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Featuring Keanu Reeves, bloodied schoolgirls, and zombies!

So this weekend I watched three movies (and a bunch of random chunks of other things and the new Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares and the new episode of Psych and some other stuff).

1. River's Edge: This was made in the eighties, back when Keanu Reeves was still rocking that totally sexy Ted hair. Basically, this high school guy kills his girlfriend, and his friends are all pretty apathetic except for Crispin Glover who thinks it's kind of a rad adventure and Keanu, who seems a bit uncomforable with it. It's not really a very good movie, since most of the characters are two dimensional at best, and John's reasons for strangling Jamie are never fully explained. Dennis Hopper plays a mentally unstable recluse pretty well (not much of a stretch, since I feel as though Dennis Hopper may in fact be a mentally unstable recluse.) I suppose it's some sort message about the state of youth in America, but I really wasn't at all impressed.................well, except with Keanu Reeves, who--while not a tremendous actor--was SEXY AS HELL.

2. Battle Royale: This is a Japanese flick, and it was my first real venture into their cinematic oeuvre, and it was sort of strange. I definitely can see the style that Quentin Tarantino "liberally borrowed" for his Kill Bill movies. This particular film takes place in the future--apparently the youth have gotten so out of control that every year they send a whole class of ninth graders to battle each other to the death (not that I really understand how that helps...) So basically it's a bit like 'Lord of the Flies,' except instead of trying to survive, the point is for all the kids to slaughter each other. It was gory and bloody and godawful, but there was something about it that kept me glued to the screen. While there was an ungodly amount of violence, there was also a certain amount of personal interplay going on between the characters. It was fascinating to watch the moral shifts, the emergence of completely unexpected character traits, and the way these things both merged and collided to form totally believe interplay. All the actors were quite good, and if you take into account that most of them were only about 14 or 15, they're unbelievable. If you can't handle graphic violence (I'm talking axe-to-the-head, tossing-severed-heads-around, brain-splattering, blood-geysering balls-to-the-wall graphic violence being perpetrated on/by children) this probably isn't for you. If you are one of those people who can't handle subtitles, this isn't for you. However, I really dug it and recommend it. It sort of makes you think.

3. Hide and Creep: Okay, so let me first say that this is not a "good" film. For those of you who are film majors and are insanely attuned to things like camera angles, light sources, and not seeing the occasional boom mike enter the frame--this film is not for you. For those of you who can manage to just go with a premise and enjoy something for what it's worth--you might want to try and catch this one. I found it on the Sci-Fi channel, and it's sort of what I imagine Kevin Smith might have ended up if he'd decided to make Sean of the Dead set in the south instead of Clerks. As I said, the production is not stellar, or even within shouting distance of stellar. Some of the background actors are not very convincing. And the zombies...are atrocious. Seriously, they look like what would happen if I got a little make-up kit at CVS and decided to be a zombie for Halloween. HOWEVER! At it's heart, this is kind of a clever little film. The premise is that somehow (it's never actually explained) a UFO begins an RC problem (RC stands for "reanimated corpses," and that's government agent speak for "zombies") in the small Alabama town of Thorsby. The main character is a very likeable slacker named Chuck who owns the local video store. There are many hilarious moments--one of which involving a post-it note and a zombie body left me giggling uncontrollably--and there is some very clever dialogue. The main characters were at least competant at acting, and were generally sympathetic. After I saw the film, I did a little research and found that the movie had been produced by a very small production company out of Birmingham called Crewless (their only movie thus far, probably explaining the low-budgetude of the production). I suspect that we may be hearing more from this group, and I personally look forward to it.

4. Bad Girls: Bad movie. Too bad, because I really like Drew Barrymore and Mary Stuart Masterson. Unfortunately, I loathe Andie MacDowell with the firey passion of a thousand suns. I think she is currently the worst actress ever, and I hate her even more than I hate Dame Judi Dench. The plot of this didn't really make much sense, and some of the acting was pretty painful, but unlike Hide and Creep there was no cleverness to make up for it, just a bunch of explosions. If you want to see a lame western from that time period, try Young Guns. It's at least full of cute boys and doesn't rely on "sisters doin' it for themselves" warm fuzzies to carry it.

That's all for now--next on my Netflix queue is The Warriors so I'll let you know how that is, as well as anything else I find that catches my fancy.

P.S.: I WILL be getting to my Summer TV recommendations very soon, I promise.


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