The Nun Recap

Jamie

When a nun at a remote monastery in Romania commits suicide The Vatican sends a priest and a young nun to investigate. There they find some truly evil shit going on and they are like “we better stop this.” Can they stop this before it’s too late? (no. Since The Nun is in The Conjuring 2). Find out in… The Nun.

How?! The Saint Cartha’s monastery is not a super fun place to be. That’s because an intense evil is being suppressed by the nuns there and hoooooo boy, let me tell you, it’s about to get out. When a nun there commits suicide the Vatican is like “we don’t like that” and sends Father Burke and Sister Irene there to investigate. When they get to Romania a French-Canadian villager named Frenchie, who discovered the body, leads them to the monastery and some crazy stuff starts to happen. First the French-Canadian dude almost gets killed by a crazy nun corpse. Then Father Burke is buried alive and has to be rescued by Irene. Finally, Irene is allowed to enter the monastery and learns that a demon, Valek, roams the halls. The original builder of the castle was totally into resurrecting demons but was stopped at the last minute by the Church. Since then they have kept the demon at bay until WWII damaged the monastery and released the evil. Since then the nuns have died one by one to prevent possession. When Father Burke and Frenchie reunite with Irene they realize all the nuns she’s talked to are actually dead and that they have to seal the demon’s portal before one of them is possessed and it escapes. They grab some of Jesus’s blood and totally take it down to the demon’s lair and almost die, but Irene spits some of it in its stupid demon face and it’s banished… or is it? (it’s not, because Valek is in basically all of The Conjuring movies which take place decades later). THE END.

Why?! Uh… I mean the demon is pure evil and Father Burke and Sister Irene and Frenchie all want to stop pure evil. Is there more motivation needed? I guess like Frenchie secretly wants to bone Sister Irene but it ain’t happening. Especially after he’s a totally gross possessed guy.

Who?! Usually I try to get a musician or someone playing a President or a Planchet (God willing) for this section but this film has none of those. What it does have is an IMDb Thanks credit to a certain Nikos Tsoup as a “Social Media Friend.” Looking him up he has Thanks credits for some of the biggest films of the last bunch of years like Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Avengers: Infinity Wars… so who is this person? I’m a pretty close watcher of credits and I didn’t even remember that there were special thanks in the film. You know why? Their weren’t. In fact, I can find little to no reference to Nikos Tsoup anywhere on the internet. It seems like maybe he’s involved in the background of social media promotion for film (maybe?) but then claims credits on all these big films as part of his job. It’s really weird and when we watch *checks Nikos Tsoup’s IMDb page* Johnny English Strikes Again you better believe I’ll be watching for his name… which won’t be there because he puts these up himself using IMDbPro or some shit.

What?! Obviously best case scenario here was the Valek could be warded off by the power and refreshment of a nice cold Coca-Cola, but alas. Not the case. I guess the closest we have to any of the normal stuff we look for is a bottle of Jesus’s blood that is used to banish Valek… which is kind of a MacGuffin though it seems like blasphemy to say so.

Where?! Really solid Romania film, although I’m guessing that the second Ghost Rider still tops this when it comes to the BMeTric scoring for a place on the map. I also like the added touch that they have a character named Frenchie that they go out of their way to say is actually French Canadian… only to make it even more weird and unlikely that he would be there. A-.

When?! I don’t think they say anything more than that this takes place in 1952. You could potentially guess a season from the weather and state of crops but why bother? Can’t we all just enjoy our lives and enjoy that this takes place specifically in 1952… in fact this almost seems like we need to start a new challenge for a BMT timeline. Rules TBD. C.

I saw The Conjuring in theaters and thought it was good and pretty scary. I personally thought Insidious was scarier, but it was a solid film. For some reason I thought The Conjuring 2 qualified for BMT so as I watched (and thoroughly enjoyed) that film I thought I was watching the greatest bad movie in history (perhaps only behind ahead-of-its-time Freddy Got Fingered). Then I looked it up and realized it got 80% on RT. Yeah, it’s good. Anyway, it made me excited to watch and see what seemingly went so wrong with this prequel. The answer was less exciting than I anticipated. They basically just made a muddled prequel with characters you didn’t really care about and an atmosphere that is more drab than anything else. They had to lose the whole “paranormal hunters” aspect of it, which took a lot of the fun out of it. Besides, we already knew from The Conjuring 2 that The Nun survives to the 70’s, so even when they are battling to defeat the demon it was presumed that it wouldn’t really be vanquished. Funny too since I actually thought The Nun character was a solid part of The Conjuring 2… but origin stories aren’t always the best way to use a character like that. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! When I go on transcontinental flights the thing I always love to do is watch spooooooooky movies … not really, I find them unpleasant enough without being trapped in an unpleasant personal environment, but I was taking one for the team watching not only the The Nun, but also The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2 on various plane trips this holiday season! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – In order to give it its due I’ll split up my short bonus recaps into two sections. So let’s talk about the original Conjuring. I loved this film. I liked the short introduction involving Annabelle, it was a great way to introduce the main characters and what they do, plus you get an idea of “there are hundreds of stories to explore here, this is a universe” right from the start. I loved how the story split between the struggling family and the Warrens. It had one of the most genuinely spooky moments I’ve seen recently (witch on the wardrobe). It didn’t over do it on jump scares and managed to give a solid template on how to do not only possession films, but also witch films. As far as modern horror films go this was one of the best I’ve seen personally and got me really excited for the sequel and The Nun right off the bat.

You Just Got Schooled – And as for the Conjuring 2, it was still pretty good, although here I kinda lost the thread a bit. The split method (here starting with Amityville, and then moving to the Lutz family in England) still worked really well. But I didn’t find the film as spooky. I loved the idea of Valak hiding behind the old man ghost, but The Crooked Man was kind of weak. There was a lot to like, but I just didn’t like it as much as the first. It didn’t really redefine the “demon” sub-genre like The Conjuring did the “witch” sub-genre in my mind. But still a very good “spooky” (as opposed to scary or gory) horror film in its own right. I am sufficiently excited for The Conjuring 3 and honestly am pretty game for any of the spin-off films in the universe. Easily the most consistently enjoyable horror franchise I’ve come across during my horror education over the past few years.

The Good – Finally onto The Nun. Unfortunately this is easily the weakest of the three films I watched. I did like the main actor, I thought she did a very good job (turns out that is the main character of The Conjuring’s 21-year-younger sister, which is nuts). I thought how they tied The Nun into the Conjuring universe was fine in the end, I was satisfied with the origin story they presented for Valak. There were some good horror moments, the young girl hanging herself and then attacking Frenchie comes to mind. I also like the time/place setting. It was nice to see things predate the Warrens in the timeline and continue the track record of globetrotting.

The Bad – Really weak introduction to the main characters. The possession of Daniel should have been presented as an introductory vignette to introduce us to Father Burke, instead of as a flashback. As presented we end up with about 20 minutes of introductory monologuing by honestly not-very-good actors. The Abbey seemed a little too supernatural for my liking. Given the Warren’s existence in a very real New England / England it is strange to see a legit haunted abbey with clockwork gates and other nonsense. It should have just been a regular abbey where the nuns worshipped Valak or something, defiling their vows etc. etc. And incredibly cliche horror element, just pop up scares and loud sounds, which were not featured heavily in the other two films I watched. Disappointing at the very very least.

The BMT – Oh, we’ll be watching more of the Conjuring franchise. As a matter of fact I’m much much more game to do some more franchises (like Paranormal Activity) as well, as those seemed to have redefined their respective sub-genres (found-footage), which is a sub-genre I tend to hate. And with Annabelle and multiple sequels / spin-offs in the works I think the franchise could produce more BMTs in the future as well which is fun.

