A story of family…” wait, wot? This is coming off a bit too ‘gee whiz, guys we can work this out cause we’re FAMILY’ (you know, like Furious 7), when the novel is not that… definitely not that. What a weird trailer.)

Director(s) – Jocelyn Moorhouse – (Known For: How to Make an American Quilt; Proof. BMT: A Thousand Acres; Unconditional Love. Notes: Her imdb picture is of her reading A Thousand Acres. She hasn’t done anything in film since this movie, but is returning to writing and directing this year with the release of The Dressmaker staring Kate Winslet. Wow.)

Writer(s) – Laura Jones (screenplay) – (Known For: Angela’s Ashes; Possession; The Portrait of a Lady; Oscar and Lucinda; An Angel at My Table; Brick Lane; The Well; High Tide. BMT: A Thousand Acres. Notes: Has mostly worked on literary adaptations to mostly great results.)

Actors – Michelle Pfeiffer – (Known For: Scarface; What Lies Beneath; Batman Returns; Hairspray; One Fine Day; Stardust; Wolf; The Age of Innocence; Dangerous Liaisons; Ladyhawke; I Could Never Be Your Woman; White Oleander; The Witches of Eastwick; Love Field; The Fabulous Baker Boys. BMT: I Am Sam; The Family; Dangerous Minds; Dark Shadows; Grease 2; The Story of Us; Up Close & Personal; New Year’s Eve (BMT); A Thousand Acres. Notes: Nominated for three Oscars (Dangerous Liaisons, The Fabulous Baker Boys, and Love Field))

Jessica Lange – (Known For: Big Fish; Cape Fear; Tootsie; Rob Roy; The Gambler; Broken Flowers; All That Jazz; Titus; The Postman Always Rings Twice; King Kong; Frances; Blue Sky; Music Box; Losing Isaiah; Grey Gardens. BMT: The Vow; Hush; Prozac Nation; A Thousand Acres; Everybody’s All-American. Notes: Nominated for Worst Actress Razzie for Hush. Nominated for six Oscars, winning two (Tootsie and Blue Sky).)

Also stars Jason Robards.

Budget/Gross: $23 million/$8 million

(I knew this was a big bomb because it was noted everywhere that Pfeiffer spent five years trying to get it made only to have it bomb at the box office, which predictably bummed her out. Not her worst performance at the box office though, that would be Into the Night.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 22% (11/48), Critics Consensus: A Thousand Acres makes disappointingly sudsy stuff out of the source material, but benefits from solid performances by a strong cast.

(Surprising number of reviews for a film that came out in 1997 to little fanfare. Also fortuitously bad reviews as far as mapl.de.map is concerned. Not the typical film to drop all the way down to 22%, especially when the performances are noted everywhere as being great. I feel like if this came out now it would put up August: Osage County types of numbers.)

Poster – A Thousand Sklogs (B)

thousand_acres

(I like this poster quite a bit. Like the symmetry of the sisters hugging above the stark Iowa farmhouse. Would have rather had Lange and Pfeiffer colorized to match the rest of the poster and would have loved for the poster to be more yellow (like the farm land, this is a bit too dark) but this is still good.)

Keyword(s) – iowa; Top Ten by BMeTric: 38.8 Children of the Corn (1984); 38.7 Unaccompanied Minors (2006); 35.4 Michael (1996); 29.5 I’ll Be Home for Christmas (1998); 23.2 Sleeping with the Enemy (1991); 20.2 Fraternity Vacation (1985); 19.1 The Puppet Masters (1994); 17.5 Butter (2011); 16.6 Burlesque (I) (2010); 15.7 Whiteboyz (1999);

(They are missing one: I believe Bucky Larson Born to be a Star began in Iowa and if Burlesque counts then so should that. One of the worst films I’ve ever seen. I’m impressed by how few of these films I’ve seen. Fly over country indeed.)

Tagline(s) – Best friends. Bitter rivals. Sisters. (C)

(Ha, how poorly this goes with the simple random addition of the word “sisters”. “Best friends. Biter rivals.” is a pretty good tagline… this? Not as much.)

Notes – Michelle Pfeiffer, who produced the film, wanted Paul Newman to play patriarch Larry Cook, but he turned down the role.

According to an article in Premiere Magazine 1997, all extras in the film had to sign an agreement promising not to attempt to approach/speak to actresses Michelle Pfeiffer or Jessica Lange. (haha, what?)

Lange battled with producers during the editing phase of the film, during which it through extensive re-editing. When released, Lange stated that the only thing about the film which worked were the performances.

Jocelyn Moorhouse reportedly tried to take her name off the picture after her first cut of the film didn’t sit well with test audiences. (wow, this gets worse and worse. This would have been a super funny Alan Smithee film.)

Survival of the Dead Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. Survival of the Dead? More like Dead on Arrival. Heyyyoooooo. What a week. And by what a week I mean I watched five movies for BMT, something I vow to never do again until the Resident Evil BMT Marathon Extravaganza Celebration of the Life and Works of Paul WS Anderson (uh …. REBMTMECotLaWoPWSA). A positive: one of the movies was extraordinary, one was okay, one was meh, and only two were genuinely awful. That’s like batting .400 as far as BMT is concerned, amazing average Romero, even if you are so old you’ve forgotten how to make compelling zombie films. Speaking of which:

  • Romero reminds me of Carpenter in that regard. Prior to The Ward in 2010 Carpenter had a series of poorly received films that lead to his semi-retirement in 2001. Escape from LA (future BMT, guaranteed), Vampires, and Ghosts of Mars (an amazing BMT film). Ghosts of Mars in 2001 literally looks like a film from 1996 and it is painfully clear that Carpenter had just kind of had the horror genre (which seems to evolve rather quickly) pass him by, he was around 53 at the time. Romero was even older, he was around 65 when the second Dead trilogy was being produced after a substantial directing hiatus, and honestly it shows. The fourth film feels like it was made in 1996, the fifth film was a shaky cam horror with Romero hesitantly poking fun at the booming genre, and the sixth is kind of an old school independent project again, like the original film.
  • And that’s why it’s weird. The entire film series is kind of focused around a single message: this slow zombie apocalypse is more about human’s moral failings than the zombies being particularly threatening. And it’s a message that is completely lost in the 00’s (as compared to the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s when the first three came out). While smashing us over the head with the morality tale the trilogy just falls flat. Weirdly, the sixth (while being by far the worst movie in the series, so fucking bad), is the only one that feels like Romero. The other two felt like he was emulating other people.
  • But what do I know? I don’t even like zombie movies. These are literally the only ones I’ve ever seen.
  • Since there isn’t much of a BMT:CSI:SVU forensics case to be made (Romero was hired to make a new trilogy, the fourth film made solid money, he made two terrible films that were barely released … not rocket science), I’ll close with this: This was a solid BMT, and highlights what I like about the last 5 years of doing this. I’m not sure I ever see Dawn of the Dead without being made to watch Survival of the Dead. And Dawn of the Dead is fantastic. Maybe the best practical effects I’ve seen in a horror film outside of The Thing. That’s something.

I’ll just close it here. No sequel, prequel, remake because why? There would be no point. Already too many sequels. What would a prequel be about? Life before the zombie apocalypse? And no need to ever remake Dawn of the Dead (again, haven’t watched the existing remakes yet).

Jamie

Alright, well I really liked the first one, looooovvveeeeed (like The Warriors loved. Or The Thing loved) the second one, and thought the third one was kind of silly but still really good. Then the second trilogy was a travesty. The first was too cartoony and weird and then the next two were just blah. Does anyone else see what that mimics? Anyone? That’s the exact progression of the two Star Wars trilogies! The first one is a classic and great for what it is, but the second is the true classic. The third went a bit too far in certain regards but everyone still loves it. Then an the elderly director comes back decades later to make a silly cartoony fourth film and a couple of duds to follow it up. There is my Sklognalysis, thank you. You know what this means, don’t you? This means we are in for a big budget sequel/reboot to the series (like World War Z level) to bring back the fans and get this shit going again. And when that happens I’ll be right there, cause Dawn of the Dead was fucking fantastic.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Survival of the Dead Preview

Alright, moving right along to this week, we are returning to mapl.de.map and our quest for fire (and by fire I mean a completely filled up map). This week is kind of a historic selection. That’s because we are doing one of the hardest states on the entire map. A state that I didn’t even think had a qualified movie for the map when we first started this endeavor. A state that I used to make jokes about in every email and which may or may not be imaginary. That’s right! We are onto Delaware! For those that aren’t in the know about this kind of stuff, me and Patrick were able to find a little film called Survival of the Dead set in Delaware. Hooray! On a worse note it turned out that this film was the sixth (!) in the George A. Romero Dead series. It went from Night of the Living Dead, to Dawn of the Dead, to Day of the Dead, to Land of the Dead, to Diary of the Dead, and finally to Survival of the Dead. So me and Patrick had a bit of homework to do. Boo! Fortunately, the exercise will give us a nice perspective on the movie by the end of it. Let’s go!

Survival of the Dead (2010) – BMeTric: 50.2 (November 13, 2016)

survivalofthedead_bmet

survivalofthedead_rv

(Do you know what that is? That is the profile of a movie that almost no one saw in theaters. It is all DVD release, so there aren’t two regimes. Impressive. Also incredibly high BMeTric, very very impressive. That is also one of the largest drops in rating I’ve ever seen. 7.2 to 5.0 doesn’t really make sense. So I guess one die hards initially rated it 10 and it was kind of washed out over time. Commentary generated on November 13, 2016)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Another Romero visit to an America overrun with cannibalistic walking corpses. This time a small paramilitary group hopes to evade the chaos by going to an island off the Delaware Coast, but conflict between two very Irish patriarchs that control the place over how to treat the numerous reanimated corpses means only more chaos. Less nihilistic than others in the series, with strong characterizations and good cinematography, but it’s really just more of the same. Won’t someone give Romero money to do another kind of movie?

(Love the little shout out to Delaware right there. Not sure what he means by “very Irish patriarch”… why “very”? Also, a little presumptuous that Romero is only making these films cause it’s the only kind he can get money for. He probably likes making them. He’s made six of them after all. Perhaps even if you gave him all the money in the world he would still make a zombie movie. Why not?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNg3CEkQtnk

(Oh dear, did we make a mistake? This looks like I made the trailer for the film. Yet it was actually released in a handful of theaters and reviewed by 84 critics on RT. Weird shit. Looks rough.)

Director(s) – George A. Romero – (Known For: Dawn of the Dead; The Crazies; Night of the Living Dead; Land of the Dead; Day of the Dead; Diary of the Dead; Creepshow; Monkey Shines: An Experiment In Fear. BMT: Survival of the Dead. Notes: Wow, this is his only film he directed that got bad reviews. That’s pretty amazing.)

Writer(s) – George A. Romero (written by) – (Known For: Dawn of the Dead; The Crazies; Night of the Living Dead; Land of the Dead; Day of the Dead; Diary of the Dead; Creepshow; Monkey Shines: An Experiment In Fear. BMT: Survival of the Dead; Creepshow 2; Tales from the Darkside: The Movie; Notes: He went to Carnegie Mellon and worked on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood for a time, so unsurprisingly many of his films take place in and around Pittsburgh.)

Actors – Alan Van Sprang – (Known For: Land of the Dead; Narc; Diary of the Dead; Steal This Movie; BMT: Survival of the Dead; Immortals; Saw III; Masterminds. Notes: Starring now in the ABC Family show Shadowhunters. The same network that brought us the hit television program The Vineyard? Sign me up!)

