Tagged Jail

Scream Queens – Season 1, Episode 5: “Pumpkin Patch”

FOX’s Scream Queens
Season 1, Episode 5:
 “Pumpkin Patch”
Directed & Written by Brad Falchuk

* For a review of the previous episode, “Haunted House” – click here
* For a review of the next episode, “Seven Minutes in Hell” – click here
Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.49.41 PMThe fifth episode of Scream Queens kicks off with Chanel Oberlin (Emma Roberts) and the Chanels – new addition Hester (Lea Michele), #5 (Abigail Breslin), & #3 (Billie Lourd) – they’re planning a Pumpkin Patch Fundraiser. Both Fergies – the Dutchess and the Black Eyed Peas frontwoman – are coming, little whoops from #3. Seems they’re mostly letting the original Chanel down, yet she’s laying down the law.
The Wives of Fallen Presidents = theme for the Chanels. Hilarious and morbid all at once. Of course, Chanel #1 chooses Jackie Onassis – stylish as she was certainly. More constant bickering between #5 and #1, though, now Hester is puckering up and kissing lots of ass becoming the new go-to-girl for Chanel #1.
Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.50.06 PMFar as I remember, this is the first episode we’re treated to the full-on Scream Queens theme song and an elaborate credits sequence. At first I kinda thought it was a little lame, but it grew on me. More great music comes out in this episode in terms of the overall score throughout various scenes, so I’m loving the electronic stuff from the credits to everything else. Works so well for the show’s aesthetic.
Back to the task at hand – Zayday Williams (Keke Palmer) has been abducted and everyone is gathered at the sorority, or at least everyone of interest and pertinent to anything happening. Chad Radwell (Glen Powell) gives another ridiculously foolish speech, trying to plea for an open campus instead of Dean Munsch (Jamie Lee Curtis) opting to cancel Halloween and shut the place down. A curfew is enforced and the Chanels are pissed, as the Pumpkin Patch Fundraiser will not get to go ahead.
Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.50.26 PMHester is rounding up Chanel #5, as well as others such as Jennifer (Breezy Eslin), in order to try and oust Chanel #1 from the presidency.
In class, #1 gets bothered by her professor before getting taken out by police to one of their cars. Hilarious sequence, I loved it.
Then a quick shift to Zayday, who finds herself holed up in some basement-like room. Down the halls, we hear Culture Club, Boy George belting it out, as the Red Devil’s workshop is presented to us. He stands up above Zayday, holding a puppy, just like Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs. Awesomely executed homage, all around in this scene.
Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.51.13 PMPete (Diego Boneta) and Grace (Skyler Samuels) are worried about Zayday, obviously. But everyone else seems pretty unconcerned. In fact they’re downright horrid and could not care any less. The Chanels are all pretending to eat and way too busy to be bothered with anything else – like a twisted version of the Lost Boys from Hook except they were poor and actually had no food to begin with, unlike these stuck-up sorority ladies.
Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.50.36 PMWhen Grace goes for help trying to find her father, dear ole dad Wes (Oliver Hudson) is in bed with Gigi Caldwell (Nasim Pedrad). Awkward bedroom interruption scene, as Grace and Pete walk in on the two of them banging. Real good moment, though. A crack up; Pedrad in particular makes me laugh out loud often.
