Film Calamity - Watch This! - Movies (Inactive)
 
Norm MacDonald is one of the funniest people on the planet. Despite having famous friends (Adam Sandler) and posessing one of the quickest and sharpest wits in Hollywood, he has never risen to become the successful actor he should have been. Why is that? Well, it could be because he's just too...awkward. He has a unique look, which in Hollywood means "not pretty enough to be the lead" and his humor is very hit or miss to the mainstream audience. If you don't believe me, check out any clips you can find of his run as Weekend Update anchor on SNL. Sometimes, people laughed and other times he had them scratching their heads, almost like Dennis Miller but actually funny.

There was a time, however brief, where Norm did almost break into the mainstream. It was a film that he helped write and he starred in and was the perfect showcase for his comedic gifts. This edition of Watch This!, I bring you one of the most underrated comedies to ever exist, the 1998 film Dirty Work. Now unfortunately, I couldn't find a trailer online, so here's just a random clip! ROLL THE RANDOM CLIP I SAYS!
 
Christmas; a time for joy, happiness, family, love...and in this week's "Watch This!" you can add murder to that list. You see, this isn't any normal Hallmark movie where Christmas miracles occur. Oh no kids, this is a movie that should have been made YEARS ago: a movie about a killer Santa Claus played by a Jewish wrestler and produced by the guy who directed the Rush Hour movies. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: Santa's Slay! Roll the trailer, if you will.
 
Video games, although often times cinematic, have not been met with much success once they have crossed over into film. Many of them (Super Mario Brothers, anything Uwe Boll has ever done) are downright loathed. There has been a few okay video game films, however, ones that may not have lived up completely to the source material but provided an entertaining experience (Resident Evil 1 and 2, Mortal Kombat). The best of these is the 1994 film Street Fighter, based off the Capcom video game series. Roll the trailer PLEASE!
 
Bursting on the scene in 1991 with the indie hit Slacker, Richard Linklater has since carved himself a nice niche in the realm of film with movies like A Scanner Darkly, Dazed and Confused, and The Bad News Bears...okay forget the last one I just said. Linklater is an indie darling, the man who inspired Kevin Smith to make movies. While I say that, I do not necessarily like the guy. Slacker, Waking Life, Bad News Bears, and even Dazed and Confused to an extent are movies that I can barely sit through without me wanting to rip my eyes out. This week on Watch This!, though, I want to talk about a Linklater film that not only I like, but that helped influenced the hopeless romantic inside me: Before Sunrise. Roll the trailer!
 
 
Ever since I saw Wayne's World for the first time when I was 5, I have been drinking the Kool-Aid of Mike Myers. Everything he does, I have enjoyed on one level or another, be it actually funny (So I Married an Axe Murderer) or unexplainably (The Love Guru...I know, shut up). This week on Watch This!, this Mike Myers movie belongs to the actually funny category, although if you ask someone besides me, they will probably say otherwise. I present to you the 2003 film The Cat in the Hat!
 
 
As my final Halloween-themed entry into Watch This!, I didn't pick anything obscure or anything that people would punch me in the face for. Instead, this week, I want to discuss what I feel is the greatest zombie movie of all time, George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead.

Released in 1978, Dawn of the Dead was a sequel in theory to Romero's 50's masterpiece Night of the Living Dead. In this installment, four people escape by helicopter and land at a mall. Feeling that this place will suit their needs, they go through the process of ridding it of zombies, fortifying it, and eventually creating a new life for themselves...until an enemy still alive eventually ruins everything.

Romero is the king of the zombie genre. The original dead trilogy (Night, Dawn, Day) are some of the best horror movies of all time, and definitely the greatest zombie movies of all time (although I like the 1990 remake of Night starring Candyman a whole lot better). Dawn is the crown jewel of the series. The effects were leagues above the first film, as Romero employed makeup and FX guru Tom Savini to make his zombies lifelike and the blood flow. The plot itself is a little thin and boring, but that's not what the film is about so you can forgive that (although props to Ken Foree, the future Kenan's Dad on Kenan and Kel). It's all about the action, the suspense, the zombies, if they will survive...it's a scary movie and even though its dated it still is a little scary.

Along with that, Romero also injected his own opinions and criticisms of America by basing it in a mall, at the time just sprouting up all over America. People are zombies to consumerism and Romero made sure to slap the audience in the face with that, which probably made people seeing the film at the mall cineplexes laugh. There are layers to this film that many horror movies don't have. It doesn't rely on just jumpy moments or gore, although both are there. Dawn of the Dead is as much a critique on America as it is a film about the undead consuming the living.

After Dawn, Romero made Day of the Dead, which was okay but not as good and the less said about Land of the Dead and Diary of the Dead the better. Although the 2004 remake of Dawn was good, you cannot forget the original and just how awesome it was. Outside of the obvious slasher films this Halloween, pop in Dawn of the Dead for a good old fashioned 70's zombie fest with a social message stuck in there for fun. I know I will.
 
