Monday, January 09, 2006


Review by Michael Jaffe

In Eli Roth’s latest film, Hostel, I finally remembered why I love movies more than food. After sitting through countless hours of beautiful but slow stuff and films, like American-Pie: Band Camp, that insult my intelligence, this film comes through with dialogue and a plot that made me laugh and gasp. The plot is basic; a couple guys looking for sex wind up in Slovakia at a hostel where they expect to find the best women in Europe, but instead find an art show where you can pay to torture poor unsuspecting people. That is almost as straightforward as it gets, but what kept me looking was the bodies. I mean this in two basic senses: the gorgeous, living women and the dismembered dead ones. For anyone who saw the cool gore fest that was Cabin Fever, this is what could be expected but in both aspects Eli Roth goes above and beyond the call of duty. The movie isn’t very long, but in the first 30 minutes of the film about, there is an average of 2 boobs per minute on the screen, which I can appreciate. And in the last 30 minutes there is an average of something getting chopped off at about a part per minute. For those of you who are wondering what happens in the middle 30 minutes, the plot is kind of a sneaky mystery where you can’t help but feel an impending sense of dread about what will happen to these guys.
The direction of Hostel is shinning and damn near pitch perfect on every level as Roth shows an ability to get some humor in while also knowing when to spray the blood. I can’t wait to see what this guy does with a real budget over 5 million as he showed impressive growth from his first to his second film. He also picks his actors well as Jay Hernandez, long an ensemble member shines through in this film. Even Derek Richardson from Dumb and Dumberer conveys the nervousness and eventually terror of his character with pathos I wouldn’t normally expect from such a young actor. The comic relief is the Icelandic friend Oli, played with a goofy zest by investment banker Eythor Gudjonsson, who has no previous experience and got the job by talking to Eli Roth at a press junket.
For people with strong stomachs, the gore will not surprise, but for majority of people used to the PG-13 violence of late, this film’s intense scenes will likely make you queasy. The film as a whole is a little shallow but is supurb in almost every aspect. 8.5/10

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

American Pie: Band Camp

Review by Michael Jaffe

In a first for Mouldy’s movies, the film being reviewed is a direct to DVD feature. I have been a big fan of the American Pie trilogy since I saw the first film at least a dozen times with buddies in middle school. The fourth film in the series, titled Band Camp, might as well not be considered part of the series at all but an occasional funny, mostly aggravating soft core porno. The film stars newcomer Tad Hilgenbrinck as Matt Stifler, the younger brother of Steven Stifler from the previous films. After a prank goes wrong, Matt is sent to band camp for the summer and proceeds to go through the motions as he starts mean, then becomes nice and then goes mean again but redeems himself in the end. Mr. Hilgenbrinck may be a great actor deep, DEEP down, but in this film he very often does one of the worst Stifler impressions I have ever seen. On numerous occasions I almost punched myself in the head to try and numb the pain that some of the lines in this film evoked. The acting from the rest of the cast is on par with a porno, so it is below acceptable but not to the lowness that is the stiff-meister. Eugene Levy is in this film for no reason other than the paycheck I expect, but lightens the film up and brings back some great memories from the previous films in this series. Overall, this film is pretty poor, with an occasional chuckle and the frequent nude girl, but even that cant save this turd.

Since this is a DVD review, the special features should also gain mention so as you don’t buy the film for the extras only. The extras are different with a cast interview and a “Love Lesson” with former porn star Ginger Lynn which was not so much informative but a poor attempt at humor that boors quickly. There are also the usual bloopers and deleted scenes and thankfully no full length audio commentary.

Movie: 4/10
Features: 5/10
Overall: 4.5/10

King Kong

Review by Michael Jaffe

Peter Jackson has been one of my film idols since I saw Dead Alive in 5th grade. Then I saw The Frighteners and loved his work even more, but then those Ring movies came out and my boy PJ went main stream and now everybody loves him. And after viewing King Kong, I think PJ loves himself too much as well. The light-handed approach that came with The Frighteners is all but completely lost in the 500 ton gorilla that is King Kong. While it is true that the previous versions of Kong, the 1930’s version and the 1970’s version with Jessica Lange, the films weren’t happy or funny, but they weren’t boring either and in this Kong the moments that took place before Skull Island, almost 45 minutes, were so boring that I was more focused on the jackasses in the row ahead of me and their conversation. While the film was boring for the first act, I couldn’t help but admit how glorious the film looked and the acting and the writing and everything was superbly done, but I couldn’t help but feel if it was necessary? Maybe it was all my anticipation to see Kong in action, but nevertheless I couldn’t help but wish that they would just get to the damn island.
Once they get on the island though, hot damn, the barrage of action never lets up and actually gets so intense that people, my mother for one, left the theatre during a massive and horrifically disturbing bug fight in a dark pit. The scenes with Kong are absolutely dazzling and so incredible that even if you wanted to, you can’t look away from the smooth, yet powerful beast. Since Kong is on screen for most of the second and third acts, the film after they get to the island is unbelievable. As for the humans in this film, Jack Black is appealingly sleazy as Carl Denham, the film director. Adrien Brody, academy award winner, is somewhat bland and run of the mill as the hero of the film. Naomi Watts, in the role immortalized by Fay Wray, is the blonde haired beauty who draws the affection of the beast and eventually his destruction. Ms. (Mrs.?) Watts delivers a performance that doesn’t move, but doesn’t disturb and distress either; it is a perfectly acceptable performance that doesn’t distract from the heart of the film: KONG!!!
Since this film is flawless visually and in almost every other aspect other than its pacing, I cant help but give it a good rating, but I also cant help but fell that it could’ve been so much more, not literally though as it is three and a half hours.

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