Even better scene is right afterwards when Chanel #1 is talking away, as if to her Chanels, yet it’s in jail. She has a few “besties for life” after having impressed one of them with Chanel-O-Ween presents last year. I mean, if you don’t find this stuff funny, totally fine. But to me, it is hilarious! I’m not even a big horror-comedy fan yet I find myself consistently in laughter while watching Scream Queens.
Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.51.45 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.51.52 PMDenise Hemphill (Niecy Nash) and Dean Munsch are bonding, hilariously. Nash is one of my favourites on this series so far, her character is way too funny. Security guard Denise is stuck on Zayday actually being the killer, though, we clearly know the difference, don’t we?
And while everyone sensible, or half sensible, is trying to find Zayday – in some way – Chanel #1 and #5 are still having at it, back and forth. Ultimately, #1 wants her Pumpkin Patch and she will god damn have it.
Roger (Aaron Rhodes) and Dodger (Austin Rhodes) help #5 light all the Jack-O-Lanterns for the fundraiser. The designer ended up making a life-size replica of The Shining‘s hedge-maze, full of snow, so we get another fun homage in this episode. As the Red Devil chases them all, Roger and Dodger give us lots to laugh at, arguing with #5, making her choose one of them. However, eventually one of the brothers gets disemboweled by the Red Devil, his guts flopped out in his lap. Sick! Awesome scene in the maze, both full of laughter and again harkening back to Kubrick’s creepy (loose)adaptation of Stephen King.
Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.52.26 PMThe rest of the crew – Pete, Grace, Wes & Co. – go searching for Zayday, taking along the proper weaponry and defense mechanisms. They find their way to where we saw the Red Devil earlier, in his/her workshop, and even stand atop where Zayday was kept. Is she still there? No, only the red velvety pillows on which she was last seen sitting.
Bit of a Saw homage here, as well! Lots of stuff happening. Denise and Gigi come upon a room much like something out of one of the Saw films. Another quasi-homage back to Silence of the Lambs with the Red Devil using night vision to move around a room. And just when you think the Devil is caught, they’re gone again. Or is it really how it seems? We saw Gigi in the old house where the hag supposedly lived, so can we trust her saying Gigi saying the Red Devil cranked her in the head before taking off? Hmm.
Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.52.45 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.52.52 PMZayday shows back up at Kappa House triumphant. Just in time for the big vote for presidency of the sorority.
Flashback to the Red Devil wining and dining Zayday back at the workshop, as he hauls her up from the pit where she’d been kept. Managing to stab the Devil’s hand and take off, she was able to get back in one piece.
Of course, no one believes Zayday until Grace runs in confirming the story of the lair, the romantic dining set, et cetera. Still though, the vote is on!
Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.53.24 PMNice creepy sequence with Gigi walking alone, the Red Devil following behind. FINALLY – they meet! They are officially in cahoots, now we know for sure Gigi has something to do with what’s going on in the overall plot. Unsettling stuff, who knows where this will head now.
Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.53.34 PM Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 4.53.41 PMLooking forward to the next episode, “Seven Minutes in Hell”, directed by a regular Ryan Murphy brother-in-arms Michael Uppendahl. Stay tuned for the next one, fellow fans! I’m still loving these episodes, one by one they add up to more excitement and more horror and tons of laughs.

