Angry Robot

Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed

Two picks up shortly after One ended. Ginger, dead, is now only a sort of guardian devil for her sister Bridgitte, who is busy injecting herself with wolfsbane – which turns out not to cure lycanthropy but only to postpone the transformation – while trying to avoid a fully-formed werewolf which follows her from town to town, looking to mate. When she is thrown into a group home to treat her ‘addiction’, she can postpone no longer. She befriends the resourceful 13-year-old Ghost, but before long the beast that has been stalking her has tracked her down. [/half-assed plot summary paragraph]

GS2 is a touch of a disappointment. It takes the franchise in a different and not entirely welcome direction, foregoing teen wisecracking and socializing and werewolves-as-metaphor in favour of junkie brooding with the odd wolf attack thrown in. Also, the monster has been divorced from the protagonist. In GS, it was Ginger herself who is the source of dread; in GS2 Bridgitte is mostly fine, and it’s the other, nasty fully transformed wolf who is intended to make us afraid. That’s not quite as compelling; and indeed in most uses the werewolf myth is about personal transformation and loss of control, about giving one’s self over to the unconscious beast; so to remove this is to go against the grain and turn the story into the traditional “I hope/kinda don’t hope that the girls stay away from the unspeakable monster” horror narrative. What’s more, ball-dropping occurs in respect to the metaphorical quality of the franchise. If there’s a metaphor in GS2 it’s addiction, but it’s not fleshed out in any meaningful way, which is a disappointment after GS so aptly matched wolves to menstruation.

On the flip side, the narrative moves along competently and the characters are better than most genre stereotypes. And, in the depressing sub-genre of horror franchise sequels, this is easily in the upper echelon. If the Canadian film industry – fuckit, the US too – could crank out flicks like this with regularity I’d rent at least one a week, and I’d see quite a few in the cinema to boot. Here’s looking forward to the simultaneously-filmed period-piece threequel, Ginger Snaps Back, due out in April.

Conan the Destroyer

insane wizard

sucks, but it does feature the shittiest wizard in the history of cinema. This fellow, who looks like a street maniac dolled up with a dainty cap and special shiny pointing glove, has his “magic” castle violated easily by Arnie and friends, and then is stabbed five minutes later. He gets two lines, total. And they talked him up for ages as the most fearsome wizard because of his magic program-related activities. That was a refreshing turn for the bizarre in a film that otherwise features too many scenes of walking or horseriding from one dreary locale to another, in what must be considered the wrong way to go about making your film appear ‘epic’.

Swimming Pool

Now that’s a damn fine picture. I’m a little embarassed to admit that this is the first Ozon film I’ve seen, but I hereby pledge to binge-view his other films, stat. It’s amazing what he manages to express visually, with a minimum of dialogue. At first, I wondered where the thrills were in this so-called thriller, but because of the nonstop nature of Ludivine Sagnier’s nakedness I was willing to look the other way. Then, it really picked up and it ends fabulously (although that seems to be a point of debate). I’m glad to see Hitchcock is alive and well and living in French cinema.

The Recruit

I have a soft spot for both the CIA and Irish guys with copious eyebrow hair, so logic dictated I give this film a try. I like plot twists, too, and the jacket said breathlessly “oh so many plot twists” something something yada yada. So I predicted plot twist #1 about halfway through the film and given the complete and utter lack of action, my brain had plenty of time to come up with some theories for what plot twists #2, 3, 4 might be… and then it ends? One plot twist? Somebody rent these clowns Ronin. A fucking Carrot Top movie has more plot twists than this asshole film. Oddly enough, despite the severe action deficit from which it suffers, it would be a decent, tense film if it had just one more freaking plot twist.

Howard the Duck

If you start thinking Lucas is a Cambellian visionary who made breakthrough anti-imperialist narratives into blockbuster entertainment by setting the Vietnam war in space, or if you start thinking covetously about his fabulous net worth, then go watch Howard the Duck. Phantom Menace has nothing on this bastard – everone has their Achilles heel, and Lucas’ has feathers. As the link says, “this movie is an insult to ducks.”


aka Zombi 2, aka Island of the Flesh Eaters. Great opening three shots, but then a lapse into a first act of languid, awkward 70s pacing. However the last hour or so is an unrelenting gorefest that puts most horror movies to shame. It’s all about the zombies – here’s hoping that’s the motto of some company I go on to found at a later date – and these ‘zombis’ are fabulous, especially the really old ones who have insects crawling around in their eye sockets. Mmmm! Plenty of explosively violent deaths, of course, and nary an attempted scientific explanation.

He Invented "fo shizzle"

E-40 interviewed by Vice. Me, I’m not so sure. He also says he invented “you feel me?” in 1991, and that’s in Mad Max (1979). Maybe he was the first to recontextualize it in a hiphop context, but who cares about that? Me, I invented the acorn and the ability to cough. (via G-dog)

The Royal We

What is it with Gawker blogs (1, 2, 3) and the royal ‘we’? There’s only one of you, for fuck’s sake, and everyone knows it. The pretense of mainstream magazinehood – poof! It’s gone! Give it up! There’s only one of you!

Hot Dog Cops

I thought from the title that this film might be kinda funny, so-bad-it’s-good. Wrong again, Sankey.

21 Grams

Question: would this flick be as good without the novelty structure? I don’t really know: I loved the film, which completely rang true to me, but I’d need to see it twice to tell if the structure is in fact motivated.