Also stars Kenneth Welsh and Kathleen Munroe

Budget/Gross: $4 million / $101,740 ($143,191 Worldwide)

(For some reason I thought this got a wider release than I’m seeing here. Only 20 theaters. Still not the lowest we’ve done. Both Theodore Rex and Devil’s Knot (also on the map!) did not get a theatrical release. Regardless, what are we to do? This is the only bad movie set in Delaware. We can only cross our fingers and hope for a future release to take its place.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 29% (25/84), Critics Consensus: Survival of the Dead offers glimmers of Romero’s savage wit, but not nearly enough to make up for his unusually uninspired directing and a lack of new ideas

(Anyway, look at the number of reviewers. Even has a consensus. We’ll see if this is unusually uninspired after *gulp* watching the whole series this week. Perhaps we’ll conclude that it’s usually uninspired.)

Poster – Survival of the Sklog (B-)

survival_of_the_dead_xlg

(Not a poorly made poster, just a boring one. And a bit dark. But the colors are nicely consistent, the poster is symmetrical, and I like the text spacing. Hits a lot of a good marks.)

Tagline(s) – Survival isn’t just for the living. (C)

(Well this is certainly confusing. I’m not sure what this even means in the context of a zombie movie. Are we going to we seeing a movie from the perspective of the zombies? Are they the characters? That would be cool. If that’s not the case then this tagline definitely isn’t cool.)

Keyword(s) – island; Top Ten by BMeTric: 83.3 The Wicker Man (2006); 79.3 House of the Dead (2003); 78.7 Jaws: The Revenge (1987); 76.5 The Fog (2005); 72.2 I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998); 69.0 Shark Night 3D (2011); 67.5 The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996); 66.6 Scooby-Doo (2002); 65.8 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011); 64.0 DOA: Dead or Alive (2006);

(Wow, that is a great list, and we’ve seen almost none of them officially for BMT! Pretty nice. And island is always a convenient excuse to trap people who should know better in a place they want to get the fuck away from stat. See: Jurassic Park. Good stuff.)

Notes – This film marks the first time that a character from a previous Living Dead film returns to star in a sequel, with Alan Van Sprang as Sarge “Nicotine” Crockett having been seen in Diary of the Dead (2007).

Hitman: Agent 47 Recap

Jamie

Through our time doing BMT, Patrick and I have done several in-theater BMT’s. They have ranged from packed-houses (Grown Ups 2) to empty theaters (Pompeii). From the crowd loving it (us not included) to a number of people walking out. Through all that, I’m not sure I’ve quite experienced something like Hitman: Agent 47. In most every movie, no matter the genre, there are generally jokes. Sometimes the theater laughs uproariously, sometime they don’t, but almost always people laugh (cause they’re jokes and characters are saying them). Hitman: Agent 47’s script was so bad (and continued to get worse throughout the film) that the number of jokes increased to unbelievable levels. And yet, nothing was funny. Nothing was a real joke. And no one laughed. Still the characters continued to say phrases that sounded like jokes (but I assure you, they were not) at an ever increasing clip. Presumably this was to fill the void left by the black hole that was the rest of the film. It was very confusing and combined with a plot that was paper-thin and yet incomprehensible, made for a near abstract art experience where these character walked around doing things and saying things and yet did nothing and said nothing. It’s hard to describe what it was like. If only we had a go-to phrase for something like this…. oh yes! It was dog poo in my face.

Love the new format and since we could get any MonoSklog from the film seeing as it was in theaters (and no one actually said anything of significance) I’m going to go for a nice new game that I thought up while reading Transporter Refueled reviews. It’s where I try to think of a punny one-liner about the film for my RT review caption so people know how clever I am (e.g. “The Transporter Refueled should be put up on blocks.” – New York Daily News. Guffaw). For the first Hitman I would say: “Let’s address the Olyphant in the room: this film is firing blanks.” For Hitman: Agent 47 I would start my review with “Bach hits all the wrong notes with this Hitman adaptation that misses the mark.” Ooof, those puns are killer. Both play on the name of someone involved with the film and yet has nothing to do with the film and then strikes fast with a second pun about the film itself. The punsters on RT should watch out. I’m coming for yah. Double puns are the new single puns.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone, this week was Hitman: Agent 47 (too easy, Shitman). More like 4 out of 7 people walked out of Jamie’s showing (true story, not even making up those numbers). Welp, it seemed like the UK audience liked it a bit more as there were probably 12 other people sitting in stony silence enduring this complete pile of garbage with me. Is it? Wait for it …. dog poo right in my face? yes it was! Right in my face (and wallet). I’m going to change things up a bit at this point (for fun), so here is a Brief Two Point BMT Recap (BTPBMTR):

  • The movie was incomprehensible, the acting was terrible, and the dialogue was horrible. Triple threat. I’m going to refer to such adaptations as “aggressively adapted”. If fans of the Hitman series think the Olyphant version was incompetent with regards to the video game, then this can only be described as intentionally antagonistic.
  • Add unpleasant to the bunch. This movie could be called Human Bodies Falling Several Stories Onto Banisters. Or maybe People Getting Killed By A Horrible Person In Terrible Ways. Or in a meta way A Movie Where You Hate Everyone. In other words: Instant BMT Classic (IBMTC).

See, short and sweet. Now, in the vein of Patrick’s Rules I wanted to look at some of the things from the Hitman news / advertising campaign that should have made Jamie and I very suspicious that this movie was BMT bound. I will call you BMT:CSI:SVU (the special victims are me and Jamie):

So all the way back nearly a year ago we should have immediately penciled this guy right on into the BMT calendar. The trailer companion (and reception, whoa nelly, the response by fans was vitriolic, I remember) was just a final confirmation. Ahhhh, a little BMT Forensics (BMTF) going on. This is all building to the application of statistical techniques to sniff out bad movies, and then ultimately the BMT Awards which will be like the BCS: a computer generated set of the worst movies of the year that everyone hates. I literally cannot wait.