Behold the End of Dignity: THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE III – FINAL SEQUENCE

The Human Centipede III: Final Sequence. 2015. Directed and Written by Tom Six.
Starring Dieter Laser, Eric Roberts, Bree Olson, Tommy “Tiny” Lister, Tom Six, Robert LaSardo, Laurence R. Harvey, and Clayton Rohner. Six Entertainment Company.
Unrated. 102 minutes.
Horror


No ★s
the-human-centipede-3-600x889Again, I can’t believe there’s even a third part to this horror series. Tom Six did no justice to his own skills by making the second film a complete disaster of shock horror/torture porn. Some may have enjoyed it; I found it tiresome, beyond sick, and utterly pointless in the end. Six used black-and-white, which could have been great, but in the end it just could not make the movie worth watching.
Now, we’re here. I’m watching The Human Centipede III: Final Sequence, and I can’t say there is anything at all redeeming in this sequel either. Starting with the second film, for all its awfulness, there’s seemingly a shred of an idea inside Six that wants to express a message; of some sort. I think so, anyways. The second movie had the meta-film aspect happening and it was as if Six had theories on how horror movies affect the viewers, how the obsessiveness of people with horror and tragedy is furthered by media (namely film. Six did nothing with that idea, but it was still present, even in the tiniest form.
In the third film, Final Sequence, there seems to be at least a small kernel of Six’s sensibilities which are leaning towards commentary on/about the America prison system. The character of Bill Boss, played to a rottenly comedic depth of Hell by Dieter Laser (from the first film), is meant to represent the seemingly millions of people hellbent on making prison worse and worse and worse for prisoners. There are definitely bits to be mined out of the original plot premise for this sequel which want to question people and their right-wing, conservative leanings towards capital punishment.
However, again, Six drops the ball – even worse on this one in my opinion. He can’t seem to really get at what he wanted to do. There’s lots of comedy in there, plenty of satirical and farcical material, but Six does not capitalise on any of that. Instead there are bits of gross-out horror again to fill the void of competent writing, there is the inclusion of a famous pornstar simply for the sake of having a sex and blowjob scene, and nothing ever makes up for all the ridiculousness happening throughout the film.
human-centipede-3-final-sequenceThis sequel begins at a prison. The massive complex is run by Warden Bill Boss (Dieter Laser), who is a man completely resigned to finding ways he can torture and toy with the prisoners under his charge. His second-in-command is Dwight Butler (Laurence R. Harvey); he worships his boss to no end. Then of course there is the sexed up secretary whom the Warden abuses time and time again, Daisy (Bree Olson), and she pleases him whenever he calls.
After a good deal of time trying to break the prisoners down completely, yelling (much of the time incomprehensibly) at everyone who comes near him, and generally doing a bunch of terrible, torturous things to please the sadistic pleasures inside him, Warden Boss decides to go with his right-hand man Dwight Butler’s idea: use the idea from the Human Centipede films and actually create a full-fledged Human Centipede using the prisoners.
Perfect idea, right?
hero_TheHumanCentipede3-2015-1Saddest part about this third instalment is the fact it really does want to be horror-comedy, but it’s just terrible. The performance by Dieter Laser in the first Human Centipede was a real creepy, effective portrayal of an insane man. Dieter Laser as Warden Bill Boss is absolute and utter shit. I can’t even explain in words how terrible his performance is because it goes beyond the efforts of human language. I never like to completely rag on something, however, Six did nobody any favours by letting Laser give such an awful comedic performance. The Warden is meant to be a foolish character, no doubt, but the way Laser hams it up, scene after scene, line after god damn shouted/howled line, it is WAY TOO MUCH. There’s nothing wrong with doing horror-comedy. This just is not the way. Laser goes far past any sense of satirical characterisation, and he gets lost in trying to yell every single bit of dialogue/the raving monologues he has to give, that it is merely a jumbled mess.
Then, of course, Eric Roberts strolls in. Now I am a fan of Mr. Roberts – just check out my review of his expert performance in the vivid biopic Star 80. However, it’s no secret that Roberts has done a fair few terrible films in recent years. A couple of revivals have been laid at his doorstep, but it can’t outdo all the midway, bargain bin junk he has done. This is no better. His hair looks worse than mine, to start, but that’s a surface judgement – bad form on my part. What really kills me is the fact he’s even in here, why Eric? Such a bad part to take. Even worse is the fact he brings nothing to the role. Plus, seeing him walk through the tap-dancing mania that is Dieter Laser’s horrid performance here is like watching grownups try and sit down with children at a tea party. It is so fucking awful.
large-screenshot1The scene where Bill Boss (Laser) gets an excruciatingly long blowjob from his secretary, Daisy (pornstar Bree Olson) is exactly that: fucking excruciating. Not only is Daisy the only female character in the film, she’s made out to be a slut. She is forced on her knees. We even have to literally watch her swallow a mouthful of Bill Boss’ cum. He claims he didn’t get her dad out of prison for nothing, so she better swallow; there’s even a run of jizz down her chin. It is disgusting and utterly humiliating. I always hate “torture porn” as a label, but Tom Six really owns up to that label: he deserves it. This is a mix of porn and horror-comedy, except they just throw in the blowjob for no reason. Poor, poor writing. It’s the worst. Highly sexist. Maybe some will say it’s no surprise when Bree Olson is playing the character, I still think Six went way too lowbrow here. It’s one of the several embarrassing parts about this train wreck.