Welcome to Earf – I needed some help here. You see Patrick Wilson at the end in the epilogue who was also in (I had to be reminded) Evening, which also stars Hugh Dancy, whose beautiful singing voice is heard in Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return which also had the melodious voice of Dan Aykroyd in it, who was in Nothing But Trouble with Demi Moore, who was in Striptease with Burt Reynolds, who was in In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth! Welcome to Earth!

StreetCreditReport.com – It isn’t that surprising that this wouldn’t get too much play on end of the year lists, it was chosen for being from a franchise after all. I was somewhat surprised by it being featured 8th in Rolling Stone. But the criticism is real, it is incredibly recycled and cliche, which is a disappointment for a franchise which had seemed a breath of fresh air in the past half decade of horror.

I wrote a lot, but that is because I very much liked The Conjuring films I watched, and I very much look forward to watching the Annabelle spinoffs and upcoming sequel.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

 

Advertisements

The Nun Preview

“22 miles?!” Jamie exclaims, “we’ll never make it.” Patrick knows he’s probably right but they have to try to get their treasure to the masses. They sneak about the city like ninjas using the parkour knowledge they learned from Truth and Dare. Just as they reach the publishing house a man approaches at the same time. He’s wearing a thick turtleneck sweater with a pencil-thin moustache. “Damn it,” whispers Patrick, “It’s my rival, Manfred Long. He writes horror fantasy romance novels. They are totally played out. He’s a hack.” He quickly puts on a smile and slaps Manfred on the back, “Why hello, Manfred. Heading up to a meeting?” Manfred wipes his sweater, “Of course. Just going over my latest manuscript. Basically gonna change the world. Don’t worry about it.” “I’m not worried,” retorts Patrick. “I know, cause I said you shouldn’t be,” jabs Manfred. And they glare at each other. It’s tense. “Wanna hear about it?” asks Manfred. “No,” sighs Patrick, “we have a big meeting too.” But Manfred continues, “It’s a horror fantasy romance novel about a girl who falls in love with a swamp monster.” At that they freeze. Swamp monster? Shit. Jamie catches Patrick’s eye and they all start running for the publishing office at the same time. They gotta get their book out there and fast before that piece of shit Manfred Long plays out Swamp Monsters. They rush up the stairs and obviously easily outpace that hack Manfred Long. When they reach the office they throw the manuscript on the desk of Patrick’s literary agent. Huffing and puffing they look up the find Patrick’s agent holding a gun. “Excellent,” he says, “this will do nicely.” Patrick is shocked. He trusted his agent like a brother and yet he was a double agent the whole time. Manfred enters, also with a gun. Suddenly a shot rings out… and Patrick’s agent falls dead. A triple agent! My god! “Yes, excellent,” says Manfred Long, “our agent wanted this only for money. But I want it for something far greater.” The air in the room grows cold as Jamie and Patrick both whisper the name… Gigandet. That’s right! We’re transitioning to the new year! 2019! And we’re starting off hot with some Franchise-zzzz. Here we will start or finish some major BMT franchises as well as attempt to right some wrong in the BMT past. Most notably our decision to skip right past Predator II when we started in on that franchise. Gotta finish that one up. So we start it up with a major 2018 prequel The Nun which is one of several branches in The Conjuring Universe. I watched the first film in theaters and enjoyed it quite a bit so will be fun to catch up with The Conjuring 2 and The Nun. Let’s go!

The Nun (2018) – BMeTric: 49.6

thenun_bmet

thenun_rv

(This will be 50+ by the new year which is pretty incredible. No one rocks a bad review like horror fans who sniff any sort of cliched scare tactics. I’m still a bit surprised at how low the IMDb rating is, 5.5 is legit terrible!)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars –  The “Conjuring” movies—especially James Wan’s original two, and not so much the “Annabelle” prequels—stood apart from so much demon-themed horror with their well-drawn characters, strong performances and powerful emotional underpinning. “The Nun” feels like an empty thrill ride by comparison.

(Having watched the original two at this point I agree with that assessment, and this is the impression I get from the reviews as well. Tired, cliche, and totally out of sorts with the rest of the franchise. That small review of the Annabelle franchise is a bit ominous, I’ve heard good thing about Annabelle: Origins.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzD9zGcUNrw

(Make sure you watch to the end … for our stupid jump scare which everyone is going to get mad at us for. And yet … not so mad people won’t go see the film since it made bank. Go figure. Fine trailer I guess, although I had jump scares, they are dumb non-scares, so that is not a good sign for the film as a whole.)

Directors – Corin Hardy – (Known For: The Hallow; BMT: The Nun; Notes: Seems to work a lot in ads and stuff. Started in sculpting, prop design, and animation for film and theater and only relatively recently started to direct features.)

Writers – Gary Dauberman (screenplay by & story by) – (Known For: It; Annabelle: Creation; Future BMT: Annabelle; Wolves at the Door; BMT: The Nun; Notes: Actually set to make his directorial debut with the next Annabelle film.)

James Wan (story by) – (Known For: Aquaman; The Conjuring 2; Saw; Future BMT: Saw III; Dead Silence; Insidious: Chapter 2; BMT: The Nun; Notes: He has had an amazing career and has been a part of some of the biggest franchises ever with Saw, The Conjuring, Furious 7, and most recently Aquaman.)

Actors – Demián Bichir – (Known For: The Hateful Eight; Alien: Covenant; Savages; The Heat; Che: Part One; Lowriders; Dom Hemingway; A Better Life; Foreverland; 7:19; Future BMT: Solo; Machete Kills; Good Kids; Perdita Durango; Sin noticias de Dios; BMT: The Nun; Notes: Wait… he was in the film Solo?! Jesus.)

Taissa Farmiga – (Known For: The Mule; The Bling Ring; The Long Dumb Road; The Final Girls; In a Valley of Violence; 6 Years; What They Had; Rules Don’t Apply; Higher Ground; At Middleton; Future BMT: Mindscape; Jamesy Boy; BMT: The Nun; Notes: Sister of Vera Farmiga who plays a major role in The Conjuring series. Her sister is 21 years older than her.)

Jonas Bloquet – (Known For: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets; Elle; Orpheline; Future BMT: 3 Days to Kill; The Family; BMT: The Nun; Notes: Actually from Belgium and not French Canadian like this film makes him out to be.)

Budget/Gross – $22 million / Domestic: $117,450,119 (Worldwide: $365,550,119)

(A roaring success which at this point is inevitable. Once hooked horror fans will come back again and again for more. They will gladly shit on the film online if it isn’t to their tastes, but I have no doubt The Nun 2 will make a ton of money as well. You have to spit in their face or produce a number of bombs in a row to get betrayed once that first hit is made it seems. Which is great in my opinion, the horror genre is one of the most interesting and fresh genres around I think.)

#4 for the Horror – Period genre

thenun_horrorperiod

(You’d think this would be better given the witch sub-genre almost by definition should be a period piece, but not even 10 of them have made over $100 million which is terrible. I guess it is at least 10 since for some reason The Conjuring 2 isn’t there when it is, in fact, a period horror film. Which means at least four of the top ten are Conjuring films which is nuts.)

#7 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

thenun_rratedhorror

(From I Know What You Did Last Summer to Alone in the Dark we’ve seen a ton of these films at this point. The genre has never been stronger with It and (arguably) Get Out flexing their muscles last year and things like The Nun making a ton of cash as well.)

#9 for the Horror – Supernatural genre

thenun_supernaturalhorror

(Nothing can beat The Bye Bye Man in my heart, but that is pretty good for a very strong genre. It hasn’t been this strong since the turn of the millennium for supernatural horror, and having watched The Conjuring, it is kind of amazing that a genre which has been hitting home runs since the seventies can still bring fresh takes and rake in cash. Something that things like slashers can never seem to get the hang of (although a few have come around in the last few years like Happy Death Day).)

Rotten Tomatoes – 26% (45/171): The Nun boasts strong performances, spooky atmospherics, and a couple decent set-pieces, but its sins include inconsistent logic and narrative slackness.