Cheerios ,

The Sklogs

Hitman Recap

[Editor’s Note: This “recap” was originally found within the Into the Storm recap as a part of preparation for Hitman: Agent 47. Jamie did not provide an official recap. While short, in order to complete the official record of BMT for historical posterity this short section is included here]

Patrick

I wanted to mention that in preparation for BMT Live! (Hitman: Agent 47) I also watched Hitman (the original). Some brief thoughts: It is completely incomprehensible and riddled with inane dialogue. The entire movie is told as a flashback, Olyphant clearly doesn’t want to be there, and it has the classic: Hey, filming in Prague is cheap let’s set the movie in … rural Russia? It at least touches on what made the video game famous (Agent 47’s ability to get in, kill, and get out without being detected), although he is obviously less stealth while being framed and chased by other agents. In other words: I am now fully prepared for Agent 47. Are there any two movie combo with a worse combined RT score? I smell some data analysis coming.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Hitman: Agent 47 Preview

So from the title of this email you may wonder, “hey Jamie, why are you doing Hitman: Agent 47? Isn’t the cycle mapl.de.map? Seeing as I keep up with the latest bad movie news in depth, doesn’t that movie take place in Germany and Singapore? Last time I checked those weren’t states. Also, knowing the cycle as well as I do, this is certainly not a horror/thriller. What’s going on? BMT is the rock around which I base my life and this change is concerning.” All valid points average BMT email reader. We are in fact taking a week break from the cycle to do a super special in theaters edition of BMT. The release of one of the worst reviewed films of the year required action and seeing as it was nearly simultaneously released in the US and UK, me and Patrick thought it was a no-brainer to go ahead and catch Hitman: Agent 47 on the big screen. So without further ado: Let’s go!

Hitman: Agent 47 (2015) – BMeTric: 38.6 (November 14, 2016)

hitmanagent47_bmet

hitmanagent47_rv

(A very classic and nice graphic for a recently released film. We got a sweet theatrical/VOD regime separation, and this is also quite a high BMeTric. Reaffirms or BMT Live! choice from oh so long ago. Commentary generated on November 14, 2016)

RogerEbert.com – 1 star – “Hitman: Agent 47” is aggressively awful, the kind of film that rubs its lackadaisical screenwriting, dull filmmaking and boring characters in your face, almost daring you to ask the theater operator for your money back. It is a film that feels made out of contractual obligation instead of artistic venture, or even a remote desire to entertain.

(This sounds like our jam. Lackadaisical screenwriting? Yes, please. Dull filmmaking? We expect nothing less (more?), boring characters? I want them to be paper thin. Also, wasn’t this made out of contractual obligation? I just assumed cause there were literally ZERO people asking for this film to be made.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alQlJDRnQkE

(That plays more like a music video than a movie with an actual plot. Don’t like Rupert Friend as 47 right off the bat. Also at least two helicopters in the film (one that blows up and another than crashes into a building) so that’s a plus. Though Into the Storm promised a helicopter crashing into buildings and that turned out to be cut from the film. Just another reason not to like that film.)

Director(s) – Aleksander Bach – (BMT: Hitman: Agent 47. Notes: Feature debut. Mostly has worked in music videos and commercials till now. Back-to-back winner of the Cannes Young Director Award for Orange I Love You and Stars in 2008 and 2009, respectively.)

Writer(s) – Skip Woods (screenplay, story) – (Known For: The A-Team. BMT: X-Men Origins – Wolverine; Swordfish; Hitman; Sabotage; Thursday; Hitman: Agent 47; A Good Day To Die Hard. Notes: Legendary BMT writer. Hitman and Hitman: Agent 47 will be the fifth and sixth BMT films we’ve watched from him. Somehow never nominated for a Razzie. Impossible! (said in a French accent).)

Michael Finch (screenplay) – (Known For: Predators. BMT: The November Man; Hitman: Agent 47. Notes: We shall see him again. He is the writer for the upcoming sequel Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters 2. Wait… what?! Who the fuck was scrambling for that?!)

Actors – Rupert Friend – (Known For: The Young Victoria; Pride and Prejudice; Starred Up; Chéri; The Zero Theorem; The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. BMT: The Last Legion; Outlaw; Hitman: Agent 47; The Libertine. Notes: Probably best known right now for his work on Homeland.)

Hannah Ware – (Known For: Shame; Oldboy; BMT: Cop Out; Hitman: Agent 47; Notes: Also best known for her work on tv with starring roles in Boss and Betrayal.)

also stars Zachary Quinto.

Budget/Gross: $35 million / $15 million ($25 million Worldwide)

(Still out in theaters so it will probably recoup its base budget with worldwide gross. Still will go down as a big bomb given it has the 24th worst opening ever for a film released in 3000+ theaters. Just behind this week’s release No Escape! Haha, not even the worst 3000+ opening of August 2015.)

#36 for the Hitman / Assassin genre

hitman_36

(Generated on November 14, 2016; Nearby 2016 BMT smash hit Mechanic Resurrection. I can’t quite see any specific trends, but perhaps the 90’s boom was helped along by Pulp Fiction in 1994? Really unclear beyond that it has become a major genre in the 00’s and beyond. Little bit of waves, a little decrease in monetary yield in the past 5 years. We’ll see if there is a collapse a bit.)

#22 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

videogameadaptation_22

(NOTE: Generated on November 14, 2016. Analysis partially borrowed from Warcraft; The genre is surprisingly consistently produced considering literally no video game adaptation has ever reached even the modest benchmark of 50% on rotten tomatoes. The best ever reviewed? Final Fantasy Spirits Within (I saw that in theaters, go me) at 44%. The best on metacritic was Mortal Kombat by the way. It really is quite dire, over 15 years that RT record has stood. #22 for this genre is impressively poor, near Super Mario Bros!!!!)

Rotten Tomatoes: 8% (7/82), Critics Consensus: Hitman: Agent 47 fails to clear the low bar set by its predecessor, forsaking thrilling action in favor of a sleekly hollow mélange of dull violence and product placement.

