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Postal (2007)

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Uwe Boll's PostalReviewed by Nomad

Starring Zack Ward, Dave Foley, Chris Coppola, Michael Benyaer, Jackie Tohn, Erick Avari

Written and Directed by Uwe Boll


We live in a world where Hollywood deems formula and repetition as essential keys for a successful box office. What’s worked before will surely work again! Ideas are bought, repackaged and slapped onto a poster with the go-to guys attached in the hopes you’ll remember the fantastic time you had watching The Hot Chick or The 40-Year Old Virgin or Talladega Nights. Hell, they’ll even sell this to you as an idea: “From the producers of” blah blah blah. So, you want me to go see a movie because some rich guy who put money into a hit also put money into a new one? With the average person’s movie dollars disappearing faster than corn chips in front of Joey Fatone, it seems the public isn’t willing to plunk down their cash on the chance that they “might” like what they are about to see. Now, a hero comes to save us from the mundane, neutered comedy we have been spoon fed as of late. That visionary’s name is … Uwe Boll. Oh yeah, you heard me. The man who some would argue inadvertently struck comedy gold with the now legendary House of the Dead turns out to be an evil comedy genius.

Postal, linked to the popular video game of the same name purely by title, is the tale of an everyman. To be more precise, it’s about an everyman who is trapped in a loveless relationship with a whale of a woman who appears to be plucked from the frames of the Adult Swim cartoon “Squidbillies”, can’t find work, is tortured daily by governmental bureaucracy, and is just about at his limit. So, does our hero take a cue from Falling Down and start blowing up the city? Nope. Postal has higher aspirations than that. The “Postal Dude” (Ward), his only name in the film, joins forces with his morally corrupt, cult leader Uncle Dave (Foley) to pull off a scheme that could only be taken seriously in 2007 … and maybe even work in real life. This is the tale of people with more balls than brains getting over on people too lazy to even notice what is happening all around them. It’s a complete spoof on the state of affairs in America as we hunt down international terrorists who most likely have taken up middle class living in Northridge, CA; and yet, the normal trappings and lame jokes you’d see in spoof fare like Epic Movie are thrown out the window in favor of well written and executed sight gags, hysterical dialogue, and moments so funny your jaw will drop in disbelief. Why will you be so shocked? Well, hell, it’s a Uwe Boll movie! The man despised by keyboard tappers the world over delivers what is probably the funniest movie I’ve seen in five years. Amazing.

Dave Foley in Postal (click to see it bigger)Zack Ward, whom you’ll remember as the evil little red-haired kid out to kick Ralphie’s ass in A Christmas Story, takes on the role of Postal Dude, an average guy who tries to do the right thing and is continually smacked upside the head with the proverbial wet fish for his troubles. You know things are bad when even your fellow trailer park neighbors are ready to kick you when you’re down. Ward plays this role with just about every ounce of compassion and gusto he can muster, presenting a sympathetic guy who is forced to do a whole lot of bad things in the name of personal freedom and future happiness. The result is colossally funny as Dude becomes a character who can lift up a box of Wheaties and have you in stitches. Dave Foley is given the chance to be the man we were only given glimpses of in his drunken poker commentary of past years. Leading a hippie commune, Uncle Dave lives his days in a drug-fueled haze, ever flanked by followers fresh from Maxim magazine photo shoots. Do I even need to say Foley is fantastic in this film? Fans of Foley’s mix of manic charm and unpredictable hilarity will not be disappointed in the least. Also, just a warning. You’ll see more of Foley in Postal than you ever thought you wanted to … and I’m not talking about screen time.

Chris Spencer and Ralf Moeller play stereotypical police officers: on the take, cramming down doughnuts, and shooting wildly into crowded city streets. This unlikely comic duo provides a break from the primary storyline and will bust you up at every turn. Another divergence comes from our friends the Taliban, led by Larry (No Soup For You!) Thomas as Osama Bin Ladin, who rails with his thick Middle Eastern accent into a camera one moment and drops into a non-specific American drone the next. Osama is comfortable here in America and has Bush on speed dial. Fucking amazing. As if there weren’t enough to laugh at already. These three primary forces are destined to collide as the story climaxes, and as it should be, the ride getting there is like being on the Tilt-A-Whirl with the off switch shooting sparks. One last shining star in this film is Verne Troyer, who plays himself cursing, spitting, and being abused by just about every character in the film. His finale is probably the most unexpected moment I’ve ever seen in a movie. Trust me when I say you’ll be talking about this one for years!