(Wait a second… inconsistent logic and narrative slackness is enough for a 26% on RT. This actually sounds more like “we loved the previous two entries in the series and this didn’t measure up so fuck it.”)

Poster – Evil Twin Nun Time (A-)

nun_ver2

(I like this poster quite a bit. Nice balance in the visual and the font is good. Clever as well given the premise of the film. Just wish it was a little better with some coloring. Need to tie it all together.)

Tagline(s) – Witness the Darkest Chapter in The Conjuring Universe (F)

(Boooooooo. They need to pray for forgiveness for this tagline… ayo.)

Keyword(s) – spin off; Top Ten by BMeTric: 75.3 Elektra (2005); 69.9 Wing Commander (1999); 67.8 Supergirl (1984); 64.5 Tekken (2010); 62.6 Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014); 59.4 The Mod Squad (1999); 54.6 Annabelle (I) (2014); 51.1 The Scorpion King (2002); 49.6 The Nun (2018); 47.4 MacGruber (2010);

(Oooooo Supergirl is going to be a super weird film for sure. And there is Annabelle and Paranormal Activity as well which are inevitably going to have to be done. Bantastic.)

Notes – The film was shot entirely in Romania. (Yeah it was)

The events take place before Annabelle: Creation (2017), making it the first movie (chronologically) in the film series. Although the opening scenes of Annabelle: Creation take place before The Nun, the rest occurs afterwards.

Taissa Farmiga, who played Sister Irene in this film, is the younger sister of Vera Farmiga in real life, who played Lorraine Warren in The Conjuring (2013) and The Conjuring 2 (2016). The Demon Nun, played by Bonnie Aarons, also appeared in The Conjuring 2 (2016) and had a brief cameo in Annabelle: Creation (2017). Though the sisters’ characters are not at all related to each other, they are both devout Catholics with clairvoyant abilities.

This was Valak’s third appearance after The Conjuring 2 (2016) and Annabelle: Creation (2017). Although Valak did not appear in The Conjuring (2013), the scary premonition that Lorraine Warren had in that film was about Valak, as later revealed in Conjuring 2.

After the “Demon Nun” from The Conjuring 2 (2016) proved to be a popular horror antagonist, a spin-off focusing on the character was green-lit, making her the second character from the franchise to get her own feature after Annabelle (2014). The Crooked Man from Conjuring 2 will be the third in The Crooked Man. (Maybe. I guess since The Nun smashed it they will go forward with it, but it kind of sounds like a terrible idea, The Crooked Man is by far the weakest demon character of the three IMO)

Despite the Conjuring and its sequel being based on true events, this film is not based on any real historical events and is entirely fictional

An advertisement for the film was pulled from the video sharing site YouTube, as many users complained that the five second clip featuring a startling jumpscare was “too scary.” Administrators thus removed the ad and apologized, claiming that it was not their intention to publish content that may potentially “offend” or “shock” viewers. (And afterwards people were still seeing it apparently and super pissed. It is basically just a crazy jump scare which shouldn’t be pulled on unsuspecting people)

The film was originally set to hit cinemas in mid-July of 2018 but was pushed back closer to Halloween season on September 7, in hopes of doing as successful at the box office as It (2017) did last year, which smashed records and earned more than USD $700M. (It didn’t do quite that well, but it did do very well).

At the end of The Nun, a scene from The Conjuring (2013) is shown where Ed & Lorraine are performing an exorcism on Maurice. This scene links the Maurice from that video as being the same Maurice from The Nun, but they edited the scene to fit into the narrative of The Nun: they edited in Jonas Bloquet into the exorcism scene, as he used to be played by a different actor (Christof Veillon); they added in dialogue of Ed saying “they called him Frenchie”, so as to make a better connection. (Uh yeah … you can tell. It was pretty weak to be honest).

Valak is mentioned by name only once, when Father Burke looks into the abbey’s history. Everyone else refers to it as “the evil” or “the demon”.

The name Valak can be found in the upside pentagram all in uppercase. (I guess … Valac was a thing before these films, and spelled with a C, so that seems like a coincidence.)

The 15:17 to Paris Recap

Jamie

Lifelong friends Spencer, Alek, and Anthony have spent their lives trying to find where they fit and best follow their sense of right. When they end up on a train targeted by a terrorist they will have to find their courage within. Can they stop the tragedy before it’s too late? Find out in… real life when this happened… but also The 15:17 to Paris.

How?! This is gonna be a hard one to write about because on the one hand it details a truly courageous act of bravery by a few young men and on the other hand it’s a film experiment that is at times the worst thing I’ve ever seen put to screen. Perhaps on the level with the Atlas Shrugged films. Anyway, the story is very straightforward, Spencer, Alek, and Anthony meet as kids in Sacramento and become good friends. They are outsiders fascinated by the military and serving the country. Despite moving away from each other they keep in touch throughout their life. Spencer and Alek join the military and both have somewhat underwhelming experiences. While Spencer is medically rejected for special forces, ending up instead in a support branch of the Air Force, Alek enlists in the Oregon National Guard and is mired in Afghanistan. Hoping to see a little of the world on break they travel to Europe with Anthony and travel from Italy to Germany to Amsterdam and eventually grab a train to Paris (I forget which one). On the train a terrorist attempts to take control but the three friends (along with a couple other passengers) tackle and subdue the assailant. They are heroes. THE END.

Why?! Why was the film made? Oh, no. The motivations of the characters. Right. Uh… it’s just life, man. Seriously, the film does a pretty good job of feeling pretty true to life. It’s doesn’t shirk over the fact that Spencer hoped to be a search and rescue ranger in the Air Force, but didn’t medically make the cut. It shows both his frustrations along with Alek’s in feeling like the military didn’t live up to what they imagined it would be. This does a good job of framing the final scene for exactly what it was, an act of bravery that easily could have resulted in their deaths.

Who?! Obviously one of the defining features of this film is that many of the real life people involved portrayed themselves… to mixed results. There was a funny rumor that Clint Eastwood asked France if the actual terrorist could portray himself which cannot possibly be true. So you heard it here first: the internet sometimes lies.

What?! This is actually a hard category given how true to life (almost cinema-verite) style this film is. There is a small moment later in the film where the two main characters make fun of a tiny Coke can on the train which is probably less product placement than Clint Eastwood asking them what they remember from the first part of the train ride and them saying “uh, we made fun of a tiny Coke can and fell asleep.”

Where?! This is actually an interesting entry given that the film was partially chosen as an A+ setting film. In reality Paris is in the title but they never actually reach Paris (until the end when they get military honors from the French President). It is actually mostly set in Sacramento and then Italy is the main setting for their actual road trip. So I’m downgrading it. B+

When?! Ha! Also interesting since 15:17 is a weird exact time in the title. Not the traditional A+ setting for this either.  Since it’s based on a real event there is technically a brief moment in the film where you know the date and exact time at which things are happening, which is kinda amazing. It deserves it. A+

This film is more or less a mixture of a Christian and experimental film that somehow was released to theaters for reason that are… actually readily apparent. It was directed by Clint Eastwood. For the first twenty minutes I had to seriously consider whether this was the worst film I had ever seen. I had to turn it off twice and take breaks to get through it. Once we got to when the main characters were grown up it got a bit better. The acting was still pretty rough (the main guy Spencer was actually surprisingly OK) but it felt brutally honest and I appreciated that. The ending was actually pretty crazy with how close they come to death and having to recreate that must have been really hard. Anyway, it’s bad and only worth watching if you are interested in seeing a (failed) experiment in filmmaking. As for Hard Ticket to Hawaii, I can 100% see why this is a beloved Z-movie series by Andy Sidaris. It is over the top and pretty much hits every cliche of 80’s/90’s action all in one neat package. We got crazy clothes, crazy frisbee and skateboard scenes (what the kids want), crazy boobs everywhere (what the kids want), giant explosions (what the kids want), etc. etc. etc. It does seem to toe the line between inadvertently hilarious and purposefully so. That always makes it tough, but kudos to them if they did purposefully make a bad film… because it’s certainly hard to tell. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Sometimes I wonder, hey, why can’t I get a job that will allow me to mess around and pay me millions of dollars to flush $30 million dollars down the toilet. Well if you’re Clint Eastwood you can! Let’s go!

