Category Archives: Sci Fi

Mangle Awards Are Here!

Well, it’s Award Season – Golden Globes, Academy Awards, BAFTA, SAG Awards, the Razzies – you name it, people are giving out awards.  But we here at the Movie Mangle would like to do something less traditional.  Like many average Joe’s, I haven’t seen all (or most) of the nominated movies this year.  So while I will be losing the Academy Awards bingo, I want to bestow my OWN awards for the movies that impacted me last year (not the tooth that impacted me last year – that jerk gets NO award!).  Ladies and gents, I present to you… the Mangle Awards!

MANGLE AWARDS2

 

#1 WORST MOVIE WITH BEST POTENTIAL: “Escape From Tomorrow”

Mangle Award: Worst Best!

Mangle Award: Worst Best!

You’ve probably heard of this one – a filmmaker wrote a “script,” had his actors memorize and rehearse, then snuck his whole sound and film team in to shoot it all in Disney World.  Theoretically, this could be really cool.  (In fact, a short film titled “Missing In The Mansion” did the same thing and was very fun!)  But no.

It starts off fine, a story about a 40-something father of two who gets fired on the morning that he brings his family to Disneyland, then following his point of view as he does creepy things like stalking some underage French girls around the park.  The whole point of the movie is to subvert the idea of Disney perfection and showing the juxtaposition between the seeming innocence of Disney and the realities of how adults think and behave.

But then it goes off the rails.  The main character starts seeing trippy, LSD-like things happen around him and there’s some stupidity about a “cat flu” going around, so the movie becomes surreal, but then tries to hold on to some kind of reality and never achieves the kind of connection that even a David Lynch movie has.  A waste of time.

 

#2 BEST TRANSFORMERS MOVIE: “Pacific Rim”

Mangle Award: Best Transformers!

Mangle Award: Best Transformers!

If only Guillermo del Toro had been brought on for the first TRANSFORMERS movie, I might still be watching its‘ copious sequels.  But instead, we wait a decade or so to watch PACIFIC RIM – or, as I’m sure it was pitched – “Transformers meets Godzilla.”

I’ve heard a lot of people whine about how the effects were great but they were disappointed in the lack of characters and development.  I disagree.  In fact, I went in expecting ROCK ‘EM SOCK ‘EM MONSTERS AND ROBOTS and instead found some pretty solid emotional and character grounding….. plus some pretty spectacular rock ‘em sock ‘em monsters and robots!  PACIFIC RIM made a monster movie better than past GODZILLA’S and CLOVERFIELD and beat TRANSFORMERS in the giant robot department.  Personally, I can’t wait for the sequel.

 

#3 BEST DOCUMENTARY DIRECTED BY DAVE GROHL:  “Sound City”

Mangle Award: Best Daveumentary!

Mangle Award: Best Daveumentary!

I love music documentaries, especially when they involve “behind-the-scenes” of an album.  Of the handful of music docs I saw last year, my two faves were “A BAND CALLED DEATH” (You should definitely check that one out, btw) and “SOUND CITY.”  The latter is Nirvana and Foo Fighters member Dave Grohl’s directorial debut.

Sound City was a recording studio in the Valley that had incredible acoustics, an incomparable soundboard, and history of recording some of the biggest records and bands of the past few decades:  Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, Nine Inch Nails, Rick Springfield, etc.  Alas, it went out of business.  But before it did, Dave Grohl bought the fabled soundboard, installed it in his own state-of-the-art home studio, and made this killer documentary.  And THEN, he invited some of the more prestigious people who ever recorded at Sound City and had them come record some tracks at his studio.

Seriously, this is worth watching for a thirty-second Paul McCartney moment alone.
**bonus awesome: Sound City is available right now on Amazon Instant Video, FREE to Prime members… just sayin***<Click here to watch Sound City for FREE on Amazon>

 

#4 BEST UNDER THE RADAR SURPRISE: “Trance”

Mangle Award: Best Rad Surprise!

Mangle Award: Best Rad Surprise!

I vaguely remember the previews for this one.  Vaguely.  But an acquaintance from work (at Stan’s Donuts N’ Firearms) had a digital copy that he was selling for the low low price of “stop blackmailing my wife” so I checked it out.  And it’s GREAT!

Danny Boyle directs this thriller about an art heist and the hypnotist (James McAvoy) hired to figure out what happened to it.  Smart, tight, and featuring an equally smart and tight (and naked!) Rosario Dawson, this is one of the handful of psychological thrillers that does a really good job of keeping the ending a surprise.  With great performances and a fun twisty story, I recommend TRANCE to everybody.  (I have a digital copy if you want to borrow it.  Plus some nice blackmail material if you wish to peruse.)

 

#5 BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT SINCE INDIANA JONES 4: “Man Of Steel”

Mangle Award: Biggest Disappointment!

Mangle Award: Biggest Disappointment!

This movie was so bad it made me angry.

It’s a lot of non-linear storytelling that doesn’t reveal anything so much as simply stop the narrative dead several times.  Characters make ridiculous decisions that as an audience member I cannot relate to (See: Clark’s father’s death), they have blase reactions to monumental happenings (see: Clark’s MOM’s reaction to aliens wrecking her home), and we’re supposed to simply understand who people are by them TELLING us their caricature type (see: Lois’s first scene) so that we don’t have to see people interact and learn about them.  Hence, we don’t care.  At all.

And good thing, too!  Because once we’re halfway through the movie, everything and everyone in Metropolis and Smallville is completely destroyed with no thought to life or property.  BUT Superman cares for us humans SO MUCH!!!  (When and where does he do this?  Oh, right: never.  He just says it  but then lets people die and destroys buildings thoughtlessly.)