A scene from Postal (click to see it bigger)So now you’re asking yourself, “Why do I want to read about a comedy on a horror news site?” Not to worry, li’l camper. Postal puts guns in the hands of every third person in the film, which means the two people to the left and right are about to die horribly. You’ll see Taliban suicide bombers splattered across storefronts, kids’ chests exploding open in hails of gunfire, babies in oncoming traffic, and the formerly unspoken terror of … monkeys in drag. Now let’s just hope that the MPAA doesn’t cut this film’s balls off.

While most blockbuster comedies bog you down with one or two big names, dominating screen time and generally reducing the rest of the cast to walking trees to bounce jokes off of, Postal presents an ensemble cast that make sense as parts of an insane, twisted little planet and later come together for moments that are never forced or contrived. There were times in this film when I couldn’t believe how creative the comedic writing was so I just remained there jaw agape, eyes glued to the screen, and laughing my ass off every five minutes. Would it shock you to know that not only did Uwe Boll direct this film, but he wrote it as well??!! Uwe Boll, comic genius. Get used to it. Postal is the bloody, unflinching, uproarious film most Troma movies wish they could be. Well acted, well written, and 100% fun. Ladies and gentlemen, start your blogs. Uwe Boll made the funniest movie I’ve seen all year. Believe it.


5 out of 5

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AHS: Cult Review – Clowns, Cults, Politics, and Peters

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Starring Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Billie Lourd, Cheyenne Jackson, Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham, and Allison Pill

Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk


** NO SPOILERS **

It’s here. We’ve reached the end. The newest season of “American Horror Story” has ended and now we are here to provide you guys with our season review of AHS: Cult.

Spoiler free.

To start things off let me say I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “American Horror Story”. It breaks down like this: I enjoyed the absolute hell out of the first season of the series (“Murder House”), couldn’t get through “Asylum” (I know, I know, I’ve tried), dug “Coven” for what it was, really enjoyed “Freak Show”, and again I couldn’t get into “Hotel” or “Roanoke”.

That’s the story of me and “American Horror Story”. Plain And simple. But what did I think of the new seventh season of the notorious horror anthology series? Let’s find out.

Back when the seventh season of AHS was first announced (then going by the title “AHS: Election”) I was immediately intrigued by the new season because I heard it would not include any supernatural elements. Like the fourth season, “Freak Show”.

Now I’m a fan of ghosts and weird creature-men with drills for d*cks, don’t get me wrong. But the series has thus far relied almost exclusively on horrors of the supernatural variety (other than “Freak Show”) so this major change of pace was again welcomed by this guy.

Instead of vampires, aliens, and witches this season relied on terrors of the mind. Psychological fears and anxieties. The horrors man does to man. Deep issues.

Oh, and clowns. Like a lot of clowns.

But just because this new season didn’t include anything supernatural, that doesn’t mean the 11-episode season wasn’t filled with twisted visuals and horrifically disturbing acts. No, sir. This season boasted some showstoppers including S&M, gimps, and a house of horrors that wouldn’t be out of place in a Rob Zombie flick. It was all good.

But let’s backtrack a bit here.

Allow me to rundown the season’s plot for those who may be unaware. “AHS: Cult” tells the tale of a world post-election night. The literal dawn of Trump’s America. In one corner we have Sarah Paulson’s soccer mom, trying to fight through life with a series of crippling phobias (including clowns, holes, blood, and being a good person).

And in the other corner, we have Evan Peter’s angry, white (blue-haired) male, looking to seize Trump’s new position of power to bring about the end of… Actually, I want this to be a spoiler-free season review, so I’m just going to say the dude’s got big plans.

Like Manson-size plans. Let’s leave it at that.

With these two characters established, the new season then proceeds to send them spiraling into a collision course of political sabotage, intrigue, and clown-based nope, nope, nope-ing that can only end with one – or both – of them dead as Dillinger.

Overall “AHS: Cult” belonged end-to-end to Mr. Evan Peters. The young actor has continued to show his striking range from season to season of Ryan Murphy’s horror show and this season was no different. Peters’ turn as not only Kai, the blue-haired leader of the titular cult, but as infamous leaders such as David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Charles Manson – to name a few – owed this season.

I can only hope he doesn’t pull a Jessica Lange and opt-out of more AHS next year.

Speaking of top performances, “AHS: Cult ” showcases some other chilling and memorable turns with Alison Pill’s strangely vulnerable, put-upon wife character being the best next to Peters in my eyes. This actress needs to be in more films/TV!

Along with Pill, actress Billie Lourd killed it time and time again. The “Scream Queens” breakout star and Carrie Fisher spawn was yet again a highlight in her second Ryan Murphy series. Bet she has the starring role in next season. Mark my words.

Add to that, the season also boasts a handful of fun cameos, including John Carroll Lynch’s return as Twisty the Clown, Emma Roberts as a bitchy reporter that will do anything to end up on top, and Lena Dunham as SCUM Manifesto writer Valerie Solanas. The cameo cast killed it and I wish they would have been present for more episodes. What are you gonna do?

On the sour side of the season, I didn’t dig Sarah Paulson’s character. At all. But I’m sure that was the point. Right? I’m still not sure. But, boy, I wouldn’t even want to be stuck in line behind her at a Starbucks for three minutes, let alone spend the better part of this season’s 11-hours with her and her whiny bullshite. Urgh.

That said, she pulled it out by the finale. That’s all I’ll say.

In the end, I enjoyed this season as much as – if not more – than any other of the series. “Murder House” will still no doubt go on as my favorite season of the series, but “AHS: Cult” will rank third after season one and “Freak Show”.

While I was on the fence about the season after three episodes, the show ended up ditching Paulson’s character (and/or shifting her arch) after a lull so the episodes picked up quickly. Whenever the season turned its focus back towards Peters (in whichever incarnation he was playing at the time) the show got better and better. Every time.

Not a bad way to spend my Tuesday night for the past 11 weeks.

Bring on season 12.

  • American Horror Story: Cult (2018)
3.5

Summary

The seventh season of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story was Evan Peters’ show all the way through. The young actor pulled out all the stops time and time again to make what may have been a lackluster supernatural-free season a winner.

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User Rating 4.33 (6 votes)
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The Axiom Review – A Stylish and Clever Slice of Independent Horror

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Starring Hattie Smith, Zac Titus, Nicole Dambro

Directed by Nicholas Woods


The Axiom is an ambitious, well directed, impressively acted and stunningly shot independent horror film that has just a few, teensy little flaws holding it back from greatness (and therefore will have to settle for just being really, really good, instead).

The first thing you realize when watching The Axiom is that this is a beautiful film. Everything is framed and shot in a lush and stylish manner, but one which is always tonally appropriate for the scene.

The second thing you’ll notice, and keep noticing as the film plays out, is that the movie really struck gold with this cast. Not only is there a total lack of the sort of stilted and unnatural acting seen in countless other microbudget horror affairs, but the performances are genuinely fantastic across the board. The main characters are believably chill and relatably normal in the early scenes, and the acting remains just as impressive once things start getting a bit more… intense. It’s not often that an independent horror film has so many good performances that it makes it hard to pick the movie’s acting VIP, but that is undeniably the case here. Taylor Flowers delivers what is probably the showiest performance (and does it very well, indeed), but the entire cast really is quite good.

The central premise of the film is both interesting and original, and touches upon the real life fact (given some recent attention in the ‘Missing 411’ books and documentary) that a lot more people sure seem to go missing out in the woods than seems reasonable, while simultaneously weaving all sorts of folklore, fairy tales and urban legends into the mix. It’s also clever in the way that it very naturally reveals aspects to the relationships between characters that serve to later – or sometimes retroactively – explain some of the more questionable decisions they make or attitudes they display. While that may sound like screenwriting 101, it’s surprising how many films fail to do this. The Axiom rewards the viewer’s attention in other ways as well, with many aspects of the movie that initially feel odd or unnatural receiving reasonable explanations (within the context of the movie) by the end. It’s not quite as challenging (or as rewarding) in this regard as, say, something like Session 9, but it does add a nice layer of complexity to the storytelling.

The film’s score, by Leo Kaliski, is also quite good. There may be a moment here or there where the music hits an overly familiar beat, but overall it not only fits the movie’s tone, but does quite a bit to help set that tone as well.

The only thing that I don’t feel the movie quite pulls off – and I’m trying to be vague here, because I feel like the less you know going into this film, the better – is some of the makeup effects work. The gore stuff is very well executed, but some of the other stuff feels like it was crafted with the intention of shooting it in a more… stylized manner. Instead, filmed as it is here, the result is sometimes less than impressive and can fail to make the impact that the movie seems to be implying that it should. And while some of what the makeup effects lack in execution is made up for with the ingenuity and creativity of their design, it’s still a bit of a shame when they don’t quite pull them off because, aside from a few niggles that I have with the writing, the effects are the only aspect of the film that occasionally fails to live up to the high level of technical proficiency that The Axiom otherwise demonstrates.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

  • Man, the acting in this movie is really good. The dialogue may stumble once or twice, but these actors always sell it anyway.
  • Give back Mia Sara’s DNA, Hattie Smith!
  • If you’re going to put your female lead in shorts this small, I hope you’re not sensitive to viewers unleashing a nonstop parade of “Has anyone seen my pants / OH GOD WHERE ARE MY PANTS!” jokes.
  • “You just pop this here ‘Blair Witch Stick Person / Anarchy sign’ sticker up on that there windshield of yours, and them park rangers? Well – heh heh – they won’t bother you none, no sir.” Hmmmmm…
  • The film really is shot amazingly well – better than a lot of mainstream releases. Cinematographer Sten Olson has a real future ahead of him.
  • As does writer / director Nicholas Woods, for that matter. Any director who can get this level of quality out of their cast and crew on their first ever film is someone to keep an eye on.
  • “I’ll make a run for it and get help,” says the female lead, and I’m like “Yeah, let her go – she has no pants to weigh her down.”
  • The gore effects in the movie are both realized and utilized very well.
  • Welcome back to horror movies, “I’ll be right back” dialogue spoken unironically by and/or to ill-fated characters.
  • The Axiom
4.0

Summary

In the end, The Axiom is a solid and entertaining flick that manages to wring a level of quality and originality out of the somewhat tired “Don’t Go in the Woods” horror subgenre not seen since 2012’s Cabin in the Woods. The cinematography and acting are hugely impressive, it features a nice, unnerving score, the premise is original and captivating, and the whole thing moves at a nice pace that helps keep the film’s flaws from dragging it down.

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User Rating 3.9 (10 votes)
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The Dollmaker Short Film Review – Welcome to Heebie Jeebie City!

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Starring Perri Lauren, Sean Meehan, Dan Berkey

Directed by Alan Lougher


The loss of a young child drives a mother to take a set of unusual measures to preserve his memory, and all it takes is one call to The Dollmaker.

When the short film by Alan Lougher opens up, we see a rather disturbing image of a little boy inside a casket, and the sound of a grieving mom speaking with an unidentified man in the background – he’s requesting something personal of the child to help “finish” his product, and it’s not before long that mom has her little boy back…well, kind of. What remains of the child is the representation of his former self, although it’s contained within the frame of a not-so-attractive doll, and the boy’s father isn’t a believer in this type of hocus-pocus (or the price to have this constructed, either). The doll comes with a specific set of instructions, but most importantly, you cannot spend more than one hour a day with the doll, or else you’ll go mad thinking that the soul inside of it is actually the person that you lost – sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

Well this is just too good to be true for Mommy, and as the short film progresses, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens to her mind – it’s ultimately a depressing scenario, but Lougher gives it that creepy feel, almost like visiting a relative’s home and seeing their dearly departed pet stuffed and staring at you over the fireplace – HEEBIE-JEEBIE CITY, if you ask me. All in all, the quickie is gloomy, but ultimately chilling in nature, and is most definitely worth a watch, and if I might use a quote from one of my favorite films to apply to this subject matter: “Sometimes…dead is better.”

  • Film
3.5

Summary

Ultimately chilling in nature!

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User Rating 3.31 (16 votes)
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