There's a trend in horror known as "torture porn", where it's not really about the scares so much as it's about the murder and the gore. I love this stuff. I guess it's the creep in me, but I'm a sucker for these movies. The Saw series, House of 1,000 Corpses, you name it. That brings us to this weeks Watch This! induction, in celebration of Halloween...Hostel Part 2.

The original Hostel, released in 2005, was nothing to write home about. It spent the first half of the film boring me so bad that the second half, while cool in concept, did not make up for it. I wanted more about the Hostel/underground murder club, and less about the douchey American guys. Hostel Part 2, released two years later, gave me just that. Of course, there are the people in peril, just as before: this time, it's three American girls (played by Lauren German, Heather Matazarello, and Bijou Philips) who are the ones being lured into the Slovakian underground. However, the film also has a sub-plot: two American businessmen/thrillseekers (played by Roger Bart and Richard Burgi) find out about the club and decide to go to Slovakia and partake in it.

What I loved about this film was they actually got into a bit more on how the club/business worked: the people at the hostel would scan the passports of the people staying there, and would be put into an online bidding war. When someone won the person, they would be captured and the person who won would get to do whatever they pleased with them, as long as it ended in death. The club, just known vaguely in the first one, actually gets more depth to it and you understand the rules, the main one being once you agree to kill someone, you have to do it.

The kills, obviously, are what bring you to the show and they are done viciously and actually pretty creatively, the best one being the Elizabeth Bathory bath. For those of you who don't know who she is, you won't get how cool that was. For us creepy people who like to learn about this, we think it's awesome. Unless a hot girl doesn't think it's awesome, then I totally don't think it's awesome. I don't think I said awesome enough. ANYWAY, between the bath and all the chainsaws, torture, etc. you get the blood and guts you want from a movie like this.

What I enjoyed most was even though it was still somewhat unsettling to watch (the idea of a murder club this intricate is frightening), parts of it were actually pretty funny. The movie, while taking itself seriously, doesn't take itself seriously and there are some fun moments that Eli Roth threw into the mix, especially the end, which I won't spoil but had me laughing my head off in amusement.

Point is, Hostel Part 2 delivers on every level that the first should have and is the rare "sequel better than the original". It's got some great gore, some funny moments, and a really interesting concept and story that will both frighten and intrigue you. Because, deep down, we're all crazy.
 
In keeping with the Halloween spirit, this week's Watch This! is a movie that you may have seen bits and pieces of when flipping the channels, as it was a Sci-Fi(sorry SYFY) Channel staple for many years. The movie in question this week is a little straight to video (I'm assuming, I could be wrong) film called Return of the Living Dead 3.

The third film in a weird little zombie series (ROTLD was a horror movie, while the second one was a comedy, and the ones after this are just bad), the film is first and foremost a love story. I know, Shaun of the Dead is the ultimate zombie rom-com, but this one came first and back when I actually thought I had feelings, I used to love this film. It stars J. Trevor Edmond and Melinda Clarke as Curt and Julie, two teenage lovers. Curt's dad works for the military and one night they sneak in to watch the lab experiments, which involves reanimating the dead using a chemical called Trioxin (the staple of the ROTLD series). Afterwards, they go home and bang and talk about how crazy it was. Curt's father comes in and he and Curt have a disagreement, so he and Julie run off. Unfortunately for the two lovers, they get into a motorcycle accident and Julie is killed. Stricken with grief, Curt brings her body to the military lab and uses Trioxin to reanimate her. They then go on the run, aided by an odd homeless drifter, and Julie slowly gives in to the hunger and trappings of being a zombie, all the while being chased by the government and a gang of stereotypical Mexicans.

This doesn't have the same feel as other zombie movies. It's not scary and there's no sense of danger at any point. The movie is a love story, pure and simple as Curt attempts to keep Julie from becoming a full fledged zombie by the power of his love...or whatever. Return of the Living Dead 3 is about two people, and one of them happens to be zombies. The thing is...you get invested. Julie slowly turns into a zombie, cutting and stabbing herself to control her cravings, and you feel for them as Curt tries so hard to keep her consciousness from disappearing completely.

The effects are actually pretty damn good for a movie that obviously had a low budget, as the zombies/monsters (depends on how hardcore you want to be about it) look very believable. The acting doesn't even suck either, as the two leads (Edmond and Clarke) do well with a script that obviously won't win many Oscars.

I don't know, maybe I'm just a sucker for a good love story and zombie movies. Return of the Living Dead 3 has both. It goes in a direction never seen before (at the time anyway) of a zombie movie, focusing on a transformation and how it affects the people around them. It's a film worth checking out, and since no one really likes it (story of my DVD collection), you can find it for cheap. Give it a shot you bastards!

Return of the Living Dead 3 can bought on Amazon.com or you can add it to your Queue on Netflix.