This is where I point out that the only person who has ever made a good Superman movie was Richard Donner.  In the exact same scenario (Zod and alien supercohorts attack and destroy Metropolis), Superman reveals his WEAKNESS: caring so much for people’s lives that he spends most of his time PROTECTING them rather than FIGHTING the enemy.  (And yes, that was Richard Donner’s movie – I don’t care who’s name is on the credit card in Superman 2.)  We get to see Clark slowly grow up and deal with his problems and see his connection to his parents in realtime and feel for him in the first SUPERMAN movie.  Here, the same beats are played out, but even though the CGI is great and could pull us into more character development, it’s simply a sight gag in Hack Snyder’s hands.

Oh, and Superman needs to have a love affair with Lois.  Right.  So add that checkmark and make sure that they kiss at the end of the movie.  Why?  Because “Superman loves Lois Lane.”  Says so in the comics.  Check.  Got it.  Ignore the fact that they have, oh, ZERO chemistry or moments of intimacy in the movie.

MAN OF STEEL had some great design elements and could have been a really good ten minute film.

I wish it had been.

 

#6 BEST ANNIVERSARY RE-RELEASE: “The Wizard Of Oz in 3D IMAX”

Mangle Awards: Best Anniversary!

Mangle Awards: Best Anniversary!

  1. I used to watch “The Wizard of Oz” annually when it came on TV.  It was the first videotape I ever rented (shut up, I’m old).  It’s one of the best movies of all time.
  2. When I first moved to Hollywood, it was playing at the famed Mann Chinese Theater.  This was perfect.  My first cinmea experience in Los Angeles would be one of the most classic, magical movies of all time in one of the most magical, historic movie theaters.. ON HOLLYWOOD BLVD!
  3. So, when it left and I wound up seeing MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 there instead, it was a letdown.
  4. BUT!  When it was re-released in IMAX 3D for it’s 75th Anniversary, you can bet I didn’t miss it this time.

And it was fantastic.  I’m not a fan of 3D most of the time and I find it to be a money-grab more often than not, but the depth and clarity of the picture (you could see the SEAMS in the clothing and baldcaps!) for this was incredible.  And the movie itself?

Come on, I’m not even going to review it.  If you’re not a fan of The Wizard of Oz…. something’s wrong.

And there you have it!   Matt’s Mangle Awards for 2013.  Let me know if I missed any great or unique movies by commenting below and I’ll see you at the Oscar Bingo game!

-Matt

PS. As always, if you like what you see we really appreciate your positive reinforcement. Please share your thoughts and send to a friend.  Cheers!

Matt and Mike sum up the Twilight Saga for the rest of us

 

We were so excited to review the Twilight Saga, that we sat down to watch every single episode before we got started.  The problem we ran into was that the Twilight saga is really really long!  It occurred to us afterward that maybe that’s why it was called a “saga” but by then it was too late…  We started hallucinating from the lack of blinking for so many days on end.

The resulting dimensional shift had us seeing in black and white, smoke was everywhere, and the room was spinning.  We tried to go outside to clear our heads, but the bright light made our skin start to burn. But then we thought, wow this must really be what it’s like to be a vampire! And that was just the kick we needed to get our Movie Mangle going.

So sit back and enjoy the most realistic Twilight Saga review parody ever invented… but don’t forget to blink.

There's enough Twilight Saga footage here to turn your skin pale

There’s enough Twilight Saga footage here to turn your skin pale


You’ve never seen The Avengers until you’ve seen Matt & Mike MANGLE it

When we set out to review The Avengers we thought, “first, let’s watch the film, THEN, let’s finish the Jagermeister.” A few days later, when we finally made our way back from Tijuana and got our camera equipment out of hock, we started filming.

What emerged was a movie review that we were completely proud of. Mike firmly declared, “This is our best one ever!” We hope you will laugh a little, cry openly, make strange noises in what can only be described as your “lower throat,” and ultimately not get sick all over your computer screen.  People and boys, here is… Avengers: THE MOVIE MANGLE!

Feeling Blue? This AVATAR Mangle just might help

Avatar is a phenomenal film dedicated to the struggle of a guy in Illinois who can’t decide which cellphone selfie to use on a forum profile.  Wait, no sorry that was me in 2007.

What we tried to create with our review parody of James Cameron’s epic film Avatar, was a realism unmatched by any other guys named Matt and Mike in a major metropolis referencing Bon Jovi in 2013.  We think we’ve done a bang up job at doing just that.  And although our review is completely derivative of such films as Top Gun, What Dreams May Come, Howard the Duck, and The Hours, we’re confident you will find the substance to be entirely substantial.  How many film reviewers can say THAT?  

Folks, please enjoy Avatar: THE MOVIE MANGLE!

George Lucas would approve of our STAR WARS Mangle if we made him

If George Lucas was here right now he would probably say, “You can’t hold me prisoner forever you radicals.” But then after we fed him a steady diet of peyote and wheat grass juice, he might be singing a different tune… one where he comes to agree with our take on his ever-changing “true vision” on Star Wars.

Therefore, we’re pretty confident that this Movie Mangle of STAR WARS is fully endorsed by George Lucas, Walt Disney, Alec Guiness, and probably Odysseus as well just for good measure.  Now if we can only cash in on some of that merchandising loot!

In any case, we’re pretty excited about our movie review parody and hope you don’t lose too many body fluids while watching Star Wars: THE MOVIE MANGLE!