I can’t get past the constant growling, howling, yelling of Dieter Laser. For all that is sacred and good in the world – shut up, Dieter! He is fantastically terrible in this movie. I can’t see how anybody would say different, there’s just nothing at all that makes his performance work. He goes way beyond the point of ever being funny. At the beginning, I was thinking, “Okay he’s getting a bit hammy no big deal.” Then, every moment he’s onscreen he screams, his throat heaving every word, and there’s no rest. No rest from the embarrassing portrayal of Bill Boss that Laser brings us. Supremely shit. It’s basically him raving about castrations and torture and other nonsense concerning torture.
Then there’s the scene where the Warden gets what he is owed (or at least we think so – it’s all a dream). I can’t even believe it.
SPOILER ALERT – FOR ANYONE WHO CARES: one of the inmates actually cuts a hole in the Warden’s back and fucks him in his kidneys, basically. Though, it turns out to be just a dream sequence, it’s still… man, oh, man. Awful, awful stuff. Added to that is Dwight Butler (Harvey) apparently giving someone a blowjob in the dream. I mean… come on, Tom! Such poor writing. Very unimaginative.
humancenti3_featHard as I tried, I couldn’t find anything redeeming about this third film in the series. I can’t give it even a half star. Surprisingly, this is even worse, for me, than The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence. I can’t believe I’ve said that, but it’s true. One of the worst films ever made, especially when it comes to horror movies. Just beyond brutal. It’s fine to say, “Oh it’s meant to be over-the-top”. There’s just no excuse for such bad comedy, bad horror, and lazy writing. I can’t say anything further because there’s nothing left to say. Then comes the meta aspect of this movie: how can we plausibly see the inmates watching Dieter Laser as Dr. Heiter while he’s already in the film as Warden Bill Boss? Same goes for Laurence Harvey’s presence here while the second film is playing. It’s just too stupid to even comprehend.
I watched this to be a completist, that’s all. I’m a cinephile, and a massive fan of horror, so I try to watch anything/everything I possibly can. This was not worth it. I’ll never ever see this again and I hope this is truly the final film because anything else will only make Tom Six’s efforts worse and worse; there’s no way to make this series better. Bad example of horror with nothing whatsoever to make it worth watching.

The Raid 2: Because Somehow It Gets Better

The Raid 2: Berandal. 2014. Directed & Written by Gareth Evans.
Starring Iko Uwais, Arifin Putra, Yayan Ruhian, Oka Antara, Tio Pakusodewo, Alex Abbad, Julie Estelle, Ryuhei Matsuda, Kenichi Endo, and Kazuki Kitamura. Entertainment One Films Canada.
Rated 18A. 150 minutes.
Action/Crime/Thriller

★★★★★ (Film)
★★★★★ (Blu ray release)

Even the trailer just absolutely melts my face off. I couldn’t wait for this movie to come out. And boy, was I ever not disappointed in the least. In fact, this is one of those few sequels where it surpasses its predecessor joining the ranks of The Godfather Part IIStar Trek II: The Wrath of KhanStars Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back, and The Dark Knight. This addition to what will hopefully be a trilogy is an incredible action film, and most certainly one of the best I’ve ever seen.

The plot of The Raid 2: Berandal begins only a few hours after the previous events of the first film. Now, Rama is forced to go undercover in a ruthless prison to protect his family, as well as infiltrate the criminal organization which stretches even into the police. He must become a mob enforce in order to break through and gain the information needed. This is easier said than done. Once again, Rama has to fight through criminal after criminal to succeed in his objective.
So get ready for an all-out brawl with so much balls you’ll feel the kicks and punches in your gut with every bone smashing scene.

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O
ne of the things I immediately loved about The Raid 2 is that it gives us another chance to engage the character of Rama. In the first film, Evans gave us a look at tough yet nervous rookie, who was navigating a world completely unfamiliar to him. Even more so this time around, Rama is in a dangerous and unpredictable environment. But this time, Rama is also more experienced.
Right off the bat we’re treated to amazing fight choreography just in the first 25 minutes or so. First, we get to see an enclosed space brawl where Rama fights off numerous prisoners, as they kick and punch their way to him. Then, later, Rama must fight for his very life, as a gigantic brawl begins in the prison yard. Arms and legs are broken. Heads are smashed in with fists, rocks, and whatever else these men can grasp their fingers around. Some inmates are kicked to death in the muddy yard by groups of other prisoners. It’s just an absolutely incredible scene.  ‘m not sure how many actual edits are in there, but Evans makes it all look like one long, fierce take just following fight after fight, death after death. It’s one of those powerhouse sequences where it feels unbroken for a nice long time. You see a lot of these types of shots in other films, but action films it’s not exactly commonplace to see these extended takes because that takes a lot of work. Evans, however, pulls out several of these throughout the film.

A really amazing sequence, among many, is the crowded fight in the car. Watching how Evans actually accomplished that entire fight including some very unique and tricky camerawork, it’s just a breath of fresh air in the action world. Not only does Evans care about the fights themselves looking great and natural at the same time, he still pays close attention to the details of the actual camerawork for such fights. I know there are other stylized action films out there. Nevertheless, Evans and his two Raid films really takes the cake on visionary action-thriller filmmakers. Seeing the camera operators passing the camera around through the car, as well as discovering there’s one of them actually dressed as a seat (I never would have guessed that on my own – not in a million years), it is spectacular movie making. There aren’t enough minds like Evans, especially in the action genre.

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Love the role of Uco played by Arifin Putra. He did a great job. It was good to see another strong role in The Raid series aside from the main role of Rama (Uwais). This guy did a nice job with a character who could be typical. In certain respects, he is, quite typical. Yet there’s a savage, brutish nature to the way Putra plays Uco I really enjoyed. I sort of felt bad for him in a way, even though he’s really just a spoiled little psychopath.
Regardless, Putra gave a good performance, which worked well opposite Iko Uwais, who was just as excellent (if not more) in this film as he was in the first. Uwais had more to work with here, as the treacherous waters Rama must wade through become deeper and darker, murkier than before. In particular, there’s a fight later in the film where Rama scalds a man’s face terribly (a man he discovers afterwards is a police officer like himself). Following the fight, Rama is absolutely devastated with what he has become in order to fight criminals – essentially, a criminal himself. Uwais does a terrific job with this role and I felt for his character, which we rightfully should. Then of course his fighting has only gotten better, it seems. Not long after the previous scenes, the aforementioned car fight goes down; it’s one of the more wildly choreographed and executed scenes in the entire movie.

Action films are always better served by good performances (stupid thing to say – any film is served well by a proper performance), so having both Putra and Uwais play their roles with skill only makes things better. When you get good action with fun, interesting characters it isn’t hard to enjoy. The Raid 2 really improved in a lot of ways from the first, as much as it could seeing as how that one was incredible. The main way in which this film is better comes down to the performances. Though there is plenty of action, even more than the first (or at least on a bigger scale than its predecessor), this sequel really gets into the performances more.
There are some really unique characters in here. One in particular sees Yayan Ruhian (who also apparently choreographed bits of this film – not sure exactly how much but that is excellent) back in action; here, he plays a different character than his insane Mad Dog character from The Raid: Redemption.The character he played was weird, which is awesome.  Not only that, he fights a bunch of dudes in the street, while holding a machete, and yet doesn’t actually use it on any of them – not until the final person he fights. This also includes a great blood effect that I cannot get enough of! Evans does a shot of a body sliding down a wall after being ran through with the machete’s blade, except it’s from the rear, and so we get a nice view of the bloody hole from his gut to his back, as it slides down the wall leaving only Ruhian visible through the hole in the wall. Maybe that sounds like a mouthful, but believe me – it is an awesome little, almost throwaway, practical effect. It looks really gnarly, and I totally dug it to the fullest.