The Good – I do think there is a place for films like this. I actually felt a bit embarrassed in watching it, because it felt like I was making fun of some good hearted story and people and actors and ideals somehow. None of the multitude of problems with the film reflect on the actual values on screen. People should be able to have and appreciate art that reflects their wholesome all-American flag-waving values. The final third of the film picks up and I can kind of see why Eastwood made the film and decided to make it like this. It is an interesting story as well, although maybe more interesting as a book rather than a movie.

P’s View on the Preview – Is there any doubt at all what everyone would be curious about going into this film? Can these people act? Would this experiment Eastwood cooked up work? If not for that you would kind of just have a not very interesting idea for a drama if I’m going to be frank. Otherwise it was going to be vaguely interesting to see what parts of the lives of these three people we would see, and whether Eastwood would pull a fake-baby-in-American-Sniper on us or something.

The Bad – Whhhhhoooooooooo doggy, these people can’t act. And the stunner? The worst part of the movie is the beginning when nearly everyone was actual established (cough, television, cough) actors! The first third of the film is a travesty. The middle is a whole lotta nothing, and then the end is fine if the people could act (but they can’t). Also, if this wasn’t made by Clint Eastwood it would (1) have a budget of $1 and (2) be a straight up Christian film released to 400 theaters. The grand experiment was a failure, despite all the potential good the film might have going for it in the end.

The BMT – Yeah I think it has to be, and perhaps it’ll get us to venture into the drama sphere more. While bad dramas tend to be dull, there was a lot of meat on this bone to pick apart. And it certainly took me out of my bad movie comfort zone. Something to think about.

Welcome to Earf – Judy Greer was in The 15:17 to Paris and Marmaduke with Owen Wilson, who was in I, Spy with Eddie Murphy, who was in Norbit with Terry Crews, who was in Blended with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earth!

StreetCreditReport.com – Uh, what is the word I’m looking for? Oh yeah UP THE WAZOOOO! Here and here and here and here. People hated this film. It actually legit had to be done. How many bad dramas do we really get? I mean … considering we don’t really watch those low budget Christian films or VOD Nicholas Sparks knock-offs. Not many I tells ya!

Bring a Friend Analysis – Ah, the final friend of the cycle was Hard Ticket to Hawaii. This film is fun as hell. The stars are playboy playmates (wowza!) and they are extremely game for some silly shenanigans in Hawaii. Made by Andy Sidaris, the film is probably the closest we’ve gotten to the classic Room or Troll 2 territory. Actually it is probably really close to Troll 2. The issue I think I ultimately had was I had a hard time determining whether Sidaris was serious or not. The ending of the film certainly made me think he wasn’t (a giant terribly fake snake comes out of a toilet and they blast it with a bazooka), which is an obvious problem. You can’t make intentional bad films … but holy crap this gets close. A solid A- with an option to bump it to an A if I watch some other Sidaris films and realize that he is for reals.

You Just Got Schooled – I can’t think of something to do for 15:17 to Paris … but what about Hard Ticket to Hawaii! Maybe we can answer this question now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAVNlXUqaqI

Welp … yeah they are serious. For reals. “I’ll be a very sorry feminist” wowza! “A trained ape can make a movie” Phew! They compared their films to the Louvre! They don’t seem to be as delusional as someone like Tommy Wiseau or Claudio Fragasso, but they do seem very serious … fine I’ll give it an A!!! I’ve been convinced!

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

 

The 15:17 to Paris Preview

As the Space Cops pile into the space ship they lay it all out there. “Officer Libby, the Little Old Librarian you know and hate, used to be part of a major gang of corrupt cops. They would steal cocaine from evidence, use it to help write action movie screenplays in volume, ultimately sell the rights to a small number of them of which only one or two would actually be made, then have them taken out of their creative control and turned into something that they no longer recognized,” Jacobs sneers, spitting in disgust, “a truly devious plot by a truly devious cop. It is well known that she hoped to use the power of the Socket to play out the plot of one of those screenplays and create mass chaos to take over the world. So all we have to do is figure out which screenplay she want to see made by the ultimate film studio… life. Simple right?” He says as he pours 430 screenplays out of a burlap sack. Knowing they’ll never get through all of the screenplays in time Jamie gets an idea and they zoom back to Dracula School. With the help of the vampire students they start to make their way through the screenplays and boy howdy is it tough sledding. “Why do so many of these involve vigilante justice?” Asks one student. “This is the second sex scene I’ve read involving a dude ranch.” Says another, eyes glazing over. “Huh, this is interesting,” says Odin, “this also is mostly about vigilante justice and certainly has a dude ranch sex scene but… it also says ‘based on a true story’ at the front. Does anyone remember when a vigilante ninja cop stopped a bunch of cowboy terrorists on a train to Paris?” That’s right! We are transitioning to the final cycle of the year. As tradition dictates this is a cycle consisting of only films released in 2018. Previously this was to make sure we were up-to-date for Razzies season, but now it’s so we are up-to-date for Smaddies Baddies season. We start off with The 15:17 to Paris, which somehow hits two numbers on the Periodic Table of Smellements and is an A+ setting for both place and time (kinda). It also is a super strange experimental film that Clint Eastwood with the actual heroes of the event playing themselves… sounds like a tough watch. Let’s go!

Patrick, Sticks, and Stones sneak around to the back of the z-movie multiverse LAPD precinct. That’s weird, Patrick thinks, isn’t the whole reason they came and got him because the LAPD wanted to come and save him? Sticks and Stones have a wild look in their eyes as they jimmy the lock and start towards the evidence locker. “It’s just in here, gosh dern it, hurry up before they catch us,” Stones says. Patrick is super duper slow on the uptake and following them around like an idiot. He hopes those other ninja cops come soon, because his mind is feeling fuzzy again, and Sticks and Stones are starting to creep him out all of a sudden. When they reach the evidence locker Sticks blasts the lock with his glock, growling “I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it.” They pull out the Obsidian Dongle. Wait … what a twist! It wasn’t destroyed after all! Right then the samurai cop and his very tall partner come around the corner. “Stop right there you ne’er-do-wells! Patrick, they are insane they only want you for your twin powers, your ability to control the Dongle, and want you to bring them to the real world!” Patrick looks at them dumbly … “What?” The samurai cop comes at them with a katana ready to strike. Without thinking Patrick grabs the dongle and thinks “Take me and Sticks and Stones to … Hawaii?” And boom, his twin powers blast them to Hawaii. Well … the Z-movie multiverse version of Hawaii which was roughly the same except all the girls have big bazongas. “All these girls have big bazongas,” Patrick says. That’s right! We’re watching Hard Ticket to Hawaii, a B-movie with an A+ setting. Made by Andy Sidaris, I dare to say this is his most famous BBB (Bullets, Bombs, Babes) film, well known for its skateboarding and frisbee antics … and fine, the bodacious babes. Let’s go!

The 15:17 to Paris (2018) – BMeTric: 52.5

The1517toParis_BMeT

The1517toParis_RV

(Loving that VOD bump. The rating is shockingly low. It didn’t even start high with all of the Eastwood-heads getting in there, it just started below-average and is now shockingly low. The BMeTric is astonishing all things considered. How bad can the acting actually be?!)

RogerEbert.com – 2 stars –  The movie’s greatest virtue, which might be enough to make it a critic-proof hit no matter what, is its poker faced sincerity. … A lot of U.S. moviegoers are going to feel seen by this film, and that’s a net gain for American cinema, which is supposed to be a populist art form representing the body politic as it is, not merely as the industry wishes it could be. If only someone could’ve heroically intervened to save this movie.