This is basically an MOW with a fucking mindblowing performance by Theron. I had no idea she could act. As much as I hate the whole idea of Ugly-For-Oscar films like this, she really did a damn fine job. Nothing other than her performance is of interest, really – wait for video. Ebert needs to keep his pants on.


Gus Van Sant is up to some weird shit yo. Somehow, by practically vanishing as an auteur in any measurable sense, he delivered a bafflingly original film with Elephant. He was lost there for a while. Was he a Matt Damon team player (Good Will, Gerry), or maybe a poor-kid-with-brains feelgood storyteller (Good Will, You the Man Now Dog)? And then he vanishes behind a cloud of Hitchcock (Psycho rebake) never to appear again. I hear Gerry was good. Psycho is still a mystery to me, as is – to some extent – Elephant. (I’m hoping someone makes a school shooting film set in Middle Earth, “Oliphaunt”.) There doesn’t seem much point in analyzing it, it’s just there – it’s all surface, no depth. In a good way.

Mystic River

I liked it. Acting stylee. Classical direction from Clintster.

Dirt for Dirt's Sake

I will try and peel my Apple-zombie ass away from GarageBand for a moment to share some of the results, a song that samples my favourite online film in an attempt to express my fierce hatred for pornography.

Ginger Snaps

y tells me this is considered by some to be the best Canadian genre film ever made, and that may be right. More importantly, it’s the first metaphorical reading of the werewolf legend that I know of. By that I mean it makes an attempt to understand what real-life issues the fantasy might be articulating, much as Coppola made Dracula about sex and STDs, or Habit reinterpreted vampirism as a metaphor for addiction. In Ginger Snaps’ case, lycanthropy is about puberty and menstruation (full moon, blood, hair where there was no hair before… natch). It’s very well-written. It’s very well made all-round, in fact; only the creature effects fell short. I look forward to the sequel – although director Fawcett and writer Karen Walton are no longer involved, it sounds pretty damn good.

Once Upon A Time in Mexico

Methinks Rodriguez is wearing too many hats these days: writer, director, editor, shooter, and scorer. I found the editing and possibly direction to be wack here: not only were many of the action scenes unintelligible, a lot of the plot was as well. It was definitely inspired by Tsui Hawk flicks, but he didn’t quite get it right. Talk about discontinuity. We get a shot of the street showing citizens rising up and repelling the military coup attempt; then a few shots of the action inside; next shot of the street and there’s no one out there! On the plus side, Depp is always fun to watch, and there’s some good humour here and there. All in all this is one of those films that sure isn’t boring, but it doesn’t mean anything or inspire in any way. Nor is it especially well made.

Once Upon A Time in the West

It made me cry three times during my last viewing, and that was only the first half. Two times were because of the music, the other was because of this speech:

You know, Jill, you remind me of my mother. She was the biggest whore in Alameda, and the finest woman that ever lived. Whoever my father was, for an hour or for a month, he must have been a happy man.

One of my favourite films, no question.

Two Vows

  1. Quit smoking. Did that and it’s going pretty well so far. I can smell again! Outside smells like cars. Had a great meal the other day, it smelled like children’s dreams. It smelled like God’s farts.

  2. Write something about every film I see. Something small, if necessary. At this charge I have failed, as you can see. I must have watched ten films since the first and not one word outta me. Coming soon, I guess.

The Media hate Howard Dean

because the RNC told them to. Remember that story about Karl Rove cheering for Dean since he wanted Bush to run against him so badly? Well, if Karl Rove said that, it’s meant to discourage democrats from choosing Dean. Which means he actually doesn’t want Dean to go up against Bush. Why? As the Salon story notes, Dean polls 6-8% behind Bush right now. Exactly four years ago, Gore trailed Dean by 17 points and still got more votes come election time. Plus, Dean will raise more money than Gore. And is sitting on those Soros millions. Don’t believe the “unelectable” nonsense.

Dear Coors Light,

I resent that your current TV advertisement brags about your “ice-cold, easy drinking taste.” Cold isn’t a taste, you asshole beer. Neither is “easy drinking.” Hmmm, this beer tastes like liquid! It tastes like drunk! Delicious frat-boy taste! Possibly the fact that this bothers me removes me from your target market. But here’s a hint for my wasted jock readership: for maximum drunkenness, drink any beer over 3% alc/vol instead of that Coors swill, and put it in the fridge. That’s what gives it that “ice cold” taste. For “easy drinking” flavour, simply put it in your funnel.

On a related note, someone once pointed out to me that food ads never make any claims about their product’s taste, preferring to boast about being “hot and fresh” or “hot and filling”. Is this so you can’t sue Taco Bell if your enchilada isn’t “delicious”? I can get “hot and filling” by microwaving medical waste. Mmm, tastes like SARS!


I think it will surely rock. It would appeal to a ton of people I know. I dinked around with Cubase for a while until the sheer pain-in-the-assiveness of mixing down a comp with software instruments completely discouraged me; looks like Apple got that one figured out right quick. That app is well worth the $50 iLife price alone when you consider prices on pro apps of the same ilk. Also, the inclusion of woodgrain in the interface means Apple has finally caught up to the masterful desktop picture I designed four years ago!

Land of the Rising Cliche

Interesting thing from the NYT about recent US films about Japan and their reception there. It mentions Kill Bill, Lost in Translation and The Last Samurai, and relates to this. Japanese folk seem to resent Coppola’s film the most. I found it only incidentally about Japan; it was a film about two losers falling in love, thus a foreign nation makes them seem more awkward, and Japan makes them seem even outdated, obsolete. That said, it’s no film of the year or anything.