(Still gathering votes on RT, but seems safely below 10% which is quite the accomplishment. Hitman’s bar is quite low indeed, but I think the consensus forgets that the first one also forsook thrilling action for sleekly hollow melange. So that’s nothing new. And yes, forsook is a word.)

Poster – Sklogman: Agent 4Life (F)

hitman_agent_forty_seven_ver4

(I can’t remember the last time I’ve hated a poster more than this. Unaccompanied Minors probably. Way, way, way too much white. The cutout of 47 is unnecessary and distracting. Can barely tell he’s holding a gun. And no tagline! Boo, boo, boo.)

Tagline(s) – None! (F-)

(I hate you already you garbage movie made for trash people! Unacceptable. I do not accept this.)

Keyword(s) – Based on a Video Game; Top Ten by BMeTric: 82.7 Street Fighter (1994); 81.4 Alone in the Dark (2005); 79.3 House of the Dead (2003); 78.9 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007); 78.9 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 78.4 BloodRayne (2005); 77.4 Super Mario Bros. (1993); 70.1 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 64.0 DOA: Dead or Alive (2006); 62.6 Wing Commander (1999);

(Obviously incredible. We will watch all of these films without a doubt. If anyone needs a bad movie to watch for whatever reason spin around, point your finger at this list, and watch with horror and joy.)

Notes – Paul Walker was previously attached to play the lead role in this film before his sudden death in late November, 2013. (Oh, sad)

Hitman Preview

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This entire preview was generated on November 14, 2016. I apologize for any mind-bending anachronisms that may inadvertently occur while reading this]

Hitman (2007) – BMeTric: 20.6 (November 14, 2016)

hitman_bmet

hitman_rv

(Classic regression to the mean, solid 2011 inflection. If you recall that comes about for popular movies. And look at the number of votes! Very impressive Hitman. Bravo. It is kind of crazy how flat the entire BMeTric plot is, but I kind of comes from being only borderline bad from an IMDb rating perspective)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Every bit as visually flashy and dramatically sketchy as you would expect a video-game-inspired action-adventure to be. Still, some genuinely rousing run-and-gun sequences – enhanced with rapid-fire editing, slo-mo flourishes, and very loud music – generate interest as prolifically lethal buut increasingly self-doubting Agent 47 (Olyphant), a bald-pated, bar-code-tattooed assassin, dashes about Russia after being betrayed by his employers.

(Alright, I think that Leonard might have been attempting to win a bet here concerning exactly how many hyphens he could put into a single review. An even dozen. Congrats. Either way, seems like a solidly drab romp through Russia, exciting.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJhNzHyq-IE

(While I kind of dig the quiet and contemplative style with the music, it doesn’t really get me jazzed up for the movie, and it certainly, I think, misleads about the eventual product shown in theaters. If a movie that relfected that trailer was produced I’m not sure people would have been pissed. And people were piiiiiiiiiissed.)

Directors – Xavier Gens – (Known For: Frontière(s); BMT: The ABCs of Death; The Divide; Hitman; Notes: French director. Rumor has it that the studio did not like the extreme level of violence presented in his original cut of the film and effectively fired him. They hired outside help to edit the film and conduct reshoots while Gens was out of the country. Interesting stuff. I’m skeptical because an unrated version exists which is by all accounts just as bad as the theatrical cut, but maybe that was still heavily edited. Got to wait for that director’s cut.)

Writers – Skip Woods (written by) – (Known For: The A-Team; BMT: A Good Day to Die Hard (BMT); Hitman: Agent 47 (BMT); Sabotage (BMT); Hitman; Swordfish (BMT); X-Men Origins: Wolverine (BMT); Thursday; Notes: Wow Skip Woods, just wow. How he’s avoided a Razzie nom among all of that trash is beyond me. In addition to writing he also owns a tactical weapons consultancy firm which inspired him to become an action movie writer in the first place.)

Actors – Timothy Olyphant – (Known For: Snowden; This Is Where I Leave You; The Girl Next Door; Scream 2; Die Hard 4.0; Go; Rango; The Crazies; A Perfect Getaway; Rock Star; Stop-Loss; The Broken Hearts Club: BMT: Dreamcatcher; Head Over Heels; Elektra Luxx; Mother’s Day; I Am Number Four; A Man Apart; Catch and Release; Hitman; The First Wives Club; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Notes: Probably most well known for Deadwood. He is apparently a keen tennis player and huge LA sports fan.)

Dougray Scott – (Known For: Mission: Impossible II; London Town; My Week with Marilyn; Deep Impact; EverAfter; Enigma; Dark Water; Last Passenger; Ripley’s Game; Twin Town; Princess Caraboo; New Town Killers; BMT: The Vatican Tapes; Taken 3; The Truth About Love; Hitman; Notes: Maybe most well known for famously turning down the role as Wolverine due to conflicts with Mission: Impossible II. Some fans maintain his build made more sense at the time, but I would doubt anyone would argue that now.)

Also Stars Olga Kurylenko

Budget/Gross – $24 million / Domestic: $39,687,694 (Worldwide: $99,965,792)

(Solid hit, enough to warrent a sequel at least. Way more than I would expect, although with a setting in Russia and a French director I imagine the European cut was probably pretty solid.)

[See Hitman Agent 47 Preview for additional box office notes]

Rotten Tomatoes – 14% (14/101): Hitman features the unfortunate combination of excessive violence, incoherent plot, and inane dialogue.

(Check. Check. Check. Alright Jamie, pack it in, this one will do. Sounds perfect to me, not sure why any of that is a problem …)

Poster – Sklogman (B+)

hitman_ver2_xlg

(I like it. Jamie would probably say all the black hurts it by making it bland, but I think it is appropriate for the video game it is adapting. There was a better poster actually, but this is the one I remember from when it came out.)

Tagline(s) – None! (F)

(Boo no tagline. I’ll make one up: You’ll never see him coming. Boom. Not the best maybe, but at least it is something. Better than nothing.)