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Two other honourable mentions must be noted when it comes to characters: Hammer Girl (seen above in mid-kick assery) & her equally demented sibling Baseball Bat Man. Great additions to the film. Not only was it sort of fun and a kind of homage to less serious/more silly martial arts flicks, it really kicked up the madness of the entire Raid series another notch. In the first movie, we get that real crazy vibe from the machete gang. I was really wondering what Evans would do in this film; if there would be that sort of vibe I got from them.  This is where Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Man came in. Their fight with Rama was just absolutely intense. One of those great sequences where you’re actually not sure for a few moments here and there if the hero would come out on top. I like that, when a filmmaker isn’t afraid to tease us a little with the true fear of a character’s death. But of course Rama is the man; I mean, do you really doubt that? This fight is one of the more balls-to-the-wall sequences out of either of the Raid movies, and I couldn’t rewind enough to watch it over and over.
Not to take away too much from the final fight Rama endures – it is a dam fine fight both in the camerawork used and the fight choreography of the actual scene. I just particularly wanted to mention those characters. The last fight, regardless of how much I enjoyed Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Man, was near perfection. Incredible, the score really amped things up with a sort of John Carpenter feel to it, and it was just really beautiful and brutal all at once. Plus it comes to a bloody conclusion.
Also, it’s worth mentioning the locations Evans chose to shoot were really interesting to look out, so while there’s great fight choreography and bone crunching hits happening, there’s also a beautiful visual style to the whole film overall in the form of interesting locations, as opposed to a ton of set pieces (I’m not positive whether there were specifically built sets used in this film or not – to me most of the locations look natural). Always a plus for an action film.

As a film, The Raid 2: Berandal is easily a 5 star experience. It stands on its own as a really great crime thriller with extraordinary action sequences and fight choreography. In regards to its status as a sequel, this definitely improves on the first for me – there were no characters here I felt weren’t portrayed well. The acting really did it for me here, and took The Raid series to a higher level. The fight choreography stepped it up, too. The prison yard fight alone is enough to raise this up over the first movie. Put all those things together and you’ve got one hell of an action film. There isn’t the same music as the first, but I think the score here really works for the movie, and the fact it doesn’t sound the same is not a drawback. Yet there was a wonderful use of my favourite artist Nine Inch Nails both in the very last moments of the film and over the credits, as well. Really awesome music from Trent’s work on his Ghosts collection of albums. Excellent experience overall, from action to character to plot to sound. You won’t find too many films, particularly action-thrillers, better than this one.

The Blu ray release, again, is a god damn treasure. Getting a look behind the scenes of these Raid films is a treat for me. Like I said before, the fight in the car and watching it broken down kept me busy forever. Not to mention the entire featurette included called “A Violent Ballet”, which is focused solely on the choreography involved in the production of the film. Of course there’s also some director commentary (really worthwhile to listen – a lot of insight from a great filmmaker), and another featurette about shooting a sequel to the first film. These are all really wonderful extras. Highly suggest checking them out if you pick up this release.
Also thrown in is a four and a half minute deleted sequence entitled “Gang War” – this shows a group of thugs getting ready for what promises to be a massive battle, putting guns and grenades and ammo in bags, marching together down the street, and finally they meet another gang. This climaxes in a ridiculously wild and gory shootout between the gangs. I loved every last second of this. There are some great effects in the 4-minute span of this scene. Although, I can understand why Evans opted not to include this sequence in the finished film, it’s really fun to watch. An action packed deleted scene if there ever was one!
The Blu ray release is beyond worth the purchase. 5 out of 5 star ratings times five. I’ve spent hours watching the extras. The picture itself is worth seeing because it’s as close to seeing it in theatre as you can get. Really great experience. The fight sequences look incredible here. Evans’ work as a director shines when you can watch his film in such gorgeous definition. Recommended to the fullest – go pick this up and you will not be let down in the least by either the film or the Blu ray.