(Can’t say I disagree with the sentiment. There is room for gently jingoistic nonsense just like there is room for gory horror, cynical comedy, and sex-crazed teen romps. But certainly it looks like Eastwoods speed and very peculiar choice to cast three non-actors in the lead roles made this one very much non-critic-proof.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC_lnyn2R2Q

(The army, God, the American Dream, and heroes babbbbbbbyyyyyyyyy. The voiceover is a bit odd in the middle. As a matter of fact it feels like the film is desperately trying to cover up the fact that the main actors can’t, in fact, act. Which is a solid choice.)

Directors – Clint Eastwood – (Known For: American Sniper; Mystic River; Unforgiven; Gran Torino; Million Dollar Baby; Sully: Miracle on the Hudson; The Bridges of Madison County; Changeling; The Outlaw Josey Wales; Space Cowboys; Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil; Absolute Power; Invictus; J. Edgar; A Perfect World; Jersey Boys; Hereafter; Blood Work; High Plains Drifter; Letters from Iwo Jima; Future BMT: The Rookie; BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: Well known for talking to an empty chair at the Republican National Convention. I kid (although he did do that for real). His directing style might be called … rushed. Although arguably that is intentional. But clearly competent and efficient, churning out films like Woody Allen churns out scripts.)

Writers – Dorothy Blyskal (screenplay by) – (BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: She worked on Sully with Eastwood, and then ended up getting recruited to adapt the book the film is based on while working as a production assistant on Logan. I didn’t read it, but here is an interview detailing her career trajectory.)

Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone, Jeffrey E. Stern (based on the book by) – (BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: These are the three heroes of the story, they wrote the book and then ultimately starred in the subsequent film in what Eastwood called an “interesting experiment”.)

Actors – Alek Skarlatos – (BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: He was in the US Army National Guard. Finished in third place on Dancing with the Stars. He is currently running for a position in local politics in Oregon according to wikipedia.)

Anthony Sadler – (BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: Not much info on wiki beyond detailing the attack. He was the civilian of the bunch, having been childhood friends with Skarlatos and Stone.)

Spencer Stone – (BMT: The 15:17 to Paris; Notes: He was in the US Air Force. Two months after the attack he was stabbed outside of a nightclub and almost died.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $36,250,957 (Worldwide: $57,050,957)

(It did … poorly. That isn’t even really fine, it was poor. Given they didn’t have to pay three leads though, where did the money go?)

#22 for the Terrorism genre

1517toparis_terrorism

(Swordfish is the only other film we’ve seen. This is, amazingly, the highest by BMeTric. Collateral Damage with Schwarzenegger is next up I think. By the way the note at the bottom is pretty excellent: NOTE: Movies such as Die Hard, Under Siege, Speed and The Rock are not being counted as their villains for the most part are about getting money or are disgruntled former employees. For it to be a “”Terrorist”” movie, the central action has to occur to promote a cause or for destruction’s sake.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 23% (35/149): The 15:17 to Paris pays clumsily well-intentioned tribute to an act of heroism, but by casting the real-life individuals involved, director Clint Eastwood fatally derails his own efforts.

(YAH THINK? It is an astonishing and immediately ill-advised choice. You don’t really flippantly make a movie. Although given how Eastwood directs, maybe he genuinely thinks you can. Reviewer Highlight: Performances in Eastwood films are usually uneven, but here his hands-off directing style shows no mercy … – Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, AV Club)

Poster – Bonjour, je suis American. Ça va? (A)

fifteen_seventeen_to_paris

(I actually enjoy this poster quite a bit. Artistic, black-and-white with red accents, and a unique font for a little spin.)

Tagline(s) – A true story. The real heroes. (D)

In the face of fear ordinary people can do the extraordinary (C+)

(The first one more or less confirms that this is likely just an experiment that Eastwood thought would be interesting to try, so it’s not particularly interesting. The second is good and hits all the marks, but is just too cliched to get a high grade. Probably 30% of all films made could have that tagline. I guess not Exit Wounds, since Steven Seagal is anything but ordinary.)

Keyword(s) – train; Top Ten by BMeTric: 93.2 Gunday (2014); 86.1 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987); 82.5 Highlander II: The Quickening (1991); 80.7 xXx²: The Next Level (2005); 79.4 Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (2009); 79.0 Torque (2004); 77.7 Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008); 77.5 Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002); 72.8 Jonah Hex (2010); 72.5 Cell (I) (2016);

(Nooooo never Gunday. Never. As a matter of fact once you nix that, the other two missing films don’t qualify both being above 40% on Rotten Tomatoes. So arguably we are, in fact, done with the top train films as far as BMT is concerned. In reality it would probably be better to just filter out non-qualifying films … but whatever.)

Notes – The first person to tackle the terrorist on the train was a Frenchman. He later turned down the Légion d’honneur and asked to remain anonymous because he feared reprisals from other Islamists living in France. (Oh shit, that’s pretty cool)

Director Clint Eastwood enlisted the actual Americans who took down the terrorist to play themselves in this movie: Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone. (As we heard above, this was a terrible idea.)

Roughly eight weeks after the Thalys train attack, Spencer Stone was stabbed in the back several times by James Tran, outside a downtown Sacramento night club. Stone suffered wounds to his lungs, liver and heart, and he had to undergo emergency open heart surgery. In 2017, Tran was found guilty of attempted murder, causing great bodily injury and the use of a deadly weapon and was sentenced to nine years. Stone was quoted in the Sacramento Bee newspaper, saying, “At the end of the day, I forgive the guy. We all make stupid decisions, some dumber than others. I hope he learns from it.”

The plot tagline says “3 U.S. Airmen,” but only Spencer Stone is in the Air Force. Alek Skarlatos is Army National Guard and Anthony Sadler is a civilian.

This is the 36th feature film to be directed by Clint Eastwood. (He pumps these out)

Clint Eastwood was attached to direct The Ballad of Richard Jewell since 2014 but dropped out in 2016 to do Impossible Odds as his next directorial project after finishing Sully (2016). The project wasn’t ready yet and needed more time in development, meaning that Eastwood needed another project. He decided to sign on to helm this project as his next directorial film.

An image of Clint Eastwood’s face from Pale Rider (1985) appears on a character’s t-shirt.

Many of the professional actors in this film are better known as sitcom stars: Tony Hale and Judy Greer were both in Arrested Development, Jenna Fischer in The Office, Thomas Lennon in Reno 911!, and Jaleel White in Family Matters. (So basically this is a bunch of amateurs, and then a bunch of television actors … this sounds like it shall go swimmingly)

Vampire Academy Recap

Jamie

Rose is the protector of Lissa, a vampire at Vampire Academy. When eerie and troublesome things start occurring on campus they have to figure out who’s behind it. Can they stop this mysterious danger (and maybe get the guy) before it’s too late? Find out in… Vampire Academy.

How?! Rose is a Dhampir, a vampire/human hybrid sworn to protect Moroi, or full vampires. She is attached to her best friend, Lissa, a potential future ruler of the Moroi. There is a whole bunch of fantasy bullshit associated with this garbage but I’m not going to talk about it because it’s lame. They are returned to Vampire Academy after running away to find that everything has changed. Lissa has been ostracized and is relentlessly bullied by the new cool kids in school. Part of this is a series of mysterious threats in the form of dead animals and messages written in blood. In the process of trying to figure out who sent these messages Lissa and Rose discover that Lissa is a rare and powerful vampire able to practice Spirit Magic (cool beans). This allows her to heal animals and people, but leaves her very weak afterwards. In a shocking and wholly unpredictable twist, it turns out that this power is coveted by a powerful friend of Lissa’s family, Victor Dashkov, who is ill and needs Lissa’s healing ability. He kidnaps her, but Rose and a bunch of other vampire fighters go out and totes defeat him cause he’s old and lame. In another shocking twist one of Rose and Lissa’s friends turns evil and attempts to free Victor, but is killed by Rose in a rad final battle. In the end Rose totally makes out with her 40-year-old fighting teacher and we are treated to a sneak peak of a sequel that never happened. THE END.

