December 6th, 2009

WARRIOR OF THE LOST WORLD (1985) **

The Warrior (Robert Ginty) rides across the apocalyptic wasteland on his talking motorcycle named Einstein.  It doesn’t take long before he gets chased by Omega stormtroopers and stupidly runs smack into the side of a mountain.  Luckily for him, the mountain is actually an all-white void where some geriatric fuckers in togas heal his wounds with flashlights.  Afterwards, Warrior gets conned into rescuing the leader of the resistance by his pushy daughter (Persis Khambatta of Star Trek:  The Motion Picture fame).  When she also gets kidnapped by the sniveling dictator (Donald Pleasence), Warrior gets called back into action to kick some more apocalyptic ass.

 

Warrior of the Lost World is not the first, last, best, or worst Mad Max rip-off ever made but it is one of the oddest.  In addition to Mad Max, it also contains elements of Knight Rider (the lame-o talking motorcycle), Star Wars (it has a similar opening crawl), James Bond (Pleasence is still wearing his Blofeld outfit from You Only Live Twice), and even Any Which Way You Can (there’s an extended fight scene).  You can almost sense the kitchen sink waiting in the wings to make an appearance.

 

The flick had potential to be a worthwhile entry into the apocalypse subgenre.  The thing that ultimately sinks the picture is the atrocious acting by Ginty.  I loved him in The Exterminator but he has to give one of the worst performances in the history of cinema in this movie.  He seems bored and disinterested throughout the film and mumbles every single line so you can never be sure what the heck he’s saying.  The rest of the cast (including Fred Williamson in a nothing role) aren’t much but seem like master thespians next to the comatose Ginty.

 

Thankfully, director David (Poor Pretty Eddie) Worth knows how to film the action.  A handful of the chase scenes have a kick to them and the battle royal brawl featuring Ginty trading punches with everyone from midgets to Amazon women is pretty cool.  Then of course, there’s Ginty’s immortal run-in with the diabolical Megaweapon; which looks like a dump truck from Hell.  If that shit doesn’t put you in stitches; nothing will.

 

Worth later went on to co-direct Kickboxer.

 

AKA:  Mad Rider.

PAPER HEART (2009) ** ½

Charlyne (Knocked Up) Yi wrote and stars as herself in this uneven but mildly amusing mockumentary about what it takes to be in love.  Yi hires a documentary crew to follow her around the country so she can interview loving couples who recount stories of their meeting, courtship, and marriage.  While Charlyne ponders why she’s never been in love, she ends up meeting Superbad’s Michael Cera (played by Superbad’s Michael Cera) and the two slowly begin to build a relationship together.  Predictably, the camera crew gets in the way of their privacy and threatens to ruin their budding romance.

 

The theory behind this movie is sound enough but Paper Heart doesn’t quite hit the mark.  The problem is that the “real” interviews of the married couples are much more enlightening and entertaining than the obviously scripted jazz involving Yi romancing Cera.  Although the two reportedly dated in real life, they don’t have much chemistry with one another.

 

Another debit is Yi herself.  I’m sorry but she just isn’t very likable.  She mutters and whines a lot and her “performance” grated on my damn nerves real fast.  That’s okay because Cera is able to carry the picture almost single-handedly.  Since he basically plays himself in every movie he’s ever been in anyway, he handles his role fairly well.  Seth Rogen and Martin Starr also turn up in (all-too brief) cameos as themselves.

SARAH SILVERMAN: JESUS IS MAGIC (2005) ***

Sarah Silverman is one of those comediennes that I’ve always liked.  I mean she’s smart, she’s sexy, and she’s funny as Hell.  I think what’s so great about her is like the best comics (George Carlin, Redd Foxx, etc.); she makes fun of EVERYBODY.  Jews, blacks, Asians, lesbians, everyone is fair game for her warped sense of humor and demented world view.  After seeing her hilarious appearance in The Aristocrats, I decided to check out her movie; Sarah Silverman:  Jesus is Magic.  Despite a few flaws, it’s pretty damn funny.

 

The flick is basically an hour long stand-up routine padded with bookend scripted vignettes and a handful of musical numbers.  I admit that the film would’ve been better if it was just strictly as a performance film.  While the musical numbers have their moments; they ultimately add very little to the overall film.  The wraparound segments are not especially funny either.

 

Silverman’s stand-up act makes up the bulk of the movie.  These scenes border on hilarious.  Nothing and I mean NOTHING is taboo.  Silverman talks about everything from AIDS to dead grandmother rape.  Very few people could make this kind of material funny but Silverman pulls it off with her immensely likable quirkiness.

 

Naturally, Silverman gets the best line of the movie when she says, “When God gives you AIDS; you make Lemon-AIDS!”

A SOUND OF THUNDER (2005) * ½

Ben Kingsley stars as this rich asshole with a Jor-El hairdo who creates “Time Safari”; a stupid vacation that allows dumbasses to dress up like those motherfuckers from Halo and shoot dinosaurs.  When one of the time-traveling tourists steps on a prehistoric butterfly, it causes a “Time Wave” that causes the present (or in this case, the future since the movie takes place in 2050) to be overrun with Jurassic era beasties like man-eating plants, carnivorous spiders, sea serpents, and mutant Dino-Apes.  Because the world’s timeline is all fucked up; it’s conceivable that the human race will cease to exist and the dinosaurs will return to rule the earth.  That means smug scientist Edward Burns has to pull a Marty McFly and go back in time to fix the future.

 

Director Peter Hyams is capable of doing good science fiction flicks about time travel (like Timecop) but this is not one of them.  I can’t say it’s really his fault.  While the story (by Ray Bradbury) is promising enough, the screenplay is woefully sloppy and illogical.  That’s not the least of A Sound of Thunder’s worries though.  This movie has some of the worst special effects in the history of the human race.  In addition to the really crappy dinosaur effects, the animation on the other creepy crawlies is pathetic.  And I swear; 75% of this movie is made up of nothing but scenes of bored looking people standing in front of obvious green screens so it looks like they are surrounded by horrid CGI landscapes, monsters, and cars.

 

Bad special effects don’t necessarily make or break a sci-fi movie.  Unfortunately, the performances in this movie are about as convincing as the effects.  Edward Burns left his charisma in his other pants and Ben Kingsley fares about as well here as he did in Bloodrayne.  That is to say he sucks. 

 

Then there’s the weird ass title.  I don’t remember hearing any “Sounds” of “Thunder” in this movie.  So why the fuck was it called A Sound of Thunder?  The Butterfly Effect was already taken I guess. 

 

Speaking of butterflies, what butterfly do I have to step on in order for this movie not to exist?