Keyword(s) – hitman; Top Ten by BMeTric: 78.5 The Avengers (1998); 70.1 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 66.2 Kangaroo Jack (2003); 62.9 Abduction (I) (2011); 60.3 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 58.9 The Crow: City of Angels (1996); 58.0 Tekken (2010); 57.4 Daredevil (2003); 52.8 Jupiter Ascending (2015); 52.8 Alex Cross (2012);

(That is a sick list bro. Bro … sick list. I would also gladly watch the other … except for Tekken. That is not a real movie. Look it up, not a real movie. For reals.)

Notes – While Dougray Scott often pulls a cigarette out, he never actually manages to light one. (fun fact)

During the restaurant sequence, the scene in which Nika (Olga Kurylenko) talks about owning a squirrel/chipmunk when she was young was actually true for the actress, and the scene was improvised during filming. (ugh, terrible. I hate that. Not a fun fact. A decidedly un-fun fact)

The scene where Agent 47 sits atop the roof, sniper in hand and red lettering behind him is taken directly from artwork from the game, as is the scene between 47 and Yuri in the bathtub, including the rubber duck. (I remember that scene from literally the only time I played that game, weird)

When Agent 47 jumps through the hotel window into the kid’s room, they’re playing Hitman: Blood Money (2006) for the PlayStation 2. (They’re playing through “Death of a Showman”, the training level.) (HORRIBLE, I’M OUT!)

Into the Storm Recap

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. Into the Storm? More like … Merely Lukewarm? Not many good rhymes there, plus I hate hate hated this movie (to quote Roger Ebert). I think Jamie was more okay with it and I should get one thing out front: I think it was supposed to be a comedy a bit. A poor bit of comedy, but a comedy … but I’m going to ignore that and eviscerate this thing. Get ready to get slammed, Into the Storm:

  • I wasn’t straight up dog poo in my face (a phrase reserved for, really, only the best of the worst), but it was maybe the dumbest movie I’ve ever seen.
  • The found-footage part of it was not only done poorly (in that they were recovering footage that was literally unrecoverable and thus admitting that it was really just a real movie, just shot in POV), but also unnecessary. The movie would have been better as the spiritual successor to Twister instead of an excuse to get bad actors jobs (I feel bad about this burn, but beyond Armitage it was a who’s who of TV and bad young actors).
  • The story was nonsense: Two of the main characters are just stuck in a smashed building and shown maybe three times before getting rescued. Dumb.
  • There’s a side story with two hillbillies (who Jamie loooooved, or so I’m assuming) which is not only pointless, but also just the cherry-on-top to the ridiculousness when they survive getting sucked up into a category 5 tornado.
  • The entire movie is just people running from set to set culminating in the good guys hiding in a “storm drain” aka a wind tunnel built as the only expensive set piece for the production.
  • Now it wasn’t all bad. At times the CGI looked okay (although in 5 years that will not be the case). If you’re into disaster porn it will sate your disaster lust (gross). And the storm chaser story, while a little preachy, did provide interest at times. Plus I will always support TV and film that gives former Prison Break actors work (get yo’ money Dr. Tancredi).
  • I think you go Sequel here. Jamie had his own idea (about a tornado named Pete wreaking havoc in … Japan I think, can’t remember), but mine is Into the Storm: London Eye. In the movie they mention that global warming will lead to tornadoes in new and unprepared places (LA, London, etc.). Well, I live in London! It’s 2040, and a British child has to make a hologram diary for his school graduation (ooof, bad start). But what is this? A tornado in London?! … That’s it … that’s all I got. I feel like this writes itself since it is going to be shot found footage style. I can lead production here in London if Netflix wants to add this to their slate of original programming.

Alright, I’ll leave it there.

Jamie

Wait, are you telling me that the “That thing got a hemi?” guy wasn’t your favorite character?

I was waiting for him to say the catchphrase. Or maybe see a mack truck sucked into a tornado and scream “that thing got a semi!” and look directly into the camera and then everyone involved kill themselves.

Moving on. Hoo wee, I just watched Into the Storm and boy did that storm blow… hard. (thank you, thank you). In seriousness I have to recap the movie with a bit of a qualifier: I actually thought the concept was fun. It’s a weather disaster film. Lots of tornadoes coming out of nowhere and chasing people and shit. And if I went to the theater looking to see some tornadoes, I would have been pretty satisfied. I thought the storms themselves looked good and when the “characters” (if you could call them that) were in the middle of the storms I was on the edge of my seat. This movie though had a major flaw and destroyed the experience for me.

WHY IS THIS A FOUND FOOTAGE FILM?! This has hands down the worst conceit for a found footage film I have ever seen. Usually these films start with a character filming some big change in their lives (“honey, we just got married. Let’s document our lives for our children and junk.”) with some bullshit background about how the character used to do this all the time, but hadn’t done it in years (I think this is to make the directing and editing skills of our otherwise unskilled and incompetent character believable) which then gets ramped up into obsession when they realize they caught some weird stuff on film (here the genre generally fails as we usually see footage of the character editing his film… why would they film themselves editing film?). What I’m driving at is that there is usually a lot of time spent creating a situation where filming all this stuff makes a modicum of sense. Into the Storm? They seemed to just say “Fuck that, let’s not address it,” and continued on their merry way. The number of random overhead shots is startling (where is that footage from? A totally random weather helicopter from which an anonymous editor decided to take footage for B-roll?), the intersection of four independent sets of characters all religiously documenting everything before the storms even hit is ridiculous, and the fact that all this happens in the middle of a disaster area makes it impossibly unlikely that any of the film would be recovered (there is literally a scene where we see from a camera point of view a character sucked up into a fire tornado… how did they recover the footage from that camera?). It’s awful. Just make it a regular film. It would have been good. I would have liked it. Instead you made it ridiculous. The only explanation for why the film is found footage is that they wanted to make the film on the cheap and had a week to write the script so they needed characters to explain things directly into the camera. The whole genre has to go. We’re nearing rock bottom here, where a perfectly good concept is ruined by making it found footage. The only thing I ask before they finish up and kill the genre is to make a found footage rom com. I don’t know why, but I would like for that to happen and be a complete disaster.