Why?! Well I think this is all an extended allegory for not having sex before marriage (like many of these types of books are in the end). So I guess the reason anything is happening is because Rose and Lissa made out with people and should feel bad about that (or something). Being serious, the whole story centers around Lissa’s healing ability. She’s more or less a chosen one destined to defeat the bad vampires in the name of the Moroi. Unfortunately some Moroi hope to exploit her talents and risk everything. All conflict is between those two groups.

What?! There actually is very little product placement in the film since the latest technologies are forbidden in Vampire Academy and they drink blood, not delicious Coca-Cola. We do get a little taste of what they were missing out on as the main character laments the loss of her iPhone 5 upon their return to the academy. Pffff, that’s so 2012 and hate.

Who?! Are some of these actors also teen musicians. Statistically speaking, probably. There is also a special thanks given to the husband of one of the producers which seems a bit strange to me. It’s a bit of a mystery as to what he even does on set considering his IMDb page is dominated by credits as “staff”… like he was “staff” on 122 episodes of ER. What does that mean?

Where?! My god! This film is very specifically set in Hamilton, MT. Which is simply amazing. We even see a “Welcome to Montana” sign in the beginning. I’m really, really tempted to give this an A+ for just how weird and specific this is, but it wouldn’t be right. This is obviously a B+ as it plays no role in the film other than being visually noted on screen.

When?! I can’t remember if they ever spell out explicitly when this is set. My presumption was that they ran away in the Fall and then were brought back in the Spring because they are in Montana and it seems someone tolerable weather-wise. That would put the climax, set during the school’s Equinox Dance, on March 20th for the Vernal Equinox. But that is all guess work. D+.

Vampire Academy is laughably bad. You can see that Zoey Deutch has quite a bit of talent as the beautiful and yet snarky girl, so that’s enjoyable. But beyond that it’s a contrived film filled with bad actors. I don’t say this lightly considering what I do for fun but… this was a giant waste of time. As for it’s “friend” Teen Witch, not since The Room have we watched a film that lived up to its hype to a greater degree than Teen Witch. It is crazy and hilarious, both as an anthropologic wonder of 80’s styling and as a timeless pseudo-musical. Gather the whole family around that television set, pop in that worn Teen Witch tape, and you’ll be set for the night of your life. Put that on the poster, babbbyyyyyy. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! I do believe congratulations are in order, I just graduated from Vampire Academy! I’m off to the Vampire Institute of Technology to study the art of vampire dance. It is my passion, what can I say? Let’s get into it! (It being the movie, not my seductive vampiric dances).

The Good – I very much liked Zoey Deutch. She reminds me of Linda Cardellini from Freaks and Geeks. This is also an incredibly faithful adaptation of the book. For those who care about such things it is one of the better adaptations I’ve ever seen in that regard.

Homework Sklog-signment – I’ve replaced the P’s View on the Preview section because reading the book was my preview really. To get this out of the way: literally one of the worst books I’ve ever read just from a writing perspective. Poorly written. Unlike Fifty Shades of Grey (which I read a single page of and then thought “I’m better than this” and stopped) this was blessedly short and lightweight, so I did ultimately get through it. But it isn’t so out of bounds to call this, like Fifty Shades, Twilight fanfiction. It really really isn’t much better than that. The description I kept going back to was: This is like what a 30-year-old thinks a 13-year-old thinks a 17-year-old sounds like … and it wasn’t too far off, the book was written by a 31-year-old who used to teach eighth grade in Seattle. A adaptation, D- book.

The Bad – Uh … this movie makes no sense. There was basically two options considering how much lore is crammed into book one of the series. Either you create a prequel film which covers Rose and Vasilisa’s accident and allows the Moroi and Strigoi lore to be established and the interpersonal relationships of the Academy to develop so that the eventual book one makes sense. Or you make this a crap CW show and give yourself 10 episodes to really explain it all in a reasonable amount of time (and then flow into a movie series maybe). Besides that: the acting is dire and the main relationship appears to be between a 17-year-old girl and a 30-year-old man which really couldn’t be creepier. It is profoundly disturbing.

Get Yo Rant On – Alright, I’ve touched on the 30-year-old man getting into a relationship with a 17-year-old girl. First, sure he’s probably supposed to be 24 in some capacity, but he was actually 29 and honestly looked older to me. Zoey Deutch was actually 20, but her character is explicitly in high school. HIGH SCHOOL. This creepy dude is creeping around like a creepster, and it is totally unnecessary! Dimitri doesn’t even need to be in the movie! He’s just there to teach her stuff and create a love interest. Split him into two characters, one in high school (the love interest) and another teacher character (a wise old man who dies in the end). Oh, but Dimitri’s age and the forbidden love is the point you say. Yeah … that’s my point, it is creepy and doesn’t need to be there. Jeez, with this and Underclassman it feels like I’m taking crazy pills. Was 2014 really that long ago? End rant.

The BMT – This movie flows through me like a wave, cleanses me, leaving nothing of the dirtiness of BMT behind. And in that capacity it will have no impact on BMT. On the other hand it is genuinely one of the bigger recent box office bombs and if I were to compile a list of the top ten weirdest BMT love stories this might just be the creepiest. So it has an outside shot at impacting BMT in the end.

Welcome to Earf – Boom. Zoey Deutch was in this and Dirty Grandpa with Robert De Niro who was in Righteous Kill with Al Pacino who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth! Welcome to Earf!

StreetCreditReport.com – This actually weirdly went under the radar a bit. It gets an Honorable Mention on IndieWire, but nothing else. It is pretty nice to see it get an entire Gizmodo story though. This person is very clearly a huge fan of the books, and not a huge fan of the film. I disagree on a bunch of it, but you can at least see where some cred might come from: fans of YA novels.

Bring a Friend – A little bonus section for the (non-BMT) bonus film Teen Witch! And I have to say: a thoroughly entertaining film. Understandable it is considered a cult favorite among bad movie aficionados. I think my primary complaint here would be it severely loses steam in the back half. The best part of this film is, by far, the first 30 minutes. You can ogle those sweet 80s threads, listen to some jamming 80s beats, and, before they attempt to foist real feelings onto you, appreciate the very weird character choices in the film: the gluttonous brother, the white Beastie Boys knockoff rappers, the devilishly awful History teacher, the very strange witch character, it’s got them all! The “Top That” rap which the movie is famous for also does not disappoint, although you might as well just turn the movie off right after it because it never does … top that! Ayyyyyyyooooooo. As far a friend-movies are concerned though: A I would definitely watch it again, it is basically all we hope for in a friend movie, but I need to leave some room for something like The Room to come along and melt our minds so thoroughly that they end up writing books about it.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Vampire Academy Preview

Cradling the child in his arms, Jamie brings her out of the cave and into his life. Having spent most of her childhood in the care of a giant robotic spider she has a lot to learn, but you know what? So do they. It’s a classic Old Dogs situation up in here as Jamie and crazy Uncle Patrick teach her how to swim and bike and laugh all the while getting into zany situations. They eventually put their party animal ways behind them and take accounting jobs at their father’s firm. It may not be the most glamorous job, but it’s a stable living and the benefits are good. As they wave goodbye to her on her first day of school, a single tear falls from their eyes. The Ivory Socket and Obsidian Dongle begin to glow a deep amber, “The final MacGuffin… it was within us the whole time. It was… love.” Knowing that it’s finally time, they place the pieces together. In a flash of light the universe is torn apart…

Blinking his eyes, Jamie awakens to find the little old librarian staring down into his face. “Hee hee hee, we did it. It is destroyed and the Socket is mine. No longer will the power of the Dongle stand in my way.” It was a set up from the jump! Jamie wails in anguish and begins to cough up blood due to his many mortal wounds. “No,” the librarian screeches, “you must live and help me use the Socket. I must have your twin powers.” He can feel her dragging him through the darkness until they come upon a large house in the woods. A man opens the door. “Another one, Lucretia? If I must.” He smiles, revealing large fangs. That’s right! We’re watching Vampire Academy!

Blinking his eyes, Patrick awakens unharmed on what is clearly a terribly built house set on a soundstage, a teenager in a shoddy witch costume sits across from him in the sparsely dressed living room. “I’ll get you my pretty,” she plagiarizes shoddily, “but not before I show you my dance grooves!” As she bips and bops around Patrick becomes confused. The display was terrible, what was the point? “Top this, top that, top that, top that, top that …” the witch’s song reverberates inside his skull. Where is he? What is happening? Top what? … Top “that” of course. Slowly and impassionately the witch is joined by other similarly dressed characters, and Patrick’s mind begins to slip away. Patrick wonders how he could have thought the dance was bad, it was wondrous. It was … everything. A slow small smile forms on the witch’s face. “Top that,” she whispers … That’s right! We’re also watching Teen Witch!

That’s right! We’re transitioning to our next cycle of the year where we are bringing along some z-movie friends to pair with our normal BMT selections. So we got a little teen angst mixed with the supernatural for the much anticipated cult classic Teen Witch and the much less anticipated box office flop Vampire Academy. This will be mirrored by Patrick being sent to the z-universe through the power of the Dongle and, ooooooh boy, we’re pretty excited about it. Let’s go!

Vampire Academy (2014) – BMeTric: 48.3

VampireAcademy_BMeT

VampireAcademy_RV

(Kind of amazing that it took three months for it to drop … actually now that I say that it is perfectly reasonable that it took three months. Prior to the three month mark most voters would have been the kind of people who watched Vampire Academy in theaters. After three months you start getting people who watched it on DVD or VOD who are far less likely to be kind to the film.)

Leonard Maltin – 3 stars –  Vampire princess and her best friend / protector return to their prep school in the Rockies. Soon, it’s clear that someone or a group is trying to kill them – but who? And why? Unexpectedly witty, entertaining comedy-drama is well acted and explains its complicated mythology clearly, more or less. Main problem for the viewer is sorting out the hunky boyfriends. Deutch is particularly good as the wisecracking, spunky heroine. Screenplay by Daniel Waters of Heathers fame, brother of the director; based on the YA novel by Richelle Mead.

(More or less … MORE OR LESS. Shocking review from Leonard here. Having read the novel … there is a zero percent chance they explain the mythology properly. It is completely incomprehensible, even when gathered slowly across 300 pages.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1ERrnYunBg

(Oooof. That looks like quippy garbage … but I could maybe see why the target audience could like it I guess. It gives that classic movie perception of high school … but with vampires … hooray?)

Directors – Mark Waters – (Known For: Mean Girls; Freaky Friday; The Spiderwick Chronicles; Just Like Heaven; Mr. Popper’s Penguins; The House of Yes; Future BMT: Head Over Heels; Bad Santa 2; BMT: Vampire Academy; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Notes: Daniel Waters’ (the screenwriter of this film) brother. He is also married to Dina Spybey-Waters who is a very accomplished actress in her own right.)

Writers – Richelle Mead (novel) – (BMT: Vampire Academy; Notes: Ridiculously prolific writer having written around 30 novels in the last ten years. Was an 8th grade teacher when she sold her first book, then retired to write full time.)

Daniel Waters (screenplay) – (Known For: Heathers; Batman Returns; Happy Campers; Future BMT: Sex and Death 101; The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; BMT: Vampire Academy; Hudson Hawk; Demolition Man; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay in 1991 for The Adventures of Ford Fairlane; and in 1992 for Hudson Hawk; Notes: He wrote the screenplay for Heathers while working in a video store.)

Actors – Zoey Deutch – (Known For: Set It Up; The Disaster Artist; The Amazing Spider-Man; Before I Fall; Everybody Wants Some!!; Flower; Beautiful Creatures; The Year of Spectacular Men; Roxxy; Future BMT: Why Him?; Good Kids; BMT: Vampire Academy; Dirty Grandpa; Notes: Lea Thompson’s daughter, she is involved in a number of activist causes, including Planned Parenthood.)

Lucy Fry – (Future BMT: The Darkness; Bright; The Preppie Connection; Now Add Honey; BMT: Vampire Academy; Notes: Australian. Apparently earned a purple-belt in karate this year.)

Danila Kozlovsky – (Known For: Hardcore Henry; Dovlatov; BMT: Vampire Academy; Notes: Born in Russia he entered and graduated from their Sea Corps in 2002. He then won the Belyy Slon (White Elephant / Best Actor) from The Russian Guild of Film Critics in 2005, and the Zolotoy Orel (Golden Eagle / Best Actor) from The National Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Russia in 2013.)

Budget/Gross – $30 million / Domestic: $7,791,979 (Worldwide: $15,391,979)

(An unmitigated disaster. Looking at the genres as well this is universally just one of the worst box office performances in quite a while. I gigantic bomb no matter how you cut it.)

#44 for the Vampire genre

vampireacademy_vampire

(Not that much more than Transylvania 6-5000 which is … not great. We’ve only seen one other vampire films (Queen of the Damned) which is crazy. Came right at the end of the Twilight vampire boom.)

#60 for the Young-Adult Book Adaptations genre

vampireacademy_yaadaptations

(Aaaaaaand comes right at the beginning of when they oversaturated the YA adaptation genre. Eragon is the best and … this is the lowest we’ve seen! The lowest that qualifies is the absurdly named Blood and Chocolate … what the fuck is that?)

#12 Worst Openings – Saturated Adjusted

(Wow. It is still number 16 based on actuals which is incredible. Along with the claimed budget I imagine that stopped any discussion of a franchise right quick.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (8/52): Though it may appeal to its built-in fanbase, Vampire Academy’s Twilight-meets-Mean Girls conceit borrows lazily from its predecessors and offers few laughs or thrills to complement its overstuffed backstory.

(Oooof. Does make sense though, they really do have to do a bit of world building to somehow establish why/how a vampire academy exists (as opposed to something like Divergent, where the backstory is mostly kept a mystery). Reviewer Highlight – This is a garbage heap of weak quips – J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader)

Poster – The Rich Person School for Attractive Vampires (C+)

vampire_academy_blood_sisters_ver2

(Wait, for real? This is like an ad you’d see for like Vitamin Water or something… this isn’t an ad for Vitamin Water is it? IS IT??? Bold colors and artsy but bad font and boring. Overall middle of the road with a bump for being a little different.)

Tagline(s) – They Suck at School (C-)

(At the time this ironic embrace of what would be considered a cheesy pun would have been perceived as cool and “hip” (as the kids say). We are likely at the point where we’ve graduated from this to something else, but I’m not rad enough to know what that something is. Sincerity?… Is sincerely writing terrible puns now funny? I don’t know. Anyway, I don’t see irony when reading these things. I just see a not very good pun used moderately well as a tagline.)

Keyword(s) – vampire; Top Ten by BMeTric: 88.9 Vampires Suck (2010); 87.5 BloodRayne (2005); 81.7 Ultraviolet (2006); 78.0 The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009); 72.1 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011); 69.1 Stan Helsing (2009); 69.0 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010); 68.1 Vampire in Brooklyn (1995); 63.7 Dracula 2001 (2000); 63.6 Dudley Do-Right (1999);

(Hmmmmmm, I’ve seen all of the Twilight films (huge oversight in retrospect, although I guess I wouldn’t mind watching them again). All of these are premo though, kind of amazing they’ve managed to make so many hugely terrible vampire films recently.)

Notes – Sarah Hyland auditioned over Skype.

Although the movie did not perform very well at the worldwide box office ($15,391,979 against a $30 million budget) director Mark Waters was eager to give the franchise a second chance in the form of a sequel (Vampire Academy: Frostbite). Studio Preger Entertainment agreed to fund the film on the condition that Mark Waters could get fans to raise the necessary $1.5 million on their own in proof of their support of the film. An indiegogo campaign was started and ran from August 2014 to September 2014. Fans were only able to raise $254,500 by the end of the month, thus leading to Preger Entertainment canceling plans for a sequel. (My god. This is both hilarious and tragic).

Lucy Fry did not receive a callback for the first casting. When the producers started accepting self-tapes she submitted one that landed her a studio callback.

The psi-hounds were originally filmed using trained dogs, but director Mark Waters was not happy with the way they looked. They were replaced with CGI dogs, modeled off a drawing author Richelle Mead made for Waters. (I bet they don’t look hilariously terrible at all)

To prepare for their roles as Dhampir novices and guardians, Zoey Deutch, Cameron Monaghan, and Danila Kozlovsky underwent rigorous training sessions and workouts. (Watch out, we got regular Tom Cruises over here … Awww, I feel bad about that joke, you guys did work hard I bet)

Dimitri is a big fan of westerns, hence his trademark duster coat. He can be seen reading western novels and several posters are visible in his room. (That’s embarrassing)

Richelle Mead: The author can be seen walking past the doors just after Mr. Meissner’s class. (Fun fact)

After Rose Hathaway sedates Headmistress Kirova, before saving Lissa Dragomir, Kirova says, “I could have been a model. A man in Milan gave me his card when I was 16.” Kirova was played by Olga Kurylenko who was a model and began her career in Paris at age 16. (Whaaaaaaaaa?)

Cool World Recap

Jamie

Writer Jack Deebs is released from prison only to find himself sucked into the world of the comic books he wrote while behind bars. There he is seduced by Holli Would, a sultry cartoon who wants to become human and enter the real world. Can Cool World detective Frank Harris stop her before it’s too late? Find out in… Cool World.

What?! Frank Harris is back from WWII and almost immediately accidentally kills his mom in a motorcycle accident. Nice going, IDIOT. Just as we think we are going into a drama involving Frank dealing with his grief and guilt, a hole randomly opens in space and time and transports him to Cool World thanks to a “doodle” doctor and his invention, the Spike of Power. We jump to present day where Jack Deebs, the incarcerated comic book writer who based his comic book’s world off of Cool World, is about to be released. We see him get pulled into Cool World where he sees Holli Would, a sultry femme fatale who wants to totes bone him (a “noid”) in order to gain power to enter the real world herself. Jack comes and goes from Cool World a couple more times where he learns from Frank that there are rulez that prohibit noids from boning doodles and that he better watch out for Holli… which he promptly ignores and the two have crazy noid-doodle sex. This turns Holli into a real woman and her and Jack flee Cool World for Vegas, baby! Holli immediately spurns Jack to try to find the Spike of Power in order to break down the barrier between Cool World and the real world and gain ultimate power. She kills Frank, gets the Spike, and breaks the barrier only to have a doodle-fied Jack take the Spike and reverse it all. Frank is then reborn in Cool World as a doodle and is super psyched because now he can fuck cartoons to his heart’s content. THE END.

Why?! The motivations that matter the most are that of Holli. She wants power and more than just what a cartoon life gives her. She has heard stories of a doodle who used the Spike of Power to enter the real world and wants to get there in order to get what she thinks she deserves: everything. Having sex with a noid is her way of doing this and she’s been bringing human men into Cool World to try to accomplish that. Jack’s just one of those dopes who thinks he’s created Cool World. When he finds that it’s actually a real place he ignores advice at every turn and just can’t resist having sex with Holli… which is pretty weird.

What?! Can’t recall any significant product placement. There is the mysterious object called the Spike of Power that was used to bridge the gap between Cool World and the real world. Holli Would seems to assume this object will also help her stay in noid form at the end of the film because… well, because it’s a MacGuffin I guess and you don’t really have to explain why it would have the power to do that.

Who?! Frank Sinatra Jr. makes a cameo appearance in a nightclub in Vegas. He was the son of a famous singer, a famous singer in his own right, and a famous victim of kidnapping. His daddio had to fork over a whole bunch of money to get him back. Cool stuff.

Where?! Vegas, baby! Seems like Cool World is somehow inexorably linked to Vegas as both Frank and Jack come from there. Perhaps it’s some meditation on Vegas as a cartoon world created by those who dreamt it up? Could have been an A- maybe if that was the case, but hard to know for sure. B+.

When?! We are given an intertitle setting us in 1992 for the main thrust of the film. While not exact it is still an intertitle so that pushes it to a B-.

What a strange, terrible film. I can understand the ambition and artistry here. The creator of this was obviously very much an artist in animation. The way that the doodles manically interact with each other and ghostly, half-drawn faces float around the world seems to indicate that he thought long and hard about what a world of cartoons would be and took it to the logical dark and twisted conclusion. But narratively this is a mess and just not worth watching. He even dropped the ball when it came to having real people interact with the cartoon and it looks like garbage. So I can’t even say that you could watch it for only the visual pleasure. Just an odd, weird thing that exists that maybe you can find aspects to appreciate (maybe?). Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Not-very-cool world is more like it, amirite? What if you could animate things and had a ton of cocaine? Let’s find out!

The Good – Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is a charming wonderful film, and this makes you appreciate the patience and skill it took the animators, director, and Bob Hoskins to make that film work. And then some jabronis made this … go figure.

P’s View on the Preview – The only thing this film had going for it was that it seemed like it could try and be a more mature (even r-rated) version of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Once you read the preview though you realize the insane producer and Kim Basinger basically hijacked that vision, kicked the shit out of the director, and tried to force what was a fine (if misguided) idea into a PG box. To see them fail miserably and produce a steaming pile of shit was the only thing of interest here.

The Bad – This is a steaming pile of shit. The movie is scattershot and off from the get go. None of the acting or writing is good. The set design and direction is just … it takes the idea from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and basically did it on the cheap with cheap looking hand painted cutouts. Cool World isn’t fleshed out and instead comes across as merely a riff on the hard boiled detective cliche more than anything else. It is a marvel, but an unpleasant one, and one that never begs for a rewatch or showing anyone. It exists only to be put on worst of lists and to be compared to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. Just terrible.

Get Yo Rant On – Cool World. Can anyone tell me what happens in Cool World? Who anyone is, what the rules are, the geography, the culture. They intentionally divide the Noids (humans) from the Doodles (cartoons), which basically hamstrings the entire thing as well, because the Doodle culture is not an amalgamation of human cultures of any kind, there is no riff on the oddity whereby age and mortality contrast with the humans that inhabit the same world. What was even the idea?! What did this movie have going for it that they would even consider making it?! Out of all of the films I wish I could read up on the background for this is either the most or least interesting one. Either there is a crazy story of how this was made … or the answer is simply “cocaine, hubris, and a dash of genuine insane people with power”.

Welcome to Earf – I admit, I had to look up Kimmy B’s filmography to remind myself. Kim Basinger is in both Cool World and Grudge Match with Sylvester Stallone, who was in Zookeeper with Adam Sandler, who was in Jack and Jill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth. Welcome to Earf!

The BMT – This will live on a bit because of the obvious correlation to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. I would never ever recommend this to anyone to watch ever though. It is boring and unpleasant. So there isn’t much there. To put in on a BMeTric like scale I would give it a 35, just a shade below where you’d want to be before recommending it to someone I feel like.

StreetCreditReport.com – The movie is so lame people write entire articles about it these days. To say the least it has some serious cred and had been on our radar for years (and is on the Calendar, which holds it own sort of cache). I found it difficult to find actual lists from the time, but retrospectives seem to be a bit more kind to it at this point. Whatever, this movie is hot garbage.

And that’s it. I wish I had watched Who Framed Roger Rabbit? for this recap, but I didn’t. But that’s just because that movie is awesome. This movie is just trash, so let’s forget about it.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs