The second installment of the Hunger Games trilogy which follows the novels of the same names, we see Katniss and Peeta adapting to life as victors of the 74th Hunger Games. Forced to continue the false love affair, that saved them in the games, in front of the public and go on a Victory Tour; the two see that they are seen as symbols of a growing rebellion against the Capitol. President Snow tries to convince Katniss to placate the populace, but her stubborn attitude doesn't allow that. Forced to remove Katniss from the equation in a manner that will not cause riots... President Snow and his new head game master Plutark devise that the 75th Hunger Games will be fought by previous victors... placing Katniss and Peeta back in the arena to fight for their lives.
An anthology film that tells the story of a number of spooky, yet fun, tales that take place within the same town on the same Halloween night. Trick R' Treat also finally gives us the first real Halloween mascot in Sam, a small child-like Jack-O-Lantern headed demon with a love of tricks and treats and enforces the spirit of the holiday with a rather violent tendency. While this movie is super fun to watch, it is not by any means appropriate for children. But put this in after the kids go to bed or when it's just you and some friends and try not to have a smile on your face by the time the credits roll!
A pair of bats infected with a virus to make them lethal killing machines have escaped, and now swarms of bats are terrorizing the Texas countryside. And now it's up to a bat expert, her assistant, and the local sheriff to stop them before the virus spreads across the country.
It's Halloween and stoner high school student Anton (Devon Sawa) can't find his parents (Fred Willard and Connie Ray). Mostly this is because they were killed in the night by the murderer terrorizing his town. When Anton and his buddies Pnub and Mick (Elden Henson and Seth Green) realize all evidence points to Anton they soon realize that his hand has become possessed by a demon. His hand murder's his friends, they return from the dead, his hand tries to kill his girlfriend (Jessica Alba), and generally blood and comedy ensue as Anton hunted down by a Druidic priestess played by Vivica Fox (funny, she doesn't LOOK Druish...).
Eric Draven and his fiancé Shelley Webster are murdered on the night before Halloween, the holiday the two intended to be married on. A year later Draven is summoned from the dead by a crow to enact revenge on the thugs who killed him and his love and finally bring peace to Detroit (unfortunately we've all seen Robocop and know it can't last long…). The film was Brandon Lee, beloved actor and son to legendary martial artist/actor Bruce Lee, final film. He was tragically shot while filming a scene for one of the flashbacks which almost caused the film to never be released. Luckily, Miramax picked it up and made sure it was finished so that we have this fantastic flick that is a perfect eulogy to Lee.
Korean pop star Rain plays a ninja in a high-budget version of an 80s ninja movie. Hits every trope you've come to expect: fights in burning houses, betrayal by an entire foot clan, a student/master duel; you name it, this movie's got it. It's incredibly predictable in terms of plot, and the final twist is laughably simple and easy to forecast. This is a very, very dumb movie. And it was one of my favorite movies to come out in 2009.
Kuzco is a self centered emperor who is turned into a Llama and forced to become appreciative of the power of friendship in order to get his human body back. Yzma is a power hungry witch who vengefully turns Kuzco into a llama in order to usurp the throne. Kronk is a dim-witted muscle bound lackey of Yzma who secretly struggles with following the orders of a mad woman. Pacha is a simple farmer who just wants to protect his family and village from destruction by the uncaring Kuzco, but is also driven by doing the right thing to help Kuzco get his human form back. All in all a largely stereotypical set of characters in generally predictable plot somehow turn this into a lesser known gem of Disney.
Writers Sam and Ivan Raimi pair up with director Sam Raimi to make a classic shock horror film starring Alison Lohman and Justin Long in the style of classic Sam Raimi. Hits tons of tropes ranging from gypsy curses, house cat sacrifice, and a foul-mouth possessed goat. Although it has powerful subtext if you're looking for it (as all worthwhile horror movies should), it never takes itself seriously and produces tons of genuine laughs as well as creep-out and gross-out horror. This may be the most competent PG-13 horror movie ever produced, and it is one of my favorites.
YES, THIS IS AN INSANE CLOWN POSSE MOVIE. NO, DO NOT CLOSE THE WINDOW. Just bear with me. I know what it looks like. I, too, was dubious when my friend Drew recommended it to me. And he, too, told me to bear with him. I am so glad I did. On the back of the box of this movie, it says that it is for juggalos exclusively(ICP fans, for those who don't know the parlance), but upon viewing it, that is wholly not the case. What it is, in fact, is an uproariously self-referential crime comedy where Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J of ICP (I hate that I know their names now) play a hardboiled cop and a crime lord in conflict in the streets of New York City. The story is mundane, but the constant fourth-wall-breaking dialogue and unsubtle gags make for an excellent, genuinely funny film to drink to. Also, it features a cameo of the Misfits, Dolemite (the real one!) and a legitimate actor that you might not expect!
Another Tanked Matinee classic. In his breakout role, Tony Jaa plays Ting, a muay Thai monk in a small village with a patron god named Ong Bak, which is represented by a golden statue in a temple. A con man steals its head to sell on the black market, and Ting goes to get it back, punching everybody in the process. With brutal martial arts, really impressive free-running, and lots of eye-popping stunts, there is a lot in this movie to make it an easy recommendation. It was the movie that made the world forget about Enter the Dragon's style of chop sockey (as much as we love that movie).
The Life of the Party
Forget strings, forget the paddle ball slapping WOOCHAW sound effects, and forget weaksauce character development. THIS is a martial arts movie that stands proudly with appeal outside its genre. There is tons of explosive action, plot development, and actual nuance. This is a great example of a filmmaking team making great decisions with their money. Example: they could have done a lackluster car chase like some Jackie Chan movies tend to do, or they could make what could be argued to be the best rickshaw chase of all time. I will leave you to determine which course they picked. The parkour and choreography is acrobatic (this, it definitely has in common with Jackie Chan). It's so well done, that they actually do replays in the film for the same trick. It is silly, but demonstrates that Jaa is actually performing as opposed to it being a trick of the camera. I really don't want to ruin the jaw-dropping aspect to some of the stunts, because a lot of them are shockingly jarring. Suffice it to say, if you saw Jaa's follow up The Protector, you know what you're in for. Cinematic, interesting, varied, talented, and lightning fast martial arts and a lot of people getting kicked through doors.
Problems one through thirty; the fucking lead girl's voice. It is like Gilbert Gottfried the Thai woman. I like her character development and she is an important character to the story, but she sounds like Ellen Degeneres with a goddamned cold. Other than that, the plot may seem kindof stretched, but it is still well put together, thoughtful, meaningful, and engrossing. In a lot of martial arts movies, the acting sucks. Not so much in this one. That is fairly uncommon. This film doesn't have a ton of flaws unless people getting elbowed all up in the face offends you. Or you hate EXPLOSIVE RICKSHAW ACTION!!!
The Vibe: Man-Cave, Large Party, Casual Gathering
This is the type of movie you can root for the entire way. A naive monk is forced to fight a whole bunch of self-admitted evil people in tons of interesting locations in tons of interesting ways. That is pretty cut and dried, and they run with it. The villains are very bad, and they all eventually get punched in the face. The movie gets that part right and then does a whole slurry of other ambitious choices right. Tony Jaa is really, really talented. It's a quality experience to cheer for. I guarantee your party will agree.
+ Explosive muay Thai!
+ Explosive parkour!
+ Explosive rickshaws!
- Holy god please girl stop talking! It feels like a screwdrive in my ear!
- Some of the special effects are actually extra-special effects. You'll know. But it won't distract you.
- The villain uses his vibrator to talk. Yep.
- A rickshaw is decommissioned
- Someone gets knocked out
- Hard mode: take a shot when Ting has a fight people bet on