Dipping back into MonoSklog for the game this week. Into the Storm probably broke the record for the most number of MonoSklogs ever because the script had characters speak at length directly into the camera just to keep everything rolling along. So while I had four or five to choose from I think the MonoSklog by the main character (if you could call him that) as he believes he’s about to die is the best. I call it Mis Ojos Aguados. [Editor’s Note: In order to make sure our website if legally kosher in our analyses we’ve removed links to the monosklogs from the online record. We apologize, but do encourage readers to watch and revel in the described monologues for they are glorious]. God, that’s even better than I remember. That’s a solid 2 minutes of face-to-camera found footage bullshit action.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Into the Storm Preview

This week we move onto our Action film in the cycle and were really fortunate to have a recent film come out that took place in one of our remaining states. That would be Into the Storm, a found footage (ugh) disaster film set in the town of Silverton, Oklahoma. We had always planned on watching it and I was delighted to find that it worked so well for mapl.de.map. Rest assured, we’re almost there! Let’s go!

Into The Storm (2014) – BMeTric: 34.3 (November 18, 2016)

intothestorm_bmet

intothestorm_rv

(Ah, classic. Look at that VOD release bump. I think maybe a good thing to look at in the future is the size of the VOD bump relative to theatrical and see how consistent that is. I’ve seen movies with bumps around four times the original theatrical run. This looks to be three times the original. Perhaps it is related to genre? Commentary and plots generated on November 18, 2016)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars – Given our national interest in all things weather-related, “Into the Storm” feels like an inevitability, almost a cinematic obligation to the country’s latest obsession, and it’s about as creatively inspired as that description makes it out to be.

(So you’re basically saying it’s boring? Are you though? I can’t tell. If you read the rest of the review it goes on to say how poor the character development was and how they wanted some deep characters. I just hate this bullshit. Reviewers pick and choose when to care about character development and plots when they want to hate a movie or not. So the non-characters of Jurassic World (3 stars) are OK, but we couldn’t possibly watch a tornado rip a town apart without feeling a deep connection to the characters involved? Sorry, just breaking in the new saddle on my high horse.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBH25XxM-7g

(I don’t think I have to see the rest of the film. I believe I just watched the entire thing. I will admit, although I didn’t like the tone of the RogerEbert.com review, they may be on to something. The characters and events look very poorly thought out in this one. Almost as if I’m only supposed to be interested in watching a giant fucking tornado… wait.)

Director(s) – Steven Quale – (Known For: Final Destination 5; Aliens of the Deep; The Hundred-Foot Journey. BMT: Into The Storm. Notes: He did Final Destination 5 (the finalest of all the destinations)! I heard that one was supposed to actually be pretty good… now I’m intrigued.)

Writer(s) – John Swetnam – (Known For: The Hundred-Foot Journey. Step Up: All In. BMT: Evidence; Into The Storm. Notes: Currently directing/writing an upcoming found footage dance film called Breaking Through. A found footage dance film?! That’s amazing. I CANNOT WAIT).)

Actors – Richard Armitage – (Known For: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey; The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug; The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies; Captain America: The First Avenger; No End in Sight; Last Days in Vietnam. BMT: Into The Storm. Notes: Only bad film on the resume, though I’ve never heard of him. Does audiobooks and won the 2014 Best Audiobook of the Year from Audible for Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel.)

also stars Sarah Wayne Callies and Matt Walsh

Budget/Gross: $50 million / $47,602,194 ($160,602,194 Worldwide)

(Despite doing reasonably well at the box office it was still labeled a flop. Actually had the 188th worst opening ever for a super saturated (3000+ theaters) release. Right above previous BMT film This Means War.)

#26 for the Disaster genre

disaster_26

(Pretty rough, right around the cinematic classic Volcano starring Tommy Lee Jones. This is a rarity: a terrible movie coming out at the peak of a genre’s popularity and financial prowess. Since then the disaster genre has collapsed. I think this might follow the zombie-spaceship-wasteland paradigm. Where disaster films make way for alien attack makes way for etc. etc. But hard to prove. That big peak maybe came from Apollo 13 and/or Twister … or maybe just Titanic doing crazy business in 1997. Sleep well disaster genre.)

#11 for the Found Footage genre

foundfootage_11

(Right around BMT Classic The Devil Inside. The found footage genre page is clearly incomplete (and in no way does this make me trust boxofficemojo as a source …) because Blair Witch 2 is missing (unless that wasn’t found footage). The little bump down in gross I think was the ushering in of the Blumhouse style of production: low budget, high volume, large profits. By all accounts the production style is working and is being looked at as a possible way forward for independent movie development. I don’t necessarily think it is a bad thing, it just means a bunch of barely movies get released to theaters. Good for us I guess … I guess.)

Rotten Tomatoes: 21% (30/140), Critics Consensus: Clumsily scripted and populated with forgettable characters, Into the Storm has little to offer beyond its admittedly thrilling special effects.

(Gah! Why am I going to this movie? Am I looking to engage with the characters as they run screaming from a tornado? “But you need to identify with them so you care about them.” They are still in danger from a giant fucking tornado that apparently looks awesome, right? That being said, I do not doubt that this script is clumsier than Paul Blart on a bender (relevant!).)

Poster – Into the Sklog (D)

into_the_storm_ver4_xlg

(I guess it’s got the color scheme going for it… at least consistent. But it’s a bit cheap looking and the font is shit.)

Tagline(s) – Prepare to go (F)

(Welp, that’s a shame. I’m about done defending this one. I do understand that it is meant to be paired with the title (prepare to go… into the storm) but that is still awful. Just awful.)

Keyword(s) – storm; Top Ten by BMeTric: 78.5 The Avengers (1998); 72.2 I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998); 68.5 Psycho (1998); 64.3 Gulliver’s Travels (2010); 63.6 Swept Away (2002); 57.7 Virus (1999); 57.3 Darkness Falls (2003); 57.0 Dr. T & the Women (2000); 56.9 Godzilla (I) (1998); 53.0 An American Haunting (2005);

(Hell yeah The Avengers has a horrible CGI storm. This list is quite nice. Looks like a ton of garbage movies like to use weather in their plotlines. And for that I say thank you!)

Notes – In a clear homage to Twister (1996) , a statue of a cow is blown off a building and across the screen in one scene.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Recap

Jamie

Oh Happy Madison, you keep us in business (other than the upcoming hit The Do Over, obviously). At this point it’s a bit hit or miss whether I’m going to merely dislike a Happy Madison film or if I will become enraged and full of hate, not only for the film but for myself at having watched it. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2? Somewhere in the middle. Perhaps I was in a good mood, but I didn’t think this really dipped down into the Strange Wilderness/Grown Ups arena, where everyone just lobs half-hearted, mean-spirited jabs at each other, takes their $5 million, and heads home. It also wasn’t quite in the arena of Benchwarmers and Bucky Larson, where you’re not totally sure you haven’t entered some bizarre alternate dimension where the concept of comedy has been turned on its ear. No, this was just a middling feature, kind of like Zookeeper or Blended. Nothing that offended my sensibilities (and that’s good!).

To me the whole Paul Blart genre is an old fashioned one. The plots are pretty much straight out of an Ernest P. Worrell feature or a Three Ninjas straight-to-DVD romp. Oh no! A bunch of BMX riding baddies have taken over a mall! Get Paul Blart on the case. Oh no! A bunch of art thieves have taken down a casino. If only Paul Blart and a bunch of other Mall Cops were here to save the day. All the while his daughter is teeny-boppin’ and MacGyvering her way in and out of jams. It’s essentially a kids film. And if you think real, real hard about it almost all of Happy Madison’s productions are just that: kids films. Blended, Grown Ups, Paul Blart, Zookeeper, Jack and Jill, etc. are essentially kids films. They have a big goofy clown up front to make the kids laugh. Animals fight humans constantly (they may as well be talking). The plots are paper thin nonsense. All conflict is contrived. Kids are often the center of the real romantic story line. These are children’s films. And yet here we are, years after swearing off kids films for BMT, going back to the well over and over as if Sandler is doing anything other than create children’s films disguised as films for adults. That’s how he makes his money. No wonder he makes a film targeted more for adults (Pixels) only to have it straight bomb at the box office.

And I don’t think realizing that these movies are kids films (or maybe more accurately family films… maybe) changes anything. It’s basically a matter of Poe’s law. A satire where you can’t tell it’s a satire is a bad satire. A kids film where you can’t tell it’s a kids film is a bad kids film. People looking for an adult film will be offended and people looking for a kids film will be offended. And that, my friends, is how Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 gets a 5% on Rotten Tomatoes. Oh, and also it’s trash.

Moving on, I knew that Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 would have a solid MonoSklog cause you saw from the trailer that he gives a lengthy speech, but I also felt like I’ve been copping out and doing MonoSklogs too many times lately. Don’t worry, I’ll whip it out for a down week. Instead I have a new game! I call it On the Bright Side and it’s where I tried to find a scene in the movie that I actually liked or laughed at loud at. There were a few funny moments: Neal McDonough’s two different colored eyes, Paul Blart punching a maid, and a piano player super into playing the piano for example. But the winner for Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2’s On the Bright Side scene involves a super black banana and it goes a little something… like… this:

That was pretty disgusting, but I still chuckled at it. It’s just so black.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. Paul Blart Mall Cop 2?! Nuff said. Not even going to go for the low hanging fruit (… Paul Fart Mall Crap in case anyone was wondering. Always sophisticated stuff). This movie was an enigma of a riddle. Is it horrible? Is it kind of funny? Do I hate myself for watching this? Is my brain melting and dripping out of my nose? Impossible to tell. Let’s get into it:

  • There is a veritable spectrum of Happy Madison productions. You have the higher quality Sandler vehicles. Then the slightly less-so James vehicles. A bit further down you have the scraps that Spade and Schneider pick up. Then really far down are things like Bucky Larson and Strange Wilderness. This is like Blended: innocuous enough, but giant portions of it are just contrived nonsense. In Blended it was a ridiculous ostrich ride. Here is was …
  • Segway riding, an unnecessary (and awful) battle sequence and a long sequences of security guards trying out various non-lethal weapons. None are great. You see, it is like a Sandler led film except more so. Got to kick it up a bit to account for a smaller lead.
  • The beginning is dark. His wife divorces him after six days and then his mother dies. He is launched into a horrible six year struggle with depression (which he continues to deal with throughout the films shockingly frequent “real talk” segments). Just really really sad stuff.
  • And a bunch of the jokes are, unfortunately, the not-great jokes from Paul Blart (just bigger and better because Vegas. Fuck yeah!). Decidedly less funny than the already dire original.
  • On a lighter note: Could not be more set in Vegas. They really went to town with the Wynn. Good for them.
  • And Neal McDonough kind of kills it. At the very least he certainly knows what kind of movie he is in, and it is actually a pretty great skewing of the classic too-cool-for-school heist movie bad guy. “I have two different colored eyes! That tells you all about how I live my life!” is one of his lines and a rare laugh-out-loud moment for me during the film.

I’m thinking Prequel because I need more Neal “BMT Legend” McDonough in my life. Straight action movie with him as the bad guy. He’s setting up for a heist and Swordfish style a young hotshot hacker (played by Nick Swardson … “young”) is brought in to help him out (but he’s a secret CIA agent). As things go awry, Swardson is called on to go beyond the call of duty and stop McDonough. In the end McDonough kills Swardson, gets away, and everyone just looks shocked for a bit. Fade to black and then smash cut to a trailer for Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs